Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Everyone's a critic...

The Planning Shop Goes to New York

It's that time of year again! Book Expo America starts Friday, and this time it's in NYC. Can you hear me smiling?? Rhonda and Arthur are already on the East Coast, attending meeting after meeting after meeting... One must make the most of one's trips back East. But all work and no play makes Jack something something...so they'll be unwinding tonight at The Washington Nationals game.

I'm off to the Windy Apple tomorrow. I heard that they have the internet in Manhattan, so I should be able to get some blogging in while I'm there. But next week I'll be on a little vacation of sorts, canoeing and swimming and knitting in the middle of the woods in upstate New York. If the cell phone works, there will be limited moblogging.

The week after that I'll be at the ICSB conference in Washington DC--my first time in our nation's capitol, so when I'm not introducing Entrepreneurship professors to The Planning Shop's materials, I'll be sight-seeing my little behind off. Again, not so much blog time. Somehow, you will survive.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Ozzy loves Moblog

Freedom is very important to the Oz. He is a butterfly. That's why he loves Moblog.

Photo Friday: Symbol

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Check it out: I'm not at my desk. Yet I am blogging! Is it some sort of pirate magic trick?

Keep me warm all through the night

I finished weaving a nice, snuggly baby blanket for little miss LHR this week--just in time to for those cold Minneapolis Summer nights.

The combination of the chunky baby alpaca yarn and the satin border are sure to create a sensory overload for that child--in a good way. Until I get out there to meet her in person, I hope this blanket will convey the hugs to come.

It went out in yesterday's mail, I & J. Sorry to ruin the surprise, but I just couldn't keep it in any longer.

Is it food or art?

As part of the week-long celebration known as Max's birthday, we had dinner at Benihana this week. What hibachi-style dinner show would be complete with out the Onion Volcano? Our chef took it one step further by topping the aforementioned Onion Volcano with an astounding second and third layer of oniony excitement:

For those of you who are new to the whole onion volcano concept: the onion volcano is constructed as shown above, and then oil--or maybe it's vinegar--is poured into the hole at the top and proceeds to sizzle rapidly on the hot hibachi surface, casing a stream of steam to rush forth from the mouth of the volcano. Awesome to the nth degree.

Awesome is a word that tossed around pretty liberally. Like in the case of this "awesome" decorative piece that Arthur brought into the office yesterday:

Dead alien babies are awesome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

There was this guy, see, and he lived in a bottle of Absolut Mandarin vodka

Just a glance into the "party now, ask questions later" lifestyle that I try to live.

I feel that the gold bra needs an explanation: the theme of the party was James Bond. The Bond movie "Die Another Day" contained a brilliant cameo by Madonna, who also wrote the theme song. Obviously, I'm dressed as Madonna. Early Madonna. Gold bra over 2 tank tops Madonna. Obviously.

By day, publishing professional. By night, Dutchess of Martini.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

National Public Radio

It's pledge week on our local NPR station. You know, that 10-day "week" when we avoid listening to NPR lest they guilt us into actually giving them money. Pledge week, combined with the fact that my iPod and my car stereo are in a terrible fight right now and won't cooperate with one another has driven me to the 3 remaining radio stations in the Bay Area that don't suck eggs:

1) 99.7 KFRC is the best pledge week. I loves me the oldies. Plus, last week, I won tickets to see The Mambo Kings musical at Golden Gate Theater. Yep, I was on the radio!

2) KISS 98.1 plays today's hits and classic R&B. We're talking Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson (before he was extra super creepy), and some good old classic Whitney Houston.

3) KMEL 106.1 is brand new territory for me. When I was in middle school, KMEL played modern rock, as in Tears for Fears and Pet Shop Boys. Today, however, KMEL plays today's bet hip hop and R&B. Apparently, the only thing that rhymes with "party" is "bacardi."

Monday, May 23, 2005

If you know Scott, you know I'm right

My friend Scott is a freakin' genius. Check out the funnest science-slash-art project ever:

"You might've noticed that I've gotten a little picture heavy. I've developed a new way to get pictures from my phone to my blog and I'm not afraid to use it.

So here's the deal, I'm opening up my cell phone's email address. If you email me with the words 'where's scott?' I'll take a picture right then and there and post it on my blog.

Some disclaimers:
If I'm busy or in private, you may not get a response. Also, you may not want to send anything between business hours PDT, I don't think my work desk is that interesting. Although, if you do and I'm not busy or in a meeting, I'll do my best to photo something from an interesting perspective. And before you ask, don't worry, I have a very good spam filter in place. I might limit it to only people I have in my contacts if it gets out of hand, but I don't think I know enough people who read my blog to worry about it.

It's an experimental art project! Help make it a success. Science!"

Huzzah, Science! Huzzah, Scott!

The Second Amendment, Observed

The weekend came. Birthdays were celebrated. Good times were had by all. In celebration of L's birthday, we had a day of Bond-skill training and general secret agenting. We started things off with a good old fashion trip to the shooting range. That's right, yours truly learned how to take control of the business end of a .22 mm semi-automatic pistol. Turns out I'm quite the shot! L. was great, don't get me wrong, but I just may have to join the secret service at some point.

After the gunpowder giddiness wore off, we went to the gokart arena to learn the second Bond skill of the day: race car driving. Also learned at the gokart arena was bond skill #3: blending into walls, as demonstrated by S:

A nice party where the guests all dressed as James Bond movie villains ended the day off with some real class. Pictures of the event in question will be posted in the next day or two, with identities changed to protect the innocent (of course--what kind of future secret service agent would I be if I didn't protect the innocent?).

Friday, May 20, 2005

Photo Friday: Green

It's not easy being green. Just ask E. All she wanted was nice, quiet sushi lunch. And she ended up with a faceful of flashing green lights.

Did you notice that I actually posted my Photo Friday picture on Friday? That's right. Check me, like, totally out.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Eat lead, Cobra!

This morning's topic of discussion at Planning Shop headquarters involved the question of the talking Barbie doll. Possibly the most frequently quoted celebrity around here, talking Barbie's cries of "Math is hard!" and "Shopping is fun!" can be heard echoing throughout the vast expanses of Planning Shop territory, usually when one of our more computer literate team members (Arthur) attempts to explain some sort of computer- or software-related function to one our less computer-literate team members (anyone besides Arthur).

I can't remember what prompted this morning's cry of "Math is hard" from the Northwest quadrant of the office, but that led to a discussion of whether an actual Barbie doll had at some point been manufactured to say these ridiculous (but true) things (Rhonda's position), of if these statements had actually been proclaimed by Malibu Stacy, the Barbie doll parody, in an episode of The Simpsons (my position--I was pretty sure that there had been a talking version of Malibu Stacy who said these things, prompting Lisa to protest the sexist doll and spawning the manufacture of Graduate Student Stacy. I was pretty dang sure.).

"I'm confident that you posses the skills to find these things out," commented Rhonda. And find them out I did.

Rhonda, you win. In 1992, Mattel gave us Teen Talk Barbie, who says--you guessed it--"math is hard," "shopping is fun," "meet me at the mall," "can we ever have enough clothes?" and "let's plan our dream wedding!" How did I miss this? I guess I was busy studying in my algebra class.

The best part though, is what the BLO (Barbie Liberation Organization) managed to do:

"Taking advantage of similarities in the voice hardware of Teen Talk Barbie and the Talking Duke G.I. Joe doll, er, 'action figure,' the BLO absconded with several hundred of each and performed a stereotype-change operation on the lot.

The surgery was no simple matter - circuit boards had to be trimmed, a capacitor moved, and a switch re-engineered. The press made it sound like an easy pop-and-switch operation, but this took some research and dedication.

The BLO returned the altered dolls to the toy store shelves, who then resold them to children who had to invent scenarios for Barbies who yelled 'Vengeance is mine!' and G.I. Joes who daydreamed 'Let's plan our dream wedding!'"

Vengeance is yours, Barbie. Vengeance is yours.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Photo Friday: Space

Once again, yes, I realize that today is Wednesday and not Friday. Please commence with the cutting of some slack.

By the way, that's a picture of that lunar eclipse from last winter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A love-hate relationship with fangs

I live with two cats. I think a lot of people live in multi-cat households, and they already know where this is going. Multi-cat households experience one of two general atmospheres:

1. mutual affection between the cats, lots of running around and chasing and wrestling, very little blood.

2. two or more cats who are rarely, if ever, in the same room at the same time, lots of running around and chasing and wrestling, copious amounts of howling and blood ensue.

For the 7 years that I have lived with these two cats, our situation has been closer to atmosphere #2. But something happened about a year and a half ago, and both of these cats became much more tolerant of each other. Both seem content to sleep in the living room at the same time, and I've even seen them eating on the same table (food: the great unifier). Everyone who knows them agrees that they seem like different cats. Happier. More friendly.

But I never expected this.

Miru and Milhouse, just hanging out on the bed, not fighting. Not hissing. Not making awful kitty howling noises. And this went on for about 10 minutes--I did, eventually, get sick of sitting on the floor and not wanting to disturb such allied feline tendencies by actually getting into bed.

Ozzy's jealous ways solved that problem. He jumped up onto the bed, Milhouse promptly leaped out of the way, and Miru proceeded to deliver his patented "Cobra Bite" (tm) to Ozzy's face.

The cat won, Ozzy left, I took advantage of all of the space available in bed now that there was only one additional animal, and got in bed. Everybody wins! Sort of. I win, anyway.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Everyday is Blog Appreciation Day

I love my blog. I mean, I looooooooooove my blog. I love sharing pictures of my dogs wearing my knitted goods. I love sending shout-outs to those friends who have birthdays and those who have babies. I love giving readers the opportunity to hear the soundtrack of my life, because after all, I have impeccable taste in music. For instance, I spoke with a very nice professor from Boston University earlier this week, and have had Jonathan Richman in my head ever since. These are things worth sharing. Nay, these are things which must be shared, it is imperative, lest the brilliance that is my daily life go un-chronicled, un-read, un-clicked upon.

I like to spend about 15 minutes or so blogging after lunch. It's a great way to transition between food intake and productive output. A little concentrated, focused creativity, and I'm good to go. (Sometimes, I'll check my stats on sitemeter if I need a little ego stoking. Hey, even 6 page view sends me over the top, 'cause I know that my mom can't be responsible for more than 5 of them...)

So today, when Blogger was down for 45 minutes for scheduled maintenance this afternoon, I was sad. I may have even let out a barely audible whimper.

I never want my blog to become one of the many fantastic things in my life that I take for granted. I've already got too many of those, and decreasing that number is already pretty high up on my List.

So here's to you, blog of my heart. Blog of my job, blog of my life, blog of my mind and my spirit. Here's to you.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Le happiest place on earth

A few years back Max and I spent a week in Paris with my family, celebrating my Mom's birthday. There were museums, boat rides, strange and enchanting French bars, delightfully rich food with funny names, and plenty of sightseeing. On the day that my parents and my brother went to the Louvre, L and I chose instead to go to Euro Disney.

That's right. No Mona Lisa for us. Give me Donald Duck and Big Thunder Mountain!

I was a little nervous at the time that I would come to regret this decision. That someday, I would think to myself, "Why, oh why, did I pass up the opportunity to gaze upon so many world-renown pieces of art?! Why, oh why, did I spend the day running around in fake coon-skin cap, higher on sugar than I'd been in years?! Woe is me, for I've made a terrible mistake!"

Hasn't happened yet. As a matter of fact, there have been few decisions made in my life that I've been as comfortable with. Our day in Euro Disney shall live on as one of the best days ever. The train ride there and back, the relative solitude we experienced in the park (it was the middle of November, threatening rain, and fairly deserted), Max's alternating expressions of pure joy and nostalgia (his parents took his family there for vacation when he was a kid), and the way we fell happily asleep on the floor watching Raiders of the Lost Ark in my parents' rental apartment.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Busy Little Bees

Kronk! Whrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Ping! Kronk! Whrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Ping! That's the sound of The Planning Shop, grinding and cranking away as we prepare for Book Expo America, a mere two and a half weeks away (that's also the sound of my excuse for neglecting my blog this week).

It's a mad house here, I tell ya. Book covers, advance reading copies, mobile internet connections--it's a logistical nightmare! A totally do-able, completely under control logistical nightmare. Arthur keeps his cool in the midst of deadlines.

Manhattan, here we come!

Friday, May 06, 2005

A day of well-wishing and thinking good thoughts

A big, frothy cup of birthday wishes to my good friend and soon-to-be traveling partner, DRB (known in some circles as little db). There few people in this world that my dogs like better, and there are even fewer people in this world with whom I'd rather be stuck on a desert island.

This is a picture of DRB in her natural habitat. A hiker by day, and a camper by night, DRB took me on my first and only backpacking trip back in 2000, for which, someday, I will forgive her. Actually it was one of the better vacations of my adult life, despite the name of the location--Desolation Wilderness--complete with dogs, swimming, and large rocks. I've know DRB since my college days, and she will forever be my favorite tree-hugging dirt-worshipper. Plus, she has 4 cats: 2 twin girls, one
a former ninja and one with a taste for blood, a big fluffy boy who regularly hits on my boyfriend, and one rescued stray with a detatched retina (detatched retina = one rather noticeable bug eye, Don Knots style). And you just can't argue with that! To celebrate the anniversary of her birth, I will go see M. Ward tonight, who is also from Portland.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I missed Pie Day (3.14) back in March, and I've been making up for it ever since. Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie, Rhubarb Pie... the intervention didn't help much either. Today is another numerical fun day, and will be celebrated thusly. In conjunction with Cinco de Mayo, I will celebrate 05.05.05 tonight by going out with 5 friends, drinking 5 Coronas, and eating five Taco Bel Grandes. Or maybe I'll stay home and watch El Mariachi again. Either way.

Of course, I could celebrate the fiveness of the day by sending this delightful example of human ingenuity to five people. Five people who would forever question my sanity and slowly let our relationship dwindle in oblivion. Can you blame them? Really?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I play Air hockey, Ball hockey, Barn Hockey, Bubble Hockey, Field hockey...

I know you're all just dying to hear about how the International Ice Hockey Federation's 2005 World Championship is going. Wait no longer! Read on, my hip-checking, chicken-dancing, dipsy-doodling brothers and sisters:


1. Michail Grabovsky (BLR) 5 points (4 goals/1 assist)
2. Rick Nash (CAN) 4 (3/1)
3. Daniel Alfredsson (SWE) 4 (2/2)
4. Niko Kapanen (FIN) and Konstantin Koltsov (BLR)4 (1/3) each
6. Marian Hossa (SVK) and Daniel Sedin (SWE) 3 (2/1) each
8. Joe Thornton (CAN) 3 (1/2)
9. Niklas Kronwall (SWE) 3 (0/3)
21 player with 2 pts

1. Grabovsky 4
2. Nash 3
5 players with 2

1. Kapanen and Kronwall 3 each
12 players with 2

Goalkeepers (SVS%):
1. Rick DiPietro (USA) 100.00%
2. Andrej Mezin (BLR) 97.53%
3. Witali Kolesnik (KAZ) 96.97%
4. Tomas Vokoun (CZE) 95.65%
5. Niklas Backstrom (FIN) 95.00%


Scoring Percentage:
1. USA 17.50% of all shots are in
2. Latvia 16.00%
3. Canada 13.04%

Penalty Minutes:
1. Ukraine 36 PIM
2. Austria 30
3. Russia 28
4. Slovakia 20
5. Belarus 18

Ah, if only The Planning Shop had offices in Innsbruck.

The next step is to start performing my special "Collective-Bargaining-Agreement-Reached-by-the-start-of-the-2005-2006-NHL-Hockey-Season" dance at closer intervals. Apparently, 4 times a day isn't enough.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mouse-sized people leads to people-sized mice

Arthur commented this morning that if he had a blog, this is something he'd blog about:

"Adult stem cell researcher Irving Weissman, M.D. of the Stanford School of Medicine wants to develop mice that have a lot of human neurons in their brains.

So Stanford asked where it should draw the line. It is the first university in the nation to tackle the philosophical question: When does a chimera stop being an animal and start becoming a person, suggesting that research should end? The report foreshadows the release of guidelines on stem-cell research, including chimeras, by the National Academy of Sciences this spring.

'We concluded that if we see any signs of human brain structures . . . Or if the mouse shows human-like behaviors, like improved memory or problem-solving, it's time to stop,' said law and genetics Professor Henry T. Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences and leader of the committee."
Arthur began to marvel at the science, the ethical dilemma, the sci-fi-esque-ness of it all, the very idea that Stanford Ph.D's were considering the possibility that these scientists could develop mice with people brains prompted the blog comment. All I had to hear was "mice with people brains," and I knew what was going on. I saw the writing on the wall. I've seen Pinky & Brain enough times to know that smart rodents are dangerous (yet doomed to fail time and time again due to hilarious circumstances). I vowed never to view my friend's hamster the same way again.

Equally as disturbing as the thought of tiny mouse-sized geniuses taking over the world was the concept of " if the mouse shows human-like behaviors." Like asking for a doughnut. Or voting for an idiot. Twice. Or TiVo-ing the Spanish version of Deadwood on accident because it pressed the button for HBO-L (Latino) instead of HBO-1. You know, human-like behaviors.