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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in cosmiquemuffin's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009
8:32 am
Feeling like a piece of plumbing
Wow, I really do *not* want to go to work today.

Why is that exactly? I feel totally invisible, or if not that, completely unappreciated.  Google's flagship advertising product (AdWords) just launched a major redesign, years in the making, and of course there was an email announcement internally.  It was such a huge project, both past and current designers and researchers were named.  Guess who was left out?  Even though I led the team for a few months and contributed to various component designs?  Right.

I guess it wouldn't hurt so bad except that the guy who forgot me from the list is a PM I deeply respect, and all the followup emails including colleagues of mine added other people who were forgotten.  But not me.  Oh sure, could I add myself to the list?  I guess I could.  But that's kind of not the point.

I also am in a weird position at work where I'm doing "UI Standards", which is feeling more invisible and plumbing-y and thankless than ever.

I'm reading this book called "Mindset" about how you can have two reactions to adversity: 1) curl up in a ball, "woe is me", "I suck", or 2) use it as a lesson, leverage it to get what I want.  Of course I want to do 2).  Right now, I just *hurt*, feel like a good cry (and I am).

Once I get my slobbering done, I'm going to suck it up, jump on the PreCor for my 30 minutes, and try to map out a strategy of what's to do next.

Current Mood: pissed off
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
11:25 am
The Green Monster: how do I kill it?
Normally I am not an envious person.  I love other people's strengths and celebrate 'em, and happily remind everyone about those wonderful things whenever there is a good opportunity.

Which is why I am not happy with myself right now.  I have a colleague, and she is perfect.  Honest to God, not one chink in the armor as far as I can see.  Highly respected by peers and upper management, successful, famous (in our industry and beyond), a great mother, a great manager, beautiful, wildly popular, inspires people, and is NICE.  Really really nice.  Everybody loves her!  And so do I... but I also have the competing emotions of being really jealous as well.

Every time I encounter her, even why I try to get in the mindset to aspire to the good things I see in her, I devolve into lump in the throat envy.  Which just feeds on itself and makes things worse.  All I can think of is how I'm so not at her level, and am likely not to be, ever.  And I regress to my ugly duckling grade school self.

Advice?  I hate myself like this.

Current Mood: envious
Saturday, May 16th, 2009
9:05 am
Why is it so hard to find a "user centered" kitchen designer?
Now, you may know that extraordinary home chef (and cuddly honeybear) r_wolfcastle has the most tortuous, horrible kitchen ever in which to work his magic. it is now my fondest mission to change that no matter what the cost, and get my baby the best kitchen, as he has deserved for years.

Curtis has done a lot of research. And i have done some. And it is painfully apparent that the majority of kitchen design industry seems to be focused on the "look" of the kitchen and getting the most expensive appliances. Unbelievable! It was so amazing to me that there was so little written and advertised about how to get a kitchen you can cook in.

After querying fellow foodies at work, the best book recommendation came down -- Don Silvers' "Kitchen Design with Cooking in Mind". This guy, as a chef and architect, actually looked at the principles of designing a kitchen that a cook can work in. I'm instantly seeing best practices that really resonate. Task analysis (walking through cooking logistics), and really making the kitchen "user centric". As a user experience designer, working with space on a screen, I can recognize the same principles I use to make people's experiences easy and fun. Silvers is right on the money!

Unfortunately, this further highlights the need to find a designer. Could i make a passable first attempt to do the kitchen design myself? Yes, but it would be my first foray... a rather expensive experiment to be sure.  I will miss important details.  I may not be aware of some configurations or product choices that would be optimal.  I wouldn't dream of trying to redesign the GMail experience (for example) as my first UxD project in my life, would I? We need to find a designer, but with the principles and "user centered" expertise that will make the kitchen function.

But searching on the internet is no good, from what I can see! All the sites I visit talk about artistry and cabinet "looks". Honest to God, it is making me as angry as when people assume all that user experience designers do is "make sites look pretty".

Don Silver's site is also no help. I eagerly read point #7 in his articles, "How to find the right designer". It describes no such thing, only "Which designers to avoid". Thanks, I already know this now! I hate the cabinetry salesdweebs who know nothing about cooking! Can you recommend a way to find people who think how you do? Don? Don? Hello? sigh

Anyway, I've emailed Mr. Silvers, and my colleague who initially recommended the book.  Any advice you guys may have is great, of course, but thanks for letting me rant in any case.  :-)

Current Mood: determined
Monday, April 6th, 2009
2:34 pm
I know that people harping about their illnesses or pains is dull.

But I gotta say something or I will explode.

HURT.  Wisdom teeth extracted last Friday, 3 of them no problem.  1 impacted.  And apparently, not just impacted but attached with some kind of calcified superglue to the jawbone (the doc told me what it was and the Google is failing me in helping me remember what that term was).  So there was a fair amount of chiseling going on to the jawbone in addition to slicing up the errant tooth and extracting it.

I am beyond chipmunk to pelican sized swelling under my chin, with deep hurting.  Doc took a look, says things are normal, considering how intense the extraction was.  Okay, I guess that's comforting at some level, but it hurts, a lot.  I tried to go to plain old Tylenol -- BIG mistake, I have now greedily swallowed a Vicodin and am tearfully waiting for it to take effect.

How am I supposed to work when I either 1) hurt like Marathon Man, or 2) am doped up on happy Mr. Vicodin?  I better find out, quick.

Current Mood: sore
Saturday, February 28th, 2009
8:26 am
Limbaugh's big regret: ya just can't tell jokes about "those people" anymore

Let's all shed a tear for Limbaugh and the rock ribbed Conservatives at this year's CPAC:

You know, Clint Eastwood had it right, Clint Eastwood said he's fed up with political correctness. He's fed up with everybody trying to be politically correct. He's fed up with nobody being able to laugh anymore. He's fed up with not being able to tell race jokes and ethnic jokes. When he was growing up, everybody did. Nobody took offense at it. Every race tells jokes about the other race. Every country tells jokes about people in other countries. We can't do it anymore.

I'm betting this resonates like crazy with the CPAC crowd, who chuckle knowingly at Barack the Magic Negro, "Little Hussein", watermelons on the White House lawn. Why, you can't even mock flood victims or cripples anymore.

Maybe if we give you an example close-to-home, Rush, you'll get it.

By the way, Rush, everything you need to know about truly funny comedy about race is in the movie Blazing Saddles. If you can tear yourself away from the fart jokes, try to see what they're making fun of and why nearly everybody, regardless of color, laughs their guts out when they see it. I don't expect you to really get it, but at least you'll lighten up a little.

Fatso. :-)

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
6:19 pm
Why internet scamsters get rich :-(

So, as many of you know, I have a rare voice disorder called Spasmodic Dyphonia. RFK Jr., Scott Adams of Dilbert fame, and NPR's Diane Rehm have it too.  I belong to a mailing list of fellow SDers.
Recently, a (new) member of the list said that her "nutritionist" recommended a cure called Dysphotab, available at dysphotab.com.  I was pretty sure it was snake oil, but I did my due diligence.  Sure enough, the domain dysphotab.com is owned by Oslo Health Solutions, along with dozens of other domains (sightotab.com for Macular Degeneration, angiotab.com for Angioma, etc. etc.) to scam people with the exact same expensive goop.  They claim to have "clinically proven" cures, and of course the "study" PDF is "coming soon".  Watchdog sites are full of damning reports about Oslo Health Solutions and what evil scamsters they are.
So I post all this on the list.
I have received a couple of "attagirl"s for doing so, but also a couple of miffed replies about how I'm "not open to alternative medicine" and that I was "mean".
Oh, *facepalm*.  Dammit.  Sadness.  These are desperate people in search of a cure.  So am I.  r_wolfcastle can tell you how desperate I am for a cure, how I weep about losing my voice to this thing that has NO cure, and is so niche the drug companies have no incentive to fund any research to cure it. 
These dumb fellow sufferers are going to get taken, taken hard, and the scumbags that do this kind of fraud will be emboldened and get rich. And there is nothing I can do about it.
"What then must we do?" --Tolstoy

Current Mood: morose
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
12:51 pm
My Golden Compass Daemon (computed about two weeks ago)
I knew I saved this bookmark for a reason. After seeing the Golden Compass on TV the other day, I wanted to re-do the daemon test that came with the movie site. I couldn't find that anymore (they took it down?) but I found the one that shadowsmarkand r_wolfcastletwigged to. Anyway, here are the results.


Fun Loving Soul


You are an open and social person. When you are left alone you tend to get bored and restless, and too much time without social contact makes you fade away. A good night surrounded by friends and laughter soon perks you back up. 

You are trusting and truthful, and you aren't good at hiding your emotions from friends or strangers alike. People need to take you as you are - and often they do. You are confident but not overconfident, sensitive but not touchy. You aren't afraid to give your opinion, or to let someone know when they have offended you, but you don't constantly fly off the handle. You simply want to make your thoughts and feelings known, and you are just as open to hearing others' points of view. Sometimes your friends feel slighted by you, because they aren't as open about their feelings as you are, and so you don't always notice when they are feeling hurt or down. 

Your daemon's form would represent your social and emotionally honest nature, as well as your balanced sense of self. He or she would constantly be throwing him or herself into the moment - enjoying the feel of the afternoon wind, the throbbing beat of music in the club, or helping you argue your point.


Suggested forms: Meerkat, Labrador Retriever, Sea Lion, Lemur

Take The Golden Compass Daemon Test
at HelloQuizzy

Friday, February 6th, 2009
7:16 am
I know it's too early for philsophizing, but...
So here's where my train of thought started:

Found it in my daily Fark giggle-patrol (I included this partly to make r_wolfcastlesmile)

but what is evil?  Now, I'm not going to go off into a tortured treatise, but I have been thinking a lot lately about hardship, limitations, and how one perceives and uses it.  I'm talking your low to medium grade evil, not the genocide or starvation kind, I'm talking about the the cut-you-off-in-traffic, the aches/pains, the roadblock, the injury.

I recently gave a talk at a Girl Geek Dinner in Seattle, and one of the themes I struck on was that some art, like Mondrian with its draconian aesthetic (or Google with it's lean, fast aesthetic) or indeed limitations imposed by User Interface design via psychology, or the constraints of physics on architecture, was not something to be lamented but seized as opportunities to pare away the inessential and rise to the next level above linear thinking.  To use the constraints as a way to avoid the "more of the same" mindset, find a new way, hew closer to what has true meaning.

Apart from the essentialism path, minor to medium evil has the inoculation effect, if the antibodies in the soul are doing the right job.  An unhappy childhood, a thwarting of desire, a firing at work, they suck, no question, but they also get us to grow up. Empathy, strength, knowledge all come from these.  This was something C.S. Lewis and Nietsche talked about.  This philosophy is callous and bland to someone going through major, life-threatening evil, death, torture, where even if you have the disposition of an armor-plated Ghandi you may not come out of it even semi-whole.  It's also best not to be blithe about the situation of others.  What may seem minor to you, an inoculation, may very well be a soul-shredding situation to them.

Bottom line, Epicurus, I'm not a theist by any means (I use a pleasant fiction called "Little Voice" which goads me into "doing the right thing" as I know it), but your argument against God is not the convincing one.  Evil, if it is minor or containable, expands our outlook, leads to breakthroughs, allows all of us to be heroes, peels the layers away on getting to the core of what it means to be sentient and human in that brief flash we get to live upon the earth.

Or, as Satan said in "South Park, Bigger, Longer, and Uncut": "Without evil there can be no good, so it must be good to be evil sometimes."

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
8:06 pm
A little discouraged, sigh
Gotta get another shot in the spine for sciatica.  More time I can't work out.  I'm feeling more and more sluglike, I find I can't sit for long (even when I intersperse with standing/walking breaks, which means by the end of the work day my back is in turmoil.  And the lack of ability for nookie is really bothering me.  r_wolfcastle deserves better.

Just trying to get in a better mood, get in "the last day of Groundhog Day" kind of mindframe, pressing on, improving, hope.

I'll get a good night's sleep and rededicate to keeping the chin up and get done what needs to be done, finding the joy where I can.

Current Mood: melancholy
Friday, January 23rd, 2009
9:22 am
Dorothy, circa 1982
My old college boyfriend Yogi posted this pic to Facebook recently, me, him and his droogs at a showing of Clockwork Orange at Cornell.
My (young enough to be my children) colleagues at work are getting a huge kick out of this one.  Okay, and it's inspiring me to lose weight too. 

You may say this is a little self-indulgent, and yes, you are right.  I'd rather not post again about my sciatica like an old lady, however.

Current Mood: amused
Monday, January 12th, 2009
8:57 am
Taking the lower back to be serviced
Sigh -- the sciatica is a real thing, as the MRI has revealed.  To avoid surgery, I'm getting an injection near the nerve root at the base of the spine to get all those things in there to calm the f down.

I'm glad it's getting fixed.  I hope this will fix it.  Dr. Millard @ S.O.A.R. works on the 49ers and other illuminaries, and he knows his stuff, so that's good.  What's bad is that I will be flat on my back for the next 48 hours, and I am already stir-crazy and anxious about missing work.

With any luck, and I am super motivated, I'll be doing physical therapy in a couple of weeks and hopping back on my regimen to get healthier. 

Current Mood: restless
Sunday, January 4th, 2009
1:33 am
OW OW OW dang it... deep hurting :-(
I am literally weeping with pain.  I got some kind of sciatica thing going on, and the pain is making it impossible for me to sleep.  I'm on anti=inflammatories, and during the day I self-medicated (with the help of Dr. r_wolfcastle  ) with all sorts of substances.  While some blunted the pain, mostly it was ineffective and superficial.

If I had morphine right now I would use it, and use it with so much swiftness, anyone preventing me from having it would never be able to get the teethmarks out of their forearm.

Jesus.  JESUS.  HURTS!!!!!!!!!  :-(

Current Mood: exhausted
Saturday, December 27th, 2008
11:28 am
All hail the nag-i-garchy! (Wii Fit, World's Coastlines on HDNet)
A more sensitive person would be hurt and morose, but I choose to be amused... :-)

First offender -- the Wii Fit.  This little balance board controller and game software is, on the whole, pretty sweet.  I love the hula hoops, balance games, and if you know the game you know why I now punctuate an unexpected setback with a cry of "PANDA HEAD!"  I even like the yoga stuff even though it is a little too talky.  But OMG, could it be more insulting when you do the frikken registration and measuring?  The "Body Test".  The perky little balance board character (Clippy's priggish, blabbermouth little sister, apparently).  It lectures you about how long it's been since the last test, then the snide, high-pitched comments about your lack of balance, then the completely unnecessary exclamation about your BMI category every time you get weighed, and I do mean every time... a nasty "you lose" honking riff, then a button-nosed, perky, "That's obese!"  Every damn time.

Second offender: The World's Coastlines program on HDNet, which is quite spectacular viewing, has a narration that is lovely when the coast is pristine and free of man's touch, but anything bigger than a fishing village has this guy intoning, "...where once the air was filled with the sound of cicadas, it is now with the sound of bubbling jacuzzis."  And it's not that I disagree with the guy, I'm a big conservationist, environment-loving lefty after all, it's the way it's being said -- that snooty, holy, oh-don't-you-wish-you-were-as-evolved-as-I-am tone that sets r_wolfcastle  and I to giggling.

Current Mood: amused
Friday, November 28th, 2008
3:47 pm
Thanksgiveddon, Day Four: Mission (sort of) Accomplished

Well, Sisters A and B did NOT kill each other, or cause a scene at the excellent restaurant r_wolfcastle</lj> set up for Thanksgiving dinner (he need not fear his OpenTable.com membership would be revoked because of the glass-throwing Nelsons :-).  And a good time was (mostly) had by all, with some lovely classic Sister B silliness.

But, there is a helluva lot left to do.  Sister B is still very unhappy that she is the defacto on-point person for Dad, and the rest of the kids are not easily inserted into the support mix because of distance (Massachusetts/California).  And there is still some bad blood between the sisters, they just acted nice-nice for Thanksgiveddon.  Which is a start, I guess.  Next step, I probably will need to set up a family meeting to hash things out, find out how we're going to work together in the future, give Madi some relief, and plan for the inevitable when Dad needs more support.  It would be nicer if people did not act like such brats toward each other.  That really sucks.  :-(  I don't want justice, I want peace!

The qua-duc-ant is in the oven (after a lot of Keystone Cop-style cookery by me) and I'm crossing my fingers that it will all be edible in a few hours.  I followed the directions, Curtis!  And I still nearly got into trouble... :-)

I will be HOME HOME HOME tomorrow, albeit dog-tired (I will need to get up @ 4am tomorrow morning, yikes!)  and the prospect of cuddling my beloved tomorrow cheers me more than I can say!

Current Mood: hopeful
Thursday, November 27th, 2008
11:43 am
Thanksgiveddon Day Three (morning): The desire to strangle
Well, Sister B isn't even here yet, and I'm already tempted to kill my family.

You would think that a simple task such as putting together a kite would be a fun group activity.  Oh how wrong I was.  The illustrations were pretty clear,  but Sister A kept insisting it went a different way "because I have a lot of wind toys and that's how they work."  Starting to understand how Sister B wants to slap Sister A upside the head, after the fifth time of pointing out how things worked, and as she grabbed the stuff and dropped pieces on the floor.  Meanwhile, one of the pieces lost the glue and needs to get re-attached, so this spurred a 45 minute discussion and garage spelunking between my Dad and my brother about which glue is best and how we don't have any that would be right.  I kid you not, 45 minutes.

r_wolfcastle , as God is my witness, please do not mention the hypno-kite to me ("have you assembled it yet?")  It has entered the Nelson Zone, where good sense goes to die and the simplest thing becomes a full Busby Berkeley production.

I am never going to get through this day.  No no, I will buck up, think positive, do the stiff upper lip thing.  All I have to do is close my eyes and think of California.

And remember who I really am.

There, I am better now.  :-)

Current Mood: groggy
5:15 am
Thanksgiveddon Day Two: The gathering doom
Well, Day One actually was wonderful.  My second oldest sister (let's call her Sister B) showed up with her long-ago-and-newly-reunited-with husband Maikel, and we had a lovely time.  We went to the beach, saw the storm tossed waves, dug up various root veggies that she had planted ages ago from discarded/sprouted ones, and the bounty was bounteous.  Maikel cooked up a smashing dinner while I helped Sister B with Maikel's website.  Lots of great conversation and good times!

BUT THEN!  Day Two.

The first indication of trouble was an email sent to me early in the morning that Sister B was apprehensive about Thanksgiving dinner.  Of course, the whole reason I'm roasting at night at 10 Buoy instead of cuddling in comfort with my honeybear r_wolfcastle  is because Sister B and most oldest sister (Sister A) have been feuding horribly for the past 6 months after tensions about who was shouldering the burden about Dad (what with breaking his hip and all in April), money issues, and more, after a long history of tension throughout their whole lives.  My mission: get these two together for a truce-like Thanksgiving in "neutral" territory (restaurant) with ground rules about nobody throwing a punch/snipe and if someone does, the other party to let it roll off, and if that doesn't do the trick,  I defuse and detain. 

I was thinking this was going to actually work after the lovely Day One, but a conversation with Sister B in the early afternoon of Day Two revealed a ton of pent up hurt and hostility that is clearly bubbling under the surface.  Pre-earthquake conditions, in fact.  I suggested a bit of a shorter day for her (she was going to come at lunch tomorrow) but I figured the first meeting after such rancor is probably better to be shorter, to come maybe mid-afternoon.  I foolishly thought this might help her relax about the meeting since there would be less time for friction.  Well, she did not like that at all, and that kind of fueled the resentment some, she feels like that would be a "punishment" for things she has not done.  So now I feel like an idiot for suggesting it.  I'm sure if Sister B comes late the perceived imposition will add to her kit bag of bad feeling in a way Sister A really did not earn.

Arrrrg.  So, it is 5:30 AM, I am roasting, anxious, and can't sleep.  My brother is loudly sleep apnea-ing (a condition he refuses to address) in the other bedroom,  I need to have my wits about me tomorrow, and I will be hideously underslept.

So tempted to take [info]r_wolfcastle 's playful suggestion to take a red eye back today to the land of sanity, sexy snuggles, and cool sheets.

Current Mood: anxious
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
7:49 am
Thanksgiveddon Day One: I roast to sleep
I love my Dad.  I really do.  Yes, he is old and his blood is thin.  But I must rant for a second.  Why the @#$% must he keep the @#$%ing house at 80 @#$%ing degrees???  I was so close to wrapping a cold wet towel around my head last night so I could sleep.  Someone slap me if I ever inflict this on the younger generation.

Up for today: shopping before the Tgiving crush, seeing which odds and ends I can help Dad clear up (the front storm door window is shattered and held together with tape, for one thing).  Madi and Maikel (her husband of many many years ago who has re-entered her life) may visit later today.  Maikel I have not seen since I was in my tweens, and ate freshly-killed woodchuck stew in Madi's upstate NY hippie farm.  This could be fun!

Jesus, God.  I am living in an oven.  Dad, there are fascinating new technologies like blankets and sweaters.  Seriously there are.

ON EDIT: Bless his ancient heart, Dad is doing his hip strengthening exercises. <3

Yes, I am feeling better after a nice, cool shower, thanks.

Current Mood: groggy
Monday, November 24th, 2008
6:51 am
A lovely Lehrer-esque discovery

So I'm cruising fark.com (as is my wont to relax) come upon the hilarious story about how Ted Haggard is now an insurance salesman (how perfect is that?) and came upon Roy Zimmerman's "Ted Haggard is Completely Heterosexual" , which is f&#$ing high-larious.  Though not completely at his level, I'm reminded very much of Tom Lehrer. 

I'm thinking: how in the heck have I missed this guy for all these years?  I mean, I am a huge fan of comedy, and thought I kept up with it pretty well.  He's been around for 20 years, is prolific as hell, and lives in Marin (not Austin as I suspected originally).

Some are clunkers, but check out Roy Zimmerman's You Tube channel to see more funny stuff.

Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
7:17 am
Only 60+ days until we get an adult in the White House

How refreshing... indeed, exhilarating... to have someone who not only can articulate the challenges of our time, but clearly understands what he knows and what he doesn't, is willing to look past ideology for the purpose of focusing on solutions, and appears ready to level with all of us about what's going on and why.

Oh yeah, and he is intellectually curious and very, very smart.

C'mon January. What are we waiting for?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Current Mood: hopeful
Friday, November 14th, 2008
11:55 am
I can't believe r_wolfcastle hasn't posted about this yet

Priest Calls Vote for Obama a Mortal Sin

Why o why o why are these numbnuts still allowed to be tax-exempt.

Current Mood: cranky
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