Archive of Posts from September 2000

Ayn Rand is like a grain of sand in my eye – a minor irritant that causes me to pause a moment to rub it out. For some reason, every once in a while, I have to remind myself how great it is to see without sand in my eyes. So I purposely grab a speck of Rand. I was browsing through the old TiVo listings, when I saw that The Fountainhead (a movie?) was going to be on Turner Classic Movies. I set it to record out of morbid curiosity. Well, it turns out the movie is so bad that it turned into an ok experience. I was mostly doubled over in hysterics at the stilted dialogue. I was my own MST3K episode. I looked high and low for the screenplay online so I could give some examples, but couldn't find it. Here's an approximation of what the screenplay looks like:
INT. HOWARD'S OFFICE

Howard looks emotionlessly at a model of a building he has designed. It is a beautiful building that no one could possibly understand.

HOWARD

(coldly)

I am pushing the boundry of architecture to its limit.

SOMEONE ELSE

(with passion)

You can't do it! Give in to the masses! Stop trying to create something new and vital!

HOWARD

(flatly)

But this is modern. Form must follow function.

SOMEONE ELSE

You're insane! They'll kill you because of your ideas! Compromise! Compromise!

HOWARD

People should not work for the common good but for themselves. I am the greatest architect who ever lived.
Try to catch it if you can. Oh yeah, and Rand herself wrote the screenplay. (Good thing she didn't compromise and let a pro screenwriter do it.)

today's song: visions of johanna by dylan. But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off.

The Charge by Ron Padgett

That poem is from a book I have called Surrealist Poetry in English. It has some poems by Ron Padgett in it. There has to be a good link to some Padgett Poems. I'll see if I can dig one up.

good morning poem:

Daybreak
by Bert Meyers

Birds drip from the trees.
The moon's a little goat
over there on the hill;
dawn, as blue as her milk,
fills the sky's tin pail.

The air's so cold as a gas station
glitters in an ice-cube.
The freeway hums like a pipe
when the water's on.
Streetlights turn off their dew.

The sun climbs down from a roof,
stops by a house and strikes
its long match on a wall,
takes out a ring of brass keys
and opens every door.

right on, right on.

Chicago Tribune: And The Winner Is...: "Do you for one moment think Al Gore would have sounded that militant tocsin, among other matters, such as better health care, the minimum wage, firm affirmative action and the phoniness of school vouchers? He, who hitherto had been an errand boy for the Big Boys almost as much as Dubya. Not on your tintype. It was the fear of Nader's possible 5 percent that impelled Gore's spin doctors to add blood to his pallid being: Adopt Nader's platform, even if mildly so." [via sfblogs]

The latest Adbusters was in my mail yesterday. The cover has some great art by Chris Woods. It would be funny if it wasn't disturbing. In his own words, "The north-american mass-media world we live in is unique in human history and I feel that it has a deep impact. Advertising has become our primary belief system and it dictates to us the way we should behave and function."

I was thinking about how I saw that poem I mentioned the other day at the perfect time. There should really be more poems on walls. I love the poems on the muni platforms in San Francisco. If you have control of a wall or mass transit platform, consider putting one up.

On the drive home from work last night I heard an interesting quote on Fresh Air. David Leavitt was quoting a psychologist friend of his: "Everything is about sex. Except sex, which is about aggression."

The Stiff Guy vs. the Dumb Guy: [Jay Leno on political jokes:] "Viewers know what spin doctors are, and they understand," he says. "But you have someone come out and tell the truth, and it's really hard to do a joke about that guy, you know? How many Ralph Nader jokes do you hear? You don't. Here's a guy, he comes out and tells it like it is. My job's over!"

this is about where I live. Sebastopol council could go Green: "Although the race is officially nonpartisan, Sebastopol voters hold the power this season to place a Green Party majority on their city council for the first time." Isn't it great?

skp and I eat at Pasta Bella in Sebastopol quite a bit. On the wall there is a poem by Mary Oliver. As we were eating dinner on Saturday night, I was thinking about Fray Day 4. I was amazed to see how well this poem captured my thoughts about the event. It probably sounds like one of the hundreds of "inspirational story" emails you get every day. ;) Here it is anyway:

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

here is my contribution to Behind the Curtain.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN: a day in the life of webloggers is up!

skp and I spent the day at a ropes course near Occidental. The weather was beautiful, and the other folks there were great to hang out with. skp's friend vanessa works out there...and she had a chance to bring along some friends and family. I learned a lot about groups, trust, goals, fear, limits, the perception of time, and mental blocks.


skp on the zip line


monkey me

fray day 4

Salon.com : Interview with Gore Vidal : "...But the media won't do it [inform the public], they're all run by the corporations, so it's all locked up. So that just leaves Noam Chomsky and me." and the Internet.

Come to think of it, why would anyone write a book in 2020? I take it all back. It's all about bits. Atoms are too heavy. And memories are dreams about illusions. Fiction is where truth is. And poems about fiction are fun to think about.

And of course, while I'm dreaming big, I'd like to see: onfocus : images. oh wait, this site is called onfocus, and it's a place where I publish images. It's not so much a dream after all.

On the way home, I was imagining myself in 20 years, living in a dank London flat – far away from the California coast. What book could I write? I came up with several exposť possibilities. One of these titles may be coming to a bookstore near you in 2020:
  • Blogger, Buddha, and Big Ben
  • Megnut: An Abridged History
  • MetaMan: The Haughey Effect
  • What Jack Wrote
  • Beyond Beebo: Fame and Bandwidth
  • The "Evan" Strategy
  • Java and Jack Daniels: The Beat Code of Mthology
  • The Neale Problem: Real-World Solutions
I've actually been gathering material for these books for quite a while now. I have a nice little career ahead of me. (uh-oh, will this jeapordize my access to the inside scoop?)

I just got back from hearing a local author speak about his book. Ken Mansfield talked about his wild ride from US head of Apple Records to a more anonymous man living in a small fishing town. He talked about how he got his book, The Beatles, The Bible, and Bodega Bay published. (official book info here.) He had a number of interesting stories about the Beatles. I love going to book readings because I think I'd like to be an author someday. (More in my next post.)

hot enough for ya?


this used to be my mailbox

sometimes, at 5 am, drunk people on four-wheelers crash into your mailbox, through your fence, and into the tree in your front yard. strange but true. at least true in my experience. now.

that picture was taken in Garberville, CA outside of a diner. it's a very small town in the middle of the redwoods. that day I wore my <body> shirt. at lunch, the waiter commented on it. "That's HTML, right?" he asked. "Yep," I smiled. When I got the bill at the end of the meal he had written: <center>T H A N X</center> on it. Living in the Bay Area, I sometimes forget that there are places where being a web geek is still subculture.

I sound like an old man in my last post. Why, back in my day there were only 10 weblogs. And we liked it!

Nikolai takes a trip down memory lane. (I remember back when fairvue was a sub directory of spacemonkeys.net.) Congrats on a year.

I watched Ralph Nader on Leno last night b/c I heard he was going to be on. That just wasn't his type of gig. Comedy is not his shtick. It's good to see him get some national exposure, though. They didn't talk about any issues, other than the debates. It was interesting to me that his campaign doesn't accept any corporate contributions, it's entirely funded by private individuals. Yet there he is on national tv. I hope he hits a national tv venue where he can talk seriously about issues. He has a lot of great things to say. Even if he's not elected, his ideas should be in the ring.

Sometimes when you're reading five books at once (and enjoying them) and sure that you'll finish them soon so you can get to more that are waiting, you decide to start another book. Then this new book is so much more fun than the other five that they all have to go on hold. Well, this new book for me is Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman. I stayed up way too late last night reading it. I feel like these famous authors are battling it out on my nightstand; sorry Brian Eno, Richard Feynman wins again!

there was an amazing sunset tonight. I was sitting in front of the computer when I saw the orange light on the deck. I ran to grab my camera. I was rewarded with a towering rainbow and crisp orange clouds, with an intensly blue background. I almost used an entire roll of film trying to capture the scene...most of time with the camera pointed up, snapping the sky. I take a lot of pictures of the sky. Like this one. or this one. and especially this one.

If you want to see more of Ferndale, check out these virtual reality panoramas. They're some kind of neat.


a church in Ferndale, CA

when you have to explain the joke it's usually past the funny point. This site, though, made me laugh. Especially the What Miller might have meant section. (and not for the jokes you can see -- if you catch my meaning.) What I might have meant: what I might have been trying to say is that sometimes they're overtly trying to be funny...that's not funny. It's when they're not trying to be funny that they are. Just the existance of that section is funny. And that beating the joke (as you might a dead horse) won't make it funny. Because, you see, a dead horse will not go (no matter how much you beat it). [via dandot]

skp sent this snippet from the Santa Rosa paper:
From Sept.13 to 17 in downtown Santa Rosa, Tibetan Buddhist monks will painstakingly create the complex Mandala of Compassion in sand. On the fifth day, the finished work will be swept away in a ceremony symbolizing the impermanence of all things. The event is a benefit for The Monastery Project, a volunteer organization based in Sebastopol planning to build a monastery in Kathmandu next year.
she added, "That's the coolest thing ever." yep.

Here's the Holiday Inn commercial. Thanks, Andre! Note: This is not an endorsement for Holiday Inn, it's an endorsement for comedians from Lincoln, Nebraska.

It's nice to see someone from my hometown hitting the big time then realizing their dream: "...his success with Holiday Inn has allowed him to pursue another dream: He's finishing a movie about fish in his hometown of Lincoln, Neb. Specifically, it's about a man who starts a carp farm on an abandoned piece of property." I haven't seen the ad. I can't imagine that a spot in a commecial could bankroll a film, but what do I know? [link via whim & vinegar]

All last night and
This morning still,
Snow falling in the deepest
   mountains;
Ah, to see the autumn leaves
Scattering in my home.

- Dogen

Camera

Let me gaze, gaze forever
into that single, vaguely violet eye:
my fingertips dilate
the veiled pupil circumscribed
by crescent leaves of metal
overlapping, fine as foil, and oiled.

Let me walk, walk with its weight
as telling as gold, declaring
precious works packed tight:
the air is light,
all light, pure light alive
with the possibility of capture.

Let all, all be still until
the cleaver falls: I become female,
having sealed secure
in the quick clicked womb of utter black, bright semen
of a summer day, coiled fruit
of my eyes' axed rapture.

- John Updike

the birthday madness won't stop! tuesday I came home to find two boxes from Amazon waiting for me. that's not unusual, but I didn't remember ordering anything. It turns out they were gifts. A clever person found the amazon wish list I set up last year, and sent The Zen Poetry of Dogen. Another box had John Updike's Collected Poems. The poems from these two books are very different, and I think that receiving them at the same time will make me draw connections I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Thanks, hs!

what, me worry? [via dack]

ripping W. a new A.

the birthday hits just keep on comin'. Matt gave me a copy of Philip Greenspun's Travels With Samantha. I'm a big fan of his photo.net site...and his photography. The book is a travelogue organized by days. I think it will give me some great ideas for my pictures and this weblog.


looking back

skp thought I posted the two most boring photos from this weekend's trip. I have better ones on the way...I promise.

here are five pictures from SolFest where I heard Ralph Nader speak.

happy labor day! The cynical side of me is surprised this holiday survived the red scare. (yikes.) The non-cynical side of me says right on! here are some more labor links.

I saw a sign on Highway 1 that said: "Truckers -- easy on the jake brake." Besides being a cool rhyme, I wondered what the hell a jake brake is. According to the Internet, jake braking is "letting up on the accelerator so that the jake brake on the engine is engaged." huh. here's how it works.

I picked up a great book in Eureka, CA. It's called Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity. It's a collection of reprinted articles from Hutchings' California Magazine (see the description at the bottom of the page) printed in 1856 through 1861. It has great woodcuts...and slices of life from the early days of Western culture on this coast. It reminds me of a media history project in college where I spent hours scouring old newspapers on microfilm from this time period. I always thought it would be fun to be a media historian, but I couldn't find a career path there. ;)


road along the lost coast (facing north)


road along the lost coast (facing south)

btw, blog*spot is pretty darn cool. If you've been waiting to use Blogger b/c you couldn't figure out the FTP stuff, wait no more. Just sign up for an account, click create a blog, and choose the blog*spot option. (you can always move it to another server later.) It takes about 3 minutes to set up. check it out now. (did I mention it's free?)

and wouldn't you know it...while I'm off playing around the north coast, my co-workers are extremely busy. I feel like I have some catching up to to do.

The lighthouse plan didn't work out so well. Instead we went on a back roads tour. We visited the "lost coast" of California...and saw lots of redwoods. I took three rolls of film.


point arena lighthouse

greetings from the road! skp and I are in Fort Bragg, CA. Our tenative mission is to see a bunch of lighthouses on the California coast...it seemed as good an excuse to explore this area as any. Tomorrow we're going farther north. We've been to the Point Arena lighthouse before, but we stopped again anyway. And we saw whales! I'd never seen them before. I took a few pictures with my 35mm camera's zoom lens. I hope they turn out.