Tag Archives: memes

A certain letter that’s shaped sort of like a hook

Some time back, Andrea of Lip Smacking Wit wrote a post on this meme:

Leave a comment and I’ll give you a letter. Post ten things you LOVE
that begin with that letter.  Then give a letter to anyone who leaves a
comment for you… and the cycle will continue.

Pretty irresistible, is it not?

Andrea gave me the letter J. At first I could come up with nothing except jellybeans, and while I like jellybeans I don’t love them. Same for jelly. But then I settled down and realized what a rich letter dear J is.

Juniper berries: The signature flavoring in gin. Like so many people, I didn’t like gin when I started drinking. In recent years I’ve discovered its subtle wonders. Now it battles bourbon for top spot in my bar.

Jigger: A bartending tool used to measure liquor, named for the unit of liquor is measures: 1.5 fluid ounce. Despite taking a bartending course years ago, I was for a long time sloppy about measuring the ingredients in my cocktails. I’ve since seen the light on this. Unless you have speedpour tops on all your bottles and you regularly tend bar, you need to measure everything to get proportions right. Cocktails are all about proportions.

A poem by Lewis Carroll that’s included in “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There,” one of the books that influenced me most in my childhood. “[O]ften considered to be the greatest nonsense poem written in the English language,” which, considering the work of Edward Lear, is saying a lot. I can recite this from memory, and if you’re not careful I will. Also, when playing dungeons and Dragons in high school, my weapon of choice was a vorpal sword.

John Cleese: I am a longtime fan of Monty Python and the individual Pythons. As I’ve noted in the past.

Java & joe: As in “I’d like a cup of…” I’ve cut back on my coffee consumption, but I still start most days with a cup. There are few happier smells than that of freshly ground and brewed coffee.

Jazz: The jazz subgenres I like more are hard bop, bebop, and swing.

Jude: My brother, fourth child out of the five in our family. A hard-working guy who can tell you every movie any actor has been in.

Julep: A heavenly drink made of bourbon, sugar, mint leaves, ice, and seltzer. Nothing is better on a summer day.

Jumping jacks: I have trouble jumping rope, due to a general lack of coordination, but I am a past master at jumping jacks. And they’re great exercise.

Juxtaposition:The act or instance of placing two or more things side by side.” I am all about that, especially the juxtaposition of disparate or unexpected elements.

OK, your turn. Leave a comment, receive a letter.

(Photo credit: “Juniper Berries” by kretyen. Post title comes from our friend Big Bird’s “J Poem.”)

If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.

My result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz…

You Are a Katherine!


Katherines are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.


How to Get Along with Me

  • Give me companionship, affection, and freedom.
  • Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.
  • Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories.
  • Don’t try to change my style. Accept me the way I am.
  • Be responsible for yourself. I dislike clingy or needy people.
  • Don’t tell me what to do.



What I Like About Being a Katherine

  • being optimistic and not letting life’s troubles get me down
  • being spontaneous and free-spirited
  • being outspoken and outrageous. It’s part of the fun.
  • being generous and trying to make the world a better place
  • having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures
  • having such varied interests and abilities



What’s Hard About Being a Katherine

  • not having enough time to do all the things I want
  • not completing things I start
  • not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career
  • having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies
  • feeling confined when I’m in a one-to-one relationship



Katherines as Children Often

  • are action oriented and adventuresome
  • drum up excitement
  • prefer being with other children to being alone
  • finesse their way around adults
  • dream of the freedom they’ll have when they grow up

Katherines as Parents

  • are often enthusiastic and generous
  • want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life
  • may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

I had quite hoped to be a Bette Davis, but I am pleased to be a Katherine Hepburn.

About three-quarters of the description is true. Points to anyone who can guess which three-quarters.

Friday 5 that’s really 3: PCPGH3

Dawn Papuga kicked off a Friday 5 topic that’s close to my heart. Here are the questions and my answers.

(What’s Friday 5? See here.)

I'm going to PodCamp Pittsburgh 3! Are you?

1. What brought you to Social Media and what keeps you hanging around?
I find things and think of things, and I want to tell my friends. Back in the early years of this decade, I used to send out periodic, unasked for emails to random sets of friends, and sometimes people would respond and sometimes not. I worried that I was annoying my lovely friends by filling their email boxes. I started reading blogs in 2003, and decided that a blog would be a much better way of informing people of the wonderful things I found.

Interestingly, few of my long-time friends seem to read my blog. (They’re still my friends though — no hard feelings.) In the meantime, I’ve made many, many new friends through my blog. These new friends and the continuing stream of interesting things that life brings are what keep me hanging around.

2. Which social networking tool gives you the shakes when it’s not updated or is experiencing down time? (Podcasts, Blogs, Micro-blogging, etc)
I’m a little sad without email. (Can you count email as an old school social networking tool? I think so.) I can survive without my regular social networks without too much trauma. There are lots of other great things in life.

3. What kind of insight could you offer to others on a topic at PCPGH3? If none, then what do you most want to hear more about?
Mike Woycheck and I are going to reprise our well-liked "Intro to Blogging" talk again this year (although sadly without the aid of Christina Schulman). I’ll also talk about how to make your blog more friendly to search engines, and a few of us are going to conduct a discussion on Rust Belt Blogging.

I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing how people are using blogs and social media in their lives and their work. There’s always a new and interesting angle to discover.

Find others’ responses to these same questions over at the PodCamp Pittsburgh website. While you’re there, register to attend. It’s fun, and all the cool kids are doing it. Join us!

You’ve got to love the actual sweat more than the lights and the glamour


Scott asked us all whom we would like to narrate the story of our lives, and why.

I thought through a couple of different options. There’s Orson Welles, who had just about the best ever narration style possible. There’s Stockard Channing, who would bring a lot of flair to the story and could also sing a bit if needed. (Not that I sing, but maybe my life would be best conveyed in song — hard to say at this juncture.)

But on the whole, I would like my life narrator to be Bette Davis. Distinctive voice; thoughtful delivery; practical viewpoint and appreciation of the absurdity of life.

She’d almost certainly overshadow me on the whole, but she’d also most likely make my life sound more interesting that is actually is, so it balances out.

(I’m not sure what it means that in choosing three potential narrators, I picked two who are dead.)

Let me tell you a story

Promotional photo from Flight, performed at City Theatre in Pittsburgh

Photo from City Theatre’s production of Flight, March 2008. Pictured center: Joshua Elijah Reese and DeWanda Wise. Photo credit: John Schisler.

In Flight, Charlayne Woodard’s play (recently produced, brilliantly, at City Theatre), the characters are all slaves living on a plantation near Savannah, Georgia in 1858. They are forbidden to learn to read or write, and one of their fellow slaves has just been sold because she had learned to read and was teaching her son.

Not knowing how to read or write doesn’t stop them from telling stories though. The play centers on the oral tradition, the passing on of tales from one person to another, from one generation to another. The storytellers mingle in music and dance, and in Flight the listeners act out the parts of the stories, adding their own interpretations and experiences along the way.

The oral traditions aren’t confined to slaves or people of African descent. Last year, performance troupe Mabou Mines brought Finn, a work-in-progress, to the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre. "Interweaving a Celtic legendary figure, Finn McCool, and elements of Middle Eastern folktales, Finn tells the story of a boy’s journey to avenge his father’s death."

Of course, we’re all familiar with some flavor of oral tradition, whether it’s sitting around at the holidays and listening to old family stories, told for the hundredth time, or meeting up with old friends and rehashing tales of the sordid past.

Is this changing with the existence of the Web, with its wikis and blogs and Facebook photos?

If I post a story on my blog, it’s captured in words. That’s nice if I want it to be captured. But what if I want for others to take it and run with it, add their own twists? People do this with memes, like lists of statistics from their iTunes setups; they sometimes respond to a blog post on their own blogs. But memes are small and frothy; blog posts can have substance but rarely does anyone take a post and reimagine or re-present it in a new light. In fact, I think if someone did, they might be slammed for stealing the originator’s idea.

But think of medieval troubadors going from town to town, singing stories along the way, leaving the stories behind to be sung by others with some parts added and others forgotten. I think the Web is a little too good at preserving things, so we can’t experience the beauty and surprise of mutation.

Or maybe it’s there and I’m not seeing it. What’s the modern equivalent of the oral tradition? Is it just what people used before they could write and record and blog, or it is part of the human experience?

UPDATE: On a related note, over at AndrewAlan.com Andy explores social networking on the web and in real life. Good thoughts.

Hey, Mister DJ!

Turntables DJ

Turntables DJ, originally uploaded by pixel0908.

Some days I feel that I have listened to everything on my iTunes playlist as many times as is possible and that I do not have nearly enough music. On such days, I need a wake-up call like this iTunes list meme: a brief tour of my music library should be enough to remind me that I have lots and lots and lots of music ready to play.

My iTunes Library by the Numbers

Total length:
5594 items, 14:15:08:16 total time (more than 14.5 days’ worth!), 20.25 GB

First and last songs (by title):

"Abacus," Fionn Regan
"2000 Miles," The Pretenders

Sort by time – shortest and longest:

"One Last ‘Whoo-hoo!’ for the Pullman," Sufjan Stevens (6 seconds)
"O.K. Go Nike Treadmill Workout (Continuous Mix)," OK Go (31:04)

Bonus: Longest non-workout mix: "Something In The Way," Nirvana (20:36)

Sort by Album – first and last:
A.D., Heretix
52nd Street, Billy Joel

Sort by Artist – first and last:
50 Foot Wave

Top five most played songs:
"Giant Spiders," Devin Davis
"Looking At the World from the Bottom of a Well," Mike Doughty
"Iron Woman," Devin Davis
"Busting Up a Starbucks," Mike Doughty
"I Hear the Bells," Mike Doughty

Bonus: Top played song not by Devin Davis or Mike Doughty: "You’re So Damn Hot," OK Go (14th most-played)
Extra bonus: Top played song not by Devin Davis, Mike Doughty, or OK Go: "Waters of March," Cassandra Wilson (24th most-played)

Find the following words. How many songs show up?
Sex: 23 (most from the album Fig. 14 by Human Sexual Response; others include "Sexbomb" by Tom Jones, "Man-size Sextet" by P.J. Harvey, "Sexy Sadie" by The Beatles, and "Sexx Laws" by Beck)
Death: 24 (most from an album by Death From Above 1979)
Love: 371
You: 727
Home: 55
Boy: 263 (lots from the T. Rex compilation 20th Century Boy)
Girl: 71

First five songs that come up on Party Shuffle:

"A Tisket, A Tasket," Ella Fitzgerald
"Freaky Hijiki," Beastie Boys
"The Brothers Cup," Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Fa Ci-La," The Feelies
"Lost in Space," Aimee Mann


Now it’s your turn. What’s on your playlist?

Coming soon to a DVD player near me

Movie poster for Rififi

It seems to be a trend to post a list of movies one hasn’t seen but plans to watch.

My Netflix queue is currently around 450 items long. Some of these are compilations of TV shows and recordings of concerts, but even without them it’s too long a list to burden you with here.

But I can share a chunk of it. Here are the next 10 movies I’m scheduled to receive. The summaries are from the Netflix website.

  1. Du rififi chez les hommes AKA Rififi (1955) Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes. "Jules Dassin won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this French noir caper (with English subtitles) in which jewel thieves pull off an elaborate store heist. Recently released from prison, Tony le Stephanois (Jean Servais) gathers criminals Jo, Mario and Cesar for one last heist. But when Tony refuses to give part of the loot to rival gangster Pierre, Pierre retaliates by kidnapping Jo’s son."
  2. I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) (1958). "Director Mario Monicelli delivers this deft satire of the classic caper film Rififi, introducing a bungling group of amateurs — including an ex-jockey (Carlo Pisacane), a former boxer (Vittorio Gassman) and an out-of-work photographer (Marcello Mastroianni). The crew plans a seemingly simple heist with a retired burglar (Totó), who serves as a consultant. But this Italian job is doomed from the start."
  3. Bob Le Flambeur (Bob the Gambler) (1956). "In Jean-Pierre Melville‘s intelligent drama, Bob (Roger Duchesne) is a compulsive gambler with a deep well of compassion. He’s a father figure to street kids Paulo (Daniel Cauchy) and Anne (Isabelle Corey), and he cares for them as if they were his own. When he runs out of money, the three hatch a plan to rob a Deauville casino. Can they pull off the ultimate heist, or has Bob run out of luck?"
  4. The Good Thief (2003). " In this remake of Jean-Pierre Melville’s classic Bob le Flambeur, Nick Nolte stars as Bob Montagnet, a middle-aged gambler caught up in the seedy underworld of Nice, France. When a last-ditch effort to free himself from his self-destructive lifestyle falls through, Montagnet faces his toughest hand yet. Ralph Fiennes and Tcheky Karyo also star in this stylish neo-noir crime thriller."
  5. Damage (1992). " Honorable government official Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons) strays when he meets a beautiful woman (Juliette Binoche) at a cocktail party. Even finding out that she’s engaged to his son (Rupert Graves) doesn’t dampen Fleming’s passion, and a dangerous affair ignites, resulting in more than one broken heart — including that of Fleming’s loyal wife, Ingrid (Miranda Richardson). Based on Josephine Hart’s novel."
  6. The Getaway (1972). "Master thief Carter ‘Doc’ McCoy (Steve McQueen) and his wife, Carol (Ali MacGraw), escape with the loot from a botched robbery. Thanks to a sinister succession of double-crosses, they soon find themselves running from the law, from a vengeful cohort and from a crime boss’s deadly hit squad, all while trying to pull off the ultimate robbery."
  7. Inherit the Wind (1960). "Spencer Tracy (in one of his best roles) as lawyer Henry Drummond and Frederic March as Matthew Harrison Brady square off as opposing attorneys in this blistering courtroom drama about the famed 1930s "Scopes Monkey Trial," where a Tennessee teacher was taken to task for teaching Darwinism in the schoolroom. Song-and-dance man Gene Kelly co-stars as newspaper reporter H.L. Mencken."
  8. The King of Marvin Gardens (1972). "Uptight deejay David Staebler (Jack Nicholson) travels to Atlantic City, N.J., to learn more about an outlandish, get-rich-quick scheme cooked up by his manic brother, Jason (Bruce Dern). Despite David’s suspicions, he plays along — but when the plan’s flaws become evident, neither Jason nor his beauty-queen girlfriend (Ellen Burstyn) heed David’s protestations. Director Bob Rafelson‘s evocative drama costars Scatman Crothers."
  9. Primal Fear (1996). "When a blood-spattered altar boy (Ed Norton) is found running from a murder scene, his conviction seems certain. But when arrogant defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) steps in, the issue of the boy’s possible guilt may be less important than winning the case. Based on the novel by William Diehl, this twisty thriller delivers a perfect police procedural with characters that are deeper than they appear."
  10. Hurlyburly (1998). " Ambition, sex, money and drugs are part of an average couple of days for 1980s Hollywood players Eddie (Sean Penn) and Mickie (Kevin Spacey) — who maintain that things wouldn’t be so bad if they could only figure out the meaning of it all. Anthony Drazan directs this stark and witty adaptation of David Rabe’s popular play with an all-star cast, including Gary Shandling, Chazz Palmintari, Robin Wright Penn, Anna Paquin and Meg Ryan."



In six words

under waterline

under waterline, originally uploaded by Marcus Vegas.

A friend sent around an email:

There is a new book out called 6 Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. Some samples are:

Steve Colbert – Well, I thought it was funny.

Elizabeth Gilbert – Me see world! Me write stories!

A.J. Jacobs – Born bald. Grew hair. Bald again.

And the very strange Amy Sedaris – Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched.

I wonder what each of ours would be.

The book is actually titled Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. Amazon has a little video with additional examples of six-word memoirs — entertaining.

My first response was that I don’t feel ready to write a memoir yet — so much in process, so much to do, and so little overall clarity to what I’ve done before. So I wrote this memoir:

Not finished. Please wait. Thank you.

Then again, that makes it seem like I’m in stasis when instead I feel like I’m in constant motion. More to the point, I am constantly moving from one thing to the next. So I came up with this:

Ooh, interesting! I’ll try that too.

I’m sticking with that one. (For now….)

What’s your six-word memoir?

“Enemy Change His Mind” by Dog Whistle

Cover art meme: "Enemy Change His Mind" by Dog Whistle

Cover art meme: "Enemy Change His Mind" by Dog Whistle, originally uploaded by cynthiacloskey.

I love album cover art. Not-too-secretly, I desire to design things for fun and profit, and I adore the art that surrounds music. So obviously I love this meme:

The CD Cover Meme group has only three rules: (1) The first article title on this random wiki page is the name of your band, (2) the last four words of the very last quote on this random quote page is the title of your album, and (3) the third picture here, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

In reality, it is important to check the copyright settings of the picture you find in step three. Most times, you will find all rights reserved. Backstep, reload, and check again until you find at least some Creative Commons Rights shared.

This is addictive. I went for an easy design this time — in no small part because my Photoshop skills are only passable.

How tempting it is to play around and spend hours coming up with a funky cool design!

I was in fact tempted to play creative director and spec out a design, then assign my brother Anthony to do the real work — he’s so much more fluent with Photoshop. I came to my senses and chose instead to let him continue to work on billable, client projects this Friday afternoon. The meme loses a little because of my decision, but our clients benefit. The company schedule and financial state are better off too.

The web is a dangerous mistress.

(Links and meme thanks to Coudal.)

What drives me to you is what drives me insane

Nine eights (click for original)Weeks (months?) ago, Caroline of Pinky’s Paperhaus tagged me for a list-meme thing, and it’s well past time I responded.

Here are the rules:

  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are eight random things about me:

1. I avoid buying clothes that require dry cleaning. This is not the result of personal environmentalism. Rather, I have discovered over the years that I’m too disorganized to get dirty clothes to the dry cleaners and pick them up.

2. Although I’ve dyed my hair a rainbow of colors over the years, I have always been happy to have been born a redhead. When I was a child, Pippi Longstocking was my hero.

3. The talent I most wish I had: singing. Both my parents sing well, my sister Katy has a beautiful voice, and everyone else in my family sounds at least fine. I’m a croaking toad.

4. If I were ever to go back to school, I would study law.

5. My family’s nickname for me as a kid was "The Encyclopedia." I was also infamous for correcting anyone’s grammar. In retrospect, I can’t understand why anyone was my friend.

6. In 1997, a friend of mine read my palm and told me that my lifeline indicates I’ll live only to age 55. Perhaps this should upset me. Instead, I find it kind of a relief, because I’m clearly not saving enough for retirement.

7. Try as I may, I can’t get myself to enjoy the music of Sonic Youth.

8. My current favorite Bob Dylan song is "Isis." This link points to lyrics that don’t match what’s on the album "Desire." I much prefer the recorded version:

She said, "Where ya been?" I said, "No place special."
She said, "You look different." I said, "Well, I guess."
She said, "You been gone." I said, "That’s only natural."
She said, "You gonna stay?" I said, "If you want me to, yes."

I shall hereby tag these people, whom I believe haven’t been tagged with this memey-thing before and who I think will not hate me too much for passing it to them:

Bonus random fact about me: Note that I balanced the boys with the girls. That’s ’cause I’m a Libra.