My friend Petr back in Portland has just posted a series of fashion photographs he did, featuring a young woman wearing only duct tape. I could say a lot but I will for now simply say they are very pretty.
Petr does some interesting stuff. Also, it's interesting to compare what he does with his time to what I do with mine, because we're about the same age and he's the only friend of mine - possibly the only person I know - who is my age and has had, like me, a really long monogamous relationship (>10 yrs) that is now over. I surprisingly just recently made that realization with the help of another mutual friend. I will say no more here but I look forward to conversing with him when I'm back in Portland in July.
Godammit I'm so surprised at how many places are closed today. Not a single fucking bike shop is open today because of Memorial Day. WTF? Fuck remembering the dead veterans. How about remembering all the fucking rich white elite men who DIDN'T die, who got rich off of all this country's wars for the last 250 years, sending the poor men off to die and then making a fucking holiday about them, as if that makes up for it?
As you can see, I'm in a foul mood. My bike has a flat and there's no where to get a freaking innertube. I'm really fucking sick of how often I get flats in this town, too, even with all the precautions of thorn-proof tires, tire liners, etc etc. I'm really sick of my bike too, and all the things wrong with it and the money I don't have to fix it because I'm still waiting on corporate america to send me a fucking check even after working for a whole month for them.
Just heard about a new book by Bob Ostertag, who was the first other artist I ever hosted on my website, Detritus.net, starting back in 1997. He's a professor at UC Davis now, and I didn't even know he was working on this book. since I know him exclusively as an electronic music composer, it was a big surprise to find out about this. tho I know that he took 10 years off from music to be a freelance journalist and activist in central america back in the 80s. (In the early 90s he released a CD that is one hour or so long piece made of a sample of a small boy in El Salvador talking and crying while burying his dead father who was killed by death squads. It's still one of the most heart-wrenching pieces of music i've ever heard. )
Anyway, looks like a good book, tho it seems to be only historical, not about present trends like indymedia. chronologically it only goes up through the 70s or so.
Well, just to check in, we had a great couple of hours being annoying to Wal-Mart and educating shoppers about Atenco. It went really well. it seemed like it would be a chaotic mess at first but people did a good job of splitting into relatively autonomous groups that all did things in diffferent parts of the store and outside. it took about 40 minutes for cops to show up outside and I shot great footage out and in, then got thrown out with a few of my compas who tried to demand to see a manager. i'd kept the camera real on the downlow till then but then when the scary security guys started throwing them out I brought it up on my shoulder and then they started getting all up in my face. We did a dignified retreat and met our masked amigos outside just as the cops were making them march off the property. Then people held signs and handed out fliers on the corner for awhile.
It was a good time, and effective, I think. People seemed very interested and receptive, tho i think a lot of folks thought it was just aout immigration or the border.
I'll be editing together a nice little piece about it, hopefully soon.
sadly the day then proceeded with 2 semifrustrating meetings and a lack of timely food on my part so i'm a little grumpy now. oh well. now it's time to relax with [can't think of a term of endearment I like right now], drink some wine and watch a dvd.
Today here in Tucson there's a (hopefully) gran manifestación at a Wal-Mart. I've helped organize it with Dry River, local Mecha folks, and some earth firsters. It's designed to bring attention to Wal-Mart's connection to the recent events in Atenco, Mexico. This sounds like a unique approach. Wal-Mart Watch mentions the connection on their site, and some other stories echo it, all based on El Sup's assertions. But no one else seems to be taking him up on it. If you know of any other activists putting pressure on Wal-Mart over the Atenco thing, let me know.
Anyway, it should be interesting. We made lots of signs and banners yesterday and there seems to be lots of interest. and we have lots of informational flyers to hand out.
i'll have a report later today or tommorrow morning, unless i get arrested, i guess, tho i dont plan on that happening...
I finally finished uploading all the good photos from the trip [secretperson] and I took to Puerto Peñasco last weekend. The photos seem to fall into 3 categories: beautiful, curious, and personal. With some overlap.
It's always so exciting when a CD or DVD, or a zine or whatever, is done and you finally see a huge number of copies all folded and packaged and wrapped the way they're supposed to be in their final form. Wow. Now I'm excited to start sending them to everyone that I owe one to. If you've helped in any way and I don't have your address already, send it to me.
What looks like some sort of NMSU student web zine called The Merge has done a special feature covering in great detail the symposium on the women of Juáurez that I attended back in late March. The design is really nice and the articles are well written. There are descriptions of just about every panel discussion. (via Stevie)
I've been working harder than I'm used to lately and have had poor ergonomics and posture in my workspace. So I've been having problems with my wrists and arms. This is a chronic problem I've had before whenever I work long hours on a computer. Another reason why I've made it a career priority to work very few hours a week compared to most people.
So anyway, It's not super bad because I know one has to stop and deal with RSI ASAP. I've been working on changing furniture and stuff and I'm probably going to be blogging less for awhile and minimizing a lot of other nonessential computer use. So if you see me posting a long blog item in the next week, please leave a comment and tell me to stop. thanx.
This article was going to mention my film but according to the writer her editors cut that part out. oh well, it's still an interesting piece. i'll paste it here:
400 Dead Women: Now Hollywood Is Intrigued
By PAT H. BROESKE
Published: May 21, 2006
THE killings, nearly everyone agrees, began in 1993. The victims, all poor women, were raped, strangled and mutilated, with signs of ritual murder. Because they were a particular type — young and slender, with brown skin and long brown hair — there was speculation about a serial killer.
The crimes took place in Juárez, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, and they have continued for 13 years, with no end in sight.
With a body count now estimated at some 400, the killings have been called the maquiladora murders because some of the victims worked in the city's factories, which are also known as maquiladoras.
Given that kind of sensationalism, it was inevitable that Hollywood would enter the picture, and now it has, twice. "The Virgin of Juárez," a drama with a supernatural subplot starring Minnie Driver, was made for just $1 million and is playing the festival circuit. Meanwhile "Bordertown" — an action-thriller with Jennifer Lopez budgeted at $35 million — is in post-production, though a release date has not been set. The scripts for both were read in advance by Artists for Amnesty, the Hollywood arm of Amnesty International, for suggestions about the depiction of the case facts. But based on a screening of the former and the screenplay for the latter, neither movie suggests the scope of the issue.
For the mystery of the murdered women of Juárez has evolved into more than a crime story. Words like "femicide," "machismo," "misogyny" and "impunity" have entered a much broader debate about the city and its connection to issues of race, class and gender. And, less predictably, Juárez has become the heart of an impassioned grass-roots artists' movement.
"I realized I could put something together to echo the voices of the victims," said Azul Luna, a Los Angeles photographer and digital artist who traveled to Juárez to document the scene. The founder of an artists' collective that raises awareness about the crimes and the larger issue of violence again women, she once led a caravan of artists from California to El Paso and across the river to Juárez.
In Los Angeles, Rubén Amavizca's play "The Women of Juárez" ("Las Mujeres de Juárez") has become a staple at the Frida Kahlo Theater, with performances in both English and Spanish. Several books, both fiction and nonfiction, are in the works, and there have been songs about the killings by the Mexican groups Los Tigres del Norte and Jaguares, and by Tori Amos.
The Juárez violence has also become the subject of treatises in scholarly journals and university symposiums and has galvanized human rights and women's rights activists. And American celebrities have become involved: on May 9, Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler were among those who participated in a Mexico City reading of Ms. Ensler's feminist work, "The Vagina Monologues," with proceeds benefiting a women's shelter in Juárez. Two years earlier Ms. Fonda, Sally Field, Christine Lahti and Ms. Ensler led a much-publicized march from El Paso to Juárez.
Juárez, Mexico's fourth-largest city, with a population of about 1.3 million, is a teeming industrial center dominated by hundreds of multinational assembly plants. Women drawn to Juárez from villages across Mexico provide the majority of the cheap labor, typically for about $6 a day.
As bodies continue to turn up, so have a host of theories. Satanists, organ harvesters and drug cartels have been among the suspects. (Juárez is a major drug conduit to the United States.) So have the sons of wealthy men, who, it has been said, hunt and kill women for sport. Even husbands and boyfriends have been suspected. But so far the only consensus is that a phenomenon once attributed to a single serial killer has become a wider crime wave involving multiple murderers.
"Now it's a monster," the actress Vanessa Bauche said in a telephone interview from Mexico City. "You can cut off one head, and there will appear three more. This is one of the darkest stories in Latin America."
The founder of an artists' group that works with relatives of the Juárez victims, Ms. Bauche, the star of the Mexican New Wave film "Amores Perros," is co-producer of a documentary that will include interviews with victims' relatives, some of whom have received threats. "The only way we have to protect them is to make them famous," she said.
The killings have been the subject of numerous Spanish-language television programs in both Mexico and in the United States on the Telemundo and Univision networks, as well as several lurid direct-to-video movies. On a more literate front, the acclaimed Mexican playwright Sabina Berman has recently completed the script for "Backyard," a film based on four true stories. "My screenplay is very social minded, political minded," she said. "It talks about the politics of globalization. Juárez is just one example of what can go wrong with globalization."
Ms. Berman said she applauded Hollywood's interest in Juárez, "not just the crimes, but the wave of violence against women," adding, "Of course it would be better to not trivialize and sensationalize, or sexualize, the story."
Debbie Nathan, a journalist who has written extensively about border issues and sexual politics, questioned Hollywood's tendency to simplify. "This situation is about so much more than serial killers," said Ms. Nathan, who worries that movies about the murders "could be a kind of reality porn."
The Australian director Kevin James Dobson said he shared some of that concern when making "The Virgin of Juárez."
"Did I worry about exploitation?" he said. "In a word, yes. The attacks I showed are fictionalized, but the facts spoken are true."
Mr. Dobson said he first learned about the murdered women while searching a Web site about serial killers. "I had the idea to bring Joan of Arc to Juárez," he said, referring to a victim (played in the movie by Ana Claudia Talancón) who develops stigmata and has visions, and who is befriended by a feisty female reporter.
"Bordertown" is also about a female reporter, played by Ms. Lopez, who befriends an attack victim (Maya Zapata). Gregory Nava, the film's writer and director, who previously teamed with Ms. Lopez on the 1997 film "Selena," declined requests for an interview. And the publicist for Ms. Lopez, who is also the film's executive producer, did not respond to requests for an interview with the star.
Marisela Ortiz, a former teacher of one of the Juárez victims and an advocate for victims and their relatives, said she welcomed the prospect of a Hollywood movie about the murders, "in spite of the film presenting a different premise from reality." She was referring to scenes in "Bordertown" pointing to a group of bus drivers as the culprits, a theory that has since been debunked.
The catalyst for many of the artists, filmmakers and activists involved in the Juárez mystery was a 2001 documentary titled "Señorita Extraviada" ("Missing Young Woman"). The veteran Bay Area filmmaker Lourdes Portillo spent 18 months on the project, which received a special jury prize at Sundance four years ago and was broadcast on PBS in the United States. To this day it grips a viewer's attention, from the opening narration, "The desert is full of secrets, some of them buried in the sands," to its accusations of police and governmental negligence and cover-ups.
"You are talking about a very complex problem involving a culture that diminishes the role of women in life," said Ms. Portillo, a native of Chihuahua, in northern Mexico.
A number of new documentaries from both sides of the border are in the works, including Lorena Mendez-Quiroga's "Border Echoes" ("Ecos de Una Frontera"). A freelance television reporter and the founder of the Los Angeles-based Justice for the Women of Juárez, Ms. Mendez-Quiroga made more than 30 trips to Juárez and mortgaged her house to complete the film, which looks at the crimes through the eyes and investigative work of Diana Washington Valdez, a reporter at The El Paso Times who has long been at the forefront of the Juárez story. Ms. Valdez has said she is going to be "naming names" of suspects in the film, which Ms. Mendez-Quiroga hopes to screen at the next Sundance Film Festival.
Another project in development is an HBO feature written by Josefina Lopez, a playwright and screenwriter whose credits include the screenplay for the 2001 film "Real Women Have Curves." To research her project Ms. Lopez visited a desert area near Juárez called Lomas de Poleo, where the bodies of eight young women were found. "I'm very sensitive in that sometimes I can pick up energy," she said, "like ghosts and stuff like that. And as I stood there, I could feel the souls of the women, their spirits."
Ms. Lopez went on to talk about the women who ventured to Juárez from central and southern Mexico in search of work, only to die gruesomely. "When I stood and looked where the bodies had been dumped, I kept thinking, these poor women, their spirits, they're wandering," she said, raising a question that filmmakers and other artists are now left to answer. "How are they ever going to get home?"
Spent the weekend on the Sea of Cortez, across from Baja California. It was fabulous. I took lots of photos, and I will have more of them uploaded soon, but this is one. I'll probably write more about the weird socioeconomics of Rocky Point too, but you'll have to be patient.
I got somewhat sunburned in a few places, and after swimming right before we headed home my ears got plugged up with seawater and they still haven't popped, so i'm sort of deaf for now. But other than that I'm really happy about my weekend. It's too bad I had to come back.
[secretperson] and I are going to Cholla Bay, on the outskirts of what gringos call Rocky Point, but is really Puerto Peñasco, a Mexican beach town that is very popular with southwesterner gringos, I guess. It's the closest seaside, only about 4 hours from Tucson, and [secretperson]'s family has owned a little beach house in Cholla Bay for many years. I gather that there it is enough removed from the downtown bustling cheesey tourist scree of Rocky Point that it will be a relaxing break from our normal lives. 3 days alone, without internet or computer or meetings. yay!
We leave at about 5 am Friday morning. back late sunday night. I'm sure I'll be posting photos and stories come Monday. Hasta Luego...
I was looking for stuff about tracking RSS feed subscribers and I find on this Drupal mailing list a thread about it, and a guy who sounds like he really knows how to leverage his geek skills, if you know what i mean:
This may seem like a strange example, but I once ended up finding out that a cute girl who I'd assumed was out of my league was interested in me thanks to the amateur's mistake of tracking visitors by IP in drupal 4.5. Let me explain (I think this is a good example of how we should be thinking about our users needs when it comes to traffic analysis):
I mentioned to her that I had posted a certain essay called "The Renaissance of the Commons" on my blog, and told her to goole my name and the title to find it. The search popped up on my referrers log, and I marked down the IP associated with that search (I did have a crush on her). Later, I checked her IP's history, and found out that she was apparently a lot more interested in what I was writing, than I would have thought. For the next week, I noticed her return twiceto four times a day -- and it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I should ask her out on a date. The end result was me being one satisfied drupal user.
I just had a conversation with stillsecretperson (I am THIS close to just using her name. stay tuned!) yesterday, where I asked her if she'd read a blog entry i specifically sent her a couple days ago (cuz i know she doesn't regularly look) and said she hadn't had time. "I'm so busy it's a choice between spending time with you or reading your blog." Hmm, well, just out of bandwidth concerns the choice is clear, you'll get a lot more data throughput hanging out face to face with me, guaranteed. ;-)
I've been reading a lot of really great fiction lately. Perhaps I'm so disappointed in the latest nonfiction book (I'll write more about that later) I was reading that by comparison I'm overjoyed at these novels.
I'm now 2 books behind on reviewing, and the one on the top of the stack is Ruth Ozeki's "All Over Creation." I was loaned this book by a friend after having a chat with her about The Fountain at the Center of the World, which I wrote about over 2 years ago(!) on this blog. And indeed, the 2 are very similar, in that they deal with modern activism, the struggle against corporate hegemony, and they both deal with family.
Ozeki's 2003 novel centers on 3 characters or groups of characters that all converge on a little farming town in Idaho. The real main figure of the book is Yumi, or Yummy, Japanese-American daughter of Lloyd and Momoko. Their neighbors Cass and Will round out this first group. Then there's Elliot, a PR flack who does work spindoctoring for big agribusiness and who used to be Yumi's high school history teacher 25 years ago. Finally there are the Seeds of Resistance, what one might call an affiinity group of eco-activists who travel around the country in their customized motorhome, the Spudnik, doing anti-biotech actions and teaching themselves and others more about sustainable agriculture.
Yumi ran away from home when she was 15 when she had an affair with her teacher Elliot that ended with an abortion. She never came back until 25 years later, when the book opens and when her parents are both having health problems. Meanwhile Elliot is sent back to Idaho to investigate activists mobilizing against his client, a big pesticide company called Cyanco (that is obviously a fictionalization of Monsanto - they even have a pesticide product called GroundUp).
The Seeds, meanwhile, are indeed on their way to Idaho, not only to mess with Cyanco, but also to meet Lloyd and Momoko, who have become unexpected heroes. Lloyd's main occupation had been potato farmer all his life, but on the side he and his wife started a seed company with very old-fashioned, natural ideals. The Seeds show up to learn from the wisdom of curmudgeonly Lloyd, who eventually becomes their ally, while Yumi is trying to figure out what to do with him and his heart problems, along with Momoko's Alzheimer's.
The book gets very complicated and fascinating, and I won't go into all the details. There's intrigue, there's sex, there's humor, there's lots of great references to watershed events and concepts in recent anti-globalization struggles (like with Fountain at the Center of the World, it ends with the activists going off to Seattle for the big 1999 WTO protest).
However, in addition to all that I think what got to me about the book is the personal and family aspect of it. I kept thinking that if you replaced potatoes with corn and moved it to Iowa it would have still worked almost as-is in my home state. My parents weren't farmers and I grew up in a small city, but from my earliest childhood farming was in the air, as well as the sadness and risk and heartache of farming. The news of Iowa farmers getting their land foreclosed and then some shooting themselves and their families are some of my oldest recollections from the media. Plus my stepfather went back to Nebraska to help farm the family land every summer, often taking me and my brothers along.
Add to that the facts that my grandparents recently died, my grandmother with Alzheimer's, and that my mom has really been hit hard by the process of dealing with this and lots of other dying relatives and friends and her own health problems, and that I sometimes see my self as sort of a prodigal son in relation to my home state and family, and you can probably see how this book was pretty heavy for me. I will admit that I got choked up quite a bit while reading it.
I guess that's enough to say, really, other than: it's an excellent book; It's sort of over the top, almost mythic, in how it portrays activists, but maybe that's what is needed right now. And yet it's also extremely real and down to earth about its characters and the interactions they have with each other. I was really impressed and touched by this book. Highly recommended.
I was just at a show to see this really great band from Phoenix called Peachcake. I first saw them like 15 months ago here in Tucson and totally loved them. They're sort of this electroclash band but totally unpretentious and dorky. The guys in the band are all these nerdy college-age guys who just don't care if they look silly, and hence their stage presence is just comletely infectious and fun. They had one guy in a mexican wrestling mask and no shirt just dancing and setting off fireworks. The singer was wearing pajamas and a cat-in-the-hat hat and those joke giant sunglasses, and another guy had a keytar with a wireless hookup so he could run all over the venue playing. I just love artists who basically are saying with their work, we don't give a fuck if you think we're cool, we're going to have fun and get you to have fun.
I tried to get Jessica to go along, and she wanted to, but she had to work. I ran into Loren and Jeremiah at the show, which was at Solar Culture, a pretty cool gallery and performance space which I wish had more shows. Sadly, the next couple bands after Peachcake bored me, they were like a totally different vibe that I wasn't in the mood for, this sort of sad indie emo cello/guitar/keyboards music. Who booked Peachcake with these shoegazers? Anyway, I left early, after getting all hyped by the blippy electroclash I just couldn't handle that other stuff.
I have another one of those "I'm busy, just going to briefly mention a variety of recent things." blog entries. Maybe I should make that a new category. For lack of a better title, I named this post after the house where there was a big party I went to last night. Geckohaven is a cool collective housing in Dunbar Spring neighborhood. They have an amazing garden set between 2 houses. The party was a little less happening then i expected, but that's probably my fault for having expectations, or maybe for getting there too early.
Yesterday afternoon Geoff, Jessica, and I did an Indymedia workshop for border activists. It was similar to other workshops we've done before but we wanted to have an event tailored to No More Deaths and other people doing border stuff, as we approach another summer that will be very busy for them. We included a discussion about ethics and sensitivity with regards to newsgathering and its possible effect on the main goal of NMD: to save lives. It was largely a pretty good workshop, tho i was hoping more than 14 people would show up. Oh well.
After that was a meeting for a new campaign or group or collective. It's not clear. I don't know, practically, logically, why I went. I don't have the time to get involved in yet another thing. I guess I just can't say no many times. It was about forming a local group or project that has a more radical analysis and praxis on the border and immigration issues than what's currently here in southern arizona. This is of very great interest to me. But there just isn't any more time in the week for me to do this. I told everyone at the end that the only way I could come to another regular meeting is if there's alcohol involved. I was only partially joking.
Friday night was a screening of the little videos that the kids in my video production class made. It was really satisfying to see how all the projects really came together at the last minute. And they were obviously psyched to see their work in a real theater with all their friends and families.
After that there was a slideshow presentation by these 2 guys from Florida, about riding freight trains and distributing food in Mexico. They just went down there and would buy ingredients, then go to a train yard and cook, jump on a train and feed everyone on it. then get off and repeat the process. All the way from Guatemala to the U.S. It was an amazing and fascinating event, and they're such cool people.
Hmmm, so... yeah. anything else of interest in the last few days is way too personal to go into here. But, I'll just note that in that vein things are still really really good. yay.
Somehow I am back in the business (literally) of thinking hard about website interface design, functionality, and user experience.
Here's a representative quote, though by no means a summary of the whole article:
The major reason for the success of the Web is the predictability and simplicity of its UI model. Basically, anyone can move a mouse, click on a link, move a scrollbar, and hit the Back button. With the growing popularity of Ajax, the risk is very real that developers will go overboard and essentially make everything clickable and change the UI in an unexpected and asynchronous manner. The last thing you want to do is force your user to think. For those who are interested in the usability of Web applications, Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think (see Resources) is a must-read. It does not cover Ajax specifically, but teaches important lessons about how important good design is for a Web site.This reminds me of a thought I just had yesterday while hopelessly and angrily clicking around on MySpace. For the first time after registering on myspace about 4 months ago, I hunkered down and really spent time, configuring my profile, inviting people to be my friends, trying to use the calendar and events features, and I confirmed my opinion I had 4 months ago that the myspace interface just SUCKS.
This has nothing specifically to do with AJAX but everything to do with the simple maxim in the above quote: Don't force your user to think. At least not too much. The Myspace interface is like a freaking labyrinth, a puzzle, and I found myself thinking this: The Web has always been about communication, information, and self-expression. The web "1.0" was about enabling anyone who could learn some simple HTML and the basic buttons on a browser to "self-publish." Now, sadly, "web 2.0" is about anybody who wants to take the time to learn how to use sites like Myspace's interface, or some subset of it, enabling them to "self-publish." The problem is that while the results might look pretty some of the time, the possible configurations of those results are really constrained. And, of course, the tools are owned by some big company.
My friend from Virginia IMC has just written with news about the prisoners from Atenco:
The situation in Atenco is reaching even more dire circumstances. Prison
officials are now separating the prisoners, sending them off to different
jails and integrating them into general populations. In addition to the
three Europeans deported, two Chileans (Mario and Valentina) were deported
as well, including a good friend of mine. Their situations are distinct,
however, from the others, who were in Mexico on tourist visas. Valentina
has been living in Mexico City for 11 years and was in the process of
completing a documentary. Mario is a student at UNAM and about to complete
his thesis. Some independent journalists from Radio Pacheco are in jail as
well; one has already been lost to general population.
In Tucson we're having another Atenco solidarity rally today at the Mexican Consulate at 12:30. I'll have photos of that later today, i would expect.
I uploaded the newsreal to video.indymedia.org. enjoy.
According to Rob Bresny's Free Will Astrology horoscope for libras for this week, today is special:
Espertantina, a town in Brazil, celebrates May 9 as Orgasm Day. As much as I'd love to import this enlightened holiday to my home country of America, it might be difficult in the foreseeable future. Why? Because religious fundamentalists have been spreading their infectious mental disease, seducing people into mistrusting their bodies' natural urges. Meanwhile, the advertising and entertainment industries try to sell us on the glamour of being in a chronic state of titillation without satisfaction. I'm calling on you Libras to do what you can to resist these cultural trends. The astrological omens say this is an auspicious time for you to seek out, cultivate, and honor your own orgasms.
So I spent almost all weekend editing the May Indymedia Newsreal. It was a lot more work than it's supposed to be because we only received one submission. So I had to montage a bunch of internet clips together to make a May 1st medley segment, which turned out alright, and then I also made an 8-minute piece about May 1st in Tucson. Just mailed out the master tape to FSTV this morning and now i'm building a DVD of it. will send that and another miniDV to the dubbers in Seattle.
I did take a little time off to go for an early hike saturday morning, since i had a friend's car for the weekend. Drove out to Ventana Canyon and walked a few miles. Shot a bunch of clips of myself walking around and being an alter ego I just made up on the spot. Maybe that will be the start of a new secret videoblog. or maybe not. you'll never know. hah...
Then last night my housemate threw a big party. He's finishing his MFA in dance so he was celebrating. Tons of very well-endowed, in-shape young BFA and MFA dancers were here drinking like mad. I mixed a bit, 2 of my friends showed up, after which we sat around grumbling about dancers like the bitter old nerds that we are.
Seriously, one real observation I made that's really interesting is that, from my chatting with these slim and beautiful people, I noticed that most of them who are finishing their graduate degrees this spring are all hoping to be or have already suceeded in getting academic jobs, teaching dance at some little university or community college. This is strange to me. In what seems like a previous life to me now, about 15 years ago, I hung out with lots of dancers at the University of Michigan, because I was composing music for several choreographers' pieces. Many of those dancers talked only of moving to New York and working crap jobs by day, dancing and choreographing and forming their own companies by night. And most of them went on to do just that. I'm still in touch with a couple of them and they still work as secretaries or whatnot, but have their own nonprofit dance troupe, for which I've written more music for a few years ago.
My point is that there was much more of a scrappy, fine art, new york, DIY, idealistic vibe back then, whereas now, or at least here at UofA, everyone just wants to settle for an academic teaching job, anywhere, be it missouri or Scotsdale or buttfuck, ohio - why, by the way? I guess so they can start paying back their enormous student loans? I dunno, but.. it just seems a little sad, a little soulless.... oh hell, here I am sounding like Grandpa Curmudgeon again. dammit. "kids these days wouldn't know a dream from a 401(k) if it bit 'em in the amygdala, gol durnit... grumble grumble..."
Two days ago the EZLN declared a red alert because of police abuse near Mexico City in a confrontation with flower sellers, killing a 14-year old boy. This is getting lots of attention in alternative media so I won't go into more detail. I just wanted to mention that early yesterday morning here in Tucson Dry River did a protest at the Mexican Consulate downtown, showing up in masks and presenting a list of demands. Today local MECHA people are doing another protest there at noon-thirty. I'm thinking of playing hooky long enough to cover it for indymedia.
I don't think I've mentioned here that I was selected about a month ago to be the new editor for Indymedia Newsreal.
It means getting submissions from producers in the mail and assembling from them a 28-minute package that then gets sent off to Free Speech TV and the newsreal dubbers in Seattle, who send out copies to all the subscribers. I may start authoring a DVD also.
The May Newsreal will be my first in this role. I'm excited but it's proving difficult because I've only recieved one 8-minute submission. Now sure what to do. If you're an indymedia videographer and want to submit something at the last minute via Internet, get in touch. gracias.
In the last 5 weeks I've written more in my journal than in the 4 months previous to that. I don't want to take the time to provide the visual proof of this - the photo of the edge of the journal, a marker on March 28 when this new thing with stillsecretperson began, clearly showing that the last 2/3 of this journal that i'm almost done with, which i started in mid-November, is from the last 5 weeks, and that's largely because of her, or more precisely, because of her and me.
[overpersonal stuff redacted]
Life seems on the very edge of control as big changes of all kinds float down like provisions and materiel being parachuted out of an Army cargo plane to the battlefield. What a weird metaphor. stop.
Other things on deck: increased involvement with border activist groups. a sort of whole different experience compared to media or environmental stuff. I guess I should blog about that in more detail some time soon. And increasing frustration with all the meetings I have committed or half-committed myself too. Pan Left, Dry River, Dry River events committee, Root Force, NMD, EF!, Indymedia, May 1 Coalition... it's dizzying.
I'm going to have to cut down very very soon, because I've just committed to doing a lot more work-work for awhile. And I'm just tired of so much stuff going on. I have to prioritize. and simplify. My top priority is really just to lay on a beach with her and a mojito for about a week. but of course that's not very realistic.
dammit i hate top-posting!!! i was gonna say top-posters, but that's hatin' the player, not the game. I'd hate most of internet-using humanity if i said that.
but you know why everyone does it? cuz of the fricking tools. pinche email clients all put the cursor ABOVE the text you're replying to. so no wonder everyone is a top-poster. but it's so annoying!!! it makes so much more sense to reply to something AFTER you quote what the other person said. like you read on a piece of paper, or a bathroom wall.
(stay tuned someday for the next peevish blog entry: Open Letter to All Motorists. I've been writing it in my head every day for the last 3 months, if not 6 years.)
the latest from NN:
We have just received word that Narco News Other Journalism
correspondents James Daria and Dul Santamaría and their colleagues
Moisés Altamirano Bustos, Hasavias López Cortés, Jessica Joseph
Daria, Hillary Chase Lowenbere and Andrew William Saltzman have been
released from police custody in Oaxaca City. The group had been
arrested on May 1, in an illegal attack by the Oaxacan authorities on
press freedom and the Other Campaign.
According to James Daria, the group was set free due to lack of
evidence against them and "because we had a lot of support and
More information on the case of our, and your, persecuted journalists
will be published soon in Narco News. Thanks goes out to all our
readers and allies who have offered their help and support during
these last two days.
In the latest issue of Orion Magazine we are brought an excerpt from Endgame, the upcoming new book by Derrick Jensen, one of my favorite authors to make it their business to meticulously describe exactly what's wrong with western culture and civilization. The excerpt is on a subject I've seen him write and speak about before at great length, but it's nice to see it in this form. It's about the problem with hope.
When we stop hoping for external assistance, when we stop hoping that the awful situation we're in will somehow resolve itself, when we stop hoping the situation will somehow not get worse, then we are finally free—truly free—to honestly start working to resolve it. I would say that when hope dies, action begins.I've had many conversations with people about Jensen's position on this. It's hard for some to wrap their heads around the idea that hope can be bad.
I think it's a very priveleged position to think that it's always neccesarily bad, but I don't think that's what Jensen is saying. Certainly as a survivor of a brutal childhood full of abuse he understands that in some situations hope is what keeps you alive and carrying on. Hope is a useful tool for certain situations, like fear and pain and computers and hammers and dynamite. But like all tools it can turn into an overused crutch that actually hinders the user. Certainly people with lots of power like we middleclass white gringos can afford to stop hoping so much and start actually doing more.
Narconews reports that 2 journalists working on the Other Journalism project to document the Other Campaign have been arrested along with 5 others, Mexican and foreign, after a May Day solidarity event in Oaxaca City. Police beat the 2 of the Mexicans at the time of the arrest.
Yesterday I spent roughly 12 hours out in the world doing may day stuff. Helped fold the pamphlet. Went to Armory Park where the big rally/teachin was all day. Set up Dry River table. Handed out tons of copies of the pamphlet. Drank lots of water and gatorade. Shot a bunch of footage, but not too much. I'm getting pretty good at economizing tape. Hours of sitting at the editing suite logging pointless footage has really learned me.
Anyway, most of the day was spent just sitting around with the camera on the off chance that something bad would happen, like on April 10 (when I felt bad for leaving early and not being their to film the crap that went down). Only a couple things did, and none as bad as April 10. Only a total of 6 anti-immigrant counterprotesters, 2 or 3 at a time, and they were pretty mild-mannered, and kept across the street by the police. no burning mexican flags this time. The police were annoying. At the end of the afternoon they were like cranky tired children. I plan to post a clip of the bike cops acting like 12 year olds zooming their bikes around in circles. The peacekeepers were annoying. Some of my Dry River compas were too. I plan to write more about that later. Or maybe it's not worth it. Same old liberal-anarchist squabbling. sad.
Called a report in to Portland IMC Radio. Took a short recon mission out to Reid Park where a rally of the border vigilantes was supposedly happening. We didn't find anyone. Then later I heard they had the rally later that evening. oh well.
Jessica, stuck at work, kept some of us updated via txtmob. It was cool being outside at Armory Park eating rice and beans from Comida No Migra and getting messages on my phone like "Indybay reports police are stopping 15,000 from marching in Bakersfield." Then someone reporting from the stage over the PA "In Nogales not a single car has crossed today." wow.
Mostly it was a pleasant day in the park with good music and the inspiration of having all those people around participating in a momentous time in history.
Afterward I invited stillsecretperson over for mojitos. It was the perfect end to a hot tiring day out in the sun.
Then I went to a potluck in the park. Dry River kids and anarchists from Phoenix and Flagstaff, in town for May Day. I brought fresh lemondade I made from lemons from the tree in our yard. Then we all went to the Dry River space and I picked out a pile of relevant zines from the infoshop that we could bring to table at the teach-in/rally today. Then I went to kinko's and made copies of a new bilingual Arizona Indymedia flier that I made.
So yesterday was long and busy. Today is going to be even longer and busier. But more exciting.