Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We went to the Bridge School Benefit concert in Mountainview (near San Jose) with some friends, this weekend, and it was a blast.

Some notes: Neil Young (who puts the concert together every year) is probably a little crazy, so is Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara think you shouldn't wear shorts and sandals while rocking out, My Morning Jacket were an interesting choice of last-minute replacement for Eddie Vedder and Flea, John Mayer does a great "Freefalling" cover, Tom Waits + Kronos Quartet = Big Awesome, Jerry Lee Lewis is NOT dead, and the Metallica fans present mostly seemed to have a problem with their boys going acoustic-cover-band.

I enjoyed everyone a hell of a lot, myself, and as most of them were new or nearly new to me, I've got plenty of new people to look up! It was $50 for a spot on the grass a really long way away, as the temperature dropped down into the 40's, but we got there at 5 pm and didn't leave until after midnight, and it goes to the school for disabled children and music ed and such, so I think that's well worth it. We heard 61 songs--everyone did 6 or 7 or 8 each. I took notes enough to be able to figure out what all but two songs were, afterwards, but I only knew 12 of them, to begin with. I think I officially recommend everyone I heard, though. Go to it.

Here's the playlist, as best as I could figure it (I *'d the ones I was particularly hot on, in case you're interested):

"Sugar Mountain"*
"Beautiful Bluebird" (as a duet with his wife, Peggy)

"That Ain't No Cover"
"On the Radio"*
"The Flowers"*
"Ghost of Corporate Future"
"One More Time With Feeling"

"Call it Off"
"The Con"
"Walking With a Ghost"
"Where Does the Good Go?"
"Like O, Like H"*
"Back in Your Head"
"Living Room"*
"I've Got You"

"The Way That He Sings"
"What a Wonderful Man"
"Bermuda Highway"*
((Can't figure out what song this was! :( Thought it had the phrase "feel so wonderful" in it, but no luck in finding it))

((Missed one due to craziness in finding bathrooms))
"Slow Dancing in a Burning Room"
"Waiting on the World to Change"*
"Deeper and Deeper"((I *THINK.* This is highly questionable.))
"Free Falling" (Tom Petty cover)*

"Way Down in the Hole"*
"Cold Cold Ground"
"Little Drop of Poison"*
"The Part You Throw Away"
"God's Away on Business"
"Day After Tomorrow"*
"What Keeps Mankind Alive"
"Diamond in Your Mind"

"The Way"
"Spirit Road"
"Oh, Lonesome Me"
"I'm the Believer"
"No Hidden Path"*

"Roll Over, Beethoven"*
"You Win Again" (Hank Williams cover)
"Hadacol Boogie"*
"Midnight Blues"*
"Your Cheatin' Heart"
"Before the Night is Over"*
"Great Balls of Fire"*
"Whole Lotta' Shakin' Goin' On"

"I Just Want to Celebrate" (Rare Earth cover)
"Please Don't Judas Me" (Nazareth cover)*
"I'm Only Happy When it Rains" (Garbage cover)*
"My Brothers in Arms" (Dire Straits cover)*
"Disposable Heroes"
"All Within My Hands"
"Turn the Page" (Bob Seger cover)
"Nothing Else Matters"

Okay, I don't want to inundate you with comments, but just a couple more things:

Barring a couple of electric basses, everyone played acoustically, and almost everyone played a social commentary/anti-war kind of song, at some point. If you don't know Tom Waits' "Day After Tomorrow," you should--I cried and cried, because that's how I am at concerts. (I heard it first when Tom was on the Daily Show, but we snagged up the album soon after--it's absolutely beautiful. It would have been more beautiful if the assholes behind us would have stopped bitching about his voice, but hélas!) Metallica were very warm and generous (hometown heroes, and all), Young spent a ton of time basically jamming and obviously having a really good time. Jerry Lee-fucking-Lewis rocked really hard, and, say what you will about serious song-writing, his was the only set where people got up and danced. He was snarky, and actually got his sexy-bastard on (the lyrics of "Before the Night is Over" are awfully raunch for a 70-ish guy), and I loved it. He and Neil Young now join the Eagles, Crosby Stills and Nash, and Richie Havens as the people I'm fucking lucky to have gotten to see, because--frankly--they could stop touring any day, now.

It was just... it was wonderful. Good company, great music, good long walks between the hotel and the concert site, good food the whole weekend and drinks. If you're ever out this way, I'd definitely suggest this, there are new people every year, it's a good cause, it's a ton of music.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dumbledore/Grindelwald = Canon.

No shit, check it out. Here's the blurb from IMDB:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix author J.K. Rowling has shocked fans of the boy-wizard series by stating that character Albus Dumbledore as gay. The writer revealed the truth of the Hogwarts school headmaster's sexuality at New York's Carnegie Hall on Friday as part of her American book tour. When asked by an audience member if Dumbledore had found "true love," she replied, "Dumbledore is gay," adding he was in love with his rival Gellert Grindelwald, who he once beat in a battle between good and bad wizards long ago. She says, "Falling in love can blind us to an extent. (Dumbledore was) horribly, terribly let down."

For a longer story, here is the article from the Guardian. I just love her more and more all the time.

Edit: Here's another good article, from AP.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Risk factors.

I was reading a little article on judging your risk of/genetic predisposition towards breast cancer, involving how many blood relatives have had it, or have had "related" cancers, etc.

What I want to know is, can there be a genetic predisposition towards cancer? That is, not just one particular form, but towards cancer in general? And, even if not, outside of breast and ovarian cancers being related, are other forms of cancer that are related to one another? Which?

My father's sister died at 53 of pancreatic cancer. Their father died of (admittedly environmentally related) leukemia, and their mother of brain cancer. Her brother died a handful of years ago--I think that was cancer, too, but I'm not certain of it, or of which kind, if so--and their sister had tumors (non-malignant) in her breasts. So did my mother's mother. And another blood relative (either mother's father or mother's mother's father, can't remember which) died of cancer, too, on that side. Kidneys, I think, but maybe it was liver.

My father, like his sister, died when he was 53 (of everything, apparently), but sometimes, in full blown paranoid mode, I wonder if he didn't have cancer, too, and just didn't tell us. He was very proud, he didn't talk about things that were wrong. He saw plenty of doctors for all his various problems, got sicker and more beat up as time went on, and would come home sometimes with his head shaved completely bald, and have his hair grow back softer and whiter than it had been, before. Maybe he just decided to do that? And maybe it just coincidentally coincided with his follicles giving out in their melanin-producing capacity? But shaving it off would certainly cover up hair falling out from therapy, too.

But even not relying on that, there's still a pretty heavy dose coming in from his side. And that's not getting anywhere near the heart attacks and strokes, depression, alcoholism, and other potentially genetically pre-disposing trouble on either side. (In case I haven't mentioned, I'm not having children. The fact that they'd be doomed is only a small part of that, but it bears mention.)

So. What I wonder is, do all of these disparate cases of different kinds of cancer amount to a general predisposition for it? Can there be that?

Just something I think about. Y'know. Sometimes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


So, hey, have you guys heard of Google Alert? If not, it's a way that you can keep track of who is writing about you/your company/whatever on the web, and what's being said. So, if you're signed up for it and someone writes an article about your company, Google Alert will send you an update, with the link and the article in it.

Can you see where this is going, yet?

If you guessed "Your work has Google Alert, of course, and found your journal!" you win the cupie doll. Now, try for two: Can you guess which of my two nearly identical journals came up on the alert? Here's a hint: one had the picture of me I used for my work's homepage and a cute little purple pig, and the other has an icon of three, clinging hockey boys labeled "Sordid Love Triangle." One is always pretty Safe For Work, and the other is, well, not.

Ah, well. The narrative imperative has to be obeyed, right? And there is a very bright side. (1) Lee gave my description of the company a ringing endorsement, and was very pleased (and thought the whole situation was really funny--I agreed, once the red face died down). (2) After going back through my last twenty entries of The Other Journal, I find there is actually no smut posted on that main page, right now. Oh, links, sure, and a little HP fangirling, but right now it's actually SFW. (3) He said he didn't go through the rest of the journal, anyway (though I have no idea about the other two people the link went to).

So, I linked this one from that one again, and cleared out links to that one from this one. So if anyone followed it over and is checking in, here, hello!

This one's really the same as the other one, only without the potential for embarrassment. And you're welcome to either, I suppose, but if you'd rather not run across smut (rare though it is), I'd recommend sticking with this one.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lee, my birthday, NESsT, Love

For my birthday, Lee (my lovely boss) brought me back Goodies. I frequently get a little bit of swag (who knew the UBS was big on giving out mints?), but this was especially cool.

So this is actually a good opportunity to describe a little of what NESsT does.

Lee gave me a bottle of wine, in a cool woven bag, with a cool little notebook inside. The bag and notebook were made by one of the non-profit NGOs in Budapest that NESsT is working with.

This group employs the mentally challenged, letting them be productive and creative, and bring in an income, which would otherwise be a very, very remote prospect. They weave everything by hand, themselves, on small looms--tapestries, rugs, bags, scarves. They also hand-make the paper for the covers of the little notebooks, which are sewn together. The art on the covers is theirs. It's beautiful, it's colorful, it's doing a lot of good in their community.

Now, NESsT comes in this way: NESsT does a lot of fundraising, then, rather than just dispersing funds out for one-time gifts, the money goes into infrastructure for these community groups. NESsT does what is basically business training for these groups (business professionals donate time to help in this), and gives the groups technical assistance to keep up and running, and helps them find venues for the products they're making. NESsT helps them with the marketing, and in learning how to do all those sorts of things on their own. And when it's all together, these non-profit non-government community groups have solid infrastructure and a steady source of income that they can use to employ locals and give back to their communities in whatever way their communities need. They get to be self-sufficient (NESsT stands for Non-Profit Enterprise and Self-Sustainability Team). And all that without having to compromise themselves in whatever way private corporations or donors would require before giving them any funding, and without having the unsteadiness of highly variable incomes, or anything else most small charities have to suffer through.

It is really, intensely cool. NESsT takes (in my opinion) the best stuff from the business world and the best stuff from the philanthropy world, and helps people make really wonderful things happen.

It's the panacea, for me, too. I'm not doing much that's big or grand, I'm not working full-time or doing heavy lifting and fund-raising or donating or marketing, but I help with every little thing to keep NESsT running smoothly that I can. I'm putting numbers in spreadsheets and keeping track of business cards and doing research and mailing letters and loading software, but it means that I'm helping (if in just a remote, small little way) to keep small communities in South America and Eastern Europe from starving.

Isn't that amazing?

Maybe I'm PMSing, but I'm about to cry.

I LOVE my job.

P.S. In case you were wondering: the wine is Joe Blow Red.