Friday, January 31, 2003

I did it. Today I went downtown and bought me a T-Mobile Sidekick. Not only do I have a much-needed cell phone in this device, but a color digital camera, web browser, IM and Email client, calendar, organizer, and dumb game machine. T-Mobile calls it a Sidekick, but it's manufacturer calls it a HipTop. Behold HipTop Nation - "Wireless Blogging for the HipTop Masses." [ NY Times article ] Made my debut mobile blog post from the roof of my work. Let me tell you, it was intoxicating to snap a photo outside, type a message and see it show up on a web page seconds later. You can bet I'll be doing a lot more of this, especially when I figure out how to get the shiznit posted to my own blog. Oh, and the other toy we got today is the SONY DSC-F707 5 megapixel camera. Lori and I fell in love with this camera (and each other, all over again, it was so hot) when we borrowed one of these babys for a weekend. See Macro Lens Happy Shower for the amazing results. Don't worry, they're rated G.

Current listening: Beck, Sea Change. Lush, sad and beautiful. It's the last day of January, really the last day I can post my fave music of 2002 with any modicum of relevance. I have it ready to go, along with my man Bill Snyder's list, so please hit refresh on this page continuously for the next 24 hours until it's posted. Pee your pants and starve if you really love me.
In this BBC News interview, former US Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf says a new war with Iraq has not yet been justified. He's not to keen on Rumsfeld, either. [ ]

I'm sure you've heard about Mandela speaking out. True, throwing out the word "holocaust" is inflammatory and is about as constructive as calling someone a Nazi, but I gotta love Mandela for saying Bush is arrogant and "can't think properly."

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Wednesday, Feb. 19 is International Blog Meetup Day. The topic: Blogging during wartime, or whatever. So far there are 36 T.C.-area bloggers signed up, but I only see a few people that I recognize. I'm wearing a cute little cheerleading outfit now, and I'm so pert and perky, saying "C'mon you guys! Giggle! It'll be FUN!!!!!!"

Meanwhile, I wish I was going to "BLOGOSPHERE - Exploring the Impact of Blogging on American Culture" in L.A. on Feb 15. If anyone is going, pleeeease let me know. Of course, the geeks in attendance will no doubt be moblogging it live.

I just submitted this picture of myself to Heather Champ's The Mirror Project. Meanwhile, here's a photo gallery of blogger rogues from Nick Denton. Yes, much preening in the land of blogs. Can you tell I'm excited to bring Blogumentary production to SXSW? I am terribly excited. Matt Ehling is giving me some great tips on, like, scrims and orange gels and frim blams. Are you going to SXSW, or know someone who is? I'm looking for a blog-friendly co-pilot to drive down with me from Minneapolis. I'll even pay for the gas if you be my special bloggy production assistant. Won't you be my bloggy pet?

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

BOOT CAMP KIDNAPPING: Pentagon sponsored media boot camps have stepped up the training drills as they prepare journalists for possible embedded reporting assignments in Iraq. The Washington Post today reported that a mock kidnapping of German correspondent Gundula Koch was staged at Fort Dix last Tuesday. She was promptly released, but used as an example for the others.

This story comes from BEHIND THE HOMEFRONT, a daily blog just launched by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to keep an eye on homeland security issues and the public's right to know:

The launch of "Behind the Homefront" coincides with the first day of operations for the new Department of Homeland Security ... Controversies already have arisen over not just how the department will operate, but what level of access to information it will allow, and how it will respond to news media requests. Will new exemptions be carved out of the FOI Act, either by law or by practice? Will officials and agents feel free to tap phones of journalists, or subpoena their records during investigations? ... Questions like these led the Reporters Committee to launch "Behind the Homefront" so that there will be a centralized site on the Internet for journalists who want to follow these issues and pass along information they learn while covering -- or worse, being covered by -- the new department. Users are encouraged to submit comments and pass along tips to make this project as useful, thorough and up-to-date as possible. [ thanks to Matt Ehling ]

Monday, January 27, 2003

Here's a commercial for "Eternal Life" that the Komedy Koven and I did recently... an edited version will appear in a play at the Red Eye Theater soon but this is the version we like. Think "Vanilla Sky," or something like that.

NEW! Eternal Life 2.0 - now less creepy, more fun!
Lori and I spent the early evening reading next to the faux-fireplace at Caribou Coffee in Uptown. (Me: Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software. Her: Nickle and Dimed) On our way out, my eye was drawn to a nicely designed poster for an event called TREND AGENDA 2003 - "a monster trend conference featuring industry leaders in technology, design, economics, consumer behavior, retail, and business strategy." I feel this is something I should attend - not necessarily as a career move (although it can't hurt) but as an undercover agent... infiltrating the marketing/branding braintrust, stealing their plans, distributing the top-secret microfilm to The Resistance so we can defend ourselves against their clever precision-engineered marketing tactics.

Here's a scary look at where we're headed - Neuromarketing:

BrightHouse Institute for Thought Sciences ... bridges the gap between business and science and provides its clients with unprecedented insight into their consumers’ minds.  The company plans to change the marketing world by using modern neuroscience methods to observe and understand the true drivers of consumer behavior.  The Thought Sciences team uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a safe and non-invasive technique, to observe patterns in brain activity that reveal how a person is processing and/or evaluating a product, object or advertisement. Thought Sciences neuroscientists and marketing analysts then use this information to more accurately measure consumer preference and determine whether it has been affected by a particular message campaign.  These insights give marketers key pieces of information ... which can then be translated into the creation of products, services, and marketing campaigns that better resonate with customers.

Wired News reports that cognitive science is increasingly geared toward selling us ketchup. Combine that with technologies like the audio spotlight and aroma marketing and I have to wonder: Does the consumer (excuse me, human being) of the future stand a chance? We've got a lot going for us - our brains are so complex and so different that we'll recognize and adapt to some of these invasions. The problem is, marketing technology is becoming increasingly subconscious and we may not know we're being manipulated. "The strongest effect comes when the fragrance is barely discernible," says one aroma marketer. From the Neuromarketing press release: Much of what motivates a person’s behavior is below the level of conscious awareness ... By directly measuring how the brain processes information, neuromarketers are able to observe not only activity underlying preferences but also how preferences impact areas of the brain that directly control behavior. 

I'm wearing tin foil on my head from now on.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

The US intends to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," a Pentagon official told America's CBS News after a briefing on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before." Read it and weep.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Hooday! My name is the Natsuko Murakami! As for me there is from Japan. I who investigate computer programming have lived in Ottawa, Canada. My English still it is not complete and therefore I practiced and began this webpage. The Blogging is large! Enjoy my place!
[ little. yellow. different. ]

The Senate gives a thumbs-down to Total Information Awareness and infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick was allowed to go on the Internet for the first time since 1995. (Watch the TechTV clip ) So where did he go first? His girlfriend's blog. Everybody: Awwwww!

Wednesday, January 22, 2003


I got a postcard from Popular Front Studios touting a lovely site about sustainable architecture, centering on a renovated cabin along Lake Superior's north shore: The Tofte Project. The site was a Site of the Week from Communication Arts magazine. From the site: "The key to designing a sustainable dwelling lies in the unique connection between the inhabitant, the land, all who have lived on the site, and all who will be impacted by its construction and existence." Humanity and technology coexisting with nature and history? What a wise approach to living.

The 2003 Bloggy Award Nominees have been announced. Boy, I sure don't like the layout of this site. And I sure don't know who most of these people are. Dawn is pissed and a small victory pulled out, spawning dumb cartoonblog entries. Yes friends, this is high drama in the blogosphere. But I did discover My So Called Life and rediscovered Bazima. They have my vote, for what it's worth.

  • BUSH: "I'm weak. And materialistic." A creepy-yet-funny cut-up speech. [ boing-boing ]
  • MAGICAL TECH I: Who knew drawing on a web page with a marker would be so friggin cool? and...
  • MAGICAL TECH II: Projection keyboards. [ Daypop ]
  • Here's a video clip of excited sea lions that makes me happy. (3 MB Quicktime)
  • Tuesday, January 21, 2003

    Whew. I think I'm out of the dark cave of tortured employment now. After a weekend of bitching to my patient friends, and much drinking with said friends, today was much much better at work. I was worried about my meeting with StupidButt Project. I sent a long email to my manager, letting him know what's been going on and could he please come to this meeting so I have someone on my team. He did, and even though he sat quietly most of the time it made me feel better and affected the tone of the meeting. But better than that -- my bosses gave me a $75 Amazon gift certificate and said I was too special and talented an employee to let slip away, AND they're paying my registration for SXSW Interactive! Sigh. This, dear readers, nearly brings a tear to my eye. My courtship is back on. Almost had to leave the bitch but she gave me a good boink and made me feel loved again, and sometimes that's all I need. (Please note, this coarse language refers to my job and not my girlfriend. Although she gives me good boink and makes me feel loved, too.)

    Dang, and I just started making a really killer self-promotion site ( under construction at! ) to land myself a new job. I really love the design on this bad boy. With a little copy tweaking this can be my freelance site. Anybody need a good web designer? Yeah, didn't think so.

    Saturday, January 18, 2003

    (this post edited.)

    Of course you don't get unemployment when you quit, and this isn't the best job market, so I *might* not quit. But I'm sure as hell looking. My designer buddy, who I like to think of as a brother, had his last day today and is going freelance. Charging more money, and your clients actually like you and appreciate you. Hmm, no medical insurance but still tempting. Kate Sullivan recently wrote about how you can tell if someone is doing their soul's work - they have a glow and charisma about them. I'm tired of being a fucking production drone. I want that glow.

    Wednesday, January 15, 2003

    This is another hellishly busy week for me, finishing up two national web sites and creating web cam e-cards and a VJ station for the show launch party. The kids seemed to dig the technology. Many funny happy children's faces were sent with love. My transportation technology is still dead on the street, so I've been bussing it. I don't mind, in spite of the bitter cold, because it gives me a chance to catch up on my reading (when not being subjected to conversation with my music critic friend, Bill. Hi Bill!) Current selection: Shiny Adidas Tracksuits and the Death of Camp, a best-of collection from the now-defunct Might magazine.

    Tonight I read "Never Fucked Anyone" by David Eggers. Now that I'm not featured on, I'm hoping that 8th grade girl won't yell at me for cursing. Eggers brings up a point we've talked about recently, and that is using the word "fuck" to mean "have sex with." Although Eggers comes off a bit prudish, I'm with him in that I've never said that I "fucked" anyone. It sounds so vulgar and crass and, well, violent. Eggers argues that it's overused and sucks any feeling or depth out of the experience, flattening it completely. But Eggers' gay friends all say "fuck" over other terms, even if it was a loving thing and not a quickie. He talked to some women that like it because it sounds empowering, and it's an active verb. To "have sex with" is too passive, something you'd keep in a cupboard, with the cereal. ("Do you have sex? Would you like that dry, or with milk?") I don't think I can bring myself to say it, but I don't entirely disapprove. It depends on the context. If a friend asked me, "Did you fuck her?" Well - that's just disrespectful and icky. Yet, I like it because it's dirty. Actually, I probably like it much more if a woman says it, because it loses the frat boy rape connotation and becomes potentially sexy. Where do you stand, dear reader? Do you f---?
    From the mighty exhuming mccarthy list:

  • HELEN FUNNY. BUSH BAD: HELEN THOMAS SOCKS IT TO THE WHITE HOUSE (Ari Fleischer gets stung by the head of the Washington Press Corps, Helen Thomas)
  • Just for fun: FRODO FAILED
  • Monday, January 13, 2003

    I haven't been making with the politics-n-economics here lately, but that doesn't mean I'm slouching. Space Waitress is where the action is. She has some great thoughts on what's wrong with work in this country, not to mention "it's-about-time" observations on the political misfires of a certain prominent local blogger.

    It is my destiny. The Bloggies have an award ceremony for the first time ever, at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival. What better opportunity to get people to talk blog on-camera? Some geek legends will be there, too. Not to mention - if I'm lucky - Self Proclaimed Genius. Oh, naturally I'd go to the Film Fest and catch some music, too. Holy CRAP! Junior Senior are slated! (Watch the squirrel video) And.... from bubblegum to sky, and OHMIGOD - The Mopeds, and HOLY SHIT!! The Polyphonic Spree! Starlight Mints! Supergrass! Trachtenberg Family Slide Show Players! Anna Waronker! Quasi, Jenny Toomey, power-pop legend Dwight Twilley, Apples in Stereo, GRANDADDY! SUPERHEROES! I am crapping my pants here, people. This is better than any CMJ lineup I've seen. Granted, I'd be lucky actually get into a fraction of these shows, but holy jesus, mary and joseph. I'm on a supersonic thrill ride to the lone star state. Donate money to me now, won't you?

    Friday, January 10, 2003

    Music rejected by Pizza Hut This is the funniest crap I've ever heard.

    Deaner's list of songs that make him cry I'll be danged if I don't need to get me some more Glenn Campbell.
    [ courtesy Chuck T ]

    And... a sneak peak at Return of the King! Albeit in calendar form.

    Thursday, January 09, 2003

    Those MIT Media Lab folks are asking the right questions, and making the right robots. "Since the early 1990's, the US has disallowed field journalists in war zones. This means that taxpaying US citizens have little idea what is happening to their soldiers, and with their tax dollars. Solution: The Afghan Explorer - a semi-autonomous mobile robot that can practice elements of journalistic reportage in hostile, off-limits environments." Mommy, can I have one for my birthday?

    Check out the other cool projects from the Computing Culture Group at MIT, such as DJ I-Robot.
    Ordinary Boy Alex has ditched NYC for Canada. Escaping his alcoholic dad and, I assume, the idiocy that is America. Good luck dude.
    Penn, of Penn and Teller fame, didn't care for his treatment by the airport rent-a-cops. So he called the police. Here's the whole story. Apparently Penn really digs Chick Corea and Perry Mason. How cool is that? (I think we all know the answer.)

    Check out Space Waitress' essay on airport security.

    Wednesday, January 08, 2003

    Let's play Mafia and pretend we're high-falootin' folk.
    Or perhaps you'd rather spend some quality time on Al Roker's blog (writes about: Queen Latifah) or William Gibson's blog (writes about: ???)
    My acquaintance Molly lost her job and is getting a better one: associate professor at interaction design institute ivrea in Italy. That would be one of my dream jobs, right after erotic blogger.
    Anybody want to roadtrip to All Tomorrow's Parties in L.A. this summer, curated by Matt Groening? Yo La Tengo will be there. 'Nuff said.

    OH! And I like the boy with the yellow scooter. And DV Cam on the handlebars.

    [ gathered from bits and scraps about blogtown, such as fimoculous and Jeff Jarvis ]

    Monday, January 06, 2003


    Day of Chuck (Quicktime, 6 MB)

    I've been taken with video blogs (or... VOGs... excuse me, VLOGs) lately. Imagine. The DV revolution and the Blog revolution collide head-on. The explosion could cause a lot of unnecessary collateral damage. Then again, it may grow into a scintillating ecosystem. Today I've had my DV cam time-lapse recording my life. From waking up and going back to sleep, to working frantically at home, trying to start my car, taking the bus (where the battery died) and here at work and back home. (This won't be my first vlog entry - the Wellstone Tribute, Chuck's Acceptance Speech, and the New Year's Eve videos are all video blog fodder in my book.)

    Hmm... is this really any different from Ana Voog's web cam and journal? Or JenniCam or Justin Hall, who've all been snapping pics and journaling since the first baby step days of the Web?

    Meanwhile, my Maxtor 80 gig firewire drive arrived today. All I need now is a wireless mic, and I will be kicking kung fu DV ass all over America's heartland.

    A few VLOG links:
    Jeff Jarvis' Buzz Machine has a lot to say about vlogs
    Misanthropyst with his creepy blog addiction vlog entry -- Macromedia devcon blog -- communal video blog - very cool! -- proposed rules of video blogs -- cutting edge interactive experimental. -- apparently posted daily
    John Katz interactive blog

    Friday, January 03, 2003

    I'm still cleaning the sunshine out of my ears. Wait, why don't I just leave it there? Everything sounds better. I'm talking about tonight's pop spooge double-bill: The Orange Peels and The Autumn Leaves in the intimate Bryant Lake Bowl. Why, oh why, would the Peels venture to these chilly northern woods to play their maiden show here? Seems the Peels are recording an album with Bryan Hanna at the new improved Terrarium studio in Nordeast. Lucky lucky stars. I'm such a huge fan, long have I lamented not seeing them. I tried to see them at CMJ in 2001, but some stupid dudes flew these planes into these buildings and it totally screwed everything up. Tonight was divine. They began with Allen Clapp at the piano, Elton John-style, and no drummer. He segued the end of the first song into Carole King's "It's Too Late". Then Clapp got behind the drums and treated us to a kick-ass rockin' cover of "Day By Day" from Godspell. Yeah, the Peels are Christian and sometimes it shows, but if there really is a God then please let Christian rock sound like this and smite those other idiots. Anyway. Then Bryan Hanna hopped behind the drum kit and dang, that skinny man can drum. They smoked through mostly new material that rocked my ass and blew my mind. And the other way about. On the way out I thanked Allen Clapp for the fine show and asked him to please play again. He said he wished he lived here instead of San Fran, and he always listens to Minneapolis pop music. Oh... The Autumn Leaves also performed a stellar set, way better than their CD release party. And Friday night is The Hang Ups? Oh, how I love love love to wear sweaters and swoon to Minneapolis pop shows with my friends... it's what makes this place truly home.

    Thursday, January 02, 2003


    Here's a nutty little video from our New Year's Eve.

    We began with a deee-lish dinner among new and old friends at Cafe Brenda, a gourmet vegetarian restaurant I'd never been to before. Just let me say, "butternut squash ginger soup." We made it home just in time for an impromptu Komedy Koven party at our place. Rather than say, turn on a TV or radio, or find a clock with seconds, we counted down by looking at our cable box and guessing how many seconds were left. "19... 18... 17... aaAGHHHHHH! HAPPY NEW YEAR!" Oh crap, the music! Guided By Voices "Salty Salute." Yeah, a bit unorganized and anticlimactic but once Space Waitress showed up and Doc Chameleon's unstoppable party tape kicked in, it was a blast. Most of us ended up at *the* crazy rockin-hipster party to be at in Minneapolis, which starts at midnite. I squeezed into this smokey horde of boozehounds with my camera slightly protected/concealed in a paper sack, which I repeatedly pointed to and told people, "It's a hidden camera!" Needless to say, the fruits of this labor were dark and stinky. Oh - but Tommy Stinson was in da house! Let's see, the last time I partied with a Guns N Roses axeman was probably... umm... never.

    Tommy and I had a real heart-to-heart about things. Axl's tantrums in the recording studio, the ridiculous amount of coke - did I want any? no, thanks - and of course having to ask all those girls for ID - did I need any girls? no, thanks Tommy, I've got a steady girl now. It's not like the old days anymore, I've got a steady job and a steady woman. Yeah, all that rehab must've straightened my shit out. But goddam it's nice to see you Tommy. You're lookin' real good man. Listen, I gotta get going, my friends want to leave. Naw, I don't think that would be a good idea, we're probably just gonna go to bed. Say hi to Buckethead - what the hell is up with Buckethead Tommy, can you tell me that? Is he an asshole or what? Cool. Well allright man, listen... You too. Later.