Monday, October 27, 2003

Here We Go Again

As Gary Wolf writes his article for Wired about Howard Dean, he asks at least 7 men and no women what they think is going on in the Dean Campaign.

Gary, please read my comment in your comments. If you aren't interviewing women and quoting women and asking women what they think -- simply as an "unbiased" journalist you're falling down on the job -- but if you expect to understand what's going on in the Dean campaign at all without talking to us -- it's completely crazy. If he gets elected, women will be the reason.

Or maybe we don't have the right to vote. Did they take it away while I wasn't watching?

Pink Wig

Okay, I broke down and got a Halloween costume yesterday when I went to get my son one at Party City -- we had a blast. I couldn't resist. Pink wig like the girl singing karaoke in Lost in Translation, but I figured a black velvet hairband with pointy black velvet pussy cat ears and a long black velvet tail were just the thing to round out the outfit. Black leotard, fishnets, heels and ready to roll.

I have a lot more parties and stuff to go to this year than I expected. I remember the 2001 Halloween after 9/11 -- a very somber time if I recall correctly.

Definately ... I Mean Definitely

A reader mentions for the 400th time -- and I do appreciate it , really, I'm just teasing him and making fun of myself -- that I spelled definitely wrong. Again. I don't know what it is about that word, but I have a real block about it. He asks if I have something against spell checkers and the answer is YES, since I've had real serious screw-ups using spell checkers when I'm a little tired and I let them correct something like blogging and it turns into flogging or some insane thing. So I'll try to both learn how to spell DE-FINITE-LY and also remember to use the spell checker a little more often.

Stroke Me

I'm learning to use TypePad on the Misbehaving.Net site and it's very interesting to me. Let me say up front, that I am the most impossible customer in the world. If something doesn't work the first time or maybe the second, I'm instantly bitching and moaning.

Now the problem is, of course, I am the one defining "work" -- that is, if you user interface guys put a button in a place that you think is reasonable and I think is stupid ... I say "It doesn't work." I guess I mean "It doesn't work for me."

So here are some simple ones. And I plan to kick Blogger in the ass just as much as Typepad here. So here goes.

Blogger just to clean up some unfinished business. What the HELL is the story with the absolutely microscopic SIGN OUT x button up there in the corner? When I used to do a lot of blogging at work, the one thing I really needed to find fast was the SIGN OFF button. It used to be bigger. Now, it's much too small. If this were a car I was driving, the driver's door (the GET OUT button equivalent) would be the size of the gas cap cover door and the interior of the car would be as big as an 18-wheeler. What gives? When I want to get my hands on the GET OUTTA HERE BUTTON -- I want it big and I want it obvious!

Meanwhile, TypePad's type font is too small all around for me -- even with my good eye, I don't want to be reading the frigging Rosetta Stone to find things. So many little words.

Here's what I mean by the title of this post -- stroke me. It doesn't mean whatever you thought it meant. I was thinking about User Interfaces in general. When I learn a new UI, which you can assume I DO NOT WANT TO LEARN BECAUSE MY LIFE IS COMPLICATED ENOUGH, why do I have to spend any time learning it, why isn't it learning ME ... in other words, as I start using TypePad and I keep hitting certain buttons on a regular basis, or stroking certain keys, why doesn't it make those keys grow larger? Just like WORD remembers the last documents I was working on and has them in the bottom of the file menu -- can't a good UI learn me and remember what I do? Come on UI guys and gals, take a cue from the natural world. God's a fine designer. He came up with a great piece of hardware that gets bigger when you stroke it.

In other words, why doesn't Typepad remember I keep embedding pix and I want to remember how to do that and so make that button bigger? Make it grow when I stroke it.

Or at least store my stroke info and at the end of the session, show me what my personal UI would look like (buttons I use a lot bigger, buttons I don't care about , the same) and let me choose whether to use that new UI or not. There may be times I really don't want a certain button enlarged. There may be times I do. Why isn't it anticipating my needs as well, like Amazon does ... "other users who liked to use the embed image key, also found this HTML cheat sheet handy, want to check it out?"

I know some products do this TOO much and they can be annoying, but I'd like to have Typepad start morphing to fit me. Think natural world again. My shoes do that after a few wearings. They know who's boss -- my feet. They don't insist on fitting every other human's feet -- they're MY shoes.

[UPDATE or should I say footnote, speaking of shoes: I got email from a very helpful TypePad person pointing out that there is a CUSTOMIZE button on the lower right-hand corner to do many of the things I'm talking about here. Duh, opps, thanks. Still, I'd love to have Typepad make those suggestions and changes for me -- or at least offer to make them without me having to think of it.]

One other Typepad thing I find really disconcerting. I like the two screen interface of Blogger -- simple and obvious. Upstairs I'm building a post, downstairs I'm getting the WYSIWYG of it. I see the building area. I see the preview area and only after all that, I can PUBLISH. [This is all about me being a visual learner, as I'm sure you have guessed by now.]

With Typepad, I see the building area, AND THIS FREAKED ME OUT THE FIRST TIME I DID IT, I saw the button called SAVE, I thought I wasn't PUBLISHING, but just SAVING the text somewhere ... but I had PUBLISHED. Wow! I didn't feel very safe doing that. I didn't realize what I wanted was PREVIEW. The meaning I associate with SAVE is to "put away". Save money in the bank -- put it away. SAVE a file, put it in a safe place. SAVE face, retain dignity. I do not associate SAVE (a hiding away motion) with PUBLISH (a putting out there in the world for all to see motion).

Perhaps I'm just too used to Blogger, which feels sturdy and safe to me, but with Typepad I'm having trouble knowing where THINGS ARE GOING ... by seeing all my posts in the window below, this feels like I have my blog right there to hold onto. With Typepad I feel like my blog isn't within arm's length. It's a bunch of little pieces (the list of titles of posts) and I want to feel I have control over it. I feel it's more of an abstract idea, than a realworld billboard with stuff I'm slapping up there and hammering to the wooden backing with a nail at each corner of the post.

Still with Blogger I don't know what the hell there's a "POST & PUBLISH" button up there on the far right for. I get POST and I get PUBLISH, bright orange, middle right, but I was very thrown off in the beginning with "POST & PUBLISH" -- honestly, I still have no clue what it means and never use it, unless the orange PUBLISH button is totally messed up and invisible -- which happens, I have no idea why -- and then I just start clicking any key I can get ahold of.

Other things I love about Typepad -- learning to post pix and realizing how easy it is has been incredibly fun. I love the color scheme of the UI. It has a simple design (but still too many words I think). It feels cool.

Over There

Sometimes I'm over here. Sometimes I'm over there. I'm trying to decide if I should post to both places simulanteously. I've been posting over at Misbehaving.Net a bunch today. This morning I posted a piece about ... well, go over and check it out. It's called Re-imagining Our Lives. It argues that if we aren't using technology to make our lives as parents more integrated with our work, our kids, our men, what the hell are we bothering for?

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Smokin'

Hoping the best for the folks in Southern California tonight with those terrible fires raging. The day we moved to LA back in 1990 there were fires burning wildly and amazing heat -- we had to wonder if we had made a big, big mistake. To make things worse, as my husband tried to load our bags into the rental car which I was driving, I ran over his foot. Whoops! Just lightly, no damage done. I won't even get into that story. The heat was making me a little loco.

But I know how terrifying the fires can be. Hope all you PDC'ers are safe and sound. This will be one helluva conference. Robert, this PDC conference is so hot, it's a conflagration -- simply smokin' seems to me!

Radical Clockotomy

Well, I did it ... wandered around the house turning the clocks back. But I did more than that, I finally took the radical step to put them all on the EXACT time and not the ill-conceived mis-set 10-minutes ahead ones in the bedroom and bathroom, to try to keep me from being late and the ones in the rest of the house reasonably on time.

This mess of uncoordinated clocks was getting me down. I never knew what the hell time it was -- except by looking at my Sprint phone with its satellite spot-on time. The whole silly idea that I'd avoid lateness by tricking myself has just gotten too ridiculous. Who's kidding who, I'm always late.

So, time to turn over a new leaf. No more fudging it -- just give me the right time right now and I may actually be able to simply kick my butt out the door on time.

Really Really Fine Blog

I hate it when I forget how good someone's blog is and I don't read it often enough.

But I love it when I go back and it's right there ready to read and it's really really fine.

If Everybody Had An Ocean

[Wow! I had no idea this was written by Chuck Berry and Brian Wilson ... I'm gonna go check to see if this is correct. Meanwhile, you'll see over here why I have surfing on my mind.]

The Beach Boys - Surfin Usa
(written by: Chuck Berry - Brian Wilson)

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Californi-a
You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' U.S.A.

You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Trestle
Australia's Narabine
All over Manhattan
And down Doheny Way

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

We'll all be planning that route
We're gonna take real soon
We're waxing down our surfboards
We can't wait for June
We'll all be gone for the summer
We're on surfari to stay
Tell the teacher we're surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Haggerties and Swamies
Pacific Palisades
San Anofree and Sunset
Redondo Beach L.A.
All over La Jolla
At Waimia Bay

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.



Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A.

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S.A...

In God We Trust -- Maybe

I've been thinking about divorce and why it's so difficult, so painful, so destructive, especially why it takes so long to simply do -- the time between separating and actually being legally divorced is much longer than anyone starting the process ever anticipates -- and takes so long to recover from. There are some good things to be said for divorce, but I don't think it's easy to remember them when you are going through it. It's all about a complete breakdown in trust and a long, gradual rebuilding of that trust. And that is really hard work.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a ice cream shop with two friends -- they are married, both work, they have one son who's pretty much my son's closest friend. This boy and my son were squirmy and they wanted to run outside at night and play on the siidewalk now that their ice cream was done. There was a big glass window so we could see them, but still I hestitated. We had had dinner in our local town at a nice Italian place and walked down the very pretty, safe, clean street to this shop. It was a very safe place and the other parents were semi-pushing me to let them, not to be so overprotective. They are 8 years old for goodness' sakes.

I agreed that the boys could go out and play on the sidewalk, but only as long as they stayed right in front of the shop so I could see them. There was a toy store down the street and I knew they really wanted go look in that store window, as well as play outside the ice cream shop. I agreed that we would all go look there later, but first they could be on their own outside, only as long as I could see them.

I know the other parents thought I was overdoing it. But I finally got the words straight to explain my position. "You know, with both of you here, if your son got hurt or a stranger talked to him, or something weird happened, you each know you were both being just as vigilant as possible and even if something bad happened, you'd both understand the circumstances. I don't have that luxury anymore. Imagine my kid fell and broke his arm or something far worse. Since he's on my watch and his dad is not here, his dad would never know if I was really being careful or if I was negligent. I can't be casual about his well-being ever again. I have to be overprotective as we rebuild trust between us all."

Whatever trust you had with a married partner, it pretty much goes out the window when you say, "I don't love you anymore" or maybe worse, do something, like fall in love with someone else that makes it painfully clear that "I don't love you anymore." If marriage is about anything, it's about the notion that the person you are married to loves you and puts you first -- surely above other partners -- but often above their own self-interests.

Divorce and separation make it clear that you can't trust in that anymore.

It's over.

So what are you then expected to do? Work on a financial agreement and a custody agreement (if you are lucky/unlucky enough to have kids -- lucky cause they're wonderful, unlucky because divorce is 100X more excruciating with kids involved) -- that is based on trust.

Let me explain it again. Just at a time when you have no basis for trusting that #$%@$& person who betrayed you at the most basic level, you have to write an agreement based on trust with the help of two lawyers who tend to remind you of all the myriad ways you can not trust the other person.

You have to trust that they will pay you support of a certain amount at a certain time (though your divorce may have been caused by hellish financial problems). You have to trust the other person will take care of your kids when you are not present (though your divorce may have been caused by poor treatment of you and your kids by your spouse -- and I make no assumptions here about moms vs. dads treating kids or spouses better than the other -- modern life suggests all bets are off in this department). You have to trust your partner to be fair and equitable in their dealings with you when you DON'T TRUST YOUR PARTNER AS FAR AS YOU CAN THROW THEM.

So drag in the clock. You cobble together some agreement and you start to test it and you can only test it over time. You can only rebuild trust over time. You can only know how the first Thanksgiving without your spouse will go by LIVING THROUGH THE FIRST THANKSGIVING WITHOUT YOUR SPOUSE. You can only know how the first Xmas without your spouse will go, maybe even without your kids, or maybe trying to share your kids by LIVING THROUGH THE FIRST XMAS, TRUDGING THROUGH A BLINDING SNOWSTORM ON XMAS MORNING TO PICK UP YOUR KIDS AT THE OTHER SPOUSES' HOUSE AND HOPING NOT TO FIND YOUR KIDS CRYING OR STUFFED FULL OF CANDY BEFORE 8:00AM OR WHOOPING IT UP WITH SOME SEXY NEW GIRLFRIEND IN HER FUR-EDGED RED SANTA BABYDOLL PJS. [BTW, none of these things have happened to me, but they have happened to others and your fears run wild with scenarios in the first few months when you're going on adrenaline, coffee, tears, no sleep and resentment. Oh, yeah, and on both sides, little or no money, half the time.)

You have to live through it. You have to take the time to rebuild trust. You feel like you have to see it to believe it. You have to see that you CAN live through it. You don't know what to trust. You don't know who to trust. You don't know anything.

So time goes by and time is highly underrated. Often one partner can't make time move fast enough -- the one who wanted the divorce in the first place. And one partner can't slow things down enough -- the one who did not want the divorce and goes kicking and screaming into a very dark uncertain unpleasant future. But like the song says, "Time ..... is on my side, yes it is." Actually time is on everyone's side. Because after a while, you start to see that you're still alive, you're still breathing and that you will continue.

Time feels long or short but it always creeps up on you all of a sudden and you notice -- "Wow, I'm renewing my lease on this place," and you've managed to be alive even a year after being separated. Or "wow, we're paying taxes again, but not jointly." you think and you note you're still breathing and probably managing better than the year before or at least managing. Or your kid brings home the school directory and both your addresses are listed this year, so they finally got it straight and you don't have to spend the whole year (as you did the year before) explaining, "No, he's at his dad's house this weekend. No, the number isn't listed, I'll give it to you."

And so who do we trust in? Well, I do happen to trust in God, but you needn't. You can trust in healing. You can trust in routine. And you can ultimately trust in time.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Happy Happy Happy For Those Big Big Fish!

The Marlins most definately, most decidedly, most undoubtedly ROCK! So glad to see them win that excruciating game tonight. Wow!

Take The Test

Take the test. What do you know about rockets?

Kevin's Up!

Kevin Marks takes me to task about saying the Blogstreet's 100 Top Most Excellent Influential Blogs are populated only by 3 women. He's right and now that's he's answered his email and he's up on the West Coast let me post his excellent reply.

He mentions these in an email to me, numbering the blogs listed in the top 100 which are solely written by women or group blogs that include women:

>> 5: boingBoing includes Xeni
>> 7: DailyKos includes Melanie
>> 10: TalkLeft is Jeralyn Merrit
>> 17: Asymmetrical Information is Jane Galt
>> 19: Samizdata include Adriana Cronin, Natalie
>> Solent, Alice Bachini &
>> Natalija Radic
>> 28: Volokh conspiracy includes Michelle Boardman,
>> but she doesn't post
>> much
>> 34: Natalie Solent
>> 35: On the Third Hand is Kathy Kinsley
>> 36: Slashdot includes Pudge, but is mostly blokes.
>> 43: Eve Tushnet
>> 46: Tapped is another group blog with men and women
>> 49: Cut on the bias is susanna
>> 50: Winds of Change is another group log with some
>> women
>>
>> (I'm stopping halfway as it is late and 50 blogs is
>> enough for now)
>>
>> Also, Virgina Postrel IS there at no. 61
>>
>> I think the moral is that group blogs win out in
>> their metric.
>>

Thanks, Kevin, I'll still say that blogs written purely by one woman out of 100 number somewhere near ... 10.

Megnut
Postrel
Eve Tushnet
Susanna/Bias
Meryl Yourish
Jeryln TalkLeft
Jane Galt
Natalie Solent
Kathy Kinsie

I love these guys and I'm glad they are on the list, but expect there will be more and more.


Forbes Better Off Dead List

Is this a Halloween stunt or something?

I guess Elvis has left the building ... but not the bank.

Yes, per Forbes list of the Wealtiest Dead People (aka The You-Can-Take-It-With-You List) my favorite hunk boy Alpha Male in his white leather angel suit is at the top of the list.

Kevin Marks Wake Up!

I'm waiting for Kevin Marks to wake up on the West Coast and agree to let me post something he sent me in email .... get up man ... boil that tea water, get that orange marmelade jar on the table, fry up some bangers! What, do you Brits just sleep til noon on Saturdays?

He corrected my stats on the 100 Most Influential Blogs and gave me the exact numbers of blogs that are written by women AND group blogs that have women featured. I think I'd still argue the number is too small and I don't think being listed in a group blog is the same as being listed for your own blogs.

Take Boing Boing for instance. We know Xeni Jardin is there and does killer posts, but when you think of Boing Boing -- don't you think of it as Cory Doctorow's blog? No offense, Cory's terrific, but I wonder if women bloggers have to ride on the coattails of men bloggers or team up with them to get any traffic?

BTW, I read three great post's of Xeni's over there just now and one by Cory about breast cancer and the shockingly short hospital stays they allow patients (including his mom) these days. Don't miss them.

No More Candy Drawers

Shelley's burning up the page too. Wow. She describes what it's really like for a woman to work in technology and how when you shut up and let the guys push you around, everythings fine, but if you stand up and fight -- well, watch out:

What do I mean by this? Well, when I deferred to the group in all things, I was an okay person. But when I disagreed, I became a bitch. I know. I was called a bitch. You see, unlike at Intel, I wasn't going to be quiet, be good, or be conciliatory. No more candy drawers. I was going to fight back, and I've been fighting back ever since.

I'm posting this BEFORE I finish reading it. I suspect she'll kick my ass towards the end of the piece. But man, can she write, and I'm always willing to have my ass kicked by someone who can write that well and tell the truth that courageously.

As for my ass, it's too late to try to cover it ... feel free to take a look at my drawers.

Jeneane Nails It Again -- And Nails Us To The Wall

Better get over there ... Jeneane's telling the truth again. She sees where blogging is going and it's not very pretty. I really felt sad when she talked about how ill Jenna, her daughter has been this week and then REALLY sad when she admitted that she didn't feel like it was safe to blog about it.

Read this for starters:

More and more, it's big-media topics and news and politics. Why? Why do we want to replicate what we came here to escape? What are we feeding on here with aggregators and all news all the time.

We have no mandate, no laws of decorum, no way to say, Did you read him? did you read her? can you see he's hurting? Are you looking past your own post? Your own site meter? A post above or below the one you followed the link to?

We're losing one another.

Go back and read your own old posts. I've been reading your old posts all week.

I saw you there. You and you and you.

Don't forget where you came from.

And don't let me either.


Friday, October 24, 2003

Sure Hope This Was The Warm-up Act For Personal Hovercraft

I'm figuring Dean Kamen's mind is always a little bigger and bolder than he lets anyone know. Getting the Segway to be steady and getting people used to finding their sealegs on the thing, I hope is a warm-up for building me my own little hovercraft.

Liver Sashimi

Interesting. Listen, Ito-San, if I come to visit, I think I'll have to pass on the liver sashimi. Feeling kindof American here. That stuff looks like something from a horror movie.

Can't we have Boston Baked Beans and Frankfurters with Brown Bread, instead?

The Politics of Male Blogging


This week as we looked into the Perseus Study, which David Weinberger linked to in his excellent post "When Blogs Get Really Popular" to find out that "56% of hosted blogs" are created by women.

Connect that with Dana Blankenhorn's interesting post on Corante called Everybody Wants To Rule The World and his assessment that the most striking thing one might notice when reading Blogstreet's 100 Most Influential Blogs is how many are about politics ... call me crazy, but isn't the MOST STRIKING THING rather that in a new technology dominated by women so few women are in the list? This would be like reading a list of the Most Influential Civil Rights Leaders and not having any African Americans in the top 100. Imagine a list that read "Lyndon Johnson, Bob Dylan, Robert Kennedy, Joan Baez," and on and on. Martin Luther who?

And if African Americans complained -- would they be taken seriously? You bet.

Play my parlor game, -- out of the 100 Most Influential Bloggers, how many are women? There are a number of blogs on the list with which I am not acquainted, so it makes it difficult for me to count the women, but here's my guess. 3?

Which, of course, gets us to the definition of "influential" and Blogstreet's algorithm for determining who is influential. They say it is based on who blogrolls whom. I will email them today to ask about this in greater detail. If you look at some of the most influential blogger's blogrolls, they all have women listed. Many have the same women listed -- so how is it that none of these women are on the Top 100 list? Women like Shelley Powers, Virginia Postrel, Mena Trott, GnomeGirl Cheyenne, Jeneane Sessum, Elaine Kalily, Asparagirl, Esther Dyson, Karlin Lillington, Elizabeth Spiers, Reverse Cowgirl, Denise Howell, Moxie, Betsy Devine, Xeni, Susan Mernit, Jennifer Balderama, Amy Wohl, Jenny (Shifted Library) Levine, Elizabeth Lane Lawley. I am throwing this list up in no particular order -- actually referring to the top 5 male blogger's blogrolls. [If I forgot you, remind me.]

It's clear that the top male bloggers are not denying women their blogroll inks, for the most part. It's clear that the top male bloggers take every chance to list women bloggers and engage the topics that they raise. These men are too smart not to take us seriously. We are their colleagues, friends, girlfriends, sisters, bosses, moms, daughters. They want the best for us. Guys, feel free to blogroll us anytime.

Still we are almost inviisble and I want to know why. What are we doing wrong? Are we not publishing our blogs in RSS? Are we not promoting ourselves enough? Are we not expressing ourselves clearly? Our footprint is illegible, although our actual influence is not inconsequential. If you take a look at the list of women above, there are a few pioneers listed who could actually be considered founding fathers ... whoops, I mean, founding mothers, no, ... well you get the idea.

LA Has A New Concert Hall

Los Angeles finally has the new Walt Disney Concert Hall up and running. We lived there from 1990 to 2000 and I remember hearing about it endlessly and it never being completed. So it's finally done. Looks AND SOUNDS great.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Ad Space

OUR FORTUNE
IS YOUR SHAVEN FACE
IT'S OUR BEST
ADVERTISING SPACE
BURMA-SHAVE

Close Shave

SHE PUT A BULLET
THROUGH HIS HAT
BUT HE'S HAD CLOSER
SHAVES THAN THAT
WITH BURMA-SHAVE

Driving By

HENRY THE EIGHTH
SURE HAD TROUBLE
SHORT-TERM WIVES
LONG-TERM STUBBLE
BURMA-SHAVE

Oh, Yeah, Banana Split

BEN MET ANNA
MADE A HIT
NEGLECTED BEARD
BEN-ANNA SPLIT
BURMA-SHAVE

Read The Signs

IF YOU DON'T KNOW
WHOSE SIGNS THESE ARE
YOU CAN'T HAVE
DRIVEN VERY FAR
BURMA-SHAVE

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Gonzalez!!

They did it! Home run to finish it off. Wow! Marlins win the 4th game! 4-3

All the nachos are gone, same with the popcorn -- I'm eating Special K -- it's practically dawn anyway.

Looper Looper Looper

Looper
Looper
Looper
Looper

Hang tough, man!

You rock!

Tenth Inning Nail Biter

Holy Heck! Is this really happening?!

Still a Red Sox fan, much habituated to hating the Yankees, so I'm routing for the Marlins.

Not routing actually, PRAYING.

And A Very Happy Blogversary

And Liz Lawley is one year old. Is that possible?! It doesn't seem like a year, but maybe 10 years there's so much great content over there!

Some Strange Things Are Happening

I swear -- it's really not my fault. I was talking to Liz Lawley on the phone, lovely chat, but she says all of a sudden, "Gotta go, plumbing disaster" and click. Hangs up on me in a hurry.

Wow, was it my breath? So I go off to check my email. I start thinking about my day. Something strange did happen today to me. This fire hydrant down the street from me just started shooting water all over the street. I called the police to report it. They asked me questions like maybe I had something to do with it. I had nothing to do with it.

So Liz calls back. She heard this weird water whooshing noise in her kitchen as she's standing in her dining room. She goes into the kitchen to see if the sink is backing up -- or the dishwasher overflowing or something. No, they're fine, BUT THERE'S WATER POURING OUT OF THE CEILING LIGHT FIXTURES.

She starts yelling and running upstairs. Her husband had been running a bath, with bleach, to clean the tub or something.

But then ...

He decided to leave it running and read some blogs.

And you know how one blog leads to another.

And guess who's blog he was reading when the water came happily running over the top of the tub and all over the floor and through the kitchen ceiling ... you got it -- Halley's Comment.

All We Want For Christmas -- Legos Of Course

We want this. And about a million other Lego sets.

Jolie Madame -- Evocative Of The 1950's


Un parfum sophistiqué, évocateur de grandes soirées, de moments exceptionnels. Pierre Balmain le décrivait à l'époque comme "Le parfum de l'aventure pour les soirées de passions et d'enchantement". Parfum oriental, très évocateur des années 50, Jolie Madame est une note intensément fleurie: délicatesse du jasmin soutenue par le lilas et la violette. Force du cèdre, tempérée par la tubéreuse et le néroli.

note de tête : Petit grain, girofle, néroli

note de coeur : Absolue jasmin, fleur d'oranger, feuille de violette, absolue tubéreuse, lilas

note de fond : Absolue mousse de chêne, essence de patchouli, absolue tabac, cèdre

Jolie Madame

The perfume my mom used to wear. Jolie Madame by Balmain. Love it. Very sexy.

The Marriage of True Minds

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

-- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Up Close And Personal

I was looking at the real estate and land purchase records for 1640-1752 in the Greenwich, CT archives. I scrolled down from A to C and saw a bunch of people named Close buying and selling land in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Must be Glenn Close's relatives.

In this E! Entertainment Network profile, they've listed every man Glenn Close ever dated for goodness sakes! The problem is how accurate any of this is.

It's amazing how much you can dig up on a public person these days. Do any of us really need to even discuss the issue of privacy anymore? Isn't it gone?

Greenwich, CT 06830

I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut -- a Greenwich before all the corporations moved into town. A Greenwich that had a big old hotel called the Pickwick Arms sitting majestically at the top of Greenwich Avenue.

I found some old photos of the Pickwick Arms. I remember the day they took a crane and let the wrecking ball flatten it.

Also came across these gravestone transcriptions. People who lived in Greenwich long before I did.

Note to self: we all die.

Have You Been To Build-A-Bear?

My kid's new passion -- a store called Build-A-Bear. The are in the malls and online. They have a very interesting business model. And talk about case studies in the experience economy. I'll write about it in detail later today.

World's Fittest Man

I think I saw the world's fittest man the other day at the gym. Honestly, I saw a really buff guy who must have been at least ... 50. I had to stop and stare. He looked like one of these guys -- say, Dan Elsberry, for instance.

No offense to you youngsters below the age of 50, but a guy that looks that good at that age is a way bigger turn-on than a guy that looks good in his 30's or whatever.

First of all, you know he's probably been through a few of lifes ups and downs and secondly, you know how damned hard it is to stay in shape at 50 as compared to any age below 35. If you're below that age, get ready to watch your metabolism grind to a halt around that critical point.

Anyway, my health club hosted the "World's Fittest Man" at their clubs in the DC area a few weeks back. I'd loved to have taken a peek at the guy, but I guess I'll just have to read his book.

Net-Work

Interesting piece in Wired about who the great connectors are. Are we surprised to find a few of our friends listed? Not very.

Mysteriously Fixed? Way To Go!

Wow! My Yahoo email interface is self-healing! All I had to do was blog about it, go to bed, get up early and it's changed!

The thing I complained about yesterday ... is fixed!

My message buttons now read:

DELETE REPLY FORWARD SPAM

I was playing with the SPAM button and it looks really useful. Wouldn't you know I've had very little spam to practice on within the last 24 hours, no URGENT business from Nigerian dignitaries, no lower mortgage rates, even my penis will have to be satisfied at its current length and width.

It's like having my own bug zapping light on the back porch of my inbox.

It's a great improvement for Yahoo email -- one small step for spam-haters, one giant step for Yahoo lovers.





Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Fix One Thing, Break Another

Yahoo made a major user interface change to their email today.

The original line-up of buttons across each message read like this:

DELETE REPLY REPLYALL FORWARD

I might be wrong but I think that's what it used to look like.

Now it looks like this:

DELETE SPAM REPLY FORWARD

Anyway, the key I'm very used to hitting in order to REPLY -- that is, the 2nd key -- is now SPAM and that means it's easy to dump a message when you're trying to reply to it. A little dangerous.

Meanwhile, they did make it much harder to REPLY TO ALL accidentally, by making the REPLY To Everyone, a pull-down menu and nothing you can hit by accident.

Tom Peters In Boston Next Week

This will be a really excellent event. Can't wait to go.

Tom Peters speaking about his new book at BU.

Cool Babe

Wow, I totally forgot Annie Liebowitz was at Rolling Stone before doing all her great work for Vanity Fair. Here's the dish on the book -- swiped from Amazon:

As Rolling Stone’s chief photographer for over thirteen years, Leibovitz created a legendary body of work. Her portraits of some of the world’s most talented musicians capture more than the performer, they convey the art of making music. For AMERICAN MUSIC, Leibovitz traveled across the country to juke joints in the Mississippi Delta, honkytonks in Texas, and jazz clubs in New Orleans “to take pictures in places that mean something.” In her signature style, she shares stunning portraits of American greats -- B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Beck, Bob Dylan, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Miles Davis, Etta James, Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits, The Dixie Chicks, Dr. Dre, The Roots and many more.

AMERICAN MUSIC includes a commentary about the American Music project by Leibovitz, short essays by musicians Patti Smith, Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, Mos Def, Ryan Adams, and Beck as well as biographical sketches of all the musicians.

Yes, There's A Reason

The reason I don't have a coffee table is that I exercise in the living room in the front of the TV to different exercise tapes. I found I was spending a lot of time moving a coffee table in and out of place.

Also found the coffee table gets to be a mess very very fast and if you don't have one, you don't start piling up tons of magazines and newspapers and old coffee cups on it -- hence, no coffee table.

But I got rid of it long before that anyway. I got rid of it because it's a magnet to toddlers heads and especially was one to my toddler's head. He is no longer a toddler, but can still wham his head on anything and everything while he's horsing around.

Coffee Table

No, I don't have a coffee table.

American Musicians

I think it's interesting when so much is melting down in the music scene these days, Annie Liebowitz, the photographer, is doing a book on American Music. The Vanity Fair Cover is excellent. Remember when she does the American Bloggers picture to stand to the far right, so you end up on the far left, which is to say, you end up on the cover, not hidden away past the fold.

Perfect coffee table book for Christmas. Hell, it looks so good, I might even go out and buy a coffee table to go with it.

Hey Doc, Check Out The NYTimes Science Times Today

Doc -- there's a great piece in today's paper about geology, geography, rocks, volcanic eruptions -- stuff you love. Can't wait to see what you write about it. Bigger than Krakatoa -- now that rocks!

Are You Experienced?

Okay, who took my copy of The Experience Economy by James Gilmore and Joseph Pine. I need to write about it here and I wanted to quote from it and I can't find it in my bookcase. I must have loaned it to someone. Oh, heck!

Most Coveted Halloween Costume

Someone is about to make a boatload of money making the most popular Halloween costume of 2003.

If they had my weblog referrer log, they'd already know what it will be. I keep getting a lot of traffic off of this search:

STEVE BARTMAN and HALLOWEEN COSTUME

I wrote a post about Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan who caught that fateful baseball. I also wrote a post last year about weird Halloween costumes I've worn. The two were not related.

But obviously a lot of folks want to go to parties dressed as Steve Bartman. Not sure what that will look like, but maybe it features a reversible hat with the Cubs logo on one side, Marlins logo on the other? Oh, yeah, and a hatchet planted on top of his head.

Well, Don't Tell A Guy You Don't Use An Aggregator

It's like telling him you've never heard of condoms. Makes them very eager to give you a demo.

Holy Smoke! I posted an admission the other day that I don't use an aggregator, since I just don't have time. WELL, boy did I hear from some folks about that. Werner set me up on one right away and now Greg's showing me another. One's Bloglines and one's NewsGator.

I think I'm really getting into it.

And little did I know, "don't have the time" is the WORST excuse for not using one, because they DO save so much time. Scoble will tell you all about it here.

Also, talk about biting the hand that feeds you! So many people tell me now that they read my stuff SOLELY because of finding me in their news aggregator.

Top 20 Definitions of Blogging

I'm sure you've all read this, right? NO?! Hey, read it.

And even if you have read it, read it again.

Debbie Weil has lots of good things to say over there at WordBiz Report.

About Ed Cone's Blog

I just told him this, so I can certainly tell you. I like his blog a lot and it was one of the best things about meeting up with him at The Hotel @ MIT hanging around the Friday before BloggerCon -- getting to know him AND his excellent blog.

Ill Wind Blows No Good

But a warm wind certainly does. We've finally had a Fed Ex delivery of all that warm western weather here in Boston and just in time. I was having one of those silk ski underwear moments this morning, in anticipation of going out to the bus stop. To wear or not to wear. Luckily, I didn't need it.

New Busdriver

We have a new busdriver who's really upbeat, really friendly and really nice. The last one was a cranky curmudgeon who was nothing but a complainer. I know everyone is thrilled he is gone.

A few months back someone gave me this book "How To Deal With Difficult People" since I was having a lot of trouble dealing with someone who was really difficult. At the end of the book my conclusion was not what the author intended -- they want you to finish the book armed with an arsenal of how to treat these monsters gingerly and go for a win-win solution. My reaction was "WHY BOTHER Dealing with Difficult People?" A book I should write.

About Blogs

Jeff Jarvis, per Instapundit, does have some excellent things to say about why weblogs rock.

The reason I liked what Markoff said and called his thoughts "Wise Words" below is because I agree with him that we all DO need to give it "5 or 10 years to see if any institutions emerge out of it. " None of us know where it's going. We're in the thick of it. Blogging may fall by the wayside and simply have been a delivery system for some other extremely important technologies.

Also his notion that "there may be some small subset of people who find a livelihood out of it" is spot on. The irony of ironies is that the people arguing most vociferiously with Markoff about his piece are precisely THAT SMALL SUBSET OF PEOPLE WHO WILL FIND A LIVELIHOOD OUT OF IT. Who are they trying to kid?

And you can't tell me there isn't some New York Times Envy going on here. I got the the distinct impression at BloggerCon that a certain "A List" blogger's wet dream is to be named King of the Blogs and sweep "The Grey Lady" off her feet.

Yeah, right, dream on.



I Couldn't Agree More -- How To Date A Goddess

Funny piece here from ... my favorite ... Men's Health Magazine. How to Date Out of Your League by Matt Fitzgerald. But you alpha males already knew all about this, right?

And listen ladies, they have a radical notion here that a man should talk to you like a human being, not some sex object ... amazing, eh? Good reading.

And Now This

This is a spam phrase from old time TV. Remember when they had announcers and they would segue to a commercial with that mysterious incantation "And Now This" which meant "here comes a dumb commercial you don't want to see." I even remember when commercials were an endless 60 seconds long, or a less onerous long-winded 30 seconds long. They had songs, they had jingles, they had testimonies from housewives.

And Now This ... my kid wants eggs and bacon for breakfast, so I've got to put my apron on, back later.

Bad For DeNiro --
Good For Prostates Everywhere

Bad news -- Robert DeNiro has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Good news -- this disease is about to get a lot more attention.

In case you wondered what US cities boast the highest and lowest prostate cancer rates, Men's Health Magazine's got the low-down on that. One's Honolulu and the other's Norfolk, Virginia, but I'm not saying which is which. Go check for yourself.

New York

I did spend some time in New York. I forget how much I love New York until I get back there. Lovely stroll around Gramercy Park. Nice visits on the Upper West Side. Filled up on the requistie minimum daily requirement of pastrami on seeded rye with deli brown mustard. Lovely food. Lovely people -- I can never get enough of watching the clothes, the crowds, the bustle of the town.

Had a walk the first day that took me through the garment district, past buttons and bustiers and piles of faux and not-so-faux furs. Racks of hangered, clear plastic bagged dresses flying down the streets, propelled by young hip hop guys, prom dresses headed for points unknown.

Kept marching a few blocks to find myself in the flower district, even more eye candy than the fashions. Autumn-colored mums, pink carnations and fuscia orchids lining the streets. Even a broken-down dirt digger, bright yellow like a daffodil, was fun to watch as the muddy construction workers tried to get it back into working order.

I played in Central Park as a tiny little girl. It's still there and from a high window looking out on that green felt desk blotter of a park, New York is a lovely desktop from which to plan a new life.


Time Off

Had to disappear for a bit. Thanks for a bunch of emails asking, "Hey what's up? Where'd you go?" Doesn't really matter WHERE I went, does it? Just matters that I'm back.

A Blonde, A Butler And Bad Brakes

The story out of London today about Princess Diana's letter to her butler, fearing someone was tampering with her car's brakes and wanting to get rid of her is just too good not to blog. Hope it's more fiction than fact. Check it out here.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Wise Words

"It sometimes seems we have a world full of bloggers and that blogging is the future of journalism, or at least that's what the bloggers argue, and to my mind, it's not clear yet whether blogging is anything more than CB radio. And, you know, give it five or 10 years and see if any institutions emerge out of it. It's possible that in the end there may be some small subset of people who find a livelihood out of it and that the rest of the people will find that, you know, keeping their diaries online is not the most useful thing to with their time."

-- John Markoff

Busy Busy Busy Bee

I'm about to get very busy and not be blogging too often.

New Blog in Blogsville

David Isen's smart, not stupid, new blog is up. Don't miss it.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Alpha Male Walks

Walks, like walks off the scene. Like dies. Inspiration for James Bond passed away today. Kinda sad.

Money Talks

Dean raises $15M. Wow, this is good.

Anil -- See Ya At 4

If you need me before then, call my cell, I'll be offline most of the day. And remind me, man ... are you a Yankees Fan? I hope not ... but I'll forgive you if so. As long as they don't win.

When You Wake Up And Find You Are NOT Steve Bartman Today -- Be Happy

Yes, Steve Bartman, the fan who caught that ball in the Cubs game, is the guy you don't want to be today.

Florida can't get enough of the guy however. The governor had kind words for him and a local Holiday Inn owner in Pompano Beach invited him to come down to Florida and hide out at the beach for three months until things calm down in Chicago.

And you notice, at least now, it's almost impossible to find a picture of Steve Bartman -- at least I haven't seen any yet.

Bummed About The Cubs

Me and a few million other people I figure were pretty bummed to see the Cubs go down the drain. Yikes.

Tonight at 8:00

Looks like the game is at 8:00 tonight. I hope my Yankee fan friends aren't too totally obnoxious.

Gotta remember to fill the car up with gas to be sure to get out of there FAST if Boston wins -- they will NOT be happy campers.

The Red Sox Really Won Last Night!

I still can't get over it. Lots of fun -- spaghetti and meat balls, great salad with Italian dressing we ordered in from a local joint.

Tonight will be even more insane ... problem is, I'll be in an anti-Red Sox pro-Yankees household for the game -- could be treacherous. Wish me safe passage.

Whoops!

It ends up I've gone and named one of my new characters in "How To Ruin A Perfectly Good Salesforce in Ten Easy Steps" after a real person -- a new friend I'd met in email! Ugh! So sorry, the mind works in mysterious ways and a writer's mind is really a weird playhouse. Maybe I'll need to pay you a licensing fee. Or more likely change the spelling of the name, but it's a great name, I don't want to change it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Off To See The Sox Win

Thanks for all the RSS help -- much appreciated. Now, can you guys also make the Sox win? I'm headed over to a party, pit stop for beer and then I'm there. And outta here.

RSS Question No. 2

And if I post something and it goes out on RSS with a link in it to another site -- and yes, if I used an aggregator I would know this, but who has the time? Anyway, if it has a link in it, is it an enabled hot link that you can click and go to? Or do you have to come to my site to actually use the links?

RSS Numbers

I know I should know the answer to this and it's obvious to all the rest of your brainiacs, but let me get this RSS math straight. If I post something that goes out on RSS and someone reads it, but does NOT click through to my site, then I don't really get an accurate count of how many people are reading my stuff. True or False?

So if you click on my site, those numbers are reflected in my site statistics, but if you read me in RSS -- I don't get any way of knowing those numbers?

Black Bean Soup And Heineken

Excellent lunch. Good food, good company, good beer.

[Click JA when they ask you if you're 18 years old.]

Maybe, I'm Amazed

[This was in my mind today, can't say why. Just one I've always liked.]

Baby I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I’ll leave you
Baby, I’m amazed at the way you fool me all the time
You hung me on a line
Baby, I’m amazed at the way I really need you

Baby, I’m a man, oh baby,
I’m a lonely man who’s in the middle of something
That he doesn’t really understand
Baby, I’m a man, oh baby,
You’re the only woman that could ever help me
Baby, won’t you try to understand

Baby, I’m a man, oh baby,
I’m a lonely man who’s in the middle of something
That he does not really understand
Baby, I’m a man, oh baby,
You’re the only one that could ever help me
Baby, won’t you try to understand

Baby, I’m amazed at the way you’re with me all the time
Baby, I’m afraid of the way I’ll leave ya’
Baby, I’m amazed at the way you help me sing the song
You right me when I’m wrong
Baby I’m amazed at the way I really need you

Baby, I’m a man, oh baby,
I’m a lonely man who’s in the middle of something
That he does not really understand
Baby, I’m a man, oh baby,
You’re the only woman that could ever help me
Baby, won’t you try to understand

California Dreamin'

[Yes, our weather's beginning to turn rainy, windy, cooler. Boston, Boston, Boston, remind me why I live here?]

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day

I stopped into a church (stopped into a church)
I passed along the way (passed along the way)
You know, I got down on my knees (got down on my knees)
And I pretend to pray (I pretend to pray)
Oh, the preacher likes the cold (preacher likes the cold)
He knows I'm gonna stay (knows I'm gonna stay)
Oh, California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day

All the leaves are brown (the leaves are brown)
And the sky is grey (and the sky is grey)
I went for a walk (I went for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
If I didn't tell her (if I didn't tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)

Oh, California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day

Leading MILF Economic Indicators

Nice to know you're in the hottest new demographic. All you business majors and MBA's won't want to miss this post by Baccus about where money in the new economy is really being made. The darnest thing is a nice gentleman once tried to make me believe the "M" in MILF stood for Mature Women. Funny I don't remember Maturewomen being one word. He was adamant. He could not admit that the "M" stood for Mom. Funny, it must have been an edible, I mean, Oedipal thing.

Glad There's A Priest In The House

AKMA's at DigitalID World too, which is always good. I'm sure he'll have lots to say. It starts with this.

Oh Mama!

Denise Howell -- mega-blogger of Bag and Baggage -- and soon to be mega-mom with Diaper Bag and Baby Baggage, looks so great pregnant! Make sure they feed you non-stop at the DigitialID Conference and have fun. My last three months (except for the whale-waddling) were much more fun than my first three.

For Your Eyes Only

Wow, Betsy Devine points today to Danny O'Brien's right-on notion that in fact blogs can carry on a very private conversation.

I haven't heard anyone express it quite that way, but he's right. I can say things here that are completely private and would have meaning only to one particular person when they read them. The rest of you can stand there and go, "Hmmmm .... what's she up to?" but I can be very private in public ... or is it very publically private?

With songs for instance, I almost never post song lyrics without them actually being a message to a specific person. They are never casual. They are aimed right at some one person.

With a poem, there is nothing random about who I'm writing to. They know. Others probably don't, but I don't care.

With a story, there may be a general audience, but still there will be private jokes embedded that are meant for some particular person.

Is this a medium of public privacy?



Highs and Rushes

Andrew Sullivan speculates about how high Rush Limbaugh might have been on OxyContin. I can tell you how high I was on Oxycondone since that's what they gave me this summer when I got that deep puncture wound to my foot at the SuperNova Conference in DC.

Different from Limbaugh, I was in a excruciating pain and the meds were appropriately prescribed for that reason. Also perhaps different from Limbaugh, I can't stand taking drugs -- even when I'm sick -- so I stopped taking it after about a day because I was so totally wasted on the stuff, I remember thinking at the end of one dosage, as my mind cleared, if my foot went gangrenous and fell off, I wouldn't even notice if I had enough of this drug in me.

It think this is a leftover from being really ill when I was a kid and being given a lot of weird mediicine, including Perigoric. I can't stand feeling so out to lunch. All it brings up for me is feeling panicked, not relaxed. Some how, even as a kid, I got the notion that if they're giving you the big drugs, you're in big trouble. My idea of a rush is getting OUT of a hospital and getting OUT of bed and getting well.

I remember Joi Ito and Liz Lawley at the conference leaving me voice mails, inviting me to join them for drinks or a meal in the hotel, or just checking on me and as I listened to the messages, thanks to the drugs, I couldn't parse the words ... I would think, "hotel bar ... what's that?"

When I got home, I hid the stuff in my briefcase and put the briefcase, which I rarely use, deep into my closet, to keep the stuff away from me. It was a temptation, especially when my foot would start to ache -- it would also make me sleep for 12 hours that felt like 12 minutes and I have enough insomnia to find that pretty attractive.

Over the months, I forgot about ithe pills completely. Weirdly, I dug out the same briefcase for BloggerCon -- it holds a lot of papers and I needed to drag a bunch along for my presentation.

That morning, I was looking inside it for a pen and found the Oxycondone -- jumped back from it -- like it was a snake ready to bite me. I had just enough time to visit the Ladies Room, and down the toilet all the evil little pills went. I was glad to be rid of them.

Don't Mess With Gnome Girl

Holy heck! All I can say is "WAY TO GO" to hear about you telling this idiot not to talk to a woman that way. You kick ass, girl, whether or not you ever do any actual kicking.

Clear Winner

David Weinberger points us to this "Caption Contest" and a really weird picture of Gephardt, Kerry and Dean. Now tell me -- surely Eric Raymond takes away the top honors. He's the clear winner if you ask me -- scroll down into the comments on the page for his hysterical short and sweet caption. And believe me, the guy knows about testosterone.

Carve Out A Life

An unusual residual from reading this book about re-imagining business has struck me ... that is, re-imagining a life. Carving out a life that fits you. A life that fits you exactly. A life tailored to you -- as if -- it were your life. I worry we are all living a life someone else thinks we should be living.

Take an inventory of all the things you have going on in your life. Decide which really matter and which really don't. It can be a little shocking. Like cleaning out closets, when you are done, you wonder, why was I keeping all that crap around here anyway?

I've had the added pleasure of helping clean out old clothes and stuff of my parents after they were gone and it makes it painfully clear how much stuff just doesn't matter. Are we lost in a swamp of stuff and a swirl of little pieces of paper and a wind that blows us here and there and everywhere for no good reason?

There's just no doubt that we're all dying. And still, every day we put off real and authentic relationships with living human beings and choose other silly busy work, to get through our days instead. Perhaps its just too frightening to look others straight in the eye. Maybe we will find that truth I mentioned, right there in their deep regard, that we are all dying.

The only people left who seem to know how to enjoy the liveliness of a day are children. When I'm with my son, there is no shying away from rolling down a green summer grassy hill, or throwing yourself into a cold lake, or letting ice cream melt and drip all over your face. They do not hold back.

We still think someone's watching. We think someone's deciding if we're pretty or handsome enough. We think someone's deciding if our car is cool enough. We think someone's deciding whether or not to be our friend based on whether our house, apartment, mansion, or hut is good enough.

No one is watching. They are too busy dying.

Take It Easy

There are ways to just slow down. Maybe we've all forgotten them. Time to do some remembering.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Sorry, Kevin

I got all mixed-up there for a minute, Kevin. You're a Brit, but I forgot you live here in the USA. I get it now. You did the consulting on the Las Vegas Collection. Taupe-less Showgirls, hmmmm ...

Fess Up Gary and Euan!

The new fall nail polish colors from OPI are all about the UK. I have a sneaking suspicion that Gary Turner and Euan Semple have been consulting with the lovely lacquer ladies over at OPI. I'm sure they told their wives the assignment was with the British Secret Service, or some rubbish, while they were actually test painting young ladies toes with blushing reds.

But check out but these names. "Edin-burgundy" my arse. It all points the finger at these two wild and crazy Scots living in London.

I've been wearing Blushingham Palace lately, which strangely matched the Harvard BloggerCon conference folders -- like Harvard Crimson but a little shinier and little more pink.

THE BRITISH COLLECTION

Friar, Friar, Pants on Fire!
A red so hot it's almost scandalous!

Blushingham Palace
A sweet, dusty pink that's royally pretty!

Edin-burgundy
Great Scot! What a fabulous shade of claret red!

God Save the Queen's Nails
A regal wine-purple that's the crowning touch!

Bare it in Trafalgar Square
A creamy nude that everyone's talking about!

Double Decker Red
A classic, true red that stops traffic everywhere!

My Throne for a Cranberry Scone
What would you give up for this luscious berry shade?

Fee Fi Fo Plum
Plum pudding purple - yum!

Lighten Up, You're Two Pence!
A glistening, pretty-penny copper.

Chocolate Shake-speare
To be or not to be … the color of milk chocolate.

London Bridge Is Falling Brown
A warm, rich brick shade.

Abbey Rose
A cool, rockin' rose that's an instant classic.

Wait, wait, maybe I'm wrong. It's Kevin Marks who's behind all this!

Madder Lake

If at Madder Lake
we row your boat
and you find the
rames in French
or oars in English
don't take us where you wish
we'll bail.

If at Madder Lake
you find I'm making you
a little or a lot mad
you may resist
never speak of it
never speak again
never wanting to rock your boat
never my intention

If at Madder Lake
the surface of the water
glows red and passionate
perhaps a swim
is indicated
or perhaps it is not
a good row to hoe

If at Madder Lake
there is splashing
and laughing and
the whole thing is just silly
that's just fine
ca va bien and then some
back to its mooring
the boat shall go.

Where Violet May Hide

I met a poet by chance, at a bookstore the other day and I'm finding words are pouring down around me suddenly, all around me, like leaves falling. I'm picking them up, much more deliberately, much more slowly, taking time to really look them over. Not just the bright side, but the muted side as well. Handling them carefully. Maybe I will paste them in an album.

He is making me see things in a different way. I think my new eyes are up to the job.

I just read this, "violet is red withdrawn from humanity by blue." I guess when blue takes you by the hand, you don't resist.

I feel ready to withdraw from humanity into dark dark blue. I guess I feel a little red, and ready to hide under a violet blanket.

He made me dig out old poems and I showed them all to him. I've been forgetting so many things about my quiet self, but he might help me remember.

Serious Leaf Peeping

Well, there's some serious leaf-peeping going on here. Or what normal people call "taking in the fall foliage." I know you've heard it before if you've been reading my blog in the past few months, but after my eye surgery, everything is just so gorgeous and this is the first autumn I've ever seen the leaves so well.

Spent a lot of time outside yesterday with a friend just looking at the leaves -- it's nearly peak for peeping -- and boy, is it something to see. Can't even find words for the colors, but I'll try. Copper and cadmium yellow and rust and persimmon and vermillion -- what a swoon of color.

There's a bike path where you can walk, run, rollerskate, bike, scooter, you name it from my town all the way into Cambridge -- a good hour's walk -- and it was full of people ecstatically enjoying yesterday's terrific weather. With our ski underwear hanging at the ready on the closet door, we don't miss an opportunity to enjoy what's left of fall around here.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Read 'Em And Weep You Guys

Okay, as long as I can blame this on Jeff Jarvis, it's cool. He started it, I didn't!

Jeff decided to blog about the traffic Instapundit gets (Go Glenn!) and Kos gets (also, way to go, though I don't know you man).

It's terrific to steal a peek behind the scenes at the Instapundit site meter. It's off the charts. You rule!

Conference Thoughts

Robert Scoble's written a very important blog post about conferences in general and BloggerCon and Foo Camp in particular, which took place respectively last weekend and this weekend. Make sure to read it.

I've been in the conference business for quite a while, first with TTI Vanguard, where the model was annual member subscriptions, five conferences a year, a committed Board of Advisors, and NO sponsorships. This is unique model fosters an amazing community and an openness as members are not there for a one-shot deal, but are ongoing members. Without vendor sponsorship, you are never served up a speaker pretending to be unbiased, but is really just a pitchman.

I also worked for these folks, here at Harvard Business School Publishing's Conference Group. They did have sponsors, but mostly managed not to have flat-footed sales pitches from those sponsors, and they always knew how to pack the room with top talent, both in the speaker slots AND in the audience.

I would add only one thing. In the best conferences, you go away thinking "Wow, I really learned something," or even better, "Wow, it was great to meet that person I've been hearing about and reading about but never got to talk to up close." I think those experiences make or break a conference.

Any good conference is a mix of traveling think-tank and celebrity event. There need to be stars in the room that people are excited about seeing. You need some rock star type talent. Also, you need to make that person be accessible. One of the things Scoble is writing about is how people really were accessible after hours and "out of the room" at both conferences, instead of the old model where Mr. Keynote flies in, gets handled by handlers up to the podium, does his thing and gets whisked away to where only oh-so-special keynote guys hang out on the remote Planet Fabulous. We've all had enough of that.

Job Fair

I saw a sign the other day that said: "JOB FAIR" and then the top listing said "ELVES WANTED" I'm not kidding.

This is some incredible new economy. Forget the nicely pressed grey suit, starched white shirt and shined up black leather shoes for your interview. Put on the green and red felt costume and knock 'em dead.

Christmas Shopping

Doing it all today. I'm almost always late and I can get it knocked out fast today online. Putting on the red fur santa hat, see ya later.

Divine Dinner

Betsy, that was the most divine dinner the other night. Keep meaning to thank you for it and rave about all your super-cool blogging lately. Go girl!

San Francisco


C'est une maison bleue
Adossée à la colline
On y vient à pied, on ne frappe pas
Ceux qui vivent là, ont jeté la clé
On se retrouve ensemble
Après des années de route
Et l'on vient s'asseoir autour du repas
Tout le monde est là, à cinq heures du soir
Quand San Francisco s'allume
Quand San Francisco s'embrume
San Francisco, ou êtes vous
Lizzard et Luc, Psylvia, attendez-moi

Nageant dans le brouillard
Enlacés, roulant dans l'herbe
On écoutera Tom à la guitare
Phil à la kena, jusqu'à la nuit noire
Un autre arrivera
Pour nous dire des nouvelles
D'un qui reviendra dans un an ou deux
Puisqu'il est heureux, on s'endormira
Quand San Francisco se lève
Quand San Francisco se lève
San Francisco ! où êtes vous
Lizzard et Luc, Psylvia, attendez-moi

C'est une maison bleue
Accrochée à ma mémoire
On y vient à pied, on ne frappe pas
Ceux qui vivent là, ont jeté la clef
Peuplée de cheveux longs
De grands lits et de musique
Peuplée de lumière, et peuplée de fous
Elle sera dernière à rester debout
Si San Francisco s'effondre
Si San Francisco s'effondre
San Francisco ! Où êtes vous
Lizzard et Luc, Psylvia attendez-moi

-- Maxime LeForestier

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Not At All Sure Why This Came Up

Je ne suis pas de tout certaine pourquoi j'ai tiree cette carte.

Je suis innocente moi. Je vous jure.

Here's the link for your Card-Of-The-Day. Have a good one.

Oui, oui, oui

Je veux dire, yes, yes, yes.

Dat vind ik leuk.

Daar hou ik van.

Dat windt me werkelijk op.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Hot Off The Presses

Here's Chapter Two of "How To Ruin A Perfectly Good Salesforce In Ten Easy Steps" -- I was planning to write it yesterday, but was still noodling around with some plot twists and turns today, and just finished it now.

I'd Love To Get You On A Slow Boat To China

What a great song! It's an oldie and my dad and I used to dance to it. He taught me everything I know about dancing and big band music. You should see me cut a rug to Pennsylvania 6-5000 -- another big band hit I love. My dad had a band called "Billy Suitt and The College Boys" on Lake Michigan in the summers when he was a lifeguard. He was about 6'4" at age 15 and quite the looker. Great dancer and wonderful singer -- sure miss his low bass harmonies on all our family songs. Man, he did a helluva "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and his "When The Saints Go Marchin In" was also a knock-out.


On A Slow Boat To China

Kay Kyser
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser

I’d love to get you
On a slow boat to China,
All to myself alone.

Get you and keep you
in my arms evermore,
Leave all your lovers
Weeping on the faraway shore.

Out on the briny
With the moon
big and shiny,
Melting your heart of stone.

I’d love to get you
On a slow boat to China,
All to myself alone.


Midler Does Clooney

This will be a great album. It features one of my all-time favorite songs -- Slow Boat To China.

Uma Net

Oh, yes, there's a Uma Thurman Network. Isn't the web a wonderful place?

Re-imagine! Don't Tell

This Tom Peters book is visually a knock-out. Don't tell anyone, but I want to EAT the book, not read it. It's so delicious. It's done by my favorite picture book publishers, Dorling Kindersley, DK, or Darling Kindergartens, as I call them. They do a whole pile of books my son reads about Airplanes and The Human Body and Legos and all sorts of beautiful stuff.

They did one of my favorites, which I bought for background research on Alpha Males, yes, My Big Bedside Bond Book. And they did these terrific books on sex with wonderful pictures. This one and this one and this one.

To have a business book done in this format says everything -- it says, "Come have fun." And it says, "I'll make it easy for you." And it says, "Look how beautiful business is!" And it says, "Look how exciting business is!" and it says, as all DK books say, "Here's everything you need to know about this subject, all in one very very handsome, cool place."

Re-imagine! Talk About In Your Face

There's the funniest picture in the very beginning of the book. I mean a really big mug shot of Tom Peters looking right into your face and ... uh oh ... it says, "I'm Mad As Hell" a bit scary. The anecdote about how he wanted to give his MBA back to Stanford University because the guy who was the dean of the business school when he was there was none other than the guy who ran the Audit Committee for the Enron Board -- well, it's a great story.

Re-imagine! Business Spa Weekend

Reading Tom Peters' new book, Re-Imagine! Business Excellence In A Disruptive Age. I'm going to blog about it all weekend. I'm imagining (or re-imagining) I'm in a fancy spa where you get to rethink everything you ever knew about work, business, enterprise, industry and it's like one big spa treatment for your head. You sit in the sauna, you stoll into a cold shower, you go back for a steamroom visit, back to the icy shower, try some jacuzzi, get all rejuvenated as your business muscles get toned and you realize a whole new way to approach this stuff. This stuff called work. This stuff called business. You know by the end of the weekend when you finish the book and your spa visit, you'll be kicking ass, feeling good, looking buff, ready to change the game

[Editorial Disclosure: I don't really know Tom Peters. I did shake his hand once at a seminar he did. I also did a project with his company in 2001. I'm not working with them now. They aren't giving me any money for anything. I've been reading his books for a long time, long before I ever met anyone affiliated with him or his company. I just think he's swell.]

Friday, October 10, 2003

Brassens -- In the Forest of My Heart

Here's goes nothing -- don't ask me to save the meter and rhyme. I'll try to translate this love song with an eye on idiomatic expressions rendered at least comprehensible and maybe even give it a little poetry.

It's a very poetic, sexy, earth song. It's about the dark forest of a man's heart and especially how his friends are there for him through thick and thin, good women and bad, marriages and death. It's ironic and imaginative and down-to-earth and beautiful in it's very very simple lyrics. It plays with language in a beautiful way.

Of course, poor flat-footed Google tried to just be accurate, but even botched that, because it has a logic that is about the heart, not the head.

Reminds me of the well-known Pascal quotation: "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connais point." Even this is hard to translate, as it plays off the fact that there are TWO verbs in French for "knowing" -- one is a scientific brain logical knowing of "reason" (savoir) and one is a gutteral, physical, intuitive, knowing of the heart (connaitre) and this says exactly what that dichotomy is all about. "The heart has its reasons which the head will never know." or more precisely "The heart has its reasons that Reason knows nothing of. "

Bois -- means wood like you find in a lumberyard, but also means woods and forest; also the Bois de Vincennes is a famous park in Paris and a neighborhood, so you would not translate it, but leave it as is.

Copains -- comrades, buddies, pals

Cours -- it means the courtyard, but in this sense he's talking about the place he grew up and played with his friends in the street. It says all that in one short word and again, courtyard in American English sounds very proper and fancy but French courtyards and how French buildings are built around a courtyard are common and not fancy to them -- it just doesn't translate.

Il m'accompagne a la maire -- this means literally, "Every time I go to Town Hall," but of course, it means something much more important in French. That's where you get married. So it's saying, every time I get married, my friends are there for me. Again, the ironic feeling it suggests is, "EVERY time?" and makes the listener think, "How many times has this wild guy gotten married?'' No mention of any woman in the lyrics, makes the honored and important place of his male friends all the more keen. They walk with him to every wedding and there's a sense they know he's once again walking into a disaster ... but they are always there for him.

Chaque fois que je meurs fidelement -- this means literally, "Every time I die, faithfully, my friends follow my casket to the cemetary." But of course, the joke and the irony is saying "EACH time I die." What the hell does that mean? Don't we die only once and hope our friends are still around to follow our coffin to the grave? Yes, so that's his point. His friends are so steadfast that whether it be the real BIG death or other failures he suffers, they are ALWAYS there for him.



In The Forest Of My Heart

In the forest of my heart
deep in the Bois de Clamart
just as small flowers grow there
my friends stand by me there
In the forest of my heart

At the end of my street
my pals know me
and know my wild reputation
and know my wild heart
At the end of my street

In the Bois de Vincennes
deep in the woods
just as small flowers grow there
friends who grew up with me
are still there for me
in the forest of my heart

When there's no more wine in the flask
at my table
my friends are happy to drink my water
they stay to drink water
they don't need my wine

In the Bois d'Meudon
deep in the woods
just as small flowers grow there
friends who grew up with me
are still there for me
in the forest of my heart

My friends are there as I walk to be wed
wed at the Town Hall
every time I marry
my friends stand by me

In the Bois de Saint-Cloud
deep in the woods
just as small flowers grow there
friends who grew up with me
are still there for me
in the forest of my heart

Every time I die, my friends stand by me faithfully
they are there faithfully
following my casket to the grave
to the grave
my friends are there.


-------------------------------------------------


Of course, the words are lovely and simple, but the most incredible thing is the music. His voice is rough, dark and haunting. Very south of France, very full of life and pain and sorrow, so the songs are just beautiful in their wisdom and simplicity.

Talk About Lost In Translation!

I'm just plain mean I guess ... I asked Google to translate this French love song and what a mess it made. I guess to be fair, I should take a whack at it myself. Honestly, I don't think poetry or songs CAN be translated.

Jean-Yves, you'll love this:

George Brassens
With the wood of my heart


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


With the wood of Clamart has petit' S flowers there
Y has petit' S flowers
Y has buddies with, with the wood of my c?ur
With, the wood of my c?ur

At the bottom of my court I am famous
I am famous
To have the badly famed c?ur
The badly famed c?ur

With the wood of Vincenn' S has petit' S flowers there
Y has petit' S flowers
Y has buddies with, with the wood of my c?ur
With, the wood of my c?ur

When y has more wine in my barrel
In my barrel
They are not afraid of boir' my water
Of drinking my water

With the wood of Meudon has petit' S flowers there
Y has petit' S flowers
Y has buddies with, with the wood of my c?ur
With, the wood of my c?ur

They me accompagn' NT with the town hall
With the town hall
Each time I Marie
That I Marie

With the wood of Saint-Cloud has petit' S flowers there
Y has petit' S flowers
Y has buddies with, with the wood of my c?ur
With, the wood of my c?ur

Chaqu' time that I die accurately
Accurately
They follow my burial
My burial

... of the small flowers...
With, the wood of my c?ur...

Au bois de mon coeur

A favorite love song of mine from the French folk singer Georges Brassens. Perfect for Friday nights with good food, good friends, good wine and one other thing, oh yeah, good sex. I knew there was something I missed on my list of good things.


Georges Brassens
Au bois de mon coeur


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Au bois d'Clamart y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des copains au, au bois d'mon cœur
Au, au bois d'mon cœur

Au fond de ma cour j'suis renommé
J'suis renommé
Pour avoir le cœur mal famé
Le cœur mal famé

Au bois d'Vincenn's y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des copains au, au bois d'mon cœur
Au, au bois d'mon cœur

Quand y a plus d'vin dans mon tonneau
Dans mon tonneau
Ils n'ont pas peur de boir' mon eau
De boire mon eau

Au bois d'Meudon y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des copains au, au bois d'mon cœur
Au, au bois d'mon cœur

Ils m'accompagn'nt à la mairie
A la mairie
Chaque fois que je me marie
Que je me marie

Au bois d'Saint-Cloud y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des petit's fleurs
Y a des copains au, au bois d'mon cœur
Au, au bois d'mon cœur

Chaqu' fois qu'je meurs fidèlement
Fidèlement
Ils suivent mon enterrement
Mon enterrement

...des petites fleurs...
Au, au bois d'mon cœur...

Happy Days Are Here Again

My sister in California -- who was NOT an Arnold Schwarzenegger supporter by a LONG stretch -- admitted to me that there's a "happy" feeling about having Arnold win that's just what California needs. She said something I totally agree with, it feels good to know someone happy wants to make other people happy. It's a very electable quality. Most politicians are such a drag and so DOWN, they are really hard to rally around.

I was amazed to hear her say it. She's very left-wing and very feminist, so I feel like if she's okay with Arnold, he's really got a chance.

Let's face it -- he's an Alpha Male (albeit clean-shaven and we do tend to favor Alpha Males with facial hair here at H's Comment) -- and he's got a winning "let's kick ass, let's have fun" attitude. Hard not to fall for that in a movie star, politician or just the boy next door.

How To Ruin A Perfectly Good Salesforce In 10 Easy Steps -- Step 2: Can I Get That In Writing?



[Step One: See this link to find out what happened in the story so far.]

So we were all in a bar again, this time in Century City, mobbed with entertainment lawyers and accountants who were concentrated in that part of town, just on the edge of Beverly Hills. I didn't drink that much until I joined this salesforce. The "we" was Bryce Bennington and William Sanders and me. Like I was trying to explain, there was no mystery to a salesforce in Los Angeles having such a perfect surfer dude blond babechasing specimen of male meat such as my friend Mr. Bennington. He was the consummate flirt and had no end of energy for explaining to any woman floating my his lair -- barstool, I should say -- that sales was all about seduction. Bryce had beer. I was vodka and tonic. William was scotch on the rocks.

Speaking of seduction we were talking about the new Head of Marketing -- a Frenchman named Francois Granger -- who some how got wind of us making fun of him in the conference call the week before and was about to descend on the three of us to accompany us on salescalls. Surely the most dreaded activity in the world for free-ranging cowboy and cowgirl salespeople -- dragging the guys from HQ into your accounts to meet your customers. But after we yucked it up about how Marketing never knows anything about real live customers and avoids them like the plague and shoots their wad and budget on setting up idiotic one-way mirror focus groups, this new guy, we were all calling him Frenchie, or at least Bryce was -- called our bluff and was taking us up on our dare to actually visit real customers.

Bryce finally shut up about which customers to take a Marketing Guy to and which customers NEVER to take a Marketing Guy to. It was one of those things not-so-good salespeople did on a regular basis to cover their asses -- only parade the guy around in front of your best customers. I tried to do the opposite. William and I agreed.

William was six years older than Bryce's bubby beach boy 39 (going on 13), but came across as about three decades wiser to my mind. He was very East Coast, buttoned down, serious and I have to add, seriously handsome, also seriously married. He might have been the only salesman I'd ever met so far that didn't try to hit on me within the first month on the team. Bryce was a boy babe too, but such a hot tamale, you had to handle him very carefully. I'm a nice looking blonde, no movie star I'll tell you, but a cracker jack salesperson (thanks to all these great people -- mostly men -- who showed me the ropes througout my career). Bryce had tried to get into my pants ... let me see ... a few times, well, ... maybe 4 times, no ... well, there was the sales meeting in San Diego ... I don't remember. It's just Bryce was one of those guys you have to keep reminding "We're at work, dear! This is not a Roman orgy!" He was an eager puppy. I actually kindof liked him, but I would never information let that spill.

"But check out the schedule, I don't get it." Bryce said.

There was everything riding on this visit -- William and I knew it. Bryce was no dope, he should have figured it out, maybe he was just playing dumb.

Our manager was leaving the company in a month and these two Alpha Males were going to have a bloody battle to be promoted into her slot. This visit would probably have a lot to do with who won, who lost. I was a senior saleswoman, but new to the company -- only there 4 months by now. I wasn't really a contender.

"Look at this, he has a early meeting with us in downtown LA. Cool. Then he takes off with you William to see three customers in your territory -- hits Beverly Hills, Century City, Manhattan, Redondo, the Marina, but drags Sally along. Then he comes down to Orange County and San Diego with me the next, again, he drags Sally along for the ride. Then he's got Sally all to himself in Burbank, Westlake and the rest of the Valley."

Bill gave me an UP eyebrow.

"Come on, Bryce," I said. "He wants me to be Little-Miss-Notetaker. I get to tell him my version of the all the calls, tattletail on you guys, since I'm not in the running anyway."

"So we better treat you really FINE, girl. Bartender, bring her anything she wants!" he said pounding on the bar and then cozying up to me. I whacked him away.

William was looking at his watch. He had little league games and bbq's with the family and all that happily married stuff the other two of us kind of envied but often made fun of.

"I gotta take off," he said seriously. We said our goodbyes to William and he headed out.

Bryce and I finished up quickly and headed home. I was wondering about this Frenchman, but wouldn't have to wonder for long, since he was appearing the next morning at the ungodly hour of 7:00 for a meeting with us. I was chanting "Francois, Francois, Francois" in the car on the way home to try to get "Frenchie" out of my mind and mouth, hoping not to slip and refer to him that way.

He was there before us the next morning. I recalled he'd been in the San Francisco office and had flown down the night before. He reminded me of someone. Some French actor. I think it was that big beefy roundish one named Gerard Depardieu. But he was a little thinner than that guy and he was funny as hell. We all warmed up to him pretty quickly. He even made fun of himself. He had good ideas. We didn't want to like him. But we found we were liking him a lot.

The sales calls with William went off like clock-work. Still, he had done the same thing Bryce decided to do, only trot out the accounts where everything was perfectly pleasant. Boring, if you ask me. Then off to San Diego and Bryce really did a fine job as well. Most of his customers adored him anyway. We all had lunch in a Burger King off the 5 Freeway and Francois, who told us to call him Francois, not Frank or Frenchie or French Guy or Frog (he'd heard them all), launched into a pretty hilarious story about mixing up words in English when he first started in sales with the company. So that was it, he had started in Sales -- no wonder we liked him.

Then I had him all to myself to drag over to Disney and Universal and Paramount. Sounded exciting, the big LA movie studios, but it was actually a number of grueling meetings with the IT guys and all their issues with our software. The first meeting was rough. The next, the guy chewed me out, but then signed a renewal contract -- the only contract Francois got to see anyone close during his visit., I was happy to realize. And then the last meeting. Well, I took him into the lion's den and let him hear one really difficult customer bitch and moan for a solid hour. We left there on a really unhappy note, the guy telling him our user interface basically sucked and they were ready to rip it out and put in the competitor.

We ducked out of the building and leaned against a wall, trying to catch our breathe, "Whoa," Francois said to me. "You wanted me to see the real thing I guess."

"You bet," I said.

"We better take a break. It's nearly 5:00 anyway," he said looking at his massive gold watch. He was quite the snappy dresser, had I mentioned that? It was a hot day and we both needed a break.

By this point we were over in the Valley near a nice little French restaurant on Ventura Boulevard, so we ducked into the bar there for drinks. We got a small booth in the back and talked over the calls. We were drinking red wine. Just as I suspected he wanted to know what I thought of Bryce and William. I hated being in that position. I dodged it a bit. I spoke about both of their strengths.

"Right, right, but tell me about their weaknesses," he urged. I wondered if he was testing ME all of a sudden.

"Tell me about YOUR weaknesses," I said, noticing and kind of NOT noticing that I was getting DRUNK.

Weird how that moment can slip up on you.

And suddenly you think. "Hey, I'm sitting here with this good-looking French guy that I WORK WITH and I'm getting drunk and I'm flirting." And some part of your mind is saying -- "this is NOT a good idea." Problem is, your body is saying, "Go for it."

And he says, "I have a weakness for women, but many Frenchmen do. We have a bad reputation I'm afraid." looking innocently off into the crowd.

"Is there any food around here. I really need some food."

He orders for us -- something French -- it was probably something disgusting like calves intestines smeared on French bread with a piece of goat cheese on top.

The food helped a little. But then he ordered more wine.

My girl alarms are now sounding in my head. The sirens are loud and fearsome. If I were a firestation, my little firemen would already be jumping out of their beds, into their pants and boots, sliding down the pole, getting the hell out of there fast. Unfortunately, the alarms were getting drowned out.

He reaches over to take my hand. I yank it back.

"Hey," I say, "Aren't you even going to tell me you have a mean old wife who doesn't understand you and never wants to have sex and all that?"

He bursts out laughing, "Is that what they all say?"

"Well," I say, "well, most of them!" I'm freaking out like a girl scout losing her cookies.

He's grinning. "I don't think Europeans tell that story. At least we French guys don't."

"I really should go," I say. I stand.

"No problem," he says putting money down on the table. "I'm sorry, I'm tired, I don't know what I was doing."

"I mean, I can stay, if we just talk business." I say. I sit.

We sit. He pulls back. Thank God. He acts like he's all business. It's good. Not really. I'm still drunk. We talk about something dry and boring to do with the semantic web, I have no idea what the hell he's talking about. I am in that bad place where now that I can't have him, I really, really want him.

I stuff food in my mouth to keep it busy, to offset the wine. We actually manage to talk our way past that tricky moment. He tells me some great things that are happing in headquarters. They are really trying to support the salespeople. They are really beginning to get it. I tell him one of the worst things anyone can do to a salesperson is act like headquarters knows more about the customers. No one knows more about the customers than we do. He agrees. We're getting sobered up, it's going to be okay.

He tells me he'll take a cab back to his hotel, I don't need to give him a ride. I appreciate it. Both of us had probably imagined how nice it would be to make out there in the car alone together. And if that happened and then I have to drop him at his hotel -- well, best to avoid all of that. His hotel and my house are in the completely opposite directions anyway, so it makes sense.

He is polite out in the parking lot. It's a beautiful night. I fumble with my keys, dropping them. I look like an idiot. He bends down to get them, hands them to me. I'm not so drunk anymore thanks to the food, just nervous now. I tell him to have a good flight home. He is leaving the next morning at the crack of dawn. He kisses my hand goodnight. Kisses my hand?! Talk about French! Nobody does that. He says good night, turns, goes over to the cab line and jumps into the first one, heading back to his hotel. I'm looking at his butt. It's cute.

I turn away fast. Don't look, I think to myself.

I get in my car in gear. I take a deep, deep breathe and thank the universe once more for letting me squeak out of that one alive. At home, I'm so hot, I call up an old boyfriend I keep in reserve for just such evenings. We have an understanding. He's a good guy. Very good.

A week later, the word comes down. We're all on the edges of our chairs as the conference call gets going. Whichever guy doesn't get the promotion will probably leave and that's bad for all of us, no matter who gets promoted.

Bryce is sure he has the promotion. William is sure he has the promotion. I think it will be William and Bryce will have some temper tantrum and just quit. Francois announces that I'm the new Sales Manager for the region. They report to me. None of us can believe it. They looked as shocked as I do. They don't know the half of it. "Hey guys, she was the only one who got me a signed contract, remember? And I'm sure she's the only one who can handle the two of you and I don't want either of you leaving. I need you selling."

"Go team," I think to myself and break out in a sweat.