Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I’ve always been a little ehhhhhh about Burning Man, for reasons I won't go into here except to say that maybe I'm not big on some of the extremes of people it attracts -- hippies, ravers, frat boys, perverts, fascist idealists, anarchists, nihilists, quasisexuals, etc. -- who may get in my face and require me to interact with them on their terms with disregard to my own. Don't hate the playa, hate the game, I know, but I can't help it.

Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting to use that? Yeah!

But you know, the concept of Burning Man is sublime, and in the last few years I’ve met some quality folks who make me actually want to attend -- more and more folks who seem to be walking the walk with this event. Artistic peeps with grand ideas about community-building as we define ourselves as human, and who bring about positive change in the "real world" after 10 days out on a dry prehistoric lakebed.

Y’all know I love art that is community based. This is why I was so impressed to read about a group of artists that formed from Burning Man called Burners Without Borders who are working to bring bonfires back to Ocean Beach. Working hand-in-hand with the Park Service, they called on artists to create handcrafted fire pits that in turn will be installed on the beach and maintained by the Surfrider Foundation, all so that time-honored tradition of a beach bonfire -- the only way to enjoy the chilliness of San Francisco beaches -- can continue.

This is my favorite type of art in the community. Practical, and led by many completely different groups with a common human desire that binds them to a common goal, working together to do something to make life pleasant. I also like the bringing order to chaos thang for the better enjoyment of most everyone. I’ve blogged about this before, but I’ll say it again: Beauty must be accessible to the masses. The ignorance of this is one of the things at the core of human suffering.

I understand that some of my friends who attend Burning Man will tell me that permanence is not a tenet of the playa, and that having some danger (chaos) in your life is the point of the exercise, but I'm talking about people adapting those tenets to real world structure. I agree we should shake up those mind cubicles, sure, and that comfort kills, but let's give some slack to the 95 percent of folks who may not be ready to run naked with trannies whilst high on E on a daily basis, or even just skip pilates for a cheeseburger with friends or quit the job they hate but they keep because of money, but who just might be able to change their minds about community art and gain some flexibility somewhere else.

And speaking of practical, with many completely different groups working together, to do something to make life pleasant, and bringing a little order to a little chaos: the hand-wringing that Wikipedia has brought to many a teacher, blog-critic, and librarian alike may soon be remedied by the future of online reference -- Citizendium. Let's see if maybe a little dash of authoritarianism will soothe the anarchy that can be the most famous collaborative peer-based online encyclopedia, and make it worthy of the works cited page.

NP: Franco Battiato, 'Ruby Tuesday'

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wow, it's been a year since I have been enthusiastically engaged in the decidedly (but deliciously) unsavory acts of public bloggery, righteous indignation, and libel-lite. Happy birthday to me!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Okay, I don't usually get involved in the Mac vs. Windows grrr, but this is just too good to pass up:

(click the pic for a larger version to read the error...too cute)

Also way too good to pass up: the pedal-powered roller coaster in Nihon. This is, in a word, AWESOME. My only disappointment is that it is too far from where we usually stay to visit and try out. I guess I'll just have to tend to my wounds with a Flesh Drink instead. Yay!

Thanks to stromdotcom for the goods.

And this just in: why politicians simply need to STFU and have more orgasms.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Riding my bicycle down Shafter Avenue to the gym this evening, the sun sinking behind the ocean and the cool Bay air evaporating the heat of the day, I was simply dazzled by all that is blooming! There wasn't one moment of my entire 20 minute ride that was without scent. Jasmine, cherry, sweet peas, and lilies -- plus the smell of fresh cut grass was everywhere. And because it's been a little cool and wet, with warm days, the callas and tulips are out full force as well. It's like heaven to be outside right now.

Off to have a glass of Cali Sauvignon Blanc and make some Spaghetti Pomodoro for my honey, who should be home any minute from a grueling 7 hour class (and hour long commute) in San Jose.

7 hours of library class. Bleh. Coming home to a neighborhood enveloped in heavenly fragrance, a glass of wine or a can of Murphy's, some spaghetti, and maybe some Season 3 Buffy (and me of course!) will hopefully make the bad go away.

NP: Brian Eno, Music for Airports

Ah, better switch to Mingus for the Pomodoro... :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A few things...

My good friend and one of my favorite local illustrators, Jon Stich, has updated his website. Check out some of his new works, like the phenomenal piece he did for another local fave, Diesel, a Bookstore (it's the fourth piece in under "Painting").


Good lord, I broke like a sucker and got a frikken MySpace. Still cellphone-less though, by god *shakes fist*


Okay, I'm not an atheist, nor a religious person, but this is quite interesting, as are the photopinions included. To wit:

People of "faith" scare the bejeezus out of me. They are liable to do any irrational thing they are told to do. I think it would be extremely refreshing and comforting to have people in charge who do not operate on faith. Atheism is a big plus in my book.

Oh boy. I dislike dualistic "us and them" thinking like this, though I, like most, am guilty of it. But I suppose that's how we define the grey and what is best all-around, and how we come to realizations about complex ideas. Sadly though, many just get on the ride for the black and white bits and get off before the thinking in shades starts. Anyway, I've always felt like rabid atheism has its own set of problems, like not just NOT operating on faith but actively campaigning against it (flipside, same as religious fundamentalism treats atheism), and that has more than a little to do with sensationalism of private religious beliefs by media, and things like this that promote a link between religious beliefs and what a person's character should be.

But yes, I'll admit too, I still take glee when pols who bash gay marriage as detrimental to sanctities or who wear their religions on their sleeves as proof they are "moral" get caught up in sex scandals and the like. All the more reason for politicians to drop the ideas of what's right by your god for what's right by your humanity.

Truly separating church and state may never happen, but maybe we're on our way to realizing someone's adherence to a religion (or not) is a non-issue and that lawmakers should make decisions based on what is best for us as humans -- not what their religion says is best for humans.

That's not atheism, that's good governance. And that is difficult, but that is why not everyone should be a pol.

But that Rudy Rivers should look into running for office:

[a lawmaker] doesn't have to be my clone to do a good job

Amen and hallelujah!

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Today, tragedy and truth.

Compounding the absolute tragedy of a fairly rural county, even one with a university within its borders, losing its entire public library system is the fact that on a personal level, this county is the one Trevor and I were numero uno shortlisting for relocation after he gets his LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCES DEGREE. Goo times infinity.

So, as I loathe to dwell on tragedy, on to truth: the speech by Courtney Love on the crooks that are major label record companies is old, but I was just made aware of its existence courtesy of Bil.

While I am totally on board with her on record companies, contracts, and, relatedly, the ulterior motives behind the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, many of you who read this blog also know that I am fierce about the reality of artist flexibility in the 21st century, artist/fan connections in the internet age, and how much that bond is important to the survival of quality music. This is what speaks to me most in her speech:

I live on tips. Occasionally, I'm going to get stiffed, but that's OK. If I work hard and I'm doing good work, I believe that the people who enjoy it are going to want to come directly to me and get my music because it sounds better, since it's mastered and packaged by me personally. I'm providing an honest, real experience. Period.


I'm looking for people to help connect me to more fans, because I believe fans will leave a tip based on the enjoyment and service I provide. I'm not scared of them getting a preview. It really is going to be a global village where a billion people have access to one artist and a billion people can leave a tip if they want to.

Amen sister. Artists who fully engage with their work and don't compromise their vision make good records. If those artists who engage with their work in this way then fully engage with their fans, they cultivate loyal fans of their good work. These fans, who, yes, have the option to download a song for free in 15 seconds, will also want to support the artist. These fans will leave a tip, encourage others to do so as well, and respect the artist as a human being. That is the responsibility of fans on the two-way street called musical appreciation.

This is why I love bands like The Decemberists, and artists like Trent Reznor, Neko Case, and, hola and surprise, David to the frikken J. The first band to release a video for download on BitTorrent, The Decemberists continue to give their fans perks and incentives to buy their incredible music. Leaking their singles from their last album, offering free mp3s of an album with a vinyl album purchase, and making kickball dates with their registered forum fans on stops on their US tour -- that is flexibility and creativity, and lasting connections that people respect. Neko Case continues to walk the walk with the homegrown DIY music tip, and I can tell you I've never met someone more honest and real and dedicated to her fanbase who also creates such astonishing music. I hear Trent Reznor offers his fans reasonable membership rates to a fan club that allows for presale ticketing, early entry to shows, and meet and greets where he does anything from previewing songs for fans to buying pizza for them and taking time to meet and shake hands with every single person who attends. Class.

And David J. Everyone knows I'm a fangirl so I'm biased, but the truth is he works like hell and hustles his beautiful and diverse work like nobody's business. Free previews and downloads of his songs are available on his MySpace and on his meticulously maintained website, and anything I've ever ordered from him comes with a little something extra or a personal note. He actively pursues varied projects, keeps his fans in the loop with unique personal anecdotes, and he takes time out to talk to fans at shows. I know, all this and he gives great backrubs, kisses babies, and performs exorcisms too. ;)

NP: Aoki Takamasa and Tujiko Noriko's 28. Ahhhhhh.

Oops, last thing -- more reasons to love Cali.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vivienne Westwood: 36 Years in Fashion
3 March 2007 —10 June 2007
At the de Young in San Francisco

Love this dress. Really excited to check out this retrospective. And here's hoping there were "I Am Not A Terrorist" hankachi made that I might pick up in Japan in May. Lawd knows that is the only scrap of Vivienne Westwood I can probably afford!

Monday, March 05, 2007

These photos were taken within 50 miles of each other. Have I ever told you I love California?

The air was thick with the scent of almond blossoms, and the trees stretched out in perfect little rows, as far as the eye could see.

Believe it or not, we'll have persimmons and apples in the Autumn...

When my mom and dad were dating in Japan, my mom asked him what California was like. "Like heaven," my dad said.