Monday, December 31, 2001

Thoughts are afloat to redesign this stupid thing and make it an honest to god blog. Not that it isn't now but I'd like to narrow the design to content ratio some.

More in 2002. Happy New Year everyone.

It's the last morning of 2001. I'm spending a low-key evening at a potluck dinner which is just fine with me. I've had perhaps the most manic year of my life.

Sunday, December 30, 2001

I'm home. Now I need a vacation from my vacation.

Did ya miss me?

Sunday, December 23, 2001

I'm leaving tomorrow, will be back on the 30th. Ya'll come back now, y'hear?

Saturday, December 22, 2001

The New York Times reported yesterday that, after a slide throughout the 90s, murder rates are up in several US cities with Boston, Pheonix and Chicago topping the list. Reasons given are economic decline, Sept. 11 anxiety and the general cycical nature of crime. Panic and fear, of course, remains alarmingly high, as it did in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary throughout the last decade. One statistic I read reported that in 1996, citizens of suburban Milwaulkee had roughly the same amount of fear of falling victim to a violent crime as citizens of inner city Washington D.C. even though there is a 25-fold difference between the two.

After completing the Central Booking Year in Review this afternoon, I've finished work for 2001. Hallelujah.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

I glanced over at the publicity photo of Peter Rock that came with his book The Ambidextrist as I reviewed it today for The Chronicle. Every once in a while I get jolted from my critical self and think "Jeez man, someone spent years of their life writing this thing and you're passing judgement in a few hours. Then I remember that I'm not hired to be a nice guy.

I've never liked the expression that critics are frustrated artists. Legendary film critic Pauline Kael may have said it best when she insisted that she never wanted be more than a really great critic. When I'm not obsessing over getting a phrase right or turning the piece in on time, I believe that critics are there to present informed opinions, to add a dimension of discourse between artist and audience. Fairness and clarity is key. For me, I assume the author's motives are geniune, that they intended what they wrote and I am to say, without reserve, whether I think they succeeded or not.

Every now and then, I feel like I succeed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

My nose is all stuffy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Since no one under the age of 60 bothers to write letters anymore, shopping for stationary that isn't thick, creamy and looks suspiciously like a wedding invitation has proven a burden. But I can now continue my letter writing project as new supplies have arrived from the good folks at Ecopaper. Yay!

Monday, December 17, 2001

My friend Laura invited Suzan and I to a holiday party at Good Vibrations, where Laura works as a web producer. We spent a solid 90 minutes meeting her colleagues, learning about worker-owned cooperatives and ogling antique vibrators that looked like highly erotic blenders.

An excellent, if unconventional, way to spend a Monday night.
My hunting hat, now warn by my friend Britton's dad. Well, almost. Mine has a brim.
The trailer for Martin Scorcese's new film Gangs of New York looks fantastic but that's what trailers do--make everything look fantastic. Still, I'll buy a ticket when it rolls out around Christmas time. His films are consistantly more interesting than just about anyone else's.

Sunday, December 16, 2001

It's the last night of Chanukah. All 8 candles are lit. I remember this day many years ago when my Aunt Nora came to our house for the last night. I remember being very sad that Chanukah was over and yet very moved to see my aunt's regal stern face glowing in the light of the candles. When my whole family was asleep, I came downstairs. The menorah was still glowing like a star fallen from the sky.
It's my friend Bonnie's birthday today. Although a new pal, she's an hand at being a great person. Many happy returns, chaver!

Friday, December 14, 2001

My friend Sarah was plowed tonight but wanted me to mention that she has a very nice blog.

Oh and I got a parking space right in front of my building, 11:30 on a Friday night in North Beach. Huzzah!
The 5th night of Chanukah in my family was always Book Night. Suzan, being very knowing, got me a guidebook of Northern California.

She's quite a girl.
12:03 AM, Friday. Thank heaven this crappy day is over.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

All praises due to Edmond Meinfelder and his valiant attempt to fix my old, broken down computer. I'm taking it out back and shooting it this weekend.
I was supposed to take the day off but all I ended doing was watching Almost Famous on HBO. Even though I had rented two other movies not 15 minutes before.

I'm crying now. Crying at how beautiful, how lovely this film is, how much it reminds me of who I used to be, that I was once fifteen and thought rock 'n roll will save us from everything, even ourselves. I feel like my innocence is a little pathetic now, now that I'm 28 with a career starting, manhood, a relationship, no luxury of regret.

My childhood home will be sold next year. I'll be a permanent resident of San Francisco, 2000 miles from that beautiful little town in Michigan that is so much a part of who I am, that I can't have back, except when I lie awake at night and can't sleep.

I think off all of this as this wonderful movie settles over me. I'm weeping. Weeping becuase I can't ever have who I was back, that I can't do it over again and am not ready to let it go.

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Kristin of Booboolina fame has sent me several links to cool paper and stationary stores, in honor of my new letter writing habbit. Why? Because she rocks.
The Central Booking Book Club has choosen Birds of America, the short story collection by Lorrie Moore as its December selection. John Updike has called Lorrie Moore one of the finest short story writers in America. Won't you join us?
Today's letter: I think I'm going to write to Matt Nathanson whom Suzan and I saw in concert last night. Matt's one of those musicians who doesn't do anything out of the ordinary (singer/songwriter, white guy with a guitar, that thing) but does it about 10 times better than most others in his genre. We batted around "why?" for a while and came up with 1) his voice is not that of an ordinary folk troubadour, soulful but politely so, but rather a full healthy rasp like Bruce Springsteen or hell, Neil Diamond. Anything he puts over gets elevated by the passion and the sincerity his voice gives it. 2) Matt knows he's a white guy with a guitar who used to have a mullet and acne and has a great time playing with it.

I first heard one half of one song he did at a private party seven years ago in L.A. I liked him when we chatted afterward and bought his CD to be nice. I didn't know his music at all. It wore out after I listened to about 5,000 times and loaned it to everyone I knew.

I heard a few years ago that he had moved to San Francisco to be closer to his girlfriend-now-wife Bridget. I wrote him a letter when I got here and told him of our abstract history together. He wrote back and invited me to his next show. I've seen him three times since I got her and will whenever I can.

Check him out. You won't be disapointed.

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Derek Powazek came by the Grotto, as per my invitation, to meet with everyone and talk about his projects like the Fray and SF Stories. Derek had expressed to me some weeks earlier that he was looking to segue into non-web writing. That's when I made the offer. Several Grottites had excellent ideas about how he could turn Fray stories into a printed anthology. Everyone left super energized.

I didn't realize it until afterward but Derek's visit was kind of a summit meeting of my two worlds, those web friends I've made through South by Southwest and those writing colleagues with whom I share my workspace. Writers online and offline see intuitively like kindred spirits and yet they're only dimly aware of each other from opposite sides of the word chasm. Maybe it's because we're talking about english majors and nerds.

I'd love to have them cross that divide and spend some time together. I think they have more in common than we think.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

A guy here in San Francisco has started printing trading cards of ordinary people called "People Cards." What a neat idea.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

We're sorry. Kevin has gone to bed. Please come bag tomorrow for more bloggy goodness. Until then, dream of electric sheep.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

The Interactive Ralph Wigum. You heard right. (via my friend Jennifer)
For some time now, I've felt the urge to write a letter. I can't exactly say why but vaguely I can spectulate that I sometimes find writing on a computer a bit cold, too easy to erase all traces of myself. I dig the gentle scratching of a pen against paper, crossing out (visual indicators of my thoughts wrestling with each other), and the removal of guilt around buying really cool stationary. Plus, my friend Eli recently told me that his grandfather, a retired law professor, has been corresponding with Supreme Court Justices for nearly four decades. My friend Arthur Bradford became pals with David Sedaris when they started sending funny letters to each other. I think that's neat.

So on Sunday I made a quick list of all the bright, interesting people I've met during the short history of Central Booking, dug up some old stationary and scrawled out a letter asking one of them if we could write each other every so often. I might make this some sort of ritual, as I've been thinking about how much fun it was since then, and telling everyone I run into "I wrote a letter!."

Monday, December 03, 2001

No desire to blog today.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

I bought a Pyrad.

Saturday, December 01, 2001

In remembrance of World Aids Day: Randy Shilts, the man who wrote And the Band Played On. This is the definitive book on the epidemic and one of the greatest works of journalism in the 20th century.

Thank you Mr. Shilts, for helping me understand.