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!

Saturday, 18 November 2006
sad bear

The California Golden Bears blew their chance to go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1959, losing 23-9 to USC.

[image taken by yours truly at the San Diego Zoo last December]
posted to /news at 11:18pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 17 November 2006
The problem with NaBloPoMo is, there are some days when I am simply not inspired at all, and posting something lame feels worse than posting nothing at all. Posting becomes a chore. And I don’t like chores.
posted to /life at 11:17pm :: 0 responses
Thursday, 16 November 2006
Two things are clear. First, tasers are not nonlethal weapons. They kill people. Further, they bring out the worst in a particular type of bad cop: the sort that is rather too quick to inflict debilitating, nightmarish pain on anyone who doesn’t immediately fall into line.

Last night, some cops repeatedly tasered a student at UCLA’s Powell Library. His crime? Refusing to show ID. Does this sound right to you? It sounds scary as hell to me. It’s the sort of story that makes me want to stop using the word “cops” and start using the word “pigs.” I try to reject that urge, because I don’t want to fall into the mindset of thinking all police officers as enemies. But these officers at UCLA? Pigs.

Another student caught the incident on video using a cell phone. Hmm. Perhaps the increasing ubiquity of video cameras in people’s pockets will ultimately help curb police brutality?

(One more thought: When I was at Cal, most students I knew made a distinction between the Berkeley city police and the UC police. Berkeley cops were all right. The UC police were pigs, every last one of ‘em. I had a roommate who was beaten by UC cops one night, for trespassing in a construction area on campus after dark. It was his contention that the UC police force was comprised of power-trippy assholes who couldn’t pass the psych exam for a true cop job. I wonder.)

[UPDATE: discussion and interesting additional linkage at MeFi]
posted to /news at 11:16am :: 0 responses
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
“The reason I’m here today, the reason I own a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the reason I have a big log cabin and I got cars and all kinds of stuff is because I’m a writer and writers own everything.” — Dan Aykroyd [emphasis mine]
posted to /misc at 5:15pm :: 1 response
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Monday, 13 November 2006
The Star of India is one of the jewels of my hometown of San Diego. This stately and beautiful ship has been sailing the seas since 1863. It is the oldest active sailing vessel in the world. For most of the year, the Star is docked in San Diego and serves as a fascinating walk-on-board maritime museum. But for one weekend each year, she goes sailing.
posted to /news at 2:13pm :: 0 responses
Sunday, 12 November 2006
Would someone please get me this lovely Buddha that is offered for sale at Costco.com (of all places)? the_lucky_duck (who sent me the link) notes that shipping and handling is included. [link fixed 11/15 22:27]
posted to /misc at 10:12pm :: 0 responses
image of new printerOn day one of NaBloPoMo, the_lucky_duck got a free bike. I thought that was pretty amazing. But I had no idea I would be the next winner! Leaving the office on Friday, I espied a laser printer sitting atop a trash can at the northwest corner of 2nd and Bryant. A sheet of paper in the output tray conveyed the handwritten message “Free (works fine).” (Lesson: Blog daily, get free stuff! Who’s next?)

I have wanted a laser printer for some time. Inkjet printers — well, modern inkjet printers* — suck all kinds of ass, unless you print regularly. If you don’t, the ink doesn’t flow right when you fire it up after three months, and you print eighteen hideous pages before you get a clean one. I have had this problem with Epsons and Canons, and I’ve been told that Lexmarks and HPs are no better. You either print a minimum of a couple times each week, keeping that expensive ink a-flowin’, or you curse whenever you use your printer. I’ve been struggling with an Epson Stylus Color 860 for several years now. I’ve wanted to heave it out the window with nearly every use.

Well, eff all that. I have a laser printer now. more...
posted to /life at 9:12pm :: 1 response
Friday, 10 November 2006
Longtime readers of this blog know that I think the Chron’s Jon Carroll is the finest newspaper columnist in the land. So I was bummed this morning to read Carroll’s latest, in which he returns from vacation only to pour cold water all over those of us who feel uplifted by the results of this week’s election. “Nothing has changed,” he writes: “Same president, same policies, same corruption, same continuing embarrassments.”

Well, no. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Sorry. “First, a lot of those losing Republican incumbents will immediately move down K Street and become lobbyists,” Carroll says. “They will make substantially more money, and they will get to do essentially the same job: they will write the laws that govern our nation.” I tell you, they may try, but they’re going to be fighting a hard uphill battle. Nancy Pelosi has the destruction of the Republicans’ K Street Machine very much in mind. Carroll also suggests global warming will still be treated as “alarmist nonsense.” I don’t think so, not since Barbara Boxer now gets to define Congress’s agenda in this matter. more...
posted to /politics at 11:10am :: 0 responses
After — only after — you see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, go read Salon’s fantastic account of what’s real and what’s staged in the film.
posted to /art/cinema at 11:10am :: 0 responses
Thursday, 09 November 2006
  • ITEM: Mistaken Identity: Innocent 17-year-old girl jailed for a week (don’t-miss pictures!)
  • ITEM: Breathtaking pictures of New York City by night. [spotted at planet.gnome.org]
  • ITEM: The best Onion article ever written … by a goat. [spotted at reddit]
posted to /misc/items at 4:09pm :: 1 response
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
“I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows what I know.”
— President George W. Bush, speaking of yesterday’s midterm elections in a press conference earlier today
posted to /politics at 4:08pm :: 1 response
Tuesday, 07 November 2006
It’s Election Day, and here in Alameda County, the Sequoia e-voting machines are actually not the touch-screen models I’d feared. No, we’re filling out huge-ass paper ballots with ink, and then feeding them directly into chirping electronic readers ourselves. So, we’ve got nice paper trails should we need them, no one is cursing at misaligned screens, and the biggest problem at my polling place was that one of the election workers had misplaced some of the “I Voted!” stickers.

I haven’t been this hopeful on Election Day in a long time. Let’s hope this day is the turning point we’ve been waiting for. Power to the people!
posted to /life at 3:07pm :: 2 responses
Monday, 06 November 2006
One of the main reasons I am not an iPod owner: I can’t stand the way iPods store their files with scrambled filenames, in a pathetic and half-hearted attempt to curb music piracy. I simply don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of a device that can’t speak to a computer unless that computer is running iTunes (or some Linux-based program that speak iPodese, like Rhythmbox, Amarok, Banshee, or Exaile). A hard-drive based MP3 player should just behave like a damned hard drive.

Enter YamiPod, which seems cool enough to perhaps make me an iPod owner someday. This app lives on your iPod, and runs under OS X, Windows, and Linux. It seems to let you freely copy music to and from your iPod to any computer. Can one of my iPod-using homies give this a look-see and tell me if it’s as cool as I think it is?
posted to /tech at 7:06pm :: 1 response
Sunday, 05 November 2006
If you haven’t yet been exposed to Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedic dynamo behind Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, it’s either because you don’t have HBO (where his material airs here in the States), or you don’t know anyone British who foisted upon you years ago (before Cohen was known in the States at all) a third-generation VHS copy of several BBC productions by one Ali G, one of Cohen’s characters. (I’m in that latter category, myself.) Ali G is a wannabe-gangsta who somehow cons “important people” into interviews; he positions himself as a means for Power to speak to Youth, but instead repeatedly serves as a means for Power to display its own ludicrous shortcomings. (I love the clip of Ali G “interviewing” professional curmudgeon Andy Rooney. In three minutes, Cohen proves Rooney isn’t just a curmudgeon, but a genuine asshole.) “Da Ali G Show” has done quite well on HBO, and has been Cohen’s entry vehicle in this hemisphere, his previous film (Ali G Indahouse) having been mostly ignored here. more...
posted to /art/cinema at 10:05pm :: 0 responses
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