A wrinkled man, mopping his bald head with a scrap of old denim.

Spring finally comes to Duluth.

May 12, 2003


Time to look at my belly button lint. Please bear with.

This server has been crankin’ away since September, so I’ve developed a pretty good sense for my usual traffic. 15 megs a day, transferred. 2,000 page hits on a good day.

The last four days I’ve been pushing over 150 megs. Pushed 460 megs on one day. Today (or yesterday, depending on your time zone, state of mind, philosophical considerations towards when one day leaks into the next, whether or not you’re drunk and speaking in a bad Irish accent to attract potential mates) I had nearly 6,000 page hits. Kinda cool, kinda wonky, all things reconsidered.


Things that are neat:

Nigerian oil executives who are in such a rush to transfer $60 million into my bank account that they forget to run spellcheck on their emails. Heck, they forget to include grammar in their emails.

The sound of big fat zippers on big fat backpacks.

Polypro long underwear tops (blue). Best when worn as an accessory under a Wooch! shirt.

Sleeping outside for no better reason than to sleep outside.

Tendril Theory (a pending philosophy).

Big white pines.

Kane’s Hard Cola. So cheap you can’t afford not to be drinking alcohol!

The repeating imagery at www.abnormalbehaviorchild.com. She’s hooked up to wires and it creeps me out.

Joe Kittinger, who took a supersonic free-fall from 102,800 feet in August of 1960.

Home English Home. Learn yourself some English. Cat. Cat. Dog. Dog.

America Kokki Comics. Happy smiling comic strips about kids that toss grenades at other kids and paint rainbows with their blood. You wish that I were kidding. You know that I am not kidding. Baby is probably the worst, and by worst I mean best.


May 11, 2003

tree-hugging capitalist hippie

I’ve gotta get down to bizzyness for finals week, but first I need to nimble-up my fingers.

First, some bookkeeping. If you’re still accessing this site through www.danesbored.com, please switch your bookmarks over to www.brainsideout.com. I’m still paying for the danesbored domain, but at some point I plan on deprecating it, as Google doesn’t seem to like redundant domains and is still bookmarking the pages of my site under danesbored.com, not brainsideout.com.

Next, some pictures. I’ve uploaded a new Wooch! photo gallery that documents our Temperance River excursion last weekend. Go wild, or crazy, or ape shit, or whatever words you surly youth are using these days. Also, the Photo Log is now fully operational with keen backgrounds and colored borders. You can post comments, too. Don’t be shy. I like it when you guys step out of the reeds to bid hello.

Now, some verbiage.

I don’t like logging, but I consider it one of those necessary evils. Houses can’t be built out of frost and smoke, and so long as people want somewhere to live we’re gonna need to keep building houses. Recycling wood and fibers and such can help allay some demands for fresh timber, but with logging we’re talking about an operation on a huge scale. It’s like solar power or wind power. They are expensive complements to conventional forms of energy, but because of a huge baseload demand it is unlikely these alternative energy sources will be replacing coal or nuclear anytime soon.

There’s always conservation, and I hope at some point we can develop appliances that are so energy efficient that we can power them with low-level microwaves and do away with batteries and wires entirely, but again this is dreamy-dream speculation. As for lumber, yes, we can try and reduce demand and develop recycling programs, but it’ll be a long time until these are efficent enough to become viable alternatives. For now, we’re stuck with logging.

As I see it, there are two ways of logging: There’s clear-cutting, where they slice down a huge swath of trees and sell ’em down the river to the highest bidder. Clear-cutting usually takes place a few miles off the main road, as people usually get really cranky when they see the left over devastation and make angry phone calls and chain themselves to logging equipment. So long as the logging companies can keep the practice out of sight, we will hopefully keep it out of mind. You clear-cut the forests near the washboard dirt of Old Vermillion Road, not Highway 61.

The alternative to clear-cutting, which is usually preferred by environmentally conscious people and socially conscious people and all sorts of other people who contrast themselves with the Great Collective Unconsciousness, is what I’ll call ‘picking’. Picking goes in carefully with smaller equipment, grabs specific trees and leaves the forest relatively intact, albeit a bit thinner. Because of the necessary care this process is less efficient, more expensive and results in less harvested timber than clear-cutting. Fortunately, animals can still mingle in the forest after the equipment leaves, as there is still a forest left after picking.

To the environmental conservationalist the right choice should be clear. However, I don’t think it’s quite as simple as I’ve illustrated it, here. With picking, you have no control over what sort of vegetation grows in to fill the open spaces. I would think the canopy formed by the existing pines would prevent new pines from taking root and growing, and instead if everything was left to nature you would end up with a bunch of scraggly, useless undergrowth.

With clear-cutting you utterly destroy the area, but you have complete control over what will grow back. Since it’s cheaper, more efficient and results in more harvested timber, ideally the logging company will have more money left over to rejuvinate the area. This is the argument that logging companies typically give in favor of clear-cutting.

Yes. This works, but only so long as the logging company takes advantage of the ability to control regrowth. Talk is cheap. If they say they can control what grows back but still leave the logged area a desolate moonscape, they have failed. We see the results of this in the forests of northern Minnesota. The turn-of-the-century old-growth loggers ran off with all the pines and left the area ripe for the beeches, birch and aspen to take root. Now, these are beautiful trees, mind you, but they are economically useless for a logging company. A resource is only renewable if you can use the same space that you’ve used before. You can cycle through spaces as your trees mature, but you need to plant fresh trees to mature in the first place.

Three esoteric fools (or rugged individualists, depending on how you see it) set up their tent right next to a clear cut. Nothing was growing back, either under its own power or under the will of the logging company. The place was a fargin’ mess. The Petersen Family Van was sunk into mud six inches deep. I don’t know how long ago the area had been logged; it could have been last year, it could have been ten years ago, but I found the mud telling.

Pines have a shallow root structure. When you log an area you kill off all the roots that hold the soil in place. Pine forest soil is different from deciduous forest soil. The yearly accumulation of leaf litter in deciduous forests results in a thick, well-developed soil complete with nice, deep hummus. Because they lose their needles slowly, pine forests have an acidic, under-developed, thin soil. The combination of a shallow root structure and a thin soil, I think, would put a serious time constraint on how long you can wait in replanting the forest. All it would take is a wet spring to turn the whole floor to mud and wash away any nutrients and soil that were left over.

Erosion can take its toll in a real hurry. In Hood River you can look across the Gorge into Washington and see an entire hillside that has been subjected to clear-cutting. Even from a mile away you can see that a good portion of the hillside has already been washed away. Now, perhaps I have it entirely wrong, but this would seem to be irresponsible logging. What would be the point of clear-cutting to “have control over what grows back”, if you don’t actually take the time to control what grows back? The truth is in action.

Back in Minnesota, I did notice that a lot of the clear cut by the tent looked like it had been burned on purpose. I know that a lot of coniferous trees leave behind seeds that will not take root until they experience a forest fire. Perhaps I am biased. Perhaps all I see is mud, even though the loggers have taken the first steps in rejuvinating the area.

Hmm. My fingers are nimble-ized. Time to get to work.

May 8, 2003

broadband face transplant

Dear god, doesn’t this guy have anything better to do than work on his webpage, what with finals and essays and graduation and moving all looming like a funnel cloud in the windshield?

Last year, Christopher Thomas Fahey and I put together a video for our 19th and 20th century philosophy course. Fahey and Sunny Wicked provided the music. I provided the video. After many, many arduous hours with Adobe Premiere (which ultimately resulted in my losing two keys off my keyboard from smashing it so hard in frustration) I created a music video to the song Seraph.

Now, a year later, that video is available for human consumption. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

Seraph. The Music Video. 34.7MB

the revolution continues

First the elimination of tables from the Weblog. Then the new Photo Blog.

And now, for your listening pleasure, Spontaneous Combustion Jazz Sextet Musical Downloads of Might and Strength! They are all fine-quality mp3s of jazz that will delight you for hours and definitely please the wyfe. Right click to download, and stick ’em all in your intimate holster.

Blue Bee – Recorded Live at the Blue Max Resort, December 16, 2002. Written by Rob Linneman.

Mitigation into the Freaky Wobble – Recorded Live at the Spirit Mountain Rain Forest Benefit Concert, March 7, 2003. An epic song series written and devised by Rob Linneman.

You Don’t Know Brian Perez – From our CD “The Rowhouse Sessions.” The brainchild of Dane Petersen, executed flawlessly with the tight interplay that can only be Spontaneous Combustion.

So, enjoy! If these are received well I may look into uploading more auditory 0rgasms. There are still a number of great songs resting in the archives, along with the masterful (reprise) of “You Don’t Know Brian Perez.”

UPDATE: It should probably be mentioned, before I start receiving hate mail, that “You Don’t Know Brian Perez” is entirely improvised. Not only that, the version available here allows you to witness the actual genesis of the song “You Don’t Know Brian Perez”.

Just so you know.

ba bwee, ba bwee dop!

So I’ve been sitting here thinking about moving, and I came to a strange realization. Over the next couple years of my life, my most permanent address will likely be www.brainsideout.com. So long as I can scramble up twenty bucks a month, make my server payments on time and dig my fingers into the occasional Internet terminal, this will remain a constant. The flesh is currently in Duluth and will soon be in Hood River, but beyond that it could be anywhere. Meanwhile, the brain will sit here online a glass jar, open to inspection.

It’s weird to think of a duality between digital and physical existence, as the digital still relies on the physical. Technology is not yet to the point where we can download our brains into the Internet and exist merely in cyberspace, nor do I think that such an existence would be very exciting. Wherever I live I want to be able to chase squirrels, and you can’t do that on the Internet.

Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be prudent to deny the reality or importance of digital existence. I believe that I have carved out a little space, here, rendered in 1’s and 0’s, just as someone may buy a plot o’ land and build a house on it. The actions involved are different but the effort is the same. Sure, I can’t cook dinner in my Photo Log, I can’t sleep in my server, and I can’t invite friends over for a wild and rockin’ kegger over in Slapdash. But I can plink this page out in the deep blue waters of cyberspace and let people drop by and visit. I can elucidate my thoughts through various visual channels. It’s not a full replacement for a home but it is a dietary supplement.

Really, I don’t know where I’m going to end up in the physical world. I’ll be in Oregon until September, but beyond that I don’t know. I want to see things, so maybe I’ll take a few months and just drive around the country. Maybe I’ll join a groovy group of folks at a nice outdoor company and settle in. Maybe I’ll move back to zany old Duluth. I’ve got ideas and I’ve got goals, but none of them are place-specific. I need to be around trees and water and hills, but there’s no specific part of the country (or specific country, for that matter) where I need to be around them.

This website allows me to run around unmoored and still keep in touch with the people I respect and admire. This is something the world has never had before and I think it is neat. Letter-writing was alway limited by addresses and carpel tunnel syndrome. Telephone communication is limited by how much the telephone sucks. Email is limited by poor grammar. Really, besides the Internet the only way to stay in contact with a lot of people is by living a life of crime and being in the news all the time.

Keeping a weblog lets people who may be a little wary of running away from home do it anyway, and still let the ‘rents check in on occasion. People might not know my current mailing address, my current phone number or even what country I’m currently in, but they know where to go if they want to figure this stuff out. It is a bit impersonal, as it would be much nicer if I would send nice postcards to all the people that matter to me, rather than expect them to drop by the ol’ site. Oh well. “C’est la vie,” which is French for “It’s the shit.”

The cool thing, though, is that if people want to find out where I am they can, no sweat. I could find myself in Podunksville, Alaska, and so long as I take the time to seek out a public library and toss fifty words at the screen, people can know what the Daner is doing. I like this. I really like this, and it will definitely help me branch out into the larger world while maintaining the connections I’ve got goin’ on inside.

You guys all rock.