May 13th, 2006

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A beautiful morning -

I am in such a good mood this morning that even Elaine's forward on the possibility of Jeb Bush as president followed by his son George  III can not dampen my mood.

I feel exhilarated and expanded.  I feel ten feet tall, like when I sit on Flamin', my favorite horse.  My sit bones are mobile and ready to follow the movement of a horse and to guide a horse, and since I  don't have a horse right here, I'm talkin' to my chair.

Kim was my mentor yesterday and she is quite a character.  She is a dancer, and so presented some different moves in working with the horses.  I also saw the immediate effects of how I hold my hands yesterday.   When I first got on top the horse, I was holding the horn of the saddle and had my left hand clenched.  When I held the little rope that is there, not a rein, but a little rope, and unclenched my hand, my whole upper body relaxed, and I am carrying that feeling now.  I am mobile in my chair, and swaying softly back and forth.  It is my own personal massage.   I am going to pay more attention to my hands today, and how that affects the rest of me. 

The day is filled with bird song, and I am filled with an increasing wonder at the movement and vibration in, and of  life.  

I saw a man who caught two trout yesterday in Lake Lagunitas.

I came home and read the magazine Orion, and there was a poem on trout by Brian Swann

TROUT STREAM

Flash by flash as if an exorcist
    had just freed them from their skins
to shoot through a flexible world where
    everything happens at once, freed to
swim in and out of selves new at each gleam
    so where they end is where they begin and
flashes pricking the body make
    everywhere the same and nowhere so
they are their own reflections moving
    as music among bolts of a current quick
as a thought of something else,
    so you have to take hold of yourself and
step back before you lose your balance
    and fall in.

          - Brian Swann



I read this and feel like a trout, for a moment,  and realize yesterday I did almost fall into the lake.  I didn't step back soon enough, and slid right down the hill to the lip of the lake.  I rode a horse and a hill  yesterday.  It was quite fun.
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Good News!!

GM will stop making the huge, hulking, horrendous Hummer H1 with its $140,000 price tag and 10 mpg disdain of fuel economy.  Our governor Schwarzenegger has one, of course.   It is the perfect car for the insecure, hiding behind muscles and a false smile.  I am glad to see it gone.   May it be a sign for a change in our governorship too, though the "donations" he is already receiving make that seem unlikely.  Unfortunately, politics  thrives on bribes.
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Poem of Passion for Spring - Eamon Grennan

BEE FUCHSIA

At the first brief lull
in terrible weather
bees are back, each
entering headfirst
the upside-down open
nectar-heavy skirts
of wet fuchsia flowers
and seeming to stay
quite still in that inner
laden space, only the
smallest shudder
of the two together
when the bee tongue
unrolls and runs like
a tiny red carpet into
the heart of what is
no mystery but the
very vanishing point
and live center of
the flower's instant and
irrevocable unfolding,
then stillness again
while this exchange
(layer after layer of
dusty goodness lipped,
given) is taking place -
the flower flushed and
swelling a little,
the bee gently but
hungrily clutching.

    - Eamon Grennan

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checking in -

My morning perk has come to rest.  I am tired in this moment.  I walked down to the junction today and thought about traffic.  When I am sitting in traffic, I say the words, "I am traffic," as advised by Karen, and it does help.  I am the traffic I complain about, and I see how hard it is to get away from cars.  It is necessity a great deal of the time that we use our cars, and so, I am with that today, with how much life has changed, and, yet, when I was young my dad loved to have us all hop in the car and go for a ride.  We never thought about it then, and in those days, traffic seemed to move, as opposed to now.  Right now, the cars are lined up to go to the beach, and that is how it is on weekend sunny days here. 

I plan to stay tucked.  I hope everyone is wrapped in the relaxation of this lovely day.   I am considering a nap as my way to savor and enjoy.  
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Stewart Brand -

Here is Stewart Brand's write-up of Chris Anderson's talk last night.  

You know something is up when an audience member is taking cell phone photos of the presenter's slides for instant transmittal to a business partner.

Chris Anderson does have killer slides, full of exuberant detail,  defining the exact shape of the still emerging opportunity space for finding and selling formerly infindable and unsellable items of every imaginable description.  The 25 million music tracks in the world. All the TV ever broadcast.  Every single amateur video.  All that is old, arcane, micro-niche, against-the-grain, undefinable, or remote is suddenly as accessible as the top of the pops.

"The power law is the shape of our age," Anderson asserted, showing the classic ski-jump curve of popularity--- a few things sell in vast quantity, while a great many things sell in small quantity.  It's the natural product of variety, inequality, and network effect sifting,  which amplifies the inequality.

"Everything is measurable now," said Anderson, comparing charts of sales over time of a hit music album with a niche album.  The hit declined steeply, the niche album kept its legs.  The "long tail" of  innumerable tiny-sellers is populated by old hits as well as new and old niche items.  That's the time dimension.  For the first time in history, archives have a business model.  Old stuff is more profitable because the acquisition cost is lower and customer satisfaction is higher.  Infinite-inventory Netflix occupies the sweet spot for movie distribution, while Blockbuster is saddled with the tyranny of the new.

Anderson explained that we are leaving an age where distribution was ruled by channel scarcity--- 3 TV networks, only so many movie theater screens, limited shelf space for books.  "Those scarcity effects make a bottleneck that distorts the market and distorts our culture.  Infinite shelf space changes everything."  Books are freed up by print-on-demand (already a large and profitable service at Amazon), movies freed by cheap DVDs, old broadcast TV by classics collections, new videos by Google Videos and You Tube online.  Even the newest game machines are now designed to be able to emulate their earlier incarnations, so you can play the original "Super Mario Bros." if so inclined--- and many are.

"I'm an editor of a Conde-Nast magazine [Wired] AND I'm a blogger," said Anderson.  In other words, he works both in the fading world of "pre-filters" and the emerging world of "post-filters." Pre-filtering is ruled by editors, A&R guys ("artist and repetoire," the talent-finders in the music biz), studio execs, and capital-B
Buyers.  Post-filtering is driven by readers, recommenders, word of mouth, and buyers.

Will Hearst joined Anderson on the stage and noted that social networking software has automated word of mouth, and that's what has "unchoked the long tail of sheer obscure quantity in the vast backlog of old movies, for example."  Anderson agreed, "The marketing power of customer recommendations is the main driver for Netflix, and it is zero-cost marketing."

"By democratizing the tools of distribution, we're seeing a Renaissance in culture.  We're starting to find out just how rich our society is in terms of creativity," Anderson said.  But isn't there a danger, he was asked from the audience, of our culture falling apart with all this super-empowered diversity?  Anderson agreed that we collect strongly and narrowly around our passions now, rather than just weakly and widely around broadcast hits, but the net gain of  overall creativity is the main effect, and a positive one.

Questions remain, though.  "Digital rights is the elephant in the room of freeing the long tail."  Clearing copyright on old material is a profoundly wedged process at present, with no solution in sight.  Will Hearst fretted that we may be becoming an "opinionocracy," swayed by TV bloviators and online bloggers, losing the grounding of objective reporting.  Anderson observed that maybe the two-party system is a pre-long-tail scarcity effect that suppresses the diversity we're now embracing.  Much of how we run our culture has yet to catch up with the long tail.

                        --Stewart Brand

You can see many of Anderson's killer slides at his blogsite---
http://www.thelongtail.com/ --- or wait for his book THE LONG TAIL,
which comes out in July, or view the video of his presentation when
it's up on Long Now's Seminars download page,
http://www.longnow.org/projects/seminars/ .
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Full Moon Tonight -

Tonight's full moon, May 13, was known as the Flowering Moon to the Navajo Indians, so watch the moon as it flowers tonight, and feel  yourself flower within.  The flowers are stepping into  wholeness.  I saw some white roses today that were magnificent, and I am enjoying all the purples and pinks,  yellows and reds.  The sun setting last night was a pastel reflection of the colors on land. 

I read a poem yesterday about a million colors of green.  That is how I feel when I look out on the landscape today.  There are multitudes of greens.  Enjoy!
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Honoring -

I went outside and honored my mother by placing two pink roses in her bird bath and a new stone, and wrapping the pink jasmine around the base, and placing purple pansies there.  I realize I am missing my mother on this Mother's Day weekend.  Last year, I was still grieving, and this year, I really feel her spirit here, her tender, joyful being, and how very much I miss her.   It is a bittersweet weekend as we honor our mothers, and some of us miss them too.  Tender Joy to all of You!
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Poem by William Stafford -

CLIMBING ALONG THE RIVER

Willows never forget how it feels
to be young.

Do you remember where you came from?
Gravel remembers.

Even the upper end of the river
believes in the ocean.

Exactly at midnight
yesterday sighs away.

What I believe is,
all animals have one soul.

Over the land they love
they crisscross forever.

    - William Stafford


Happy Mother's Day Eve and remembrance of where we come from -