Sunday, September 30, 2001

Welcome to the weekend of

Media Gluttony!!!

Slow mouse over the links please

Seen: "The Deer Hunter" (1978), "American Movie" (1999), Happiness, (1998).

Read: Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Molly Ivins's Nothin' but Good Times Ahead

Listened to: An excellent talk on "living the examined life" at Grace Cathedral

Saturday, September 29, 2001

I have an uncanny knack for returning to someone's site after a long time away, and finding out they've undergone a major life change. I had just sent a few emails to Andre Torrez, who created the super cool FilePile and found out he's quitting writing his personal site, Last night I dropped by, the Model T of personal web sites, and found out that its creator, Justin Hall, was moving to Tokyo. I had spotted him around San Francisco a few times, once holding court on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, and had always been too shy to say anything. Now I suppose I could do the I-know-people-you-know, thing but it's too late.


The Yom Kippur Speech

So when I was a kid, Yom Kippur meant no food, insufferable hours in synagouge and wearing a tie. Somewhere around 1995, I was a cub reporter for the Baltimore Jewish Times, my first real adult job. They sent us all home on Yom Kippur and having no place else to go, that's where I spent the day. I was pretty miserable guy at that point, hating my job, wondering why I still lived in the city where I attended college. So I spent that day fasting, in mediation, writing in my diary. I awoke most mornings that fall to "Little Earthquakes", Tori Amos's haunting debut album about sexual abuse, pain and ultimately, redemption. It seemed a perfect soundtrack for Yom Kippur, the most somber of days on the Jewish calendar.

And that's what I've done since, me alone, no phone or computer. I wake up, ask for guidance and wisdom on this day and turn on Tori. When I hear the opening lines of "Crucify", I get a little scared then begin my day.

This year, something a little different happened. My friend Jo called and asked if I wanted to spend the afternoon with her. We took a walk, rented "The Deer Hunter", an appropriate film about loss of innocence and tragedy, themes that hung over this year's Yom Kippur like a scrim. I relit the set of memorial candles I had placed on my window sill. At 6 PM, we talked a bit about attonement, how we would like to have lived better in the past year, Then we each bit into a bagel and broke the fast.

It's the first time since I began my solitary Yom Kippurs that I've let someone in and it got me thinking. Judiasm is a communal religion, meant to practised and celebrated in public. I haven't lived in San Francisco long enough to find my spiritual center and the institutional offering haven't impressed me thus far. But perhaps it's time to start looking. For six months, I've been working for myself, building something I'm very proud of. But I'm starting to feel like life right now is all about work, work I love, but there doesn't feel like room for much else.

So I'm calling this a turning point. I decided on this day of attonement that what I've done the past six years is not enough.

Friday, September 28, 2001

I had a whole speech prepared about Yom Kippur and what I did, what it meant, how I didn't eat for 24 hours etc. But I'll have to get to that tomorrow. Fasting makes for one tired pup.

Thursday, September 27, 2001

Tonight is Kol Nidre, the holiest night of the Jewish year, the beginning of Yom Kippur.

Tomorrow we fast. We think of who we might have harmed, through action or will, over the last year. We ask for forgiveness. At sundown, the book of life is closed and we begin the year anew.

For the last six years, I've spent Yom Kippur alone, thinking, mediating. I usually write a letter to someone I feel I need to make amends to. I break the fast and eat with friends around 6.
It's a very full and significant day, which I'll talk more about when it's over.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Apparently Pud, the lovable weirdo behind FuckedCompany, has been producing Pud Porn for a little while now. Good for him!

Monday, September 24, 2001

Can I tell you how happy I am that I can finally see reruns of "Family Ties?"
Oh, I just did.

Sunday, September 23, 2001

Note to self: Don't blog so late.

When I was a kid, my dad would pile my brothers and I into the car on Memorial Day and the 4th of July. We'd drive around greater Ann Arbor, pretending to get lost, and counting American flags. With patriotism booming in the wake of the tragedy of September 11, I decided to take to the streets of my adapted home, get lost and count. But mostly get lost.

Flag total: 194. Wrong turns: 7. Houses painted royal blue with yellow trim: 3.

Number of times I thought how lucky I was to live here: 18.

Saturday, September 22, 2001

At 28, I feel past the age where I go out until 4 AM on Friday. Yet by the time my friends Jo and Laura could get ourselves organized, decide what we wanted to do and assemble, it was already past 11. We'd been talking about taking in some Italian schlock film at the Werepad, a uniquely San Francisco space I discovered quite by accident (late night, nothing to do, following hyperlinks all over creation, you know). Yet I had a pathetic vision of myself sitting down to be schlocked and dozing off after 5 minutes I was so zonked.

Before Laura arrived, I'd been poking around at, site of a worldwide treaure hun I first read about on my friend Jish's weblog, which prompted me to drop a few hundred much-needed bucks on a GPS Device. I found out one such treasure lay somewhere on Bernal Hill, not too far from where we were headed anyway. We spent the next two hours letting this little device about the size of a Hershey bar lead us in the dark and dense fog. When we finally found our "cache," we all howled in joy at the city we couldn't see below.

Geocaching. My new favorite weekend activity. I'll schlock some other time.

Friday, September 21, 2001

Blogging from my temporary (one day permanent, dammit!) office deep
within the womb of The Grotto.

How rebellious.

Suzan and I attended City Arts and Lectures tonight thanks to our friend
(and esteemed producer) Mitch Goldman. Featured guest was Joan Didion whose work I fell in love with in college. During the Q&A, I asked how she came up with the titles to her novels and essay collections, which are easily some of the best in contemporary literature. Her answer: "Usually a line I hear during the reporting that I can't not use."

Future Media Mouthfuls:

Old paperback edition of her novel Play It As It Lays
that I "borrowed" from my parents last year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Today's Media Mouthful:

Read: Fraud by David Rakoff

Saw: Nothing yet.

Listened to: "Goodbye Sky Harbor" by Jimmy Eat World

I found out earlier this week that John, the editor at MySimon whom hires me has been laid off. He feels ok about it and said he might like to write a few reviews for .
Me, I'll miss our excellent editor/writer relationship and the painfully easy money.

Which is how my last assignment, a no-thought Holiday Gift Guide, should have gone. Instead I spent an entire afternoon bickering with myself over whether Nick Hornby will be mad at me because I put How to Be Good as only the 6th best book to give this yuletide.
It was already dark when I finished.

I used to do this sort of foolish perfectionism in high school. It still takes a lot of reminders to keep me from doing it now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

So this is bloging. I've been warned but I go anyway.

Mark who runs Riot Hero introduced me to blogging
when I met him at South by Southwest 2000. After meeting about
85 other webloggers through running Central Booking,
I've given in to peer pressure.

Look out below!