As Far As I Can Tell

Air conditioning needed, even at night

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since I was in New York City and attending the first Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial. It was a good show, and a first in it’s consideration of such a wide range of design. The collection included information, textile, film, architecture, typography and other forms of design. Two months ago the 2nd triennial show opened and the website has all the photos and descriptions. Well worth checking out, there are lots of inspirational pieces to learn about.

This weekend’s Mopeds of Hazzard event in Cincinnati was a great success. We did a lot of swarming in my favorite moped riding city and through the Kentucky country. It was great to see everyone from The Bombardment Society again. I love how this summer is a string of moped rallies. On the downside, I’m covered in mosquito bites and my arms will be putting out heat for the next few days from their bad sunburns.

After Breakfast

Outside of Brian and Casey's House

Meredith and the Ohio River

Also, check out this panoramic photo taken by Lauren and a detailed writeup of the weekend by Miguel.

Update: The official photo gallery is now online.



i like the new “link to this entry” link. that wasn’t there before. was it?

Posted by: miguel on July 2, 2003 6:11 AM

Yeah, that’s a new feature. Yesterday I went through and revamped the URLs on the site to be more friendly, as well as provide permalink capabilities. I’m still tweaking some things, so the layout might be intermittently weird around here.

Posted by: simon on July 2, 2003 11:28 AM

I also noticed that the nav bar on the left is now compatible w/ Safari. Good work!

Posted by: miguel on July 2, 2003 5:17 PM

Mopeds of Hazzard

In two hours I’ll be on the road to Cincinnati, ready to tear up some hills and swarm Kentucky too. I’m not sure exactly how many of us are going down, but probably around 10. We’ll pack out a van, my truck and as many cars as it’ll take. With Seattle looming just a month from now this 6 hour trip seems like no problem.

On the way down I’m looking forward to listening to four This American Life episodes I downloaded yesterday. It’s my favorite show, and I haven’t heard it since I moved. I need to catch up.



maybe i’m just dumb, but hwo do you take real media files and convert them so that you can hear them in a car? i’m thinkin’ that would be hella cheaper than buying the tapes at $12 a pop.

Posted by: jim on June 27, 2003 12:24 PM

You can do it with StreamboxVCR.

Posted by: meredith on June 29, 2003 11:16 PM

That comment was from me, not Meredith. Looks like somebody has been using my computer.

Posted by: simon on June 29, 2003 11:20 PM

Strike a pose

I’m taking photographs of Meredith as she models different outfits that she’s selling on eBay. Look for them on the world largest trading place in a couple of days.

It’s officially much hotter than I want it to be. I love that the midwest has all four seasons, but only really like spring and autumn. Summer nights make up for the squelching hot days. I hide in my central air until the sun goes down, when it’s perfect weather for moped riding. The smell of summer nights in Kalamazoo is perfect.

I got my truck back yesterday, good as new. I’m impressed with the service from Don Seelye Ford. They finished the repairs a day ahead of time and even cleaned up the inside of the truck. It was a positive experience with Progressive as well. They handled the claim quickly and professionally. Impressive, considering they’re also the cheapest car insurance I could find.

Two days left until the Mopeds of Hazzard event in Cincinnati. On Friday morning a crew of Decepticons will be heading down south for a weekend of moped riding.



good to hear that progressive worked out for ya—i have them, too. geico was cheaper until i got a new car…. summer sucks. at least you have AC. we’re just glad that the heat finally broke. and you didn’t list meredith’s selling name so we could peruse her for sale items. jim

Posted by: jim on June 27, 2003 12:21 PM

I updated the eBay link to be for her auctions.

Posted by: simon on July 1, 2003 4:03 PM

Eric and Allison

This weekend Ivo and Tim came to our fine city for the big event: Allison and Eric’s wedding. The ceremony was splendid and secular, the reception was fun, and the food was delicious. John Wagner, ordained by the Universal Life Church, was the minister for the event. He made the perfect clergyman, smoking cigarettes and drunk by the end of the night. There was dancing at The Union until late in the evening and the even I joined in a little.

Lots of people said it, but I agree that it was the best wedding I’ve been to. I don’t think of them any differently now, which means I know it was a good decision.



simon. if you have more pictures please send them our way. btw, nice picture of josh on his way to being completely destroyed… and thanks for being there. xoxo. a+e

Posted by: allison on June 25, 2003 9:30 AM

Assembly line of problems

My new truck is haunted. The nazi-loving ghost of Henry Ford is haunting my pick-up truck and fucking it up whenever he can. Laughing first at the fact that I bought it in his favorite color, he sneers at me as I try to do simple tasks like eject cds, open the tailgate, and use my windshield for something other than a large rock deflector. Old Hank is making me pay for the 9 long years I stuck with my trusty Japanese import. He’s collecting his dues for the loyalty I had to that rusty piece of shit, and he’s going no holds barred now that my warranty has expired.

Today though, he went too far. The kid gloves came off, and the power of his curse hit home clearer than ever. On my way to dinner I thought I saw something odd attached to the back of my truck. I couldn’t make out what it was from a distance, and thought it might be an optical illusion.

Smashed Truck

Smashed Truck

Smashed Truck




I told you not to get a Ford. Those Nazis will get you every time.

Posted by: meredith on June 15, 2003 12:29 PM

wh..wh..what? hown’th’hell did that happen?

Posted by: e_prime on June 15, 2003 3:13 PM


Posted by: der Geist der Ford on June 16, 2003 9:03 AM

that looks just plain evil to me. i would be scared, very scared.

Posted by: mark on June 16, 2003 12:10 PM

Once I rear ended dan’s big green boat of a car in a bowling ally parking lot around midnight. Just wanted to mention that.

Posted by: bil on June 16, 2003 12:13 PM

i was totally there when simon snapped those pics, as we all stood around and went “what in the fuck! ? what kinda asshole just does that?!” i have to say though, simon has a zen-like quality in situations where many of us would have a shit fit. good for you.

Posted by: jim on June 16, 2003 4:08 PM

hey simon—if you send me that picture of my stencil, can you make sure to send it to this email address instead? thanks so much! hope your truck issues get resolved favorably.

Posted by: jim on June 17, 2003 12:47 PM

Allied Media Day 2

The conference sessions I attended today went well, though some pertained more to my interests than others. With concurrent workshops it’s always a gamble.

MONEY MATTERS: A Fund-raising Workshop
Sheila Bishop, from the Civic Media Center in Gainesville, FL spoke on the topic of getting money donated to run your organization. I went to a similar session of hers last year, and a lot of it was repeat information. I was hoping that there would be more discussion on the issue of guilt that money creates within the independent world. I struggle with that myself, and I think it keeps people from making their projects the best they can be. As soon as money is involved it feels dirty — but organizations need money to continue existing. Even if money leads to slight compromise, perhaps it’s better to give a little than to no longer exist; or maybe that ruins the entire project. I think this discussion will pick up tomorrow during the session called SELL OUT: Owning Up to the Marketing and Politics of Self-Publishing.

Sheila is a really enthusiastic person about fund-raising, and had a ton of practical tips to do it effectively. There are so many hidden costs and legal parameters involved, particularly if you’re running a non-profit. We worked out a budget, and discussed what the best avenues for soliciting donations are. There was discussion of both minimum and goal based financial plans, as well as some real world examples.

This panel didn’t really live up to its potential. Three presenters performed work and expounded on various things, but there was no real cohesiveness. It could have definitely used a moderator to keep everything on topic. The performances were basically spoken word, and the speakers seemed to differentiate little between that form and hip-hop music.

Two points resonated and stuck with me. One is the idea that as a movement is able to obtain part of their goal, it can become pacified and the efforts to continue toward that goal slow down. Resistance is strongest when the need is the greatest, which only makes sense. How to keep the energy going even when things are starting to look up? This reminds me of people who think that feminism “succeeded”, so they don’t have to worry about women’s rights anymore.

The other interesting topic was that of ethnomusicology and how cultural tastes can work for or against you. For example, African-Americans are drawn to the drum beat, and derivations of it form the basis of hip-hop music. If a socially conscious song is sung over the same sort of beat found in more ignorant music will it be listened to, or just danced to? Is it wise to rebel against the popular sounds if you’re looking to get noticed and effect change?

SO YOU WANT TO START A MAGAZINE? A Panel Discussion With New and Not-So-New Publishers
This was an informative and question driven discussion with Jen Angel of Clamor Magazine, Steve Novotni of Xray Magazine, and Tara Robers of Fierce Magazine. Those publications range from a free newsprint weekly to a bi-monthly high gloss, high distribution, lifestyle magazine. The diversity of perspectives was nice, considering that they are all independently minded and self funded projects.

I was interested in getting some practical tips to help with the as of yet unrealized Moped Magazine. I came away from the discussion not only knowing more about the process, but feeling as if I could actually make it work on a large scale. The thing is, I’m not sure I want to. I’m still interested in creating the magazine, but on a smaller, more realistic scale. High gloss means high money. Lots of investment means lots of time and effort to make sure it’s successful enough to get you out of debt. I’d like to do it in a low risk, lo-fi, but still high quality manner. At the very least, we need to start off small.

There was talk of practical considerations for choosing a printer, distribution company, and information on where the money tends to come from. A lot of these decisions are based on what your goal is, and how quickly you want the magazine to grow. Ethical discussions about advertising and conflicts of interest were also discussed.

LIVING RADIO: The Art of Documentary Audio
Julie Shapiro from the Third Coast International Audio Festival hosted this workshop on the art and power of audio. Living in Chicago, and constantly listening to WBEZ throughout the day, has made me appreciate the medium of radio like I never have before. It’s been called “the most visual medium”, and I think that can be true.

Most of the pieces we listened to were excerpts from longer stories. She dimmed the lights, and nearly everyone chose to close their eyes while listening. The ability to experience the medium with your eyes closed is one of my favorite things about audio. For me, visual distraction makes concentrating on other mediums difficult to do for long periods of time. Movies can make me sit still in the theater, but I still get distracted by the people around me. Being able to entirely tune out the visual makes audio stories and music really connect.

The best pieces we heard were Oakland Scenes: Snapshot of a Community [Real Audio Link] and Shades of Gray. Both are available in their entirely at those links, which I need to check out when I get back home.



you went to four completely different workshos than i did. in many ways, the workshops the first day of the conference sucked for me.

Posted by: jim on June 16, 2003 4:11 PM

Allied Media Day 1

I’m in Bowling Green, Ohio at the Allied Media Conference and don’t currently have Internet access from the dorm room I’m staying in. I’ve been told I can get it, and if you’re reading this, then I guess it worked out. I’m excited about all the good sessions on the schedule. I’ll try to make posts throughout the weekend to let you know how it’s going.

I’ve arrived in town and eaten dinner at Squeaker’s, a local vegetarian/vegan restaurant. The place is okay, but the food is a little on the generic side. Most of the items you could make yourself by buying veggie-meats and cheap produce at the grocery story. It also has that odd aura in the vein of Victory’s Banner or Alice and Friends. It’s kind of cult-like, overly friendly, yet oddly generic feeling. Much like the aforementioned places the decor is really lacking and the lighting is glaringly fluorescent. As I ate I listened to two men, one an amputee, play reggae and well known folk songs done reggae style.

I’m going to rest a bit and then head downtown to the kickoff show starring the always entertaining Ted Leo/Pharmacists.

Ted Leo/RX

Ted Leo/RX



Ted Leo! Ooh baby.

Posted by: meredith on June 14, 2003 5:19 PM

Peeping Don

I woke up today, like every day, to the sound of workmen hammering and crap falling from my roof. There are windows on my south wall, and I never remember to close them before I go to sleep. Today I woke up to my landlord standing directly in front of them, scraping at the paint on the trim. I had to get dressed under my covers and covertly close the blinds in his face. Living in one giant room has it’s disadvantages when there happens to be scaffolding installed under your windows.

The Moped Army website now has an RSS feed. Enjoy.



saw this today and thought of you. i then thought, “wow—they let you rent mopeds?”” im diggin the pink. i was proud of being able to say that i read enough that i saw when june was, for a brief time, green like may. i can’t wait to see you two this weekend. me and ro, you and meredith, nate and angelica—woo-hoo!!!

Posted by: jim on June 11, 2003 10:01 PM

now if i only knew what an rss feed was…

Posted by: Kevin Barrans on June 12, 2003 3:01 AM

Mistaken Mountains

It’s rainy again, so I’m taking the opportunity to fix my moped seat. It’s full of rips on the top and sides, but the vinyl sealer should take care of that. It won’t look that pretty, but it’ll work.

Last Saturday Meredith and I went to Chicago to attend the Printers Row Book Fair. It was okay, but I probably won’t make the trip for it next year. Tons of book stores and publishers, multiples per tent, set up in the middle of the street in the south loop. There were too many people to really look at the books. I think I prefer to sit in a bookstore, casually reading things that look interesting. That’s what we did later that day at Quimby’s.

Printers Row Book Fair

We drove back from Chicago that night and woke up on Sunday to promptly head down to Sturgis. It was my Grandpa’s 73rd birthday, and we had lunch at his cabin in the woods to celebrate. My Grandma came out, which probably made him happier than anything else. She’s been so sick with her radiation treatments that she doesn’t ever leave the house.

Omar Hochstetler

Barb Hochstetler

Yesterday I got a call from Dan proposing a trip to Mount Pleasant to visit a motorcycle/moped junkyard. I’d never been there, but he said it was only about 45 minutes away, so we took off — heading west. As it turns out, there are two cities named Mount Pleasant in Michigan. Of course we went to the wrong one. I checked on MapQuest, and when you put in Mount Pleasant it asks you which one…but somehow that was overlooked.

It worked out okay. We went to South Haven, got some ice cream and walked out on the pier. Not a bad way to spend a sunny day.

Dan in South Haven



Dan told me about that. I thought it was hillarious. I just assumed everyone knew about THE Mount Pleasant, you know, home of Central Michigan University and the biggest casino in the state and all that. Dan says he never heard of it. Huh. That Mt Pleasant is up north a ways. Between Lansing and Clare. Just for future reference. Glad the trip wasn’t a total waste.

Posted by: miguel on June 11, 2003 2:01 PM

I’d heard the name before, but I’ve never been there. Maybe it’s because you’re from a city that is further north, were as we’re from a city that’s further south. I don’t go above Kalamazoo all that much.

Posted by: simon on June 11, 2003 2:12 PM

Moped Army BBQ 8

During my absence from the Internet most of my time was spent either planning for, or participating in Moped BBQ 8. The photos from that weekend are now online. There’s the official Moped Army photo gallery of 105 low resolution images, and because you take the time to read my weblog I’ll link to the 553 image, hi-res member photo pack too. The latter will only be up for around a month.

If the photos don’t tell the story well enough, it was an amazing weekend. The dedication of the people who came from so far away blew my mind. Fifty person rides, a relay race, taking over 4 lane streets. The Moped Army is getting to be exactly what I’ve always hoped it could be.



i’m starting to consider getting a moped and maybe even starting the ever-elusive chicago chapter. i have to admit that seeing those pics and reading “zen and the art of motorcyclce maintenance” is what is prompting this little thought in the back of my head. i’m too scared to get a harley but a moped i think i could handle. ;) i’ll be sure to order from ya’ll (or get a fixer and bring it to the shop) if i do. drop me a line if you’d like to discuss (and keep posting—it’s been nice!).

Posted by: jim on June 5, 2003 5:57 PM

Last Saturday

Last weekend I attended the Digital Genres Conference at the University of Chicago. The theme was broad: How are we as humans using digital technologies? I only went for the second of the two days, and enjoyed nearly all of the presentations I saw. Of particular note was Robert Moore on branding, Molly Wright Steenson on the concept of Imaginary Architects [PDF], and Edward Castronova doing an economic analysis of EverQuest.

For more detailed reviews and information see Anne Galloway, Betsy Devine, Kiplog, and AKMA.

I’d never been to a conference with a wireless connection and people live-blogging. It was convienient I suppose, but I imagine it really took away from the presentation for the speaker. A full half of the people in the room never looked up, and my from vantage point I could see that plenty of web surfing was being done behind the shield of the laptop.

Digital Genres Conference

Digital Genres Conference

This was my first time at the University of Chicago, and the first I’d spent any considerable amount of time in Hyde Park. The university is beautiful, having a vine covered quad with tons of quiet and half hidden areas. I liked Hyde Park, but it felt like being in a different city. The train isn’t close, you can’t see the skyline, and it’s more open and green. It’s extremely economically enclosed too, with poverty and desolation boxing it in to the lake. I felt weird driving by such abandonment on my way to this prestigious college.

While I was in Chicago I met up with Ivo and checked out his new apartment in the heart of Wicker Park. It’s a real step up from where he was, mainly in the quality and safety of the neighborhood. The apartment is great — here are two photos:

Ivo's New Apartment

Ivo's Painting Porch



i was all set to go to u of c (and i’m glad i didn’t, because soon before my first fall of college they cut their undergrad education program), but my family was dead set against it due to the rough neighborhood around hyde park. i remember that it was the first school that i visited that really, REALLY looked like a school—the huge boulevards in the middle of campus are staggering.

Posted by: jim on June 5, 2003 12:59 PM

Roll Call During A State of Emergency

Tonight I went to Meredith’s poetry reading at K College. She read two poems, one of which you can read on her weblog. The room was packed, and overall the poetry was good. I love hearing Mer read her writing that I’ve only heard in my head. Sometimes it makes me dizzy, or feel perfectly weightless.

Afterward we went to the 4th Coast with Andrea for coffee.

Meredith at the WRC Meredith outside of the WRC, post poetry reading.



“dizzy or perfectly weightless” Simon, that is about the swetest thing I have ever heard. Normally I am bitter about people being in happy relationships…But I am officially jealous. That sounds just great. pause… Wow, what a great life you must lead!

Posted by: josh on June 3, 2003 3:48 PM

I’m so happy that you came. Knowing you are sitting out in the audience makes me feel so much more confident. Thank you, you’re great. You’re the only person I would want to kiss my dead body. What a strange declaration, but you know what I mean.

Posted by: meredith on June 3, 2003 4:37 PM

why do coffee places always have some sort of numeral and then coast? i used to go to a place in chicago called third coast. does this denote regions of coffee-growing or something?

Posted by: jim on June 3, 2003 8:51 PM

Back Online

Although SBC thought it would be funny to deliver my modem to a different address than the one I specified, I’ve finally received it. I’m back online, and catching up as fast as I can get scan text and hit the delete key.

More later…there’s too much to do right now.



welcome back. June is pink on ie5-mac. I love it.

Posted by: ivo on June 3, 2003 1:05 PM

PINK! It’s super hot.

Posted by: meredith on June 3, 2003 4:38 PM

As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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