Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

03 Apr 2001, 12:37 p.m.

Cats and Advogato and freedom

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Urban astronomy, feline friendships (or tentative steps towards them), and Lodi.

I got new shoes. They're pretty much exactly like my old ones, except that they don't have any holes in them, and they're tight enough so that I have to actually untie and tie the laces, rather than just slipping them on.

There are posters around Berkeley, promoting some meditation class, stating, "Freedom is Overrated." I assume they are pro-stability in the ancient ideological war between security/community and individual autonomy. But how far will it get them, in Berkeley, to put down freedom? This is a place where "freedom" has been invoked to support nearly every cause you can imagine. Then again, maybe that's exactly why they think it'll get them somewhere.

If I had forgotten my Advogato password, what would be the procedure for having it reset and/or emailed to me?

I generally fear animals with fur, and avoid them. But yesterday I was in The Other Change of Hobbit (a sci-fi/fantasy bookstore on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley) and actually liked the cat there, Shagrat. I got it to sit on my lap. That's never happened before. I had to sit still for a while though, reading Stephenson's The Big U, and not pay attention to the thing. It's like the stillness that Pullman writes about in His Dark Materials that allows Lyra to read the alethiometer.

I'm no Piper of Hamelin, but I'm making progress in my animal relations.

Seen, yesterday, on the marquee of the California movie theater on Kittredge:

The Mexican Chocolat is especially good at Mario's La Fiesta at Haste and Telegraph.

I endorse Venus, a slightly-expensive-and-worth-it restaurant between Bancroft and Durant on Shattuck in Berkeley. It's not as expensive as some other places I could mention, and I've never been disappointed with a meal there. Always yummy, and a few times it's expanded my taste bud horizons. I wrote a rather lyrical note to the chef after I first had the apple crisp.

Oddly enough, there's a bar called Jupiter up the street, between Center and Allston. Is there any correlation?

I imagine Earth would be at Bancroft, then, and Mars at Kittredge? No, there's a clothing shop named Mars at Telegraph and Channing. Hmmmm. Would Pluto be the Haas School of Business, along Piedmont?

So Lodi is in the news. It's a Northern California town, near Stockton, that refused to go along with the rolling blackouts for various reasons. I lived in Stockton and went to middle and high school in Lodi. I had thought it would never be in the news, except maybe if some parasite got into the wine grapes.

Horrible thought: Oh no. Lodi completely fits the profile of a town where a school shooting would take place. Dear God no. Small town, lots of religious white people, big high schools where kids who feel different feel isolated. Dear God, no.

Please, PLEASE let the next mention be the wine grapes....

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at