Archive for About Technogrrrl

Hawaii

I’m heading to Hawaii for a week in the sun, then I move into my new place. Life is good…

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I Have This Thing

I have this strange karma where I’ll be sitting in a restaurant, waiting an interminable time for my food, and I’ll realize that I need to run to the restroom. Upon my return, my food is invariably sitting there waiting for me. I had lunch today with a friend and we waited almost half an hour for our food before I remembered this little bizzaro thing. I figured I’d give it a try on purpose this time. Sure enough, by the time I got back from the bathroom, our food had arrived.

I seem to have a similar bizzaro thing with this blog. Last night I posted my rant about the seeming impossibility of finding a rental house in SE Portland when, lo and behold, today I got the call that my friend and I were accepted for a house we applied for a week ago and had given up on.

I’m thinking, when it’s time to look for a job I’ll try a preemptive blog rant and see what happens!

Back in the Saddle – For the Moment Anyway

I’ve been absent from the blogging world recently for several reasons that all distill down to this — I’ve been completely wrapped up and obsessed with my own little world. When I’m in that head space, it’s impossible to write anything. I’m actually still completely wrapped up in my own little world but I feel like I’m seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the sewer pipe. I have a few comments to make for the record, while I’m still hanging out in the aforementioned pipe.

A. I joined a pool team. I suck at it, and that’s OK.

B. Selling a house and then packing up to move out of it is a pain, especially when…

C. Finding a new place to live in SE Portland (the cool part anyway) is ridiculously hard, time-consuming, and thus far fruitless.

D. I’m totally addicted to Smallville and I haven’t even made it through season 1 yet.

E. I really like a good soak in the tub.

As of today, I’m house-sitting for my friends next door. To keep with the Technogrrrl theme I so rarely pay any attention to, I’ll mention here that I brought over all of the essentials necessary to a high standard of living: my laptop, the Xbox, an mp3 player, some clothes and toiletries, my single cup coffee thingy, my kitchenaid stand mixer, and my Sidekick. Apparently, everything I’m jamming into my PODS unit is just fluff. Actually, given how heavy it all is, I suppose it would be ballast.

Your reward for making it to the end of my little rant is the following statement. Westfold is a pretty cool band and you should check them out.

Check back soon for a review of the latest book from my favorite vampire porn author!

Did You Know It’s Almost Boyfriend Season?

It's hunting season!I saw an online ad today which informed me that it’s almost boyfriend season. There’s a season for that?! How long does it last? Is it a Spring/Summer thing and then I’m supposed to dump him in the Fall?

“Hey baby, it’s been a blast but you’re out of season now. Look me up in the Spring.”

Who wants to be alone in the Fall and Winter when Portlanders huddle for warmth in bookstores, in coffee shops, and under fluffy blankets? It makes no sense. These people must live in Florida or something.

Advertisers — sheesh.

What To Do?

A poster outside Green Park, London UKWhile in London recently, I had a conversation with a Muslim guy working in a mini-mart. I was clearly a tourist, on a quest for camera batteries, so he asked me where I was from. He hadn’t heard of Portland, Oregon so I told him it was above California. “Oh, you’re American then!” was his response. As with everyone I talked with after that, this revelation immediately initiated a conversation about George W. Bush. While he was glad George couldn’t run in the next election, he was dismayed that he’s being allowed to “destroy the world in the meantime.” He was aware that the American people aren’t happy with him and he thought Hillary might do a better job. The fact that a London mini-mart cashier knew more about American politics than most Americans was mortifying.

Civilizations rise and then they fall. Sight-seeing in London brought home for me how young America is, but also how precarious our place in the world is. I suggested to a friend that we’re the bratty teenager of the world, arrogant and inconsiderate. They countered that we’re more like the bratty two year old. We’re certainly willful and on the whole, ignorant. That part, I understand. My struggle lately is what to do about it?

I have yet to come across a pundit or a politician with a sensible plan. I see plenty of smokescreens and sirens but no solutions. How much preaching to the choir can we do before it’s all meaningless? I’ve reached the point where I need to DO something, something meaningful.

I’ve been checking out the moveon.org site lately to sign petitions but I’d like to hear some other ideas…

Today’s Head in the Sand – “An Inconvenient Truth” Proves to be, well, Inconvenient

truth.jpgI got a link this morning from Iggi pointing me to an article in the Washington Times about a school district that banned Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” I followed the link and was somewhat horrified to discover that the school district is Federal Way, Washington, my own former stomping ground!

From the article,

Frosty E. Hardison has made things a little chilly for Al Gore: The father of seven had Mr. Gore’s global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth” banned from his local public schools.

“Al Gore’s video has no place in my kids’ public school classroom any more than condoms,” Mr. Hardison told The Washington Times yesterday. “It is nothing more than an opportunity for him to grandstand and take more potshots at the Republicans for repeating his own error — of not doing enough. … Al Gore is not about finding solutions to the problem. Al Gore is all about getting his party re-elected.”

Federal Way is a suburb ensconced between Seattle and Tacoma. Most of the kids I went to school with had parents who were engineers at Boeing. At least, that was the case in my science and math classes. Perhaps the demographics have changed in the last 15-20 years, because it’s hard to imagine those people tolerating this nonsense. The school district banned the film until such a time as an opposing viewpoint is available. That’s like saying they’re not going to allow kids to watch “Eyes on the Prize” (a great PBS documentary about the civil rights movement) unless the kids also watch videos put out by the Aryan Nation!

I find it interesting that Mr. Hardison equates showing that film in school with allowing condoms in school. Apparently, if you don’t accept that something is happening, then it doesn’t exist. What does sex ed have to do with global warming? I would say that it’s all a part of the religious right’s campaign against science and reason. We’re supposed to be good shepherds of this earth. Science has the ability to help us do that. Sticking our heads in the sand so big oil and industry can take us up our collective asses is hardly likely to get us into heaven. But, it’s a good way to bring hell on earth.

It’s Been Awhile…

My goodness. I haven’t updated my blog in quite some time. I think I went into some sort of holiday hibernation period wherein I really didn’t feel like writing anything. I went to at least 4 shows during my absence. I’d tell you about them but I’m not much in the mood for it. I’ve been accused of being concertgrrrl instead of technogrrrl and they have a point! Instead, I’ll get more personal than I probably should.  God knows what this will tell you about me!

Today a friend of mine sent out an e-mail to a bunch of us that described a crazy dream he’d had the night before. This brought to our minds our own crazy dreams which we proceeded to share. I told them about a dream I had several months ago in which I died. Thinking about it later, I remembered that I actually recorded the dream as a “note” in my phone while waiting for a set change at the Doug Fir the night after the dream. The dream I related to my friends was not quite right in the details, so here’s the full account of it as recorded at the Doug Fir.

I died twice in my dreams last night. The first time, I was in my own body. I don’t recall how it happened. I found myself lying in my coffin, which I somehow knew was white. The lid was shut and I could sense that I was being lowered into my grave. As the clods of dirt started to hit the coffin lid with a dull thud and scatter, I reminded myself not to panic.

In concern for my friends, who were fighting the good fight in my absence, I left my body to find them. I don’t recall what they were fighting but it seemed to be a great evil, and they had lost their leader. I found that they had carried on but had reached a point of desperation. I took up residence in one of their bodies so that I could watch. I couldn’t bear to completely abandon them.

The final, desperate plan of my friends was to bomb the headquarters of the enemy. It was a suicide mission. The bomb would go off before they could make it out of the building. If they didn’t succeed, there would be nothing left to live for anyway.

When the bomb went off I was standing in the parking garage of the building. It was an underground garage, all concrete and artificial lighting. I stood and faced the ring of fire that raced toward me. At the last second, I dropped to one knee and welcomed the fire as it seared me to ashes. It was over and I was conscious of feeling relieved that there was so little pain.

And then I awoke to the breaking dawn and the prospect of another day at the office.

Perhaps I’ve watched too much of Buffy and The Matrix…

For Curtis

Last night I decided to Google my old friend Curtis Safford. He was my high school boyfriend’s best friend. The three of us hung out together quite a bit. We’d go to the movies, soccer games at the Tacoma Dome, baseball games at Cheney Stadium, and Young Life events. He was always cheerful and smiling and sweet and gave the kind of hug that said he meant it. I never got any sense of resentment at the place I was taking in his friend’s life. He was a brainy guy who went on after high school to attend USC where he stayed on to work in their computer services department.

I think it was 1998 when I first decided to look him up. This was the pre-google days so I found him via Yahoo. I found an address for him at USC and pinged him to see if I had the right guy. It turns out he’d gotten into ballroom dancing, a mental image I could hardly grasp as he’d been so shy in school and never danced where any of us ever saw him! We chatted by phone and exchanged current photos and other life updates. It seems he’d had my high school Senior picture in his wallet all that time, which I thought was kind of wacky but sweet. Then, we fell out of touch again for a couple of years. The next time we got in touch, I’d moved to Oregon, and he’d gotten engaged to a girl from somewhere in the state. They got married and about a year and half ago had a little boy. We always talked about meeting up for dinner if either of us ever ended up in each other’s neck of the woods.

I’m not sure what got me thinking about him last night. Maybe it’s because I work with a bunch of Beaver fans who were really happy that they beat USC last weekend. In any case, I discovered that Curtis died this past June from cancer. It sounds like he went relatively quickly and peacefully in the end. I’ve been sitting here at my desk sorting through my memories of him all morning. I feel sadness and regret that we never did get around to seeing each other again. Words seem inadequate right now but I know that his big smile, goofy laugh, and kind heart will live on in my memory always. Goodbye my friend.

The Mosquito Ringtone, Can You Hear It?

Last Wednesday night my friend’s thirteen year old son demonstrated the mosqito ringtone for my friends and I. Of the five adults who were present, only two of us could hear it. I’m 34 years old and my other friend who could hear it is 30. The ringtone is a high pitched (17kHz) squeal that made me want to throw the phone out the window to stop it from piercing my skull. If you haven’t heard of the mosquito ringtone, you can get the full story from this NY Times article.

It was originally marketed to shopkeepers who wanted to drive away the kids loitering in front of their stores without disturbing their adult customers. I first heard about it last spring on NPR. It didn’t take long for people to figure out that they could market it as a cell phone ringtone, thereby turning the tables on adults. Since kids aren’t allowed to have their cell phones turned on in school, this ringtone is a great way to circumvent that.

It’s also a fun way to goof off in class. My young friend said there are times when up to 9 kids have the tone blasting from their phones, their teacher none the wiser. Given that the tone is so incredibly annoying, I’m sure they’ll get tired of that aspect in not too long and restrict its use to alerting them of new text messages and phone calls.

By the time most people reach the age of 18, they can’t hear sounds above 16kHz. By the time they’re 30 they can’t hear above 14kHz. I found a handy chart and a link to a free tone generator on Alec Saunder’s blog. He’s another adult who can hear the mosquito tone. I downloaded the tone generator from NCH software and gave myself a little hearing test. I can hear tones up to 20kHz. I ran Steve through the test (he’s in my age bracket) and he could only hear up to 15 kHz, which is actually pretty good for our age group.

Why can some adults hear the tone and others not? I regularly hang out in loud clubs without earplugs. I figured my hearing would be suffering by now. Trolling the Web, I saw theories suggesting that migraine sufferers (which I am) and those with tinnitis can hear higher tones, and that age-related hearing degeneration is genetic rather than inherent. My dad can’t hear the alarm on his watch, the beeping sound trucks make when they back up, or the chirping of a smoke alarm. My mom on the other hand, can hear a pin drop two rooms away. My dad gets migraines, my mother doesn’t. From my own experience I’m going with the genetic explanation. Of course, my dad lost some hearing when a mortar launcher went off too close to his head during the Korean War, so maybe he’s a bad example.

In any case, try out the hearing test for yourself and feel free to post the results. To use the tone generator once you’ve dowloaded, installed, and launched it, highlight “Sine 1 Frequency” and increase the value to at least 10,000.00Hz. That’s a pretty good baseline to start with and then you can increase the frequency from there.

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 — Available on iTunes!

Thank goodness. A tiny knot in my stomach just went away.

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