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xml [LEMONS]


5.31.2002

Be back soon

Thursday, to be precise.

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Vote Ezra

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A Tale of Two Torresz

I read Bob's site frequently. I read Andre's site frequently. Neither updates every day, so I don't check either on a daily basis. But both are published with Movable Type, and have that MT feel. Both have black backgrounds. Both are text heavy, with little to nothing in the way of graphics. The design is quite similar. Bob is at rjtorres.net. Andre is at torrez.org. Sometimes, I get confused.

Anyway.

Congrats on completing your Ph.D, Andre! What the hell were you doing in Bruce Sterling's bathroom, Bob?

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I've said it before, but I'm saying it again. Or, the NYTimes is, rather, nursing shortages are dangerous.

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Cooksie

From John (but not the same John as the one below):Hello friends. Maybe you know, maybe you don't, but about a year ago I moved from New York City to Chicago in part to start a musical project with my brother Matt. That project, Cooksie, is now underway, and we just finished putting together a pretty neat web site that I thought you might like to have a look at.

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7 Songs And A Confession #7

Remember, not forever, just for now. (Enjoy the links.)Yours?

And when I was in high school, I wandered into Wax and Facts one day with a few extra bucks, and decided I was going to splurge on this cool Chronic Town poster on the wall that had been hanging there forever. This was pre-Alternative Music Explosion, pre-Little 5 Points Gentrification Boutiqulation (it's odd to see Virginia-Highlands held up as a model for gentrification. I rememeber when it was funky and borderline dangerous.), and pre-Everybody Hurts. But Post-Document. Enough for the poster to cost a few dimes. It seemed ancient to me then, although it couldn't have been more than six or seven years old, at the very most. Today, a Nevermind poster would be (relatively) older. Mind-boggling. It came with me everywhere I moved for several years. Something like 24 places over seven or eight years (I was an air-conditioned gypsy for ages. The place I live now is the first where I've stayed more than a year since 1991. I could even make a case for 89). It endured rips and tears and the riotous calamity of my early 20s, when sometimes plates would be thrown against the wall for no other reason than to see if they'd break. It became a testament to scotch tape, wrinkled and personified. I treasured it. It was among my favorite possessions I've ever owned. I accidentally left it behind, when I fled Colorado for South Carolina one day in a rash and somewhat alcohol-induced moment of clarity, tacked to the wall of room in a subsidized low-income housing apartment where I lived in a sprawl of dirty clothes with my cousin, Texas junkies, a giant handmade wooden chair we built from 2x4s, and assorted couch floppers next door to a slew of Senegalize where ten people lived in a three bedroom joint with no furniture.

Alas.

Which is not my confession. My confession is this. I didn't know my first roommate in college, John, before I moved in with him. Never met the guy until I carted a load of junk into my dorm room and saw him sitting on the bed. He seemed like an alright guy at first, but I was dead wrong. He was a real son of a bitch. I'd had roommates in high school, and was already experienced at living with others at 18. But my freshman roommate, who came from a Park Avenue address in the double digits, did not. He was completely inconsiderate. He came in late and loud (sure I came in late, but quiet). He was a slob, worse than me even. He played loud music all he time, his favorite album being, no shit, the soundtrack to Grease. Grease! He was constantly on the phone. He never failed to complain about the South (hey, 'm with ya, pal. but i'm a native. i get to. you don't.) He was constantly sarcastic, never failing to belittle me. One day, when my friend Jack was over, and we were talking to John, who was laying in his bed. He was, as usual, bitching about something, when in mid-sentence he reached up over his head and mindlessly grabbed onto a small tear in the poster. Then, without even glancing up, he began to pull, r-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p.

"What?!? The Fuck. Are you doing?!?"

"Oh. Hey. Sorry. Look it's old it was already torn, right? Hey, I'l tape it." But he didn't. I did, from behind with masking tape. I told myself that it gave the poster more class. Despite that, I fumed. That was it. The last straw. John had to go. I allowed Jack--who lived in Atlanta but wasn't going to school or working and lived with his parents--to essentially move in. If John came in late, I came in later. And louder. I played punk and metal, which he detested. I completely ceased to perform any sanitary functions. I began to urinate in the sink. I slept naked. I set the alarm to go off early in the morning, and then would go and crash in friends' rooms. All of this I did with the casual, ignorant, apologetic, air of the Alabama cracker he had cast me as before we ever met. "Oh. Hey. Sorry. You want me to clean up them there doctor pepper cans? Round home we just usually let 'em lie till the flies lose interest." He moved out about a month later.

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War?

The situation with India and Pakistan is getting dire. The State Department says Americans should get out. War would mean nuclear catastrophe. 17 million, dead.

Musharraf must crack down. India must back off.

Pray for peace.

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Speaking of Fugazi (um, nice segueway huh?) on Saturday June 15 at the Fine Arts Cinema in Berkeley there's going to be a screening of Instrument. Go see it, if you haven't already.

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Quick Links


Do you like the quick links? i'm trying out different ways to aggregate things, making navigation easier, and the look cleaner.

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5.30.2002

Stupidest directions ever. Bad Web designer! Bad! Bad!

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Ahhhhh Trader Joe's Costador Vegetable Paella.... What other instant vegetarian foodstuff doth compare to thee?

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Attorney General John Ashcroft freed the FBI to monitor Internet sites, libraries, churches and political organizations

Hello, new readers! Nothing personal, you know.

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Great post from Ezra today
I am mad at him now too. He can stop the spit, but not her.


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Get your headphones on, [this is good] (via filepile and waxy)

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Happy Birthday Mac!

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Hey, could ya hold that bandwagon for a minute?!?

Well, like everyone else, I'm now offering an RSS Feed. Look for the xml image on the right-side bar.



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Man, the India/Pakistan situation has me incredibly freaked the hell out.

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Oliver's New Bag

Oliver Willis has launched a fantastic new project. What a great idea. It's a Web magazine called The American Times. Based on my reading of it it works almost like a writer's co-op, where the writers split 75% of the ad revenue. It's all very much in the open. Welch is one of the writers, as are some other big shots including Joe Klein, Dave Winer, Lasica, Janelle Brown, and... oh hell, see for yourself. Good luck, kids.

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It's About Time

The NYC Bloggers site is a fantastic idea. What a great concept. I've been yapping about doing something similar, but smaller*, for months. But of course, I never got off of my ass and actually did something about it.

*My idea, by the way, was not a map, but a community website focused on the Haight. Backpages have links to everyone in the zip's home page, and a front page with news/posts/stories pertaining to the 'hood, plus a bulletin board. Laziness, alas.

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I watched a little of the ceremony at ground zero this morning, it was quite stirring. I found it brought back a lot of memories of that terrible morning. Last Fall was unlike any season I've ever known. Could life ever be sane again?

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5.29.2002

Excellent K Chronicles:

911 link jpeg


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The Principle of the thing

"Everyone has a dream job that they'd take if money was no object. Mine is to be a bike messenger" -- mth,10-31-2001

Not long after I moved to California, I was standing in front of the Mother Jones' office on Market Street, smoking a cigarette and watching the street. I saw a pickup truck delivery guy zoom past a bike messenger, cut in front of him, and then brake hard and move towards the curb. The action nearly hit the messenger, smashing him between the truck and the curb. It sent him tumbling over his bars, as he avoided getting hit. The driver got out of the car, and looked back at the carnage. Immediately, another messenger came up from behind, and smacked the pickup truck driver a fresh one in the nose. There was a minor scuffle, lots of yelling, and then it was done. I was incredibly impressed. Not by the fighing, but by the fact that the messengers were willing to fight for each other.

In October, I thought messenger work didn't pay enough. Today, I need the money. I'm broke. Make that Broke. I need earn some money in a big way.

Let me reiterate that, just in case it wasn't clear: I. Need. Money.

So a month or so ago, when I saw an ad that a messenger serive was hiring, I jumped at the chance and filled out an application. I heard back on Friday. "Can you come in three days next week?" Sure. Hell yeah. Will it lead to any permanent positions there? "It could, yes."

I was tremendously excited. Bring the pain. Bring the work. I detest sitting around and turning pasty and flaccid. I like labor, always have. Plus, there are few things I enjoy more than the Market Street thrill-ride. It reminds me I'm alive. It tests me. I pass. I win.

So naturally, I was pumped about the gig. I told all my friends. I dropped my bike off at the shop and got it tuned up. I envisioned myself whizzing through the streets, pedaling hard up hills, possibly whacking a taxi with my Krypotonite as I rode by. In fact, it seemed like such a helluva thing to do I even pitched Slate on it to see if I could write it up as a Diary.

And then, yesterday, the messenger service called. "I just want to explain the situation a bit more. You see, the reason we need people coming in is because our workers might strike, and we need backup if they do. Is that a problem?" I paused. I swallowed. I thought for a second. I really want this job, I really want to do it. Fucking shit I can taste it I want it so badly. And besides, come on, I need money in big way. I mean, really need it. And most messengers are just kids, right? They probably don't have families, right? No that's not a problem.

This is how I feel, maybe it's not true, but it's what I think. Most people are weak. Incredibly so. Most people don't have the courage of their convictions; they say one thing and do another. Hypocrites and ethical wimps. They're unworthy of respect from themselves or others. Certainly from me. Moral failures, concerned only with themselves. Concerned only with making a buck, rather than ethics and their duty to their fellow man. I don't want to be one of those people, those people are sad and die without meaning. I've always told myself that I won't be one of those people. That I will have the courage of my convictions, that I will do the hard things, the unpopular things. The things that I don't want to do, but that need to be done, or just should be. It's where I derive most of my self-worth. But sometimes. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do, right?

This is something I really want. This is something that I need, for the money. This is what I've been trying to break into for several months now. Besides, the strike angle just makes it that much more likely that I can sell the story to Slate. And so I called her back a few hours later. And I told her. I'm sorry. I can't do it. That's not something I feel comfortable getting in the middle of. Sorry I didn't tell you sooner.

So I Still. Need. Money. But I have my self-respect. Plenty of it.

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Ezra. Yep. Ezra.

EzraEzraEzra!

Um. That should help

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Listen up

On Sunday, at 2:20 PM EST, I'll be a guest on Phil Lempert's radio show, Supermarket Guru. Here's a list of stations that run the show. (Sorry, no SF) You can also listen online.

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BRITISH marines returning from an operation deep in the Afghan mountains spoke last night of an alarming new threat - being propositioned by swarms of gay local farmers.

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Still don't think home prices in the Bay Area are outfuckingrageous? Would it change your opinion if you saw that our home prices have now made the news in the paper of record? (Which, I guess it goes without saying, is located in a market where homes aren't exactly cheap)

:::Sigh::: How're home prices in Davis, Geoff?

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And now, fluffy news



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5.28.2002

A conspiracy of fishermen?

"Asked to help the government stop poachers from destroying a tropical island rich in marine life, the leader of a California conservation group is instead being investigated for attempted murder and malicious damage... The string of criminal charges is aimed at Paul Watson, who is also the captain of the group's flagship, the Farley Mowat. His legal problems began the day he sailed into this steamy port town of 100,000 inhabitants. The conservationist is being investigated for ramming a Costa Rican fishing boat and threatening its crew after allegedly catching them hunting sharks illegally."

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Buy American (garlic)

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Rock's Notable Quotables (via Dave)

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5.25.2002

584

Go Barry

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Twenty-six arrested in anti-war protest

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"Hey, that looks like a hippo."

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5.24.2002

"Ocean Beach is the most hazardous and dangerous urban beach in the United States."

Huh. So I guess that's why I almost drownes when I tried to learn to surf there.

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FilePile: where the 3l33t meet to beat the peeps, hasn't been accepting new members for a long-o time-o. It is, in my opinion, the coolest damn site on the whole of the electronet. And now, you can buy your way in. [this is bad]. I assume purchasing your way into MeFi can't be far behind. Doh! too late. Oh well. At least the money goes to the pile.

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Vote Ezra

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Ole!

(via helen jane)

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Seven Songs and a Confession VI

Remember, it's not forever, just for now.And yours?

I like to sneak into ballparks. Last week, at the Braves-Giants game, we had tickets in the bleacher seats, but snuck up into the Club Level. Oh my, the gilded glory of Club Level. Where the hot dogs taste better, and there's never pee on the floor. You can get a roasted vegetable sandwich there, and the employees all smile, nod, and genuflect as you pass by. (Well, except for the genuflecting part.) My freshman year in college, my crowning achievement as a sneaker was sneaking into the NLCS. My friend Darren and I went down to Fulton County Stadium, hoping that we might find some reasonable soul willing to part with the NLCS tickets for which s/he had paid hundreds of dollars for no more than a song and forty five bucks.

Alas.

But we hung around, taking in the scene, drinking, and generally enjoying the madness outside the stadium. Sometime around the middle of the game and our fourth or fifth beer, we decided we'd sneak in. We scoped it out. Found a likely turnstile with a disinterested attendant, and jumped it. We bolted up the walkway to the upper deck, and melded into the crowd. We were free. It was the 9th inning, but we'd made it. On the way home, I stole a giant tomahawk someone had made out of a parking gate arm. I ripped it off, and carried it back with me to my dorm room. It was about ten feet long. I had legit tickets to see the Series a few nights later, and brough the tomahawk with me. It turned out that the stadium wasn't letting anyone bring in tomahawks longer than they were tall anymore. It seems someone had gotten injured. I sold it for $20 in the parking lot.

Darren: Darren Bruck was one of my best friends in college. He was one of the best friends i've ever had, in fact. Then, I transferred schools, and we gradually fell out of touch. Last I heard, he was in med school in Tel-Aviv. I have no way to get in touch with him, and have no idea where he is today. Know him? Ask him to email me

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Google has a toolbar update (thanks Geoff!)

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Eric says, "[this is] a very long, very funny portion of a recent episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien." -- Broadband suggested.

Update: KBK says, "made my weekend. thank you. one of the funniest things I've ever seen is triumph interviewing bon jovi. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. I would carve a statue in your honor if you could find out if it's on the web somewhere." Start carving, Bobby.

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On Angel Island

in the weedsflowertent
twisty treeEast Bay campsite 3hiking in
Can you see him?tiburon belownot a toy


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5.21.2002

The most effective damn advocacy organization in the city is the Bicycle Coalition. One reason why: in addition to doing good work, they know how to have a good time. as an example, it looks like Bike to Work Day was a blast.

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median price to a high

The median price of homes in the nine-county Bay Area rocketed to a record $402,000 in April

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For those Sun readers who are also following Prof. Reynolds' leap from Blogger to MT, the experience is reminiscent of listening to airplane safety instructions while watching the stewardesses act them out for you. Er... So you liked my piece?

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What do you get when you mix a sarcastic Anita Roddick, a homicidal John Malkovich, a nervous Robert Fisk, and a spineless search engine?

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From the In Box:

On friday night (May 17), Motorhead played the Townsend Club in San Francisco. After the show, someone stole Lemmy's famous hat right out of his dressing room. This is the one with the big metal skull affixed to the front.

Lemmy is understandably upset about this loss and we want to get this item back ASAP.

If you know someone that has it, please have them send it to me at:
Ace Trump
5835A Uplander Way
Culver City, CA 90230
USA

No questions will be asked and you can send the package with no return address. We just want to get Lem's hat back for him.


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5.20.2002

More Bay to Breakers photos, this time from the Chron.

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Bay to Breakers

We went and watched the Bay to Breakers this weekend. It was raining this year, but I think that just made it all the better. What a party. We started at Alamo square, and watched for an hour or so. Then we ran into friends, and went to their place (just off the square) and looked at pictures of their trips to Thailand and Cambodia. Came back out and ran into more friends, then more, then more still. We joined in for a while, then I followed the call of nature back home. We returned. We followed again. It was wet and lovely. Examine the evidence. (WARNING: many of these pictures contain nudity and graphic images of graphic people doing graphic things. Hey, it's San Francisco. If you're offended by that sort of thing, you'll want to stay away.)

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I had lots of traffic over the weekend. Massive traffic. Dave's piece was picked up on Slashdot and Plastic, sending a lot of traffic to the back end, while my Star Wars post made it to number 5 and 7 on Blogdex and Daypop, respectively, sending lots to the front page. So. Welcome, new people. I have astute commentary and analysis, thought-provoking prose, great links to profound places, and nudie pix.

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DG Says: Blogger Pro was posting passwords in the "posted by" field. I took out that field in my template, and changed my password to my host, but I haven't heard anything.

Wow. Not good.

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5.18.2002

I'm already creeping up on 100 reviews. Since the words "me" and "my" both link back to honan.net, "culture" is the 100 post mark.

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That is Apple's biggest problem: the engineers are in charge. Well... Yes and no. It might be a problem for Apple, but it sure is dandy for their customers.

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Here's my second mirror project contribution.

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5.17.2002

$8 million, down the drain...

Why?

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Criticism, diffused

Star Wars: Episode II reviews are coming in. Unlike Episode I, this movie is going to have to bear the burdon of 10,000 bloggers, Star Wars fans from the first grade, all. This movie will be the first production that is guaranteed of being discussed on nearly every blog published on the Web. No matter what country the blogger is from, no matter whether or not the blogger is a Star Wars fan. Star Wars is a universal cultural touchstone.

Which brings me to my point: this movie is going to be the coming out party for blogs as chroniclers of culture. If September 11 and the subsequent War on Terrorism gave the blogger-as-political-pundit credibility, Episode II will do the same for blogger-as-cultural-commentator. Thanks to bloggers, Star Wars Episode II will have more reviews written about it than any movie that has come before it.

In the coming days and weeks, you're going to see article after article appearing on Star Wars that will quote Web logs. You're going to see entire articles devoted to the opinions of bloggers. In the end, Episode II's fate as a good or bad movie--by that I mean it's ultimate acknowledged critical success or failure--will not be determined by Roger Ebert, or even Harry Knowles. It isn't going to be determined by one person at all, but rather by a massive consensus of its very audience. An audience that is now made up of an army of self-publishers.

A few notes on this post:
1. Did I miss yours? Let me know. I'm going to keep updating this with more blogged reviews as they come in.
2. If you're using this as a gauge to determine whether or not the movie's any good--which isn't really my point but I can see how it would be convenient--keep in mind that these reviews are all written by people who have seen the movie within it's first 24 hours of release. 'Nuff said (oh, wait, that phrase is reserved for spiderman and fantastic four references, nevermind).
3. No, I haven't seen it yet. But I hear Yoda gets his freak on...
4. I somewhat regret embarking on this because, although I still haven't seen the movie and have tried not to read spoilers, I pretty much know the entire plot now.

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Lithuania's Health Ministry on Tuesday scrapped a Soviet-era rule requiring that women undergo gynecological examinations to qualify for a driver's license (thanks Tim!)

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If you only do one thing today...

Vote for Ezra. The polls open at 3PM, PST (I think).

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7 Songs and a Confession VI

Remember, not forever, just for now
  • Beach Boys: Sloop John B
  • Pavement: Carrot Rope
  • Stereolab: Motoroller Scalatron
  • Run DMC: Peter Piper
  • Uncle Tupelo: Train
  • Beastie Boys: The Negotiation Limerick File
  • The Smiths: Panic
And yours?

My confession this week is simple, but it's a doozy. When I was a kid, I used to think Michael Jackson was pretty damn boss. I had the jacket.

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"I bet you shit your pants, you little pants shitter" I've been reading Matt Wilson's blog on and off for about a year now, ever since Tim turned me onto it. He's an unbelieveably good stroyteller and writer. The kind that makes you not care whether or not what he says is true.

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5.16.2002

Did everyone (peter?) see the redesigned Examiner today?

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For years, over a decade, I was in terrible shape. Horrid. I smoked heavily, drank too much, got zero exercise, sat around all the time, did hard drugs on and off, and ate meals consisting of nothing but mayonaise, eggs, bacon fat, and raw red meat*. Today, none of that is true. Today, thanks largely to my desire to take care of myself for Harper's sake as much as my own, I'm in great shape. Exceptional shape. I can outrun you, outbike you, and do chin-ups until I pull down a door frame*. I am rail thin, and can do things with my body that I didn't think possible just two years ago. I never thought that I would enjoy being healthy, but I do. It makes me feel fantastic about myself. It makes me feel more independent, more self-reliant. But I want to see just what I can do. I want to see what my body is capable of. So, along those lines, KBK and I are talking about doing something pretty crazy. I'm undecided. But leaning towards yes.

* indicates hyperbole

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Take me out to the ball game

I spent this afternoon with Bay Area book publishing industy giant Patrick Hughes at PacBell park watching the Giants - Braves game. It was the first day game I've been to at PacBell, and man was it nice. What a ballpark, what a day. And what a good guy Patrick is. Thanks for a wonderful, wonderful day Mr. Hughes.

mat and patbarry smacks a double


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There's an interesting article in The Morning News on Typography in The Sun (thanks helen jane!)

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Paradise

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More Shit From An Old Notebook

Why devote your life to work when you can just as easily play? What's the point of working hard, if you can't enjoy the fruits of your labors? Why strive for success, when mediocraty is the law of the land, and rewards are heaped upon the unfeeling drones farting their way through life in stark grey suits dressed for a funeral, and the emotionally-frozen hairsprayed statues in she-suits who ram the corporate cock up their ass, sip on their vodka tonics and bitch about the Democrats (never realizing that their male counterparts, resplendant in Friday casual, still see them as either juicy cunts or sexless droids and heap upon them behind closed doors the same scorn either way) while all of them, utterly devoid of passion, take solace in sales charts, because numbers will save them from the inanity of stucco sameness and the epidemic of electronics, cars, ovens, houses, bedrooms, armoirs, computers, penises, vacations, churches, gated neighborhoods, banks, tables, wall hangings, purses, underwear, trousers, HVAC systems, spanich tile roofs, venerial diseases, infidelities, back-stabbing compliments, genetic deformities, fascist sexual role-playing games, nackties, nipple clamps, home improvement courses, self-help books, personal power seminars, motivational tapes, humiliating costumes, urban negoes, Indian genocide, starbucks, public television pledge drives, yeast infections, saline solution, America.

If there's one thing I've learned about America; it's that the suburbs of Des Moines are in every way identical to the suburbs of Los Angeles. And office interiors can't be distinguished fron building to building.

The rest of the day rolled by in a blitzkreig of inertia.

I stared blankly at a spreadsheet. I wrote a company-wide memo on our new purchasing policy. I drafted a report on our target market. I entered sales figures into a database. I organized a recycling drive. I cold-called prospective clients. I assembled a cube while orienting a new employee. I reviewed our sexual harrassment policy. I developed a perl back end for our Web site and set up a new MySQL database. I played a game of solitare. I ordered a ream of paper from Office Depot (taking care of business). I took dictation from the CEO. I attended a brainstorming meeting. I cut costs. I surfed pornography sites on the Internet anonymously. I designed a new logo. I wrote the copy for our new ad campaign. I laid out the company newsletter in Quark. I locked myself in the men's room, masturbated, and started a small fire.

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Briefly:



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One good thing that's come from the Blind Date Blog trainwreck (which like all accidents is fascinating, until you realize that a friend of yours might have gotten hurt) is that I came across another really good blog, All About George, which is, of course, all about George.

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Back in the southeast, I would always hear suckers talking Old Miss weed. They called it G-40, or some such shit, and bragged and bragged about its potency. If I had a dollar for every Old Miss frat-boy type with tales of twisted thai stick peculated from the publics proprietary pot plants, why, there would be no need for that Amazon beg box you see below. (Of course, none could ever be produced on demand.) And then you come to Northern California, just down the road from Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Home of the chronic, the krypto, the kind, the hairy green death, the (as I like to call it) brainhammer. And you realize that the stuff back east--even the pricey expensive stuff that purported to be blueberry or shiva skunk--just didn't stack up. No way no how. And you realize that the crowd back east, unless they're smoking the stuff grown here, is getting shortchanged. Oh. And that Gubment stuff? Maybe it'll fly in mighty Mississippi, but out here, folks call it ditch weed.

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5.15.2002

AOL and Apple Strange bedfellows.

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Bush was warned of a bin Laden plot to hijack airplanes in the weeks before September 11

Mon Dieu. Could he possibly be any worse of a president? Let the shitstorm begin.

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I haven't felt this way in years. But today, for some reason, I feel like picking a fight. Ever get the urge?

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It beats nukes...




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There's a pretty cool NPR piece on grading CAHSEE tests. Yep. This is what I did, and will soon be doing again. (And yeah, I know who the interviewee is...)

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A few thoughts on Laurel Wellman's column.

1. Damn! I achingly want to see Dogtown and Z Boys.

2. Henry Rollins: Rob and I were having this exact discussion a few nights ago, when watching him pontificate about one hit wonders for VH1. Why is it that every time MTVH1acom runs some crap where they talk to a bunch of artists, Hank has to be there? What, does he live across the street from MTV?

3. Tight cords and old school Vans. Check. Now what?

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Here's my first contribution to The Mirror Project

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They were painful, humiliating, and useless.

Word.

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5.14.2002

I just found myself apologizing to a friend via email for not returning some of his emails. And I thought to myself... "I need to send out about ten more of these to other people as well." I have no excuse. I'm way behind on my email. But I am very, very sorry.

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I'm proud to host the following guest essay about Star Wars Episode II. A passage:
The New York Times' reviewer made a good point, though -- the movie is a pre-ordained blockbuster. I was one of the freaks who had some quibbles with Star Trek IV, but came up with a handy truism that applies here as well. They could film the entire cast sitting in lawn chairs discussing baseball statistics -- and millions of people would still go. Even knowing it was going to be the entire cast sitting in lawn chairs discussing baseball statistics. "Man, this movie does suck," they'd say. Ensconced in their non-refundable theatre seats, slowly seething.


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The earth moved last night, with the biggest earthquake in two years. It was a 5.2 and lasted for 10 seconds. I had just gotten off of the phone with you. I was standing, Rob was sitting on the couch. Rob pointed at something and said "things are shaking." Then I felt them and said "earthquake," and suppressed my urge to run outside and ran instead to the doorway of the bedroom. Rob came along. It lasted long enough for us to exchange nervous laughs and glances. Then it was over.

After a few seconds, the phone rang. I answered it, "HOLY SHIT!" I hear a "DID YOU FEEL THAT?" It's Jeff. He and James were in their living room. Boy. The place was really rocking. 5.2 quake rattles Bay Area / Temblor centered 3 miles from Gilroy.

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The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town

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3 notes on Laurel Wellman's column

1. Henry Rollins: Rob and I said the exact same thing. Watching some one hit wonder crap on VH1; there's Henry. It seems like every time there's any sort of retrospective across from the studio.

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5.13.2002

YIKES

That was a BIG one. Being discussed on metafilter.

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Listen up, mr. landlord
On www.craigslist.org, the ultimate guide to the Bay Area's pulse, apartment listings have jumped from under 500 a week in July to more than 6,500 a week now.


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Santa Cruz surfers and kayakers butt heads over waves -- I heart California

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Thanks Geoff!

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Cool

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Ut-Oh
We're going to be announcing a new partnership and feature to the site this week that's going to make a lot of ??? users happy and drastically increase the quality of the ??? service.


??? is one of the few Internet companies/services that I think really gets it right. But as much faith as I have in ???, it's been my experience over the years that when you see a message like that, it means the users are about four months away from getting reamed.

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Tom the Dancing Bug has a depressingly accurate depiction of the conflict in the middle east.

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Better than your average light show

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Ouch!

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I'm happy to report that I am most definitely not part of the Dido Demographic (total of three...via Shift)

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Admin notes

Well, it's been totally redesigned. I know it might not look too different, but that's a fact, Jack. I'm happy with the site's look, and from what I can tell, so are most of you. But I wanted to do a few things. 1) CSS 2) Clean up all the old code that had accumulated and was junking things up 3) I Make the page load faster 4) Add links to some of the articles I've written.

All of that is done. I totally reworked everything from the ground up. There are still a few more things that need doing, however. I need to update mylinks. The page nearly validates, but isn't quite there yet. A few things on the left could stand to be reorganized.

The one issue is Netscape 4. And what to do about that, I just dunno. According to sitemeter, it only accounts for about five percent of my visitors. But I had to decide (as many people do) whether I wanted optimized, standards-compliant code... or I wanted things to work in Netscape 4. N4 lost.

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Here comes Modest Mouse, again. I miss them and miss them and miss them... and now they're playing The Greek? Unbelievable.

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Harley Sorensen has inked the third piece I've seen on Dennis Kucinich in as many weeks. Maybe he really is the Chosen One.

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Even if you didn't bike to work today, you still have the rest of the week. Don't be intimidated just because you haven't done it before. When I started biking to work, I was a pack a day smoker and I got zero hours of exercise a week. But I became addicted. It changed my life. Try it. I'll even let you borrow my bike (not the 700).

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5.12.2002

Things are different. They probably look awful if you have Netscape 4. How's it look? Let me know.

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5.10.2002

Man. Andy is a flat-out thug. Peep his Waxy Backlinks.

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4270 7710 and counting. (warning: this could be it for your work day)

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I don't link to kottke.org very often because--like Matt Haughey or Evan Williams, folks who surf blogs are already reading his site anyway--so what do I contribute by pointing it out. But today I found Jason's response to a pair of articles on Salon to be as compelling as the articles themselves. All three are worth reading, so I thought I'd point them out.

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News Flash

FBI raids city hall

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Seven Songs and a Confession V

Remember: they aren't forever, just for now.
  • minutemen: felt like a gringo
  • Bootsy Collins: What so Never the Dance (Geoff: word)
  • Rancid: Roots Radical (which appears on one of the most under-rated albums of the 90s, imo)
  • Primus: Jerry was a Racecar Driver
  • The Specials: Message to You Rudy
  • Yo La Tengo: Oklahoma, USA
  • Pizzicato Five: Baby Love Child
And yours?

When I was a very little kid I adopted a stray dog, a poodle-mix mutt. I named her "Fifi," because, you know, that's what I thought you named poodles. My dad was out of town when I got the dog, and when he got back (from France no less) he put the smack down on the name "Fifi." But to his credit, he let me keep the dog, who became "curly" from that day forward. Years went by. Curly became my closest friend and companion--I was an only child, and as I've mentioned before, a solitary one at that. We did everything together. But then when I was 12, we got as new dog, a labrador we named Spot (we were really original with the dog names...). Spot could fetch and swim and wrestle with me. She was a respectable dog--big and beefy and purebred. Curly, who by now was old and not so much fun anymore, fell out faavor. She had gone blind, and perpetually smelled bad. And I became cruel to her. Although she was blind, she still knew her way around the house. But I used to pick her up and spin her around, disorienting her. Then I'd put her down and laugh as she wandered around bumping into things, trying to get her bearings. I would leave her in while I went out to play with Spot. I ignored my old dog. Worse, I was awful to her, I would tell her to get away, I wouldn't pet her, I just totally wrote her off. And she just got older and more decrepit. She eventually started to shit and piss all over the house, and my dad started putting her outside in this kennel during the day while my folks worked and I was at school.

One day when I was about 14, I came home from school with my friend Andy, and we went out back in the yard. It was a blistering hot Alabama day. Flies were buzzing all around the kennel. We walked over to see why. Curly was lying there dead, with her swollen tongue protuding out of her open mouth. Her eyeswere fixed open. In her darkness, she had stumbled into her water bowl and knocked it over. The heat killed her. I immediately called my mom, who came rushing home, crying. I had been too chickenshit to deal with Curly, and left her in the kennel, covered in flies, for my mom to take care of. My mom called my dad, who told me I should have called him and not her. Like a child, I yelled at him, and told him it was his fault (which it was not) for forcing her outside. We buried her in the yard.

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The Chron has an article on "Underground Zero," a series of 13 short films inspired by 09-11. It plays at the Roxie. I think I'm going to check it out this weekend. (Thanks Joe, Dave!)

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Yes!

I love Big Sur. It moves me, spiritually. I feel like I have a history there too. Harp and I were married there. My grandfather--a painter and dancer originally from Los Angeles--painted a picture of Big Sur that hangs in our apartment (Thanks Uncle Bobby!) that makes me feel like I have a historic connection there too. It's a beautiful country, and every time I go there I feel renewed, re-energized.

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The Forbidden Web

Andy has a really good idea for a search engine that just looks at robots files. Peep it. Build it. Yo Gusto El Electronet.

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Monday is Bike to work day.

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5.09.2002

Harp left town today to go stay with her folks for a stretch. I'm bummed out and don't feel too much like blogging. See ya tomorrow.

-Mat

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Andy illustrates the importance of destroying you old checks.

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There are a handful of Of Montreal Tour CDs available at the OM store

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5.08.2002

Yum. I haven't had a Bar-B-Que pork sandwich in I don't know how long. Sweet Tea too. It felt good to be back in Georgia again, even if it was only in my belly.

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This discussion on gun control is a perfect example of why I love MetaFilter.

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Wow. It's Luke Helder's manifesto. Scary.

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Everyone on the Web's gonna link to Mark Morford today. Everyone. Even him. Well, maybe not him.

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HUH?!? I don't see it. What do you think?

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Growing up in the South, I always looked forward to seasonal apples, tomatoes, peaches, green beans, and zucchini. Today, it's artichokes, asparagus, and yummy yummy mangoes. It's easy to forget, sometimes, that in addition to being the most populous state in the union with the fifth largest economy in the world, and home to the technology and entertainment industries, that California is also the nation's largest agricultural producer and exporter, with an annual production of $26.7 billion. It's fresher here in all sorts of ways.

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Shit from an old notebook

While I was working at Macworld, I wrote the better part of a novel while riding the 5 Fulton. I kept at it from about July of 2000 until March of last year, when I began to ride my bike to work each day instead1. And then, things sort of petered out. Sometime last summer, I lost the notebook. Yesterday, I found it. Today, I opened it, at random, to the following passage. I thought I'd share.
I woke up and went into work early today to try and pre-emp some of the shitstorm I'm bound to catch for skipping out yesterday. But my fucking keycard won't work. WTF?!? So I headed downstairs and across the street to Cafe Venue, where I got myself a soymilk chai latte and sat at an outside table.

Market Street is an explosion. So there I am. Rio player on the table. Headphones on, listening to "Ultra Obscene" and affecting a look of non-chalant, dot-commer chic. Today, I'm in nerd mode. Black glasses, too-small vintage sweater, orange plad pants, and a pair of gold Addidas with navy blue stripes.

I notice passersby casting furtive, jealous, wanting glances in my direction as I hold a cigarette between my thumb and first finger, at eyebrow level, with my elbow on the table. Capote cool. Men and women find me equally attractive. I am unassailable. Thinking about this gives me an erection.

At 9, I walk back up, but there is still nobody there. By 9:30 I know the score. I walked down the street to CompUSA and looked up FuckedCompany. Then I went home and began updating my resume.
How quaint, eh? How 2000. I'm now working on another book idea, and fortunately, I think I can swipe large chunks of the old and use it in the new.

(for therecord, I have two. Both Cannondales. One, an R700, is my road bike, the other a C400, is my city bike, complete with grocery rack)

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5.07.2002

Still, the city seems to be looking, to many people, a lot like utopia all over again.
Well said, Laurel.

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Jaguar, yo. Das fucking rad.

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My thoughts on the new Shadow.

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What did President Enron know, and when did he know it?

I assume that, by now, everyone has seen the stories on the Enron memos. But if not, read up Johnny. Something fishy afoot and it has President Enron has trout-feet.

I say impeach the unelected pretender. Payback is a bitch.

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KBK (who I should point out is one of my oldest and dearest friends) has been staying with us the last few days. He's been telling me about this woman Star who he's been playing with for a while. Today, he played me a couple of her songs from her old band The Subdebs. The songs are really good, and furthermore, the band is on what I think is the greatest indie label out there, Calvin Johnston's K Records. Color me impressed.

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On The Blind Date Blog...

I've been captivated by the Blind Date Blog. It has melodrama. It has action. It has Jezra mumbling his way towards immunity and infamy.

The game is in the (already) classic Survivor/Big Brother vein. Each week, readers vote for their favorite candidate. The contestant with the most votes receives immunity the next week. The two with the least get voted off. Essentially, it's Big Brother, but they all live in different houses and the last two standing go on a blind date. Simple, eh?

But the blind date portion of the game is really just gravy. It's a trick for the end, a hook. Meaningless. The contestants aren't really interacting with the members of the opposite sex, and there is virtually no "dating" going on whatsoever. Instead, the men are all talking about the men, while the women are all talking about, well, the men too. But mostly, folks are talking about themselves. Aside from some initial flirting, it's all been me, me, me.

And that's probably a good strategy for remaining in the game.

The story thusfar has centered around a few things: A) Ezra's swinging-dick bravado B) The drama between Jonathan and Jesse and C) Helen Jane's witty prose. And as a result, everyone has been talking about Ezra, Jonathan and Jessie. And that's why (unless someone else pulls out of the third-party gossip chatter) Jnathan will probably win immunity this week. Although everyone sees to think he's an ass, he's an ass that's getting *talked* about. And that's all that matters on the Electronet.

When I was interviewing Stephen Marshall of GNN, he was talking about the difficulty of rising above the "din and spectacle" of the Web. He said that in order to do so, you had to "come with better shit." It's simple, but true.

The Web is all about what's intersting; what can make that 9-5 bearable. (As opposed to TV which just has to be bearable on its own. It has nothing to rise above) And like them or not, Ezra and Jonathan are interesting. For that reason, people will vote to keep them on. And in the end, I suspect that the winners, male and female, will both be loudmouths. It's going to take an asshole to win.

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New songs from Watt

Wanna hear some songs from Watt's new album, The Secondman's Middle Stand? It doesn't come out until this Fall, but you can listen to a few live tracks online now.

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5.06.2002

Pandas need privacy too.

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Davezilla has a hillarious prank call up today. (Thanks Jen!)

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Thank goodness. I need 'em for laundry.

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5.05.2002

"For many, the choice was: Plug away at their current career or gamble on the Silicon Valley gold rush. If they lost the gamble, at least they could say they played the game. These are the stories of six people who, for better or worse, took the risk."

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5.04.2002

Cutest thing ever.

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5.03.2002

Hell yeah

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Excellent news to take you into the weekend.

The California Senate has passed the nation's first bill to limit carbon dioxide emissions from vehicle exhaust. Chatter fodder.

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Vote for EZ and Helen Jane, please.

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7 songs and a confession IV

Remember these are just for today, not forever.
  • Spearhead: Sometimes
  • Belle & Sebastian: Expectations
  • DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist: Brainfreeze Track 2
  • Liz Phair: Cinco De Mayo
  • The Beta Band: Dr Baker
  • Petra Hayden: Look Both Ways Before You Cross
  • Wilco: Heavey Metal Drummer
And yours?

I love to fuck with Ezra. I like to get him all riled up. I like to play practical jokes on him (such as commenting as someone else on his site(s). I like to encourage him to be a hot head, and really that cranium of his is warm enough to begin with. We met last night at The Fulton Street Bar, and I realized the poor guy is amped enough as it is. This Blind Date Blog has got him... well... completely fucking barking mad. Ezra: I'm sorry, but I can't help myself. That's just how I am.

I've always like playing jokes, practical jokes. When I was in college, I posted several fake ads on Usenet at the expense of my friend Tommy. Tommy used to be my Ezra, we were always playing jokes on each other (and I enjoyed making him smarter and more angry about THINGS). The two ads above are only a few of probably two dozen or so I posted one afternoon from Tommy's shell account at school (which I had helped him setup, and knew the password to). Tommy's phone was ringing off the hook for two days. He, literally, couldn't hang up the phone without it ringing. Tommy was furious. And he knew it was me. And the school got involved, because people complained about the fake posts, and the IS department contacted Tommy to find out why he'd posted a bunch of bogusads. Tommy (thankfully) claimed not to know who had done it, and they started looking into it. The school was calling it fraud, and there I was on the school's academic honesty committee, wondering if they kept video records of the computer lab. I hastily backtracked. Things were dodgy for a few days. I was nervous.

But damn it was funny.


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No more punking punks

In response to Ezra's half-witted, day late and a dollar short demand, I present this shot, which I took last week.

peep it EZ
(as always, click to enlarge)


It's great graf. Very beautiful. But I'm gonna miss the 25 years of punking punks.

Thanks Harry.

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Free the Weed and I'll say thank heavens.

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Wanna be in The Hulk?

415 346-CAST

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The Blind Date Blog

Everyone else just seems to be reacting to Ezra. Go EZ. You're the fucking king, buddy. (Remember to vote for ezra at www.blinddateblog.com today at 3).

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Gray Davis, you fucked up. I've never been a big fan of Gray, but then again, I've never been a Gray hater either, as many are. I think he's done a pretty decent job overall. Despite all the whining about power contracts, for example, Gray did keep the lights on last summer. He's..... Okay. But this mess with Oracle has the stink of graft. Bad. I think it's curtains for his presidential aspirations.

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The Bike Blog

So, a month or two ago, I started a Bike Blog. Then never updated it. And now, Amelia's called me out on it. But I'm going to start updating it. I promise. As of today, after I ride with KBK.

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5.02.2002

TooMuchCoffeeBlog

Say hello to Jenna.

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KBK is in town



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All of the sudden....

There are jobs again. Lots of them.

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Maybe it is Huck and Tom after all.

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ATTENTION! PHOTOS OF NAKED ZELDMAN

nuff said

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"No one tapped her after that"

Yeah. Well. I wouldn't think so.

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Ezra is Puck? You're damn right he is. Hey, at least it made MeFi.

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Best.Quiz.Ever.

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When I was in school in Athens (Georgia), I used to read the Flagpole each and every week. It was my guide to the wonderful city/town that I lived in. So I was especially happy to see this hillarious artiucle on Watt written in Pedro-speak appear there.

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She said butt cleavage

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5.01.2002

Neat-o

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Top of the world, ma

harp on the hill

mat on the hill


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Rob's done it. Harper's planning it. Mark Morford likes it. Maybe I should look into this fasting/detox thing. Wait.... Wait.... Okay, nevermind. The impulse is gone now.

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Let's Get Ready to Fumble

Ezra and Helen Jane are competing in a new online game show called the BlindDateBlog. Stay tuned.

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Last year, I set up a premium account. I'm sorry to say that I'm not renewing it.

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We went to see The Beta Band last night at The Fillmore. I've seen them once before, in 1999 at Bimbo's 365 club. When we saw them before, I didn't know anything about them at all, I just went to see them on a whim and Andy's recomendation. And I was blown away. It remains one of the better concerts/shows I've seen in San Francisco. They were the first band with a DJ I've ever seen where the arrangement really worked. Typically, when I've seen bands with DJs, the DJ has seemed like an afterthought. Or it seems like the band is trying too hard. Usually, having a DJ in your band is the moral equivalent of a drums / space set. But it works for the Beta Band. John MacLean, who DJs, samples and playes the keys for the Beta Band integrates seamlessly into the band. Indeed, their sound is dependant on him.

They were in excellent form last night. You could tell they are a touring band (rather than a studio-oriented band). They really mixed up several of their numbers. I didn't even recognize "Dr. Baker" when they began to play it. Like a lot of good bands, the fellows switched up the instruments they played throughout the night. Everyone in the band played more than one thing. During the encore, everyone played the drums/percussion. (They had two kits onstage.)

One highlight: the bass player checked twice to see if "John Sexton" had made it in yet. The second time, he had, and hooted from the balcony to signal his arrival. Sexton had just gotten married, and he and his new wife were late to the show because, well, because they were getting hitched. The band congratulated him, and then said "This is for you" and launched into "Dry the Rain." It was pretty fucking cool. Just a theory, but I'm guessing John got laid last night.

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Ian MacKaye and Mike Watt answer viewer mail.

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