P | The Alphabet Julen


My perennial first spring planting. With their tripartite design and colorations, and bearing faint resemblences to feline faces, pansies are long-lived, hard to kill, and brighten up the yard. I lean towards pansies in blues and purples.


I read at least one major newspaper a day. Now that I'm not travelling, it's usually the Washington Post, plus various on-line sources. Occasionally, I'll splurge for a Sunday New York Times, and I'm contemplating getting a susbscription to the not-as-bad-as-the-other-one local rag since the Post doesn't cover local issues quite so well. I have a definite reading pattern with newspapers... I read the front page first, then the Arts or Style section (or the third section of the WSJ), and than the metro section. If it's Sunday, I dip into pages of opinion, next, and then - as a counterbalance - those glossy fluff-fests like Parade. I'll read the magazine, but save the puzzles for later. I'll put aside book reviews for mid-week, and the comics for last. If it's the Times, I scan the wedding section for people I went to college with, and the obituaries for interesting lives. I also read pages A3 and beyond for the reality-based followups to those scandalous overblown stories that are on the front page in 36 point type.


I've had a very quiet patriotism. I vote. I take advantages of my rights and privileges as an American. I believe strongly in our basic principles of freedom and liberty. I used to take it for granted, but in the wake of terrorist attacks, I find my own patriotism is cast in a clear light. I am not willing to give up my civil liberties. I'm not willing to tolerate bigotry and clear unmitigated ignorance. I am not willing to silence people who do not agree with me, or with the majority voice, or the government's voice. I am not willing to not display my flag simply because I disagree with the opinions of many Americans who are also flying their flags. When I do not fly my flag, my patriotism has not dipped nor is lesser than folks who choose to drape themselves in the flag.


I'm a sucker for a good pen; I like ones that are fluid and comfortable, that leave a satisfyingly smooth trail behind it. I much prefer the pen to the pencil - crossword puzzles are so much more satisfying in pen (and yet they can be so ego-deflating, too!)


I currently have three cats, more than 50 goldfish (most of which are only partly gold), and there are a host of wild animals and feral cats living in and around this place. I've always had pets and animals around. Growing up, we had cows, pigs, ponies, lots and lots of sheep, goats, cats, chameleons, chickens, geese, a turkey or two, hogs, bunnies, and later, when we were older, lots and lots of goldfish in the pond.


It's pifflicious, bay-bee.


My nostalgia-driven acquisition. It reminds me of being seven years old and climbing the trees in my grandmother's front yard. I used to blow on the film to get them to develop "faster". I bought it a few years ago after realizing I wasn't going to see my new photos of my fish until I finished my roll, and sent it off to be developed. When I take a picture, I want to use it immediately! I want something tangible to delight over. I've discovered, however, that if you drop it 145 times, eventually, the emulsifier/coating distributer will go out of whack and ruin your pictures. After that, I just gave in and bought a digital camera.


How cool is this? For as long as I can remember, the poppies my mother planted around my childhood home have bloomed just in time for my birthday.


It's de rigeur for every designer. Although I'm not longer a full-time designer/manager/architect, I still take on the occasional client who needs an independent website or application design review, help getting their design off the ground, and help getting online.

Post-its on my Computer

Over time, the topics vary. Among the greatest hits: The priority list of bugs by sector and severity. My apartment complex's phone number. The meta keywords for the front page. A reminder to call my mother. A list of sq scofflaws. Lists of music and books to check out. Ingredient lists. Sketchy calendars. You can't see the casing of my monitors for all of the post-its tacked on it and each other. I look at them and think - "Where is that red pen" as often as I think "How much on this list can I get done today?"

Air Punctuation

I was mock-using the air quotes one day when it occured to me that there was some serious punctuation bias going on. Why not air parentheses? Air exclamation marks? Air tildes? So I started creating those too. And I recently found myself using air parentheses in a non mock way. Oh, the shame!

Abby Purple

I bought my first new car in September 1996 - a blue-silver Honda Civic. Three months later a teenager ran a red light and crashed into the driver-side door as I was making a left turn. After I stopped spinning, I heard "Oh no! Not again!" The first guy to get to my car couldn't believe I was alert, much less alive. I walked away with bruises and aches. When the car was declared totalled 3 months later (the twit got off with a 25 dollar fine and court costs!), I immediately went out and bought another Honda Civic. That one was purple - oh excuse me, "Deep Amethyst". It's groovy and well-deserved the name Abby Purple (a named based on Abbe Normal from Young Frankenstein); you could fit a marching band in that car. The Matrix I had after that car was tremendously disappointing. I wish they still made civic hatchbacks.

Words I particularly like: