Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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5.25-inch Floppy Diskette Article Archive


by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

As I sit here saving appointments into Yahoo! Calendar to remind me when The West Wing is going to air tonight, Thomas Newman's theme from American Beauty starts to play. Three minutes, six seconds of memory for me.

When I lived in Jacksonville, this was one of the many MP3's I listened to on a frequent basis. As time wore on, I became very unhappy there and would often listen to Thomas Newman soundtracks. At home, I would play this track over and over again. Typing now, at the same desk with the same computer, only my surroundings are different. I look to the left and see my Dilbert wall calendar in lieu of the cat candle and window I used to gaze out, a cool breeze lapping at my arm. Forward and to my right, the homely surroundings of my possessions fill my space rather than the living quarters of other people.

I would drive around town listening to Newman's The Shawshank Redemption score, a personal favourite. Sometimes getting to track seven ("Brooks Was Here"), I would almost instinctively press repeat. Over and over again, that emotion provoking track would fill my car.

Listening now, I can see why I made that jump back and forth. Track eight ("American Beauty") is very similar to Shawshank's seven, evoking the same emotional response from me.

It almost makes me want to drive up to Jacksonville tonight, see the shipyards and have a Newcastle along the river at my special spot where the only thing between you and the glimmering lights and buildings of downtown is the shimmering waters of the Saint Johns.

Of all the memories triggered by tastes, sounds and smells, I have to say the recollections and feelings that come forth as I listen to this track repeatedly are some of the strongest. At the same time, I have become such a different person since then that it is almost like looking at a fun house mirror. A vast wasteland of dreams and possibilities that never came true. But instead, I have this. And those memories help guide me every day.

The Notebook

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help

I recently started carrying a small notebook with me so I could jot down ideas and make notes about things I see and hear while out and about. So far, it has proven to be an invaluable tool and something that I find allows me to actually put to paper those thoughts and ideas I have throughout a typical day, review them in the future and then assign quality values.

I just went through the notebook and started reading entries from the beginning, the wedding of my friend Jessica's brother. Between the few telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and take-away Steak 'n Shake orders there remain several ideas I am very happy to have written down. Here are some of them, in no particular order.

  1. Curious to see if it is possible, I am going to send a postcard to my Post Office Box using a non-standard format. Instead of addressing the piece to the box itself, I am going to use the physical address of the Post Office and place my box number secondary, as one would do with an apartment or suite number.

  2. As I was sitting in the apartment of the aforementioned Jessica and my other friend Kat, I noticed something quite visually stunning. As Jessica sat diagonally from me smoking a cigarette, the plumes of smoke rose and passed through a very thin layer of light peeking between the dark curtains that hang there. At each exhalation of smoke, I became continually more mesmerized by the stream of sunlight pouring into the room, but only visible with the smoke. Like robbers finding the security lasers in a bank by spraying chemicals into the beam.

    The images became coherent as more and more smoke filled the small space. Distinct images were brought to life and for those moments when the smoke was the thickest, the dimensionality of it all was nearly sentient. The smoke played with the ultraviolet and visible light turning and spinning like the severe atmospheric storms on Jupiter that reach for hundreds, if not thousands of miles across the surface. Or like the phenomenon I badly wish to witness for myself, the Aurora Borealis.

  3. At the Peacock Lounge, a man and woman sat to my left while my companion for the evening sat to my right. She sat there content, as there was a gentle lull in our conversation, tenderly dragging on her cigarette. Just then, the man to the left turned my direction, leaned to speak behind the woman and asked my friend if she would mind giving him a smoke. She generously accepted his proposition with one caveat: they were menthol. Upon hearing this fact, the man quickly apologized, stated he was allergic to menthol and thanked her again.

    Ten minutes later, the man turned again to address us. He opened with, "Excuse me. I am not really allergic to menthol; I just do not like them." Turning to the woman I asked if she had used guilt to get him to reveal his little secret. She had. "No reason to lie about something like that," she concluded.

  4. A waiter at a local restaurant likes to ask me the strangest questions whenever I am hanging out at the bar, keeping my friend company while she works. "If zombies took over the world, what one weapon would you want to have above all others?" "If you could kill one person in here, who would it be and why?" "Who is most likely to be a closet-case homosexual?"

    I entertain these musings because they adequately pass time and I certainly do not wish to be rude to him. It does leave me wondering the source of these enquiries.

  5. I know the woman at the wedding. Yes, the bride. I know exactly where I know her from, too. But she denies it. I have no way to find out for sure.

  6. Art in the bathroom often suffers damage from the heat and humidity of the shower. Perhaps laminating art before framing it would help seal it from the moisture.

  7. I think about it every day. At least once, often more. I should act.
So simple, really. But I feel a lot better for being able to review these snippets in life and breathe just the slightest amount of animation into them. Some will become mini-projects. Others will slip further and further down this page only to become another archived idea, destined to be soon forgotten.

Photo Credit: Cristy West

Polite Bot

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
This is quite possibly the nicest (if not factually flawed) canned e-mail message I have ever received.
Hi. This is the qmail-send program at mail1.***.net. I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out. please contact support@***.com with questions or concerns

The users mailfolder is over the allowed quota (size). (#5.2.2)
Polite and sincere, but since when is an over quota failure permanent? I mean, even if the account holder is dead, there is a slight chance that somewhere, somehow the messages could be retrieved.