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Monday, December 14, 2009

Periodically, I enjoy cookies

  Adorable: Not So Humble Pie: Science Cookies: Periodic Table ( featured in Boing Boing's Science-themed cookies for all your holiday baking needs (

Yes, truly talented people can even make cookies geeky.


posted by Arlene (Beth)10:16 PM

Sunday, June 28, 2009


  Tears of laughter ran down my face from the very idea that customers at the pirate supply store were offended by the 'kitten plank' - a plank for use when making a disloyal kitten "walk the plank" to depart your pirate ship...

I'm getting ahead of myself.

It is a gorgeous, sunny, hot weekend in San Francisco. Today, in between my favorite, distant, Chinese supermarket and my favorite inner Richmond cafe, I was violently sucked into Green Apple Books (, my favorite bookstore in San Francisco. Among other purchases (oh, how they torment me with books I want!), I acquired Essentially Odd: A Catalog of Products Created For and Sold At the 826 National Stores ( It is the best, and funniest, catalog I have ever owned.826 Valencia peg leg oil

826 National is the umbrella organization behind the tutoring centers that Dave Eggers set up, starting with 826 Valencia ( Yes, you've been past it. If you're walking north on Valencia on the west side of the street, you pass a park, an alley with a cool mural, a restaurant, a cooperative art gallery, a pirate supply store, a natural history shop... Yes, it is the pirate supply store.

Of course it is the pirate supply store.

That's just the front of the building: there is a tutoring store in the back. But, for various reasons explained in the book, they needed to sell things up front, and they decided the building looked a bit like a ship interior, and the pirate supply shop was born.

Early on, the 826 founders decided that the shop should serve working pirates, as opposed to being a kitschy shop about pirates.
Medicine for scurvy, mermaid repellent/bait, cannon fuses, peg leg oil, beard extensions...

I know, I know, you are wondering how you have lived without having visited this shop. And I'm saying: go! Go now! Well, okay, wait until it's open. But definitely go.

But this catalog does not MERELY contain images and descriptions of the items available in SF's shop. Oh no. There are other 826 tutoring centers. And they each have a shop. A different kind of shop. One, for example, sells only super hero supplies. Another: time travel necessities. Another: robot repair & maintenance supplies.

Yes, they really SELL these things. They do! And all of the sales go to support the tutoring centers.

You'll see me sporting a Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair hoodie as soon as I get my long, tapering, alien hands on one. Once you have the catalog, you can visit the appropriate 826 center's website to order their cool merchandise. (It looks like the 826 National Store will eventually be able to centralize sales inquiries.)

Creative people who love reading, good design, and ambient wackiness ROCK.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:23 PM

Thursday, October 30, 2008


  From an e-mail from my cousin, the person most like me in the world, writing about a visit to carve pumpkins at his home, which included one robot-costumed visitor, and a partial power failure:
Follow-up report:

Engineering: Long range communications have been partially restored. However the problems with warp drive remain unresolved, lighting is at half normal and environmental controls are set to minimal.

Security: The combined cyborg, pumpkin creature attack was ended by jettisoning both the invaders and visiting dignitaries out cargo bay door 178A.

Internal Ops: The pumpkin creatures' remains, temporally stored in bio-bags, have already leached through and further clean-up of the main galley is required.
Yes, we know we are geeks.


posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Modernity beeps: I answer.

I upgraded to OS X Leopard last night, watched the introductory video (which was, as so many things Mac does, targeted directly at me: the guy in the demo appealed to my demographic perfectly, from the glasses, to the haircut, to fit-but-not-too-fit, down to even the subtle hint of gray in his hair - the perfect balance between 'hot' and 'might steal your favorite books'), and activated my iPhone.

Yes. I caved. My very first wireless phone is an iPhone. Apple finally persuaded me that the technology was worth it.

Those of you who call me regularly were e-mailed the number earlier today. Those of you who don't, drop me a line, and we'll connect.

Yes, it was absolutely practical from my own home block, when I logged into and learned that the next bus was hiding over the hill, just two minutes away, and so I should stay put and let it catch up. I [heart]

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posted by Arlene (Beth)8:21 PM

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