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, 04 July 2003
On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate not only liberty, independence, and freedom; we also celebrate the power of the written word. Other countries celebrate their independence on the day a jail was stormed, the day a monarch granted autonomy, the day a war was won. Americans celebrate the day the country’s founders put quill to ink and crafted an elegant screed. Word up.

We don’t have a monarch here in America, but we do have sacred texts that we hold every bit as dear. The Declaration of Independence, like its brother the Constitution, is a brilliant document but an imperfect one. We cringe now at the Constitution’s three-fifths compromise, and similarly, this bit from the Declaration, recalling one of the crimes of King George, certainly clashes with the premise than all men are created equal:
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
We take for granted how extraordinary the American experiment was at the time that it began. And we also take for granted how much closer we are now to a society that holds as “self-evident truth” the equality of all. But look: In 1776, we were still talking about savages. And slaves.

This country was not perfect when it was created. It is not perfect now. But it remains a bold experiment, one that thus far has brought a higher standard of living to more people than any experiment that came before. As the experiment continues, there will be further missteps, and there will be unexpected triumphs. But even when things are looking really bleak, keep your chin up, and have some faith in this country. And today, take a moment to admit it: We are, in fact, very lucky to live here.

Happy Fourth of July, folks.
posted to /life at 4:04pm :: 3 responses
Sunday, 29 June 2003
… between all the goings up and the whole of the comings down and the fog of the cloud in which we toil and the cloud of the fog under which we labour, bomb the thing’s to be domb about it so that, beyond indicating the locality, it is felt that one cannot with advantage add a very great deal to the aforegoing by what, such as it is to be, follows … (Finnegans Wake, 599: 29-34)
Yesterday I went wandering, and found myself at a place I have not visited since I was a different person. Come. I wish to show you this place.
posted to /life/bayarea at 7:29pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 27 June 2003
John Lennon sang to me this evening:
Can you hear me,
That when it rains and shines
It’s just a state of mind?
Can you hear me?
posted to /life at 12:27am :: 2 responses
Monday, 16 June 2003
Sunday, 01 June 2003
Last night as I was preparing dinner, there was a strange and alarming noise outside. It sounded sort of like someone setting off some firecrackers in the nearby parking lot, but I took a look out there and saw nothing. Today I discovered the source: The large tree outside our apartment lost one of its main branches.

Last week there were some birds beginning to nest in that tree. They chirped nearly constantly in the morning and at twilight. Today there was no sign of them.

Happy June, readers!
posted to /life at 11:01pm :: 2 responses
Friday, 16 May 2003
When I was little, I saw the moon in the sky one afternoon. My four- or five-year-old mind was encountering data that violated a pattern I thought I understood. The moon was out, and yet it was not nighttime. So I asked my dad why the moon was out.

Dad looked up at the moon and said, “Well, I guess the guys who take it down in the morning forgot, and left it up there.”

I cannot remember how long I believed that there were in fact men responsible for putting the moon up and taking it down. But I know I believed it that afternoon.

At some point during my teenage years, I came down with the idea that when lonely people look up at a full moon, the mates they have yet to discover look up at the same moment; that connections are strengthened in these instants; and that two people, unknowing, connection strengthened, would suddenly be one step closer to finding each other.

The concept reshaped itself when I got me a girl. On fullmooned nights when we were apart, I would think to myself, as I looked up, that surely she was looking at the moon too, because I could feel the connection, and I felt it could carry me through anything. I called her once, asked her to go to the window and look at the moon with me. I suppose I was cheating to keep a pet notion alive.

Tonight as I drove home, there was a burned out moon in the sky.

By the time I got home, there was a new moon emerging from its chrysalis.

(“Easter,” he thinks yet again. “Rebirth.”)
posted to /life at 12:16am :: 1 response
Monday, 12 May 2003
My weekend included both baseball and fireworks.

posted to /life at 12:12am :: 0 responses
Sunday, 11 May 2003
I generally skip Mark Morford’s columns on SFGate. I find his writing shrill. He’s especially over-the-top as he sings the praises of San Francisco (“perfectly climated”? come on!) but it is still a good read that captures a lot of what I love about living in the Bay Area.

A lot of what Morford has to say about SF is also true for the more dynamic and spirited parts of the East Bay. Let’s not forget that Oakland beats the pants off the City in terms of diversity, and that Berkeleyans can wonderfully outweird their peninsular cousins any day of the week. We have better movie theaters and better pizza over here, too. And much less of that damned fog.
posted to /life/bayarea at 5:11pm :: 0 responses
Wednesday, 07 May 2003
Yesterday I read that Giants closer Robb Nen is out for the season with a torn rotator cuff. Surgery is required. Sigh.

Then I came to home to find new e-mail from my mother. Turns out my 87-year-old grandmother has been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. Surgery is required.

posted to /life at 12:07am :: 2 responses
Monday, 05 May 2003
How’s this for a Monday morning? You arrive at work to discover that, for the second time in as many years, an A/C unit on the floor above you malfunctioned over the weekend, sending water dripping down into your cube for hours and hours, destroying dead-tree files, soaking yer chair, and turning the carpet all spongy. As before, nothing expensive (yet replaceable) was damaged; the only casualties were cheap (but irreplaceable): interesting handouts from a training session I attended last year, docs and specs from older projects for which there never were electronic copies, and so forth. I have a funny feeling that since there is no immediate cost tied to this, in another year’s time I’ll go through this yet again. I wish the flood had destroyed my PC and monitor. That might have gotten a beancounter’s attention — when that happens, things get done. Hmmph.
posted to /life at 11:05am :: 0 responses
Sunday, 27 April 2003
Yesterday afternoon, I had already done my “work” (read: apartment hunting) for the day, so I headed into the City for a walk on the beach. If you’re me, you need walks on the beach from time to time. I’ve had one coming for a few weeks now. It was overdue.

Walks at Ocean Beach are one of the very few rituals in my life. The rules are simple. more...
posted to /life at 5:27pm :: 3 responses
Monday, 21 April 2003
Today my c: drive at work bit the dust.

I was installing Mandrake 9.1 and told it to go ahead and resize XP’s NTFS partition. It did that, but it also corrupted said partition. I actually don’t know for certain that the data loss is Mandrake’s fault — through a stupid mistake of my own that I cannot bring myself to detail here, the partition may have been in a damaged state when I told Mandrake to resize it. But I did not realize that until it was too late. And now I’ll never know.

The machine in question is a brand-spankin’-new Dell that I’ve only had for two months, and I still have my old machine, so I’ve really only lost two months’ worth of data. (Plus, a lot of my work — email included — lives on a server, not on my local drive.) The main loss is in the time it is going to take to rebuild my customized, comfortable Windows environment. No version of Windows has ever been usable out-of-the-box as far as I’m concerned, and XP is no exception. I spent three hours after my usual quitting time tonight installing and configuring software on the new box that our IS department brought over. I figure I’m not about halfway through.

Cherished readers, I hope your Mondays were better than mine.
posted to /life at 9:21pm :: 0 responses
Sunday, 20 April 2003
Today, I observed Easter for the first time in years, accompanying A&B to morning services at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial United Methodist Church. This ain’t church like I’ve ever seen it. Glide is the lifework of the Reverend Cecil Williams, who, over the past four decades, has built one of the most diverse, all-embracing, active congregations in the country. They are ten thousand strong. They are a tremendous force for good, and when you are in their midst, they seem to you unstoppable. more...
posted to /life/bayarea at 9:20pm :: 2 responses
Saturday, 19 April 2003
It’s all about baseball: April’s not even past us yet, and I’ve already taken in a National League game and an American League game. Today my afternoon consisted of beautiful sunshine, hot dogs, beer, a large soft pretzel with mustard, and a spanking of the Texas Rangers by the Oakland Athletics, 12-2.

I’d really like to be a hardcore A’s fan, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. Nearly every game they play is marred by the designated hitter rule, one of the foulest creations known to man. Interestingly enough, there is an entire Web site devoted to abolishing the DH, but in reality, that will never happen as long as there is a players’ union. Here’s a bit of irony: History’s first designated hitter can’t believe the rule is still in place.
posted to /life at 4:19pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 07 April 2003
Progress (?): There was a time in my life when I would have been horribly upset if a coworker’s reaction to a new shirt of mine was, “Oh, shit!” When it happened today, however, I just beamed.
posted to /life at 11:07pm :: 2 responses
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