Archive - 2005

Misc Lately

I don't have the energy lately to post an entry for every little thing I want to mention here. I'm just going to write a little list of unrelated recent things:

  • I heard/watched a great speech available on Freespeech TV by Tim Wise about white privilege. He's a really great speaker in addition to having some very important things to say. Recommended. I thank Onto for linking to it in his great blog post about the racial aspects of the NYC transit strike.
  • I've been spending a lot of time working on the indymedia computer lab and the sound system at the Dry River space. We've received a couple loads of computers and peripherals that were mostly crap, so, sort of like a mini-freegeek, I've been going through and evaluating what works and is useful and what does not and is not. Literally 1 machine out of 6 was useable to us out of the last lot. It's incredible to me how people will "donate" stuff they know is total junk. For instance we actually received a 486 with the old pre-ps2 keyboard jack, and no hard drive. wow, thanx a lot. reminds me of the super8 film camera sent down to the Chiapas Media Project in "solidarity." c'mon, people - charitable media organization does not mean "dumpster." Although I guess it is better than just throwing it in the dumpster, since we're going to dispose of the crap properly.. We plan to take it to a sort of Freegeek-like place called Desert Waste Not Warehouse.
  • Anyway, I've been installing Blag linux on the machines that are useful to us and I'm pretty impressed with it so far. The installer and configuration tools are really slick. I especially like the "automagick install" feature where you can just hit a key and it does a standard install without asking any questions. I'd prefer that it were based on debian rather than fedora, but it looks like it will be just as easy to keep updated. And it's nice to use an OS created by an anarchist collective.
  • I'm loving watching this stupid NSA cookie thing unfold. Let's see how far the hysteria grows. I so hate it when the press perpetuates ignorance and fear about how everyday technology works, and even politicians believe the scare stories. When will someone in the corporate media make it clear that everyone from Barnes and Noble to your niece's blog to your bank uses cookies on their websites, and that it's a basic enabling technology for the web? And that just handing out cookies doesn't fricking mean that your computer is being scanned for information. It doesn't even mean that they can tell what other websites someone has been to. No. Cookie technology is really pretty well-designed for privacy. If I have a site, I can use them to track when you've previously been to my own site, and to store information that you GAVE to me willingly before. But that's about it. I never go to the NSA website or the White house site, and if I did, why should I care if they know I've been there before? Now if the NSA was planting viruses on my computer, then I'd be afraid.
  • We're having a Zapatista anniversary party/fundraiser at Dry River on New Years day. I've been trying to figure out what the official channel is for getting money to the Zapatistas, and it's proving difficult to find information about that on the web. Very weird. Although I have discovered that the EZLN now has a really pretty website. anybody know how to donate to them these days?
  • My grandmother, suffering from steadily progressing Alzheimer's for the last few years, finally left this world last night. So I'll probably be flying to Kalamazoo, Michigan, of all places, next week.

that's it for now. have a good new year's eve.

The Death of Reggaeton

Today on the NPR show Fresh Air there was an extensive segment about reggaeton - its 20-year history and how this year was its big break. All year long, especially when I was in Guatemala and Mexico, I've been hearing it and noticing what a big trend it was, and now I realize that everyone else has been, too. The penultimate nail in the coffin of any underground cultural development has to be mention on Fresh Air. Any day now there'll be a cover story in Time magazine.

It's funny also because the reviewer on Fresh Air sounds like just about the squarest, nerdiest, whitest, gringo-est guy to ever turn on a stereo. He's like Professor Frink from the Simpsons explaining the virtues of hip hop or something. Listen to it and you'll see what I mean.

bday drawing

my friend petr made this drawing
on a card for my birthday. isn't that great? I wish i understood it. hah.

File a Motion for Anarchy.

I have found my new favorite comic strip ever. What could be better than mention of anarchy and mojitos in the same frame?
(thanx, brian)

What To Do?

Today is my birthday and I'm having a hard time deciding what to do with my day. If I had a car I think I would drive out into the country and take a hike. Maybe I'll take a long bike ride. But, I also might want to go to a movie. Or go to the Dry River space and mess with the sound system. I'm not really feeling that obligated to do something real special, since I had a big party the other night already. I dunno.

I found what I want for my birthday, though. or maybe christmas. or maybe the next 4 christmasses. heh.

Yesterday me and Jeff worked on the new indymedia computer lab at the space. We got a lot done. then Jessica and Walt showed up and we had an indymedia meeting. Walt told us the bad news about Bill. I just met Katie, his partner, on Monday. She was of course already suffering from Bill's arrest and the allegations against him. It's really really sad.

With a Small Letter 'a'

I just read a really great article about anarchism, mostly about the present-day form of "small-letter a" anarchism that is driving the global "movement of movements," and comparing it to historical Anarchism and to Marxism.

Reminds me that I still want to obtain and read Change the World Without Taking Power by John Holloway.

Google Transit

Another new project in development at Google has come to my attention, Google Transit (thanx, Seth). The idea is to tell you how to get from one place to another using public transit instead of driving. However, right now they only have Portland in the system, probably because Portland has the super cool Trimet website already, where you can put in points A and B, when you want to leave, and it will tell you what buses to take. Trimet is the regional transit authority in Portland and they've had that web app for at least a couple years. Is Portland just the coolest freaking city ever? except for the godamn fucking rain!!!! Oh cruel fate. Is it maybe because of the rain? Like people thought, this city is going to really suck unless we make it really great in spite of the rain.

Actually someone told me that back in the 70s Tucson and Portland weren't so different. Tucson was starting along the same path that Portland was, with an urban growth boundry and other enlightened urban planning, but the developers got the upper hand (like they keep trying and failing to do in Portland), and Tucson became the sprawl-o-rama that it is now. I'd like to learn more about that. And I'll write more about it soon....

Anyway, it's great that Google people are trying to subtly encourage use of public transit. yay! down with cars!

Iraq Facts

I just heard on NPR that the Shia represent only 10 to 15% of the population of Iraq, a clear minority, though they had been ruling Iraq for a long long time before the U.S. invasion. But the reporter mentioned that most Shiites that you talk to there believe they're not a minority and don't act like they're a minority.

Kind of like Americans.

More About Bolivia's 'Election Stunner'

I just have to post a link to Jim Schultz's morning-after take on the Bolivia election, and quote this great little anecdote: October when I spent five days in a small Quechua Indian village three hours off into the mountains. On a sunny afternoon I sat with the village leader, Lucio, a man I have known for almost a decade. I asked him if the coming elections were big on people

Morales Wins! Already!

This is incredible. Everyone predicted that the Bolivian election would end with no one possessing a majority of the vote, sending Evo Morales and his U.S.-educated rival Quiroga to a vote in Congress, as mandated by their constitution. However, it appears that Morales has gone ahead and won 51% already. Amazing!

Of course as some experts have noted repeatedly, being president of Bolivia is pretty impossibly difficult. There were even theories that Evo, if he got into the congressional runoff, which always results in party coaltion-building, would have arranged to NOT be president in exchange for more power for his party, so that he wouldn't crash and burn as president.

Now he has to prove himself. Let's see if he's any different than other great leftist hopes of recent times in South America, like Kirchner and Lula. I j ust read that both Argentina and Brazil have finally buckled under and agreed to pay all their IMF debt in full.

Of course one of the first things in the corporate press about Evo's victory will be how unstable and unattractive to investors this will make Bolivia:

Morales's victory may ``add new risk to investments in many emerging markets that lack political consensus,''