Marzo 30, 2007

Migrant Aid Station audio: Hybrid of Field Recording, Sound Collage, and Journalism

Yesterday I posted a new item to the Phonophilia podcast. It was recorded February 19 of this year in Nogales, Mexico, at the migrant aid tent that was set up with the help of No More Deaths in collaboration with the local office of a Mexican agency called Commission for the Aid of Migrants. The aid station is there to help the hundreds of migrants who get shoved back across the border at the Mariposa port of entry by the U.S. Border Patrol, often in horrible medical condition. La Migra rounds them up in the desert and usually doesn't give them enough water, food, or medical help. Some of these people turn right around and try crossing again, and in their already compromised condition are a lot more likely to die out in the desert. Others have a serious situation that causes death on the Mexican side. Some are separated from their children.

The thing about this clip is while it conveys all of this information it also is a form of audio art. I montaged different snippets of the original recording into a simple sound collage, and i want it to be able to be listened to in that way, in addition to the journalistic purpose. I didn't worry about making it some NPR-style perfectly coherent and traditional radio report. The snippets aren't even in chronological order. It's a hybrid. It's another experiment in trying to find some middle ground between art and documentary. Enjoy and Learn.

Posted by steev at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 28, 2007

More Stupid Social Stereotype Reinforcement from

I've had it, I just unsubbed from their newsletter because of this. so dumb.

Men may be from Mars and women from Venus but who wants to vacation on either planet? According to Kayak travel data, women are from the beach and men are from the golf course, which can put a crook into planning the family getaway. Who says the sexes always have to agree? Sometimes you just gotta grab a few girls and go.


Reminds me of an interesting and sort of disturbing article I just read in Bust magazine about female sex tourism that seemed to be saying it was okay when the male variety is not. It made me realize again how far Bust and "post-feminism" have come. I remember when Bust was a pretty radical little Riotgrrlish zine, the first issue about 20 pages xeroxed and stapled in one corner and mailed to me for review in my little zine, Synergy, about 14 years ago. Now it's just more lifestyle porn.


Posted by steev at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)

Marzo 25, 2007

NaNoEdMo and A Million Other Things

Well shoot, March is National Novel Editing Month but it has slipped past my awareness, and besides I've been too busy, and now the month is almost over. Actually, for the last couple months or so I've been unclear whether I even WANT to keep working on the book I finished at the end of November's National Novel Writing Month. It's called "Palimpsest" (or, an alternate title I thought of: "Things Could Have Been The Same"), and it's based on some pretty dark times I went through last year and some pretty damaged people I know. Well, really, it's about a lot of things, but certain major characters and minor events are based on real people and events from my life. I haven't been sure it's healthy to revisit those dark times and screwed-up people, and yet the book is clearly a creative achievement that I'm still proud of, something I would like to develop, add to, and release to the world. So it's sort of dilemma.

There're a lot of other projects that are vying for my time and creative energy lately too. I really have been wanting to get back into music-making again, even performing live, and doing more artistic stuff with video again, and I'd like to write a screenplay one of these days soon too... who knows... sometimes I feel this ecstatic landscape of possibilities stretched out before me, and other times I just feel overwhelmed with "stuff to do". Suspira. Vamos a ver....

Posted by steev at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 24, 2007

My Hands Are Bananas


Posted by steev at 01:09 AM | Comments (4)

Marzo 23, 2007

Synaesthesia Interview

I was involved with a radio interview on community station KXCI regarding the big multimedia extravaganza that Pan Left is doing tommorrow night. I recorded it. It went pretty well, though I sort of feel like the large number of us in the studio did not improve the quality of the interview. Pan Left is full of strong egos who love to talk, myself included. I tried to stay aware of that and not talk to much. (Yesterday I had a chance to talk about the show on the radio again, but I passed and let someone else do it.)

Posted by steev at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 19, 2007

"You Guys Are in a Band, Right?"

A lot of people who are good friends tend to dress and coiff themselves the same. Amazing still to me, but it's just the way it is. Nevertheless, it's often really hilarious. Of course the most ridiculous and obvious example are the tourist couples that you see wearing matching tourist outfits, like identical "San Francisco" t-shirts and identical sweatpants. Or the bikenazi couples that wear the same flashy lycra biking bodysuits.

Another such phenomenon that I've been noticing a lot lately, maybe because a lot of them have been coming through town lately on the way to and from South by Southwest, is the group of guys that are obviously all in a band. It's so funny, I have never been wrong when I say the above question to a group of dudes walking into a cafe or something. I don't even neccesarily need to see them al piling out of rental van. Not like it's a uniform, per se, like the early Beatles or something, no. It's just, a look. And it's not to say that all musicians look the same - it's totally a function of what kind of band they're in. This morning I saw a group of tousle-haired, mopey-dopey dorkboys and I was like, yup, emo band from the northwest. Last night at Hotel Congress I ran into a few matching hippy-dreaded-tiedyed kids and it turned out they were in Icy Core of Jupiter, a band from Phoenix that plays sort of freaked-out Stoogesesque psychedelic punk-garage jams.

They were on their way to Dry River to play a show and I gave them directions. Saw them later at the show. Their appearance definitely matched each other and their music in some kind of metaphporical way, although when the bass player sprayed chocolate syrup all over his bare chest during one song, the other members did not follow suit. That would have been truly too much. :-)

Posted by steev at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

Marzo 18, 2007

just so you know.

I and some comrades will be on the radio today at 3pm (Pacific time), on KXCI, talking about Synaesthesia, the multimedia video and performance event we (Pan Left) are doing next Saturday.

no time to blog much more than that. hungover. lots to do. sigh.

Posted by steev at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Marzo 17, 2007

minor inconveniences

I have to remember that things are still really great. I'm mentioning a little bit of multiple bad luck events that kind of converged, and realizing that i tend to blog or journal more about misfortunes than good things. It will leave a wrong impression, I'm sure...

But anyway, yesterday I both lost my hat and my bike became unridable. Not at the same time, but now I have the unpleasantness of needing to walk somewhere sort of far, in the super bright sun without a hat to shield my eyes. Yeah anyway, it was crazy about my bike, I was setting off to cross a busy street and soon as I put weight on the left pedal the whole crank just broke off. just snapped. It was lucky I wasn't right in front of speeding traffic.

Anyway, at least I have a friend who i can borrow an extra bike from.
I better get going.

Posted by steev at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

Marzo 13, 2007


I'm feeling really overwhelmed. million things i want to do, said i would do, or feel like i should be doing.

just found this thing called Twitter. it's like a tiny tiny mini micro nano blog. you just type one line describing what you're doing right now. people can follow that like a blog or follow all their friends.

it's kinda neat and maybe i'll keep using it, but i cant help thinking.... the easier it is to "twitter" (what a great name), isn't that just making it easier to not get anything REAL done? if i spend 5 seconds every 120 seconds submitting something to twitter, that adds up and means i dont have that time to do something more meaninful and longterm.... kind of like when you try to get work done while sitting in a cafe with a bunch of chatty friends. not gonna happen.

I guess that's the kind of mood i'm in...

other stuff: an "unconference" in san diego that protests O'Reilly's insanely expensive conferences; a film about Michale Moore and hard it was to make a movie about him and how inaccessibile he is; I lost a great essay I wrote about 5 years ago about "Freebles", it's digital dust now, i guess...; i really should blog about a bunch of Juarez-related links and news but i don't have time.... or do i? argh.

Posted by steev at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 12, 2007


the making of chaispressoLately I've been making lots of espresso with my stove-top espresso pot. It's really good coffee, even though it's decaf (whatever, man, I saw that sneer - i'm taking care of myself the best way for me, ok?). Anyway, I tried a neat experiment recently that turned out pretty good - I put a few cloves and a few cardomom pods in with the coffee grounds. Of course the trick with cardomom, always, whether in tea or whatever, is to crush the pods with the flat of a knife, so the seeds inside are exposed.

The results, something chai-like but also very much espresso. Delicious. There's all sorts of other possibilities for other spices to put in too, maybe even making tea that way (like, no coffee, just steamed spices). hmm. I'll report back on future successes. The power of steam... btw, I just talked to the proprietor of my favorite cafe in town, Shot in the Dark, and was complimenting her on how they always have liquid sugar to put in your cold drinks so it dissolves easier. A lot of cafes just are not that thoughtful. She said it's because they dont know the easy way to make it - with the steam spigot on the espresso machine! I don't know quite what that means but it sounds promising. yay, steam.

Posted by steev at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)

New Bill Passed by Arizona Senate for Civilian Border Militia

"The Arizona Senate passed a resolution on Friday that would create a civilian militia to hunt undocumented immigrants along the border. Senate Bill 1132 establishes a volunteer civilian security force under the direction of the Governor. Members would receive military and police training once a month."
(via Mexico Solidarity Network)

Posted by steev at 11:40 AM | Comments (2)

Marzo 10, 2007


I designed this poster:

synaesthesia poster
Just picked it up from the printers last night and it looks great. 11x17 inches. It should be a cool event, and I hope the posters help get a bunch of people to come to it. I'm also working on a video collage piece for the show. It's the first extensive non-documentary video piece I've done in years. It's fun to see other people in Pan Left working on more artistic and less carefully planned-out work too. I think we all need to excercise our spontaneous creativity a little more often.

Posted by steev at 07:16 AM | Comments (3)

Marzo 09, 2007

Tucson Weekly, You Suck Again (now for sexism)

Just a few weeks after yet another insanely racist and propagandistic cover story about illegal immigration by the ludicrously unskilled and racist Leo Banks, the Tucson Weekly is at it again.

I wouldn't make this much fuss about this normally except that this issue came out yesterday, on International Women's Day. They pretty much hardly ever put anything this extreme on their cover, but now of all days, they run this. And it's completely gratuitous, nothing to do with the story at all, except that the story is dead boring (about the state legislature) so they must have felt they had to jazz it up to get people to even pick up a copy.

Tucson Weekly, you are the most conservative, racist, sexist, classist entertainment weekly I have ever seen out of all the 8 or 9 cities i've lived in, including, believe it or not, Charleston, South Carolina. In fact, in everywhere else that I've lived, the weeklies have been at least somewhat consistently left-of-center - although the Portland Mercury is sometimes annoyingly too-hip-to-be-left (but this is because they feel the need to appear cooler and different than the older, more staid liberal Williammette Week. This may be a little of what's going on here in Tucson; although there's no other paper to compete with, they maybe just purposely printing shockingly clueless and controversial stories in order to boost circulation).

Tucson Weekly, you suck.

Posted by steev at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

Marzo 08, 2007

Supreme Court Gives Gore's Oscar to Bush

Just kidding!
Amazingly, this was the subject line of a piece of spam I recieved today. I've been marvelling at how one could almost take up reading spam folder subject lines instead of reading headlines and get a decent overview of the news, since this is a side effect of recent spammer strategy, it seems. Now you can also get your Onion-esque fake news from spam too.

Like cowbird eggs placed in the nests of other birds, there are many other examples of this kind of simulacra that seem to fulfill a function in life but are really largely just taking up space and fooling us. Writing software can seem like creativity, going to meetings can seem like a social life, but these are empty calories. There's no time like the present to keep remembering that.

Posted by steev at 03:03 PM | Comments (1)

Marzo 05, 2007

Perdonar no Excusar

Etymology is an amazing educational tool, an enlightening tool. Last Thursday's edition of Ze Frank's vlog was mostly about revenge and forgiveness and forgetting, and it reminded me that I've been wanting to blog also about forgiveness, for awhile now. Ze says, "it's a pity the word forget was tied to forgive, it's just not that practical." Forget is fairly easy to understand, but what is forgiveness, exactly? The dictionary says it's "to grant pardon to" a person, or "to cease to feel resentment against," but these seem like 2 separate acts to me.

There's a wrongful act that someone did to me that I will never forget, ever, I predict, though I conciously think about it less and less, lately maybe only once a week or less, where it used to be, 4 months ago, about once every hour, at least. Self-help websites and books on the subject of the offense always say "you must forgive for your own sake" and I used to blindly accept that, but lately I've realized that those 2 definitions divide into one kind of forgiveness that I must enact, indeed, for my own sake - yes, I will cease to feel resentment (maybe I already mostly have... the resentment lessens all the time) - and another kind of forgiveness that I may never enact, for I don't know if I will ever "grant pardon."

Or perhaps I will, because "pardon" simply means to stop seeking punishment or penalty for an offense. Are these, these 2 things, all that forgiveness is? Well then, fine, maybe it's easier than I thought. Hmm. All of my life I thought forgiveness also meant something like "deciding that something someone did wasn't wrong after all." And I will never ever do that in this case. Perhaps the word I'm looking for is "excuse", one meaning of which is "To serve as justification for." Because it might be debatable, and the wrongdoer and other people might argue with me till the end of time, but I will never admit that this thing that was done to me was not wrong, was unavoidable, was neccesary, or was justifiable, or even was done with an appropriate regard for me and my feelings.

No. Never. Nunca. So, the transgression, it's forgivable, but it's not forgettable, and it's not excusable, and it will never not be wrong, ever. And I feel okay saying that, that is healthy enough, for me. My heart and my karma will continue to flower and grow when I forgive, but I don't feel like it will hurt me to not excuse.

So, I say to this person - and if you still read this blog you know who you are and what I'm talking about - you've done me wrong, but I no longer seek to punish you for it, and I no longer am angry, or very soon will not be; nevertheless it will always, forever, have been wrong, what you did to me.

Whew. well, shit. There's something else to talk to my therapist about tommorrow. heh.

Posted by steev at 04:49 PM | Comments (1)

Marzo 03, 2007

People Are People So...?

I think I'm mostly just blogging because I haven't for quite a few days, and I'm tired of the last entry, that geek-gripe entry, sitting there festering, and I just want to go on record as saying, things are good. Really good. I'm pretty damn happy lately. Although I have been saddened by other people's sadnesses in the last little while. It seems to be hitting me harder than usual, or maybe they are of a different degree than ever before, to hear about the misfortunes and past ordeals endured by friends, especially those caused by people close to them. It just sucks that people mistreat each other so much. Especially men mistreating women. It really really sucks.

Posted by steev at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)