Friday, April 28, 2006

Stuff for Free

I have a bunch of old MacAddict, Macworld, and related CD-ROMs that I'm not going to use any more and feel guilty about trashing. The first Media Dietician to request them -- and agree to cover postage -- will get the goods.

College Compositions

I didn't lie, per se, but it turns out that that old red notebook also contains some writing I did into my early college years. These two fragments are much less dreary. The first one was written in the fall of 1991:

I only see her briefly
Lucky once a day
But when I do, I wish I might
see her more frequently
a spritely shape
that smiles radiant
and always stops to talk

And this was written on March 29, 1992:

"You see," she said,
"It's like this."
I smile. She explains.
"The experts say,
the doctors say,
the victims say..."
And somehow in her
the message is lost.

Now we're getting somewhere.

Song for Jodie

I think this might be the end of my self-involved high school poetry. This three-part poem was written March 5-6, 1991, and is clearly about my senior-year girlfriend Jodie. I'm still in touch with Jodie, and she's OK'd my publishing much of this stuff. I'm still debating reprinting some of the mopey lovelorn letters I wrote her -- some of which I never gave her -- but this might suffice. Song for Jodie:

I. Sorrow

Lie on the floor shaking,
darkness all around,
the beat of my heart
only audible sound.
Numbness fills my body
as my mind slowly moves.
Hesitant dumbness
my ignorance proves.
Must I live with blinders
blocking my eyes?
For if I repeat this,
my soul shall capsize.
Emptiness floods
my hollow insides.
Sincere devastation
I struggle to hide.
Must I be passive
and watch life unfold
as I have once lost one
that I yearned to hold?
Crystalline hope
harsh reality breaks
so day to day
once more

II. Anger

To think I thought I knew you
I know now I never did
To almost say I loved you
what a mistake that would've been
How easily you threw away
all that I thought we had
And now you seem not to care
unaffected glad
A bitter taste fills my mouth
where once I tasted you
Winter's wind tangles hair
where once fingers ran through
I miss those things
that you deem small
and wonder who you are
because you are now lost to me
Our silence is my scar

III. Dream

Wake hectic
heart beating time
monitored by shattered
of mirrored half-baked
truth reflected
by your soul

I just reread some of the three-page undelivered letter that accompanies this poem, and it's pretty bitter and mean in the way that dumpees might try to provoke their dumpers into reaction. Will have to mull publishing awhile longer.

I Was a Teenage Poet V

This is just a fragment, and more in line with my general high school poetry.

The mourning of our love has passed
or so I like to think
For from your heart, your lips,
your soul, your eyes I want to drink
the juice of youth and newness pure,
the nectar of the damned
But I am forced to stand and watch
you walk through your life's plan

The time we had is gone away


The Brain Hotel

It's been awhile since I've published any lyrics from the Rapcrap archives. This little ditty is titled "The Brain Hotel":

Now just forget everything you've been told
We're about to put your world on hold
I am not a door-to-door man with something to sell
I'm just another resident of the Brain Hotel

Your head is what your brain's inside
If you mess with your head, you're messin' with your mind
So be careful in this world of pain
If you go too far, you'll go insane

So you've got to have a sense of humor
Whether you've got a cold or just a brain tumor
You've got to take harsh stuff in stride
Use the strength you've got inside

In one sure thing you can invest
You are equal to all the rest
So if you begin to feel low
Pick yourself up -- have another go

Don't get the breaks? In a messy situation?
The Brain Hotel: Make a reservation

This was written in pencil, in capital letters, on loose-leaf notebook paper.

Stuff for Sale

I have a Solio portable solar-powered charger that has gone unused for more than a year now. It is no longer accompanied by its packaging or documentation. If any Media Dieticians are interested in snagging it as is for substantially less than the $80 retail, make me an offer.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Idea Currency

While eating dinner with Michele and Sandy, I had an idea.

There are lots of peer-to-peer media creation projects and experiments online. There are very few offline. Companies such as Pluck (through their BlogBurst effort) are striving to syndicate blog content on mainstream media Web sites.

What if peer-to-peer media creation spilled over offline? This could happen in at least two ways:

  • What if daily newspapers and newsstand magazines syndicated blog content not just online, but offline? What if every article we read in print was accompanied by a reader or citizen comment, insight, or response? Could be in reaction to the article as such, but it could also be a standalone about the topic, theme, or event in general. Spread the letters of comment throughout the periodicals. Every article, a comment. In print, with a link for further discussion online. One early example: Fast Company's Greatest Hits ends each chapter and piece with a letter of comment or response from a reader of the magazine.
  • Many media-making organizations are finding ways to bubble up, highlight, and promote their long-tail offerings. But everyone's trying to move the long tail up the y axis, not extend it out the x axis. What media makers are banking on not just one hit record, but 100 near-hit records (or books), consciously and purposefully planning to build a business on the extended long tail... not increased sales of the existing long tail? One way this might be done is through a subscription model. Make more, expecting lower sales of each, but always-in-print sales of all. One example: the Sanctuary Group. Another: Rhino's One Kiss Can Lead to Another collection.

What do you think? Help me build on this.

May a Thousand Howards Bloom

I've followed the work of Howard Rheingold for years. I've read his books. I've been inspired by his ideas. I've participated in his online communities. And we exchange the occasional email. But we've yet to meet.

In fact, because of Rheingold and Howard Bloom, I hold the first name Howard in as high an esteem as the first name Douglas -- because of Douglas Rushkoff and Douglas Coupland.

When I first moved to New York, I had a chance to meet one of the Howards -- Bloom -- at an intimate dinner discussion gathering at his home thanks to a friend. I was unable to participate, but I keep both eyes open for my next opportunity to touch base with the man.

Unfortunately, the next immediate chance, I'm again unable to take advantage of. Saturday night, Bloom is participating in Kosmic Grooves, where he "will be speaking about how the youth of our generation can participate to help massively and positively change our world" and sharing the stage with Andrew Cohen, the man behind What Is Enlightenment? magazine and other initiatives. There will also be DJs, visuals, and perhaps even glow sticks.

$20 at the door. $15 presale. $15 at the door if you say you're a friend of Howard's.

Wish I could go! You should go in my stead.

Eating Dinner... in the Future

Tonight I spent some time with Michele Bowman and Sandra Burchsted over dinner and a drink at Muldoons near Grand Central terminal. I first met Michele through the World Future Society in Boston, where the local group met for a session at the Fast Company offices.

Now, the two are collaborating on the Association of Professional Futurists, a group of several hundred forward-thinking consultants and change makers. And they have a new project up their sleeve, which should launch soon.

It was a refreshing conversation. We discussed the state of futurism, Michele's vision of the three generations of futurists, the value of peer-to-peer technologies, and other topics. Keep an eye out for their new initiative. I'll be sure to announce it as soon as it's ready for primetime (rumored ETA: in 10 days).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thought for Food V

I live alone. And I don't cook a lot. I don't like leftovers, and when you cook for yourself, you more often than not end up with leftovers.

Yet I need to not eat out or order in so often. So I take occasional stabs at self-cookery. This week, I've rekindled two approaches to that: One, self-made lunches, and two, an easy dinner.

I don't often make lunches at home because even if I have time, even if I make a sandwich before leaving for work, by the time I eat it, it's somewhat soggy -- and sorry.

Solution: Buy meat, cheese, and bread for work. Put it in the fridge! I did this today: wheat bread, a quarter pound of turkey breast, and a quarter pound of pepper jack cheese. Oh, and a bottle of horseradish sauce. I think this will last two days. We'll see. (I'd have bought a half pound of each, but that tends to last too long -- and get too dry.)

And for dinner, I stopped by Yagura Japanese Market
on my way home tonight. I picked up udon noodles, dried mushrooms and seaweed (some seasoned), miso paste, and a huge bottle of soy sauce.

That leads me to one of the simplest -- and best -- recipes ever. To whit:

  • Boil some udon.
  • Add two teaspoons of miso paste.
  • Throw in some dried mushrooms (sliced shiitake).
  • Throw in some seaweed (me hijiki).
  • Wait a bit.
  • Eat.

Amazing. Simple sustenance.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Fifth Columnist

The other day, I was bemoaning the dearth of high-quality daily newspaper columnists in the line of classic writers such as Herb Caen and Mike Royko. In a Guardian article today, Cristina Odone proposes that mainstream newspapers could save themselves by hiring high-grade columnists.

Now, vocal evangelists of blogging will suggest that we already have these columnists: They're bloggers. And while I'm sure services like Pluck's BlogBurst may be able to help active bloggers find a more column-like readership, there are enough differences between blogging and writing a high-quality column that we can't depend on bloggers alone.

So where do we turn? The National Society of Newspaper Columnists might be a good place to start, especially its annual column writing contest.

I also turn to you. Who are your favorite newspaper columnists? Who do you think captures your community in a manner similar to Caen and Royko? What columnists should I be reading?

New Record Day VI

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Elf Power, Back to the Web
  • Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, All The Roadrunning
  • Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome
  • Tom Verlaine, Around
  • Tom Verlaine, Songs and Other Things

What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: I bought the Knopfler/Harris LP. Amazing. (And much better than the Springsteen, which I had high hopes for.)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Numbers That Give Me Hope

According to an interview with Edward O. Wilson in the May issue of National Geographic, "more people go to zoos in the U.S. than attend professional sports."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogging About Blogging LXXXIII

Since I got my new laptop, I've fallen out of the habit of keeping up with the blogs and RSS feeds I used to follow regularly. So I just bought NetNewsWire for this machine and spent some time over the last few days subscribing to the feeds for the Fast Company Now blogroll.

To be true, I was surprised how difficult it was to find the feed links for many of the blogs. Very few had auto-discoverable feeds off the blog URL, and while many used orange RSS and XML icons near the top of their pages, many did not -- and there were many variations for lower placements. Some had the icons way down low. And some used plain text feed links. Those were especially hard to find.

So, some tips for making your feeds findable:

  • Use RSS icons, not text links.
  • Use the standard orange-style RSS icons.
  • Keep RSS icons near the top. Don't make people scroll way down low to find your feeds.
  • I'm not sure you need to offer every kind of RSS flavor. Don't overwhelm or confuse with choices people don't need.
  • Consider using Feedburner. I know I don't -- yet. But those seemed to be among the easiest to find and use.
  • Realize that many people don't know what RSS is yet. I don't recommend you go as simple as saying "Syndicate this feed," but consider pairing the traditional icon with auxiliary language like that -- or a "What is this?" link.
  • If you do the latter, consider linking to an explanatory page like that offered by FC Now (I wrote this, so I'm biased; it might not be the best) or the What Is Rss? lens in Squidoo.

This is all off the top of my head, so if you have better or additional ideas, be sure to let me know.

[Published while drinking coffee and listening to James Brown at Gorilla Coffee, which seems like my kind of place.]

News of Note

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Subscription Prescription II

I just made a Squidoo lens about book publishers that support subscription models -- and the idea in general.

If you can recommend other examples, please do so. This is an idea that is worth building on.

Pulp Friction III

Word is that Hard Case Crime's innovative book subscription service is going to change it terms soon.

For the immediate future, you can still sign up for the old mode -- one new title a month, with a backlist title thrown in for free -- for just $6.99. But soon they'll be shifting to a mode in which subscribers get just one new title a month for a lower sub rate. (The other backlist titles aren't just going out of print, you'll just have to buy them individually.) So sign up now to take advantage of Hard Case's wonderful backlist!

I just subscribed myself.

Magazine Me LIX

I cannot wait for this new magazine to launch. Cannot. Wait.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Comics and Conversation II

Late last year, I received an email from a fellow Northwestern University -- and Daily Northwestern -- alum, Russell Lissau. He'd seen a post of mine in Warren Ellis' Engine. Now a newspaper reporter in suburban Chicago and occasional freelancer for Comic Book Resources, Russell had also had his first comic book story published -- in the August 2005 Batman Allies Secret Files and Origins 2005 comic book published by DC.

Early this year, I bought a copy of the comic on Ebay, and I just this week emailed Russell a series of questions about his experience writing for DC. (By the by, starting bids for the book now run from $1-$8, and original page art is listing for $80.) While I know many comic book artists, writers, and publishers at various levels of the industry -- self-published to working with the largest publishers -- I was thrilled to learn that someone I'd gone to college with was in the business. And I think his remarks are particularly interesting and instructive.

Here is an edited transcript of my email exchange with Russell:

Media Diet: How did you get involved in the Batman Allies Secret Files and Origins 2005 project?

Russell Lissau: I'd been pitching Batman story ideas to editor Matt Idelson for more than a year, and after realizing he couldn't get rid of me, he offered me the lead story in the Secret Files book. I was excited and frightened. Excited because I was actually going to write a Batman story for DC Comics -- and frightened because he was asking me to come up with something new rather than simply using one of the stories I had pitched. He told me he was confident I was up to the task, and that took a lot of pressure off. He was a great editor, as was assistant editor Nachie Castro. They really coached me through the process.

MD: Were you assigned the story -- the kind of story, the characters to include -- or did you pick the theme and focus yourself?

RL: I was given an assignment: To write what was essentially the first Batman story after the events of War Games, the big Batman-title crossover that came out in early 2005. It dramatically changed life in Gotham City -- Batman's allies had either died or left town and the police had a shoot-on-sight order for him -- and my job was to pick up the pieces and write about Batman in these new circumstances.

Because of War Games, Batman was alone in Gotham. And although he'd operated without a Robin many times and without the rest of the Bat Family (Nightwing, Batgirl, etc.) many times, he'd always had an ally in the Gotham City Police Department: Jim Gordon. But Gordon has been retired for years, and because of War Games, the replacement commissioner was no friend of the Dark Knight. I firmly believe Batman needs that ally, someone to keep him grounded and fighting the good fight, someone with whom he can share information and whom he can rely on in law enforcement. To me, the natural choice was Detective Renee Montoya, an existing character who'd become the star of the fantastic-but-now-canceled series Gotham Central.

MD: Were there many limitations or restrictions because of existing continuity? How did you tap into that -- yet still propel events in your own story?

RL: It's like following the laws of physics. It's the DC Universe, so I have to play by the rules established in that universe. That's a lot of fun -- I didn't find it constraining at all. Plus, my editors really gave me a lot of room to tell the story I wanted to tell.

The scene in which Batman and Renee meet in the garage is my favorite in the book. It established a link between them, but it didn't necessarily make her "the new Gordon." If she wanted to continue the relationship, she could; but she's also a good cop and could tell him to take a leap if he crossed the line down the road. Of course, comics being what they are, that relationship is in limbo now because DC has reset its universe with the fantastic One Year Later event. I hear Renee plays a big role in the upcoming 52 series that accompanies One Year Later, and I look forward to seeing what she's up to.

I also got to refer to one of my all-time favorite comics moments in one panel. There's one page that has flashbacks to War Games and other recent Batman events. One panel shows Batman holding a tearful Robin (Tim Drake) near the body of Tim's father, who was murdered in DC's Identity Crisis miniseries. I loved Identity Crisis, and being able to refer to it and build off of it helped establish that my story was "real."

MD: Speaking of "real," what kind of research did you do to prepare to write the piece?

RL: I read all of War Games, and I relied on my comics, research books, and the Internet to make sure I had the characters -- especially Montoya -- down right. The work writers Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker did on Gotham Central was particularly key. I wanted to write their Montoya, and I think I succeeded. I've interviewed Greg and met him a few times, and I had a recurring nightmare that he'd call me up and say, "No, you idiot! You got it all wrong!" But he never did, thankfully.

MD: Given that this was your first assigned script, how did you prepare to write it?

RL: When I first started writing comics, I got many scripts from friends in the industry and studied them. I mean, really studied them. I compared those scripts to the finished book and looked at how the words on white paper become a comic. When it came time to writing my own stories, I pretty much cribbed the script format of writer Devin Grayson. I've interviewed Devin several times through the years for a variety of magazines, newspapers, and Web zines, and she was very forthcoming. I just felt comfortable with her format. Writer Jeph Loeb also shared his scripts and really mentored me through the process. In fact, it was Jeph who introduced me to editor Matt Idelson.

MD: How many revisions did you do? How much of the final work is drawn from your script?

RL: I think I did three drafts. It's all my work.

MD: And how long was the final script?

RL: It was a 19-page story, but because I write full script, the text versions usually run longer. So, in this case, it was a 25-page Word document.

MD: Wow. How much did your script dictate the panel layout and artwork?

RL: Like I said, I write full script. I use a lot of detail. I wanted the penciller to know what I envisioned, sometimes down to camera angles, clothing choices, hairstyles, and panel layouts. But I also told the penciller, the wonderful Brad Walker, to have fun and make things better if he could. He did. He followed my descriptions and pacing and improved them, and the layouts were far better than I ever could have imagined. I was stunned each time I got a new set of pages to preview. The work was stunning.

MD: How did that collaboration work?

RL: I sent my editor the script. He sent it to Brad. Brad sent pages in batches, and the editor sent them to me. We did collaborate on the ending, however. The last page was a true team effort between Brad and me.

MD: Did you get any feedback from DC or readers of the comic?

RL: Fans seemed to like it -- according to the Net, anyway. Sales were in the mid-20s. And if my memory is right, it was the 101st selling book that month. Nearly cracking the Top 100 is pretty cool. (Keep in mind that there were two other stories in the book. It wasn't just mine, so I won't take all the credit.)

MD: Have you done other comic stories since this came out? What more can people look for?

RL: This summer I've got a short story in Ronin Studios' Hope: New Orleans, a collection of stories that will benefit the Red Cross' Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. My piece is a short, personal story, without capes and cowls. I covered Hurricane Andrew down in Florida and turned an experience from that into this story. It's due to come out in August, in time for the first anniversary of Katrina.

I've also got something coming out later in the year at DC, but I can't say too much about that right now. It's exciting though!

Sketchy Character

I just used the Sketch-It one-minute $1 drawing service for the first time, on the recommendation of Photojojo. And my sketch is done!

Pretty slick, eh? Thanks, Josh.

Monday, April 17, 2006

New Record Day V

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Death Cab for Cutie, Crooked Teeth
  • Dresden Dolls, Yes Virginia
  • Fiery Furnaces, Bitter Tea
  • Killing Joke, Hosannas from the Basement of Hell
  • Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Under the Covers Vol. 1

What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: I ended up getting the Bollywood soundtrack to Bluffmaster!, which came out last winter.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Picture Perfect II

Hot on the heels of the New York Times article, the Squidoo team was photographed today for the Journal News, a daily serving the Lower Hudson. (You can read the article online.)

I learned several things today, and I think they're worth sharing.

  • Don't just show up; dress up. I didn't know about the New Tork Times shoot beforehand, so I went to work in my usual mode: a day-plus unshaven, T-shirt and favorite green cardigan. (We're a laid-back crew, or at least everyone I work with can handle my lack of suit and tie, much less collared shirt.) With some forewarning about this shoot, I worked harder. I shaved. And I wore a rare sportcoat, the first time I wore one of two new sport coats actually. (To prove that it's an uncharacteristic fashion statement for me, I popped off one of the buttons on the walk to the subway this morning. We'll see if the sportcoat grows on me, or I on it.) Making that little bit of extra effort made all the difference. I felt better all day, and the shoot felt better. Color me professorial.
  • Don't just document; participate. The Journal News photographer really got into the shoot. I don't mean that she made us pose oddly or do anything particularly over the top. I mean that she did whatever she needed to do to get the shot she wanted -- from her angle. She kneeled on the concrete floor; she lay down flat, splayed out on the floor; and she climbed up on a flimsy single-post stool to get a higher angle. ("We're all going to look concerned!" I said.) That made us like her more. She got into the shoot. She put in the extra effort needed to do what needed to be done.
  • Suburban dailies follow the news in the urban dailies, not vice versa. This isn't a dig against the Journal News. But it is an interesting aspect of newsies. Not only is the Journal News not afraid to follow the Times, it's not afraid to follow the Times in short order. That means that it's either an assumption the Times is going to scoop its regional counterparts. Or that the Journal News knows its readership well enough to know that they won't think twice if they see a piece in the suburban paper that just ran in the big-city daily. Or they don't care because of that assumption. I see a lot of Journal News in the recycling bins at Grand Central, so I think people who commute in from the north read the Journal News -- but who knows?

When I was a writer and editor for a national business magazine, I read a host of regional business journals and alternative for stories that might not have hit the national press yet. Perhaps New York is a special case, but I'd always assumed that stories grew, from smaller media outlets to larger media outlets.

Sometimes, maybe they trickle down.

From the In Box: Poetry in Motion?

Just got a response from the MTA. Given that they indicate it can take more than two weeks for them to get back to folks, a same-day reply is awesome. Kudos MTA! The tone of the reply feels overly safe and impersonal, however.

Thank you for your e-mail regarding our customer newsletter "Mileposts". It is always a pleasure to hear from a customer who reads it with a keen eye.

We make a concerted effort to make "Mileposts" both informative and entertaining. While we are not unduly concerned with having universal recognition of all references, we do try to provide a nice mix and variety of thought-provoking items for everybody.

Your points are well taken and I will share them with the editors.

We appreciate your thoughtful feedback and wish you a happy holiday weekend.

Still, my conductor's cap is off to Ted Bowen -- thanks for responding!

Think Breakfast

Why is it OK to eat a muffin for breakfast -- but not a cupcake or piece of cake? They're pretty much the same thing.

Poetry in Motion?

I got a kick out of the current edition of Milestones, the occasional newsletter published by the MTA Metro-North Railroad that is distributed on train seats. In the "Courtesy Corner," an anonymous writer riffs through several of the way April is a "cruel" month: unpredictable weather, tax time... and National Poetry Month.

Huh? And why is National Poetry Month a bad thing? The writer continues: "(Anyone up for a little Rod McKuen?)" Later on, after offering some ways commuters can be more polite -- less cruel, I suppose -- the writer ends the item as follows: "Let's try to make April the most courteous month... it beats spending it reading Rod's free verse..."

Poor, poor Rod McKuen just got dissed by the MTA! So I emailed the transit authority:

I got a chuckle out of this newsletter -- sepecifically the anti-National Poetry Month stance (weird given the MTA's Poetry in Motion program). But who in your office has a beef with the work of Rod McKuen?

I laughed at the mention of him because (a) most folks won't know who McKuen is, (b) it's odd to target the work of one poet, and (c) whomever wrote that knows McKuen wrote free verse.

Equal parts commendation and criticism, I suppose.

True, McKuen's work can be somewhat formulaic, but I still think it's a weird cheap shot to make fun of his work in an MTA newsletter. Not a big deal, but bizarre.

So, in honor of National Poetry Month, I'm off to buy a McKuen book.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Picture Perfect

Squidoo in the NYT
Originally uploaded by Gil to the Rescue.
I was in the New York Times on Monday. Not mentioned in the article, but included in the photograph. My first picture in the Times!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Photographic Palate II

If you comment on a Flickr photo, it's OK, and measurable.

If you leave a note on a Flickr photo, it's less measurable but more interesting.

Go figure!

Update: In an email, Caitlin says, "Flickr does not tell you that there is 'new activity' even if you (me) are peppered with new notes. But if you click on 'recent activity' it will show those new notes therein. Go figure."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Trail Mixing It Up

Sunday morning, I met Rick and my new friend Caitlin at Grand Central Terminal to hop Metro-North's Hudson Line up to Tarrytown, New York.

Our goal, roughly the midpoint of the Old Croton Aqueduct. Recently featured in the New York Times, the aqueduct is a beautiful example of unused infrastructure and urban archeology. For the next six-plus hours, the three of us walked south for about 13 miles, taking occasional side trips to see locations of note.

Walking along the trail is a fascinating experience, one blending turn-of-the-century history with modern-day suburban life and, as you enter Yonkers, increasing urban density. We didn't really have a copy of the detailed map that points out all the sites to see, but we did go armed with my copies of Day Walker and the Hudson River Valley Moon handbook to keep us -- mostly -- on track.

The hike was amazing, but I'm sore today. Not sore in the legs, which I expected, but sore in the back, shoulder, and neck because of my shoulder bag. Silly hiker.

You can see my Flickr pictures from the day online. As the weather improves, look for more reports on urban adventures!

Additional resources: Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, The Old Croton Aqueduct Project, The Croton Aqueduct, Westchester Trails: Old Croton Aqueduct, and There's No Stoppin' the Croton from Hoppin'.

Looks like I should make a Squidoo lens!

Blogging About Blogging LXXXII

Zach Miller, creator of the Web comic strip Joe and Monkey and author of the book Totally Boned: A Joe and Monkey Collection, recently won the first Lulu Blooker Prize in the comics category. "The Blooker is the first literary prize devoted to 'blooks,' or books based on blogs," says a news release about Miller's win.

New Record Day IV

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • Built to Spill, You in Reverse
  • Brian Eno and David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (Remaster)
  • Pretty Girls Make Graves, Elan Vital
  • Shonen Knife, Genki Shock
  • Robin Williams, A Night at the Met

What records are you going to pick up this week?

(By the way, I glean these lists from Newbury Comics' and Ice Magazine's new release reports.)

Update: I got the Shonen Knife record. (And the new Mecca Normal album, "The Observer.") A good week!

Saturday, April 08, 2006


If I send you an email that includes my borrowed permission sig hack

This email is: [ ] bloggable [ x ] ask first [ ] private

and you disrespect my request, whatever it might be, that isn't nice.

(Clearly, not blogging something that's marked "bloggable" isn't an offense. But blogging something that's been specified as between you and me -- or requesting approval -- is.)

The Movie I Watched Last Night XCVI

Drive: My Life in Skateboarding

Friday, April 07, 2006

Products I Love XVIII

I want one of those Kmart blue-light special lights, one of those wheely poles with a blue light up top. Who can help me get one?

This light was an icon of my childhood, and I'd love to have one to perch in the corner of my apartment -- and to use at events. I have an upcoming event that a blue light stand would be perfect for.

Any Media Dietician who can help me source one will earn hella punk points.

Used, preferably, and the condition doesn't matter.

All it needs to do is light up.

Re: Games People Play XVIII

Poor Charlie. Bounced from dodgeball!

Seems silly that folks would have to pay to get into a venue that a group had rented.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

An Idea for a New Music

I've had strong sounds running through my veins all day today, and as far as I know, there are no musical recordings that, if listened to, would satisfy the urge my body, heart, and soul are feeling.

A new music I'd like to be able to listen to, channel, and witness: A combination of a marching band drumline mixed with political and socially conscious hiphop, with the energy of a go-go band and the pageantry of a New Orleans-style brass band.

Think about it: The drumline could include a tri tom, bass drum, snare, cymbal, whistle and -- maybe -- a xylophone. There would be two or three MCs. Maybe a drum major. And maybe some sideline cheerleaders or pompon girls.

The drumline's cadences would form the foundation of the lyrics and rhymes, and there'd be a lot of stepshow-like choreography.

Can anyone think of any nascent or existing examples of such music and performance? Is anyone interested enough in it that I could make it happen?

Count it off, now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Movie I Watched Last Night XCV

I haven't really posted a movie review here since December, and I think I'd like to start documenting my film feed more actively. To that end, I've started a Rotten Tomatoes movie review journal. My first outing? 1992's horrible slasher flick Zipperface. I'll find a way to work the forthcoming reviews into Media Diet painlessly.

The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XXXIII

I just ate the best food and might have a new favorite takeout restaurant. Through Zipmenu I learned about M Shanghai Bistro & Den. Ordering online, I got a ginger ale, steamed vegetable dumplings, and a potato and soy peas in spicy bean paste dish with rice. Amazing. The filling fir the dumplings was finely chopped and mixed: Delicious. And the potato/soy dish was flavored extremely well -- although they seem to have cut back on the potatoes in the name of tofu.

But the really neat part was when the delivery guy came, to check that he was at the right place, he asked me what I ordered. And I barely remembered. "Let's see... I got a ginger ale. And something with potato and peas. And an appetizer -- dumplings?" Then he told me that it'd be better if I ordered on the phone because the prices were higher online. Checking against their print menu, I saw that the appetizer and entree were priced the same, but the delivery guy said that the ginger ale was $2 more expensive than what they charged.

Who gets that additional money: Zipmenu or the restaurant? I also wonder how across-the-board this markup is.

Games People Play XVIII

This looks like fun:

May the best dodgecom win!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Clothes Whore XIII

I subscribe to books -- and I subscribe to clothes. This Threadless T isn't in the subscription series, but you can buy it all the same.

Clothes whore
Originally uploaded by h3athrow.

Make with the clicky. You'll get a cool T, and you'll help me earn more clothing.

Whore, out!

New Record Day III

Here's what's coming out this week that I think is notable:

  • The Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics
  • Islands, Return to the Sea
  • The Kings of Nuthin', Over the Counter Culture
  • Liars, The Other Side of Mount Heart Attack
  • Morrisey, Ringleader Of The Torment
  • One Man Army/Undead Quartet, 21st Century Killing Machine split
  • Queensryche, Operation Mindcrime II
  • Rainer Maria, Catastrophe Keeps Us Together
  • Tapes 'n Tapes, The Loon
  • U.S. Bombs, We Are the Problem
  • Venom, Metal Black
  • The Vines, Vision Valley

Clearly, I won't be buying a lot this week. Sheesh. How to choose? What records are you going to pick up this week?

Update: I got none of the above! Instead, I picked up the new Mountain Goats' EP, Babylon Springs. Kudos, John Darnielle!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Theater Sports II

I just bought a ticket to my friend Tory's new play Nightwatches, which opens April 14 at the Access Theater.

If you live in the New York area, you should get a ticket, too. Perhaps I'll see you opening night!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Resident Tourist

I can see the Empire State Building from the window of my kitchen. It's one of the reasons I moved into my apartment in Greenpoint in 2004. And its peak changes color to signify holidays and other events. It's a fantastic example of urban markup language.

Yet I've never been there. Until today. Today, my friend Rick and I met at Grand Central Terminal to go to the Empire State Building and head up to the observation deck.

It was amazing. Amazing! One of the most amazing experiences I've had in a long time, perhaps in my life.

If you live in New York City and have already gone up, go. If you live in New York City and have never gone up, go. If you're just visiting, go.

Seeing New York like this will change how you think about the city.

Check out my Flickr pictures.

Ravaging Radio XIII

Stephen Provizer, lead mind behind the much-loved Allston-Brighton Free Radio in the Boston area, has a new project that's worth checking out.

I'm happy to say that the project I've been working on for the last year, ZUMIX RADIO, is well underway, broadcasting at 1630AM and now streaming on the web.

I hope you get a chance to go the website, check out the schedule and find something that appeals to you.

A few highlights:

  • Jazz block from 11AM-2 PM everyday.
  • Youth programming 3-6 PM everyday.
  • Latin Rock show 9-10 PM every night.
  • Pulso, a Spanish-language public affairs show, everyday 7-8 PM.
  • Disco-dance show Thu 6-7 PM and Sun. 8-9 PM.
  • Fantastically odd and interesting automation programming

If you can help spread the word by linking us to your website or MySpace page, or letting your friends know, that would be terrific.

Support grassroots radio!