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Spiderweb Farm

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On our way home from Vermont recently, at a particularly commodious rest area, a flyer for Spiderwed Farm caught my eye. "Home of the 'original web site'", it boasted. Today I finally got around to checking it out.


collected by Will Knight. The colorless, fragile web of an orb-weaving spider called Araneidae is first brought to light by painting. It is then transferred by hand to a wooden plaque where it is protected with a fine furniture finish to assure a lifetime of enjoyment for all web lovers."

I bet these are kind of amazing in real life, too bad the pictures aren't a little better. I'm sure they don't do the work justice. I bet these are hard to dust.


Nanowrimo. I don't stand a chance of finishing. Do I? So far I am 0 for 5 or 6 or however many years I've signed up.

I got pretty far last year.

I think I have a better chance at Drawmo.

Recently, in a wine shop in Medford, I saw a display of wine marketed to a fairly obvious target market: exhausted mothers. I'm amazed I never saw anyone doing this before. A pregnant woman, especially in America, spends nine or more months without a drink. Then she gives birth, which at its best is a somewhat traumatic experience. Her entire life has changed. A whole new layer of potential stress and guilt has been laid atop her existence (and joy and wonder, but those aren't the ones that make you say, "I could sure use a drink," so I'm glossing over for now).

I found this marketing gambit pretty ballsy, here in Puritanical Massachusetts. I wonder who's behind it. "Mommy's Time Out." Brilliant! And notice, the display is empty.

The store's attempt to market wine to die-hard Red Sox fans, to the left of the Mommy's Helper box, was slightly less successful. Those guys are already drinking beer. The idea of putting baseball players' faces on wine seems like as bad an idea as Mommy's Helper is a great one. Wine drinkers won't like it, and neither will jocks and baseball fans.

Here's another wine targeting mommy, though with slightly less hutzpah and humor.

That label says to me, "I'm so drunk that my child has become nothing more than a colorless, fuzzy sketch to me. Hope she keeps up, 'cause I'm not stopping now."

Mystery Package

This just came for me via registered mail to J & D's address in Portland. I have no idea what it is.

My Favorite Shows

If you aren't already listening to This American Life and Radio Lab, I highly recommend you check them out. I especially am enjoying Radio Lab these days.

Last night, Erik and I went to River Gods for a nice dinner and to see Chris spin for his Tourfilter DJ night. We sat with some friends of his, one of whom was a pretty Brazilian woman. She and I made a little small talk and at one point she she said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Gwyneth Paltrow?"

I wonder why these statements so often start with "Has anyone ever told you that..." It's an interesting convention and I wonder how it got started.

This was, to my recollection, the first time that anyone has ever likened me to Ms. Paltrow, but I am often told by new acquaintances that I "look just like" someone else, usually someone they know personally, and only occasionally a celebrity. My theory is that all blondes look alike. Especially when the hair is long. There's just something about that shiny silky yellowness that impresses itself on a person's brain.

Generally, I don't like being compared to other people. It makes me feel a little, I don't know... oddly furious. I suppose I like to think of myself as incomparable. "No, I look nothing like your friend Mandy!! You are completely mistaken," I might be screaming behind my polite and only slightly disdainful smile.

I used to get Diane Keaton a lot when i was in college, because of her characters in Manhattan and Annie Hall. That's less of a blonde thing than a small-town gal in the big city stereotype.

When I was in High School I was often told that I was a perfect double for Lauralee Bell, who played the character Christine aka "Cricket" on The Young and the Restless. Cricket was supposed to be a model, but I never thought she was really very pretty, so I bristled at the comparison. After hearing this from so many strangers at the mall (the woman at Great Cuts who trimmed my hair, the salesgirl at Claire's who sold me my bangles), I would watch The Young and the Restless and try harder to think Cricket was pretty, but all I really managed was to feel sort of irked.

My favorite celebrity look-alike and the only one that hasn't in some way annoyed me, is Gerda Wegener, which I got from Kai. She makes the exception to the rule, because I can identify with her and admire her. I think she's someone I would have liked to party with and I think she's hot. Something about the obscurity of her fame and her quirkiness make her a palatable doppelganger. I've used a picture of her as an avatar on online communities so much that I sometimes forget that it isn't actually a picture of me. I'm not even sure she was blonde, so she also has the merit of not falling into the all blondes look alike paradigm.

So, to illustrate this post, here are pictures of me at my most airbrushed and glamourous (my high school senior picture) and all the celebrities anyone has ever told me I look like, as best I can remember.

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Phone Tip

Recently I have done something with my cell phone which I highly recommend to anyone. Most cell phones can be programmed to flash a little piece of text when you turn them on. I'm not sure what the idea behind this is or what is the point, but a while back, I programmed my phone to flash the text "You are amazing."

Now, every time my phone crashes and I have to turn it back on again, the incredible frustration I feel about this expensive bit of buggy crap (Nokia N73) is mitigated by the nice feeling of reading those words.

Recently a bar code was taped to mail box, and not to anyone else's mailbox around us. I wondered what it was, so I asked the mailman. He explained that he has to read that code on various houses in his route so that the post office can monitor his pace.

"Oh," I said. "I thought there was something special about me."
"There is," he replied, "But this has nothing to do with that."

Good one, mailman!

Shiloh Pitt

is a spoonerism.

I bet Brad and Angelina didn't realize this when they picked that name.


The Pogo Stick


All you argumentative types should get into Debatepedia and waste some hot air.

(via Many2Many)

Recycle Crocs

old worn-out crocs

Vigo just outgrew his first pair of crocs from last year. He really loved them and wore them as often as he could. I was wondering what to do with the old worn-out pair, and I discovered that they are indeed recyclable.

Crocs are recyclable!! Just mail them back to the company where they are repurposed and shredded to make padding for children’s playgrounds. To recycle your crocs: clearly mark the outside of the package with “RECYCLE” and mail them to:
1510 Nelson Rd.
Longmont, CO 80501

I went to the eye doctor last week because I have been squinting a bit lately and getting headaches--the classic symptoms of needing a new pair of glasses. I had an eye exam just about a year ago, but it's been a year full of working for the internet, spending 8-10 hours a day in front of my laptop.

Here are some of the things my eye doctor told me about me about working in front of a computer.

1. All those hours I spent when I was seven years old training myself to cross my eyes were an excellent investment. The eye crossing muscles get a lot of work when sitting in front of a computer monitor, and having learned to cross eyes at will means those muscles are nice and strong.

2. Keep your monitor as far away from yourself as possible, so you don't have to focus in so close to your nose and tire out those eye-crossing muscles. If you tire them out too much, they can spasm and then you'll have trouble focusing far away when you're done working, and you might get a headache.

3. The 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at least 20 feet away. Looking out a window is good. This is to give those muscles a little break, also to prevent spasms.

4. Blink. For some reson we lower our blink rate when we sit in front of a screen and our eyes don't stay lubricated. that can make them irritated. Blink more.

5. Turn down the contrast and brightness. If your screen is bombarding your eyes with light, it will tire your eyes out.

There was something about the refresh rate, too, but I can't remember what it was.


I've never liked my name much because it is too common and rhymes too readily with "Spacy." When I went to France, my name became exotic and inpronouncable and that really helped bring me around to liking it better. Hardly anyone calls me Spacy, or Space anymore.

When I was little I had an imaginary friend named George.

My mother used to call me "Toad" sometimes.

When I was 12, I changed from Catholic school to public school. I spent the entire summer fantasizing about being in a whole school of people who had never met me. I cut my hair extremely short and decided that I would come up with a new nickname for myself. I compiled lists of cool names taken from soap operas. I didn't want to take a name directly from a soap, but it was good research into what sort of name could be hot. I wanted something that seemed like it could be a plausible nickname for Tracy, but something sexy and more gender-ambiguous.

I chose "Chase."

Of course it didn't work, mainly because I didn't have the balls to pull it off. The haircut was also possibly a mistake as schoolmates were genuinely confused by my gender ambiguity and people really don't feel comfortable (especially between the ages of 12-15) not being sure whether a person is male or female.

I survived all that and learned some interesting life lessons. Then in high school I had another, more successful, naming experience. My high school had a radio club and every week a local AM station handed the operations over to us for two and a half hours on Sunday morning. My segment was weird news and movie reviews and I gave myself an on-air name: Chuck.

The name Chuck was taken up by my fellow AV nerds and it spread from them to the debate club nerds and naturally from there to the drama club nerds until my favorite nerds all over the state of Iowa knew me as Chuck. I felt that I was the Queen of the Nerds, and I was. I was named Godess of the Debate Team two years running.

I left Chuck behind when I went to college, along with drama clubs and debate.

In 1995, Justine and I drove cross-country together. During the trip we took on pseudonyms and called each other by our chosen names for the entire adventure. She was Viva and I was Lola. (I had a bit of a Marlene Dietrich fixation at that time).

Derrick briefly tried to nickname me "Blanche," which I quite liked, but it really just could not compete with Spacy. Though both names are apt enough.

Squirl beta

I just now discovered a beta community website I had not yet heard of: Squirl. I was looking for a picture of a dead bug.

Street Anatomy

Justine sent me this link to the blog Street Anatomy: Medical Visualization past, Present, and Future.


It's a slow-loading page. The blog authors would be wise to have only a couple of these big images and movies on the front page and put things down in the "read more" section after they've been up a few days. Fascinating images, though. Worth the wait.

Download Squad

If someone had told me two years ago that I'd be interested in regularly reading a weblog called Downloadsquad I would have snorted in his face.

Never snort.

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Nietsche Family Circus: Connecting randomized Family Circus comic squares and Nietsche quotations since 2005.

Slightly more depressing...Dubya the Menace
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At home you're wifi King, but away you become wifi beggar. La Fonera. There's somebody in Coon rapids, IA with one of these. There's also one on rue du Soleil. Get a free fonera in the US!

blog in English.
blog in french.

This morning when I logged on to the office irc channel to start my work day, the title of the channel had been changed to " cruisin' the web with sweetness."

Steven Bradford Hulett, aka the sweetest Church of Christ guy, has a great collection of Valentine's cards and an awesome little website navigator.

I can't decide which card is my favorite.
"I wish you could have seen the smile on my face when I caught this turtle"
A list of all my blessings

I love this side of the internet!

New Favorite Blog

Odd Watches

An excellent collection of odd watches.

Mefi member jmhodges posted his science blog aggregators in the projects pages. Recombinents, the biology blog aggregator, is my favorite.

Yesterday I discovered that the book Flatland by Edwin Abbot had been made into a movie in 1962. You can see atrailer of it on Google video.

A remake of the movie narrated by Martin Sheen is set to be released this year. There also appears to be a rival remake.

There was an ice storm yesterday in Portland. Click on the video link at the top right of the story to see a very impressive lack of friction. Yikes!



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