Monthly Archives: November 2004

Character Study

One of the best things about reading is the chance to see the world from another’s point of view. I can know what it is like to be an Ace Spy or a 12 year old boy or a hiker in the Grand Canyon. And I don’t even need to leave the couch!

Although each of the main characters in these books are unique, they tend to sound similar. Last week, however, I read a novel with a very different kind of protagonist. A 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome|http://users.wpi.edu/~trek/aspergers.html. Christopher Boone has no problem with higher math, but has to work very hard to discern emotion in other’s facial expressions.

aaa|The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time|1400032717|aaa by Mark Hardon is, by the narrator’s defination, a murder mystery. At least that is how it starts out. In reality the mystery is just there to lead Christopher through a series of other life defining discoveries. He makes it through family crisis and standardized tests and deaths, and comes out scratched, but definately triumphant.

This books is an interesting look into the mind of an Asperger’s patient. It offers clear discriptions of how Christopher thinks and why he reacts the way he does to other people and situations. The book got mixed reviews on Amazon.com, but I would still recommend it to anyone. It was a quick read (Peter and I both finished it in a day and a half–total) and very enlightning.

Thank you to my Aunt Gabi for lending it to us and to her nephew Alex for recommending it and for bringing it across the pond from England!

Boston Movable Type Meetup

If you are a user of the Movable Type|http://www.movabletype.org/ blogging software, or are simply interested in finding out more about it, and you live in the Boston area, you should check out the Boston MT Meetup|http://movabletype.meetup.com/15/events/3657375/. Our next meeting is on Monday, December 13. I have volunteered to be the organizer for this Meetup group, and would like to get the word spread to as many people as possible. If you’re not able to attend, but know someone else who might be interested, please pass the word along. You can use the ‘Email this entry’ link at the bottom of this entry to do that more easily.

Traffic RSS

Apparently, TrafficPulse has the ability to read my mind|http://www.boston-online.com/common/004145.html. Check their RSS page|http://www.traffic.com/Mobility/rss.html to see if your favorite city has an RSS traffic feed. Props to Boston Online|http://www.boston-online.com/ for the link.

Quicksilver

I’m sure Will|http://pulchersentio.prwdot.org/ or someone else has mentioned this program to me in the past, but I finally got around to checking it out. Quicksilver|http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/ is a utility for Mac OS X 10.3 or later that is an application launcher, search engine, organizing tool, and much, much more. It’s hard to describe exactly what it is. It’s much easier to try it out.

ppp|
Quicksilver’s iTunes Functionality|ppp

I would have been a bit baffled with Quicksilver if it weren’t for some tips I received from Ben|http://www.benbrophy.com/ and Matt|http://photomatt.net at the WordPress Meetup[*]. First, they recommended deleting everything from my Dock and starting with a clean slate. That forced me to rely on Quicksilver for application launching. They also recommended that I check out ***Dan Dickinson’s Tutorial|http://vjarmy.com/archives/2004/03/quicksilver_a_b.php*** and the ***43Folders Quicksilver archives|http://www.43folders.com/quicksilver/index.html***. These tutorials have a lot of tips on how to get started with Quicksilver and how to use it to “own” the Mac OS.

If you’re using a Mac, and haven’t tried Quicksilver… give it a shot. But be sure to go through those tutorials… it will make a lot more sense and be a lot more useful if you do.

[ * I’ve found that when I attend user group meetings of this type, I don’t get as much benefit from the discussion surrounding the meeting topic as I do from simply observing how other people go about using their computers. I pick up far more tips and insight from these face-to-face meetings than I do when discussing things in online forums. With online discussion, you don’t have the opportunity to observe someone actually using their computer and the ability to ask them, “Hey, what’s that you just did?” Don’t get me wrong, discussing the meeting topic is great as well, especially if you have a particularly difficult problem. They’re often easier to solve when meeting face to face. ]

AOL vs. NetZero

One of the most hilarious things we’ve seen on TV recently is a series of ads from NetZero that nearly recreate similar ads from AOL. The original AOL ads show AOL members showing up at AOL’s corporate offices and bringing up their demands for better service. The spoof NetZero ads use the same sets, the same actors, and, in fact, the same advertising agency. The difference is that the AOL members who show up in this ad are letting AOL know that they are about to switch to NetZero. Adrants|http://www.adrants.com/2004/11/netzero-launches-spoof-of-aol-members.php shares a link to a page the advertising agency supplied to compare the two ads|http://creative.wlv.untd.com/nz_spots_new/376258/final_rev/new/main_new.html. I suppose if NetZero didn’t ask AOL for permission to use their trademarked logo, then there might be something illegal. Or if the ad agency signed an exclusivity agreement with AOL.

We’ll see how long this lasts. 🙂

As an aside, I’ve been using Mediaone/AT&T Broadband/Comcast high-speed internet for three years now, so there’s no way you could get me to downgrade to either AOL or NetZero.

Why I (Love)(Hate) Williams-Sonoma

One of my favorite stores at the mall is our local Williams-Sonoma|http://www.williams-sonoma.com. I love to go in and look at all the neat seasonal items like turkey shaped butter molds, spice cake mixes, and Christmas cookie cutters. All of their products are so unique and high quality…. I want one of everything. Therein lies the problem. Somehow, entering any W-S turns mild-mannered, make-do-with-what-you-have Becky into SUPER NEEDY CONSUMER Becky. She is not so mild-mannered. When I see those cute, pink, nesting mixing bowls I am convinced that I also need the Silicone spatula, Pink KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and anything else that even remotely coordinates. Yikes! Luckily I know I can’t afford much there, so I always walk out empty handed.

In the car today I was assured that the Christmas season had truely begun… The radio played “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.” [NOTE: Quitadamo clan… maybe this is a good Christmas Eve to pull that video out again…??] As if that wasn’t enough, all I’ve heard about on the news is how much the retailers made on “Black Friday” and the following weekend.

I seriously considered participating in Buy Nothing Day|http://www.ecoplan.org/ibnd/ib_index.htm this year. (also mentioned by DrJames|http://drjames.blogspot.com/2004/11/bought-something-on-buynothing.html) Don’t get me wrong, I like a good bargain just as much as the next gal, but waiting in the cold outside Wal*Mart at 5am seems a tad bit extreem to me. I’ve also found that most stores are still offering pretty good deals at times when the shops aren’t packed with crazed shoppers.

Despite my desire to keep my money to myself, I did find myself at Building 19 purchasing a few super cheap items. Also, I needed some grocery items, so off to Market Basket I went. I counteracted this spending by bringing three bags of gently used items to the Salvation Army. I’m hoping that I can make this a yearly tradition. Not only would I not be contributing to world wide commercialism, but I’d be actively working against it.

Meetups

Today was a day of many “meetups” for me.

First, I met up with Nikki|http://everytomorrow.org/ and Matt in Boston. We walked around the city for a bit and I showed them where Becky works. Next, the three of us met up with Nikki’s cousin Tom and his wife at Trident Booksellers and Cafe|http://www.tridentbookscafe.com/ on Newbury Street for brunch. After (a very light) brunch, Nikki, Matt and I strolled down Newbury to Fire and Ice|http://www.fire-ice.com/ for a late lunch, where we met up with PhotoMatt|http://photomatt.net/ and Sarah|http://curiousrose.com/. Fire and Ice is a much better deal at lunch time… at dinner it’s around $17, but is only $7.95 at lunch. Finally, the five of us walked a few blocks back up Newbury to Tealuxe|http://www.tealuxe.com/ for the Boston WordPress Meetup|http://wordpress.meetup.com/10/. There were nine people at the Meetup:

qqq|

  • Me
  • Nikki|http://everytomorrow.org/ (Nikki’s blog entry|http://everytomorrow.org/index.php?p=1614)
  • Nikki’s Matt
  • PhotoMatt|http://photomatt.net/
  • Sarah|http://curiousrose.com/
  • Matt May|http://www.bestkungfu.com/ (Matt’s blog entry|http://www.bestkungfu.com/archive/date/2004/11/the-first-thousand-is-the-hardest/)
  • David Clark|http://www.davidsaccess.com/ (David’s blog entry|http://www.davidsaccess.com/index.php/wordpress-meetup/)
  • Ben Brophy|http://www.benbrophy.com/
  • Marty Rozmanith

|qqq

Discussion ranged from upcoming features in WordPress, to Matt’s work at c|net, to Mac OS X, to the unbearably cold weather in Boston (according to the PhotoMatt and Sarah). The company was excellent and I would love to attend this or any other Meetup again. I would encourage everyone to check out Meetup.com|http://www.meetup.com/ and find or start Meetup groups in their areas. Other groups on my docket for possible attendance are the Boston Mac, iPod, PHP, and Movable Type meetup groups.

All in all it was a very long day, and after leaving Beverly at 9:30 a.m., I finally returned at 11 p.m. The photos from today are available for all to enjoy|http://gallery.prwdot.org/boston_wp_meetup_200411.

Tripping Hither, Tripping Thither

So, I know it was a week ago, but I still want to tell you about the lovely weekend I had last week with Miss Jennifer|http://junefourteenth.blogspot.com.

I drove down to New Jersey on Saturday morning and zipped all the way to Jenn’s house with only one detour… at Baylor Massacre Park|http://gallery.prwdot.org/visiting_jenn_20041120/IMG_9578 in River Vale. I’m a sucker for small, local historical markers 🙂

That evening was the obligatory visit to Ikea|www.ikea.com and dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Yum.

Sunday was drove down to Jersey City, where Jenn was performing in Iolanthe at the (currently being restored) Historic Loew’s Theater 🙂 Here’s|http://gallery.prwdot.org/visiting_jenn_20041120/IMG_9580 the marquis pic.

Lots of fun was had. And also a large quantity of “Oriental Chicken Wraps”. yum yum. The complete gallery of pics can be found here|http://gallery.prwdot.org/visiting_jenn_20041120

Turkey Take Two

Last year, Will|http://pulchersentio.prwdot.org/ lamented|http://pulchersentio.prwdot.org/001488.html the turkey leftover phenomenon. I’m assuming that it won’t be a problem for him this year, living in Japan and all. Is there an equivalent leftover phenomenon in Japan?

In any case, after this year’s Thanksgiving celebration in South Boston, we were presented with a portion of the leftover turkey. Becky made use of it tonight in the form of Mexican Turkey Casserole:

qqq|

MEXICAN TURKEY CASSEROLE  2 c. chopped cooked turkey 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 c. milk 1/4 c. diced green chilies 2 c. crushed tortilla chips 1/4 c. sliced green onion 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese Paprika for garnish

In a 1 quart bowl, combine turkey, soup, milk and chilies. Microwave on full power for 4 minutes, or until hot throughout. Sprinkle 1/3 of tortilla chips on bottom of 2 quart casserole. Pour in half of turkey mixture; sprinkle on half of onion and half of each cheese. Layer another 1/3 of the chips, remaining turkey mixture, onion and cheese. Top with remaining chips. If desired, sprinkle with paprika over chips for added color. Cover and microwave at full power 5 minutes. Turn 1/4 round and microwave 5 minutes longer. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. NOTE: It can also be baked in regular oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Good with rice and green beans.

NOTE: If you prefer a relatively mild flavor, be sure to use mild green chilies. This casserole has an excellent flavor and is not “hot”.

|qqq

It was quite good. And there’s still plenty of turkey left over. w00t.

(Speaking of yesterday’s celebrations, there are some photos|http://gallery.prwdot.org/thanksgiving_2004_pt1 from Corey’s breakfast birthday party, and for family members, there are photos from the Southie celebration available in the Family gallery – let me know if you need access.)

Thanksgiving Story

Yesterday while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, my Mom told me this story.

“You know, Bec, we spent your first Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Lowe’s house. The boys (Dad, Grandpa, and the Uncles: Dave, Steve, Pete and Tom) had gone to the high school football game and Grandma was in the kitchen. You and I were watching the Parade in the other room. At the end of the parade, Santa came rolling into Hearald Square. As his float came to a stop he stood up to wave to the crowds. As he did, his red pants fell down around his ankles.” 🙂

Poor Santa!