A New, More Fascinating Blog

•June 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment


After much silence over here, I’ve decided to get serious about blogging. I have a new domain and focus. Check out selfobserved.org!


Why an Engineer Likes Hayes Valley Farm

•December 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m on the Hayes Valley Farm blog talking about how they’re using engineering in a good way; check it out!

Why you should come to the fundraiser I’m DJing Saturday

•October 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I met Courtney after my first Phish show a few months ago. She was doing a fine job running things on a party bus that wandered the East Bay on its eventual way back to San Francisco. She was also DJing (she does that) and sporting a toga. Legit.

So when she asked me if I’d DJ pro-bono for this fundraiser she’s having, I said sure. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the cause.

But after the sound check for Courtney’s Little Art Auction Supporting Second-graders (C.L.A.A.S.S.), we chatted about her situation. Her second-grade class is mostly children of recent Mexican immigrants. It’s a bilingual situation; their English-speaking skills vary. Most parents are poor and working hard. Her classroom has a budget of…wait for it…ZERO DOLLARS. So she’s been paying out of her own pocket for the various things I deem essential to a great public-school education. Field trips? Science projects? Crayons??

On top of this, San Francisco teachers took a pay cut this year to avoid widespread layoffs. So Courtney’s been digging into her own pocket even more than before. And this is for kids at serious risk of dropping out before they even hit sixth grade.

Hence her fundraiser. She’s silent-auctioning off the kids’ paintings so they can be involved in the process. There will be tamales, drinks, and me (DJ Space Cat) playing an assortment of funky lounge tunes. (Kids won’t be there.) You should come, really, if just for a short time to support this excellent and LOCAL cause. Details:

C.L.A.A.S.S.: Courtney’s Little Art Auction Supporting Second-graders
Saturday, October 23 4PM-8PM
Artspace 4500
4500 19th St. @ Douglass, San Francisco
$20 suggested donation

You can also donate via Paypal to claassdonation@yahoo.com.

Thanks for supporting local public schools! See you there!

Sustainability Ctd.

•November 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

Thanks to Bradley for this article, maybe-rebuttle to my previous post. I dig its perspective, that we can’t get obsessed with shorter showers when “more than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry.” It makes some good points. The important take-away: you can’t content yourself with small personal changes when the vast majority of our unsustainability comes from industry and policy. Okay, great.

But let’s be clear: a lot of that industry is agriculture, and a lot of agriculture is meat. And the way you reduce that is…EAT LESS MEAT! And how do you get people to eat less meat? Be an example! Press businesses to offer more meat-free, low-meat, organic-etc. foods! This is the kind of thing that happens on a community level but results in Big Corn realizing they need to start diversifying.

On the other hand, while it is essential to set an example, encourage your friends and local businesses to support sustainable diets, etc, vegetarians currently encompass what, maybe 10% of the US population at most? (Stats freaks anyone?) And let’s face facts that we rich and educated people may talk to our friends, but we aren’t going to reach the millions who eat at McDonald’s each year. How do we reach them? Well, there are a lot of ways. One is getting out into the community, getting involved in food banks that are giving out more fresh food in deference to processed. Another is changing policy, ending subsidies on corn and soybeans, enacting laws that limit the import of soy grown on freshly-cleared rainforests, etc. That’s where you, the citizen of a government that serves your wishes, comes in. Lobby! Vote! Write your representatives! Et cetera. Obviously this will be met with great opposition by lobbyists. How do we fight that? I’m not sure, I’m trying to figure that out…

A Word for People Concerned about Sustainability

•November 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

I keep getting sustainability-movement/green-tech followers in Twitter. (It may be because I work at Virgance which runs Carrotmob and One Block Off the Grid.) To those people: Hi! If you’re interested in what I’ve got to say on the topic, listen here:

There are some sweet technologies out there. They will get sweeter. If we really invest in clean tech, it’ll help a lot. But let me break some hard news to those who are hoping we can buy our way out of our problems:

You will have to make changes in your lifestyle!

And this means more than recycling and using both sides of the paper. It will mean biking or taking public transit to places you would much rather drive. It will mean giving up your car entirely, not buying the problem away with a Prius. It will mean reducing your home energy usage, not just buying solar panels. It will mean going vegetarian/vegan or at the very least significantly reducing your meat intake. And in addition to this, obviously, buying local, organic, “happy” meat when you do eat it. Same goes for all the food you eat.

I can’t say I’m the model of the sustainable citizen; few of us are I’m sure. It’s very hard to do so while living in a city, for one thing. But I really don’t think cap and trade or green-tech investments or Priuses or anything you can BUY is going to fix things in the way they really need to be fixed. I could begin to go on about the insaaaaane overcrowding wall we’re about to hit. We’re gonna have to deal with that soon, too, and it’s gonna hurt when there isn’t enough water for all the people in the developed world (as well as the developing which doesn’t have enough already). You won’t be able to water your lawn. You won’t be able to play golf in a desert. Sorry!

Follow Me On The Twitter

•June 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve had enough of this full-sized blogging crap! I’m a busy man!

Well yeah, I find the desire to post highly-revised content means I’m not touching on enough stuff. So micro-blogging it is. I’ll post here as I can but Twitter will give you a more up-to-date rundown on my thoughts, which you want of course. I’m displaying it to the right or you can click here.

Star-Studded No-On-8 Mini-Musical!

•December 3, 2008 • 13 Comments


(I’m back! And trying less-involved post content to acheive more frequent posts.)

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