Long and Lost

It appears that my old high school friend, D.S., is coming to town. I haven’t seen him in a while, perhaps two point five years in fact, when he threw himself a goodbye party at a little bar near Canal Street, a stone’s throw from where I used to work and smell the collapse of the Twin Towers daily. He moved to Berlin, which was not an untoward move.
Alas, his return (or not) comes at a time when I feel very much without many of my old friends and colleagues. There are so many people who I once “hung out” with, sat with, drank with, movied with, talked with, commiserated with and they are all alive, thankfully, living their actions in good order. But I have to say that time has put a bridge between me and them and I do miss them, each and every one. Not dramatically or desparately – just plain old miss them.
(I don’t think most people want to admit that they had friends that they don’t see or correspond with anymore because it’s painful to know that this string of (perhaps natural) failures is a precursor to nursing home culture.)
I thought about compiling a list of the individuals who I miss and posting that list here. But then I thought about the categories of “missing” with which I might organize that list. The categories might be something like:

  • Phoned in the past six months
  • Has kids, no longer available
  • Been over three years, no idea
  • Former girlfriend, thankfully
  • Hasn’t called or written me (their fault)
  • Haven’t called or written them (my fault)
  • Lives in another country (Europe)
  • Lives in another country (Canada)
  • Might as well live in another country (California)
  • Went insane
  • Had a falling out with, no love lost
  • Nothing in common but college
  • Emotionally tight but geographically far
  • Common experience under duress, now not
  • Godless heathen
  • Hopeless aristocrat
  • Artist and too busy to meet up
  • Artist and too smart to meet up
  • Artist and too cool to meet up
  • Only does e-mail these days
  • Only does IM these days
  • Won’t remember me
  • Willfully won’t remember me
  • Hopes I never contact them
  • Hopes I do contact them but won’t themselves take the initiative
  • Still in college

The Art of Winning

Although I’ve been relatively pessimistic about the current election and under the assumption that Mr. Bush will win by a narrow margin, I now have a hunch that Kerry and the Democratic National Committee knows more about this than anyone will let on: they will win.
It’s not based on facts, reporting, or punditry, but my hunch that Kerry will win this election is based upon the verbal mudslinging, the tone of each candidate, and the language behind some of their past week’s stumping. Bush is beginning to look weary, and his words about Kerry seem old, tired, and are symptomatic of fearfulness because they engender fear itself. Kerry, on the other hand, looks increasingly resolved, resolute, defiant, and alert.
What’s behind this? My suspicion is that the Democrats actually know that they are ahead by a few percentage points that is not reflected in polls; these points come from the typically disenfranchised voters, the mobile phone set, and the recently registered and angry. And I suspect, as well, that the Republicans right now realize they’re about to lose and are pulling out the punches like never before.
Neither party can actually talk about this publicly for fear of alienating voters and reducing turnout in a seriously close election. But I’ll bet both parties know which way the wind is shifting.
I could be wrong. I hope I’m not.

CrackBerry 7100t

After much hemming and hawing and spitting and scratching, I broke down and bought the newest Blackberry telephone the 7100t from T-Mobile, which is part of the BlackBerry 7100 Series.
For over one year, I thought about purchasing the now famous Treo 600 and looked at all the Treo rumor sites for information about the upcoming Treo 650 that looks very sweet indeed. But I realized that I did not want to spent about $500.00 to continue on with the relatively crappy Sprint PCS network which offers both high cost plans and average customer service. And I didn’t want a telephone that can do everything except wash the dishes because I believe that PDAs are best kept on a tight leash lest they dominate the remaining brain space we all have outside of our cubicles.
The new Blackberry, at $199, is just right. It isn’t for the power-user, the ones who want to stay up all day and night glued to their handheld to see who emailed or imed every few minutes or moments. And the keyboard, which innovatively combines two letters on every key in the small QWERTY keyboard takes some getting used to. It’s easy to hit a wrong key on the thing but I do that anyway on my 18″ keyboard and the last thing I want to do is actually “type” on a phone.
With the brilliant advent of third-party Mac synchronization software for the BlackBerry (which took 14 months to produce, apparently without much thanks to Research in Motion, I can now see all my calendar events, contacts, to do lists, and emails on the same device. (No need for a phone, PDA, or a short-term human memory!) Email comes fast and furious thanks to RIM’s superb email handling service and the phone is small, the way phones should be.
Best yet, surfing on the Web on the device, while slow, is actually possible and the screen resolution combined with a usable scrollwheel on the side is very, well, handy.


Every so often, it’s good to get out of the blog ruts. I’ve found a few new titles, to me, that are fascinating, well designed, and fundamentally far-reaching. But this is the best one of the lot. Published by NYU’s Department of Journalism, The Revealer is a “daily review of religion and the press” and is, well, pure brilliance. Take a look at the slide shows, the crazy long columns of article after article, and the Movable Type-driven categories and you’ll see the future of Web journalism and writing. Only drawback: it ain’t anywhere near Web standards compliant and the code behind it looks like it was built with a shovel, a sledgehammer, and an axe — surely not the tools of the future Web.

Operation Bubbe

A newish (pun intended) organization called Operation Bubbe is attempting to bring folks from other parts of the country to Florida to help Jewish retirees get to the polls on November 2. (The overarching theme of course is that voters in Florida hold the key to our collective political future. Other organizations, like MoveOnPAC, have similarly good plans.)
O.B. asked me to design OperationBubbe.com Online Store | CafePress” href=”http://www.cafepress.com/opbubbe.13786616?zoom=yes#zoom”>a little t-shirt ensignia for them. I’m planning on buying a few of these.

New Music

I’ve been a consumer of a number of very good and very bad musical titles lately. Today I purchased Pinback’s new Summer in Abaddon and without listening to it more than once, I can say it’s a superbly rendered and sung album. Influenced by the likes of The Shins and Superchunk, two favorites, the album is sadly forceful, commanding, and while slightly derivative of bands like Modest Mouse, contemporary in all of its alt-pop glory.
I don’t love Summer, but it’s far better than Killers Hot Fuss, which sounds like it was written to compete with Interpol or at least play on the same stage with them, perhaps during intermission when everyone is smoking outside. Killers is a good name for a band. It’s too bad their “domain” name was taken by very average musicians that are riding the wave of 1980s throwback glory. (Oh, I can’t wait for the new Interpol and Elliott Smith albums to come hither.)


I’m no conspiracist but I do indulge occasionally in reading highly educated pundits make sense of the world through suspcious facts that come together nicely.
I thought I’d take a stab at it myself, since it’s the kind of scary fun that we all love during this Halloween and Election Season and the fact is — with the current administration, anything truly is possible. Note these are only fictional hyper-thoughts about the short-term future of the world and are not gleaned from science, pseudo-science, news headlines or overly caffeinated beverages. Here goes:

  • If Kerry is elected, the administration will allow a nuclear device or series of very large, indefinable explosions to go off in a small city in the United States. This will cause the Government to suspend the transfer of power and martial law will go into effect. Bush will stay in office for a long period of time while the country decides what to do.
  • If Bush is elected, the Government will find that Iran has built up to ten nuclear warheads, all of which could be readied against Western allies. With a large number of troops already in and around Iraq, a memo will be publicly leaked that calls for plans to invade Iran in early 2005. A draft will soon become necessary and Congress will authorize it. Bush, though he stated there will be no draft, will have his politically dry hands tied and young men and women will be called upon to fight in the hundreds of thousands in the Middle East.
  • After Bush is elected, the stock market will take a precipitous fall in February, sending the economy into a deep recession. The twin causes are the European, Asian, and Saudi pull-out of investments in the United States and the decline in profits being taken by American companies who no longer sense their privilege in world markets. It will make the crash of 2000 look like a cough. The new Bush administration will need to lay out a massive plan for saving the U.S. which will include reforming four-year presidential limits, collapsing domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, and expanding Federal work programs while deporting illegal foreigners to save American jobs.
  • If Kerry is elected, a huge cyber-attack will be set off in early 2005, propagated by Texan Republicans through back-channel Russian computer systems. The attack, which could be either a trojan horse, virus, or something entirely new, would cripple U.S. government and business connections, supply chains, and communications and send the economy into a spiral. The Internet could no longer at all be relied upon, emails would be confiscated by the government, and online privacy will no longer be a right. Telephony and information technology generally will become artifacts of the past and the U.S.P.S. will need to govern (paper) communications. After four disastrous economic years, in 2008 Arnold Schwarzenegger will be elected to the highest office to tame the electronic wolves.


Walking my daughter to school every day takes about one half an hour up and back. During that time, I get to listen to the screeching of car brakes, the rumble of the subway underground, the scraping of truck tires along the road, and the pounding of fearful hearts at rush hour. I’m privy to listening to the roar and rumble of the commuting crowd, the sneak previews of music coming through someone’s iPod, and the generous “sharing” of typically crap music coming out of massive bass speakers lodged in tiny Honda Civics.
Then I’ll hear, above the din, my daughter say something like this: “Dad, do you sil exot stracked streekly cranst?” And then I’ll ask her to repeat it and then repeat it again until I’m two inches away and I’ll get it and answer her.
Mayor Bloomberg has recently made noise pollution an important facet of his means of cleaning up New York City, and I’m all for it. The car alarms, however, are barely the problem. It’s the shiftless sounds pouring off the street, off the buildings, and into people’s ears that is deafening.
I think about what it would be like to not hear anything and whether the perennial noise in my ears would be stoned by the silence.

Win on Mac

With the purchase of the newest version of Microsoft Office Professional, I fearfully installed Virtual PC for Mac today.
It was absolutely a piece of cake. Microsoft in its infinite wisdom (and its massive advertising campaign in “creative” publications and websites) has made it very easy to install a full-blown Windows XP Professional operating system on a Mac. The company bought the software only recently but they’ve reconfigured it to run very smoothly and quietly for those unaccustomed to “Start” menus, green grass and white clouds, and strange iconography in the system tray.
A few notes:

  • While I feel some ambivalence about supporting Microsoft and their generally crappy software, as a Web design guy, I really feel obligated to ensure that what I’m designing is being properly seen and read by the 90% of those out there. I do have a laptop that I use for checking sites out in Windows but having the system on my Mac creates a greater obligation for me to ensure compatibility, legibility, and design and standards compliance.
  • The first thing I did when I saw the Start screen was expand the window to fill up the entire frame. I knew that this would give me the full-on feeling of being in a Windows environment and I must say, it felt like I was being strangled by a ghost in glasses. I quickly figured out how to minimize the Windows window and then quit the operating system completely.
  • The second thing I did was to download Firefox, which is quickly becoming the safest and fastest way to view websites with Windows. It’s installed and I’ll probably use it as my second browser.
  • I imagine I won’t actually use Viritual PC for Mac very much. While it automatically creates a relatively safe connection to the Internet through the Mac and it prints documents perfectly through existing Mac driver software, it is nicety, not necessity, informing my decision to use Windows on my Mac.