Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Where Is Your Dot?

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Dan Russell over at Creating Passionate Users wrote this entry about graphics.

He was playing with dots. Each dot represented a day. He filled the screen with enough dots to represent a sixty-year life. It looked like this:

Click here to see full size image

What if you were given a graphic like this that represents your life? What if you KNEW that you had exactly 22,500 days in your life? Where would your dot be right now, today? How would you spend today if you knew that you only have ten dots left? I think we would live a lot differently if we visually realized how short our time on earth is.

Man, I think I’ll print that thing up an put it on my desk. It will remind me that I don’t have forever here and I’ve got to get going.



Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

As I’m writing this, I have a headache. It’s the one pain that seems to interfere with writing for me. I can write with gut-wrenching stomach pain. I can write with muscle soreness. I can write with a broken ankle. I have a hard time writing with a headache.

I guess it’s because my thoughts and my head are the same place. It doesn’t really make sense to me now that I think about it. A headache shouldn’t really interfere with thinking anymore than any other pain. It’s not like a headache means my brain hurts. I should be able to write through a headache just as easily as I write through stomach pain.

When I was suffering from IBS, I wrote with pain ALOT. I was in pain every day for about six years. I wrote regularly during that time. I didn’t every even consider saying, “Oh, I’ve got gas that makes childbirth feel like a walk in the park. I think I’ll wait until it passes before I write.” Nope. I just farted and wrote and hoped I would feel better as the words flowed out of my fingers.

Why do I let a headache get in the way of my writing?

Well, no more.

I’m going to consider a headache no different than any other pain. I’m just going to work through it even if looking at the computer screen makes it worse. I’ll just wear sunglasses and let the words flow out of my fingers.


Ant Tunnels

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

What you see here is a plaster representation of ant tunnels. How did they get it?

They poured orthodontal plaster down the holes and then dug them up.

Am I the only one bothered that they are destroying the ant’s homes and maybe killing a bunch of ants in the process? I know I poison the ants that get too close to my house, but somehow this bothers me more than that.

I imagine the colony that lived in that ant tunnel and realize that if they didn’t all die, they had to start all over. I imagine someone doing the same thing to New York: filling the open spaces with plaster and pulling it off to make a mold of what the little humans have created. Isn’t it interesting how some buildings are taller than others. The tall ones are grouped together and then the smaller buildings spread out across the city. See the small cars that were stuck in the plaster? They use these to get around town.

I need to stop poisoning the ants by my house. It’s giving me guilt.

Via: Sunspots: the ant nest edition – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)


Self Portrait Tuesday: Headache

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Headache by Laura Moncur 06-01-06


I’m In San Francisco

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:30 am

When Google Maps tells you that it will take 15 hours to drive to San Francisco, but your friends tell you it will only take about 12, believe your friends. I had planned on doing it in two days. I left yesterday, planning to sleep the night in Reno and drive the rest today. Instead, I found myself in Reno at about 1:30 pm with more than enough energy to get myself the rest of the way to my destination. I arrived a day early.

I just realized there’s no cliche for a day early. There’s “A day late and a dollar short,” but there’s no cliche for a day early…

Anyway, Kathleen and Lisa were gracious enough to let me stay a day early, so I took them out to eat at Massawa. I was ready to crash at a hotel if they weren’t ready for me, but they were more than welcoming and I crashed on their most excellent couch.

Right now, I’m tapping away on my laptop. I’m getting Internet access through my Treo 650. I was under the impression that the entire city of San Francisco was under a blanket of easily accessible wireless access, but all the wireless near me has a really low strength, so I’m just getting access through my phone. It’s better that way. Then I don’t feel guilty for stealing.

I’m going to go help the people set up for Vloggercon at the Swedish American Hall and then go to the party later in the day. I was planning on several hours of driving today, instead, I can lazily wake up and write an entry.


Zen Moment at the Apple Store

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:07 am

While waiting at the Apple Store for one of the Vloggercon events, I had a zen moment. I thought I’d share it with you.

Click here to see the video


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 7:44 am

I got home after 11 hours of driving from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. I’m kind of tired this morning.

I’m so excited about everything I learned at Vloggercon. I have to digest it all.

A Rainy Flag Day

Filed under: Personal History,Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:12 am

Until age twelve, I was a Jehovah Witness. I was not allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I was not allowed to put my hand over my heart during the National Anthem.

Click here to see the video

Today is Flag Day and I’m an adult now. I can say the Pledge of Allegiance whenever I want.


My First Interview

Filed under: General,Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:58 am

Francisco Daum interviewed me while I was at Vloggercon. I didn’t think much about it when it happened, but he posted my interview on his weblog. I think this is the first interview I’ve ever had on film. All other interviews I’ve done have been for print, so I’m stoked.

Click here to see the video

I am the second person interviewed. After two days of conference, I look frizzy and tired. I was. It’s funny, but Francisco was able to capture exactly how I felt on film that evening. I was hungry and waiting for everyone to decide where we were going to eat.

You can see more of Francisco Daum’s work here:


The Girl With The Most Cake

Filed under: Health and Fitness,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 8:15 am

I have been struggling with bingeing since I came back from SXSW in March. It’s just a symptom of a bigger issue.

“I want to be the girl with the most cake.”
– Courtney Love

I’m dealing with the green-eyed monster.

SXSW and Vloggercon were incredibly accepting and loving communities. I felt like I was welcomed when I was there. It was a feeling of belonging and community that I haven’t felt since high school. Of course, along came other feelings that used to lurk around during high school.

I’m not the most popular girl.

It’s true. Every community has their celebrities. At SXSW the biggest celebrities were Maggie Mason and Heather Armstrong. I felt like a fan girl actually meeting them and all those feelings of inadequacy of not being the most popular girl came up also.

After SXSW, I remember reading this entry from Maggie and feeling like I was totally out of it again…

We’re at a panel where Jason Fried is talking about “building small.” Nothing too complex. Reduce the feature set as much as possible. Build as little as you can.
I turn around in my seat, and whisper to Amy:
-Behold! I have built nothing.
-Ha! Someone just sent me that exact message over IM.
-Hive mind. (Adopting robot voice.) I-like-your-glass-es.

Suddenly, I felt totally UNcool. I didn’t have any “graphic tees.” My funny little green glasses are rarely worn because contacts work so much better for me and, worst of all, I had NO IDEA what Campers were. I immediately followed the link she provided and found out they were shoes.

It all boils down to shoes with girls…

I didn’t even know what the cool shoes were. That’s how UNcool I was.

(Enter eating disorder, stage left)

Don’t get me wrong. Maggie was so nice when I talked to her at SXSW. She was very friendly and kindly pretended to have read one of my weblogs. She’s not the kind of mega-bitch all of us had to deal with in high school. It really has nothing to do with her, or Heather or even Amanda Congdon. It all has to do with my messed up head. I have some really screwy competition things going on in my head.

The irony is: IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!

Take high school, for example. I was NEVER the girl with the most cake in high school. Every year I ran for office. Every year, I lost. I never once got elected to office. Losing never stopped me, either. I ran for office every time I had a chance. I gave it my all every time and in the end, I never won. That’s my perception of my high school years.

Then I went to my 15 year class reunion and got a different perspective.

I was talking with a table of people that I barely knew, “I ran for office every year and never won.”

The brunette crinkled her brow, “You didn’t? Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure. Failure tends to do that to you.”

“No. You were Treasurer one year, weren’t you?”

“Nope, that year I lost to Araceli Rojas.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

Another person chimed in mentioning class offices that she thought I won. The whole table was convinced that I was among the elite of the school. I was one of the girls who got to wear the special white sweaters with the kelly green highlights. I got to have a “K” on my back and my name embroidered on the pocket. I couldn’t convince them that my experience of high school was anything but privileged.

Who was right? I never won an office, but in the minds of people that I barely knew in high school I was one of the envied ones.

Does it matter that I’m not the girl with the MOST cake? Nope. All that matters is that I bring it, every day.

Time to put down the cake now.


Pinneapple & Carrots

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 11:41 am

Pinneapple & Carrots by Laura Moncur 06-26-06

This is what I had for lunch today. Yum…

Eating healthy still. I’m surprised I’m still here. Almost six days without bingeing. If I go three weeks, I’m going to buy myself a Ninetendo DS Lite.


Why Sometimes Calling a Tow Truck Is Not Enough

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Click here to see the video

Music by: Vortex from Experimental Royalty Free Music


This Scares The BeJebus Out Of Me…

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Seth is shy and introverted. He saw the commercials for Paxil, promising that he’ll be an outgoing and popular fella and decided to try it. You can read about his journey here:

This paragraph scared the bejebus out of me:

“The last few days I’ve considered cutting down on free-lancing and getting a regular job—consulting or something. Previously, I couldn’t imagine a job like this. Regular hours and no creative outlet sounded like a nightmare. All wrong for me. But now, stability, routine, and boredom sounds A-OK. Pleasant, even. An easy way to make a buck and just live my life.”

I had this vision of Paxil being the societal normalizer. I used to work in a pharmacy. I KNOW how much of this stuff is dispensed every day. What if all the innovative people of the world were being turned into boring work drones all for the sake of the promise of popularity?

He went off the Paxil and experienced severe withdrawal symptoms. When the fog cleared, he found something new:

“It’s mercifully over. But a new phenomenon has taken hold. When I get teary-eyed watching a horrid chick-flick on a cross-country flight, I recognize it: feelings. On Paxil, I barely noticed they were gone. Now that they’re back, even overcompensating, I never want to lose them again. Bitterness, anger, jealousy, sadness: They all make me happy.”

I know this drug has helped people all over the globe. It has been a lifesaver for some, but as far as I’m concerned, no Paxil for me, thanks…

Via: kottke.org


Home Remedy

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

There are few things that a purring cat on my chest can’t cure.

A couple of nights ago, I got a headache. I took some Tylenol and went to bed. I woke up too early feeling a little better, but the headache came back with a vengence after answering only a few emails.

My first instinct was to feed the headache, thinking that maybe it was a low blood sugar problem. The scent of my microwaving food caused waves of nausea. I put the food in the refrigerator uneaten, choked down some Excedrin and Sudafed and went back to bed.

I had to displace Maggie, my cat. Feeling guilty for taking her warm spot, I called her to lie on my chest. She crawled up and sprawled out. After only a few pets, she started purring. I took a deep breath and immediately felt better. I still had the pain. I still had the nausea, but somehow I felt better.

She stayed with me until the Excedrin kicked in, then she stood up on my chest, stretching her little back and walked to the foot of the bed: her mission accomplished.


Tchotchke Thieves

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

It started a couple of years ago with my angel. I had a three-foot angel that I had won almost unfairly at a pinochle party about eight years ago. I didn’t really like the angel. I felt guilty for winning it because I had been playing pinochle since I was nine years old and the women I competed against were beginners. After years of placing creepy plastic spiders and skulls in its hand for its plaster mind to ponder, however, I had grown to like it. That was until the Tchotchke Thieves stole it from my front porch.

The next thing they stole was Mike’s bike. It wasn’t really tchotchke, but its another item from our list of belongings that has disappeared from our front porch.

Just last month sometime, the Tchotchke Thieves struck again by stealing my cloud/wind/birdfeeder thing. It was a token that I bought unwillingly at one of those women parties that revolve around shopping. Kind of like a Tupperware party for tchotchke. I bought the wind thing and hung it on the east side of the house to protect my home from strong wind. I had purchased it begrudgingly, but I eventually liked it after owning it for twelve years or so. When I noticed that it was missing, I was fuming.

“The Tchotchke Thieves stole my wind/birdfeeder thingy.” I pointed to the empty spot on the wall of the front porch and protested to Mike. He responded calmly,

“I guess we should take anything we like off this porch.” I quickly gathered the bamboo windchime and the huge green vase where I held the broom.

“Why would someone steal tchotchke? There’s an old lady two blocks down with all my stuff, I just know it! What kind of person steals tchotchke? I don’t even know how to spell tchotchke!”

Mike calmly replied, “T-C-H-O-T-C-H-K-E, I think.”

I looked it up at Websters Dictionary. “You’re right!”

“Yeah, it’s the kind of word they throw out in the last round of the spelling bee.” Mike was the winner for our grade at Kennedy Junior High School, so I believed him.

“I didn’t even know it was a real word. I’ve only heard Strebe say it. I thought he made it up.”

“No, it’s a real word, Yiddish, I think.”

“Yiddish? That’s not fair giving Yiddish words at spelling bees.”

“What does all this have to do with taking down the windchimes?”

“Freakin’ Tchotchke Thieves…”

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