London, New York, Al Qaeda

The best things in this world—or at least the most robust and resilient—seem to be those which arise or emerge, forming a new meta-space. Like the power of 10,000 voices all singing the same song. Like 10,000 people having a moment of silence, for that matter. Something arises from below, something new is born. And no single person or thing directed the creation of that something-new.

I remember when the Twin Towers were hit. I was sitting in my living room in San Francisco all day long after it happened. I was home in time to see the second plane hit in real-time. I watched and waited, as did we all. Even though it was in this country, it was still very far away. Even though it was in this country, it was more importantly awful that human beings—and not just American human beings—were hurt and killed.

I was a spectator, tuned into any one of a handful of cable news channels, at the whip-end of the reports. Nearly four years later, technology has made the event of the much more of a human event, much less of an over-there event. Click on that link and you’ll see what I mean.

Over Here is, of course, over here. But Over There is also over here when people all contribute. It’s one world; we’re all human beings; we all care in our own ways whether expressed or not.

That page at technorati.com is largely an emergent phenomenon. Technorati gave it presentability and a place to be, but it’s an organic thing, growing into what it will not because technorati drives it, but instead from a bubbling up of individual contributions into something heartbreakingly sad, lovely in its humanity.

And humanity’s loveliness and tenderness needs all the visibility it can get in horrific times like these.

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Hat. Brooch. Pterodactyl.

Sometimes you have to improvise, that much we all know. But sometimes, sometimes you choose to do it. Sometimes you improvise because you can, because you enjoy exercising your intellect or other talents. Sometimes you do it to entertain others. And sometimes you improvise out of love for another. You find ways to spin bad things into not-so-bad, or distract with the good things to give some breathing space to the bad things.

This past weekend was up at the River, with Fred, Donovan, Derek and Marcello. It was all for Marci’s birthday, and you know what? I got more out of it than I ever expected. And I expected a lot.

Things have been rough eventful lately, and even up at the River all was not a good time for me, even in the midst of a 3-day-long Good Time Had By All. But my friends were there. Whatever conscious efforts they made on my behalf I’ll never know. I just know that I was surrounded by amazing people who wouldn’t let me fall too far those couple of times when I felt like I was falling off of the face of the earth.

God is a red balloon at a picnic.

But mostly it was a great time. I know Marci had a great time and that was the single most important thing. Never underestimate the inadvertent payoff of making someone else feel good while having no expectation of payoff.

At every moment when I had a chance, the question would cross my altered or unaltered mind: how did I get so lucky to have these people in my life?

I need to know; but I suspect I’ll never know. I guess I’ll have to improvise.

Well, How About That! (And That!)

Today in a review at the Macworld website of online photo printing, the software that I wrote (see the Ofoto Express link on the left side of this page) for Kodak EasyShare Gallery (née Ofoto) got a nod. It’s an article mainly on print quality of these services but there’s a very nice mention of the software:

To make uploading easier, Kodak, Mpix, PhotoWorks, Shutterfly, and Snapfish offer either stand-alone applications or browser plug-ins. Kodak, PhotoWorks, and Snapfish take the lead here; their well-designed upload tools let you simply drag and drop files from the Finder (see “Painless Uploads”).

I’m a star! Well, sort of. Well, ok, I’m a geeky star. But at least it’s not about porn this time.

Update: the Macworld site just posted another article about photos, and the Ofoto Express software is given another, even better nod:

Several photo-sharing sites, however, offer terrific value and unlimited photo storage. Two of the best choices for Mac users (because they integrate easily with iPhoto) are Smugmug ($30 per year) and the Kodak EasyShare Gallery (free with at least one annual purchase of prints or other products).

They lick me, they really lick me!—wait, that was the porn.