Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Welcome, 2007!

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:17 pm

Hi, welcome to the town. You’ve kind of walked in on a big mess right now. The United States is fighting a war in Iraq. Other countries are madly working on building their own nuclear weapons. I guess you really didn’t have a choice. It seems like humans are always fighting some war or another.

You’ve kind of walked into a wonderland, too. We have advanced our communications to the point that people all over the world can argue and agree with each other in ways that we really couldn’t before. More people have a voice now than ever before. Sure, you need a computer to do it, but that’s a whole lot easier than convincing a publishing company that what you have to say is important.

Thanks for coming, 2007. Sorry you only get to stay for a year. Since your time here is limited, make the most of it. Let’s make this the best year ever, okay?


Getting Ready To Leave Town

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 2:18 pm

Last year at this time, I was getting ready to go to Las Vegas to cover CES. It was the first time I had a press pass and I was so excited. I wanted to prove myself as a writer and I worked so hard last year that I’m not very excited about going this year. CES has become a big chore in my mind. Now that I feel like I’m a writer, I’m not looking forward to going.

I keep telling myself that I can work as little or as much as I want. I’m self-employed. That’s the beauty of it. I can’t cover everything. It’s not physically possible, but I can write about what interests me. I think my brain is a little broken. CES has become one big job for me instead of a fun party.

Comdex was like one big party for me. Even though it was all work-related, I didn’t stress out about it. That’s what I need from CES. I need it to feel like a big party where I get to touch all those cool prototypes that will probably never make it to the production line. That’s what Comdex was for me, but CES hasn’t felt like that yet.

I remember back in 1993, my goal at Comdex was to, “get me some of that virtual reality that everyone is talking about.” Sun Microsystems had a funny thing that you put on your head and played with for about thirty seconds before the person behind you in line poked you with a stick. I remember waiting in line for about an hour to see that virtual reality stuff. Strangely, it wasn’t a disappointment.

Maybe my problem with CES is that I don’t have a goal. My goal last year was to prove that I was a writer. I don’t know who I was proving it to. I already had a press pass. I guess I was proving it to myself. This year, I already believe I’m a writer. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

Back in 1993, I wanted to get me some of that virtual reality stuff that everyone is talking about, but right now, there is nothing that I want to experience first hand that I haven’t already. I’m still waiting for virtual reality to get here already…



Filed under: Movies,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I can’t believe it has been twelve years since I saw Se7en. Twelve years…

My sister Stacey and I went to see the movie ourselves. Mike didn’t want to go because he doesn’t like horror films. I tried to tell him that it wasn’t horror. It was a police drama like “Silence of the Lambs.” His reply, “Silence of the Lambs IS a horror movie!” I shrugged and went to the movie with Stacey.

After the movie was over, the two of us walked to the bathroom. We always go to the bathroom after a movie. I cowered in the corner while Stacey did her business. I was too scared to pee. I just stood with my back to the corner and my eye on the door. That was after checking all the stalls, of course.

I was scared shitless (or rather pee-less…).

The two of us walked to the doors. I looked out the glass doors. I could see my car. The parking lot was empty, but I just couldn’t make the walk out to the car.

“Maybe if we call Mike, he’ll come pick us up and we can get the car tomorrow.”

Stacey was brave. “I don’t think he’s going to pick us up.”

I already had my phone out and dialed. “Mike? Will you come and pick us up at the theater?”

“Did the car break down?”

“No, um… I’m too scared to walk out to the car.”

“I TOLD you it was a horror movie!”

“No, actually it wasn’t. It was a police drama. We followed Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman around the whole time.”

“Morgan Freeman?”


“Easy Reader?”



“Will you come and pick us up?”

“You can’t just walk out to the car? Why don’t you ask the guys who work at the theater to walk you out?”

By then, Stacey was trying to coax me, “Listen, Laura…”

Mike gave his final answer, “If you want me to come, I will. I TOLD you it was a horror movie.”

I replied, “No, I’ll drive us home. Don’t worry. I can do it.”

I wasn’t so sure. Stacey’s voice was calm and soothing, “Listen, Laura. We can see the car. We’ll just run like hell to it and get the doors open quick. We can do it.”

We pushed open the glass doors, ran in the dark and got into the car faster with a key than I could right now with an automatic lock.

I’ve never watched the movie again…

Here are the opening credits to Se7en. Just watching them creeped me out all over again. I wonder if I’ll be able to sleep tonight…

Muppet Gloves

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 1:04 pm

Muppet Gloves

I crocheted these for my sister. Somehow, I don’t think she’s going to like them. They match her scarf though…



Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:29 am

Wesley AutreyI want to hear more news like this:

A man was having a seizure and fell onto the tracks. Wesley Autrey jumped down, moved the man and himself into the foot-deep space between the tracks. The subway couldn’t stop in time and rolled over them. Thanks to Wesley, they were both unharmed. See that smudge on his hat? It was from the train.

Here in Salt Lake City, the subway is a sandwich shop with crappy bread. Utah residents don’t think about falling off the train platforms and whether they would save someone who did. This story sounds so surreal and part of a movie, but it’s real life and a father of two daughters (both of whom were with him that day), jumped off the platform, faced an oncoming train and lived to tell about it.

Sending good karma your way. Good form, Wesley, good form!

Via: Wesley Autrey jumped in front of an oncoming subway train to save the life of a man who had fallen on the tracks (kottke.org)

Just in case the NYT article is under lock and key…

(Continue Reading…)

Pandora Users Get-Together

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 11:26 am

Tim Westergren of Pandora FameTim Westergren of Pandora fame is visiting Salt Lake City and having a meetup at the Salt Lake City Main Library. It’s a beautiful location with wireless access provided courtesy of X-Mission. I met Tim at SxSWi last year and he was very personable. He’s a great speaker and an even better listener. Here are the specifics of the meetup:

Where: Salt Lake City Main Library, Auditorium
Address: 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City UT 84111 (801) 524-8200 Google Map
When: Thursday, January 18th at 7:30 PM

If you have ever used Pandora and want to give him feedback about your likes and dislikes, now is the time! If you haven’t, then try it! It’s a free Internet radio station that is a great tool for finding new music that you will like. I reviewed it on The Gadgets Page here:

A special thank-you to Braidwood for introducing me to Pandora. I have enjoyed its continuous music and software improvements thanks to her!


Slowed To A Crawl

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 10:50 pm

I made it to Las Vegas and we attended the first pre-show event tonight. Trying to access the Internet from our hotel room is an exercise in frustration. We are staying in Jean, Nevada for lots of reasons: great room price, quiet room away from the noise of CES, and the comfort of a hotel that we stay at often. Most definitely, we are NOT staying in Jean for the connectivity. There is no Internet access here, so Michael and I are using our old Treo 650 phones to get online.

The Internet has slowed to the crawl of dialup.

I remember why I HATE Flash websites. I remember why website design is more important than writing. After trying to decide whether we should attend the Samsung press event to see the new Blackjack phone, I ended up hating Samsung. Their website is so Flash-a-licious that I want to kill them. I don’t care about the Blackjack phone anymore.

The true test is my own websites. Do I hate them at the speed of dialup? No, they load pretty quickly. I even tested my weblogs on the tiny screen of the cellphone. They don’t port very well, but they are still readable. The pictures are even downloadable, but they take a little while.

Robo-Elvis makes up for all of it though…


This Video Will Make You Happy

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:57 am

Via: Music video for the Softlightes song Heart Made of Sound features handmade typography, Post-It Notes, and stop-motion animation (kottke.org)


Thanks, Martin…

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Martin Luther King Jr.I don’t care who you are. You owe this guy a thank you. Without him, we would be living in a very different world than we have today. Martin Luther King Jr. represents the friendship of a dear friend of mine. She respected him more than any other man in history. I talked a little about her here:

This holiday can’t go by without me thinking about Jackie. Somehow the two people have become one in my mind. I miss her and it feels like the entire United States celebrates her favorite hero just so I can remember her.


Self Portrait Tuesday: Black Toenails

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 10:30 am

Self Portrait Tuesday: Black Toenails

They look worst when they hurt the least. They looked almost normal when every heart beat was pounding through my toes like a hammer.


Driving to Las Vegas

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

Driving to Las Vegas by Laura Moncur 01-05-07

The drive to Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago was a nightmare. A drive that usually takes 5-6 hours took over 8 hours. We couldn’t go faster than 40 mph without risking an accident. There were so many cars and eighteen-wheelers on the side of the road who had tried to drive just a little bit faster. We are so lucky we weren’t taken out by one of them.

By the time we hit St. George, things had mellowed out enough that I realized that I should have been filming it. The snow had been blowing over the road so much that it was impossible to see where we were going. At the time, all we could do was focus on the road and hope that we stayed on it. When I pulled out the camera, there was snow on the red rocks and the sun was peeking through the clouds for the first time in days. Mike’s hand had loosened on the steering wheel and we felt safe again…


Black Toenails

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

One of my readers commented on my self portrait this Tuesday and I realized that I hadn’t talked about my black toenails at all on this weblog. I had talked about them on Starling Fitness, but I didn’t say anything about them here. Sorry…

Yeah, I’ve been obsessed with running because of the Nike+. The challenges make me want to run further every day. I have to watch myself because I ended up hurting myself. I didn’t even know I had it in me…


Austin, Texas Meetup

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

I am going to be in Austin, Texas from March 8-13th this year and I want to meet up with the readers of Pick Me! I want to hear your ideas about the site, what you like, what you hate and how I can be better.

Here’s the problem: I don’t really know the town. I’m hoping that you folks can tell me the best place and day to meet.

Please email me if you would like to come to the meetup here:

I’m excited to meet my readers face to face and hear just what you want from me!


Self Portrait Tuesday: Good Morning!

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Self Portrait Tuesday: Good Morning!


Scritti Politti is Back?!

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

White Bread Black BeerI had been missing half of George’s life because I didn’t know he had another blog. When I finally found out and went through his archives, I was lucky enough to find this entry:

Thanks to George, I have found out the best news all month! Scritti Politti released an album last year. Scritti Politti, my favorite earworms of 1985 AND 1988, have returned?! It can’t be true, can it? I loved Cupid and Psyche ’85 and Provision. I have ordered White Bread Black Beer at the Salt Lake County Library. I guess I’ll find out soon enough…

Thanks, George!

Update 02-20-07: I got the CD a couple of weeks ago and I love it! Double thanks, George!


February CodeAway

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I wrote an entry on the CodeAway blog about the January CodeAway at the Pandora Users Meetup. It was an awesome experience for me and my mind is still reeling from it:

Next month’s CodeAway has been announced:

Here are the details:

The Sprague Library - 2131 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT

February 2007 CodeAway

Saturday, February 24, 2007 1-5pm

Sprague Library – 2131 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT

Google Map

Downstairs Conference Room

Free wi-fi courtesy of X-Mission

Hope to see you all there!


February Geek Dinner

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

After months without a Geek Dinner in sight, Phil Burns has finally announced a Geek Dinner.

He will have Jeff Barr from Amazon.com come speak and it’s a great opportunity to network with other Utah Geeks. I really enjoy the Geek Dinners because it makes me feel less alone in Salt Lake City.

Here are the details:

Date and Time: Thursday February 8, 2007 6pm
Location: Los Hermanos – 395 N State Street Lindon, Utah 84042 Google Map

Restaurant website:

Los Hermanos is a decent Mexican restaurant with typical food for the area. More importantly, this is the first time in months that we’ll be able to get together with a crowd of other technical people.


Waiting at the Oasis

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:22 pm

“We have a couple of reservations coming in. Do you think you’ll be longer than two hours?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Well, some people like to sit and visit.”

“We’re lucky. We get to visit every day.”

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