Monthly Archives: January 2008

Squiggles to the Rescue

Posted by daniel.j.gallagher on January 26, 2008
Yours Truly / 1 Comment

The day got off to an inauspicious start when I opened the freezer and a large carton of sea salt came flying off the top. If the state were overrun with witches tomorrow in some bizarre payback for the Salem trials, this house would be saved. But Squiggles and I soon had the mess well in hand:

I tell ya, these things pay for themselves in the sheer joy of using them to clean up. Our kitchen floor (to which the five second rule has never applied) now looks better than it has in a while. Thanks, iRobot!

{I haven’t heard many stories from the alums, but I have to imagine it’s kind of surreal working there, with an armada of Roombas making cutesy Oregon Trail-esque noises as people turn them on and off all day.}

The Future Is Now…

Posted by daniel.j.gallagher on January 26, 2008
Discoveries, Yours Truly / No Comments

What do you mean, there’s no flying cars? Don’t you see me in my INVISIBLE FLYING CAR, gallivanting about with my virtual map in pursuit of geeky good times while multitasking my messages and receiving event reminders from social networks on my mobile phone?

Oh, you didn’t see that? Well alright, the flying car is fake. We almost coulda built it, but nobody thought to factor lawyers and bureaucrats into the equation. However. The GPS is real. The phone is real. Pidgin is real. And Meetup is most definitely real.

With all the technological wonders, I could almost forgive myself for the mounting pile of untended-to items on my desk–it’s not me, it’s this silly paper technology. Very outmoded. Really it’s just that my life is kind of on pause right now and I’m not taking the unsettled aspect as well as I ought. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Point being, I should by rights have stumbled onto meetup a long time ago. I managed to brush past it even at times when I was desperate for a better way to escape the bubble and meet more nerdy girls. Conceptually, it’s leaps and bounds beyond even the most feature-rich and well-thought-out dating sites, for the simple reason that in the end, all that electronic analysis and convenient browsing only highlights how much you hate going to the trouble of actually making a first date with a stranger, and serves to help you identify excuses not to meet someone.

What you probably wanted (the girls seem more conscious of this than the boys, but it generally holds true for both) was to have some level of actual face-to-face acquaintance before the first date, so as to take the pressure off and let you know what to expect. And the only way to get that is to meet at something like a singles party.

Enter the wide world of Meetup, a site that helps people find gatherings and interest groups in their hometown. Singles is just one of maybe a hundred topics, but there are singles groups all over this city. The site is prolific, and it’s only going to become more so as time goes on. It was Meetup that Ron Paul’s supporters used recently to stage a fundraiser of historic proportions, without any leadership from the Ron Paul campaign. Heaven help the candidate who attracts the ire of those Netizens ’08–he (or she) may find himself the subject of simultaneous flash-mob protests in multiple cities.

Meetup is the kind of site I adore–one that brings real and clearly visible power to the masses, not just to some priesthood of web hackers who are then charged with figuring out what it’s really good for. Google Maps has been useful to social activists, but let’s be honest, that wasn’t what it was designed for. It took some Kenyan bloggers and their hacker friends to sort that out. If we struck Fox News and MoveOn from the face of the Earth tomorrow (and don’t you wish we could), grassroots action like that found on meetup might well become a dominating factor in the election. It is, by design, an engine of social change, bringing us back once more to a small world where people matter.

On a more aesthetic level, it manages to avoid “Google syndrome”, by which I refer in this case to having too much Ajax in one’s application (I attach the label “Google syndrome” now to a couple different behaviors I associate with the search giant, for instance the inane use of over-the-top terminology like “mashups of mashups” by foppish lead designers in a bid to appeal to the Web 2.0 crowd). Instead, Meetup’s interface is clean and lean, following a more traditional flow of page navigation and putting the real smartypants business in the application logic. Much as I love JavaScript, I have to admit that I get nostalgic sometimes for sites that are fully functional without it.

I dunno if this will go anywhere in the long run, although I’m trying to get Seth into it, seeing as it’s semi-relevant to his work. I do however take it as some kind of vague omen that there is a Boston JavaScript meetup.

Darn Tootin It Is.

Posted by daniel.j.gallagher on January 22, 2008
Meta-Everything / No Comments

Married To The Sea

A New Leather Jacket

Posted by daniel.j.gallagher on January 12, 2008
Meta-Everything, Yours Truly / No Comments

…I has it.

Beer tasting in Jamaica Plain

Sam Adams Bock, I also has that.

Sibling bonding of the very best sort

We saw the real sights today–Boston Lobster Company, Boston Beer Company, Sunset, Super 88. All in all, a very successful expedition.

I’d like to say we did it without needing the Garmin, and indeed there were times when I’d sooner throttle the thing than listen to that lady’s voice as it tried to confuse mom and Kate, but when it’s right, it’s right, and it definitely adds needed certainty to a route being traced straight through downtown Boston. Just remember to search the full list of search results on a name, as it will tell you anything within like a ten-mile radius that starts with the same word–for instance, the Sunset Cantina is on Commonwealth across from Super-88. The Sunset Grill & Tap is on Brighton, just off Cambridge street. Not far apart, yet worlds apart.

Some of the Best Things Are Easy

Posted by daniel.j.gallagher on January 10, 2008
Discoveries, Food and Drink / No Comments

For instance, soba [buckwheat noodles, to those of you who have not dated or dined with a Japanophile], which in its home country manages to double as quick snack and highfalutin cuisine. It perks me up sometimes when I’m feeling lazy.

Right now I’m lacking the traditional sauce to go with it, pending a trip to the Porter Exchange. Fortunately, it’s also not bad with a tablespoon or so of okonomiyaki sauce [which I will egregiously slander with the label of Japanese barbecue sauce], which I have hanging around from the last time we made that rather more complex dish.

Aside from its unique texture and taste, the slender noodles cook up faster than mere spaghetti (just be mindful of the slight differences in preparation), with room in the middle to slice up some scallion and crack a beer. Something mildly fruity like a Raison D’Etre, probably ill-suited to pair with traditional soba sauces, seems to go neatly with the okonomi.

And, if you’re a curious George like me, it lends itself to some interesting wikisurfing.

In other news, I have learned that the latest Katamari game is out for Xbox 360. We should all be very afraid :-)