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

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January 2015 Archives

internet video busking

The first person beyond my college visited this here personal web site 21 years ago, on 23 January 1994. Thanks for coming by!

To celebrate, my latest video is posted behind a paywall! That's right, if you want to watch 8 minutes of my mundane reflections, prepare to commit your personal resources to support my future media productions. Or wait for a little while until I post the vid free. Because in the end human content eventually becomes free or it goes away.

If this was a major life event, like divorce or commercial failure, I might have immediately released the finished documentation free. Instead, this is a story about having my wallet stolen, which is maybe like being mugged at gunpoint but not nearly as challenging, and video instead of text, but not nearly so intense as an attempt to start a sex church.

stolen wallet, mystery bag:

(YouTube Link)

The first glimpse of this "stolen wallet, mystery bag" moving picture went to people who shine the light of their hearts and treasures on my creations. But if your funds are tight, fret not, this particular less-controversial, less-impactful, less-produced personal media object shall soon be was hurled free onto a public web that shall remain floating near your eyes as long as I can keep the lights on!!

internet video busking

16 January I passed $200 in funds supporting each episode of the Justin Hall Show on Patreon. Holy smokes! It's been 8 months since I published an episode so I'm feeling especially honored that people would still think their money might someday support something. Since May 2014, without promotion or publishing content, the Justin Hall show gained an average of 2 new patrons a month and went up $29 in per-video pledges. Gracias amigos!!!

Mahdi Bahrami took me to $200; that made my smile extra-wide. His video game demo made me wet in the eyes, and I had fun interviewing him at the Game Developers Conference in 2014. So I was cheered that he had somehow tracked me down and decided to support my videos.

Community financial support for my personal video work validates some of my early excitement around "publishing empowerment". Now people surfing the media streams tie their attention and wallets to my teeth! These mounting pledges nudge me to live up to the hope that each dollar represents: the hope that we'll share another media moment.

I wondered, is this particular video too informal for my audience? Too long? Too mundane? This "stolen wallet, mystery bag" video is more casual than the films I produced in 2014. I recorded it in one take, on short notice with my hair miskempt. As I work to address two issues in my documentary and polish that giant pile of excitement, I enjoy having a chance to get loose with the video medium. Hopefully it might amuse or gently provoke some folks across the web.

To get some perspective, I dropped in on personal video-maker Jenna Marbles. Her videos feature far fewer graphics and effects than mine, maybe a few more stunts, a lot more cute animals. But at the core, she strikes one as direct, unafraid and it's somehow comforting to watch her think out loud. I admire her accessible, self-deprecating fun and authentic momentum. I watched her 200th video which offered some insight into her feelings after the last four years riding a rocketship of popularity.

Then I went to watch her latest video, and it turned out to be a fan request from her Facebook group: JennaMarbles read aloud a selection of her hate mail from across the internet. These included some sad words and some upsetting suggestions; by the end she seemed a bit frayed around the edges.

Jenna Marbles is one of the most popular personal media makers on the internet, and I could see the positive and negative aspects of her prominent position from those two vids linked above. Every few months I start thinking, oh, I should get some comments and community going again on! But personal content + open comments = eventual tide of immense psychic challenge, and I'm not ready for that just now.

These are some of the themes I'm exploring in - my documentary due free on the web later this year. It's taking me a good while to figure out how I feel about the rise of social networks after the advent of personal weblogging, let alone articulate that feeling!

cutting a tree to the stump

I'm told the prior resident here snuck over a fence behind this Mission district house into a garden attached to an auto body shop. He planted a black acacia tree there decades ago. When the tree became an overgrowing arboreal menace, it was chopped to a stump. He the planter prayed and meditated hard that day. The stump was ignored and over the ensuing years, the tree grew back without supervision: as seven trunks, a huge canopy three stories tall, visible from San Francisco's hills and sheltering the spaces below which bustled with hawks and rats.

As more people packed around it, the tree was deemed too large: roots were lifting a neighbor's concrete; limbs or whole trunks might have broken off to commit rooficide.

I loved looking out our back window and seeing branches and leaves. Now, a year and a half after I first moved a chair to where I could sit and see that tree, three days of chainsawing by a man on ropes reduced it to a stump once more. Younger men covered the wood wound in mulch and left it.

Ilyse and I wondered if tree-bound meditation and prayer should once again be deployed, touching upon the spiritual side of the otherwise secular Arbor Day, which appears in 40+ countries. Perhaps we'd pray for forgetfulness from our neighbors, so the stump might re-re-grow. And, we'd likely raise our voices amidst the many in this part of the world praying for water.

But instead of bringing rain, our water prayers could cause sea levels to rise to our front steps. And instead of summoning leaves outside our window, this tree could continue to invade our lives. Fed by our prayers and meditation, this tree could soon drive us from this warm box. Seems easy to cut and hard to know. But out my window I do prefer branches and leaves to the rump end of a storehouse.


I've spent this last week barely leaving my house, listening to a fun frenetic musician called "Shitmat" and building a new site at

After twenty years of owning this domain, it seems the time is ripening to make something useful out of it. I'm asked weekly if I will sell it, and maybe I would for an eye-popping amount of money. But I'd rather make something great with it. Making one-person videos is hugely fun, now I have room in my life for other, more collaborative work.

I've spent the last few months exploring ideas that would be good to build on Uber for weed? Pot-friendly friend finder? CraigsList for Cannabusiness? I began to realize I might not be able to make the best use of with any single idea I have; instead I might do better to enable other folks to grow their ideas. If I can help other people be successful then attention and money will follow, enough for everyone who can contribute work to make the domain great.

So I've spent the last few months reading about cannabis and writing down the core values that should direct and drive in the years to come. They're all posted on the site, along with a call to action and a few initial projects. Thanks to 19 year old Justin Hall who registered this domain so 40 year old Justin Hall can spend time working on it!

bud dot com dot png


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.