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My New Tech Blog – Forwardslash

It’s a hybrid of the code-focused developer notebook a lot of programmer blogs consist of, and a notebook for where tech intersects with other things, like visual art or music.

Back in the U.S.A.

At the beginning of this month I landed back in the U.S. after two years of living abroad, in Oaxaca, Mexico and Berlin, Germany. Bringing the adventure to a close was bittersweet. It was hard to be sure when the right moment was for it to end, but I’m so grateful I had these experiences, and I’m also glad to be back.

Erroll Morris Deciphers Donald Rumsfeld

Morris is putting a microscope on the kind of false logic that should raise our bullshit alarms the next time we hear it.

Anthropocentric Technology

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology and its implications lately, and this morning I sketched out a simple framework for an “anthropocentric technology.”

Hans Fallada: Alone In Berlin

As you might expect in a book about German resistance to the Nazis during WWII, there are terrible things depicted: torture, suicide and murder. And yet, nobody in the novel is entirely a monster, and nobody is entirely good.

Woz, Not Jobs

The digital world needs more people in love with the creative process for its own sake: the hackers, hobbyists and tinkerers.

Free is Not a Living: Journalism in 2013

The disruption of the Internet is not being evenly distributed or experienced across the board. Something has to give.

Three Types of Reading

While I’m always craving immersion in the third kind of reading, if I don’t get enough of type two, I find myself distracted by my own lack of knowledge about so many things which I know so little about.

Manzanita Rei: Sketches

My daughter, Manzanita Rei Allen, was born May 10th, 2012 in San Francisco. Instead of a coherent essay, for now, here’s some pictures, a video, and a couple sketches.

Dog Portrait No. 1

A portrait of my dog, Zora. Graphite, ink, and watercolor on paper.

Letter to Nick Cave: A Story From Hyde and Ellis

This is the first of a series of letters to famous and infamous people. I don’t have Nick Cave’s address, so I mailed it to him care of Mute Records.

Robert Frank’s Focus on the Periphery

By unfocusing your lens, straying to the unexpected place, and looking to the periphery, there are all sorts of surprises to be found, and Robert Frank knew that.

The Value of Uselessness

There’s a certain kind of uselessness that is entwined with our feelings about art. To make something that is useless is a statement in itself.

Turkish Textiles

It’s pouring rain in San Francisco and there are fireworks exploding. Earlier today I saw some amazing textiles from Anatolia today, dating from the 1700’s, at the De Young.

Recent Creosote Journal Posts

Black Panthers, Burning Man, and colorful dystopian paintings: recent posts on The Creosote Journal.

Lake County

A few weeks ago I went to a cabin up above Clearlake that I rented for a writing retreat. Here are some pictures I snapped of the place and the surrounding area—five miles up a county road, above Lucerne, California.

American Mavericks Website Up

A new website I designed for the San Francisco Symphony’s American Mavericks festival just went live.

“The Mall Walker” Published in Fiddleblack

The new literary magazine, Fiddleblack (dedicated to “antipastoralism, ecocentrism and existentialism”) published a short story I wrote.

580 Split Just Released

My first foray into book design just was released—the 2011 edition of Mills College literary journal, 580 Split.

Sketch: Joan Didion

A sketch of Joan Didion.

Creosote Journal Website Launched

After months of work writing a Wordpress theme from scratch, then scrapping it and rewriting it, the Creosote Journal website is up and running.

Man Reading

Man reading. Ink and watercolor from Christmas Day, 2010.

Transit Brutalism

In the design of BART stations, particularly MacArthur and others that place riders on platforms abutting eight lanes of howling freeway traffic, the Brutalism in effect isn’t only the kind with a capital b.

East Germany & Berlin Diary

Final notes from my recent trip to Central Europe.

Prague Diary

More notes from my recent trip to Central Europe. Prague is amazing, but the touristed zones are hard to enjoy due to being heavily overrun. I feel like the real Prague is sort of hidden, would take some further digging to get to.

Berlin Diary

Notes from my recent trip to Central Europe. Berlin is amazing: in a state of beautiful decay and vigorous reinvention.

Ornament in Design

So I have been thinking: what is a kind of ornamentation that is compatible with clean, modern design? Ornamentation is not purely decorative: it has some very important functions. It guides the eye, it highlights certain elements while downplaying others. It communicates certain aesthetic ideas, feelings, and sensibilities.

SF to Oakland

Whatever city you live in, your experience depends entirely on the neighborhood.

Plastic Camera

Took some pics over the holidays with this new iPhone app, “Hipstamatic” that imitates classic plastic film cameras. I like the results.

Reading in Palo Alto Tonight

Tonight I will be reading at the Peninsula Literary Series. I’ll be releasing a new chapbook, called Satellite Memories.

Venice Freakshow Barker

Listen to this man: he is alive. Got this audio snippet while checking out Venice Beach, where I was last weekend.

Prop 8 Protest

On Grove and Van Ness today, traffic was blocked by protestors opposed to the California Supreme Court’s decision this morning to uphold Prop 8. Police were managing a traffic reroute and arresting the protestors quietly, one at a time. It was a peaceful event, no apparent anger between the protestors and the cops, who both […]

Who Killed Brian Marquez?

Walking down Mission Street in the Excelsior on my way home, I found a billboard carrying something other than the usual corporate brands and lifestyle messages. The youth and the youth as an infant. A reward offer splashed in red. The simple question couldn’t be more chilling – who killed Brian Marquez? I found other […]