Sprinkles from around the web: Interesting links 5/07-5/13/10

Sprinkles from around the web

Interesting links I found around the web. Apparently, I had a very tech-heavy reading list this week.

Fandom

Darth Vader vs. a Unicorn. How can this not be awesome?

Betty White, only looks mild-mannered
Betty White, only looks mild-mannered
SNL Hosted by Betty White. Run, don’t walk, to watch this. Hilarious. “I haven’t had a cherry in my muffin since 1939.” What a dirty, awesome old woman Betty is.

Political

That’s Gay: Faking It. How faking being gay is offensive, an explanation which uses a montage of TV shows in which characters have pretended to be gay. Brilliant.

Technology

30 SEO Problems & the Tools to Solve Them. A great list of tools, both free and paid, to use with SEO work.

Determine Your Facebook Page’s Value. A new company called Virtue is measuring how much money your Facebook fan page is worth.

Does Facebook Really Want a Semantic Web? How Facebook’s lack of web standards, even when it comes to their own apps, is not helping move toward a semantic web.

Facebook Privacy: A Bewildering Tangle of Options. A very interesting infograph on all the choices one has for privacy on Facebook.

Finding Gaps and Opportunities: Step 3 of the 8-Step SEO Strategy. A good technique on identifying long-tail terms based on one desired keyword and opportunities.

Firefox 4 Plans: Faster, Friendlier, More Secure. It looks like they’re finally tackling the memory-eating problem Firefox has.

REVEALED: How Today’s Twitter Bug Was First Discovered. Make anyone follow you on Twitter. Oprah won at following the most new people due to this bug.

Translate That French Menu With Your Android Phone And Google Goggles. I can’t wait to use this in a restaurant where the menus not in English and impressing everyone.

Why the Fashion Industry Loves Foursquare

As more fashion brands start to use location-based services like Gowalla and Foursquare to drive online customers into retail locations, it’s important to remember that location-based marketing efforts can and should be used to accomplish more than one marketing goal. Brands should strive to not only engage customers, but to enhance their shopping experiences.

WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features. I’m rather looking forward to the changes as I’ve been planning on doing a makeover on this blog for a while.

Writing

Fan Fiction: It’s What’s for Dinner. If you missed it, author Diana Gabaldon goes off on fan fiction writers. In fact, she accuses them of raping her family members, err characters. Author Chuck Wendig explains why people writing fan fiction about your stories is an awesome problem to have.

Sprinkles from around the web: Interesting links 4/30-5/06/10

Sprinkles from around the web

Links of interest I’ve found around the web. Your mileage may vary.

Charity

So Nashville Is Flooded… How Can I Help?. If you haven’t heard, Nashville’s under water. Check out this link for a list of ways to help.

Contests

Win a trip for two to Jordan. ExOfficio’s the company I work for, and we’re giving away a trip. If you’re over 18-years-old, live in the US, and are not related to me, put your name in. Odds are pretty good.

Fandom

The Accidental Arab: Alexander Siddig interviewed by Jamal Mahjoub in Bidoun. I’m a big fan of Siddig and this is truly a wonderful interview. Both Siddig and Mahjoub share their experiences portraying and writing (respectively) Arabian characters and about their own identities.

“According to my mother, within six months I had learned English and within two years I had forgotten Arabic.” — Siddig

Continue reading “Sprinkles from around the web: Interesting links 4/30-5/06/10”

Homophobia in the Sookie Stackstackhouse Books and True Blood’s Response

I really thought my vampire thing was over. I read all Anne Rice’s books through middle school and high school. And I’ve been completely obsessed with Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel for years. Like let me sing you the musical, go out cosplaying, and attend fancons obsessive. Then my friend Gretchen insists I watch True Blood.

Both Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries books and the True Blood TV series have their flaws. They aren’t high literature by any means, and clearly fall into the category of beach-reading for the novels and trashy-TV for the show. The actors constantly drop their accents and Harris goes on and on about Sookie’s less-than-stylish outfits. And I’ve take to randomly calling out “Buuhill!” and “Ssucky” in mockery.

The first season of True Blood basically follows Dead Until Dark‘s plot. I whipped through the book knowing what was going to happen around every corner. Some of the little changes I liked better than others. When I got the second book, Living Dead in Dallas, I stumbled a bit with it, and likewise, I felt the second season stumbled. I’d been warned this was the weakest book in the series.

But what I couldn’t get over was the homophobia in Living Dead in Dallas. This book made me forever grateful for Alan Ball’s flimsy second season fixing the missteps the book took. Neither are gems, even in the vampire-porn genre, but True Blood‘s Season Two isn’t as offensive. Continue reading “Homophobia in the Sookie Stackstackhouse Books and True Blood’s Response”

Top 20 Movies of the Decade

Inspired by my friend Kyle’s list and everyone else’s, these are my Top 20 Movies of the Decade. Every movie on this list was made between 2000-2009. Looking at my list, I definitely stopped watching new movies during my college years and pre-having a car. You won’t find any horror movies on the list as I’m easily scared. I like road-trips (6 movies), superheros/epic fantasy (8 movies), strong women leading/co-leading roles (15 movies), and LGBT characters (7 movies).

Transamerica Kill Bill Vol 1 Brokeback Mountain Juno Lost in Translation Capote Ice Princess Watchmen The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Hedwig and the Angry Inch Bend It Like Beckham Batman Begins The Royal Tenenbaums The Golden Compass Star Trek Milk The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Little Miss Sunshine Iron Man Secretary Continue reading “Top 20 Movies of the Decade”

Facebook — To delete or not to delete

Erica's Facebook

I think a lot about deleting my Facebook. I don’t use it for networking; that’s why I have LinkedIn. I don’t use it to contact my close circle of friends. We have face-to-face visits, phones, e-mail, and other methods of communication.

Part of met thinks that I haven’t hammered out how I’m going to use it just yet. Is it networking, keeping track of life lived a long time ago, or connecting with friends? I think this when I get connection requests from co-workers that I don’t like all that much. (Obviously, this does not apply to all, and probably doesn’t apply to you when you think it does.) Or when yesterday, I received and accepted a request from a woman I went to 2nd grade with. And since I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, I don’t really mind those requests. I don’t put overly personal things on it, and since I’m not into partying and one beer at dinner is my limit, I’m not going get caught in some saucy photography.

Mostly I think about getting rid of it due to the voyeur factor. Facebook gives you just enough information to stalk someone, but not enough information to really know them. I suppose that you’re suppose to message people or write on their walls or compare your movie capability. But those still seem like only surface connections.

Sometimes my reactions to Facebook remind me of when my mom was going to attend her 20th high school reunion. Her friend Carol was over and my mom pulled out her old high school yearbook. Carol and myself stood around as my mom started going through her memories and looking at the pictures of the people she used to know. Her high school years, like my own, were not her shining glories. She was an average student and not popular or overly involved.

After we giggled at my mom and my uncle’s ’70s hair, my mom started recounting the people she hung out with. But then it got to the people she hated. The ones that stole her boyfriends or snubbed her friendship. The ones she hoped she looked younger than. The ones she guessed had gotten fat and ugly with age. Or the ones she thought deserved to have landed themselves in jail by now, based on her judgments of them for what they did 20 years ago. She was so bitter. So full of ill wishes and mockery.

Facebook sometimes turns into that for me. I see people I used to know and some of them aren’t people that I like very much. Some of them hurt me and some of them were assholes. Facebook becomes my yearbook, only updated every moment of every day. Unlike my mother, who can leave her yearbook the shelves, I can access Facebook any time of the day, from anywhere. That is why I think about deleting my Facebook account and putting the past on the shelf.

My Great Holiday Trip to the Other Coast

Santa lights
Santa welcomes me to Virginia Beach

My journey started with a trip down my hill. Normally, I’d drive my car down it, but there was about six inches of snow with ice and my road was closed. Thankfully, Kenny (my supervisor) was able to pick up both Jason and I up at the bottom of the hill. Jason and I only fell on our butts once each while going the four or so blocks down with the hill with luggage in tow. (Yay for garbage bags to protect luggage from wet snow and also long, waterproof jackets to protect me and Jason.)

Thankfully, the day we flew out (Jason had to reschedule his plane and we seriously considered not going if we couldn’t reschedule) was the first day that the Seattle-Tacoma airport was fully operational. Planes were delayed and lost, but we made it safely to Virginia sometime after midnight on separate flights. Continue reading “My Great Holiday Trip to the Other Coast”

I Do Dream of Electric Bunnies

I’ve been thinking about solace, and the times I had solace. Solace is something that I want in my life. I want a “happy place” to go to.

When I was growing up, I largely did two things for solace — read books and raise rabbits.

Himalayan rabbitsI didn’t have a few rabbits. No, I had anywhere from 10 to 80. While my peers were moving from sleepovers to dates, I was busy every weekend showing my rabbits all over Oregon state. My rabbits were award-winners as I never like to do anything halfway. I was cleaning cages and trimming toenails. I’d get up earlier than anyone who knows me might believe to feed them every morning.

While I had many types of rabbits over the years, I mainly raised Himalayans. Himalayans are smaller rabbits that are white in color with dark points on their noses, feet, tail, and ears. They’re also know to be very docile and go into rabbit trances where their heads move back and forth almost like their meditating.

I always loved them because of those qualities. They were my solace. When I had a bad day due to hormones or an ugly incident at school, I could retreat to the detached garage that housed all my rabbits (and my cats too). We’d just hang out and listen to NPR.

They always had the radio going so they would be used to noise. My mom always joked that my rabbits were very well-informed. But really, we lived so far out in the country that there would be silence. Silence where I could hear my rabbits eating hay or drinking from their dishes. Or hear them bounce around their cages when there was a loud noise. The radio helped them from freaking out too badly.

Now that I live in Seattle, sometimes I miss that silence. Right now, I can hear my upstairs neighbor walking around, a car on the road, a train, and Jason playing a game on the other computer. I didn’t really notice the lack of silence until I visit my mom’s house.

The drive from Seattle to Bend is long, and the last couple times, I’ve arrived just after midnight. No one is out and about in the country, on my mom’s 20 acres. Everyone’s already in bed. (Or my brothers never came home or are at dad’s house.) The dogs might bark, but they soon settle down for more interesting things like sleeping.

Then there’s silence and crisp, dry air and bright stars.

I think Himalayan rabbits are like that — silent and bright. They’re also soft.

The day I broke up with an ex-boyfriend, we went to a Humane Society together. They had one rabbit. (It was a Satin, not a Himalayan.) I held it and touched it. I let it sniff my face with its flat, wide nose and curious whiskers. A worker told me she’d never seen that rabbit be so friendly with anyone. I couldn’t take it with me. I was moving. Logistics and rental agreements. But for one moment, I was there with my bunnies and it didn’t matter that my life was in upheaval.

I keep telling Jason I need a holiday rabbit. Wouldn’t a surprise pet be the best present ever? (I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to not being able to bring home lost and stray animals on a whim.)

I just need a moment to find that solace. The solace in a four pound rabbit that found my painted nails to be the same color as grass.

Five Things to do in Seattle in the Fall

It’s definitely fall. I’ve started wearing a scarf and mittens and my office heater is working away. This was the view from my balcony a few weeks ago when the leaves were just starting to change.

Seattle fall leaves

Five Things to do in Seattle in the Fall

1. Celebrate Halloween

Complete bias in that Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. You’re never too old to dress up, especially since there are many adult (21+) parties you can attend if you’re not already invited to a private party.

One of the most important fall activities is searching for that perfect costume. I’m not a fan of the expensive out-of-the-bag costumes as they aren’t kind to my budget or my skin. Too much polyester. This year, I’ve already hit my favorites, Goodwill (the one on Deerborn is the largest) and Red Light (the one in Capital Hill has the largest assortment of pre-made and accessories costumes I’ve seen). I’m still in need of a skirt…

2. The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

This festival is currently running. When I’ve gone, I’ve always had a lot of fun. They always host a variety of films from cheesy horror flicks to popular films to documentaries. Everyone goes for a good time, and some have discussions afterward or audience participation. You might even get to meet cast members.

Plus, the movies are always at little art house theaters and it’s a good way to get to know other movie theaters. (Much better than paying $10/person to see commercial “successes” at generic theaters. Am I bitter about paying to see W. last weekend? Just a little bit.)

3. Winterfest at the Seattle Center

Two words: Ice skating. I mean what girl who watched the 1992 Olympics didn’t want to be Kristi Yamaguchi?

Okay, there’s lots of other stuff like jazz and choir performances, Worldfest, Solstice Fires, and more. I imagine that if I had children that some of these could be activities out with children. The Seattle Center is a hoping places and is always conveniently located on a bus route or four since parking isn’t always ideal. Think of it, a whole field trip including learning how to ride public transportation.

(Which I had no clue how to do until I went to Europe when I was 16 and got lost in London. Which was the most awesome part of my vacation even if I was scolded.)

4. Mt. Baker

Ski season is upon us. Or so I’m being constantly told by the outdoor enthusiast graphic artist who’s cube is on the other side of the office from mine. (In fairness, he just received his new skis which he did the design for.)

I’ve heard that Mt. Baker has the best skiing for those living in Seattle. It’s a short drive for a day trip to the mountain.

5. Explore your Seattle Farmer’s Markets

That’s right, in Seattle, farmer’s markets are open in the fall and in the winter. (This varies depending on the neighborhood, so check the schedule to see what’s open when near you.) In addition to fall harvest vegetables, you can also find meats, eggs, and other farm products.

It’s never to early to start practicing making the holiday dinner. Or just making seasonal food. I love pumpkin pie if anyone’s interested. Don’t forget to shop locally just because it’s no longer summertime.

Register to Vote and Check Your Voter’s Registration

Uncle Sam wants you to voteI believe it’s the patriotic duty of every eligible citizen to vote. When I turned 18-years-old, I was so excited that I could vote, especially since I was 17-years-old when George W. was elected the first time. My frustration was paramount, especially since only 60% of voters voted in that election. To say I disagreed with Bush v. Gore decision was an understatement.

Deadlines to registrar to vote for the November 4th election are fast approaching. In Washington state, there’s 2 days left to register by mail and 17 to register in person. You can use this handy Google map to find the specifics for your state.

What’s scarier still is already registered voters have been purged from the system. Specifically in OH, LA, FL, MI, KS, NM, CO, and NV. These purged voters have largely been in swing states and lots of them have been targeted at traditionally black communities. Thanks to the internet, you can check the status of your voter’s registration. Hint: You want it to be active.

If you live in Washington state, like myself, you can both registar to vote and check your voter’s registration status online. It’s ridiculously easy.

And while, I have my own biases about the election, what I really want is for every eligible person to vote on November 4th and for every vote to be counted correctly. I want everyone to be informed and vote with his or her brain. (Not their heart, Ladies Home Journal.) Even if my preferred candidate doesn’t win, I want to be satisfied that the American people have spoken and this is what they said.

Friday Hope: DonorsChoose.org

Today is dark and drizzly here in Seattle. I remain even more disillusioned about yesterday’s VP debate and the current bailout.

A link from a friend pointed me to a website called DonorsChoose.org, where public school teachers in the United States are asking for outside donations to fund projects in their classrooms. Projects come across the curriculum from literacy and math to science and music.

In an era of ‘no new taxes,’ we all know that public education gets its budget slashed early. Bill Gates testified before Congress to let him hire more immigrants in high-level computer sciences because there are not enough qualified Americans to do the job.

Public education holds a strong place in my heart as with the exception of three years, my K-12 education was in public schools of varying qualities. Same with my two younger brothers. I have friends who are teachers and I agree with them that No Child Left Behind has left millions of children and schools behind. Even those gifted children Bill Gates wants to hire as college-educated adults.

While I have chosen to not to have children of my own, I vote for every school levy because I remember going to a poor and unpopular high school. I had wonderful teachers who got me interested in literature, politics, art, and foreign languages, and I had an equal share of horrible teachers who discouraged me in science, math, and physical education. To quote Shakespeare, “The past is prologue” and I can’t help but think that those formable years had their impact on where I am today. I wonder what my own schooling would’ve been like had there been better funding.

I think it’s sad, unpatriotic, and inhumane that these teachers can’t get funding elsewhere. But at least, they have somewhere to go to seek the help they need and we can give it to them.