Alex Wright


Personal

Mush, eh? January 6, 2009

Allow me to debunk the first myth of dog-sledding: "Mush!" means nothing to sled dogs, at least if said dogs are French Canadian huskies. To make them go, you say "Allez!" while giving the sled a shove. To slow down,...
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Year-end round-up December 23, 2008

Next year, I'm aspiring to take Merlin Mann's advice and consolidate my naked acts of self-promotion down to an occasional monthlyish update, in hopes of finding more compelling things to write about. So in the interest of starting 2009 with...
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Theobroma November 29, 2008

After reading last week's New Yorker profile of Sam Calagione, the Dogfish Head impresario who seems to be emerging as the craft beer industry's gonzo counterpart to Bonny Doon Vineyard's Randall Grahm, I found myself hankering for a taste of...
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Grant Park November 5, 2008

Under the terms of my employment, I'm precluded from making any public show of support for any political candidate or cause. So I made my best effort at feigning journalistic detachment as I waded into the crowd at Chicago's Grant...
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Bluegrass Nation October 9, 2008

I was sorely disappointed to miss last weekend's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco, but I'm taking consolation in two NYC shows on my calendar for the next couple of nights: Dobro maestro Jerry Douglas and my favorite alt-bluegrass...
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Cheese holiday September 17, 2008

On my recent trip to Holland, we took a two-day bike ride out of Amsterdam and up through the Dutch countryside to the little town of Alkmaar, nestled up in a far corner of Noord Holland. The reward for two...
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Amsterdamming August 21, 2008

I'm off to the Netherlands for the next 10 days, paying a visit to Tilburg University, then catching up with old and new friends in Amsterdam before heading off to parts unknown. Posting will be light (as if it hasn't...
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The Way of the World August 12, 2008

My old editor and onetime journalism professor Ron Suskind is making another round of waves with his new book The Way of the World, an exploration of the post-9/11 world that includes an explosive revelation: a White House-directed fake letter...
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Austin-bound March 6, 2008

Tomorrow I'll be making my long-overdue first trip to SxSW, where I'll be doing a talk and book-signing on Monday. If you're planning to be there and would like to catch up at some point, drop me a line....
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New look October 21, 2007

Props to my colleagues Rebecca Paterson and Bart Szyszka, who helped me create and implement this new site design. Everything should be working now, but bear with me over the next few days as I work out a few odd...
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Reset May 15, 2007

Change is in the air around here lately - new job, new city, new apartment - so it seems like about the right time to refresh this site. In addition to reworking the design, I'm also migrating to a new...
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Catching up April 15, 2007

Things have been quiet around here lately, while I've been busy on a number of fronts: Going through the final paces with my book, reviewing the galleys and working on a companion Web site to launch in the next couple...
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Seminary January 13, 2007

I'm on my way back up north to Karme Choling, where I'll be spending the next month attending Sutrayana Seminary, a residential program to study the Buddhist hinayana and mahayana teachings (coincidentally, my soon-to-be-teacher John Rockwell was interviewed for this...
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Christmas Eve Memoriam December 24, 2006

One year ago today, Leslie Harpold graciously offered me space to share an old family story on her annual Advent Calendar. I sent her the story, we traded a few emails, and she sketched a funny little cartoon to illustrate...
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Word to the mother November 25, 2006

Today my mom has two reasons to celebrate: It's her birthday, and She just took delivery of the first copies of her ninth book, a Critical Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne Here's sending a little birthday Google juice her way....
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Paging Mr Webb November 9, 2006

Boy am I glad I switched my voter registration from California to Virginia this year. Now let's just hope my absentee ballot gets counted (and recounted)....
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Remembering the Odeon October 21, 2006

Back in my Bernal Heights days, I used to enjoy an occasional pop at the Odeon, the now-defunct house of theatrical deviancy best known for the Ask Dr. Hal show (which has since found new life at 12 Galaxies). I...
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Slot Deco September 12, 2006

Last week I paid a visit to the Gambling Museum in Virginia City, Nevada, home to a fabulous collection of old-time slot machines. The evolution of the machines seems to tell the story of American industrial design, from the clunky...
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Offline August 7, 2006

I will be away on retreat from Aug 7-14, with no email and limited phone access. Apologies in advance for delayed responses; I should be plugged back in as of Tue Aug. 15....
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Red White and Bluegrass July 16, 2006

This past Saturday, I trekked out to Mineral, Virginia, for the 23rd Mineral Bluegrass Festival. Mineral is about 40 miles and a world away from Richmond. Started by the legendary Lester Flatt and now sponsored by the local volunteer fire...
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There and back again July 10, 2006

I'm back from retreat, but staying out in the Blue Ridge for another few days with sporadic connectivity. Posting will be light for the next few days, but I expect to pick things up again early next week....
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Unplugging June 29, 2006

To anyone it might concern, I will be off the grid from July 2-9 (on retreat, somewhere up in the Blue Ridge Mountains). I will have no access to email or cell phone during this time, so my apologies in...
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Brooklyning June 2, 2006

I'll be spending the next few days in Brooklyn, house- and dog-sitting for Ed and Lisa. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with the old 'hood (I lived here from 1997-99, before moving to San Francisco), catching up with a few...
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Karaoke night May 28, 2006

I knew I had penetrated the zone of High Weirdness when the Koreans started country line-dancing to "The Age of Aquarius." This was well into a night of heavy drinking (for everyone but still-medicated me), Korean barbecue and karaoke at...
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Back up north May 5, 2006

I've been tooling around the northeast for the past week, currently spending a few days up in Vermont en route to a weekend program at Tail of the Tiger. From there, my itinerary takes me back down to see Whit...
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Vancouver March 23, 2006

I'm off to Vancouver for the IA Summit, where I'm looking forward to seeing at least a few familiar faces. I'll be presenting on Sunday at 11:45, and will plan to post a recap here afterwards (that is, after I...
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Ten years after March 6, 2006

This week back in March 1996, I spent a few sleepless days working on a webcast of the IBM-sponsored National Education Summit (alongside Ed and Vicky), a two-day conflagration of the fifty governors, assorted CEOs, and their various handlers...
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Postum March 5, 2006

Ever since I had to renounce my caffeine habit about a month ago, I've been casting around for something to drink in the morning. So far I've worked my way through decaf (too frustrating), herb teas and fruit juice, none...
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Chick Corea February 28, 2006

Notwithstanding his troubling propensity for dedicating his albums to L. Ron Hubbard, the man knows how to tickle the ivory. Looking forward to seeing Chick Corea at the Modlin Center tonight. > More about Chick Corea...
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Patient as meta-patient February 4, 2006

My recent stint in the hospital left me feeling like nothing so much as a 223-pound body of data. During my twenty-eight hour sojourn, the medical staff extracted perhaps a half pint of blood and, I'm guessing, at least a...
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Cardiac night February 1, 2006

There's a Buddhist teaching that says you should always keep the moment of your own death close at hand. Well, I think I now have a tiny inkling of what that's about. I was moving to a new apartment over...
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A Christmas Story December 24, 2005

In today's Advent Calendar, Leslie Harpold has kindly given me space to share a family tale of Christmas Eve long past. And she more than does justice to the story with this illustration: > Christmas Memory...
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when i was cool November 26, 2005

While I was doing a little site housekeeping over the weekend, I found myself face-to-face with my five year-ago self, back when I first started posting in July 2000. At the time, I was living a fully shameless dotcom lifestyle,...
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Secession, seriously? November 18, 2005

While I was up in Vermont, I picked up a copy of Vermont Commons at the local coffee hut. Expecting to while away my latte over one of those strident little leftie free press rags, I was surprised to find...
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If it's Tuesday, this must be Vermont November 1, 2005

Perpetuating my peripatetic ways, I've landed in Ludlow, Vermont (thanks to Bill and Jocelyn, who rented me their vacation house for a few weeks). With the ski herds still a couple of weeks away, the action in Ludlow consists mostly...
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East coasting October 12, 2005

On the off chance anyone out there is still reading this, I thought I would share a quick update on my whereabouts. I'm back in Richmond at the moment, after a peripatetic summer of driving cross country, up and down...
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Checking in September 21, 2005

After a four-month hiatus, I thought I would interrupt my blog sabbatical with a quick update. I'm alive and well and living in Richmond, after driving cross country and visiting folks up and down the east coast. Now I'm settling...
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Checking out June 3, 2005

I'm putting this site on hiatus for a while as I get ready for an extended summer break. I'll be going on retreat, visiting friends and family, reading, writing, and I hope not much else. I expect to pick this...
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Flower Mart March 31, 2005

Yesterday, I got up at sunrise to accompany my friend Alice Tarkeshi over to the SF Flower Mart, the wholesale market where the city's florists, photographers and restaurauteurs go to buy their floralware. By 7am, the place is buzzing: buyers...
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Kauai March 2, 2005

No posts for the next few days - off to Kauai for sun, surf and fruity cocktails....
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Duke, RIP February 20, 2005

Having just flown back from Las Vegas two days ago with my twenty year-old dog-eared paperback of Fear and Loathing stuffed into my backpack, I was startled to come home to the news that the Doctor has checked out....
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‹ber Bowl February 6, 2005

Heading into an afternoon of unapologetic bourgeois beer-swilling in front of a friend's big-screen TV, I will think back fondly to last year's sleepless weekend in Houston. And while I may not bear the scars of age-old Pats fans, 2005...
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Then and now December 27, 2004

Writing in the face of tragedy feels like an empty gesture, but as I watched all that footage of the tsunamis, I kept thinking of the people I met in Phuket and Ko Phi Phi earlier this year. I can...
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A walk in the woods November 30, 2004

My parents' house sits next to 200 acres of pristine Virginia woods, surrounding a nameless old lake. When I went home for Thanksgiving, I learned that they're planning to build a new middle school out there. So before they put...
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Shutting up, putting up October 13, 2004

I was feeling all kvetched out about the election, but after an arduous phone call with my lone Republican friend (who lives in swing-state Iowa), I decided to quit carping already and give a buck to Kerry. If you're so...
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... and I aproovd this messig October 12, 2004

On the eve of the final debate, Whit brings us this troubling dispatch from the frontlines of our nation's future: "The revolution may not be televised," Whit observes, "but it's in crayon." And in the midst of a presidential contest...
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Class of 1984 October 7, 2004

Last weekend took me back to my old school for my 20th high school reunion. I can't remember who pointed out recently that there are now two kinds of people in the world: those with Google footprints, and those without....
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Guantanamo by the Hudson September 6, 2004

Old Phoenix Pop cohort Eddie Codell went to New York and spent 40 hours behind bars during the RNC convention, in what was almost certainly an illegal police action to sweep peaceful protesters off the street; he tells the whole...
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Sicily photos September 2, 2004

Finally got around to hashing through my photos from Sicily....
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Kasparov and the Machine August 27, 2004

Way back in May 1997, I spent a week holed up in the dank basement of New York's Equitable Center working on the live Webcast of the Deep Blue vs. Garry Kasparov chess match. It was a pressure-cooker project,...
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Sicilia August 21, 2004

Just back from a week in Sicily visiting with la famiglia. More to come - first, sleep......
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Skipping town July 2, 2004

Taking a break between projects for a SoCal road trip: Yosemite > Death Valley > somewhere south of the border....
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Vegas-bound March 26, 2004

Off carousing with the old ibm.com crew: Jennifer, Lisa and Ed....
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No sleep til Houston February 3, 2004

Going to the Super Bowl isnít so much like going to a football game as it is like visiting a Potemkin village. It's a carefully staged performance of a football game. Not enough sleep, too much everything else. A...
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Up from the archives January 17, 2004

I recently discovered a box of old floppies up in the attic, wherein I found a bunch of long-lost magazine pieces from my starving-freelancer days. Mostly forgettable stuff (tips on selecting granite for your kitchen, anyone?), but I came across...
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Flea-bitten January 3, 2004

One of my favorite places is the Antique Center and Flea Mart in Richmond, VA, down at the corner of Hull and Belt Boulevard, in the low-rent avenue district of old Southside. I grew up spending adolescent weekends here, hunting...
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Quote boy December 17, 2003

Old pal Whit scores some good ink in the latest Time with this catchy pull-quote: "Nothing is more valuable than the user at the moment of desire," says Gartner analyst Whit Andrews. "When a user searches, that user has a...
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Citizen Matt December 7, 2003

Walking up the stairway from the City Hall underground parking garage this afternoon, I found myself unexpectedly immersed in a rally for Matt Gonzalez (San Francisco's upstart Green Party mayoral candidate, and prodigal political protťgť of my across-the-street neighbor Tom...
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A poet is born December 2, 2003

A few weeks back, I stumbled across Red Sox Haiku (via a link from Mark Bernstein). I forwarded the link on to my old friend Mike Myers, a lifelong-suffering Sox fan, who was then still stewing in the wake of...
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Glide November 17, 2003

Yesterday, we finally got around to attending a service at Glide Memorial Church. And I am hear to tell you, those people got spirit: foot-stomping, hand-waving, giving-it-up-for-Jesus spirit. My cousin Bill Satterwhite lived in San Francisco back in the...
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Remembering the Paper Lion September 26, 2003

George Plimpton died today. I met Plimpton once, for a few minutes, in 1997. We had hired him as a commentator for the Deep Blue vs. Kasparov chess match; since in one of his many bouts of "participatory journalism,"...
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warts & all September 22, 2003

update: most everything should be working now. if not, do let me know (send mail to alex at agwright dot com) well, it looks I'm migrating to Movable Type earlier than planned - since I inadvertently blew up my old...
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lights out September 22, 2003

Hurricane Isabel may be receding into the blur of past news cycles, but as I learned from my parents last night, it's far from over. Like 40% of Virginia residents, my folks have had no power for the past 5...
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Oh, yet we trust that September 10, 2003

Oh, yet we trust that somehow good Will be the final end of ill, To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood; That nothing walks with aimless feet; That not one life shall be...
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separated at birth? December 6, 2002

me, age 8 cousin oliver...
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parent prodigies November 11, 2002

my folks seem to be in literary high gear these days. hot on the heels of my mom's recent book, my dad has just published his latest, a scholarly article on the Rev. Levi Silliman Ives, an early 19th-century bishop...
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hats off to Mom October 31, 2002

on the publication of her latest book: Thomas Hardy A-Z, a prodigious 416 pages' worth of elegantly written, exhaustively researched scholarship on the Dorset literary heavyweight. I'm thinking now may be a good time for me to confess that I...
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eastbound August 30, 2002

off to NYC for labor day. looking forward to seeing friends and crawling old East Village haunts, like my favorite place in the world to sip a cask-conditioned Belgian ale served by a surly waiter in a brown monk's habit:...
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I am, apparently, somebody August 20, 2002

no idea why, but i've made the "blogs of note" list on blogger.com...
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Russkies among the Redwoods July 29, 2002

We spent the weekend at St Orres, a Russian-style hotel up the Mendocino coast in the little hamlet of Gualala. The hotel Web site doesn't nearly do the place justice; it's an exquisitely crafted building, with onion domes and a...
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into the deep end July 10, 2002

it remains to be seen whether i'm hopelessly quixotic, slightly delusional, or possibly trapped in some weird 1998 dotcom time warp, but i've decided to pass up a FT corporate paycheck to start a new software company (joining forces with...
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finally got around to updating March 14, 2002

finally got around to updating my list of projects....
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super 8 memories twenty-odd years July 23, 2001

super 8 memories twenty-odd years later, my old super 8 reels have now been re-released thanks to the magic of digital video. with a little help from Apple iMovie, i've put together a new director's cut featuring some of my...
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Super 8 redux so i've April 5, 2001

Super 8 redux so i've been playing with Apple's new iMovie 2, and am happy to report that it just plain rocks. having endured a few hours' worth of amateur struggles with Premiere and After Effects, i had no particular...
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so my company has finally January 27, 2001

so my company has finally succumbed to the dotcom downturn, electing to "join forces" with a young web services company, liquid thinking. a sudden turn for the i'm-not-sure-what-yet; i've resolved to go in with open eyes....
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jennifer and i trekked down August 29, 2000

jennifer and i trekked down to the henry miller library at big sur last weekend for a concert by mobius operandi, an experimental music troupe that specializes in playing the ingenious rube goldberg-esque musical instruments of sculptor oliver dicocco. interested?...
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ok, i give up. i'm July 12, 2000

ok, i give up. i'm starting a blog. i've been resisting the urge to hop on the blog train these past few months - reminding myself of Dr. Johnson's proscription that "no man but a fool ever wrote except for...
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Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages

GLUT:
Mastering Information Through the Ages

New Paperback Edition

“A penetrating and highly entertaining meditation on the information age and its historical roots.”
—Los Angeles Times     

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