Sunday, May 28, 2006

Maps + Tech = Cool

Last week my friend Trillwing posted links to online mapping fun. I didn't think I could find anything cooler than FedEx arrivals during Thunderstorms, but take a look at Wikimapia (one part wiki + one part google earth). I guess there is a way to do something similar on google earth itself but somehow this seems easier to understand and use. Update: Maybe placeopedia is even better because it links the map to already existing wiki articles.


How do you clean house?

I'm fascinated with everyday life, which is probably why I like to read blogs. Reading about people's everyday annoyances and triumphs entertains me for hours, so here's a little piece of my life.

Today my project is cleaning my house. Since I broke my foot the house has not really been cleaned, so the mess is somewhat overwhelming. I enjoy a clean house but have trouble getting motivated. Recently I discovered a strategy for tackling the house cleaning. First of all, I do one room at a time, taking a break in between to do something fun. The key though, is to get started right. I like to start with the bathroom. The bathroom is the smallest room in the house, so it can only collect a limited amount of clutter. It also gets really dirty and the grime is very visible. This means the bathroom is fairly quick to clean but once its done the cleanliness is highly visible. Somehow cleaning the bathroom seems less overwhelming than cleaning the kitchen or straightening up the clutter that collects all over the rest of the house. After the bathroom is clean, I take a break and just bask in the glow of the mirror and shiny white counters. A clean bathroom is so enjoyable that I start to feel motivated to clean the rest of the house. Also, the contrast between the bathroom and the other rooms makes the dirt even more annoying. Pretty soon I feel motivated to tackle the next job.

This method works really well for me, but I know that many people have different feelings about cleaning the bathroom, so I want to hear from other people. How do you tackle a messy house?


Friday, May 26, 2006

This blog is just one meme after another (but this is hilarious!)

I think I need chat with my shrink about this result...

Your results:
You are An Expendable Character (Redshirt)

An Expendable Character (Redshirt)Since your accomplishments are seldom noticed,
and you are rarely thought of, you are expendable.
That doesn't mean your job isn't important but if you
were in Star Trek you would be killed off in the first
episode you appeared in.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz


In the New Garden in all the Parts

IN the new garden, in all the parts,
In cities now, modern, I wander,
Though the second or third result, or still further, primitive yet,
Days, places, indifferent—though various, the same,
Time, Paradise, the Mannahatta, the prairies, finding me unchanged, 5
Death indifferent—Is it that I lived long since? Was I buried very long ago?
For all that, I may now be watching you here, this moment;
For the future, with determined will, I seek—the woman of the future,
You, born years, centuries after me, I seek.

-Walt Whitman


Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm moving to Australia! (I wish!)

Which country should you REALLY be living in?


G'day Mate! You're a yokker. A true Aussie. You love the beach and barbies, as well as sport and sex. Life couldn't get any simpler, and thats the way it should be. C'mon Aussie, C'mon!

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.


Look! I'm all spiritual and sh*t!

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with


Beorn and I sometimes play massively multiplayer online games. This is a sort of extension of our tradition of playing table top role-playing games. I enjoy playing games, but role-playing games have always been more about socializing than the games themselves; since my friends played I joined in. When Beorn and I got together role-playing games were the social arena that he felt most comfortable with. I had trouble getting him to come to parties or go out, but we found a regular group of friends to game with and Friday night gaming became our main social outlet.

In recent years online gaming has become easier than locating a compatible group of friends locally. If you haven’t heard about MMORPGs, in these games you create a character and use that character to interact with other players online. The game we play is World of Warcraft, currently the most popular online game, replacing the infamous EverQuest.

In the game most people join groups called guilds. Guilds are sort of like frats for online gamers. The guys in our guild are generally considerate and friendly, but they are young college/teen males, so they aren't the most enlightened group of folks ever. When logging on to the game guys frequently quip, "Hey ladies" or "What's up bitches?" I was going to rant extensively on the point, but then I found Matt Wilson's "A Feminist Gaming Manifesto." Good job Matt!

Update: Here are a couple of interesting links analyzing WOW.

Racialized Trafficking of Bodies in World of Warcraft

Cultural Borrowing in WoW


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Google Earth Meme

Since Trilliwing posted her childhood home as viewed from google earth I have been trying to find a picture on google earth to represent myself with. Sadly, the town I where I went to highschool is very pixilated. I also searched for the home of my mother's grandparents, which I have fond memories of, but I was so young when it was sold that I couldn't find it. Maybe one factor for my grad school focus on "places" is my continuing search for home.

This is an image of my paternal grandparents' mini-farm. The place is called Batavia, previously a railroad stop for the surrounding farms. My grandparents' is the big green triangle between the road and the railroad. They bought the place when my father was still in elementary school.

This place is the trailer park we lived briefly. The area is known as Agua Caliente or Valley of the Moon, great names for such a rundown strip. Southeast of the trailer park is Flowery Elementary where I attended second grade. The green curve to the West is a little creek we used to play and swim in. I don't remember which trailer was ours.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

linguistic profile

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

15% Yankee

5% Dixie

0% Midwestern


Thursday, May 04, 2006

environmental studies without a textbook

Today's issue of AASHE Bulletin (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) had a great link to this article in Grist about teaching environmental studies without a text book. So I took a look at Professor Pallant's online syllabus and found a link to these photos. Chris Jordan is amazing! Just click on the link, you know you want to!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I hate planning

I hate planning. Not planning your activities for the day, I mean urban planning. I'm taking two classes related to planning this quarter and I’m so tired of it. Planning is all about rules, money, and politics. In the US it’s about making our cities comfortable for people zooming around in their cars talking on their cell phone and eating McDonalds. It’s also about making lots of money for developers.

People who work as planners are really pretty powerless to affect change. Planners employed by local governments are essentially working for the developers. Developers finance the campaigns of local city council members or county commissioners. Planners can't propose anything too innovative for fear of upsetting someone. Outdated zoning regulations and ideas about what makes a city an economic success further push conservative plans.

I'm so tired of hearing about how we have to provide space for everyone to drive around (one person per car). So to counteract this overload here are a couple of links to projects that resist the dominance of the auto in our public spaces...

"(P) LOT by Michael Rakowitz

PARK(ing) by rebar
Isn't that fabulous?