Archive - 2007

Reaping the Overwhelming Harvest of Multitasking

"Do you think cell phones allow people to get laid more often?" I asked a friend late Friday night as we tried to contact a group of other friends who were out drinking somewhere. We were crouched on the sidewalk outside of The Buffet, one of Tucson's grottiest bars.

"Absolutely," she replied, "definitely makes booty calls easier. But it doesn't look like I'm getting laid tonite," she added as she closed her phone one last time.

None of the group were answering our (non-booty) calls. We'd been looking for them at a couple bars we thought they'd be at, but no luck. It turned out they had all turned in early when the birthday boy got too drunk to be served anywhere else, and we'd been ringing the mobiles of half a dozen already-sleeping pals. 15 years ago we would have given up an hour ago or more, and gone to our homes where our old-fashioned wired phones were, but once home we probably would have called it a night, too tired to make more plans and then venture back out again.

Computers and other modern communication technology make all sorts of new and impromptu interactions and ambitions possible. I'm overwhelmed and it's only 8am, doing 8 things at once as evidenced by the tabs open in my browser:

  • Blogumentary, a feature-length film about blogging that's free to watch on google video. It looks really interesting but i don't know when i'll get the time.

  • The interface for entering this entry of this blog.
  • River of Tears, a multimedia theater piece about the mudered women of Juarez, which someone in the theater group, in Albuquerque, just emailed me about.
  • A field recording I just posted to Phonophilia a minute ago of some people demonstrating medieval combat.
  • some comics i started trying to read on yesterday.
  • a page about radical activist latinoamerican hip-hop.
  • 3 more pages about various creators of radical latino hip hop
  • a photo i just posted to Flickr of the aformentioned combat demonstrators.

    So, here I am with all these doorways into all these interests and ambitions feeling exhausted already. What the hell am I doing? Why can't I just focus and concentrate on one thing at a time? No wonder I can't meditate.

    Oh and here's something funny in the sort-of-a-nonsequitur-but-not-really department. I fell asleep last night with my powerbook in bed; sometime during the night I must have woken up, closed it, set it back on my desk, and went back to bed, and this morning I opened it and saw that when I fell asleep I'd been just about to hit the submit button on a web translation service, to translate into English the Spanish word "chantaje" ("blackmail").

  • Every Possible Niche

    This is an entry about capitalism. But, I have to provide some background: So, I've been really into this great travel website called Kayak for the last couple months. It's basically a super-search engine for airfares. you put in where you want to go & when and it searches hundreds of airlines and other travel sites to find the best fares. And the best feature is the email alerts where it sends a message every day or week with the best fares under your certain price for your certain date range. Really useful.

    However, this is about something really unuseful, unless you count relieving consumers of their cash useful. Which I guess it is if we want to keep the ol' economy pumpin', eh? So, ok, nevermind.

    Just kidding. What I'm talking about is how capitalists, or 'the market', are constantly seeping into every possible crevice and nook of life, like vomit that gets into the cracks between tiles in your bathroom when you puke and miss the toilet. The example I have today is an email from Kayak, exhorting everyone to go on a trip: for chocolate. They proceed to provide a list of exotic or not-so-exotic destinations with no reasons listed to go other than their relation to chocolate: Belgium, New York, Hershey Pennsylvania, Oaxaca... ("No discussion of chocolate is complete without mentioning a trip to Mexico where it all began. ")
    ...Ignoring of course the brutal colonial history of Belgium's chocolate supremacy or the current human rights abuses taking place in Oaxaca, and other such bothersome facts, and I will skip over the details of these too for now, because what I'm talking about is how ridiculous it is to try to sell someone a flight to Oaxaca or Pennsylvania or Brussels for chocolate. But hey, it's Valentine's Day coming up and you're supposed to eat chocolate and why not be really cool and buy an $800 plane ticket instead of an $8 box of chocolate? Every little excuse will be tried by marketeers, because as Dennis the Menace once said, "All I need is one sucker." (image: Dennis behind a lemonade stand, sign announcing: lemonade, $10 a glass)

    While the greenhouse gases choke the planet to death we're being told to blow our "disposable income" to jet around the globe with no more excuse for it than looking for cacao products and their traces, in the form of museums and theme parks. And meanwhile there are hundreds of millions who will never, ever, ever be able to afford to set foot on a plane, who in fact will never leave the tiny circle of land around the village they were born in, unless it's to migrate (rather than starve), to the nearest metropolis to work in a factory assembling plastic gadgets for gringos to buy at Wal-Mart...

    thanx but no thanx,

    In the society of the spectacle, "Spectators do not find what they desire: they desire what they find." - Guy Debord

    (Don't get me wrong, since this is the first time in a few years that I've been seeing someone at this time of year, I will probably ask that someone to do something special with me in honor of the fabricated holiday. But we won't be flying to Brussels.)


    A couple weeks ago I saw this crazy german techno-pop band called Porsches on the Autobahn. They were a lot of fun. I got to the show really late and only saw their last few songs, but here I posted an mp3 of what they sounded like playing their last song, and what it sounded like as a I made my way out of the venue, Plush, and onto the sidewalk.

    I've been really getting interested in sound and music again, and thinking about doing live performance again. But I've been hesitating because it's yet one more thing, and I don't know if I have time for one more thing. Life is pretty pleasantly busy and just on the balancing point before getting "too busy." I've been trying to be very careful lately to keep from going past that point.

    And yet making music again feels really important to me right now, so maybe there's eomthing else i can lay aside for now. The other balance I want to strike though is that it not be something that sucks more soul out of me. Messing around with some music software last night I started feeling like I was being stupid, immersing myself in yet another thing that required staring at a computer screen. What am I doing? Maybe I should think more about this. Maybe I should be doing some sort of music less computer-intensive? hmm.

    UPDATE: here's another new sound file, of snow melting off my roof 2 weeks ago and into our water harvesting tank.

    Review in Pop Matters

    A very extensive review of my film appeared the other day in the webzine Pop Matters. I like reviews like this in which the author actually has obviously researched the topic of the Juarez femicides beyond just watching the film and reading the promo material. Cynthia Fuchs even cites some website sources that I hadn't even seen. Of course it's not a super glowing review of the film itself, but that's pretty much beside the point. It's getting people to write about the issue, and that (not pop) is what matters.

    lifestyle or life

    hey. pendejo.
    you with the tight ride with the shiny grill.
    how wack is that. that you spend so much on, go into debt for,
    something to get you around
    something to compensate
    when i already am where you want to be.
    it took me 7 minutes to get home from where you drove an hour to get to
    from your fancy splitlevel in the foothills or the eastside.
    just pedalling.
    and i dont pay a cent to any gym, like you go to, to get my legs ripped
    (to the point where women compliment me on them)
    more than yours will ever be sitting in a cube 9 to 5
    that you also have to drive that ride an hour to every single fucking day.
    and they told you that is all there is
    in this world
    for you
    and they got you to believe it, somehow
    that somehow out in the foothills
    with your shiny grill
    you'd be happy
    but every friday you drive an hour down
    to the cool part of town
    where i and mine live 24-7
    and you buy a slice of hip
    like you buy everything else
    (cuz they told you everything has to be bought)
    after you sell your time all day all week
    the only commodity you can never buy back.
    ever. ever. ever.


    saw an amazing film at dry river tonite. it's ecuadorian, called 'Cronicas'. it's about a tv news crew from miami covering a serial killer in ecuador, and they fuck everything up trying to get the story. it's an amazing look at journalistic ethics and integrity. and the person i want to be, professionally at least, is one of the characters. the cameraman/editor. i want to travel the world with a powerbook and a camera phoning in investigative news videos via satellite, sweating my ass off editing footage in a jungle hotel and smoking and drinking quetzalteco or chicha or pisco or cachaca or whatever the local rotgut is. and get paid for it. Of course I'd prefer to work for a show that was less cheesy than the one depicted in the film, which was called "Una Hora Con La Verdad" (One Hour With The Truth)

    "Transmedia" Saving the World

    Interesting piece about participatory, serialized and multiple-media narratives, from the Obama campaign to Battlestar Galactica, and the opportunity through them for social good, or not... in Pitchfork of all places.

    Does new media mean more to us than sharing clips of people mixing Mentos with Coca-Cola? Are we just duped rats chasing each other through ever-greater mazes? Or can we seize this chance to revitalize democracy?

    (via Philoblog)

    the public and the private and public private

    It is cold and overcast here in the desert today. That's my random public remark for this midmorning blog post.

    A friend recently started a blog of which I'm the only reader, at least so far. She hasn't told anyone else about it, as far as I know. I envy her, in a way. To have a semiprivate space like that. To post blog entries of open mystery, entries with the word "you" in them a lot. To think about how people possibly could (a thrill of risk!), but almost certainly won't (whew), see and read. But many many people read this here and I've burned and been burned at this URL too many times to assume that sort of space here.


    How to make this somehow interesting to those readers not interested, or perhaps even repelled, by thoughts of more episodes of "As The Steev Turns"? Well, think of this: isn't it just freaking bizarre to think about this sort of thing in the context of 20 years ago - imagine someone in 1987 reading this. It wouldn't make any sense at all. Diaries that might also be amateur journalism, research, rants, instruction manuals, available to strangers all over the globe with a 'click' of a... what? you call that a 'link'? WTF? oh and what does WTF stand for in your crazy future world? AFAIK, it doesn't mean "'Ware The Future", but it might as well.

    I will say that I just sat for an hour at Cafe Passé eating a bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruit and writing a LOT in my journal. Life is extremely interesting and really quite good. What an amazing January it was.

    When Have You Stood Aside Enough To Leave?

    So, I won't name names but I'm in this local consensus-based collective and I don't know if I should be in it anymore. Just about every week, at every weekly meeting, we have some argument about one thing or another and I'm pretty much always on the one side and everyone else is on the other and I always end up saying "well, I still disagree but I stand aside." I do this because it's never something important enough to block, and yet I always feel like I've given up on some matter of minor principle. Minor, but still a principle, something I firmly believe. And so, the question is, if this keeps happening week after week, does that mean I should leave the collective? I can't leave right away because we're in the middle of doing a lot of work on a big project. And I don't want to leave at all because it's really a subject that is important to me and the collective is responding to the subject in ways I believe in. But it just feels really bothersome and lonely to always always be alone on the other side of a debate every single week. Maybe it's not a sign that the collective is wrong for me but is just my problem and I should talk to my therapist about it. I dunno.

    Phonophilia Update: The Bike Audio Project

    I just posted to Phonophilia mixdown stereo files of a piece I did back in the summer of 2002, a 6-channel, 7 part audio piece performed with 3 sound systems mounted on 3 moving bicycles. Further information is here. That was a fun project.