March 31, 2006

haiku of the moment

living in the world
you feel the change of the guard
time to play your cards

when sidewalk art becomes truly great

weird search hit of the moment

added to my ever growing list of ways people see this site: evaporated car

haiku of the moment

an icon planet
that's shaped like a smiley face
which pixel are you?

haiku of the moment

he is just a man
related to dracula
a sex pistol man

haiku of the moment

you can't change the world
instead just feel the rhythm
then get up and go

haiku of the moment

time to start the day
taste some strawberry yogurt
malcom mcclaren

March 30, 2006

google cactii -- mountain view

google building 41 -- mountain view

quote of the moment

"Initializing installation..."

-- words in a progress bar during a microsoft installation status in an "installing updates" window

life at the big g

ever wonder what working at google would be like?

well ... here's their menu for today ...


Lunch @ Charlie's Café March 30, 2006


(At the Salad Bar)

Daily Offerings

*Macaroni Salad

Elbow macaroni with carrots, mayonnaise, red onions and apple cider vinegar

*Greek Salad

English cucumbers with feta cheese, red bell peppers, kalamata olives, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil

Today’s Specials

**Roasted Corn Melon Salad

Roasted corn tossed with honeydew, red cherry tomatoes, cilantro, mint and lime juice

**Black Bean & Red Pepper Salad

Black beans tossed with red & yellow bell peppers, red onions, parsley, basil, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic and orange zest


Seafood with Potatoes

Scallops, prawns and clams with potatoes, bell peppers, onions, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, chili powder and curry powder

*Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Potatoes with ginger, tomatoes, cream and curry powder

**Kala Channa

Kala channa with red bell peppers, ginger, garlic, turmeric and chili powder

**Cardamom Basmati



Roasted Chicken with Green Pea Cream

Free-range chicken roasted with a bath of green pea cream

**Sautéed Broccoli

Broccoli sautéed with garlic, shallots, roasted bell peppers and white wine


Couscous with sherry, raisins, shallots, and mint


Agua Fresca… Raspberry

Raspberry infused water

Mole Poblano Chicken

Free-range chicken with a poblano mole of pecans, peanuts, chocolate, garlic and red onions


Pan Roasted Salmon

Fresh, skin-on salmon garnished with Asian pesto containing parmesan, peanut oil & brazil nuts then garnished with a roasted bell pepper coulis

**Crispy Tofu

Crispy tofu with scallions, red bell peppers, spinach and a teriyaki glaze; garnished with bean sprouts and sesame seeds

**Wok’d Sugar Snaps

Sugar snap peas wok’d with yellow garlic chives and Fresno chilies

**Jasmine Rice

**Brown Rice



Philly Steak

Philly steak with sautéed bell peppers & onions, mozzarella and sauce


Provolone, mozzarella and cheddar


*Mushroom & Artichoke

Wild mushrooms with artichokes hearts, mozzarella and pizza sauce


**Minty Golden Beets

Golden beets tossed with baby carrots, red onions, mint, cumin, sherry vinegar, garlic, extra virgin olive oil & red wine vinegar

*Berry Green

Mixed greens and romaine tossed with red onions, organic plum grape tomatoes, croutons, feta cheese and a berry vinaigrette


Porchetta Stufato

Berkshire Farms pork chops stuffed with cremini & button mushrooms, basil, parsley, garlic, celery, onions, baguette and cream

*Caramelized Fennel & Leek Gratin

Russet potatoes, fennel, leeks and onions baked with parmesan and cream

**Steamed Broccolini

Broccolini steamed with shallots fried with flour


*Red Velvet Cake

*P.H.A.T. Hot Milk Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

*Tiramisu Cheesecake
(contains alcohol)

*Key Lime Macadamia Nut Cookies (egg-free)

*Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

**Vegan Chocolate Mousse


Steak Chili

Seafood Red Curry

*Eggplant Ragout

**Channa Dal

* * * * * * *


Fun Food Fact @ Google

Another culinary term that you may see on your Google menus from time to time is ‘coulis’. The Food Lovers’ Companion’s definition is: a general term referring to a thick puree or sauce. Originally, the term coulis was used to describe the juices from cooked meat. Wikipedia adds to this saying “a coulis can also be a thick sauce made from strained fruit or vegetables”, which is true for today, at Charlie’s where a red pepper coulis is being used to top the pan roasted salmon being served at East Meets West. Enjoy!

Brought to you by Amyjo Johnson, your onsite Café Nutritionist

* * * * * * *


11:30am- 2:30pm


6:30pm - 9:00pm

*=Vegetarian, **=Vegan


oh, and all the food is free. and you get your car valet parked. and they give you a bonus if you buy a toyota prius.

and no, i'm not kidding.

March 28, 2006

haiku of the moment

sapling emerges
through a thick layer of rot
may not be best choice

haiku of the moment

stunned by surroundings
oblique sun strike on pavement
mercurial view

March 26, 2006

haiku of the moment

divided highway
hinting at hidden purpose
sidewalk with snail tracks

renga of the moment

staccato rapping
in telephone pole forest
woodpecker exposed
recounting an older time
and days of the telegraph

the coming face of all-on technology

in 1984 my brother (the world's greatest mechanical engineer) was having a poker game at my parents' house and i was watching videos on t.v. herbie hancock's "rockit" came on. it was a video i'd only seen once before, but i immediately burst into the game, grabbed my brother's best friend mid-hand by the lapel and said, "you need to come see this right now."

my brother's pal was a hardcore jazz musician and he didn't realize that herbie had, to use his expression, "lost his mind." he also had never had any exposure to scratching or sampling and he stood, literally agape, as grand mixer d.s.t. did his thing while hancock's keyboards wept and robotic legs kicked (mostly on-beat) on the screen.

"remember this moment for the rest of your life," i said. "what you are hearing is a concept that will radically and permanently change the face of modern music." to this day he considers me to be a messiah of music for that announcement -- i think i just got lucky.

but i'm about ready to get lucky again.

the birdhead passed me this link this morning and it represents the next logical step in the progression -- it is to video, music and live performance what record scratching was to music 20 years ago. watch it under high bandwidth conditions only. you may have to give it a couple of passes to let the underlying concept (and potential) sink in. keep in mind that what you're looking at here was put together by a couple of very talented hacks, what you want to do is consider the bigger picture.

{an aside for americans: i'm guessing that your inherent supremacy issues will make this guy's accent sound german, and therefore, imperialist/nihilist/"not good." rest assured, he's a swede. what you may not realize, that we are fully in touch with here in finnmärk for geographical reasons, is that sweden is in the middle of a full-pitched battle over trademark and copyright issues. it's getting big enough that process may actually gain parliament seats -- the video link above is rife with references to that effort. a very good background article about this, in english for you monoglots, can be found here.}

March 25, 2006

there is such thing as greatness ...

... and then there are things like this. play with it and just try not to laugh.

March 24, 2006

old truck bumper -- cupertino

haiku of the moment

there's a white trans am
driver has a huge afro
what decade is this?

March 23, 2006

for the first time in my life ...

... i'm in a group of writers at a meeting and someone *just* asked,
"are there any poets in the house?" and i raised my hand.

i was 1 of 2 who did of maybe 100 people.

so. very. weird.

so. very. weird.

haiku of the moment

season change
through winter's dreary mist
sun explodes

fishbone -- santa cruz

March 22, 2006

poem of the moment

i had a dream
where i woman told me i smelled like buttermilk
and kept me at arm's length

my heroes of the moment ...

... the boys over at i ran across them through a google miss ...

how many condoms can you wear at once?

what is the ultimate jello shot?

great pix. super scientific method. these boys would have done well at the b1-6xer parties all those years ago. (people still talk about the physics party and sending a curtain of flame 15' in the air down the gutter ... well, mostly it's the neighbors who still talk about it.)

March 21, 2006

haiku of the moment

skies portend
a greater sort of dread
flee mortals

unusually ominous skies ...

... for this part of the country.

santa clara

first azalea in bloom on bush -- mountain view

March 20, 2006

haiku of the moment

i think of writing
a haiku about raccoons
and then one runs by

March 19, 2006

haiku of the moment

it's interesting
to think your favorite place
exists this second

March 18, 2006

haiku of the moment

twenty five o'clock
that is when you will be mine
'til the end of time

haiku of the moment

impossibly tall
the palm tree rules all it sees
but ignored by most

March 17, 2006

neon sign -- palo alto

(without allowing for auto-correction)

government password error messages

this from karpov who incorrectly entered a password on a u.s. government database he works on:

- The password must not contain a reserved word:

view where i'm sitting this second -- mountain view

i so dig those impossibly tall palm trees -- the lumpy stack in the middle is some cd's.

quote of the moment

"my goal of every day: to get b1-66er to use capslock."

-- the birdhead in an i.m. conversation

Get the Latest on Polterzeitgeist Productions

i posted this over on, but thought i should include the information here as well.


Polterzeitgeist Productions is involved in a myriad of projects: Geek Radio(sm), Choka On It(tm), 24 Hours of TV(sm) and this Web site are but a few examples. There will be more.

If you'd like to get automatic notification of Polterzeitgeist Productions projects (which includes automatically receiving the press releases concerning Choka On It), you can join our mailing list by sending your email address to:

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You have the following assurances from me in passing your address along:

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As always, the collective thought body that is Polterzeitgeist Productions appreciates your enthusiasm and support.


March 16, 2006

haiku of the moment

full day in car shop
bank account goes black to red
time for some pasta

haiku of the moment

fiesty pug on leash
heavy man with a mohawk
study in contrasts

grate-edge workings -- sunnyvale

(design by johnson iron works, san jose)

ice plants in unseasonably cold weather -- sunnyvale

quote of the moment

"sunnyvale and america: united we stand."

-- bumper sticker on government plated vehicle, sunnyvale


If you grew up under the influence of what I call the plastic curtain (which is to say the overlying power of the U.S.) vs. the iron curtain (yes, those damn Russkies and their little Trabant driving satellite-country henchmen), you were never really fully aware of what those damn commies were doing in their space program. It was essentially ignored by the "free world," with everyone praying that the same damn commies wouldn't set foot on the luna firma first.

In fact, before I show you the goodies this post is actually about, I'll ask you some space questions to show how little you know about what has to be the most technologically dangerous, thrilling and ambitious period of human history to this point (answers at the bottom).

1. What is the first spacecraft to soft land on the moon?

2. Name the first spacecraft to touch Venus, and the year.

3. Name the first spaceflight fatality.

4. Name the first robotic mission to the moon to automatically return rocks back to the earth.

5. What was the first man made object to hit the moon?

6. Who is the first woman in space?

Okay, enough torture. The original data from the Soviets 1975 Venera-9 project have been reprocessed using modern computational techniques to give these stunning images. They also provide a good lesson to all geeks everywhere: don't ever toss your original data if they're incomplete. Especially in these days of mass storage being so cheap.


1. The Soviets invented the idea of two different ways to get to any planetary object. One was to essentially just create a meteorite (not really the right term since it's not aimed at the Earth) and chuck it at a planet -- the scientific equivalent of throwing a rock at a school bus (and every bit as fun). The other was to "soft land," sending probes out to planets with the intention of sending information back. The Soviet Luna 9 soft-landed on the moon in 1966.

2. The Soviet Venus 3 in 1966 using the famous rock-at-bus technique. Those damn commies, they were always chucking junk at planets.

3. The Soviets did all their space landings in Siberia (on the hard surface of the Earth). Nice big spot where if you were off by a few hundred kilometers, it was no big deal if you killed a few dozen yaks on the way in. The problem is your parachutes have to work pretty well, and if they don't, you take the Big Bounce. This is what happened to Vladimir Komarov in 1967. A nice write-up of that event, and American propaganda surrounding it, can be found here.

4. Bet you didn't know that you didn't actually have to put humans in harm's way to get rocks back, did ya? The Soviet Luna 16 was fully automatic (although today we'd insist on using the term robotic because it sounds so much cooler). This mission and another brought back a total of about 5 oz of moon rock. (Side trivium: it's a felony to own moon rock in the U.S. since, if it's not meteoritic, it has to have been stolen from NASA and its inherent value would almost certainly be worth more than $1,000. That's right, it's grand theft from the Feds.)

5. The Soviets proved they could chuck a rock at the moon and hit it in 1959 with Luna 2, making damn sure that the object that did it was emblazoned with a Soviet coat of arms. (Luna 1 was the first man-made object to orbit the sun earlier that same year.) Those commies. Gotta hate 'em.

6. In 1963, the Soviets, those damn commies known for keeping down the rights of the individual (and therefore all of humanity), put Valentia Tereshkova in space 16 months after the imperialist Americans have John Glenn orbit. It would be 20 years before the Americans put their first woman, Sally Ride, in space; and another three years before those same imperialists become the first to blow up a female school teacher in space (on board the very same shuttle that carried Ride).

March 15, 2006

when bad people do bad things

a few days ago someone in southern california wrapped a ferrari into a utility pole at 165mph, blowing it in half. this, in and of itself, is not news. in fact, it's the reason god made southern california.

but the truth and speculation behind what happened is just bizarre. and it's made all the better by the fact that the people who are connecting the dots are actually gaming reviewers. (and yes, you get to see the ferrari ripped up ... come on, you know me better than that, i never pass you stuff that's not cool.)


March 14, 2006

haiku of the moment

girdle like bulges
give plant unnatural shape
bamboo with twist ties

March 13, 2006

haiku of the moment

yet more mountain snow
makes me miss colorado
and the things "home" means

the funniest thing i've seen in a long time

i've been aware of the mc hawking folks for awhile. that's right, the gangsta rappa version of everyone's favorite physicist. but what i hadn't seen was the ad for the mc's new album.

go here and click on the WATCH THIS MOVIE! icon just below the graphics bar. yo.

March 12, 2006

floor tiling -- arby's, palo alto

about 40 years ago, all arby's had tiling designs such as these on the floor. the modern age of super-mass-production crossed with dull corporate aesthetics has made these rarities found only in the last hold-outs of the original chain. a pleasant anomaly to run across.

haiku of the moment

a red spiked mohawk
old woman with deer stalker
welcome to arby's

haiku of the moment

white mustang passes
leaving senses bewildered
it's covered with snow

unknown purple liquid with reflection -- santa clara

March 11, 2006

interesting image i hit by random on the 'net

i have no idea who created this. it doesn't hold my copyright.

graffiti in low light -- san francisco

In Defense of Google

i've got a new book contract and have to do a ton of writing today ... i'm going to pace here a bit as a warm up.

you may think i'm just spouting off here, and you'd be right, but i used to get paid to write stuff almost exactly like this when the Internet bubble was growing.


I live and work in the Silicon Valley. Geographically speaking it's what's known as the "California peninsula," the 50 miles that run south of San Francisco and is home to the heart and soul of the world's computer industry. It's a certainty that much, if not all, of the software and hardware you are running this very second were either invented, or perfected, here. (Blogger was, for example.)

It's becoming popular, both in the sneering underlying geek culture of the Valley and in the popular press (written by people who talk about the computer industry, but actually haven't worked in it), to bash Google. They're too big. They're too evil. They're too dumb. They're too fat. Etcetera.

These people are wrong.

Google is a great corporation, and here's why:

They make the world's best search engine for both text and graphics. Period. (Everyone from the Product Manager, right on up to the CEO, at AltaVista should be clubbed with a jack handle for letting that title and concept slip out of their fingers.)

They don't beat you over the head with animation or stacks of un-navigable ads in their display screens. (Something Yahoo! should learn.)

They make the world's best Web-based email system.

They make the world's most sophisticated mapping system.

They also are a company that clearly has a conscience, they:

Dutch-auctioned their initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Giving more money to the company and less to the underwriters and "preferred customers" (people who are already multi-millionaires) who do nothing more than spin the stock on the first day it is offered.

Have refused the U.S. Government's request for aggregate search data saying that it's an over-extension of the government's hand and a breach of privacy. (Notably Yahoo! and Microsoft both quickly replied with the request.)

Are setting up large parts of San Francisco, Mountain View and Sunnyvale with broadband Internet access.

And, here's the important part, everything I've listed above (with the exception of the IPO) has been done for free to the user. If you're a common, normal, non-corporate human being their products haven't cost you a penny.

I have exactly one thing to say to Google detractors. You don't like 'em? Fine. Don't use 'em.

But you can bet that the refusal to comply with government request has officially put them on the Fed's radar. My brother (the world's best mechanical engineer) is right when he says they'll get an indictment about something from the U.S. Government in five years or less. They'll need friends when they do and one of them should be you.

March 10, 2006

haiku of the moment

first time in my life
i had to check my cell phone
for day of the week

haiku of the moment

the morning ravens
foretell of the day to come
in words forgotten

click to play audio

March 09, 2006

quote of the moment

"a liberal is a person whose interests aren't at stake at the moment."

-- willis player, from my google quote of the day service

quote of the moment + bonus trivium + fun fact

"the federal reserve and the department of the treasury are committed to continuing improvements in currency design in order to protect your hard-earned money."

-- propaganda sheet put out by the trio of the u.s. department of the treasury, the board of governors of the federal reserve system and the bureau of engraving and printing on the announcement of the new us$10 bill

trivium of the moment: the federal reserve is a non-profit organization that is not a branch of the u.s. government although their director is approved by congress and protected by the secret service (the same organization that tracks counterfeiting).

fun fact of the moment: the bureau of engraving and printing has the best url name of any u.s. government branch.

March 08, 2006

haiku of the moment

days can be better
but they can always be worse
never forget that

quote of the moment

"do not draw me without reason
do not sheath me without honor."

-- english translation of a 19th century sword blade, santa clara

Manfred Mann - "Mighty Garvey!" - Quick Review

I sent an email a couple of days ago that I wanted to mildy re-write and capture here. Like the James Brown review I did before, this is the kind of stuff that I find really hard to find on the 'net.


I bought Manfred Mann's Mighty Garvey over the weekend in a mild CD shopping frenzy with Solid Goldstein. Although I'm fairly familiar with Manfred Mann, especially the Earth Band stuff, I'd never heard this record before.

It is, in a word, spectacular.

It's hauntingly close to XTC's pscyhedelic crypto-homage, The Dukes of the Stratosphear (sic). And it's very clear they've used several moments, at least in concept, piecemeal from this record. Mighty Garvey! is essentially the British version of the American album The Mighty Quinn, with three extra tracks:
Happy Families (by, "Ed Garvey and the Trio")
Harry the One Man Band
Happy Families ("Edwin O'garvey and His Showband")

But lacking the Yank track: Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James (which I find *very* funny because the average American has no idea what the phrase "semi-detached" refers to.)

If you're a fan of mid-60's music, especially white bands influenced by the sould and psychedelic movements of the time (ala the Strawberry Alarm Clock), you'll love this stuff.

March 07, 2006

haiku of the moment

at 6:00
the parking lot lights shut off
welcome dark time

March 06, 2006

haiku of the moment

rain reminds
all things on the earth

March 04, 2006

haiku of the moment

steadfast and unchanged
haphazard circulation
60 year old cent

quote of the moment

"they need to understand -- if i wanted to be suspended, i wouldn't be in high school in the first place."

-- high school aged woman, tower records, mountain view

haiku of the moment

pools of water stand
in railraod track bedding gaps
big mosquito year

haiku of the moment

early morning dew
gives a mock turtle shell look
tops roofing tile slate

haiku of the moment

lone horse with small man
puffs steam while slowly trotting
early morn race track

haiku of the moment

showing only "¢"
you give the city no price
antiquated sign

haiku of the moment

light of the morning
glances off my train window
reveals small footprint

March 03, 2006

haiku of the moment

sparkling diamonds
glimmer dazzle and refract
welcome sun shower

March 02, 2006

haiku of the moment

driving rain
scrub the earth clean
plant the spores

March 01, 2006

haiku of the moment

mystery vapor
emits from median pipe
time to hold my breath

why you shouldn't believe the things you see ...

there was rumor of a video ipod awhile back, based on a 'net photo. here's a superb silent (yet soundtracked) video that shows how it was done.

in the words of bo3b johnson, "assume everything you see on the internet is a lie, unless you have strong evidence to the contrary."