Aperture Wins 2006 Eddy Award!

EddystatueToday Macworld announced its 22nd Annual Editors’ Choice (Eddy) Awards, and Aperture was on the list!

Check out Macworld’s page for the award. It gives you a pretty good idea of how Apple’s been busy this year. It’s nice to have contributed in some way to something that the public knows about (most of the work I’ve done in my career has been for in-house development), and something that kicks such serious ass.

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5 By 5

Saw this one on D.Lo’s:

Your Five Factor Personality Profile
Extroversion:

You have high extroversion.
You are outgoing and engaging, with both strangers and friends.
You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation.
Enthusiastic and fun, you’re the first to say “let’s go!”

Conscientiousness:

You have medium conscientiousness.
You’re generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you’ve been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness:

You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don’t mind giving someone a second chance.

Neuroticism:

You have medium neuroticism.
You’re generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there’s a few emotional bumps you’d like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You’ll try almost anything interesting, and you’re constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

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Blogging at 70mph

I’m sitting in the back seat of a Chevy, tooling down I-280 towards work. It’s a makeshift carpool, and a temporary one. Soon I’ll be back to being green and taking CalTrain.

Regardless, here I am. It’s very foggy down here at the intersection of Route 92 and I-280. Crystal Springs Lake, a reservoir, is off to the right. The mountain range behind it is confluent with trees so large that it tricks the eye into thinking that the mountains are either smaller than they are, or closer than they are. It’s a strange effect.

The speed of the internet connection varies wildly while driving–especially up and down 280. Even though it basically rides mountaintops from San Francisco to the South Bay, the occasional valleys cause issues, as does the weird tower-switching thrash at a couple of points along the way.

Here’s what I got at a given moment near the Redwood City/Atherton exit:

There’s nowhere in my life I can’t have internet access if I want or need it. That’s more of a bad thing than a good thing, but I’m a nerd at heart—well, among other things—and I do it because I can. Maybe that just makes me intellectually hedonistic: gotta feed your head, man.

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I’ve Finally Been To Me

NovSo this Saturday is the November installment of a dance club/event called “Bearracuda”. It’s a themed event, geared towards to jovial boys with sometimes jovian bodies, and with lots of follicular, furry, fleecy, fuzzy funness. “And their admirers.”

A couple of months ago I was approached by the producer of the event (a tall, handsome, can’t-say-no-to kind of guy) to be a “model” for their events. I had been to one of these events before, and it was a whole mess of fun, aaaaand, having never done anything like this before, I said, “Sure, why not!”

And so I did.

For the last few weeks, posters featuring me and a guy called David with our shirts off made their appearance on the web and, more germanely, in the Castro. As Paula-Bone and I were walking down the street last week, I came face to face with….ME! There was my visage, in all its circular glory, hanging on the door of an softcore porn erotica store.

Click on the pic and take a look, IF YOU DARE!!!

But by all means, don’t let the bearity of the event, or more likely, my face gracing the poster, stop you from attending the event this Saturday, November 18. The Deco Lounge is a fun place, and everyone’s friendly and there’s zero attitude. It’s classic Bear, without the typical bitchiness from the lookists.

All that said, my favorite feedback so far for the poster comes from my friend Derek: “That poor cub, with the PleasurePiggy stuck to his back!”

I love my friends, I love my friends, I love my friends…

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“Gay Marriage” and “Pro-Life”

Same-sex Marriage is not gay marriage. It’s marriage. You don’t have to be gay to avail yourself of a same-sex marriage. Just like I can avail myself of the institution of marriage right now, so long as the one I’m marrying has an inny to my out-y.

Pro-Life is not Pro Life: it’s Pro-pagation of the Faith. I should know, I remember the agency’s relationship the Diocese of Scranton. Every Diocese makes obeisance to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. After all, it’s the sales & marketing arm of the Catholic Church and no amount of truth (or “Truth”) is enough to keep membership up. It’s like KQED and Public Television: it’s free and it’s awesome, but you still have to have membership drives—and some of the funds raised by the membership drive go to fund the next membership drive, etc., etc.

On the other hand, I never thought the word “gay” would be said so frequently and so relatively blithely by everyone. Still, it’s a demonizing word when used to build the phrase “gay marriage”. It’s ironic, too, because as the Rightwingers attempt to separate marriage from gay marriage, their real argument is that people will confuse them as the same thing and therefore the notion of marriage will mean nothing.

You know, it’d be like Baptists saying that Catholics aren’t Christians because if you let the Catholics call themselves Christian then Christianity will be diluted by welcoming everyone to Jesus.

And look! A timely timing for me. Today the Catholics issued a set of guidelines on how to handle the homos. They’re (we’re) supposed to be welcomed, but we’re not to have sex or, god forbid, fall in love. We’re only supposed to ‘come out’ to a ‘small group of people’—I have a feeling that they didn’t explicitly set a number on what constitutes ‘small group’. And if we ‘openly embrace’ the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ (what is this, the 1970s?), then we are not permitted to hold ‘leadership positions’ in the Church. Does that mean that only bottoms of the non-pushy variety are allowed to be as out and proud and stylishly-lived as they wish and still be held close to Jesus’ muscular bosom?

So get it right, folks. It’s same-sex marriage. If you’re straight, you can have one. The gays aren’t interested in abridging straight’s rights. You’d be able to marry within or without your own gender, just like everyone else. As an added bonus, your race will be rendered equally moot with respect to your choices!

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Moments Are Underrated

Just a moment,
One peculiar passing moment.
Must it all be either less or more,
Either plain or grand?
Is it always ‘or’?
Is it never ‘and’?
That’s what woods are for:
For those moments in the woods…
Oh, if life were made of moments,
—Even now and then a bad one!—
But if life were only moments,
Then you’d never know you had one.

This is a song the Baker’s Wife sings after having “a moment” in the woods with the Prince in Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine. I’m not sure I agree with the sentiment anymore. In fact, I’m sure I don’t; these days, after beginning to emerge from the cocoon of work and stress, I find myself wistful of Moments.

The Moment is the most under-appreciated, most often abused unit of time in these times. They’re taken for granted—“I was just daydreaming”. They’re trivialized—“I was having a moment.” They’re even blamed—“it was just a moment, it didn’t mean anything!”

Effluent blame seeps from generation to generation accusing shorter attention spans, more of a willingness to be distracted, less depth (implying that time spent on a topic accumulates profundity) and lack of focus, among other things.

MTV’s innovative quick-edits, now a staple of modern visual entertainment, are criticized as causative agents instead of a reflection of status quo. Video games and their twitch mechanics are maligned for creating obsession and torpor instead of focus and coordination. Text-messaging as word-bursts which dismantle grammar instead of being praised for more frequent communication and the ability to juggle multiple tasks.

It’s moments we remember. Even if we remember our (well, your) wedding days, it’s the moments of “I do” and rice-throwing and cutting-the-cake that provide the true memories—the rest we just fill in so as not to offend our sense of continuity.

We have moments of beauty, our moments alone, “I have my moments!” Streams of consciousness are like streams of water. Streams of water aren’t really streams at all except from the third-party view. They’re made of of the complex interaction of discrete objects—H2O molecules! And such our lives are particulate, made up of moments, to follow the next.

For all the talk of ongoing things in life, perhaps the most often used and most secularly sacrosanct to us all is the learning process. Not necessarily book-learning, but the acquisition of a new ability or new point of view or new status or stature. Even so, how do we most magically describe learning? “A-ha!” moments!

And when remembering what we’ve learned, we (or rather, I) seem to first flash on the “A-ha!” moments of my past <insert “Take on Me” reference here to trump the clever commenters>, and move forward, connecting the further moments dots until it conflagrates into a confluence of Learning.

Take yesterday, for example. I had ordered a book called “Computational Cell Biology” (Springer) from Amazon, y’know, for fun (hey, you have your fun, and I have mine), and I just started reading it last night. It brought me a moment of joy to start it because I haven’t been able to do much of anything lately besides work, sleep and dart into shadows to avoid threatening headaches. This was new! Gooooo me.

Anyway, I got to this paragraph:

Membrane transporters allow cells to take up glucose from the blood plasma. Cells then use glycolytic enzymes to convert energy from carbon and oxygen bonds to phosphorylate adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and produce the triphosphate ATP. ATP, in turn, is utilized to pump Ca2+ and Na+ ions from the cell and K+ ions back in to the cell, in order to maintain the osmotic balance that helps give red cells the characteristic…[discoid shape]. ATP is also used to maintain the concentration of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, an intermediary metabolite that regulates the oxygen binding conformation of hemoglobin. The final products of glucose metabolism in red cells are pyruvate and lactate, which move passively out of the cell down a concentration gradient through specific transporters in the plasma membrane.

You may not understand the details of this, but point of fact, I did remember! After so many years of not having these things come to the fore in my brain, there they were. I remember moments in classes like Physical Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Structural Biology, Molecular Genetics and the like where I had my moments of understanding protein synthesis and osmosis and protein conformation and self-assembling molecules and cell memebrane-borne transport channels and calcium pumps and Na+/K+ equilibrium.

A thousand moments assembled themselves into a new moment, a moment which had enough of an impact that I am noting it and commenting on it and understanding it here in these pages.

A moment like this fuels me for days, and allows me to gain some altitude, open my world a little, give me respite from the scowling, neckless siege mentality I have been living under for the past couple of months—months, I should point out, containing nearly no memorable moments.

Right now, having just got back from accomplishing a task I was quite nervous about doing, I am basking in a moment of relief and triumph—and surprise that the photographer’s bright lights did not trigger another headache. And right now, I’m off to FTP’s house for a BBQ (me and my TLAs!), instead of choosing to remain here at home with no chance of any more moments happening today.

And I know better than to do that.

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Braincramps

The braincramps headaches have abated just a bit. And by this I mean that often I can go for hours with the pain low enough to be manageable, and only occasionally take something potent when it starts to get unmanageable.

The train—where I am right now—seems to contribute to the headaches, both in the morning and in the evening. Probably more in the evenings because I’ve had a full day of looking at 30“ of Mac vastness and the bright sun and somewhat rough ride only add to it. Though I probably shouldn’t complain too much about the sun, because it’ll be gone by this hour soon enough. I have to thank President Bush for lessening my misery by a few weeks, but he could quit tomorrow and lessen it by a couple of years, if he really cared about the gays.

As the old song goes, ”I can dream, can’t I?“

Back on point, though, I’m feeling a bit floaty. In the sense that I think about wanting to read again. I think about wanting to learn different things. Set up the easel I bought and actually paint something.

This little bit of daylight is making me very happy. That door has finally cracked open…not enough, but the movement itself holds some promise for more. Ironic allusion, given that photophobia is the main ingredient in my braincramps.

I’m rambling. But I’m writing, at least: more movement.

Wait. Different kind of cramps.

(Oh yes! I went there!)

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Laptops on a Train

I’m on the way home now on Caltrain—facing North, as always—and I clicked the button to turn on Internet Sharing through my new Verizon toy. I don’t really know if anyone is using the connection because there aren’t any manager tools built in. Oh well, what’s the worst that could happen?

I remember the days when I would walk into a coffee place with my PowerBook 1400cs and sheepishly open it while sitting in the corner to avoid being too much of a nerd. Now there are notebook computers everywhere, and one guy sitting a few booths back in this car has some huge setup that puts his laptop screen up at eye level. It’s a monstrosity. I know it’s ergonomically correct, but seriously, he’s taking up the whole table and there are too few stops on this be-oranged car because there’s a Giants game tonight in the City. Damnable beer-drunks, way too loud.

Bigger still, I’ve written twice in one day! This after writing no better than once a week for a while now. Yes, things are calming down some—and you Aperture users who have run Software Update today know why, but it’s just nice to have the online world at the ready.

I’d still be at the office, actually, if it weren’t for a rather unwelcome interaction between pain meds and migraine prevention meds. It’s like I’m rolling, except for it’s not fun.

I have a feeling I’m done for for the night when I get home. Siiiigh. Friday.

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Wakes on the Train

So yesterday a new gadget arrived, which marked several firsts for me:

  • I finally had some use for the extra cardslot on the side of a notebook computer (in the case of my MacBook Pro, it’s an ExpressCard slot (think of it as a much faster, much slimmer, much more user-friendly version of a PC/PCMCIA card slot)
  • I’m freakin’ surfin’ the web on Caltrain!

Here are a couple of pictures of it. One shows how small the card really is, and the other shows what it looks like plugged into a MacBook Pro (however, there’s a little flippy-antenna that is down in the image.

V640Unboxed

V640Macbook

I did a speed test on it from home last night. Not too shabby:

Picture 2

On the ride down (I’m still on Caltrain, 17 minutes into a 42-minute trip—my god, we’re at Hillsdale already!) and I expectedly lost the connection when going through a tunnel, but unlike a typical Airport (802.11a/b/g to you PC folks), it didn’t timeout before exiting the tunnel, which means the connection was only interrupted, not lost. [spins propeller beanie]

Complaints? Less time away from the internet. Oh, and it flashes a green LED once a second when connected (it’s red when it loses signal). I still won’t ever understand how PC folks deal with all the flashing telemetry on a typical laptop computer. Why do I need to know the disk is accessing data? If I really need to know, there’s a handy utility to check on it. Oh, and it fucks with the clean lines of a MacBook Pro. There’s a little black green-light-flashing carbuncle with a like-colored acrochordon glommed onto the side of an otherwise elegant and shiny MacBook Pro.

Picture 5 Still, it’s worth it to be able to look up techie questions on Cocoabuilder or VPN into work, or mount the Mac mini at home onto my Desktop.

But the coolest thing of all? Mac OS X lets you easily share your own internet connection with others. And since this MacBook Pro now has Gigabit ethernet, Airport Extreme, Bluetooth and EVDO communications [spins propeller beanie], all I have to do is click a checkbox and give the Airport network a name and in Free Love mode, anyone else who is working on a laptop (including you PC folks!) within the vicinity of my Airport signal can use my verizon wireless connection to check your email or surf the web—but if you abuse the signal by downloading larger porn movies during your morning commute, I’ll shut you down. I’m too busy downloading my own. (kidding Mom!) (kinda).

Picture 3

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Shallows Humor

I have a bellwether for everything—or maybe it’s just a bell—but the drift is the same: the knowing-when-to or, more importantly the knowing-when-not-to is usually preceded for me by some kind of internal ding! or click or klaxon (replete with echoes!) that gives me that required pause to step back, look at the bigger picture and if proceeding at all, lights my way from hither, thither with cautionary lamps.

So nearly infallible is this annoyingly objective ping that its lack of firing has often led me to conclude that this Next Thing should be grabbed with gusto and emotional abandon.

As you might imagine, while serving me well when it’s on its game, those few exceptions to reliability have been doozies.

The red flag for me (flaggot that I am) with respect to dating or forming a romantic relationship (I have yet to catch the homoknack of forming multiple, simultaneous romantic relationships—and nature is replete with examples of the one-and-only-one, if-and-only-if scenarios so I feel comfortable in my inability) is simply this: never ever do it when in shallow, situational waters.

When thinking about being alone and feeling lonely (two separate things to me) and pondering the possibilities, if I find myself thinking things like: I want a tall boyfriend. Or a short one. Or an Asian one. Or one who is an artist (because I have neglected my own oil painting for decades). Or one who is a top. Or a bottom. Or a daddy. Or submissive. Or has a convertible. Or is older, younger, thin, muscled, lean, beefy. Or, self-repellently, one who is HIV-. Or positive. One who is smarter than I am. Or significantly lower in IQ. Or dark haired. Or blue eyed. Or lives in San Francisco. Or doesn’t. One who has a hairy chest. Or shaves it. Or is cleanshaven or bebearded. Or a woman, just for the hell of it. Or a guy in the tech sector so that we have more to talk about or one who isn’t so that I don’t bring my work home with me any more than I already do.

See what I mean? For my own self (lest any of you think I’m judging you if you genuinely use these criteria in search of a soul mate and then proceed to accuse me of judging and then fly off the handle and then stage a unilateral nutty and then disappear from my life—again), these are clearly indications that I need to remain apart from involving myself in someone else’s life. Not fair to them. Too much of me wallowing in a guilty rectitude before having to back out of things. Too little real and lasting basis to be with that person.

Some of you might think I don’t belong in San Francisco, with all of this kind of thing. But that’s exactly why I belong: because no one really does belong except by the grace we make ourselves by our choice to belong.

So as solitude has yet to give way to hermitage and this man apart doesn’t fly apart, I’ll gingerly continue along this way which has no path, no destination and no origin. And if it all gets to nihilistic—or annihilistic—I’ll find some way to remind myself that the lack of purposiveness to the universe is the greatest gift of all: freedom of choice. White. A blank page or canvas. [My] favorite. So many possibilities.

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