Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Hello my little bloglings! I'm still in NYC for a couple more days. Today I had great interviews with Jeff Jarvis in his Jersey City office and Meg and Kottke in their lovely tiny apartment right here in Greenwich Village. Last night I got some great "man on the street" footage in Times Square asking people what blogs were. Horse-n-buggy driver #1: "I dunno... horseshit?" Horse-n-buggy driver #2: "Crap?" Yes, I suppose some blogs are crap. Tomorrow morning I'm talking to Anil Dash, surely about TypePad. Perhaps not a Blogger-killer, but most folks say Movable Type is a superior product and now with the ease of hosting and no setup... it's destined for greatness.

Blossoms, fruity blossoms everywhere on the streets of New York City. Fat blooming magnolia trees surrounded by pockets of red and yellow tulips in every triangle park. It's been sunny and warm, and I've been walking everywhere with heavy video equipment slung over my shoulder. Meg and Kottke's place was on the 5th floor. I had to catch my breath and drink some purple gatorade before I could say much. The city itself is the world's most elaborate exercise machine, and I'm working out the moment I open the door. The door, by the way, is a gigantic metal industrial door easily weighing 400 pounds. I'm staying in this huge elaborately-decorated abode, full of nooks and swords and books and antiques. My three gal-friends live together here, not to mention the troubador owner when he's in town, which he is. Yes, the owner is apparently a troubador. He's had this place since the 70's, and due to rent control it costs as much as Meg and Kottke's tiny apartment a few blocks away. The Hudson river is outside my window right now. This is the good life.

[ Of course I have many photos and video... but for now only this moblog photo taken on the airport shuttle after seeing Lori off. Sigh. ]

  • 2003 Webby Awards ceremony canceled
  • Google store offering Blogger shirts after May 1. I got one last month from Ev with the Google logo on the back. I wore it to the Jeff Jarvis interview, he said he could spot me a mile away. But I changed shirts for Meg and Kottke. Somehow it would have been embarassing.
  • Friday, April 25, 2003

    This band you know? They're like the Ben and Mena Trott of indie-rock. And all week they've been on this talk show, with this tall Irish funnyman host. I've missed it all week, but tonight I saw it and present it here for you. Because, because I care. I want you to rock with me. In a few hours Lori and I will be on a plane to NYC. We're gonna try to see the red and white band on the funny show - wish us luck and see you in a week.

    [ link removed because it was just plain wrong. Actually i'm afraid the RIAA is gonna bust my ass! Sorry busblog visitors...]

    CONFIRMED BLOGUMENTARY INTERVIEWS: Jeff Jarvis and Anil Dash. Waiting and hoping: Meg, Kottke, Bazima, Michele of A Small Victory. Haven't emailed Steven Berlin Johnson yet. Still not sure if I should try to zip down to Cambridge to chat with Dave Winer (Harvard/Scripting News) and Cameron (MIT Media Lab/Blogdex).

    Wednesday, April 23, 2003

    Anil hinted at some big news when we were at SXSW, but he couldn't say more. Here's the news. I always wondered why they weren't trying harder to make money on Movable Type... I wish them all the happiness and success in the world. I need to get out to the west coast and talk to them! I'll post a tiny clip of them from the Bloggies as soon as I can. They're so damn cute.

    2003 Weblog Awards (excerpt), SXSW 3/9/03
    Small (Quicktime, 5MB)
    Medium (Quicktime, 8.5MB)

    This morning I dreamt I had an opportunity to buy a vintage white Italian sports car. Imagine a hybrid Lamborghini and 1968 Mustang, but more basic and stripped down. It had thin red taillights and modular Italian style. Somehow I could buy it for like $800. I took it for a test drive and the shifter was really weird, I don't know if it was messed up or I just needed to get used to it. In any case, it seemed like it was hard to drive and completely impractical -- but so, so cool! Why am I having this dream? I'm about to buy a 1983 Volvo wagon: the ultimate liberal truckster. A practical, reliable Swedish tank of a car. I can't help but wonder if there's some midlife crisis angle here... I'm sure there is. Part of me wants the Italian sports car life and all you imagine that would be, and part of me is perfectly content to tool around in my Volvo wagon. Ahh, but the Volvo has a 6cd changer and sunroof -- so I can have it all, right?

    Lori and I are headed to NYC this weekend. We'll be seeing Yo La Tengo and Portastatic friday night with Doc Chameleon and Junior Scientist - woo hoo! Lori is coming back Tuesday but I'll be staying next week doing Blogumentary interviews. Hoping to chat with: Bazima, Jeff Jarvis, Kottke, Meg, Steven Berlin Johnson, and Anil Dash. Might even zip down to Harvard and spend some time with Dave Winer if there's time.

    I was going to post some footage from the 2003 Bloggies with my new wicked top-secret visual weapon -- it "Waking Life-atizes" video -- but my damn Titanium bombed again. Grr! It seems to let me down right when I need it most. Perhaps it's sending me a message. I love you Titanium, and I need you like the sun needs the moon. Now stop crashing beeyotch! (oops!)

    Sunday, April 20, 2003


    Polyphonic Spree, The Quest 4/12/03 (Quicktime, 3MB)

    Easter dinner was very much like all other holiday dinners at my aunt's house. A time-lapse film from Christmas to Easter and back again would reveal the crystal and silverware magically arranging themselves into the exact same positions on the table. We always end with some version of charades, eating gelatinous banana-cream pie and laughing a lot. But before the fun, before the ham dinner, we all held hands while my aunt praised the miracle of Jesus rising on this day. I don't know how much I believe that, but I know it feels good to believe in miracles whether or not they're true. Take the Polyphonic Spree. They're not necessarily a miracle — not any more than, say, my hair or gravity — but they are absolutely a revelation.

    I think spiritual lifeforce can manifest itself in unlimited ways. Some folks express it and receive it in the four walls of a church, and that's just fine. I much prefer to get it from music, and the Polyphonic Spree is a cosmic orgasm. 20-odd believers on stage in flowing snow-white robes, singing and playing the crap out of french horns and harps and theramins (well, only one of each actually). It's a happening, man. Frontman and cult leader, Tim DeLaughter, jumps up and pumps his fists and - yeah! Woo! Sweaty exuberant energy, pure pop sunshine, utter ecstacy. I smile and raise my arms up and jump up and down! Yes! They're jumping up and down and smiling too, it's like we're rooting for each other and everybody's winning. When it's over, I'm bubbling with slippery analogies. If you took every Elephant 6 band and put them into a blender with a Gideon's bible stolen from a hotel room, and Brian Wilson drank it and - see, here's where it starts to fall apart, because Brian Wilson has to excrete something liquid and it's loaded into a cropduster plane piloted by Wayne Coyne, who drops this magical substance over Dallas, Texas and the Polyphonic Spree are born of this harmonious seed.

    Thursday, April 17, 2003

    This is creepy and cool. Google voice search lets you search with a telephone call (do we need that?). You call the phone number, speak your keywords, and the search results appear in your browser window. Holy crap! How do they match my phone call to my web browser? Eeeeeerie. As you might expect, voice recognition is rather imperfect. I searched for "Chuck Olsen" and got a lot of results for things like "Chaco" and "truck." Now, you try.

  • A blog TV show. This is almost like combining Blogumentary with my TV show idea of all viewer-submitted video around themes. I'm pissed and yet I think it's a good idea.

  • City Pages has launched Babelogue. This is a lot like another idea I had a few days ago at the Integrated Media Conference. I'll have to let them know about Mary Lahammer's blog. And tell them Textism isn't a Minnesota blog.

  • So I'm all souped up with this new Safari browser on Mac OS X - I looooooove these browser tabs - when I get this message trying to update my blog:
    Blogger Pro does not currently work with browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x+ or Mozilla 1.0 Release Candidate 1 or newer.
    If you are able, we highly suggesting upgrading your browser to one of these. [...] Thanks for your patience. Ev.
    Waaaaa? You've got to be kidding. Can't Safari pretend to look like one of those browsers? Hey Google/Blogger - couldn't one of your well-fed geniuses fix this problem in a week? Safari is taking web browsers and personal information management to the next level. We can't do that without blogging. (I know I know, switch to Movable Type!)
    Continuing my recent trend of popular sexy links in lieu of actual blog entries, The Penis Blog Project challenges a bunch of blogger-dudes to really bare it all. WARNING: CONTAINS ACTUAL PENISES. Don't laugh.

    I'm working on a couple of wacky TV show ideas with this guy and this guy. We need puppets. I'm supposed to call the Sid and Marty Krofft people. Anybody have their phone#?

    Wednesday, April 16, 2003

    David Hasselhoff is executive producer on an upcoming Knight Rider film.

    Meanwhile, I wonder what those lucky bastards over a Google are having for lunch today?

    Tuesday, April 15, 2003

    Wired News has an article about the Purring Kitty. It changes your Nokia cell phone into a, uhh, personal massager.

    "Why the lame blog posts, Chuck?" You may ask. "Well, Frank..." I say. "Frank I -- listen. You and I, we've been lovers for a long time now. I feel I can be frank with you Frank. You see... there's a problem with my laptop. It's not you Frank, it's me. My, my hard drive... this is difficult for me... I can't seem to boot up anymore Frank. I'm sorry. My equipment is hosed. Please be patient with me Frank, we can get through this together. I know I can satisfy you in other ways, but frankly I'd rather wait until my hard drive is up to speed. Please understand. I love you Frank. Frank? FRANK? OHHH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" etc.

    Monday, April 14, 2003

    Oh God. I'm too bloated from Mexican food and margaritas to post - you did want to know that, didn't you? Must sleep. So many things to blog about. POLYPHONIC SPREE was... wow. Religious experience doesn't really do it justice. Pix-n-flix forthcoming. Art party at the Speedboat Gallery, and v1.0 of the commerical I'm doing for the cool Japanese artist exhibit. The Kurdish movie, Jiyan, was touching glimpse into the lives of Kurds in a town bombed with chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein. Today was Day One of the Integrated Media Conference. Not bad. CD purchases... Yo La Tengo and Eleni Mendell, singing me to sleep right now. Goodnight.

    Friday, April 11, 2003

    Thursday, April 10, 2003

    A message from Craig Finn [ via Ian Whitney ]:

    Hello Everyone-
    Our friends at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN are opening up
    a venue to make their bar just a little more ridiculous. For the first two
    nights they will be open (June 6 and 7), Lifter Puller will reunite to play
    and make sure things get kicked off correctly. We hope to do somewhat
    different sets each night to make it worthwhile for both night attendees,
    and have great openers lined up for each night already. We may or may not
    be adding more openers later. We hope you can make it.

    June 6
    Lifter Puller w/ The Mountain Goats
        June 7
    Lifter Puller w/ The Oranges Band

    An historic moment, no doubt. How are we supposed to feel? A roundup of what others are feeling: The New York Times says "Opinion about this war has been divided from the beginning. Now that Mr. Hussein's rule has ended, there is unity among good-hearted people everywhere, a hope that what comes next for the Iraqi people will be a better, freer and saner life than the one they had before." Jeff Jarvis says, "I shouldn't be so happy... I'm a liberal." Echoing smug conservatives: "So why am I so damn happy? I really can't explain. I'd go and ask some oppression-hating anti-fascist peace activists about it, but for some reason they're all incredibly depressed." Are we? I'm not. Mixed feelings, yes. Glad to see the bastard gone, sad we had to lose lives and fill hospitals. Fearful and hopeful all at once.

    Lileks: The media should poke and carp and needle the military; it’s their job. But just don’t forget this day: liberation. Freedom. [...] I’m not stupid enough to think that we’ve just created a nation of 22 million wannabe Americans. But tonight parents can look down at their children in bed and believe they will have better lives. Not just hope for it, but believe it. Some of us call that the American Dream - hold the scare quotes, please - and we pray for the day when it’s no longer an American concept but a universal birthright. [...] Men never seem taller than when they stand next to the prone remainders of a toppled tyrant.

    Finally, a few snippets from the excellent BBC Reporter's Log:

  • "We've just learned from the US marines that the US flag that was put on the face of Saddam yesterday - it was replaced by an Iraqi flag when the people shouted for that - was the flag that was flying over the Pentagon on September 11. For a lot of the American marines, they think this war is all about defeating terrorism..."

    (The American public thinks that too, sadly. I heard that lie expressed in the foulest of terms by Tom Barnard on the KQRS morning show this week. He said our attack on Iraq is justified after "they sent their sand monkeys over here and attacked us..." Ick, ick, ick. Hey Tom Barnard: Shut your gaping yap, you racist idiot!)

  • "One of my close Iraqi friends went up to an American marine and said to him: 'I'm going to exercise my right of free speech for the first time in my life - we want you out of here as soon as possible.'"

    P.S. - What's a brother or sister gotta do to get on this list of MN bloggers commenting on the war?
  • Wednesday, April 09, 2003

    Our good Senator Norm Coleman sez:

    "To be very blunt and God watch over Paul's soul, I am a 99 percent improvement over Paul Wellstone," Coleman, R-Minn., said in a front-page story published in Roll Call. "Just about on every issue."

    [ Daily Kos ]

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    Just kidding. You know how those huge political blogs sometimes just say "Open thread?" I thought it would be fun to pretend. It's 3am and I'm at work. I don't really mind - I'd rather plow through it and crank the tunage, currently Pete "Da Child Molesta" Townshend's Lifehouse elements. I had a really good weekend of eating out and international film. Probably not as good a weekend as Layne though. Hmm. Actually it was, now that I think about it. Shh!

    The Minnesota legislature is now considering pairs of bills that will allow a hunt on mourning doves. They aren't overpopulated or threatening to us in any way, and should not be killed. Mourning doves sing a beautiful, sorrowful song (WAV file) that I always thought was an owl. Lori set me straight though. It's her favorite bird and she did the right thing by calling our state senator and representative. You can, too - learn more and take action here.

    P.S.: Blogs save lives.

    Monday, April 07, 2003

    ...which I knew from reading The Agonist, but didn't know the extent to which he was copying from The Stratfor intelligence newsletter. Now I want to interview him more desparately than ever, which is proving very difficult not living in Texas myself. Someone help! If you have a video camera and are driving distance from San Antonio, I'll gladly pay you gas money and a Blogumentary cap to tape a bit of Sean-Paul Kelley (The Agonist), which he has kindly agreed to.

    It's pretty common to not cite sources on a blog. Is it different when the blog suddenly becomes hugely popular? All the articles about The Agonist created an expectation of journalistic integrity. He also presented himself as having secret sources. When the sources are from a newsletter that people have to pay for, yes that's a problem. But, he had good intentions and this information made his blog better by posting this information. It's not like we were harmed in any way - we benefitted! Only Stratfor really has anything material to lose, and they're being very nice about it. Something more important is lost: trust. I think it's another valuable lesson for the blog medium. It's not really journalism. At best, it's personal journalism. Which is why it's so wonderful, and also why it's perhaps more fallible. "Real" journalism makes mistakes, too - as witnessed most recently by the L.A. Times photographer fired for altering a photo. The photographer was fired, apologies were made and we move on, but trust and credibility were damaged. "Our credibility is all we have," said a fellow embedded photographer. Where does that leave The Agonist? Right where it should be. Readers who feel betrayed will leave. The remaining loyal readers recognize that Sean-Paul Kelley is only human, humans make mistakes and learn from them, and move on. And now, back to the news.

    What do you guys think? MetaFilter has an ongoing discussion.

    Saturday, April 05, 2003

    Exposing the Project for the New American Century

    A recent post: Rumsfeld urged Clinton to attack Iraq:

    DONALD Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz wrote to President Bill Clinton in 1998 urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a 'hazard' to 'a significant portion of the world's supply of oil'.

    In the letter, Rumsfeld also calls for America to go to war alone, attacks the United Nations and says the US should not be 'crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council'.

    Friday, April 04, 2003

    Via If you haven't heard about it yet, Mike Hawash, an Intel programmer and American citizen of Palestinian descent, has been detained as a material witness without charges. Mr. Hawash was detained by FBI agents wearing helmets, body armor and carrying assault rifles in an Intel Corporation parking lot as he arrived to work on Thursday, March 20. FBI agents and police officers carrying assault rifles and wearing body armor simultaneously raided his home, waking his wife and their three young children. The search warrant used to search the home and the material witness warrant used to detain Mr. Hawash are both sealed — no one knows what evidence was used to attain them, and they have yet to be challenged in court.

  • New York Times article
  • Free Mike Hawash

    Can we send a citizen task force to "detain" Asscroft? Or better yet, a colossal squid task force. Now, please? Preferably in solitary confinement surrounded by gay porn video walls.
  • Thursday, April 03, 2003


    This one is my favorite. More here.


  • Disco version of "Beer Barrel Polka"
  • "Mrs. Miller" from the Merv Griffin Show covering "A Hard Days Night" (seriously the best thing ever)

    Here's a really scary war doll in God's hands and some funny blog news.

  • All this courtesy of my eccentric collector friend, the freakinator himself, Jeff P.

    Tuesday, April 01, 2003

  • Fresh meat pix over at Lileks.
  • In the late 1980s, Scott Baio hosted a series of sex-ed videos targeted to pre-teen and teenagers.
       Edutain yourself with video clips. [ via ]
  • Campaign on Iraq posters
  • Anti-Bloggies winners are up

    BOOKMARK NOW: Warblogs:cc gives you at-a-glance headlines from not only major news sources (including the BBC and Middle East Newsline) but the very best blogs: The Agonist, Back to Iraq 2.0, Warblogging, Daily Kos and more.

    Blogumentary is currently trying to setup a virtual interview with Sean-Paul Kelley, the unstoppable mastermind behind The Agonist. If you know any willing volunteers with a video camera in the San Antonio area, please email me here.