"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

The Unified Theory of Josh

Starting to settle into the new groove. I took the temperature of the neighborhood last night, a little solo wandering. I haven't lived in the Mission for nigh on five years, and it's definitely changed. Gentrification was well underway when I arrived in '03, and has continued apace in my absence.

For instance, there are coteries of "pretty people" who I don't really think are all that pretty, but do make me feel underdressed. This reminds me of North Brooklyn in its heyday, and in the way of all NYC-to-SF comparisons feels a bit like being sent back to the minor leagues, but on the other hand this is where most of the good art comes from so you have to take the lumps with the cream.

Somewhat less pretentiously you can run into this action at a sidewalk cafe:

<a href="http://conbrio.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-hip">From The Hip by Con Brio</a>

This band is really good live, reaffirms faith in humanity via Korg and wail, etc.

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Refreshing The Old Design In A Bid To Break Bloggers Block

So, in addition to tuning a few things up under the hood and getting my blog posts going back to ye olde Facebook, I decided to bust out some Variation on the Theme in light of the solstice.

I've been noodling on a real redesign with one of my mother's students for a while now, but it's not the sort of thing I've had a ton of time to invest serious energy into, and ergo things have kind of stalled.

But I want to write more, and have been sort of hating on my old rust-colored sexyface theme. Maybe this is part of what's blocking, I think, and I went ahead and cropped myself out a new photo, generated a little background to match, and set some new colors. New coat of paint on this lonely old town; inspiration, I'm ready for ya!

The bigger changes I want to make are about content organization and whatnot, but I think the sad fact is that until I start generating said content, energy invested in organization would be questionably allocated. There's always more time for fancy-pants layouts and whatnot. The more pressing question is what, pray tell, would fill the boxes, and how might it get written?

Scouring The Sources Of My Windless Sails

After yesterday's post, which looked at how my working life was sucking my will to live, I started thinking a bit bigger. Work is top of mind at the moment, so that's the first thing to come out, but getting that out of the way made room for deeper/better reflection.

The existential crisis is of course about more than just my jibity job; it's about who I am as a person, and the world around me.

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In Which I Fall Victim To Chrome Marketing


I'll start playing with Chrome. After all, Tony made it (which he kept secret from us for like two years — well done there, Google NDA) and it really does appear to be the new hotness.

However, the coolness of this video also provides a little insight into Google's strategy. They spent money on this, whereas Google Wave had a developer demo and some shitty screencast. That's a datapoint.

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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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Saturday Afternoon Nerdliness

I'm in NYC, but thanks to a return to The Palace (from days of yore) I am moving slooooow. It was a good time though! Fab Dinner with Jeremy and Rachael (who have set a wedding date!) followed up by sister-dude, $8 pitchers of budweiser, Priest on the juke and me stepping up to some guy with my early-2000 street-cred. He was born in the neighborhood, so I ended up buying him a shot, but given that the place is overrun with kids these days I felt like I had to stand up.

Anyway, muddling through things, I goofed around with Pantheon a bit, and then google analytics data exporter, which I plan to start integrating for more accurate statistics of reads on my posts, etc. Fit of pride: 3,500 actual reads of this essay.

And now a txt from the momster. She's arrived. Time to get up and go!

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Talk Nerdy To Me Part Deux

This is my "good" presentation. I'm looking a little haggard here — this is after two more days of being on a boat in Stockholm, and two more nights out with the king of Denmark, then flying back to spend Friday/Saturday nights in Austin, Texas — but this is the best Video I've got of my "inspired by Lessig" deal.

Someday I'm going to get my own projector, a foot-pedal clicker, and a few weeks of time, and make some king-hell presentation-art. Lots of potential.

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