Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Five Years Down

Today, this very day, marks the five-year anniversary of Media Diet's beginning.

I began blogging on June 27, 2001, inspired by the chance to meet with Blogger cofounder Evan Williams.

Evan has since moved on to help launch the podcasting pioneer Odeo, yet I remain loyal, even continuing to use one of the service's earliest templates.

I remain in touch with the current Blogger team -- I call them the Jasons -- and I love the service like little else online. (OK, Stewart, Flickr is rad, too.)

Gods bless Blogger. And blogging.

P.S. Double thanks to Jon Ferguson and the previously taken-advantage-of Cardhouse for support over all these years. I still consider myself a contributor to your house of cards.

P.P.S. And if you want to keep up with all things Heath, check out my personal Squidoo lens.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Does anyone know anything about the status of BlogTree? For the past few weeks, I've been getting the following error message pretty consistently:

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

Is the service down for the count? If so, can anyone recommend another service that tracks what blogs are related to what blogs? (Using a methodology parallel to BlogTree, not just who's linking to whom...)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Nature, I Hardly Know Her

Last night, on the way to a cookout in East Williamsburg, my friends and I saw a firefly on Russell Street. It was the first of the summer. Appropriate, since the solstice just passed.

Happy summer, everybody!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Author, Author II

I'm compiling a list of some of the better blogs written by published authors, and I'd like your input! Email me the names and URL's of your favorite author blogs. Thanks in advance!

Naming Places

Not too far away from where I live, there's a road called Lorimer Street. It's also the subway station where the L and G lines connect.

Today's word of the day from Wordsmith is "lorimer," which, it turns out, means a maker of bits, spurs, and other accessories for horses. It's a term drawing on an old-style profession.

So I'm curious: Does the neighborhood have a history of horseplay? According to the Greenpoint Timeline, Eliphalet S. Scripture of Greenpoint received the first patent for an improvement on the flying carousel horse in 1850. And by 1880, carousel maker Charles I.D. Looff had a factory at Bedford Avenue and Guernsey Street, which isn't too far away.

That feels like a stretch.

An online genealogy resource indicates that the street was in fact named after John Lorimer Graham and James Lorimer Graham, two "land jobbers." The street opened in 1852 from Broadway to Grand.

Story told!

Monday, June 19, 2006

How Others Describe You

Apparently, I am Mr. 2.0.

Video-A-Go-Go III

George Bush sings Sunday Bloody Sunday.

One of the neatest things I've seen on YouTube in a long time.

Thanks, Megan!

Spoilsport of Kings

My friends Craig and Jon in Spoilsport are playing Friday, June 23, at Otto's Shrunken Head in Manhattan. Any and all local Media Dieticians should attend.

They're playing with Abby Denson's band the Saturday Night Things.

Sticker Notion

If there's one book you buy this week, please buy this book.

My too-rarely-seen friend Srini Kumar has come out with a new sticker book courtesy of the fine folks at Disinformation, and if word is bond, it's a doozy.

Sticker Nation: The Big Book Of Subversive Stickers is packed with more than 400 real stickers. Srini has already stickered half of Brooklyn -- and only used up about half of the book. That's a lot of stickers!

You can learn more about Srini's ongoing project at his Web site. Or, check him out at Myspace.

He's one year older than me, but, oh, so much wiser.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Photo Opportunity

The band the Hold Steady, which includes a fellow named Tad -- who used to play in the Wisconsin bands Billy's Sandbox and Doublespeak (and who played with Lifter Puller for a spell) -- is shooting the cover for their new record Saturday, June 17.

We need some extra bodies. It would help us out a ton if some of you New York-based rock fans could come down and help us out. Please email me if you can make it.

Here's the deal:

Location: North 6 (66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn NY)
When: 1pm, Saturday June 17 (We'll have you out by 5pm)

I will need to manage how many people we need, so please RSVP.

Were I not going out of town, I might very well check this out. I once booked Billy's Sandbox for an event in the town I grew up in. And Doublespeak released a split 7-inch with Inspector 12. Who knew?

New Record Day XIII

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

  • Burning Star Core, Let's Play Wild Like Wildcats
  • Handsome Family, Last Days of Wonder
  • Del McCoury, Promised Land
  • Paper Rad, Taking out the Trash DVD
  • Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped

What records are you going to pick up this week? I'm placing myself on a record-buying hiatus in the name of starting to systematically listening to what I already own. I may document that listening project in Media Diet. We'll see whether it's productive!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Event-O-Dex XXIV

I'll be away this weekend, but the Renegade Craft Fair in Williamsburg's McCarren Park appears promising. Friend Emily will be in town representing Magpie, so be sure to stop by and say hi!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Change Agent

I'm no good with change.

Every night, or morning, I empty my pockets to transfer the relevant leavings to the pants pockets of the new day. Usually, my transit passes, business cards, and note slips make the transition, but change does not.

I put it in a Chock Full o' Nuts coffee can on a bookshelf in my bedroom for later attention.

Sometimes that attention is rapt. I put appropriate coins in albums. I roll it in paper slips for even later attention. Or, it stays put in the coffee can or milk bottle for even later attention. Sometimes, that attention never comes: I moved from Boston to New York with several bags of change, and I'm still working through it.

Thursday night, I paid attention to some change I've had for two-plus years. I carried a small shopping bag of rolled change to the Commerce Bank -- quite the progressive bank -- on 42nd Street in Manhattan to make use of their Penny Arcade. Sans quarters, rolls of which I've been using to pay for laundry these last few months, the sum total?

Pennies: 1,351
Nickels: 438
Dimes: 851

That's more than $120. I even filled their change bags to the brim, so a staff member needed to replace the sacks before I could cash out.

How much change do you have on hand? What are you going to do about -- and with -- it?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Conferences and Community XI

Today I participated in Corante's Innovative Marketing Conference at Columbia University with a handful of Squidoo lensmasters from several states. Here are the lenses I created about the sessions I sat in on:

If you'd like to make a Corante-related lens yourself, check out their headquarters on Squidoo.

Recommended Reads

Earlier this week, I emailed several writers whose work I read and respect for an answer to the following question:

What's the best book you've read lately?

Here's what a few had to say in response:

Cory Doctorow
"Vernor Vinge's Rainbow's End."

Annie Sprinkle
"Who has time to read books? Actually it was Letters from Linda M. Montano by Linda Montano."

Bruce Sterling
"Probably Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. I'm kind of liking Adam Greenfield's Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing. Alan Liu's Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information has got something going on. Erik Davis's little book about Led Zeppelin is hilarious."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Barely Home Companion

I added this article to my Delicious links earlier, but I thought it was worth mentioning that I was included in a New York Post feature on people in New York City who regularly listen to A Prairie Home Companion. (I'm a Web entrepreneur!)

Growing up in Wisconsin, I grew up listening to Garrison Keillor's radio show, and I continue to hold a place in my heart for his writing and work. As I write this, I'm listening to the May 27 edition of the News from Lake Wobegon (I listened to last weekend's earlier today), and I'm made warm and comfortable by the voice of Keillor, who is one of the best monologists of the last 100 years. Mike Daisey may be one of the best in the last 10 years.

One thing that Mary didn't mention in her article was my conspiracy theory that Keillor is the not-so-evil twin of Stephen King. They look somewhat alike. They're both eminently regional -- one from Minnesota, and one from Maine. And they both have wonderful speaking voices. You can try to dissuade me. Seriously. Like they're ever seen in the same place at the same time. (If they have, disprove me!)

Garrison Keillor. Stephen King. One and the same, but on opposite poles.

Music to My Ears LXX

Thanks to Ginny at Mixed Media Promotion, I recently received a copy of the new CD by Katahdin's Edge, a progressive piano jazz trio based in Providence, Rhode Island. Led by composer and pianist Willie Myette, founder of the educational organization JazzKids, the trio released its second CD, The Ridge, early last month.

Two tracks in, I'm reminded of the Brad Mehldau Trio in terms of Katahdin's mellow songfulness -- occasionally walking the line of more ambient new-age piano music -- as well as the more forceful funk of Medeski Martin and Wood (although the latter comparison is more of a stretch). But this is no winsome Wine Country plinky-dink piano jazz. The tracks on this disc, even when not entirely driving, ebb and flow between aggression and sensitivity, making for a nice balance.

Bassist John Funkhouser is mixed relatively low, so the bass isn't a dominant instrument, but Mike Connors's percussion works ably to punctuate Myette's piano playing. With players associated with the Berklee College of Music, which I tend to associate with softer, Down Beat- and GRP-like jazz (versus, say, Cadence and Emanem), the trio is surprisingly fresh and emotive. Given the trio's name, Katahdin's Edge, and complementary comparisons to the stark mountain range in Maine, as well as the edgy aspects of the CD's title -- The Ridge -- the music is cutting and pointed, even if it waxes mellow at times.

As founder of the Boston-area jazz and improvised music mailing list Boss Improv, I'm a softy for regionally themed compositions, and the third track, "MTA," doesn't disappoint with its Ben Folds-meets-Vince Guaraldi approach to piano jazz.

Halfway through this listen, I know I'd be comfortable recommending this recording to the jazz DJ's at WNUR-FM, where I used to DJ. It doesn't push any envelopes, but the music resonates with several respectable styles and musicians -- and holds my interest quite easily. Not overly surprising, but not by rote, either. Worth a listen!

New Record Day XII

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

  • Be Your Own Pet, Be Your Own Pet
  • Bouncing Souls, Gold Record
  • Cheap Trick, Rockford
  • Cracker, Greenland
  • Sarah Silverman, Jesus Is Magic

What records are you going to pick up this week?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Garage Sailing

When I was but a youth in southern Wisconsin, one of the major sources of amusement for my friends and I -- particularly when working on camp staff -- was garage sailing. We'd get the weekend classified listings for the upcoming garage sales, map a plan of attack, and head out in the land barge to hit all the hot spots.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune now makes that easy as pie, and it's a model other newspapers could and should follow. The newspaper's garage sale map enables curbside vendors to get listed -- and bargain hunters to map their route from sale to sale.

This is the kind of online application that can help bridge print media with real-world wandering -- and the kind that could help make newspapers more relevant. Here in New York, we already have GarbageScout, which maps stoop-side detritus -- iffy in this rain! -- but how to best find the stuff you seek outside of Craig's List's giveaways?

Every newspaper should offer this service. Take heed. And take advantage if you're in Minnesota!

Rest in Peace IX

Lew Anderson, who played Clarabell the Clown, Buffalo Bob Smith's sidekick on The Howdy Doody Show died recently -- as did Frankie Thomas, the actor who portrayed Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, on television. Rest in peace, you two!