As Far As I Can Tell

Chicago vs. Kalamazoo

It’s Thursday night but it seems like this week has lasted for two. I’ve made the decision to move back to Kalamazoo. I love living in Chicago but Meredith is going back to Kalamazoo College after a horrible stint at Columbia and she means more to me than any city.

It came down to evaluating what my life would be like if I stayed in Chicago vs. Kalamazoo. Chicago is buzzing with possibility, but all of it theoretical. I know it’s here somewhere, but it might take me a while to find it. The things I’m excited about and exist right now are in Kalamazoo — Moped Army, friends, 1977 Mopeds, motivation, and spare time.

I really enjoy how much there is to do in Chicago but lately I’ve been feeling like I’m just passing time, entertaining myself through the months. There’s enough to partake in that I don’t find time to do my own thing. Maybe it’s all the newness that distracts me, maybe you have to block it out. Either way I’ve come to terms with the move, and I’m looking forward to it. Chicago is still here for me, and now I know it better than ever.

Meredith moves in April, I’ll be going in June.

There’s been a lot of debate and discussion about the closing of The Space. Eric mentioned on his weblog and duplicated in my previous post’s comments that we knew it was coming—and I guess we did. I’d heard the rumors and concerns months ago, but figured that it was being dealt with by those in charge. Perhaps it was a symptom of the collective’s lack of defined hierarchy—I don’t know.

Now isn’t the time to place blame or point fingers. I agree with Eric though that maybe we shouldn’t deify it so quickly like has been done with so many other closed Kalamazoo places. I’m as guilty as anyone of reminiscing about Kalamazoo’s “great and gone”.

The thing that’s remarkable is my memories of all things Kalamazoo, past and present, involve roughly the same group of people. I know that when something else starts up, those people will be there to support it. They weren’t just “Comet Kids” or “Space Kids”, and generalizing the Kalamazoo independent/creative community to a single location is limiting.

I’d like to officially say thanks to everyone that made The Space exist. Now that you have the experience I hope you use it to try again. I’d like to be a part of whatever happens now. See you Saturday.



We will have fun in Kalamazoo and still visit Chicago for movies and fake drumsticks. I’m so glad you are coming with me, now Birdie won’t grow up in a broken home.

Posted by: meredith on February 28, 2003 2:04 PM

Cool, good for you. It is good to see people doing what will make them happy. And it makes me happy to know that you will be in Kalmazoo where I want you…both of you. If you feel that this is creepy…too fucking bad, shoulda thaghta that before you had creepy friends.

Posted by: josh on March 2, 2003 1:41 PM

Oh, and Meredith’s web log is blank! I want BatManMax!!

Posted by: josh again on March 2, 2003 1:42 PM

Thanks for the reminder Josh. I am going to scan Batman Max and put it up soon for you.

Posted by: meredith on March 2, 2003 9:52 PM

The Space

I’m speechless, I’m angry, I’m really really sad, and I just wish I could do something to help. The Space is gone; closed tonight forever.

To everyone that had a part in making it work, thank you. The Space was everything I could have wanted.



My thoughts lie firmly entrenched in the fact that this was obviously coming. I, like many, had heard the rumors quite a while ago. There was a little worry and then, it just kind of blew over, however The Space collective had plenty of “warning” that Renal Care was out for their building. Whether or not they were out to make money or whether they were out to build/strengthen a community/scene they could have started to make the move to re-locate, or made a serious offer on the building before the situation got to this point. I mean, this is a major setback no matter how you look. I don’t think its impossible for the Space to re-open in a new location, but its going to be a while before anything happens… what happens to the community the Space built now? I know everyone is trying to be supportive—looking to the bright side. DIY ethics and sloganeering are being tossed about… Yes, the people that made up this community are still here, but how long will it take before a group decides that they’re going to re-build from the ashes? I see the current collective as tired and worn out. They’re seeing little fruit from all of their labor. They’re sad/pissed, just like us, that it has ended this way. (I’ve *heard* that even “some” look at this as somehow, a relief… I don’t believe this however… If anthing I’m guessing this is just denial—hard at work.) Was this collective perfect? Did it run the way it should have? No, probably not. From what little experience I had with the “inner workings” of the Space… being on the music committee, and geting some of the “lowdown” from Frain… sometimes it was a nightmare, but things got done… eventually… through much debate on some issues, with hardly a whimper on others… In the long run it was a little too “hippy-ish” for my taste and wasn’t the most effective way of getting things done. Did they do all they could to “save” the Space? Was planning in the works for a move? Were all the facts in their hands to work with? Did they take it seriously enough? In the end did this collective “fail us”? Those are the questions that are welling up inside of me. In the long run we’ll remember the evil landlord that sold off the building under the feet of a group of idealistic kids that were only really hard at play. The Space will garner the same reverie that people have for Blake’s, the Comet, 31G, “the way Club Soda used to be,” and whatever else used to be cool… I haven’t been to the Space in quite a while, but needless to say, I’ll be there on Saturday night to show my support, and pay my respects. R.I.P.

Posted by: Eric on February 27, 2003 8:52 PM


Posted by: sara S on November 6, 2004 2:26 AM


The comments and other things on this weblog haven’t been working right since I upgraded to Moveable Type 2.62 last week. I think I have it all fixed now. Let me know if there are any oddities.

This week I’ve spent way too much time obsessing about my monitor, which decided to go blurry on me. If you casually looked at it you’d probably never notice, but if you stared at it for 10-11 hours a day it would make you crazy. The problem turns out to be that my color is off. If I view it in a standard color model like 9300K it looks terrible, but crisp. By the time I get done adjusting the color to look correct it its blurry, particularly on the edges.

I can’t live with this, so I bought a new one. I opted for a used the IBM P260. The savings in getting used make it worth the risk and this model does a notch higher resolution than I need so I won’t be pushing it to its maximum capabilities. I might have worn my current one out by driving it too hard.

Last night Meredith and I drove to Kalamazoo to see The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd at The Space. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the achievement of over 100 members being in the Moped Army. The show was great, and it was good to see some friends again.

I don’t really want to go into it right now, but my life is full of indecision. Not often are you presented with situations that make you evaluate “What’s important to you in life?”, “Where do you see yourself in x number of years?”, and “How well do you deal with loneliness?” These sorts of soul searching questions are the exact type I try to avoid, and now I can’t.



Who Owns Ideas?

Yesterday I went to a panel discussion called “Who Owns Ideas?” hosted by In These Times magazine and held at the Chicago Historical Society. The event was part of an ongoing show of artwork entitled Illegal Art. It was a really interesting talk on the current state of copyright laws and the lack of flexibility they allow artists in creating work. Panelists included Lawrence Lessig, D.J. Spooky, Jonathan Tasini and Jenny Toomey.

Most interesting to me was Lawrence Lessig, a professor of Law at Stanford Law School and co-creator of Creative Commons. There’s been buzz around the net about Creative Commons for about a month, and I’m really excited about the possibilities. Their first project is a set of legal licenses you can associate your work with that act on a “some rights restricted” policy rather than the default automatically assigned “all rights restricted”. This sort of opt-out decision by artists and culture creators makes it easy for individuals to buck the copyright system while the process to actually change it in underway.

There is a great Flash animation that explains how and why Creative Common licenses work. One very promising application of this idea is that license choices can be embedded digitally into work that’s created. In the future search engines like Google can use this information to allow searches such as “Show me all the photographs of Navy Pier that are free for non-commercial use with attribution”. Creative Common licenses don’t just provide the tools to let you tell others how they can use your work, but let other artists find and use that work.




Today, Meredith and I have been together for two wonderful years.




Posted by: miguel on February 16, 2003 11:33 PM

contrary to popular belief, it only gets better as time passes.

Posted by: eric on February 17, 2003 1:07 PM

i like you.

Posted by: meredith on February 17, 2003 7:08 PM


Happy Valentines Day.



thanx- valentines day in japan is pretty much one sided and specific: the girls give chocolate to boys. That’s it, I got chocolate from my neighbor, my students and the lady at 7-11. Some of its quite good but I’m not crazy about chocolate in my old age so now I feel sick.

Posted by: bil on February 14, 2003 12:17 PM

That’s really interesting - it’s strictly girls giving boys presents? And specifically chocolate? On nearly every street corner in Chicago and walking between cars at stop lights are vendors selling roses.

Posted by: simon on February 14, 2003 1:04 PM

happy that.

Posted by: meredith on February 14, 2003 2:44 PM

Lets all dig holes

Iíve been driven out of the house from a cable outage that took the Internet with it. Sure, I could probably get some work done without a network connection, but itíd be slow going. I depend on being able to look up information when I need to, and almost all of my programming troubles are solved by newsgroups and online communities.

Iíve taken the opportunity to leave the house and try out the FaceFive wireless Internet access at Atomix. It isnít a free connection, but you can access it from multiple coffee shops with the same account. The service is slick and works well, but configuring my WiFi card was a pain in the ass. To get it to work I had to find a setting in the network section of control panel where you can choose what antenna you want to use. It was set to one; two seemed to be the one I needed.

Why is everyone crazy about terror warnings right now? Apparently people are actually going out and buying duct tape and plastic sheeting en masse. My terror contingency plan is to dig a hole and crawl into it. Good old dirt will keep me safe and secure.

When I was younger I would spend days digging. My favorite spot was just a little ways into the corn field past the cement slab in our back yard. I had to dig holes in the corn field because the sandbox was constantly full of cat shit. The goal was to make a big enough hole that I could sit in it without being seen by anyone else. Sometimes it would get large enough that Iíd start to worry about how to climb back out. Iíd get afraid that nobody would be able to find me and my hole of solace would become my grave.



have you heard of Net Stumbler? its an app that scans for wireless access points on your laptop w/ wireless card installed. i have been driving around kalamazoo with my laptop the last couple of days and i am amazed at how much wireless is going on in this city. seriously, you wouldn’t believe it.

Posted by: mark on February 13, 2003 7:43 PM

unfortunately, our life is now forever entwined w/ terrorism. and passover is coming … that’s been a favorite time for many terror attacks (remember the hotel last year in haifa?). remember the stupid graffiti in the space bathroom that read “afghanistan is the new palestine”? fuck that. the us is the new israel. i’m this close — this close — to just granting all those al qaida pricks their wish of martyrdom. kill ‘em all and let allah sort ‘em out. but, no … those damn western values keep interfering and reminding me of rationalism. too bad.

Posted by: miguel on February 13, 2003 7:56 PM

Thanks for the tip Mark - I’ll check it out. Miguel: I think that killing all of the Al Qeada was the plan of the US, they just couldn’t get the job done. I’d feel a lot safer if the US had just focused on continuing the search for them rather than this Iraq distraction. Kill ‘em all and let Allah sort it out? I think all this political tension is taking it’s toll on you.

Posted by: simon on February 13, 2003 8:22 PM

That last paragraph made you sound like Jack Handy. So many strange things to comment on I don’t know where to begin. I wonder if the hole had to be very big to hide your elfin body. Stories of you as a child are the greatest.

Posted by: meredith on February 13, 2003 9:03 PM

yeah, i was being sarcastic there. the last line gave it away (i thought, at least). i’m too much a bourgeoise western liberal to advocate the kind of thinking bin laden and hussein use. but i’m still a hawk, damn it!

Posted by: miguel on February 14, 2003 1:06 AM

btw, i saw a great news story about an ingenious israeli product. it’s a biological weapons suit for your pet! it’s essentially a giant hamster ball w/ chem/bio filters. if terrorists decide to strike the bustling metropolis that is kalamazoo, i want sophie and annie to be safe and secure. of course, i’ll have to fill annie’s up w/ cat food.

Posted by: miguel on February 14, 2003 1:08 AM

re: duct tape and plastic sheeting yesterday, a WIDR-FM news spot reported that one Kalamazoo man (they actually named him!) was going to leave up his plastic sheeting, that was currently being used to keep the cold out, until he felt “safe.” also, over breakfast this morning, allison and i realized that if there is, somehow, an attack on the greater kalamazoo/portage area, we’re fucked… as we pretty much refuse to buy canned products, aren’t currently stockpiling any water, and don’t have any gas-masks, haz-mat suits, or even a bunker. what, me worry?

Posted by: eric on February 14, 2003 10:00 AM

Rodger at Lill st. today told me about iodine pills- they’re supposed to protect you from radiation, because supposidly the first part it damages is your thyroid (?). Somehow the iodine protects it. An allergy to shellfish is really an allergy to the iodine present in the sea-animal, so would I die instantly if I were to ‘pop and iodine pill’? This mass histeria is driving me crazy. I know people who are ductaping their windows- someone today told me that if downtown was bombed w/ chemicals, we’d have enough time to ‘air proof’ our house depending on the wind. It all reminds me of the Y2K bug.

Posted by: vanessa on February 15, 2003 9:12 PM

Here, I wrote my number on this ATM receipt for you

My email is piling up and my desktop is cluttered with links I’ve been meaning to check out when I get the time. Outlook is relentless with popping up tasks I assigned to be done days ago. Worse still, after another 10 hour work day my eyes aren’t able to focus as I’m typing this. Tomorrow there is an internal review of the project I’m working on. After that I hope to slow things down.

I’ve turned to movies in my down time for the last couple of days — Russian Ark at the Music Box yesterday and Sleepy Time Gal on DVD tonight. The former was beautiful for the first half hour. After that I realized that there would be no story — only the slow pan of the camera over artifacts from Russian history. Definitely the most bored I’ve been in a theater for a long time. The main reason I went was because it’s the first film to ever be shot in a single take in a single shot. That’s still an exciting accomplishment, but re-enforces the purpose of editing. To be fair, the theme of longing for a bygone area and the celebration of Russian history are valid, it just wasn’t done in an interesting manner.

Tonight’s film was a step up, a wandering trip through the life of a woman as she’s sick and nearing death. She’s lived a full life as an activist, helping out many though alienating her sons. She claims that giving up her daughter for adoption years ago is her only regret though. The side story is that of the daughter — her life and eventual search for her mother. The ending had potential for predictability but steered clear through thoughtful editing and tact. The story let you get to know the characters, know their personalities, predict their actions.

I have to go wake up my sleepy time gal up from the couch. Meredith usually watches about half of every movie we rent the next day.


As I was retrieving links for this post I ran across ATMitations at They’re fake ATM receipts that you leave lying around, or write your number on at a bar. Note: After seeing your balance, you’ll make a DEPOSIT INTO HER ACCOUNT in NO TIME!



Off to Michigan

I’m off to Kalamazoo for the weekend to attend the Moped Army benefit show at The Space. The show is tonight, so stop by if you’re in Kalamazoo. Unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about the bands, as I’ve never actually seen any of them.

Last night’s show was great — Mates of State was the crowd pleaser. I enjoyed Rainer Maria too, but left about 3/4 of the way through their set. I’ve seen them recently, and Mates of State satisfied all I needed that evening. The funniest / most annoying part about seeing Rainer Maria so many times is watching the evolution of Kyle Fisher. He’s more rock start than ever — sporting no sleeves, buff arms, tussled hair and antics that borderline on insanity. At one point he was playing a very enthusiastic air guitar while whooping.



Yeah, but the ladies go crazy for his rock star appeal.

Posted by: meredith on February 9, 2003 8:03 PM

ugh. you’ve got to be kidding, meredith. the ladies *should* be going crazy for caithlin’s rock star appeal… either that or her “sexy” new promo photo look. honestly, i think kyle’s reduction to “backing vocals” has really amped up this idea that he now has to provide “antics.” he usually looks like a slob, is overly cheesy, and gawd, after seeing a solo performance… (not to mention the awful cover “art” for his solo record.) i’m definately not a fan of kyle, which in turn reduces my “liking” of rainer maria in general. i almost passed on reviewing the new rainer maria cd for WIDR, but i’m glad i grabbed it up as caithlin’s vocals just keep getting stronger and although i’m really tiring of “emo” per se, this album quickly grabbed my attention. we’ll have to see long the hooks can keep their barbs in…

Posted by: eric on February 10, 2003 9:09 PM

The antics of Kyle Fischer made me decide to sit on the stairs an listen from a distance. I was so completely annoyed that I couldn’t bear to watch him. I love watching Cathlin. I would like to: a) be her b) be best friends with her c) make out with her of d) all of the above, which I guess would mean making out with myself.

Posted by: meredith on February 10, 2003 9:29 PM

Starting late for the shortest month

The latest issue of Scoot! Quarterly has been released. Rumor is that it contains the article I wrote on the Moped Army, so I’m going to go pick up a copy tonight. I’m interested to see how they presented it, and if we’ll get any feedback from it. The Mosquito Fleet are also going to be having an article about them in The Stranger pretty soon. It’s good to see we’re getting press, even in the winter.

Tonight I’m to go see Rainer Maria and Mates of State at The Metro. I missed Mates of State the last time they came though, so I’m really looking forward to it. Both bands use the guy/girl vocal combo, so they’re a good match.

I’m slowly chipping away at the project I’m currently on, and it’s starting to get a little old. I don’t completely hate it yet, but I’m reminded of an article that I read a while ago. It was concerning Interaction Design and how in order to make user centered design decisions you have to give up programming.

I assumed at the time this was a comment on time commitments. I realize now that he was speaking to the fact that programming can influence the design process. It’s very easy to fall in the trap of choosing a solution for its programming elegance, and overlook the interaction design. I still enjoy both, so ideally I’d be able to just focus on one or the other on a project by project basis.



As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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