29 September 2009

Words Cannot Express ...

... how much I love this video.

via Swiss Miss

Obvi, I am not a graphic designer but I do get requests like this (for my industry) all the time.

"So my buddy has this website about cardboard boxes, just a hobby. Tell me for free how he can make big bucks without putting any work or thought into it?"

"I want to start a website about chicken farming. How do I go about becoming a powerful thought leader in the chicken farming industry? I only want to post new content once every three months and I'm totally resistant to any suggestions you might have about ways to build an audience or interact with others in the industry."

"I'm interested in starting an online business selling yoga bolsters. How do I get started with an e-commerce website?"

... go fuck yourselves, people. There's a reason you don't already know how to do what you're asking me to do for you: it requires a lot of time, a lot of technical expertise, and a lot of effort - and that's before you get to the money you'll be required to invest in your online venture (and not including the money you didn't offer me.)

Note to my brother (who I don't think actually reads this blog, but anyway): I was totally happy to consult on your side business website (and I'll update this post with a link including great anchor text, if you like) because you approached it like a normal business project. So the above comments are NOT directed at you.

21 September 2009


I have the day off and it's gorgeous fall weather. I took today off because we went to New York this weekend. New York was great. It sort of breaks my heart a little every time I go because there is just so MUCH available. It helps that we always either stay with my sister or friends, so that is like a built-in guarantee of a worthwhile trip. I would move there in a heartbeat IF the cost of living wasn't so high and IF I didn't already really like my life in Somerville. I mean, I know I bitch about cat barf and being tired a lot, but apart from being so damned busy it's a pretty good life. (Inty barfed on my laptop keyboard while we were gone, by the way.)

Anyway, whenever I go on any kind of trip, even if it's only an overnight in New York, I like to take the day off after I get back to get caught up on things. I usually just end up with a migraine from the stress if I don't take the day off anyway, so planning for it is better.

So instead of having a migraine and feeling bad about missing work, I'm guilt-free and ready to do some yardwork (gotta start getting the garden ready for winter), baking (a James Beard fresh fruit pie and some espresso-chocolate shortbread cookies - that's a Dorie Greenspan recipe adapted by Smitten Kitchen. The James Beard recipe is from his American Cookery, a copy of which was given to me by my wonderful friend Lysne, and I'm going to be making some of my own modifications to it.) And other stuff - grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming, catching up on some stuff for work. Dave took the day off too so I bet he will help with the yardwork and the shopping.

Maybe I'll take the camera out and try to get some pictures in the pretty september light. I haven't made much progress lately on the photography front, technically - don't think I have time for that today but we'll see. I'd better tear myself away from the Wire soon if I'm going to get any of that done, though. (I really like the Wire, but I wonder how accurate it is. Most of the time when I'm walking around in bad neighborhoods, there aren't millions of cops around like there are in the show. That's partly what makes it a bad neighborhood - no cops.)

15 September 2009

Vietnam, redux

Who swapped my Tuesday with a Monday? It's not bad enough that Lucky saluted the morning today with vomit, I also got to work a 12 hour day, listen to some drinky-smelling cabbie's hard luck story on the way home (which of course resulted in my giving him a 50% tip), get home to hungry cats, one of whom has barfed AGAIN during the day, scoop the litterboxes, and the clean up the welcome-home barf that Lucky produced, this time selecting Dave's lyrics to throw up on. Simone also followed her usual starving-alley-cat routine. This time I wasn't as fast and she helped herself to a pretty sizable serving.

Just by barfing twice (possibly thrice) today Lucky spent $50 bucks; he's diabetic and vomiting can be a sign of high blood sugar so I'm going to have to take him into the vet for a blood sugar stick so we can see if he's become unstable. It's going to suck if he has to go back on insulin, less because of the expense than because it's a pain in the ass to give him a shot once or twice a day and time it with his meals. We do have a diabetes testing kit at home but for some reason getting blood out of Lucky is like getting blood from a stone. Maybe I will make the vet tech let me practice drawing blood when I take him in. Refill strips for the blood glucometer are a lot cheaper than a vet visit.

It fucking stinks like Simple Green in here because that's what I used to clean up all the barf with. I can't open a window because the windows in my office have their storm windows down; Dave went around putting storm windows down on Saturday and of course the weather warmed right back up on Sunday. I could open the storm window but I don't think I have the strength, after a meagre dinner of Chex Mix. Lucky thing my fingers are still working well enough to type.

The only positive outcomes for today are that at least I'm not driving a cab and Dave seems to use waterproof ink for his lyrics. THANK GOD.

Good Morning Vietnam

Sometimes I like having a blog because it's not a place where anyone can tell me, "that's not an appropriate story for this audience" or "way to overshare." So you've been warned.

I was sitting at the computer a few minutes ago when I heard the pre-barf wail coming from one of the cats. Inty - usually the culprit due to her IBS - was right there next to the computer, so it wasn't her. No, it was Lucky, pacing on the living room rug with his tongue out. Pip and Simone had rushed to his side, which was sweet in the case of Pip and gross in the case of Simone, since I could see her sniffing around eagerly before Lucky had even tossed his cookies*.

And then he did barf, and Simone barely waited until he was done before rushing in to bat cleanup. She was gobbling so quickly that she was snorting because she's got a permanently blocked nose and couldn't breathe through it. But why let breathing distract you from a hot meal? She grumbled when I cleaned it up and settled back to lick the carpet a little. Happy Tuesday to me!

And now I need to shower before work. If only a shower would clean my brain.

* yeah, wet food for diabetics really. I bet you knew that we didn't actually feed him cookies.

10 September 2009


Every time I hear the New Pornographers' lyric "the easy call, the call of search" I think for a second that they're talking about the industry I work in. They aren't, of course - no one in their right mind would write a song about the deeply boring* subject of search engine marketing, especially not a song as stirring as My Rights Versus Yours. What the hell would you write a song about, anyway? Here are some catchy ideas:

Alexa's Metrics Versus Compete's
My Conversion Funnel Versus Yours
Google Analytics Versus Omniture
PPC Versus SEO

... Yeah. I thought so. It's total gibberish to anyone who isn't knee deep in online marketing - I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a whole other language, but it's definitely got dialect status.

The other super awesome thing about the lyric in the original song is I've been hearing it wrong anyway. The full verse goes like this:

Under your wheels, your chance is with
The easy call, the called-off search
The medicine, it still won't work
But there's dangerous levels of it here

And here's the song, if you don't know it. It rocks. I can't find a link to the album version but the Letterman show is pretty close.

The one time I saw them live, I was disappointed because everything they played sounded exactly like the album, plus the band looked bored. But whatevs - the album version is a great version of the song.

* I don't find the field boring in the slightest but you should keep in mind that I also regret not having the time to learn and practice the ancient art of bonsai. So there's your measuring stick.

09 September 2009


I'm currently reading Lorrie Moore's Self-Help and it's very hard to put down in the middle of a story. I love her prose - it's hard and sharp and clean-edged. I don't know how I would feel about reading a whole novel of prose like that - it might be like a visit to the chandelier factory. But the short stories are just the thing.

It reminds me of Elizabeth Stroud's Olive Kitteredge in that it centers largely on the female experience of the world*. Moore is almost aggressive in leaving men out of most of the stories (the ones I've read so far, anyway). Since the male experience, gaze, mindset are the primary lens for in the vast majority of the 'literary' books I have read in my life, reading these stories is almost like visiting Mrs Piggle-Wiggle's upside down house.

* still a white, middle-class experience of the world, but I'll take what I can get at the moment

08 September 2009

I've had worse

So I love my doctor but she has strange bedside manner. Strange as in she actually interrupted a recent pap smear to go answer an email. I didn't mind because I feel totally safe in the office and we'd been talking about the email (actually I think it was more like an instant message but whatever) and she had an idea while she was examining me and was all, "Stay right where you are!", stripped off her gloves, sent the message - I watched from the table with my feet still in the stirrups - then re-gloved and continued. In context, it was okay and I felt safe, but it was a classic "what not to do".

At least she finished with the speculum before interrupting the exam, which was good because during that part there were definitely some pauses and some "where is the cervix?" muttering coming from the bottom of the table, followed by speculum-cranking noises and attendant internal sensations. I don't have much love for the speculum, I have to say, but it's not that bad - I've definitely had worse sex. (Lisa suggested Worse Sex Than a Speculum would be an awesome band, which it would. And I will be the lead singer and guitarist in that band! I just need to find me some musical ability first.)

The entire visit to the doctor made me realize why some people hate going to the doctor. There was the "You've gained weight since last year!" comment. (Yes, and I'm wearing bigger jeans to prove it.) And also the "You should really be eating more calcium." (Yes, but I dislike the taste of milk and yogurt.) And the "You're still thinking about kids in a couple of years?" (HELL NO, which is what I said last time I was in to see you and you asked about it.) This segued into "You're taking how much Lexapro?" (Yes, I am on the maximum dosage because I have severe anxiety and depression, and while we're on the topic I'll also tell you that my husband is bipolar I. Quite apart from financial considerations, we're pretty reluctant to pass that kind of poisoned genetic legacy on to a kid. So can I get my tubes tied already?) It was like a horrible cross between a conversation with your mother and a high school guidance counselor, if either of those two had recently poked you in the cervix with a giant Q-tip.

Good thing I don't have to go back until next year.

02 September 2009


I have been re-reading Bleak House (well - listening to it) over the last few weeks. It's a novel I've admired for a long time, but I haven't made it through a re-read since my early twenties.

I am largely enjoying it, but I don't think Dickens had a very good grasp on female friendship. All Esther and Ada seem to do is call each other "dear one" and "my darling" and it's just cloying and fake. I don't really enjoy Louisa May Alcott more than Dickens but I do think she's got a better grasp on the way women interact with each other. Dickens kind of gets women wrong anyway, throughout his books. (I need to re-read Little Dorrit and I've never read The Old Curiosity Shop, but there's a plethora of evidence just in the books I've re-read in the last couple of years - Kate in Nicholas Nickleby, Dora in Great Expectations- all his women are either penitent sinners, brainless saints or the target of satire.)

But everything else is good and I'm enjoying the re-read a lot. He plots so well, and I forgive him for some of the schmaltz he deploys because it's often in service of social justice. And he's really funny. I mean, he's not writing with the wonderful subtlety of Henry James but he's not trying to, either. Henry James is sort of like NPR anyway - really great stuff, and all smart and well-intentioned (although Henry James definitely doesn't try as hard to be liked as NPR does) and a little prideful - and after a while, a total downer. (Trollope is actually my favorite of the Victorian men - he's funny AND subtle and he gets women. The politics could possibly be dry unless you are the kind of person who is fascinated by office politics, as I am, in which case you won't find it dry at all.)