Sunday, September 29, 2002

cirtical mass this was the 10th anniversary of the founding and as I rode it brought up the usual mixed emotions.
the bad ones are always the same: guilt and fear. guilt at slowing people up, giving people a worse day stuck their in their car unable to move. or stuck on a MUNI bus, or unable to cross the street. fear that someone is just going to drive through the crowd, or the police will start wielding truncheons. there are plenty of asshole bikers as well as drivers and of course tensions flaired, the cops took some people down, some near fights broke out at intersections. A guy leaning out of his big fat suburban yelling "you're all bitches." an angry taxi driver losing fare. A driver being held back, so so so angry. Bikers standing off with cops, daring them in a way. Fewer fights than you might expect though.
Many drivers just battened down the hatches and sighed. Many beeped in support and waited it out. 3-5000 people, stretching 40 blocks of the city at one point! It was too big -- spent some time walking my bike.
The good emotions too are always the same, jubilation at being out on the street, some tourists stunned and happily overwhelmed, wild cheering from some people, restaurant patrons and staff pouring onto the street and cheering us on. Last night, two african american women singing a hearty happy birthday song, waving their arms.
We, me and a friend, passed out $30 of candy to bikers, drivers, pedestrians and MUNI drivers, a couple cops.
We ended up at Dolores park, spilling out onto the street, extending the car free day to the mission, milling about on the street. Riot police came, as a bluff I think, to scare people out of the intersection, but they were bicycle belled down, and walked off.
A pleasant evening mostly.
The article in the chronicle the next day was generally negative. Didn't interview any muni passengers, or drivers, only angst ridden drivers.
Generally I'd have to say, that traffic is caused by Critical Mass 12 days a year. The rest of the times its cars. The reason we get so much negative press is that we're the outsiders, and an easy target ( they don't drive so they must not be american ).
So I will continue to do critical mass, but try to do more to help pedestrians cross, and to give out stuff. I do hate unhappy people unfortunately.
Alas, as my friends says "I fear that there is very few pure things in this life"

A letter writer in the paper complained about bicyclists poor street etiquette. He or she must not notice the cars double parked, running red lights, parked in side walks, blocking pedestrian crossing, or the huge numbers of jaywalkers.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

review & spoiler good girl. good, well made and acted movie. yes, jennifer aniston CAN act. not really much of a comedy outside of the bible thumper's line about spending one's evenings alone in hell, and the whacky teen sales goth girl. aniston's character is a soul seeking escape and ends up betraying everyone in order to sidle back into her miserable life, and get past the mistake of sleeping with a miserable angst ridden 22 year old. of course, and she admits as much as she sits at the crossroads of a miserable choice (neither one is worth much it seems), that her mistakes will be there just under the surface and right there in front her in the form of a child. this is a bleak bleak movie

Altered States great propoganda posters altered for the wierd times in which we find ourselves.

Also want to publicly state that I am against this war that we are trying to drag the world into. Yes the world would be better without Saddam, but it would be better without many dictators who are our friends (and enemies). I think the Bushes and those cabinet we've inherited from earlier days are eager to redress their failings, and really their defeat -- Saddam still alive and kicking for a decade past the Gulf War. This isn't about oil, or terrorism this is about revenge. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Saddam is ready to strike out at the world again, but it doesn't quite fit. He's got to know that if he does use them, he is essentially a dead man, I don't think he's that much of a madman. He's a weasley survivor -- the only plans he probably has for those chemical and biological weapons is US troops when they invade, otherwise he'd already be using them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

book review the war of don emmanuel's nether parts by louis de berniere of corelli's mandolin fame. good, in short. magical realism done well, although given that it takes place in south america, it can't but help feel a bit derivative. which harks back to the conversation with my friend about copying. in the end i can't fault it too much, its a fun and amusing book, but with darker undertones of nasty politics and the viciousness of ideology (whatever it happens to be). Except in the case, it all, or mostly, ends well, and even the dead aren't so bad off. The array of characters is as brilliant as it is in corelli's mandolin and the level which humor operates is very similar, and one of my favorite sorts of humor.

speaking of de berniere, I'm also reminded of red dog which is a short little book, telling the tales of a dog in nw australia, who travels from town to town winning the hearts of those he encounters. It's really brilliant - funny and sage, and sad too. Maybe it reminds me a little of my youth reading tales about Old Yeller. I read one chapter on his encounter with Red Cat, to great effect (with an australian accent of course) at a story telling party a while back.

Monday, September 23, 2002

deep thoughts interesting email conversations about "copying" in design, led to rapid fire thoughts about copying in general. Human "progress" both biologically and culturally has relied on copying. Sometimes not very accurate copying, but copying nonetheless. If one thinks about one's life, career, relationships, conciously or not, one is always copying what has been done before you. Not that there is no room for originality -- but originality is more often than not, either an imperfect copy or a combination (juxtaposition of copies) of something that has come before.

The more I think about it the more I see it to. Take the example of a meeting I am going to go to tonight. We are a political action committee. Our meetings run according to a set of by-laws. Those by-laws, while somewhat fit to our own particular circumstance are essentially the same as a thousand other committees across the country -- all running our meetings according to some protocols invented by some unknown organization genius way back who knows when.

Any manufacturing process is obvious, recipes (i.e. just about any food you eat, cooked or not!).

This is not to denigrate copying at all -- in fact more just thinking about it as an essential part of human ( if not biological ) experience. We all should have the right to copy. Down with copyright -- since they, in the end, have just really copied someone else anyway.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Another gorgeous day, hot and muggy for San Francisco. Sat out after work at Papa Tobis and had a nice cold one, taking in the people streaming in and out of City College Mission Campus, two young guys arguing over a scrabble game what words are slang or not, and two old guys working through some intense math, brows furrowed, and hair -- wow one of 'em put Einstein to shame, actually well it was a little more controlled, but very bushy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

critical mass in pittsburg

book review the club dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. cool dark, atmospheric book about a unscrupulous finder of antique and rare books, who gets in a little over his head when he takes a couple jobs to find out if a manuscript and a book are forgeries. It's an interesting look at the book world and who occupies it -- not quite who you'd think! The book resembles name of the rose in it's slow uncovery of arcane facts, and strange occurences. It perhaps is somewhat marred by its ending, but not enough for me NOT to reccommend it.

today is one of those days that it is a joy to ride my bicycle to work. perfect 70sh temperature, light breeze, blue skies, lovely smell in the air. now if i could rid the streets of cars... ok, yes i don't like cars, or i should say i don't like the overwhelming prominence that cars have in our lives. only the computer and the tv have equal or greater claims on our lives i think. not that i don't like driving -- in fact this would be a pretty nice day to drive -- if one was out in the country or a small town somewhere, bored and wanting to explore some.

the other kind of day that is my favorite day is, somewhat preversly, when it is pooring with rain. no idea why. must be my anglo-irish blood inheritance.

speaking of bicycles, this month is the 10th anniversary of critical mass. check out they got some great posters commerating the date. got to think of something to hand out on the ride.