Perhaps the most beautiful short film ever made

So, an FoV attendee who was thisclose to joining the Temple of Affection posted the link to this video on the Fires of Venus Ning group. She said the ToA made her think of it. (Which, incidentally, MY WORK HERE IS DONE. *g* If someone thinks my temple is like this, then things are definitely working as they should.)

She said that we should do something like this. Oh, my friend, never fear...we have PLANS. =)

Anyway, it's a little long for YouTube fare, but it is 1000000% worth it, I swear to you. And not just because it stars one of the cuties from Bones. I sat here bawling-- in the good way-- while I watched it. So maybe if you're a big mushball like me, you might not want to watch at work unless your coworkers are used to you getting weepy.

I need to remember to watch this every time I am grumpy and closed off and feel like a dried up husk of myself.

This is what it's all about. It's all love, baby, all love.
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    contemplative contemplative
Ms Fixit


My friend ayoub is a dyed-in-the-wool Connector, just like me, which I think is part of why I like him so much. =)

He's started an awesome networking post here, trying to match up people's needs/wants with other people's talents/skills/resources. There's some seriously cool activity going on there! In particular, there's a CD project on Kickstarter mentioned in the comments that you should check out if you're a fan of indie music.

I figured, with all the awesome talented people on my flist, I ought to pimp out this post and try to drum up some more action on there!
  • Current Mood
    busy busy
Bad Hair Day


Looking at the weather report in Manheim, PA for tomorrow. If it is actually thunderstorming when I get up, and the report says it will continue to storm until late afternoon, which is what it says right now, we ain't effin' going.

I will be extraordinarily sad to miss Romance and Chivalry weekend because it's my favorite of the themes. Also I was really looking forward to seeing charisma18. But slogging through the mud and trading my pretty parasol for my (albeit also pretty) umbrella will trump those things.

Not that I'll mind if I have a day unexpectedly at home. I will just be sad not to have a fun road trip to do fun things and see someone I miss.

In other BOO HISS news, if you by chance are considering using Ning to make a community for anything? DON'T. I used to be an ardent proponent of Ning. I run a small group on there and have for several months now. I loved it hard. I still love many things about the functionality.

The problem is that they switched from a freemium to a 100% paid model. In and of itself, this is not completely terrible. It's their business, after all. But they've handled every aspect of the transition SO poorly it's like they're trying to drive away customers. Also, under pressure (because so many of the free Ning groups were created by teachers for their classrooms), they added a "Mini" plan, which is really the only affordable one for a small group. For 3 bucks a month, you get enough stuff to make your group function.

Which is fine, although I was deeply reluctant to pay ANY money to a company that was already giving shitty customer service, but there are two huge problems with it:

1) The Mini account gives you 1GB of storage space. Really not a lot, when you consider how many kinds of media you can store there. The problem is that there's no way to tell how much you're using currently. Ning Creators have been asking for a way to find this out for months now. The only official response from Ning is "we're working on it". Oh, ok. Glad to know you figured out how to change the plan structure so you could collect money, but it didn't occur to you that people might need to know how much storage they're using in order to decide WHICH FRICKIN PLAN TO BUY. And they have gone on to say, "Don't worry, we'll let you know if you're getting close to your limit." Really? Would this email come from the same company that told me about the freemium-to-paid transition in an email that was sent to community owners about a month after it was posted on Ning's blog and we'd all had a hearty freakout already? Many comm owners have expressed the very legitimate concern that we don't know whether we'll be told when we're at 75%, 99%, or when we're already over. Will a comm owner who's just scraping the threshold be notified on, let's say, a Friday afternoon (NB: the worst time to send a time-sensitive email in business) that they'll be charged X amount for an upgrade if they go over the limit-- even if one photo upload that weekend could put them over the limit? Comm owners have been asking these questions, and Ning has not said, "No, we will not do that." Which is not giving anyone confidence in Ning.

2) For a small comm like mine, it's more an annoyance than anything, but for a bigger, more active comm, it would be a major PITA-- a *completely unadvertised* part of the Mini plan is that it locks the moderation settings to require mod approval on all blog posts. The little lock icon beside it helpfully says, "Upgrade to Ning Plus to unlock this setting!" UM, NO.

Why not just upgrade? Because the difference between Mini-- the lowest level-- and Plus, the next one up, is $3/month versus $20/month. That'd be like suddenly paying $20/month instead of $20/year for your LJ. Fuck that noise.

So, the silver lining to this whole debacle is that I am going to learn how to build a BuddyPress community on my own hosting account (which I have anyway, so I'm not paying anything extra), now that BuddyPress has a plugin to import Ning comm content. So I can customize my group and give us exactly the stuff we want, including things Ning doesn't offer at all, like a document library. And when I know how to do that, I could do it for other disgruntled Ning customers too, theoretically. Because you know what? It would make me dance in my pants if I could be part of Ning losing customers, and if I got paid to take money out of their pockets, that'd be gravy.

It's a little sad. Because I used to think Ning was the awesomest thing ever to awesome the interwebs. I used to be such a vocal fan. I wish I still could be. But they'd really have to change their business model to something other than "Actively Sucking Ass" for that to happen.

The moral of the story: Don't piss off your ardent supporters, or they will start using the interwebs to tell anyone who will listen, not to use your service.
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    annoyed annoyed
Music Faerie

Stuff. And Lyle.

First: This is funny, though probably moreso if you're a fan of Wil Wheaton or Paul & Storm, and if you're aware of the Chive's hoax post about "hot girl quits via whiteboard". Thanks for the link, angel_vixen!

Second: Still planning to go to the PA Renn Faire on Sunday for Romance & Chivalry Weekend. Right now it's me & Random & maybe one other person...other companions are welcome.

Third: I probably can't afford to go to the Traditional Folk Magic Festival in New Orleans in November, but bookmarking anyway because holy shit do I want to. I like their pricing structure-- just pay for the workshops you want to take. That, plus if you can share a room with 3 people, means you can actually control a lot of the cost.

Tonight was the Lyle Lovett concert with deboranter. OMG so awesome. Lyle, we missed you so much last year! The only thing missing was no Francine Reed, but the show was amazing enough to overcome the distinct lack of "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues".

Lyle Lovett is one of my weird musical loves. As a rule, I can't fucking stand country music. Not big on bluegrass either. But I am hard pressed to think of a musical genre I hate *entirely*-- almost always there's an exception or two that make me go, "OK, I kind of get it now."

Lyle is that when it comes to country music. Of course, one of the most apt descriptions I've ever read of his live shows described it as something like "a complete cross-section of Southern music" and I really think that's true. It's country, it's bluegrass, it's blues, it's big band, it's gospel, it's southern jazz. I like a lot of that stuff, and plus, that "cross-section" element turns it into a story about cultures and people and why music evolved in the ways it did. And that's something I love about *all* music, how it relates to the story of the people from whom it arose.

Also, he is one of the most charming motherfuckers ever to take the stage. His between-song patter is one of my favorite things about hearing him live. I fall in love with him again every time I see him on stage. It's not just charisma or wit or whatever...actually he projects this gentleness and warmth and peace, like someone who is just completely at rights with the world. Like he could be sitting at your kitchen table in the morning and you'd give him coffee and he'd smile with soft delight like things still surprise him, and then he'd tell you it was the best coffee he ever drank and you'd believe that he completely meant that, that he was 100% in the moment with that coffee and enjoying the experience of it.

Some musicians are better in recordings than they are live; some can really only be appreciated live because recordings flatten them out. Lyle is amazing in both. But I see him live because there's a wonderful spirit there, a connection with the audience that can't come through a CD.

Listening to him reminds me that I'm living in the South, albeit the fake very Yankee-ish South. Listening to him makes me *feel* like I'm living in the South and reminds me what I love about being an honorary Southerner for a few years. Listening to him is sultry summer nights full of cicada songs, and cold drinks with mint in sweaty glasses, and back highways curving through voluptuous fields. It's horse country and wine country and scary shacks in the middle of nowhere.

He managed to slip another album out while I wasn't looking. Must download it.

Tonight he did two songs that I looked up as soon as I got home because they were so gorgeous. "Sun, Moon, and Stars" (by Vince BELL, turns out, not Vince Gill), and "I'll Come Knockin'" by "Uncle" Walter Hyatt, as a tribute to him.

Man, fucking awesome night.
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    happy happy
Nerdy Girl

Because I needed something else to be addicted to.

Courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half, which you should be reading if you are not because it's hilarious, I've found another way to lose huge chunks of time to the internet.

Play brain-training games on Lumosity

Now, my burgeoning addiction may be partly due to the fact that I'm a huge nerd and therefore think it's fun to do stuff like see how fast I can do math in my head (but it's so cute! You have to keep raindrops from falling into the pond!) However, a lot of the games are really pretty neat and it's very easy to get hooked. Plus they have all these little metrics so that you can feel ten kinds of smart by seeing how well you do.

You're welcome. Your boss is welcome too. =)

PS (The Hyperbole and a Half chick has now put "CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!" and "clean ALL the things?" into her Zazzle shop. I can get tank tops of this. I might enjoy cleaning a teeny bit more if I was wearing the clean-all-the-things tank that was keyed to the correct end of my mood spectrum. I also still want the Regretsy "Namaste, Bitches!" tank top to wear as my yoga class uniform.)
  • Current Mood
    geeky geeky
Food Porn

You got Ace of CAAAAKES

Ace of Cakes is playing in the background. They made Grizz & Feyonce's wedding cake for the season finale of 30 Rock, and they also made, for the cast party afterward-- a MEAT CAT CAKE. And he had a Frank-style hat that said "Meat Hat" and a Tracy Jordan bling necklace. And he was on a skateboard jumping a motherfuckin' SHARK.

Best. Cake. Ever.

Plus, the head guy also actually made Cheesy Blasters for the cast!! Which they all ate with chopsticks.

You know, working in Charm City Cakes must be amazingly stressful, yet it also kind of looks like one of the coolest places in the world to work.
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    amused amused
Vestigial Head

Hyperbole and a Half is Killing Me

OK, I'm really getting back to work now. But as a parting gift, allow me to share with you some things that made me laugh till it hurt, courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half. (It really only helps that the art style in the graphics makes me think of Rejected, which I will regrettably never be able to see for the first time ever again.)

6 Fake Advertisements Based on Real Products

How a Fish Almost Destroyed My Childhood (starts out just ok, but reaches sublime twisted beauty by the end)

A Better Pain Rating Scale

And what I think might be my personal favorite besides the responsible adult one, Sneaky Hate Spiral

I officially love this chick. She thinks in weird ways that I deeply appreciate.
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    giggly giggly
Pucker Up

I still can't believe this is a thing.

Did you not see the Surra de Bunda clip on The Daily Show? Please, allow me to get you up to speed (no nudity but definitely NSFW):

...excuse me...I just died laughing again looking at that...

So here's the deal with the Surra de Bunda. In Brazil, where they apparently do impressive quantities of drugs, they have stripper/waitress/burlesque chicks called Tequileiras who do your basic Coyote Ugly girl routine. And they dance to baile funk music, which one Brazilian commenter called "the lowest of the Brazil's version of Lady Gaga" which made me go HEY but anyhow. And one of the popular songs is the one in this video, which is sung from the point of view of a stripper who's so fed up with obnoxious customers that she decides to start punching them in the face.

With her ass.

No, really. I'm so not making this up. So these stripper waitresses made up this dance to go with it.

To me, that's the absolute best part of this whole thing, that the name "surra de bunda" translates to "ass punching". That's as in punching someone with your ass.

And from the videos I instantly Googled with "brazilian butt dance" after seeing it on Jon Stewart, it appears that the ass-punching part of the dance comes very specifically during the chorus. You can almost see the chick thinking, "oops, chorus is starting, better assume the position!" As I read it, the lyrics at that point are "Bate a com bunda, bate bate bate" translating apparently to "Hit it with ass, hit it hit it hit it". Which is SO AWESOME I could cry for awesomeness. Apparently when one is not actually ass-punching, the point is to dance as pathetically badly as possible. Seriously, yo. Google "surra de bunda" and check out a representative sample. That's like White Man Overbite levels of bad dancing. And what's with all the big studded belts left over from 1985?

I think my rallying cry from now on for when anything sucks is going to be "Hit it with ASS!"

I'm also highly amused by the YouTube comment speculation about whether the guy's expression is due to her farting in his face. The person who called it "the pinkeye dance" almost killed me.

And because your night would not be complete with only one example of insane and bewildering world dance stylings, permit me to leave you with a short documentary on the fine art of Jamaican daggering. (The 911 moment is my hands-down favorite.) Also NSFW.

Hey, at least I didn't link you to the pudding farts website. That's an actual thing too but you're going to have to look those videos up on your own time. But I will tell you that the name is extremely literal. It's a fetish for girls farting into dishes of pudding.

No, really. I swear to GODS I do not make this stuff up. I just giggle helplessly at it. Because I'm six.

This has been your Diva-sponsored educational experience for the day. You're welcome.
  • Current Mood
    giggly giggly
Food Porn

Beautiful Day at the Farm

This year, deboranter and I (and one of her colleagues) decided to go with a different CSA than we had last year. We chose Great Country Farms in Bluemont for two main reasons: 1) The CSA shares include fruit, which our CSA last year did not offer, and 2) being a member means getting free admission to the farm itself and a weekly allotment of free produce from the U-pick. (For me, reason #3 is that they have a chart of what you get every week of the CSA, and it was all stuff I recognize and like-- or would be willing to try. Last year's CSA had a few too many mystery veggies for my liking.)

The farm newsletters had been urging members to come out early for strawberry picking, as the crops were in early and wouldn't last as long as expected. So Deb and I decided to go yesterday, and were joined by one of her work friends and his wife and son.

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  • Current Music
    "Feelin' Good", Nina Simone (earworm)