Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur

3/2/2007

Reader Meetup in Austin, Texas: March 9th

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

Austin Barnes and NobleMichael and I are going to be in Austin, Texas for SXSW. While we’re there, we wanted to allow our readers to have a chance to meet us, so we set up a reader meetup at the Sunset Valley Barnes and Noble:

Location: Barnes & Noble – Sunset Valley
5601 Brodie Lane Suite 300, Austin, TX 78745 Google Map
Phone: 512-892-3493

Date and Time: March 9, 2006 6pm-7pm

Please RSVP using Upcoming.org so that we don’t feel like we’re going to be waiting at the bookstore all alone:

We are going to hang around for an hour, gathering readers and then we are going to let you pick a restaurant where we can eat and hang out for longer if you want. I am really interested in what I can do to make Pick Me! a better place to be. What are you interested in? What bores you? How can we help you? Come with ideas and helpful hints because we’re all ears!

3/3/2007

Growing Up Multilingual

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:35 pm

I love this entry from Meri Williams talking about growing up multilingual.

“Growing up in the Western Cape, there were a number of interesting effects of the majority of people speaking multiple languages. For a start, if someone seemed to be struggling in one language, the polite thing for the other person to do was just to swap into their native tongue, where possible. Equally, you quickly learnt that there were some concepts that were just more powerfully described in one language over another. As a result, you’d just use the best terms from the best language available — resulting in a hybrid mish-mash of the different languages.”

I grew up speaking the same language at home as the rest of the area spoke, English. It wasn’t until 7th grade that I took a Spanish class so I would get a jump on the college entrance requirements. It had nothing to do with being more of a world citizen. It strictly had to do with getting ahead in the world.

Someone told me that college would get me ahead in the world, lying bastard…

Ironically, being able to freely converse in other languages is more of an aid than a college degree. My only use for Spanish lately has been eavesdropping on conversations. Non-English speakers in Utah assume that they live in a private world where their words are unheard by everyone else, which gives me the opportunity to listen in on the mundane and intimate.

3/4/2007

We’ve Got The Colgate Pump!

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 1:30 pm

This is easily my favorite commercial of my teenage years. Hands down, my favorite! I hadn’t seen this commercial for 20 years and I still can sing the song word for word!

Even moms and dads agree
What makes it good is MFP!

I think they were trying to be like Madness, but they ended up creating something completely different!

3/6/2007

Mario Kart Vs. Tom Cruise

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 1:07 pm

Mario Kart Vs. Tom Cruise

This little animated .gif made me strangely happy today. I’m sure Toad will win in the end…

Via: Meriblog: Meri Williams’ Weblog » links for 2007-03-05

Color Stuff from Adobe

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 2:43 pm

I might as well be color blind, the way I like to mix colors. This is helpful, though.

How to Get Out of the Audience and Onto the Stage

Filed under: Note To Self — Laura Moncur @ 11:45 pm

Note to self, “Read this when you’ve got a moment.”

I’m leaving for SXSW tomorrow. I’m up way too late getting things ready…

3/7/2007

Austin, Texas Reader Meetup: CANCELLED

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

Reader Meetup Fortune

After a heated discussion on whether we should cancel the Reader Meetup, we let the fortune cookie decide our fate. It said, “A man who dares to waste an hour of time hasn’t discovered the value of life.”

It’s not like we don’t want to spend an hour with our readers; we really do. Unfortunately, the few people who contacted us in Austin have either not responded to our email announcing the event or cancelled. No one has RSVP’d on the UpComing.org site, so the underwhelming response says: CANCEL.

If you live in Austin and were considering going to the Reader Meetup, contact me. Mike and I are are going to this event, which is open to the public, so you’re free to show up here as well.

Your Video Blog Can Save the World

Friday, March 9th, 2005 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Carver Museum Cultural Center (1161 Angelna Street). Google Map FREE admission, no badge or pre-event signup needed to attend this session.

3/8/2007

Twitterpated

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

Twitterpated

I hate to jump on a silly Internet trend, but I can’t believe how addictive Twitter is. I signed up less than a week ago. I’m eagerly adding friends and followers.

It took less than a day before one of my friends used the word “twitterpated.” I was purposely NOT using it because I wanted to see how long it would take. I thought their name was stupid until I remembered twitterpated.

If you want to add me to your friends list, I’m here:

What is Twitter?

You’re supposed to just periodically type in what you’re doing. It gets sent to all your friends. If you’re at the local coffee shop, you can tell your buddies and they can all meet you there.

You can add your updates using the IM on your computer, the SMS on your phone or just enter them on the Twitter website. Because there are so many options for adding and receiving your updates, it makes it really easy. I don’t mind texting on my cellphone, but I’m a cheapskate. Their website is so well maintained that I can access it from my Treo, read my friend’s updates and send my own.

I imagine it would be a great way to keep in touch. Sometimes when I’m working at home alone, it’s nice to feel like someone else is there.

3/9/2007

So Insulting, I Can Barely Speak…

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

So insulting, I can barely speak...

I thought the billboards for plastic surgery were insulting in Salt Lake City, but apparently they can get so insulting that I can barely speak…

Via: adfreak: A billboard that neither of you can enjoy

SXSW Swag Bags

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:15 pm

It’s just a room full of bags. A huge freakin’ room full of bags.

If you are interested in more up-to-date SXSW happenings, you can follow my Twitter page:

It’s so easy to type a sentence or two in the middle of things than to write an entire entry.

Trying To Get Flickr Moblog To Work

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:38 pm

I’d like to be able to moblog while I’m at SXSW, but I’m having trouble with Flickr. It used to work and all the settings look right, but my last photo didn’t post correctly.

Looks like this worked, so I guess I’ll be able to show you a little more of SXSW tomorrow.

3/10/2007

Car Alarm Grackle in Austin

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am
Click here to see the video

Michael and I encountered this grackle outside of Fry’s Electronics in Austin, Texas on Thursday. He kept making a car starting noise and a car alarm noise. Grackles are amazing mocking birds, but this is the first time we’ve heard one mimic a car alarm.

Twitter Log: 03-10-07 7:28 am

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 6:37 am

Here is my latest Twitter Log: (Continue Reading…)

3/11/2007

Twitter and SXSW Dream

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 4:35 am

I woke up 15 minutes ago to a dream in which I was trying to choose the next panel to attend. I was leaning toward this one:

Never send an ex-lover CSS poetry syntax in a drunken haze.

Thanks, MJ, your Twitter Haiku broke my brain…

Twitter Log: 03-11-07 6:38 am

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 4:43 am

I know there is a plug-in that will show a running total of my Twitter activity, but for some reason, I feel like Twitter isn’t going to last long and I’ll lose all this data. I’m keeping it here. Does obsessively collecting my bits and pieces from around the web that I don’t control insane? Should I get a psychiatrist?

(Continue Reading…)

Geeks Gone Wild Autograph Book

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:49 am

Geeks Gone Wild Autograph Book at FlickrMike and I have been having quiet dinners at the Liberty Tavern at the Hilton instead of attending the loud parties at the bars and clubs. It has helped me to accept that I don’t enjoy the loud parties. I need some quiet, peace and conversation with interesting people to digest what I learn during the day at the panels.

If you’re really nice or truly interesting, I ask you to sign my Geeks Gone Wild autograph book. Here is a peek at last night’s signatures.

3/12/2007

Michael Moncur and the Wiki Wabbit

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

Michael Moncur and the Wiki Wabbit at FlickrMike and I love to collect pictures of him with people in costume. Someday we’re going to have an entire website of just pictures of him with people. We have really old ones from Comdex back in the day. He posed with Jeeves from Ask Jeeves before it turned into just, Ask.com. We have a picture of him with Death and another from last year with the Podcast Pickle. I wonder how many we need until it’s a meme instead of just a really weird collection.

Twitter Log: 03-12-07 7:59 am

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 6:04 am

Twitter has been really useful to use during the conference. At one point, Mike said, “How did you know George was at the Legos?” I held up my phone.

Last night, Twitter won an award. I’m glad they have success, but I suspect that means that Twitter is going to be flipped and I’ll lose all my data. Still transferring my logs here:

(Continue Reading…)

3/13/2007

Self Portrait Tuesday: Hotel Room Mirrors

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

Self Portrait Tuesday: Hotel Room Mirrors

“Are you pinching pimples?”

“No..” I lied.

“Okay, it just got quiet in there…”

There is something about hotel room mirrors that creates a self loathing in me that devolves into pinching pimples on my face. They must use some sort of horrible lighting that makes every indication of a blemish look five times worse than the mirror in my bathroom at home.


SXSW07: Pervasive Electronic Games

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:59 am

SXSW07: Pervasive Electronic Games

Here are my personal notes from the panel:

Julian Bleecker: USC Interactive Media Division and The Near Future Laboratory
Aaron Meyers USC Interactive Media
Kevin Slavin Mnging Dir, Area/Code
Dennis Crowley Prod Mgr, Dodgeball/Google

Aaron Meyers: Mobzombies: You run in the real world to avoid zombies. The machine has an accelerometer. You drop time sensitive bombs to blow up the zombies. Working on a mobile version that could work on a phone. Right now it works on the Sony Viao UMPC. Hoping to release the kit as open source so people can use it to create games.

Kevin Slavin: Area/Code There is a very human instinct to lie radically about where we are and the places where we go. Places need stories to make them seem real. Most places are real and most stories are not. Some places aren’t real either. As we spend more time in the virtual places, it’s crazy to think that stories of the virtual places won’t leak out.

Geocaching: Conquest, Superstar game in Tokyo,

There’s always something on the left made out of stuff and there is always stuff on the right that is made out of ether.

Games with computers in them not the other way around. Use the computer to change the condition in the real world.

Games were always social until recently. Now they are starting to move back.

Conqwest: They Live He finds sunglasses that allows him to see the world as it is.

The idea of having a lens on the world. Semicode optical bar code. The lens of your camera can decipher that. We can create public secrets.

There was some sort of emotional connection.

There are problems with big cities because of the urban canyons.

plunder.

Urban Golf in Chicago.

The idea of outdoor media that DOESN’T interact with your phone is going to be weird.

Webkins: Stuffed animals that have unique codes that unlock the world online.

Live TV is a place where a lot of people hanging out at once. Sopranos A&E connection. The browser is reacting to television. The way that people organize their photos affects the game.

Games re-enchant something that is familiar.

GDC 2007: Ambient blue tooth data. Tooth fairy. How do we bring ambient data to life?

We have always used stories to navigate.

Julian Bleecker: That was great Kevin. It was really inspirational. It was so inspirational that we don’t need Dennis.

Dodgeball location based service and it puts it on a map. You get information about your friends and it encourages rendevous behavior.

He worked with Kevin on ConQwest and PacManhattan.

We try to take the experience of checkins and turn it into a game.

By introducing the competitive elements, it increased checkins.

I have a weird competitive thing in me.

NHL ’94 remembered the stats and it started a competitive streak in him.

Pedometer Wars!

How can you make real life like a video game. Pedometer wars encouraged interaction.

Nike+ is another way to give you an extra step of motivation.

You can map your runs with the Nike+.

GPS and Snowboarding. GPS information. Like RC Pro-AM. Waiting for better GPS mobile phones to make the game perfect.

Taking traditional 8-bit metaphors and putting them on the real world.

Once someone comes out with a device that is like the Nike+, Garmin and the cell phone, I will be able to create this game for my friends.

Kevin Slavin: Are A&E happy for the ROI? YES. The game gave the world a new reason to watch the Sopranos.

There are two things that are typical in ARG that are different than this. ARGs focus on puzzle solving. We aren’t thinking about puzzle solving. We are setting up formal systems where people can interact with others.

How do let people it’s okay to play?

Kevin Slavin: Event based and pervasive (going on all the time). How do discover that there is Tetris on your phone? Have games that produce physical media that are as the cue.

Dennis Crowley: It’s hard because you have to have a specific device.

Aaron Meyers: We just wanted to make people look silly. I’m not sure where we are going to go with that.

Kevin Slavin: When we did plundr, we realized that the likelihood of people being close was low. so they had to change the game. It’s more like a play by mail chess game.

What is the world going to look like in five years?

Dennis Crowley: I always think of NYC as a whole bunch of magic squares where you can step on them and something will happen. You will have more people interacting with this. All the work I’ve been doing will be based on location.

Kevin Slavin: The cellphone is ALREADY location aware. We just can’t access this data. We can’t touch most of those things yet. I would love to see those business problems solved.

Dennis Crowley: Dodgeball was the most important part was getting all the dots on a map. Once they were on the map, we were able to do a bunch of stuff with them.

Kevin Slavin: The goal is not to mislead other people. The goal is to rethink your position. These tools could be used for all different sorts of evil

Dennis Crowley: The handset manufacturers are integrating GPS into the handsets, but it’s not the best. We prefer wireless positioning instead.

Aaron Meyers: Mobzombies has problems with multi-player, so right now it’s just a single player game right now.

Dennis Crowley: For a single player with the powerup stuff is great with the Nike+ will shave seconds off your time. It gives me a reason to go out and run.

SXSW07: Bust 2.0

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

SXSW07: Bust 2.0

We survived Bust 1.0. Is there a Bust 2.0 coming up?

Gina Bianchini CEO, Ning Inc
David Hornik General Partner, August Capital
Eric Hellweg Sr Editor, Harvard Business Review
Narendra Rocherolle Co-Founder/Principal, 30 Boxes
Michael Sippey VP Prod, Six Apart Ltd
Lane Becker: Satisfaction Inc

Lane Becker: I lived through the first boom and bust. Are we headed through a bust 2.0? When is it all going to fall apart and why?

David Hornik: It all starts with a panel.

Gina Bianchini: I don’t think it’s going to fall apart. We now have 1.2 billion people online. The amount of ad dollars is huge. There is tremendous opportunity. Perhaps not every startup will not be YouTube, but the opportunity is great for building something for the future. Some startups will make it and some won’t. I think we are in a fundamentally different situation than we were in 7 years ago.

Eric Hellweg: I do agree that things are different right now. I DO think we are headed for a shakeout. I don’t think it will be as catastrophic as it was in 2001.

David Hornik: It’s okay. It’s just MY money.

Michael Sippey: How much do we care about David’s money. If you’re building a REAL business, when the bust comes and the private equity disappears, that’s different than what happened in 2001.

Eric Hellweg: The ad money is growing, but we’re dealing with a much smaller pie. Your slice might be harder to fight for. Right now we’re in a pretty frenzied state. I don’t know how long the center will hold.

Gina Bianchini: Your slice of the pie doesn’t need to be that big. You can get up and running for just a couple 100 bucks at most. You don’t need to make a lot of money.

Michael Sippey: One of the risks that we have is the need to expand the users of online advertising. Google needs to educate more and more small businesses.

Narendra Rocherolle: A lot of people are here because of publishing revolution that has been two-way. Now people will kill the great ideas early on. There are areas where it reminds him of Bubble 1.0. Part of this is a bit of a con. You’re trying to build something up and sell it. The web industry is a difficult industry.

David Hornik: There are smart investors and irrational investors. Find things that have meaning and are valuable. Most importantly, you have to be building a real business.

Narendra Rocherolle: I didn’t meant to generalize, but in general… VC plays a huge role in developing things, but it also provides a risk. It’s on a lower scale now.

David Hornik: VC people won’t say, “I’ll pay you a smaller price because I think it’s a small idea.” There are deals that haven’t proved that they work and there are those that have.

Gina Bianchini: It’s just as easy or hard to build a big business as a small business. I want to be around and do the thing that I started in five years. The shift from not-proven to proven has shorted. This is a great time to be an entrepreneur. It’s critical that you do things cost-effectively.

Question: This idea of a bust is based on the CPM of advertising. What about businesses that have huge communities? will that mitigate the bust?

Michael Sippey: We have a very diverse business for that reason. We sell subscriptions AND software. It helps us understand our customers and we think it gives us a leg up.

David Hornik: It is a lot cheaper to provide services JINGLE 1-800-Free-411 is a service that will give you 411 for free with an ad. It changes the whole nature. Wouldn’t it better if we did THIS? Let’s start it! These things are always a timing problem. Forget the bust.

Gina Bianchini: It’s important not to follow conventional wisdom. Every single consumer company turned into a B2B play. eBags and Zappos focused on their business and were mocked by insiders. Now, they have completely lived through Bust 1.0. There is value to know what your business is in your gut. Don’t build your business to look cool to VCs.

Question: How can bigger companies survive the next bust?

Eric Hellweg: Follow your consumers. Don’t blindly throw money online. It’s very easy to see where there is interest.

Lane Becker: All the community content, USA Today made sure that non of it would be read by Google.

David Hornik: What happened to the cable companies is happening to the television networks now. You have the capacity to focus on just the thing you want to focus on.

Question: Web 2.0 doesn’t seem that different to me. I’m curious about the idea that there isn’t going to be bust. How are the smaller people going to deal with it?

Gina Bianchini: I think that there always be survival of the fittest. I think it’s a good thing. If you define the opportunity as a bubble, it’s not quite right. It’s more like there is excitement. There will always be companies that make it and companies that don’t make it. It’s not a bubble, it’s life. That’s what makes it fun and why we don’t work at GE.

Lane Becker: Failure isn’t necessarily looked down on in this industry. When you look at it that way. Most of the truly new things started in 2001-2003. They all started when we were starving.

Question from Ted at Dogster: Inflation in salaries caused some of the problem.

Narendra Rocherolle: There are ways to get labor cheaper offshore. When salaries go up, think about the value of investing in that salary. During the lean years, people found ways to incentivize workers. The more you play into the inflation, the more you suffer through the downside.

David Hornik: When you’re starting a company and building something with a small team, the worst thing you can do is create a big distance between you and the people who are building it. It’s an investment. Is that an appropriate use of the money.

Michael Sippey: The difference between the markets. Dick Costelo: Ask the Wizard: Making hiring decisions. When you hire, no false positives.

Gina Bianchini: I think no false positives is bullshit.

Michael Sippey: Read his thing because he goes through it on job type. It’s really good.

Question: People are shifting their attention from TV, radio and print to the Internet. What’s your outlook on this shift?

Narendra Rocherolle: Consumer media is really hard. It is really difficult. Very few ad companies have put it together. Banners are being thrown out the window, so now we’re asking them to try all new things. There is a lot of money being spent, but it is probably still on the horizon.

Eric Hellweg: The advertisers are reluctant to put ads around video, despite its popularly.

Gina Bianchini: It takes a while for advertisers to figure it out. When it happens, it HAPPENS and it REALLY happens. There is enough money out there right now for people to build smart businesses.

Lane Becker: We have figured out a way to make customer service entertaining and fun. There is a huge market there in the future.

Question: Interruptions and user experience. How long will people’s attention will last?

David Hornik: People with more time than money and people with more money than time. You have to be able to help both segments of that market. There are people who are willing to give attention to advertisers for content and then are people who would just rather pay you. Make sure you give options to both.

Lane Becker: ABC is just fighting the medium and it’s just not going to work for them.

Question: Do businesses understand the concepts of Web 2.0? It seems like some companies are just using Web 2.0 to use it to do what they already want to do.

Narendra Rocherolle: Avoid the topic sentences. Web 2.0 is great conceptually. Email is still as important as it was before, but Widgets is the popular thing right now. There is no magic bullet. Everyone is launching a social network, but it’s not a magic bullet.

Gina Bianchini: What’s so much fun right now is that anyone with passion and a good idea can make it big. One person can do a lot more than big business because they aren’t restrained by legal departments. Authenticity is MOST important. People’s bullshit meters are so fine tuned. You have to not be a poser.

Eric Hellweg: Grasp on the CONCEPTS like authenticity and transparency. It’s such a new concept to so many people. There IS a business value for welcoming in the community.

Michael Sippey: The USA Today was a very big thing. If you can see an implementation that is done in a way that can see how it has been done. Then it will be a lot more real. More and more media will be social.

Gina Bianchini: eBay 11 years ago was doing communities. This isn’t new.

Eric Hellweg: It’s easier now.

Gina Bianchini: If USA Today does it, then it’s somehow better.

Eric Hellweg: The USA Today going to be an interesting experience. Can a brand like them embody some of the social ideas?

Question: Outsourcing 10 years out, all this labor saving outsourcing that we are doing is going to kick our butt. What will that creative scene look like?

David Hornik: I’m sure their skill is excellent. This is a communication issue. USA is the “creative engine” of the world. Does that change over time. I hope there will be a lot of interesting innovation in the Bay Area. Over time, there will be increased pressure.

Gina Bianchini: A small team of REALLY productive people can do more than numbers alone. Don’t you want “good” engineers? Thinking of people as expensive or cheap doesn’t work anymore.

Michael Sippey: It gets really hard to deal with engineers all over the company. It’s always hard to communicate and we still suck at it.

Eric Hellweg: Forecasting 10 years out, there are pricing issues already. In 10 years, they will probably be making as much as we are.

Eric Hellweg: Can the market support 15 video sharing sites?

Twitter Log: 03-13-07 8:10 pm

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 6:16 pm

My Internet connectivity was so patchy today that I hardly Twittered at all. Plus, I was so angry at the Frag Dolls that I couldn’t say anything. I am STILL too angry to talk about it.

(Continue Reading…)

SXSW07: Global Microbrands

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:36 pm

SXSW07: Global Microbrands

After an abysmal panel with the Frag Dolls (no comment), it was refreshing to sit in on this panel about the truly inspirational way to market yourself.

David Parmet Owner, Marketing Begins At Home LLC
Gabe Rivera CEO, Techmeme
Hugh MacLeod Blogger, gapingvoid.com
Kathy Sierra CreatingPassionateUsers

Global Microbrand Because Real Jobs Suck

David Parmet: I’m going to introduce the panel and then go to watch Bruce Sterling.

Hugh MacLeod: Global Microbrand is a small business. Instead of doing local stuff, it has a global community of customers and users.

Because of blogs, you don’t need to wait 200 years to develop a microbrand.

If you income coming from all over the planet, then it’s recesssion-proof.

David Parmet: Schtick? It’s a yiddish word meaning day job.

Hugh MacLeod: They key is freedom and personal sovereignty.

Gabe Rivera: Techmeme is fueled by people’s global microbrands. You need an identity that transcends your day job. You’re not going to advertise on TV. You have to create things that are interesting and that people want link to.

Kathy Sierra: I wouldn’t have started this if I hadn’t lost my job at Sun. Some of the things I say might disagree with things that other people say you should do.

Global Microbrand Virtues:

Be Grateful Be Humble Be Patient Be Brave Show Respect Be Generous Be Motivating

Be Grateful: MOST important. Every moment people give us attention, it’s a gift. I never stop being grateful. It’s REALLY a gift.

Be Humble: When I look at someone’s blog, it’s all about you and that isn’t really giving something back. OUr job is to make people feel better about themselves in a legitimate way. Give them a gift.

Be Patient: It takes time for things to grow. We just wanted to build a blog, give what we can give, help people and respect the gift of attention.

Be Brave: Grow a thicker skin. As you become more popular, the critics will come out. Don’t have death by risk aversion. If you’re doing something that people love, then there are some people who are going to hate it. You don’t want EVERYONE to hate you.

Show Respect: If I can just give something back, it gives them respect for their time. Give them superpowers.

Be Generous: Give away whatever knowledge that I have. Give things away. If you can teach someone how to do something, then they will be better at what they can do.

Be Motivating: Put someone that someone else wants to say out there.

Talk to the BRAIN not the mind. Include pictures.

Don’t name drop. No one cares who you partied with.

It’s not about YOU!

David Parmet: You’re going to piss some people off.

Question: How do you show you’re grateful?

Hugh MacLeod: I will quote the nice people. I’m bad at responding to comments, but every now and then, I try to be nice. I don’t put up with trolls. I give them a link in a subsequent post.

Interesting people will drop themselves on your lap. If you acknowledge them. You’re better to link to the people who read your blog than linking to Scoble. Say nice things about people who read your blog.

You have to explain how busy you are.

Kathy Sierra: I can’t keep up with the comments. Respect people’s time with the posts that I make. I do the graphs so people can get the idea with the posts.

You don’t have to keep posting. If I can’t add value, I’m not going to clutter up your feed reader. It’s about respecting your time by putting quality up there.

Question from Tara Hunt: People believe volume is important. I felt so much better when I stopped looking at Technorati and I was able to write for myself and my readers instead of writing for the ranking.

Hugh MacLeod: English Cut blog. He never checks his rankings. He doesn’t care about Scoble or the other cool kids. He cares about making the best suits in the world.

Question: What are the different kinds of success?

Kathy Sierra: The few personal things that I have blogged about has been my seizure disorder. I posted about my deteriorating condition. One of my readers emailed me and told me about a new medication that I could try. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t found the new medication.

Hugh MacLeod: We were all being mutually generous to each other.

David Parmet: When you get out of college, you don’t have to work in the big glass box for Mr. Dickless.

Hugh MacLeod: The cheaper you can do it, the more freedom you’ll have.

Question: Climbing Technorati is just a different version of the glass box.

Hugh MacLeod: It takes about 2-3 to hit critical mass. I want EVERYBODY to have a global microbrand. It will make a happier world.

Kathy Sierra: My job is try help someone else to be the only one that does what they can do.

Question from Chris Messina: The more that I can help other people, the better I feel. Stop thinking about having an audience. Think about the three or four people that you are writing to. Just like writing an email. The people I choose to work for represents me. My contributions determine what they are going to be in the end.

Hugh MacLeod: The best way to get approval is to not need it.

Question from Alex: Every time you blog, you’re putting thing out there that people can hang onto.

Hugh MacLeod: Social Object: The future of marketing. The way you talk to people when you start conversation is usually kind of random. I want to be with you Please name your terms. I’d rather have you download my pictures and print them up than get the four dollar profit. Say, this is me, please take it. Create things that people can have for free and give to their friends.

We have an inherent need to bond with our fellow creatures. We love people. We want things to make easier to love people.

3/15/2007

How To Shower

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

I LOVED this video! I’ve decided I’m going to shower like a man from now on. To heck with the mint hair conditioner. I’m gonna shake my butt and yell, “Woo woo!” from now on!

Twitter Log: 03-15-07 11:53 am

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 10:55 am

My twittering was slow yesterday because I was busy flying home. No excuse today, though…

(Continue Reading…)

3/16/2007

Cryptographers Are Cool!

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

Matt Blaze: James Randi owes me a million dollars!James Randi offered $1,000,000 to any psychic who could remotely view what he had hidden in his box in his office. Matt Blaze has come forward to claim the prize.

He was correctly able to state that James Randi had placed a CD or DVD in the box. How did he do it? Is this actual proof of psychic powers?

Not quite…

“Randi last week published an encoded description of his box’s secret contents: 0679 4388 66/27 5 -14″

“After staring at this commitment string for a little while, we suspected (or, if you prefer, we had a divine inspiration) that the first 10 digits might represent the ISBN number of a published book. Sure enough, a bit of Internet research quickly revealed ISBN number 0-679-43886-6 to be the 1995 edition of the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. Once we tracked down a library with a copy (it’s a bit scarcer than you might think), we checked page 275 (“/27 5″). If you’re following along with a copy at home, you’ll see that the 14th entry from the bottom (“-14″) is the definition for compact disc, which is, as Randi has confirmed, what was in the box.”

Humans truly have vast components of their minds that are untapped. Sadly, they are the higher reasoning functions, not psychic abilities that are so often left dormant in the average human brain.

Via: James Randi offered a $1 million prize to any psychic who… (kottke.org)

Twitter Log: 03-16-07 8:09 am

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 7:11 am

Twitter was slow yesterday. I wonder if they kept the SXSW Twitter monitors up during the music portion of SXSW. Are they getting a bunch of indie rockers to sign up for them now?

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March CodeAway: SupaSecret Location!

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 10:02 am

CodeAway is coming in a couple of weeks. The Sprague Library is a great place, but we can’t really meet there anymore for a variety of reasons:

We need a place that has power, Internet connectivity and allows food. Finding a place that allows all three is difficult, so Mike and I are opening up our house. At least I can depend on my place.

The problem is, I don’t want to post my address on the Internet. You can probably understand why. Here are the details for March’s CodeAway:

Date and Time: Saturday, 03-31-07 1pm-5pm

Location: SupaSecret Location! Contact Laura Moncur to get the address.

Bring: Your laptop with wireless or ethernet connection (we can work with both), treats and snacks, other Utah Geeks

SXSW was so amazing! Last year at this time, I was so depressed because I felt like all my friends were scattering across the country again. This time, I remembered all my great Utah Geeks and I was eager to come home to you guys and tell you everything I learned! Can’t wait to see you!

3/17/2007

My New View

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

My New View by Laura Moncur 03-16-07

The standing desk is a failure. I got rid of my monster desk and relocated my computer to a shelf unit. My plan was to work at the standing computer every day. Just the act of standing and fidgeting around would help me burn a few more calories automatically. Instead, I worked on my laptop on the couch, on the comfy chair and at the kitchen table. I worked on my laptop so much that I became used to how SLOW it is. When I would use the standing desk computer, I would be surprised at its speed. That’s when I KNEW I needed to give up on the standing desk idea.

I like the view from my desk now. The sun is in my eyes and it entices me to open the blinds. I’ll have to get dressed before I can do that, though.

Twitter Log: 03-17-07 7:53 am

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 6:55 am

Twitter is still really slow and they have “temporarily” taken down the IM feature. Mike and I were talking about it last night and I don’t think they’ll be around for much longer. They really seem like a company meant to be flipped. If they aren’t purchased soon, they will collapse under their own weight. If they are, whoever buys them will bugger them up somehow.

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3/18/2007

JPG Magazine Submission: Eats, Nevada

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

If you haven’t picked up a copy of JPG Magazine, you might be surprised to know that the entire magazine is filled with reader submitted photos. The other day, I submitted a couple of mine.

JPG Magazine Submission: Eats, Nevada

There used to be a collection of small cabins just south of Las Vegas. I got this picture right before they were demolished. I wish I could have eaten there. I wonder how the food tasted. I imagine that the waitress would be surly and the heat stifling, her hair clinging to the back of her neck in swirls. Hunter Thompson would stagger in, disoriented on his way to Las Vegas. I would pretend to ignore him and never realize my brush with greatness while the useless fan whirred in the background.

JPG Magazine Submission: Follow the Arrows

They bulldozed this sign back in aught-six. I’m still greiving the loss. The arrows pointed to the array of cabins and the little cafe. I followed the arrows, but there were no longer any food or rest. Just empty buildings surrounded by chainlink and “No Trespassing” signs. Did I trespass? No, but it was peer pressure, not fear of the law that kept me on the legal side of the fence. I tried to follow the arrows, but they stopped me.

Do you like these photos? Vote for them on JPG and they might show up in their magazine. Check out what everyone else submitted.

For more info on Eats, Nevada:

Twitter Log: 03-18-07 2:19 pm

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 1:23 pm

Still logging my Twitter entries. They seem to make less sense when I can’t see what other people wrote…

(Continue Reading…)

3/19/2007

Why Twitter Is Appealing… to some

Filed under: General,Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 8:38 am

I haven’t been able to fully articulate why I like Twitter so much, but this article from The Globe and Mail was pretty close.

Tara also has a brilliant piece on why Twitter may help historians piece together our lives in this century:

It seems that only a few people really enjoy Twitter, but the ones that do REALLY do. Short Twitter Log yesterday.

Twitter Log: 03-19-07 9:32 am

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Cody’s Cat: Introduction

Filed under: Fiction — Laura Moncur @ 10:22 am

I have been sitting on a short story since December. Finally, I am able to just admit that it’s not perfect and just publish it already. It’s called Cody’s Cat and it has been brewing ever since Linda started having kidney problems. I still don’t know what we are going to do when she gets worse, but for now, we are able to keep her happy and playing with string. The vet said she could last about two years, but I don’t know how I’ll deal with things when it gets bad.

Thinking about it has made me depressed and it all came out in this story.

Cody’s Cat is a five-part story and a new entry will be posted at 5am every morning until it’s finished. If you don’t like fiction, you can just avoid Pick Me! for the next five days and then I’ll be back to my normally scheduled fluff and introspection.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

3/20/2007

Cody’s Cat: Part 1 of 5

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

Cody woke up to the sound of Tiger’s meows. Tiger wasn’t able to jump up on the bed anymore, so she sat near the bed meowing until he awoke. When Tiger was a kitten, she used to jump onto Cody’s shoulder and gently paw at his face until he woke up. Fourteen years later, their routine had changed, but they still depended upon each other.

Cody's Cat: k/d Food by Laura Moncur 03-19-07

Cody followed Tiger into the kitchen and dished out the k/d food into the small bowl. She eagerly ate while Cody headed to the bathroom. “At least her appetite’s good,” he thought to himself. Tiger had given Cody a scare last month. A bladder infection exacerbated Tiger’s normal kidney problems. Cody had to pull her out from under the bed. He knew that she was really sick because she didn’t fight him when he put her into the cat carrier to take her to the vet.

Now, Tiger was eating again. She hadn’t finished her food by the time Cody came out of the bathroom. Instead of eagerly biting into the food, she had started licking the food, which took much more time. Cody didn’t care as long as she ate. He gently lifted the scruff of her neck. The fur didn’t immediately fall back like it should. She was dehydrated again. No wonder, considering how full the kitty box was every day.

Cody rubbed his face and padded back into the bathroom for a shower. A shave and a double knot later, he left his apartment for work. He knocked on 3A on his way out, but the door stayed closed. “I’ll have to call her,” he thought to himself. His commute to work was as uneventful as every other day.

“Angie? Sorry to bother you, but it looks like Tiger is dehydrated again. I was wondering if you had a few minutes tonight so I can give her some fluids. Call me.” He left the message and hoped that Angie would call back. Angie was a great neighbor. She was quiet, willing to help and, most importantly, not nosy. Living in a building where the walls are thin can be a nightmare if your neighbors are noisy or nosy.

Angie called back within the hour. “Sorry, I was in a meeting.” Cody was grateful that she responded so quickly. Of course, she always called him back, but he felt like he was imposing on her more and more. Tiger was needing fluids every few days now. “Do you have time tonight to help me?” Angie sounded distracted, “Yeah, but I’m overloaded today. I don’t think I’ll get home until after six. Is that okay?” Cody wiped his face, his large hand covering the forehead and slowly moving down to his chin. “Yeah, six is great.” The line was quiet and then he added, “Thanks. I feel like I’m buggin’ you.” Angie argued, “It only takes a couple of minutes. It’s no big deal, really. I gotta go. ‘Bye.”

Cody sighed a breath of relief and looked at his phone. There was an instant message that he hadn’t noticed earlier. It was from Jen. “Dinner tonight?” He texted back, “Meet you @ 7:30 @ Baja Rio?” He watched the phone after he sent his message, expecting an immediate response, but it just sat there.

Hours later, he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket during a meeting. Suddenly everything that was being discussed was coming to him through a fog of excitement. It had been a week since Jen had called or IM’d him. He thought that their last date went perfectly, but she hadn’t returned his calls. He and Jen had been dating for two years, but she had kept him continually at arm’s length. Now, after a week of silence, she had returned. His vibrating phone felt like a hot rock in his pocket throughout the meeting.

He had bought the Blackberry about a year ago and it caused a stir in the office. When he was checking for messages from Jen, his coworkers assumed he was receiving important messages for work. His single purchase had caused a wave of Blackberry purchases in the office. He didn’t realize how much his actions affected his peers in the office, but he learned very quickly to check his phone in private.

The minute he left the conference room, he reached for his Blackberry. The message was from Jen. It said, “How about 6?” While walking back to his desk, he wrote back, “Can’t. Must be 7:30 or later.” It was hard enough getting anyone to help him give Tiger fluids. He wasn’t going to delay it any longer than he had to. He looked at his phone, hoping for a quick answer, but it remained quiet.

Cody's Cat: Normosol-R by Laura Moncur 03-19-07

At home, he waited for Angie to knock on his door. He brought the Normosol-R out of the fridge. He pulled a fresh needle out of the package and attached it to the huge syringe. He pulled up 60 ml of the fluid out of the package, put the cover back on the syringe and let it sit on the counter. Tiger dealt with this much better when the fluids had time to get to room temperature.

Cody still hadn’t received a text message back from Jen. He looked at the food in the freezer and wondered if he should eat. Did he have a date or not? Should he call her? Most of the time it just pissed her off when he called her. He dialed her number, but she didn’t answer, “Hey, Jen. It’s Cody. I got your message, but I can’t meet at six. I have to give Tiger his fluids and I don’t have anyone to help me until after six. I didn’t hear from you, so I have no idea what’s going on…” He heard his voice trail off and the sound of it disgusted him. He just hung up.

At 5:48 pm, Angie knocked on the door. Cody rushed to answer it. “I came as soon as I got home. Sorry it was so late. I just am swamped at work,” she kept talking as her eyes scanned the room, “Where’s Tiger?” Cody rolled his eyes and responded, “She started running the minute you knocked on the door.” Angie laughed, “Well she only has one hiding place.” They both went to the bed. Cody reached under and pulled her out. “Time to clip your claws.” She was clinging to the carpeting, but he was able to pull her free.

Angie offered, “I can help you do that while I’m here, if you want.” Cody carried Tiger to the kitchen counter. “No, I’ve got a date right after this, so I’ll just do her claws later tonight. I can do them on my own.” Angie nodded and gently took hold of Tiger. She expertly grasped the cat by the scruff of her neck, lifted her up, grabbed the feet and stretched her out on the counter. Tiger was incapacitated.

Meanwhile, Cody pulled the cover off the syringe needle. He poked it into Tiger’s skin on her upper back. He emptied the syringe, creating a big, lumpy bubble of fluid under the skin. Angie asked, “You want to give her another 60 ml? She’s tolerating it pretty well today.” Cody nodded and reached for the Normosol-R, but realized that he had put it back into the refrigerator. “I can’t. I left it in the fridge.” Angie shrugged. “Pull out another dose and I’ll come back in a half hour or so.” Cody shook his head, “No, I can’t.” Angie nodded, “Oh yeah. A date. Jen?” Cody nodded. Angie released Tiger and the cat just sat on counter, waiting to be lifted down. Angie pet Tiger. “So, do you really have a date or is this one of those things where you don’t even know if you have a date or not?”

Cody just stood at the counter with one hand on his hip and the other clenched around the huge syringe. He nodded and took in a deep breath. “I guess it’s the ‘not knowing if I have a date or not’ date.” Angie continued petting Tiger and the cat walked on the counter between the two of them. “You’ve been dealing with this for a couple of years. Most people would have dumped her by now. Why do you put up with it?” Cody replaced the cover on the needle, removed it from the syringe and placed it in the red plastic container on his counter. “She’ll tell me when it’s time.”

Angie walked over to the kitchen faucet and started washing her hands. “When it’s time? Time for what? I don’t really know what you’re doing?” Cody shrugged and held out a towel for her to dry her hands with. “I’m going to give her all the time she needs.” Angie nodded and patted Cody on the shoulder. “Whatever. Good luck tonight. Call me if she needs anything.” Angie let herself out the door and Cody could hear her walk into her own apartment on the other side of the wall. Cody lifted Tiger off the counter and rushed into his bedroom to change.

3/21/2007

Cody’s Cat: Part 2 of 5

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

Cody arrived at Baja Rio at 6:43 pm. “Do you have a woman here waiting for me?” The girl at the front desk crinkled her brow. “I don’t think so, but you can walk through and see if you find her.” He briskly toured the restaurant scanning for Jen’s straight and shiny hair. It had been a week since he had seen her. So much can happen in a week. So much can happen in just a day. How could he have let it go that long? She wasn’t there. He sighed with relief.

“I guess she’s not here yet. Can I get my name on the list?” The girl picked up two menus and said, “I can seat you now.” Cody shook his head. “I’d rather wait for her here.” The girl plopped down the menus and shrugged while he skulked back to the uncomfortable and wobbly chairs. He tried to push the memories of nights waiting at a table for her. It was far easier to wait in the front and slip out if she never came. He checked his Blackberry for a message, but nothing.

Cody’s mind was a rush and he couldn’t stop the voice inside his head, “You know, it’s not her fault you’re waiting here. You told her 7:30. She’s not late. You’re WAY too early. What if she came at six and left right before I came in? Did I stand her up? God, I hate this.” A cold breeze flew into the room as a happy couple walked in. The girl at the front seated them and Cody watched as they held hands on the way to the table. “She’ll come right at 7:30 just like we planned. Maybe I should IM her and tell her I was able to get out here a little earlier.” He pulled out his phone and texted a message. He reread it five times before sending. “Got out early. I’m at Baja Rio now.” He sent the message and stared at the phone for a response. It buzzed within a minute. “I’m coming. Get us a table.”

A warm smile washed over his entire body. He stood up, “I just got a message from her. I guess I want a table now.” The girl pulled two menus from the pile and led him to the table. Before she could walk away he added, “Her name is Jen and she’ll be looking for Cody. She has long brown hair. It’s straight.” The girl just raised her eyebrows and nodded before walking back to the cold front room.

Cody could smell the food and realized that he was hungry. He looked over the menu and tried to think what was the best to order. Should he order a bottle of wine? Maybe margaritas? No, he had to work tomorrow. At 6:56 pm, Cody saw the girl at the front point at him. Behind her was Jen. It was as if she were lit up like a movie star. A soft glow surrounded her as she headed to his table. Should he stand up? He was paralyzed. He just sat there watching her head toward him.

“That’s cool that you got out early. What was the problem?” She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek and his entire body felt her lips touch his skin. “Tiger needed fluids.” Jen swished into her seat and gracefully picked up the menu. “Tiger needs fluids every day.” Cody shrugged. “I can’t do it all by myself. I need someone to hold her and my neighbor couldn’t come until six.” Jen nodded looking at the menu. “You’ve been dealing with this for a couple of years. Most people would have had her put to sleep by now. Why do you put up with it?”

Cody’s forearms were resting on the table, holding the menu. He looked down at formerly enticing descriptions of entrees. He struggled for an answer, “She’ll tell me when it’s time.” Jen barely heard him when the waiter appeared. They ordered and while they waited for the food, Cody listened to Jen talk about her exciting life and friends. Part of the reason that he loved Jen is because she led such a different life than he did. His job was intense and demanding. He was incredibly good at it and his firm adored him. Jen, on the other hand, had tried many lines of work. She stayed long enough for mastery, but easily became bored. She currently was looking for a new career.

Whenever they were together, her phone was nearby. Today, she had set it at the table and regularly checked it. It reminded him of his Blackberry that sat in his pocket. When it had a message from her, it had felt like a hot rock in his pocket. Now it just sat there silent, while her phone vibrated every few minutes. She stopped her soliloquy mid-sentence to check it again and he protested, “Could it be possible for you to just be with me tonight?”

The moment the words slipped out of his mouth, he regretted them. Pushing Jen was never a good idea. Whenever she felt any pressure, she backed away. Cody had learned to just enjoy the time she gave him, but tonight she was particularly distracted. The quiet that hovered over the table was only a couple of seconds long, but it felt like an eternity to him. She finally replied, “I just have a friend who has a job for me and I want to hear about it. You know how I used to take pictures of kids at Kiddie Kandids, well, he…” Whatever she said after that was clouded by Cody’s relief.

Cody's Cat: Dinner with Jen by Laura Moncur 03-19-07

The dinner ended pleasantly and the two of them left the restaurant full of cheese and spicy tomatoes. He tried to hold her hand, but she had her cell phone in it. “So, see you this weekend?” He watched himself ask the question and noticed the desperation in his own voice. She held the phone up to her ear as they walked toward the parking lot. “I don’t think so. I’ve got some freelance stuff lined up this weekend.” Cody nodded and replied, “Should I call?” She shook her head and talked into the phone, “Hold on a sec, okay?” She pressed a button and faced him, “I’ll call you when I have a moment.” She went back to her phone without a good-bye, but she pulled him by the collar and gave him a quick kiss on the lips before leaving, all the time, talking to someone else on the phone.

3/22/2007

Cody’s Cat: Part 3 of 5

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

“The creatine levels are higher. So are the phosphorous and calcium levels. Have you been giving her the binder?” Cody nodded. “Yeah, is it not working?” The veterinarian shook her head. “There’s only so much it can do. Tiger has been fighting kidney failure for…” she flipped through the folder, “…wow, have we been dealing with this for two years?” Cody nodded. The vet continued, “Listen, Cody. You’ve done an amazing job keeping Tiger going for so long, but these levels are nearly toxic. Any other owner would have had her put to sleep by now. The fact that you’re willing to give her subcutaneous fluids as often as you do is above and beyond what any normal pet owner would have done. Maybe it’s time to have her put down.”

Cody looked at Tiger on the examination table. Her greasy fur was sticking out in all directions. She looked up at him and rubbed her face on the cat carrier. He replied, “She’ll tell me when it’s time.” Doctor Chinsky nodded. “Yes, you’re right. They usually tell their owners when it’s time. She still eating?” Cody nodded and pet Tiger. “She’s taking forever to eat, but she IS eating.” The vet looked at the sheet of paper that described Tiger’s blood in its basic components. “Well, for any other client, I wouldn’t do this, but for you, I think you can handle it.”

She walked to the small refrigerator and took out a small syringe pre-wrapped. “This is pentobarbital. It’s what we use to euthanize pets. If Tiger tells you it’s time, you should use this. I wouldn’t normally do this, but you have enough experience. Now, this is a little different than the sub-Q fluids you usually give her. You have to hit a vein with this one.” Doctor Chinsky approached Cody and handed him the small syringe, but he pushed it away. She continued to talk, “This is enough pentobarbital to put down a large dog. You don’t need to give her the full dose, but just in case you don’t hit a vein the first time, you’ll have a second chance.” Cody opened the door of the cat carrier and allowed Tiger to walk in. “I’m not taking that. If she needs to be put to sleep, I’ll bring her here.”

His vet argued with him, “What I’m trying to tell you, Cody is that she’ll probably not last the weekend. Her levels are that high.” Cody walked out of the room and up to the desk to pay. He talked to the vet tech at the desk, “I’ll need another case of k/d food, a bag of Normosol-R, two 60 ml syringes and ten needles.” Doctor Chinsky followed him to the desk. “There’s a new flavor of k/d food. Why don’t we give you a few for free? You can buy the case next week.” Cody’s large hand started at his forehead and wiped his face all the way to his chin, hiding his tears in the process. “Sure, whatever.” He held the box of supplies under one arm and carried Tiger in her carrier in the other. The cold air blasted him as he awkwardly opened the door.

Cody's Cat: Clean out the carrier by Laura Moncur 03-19-07

He released Tiger into his apartment and immediately took the carrier into the bathroom. She hadn’t been able to hold her urine on the trip home. He washed the carrier and then grabbed Tiger for a quick wipe-down with baby wipes. Her accidents were so frequent now that he had gotten cleaning her down to a science.

By the time he unpacked the supplies, he had calmed down. He put the Normosol-R in the refrigerator. As he sorted the syringes and needles, he noticed that Doctor Chinsky had put the pentobarbital in the box with the rest of his supplies. He considered throwing it away, but he put it in the fridge just in case. He didn’t want to think about losing Tiger, but he didn’t want to think about her suffering over the weekend waiting for the vet clinic to open.

He opened the new flavor of k/d food, but Tiger turned her nose up at it.

3/23/2007

Cody’s Cat: Part 4 of 5

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

His Blackberry beeped as he was cleaning the kitty litter box. He scooped huge chunks of clumped kitty litter. There were only two poos, but Tiger had peed enough to fill the box. He scraped the side of the box to get the still-moist bits. If he didn’t clean the box every day, Tiger would pee elsewhere, so he kept it clean. Sometimes, Tiger wasn’t able to make it to the box in time and there would be a small stream of urine heading to the box. He never got mad at her for missing the box anymore. Cleaning the carpet was just a regular household chore for him now.

He checked the phone and it was a message from Jen, “Great news! Gotta see you!” He immediately called her, but all he got was her voicemail, “Hi, Jen! I got your message. What’s the news? Call me…” Once again, he chided himself at the sound of his voice and hung up.

Tiger was in the box again. There was the sound of rushing water and she stepped out. She crept toward the bed, but Cody stopped her. He gently lifted the skin around the scruff of her neck, testing for dehydration. He pet her gently, stood up and headed for 3A. “You got a minute?” Angie was wearing mismatched sweats and her hair was haphazardly piled on her head. “Yeah. I was just cleaning.” She followed him to his apartment.

Cody's Cat: Hiding Spot by Laura Moncur 03-19-07

They pulled her out from under the bed. “I thought you were going to clip her claws.” Cody gently unhooked each paw from the carpeting. “I was going to, but I kind of got distracted by Jen.” They brought Tiger to the kitchen. “Oh man, I should have waited to get you. I didn’t take out the Normosol.” Angie held Tiger in her arms like a baby and the cat didn’t squirm. She just rested in Angie’s arms. “I can wait. It only takes about 30 minutes, right?” She sat on the couch while Cody pulled a 60 ml dose from the bag. “You think we can try for 120 mls?” Angie looked down at Tiger, who remained still. “Yeah, she seems pretty calm. Why don’t you?” He prepared another syringe and pulled the second dose.

He sat on the recliner in an awkwardly upright position while they waited. Angie tried to find something to talk about. “So how long are you going to put up with this?” Cody shook his head, “She’ll tell me when it’s time.” Angie shook her head, cuddling Tiger. “What if she DOESN’T tell you when it’s time.” Cody put his hand to his forehead and wiped his face slowly pulling his hand to his chin. “Then I’ll wake up one morning and find that she is dead. I’ll probably be luckier that way. I won’t have to deal with the guilt of killing her.”

Angie stopped petting the cat. “Kill her? Are we still talking about Jen? You just said you got distracted by her…” Angie shook her head and held the cat close to her. Cody looked up, “Jen? Oh no… I was talking about Tiger… What did you say?” Angie pulled away from him slightly, “I asked you how long you were going to put up with Jen’s tricks.” Cody leaned back into the recliner. “Oh Jen… God, I don’t know. I don’t want to push her. She has been hurt in the past and I don’t want to pressure her. She doesn’t trust anyone… God, you thought I was talking about Jen?”

Angie laughed. “Yeah, your answer sounded a little psychotic. You know, having your animal put to sleep isn’t the same as killing them.” Cody shook his head, “Yes it is. It’s EXACTLY the same as killing her.” Angie started petting Tiger again. “When they are suffering so much, sometimes the best thing to do is have them put to sleep.” Cody stood up and headed to the refrigerator. “See this?” He held up the syringe full of pentobarbital. “The vet gave me this to kill Tiger. It’s pentobarbital. I looked it up on the Internet. It causes a heart attack within 30 seconds.” Angie stood up and looked at the syringe. “The vet gave that to you?” Cody threw it back into the fridge. “Yeah.”

Angie held Tiger closer to her. “I’m not going to be the one to hold her down if you want to give her that stuff.” Cody held the large syringes of Normosol in his hands trying to warm them up. “Then we agree.” Angie moved over to the recliner and rocked as she pet the cat. Tiger stayed still for her and Cody could hear her purr from the kitchen. They watched the clock tick away the minutes without any more words between them.

Cody held up the syringes. “I think these are ready.” Angie walked over the kitchen counter. She adeptly held Tiger while Cody injected the fluid under the cat’s skin. They emptied both syringes and released her. She turned over and sat, hunched. The lumps of fluid sloshed to her sides and she stayed still. Angie pet her, softly avoiding the pin pricks while Cody disposed of the needles in the sharps container.

“Hey, I’m sorry.” Angie was the first to speak, “I shouldn’ta stuck my nose in your business.” Cody shook his head. “No, you’re just fine. Most people wouldn’t even help me out like this. Man, my girlfriend won’t even help me out with this…” He lifted Tiger off the counter and the cat slinked toward the bedroom to her favorite hiding spot.

3/24/2007

Cody’s Cat: Part 5 of 5

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

Cody held his Blackberry in his hand. It had been hours since Jen’s message and his awkward voice mail. He reread her message for the hundredth time, “Great news! Gotta see you!” If it was such good news, why didn’t she call back? He contemplated calling her again. Would that scare her away? He pulled up her name in his contact list. He hovered over her phone number, trying to decide whether to call her. One wrong move and she’ll run away for a month. He pushed the number and the phone dialed.

“Hi, Cody! What do you need?” He was in shock because she answered. She hardly ever answered her phone. “Um… you sent me a message. Great news!? You said that you wanted to see me…” It was quiet on the other end of the phone. “Oh? YOU got that message? That explains a lot…” It was quiet again. Cody tried to coax her into talking to him. “So, you have great news? What is it?”

Jen’s voice more relaxed than it had been for a long time, “Wow! So much can happen in a week. So much can happen in just a DAY. Jerry proposed to me. He got a transfer to Chicago, so I’ll have to move with him. It’s all very sudden…” Cody couldn’t hear another word she said. This whole time, he had thought that he was giving her space and it turned out that he had given her so much space that she thought he was just a friend. What about all those kisses? Those light pecks on the cheek and the rare kisses to his lips?

Just as suddenly as his body would light up when she touched him, he felt it go numb. She was mid-sentence talking about her new future in Illinois when he hung up on her. He threw the Blackberry on the couch and watched it slip between the cushions. He hated that phone. He remembered choosing it so it would be easy to text messages to Jen and it had come to represent her to him. He walked to the utility closet and took out a hammer. He retrieved the phone from the couch and placed it on the kitchen counter. It only took one blow to shatter the screen into an inky black smudge, but he didn’t stop at one blow.

He ran to the bedroom and lifted the bedspread to see Tiger sleeping under the bed. He had let her alone since the dosage of fluids, but he needed comfort now more than ever. He reached over to pull her out, but the carpet was soaked. She had peed herself under the bed. It had happened before. He would just clean her up, but when he pulled her out, she didn’t respond. She had died sometime within the last few hours. He realized that he had wasted the last hours of Tiger’s life waiting for Jen to call him.

He cried out and the tears that he had held in so many times came. He couldn’t stop them. They blinded him and he held Tiger’s body to him. She had already started to stiffen with rigor mortis. It made him cry out her name.

Within a second, he stopped. His eyes were still filled with tears to the point that he couldn’t see. He put down Tiger’s stiff body and stood up. He could hear Doctor Chinsky’s voice clearly, “This is enough pentobarbital to put down a large dog. You don’t need to give her the full dose, but just in case you don’t hit a vein the first time, you’ll have a second chance.” He walked to the refrigerator and took out the pre-wrapped syringe. He looked down at his arm, the green veins peeking out from the skin at him. It would be so easy. He could just end it all within 30 seconds.

He unwrapped the syringe and dropped the wrapper on the floor. Something inside him protested. He was respected at work. At least he had work, right? All of his success at the firm seemed empty now that Tiger and Jen had left him. He pulled the cover off the needle and looked at the syringe in his hand. It would be so easy.

The knock was a quiet tapping, but it sounded like a deafening roar to him. He could hear the voice on the other side of the door, “Cody? I know you’re in there… Does Tiger need any help?”

Cody slumped to the floor. He dropped the syringe. “I’m alright…” He looked at himself, embarrassed at his thoughts just a moment ago. “Why don’t you let me in? I heard some banging in there and I’m a little worried about you.” Cody didn’t respond. “Do I need to get Mrs. Kletch to open this door?”

Cody opened the door. “No, I’m fine, Angie, really.” She tried to peek past him. “Are you? I heard you scream. Is Tiger okay?” He couldn’t talk. He just opened the door and let her in. He collapsed on the recliner. His eyes drained tears, but he was silent and staring straight ahead. Angie walked in. She scanned the room, pausing briefly on the remains of his phone on the counter. She walked by the couch and picked up the syringe wrapper, then the needle cover and finally the syringe. She checked it. It was full. Without a word, she gracefully walked over to the sink and squirted the liquid down the drain and put the whole syringe into the sharps container.

It was at that moment that Cody realized that a mismatched set of sweats could be far more gorgeous than all the shiny brown hair in the world.

3/25/2007

Jesus Freaks Gave Me A Billion Dollars

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

At The Gateway Friday night, there was a strangely argumentative group blocking the walkway and stuffing one billion dollar bills in everyone’s hands.

The writing on the back of the bill reads like a package of Dr. Bronner’s Soap:

“The billion dollar questions Will you go to heaven? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, ‘Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, basphemous, adulterer-at-heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. That’s not God’s will. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. Jesus took your punishment upon Himself: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Then he rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will gran you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.”

I find it interesting that they assume everyone that they meet is a sinner and must repent. Are they the only people on the planet who aren’t living holy lives? Are they assuming that I am a sinner because I’m shopping at 9 pm on a Friday night? Should I be offended or just relieved that they just stuffed this into my hand without dragging me into a silly argument.

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