MediaStorm is an interactive agency that specializes in storytelling. They've developed documentary-style content for clients such as Apple, National Geographic, and the Los Angeles Times. Their own site features a plethora of rich and moving documentaries, and I found this one touching:
“One year ago Matt Eich, 20, and Melissa Turk, 19, were typical college students. Then, everything started changing. Matt won the prestigious College Photographer of the Year contest, Melissa found out she was pregnant, they got married and moved from Ohio to Portland, OR, for Matt’s summer internship.”
“70% of the world's out-of-school children are girls. Girls deserve better. They deserve quality education and the safe environments and support that allow them to get to school on time and stay there through adolescence.” www.girleffect.org
FreakAngels is a new web comic about a flooded, post-apocalyptic London inhabited by the 12 telepaths who caused the world to end. It’s written by the excellent Warren Ellis, and illustrated by the exceptional Paul Duffield.
Ynnej turned me on to this comic a week or two ago, but I didn’t bother to read it until tonight, and now I'm jonesin’ for the next installment.
On luck, or technology, or life (don't talk to me about life)
“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.” – Douglas Adams
“All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the knee.” – Terry Pratchett in Discworld
WineLibraryTV.com This Gary guy is nuts about wine. And just generally a little nuts. Check out his popular podcasts on WineLibraryTV.com. And here he is on Conan. WineLibraryTV.com is a pretty cool site, as is its sister site, Corkd.com.
We went to the coast for Velma's birthday last weekend. Velma turned 30 on Friday, so she took a Redwood Day* and we went for a hike in Butano State Park, down the coast near Pescadero.
We had booked our friends' families' beach house (pictured above) for the weekend to celebrate both our birthdays (mine's next week), and invited a handful of friends to join us. The weather on the coast was foggy, but a couple miles inland at Butano it was warm and clear, so we had a nice long walk on Friday and I took a lot of photos.
Velma and I had dinner at Duarte's Tavern (pronounced, for some reason, as "doo-artz") in Pescadero, where Velma had crab's legs and I had red snapper and chips/fries. The fries were rally good and the snapper was not bad, although what I really enjoyed was the half-and-half soup (not on the menu, you have to ask for it). It's half artichoke and half green chili, and it's a stupendous concoction.
We bought some supplies (locally made, natch) at the store across the street (downtown Pescadero consisting of two whole cross-streets) and headed back to the beach house.
The rest of the foggy weekend was spent catching up with friends we don't see very often, talking and joking, relaxing, reading books, taking lots of pictures outdoors, exploring tidepools, watching the surf and quail babies, and doing a somewhat difficult 500-piece puzzle (pictured on the table above) which Velma bought at Muir Woods the week before.
* Save the Redwoods League, where Velma works, gives employees two extra vacation days each year to go out and spend time in the redwoods.
Orson went out in the back yard Monday morning as usual, but when Velma came home and we went to call him in from the back door, he didn't come. This is strange, since he usually comes running as soon as he hears us open the door.
We looked around the yard and he was nowhere to be found. The gate was ever so slightly ajar, so we figured he must have squeezed out.
We started looking around the apartments and houses in the alley near our yard, but he didn't come no matter how many times we called. We looked over fences, went into the yards of the neighbors we know, and then started making larger circles in our search.
I kept expecting to hear the tinkling little bell on his collar any minute, but as it got later and later, and he didn't come running up meowing, I started to get worried.
Velma had a thing to go to in the evening after dinner, but I was getting too worried to eat, so after she left I grabbed my flashlight and started walking around the block calling and whistling for him. Orson usually comes to my whistle.
He's been out all day! I kept thinking, How far could he have gone in that time?
But he's not that bold. He wouldn't have gone too far. Or would he? Did another cat come along? Maybe Orson went running along with him, only to get lost somewhere blocks away where he's never been.
Wild conspiracy theories started whirling around in my head as I passed a telephone poll with a "LOST CAT" poster on it. Is there a cat thief in our neighborhood? Did someone see Orson in the yard and grab him? He's friendly enough to strangers that he probably wouldn't put up a fight (damn him). Did a nasty landlord catnap him? But no, the two bricks that keep the gate closed from the inside weren't moved, and a thief wouldn't have been able to replace them from outside the gate.
I came home and made dinner, hoping Orson would show up at the back door now that it had gotten dark. Maybe he'd gone exploring and then got lost or freaked out by a noise or something and has been hiding out quietly all afternoon somewhere nearby...I hoped.
Damn cat. A year and a half ago I was verging on taking him back to the SFSPCA, but today I actually like him, now that he's calmed down and become more like a normal cat.
What if we've lost him?
I thought about Luna, who was hit by a speeding car on my supposedly quiet street in Mountain View. I thought about Bandit, the kitten I had when I was a little kid. One of the first times she went out in the back yard, she got scared and hid in the center of a bush after dark, even while my dad and I were walking all around nearby, calling for her, looking with flashlights. What if Orson's so freaked out that he won't come even if he hears us calling him? I'll never spot him in all the nooks and crannies in this city!
I went out again after eating dinner and walked around for over an hour, several blocks in every direction, making a wide loop of the neighborhood around our house. I even went down Mission and Ceasar Chavez, looking in parking lots and under cars, the whole time dreading that I'd spot him dead in the street.
Velma got home around 11pm and we went out in the alley again, and around the block one more time. No jingly bell. No meow. No Orson.
Velma went to bed. I stayed up an hour or so longer, looked out the back door hoping he'd come back. No Orson.
I took a shower and got ready for bed, looking out the door one more time. No Orson.
Velma had put one of his blankets and a bowl of water outside the back door. We'd left the bedroom window open in case we'd hear him meowing in the middle of the night. I hoped he'd come back in the night.
Velma woke up early as usual, and went to check on him.
She left for work, and I fell asleep again, thinking about how to make "Lost Cat" poster.
I awoke when I heard the front door open. Velma had gotten all the way downtown and turned around to come home again, worried about Orson. She went straight to the back door to check again, I heard her open it and call, "Here kitty..."
Then I heard her voice raise a couple octaves and call again, practically with panic, "Here kitty!" and I sat up in bed. I heard her going out the back yard into the alley, and her voice got more distant, but I could tell she was saying something. I just couldn't hear what she was saying.
A minute later she came back in and I heard the back door shut, and next I heard the jingly little bell I'd been afraid I'd never hear again, as she set Orson down on the kitchen floor and he pranced off to his water dish.
She found the little white furry bastard meowing from the neighbors' yard, right across the alley from our back yard. He was trapped in their yard (although not really, since there's a big cat-sized gap under their gate door), and we have no idea where he'd spent all night. Or the day before, for that matter. Maybe he was just a couple backyards away and couldn't hear us calling. Maybe he'd been exploring under some house (he was covered in dust and dirt) and couldn't hear us. Maybe he was lost the whole time and just finally found his way back home in the morning. We have no idea. I'm just glad he's back.
American Public Media's Marketplace reports that America's artists collectively make $80 billion a year. Nearly two million citizens consider themselves artists by trade, from architects to musicians and designers to filmmakers, making up one of the largest classes of workers in the U.S.. Their average income is just over $34,000 a year, which doesn't seem very high, but is actually higher than the U.S. median.
Over half a century has passed, but thousands of WWII U.S. servicemen and women still remain unaccounted for.
In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, a chain of islands north of Australia, a Pentagon team of forensic anthropologists searches even today for the wreckage of over 2,000 downed U.S. fighter pilots who were embroiled in the Pacific Theater struggle against the Japanese army.
Note: Apologies for cutting off a slice of the video player. Boston.com's Flash player wasn't built to industry standards; it has several problems: 1) the player is wider than the standard of 425px, 2) the normal way one would scale the player to make it fit into a narrower column doesn't work, 3) the player creates an unnecessary margin and also puts in that ugly gigantic Boston.com logo at the top. Very bad form.
The Big Picture The Boston Globe's website, Boston.com, has started a new photoblog with amazing, large-size news photos from around the world. So much better than the tiny front-page photos you see on most news sites. www.boston.com/bigpicture
Bill Scott Former Yahoo Bill Scott (he's now with Netflix) gave this talk at CNET about a year ago, but I was glad to watch this video again for a refresh. If you're a web developer or user experience designer, it’s chock-full o’ really good things for for you to know. His personal website is very, very useful too, and if you're not already aware of and using the YUI Interface Library, it's a must-see. Video presentation: http://video.yahoo.com/watch/1285664
Broken shoulder update and what I've been doing lately
My broken shoulder is healing fine and my last x-ray showed that the bone is growing appropriately. At least that's what they physician's assistant said; I could see hardly any difference between the recent and original x-rays. But they say it will take up to nine months total, and more recently I can feel solid bits in there near my bump, where there weren't solid bits before. So I suppose that's good. Plus it hardly ever hurts anymore. So I just keep doing the exercises and crossing my fingers that I won't have to do surgery in six months.
Laid down a soaker hose to make watering the garden a bit easier.
Purchased some 1980s and 1970s photo prints of Black Sabbath, Ozzy with Randy Rhoads, the Clash, and Led Zeppelin, from a photographer named Alan Perry.
Researched and tried a few database apps (free, shareware, and webware ones), none of which really impressed me. Either they didn't do what I actually wanted them to do, or they did but their inelegance and poor usability made them not worth it. Actually, Coghead was pretty cool, but it doesn't really export to CSV yet, making it pointless for me. Next I'm going to try Bento from FileMaker, but I have to upgrade to Leopard to use it at all : /