Category Archives: posts of substance

because green has ceased to be a dirty word

just turned off this week’s edition of meet the press, the subject of which was the woes of the american auto industry and whether they should get a bailout, and the options that this nation has for the energy sector—the affable T. Boone Pickens was interviewed about his eponymous plan for american energy independance.

What struck me the most by both segments was the theme of immenent economic turmoil paired by an emphasis on the possibilities for innovation and job creation figures in the hundreds of thousands (obviously the latter holds more possibility in the creation of a new energy economy, the american auto industry is going to contract regardless).  

This got me thinking.  It seems like looking past the next few years of economic recession with an optimistic eye one can foresee a sea change in how our society and economy operates, the ideals that it holds, and a myriad of new markets that tap into such values.  I feel like the best case scenario for the next decade in this country would involve authentic ingenuity, insight, and capitalization, and a good number of people making a lot of money out of it—money that would not be completely free of questionable provenance, but at least with more moral character than the fortunes made in subprime lending, derivatives markets, and the manufacture of vehicles with mpg ratings that parallel the amount o foresight (in years) of those that purchased them.  There will be fortunes made from providing services and inventing technology that will have, if not a unarguably positive long-term effect on our world, then at least less of a degrading one.

Now, how can I get in on this?

Edit: Of course, I wake up this morning and see that Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo covers the same territory in a much more coherent manner.


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if solely defined by drinking the “dark sweet wine,” we’re not so gone

so last night, after returning from a fine senior-citizen’s ball where much port (a brilliant spirit, as fit for consumption now as it was for brautigan and his flea-circus friends in long-ago san francisco) was consumed, and swampdonkeys admired, among other things–after all of that, cycling back to our fine house at 209 mott avenue, santa cruz ca 95062, I had cultivated a fine hunger.  For several reasons, I have not gone hunting and gathering in the urban orchards of TJs and Staff of Life in many moons, so in order to fill my stomach and play out the evening in well-fed fashion I determined that outside help must be enlisted to accomplish the task.  

the wonderful thing about our neighborhood is that there is no shortage of very proximate dining establishments, providing a cornocopia of cuisine options: seabright brewery (forgettable food, will probably become much more worthwhile when I am of age), the excellent engfer’s pizzaworks, a taqueria, day’s market (with the infuriating $10 miniumum on debit purchases–who the hell goes to the neighborhood cornerstore and spends more than ten bucks on a regular basis?  again, when of age I’m sure this will cease to be a problem: “well shucks, all I really wanted was a loaf of bread, but I guess a sixpack or two couldn’t hurt either), and, finally, the incomparable betty burgers (not betty’s burgers, which has far better flow).  It was decided: a slammin’ salmon to go would satiate my craving with plenty to spare.  Eagerly dialing Betty to place my order, I was soon greeted with what then sounded like the voice of a burger joint angel:

“Betty’s Burgers [even THEY understand this superior option], how can I help you?”

 I inquired if they were still open, which in retrospect might seem like a silly question, but in this case was an essential one:

“Whatssup, you guys still doing orders-to-go?”

 “Nah, sorry, we’re closed.”

Well, shit, why are you answering the phone?  Are you teasing me on purpose?  He assured me he was not, and that they had just closed.  Ah well, I can understand that.  On to plan b, Engfer’s. Dialed.  

“Engfer’s Pizza Works.”

“Hi, are you still open?”

“Nah, sorry, we closed two hours ago.”

Okay, seriously, that’s ridiculous, you seabright eateries are all dirty low teases.  She agreed with me, which did little to sooth my grumbling stomach but was appreciated.  

It was then posited by my fine housemate brian that he has a prodigious amount of kraft mac-n-cheeze which we could prepare posthaste.  This was a fine (and economical) comprimise, and we were all able to play out the evening well-fed and cheezed.  

This last part is an interesting postscript, as this morning I went to the gym and upon my sweaty return (it’s a beautiful day here, in the 70s, sunny, no wind, absolutely delicious) I realized that not only did I smell faintly of the alchohol exiting through my pores, but even more pronounced was the odor of mac-n-cheeze.  I smelled like mac-n-cheeze–if I were a cartoon, there would have been bright orange squiggly lines emenating from my rock-hard body (hey, we’re talking hypothetical cartoons here, I can take some license)

Holly thinks I should market this new eau de toilette, and I can agree: in this economy of recession, people are looking for things that comfort them (check out campbells soup stock prices) and what’s more comforting than the violently orange dish momma used to make?  people today are looking for security, such comfort can be found in the smell of kraft mac-n-cheeze, ipso facto mac-n-cheeze perfume will be a hit.

after showering, I walked to a seabright salon which is far-and-away the best stylistic establishment I have yet had the honor of giving patronage.  gabriella is a competent stylist, but even more than that, clients are greeted upon entering with the sublimely civilized question: “can I get you a drink? we have beer, wine, and soda.”  even better than that, saturdays are apparently mimosa days, with fresh orange juice.  if the petite bourgeoisie is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

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beauty and brutality

major props to the guy who volunteered for this project

via the independent

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first, a really excellent talk from the TED (Technology/Entertainment/Design), a annual conference held in Monterey, CA which brings together the “world’s greatest thinkers and doers,” who are challenged to speak for 18 minutes (no more, no less) on pretty much anything that strikes their fancy. Each year there is a theme, like “Passion” or “Rethinking Poverty,” which really gives these individuals lots of leeway in their subject-matter. Some of my other favorites are:

  • Clifford Stoll, a textbook example of the “mad scientist” archetype, the talk is fittingly called, “18 minutes with an agile mind.”
  • Dave Eggers, on his non-profit pirate/superhero/time travel emporiums and tutoring centers, 826 Valencia.
  • Isabel Allende, on passion, world poverty, and feminism.

To be honest, these are pretty much all the talks I’ve seen, there are literally hundreds available, and they all seem to be amazing. Check them out.

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zoos are extreme


so the commission charged with investigating the tiger escape incident at the SF Zoo a few months ago recently released its official report. It’s a pretty gripping read, and it’s written in very formal, objective language that makes for some wholly unintentional hilarity-though-understatement. Example:

“Zookeeper (Anthony Brown), the shooting team member on site, is leaving the zoo for the day and over hears the 911 “first aid” call on the zoo radio. He asks Alan if he should stay and is told no, so he departs to check out.”

“From the fire hydrant near rhino, Howe sees a tiger from her golf cart outside of the exhibit at Nyala Picnic Area path intersection near the Lion House grottos. She calls over the radio “Code 1 Tiger”. Zookeeper (Anthony Brown) reconsiders decision to leave for the day…”

Yeah, you know, I think I would reconsider too. The full report is available here.

Now playing: Røyksopp – Röyksopp’s Night Out

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if these guys aren’t fremen,

sans spice and wormriding, then I don’t know who would be:

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lrdp part whatever

So I had never actually taken the time to figure out exactly what the LRDP consisted of, development-wise. After perusing the Final Draft LRDP, I’ve certainly got a better idea of the scope and impact that it will have, if completed in it’s current form. The graphic below consists of two maps from the LRDP that I thought together gave a pretty good picture of exactly how far back the administration wants to develop:

lrdp big graphic
click for bigger

I’ve definitely walked/ran/biked in the area that would be developed, and, yeah, it’s too bad that will be gone. But spending a good deal of time back there has really made me appreciate the sheer magnitude of space that is available. I mean, not only does the UCSC land continue upwards past the areas in question, it is bordered seamlessly with Wilder Ranch and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Parks. And no matter how greedy and overreaching one may think the administration, it’s far past the point of credulity to believe that they’d try to develop there.

final draft lrdp (PDF)

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