August, 2007: 38 posts.
there are some bad people on the rise
there are some bad people on the rise
theyre saving their own skins by
ruining other peoples lives
bad, bad people on the rise
young married couple in debt
…ever felt had ?
young married couple in debt
…ever felt had ?
oh a government scheme
designed to kill your dream
oh mum, oh dad
once poor, always poor
la la la la la
the one that you took
tell the truth
it really helped you
an interesting drug
the one that you took
god, it really really helped you
you wonder why you were only half-ashamed?
Yay! This is good news for the accountability of elections. I know I’ve not posted much in the way of politics in the past year — frankly there’s not been much in the way of good news on any fronts, but this, from my own Republic of California.
California Secretary of State – Voting Systems Review
Secretary of State Debra Bowen began her top-to-bottom review of the voting machines certified for use in California in March 2007. The review was designed to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of the electoral process and to ensure that California voters are being asked to cast their ballots on machines that are secure, accurate, reliable, and accessible.
I’m not much for religious messages here on the blog, at least not lately. God is where God is found. That is where. Lately God is found at the beach. Also, in music. Also laughter. Also in small things. Even films can have God in them. Despite the language and violence, I believe there to be spiritual truth in the movie Ghost Dog. It quotes heavily from the text Hagakure.
In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said, “If discrimination is long, it will spoil.” Lord Naoshige said, “When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.”
When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side.
This evening I went to my current favorite beach — Thornhill Broome Beach in Camarillo, south of Point Mugu. It’s part of Point Mugu State Park. There’s not much online with photos, it’s rather spartan, being on the grounds of a State Park it’s been saved from being colonized houses and commercial properties. I like to think that the tax bill I’m paying off with them as though it’s user fees for that beach. God bless the Great State of California.
I really am enjoying California these days. Expensive though it may be to live here, I dig the place. I was born here. No immigrant me, though like many things, like San Diego, The Catholic Church, it’s something I come back to and leave periodically.
That’s what it looked like in 2004 when californiacoastline.org took a photo. You can see lifeguard tower #8, manned by a lifeguard during the day. Actually, they all seem to be teen boys, no more than 17 to look at them, but I won’t renege on calling the small blue buildings “manned.” The lifeguard kindly tells me the temperature of the water when I ask. Though today I didn’t ask. It was a little blown out and I just wanted to get out there. I wonder what he makes of the large, flabby hairy man who spends an inordinate amount of time getting pummeled by the unruly, strong waves. I wonder if he would agree with my contention that he (that is, me) is bodysurfing? I feel better having him there, the California State website says that when he’s on duty, there’s a one in 18 million chance that I’ll die by drowning.
I got some great rides today. It takes a great amount of force to move a man who weighs 24 stone. And I love that the waves can do that. Frankly, I enjoy it when the water is so strong I’m forced under for a time. I like being batted around. That means there’s real force happening. More force makes better rides. If I stop to think about the thousands of pounds of water that allow me to move at great speed I might get intimidated. Actually, I do think about it, and there’s a healthy respect that one might call fear. When I do too much I take a break. I haven’t been too scared there yet this year, but there’s still time.
If I nearly drown I think that teenage lifeguard will take good care of me. More money well spent with the State! Thanks Cali!
Thinking about the State as a “member state” of the dysfunctional family of states we call the United States, for some reason gets my mind thinking about how it might be different. In William Gibson’s novel Virtual Light there are two political entities, Los Angeles resides in SoCal, while San Francisco resides in NoCal. It’s not impossible to envision. In fact, California is already split. When you go to, say, Cabo San Lucas or Rosarito, you’re going to “Baja California” — well jimbo, that makes where I am “Alta California.” We dont’ call it that anymore, because of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. There’s a great page over on wikipedia showing the territorial evolution of Mexico.
Speaking of William Gibson, I’ve been looking forward to his new book for nine months, and the time’s almost here. I may even have time to read it. I know I enjoy reading his blog. Check out Spook Country on Amazon. It comes out Tuesday. I wonder if the local library will get a copy?
Effective January 1, 2007, the city of Moorpark has chosen to leave the Ventura County Library system.
When I was working in Ojai I dug being able to return stuff from Simi Valley there, and vice versa. I’m not sure how a small town can expect to go it alone with good services, but I wish them well. As I have more free time (theoretically -Ed) I think about how it might be fun to volunteer at the library a few hours a month. I don’t even know if they have anything like that set up though. When I was a teenager I enjoyed working at the downtown public library in San Diego.
What does the title of this post have to do with anything, why it’s a translation of a lyric from Frank Zappa.
I am the heaven
I am the water
I am the dirt beneath your rollers
I am your secret smut
And lost metal money
Down your cracks
I am your cracks & cranniesI am the clouds
I am embroidered
I am the author of all tucks
And damask piping
I am The Chrome Dinette
I am The Chrome Dinette
I am eggs of all persuasions
I am all days and nights
I am all days and nights
I am here
And you are my sofa
I am here
And you are my sofa
I am here
And you are my sofa
That’s translated from the German language, which how the Big G speaks whenever it’s Heavy Business.
I am eggs of all kinds. I am the Chrome Dinette. And you are my sofa.
I enjoy seeing other people’s offices. I like seeing what kind of gear they use, how they have things set up. The current set up works pretty well. It could be better, but it serves me right now. If you look at the photo on flickr you can see what some of the objects are.
Touring with his new novel Spook Country. I think I can make it. Leah, want to go with me? We can make a night of it!
UPDATE: By the way, booktour.com, you were USELESS in bringing me this information. You have one event listed for Gibson, and are not updating it. What good is a customized RSS by author if the data is not current? You’ve got work to do before I rely on you for anything. One might think that Gibson in particular (having coined the word “Cyberspace” twenty-some years ago) would merit current data, but one would be disappointed in that. Fans love this crap, why is there no easy way for me to suggest the book tour dates? Your teeny “Add events to BookTour” link wants me to be an author or publicist. Boo! That’s crap. Why not accept suggestions then have a vetting process? Or accept them and list them as “NOT CONFIRMED” as you build your database of bookstores and other venues where writers speak? Then it’s simple enough to edit that stuff. I was excited to read about your site on The Long Tail blog of Chris Anderson, but I’m disappointed by this.
Meta: Is it just me, or does it seem like I am blogging again? Enough of this vox and twitter and flickr an especially delicious bull. I will continue to use the services that have utility, but they take my eye off the ball as far as what I’m trying to do online. Look on my works, ye mighty, are unfocused… despair!
At lunch today I won $20 on a bet. I’ll take possession of the dough at lunch tomorrow.
The obscure knowledge in question was “Who wrote the book that Total Recall was based on?”
The answer is of course Philip K. Dick — the novelette was “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” which I actually purchased as a chapbook at Comic-Con in 1990 and promptly lent to my buddy Chris Greazel. I think maybe I should ask for that back. Hah. Somehow I think that might be lost.
The counterclaim was that it was Robert Heinlein. Laughable.
Anyone want to take me on in trivia? I
could use need the money.
Lyrics for the week:
Focusing on nowhere
I’m a seeker
I’m a really desperate man
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die
I learned how to raise my voice in anger
Yeah, but look at my face, ain’t this a smile?
I’m happy when life’s good
And when it’s bad I cry
I’ve got values but I don’t know how or why
I’m looking for me
You’re looking for you
We’re looking in at other
And we don’t know what to do
They call me The Seeker
I’ve been searching low and high
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die
My brother-in-law Rick has a new show at the Ruth Bachofner Gallery, entitled Zzyzx Road, as part of that show several new paintings have been placed (by me) on the Paintings page on his site. I find Rick to be an interesting character. At once he reminds me of my father to some extent, but he’s so not. He’s just a man, and a father, and a brother-in-law. I enjoy the fact that his paintings have mathematical precision, but inlaid with primal and base native arts. It’s interesting to see the id and the superego play so easily together.
The Ruth Bachofner Gallery is located in Santa Monica. I’m hoping to get down there before the show closes September 1st. If you’re in the L.A. area, I surmise it’s worth a look. As a bonus, I can tell you that Bergamot Station is worth visiting anytime.
For some weeks I’ve been enjoying the vicious and rather dirty blog uncov — which attempts to deflate Web 2.0 hype by exposing the crap that passes for clever technology, they are particularly cruel to TechCrunch, who does seem to hype each and every dumb startup and site to the moon.
I was delighted to find that the uncov guys Ted and Kyle actually have dayjobs. It’s called Persai and it’s new. They haven’t launched anything, but they are collecting all RSS and Atom feeds. Like many startups, they have a blog. I noticed that ArtLung blog feed url is contained in their feed corpus. Quite an “honor” to be one of the 118524 feeds included. Though I suspect they got the feed url not by lovingly visiting my site along with more than a hundred thousand others; I suppose they spidered technorati or one of the other blog metadata aggregators for feeds.
Just after I looked at the corpus yesterday I checked out this post on Sam Ruby’s site where he spidered the whole thing to see the availability of the feeds in question.I believe that I’m one of the Status Code 307: Temporary Redirects, since I’m using FeedBurner for my feeds these days. My feed is still available at the old URL, but not a simple 200. This is in my opinion an appropriate code because I want the latitude to move to a different service. Smart feed parsers should be able to cope with this.
Most of this is not of interest to my own readers, but I will point out that other great snarky websites dedicated to talking about the rampant mediocrity in web dev are Coding Horror and WorseThanFailure.
Leah’s response when I sent her a link to lpcoverlover.com — a blog that shows the covers of old LPs was “talk about a blog with a singular purpose.”
Today there’s one I really like:
And Leah’s reaction was “oh my god. that is awesome.”
And of course she’s right. Soundtracks I understand, but soundtracks for reading? This is a new and incredible concept. Well, maybe it’s not actually a new concept, since this is decades old. But still.
I have spent more time than you may be able to imagine looking at old records — LPs, singles, 12″ singles, cassettes, CDs — and there are way more than you can imagine out there. I have the patience to look at every single record in a record store if I have the time. I just let the torrent of visual input — imagery, artist names, titles, the age of the record, how it has worn — wash over me. I would not be a fan of Dead Can Dance or Roxy Music were it not for running into their records in record stores and wondering “what is this?”
lpcoverlover.com features all kinds of records. ALL kinds. It’s a wonderful blog to let wash over you.
This morning I saw this post on LAist about Google Maps Street View in L.A. That works well, but despite the fact that I live approximately in Los Angeles I was more interested in San Diego views. And downtown, my old stomping grounds is pretty well covered. When I was 18 years old (uh, that’s like 19 years ago hoss) I worked at the Central Library, pictured here inside the Street View interface at fullscreen:
I like what they’ve done here. The interface has a lot going on, and despite some unsure clicking on my part, I managed to get around okay. I like the convention of having the marker you place change when you pick it up. The animation here reminds me of editing a Mii on a Wii, where you sort of pick the avatar up and he sort of struggles, as though you’ve picked up a rabbit who’s not too pleased to be picked up by the scruff of her neck.
I did some searching around San Diego with this and noticed the old AVENCOM offices at 10th and G were missing, it looks like they were demolished and replaced with housing. More condominiums it looks like. I was hoping to see Leah’s and my former place on 21st Street but there are not photos that far east of downtown.
I poked around Los Angeles too, it was fun to see some sites. There’s a lot of photos in there. The thing I keep coming back to is that this kind of “screen scraping the world” as in the Amazon Maps views that came out some years ago (doing basically what Google’s done here, but a bit clunkier), geotagging of photos on photo sharing sites, etc. … will only get more real-time, not less. I suppose there will be a view on these maps sometime for “live view” at some point. You might be working in your office and browse around to see what the line looks like at the local bakery, or directly see the traffic cameras on your commute.
None of these science fictional seeming technologies sounds crazy to me. And the fact that they don’t sound crazy indicates to me that they’re coming fast.
I carped about BookTour.com the other day in William Gibson Book Tour (Updated) and I will note that they have now updated the William Gibson page, and the RSS Feed thereto with updated information. There’s also a page and a feed just for Vroman’s. That’s a nice feature. I’ll back off being too harsh on BookTour, but they are cutting it awfully close on these things. For an author you might really like why else would you check an RSS feed if not for timely information. I think they were about a week late in getting Gibson’s information in there. They definitely need better mechanisms to get data in.
But enough about them, and more about William Gibson — you may, perhaps, be interested to read:
Terry Gross interviews William Gibson, 1989 (transcribed by me a long while ago)
If you want to hear the story of how I heard of Gibson in 1983 check out Cyberpunk Guy, 1988.
I’ve started reading many more blogs about drawing, illustration, animation, and comics, and I have to mention an artist who quite impressed me, and who I had never heard of. Over at lines and colors, Charley Parker posted about him the other day and it wowed me:
lines and colors: A Little Bit of Leyendecker Greatness
For the benefit of the uninitiated, Joseph Christian Leyendecker was one of the all time greatest illustrators. He is also one of my personal favorites. In my original post about him I tried to convey how flabbergasted I was, and continued to be, at how relatively unknown he remains; particularly when compared to Norman Rockwell, who followed Leyendecker into the role of main cover illustrator for the Post, considered Leyendecker a major influence and a friend, and receives credit that I think belongs to Leyendecker for setting the high-bar on American magazine illustration.
Yes indeed. I suppose because he followed Norman Rockwell he doesn’t get the kind of notoriety Rockwell gets. But clearly he was a talented illustrator. When I was a kid and teenager I dug Norman Rockwell. I dug Warhol too, and Jackson Pollock too, but a good illustrator, despite their subject matter being prosaic can say a great deal. Here’s a detail from a posting to the Leyendecker blog Parker mentions.
This was in 1933, the depths of the depression. You can see the NRA symbol right on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It’s a New Year’s Theme, a wish allegory for a recovery on Wall Street in 1934. I’m not sure why his work hits me, I think it’s a combination of draughtsmanship and showmanship. He revels in these illustrations. They’re fun and detailed and bursting with energy. I’m happy I found them.
For Father’s Day this year I received a set of really nice pens to draw with.
Time’s always the thing, no? Perhaps I’ll find some.
It’s been several weeks since I updated here about my Mom.
Several weeks ago I visited my family in Virginia, primarily to see my Mom, who recently had a stroke and was subsequently diagnosed with Stage IV Renal (Kidney) Cell Carcinoma, Cancer. She also has metastases to her brain, lung and mediastinum.
I had a great time, despite the somewhat grave circumstances. I have come into contact with several people with cancers of various kinds in the past few years, and so far they’re all still around. Frankly the diagnosis my Mom got is quite a severe one, but the predictions as to prognosis are not set in stone. There’s data that she could go years, after all, the first symptom she had was the stroke. She’s in otherwise great shape, no smoking, good fitness, walks stronger than I can, as evidenced above. She is doing great.
She was started with CyberKnife, mentioned before, and now, the current regimen is every Friday she gets chemotherapy —
Torisel, to keep the cancer at bay, or even to get at diminishing the cancer. Cancer is now thought of as a chronic disease, and it’s managed as such. So far, so good, she’s getting back to “normalcy” as much as that is possible. The chemotherapy does create some fatigue for her, but while I was there she felt pretty good. Good appetite, good energy mostly. Here’s a photo of her getting chemo:
My Dad has been 1000% supportive of everything she needs, and got housekeepers to help take some of the load off of my Mom in terms of the house. He’s a good man.
My sister and her fiancee have likewise been ultra-supportive. My Sister lives four hours away and comes down whenever she can. She was critical in the first stages of my Mom’s hospitalization, helping out at home and keeping the extended family in the loop.
And my Mom has friends, holy cow does she have friends! I was taking several calls a day, and I wasn’t even answering them all. People dropping by, dropping off flowers to say “hi,” stopping in.
So there’s lots of hope in the realm of my Mom’s illness. I try and keep in touch with email and iChats periodically. I miss them all, but everything seems to be going about as well as it could. There’s a great deal of hope, though any spare prayers you have are appreciated.
Today I have nothing particularly on my mind, only things miscellaneous.
Variously some nouns that are swirling around: deadline, William Gibson, ruthlessness, trash can, dish, invoice, milk, gasoline, PayPal, telephone.
Apropos of that nonlinear list, here’s a pixel drawing from approximately 20 years ago!
Acres of Books may be the “world’s largest used bookstore.”
As such, I think I want to go there.
I read about it on Mark Evanier’s blog:
I haven’t set foot in the place for twenty years but I bet it hasn’t changed much. I’m talking about Acres of Books, which is located in Long Beach, California and which is usually acknowledged as the largest second-hand bookstore in the world. It’s a huge place that almost seems to live up to its name. Back when I was buying old books, I often spent an entire afternoon in its aisles…which is what you kind of have to do if you even set foot in the place. You don’t just pop in for a quick check of a few shelves. I’ve known people to plan visits like one plans a vacation, including lunch at a pre-selected nearby establishment.
He goes on to say he visits used bookstores less because of internet retailers and places like Amazon. But I have a severe soft spot for real stores.
Just a bit of Leah’s latest project — realmental.org:
leahpeah : Blog Archive » RealMental.org
RealMental.org is a home of sorts. It’s a place where everyone is welcome who wishes to explore what it means to have a mental disorder, be in a relationship with someone who has a mental disorder and all the other things that go along with that including medication, depression and self-help techniques. My greatest hope is to break down barriers and remove the stigma attached to the words Mental Illness, because they are just words. And it’s real people living those things and trying to cope with those things and it’s hard and they and I just want others to understand and not judge.
I put up things on the web because nobody else has. As time goes on more and more of what I considered to be highly obscure, highly ephemeral objects make it to the web. This is a wonderful thing that delights me.
It tends to destroy the whole notion of scarcity in terms of objects of media. TV shows, songs, videos, movies. All, persistently available via electronic download. It used to be one had to make pilgrimages to large cities and their array of record stores, book stores, and newsstands to learn about new obscura. Perhaps you’d hear something on the radio and not hear the artist or name of the song and that sound might get trapped in your head for a long time. It never escapes because there was no way to look up what the heck that was. Now we have Google and its full-text search engine — and as long as you can recall a bit of a lyric, you can find what you seek.
So herewith are some highly obscure tracks from my own vaults of taste, now quite findable using YouTube. It’s not even that they’re that old, just that they’re not what has survived to play on “Rock of the 80s” or “Rock of the 90s” stations.
Wolfgang Press: Kansas
Eat: Mr. and Mrs. Smack
Ween: Freedom of ’76
Pavement: Cut Your Hair
Back on August 17, my friend Chris Greazel and I attended the Graduation show at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. This fuzzy photo is of (I think I remember this right) Jeffrey Jarvis, a student at Art Center and this table is interactive. The table responds to touch and Jeff had programmed it to respond in interesting ways. I bent his ear a little and got him to talk about the technology a bit. It can respond to multiple touches but it’s not a multitouch screen, it responds to the various inputs/touches serially. His application was built in Flash/ActionScript and it did various semirandom actions when you would put a finger down. The resolution of the display is 768×768 pixels, relatively low resolution compared to Microsoft Surface I should think. Jeff was telling me that before they put the leather outer casing (making it nice to lean on) the interactions people would do were much less comfortable. Making it easy to get engaged. I mentioned that I had heard Jim Bumgardner speak about interfaces at Yahoo a few weeks ago at the Web Developer Meetup and he said that is was Jim Bumgardner who taught this class! All in all, a great evening out for my old friend and I.
More from http://www.artcenter.edu/mdp/:
Philip van Allen is teaching students to work with Interactive Multi-Touch table this summer using an Oracle, a round, multi-touch table designed originally for use in the harsh environment of the Detroit Auto Show (e.g. it does not use a camera for touch detection). The table, on loan to the MDP from George P. Johnson (GPJ) in exchange for a first-look at new concepts developed by our students, was originally designed by MDP alum Nikolai Cornell, Interactive Design & Technology Lead at GPJ, who brought in Philip van Allen and the Moto Development Group to design the technology.
Unfortunately, the moon was too pale to be visible in this photo. This is Santa Barbara — looking down Chapala Street toward the ocean from the corner of Chapala and West Yanolani. It’s very pretty there, but where we were there is not enough surf, just harbor.
Don’t you call this a regular jam
I’m gonna rock this land
I’m gonna take this itty bitty world by storm
And I’m just gettin warm
Just like Muhummad Ali they called him Cassius
Watch me bash this
Beat like a skull
‘Cause you know I had beef wit
Why do you riff with me
The maniac psycho
And when I pull out my jammy get ready ’cause it might go BLAAAAW
How ya like me now?
The river will not allow
You to get with, Mr. Smith, don’t riff
Listen to my gear shift
Kinda like Shaft, so u could say I’m shaftin’
All English filled my mind
And I came up with a funky rhyme
(Song and Lyrics of the Morning by LL Cool J)
I had forgotten about last.fm, but it seems to be showing a pretty good representation of my music choices, since, *ahem* it’s always watching what I play when I’m working on stuff at home. You can see the whole list at http://www.last.fm/user/artlung
Here are the top artists overall:
|1||They Might Be Giants||1,416|
|6||Elvis Costello & The Attractions||308|
|8||Ben Folds Five||194|
|9||The Negro Problem||179|
|19||The Puppini Sisters||83|
|23||The Beach Boys||59|
|26||Vince Guaraldi Trio||56|
|31||Public Image Ltd.||48|
|35||Flight of Conchords||44|
The incredible, appalling display or rudeness and rancor that sometimes occurs on mailing lists has a lot to do with the fact that email is incredibly easy to get wrong. The podcast “I Can’t Believe You Sent That: E-mail Disasters, Large and Small and How to Avoid Them“: ( direct mp3 link ) … is an excellent and entertaining talk that helped me understand how things go so very wrong in my own email communication and has helped me get more out of email. Email requires more work than dashing off a few words.
Email is communication. It requires the sender to communicate an in a way that the receiver can understand. It requires the receiver to participate in decoding the message, and to ask for clarifications if things are misunderstood. It requires give and take. When give and take does not occur, when assumptions get made, when pressures are brought to bear, when ego is allowed to go unchecked, you get miscommunication and escalating tensions. On a mailing list, it’s only worse. A dozen or so well-meaning hotheads misunderstanding each other soon results in the harshest of flamewars.
This is the most wonderful thing I’ve read in a week.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.
At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”
The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”
It was at this point that several observers reported seeing several Klan members heads exploding in rage and they stopped trying to explain to the clowns what they wanted.
Apparently the clowns fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the rally, they believed it was a clown rally and came in force to support their pointy hated brethren. To their dismay, despite their best jokes and stunts and pratfalls the Nazis and Klan refused to laugh, and indeed became enraged at the clowns misunderstanding and constant attempts to interpret the clowns instruction.