Monday, March 31, 2008

Project Implicit

By way of the book "blink" I found Harvard's Project Implicit website and the IAT (Implicit Association Test). I took the first test and discovered that, "Your data suggest a slight association of White Am. with Foreign and Native Am. with American compared to Native Am. with Foreign and White Am. with American." Well, I'm right, aren't I?

After that demo I registered with the site and the first test they threw at me was the "Race - Weapons IAT." In the results after the test they say, "Our position, perhaps an unpopular one, is that the unconscious roots of profiling lie in every mind. In the Race-Weapons test you completed, we provide the occasion for recognizing the automatic association between racial groups and weapons relative to harmless objects." And their statistics certainly show a strange correlation. Of the 85,000+ results they gathered from 2001 to 2006 a whopping 74% of the respondents ended up somewhere in the range of a slight (19%), moderate (30%), or strong (23%) automatic association of Blacks with weapons. Wow. If I recall the account in the book correctly, the author of "blink," Malcolm Gladwell, ended up taking the test over and over and getting the "slight automatic association" result.

What about me? "Your data suggest little or no association between Black American and White American with Harmless Objects and Weapons."

Apparently I'm the liberal that I thought I was, which means that I'm not as much of a hypocrite as I was afraid I might be.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Embrace Your Hypocrisy

The post title comes from an old joke in our circle of friends, so I wasn't surprised by the item on PsyBlog that asserts "people have a nasty habit of saying one thing then doing the opposite." Ain't that the truth?

What is most entertaining is our ability to see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves. This is one reason why we should all try to practice an open mind and an open heart - so that we can hear it when someone calls us on our own. Then, like my friend, we can casually shrug and say, "Hey, I embrace my hypocrisy."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Everyone Should Aspire to Something

I aspire to be a hack sci-fi writer. These are the first two paragraphs from something I wrote back in the late 90s.

Chapter One

George opened the Washington Post to section A, page 12 and folded it back with a satisfying crinkle. He rustled it again to enjoy the noise. Halfway down the page he found the article he was looking for under Cora Perez’s byline. The corner of his mouth quirked at the title she had chosen, “It’s a Brand New Day”.

Looking at George Day, it could be said that there is nothing extraordinary about him. Medium build. Medium complexion. Medium hair. Looks that belie any ethnic identification. He’s a little shy, but when his enthusiasm overtakes him his eyes sparkle with humor and he gestures eloquently with his hands. Nothing extraordinary. Except that George has a degenerative disease and has been bed-ridden since the age of twelve. He is in ‘Virtuality’ and I am interviewing him through a videoconference...

It's a Small WorldWideWeb After All

Roger von Oech from the Creative Think blog (creator of the Creative Whack Pack) was nice enough to stop by the Thoughts tonight to say hi, and it got me thinking about connections. Roger is just the sort of person that I would want to hang out with in real life so it is nice to have this place where we can "run into" each other by reading one another's notes and dropping a comment.

For me, the most fascinating thing about the www is that we have been able to draw closer along the lines of interests. (Even more fascinating than StumbleUpon and webcomics.) For instance, I've gotten emails from both Wil Wheaton and Scott Adams, indicating pretty clearly that I'm tugging hard on the geek and office slave strands of the Web.

But I can hang out in the virtual living room of anyone whose mind intrigues me. Sometimes the gathering nears the Algonquin Round Table and other times it is like being trapped in the rioting mass at a ball game.

Who have you "run into" in the virtual village that you probably would never have met in the pre-internet society? What has been the impact of that encounter?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Color Me Surprised

I've taken the Color Quiz before. I find the results very interesting.

ColorQuiz.comSue+London took the free personality test!

"Longs for a tender and sympathetic bond and for a ..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Three Times is a Charm

Scoops tagged me with the Four Things meme. I've done the Four Things Meme before - not once, but twice. Since I like Scoops and his fun, though, I'll do it one more time. I'll try not to repeat myself. (I've also done a Three Things Meme. I'll try not to repeat that stuff, either.)

Four jobs I’ve had
Stocker, Good Day Natural Foods
Researcher, New Wave Marketing
Receptionist, Bustle & Co. Cleaning
Office Manager, Almost Paradise Bar & Grill

Four movies I can watch over and over
Bruce Almighty
The Mummy
Sweet Home Alabama

Four TV shows I love
Just about everything that qualifies as loved is off the air. Examples:
Babylon 5
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Dead Like Me
Simon & Simon

Four places I’ve vacationed
Pensacola, FL
Grand Isle, LA
Cape Charles, VA
Charleston, WV

Four of my favorite desserts
Homemade Brownies
Oreo Ice Cream
Bread Pudding
Anything my Mom makes (trust me, you'd love it, too)

Four sites I visit daily
Questionable Content
Just Tell Me How To Manage

Four places I would rather be right now
Filming my first movie
Talking to the publisher of my first book
On a sailboat in the Caribbean
Getting ready for a Board meeting at my international company

One thing of sadness in doing this: I've yet to run out of places I've worked, but I'm filling in places I've "vacationed" with things like "somewhere we went to a wedding" and "that one night we stayed at a B&B near the research station." I need a life...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Cheesy...

As you know, Sunday is God and Cheese Day here at the Thoughts. What continues to amaze us is that WE HAVEN'T RUN OUT OF THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT YET.

In honor of Easter our theme this week is not with the Lord, but with His Son Jesus.

Have you ever made a grilled cheese sandwich and said to yourself, "You know what this sandwich needs? It needs a little more Jesus." Got ya covered.

Or perhaps you would like to combine your worship with a little noshing? Then you are looking for the Cheese Jesus.

Happy Easter!

Your Chocolate Easter Bunny Personality

You know what you want in life and how to get it.

You're not going to waste time or let yourself be meek

Whether it's chocolate, money, or power...

You take what you can get, and you act quickly.

You have a lot of energy, and people sometimes scared by your determination.

Not that you care what other people think. You're not going to apologize for who you are.

This quiz asks you where you take your first bite out of your chocolate bunny and there are only four options. The second option was the eyes. THE EYES! What kind of a sick %*$*...? After I got my result I checked the eyes option and was surprised to find out that they didn't tell you that you were most likely a serial killer.

Seriously, if you eat the bunny eyes first I want to hear about it. And tell me if you think the "eat the eyes first" results sound anything like you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Today's Fun Brought to You by the Letter S

Scoops has another fun list to participate in - name a musician you like, one for each letter of the alphabet. Being the closet reference librarian that I am, I pulled up the Wikipedia List of Musicians, checked my iTunes, and searched through our CD collection. But I basically ended up pulling this off of iTunes so I don't know why I searched so much. I found this exercise HARD because I have so many favorites. When in doubt humor always won, of course.
A is for_____Air Supply
B is for_____Barenaked Ladies
C is for_____Collective Soul
D is for_____Depeche Mode
E is for_____Electric Light Orchestra
F is for_____Fleetwood Mac
G is for_____Goo Goo Dolls
H is for_____Hootie & the Blowfish
I is for _____Indigo Girls
J is for _____Jewel
K is for_____Kingston Trio
L is for_____Lemon Demon
M is for_____Matchbox Twenty
N is for_____Nickel Creek
O is for_____Obsessive Behavior
P is for_____(The) Police
Q is for_____Quarterflash
R is for_____Rogers, Kenny
S is for_____Squirrel Nut Zippers
T is for_____Toad the Wet Sprocket
U is for_____UB40
V is for_____Vaughan, Sarah
W is for ____Wang Chung
X is for_____XTC
Y is for_____Yes
Z is for_____Zevon, Warren
Sure, Scoops, you got Pink Floyd and Rush, but I got Yes. So together we have the divine trinity of prog rock.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Well, That's Just Brilliant

I've been burning my way through the archive of an online comic called "Sheldon." It's been a SERIOUSLY enjoyable read, especially for those of us who embrace the geekier things in life (plenty of references to science fiction, computers, etc.) and I highly recommend it.

Tonight I came across my favorite thus far, May 25, 2007, which is surprisingly non-geeky. But in that one strip he manages to invoke classic Berke Breathed (mimes everywhere beware!) and the Brent Staples essay "Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space." Deep.

The only "main" character in the 5-25-07 strip is Sheldon's grandfather, so it doesn't give you a very good feel for the way the strip usually comes off. For instance, my favorite character is the talking duck Arthur who is wonderfully snarky and I think always gets the best lines. When he tried coffee he said " takes like bitter, boiled phone book." In this strip he remarks, "I thought the traditional Scottish birthday gift was loathing, wrapped up in grudging tolerance?" It almost makes me wish my heritage were Scottish instead of Irish.

Sheldon himself is very endearing, especially when something geeky sends him over the edge. Like the time that he documented the Star Wars plot holes, decided to fix the problem himself, and ran into problems.

What You Might Call a Good Egg

What Your Easter Egg Says About You

You are cheerful, friendly, and open minded.

You do your best to make sure everyone is happy, including yourself.

Empathy comes easily to you. You are very forgiving.

You don't hold grudges. You easily forget about any negativity in your life.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tonight, on the Discovery Channel...

One of the things that I've learned is that we are moving away from "search" and into the mode of "discovery." Via jakerooni I've encountered Guy Kawasaki's blog "How to Change the World: A Practical Blog for Impractical People" (I love that title) and his new blog discovery site Cool stuff. And he was smart of enough to link to Jake's management website.

What have you discovered today?

It's Movie Night

From Scoops Magnum, the Roger Ebert list of 100 movies you should see before you die (go to Scoops' post for the link). I needed to do some fancy color coding, though. There are the movies I've seen, the movies I know I've seen but don't really remember, and the movies I think I saw but I'm not sure. Some days it is hard been blonde. This certainly makes me think that I'm not very sophisticated in my movie watching. But I've had fun!

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) Stanley Kubrick
"The 400 Blows" (1959) Francois Truffaut
"8 1/2" (1963) Federico Fellini
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972) Werner Herzog
"Alien" (1979) Ridley Scott.

"All About Eve" (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
"Annie Hall" (1977) Woody Allen
"Bambi" (1942) Disney
"Battleship Potemkin" (1925) Sergei Eisenstein

"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) William Wyler
"The Big Red One" (1980) Samuel Fuller
"The Bicycle Thief" (1949) Vittorio De Sica
"The Big Sleep" (1946) Howard Hawks
"Blade Runner" (1982) Ridley Scott

"Blowup" (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
"Blue Velvet" (1986) David Lynch
"Bonnie and Clyde"(1967) Arthur Penn
"Breathless" (1959) Jean-Luc Godard
"Bringing Up Baby" (1938) Howard Hawks
"Carrie" (1975) Brian DePalma
"Casablanca"(1942) Michael Curtiz
"Un Chien Andalou" (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali

"Children of Paradise"/ "Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) Marcel Carne
"Chinatown"(1974) Roman Polanski
"Citizen Kane" (1941) Orson Welles
"A Clockwork Orange"(1971) Stanley Kubrick
"The Crying Game" (1992) Neil Jordan
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) Robert Wise
"Days of Heaven" (1978) Terence Malick
"Dirty Harry" (1971) Don Siegel
"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) Luis Bunuel
"Do the Right Thing" (1989) Spike Lee
"La Dolce Vita" (1960) Federico Fellini
"Double Indemnity" (1944) Billy Wilder
"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying andLove the Bomb" (1964) Stanley Kubrick
"Duck Soup" (1933) Leo McCarey
"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) StevenSpielberg
"Easy Rider" (1969) Dennis Hopper
"The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) Irvin Kershner
"The Exorcist" (1973) William Friedkin
"Fargo"(1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
"Fight Club" (1999) David Fincher

"Frankenstein" (1931) James Whale
"The General" (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
"The Godfather," "The Godfather, PartII" (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
"Gone With the Wind" (1939) Victor Fleming
"GoodFellas" (1990) Martin Scorsese
"The Graduate" (1967) Mike Nichols
"Halloween" (1978) John Carpenter

"A Hard Day's Night" (1964) Richard Lester
"Intolerance" (1916) D.W. Griffith
"It's A Gift" (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) Frank Capra
"Jaws" (1975) Steven Spielberg

"The Lady Eve" (1941) PrestonSturges
"Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) David Lean
"M" (1931) Fritz Lang
"Mad Max 2" / "The Road Warrior" (1981) George Miller
"The Maltese Falcon" (1941) John Huston
"The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) JohnFrankenheimer
"Metropolis" (1926) Fritz Lang
"Modern Times" (1936) Charles Chaplin
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam

"Nashville"(1975) Robert Altman
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955) Charles Laughton
"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) George Romero
"North by Northwest" (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
"Nosferatu" (1922) F.W. Murnau
"On the Waterfront" (1954) Elia Kazan

"Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone
"Out of the Past" (1947) Jacques Tournier
"Persona" (1966) Ingmar Bergman
"Pink Flamingos" (1972) John Waters
"Psycho" (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
"Pulp Fiction" (1994) Quentin Tarantino
"Rashomon" (1950) Akira Kurosawa
"Rear Window" (1954) Alfred Hitchcock

"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) Nicholas Ray
"Red River" (1948) Howard Hawks
"Repulsion" (1965) Roman Polanski
"Rules of the Game" (1939) Jean Renoir
"Scarface" (1932) Howard Hawks
"The Scarlet Empress" (1934) Josef von Sternberg
"Schindler's List" (1993) Steven Spielberg
"The Searchers" (1956) John Ford
"The Seven Samurai" (1954) Akira Kurosawa
"Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Stanley Donen &Gene Kelly
"Some Like It Hot" (1959) Billy Wilder

"A Star Is Born" (1954) George Cukor
"A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) Elia Kazan
"Sunset Boulevard" (1950) Billy Wilder
"Taxi Driver" (1976) Martin Scorsese
"The Third Man" (1949) Carol Reed
"Tokyo Story" (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
"Touch of Evil" (1958) Orson Welles
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) John Huston
"Trouble in Paradise" (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
"Vertigo" (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
"West Side Story" (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
"The Wild Bunch" (1969) Sam Peckinpah
"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) Victor Fleming

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So, it's Wednesday...

Perhaps you can see the pattern where I'm trying to get back on my regular blogging schedule. Regular isn't my thing but hey, you know. Everyone needs something to torture themselves with - I mean a hobby. So anyway, I knew that Wednesday is Writing and Writers Day but didn't know what to post about. Then I logged into my gmail and discovered that someone had made their way to my fiction blog and left a nice note... attached to a little essay that I didn't even remember writing.

Bless you, Jake (I think this is you). That comment was a fabulous boost (the best chocolate cake EVER) and reading the essay reminded me of things I had forgotten.

But I still need you to sit on the edge of my desk and give me management advice. Seriously.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Am a Significant Pause

Did I tell you that I wrote a noir short story once called "The Case of the Missing Colon" where two detectives (with names of famous authors, of course) went around the city shaking down punctuation, trying to find out where the Colon had gone?

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Props to Scoops, the Exclamation Point.

Awesome Sci-Fi Bureaucracy

Since Monday is Sci-Fi and Bureaucracy Day I thought I would share Cracked's item "5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions (That Would Actually Suck)." Go read the whole thing, but I have a comment on the following point from the end of the article:
The bad news is, of course, it would eliminate your job. Your job, and all your friends' jobs, and, well, almost everyone else's. No need for farms or factories or stores. The only people who'd still be working are doctors and the people who make replicators. Oh, wait, you can just have a huge replicator that makes replicators. Nevermind.
And bureaucrats! Someone needs to license the doctors, inspect the replicators, and create reports on replicator security.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tête de Moine ~ Monk's Head Cheese

In celebration of Sunday being God and Cheese day I thought I would share the perfect God and Cheese cheese: Tête de Moine from Switzerland. It is also a great geek cheese since it requires it's own tool - the Girolle. An article about Tête de Moine and its Girolle has this to say:
It has quite a strong, sharp flavor and aroma that has been described variously as “spicy,” “nutty” (or “almond-like”), “fruity,” and even “beefy”... In any case, it is generally regarded as the strongest Swiss cheese, and it contrasts nicely with milder varieties like Emmenthal and Gruyère. Tête de Moine is often served with fruit or fresh French bread, or simply as a decorative yet edible garnish for a cheese platter.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Totally Agree

Thanks to Scoops Mangum I found this new personality test. Apparently he and I are both highly agreeable which makes me think that we should take tea and have a nice session of agreeing on things.

My Personality

Openness to Experience

You very rarely feel depressed and are usually in a good frame of mind, however you are not generally self conscious about yourself. You tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. You often need privacy and time for yourself. You tend not to express your emotions openly and are sometimes not even aware of your own feelings. You see no need for pretense or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank and sincere. People find it relatively easy to relate to you, however you are mostly a compassionate person, however you prefer to make objective judgments when possible. You strive hard to achieve excellence. Your drive to be recognized as successful keeps you on track toward your lofty goals. You often have a strong sense of direction in life, but may sometimes be too single-minded and obsessed with your work.

Take a Personality Test now or view the full Personality Report.

eBlarney? Finding Love in the 21st Century

In recognition of the fact that Saturday is Pop Psych day here at TTGSiMH I thought I would share the article "How Do I Love Thee?" I was reading it earlier in my copy of "The Best of Technology Writing 2007" (which does have a lot of great articles and I highly recommend it).

As you may have noticed, personality psychology fascinates me. Yet somehow when those assessments and methodologies are used in reference to relationships it feels to me like it borders on the profane. It is one thing to be entertained by the categorization of personal identifiers both large and small - "oh, hey, as an INFP I love art" (true) "and poetry" (false). It is yet another to have those sorts of assessments be the basis for sorting through and weeding out something as important as potential lifelong commitments. I'm not saying that there is something sacred about the usual course of human relationship-building (meeting at work or at the bar is pretty typical), just that I don't think that we humans know half of what we think we do and I hate seeing something that is still in the nascent stages of development being used as though it is some sort of Absolute Truth. Since much of the assessment is self-assessment it gives me little hope for accuracy. Do you know anyone who isn't self-deluding in some way? Granted, some of the methodologies include "complementary" as well as "similarity" metrics. But since along with common self-delusion I've also seen a lot of hypocrisy (believing one thing, doing another) in this life it gives me even less hope about a self-assessing test which then matches on similar and/or complementary items.

That being said, I know that these dating websites can work. And I'm happy for anyone who finds happiness no matter how or where they find it (you know, as long it is legal, ethical, etc.) because I am a great believer in the importance of relationships. Just my INFP showing, as it also does with my dislike of rejecting people because they are different. Similarity? Complementary? Can't we all just get along? I am by nature accepting and including. Thus why I don't like using these methods of tossing out of the mix people who are different from your own profile. Unless, of course, you're irritating. Then I just want you to go away. (Hey, every rule has an exception and my inclusion rule has caveats.)

My favorite quote from the article is actually from Dr. Warren, founder of eHarmony. Someone who I physically recoil from when I see his ads, but I find his words here comforting, nonetheless:

“People have always thought, wrongly, that psychotherapy is a place to go deal with problems,” he said. “So when a couple would come in, I’d say, ‘Tell me how you fell in love. Tell me the funniest thing that’s happened in your marriage.’ If you want to make a relationship work, don’t talk about what you find missing in it! Talk about what you really like about it.”

That, at least, sounds like good advice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I'm glad that Karlo came by recently and left some breadcrumbs for me to follow because I ran across his post Vermont Gets Tough on Criminals.

Geek-it-Yourself (GIY) Interior Design

The searches for "Geek Interior Design" tell me that I should make that concept its own subsection. And I can tell that this website of the ultimate gadgets for a hi-tech home will be just the jump-start that we need.

My personal favorites are:
* holographic TV
* self adjusting bed
* smart refrigerator

And for Geek-it-Yourself yard work? The robot lawn mower. Oh yeah, I said robot.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Number 123

Scoops definitely knows my number. No, not 23. Or 123. But invite me to meme and I will come right out of the woodwork. I'm traveling so thank goodness I brought reading material with me.

Here are the meme rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people & post a comment here once you post it to your blog, so I can come see.

Page 123:
We can hold a face in memory, and we can solve a puzzle in a flash. But what Schooler is saying is that all these abilities are incredibly fragile. Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads.
~ Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

In case that entry made you wonder what the next line was? "It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out."

I hereby pass this meme along to the following fabulous bloggers:
  1. The Notorious ADB. I would seriously like to know what reading material you have closest to you. Bonus points if it turns out to be a bureaucratic manual.
  2. Subspace at GalaticMu. I know you hate memes but I think you will find this to be the exception - and entertaining for me to boot. What would be even cooler would be if everyone on the GalacticMu wanted to do this and string it together into one funky sci-fi vignette. But, you know, no pressure...
  3. Pam at beancounters. Bonus points if you have something close to hand that ISN'T a schoolbook or bureaucratic manual. Yes, I worry about you.
  4. Nevsky at 2+2=5. You need to post a FEW more things on your blog anyway!
  5. sixthdoctor at lighthearted mental sewage. What are you reading under that great big festering neon distraction? Inquiring minds want to know.