Monday, May 28, 2007

herding cats and line omar

i am diligently packing in preparation for my next move and the cats are just not being helpful! here you can see raja flopped over in the sun, demanding a belly-rub (and getting in the footpath that i'm using to move stuff around the room!)

napoleon is dominating the bed, fully stretched out and mewing (sorry no sounds here).

ah here's another picture i wanted to share. at chi 2007 elgoog held a party at the san jose tech museum. at the tech museum you can get a robot to do a line drawing of your face. here's my line drawing. looks like me eh?
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

socks with hole

into the shoe not a peep
out of the shoe, i weep
for the sock i have worn
is now slightly torn
the second in only a week

writing vs knitting smack down

what am i creating when writing? today a friend commented to me that they knit because they love to create beautiful three dimensional objects. no doubt knitted things can be beautiful, but what about this writing?

what's amazing is that a small child can likely appreciate a beautifully knit object yet this text (whether it can be appreciated at all!) certainly can't be appreciated by a child. indeed, the following graph illustrates this point
that is all for now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

wonderful zadie smith story in the recent new yorker

i've often overlooked the fiction in the new yorker, but recently i've been reading the short stories. in the may 14th new yorker (which is generally excellent, cover to cover, with articles on banksy, walt mossberg and richard bransen that are particularly interesting) zadie smith has a wonderful story titled "Hanwell Senior." here's a quote from the story
His feet stank. He took off his shoes. At home he had a wife who was not well, not well in a manner he could do nothing about nor understand, but as he sat here now in the sun, the tense, resistant nub of flesh inside his back resolved itself for the first time in months. He lay down. His spine pressed into the soil a notch at a time, undid him. Upside down was a land of female legs. He was fond of these new bell-shaped skirts, wide enough to crawl under and be kept safe, and wished he had waited to marry, or married differently. He thought, What if I stayed here? Let the sun swallow me, and the orange dazzle under my eyelids become not just the thing I see but the thing that I am, and let the one daisy with the bent stem, and the rose smell and the girl upside down on the pub bench eating an upside-down ploughman’s with her upside-down friend be the whole of the law and the girth of the world. Wasn’t it the work of moments, of a little paint, to change “HANWELL’S FINEST” to “HANWELL AND HANWELL”? [omar's bolding]
i found that bold part particularly moving. words can be so powerful (i was thinking about doing photography recently and this reminded me of the power of words... i should push on my words)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


today i watched an amusing and provoking imagemakers short film called "Erasmos Pocos" (One Too Many). it was one of the Oscar Nominated Shorts in 2007. here's a blurb from the imagemakers site and a i'll post a short clip at the end of this entry.
Utterly useless lay-abouts Joaquim and his son find they can't cope on their own when “mom” dumps both their lazy butts and leaves them for good. Joaquim concocts a devious plan for domestic rescue, becoming perhaps the first man in history to want his mother-in-law to move in with him. But the wily old lady has a trick up her own sleeve. A dead pan comedy written and directed by Borja Cobeaga and nominated for a 2007 Academy Award for best short film. Principal cast: Ramon Barea, Marivi Bilbao and Alejandro Tejeria.
in some ways this short film is about fitting nicely into your surroundings. there's all kinds of things we do well in our life -- and there are things we have trouble with. ideally, we place ourselves in a complimentary environment: i help you, you help me, we are compatible. in this film, the mother-in-law finds a home with people who appreciate her; the man and his son get a caregiver.

now i'm not just talking about doing laundry and making food -- certainly quite important things but there are many other forms of care. i'm also talking about people who help you see things differently, or nudge you in a direction that you should go but can't quite get yourself going along. this kind of relationship takes trust, care and appreciation, and this remarkable short film manages to get at all that in a humorous and moving manner. brilliant

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


an exciting night out with the cousin. we went to tokyo gogo and had some great sushi, and then neha went home and we proceeded elsewhere. had quite a bit of square one (100% certified organic rye vodka!). we met one of the founders of square one vodka at elixir on guerrero and 16th. good times, quiz night (every tuesday at 9pm)! do you know how many times princess leah kissed luke before kissing solo? i do!

the square one vodka woman bought me a free round, and it went down smoooooth. anyway, we were joking around and having a good time -- we joined her team and managed to climb to third place overall in quiz night, an impressive feat since our team did not appear until round 3 and hence had no points until round 3.

in sad news, at the end of the night our new friend realized that her wallet had been stolen, and likely by a woman who is frequenting mission bars and stealing easy pickings. so be warned!

but it was still good times and adventure. i'll never forget that the call sign for q is quebec (like the call sign for b is bravo) -- we thought q was queen. bad canadians.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

90% knocked up - 2 hours ago

while reading my email in gmail, i saw this at the top of my screen and laughed: these three different items, all connected like so, great :)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

tug this

at chi2007 i saw a wonderful talk presenting a neat tangible interface, the Tug N' Talk belt. here's the abstract:

Tug n’ Talk is a prototype of a tuggable communication device, allowing for
intimate communication between two individuals using tugging as a metaphor. In this paper we discuss the advantages of tugging over other haptic communication modalities, such as vibration,with a focus on input/output spaces and meaning construction.

the basic idea is that you and i are wearing virtually attached tuggable belts. each belt has a small chain attached to it. if i tug my chain, then you feel that same tug. harder tugs on my side translate to harder tugs on your side. no more using my cell phone or kicking you under the table -- i can tug you. here's two pics from the paper:

anyway, at the end of the talk a person stated that they can barely stand tugs from their children, and they aren't sure if tugs from their husband would be appropriate. so they said that while they thought this was cool, it seemed more art than practical. the presenter quite brilliantly responded

"do you let just anyone vibrate you?"

and this got a huge laugh but it's so true. we let people vibrate us all the time. the vibrating phone has become the norm. and so why not other mechanisms?
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awkward comedy

today i was in what can only be described as a sitcom-like situation where a guy is doing ok with a girl by saying very little and just rolling with the conversation, and he proceeds to speak and dig himself into a very large hole. details would make this even more amusing but i can't provide those without revealing far too much:

---guy approaches our group of people---

guy: hi all
girl and others: hi
guy to girl: did we meet last night? i can't exactly remember, i was somewhat drunk...
girl: i can't remember either but i was pretty out of it too..

---laughter all around---

girl: but hi i'm Z, it's nice to meet in this sober manner :)

---random chatter---

guy to all: hey any of you want to get cake with us? (he refers to his group)
girl and others: yeah that sounds like fun.

---random chatter about random stuff. group X is discussed (the true identity of group X is withheld to protect the participants)---

guy: i really hate group X.
girl: huh. i'm from group X.
other person: a lot of my friends are from group X.


guy: well let me qualify.

---long story about group X ensues---

girl: i think most people in all groups have that characteristic. sounds like you just hate a particular type of person.

---random talk about the type of person that guy might have problems with---

guy turns to girl: i just wanted you to know that i don't consider you part of group X.
girl: that's a really left-handed comment! uh.. thank you?


guy: ok, i think you're research is really cool and you're cool (editor's note: he doesn't know this person at all!)

---awkward smiles---

---we all start to walk towards the door---

guy to girl: you still want to get cake?
girl: uhhh. no i think i'm going to work on my laptop instead (editor's translation: i'd rather tear pages out of my favorite book than get cake with you, this is super awkward).

guy walking away with rest of us: doh doh doh

---amusement for the rest of us---