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shewho_laughs
27 June 2010 @ 10:25 pm
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Me, making Berry Almond Crumble.

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Oh, who knows which way it will go. No word from Google. Other people who interviewed the same day, though for different positions, have already heard back if Google wasn't interested...
 
 
Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: "This Charming Man," The Smiths
 
 
shewho_laughs
27 June 2010 @ 10:23 pm
Father's Day at Aztalan State Park.

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It looked like a sea turtle!

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Apparently, Aztalan has a problem with rogue mowers bringing their personal lawn care equipment on to state property and going nutty...

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shewho_laughs
Father's Day at Aztalan State Park.

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It looked like a sea turtle!

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Apparently, Aztalan has a problem with rogue mowers bringing their personal lawn care equipment on to state property and going nutty...

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Read more...Collapse )
 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: "California Zephyr," Ben Gibbard
 
 
shewho_laughs
19 June 2010 @ 09:56 pm
A good day. Bernd flew in at 1:00 in the morning and I woke up somehow one minute before his car pulled into the driveway, heard him unlocking the door and mounting the stairs, and then his fuzzy outline was in the room and he was shedding the dress shirt I had pressed so carefully for his Big Interview and crawling sleepily into bed.

This morning, we intended to go canoeing but found white caps on Lake Mendota, so we lounged on a hill overlooking the lake and pointed out cloud shapes and marveled at the bold windsurfers who braved the choppy water. This is what I always want to do.

Then we moved on to Blue Mound State Park, overcrowded with bikers participating in the Horribly Hill Hundreds.

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I'm ready for whatever happens now on the Google front. If we stay, we stay. If we go, it's bound to be a great adventure.
 
 
Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: "I'm Only Sleeping," The Beatles
 
 
shewho_laughs
Excerpts from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's A Sense of Life.


What is essential? Maybe it is not the exhilaration or the strain or the danger but the point of view to which these things lift us. With his engine throttled and idling, the pilot drifts down toward the landing field, and from above surveys the city in which men dwell with their afflictions, money worries, meannesses, envy, and rancour, and he feels pure, beyond attaint. If he has spent a hard night, he savors the joy of being alive.



Men have lost respect for each other. They have become soulless bailiffs who stride into the house and scatter a family’s possessions to the four winds with no sense whatsoever that they have destroyed a kingdom… It makes me think of the anthills I used to disembowel in Paraguay; one blow of the pickax laid bare their innermost secrets. I suspect that the stalwarts who gutted this little shrine thought of it as a kind of anthill. … I have seen a young girl stripped of her gown of light. Am I to believe that reprisals are justified? … I simply cannot grasp it. I have seen housewives disemboweled, children mutilated; I have seen the old itinerant market crone sponge from her treasures the brains with which they were splattered. I have seen a janitor’s wife come out of her cellar and douse the sullied pavement with a bucket of water, and I am still unable to understand what part these humble slaughterhouse accidents play in warfare.



Here I touch the inescapable contradiction I shall never be able to resolve. For man’s greatness does not reside merely in the destiny of the species: each individual is an empire. When a mine caves in and closes over the head of a single miner, the life of the community is suspended. His comrades, their women, their children, gather in anguish at the entrance to the mine, while below them the rescue party scratch with their picks at the bowels of the earth. What are they after? Are they consciously saving one unit of society? Are they freeing a human being as one might free a horse, after computing the work he is still capable of doing? Ten other miners may be killed in the attempted rescue: what inept cost accounting! Of course, it is not a matter of saving one ant out of a colony of ants. They are rescuing a consciousness, an empire whose significance is incommensurable with anything else.

Inside the narrow skull of the miner pinned beneath the fallen timber, there lives a world. Parents, friends, a home, the hot soup of evening, songs sung on festival days, loving kindness and anger, perhaps even a social consciousness and a great universal love inhabit that skull. By what are we to measure the value of a man? His ancestor once drew a reindeer on the wall of a cave; and two hundred thousand years later that gesture still radiates. It stirs us, prolongs itself in us. Man’s gestures are an eternal spring. Though we die for it, we shall bring up that miner from his shaft.



These fires were burning all over the countryside, and each of them, even the most humble, had to be fed. The fire of the poet, of the teacher, of the carpenter. But among all these living fires, how many closed windows there were, how many dead stars, fires that gave off no light for lack of nourishment.
 
 
Current Mood: touchedtouched
 
 
 
shewho_laughs
After two ten-hour days at work, running non-stop in heels, I came home today in considerable pain. Bernd checked in from the San Jose airport and when his flight boarded, I crawled into bed with a heating pad and a copy of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s A Sense of Life, dozing on and off with the book digging uncomfortably into my side.

When I woke up, the apartment was flooded with strange light that somehow streamed through every window. I ran outside and gasped. That impossible sky. The rainbow imprinted faintly over the rooftops, adjacent to pitch-black clouds. I've never seen anything like it. Neighbors I've never seen even coming and going in the morning leaned out their windows and stared.

The sky looked like this fifteen minutes ago—no edits or enhancements!

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Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: "Evil and a Heathen," Franz Ferdinand
 
 
shewho_laughs
11 June 2010 @ 08:22 pm
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On Sunday night, I was much more stressed out about the whole maybe-moving-on-next-to-no-notice-maybe-not thing... I walked down to one of the tiny parks overlooking Lake Monona and stood staring moodily out at the water. I don't know why I looked up, but there was a faint rainbow arched in the clouds. The kayaker who waved at me didn't see it. The family that joined me at the park didn't see it. It was somehow unreasonably reassuring to see it there.


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Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
 
 
shewho_laughs
02 June 2010 @ 11:50 pm
1) Google Voice's transcription service is such a joy. Bernd left me a Google Voice message on my birthday, while I was in the room, and reading the transcript back today makes me grin:


"Hi Sarah, I'm calling to wish you happy birthday happy birthday to Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday if there a [Sarah]. Happy Birthday true."

And my favorite part:

"and you're sitting here smiling at me drinking raspberries and they don't call me."


2) Glenn Greenwald column on Britain's election...

It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. . . . And we will end practices that risk making Britain a place where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. . . . This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state. . . .

And we will, of course, introduce safeguards to prevent the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation. There have been too many cases of individuals being denied their rights . . . And whole communities being placed under suspicion. . . . This government will do better by British justice. Respecting great, British freedoms . . . Which is why we'll also defend trial by jury.



3) How Rand Paul can win in Kentucky and still doom the GOP.
(Oh, let's only hope so!)
Even if Paul wins in Kentucky, though, he's bad news for his party in general. In fact, he's bad news especially if he wins. The Tea Party is going to be emboldened by a Senator Paul, and misinterpret his success in a conservative state as evidence that Tea Party conservatism is the road back to power for the GOP in general. When mainstream conservatives cite electability in primaries against Tea Party candidates, they'll have Paul thrown in their faces. But that won't make them any less right... If Tea Party activists succeed in turning the Republicans into the advocates of repealing significant portions of the modern liberal bureaucracy, they're going to kill the GOP for a generation.

I don't want the GOP "dead" for a generation. A bright, principled, thinking opposition is essential to challenge the reigning party by offering alternative points of view and courses of action... but I won't pretend that I think the Tea Party movement and far-right of the Republican party are any of those things. Too often, it looks to me like the only thing going on above the neck as far as Tea Partiers are concerned is yelling.

But the national electorate is getting less white every year. Moreover, we're going to exit this recession with some weak, but significant, renewal of the tradition of government involvement in the economy. With the employment growing again, the economy recovering, and healthcare reform taking effect, the ground is disintegrating under the feet of the Tea Party, even as its members think their moment of triumph is at hand. That's the exact recipe for an unpopular minority movement to convince itself that it represents a broad majority, take over its party, and lead it to disaster.


4) Equating sexual orientation with "sex life"

The very notion that it is "outrageous" or "despicable" to inquire into a public figure's sexual orientation -- adjectives I heard repeatedly applied to those raising questions about Kagan -- is completely inconsistent with the belief that sexual orientation is value-neutral. If being straight and gay are precise moral equivalents, then what possible harm can come from asking someone, especially one who seeks high political office: "are you gay?" If one really believes that they are equivalent, then that question would be no different than asking someone where they grew up, whether they are married, or how many children they have. That's what made the White House's response to the initial claims that Kagan was gay so revealing and infuriating: by angrily rejecting those claims as "false charges," they were -- as Alex Pareene put it -- "treating lesbian rumors like allegations of vampiric necrophilia."


Sexual orientation is not about one's "sex life," at least not primarily, but instead is a key part of one's identity. Along with a whole variety of other factors (race, socioeconomic background, religion, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background), it shapes one's experiences, perceptions, and relationship to the world. As is true for all of those other attributes, there is vast heterogeniety within one's sexual orientation; there's as much diversity among gay people as there is among, say, Christians or Latinos or women or heterosexuals. But there's no doubt that it is a very substantial factor in one's life experiences and understanding of the world.




5) Rand Paul: Obama is "un-American"Paul went on to say that "maybe sometimes accidents happen." People die, ecoystems get ravaged, beaches turn into tarball-infested wastelands. Big deal. Cut BP a break!

"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" Rand said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."

Paul's basic stance is actually quite useful; it highlights a core weakness in libertarian theory: its lack of a robust mechanism to ensure that the natural environment is not devastated by the actions of businesses. Quite simply, unregulated markets do a very bad job of preventing private enterprise from doing nasty things like dumping sewage into rivers or polluting the air, or overfishing the oceans. Quite the opposite -- unregulated markets ensure that businesses will attempt to minimize their production costs to the lowest extent possible, regardless of the impact that has on non-customers, whether those be people, plants or animals, or the atmosphere.



6) The invisible costs of America's wars.

Everyone from the Founders to George Orwell thought (and hoped) that the massive societal costs which wars impose would be a deterrent to their being fought, but, given the types of wars the U.S. chooses to wage, most Americans who express their "support" for them bear absolutely no perceived cost whatsoever. Worse, many who cheer for our wars enjoy that most intoxicating and distorting reward: cost-free benefits, in the form of vicarious feelings of strength, purpose, nobility and the like, all from a safe distance. It's very difficult to generate attention for political issues that Americans fail to perceive so directly and tangibly affect them -- that's why the failing economy receives so much attention and our various wars (and civil liberties erosions) do not.


7) Judging risk when things can go wrong.
Every activity – driving a car, eating dinner, becoming a parent – carries with it an attendant degree of risk. If we focused too much on the risk, none of us would ever uncurl from the fetal position. Most of us figure, and with good reason, that the chance of disaster striking one person during the normal activities of daily life is small enough to ignore or discount.

But there are some possible disasters that could affect so many people that normal considerations of risk do not fit.



8) Tea party could cost GOP nine Senate races this fall.

The prime example of this is in Kentucky, a conservative state that never much cared for Barack Obama in 2008 and that has turned even more sharply against him, and against the national Democratic Party, since his presidency began. This, coupled with the feeble economy and the basic buyer's remorse nature of midterm elections, should make the contest to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning a cakewalk for the GOP.

But it isn't, because the GOP base, in a revolt against a party establishment that it believes has betrayed conservative principles, opted for Rand Paul in the May 18 primary, instead of Trey Grayson, the establishment's choice. Within 24 hours, Paul was scrambling to prove to a national audience that he doesn't actually oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He's now clammed up and shaken up his campaign staff, but Paul is an unseasoned candidate and a true believer. With more than five months to go until the election, further embarrassments seem inevitable.

Democrats, in other words, could end up stealing a Republican-held seat in a conservative state. The more controversial Paul becomes -- the more he becomes the main issue in the Kentucky race, instead of Obama, Washington Democrats and the economy -- the more conceivable it becomes that swing voters who are otherwise ready to vote against the Democrats will end up voting against Paul instead.




9) Neutral Milk Hotel! I've had "Holland 1945" on repeat most of the morning while working on our marketing outreach. It's such a beautifully, chaotically haunting song.

The only girl I've ever loved was born with roses in her eyes
But then they buried her alive, one evening 1945.


I return to it every few months with fresh enthusiasm.

10) Laura Gibson!

 
 
Current Mood: pensivepensive
 
 
shewho_laughs
31 May 2010 @ 10:10 pm
I went for a walk last night to stretch my legs after a long afternoon spent in the car. After a weekend exploring new streets, it felt like a sweet indulgence to recycle familiar routes and keep myself company. This neighborhood is the first place I’ve ever felt completely at home—with its joyously unmatched houses, the bold well-loved cats who saunter down the sidewalks, the front-porch wine drinkers, the peonies bowing their heavy heads, the straight-backed and serene Lotuses in the park, the teasingly unfinished chalk creations—pink and purple sharks with impressively outfitted jaws and no fins, outlines of small bodies missing fingers and necks. I felt wonder at the particular angle of light over the rooftops and disbelief at the news. And I felt gratitude, too, for belonging to this space. I will miss it desperately when we move across town in the fall (everyone I've told says "you're renting a whole house? Upgrade!" I don't think it's a fair trade-off) or if we move elsewhere earlier...


Related:
Bernd has a shot at a position with Google in Austin, Texas. I can honestly say that Texas would sit right near the bottom of the list of states I’d happily call home… Couldn’t the position be in Chicago or Washington or Oregon or Minneapolis or DC?

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Status updates on a yard sale. Closing. Closing. Closed.

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Current Mood: pensivepensive
Current Music: NPR
 
 
shewho_laughs
31 May 2010 @ 08:45 pm
We raced up to the Twin Cities for Memorial Day weekend (and crawled home today past too many accidents on I-94 and too many tired families outbound from Wisconsin Dells). We spent most of the day Saturday biking through downtown Minneapolis–20 miles or more in all, which felt farther in the heat—and swimming in Lake Calhoun. In the evening, we showered and tossed on some nicer togs to go see the Minnesota Orchestra perform Dvorak’s Serenade in D minor for wind instruments (lovely but a little sedate for my tastes) and Bela Bartok’s Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra, which Bernd loathed and I absolutely loved for its chaotic energy. We didn’t stay for Stravinsky’s Petrushka on Bernd’s insistence. I like Stravinsky, myself. Oh well!

On Sunday, we lazed in the morning and then met up with friends for coffee before hitting up the Minnesota Science Museum, which was all kinds of fun.

And now we’re home and Bernd is playing video games again. Sigh. I didn’t miss any of the technology we left behind in our stuffy little apartment.

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Scary stuff.

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Alligator chomp!
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful