A good friend sent me to this Personality test based on Jung - Myers-Briggs typology. She has taken it before, talked about it a lot before and is really into the whole idea of dividing people into various personality categories.
I always find them lacking, for the same reason I find astrology lacking. They are just too general. People are more complicated than these tests imply, and they vary over time and with situation.
Any survey about myself that consists of only yes/no questions is not going to be something I trust very much. A lot of the questions I really felt up in the air about and pretty much just flipped a mental coin to decide whether to check 'yes' or 'no'.
I won't tell you what it rated me as, but I was pretty suprised. It didn't seem to fit very well. But then I have to admit that when i read the detailed descriptions of the type I was, it sort of made sense. Sort of. However, I can often also say this about my horoscope.
Here's something entertaining: I supposedly am of the same type as Thomas Jefferson, JFK, Hannibal Lecter, Professor Moriarity, Dan Akroyd, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. Wow.
But, I pretty quickly became stumped in the process of installing the thing, which is in the process of the newest version being in beta. Since I wasn't already in "production" I decided to risk it and try the beta. I was starting to regret that but I snooped around and discovered a clue, yet didn't know why it was happening. So I posted to the forum for the ORS sourceforge project and the main developer went back and forth with me for a bit and had a fix. in less than 24 hours!
Someone else on the forum complimented me for finding the bug in the beta.
For all my years of experience using open source software and exhorting the ideology of it, this is the first time something like that has happened, and it made me feel happy to be contributing, if not in code than in testing. I thought back to Eric Raymond's idea in "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" that open source is better because there are many eyes looking at the code. So, I'm happy to be one of those pairs of eyes today.
Well, the March for Police Accountability went very well. There was no violence on either side, only 1 arrest and one ticket (both for being in the street at the wrong time, basically, which is fucked up, but at least there was no riot as a result of either one). Furthermore, the event turned into what they would call an escrache in Argentina - a loud, very visible demonstration located at the house of a public official who has power over a certain issue. I say this because the final destination of the march turned out to be the Mayor's house, in the yuppie NW neighborhood near 21st avenue. I think that tactic should be put to better and more frequent use in this country. Why protest just for the media and random passerby? Take it straight to where it matters. Best of all, apparently Mayor Katz was actually home, and she called 911 to try to get the people off her sidewalk...
My friend Brian shot
These excellent photos of the event.
Today is a march downtown to protest the regular killing by Portland police of people of color. It was organized by ARISSA, a group led by Craig Rosebraugh that advocates for "a revolutionary movement in the United States of America."
Craig is a local activist almost-celebrity known for his study of the history of political violence, and his past role as spokesperson for the ELF. There's been a lot of discussion on the Portland IMC site about this march. People that aren't involved with the organizing, myself included, don't quite know what to expect. There has been no indication publicly of whether it will be a peaceful event, but many are nervous and concerned that it will be very un-peaceful and very ugly.
One thing is for sure, there are lots of people in Portland very upset about a cop shooting an unarmed motorist a few weeks ago, the latest in a pretty much yearly series of incidents where police have killed poor, innocent, minority citizens and have not been properly punished.
So, it's pretty imperative that something like this be properly covered by indymedia. The video collective is going to be fully deployed, with at least 8 cameras. I'm going to go out there with mine and try to do lots of interviews, and not just shoot same-old riot porn. It would be great to have my laptop out there too, because Pioneer Square has a free wireless access point, so we could do updates from the square as they happen. But, that's too much to carry around and another thing to possiby be broken or arrested.
Well, hopefully I will not run into any problems like that...
I'm tentatively planning to be in New York for the Republican National Convention, or rather, for the protests of same. However, I've been procrastinating on buying plane tickets, mostly because of money, but also because it still seems far off, and I'm not sure what will happen there or how I can contribute. I mean, obviously I'm going to be shooting video, but I don't know what my plan is, what my angle is, as a videographer - as one of maybe hundreds of independant radical videographers that will be there. What can I do that will be different or unique, rather than just milling around in the crowd and shooting whatever everyone else shoots?
Anyway, hopefully I will get some brainwidth to really consider this and other plans for the RNC. I am encouraged by all these sites I just found out about:
I am given more food for thought about one of my favorite books of youth with a socialist look at The Lord of the Rings in Socialist Review by science fiction writer (and presumably socialist) China Melville. The review seems to be a couple of years old, since it also talks about the first installment in the Peter Jackson film trilogy (and Melville doesn't even mention that it is a trilogy, referring to the film simply as 'Lord of the Rings'). At any rate there are some interesting facts about Tolkien that are a bit surprising, and critiques of his writing that in some cases are very good points.
Here is a particularly good passage about the escapism of LOTR:
"Tolkien and his admirers (many of them leftists) gave his escapism an emancipatory gloss, claiming that jailers hate escapism. As the great anarchist fantasist Michael Moorcock has pointed out, this is precisely untrue. Jailers love escapism. What they hate is escape."
Ever since the films started coming out I've been telling myself I should read the books again. This is more reason, or maybe reason to NOT. I'm curious to know what my adult self will think of the book, and yet, it's an immense time investment. I read them 5 times before I was 20, but not once since.
And speaking of LOTR, I was directed to (thanx jason) a funny little flash movie about George W. Gollum. It's also a bit old, but still great. I was thinking about printing it to videotape and screening it at one of Portland Indymedia's video showings.
"Its ads may evoke rugged outdoorsmanship, but Levi hasn't promoted any particular life style to sell other products" - Naomi Klein, No Logo
Here's what the meme suggests you do:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
I just read a good paper called Fundamental Issues with Open Source Development. It's interesting but pretty familiar.
It's sad but every once in a while someone will write a paper like this that hits the nail on the head about why open source software isn't quite making it out there to normal people, and a lot of people, myself included, say, yeah, yeah, those are definitely problems. But, nothing really changes and then another paper saying the same thing comes out, 9 months later, or whatever. I guess hackers will be hackers. Or maybe hackers will be slackers. hah.
I just heard an amazing speech on the radio by
Zia Mian, a physicist at Princeton who studies nuclear proliferation and related topics. His talk was about The Project For A New American Century and U.S. imperialism. It was really really great. I just found a sort of abridged version of the talk.
He talks about the U.S. strategy for global hegemony, basically, and deconstructs the plans that the neoconservative intellectuals like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle wrote up years ago. It's scary stuff, from his descriptions of their long term geopolitical strategy, to details of plans to build new nuclear weapons and use them, to the misconceptions of the american people
One really interesting bit is when he is talking about the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance document written by Wolfowitz for Dick Cheney. It outlines what to do in each region of the world, almost. But:
One of the regions that's missing from their analysis is Latin America. It's as if it doesn't exist. One reason for its absence is that if there's one region that has already suffered the American empire, it is Central and South America. It's suffered so much that it doesn't even exist as a possibility of a threat, something the US planners need to worry about anymore.
This is pretty depressing but also in a way pretty inspiring, and I'll tell you why: in light of all the huge mistakes the neocons have been making in other parts of the world, it's a good chance they are completely wrong about Latin America. Furthermore, its a unique and inspiring time there. It makes me feel like we should be doing as much as we can help social movements there, to help to prove the neocons wrong. It's like they have a blind spot that needs to be exploited....
I'll join the numerous other blogs linking to this photomosaic of John Ashcroft, made from tiny photos of porn stars, courtesy of Hublog.
This is a fairly easy thing to do with software, now, but it's great to see the technique put to such great satiric purpose. A while back there was a really disgusting one of Bush made from pictures of assholes. That was conceptually great but hard to look at.
Now imagine if all the porn stars filed a class-action copyright infringement suit against the makers of the collage, and Ashcroft and the Justice Department had to prosecute it, and it got all the way to the Supreme Court.... (ah, to dream...)
Anyway, I wish there was a larger amount of clever appropriation for progressive, political ends. I'm sure it will be a growing area as we move closer to the election.
Has everybody seen FafBlog? I'm sure you all already read it every day and this is old news. boring, steev, you're thinking. Well, in case not, go look, it's hilariously great critical satire. It's sort of dadaesque humor and/but(?) there's some real insightful political barbs in there too.
Now that I'm back to a place where I can walk into a bookstore and actually be able to read the books there, it's all I can do to stop myself from buying a bunch. I'm a book junkie. Luckily, I can't afford to indulge in this vice right now, and I just keep reminding myself of the shelf of books that I've bought in the last couple of years and still haven't read. I just looked over there and yikes! - There's about 25 of them!
Anyway, I have a list of new ones I want to read.
There's one that I actually did break down and buy and read a couple weeks ago, at a reading and signing: The Fountain at the Center of the World, by Robert Newman. It was one of the best readings I've ever been to, the guy is so completely entertaining and knowledgeable. The book is an amazing novel, a piece of political fiction that takes place against a backdrop of globalization, privatisation, and the protests thereof. It's about 2 brothers born in Mexico, separated when very young - one grows up in England and becomes a PR flack for big corporations, while the other stays in Mexico and grows up to be an activist and sabateur.
The book is almost like the fictional accompaniment to We Are Everywhere, and having just read that and just come back from a long trip to South America, it was the perfect book for me.
Other books I've recently found out about and want to read:
--Craig Rosebraugh's "The Logic of Political Violence": someone at the video collective meeting yesterday was suprised I didn't know about it when I expressed pleasant shock at seeing it. Well, when did it come out? Oh, 3 or 4 months ago. Well, how long have I been travelling and out of touch with new books being published? 4 months!! Anyway, I've been interested in Craig's jihad against non-violence dogma for a while now so this is a very interesting publication to me.
-- "Change the World Without Taking Power", by John Holloway
-- "Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World ", by Eduardo Galeano
-- "The Open Veins of Latin America," by Eduardo Galeano
-- "Free Culture" by Lawrence Lessig
-- "The Anarchist in the Library" by Siva Vaidhyanathan
These are 2 books about intellectual property, mostly, that I just found out about thanx to a blog entry by chuck. I feel it is my duty to keep up on this issue, even though I confess to being less and less interested. I've been involved in the struggle against totalitarian IP for over a decade but it just seems like there are other issues that are a lot more urgent right now. Isn't it crazy that there's people who don't have land to live on or food to eat and we're here worrying about not being able to legally duplicate a DVD? ugh.
Maybe I should get rid of some of the books in my to-read pile. A lot of them I no longer am as interested in. Isn't that fucked up? My reading backlog is longer than the churn of my interests... argh....
I've decided to announce this blog to some friends today. Why not, that's what blogs are for, right? They're up there for others to see, right? I've always thought the whole website as personal exhibitionism idea is pretty interesting. I mean, it's not neccesarily exhibitionism. There's a fine line between communication and exhibitionism, isn't there?
I've been journalling since I was 17, but they've been pretty private affairs. Who are they written for? Mostly myself. Though I often have the fantasy that when I die, someone will go through all those journals (I suppose I've averaged about 300 letter-sized pages per year, maybe more. It's varied so much, it's hard to say), and learn about who I was, and perhaps publish them, and the world will learn all these private things about me.
But that's different than what blogs are. Blogs are a much more outwardly focused project. And yet, because of the difficulties of the "Attention Economy," some blogs might as well be scribbled in notebooks and kept under a mattress. For many blogs, actually, not many people will see them. It's a bit like doing late night college radio. Is anyone listening?
anyway, what am i up to these days?
--going over my video footage from south america
--trying to figure out how to ship computers to bolivia
--other indymedia-related stuff
--starting up a cooperative video editing studio
--slowly starting to look for paying work
--learning how to use MovableType, for the sake of turning Detritus into a community blog.
--i don't know what else. seems like more is going on but i can't think of it.
I know about Kunstler from a book that's been on my "to read" shelf for the last couple years, called "The Geography of Nowhere." It's all about how screwed up the American way of urban planning is. The book is supposedly very radical and full of gloom and doom.
I've just discovered his website (thanx ken) which has all sorts of interesting things, including various characteristically dark and forceful rants. Particularly interesting is his eyesore of the month page, and his Clusterfuck Nation Manifesto.
On the border of Brazil and Bolivia I met 2 cool guys from france who were travelling around the world on a project called hydrotour.
Here is the text, translated from the French very badly by Google, of the portion of their adventure that intersected with mine:
After a forwarding in the boat worthy of "the broken ear" and to have thwarted the traps of the road, we arrive at healthy Corumbá and except December 29 at the evening. The city is superb, which lets guess a past in charge of history. Corumbá was, indeed, at the XVIII century the first not-coastal port of the world. The stripped plaster same frontages of the houses leave, despite everything, to show through of rich person hot color. But the hour is not with contemplation, it is necessary to find a housing decent without too much pointing out itself with our superb car which smells the nine more. A rapid tower of horizon leads us to throw our reserved on an unspecified hotel near to Rio Paraguay. Once the last night it was necessary well to go to the obviousness which our hotel was not other than a vulgar hotel used by prostitutes. These things there, it is not known it unfortunately that after usage?Le next morning we make all the same the meeting of Brazilian and of an American. The goal of their peregrinations is to make reports vidéos on interesting people. With them we visit a favela of Corumba. The family met lives a housing more than simple, it is a hut of 15 m˛ makes of a part. Small advantage compared to their fellow-members of Săo Paolo, they have a garden in which they can make a kitchen garden. We decide after grinds reflexions to remain one night more in Corumbá in our hotel seedy character. Our friends Brazilian and American dégotté a family not like the others which accomodates us around a beer and of Assado (meat roasted with the barbecue) on their boat the evening of the midnight supper. He is old of Navy. His wife is white of Kenya. They have two children and furrow since always the rivers of Latin America. Does their boat have a single past since it was in its time, the boat of Eva Peron? Fires of artifices pčtent in all the directions. Here are 6 months exactly which we are on the roads of monde?Vive the new year!
I came acros this second one because a friend took offense at the word Neoliberalism, as if it was a reference to "liberal," which is how he defines himself. I tried to explain that "liberal" as in "not a conservative" is different than liberal in the classic, historical sense, the liberalism that is the foundation for our market democracy. But this essay describes it much better than i could.
Okay, so now it's tuesday.
To be like a real blogger, i will mention that i just found out about Nick Broomfields new second look at Aileen Wuornos. here's his site.
He did a documentary about her years go, but then was suboened to testify at her final appeal, and asked by Aileen to do her final interview. So after that he made another film. he's so fucking great. i wonder if michael moore was influenced by his work. because broomfield, i think, has been doing stuff longer than moore has.
Wow, the potential is pretty high, i think.
hmm... i wonder how you display categories. i've set up a couple, but the entries don't look any different. there's probably a special tag to put in the template. hmm.
oh, i see. i should just RTFM. hah. <$MTEntryCategory$>
Ok, here it is, the first moveable type blog entry here.
woohoo. sort of more easy and more hard than i thought it would be to install.
the docs could be a little better. in fact the installation docs are unlike anything i've ever seen. i'm not sure why. they seem aimed at below the level of geeks, but above the level of most non-geeks. strange.