"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Lyrical Moment

Sometimes I'm sexy, move like a stud
Like kickin' the stall all night
Sometimes I'm so shy, got to be worked on
Don't have no bark or bite, alright

That's all. Thanks Mick.

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Back to life, Back to reality

I'm going to try and write some tonight, but the reality of me taking two days and a weekend off of work is there's a shit-ton to sort out. Sadly.

Coachella was a Very Good Time with some Very Good People. Also, as a consumer of culture (which I am from time to time), you really can't beat getting to see Dwight Yokam, Kraftwerk and Prince (and some other virtuosos somewhere within that triangle of genre) in one six-hour span. I've got stories to tell, and even a couple pictures.

In the mean-time, if you need something to do, go support a very smart guy who's trying to get some juice:

Register and vote. UPDATE: Click here to do that. Apparently it's not totally effortless like it aught to be... the same online as in the real world. Sorta.

UPDATE DEUX: Also in the world of friends doing interesting things: Rachel Shukert publishes a book and...

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Don't Give Your Heart To Any Old Ramblin' Man

I decided to take a peek at my google analytics the other day, and I discovered that by far and away the most popular post on my site over the year to date is one I'm actually rather proud of: Me And Maslow's Pyramid of Human Needs Down By The Schoolyard. Almost 1000 people have seen that so far this year. Even assuming half of them were robots (and hey, robots need philosophy too), that's still immensely gratifying.

Its no secret I've been burning the candle at both ends lately. When I come down to SF it tends to get worse, feeding my workaholism. Even though this is ostensibly a thriving cosmopolitan metro area, I really have no life here, and with an office it's easy to stay at work to the point where coming home is just a trip you make to sleep before getting up to do it again. It reminds me of the MFA days in a way, or college. Any of those times when I was doing stuff for 16+ hours a day and having no sex.

Not that I'm complaining. Coming home late and hungry and unable to find a can-opener to make myself some tuna salad notwithstanding, I'm a ways away from the point where this pattern really generates any kind of meaningful irritation or negative response. Indeed, for as long as things can be kept in the power curve -- never forever, but what is? -- this isn't a bad way to exist. It makes me productive and relatively happy w/feelings of accomplishment, etc, and possibly even provides good grist for later milling when time is less tight.

And still, I can't help but feel like something is slipping past me here. I mean, the impending birthday is probably driving these feelings, sure, but I can't shake the sensation that I'm whistling into oblivion. I can't help but note the toll my current pace of activity (and past times of uber-business) put on my existing relationships, the massive impediment it poses to forming new connections.

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Proj On

Rocking a little free underground internet here at the Embarcaderro. I got royally soaked riding down from the office at 10:30pm when I finally arranged my exodus. Such is life in the KoneZone of late.

It actually felt good to ride in the rain. Really good. It's not ideal over the long haul, and I hope it clears up by tomorrow, but it's been quite some time since I felt the spatter of cool spring water on my face; swishing down slick glinty city streets flickering with yellow orange sodium vapor light... It made me feel young at heart, free and easy, like projing on home to Brooklyn back in the day.

I used to be much more rugged and rough, much more obviously confident, risk-inclined. If my train went off the track I picked it up, picked it up, picked it up. Those were glory days. Not the glory days oh ye of the nostalgia police, but a set of days glorious and undeniable. Their memory is worth keeping alive, the better for their spirit to live again.

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Go On Brush Your Shoulder Off...

I'm pretty sure with a little work and little luck, this guy will be the president next year.

That'll be cool.

(secred culture decoder ring here)

(On the other hand... heyo! It's a win/win primary, as far as I can tell.)

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Workin' The System

Well I'm back in the Bay Area for a couple weeks. It was a beautiful windy drive through the flourishing greenery of springtime Nor*Cal. Wine vines are just starting to get rolling and all the hills are blowing up with new life. Radiolab kept my brain active for a few hours, its infectious spirit of inquiry lingering after along with some good music. It made for a nice mood to see the sights.

When I can give it a whole afternoon, I really do love that trip. Everything down to Cloverdale is a series of bucolic treasures: the rich north coast flood-plain bottoms, the redwood curtain through to Willits, the northern Russian river watershed and wine country. It's a great stretch of county, and feeling more and more like home these days.

Last night we held a great dinner party w/family of the Girth, uncles and cousins and all that jazz. Good excuse to break out the china, scotch, etc. There was a great spread of chicken and pesto and salad and bread.

This week should be busy busy bizzy. Making it come together never comes easy, and it keeps coming (and it keeps coming; and it keeps coming) until it stops.

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Ribonucleic Acid Freak Out!

Flashing through the accumulated images of the past week, it's a heady mixed bag. Trying to work my way from being a direct-actor to a manager. Trying to get ahead of the curve. Trying to continue my studious avoidance of all feminine diversions. Trying not to get boring as I get old. Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Trying to communicate. Trying to love. Trying to speak correctly. Trying to listen. Trying.

And a few things occur to me.

In the smear of pint-night down at Everett's, veterans of the military and Gillman st telling stories early, Kelly and Zya creating interpretive dances to Neil Diamond, then the kids coming in as the evening sets in; there emerges a ray of light in shiny blue tights, sheer brilliance, such as to make me avert my eyes. She looks pretty good at the coffeeshop usually, but this is another level, enough to make a man reexamine his beliefs. It occurs to me that my "my head's not in it" excuse for studious avoidance of such is a self-fulfilling prophecy with real limits in its utility. Something's got to change, but for the moment, hey, at least you've got a collectable pint glass to duck into.

And from this, a potential remedy for my romantic listlessness, a possible self-concept, an avenue of habitual action. How does "power-dating" sound? It's more applicable than my retired manslut persona non grata, and it could be useful to get me out there in some way. It ties in with ambition and other shadowy forces that need outlets. I don't know how it squares with living half-n-half between here and the Bay -- where exactly do I set my sites? both? -- but it seems worth trying.

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Observation on Small Town vs City Life

In a New York City, and presumably other big cities, one builds a vital sense of community out of the people with whom you have regular pattern overlaps: fellow commuters, the workers at the coffeeshop when you like to go, the corner deli staff, one or two people in your building you see often. Otherwise, you're awash in strangers, and points of familiarity tend to be a welcome surprise and a comfort, even when they're discovered through the mediation of customer service.

In the HC, you've probably seen everyone before, several times, possibly even picking up enough information along the way to form opinions about these people even if you don't know their names. Unfamiliar faces are rare and precious, and people often use the mediation of social roles -- again customer service comes to mind, but there are other examples -- as a means of creating pseudonymity where none actually exists, a way of escaping omnipresent social information or obligation.

Clearly these are generalizations, and deeply colored by my own bias. Still, kind of interesting.

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That's One For You Nineteen for Me....

The taxman cometh. I just forked over about 52% of my total take-home income from the past year to the federal government and state of California. This is where having a business that works out becomes painful, though I can't help but think that a more devious accountant (yes, more devious than a ninja) could have done at least a little bit better.

In many ways the deck is stacked against us entrepreneurial types. We're taking advantage of the simplest and most flexible business structure, the LLC. We still pay self-employment tax, and our desire to build up the business and hire people means we're leaving money in the bank that we could be taking for ourselves, yet the IRS considers that as profit from a business and personal income whether we draw it or not.

So in an effort to expand we knock ourselves up a couple tax brackets without increasing our take-home pay a cent. I've been saving for it since last fall, but it still feels mightily deflating. No refund for me.

Oh well. First-world problems. If you're on the other side of the great class divide and wondering what to do with your Bush Money, here are some neat ideas.

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Unlikely Foodblogging

I don't foodblog very much, in large part because I never got into it, and because while I've got some kitchen skillz, I don't get to exercise them all that often. I make myself a lot of quesadillas, and still eat out fairly often (though not nearly as much as in NYC, natch). Bachelor kitchen.

However, I had a little BBQ with my prospective employees (eep!) up here on Sunday, and pulled out an old favorite for the occasion. It went over well, so I figured I might as well share my method.

This recipe comes via Ms. Julia Henning, who first cooked it for us up here in Westhaven about a year and a half ago. She served this with a delicious jicama salad, which I have no idea how to replicate. However, I did get the details for the sauce and meat parts, and since then I've been noodling with it on my own:

Grilled Skirt Steak w/Chimmy Churry Sauce

Skirt Steak is the ultimate grill appetizer meat, imho. It's tasty, bite sized, and cooks in a matter of three to five minutes on a hot bbq. The genius chimmy churry sauce makes a perfect dipping compliment. In keeping with my style, all measurements are approx. Use your best sense and taste lots!

First you'll want to make the chimmy churry, which is like a pesto, and needs to sit for at least a couple hours before serving so the flavors can permeate. Overnight is even better:

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 med size onion
  • 2 to 3 jalipeno peppers
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • Rice vinegar
  • Salt/pepper

Chop up the onion and garlic and jalipenos and put them into a blender. Depending on your taste for heat (and how hot the peppers actually are) you might want to use two or three, or even one.

Next you want to chop up about 2/3 of the parsley bundle and toss that in the blender too. You may add more, but it's best to do it by taste.

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