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  1. Trek roadbikes stole my heart

    March 31, 2014 by lolkitty: Kaela

    I haven’t posted in a while and I have had some requests for more info so here we go. Previously while living in orange county I bought a 7-speed beach cruiser and thought that it would be built similarly to the Amsterdam style bikes that are practical for every day riding but because it was aluminum it was very bulky. I didn’t have much experience except with mountain bikes and I didn’t realize how riding position and a little bit of weight can make such a difference. I loved it for how pretty it was but it’s best suited for grabbing groceries, a farmer’s market, or even a nice bike for cruising with a trailer.

    I’ll add that I’ve ridden many bikes that were of the beggars-can’t-be-choosers variety. Everybody always has a spare beach cruiser or mountain bike. I didn’t think it mattered very much what kind of bike I rode until I inherited a rickety old junker Trek 400 road bike.
    I saved up for what parts I could and bought them or was given them by friends. Here’s the first photo of it as mostly together with some assistance from the hackerspace 23b.
    IMG_6499

    I was instantly in love with bikes and riding in a new way. The cro-moly frame was so supple and nimble it was easy to feel like it was an extension of myself. It just hopped and grazed over bumps in the road. I felt like I could ride much longer without feeling the impact or being bogged down by overkill suspension.

    Notice I use past tense about this bike as it was unfortunately stolen out of my yard not long after I had finished building it. The paint was bad but I made it worse with a black glossy paint job and some gold trim that matched my vintage Singer sewing machine. I thought it was cool- though I doubt the new owner shared my sentiment.

    I grieved yet foolishly didn’t make a police report (you should always do that if you can, there are a lot of bike thieves out there). Craigslist and my savings account to the rescue…
    trek_440

    This time it was a shiny red one in great condition. I almost felt too bad to take the derailleur and cool shifters off – but I had bigger plans and I saved the parts for a rainy day. I got a Sturmey Archer 3-speed fixed gear hub and had a wheel built. I also started building a lockable case out of a mini-keg of Newport so that I could hide a security system inside of it. I had all intentions to make it Pee-Wee Herman style with possibly a airhorn and/or smoke screen but while in the process of this project my bike, 3-speed fixed wheel, bike parts, and keg were all stolen. Orange county can be an unfriendly place. But one day soon we will rebuild! Funding all of my other mad-scientist projects (indoor solar hydroponics most recently) is taking priority these days since I obsessively bring my bike with me indoors wherever possible or with enough u-locks to lock the wheels as well.

    Here it is the day it was stolen, you can see the hub but I didn’t have the gears attached yet.

    3-speed fixed gear road bike

    3-speed fixed gear road bike

    A pic of the keg project that never was..
    IMG_6344

    After having my second bike stolen, even when it was locked up, I accepted my fate and began looking for another Trek 400. It had to be a vintage Trek, no other would do. I don’t know why but they fit my size and riding style really well.

    It became apparent it wasn’t common enough to just stumble upon anywhere and I figured I wouldn’t find another for some time. I very much needed a new bike because I went car-less in 2011 and if it isn’t a bike – it’s the bus – and nobody wants to ride the bus in OC/LA. I started out commuting by riding the bus and it generally took me the same amount of time to get around my usual trips as it did to ride my bike (up to 15 miles or so). In LA I calculated bikes to be about the same time as even cars (in some cases faster depending on where and the distance).

    I ended up getting a Takara from HB Bike shop which I liked but because the steel wasn’t as good quality it just didn’t ride the same. It felt really sluggish and heavy in comparison. To be fair the bike was much older but with vintage bike frames it pays to buy what’s made out of the best metal and always lugged. Plus, lugged frames are beautiful.

    Here it is right after I got it..
    Takara

    After riding around streets that are mostly flat I lost my taste for extra gears. There’s something really satisfying about slowing yourself down with your pedaling pace and controlling your speed dynamically rather than just stop-and-go.

    I traded some bike parts to build this fixed gear conversion and was given tires and wheels by friends who donated toward the bike kitchen. As bad as it was to have so much stolen, I had a lot of people help me out with parts and how to put it together.

    Here’s a pic of it after conversion.

    Commuting by train and bike is the best of both!

    Commuting by train and bike is the best of both!

    A custom rack I made (with welding help from 23b). The rack was shaped to fit the keg.
    Custom bike rack

    I had to make it complete with a touch of Kaela-ness with the Singer Sewing machine medallion.

    My first fixie was painted to look like my Singer Sewing machine, so I continued the tradition with this 1947 Singer Sewing machine medallion. Here I have a slackline in a bag tied to the rack up front.

    My first fixie was painted to look like my Singer Sewing machine, so I continued the tradition with this 1947 Singer Sewing machine medallion. Here I have a slackline in a bag tied to the rack up front.

    I put some good miles on this Takara but it just never felt right because of the frame. I figured since I had everything else I’d rebuild again so I found another Trek 400 roadbike frame on eBay.

    Trek 400 Frame

    In the end, I had to update a lot more than I expected to get the bike where I want it but I love it.

    All assembled for the first time with new bar tape and headstem

    All assembled for the first time with new bar tape and headstem

    Since this photo I got many more parts: a Velo Orange headset, new handle bars and tape (don’t go cheap on bar tape!), and pedals. I had power grip pedals for a while and liked them for getting around and not being clipped in but I have since moved up to Shimano clipless (Chrome makes awesome shoes for clipless).

    Bikes are fun; you should ride them! =^-^=

    What happens when you have a lot of bike-riding friends… good times!
    Bike party


  2. Stop SOPA & PIPA

    January 18, 2012 by lolkitty: Kaela

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


  3. Vestigial organs, moth-erflies, and bad engineering.

    November 6, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    I frequently mull over the internet taking in new information.  With Chris being a Wikipedia junkie, it’s needless to say, we have a lot to talk about.  The other day I was hit hard by the concept of “vestigial.”  Organs, genes, or whatever, I think understanding the concept of vestigial parts of our bodies is in some ways consoling and in other ways infuriating.  It sunk in the other day when I heard it referring to some odd genes and to our appendix.  Since I was in maybe first grade, I remember hearing that “the appendix is just a useless organ, it’s just there, sometimes it ruptures and kills people and that’s just the way it is.”  I was always bothered by the idea of an appendix, sort of like how we just accept that the way cats pur is just a mystery.  Then when I suppose the idea of vestigial organs and the appendix mixed, I thought, “why didn’t they just tell us school kids that it was a vestigial organ and that’s why it’s so useless.”

    But as I said, it’s only half consoling.  I have to think that if that’s the way it is, it’s easy to accept, since that’s how most things are.  That’s why we have such terrible genetic diseases and why we are susceptible in ways that are unfortunate.

    Nature is like that, it’s a beautiful disaster.

    We have a hoard of moths around our house that are crowding the town right now.  They do that every few years, making clouds in front of your headlights at night, and for a very brief season before going the way of the may flies.
    These moths are really charming little things that look just like butterflies but without the colourful patterns.  Their wings stand straight up like little sails, just like a monarch would,  pointing their foreboding mock-eyes to the world.  When I see them, I say to myself, “oh, another moth-er-fly.”  After hearing Richard Dawkins once talk about “sloths” pronouncing it with a long “o” sound, I make myself laugh by calling them “moth-er-flies” with a long “o” like some sarcastic biologist.  They are the sort of things that make me think Nature is lovely, even dull grey moth-er-flies.

    But then I still have nagging frustrations with genetic disorders.  Even just one or two genes that do the wrong thing, and you can suffer all your life.  Even with mild genetic problems, there is nothing we can do but treat the symptoms.  Why is there childhood cancer?  Why is birth so traumatic?  Why do so many things have to die, just for there to be life?  Unfortunately for the natural world, survival is really the framework of the old joke: You don’t have to run faster than the bear, just faster than your friends.   And it’s true.

    This video is a good example of how clunky life is.  Select for one specific task and give the critter some basic building blocks for it’s body and look how absurd these virtual critters can be, but still be technically successful.

    Unfortunately for humans, we can sit there and think about how crazy this is.  Being self-aware is also a mixed blessing.  Just looking at those little creatures, they look like they’re suffering. Look at how much they struggle to be best at the one assigned task.  This makes me want to rant and rave about how cool I think it would be for humans to be cyberized. I’ll probably never see the day.  Though there are some cool things happening in science right now, I would still reserve this for another post.

    My main reason for focusing on this is the burden just women have with respect to bad design from evolution.  I’m the kind of person who’s a bit like a hot house flower when it comes to being fragile and temperamental.  I always seem to be getting sick with something, and it can all be chalked up to bad engineering.

    But Nature doesn’t have it all wrong, I think it went right making a cute peanut powered companion of mine, Artie.  But I do think that the philosophies we have, the way we live life, and our outlook on everything is based on our understanding that we have to struggle to find success.  There is no other way to be successful on this planet, because it’s the foundations of our reality.

    Nobody can win without making others fail, and it’s all we can do to make it so that we aren’t the ones doing the failing.


  4. How we trick ourselves, mortality, confirmation bias, and being home alone.

    November 3, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    In the spooky Autumnal atmosphere of Wrightwood and this creeky, tiny house, I find myself home alone and up late nights because of my Chris’ new graveyard shift schedule.  To be perfectly clear, I do not believe it ghosts, spirits, or anything supernatural.  However, I am one of the easiest people to scare, and being alone at night brings it out in me.

    Even the thought of ghosts when I’m home alone at night like this makes my hair raise.  Our resident mouse, Mickey, causes some noise that spooks me, but nothing like the concept of ghosts.

    I had a childhood friend, Nicole, that was told not to play with me because I “believed in ghosts.”  Unfortunately for me, I never really did, but I always very much wanted to believe, so I would try to find out for myself.  Nicole and I would walk the halls on sleepovers with flashlights and cameras trying to catch something.  I truly want to discover what there might be out there: but I suppose I never did find anything and my suspicions never went away.

    I think that it’s very easy for people to believe in ghosts.  We’re very social creatures by nature, and when we hear or see something we can’t identify, we are more likely to visualize a face or a person where there isn’t one.  Our brains are just wired to see faces. It’s really been nagging at me that I feel so inclined to be spooked by “ghost” feelings.  Especially being such a skeptic (with exceptions to be pretty gullible in trusting in people). I think by now I have a feeling for how my mind observes things, and it does seek out explanations that are human based.

    Chris’ mom passed away recently, I was living there around that time.  I remember very soon after he lost his mom, his Aunt Judi came to be with them. It was a very sad time, in a way that the feeling just hangs in the air.  I suppose this is where my mind’s susceptibility comes in, because I was so empathetic to this terrible sadness and helplessness of the whole situation.  One night, I fell asleep while Judi and Chris’ dad were talking, and started dreaming about Chris’ mom, Jody.  Probably because of the way American culture views ghosts, my dream reflected the “unfinished business” of a soul stuck in this world (not something I’d think of Jody, but just how my mind was putting the situation together), though there were a lot of complicated elements of the dream that could go into too much detail. (Not believing in supernatural, I don’t usually give much weight to dreams, but the fact that it’s what our brains do with their down time is important enough to note, especially when they have significant effects on us).  I distinctly felt that she was still there with us, and half way between dreaming and waking I heard Judi’s voice, thinking it was Jody’s. By the time I was fully awake, I realized the reality of the situation, that she wasn’t really there, and that my mind was so deceived, I wept.  I can’t even imagine what his family was going through, what terrible processes of the mind and heart a person must surmount when losing someone like Jody.  Our entire town grieved, even I heard about it everywhere I went.  To me, at least to my logical senses, that’s the best we can hope for as far as immortality: being remembered.

    Even months later, we were saying how the unseasonal snows were Jody’s doing. Chris being even more of a skeptic than me, I was surprised that he felt like that, too.  I remember walking the dark halls in Chris’ house thinking, “I hope Jody thinks I’m good for her son” as though she was over my shoulder scrutinizing me. Sometimes I still wonder what my Grandmother, Vivian, would think seeing me do this or that. It’s an impossible habit to break.  It’s so human to have simply the concept of a person as much the reality as them existing in the flesh.  Why is this? Are there studies on this? I feel like I have to know.

    Especially what is nagging at me is the concept of a stranger ghost.  Someone we don’t know that’s there just to go “boo!” And hide in the shadows.  Why am I so frightened of the dark and of bumps in the night?  I am a boyfriend described “militant atheist.”  I guess that means I come off too strong in bashing creationism. But I should be level headed enough to dismiss the concept of a ghost or spirit, right?

    I just saw a really great video on “Confirmation Bias” on YouTube that made me think to post a blog about this, and also that I’m so scared for no reason.  Our culture has a confirmation bias of the supernatural.  There’s not a stitch of doubt that we’re all about anything that’s unproven by science. We love ghosts, chupacabra, homeopathy, feng shui, and anything else not approved by the FDA.  Science is viewed as the spoil-sport, that comes in and tells you how the magic trick is done right as you’re being delighted in the mystery of it.  Perhaps it is simply a fascination with the unknown that is strong enough to let us trick ourselves.  I think this is really an issue of psychology.

    Now that confirmation bias I was talking about, there is a frighteningly powerful technology that’s making it even more widespread:  The Internet.  There are a host of ridiculous misinformation sources like: creationwiki, HIV/AIDS conspiracy, or even these wackjob conspiracy theorists.  Now people who are suspicious of something we all know is legitimate can have their misinformed views reinforced until they are mindless drones of the people who start these messes.  Our minds are very powerful at adapting to the circumstances.  We are inclined to trust authority figures and most importantly, popular belief.  If everyone says there is an afterlife, that there is a grey area to this afterlife, and that they themselves have personal experiences with it, it is a hard thing to completely remove from your own reality.  I myself cannot do it.

    Superstition is another example of this.  I was a very superstitious little girl, always counting things in even numbers and doing things the lucky way, without exception.  I grew out of these tendencies for the most part, but I still have secret lucky items that I’ll put in my purse for a job interview, or such.  I find myself thinking, “this is so silly” and almost breaking the habit, but going back and saying “well, it couldn’t hurt!”  Or even thinking how the concept of having something lucky is like a placebo, and even though I know I’m using a placebo of lucky superstition, I can still benefit from it…… I know, it’s crazy.  But it’s better than giving in to the superstition all the way, right?

    The Amazing Randi is one of my favorite celebrities.  Coming from a completely unscientific background, he comes from the background of tricking people.  Since one of his main missions has been to teach people how they can be tricked, I’ve been following his media appearances closely in the past year or so, trying to learn from what fools people, especially myself.  I really think that being superstitious, being creationists, being gullible, or letting our cognitive functions get hijacked for misuse is a real problem that we have to overcome as a society.  Believing in innocent tricks, like Randi says, is actually dangerous because it leads us to believe in larger “magic tricks” that can get us into much worse trouble (like cults, or Nigerian business men).

    My point is this: I spend a lot of effort and thought in my life to try to be a more rational and inquisitive thinker.  It’s not easy, for certain.  I love the lure of mystery like anyone else, but more than mystery, I love discovery.  I love when scientists find new evidence that challenges current beliefs.  One of the best ways to enjoy that kind of discovery is in myself.  Why is the status quo as it is?  How can it be different? And to what ends?

    The small morsel of reality that we savor with our limited perception is more spectacular than we can imagine.  I think Carl Sagan, my hero, said it best…

    It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.


  5. Dependent on my Independence in Technology

    October 27, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    Like Technology was a bad thing.  I do more with a computer than my ancestors, grandparents, and to a certain extent my parents ever could.  I can run a dress shoppe from my home. I can email my customers on my phone, update my blog on my phone, post pointless comments to all my friends that I never connected with until Facebook came around, and I can make money from home, and it’s not a scam.  Technology is great.  And two days ago my laptop charger quit on me.

    I was without a computer for TWO DAYS.

    That’s scary for me.  I had the overwhelming feeling that I’d imagine our world would experience if all our satellites went out and all our electric was gone, like starting over.  It was that dramatic… that is, it would have been, if it wasn’t for my iPhone.  I was still able to handle customers on Etsy, and make arrangements to work on a new website.  If my phone weren’t a mini-computer, I would have been inconsolable.

    Now that I got my precious glowing-white money-maker before me again, I had to show a little love and blog about it.  I just have been doing a speed-run of catching up on the things I was working on: updating lipstickvogue.com, applying to new fancy jobs online, tracking gigs on freelance sites, handling Etsy customers, changing my blog background to the lolkitty logo that I’ve been meaning to do (do you like?), and I even fit in a complaint to godaddy for my site being down for about 60 seconds.  And all with enough time to blog about it.

    I should really get back to reading up on something constructive, so I can become more dependent on the technology that lines my greedy lil’ pockets.

    =^.^=


  6. Close the Windows & Open your MacHole.

    September 24, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    If you love computers and have most your life, you probably had a PC and ran Windows (and more likely than not Linux at some point). If you’re a total geek about your OS, you probably have criticized Mac all your life. And yes, I have too, but two things have changed this for me the general computer lovin’ public: The iPhone and Vista.

    I promise not to make this a promotional blog or something, I’m an open-source fiend like you wouldn’t believe. But Mac’s really pulled through as far as showing it’s stuff as an American company and especially in being completely ingenious.macaddict

    Basically the iPhone is my companion. To me, it represents the kind of bond that humans will likely have one day with robots, honestly. I am completely dependent on it for my communication, navigation (Google maps is invaluable), keeping me organized (alarm/calender/portfolio pics/documents and all the other usual stuff I keep on my laptop). It’s also been handy for books (has essentially become my web programming teacher, especially with an app to view code), my only device for social networking (twitter, facebook, etc. I only really bother with when I’m on the go with free time), and it’s also, of course, endlessly entertaining.

    I had the iPhone before it had 3rd party apps and even at that point it was a great phone. I’ll tell you what it isn’t though, it’s not a camera. Sorry, it’s just NOT a camera. If you need to snap a quick pic in perfect lighting of a moment you’d never be able to get otherwise, in a pinch, you can use it. I have a really great photo (my first pic with my iPhone, actually) and it’s immaculate, I’ve never taken a picture as great since. It’s a pic of the El Ray in LA billing “The Squirrel Nut Zippers” that was taken at night. Somehow it’s perfect, but that was the only luck I had with it as a camera.

    Being a bit of a spoiled brat & technology connoisseur, I always had the phone with the most bells & whistles. I’ve been a Samsung girl exclusively, LG a distant second and I won’t even get into what I think of other brands. Samsung has great cameras on their phones and they are very user friendly and functional. My favorite phone so far, that was never beat until the iPhone, was a cool Samsung that swiveled like the high tech Japanese exclusive digital video recorders at the time. It only had a 2.0megapixel camera, but the lens and automatic adjustments made the absolute most out of it. samsung swivel camera phone The only catch was Verizon’s gaudy and functionality-slaughtering proprietary interface. Basically they wanted to have “Get it Now” in your face so you’d log on to the internet and download the latest booty-shakin’ song. Bad decision on their part. They have the best service coverage for where I live, but the interface hindered the abilities of my Samsung.

    The switch to an iPhone was slightly apprehensive. After my dad give Mac a more-than-hearty go by getting the latest greatest Mac computer & wider-than-the-desk screen for his business. The OS was probably OS X 10 something, it was about 5 years ago that I think he tried it out. I used a boyfriend’s Mac computer a bit and was outrageously annoyed with the inability to organize files, namely photos. I have thousands and thousands of photos of every kind of thing, and iPhoto is my arch nemesis when it comes to organizing and using photos in any way whatsoever, then and now. Especially remembering working with those funny little one-unit Macs we used in high school, I was hoping that there wouldn’t be any clunkiness that I couldn’t handle. To me, switching OSs is not to be taken lightly.

    After I got that iPhone in my hot little hands, it wasn’t even a few minutes before it got the nickname “new boyfriend” from the old, less feature rich boyfriend, Chris. :) After he was able to benefit from the usefulness of the phone, the joking and criticisms went away.. some. But it is completely true that there is a bond that is made between humans and objects that we rely on so much. There’s a reason that cars and ships have names as though they were lovers or friends. It’s just uncommon these days because digital technology hasn’t sunk in as a potential counterpart just yet.

    After my HP laptop became more of a torture device than a tool, I pleaded for a Christmas laptop. My HP was only 2 years old and couldn’t stop overheating. I’d get a good ten minutes on it before it’d just shut off, it soaked up every virus it came across, and just felt shabby and tired. I have never been so close to throwing a computer out the window.

    When I got my MacBook for Christmas it was a brand new kind of laptop experience. There it was: shiny & white– I love everything white, I’d love to be like Grace Kelly on a white sofa with white high-pile rugs and a neat white linen dress, with a gin & tonic, my MacBook would slip into the scene quite well. I open it up, push the power button, attractive and flush to the case, and instantly the computer is on and ready for my needs. Isn’t this what the future is supposed to be like? When did we decide it was ok for there to be a hundred background processes for nothing and for ads to invade us before we even begin our session at the computer?

    This is an essential feature for me: beauty. Mac is beautiful. It’s truly a well implemented product. I am very in tune to the subtleties of my computers because I spend so much time with them, and Mac provides an experience that lets you focus on design and creativity instead of clutter. The interface of a Mac computer or phone is the standard which other devices should be striving to beat. You see these goofy Mapple & Mypod knock offs all over the place and you can tell in a second that they’re not going to be the same experience. Four buttons?! Sorry, you lost the point. Oh a keypad, nice try, but think again. Oh, now you have your own extension store, how cute. Sorry big boys, Mac wins. You’ll have to try harder to stay on top of the game.

    Everyone has an iPhone these days. And though trends that sweep popular culture are usually a thing that repels me a bit, I can’t help but feel that iPhone’s more than earned the hype. There is no superior phone available, and they nearly eliminate the practical need for a laptop for most personal and business applications. I can’t help but wonder if the streamlined ease of keeping in touch with business contacts has had some kind of positive impact on people’s businesses, even in these hard times. Even today, I was able to train a client on a website, keep up to date with my fashion business while at work, and pull of rescheduling an interview via email, Google maps showed me the way and I was there with time to spare.

    I never thought I’d say it but I’m a Mac girl now. I hope they keep up the innovation like they have been. Take a look at the latest iPod shuffle. Go look at it. It’s ridiculous. You’ll feel like James Bond. It’s smaller than my thumb and holds more music than I even owned in high school (still saying A LOT) back when I was carrying around my 64MB SD player that was so small I had to switch out the small playlist it could hold every other night or so because I’d get tired of it. That cost $400 at the time (not including that teeny tiny chip). And I’m not that old, folks. Graduating in 2003 that was near top of the line technology, so fancy you had to buy it online. My iPhone also has as much storage as my first laptop did, but that’s really showing my age now, isn’t it?

    After casually mentioning my feelings for Mac to a couple other programmers & developers I feel pretty justified in my Mac Lovin. It seems that it really has gotten to be a superior product pretty much all around. If you could install it in your own home-made computer that would be the tops, but until then, I’ll have to give Mac an overall 9.999 rating :)

    My favorite Mac abilities:
    -Beautiful in form and function.
    -Fast
    -Has really cool tricks for making your work faster (spaces, command+Tab, actually useful hot corners that always make strangers to my computer end up on my desktop and frightened, widgets are cool but should be more iPhone app-like, F3, etc)
    -Did I mention Beautiful?
    -Pretty powerful
    -Best OS for a laptop, handsdown.
    -Good if you’re a Unix person (which I’m thinking about learning a lot more about..)
    -For media stuff, presentations, etc, it can’t be beat. All of Windows looks like 90’s clipart in comparison… and Vista looks like an old Vegas cocktail waitress who puts on too much make up to hide the mess! But I digress…
    -Personalized settings are streamlined and useful.
    -Cool included software like: stickies, dictionary/thesaurus/wiki thing, iCalender, Preview (I love Preview for opening things I couldn’t otherwise view without opening the huge default program like Photoshop), TextEdit (it’s cool but I wish it was a bit better)

    Mac No-No’s:

    -A lot of native Mac programs are still awkward. iPhoto has ruined my plans to have organized pics on my Mac. Who has room for original and modified versions of every pic on their computer? And good luck browsing for them easily, you’ll have to view your entire iPhoto library everytime.
    -I hear the latest version of the Mac OS won’t automatically open the files you made with the same program you made them in. Unless that means “preview” that’s bad. Windows does similar funky stuff.
    -Keyboard friendliness of Mac is lacking and initially really bugged me. I like to tab between “yes” or “no” or other options when doing things. Other keyboard stuff is missing too.. “enter” means yes but only sometimes.
    -Toggling between open programs in Mac and Windows are different bad solutions to a big problem. The seconds I waste switching between programs probably have added up to days, I’m sure. Initially with Mac I’d click the program icon, but if you have say, 2 Firefox windows, you have no way to toggle between them. Mac is close with it’s tab+command. It wins vs. Windows but should have something more logical.
    -The X-+ in the window. Why does X not close a program, just *mostly* close it? What is the purpose of this?
    -Can’t be installed on a non-Mac computer. I hate proprietary junk. Fortunately I’m a laptop girl through and through and this doesn’t really affect me, but I would like a really powerful media computer that could also run Mac..

    Remember I said there were two reasons that Mac is the superior OS in the bipartisan world of Mac vs. Windows. Windows Vista is useless. It has made a waste of every computer it has been installed in. I’ve been using Windows since I was very little, and no other version had deviated so far from what it originally was in terms of functionality and expected features. Vista is trying to be Mac and it’s failing horribly. It switched out it’s logical control panel for one that looks pretty and is easy to get lost in. It has features that are clearly poorly tested. It’s no faster at starting up except when you first get it. And that being said, HP has gone the way of Dell by adding goofy branded programs that say, “I’m an HP and here to help! Let me help you! I’ll show you how to do it, ok? Watch!!!” Even if this is your first computer, it’s confusing and must make people actually suffer.

    The computer I use at work is running Vista. HP has an obnoxious popup that tries to remember your passwords. You get the swirly blue ring of death any time that you have more than two programs open (this is a brand new computer, and I’m talking Dreamweaver & Photoshop). The web experience is the only part that hasn’t been touched, as Firefox works well in it’s Window’s optimized ways.

    My little ol’ landlady the other day had to have me come over and help her because she changed the DPI on her computer so she could see better. Vista is so brain dead that it defaults everything to about 900% of your screen with no way to navigate the computer whatsoever to change it back. That’s unacceptable. There shouldn’t be any setting or button you can select on your computer on your own that will cause it to basically become a paperweight without the intervention of a professional. In fact, having to help her out is kind of what brought me to blog about it. It just seemed so unfair.

    Anyway, I still won’t put one of those trendy Apple stickers on my car… as cute as that would be.


  7. How to chastise a chipmunk and other impossible solutions in caring for a wild animal.

    September 11, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    Chipmunks aren’t like other pets. They are so unlike other pets that they adapt to become experts in getting what they want, and psychologically breaking down your will power to resist them.

    Don't be fooled by his Disney-like appearance!

    Don't be fooled by his Disney-like appearance!


    Today I worked from home. It was going to be a nice, quiet day at home. And best of all, I would be able to let out my darling chipmunk, Artie, to explore the bedroom supervised as I work. The only catch was that he had other plans.

    It started out as our usual day of him being out in our bedroom playing. He’d make some imaginary game with himself and run around the room like he was going to be chased by something outside the window. He’d run from the window to me, start nibbling my fingers to play, and so on back and forth.

    Today he decided my computer keys were the ultimate treat. Our normal game of him play attacking my fingers turned into him liking the sound of me click-clack typing and an extra exciting version of our usual game: with sound effects! Plus, this way he could get my undivided attention because I couldn’t even have my hands on my computer. He’s been known to try to bite my keyboard keys before, so I always scoot him gently off my computer and continue working.

    Sneaking around on Chris' shoulder

    Sneaking around on Chris' shoulder


    Of course, I told you my chipmunk had other plans today. After being on my computer a whole 2 seconds he managed to completely rip off my “arrow down” key. He then ran off with it and had me chase him around the room until he hid in the window sill tucked it in the corner and made little scratching hand motions as though he was burying it. At least I can out smart him here. I picked up my key and gently wrangled it back in place.

    This was so amusing to him that he thought he’d try it a second time. And so about half an hour later, there I was following him around the room again with a little white rectangle in his mouth. He knows, he just *knows* that this is the best way to get my attention and he does it. He’s much smarter than most pets, and his tiny size enables his trouble-making with the added benefit of escaping in a hurry and looking adorable doing it.

    After him falling into a cup of water a couple weeks ago, I no longer can have any beverages in the room with him. Not anything. And certainly not a cup of coffee because I’m sure the last thing a hyperactive chipmunk needs is a caffeine bath! So when I had some coffee I would put him away for a little bit. But he’s got so much energy he can’t stand even our big cage, so I gulped down my Kona blend and let the little guy out again.

    One super cute pic of Artie, just to prove he's my favorite :)

    One super cute pic of Artie, just to prove he's my favorite :)


    While writing this, I had my right arrow key stolen. This time he just accidentally dropped it and I was a little quicker at picking it up. He only steals the arrow keys. So far the “up” key is the only one he hasn’t taken, and now the right key has a nice big chipmunk sized bite in it, which was presumably taken with such force because he knew I was right on him to scoot his butt some place else.

    You can’t tell a chipmunk “no.” You can say it to them for your own benefit, but they won’t get anything out of it. Unlike dogs who are in tune with what humans mean and the importance of the symbiotic relationship they have, chipmunks don’t need us and don’t care if we need them. Artie is genuinely sweet when he wants to be. But he’s still a wild animal and is only domesticated to the point to understand the living situation he is in, not so much that we love his little stripes and that we raised him since before he could see.

    You can’t put him in “the doghouse.” You’ll just feel bad putting him in his cage when you’re able to have him out and end up letting him out again.

    You can’t tell him, “seriously, you just ate my favorite necklace.” No you can’t. I would know. I look over after letting him out again, and there he is, chewing on my favorite necklace I got from a cute couple from Africa at a local farmer’s market. Little glass and wooden beads spilled everywhere! As I was scooping them up, so was Artie– right into his mouth! He was even trying to eat the glass ones until I distracted him and he just dropped them. He didn’t get away without demolishing a couple of the wooden beads, just for good measure, to round off his day of shenanigans.

    I still haven’t put him away. He’s got too much energy still! The human mind can’t process enough frames per second to even see his little feet move when he’s running or grooming himself. So while simple things like running appear as a blur to most humans, you have to keep that in mind if you’re going to open a door around this little guy. Even putting him in his cage gets difficult when he’s fast like this.

    Well, I was going to make this post longer, but with all the attacks from Artie nibbles I think I’ll get back to non-click-a-clack sounding projects.

    California Chipmunk species log:
    9/11/2009
    Newly discovered behavior characteristics: endlessly curious, stubborn, like to inspect the world with their mouths, an ability to adapt quickly enough to their surroundings to be able to escape/sneak treats/get attention as they please.
    Artie’s tail is looking better and he never seemed to be bothered much by the terrible and mysterious loss of his tail.
    He’s hoarding and getting fatter as the weather cools, and he’s also slowed down in his growth rate.


  8. My inner fish: Tiktaalik <3

    August 8, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    If there’s anything that I should be writing about in my blog, I suppose it should be the things that I really like and want to share with others.
    There is a little fossil that has my affection, and it is Tiktaalik.

    Tiktaalik skull

    Tiktaalik skull

    I grew up, like many kids my generation, imagining that our very ancient ancestor who brought us to land was much like a mud skippy. How many times has the Discovery channel depicted it as such? It’s not too hard to imagine, but looking at a modern fish and imagining it as similar to a very, very ancient fish isn’t very satisfactory.
    Fortunately for nerds like me, there are other even bigger nerds out there who get work in miserable conditions like Greenland to find this fossil. This Devonian era fossil was found in 2004, and Greenland is one of the few places on this earth where that era of rock has been unearthed.
    Take a gander at it! For those of you who can’t use your imagination with the fossil:

    Tiktaalik, your inner fish

    Tiktaalik, your inner fish

    While this may not be very exciting to you (I’d have to ask why you read on, if that’s the case!) but I think it’s very refreshing that there are such great discoveries out there waiting for humanity. Something about the way that I was taught things in school as a kid always made me feel like we did everything, found everything, knew everything. The more I seek out to learn on my own, the more I realize we are a young species with much to learn about our world. There is so much we are capable of, so much we can do to change the world. (Like how I have a lot of hopes that in my life time there will be some amount of real cyberizing of humans for useful stuff not just a workaround for damaged parts..but maybe I watch too much Ghost in the Shell). Nothing has made me feel like we have so much to learn more than Quantum Physics, though. That, my friends, will be another post… uh… once I wrap my head around it a little better :)

    Please read more about this interesting little creature here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik

    While there has been a lot of hype lately about the fossil Ida, I think that Tiktaalik is still more interesting.  Ida is only one of many different transitional forms of primates. We actually have a decent fossil record for primates. Tiktaalik is possibly more interesting than Archaeopteryxeven, if we could only prove that it was a direct ancestor or something like that. I would think that during this time, there would be several different similar critters like Tiktaalik. They think it was a really marshy and swampy area and our little friend Tiktaalik got his more tetrapod like fins by squirming through tree roots underwater to hide from larger fish.

    Howdy Folks!

    How'dy Folks!


    Here’s one more gratuitous fishapod shot before I leave this one alone. I do have a strong urge now, when I see those little darwin fish on cars, to replace them with a life-like sticker of Tiktaalik. Afterall, if your interest is in the accuracy of science, you’ll have to admit those fish are desperately out-of-date now! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed him half as much as I do!


  9. NPR tells the craaaziest stories!

    August 6, 2009 by lolkitty: Kaela

    Apparently animals are capable of dancing.  This guy doesn’t just dance, he groooves.