Archive - 2006 - Blog entry

Cases, Cranes, Cortometrajes

A lot of the first half of this week I spent in the county and federal courthouses, for work. I'm going to be subsituting for a friend who writes for Courthouse News Service. They have correspondents all over the country writing up little summaries of every case that might be interesting to subscribers. What's supposed to be "interesting" is defined basically as follows: if it involves lots of money, someone famous, and/or a corporation, cover it. hmm. Well, that will only be for about 10 days, so, whatever.

Yesterday I spent all day working on a video about the sandhill crane hunt and the Earth First! campaign to stop it here in southern arizona. I have a rough cut done, and the plan was that that would get taken to Wings Over Wilcox this weekend. Wings Over Wilcox is a big annual event for birdwatchers that takes place in the nearby town of Wilcox. Lots of birders come from all over to see sandhill cranes here, and many don't know they're being hunted for sport, so the Chuk'shon EF! plan is to go to the event and try to educate people about this. The only thing is, after doing that last year the organizers have barred "political" groups from the event. I guess it's supposed to be for guides and equipment makers to sell tours and binoculars to birders, not to actually inform anyone about the truth.

Last night Walt, Jeff, Jessica and I had an Indymedia meeting and we talked about what we're going to do at Local To Global, an annual gathering of activists in Tempe with workshops and tabling and speakers and stuff. We're going to do a few indymedia workshops. I want to do one about videoactivism or video advocacy.

To round out a busy week, today I'm going to help Christian author a DVD of a film about Venezuelan oil called "Nuestra Petroleo y Otras Cuentas." It's a film made by a team of Italians and Germans this year, and he and Sonya have translated and subtitled it in English. They want to take the DVD to Caracas for the World Social Forum. Then tonight I will be heading out to the Dry River Collective retreat, which will be all weekend at the home of one of our members who lives out on the western outskirts of town. Should be fun and productive for the group, I think. We're going to have concensus and facilitation training and talk about the goals and vision for the collective, and stuff like that.

Anarchist Love Song

An addendum to my post from a couple days ago: One of the songs sung 'round the campfire was a really amusing anarchist love song. I recorded a bit of it and now you can listen to it.

Viral Tracking

This is scary and annoying. This company has a service called The Viral Chart where marketing and advertising videos distributed on the internet for "viral marketing" purposes have a little "sprite" embedded in them that "phones home" over the network, even if you're just watching the file locally on your computer, and tells them whenever you play the file. (So they can track how well the campaign is working, see?)

Ok, so, from now on whenever you watch something on your computer, ipod, whatever, discconnect it from the internet, or else open up the file with quicktime pro or whatever and strip out the little virus.

Or just learn to stop worrying and love the bomb, I guess.

(thanx josé)

By The Moon

I'm a day behind, but I still consider what I'm talking about to be last night. Sunday night. Anyway, I went with some others out to the desert, to the foothills of the Rincon Mountains east of town, for a little memorial vigil for Bill, who took his own life a couple weeks ago in a Flagstaff jail after being arrested by federal agents in Prescott, allegedly for arson in Washington State, about 8 years ago. Anyway, it was a nice time, sitting under the stars while people shared stories of Bill, and sung songs.
When we all decided it was time to go, we walked back to the road where we'd parked, about a mile through the hilly desert, over rocks and through washes. I thought it would be dangerous in the dark, but it was really plenty light out with the half-moon blazing down at us, and it was like I was gliding through an alien dream world. Especially because Christian was playing guitar the entire way a few feet back down the trail behind me. night hike with soundtrack. It was really a new and marvelous experience, even though the original occasion for it was so sad.


(designed by Hern

Weird Police Story

So after I get back from Michigan to Tucson I have to basically run right over to Dry River and set up for a film screening. After the screening a musician who goes by the name Totally Michael plays, and he's totally hilarious. Sort of like a disco/funk/hipster PeeWee Herman.

Anyway, after that I head home, enjoying biking through the warm night air, glad I'm back in Tucson. Up by 5th Ave and 4th Street I see a cop car go by shining its spotlight all over. Even though I don't really know what I'm doing (I keep meaning to learn more about copwatching) I decide to stop and see what they're up to. They stop at a house and shine the light on it for a long time, then a cop gets out and knocks. No answer. He goes back to car. I start biking on, turn onto University Street like I normally would. I notice a "ghetto bird" - as I've heard it called here, a cop helicopter commonly used to harass parties and surveil people in the lower income and student areas of town - flying by. Suddenly 2 cop cars are behind me flashing their lights, so I pull over. Cop gets out, says they're looking for somebody that "looks sort of like" me, but he obviously doesn't really think I'm who they want. he asks for my name and birthdate and scribbles it on a piece of paper. He says in sort of weary tone, "somebody was at some house, I guess ----ing his girlfriend." The word I thought he said was "plugging", but then I wasn't sure - maybe it was "mugging" or "bugging"? Whatever it was, he was cynical and flippant about it. He's just going through the motions. It's like they can't just admit that they pulled over someone not remotely who they're looking for, so they have to pretend I might be useful to whatever they're doing. He says, okay, that's all he needs have a good night. whatever.

New "Socialism" in Latin America, and Reacting to Childhood "Traumas"

I have about 12 more hours in cold, wet, grey, Michigan and then I head back to Tucson. While you wait eagerly for more news from Project Steev, listen to

this radio show
about Bolivia, Evo Morales, and the new leftist wave in Latin America, and also read the interesting comments thread for the show. Here's what one thoughtful listener/reader said:

Angela Merkel grew up under socialism in East Germany, but she embraces the more capitalist ways of West Germany (especially as she is pushing for more dramatic labor policy changes than the Social Democrats are to help improve her country's economy). On the other hand, Gerhard Schroeder grew up in poverty in capitalist West Germany, and he has chosen to embrace socialism. Each wants what they did not have growing up. Why is this? Unfortunately, I would argue that Latin Americans have not had the opportunity to fully experience capitalism like Schroeder did. This does not give them the proper perspective to truly understand capitalism. Thus, their push for socialism is done half-blind, at least.

The position of this writer of the above is unclear, to me, at least, but it does bring up something I think about a lot, and that is that people are so, SO often really a product of their upbringing and childhood background, and people very often react to what they experienced as children, for the rest of their lives. You see it all the time, not just in someone's politics, of course.