Built, Blogs, Busy, Beck. Bright. Bad-Ass.

Sunday, April 30th, 2000

brick buildings. inside providence, rhode island.

Last night's Built To Spill show in Providence was great. I hadn't been to Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel since the spring of '95. It's a big and roomy place, the way a club should be. And not only did the band whip alotta ass (they jammed out during the final song, stretching it into a 25 minute dripping sound epic) but the whole trip down and back was a good time. Nothing worse than when a speeding ticket or an annoying friend or a disagreement ruins a good concert. But no trouble this time. As usual, I have some brightly colored photographs to share when I get a chance. Who loves you, baby.

Anyway, the show acted as a fine conclusion to an all around swell Saturday. You know what Saturdays feel like. It was sunny, too. I spent the afternoon in town with my good old boy Erik, eating lunch, buying groceries and taking photos. Late last night, I discovered that Erik wrote about it all. It's a singular pleasure to read a close friend's description of the good day we spent together. Now, I don't need to describe it.

1:00 PM | plink

 

And kisses to you, Suzanne!

For your clicking pleasure, I've finally updated my links page to better reflect the blogs that I frequent. Also, isn't it nice to know that I've reached a point in my life where I can use verbs like "frequent" without batting an eyelash? To say nothing about terms like "batting an eyelash". One of the links I added was to Spork.nu, which is rad because Sarah has set up four different designs, and a random one loads each time you visit the site. I love that. I dig her blog entries, flash animations, and drawings as well. Sarah recently mentioned that she likes my site "even though it's orange". Also, she smells.

This whole orange thing began as a gag. There's a great deal of orange and gray out there these days, and I thought I'd make a subtle commentary on that fact. And at the same time, it was challenged to work with colors that I don't particularly care for. So I went gray for a few days, then switched to this delicious Tic Tac color. Unfortunately, the plan backfired. I've become rather fond of this color scheme. But I'll switch back to the blues soon. I miss the little sailor me. Don't we all.

My friend Andrew uses the AIM handle KTrout316, and he filled out his member profile as the famous fictional Kilgore Trout would have. Last Friday, when a random user began instant messaging him, Andrew played the part rather well. He's always been a clever boy. I ought to read more Vonnegut. My "to be read" shelf is already overflowing. Actually, Player Piano is on my "to be read" shelf. Hmmm.

Just to let you all know, the thrilling conclusion of Beck Week occurs tomorrow. Is anyone else having trouble downloading these files? Let me know. And the rest of you who know me well better email me, too.

9:42 PM | plink



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i'm lost in the forest all alone.

friday, april 28th, current year

mature white pines are no match for a logging machine

to my delight, actual sunlight fell on my neighborhood yesterday. the clunking and grinding and whirring of the machines out in the woods was going pretty steady. i caught some pictures while the light was bright. so many trees they cut. hundred foot tall pines neatly arranged into piles back there. good lumber, i guess. i've been trying to figure out whether it's the destruction of trees that bothers me, or the fact that the geography i have explored and climbed and conquered and grokked for so many years is changing. certainly it's both. but i fear the change in a very internally consuming, gutteral way. i rarely respond this way to circumstances that are beyond my control, so this is a weird experience. what's there to fear? the coming golf course isnt going to take away the memories i already have. but now i'm realizing that there's a big piece of me that still wants to play in the woods and around the cranberry bogs, sledding, building, hiding, getting lost. i havent done that shit in eight years. and i'm not sure that I feel the urge to do it all again, either. but now that the terrain has changed, and now that the good spots for forts are gone, and fairways have been cut through the forest, and plans are underway to make it all well-groomed and fenced-off, the possibility for me to go back is gone. so it's the loss of the possibility that hurts. i can't stand that. i want all openness, all the time, but it's never so easy. i'm beginning to see that destruction of possibilities and destruction of life are one and the same thing. huh.

so, good morning, i guess.

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keepin' day four of beck week going strong with two more songs. up to now, the trax i've posted show the folky side of beck, but today's songs have more of a hip-hop edge. they're good for you.

diskobox (3.4 MB)
in a cold ass fasion (3.5 MB)

diskobox has a nice groove to it. this song appears on the japanese release of odelay, so it has those familiar beats, guitar tones, and sampling styles. piano stacked against turntable fading into static. the vocals have a raw kind of sound, like novocane or high five (rock the catskills) from odelay. funky, energetic, and very danceable.

in a cold ass fasion is from a compilation featuring artists who have performed at the jabberjaw club in los angeles, where beck was first discovered. this song is a confused but controlled acid trip; brain-doomed one minute and uplifting the next. it's silly and scary. it switches from banjo to breakbeat backed sitar. there's a friggin speak 'n spell spliced into the song. someone talking backwards. this is my favorite beck song--it's tight, musically ecclectic, and includes his finest rapping and some of his best lyrics.

O.G.: Original Gluesniffer.

3:36 PM | plink

 

via mikel: in his recent message, michael moore reports that the mexican hotel workers who were turned over to the INS after trying to start a union in minneapolis will be allowed to stay in our country, thanks to the thousands of emails we sent. well done.

4:16 PM | plink

 

sigh. went to the gym. need some food. what's next?

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Somewhere Over the Rainbore.

Thursday, April 27th, 2000

Good Morning. Yeah. So. Eh? Hmm?
"The Sun"? I'm sorry, I don't...
Up in the sky? What...
Oh, yes!... Sure, I remeber now.... You mean that big ol' bright warm thing that used to sit up in the sky? Huh. What ever happened to that thing?

If puppets can sue other puppets, earth is doomed.

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Beck Week: Day Three. Today I offer you two songs that you can kick back and chill with. These songs aren't as quirky and kitchy as the others, but instead ask for a little more emotional and mental attention. We're moving on into about 1994 here.

Bogusflow (3.0 MB)
Alcohol (3.7 MB)

If you're a fan of songs from Beck's folky low-fidelity One Foot In The Grave album (and you should be) you'll enjoy Bogusflow. It's simple and sad and beautiful, lyrics packed with meme-metaphors. Common experience through a distinctly Beckian cultural CuisineArt. With a touch of harmonica thrown in. This song appears on a compilation of Geffen rarities.

Alcohol makes a deliberate and sober acoustic plea until it finally erupts into bottles of Waitsy percussion and desperate guitar feedback. This track appears as a b-side on the Loser single.

The Beck.com discography page is very comprehensive, and the site has a really cool design. The one and only resource for news, media and info about the sexy short guy.

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According to The Counter, my recent referring URLs include a variety of hardcore porn sites and Audio-Bible. You all have some strange and diverse taste. Can't say I'm pleased with those "Sexy Over Sixty" pics.

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Never let it be said that I'm a man of my word.

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There Was a Large Cube of Lard.

Tuesday, Whatever-Whatever, 2000

pipe and shingles at the end of my house.

I just randomly stumbled on a clever bit of java. Visit That Guy and check out how that guy's picture changes as you hover over the three menu items. I love how that guy is holding a copy of Elements of Style by Strunk and White in the work photo.

I've been in love with Raine ever since I stumbled on the previous version of her site last month. she's a word artist, honest and fearless and afraid and a reader and. words don't. even. glasses a listener and too oldyoung and i bet she's spent more time inside ok computer than I have.

Very recently I've developed a whole different kind of addiction to Becca. I believe she's the youngest known weblogger out there. But all that energy. Man. Sometimes old people just get boring, with our well-composed sentences and our concerned, though-provoking words. Or at least, I find myself boring sometimes.

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Beck week continues! Day Two! Woo-hoo! Today I've got my three favorite tracks from Beck's first radio appearance. On July 23rd, 1993, just as Loser began to get serious radio play, Beck was a guest on Morning Becomes Ecclectic, a popular show on KCRW in Los Angeles. His friend Don came along to play drums during a couple of the songs. The great thing about this show is that Beck is still nobody at this point, and seems mostly uninterested in answering the host Chris Douridas' questions. Chris must have been caught off guard, because the interview is a bit awkward. Beck shows up and starts playing these semi-facetious geek-folk songs that sound nothing like the big Loser single, just pulling lyrics out of his ass. Would that I had been there.

Mexico (8.5 MB)

MTV Makes Me
Wanna Smoke Crack
(5.1 MB)

Whimsical Actress (3.2 MB)

Mexico begins with several minutes of interview in which the host asks questions about Woody Guthrie, describes how Beck was discovered, and makes makes comments about the process of recording Loser. Beck speaks here and there. He explains that Mexico is based on "old come all ye ballads". The song itself is a hilariously sad story paired with gloomy guitar picking.

MTV Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack is a schizophrenic classic. You wont see the end coming. Just download it, especially if you're a longtime Beck fan.

I love Whimsical Actress. It amuses me to no end. The "whimsical" element of the song seems to be related to the fact that Beck makes it all up as he goes along. He ends up singing about a medieval scene, a large cube of lard, and a squeegee. Word.

The beauty of this radio appearance, and about Beck in general, is that the music is full of irony in a way that makes it hard to tell where the irony lies and where the artist stands in relation to his work. It should be noted that Beck, a native of L.A. himself, appeared on Morning Becomes Ecclectic three more times between 1994 and 1998. Visit KCRW or LiveConcerts.com to hear these other shows.

3:25 PM | plink

 

The title of this Yahoo article says it all:
Doc Who Left Initials on Patient Quits Medicine.

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No Money, No Honey.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2000

happy birthday, erik

To counteract the temporary lack of visual flair, I've decided to add a little audio color to brighten up your visit. I am formally declaring this week Beck week. And in honor of Beck week, each day I'll be posting two or three hard-to-find Beck mp3s for your downloading pleasure. So tell your friends. I have limited server space, so the tracks will probably only be available for a couple of weeks. Let's kick it off right with these two gems:

American Car (2.4 MB)
Super Golden Black Sunchild (2.3 MB)

Beck Campbell recorded "American Car" with his friends Steve Bean and Michael Rivkin in 1989, for a car-focused compilation that never materialized. It's a catchy, energetic guitar and harmonica tune, with a bit of automobile thrown in. Recommended for fans of lo-fi Beck stuff, Americans in general, and anyone who's ever owned a crappy car.

"Super Golden Black Sunchild" is a peculiar track from Beck's first real full-length album, Golden Feelings, which was released in 1993 on the Sonic Enemy Label, which later went defunct. This track begins with a silly sound bite, but the main body of the song combines sober guitar picking with some over-the-top vocals to create a dark but oddly beautiful melodrama. If you like Stereopathetic Soulmanure, you'll probably enjoy this one. I know I do.

I've got all styles of Beck songs across a ten-year span. Who knows what goodies are in store for you tomorrow.

11:35 AM | plink

 

more news on the destruction of my youth and yard front. as i type, this tree-hungry steel instrument of botanical termination is chopping away 180 feet behind my house. i counted paces. they're building hole number 16 of the big ass golf course. i can see the big open space from my bedroom window. if i still had a fort there, i sure would put up a fight. i just hope the golf course doesn't fail miserably. or look too ugly. i have twenty or so lousy pics of the pending destruction, should you be interested.

greg from sammamish, washington sent me an email. he described the way corporate growth and expansion has changed his town. forests overrun by housing complexes. habitat invaded by dentists office and cars and rich people and concrete and all that shit. at least my new backyard golf course will involve grass. of course, those golfers will have to park somewhere. perhaps they'll build something that lasts.

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The Future Is Now.

Monday, April 24th, 2000

easter: stained glass at blessed kateri.

Let's face it: color is dead. When it's not just plain boring, color is distracting and often offensive. That's why I pledge that sixfoot6.com will never ever, never, never, ever, never ever never, never ever again have a drop of color on any of its pages.. No longer will blues and greens attempt to saturate your emotions with their maudlin hues. No more reds to drive you over the angry edge. No more yellows to make you flee from the monitor with a nauseous stomach.

Content is important, design has its place... but, well, color is getting to be a bit passť. Clearly, bland shades of grey are the future of the web, and no one is more excited to embrace that future than your dear friend here at sixfoot6. Remember how much more alive the world seemed one hundred years ago, before color photographs and color television started imposing unrealistic standards onto our beautiful world of inky-gray newsprint? It was truly a happy time. Let's relive those days together, by rejecting color once and for all.

And if for some unfortunate reason a dollop of color should become necessary on my site, you can bet that that dollop of color will be none other than an earthy, natural construction-cone orange.

4:49 PM | plink

 

Even power cords need a little love. Is it a coincidence that the cord at the bottom with the extra-long prong is black? I don't think so.

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Whoever these brilliant minds are, they certainly know how to use Flash to get attention. I highly recommend the jobs movie available from the jump menu. These people can only be from San Francisco. And clearly, I can't afford their services.

It's a shame they use so much color, though.

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That Sometime Sepia Tone

Easter Sunday, 2000

spotlit at the sugarshack in boston on boylston last friday

I could smell
shower-steam,
the breath of a foam pillow,
carrot cake cooling
below, down
stairs.

rain, still
graying my windowpane,
a shingled spray
dance of late
morning.

studying ceiling,
I never thought
to turn on this
lamp light,

and, cake rising,
prepare break
fast.

12:47 PM | plink



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Dead Wood

Friday, April 21st, 2000

erik and his dog walking casually as machines hack even more of my youth to bits to make way for good places to golf

At 10 am yesterday morning, while enjoying coffee with my next-door-neighbor, I was delighted to see actual sunlight poking through the trees. I demanded that we take a walk. I was less delighted, however, when I also noticed giant bulldozing metal saw-beasts poking through the trees and knocking many down completely. You see, there are acres and acres of cranberry bogs behind my house, where I used to climb trees and build forts and get muddy and all that good stuff. But now the bottom has fallen out of the cranberry industry, so Old Man Sterns has decided to build an 18 hole golf course 75 feet from my back yard. He's already begun leveling about half of the thick pine forest just down the road. In case you're wondering, Joshua, the grass area where we used to play croquet is currently a stack of logs and a pile of dirt.

If anyone has any destruction of childhood/environment stories, please share them, because I could use the empathy.

12:30 AM | plink

 

The java applets on Sumea.com are fast loading and beautiful. Oh, and by the way, this graphic is driving me crazy.

2:25 AM | plink

 

Great. Thanks to Digiscents!, you can

Enjoy your personal aromatherapy track while sitting at your computer. Smell groceries and cosmetics before purchasing online. Explore far away places. Communicate and express yourself in ways you never thought possible.

Wonderful. It's only a matter of time before I start gettting emails that smell like ass.

3:06 AM | plink

 

Thom Yorke announced that "yesterday we finished recording. i am free and happy and now im going for a walk in the park goodbye." Now we all get to sit around for five months until Radiohead's yet untitled fourth LP is released. But hell, I've been holding my breath for two and a half years, so I can probably stand to wait a little longer. Not much, though.

12:24 PM | plink



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It's 4-20, Dude!

Thursday, April 20th, 2000

the flaming lips live last night at axis

It's been cold, windy and wet in eastern Massachusetts for three or four days now, and it's beginning to take a toll on my constitution. So I mixed myself a smoothie with strawberries and vodka. I believe you'll find that usually does the trick. Excuse me? What? Oh, come on dude, stop your bitchin'. Oh Yeah? Well if you want one, get up and make ityourself! Bite me. I'm not your frickin' beverage maid.

Phonebashing.com is ridiculously amusing. It offers six different thirty-second videos of full-grown men dressed up in giant cellular phone costumes running up to unsuspecting citizens. These giant c-phone vigilantes grab the person's mobile phone, throw it on the ground, and stamp on it a few times before fleeing the scene. We have justice at last. Thanks to my friend Mark Papazian for that one. This is what the internet was made for.

My little two day-stint in Boston had highs and lows. I feel confortable when I'm within walking distance of different kinds of people and places and things. I feel uncomfortable when the only currency I have to live on is crumpled Lowes theater passes and the generosity of friends like Jonah and Nikki. But fortunately, I had my camera with me. On Patriot's Day I captured some mostly unflattering photographs of the Big Dig, as seen through the window of the MBTA commuter rail, along with pictures of Boston Marathon runners. They're all on one fat 500k page, because I'm busy and lazy and I don't understand Cold Fusion yet.

I had a wicked good time at last night's Flaming Lips show. Looper opened, and they were cool too. Indulge yourself for once: read all about it and see some surprisingly well exposed photos of the show on another bandwidth-heavy-column-of-pictures page. Whoa there... whoa.... Take it easy guy... I'm on dial-up too, you know. Don't condescend me, motherfucker. More later today.

12:31 AM | plink

 

Sometimes I try to remeber what the web was like before Metafilter, but I can't. It's grown very active again lately, in terms of both links and comments. The recent discussion on Metafilter about Dr. Dre's uneducated warning to Napster is a good read if you wanna hear many points of view concerning the incident and the issue in general. And now, Lucasfilm is suing Dr. Dre for illegal use of the THX sound on Chronic 2001. Hopefully, everything will turn out fine or Mr. Andre Young with regard to this lawsuit... DEEZ NUTS!

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My hero Michael Moore asks for our help to prevent the INS from sending eight former Holiday Inn employees back to Mexico. I posted the following message to the Metafilter discussion on this issue:

As Michael Moore asked, I wrote an email to web@usdoj.gov. The workers shouldn't be deported because the call from Holiday Inn that informed the INS about the existence of the eight illegal aliens was itself an attempt to break the law. In a normal trial, such evidence would most likely be thrown out of court on the grounds that it was illegally obtained. I don't know much about law, but I imagine that the rules are much different in INS hearings like this one. No doubt they'll all be deported no matter how many emails are sent.

Obviously, illegal immigrants aren't the only ones doing menial labor. We've all worked shitty jobs. The difference is that for years Holiday Inn can get away with paying these women jack-shit because the moment they try to band together and work towards getting a little more cash, Holiday Inn calls in the man and has them deported. That may not be a straight violation of the law, but it's damn bad form. If the employees were U.S. citizens, Holiday Inn would have had to tolerate the employees' attempts to unionize, since the law was on their side.

Holiday Inn's punishment should be this: they get a big ass fine (lord knows the parent company Bass Ale can manage), a third of which goes to the U.S. court system for its expenses. The rest of the fine pays for a 30 second prime-time network TV spot to be run for seven days straight. In the ad, someone like Michael Moore calmly describes Holiday Inn's offense and urges the public not to support the motel chain unless they cut the shit and start treating their employees fairly. Big businesses won't start behaving until we customers show that we refuse to tolerate their mistakes and legal violations by not giving them our business.

The hotel workers won the court battle over the unjust action taken by Holiday Inn, and the INS hearing is set for Tuesday.

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The Big Digger

Tuesday, April 18th, 2000

flowers in my front yard

I hopped a train up to Boston yesterday, and I've been visiting friends, walking and watching. As you might imagine, the Patriot's Day streets were packed with weary runners and silver space blankets. The city looked cold and felt alive, dreaming warm kettles of baked beans and chowder. And damn, those Kenyans are fast. The gas station attendant who gave me the "hot inside tip" to bet all my allowance on Ethiopians this year is going to pay, big time.

How can Dr. Dre give Napster an ultimatum like this? Napster doesn't maintain a database of songs, it only lists whatever happens to be on a user's hard drive. The music industry is steadily getting pissed off. Lawyers must be having a field day. Hopefully, I'll be able to find someone to sue.

i have my sweatshirt and my camera and my discman, and I've been exploring the city to the tune of neil young, godspeed you black emperor, built to spill, the cure, kraftwerk, digable planets, dr. octogon, aphex twin, rem, and coltrane. i just watched boys don't cry, (a beautiful film, indeed) and tonight i'm going to a flaming lips concert at axis on lansdowne street. and i'm going to be standing in the cold for a while beforehand. i can feel spring coming, though.

3:21 PM | plink



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sundayafternoonweightlessness

Sunday, April 16th, 2000

me, kitchen, artwork

Age sixteen seems like a long time ago, and it was a long time ago. I don't experience the same kind of self-doubt and fear that I did in high school, and sometimes I worry that I'll forget what it was like. I want to hold my past right with me, in the present moment. Self-doubt used to be a way of life, and nowadays its not much more than a force that keeps me from being lazy. I'm a pretty content person now, at the ripe age of 22, but contentment gets boring. While reading Raine's words on suffocate.net, I found myself growing nostalgic for those periods of my life that were driven by love and fear; characterized by confusion, honest sadness and emotional pain. What a strange thing to feel nostalgic about. I think I've reached a point where I need to take a risk, abandon the comforts of my cushy middle-class life, and experience emotional places that will force me to create the things I long to create. But cozy suburbia is in my blood, and I wonder if I'll ever get up the nerve to take that risk. I'm afraid to give up the stability of good friends and good eating. My life is so easy now that I can't remember if I've ever been lonely.

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More Birthdays, More Food.

Saturday, April 15th, 2000

Mother reaches for her wine.

For her birthday dinner, my mother chose a new cozy bakery cafe that just opened up in downtown Plymouth. The candlelight was just right, the hi-fi was in the background, and the wine was delicious.

A little bit of Photoshop goeas a long way, as you can see. As always, hover over the daily image to see the caption, and click to see the full screen version. Also, I finally decided to take full advantage of Blogger...

1:51 AM | plink

 

...so now I can post easier. That annoying little animated gif links to the permanent location of each post, if you havent figured that out already. Multiple entries will appear chronologically within days.

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at about four am i boiled some water and made myself a whole eight cup french press full of coffee to keep me going because i sure didn't feel like sleeping after waking up at two in the afternoon yesterday so anyways i put all of that coffee into this smarmy-looking periwinkle thermos-pitcher that i swiped from an international house of pancakes during my sophomore year of college and i must say its doing a fine job of insulating my jamaican blue mountain, which i am gently sipping, sipping from my handmade earthenware mug with slow, deliberate movements, because after all i'm an adult now and poise is everything, since a carefully scripted series of gestures, facial reactions and thoughtfully stunted phrases constructed with sparse, high-fallutin' diction and the occassional condescending quip can really help an ordinary fellow appear to be an opinionated citizen of earth, though it should be here noted that the aforementioned techniques are not so effective when the gentleman in question has only the power to communicate to his receiver using snippets of linear text, and as such, on these occasions he must take care to intermingle his sophist yuppie-speak with bits of irony or an unexpected nonsensical gerbie word, thus tricking the reader into believing that the writer is particularly clever or intellectually remarkable, even if the only thing he intended to mention was that i have updated the design and content of the links page as well as the archive index.

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Good Morning... er... Afternoon.

Today, April Blah, 2000

Andrew Wollman in the hills north of Phoenix, New Years Eve 2000

I love when I wake up ready to start a new day but the day is over because its already 2 PM. I think that's great. Fabulous. I guess that's what happens when you stay up until 3 at your next-door neighbors house watching a surreal subtitled Anime cartoon called Dragon Half and then spend another two hours at home reading blogs and ranting on Metafilter about how pointless and foolish it is that Metallica is filing a law suit against Napster, the University of Southern California, Yale University, and Indiana University. Lawyers must be having a field day, because a whole new world of potential income has just opened up to them, no thanks to Lars. Obviously, mp3 exchange breaks the law, and it might not even be fair to artists. But if you're going to sue anyone, sue the people who are stealing. Sue me, not the software designers and the Colleges. Bof!

The chiseled young hipster you see in today's pic is my dear friend Andrew, who I haven't seen since our balls-to-the-wall cross-country roadtrip at the turn of the century. He's been living with his brother in Los Angeles, doing research and website maintenance for MadTV. I mention him because he finally smartened up and brought his wit and gift for writing onto the Weblog party wagon. Now we can all go AWOL.

3:12 PM | plink



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I'm Really Hungry. Wicked Hungry.

Thursday, April 13th, 2000

taking a cruise in my friend erik's ghetto Mercury, with one aluminum can of Dr. Rocket.

I'm really hungry, but I'm writing this anyways. I found the iToke site via Awol, and at first I thought it was a joke. The company, led by two business-savy Seattle-raised fellows, will be a Web-based marijuana delivery service based in Amsterdam that plans to changed the face of pot and pot culture. The company's slogan is "Need Weed?" but they're not joking around. They're planning 30 minute or less delivery time, quality standards you can count on, and the kind of promotion and cleanliness we associate with Starbucks. This Wired article includes an eight minute audio interview, which I recommend. The idea is that if they can get cheeba-cheeba out of the grungy basement and into our social consciousness as a respectable and profitable business product, legalization will spread and they'll go global as new markets open up. It's legit, and it might be brilliant. I'll rant about this issue later, I think.

Is it just me, or has Riothero been going topless just a little too frequently? How many more sexy, shirtless male designers will the blogging community tolerate?

I'm tweaking my template so I can post on the fly. So if I have my way, you can expect additional words later today, below this entry. All right. Now I must eat or I will surely die.

11:46 AM | plink



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Still Haven't Done My Taxes.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2000

Donald Gantz, fifty-five, with daughter and big red nose.

My friend Allison likes to send me humorous email forwards and various other things she comes across while working at the office. I had a low tolerance for forwards in college, and I have a low tolerance now. Still, there's something strange and wonderful about waking up to a video like this (1 MB). Allison also turned me on to 1-800-578-7453. The toll-free number will connect you to some crazy tobbacco company with a hilarious recording. I highly recommend it.

Does anyone out there remember 1-800-WOW-ITS-HOT? It was an MCI service that only operated during the winter months. My friends and I used to call up frequently during highschool. If you were feeling cold and depressed, you could call the number and listen to various recordings of summertime, such as sounds frim the beach, birds singing, or a man at a baseball game yelling "Hot Dogs! Hamburgers!". One of the recordings sounded like a man with a chainsaw, but I think it was supposed to be a person water skiing. It's a shame they discontinued that service. It made February tolerable. I daresay it brought a touch of mid-winter warmth to my cold, icy heart. Fiddlesticks!

By the way, the boy in the sailor suit is most definitely me. Shame on everyone who thought I just liked to collect pictures of random Navy children. On the back of the original color 5x7 photograph my mother wrote, "September 1980: Age 2 and 3/4". That outfit was supposed to last my whole life. I'm still wearing it, actually, around my left shin. I think those glasses are probably the coolest thing I ever owned.

Thanks to the couple of people who reminded me that the classic Fun With Grapes: A Case Study is located on the same site as the Flaming Pop Tarts page. As Ralph Hempel put it in a message I received, "These articles are indicitave of the quality of Web stuff around 1994, arguably the Golden Age of the Web, before high-speed connections allowed any web hack to spew out useless graphics and frame enabled web pages." Damn straight, Ralph. But I think frames have their place, although they're all too easy to abuse.

Speaking of frames and destructive fun, I've just learned that Project Omni was named Dreamhost Site of the Month for April. So, uhh, allow me to take a moment and congratulate myself and my four fellow Omnicians. There. I'm done now. And props to dreamhost for being the most user-friendly company ever.

My Cassette kick continues: I've moved on to the self-titled debuts from Suzanne Vega and the Violent Femmes. Next up is Simon and Garfunkle's schizophrenic masterpiece, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Tapes are so silly. They melt easily, and they're afraid of magnets, for Chrissakes.

3:04 PM | plink



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Happy Birthday, Dad.

Tue.04.11.00.12.32

The Mass Pike cuts through Boston, beneath Tower records.

Today my father turns 55, and I'm preparing a big roasted chicken dinner. Actually, since my mother's birthday is on Friday, the meal will serve as my gift to both of them. I can't afford real presents yet.

Today is also Jack's 23rd birthday. He announced that his life is taking a much needed turn: he's moving back to California to live in San Francisco. Why? He's following in Matt's footsteps and joining the Pyra crew. Is there no limit to the amount of talent and vision that can be crammed into one small brick office? WTF? I WANT TO WORK FOR PYRA, GODDAMMIT! I wish I had something to offer them, becaue I'd love to head to San Francisco and join in the fun. Congratulations, Jack.

Every so often I recieve a very impersonal mailing list email from Dave Winer. This morning's email suggested that I choose an icon from this neverending list of icons to represent my weblog. The idea could lead to an interesting way to catalog sites, assuming people learn to associate sites with tiny pictures. I'm leaning toward this one. In my opinion, Crazy Uncle Joe has the right idea when it comes to the blog portal revolution. If your familiar with the most popular loggers, The Guerrilla Banner Project probably amuse you.

Thanks to Elle, everyone's favorite new pigtailed young lady, for the link to Chicks Suck. And Why do chicks suck? The guy who maintains the site still hasn't figured it out, and neither have I. The site's a bit edgy, though not nearly as edgy as the most consistently offensive site on the net.

The redesign seems to be behaving, but I'm not quite finished tweaking it yet. I'm planning to fiddle with the table structure. And thanks to style sheets, I have full controll over fonts and background colors.

I dug all of my old tapes out of the closet, and I'm listening to them one by one. So far I've heard every R.E.M. album from the eighties, the first Indigo Girls release, and Sonic Youth's Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star.

12:16 PM | plink



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Only Getting Younger.

Mon.04.10.00.05.45

I snapped this picture of my friend Jonah and myself while we were walking around Boston on Friday night. Hours later we had a rather comical run in with the police. New journal entry sometime today. I had a long and schizophrenic weekend, and now I must go to sleeep. I just wanted to introduce you to the new design. The last version was gettting tiresome. I kinda like this, though, because it's simple and flexible. Like me.

5:45 AM | plink



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On Second Thought...

Thu.04.06.00.14.18

I've changed my mind.
I want Jim Taylor For President.
Because as Jim puts it, "everything is crappy".





3:42 AM | plink



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Wandering Star.

Wed.04.05.00.14.55

I'm starting to think that Michael Moore should be president. Well, I mean, obviously, I should be president, but I ain't old enough yet. So Michael Moore will do nicely during the interim. His recently published Letter of Apology to Elian Gonzalez is both hilarious and depressing, and because the writing is geared toward a very young reader, the point and the politics remain subtle but clear. The gap between the big media face of politics and the real issues is a huge one, and sometimes I forget that. The rules and decisions that affect the lives of real people are so much more interesting when they're not packaged into tidy, over-produced news stories. I love Moore's approach: he delivers serious criticism of problems facing our country in the form of humorous writings and stunts that defy authority, so the issue at hand grabs my attention and sticks in my mind. Would that Al Gore was so interesting.

Thanks to Raza over at High Industrial for directing me toward that letter. Speaking of which, I think High Industrial is whipping a lot of ass these days. The links and commentary are always good, and he adds a splash of personal content now and then. If I could remember any of my dreams or nightmares, I'd share them, too. Plus, his recent redesign is dope. Damn, it's a gray-and-orange-spring-redesign revolution out there in blog land.

And with that in mind, I'll tell you that I'm fiddling with graphics, learning about cascading style sheets, and listening to Portishead. For the next nineteen hours.

2:57 PM | plink



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Another Day in White Suburbia.

Tue.04.04.00.02.40

Yes, nothing much happens around here, but that doesn't stop me from being the best damn tall kid, friend, brother, and son that I can be. A hot cup of Earl Grey and the second Belle and Sebastian album make these efforts that much easier. Thank you for your patience. Now, join me for an informational constitutional, and together we'll see what's happening out on the World Wide Web!

I don't know how I missed this hilarious cybersex transcript that appeared on A Short and Happy Life last month. I'm excited to look through the archives for other times that "amber4ever" has pulled these kind of stunts on unsuspecting males. Thanks to Joshua, back in Phoenix, for ICQing that link to me. I miss that boy. I wish he was here in MA, for a spring game of croquet.

I've been poking through my old bookmarks, and I came up with a classic that I had nearly forgotten about: Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches. This little site dates back to the golden years of the web, circa 1994, before e-commerce and e-ality and e-at me took over. This is the kind of well documented, practical science that inspired our Project Omni brain child. Also, I seem to remember a page that showed how to make a carefully sliced grape shoot sparks in the microwave... If anyone knows the url for that site, send it over here.

I'm glad that Maryland now requires all new guns to be manufactured with these ridiculous looking trigger locks. This is fairly pathetic as gun control goes, but I think it's a step in the right direction. Still, it raises some questions:

1. If someone is about to shoot me, and I have to fiddle with my trigger lock combination in order to protect myself, aren't I going to die? Probably, yes. I don't own a gun, and I certainly don't want one. But I'm sure there's nothing more frustrating than trying to find your gun key or remeber your gun combination while some skulking hulking bastard makes off with your stereo, laughing.

2. Will we ever see guns with built in safety locks in buddy cop movies? I hope so. Spread the good word. Once it's in the movies, even Charleton Heston won't be able to complain with his slow, long-winded speech.

3. Could these locks possibly be any more bulky or unattractive? Unfortunately, probably not. But it sure would be nice if guns were awkward or silly looking, because there would probably be fewer of them around. Guns shouldn't be so damn sleek and sexy. Unsexy guns probably wouldn't sell very well. They also wouldn't look good in buddy cop movies.

4. Have guns been a big problem in Maryland? Who cares what happens there, anyway? The bill had to start somewhere, I guess. Hopefully, other states will follow suit. I looked around for Maryland crime stats, but I couldn't find any. Personally, I know that if I lived in Baltimore, I'd use whatever tools were available to take my own life.

Tonight I cooked up kabobs, rice, broccoli and bread for the family. And I helped my dear sister Alyssa with her Geometry homework. Alyssa and I are mean to each other sometimes, but usually it's just an act. I love her very much. Secretly, the two of us are plotting to overthrow the other members of the family, starting with Dad. Anyway, Sis gets a lot of silly forwards, and today she sent me a link to The Perfect Joke, and I actually laughed out loud when I read it. This site reveals just how easy it is to make a buck through advertising, because they have almost no content. Just one funny joke.

2:21 AM | plink

 

Oh Me-Oh-My-Oh.

Tue.04.04.00.23.15

After dinner this evening I made some smoothies and watched The Iron Giant with my sister. What a wonderful movie. She didn't want to rent it, but I did.

Thanks to Metafilter for pointing me toward Car Talk's Worst Cars of the Millenium. The best thing about these pages is the testamonial quotes that accompany each car, i.e. "The big winter of 82-83 froze all the Chevettes in my town like dumb ducks on an icy lake." I have fond memories of listening to Car Talk on NPR while running errands with my dad in downtown Plymouth on Saturday mornings. Saturday mornings are me favorite.

The following is my reply to the fellow from Wall Street who emailed me about a potential Project Bread Truck, as mentioned in my post from last Thursday:

Jeffrey,

I'm glad to hear that someone down at the NYSE enjoys our scientific exploits. I put a lot more time into writing and constructing the site than the five of us did when we were beating the shit out of the poor thing, and I'm pretty pleased with the end product. I get the occassional message that folks have "laughed so hard they cried", and that... that...
...I'm starting to get all misty...
with tears welling up, but...
I promised myself I wouldn't do this.

Sniff...
Sniff... There, I feel better.
Sure, a gummy worm would be great. Thanks.

I'm back on my feet now.
Any sponsorship, cash donations, stock options or investment tips that you would like to offer us in exchange for the destruction of yet another vehicle would be much appreciated. Contact my secretary and we'll set up a meeting at the local Radisson to give you some time to present a financial plan, your Power Point slides, and a breakdown of those qualities that you feel make you ideal candidates for our organization. Perhaps we'll take you out for rock climbing and sushi, as we often do for prospective clients.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Ryan

Was that a bad idea? I sure hope I didn't blow our chances of getting corporate sponsorship. Lord knows I need a new project.

Pardon? Hehehe... yeah, right. Me, get a job. Good one.

11:37 PM | plink



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After Show Afterglow

Sun.04.02.00.02.55

Tonight I saw Ida play at the Middle East in Cambridge. The music they played was beautiful, with strings and voices, and the group gave a nice intimate performance. The opening acts weren't so great, though. So it goes.

I drove home with my brother Jeremy and our friends Steve and Lin sleeping in the car, and I thought I was going to crash that silly thing. I have crackers and cheese, grapes and Pinot Grigio now. Everything should be fine.

3:04 AM | plink



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all content copyright 2000 ryan d gantz.
how can he stay so skinny, and live so fat?