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, June 28, 2006

Scifi Sky II

Scifi SKy II, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Henry's Beach this morning.

Mary Presents a Lobster

Mary Presents a Lobster, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Washed up on Henry's Beach

Mary Bestows the Divine Spark upon a Setee

In a furniture store

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Just Above the Tide

Just Above the Tide, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Anemonies 'n' things. One of my favorite tidepool games is "Animal, Vegetable or Mineral". Quite often, it's bits of all three. Wahnsinn!

Eucalyptus Grain

Eucalyptus Grain, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This tree fell from up on top of the bluff. Slowly becoming beach, ocean. Very interactive scene here at the edge of the continent.

Scifi Sky

Scifi Sky, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Haze above the bluff at Henry's Beach. Spooky. Woo!

Monday, June 26, 2006


Carapace, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

"Luke, I am your father."

Sand Dollar

Sand Dollar, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

They're motile. Who knew? News to me.

Pismo Beach, CA

Pontiac "Vibe"

Pontiac "Vibe", originally uploaded by dumbeast.

With puzzling message

Saturday, June 24, 2006

East Bay Paratransit

East Bay Paratransit, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

1720 Broadway.
Offices on the third floor.

Coffee Filter Basket Mod

Coffee Filter Basket Mod, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

When the carafe of our coffeemaker broke a couple weeks ago, we went to the Laney Flea Market for a replacement. The new one's great, but not quite as tall as the original. By maybe a millimeter. This made the valve mechanism on the filter basket unhappy. The valve didn't open quite as much as it should have.

I fixed it by adding a dollop of five-minute epoxy to the effort-arm of the lever which works the valve. Rotating the basket to control the shape of the drop of epoxy as it set felt very familiar to this old glassblower.

Works great now.

Tweakcycle Fork

Tweakcycle Fork, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Here's the front fork. Very nicely done.

Tweakcycle Seat

Tweakcycle Seat, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This bike was parked outside the library the other day. Completely paved with a mosaic of little bits of cut, colored paper. The seat's been sealed with clear packing tape.


Chair Arms Re-upholstered

Chair Arms Re-upholstered, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Looks and feels much better. Love that staple-gun!

Fabric for Chair Arms

Fabric for Chair Arms, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

So I got some nice crushed poly/acetate fabric. Removed the vinyl, took a pattern from it, and cut out new upholstry.

Chair with Rasty Arms

Chair with rasty arms, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

The vinyl's all cracked and stained. And it's vinyl.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Watch the video

This piece is from a year ago. I'm posting it here now for my new friends at The Consumerist.

Original description follows:

The current (June 2005) batch of T-Mobile ads on TV feature Catherine Zeta Jones acting all seductive & superior & shit. In one, she executes this odd, crablike stroll which is supposed to be alluring or something. I find it baffling, so I made a video about it incorporating a quote from T. S. Eliot and a call for Capitalism to dial it back just a bit.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Time Flies II

Watch the video

Strange doings at the Jackson Lake Apartments.

Starring Kay, Eddis & Curtis

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pearl Drinks out of a Stripey Glass

Watch the video

Woebetide if the water level gets too low.

Soundtrack is a way-slowed-down version of the first bar or two of "Float On" by Modest Mouse, with a big shoutout to Ryan Junell.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Proper Seating

Proper Seating, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Here's my old chair from the studio, now at my current desk.

I'm sitting there now. It's heaven.

Chair on Bike, Home

Chair on Bike, Home, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Mary met me in the garage to help me unpack the beast.

Photo by Mary Jane Foran

Chair on Bike

Chair on Bike, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Then I remembered my old chair from the Media Suite at the studio. I'd salvaged it from the corner of 12th & Wood years ago, and always found it entirely appropriate. So today I biked to the studio to pick it up. Rigging it onto the rack took some doing, and it was hotter than blazes while I was doing it, but I wrestled it into what seemed to be a stable configuration and pedalled home.

"Cohen Office Chair" from Cost Plus

Last Saturday, we walked to Cost Plus, and Mary bought me this old-timey desk chair, contemporarily rendered as a kit from Thailand which came in a 3'x3'x2' box that weighed 26Kg, so we got a taxicab with an insane (and quite unpleasanly so) driver to pick us up and take us home.

The kit was surprisingly complete and well designed. It took me about 70 minutes to put it together. Unfortunately, it didn't work with my desk. Too high. Made my right shoulder hurt like hell. Here it is in front of Mary's desk, where I think it will find a home

Dead Chair

Dead Chair, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This was my desk chair for as long as I can remember. It was salvaged from the told THC office when it broke up. Nothing fancy, but it worked for me. I loved this chair.

The cats have been having their way with the upholstry for years, and now the seat is sprung, which plays merry havoc with my clavicles or scapulae or something. Crippling back pain is what I'm talking about here, folks. This could not stand.

I had to fix this. I took this photo to have something to show to people in furniture shops. A post-literate communication aid.

Anybody remember post-literacy? Everybody was talking about it, all exercised and vehement ten years ago. I guess whatever issues there were got resolved. I've been so busy doing this photo/video/textblog, I must have missed the memo. *sigh*

Friday, June 16, 2006

Vloggercon 06 Promo. Auf Deutsch!

Watch the video

I was gratified and totally stoked at Vloggercon 06 last weekend when Wolfgang Harrer from ZDF came up to me to tell me (in front of my wife, who wasn't quite sure what this vlogging thing is all about) that he'd forwarded my Vloggercon 06 promo to Germany and it was getting a lot of play there.

I thought it was only fair to translate it for my Teutonic fans, so with the help of Altavista babelfish, my friend Dagmar, and my other friend Reiner the synthetic German voice at AT&T Research, I was able to put together this (probably grievously inaccurate) rendition.

Kind of beside the point, as the conference was last weekend, but 'beside the point' is mostly what I'm all about, nicht wahr? This one's for you, Wolfgang. Vielen dank!


Feline Ventillation Demo

Feline Ventillation Demo, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Ray, Ray, Ray

Grapes in Sugar-Free Raspberry Jello

I'm afraid I'm on a diet again. Feh.
Pretty Jello, though!

Sugar free. For the As-par-tame. For the ass part 'o' me.

Huey P Newton

Huey P Newton, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Famous Photograph of Huey P Newton

Sam Durant

Sam Durant, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Proposal for a monument to Huey P. Newton
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Huey P Bortino

Huey P Bortino, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Here I am sitting in Sam Durant's sculpture of Huey's chair.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Film Assistant Job

Watch the video
The rocky road of the job-seeker. Just give me a damn job!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Michael from alternet

Michael from alternet, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

I was trying to photograph Michael's badge. Anybody know his last name?

Here's my notes from vloggercon:



Tech Future


  • / learning center / open media directory collects & helps distribute open source media
  • collects and organizes and helps you to utilize uncopyrighted video
  • online video editor--Use the eyespot mixer to edit and combine your videos, music and photos online! Share your mixes with the world for Free.
  • Society of the Spectacle is a book that sombody stood up and recommended--Guy Debord; postmodernism, simulacra, la la la.

Undiscovered Country

Between Vloggercon

Watch the video
Between the sessions at Sunday's conference. Featuring Holland Wilde in that hat, and the slowed down voice of Jay

Friday, June 09, 2006

Lynne-Rachel at the Bank

Lynne-Rachel at the Bank, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

"Wave at the camera, Lynne-Rachel. Gotcha!"

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jit-Jit-Jit Jijit-Jit-Jitter

Watch the video

My camera started freaking out during yesterday's shoot. It was (as Jim pointed out) losing synch, so there was this lovely turquoise and orange jitter that occurred intermittently. I blame tape transport, a hopelessly 20th-century mechanism.

I mean, have you ever looked in there? It's full of levers and pulleys and slidey things and pressure fittings for chrisssake. Compare that to the elegant functioning of the ccd, the beauty of the video signal, the crystalline simplicity of the lens. No wonder the tape is always fucking up. I'll be so glad when everything's hard disk or memory-card, I swear to god. Hmmpf.

This piece is a bouquet of out-takes, everything that I would have had to discard if I had wanted to make a straight piece of journalism out of the footage that I got. Hah. When all you have is lemons....

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Jitter--shoutout to blip community

Watch the video

My camera just started doing this jittery thing today. Anybody out there experienced anything like this? Anyone know what it means? I sure hope it doesn't mean 'time to buy a new camera'.

It's a Canon ZR70MC MiniDV running Sony DVM60 tape, and I love it. Well, a lot of the time it's kind of a pain in the ass, but I've gotten to know it pretty well, and I'm comfortable with it. And I really can't afford to buy a new one.

If anyone can shed any light on this situation, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or email me--

bruce.bortin (AT)


Pearl's Feeling Better

Pearl's Feeling Better, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

...after an unsettled morning, alimentary canal-wise.

Ray Investigates the New Fuschia

Ray Investigates the New Fuschia, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

He likes to keep on top of these things.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blue Logo Hand-drawn

Watch the video
For the end of my videos. It's on a video-blue background so that I can make that part disappear if I need to, leaving just black lettering on a transparent layer. And then I can screw with that. I love video.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Felix, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

This is Felix in his gallery/studio in West Oakland

V3 by Felix

V3 by Felix, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

V3 stands for 'version #3'; Image originates as a photograph which is then modified with acrylic glazes, perhaps some collage/montage action.

Darren at 21 Grand

Darren at 21 Grand, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

21 Grand is a great exhibition/performance space in downtown Oakland. Darren & Sarah work hard to keep it open and exciting there. You should send them some money.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pre-Diabetic Romp QT

Watch the video
More transcoding trials. Pls Ignr.

Pre-Diabetic Romp WMV

Watch the video
More transcoding trials. Please ignore.

Chinatown Stroll WMV

Watch the video
Quick transcoding experiment. Don't even.

Chinatown Stroll QT

Watch the video
Transcoding experiment. Don't even

Concourse at the Ballgame

Concourse at the Ballgame, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Good game yesterday. We got there in time for the anthem, and lasted into the eighth inning, which is probably a record for us (Mary & me). It was a high, cloudless summer day, so occasionally we'd duck down to the concourse to escape the radiation.

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