Sunday, December 31, 2006

Springtime, Sleeping Lions & the Earworms Phenomenon

I've had a lot of show tunes stuck in my head this past week - not sure why - but the coup de grace was "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers. So I decided to do a search and see what other people have said about this phenomenon (not the show tunes per se but songs in general.) Here's the scoop:

They're called 'earworms' and they happen to women and musicians most. (No wonder - I'm both...) WebMD reports that 98% of people have had this happen to them at one time or another. James J. Kellaris, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati did a study in 2003 of 559 students and on their list of most common earworms were songs like "YMCA", "Who Let the Dogs Out" and my personal favorite, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" that played repeatedly on hold music for this hotel I was to stay in once and I recall being stuck listening to that song for hours. No wonder I was traumatized by that trip.

Just yesterday, someone on Fazed mentioned getting "We Belong" stuck in his/her head after having not heard it in years. That happens to me all the time - I always wonder where my brain digs this stuff up. No one seemed to respond with any intelligent scientific info on that though.

For those cases where we find ourselves "tortured" by one annoying song that just won't get out of our heads, Alison McCook wrote in '03 that "people most frequently plagued by this phenomenon are those with slightly neurotic tendencies, and people who enjoy and listen to music often."

For those people, rumor has it that chewing on cinnamon sticks will help make the song begone. I'll see if that works. All I know is that by the time I'd finished drafting this post, "Springtime For Hitler" had been replaced by "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". (Trivia tidbit: I looked up the lyrics and all of those "haweemowah" type sounds in the song are mostly Zulu for phrases like "the lion's in peace" and "the lion sleeps." Kinda boring for how exotic they sound...)

As for tonight, my guess is "Auld Lang Syne" will get stuck in my head fairly soon. Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merger Mania

Chuck pointed out something absurd to me the other day - the local newspaper jobs page is now the (I kid you not) "San Francisco Chronicle/ Yahoo! hotjobs Career Section".

Yeah, that's right. They merged 4 companies into one and everybody got top billing. Of course this is just down the street from the SBC PacBell park Giants Stadium in South Beach/Mission Bay by SOMA.

What happened to good, old fashioned monopolizers like AT&T gobbling up other companies and dropping their names the next day?

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fighting Global Warming Online Through End of Year Contributions

I recently received e-mail on the Palo Alto Menlo Park Parents' Club list asking for recommendations of organizations that fight global warming as potential places to send end of year contributions. I can't go into detail about what each of them do, but I recommend checking out their web sites.

Here is the list that was compiled, along with a few of my own additions:
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Instituto Terra
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- World Wildlife Fund
- Stop Global Warming
- Acterra
- California League of Conservation Voters
- E2: Environmental Entrepreneurs
- The Regeneration project/Interfaith Power and Light
- Grid Alternatives
- Global Green
- Sierra Club

Then if you want to get involved with Al Gore's efforts with his "An Inconvenient Truth" film and book, go to and

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

SOMA Twins To Tower Over San Francisco

Paul Boutin reported Friday that two buildings to meet the #3 in height in the US were proposed to the City of San Francisco. The Sears Tower and Empire State building would be the two taller structures. It's actually 5 buildings in total - "... two 1,200-foot towers, two 900-foot structures and a 600-foot companion."

Here's the Chronicle article about it. According to SFGate, the two towers will be 350 ft. taller than the Transamerica building. They are to be built at the corner of First and Mission. From my real estate research in the area, that's about as seismically stable as you can get in San Francisco - right at the base of Rincon Hill - solid rock as opposed to the sandfill you find a few blocks away in South Beach.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christy Turlington & Stephen Spielberg Partner for Fashion TV Drama reports that "Steven Spielberg and husband-and-wife team Ed Burns and Christy Turlington are said to be making their own TV show based on the lives of five twentysomethings with fashion jobs." This is in response to the success of shows like "Ugly Betty" and "Project Runway". Here is the press release about the upcoming drama series.

Fashion has always been a factor in arts and particularly film and TV, but with the track record of 'chick lit' and shows like "Friends" setting trends for years, not to mention the Style channel and the emergence of a number of fashion blogs, it's become its own TV market. Stay tuned...

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Ultimate in Fashion for Charity

Last week, Christie's auctioned off the long, black Givenchy gown Audrey Hepburn wore at the beginning of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for approx. $1 Million dollars (I've heard 410,000 pounds sterling & 467,000 - not sure of the exact figure.) So essentially that's like buying a gown for more than the average Bay Area home (or 3 nearly anywhere else). City of Joy Aid is the organization that will receive the money and they plan to help build schools and provide medical care for poor children in India. The gown broke the record of the one Marilyn Monroe wore when singing "Happy Birthday" to JFK.


You can go online to get fashionable dress shoes. We all know how fun it is to shop for womens designer shoes but sometimes it can be a pain. With shopping online you can find Steve Madden shoes and other designer shoes so you can keep your closet full of new shoes.

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New Blogger Beta

If this is anything like Google's other products, it'll stay in Beta for about four years before the 'Beta' is removed, but I'm testing out the new version of Blogger so we'll see what I think of it. I was annoyed they didn't have categories available before so I've been manually creating topic files. I don't know if I can go back and edit previous posts or not but that's a project for another day.

Testing, 1, 2, 3...

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Friday, December 15, 2006

New House

We'll be moving sometime in the next month to the Allied Arts area of Menlo Park, for Bay Area and more specifically Peninsula locals who know neighborhoods. We found a great house that suits our needs well and are looking forward to being there. But that's why I haven't blogged in the past week much - we closed on the house and I've been in meetings nonstop with contractors on top of the usual holiday-related chaos. I look forward to a little bit of a lull as Christmas approaches. I'll write more soon.


There is no doubt that finding a home these days is getting a little bit easier since with homes like modular homes are cheaper to attain. Modular homes are perfect for first home buyers and manufactured homes are also great if you want a new designed home. If you're interesed, you can find modular home plans on the web.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Best R2-D2 Toy Yet

Last Christmas I got the coolest R2-D2 toy in the world. It's a small robot toy slightly over a foot tall and it actually responds to voice commands. This year, it's out in force in catalogs and I highly recommend it for Star Wars fans.

I have an R2-D2 collection that began in college. Not on purpose. It was somewhat organic in its growth, but I always loved Star Wars as a kid and played with the action figures. I never had the R2 action figure as a kid, and as I grew older, and learned about computer security, I began to admire the character's hacking skills. I always loved his personality. In addition to a couple of other simpler remote toys, I have a life sized R2-D2 cooler (purchased on eBay by a friend of mine as a gift several years back) that holds all of the R2s except this new one. It serves drinks at parties, just like in Return of the Jedi.

My favorite feature of the toy is that when you say "hey artoo", then "game mode" followed by "dance program" it plays the Cantina Band song from the first Star Wars film (Episode IV) and it dances, swiveling and turning back and forth. Highly recommended holiday gift.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ten Ways To Tell If You're A Geek

Here are ten ways to tell if you're a geek. Three or more affirmatives means you are. (And in case you're curious, these are all true examples from friends of mine.)

1) Your domain name is shorter than your first name.
2) When someone says to finger them, you find a UNIX prompt.
3) You salivate over early invites to Beta sites like Orkut, Gmail and Vox.
4) Your cat's named after a text editor.
5) Your kid's named after a programming language.
6) You think dressing-up means wearing socks.
7) You'll only make the first move in a chat room.
8) You used Kozmo to deliver breakfast. At 3pm.
9) You've dog-eared over 18 O'Reilly books.
10) You spend more time blogging than with your significant other.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

TSA Has A Long Way To Go

I would like to believe that all of the tax dollars going toward the Transportation Security Administration are making a difference in our national security, but they just can't seem to do anything right.

Recently, I traveled and pre-travel, I brought up their site on my Mac to learn more about this whole 3oz. liquid thing and the site crashed Safari, didn't work in Mozilla or Mac ie. So I basically got nowhere. I was able to read one file that was somewhat pertiment about what's allowed and what's not. Meat cleavers are not. This doesn't really affect me, but it got me to chuckle.

Next step was to pack for the trip. I had to put everything in the wrong bag in order to fit the stupid ziplock with all of the liquids into one of my carry-ons. (Yes, I had multiple. I have an infant - it's nearly impossible to travel without multiple carry-ons with an infant in tow.) Anyway, I dealt with that and made it to the gate.

Best news of the day - TSA let us fast track through security with first class since we had a kid in a stroller. Then we got stuck behind some stuck-up goth-laden rockers carrying Louis Vuitton bags and had to wait seemingly forever. Anyway after they were moving on, the TSA people actually asked me to take off my cardigan sweater to make sure there was nothing underneath - while I was carrying my baby. Like these other people with their black jackets wouldn't be hiding something more serious than my limp little cardigan? We looked at the TSA staff like they were nuts so they let us through. We bought water in the terminal before boarding the plane so we would have enough for the 3 of us, formula, and other needs while in flight.

On the flight back, we were leaving Kansas City which doesn't have shops inside security so we couldn't buy water. I brought a few extra bottles anyway to see what they would let us have. The guy explained that the more liquid formula you bring, the less water you're allowed to take, but he allowed me to bring one bottle of water because I had a few dry packets and only one can of the liquid. Come on... and to top it off, he gave me this look like "here, you can get away with more water if you bring more packets!" Like he was doing me some favor? If this is really a security risk, why would he be telling me this? Please.

I'm not afraid of flying, airplanes, or terrorists. Maybe I should be, but I'm not. What I am afraid of is stupidity, disorganization, loopholes, wasting time and money, and above all, poor management when it comes to security. I've been through a real clearance process that was much more rigorous, I'm willing to bet, than most of the TSA employees at airports have. Security should be serious. You don't bend the rules when it comes to true security. Ever. You don't keep changing them either. And you don't waste anybody's time. You look out for what's a realistic threat and you keep your eye on the ball. (And it wouldn't hurt to have a web site that didn't crash browsers either.)

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