I found some beautiful new music, in the form of a solo accordionist named Geoff Berner. If you have a fast connection, and an interest in folksy/punk music, go to his site and give him a listen. More songs here. 11:39:35 PM
At a hotel up the street from where I live, the Christian Coalition is having their "Road to Victory" conference, and throughout the area, I see the attendees wearing little tags with their names and the states/cities they're from. In my informal survey, I noticed a great number of them coming from states we might categorize as "the Midwest".
Across the street from the hotel, various gay rights groups are having a rally protesting the CC. My favorite sight was a family of four, from Nebraska, walking by the rally, and the father attempting to shield his two children's eyes from the woman holding a sign saying "Gay Rights Now". I don't think he was worried about them reading the sign, but rather the fact that she was wearing nothing above the waist save for two prominently placed Gay Rights stickers. 11:07:09 AM
Gone camping, where there's ocean and sand dunes and beauty. 10:30:01 PM
Tonight, the seasons changed in Washington. I walked down a damp, dark street, felt a Fall breeze on my face, and saw my breath for the first time. 6:15:07 PM
So, if this whole Second Coming thing doesn't work out, why not just make a clone and be over with it? 5:50:51 PM
Amazing resource, go to Open Secrets, enter your zip code in the box on the right, and find out who in your community is giving money to what politicians. What was interesting in looking at my town in NJ was seeing lots of donations coming from different members of the same family. It would seem to me that this might be a loophole of some sort to allow people to give more money than they legally can (by having it come from different people in the family).
Another aspect of this site: the top contributors to each campaign. If you were to go to Bush or Gore's listing, you'd notice six figure contributions. Whereas, Nader who refuses to accept soft money has a top donation of $4,000. I think this puts the candidate's political interests into perspective very nicely. 1:47:28 PM
Today I loaded my first roll of black and white film into my camera. It has been a year and a half since I've done anything but take color pictures and drop them off at CVS to get processed. After an enormous expenditure (for me at least), I'm now able to process my own film and print my pictures in my apartment.
Pictures to follow, as one might say. 1:32:07 PM
Welp, my clock says 12:00 AM, that means I'm officially 22 years old. To celebrate, I'm eating a licorice flavored Necco wafer, drinking mint green tea, and working on my computer science program due on wednesday. It's an exciting and risky life I live. 9:02:27 PM
24 hours of my life thanks to the prodding of these folks. 3:44:58 PM
Butter knives are hazardous to my health. About five years ago, when I was angry for some reason or the other, I was holding a butter knife with two hands and bending it. Naturally, it broke, and the jagged broken edge was thrust into my right palm. I was surprised, but still angry, so I pulled it out, threw the broken pieces in the trash, and walked up to my room.
Upstairs, I realized that my cupped hand was full of blood, and that maybe I needed to go to the hospital. I walked downstairs and told my parents that I think I needed stitches. They concurred, and drove me to a medical center where a doctor did a half-assed job stitching me up. Today I have a scar about two inches long that is almost perfectly parallel to a crease line in my palm, giving me an extra life line (that's how I see it anyways).
Last night, I was attempting to remove the bearing cover from a skateboard bearing in order to clean it. First, I tried a razor blade, which wasn't quite strong enough, so next was a needle, which also bent under pressure. Then I noticed that the thin plane of a blue plastic-handled butter knife might be just the thing. As I held the bearing in one hand, I attempted to force the butter knife underneath the covering so that I might pop it off and wipe away the crud that had gathered in there.
Of course I hadn't learned my lesson. In a very short amount of time, the force I was exerting on the knife to perform this task was transferred to the knife cutting into the middle finger on my left hand. The knife didn't have much serration on it at all, but it was enough, and in that second I went from being frustrated with the stupid bearing to staring at the blood drops that had managed to splatter on the white wall three feet away, as well as all over the floor, and on my tan canvas pants.
The damn thing (that being my finger) bled for almost an hour, despite constant pressure being applied to it, and raising my finger over my heart to reduce blood flow (finally my Boy Scout training pays off). Charlene came to the rescue with some Winnie the Pooh band-aids, and today things seem under control, though I did manage to bang my finger on nearly every protruding object in my room (chair, newt tank, computer monitor, skateboard) as I cleaned up today.
After this second incident, I'm considering giving away all my butter knives. From now on, I'll only have safe, dependable, and razor sharp steak knives. 5:55:32 PM
I had no idea GWB was into Slayer. 9:06:32 AM
A beautiful statue of Gandhi was just unveiled recently, about four blocks from my apartment. He is sculpted walking, carrying a stick, with his head slightly bent down. Underneath him is a huge stone with his name on it. Around the statue are plaques with some of his writing on them.
While the statue is slightly larger than life, he is not portrayed as such- there was a definite effort made to portray him modestly. It reminded me of the Einstein Memorial, which, when viewed, makes one realize that he wasn't super human, and that he was just a person like you and me, and that realization makes everything both of them did that much greater. 8:47:08 PM
Climbing Cambridge buildings without ropes. This has to be one of the best personal interactions with architecture that I've ever seen. 3:13:21 PM
It was the skate session I'd been wanting to have for weeks.
Tonight's subject was the brick four stair, flat, second brick four stair in front of the bookstore, two blocks from my apartment. I had been skating around it for days and days, never committing after the four kicks for speed and crouch. Today, I had it. Yelling as I snapped the first ollie, coming down on the bolts, quick foot repositioning, and a smaller snap down the second, remembering to lean forward a little since the sidewalk I was coming on sloped down a bit and could put me on my butt really quickly.
Two hard falls now make my left wrist throb as I type this, and my ankle did that same compression thing it seems to do everytime I skate, sure to leave me achy tomorrow morning. But, for once I dealt with all that fear and frustration I have when I skateboard in a positive way, I got through being scared, I did things I didn't think I could, and I came back smiling and sweaty. 10:07:22 PM
I had a yellow Garfield lunchbox, but it wasn't quite on the same level as these ones. 7:18:55 PM
So, an outright lie is told in order to make pseudo-personal connection to a group of Floridians. And this isn't the first time. Instead of conceding that Mr. Gore isn't a great candidate, but is better than the other guy, why not consider other options? A vote for either of the major party candidates is a wasted vote-- one of them will win depending on how the members of the electoral college decide to vote, your vote will have little to do with it.
Now, if a third party candidate receives 5% of the national vote, he or she will qualify for millions of dollars in federal campaign funds in the next election, thereby allowing the party to run a more mainstream (media-wise) campaign. More importantly, they'll be able to challenge the two-party system which has been presenting the public with the illusion of choice in recent elections.
My vote for Ralph Nader in the coming election has as much to do with my support of him as it does my belief that third party candidates deserve not to be ignored by the media and subsequently by the general public. I think it's important to cast a vote that you know will make a difference. 9:13:04 PM
"We've got a lot of time. Or maybe we don't, but I'd like to think so, so let me pretend." -John K. Sampson 8:35:13 PM
During my freshman year of college, I would often stay up late the night before a programming assignment was due, mucking around with that damned language trying to get my program to compile.
Usually around 3 AM or so my productivity would stop, and I'd begin doing the web thing, visiting different places and their links, entering irreverent terms into search engines, that sort of thing. To my right I nearly always had a cup of coffee and a foil container of szechuan tofu and vegetables that had been delivered to me at the beginning of the night, and which provided the background odor to my hours of coding. I would get lost in the web, really.
The hours would pass, and I would suddenly look out my window (which looked into an alley, facing another building about fifteen feet away) and see the blacks and harsh lights of nighttime lighten into a soft blue gray that were the very first signs of morning.
For some reason, pigeons seemed to like my window sill, and as the night hues would fade, they would arrive with a flutter of wings and stay awhile, cooing and pecking for food about a foot from where I sat. Around 6, as I began to hear people outside, I would collapse into bed, setting my alarm for 12 so I could get up in time to get some coffee and hand in my project.
For the few minutes before I fell to sleep, my mind would be full of web things-- experiences people shared, amazing sites whose design put me to shame, and lots of little ideas spinning around my head-- "...words like so many tiny wheels" (Joubert). 11:16:53 PM
An Olympic-caliber athlete decides to skip the Olympics. 3:43:36 PM
Clinton and Albright, guilty of war crimes? From the e-mail dispatches I got from Yugoslavia when the bombing was happening, it was clear that civilian buildings were being bombed with impunity. Great photo. 3:18:59 PM
Congratulations to my mom for winning first place in her age category in the Berkeley Heights 5K. Go mom! 11:49:46 AM
Ach. 4AM sore throats that wake me up are no fun at all. 2:14:16 AM
Oh man, I listened to Weston for the first time today in about three years. What innocent pop punk it is. Failed relationships and high school sweethearts abound. "New Shirt/Heather Lewis" is still pop perfection. 9:15:39 AM
Things I greatly dislike (entry #1): Trekking down to my apartment building's basement to do wash. Loading up the washer, coming back 33 minutes later to transfer the washed clothes to the dryer, and promptly dropping three t-shirts, a pair of boxers, and one sock on the grimy tiled floor. 7:51:05 PM
I was interviewed about my zine awhile back (third link down).
update x 2: Charlene just informed me that first, you need flash, then you access it by going to "Street" then "Skateboarding", and then "More Features" and it's there (The Behind the Zines story). This wouldn't be nearly that hard if the site wasn't built on flash. 8:50:28 AM
Count me in! The weird thing is that I was just thinking about doing this. 3:45:17 PM
The 6 o' clock sun coming through half closed blinds gives me stripes. 3:19:35 PM
The band was called Fifteen. They had started when an 18 year old homeless runaway named Jeff was trying to kick his drinking habit. He met another guy who had done so, and they started playing music together. This was in about 1991. Eventually that other guy, (whose name was Jack) left, and through the next decade the band released a bunch of albums and was an integral part of the berkeley punk scene (where green day came from).
I think I first heard them on a friend of a friend's mix tape. The guy sang, "I've been having a hard time trying to justify/The clouds arising from the cars we drive/ And a little too easy seems just a little too hard today/ And I'm afraid my children are going to have to watch/ the world waste away", and I remember being blown away that punk music could be so direct and political, but also so personal.
I went home, and read up on the band a little bit, and gradually acquired some albums and listened to them more. I searched around on the web, and saw that they didn't have much of a website, so I thought I'd make my own. I spent an entire weekend typing up lyrics and scanning in pictures, and another week or two getting the site together. Once it was up, it almost immediately was getting 200-300 visitors a day. The heart of the site was (and is) the messageboard, where band members, friends and fans have posted about relevant and irrelevant issues. The messageboard also was a showcase for an airing of grievances by past band members, and a very public conflict between two members of the band over money made on merchandise.
There was a large gap of time between Fifteen albums, and an EP just came out recently, to be following by a full length next month. During this time, the messageboard slowed down, and not much happened. When "Hush" came out last month, the board picked up again, and has been going strong since then. Then came the message from Jeff on the board, but it didn't really surprise me. It had seemed to be a long time coming, but it was still sad.
I made the website for them because I wanted to give back to a band that had taught me so much about sexism, racism and just living your life. Now that they don't exist, the website serves as nothing more than a record of the past, a place to reminisce. I've been thinking about the utility of the site at this point, and while I like the idea of it remaining as a record, I wonder if that's really needed. After all, the real connections people may have with the band probably aren't going to be affected one way or the other by a web site. In the end, the most valid reason for me to keep the site up is purely personal.
Having those thoughts, I received an e-mail from a girl who had photographs of the band when they were first starting out, literally their first show. When they arrived in the mail, I tore through them, marvelling at how young they looked, seeing future band members standing in the audience watching them, and amazed at what an important historical record they were to me. Later, I received a zip disk in the mail from Jeff that had a live show of theirs with pretty decent sound, and I realized that I could do more with the site as a multimedia record than just let it sit. Around the US there were kids with great pictures of this band from all times spanning the ten years they toured, slept on people's floors and fished through dumpsters for food. There is something very new and exciting with these old pictures and old recordings, and they can do a lot of good in understanding the band, where they came from, and where they ended. And I got excited about the site again, about kids who will stumble across it years from now, and read through the history of this important band. Lastly, will keep the site up as a way of saying thank you to a band that has changed the way I think and shaped a part of me. A better reason than that doesn't seem
necessary. 1:24:34 PM
"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind." -Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. 8:49:29 PM
It's been determined (by top nutritionists worldwide) that any food either sampled from the bulk bins at Fresh Fields or simply layed out for approved sampling has no calories, and no fat.
Or maybe it's just that eating free food, no matter how bad it is for you, beats just about everything. 9:47:35 PM
Off to Richmond, VA for the day in search of coffeeshops, used book stores, and interesting photographs. 7:30:06 AM
My job interview went well. I arrived at 1815 H Street, took the elevator up to the fifth floor, and walked in. No one was at the front desk, so I peered into the nearest door and introduced myself to an older man who was making copies and explained I was here for the job interview. He asked me which job, I replied, 'The web design job', and he had me sit while he searched through for my resume. He didn't find it, but instead, had me come into his office where he gave me an interview.
I was asked some cursory questions about my experience, etc., and he asked about my skill with Lexis-Nexis, which I was pretty familiar with, and told him so. He then explained that they needed some legal research done (they were a law office), on a certain case, using that database. He also told me that they had a web site, but that other firms in the building were looking to get sites of their own, and that he could put me in contact with them. I guess that's what the "Web Designer Needed" heading in the ad referred to. We left things with me going to do some research on a case, and have it for him by tomorrow (saturday).
I wasn't particularly happy about the job, it didn't seem like it made much sense, and he, despite being a very nice, older guy, wanted to take 1/2 the money I made from any law firms he set me up with. I explained all this to Charlene as we walked around the city, and picked up some darkroom chemicals at the photo store. When I got home, I put my wallet and keys on the table, and listened to my answering machine messages. The last message was from the law firm. The voice on the answering machine said that they had expected me at 10 am, and it was 10:30 already, and they weren't sure what happened, and hoped I could call them to tell them what was up.
I had just gone to the interview with the law firm (having arrived right at 10 o' clock), and had a rather sucessful interview, though the job wasn't quite what I wanted, it still had gone well. Now, I have an answering machine message telling me that I hadn't shown up for the interview, and they were wondering where I had been. A frantic search turned up the answer, and blew my mind.
My job interview had been at 1819 H Street, not 1815 where I had gone, though both buildings had a suite of the same number. I had walked into what was basically a random building, no different than any other building in the city, and told them I was there for a job interview, and, I had gotten the job. Why the man in that office had believed me, and assumed I was in the right, I have no idea, I could have been anyone.
My mind was a mess for a while after this. On one hand, I felt almost humiliated, that I had done something so ridiculous, but I was also incredulous, unbelieving, at what had just happened, that it had worked out that way. After talking with a woman at the correct law firm, I'm now hoping that they will call me in for an interview on Monday. I'm also writing a note to the nice old man in 1815, thanking him for his time, but politely declining his offer. 9:30:56 PM
Forty minutes until a job interview, and I've discovered I forgot to bring my nice clothes down to DC. After some rummaging around, I've settled on the pair of Dickies without holes, and a short sleeve, white button down (a la Michael Douglas in Falling Down), that cost $2, and only sort of fits. 6:07:21 AM
The Dismemberment Plan are one of my favorite bands, and their front page makes me like them even more. 5:58:17 AM
Two new things that I'm happy about:
A huge tin of loose jasmine tea from China, for $2.95 at a little shop down the street from me.
See that large black thing in the middle of the room? Not the pile of clothes or other assorted junk, but the tall, black thing mounted on a white board? That's my new enlarger which arrived in the mail yesterday and will soon result in me being able to print my own photos in my room. I'm still working on the layout of my closet (soon to be darkroom), trying to have adequate ventilation, while also keeping it damn dark in there. Pictures to follow. 7:04:09 AM
It's only when I first walk through the door in my apartment that I smell it. Everyone's house/apartment has a smell, sometimes faint, sometimes distinct. I think mine is slightly musty coupled with some kitchen odors that fall between garlic and ripe plums. But, I only inhaled two or three breaths before I acclimated and the smell faded away. 7:27:18 PM
This lovely quote from my school's newspaper re: delays in getting phone lines activated because of the Verizon phone company strike:
"The only phone I have is my cell phone!"
Poor baby. 8:05:41 AM
I found myself on old, quiet streets tonight as I ventured through old Georgetown, away from the crowds of M streets, and along brick sidewalks that formed gentle red waves on top of the tree roots. I smelled a faint waxy smell, like the odor in a room five minutes after a candle is blown out. I imagined that these streets must have smelled similarly one hundred years ago when the streets lamps contained candles, not lightbulbs. I had my camera along, and tried to capture some of this, but, photography is more of a magic trick than a science to me, and I don't think I managed to pull any rabbits out of my hat. 8:53:52 PM
Given the right mood, cucumbers and salad dressing can make a good meal. 3:08:09 PM
Every night, a desperate looking man stands outside of CVS, and holds the door open for people coming in and out. As I walk across the street to the brightly lit glass door, I see him peering in, his bloodshot eyes squinting, and his mouth slightly open, looking for the next person to come out, so that he can hold the door for them, and that by performing this favor, he is more likely to be able to guilt them out of some change. 10:10:04 PM
I'm not quite sure yet if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I'm able to buy candy and other modern conveniences at any time of day, two blocks from my apartment.
Probably a bad thing. 9:55:29 PM