(Didn't Know I Was) UnAmerican

Yesterday I was pointed to this video and song called (didn't know I was) unamerican. It's not the sort of music I generally like - it's sort of folksy, smarmy stuff - but I was suprisingly moved while watching the video. And the "Waking Life"-style animation in some parts was pretty cool.

Volcano Advisory!!

Excitement in Cascadia - Mount St. Helens is acting up again. According to USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO), little earthquakes are happening on the mountain at a rate of about 4 a minute!

Cool. Maybe we'll be bathed in ash soon.

Travel Plans. Juarez and Beyond.

In a few weeks I will be on another travel adventure southward. I'm going to try to write about what my rough plans are and what the details and background is.

This time I will not be going quite so far, but I still, again, have this feeling of being about to drop off the edge of the world. Of course it's really just the edge of my little "world as usual," and of course that usuallness is one reason i go on these trips. Read more>>>

Fighting Mercury in Retrograde

Today and the last few days have been full of computers and other machines being difficult. I know nothing about and do not believe in astrology, but once I heard that when Mercury is in retrograde, communication and technology goes wrong. So I always think about that when machines start really fucking up more than usual - and the usual is a lot, actually.

So, yesterday I took my ibook into MacForce. The video cable was frayed, stupid design flaw on Apple's part. This MacForce place is one of those parasitical places that preys on people who are either ignorant, or have expense accounts, or both. I saw one poor guy who was bringing his G5 tower in to have a new harddrive added to it. Dude, you could do that yourself in 15 minutes, don't pay these slobs $90 for an hour of labor!!!

Anyway, they also preyed on me because taking apart an ibook's display is not on my list of desired activities. Luckily it WAS only the video cable, so they do the work and i'm only $190 poorer (that's a month's living expenses for 4 Bolivian peasants). So anyway I get it home and I have almost zero wireless reception. I'd already read about how the Airport antenna is in the display, so obviously the repairdude had fucked up the antenna during his operations. So I'm pretty mad, and then today I take it in and i have to keep coming back cuz they take longer to correct their error than then predict, and it just fucks with my whole day, so finally when they're done I stand up for myself, which I don't normally do, and I say, hey, I think you should compensate me for this, and so I get to talk to a manager and he almost laughs cuz he's apparently so shocked that someone would ask this but i stick to my guns, is say, well, it's your mistake, I'm a consultant, I get paid for my time and i've lost lots of time today because of your mistake. Eventually he reluctantly agrees to knock $25 off the original repair charge.

Might not seem like a big deal but like I said, I don't usually stand up for myself like that. Normally i'd rationalize to myself how it's not really their fault and shit happens and blah blah and then just meekly shuffle off. but not today.

Meanwhile, "indian summer" has kicked in here, it was BEAUTIFUL today and that's great if only i wasn't so damn busy and i could enjoy the sun and the warmth. I'm too busy getting stuff done so that I can go to Mexico and enjoy sun, warmth, and the fallout of globalization. More on that soon...

"Pentagon Strike" Video

I'm not really into following all the 911 conspiracy stuff, because I think that ultimately we will never, ever know the truth. It will be just like the JFK assasination, with people 40, 50 years later still writing books and making movies explaining what they think "really" happened. But it's like arguing about the bible, there will be no way to ever know for sure.

However, my housemate just pointed me to
a great video called "Pentagon Strike" that does a really good job of asking some good questions about what really happened at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Also notable is the style of the video - very hip, fast-paced, attention-grabbing, great graphics and animations. Kind of like GNN's style, which has always been a big inspiration to me. This kind of documentary work is really important in getting people informed who would otherwise not sit through documentaries. Draw in the MTV couch potatoes with Marilyn Manson music and lots of footage of fire and wreckage, but then hammer them with some really shocking quotes and analysis. yes.

Weekend of Rainy Street Fairs

Winter seems to be starting early here in Portland, screwing up all sorts of hoped-for "last nice days of the year," at least in my humble opinion. Read more>>>

Weird Fall Weather

Beautiful sunny rainy day. Weather forecast says 10 days, at least, of rain, but today we are rewarded with strange 5-minute showers while the sun shines. Typical Portland Spring or Fall weather.

I'm sitting at Tiny's Cafe on the porch. It's one of my favorite wireless access points cuz there's a porch with tables, and it's not RIGHT on the street, though there's still busy Hawthorne Street nearby. Portland needs more outdoor places to eat and drink that are not on fucking heavy traffic streets. But I guess that's not a big priority. If people really liked being outside a lot they wouldn't live here.

Anyway it started raining so i moved inside with my laptop, and then it stopped after 5 minutes so now i'm back out. yay.

The Yes Men on Tour

The Yes Men are touring the country, mostly visiting swing states in their special "Yes, Bush Can!" bus. They're in Oregon right now!

Personal Griping

I'm just gonna whine about various stupid personal things right now. Don't mind me.

( I think ultimately this mood i'm in, which has been around for awhile, is due to the fact that I know I have to leave this town that i love, and I have to figure out where I'm going and how, very very soon.)

First, my ibook's display is dying, or rather some connection between it and the rest of the computer seems flaky. As I move it back and forth the display flickers on and off. It's out of warranty so i'll probably have to spend mucho plata to get it fixed. Which I don't really have.

Someone's been sawing something with a loud power saw in my neighborhood for the last 20 hours or so and it's really fucking annoying. Why does there always have to be a fucking powertool going all the time?

It's a beautiful day but I have a buttload of stuff I need to do, stuff that involves sitting in a dark cement basement staring at a computer... My life is this constant struggle between Production and Relaxation. I just want to live a stress-free, care-free, relaxed life, I want to drift like a taoist and enjoy every shred of nice weather that i posisbly can before there is no more or before I die, but I also have all these ambitions, these videos I want to make and shit it's just maddening.

I keep thinking of Derrick Jensen's "A Language Older than Words" in which he talks about how our culture values production over anything else, over people and community, especially. When I distilled his thesis down as far as it would go I came up with:

Production = Murder

But escaping that aspect of our culture is about as hard as escaping commerce. I mean, we are soaking in it. And if you have goals, even the goal of tearing down the master's house with the master's tools, well, shit, you need to produce. You're not going to dismantle the system by lying on the beach. Unless we can get everyone in the whole world to lie on the beach instead of going to work. But that involves production right there, getting that message out there.

In other news, first thing in the morning today one of my housemates put on a Shellac album, the one that starts with "Prayer to God," which is a song I dearly love, one of my favorite songs ever, for it's sheer ferocity and the lesson it conveys about religion and hate and love. But it's one of the last songs I would pick to listen to first thing on a beautiful cloudless saturday morning full of possibility. I just don't understand people sometimes. Well, most of the time. I think maybe my use of music as precise emotion-matching ambience, something to positively support your mindset at any given moment, is something most people don't think about very deeply. It's just "good music" and it doesn't matter what mood you're in or how it might change that mood.

It made me want to do something drastic like sell every one of my CDs.

ok, enough griping. thanx.

Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk

I was just pointed to the excellent Campaign Desk, analyzing campaign coverage, and this entry in particular, a summary and praise of a very good election prediction article with facts and good stats to back it up. A good conclusion reads:

Unlike so many political writers, Cook doesn't try to force-feed a prediction upon his readers. Rather, he takes them by the hand and guides them, fact by incontrovertible fact, through the probabilities at work in any election, and the known facts at work in this election -- and at the end of the trail, he leaves them to make their own way home, informed by real information, not by bluster or one-sided passion or crystal ball readings.

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