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!

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
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