Sunday, July 30, 2006

I'm a blogger. Bloggers blog.

The Pew Internet and American Life project releases a new report on blogging in the U.S.

Burrito city

My friend Todd recently took me to Green Chile Kitchen, a relatively new burrito joint at Fulton and Baker that emphasizes local, organic ingredients. It has a nice decor and attracts a friendly crowd.

BTW there seems to be an explosion of websites rating the burritos of San Francisco. My favorite is Burrito Eater.

Thanks guys for the public service.

You are the angel glow that lights a star

Introducing LuckyVoice, a super mod karaoke bar in London, with a fun website.

TED Talks

TED has been posting some great videos from this year's conference. Strongly recommended: Majora Carter, founder of Sustainability South Bronx, and Joshua Prince-Ramus, the architect of the Seattle Public Library.

Cheeseholiday


My friend Cheeseholiday has taken some amazing photos recently. A great way to see the world when you can't leave your desk.

The Dictionary of Sustainable Management

Fantastic. A project of the Presidio School of Management.

Things to be happy about: Walzwerk

A cozy and kooky little East German restaurant, in San Francisco.

Stephen Mitchell and Byron Katie

Stephen Mitchell is a Bay Area writer who has done some poetic and illuminating translations of the Tao Te Ching, the New Testament, and other major spiritual texts. His translations of Rilke's poetry are gorgeous—often said to be better than the originals.

I recently became aware of Mitchell's wife, Byron Katie, whose writing is also wonderfully good company. Katie is a recovered addict, now life coach. She has summarized her method for getting through conflict in a simple, practical book called Loving What Is.

Byron's 4 Questions are hands-down the best way I've found for sleeping peacefully when anger, confusion, or indecision slow me down. Compared to the costs of almost any other "therapy" out there, the $25 investment in the book is pretty cheap.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On desire

I thought that Slavoj Zizek was brilliant—brilliant!—when I was in college. And he probably still is. But I can't read his books cover to cover anymore. I left lit crit and philosophy behind a long time ago, and now I find the jargon impenetrable.

However, I couldn't resist paging through his latest book The Parallax View looking for gold nuggets. He writes for several pages about the scene in Wild at Heart where Willem Dafoe traps Laura Dern in the back room of a motel. Tucked away in the middle of his review is the observation that "As Lacan put it, desire is mostly experienced as that which I do not want."

Those words have stuck with me this week. Food for thought.

On love

I am a huge fan of the movie A Room with a View. I just read the novel for the first time. Forster's writing is as wonderful as ever:

"But Lucy had developed since spring. That is to say, she was now better able to stifle the emotions of which the conventions and the world disapprove... Love felt and returned, love which our bodies exact and our hearts have transfigured, love which is the most real thing we shall ever meet, reappeared now as the world's enemy and she must stifle it."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Things to be happy about: A Suitable Boy

A deeply satisfying novel from Vikram Seth set in mid twentieth-century India.

The science of trust

A recent Cary Tennis column in Salon linked to this academic article on building and rebuilding trust. It's a quick read, and one of the most common-sense, directive frameworks I've seen for companies looking to build strong relationships with their customers.

Too darn hot

Yesterday, the temperature in my neighborhood in San Francisco reached 95 degrees. (Our typical weather this time of year is high-60s.) I'd be happier about putting on flip-flops and heading for the beach today if I didn't know that the hot weather here and across the world this summer is clearly due to global warming.

For anyone looking to get up to speed quickly on climate change, I strongly recommend Tim Flannery's recent book The Weather Makers. Flannery goes broader and deeper than the recent Al Gore movie—with more detail on the hard science, as well as potential solutions. Frightening, but essential reading.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The hazards of the new online collectivism

Jaron Lanier recently posted a provocative essay on Edge.org, critiquing digital "hive" communities and aggregators like Wikipedia and Google News (two sites I use every day).

From the essay, tilted "Digital Maoism": "The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots."

And later: "The hive mind should be thought of as a tool. Empowering the collective does not empower individuals — just the reverse is true."

Things to be happy about: Paul Curreri

Paul is a country blues singer and guitarist who lives in Charlotteville, Virginia. He is also a force of nature—with enough talent, unexpected wisdom, and emotional generosity to warm a thousand hearts.

Paul's first album that got me hooked was "Songs for Devon Sproule"—dedicated to his fellow folk singer and now wife.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

First things

I started this blog to add a little joy to your day, and to save you time finding things that might be useful.