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

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2011 Archives

Video: Lived Through This

Produced a video in a few days: experimenting with singing acapella soundtrack to footage shot with a mobile phone. Sung bits include portions of "Dreams" by Allman Brothers Band, "Someone to Love" By Jefferson Airplane, "Cocaine Blues" by Luke Jordan" and an adaptation of Al Dubin & Joe Burke's "Dancing with Tears in my Eyes."

Screened at the December 2011 "Art Luck" hosted by Revel Art Collective / Pickle Jar in San Francisco. Woo hoo!

Shot on iPhone 4 and edited in Final Cut Pro X.

In November I had a chance to visit Lincoln Nebraska and address a class of students the Raikes School at the University of Nebraska there. The Raikes school is a live-in honors program combining computer science and business curriculum for students who want to learn how to make products and build companies. Raikes is an entrepreneurship program that is seeding new media companies across Nebraska and beyond, so I was honored to have a chance to share some of what I learned from running a company, and a bit about my career before as a freelance writer, and now as Director of Culture at ngmoco:).

"Game Development & Starting a Company" - A 35 minute video lecture on

Q & A with Justin Hall - 30 minutes more!

More information here from the excellent folks who provided this video

fast and cheap diablada owl

I fashioned a basic horned owl headdress for Halloween!

burka with owl headdress

back poena

I write poems! I like to jot thoughts, talking to myself, framing a moment to myself.

Then later, I harvest some of the most coherent, or least objectionable, and I put them up here.

So these are recent postings:

November 2: app alive

October 31: calendar in my eyes

September 28 You're heading to the desert

August 2 lifetime to lose

never enough! of what?

app alive

What app do I wield when I want to feel alive?
Plug in to music aha I am a rap-fueled badass!
Now I am checking my messages nothing new
I am still alive! Should I tell someone?
Maybe there's some news I haven't seen yet
Let me check that, upscroll to update
Wait what am I doing?
What are my friends doing?

calendar in my eyes

I see something I can almost run down
Chase into the wind
Make my future!

It's a set of eyes
A smile
Above a naked form
Rolling happy between the sheets

A fast connection
Puts a calendar in my eyes
When will we be?
together again

like now!

Posted a Story of GameLayers

From 2007-2009, I was able to start an internet games company, run it as CEO, and then wind it down - with great collaborators and support from a broad range of folks. I wrote up the experience: A Story of GameLayers over the last eighteen months; adding tangible numbers and business documents. Hopefully this can be useful to other entrepreneurs!

Also I used it as an excuse to learn how to make an ebook: you can get A Story of GameLayers for the Kindle.

You're heading to the desert

I can point you to the desert
It's a natural part of this path you're on

I don't plan on joining you there;
I have been recently and I am happy to be past it for now

I can tell you that inside the desert is some amazing springs
you won't find them until you wish you were dead
And you've lost all your precious things

What is your clothing now
Will become a blanket
And then it will all blow away

maybe you'll come out,
shaking sand from your hair
I hope you do.

unsettled by roiling surging

this roiling surging will towards something unseen
it exists in me and drives me towards

all people
This must exist in all people
we have
war and adultery
technology and church

How do we frame and renew our reason to live
Amidst constant change

it's this stomach we have
all that we need to eat
to feel full
before we poop results
on each other

Lifetime to lose

My first marriage ended months ago
email threads gone cold
empty chat windows
maybe one phonetext last month:
clearing a shared storage space

This morning I woke up after hours of fighting with her
Whilst on stilts climbing over a fast decaying house
A friend suggested
These nocturnal struggles should remind me
how much happier I am now

Four of the last five nights
In different beds in different countries
I wake from dreams full of fresh fighting
alone but estranged

I hitched my veins to her heart
She cut them quicker than I could reel them back
bleeding behind me
I trudge into a future where sure
I feel judged
inadequate for the long haul

At night a bachelor
I slumber and cry out to her;
I have something to prove
I should not have been thusly ditched!

by daylight I remember This is
not a warm battle This is
not a compelling cause
I have been happily abandoned -
she's in a better place

my father Wesley first taught me deep loss
a living being leaving
another behind
though by gun
not lawyer

He and my first wife knew
there's a better choice for them:
to exist without me.
Why wasn't I allowed to help them stay?
How should I orient my life without these kin?
Why would people I love prefer to be
or not be, without me?

We enter life full of faith
We are taught suffering
Maybe it's easier to leave
Shoot yourself
But I remember love

These night dreams won't let me move on
As fast as I would
Find a new person with whom to tie up this bleeding
And prepare for another lifetime to lose!

backposting and reading aloud

Backdated poems posted here! Divorce, alienation, death, and good times with one's self :-)

February 22: Hard Thing
June 12: Pneuma
June 12: Virtuous Attractions
July 12: nameless love
July 12: Visualizing myself on the front grill of a broad bus
July 16: trying on something worn
July 25: messy leaking - this one I read aloud, you can listen to it or read it! Yow.

messy leaking

(listen to this read aloud)

I feel reasonably confident in my orgasm control
During sex as I remember it
I held my own
Until she clenched and released
To fill me first

Today I feel more at risk
For premature emotional ejaculation
into any ready smart female ear

First I listen and then when she's opened some
I feel connected I feel
I have so much in me
I begin to uncork and overshare

Maybe I catch myself before I spill out of turn
divorce death hunger, eager semen
So we keep the conversation going
Maybe I can crawl into her arms with my teeth and tongue

I haven't had enough time with these women to build to mutual orgasm:
don't I like them enough to arrange a second date?
Or I don't enjoy what I have to say before intercourse
I am messy leaking boy cum and man tears.

trying on something worn

I like vintage and thrift shopping
the stakes feel so low and
the clothes have character drawn from across eras

She explained that she had been married as well
Two of us on hangars at a tea parlor
Trying each other on Most Eligible Bachelor Award for 2011

bachelor JustinToday is pleased to award the first-ever " Most Eligible Bachelor Award" to the owner and proprietor of, Mister Justin Hall.

Hall explains that divorce was difficult for him but the paperwork finished just last week and now he's totally emotionally available "at least for the first thirty seconds of a first date." For 2011 Hall has updated his bachelor skills, enlisting in private tutoring for clitoral massage. We contacted his Orgasmic Meditation coach, Sasha Hood for comment: "Justin was a bright and eager student. He was plugged in and ready to learn from the moment we began. He is the most naturally talented stroker I have ever had the pleasure of working with."

In spite of a history of sexual experimentation and psychedelic drug use, Hall is pleased to report there are no visible signs of genital disease. Hall judges himself potent, and ready to start a family: "I want to be a father, maybe a stay-at-home dad with a lady who has a job."

A notorious raconteur and persistent personal poet, Hall promises that new girlfriends or liaisons won't be written about in public on the Internet, "at least not using their last name." As a touching chronicler of human connection, Hall has written poems like the recent, touching "let's get down":

Hey lady
Wrap your thin fingers please around this leaden heart
Hold tight I will bring you down

Even by physical standards, Hall is an impressive catch: according to dental records, Hall has all of his teeth except for tooth #19 replaced with a crown due to extensive grinding. Now Hall sleeps with a svelte plastic plate between his teeth: if things get serious overnight Hall has been known to cast his "mouth guard" aside, so amorous ladies won't be missing his kissing.

Our reporter visited Hall in his remarkably uncluttered apartment. On display was an impressive stuffed boar's head, on loan from filmmaker Ryan Junell. It's a challenge to decide which would be more fetching to female visitors: Junell's taxidermy, or Hall's collection of violent Xbox video games. Fortunately this is definitely the cleanest place that Hall has ever lived.

To elevate his physique, Hall has taken up exercise: "mostly eating a pot lozenge and wandering through San Francisco on the weekends". A "pretty big fan of sobriety" Hall says he doesn't usually drink or consume cannabis more than 3 or 4 evenings a week. Hall shouldn't get high after 7pm as it keeps him awake, perhaps because he's approaching forty or because Hall is somewhat hyperactive to begin with.

Clearly a man you can count on: Hall has had the same job for 16 months with no formal disciplinary action being taken by his employer. He has cultivated a holistic approach to work: working at the office, working at home, and answering work emails between 2-5am when he can't sleep due to anxiety dreams or indigestion.

bachelor JustinHall has recently returned to the hair salon after a fifteen-year hiatus. Working exclusively with digerati stylist Judy Rheingold at Partners for Hair in Laurel Village, San Francisco, Hall has actually had his hair cut twice in the last two months. "I wanted to look good for my brother's wedding," Hall says modestly. He is leaving behind a history of dreadlocks, mullets, ponytails and shaving bald to look more attractive: eyeing a comb in a distant bathroom, Hall reflects, "it's a newd irection for me."

Hall occasionally enjoys a quiet night in the kitchen. He has been known to serve warm palatable meals to dates, but cooking alone is where Hall has been learning: "my fondness for leftovers and experiments with unrefrigerated perishables has taught me a lot about basic food safety."

Today Hall adeptly balances the personal and the professional, taking breaks from work to sit in a bathroom stall and text-message relative strangers to see if they want to cuddle. Listed on okcupid as "justinreach" Hall can often be seen online messaging new potential life partners whilst tipsy at 2am.

Hall is bullish on his future prospects: "there's a lot of woman out there in the world, and when I am not feeling grumpy or shy I introduce myself to them!" With his combination of near-daily hygiene, semi-literate conversation and inappropriate intensity, Hall is definitely the most eligible bachelor we've profiled on in 2011.

(big thanks to Tim Shundo for the pictures!)

visualizing myself on the front grill of a broad bus

Come let us cross the street together!
I will go first
Where there is no light or crosswalk
Hurry up behind
We might not all make it

nameless love

That same purple flower what grows in my garden
I see it again on fourth street
And love
I don't know its name
A nameless affection
Feels large as it follows me through summer

If I study this flower
Find its name
Introduce myself
That pins a love down wriggling

let's get down

Hey lady
Wrap your thin fingers please around this leaden heart
Hold tight I will bring you down

raw material

I have come to see my remaining years as raw material for the construction of a family.

holding a stranger

stranger woman adjacent on the plane:
sleeping cheek on your left arm
has you leaning toward me
I don't suppose you want to be held?


I write wordstrings on my mobile phone, then I paste them here later.

So, some backfill:

Cloud Frotting - 11 June
Stall Refuge - 8 June
need - 7 June
lives pass - 7 June
drawn I - 6 June
Unpacking for One - 7 May
Die in a Fire - 11 April

or just read the scroll below! Somehow in sequence as you hold these bits of screed in your attention span, I'm grateful that you might reconstitute my being in your mind! Let's share this time!

Virtuous attractions

In moments of lessness
Perhaps I shall remember
Virtuous attraction
Embody characteristics I wish to attract
When I am feeling incomplete
Which quality of my vision
Could I embody next?


Bun Ga!
My belly fills and I love this life again

I could breathe to eat

First I need emotional bariatric surgery
To constrain my appetites

wait is that a lobotomy?

Abiding instead
I shall take this vast empty Void
My hunger for the world
And carry my swelling and shrinking stomach

Each morning perched on a three legged stool over a vaporous crack
I shall give birth to reshape the day before
a new view on recent sustenance!

Cloud Frotting

Sometimes other people
Groups of upright apes
They'll weigh my heart

The clouds look low enough to touch
And just when I think the sky has bent towards my sullen withdrawal
I see a hill above me and below the clouds

I can see how round and full that hill looks
Beautiful mystery fecundity
It's pretty and within reach
But I can't stick my dick in a hill.

stall refuge

I work in a busy office
One standing desk in a sea of stimulating desks

Now here in a stall I take refuge
Seated, reading news
I browse the world briefly
Before my legs fall asleep

I will wash my hands
And step back forward
informed, emptied


Punch glass
yank hair
have my phone stolen
somehow I need more physical contact from the world just now

lives pass

Sad and strolling amidst chatting people
In a bustling downtown you can see so many lives pass
Let's measure our situation relative
To our human family, skins

I see that man carry his giant coffee mug in a petite Tumi shopping bag
She has rolling luggage and a floppy hat - huffing at anyone nearby

These are humans too! Maybe also alone tonight wherever they sleep
And happy for it? To put my mind in other bodies offers such limited grasp on extended love

Drawn I

Upwards and outwards towards the top of a woman just below her thinking organ where her heart meets a fine place to plant your nose and smell
My eyes are drawn then downwards to take in all the twin surroundings for her stride
If I can watch her move then I should be moving, otherwise she grows small in time and I am still in the moment
A moment encompassing childbirth and her career growth, the shoulder I recline on gently awake in the small hours
Carrying empty tupperware from a successful offsite dinner party hah
Gentle firm debates around rearing techniques grounded in mutual admiration
Next I shall write an aspirational screed to another unknown lover myself

sealed but red

ballroom dance class
partner swapping for social exchange
I brought me

As we moved
My face seemed to make her smile, then laugh
He looked past his partner to watch us in the mirror

I danced rhumba with a fiancée
Someone engaged to someone else
Her arms spoke to me of hope:

Her right wrist bore a long scar
The proper way to cut yourself to die, from your palm towards your elbow
The cut looked sealed but red, like an adult decision

On her signifying left finger, a glimmering rock bouquet
Someone else had invested in her future
She was healing, or at least learning to partner dance.

the cloud our destination

Slow motion war
We give our lives gradually for our work
Here in the cloud
fogbound San Francisco
We expand the range of diversions and connections available
For people with devices

Each day we take away from our family
Evenings at our terminals
A founding mother father said
We will not wish we spent more time with our machines

But maybe we fashion these machines into beings
And plucking away on this tiny screen
Is touching humanity
A nice song for myself to sing

As I face the years in front of me
The prospect of making new friends and making a new family
To replace the growing number of folks I know
too dead to reply to my messages

unpacking for one

Spent the weekend wrapped up in a family
Not my family by blood or law
but a family of proclivity and taste

All the uneven houses we build
We'd never pick these arrangements in a fortune telling exercise
We see the winsome porter helping us to our next life journey
Not the baggage they carry
Or the claim check leaden in our own pocket

Home is a place to unpack
And maybe jam our belongings amidst the objects and rituals of our deep roommates

In a house full of children and teenagers and parents
I saw myself standing in a clear cold light
No one needs me to pick them up from practice
No one needs me to hold a screaming child at 2am

entirety of possibility is my horizon
Live anywhere, anyhow, do anything I want evenings and weekends!

My default mind schemes to flee this freedom
I miss constant contact with adored humanity.
Hello my loveable self! I will hold Justin
With novelty and regimen
I will live!

hunting and fishing

I have been thinking that seeking a mate for me these days is like hunting

though I haven't shot a wild animal
only hacking at a chicken's neck with a machete on a mountain in nepal
twelve years old, city boy
not killing it enough
so my reward before the meal was witnessing a real metaphor:
a running around chicken with its head half cut off

my grandparents gave me a cabela's gift certificate
which I used to purchase a hunting slingshot and a pellet mold
useful in the big city
I sat in a long mezzanine corridor in my large high school apartment building
shooting wax pellets at the EXIT signs.

later I had that slingshot at the Platte River State park
Nebraska family reunion
I had a bowl of pistachios
and I saw a raccoon coming for our trash can
I shot at the raccoon, sometimes striking it
and then the raccoon would come back for the nut I shot him with
it was an endless cycle, as long as I had nuts
I began to feel bad

but hunting as I imagine it - setting my sights on "big game" something worthwhile and chasing it down
relentless in my pursuit
estimating moves, positioning myself to cut off escape
exercising my tools at a distance to pin down my target
and then closing the gap for an intimate embrace

I've done that a few times, with a few women
and I came to know them so well
I can remember their parent's names and faces
some of those parents are no longer alive
I didn't kill them
but I didn't make their grandchildren neither

tonight it feels like being single is fishing
dropping lines
in unclear water
remembering the sweet taste of cornmeal-fried freshwater bluegill
working probability
to see if something bites

tonight in the security line
I saw a woman in a compact straw hat with a red t-shirt
"you look cool" I told her, as I walked past in a late night airport
she slowly cracked a thin smile as I moved along security

maybe she'll sit next to me on the plane, I thought - that would be good fortune
we could someday remember how we met
over drinks on some porch
"you said 'you look good' at the airport"
her memory will be better than mine

another woman I chatted with at some length on the train
on the way to the airport
I'd remember the shape of her columella if I saw it again
she has english finals
she was friendly and open to talk
probably too young, I should throw her back

after these momentary interactions with stranger gals, I think
I've practiced connection
and I've left a trace perhaps
we would smile at each other next time
a chance to inspire each other
to hunt or fish or just each vegetables together

Die in a fire

I see the dead faces piling up in my memory
Slack jaws tight skin sunken eyes gray skin
Calls I won't return or letters I won't write

All those people aren't lonely any more
Someday I will join them, unworrying.

For now I want to see another great woman astraddle me
rising up, back arched triumphant

And this vision animates self improvement
Should I die suddenly in a fire
My lower body will be in very good shape to meet my memory.

Humans pester each other to alter course.
I should enjoy this wildly unpestered life!
And how does an unpestered person shape self?
To attract a pretty pesterer!

Fortunately the to-dos of the dead make way for the whims of the living
I shall maybe put a park in this cemetery!

I will work to "get good" at living this life
Before it changes or it's taken from me!

fantastic preparation

I think about the quote attributed to Tallulah Bankhead when I think about maintaining an online journal: "only good girls keep diaries; the bad girls never have time." I have been a busy if not necessarily bad girl lately -

In the last three weeks I moved into a new splendid bachelor pad, near Buena Vista Park in central San Francisco. I took the opportunity to sort through my possessions, divesting myself of old tech and legacy things of my first marriage.

I moved mostly by milkcrate - taking zipcar load after load to my place, emptying each, putting things away, and then taking the milkcrates back to pack again. Somehow this continual moving process pleased me more than a grand packing and unpacking.

Amidst all this sifting and chucking my now beloved stepfather George had a bad stroke. People can recover from those things but not so much at 90 years. So I moved apartments a few days early Wednesday and flew to Chicago to see him suffering and support my Mom who was sleeping at the hospital. It felt good to perform filial service. I felt I was able to connect with George and share my love on a nonverbal level as I acknowledged his standing on the threshold of passing from existence as we agnostics know it.

Friday I left Chicago as other family came, to keep the burden of houseguests low on mi madre and to finish moving myself. That night was my first night in my new apartment - so beautiful and tranquil! Sunday George died. Tuesday I flew back to Chicago for a wake and funeral, family and memory.

The wake was wild - 380some people filed past a closed coffin to pay respects. I stood near the door to greet folks and ended up meeting many lawyers who loved George, who loved my Mom, and who loved my first father Wesley as well. Unexpected doubling down on serious connective community sharing.

About 15 years ago George had expensive dental work done. He said he wanted to have an open casket, open mouth funeral to show off his teeth and get his money's worth. (un?)fortunately that didn't happen.

George at 90 - photo by Del HallThe Chicago SunTimes wrote the nicest obituary - "George J. Cotsirilos, defense lawyer respected on both sides of the aisle" - which is fitting since that was George's favorite paper. I have rich and deep feelings for George and experiences that I am writing elsewhere. Maybe someday I can share them with you.

First time I cried at the wake was seeing my friend GK who flew up from New Orleans to be there.

Now I am back in San Francisco, listening to a lot of Lead Belly, learning to live in a new space, enjoying my work at ngmoco. After serving as a producer of video games for a year, they have asked me to help with knowledge sharing and corporate culture as we grow and grow to meet the size of the opportunity: worldwide mobile social gaming.

I haven't really been on a date in a while. I've been busy! And I have felt too raw - on the first flight to Chicago the flight attendant was very helpful, filling my water bottle and it felt so nice to have a pretty woman be nice to me I wanted to cry. Heh - a little too much of a hole in my heart to undertake casual coupling. I have actually felt shy about approaching appealing candidates which is not usually my problem. Though horniness, what you might call life force, won't let me rest long.

While George lived but we knew he would die soon I thought I would numb my grief with whiskey and weed. Shortly afterwards I found myself on my knees sobbing. It's been months since I have felt that kind of physical grief! Which actually seems like kinda frequent.

A month earlier I had taken a three day weekend retreat with lingering divorce unhappiness still grinding down my mood. I found a book on Tibetan Buddhism Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage: An Explanation of the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas by Geshe Jampa Tegchok, and ended up reading 300 pages on suffering, the causes of suffering, the end of suffering and how we might actually live to avoid suffering. The text seemed pitched to monks - I wasn't sure how I could have sex make a family and still follow a path to avoid suffering. But it was therapeutic to let my mind understand that so much of my pain was my own creation and amplification.


As it turns out, dealing with the grief of divorce was fantastic preparation for dealing with the grief of losing a beloved parent! How convenient!!

When I was crawling around on the floor snotting and sobbing I was upset that I had too much grief in my recent life. "I want some sustained happiness for a change" and "I want something to be joyful about" but even that feels selfish now as I am so glad to have health, good human company, a lovely place to live, funds for hobbies and haberdashery. Cheers!

hard thing

One of the hardest things about divorce was seeing someone I loved in pain because they needed to be away from me

reading, surging

I drive myself into the city of lights in their eyes
hello they say why are you here and relatively charming?
I age before them, my momentary bravado propping up deep hunger
I'm reading them, skimming their pages, giant standing books, I judge their untreated skin conditions and the layers of makeup, the off kilter beanie or the high riding short shorts
we're all human, I'm sketching yours out quickly in my mind
if I can write you fast enough you can't fool me
and if you can't fool me
mutual delight is delayed and I will sit back down

maybe I used to dance more
now I'm confused
as I have been before
these times when I'm not partnered!
I'm carrying a wide vessel filled aquarian, carrying feeling
to present to someone, hold me, hold this, support all this conversation
speak quicker than I can read
or say something that folds the pages
I don't want to read you, I want to stand with you and read the world together
it's a long search and I'm reading with myself

I guess I should enjoy my own company more but I'm surging through my skin

here's johnny

Riding the train. Oh! A striking woman. Is she the one? The one you're staring at, Johnny JunGumper!

hoping we'll write

I meet a woman in a moment hoping we'll write a novel
instead we write a short travel magazine
maybe some short erotic fiction
not yet a volume by volume encyclopedia set

this music is too loud and its too sad
I set the song on repeat and I'm wearing big headphones

I still haven't gotten over her! I'm still in love with a woman I've never met! the one who wants to be with me until my body parts fall onto the floor


borrowing chestpain heartache distraction
for a romance that didn't happen
a series of incomplete connections
blasted bliss to taste flavor again

a woman ground herself on my face
a relative stranger shares a long loved quality
the flavorless rich viscous pleasure
pulling my tongue up from a tunnel to a sip

I had to limit the sweet niceties that extend hope
we met ourselves in a Folsom Street wine bar
twinkling smiles of shared blonde dreams
how shall we finish our 30s?

people I know, my age, they are divorcing or reproducing
she suggested that some reproduction is meant to hold families together
I remember being told I was born that way
I didn't keep my father alive
unless you count his sperm swimming somewhere through me
in the liquid liquor gruel

I feel aflame
walking the street, masked by a hood
I catch her eye, glance over to her friends
I could meet you, I know

on my way to meet a date, I meet another
it's relentless - my appetite for personal introduction
I dare myself to do things

how to measure and manage all that hunger
the hungry hunter
aside the oakland freeway - it's shut down, the sign sat faded for a long dirtying

I don't yet understand the liquid silver dreams of Basil Valentine
but mornings I cast about for my shirt covered in blood
the philosopher's mantle
he witnessed a wild marriage and the according physical union

today I remembered how many weddings I have filmed
most of those unions are now rended
do we thrill to the destruction of dreams?
sometimes these night hopes disappear and we sleep on
without smiling or cause to wake


Craving continuous intimacy
Should I settle for spontaneous sex?


Thanks Steve Rhodes - from @tigerbeat on Instagram
June 2012 dancing in the streets of San Francisco with Ilyse Magy, photo thanks Steve Rhodes on instagram!

Hi, I'm Justin Hall and this here is a personal web site I've used to chronicle my time on earth since 1994. The content on the front page is relatively recent; if you search through the archives, you'll find old pieces of Justin. Some folks have indexed my doings on Wikipedia.

Twitter: jah
Facebook: Justinreach

eBooks by Justin Hall

I've published books for sale, somewhere else online! Behold:

Now available for the Kindle: A Story of GameLayers. My experience being CEO of a tech company, 2007-2009:

"A tell-all story of a startup from the very beginning, with lots of info about real-world fundraising. A more intimate look than you'll find in other business reads." says Irene Polnyi in a 5-star review on

A Story of GameLayers, for the Amazon Kindle.