March 30, 2003
These days, I feel like a student. I have been sitting more than I like, writing grant applications, finishing articles, and reading up on really academic stuff. The world of writing is not the world of fieldwork and though I am excited about the former I will miss the later.
I had to take a couple of breaks as the weekend in San Francisco was incredible, at least weather wise, reminding me why I am not crazy about this city (too cool).
My breaks started with a war protest–> critical mass ride that was luxurious. Yes, we got to ride in tee-shirts at night, the vibe was great and best of all was riding through the tunnel!!!!. Yay, it was so fun. Dinner with Micah and Ascott rounded off a fine evening.
I sat on my b(iella)ehind the following day as every other human being was having a good time in SF. But at least I got a lot done and found out that baby coconut water is the WAY to go when it comes to coconut kefir. The bad thing is that baby coconuts are hard to find and I think I busted my beloved drill making holes to extract the liquid. Lord, getting the kefiring process down is not easy.
But the highlight of my weekend was today. I could not sit another minute so I finally went to do what is my favorite thing in “da world”: play ultimate. After a 22 month hiatus, playing was solid, uncarved joy. There is nothing like chasing down a disc and I really can’t explain why but it is like the sublime for me. Everything empties out except pure experience. Perhaps it is testament to the fact that:
1) I don’t let myself get lost enough in other experiences or 2) that I don’t do enough drugs.
I only wish I could throw myself into wiritng and get that same type of pleasure from writing as I do with running around on a field chasing after plastic. You know go “all out” with that theory, dive for the perfect terms, thrill with the punch line.
March 25, 2003
Why do hackers always have to change everything?
God grant me the valium to accept the things I cannot change
The Speed to change the things I can
And the LSD the know the difference!
Grant Me The Serenity
To Accept The Things
I Cannot Change,
Couage To Change
The Things I Can, And
To Know The Differe.ce
March 24, 2003
I lament the maleness of the Net, geek culture, and tech activism. But then, once in a while, a counter-force strikes back and in this case, her name is hep. She has been on the streets lately reporting back constantly on IRC through her “heptop”. Mother to kids and iguanas, activist, geek, and an immigrant, she really surprises.
Flora is good. Bacteria can be good (or bad). Friendly stomach bacteria (also known as your flora) is really really great. I am a bit obsessed with getting high quality flora in my tummy but since I don’t do dairy and soy yogurt is too high in sugar for me, I rely on pills.
But recently, I found out that one could culture coconut water making a pretty damn fine coconut kefir. I have spent the last two weeks getting the process down for making it homemade and I think tonight, I can declare my coconut kefiring ways a *success*. It has been an arduous, sometimes bumpy process for sure: Where to get the kefir starter, finding the best means to open the coconuts (drills are magic tools), and then there was the pesky problem of finding the “right” supplier of the brown spheres of joy. Most places around the mission sold them and sold them cheap but a good one in three were rotten. And one rotten nut will spoil the bunch.
But Rainbow grocery seems to sell a steady supply of high quality not-rotten coconuts so I am sticking to them. Today, I drilled a bunch of them, poured the water, added the bacteria, and vuallaaa tomorrow I hope to have some good tasting fluid to deliver my high quality flora. Flora which really is fauna! Here is the recipe if you would like to try at home.
March 23, 2003
Leave it to the good old French to propose
classification of Free Software as an intangible world cultural heritage. I like the spirit of this as it shows how a lot of free software developers really do think and act upon the larger socio-political meaning and importance of what they do.
Praveen responded to one of our friends on email about why it is important to protest. His answer is below.
Your analysis of the rights we enjoy in America is almost exclusively a
“left coast” thing – san francisco, portland, and seattle have all been
fought for hard to remain a place that’s not under total lockdown. As I
type this, I’m seeing the report of my friend Dave Worth in NM shot by a
rubber bullet for being in a small peaceful protest of 300- a
demonstration that was surrounded by SWAT and gassed:
Granted it wasn’t a live bullet. If the crowd was any larger, it would
have been a live bullet. But, I’d like to point out,
that right now:
– tens of thousands of middle eastern immigrants are being wholesale
monitored, detained, and deported with no good reason
– the U.S. prison population is pushing 2 million in wholesale
concentration camp style class warfare, with a vast
disproportion being latino or black.. As the general public turns a blind
eye against what they see as a “criminal class”.
– political activists are time and again monitored, railed against,
I don’t want to be negative or a downer, and you know as well as I do the
situation here…. There have been a lot of critiques about U.S.
imperialism throughout the entire world, but we as americans are just as
subjugated as the rest of the world.
Who do the streets belong to? It’s a matter of perspective. It’s a big
cultural gap between myself and mainstream america. If you come from the
neighborhoods and the class where I do, it certainly doesn’t belong to
us. It’s tough to convey some of this living in the Bay Area (an
island of public discourse)… But I’ll give it a shot… Walk along the
streets from your house to the stores or to your workplace. Is it your
streets? Or is it Krispy kreme’s? Or the mega realtor that owns the
neighborhood? The class, the wrong race, being homeless, and you must
keep moving- you are a criminal if you don’t. I say this from a very
personal perspective. The U.S. has developed a compulsion to keep what
they don’t like out of their reality, and have legislated it thusly. If
it’s not for sale and it’s at all publicly empowering, we have to
legislate it out of existence. If there is even a risk of cutting into
profits, we must legislate it out of existence. Keep the homeless out of
the suburbs, keep the shanty towns down, lock them in prison. Keep the
kids on curfew, keep minorities working in the industries where they
What’s happened because of this compulsion of real estate prices is we
have effectively choked all forms of physical communication
networking between people across the country.
You know already know this. This is why you are talking to me.
Let’s say the protests yesterday were predominantly latino or black.
Would we be seeing the same news? Or would we be seeing a “riot” instead
of demonstrations? What would the body count be then?
The reason the left and these protests have been able to sustain the
pretext of “civil disobedience” and the ONLY reason we haven’t had people
disappearing in the U.S. is because of a great legacy left by communists
and christian radicals: NETWORK network network. Get your voice out
there and get it LOUD. Were we in the pre-internet era, and were there no
indymedia, there would be no protests because they would have been
squelched before they started (see cointelpro), and you wouldn’t have
known about them.
10 years ago, the only people who would know what the “WTO” is are
economist and conspiricy wingnuts. 10 years ago, the actions of the U.S.
in foreign countries would not have even been known unless you were a
wingnut. Remember the Panamanian invasion? Did you ever heard about the
U.S. bombing raids over peasant farmers?
March 22, 2003
Since the threat of war, I have been attending the many protests in SF, a city whose lifeblood is that of public outpouring of protest. Yet, on Thursday, the protests were different: rawer, richer, and more simple.
Yes simple. The emotions were in your face. People were upset over an unjust war; the clashes with the police was a raw meetings of opposition, the solidarity was palpable. But the simplicity lay in the power of taking over the streets, of halting traffic, and the normal humdrum of the city. It was a simple yet total instantiation of what a city or any community is supposed to be and mean for its inhabitants: a space for its inhabitants. Strangers and friends were visible everywhere, bodies strung literally and metaphorically together, forcing a disruption to let people know that the war is no game even if CNN et al present otherwise.
We were all anti-war. But the public outcry was so much more. Going to war was done in such a wholeheartedly, stark, and nauseating fashion that even your average apathetic American has been moved into action. Those who were already acting, acted with more passion.
There is something very empowering about taking over streets and yes, shutting them down as a very vivid, dramatic, but really simple reminder that it is “the people” who should control the life blood of our communities whether you conceive of that at a local, city, or national level. Taking over the streets is sometimes the only way that a large mass of citizens can feel that power and really that democratic right especially given these times when the political process is so clouded, obscure, and directly manipulated by the powers that be.
The next day I went out to participate more in the continuing protests. The police had clamped down more directly so that the streets were only sporadically taken over. It made me realize just how deeply San Franciscans halted the normalcy of life that day before. I hope that these counter movements grow stronger, that they rise with the dropping of every toxic bomb that the US releases
March 16, 2003
It was quite a trip: Flew from Oakland to Reno to Portland late on Thursday night, hung out with Comfrey and Micah for the evening, sleep, woke up, hung out in Portland for the afternoon on bike, and then drove back down to SF with Micah and h0mee without stopping (except for some dawn breakfast). We primarily battled rain and then exhaustion and then by the time we got to SF, I felt utter pain and sickness from drinking two cups of coffee right before leaving and staying up viritually all night. It felt like my soul was in the process of dying and/or escaping my body. The worst part was that I felt like I woul never feel normal again. But sleep is an amazing thing: 24 hours later and I am nearly back to normal.
The reason for such a short and hasty trip was to see Portland before leaving the west coast, visiting Comfrey, and helping Micah drive down (although sadly, none of us helped drive). From what I saw, Portland was a very cool city–> very bike friendly, eco-oriented, and compact. It kinda reminded me of a west coast Madison, WI which also has a lot of bike lanes, food coops, and greenery (except for the winter).
One thing for sure, I am not going to stay up all night long riding in a car for a long long while, not if I want to keep my soul in tact.
March 13, 2003
Holy Moses. Check out this bibliography on all online papers on space and place. Crazy good.