brucine (broo'-seen), 1) n. Pharm., Chem. a bitter, poisonous alkaloid, C23H26N2O4, obtained from the nux vomica tree; 2) n. Bruce Bortin's 'low-impact' weblog

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

At the Phlebotomist

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Today's video is dedicated to my friend Askme, who hates needles and could use some cheering up.  Hey, at least it wasn't you getting stuck today!


Monday, August 29, 2005

All Bits are Equal, but Some Bits are More Equal than Others

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My friend Mr X has a one hour movie on an external hard drive on his iMac that he wants me to work on. We've been trying for over a week to get the file from his computer to mine. We keep on trying things that don't work.

Next, we're gonna put all the bits in a gunny sack, tie it to a badger, and give it a swift kick in the soft underbelly.

Yeah. That'll work.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Review of "The Overcoat" at A.C.T. San Francisco

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A brief review of The Overcoat at ACT in San Francisco. We went to the preview last night; it opens some time in the coming week.

The play is based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol. It is wordless, presented in dance, to music by Dimitri Shostakovich. Sounds dreadful, nyet?

Nyet! Ochein horosho! The sets and the lighting were great. The dancing was energetic, no more narrative than it needed to be, and not at all prissy or humorless. The fact that there was no speaking was extra-great. This show had a lot of heart.

Here's what I thought:

  • I want to shop at 19th-Century Gap
  • Until the Purple Coat showed up, I couldn't understand why they didn't save some money & produce it in black & white
  • Do blintzes come with that shake?
  • Where can I get me one of them white-clad asylum boys?
  • Did I doze off and miss something, or did this mid-19th-century Russian story lack a part where everything gets blamed on the Jews?

Two big thumbs up, people! Imaginative & entertaining.





Saturday, August 27, 2005

Waiting for the Electrician

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My video camera has been having tape-transport problems, and as I can't seem to get a straight answer out of Canon about how to go about returning it to them for repairs, I've had to resort to finding somebody local to tackle the job. I spent all day yesterday in Berkeley, trying to attain access to the repair guy at a small electronics shop so that I could sort out the problem with him.

This never happened, so I've got to go back to Berkeley today. To bring them the tape that they made me take away from the shop on Thursday, when I first brought the camera in. Feh.

While I was hanging out yesterday, I met Peter for lunch, I went to the museum for a while, I hung out on campus, and sat in a cafe, reading THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). Great book. It was out of print for a long time, but Harcourt just republished it.

In it, Andy talks about his tape recorder. "Nothing was ever a problem again, because a problem just meant a good tape, and when a problem transforms itself into a good tape it's not a problem any more."

Well, I'm no Andy Warhol, so today's tape isn't all that great. Also, Andy never talked about what happens when the problem is a problem with the tape recorder.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Unintentional Formal Congruence

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The skin on the top of the right half of my head has been sore & tender for the last week. I don't know what it is; I don't know why. Since it's on the top of my head, I don't know what it looks like, either, so last night I snapped a photo of it so that I could get a look.

Well, you know how it goes. You upload the day's shots from your camera, and their thumbnails are displayed alongside all the other photos that you've taken this month, right? So at that scale, my bald shiny pate looked really similar to some of the photos of Dan's lamps from the DeYoung shoot. Hmmpff.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Escape from Noise

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They're still going strong with the patio demolition. This morning, I had to get away. I escaped to my local coffee house, and was delighted to find a comfy sofa, a huge double espresso, and an unnamed trio playing some laidback jazz.

Right there, 9:30 in the AM.

Very cool.


Jahva House

1428 Alice St.
Oakland, CA
(510) 836-5282

Peaceout, you anonymous jazz guys!

...and a tip of the hat to Negativland. Christianity is stupid. Communisim is good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'll Show You a Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

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They're doing an upgrade to the common patio space right outside my window at our apartment complex. Today, demolition of the extant concrete floor of the space began. Those guys are really doing hard work. Esos individuos realmente están haciendo el trabajo duro.

It's very loud.
Es muy ruidoso.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Philip Geddes' Street Art

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Some new street art showed up in Oakland the other day. I went back to the site today, took some photos of new parts of the piece. Then, later, returned to find the artist there.

This video is a short interview with the artist, Philip Geddes, and I hope I've spelled that right.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Detail, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I can't figure out who this represents. The cutaway and big mustache suggest, who? Johann Strauss? The face reminds me of Steve Zahn. Any ideas out there?

New Street Art in Oakland

New Street Art in Oakland, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Just ran across this piece this morning. It looked like it had been installed very recently. Construction looks like thinset mortar over an ad-hoc armature.

It's located where 22nd St meets Franklin -- right near Broadway. This puts it fairly close to 21 Grand & Mamabuzz; it wouldn't surprise me if somebody in that circle had a hand in this piece. Probably not Justin Artifice, though. It just doesn't look like their work to me. Less polished and aggressively social commentaryish.

The figure is pointing nearly due West, toward Broadway.


Coals, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

At Tara & David's

Great dinner. With Steve & Tim


Peanut, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Auditioning to model for J. Otto Seibold

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What Glen Wears on Wednesdays

What Glen Wears on Wednesdays, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Cathy & I attended the first class meeting of Art 103; French Revolution to 1945 last night. I hope we get a bigger classroom next week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Major League Baseball's Copyright Can Bite My Ass

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Our National Passtime. This file might be illegal. Oops.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cowgirl Hat Intro

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My little French niece, Djeneba, has just gotten into riding ponies in a big way. I don't think they have cowgirls in France, but we sure got 'em here in California, so today Mary & I went out to the Fruitvale neighborhood for a cowgirl hat.

This is a short video that I made to send along with the hat, along with a copy of an Annie Oakley animation that I got out of the library.

Yippie ti-yi-yay-yippie-yo.

Babs' Yahrzeit

Barbara Harris Bortin

October 13, 1922 -- August 16, 1998

PS or NB: Yahrzeit = Anniversary of death

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dan at the DeYoung

Dan at the DeYoung, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I'm doing a short documentary of my friend Dan the Glassblower, and his project making the lamps for the cafe at the new DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park. The other day, Dan & I went out to the site to shoot the installed lamps--it was a beautiful, foggy, Golden Gate Park dusk and evening, and the lamps looked great.

Here's a rough cut of the onsite segment of the video. It has problems, especially with the audio, of which there's too much braying Bruce in there, and not enough input from shy retiring softspoken Dannnyboy. We'll work it out. Open to suggestions.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Commie, originally uploaded by dumbeast.


Tommie, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Bad Doggies

Bad Doggies, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Good Doggies

Good Doggies, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Letter to Danny

Letter to Danny, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Video Letter. To Danny. He's in New Zealand, working with the Maori & access to broadcast television. I thought he should know about vlogging, so I sent him this.

Adam's Screen Test

Adam's Screen Test, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

From the footage on the Medical Marijuana project. See a brief video here:>

Monday, August 08, 2005

Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Printed fabric of a hempen shirt. From the Oaksterdam Gift Shop

Ben's Screentest

Ben's Screentest, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Schoener punim, nit?

Reading Terry Pratchett in California

Man, this stuff is exhausting. Here's what I did yesterday.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Is this the gayest trademark ever?

Farmers Market Still

Farmers Market Still, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

From "Mary & Bruce Go Shopping"

Anarchism Rock Still 01

Anarchism Rock Still 01, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Still from the new piece on my video blog, heh heh. It's called Anarchism Rock, and it's really just a screen test for the new mask.

Phat antiglobalism beats, boy-eee! Click here to experience the experience. If you dare.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Mary Dons the Mask

Mary Dons the Mask, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I finished work on the Anarchist Bomb Mask yesterday. Here, Mary models it, utilising her deranged robot posture to accentuate the mask's alienating principle.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Le El Café

Le El Café, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

"I'm going out for some ambiguously gendered coffee. Can I get you anything?"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Waiting for Mary

Waiting for Mary, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

It's hard on Pearl when Mary's out checking the laundry in the dryer.


Mask, originally uploaded by dumbeast. Photo by Mary Foran

The glasses and glasses case are a nice touch. Tres Gigantor nerdique.


Ray, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

He has the glowy eyes


Pearl, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

She has the bunny feet


Thumbnail, originally uploaded by dumbeast.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Eli Looks Askance

Eli Looks Askance, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Another one of those 'Who do you think you're pointing that lens at?' photos.

The picture on the wall, by the way, is a photo that Eli took at his jobsite.

Eli works stone.

Alien Visitation

Alien Visitation, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Puzzling Evidence

"One Day at the Apple Store" Still3

A lighthearted look at rampant catastrophic ulcerating consumerism.

From about a year ago. Just seeing if I can figure out how to get the video to play via the blog. Bear with me for a moment...

How about this? Click here to see Quicktime, here for mp4

All hail

Mary's Party

Mary's Party, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

At Moose's in San Francisco. With Cathy, Andrea, Gayle, Tom, Tara & David

Photo by David Etayo

Balsamic & Olive Oil

Balsamic & Olive Oil, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

From the "Asperger's Much?" collection.

Alameda Bikeride

Alameda Bikeride, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Yesterday was Mary's birthday. We took BART to Fruitvale, and then rode across the Tilden drawbridge to Alameda.

We rode & rode & rode. Had a nice lunch at the Pasta Pelican's Rusty Scupper's Fo'c'sle's Poopdeck's Keelhauler's Matey's Galley.

What a lovely day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Drug Photo Memory

Drug Photo Memory, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Long long ago, I used to carry my pot in a 35mm film cannister.

Now I sometimes find myself slipping a beta-blocker into the case for my camera's memory cards.

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