Wednesday, November 11, 2009

hipster ships out

I know you're feeling it. The term "hipster" is sooooooo tired, the e in hipster can barely lift its eyelid.

Next time you are about to say it, say something else. You'll feel better. Honest. You heard it hear first, unless you heard from me at the 500 club a couple weeks ago, or you've been reading mission mission.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

bookstore bug

I should have recorded what the book was, but this bug (which I think was alive) seemed to be just chilling, watching over the busy Williamsburg bookstore it found itself in.

water surface abstract

It's funny, sometimes when I take photos I most like to take abstracts. But when I draw, I like to draw from life.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Vanishing Faces

James Lovelock's book the Vanishing Face of Gaia is not a comforting book to read. I first came across Gaia theory about 20 years ago and it made immediate sense to me -- the earth is a living thing.

The implications of that -- according to Lovelock's book -- are not good for humanity. Through man's actions we have been messing with Gaia's systems and it is about to undergo a change that will not be in the least bit kind to humanity as a whole, moving to a hot state that will be unpleasant for a good deal of humanity.

Lovelock's main message I think is that we ought to be preparing for the impending disaster. The scientific consensus on global heating (as he calls it) is based on flawed models that don't take into account its biological component, and that the world is already midst disproving as being too conservative.

Thus the targets set by world governments, and the movements to meet those targets are badly flawed. He seems to feel the whole green living movement, and focus on renewable energy is a waste of time. His vision though never wholly articulated with any cohesion is that a
much smaller humanity will be living a nuclear powered life, with synthesized food, in the various places around the globe that will be least affected by Gaia's change of state.

Lovelock, likens the current urban environmental movement to a religion, and dangerous (the most dangerous ideology?) because it is now more focused on the health of humans rather than the health of the planet. Windpower and individual solar panels are sops to the weak minded in the service of corporations who are afraid of losing money to cheap nuclear energy.

He spends considerable time laying into windpower, one because it might make landscapes ugly, two because of its large footprint, and three because urban centers need constant power.

Somehow it doesn't add up - if the modern environmental movement were to be carried to its logical conclusion, its members would be self-sufficient, vegetarians not badly placed to survive in a world where self-sufficiency is called for. There are plenty of criticisms that can be fairly leveled at the environmental movement, but it's not clear to me actually what Lovelock's are, or if it is only a portion of it.

The term environmentalist has had a bit of a tarnish of late, and is used by people of all persuasions to attack the particular element of environmentalism they don't like. We could use some more particular terms perhaps.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Founding Folks

I picked up the latest from David Liss in paperback (he has one newer one out in hardback) called Whiskey Rebels. Liss remains my favorite AgeOfReason Noir writer. Or Econ Noir, except that doesn't convey the historical nature. This novel takes place a decade past the revolutionary war, and one of the main character is a scoundrel, a former spy and accused traitor, who gets a chance to redeem his lost honor. The other character, a woman, makes her way into the wilds of Pennsylvania to make a living with her new husband only to find that there are scoundrels everywhere.

Revolutionary characters come into the story -- Hamilton, Aaron Burr and Washington, as well as forgotten characters, all set in a complex world of finance and a very familiar, fierce and bitter partisan squabble. Liss deflty places his fictional characters in the murky areas of history.

The story captivated me enough, that when I came across a copy of Founding Brothers, I gave it a read. The book is an examination of the relationships of some of our Founding Fathers: Hamilton, Burr, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Madison. With ease it took apart my myths of the founding fathers, if only by knowing (as one might expect, if one thought of it) that they were just men, flawed in different ways, who by luck and good timing pulled off this amazing feat, and managed to keep it going often through their common rather than individual effort. Despite intense and often hard feelings, our revolution did not "eat itself" as have others in the peace that followed victory.

The book mostly focuses on what happened after the revolution, the divisions that grew over the Federalists and Republicans, those who wanted more federal power, those who wanted states power, the way that most parties came to terms (aka silence) over the issue of slavery, issues of finance, foreign policy, and issues of populism over elites. Intense hatreds developed, friendships floundered and were restored.

It's a marvelous retelling of our history worth reading for the complexity and ideas that we will still see reflected in the politics of today.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Food mural detail I never noticed before


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Books, Movies

Just finished another Lindsey Davis, Didius Falco mystery -- Last Act in Palmyra -- a pleasing romp through lands east of Judea in the 1st century AD.

Read and now reading aloud to Liz Inkheart, which is fun to read and fun to read aloud.

Sacred Sea, by Peter Thomson, a former audio producer for Living on Earth, Thomson travels around the world to visit Lake Baikal. I enjoyed much of the book immensely, because having passed Lake Baikal on the Trans-Siberean train, I was immensely curious about it, and to this day having sensed I had missed a grand opportunity by not going. The book confirmed it, (although I would have missed other things I am sure). It was also fun to read about such a grand adventure, traveling around the world with your brother traveling only on the surface. But the book bogs down in the middle section, a little too maudlin, and well at the end of the day not very interesting.

Miracle at St. Anna - this movie had a lot of potential but whatever it was was lost in its ultimate inscrutability. For one, early on in the movie, a character (40 years on) cries "I know who the sleeping man is," but I never did find out (or why it was important), and more importantly I'm not quite sure what the Miracle at St Anna ever was. Add on a couple characters who do things out of character, and one ends the movie with a gentle, "WTF?"

Tropic Thunder - like most comedies this day, much of the good stuff is shown in the trailer, but there was still enough to make it enjoyable to sit through -- I especially enjoyed Tom Cruise as the crazy executive producer.

Traitor - an action espionage thriller worth a look. It's plot is not necessarily anything new, but Don Cheadle is great, and it has a bent similar to that of the Kingdom, not letting the world be set in black and white.

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist - ditto with Tropic Thunder and trailers, but again there's enough left, plus good acting, and sweet romance to not feel totally robbed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

garage fall

This photo won me two awards at BAVC the other night. The exhibition was called 5blocks. We were asked to submit photos taken within 5 blocks of their homes, schools and workplaces, to celebrate SF diversity, a city that changes about every 5 blocks.

This photo was runner up in the guest artist choice award, and won the people's choice award to boot! Thanks all for the votes! The photo that won the guest artist choice was another abstract piece, a photo top side dark, bottom side white, with a man walking in the dark space.

The staff choice winner was a photo of the opening of a freeway pedestrian bridge, taken with time lapse at night filled with interesting colors.

It was fun to see the diversity of stuff that people had brought to the event.

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