Archive - 2007

Another Cliff

I'm careening toward another cliff (it always feels like that) of long-duration international travel - a month in Germany and the Czech Republic. I'll be leaving Monday morning for Berlin and I've been scrambling to wrap up obligations, tidy my house (literally and figuratively), and gather together everthing I'll need.

Today I'm finshing up the last of about a half-dozen video projects I had to have done this week before I go, a rough edit of a piece Pan Left is doing for Wingspan.

More news as it happens or soon after. I think i'll be relatively wired, and I'll be "covering" the G8 protests, along with probably hundreds of other citizen journalists and media activists that will be there in northern germany June 2 thru 9 or so. so look for audio, video, fotos or text from me soon, full of exciting riot porn, i'm sure.

I'll also be showing some video work, including new stuff, and excerpts of my Juarez doc, at a gallery in Prague on June 18. More details on that when I get them.

In other news, the bike I've been building at BICAS is finally done and it rocks. too bad i just have this half-week to use it before i leave town.

tips for hiring a web developer

classic Ze Frank video about how to hire a web developer. LOL.


A hilarious political protest campaign is going on in Belgium, making fun of the system in a really effective way and encouraging people to vote for empty seats in the Belgian parliament.

And parodying unrealistic campaign promises:
(via Brian)

Big Confernce on Femicide at Stanford

What looks like a really great conference on Femicide is happening at Stanford May 16-19. I wish I'd known about it sooner. All the big names in the 'movement', both activist and academic, look like they'll be there. There's even a new doc about the femicide in Guatemala that will have its US premiere there.

Quiet Final End to the Computers for Bolivia Project

Over 3 years ago i went to Bolivia and started a long, frustrating attempt at technology solidarity. It turned out to be just too big a project, too difficult, too unrealistic, too crazy, and without the support of enough people at either end.

Last September the computers we'd gathered over the years were finally cleaned out of the storage space, the rent for which was sucking money down a drain. They were donated to another group, World Computer Exchange, which does simliar work. Then last month the bank account I'd set up to hold the funds, which I and a colleague in Oregon had raised over the years, was closed, and the money given to her. She and some techies from Portland Indymedia will use the money for a continuing related goal, a smaller scale project to get smaller numbers of newer computers to Bolivian media activists, hidden in luggage rather than packed into huge expensive cargo containers.

A wistful sigh, but a relieved sigh as well. Past follies and crazy dreams, dissolved into a few digital traces and memories.

encrypted email and bicycles

Here's a a great tutorial on using GUI GPG tools with Apple's Mail client. really easy once you get it set up. yay.

In other news, I'm also really excited about the bike I'm building. The more progress I make the more excited I get. Tonite I attached some awesome cruiser-style handlebars and we did brakes. Sadly, I will finish it just a few days before I go to Europe for a month, so i won't have that much time to enjoy the thing till I get back in July.

Speaking of bikes I told some activists today how I could easily rant at them about how they all drive cars to our meetings, but that our group isn't about bicycle activism or even about global warming so I don't think it's appropriate. It's not the focus.

I'm a big fan of focus.

LAPD Goes Crazy on May Day Demonstrators

During the big immigration march and rally in Los Angeles yesterday the police apparently went apeshit for no reason. (via mi amiga Abi)

We were lucky enough to have well-behaved cops, for once, in Tucson yesterday. They didn't even enter the park all day and they kept the racist vigilantes away across the street.
russ dove spewing hate

'Cool' Art: Hopscotch

I'm reading a borrowed copy of Julio Cortázar's "Hopscotch," and ever since I started it 5 days ago I wonder with each turn of the page whether I should keep reading. That's a bad sign. Why do I feel this way? And why do I continue? The answer to the second question is that it's an author that I "should" be interested in, according to activist friends who have said that Subcommandante Marcos, as a writer, was influenced by Cortazar's writing. It's just another example of that shelf full of "High Art" in my life, whether it be music, novels, or paintings, or whatever, that I do not find entertaining, that does not compel me (to keep turning the page, keep listening again and again, looking again and again, no), but instead is just there in my gaze because, as a discriminating, cultured culture-vulture, I should have it on my shelf.

But I think I'm growing out of this way of appreciating culture. I don't need this book. And it's not even entertaining me. I thought it would be at least as fun as Gabriel Garcia Marquez... It is said that Cortazar is one of Latin America's best authors.... the book, well, it's interesting, as a work of experimental fiction - there are 2 ways to read it, either straight through from chapter 1 to 56, or according to an algorithm, following the instruction at the end of each chapter to know which chapter to read first, 1-98-2-105-78-3, etc - interesting, but the prose itself exhudes self-indulgent narccism and ennui, telling the story of decandant Parisian 60s hipsters that I can't be bothered to care the slightest about... who gives a fuck if Horacio and La Maga sort of like each other in a limp sort of whatever way, and engage in elaborate games so that they might or might not run into each other on the street and then go have sex in a nearby hotel? Who cares if their arty friends argue about Klee versus Mondrian? I haven't read anything so boring and soul-numbing since stumbling my way through The Plague by Camus 20 years ago...

If I had nothing else to read, or if I wasn't working hard on my life, it wouldn't be a big deal. But I have much more important stuff to read, stuff about how to refashion my outlook on work and living, stuff about civilization and love and relationships and psyche... so I think I'll put 'Hopscotch' down and leapfrog over it... sorry Cortazar. Somehow, evidently, Marcos (may have) read you and become an interesting thinker and writer despite your work, not because of it.

Reflections on Programming

This is old (all of almost 10 years now!!!) but so accurate and informative to those who may be close to coders and don't understand. An excerpt:

People imagine that programmers don't like to talk because they
prefer machines to people. This is not completely true. Programmers don't
talk because they must not be interrupted.
This need to be uninterrupted leads to a life that is strangely
asynchronous to the one lived by other human beings. It's better to send
e-mail to a programmer than to call. It's better to leave a note on the
chair than to expect the programmer to come to a meeting. This is because
the programmer must work in mind time while the phone rings and the
meetings happen in real time. It's not just ego that prevents programmers
from working in groups - it's the synchronicity problem. Synchronizing with
other people (or their representations in telephones, buzzers and
doorbells) can only mean interrupting the thought train. Interruptions mean
bugs. You must not get off the train.

Immigration: The Human Cost

Great video from The Onion:

Immigration: The Human Cost

I'll probably show this as part of the opener for a screening of Gigante Despierta sunday night at Dry River.