Bear Droppings
Thursday, August 28, 2003
New Books
I don't know about you but I think I have already heard more than enough about Al Franken's new book Poo and the Poopoo Heads Who Poo Poo or something like that. Not that I thought Fox networks recent lawsuit was really anything more than the best publicity stunt of Hollywood or SNL could only dream of, intential or not. But I just simply haven't found him funny and much like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Moore, shouldn't his 15 minutes be up?
Monday, August 25, 2003
Why I Support Digital Copies...
Last year I bought a couple of Death Cab for Cutie albums and enjoyed them both but specifically the photo album is my favorite and I often have played it on my regular trips to Phoenix. I loaned a friend my car one weekend and now the cd has gone missing, I don't blame them, it may well have been missing beforehand and I hadn't noticed, regardless now I am without my favorite album. Thankfully I had made a copy to my computer and I can reproduce the album on cd and hear my favorite tracks whenever I like.

In a word why I support no DRM and digital copies flexiblity, I bought the album, I enjoyed it, lost it and can still enjoy it.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
I have been hanging out on #joiito a bit and hearing about the power and simplicity of this new LOAF standard. For a non-techie I have been very impressed by the ease of use and accessability for non-geeks. I think that LOAF reflects the power of things to come for the internet. For more information you might check the wiki.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
CNN has a write up on the new Zevon album. (Thanks Scully)
What happens when you treat your customers like thieves?


I just hope the RIAA and their members are listening (but don't expect it). I know my recent interest in Indie groups is directly related to their practices, and well finding out about some cool groups too.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Poetry Wednesday
A poem to reflect the skies I have been seeing of late...

To the Evening Star
Star that bringest home the bee,
And sett'st the weary labourer free!
If any star shed peace, 'tis thou
That send'st it from above,
Appearing when Heaven's breath and brow
Are sweet as hers we love.

Come to the luxuriant skies,
Whilst the landscape's odours rise,
Whilst far-off lowing herds are heard
And songs when toil is done,
From cottages whose smoke unstirr'd
Curls yellow in the sun.

Star of love's soft interviews,
Parted lovers on thee muse;
Their remembrancer in Heaven
Of thrilling vows thou art,
Too delicious to be riven
By absence from the heart.
- T. Campbell

Useful Fools has a timeline on the gas shortage in Phoenix that is rather revealing.
Haven't been to a show in a long time, but a while back a blogger who shall remain nameless (but not linkless) introduced me to Death Cab for Cutie. Last night I discovered that they will be in Phoenix in November, a time of the year that qualifies as tolerable on the heat index. I guess I'll be making a road trip...
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Don't know much about the stock market but I know this...
Short SCO as fast as you can, you will thank me later.
Monday, August 18, 2003
I sit up after the work shift has passed, checking an album due out soon of my favorite musician, his last album due to cancer. Hope it's release had been pushed up, but sadden it hasn't. I sit and listen to his words in the short Amazon clips and they strike me because I know this album is the last of his works I'll hear new. The songs also serve to remind me a friend at whose recent birthday and my promise that this album would be the said present for them. Much like the artists time is short and of similar cause frankly I have known the end has been coming and I still am not prepared for it. Oldest of friends I was bestman at his wedding between him and Reemul it's been a year of sadness at the time same time I have seen some amazing things I don't regret them in the least. Maybe it's the need for sleep speaking but it seems wrong to lose such friends so young, but then nothing is promised in this life no? Cherish those friends, forgive our faults, live for it passes all too quick, as I have seen lately far more than I'd like.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Here I sit late at night, 3:35am or so to be precise,
enjoying the quiet solitude of the hotel after the
audit. For the moment the audit is fairly easy and
went generally well for my first one unaided by my
trainer. *knocks on wood* It will get more complex as
the rest comes online credit cards, gift shop,
restaurant, etc. For the moment I can pause to enjoy
the cool breezes outside, with a close ear for the
phone, alittle reading, and pondering of writing
(laptop will be with me at the office I think). As I
enjoy the breeze and starry, clear night I couldn't
help but remember the hot, muggy August nights in DC.
I enjoy the quiet and peace of the night sky. Not my
dream job, but you know I can't really complain
either, I know my path and I'll get there. Good night,
back to watching stars.
Friday, August 15, 2003
By now alot of people on the web have seen the pictures of the earth at night and how much light you can see from human development, I don't know that this is accurate, but it looks like it might be of what that map would have looked like last night.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Special Note to New Yorkers
If the power outage continues too much longer it will be night, while the night continues on the sky will get completely dark, do not panic, this is normal. In addition to the darkness you will notice thousand of pinpricks of light across the sky, these are called stars, they are like our sun but much, much farther away. Take a moment to enjoy the sky, in parts other than New York and cities, these stars are a normal part of the night.

The Management
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Arizona FlashMobs
What do you know the AZ Republic wrote an article on the group and I was quoted, though unidentifed
"The first rule of flash mobs is don't talk about flash mobs,"
Yes I break that rule here often, but there has to be an exception to the rule no?
Happy Left Hander Day
I always forget this day, what do I get a cake, hmmm nope. a free beer? nope. anything? nope. No wonder I never remember this day.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Back at the Grind...well sort of
Today was the first real day of work at the new job, we spent most of the day going through computer training and the usual paperwork. It wasn't bad, actually nice to get out and have something to do, the coworkers have a sense of humor and it looks like a good group to work with. Granted because I work nights I won't see them much, but let's just ignore that. Right now we are going through the typical last minute are we going to open fun, it's amazing how much construction always gets accomplished at this phase. Tomorrow I start training for the audit, guests or not (we are supposed to have few), meaning that I am making the final push into becoming a Night Owl. The only real major disappointment is a part-time gig may make me shave the beard at least for a few months until I am back on an even keel. I realized I have had it for 4 years almost and it's just part of me, one I'd hate to lose, I know it's temporary but bothers me nevertheless.
Monday, August 11, 2003
From Because the Regular Alphabet Would be just Way too Confusing file
In an election that threatens to rewrite politics and reduce the term in office of Gov. Gray Davis, the lesson of the day Monday was that the alphabet begins with the letter "R," as in recall.

State election officials randomly drew letters to determine the order of the recall ballot that could be choked with nearly 200 candidates for the special Oct. 7 election.
- NBC Affliate

You know though people complained about a confusing ballot in Florida, wait until people get into the polls and see this. Every time I pause and think, okay now I know the California can't get any more crazy, it does. There will be at leasta court challenge after the election I bet, maybe two or three.
Saturday, August 09, 2003
You know I don't think Davis wants to be Govenor for very long, but he seems to be ready to enjoy the privilleges as long as he can.
Friday, August 08, 2003
German brewers are reassuring thirsty consumers there is no imminent danger of beer running out despite rumours that surging demand in the summer heat has exceeded the supply.(Reuters)

Thank goodness, I was worried!
Sleep Schedule
I begin the big push over to nights this weekend for the new job, that's right I had mentioned the new job before but I'll be working the night shift which has the advantages of peace and quiet generally, but the downside is you sleep when the rest of the world is running around doing stuff. Start tonight staying up until 3am, tomorrow night 4/5am and Sunday 6am or so. I have done it before so I know what to expect but the toughest part is always the establishing a new schedule kinda like jet-lag, but without going anywhere. We had our training Wednesday it went well, nothing too surprising, but since it's a brand new resort there will be lost of little bugs we will be working out for the first few weeks. It should be entertaining and frankly after 2 months off I look forward to working again.
Thursday, August 07, 2003
Summer nights
The night sky is a live,
with flashes of brilliance from the distance,
and the echo of distant thunder.
Flagstaff Flash Mob
Heard that a Flagstaff Flash Mob may be forming for Northern Arizona, if you are interested, as it seems some folks dropping by may be you should email, it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off in a small town. Good Luck!

Afterthought - If they succeed I'll be eating my words I suppose, but that wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Poetry Wednesday
A work in progress...

Afternoon Before the Art Show
Dry, sweet pine aroma fills the air,
the sun beats down in the July afternoon,
Hopi wander to and fro
Preparing again for the big art show.
Some with simple tables and blankets to display their wares,
Others fancy wall boards and artistic displays
confessing to make a tohanni.
- Thomas Vincent

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Flash Mob and the Media
Interesting debate has flared up on a Flash Mob list tonight with a group that is going live with it's first event. The organizer announced the details and offered the press a contact method. The organizer's logic is by outreaching to the media he is controling the interaction and hoping it will be more productive to the Mob.

There was a swift reaction I could completely relate to as one group member noted "Press releases? Advance warnings to the press? I must have the wrong idea about the goal of a flashmob. I think the very nature of the mob relies on befuddling the public in the name of performance art or social jamming or whatever." A couple of the group members were inclined to immediately log off.

The group member also said "Promotion negates impact, unless your goal is trend recognition." I know for me it's true, I write these articles because I am interested in the social impact of technology/culture trends like this, but I don't consider it promotion due to the low level of traffic to the site. But it cuts to the point of the concept press contact is a promotion that will impact the event, the random and surprise factor is gone, which is an important point.

The event organizer feels bad that the issue has caused problems. I don't know the person but they seem very responsible, trying to contact the staff of the meeting points, checked local laws, and outreach to the media. But in the process of being responsible, they are spoiling the random, almost anarchist bend of the event making it into a quirky happy hour event.

In the end using a Yahoo group or just emailing some friends, contacting the media or not, really doesn't matter for the trends success. If you read the write ups of the first 2-3 Mobs in New York or the first one in San Francisco there was a magic to them, a childlike sense of fun that inspired the movement. I think the Mobs that find a way to retain this sense of play will be successful and not just a fad.
Interesting article on why someone infringes
Monday, August 04, 2003
I Watch the Stars
I watch the stars, one of the seemingly little things, that you realize was a big one when I returned to Arizona. I am not complaining, but I just returned to my cabin and leaned against the car and saw triple or easily more stars while looking straight up than an entire sky in DC on the best of nights.

I watch the stars, I got to see two shooting stars in the ten minutes I spent outside before returning to the cabin. The Milky Way suggested it's mysteries to me while I am in town, but I know the view out of town is far more revealing. A good friend visited me 3 months ago and I took him out to a great vista, it was awe inspiring, but most clear nights are here.

I watch the stars, it reminds me why I am here, and what I can become.

I watch the stars...
Congrats to Renee for being our 15,000 visitor. So that means I roughly get the same amount of hits in a year and half as some famous bloggers get in an afternoon, but it's different because I value everyone who stops in looking for Flash Mobs, the latest news on Traficant, or the newest rant. Remember..."Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." - Napoleon Bonaparte
I may have learned the reason why Flash Mobs began in New York
"This is just the sort of thing that happens when you forbid New York to smoke."- NY Times

From the Tell Me They Are Not Serious File
Doing your civic duty could become much more lucrative under an initiative filed Wednesday that seeks to turn Arizona elections into a statewide game of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

The initiative, filed by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Osterloh of Tucson, would reward one lucky voter with $1 million from the state Lottery every two years.

"We're rewarding patriotism," said Osterloh, who's aiming for the November 2004 ballot. "The idea behind this is to increase voter participation from well below 50 percent to above 90 percent." - AZ Republic
Idiots. It's a Civic Duty not a Publishers Clearinghouse contest. (Thanks to Edward and Useful Fools)
Saturday, August 02, 2003
Flash Mobs: From Viral Movement to Social Movement
In the beginning of the Flash Mob idea it was very much a social elite thing, not in the sense that the event was really exclusive, but rather that in order to get an
invite you needed to know who to ask or where to look. But as the idea has grow and across the country and the globe the social rules for participating are
changing in ways that will potentially have long term consequences for the concept.

As the idea has spread people have looked to use different tools already off the shelf to maintain contact most clear exampled at Yahoo Groups, but the more technical astute have formed websites. But within these established listservs or sites people are started to become more social asking one another more personal
details, name, location, who they are. Not that this is bad or inherently wrong, it's how people are used to communicating within these groups, but in doing so they
take away the anonymity of the Mob. Earlier this week on one of these listservs to which I had signed up someone asked these very identity questions to
which I could help but reply in have joking/half serious thought is the First Rule of Flash Mobs is don't talk about Flash mobs. Not that the idea shouldn't be mentioned to other people of course, but rather that too much information about one another would ruin the event. Elizabeth Spears, noted this on Gawker just the day after in faux elitism that it was ruining the hipster uniqueness of the event. All this indicate a change from a viral, cool underground movement to mass movement, not that it is bad, it just means specific consequences to the behavior.

One of these consequences of just being a listserv rather than informal word of mouth event is that the more institutionalized structure makes it easier for
formal media organizations and law enforcement officials to monitor and be prepared for such events as they occur. The average advance time for these
announcement is generally 2-3 days which is plenty of time for reporters and police to be prepared and waiting when the event occurs or rather to make sure it is not a spontaneous mob at all but a predicted social affair. Granted those walking by it may seem like a spontaneous and unusual event as was noted in reports in the Minneapolis mob, but as Mobs events become more and more publicized they will seem less and less unusual to the general public.

Between these factors I suspect that the dispersed population base and the attention of the media will kill most of the active Yahoo groups over the next 6
months to a year as people realize they can't do an event with secret planning on a public site, it will become fad and pass out of popularity for the most part, I continue to think that urban centers will continue to have these events, but they will pass from
a structured listserv back to a more word of mouth event in order to survive. If they do at all.

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