It's too dangerous to go alone. Take this.

Archive for May, 2007


A brief history: My girlfriend Justina and I went to the zoo and I bought her a teddy bear whom we creatively named “Aisbar” (a corruption of the German ‘Eisbär‘, meaning “Ice Bear”). Aisbar went back to New York with Justina and became good friends with Teddy, the incumbent stuffed animal of her bedroom.

When the rest of the world jumped onto the Web 2.0 bandwagon, these two weren’t to be left behind. While it’s not so surprising that some college kids would make Facebook profiles for their plush novelties, it’s at least worth mentioning that the group she started for the two of them (Bear Necessities; initially including the two bears, her, and myself) has been independently located and joined by no fewer than 27 other bears possessing Facebook profiles, living in cities and (ostensibly) attending schools all over the world from Minnesota to Ithaca to London to Norway.

But wait. There’s more…

These bears aren’t just cute and cuddly. Anyone who dismisses these bears and their web presence as silly trifles of bored college kids has yet to witness the sheer determination of grassroots teddy bear groups such as Society of Stuffed Animals, Fuzzy Friends Against Global Warming, Anti-teddy bear abuse, or Equal Rights for Teddy Bears!. Each of these groups is populated by two to three dozen bona fide stuffed animals who are clearly both passionate about their status and serious about their role in our society. The year of the bear is upon us all.

Take a note

While I’m doing work, I sometimes like to jot down notes about what I’m doing to help me remember later. If it’s figuring out how something complicated works, I can keep track of what I’m doing, what works, and what doesn’t. For this purpose, I wrote takenote. I invoke it from the command line and tell it what the subject of the note is. Then it waits and reads in a line of text and writes that line (with a timestamp) to a file in the ~/.notes directory. Allow me to demonstrate:

[eliman@dian-nao]-[eliman] $ takenote -t MissedCalls
Julianne called from work. She said to call her back at (410) 555-9252
[eliman@dian-nao]-[eliman] $ tail ~/.notes/MissedCalls
[MissedCalls] [Thu May 24 11:33:44 EDT 2007] Julianne called from work. She said to call her back at (410) 555-9252
[eliman@dian-nao]-[eliman] $

Download takenote here!


I decided not to take the escort bus home. Instead, I walked back from campus with slow, heavy, deliberate steps. It was 4 in the morning and I had just finished saying goodbye to one of my best friends. As I walked past the elements of the school and the city, I knew I was seeing many of these things for the last time. At the very least, I knew that the time was up for these things as critical features in my life. I passed familiar buildings, houses, trees, cars, (telephone poles…), hydrants, lawn decorations, flowers, and street lamps and said goodbye to all of them in my head. I felt their presence in my mind fade while I gently let go of my sense of urgency and embraced the transience looming over the place that was my home for five long years.

Strange Things Found in the Bathroom

Earlier this year I started a list of strange things I’d found in my bathroom. If I had started it two years ago, I bet it could have gotten much longer by now. In any event, there were strange things in there that I considered normal, just because of my housemates. Things like the A-Team curtains and a glass used as an ashtray. This is a list of things that were a conceptual stretch, even for them. Enjoy.

  • A cassette player containing tape My First Dinosaur Discovery behind the toilet
  • An empty Sam Adams bottle on toilet
  • A table in the tub
  • A can of Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder
  • A container of Breakstone’s 2% milkfat small curd low fat cottage cheese that contained some kind of brothy soup.