"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Scenes from a Sleepless Night

Couldn't sleep last night. Partly because I got all het up on Saturday and split a bunch of wood giving me a sore back, partly because I am — in the words of Phife Dog — <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHvmY5n1QcQ">stressed out more than anyone could ever be, and partly because the air mattress in Zacker's front room has a slow leak and deflates overnight, waking me back up at 3:30am for round two of the toss'n'turn.

But beyond the work-stress, familiar ghost that it is, there was something else flickering through my mind and keeping me awake, something born of contemplating the move away from Westhaven and reading The Savage Detectives and wondering anew about love. I started thinking back to the hot heady Summer of 2001, which is nine years ago. What it felt like to be a free man in Brooklyn, artistic pretensions and honest poverty and beautiful people every which way you looked. Potential unlimited. We did theater in backyards and hit up illegal dance parties in warehouse basements. It wasn't even all that early, but it was before things are like they are now. And I was young. Innocent even.

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DIY Campaigning

I've been tracking these efforts for a while. It's going to shake things up. A lot.

Fun times ahead.

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Revolution on the Right

I'm wearing this fly new hoodie I got from the artist who did that "Act Like Ya Know" poster that I liked. Rage is not revolution, but it might be a precourser.

I think it's important to recognize that when we talk about political extremism in Estados Unidos, the far Right is much larger, organized, well funded and (critically) well armed and prepared to shed blood compared to the Left. They are a strong movement which has embraced increasingly violent and eliminationist rhetoric, especially with regards to Muslims in the wake of 9/11.

It's been years since eco-radicals even burned down a lumber-yard — which is ultimately just property crime — but anti-choice radicals still kill doctors and "militia" members (or anti-tax hardliners) blow up buildings in protest of what they perceive to be tyranny.

The political right has been fueled by fear and anger for decades. The chickens are coming home to roost.

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Mashup Maturity

I twittered about this, and posted a video in my last post, but I have to say I'm just blown away by the latest release from The Kleptones. These guys are the shit. They evolved from making ultra-clever — and still totally listenable — album-based mashups (Yoshimi Battles the Hip Hop Robots and A Night at the Hip-Hopera, which will make your head asplode with Queen+KRS) and have moved fully into the realm of Art.

I've listened to Uptime/Downtime several times though, and it takes the more free-form explorations of the 24-hours double-album to the next level. Plus they're using the dirty beats now too. It's just great to see post-postmodernism at work.

People of PDX and SF can unlock the magic LIVE this weekend...

Live fast, die old.

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Up With People

So I feel the need to expand on my previous posts expressing some pessimistic thoughts and doubts about humanity. I got some reactions from people, which means I touched a nerve, which is good, but I want to express an underlying opinion.

I've often hit on the twitter-thought above from dustincurrie. Life is fundamentally an anti-entropic force. At the universe-level, thermodynamics still wins (we think), but at any other scale, any scale that actually matters to us, what makes Life Life (and in some ways People People) is that we build things. We assemble, compile, amalgamate, reconfigure. We create complexity from the soup, whether it's protoplasmic algae pulling carbon out of the air and combining it with solar radiation to create hydrocarbons or the global human-hive that's currently doing an unplanned terraforming exercise on the whole planet. We're unique like that, and this is pretty special.

Life is Holy and Every Moment Precious.

This isn't a scientific or rational belief. It's fundamentally a romantic one, but I also think it's pragmatic. I believe that our lived experience comes from a combination of fantasies and reality, neither of which we can really address directly or independently. However, we can sometimes choose (or at least slowly steer) our fantasy, which adjusts the possible and helps us have a different experience, which ultimately leads to different outcomes, which impacts reality. Lather, rinse, recurse, and you have my basic theory of social change through culture.

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Notes from the plane back from Austin

The real problem is that I don't get along with a lot of tech people. It reminds me of how when I was in acting school I found I didn't like many actors. Here I am in a space, a culture, a zone where I seem to be getting some traction, and I'm increasingly frustrated with my nominal peers.

In particular I find the crossover between geeks, hipsters and entrepreneurs — a flavor that runs strong in SF — to be especially nettlesome. There's a kind of passive-aggressive form of snobbish competition which emerges around these kinds of people, a sort of nerd machismo. I don't really have time in my life to contend with machismo, and the un-manly brand is just annoying.

Cue the record-scratch sound effect. There's an undeniably enormous element of "I am the things I hate about other people" at work here. I'm a geek, entrepreneur, hipsterish in style, and possessed of my own stinky brand of macho bullshit. The opinion-piece colliery to thinly-veiled autobiographical content is perhaps thinly-veiled self-loathing?

Maybe, but there's also something particular to my structural-hole-bridging personality that I think prevents me from really clicking into a truly deep groove with any given set of people. My persona is playing twister with the universe, and I've always got a food or a hand on some other dot. Never all at home.

It's an old gripe. There's not much I can do about this but live through it, to keep transcending whatever games I can. Noticing things one hates about oneself in others is a growing moment once you realize that's what's going on, and opportunities are created every time I can see my way past one of these things, to a higher purpose or more integrated whole. This is where you level up as a person, I think.

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Zombie Smooth Jazz

My first blush with the festival gave me The Fear. There's a huge amount of visual noise. Brands, bands, posters, pasties, people in suits, people in costumes, people looking lost, desperate, hungry, hung-over. People in lines. People cutting lines. People talking about how it used to be.

It makes me question a lot of my basic assumptions about the Goodness of what I do for a living. The revolution hasn't changed human nature, and it's unpleasant to see how sheepie we beings can still be. As the man says, I am the things I hate about other people.

On the other hand, some dudes made a massive Tesla coil that can play music.

My talk was well received I think, and now I'm just wandering and soaking it up. There's a lot of good stuff here, now that I've gotten over my initial culture shock. Austin is beautiful and warm, and there are lots and lots of happy smart brilliant buzzing people around. I'm going to enjoy my sunday.

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Spring Break For Nerds

Assuming the weather doesn't totally screw me, I'm headed to Texas for SXSW interactive. You can check my song and dance on yr schedule. I'm gonna do 70 slides in about 35 minutes, so it should be good.

I expect I'll get all caught up in the digital excitement, so probably plenty of twitters and the like.

And BBQ.

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Easy. You Know, The Way It's Supposed To Be?

Hippy music, please:

One of my most important original philosophical catchphrases is "The Most Important Thing Is To Stop Struggling." It's something I remind myself of frequently as my career goes through its whips twists and turns. Sometimes you find yourself in one of those situations where everything seems hard, impossible to begin on, just overwhelming. Sort of like being waist-deep in rubble.

Often the short term answer is to roll up your sleeves and dig out, because this is sometimes a devastatingly effective cheap psychological trick. That pile of dirty dishes never takes as long as it feels like it'll take, for instance.

But, then there are the times where you feel constantly like you're getting reset to that buried state, where you're beating your head against the wall, doing the Sisyphus shuffle. When you notice that, it's time to take a breath, look around, and see where/how/when to move laterally. Because as much as life is unfair, and full of adversity and strife and honest-to-goodness challenges, it's also supposed to be — like the CSNY song there — sort of Easy.

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Silver People

On the shoreline, very free