Archive - 2004

Bolivia Project Update, and remembrances

I just sent a message out to my mailling list of people who signed up for updates about the Computers of Bolivia project. It's really close to finally happening. I'm excited, and a little stressed out about it, because there will be a lot of work in the next month making it really happen. But hopefully it will all work out and by April the machines will be at their destinations!

Meanwhile, as explained in an excellent recent article by my friend in La Paz, Luis G

more on 43 Things

I was invited to try out the newest 43 things site. It's about the same as the old one, post your goals in life, but you can also write stuff about them and denote certain goals that you've already done, and it's not anonymous. seems to have potential, on one hand, but on the other I think it's just another way to waste time on the internet. however, it's cool to see people I know on there, like rabble and gaba.

scumbag salesmen

I just have to go on record to warn people, a sort of consumer report, I guess, about an online camera store called A&M Photo World. I ordered a digital camera from them yesterday and got totally jerked around. I've cancelled my order.

I don't want to waste too much time on this, I just want to briefly describe the problem. no, wait, fuck it. I have better things to do. let's just say they are typical sales weasels and leave it at that.


In these dark days of winter it is indeed good to have music. I've always liked this drawing. Not sure where it's originally from. I just now scanned it from a flyer for a local record shop that i've been carrying around for a couple years.

I'm scanning stuff like that today. scraps of paper that I've been saving for too long.

Everything is very fine in Tokelau is a great parody Indymedia site, set up to prevent abuse of the domain. tk is the TLD of Tokelau, evidently some little island nation in the south pacific. If only things were really so tranquil! heh...

morning after

Yesterday was my birthday and I had a little party at my house. It was a collage-party as well as a birthday party. I brought out gluesticks and scissors and my box of source material (magazines, newspapers, old books, etc) and we went at it. Now I have a hangover and the livingroom is a quite amazing mess of paper scraps and chai mugs and wine glasses. And I don't feel like cleaning it up at all. Luckily i still have something like 12 days till my housemates return. yay!

My First Galluping

I just participated in a Gallup survey for the first time. Very interesting. I received a phone call from Gallup and was asked a bunch of questions about my bank and the service I received upon my last visit to one of their branches. I now understand a little bit more about how ridiculous surveys are. All the questions required me to answer with a number between 1 and 5, and they were all very fake, vague kinds of questions, like "Did the teller make you feel welcome?" or "Did the teller genuinely thank you?" What the fuck? Initially when I got the call I was sort of glad because I thought I would be able to tell them something that I had noticed recently about that very branch: previous to a couple months ago, the tellers all knew me by name and greeted me and didn't ask for my ID. It was like I was in a small town bank, real friendly. But lately, all the tellers have been replaced and they don't know me, and ask for ID and social security number and all that jazz like I'm just some number. I'm used to that, and sure, new tellers are going to take awhile to get to know people. But did they have to replace every single employee in that branch? What the hell happened, did they all embezzle a bunch of cash and run off to Tahiti? I hope so.

But anyway, none of these Gallup poll questions enabled me to convey any of that. It was just "4.... uh, 3.... yeah, also 3... 4... umm... 4..." Lame. And that's I'm sure the kinds of surveys that we hear the results of all the time, the ones that say 78% of Americans think George Bush is "a great guy" or something. Sigh.

Three (or 8?) Cheers For Idleness

Back in August my friend Seth told me about a great article in the Guardian (which is now a broken link at their site, dammit)
I finally got around (hah!) to reading it and eventually to reading 2
more well-written pieces on the same subject more recently. one was in the december issue of Harper's.

It mentions an essay by Bertrand Russell, famous philosopher and mathematician and all-around cool british thinker. I have located said essay and it is really rad, not just for promoting leisure but indicting our entire "slave state." I had no idea before this that Russell was so radical.

2 great pull quotes:

"I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached."


"One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them
to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the
public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in
payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who
lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the
bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the
man's economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the
State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better
if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling."

So there ya go. for the good of the world, stop paying your
taxes, and start drinking and gambling more.

While searching for that Guardian article I found a review there about 5 books on the subject. One of them is probably by the author who wrote the article I was looking for, but I can't tell which. Anyway, it's a good review, stitching together and comparing the theses of the 5 writers and extending the topic to cover geopolitical trends and tendencies.

The topic is very resonant to me, personally, because all of my adult life I've wrestled with the opposed goals of productivity and relaxation. Getting things accomplished versus being a calm, content, non-spastic person. I've referred to it often as my personal mixture of existentialism and taoism. It's an ongoing struggle, balancing Will with Being. At least for me. It seems that most people in the world come down much more on one side or the other. Out of anyone that I know or know of, I feel like I'm most directly in the middle of these 2 poles.

Of course one very true statement is something the writer of this Guardian review says: "The point about being idle is not to work at it, surely..." But this bloke is credited at the end with being "chief executive of the Work Foundation." Wow, is that supposed to be some sort of joke?


Portland Indymedia gets mentioned on this page about SNIU, "Substantial Non-Infringing Uses" of Peer-to-Peer technology:

Portland Indymedia, using BitTorrent, Azureus, Shareaza, and others, distributes video. (Thanks to Alan Cox).

Pretty impressive considering that Alan Cox is second only to Linus in the Linux developers community. Wow. How'd he find out about Portland IMC? I think he lives in England. I wonder what he thinks of the content.

Anyway, hurray. Not that I had anything to do with it, other than provide a few of the videos. The cheers really go out to Jesse, the tech guy here who made it happen.

Working Vacation at Home

My housemates just left on a trip to Costa Rica, so I have the house to myself for 2 weeks. I'm pretty happy about that. Not that they annoy me that much, but it is nice to be totally undistracted by other humans shuffling around living their loud lives in the same space. I plan on getting a lot of things accomplished, including a lot of work done on my Juaurez documentary. In fact as soon as I post this I'm going to start transcribing a presentation by Ramona Morales, the mother of one of the murdered women in Juarez, Silvia Elena Rivera Morales.