What’s your favorite possession?

Just finished going through a stack of Real Simple magazines (another subscription we have allowed to lapse), and at the back, they have a “Real Life” section where impossibly ideal women answer questions about their lives. They are funny, insightful, and surely not written by real people. But in the forever quest for stuff to write about, I am going to post some of the questions, and my answers, in an ongoing feature. Thanks Real Simple!

What’s your favorite possession?

Just one? I expect stuff like, “My wedding ring,” or “My cutting wit,” or “The abiding love I have for my family,” aren’t in the spirit of the question… and those of you who know me might expect me to say it’s our TiVo (starting to be more love-hate, actually, it is still awesome but I watch too much Tv) or the Prius (I do love it, but I could live without it)… so I’m going to split the difference.

My favorite possession might well be my sister’s ring. We were in Stratford, Ontario, attending the Shakespeare Festival there. My sister lives in NYC, and she showed up wearing a cool little ring. It’s small, silver, and squared off. Not square, but more the shape of an old cathode television. I commented on how cool it was. She said she’d bought it at Bloomingdale’s, and then, right there, took it off and gave it to me.

I wear it every day, and love it. We used to share an apartment in New York, she and I. I miss her, and the ring reminds me of her. I think it looks good on my little finger next to my wedding band. Since then, I’ve often thought that I should commission my two other sisters to get me other jewelry, so I can wear something from each of them. But I’m so damn picky, I may need to send them a URL or something. Kind of detracts from the specialness, no?

So. Here’s a picture of the ring.

What’s your favorite possession?

The ring itself

Looking for these people

The Intarwebs is a great tool for finding people. I used to work for the American Collectors Association (and no, they don’t collect stamps), so I should know. There are a lot of people from way back when who I am curious about. Friends from 1st grade, elementary school, high school, even after college. with whom it would be fun to reconnect.

Sure, I could stalk them, but I’m lazy. So instead, I’m putting their names on a web page, for them to find when they do a little egosurfing. Because, come on, who hasn’t indulged in a little egosurfing?

Here’s the page.

Should my little kids carry ID?

So, a lot of the stuff I’ve been reading about child safety suggests that your kid should have some sort of ID on him or her. That is, a photo with some basic contact information on the back. That way, if they get lost, or (God forbid) hurt, someone can get hold of us. Target gave us some stickers and safety info with a recent photo order. They suggest the whole recent photo, CD, info, etc. route we’ve already taken. But they also suggest, in the case of evacuation or emergency, giving your kids an index card with their basic info on it. If you get separated, they say, that info will help bring you back together.

So, I thought, what about having them always carry that info around? Like a kid ID card.

Initially, I was a bit leery about it because of the stranger-anxiety thing. You know, you don’t put your kid’s first name on his jersey so strangers can’t call it out and act all chummy. But really, if my kid’s been (God forbid) abducted, an ID card isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Then I thought, how paranoid do I have to be to make my five-year-old carry (what is essentially) photo ID? Not like I had any identifying anything with me when I was growing up. Not like my kids are ever anyplace without an adult. And where would he carry it? He would leave his shoes at home (and he has) if we didn’t remind him to put them on (and we didn’t, that one time). And then, the two year-old? What would we do, stick a FedEx return sticker on his back every time he leaves the house?

But the thought of them alone, with a (nice) stranger… scared… crying… just one paranoid parent away from having phone and address at hand… the five year-old can probably memorize our phone number, but the two year-old can’t.

So, what do you think? Kid ID, or phone number tattoo?

Speaking parts ruin television

You’re watching your hour-long drama/mystery/police procedural show on television, and your heroes engage in conversation with a hitherto unknown guy or gal on the street, who just happens to be hanging around. Given that speaking parts pay much more than stand-around-and-nod-silently parts, you can bet your sweet plotline that the guy or gal had something to do with the drama/mystery/dead guy. It’s a dead giveaway, but what are you going to do? Spend more to have a lot of red herrings jabbering away? I don’t know. Do you have any suggestions?

Anyone have a SmartMedia card reader they don’t need?

I had forgotten all about SmartMedia, the flash storage format that predated Compact Flash and SD cards. Until I unearthed our first digital camera, the ancient Olympus D-490 ZOOM. Popped a few AA batteries in it, and it fired right up. So i gave it to our four-year-old, and he took a bunch of pictures, then in the process of not putting it on my desk like i asked him to, he dropped it.

Now I am left with a hunk of metal and plastic, four perfectly good AA batteries, and a SmartMedia card with priceless works of art (or twenty-four pictures of the floor, I don’t know).

I am pretty sure i don’t have a SmartMedia card reader anymore. The camera is too old to have a USB port. It came with a serial port cable. The computers in the house are too new to have serial ports. New card readers are too expensive to use just this once (since the camera is toast).

So anyone got a SmartMedia card reader they don’t need? Or know where I can get borrow one? Thanks.

Be my friend

Never did get in on the beta, but FriendFeed has just launched. Essentially, it’s a feed aggregator for all the services you use. You attach your FriendFeed account to your various services, and it lists all the updates you make. That way, your friends can subscribe to one place to follow all your doings on the Intarwebs. Be my friend, won’t you? And here’s the feed.

Free child safety kit: how can you not?

More gems from the stack of stuff rescued from the basement: a child ID card for my oldest son, from a school picture taken two years ago. Got me hunting around on the Internet for info and resources, and I found this Duracell-sponsored child safety site with info, pdfs, and a “take a recent picture of your kid” email reminder service. Essentially, you should have a recent, head and shoulders mugshot of each of your kids, available in a digital form (on CD), and at hand. We didn’t, but we will by tomorrow. Do you have one?

Page 123

Mark tagged me for a meme. Pick up the nearest book, turn to page 123, and post sentences 5, 6, and 7.

The nearest book to my computer is… (getting tape measure, as bookshelf 1 is about as close as bookshelf 2)… well, they are both within the margin of error, so… I give you two books.

On my left, from Home Comforts, The Art & Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson:

“Shop first for inedibles, such as paper towels and soap. Next, pick out nonperishables: canned and bottled things and anything else that you will store outside the refrigerator or freezer, such as sugar, salt, dry cereal, flour, canned and room-temperature bottled foods. Next, buy refrigerated things, such as milk, cheese, fresh meat and poultry, and fruits and vegetables.”

On my right, from Monkey, a folk novel of China by Wu Ch’eng-en, translated by Arthur Waley:

“It was now getting late, and the farm-hands set out tables and brought in several dishes of cooked tiger-flesh which they laid all sizzling in front of their master and his guest. ‘I must tell you,’ said Tripitaka, ‘that I was admitted to the Order almost as soon as I left my mother’s womb, and have never in my life indulged in meats of this kind.’ The hunter thought for a while.”

I never could stick to the directions. It was a problem in college. I’m also not going to tag anyone, because, while I recognize that it can be fun, Mark tagged all the people I know with a blog (sad, isn’t it?) and plus, I don’t do that sort of thing. What a pisser I am.

Feel free to do this on your own blog, comment on my books, or post your own Page 123 entries below.

Michael Clayton at the Oscars

Watching the Oscars last night (at TiVospeed) I was hoping for the success of Michael Clayton, one of the few movies I’ve seen that I would like to see again soon. Now that I’ve seen the plot, I want to watch the acting, the cinematography… it was that good. Tilda Swinton did win, and it was well-deserved, but the movie got shorted in the other categories. Oh well.

Here are the notes I wrote down after seeing the movie last October.

“See it in a theater, if you can. Some of the quiet moments require the pent, not-quite-hush of a theater. Our audience in Kansas City gasped and clapped at all the right spots, and it really made the movie more fun. The movie was directed with great restraint by Tony Gilroy, he lets the camera linger when it should. I am reminded especially of an elevator ride Clooney takes. Nothing happens on the ride, except a hell of a lot of acting. Clooney and Swinton were superb, and I wanted to see them together more. As it is, they have just two scenes together. Swinton actually does most of her best acting when she’s alone in a scene. For that matter, so does Clooney. And Gilroy is masterful at capturing it. See this movie.”

I haven’t seen the two big winners of the night, There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men, but Michael Clayton stands out to me as a fine bit of moviemaking. I should really see those other movies, though.

What did you think of Oscar night?

dwell is not for me

This won’t be much of a shocker for people who know me and know dwell magazine. I like to style myself a designey, modern, cool-stuff kind of guy (and I am, really), so I naturally thought dwell would be for me. I subscribed, cheap, and got a year’s worth. This last week, I managed to read (flip) through the accumulated stack. All the design and homes and architecture are way too stark and modernist for me, but I actively covet a lot of the stuff in the advertisements. This is the kind of magazine that has ads from Room&Board, Porsche, and BDI, as well as a slew of fixture/kitchen/counter design companies I’ve never heard of, probably because I’m in the wrong tax bracket. Do you read and like dwell?