Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category



This has been a pretty rough winter. Nine snow days so far (including one six-day weekend in January and one five-day weekend in February), and it looks like we’ll be getting another one tomorrow.

A few weeks ago we had about 18″ of snow over a couple of days. It’s been slow to disappear—we still have about 3″ on the ground, though at least I can (finally!) see decent-sized patches of grass. We’re expecting 6-10″ tomorrow. Goodbye again, lawn!


Hello, world!

I’m still here.

Are you?

“Facebook is a continuing nightmare of privacy disasters. It’s the bathroom door that resists all efforts at locking, swinging open again and again while you’re trying to poop.”








Magic glasses!




Ever since I read this article a few days ago, I have been haunted by it. It’s a National Geographic news piece by Jeffrey Bartholet titled “Tibet’s Man on Fire,” and it presents the story of Jamphel Yeshi, one of the many Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in recent years to protest China’s policies on Tibet.

Here he is:


I cannot imagine what it is like to feel so hopeless, so desperate, that it self-immolation seems the only recourse.

In early October, my family visited Washington, D.C., and near the National Zoo we saw some pro-Tibet protesters. They didn’t look Tibetan but looked like aging white hippies. This small group (of four adults and two kids) marched up and down the street, chanting, “What do we want? Free Tibet! When do we want it? Now!”

I don’t doubt their sincerity, but honestly, this was a pretty pathetic demonstration. There was no intent to educate or engage anyone. They seemed to be working on the assumption that “everyone already knows about what’s happening in Tibet.”

The problem is that most people don’t know what’s happening in Tibet. There’s an awareness that the Chinese government claims sovereignty over Tibet, and many Tibetans (and others throughout the world) believe that Tibet should be an independent state.

But there’s more to it than that. And I think the Tibetans who are burning themselves to death over the past couple of years are doing because they want the world to take a closer look at what’s happening there–and maybe do something about it. Self-immolation makes the news, both in text and and in pictures. It gets attention.

Earlier this week the director of Free Tibet published an opinion piece on that describes some of the oppression Tibetans face at the hands of the Chinese government. This is the sort of information those Washington, D.C., protesters should be trying to spread. Chants are great for rallying supporters but useless as education.


Why, hello there!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this poor, neglected blog lately, and half-writing blogs posts in my head. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to writing them, though, since I’m busy these days with various work assignments (and as a freelancer, I take work assignments whenever I can get them). So rather than let this space languish even longer, I’m doing this quick post to shake some of the dust off this blog and jot down some brief thoughts.

  • Here’s an excerpt from Philip Hensher’s new book, The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting, and Why it Still Matters.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that handwriting is good for us. It involves us in a relationship with the written word that is sensuous, immediate and individual. It opens our personality out to the world, and gives us a means of reading other people. It gives pleasure when you communicate with it.

    I love writing things by hand but don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like. Google Calendar is optimal for family scheduling and organization, but I do miss having a hard-copy datebook with handwritten items in it. I still write letters by hand to a number of people, though, and keep a handwritten grocery shopping list.

  • What has NASA done to make your life awesome? Just take a look.
  • Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? I bet you’ve forgotten just how terrifying some of the endings can be.

Being a girl

This reddit post has been making the rounds over the past few days, but it’s so awesome that I have to post it anyway, in case you haven’t seen it before now.

My 8 year old daughter’s unexpected response to a writing assignment about being female…


A discovery

You know how they say that printer toner is the most expensive fluid on the planet? An ounce of it costs more than gasoline or pretty much anything else you can think of. But a few days ago I discovered something even pricier.

In order to combat an allergy-induced, contact-lens-wearing-exacerbated infection in my eyes (I’ve been walking around with itchy and mostly red eyes for the past few weeks), my optometrist prescribed some combination steroid/antibiotic eyedrops for me. A 5ml bottle of this stuff costs $125. And that’s with insurance.


A few more words

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words about Doug (posted here and sent to me privately). I do appreciate it.

It’s interesting to see the public remembrances of him that are appearing everywhere. The crossword-puzzle folks have been especially prolific in that regard. (Not really a surprise there: they are numerous and love words, and Doug was a pillar of that community. His friend Will Shortz (NPR’s Puzzle Master) wrote this tribute on the New York Times. Doug was a longtime resident of the Philadelphia area and passionate about early American history. It makes sense, then, that the Philadelphia Inquirer and remember him, too.

I knew about his love of crossword puzzles and his interest in history. But there were other aspects of him that don’t appear in those writeups: the time he offered to lend me money from his own pocket so I could make my rent payment when our dot-com startup funding dried up and the staff went without paychecks for months (as one of the company founders, he had put his own paycheck on hold even earlier, to keep money around for everyone else as long as possible). The times we disagreed about webpage layouts (I sought editorial consistency, whereas he often resorted to “we can’t do that in HTML”). And the time he stole Stephen Sondheim’s copy of the New York Times.

Lots of good stories and memories to hold on to.



« Prev - Next »