MAY 18, 2011 5:22AM

Why people give money

In a group discussion, I was bragging. "I know why people give money!" I said. Angel called my bluff with a friendly smile. "So, why do people give money?" he asked. I tried to give him the bullet points, but I am better at writing than talking...

Angel, this is… Read full post »

MAY 6, 2011 6:29PM

Unsolicited advice: the series

Flannery O'Connor once remarked that anyone who gives advice should spend 40 days in the desert both before and after. I agree, Miss O'Connor: it's soooo dangerous and tricky.

And yet in the past two days I've ranted uncontrollably to two different friends - on this blog! (Most of my… Read full post »

MAY 6, 2011 6:06PM

Don't bleed in the water

Mean people and sharks: both are excited by the smell, sight, and taste of blood. Your blood!

When a shark nips you gently - or a human says the first mean thing - the safest thing to do is pretend to laugh it off and then ignore the attacker. (If they… Read full post »

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MAY 5, 2011 1:05AM

Don't wipe out your journal

I read that you're planning to delete your journal this weekend. I ask you, I beg you, to reconsider.

Your journal represents countless hours of thoughtful writing, unique photography, and serendipitous connection. When you go to other cities people recognize you by its name. It's a precious brand yo… Read full post »

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You are cordially invited to an online party for John Sundman's novel Acts of the Apostles and nine other competitors: the current Blog Tour de Force (#blogtourdeforce) sponsored by the Indie Book Collective. To support John and Acts (doesn't that sounds New Testamenty? just in time for Easter week!)… Read full post »

APRIL 17, 2011 5:47PM

Authentic end-of-life celebrations

One moment I was kvetching with new friends about ways to make our funerals personal and realistic, and the next minute I found myself helping to organize a pilot project!

If you are in Portland OR around Easter, please join us: Dr. Carol Brownlow and some of her long time collaborators… Read full post »

John Sundman's Cheap Complex Devices contains sentences of terrible beauty that are also terribly funny. Chunks of it are structurally flawless. Readers of general fiction might not enjoy the way it messes with their heads. But for some of us, that's its strongest attraction.

I'm reviewing this… Read full post »

AUGUST 15, 2010 10:14PM

Merriweather Post Pavilion: summer 1973

Reposting from brianstorms: "Was going thru a box of old papers and ran across an ad for the summer schedule at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, so I scanned it in. Some of you old-timers might get a kick out of the lineup.  And check out the ticket prices.… Read full post »

AUGUST 8, 2010 3:43AM

Can't use PostSecret!

I'd heard about Frank Warren's PostSecret project for years, and today (inspired by a tweet) I finally took a look. More links below!

The problem for me is the basic guideline for participating: Reveal anything - as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyoneRead full post »

Browncoats: Redemption will be a fan-created-sequel to both Firefly (the TV series) and Serenity (the film), produced with Joss Whedon's implicit approval, with proceeds going to charity (so there is no copyright infringement). Redemption (premiering at DragonCon 2010) is set shortly after the events… Read full post »

JULY 27, 2010 7:53PM

Fare well, Keith

Keith passed away this morning. We saw the fire truck and the ambulance pull up across the street, we saw Keith's mom ... it was awhile before we found out what was happening because, in our neighbourhood, it's Keith who finds out everything first and tells the rest of us. "Where's… Read full post »

JULY 12, 2010 3:42AM

The Liberators turned me on

It was the way so many of the great romances have begun: by chance. [the others? take a quiz.] I loved what I saw, even though I wasn't sure what I was seeing.

Yesterday, in downtown Portland, my two planned events having come to a relaxed conclusion, I was limping thoughtfully towards… Read full post »

JULY 12, 2010 3:04AM

"Romantic" puzzle-quiz

I was writing an improv review, and thinking about how romances begin. Your challenge: name each of the great romances (book / friendship / love affair with puzzle solving overtones) that starts in something like the following manner...

It's designed to be just for fun, but if you'd like an… Read full post »

Of course I'm still madly following the World Cup, but for the record, in cycling I am all about Slipstream Sports (Jonathan Vaughters & co - follow @Ride_Argyle and @Vaughters on Twitter) who are riding in the Tour de France as Garmin-Transitions. (Note to JV: those are perfect sponsors: product… Read full post »

Link to Merrill Joan Gerber's "Why I Must Give Up Writing" (republished by

My thoughts upon reading: Editors are idiots.

Full disclosure: I often work as an editor (and am doing so now).

More thoughts: (1) Damon Knight once told me, "Publishers are giant toads. Editors are wonderful pe… Read full post »

I used to be a huge fan of Jürgen Klinsmann and today I remembered one of the many reasons why. (& a bonus rant: my favourite World Cup ads!)

Klinsmann was on a discussion panel after the England-Germany game Sunday on ESPN/ABC. This is not quite verbatim [brackets =… Read full post »

APRIL 28, 2010 1:33AM

3 sentences: failure, edges, thanks

Learning from failure is the only way I ever. The edges make the center possible. Thank you to everyone who has been so loving and generous, and that includes You, dear God, dear Universe.


[These didn't have to be complete sentences I hope, because my life is still in progress.… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 21, 2010 7:18PM

My 4 rules of babysitting

What’s the most (best) I can do to forge a decent relationship with other people’s children? (1) Tell the truth. (2) Keep my word. (3) Enforce the parents’ rules. (4) Report back.

Long Version. Recently I’ve had the privilege of looking after three kids in the “testing… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 6:45AM

Two sand animation videos

Oddly enough given that I just posted about William Kentridge, here are some videos with a similar approach to animation - but the artist works even more quickly!

They are from Ukraine's Got Talent 2009 and I believe this woman won. If you can only watch one of them, I recommend the… Read full post »

People tell me that one of the strengths of District 9 is its South African setting: that it couldn't be set anywhere else. If you'd like to check out more work of which that could be said, here is a YouTube playlist of some of William Kentridge's videos.

Getting out… Read full post »

AUGUST 17, 2009 9:27AM

Alex Gaskarth remembered our book!

My favourite thought provoking post for today: SpittingKitty on health insurance. And now on to the trivial squeeing.

I am close to some (much younger) people who are in All Time Low's Australian street team. When the band came here the street team collected mash notes and got another friend… Read full post »

MAY 1, 2009 7:53AM

2 truths & a lie

Belatedly replying to OES's open call...

1. In the 70's I came up with the bon mot, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

2. In the late 80's/early 90's my eavesdropping skills were praised in the magazine Games.… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 23, 2009 6:44PM

AAwards: liked the changes

Liked: more time spent on all nominees, Hugh, Beyonce, shorter running time overall. 

Full note: This year I taped the Oscars while I worked (in Australia they start Mondays at lunchtime), and I still haven't totally finished watching the whole show, so this is just a note to say I liked… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 8, 2009 6:19PM

Struck from behind

Executive Summary: "You never know!" 

Long Version: My friend had purchased a leaf vacuum on ebay. The seller's directions were excellent and the vacuum was nearly new and lighter than we expected.

With the vacuum in the back seat, we were headed home, hoping to stop at a favourite restaurant… Read full post »

JANUARY 29, 2009 12:04PM

Maude Barlow's latest on waterpolitics

Highly recommended:  Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water by Maude Barlow

Related web site at and see Maude's San Francisco op-ed here, or follow IntegrateThis on Twitter...

This book is thickly packed with i… Read full post »