Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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Thanksgiving 2019

continuing a tradition wherein my Mom asks me to prepare a blessing for the Thanksgiving table, here is 2019's blessing from late November, Chicago:

life cycles
through us
around this table
all the way between
unborn and retired

we are practicing a human project
to eat and grow strong
to sustain and expand our family

any family might be both nice or mean
this conflict will not cease, it follows us

we are born of parochial warrior tribes
who break treaties when convenient
perhaps we are civilizing ourselves over time
through ritual
and creeping vegetarianism

let us dwell for a moment in peace
take a deep breath

and remember
amidst eternal struggle
there is occasionally a chance to gather
at a broader table
to bow our heads
to reflect on privilege
to recommit to community service
for as we are now warm in this coming winter
there are cold cousins beyond these walls

our very lives are thanksgiving
that we survived this long
that we have found each other
to share our time remaining
to be good to one another

Over the Edge of listenable radio

On 10 May 2019 I spent three hours co-making radio on KPFA's Over the Edge, hosted by the musician Wobbly, aka Jon Leidecker - a dedicated listener, sampler, participant, and historian of music & sound. He has been deep in software, forming formed his own opinions about the health and impacts of our technology-augmented bickering and self-sabotage. Wobbly saw the re-release of Home Page, and invited me to join him for Over The Edge, as he hosts a Negativland radio show on KPFA from midnight to 3am Thursday late/Friday early.

It's a 3 hour tour; we start talking around 14.20:

I took advantage of the airtime to plug, even playing hints of our voicemail greeting. Jon left the mic open while I explained my experience moving from the wild unregulated early days of the web to the highly regulated and inhibited online commerce of cannabis with

It reminded me of two things -

I love layering sound & music. It was like being on the electric eclectic again - my last regular radio show. Here I was with a deep music hacker, with my own computer adding layers; playing sound from a movie file, from my iTunes library, and from my Spotify subscription, all at once. So fun to be able to dribble in media. I regret that I didn't identify this video I played RUN MAN RUN sung by Kevin Blechdom:

Two, I still love talking, telling stories, bantering for an audience. The Justin Hall Show is on hiatus, or rather it's been absorbed into multi-collaborator weekly staff meetings working to increase worldwide availability of cannabis. If someone offers me a warm mic, I'll often come jaw at length. So far I believe I haven't completely buried myself under bad ideas, publicly-stated. More to come.

Thanks Jon!

his servant's voice

These days I don't take time to reach my fingers into your eyes with my stories. But sometimes people present me with a microphone. So I can post links that might resemble my voice:

home page

A 1999 documentary I appear in, entitled "Home Page" has just been re-released in DVD format just in time for 2019 viewing. The film explores the phenomenon of people oversharing about their lives on the early World Wide Web. If this sounds like a good time to you, purchase a plastic disc on Amazon or a download contract with Apple iTunes, or I think it will also be distributed online soon, through video streaming services the likes of which we could only feverishly prognosticate about some mere decades ago.

The filmmaker Doug Block has a page about Home Page - we still get along so that link should work. He convinced a publication Fast Company to write an article: Home Page is being rereleased like a time capsule from the internet's early days.

Even more fun, humans have gathered in darkened rooms in several cities to watch the 102 minutes.

I attended 3/4 of those: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles (sorry Sebastopol!). Flying may be a chief sin, and it's even more acute mixed with vanity. I enjoy the talking. In every screening I wore the same outfit. Heavy, thick, no colors except my daily purple undershirt. I thought of it as my armor as I prepared to sit down and open my mouth in public. Each time I answer live questions, I can't help but feel an urge to challenge myself to be more present with the audience and my mind. I wonder how these footages will attest to my mental continuity 20 years henceward from the Home Page footages.

Here's some video parts from Spring 2019:

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

17 February 2019, San Francisco: Panel discussion after watching Home Page including journalist Matt Honan, Doug Block, Justin Hall

International Documentary Association screening

They recorded Marjan Safinia moderating a panel with Doug Block, Justin Hall, and surprise guest Jamie Levy - will the web see it??!

Afterwards I spoke with a Sheran James from KX 93.5 FM in Southern California, and she posted this hour long conversation between us in audio format The Sharin' Hour 4/1/19: Justin Hall

Cannabis Business

While I revel in decades-old misbehavior, my work on the team continues. Jonathan Davis from a local progressive public radio-station KPFA put a mic in front of me at the February 2019 International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco. He posted a shorter "Cannabis Business Conference in SF - a year into legalization (KPFA News)" radio piece. I join the conversation about four minutes twenty seconds in.

Jonathan also posted a longer edit of that piece that's more descriptive, I appear at six minutes twenty-six seconds.

backchannel research

Finally, a mentor & collaborator from my graduate studies days Scott Fisher dug up some research we did on the use of live chat and data jockeys during classes and presentations is now posted online on a few academic paper hosting sites:

"Experiments in Backchannel: Collaborative Presentations Using Social Software, Google Jockeys, and Immersive Environments" and I presented it at ACM SIGCGI 2006, Montreal - the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI - Computer-Human Interactions.

my chief sin

aside from too frequent pastrami sandwiches, air travel is my chief sin. It is the guilty thing I cannot help and cannot countenance. If you roll down your windows driving into an airport, you know what I mean. You can't breathe it but you're about it. I talk to jetsetting friends about our trips past and upcoming and I think we're all filthy sinners.

So I think, I should practice better carbon offsets - make my air transit reflect the cost to the collective air/water/earth resources spreadsheet. Expecting to be somewhere far away in less than a day feels like a wild luxury in appropriate to the gravity of suffering already due to our collective resource prioritization, and the upheaval pending as the seas rise and forests dry. And how can I say I enjoy it so; the friends and family anchored to their lives in another place, the chance to taste some other air, to imagine myself as a person inscribing memories with distant nodes.

Sometimes traveling I look up and notce I'm in a room, with other people, seeking food or drink, sex, love or stimulation. I think, why did I need to leave my local rooms to practice want-fulfillment somewhere else?


If I had another appendage I could manifest the significance of this date in person. As it is I have online sharing PTSD. Each thing I write online I question who am I serving? Am I violating someone else's privacy? Am I punching up or down? Am I going to be harassed by people with too much time feeding on my personal details? Would I rather be spending time with my kid or pleasuring myself elsewhere?

So I'm constipated for online sharing. Plenty of buildup - scores of photos I take each month. Gigabytes of unshared media. I check Instagram and I think oh man my friends are doing great things and taking wonderful trips and asking good questions. Shouldn't I demonstrate my standing as a photogenic human with the means to participate in mediated life demonstration? Ahhh it's just too much to think about. Only good girls keep diaries, the bad girls never have time - thank you Tallulah.

But I still serve my celebrity, such as it is. THIS MY SITE FIRST HAD EXTERNAL VISITORS 25 YEARS AGO TODAY. There, I'm marking the occasion. Not with a staggered poem about my desire meeting someone aligned with it, or a story about ingesting psychedelics just before an upright meeting. I now work in the legal cannabis business after my work in video games, so I've already passed through the ceiling of my teenage career fantasies. It was never my career fantasy to suffer in public. I love being of nearby service; now I make breakfast for my partner and child just about every day.

I agreed to show up to a few screenings of an old film in which I appeared. Doug Block made a documentary Home Page, which is personal media writ into a sort of permanence. Permanence served by re-mastering, re-screening. So I shall likely stand before small groups in New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco to say "yes I survived" and "now I sell cannabis" and "sharing on the internet is complicated"

I could write here on all kinds of opinions on the web-that-was. But that would be like spraypainting dust and spider webs on this already-dilapidated art objet. Better to ramble on them in person at some venue, where I can grab free drink in a plastic cup bound for an ocean gyre, while I eye some attractive sort in the front row and imagine how old I must seem to them, and yet how immature. I like to imagine that if I offend with commentary on a revitalized 480p documentary, I am not famous enough for my remarks to be newsworthy.

O, passmore that and oxus another!

Stopped walking across a desert art party by a Gavan Kennedy and asked to read from a book called Finnegan's Wake, originally channelled by James Joyce.

Pages 197,
198, and 199.

There's a video; I look like I'm sitting in front of a green screen! Hah!