Archive - Jun 2005

New Novel About Juarez Murders

In July a book called La Frontera by French-born writer Patrick Bard is coming out. It looks like it might be pretty good, for a dramatized but truth-based thriller. The danger is two-fold: that it makes the stituation into a whodunnit mystery, which is exactly what people need to know it is NOT, and second, that a fictionalized account will elide the fact that it IS factual. Of course these are the 2 things that every fictionalized story based on this situation seems to screw up every time, including the upcoming J.Lo blockbuster movie.


Internet Overload

I seem to be unconciously and involuntarily compensating for almost 3 months of very little internet use while travelling by using it an incredible amount in the last week and a half that I've been "back" from my travelling. It's really annoying. It's like an addiction. I need to cut down.

Additionally it doesn't help when everything cool that I find online I want to blog about, which just makes me use more time. There's the discovery and then the writing about the discovery. Argh. For instance in the last hour or so I've found 2 or 3 more things I want to blog about, though all of them may be old news and they just seem new to me because I've been travelling: the hackersafe badge that i've seen on a few different commercial websites now (which seems like an invitation for hackers to attack, a fiasco just waiting to happen), a hilarious all-your-base style net meme from a while back involving a lost frog, and... what was the other thing?... there's an interesting article about media activism, basically a manifesto, by Patricia Zimmerman, who is a really great, dedicated activist academic who I met at the Collage Conference back in March.

Well there's actually a TON of other stuff, just look at my Delicious bookmarks and how many i've added just in the last day or so. There's no way to blog about it all so Delicious is a good compromise, sort of micro-blog... keep checking it out, and if the links keep arriving on my list at the same rate or greater, email me or call me or send a courier and tell me to get the hell off the net and do something else, for god's sake...

Bus Stop Commentary

Gay Pride in Bolivia

Interesting photo essay from BBC News about sexual diversity in Bolivia. Some really great photos of a group of drag queens in La Paz, and quotes from one of its members. They even had a small pride parade in La Paz. I remember being surprised at hearing last week of the huge turnout in Mexico City for its pride parade. But for La Paz it's even more incredible. Way to go, Bolivia.


Oh. My. Freaking. Gawd. This is just about the coolest thing I've seen on the web in a long while. These people are using Flickr and another site called Geobloggers to create a searchable database of photographs that are tied to the coordinates on the globe where they were taken. You can go to the Geobloggers site and find a place on the map and search for any photos that were taken in that area. Or conversely, find a photo on Flickr, and click over to the Geoblogger site where it'll show you where that photo was taken.

For instance, I have just Geotagged a photo I took yesterday on the edge of Shellsburg, about half a mile from where I am right now. Go to that photo and click the link under the photo where it says "Geotagged" - you'll be taken to the geobloggers site where it will show you on the map where it is. You can even switch to a satellite photo view of the same spot. holy shit! This is soooo great.

Oh and the funny thing is that one of the main people behind the geobloggers site is named Steeev (with one more 'e' than me).


I looked around at rss feedreading software this morning because it's getting harder and harder to manage all the blogs and other periodically updated sites that i try to look at regularly. At first I found these cool "docklings," software that runs in your MacOS dock and updates automatically, but after wasting time with those I found out eventually that Apple discontinued 3rd party docklings. Stupid.

Anyway, I ended up going with an app called NetNewsWire, the freeware version. Loaded it up with all the blogs and newsites and stuff that I want, and it seems pretty cool. I'm even subscribed to a feed of all my Flickr contacts, so if any of them post a new photo, I'll know about it within the hour.

here's an OPML file (whatever that is) of all my feed subscriptions, if you're interested. It was generated by the netnewswire, and I think a lot of other feedreaders can import them. So if you care about the blogs i read (I don't know why you would, but just in case), or try to read, there ya go.

I love not knowing how this stuff works. I mean, obviously I know, in theory, how it works, and I know I could find out exactly how in detail if I wanted to. But I don't care about the details, and I love just seeing it work and sort of pretending that it's magic. This may be a profoundly un-geeky attitude, but I think I've realized that's how I've always been, even when I was a clueless highschool nerd and thought I wanted to win the Nobel Prize in physics. I've always liked having some things be mysterious and magical. I'm not interested in knowing the inner workings of everything, like I think a lot of geeks are. Maybe that's why I hated engineering school. And yet it suceeded in permanently altering my brain anyway.

Speaking of brains, now what I want is an RSS feed of certain people's minds who don't have blogs and who aren't in touch with me often enough or in detail enough for me to know what the hell is going on in their lives. Like Jon and Jay - can I just wire my newsreader up to your heads somehow? what? why not? I think the NSA makes a chip you can get implanted to do it. C'mon, try it out!


The proper definition of reformism should hinge, not on the means we use to build a new society or on the speed with which we move, but on the nature of our final goal. A person who is satisfied with a kinder, gentler version of capitalism or statism, that is still recognizable as state capitalism, is a reformist. A person who seeks to eliminate state capitalism and replace it with something entirely different, no matter how gradually, is not a reformist.

"Peaceful action" simply means not deliberately provoking the state to repression, but rather doing whatever is possible (in the words of the Wobbly slogan) to "build the structure of the new society within the shell of the old" before we try to break the shell. There is nothing wrong with resisting the state if it tries, through repression, to reverse our progress in building the institutions of the new society. But revolutionary action should meet two criteria: 1) it should have strong popular support; and 2) it should not take place until we have reached the point where peaceful construction of the new society has reached its limits within existing society.

-- Kevin Carson, from Free-Market Anti-Capitalism

Wow. Yes. I couldn't possibly agree with this more. This is one of the best things I've ever read regarding the whole never-ending argument about reform versus revolution.

Carson is a good writer and has a lot of very interesting and wise things to say, in the process of explaining the flavor of anarchism that he espouses, "mutualism." I don't agree with his non-collectivist view, and I don't think I concur with his prioritization of "the market" - a little voice in the back of my head keeps saying "you can't have a market economy without capitalism. Can you? how can you be anti-capitalist and pro market?" And yet that's what he's claiming to be.

So, I dunno. You get some interesting mixtures of good and bad ideas, wisdom and foolishness coming from the same head, a lot of times. Further proof that you can't just swallow whole any one ideology. I guess I'm not a mutualist.

In case you wondered what it was like here

gatewelcome to shellsburg

Just uploaded a few photos (click on these to go to my flickr pages and see a few more. search on tag 'iowa' to see a few from last time I was here) just to give you an idea what it's like here on the outskirts of Shellsburg, Iowa. It's very green compared to 3 months ago when I was here before.

This morning I walked into town to the post office and back to mail some stuff but also I haven't been getting enough excercise so a long walk was in order. It's only about a mile and a half(?), but better than sitting on my ass. It's hot and really humid here.

The Story of Luis Posada Carriles

Bill Conroy of NarcoNews brings us an excellent article about Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban who has been working for the CIA for years, and allegedly blew up a Cuban passenger jet in 1976.

A Suggestion to George Bush about Posada CarrilesCarriles has snuck into the U.S. expecting to get asylum and escape from being extradicted to Venezuela, where they want to try him for the airline bombing. But he made himself too visible, too public, so now the Bush administration is in a bind.

The photo here is of a mural/grafitti painted on the cement bank of the Rio Grande between Juarez and El Paso. I saw it last week and didn't know the story, so I didn't really understand what it was referring to. Now I do.

Anyway, read the article, it's good.
These kind of situations should receive more media coverage. They're fascinating, and stories like Bill's display amazing feats of investigative, muckraking-style journalism that this country needs to be exposed to more. I'm sure stories like this would do well in the marketplace (of ideas and money) because they're edgy and interesting, but politically the mainstream press won't touch them, for fear of trouble with BushCo. So much for the idea of a free media.

Maybe I Just Shouldn't Try to "Catch Up"

In addition to the official "personal," this goes under the "mean spirited" category, as well as the "groan" and "there goes the neighborhood" categories. So beware.

I was looking through the archives of the little mailing list that started with a few very cool friends in Portland, a thing we use mainly just to invite each other to bad movies, usually, and gossip about silly internet humor. I guess maybe now that I'm back in gringolandia but still far from my best gringo amigos, I was feeling like I wanted to catch up on their doings.

Well, the list has gradually been expanding to include a wider and wider circle of friends of friends and aquaintances to where for the last year or so there have been some people on the list who have never ever met and probably never will. This is in stark contrast to its beginnings in summer 2002 when it was all people who saw each other and did cool stuff together almost every day. Well, alas, now the final nail is in the coffin, and another reason for me to be glad I'm not now in Portland, and will soon be leaving for good: I look through the June archives and find that my old San Francisco flatmate, who I absolutely detest, has moved to Portland and has just joined the list. Fucking A.

Now I'm not saying there's nobody that I don't not get along with on the list. There's one cabron in particular that is also in my email "asshole filter", but at least our troubles developed after we were already on the list, and he's moved away from Portland anyway. But this other guy, I absolutely can't freaking stand him. I guess that's what happens when you live in an overcrowded apartment that you can't move out of without leaving the whole city because of astronomical rent, with someone for 6 years, someone who you previously knew but not well enogh to know what an asshole they were.

Oh and I guess the other ingredient there in that recipe is "when you're me, an easily annoyed, hard to please dork with expectations for everything and everyone that are way too high..." It must be hard for some friends I know who seem to get along with everybody, to see me getting into these hateful conflicts. Another asshole that wants to sue me or kill me has repeatedly said, amongst other childish and not very creative insults, that I don't get along with anyone, but this is obviously bullshit. I just don't have any tolerance any more, at this stage of my life, for assholes. There is just occasionally the fuckwad that I cannot, will not, put up with. I always give them plenty of chances to redeem themselves, I always put up with their shit and am exceedingly generous and forgiving for way too long, but eventually my patience runs out. But it's not like this happens all the time. Out of the hundreds of cool people I know, I can count on just one hand the assholes that have elevated themselves into this pantheon I'm talking about. And I should stress that, like in George Carlin's great skit, I make a big distinction between an asshole, a scumbag, and a jerkoff. The latter 2 are much easier to forgive and forget, but the first, it's just hard to deal with them.

suspira [espanol for sigh]... well, I guess I can see a bright side in looking through the portland keyhole, and that is that I found out mi amigo Reverend Phil has a blog in which he describes his adventures biking to L.A. for Bikesummer 2005 and all the, I am sure, entertaining insanity that that involves. That makes me smile... I look forward to reading more of it.

Okay, sorry for this vindictive rant. I promise the next entry will get right back to the dark visions of opression, struggle, and injustice that keeps you coming back to this fine blog. :-)