CAW CAW, ROOAR!

We saw "Up" Monday night. Have you seen it? You should see it, in 3D if you can. You should even go early to catch the trailers! Because there's a trailer for the new "Ice Age" movie! And, yeah, I know, I rolled my eyes as soon as I saw they were making another "Ice Age" movie, except– are you ready? Are you ready for this? THERE ARE DINOSAURS. There are dinosaurs in "Ice Age 3", and they are in 3D, and I almost shook TheNoah's leg off in excitement as I watched the trailer. Dinosaurs!

But, "Up". It was lovely and adorable and funny and so well-done. There was this part where Carl (the old man) is trying to walk with Russell (the 8-year-old (Asian!) wilderness scout), and Russell is so over walking and is literally being dragged forward, and it was more or less how TheNoah and I were at one point during the Point Reyes camping trip (except I wasn't as vocal about not wanting to walk anymore). After unsuccessfully trying to complain his way to a break, though, Russell suddenly flings himself face-down onto the ground, which I regrettably did not think of doing but have made a mental note to attempt in the future– and, anyway, the point is, adorable. "Up" is adorable.

You'd have thought it was some sort of heart-breaking drama, though, if you'd watched me watching it. I cried through a startling amount of it. It was just so sentimental– like in the beginning, right, Carl stumbles upon this boisterous girl when they're both little kids, and then you see them getting married and going through their whole lives together, and through this whole speechless montage, maybe 15 minutes into the movie, tears are pouring down my face and all I can think is: I want that.

It wasn't anything revelatory; I've known since the beginning that this is what I want, this, a lifetime spent with TheNoah, a life shared with him. But it really hit me, then, just how much I want it, how much it means to me. It's the hardest wish I've got, but there's nothing that can guarantee its fulfillment. Not a ring, not a ceremony, not the sincerest mutual offerings of love everlasting– nothing, there is nothing in this world that can promise more time. And admonishments to just be grateful for the time I have now mean nothing. I *am* grateful. But I'm greedy. More. I will always want more time with him. [1] (Speaking of wanting more time: have you seen this? Thai life insurance ads. Oh my god.)

Anyway. Really, go see "Up" (in 3D!– it's worth the extra three bucks or whatever they charge for the glasses, or at least, it is the first time [2]), and if you don't know what it's supposed to be about (other than something to do with a house tied to balloons), it'll be that much better. I had no idea what the plot concerned– I thought it was going to be something like "The Twenty-One Balloons" (which is such a good book)– and I think I loved the movie just a little bit more because of it.

That's it. You have your orders. I'll try and post a little more frequently since apparently there are still people reading this (other than TheNoah, who I think just checks in to see if I've written about him, and if I have, to make sure that I haven't posted the picture of the connect-the-freckle-dots dinosaur I drew on his back), but given that my current posting rate is something like three a month, don't get too hopeful.

In the meanwhile, do you know who David Thorne is? He writes things to people and posts it on the Internet. I'd start with "I'll spend the money on drugs instead" (a.k.a. Seven-Legged Spider), then "The ducks in the bathroom are not mine", and then Bill's Internet Guide. From there, the choices are plentiful. And that oughta keep you busy until I get back.

   

  

 
[1] It's a little ironic that I should be wanting more time now when until a few years ago, I honestly never thought I'd live past 40. Forty years seemed like a perfectly reasonable amount of time to be alive and curious and interesting and interested. That's love for you, though, always coming in and messing up the plans you've had for years and making you rethink your priorities.

[2] I got a little overenthusiastic about the 3D glasses and put them on as soon as we sat down, and I kept insisting to TheNoah (who kept taking his off) that look! this is in 3D! and how 3D today is so different from 3D when we were kids, when things leaped out at you (whereas today, the depth goes *into* the screen, if that makes any sense), and on and on and on I went about why the 3D stuff we were watching wasn't as good as the old-style 3D… and then finally after a trailer for something, there was a still frame that said "Please put on your 3D glasses now". Whereupon TheNoah gave me a withering look. Whereupon, classic Lora style, I indignantly insisted that everything we'd just watched had too been in 3D. Whereupon TheNoah demonstrated how brilliant he is by responding with absolutely nothing.

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The loving ties that bind

That phrase is from a book I read somewhere once upon a time, after the beginning of high school but before the end of college. I always used to think that it came from Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series (in particular the final book, "Silver on the Tree"), but no. It doesn't.

I'm having more and more trouble with my writing with every passing week of non-writing (which these days is mostly in the form of posting here; though I've had some successful e-mails lately so at least there's that). It started off with technical issues but now I think it's just inertia. A body of written work at rest tends to stay at rest. And this is a pretty massive body that is completely uninterested in being nudged to action. Which is timely, because now I'm being asked to write more and more for my job.

Partly it's that oft-recurring issue of "why?" Like this. Why am I telling you why I'm having trouble writing? It's not all that interesting: I can't seem to wrap anything up, and nearing the top of my list of pet peeves with published writing is crappy (or nonexistent) endings. Newspapers tend to be the most frequent perpetrators of this crime, and more by chance [1] than anything else (I hope), the New York Times has been seriously annoying me with crap pieces that either don't end well or contain idiotic content.

Anyway. Do you know about the Internet Wayback Machine? It's mostly amazing in that it has mostly recovered mostly everything ever published on the Internet. I was thinking a few days ago about how I first got started reading defective yeti (I still can't remember), and it got me wondering how I ever got started reading all these other sites that I read near-daily to this day, and one of those sites was dooce. And the reason I ever found dooce back in 2004 was because I did a search for something or other and wound up on stella-blue.org, which went offline I think in 2005 or 2006, but luckily, the Wayback Machine has proof that I'm not making this up.

I was always a little sad that stella-blue went offline because I really liked her writing, and if I had a way to contact her (I don't think her name was actually stella… if memory serves me correctly, the domain name came from Stella of "A Streetcar Named Desire" fame and the author's favorite color), I would send her a random e-mail thanking her for ever posting in the first place. As it would turn out, because of stella-blue, I found dooce, and because of dooce [2] I found Heather Champ, through whom I found Derek Powazek, and then at CES 2005 when I did promo work with Yahoo! I actually got to meet the latter two, which was a heart-palpitations-and-adrenaline-rush experience I shared three months later with TheNoah when he first IM'd me to tell me he liked my weird little del.icio.us pants piece, and his understanding of my excitement (considering I've never been a Hollywood star-struck type) instantly made me feel more comfortable with him. I would hardly say that TheNoah and I are together now because of events set in motion by stella-blue, but it -is- interesting how life weaves itself together in the most random of patterns.

On an unrelated note, my friend Jason shoots wedding videos for Digs Studio and, inspired by a (very) few others across the nation (possibly the globe, I forget, I kind of tuned out this detail), is revolutionizing the wedding video industry. In that he makes wedding videos that other people will want to watch even when they're complete strangers. I've been watching the one below and it makes me all teary and sentimental every time. If you or someone you know is getting married, I would highly recommend snagging Jason while you can still afford him.

Jenny+Danny from Digs Studio- Jason Roberts on Vimeo.

One of the studios Jason studied with is Stillmotion, based in Canada. My favorite video of theirs so far is a Trash The Dress video, and whereas before I never gave much thought or care to the issue of having a wedding gown, now I want the dress just so I can trash it and have it all on film:

Frances + James TTD – Times Square + Coney Island from StillMotion on Vimeo.

Finally: Whack-a-kitty. Your insides might explode from the cuteness of it all, but it's worth the hours of cleaning up. Really.

 

 

[1] I don't read NYT very often, usually only when I click on a link to one of their stories that has either been e-mailed to me from a friend or that I've come across via some other site. And to be fair, I've read some really good pieces from NYT. So I'd like to think that it's just bad luck that the majority of articles I do read happen to ruffle my journalism feathers.

[2] Also very likely because of dooce I am still alive.

One man’s unused shipping container is another man’s home

On kottke.org yesterday, there was a photo of some of the "hundreds of thousands of unused [shipping] containers" that have been piling up in Hong Kong due to slow global export demands. Following the link was a comment:

Perhaps people will be living in those stacks of containers before too long.

which reminded me of some really interesting houses I'd seen on WebUrbanist last year:

12

which received so much attention and praise that they quickly followed it up with more:

Modular-shipping-container

There's also a project called "12 container house" (the page additionally contains a video tour):

12con02

12con06

as well as another project called "Container City", which describes itself as "an innovative modular system that creates affordable accommodation for a range of uses."

Containers are an extremely flexible method of construction, being both
modular in shape, extremely strong structurally and readily available.
Container Cities offer an alternative solution to traditional space
provision. They are ideal for office and workspace, live-work and
key-worker housing.

Img_0397

Container_city_1_livework_unit_mark_doman_2

And for the DIY-minded, WebUrbanist has a post on "Buying, Designing and Building Cargo Container Homes".

Future's gonna be an interesting place.

Three things that made me laugh– a lot– yesterday

1. The Hubes is on Twitter in classic Hubes fashion.

2. Ramit Sethi has (had?) a rant site:

Anyone who–while hanging out with friends and paying back some money
they owe to one of them–hands it over and coyly says "This is for last
night." Is that even supposed to be funny anymore? It's been used
59,901 times since we were kids. Also, I don't think prostitutes take
IOUs. (full post)

And regarding how to find freelance work:

I avoid Elance because everybody tries to undercut everyone else (but I LOVE it when I’m hiring). By contrast, you should definitely look at Craigslist
since (1) there’s an incredible amount of buyers and (2) everyone else
is so horrible that if you can write a half-decent sentence and
restrain yourself from including a picture of your penis, you can
almost certainly get a freelance gig. (full post)

3. This update from verymystery.

Because we took it away, and now we have the chance to bring it back

Time did a short exposé of some of the beautiful photos from "Blue Planet Run", which, incidentally, Amazon is offering as a free PDF download on the book’s page.

And should you be so inspired to then purchase the book, know that 100% of the proceeds go to providing clean water to people around the world.

*****

Related: I read about Orange County’s wastewater treatment system in May (it launched in January), but Time recently covered the project. It was reassuring to read that it’s been doing well– so well that "water managers from around the globe have been visiting Orange County to study [the Groundwater Replenishment System]".

It was either this or a post about your mom. I mean, my mom.

A clip from the Science Channel on the architectural wonders of an ant colony (via kottke):

It’s beautiful and amazing, no doubt. But on kottke, it was stated that the colony was abandoned before the scientists poured 10 tons of cement into it and… um, no. You can still see ants crawling around the periphery of the frame in the shots of the cement disappearing down the ant tunnels. And I get scientific advancement and ends justifying means and Lora, they’re only ants and yadda yadda so on– but, I don’t know. It just reminds me of colonization. "Oh, they’re only stupid savages, they won’t mind if we build on their land and kill them off with our foreign diseases and turn the survivors into our slaves."

Put another way, those ants built the ant equivalent of the Great Wall of China, only to have it filled with cement and then excavated because some scientists were curious as to what they were up to. Barbarians! Will no one think of the ants?

They’re so beautiful, they could be part-time models

Okay, look here, you. I don’t "think" that the desert has some of the best sunsets. It’s just FACT. In a recent poll of scientists and engineers on campus, both practicing and aspiring, 100% of those surveyed agreed that our desert has some of the best sunsets (and sunrises, but who’s ever really awake early enough to catch a sunrise?) in the world. Scientists and engineers! These are people who live and breathe and die by facts! Facts and hard, cold data!

From Lulda Casadaga:

From cheavyarms:

From yankee artillerst:

From epsy786:

And boy howdy, you should see the desert in a lightning storm.

I couldn’t sleep, but I got to see showers of static electricity sparks whenever the boys would toss under their fuzzy blankets

Back in December of ’06, when I drove to Santa La Brea Monica for a last-second getaway weekend, a group of us went to the Laugh Factory and saw four comedians perform. One was a woman, the emcee for the evening whose name I can’t remember– she did a bit on Persian women that was priceless– and I also can’t remember the name of the last guy who performed; he delivered his whole routine so completely blitzed and out-of-it that it wasn’t until he was more than halfway through that we realized it had to be an act. Which it was (we saw him, briefly, after the show). Classic.

But! The other two! I only hunted down this one tonight (from early on, I have been a master of the search engine, and I have absolutely no qualms in making this claim): Ian Edwards. He did a short bit on two Asian women he overheard at an Urban Outfitters:

[pretending to be Woman 1] "Excuse me, are you Vietnamese?"
[pretending to be Woman 2] "No, I’m Korean."
[turning to his imaginary friend at his side, stage whispering] "They don’t know, either!"

He finished with his shark bit. Which is what made him prominent enough to stay in my head all this time and which, king of kings, is on YouTube. His delivery the night of our show was better, I think, but it’s still pretty glorious here (NSFW; starts at 3:36, but his intro is funny. "Big up, stool! Ri-spec, stool."):

The other one who had us dying in our seats from laughter was Mike Marino. He performed this bit:

… and then ended with some joke about how instead of drive-by shootings, Italians from Jersey do drive-by baseball-bat attacks. He gave this fantastic visual imagery on the dude just hanging out the passenger window, bat getting ready to swing at the target walking down the sidewalk.

The night finished with a chocolate chip cookie that almost made me cry, it was so good (purchased from here), a ridiculous handful of hours at Saddle Ranch, where I rode my first mechanical bull (and got hit on by the weirdest guy in the weirdest fur coat while the guys in my party did nothing except watch my discomfort in utter amusement), and crashing out at a then-stranger’s apartment. It was, hands down, one of the most fun nights to be tucked away in my memory banks.

Real post tomorrow. Maybe. Things have been busyish.

Two water article quotes that amuse me to no end (bold emphasis mine):

Skeptics may feel
squeamish about drinking what used to be toilet water, [City Council President Scott] Peters says,
but San Diego already receives at least some wastewater from other
cities that discharge treated sewage water into the Colorado River.
"The Colorado River is not filled with Dasani," Mr. Peters says. (full article, The Wall Street Journal via wsbt.com)

and

“Know what you’re dealing with if you want to be successful growing
native salvias,” said David Fross, owner of Native Sons Nursery.

This sage advice comes from a renowned native plant horticulturist… (full article, San Diego Union-Tribune)

"Sage advice". You KNOW she was high-five-ing herself and her editors over that one.

*****

I have far too many favorite poems to count– let alone list– but very few of them have I committed to memory in their entirety. This one, however, is well on its way to joining that handful. From the opening line to "while / love was fading out of her" to the closing line, I love every breath and syllable and pause of that poem.

*****

A coworker surprised me today with a bag of jelly beans and it was quite possibly the most adorable thing to happen to me in a while. Certainly unexpected but man, did it make my day. As unexpected adorable things tend to do.

*****

As do unexpected hilarious things. LOLCAT? Nope. LOLBAT. "INVISIBLE BAT-BIKE!"