Day 337 of Project 365: Putty planet.

I’ve been a grownup all week. Now it’s time to hang out in my jim-jams and play with iridescent putty.

2016-12-02 23.10.21-1.jpg

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: the satisfying squish of putty.

picture perfect

When the MSG invited me to dinner tonight, I didn’t think much of it. We haven’t been going out to dinner lately, so his announcement that we should seemed to make sense, despite just having spent a long weekend together, filled with plenty of good food.

Just after 21:00, he texts me with his location: at the corner down the street from my flat. I think that is slightly odd, since he usually meets me at my front door, but maybe he wants to go to the restaurant on that corner, so no biggie.

O, he’s in my car, I think as I reach the corner. Since his car has all but given up the ghost, he’s taken to driving mine when he needs to run errands. It works out for me, too, since then I don’t have to move it to avoid street cleaning tickets.

I see him unlock the passenger-side door, so I get into the car. “I think you left something at my place this morning,” he says. “It’s in the backseat.”

Weird. I don’t usually do that. But I was groggy and it’s possible. I reach back and there is a small plastic-wrapped package, addressed to me, at the MSG‘s address. I look at the sender’s address. “Ah, this is the case I got you for your new iPod.”

He nods. “Ah, okay. But I think you left something else.”

I glance back. How did I miss that much bigger cardboard box on the seat? “I didn’t bring a box to your house …” I begin, and then catch the look on the MSG‘s face. Twisting backwards, I grapple with the big box and pull it into my lap. I look at the sender’s address. It has “Camera” in the name.

“What did you do?” I wail quietly. “Whaaaat did you dooooooo?” Rip goes the tape across the seams of the box.

He starts to laugh as I thrust my hands into the styrofoam-peanut-filled box and extract my very own Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi.

I lost the ability to speak coherently at that point. Hours later, I am still floored. And I don’t feel like typing much longer …

simulated humility

Work overwhelmed me this week. For the first time since I started, I felt like maybe I had made a mistake, like I was losing my grip not because I was new but because I really couldn’t do it.

And just when I was feeling so proud of myself for pushing myself outside my comfort zone, and for dealing with instances in which I didn’t immediately know how to do something or where to find something. Then this week happened, and I’d like to chalk it up to the final push of Mercury in retrograde but really it was that pause between being new and being a full-fledged part of something. This is a good time to learn some humility.


little computer people home view My second course of antibiotics is now complete, which means that if I don’t feel better by Monday I’m going to have to see the doctor again. Always a pleasure. I am avoiding the thought of this by playing my favorite old Commodore 64 game, Little Computer People, which was sold by Activision in 1985. Though I have lost interest in The Sims, its flashier descendant, LCP still holds my attention. Thanks to the Power64 emulator, I don’t have to know why; I just play it.


The MSG took me to one of Oliveto’s truffle dinners on Thursday. I hadn’t spent much time savoring truffles before meeting the MSG. I think they might be his favorite food, if he had one. Now, I eat them whenever I can, not only because I think they are inimitably delicious but because I want to experience something he is so passionate about. The dinner was outstanding, to say the least, and I wish I had photos for you but I forgot my camera. Duh me.

No truffles tonight, but a great-smelling homemade chicken soup is almost complete. The MSG made even the stock from scratch. It is like having my own personal chef, and I try not to take it for granted.

puzzle pirates

I have nothing to write about because I am too busy playing a puzzle-solving pirate.

Puzzle Pirates is the cutest MMORPG EVAR. I am particularly hooked on the swordfighting, especially because different weapons result in different puzzle outcomes. I love well-crafted games.

Join me, ye landlubbers! (I’m Carinah on the Sage Ocean.)

thanks, TiVo

Thanks, TiVo, for recording the mildly entertaining yet ultimately pointless “let’s review nearly everything from season two” episode of “Lost” yet NOT THE TWO-HOUR SEASON FINALE.

I checked all the settings — date/time, “keep episodes until I delete them”, season pass priority of #1, etcetera — everything was set correctly. I thought the new Overlap Protection feature was supposed to prevent this from happening, but I guess it doesn’t work if it’s protecting a show from overlapping itself. My brain just broke, typing that sentence.

What sucks the most about this situation is how dependent on TiVo I have become. I don’t own a video iPod. ABC doesn’t repeat these episodes, at least not in a timely fashion. No one I know records TV to VHS anymore. What do I do?

Sign me,
Trying not to sulk in San Francisco.

P.S. In order not to run across any spoilers, I will not be reading any other websites until I get this resolved. If something big happens in your life, please send notice via carrier pigeon.


I thought I was so clever. I did the research. I planned and plotted. I waited, too, to be sure.

And then I sprang, I pounced, I purchased. I bought a new keyboard for my Mac, just as the old one gasped its final letter.

And I didn’t buy just any keyboard. I bought the keyboard. It is ergonomic and has buttons that do things like mute my music or bring my mail client to the foreground. Really neat, important things. And it is white, which I wasn’t really digging before I saw it but has grown on me.

The problem is that it sucks. It sucks in a very subtle way, but this way makes me not want to use it.

The keys are half-click, half-smush. They start out with what you think might be a satisfying THARK noise and end with a SPLUSH. Sometimes they even — I cringe even writing this — KLEEK in the middle. Like they need to be oiled. The space bars are the worst, huge Cadillac things that don’t fire half the time. If I type too quickly, my dialogue looks like it is spoken by a frantic crackhead.

This may not be a big deal to you. I fully accept that I am an insufferable prig at times, and especially right now. But I cannot type on it for more than five minutes at a time without becoming unreasonably agitated. I simply hate it. The sound is wrong; the feel is wrong. And because it’s all wrong, I type less, which means fewer of my manuscripts make it past a first draft.

And so, though I hated to do it, I bought a new one. It is not ergonomic and it is not fancy. But because I’ve thoroughly tested one just like it, I know exactly how it feels and sounds, and it feels and sounds right.

It wasn’t until last weekend, while goofing off in an antique shop in the Mission with the MSG, that I realized what “right” feels and sounds like to me, keyboardly-speaking: a typewriter. A big, fat, loud, clunky typewriter, with keys that jam and ribbons that run out and dings and clicks and taps.

If it is possible to devolve, technologically, I am doing so. First the return to a pen-and-paper calendar, now this. What will be next, getting rid of my mobile? Only time will tell. But be sure of one thing: you can pry my iPod out of my cold, dead hands.

gummy phones

This may only be relevant to Inkbot, but those of you with smaller ears might also be interested.

It is no secret that I absolutely loathe the standard iPod earbuds. Last year I tried the Griffin EarJams, but they just made the unforgiving pieces of plastic larger and unwieldy, so that they were uncomfortable and fell out of my ears constantly. I had some cheapo collapsible Sony headphones for a while, but they died, so I was back to the iPod earbuds and willing to stick it out because I’m really tired of buying substandard crap that doesn’t add value to my life.

Until this morning, when my ears started to bleed.

Thankfully, the eardrums weren’t bleeding, just the skin, but still — if you have never experienced impromptu ear bleeding, consider yourself lucky. It’s creepy and bad and it made up my mind to never use the iPod earbuds again.

But I’ve been sold on the earbud concept, now that I’m over my things-in-ears aversion, because they’re damned convenient. I like being able to shove them into my pocket or purse when I’m not using them. Sound quality isn’t something I worry too much about because my iPod is never on very loud when I’m walking or ferrying anymore; getting hit by a truck made me rethink the whole rockin’ out while commuting concept. Besides, I mostly listen to podcasts and audiobooks, so I just need to hear what people are saying.

I think I’d like to get some nice Etymotic or Shure earbuds someday, when I have an extra hundred or two laying around, but for $10 I picked up a pair of JVC Gumy [sic] Phones and I’m pretty pleased with them. They’re smaller than the iPod earbuds and made out of … something gummy. Silicone? I have no idea. They’re soft plastic, is what I’m saying. At the price point, I’m seriously impressed. They’re pretty comfortable, stay in my ears, and sound much better than the iPod earbuds.

So here is my recommendation for the horribly misspelled yet well-priced JVC Gumy Phones. They come in black, white, pink, green, and blue, although only the earbuds themselves are color; the cords are white. Right now, you can get ’em for $5.99 on Amazon.

In closing, I’d just like to say how annoyed I am at Apple for coming up with such craptastic earbuds. It’s not like they don’t know how to design gorgeous and functional things. Figure it out already!

fetch me a monkey

I am twitchy, so twitchy my twitches are twitching.

I do not have a boss enough ‘puter to run The Sims 2, so I loaded the original onto my laptop, including all of the expansion packs, and immediately created Sims of two of my peeps, wootam and his buddy j. They are living together in a big fancy house with a pool and a hot tub. As soon as I remember how to get pets, they are getting a lizard for the bathroom. Why? Because I couldn’t find the fish tank, so there is now a gigantic terrarium in the bathroom, and lizards live in those. So.

terrarium in the bathroom

I also promised them a monkey. Anyone know where I can get a sim-monkey?

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please do not explode

functional sidekickI didn’t think this day would ever come.

Thanks to Mark/Space’s Missing Sync, my T-Mobile Sidekick II now syncs with my PowerBook’s iCal and Address Book.

The timing on this is particularly excellent, as I spent an hour organizing my Hipster PDA last night, complete with index cards, colored labels and a pocket Moleskine memo-pockets holder.

I keep glancing over at my Sidekick, as if, now that it is as functional as it was advertised when I bought it, I expect it to explode.

an expensive doorstop

My Sidekick 2 has had no data service for the past three days, and this just a month after the last big network outage. On top of that, my voicemail indicator — the one that was already flaky — persists despite having no new messages. Before you ask: yes, I’ve done many, many soft resets. Nothing has worked.

I truly regret purchasing this gadget last autumn. It worked well for a few months, but now I’m paying $20 a month to be a beta tester, and I resent that. It would be slightly more tolerable if I hadn’t been told outright by T-Mobile representatives that they were about to release software to sync the SK2 with a Mac. (Despite a mention of it still showing up on their website, it’s vaporware.)

I don’t know whether T-Mobile or Danger dropped the ball with this “degradation in service”, but the bad press has begun, and I’m charging up my old Nokia. The good news is that “there are still some remaining problems on Danger’s end, but that about 90% of customers should have normal service”! The bad news is that I’m in the 10%.

Good night. There will be happier ramblings tomorrow about Saturday’s lovely dinner party with most excellent friends.

(Edited to add: My post to this thread in the forums was deleted mere minutes after I wrote it. In it, I expressed concern that there were no official updates from Danger regarding a 72-hour outage. I also dared to wonder if their silence meant they had no idea what was causing the outage. Why that was so offensive that it needed to be censored, I have no idea. Unless, of course, it’s true.)