Survivor Redemption redux – Hunky Jesus, Mentos

As usual these Wednesday nights, I watched Survivor-Redemption Island tonight. Featuring Matt, his abs, and his religious fervor made me think of past weekend here in Queeristan. In celebration of the Rites of Spring, we gathered at Dolores Park on the sunny Sunday for an afternoon of music, picnicking, drag queens, fund raising and … the famous Hunky Jesus contest.

Shout out to Matt: next year with that long hippie / Jesus hair and ripped torso, you would be a strong competitor for Hunky Jesus! He may have a plan for you, after all. Just saying.

Another competitor, Philip, has pretty well developed his own unique Survivor character “brand.” That brand, being an annoying eccentric, may prove to have limited commercial appeal, despite the pure celebrity factor. If I were his agent after the show, I’d be trying for maybe a Mentos commercial. No one ever gets those, anyway.

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Earthbox for summer cutting flowers

End of April and it is plating time here in Queeristan. And least my little micro-climate corner of it. My sister sent me a another EarthboxTM for my birthday recently, so I have even more space up on the deck. I decided to use one of the boxes for a cherry tomato and cucumbers and one to gro flowers for cutting. Back when we lived in San Jose we had fresh flowers year round and it would be nice to have some here at least occasionally.

I had been thinking of ordering some seeds for white Marigolds, which I think would be great as cut flowers – much more so than the bright yellow or orange varieties that are so common. But I hadn’t gotten around to it, and none of the stores carry the seeds (they are still a bit rare, having only been bred back in the 80s). But on my trip this morning to Flowercraft nursery (opposite the Lowes on 3rd Street) I found great-looking young plants of a white variety called Vanilla and got one. I picked up a red “Mrs Bradshaw” geum as well. Geums were a favorite of mine from San Jose. Great as cut flowers and the red will be a great contrast to the white Marigolds.

I picked up a Sweet-100 tomato and several Armenian cucumbers (I’ve been getting these at local Farmer’s Markets in season and they are a fantastic cuke variety with no unpleasant green skin) for the veggie earthbox.

So, we shall see if the plants do as well this summer as last. Here are the starting pics.

The veggie box.

Hello new Macbook, same as the old Macbook

In September 2007 I decided to quit High Tech consulting and do something more creative. Now I know, you’re all “What’s not creative about high tech”, right? But while I’d had a lot of fun, the boom was long gone and my field was more ERP than Web 2.0. Let me tell you, you do NOT get creative with SAP! So I committed to pursuing something else – a huge step that involved years of indecision and some good therapy: I was going to start writing!

I’d gotten used to laptops from my consulting life – a life of air travel, swank hotels and all the glamour (not!) of modern travel. And the lifestyle very much meant computing on the run: hotel rooms, frequent flyer lounges, and in the air.  And I knew I wanted a laptop for writing.

Oh, I envisioned sitting at a tiny round table on the sidewalk outside Cafe Revolution, possibly with a black beret and hipster-length facial scruff. I’d be blogging about the decline of public spaces in the City, the environment and the latest JFK conspiracy theories while accumulating background for my novel. Of course, a novel!

Well the writing life is all about sitting at Cafe Revolution (but it ain’t bad). But I did get a laptop. I had to return my company-owned IBM (not yet Lenovo) Thinkpad when I left consulting, and I was sad because I did love that little red finger stick thingy in the keyboard that was IBM’s main contribution to PCs (after inventing them of course). I forget what they called that doo-hickey of a mouse replacement. But I didn’t want to get a PC.  I decided to switch to a Macbook.

No longer tied to the business world where Windows was king, I could think different now. So one day that October I dragged an Apple friend down to Union Square and marched him in to buy me a shiny new Macbook Pro. So I could get his 10% discount. Well – it saved me the sales tax. Hey!

And although it did take getting used to and I still don’t think Mac is as “intuitive” as they try to make you think it is, it ended up having a load of advantages. Main one – it worked! Fast! It didn’t suffer the fate of all PCs I ever owned, gradually slowing down almost noticeably day-by-day until although logic would tell me the thing should still run fine, I would upgrade and replace everything just to get a fresh start. One can bear a five-minute boot up only so long.

Although my Mac came with a learning curve, I was happy to climb it. In three and a half years I never noticed it grow slower on bootup. I never noticed my applications starting to run slower, or become less stable. My Macbook just was.  Most annoying thing? Well I finally stopped it from trying to load huge iTunes “upgrades” every other week.

And then – at three-and-a-half-years  – I started having problems.  In March the screen started “fritzing” where I would get black lines running down. After a (free) trip to the Genius Bar where they said if the screen actually went dead I could get it replaced because of an extended warranty on my particular screen type – my screen stopped having any problems.  Voila!

But in April I had a disk crash, and had to reload everything. Tthanks to Time Machine, I lost absolutely nothing in terms of data – unlike every time I needed to rely on a Windows backup.

But once a disk has some bad sectors, more going bad is likely. So given I had a screen that could potentially start fritzing again or even go dead at any moment as well as a disk that was probably going to crash again, I decided I it was time to get a new Macbook rather than wait for it all to happen, when it could be at a time when a writing client needed something ASAP.

I looked into the newest Macbook Pros and it turns out the new ones for 2011 are already out, and are getting great performance reviews. I trekked back to the Apple Store to look and play. I immediately knew I would like the newer keyboard – a major complaint I’ve had is that the old Macbook Pro keys were placed too closely together, and the newer models remedy that. The screen looked the same, although I would opt for the glossy this time.

The new Mac – same as the old Mac:

I ended up getting the same model (15″) as I was replacing, with just the basics. And although I know the benchmarks show my new laptop is quite a bit faster than the old one, I don’t notice it. I’m sure on the infrequent occasion I need to use Photoshop or iMovie that I will be pleasantly surprised, but with my typical Word and Excel 2011, Chrome browser and Apple Mail use I don’t see a difference. They’re just as fast as they used to be.

And honestly, that is saying something good about Mac OS X. 

What will I do with my old Macbook Pro? I think I’m going to replace the disk drive (drives are cheap, and I can do it myself) and send it to my oldest niece, who wants a Mac because they use them at her High School. If the screen eventually goes dead, she can take it in to her nearby Apple Store.