weekend project – send party materials to antarctica

Friday, October 24th, 2008

um, the latest burningman newsletter announces that mcmurdo station is having a regional burn over thanksgiving weekend.
and they need us to send them toys.


if i can’t find something to contribute to that cause then i need to rearrange my priorities.

jiggety jig

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

this week i learned that when i got home from burning man, i wasn’t really fully here. sure, i was in my apartment and sleeping in my bed. yes, i unloaded the truck and cooked with what edible options remained. yeah, i saw my friends and did my laundry and embarked upon a gin-weaning regimen with jonathan, and indeed i even began the employment quest in earnest, with no trip looming on the horizon to distract me.

but my mind was churning and calling out for california, where several new friends and two very special old ones were going about their business, and all i really wanted to do was mindmeld with them and careen about drunk on life in the last rays of the summer sun. this became particularly clear last friday when i realized that i was going to be in san diego this week with victor and erik whether my body deigned to actually travel there or not, so i’d best just shut up and get myself all in one place and enjoy the ride.

lemme tell ya, i’m a smart one sometimes, because i had an amazing week romping up and down california, and now that i am back? game on. all systems go. i got three new employment leads today alone. i had a lovely morning in eugene hanging out in a coffeeshop and time traveling to the beat of my shuffle on the bus ride home. i spent the evening out with good friends who i am so glad to be getting to know even better. i am resolved to make sunday dinner a part of my life again. and i really do love this town.

so cheers.

and check out my pics if ya wanna.

Our thrift store prize

stretching myself

Monday, May 21st, 2007

for several years now i have been telling myself that i should start practicing some kind of martial art, because it seems like a good synthesis of many of my goals. i like the combination of balance work and mental focus and flexibility and strength training and interacting with other people. i have been doing more yoga and keep humoring the thought of doing tai-chi, but the challenge and interactive nature of structured combat still feels appealing. and the self-defense part is a nice perk.

at some point this desire began to take a bit more shape and i decided that i should try out aikido, because it is a very go-with-the-flow kind of martial art. it’s a lot about learning how to fall down, and most of the fighting is quite literally rolling with the punches. it also, however, teaches you to play with swords. so that seals it in my book of cool things to do.

i never really had luck with finding a combination of momentum and opportunity to get started with this goal, but after settling in a bit here and starting to think more about exercise, i decided to search for aikido lessons, and it turns out there is a dojo quite literally 5 blocks from my apartment! and they have a beginning class that is only a few weeks long that teaches you the basics so that you can decide if you want to join and do more! and one of the classes started tonight and we are not traveling for the next few weeks so i can go! woohoo!

i got there a bit early because even though i told myself it should only take five minutes to walk there, i wanted to make sure i could find it. turns out it’s right next to the shoe store with the free beer and donkey kong, so that’s a good block. i walked in and it smelled like sweat, but in a fresh healthy way, and there was lots of light and people were running around sweeping the mat and chatting and folding up their outfits, for which i do not yet know the official names. it was a bubbly, happy scene. people had clearly been working hard, and they all knew each other, and they smiled at me and the guy leading the class recognized that i was new and asked if i was there for the beginner’s class and welcomed me and gave me a form to fill out. i filled it out and talked with the guy next to me who was putting on his shoes and said he’d been coming there for 7 years. i felt good about the decision to come.

after things were swept up and the class that just ended was leaving, they let us on the mat and we stretched and i bounced around on the fun springy ground. there were only a few other beginners, and one guy who has only been around for a month and wanted the extra practice. that was nice. we all got attention and there was plenty of room.

all we did tonight was learn how to bow, practice falling and standing up a little bit, and a little bit of basic footwork. it was fun, though, and it felt good, and the instructor was friendly and good at teaching, and the other people were nice. it was also an awesome feeling to put my shoes back on, chat with my new classmates, and strike out into the night to find my house waiting only a few blocks away.

all in all, a very exciting addition to the map of my neighborhood, and there is class on monday and thursday nights for the next few weeks. i’m excited to see where it leads.

thanks, turbotax

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

man, taxes are different than when i was a kid

(that’s a joke because i’m not very old… hahaha… the irreverent nostalgia of the information age…)

anyway, after postponing my taxes for 75,000 years (all condensed into the past few months… it’s been exhausting) because i was worried about my overseas income, i finally realized that said overseas income translates to about 75 cents as far as the IRS is concerned, and the only real reason to dig up all the paperwork would be to talk to the UK about it because i could probably get money back from them. given that whole 75 cents bit (which is roughly 37.5 pence!), i’m thinkin the effort->reward ratio there is too small. or big. whatever.


which means my taxes are easy after all!
and i only worked for 6 months!

after realizing this, it of course made me procrastinate further, but tonight, out of the small fear that something huge would crop up and i would enjoy at least a day to deal with it, and fueled by my first home-delivered pizza in portland (from this place. short review: “***! shows promise! but the white spinach pizza needs salt.”), i decided to tackle the task, and now thanks to turbotax online i’m done! less than an hour later! sweet!

i owe $125 because my withholding at IU was all messed up and i never got around to fixing it. it’s nothing close to what i owed last year, however, and i am better suited to deal with the hit, so especially after thinking that this year was going to be atrocious, it feels like a bargain.

indiana owes me $34 but i just told them to give it all to their birds and fishes fund because it seemed easier than telling them to send it to me.

my sense of accomplishment will now buoy me up as i spend the rest of the evening watching howl’s moving castle rather than writing some emails i’ve been postponing.

sorry mark and the f&l crowd!

since this year i will make more money than i ever have, save more money than i ever have, and give away more money than i ever have, it is reasonable to predict that this is the last year in the foreseeable future wherein my taxes will be simple.

i pause a moment to acknowledge this milestone before pushing aside the official paper pile beside me and skipping gleefully to refill my pepsi.

may all of you have happy tax stories as well this weekend. i know i always say this so you have no reason to believe me, but i really am going to write more soon. my mom wants to know what i do at work, and i bought a cactus!

quality purchases

Monday, March 5th, 2007

my early days in portland are going to be characterized by a fair bit of acquisition, seeing as i moved here with a suitcase and a backpack, am starting a job that will require clothing other than my glitter shoes and sheep pajamas, and they are paying me more for this job than for anything else i have ever done in my life. the first two are really corollaries of the last, i suppose, and it’s not like i’m complaining. i will do my best not to go overboard and decide that i need a new yacht.

in that spirit, i was overjoyed to learn that my dear friend josh was visiting his parents in portland this past weekend, which means that i got to see him for the first time in over a year, and he got to take me to places that i would still have a hard time finding on my own, like the goodwill where they sell things by the pound.

i actually managed to find a pair of slacks and a jacket that will probably work as work clothes, as well as some good things for nights and weekends, a funny highschool-woodshop wine rack, and an old cardboard bucket with amusing advertising on it that i might use for a hamper.

but the most exciting purchases by far are these:

Sweet, sweet goodwill goodness

that’s a nearly new leatheresque suitcase that will work as my business travel carry-on and make me way snazzier than eddie bauer, a pair of bowling shoes that are pretty beat up and need a bit of lovin’ but fit and will make for some fun dancing companions, and, are you ready for this?, a champagne case. totally serious. it looks like it’s for a ukulele or something? but inside? it’s for a bottle of champagne. josh found this and i nearly offered to trade him all of my discoveries as well as rights on my firstborn child so that i could have it, but in the end he caved because i let him have the supersoft tshirt that i accidentally picked up out of the bin where my suitcase was. talk about a bargain.

i also managed to win rights to the awareness wheel, which will surely be a helpful addition to my decor as i embark upon my self-directed doctoral program, about which i will speak more soon.

The Awareness Wheel

first though, i have to tackle many errands before we leave on the longest business trip ever, which begins tomorrow and ends on friday the 16th. i am proud of myself because i am going to finalize the deal on my new apartment before we leave, which officially makes this the least stressful housing hunt ever. i got a studio about 10 blocks from tiffanie with a friendly landlord, a gas range, and free internet. and it was the cheapest one on the list.

so far i like portland.

day off! woohoo!

Friday, September 8th, 2006

today is my first full day off since i started work last week, though i do have to cook dinner since i flaked out on my turn yesterday because i’m not used to the schedule yet.

but that’s ok.

it’s an absolutely gorgeously clear day today, and now that i had a leisurely morning and a cup of tea, i think i’m going to go on a walk.  there’s apparently a little trail on the side of the lake if i walk through the little bungalow complex next door, so i’m going to snoop around.  the main road is actually quite busy and a bit narrow, and cars whiz by quickly, so i’ve been afraid of walking along it for very long, and i’m excited to see where the path leads.  i am only sad that i can’t take pictures.


this job definitely has its perks

Friday, September 1st, 2006

like having the chef plan our meals for us and do the shopping.

the live-in staff take turns cooking, so i will be up every 3-5 days (depending on how many more staff end up staying in the hotel), which is kind of fun. i like cooking, and planning a menu is some of the fun and a lot of the skill, but it’s nice not really having to think about it for a while, and it’s doubly nice having a professional do it for me.  it’s kind of like living in the dorms again and having a meal plan, except you’re allowed in the kitchen, you get to cook every once in a while, and the food is better.


the menu at the hotel is mostly seafood, and rather fancy, but we eat simpler things, making use of the leftovers in clever ways. yesterday we had some really good fried shrimp, chips, and a salad, and today we had a chicken stew with naan. there is also breakfast every day – cereal, leftover pastries, and/or eggs and bacon cooked to order, and we can make our own sandwiches and fruit for lunch.

i’m going to eat better for these few months than i have in a while, and with not much effort and not much expense – they take £30 out of my pay each week for room and board. two nights at the hostel in edinburgh cost the same, and a week in the room that i passed up in matthew’s house would have been twice that. and neither of those included any food.

so yeah, that’s a perk.

as is being able to write a blog post ten minutes before i have to start working, because all i need to do is change clothes and walk downstairs.

i think i’ll be ok with this for a while. :)

congrats tammy, mona, anne and shunying

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

as many of you likely know by now, chick clique won the student design competition, bringing IU’s record up to 2 for 3.
health view also made us proud, really
it’s a bit of a warm fuzzy we’re-doing-something-right feeling, though i don’t envy the teams who will be burdened with the pressure next year. hopefully we can continue to channel it so that it helps us step up and churn out good work, rather than making us cocky or giving us ulcers. that’s a good kind of challenge to have.
another challenge, i must admit, is also presenting itself this year, and that is in keeping the sense of cross-program support alive and strong as we bring more and more people to CHI and start to fill more and more roles. last year, every one of the students who attended was an HCI student taking part in the design competition, and there was a really strong sense of being a part of something bigger. this year feels a little different, and part of it, i hate to admit, seems to come from the fact that we have such strong cross-program representation.
it’s a busy place, this conference, and when we don’t already have patterns of hanging out with each other, we don’t really form a lot of new ones.

so i don’t know if it’s a bad thing, but it’s on my mind.
it seems to mimic the larger cross-disciplinary communication issues that keep coming up all across the conference, so it’s something to watch.

one step closer to a life in my pajamas

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

i just got confirmation that i’m going to be an official student blogger for 10 of my 20 requisite volunteer hours at CHI this year.


this means i actually get to go to the conference, and it gives me an incentive to tote my laptop around and write what i’m thinking as i think it, whereas before i might have felt a bit silly being one of those people…
that would have been ridiculous of me, since CHI is almost All those people, but whatever.
i never pretend to be at a loss for ridiculousness.

but now i have no excuses.
so buckle up.

infatuation, procrastination, jubilation

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

A picture of my new camera, taken in the mirror.
if you’ve seen me sometime in the past few days, you have probably already heard this announcement, since i’m certain that i have been thoroughly annoying about it.
it has been hard to contain myself. i apologize.
if you haven’t seen me, here’s the news: i finally caved and bought the digital camera that i have been coveting for several months now, and i have barely parted with it all weekend.
so far, i am in love.

the short story of my covetousness is something like this: i have been feeling the pull of inevitability regarding a pocketable digital camera for a couple of years now. i watched my friends all acquire them. i watched “who has a camera?” go from a shot in the dark (akin to “who has a needle and thread?” – it would be useful, and not that bizarre, but it’s not really something you expect everyone to produce on a moment’s notice) to a statement of confident expectation (Someone Has to have one).
i started to see more snapshots of my friends’ (and strangers’) lives on a daily basis, as they did daily kinds of things.
and i saw that it was good.
i wanted in on the game.

i was hesitant, however, because my old film student self thought that she wanted something with a few tricks up its sleeves. i was worried that i would be frustrated with not being able to manually fiddle with things sometimes, even though i don’t really know all that much about what i’m doing and will probably end up relying on the presets most of the time. i wanted a camera i could grow with a little, play with, and use in a variety of moods. but i also became increasingly convinced that i wanted a camera that i could fit in my pocket, despite the fact that this tended to limit my options when it came to manual adjustability. i thought that i should be able to get a starter home with a few bells and whistles for no more than $400, and preferably for no more than $300.
it turned out to be a pretty tall order, and i was slightly discouraged.

then i read this cnet review, and was intrigued. i poked around a bit more and found nothing to discourage me, so i added the camera to my christmas list even though i knew there were other things above it, and i started keeping an eye on ebay.
last week, i won this auction, and thursday night there was a package on my porch when i got home from work.
ebay is awesome.
but that’s another post.

the fates could not have conspired to create a more perfect weekend to test out my new camera.
friday night was the PRIDE Film Fest and Dance Party at the Buskirk Chumley, which I am happy to support, and which presented me with grand opportunities to test out the low-light and filtering options. there was a disco ball, and a dancing man covered in chocolate, and casablanca projected on gauze. my friend amy was also deejaying the event, so i got ambience and portraiture practice all rolled into one. rock on.

then saturday was the day that all planet infoheads have already heard about: lunar new year. mad scientists. cover bands.
i also hopped over to my friend kelly’s 26th birthday party, took pictures of her (and karen’s lamp), and hit myself on the head with boomwhackers, which are possibly my new favorite thing in all the world.

except my camera, of course.
(i’m not That fickle with my affections!! ;)

dance party pics
lunar new year pics
mad scientist pics
kelly’s birthday pics
fester’s pics