Posted on 2013.12.05 at 11:26
Gave up on hearing back from the Met about that cape. So I wrote a physical letter and dropped it in the mail yesterday. And then, late last night, I got an actual personal response from someone in the customer service department:
Dear Friend of the Museum,
Thank you for contacting the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store.
Thank you for your inquiry as well as your very detailed feedback with regard to the aforementioned product and your various observations with regard to said product.
We have forwarded the entirety of your email to our merchandising department, our store services department, as well as our purchaser for their review and consideration with regard to this matter.
We once again thank you for your feedback as well as the time and consideration you put into your email.
If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at any time.
Thank you for supporting The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
(It's signed, but, as this is a public post, I'll leave his name off.)
ETA: Response to my response. That was fast.
Dear Friend of the Museum,
Thank you for your reply I personally did find your feedback most intriguing and will
curiously await any developments from said offices that I forwarded your email to.
If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us once again at
Thank you for supporting The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Posted on 2013.12.01 at 08:42
Posted on 2013.11.30 at 10:13
Starting up a list of small businesses offering cool stuff for your holiday shopping needs.
1. Red Robin Arts
, the artist who made my amazing awesome canes
is having a sale at her Etsy shop this weekend. Gorgeous masks, mostly with fantasy and/or animal themes. She takes commissions, too, obviously.
2. Off World Designs
specializes in geek apparel, but they also have a couple of different bags. I purchased their Bag of Holding backpack
recently. Sturdy, spacious backpack with some pretty useful pockets. When I asked for better pictures, I got a fast, personal response. And then they put up ten new pictures for me, covering different angles and features. The same bag is available with different embroidery (they do custom embroidery, too) as the "Handy Haversack." They also do a messenger bag. Use coupon code 13holiday to get 20% off through January.
3. Kitchen Overlord
has geek-themed recipes. She sells recipes in poster and book format. The Kindle Edition of "Wood For Sheep"
(Settlers of Catan themed cookbook) is free
for a limited time!
What else ya got?
Oh good. More!
4. Handmade jewelry from Greece!
And she's having a sale this weekend, too. 15% off.
5. Orchard Works
makes (magic) wands of all shapes and varieties, and takes custom orders.
6. And here's a whole big links roundup from last year.
7. And how could I forget Star Cats Toys
? Geek-themed cat toys galore!
Posted on 2013.11.26 at 13:40
Hi there. One of the items in your catalog caught my eye and left me very confused. I don't mean to be sarcastic or troublesome (I know it's hard to tell in plain text) but I'm bemused enough that I had to ask.
It's about Item# 80-017652. The DC Super Heroes pop-up book paired with the reversible cape.
The book is officially licensed DC merchandise. It seems a little odd for the Met to be selling it, but I did see your reimagined superheroes exhibit a couple of years back and, as a comic book fan, I can't exactly complain that the medium isn't art. I'd be more likely to associate the term with the works of, say, Alex Ross than with a pop-up book, but if the pitch here is to get kids interested in art, the popup book does make more sense.
What gets me is the cape. First off, Spider-Man does not wear a cape. I can think of over a dozen variations of his costume, and not one includes a cape. Not even the pro wrestler outfits. (Heck, not even his Prodigy costume. but that's a whole other story.) More to the point, Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics character, not DC.
Which brings me to the next point. The cape is not licensed merchandise. The reason there are spiders on one side, despite everything, is that you can't trademark bats and spiders. They couldn't get away with using any of the real logos, so they very cleverly made do. As a knockoff Halloween item (sold by any number of online retailers), it makes a certain amount of sense.
What doesn't make sense (at least to me) is what you've done here. You've paired a branded and licensed product with a cheap knockoff that doesn't even match the brand (at least, half of it doesn't). And, even though you're one of the most famous art museums in the world, you're selling what is, again, a cheap knockoff. And you've described it as featuring the "iconic bat logo" when, again, being a knockoff, it actually just has a generic bat (which looks almost more like a bee than a bat). You've also described it as "unique" even though half a second with Google brings up at least 15 different stores selling it. Though I do have to give you amused credit for mentioning that the cape is (*ahem*) "imported." (I can guess from where.)
So, with context out of the way, I guess I'm left with only one actual question, even though it incorporates many different aspects and angles.
"What the heck?"
I sincerely look forward to your response. Thank you for your time.
P.S. To the specific person who ended up having to deal with this one: I'm sorry. I don't want to put you in a difficult or awkward spot. But I really had to ask.
Posted on 2013.11.26 at 05:35
So, this past weekend, we had some family friends over. (I, unfortunately, was nocturnal. And also feeling especially exhausted to the point of barely being able to function. So I didn't get much time with them.) Mom made cookies for them. To be specific, she made mandel bread. Which, for the purposes of this discussion, I shall simply describe as "Jewish biscotti." (I'm also not going to fuss over the variant spellings just now. That comes later.)
We're sitting around the table with the plate of cookies, and the wife remembers something.
"You know, I have a distant cousin who's named for this."
"Yeah. Some ancestor must have been really fond of it. I don't know. I was digging through my genealogy and turned him up."
"He was some sort of mathematician. Came up with a way to measure curves or something like that. Mandelbroot or Mandelbrod or Mandelbrost or something like that..."
"... Wait a sec. Do you mean Mandelbrot? As in fractals?"
"Yeah, that's the guy."
Posted on 2013.11.18 at 22:54
1. Still suffering from crippling exhaustion. (More than the usual baseline.) Been sleeping a lot and still feeling unable to function. Except my blood sugar was off last night so I couldn't sleep. So today's shaping up to be even worse.
2. My LJ and DW feeds are both pretty much dead. In part because most of the people I know have drifted elsewhere. (Stupid FB. It sucks. But it's the only way to keep in touch with most of my friends. Why can't people use something like DW, where the devs actually care about the userbase and actively work to make the UI better? Why are we all communally stuck with a social media site with a UI so bad there's a hugely popular browser extension which exists solely to try to make it more usable? Which the FB devs then go out of their way to try to break.) But I suspect I've also just been filtered out by several people. Which I can't say I'd blame them for, even if I had a right to criticize anyone else's filtering choices.
2a. I wonder if anyone is still bothering to read here.
2b. Also, I should maybe try to make some new friends. But I'm not sure where to look or what to try. I've lost interest in a lot of things. And, at this point, I really don't know what to say to recommend myself as a friend.
3. There's a community called awesomeers
which sounded pretty cool. Helping people celebrate what they do right and see the awesomeness in themselves even when life seems overwhelmingly negative. Starting with just posting one thing you did in the last 24 hours that you can be even a little proud of. ... It's having the opposite effect on me. I see the daily post and I try to think of something and I end up reflecting on how I've basically accomplished nothing and my life has gone nowhere in over a decade and I'm too tired to do anything and... *sigh*
4. I did go out to see Thor last night. That was good. Best Superman movie of the year, hands down.
(Seriously, it was a good movie. And more of a Superman movie than Man of Steel could ever hope to be.)
4a. Some interesting trailers with it. They're remaking Robocop
. Except they've completely changed everything. It's a completely different concept with a main character who looks vaguely like Robocop and robot drones who look sort of like ED209. Also, Samuel L. Jackson is in it for some reason. I don't know. It doesn't seem to make much sense. And I think they're trying to make an offhand comment about drone warfare just because.Captain America: The Winter Soldier
looks pretty good, actually. (Also, I hear it's supposed to explain why SHIELD wasn't involved in Iron Man 3. Or Thor 2.) Marvel knows how to make a good superhero movie. (Took them long enough to figure it out, but they made it.)X-Men: Days of Future Past also looks really good. Does seem a little heavy on the Wolverine, but I guess that's to be expected. Ever since X2, they've all been Wolverine movies. Except First Class. And Wolverine had the best line of the movie.
Posted on 2013.11.14 at 19:40
So, remember that test I did a month or so back where I had to wake up and take samples every 4 hours for 48 hours? (I think I posted about that.) It was supposed to determine whether my melatonin (hormone tasked with telling your body when it's time to sleep) levels were going up and down in a cycle, and, if so, what that cycle looked like. Results are in and...
There's no trace of melatonin in any of the samples.
Which either means there was some kind of major lab error (doc is calling to find out about that) or is a very interesting result which could potentially explain a lot and raise some new questions and maybe turn me into a fascinating new case study.
Either way, doc said to try the new melatonin-based medication when my cycle comes around. Can't hurt, and it just might have some positive effects. (I'm not holding my breath, given that previous attempts to treat me with melatonin did nothing more than make me a little extra sleepy for a short time, but it's worth a shot.) We'll see.
It'll be a while, anyway. I'm still recovering from last month (which was insanely busy - but in a good way - and will eventually get its own post), and it'll be at least a couple of weeks before I cycle around to the right schedule to start treatment.
Posted on 2013.09.27 at 08:37
Mother of the author of Goblins Comic
has started a blog to discuss her story as a rape survivor, how that influenced the creation of one of the major characters in the comic, and the fallout her son has gotten for writing that character. It's a powerful story, and worth reading even if you don't read the comic (which you should).
The home page has the background and general information. Click over to the blog for other posts (only one so far) and the opportunity to comment.http://blogofthemum.net/index.html
You can also follow her on Twitter: @MumOfTHunt
Posted on 2013.09.26 at 08:00
is (still) selling off her much-beloved doll collection (the one possession of value she has to sell) to pay for her daughter's medical bills. (Her daughter has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which, IIRC, is the same condition as synecdochic
.)Sale listing is here.
Posted on 2013.09.14 at 20:54
So Facebook now has image recognition. When you upload a new picture to FB, it automatically tries to match it against existing photos of all your friends (whether you posted them or not). Which, when you think about it, is pretty creepy. (Here's how to turn it off
, courtesy of my friend Jennifer Wamsley.) I'm not sure why they did that, really. It seems like an awful lot of work for something most people probably wouldn't really want (or, even if they do like it, aren't likely to care about that much). Then again, FB doesn't exist to cater to its users. It exists to cater to advertisers and data miners. Which makes the whole face recognition thing even more creepy.
Anyway, yesterday I uploaded this picture that I made. Because it amused me:
(Description: A picture of Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. Caption: Mild-mannered newspaper reporter. Big dorky glasses. Named Capehart. Draw your own conclusions. With the S in the middle of "conclusions" replaced by a Superman symbol.)
Facebook processed that picture and automatically tagged it as a picture of my friend Daniel. Who looks like this:
(It's an old small avatar image I found. He doesn't have too many public pictures that I could find. His current FB profile picture is a potato with a face drawn on it.)
Now, at a casual glance, the two might appear similar. They do both wear glasses, have short, dark hair, and somewhat similarly shaped noses. You will, however, notice that there are many differences between the two faces. For example, their ears and mouths are shaped differently. Also their eyebrows. And Jonathan is at least a decade older than Dan, probably two. Oh, yes, and also their respective skin colors are just about as far apart as humans get.
I think FB's algorithm needs some work...
Posted on 2013.09.11 at 13:36
Posted on 2013.09.03 at 13:51
My friend ladymirth
posted this today. It saddens me deeply how much courage it took for her to say it, and how few people understand what should, by now, in this modern world, be accepted common knowledge.
Here's what she said:
I have decided to come out.
I'm tired of keeping this a secret like I've done something I should be ashamed of. So at the risk of...well a lot of things, actually, I'm just going to say it: I've suffered from clinical depression and generalized anxiety on and off (mostly on) for the past six years. In my case, it's a simple brain chemical imbalance, probably genetic, that has a very complex impact on my life, derailing and disabling it in many ways.
People cannot seem to grasp the concept that the brain is also an organ that can be diseased, like kidneys or the liver, so when they find out, I am treated either like a crazy person, an attention-seeking fake-out, an incompetent, or like I've caught something off the internet. Psychiatrists talk down to me and treat me like a lab rat for their drugs, people who barely know anything about the situation feel qualified to give me half-baked advice either because of their superior life experience or because their mother's cousin went through a weird phase once. My own parents demand why I can't be "normal" when they given me everything I could possibly want. Anyone who doesn't think I'm faking and has a vague understanding of what depression is, silently proceeds to envision all sorts of horrible, ugly childhood traumas and becomes all awkward and pitying. The stock "comforting" response seems to be "don't worry, it's just a phase".
So I try and protect myself by keeping it a secret and just let everyone think I'm just weird. But then protecting my privacy starts feeling a lot like shame very soon, and my already self-hating psyche uses it as ammunition to convince me that I am some sort of freak who shouldn't be exposed to "normal" people. So I disengage from everyone until I have no support network left at the very moment I need it the most and this just reinforces all the negative thoughts and feelings until the depression cripples me even more.
And that, kids, is how social stigma against mental illnesses help create a vicious cyle for those who suffer from them. Six years of this is already six years too long. And if you are an ableist, ignorant, unempathetic person who prefers to shun what you can't understand, I refuse to care about what you think or live in fear of what you might do to me. If you are, otoh, a caring person who wants to understand and respect others, you will educate yourself about these matters and treat me like a normal person who happens to be struggling with a long-term disease, like diabetes or something.
Of course, given the number of people who actually blame diabetics for having diabetes, this might not be the best analogy. But then if you are someone like that, there's no use having you exist on this planet anyway, so it's not my problem.
Posted on 2013.09.01 at 12:14
Your hypothetical friend Mrs. Stein tells you that they're thinking of naming their son Frank. It started off as a joke, but now they're seriously discussing pros and cons. She'd like your thoughts. Your knee-jerk reaction first, perhaps, but more importantly your considered opinion.
What do you think overall? Would it help or hurt with the inevitable playground teasing? What about later in life? Would it work better with a different middle initial? Would Franklin be better than just Frank? How would it affect his sense of humor? Or choice of majors in college? What other thoughts do you have?
(Just a morning musing brought on by having talked to my niece last night about my old thought of naming my hypothetical future son Frank.)
Posted on 2013.08.30 at 21:37
Still recovering from that bad night earlier this week. I sleep 11 hours, get breakfast, crash back into bed, have some functional time in the afternoon, crash again, sleep another night...
I haven't even turned my laptop on in days. The time I would have spent reading my FB feed, blogs, webcomics, news, etc has instead been spent lying flat out, unable to sleep but too tired to do much of anything.
I'm getting along. Hopefully, I'll be back to my normal soon. But I'm out of touch, and it feels weird.
I knew it would be a rough recovery, but I wasn't expecting to be this wiped this long.
Posted on 2013.08.18 at 02:19
So here's what's new with me:
I spent the last three weeks with an "actigraphy" watch on my wrist. It's supposed to let the doc get a better idea of my sleep/wake cycle and activity level. I turned it in with a printout of my CPAP data. (I'm hoping the fact that I'm not supposed to be able to do that will be overshadowed by the fact that fuller data will give her a better picture.) We shall see.
It was kind of weird waring the thing, especially since it had to be on my right (primary) hand, which is where I've always worn my watch. I was also hyper aware of my right arm the whole time. Opening a can of dog food? That's really shaking the wrist around. It'll look like I'm very active right now. Sitting around watching Netflix? Don't want them to think I'm asleep. Better bounce my wrist around a bit. Sitting at the comp typing? Here's hoping that registers as some activity...
Anyway, done now. Thing is, I didn't really sleep very well for the last week or so. Possibly more. My sleep/wake schedule stopped cycling around. I was left going to bed around 9 or 10 AM for several days straight. And it was a slow progression before that, with a series of rough nights earlier in the week (and possibly the previous week; I don't remember).
Yesterday, we drove up to MA. Didn't get to the hotel until 1PM. Didn't get to sleep until 2. And then I woke up with a low blood sugar around 7. So that was rough. Still, I got 10 1/2 hours of sleep, all told. I needed that. Still have green bags under my eyes, but at least I'm starting to catch up. And having slept so late (1AM) means I'll be awake for the ferry ride this afternoon. Well, more awake than I would have been. Still won't get to my sister's place until nearly 4. Which means that after being stuck completely nocturnal for the last week or so, I'll have forced myself (by staying up several hours late for travel) to almost a daytime schedule over the course of two days. That's going to take some recovery time.
On the upside, I'll be at my sister's place, I'll get to play with the kids, and I'll be awake for most of the daytime. (Here's hoping my schedule cooperates enough that I'm awake for the follow up appointment with the sleep doc when we get home...)
Probably will have less of a web presence than usual these next few weeks. Going to try to make the most of my time with the family.
Posted on 2013.08.04 at 11:51
I'll bet you can't.
really, really tired.
Never saw that coming, did you?
Ostensibly, I've been sleeping okay (at least by my standards). Getting 9 or 10 hours a night, not waking up much in the middle, good low apnea index. But still really tired. Talking to myself out loud tired. Feeling like my mind is starting to come apart tired. Marginally functional tired.
I have had a couple of nights where I woke up and took a couple of hours to get back to sleep, but it hasn't happened often. Last night, and one night last week.
On the other side of things, I have managed to drive myself around on short errands during the windows when I was awake enough to do so. Which is more than I'd have been able to do a month or so ago. (Something like that. My memory and sense of time are even more blurred than usual.)
I don't know what's wrong. I just know that I am really, really tired.
Posted on 2013.08.03 at 19:24
Someone explain this to me?
On the inside of the front door of my post office, set so it's the last thing you see as you leave, is a giant QR code. The text around it explains that it will take you to a post office locator page.
Think about that for a moment.
You stand there, a couple of feet back (probably right up against the inner vestibule door), blocking the doorway so you can scan this giant QR code. The whole point of a QR code is to give you instant, on-the-spot information. You scan it with your phone, it opens the URL, you get a little mobile-optimized page, you look it over, you close it, and move on. In this case, it opens a post office locator. Which will, if it works properly, tell you that the nearest post office (in case you somehow need one at that point in time, when you're in the process of exiting the post office) is, in fact, directly behind you. (Or, more accurately, the building you're currently standing in.)
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what possible use this might be. Unless you were suffering from, say, a severe case of Alzheimer's. But Alzheimer's patients are not generally known for their mastery of smartphone technology.
If you were out and about and wanted to find a post office, the aforementioned locator service is prominently displayed on the USPS homepage. The mobile version of the site only has five links, and that's the second one. Or you could ask Google or Siri or whatever to find a post office near you. There is absolutely no reason to have the locator page specifically bookmarked.
So what is the point of that QR code? Whose idea was it to put it there? And who approved the funding for it? Is it on the door of every post office in the country? What the heck is going on?
Posted on 2013.08.03 at 13:08
Finished the last pair of slippers. Perhaps not my best work, but best I could do with the character. Took me long enough. (Here's my previous post with the other stuff I made
Still pretty tired, generally, but slowly recovering. May actually be somewhat functional one of these days.
Posted on 2013.07.20 at 22:26
For the record:
Yes, I'm still here. And still reading your posts. (The few you guys are bothering to write that I'm allowed to see, anyway.)
I think I mentioned that I went to see a new doctor in NYC. He put me on a new kind of stimulant. It... didn't go well. Yeah, turns out that giving a stimulant to someone whose brain is already being overwhelmed by too much neural activity is still not a good idea.
I started out on a child's dosage. When that didn't go so well, the doc told me to cut it in half. When that continued to not go well, the doc told me to stop taking it. I gave it a fair chance. I tried to let my body adjust. But... no.
I've been off it for a week now, and I'm still recovering. Spent much of my time flat out on the couch, too tired/out of it to even sew. My memory of the last few weeks is even more of a vague blur than usual.
And, of course, this is when my friend and business partner finds a potential space for the bakery cafe thing and really needs my input and to have some serious conversations. Well, at least there's some possible progress on this whole project...
Oh yes, and I'm in my nocturnal phase, so even if I was feeling up to it I couldn't actually get out to view the space myself during business hours.
Well, hopefully things will come around next week. And I've got an appointment coming up with a new sleep doctor. And the NYC doc wants to consult with her about giving me a new sedative. (I'm wary, since giving sedatives to someone who is already weary and foggy all the time is also not generally a good idea, but I'll give it a try.) It's dangerous, though, because the one he has in mind is very powerful and that may not mix well with an apnea patient (i.e. someone who stops breathing when deeply asleep).
We shall see.
Posted on 2013.07.09 at 14:24
Still pretty much out of commission from the combination of lack of sleep and side effects from the new medication I'm trying, but here's what I spent the last few months making. I'm not happy with all of it, but I'm proud of how much of it came out. It was a fun project and a great way to keep myself busy without overtaxing my sleep deprived brain.