Saturday, December 28, 2002

"What? Youre always up at 5am anyway.."

The call was from the 718 area code, and it was at 5am Pacific. I pointedly reminded him of this.

At the rate LilBro calls (never), Id forgotten I'd even given him the cell number.

He called to help him navigate the final purchase of a laptop off NY's Craiglist.

"How do I know it'll be a good laptop?"
"Just use it. Look for spots on the screen stuck on one color, less than two - youre doing good. Use the battery, if it dies after 20 minutes, the battery is bad.Listen to it, if it does anything more than hum silently or the fan sounds weird, walk away. If you dont feel good about it at ALL, walk away."

I had helped him pick a laptop from the Craiglist. He told me what he wanted, I found him a bandits deal. (PIII 750, 15-inch screen, DVD, 20 gig drive, 256 megs RAM @ > 600 bux. I watch out for my fam.)
Now he was nervous going to check out and pick up the machine..

"What if it goes bad after I bring it home."
"Negotiate a return time. If it goes bad within a week.."

"Should I give him a check or money order?"

I was cooking eggs when he called after the meeting.

"Yo son, its kinda heavy. Are they all supposed to be 6 or 7 lbs?"
"That one is mostly for people needing one machine to do everything. You wanted top of the line with all the optional extras."
"When he opened the laptop and turned it on.. I did everything except HUG the man!"
"Its nice, eh? :-)"
"GOD, it doesnt even have a SCRATCH on it! AND he gave me a sweet laptop bag and extra batteries."
"Yep, you made out like a bandit."
"Hee. Thanks big brother."
"No problem, papi."

Thats what big brothers are for.

Now if he'd call more than once a year...
Speaking of shopping on Craigslist.. I was laffing at two computer classifieds

Old computers, monitors, subwoofer, and whatnots. - $1
- SparcStation 1&2, SparcClassic (actually, a box full of Classic and IPX parts, including a spare motherboard and several external enclosures)
- 2 14" PC VGA monitors, decent cosmetic and ok functional condition
- Mac Quadra 600 *with* Mac OS8 media.
- phat Labtec powered subwoofer and two satellite speakers, perfect for blasting mp3 from your PC.

Any of these beautiful pieces of classic beige computing is yours for a bottle of beer, or $1 if you have issues supporting my habit

And #2


I bought this laptop as a gift that I unfortunately could not give! It is new in the box and has a DVD drive and CD Burner included, also.

Free Box of 156 Trojans included.

Dancing around the Tree of Lights

Another Christmas thing I'd come across in Berkeley, was the lighting of the tree ceremony.

This being Berkeley, this meant several things were, well, different from what would be expected elsewhere - although logical given some thought.

- The Great Christmas Tree of the City of Berkeley is 5 foot tall.

Yup. People had to do a bit of peering at the sidewalk to find the poor thing.
But, it meant a massive tree wasnt cut down to be displayed for a few weeks, it cost less to buy and the power to run the lights on the tree didnt waste a lot of energy.

Also, the tree could then be dragged INTO city hall to protect it from roaming vandals and the everpresent homeless folk.

But still, it looked kinda cheap.

I didnt take a picture.

- There was entertainment, of sorts.

An all female jazz band, who played a few sets of forgettable standards and a .. hmm.. lessee if I have this right..a Brazilian martial arts studio put on a demonstration, music and dance display.

Yah, I think Ive described it well.

Capoeira from the Capoeira Arts Cafe (*must not roll eyes, do not roll eyes*) has become a favorite of Berkeleyites, who reacted with joy at seeing this..

So, a few pix from the Berkeley Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Berekeley

I took a lot of pictures of this chica. Her face has character.

Thats not a fur boa by the way, thats pink fur trim on a denim jacket. Wild, Cat (which happens to be her name.)

It was pretty cool.

The highlight for me though was when the incoming new Mayor of Berkeley came, lit the tree (no sunglasses were needed, trust me on this) and danced goofily for a minute with the troupe like only a middle-aged white man can.

Later, the Mayor made news for having tossed a few thousand copies of the Cal-Berkeley student newspaper in a fit of rage over the paper's endorsement of his opponent.

This might or might not have made the news back east, but thats a story for another day.

I have pictures.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Keeping a resolution

Every year, I make one resolution of self-improvement.
And I think Ive been pretty good at keeping them.

This years resolution, seemingly simple, has turned out to be the toughest of all.

To wit:

Im gonna try to be nicer to people and make more of an effort to make them matter.

I had realized then that I hadnt done enough to keep many of the good and influential friends Ive made over the years around.

I aint good at schmoozing and staying in contact.

In practical terms, they couldve helped me as I struggled to achieve my dreams.

As Rule # 3 of the 3 Priorities of Life is .. Take care of your friends as you cannot get anywhere without 'em.

Little did I realize that this year, that resolution would manifest itself as being so urgent and critical.

A small f'rinstance:
I went to a party on Christmas, and met (often without knowing just WHO I was talking to and promising to stay in touch) a bunch of folk high on the "OHMIGOD, I WAS TALKING TO *insert name of well known and accomplished folk here*" scale.

Heh, one pretty well known documentary film-maker shook my hand and said "Anytime you feel like it Joe, come on over to my house and we'll sit back and watch films, and we'll come up with things to do.."


And I met a lot of other folk. Maybe not as famous, but no less accomplished and cool.

My natcheral instinct after all that noise is.. to retreat to my shell and go wander the world alone, tossing the business cards and phone numbers to the winds.

Err, Joe - you may wanna read todays horrorscope if you havent clocked onto the significance of this years and last nights events...


The only danger today is that after the fun and games of the last few days, you will overreact and retreat into your shell.
That would be a shame because you have made a lot of new friends, and with them come new possibilities and new opportunities. Make the effort to stay in contact with people because you never know where new friendships might lead.

Whoo. Hokay.

This really isnt easy. But a resolution is a resolution.

Hm. I wonder what the next years resolution will be?

Im still working on this years...

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Happy Holidays from Berkeley, California

The Eyes of Berkeley

I dont know what possessed me, but shooting the eyes of people is now on my shoot list...

It actually started with this chica, who I saw at the library with her son.

I saw her eyes under the hat and I hadda get a shot of it.

She was kinda puzzled as to why a stranger with a camera would come up and ask to take pictures of her eyes, but she did.

Just so you know - the rules are: I ASK before I take these images...

I shouldve gotten a straight-ahead shot from this chica.. she really had beautifully wise and kind eyes.

(Technically, not an eyes picture - but I like it as such :-)

Its an ongoing thing...

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Dateline: Berkeley, California

Random chit Ive been wanting to get outta my system ...

Tare, tare, tare Mars.

Ok, maybe stuff thats more 'Berkeley'...

Oh yeah, my morning coffee in Berkeley.

Expensive @ around a buck sixty for a large cuppa (this is COFFEE, people), but now Ive become accustomed to putting in brown sugar, honey, Berkeley Farms half and half (latte baybee) and a touch of choco mix.

Mm, mm good.

Mmm, doughnuts.

Now, where was I..

Yar, Hemp beer.

Yah. Berkeley, Cali. This is where Im trying to open my mind without losing it.