Posts from November 2001

I probably won't be posting for a while. I'll be on a train soon riding across the West. Through snow this time. And I'll be back with pictures. (like last time.)

The city council where I live is thinking about implementing a "no car day" on the first Sunday of every month. It seems to have polarized folks on both sides of the issue, and the meeting last night almost turned into a brawl.

Thanks to a tip from the music underground, I went out of my way to find a copy of Röyksopp's Melody AM CD. It's not available in the US, so I ordered it from the friendly folks at Norman Records, Leeds, UK. It was worth the effort.

How much is your local TV news influenced by the people who buy ads? Too much, according this latest report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism: "A quarter of news directors in small markets, those under 376,000 households, report that they have been pressured to censor their news. One news director in the Rockies described the situation as 'a very large problem in this market.'" If the pressure from advertisers to alter content is this bad at the local level, I can only imagine how bad it is for national news where the sums of money and numbers of viewers at stake are much, much higher. And with the economy in a slump, television news will need to find ways to remain profitable and keep advertisers. [via sotd]

Something tells me you won't see this reported in the news.

I made a little bookmarklet to run any page you're looking at through an HTML validator. If you'd like to use it, drag this link:


to your toolbar. Because we all need validation. It's just a shortcut to opening a separate window for the site, pasting the URL, hitting submit, etc. I've only tested it with IE5. Void where prohibited.

Ever wonder how to make homemade pasta? I did. And I got a demo this weekend. It goes a little like this:
flour and eggs mix, knead, add semolina crank to flatten cut add sauce. bam!
It was great!


Dig out your copy of 1984 by George Orwell. Read it. Then read about the sweeping changes our current administration is putting into place. This is not American, and this is not temporary. We should all be protesting in the streets.

sky blur

Sorry I've been neglecting you, gentle onfocus reader, I've been very busy.

Man, we really are living under a showery regime. It's been pouring the past two days. Reminds me of this description of the Northern California seasons from the book I'm reading by Le Guin: "...the turn from one season to the other is less transition than reversal. A few dark-grey, pouring days when the burnt and sodden brown hills brighten suddenly into the aching, piercing green of the new grass." My backyard turned from brown to green overnight this weekend.

Last night I was watching the local news weatherperson describe the weekend's outlook. She said we'd see a showery regime thanks to a new trough scenario. I wonder if the barrage of military speak in the media is bleeding into our everyday vocabulary. oops, I mean word arsenal. Maybe it's always been there and I'm just noticing it now.

I was not hallucinating when I saw a beautiful deep red sky last night. It was the Northern Lights! (or a version of that phenomenon.) According to, "A fast-moving coronal mass ejection that billowed away from the Sun on Nov. 4th swept past our planet at 0150 UT on Nov 6th (8:50 p.m. EST on Nov 5th). The impact triggered a severe geomagnetic storm and widespread auroras reaching as far south as Florida, Texas, and California in the United States." That also explains why my positronic brain experienced a surge of tachyon particles. They have a gallery of aurora images from last night. An article in the local paper said some people thought it might be the work of terrorists, or a fire.

Someone woke up on the wrong side of the marketing bed this morning. (me.) I haven't been able to shake a feeling of dread since I heard this line in a story about DoubleClick (scroll down to Sydell) yesterday on NPR: "DoubleClick appears to be moving beyond pop up ads into areas more likely to expand, like email marketing." Can email marketing expand any more than it has? ugh.

Some call advertising pollution in the mental environment. Others call it a perpetuation of the fetishism of commodities. Still others would call advertising annoying simply because it's showing up in every available space and aspect of our lives. I believe it's time for the biggest advertising firms to band together to weather this storm. They should hire one or two of the biggest PR firms to launch a rebranding campaign for advertising itself. I can picture billboards, banner ads, radio spots, posters, product placements, pbs uderwriting, stickers, songs, books, celebrity endorsements, and TV commercials extolling the virtues of advertising. They could even pay average webloggers like me to make positive posts about advertising. With enough money, they could kickstart some grassroots organizations to raise awareness of the affect of advertising and its contributions to our culture. After all, it's putting you in touch with--or shaping your opinions about--things you may want to purchase now or in the future.

On an unrelated note, I realized today that my .sig file is completely underutilized. I send 5-10 emails per day, and I'm not selling anything! I could be using my email signature to create valuable consumer impressions for a willing organization. I wouldn't even charge for it, because it would be providing a valuable service to my friends and associates. I would be appreciated by both sides!

Today's post has been brought to you by Enron: Discover the Power of Why.

At my favorite diner, one of the waitresses wears a nametag that says Diana Hunger.

Diamonds funding Al Queda? [link via] What a tangled web. Makes me wonder how far the U.S. will go to shut off their money supply, especially if it could affect U.S. business. I wonder what De Beers (the world diamond cartel) says about this. Will it become unpatriotic to buy a diamond?

I downloaded an MPthree file of the song "I've Told Every Little Star" from the Mulholland Drive soundtrack. It's a sickeningly sweet and innocent early 60's song recorded in a Lynchian style. This version has an edge that seems to be slyly saying, Pink is the new Black, with just too much reverb on the vocal for comfort. It also has that Twin Peaks style tremelo-loaded guitar. Now I can't get it out of my head! Devil music!!