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

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December 2013 Archives

seeking old-time personal publishers

Have you been active on the web for a while, sharing personal stories? Me too!

Maybe you could record a short video of yourself answering some questions about your experience? I'm planning a video for the 20th anniversary of this web site and I'd love your participation. #20links

America's Longest Railroad Route

Ilyse and I rode the train together from Chicago to San Francisco in December 2013. About 50 hours, 2400 miles - Amtrak's California Zephyr is America's longest railroad ride. Here's our coverage:

Amtrak's Longest Route on YouTube
Amtrak's Longest Route on Facebook

I ended up taking a week off from my one-video-per-week commitment, to celebrate my birthday. Fortunately, I was covered by the lovely surprising effort by Taylor Skillin who remixed my videos to date for this: "Justaposition"


Thanks to Ilyse for the stop-motion and time-lapse GoPro photography!

Thanks to the person who put the California Zephyr route on Google Maps.

Thanks be to Final Cut Pro X, or something because I wore a shirt with small red checks and when I was editing it looked like crazy moiré. Once I rendered, however? It looked as bad as my normal videos! Hallelujah!

I promised to do one video per week for the last few months of 2013. Almost done! Then I'm gonna work on a single longer video about this here web site in January 2014. That's my plan! Plans are hilarious, but still helpful. Nothing happens as we can predict since possibilities are vast. I am happy to have a conception of my-time-well-spent for another few weeks at least! We shall see how my vision coincides with our shared universe in time.

Taylor Skillin remixed my greenscreen footage into this galaxy-plumbing filmic adventure: Justaposition - so honored and tickled!

Wedding Etiquette

Wondering how you can be a good wedding guest? Experimental Evangelist Justin Hall has some tips:

VIDEO: YouTube: Wedding Etiquette - consider subscribing
Facebook: Wedding Etiquette - consider "liking"

Wedding Etiquette:

Weddings are a great chance to support a couple by mingling across the aisle. If you're sitting in a corner at a wedding, talking to people you already knew beforehand, you're not doing it right.

I just attended a wedding, an old friend got married in his Mom's living room in Chicago. Afterwards I got an email thanking me for circulating through the reception. I guess I did! At another wedding in West Texas a few years back, I sat down at a table with people speaking Spanish with big cowboy hats. I don't speak much spanish myself, but we managed to swap a few life stories and it was fun meeting folks that I don't normally hang out with!

As a wedding guest, I believe strongly that I have a fun obligation to meet strangers and help build community around the couple. These people invited me, maybe rented out a hall, paid for my food and drink - they're spending their resources to bring their community together to celebrate and support their union.

The community serves the couple by forming broad family bonds. Bride and groom, groom and groom, bride and bride, they're going to need support through merging, sickness, birth, death, and doubt. The wedding serves to form a net underneath their connubial tightrope walking.

If I'm invited to a wedding, I have the chance to help weave that net. I might be more social than most folks, but fortunately, weddings are safe spaces for nearly anyone to meet new people. Everyone at a wedding is in the same love club for those two people.

Next time you're at a wedding, introduce yourself to someone you don't know. Ask them how they came to be there, where do they live? Then maybe introduce them to someone they don't know. Build social connections across age, geography, class, gender, whatever.

By the end of the wedding reception you might feel yourself to be part of a strong temporary community gathered around two people who foresee a future together. Joining and strengthening community around a couple be a fabulous group wedding gift.

Behind the Camera

There's plenty of wedding footage available under a Creative Commons license (searching YouTube for Wedding Reception under Creative Commons and searching Vimeo for Wedding under Creative Commons). I found Kashmiri weddings, Eritrian Weddings, Korean Weddings, Australian Weddings - I opened about 15 videos in 15 tabs all at once and since YouTube auto-plays them, I had 15 clashing wedding soundtracks from around the world. I leapt up in glee - it reminded me of my old happy cacaphony radio show the electric eclectic.

when I was a DJ in college

When I was a DJ in college - I never did DJ a wedding

I ended up using really only one externally-sourced video: Bryan Whiting's "Seth and Leslie's Wedding Reception Time Lapse" posted Creative Commons on YouTube.

The rest of the footage came from two weddings I attended in the last three years: Erin & GK, and Valerie con Jules - please observe the Ryan Junell seersucker shorts cameo.

Thanks to Ilyse Magy for photographing me with GK, and her feedback on edits! This piece started off a lot longer; she pointed out the most redundant parts. Her swift and sure judgements helped me leave the house in time to see Duckwrth and KRS-One perform hip-hop at Yoshi's Jazz Club and sushi bar, built on top of the otherwise tragic Fillmore District. Duckwrth is an up-and-coming wordsmith and worldview-widener; he's part of an arts collective called Them Hellas - you can meet a few of last night's performers on the Them Hellas YouTube.

Of my last ?? videos, ?? have featured music by Kevin MacLeod. He makes a wide range of quality short compositions free for use under Creative Commons: Attribution license. is a treasure trove for independent video making. I donated money to thank him, and I follow him on Twitter - Kevin MacLeod is amusing as well as civic-minded.

what next

This is my third scripted piece. Citizen Cloud, Thanksgiving grace and this were written out beforehand. Ten years ago I would have posted this as a blog entry, twenty years ago I would have made a standalone page.

My web site turns 20 years old in late January 2014. Whoo hoo! Still postin'. I am working on a scripted short exploration of twenty years sharing life online for that date.

I promised I would do a video a week "for the rest of 2013". I almost excused myself from the rest of December to focus on a video, but a deal is a deal. Plus I love making videos. I will finish the month and then I will experiment with more wood behind a longer arrow.


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.