Posted January 31, 2008, 11:40 pm.

I Eat It Up.

Today I fed wonderfully.

Four days a week I have to be in class before 8am, so I’ve readily adopted an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule. Most days I’m out from under the covers by 6am, and out the door by 7:30. This gives me plenty of time to bumble about in the kitchen without having to worry about bumping into my room mates. This morning I had oatmeal mixed with cinnamon, cactus honey, and a sliced pear, two fried eggs, toasted sourdough bread, and a quartered orange. Aside from the soymilk in the oatmeal, it was a locavore’s delight.

Twice a week I have a three hour break for lunch between classes. Today, instead of dropping bills in the downtown for pizza or a “super crazy veggie burrito”, I rode home (through the spitting rain) to again roll the dice and see what I could cook up on my own. Picture this, the ultimate sandwich: fried polenta, thick slices of salted tomato, fried onions, melted farmer’s cheese, spicy brown Sierra Nevada mustard, all pressed between two massive slices of toasted sourdough bread. This sandwich kind of kicked my ass.

Dinner was grazing on cheeses, crackers, sliced melon and utterly flavorless olives at a town-hall styled lecture in the student union. After getting wet riding back to the apartment, I finished the evening with some Mexican hot chocolate, which incidentally I prepared well for the first time. It tasted even sweeter since it was a gift from a friend, is there anything better than sharing good taste?

I’m half-way through Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. So far so good. While the readily available kernal of Pollan’s second treatise on taste may be “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”, there’s another point he makes that I think may be even more important.

Pollan describes how nutritionism studies the qualities of foods in a reductionist manner, by looking at the dietary effects of individual components (ie saturated fat, omega-3’s, calories) instead of at the whole food (ie broccoli, fish, feed-lot beef). Food is studied in this way because nutritional science isn’t capable of explaining the complex ways in which nutrients behave in concert, we just don’t understand it well enough.

Instead, he suggests a study of not just the nutrient parts of food, nor just the food that makes up a diet, but an understanding of the where our food comes from, what it was grown in, or what it was fed and what its food was grown. “Our personal health cannot be divorced from the health of the entire food web.”

I think the idea that one’s well being is inextricably linked to the state of their environment, and that taking care of one improves the other, has pretty far-reaching applications. This concept is vital to the formation of an environmental ethic. Hell, its the reason for developing one.

Posted January 29, 2008, 8:45 pm.

"Oooh Tesla!"

Kate Beaton made a promise to her people. “I asked people to give me the names of historical figures or cultural themes for comics, and I would make the first twenty that were submitted.”

The awesomely funny, 100% historically accurate, and damn good looking results can be found here.

My favorite is, duh, Tesla.

Posted January 29, 2008, 6:55 am.

Admission of the Problem

I can’t say I hate the internet. Not yet.

Without it, how else would I have known that Rrrebecca posted her thoughts and reactions to an article about the misconceptions of multitasking, titled The Autumn of the Multitaskers? Without the internet, how would I be able to share this interesting idea with you (whoever you are)? Without the internet, why, I wouldn’t be able to check the stats for this blog and analyze the ip addresses of visitors in order to try figure to out where and by whom my response to her response to his article was being read. And wouldn’t that make my life less lived?

Yesterday was the first day of classes for the Spring semester of my sophomore year, here at CSU Chico. That morning I attended an introductory class on basic drawing, and a class on academic writing, just thrilling both. Afterwards I went to work and didn’t get home until after six. First thing I did when I got back, before I took off my bag or pulled the bike helmet off my skull, was boot up my computer. Seven new emails since I checked it that morning!

Sure, half of it was junk or myspace or facebook or some other form of fruitless digital flotsam, but the other half was written by people I respect, people whose opinion of me matters a lot to me, people I want to know more about, and people I relate to. This was the pay dirt, this was the cherished human interaction, this was the substance that made the rest of my time “a life”.

“Get a life.” Such cruelty for a childish figure of speech. As if the recipient of this verbal arrow wasn’t living, but was merely taking up space, only getting in the way, amounting to nothing more than a breathing eating shitting meat-sack. As much satisfaction as I get from waking well rested, eating real food, making my body grow and work, and pursuing other such primal habits, I worry constantly about having a life.

So I make one for myself and I connect it to the internet. A lot of this is driven by my penchant for documentation and publication. If I’ve got “a life”, shouldn’t there be an abundance of evidence? Shouldn’t I share it? Shouldn’t it be digitized and thrown to the commons so that perhaps it can be fuel for someone else’s self-affirming masturbatory internet vanity?

I often find myself wishing more of my friends in Chico were a bit more deft on the internets. I wish more of them had Flickr accounts, or that they blogged more often, so that maybe our online representations could be sewn together just a bit tighter.

And yet I have a compulsive fear of telephones. In “real life”, meatspace, non-virtual reality, I’m much more cloistered. More-so since moving to Chico. In the four hours I spent amongst other students yesterday I talked to maybe two of them, and only in the briefest and most incidental manner. I so quickly cast away chances to relate with these peers of mine because in all honesty, I’m nowhere near as social in the flesh as I am on the net.

Even with well-established friends, people with whom I have a deep, trusting, well-bonded friendship, I find myself being less social than I really ought to be. So I admit I have a problem.

Because the internet offers me the ability to so easily refine and spell-check and fucking twitter my life away and out into the void, I feel much more comfortable expressing myself and seeking that most-valued meaningful human interaction within the bezel of my laptop’s screen. As a result, I feel much less competent in my efforts to meet new people and strike up interesting conversations in real life.

Sure, I can make the case that I don’t have much in common with the majority of my peers at University, and that the long-tailed distance-less form of the internet allows me to connect with people who really get me. But that doesn’t mean I should snub as much face-to-face socialization as I do.

I don’t think I have an internet-addiction in all honesty, and I’m not trying to imply that my life in the real world is as pale in comparison to my online life as night and day, but I do think the balance ought to shift.

I’m going to publish this post, by no means my last, and then I am going to turn off my computer. Today I am going to make breakfast, I am going to ride my bike, I am going to attend classes on things I find interesting like photography and philosophy and human geography, I’m going to go grocery shopping, and I’m going to look people in the eyes and know that my brain can pull so much more information from their body language and the tone of their voice and their appearance than it ever could from an emoticon.

Posted January 27, 2008, 10:51 pm.

That Looks Painful

I saw There Will Be Blood tonight, and I saw Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead about a week ago. These are both really good, tragic, captivating movies. I strongly recommend them both because they will make you feel terrible and good at the same time. They will make you cringe and laugh, they will make you cover your eyes as they light up, and I think that’s damn educational.

Tonight I crudely covered Mr. Grieves by The Pixies. It’s alright.

Posted January 26, 2008, 11:21 pm.

Reissue Revelry

Having sold my iPod a some months ago (who really needs one anyway?), I’ve found myself burning “a few” CDs of invaluable albums to play on the stereo at the bike shop. These are the choice cuts, the jams, the desert-island albums, the necessary noises.

One of these albums is a copy of Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model (which totally warrants investigation). Specifically the 1993 Rykodisc reissue containing the demo recordings of Running Out Of Angels, Greenshirt, and Big Boys. These are the kinds of songs that worm their way throughout my auditory cortex and are so welcome to do so.

I learned how to play all three of them tonight, but in order to keep this collection of covers balanced, I only recorded one. For your enjoyment here is Big Boys.

Posted January 25, 2008, 6:23 pm.

Drip drip drip drip

My favorite things about riding my bike home from work in the rain:

  • Getting there
  • Taking off wet clothing
  • Wet socks especially
  • Drying my toes on the shag-carpet
  • My bike getting clean and shiny
  • My least favorite things about riding my bike home from work in the rain:

  • Not being there yet
  • Wearing denim pants
  • Fucking. Cars. With. No. Fucking. Headlights. On.
  • Losing all the grease on my chain
  • Posted January 24, 2008, 10:55 pm.


    Tonight I’m covering Wisdom Tooth by Wildebeest for Abbey, because it’s her birthday.

    Sure, I may not have actually picked the song out the way Wildebeest does in the original version, but I’m just a sloppy guitar playing man, and he’s “a large dark antelope with a long head, a beard and mane, and a sloping back”. How can I compete with that?

    Posted January 23, 2008, 10:35 pm.

    Tardy Tunes

    Here’s to delayed disciplines and routines running late. Four covers for your enjoyment: Christmas Lights by Paul Baribeau, Details Of The War by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Chicago by Sufjan Stevens, and Les Os by The Unicorns.

    Posted January 23, 2008, 10:15 pm.

    Got the fever.

    I’m kind of binging on bike building right now. This is me indulging my bike-loving-self. Read it, you pervert.

    I can’t stop futzing with the pathracer. I pulled off the knobby tires as the frame/brake clearance wasn’t so good after all, and slicks work better for commuting anyway (Continental Gatorskins, steel my beating heart!). A longer stem makes those flipped promenade bars a bit less back-breaking, and makes the whole bike look long as sin. The 61cm frame already looked like it had about a yard of top-tube. Also, it turns out the frame (which I got after I kicked the shit out of my old one under warranty) is missing the rear eyelet braze-ons of the original. So long fenders, so long rear rack, so long dreams of comfortable commutes in the rain. Dear Quality Assurance Dept., bite me.

    My poor dear Atala is sitting on the wall at the shop, missing its front wheel, seatpost, and saddle. That bike was never meant to bear the beating it’s received over the past few weeks. I had intentions of savoring it as a sunny weekend bike, the kind of jewel you take out to give birds reason to sing. Instead I’ve ridden it every day, rain or shine, made it my commuting mule, like a monster! When I hurriedly built it up, after my fixie frame failed, I only built the rear wheel and stole the front from my other, now-defeated, bike. But now that my fixie is back in action, I have but one wheel to swap between two bikes. It’s a tragedy, oh yes! One of these days I really ought to build up a front wheel for that thing, I’ve got all the bits ready, just not the time.

    Honestly though, two bikes isn’t enough for me, I dream of having three. Today at the shop I pulled a seemingly decrepit Centurion Super Le Mans out of the basement. After stripping it of the unfortunately worn and rusted SunTour Sprint components (made back when SunTour stood beside Shimano and Campagnolo at the top of the market) it became clear that the frame was in pretty good shape.

    Sure, the paint was chipping off the chromed fork and seat-stays, and there were some spots of light surface rust, but the underlying cromoly steel frame was in pretty good shape. In addition to being my size and as real as steel can feel, the frame (thanks to being designed for now-obsolete 27” wheels) has wicked clearance. I could stick 700x35 tires on there and still be able to fit a finger between the sidewall and chainstay! That might sound kind of gross to someone who doesn’t know much about bikes, ew ew ew.

    I’m considering stripping the frame by hand or sandblasting, and then asking Paul if he’ll help me braze some canti studs on there. Throw on a wheel set with those orphaned knobby tires, a crankset, some brakes, and my randonneuring bars and this old steel steed could be the on-the-cheap entry to cyclocross I so desire. Luckily the ‘cross season just ended, so I’ve got about ten months to fitz and fiddle and figure this build out. Until then, I’ll just delight in theses vintage ‘cross photos, taken back when it really was uphill both ways.

    Posted January 21, 2008, 10:48 pm.

    Early Worm

    Early to bed, early to rise.

    Tomorrow morning I hope to get some time in on this. It’s not quite a ‘cross bike, but it’ll do for now. If I can get up early enough I might be able to make it to Upper Bidwell park, off the pavement and onto the trail.

    Until next time, goodnight internets.

    p.s. I know I owe you a bunch of cover songs, they are on the way! Promises.

    Posted January 21, 2008, 7:10 am.

    "Sucks the most"

    I think I want to race cyclocross.

    I ride my bike every day. Nine times out of ten I’m just commuting, but I like to get in longer recreational rides when I can. I like to ride fast and far, even if I’m not the fastest or the longest lasting. While there’s always a bit of friendly rivalry on group rides with friends, I’ve never considered myself a competitive cyclist. In my mind competitive road riding has always been more about pomp and opulent bikes and components then about the thrill I get from going fast.

    Cyclocross seems to be much more on my level. Dirty, fun, fast, furious, burning up in less than an hour, the “punk rock cousin of road racing”. It’s all around me here in Northern California, so I figure it’s about time I get a taste for it.

    See this trailer for PURE SWEET HELL, a Super8 surf-style documentary of American ‘cross culture)

    Also, skinny knobby tires are sorta hot.

    Posted January 18, 2008, 9:36 pm.

    Capo 5th Fret FTW

    Two songs in the key of (I am totally just guessing) A? La Familia by Mirah and Elephant Gun by Beirut.

    Recording these covers feels like cheating. Only the most miniscule amount of creative energy is required, and yet I get to learn and play and record. I think I’m a cheater.

    And yet I just dropped more money than I really have on a new microphone and pair of headphones. Sorry food, maybe I’ll buy you next week.

    Posted January 18, 2008, 10:09 am.


    Limited intertnetting thanks to real life, bide your time with these two covers.

    First, Oh, My Darling by Basia Bulat, so nice I had to sing it twice. I can’t remember where I first heard of her, but damn she is worth exploring. Many of her songs are short, simple, sweet, and superb.

    Second, upon request there’s Hallelujah originally by Leonard Cohen. Apparently there are over fifteen verses to this song. I cherry-picked the less-religious ones. Enjoi.

    Posted January 17, 2008, 12:13 am.

    G F G C E

    Tonight’s cover is Home To Me by the talented Madeline.

    Posted January 16, 2008, 10:12 am.


    Good morning internet, you’ve made me smile twice already

    Item the first: BikePortland brings to my attention a Fortune article on the sinking appeal of car culture.

    Tom Lane… runs all of Nissan’s Product Strategy and Product Planning from his office in Tokyo.

    he points to some discouraging global trends that don’t bode well for the industry…As car ownership becomes more expensive and cities increasingly impose congestion pricing on car usage in center cities, he sees car owners switching to mass transit for their daily commute, and then renting cars for longer trips.

    …”The challenge for us, going forward, is a more interesting offer. Doing a better Sentra or an Altima isn’t going to do it.”

    Link to the Fortune article.

    Item the second: Flickr invites users to tag photos from the Library of Congress, presenting The Commons. Blag press release link. Check out their sweet photostream with “no known copyright restrictions”, visual sources galore!

    Posted January 15, 2008, 10:01 pm.

    Songs like strings

    I remember when I first heard Hop Along, Queen Ansleis, about a year and a half ago; a session of hard-drive swapping piracy took place at Goldy’s house a few days before I left the East Coast, and I made out like a freaking bandit. Fresh out of Baltimore, Hop Along is Frances Quinian’s boisterous and silky voice twisting and curling amongst a soft guitar and other auditory odds and ends.

    Hop Along’s 2005 release Freshman Year was a constant companion of mine for months after I moved, and I do my best to spread the good word. I think I burned a copy for my friend Diana sometime during the Spring semester of my own freshman year.

    When Diana recently returned to Chico after months of travel for but a few stolen days, I was very excited to play some music with her. One of the songs we played and sang together was Hop Along’s Bruno is Orange. I have trouble putting into words how thankful and ecstatic the experience made me.

    So that’s why today’s cover is of Bruno is Orange by Hop Along, Queen Ansleis.

    Posted January 15, 2008, 3:55 pm.

    Nom nom nom nom.

    I’ve written about food and the choices we make regarding what we eat only a few times before, but it occured to me today how central food has become to who I am. As such, I ought to write more.

    A big inspiration for a lot of my delicacy decisions is Michael Pollan.

    For my 19th birthday I recieved a copy of Pollan’s treatise on taste, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. In dealing with the question of “what to eat”, Pollan explores four diametrically different dinners; McDonald’s on the road, followed by Whole Foods’ “Big Organic”, then a self-sustaining Virginia farm’s edibles, and finally a meal of ingredients he foraged for and hunted himself. Throughout his exploration of the range of options between fast-food and slow, Pollan’s dives deep into the paths ingredients take on their way to the plate. His research yields political, environmental, economic, and ethical implications.

    Around this time last year I went to dinner at a friend’s house, they had started hosting a weekly dinner party to be prepared by a different guest/chef each week. That week we ate quiches made by Quinn. On a small chalkboard in the kitchen there was written a short phrase: “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.” It wasn’t until a month or two later that I read the NYT article by Pollan, Unhappy Meals, in which he first dropped this awesome nugget of knowledge.

    His latest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, seems to be a healthy fleshing out of this concept. Where Omnivore’s Dilemma covered the environmental and ethical facets of feeding, In Defense of Food turns towards issues of health and the failings of ‘nutritionism’. BoingBoing posted today a link to an interview of Pollan talking with Ira Flatow from NPR’s Science Friday about his new book. Good listening, I bet it’ll be good reading too.

    Posted January 15, 2008, 12:52 am.

    Arrows and Puns

    Got home from work to find copies of F. C. Ware’s Acme Novelty Library #18 and Acme Novelty Datebook Volume 2 waiting for me. In a sense these are both “more of the same” if you’re familiar with Ware’s work, but that doesn’t mean they don’t continue to blow my mind.

    Coincidentally, Achewood has another “Ware-ish” comic up.

    Tonight’s cover is of Andrew Bird’s Masterfade, just a bit faster, minus the whistle.

    Got to get up early for the ninetofive.

    Posted January 13, 2008, 11:36 pm.

    Black and White

    Today’s cover is of Lack of Color by Death Cab for Cutie. I first heard this song on a mix from a friend, and it’s tons of fun to play with a bit more twang; with a bit less finesse.

    Watched La Jetée again tonight. A half-hour French “new wave” tale of post-WW3 time travel; the inspiration for 12 Monkeys.

    I want to replace the audio with tracks from Cicada’s Technology Crisis 1 & 2.

    Today I also read half-way through Full Frontal Feminism, the “young woman’s guide to why feminism matters” by Jessica Valenti of Yes, it reads well for young men too. I wholeheartedly recommend it if, like me, you’re into the theory (and practice!) of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, but are wary of the immense cultural backlash against the f-word. Crack it open if you’re only exposure to women’s studies was learning about the Seneca Falls Convention in middle school. I’ll do up a solid review when I’m done and ready.

    Posted January 13, 2008, 12:12 pm.

    Burst Transmission

    First on the block is a set of covers recorded last night and this morning. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash, and Going to Scotland by The Mountain Goats.

    I got a second job to help pay the bills and bide the time before classes start up again. In addition to the four days a week I spend wrenching at Pullins Cyclery, I’m now also helping to assemble parts for Paul Component Engineering. It’s pretty awesome to see the process by which components are designed, rendered, translated into Gcode, chewed out by big-loud-powerful-fast-expensive-sharp-messy CNC mills, de-burred, polished/anodized, assembled, packaged and marketed. It’s even cooler to help do it.

    This leaves me with a 45.5 hour work week, which really isn’t that bad. Mornings, evenings, and Sundays give me enough time for me. This Sunday, or what remains of it, feels productive. Already got some groceries (and a comb for my hair!) and ate some tasty brkfst. If my knee feels a bit better I may visit the foothills on my bike, may get some reading done, theres plenty of time to draw, may squeeze in some gardening. I feel authentically alive today.

    Posted January 13, 2008, 1:20 am.

    Ice Cold Herman

    Watched Pee-wee’s Big Adventure tonight, what a fucking strange movie. It’s peculiar that I had never seen it all the way through before now, it’s a pretty good movie those of the bicycle persuasion. I have some vague memories of watching it when I was really young; the fluorescent green and red dinosaurs in the desert really stuck with me.

    But what’s the deal with Pee-wee being so fucking cold to Dotty all the time?

    She’s totally into him from the first time we see her on screen. We know from the BMX racing kids that’s she’s a “totally rad” bike mechanic. The sexual tension in Chuck’s Bike-O-Rama is so thick you couldn’t cut it with a bladed spoke. She’s even got that awesome low smokey voice. What’s his problem? I know he was all in a tizzy about getting his bike stolen, but seriously, quit playing games with her heart Herman!

    Posted January 12, 2008, 10:18 pm.

    Should Can Will

    “You lack discipline!” -Detective John Kimble

    New Project of Creative Initiative and Inspirational Action (NPCIIA), gogogo!

    I understand that a lot of the frustration and dissapointment I feel towards almost all of my own work is due to the fact that I don’t think I’m very proficient at what I’m doing. Drawings rarely satisfy, my songwriting could be better, my writing is lacking. I hope that actually practicing the things I try to do may improve upon my most basic skills of expression.

    So here on this blog, and now two weeks before the spring semester kicks in, I’m going to get into shape. I need to draw a lot more. I need to learn how to play more songs. I need to write everything.

    I plan to draw every day. If Ryan Pequin and John Campbell (of no relation to Detective Kimble) can draw a comic every hour of every gotdamn day, I can draw at least a single page within 24 hours.

    I plan to record a song every day. I’m not going to write these songs, I’m just going to learn how to play them. Covers and covers and covers, any requests?

    I plan to write as much as I can. This is uh, a bit more vague than my other two herculean tasks… yes it is. I need to journal more (aside from this amorphous blogspace). I need to start trying to write poetry again. I need to start writing about things that I find really difficult to express with language; like food and language and bike and comix.

    Accountability is key, so I want you (the internet) to be very disappointed (not mad) if I fail to follow through. I’ll try to post scanned drawings, recorded music, and written bits in a timely manner, but delivery is second to content in this scenario.

    I’m starting tomorrow, shouldn’t I?

    Posted January 10, 2008, 10:21 pm.


    Achewood does a fucking spot on F.C.Ware burn. Check it. Awkward relationships, uncomfortable formative sexual experiences, the masturbatory nature of art, everything you need.

    Posted January 3, 2008, 4:42 am.

    Bits Blitz

    Nothing like being home. I mean, there’s nothing like being on your home network and letting your torrents throttle up to a healthy 500KB/s downstream.

    Every year John Allison of Scary Go Round compiles a list of his top 20 (and then some) albums of the year.  His list + btjunkie + piratebay + mininova = awesome trouble.

    Posted January 2, 2008, 1:08 am.


    I’ve accrued few immensely valuable pieces of advice throughout my twenty years of research. One such bit came to me from my brother, who heard it from a friend, who received it from her mother. As with any game of telephone it may have shifted in transit, but I think the worthwhile kernel of it has remained.

    Make yourself open to love.

    While this modicum of wisdom offers itself up for many interpretations, I’ve only taken it in one way. Making yourself open to love is the act of willingly accepting opportunities and circumstances in life that lead to sincere and caring human relationships. To do so requires courage, may invite heartache, and demands a dash of introspection. It seems so much easier not to, to close yourself off to what is certain, familiar, and solitary.

    If I resolve to do anything this year, it is to try in earnest to open myself up to love, as corny as it may sound. I got a phone call earlier tonight that really brightened my mood. I’ve been away from Chico for about a week and a half, and had only exchanged a few text messages with Lindsey since I left. In such absences of presence or detailed communication, I tend to get a bit stir crazy. In retrospect I can see how easily I picked up on small and perhaps insignificant details and expanded them into greater feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and doubt. For a few days my head was filled with considerations like “maybe she doesn’t think about me when I’m not around”, or “maybe I’m a burden and a bore”. Given enough time and mental processing power, I’m sure I could spin dozens of reasons why the whole “sincere and caring human relationship” thing was overrated, non-existent, or just not for me.

    Then she called, and we talked, and I remembered how good she makes me feel, and that I trust when she says she wanted to talk to me. It’s incredible how my emotional state can be so easily and completely polarized by such a simple interaction. So what does this tell me?

    Part of making myself open to love must involve calming myself down, becoming less critical of my own romantic worth, not jumping to conclusions, and making more of an effort myself. I could have easily called at any point in the past ten days and found the exact same emotional reaffirmation, but I didn’t. I look at myself in these kinds of situations and see someone who is waiting for someone else to open up, someone else to bridge the gap.

    That ought to change this year. If I’m going to open myself up, then I must also extend myself outward, make the effort, make connections, take risks, and do it all with conviction.

    There’s a song by Paul Baribeau called ‘Christmas Lights’. It’s one of those rare songs that somehow precisely captures a current sentiment or situation. It’s available on his great new album ‘Grand Ledge’ through Plan-It-X, or to listen and download from his M-Space. These are the lyrics that perfectly relate my winter vacation:

    fresh snow on the suburbs
    staying at my parents
    it hasn’t been a good year
    but things are all right here

    sleeping in the spare room
    that used to be my bedroom
    even though I’m home now
    I feel completely homeless

    I’m looking at the moon
    shining on the snow
    and everything was blue
    except the Christmas lights

    walking round the basement
    where my band used to practice
    sometimes I don’t want to make new friends
    sometimes I just miss my old friends

    but I’m seeing someone new now
    she calms my heart down
    but I’m too scared to tell her
    how crazy I can get sometimes

    I’m looking at the moon
    shining on the snow
    and everything was blue
    except the Christmas lights

    I never feel better after I cry
    I spent six months of my life just wanting to die
    I’m learning how to be alone without be lonely
    learning how to be lonely without losing my mind

    I’m looking at the moon
    shining on the snow
    and everything was blue
    except the Christmas lights

    Smell you later 2007, ahoy hoy 2008. Here’s hoping this resolution sticks.

    Posted January 1, 2008, 6:37 pm.

    Email up in ur RSS

    I’m a big fan of RSS, and I think we as an Internet are well beyond the point of asking if RSS is the way to go. It is. Unlike an email subscription in which control of opting in/out is delegated to the content provider, RSS feeds give all control to the subscriber. I’ve found RSS aggregation saves me an incredible amount of time, whether I’m staying up on the news, reading webcomics, or just techno-fetishizing. I prefer NetNewsWire Lite on the Mac.

    So when a site offering interesting serialized content lacks an RSS feed, it derails my high-speed greased-gears mouth-to-the-firehouse web2.0 experience.

    If instead of RSS they offer an email subscription to content, I have devised the following solution that will allow your aggregator to collect and notify you of new content. Keep in mind this requires a Gmail account and an RSS aggregator that allows for SSL authentication.

    First off, create a new label within Gmail. I named my label simply ‘rss’, but you can get creative if that what you do. It’ll still work if you label it ‘argh ess ess’.

    Second, we need to take advantage of Gmail’s tagging feature. By adding a little bit of text to your default Gmail email address you can have it pulled out of the pile and filtered. Set up a filter applying to all emails addressed to ‘[username]+[tag]’. In this case, since my Gmail user name is ‘jonodavis’ and the label I’m using is ‘rss’, I set it up to catch all emails addressed to ‘’ and to apply to them the ‘rss’ label.

    I also set the filter to skip the inbox and automatically archive the messages, since I don’t need both my RSS aggregator and email notifier blowin’ up when new content is posted.

    The third step is the trick. Gmail offers an RSS feed of your inbox which provides a headline + short snippet of all your emails, regardless of filter. This is located at If you want to narrow the contents of this feed to a specific label, simply append “/[label]/” to the url. In my case, the new ‘rss’ label specific RSS feed url becomes Keep in mind that if you’re using an SSL aware aggregator, you’ll need to enter your Gmail username the first time you load it up.

    All you need to do at this point is to subscribe to the email using the aformentioned filtered email address (

    Now, there are some problems with this franken-fix, like the fact that Gmail only provides you with the subject line and a short excerpt from the email. My guess is that this short entry is the same one used behind the scenes of the Google Notifier.

    Another flaw with this fix is that it’s not really all that slick. If you use the same auto-filtering appended email address for more than one email subscription they all go to a single feed, instead of being grouped by source. And instead of simply clicking on an RSS link and having your aggregator pop up to subscribe to it, you need to muck around in Gmail. It works, but not as well as a legit RSS feed would. So cowboy up and start a feed/get an aggregator already. Sheesh.

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