Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Monday, September 27, 2004

One down, one to go

If all goes well, next Monday I will be employed at a very cool company with some very cool people. I'm not going to say where, just because I don't want to jinx it, and I haven't signed any paperwork yet.

Yep, they offered me a job. Actually, they offered me a better job than I applied for.

[bragging-filter-on]They said my experience and portfolio showed that I could do more than the junior design position they had open, so they changed the job, the title, and the salary. Needless to say, I'm delighted.[bragging-filter-off]

I'm really looking forward to working there, and I'm quite excited.

Now all I have to do is find someplace to live in San Francisco. I've got my heart set on a loft downtown, although I'm looking in other neighborhoods too, like the Mission, Potrero Hill, and I even drove down 3rd last Friday night into Bayview/Hunters Point and there are a lot of empty new buildings down there that might be live/work places opening soon; plus it's right on the 3rd Street Muni light rail opening next year. I'd like to be as close to downtown as possible -- walking or biking distance to work (2nd at ) would by nice -- but I certainly wouldn't sneeze at riding Muni.

So this week I'll be spending at least one or two days in SF looking at lofts. If I remember, I'll take some photos to post.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The aliens have landed

Photo of the Day | Beached jelly | Stinson Beach, CA | August 29, 2004

Pray for President Bush - Day 1468

If there's a better reason than this to be very, very frightened for the future of the republic, I don't know what it is.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Acid cube

Photo of the Day | The Cube | Black Rock City, NV | September 2, 2004


Last week I sent my last EcoAdvocate email newsletter. After almost three years, it was a little sad to say goodbye to my 2,600� readers. But I received some very nice comments from some of them.

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Dear Readers,

It's been four years since I joined Acterra as communications director, and over the past 12 years I've worn many hats: volunteer, board member, advisor to the High Schools Group, and Headwaters Forest Project leader, to name a few.

But one of the most rewarding roles I've played here is as your humble editor of this little e-newsletter we started a few years ago.

I've been fortunate to meet or communicate with many of you over the years, and I've always been impressed and heartened by your concern for and dedication to the many environmental challenges facing our communities.

Through your feedback and a lot of work we've more than doubled this newsletter's subscriber base and we've brought you news of thousands of events from hundreds of our fellow nonprofits. It's been a fabulous success, and a very, very rewarding run for me personally.

I recently left Acterra, and I'm pursuing my original career plan -- graphic design -- a trajectory which got waylaid when I decided to help save the planet for awhile instead.

This is my last communication with you as your EcoAdvocate editor. There will be (and has been, as you may have noticed) a lull in service until a new person is hired. Meanwhile, I urge you to take advantage of this lull by getting out for a walk, a bikeride, or a hike before summer's gone, enjoy our beautiful Bay Area, and make sure you're registered to vote before the October 12 deadline (I just couldn't say goodbye without slipping in some action, sorry ;)

Remember: Action is the antidote to despair!

best wishes,
- Mark Bult

For anyone who wants to reach me in the future, you can always Google "Mark Bult". Just don't indiscriminately add me to any mailing lists, please :)

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Mark Bult--

Let me add my grateful praise for your excellent contributions to Acterra. Thanks so much. You are genuinely appreciated.

Mary Davey

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We never met, but I felt your presence every time I got the calendar in the mail or visited the Acterra site. You made a tremendous contribution to my quality of life. Thank you and good luck on�your career.

- Arvind Kumar

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Best wishes in your future endeavors, and thanks for all the hard work at Acterra, Mark!

Ann Blake, Ph.D.
Environmental and Public Health Consulting
Alameda, California

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Thanks Mark, I have always loved the ecoadvocate and it has helped us so much to recruit volunteers. Good luck to you and best wishes!!

Marilyn Latta
Habitat Restoration Manager
Save The Bay

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Hi Mark,

I just finished reading the Acterra emailing and saw your goodbye letter. I hope we'll stay in touch and hope we can work together on the Santa Clara Initiative campaign (June 2006 election) when we get the resources. Many of the ideas where spawned in your living room in Mt. View. In the meantime for us it is to organize, organize and organize.

Thank you for your generous spirit and your gentle nature.

With much appreciation of you,

Ernie Goitein

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I want to wish you the best of luck in your continuing graphic design work. Acterra was indeed fortunate to have your talents for such a long time. It will certainly be hard for them to replace you.

I have been meaning for the longest time to get in touch with you and other folks at Acterra. I seldom come down to the Bay Area. I always have excellent intentions to drop by when I am there but somehow the timing hasn't worked out. So your leaving prompts me to get in touch with you, at least!!

I am very involved in environmental activities here along the "Mendonoma" coast. I have attached a copy of the latest brochure I have worked on. (Don't look tooo critically at the graphic design or photographs).

Again, best of luck in your latest venture.

P.S. We are living in a place that has a loft which is great for guests. Let me know if you are passing through this way and would like a place to stay.

Laurie Mueller

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Hey Mark!

Congrats on the new move in life. Man does your design stuff look great. I think you shall do wonderfully.

I'm in Berkeley for another three months and then will be in graduate school in Sao Paulo, Brazil for 2005 and 2006, where you and any other rad sheep you send my way are much welcomed to come visit. And if you find yourself in Berkeley anytime soon, give me a ring!

David E. Harris

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Hey Mark,

I just read your farewell letter in the online EcoAdvocate. It makes me nostalgic. I hope that your new career is getting off to a good start and that the transition isn't too tough. I miss you.

Things here in Spain are getting better. I still can't speak for shit and I am becoming very frustrated. Nearly all the people all the program with me are from Southern Cali, and so most are not particularly people that I want to get to know, but there are a couple gems in there that I think I want to be friends with. It is difficult here, but I am def enjoying myself. I miss you, I'll talk to you soon.

Carmen �big cheeks� Ausserer

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Although I no longer live in the Bay Area, I have still be subscribing to the Acterra newsletter. I read about your decision to move on and get back to what you love. I am sure you're going to do work that is compelling, fun and will certainly be worth looking at and talking about.

Thanks for your help with impact online (aka volunteermatch) and for giving my nephew Kevin Hanson an internship all those years ago. I appreciated both enourmously.

Good luck in life and work.

- Steve Glikbarg

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Hi Mark,

Sorry to hear that you are leaving Acterra and that I wasn't able to make it to the farewell party over at David's place. I have been extremely busy with work and school. I want to say thank you for all that you have done for Acterra and the local environmental movement over the years. It's priceless. I'm too busy to even consider your job opening, but whoever takes it on has some HUGE shoes to fill. :-)

Right now I am in my final week of the summer quarter with projects up to my ears! I'm getting an Associate's Degree in Interactive Media Design at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco (yeah, it's a mouthful :-). I'm also working one day a week for, a sustainability media start-up based in Cupertino. I am doing photography (slides and digital) and digital video/editing for them.

Let's definitely keep in touch. OK? Perhaps one of these days we can actually get the proper funds to do a calendar or some other cool collaborative project!

Mike Kahn

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I miss the Moffett house sometimes

Photo of the Day | Moffett garden | Mountain View, CA | April 15, 2001

Compost your laptop

I was wondering what to do with my old G3 PowerBook. If it was one of NEC's forthcoming biodegradable corn-based laptops (yes, you read that right) I suppose I could just chuck it in the landfill. How cool would that be?

And to think, I was considering hanging the G3 on a wall and showing a continuous digital slideshow on it.

BTW, for the above NEC link (and also for this, and this, and this), my new favorite geek-related site is Engadget.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Breaking news: Library fire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A tragic fire on Monday destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. Both of his books have been lost.

Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said the president was devastated, as he had not finished coloring the second one.

[forwarded by Jessica]

Blurred vision

Photo of the Day | Temple blur | Black Rock City, NV | Sep 1, 2004

Monday, September 20, 2004

Seriously, she's a native English speaker

I'm not entirely sure what Jenny was talking about when she asked me this.

"Wait, which one is smoking that makes the penis bad?"

But it was good for a laugh.

San Francisco calling

I looked at a loft in San Francisco on Friday and I'm more convinced than ever I really want to live in one in the City. It's time to move up from my current do-it-yourself loft situation to the real deal.

I have an interview this Wednesday at c|net. I really like c|net, and have watched their progress since the early days of the Web, and it'd be very cool to work there. However, the woman who called me (who seemed very cool) freely admitted that the position she was calling about was a Junior Designer position, and she was afraid I might be bored.

But I mentioned it to Velma, and she pointed out something that I hadn't thpought about since 2000 when I took the Art Director job at Acterra -- I could really use a job that's a little less challenging right now. It would give me some breathing room for a change and some time to pursue some of my other interests, instead of constantly working 40+ hours, or -- worse yet -- having only 20 hours to do a 40-hour job and always stressing about what's not getting done.

The more I thought about that point, the more it felt good.

So, while the salary's pretty darn low, if I could find a way to afford to move to SF and live on it, I think I'd really like that job.

Of course, I haven't even had the interview yet, and they certainly haven't offered me a job, so this is pretty premature ;)

And I've still got my r�sum� out to about 30 other places.

One way or another, I definitely feel that I'm moving to SF soon. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the City is calling me and that it's time to try it out, see if I can become accustomed to all the grime without always feeling like I need tp pick up after everyone.

I've been thnking about moving to SF since I was 16, but this is the first time I've actually been able to say I'm ready to actually do it. It's time to get it out of my system.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Spending the afternoon/evening in San Francisco, looking around SoMA and going to the Beastie Boys show at the Civic. Possible job interview too. Glad I'll have my handy-dandy wifi sniffer ;)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Carmen, Yuliya, and Will

I was just telling Drew (who's the new Peter, who was the new Diane) that, of the Schoolies I've worked with over the years, there are a prime few with whom I've kept in touch, because they are such stellar individuals and I've always known they are going to do aweomse things the rest of their lives.

Carmen is one of them. Shy as she was when I first met her four or five years ago, she really gre to become one of the most steadfast organizers of the High Schools Group and, more than almost anyone, was a real backbone of the group when there were some seriously long, difficult months.

I heard from her yesterday via a quick AIM while I was asleep (she's currently in Ireland, doing homestay organic family farming; how cool is Carmen?):

"hey mark! miss you and hope things are well, i know you have an away message up, but i just wanted to say hi and that i miss you and that things here are alright. kisses!"

Yuliya is another awesome Schoolie grad. She's also abroad (and a broad). She's in Ghana doing a semester at university there. And attending traditional funerals where you apparently shake hands a lot. And getting proposed to by total strangers. Ghana sounds like fun, don't it?

Learn more about what Yuliya's been up to by reading her LiveJournal.

And then there's Will, who just got back from his first trip to Headwaters Forest. I remember being Will's jail support buddy at a San Francisco action outside Dianne Feinstein's office back in 1997 or '98.

I was there to make sure he got out of jail and had a ride home after a planned arrest action at a peaceful protest (door blockade) of DiFi's role facilitating the Headwaters Deal/debacle, which unloaded a half-billion taxpayer dollars for a tiny portion of North Coast forest that was valued at a fraction of that amount, a deal which also managed to seal the fate of 120,000 acres of other trees. Ever seen a clearcut?

Will stood up to be counted (and arrested) for what he believed in. And he never even got to see that forest until a few days ago.

Young Billy Gates

Photo of the Day | y'know, just because.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Japanese games are weird

but fun...

Velms will enjoy this

Ten iTunes courtesy of Rufus [link will launch iTunes].

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


I remember first learning about this film about five or six years ago, when I met the filmmakers at a Dandy Warhols show at the Bottom of the Hill. I had no idea it was still a viable project, but apparently it's not only viable all these years later, the documentary won the 2004 Sundance Grand Jury Prize!

To quote the movie website's [Flash] synopsis: "Dig! is the feature-length documentary shot over seven years about musicians Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, head of The Dandy Warhols, star crossed friends and bitter rivals. From the moment they met, The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre quickly bonded over a desire to not conform to the tastes of the recording industry. Yet, the bands' choices over how to express their creativity and originality in a profit-driven industry eventually put them at irreconcilable odds..."

To quote from the Brian Jonestown Massacre website: "Anton Newcombe does not support� the recently screened documentary film 'DIG!'�in its currently edited form.�He feels strongly that the 'Jerry Springer-esque' vilification of his nature is an inappropriate, mis contextualized,� and exploitative use of the footage..."

I remember one of the top two or three shows of my life (and I've seen hundreds of bands) being a Dandys and Jonestown double bill at the Great American Music Hall in maybe 1997 or 1998, when both bands were just sooo on. And at one point in the show it seemed as if Anton was channeling Jim Morrison. It was a truly awesome show. And all this without the use of any subtances! (Me, that is -- knowing these two bands, I can guarantee they were using plenty.)

BJM was always a highly volatile group. This was in clear evidence every instance I saw them. They'd erupt into in-band fighting literally during a performance, even in the middle of playing a song. I'm surprised they lasted as long as they have, frankly.

The Dandys were my favorite band for years, and I photographed them almost every time they came to the Bay Area, from Santa Cruz to San Francisco (I even have some video footage around here somewhere). Their last two albums, however, left me a little cold. While they had a few fine moments, they just didn't capture the same vibe for me that "The Dandy Warhols TV Theme Song" (5 stars in my iTunes) did all those years ago. It was one of only two songs I've actually called in to a radio station to request in the past 13 years. I mean, seriously, any song whose guitar solo is comprised entirely of feedback and whose lyrics are complete nonsense has to be the greatest song ever!

Anyway, it'll be great to see two of my favorite bands in Dig!

Ynnej will want to see this film, if only because of Peter Holmstrom, whose photo she had on her dormroom door last March.

It opens in SF and Berkeley on October 8. Wanna go?

Here's the trailer [QuickTime]...

Well, maybe it is

Photo of the Day | Hilary at BAA | March 21, 2001 | Mountain View, CA

It's not what you think, Hilary would never, ever download illicit MP3s.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Good Book

Photo of the Day | Christina | Somerville, MA | January 11, 2002

Yet another reason why OS X rocks

Hey, do this: Hold down your Option and Command keys, then press the + key a few times.

Pretty damn cool, huh? Didja know your Mac could do that?

What? Nothing happens? Okay, then you have Zoom turned off. Do this: Open your System Preferences, then click on Universal Access, then under the Seeing tab click the big "Turn On Zoom."

Now hold down your Option and Command keys and press the + key a few times.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Not my future wife (no matter how much I wished it in 1998)

Photo of the Day | Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA | August 3, 2000

I think my girlfriend dumped me a few days after this show. This timing simply proves that if life was truly fair, I would've just married Zia years ago when she asked me to show her my tits (!).

You'll never look at a chicken nugget the same again

Sometimes I think PETA stretches the credibility of their very serious message a little too much, as when they claim stuff like "...chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals who are thought to be as intelligent as cats, dogs, and even primates."

I spent a great deal of my childhood on a ranch. Guess what PETA? Chickens are not terribly smart creatures.

But then I watch something like this, and it's easier for me to forgive PETA's occasional overzealousness.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Photo of the Day | Boston, from the Top of the Hub | January 2002

Weird. I was just gonna post this picture of Boston because it's a cool photo and because my pal Aaron just moved there to attend art skool.

It wasn't until I resized and named the image "091104_Boston.jpg", with today's date (09/11), that I realized that this is a photo looking out toward Logan Airport, the same airport where the terrorists took off from, three years ago to the day. The white dot in the sky is an inbound jet.

Hard to believe it was only three years ago. Everything seems to have changed since then...

The GUIdebook (hooray for icons!)

I happened across this great site called the GUIdebook, charting the progress of the graphical user interface (GUI) design over the years, including Mac OS, NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP/Rhapsody, Windows, OS/2, and even BeOS, Red Hat Linux, QNX, and Solaris.

My favorite part is the icon camparison chart, but there's also some other great stuff, including tons of old screenshots, a timeline, sounds, and more.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Small world

Photo of the Day | Headwaters Grove | May 25, 2003

Ynnej, you have no idea handy this was in BRC. Thanks again for a cool birthday gifty ;)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

What's your Blogger Code?

B6 d++ t k s- u- f+ i+ o+ x+ e+ l- c-


What Merlin Mann did while I was at Burning Man...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


So I'm back from an eventful road trip, but I'm so burnt that I simply don't have the oomph necessary for posting anything about my journeys.

I'll get around to it in the next few days, but for now here are a few more photos from the places I've been in the past week and a half...

Stinson Beach

Diane and Jonathan's wedding


Over the Sierra

Black Rock Desert

Burning Man

Mono Lake motel


Friday, September 03, 2004

Surreal, unreal, hyper-real

Friday 4:45pm // veggin' in the Men's Temple

I've taken most of the afternoon off today and rested, sorted most of my pictures, and am ready to present a few to you, out there, in the "real" world. I'm not sure what this world is, out here in Black Rock City, but it's at the same time incredibly surreal, incredibly unreal, and incredibly high-definition real.

That latter may have a lot to do with the incredibly harsh conditions one must endure to be out here. I'm still pretty amazed at how well I'm handling the conditions. Really I have no complaints at all. Minor inconveniences, a few small annoyances, but nothing compared to how completely out of it I thought I'd be in the hottest heat of each day's afternoon. But it's been really fine out here.

I've tried to figure out a way to sum up the experience of BRC in a sentence or two, and this is the best I've come up with so far: It's part Mad Max, part paganistic Rainbow Gathering, part techno-geeks, and all dusty.

So, because that simplistic description can't possibly do justice to the incredible sensory overload one experiences here (even when I'm just veggin' in camp!), let me try to show you a little bit of what it's like, with this random assortment of Photos of the Past Few Days...

Velms, The Man, and the moon

Lasers on the Esplanade

Puffy thing on the Playa

Center Camp hula dancers

Velma communicates with ?

Burlesque show at Infinite Oasis

Velms and Mark chillin'



Mother Bear and Sarah


Fire barrel

The Cube

The Flaming Catholic Schoolgirls performing in Thunderdome

Village map
This is our village, Infinite Oasis, just one of many theme camps. The highlighted part is Women's Temple camp (that's us).

Update: You have no idea how slow it is trying to get these photos up. Think of the slowest modem in the world, and then trip over it's power cable twenty times, unplugging it in the middle of an upload. The sandstorms interfere with the signal going back to Gerlach, where there's supposedly a T1 back to the rest of the world. But it's a line-of-sight satellite from BRC to Gerlach (nearest little town), and when the dust is kicked up by the wind (which is pretty much always), the connection is crap.

Update: Yes, this post was interrupted about 38 times before, so I had to try again later. I'm typing in the dark now,

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Of sensory overload and spotty wireless

Tuesday 5:57am // sunrise

I'm sitting in our camp's kitchen, which consists of two large carport tent structures we put up yesterday. It's one of five or six structures we're putting up in our camp. A couple of the domes are also up.

It's first light, the dark blue sky is boiling orange on the horizon, over the tops of tents and domes and sculptures and the mountains in the distance.

The wind kicked up last night after dark, and it's still pretty windy. Most activity dies down when the winds gets too high, because the dust is just too much to deal with. It hasn't actually been cold at all either night so far; it's actually been warm enough for me to walk around in shorts.

A small group who've been up all night called me over to the Omega burning sculpture in the middle of our village, offering me a wiener they were roasting in the remnants of the fire. Early breakfast for me.

The Omega is a large metal sculpture that has extremely hot fires burning in both ends, which you can walk through. If you walk through really slowly, it's kind of like taking a very, very hot bath. Very refreshing.

The sun's getting higher in the sky and there are people beginning to rise. Mostly the HeeBeeGeeBees, the healers in our village who have a huge tent full of massage therapists going in shifts all day long.

Our camp's pretty much late risers, I learned yesterday. If I'm up before most everyone else, this is definitely a late-rising crew. But we got the structures moving along well by the heat of the afternoon, and hopefully today we'll get the rest mostly done. There's still a shower and a couple domes to finish.

Update: It's Thursday, the wireless was very spotty for a while and then blacked out by sandstorms. But today's beautiful, Velma and I are sitting near Center Camp, sending a few postcards via the Black Rock City Post Office.