good deed

On any given day, my faith in karma will either be high or near immeasurable. I suppose it depends on mood, time of day, how kind the shuffle on the ipod. But for the most part, I believe that things we do that are deemed to garner good karma are nothing more then good decisions. That, when faced with an either-or decision, doing the right thing can set off a gentle chain reaction of good vibes. I feel these good vibes (what Kevin calls energy) are mildly contagious. Contagious insomuch as they act as grease for paying shit forward. While the moments immediately preceding these decisions can be felt coming, there is rarely time to dwell upon them once they hit. They are immediate snap judgments that occur as if on auto-pilot. Which is why riding the aftershock is so pleasurable.

I had just gotten off the #45 one stop too early: on the corner of Baker & Filbert. I needed to head towards Chestnut & Lyon gates of the Presidio, and inwards to dinner at Pres a Vie. But I didn’t know the #45 would hook a left onto Filbert and take me even closer. But so what? I had Peace Orchestra thumping in my ears and it was a gorgeous fucking day to walk the remaining 3 blocks.

No sooner after heading up Filbert towards the late afternoon golden, did I see a familiar-shaped piece of paper on the ground, half-wedged under a garage door. Leaning down to pick it up confirmed it as a personal check. Turning it over confirmed the arrival of those moments just prior to making one of those great decisions. Here I was holding a personal check hand-written out to one Victoria Ford Greeley, in the amount of $4000.

As if on cruise control, I began to go thru the motions of inspecting the check, inspecting the ground from where it came, again inspecting the check, looking around for anyone either watching me pick it up or looking like its owner. I’ll admit that for a split second, my mind danced at the notion of starting the month of July $4000 wealthier. But this wasn’t cash. This wasn’t supposed to be here. And most importantly, this wasn’t mine.

The check lacked a Payor name, but there was the address of 2900 Baker Street, San Francisco. Looking up at the corner street sign, I was 2 doors away. The right thing suddenly because as easy as alerting someone that they’d just dropped their hat. Now, I actually wished someone saw what was going on.

So here’s 2900 Baker Street, this rather large mansion on the corner of Baker & Filbert. Sweeping the wrought-iron gate & walking up the steps, I am wondering how this is going to appear to whoever opens that door. Do I leave it in their mailbox? Do I just stick it in the door sash? What if it blows away? What if the check doesn’t want to go home? Just ring the bell & knock the door.

Wait. Those old-school bass-chimes for a doorbell: bing-bing-bing-bong, bong-bong-bing-bing. Shadows & movement thru the heavy glass on the front door reveals an older woman in pearls. This is her home, and this is a strange sweaty man at her door. But she opens the door and in a suspicion tone, imparts that half-answer, half-question universal to strangers meeting strangers: “Yes?”

“Is this 2900 Baker Street?”


“I found this floating up the street” I said, holding up and handing the check to her,

And just like that, it registers between us what has just taken place. Her guard shoots down in a wash of wide eyes and a half-gasped “Thank YOU!” I know in the pit of my stomach that i’ve done the right thing.

And before I can telegraph what my mind & body are going to do next, I swivel around and slowly walk back down the steps, fishing for my earbuds.

“That was SO very nice of you!” she said quite louder then any of her past 4 syllables.

“YOU are VERY welcome” I replied as the cool groove of Peace Orchestra came back up & over me.

san francisco ferry building

ever since i began to shoot digitally, i have been fascinated with the rapid feedback & rewards from a long exposure with night lights. but i can show you film negs from the 80’s where i was doing the same in 6th grade photography class.

i began to get better at it. an ability to determine which lights would work better than others. wether there was too much ambient light so as to produce less-than-blacks. i was inspired by clickybd and the terrifying crazy camera tossers.

but i came to learn that my style, to coin a terms from clickybd, was called “kinetic photography”

jump to my set of kinetic photography

this is far & away one of the better shots from the study.

SPEW :: market street canadian race

created: march 30, 2003

seen & heard on Market street late saturday night:

screaming down both lanes of market, me in the stormtrooper occupying the inside lane, and 2 carloads of canadians in the outside. in some post-modern punk-rock American Grafitti cruising scene, incredibly strange music at massive volumes pouring out of all 3 vehicles, bursts of speed followed by readjustments to once again match up the windowlines. the whole time violating any posted vehicular occupancy laws, i saw one rosie driver seemingly push his entire thorax & arms out the drivers window at 40 mph. A positively glowing cindylooo – honourary canadian – repeating the same action, exposing the smiling faces & crumpled bodies in the back seat. Jimmy buzzing & darting right behind them exercising the bavarian high-fives & possibly a red-line there for a moment or two. all campaigning quite vigourously to get me to go to kellys for the night i knew i deserved but wasnt sure i could resolve. so tempting. i could see that a freaktrain of *THIS* breadth was going to be an etching of an evening. perhaps i has having too much fun waxing andretti on the SF streets that night. I caught air coming up dolores. ahh the fun we have when we are alive with “expanding and opportunity”

so… how was it? how was everyones weekend? didnt everyone get laughed at histerically as they spilt $12 of beer on themselves at the sharks game? no?

love knows not your coincidence

i take it as one of the finest things on my current life to be able to spend as much time as i do with the woman who defines me as a man.

i get her basically every moment, waking or slept, that i am not at my desk at work. our commute together in the mornings & evenings are precious times because they are, in my world, an extra hour. said another way, i get to drive across that incredible bridge in the mornings sitting next to the wife.

sometimes, we listen to KUSF or KALX as we must do to get away from bob edwards and his baritone bad news about FALLUJAH. now, there simply is no median genre on these college stations. so you what you hear is what you get. you can go from an accordian-playing coven to raw barfeating berkeley punk and back again all in the span of 4 miles. either way, i seem to always take note of the songs whilst driving across that great span. its all about the bridge, you see. must be that view and those cloud formations.

however, one morning last week, perhaps friday, on comes this most painfully beautiful song, with a voice like a haunted version of kate bush with a finish of karen peris (innocence mission). now, it has been one of my life-long goals to play music that makes anna soar and happy and most of all, offer comments of praise upon the songs that i have gathered and rewarmed for her.

“how pretty is THIS?” not surprisingly, i was thinking my version of the same phrase. before i knew any better, the song had ended and they were on to a particularly abrasive punk ballad “cigarettes & alcohol.” i made a mental note to locate the song from the playlists KALX or KUSF must surely post on their sites in the coming days. note the time of day, 8.13am. note the song that came after it, cigarettes & alcohol.

i would spend the next 3 or 4 days combing those 2 site looking for something resembling a playlist. as most student-run radio stations go, there was a lot left to be desired. there were playlists, but not in so far as what was played at a particular time of in the past. just a lot of the DJ’s personal pages. no shortage of listings for the cigarettes & alcohol track. but nothing that would come close in-name to the pretty song anna liked enough to comment on.

so this morning, we are ON that same bridge coming in, and we are listening to KUSF or KALX and its an ugly song by the barfeaters or the angry amputees or something and i’m thinking to myself, then i’m speaking out loud.

…and i’m paraphrasing here…

sean “so hey, i looked all over for the playlist from the other morning for that song and i couldnt find it.”
anna “well when i was pulling into the garage, the dj came on and listed all the previous songs.”
sean “aw! check out the farallons!”
anna “um, so yea, i listened for ‘cigarettes & alcohol’ but she was like 13 & kept fucking talking about the other fucking songs.”
sean “i ought to try on the search on the lyrics”
anna “yea, “right on” or “light on” or something like that”
sean “yea…”

and just then, one of the most all-inclusive case of the goosebumps was to wash over my body up my spine as we passed thru toll plaza. because right then, right at that very moment, the fucking song comes on, and there she is again with that haunting voice, harping on about “right on” or “light on” and “even when you touch my face, you know your place.”

the most precious moments in life are not coincedental. what makes them precious is when those coincidences occur in the midst of a bridge: a common thing linking the coincidence together. for if the song came on during a nissan or dockers commercial or some shit, there would simply be a comment. but it didnt, did it? it came on for the bridge. it’s all about the bridge, remember?

and we proceed to have the most pleasant 5-minute drive down into the great city of san francisco in wondering amazement at the perfect timing of it all.

oh, it was “The Book of Right-On” by JOANNA NEWSOM (‘alt-harpist’)


i heard it on student radio here in new zealand.
i’m trying to find the lyrics but am not finding them online. i can’t figure out what she is saying, can you?

Posted by: nadia at May 13, 2004 07:25 AM
what a lovely little story. situations i’m all too familiar with. fumbling at a stop light to find a pen and try to scribble some phrases from a song so i can search for it later. hence- tons of sticky notes all around my computer at work with names like ‘pepe deluxe’ ‘buttless chaps’ ‘n.e.r.d’.

monte and i will go see this haunting chick in tucson this sunday.

(beautiful when a song overheard on a bridge can inspire a night out many miles away.)

Posted by: Lisette Sacks at April 16, 2004 12:05 PM

(Originally Posted: 2004_0416)

fabulous days go like this…

so, i had a tuesday off…

i drive my beauty-fill wife into her new job in the city. the classic reversal where it is her that leans over & kisses the driver & drooling passenger goodbye. so there we were, a boy & his da, free in the big city early on a tuesday morning. our only hard & fast commitment being the ReelMoms movie at 11am.

by the time i parked under union square & walked the monkey thru downtown to arrive at the metreon, it was clear that i wasnt alone in this ‘being in charge of a little person’ thing. there were more then a few mommies toting their charge around as we filed into the ground floor lobby ticket line. the line snaked all the way around, almost to the doors. each unit of the line was no less then: 1 mom, 1 little person, & 1 stroller. all of which made the line much longer then it seemed. i could not believe such a wonderful thing was happening. a baby day at the movies.

we must have looked like some freakish version of a domestic army rolling our fearsome wheeled-steeds 4-wide & 12-deep down the dimly lit hallway towards theatre #12. the low grumbling of the crankly & the delighted alike could be heard to grow as the area in front of theatre #12 became a well-organised parking lot for dozens upon dozens of baby strollers. all the while the theatre staff were offering to hold bags whilst babies were hoisted, a personal touch most unbecomming of traditional theatre staff. it took me a bit longer to gather the necessities, which i guess is de rigeur for papas out on their own.

once i entered the long rear hallway leading to the side opening to the theatre, i was treated to one of the most hillarious sights i’ve seen this side of shasta. a large stadium-style theatre litterally PACKED with moms, car-seat-carriers, diaperbags, and every flavour of baby in every state on the emotional spectrum. all with the sounds you would expect from such a motley crew. so packed was the room that i had to think quick & nab the 2 seats on the isle immediately next to th opening. which proved a godsend for my comfort-level to ahve a quick escape-route should the poopypants episode of the motorcycle show rear its ugly head, if you’ll pardon the pun.

this was the domestic issue of pure & utter insanity. to see that many babies in one eyefull. eating, cranking, laughing, being changed in the aisles, every other adult either talking baby-talk or talking with the mom next to them, impromptu singing by clutches of moms to their respective clutch of wee ones, other moms handing their charge to a perfect stranger mom in the aisle in front of them while they got bottle or boob ready. just crazy.

however, in the same breath, it really was about the most logical thing in the world, this ReelMoms concept. its a pure win-win for all involved. the moms get to see a first-run, not too loud motion picture in a comfortable adequitely-lit theatre with wall-to-wall support, the kids get to be entertained by all the stimuli from other babies to will ferrel, and the theatre takes in more in ticket-sales from a full theatre then they ever would otherwise at 11am on a tuesday morning.

as always, Jude was a rockstar. we had only about 6 or 7 minutes of sitting around before the lights dimmed a bit & the picture began, sans previews. and once it did, what can only be called Screen-Trance began as well. just this wide-eyed staring at the screen, mesmerised by the colours, the lights, the noise. so much so that he could be put contently into just about any position from standing on my knees to sitting on my lap. the first 3rd of the movie was spent like this. what i thought would be the most distracting things to do turned out to be the least.

the 2nd 3rd of the film was me feeding him. or, trying to at least. all he wanted to to was to crane his neck to the action on-screen. and then with perfect timing & usual strain, he lets me know he’s in need of a fresh one. diaper that is. ever changed a messy diaper in the dark? at the front of a theatre right below the screen? the whole while will ferrel literally destroys the inside of a department stores christmas display as he attempts to unmask a fake santa? i think i did very well considering the circumstances and conditions, espeically in the shadow of the previous weekends poopypants episode [more on this in a later blog].

the 3rd 3rd of the film saw jude sleeping soundly in his carseat, propped up to see the screen in case he was to awake. it was that famous. the whole experience was that brilliant and if you have the ways & means, i highly recommend attending one.

Funniest thing heard all day in the theatre, spoken by one of the theatre staff into his walkie-talkie:
“jimmy, we got some really irate people up here at theatre #12! would you PLEASE tell them to stop selling tickets to the 11 oclock ‘ELF’ if they’re NOT carrying a baby?!”

and if the above wasnt enough of a fabulous day, a walked to The Irish Bank to have a quaint little lunch in the alley with CindyLoo & MommAnna. 2 pints & a shepards pie aint bad for a leisurely day off. Jude then proceeded to stay content as i Bjorned his ass thru no less then 10 stores, 4 elevators, 8 escalators, and 2 mens rooms. It was on that last mens’ room that he finally said: “ok, ya know what? no. fuck this. i’m exploding. buh-bye” so, i’m sitting in the handicap stall in the Nordstrom mens room. jude is FUH-REEKING out. i’m wiggling around trying to get a bottle prepared for him. its hot. i’m sweating. he’s clearly not in a happy place. and from outside the stall, it sounds like a father & child are in desperate need for some peace.

so, what does the fucking nineball leaving the stall next to us do? as he walks out of the bathroom, without washing his hands i might add, he kills the lights. all of them. pitch fucking black. so help me god if i could have handed jude to a trusted someone i would have gone after this cunts molars with a pair of rusty pinking shears. HOW COULD SOMEONE FUCKING DO THAT?! YOU JUST DONT DO THAT!! Thats like re-arranging the desks at the school for the blind fer fooks sake! Isnt there a REAL Karma Police to come billy-club the teeth of people like this?


I’ll see a movie with you and Jude any time.
Posted by: unknown at November 14, 2003 2:49 AM

(Originally Posted: 2003_1112)

built like a fireplug on battery

another funny thing happened to me on the way into work this morning…

i’ve caught the ubiquitous #4 from trusty Spencer in Marin. as sometimes happens with golden gate transit busses, our driver is one of those who seems to not yet have the hang of the intricate relationship of air-brakes & a 40-ton passenger coach. You know the kind of ride, herky-jerky, not a single stationary torsoe on the bus, making the walk to the door while in motion really comical. But i’m engrossed in my Kingsolver, the way only Kingsolver can engross, so i tended not to notice it too much.

As always, i chime-in with a stop request as soon as the beast lumbers away from the bus-top at Levis Plaza. For the toothed driver, their next stop then should be at the north corner of Green & Battery. But not our hero Achey Brakey. He proceeds to blast past the next stop, prompting me to break the silence with some theatrical bass: “Yo! Green! Stop at Green!”

Immediately he pulls over on the south side of Green & brings the beast to a very rough stop. For anyone familiar with this intersection, you will recall turn of the century railroad tracks along Green, providing a rough roadway for the Battery Speedway. So he’s right on the corner, and after such a bouncy stop, i sally off without so much as a thank you or good morning.

As i walk the 10 feet of Battery to round the corner to go up Green, the world starts to do That Slow Motion thing. The bus has to make an extraordinarily sharp left turn to clear the parked cars and get back into the flow of Battery. But the ass of the bus is swinging far wider then i think the driver could ever have intended. And good god that corner fire hydrant is remarkably close to the edge of the sidewalk…


it was so effortless. upon contact with the hydrant, so symbollic in its strength, surely the thin metal panels on the bus would give & crumple. But then, this *is* a fire hydrant, and that *is* a bus. How un-cinematic would it be for hydrant to stay-put and for the bus to crumple? it was effortless. it was as if the hydrant wasnt even bolted down. the ass of the bus seemed merely to push the plug over.

and for a split second, it seemed as if the plug might have been a dudd. For as it was tipping over, only a dark brown mass of liquid started to bubble out. yet within a split-second later, with no less then 6 feet between myself & the hydrant, a column of whitewater 5 feet wide & an easy 20 feet high appeared roaring before me. this was surely surreal, for it’s all going so slow, with my reactions clearly on autopilot as i dance away from the widening column and out of the way of the massive pool of water quickly forming below it.

I could not believe how easily the plug tipped over. And apparently, neither could the driver. For there he was continuing his route down Battery. Again, here comes the autopilot as i pipe-off one loud & sharp whistle in the direction of the #4. The tattooes mullet of a driver that idles off the bus and towards the column of water & his former passenger is a mixture of dumb of humour. He’s smiling & mouthing “wow” and asks with a smirk, “DID I DO THAT?”

Yea, you did that.

The weirdest part of all of this was how insanely fast DWP was on-scene with a truck. Literally 2 minutes after the TINK there were flashing orange lights & flashy orange jumpsuits.

(Originally Posted: 2003_0909)

my morning with simon

a funny thing happened to me on the way into work this morning…

i’ve just parked me car at the specncer parking lot & was making my way down the foggy damp hill to the southbound buspad as i have done countless times before. upon entering the tunnel under 101, i hear the familiar sound of a porsche downshifting fromwhatever into 2nd as it too enters the tunnel approaching southbound 101. ask kevin, we’ve discussed this: there is something signature in the way a porsche sounds, a higher-pitch, an almost straining under the weight of a powerful engine. this time however, the rev’s keep dying down as the car enters the tunnel behind me & all of a sudden ends up pulling over right next to me as i’m walking.

“Financial District?” comes the thick british accent from the drivers seat. Its funny, but in that split second before i trull ybegin to process this question, i’m thinking that this bloke isnt going to be avoiding toll with just 2 passengers. but then, i forget that as he unlocks the door & i hop in. and then it all happens so quick. oh dear jebuz it was all so quick.

I’m reaching for the seatbelt, but am having trouble contorting my new weight to reach it with me right hand. However, it makes no difference anyway because our driver has already thrown the wee carerra around the curving on-ramp at-speed. As you may or may not know, seatbelt retentioners lock when their vehicle is so much as a few degress off of center. tug as i might, i cant get he belt to give as my new friends buggy really stretches her legs now that we’re on 101 proper. by the time the car finally rights itself & i am offered the belt, we are clearly breaking federal & state vehicular speed laws. it was pure luck that the volume of traffic from spencer all the way down to the GGB entrance was populated with other cars poking along at 70. For without them, there would be nothing to bob & weave around as the car, still, continues to gain speed, and as our hero effortlessly leans on the gearbox up to 5th. perhaps egged-on, for i swear i heard my voice say: ‘FUCK YEA’ & ‘GO FASTER’, no doubt controlled by the evil spirits deep within me.

the sound of a porsche as heard from the sidewalk is something unique. however, the sound of being right in the cab, right in-front of the engine pushing you is quite another. there is no economy of gears with these cars. there is only the methods of driving & roads there-upon that will allow you to keep things hovering just south of redline.

as all of southbound 101 must, we pass the smokey on the right shoulder, and had to retard the speed down to hominid levels. in the above span of road, he’s introduced himself as ‘simon’ from the UK, that he’s in commercial real-estate, and that he hopes the driving hasnt ‘startled’ me. with OASIS blaring on the CD, and the forced-calm of GGB traffic, we proceed to have a pleasant conversation. until the toll plaza that is. for once again, our hero simon bitchslaps the gears up thru their revs. 2-seconds in first followed by 2-seconds in second only to plane-out in third at 70 or 80MPH with the engine literally screaming behind us. I can literally feel the weight of my groin creeping up into my stomache, much in the way a rollercoaster. The road stretching from 19th ave split to the Exploratorium curve took no less then 10 seconds with the amber-coloured guage pointing between 85 & 90. Think about that. All the while we’re having this perfunctory conversation about credit card interest rates or the bleak future of web-testing.

And thats the way the rest of the drive played. Stabbing it at green-lights, continuous accelerations in 2nd & 3rd, & hard gear-assisted breaking all other times. Driving as if auditioning for a remake to BULLIT. And NOT ONCE does the converation ever refer to the driving, or the horse, or the speed with which we’ve just made it from Spencer in Sausalito to the corner of Sansome & Broadway during morning rush-hour. Roughly 12 minutes.

By far the funnest drive into work i’ve had in a long time. Had to share…

Carry on…

(Originally Posted: 2003_0903)