I ordered Tiger, the 5-license Family Pack of course, through Amazon weeks ago, but won’t get it til next week. But the reviews from CNN.com and a very detailed one from ArsTechnica are very positive. I’ve never been one to get excited about OS releases, at least not til I started using a Mac, but I can’t wait! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mark & Emily in China on IM

Our friends Mark & Emily are on a big quit-your-job-and-travel-the-world kind of trip. I just happened to catch Mark on instant messanger tonight and had a catch up with someone HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD. Before the internet it would have meant an expensive 3 minute phone call. Instead I had 40 minutes of chat and I could look up maps and sights for where they are *right now*.

Marko says: (7:25:23 PM)

11 million people in Chengdu, so not that big. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Though they build these super-wide streets here, so it doesn’t seem crowded. But the pollution is awful. You can’t see the sun…Yeah, we’re literaly one step behind the wrecking ball at all times here. There is almost no old China left.

They have been all over Thailand (narrowly missing the tsunami), Myanmar, Laos, India, Tibet etc. They had told amazing stories of the people, the places, the color, their volunteer work, and, of course, sickness (in email NOT a blog, tsk). Giving away warm clothes for beach wear, then dropping shorts to buy warm clothes again, and now they are on another cycle for warm clothes. Their idea of luxury is a double bed and flushing toilet (even manual — don’t ask if you don’t know what I mean). From their latest dispatch:

We set out from Delhi by a horrid night bus to Rajastan, a state that is simply everything and everyone foreign you’ve ever imagined in your entire life. Bedouins, Moghuls, gypsies, nomads, snake charmers, men brandishing sabers and scarabs, people looking as if they’d just stepped off a flying carpet or arrived in a caravan of tents, tea, and camels or errupted in a puff from a bottle to grant you three wishes, It is no stretch to call it storybook–it’s like living and wandering through a childhood dreamland. Totally amazing…forts rising from the desert sands, gilded pallaces of the Maharaja, trains of camels, elephants ridden through the streets, and each village with entirely its own character.

A Belgian friend we made in Myanmar warned us that India forces you to “confront the rude part of yourself.” It’s true, though it forces you to confront many other parts of yourself. Such as: You realize where your compassion gives way to callousness. You become cynical about religion and money. You wonder what power you have to affect anything in the world. You question how base can human beings be. You ponder whether all of this is where society is headed or where it’s evolving from. It’s as if all of life–cruelty, joy, sadness, hope, despair–occurs in one day and you pass through each of these one after the other.

They are on the home stretch, though I bet they wish I didn’t even use the phrase: due back June 3rd.

Marko says: (7:08:51 PM)

it is really simple, this life. My dad sent us pix of our house yesterday, and we started remembering all the complications of “real” life…

gayg says: (7:09:39 PM)

“real” life is overrated

Mark & Emily, look harder each day. You have to *see* more for the rest of us.

I love this…. Velvetinenut in Singapore made a recipe for kids paints and painted this on their bathroom wall:

If someone told me years ago that someone on the other side of the world would paint the name of a web site I made on their bathroom wall….. ๐Ÿ™‚


A business acquaintance suggested that we look at Adzaar for advertising on our web site. Adzaar! That’s the first time we’ve ever seen someone use the same naming scheme that we did with Recipezaar. Recipezaar: where the recipes are. Adzaar: where the ads are?

And it turns out that the domain name was registered by MRL Ventures, which is David Galbraith‘s venture company and the founder or Moreover.com.

Meaningless to you, but pretty interesting to me. And they have a great idea…. ads on a web site that come from an ad network have a huge problem: the ads don’t come from the site itself. So ad-blocking software in web browsers can easily block the ads completely simply by noticing the domain name is different from the originating site. But Adzaar does it by giving publishers the code to put on their site so ads come from the publisher itself. Web browsers can’t block such ads because a browser can’t know whether content is an ad or is content.

I’m not a big fan of advertising, but it’s a fact of the internet that lots of great sites can’t survive without them. But it’s a great idea for a business.

Jon and Megan (and Shammy) spent the weekend at our house. They came over on Saturday morning (early!) so Gay and Megan could do a 20-mile run in their marathon-training. We barbecued salmon for dinner with lots of wine. We had bloody marys the next morning and sat outside in this great weather we’re having and had afternoon beers. This was the first weekend we’ve had to relax all year almost, and just in time from spring. We’ve promised ourselves that we’ll work a more sane schedule this year, so I’m looking forward to the most relaxing summer we’ve had in years. ๐Ÿ™‚


This is the best photo I took while in Vancouver. It’s a shot of downtown driving north on the South Granville Bridge. I forgot to bring the camera with us everywhere we went except for this day when we spent the day with our friend, Frank, who now lives in Vancouver full-time.

In addition to C, we ate at Vij’s, of course, for great indian food. This was my favorite meal of the trip. We also ate at Chambar, a new (~8 months) Belgian restaurant. I’m not a big fan of Belgian beers, but I did have a Leffe (or two) on draught which was very good.

The weather was beautiful the entire time, no rain at all. And we came home to great weather the rest of the week in Seattle.

Bill Finkbeiner Abandons His Own Friends on Gay Rights Bill

For 30 years Washington state has had a bill languishing in committee which would protect gay people from discrimination in the workplace, in getting housing, loans, etc. Yesterday, one of my college pals, now our state Minority leader helped defeat the bill. Bill was good guy at Whitman, and when he started in state politics a few years ago he was a Democrat (he switched teams about 10 years ago). Bill even admits “it [discrimination] happens in some occurrences,” but he didn’t take the small step he could have to prevent it. Bill, what are you saying to your gay friends?

Another of our Whitman colleagues, Mark Putnam, captures the disgust I feel best

…while it is unsurprising to me that politicians who are old and really religious, or perhaps closeted themselves, are anti-gay, it’s shocking when someone your age, who you went to college with, is in a position of power and is thwarting legislation in your state that is only trying to get equal protection in employment, housing, etc. for people.

Bill, do you really want to be remembered like the congressmen who voted against the 14th amendment (equal protection based on race), against the 15th amendment (right to vote for blacks) or for the Jim Crow laws? A few years from now you will….

Our favorite Time magazine writer, Sandeep Kaushik did an article about Bill on this issue before the vote in the Stranger, as well as a terrific expose of how Microsoft (typically a good supporter of gay rights for employees) abandoned support for the legislation after a local megachurch pastor threatened a boycott of the company.

Vancouver Monday

Gay went for an hour-long run this morning along the waterfront and brought back coffee and coffee cakes for breakfast. We then went out for a walk along the waterfront and sat in a park right on the water with a great view of the Yaletown highrises — Yaletown is condoland!

Then for a long lunch at Yaletown Brewery where we drank beers and sat out in the sun and talked. One thing that always surprises us at Vancouver restaurants is that they never rush you out, I bet we could have sat there for hours just drinking water if we wanted.

We walked around a little more and happened into a wine cellar near the hotel and got a few bottles of wine to take home. We wanted the same great wine we had last night at dinner, Cedar Creek‘s Pinot Noir. And we found it and a couple others that were recommended by the salesgirl.

We asked why all the wines are Canadian — French and Californian wines are hard to find here. The salesgirl explained how Canada’s laws work. Get this: the store is government-run (but nice, not what you’d expect from a government operation), the government sets the prices on all the wines and does not allow stores to mark the price up at all, the government takes 67% of the cost of a bottle in tax and only allows British Columbian wines to be sold. The purpose of all this control is to foster tourism to the Okanagan Valley, BC’s “Napa Valley”, if you will. That’s socialism for ya… you’d think if they were trying to duplicate Napa Valley’s success, they’d do what Napa did: encourage wineries, make great wines and the rest just happens. What is it about capitalism that socialists don’t get? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back at the hotel, my love for my Airport Express continues…. I had the good sense to bring it along, thinking that the hotel’s non-WiFi internet would give us too short an ethernet cable. I was right, and we didn’t want to be tied to the desk in the room to use our laptops. So I plugged in the Airport Express, plugged in the short ethernet cable and voilรก, we have WiFi in the room (and so do our neighbors).

Vancouver, Canada

We drove up to Vancouver today for a mini-vacation and to belatedly celebrate Gay’s birthday since we didn’t really do anything since we were so busy with work. We came to Vancouver last year for Gay’s birthday and had so much fun that we thought we’d do it again this year.

This time we took the “truck route” across the border through Sumas, Washington. Friends who go to Canada often tell us this is the smart thing to do. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell us that it was smart to bring a passport when going this route, so we caught a bit of gruff from the border patrol (fortunately, I had a voter’s registration card which seemed to make them marginally happy).

We got to our hotel at 6:30pm and went right to dinner at C. A (chilly) walk along the marina back to the hotel and here we are. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tax Day

Why is April 15 Tax Day in the US? I’ve always thought it interesting that it’s as far from Election Day as possible and figured that had to be the reason (since voters tend to vote their pocketbook). However, the date really has nothing to do with Election Day.

Anyway, here’s some Tax Day comics.