partway there

I Amsterdam
I have finally scanned an uploaded actual film pictures of the city of Amsterdam to flickr.com. You can see just the new ones here or look at a set of all my Amsterdam pictures here.


I can read!

Some thoughts on some books I've been reading, now that I've dug into the pile acquired around my recent birthday:

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman - This volume accompanied me on my recent vacation. If you find wit and absurdity amusing, as I certainly do, you'll have no reason to dislike this book. I did find that the list of 700 Hobo Names became a little bit of a chore to get through, but there are enough gems in it to be worth your time.

Quantum Evolution by Dr. Johnjoe McFadden, PhD - A pop science book, one of a genre I've always loved, applying quantum theory to the questions of the definiton of life and the mechanism of evolution via natural selection. His propositions, in a poor summary of a nutshell, are: 1. that conditions in the "primordial soup" (whatever its nature may have actually been) could have been such as to allow quantum superpositions of aggregations of whole molecules allowing the seemingly-improbable genesis of self-replicating proteins, 2. that quantum effects on codons within DNA lead to adaptive mutations, 3. that human consciousness may be the result of oscillations in the brain's electromagnetic field(s) which behave in a quantum manner. It was an intriguing read, though one does have to wade through a lot of layman's-terms explanations of quantum theory which are not significantly different than those used in many other related books. This is necessary, I suppose, but can lead to skimming if you're accustomed to reading a lot of pop-quantum theory. And who isn't?

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins - I'm ambivalent about this book. It certainly lays out in clear terms the mechanisms by which the oligarchy of which we are citizens operates, and while these revelations should not come as surprise to anyone who's been paying attention it's still a worthy examination of the history and development of the current state of world affairs. However, it often feels as if Mr. Perkins were writing a movie treatment or prose screenplay. Some of his recollections of events are simply too detailed to not raise an eyebrow... dramatic pauses for a character to sip a drink, etc. I was also irked by what felt to me like over-repetition of key points. This is difficult to criticize as, clearly, provision must be made for readers with poor memories and those unwilling to flip backward in the book to re-read anything. Still, I'd recommend this book to anyone who desires to have their last illusions about How America Really Works shattered. Assuming, of course, you believe his story.

Imperial America by Gore Vidal - This is mostly a repackaging of Vidal's essays and speeches from the past thirty years on the topic of American Empire, with a smattering of new writing thrown in. Heavy on repetition, since most of the above writings mirror each other in scope and content. It's certainly interesting to see the paralells between our current situation and those stretching back to the Nixon administration (and most all in between), and the overall lesson, of course, is that Nothing Has Changed. That current events seem surprising is support for Vidal's observation that we are the United States of Amnesia in which no history is remembered and neither are we desirous of remembering it. This book will provide you with Vidal's arch take on the history of American Empire beginning, more or less, with the Mexican War or the Spanish-American War of 1898 depending on which essay you're reading. Both are convenient benchmarks for When Things Went Wrong, said Wrongness finding it's apotheosis in the years immediately following World War II and, after a minor dip for a decade or two, surging forward now. Still, it's a repackage ripoff in many ways. Borrow a copy if you're interested.




I dug through a bunch of my old photos yesterday and scanned quite a few. They've been uploaded to my Flickr page. Some good stuff of kids I had as a camp counselor, and a portrait I really like of a student in a class I helped out with in college.

Also, I put up some pictures I took on my trip to China in 2000 and those are all grouped into a set here.

On Sunday my friend Jeff and I drove up to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (which occupies the land the original Woodstock festival was held on) to see Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon & The Benevento/Russo Duo and Phil Lesh & Friends. Car trouble caused us to miss most of the Trey + Mike + Duo set (note: Avis car rental sucks), but what we did catch was a lot of fun and very impressive. I'll have a better sense of it once I download the full set from wherever it becomes available.
Phil & Friends
The Phil & Friends show was a lot of fun. He had Joan Osborne on vocals and man, she can sing. Forgive her for having released a silly single many years ago, folks.


stop-gap. filler.

I'm sure, my dear audience, that you have been disappointed with me for not providing a detailed debriefing regarding my recent travels to the Old Countries. I offer my apologies and assurances that such postings are coming once I get my photochemicalcelluloid pictures back from the laboratory.

I can report, however, that I have created a crude web-based showreel of some of my editing work and it can be found here. You'll need Quicktime installed on your machine to watch the clips because Windows Media can suck it. You heard me.

The impetus for bringing the above into existence was an interesting coincidence that happened just prior to flying to San Diego to attend a good friend's wedding. It's not uncommon for mail to come to my house addressed to any one of a number of prior residents and last Friday a box arrived for long-departed Brett which was clearly marked as having been shipped from EBay. Upon opening the box I discovered a well-packed baseball card and thought I should, of course, contact Brett about it. He offered to send me packing materials and postage money but I demurred and told him that, oddly enough, I was going to be in San Diego the next day and that this was clearly a good opportunity to hand-deliver it and catch up.
It was during said catching up that he mentioned that there was a possibility that he could help me get work at Sony Computer Entertainment America editing for them.

So we'll see. I have no expectations, but it's an exciting idea.