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January 30, 2005

one big gallows

"Brautigan moved to San Francisco, where he wrote his best-selling novel, Trout Fishing in America (1967). The back cover has only the word "Mayonnaise" in white letters on a solid red background. It's a tradition to flirt in coffee shops by showing someone the back cover from far away and then refusing to explain."

This sounds made-up. No one's ever done this to me before, so it must be a lie. Regardless, happy Richard Brautigan's birthday. Brautigan made a big dent in my mind when I discovered him as a lad. He gave me funny dreams for a while.

I'm trapped in a house with my parents and two little girls. Help!

Pencils Like Daggers

Infoshop News - Pencils like Daggers

I have never been into the punk scene, I am not white, I became a father at 20 and had to think about changing diapers, not just about changing social structures. I remember being chastised by someone trying to get us to go up one summer to the logging protests and when I reminded him of my responsibilities, he snapped back: 'what was more important.' I wanted to punch him, to make him see his ignorance, the elitism of privilege, the typical dismissal of people with children, with jobs to pay for food and rent. Yet, this has happened over and over. Meetings at 6 p.m. or reading my child a bed time story? How to choose? It felt as if I could never fully commit, never be as dedicated as the people I met -- mostly younger, white, students, who were mobile, who could survive on a fluctuating income. Now there is nothing wrong with this, but this was not me, not my experience, not my culture. But I knew that the anarchist views more closely resembled my views about how life could be lived than anything else, so I tried as much as I could to find that community. I brought my kids to meetings; I swapped childcare with other parents on my block (a nice way of realizing it truly does take a neighborhood to raise a child). I tried to figure out how to balance riding bikes with my kids around the block versus riding in critical mass, which is right at dinner time.

I realized I needed the anarchist community after years of trying to compartmentalize the seemingly disparate aspects of my life -- the non-monogamist, the self-schooling parent, the activist, the Chicano academic, the fuck-the-police poet. But how I got to this point is another story. Is in fact many stories.

January 28, 2005

theory of everything

Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything is a radio half-hour worth checking out. Episode 8 features a remarkable story told by a woman named Kara and an interview with Joe Davis, an artist who recorded women's vaginal contractions, translated them into radio signals and shot them into space.

relics of the ages

Someone claiming to be a disgruntled National Public Radio staffer is selling an NPR fleece jacket supposedly worn by Bob Edwards. "I'm parting with this new and perfect item because I miss Bob and the memories are too painful." Up next: a vial of sweat.

Paging 37 signals

The NYC Straphangers publish a weekly digest of subway diversions. This week's N train diversions are especially heinous. However much I'm grateful for the advance notice, there must be some way to map out these changes than a bulleted list. Any ideas? A schedule, a mini map? Lazyweb, I invoke thee!

January 27, 2005

101 bonkers magyar ads

101 entirely bizarre 1980s Hungarian adverts, via MeFi. Any translations required, please see me.

PS: I am now no longer posting to flux (even though this is arguably a lazy flux-ish post). Thanx to Nedlog for kicking me up the butt on this question.

January 26, 2005

this is how I read (when I read).

walking paper: iRead shuffle

What would happen if someone tried to apply the logic of the iPod shuffle to a library collection? I think it would be something like this.

nothing adventurous please

4. The manager for Stryper once prayed for me over the phone. It was so awesome. Definitely one of the most moving interview moments yet. She asked me if it was OK if she just started praying for me, and I was like, Let It Rock. She busted out a passionate, heartfelt plea to the Lord on my behalf, and it was so real and so forceful I actually felt something happen in my heart. Something got warm and light inside me. I had never talked to her about my love life, but she told me, Kate, there is a dark figure standing next to you, smothering your little light and trying to smother you. Dear Lord, protect beautiful Kate and let her light shine into the world. She has an important gift to bring to the world!

Kate Sullivan runs down the love advice she's gotten from rock stars.

Is randomWalks hibernating? Should we delete randomWalks and make flux randomWalks? Should we turn our clothes inside-out? Because the failure of randomWalks is owned by each and all of us. Let's make love to the failure. Help each other rip down our Ministries of the Interior. Read Rilke out loud to each other in the nude. Learn to homebrew. Make giant paper-mache skulls and wear them while stabbing each other in the snowy parks with Nerf Fencing epees. Write collaborative poems again and make newspaper hats. Where's the bridge? Has anyone seen the bridge?

January 19, 2005

moleskinerie: Writing Tips PDF

I printed my writer's tips on one side of a sheet of paper and a .pdf map of Middle Earth on the other. It is perhaps the single most useful piece of paper ever printed. I can mock my friends' extensive use of the passive voice and their barbarously bad use of adverbs and then diagram the battle of Minias Tirith with a single piece of paper.

moleskinerie: Writing Tips PDF

January 15, 2005

I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside

"What a time we live in! Traditions are imploding and exploding everywhere -- everything is coming together, for better or worse, and we can no longer pretend we're all living in different worlds because we're on different continents. At times it feels like we're on the verge of an apocalypse -- the war in Iraq, the tsunami, physical and social upheavals everywhere.

And yet on a personal level, we have access to cultures that simply weren't available to us even 20 years ago. Think of the way America has changed -- of all the new traditions we know about now, from clothing to food to films to martial arts, all of these pretty much unknown when we were growing up. I travel the world, and I'm happy to say that America is still the great melting pot -- maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point, but you know what I mean. Despite the redneck, cowboy elements we have in this country -- which are real and which we maybe don't like so much -- the fact remains that most Americans are genuinely interested in many different cultures and in learning to embrace them. I hope that this symphony -- that all my music -- is helping that process along."
Those elements Philip Glass is talking about aren't really "redneck" or "cowboy." They just play them on television.

January 6, 2005

my birthday is soon

My kids and I have a new mission in life. We have a ready response to companies and institutions that try to stun the unwashed public into submission by drugging us with video Valium. In airport waiting areas, where all people want is a chance to read or sleep, there is finally a way to silence CNN. In queues at the dry cleaner or in the jurors' waiting room, you can finally stop the blaring video messages. TV-B-Gone fits neatly on a key chain. Tuck it in your palm, aim, press and you're back in control of your life.

Marc Fisher is enjoying his TV-B-Gone.

meditation studies

"What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before," said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior. "Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance." It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.

How meditating can change your brain.

January 3, 2005

"I'd like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts."

"Our representative democracy is not working because the Congress that is supposed to represent the voters does not respond to their needs. I believe the chief reason for this is that it is ruled by a small group of old men."

I found Chisholm's "Unbought and Unbossed" in a Berkeley bookstore about three and a half months ago. Word of her passing makes it first on my reading list for this year.

January 1, 2005

dr. love

Listen up, you grain-fed honky dickweeds - not just you, WW, but every fucking honky out there needs to hear this. We're not alive for very long. Have you noticed this, dickcheeses? We do not have all the fucking time in the world to draw up cost-benefit analyses on potential long-term pairings. If you're not swept the fuck away by your lady, move the fuck on. If you're not gritting your teeth and biting the palm of your hand like goddamn Squiggy every time she walks by, get over it. If you're not having the best sex of your life - and this is when you do that, dummies, in your mid-fucking-thirties, this is your big fucking shot at great sex, or at least this is where it starts - if you're not blown away, freaking out, breaking out, thrilled, shivery, talking a lot, sending stupid fucking emails to each other, rolling around, sighing, bragging, buying dumb little gifts - then how do you think you'll feel in a few years when you're fucking old and creaky and you have three little doo-doo factories in residence? You fucking dumbass honky-ass losers.

This is how you find the man/woman of your dreams, stupids: You refuse to waste time on the man/woman of your loneliness-fueled spreadsheets. And if you can't get worked up over anyone... well, Jesus, what is wrong with you? Can you get worked up over anything at all? Here in LA, lots of people wax romantic about movies, but when it comes to their real lives, they're fucking numb and alienated and don't see the raw thrill, the breathtaking drama of every little minute. Blahblahblah boringcakes, motherfuckers! The girl who made you your coffee this morning has beautiful green eyes, and she paints weird portraits of her customers and keeps chocolate and rope stashed in her nightstand and she reads books about gardening and she knows what she wants. You could spend the next two months in bed, honkwinders, getting tied up and eating chocolate and watching old movies in the middle of the night. You could be swooning and sighing and feeling like the world is opening up like a flower. So why are you watching "Survivor" with that guy who bores the shit out of you, and pisses you off, and doesn't give a flying fuck about how you feel, ever, and mostly just wants you to get to the point and stop crying? Why are you heating up canned soup and wondering about the long-term viability of negotiating a reasonably satisfying coexistence with someone 3,000 miles away?

Advice from Heather Havrilesky, via Kate Sullivan.

get cookin'

Why do they call it Hoppin' John?