Mezmerizing. Also, WTF?

So, I’m playing with these SEO tools (jux2 is one) and did a search for alisonchilla. MSN yielded some weird results, including the infamous TuND! In fact, the TuND link that came up was the announcement for the Tuesday Night Dinner just before my adventures in South America. Proof (as if you needed any) that anything that goes up on the internet never really dies …

Speaking of weird results with MSN Live search — where the heck am I? I show up in the results for “Alison Chandler” but only for my Burning Man photos. Odd. It’s like Microsoft isn’t even trying. I mean, I own “” for pity’s sake.

AltaVista turned up this gem:
Alison Chandler: 1 x IEWA Women’s Intercontinental Champion (September 25th, 1998 – October 19th, 1998). Watch out! I may finish you with a cobra clutch followed by a leg scissors! GRRRRR!!!

Lightbox for WordPress

Click on the thumbnail to see the larger image. So slick.
cactus flower

Through BoingBoing I learned of, in which Bill Bowles video blogs his travels across the planet. I’m entertained, and so, so jealous. High production quality, amusing host, fascinating tidbits. Go see it.

I’ve also recently discovered the website, Mashable (I’m behind the times, I know). There were three recent fabulous posts you may find helpful. One on travel websites, one on photography resources, and one on blogging tools.

One of the photo websites mentioned at Mashable was Retrievr which tries to find photos that match your sketches. More fun than functional, I got something that was a reasonable resemblance in about 5 minutes.

Doodle man on road with tree, results to the right

Retriever sketch



Close-up of best match. There’s no tree, but the subject, perspective, and color are otherwise there.

Flickr photo match

So there you go… Happy Timewasting!

I’ve considered Molly as a child’s name before. Apparently, it is not only a very white-sounding name (Alison’s in the list too), but it’s also a common name for cats and dogs. Arg.

Photos from the cabin are posted!

AAAAAaaaAAAA!!!I especially like this one of Michael.

There was drinking, fire, board games, lots o food, and the obligatory Saturday Night Charades.

Books: Disgrace J. M. Coetzee (well-written in simple prose — laden with symbolism — disturbing without being overly dramatic — I highly recommend it)

It’s been a long time since the last post here, mostly because I’ve been on business travel for the majority of May. I’ve been to New York, Toronto, and Indianapolis. In between, my mother came to visit on mother’s day. In total, I’ve seen three new babies. Bea Maynard, Zachary Beckman, and Colin Frantz. You know it’s 2007 when your friend sends the first picture of her son to you via her cell phone

on a related note, I added the video plug in to my Facebook profile today and uploaded this short video taken from IE cell phone while I was on a business trip in Toronto .
Elevator Music — who exactly thought this would be a good idea?

Oh, And I didn’t even mention that I was in Houston and Austin somewhere since the last post as well. when I was in Austin, I went to a film festival called Cine de las Americas and sat next to one of the directors of the film I watched, Hector Ulloque Franco. he’s a nice guy with an optimistic view for Bolivia’s future. His film was about the most recent presidential election in Bolivia, and the support the main candidate got from coca growers.

Hartos Evos Aqui Hay: Los Cocaleros de Chapare

Random ridiculous web stuff
I think we’re dead!” Cop caught smoking dope on 911 tape

Will it blend?
Can you turn a toilet flapper into a smoothie?

I’m embarrased to admit this, but for the past few years I’ve been actively tuning out media hype. This means I’ve been actively avoiding reading Harry Potter, didn’t make an effort to watch CNN , and avoided the local news broadcasts at any cost. If I had to hear one more story about how my toothbrush/refrigerator/skin lotion/whatever was going to endanger my health or harm me in some other way, my eyes would have rolled out of my head clear onto the floor. I HAVE been occasionally reading the WashingtonPost, and sometimes BBC news — supplemented, of course, by John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. (Along the same lines, I avoided learning about blogging for some time, simply because it had become suddenly trendy. ) Now that I’m back in the marketing business, I feel it is my duty to stay on top of what’s changing in this world. That, and I have this nagging voice telling me I’m being a bad citizen of the world by tuning out what’s going on around me –even if a lot of it is idiotic or depressing.

Along with the complete crap news about Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears etc. etc. , I’ve been missing some good things. Harry Potter, it turns out , isn’t bad just because it has a fanatical following. OK, I’m probably the only person who has only read two books in the series, so maybe I’m not the best judge, but I found those two to be entertaining.

Anyhow, the point of all this is that now I’m trying to make an effort to stay up to date with the latest trends on the web. I’ve started watching YouTube, read BoingBoing daily, just set up a Facebook profile, am trying out the new Google analytics and am generally paying more attention to what’s going on with Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and things Web 2.0 (though that moniker still irks me — it’s more like a new era, not a version release)

and so, here are the things I’ve found new and interesting since I’ve started paying attention to the world again.

SpeedBit Video Accelerator
Well, duh, who doesn’t one to their YouTube video to download faster?

The interface is slick. They’re making some smart moves. Keep an eye on them. I think they’re going to get even bigger.

The World Is Flat
I bought this book finally. Will let you know how it is.

TED talks – some of the most engaging content on the web

Books: Burn by James Patrick Kelly, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo, works in progress by Nick I’llcompletelyspellyourlastnamewrong Tax
Magazines: Fast Company, Wired, Science, Rachel Ray Every Day
New to me music: Spoon, Ghostland Observatory, Leroy Justice, Ben Gibbard (live, with the most god-awful audience at the 9:30 club in DC)

The Today show talked about why we dream of losing our teeth
I haven’t been gossiping, just listening to lots of it, so I’m ruling this interpretation out.

Time covers Stephen Prothero
The Case for Teaching The Bible

Both of these were released AFTER I wrote about them. They know I know the hot topics!
Or maybe, just maybe, the media doesn’t do any original reporting anymore. What one covers, they all cover.
Hooray for the mass media conglomerate!

San Francisco
In February I was in San Francisco for the AAAS Annual Meeting, the highlight of which was being able to see all of my west-coast pals again. Working long hours while your boyfriend is vacationing is much more tolerable when your friends come to entertain you at lunch time. This time around I got to see where everyone lived, played Wii tennis (whee! totally addictive), and enjoyed the beach in the middle of winter. Not quite warm enough for a dip, but much more pleasant than snow.
Warm weather sunset More photos.

I had high hopes for Larry Page’s speech at AAAS, but he’s not a dynamic speaker and I left early to go to my meeting with the Linguistics section. I’m told that the Q&A section wasn’t exactly riveting either, but that there were a couple of embarrasingly odd people in the audience, one of whom asked Larry to help end global warming by turning off his heat and wearing a down jacket all winter. If you’re interested, the speech is posted at YouTube. I can’t sit through it long enough for the whole 68 minutes to load to get to the Q&A I missed.

MarketingSherpa E-mail Marketing Summit

Last week I was on the road again, this time to Miami, for some professional development. Traveling to warm-weather locations in February is really spoiling me — now I know why retirees travel to warmer climes in the winter. Came back with some great ideas for the office — I’d recommend this conference to all marketing professionals who have an online component. Email can work well as a sales and marketing channel, but only if done right. Done poorly, and you can hurt your company more than you help it. Working on my own notes, but for now here is a conference wrapup from MarketingSherpa>>

Sleeping with Gorillas Will Give You Crabs
For the most part, the journal Science, which I work for, has a somewhat stuffy academic tone. So it amuses me when in contrast the news writers get a bit feisty. I shared a recent story from ScienceNOW, titled “Gorillas Gave Us the Itch,” with my friends and elicited responses such as: “So, you’re saying our ancestors had beer goggles?” and “Maybe I shouldn’t have slept with that really hairy chick.” Even the experts couldn’t keep from speculating, as the story notes that Vincent Smith, a cybertaxonomist at the Natural History Museum in London, says the study “raises some interesting questions about what gorillas and our hominid ancestors were doing in such close proximity to share each other’s lice.”

World Religion
Just today, one of my friends pointed me to a survey on world religions found at the beginning of this story.
The Gospel of Prothero
A Boston University professor argues that Americans, though ‘spiritual,’ are woefully ignorant about religion.

I believe that most of the world’s problems are rooted in misunderstanding, not evil, which is one reason I commend Stephen Prothero‘s quest to enlighten his students with a world view on religion. The more we understand other cultures and religions, the more it becomes apparent that at our core human beings are more alike than different, and the easier it is to bridge any divides that hinder communication, collaboration, and ultimately peace.

Coincidentally, Thursday I had picked up the most recent issue of Time magazine from the grocery store, which contains the article “Behind the Sunni-Shi’ite Divide.” I was curious to learn more after one of my friends told me that Sunnis have a saying “Trust a Jew before you trust a Shi’ite”. The statement is totally offensive, all around, but I like it because it illustrates succinctly how screwed up and complex the conflict in the Middle East is. I believe that peace in the Middle East has to come from within, but if Americans even want to attempt to help, they can’t have failing grades on their knowledge of world religion.

Related interesting stuff
On PBS “To Live and Die in Gwinnett County,” about a controversy over the construction of a muslim burial ground.
New Hampshire Public Radio “Cremation Nation” — Windows Media Player file that starts with a fascinating overview of the cremation process, COMPLETE WITH CREEPY CREMATORIUM SOUND EFFECTS, and includes an interview with Stephen Prothero. Did you know that the cremation rate in New Hampshire is twice the national average? Or that the bones get ground up after cremation to make the “ash”?

Losing your teeth in a dream
Apparently, this dream is as common as the dream where you are naked in class or stuck unable to run. For me, though, my first tooth-falling-out dream happened this week. Vaguely recalling that there was all kinds of theories on the symbolism of losing your teeth in a dream, I googled “losing teeth dream interpretation” out of curiosity and found this site. Fear of getting old seemed to be the most common interpretation, though I rather like the idea that it may mean I’m about to come into a lot of money.

Grandpa Tony in the ArmyHerb and AlisonPlaying ball in the houseJanet Brenda Grandma

In the interests of posting these before 2008, here
are links to my holiday photos, sans commentary.

Christmas with the Chandlers and DiCenzos
My dad took these.
I took these ones.

New Years with the McNews

My grandparent’s wedding photos and some other miscellaneous pics

And, if you want to laugh your butt off, listen to this, submitted by my friend Alvin.
Desi woman catches husband cheating

Art from high school, photoshoppedSo, the last time my parents visited, they presented me with a couple of boxes of papers I had hid in their attic from high school and college. I finally sat down to go through it all, and only had the heart to throw out about 1/20th of what was there. I could have done better. I mean, really, when am I going to need my AP Calculus notes? Probably never. Some of the more interesting finds were the script from a play my AP Spanish class performed in which we were the hispanic version of the Brady Bunch. The script was decent, but the film we produced to submit to a competetion held by Plymouth State College was horrid. We were embarrased to submit it. The teacher thought we had lost our minds. And yet, we won. Some day that video cassette will come back to haunt me. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, siempre es Marcia!”

I also found some art from my high school art class, Dutch lessons from my friend Iwan, the results of a computer matchmaking service circa 1995 run by a high school computer class, a children’s book I wrote for Spanish class “Sr. Paloma Visita el Campo” (think”Country Mouse, City Mouse”), and some spectacular science report covers I hand-drew in my pre-Photoshop days. I’m sure the logic was to dazzle with the cover so that the teacher would be more forgiving with what was actually written inside.

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