"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Radiohead Pioneers

Score one for the revolution:

bq.. I didn’t pay anything to download Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” last Wednesday. When the checkout page on the band’s Web site allowed me to type in whatever price I wanted, I put 0.00, the lowest I could go. My economist friends say this makes me a rational being.

Apparently not everybody is this lucid, at least not in matters related to their favorite British rock band. After Radiohead announced it would allow fans to download its album for whatever price they chose, about a third of the first million or so downloads paid nothing, according to a British survey. But many paid more than $20. The average price was about $8. That is, people paid for something they could get for free.

p. That's $8M that the band just pocketed. Very nice. Considering most artists make between $1 and $2 per CD sold (and that's after the label recoups their contracted recording costs), it's a safe bet that this will shake up the industry. You can download yours here.

I paid for mine, the first time I've paid for recreational music in close to a decade. In the above-linked article, much is devoted to the "crazyness" of this notion, although the author seems to grasp the reasons why fans respond generously:

bq. Some economists suspect that what is going on is that people get a kick from the act of giving the band money for the album rather than taking it for free. It could take many forms, like pleasure at being able to bypass the record labels, which many see as only slightly worse than the military-industrial complex. It could come from the notion that the $8 helps keep Radiohead in business. Or it could make fans feel that they are helping create a new art form — or a new economy.

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Back to the Bay

Well, I'm headed back down to SF for the week. I was planning to take off yesterday, but Saturday night the Hombre and I made a snap decision to go out to this Burning-man-influenced local rager, which was a lot of fun but didn't exactly put me in a good mood to drive for six hours on Sunday.

I've been having a pretty good run of things of late, feeling more and more like a native and less and less like a shut-in tourist/refugee. It doesn't hurt that I've been getting out of the house regularly. Gee, who would have thought.

This trip to the city should be interesting. After my summer experience of sublet-sampling, I came down from Black Rock City with an "Invest in Westhaven" todo item. That leaves the city an open question. I have to show my face around the office, and there's plenty to enjoy on the metropolitan tip, but making the mental decision to call the HC home for at least another year puts a different spin on things.

Well, that's really all I've got. "The future was wide open."

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Theme Music

Our Senior Web Ninja Farsheezy has come up with some theme music for Chapter Three. We're going to be putting up a portfolio soon including video tours of some of the sites we've built, and this is intended to go with that, although I like it so much I can see all sorts of potential uses.

I love the retro 8-bit vibe.

Bounce Bounce

A mishmash of things this fine Friday morning:

  • Congratulations Al Gore. If it was good enough for Kissinger, I supposed it's an ok second-prize. Shoulda been da president.
  • I happened to watch The Daily Show last night, and John Stewart took Washington Post media critic Howard Klein to the MF woodshed. The interview itself is Stewart at his sharpest, but what you miss in the web-replay is that he preceded the actual one-on-one with a whole segment devoted to skewering Klein's central assertion that "media coverage has turned Americans against the war." Devastating.
  • I also went out last night to the Redwood Tech Consortium mixer, both because I'm curious about the recent internet outage and what can be done about it, and as part of my ongoing program of getting out on the scene. Last week, theater; this week tech. It was a good little crowd at a mexican joint in Eureka where the margaritas packed a punch, and I finally met up with Aaron from Green Wheels, who'd contacted me before about Drupal stuff.
  • Next week I'll be hitting up SF, spending a week in teh office, doing a bunch of meetings, and hanging out with LGD and the Girth I imagine. I've been back here long enough that I think I'll enjoy a little outing to the citay.

Life is good. I sent out some snail-mail yesterday and caught up on some e-correspondence too, keeping up connections. I'm sort of digging my own existence again, feeling the potential.

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Autumn Rhythm XXVIII

Storm's a'comin'. Flocks of geese headed down from Oregon signal a turning point in the season. This morning the wind kicked up from the South -- not its usual direction -- and knocked out the county's fiber optic link, which kills the internet as well as most ATMs and credit card machines. Over at Bank of America they were only letting people in and out through the back door one at a time. All systems down. Torrential rain will no doubt follow soon.

Still, I'm feeling pretty good. The loamy smells of autumn and the sound of dry leaves skittering along the ground bring me a kind of nostalgic peace; crisp bittersweet memories of adolescence in Eugene, frozen breath and teenage heart-thobbery. Times of greater purity, back when there were all sorts of things to believe in, peace and prosperity, when cynicism was just a romantic pose.
the other week to describe times when you go out or stay out after your roommates go home.
My hand is still pink and tender (hurts to go into my pockets for stuff) but whole and presentable to the world. I no longer feel freakish about it, and I'm hoping I can regain that sense of momentum I had coming out of Burning Man: strong and sexy and free, walking tall and lithe, without those dark circles under my eyes. The El Sargento Propane Explosion certainly kneecapped that feeling, but I'm optimistic about getting it back now.

To that end, it was truly a Good Thing™ to get out on the scene this past weekend, jumping back into the world of art and theatre vis-a-vis a 24-hour/10-minute play festival in Eureka. These local avant-guardians have somehow occupied a historic movie theater, from the '30s, and are renovating in into a hub of creativity. Much glory to them.

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I Will HEAL You

So, my hand is pink and dry and flaky, but whole once more. I will have to be careful about sunburn, chemicals, and heat/cold for up to a year, but I'm back in action and it feels good. It was a real bummer, being one-armed for the past three weeks. It seemed like I was getting some nice momentum coming out of Burning Man and headed into Autumn. This was a little disruption. But we carry on.

Also, having been in the docs once a week for the past while, I have observed my blood pressure and weight rise, which is interesting biofeedback. Burning Man/Mexico had me slimmed down, and then I wasn't (penicillin) touching the beer for a while. Was all the way down to 198 with clothes on, which is skinny for me. In the past two weeks I got back up to 208, which is close to my norm of 210. Still, it makes me wonder if being a little leaner and more active was part of why I felt better at the end of the summer. It probably can't hurt to drink less and exercise more.

As for the blood pressure (and the circles under the eyes), well, it's stress. Sadly I'm not very good at avoiding that.

Anyway, on the upside I'm going to do some motherfucking art this weekend. Got myself signed up as a director for this 24-hour/10-minute play thinger as part of Arts Alive! in Eureka. It's time for Josh Koenig to get back in the game...

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Teh Politix

Frankly it's a bummer out there. American politics is stuck in a quagmire. This is why I trust Stoller as a proxy.

In the past year, nothing seemed more vital than this:

bq.. Internet geeks share a common style, and Ko Latt and his four friends would not be out of place in cyber cafés across the world. They have the skinny arms and the long hair, the dark T-shirts and the jokey nicknames. But few such figures have ever taken the risks that they have in the past few weeks, or achieved so much in a noble and dangerous cause.

Since last month Ko Latt, 28, his friends Arca, Eye, Sun and Superman, and scores of others like them have been the third pillar of Burma’s Saffron Revolution. While the veteran democracy activists, and then the Buddhist monks, marched in their tens of thousands against the military regime, it is the country’s amateur bloggers and internet enthusiasts who have brought the images to the outside world.

Armed with small digital cameras, they have documented the spectacular growth of the demonstrations from crowds of a few hundred to as many as 100,000. On weblogs they have recorded in words and pictures the regime’s bloody crackdown, in a city where only a handful of foreign journalists work undercover. With downloaded software, they have dodged and weaved around the regime’s increasingly desperate attempts to thwart their work. Now the bloggers, too, have been crushed. Having failed to stop the cyber-dissidents broadcasting to the world, the authorities have simply switched off the internet.

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Another Box Checked

Well, here's a milestone: I'm a published author.

I'll have to buy one. Here's an excerpt from my chapter:

bq.. America is full of characters, freethinking individuals with the kinds of personalities that don’t necessarily fit well into blunt institutional molds like High School or Corporate Bureaucracy. A lot of us also happen to be highly capable individuals: creative, hard working, intelligent and passionate. A campaign that lets these sorts of people connect as supporters can tap deep resources unavailable to those that enforces rigid “message discipline,” that sees their would-be citizen-enthusiasts as pawns.

The genius of making empowerment the core of Dean’s candidacy, something that was explicitly made possible by the campaign’s Internet-enabled character, is that it turned the whole operation into an incubator of new leadership rather than a place for conscripts to sign up and wait for their day to be called upon to act (or more likely, to donate money). The grassroots movement growing around Dean's candidacy was decentralized, yet connected. It was in some ways elite, yet very heterogeneous, inclusive and transparent. It was unabashedly idealistic, but also stubbornly pragmatic. It was a nationwide network of individuals grouping together in organic and ad-hoc ways to reclaim responsibility for their country.

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That's the man, back in 2005, about to get told by the Texas law that if he wants to hang out at the Alamo he'll have to put on a shirt. For the past year, he has been under the philosophically heavy thumb of the Germans -- slaving away over a hot data-set at the Max Plank Institute for Quantitative Social Research -- and only just last week returned to the welcoming arms of Lady Liberty. We had the pleasure of hosting a few nights of his re-entry tour this weekend.

Luke and Mark and I have a kind of special relationship, one that we've all made the choice to maintain and deepen over the years. At this point, getting well into the meat of adulthood, it's quite something to have someone who went through your teenage fire and blackness years still be a part of your life. There's a kind of perspective there that just can't be matched. I mean, who else will bro down with you about various international health care administration tactics, and shift seamlessly to baby fever?

Over and above it being really great to see him again and spend real-time together, visiting with Luke got me thinking about the future in a way that I haven't done much of lately. I used to have these outlanishly outsized dreams. We like to joke that "part of becoming a man is watching your dreams die," but it's not so funny when you wake up and realize it's happening.

I wrote before about my trip to Mexico, how it got me thinking about life's possibilities again. This is basically the same thing. The idea of moving to yet another new city, starting yet another new chapter, etc, or even just opening up new avenues in my existing life. Who knows what the next few years may hold, let alone the next decade.

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