my pattern


When I saw the news on Twitter that David Bowie had died, I started to cry. It was the middle of the night, but I couldn't sleep anymore. I tossed and turned with "Heroes" echoing in my head.

Here it is, three days later and I'm still trying to process it. David Bowie was not just part of the soundtrack of my life, he represented the ultimate in individuality.

This was a time of Carly Simon, Neil Diamond, Neal Young, and Elton John. In Bowie's early years, The Beatles were still recording. Led Zeppelin hit it big about when Bowie did. In this company, Bowie stood out. And he was hugely popular, which was perhaps odd because this was still a time when people didn't admit to being gay, not publicly. Conformity was still the norm. Queerness was shunned, ridiculed, sometimes beaten. This was before punk, before new wave, before metal, but I can't help but feel that those movements all grew out of aspects of Bowie profound stage presence and music. And while Bowie was not vocal about his private life, his performances, especially as Ziggy Stardust, challenged people's notions of sexuality and gender, and rumors in the press colored public perceptions of him. And yet they loved his music. We all did. (Well, except for those who didn't. They can speak for themselves.)

Bowie was there in my college days, in grad school, and repeatedly from then on—always different, even after he dropped the deliberate personas. And he was there in movies. My own favorites were Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and The Hunger.

Bowie showed us that we could be ourselves. He rejected the establishment even as he exploited it. And just by being there, he let us know that things were okay.

And now he's gone. I'm still trying to absorb that.

Below are some music videos and performance clips of just some of the songs I've loved so much. I recommend also browsing images online. You'll see someone who loved life and loved people. His open smile in candid settings. He was so alive! One of my big regrets is that I never saw him in concert.

responsive pattern

HTML drawing by Laura Scott

It was 2001 when I first started blogging. It would be a few years before I heard the word "blog", so maybe my early endeavor in online journaling wouldn't count for purists, but I was journaling online. This was a rather introspective period in my life and I felt compelled to my thoughts and experiences in this worldwide web I'd been playing with for several years. So I hand-coded a site, a static HTML affair that I had to update completely every time I posted an update. (I didn't really care for the limitations of the various services out there.) Over the next year and a half, the site grew in size, making my deployments more complicated. The blog also became collectively more and more emotionally raw, until one day, in a fit of mortified embarrassment and disgust, I deleted the whole thing and didn't look back. So yes, I started blogging eleven years ago, but I haven't been blogging for eleven years.

In 2004 I started doing some ranty blogging with a political slant, and I've continued that over the years, pseudonymously, first on Blogger, then on a Drupal site I built myself (my first, actually). Chalk it up to political cynicism fatigue that I have scarcely looked at that site in quite some time. It's hard for me to allow myself to get worked up over political issues, especially when our politics are so broken. It's an emotional space I don't care for. It drains me. I remain engaged politically, but my engagement no longer includes political blogging. That may change in the future. Who knows?

This blog I started in October 2005 to blog about stuff that interested me. Those were interesting times in 2005. I was still absorbing the profound changes technology was effecting on our culture and in our daily lives. I'm still absorbing it, actually.

So, in technical terms, my online life has shifted from a self-built flat html site to a saas blog to some self-built blogs, commercial sites, and communities.

Over the last couple of years, the foci of my sharing compulsion have gradually shifted towards Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Tumblr, and the like. The interconnectedness of these networks is what appeals. It's what works better now for quick sharing, sad to say, and it's what I feel is more indicative of trends in the future.

So why spend time going back and updating this blog? It's a silo, for the most part. A year or so ago I tried an experiment ameliorating that feeling by replacing the Drupal comments system with Disqus comments, and I think that has helped make this feel less like a silo, more connected. People who have never seen this blog can follow a link and find that they are already logged in to share a thought in the comments. Others can log in using any of a number of existing accounts elsewhere. Identity management wins (albeit in the proprietary realm).

This blog is also my home, in a sense. I feel a responsibility to maintain its upkeep. And part of that is progressing with the rest of the Drupal community. I share in this fabulous commons, and the drop is always moving. I must keep moving, too, even for this oft-quiescent blog.

Crying lessons

doodle art

I need crying lessons. I don't know how to cry. I don't cry like the doyennes in the movies. My cries are blubbery, snotty, croaky things. I gag and cough. My blood presses against my head. My face hurts. My eyes burn. My tummy flip-flops. Even after sleep I'm still a wreck. My body is rubber. My brain just aches. My throat is raw. I need a more sustainable solution.

Hat brain

illustration of brain processes, by Robert Fludd circa 1619

Do you ever get hat hair? You know, what happens when you've been wearing a hat or visor and you take it off and your hair is all dented and messed up?

I get hat brain. It comes from having to change hats so often during the work day. Designer hat. Project manager hat. CEO hat. Coder hat. Community member hat. Marketer hat. So many hats! And I have to wear many of them each and every day.

And that's hard. It's especially hard when jumping from a designer or coder hat, where I'm deep in flow puzzling out something, experimenting, totally immersed, to a project manager or CEO hat, where I'm stepping back, looking at the big picture, strategy stuff, people interactions. Each hat leaves dents in my brain. It takes a few minutes to let the dents fade, a few minutes before I can realistically and effectively wear a different hat.

Right now I see timeboxing as an answer. I'm tempted to write a quick app to facilitate it, since I haven't seen anything too useful so far. But of course that would require changing hats.

[Illustration by Robert Fludd circa 1619, via Wikimedia Commons]

Those jitters

At first blush, since only 20 people read this blog on a good day, I should feel safe writing about my jitters about going to and speaking at BlogHer -- not to mention the plane ride, which always can give me the jitters (and being treated like cargo by the airlines doesn't help) -- right? Of course, since many women have said they're "reading up" on as many blogs as possible, maybe more than 20 will read this. I know that if I don't tag this post with the Drupal tag, the traffic will be lower than otherwise, which is good....

...And so it goes: The kind of crazy neurotic ramblings in my mind when I get jittery.

So maybe it will help if I just write what I'm jittery about, so I can see just how silly it is and laugh and find a reason not to worry about it and, maybe, lose some of the jitters.

What I'm jittery about Why I shouldn't be jittery about it
Speaking. I get stage fright jitters. Nobody please shake my hand within one hour of the Deeply Geeky panel I'm on a panel, so I won't be alone up there. And it's really an unpanel, so really, the pressure's off, at least in theory.
Hair. I'm in desperate need of at least a trim, but my stylist retired (omg) two years ago and I'd been doing the "Mom, could you please trim my hair?" thing (supplemented with taking the cuticle scissors to my bangs maybe a few too many times), so I don't know where to go. Since I haven't done the highlights thing in a while, my hair is at least in decent condition, and the gray coming in is silvery enough to look like highlights, right? So all I need is a trim, and that's not rocket science. I'll just have to table Meryl's Prada look for the fall. Maybe.
Toes. Now, I realize that for a "deeply geeky" techie designer, I probably should not even have my toes on this list, but I don't think I can get away with my muddy Keds that are so stained, not even bleach will whiten them, and besides, they won't go with what I think I'm going to wear, and.... I'll feel better after a pedicure.
Shoes. See above. And I have a high arch, so it's always hard for me to find shoes that fit. I'm finding myself victim of my always-at-the-computer work life, so of course, of the two dozen pairs of shoes I have that are not in storage, none of them will do. DSW.
Loneliness. The only people I'll know there are Lisa, Elisa and Jory, and they'll be quite busy, and I'm terrible at meeting new people and doing the whole schmoozing thing. (Ugh!) And my business partner, Kate, can't go so I'll be one my own. The women online seem nice.
Clothes. As in most of my clothes that aren't sweats are jackets and slacks. Poolside lunch? I'm somewhat resigned to just being hot. A little sweat never hurt anybody, unless it gets in the way of looking good.
Flying. I. Just. Hate. It. The indignity. The hassle. The images of scenes from 'Lost' flashing before my eyes. Maybe I can just sleep through it.
Work. I always stress about work, unless I'm lost in work. It's a bad habit, I know, but there it is. I'll be working at the conference. Maybe I can sneak in some enjoyment without my noticing!

I'm really looking forward to it!

Self-referential content

Since I haven't written anything about myself here yet, I thought I'd give it a shot.

In case you missed the byline, name is Laura. I'm heading up a start-up interactive media company, which takes up much of my time. When I'm not sitting at a keyboard, staring at one computer screen or another -- or looking at the television -- I'm walking or shopping or taking photographs.

Right now I'm working on a couple of big projects, neither of which is announced yet. One is a Drupal-powered website that will be an information clearing house for a relatively new international organization. The other is a DVD production and authoring project that involves some 5-6 hours of edited instructional footage of a martial art as taught by the grandmaster of the art. The web development is just getting under way; the DVD project is moving into the final phase. Because of the relative scopes of the projects, they'll probably come to completion within a month of each other. I'll post more on these projects later.

I suppose what's pretty clear is that I'm not comfortable talking about myself. Maybe it's the trying to tread the thin line between brag-blogging and pointless, pathetic self-deprecation. At least hardly anybody's actually reading this. At least there's that.


Get occasional email updates on what I'm doing (and not blogging about).

Powered by MailChimp

Subscribe to my pattern