A few minutes ago, John Kerry gave me a call.
Well, actually, it was just a robot that sounded like John Kerry. He told me to press '1' if I didn't want George Bush to be in office for another 4 years. So I pressed 1. Then he said to press '1' if I might want to help out with a donation, even if not today. I pressed 1. Then he said if I wanted to donate now, he could transfer me to an operator, or they could contact me later. I hung up. Phone mazes are always wooden, but the quality of the Kerry samples were so flat and unemotional that I had the feeling that talking to the guy in person would be about the same, especially with the other examples of his speaking that I've seen, heard, or read about. "Great. Okay, now please leave us your email address so we can send you spam about our campaign. Again, please leave your email address after the tone."
Maybe it's just me, but somehow the idea of the future leader of the world's most powerful country recording half-hearted telemarketing messages, as if he was Aretha Franklin advertising the Psychic Friends Stairmaster Salad Shooter, really seems surreal. Is this an example of transparency in government? Maybe I can get a videotape of the President cleaning his own bathroom at the White House? Or a guy dressed up as the President, coming over to fix my bicycle, and mow the lawn?
I just found out that Chumbawamba gave 50 grand to Indymedia a couple of years ago, money they received for licensing a song for a Pontiac commerical. Right on.
They are so damn cool. They've been one of my favorite bands, because of their music, of course, and their committed politics, for roughly 12 years now, long before 'Tubthumping' made them famous and loved or hated by many who didn't know any better or anything else. This just renews my love for them.
I guess they have a new album coming out soon, also. Yay.
This article from the Miami Herald entitled "Bolivia an example of a nation that needs lots of help to survive" has a few interesting bits of information I hadn't heard before about Bolivia's former president, Goni, and pre-october crisis events... but the most striking thing about the article is its implicit, base-level assumption that the U.S. is this world policeman, and that it has no responsibility for the underlying forces that cause "failed states" to fail, but all the responsiblitity for fixing them up. It's as if some mysterious force is just randomly messing up these countries and we are the just, altruistic representative of order and goodness that needs to swoop in like Superman and save them.
How about an alternative policy, Uncle Sam: don't fuck these countries over in the first place, and then maybe you won't have to "rescue" them when your exploitation goes sour...
Got into a big emotional exchange of harsh words today, in which I was accused of ignoring someone's emails and being ageist and sexist. I got defensive, whined about how busy I am, how deluged in email I am every day, but as the discussion continued specific emails got mentioned that I was almost certain I had never ever seen at all. Eventually I figured out they had been caught in my spam filter. About 10 in all emails from this person had been false positived in the last month or so. dammit. In my desparate attempts to curtail spam I think I have become too extreme in my spamassassin rules score settings. goddammit.
been reluctantly trying to learn more about CSS. not sure why. i guess i thought it would be useful for this site i'm setting up for Villa Ingenio, a neighborhood in Bolivia where some of the computers for Bolivia project computers are going to.
anyway i really should read this: Flowing and Positioning: Two Page Models
but have not had time yet.
The blogosphere has been actively chattering about 6-apart's new MT licensing. I hadn't really thought too much about it but I started to today and its a pain in the ass. Even after this announcement from 6-apart, with changes in their new liscensing, it is still not acceptable.
What really is frustrating to me is I'd like to switch but there doesnt look to be any other blog tool written in perl that has all the features I want. I hate PHP but all the best tools seem to be written in that. grr.
i enjoyed the party saturday. it was cool! lots of cool people. you have quite a variety of people you know. i was sort of thrown into a surreal
moment of shock, though, at one point when i was talking with one
guy, your friend from the sweatlodge whose name i forgot - the
guy who was tending the grill most of the time. i mentioned how i
knew you and he asked what war tax resistance was and i explained it and he
asked whether i was against 'the war' and i of course said yes
and he went into this rant about taking care of 'them' and how
'they' were out to get us. i asked if he was joking and he said
no, and that he was a warrior and that basically all the muslims
had to be destroyed cuz they had sworn to kill us all, etc etc. i
wanted to just lash out and say, "you are a freaking wacko,
dude," but nonviolently held my toungue and just said "well, we
can all think whatevver we want..." i was sitting there just
stunned and even after i ended that exchange for like an hour
afterward i was still sort of in this weird shocked state, i kept
wondering how this guy could be a friend of yours! i guess you
don't talk politics much at the sweatlodge?
I wiped out and hurt myself last night while zoobombing. It sucked and still sucks. Lots of scrapes all over and my left hand is all swollen up. my fingers still work pretty normal so i can type, luckily, but i have a hard time gripping anything firmly.
Hopefully this is nothing serious and it will heal up on its own soon, cuz, suprise, i have no insurance.
I'm lucky, though, it could have been a lot worse.
Ironically, this was my first bomb with a helmet. The other five times my head was bare. I didn't hit my head last night, so it wouldn't have mattered.
My bike's totally fine, too, except i broke my front light. Like i said, i was really lucky.
On the way home i was having all these negative thoughts about zoobombing and other idle decadent things we do in our "spare time" - in Bolivia people are hurting themselves while putting up roadblocks and running from soldiers, meanwhile we're up here making up stupid meaningless ways to put ourselves in danger. sigh.
Just found a cool site/blog about using bicycles with wireless connections to protest the RNC in NYC this summer. It's called Bikes Against Bush. Nice to see geekiness, bikes, and anti-bush activism all tied together.
Too bad I'm lately leaning toward NOT going to the RNC protests. I feel like my focus is south, Bolivia and latin america in general. I want to go back this winter and I have to concentrate on that and the computers for Bolivia project. I can't think of how I could be that useful in New York other than as just another body on the street, holding a video camera that MIGHT shoot something unique but probably won't.
So now someone has discovered a virus that infects mobile phones. Just what we need. Another reason not to buy another mobile, I guess. I've been thinking about it for months.
As Thoreau once said, "We have become the tools of our tools."
Today is Bloomsday, and in fact is the 100th bloomsday, the day that is the day James Joyce's Ulysses takes place.
I read Ulysses years ago, liked it but I'm sure I didn't get as much out of it as I could have. It took me 8 months, and I was pushing it even at that.
However one passage from it has stuck with me lucidly ever since, furnishing me with a phrase I repeat to myself often when appropriate it. I don't quite remember the context, some moment when Leopold Bloom is thinking about all the people that die every day around the world, and he says "shoving them under doublequick"... or something like that. Such a powerful, but brutally simple, thought.
I heard about the 100th Bloomsday weeks ago, but it took Google to remind me today. They commemorate it, as they do many holidays, with a cute little image on their front page. I thought it was supposed to be a cowboy at first.
In other news, it is finally summer, I think, here in Portland. It has been totally beautiful today, actually hot. I'm sitting on my back porch looking at the garden and looking at the internet on my laptop. A long yellow ethernet cable connects me in the backyard with cyberspace, and with the reminder that today is the day Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedulus lived their fictional odysseys in Dublin...
This article explains how to use your iPod to make a pirate radio station.
There's lots of great ideas for what to do with such a portable FM transmitter. One of my favorite is:
We usually keep a couple tracks of silence ready to go, ever get stuck at a stop light for like 10 minutes and the dude in the next car is blasting the radio? With the super easy iPod interface you can quickly get to the station he’s on and send over whatever you want, a couple gentle ocean waves or birds usually works out great.
Ok I know I just blogged about Mark Morford the other day but this particular column of his is really extragreat. doubleplusgood. He is my new favorite writer ever. Well, not really, but he's so freaking great, so clever and zillion miles an hour and cynical and yet so idealistic and outraged, he's like if Mark Leyner wrote for a newspaper and was really really angry all the time.
But the good thing about this particular installment of his column is that it ends happy. It basically says, let's be optimistic and happy, no matter how bad things seem to be, because to just be stressed out and fearful and angry and paranoid all the time will destroy us.
And that's an important thing to remember.
Today for the first time, my blog started getting spammed. How freaking lame. Like I don't have enough trouble with email spam. Luckily, I know SQL and it was fairly simple to just go into the mySQL shell and mass-delete all the spam comments. But I also looked around for some methods of preventing blog spam, and I foung this handy article,
"Seven quick tips for a spam-free blog". I've done 2 of them already. Hopefully this doesn't become a huge problem...
In other news, one of my huge hard drives in my G4, the machine I edit video on, is dying, I think. The one with almost 120 gigs of various video files on it. Very annoying. I spent a few hours trying to deal with that, first seeing if i could repair it somehow with disk utilities, and then trying to copy off the most important stuff to other drives. I succeeded in getting the most high-priority footage from my most important current project off of the drive, so that was a relief.
I think I'm going to have to buy another one. And I don't really have the cash. ugh.
This column by Mark Morford about behavior modifying drugs is really freaking great. It has this totally biting, barbed, super-sarcastic, laser-focused blast of invective style to it. I really love it. Read it.
Godammit, i fucking HATE it when i have to listen to somebody sitting in a cafe talking on their damn mobile at elevated volumes, and even worse is what happened just now, when 2 of the jackasses where doing it. It would be hilarious if it weren't so annoying, 2 people sitting together at table, both talking on their cellphones, yelling into their phones, actually. I mean, it wouldn't be that bad if they would at least talk in a normal tone of voice, but so many people have this "HI!! YOU PROBABLY CAN'T HEAR ME CUZ YOU'RE ON THE PHONE WITH ME! SO I'LL TALK LOUDER" way of speaking.
The other day, walking into this same cafe and seeing all the wireless laptop wankers, I felt slightly annoyed, in that "and I'm one of them" kind of way. And I wondered if cafe laptops were the new mobile phones, in terms of people being annoyed and having contempt for them as a symbol of yuppie affluent lifestyle, now that mobile phones are used by everyone of all classes everywhere. But laptops will never, ever be as annoying as mobile phones. you don't yell into your fucking laptop, even if you're an asshole. grrrr....
This article about wireless access points that run linux is pretty interesting. Lots of semi-utopian (capitalist-utopian) ideas about what to do with the things. But the point is that they are what Cringely, the author, calls a "disruptive technology." Cell phones, personal computers, and the internet itself are other examples of disruptive technologies. Yes.
The thing he fails to mention is that disruptions caused by disruptive technologies are not always a good thing. Nuclear fission is another disruptive techology. The powered looms that spawned the Luddites was another. The list could go on. It's like the assumption that all change is good that so many new economy business gurus preached. uh uh....
It brings to mind one of my favorite Marcuse quotes:
"The traditional notion of the 'neutrality' of technology can no longer be maintained."
-Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man
So I just found out about this rather promiscuous female blogger who worked in DC for a Republican Senator from Ohio. She blogged about her quite active sex life, juggling 6 different men. Not only did she fuck a lot of men in a short time but some of them were paying her to do it. Eventually she was fired, supposedly for "misuse of office equipment" (she posted to her blog from her office computer).
Her blog is pretty entertaining to read. I mean, it's hot. I, along with everyone else, am wondering how true it is. It reads like porn. Do people really live like that? I've never known anyone like that. Despite the racy thrill of it she seems to have lived a pretty shallow, sorority-girl kind of life, though she's 24. Getting "trashed" 3 times a week, going to taco-eating contests (that's not a euphemism for anything. heh), coveting Martha Stewart products and new dresses, etc...
The other interesting related thing is that the other blogger who basically outted her, who I read now and then, Wonkette,
is really Ana Marie Cox, formerly of Suck, occasional writer for McSweeny's, etc. Talk about re-inventing yourself. From writing smarmy postmodern ironic rants about the web industry to being a Washington D.C. gossip-blogger. Hmm, actually maybe those 2 things are not that different....