Tuesday, April 30, 2002


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Zooming on Tulips

This post got me thinking. My work with taking photos and doing web stuff is about split 50-50. Often, when I'm away from my computer for a day or so, out taking photos on the Oregon coast or somewhere, I find it difficult and even depressing to come back to my computer and get back into updating sites, answering e-mail, etc.

So, I was thinking- people, evolutionarily speaking, haven't done a lot of sitting down on chairs, in front of computer screens for 8 (or more) hours a day. It's only relatively recently that we've even had dwellings that not only shelter us from the elements, but that separate us so profoundly (through thick walls, air conditioning, heating, and other conveniences) that one of their purposes seems to be to state unequivocally that, "I'm not outside."

But see, most of the time, I don't even realize this, since I've conditioned myself to spend long times in front of the computer, and generally think nothing of it. The times it feels obviously bad are when I'm not doing that, but hiking, photographing, and sleeping outside, and doing some of the same stuff that people have been doing for thousands of years.

I don't feel qualified to speculate on much beyond this anthropologically speaking (or even really to speculate as much as I am), but I do think there's something there, and I wonder which of these feelings (conditioning myself to spend long times in front of the computer versus spending time outdoors and learning from that sort of experience) is more valid, and more beneficial to me in the long run.

09:43 PM PST

Monday, April 29, 2002

» Dave Eggers has become one of the most interesting authors of the past decade. His book felt incredibly new and different than anything I've ever read, and his work with McSweeney's to publish great writing continues to be interesting, funny, and encouraging.

What he writes about selling out is worthwhile for anyone to read. It's so easy, especially in independent music circles, to be angry with a band you like because they got popular and (god forbid) are actually able to make a living off of the music they play.

I remember having this attitude with Green Day, where I went through this process of loving them, hating them, and then getting back into them when I realized my elitist BS was getting in the way of me enjoying the great music they were still playing.

11:41 AM PST

Thursday, April 25, 2002

» It's a sad day in Philadelphia. According to SkateNerd.com Love Park has finally been fenced in, and renovations that will, among other things, make it unskateable, are underway.

Love Park is the mecca of east coast skateboarding. I've been in the area many times, but skated it only once, during a Free Mumia rally, on a borrowed skateboard that had most of its tail missing. Like Pulaski Park in Washington, DC, Love has tons of skate history. It's been in more skate videos that nearly anywhere else and numerous legendary tricks have gone down over the huge gap from the top of the stairs into the fountain.

Despite the city's insistence that skateboarding is not allowed there, they were perfectly willing to be bought out by ESPN, allowing them to have the X-Games street contest there. Furthermore, for a city whose population is shrinking, it's not going to help them if some professional skateboarders, making six figure incomes, decide to move out.

But, besides all of that, I just remember Love Park being this expanse of smooth marble and buttery ledges where people of all ages spent hours and hours of their lives skateboarding and learning new tricks.

Zeb Snyder, a local skateboarder who works at a skateshop, says, "I think when I'm older I'll look at this and say this is the best time of my life, skating at Love."

11:30 PM PST

Wednesday, April 24, 2002


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Lights from Car Window

Most people who decide to buy a camera kit usually get the body and a single zoom lens (28-80 or thereabouts). This was not always so. For a very long time, the standard lens that would come with your camera was the 50mm. Recently, I purchased a new camera, and a 50mm lens for it. I've only shot with it a single day, but it's redefining the photos I'm taking. Recomposing now means walking forward or walking back, not just twisting the zoom ring. My photos were interesting today because of the elements within them, not the exaggerated distortion of a wide angle, or the compression you get with a long zoom lens. In some small way, it was a day to rediscover photography.

Gary Voth makes an eloquent statement in The Forgotten Lens in support of the 50mm lens.

10:50 PM PST

» I'm going to take the consumer advocate platform for a minute here, and give a statement: "Never, ever, ever buy anything from Best Buy." After Best Buy posted a good deal on a pre-order for a new video card, a ton of people bought it, excited to give the company their money for a high-end piece of hardware. These people received numerous confirmation e-mails, and some even called to ensure that the product listing was not a typo.

One man in Georgia went to his local Best Buy with his receipts printed from the site, and other pertaining information he needed, in order to buy the card. He talked to a woman at customer service, then the general manager, then, he was arrested.

This might be written off as a one-time incident, if Best Buy wasn't in the habit of treating its customers like criminals.

03:09 PM PST

Monday, April 22, 2002


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Dignity Village cow, one of many.

04:33 PM PST


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This man was working at Portland's Saturday Market awhile back, and I was struck by how quiet he seemed, and loved the warm light coming in on him that almost made the lighting look like it was in a studio, not this noisy, bustling place with people rushing around looking at what everyone was selling.

01:08 PM PST

» Skateboarding activism, what else can you call it? Hundreds of skate kids and concerned citizens took to Love Park yesterday to demand their rights be considered along with everyone elses. I found it amazing that the skaters all decided to start skating together, so that the police couldn't single people out on boards. An inside source (my friend, Phil), says there was an older blind lady who tried skateboarding for the first time, no joke.

10:35 AM PST

Saturday, April 20, 2002

» Dave Beckerman, a wonderful photographer, sent me this quote from Bob Dylan, which I think relates to the redesign of this site, from messy/stressed to clean:

"I like to stay a part of that stuff that don't change. Actually it's not that difficult. People still love and they hate, they still marry and have children, still slaves in their minds to their desires, still slap each other in the face and say 'honey can you turn off the light' just like in ancient Greece. What's changed?..."

08:00 PM PST

Friday, April 19, 2002

» It took a little digging, but the Kodak web site has a ton of great content. There's wonderful photographs and stories in their Feature Story Archives. Some notable ones include, Through the Eyes of a Child, American Mile Markers, and Five Million Steps.

12:21 PM PST

Thursday, April 18, 2002

» Yes! Nice to even see some Republicans against the drilling.

Before this was finalized, it was interesting to see the videos presented by each side, and their striking visual differences. My only question about this- do people really assume all ecosystems are made up of the colors green and blue? Just because it's snow-covered (in the oil industry's video), doesn't mean there aren't a lot of living things out there.

01:12 PM PST

» So this will be the way the site will look for some undiscernable amount of time, and I thought the people who visit my site (thanks Mom!) might want to have a look around.

To your right you'll see all the navigation aids, such as the updated About page, and the Archives, which include all the old blogger archives (if you get a jonesing for the graphic-heavy old design), the GreyMatter archives (12/01 to present), and the other sections of the site that were left behind, but not forgotten. If you have some extra time, I still recommend having a look at some of this old content, like this, and this one, too.

Finally, an acknowledged list of links, sites that I recommend, endorse, learn from, and visit nearly every single day.

09:43 AM PST

» Throughout the United States, enormous chain stores like Costco and Wal-Mart are relocating to more profitable markets, leaving these "big boxes" empty, without much potential for other use.

Now what would one do with an enormous, empty, indoor building that they claim has little chance for reuse? I can think of at least one idea.

09:26 AM PST

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

» During the last election, Ralph Nader attempted to use his ticket to get into the presidential debates going on at the University of Massachusetts campus. He was denied entrance by a security guard, and decided to take action. Nearly 7 months later, he has settled the suit with the debate commission and the security consultant each paying $25,000.

What's still unclear is the relationship between the separate issues here (him watching the debate versus actually participating). Obviously the folks at the debate commission wouldn't be so foolish as to bar him from another debate (as an audience member). But I don't know that this settlement will further his cause in 2004 if he chooses to run for the presidency again and attempts to be a part of the national debates.

10:40 PM PST

» Redesign is mostly up. Error reports or things "just looking weird"-reports would be appreciated.

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Tulip Festival

03:21 PM PST

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

» Redesign will be up in approximately 16 hours.

10:04 PM PST

Saturday, April 13, 2002


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This cartoon is one of the funnier things I've seen on the web recently. Brilliant parody of the situation in the ANWR, and a nice companion piece to Tom Tomorrow's latest cartoon.

06:45 PM PST

Friday, April 12, 2002


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Portland has been rainbowless (at least to my eyes) for the past 8 months that we've been here. Then we saw two in the last two days, including this one, just outside my window.

And on redesign: I've been realizing that the design elements in a web site are not based on a lot of good ideas brought together, but on one great idea, carried out to its fullest extent. I'm still looking for that great idea.

10:34 AM PST

Sunday, April 7, 2002

» The truth is, I've been busy, but we're all busy. This explains the last few days of my life quite well. The new Mercury had some photos of mine in it, and I found some kind words about this piece of writing I did.

Furthermore, it's finally about damn time this site gets redesigned. In pursuing that, I'm continually inspired by David Carson, and 37 Signals. Of course these two are polar opposites in their approach to design, and that's what is great about them.

09:47 PM PST


"The sun is sinking. Here on the pre-haunted
bank, the mosquitoes fly around drowsily, and
moss stands out as if it wanted to speak. Calm
falls onto the lake, which now seems heavier and
inhospitable. Far out, rafts of ducks drift like
closed eyes, and a thin line of silver caused by
something invisible slowly moves toward the shore
in the viscous darkness under the southern bank.
Only a few birds, the troubled ones, speak to
the darkening roof of earth; small weeds stand
abandoned, the clay is sending her gifts
back to the center of the earth."

-Robert Bly, 1962.

09:34 PM PST

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