The twitter points system

During my monthly new twitter followers processing, I realized that I have a curious informal points system that I run through every single time I look at someone’s twitter page to determine their reciprocal follow worthiness:

1.  Is it not in English? -100 points
2.  Based in San Diego? +50 points
     SoCal? +40 points
     SF? +25 points
3.  Female? (I know so few of them) +20 points
4.  More than 1000 tweets?  -35 points
5.  Using twitter as an RSS feed for your blog?  -60 points
6.  Following more than twice the number of people who follow you?  -30 points
7.  Two+ recent updates regarding what you ate? (and you’re not Chef JoAnna)  -30 points 
8.  Have a website? +20 points
     And it’s a myspace page?  -40 points
     Powered by Tumblr:  +10 points
     Intriguing "about" page?  +20 points
     Informative, clever posts on topics I find relevant?  +40 points
9.  Twitter posts that don’t suck?  +50 points

I’d say it takes about 100 points to get followed.  Once I hit -100, you’re out.   But what I find so amazing is that I go through all these levels of scrutiny before I really consider the quality of the actual content someone’s generating.  The twitter posts themselves are LAST.  I think I do this because since twitter can be so interrupting, I want to make sure I really trust and value the people I give that kind of 24/7 power to.

And yes…even though I just whipped the logic behind this in a few minutes, I do realize that I’m giving the same amount of points to San Diegans as I am to people who make smart posts.  There’s never going to be a shortage of interesting people on the Internet, and I decided several barcamps ago that one of my new platforms is to cultivate a stronger and more cultural community in this city.  Giving locals higher priority in social networking services helps me shed that pesky Valley Envy and devote more time  to hyping up what’s happening right under my nose.

IRSeek starts over fresh

I just got an email from IRSeek, the IRC logging startup that generated a small uproar a few weeks ago, stating that they’ve removed all previously collected logs and will have easy to identify bot nicknames. 

They’ve curiously also set up both opt-in and opt-out policies regarding channel inclusion based on the desires of various networks’ IRCops.  Freenode demanded a strictly opt-in service (yay!), but the OSX86 network preferred to have all channels indexed who didn’t opt-out.

The one section of the new policies that I disagree with is that opt-in or opt-out authority isn’t limited to channel operators.  Presumably any user (the site uses the term "channel contacts") can submit the necessary forms, which is inviting chaos.  IRSeek also mentions that they will confirm the validity of the contact, but doesn’t mention exactly how this will be accomplished.  A more reasonable policy would be to allow non-ops to submit channels, but provide the name of an operator to verify the request.

My advice to channel operators is to set the indexing status of your channel now.  IRSeek looks like they’re trying to do right by the desires of the IRC community, but save yourself from future heartache and make the choice yourself.

Themeword for 2008: Release

(Thanks to Ted for giving me the idea for this.)

I’ve toyed with the idea of making a State of the Lisa post to explore where I’ve been in 2007 and where I want to go in 2008, but I’ve been putting it off because I really haven’t wanted to drudge around in my 2007 thoughts more than absolutely necessary.  Not that it was a particularly bad year, mind you.  I got involved with some really great organizations, exciting projects, and have generally learned a whole heck of a lot about myself.  But I think now in 2008 I need to focus on taking all this stored up energy and take it to the next level.  It’s time to release.

I feel like I’m growing more in this regard every day, but I still need to release myself from the past.  I catch myself in moments where I’m either stunned with resentment or reminiscing about the Earth-that-was, but I’m learning to let these moments of emotion flow through to completion rather than dwell or shut them out.  Utmost thanks to those who have taught me to fully experience and appreciate the joys and sorrows that compose the human condition.  You know who you are.

In the software world, release also has a different connotation…to get a product out the damn door.  I have a moleskine that has pages of midnight inspirations covering a surprisingly eclectic spread of verticals, and I just now have a release candidate waiting on my desktop that’s only the tip of Technarium’s iceberg.  No offence meant to Dave…he’s a saint for making sense of my visions and putting up with an encroaching managerial thought process ("I don’t know what, I don’t know how, but I want it to work with Facebook."), but I want a more active role in what I see actually implemented.  Maybe it means getting Dave a minion, maybe it means developing more myself, (Dave, if you say it means "finding an icon" I swear to your god I will stab you in the face), but I will be a part of some great apps to be released in 2008.

Cheers to a new year.

A rant about soup

Right now I need to bitch about soup.  Well…stew.  When I was but a wee child, I used to think Dinty Moore brand beef stew was one of the best things to come in a can.  There were big chunks of potatoes and giant yet quite tender chunks of meat swimming in a succulent brown gravy.  I haven’t been able to find any Dinty Moore brand beef stew in San Diego until recently, but I do assure you that I would lie awake many nights longing for what I considered to be the perfect stew.

So when I found a can of Dinty Moore brand beef stew in the short but sweet grocery isle of the neighborhood drugstore a few days ago, I was sure I had found a feast worthy of being my Christmas dinner.  I took my treasured can home and left it under the Christmas tree until it was time for my holiday feast.

I cranked off the lid to find not a can swimming with luxurious gravy, but a similarly colored yet not entirely appetizing brown gel.  I was still greeted with the same carrots and smaller yet appropriately textured potatoes, but no visible meat.  Worrying now about the quality of my dinner to be, I dug out a familiar brown chunk and tested it.  While not particularly bad flavored, the meat reminded me more of a wad of wet sawdust that someone had briefly explained the role of stew meat to, but had not experienced it first hand.

What real Dinty Moore brand beef stew should look like.

This last atrocity being too much for me to bear, I put the opened can on the floor for the cats and ate a bowl of cereal.

I wish I didn’t have to admit it, but this is not the first time such events have taken place.  I used to LOVE macaroni and cheese, but boxes I’ve bought over the past 9 years just don’t have the cheesy tanginess that I’m used to (which has caused more than one poor box of macaroni to be hurled across my kitchen in frustration).  I’ve been similarly disappointed with Healthy Choice dinners.  I used to think that was pretty damn quality food (for a tv dinner), and now I won’t even buy them on clearance.

Has packaged food quality really taken such a drastic turn for the worse, or am I so acclimated to the typical California Organic Everything ™ movement that now I see these foods for what they really are?  This starving hippy geek would love to know.

Tao Te Ching: Effectiveness

The passage I was hunting in the Tao Te Ching. Still not about boxes.

Thirty spokes around the hub:
In their nothingness consists the carriage’s effectiveness.
One hollows the clay and shapes it into pots:
In its nothingness consists the pot’s effectiveness.
One cuts out doors and windows to make the chamber:
In their nothingness consists the chamber’s effectiveness.

Therefore: what exists serves for possession.
What does not exist serves for effectiveness.

Wu Wei and The Tao of Pooh

I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about a certain Taoist passage I read once, which I thought was in The Tao of Pooh.  I finally pulled my copy off the shelf last night, but never found what I had in mind (it may be in the Tao Te Ching itself).  Regardless, I came across the following paragraphs (bits and pieces taken from multiple pages in the chapter) on Wu Wei and found what I’ve reconnected with to make my life suddenly start gaining new momentum and fluidity.

Continue reading “Wu Wei and The Tao of Pooh”

7-19-2007 – San Francisco

It recently came to my attention that I never posted these journal entries I originally wrote in my moleskine.  Dan and I went to WordCamp in San Francisco, and had a few days extra to tour the city.  Perhaps I never posted because I left the general thought from the trip unfinished…

Someone please poke me a lot if I don’t post about the importance of the wind in a few days.

6:20pm: Would have missed the flight if it wasn’t for a combination of Dave’s alternate route prowess and delays on almost all United flights.

6:45pm: Noticed that the gentleman next to me at the gate left his cell phone, wallet, and a book on his seat when he went to ask a question at the ticket desk. I kept my eye on him, and when he didn’t come back shortly, I tracked him down a few gates over with his traveling companions right at the moment when he realized his wallet was missing. They saw me standing there with his misplaced accessories and all eagerly offered to buy me a drink for my honesty.

I wish I would have noticed what book he was reading.

7:40pm: Just boarded. When Dan booked the tickets, he apparently forgot to make sure we’d have seats together. Combine that with previously “thinking we were on United” as Billy dropped us off (and had no boarding passes or confirmation number), and I have now promoted myself to the VP of Buying Plane Tickets in this relationship.

Salinger, looks like this flight is just gonna be you and me.

9:30pm: On the ground in SF. Nights here really are quite cool. The wind excites me for some reason.

11:40pm: Not really grooving on the whole “let’s fly to SF and see what happens” thing. I feel like I’ve walked halfway across the city while still carrying a backpack, camera bag, and the equivalent of 8 days of suitcase for Dan and I. Having a hell of a time finding a hotel. Dan finally called around and found a place near where we are in Castro that may or may not actually be called Biff’s Motor Lodge and Glory Hole.

12:30am: Someone stole our room, the elevator tried to kill me, the bed is composed entirely of springs, and this place smells quite severely of pee.

6:00pm: Got out of that hellhole of a motel and into a proper room at the Mariott at about noon. Threw down our bags and headed out on foot to see what looked interesting. Before long, Dan bought a ZipCar membership and reserved a Mini Cooper convertible. Once we got to the car, Dan told me to pick a direction. I pointed, and we took off. I must have picked well, because within 5 minutes we were at the Golden Gate Bridge. Dan zipped that car through all kinds of little trails and took us around the entire perimeter of the city. We found the Presidio, a military cemetery, a holocaust memorial, and all kinds of other little picturesque nooks and crannies that I bet most tourists don’t get to. I swear, renting a convertible is a great way to see a city.

We eventually looped around and went to Fisherman’s Wharf, since it was so well recommended by our friends. What a tourist trap! We’re currently eating at Alioto’s to get our parking validated. It’s quite ritzy, but I’m not impressed. There’s a swarm of no less than six flies who decided to hover over only our table, and the clam chowder tastes like a bowl of Campbell’s cream of celery soup that once had a dream about a clam. The first time I used scallops in a dish was better than the $20 one in front of me. That’s ok, though…we’re on our way after this to the Ghirardelli factory to get some chocolate!

6:45pm: Ghirardelli Square smells like chocolate from blocks away!!!

9:30pm: Finished limping back to the hotel. I don’t know how I can walk in flipflops for three hours carrying two bags and a suitcase and be dandy, but put me in a regular pair of shoes for a mile and I’d rather crawl.

By any other name

I’ve been noticing as of late that I am increasingly shunning sweet foods. But my vendetta isn’t against your typical cakes and cookies…I decided this week that I absolutely despise all fruit juices, and few days go by where I don’t have a bowl of what I’ve fondly nicknamed Sticks and Cardboard(tm)…an organic bran and flax seed cereal that does distinctly resemble the color and texture of twigs and shredded cardboard. Best combined with a measure of unsweetened almond milk.

Appetizing, huh? I can’t get enough of it, and I can’t figure out why. Am I turning into a health food nut, or am I preferring boring foods in general because of some sub-conscious decision that I don’t deserve to gluttonously enjoy meals? Perhaps more importantly…Why am I so comforted by this blander diet?

Stress is a funny, funny thing. In some ways I’m just happy that I’m able to eat at all.

June 18, 2007 @ 11:00 PM – Come up to the library, we’ll have a wild time

Tonight I left my mother in the casino so I could try to actually write from the deck, but the latter part of this plan failed for a number of reasons. One, this really isn’t a laptop-friendly ship and I couldn’t find anywhere to set up that wasn’t stuck in a corner and freezing. Two, the night sky over the ocean wasn’t nearly as inspirational as I expected it would be. No stars, no lights on the horizon, just infinite pitch black. I stared into it for a few minutes and was eerily both drawn to and repulsed by it in that “œif you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you” sort of way, so I decided I’d be safer to write from the library. Several of the passageways have cozy nooks and crannies where I’d like to set up sometime, but at night the bars there are overflowing with loud people and louder music. Tomorrow is another day at sea, so maybe I can slip off a bit then.

Speaking of slipping off, after leaving mom to nap after our Cabo excursion I found a semi-quiet place to read my prescribed book for the trip, Franny and Zooey. My honest first reaction…Salinger uses commas like crack cocaine. I got the shorter first section finished, but I doubt I’ll have a chance to read any more of it before disembarking Thursday.

I discovered today how really useless I am without technology. Well, not quite useless…I’m just so used to having something electronic handy to record thoughts and ideas as they pop into my head before I forget them or at least forget how I originally wanted to phrase them. I’ve been asking the staff for a pen and paper all afternoon to record bits and pieces so I can recall them now when I have time to flesh those ideas out a bit.
Continue reading “June 18, 2007 @ 11:00 PM – Come up to the library, we’ll have a wild time”

June 18, 2007 @ 4:30 PM – Cabo San Lucas and the story of the hat

Woke up in Cabo and had to reboot my computer to get the GPS stuff working again, but then I actually started getting a fix. YAY! No time to celebrate, though, because today is the first day to see something besides what’s on this ship. After being ferried ashore by a little boat, I quickly realized I might as well have been in Tijuana…typical shitty tourist trap. Blocks full of bars and people on the street haggling you to buy a necklace (“For you, almost free!”) every ten feet. And even though the shops sold all the same crap, Mom and I decided to browse through anyway.

The sun was fairly bright, and I was just slightly sweltering in my regulation black pants and jacket. I tried on a random hat off a table and asked the guy if he had a mirror. He dug around and found one, and I swear this hat was the most perfect hat ever. We united spirits in such a way as previously believed to be impossible between a human and a haberdash. The guy said the hat was $10, which was a completely fair price to pay for my hat equivalent of a soulmate. I handed the guy my credit card, but he frowned and said he only takes cash. I didn’t have a slip of paper money on me, so I decided to let it go. It’s just a hat, I thought. And besides, I never wear them anyway. I went on to buy a little black dress with yellow flowers and some fancy vanilla for Dan from some of the other vendors (one of which, I should note, also didn’t accept cards. But he had a friend who would charge it for a few extra bucks).

Continue reading “June 18, 2007 @ 4:30 PM – Cabo San Lucas and the story of the hat”