Monday, October 31, 2005

Drumming @ The Blood Moon Regale

So Shab gets invited to Unmata's Blood Moon Regale some months ago. She's asked to choreograph a routine for her troupe, Ooh La La, where she will play the Queen of Hearts. The event happened this Saturday, and Shabnam put on another great performance. The only difference this time was that was that I was on stage too, drumming for her.

I did it once in the past, but it was just the same rhythm for 5 minutes and I sat waaaaay off to the side. This time I actually had to really play and be almost front and center. I took some drumming lessons and they helped out a lot. I didn't feel like an idiot when I finished my performance. Which was pretty important, since I was drumming for Shab's solo performance, following her troupe's piece. Also, because there were a bunch of hot tribal bellydancers and a sold out audience of 500+ that I didn't want to fumble in front of.

In spite of losing my cell phone the night before, the hours of waiting, and my shoe falling apart 30 minutes before we went on, it was actually a fun event to be a part of. The whole Unmata crew was great. There was no cattiness or bickering between dancers, and the show went of seamlessly. Shab and I hung out with her troupe for a little at the afterparty, then took the hour drive home in the warmth and convenience of the Vette. And ... we found my phone when I got back.

I think I like having a talented girlfriend. I like drumming too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Web Standards & Stuff

I just found this blog on web standards today. It was kind of funny because is one of the worst offenders. hehehehe.

The author goes on to slam design portals in general because he/she doesn't understand them, and because they don't conform to web standards. I hate to break this to you friend, but most of these sites are simply collections of bookmarks, or favorites. Plain and simple. They are not paid for or funded. They are built with the sweat equity of their creators, primarily for the use of their creators. The added benefit is that other people appreciate the effort which may generate a little notoriety.

If you don't get it, that's fine. Create your own bookmark site, or use sites like to keep track of your notable sites or use the browser's built in functions. Slamming a design portal is like getting mad at a fine artist for not standardizing on a brand of paint or canvas size. Sillyness.

I still get the point, though. Web standards are important. But, like jaywalking laws, they really should only be enforced where it makes sense. Oh, and isn't there a standard for how much information you should be allowed to put on one HTML page? If there is, our friend at Fawny seems to be a big fan of having users scroll through several hundred yards of text without supplying any navigation. I bet he jaywalks too. :-)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Time Off

For the past couple of weeks I've been taking time off. I left my job. Gura's on her honeymoon, so there's no Kali. Juijitsu was left in the dust a long time ago. It's just as well. I hurt my shoulder, so it's had some time to heal, and I've had time to focus on absolutely nothing.

I've been jogging regularly and I've been doing a little more drumming. I had my first lesson on Saturday with Susu Pampanin. The first time I heard her play was about 3 years ago at the El Morroco restaurant in Pleasant Hill. She was impressive then and even more so in a 3-person class.

After banging around on my own for the past year it was about time to get at least a little formal training. That, and Shab asked me to drum for her at the 2005 Blood Moon Regale. It occurred to me that it might be better to not look like an idiot on stage by screwing up the drumming.

Kali starts back tomorrow, and my shoulder is feeling a lot better. Next week, I'll have to start working full-time again, although this time at a company whose product I'd actually recommend. More on that later. Until then, I'm still deciding whether it's better to be as lazy as possible over the next week or to get as much done as I can on the Moluv site. I'll probably end up somewhere in between.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Donors Choose

When I was a younger I decided that at age 35 I would begin to dedicate more of my time toward philanthropic efforts. Donating. Volunteering. Stuff like that. Earlier this year I came up with a concept of creating a web site that would allow people to donate cash and equipment to their neighborhood schools.

I based this on a research report I did for an Educational Studies class back in college. I found that although public universities have been soliciting for private donations for years, public schools don't. Additionally, I called maybe a half-dozen Fortune 500 companies based in the area and found that not only did they all have money available for such a request, but that they had no record of that request ever being made on behalf of a public school.

So, for a few weeks I began planning out the checks and balances for donating. My biggest fear of donating is having the money squandered by administrators, so accountability would have to exist. Actually, the entire process would have to be as transparent as possible. The next phase was to see what type of models already existed for this type of website, and to my surprise, a single site existed that did exactly that. It's called Donor's Choose.

Now, I figured, if I proceeded I would be competing with an existing entity. Then I started to look at the big picture and it seemed to make more sense to support the great inroads these guys were making instead of potentially steering resources away. I then joined the mailing list and made a donation.

This week I received an email stating that Donor's Choose had been selected from over a thousand non-profit organizations as the winner of the Nonprofit Innovation Award chosen by the Stanford Graduate School of Business and It really is a great concept, and it's a win-win situation for the community and the schools.