Archive for 2009

Baking in Your Kitchen in Oakland or Berkeley?

I’d like to teach a class with the Institute of Urban Homesteading. To do to the class, I need a space in or around Oakland that can handle a bunch of people playing with bread dough. Can I use your kitchen? If you have a large oven and some space in or near the kitchen, I’d gladly pay you and/or have you attend the class. Call me!

Here is the tentative class description:
Bread in the Oven
3 hour weekday evening class
Cost $30-50 plus $5 supply fee to be paid on day of class

The focus in this class is making an excellent French bread with just a few minutes of effort. Making bread is easy. It doesn’t have to take a long time or be a lot of work. You can make fantastic bread every day or every week for well under a dollar a loaf with less than 10 minutes of effort including cleanup! We will talk about instant yeast and sourdough, refrigerated dough, crust, crumb shaping, ammendments, the chemistry and biology of bread, and the thousands of varieties of this staple food. Once you have the foundations, you’ll see bread recipes as suggestions instead of steps to be followed. The sky is the limit! We will eat and bring home what we make in class.

How to Control Someone’s Computer Remotely

I regularly take control of the computers of friends and relatives to help them resolve computer problems. It’s just so much easier SEEING the problem than having it described to you.

Easiest method: Team Viewer noncommercial version

Your friend must be at their computer to help log you in. Team Viewer relies on VNC and VNC Single-click code. The Team Viewer people are running a Repeater and a pretty interface.

Tell your friend:

  1. go to
  2. click on “Start Customer Module”
  3. download and run it
  4. When it says “please tell your partner the following ID to connect to you desktop” tell them the numbers shown

What you have to do:

  1. go to
  2. click on “Start full version”
  3. download and run it (you don’t have to install it… follow the prompts)
  4. Where it says “Create Session”, type in the ID that your friend tells you
  5. then type in the password your friend tells you
  6. Now, you HAVE THE POWER! You can control their PC :-)

On Job Hunting

There’s a million things I can’t do. But what bugs me is that there’s a million things I could do given the chance. I feel pigeonholed by my work history.


The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Video game rivalries can be thrilling!

And wow, Billy Mitchell is really made out to be a jerk. Though I read some discussion notes on Wikipedia about how some parts of that stress was manufactured by the director with editing. 2 points being that we never see Billy playing even though he says how important it is to play in public, and that we never see Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe speaking to one another except for a single jab that Billy makes. It gives Billy this total jerk feel. Though I read that they do speak to one another at events.  Heh, you can even buy a “Billy Mitchell is a jerk” T-Shirt.

Tropic Thunder


The Hangover

Fun :-)


When I first watched Superbad, I thought it was fun and cute. But I recognize now that it is an iconic film. I put it in the rarefied company of films like  Napoleon Dynamite, Revenge of the Nerds, Real Genius, and Breakfast Club.

I have no graphic design sense

I’ve been fiddling with my blog format for as long as I’ve had a blog. I keep thinking that I’ll develop some sense for how to make a nice layout. I haven’t. I won’t. That is sad. I should move on.

So what should it look like? Or is it fine how it is?

Driveway Railing by David Booth 2009

Charlotte and I were wandering around the October 17th San Francisco Open Studios. We stopped at several artists’ studios and Charlotte found many orange and bumpy paintings to admire (she has a thing for orange and bumpy, but that’s a story for another time). At Fort Mason we found ourselves in one room, she was totally keen on some paintings by Jeff Grove, including one with a plastic garbage bag on it. That one turned out to be a terrific painting of a woman in rope bondage, covered up to keep the neighboring Kinkade devotee artists from freaking their shit out. While they chatted, I wandered over to some photos on the wall. There were some nicely shot “common”  architectural images… doors, front stoops, cars. Some nice work with light play. And then  I fell in love with the most unusual image.

Railing by David Booth 2009

I got in a conversation with David Booth, the artist. After a while he asked me what I liked about it and I said something like, “It’s just such a curious image. I’m looking at this railing and I see how perfect it is in this boringly common scene and I want to ask ‘why is this railing here?’ Why would it be put there? I mean, nobody needs a railing in just that spot, so what’s it doing there?  ‘Why are you there, railing? Who put you there? What are you doing, being so perfect there? It’s like your  hanging with turkeys when you could be soaring with eagles! You’re just sittin’ there like all in your quiet perfectness. And what are you doing there anyway? I can’t see why you’d be put there, nobody needs a railing there. Nobody would spend all that effort to put a railing there. Come on, tell me what you’re doing there! What are you really doing?’ And then I realize that I’m yelling at a railing in an alley in a photo and I laugh and I laugh and I laugh!”

David was excited. He said he had a similar response to the railing and was glad he could project that in this art. He had walked past it many times, hardly giving it any notice and then it struck him!

You can find the magical railing here, at about  1941 Stockton / 100 Fielding. Here is David Booth describing to me where to find it.

I have a much higher resolution version of this image but I thought it appropriate to only post this low res version. David Booth is an excellent artist and deserves the recognition.

Christmas Eve Dinner

I had a very excellent Christmas eve dinner with the Kosas last night :-)

Erin got me a Christmas present :-)

I baked 2 apple pies :-) The gluten free pie was very well received by the gluten intolerant family members, thanks to Charlotte for suggesting I bake it.

Fire Safety Manual for Flame Effects and Fire Performers

This is an excellent guide for people wanting to make fire effects and fireworks.



Portions of this manual have been copied from the World Wide Web and compiled specifically for artists and performers that use fire. This manual is for educational purposes only and is

A History of the Sky at the Exploratorium

Ken Murphy, a supremely cool guy that I bump into a lot is presenting his recent and ongoing art project, A History of the Sky at the Exploratorium January 5-31. There will be a premiere event at Exploratorium After Dark on January 7th, 2010. I will be there. Maybe you will join me?

I don’t understand quite why but this piece fills me with emotion and sometimes tears every time I experience it. I am very much looking forward to seeing this piece in person again.

local version:

Sometimes you need a win

There are times when things just don’t go that well for long stretches of time. When that gets me down, I tell myself “I just need a win”. It’s a way of reminding myself that if I can change one thing about my situation, then the sky is the limit. It’s also a bit of a wake-up call for myself. When I find myself muttering, “I just need a win, just anything, anything!” I know that my frustration level has peaked.

Well, I’ve needed a win for a while. And I just got a couple. They’re small, but real.

I spent much of last night trying to diagnose people’s computer problems on; I recently signed up as a paid Expert. The signup process has been a bit of a chore and after hours of trying to answer questions, I came up empty.

Win: I woke up this morning and one of my Answers was accepted. I’m now a couple dollars richer. And he even left a little bonus for me. I now have a rating of “1” on JustAnswer instead of a rating of “0”.

I’ve been throwing my heart into making a web site and video for the T. Pen. I realize I have no graphic design skills… web page layout, color schemes and such. I’ve stared for hours (embarrassingly,  literally hours) at blank sheets of paper and blank screens trying to drum something up. And the video I’ve been working on has taken waaay too long to make.

Win: Last night, I did the video. This morning I’m putting some finishing touches on it and it looks pretty good. I got to  exercise  my video production and  editing skills and my endurance for pushing though technical problems (For instance, did you know that while you can record a 30 minute video on a Canon Powershot SD1000 Elph, there is no way to get the resulting 1.3 gigabyte video onto your computer? Just reshoot it. And WTF is up with Adobe Premiere dropping partial audio during WMV renders?).

I’m going to take these wins and run with them.

Today’s todo list:

  • buy the last of the xmas presents
  • talk with the logistics guy about SWARM going to Techkriti in India (!!)
  • Call the tutoring company about my part time tutoring gig
  • Answer some more questions
  • Get my car looked at so I can take it on a Christmas Roadtrip
  • Borrow the website design Mark suggested for the T. Pen site
  • Make bread and bring it to the housewarming party for a friend

Ok, I won’t get through the whole list today. But I’m on a roll, I can feel it.