Saturday, July 28, 2007

spider cat

neha gave me a spider plant and i just brought it at home and, unlike my other spider plant, i put it at cat-reachable level. raja has already taken quite a few bites and so i wonder, why on earth? i know they aren't toxic for cats.. then i read this:

Q: Some people told me that cats like spider plants because it affects them like LSD. Did you find that to be true? I don’t have a cat, but I have a hamster that will do anything to get near my spider plants. If you could give me some insight into spider plants and cats, it would be very helpful! (e-mail reference)

A: Being a cat owner myself (or is it the other way around?), I noted the attraction between my furry friends and this particular species of plant. I checked into spider plant toxicity and found that it is listed as nontoxic. Apparently, cats are attracted to spider plants because, like catnip, spider plants are mildly hallucinogenic to cats. The same thing may be true of hamsters. While harmless, the cats need to be disciplined or they will trash the plant. When we bring ours indoors for the winter, we have to make sure the spiderettes do not hang low enough for the cats to reach!

in other words, the plant is the one in danger -- raja is on the prowl and slightly drugged up!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

creative writing.. how creative

i'm taking a creative writing class at the writing salon in sf. the class is called "Exploring Your Writer's Voice". so far i've had two classes and i'm really enjoying it. the group leader (our fearless leader) chris provides us with prompts, we write whatever we want (following the prompt where it might take us, or not), and then we share our writing with the group, who offers positive feedback on the writing, focusing on the writing, not the writer. for me, this is about fiction, and so i try to step out -- lie, have fun, create.

this has really helped me reinvigorate my writing bug. here's the last prompt chris provided tonight, along with my response.

prompt: there is still joy.

what omar wrote:

"look another vineyard -- drink!" and so they drink up -- not i, they, drink up -- everyone but me. designated driver to napa and sonoma. why did i pull the short straw?

we're driving on the silverado trail. oh look another pothole -- i gun the car at it -- the drinkers can take that!

ah napa. some of the best wine in the world -- wine I, the humble driver, could appreciate. and what do my friends ask me to do? drive them around the back roads, and whenever they see a vineyard they drink. when the bottle runs dry i take them to the nearest winery, they run inside, bellow "bring me your cheapest wine!" and run back to the car. spot. drink. stop. repeat.

i get a whiff of their latest chard -- oaky, is that almond.. wait, bring it back. oh, another vineyard. they drink. they laugh. i cry. but i laugh too. this is so ridiculous. gunning for a pothole, i relish the little bumpy joys in life.

Monday, July 09, 2007

some music

on neha's blog i saw a widget showing some of her favorite music and i wanted the same. so i pulled out some music that i thought might sort of fit together, and somewhat reflected what i'm listening to these days. i realize i'm very poppy lately. anyway, check this out. i'll also have this widget on the side of my blog so you can see changes as the days go by.

Friday, July 06, 2007


on this family trip a lot of people have said "oh you and your sister seema have similar glasses!" now, i must admit, my sister's glasses have grown on me: at first i didn't like them, but who can say no to a hint of pink (you can't see the pink in these pics, as it's on the inside). however, besides the aesthetics, which is what people often gravitate towards when discussing my glasses (i find people hate them or love them), my glasses are very smartly designed, and this is not a design that you'll find in my sister's glasses or very many other kinds of glasses.

my glasses are by alain mikli, from the alain mikli line (model A0344-08). miklitarian (the full last name of alain) does this amazing thing with telescopic hinges on this line that i will now demonstrate with my glasses (the video isn't the clearest thing but you'll get the idea):

why is this so important? when you see this video, you probably think "oh yeah that's cool but so what?" of course, if you don't wear glasses i can forgive you for this thought. often, when you get new glasses, after a few days you might notice pinching at the sides of your head -- this pinching can cause headaches. the pinching is caused by glasses that push against your head -- essentially they don't fit properly. similarly, if they are too loose, your glasses will tend to slip a lot and not feel stable on your head. adjustments are made at the time of purchase, or people make their own adjustments or go to their glasses shop and fix things up later. with the mikli glasses, these are nonissues. the hinge adjusts for you, but not to the point that it gets too loose.

think i'm nuts? well, i am, but knowing that there was something to his designs, i searched patents and found this quote from a miklitarian patent:

"Telescopic" hinges which, like most hinges, comprise two elements, bearing on one another and connected by a rotation pin, at least one of the two elements being movable, have the particular feature of including, in the movable element, a tie-rod mounted so as to slide in a housing and comprising a means for cooperating with the rotation pin, and a return spring.

When a spectacle frame is being fitted to a wearer's face, these telescopic hinges are advantageous because they allow over-opening of the sides, generally by 2 to 8°, which facilitates fitting, particularly if this is done by another third party (the optician). The telescopic hinges also improve the fit of the frame to the face since, because the over-opened position is unstable, once the sides are released by the person fitting the frame they come to bear against the sides of the wearer's face, under the action of the return spring.

To ensure a comfortable fit for the wearer, it is important that the sides bear against the sides of the face with enough force to keep the spectacle frame in place but not so much as to be unbearable, the intensity of this bearing force depending on the return force... [the patent then goes on to discuss this point]

even if you own glasses, you may think these points are minor. but, if so, i challenge you to wear some alain mikli's for a while and see how much more comfortable you feel. i guarantee you will feel more comfortable (and not to mention look great!).

of course, aesthetics is a whole different game, and so you might (gasp) think my sister's glasses are more pleasing to look at. but in terms of the care that goes into the ergnomic design of glasses, there is no comparison. personally, i also think the mikli looks are first-rate, but like with luxury car lines that i think look ugly, i nevertheless appreciate their subtler beauty :)

amusingly, while writing this post i came upon A0344-13, my glasses but white instead of black. on ebay. i bought them! man, this post was costly. but check out the pictures. here's one: