28 June 2007

I guess I'll have to try harder next time

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

fucking (10x) knife (2x) zombie (1x)

Zombie, heheheheheh.

Maybe if I work on it I can get up to X! That'd be sweet! Fucking sweet!

27 June 2007

Internet round-up! some fun, some depressing

Fun stuff:

Animals cans teach us how to stay cool! okay, this article is fairly simplistic (take naps in the heat of the day ... wear protective clothing ... don't drink alcohol to quench your thirst ...) but whatever, I clicked anyway bnecause my second-floor apartment has apparently relocated itself to the eleventh circle of hell (I know Dante didn't know about that one. It's for enterprising sinners like me.) Whatever, even the cats are all panting on the couch and have lost their cat cool (probably all that fur.) Via Digg.

MizPee. Find the nearest clean toilet when you're out and about in an unfamiliar place - as long as you've got your cell phone, you're all set. No more crouching between parked cars while your friends gigglingly "stand guard". It works with text messages and phone with online browsing capabilities (so, anyone with an iPhone, then ...) via TechCrunch.

Seven brilliant free fonts from Smashing magazine. Check out their back articles, they are chocka with useful stuff and loads of free fonts.

some distressed free fonts. (Via HowAboutOrange, I think.) Man, do I wish I had photoshop so I could use all this stuff. I'd so love to design our wedding invitations using a distressed free font and maybe some of these free brushes ... I'm particularly fond of the misprinted type grunge brushes and the bloodspot brushes from angryblue. (Possibly not the bloodied fingerprints one on the wedding invitation ... unless I can incorporate it as some sort of (tasteful) nod to Sid Vicious.)

Since I don't have photoshop (can't afford, le sigh, also don't need in the course of day job wherein I massage the internets so that they yield money for my company) I use The GIMP (nope, not like the Pulp Fiction one at all, it stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and it's a free open-source alterbative to Photoshop. I just wish for photoshop since it's a lot more intuitive than GIMP.) Althuogh I did manage to use GIMP to make the lolZoe below:

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And here are some free flower brushes for GIMP. Or, if you're really tech-y (or have more time on your hands than I) here's a tutorial on how to convert Photoshop Brushes to GIMP. (I haven't tried it yet, so I can't vouch for it.)

In case your odd photo quota hasn't been met yet for this month, quick! go to the china daily and see images like this goat walking a tightrope while carrying a monkey on its back. Who knew?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Depressing stuff:

Only one topic here, but it's not good news. Anyone miss the coverage of Jessie Davis, the pregnant lady (by a married! black! man) who was murdered by her partner? If you missed that, surely you haven't forgotten Lacey Peterson? Turns out, as a matter of fact, that being pregnant is really really really likely to increase a pregnant woman's risk of death by violence. (Homicide, in fact.) In fact, if you're pregnant, you're statistically more likely to be murdered than to die of any pregnancy-related health issue. Why's that? Intimate partner violence. Being pregnant increases the likelihood and severity of abuse dramatically. Read this Salon article, Murder Most Foul, for some eye-opening (and horrifying) facts.

From the article:
"Why are pregnant women dying?" asks Rebecca Whiteman of the Family Violence Protection Fund in San Francisco. "Their partners are killing them."

Go read it.

Of course there are other issues at play - because it's her fault, right? For being a slut? Check out Jill's analysis (at Feministe) of the thinking behind some people who are indeed implying that she deserved it. And I'd also recommend Amanda Marcotte's take on some of the racial issues playing into the media coverage (from Pandagon)

20 June 2007

Another angle

Playing with more photo effects.

At last

New tattoo isn't healed yet, but I got it finished last night. The shading around the waves will be more silvery grey, rather than the almost black it looks like now. I'll put up more pictures later (and maybe get Dave to help, since I apparently can't hold the camera steady) in a proper blog. In the meantime, I've been playing with other photo effects using picnik and snipshot as photo editing tools, in a vain attempt to make silk purses. I should really learn to sew (shoot) before I start attempting to tranform sows' ears into anything else, though.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Current, unsatisfactory camera is a Canon Powershot S230. Any recommendations?

I should note one thing, especially following up from my last post: I certainly didn't do anything to trim any width from my waist or change the shape of my nose, I just intensified colors and contrast and sharpened focus (where possible.) When I looked at the straight-out-of-the-camera pictures, anyway, I was all, what the hell am I worrying about, anyway? I think I look great. (Not perfect, although I won't enumerate here, but great.) Who gives a shit if I don't wear a size 0? I'd look horrible (I know because I did wear a size 2, anyway, and it was Not Flattering.)

19 June 2007

Vanity, Insecurity

I know we all know celebrity photos get retouched, a whole lot, before they appear in magazines. (yes, even rags like InStyle retouch, I believe.) However, it's one thing to know that and quite another to see the befores and afters. (And then a whole 'nother thing to try to disassociate your own body issues from the images constantly being beamed at you in the media ... but anyway.) This site should help. http://iwanexstudio.com/. Click on the portfolios section. The whole site is flash but it's worth the aggro.

I suggest you take a close look at the work done on skin (very often in the afters it's lit up until it glows! It's not just the removal of lines, although there's plenty of that. Reddish people get yellower, freckled people become milky, lips and eyes get shine added until they sparkle. Cate Blanchett's picture has all of these things happening.) Look, also, at the work done on bodies (skinny girls are given more curves, curvy girls are airbrushed down a couple of sizes - Kelly Clarkson's picture is a great example). Halle Berry is one of the few pictures who looks just as flawless before and after, although it looks to me like the "before" has been de-flawed. Do I even need to tell you that both Halle Berry and Beyonce get lighter in the after photos? Sigh.

Scary. And also, this is a good explanation for why Britney Spears looks just fine in regular magazine photos and really horrible when you see candids of her in The Enquirer (read in line at the grocery store only, of course.)

11 June 2007

social justice round up

Unfair Lending: The Effect of Race and Ethnicity on the Price of Subprime Mortgages Fucking awesome. Irresponsible (to say the least) lenders are doing racial profiling. Can you say, redlining? hey, isn't that illegal? (Never mind that it still happens.)

'Subprime' Aftermath:
Losing the Family Home
Mortgages Bolstered
Detroit's Middle Class --
Until Money Ran Out
What happens when, oh, say, something unexpected (like life) occurs to upset the payment schedule on a subprime loan.

Subprime Lending is a Drain on Home Ownership Damn straight it is.

Banks or bloodsuckers? If you read the other articles above, you know where this one is going to come out. I love my little local bank (mostly becuase they don't bankrupt me with overdraft fees) but it's a total rarity and probably won't last forever.

I'm mad about this because we are getting gentrified out - our landlady is selling our house for condo conversions. FUCK. I'm just hoping that she's way overpriced and the somerville market won't sustain it. There seem to be a lot of foreclosures in process right now in somerville (according to the Google maps applet, anyway). Jesus. It's ironical (hee), though, that while Dave and I are totally the face of gentrification - white kids with heavy-framed dark glasses - I even own an iPod - we're actually the victims (no, we're not contributing to the problem by paying rent over the odds. Ha fucking ha, like I've got the money to do that.) No, we don't buy coffee at starbucks. No, we try not to shop at big box stores, instead spending the vast majority of our money locally - apart from my car payments and insurance (which are held by a small previously-local-to-me-non-chain bank)- Yes, we'd really really really like to buy but c'mon, the median - not average, median - price for a house in our area is 400K. Yes, that's a condo. You're probably lucky if it's more than 1200 sq feet - price per sq foot is between $300 and $400. Right now median housing prices in Boston exceed the median household income by 5.4 times ... while the rule of thumb for affordable housing is more like 3 - 3.5 times the yearly household income. That is fucked up, people. And here's the original study, which looks at the whole nation.)

Some dude (okay, some dude named Edward Glaeser) has an idea: build more affordable housing!. Sounds good to me, although he says that regulatory issues in MA make building a tougher prospect than elsewhere - which, given the loathsome corruption of the Big Dig, I have no trouble believing (wanna build? better take out an extra loan for all those bribes you'll need to make), although I'd like to see some figures that tell me where and how regulation is stuffing things up. Still, it's a good idea. Because you know why I want to buy a house? because I'm ready to fucking settle down! I'd like to buy so I know my rent won't increase and my landlady won't decide the flip the place she inherited for a shitload of cash. I'd like to buy so I can decorate a house myself, and not have to leave in two years (unless we decide to). I'd like to buy so I can grow tomatoes in my backyard ... or at least make a big old container garden on a porch or something and, jesus, NOT HAVE TO MOVE AGAIN unless I want to. Hear that, people? I hate moving. I moved forty times (no, really) in my twenties (forty-one is looming, as soon as the landlady sells the place), and three of those moves were across continents. I'm good at moving and it doesn't scare me but I fucking hate it. I'd love to have the luxury of acquiring books and then, novelty, KEEPING them because no one will force me out of my house. (Can you tell I take this personally? I fucking well do.)

Okay, rant over, round-up continues.

Here's a great analysis from an online friend of mine The classic American Dream is about how anyone can become rich in the US through hard work and endurance, no matter how humble a background they come from...However, for each such tale, there are literately hundred of thousands of untold stories about those who didn't make it. Those that grew up in poverty, and stayed in poverty. Or those that sank into poverty either through bad decisions, or sheer ill luck.

Just for kicks - being mostly chronically late myself:

For the Chronically Late, It’s Not a Power Trip
(behind the wall now, it's still free but requires registration.) My first husband really was crazily, passive-aggressively late. I'm just a little too optimistic. I think I'm more in the overly optimistic wants-to-do-too-much category.

So some dude in Arizona hit a woman so hard he killed her fetus and, two days later, her (via brain damage.) How did his sentencing go down? "Gurrola was sentenced to 16 years in the death of Monica Sanchez and 20 years for the killing of her fetus." WTF? how come killing the fetus garnered more time than killing the woman? Check out punkassblog's pie chart for a sublimely sarcastic pie chart.

04 June 2007

Greg and Erica's wedding

Me, Dave, a lobster

Not too drunk yet at the time of picture taking but you can see I'm on my way. Click here for all the pictures. Hopefully I caught all the most embarassing ones and didn't share them in that stream.

I fucking HATE my camera. I need to research a new one. Dave suggested I get a new one to celebrate his birthday - his gift would be me shutting up about how crappy the camera is.

02 June 2007

OMFG, I hate summer hair

And this is why:

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last night's hair, very dirty and after much exercise including walking in the rain. Often the worse I treat it, the better it looks. (Although FAR FAR too much like Sarah Jessica Parker in the eighties. Any amount is too much, really.)

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Yeah, this is what I wake up to every morning. Fucking charming, right? It's the true reason I refuse to go camping - let me tell you, it doesn't improve as the day wears on without electronic intervention. Vain and shallow I may be, but I'm realistic.

Fucking stupid fine curly hair flat at the roots gets frizzy bullshit. Fucking stupid boston summers humidity. Motherfucker!

01 June 2007

Turns out I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or, a Friday time-waster for you

According to Lumosity, anyway. It's another of those brain training games which claims to be able to "improve your memory, attention [ed: do they mean attention span?] and processing speed." This involves playing games with which involve spacial memory (yes, like the child's matching game, Memory) and basic arithmetic.

Obviously I could be accused of sour grapes here since I seem to be in the sub-normal range. Hehehehehe, they don't seem to give any credit for smart aleckery or uneccesary new word formations. But - I don't know about you, but when someone asks me what 7 x 8 is, I will tell them it's 56 not because I've done the multiplication in my head but because I memorized it in third grade. I'd guess my score would be better if I tried to play the game a second time because this time I understand how it works (I probably should have read the instructions on the games) and also, it's easy to figure out ways to manipulate the system.

What it actually made me think about is how limited our standard ways to judge IQ are. Seriously. I've had a very thorough IQ evaluation (they wouldn't tell me my number, they just said, "You're very talented, don't worry about the number" Condescending fuckheads!) ... anyway, IQ tests are horribly limited in not having any way to assess the creative (don't give me your Rorschach tests - just because I saw identical twin circus monkeys in most of the blots doesn't mean I'm creative). Ya know, plus I think snappy wordplay is a totally valid skill (not to mention, really helpful with real life stuff like job interviews and email crafting and ass-covering exercises) and indicative of smartness, but there's nada in the standard IQ tests to look at that stuff. (Well, there wasn't - that I remember - in the ones I took. I did a lot of verbal and math stuff - it was like the SATs, but longer and more boring.) Why does it matter if you can do instant multiplication in your head but you can't maintain a relationship? It all seems so limiting.

To be fair, Lumosity doesn't claim to be an IQ evaluator, and to be honest, my short term memory is for shit, so I might actually benefit from playing the game some more. (Noooo, I'm not skivving. I'm smartening myself so I can work better!)

At bottom, though, are you really going to learn skills which are applicable to myriad aras of your life, or are you just going to learn how to play Lumosity better? I guess it would be great if I could remember a grocery list longer than 12 items (I used to be able to), but where's the real world application in this, since in the real world I tend to write lists? Because, you know, I have pens and paper. Tools. Isn't the extensive use of tools what is supposed to make humans so much smarter than animals anyway? Unless my job required memorizing a lot of things. In my experience, though, organized detail oriented people (like me ... I'm a fucking data analyst, for dog's sake) don't do it all from memory ... why would you, anyway? Not having to remember everything frees me up to do important things ... like blogging! No, seriously, like looking for patterns and discrepancies and results and changes and detectivating (o I am on a roll today) what might have caused changes.

That said, I might be completely wrong about the applicability of this little game (maybe it prevents alzheimer's! I swear I'd play for an hour a day. Anything to avoid becoming the drooling zombie that my grandmother (life-long crossword puzzler and wheel-of-fortune watcher) turned into in the last ten years of her life.) and am open to being corrected on this.