Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Quake!

A 5.4 earthquake hit Southern California today. It lasted for no longer than five seconds.

As luck would have it, I was using the facilities when it started. First I thought one of the exhaust fans on top of the building was going too fast. Then, when the walls started to shake, I realized it was a quake. I quickly went to the doorway (luckily remembering to zip up), as did my cross-hall neighbor, Will. We exchanged "Whoa!"s, and then it was over in a flash.

No damage visible here in Los Feliz. As you can see, a few things fell off shelves, but that was the extent of the disruption here.

Mike reports things are fine up in Glendale, except that Maggie was disappointed her nap was interrupted.

UPDATE: Suddenly aware of my own mortality, I'm getting tacos from Yuca. You just never know when that carne asada may be your last.

UPDATE: Through the strife, Yuca still makes an amazing chili cheeseburger.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

If you don't get goose bumps watching this, you're not human.

Bigger version here.

Thanks to Rotan for passing it along!


So there’s not tons to add to this, and I don't want to ruin the effect by overstating things, but I just can't get this video out of my head. What a gorgeous thing to have this four-minute piece of unbridled celebration pop up on your screen. Dancing, as it's titled, isn't a joke at someone's expense, it's not a political message, and it's only kind-of sort-of just-barely an ad for something (kudos to the sponsor for staying largely out of the way).

What a fun thing to watch! A hundred viewings will reveal a hundred new details: the guy in Paris who bites it as the crowd rushes in (:54), the kid in Fiji who flips into the water (1:26), the guy in Sweden on the right who might be the best dancer in the whole thing (1:33), Matt stopping to laugh on the Solomon Islands (1:40), the people on the bridge in New York (2:56), the toddler living it up in the right corner in Mexico (3:24), the guy doing a John Carlos-inspired move on the left in Brazil (3:35).

And I'll be happy to engage in what The New York Times calls "one-world feel-goodism" in its piece on Dancing. All hail the genius of video editing for concentrating into a few short minutes the beauty and joy that exists everywhere. There's a lot of bad shit that goes down all over the world, and I understand why a lot of it is newsworthy. But a century of courageous international reporting on upheaval and destruction has left too many of us looking at the world with a skewed perspective. Karis, my globetrotting girlfriend, has taught me what this video shows: The world is dominated by benevolent people who go about their lives same as everyone else, and a few of them love dancing in a crowd.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Three Years of Independence in Los Angeles

It was around July 4, 2005, when my Ford Focus and I ended our cross-country journey to L.A. We had bested urban obstacle courses, endless plains, mountains in the clouds, violent storms, mechanical failure, Utah, and the searing desert heat. It most certainly doesn't seem like yesterday.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody. Rocket Fever loves you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Introducing The Dopp Kit

For years, my good friend Brent and I have had a running conversation about male grooming in general and shaving in particular. We talk shop about products, technique, mystique. After so many evenings of such back and forth, we recently hit upon the idea to start a blog on the subject.

The Dopp Kitt, in its first couple weeks of existence, has already hit upon various creams and aftershaves, the unfortunate tinkering P&G has done to the beloved Old Spice brand, and, um, baby wipes. But the blog is going to be much more than just a litany of product reviews. As I write in the introduction:

The few square inches comprising a man’s cheeks and neck are his domain in total. They are his ever-changing canvas, a lifelong work that may be perfected but will never be finished. ...

Every man shaves. The organization man shaves every day. The independent shaves as he pleases. Even the most pious Muslim must have shaved once. Splash warm water, apply lather, scrape with a blade. This is the ritual that each of us share.

Brent and I invite you -- all of ya, women included -- to submit your own posts on the vagaries of grooming. Especially about the best way to get at the area directly underneath the chin, my personal Bermuda Triangle of shaving.