Comic panels about Sally Ride from Femme Magnifique

Kickstart a comic collection about awesome women

I was excited to see the proposal for Femme Magnifique, a comic anthology with “inspirational” stories about “powerful” mostly-American women. The name was frankly a turn-off for me. I guess it’s supposed to be French but I don’t think of my self as “femme” in the typical American use of the term, and it seems kind of insensitive or clueless about trans identity (although there is at least one trans woman included).

I guess they were trying to make it appealing to a less-politicized audience, but I’m concerned that it’s pretty heavy on white women and entertainment figures (Beth Ditto?) and light on civil rights and feminist leaders. Where are Angela Davis, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells, Grace Lee Boggs, Ava Duvernay, Carrie May Weems, bell hooks? Not even Ruth Motherfucking Bader Ginsburg?

Nevertheless it does sound like a good project with some really great artists, and I donated last week. Yesterday their Kickstarter hit 100%, so it’s going to happen!  They have more rewards that will be released if they make their extra “stretch goals.”

Help a busy, geeky mom choose a tablet

As you probably know, dear reader, I was an enthusiastic Mac user for about 20 years. Recently, open source software such as Ubuntu Linux and Mozilla Firefox have reached a much more accessible level and I have been happily only buying hardware that runs open source operating systems ever since. This includes my mobile phone (sort of) which runs the somewhat-open WebOS platform. (I bought it as a Palm loyalist, but then it was sold to Hewlett-Packard, who don’t seem to know what to do with it.)

Anyway, I’m telling you that to tell you this: For years when my friends drooled over iPads and and Android tablets, I was not moved. I bought a netbook that runs Ubuntu instead. But suddenly I find myself desperate for a tablet! What changed? A few things, including being a parent and seeing the many applications from ebooks for kids, to games and videos that can help entertain and maybe even teach my son. I’m also going on a long trip for work soon and want to do  a lot of reading. I do a lot of live-tweeting during meetings that I think I could do from a tablet if I had an external (probably bluetooth) keyboard. And a colleague recently mentioned that a lot of folks watch videos on their tablets while working out at the gym, which I could see me doing if I ever go ahead and get that membership.

So I have a lot of geeky friends, and I thought you might be able to help me decide on the best tablet for my needs. Some of the criteria I’m looking at:

  • Not made by Apple, and an open of an OS as possible. I like WebOS and so I’m open to the Touchpad as well as the many Android choices.
  • Preferably smaller than 10″ for ease of holding up for long periods, but this is not a deal-breaker.
  • SD or mini-SD slot so I can easily add music files.
  • Sturdy enough for a preschooler to play with it, or a large supply of compatible cases.
  • Bluetooth or some other method of connecting with an external keyboard.
  • Excellent full-featured web browser as almost everything I do is online.
  • Decent battery life.
  • Bonus: able to act as a remote control to my media center, which is a computer running Windows and Ubuntu.

Here are some of the leading contenders I’ve looked at recently.


Or Galaxy Tab 8.9

The latest addiction combines the data on with all network-y goodness of FilmTrust and the user-submitted content of MySpace. The interface isn’t quite as horrible, and there’s lots more to do there than surf your friends pages. Witness: I just spent much of the last few hours there and I have no friends in the system. (Although I do have almost 30 Facebook friends using it through their integrated application.)

The main benefit for me over IMdB (which I love) is the ease of surfing movies and the simplicity of rating and reviewing. The associated drawback is that there is much less rich information about each film, performer, and crew member.

But wait, there’s also widgets!

Is Mt. Gravel a symbol?

Cross-posted at techPresident.

Astrophysicist being interviewed For this installment of my series of visits to each candidate’s Second Life efforts, I was joined by PDF Associate Editor Josh Levy, also known as Spencer Mukerji. We had the good fortune of running into Astrophysicist McCallister who is the official (but unpaid) Second Life Coordinator for Mike Gravel’s presidential campaign.

This is the first campaign we have seen with an officially recognized and at least nominally supported presence in Second Life. Other efforts are entirely volunteer-generated with little or no contact with their respective campaigns. Overall, I was impressed with Gravel’s site. It has a professional feeling (not overly showy nor amateurish) and is quite functional as well.

Continue reading “Is Mt. Gravel a symbol?”

Happy valentines day

[geek love] First of all let me say that I have always loathed Valentine’s Day. This goes back to junior high school when I felt like a loser if I didn’t have someone to kiss on that day and continued through college when I pined after a long succession of unavailable guys. in my 20’s I stopped caring, but I still thought the manufactured affection of V-day was for people too lazy to show their love every day.

And I still think that. But I admit that it’s nice to have a partner blogging sweet nothings at me today.

OutKast And while we’re on the subject, I want to point readers to the very excellent OutKast song “Happy Valentine’s Day” which includes a slogan I love so much that I put it on a post-it in my office: Cupid will not be defeated!

Speaking of OutKast, I finally saw their move Idlewild last weekend and it was awesome! I remember seeing the trailers last year and thinking “wow, that’s gonna be fun.” But I didn’t hear a peep after it was released. I assumed that the polite silence indicated that it was a dud but I was wrong. This movie is visually and aurally stimulating, well-written and acted, and overall very entertaining.

I have to assume that the radio silence was more because people couldn’t figure out what genre to put it into. The film is way more sophisticated then your stereotypical “black movie” and yet it has no white main characters to pull in the yuppies. This combination suits my tastes just fine, and I hope there is more to come for OutKast on the silver screen.

Blazing Saddles versus blazing heels

Wow. This might be enough to tear me away from the televised UNC women’s basketball game against FSU.

Hollywood screenwriter and producer Norman Steinberg, who co-wrote the screenplay for Mel Brooks’ landmark 1974 Western comedy “Blazing Saddles,” will show and discuss the movie at 7 p.m. Monday in 116 Murphey Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Admission is free. | ‘Blazing Saddles’ to be topic of talk

I love Blazing Saddles. It had a huge impact on the development of my sense of humor when I was in high school. (Other key comedic influences included Monty Python and The Young Ones.) So much so that I already own it on DVD. According to IMdB, Norman Steinberg hasn’t done to much else to make me get off the couch. Heels it is!

When do we eat?

IMdB won’t accept this review (not enough words!), so here is my brief recommendation of the film “When Do We Eat?

Just watched this with my Jewish family (and goy husband) and we *all* had a great time. This is a visually beautiful comedy that really gets at the complexity of American Judaism and American families in general.

Like Little Miss Sunshine, it’s dark and twisted, and ultimately reveals the humanity in all of us.

I can’t wait for the sequel: “When do we light the candles?” 😉

Why they hate us

I’ve got a backlog of things I need to blog, so look for a bunch of new stuff in the next day or two. Meanwhile you may wish to cleanse your mental palate (after watching the above sickening video) with this excellent animated short that I saw at the Carrboro Film festival: All’s Fair in Love and Police Actions by local artist Alex Wilson.

“What if an icon like Marvel’s Captain America was to the U.S. government what Mickey Mouse has been to Disney? Here’s what a taxpayer-funded Steamboat Willy might’ve looked like during the Vietnam War in 1971.”

Even Kissinger knows we can’t “win” in Iraq

[President Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger presented a bleak vision of Iraq, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq’s regional neighbors — including
Iran — if progress is to be made in the region.

“If you mean by ‘military victory’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” he told the British Broadcasting Corp.
Kissinger: Iraq military win impossible – Yahoo! News

This is what progress looks like

W00t! (Although the Speaker Pelosi stuff is getting a little out of hand. Shouldn’t we wait until she actually assumes the office?)

First woman to serve as speaker of the house: Nancy Pelosi

First Muslim elected to U.S. Congress: Keith Ellison

First Democratic Socialist elected to U.S. Senate: Bernie Sanders

First African-American governor of Massachusetts: Deval Patrick

And, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, 67 openly gay candidates were elected to state and local offices (more than ever before)…
Government Looking More Like Its People

I didn’t even know about all those gay candidates! We hardly notice that kind of thing around here where we have had gay folks in almost every level of local government office.

(Link via Wonkette.)