Posts from March 2001

Just for the record, yesterday ended up much better than it started. skp and I went out to Armstrong Woods toward the end of the day. There's something about sitting in complete silence (the only sound I could hear was the sound I made straining to listen for sounds), surrounded by ancient trees, that makes insurance, taxes, and Internet problems seem silly.

I'm not the only one mad at AT&T today. [via metafilter]

Meg's thoughts that people associate with like minds (3.29.01) reminds me that people often idolize like minds as well. Daniel Boorstin's thoughts on celebrity: "...the celebrity is usually nothing greater than a more-publicized version of us." If our associates and idols are mirrors, how can we ever change our reflections? Seung Sahn said, "The one who praises you is a thief. The one who criticizes you is your true friend." And said, "people who like this book also purchased..."

Complaining Posts Suck

yeah, I know. But when you're surrounded by this much suck, you can't help but suck. Emerson said, "You become what you think about all day long." Tonight and tomorrow I'll think about all of the good things.

Bathrooms Suck

huh? yeah, to top it all off, my toilet backed up today and left the bathroom in 2 inches of water.

HR Companies Suck

but you knew that. At my previous place of employment, we outsourced our HR to a company called Vertical Partner. They took care of payroll, health benefits, legal documents, etc. After loosing employment, I sent in the forms to get COBRA health insurance. Today, I received the letter back with a hand written note on the outside that said, "You have no COBRA rights, VP is closed. -Michael." Very professional.

AT&T Sucks

but you knew that. Today my office doesn't have an Internet connection. AT&T purchased the DSL provider because they are going out of business. They decided to alienate me (along with 100,000 DSL customers) by denying us service...instead of taking our money.

tom posted some macro flower pictures taken in his garden in Dublin. [via derek] Spring is on its way.

song of the day: Buildings and Bridges by Ani Difranco. "we are made to bleed / and scab and heal and bleed again / and turn every scar into a joke"

Don't worry. I was not harmed by the machine in the taking of this photo.

skp and I went for a hike today at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. It was a great day for hiking and I took a bunch of pictures. The rain yesterday had filled the creeks. Moss was growing on everything that doesn't move. Wildflowers were in bloom and there was a cool breeze. Perfect!

This is not the moon,
Nor is this the spring,
Of other springs,
And I alone
Am still the same.

- Ariwara No Narihira (translated by Kenneth Rexroth)

In case you haven't noticed, this site is all about the cat pictures. (Here are some that I've posted.)

"So when you try hard to make your own way, you will help others...Before you make your own way you cannot help anyone, and no one can help you."
- Shunryu Suzuki


"The shortest answer is doing."
- George Herbert

My favorite picture from this weekend...Matt's cat Mozilla performing amazing feats of height.

scenes from this weekend:
a japanese tea garden and armstrong woods

austin by day


skp was mowing the backyard for the first time this year today. needless to say, the grass was a bit long after this rainy winter. As she was clearing the jungle, she noticed a brown, furry forest dweller emerge from some uncut growth. It was a California Brown Tarantula. I had no idea we had tarantulas here in North America. I thought they were some exotic tropical creature from far, far away. Anyway, it's true. They're not poisonous...and this little guy didn't seem very threatening. (other than his looks.) I found this article about them.

stop stealing my soul. ;)

Here are a few of the things I saw at sxsw. I have more photos, and I'll be posting them at sxswb or on this page soon.

yay, I'm home. and I'm tired. I'm still trying to digest sxsw. I didn't take nearly as many pictures this year, but it was about quality not quantity. And I took quite a few photos that can be used for blackmail. Those are the best. It might be my new career. heh.

still here in Austin. not much time to post. lots of people, places, panels, and parties. Too much to do. Great chips and salsa everywhere, even at non-mexican-food places. The best margaritas everywhere, even at non-margarita places. More panel discussions tomorrow. Stay on target...stay on target...


I had a very nice welcome to Austin last night. Erik and I grabbed some tasty food and beverages, and took a walk around 6th St. and the warehouse district. He knows (and reveals) a little too much about my checkered past on his website. (March 8th entry.) Thanks a lot, Erik! :) I finally took a look at his web project today. I like the quote of the day:

"A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are made for."
--J.A. Shedd

the grackle

I woke up very early this morning to the sound of a thousand monkeys being slaughtered. It turns out it was just a flock (dissimulation?) of grackles. Man, what a racket. I'm not the only one who isn't in love with this bird. Ogden Nash was moved to poetry. You can hear the awful screeching here, then imagine that lone grackle cackle in a group of hundreds.

This time tomorrow I'll be in Austin. If you are going to be in Austin for sxsw and would like to discuss issues of the day, drop me a line. Since I've been out of work for a little while, I haven't been interacting with many people in real life. If I stare blankly while you are addressing me, simply shake vigorously.

News Flash: US marijuana supply to decrease by 0.0001%. Mexico confident it can make up the difference.

Hot and Cool

So I'm reading McLuhan's Understanding Media. His classification of any medium as either hot or cool is especially interesting. He says a hot medium is high definition, low on interactivity, specialized, and usually limited to one sense. Examples of hot media he gives are radio, film, and books. Cool, on the other hand is low-fi, interactive, generalized, and engages more senses. The telephone, comics, and TV are classified as cool by Marshall. I realize this distinction is a continuum, not black and white. (I think read somewhere that Baudrillard, using this scheme, called all media cool.) But it's still useful for thinking about a system in general instead of focusing on content. So I asked the following question to try to understand this metaphor better:

Are weblogs a hot or cool medium? (there are arguments for both.)


  • primarily text
  • one-way
  • immediate (thought to publish)
  • structured (loosely by time)
  • one sense (visual)
  • chatty, spoken word
  • interactive
  • expressive
  • casually constructed
  • not usually "packaged" (random observations)
  • non-specialized (thanks to weblog tools)
Based on this, I think I would call weblogs a cool medium that used to be hot.

He goes on to classify cultures as either hot or cool, and makes predictions about how temperatue clash can affect them.

I'm still having trouble with the clissifications. Shows like X-Files or ER seem to make TV a hot medium, while talk shows and "reality" TV seem to make it a cool medium. But then I'm missing the point about not focusing on content.

Anyway, great book. :)

secret word for today: somnambulism: an abnormal condition of sleep in which motor acts (as walking) are performed.

P2P Conference

I didn't go to the O'Reilly P2P conference. But I feel like I have after reading Graeme Thickins' conference wrap-up. [via Doc] I especially like his list of quotes. One of my favorites:

"All the web logs should be able to work together intelligently."
-Rob ("CmdrTaco") Malda, co-creator,

Here's a view of posts that mention "sxsw" from this blog in chronological order. (why? because I can... ;)

sxsw music

I'm going to miss not going to sxsw music this year. I've been going for quite a while. Every year I see some amazing shows and hang out with geographically dispersed friends. Here are some of my favorite shows that I experienced through the years:
  • George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars at Austin Music Hall '95 - Amazing. It seems like every musician in Austin for SXSW joined the P-Funk on stage that night. I remember that Chuck D and The Fugees were really good. And the love. I remember the love.
  • Soul Coughing at Austin Music Hall '97 - At the end of the show, M. Doughty said, Goodnight People of Austin and Jaded Music Industry F***s Alike. At one point the guitar tech came out on stange buck naked when he handed Doughty a new guitar. It just seemed to capture the spirit of the whole thing somehow. Oh, and the music was great as always.
  • Tragically Hip at Liberty Lunch '94 - Gordon Downie was constantly creating automatic poetry between and during songs...pacing back and forth onstage.
  • Gomez at La Zona Rosa '00 - You just have to see these guys live.
  • Propellerheads at La Zona Rosa '98 - Super plus electronic fun. Who knew two guys with turntables, drums, and a bass could put out so much energy?
  • Buffalo Daughter at Liberty Lunch '98 - This was a retro techno rockshow. They have a great groove, and I felt like I was hearing something completely new. Or something I've always heard in a new way.
  • Posies at Waterloo Brewing Co. '95 - Because I like the Posies and the beer at Waterloo.
Each year I discovered at least one great band that became a personal favorite. Ahh well, there will be others.