mahna mahna .net

Like many personal blogs of its era, this blog is moribund, a casualty of what we might call "the Facebook effect." However, as of late 2015, two things are clear: (1) The Indie Web is a thing, and (2) the re-decentralization of the web is a thing. So who knows? 2016 2017 (!) could be the year this blog rises from its own ashes. Stay tuned!

Friday, 14 December 2007
  • ITEM: News so happy, I’m verklempt: New York’s 2nd Avenue Deli finally reopens next week (just off 2nd Ave). Time to book a flight!
  • ITEM: Jon Carroll’s yearly pitch: This holiday season, won’t you volunteer for the Untied Way?
  • ITEM: Fan reviews of Tuesday night’s Tool concert at the Civic Auditorium. It was, of course, an absolutely transcendent experience. We should be erecting statues of Maynard James Keenan in all the major cities. :)
  • ITEM: You know how there’s that stretch of road in our beloved East Bay that is both I-80 East and I-580 West, while the other side of the road is both I-80 West and I-580 East (all this despite the fact that the road runs mostly north-south)? Turns out there’s a cracktastic term for this.
  • ITEM: I worked a fifteen hour shift yesterday to help launch this … the new Macworld.com!
posted to /misc/items at 3:14pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 30 November 2007
  • ITEM: I ordered an XO laptop and cannot wait for it to arrive. Are you a geek? Perhaps one with a child in your life? Here’s why you should follow suit (the Give 1 Get 1 program has been extended till 12/31).
  • ITEM: John Carroll wrote two amazing columns this week. First up, his take on the rich fucktards in Seadrift who think they own the beach. (Are you a transplant to California? Then listen the fuck up: In this state, the people own the beach.)
  • ITEM: John Carroll #2: At his funniest, on what can happen come a Tuesday.
  • ITEM: Just another lie: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said “Israel must be wiped off the map.”
  • ITEM: Stanfurd 13-point favorites for tomorrow’s Big Game. “I have a bad feeling about this.” GO BEARS!
posted to /misc/items at 2:30pm :: 0 responses
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
It doesn’t get much better than when one of your favorite musicians gives you a sudden and unexpected dose of the spiritual truths you hold dear:

autumn leaves And she spoke unto me, saying:
‘Fear not the movement of the heavens above
Or the earth below
For change is what we are, my child!
Righteous are those who look up and sway with the wind,
Who look down and dance with the shifting of the soil,
Who swim with the movement of the tides,
Who seek the truth around them and discover,
We are and have always been in paradise —
The reflections of heaven on earth! Amen!’


more...
posted to /wisdom at 3:14pm :: 1 response
Sunday, 11 November 2007
Spotted brunching together at the table next to me this morning at La Note in Berkeley: Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon. They shared a Sunday New York Times as they waited for Berkeley’s best breakfast to arrive. Reese is a tiny little thing, and even mousier in person than on the screen. (I’ve never understood why some guys find her dreamy.) Jake is a hunk who apparently has to do battle with acne, just like a real person.
posted to /life at 12:11pm :: 3 responses
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Let’s just forget about what’s happening in Division I football (sez this Cal fan) — direct your attention, please, to Division III! Trinity beats Millsaps 28-24 on the final play of the game. Fifteen laterals. Fifteen. Linkage: story · video (includes announcer calling the play beautifully and then losing his mind)

Money quote from the Chronicle story — the team’s coach, when asked if they had practiced such a play:
“Are you kidding?” he said. “We couldn’t do that against air.”
posted to /news at 11:28pm :: 1 response
Friday, 26 October 2007
  • ITEM: Blade Runner: The Final Cut, now showing in LA and NYC, arrives in San Francisco November 30.
  • ITEM: Douglass Rushkoff on 9/11 “Truthers.” I have just about had it with these people. (Seems Bill Clinton feels similarly.)
  • ITEM: Mark Morford on the danger of progressive extremists. (He’s absolutely right, and, happily, this piece is less shrill than most Morford screeds.)
  • ITEM: Elementary school science: Nearly extinct. This is so depressing. By the time I have a school-aged child, will there be any public schools left worth sending him or her to?
  • ITEM: New Orleans, two years after Katrina, in pictures. Heartbreaking.
posted to /misc/items at 3:26pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 22 October 2007
I last blogged about fires in my hometown of San Diego four years ago. Seems half the area is aflame once again tonight. I’ve got cousins who are under evacuation orders; everyone’s safe and sound.

Digression: As far back as I can remember, there’s been this dude (yep, a proper dude like you only get down south) named Larry Himmel on San Diego’s CBS affiliate, channel 8. He’s always been the guy who does feel-good pieces about the city, its people, its institutions, et cetera. If you’re the news director and you need ninety seconds on the diner out in Crest where some of the regulars have been regulars since the fifties, Larry’s your man. You need a heartwarming broadcast-closer about kids picking pumpkins up at Bates Nut Farm, you put Larry on it. Larry’s stuff has never been “news” or even “important,” but he’s very, very good at what he does: His reports have always been well-written, down-to-earth, and not the sort of saccharine drivel this material would become in the hands of some hack with an agenda. With a Larry Himmel report, you know you’re going to get an honest slice of life, a breath of fresh air, and he delivers every time. more...
posted to /news at 10:22pm :: 2 responses
Tuesday, 09 October 2007
rainbowIt’s a rainy fall night here in Oakland, but it’s morning in the U.K., where Radiohead’s e-mail bot has sprung into action and delivered to me a link to the new album, In Rainbows, which is causing music executives around the world to cut themselves with knives.

For about a year, I’ve been enjoying recordings from the band’s summer 2006 tour (including the Berkeley show I attended), across which most of the material on this new album is performed several times. There’s this lovely collection of songs I only know by their live versions, because that’s all there’s been, and now, I get the studio takes. Luscious, I just betcha.

I’ll know soon enough. But right now, I’m hating my pokey DSL line. more...
posted to /art/music at 11:09pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 01 October 2007
hanging bearI’m a bit late picking this one up, but the pictures alone make it worth circling back to: A black bear recently escaped from oncoming highway traffic near Donner Summit by jumping over the side of a bridge. The poor creature spent the night trapped beneath the roadway, on the bridge’s superstructure, and was hanging on for dear life by the next day. A rescue effort was mounted; a tranq dart was employed; all’s well that ends well.

[more Bears In the News]
posted to /news at 6:01pm :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Contra Costa prosecutors say they know who killed Rex Farrance. The three men involved are already behind bars on other charges; all three are now eligible for the death penalty under California law.

A colleague of mine for eight years, Rex was shot during a home invasion robbery earlier this year. He is and will always be dearly missed. I had begun to doubt that the wheels of justice would ever begin to turn in this case, but now, here they go, doing that slow, deliberate, creaky thing that they do.
posted to /news at 11:25pm :: 0 responses
Thursday, 20 September 2007
  • ITEM: “Animals at Play” (short video): I cannot shake the sense that the bear and the dog recognized each other as old friends from a previous existence and were just overjoyed to have encountered each other again.
  • ITEM: “School Cheating Scandal Divides N.H. Town”: We had a similar, far more widespread situation at my own high school during my years there; the kids involved were never punished and happily moved on to schools like Princeton and Stanfurd. Sounds like things work differently in New Hampshire.
  • ITEM: The Solano Drive-In: I had no idea there was an extant drive-in movie theater in the Bay Area! Gotta go!
  • ITEM: H.L. Mencken, writing in 1920: “On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • ITEM: Sanity prevails…or does it? Southwest Airlines will modify its boarding procedure. Still no assigned seats; instead, assigned positions in line.
  • ITEM: The Lateral Coital Position: A step-by-step (five steps!) guide for assuming it. Hmm… Gotta get a girlfriend into my life again!
posted to /misc/items at 4:20pm :: 0 responses
So the conservative jackass mayor of the conservative jackass town where I grew up turns out not to be quite such a conservative jackass after all. Two years ago, when running for mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders was firmly supportive of civil unions and firmly against gay marriage, which played well with the conservative jackasses who populate the city. Yesterday, in a moving, tearful speech, he explained he has had a “change of heart,” and revealed for the first time that this issue hits home for him:
“I have close family members and friends who are a member of the gay and lesbian community. Those folks include my daughter Lisa, as well as members of my personal staff.

“I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones — for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back; someone with whom they can grow old together and share life’s experiences.
more...
posted to /politics at 3:20pm :: 1 response
Monday, 17 September 2007
I read Jeffrey Zeldman’s blog for the tech, but today there was a happy diversion. On the occasion of his daughter’s first day of preschool, Zeldman noted:
Nothing says Buddhism like raising a child. To cherish what has already changed as you look upon it. To hold most tightly what you must most let go.
more...
posted to /wisdom at 1:17pm :: 0 responses
the Burning Man It has now been two weeks since I returned from Burning Man 2007 in Black Rock City, Nevada, and the experience is still reverberating within.

T.S. Eliot etched the phrase “unreal city” into my head a long time ago, but ever since my first trip to the playa, I’ve used those words pretty much exclusively to describe Black Rock City. They dance in my head when I daydream of being there; they echo unceasingly as I wander the city during the one magical week it arises each year.

Has there ever been a place more deserving of the tag “unreal”? My yearly slideshow only scratches the very surface, really, but perhaps one or two of these images will convince you that Black Rock City is a place like no other…

The Burning Man 2007 gallery is now open in the museyroom: Visit the index or begin with the first shot.
posted to /site at 1:17am :: 1 response
Monday, 16 July 2007
  • ITEM: Alphablogger J-Walk goes to Amsterdam, can’t believe all the bikes.
  • ITEM: “How To Be Happier By the End of the Day” — not bad, actually.
  • ITEM: “Chick flicks?” Sure, they exist, admits Gloria Steinem. But then, so do “prick flicks.” Brilliant!
  • ITEM: “Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works” — this is great and all, but I remain convinced that meditation’s power is lessened the moment a scientist starts trying to measure it. (The same goes for the power of prayer.)
  • ITEM: Public elementary school students right here in Oakland are receiving mindfulness training. Right on!
posted to /misc/items at 3:16pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 06 July 2007
This morning, John Carroll said:
I mean, come on, it’s New York. It’s the city that never sleeps because people are up all night thinking and fantasizing and making plans. I know where my home is, but I also know where New York is. Being there was like spending time with an old friend.
I know how he feels. I have not traveled the globe nearly as much as I would have liked by this point in my life, but I have made a few dear friends that I do not get to see nearly often enough. I miss my dear friend New York City very much; my heartache over letting many years pass between visits will perhaps be lessened if the 2nd Avenue Deli is in fact reborn by the time I get back there. I miss my more remote friend Amsterdam terribly and despair at the idea that I cannot, from this vantage point, foresee another trip across the pond.

And most of all, there’s a yearning at the very center of my soul — a primal need, really — to get back to Black Rock City. A harder friend to visit than the others, this one requires weeks of preparation and will spend only one particular week with you each year. But as far as cities go, there is perhaps no greater friend to be found on this planet. I will see my dear, dear friend in fifty days’ time. The very thought, if I linger on it for too long, brings unspeakably joyous tears to my eyes.
posted to /misc at 12:06pm :: 0 responses
Sunday, 01 July 2007
Hello, everyone. After a coupla months spent out of gas, I think the engine’s fired up once again here at mahnamahna.net. I’ve been busy with a few things while I’ve been silent. In fact, check this out: I HAS WRITED A SOFTWARE!!1

Devidify iconDevidify is a humble little hack
for extracting audio tracks from DVDs.

Devidify has its own exhibit over in the newly-renovated mahnamahna.net museyroom.

More fun stuff on the way, I think. There’s gas again now.
posted to /site at 10:01pm :: 2 responses
Friday, 20 April 2007
The Chronicle reports on a plan to “ruin” the Albany Bulb. This is the best (and most affectionate) portrait of the Bulb’s current state that I’ve seen in the mainstream media. I will never forget my first visit to the Bulb (back in 2001, when the Sniff pieces were in much better shape and not, it seems, as well known), and the place has grown quite dear to me since then. I hope that its freewheeling nature — indicative of much that is special and good about the Bay Area — can be preserved.
posted to /life/bayarea at 2:20pm :: 0 responses
I read planet.gnome.org on weekday mornings, mostly to find out what’s happening in Gnome development. But the geeks who build my interface of choice frequently have great posts on non-techy topics, too. Two from this week:
  • Murray visited Amsterdam (for my money, the most beautiful and civilized city on the planet), and has some insightful comments about what makes the place so damned inviting and livable: “I had no idea that such a vast amount of the old city exists and in such a perfect state. There’s a functional found beauty to the rows of high narrow canal houses and repurposed warehouses… . The streets are an obstacle to cars, to the benefit of pedestrians, bicycles, and general well-being.”

  • Jamin sings the praises of sardines. “Sardines are amazing. They are cheap (75-85 cents a can where I shop), have a shelf life of several years, are high in protein, and taste great (if you like fish).” Hell yeah. A tin of sardines always hits the spot for me. And, if eaten at home, always makes the cat insanely jealous.
posted to /misc at 2:20pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 13 April 2007
  • ITEM: A very selfless bird tried to make the world a better place today, and, sadly, failed.
  • ITEM: Was not aware, am very glad to hear: There is a movement afoot to lower the drinking age in this country to 18. (I’m always shocked when older folks don’t realize that most college drinking these days is illegal because of the stupid age-21 laws.)
  • ITEM: On eHarmony, folks are asked to name the last book they read and enjoyed. I close the match anytime a person responds with an Ayn Rand novel or The Da Vinci Code (which happens more often that you’d expect). I’m three years late finding this, but someone took the time to explain (better than I ever could) why Dan Brown’s book is such a dreadful POS. [spotted at kottke.org]
posted to /misc/items at 2:13pm :: 1 response
Friday, 06 April 2007
It’s a fantastic sort of Friday: one where there’s a new Nine Inch Nails album to listen to all day long. Enjoy Year Zero, officially streaming on the World Wide Web in anticipation of its April 17 release.

(Yes, Virginia, it is possible to capture the files retrieved and played by that Flash app, and also possible to convert them to a useful format such as MP3…)
posted to /art/music at 10:06am :: 0 responses
Monday, 12 March 2007
My heart goes out to the Buddhist monks of Malaysia’s Hong Hock See temple, which is besieged by ants. Due to their strict adherence to principles of nonviolence, the monks won’t kill the ants, and so far have been unsuccessful in relocating them.

Not long after I became a Buddhist, I stopped killing spiders in my house. These days I take a sheet of paper, get the spider to crawl onto it, and then carry the spider outside, where I set it free. Flying insects are similarly relocated using the old hand-over-a-cup technique.

That said, I still kill ants with impunity. There’s no relocating ants. You arrive home to find your kitchen overrun with ants and there’s only one thing to do: Spray ‘em down with Windex and watch ‘em die by the thousands. Stupid ants.

I have much to learn before I could ever be a monk.
posted to /news at 5:12pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 09 March 2007
Inland EmpireDavid Lynch insists that his new film, INLAND EMPIRE, is simply about “a woman in touble.” I’ll say. It’s hard to describe what Laura Dern’s character goes through over the course of this fantastic and initially grueling three-hour experience, but none of it is anything you ever want to experience yourself, that’s for sure. It’s like imagining yourself living the life of Henry, the doomed protagonist of Lynch’s first feature, Eraserhead. You shudder at the thought. more...
posted to /art/cinema at 1:09pm :: 1 response
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
  • ITEM: British children are unhappy.
  • ITEM: Dutch children are happy.
  • ITEM: PARENTS: Want your children to be happy? Don’t praise them for being smart. (Revelatory reading here. For me, anyway.)
posted to /misc/items at 2:14pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 29 January 2007
  • ITEM: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Read it before it disappears: NYT piece on eating by the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (currently on my nightstand).
  • ITEM: Here’s just one reason why ethanol sucks: It makes corn tortillas too expensive for poor Mexicans who depend on them. Repeat after me: Don’t burn food!
  • ITEM: Rolling Stone: “Why Gore Should Run — And How He Can Win”
  • ITEM: “Cineplex Drove Me to Piracy”: The best breakdown I’ve read about how much modern multiplexes suck.
posted to /misc/items at 4:29pm :: 0 responses
Wednesday, 10 January 2007
…Because you’re going to. Last night, as I was finishing off the greatest birthday I’ve ever had, a coworker of mine was murdered in his home.

If you have never heard William Shatner’s glorious “You’ll Have Time,” please, take three minutes to put on your headphones, crank the volume up as loud as you can stand it, and have a listen on me. more...
posted to /news at 11:10am :: 2 responses
Tuesday, 09 January 2007
(And a wee bit of text: Today was my thirty-second birthday, and it was so, so, so very splendid. I do not have words to describe… I could tell you I walked aerily along a beach lit with the brightness of a thousand centuries… I could tell you about watching the waves roll in with a friend who has been there watching those waves with me for eons… I could tell you about the baby who looked at me with stern, trusting eyes that imparted everything he knew about where he had come from… I could tell you about the toothless old man who walked with a cane and smiled at me, knowing something about my future… And I would not have even begun. So, at a loss to convey what this beautiful day has meant to me, I leave you with four images, and this: I am so blessed. I love you all so much. Namaste.)

birthday shot 1birthday shot 2birthday shot 3birthday shot 4

posted to /life at 11:09pm :: 7 responses
Friday, 05 January 2007
  • ITEM: Good news from NYC: The 2nd Avenue Deli may rise again.
  • ITEM: The Candy Desk of the United States Senate.
  • ITEM: Jon Carroll waxes eloquent on winter, diabetes, and bakeries.
  • ITEM: I could watch this baby panda sneeze over and over all afternoon.
posted to /misc/items at 12:05pm :: 0 responses
From my inbox:
Richie Unterberger will be presenting and discussing two hours of rare Beatles audio clips, as well as showing a few rare Beatles film clips and discussing and signing his book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film, on Wednesday, January 17, from 7:00-9:00pm at the Park Branch of the San Francisco Public Library at 1833 Page Street in San Francisco.
I received a copy of the book as an early birthday gift; it is magnificent. I also attended a similar presentation by Richie last month at the main library in Alameda; it was fantastic.
posted to /art/music at 11:05am :: 0 responses
Wednesday, 03 January 2007
I was challenged today to contribute to the Mayfly Project, where you use 24 words (no more, no less) to sum up the past year. My entry:
I strive daily to cultivate peace and compassion. I am often blissful, sometimes troubled, sometimes stressed, and usually a bit lonely. Change is possible!
A belated Happy New Year to everyone!
posted to /life at 3:03pm :: 1 response
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