Blog posts tagged "seattle"

Boston RSS

December 12th, 2004

Starting to collect a list of RSS feeds for Boston (similar to a set I put together for Seattle, but never published)

Thats all I have so far, but suggestions are welcome.

Ideally I’d like to find a resource like Scott’s Seattle Book Events calendar, might have to make that one.

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Thai Thom

December 4th, 2004

Seattle is a city, if such a thing is possible, with too many Thai restaurants. Many of them excellent. So when I say that Thai Thom is amazing, and stands out from the crowd, understand what I’m telling you. The food is phenomenal in a simple, street stall kind of way, and sitting at the counter watching the cooking is fascinating, and exhilarating, sharp knives, dancing flames, sauces and fresh ingredients flash almost faster then the eye can follow, feet and sometimes inches from where you sit.

Its a little whole in the wall which I’ve walked by literally dozens of time without ever noticing, right on the Ave, half a block up from 45th.

Be prepared to wait.

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Richard Dawkins At Town Hall

November 17th, 2004

When you run a blog called “Laughing Meme”, even if you don’t particularly have a good reason for choosing the name, you, in my mind, incur a certain obligation, all things being equal, to go see Richard Dawkins when he is in town, even if you aren’t really a fan.

Turns out he is a on a book tour for Ancestor’s Tale, a Canterburian stroll back up the evolutionary tree, pilgrims stopping to tell their stories at each major junction on the path from leaf to root. A bit silly. Pilgrimage point 1 is where we diverge from the chimps, point 2 is the gorillas, and so forth, back to point 39, 4 billion odd years ago, where we’re joined by the bacteria to complete the last leg before reaching the primordial Celestial City.

Other then that “39” number, there wasn’t a lot of interesting data to hold onto. Maybe I just spent too much time hanging out with Aidan, but I’m consistently disappointed in biology lectures. So many leading biologist fail to bring the imagination and excitement. Maybe they’re dumbing down to the public, but if the best you can do for a hook is to wow me with the news that whales are descended from the even-toed ungulates, then we’re in for a long night.

A few points of interest:

  • once he got over trying to wow with the news of sheep sized rodents (aka capybara) he did mention the historical interesting note that the Catholic church classifies capybara as fish, at least on Fridays. Interesting, but more something I expect to learn from Mark Kurlansky, not Richard Dawkins.
  • part of the historical rejection of evolution is tied to an uncanny valley like phenomena. (a term that Polar Express has finally brought to the masses) Apes were felt to be too human to be really cute, and were rather seen as brutish and ugly.
  • he made passing reference to the megafauna die outs in America as being tied to arrival of humans
  • he is on an 8 state book tour. 8 blue states. “presumably where they read books”

Digital Projectors

November 14th, 2004

Its Sunday morning, wrapping up my second consecutive geek weekend, first cAts, and then Open DB sprint. Eugene has a post on the history of code sprints, and changing technology.

Of course, the ubiquity of high-speed wireless and four-pound laptops make it much easier these days.
To that I would add the increased availability of small, low(-ish) cost digital projectors. Sitting in circles, with a dozen folks, all of whom have miniature media centers on their laps, passing around the projector cable its interesting to see the standard “presenter with slides” model turned on its head.

Stories

Most interesting to the storyteller in me was seeing people’s lives leak through around the terminals, and web browsers. The handful of Windows users gave very little away about themselves, Windows was Windows. Linux users were aggressive in their distinctiveness, being handed someone else’s laptop to do a quick show and tell, inevitably kicked off a mini-skillshare on window managers, terms, and Debian arcana. But Macs told people’s life stories in strange, almost uncomfortably voyeuristic detail, a snapshot of the person’s mental state scattered over a background image of favorite trips and significant others.

The 6ft by 6ft baby picture slideshow was probably the winner in the “street finds its own use” category, but I think my most distinct memory is when the screensaver kicked in, and we all sat, for minutes and minutes, watching Electric Sheep, nobody wanting to startle the laptop back into its mundanity.

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Truth and Cupcakes

October 24th, 2004

I’ve always been inclined to treat the cupcake bakeries as more novelty then specialty, and the near universal reports of long lines, and disappointment surrounding the much hyped Magnolia do nothing to disuade me on this point. That said you’ve got to respect Verite Coffee/Cupcake Royale [flash] for opening a large, gleaming new location in downtown Ballard, smack in the face of Tully’s and Starbucks. Ballard aesthetic is out in force, with paint on plywood faux movie star posters of (famous? imaginary?) drag queens, Coffee Verite branded hoodies, and yes, a truckers cap or two. The coffee however is good, the space airy and well lit, the cupcakes are certainly no worse then home made, the sound track is Air, power outlets are plentiful if clumpily distributed, and, of course, the wireless is free.

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Like A Cop in a Donut Shop

July 17th, 2004

I thought the whole cops and donut shops was a myth, an old, out dated stereotype. After all I remember the sense of palable fear in the early mornings when I was a kid out on my paper route, and the entire Capitola police force would pound by, out for an early morning run, like a commando squad, of black clad, fitness obsessed Marines.

However as we all know Seattle holds itself to a differnet standard. For example, while waiting in line this morning at Top Pot I was surrounded by a sea of uniforms. A Seattle metro cop walked out the door as I was walking in, a white paper sack clutched tightly, in front of me is a sheriff’s deputy, gun on hip, was ordering 2 dozen (including a significant percentage of pink boas), and behind me, two people are wearing Seattle fire department dress uniforms.

Delegating Your Soundtrack

On a totally different note, coffee shops should all have websites that automatically show you what is playing, and maybe even let you tune into it. This is useful to:

  1. check if the person working that shift can be trusted to lay down a good soundtrack for the next couple of hours you plan to be sitting there
  2. find out what is currently playing when something good comes on while you’re sitting there. (yeah, yeah, easier to just go up and ask, but it would be cool! and reason 1. is still a valid use case.)

Cafes in general are really great canidates for some sort of digital jukebox. I remember it was a constant issue with folks bringing in their CDs, and having them walk off, or get misplaced, and there was the cluttered mess over by the CD player. (plus what do you do when your cafe is unexpectedly seized.) The RIAA is really standing in the way of progress, I can’t wait until they get flattened by its inexorably march.

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