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 2018 (!) could be the year this blog rises from its own ashes. Stay tuned!

Friday, 17 February 2006
  • ITEM: I’ve always thought that Segways are kinda ridiculous and would only be worthwhile if we actually tore down and rebuilt our cities to take proper advantage of them. Now Segway inventor Dean Kamen is back with a couple of ideas that could very definitely change the world.
  • ITEM: Homeland Security cop-thugs are protecting us all from … pornography.
  • ITEM: Homeland Security cop-thugs are also interested in the stickers you put on your car.
  • ITEM: Here’s a shocker: Wal-Mart’s CEO, H. Lee Scott Jr., is kind of an asshole.
  • ITEM: is without a doubt the best “what’s new and/or interesting on the Web” resource I’ve yet encountered.
posted to /misc/items at 2:17pm :: 0 responses
Thursday, 16 February 2006
Six years ago today, Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll published what I still feel is the finest single newspaper column ever. I’ve kept a copy tacked to the wall of my cubicle at work ever since, and when I am feeling down, I often read it for a nice little shot of pronoia. I mean, my socks are dry. What more is there?
posted to /misc at 4:16pm :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 14 February 2006
Ten years ago (!) yesterday, my day started off as usual: I rose from my twin-sized bed in a large house on MLK in Berkeley; I donned my bathrobe, walked downstairs, and grabbed my copy of the Chronicle, which I subscribed to back then, the Web having not really taken off yet as a primary means of gathering one’s news. It’s weird, now, thinking back to days when the dead-trees version of the paper was something I not only paid for but looked forward to each morning. How alien!

Anyway, in 1996 local legend Herb Caen was still alive, still writing the best three-dot column anywhere. His need for more “items” was insatiable, and one time, I happened upon something that seemed item-worthy, so I sent it in. And on that splendid Tuesday morning ten years ago, I damn near had a heart attack when I saw my name down there at the very end of the column. My item had made the cut!

I’ve been thinking about making some changes to, and recalling this happy little episode has given me an idea. Coming soon to the mahna mahblog: ITEMS. Stay tuned!
posted to /misc at 4:14pm :: 1 response
Wednesday, 02 November 2005
Today Chronicle columnist and fellow Oaklander Jon Carroll wrote:
About 10 years ago I realized that my idea of reality was changing. It was as though I were in a room, an ordinary square room with a sofa and a table and floor lamp, and slowly all the edges began separating. Slowly the walls pulled away from the floor and the ceiling, and the walls pulled away from each other. I could see something between the cracks.

For want of a better word, I called the space outside the walls “sky.”
The rest of the piece is definitely worth reading. I think I know what Carroll is talking about: A couple of years ago now, I was sitting in a room of my own when there was suddenly a fantastic explosion that blew the walls out about three feet, and the sky just poured in. Everything has been different since then. In my happy moments, I am literally overwhelmed by the beauty of said sky, which I had never even noticed before.
posted to /misc at 4:02pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 10 October 2005
PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.”

[spotted at robot wisdom]
posted to /misc at 10:10am :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 20 September 2005
I remember reading this Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker back in 2000, and am glad to see it up on Gladwell’s site, since the New Yorker doesn’t put their archives up on the Web. I think that every woman on the Pill should give this a read. Synopsis: The Pill’s chief designer didn’t know as much about how women’s bodies “should” work as he thought he did. Result: Uncertain, but there’s a lot of interesting info in here that I’d imagine you’d be interested in if you are putting a chemical into your body every day that affects your reproductive system. There’s also some discussion of the article over at MetaFilter, where I found the link today.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Three cheers for rubbers and diaphragms!
posted to /misc at 3:20pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 05 August 2005
Stockholm UndergroundHere’s an amazing collection of photos from subway stations around the world, highlighting some remarkable architecture and public art. Sweet Jesus, I’ve gotta go to Stockholm!

[been meaning to post this for a while; I’ve forgotten how I found it…]
posted to /misc at 10:05am :: 3 responses
Tuesday, 02 August 2005
We are extremely lucky to live in a part of the world where the water that flows from the tap is potable. (I have a friend in India who’s only known that luxury during the years she lived here.) This fantastic op-ed at the New York Times reminds us that bottled water, the trendy alternative so many of us adore, is just plain evil. My brother, a civil engineer who knows a thing or two about what happens to our tap water in this country, told me years ago how big a crock bottled water is, and gave me this fantastic tip: If you don’t like the way your tap water tastes, let it settle in a refrigerated, glass jar. And as for any concerns you have that your tap water ain’t safe to drink, here’s the scoop: It’s very likely safer than that designer H2O you’re paying too much for.

[yep, spotted at Boing Boing; use “gatsby” / “daisy” at the Times if you need credentials, and be sure to catch the piece before it disappears behind their darned wall]
posted to /misc at 2:02pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 15 July 2005
This has been making the rounds the last couple of days, but perhaps you have not seen it: La Pâte à Son is an amazing, goofy, wack-ass music making machine that will gobble up a whole bunch of your time if you’re not careful. (Shockwave required.)
posted to /misc at 1:15pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 11 July 2005
Here we have a list of the “Leatherman Micra, and I have to admit that thing looks pretty damned sweet, but I am fond of my smaller, simpler Swiss-Teck Utili-Key. It’s saved my butt more than once. Check.
  • $150+ jeans. Not $150, no. But I have spent three figures on a pair of jeans, and it was worth it.
  • $200+ dress shoes. Again, no. I have nice dress shoes, but they didn’t have the inflated price tag that would make me a true winner.
  • 300-thread-count cotton sheets. No. But I did buy a new down comforter just yesterday. The bed gets the attention it needs.
  • The Joy of Cooking. Yes. A copy liberated from my ex! Check.
  • [There’s also J-Walk Blog.]
    posted to /misc at 12:11pm :: 1 response
    Thursday, 21 April 2005
    I’ve been trying to procure a copy of The Inform Designer’s Manual for a while. The book has been out of print since 2001. The big online used book shops don’t have copies. So I thought I was out of luck until I happened upon this listing at, which states that new copies are available through them via print-on-demand. The listing clearly states that the order could take up to four weeks to fill, which seems odd, but I went ahead and ordered anyway, on March 9. The site let me know that print-on-demand orders cannot be canceled, but that no credit card charge is made until the book ships. more...
    posted to /misc at 6:21pm :: 2 responses
    Thursday, 31 March 2005
    “I imagined if I’d assume the responsibility for unleashing the third World War — and I said, no, I wouldn’t.”
    Ever heard of Stanislav Petrov? Nearly 22 years ago, his job was to watch a screen for signs of an American attack on the Soviet Union, and press a big red button to launch a nuclear counterstrike if necessary. Late one night, the screen lit up. But Petrov didn’t push the button.

    [spotted at]
    posted to /misc at 2:31pm :: 0 responses
    Wednesday, 02 March 2005
    Hong Kong towerIt’s been a while since I’ve encountered a photoblog that stopped me in my tracks. The images of Hong Kong appearing at overshadowed have me totally mesmerized. The city, bathed in artificial light on a foggy night, looks like a cleaner, saner version of Blade Runner’s “Los Angeles 2019.” And the subway shots! Don’t even get me started about the subway shots!

    [thanks to the_lucky_duck for the link]
    posted to /misc at 4:02pm :: 1 response
    Thursday, 24 February 2005
    • Whether you are on a hiking trip, day trip, athletic event, between classes, or at a board meeting, the BananaBunker will keep your fruit safe until you are ready to snack.
    • The Banana Guard currently comes in 9 colours, available online: Ravishing Red, Outrageous Orange, Mellow Yellow, Sublime Green, Skyhigh Blue, Brilliant Blue, Passionate Purple, Pretty in Pink, Glow in the Dark.
    • Our BanaBox is the perfect second skin for your bananas. Your days of worrying about smashed bananas in your bag are over.
    Who volunteers to write a comparitive review of these products? Anybody?
    posted to /misc at 3:24pm :: 4 responses
    Friday, 18 February 2005
    I usually love it when an Adam Gopnik piece shows up in The New Yorker. But a coupla issues back, Gopnik chose to rant about the new street signs popping up around New York. His first complaints make him sound like a bitter old copyeditor:
    [The new signs] name the street that runs beneath them (and therefore, of course, announce to drivers the street they may want to turn onto), and they do this loudly and with unfortunate abbreviations. Over the intersection of Park Avenue and Eighty-sixth Street, for instance, there is now a long green sign proclaiming “Park Av,” with no period. A couple of blocks east, it gets worse: the green sign rubbernecks its way out into the middle of the street and announces “3Av.” This keeps up (2Av, 1Av) until 86St runs, at last, into East End Av. more...
    posted to /misc at 11:18am :: 3 responses
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