Archive - Aug 2006 - Blog entry

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The Kids Are (Not) Alright

I'm back from a long weekend in Portland, for the wedding of 2 friends. It was a wonderful ceremony, a fun reception, and a great time hanging out with Portland friends, and it was nice introducing Jessica (who came along) to those friends, and showing her cool stuff in town and nearby. I will have photos online soon.

So now I've returned to the heat and the back-to-school rush of Tucson. Oh. My. Gawd. College kids seem so materialistic and unaware now. I don't know if this is my age, or whether things have changed, or whether this particular campus is just particularly full of shallow frat boys, ROTCers, and "sorostitutes," but it just really annoys me, and it's annoying to have enjoyed the wonderful quiet of summer here and then all of sudden swarms of chattering rich kids are choking the streets and coffeehouses, chanting the mantra "hi how was your summer?" to each other.

I'm glad i'm now going to be living quite far from campus now.

And I just have to ask: can someone tell me why, even if you're a ditzy sorority girl, you'd want to wear pink short-shorts with the name of your college emblazoned across your butt cheeks? Pink? (Can anyone say "baboon in heat"?)

A Place, Finally

Well, I finally found a place to live. It's the coolest single-person place I've looked at and it's in the coolest neighborhood in Tucson, Dunbar-Spring. Two months ago I was leery of that neighborhood, because it's the ground zero of "the soap opera" I have written so much about. But things have changed for the better for me with respects to that soap opera, (and one of the main, unwilling, stars of it, who is also the special co-star of my personal movie right now). Besides, why should I suffer and exile myself from the best neighborhood in town just because some petty gossips live there too? That's no way to live.

So, I'm going to move in next week, I guess, after I get back from Portland. It has been nice staying with friends the last few weeks but it will definitely be great to have a place and unpack and get organized. I feel like a few important things have been held back because I've been living out of a backpack in a corner of someone else's home.

Nogales Project

Yesterday Jessica and Stacy and I drove down to Nogales at 6 in the morning to volunteer at the No More Deaths project there. For the past couple months this summer NMD has had a presence in Nogales, Mexico, working with the Comision Estatal de Atencion a Migrantes, The State Commission for Attention to Migrants. They have a tent set up just past the border crossing at the Mariposa port, which is a port of entry mostly for trucking, a few miles outside of town.

The Border Patrol brings Mexicans (or migrants they think are Mexicans) who are being deported from the Tucson sector to this border crossing. They bring them in huge ominous looking unmarked white buses, and they make them walk across the line. Volunteers from No More Deaths are there around the clock to meet the migrants and give them water, snacks, information, and medical care if they need it.

We were there from 7am till about 1230 pm. It was a slow day compared to normal, according to other volunteers who had been there before. We had a surplus of volunteers, too. I brought a video camera and wanted to get footage, but I also wanted to have the experience of helping these people. But since it was a slow day, after I had helped with a couple bus loads, there were no other buses and so I didn't really get any footage of the migrants. I did do some interviews, but I definitely don't have enough to do anything with. However, it looks like the project will continue, and so i'll go back a few more times and shoot more. It's really a worthwhile thing to do and to document, I think.

It's very moving to see this end of the migration process. The green-uniformed Migra marching people across the line like hall monitors escorting kids in elementary school. The people, in varying states of fatigue and health and spirits, trudging towards us. The expressions of confusion and then thanks when they realize what we're doing. Practicing my spanish, asking if they want water and if they have blisters (I heard a story of a nurse who was volunteering there who didn't know spanish, she was just taught the 2 phrases "Quieres Agua? Tienes Ampollas?" (do you want water? Do you have blisters?) - But she mixed them up at one point and ended up asking if people wanted blisters and if they had water. heh) I'll post photos later on my flickr pages....

There's another similar project in Aqua Prieta, the border town across from Douglas, Arizona. NMD volunteers and local Mexican and US groups do the same thing with migrants being returned there. I want to visit there too sometime soon.

Lots of other stuff, so much other stuff, happening, here, to me and people I care about, but I'm sort of tired of blogging. Especially tired of blogging about stuff that's too personal and stressing about if it's okay to do that and what to post, etc. And I'm sort of tired and bored with blogging about the impersonal stuff. So maybe I should just stop. Or maybe I'll just blog just experiences like this one that are MY experiences, but that aren't too much about me or my friends. seems like a good compromise. yeah.

Gee Whiz, Been 6 Days since Last Entry

Sun in CloudI'm posting this from a spare cube in an office on the 26th floor of a big big building in Universal City, Los Angeles, California. Like magic I find myself here though I woke up 10 hours ago in Tucson. I'm here for the launch party of the website I've been helping to build for the last 4 months.

It is 80 and breezy here in LA and sunny and beautiful.

I've been busy:

  • Still looking for a place to live.
  • Just did my taxes yesterday (filed an extension in April). I managed to almost live under the taxable limit last year! This year will be very different.
  • Went camping again last weekend, with Jessica. It was awesome. We went back to Feral Visions just for a day. Lots of Tucson folk we thought would be there were not.
  • Been spending a lot of time with her. Things are really good.
  • both of us have been travelling a lot. We're flying to Portland the weekend after this, for a wedding of 2 friends of mine, and just so I can show her Portland.

    Anyway. Will try to post about the party or whatever else is interesting, soon. chao...

  • Review of 'On The Edge'

    An actual review of my film that doesn't just cut and paste my copy, in the Canadian music ezine "Exclaim." They obviously actually watched the film. Cool.

    Back and Busy

    steev stretching at 10,000 feetWow I've been too busy to blog for the last few days, since getting back from Feral Visions, but I am back and feeling great. I had a great time up on Mount Graham at 10,000 feet for 3 days. It was so beautiful and wonderful. Except that the Forest Service goons harrassed us pretty hard.

    The time out there inspired me for some reason to fast on Tuesday and part of yesterday. I feel pretty great now. Sometime soon I want to do a fast for the real recommended 3 days. Really detox myself.

    Working a lot on work-work this week. The site I've been coding for is launching Friday. It's actually already soft-launched, but no public announcements have gone out. Next week I'm flying out to LA for the launch dinner party, Just for a night. I've never done that, that I can remember, just jet-setting out to somewhere for so little time, but they're paying for it, so, fine.

    Gotta remember to take all my gels and liquids out of my bag before I go, I guess. damn.

    Went bowling last night. It was my first time in awhile. The friends I went with call it "Guys Night Out." Which meant, I found out, that whenever anyone wasn't bowling a frame they were talking about relationships. It was fun and kinda good but kinda odd too, cuz it was a very male way of talking about relationships. I haven't decided if I want to repeat the experience.

    By the way I noticed on the activity log that someone was searching for the word "girlfriend" on this blog the other day. Someone in Tucson. Kinda interesting. Not that I just sit and check my logs all day. no really.

    Jessica gets back from New York tommorrow, which makes me happy. She was there doing some indymedia stuff. I won't go into the details. I think I need to watch more what details of others' lives I write about here, even if I'm all about being totally open with mine.

    Is it possible to respect someone too much? I don't really think so.

    Whether To Go Feral

    I've been on the fence about going to the Feral Visions Gathering, an annual primitivist get-together put on by Green Anarchy magazine, with a week of workshops and skillshares that is this year up on top of Mt. Graham, a sky island (which is basically an alpine ecosystem surrounded by a sea of desert). This is a 3-hour drive from Tucson. It's going to be a lot of gas money, and it's going to be crazy cold up there at night, and it might be really wet too. But it might be super awesome. John Zerzan and Chellis Glenndinning and other luminaries of the neo-primitive will be there. Not that I really call myself a green anarchist. But I've been interested in learning some stuff, some survival skills and whatnot.

    So, anyway, yeah. I dunno. If I go I'll leave tommorrow (saturday) and be gone till wednesday morning, so that will be why you won't see emails or blogging from me in that time.

    A Videographer's Disaster

    Yesterday, my first day back to Tucson, I went over to Jessica's old house where my most valuable posessions were stored. They were there and not in my storage space because they're stuff that is sensitive to heat; DVDs, CDs, and videotapes, and electronics, like cameras and hard drives.drying out my media

    Well, it turns out that during my month away, the toilet backed up in the bathroom adjacent to the room whose closet held my stuff, and water flowed out of the bathroom and across the floor of the bedroom. Jessica and her housemate thought
    it did not reach into the closet, but when I arrived and started loading stuff into the truck to take somewhere else (because they're moving out), I realized they were wrong. Who would have thought I would be a victim of a flood, in Tucson?

    To my horror, one end of the closet had been a little lower in elevation, encouraging the water to flow in and slightly soak the bottoms of 2 boxes. This flood was not deep. Apparently just a big shallow slick of water. But the cardboard of the boxes wicked the moisture up, which then in the heat turned the interior of the boxes into a miniature sauna. Every single piece of paper or paper product (like j-cards of miniDV tapes, other boxes, paper sleeves of CDs, etc) became slightly moist. One box was full of copies of my film, DVDs wrapped individually in shrinkwrap, so I'm not worried about those. But the other was full of about 3 years worth of raw footage from all sorts of finshed or unfinished video projects. I was terrified when I opened up that box.

    I still have not had the heart to actually test any of the discs or tapes. Again, nothing was soaked. Just sort of bathed in a steam bath. Condensation was on lots of tape covers, but it was impossible to tell from visual inspection whether the tapes or discs were actually damaged. I opened up all the tape cases and laid them out to dry with a fan blowing on them.

    Hopefully I have not lost anything, or anything important. There's easily 60 hours of stuff there!

    Boundary Enforcement and National Security

    Dissident Voice printed a speech given in Tucson by Joe Nevins, an academic from Vassar who wrote a book about Operation Gatekeeper and spent a couple months in Tucson this summer doing press stuff for No More Deaths. I have not finished reading it ( I would have been present if I'd been in town), but it looks good, and here's a really interesting excerpt:

    That migrants are constructed as geographically -- in addition to socio-politically -- outside helps explain why fears about terrorists and criminals from abroad translate into a focus on territorial boundaries to a much greater extent than fears about purveyors of violence from within the United States. Consider, for example, the case of Timothy McVeigh, who, on April 19, 1995, bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 167 people and injuring hundreds more. McVeigh was not from Oklahoma City, nor even from the state of Oklahoma. Indeed, he crossed state boundaries to commit his crime. Had such movement been restricted, it might have been more difficult for McVeigh to do what he did. Nonetheless, his horrific act did not result in any attempt to restrict movement across state boundaries within the United States. The reason why is clear: he was a U.S. citizen (and a native-born one) with the right to unimpeded travel across national territory. He was not an outsider. He was a white male and a military veteran. He was -- in terms of the dominant perception of what an American looks like -- one of "us." Thus, his crime did not involve a perceived geographical transgression even though movement across space was a key element of his act. Given this perception, territorial security -- at least one conceived in any way similar to that applied along the U.S.-Mexico boundary -- is not the response. In the case of threats -- real or imagined -- emanating from south of the border, however, they are perceived as being primarily territorial in nature and thus necessitate a response involving a build-up of physical boundaries.

    The Femicide Continues

    Via Amigos de Las Mujeres de Juarez:

    Sadly, another woman