Archive - 2005

Ink in Inc About a Portland Activist Celebrity

A new article in Inc. Magazine about Craig Rosebraugh is actually really good and balanced. It really captures well the contradictory characteristics of Rosebraugh, a famous and controversial figure in the activist bubble of Portland. The ELF spokesman who now owns and runs a fancy vegan restaurant. The revolutionary that fires his employees when they try to organize.

The article has provoked some interesting discussion in the local IMC. I know people in this town that idolize him. Indymedia people who will voluntarily cloud their vision and values in order to stand in solidarity with Craig, because they respect him so much as a radical. I've always had mixed feelings about his work, his anti-nonviolence message backed up with years of research and convincing arguments. And it's been really really fascinating that someone who seems to be such an extremist is such a combination of conflicting values and activities.

Pate a Son

I was just referred to a really cool sound toy. Beware, you might find yourself spending a few hours playing with it before you know it. Check out the other work the creators have made, also.

(thanx jon!)

One More Day In NYC

Today the WTR conference ended. It was good, though there was a packed schedule with no time for anything else. I shot about 12 hours of footage, including 7 interviews. There was another, for-hire pro crew there that shot about 16 other interviews, with lights and a real nice pro dvcam camera. They were locals just paid by the organization to do the interviews and hand the footage over to NWTRCC, they're not themselves working on a doc. But there was lots of talk during the conference about media, how much a new doc about war tax resistance is needed and so I think it's going to happen. I won't neccesarily be me making it, but I might, and I will be thinking about that and about what I will propose to them, in between all the other things going on. It would be great if NWTRCC could find funding for such a film.

So tonite I'm staying and hanging out with my friend Alex Rivera, a great guy and much more accomplished filmmaker and documentarian than I who lives in Brooklyn. I look forward to showing him the Juarez doc and getting thoughts on it.

Flying home tommorrow.

National Strategy Conference for War Tax Resistance

Today I'm going to New York City for a strategy conference on war tax resistance this weekend. I'm being flown out there to videotape it and do interviews. This is a continuation of a project I've been slowly working on for 2 years now to produce a documentary about war tax resistance. I already have about 20 hours of interviews with various people, and I plan to tape a lot more at this event. It is a rare opportunity, because WTRs from all over the country will be there, and some of them are almost legendary, old-timers who've been doing WTR for 25, 30 or more years. So it will be good to get them on tape.

What does "strategy conference" mean? Well, we'll be discussing what to do within the WTR movement. How to grow it, what the goals should be, what methods would be good to get to those goals. I've thought this kind of planning is pretty important for some time, since the movement or tactic seems pretty limited, and yet it seems to be such an obvious, excellent, and satisfying tactic. In this capitalist world, what better way to attack any enemy than through their cashflow? And yet it seems that the method is not very popular, even amongst supposedly really dedicated, earnest peace activists ( I say supposedly because I really think that if you're paying your taxes that go to the military, you are working against your own anti-war activism, no matter what other forms that may take). I have a feeling that a certain segment of peace activists actually do practice war tax resistance, but in a quiet, private way. But in order to grow the movement and hence have a bigger impact, it has to be more public.

So this is the kind of thing that's going to get discussed, and I look forward to the conference.

I'm glad I can post this from the Portland airport, by the way. They now have wireless access over almost the whole length of all the terminals, and a nice intro page that pops up when you first launch a browser that shows you where you're connecting from on a map of the airport.

Pretty Much Done

I'm declaring my Juarez doc to be at "release candidate" stage - In other words, it's done, unless I notice some glaring mistake or glitch. I will sigh a big sigh of relief if i watch it a couple times and don't see something crying out to be fixed.

The last few days have been a haze of waiting for final renders and wandering the industrial wasteland around where the studio is, looking for sustenance while the clouds dump drizzle on the city. Right now i'm waiting for the DVD of the final video to render. It's frustratingly slow to turn a DV file into a muxed mpeg2. I wish I understood why. There's almost nothing slower in my computing world.

If only there was internet at the GAVEL (the studio) then i could while away the waiting getting and sending email, doing other stuff needing to get done. I had to bike over here to the Back to Back cafe where they have a computer, while my laptop sits in the video dungeon working away...

Laptops for Poor Children

Nicholas Negroponte is working on providing laptops to developing countries for less than $100 a piece. Interesting trend - I just read on rabble's blog about super cheap cellphones for the poor. This is good I think, especially if they get them for free. And the laptops are super cool - they run linux, they're really tough, have wireless, flash memory instead of hard drive. I hope this actually happens. Seems like a tough order.

interesting point made on the website for the laptops about why they're not using recycled machines:

regarding recyled machines: if we estimate 100 million available used desktops, and each one requires only one hour of human attention to refurbish, reload, and handle, that is forty-five thousand work years. Thus, while we definitely encourage the recycling of used computers, it is not the solution for One Laptop per Child.

Good point, but it's sad when recycling is contraindicated like that.

Related note: the other day I saw Negroponte's book "Being Digital" sitting forelornly in the free pile at Powell's Technical. I remember when that book came out and it was supposed to be such hot, prophetic, "the future is now" stuff. Hah.

(thanx José)

A Trailer For My Documentary

I'm still not quite done with "On The Edge", my documentary about the femicides of Ciudad Juarez, but last weekend I made a trailer for it. I'm not entirely happy with the trailer, and I will probably make a better one soon, but this one I am putting up there just to whet your whistle.

What I was going for was a sort of quick overview of all the different people in the film. But as a friend pointed out it would be better to do an overview of the concepts, the issues involved. Anyway, if you have comments, please leave them here. thanx.

Time Flying

I just realized that before today I hadn't blogged for about a week and a half, for some reason. Maybe because I've been really busy and time has just been flying by. Helping friends move, working on 3 video projects at once (including the Juarez doc, which is now like one day of color-correction work away from being done. No, really!!), working on the Computers for Bolivia Project, which took 1 step forward and 2 steps back in the last week... I dunno what else. Being sick. Helping a friend sell a bunch of stuff on eBay (high ticket stuff, ,so it's kind of intense).

Nice weather is still holding on here, for the most part, knock on formica. At this point I still want to get out of Portland and head down the coast in mid-october. I'm slowly getting rid of posessions to make the move easier.

Last night Portland IMC had its usual monthly video night and no one showed up except for IMC people. Talk about preaching to the choir. That kind of pissed me off. What's the point?

Well, that's about it. More as it happens.

Whether justice can be found

The New York Times published a major story about the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez yesterday. Their focus is on the corruption or incompentence of the police and state government. It's pretty impressive. oh an remember that if you dont have a NYT login and don't want to register, use

(via jay)

Wistful Looks at Others' Travels

In the last few days I have witnessed the travels or soon-to-be travels of various friends and aquaintances, and it has both thrilled me and made me a little melancholy, because I want to be on the road myself again.

My friend Joel is going to China, to be a stilt-walker in some parade. wow. On top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuancan my friend Jacob and I met Abby, someone I know from Portland, and her friend Lisa. Lisa is still travelling, has been in Guatemala for months and has a blog that is making me thinking nostalgically back to my trip in Mexico and Guatemala. She's even spent a lot of time in the same places I went, D.F., San Cristobal, Xela, San Pedro.

The other day I was covering a carpenter's strike for Indymedia when I ran into Bartolina and Patrik, who do community radio stuff here in Portland and are about to start a 6-month long journey through latin america, interviewing people and linking up with radio activists all along the way. Wish I was going with them, but I will live it vicariously through their blog, which will hopefully be a podcast with lots of audio, too. They asked me for contacts and I immediately started telling them about all the cool people and organizations I'd come across on my travels. I need to email them soon with details.

The other thing that has reminded me of Guatemala and Mexico is the fact that la pinche tos ha regresado (the damn cough is back). I haven't felt this bad since my first week in Chiapas. Thinking of that time reminds me not to be too positively nostagic, because I was sick almost the entire time that I was in Guatemala, and up till my second week in Mexico. See, I have this every year (except the time I was in South America, and managed to sidestep winter of any kind) It came late this year and was particularly bad when I was in Guatemala, probably exacerbated by pollution and chilly, moist climate of the highlands there. Now, as Portland moves into fall/winter/rainy season, it's back. I think I also am allergic to something blooming now, and the general congestion has triggered my cough. Maybe I have asthma. A doctor told me once that asthma and hay fever are genetically linked, and that often people develop asthma when they're older.

Anyway, it sucks. Another reason to get my ass down to Tucson. Or somewhere warmer and drier. But I'm stuck here waiting for the Computers for Bolivia Project to get wrapped up. I'm at the mercy of Free Geek, basically. waiting for them to tell me if we can have more computers. Pinche computadoras.