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Old 06/20/2004, 5:40 PM
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MysterE Male MysterE is offline
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Default For the time beings

I remember this site before, but forgot about it until I read this artilce in my paper today:
Watching the clock has never been so entertaining, thanks to a Portlander
Sunday, June 20, 2004
In an age of fast food, quick marts and rapid transit, Craig Giffen is an anomaly: a man with all the time in the world.

So what does the 30-year-old Portlander do with all that time? He posts it on the Web in the form of thousands of photographs from every continent on Earth, recording every one of the 1,440 minutes that make up a 24-hour day.

He calls his creation Humanclock.com (www.humanclock.com). Think of it as a digital clock with, literally, a human heart and soul.

There is, for example, a shot of a dental hygienist in Cold Harbor, Va., her instruments tucked into the mouth of a patient who holds a sign proclaiming "2:28."

And 15 men and women lying on the ground at McHarg Creek, South Australia, their bodies forming "7:26."

And a blond woman posing with checkerboard-scarved Arab men in Doha, Qatar, as she holds a sign marked "17:37."

Giffen, a freelance computer programmer, started the clock ticking on his project at 2 p.m. one afternoon in May 2001. He asked strangers on Northeast 28th Avenue to pose with a cardboard sign bearing the time.

"It was actually nice to just walk around Portland for hours getting mailmen, garbage men . . . walking into hair salons, getting people to pose," he says. "I took a picture of a guy in Old Town eating chili outside on his break."

When Giffen switched on the Web site in July 2001, admirers chimed in from around the world.

"It was just one of those random ideas that come up," Giffen says of the site's genesis. "But this was one of the ones that still sounds cool 24 hours later."

Fletcher Kauffman of San Diego discovered the site in 2001 and decided to submit several photos to Giffen for consideration.

"I had an ambition to be Andy Warhol," Kauffman says. "I want to be famous for 15 minutes, but not in a row."

Describing himself as "kind of a generic computer type of person," Kauffman says his cubicle mate took his picture as he held up a "9:01" sign -- an homage to his Sept. 1 birthday.

"We had a 9 a.m. staff meeting, and so I almost never saw it," he says.

Louise Muenstermann, a 58-year-old photographer in Fountain Valley, Calif., says she found Humanclock.com while she was searching for a clock to display on her computer screen. In January, she was so hooked that she started taking photos for the site.

Time and time again, she has waylaid waiters and waitresses, flight attendants and other strangers, persuading them to take a minute to pose. She once staged a 2:03 a.m. shot with friends in a graveyard, although she's never been up late enough to see the photo on the Web site.

"I wrote a number on a bald head," Muenstermann recalls. "It was 9:09 or 9:19 in the evening. Someone said, 'Here's the lipstick.' "

Many Internet surfers find Humanclock.com by searching Google for "clock." The site appears in the top 10 of more than 20 million entries. So do The Death Clock ("When Am I Going to Die?") and the U.S. National Debt Clock.

"I used to come up first," Giffen says.

He says Humanclock.com gets about 3,000 to 4,000 hits a day. One Texas company keeps Humanclock.com running continuously on a monitor in its lobby.

Giffen lived off his savings while he built Humanclock.com. For 16 months of that time, he updated the site with new photos during a bike trip around Australia and New Zealand.

How did he do it? He carried his trusty sheet of cardboard and 27 numerals to record every possible time for a 12-hour clock. Using a battered laptop computer, he transferred the images from his digital camera to a CD. Then, every two weeks, he mailed a new CD to a collaborator in Melbourne, Australia -- a fellow computer programmer whom he had met, appropriately enough, through Humanclock.com.

As time went by, photos from contributors began flowing in from Germany, Pakistan and even Antarctica. A boy in Brazil burned the time -- it was either 2:55 or 3:55, Giffen says -- into his chest.

Not all the photos are usable. Some are pornographic. Many, showing clock radios, are simply boring. Others don't show the time clearly -- or at all.

One short-lived photo showed an English nudist colonist, cloaked strategically with a dollop of whipped cream, bearing a "12:11" on his chest and "PM" on a buttock reflected in a mirror. Giffen pulled the picture after a user reported having to race across his office to turn off his computer monitor before anyone else saw it.

Some times have their own significance, such as 4:20, which is said to be code for "It's time to smoke pot." Fans of Rush send in "21:12" in honor of the rock band's "2112" album. Devout Christians offer up "3:16" in recognition of the New Testament's John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"). Dentists submit "2:30" (tooth hurty).

Giffen has time on his hands these days, because the Web site is largely automated, except for uploading new pictures. Users can choose their own display settings. They can watch the digital version (people holding signs) or the analog version (people standing in front of a giant clock and pointing their arms in lieu of a big hand and little hand). And with every passing minute, Giffen gets closer to offering both a 12-hour and a 24-hour clock.

Giffen himself is not one to watch the clock. In fact, he says he has never watched his own site for more than an hour at a time. He doesn't keep any clocks at home.

"My watch broke 10 years ago," he says, "and I never got another one."

Steve Woodward: 503-294-5134; stevewoodward@news.oregonian.com

As always, please look over the most recent episode guide here and let us know of any additions or corrections. Thank you.
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Old 09/05/2004, 4:00 AM
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MysterE Male MysterE is offline
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Nobody thinks this is cool?

As always, please look over the most recent episode guide here and let us know of any additions or corrections. Thank you.
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Old 09/05/2004, 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by MysterE
Nobody thinks this is cool?
I do! They should make a screensaver...



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