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Monday, 3 May - link


MayDay'sThe day between April and May 2004 took me from Oakland to San Francisco to Los Gatos to Oakland to Marin. Good friends, varied custom and wide driving around this beloved Bay.
May 2004 I asked if I could cook for Bettina, Willem and Larry. I roasted two chickens, baked Mom's cuban sweet potatoes and mixed a salad with carrot-ginger dressing. I experimented with an oven rack - the chicken breasts were cooked to moist perfection, and then legs were completely raw. Ooops - they were tolerant people though.

I sped to finish Free Culture before I went over there for dinner. It wasn't hard - it was an engaging read, and I felt like sending copies to each and every friend I have who is making media. Using video and musical tools to tell stories has been expensive; the copyright system was designed to police that. Now anyone with a modern computer can make videos or music, and spread them widely. Should normal folks be policed by their software, with rules set by media barons, to keep them on the right side of the law? Stuff like "Digital Rights Management" takes all the gray area out of personal, moral decisions on copyright and sharing media, and the gray area is where I do most of my best work. Think "region-encoding on steroids." I'm not excited to see these technologies in place; I hope this book can help spur a deeper dialog with more participants.

But this was the weekend - dinner's conversation had more to do with casual culture and life details not anything revolving around the collapse of populist culture in the face of corporate clamp-downs on online personal media sharing.

May 2004 Julian Dibbell was in town, just before departing on his cross-country drive. He chronicled his time travelling on PlayMoney, referring to Flying J, like the truck-stop. Here, Julian and I pose with Willem, wearing a plastic frog bib that caught all his spilled food for recycling.

He was at dinner, along with Erik Davis. Both of them are writers; Erik is working on a range of books and projects, studying music, architecture and technology. Fun work! It puts him in touch with a broad range of what the world has to offer.

May 2004 I left their house Saturday May 1, to drive down to visit Brenda, in the forested mountains above Silicon Valley. Northern California spread around me on the either side.
May 2004 So I took photos over the valleys and soft contoured hills. Howard once told me these mountains were sculpted so round by 50,000 years of gophers chewing up the earth and rock. I like to run a fast-motion video of that in my mind, busy chewing rodent teeth as I stare at the buxom hills.
May 2004 Brenda holds a birch rod up to salute the un-tied Maypole.
May 2004 My first Beltane, MayPole celebrating on MayDay - old Western spiritual tradition to celebrate the coming of summer, by circling and intertwining the red and white strands. The red stands for blood, and the white stands for semen. I hope to see those comingling in my year ahead, I said. Watch that generative urge, Brenda cautioned.
May 2004 From Brenda's, I stopped by Chris and Jen's house for a BBQ with naked children playing in a plastic pool. Here a clothed Clementine sits on Chris's knee, as the two of them regard friend Armand.

While I was there, my brother called. He lives in London, but he was on a speedy surprise trip to the Bay Area. Was I free for dinner? My expression receiving that call was probably much like Clementine's here.

May 2004 From Chris and Jen's I went to visit Howard in Marin; he was in the company of a few Aula veterans visiting from Finland: Ulla, Jyri and Alexi, here standing in Howard's yard. Howard is holding up a branch of the plum tree that Brenda gave him to plant many years back.
May 2004 Jyri and Ulla stand at the top point of Coyote Ridge, near Mount Tamalpais, in the midst of a two hour hike, talking about the mobile lifestyle, noodles fashioned from beef in Ulan Bator, Jyri's grandfather the painter and local flora and fauna.
May 2004 After a hike in Marin and dinner with Judy at the delicious First Crush in Mill Valley, I joined my brother at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco. He likes to meet and talk in noisy places. I find that odd sometimes.

This picture was taken the next day, at my house in Oakland, where I finally ended up Saturday night after wide wandering. It was nice of him to drop by; I gave him an extended show & tell from my archives.

Posted on 3 May 2004 : 23:51 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.