Mobilis in Mobili

One life in recursive eval of transubstantiation_by_successive_approximation(self), observations and commentary, at work, at home, and everywhere else. "Building Commercial Scale ISP/ASP Infrastructure for Dummies" meets "Tales of the City". Whatever.
Strata Rose Chalup

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

This is going to get updated more often, since I'm building a chroot sandbox in which to run a javascript-enabled browser. Since I turned JS off, I don't really keep up with my blogging!

A Porch Garden Update

We have a small south-facing balcony in our apartment complex, and I have an evolving garden space on the balcony. Some recent pix are available, as well as the pre-sabbatical version before my major rearrangement of the space. We're approximately in zones 15 - 17, coastal, since Sunnyvale is very near the Bay. We water every other day in the summer, and every third to fourth day in the winter, depending on rainfall.

Tomatillos, figs, roma gold tomatoes, green peppers, basil. We also get 1 - 2 strawberries every few days, and have rosemary to clip when we need some. I have a big bundle of dried sage hanging in the kitchen, clipped from the sage plant when I transplanted it. We overwatered it, alas, and it died.

There's a cherry tomato plant flowering now where the tomatillo plant had been. I noticed it self-seeded from the transplant dirt, so I let it keep going and cut down the tomatillo plant after it had finished bearing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some cherry tomatoes before it gets too chilly here.

The fig tree is near the end of its fruiting sequence-- only a half-dozen figs still ripening on the tree. Every week since early July I've gotten 4 - 8 full size figs a week, which is great! Putting a pipe into the new container so we can water down into the inside has really done the trick. Mike deserves all the credit, since he kept watering it in the old container two years ago after I thought it had died off! Thanks to him, it lived to come back last spring, and this spring I transplanted it into the new container (a huge Rubbermaid trash can, actually!).

We've gotten a couple of quarts of tomatoes from the Roma bush. Next year I think I'll grow slicing tomatoes, since I can also cook with them whereas the Romas are pretty boring to eat raw. We've made a nice sauce for baking fish from tomatillos and Romas in the blender, and for erev Rosh Hashanah we made a big fresh sauce with the Romas, our basil, and our green peppers. Yum!

posted by Strata Chalup 10/3/2001 12:12:08 PM

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Strata Rose Chalup Homepage Bay Area Celtic Calendar hello
posted by Strata Chalup 4/26/2001 08:46:43 PM

Monday, March 12, 2001

"You may think you live in Santa Cruz, or Chiang Mai, or New York City, or Timbuktu -- but you're wrong. You're really living in Barsoom." A very interesting set of viewpoints in one of Jones' Notes from Planet Cruz.

posted by Strata Chalup 3/12/2001 12:54:15 PM

Friday, March 02, 2001

Here is the full Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey referenced in the previous paragraphs. Veddy eeenteresting, as the guy on Laugh-In used to say...

posted by Strata Chalup 3/2/2001 12:21:41 PM

I'm thankful for the Internet, and for a network of mailing lists that go back an average of 10 years, and closer to 15 in some cases. I'm part of several sometimes-overlapping online communities, in a low-key way which is very meaningful to me. Then again, I'm an introvert by nature, as well as a bit of a loner. Folks who know my "public persona" tend to react to this with disbelief, but hey, it's a carefully cultivated tip of the iceberg kind of thing. I'm wary of close emotional connections with folks unless they are physically distant or I don't see them often, or both.

Fortunately, most of my close friends tend to also be introverts or loners-- something of a contradiction in terms, but one that lets us keep an emotional connection going without overloading me. The ones who are gung-ho people persons have just learned to deal with me. :-)

But where would I be without my real live "virtual community", or communities, since some are quite disparate. They don't provide an immersive social experience, but then I don't WANT an immersive social experience. They provide a pool of folks who I feel I know a little more than strangers, but whom I don't know so well as to be put off or bored by. What do folks who socialize more normally do, or folks who don't have this kind of online history? Apparently, here in the Valley at least, they mostly just lose out.

posted by Strata Chalup 3/2/2001 12:19:10 PM

Saturday, February 24, 2001


Every now and then I go look up something I like that I can't get any more. Today, after taking a bit of a trip through surf music land (inspired by an acquaintance's page), I thought to myself, "I wonder if I can dig up a copy of Interstellar Suite". I have an audio cassette copy made by a kind friend who introduced me to Amin Bhatia's music, as well as some other memorable music (Happy the Man, for instance). If you're out there reading, Hi Christina! Drop me an email, I don't know how to reach you these days.

Anyway, the yeeha-factor is that I did in fact find pointers to Bhatia, and he is in the process of re-releasing Interstellar Suite! And has put up some audio samples on his site in the meantime. Oh yeah!!!

posted by Strata Chalup 2/24/2001 05:47:16 PM

All Your Candy Are Belong To Us

Lemmings love cliff-diving, what? What's your problem?

posted by Strata Chalup 2/24/2001 04:32:33 PM

Here's a Chicago Trib story on online comics , which illustrates how deeply under a rock I've been living for the last few years. S'okay. I've got a nice list of things to spend free time on when I eventually have lots of it, and this article gives some nice starting points. BTW, I also highly recommend the Comics Worth Reading site by Johanna Draper Carlson.

I used to follow Sandman, HellRaiser, Books of Magic, etc when I lived in a group house where one or more roommates kept up with them. At some point I just got disgusted with the overall dark tone and level of lossage of the storylines. Getting interested in or attached to some character just wasn't worthwhile, since they were likely to be killed off, mutilated, or whatever.

In addition, there was an excess amount of just the sort of incidental character violence that Douglas Adams satirized with his falling whale in HitchHiker's Guide. Interesting folks wander into the scene and are subjected to horrendous torments by the villain of the moment, with a lot of stuff that is just too gratuitous to even be relevant to the plot in a vague sense. What I miss is the stuff I used to follow in the 80's, like Mancuso's "Fish Police", Gallacci's "Albedo Anthropomorphics" (especially Erma Felna, which I followed because of the *plot*, unlike some confused male acquaintances), "Sam and Max, Freelance Police", and of course Donna Barr's classic works on Stinz and on Pfirsch, the Desert Peach.

These days, the only comic titles I follow with anything like "regularity" are Usagi Yojimbo and Bone. And my "following" tends to be merely remembering that they exist every few months and checking for another bound anthology. I got rid of all my comics when my husband and I moved in together, and now wish I'd kept some of them around. Maybe I'm just a stupid, stupid rat creature at heart. :-)

Which reminds me-- it's not got the cachet of being "on the way to destruction", but there's an entertaining Winnie-the-Pooh personality test on the UK Disney site, which has been making the rounds. To no one's surprise, I am a "Rabbit", which makes sense, being born in a Year of the Rabbit. But what we really need to create is a Bone personality test! Bone, Smiley, Phoney, Gramma Ben, the quiche-loving rat creature, Ted Bug, etc. Lots to choose from there. If you see this, and make one, drop me the URL, si vous plait? Merci!

posted by Strata Chalup 2/24/2001 02:14:28 PM

Friday, February 16, 2001

Re: Transcription of Larry's talk (wherein he lays the foundation for Perl 6)

"The third thing I noticed is that I want to start reminiscing about my youth. Old people really only have three things to say: how good it was back then, how bad it is now, and (if you're lucky) how much worse it will be in the future."

OK, thanks to Larry Wall, I now know the name of the malady I have been experiencing more and more acutely over the past 8 months. It is called "getting old".

No, I'm serious. I am more resistant to new things, in an "I've seen this kind of thing before, I know better" way. I have been posting things to mailing lists without thinking about them first (yeah, but I didn't always do that, unlike many). I've been resentful when confronted with things in which I should instead be interested.

It took almost 38 years to get here, so I can't fix it immediately. The first step to solving a problem is admitting it's a problem. Sure, I can't turn back the clock, but there's a difference between physiological aging and attitudinal aging. It's more clear than ever that I need some time off, and a different approach to things.

I've tried living my life "the adult way"-- which really seems to have meant "the grownup way". I said years ago in my barely-20's that I was looking forward to becoming an adult, but never wanted to become a grownup. Now here I am acting like one. Ugh. I quit!!! I sincerely hope that I've learned enough useful material in my life so far that I can be more irreverent, spontaneous, and fun-experiencing without screwing up my life. If not, well, things may get interesting in unpleasant as well as pleasant ways. We shall see.

posted by Strata Chalup 2/16/2001 12:27:35 PM

Monday, January 15, 2001

Once again, Phil Agre comes out and says, far more eloquently than I could, some things I've been thinking lately and takes them a few steps further:

The need for a new culture.
--Phil Agre, excerpted from RRE News

The world is being swept by new materials, including computational devices that can be embedded into anything. These new materials are full of knowledge; far more knowledge goes into the average hunk of steel, glass, fabric, computer circuitry, display screen now than ten years ago. If you look around at a hundred sectors of industry, you see people exploring a world of new design options.

What's missing from this picture is the most important kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to live. We have an opportunity to redesign our lives, and I want to argue for a new culture in which we use this wave of new materials to reinvent the way we live. We're at a crossroads. We can be good little consumers and buy all the shiny commodities, or we can be active participants in shaping the culture.

This active design orientation has a precedent in the Internet world; the Internet is designed so that end users can build on top of it, and the Internet's development has repeatedly headed in unexpected directions because of the ways that end users have taken hold of it. We need to bring that orientation home and apply it to a much wider range of technologies.

Knowing how to live has many facets: having a purpose, being useful, evolving rituals instead of ruts, advancing professionally without tearing oneself apart, keeping in touch, using TV and other drugs in moderation, physical and mental health, balance, cultivating tastes, eating the right things, standing for something, and advancing the art of having a life. But I want to consider a few aspects in particular.

Quiet. Access to computers will soon be a solved problem, but access to quiet is something else. All sorts of machinery can be made more quiet with new materials and computer-intensive methods of vibration analysis. This includes HVAC and compressors generally. And noise-cancellation devices will soon be cheap enough to scatter everywhere. It's time to start auditing our homes, workplaces, and public spaces for noise. Some noises are good. Others are bad. We've gotten used to too many unnecessary bad noises.

Indoor air quality. We know that indoor air is choked with fumes from carpets, paint, and plastics. The problem isn't getting solved because it's invisible, but we'll soon be able to get small devices that automatically analyze the air. Then we'll be in a position to force the issue.

Adverse selection. Homes today are designed to look good for the half-hour you spend on the tour, instead of what they'll be like to live in. When everyone is online we can help people find other people who live in similar houses from the same builder, and a lot of new questions can come to the surface. What would it be like to have a service that enables people to communicate based on the stuff they own on common, or are thinking of buying? It's an easy problem on a technical level and tough on a social level. You have to deal with privacy issues, spammers, and perverse incentives. But maybe there's a way.

Intellectual life. In a world of terabyte databases and superabundant bandwidth it'll be much easier to explore the art, music, and ideas of the world. We'll be able to discover what we really find interesting and what we really care about. And it'll be much easier to find other people who care about the same thing. Then will we we make time?

Boundaries. As cell phones mature into always-on technologies that keep us connected to everyone else, we'll have incredible power to keep in touch. But we'll also have to decide where to draw the line. E-mail addiction will move from the desktop to restaurants, vacations, recreation, and the middle of the night. We'll have to set boundaries: at which points exactly during your kids' Saturday soccer game are you letting them down if you're hooked to a device and not to them?

The tidal wave of new materials can be used to amplify the negative forces that are pushing the world out of balance. And that is the most likely outcome unless a new culture of living well takes root. We can drive ourselves into fragmented, hyper-competitive, over-scheduled lives, or we can learn how to use the new technologies positively to design healthy lives of involvement and balance.

This exploratory period of new technologies is important: technical standards are a parliament of early adopters. Companies produce products, but only real people in their real homes can tell what's useful, and only real people in their real lives can understand how the pieces fit together. People with a strong design orientation lead the market and effectively make choices for everyone else. That's why we need a movement of creative people designing good lives for themselves, and why we need it now.

posted by Strata Chalup 1/15/2001 11:57:58 AM

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