Thursday, April 17, 2008

One small nod to the greenies

One of my coworkers put the following message as a part of her signature file, and I thought it was worth sharing:

"Do you need to print this email? Think about the environment first, print later (or not at all)."

One small way of encourging a little conservation. Amen to that!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Culturegraph, take 2

My culturegraph made it up to the website this morning - I even like the title they gave to it.

With the bug in me, I am on a bit of a tear. Basically, any song can be detailed in this way if you are so inclined. Not all achieve clever results, though... While it's still fun, though, I'll submit a few more.

Here are my latest that are worth sharing. Hopefully soon to be found on culturegraph as well. The first is a departure from the standard charts and graphs, but I thought it was fitting for the song.

The second is, admittedly a bit obscure. not in the song, which is well known, but in the presentation. My first shot at a visio approach:

If nothing else, it's a fun way to exercise both the right and left sides of my brain...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Very necessary

My good friend introduced me to a site called culturegraph, self described as "accountants meet pop culture." Essentially, pop culture references are transformed into charts and graphs with very clever results. Here are a few of my favorites, but as I don't understand all of them, you should check it out on your own.

I'm always singing something in my head, and P and I often make puns using pop culture references, so I feel like I've been practicing for this type of exercise for years. Here's my first attempt:I also considered creating a mock math equation to read:
The actual line goes, "The difference between a hooker and a ho ain't nothing but a fee." Figured that level of detail might be too obscure, though.

Both are from the same song. Can you guess the reference?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

iPod iNclinations

I like to listen to my iPod using the shuffle songs feature. With over 7500 songs to choose from, I can get stuck in ruts and forget all the great stuff that is packed into this little magical device. I may have mentioned this in the past, but I am convinced my iPod prefers some artists over others.

I swear, it thinks. It has moods.

For example, I had to take a large amount of Led Zepplin off if it as iPod would always try to get me to listen to them. Once in while, sure. But not every other song...

Today, it is in love with Melissa Etheridge.


I am in the process of writing up an evaluation proposal at work. To get a reminder of the more technical terms for some qualitative research methods, I headed over to Wikipedia. I've come to use this site as an entry-level shortcut, when true depth of subject matter isn't required.

I searched the term "qualitative research," and one of the page editors had added the concept of coolhunting as a methodology. I was struck by this term, knowing it from William Gibson’s novel “Pattern Recognition,” so followed the link. Embedded in this page was the term “uncoolhunting” which I hadn’t yet heard, along with a suggested external link. I followed. The Uncoolhunter seemed like more of a blog, listing a few stories and stating their manifesto. One of the stories, dated 4/8, was about Leslie Hall, who I had seen on youtube a couple of years ago, showcasing the song “Gem Sweater” and other fantastically unfantastic ditties (one of which was clearly filmed in my former home of Jamaica Plain, MA). Turns out she has a mobile museum of the sweaters, along with a pretty fab photo gallery.

So I started at a genuine research question, and ended up at Gem Sweaters. All in the span of about 5 minutes.

And that is why I love Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dolly in the house

I'm sitting at my desk, listening to HRH Dolly Parton. A lesser-known track entitled "Baby I'm Burning" just came on, which is a disco/pop-tinged ballad that played B-side to a more popular country-sounding tune titled "I Really Got the Feeling."

The A-side made it to #1 on the Billboard hot country singles in 1979. The B-side, which the record company called a second A-side if such a thing is possible, broke into the top 30 pop singles chart in 1979. There was even an extended dance mix released for play at your local discotheque. I've never heard that version.

Both evidence Dolly's ability to flow with the times, showcasing the keyboard as a central sound element, and foregoing any major guitar action. IRGTF also has some orchestration - truly, it could have been arranged by the same people who brought you "Believe it or Not," the theme song to "The Greatest American Hero."

Listen to them side by side - you'll see.

Anyhoo, near the beginning of the song, there is a line that goes:
"This red hot emotion/puts fireworks in motion/it looks like the fourth of July"

Followed by a falling cascade of keyboard notes. At the moment the keyboard kicked in, all of the papers tacked to my wall bew as if a great wind had blown.

Perhaps it was the fireworks in motion?

Dolly, are you planting some seeds of excitement for what is in store for May 5?

Friday, April 4, 2008

You spin me right round baby, right round

To follow up on my previous post, I haven’t done anything about the Nike+ sensor situation. I spoke with someone at a Nike store who said I’d likely get a positive response if I sent in a comment, but that inspiration has not hit me yet. I am liking the return to running sans gadgets.

So, it’s April 4th, and this morning it snowed in Manchester, NH. I have this memory of my birthday (which was about a week ago) being in warm weather. That hasn’t happened in years, yet still I hold on to that memory – which may have been one birthday for all I know – and expect that each year will be like that.

I shouldn’t really complain, as I did technically spend my birthday in the sun. We were in California, dividing a week between San Francisco, the PCH, and a brief stop in LA. It was a terrific trip, even if it made the return to our “spring” weather even more jarring…

Lately I’ve been checking out the spinning classes at my gym. It’s one of those things I’ve wanted to investigate for a while, but never made the time for in my day. Given the icky outdoor weather lately, I’ve been less inspired to run outdoors, giving me the perfect reason to get on the bike.

The first time I ventured in I tried the morning class. The leader was a nice guy, and did the appropriate amount of pushing-not-forcing for that early in the morning. However, did I mention that the class is at 6am? I consider myself a morning person and all, but 6am means waking up pre-6am, and that just wasn’t very pleasant.

So I switched to the evening class, and I’ve stuck with it. I’m looking to make it a regular habit, and as such I’ve formed some opinions on the sport and my evolution therein. For example: foregoing bike shorts is a mistake. Learned that one on the first time out… My poor bum.

The thought I kept returning to in the most recent class is the relativity of the 1-10 effort scale that we are instructed to follow. I don’t have it memorized, but it is, essentially:

1-5: Don’t bother even remembering what these mean, because classes never involve being in this zone.
6: Warm-up, some effort involved
7: More effort involved
8: Out of comfort zone. Quads on fire. Talk to self to keep going, and hope your neighbor can’t hear you.
9-10: Can’t continue.

Why is the “can’t continue” zone two numbers? If you can’t continue shouldn’t it just be that zone?

Also, pain is a very subjective thing. My 8 may be your 6, or vice versa. If I may speak as an Aries, I’m a bit competitive by nature, and loathe to admit – or even realize – that I may need to ease up. If I may speak as a girl who like to psychoanalyze herself, I know myself well enough to know that I am pretty terrible at admitting to physical weakness, a trait that has gotten me into trouble more than once. Not my best trait, but it’s how I’m wired.

Mind you, I keep going back. While it hurts, it’s a good kind of hurt. The kind of hurt that makes me think I will be stronger for it. And it sure beats running in the April sleet.