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xml [LEMONS]


6.30.2002

Evan posted his thoughts on John Entwistle's death.

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Nuts

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According to Dave's report, you can add ditherati to the list of domains hijacked.

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Matier & Ross report more bridge tolls on the way. Good.

" A lot of people around here have have two views of people in cars -- either they should get out of them, or they should help pay for mass transit for everyone else."

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Camping without reservations

Every one of the 10,000 state park campsites linked to a reservation service is already booked on weekends. Eighty percent of them are reserved for weekdays, and the rest are going fast. Earlier this year, state parks had 7,000 calls in a single day for campsite reservations.

California camping means planning ahead. It's nigh unto impossible to just throw your stuff in the car, head out, and find a spot (nevermind that Harp, Jeff and I did just that three weeks ago). This article is a great resource for finding some out of the way campsites. And, of course, if you're willing to camp somewhere that you have to pack in for two or more miles, those places never fill up.

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6.28.2002

Clown funeral. Really.

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Good.

Now if we can just raise the tax on gas to $5 a gallon (with an exemption for drivers with CDLs, natch), I'll be happy.

PS: be sure to read the BARTguement segment towars the end.

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"As you can see, we got fuckin' Internets all over the place. And this right here is one of our newest computers, and if you look inside, there's a fucking Internet in there."

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7 5ongs and a Confession #IX

Remember, not forever, just for nowAnd yours?

When I was a kid, I used to love to throw things at passing cars. I'd lay in wait with some of my other delinquent friends in the storm sewers (think large, open, concrete ditches) that criss-crossed Montgomery. From there, we'd lob hails of small rocks, sticks, water balloons, or whatever (nothing dangerous like a brick or large rock, and I don't recall ever doing any damage. The intent was to Freak Out, not harm), up over our heads and at the passing cars. If the drivers stopped, we'd scramble into the covered, underground portions of the storm sewers, where adults feared to tread. Sometimes, we'd hang out down there, where we'd smoke, drink, look at porno mags, and talk shit about the football players and the popular kids.

One day, after fleeing the scene, a few of us were hanging out in the sewer, laughing. We heard a voice "Is someone down there? Are you okay down there?" It was a woman, probably in her late 50s or early 60s. She had head our voices coming up from the opening in the street that drained down into the storm sewer. One of us (I swear I don't remember who), replied "No! Please help! We're lost and trapped down here!"

We toyed with her for a few minutes, and when she went off to call the fire department (this was in the days before cell phones), we ran like hell out of the sewers and over to a friend's house. I'm sure we scared the piss out of that poor woman. Lady--whoever you are and wherever you are--I'm sorry.

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Couric: "You call me the 'Eva Braun' of liberalism--"
"Affable," interjected Coulter.
"Thanks...that makes me feel soooo much better," replied Couric, her trademark grin giving way to a scowl.
(via dave)

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Asshole

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6.27.2002

The Lost Coast

I've been talking to a couple of friends about organizing a backpacking trip here for a few days in August.

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Brad Writes:

This sounds like a runner-up in a lead-writing contest where you have to incorporate five disparate random ideas pulled out of a bucket:

This LONDON (Reuters) -The plight of an Alaskan chicken-hypnotist whose circus tour was cut short in Edinburgh when a charity shop sold her bicycle by mistake has tweaked heartstrings as far afield as Austin, Texas.

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Briefly



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I accompanied a friend to SF criminal court today, where he was being arraigned on vandalism charges. I was just along for moral support, I didn't actually do anything other than sit in the back of the room and work on my laptop. Still. It was intersting. Some notes:


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6.26.2002

Newsflash: Pledge of Allegiance Ruled Unconstitutional

Boy, this is gonna piss some people off. Brad asks a good question: I wonder what they're going to do with all our money... which says 'In God We Trust.' Or the Presidential Oath of Office, which ends with "So Help Me God."

My thoughts: I'm a Christian. And I'm quite religious. My faith means a lot to me. But. On the other hand. Government should be secular. I have my own ideas. Don't impose yours on me. I'm willing to listen, but not to be forced. The Pledge may be in line with my viewpoints. But what if it were not? What if it said "Under no God," which is itself a religious belief?

However. The whole issue is silly to me. Not worth worrying about. And while we're at it, let's look at the history of the Pledge of Allegiance. But if you do feel incredibly strongly about it; as one poster said on MeFi: Citizens of San Francisco: Send all your "tainted" money to me. Word.

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And Now, I Shall Hate on Bush

I haven't been overly critical of Bush these last few months. And for that, I apologize. I do have my reasons, mainly I have been avoiding the news as it makes me shudder. That, combined with my feelings of political disenfranchisement following the stolen election of 2000 (first from McCain, cleary the candidate of the people, via dirty tricks, and then from Gore, via his father's appointees), have led me to back away, somewhat, from the political realm.

But today, I have returned. So let's review Dubya's performance, to date, shall we?No matter how you gauge him, Bush is a failure. His only accomplishments have been to throw us further into chaos and ruin. I never thought I'd say these things: I miss Clinton. Thank God for Colin Powell.

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Ezra Fowler Day is Monday, June 24, 2002

Yeah, I guess it must have been. 20 + posts? Dizam.

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Crazy Tammy's tale is... Well... Worth reading.

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6.25.2002

Everyone's favorite stepson (from a former marriage), the deputy has penned what I believe to be the definitive Eminem review.

You'll have to scroll down a bit, as he doesn't have anchors that allow you to link to each item (hint, diddly, hint meester deputy). Look for the entry from 06/19 that begins "~ I'm Concerned. "

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Arrrrrrrgh! When Budweiser Attacks!

No, it's not news, the story has been around for some time. But still. Laurel Wellman's column on the demise of The Mission's 17 Reasons sign deserves an "Arrrrrrrgh!" all the same. Or. The removal of the sign does, rather.

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Bombshell by Op Ivy is the best song ever written in the history of the world.

Yeah. Take that Mozart, you freaking poseur.

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Yay!

Kool Bobby's back, evrybody!

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StartUp.com

Have you seen Startup.com? Probably so, I think I'm late to this dance. But I wanted to see this, having worked for two different dotcoms that bit the dust. The first, at least, was epic. I got to work with old heroes and met new ones. But the second. The second...

The second was a miserable shithole of a company. And it too was engaged in bringing the public to the governement. We were going to make it easy for citizens to send and sign petitions, and in turn, for advocacy groups to find people interested in particular issues. In grand terms--as with those expressed at the beginning of startup.com--it sounds great. But when we got down to it, things spun out of control. the April market correction didn't help us either. But the real problem was that my company, just like the one profiled in Startup.com, by a bunch of salesmen and hucksters who didn't know anything about the Internet.

Startup.com is a movie about business, not the Internet. The Internet is just the setting. And so it was with the dotconomy itself. It had less to do with the Internet than business.

One of the two founders of the company profiled in Startup.com, Tom, still maintains the Govworks.com URL. He was the geek, and was the one eventually forced out of the company. His partner Kaleil was the money guy. The guy who made things happen. Like millions of dollars in investors money go magically down the drain.

They're together again. And for some reason, which I can't fathom, they're trying to advise startups in a new business scheme designed to squeeze a few more drops of blood out of the Dot-Com corpse.

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It's Pride Week. There's a lot going on.

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6.24.2002

Fun with Referrals



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UC Berkeley team creating 'microfly' to infiltrate enemies

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Yosemite is.

Last week I went to Yosemite for the first time. When I was there, I tried to think of how to best describe it. And I knew that I could not. You can't describe Yosemite. Yosemite just is. The architecture of God.

El Capitan, as seen from Yosemite ValleyYosemite Valley, as seen from Glacier Point. That's Half Dome dominating the landscapeYosemite Falls, as seen from the Valley floor. This is the tallest waterfall in North America. It's composed of three segments, Upper, Middle, and Lower Yosemite Falls.Yosemite Valley, as seen from my hike up the trail to Upper Yosemite FallsUpper Yosemite Falls, as seen from the trail
The pool of Upper Yosemite Falls, as seen from the trailA snake I saw twice along the trail--on the way up and down. At the time I couldn't remember whether it was the harmless King Snake, or deadly Coral Snake.  Stupid rhyme. Either way I didn't want it to bite me. I did stop and take several pictures, though, until I got one I was happy with.  Oh. Yeah. King snake.Another view of the pool Upper Yosemite falls hits. I like this shot thanks to the tree, which gives it a sense of perspective.Me, on the way down the trail from the falls. That's the valley behind me. Yo quiero agua at this point.The Tunnel Tree, a Giant Sequoia on the original road from San Francisco to Yosemite. It's been dead for over 300 years.

Similarly, these photos in no way capture Yosemite. However, I still find them striking. You can see descriptions listed in the alt tags (let your mouse hover over the image).

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Sweet Homes in Alabama

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Ouch!

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Good God. The world has just become entirely too freaky.

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6.23.2002

Found on FilePile

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KOMPRESSOR



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John Densmore takes a stand against the (literal) commercialization of music in this week's Nation. Great read.

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Have You Seen The Bridge?

Golden Gate Bridge with Fog
(where's that confounded bridge?)


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I've updated my book and bike blogs recently.

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Burning, burning

It seems like all of the West is burning, including Alaska. There is a fire just outside of Yosemite, that killed three firefighters. There's a fire just outside of Durango, Colorado, where my Cousin lives. There are fires outside of Denver where my other Cousin lives. The fires in Arizona are burning a 50-mile swath.

Welcome to Global Warming. Drive Safely.

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6.22.2002

Where I've Been:


click for desktop version


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Horseshit

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6.19.2002

I read an article in the New York Times Sunday magazine not long ago on the cattle industry. The author of the piece (which is mentioned in the article) bought a calf, and followed it through its lifecycle. I came away from the piece with two overwhelming thoughts: cows should never, ever, *ever* be fed corn, and that I'm eating nothing but free range, drug free beef from now on (when I eat red meat at all, which is very rare).

Now it seems that grass-fed beef is at the forefront of healthy cooking here in Bay Area restaurants. Man, I hope Niman Ranch goes to grass-fed. It's the only drug-free beef I can regularly find. Oh. And. "Why care about what a handful of fancy Bay Area chefs and boutique ranchers have to say? Because when it comes to food, the trends that start here end up affecting how the rest of the country eats. The Bay Area's early embrace of locally grown organic products, for example, is a large part of the reason organic vegetables and goat cheese are sold in grocery stores across the country."

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SLO Ride

Last weekend Harp, Jeff and I drove down to San Louis Obispo to see Mike Watt. It was the greatest road trip I've had in ages. Thanks for a hell of a good time, Watt, Jeff and Harper.

PS: I took pictures

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Marijuana and Macroeconomics

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Hmmm..... Let's see... Skin game, driving iron, hole in one, hooded club, mixed foursome, pin, rub of the green, shaft, shag bag, shagging, stroke, sweet spot, tee marker, Texas wedge, twosome or woodie?

Nahhh... I'll just go with LPGA

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'Roid rage?

(For the record: it doesn't matter to me if Bongs is on steroids or not. Sports medicine and training techniques being what they are, all modern atheletes have an advantage over their predecessors. Records are made to be broken. The only thing taht matters is how long they stand.)

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6.18.2002

I'm 9/9. Um. So, can I , like, get my diplouma and stuff, dude?

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My cousin Sherri had a frend in college named Chantal. Chantal moved to Indonesia, and now this is her life. Oh. I wanna go.

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And so my father is in town visiting and we're tromping all over San Francisco and related areas and generally getting to know each other because we don't really see each other too often and so as you can imagine I'm quite busy and hip hip hurrah and all that and, hell, I'm going to Thailand in a few months anyway so you'll have to start reading something else then, and maybe you should get to doing that now and why not make it the deputy's site, a multimedia extravaganza if ever there was one. Peruse. Look. Listen. Read. It's a real labrynth over there, with plenty of content.

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The Webbys? Are those things still around?

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6.17.2002

Are women more likely to be whistle-blowers? An interesting piece in the Chron.

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2-0!



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You'll enjoy this one.

" A lot of people that don't know anything about soccer, like me..."

Guess who said it?

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HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO WELCOME RICH PEOPLE TO THE MISSION

No comment.

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5 suspects my ass

Holy frickin' hum, Batman

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6.13.2002

Project Mersh?

I went to go see The Shins and Mercury Rev at the Fillmore last night. Thanks Jim!

The Shins, where do I start? Last year, while decrying bands like the Strokes for being too mersh, I told everyone and all how much I loved The Shins album, Oh Inverted World. How it was one of my favorites last year, in fact. Not only did I think it was an album full of beautiful pop, but I was also taken by the video for The New Slang, which recreates scenes from album covers by Husker Du, Cat Power, The Replacements, Slint, Squirrel Bait, Sonic Youth and The Minutemen, among others. With a SubPop label behind. Indie cred all around. And the song. Oh that song! The lyrics were incredible, and it came built in with a sense of nostalgia and melencholy. I just coldn't imagine a better pop song.

And then, one day, during the Olympics, I hear that haunting yodeling coming from... a McDonalds commerical. McDonalds! Of all the multinational corporations you could sell a song to, few would raise my ire more than McDonalds. McDonalds is, for me, the epitome of much of what is wrong with western society. And here's this intellectual, bookish band, obviously steeped in Indie music and indie philosophy hawking Big Macs.

And it infuriated me. It ruined the fucking song for me. It became, in my mind, immediately associated with Chicken McNuggets and McFucking Whoppers, or whatever. With fast food, factory farms, and fossil fuel pollution. I tend to agree with what Bill Hicks said about artists and commercials. Even if it is more and more prevalent these days. I mean, I'm getting used to this commercial shit. But McDonalds? Too much.

And when they came on last night, I was prepared to hate them. I'd said I was going to see Mercury Rev and "that band from the McDonalds commercial." And the were good. And then Jim and I went upstairs, and the Shins went into The New Slang. And I remembered all the reasons I loved the song. And the memories of listening to it as I was dealing with my grandmother's death and September 11 all came flooding back to me. And it was gorgeous. And they were superb. And after they went off--while I was hanging around outside with Jim while he smoked a cigarette, talking to Harpoer on the phone--I saw that the DIY thing wasn't just lip service, as I watched The Shins haul their gear to their van from the Fillmore. An Econoline no less. Get in the van. And the thing is, can I really hold it against a band just beacause they aren't political in the same way I am? Indie music is all wrapped up in politics. It's inherently political. But first and foremost it's music. It's art. Why do I have to intellectualize everything so much? why must everything be philosophical?

I still don't know how I feel. But before I went back in to see Mercury Rev, I stopped. And I said, "Hey, great show. And your album, it was one of my favorites last year." And I didn't add even if you did sell your song to McDonalds, although I wanted to. Instead, I just went inside, and wished the world was simpler.

new slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries.
hope it's right when you die. old and bony


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The Times Regrets the Error

An article on Tuesday about the arrest of a man suspected in 10 murders around St. Louis misstated the term for an Internet identification that was used to trace the source of an online request for a map that was mailed to The Post-Dispatch and led investigators to a body. The clue was an Internet Protocol number the unique identifier of a particular computer not an internet provider address.

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6.12.2002

Conspiracy theorists rejoice

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Oh wow. What a great site. San Francisco-local too.

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Irresponsible fearmongering? You be the judge.

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Scooby Doobie Don't

"We played on all those things," said actor Matthew Lillard, who portrays creaky-voiced Shaggy. "Is Velma gay? Is Shaggy high? Are (Fred and Daphne) hooking up? All those jokes were in there, but we found at the end of the day it was more important to go the other way ... and that was to be more family oriented." Translation: "All those jokes were in there, but we found at the end of the day it was more important to make kaboodles of money than risk a PG-13 rating."

Oh Scooby. Wither the ascot?

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WiFi to the People!

Annalee has a great article on local free WiFi neteworks being set up around the city. Do I need to point out that--like the mouse, the GUI, FireWire, and portable computing--Apple pioneered 802.11b? I thought not.

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There should be a word for this

Is there a word for a bad link, where you can tell what the intended target is? For example, yesterday, Dave sent me the following email:
Thanks for the shout-out!!! (Ah, NetBelly.) Er, but the Dave shout-out points to.... http://honan.net/destinyland.blogspot.com Think we're looking for diffferent droids.... :)

I meant to link to http://destinyland.blogspot.com. But when I typed the link, I left off the http://, like so: <a href="destinyland.blogspot.com">. What I meant to do is fairly obvious. And there are all sorts of similar typo links. For example, I might link to google.com, but instead I link to google.xom. Or Yaho. Or Bloggger. You know what I mean, but you have to type it in yourself.

Is there a word for this? If not, may I suggest "Walking Wounded?" Or do you have a better idea?

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Quick Links

California Sea Otters: Population continues to decline
California Rabbit lovers: get a grip.
San Francisco Police Investigators: just as effective as any other city employee
Naked People: I love you.


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6.11.2002

826 Valencia, a writing workshop where I'll be volunteering this summer is having a money-raising shindig this evening. Stop by. Bring your friend Alexander Hamilton.

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Jury awards Earth First! activists $4.4 million

Twelve years after they were arrested in the bombing of their own car, two Earth First! activists were awarded $4.4 million Tuesday in a federal suit claiming they were framed by Oakland Police and FBI agents.

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We just bought our tickets.

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Geoff says: What is "haircutty". Can you use it in a sentence? So. Haircut blog, defined. Still confused? See an example here.

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6.10.2002

New York Times Article on the Blogger Rift

"It's like being the punk-rock fan who was into punk rock before everyone else" I understand this sentiment, perfectly, and I understand the resentment. For the record, I began keeping a blog (@ netbelly.com) with Dave and Dave in late 99 or early 2000. Moved onto blogging @ Savenapster.net, and wound up here. I'm also a journalist. I'm also a Web pro. And I'm old school, my first Web paycheck came back in 1996, when a lot of today's bloggers were considering getting an AOL account because they'd heard something about this email thingie and gee wasn't that "You've Got Mail" movie just dreamy? I've been Web publishing, professionally and personally, since not long after the Web itself was created. Let me put it this way, when I began farting around with the Web, my big question was if it were possible to be employed full-time writing for it. I say this only because I feel that it qualifies me to speak to this issue (if only somewhat).

Jason Kottke is the ultimate weblogger. He is, in fact, probably my favorite weblogger. He's astute, he's a great writer, he includes personal tidbits without getting too haircutty. I've exchanged an email here and there with him. He's nice, he's sharp, he is, by all accounts, a good guy. I'd love to keep a weblog as good as his. Jason, you're the bomb. Likewise, Ken Layne is a thug. Tabloid.net was already old school when I started working with Ken at GettingIt.com, where I edited some of his articles and got to know him via the electronet marvel of email. He is, likewise, a standup guy. He's a great writer, he's sharp, he's opinionated. I wish I were half the writer he is. Ken, thanks for keeping it real, yo.

But I can see both sides of the argument. The warbloggers, for the most part, have no sense of history or appreciation for the medium they have entered. Since most journalists were apparantly ignorant of blogs--and sure as hell weren't keeping them in the numbers they now do--before 09/11, the "warblog" was their first experience with the, er, blogosphere (to use a completely gay term). Likewise, I think most of the older bloggers are pissed about the warbloggers for the attention they have brought to weblogging, and the misperceptions of the phenomena warbloggers have perpetuated--including the perception that weblogs are in any way new. But neither side is at fault, per se. It's just tat one side looks at the other as uncouth philistine interlopers, while the other side sees the first as a bunch of snooty intellectual elitists. And both are prone to telling each other such with great fervor.

Fellas.

Can't we all just get along?

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Check out Apple's new marketing program, Switch. And be sure to peep Mark Frauenfelder!

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Don't forget today's eclipse

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The Week Ahead:
06/11: 826 Valencia fundraiser @ 826 Valencia
06/12: Mercury Rev and that McDonalds commercial band @ Slim's
06/13: Mike Watt @ Slim's
06/14: Mike Watt @ SLO Brewing Company, San Louis Obispo

Show all the hepcats will be jabbering about for the next week/month/year: NERD at the Fillmore on 06/14

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Ways you can tell it's going to be a bad movie



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6.08.2002

I'll be on the radio tomorrow at 2:20 PM EST

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Hell yeah. Thanks Lennox.

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I'm going to be on the radio tomorrow at 2:20 PM EST.

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Wait a second. You mean it's not illegal to urinate in public? Capital news!

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6.07.2002

Zsuzsanna has some really cool wallpapers

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Scenes From Home
floridaGranmom's database management class

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53v3n 50n65 4nd 4 c0nfe5510n #8

Remember, not forever, just for now.
And yours?

I am unreasonably worried about germs. When I ride the bus, I keep my hands tucked up in my sweatshirt or jacket to avoid touching anything. When using payphones, I hold the receiver with two fingers, and sometimes use my t-shirt as a screen to talk through. If I'm close to someone who coughs or sneezes, I hold my breath for awhile afterwards. But that's nothing compared to what I do when I enter a public restroom. Allow me to walk you through.

I typically enter by opening the door with my foot, if possible. If I have to open the door with my hand, I use my left one. Upon entering, if there is any odor whatsoever, I start holding my breath because, you know, molecules. If i'm sitting, I wipe the seat with paper, and then lay down one of those seat cover things that thankfully seem to be in every bathroom in California. I try never to do this. I shit in public restrooms only on the rarest of occasions. But number 1 is another story. There's no avoiding that. I mean, I'm a coffee achiever.

If the lid's down, I lift it with my shoe. When I'm finished, I lower it with my shoe, and then flush, also with shoe. And then comes the tricky part: washing up. Let's say you've just washed your hands in the sink. As soon as you turn off the water, you've contaminated your fingers again. For all you know, the typhus-infested motherfucker who touched that faucet last could have hand his fingers up his ass all day long. There could be bacteria, viruses, worms, spores and parasites all over the thing. Just because they're wet, doesn't mean they're dead. So what I do is I go for the paper towels first. I remove a few from the holder, or unroll them before turning on the sink. Then I wash up, just like you do, except with more soap and vigorous scrubbing. I then use one of my set aside towels to turn off the faucet, and another to dry my hands.

But what about the doorknob? All my work could be for naught with a single HPV germ sitting on the doorknob. If it opens outwards and doesn't have a latch, I go for the foot. If that isn't possible, I use another of the paper towels that I've set aside to grasp the handle. I then yank open the door so that I can scoot through without touching anything, and toss the towel in the trash on the way out. If the trashcan isn't handy, I move it (with my foot) to be closer to the door before exiting. If this isn't possible, or if there is an outer door that leads to the restrooms, I toss the towel in the closest available trash can outside of the bathroom, being ultra careful not to touch the contaminated side.

And you wondered what took me so long.

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Matt vs. MeFi

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Ha!
"I mean, it's not like I swore at him or insulted his mother or something. But I can't help feeling just slightly remorseful. "


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Interesting. I just wrote about Dark Garden for an upcoming feature in the SFBG.

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I'm not too crazy about Boxing. I used to really dig it when I was a kid, I watched a lot of bouts growing up. Sugar Ray was my favorite, I never will forget that bolo punch and the chin taunts he pulled on Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Ali is still a hero of mine, and will be until the day I die. But I eventually became disgusted with the sport. Largely due to Iron Mike. Still. I'd like to see Tyson-Lewis. And despite myself, I can't help but hope that Lennox beats the fucking dogshit out of Tyson.

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Mission of Burma!

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I Love LA

I spent most of last week in LA. Lower Alabama, that is. That's where I was born, and where I was mostly raised. My mom lives there and I still get back to visit every once in a while. I last went back on September 10, 2001. And I had gone home to help my mother care for my grandmother, who was in her final few days. So I didn't really get a feel for the place. But this trip was different. This time I got to look around a bit, and I'm pleased to report back on my native land.

For starters, I was pleased to note that two of the small south Alabama towns I passed through had meth busts just before my arrival. In Flomaton, Alabama, the paper's two top stories were on a double-wide that had burned down thanks to a carelessly fired bottle rocket, and a domestic dispute call that led to a meth lab bust. Likewise in Eufaula, the Tribune reported that one of my grandmother's neighbors had been busted for meth. Now, I first came across meth back in the 80s in high school, and knew it as the Hessier's drug of choice. It was then largely confined to rural areas and urban white trash enclaves. It could be found predominantly at Cinderella, Skynard, and Crue shows. You still have to be a fucking idiot to do it, but it has become epidemic in California with the club set (who, it should be pointed out, tend to have equally shitty taste in music). I was glad to see that my people hadn't been awed by meth's newfound popularity, and were still representing. Shine on, you crazy mulletheads.

Another thing I noticed is that the radio has changed dramatically since I was last in the rural South. The rural Southern radio stations used to play three formats exclusively: country, r&b, and gospel/religious programming. As I drove all over LA and the Redneck Riviera (a.k.a the Florida panhandle) I found that today it's all country, hip-hop, nu-metal, and top 40 (which tends to consist mostly of... hip-hop and nu-metal). Now i remember why I started listening to Indie music in the first place. What hath Limp Bishit--who you'll recall are crackers from the panhandle--wrought? Furthermore, where did the gospel stations go? Have they been replaced by the sounds of rage? Where they run out by Clear Channel and its corporate ilk? I don't care if you've got that old-time religion or not, gospel is an inherent part of Southern culture. Despite spending hours with the "seek" button depressed, I didn't find a single gospel station.

This was yet another indication to me that Southern culture is disappearing, which is tragic. I realize most of you outside the South think Southern culture consists of nothing more than racism and football, but that's simply not the case. It is a rich and distinct asset worth preserving, minus the racism and football, naturally. Furthermore, I found Montgomery had been reduced to a never-ending stream of chain stores. This was alarming. Homogenization has accelerated drastically in the few short years I've been gone (or maybe I just notice it more, being away).

The food, however, remains the same. Fried and covered with gravy still seems to be the way to go. Unfortunately, I only had two really "Southern" meals while I was there (I also managed to eat Thai, Mexican, and Japanese cuisine). I love Southern food. Nothing in the world tastes as good. On the downside, however, I have a history of heart disease in my family and most of that stuff will stop your clock faster than, um, unplugging it. Or something. It's a tragedy.

Finally, I found that I miss the South. Despite all of its problems (and they are legion), it's where I'm from, and where my family is. I've become a Californian, but I'll always be a Southerner too.

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6.06.2002

Goodbye, Dee Dee

"We used to sniff and then call this telephone number and listen to the beeps," recalls Dee Dee. "I got it all over my pants and shirt. It would be on my breath. Really stank. You can kill yourself that way. I wouldn't recommend it to kids now."

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I'm back. And I'm growing Avocados. God Bless California. Amen.

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