Monthly Archives: October 2004

Sad news

I'm very sad to write that friend Bboy, founder of the Eunuch Archive passed away. I knew him as a friend and as an “aligned” publisher for I think about eight years, and during that time he worked tirelessly, along with Talula and others to provide vital support for the eunuch community. I don't really know what to say, so I'll just repost Talula's message (more on his page and on EA) until I can compose something appropriate. He was too young and too loved for this to happen, but I suppose that isn't always enough.

I am having a very hard time typing this.

Bboy has passed on.

The doctors did some preliminary tests, decided there was no point in going on, and his folks decided that it would be better to let him pass in peace rather than to let him stay on.

From all that I understand, they unplugged the machines that kept him alive and he slipped away from us very quickly.

This is not a good day.


October 28, 2004

OK, worst hotel ever. Even though we're a little down the hall from it, the elevator beep volume is deafening, and the plumbing is malfunctioning so there's literally something that sounds exactly like and is as loud as a fire alarm going off periodically. Oh, and there's construction and jack hammering outside our window as they rebuild the courtyard. So there's not been a lot of much needed sleeping. We're checking out today and going to a different hotel.

After that I think we'll take a walk down by the old harbor, so I'll post those pictures later today if I can.

Other than that, Sy Hersh has a quote on why it's so hard for Kerry to get a lead on Bush (more) which sort of echoes the studies on how Bush supporters are highly disconnected from reality and have far less understanding of science, history, world events, and so on in comparison to normal people.

"I think one thing you have to face up to is the fact there are roughly 70 million people in America who do not believe in evolution - and those are Bush supporters."

One of the fundamental failings of democracy is that for it to work, you really do need an intelligent and well informed voter pool. If not, you end up with Iraq, which is ready to vote in an Islamic government, or America which is still in favor of Bush, although the tide is slowly turning. In the shadow of Amnesty International pointing out that the US has not changed it's pro-torture stance (more), Hersh has also been talking more about the tortures he's seen (more). Some excerpts:

So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad: We want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And, as [the soldier] told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, "Stop!" And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts.... And the company captain said, "No, you dont understand. Thats a kill. We got 36 insurgents."

The women [at Abu Ghraib] were passing messages out saying, Please come and kill me because of whats happened. And basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children ... the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has, and theyre in total terror its going to come out.

Other than that, Rumsfeld admits that the US had no plans on how to deal with insurgency (more) — even though they'd started planning the war in the late 90s (more). Both US (more) and Iraqi (more) officials are debunking the various spins on where the missing 380 tons of explosives went, including the notion that Russia did it (more). The fact is, a convoy of 40 to 60 trucks moving 380 tons of explosives isn't going to be missed in a tiny country under constant air and satellite surveillance. The US government should know perfectly well where it is, no matter how many times Bush comes up with a new reason (more, more) — sound familiar?

Anyway, this computer is missing some of its keys so writing these entries is a pain in the ass. If you'd like to stay up to date, here are three great resources:

Metafilter is also pretty good at posting relevant links, although the above three my favorites.

All that said, it's really the 2008 election that's going to be interesting… After all, with the US having as little as four and a half years of domestic oil supplies left, if hostilities between the US and the rest of the world continue to rise, it will be forced to go to all out war, probably nuclear, simply to keep itself fed (more). Welcome to the apocalypse (more, more, more).

They say hurricaines are a symptom of global warming. Maybe that's why almost 60,000 absentee ballots in Florida just went missing (more)?

Thought you might like Bush's “one fingered victory salute” to America (his quote on it). Of course, I think I can say with some certainty that this video might even help Bush get re-elected… sad.

Some pictures

I'm enjoying this city a lot so far, but the police baracades at the government buildings and the big lines of cops are a little disconcerting. But I suppose I've filmed riots in Toronto, so I can't say what its larger meaning is. Anyway, since us North Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world is a shanty town, I wanted to post a few more pictures.

Malls look the same everywhere in the world

As I wrote, this is a very diverse city that reminds me of a lot of places. But these two pictures from the pedestrian shopping district really reminded me a lot of Amsterdam.

There's a lot of nice older architecture as well, although it does seem a little beaten down both by age, and judging by the amount of anti-government grafitti on them, I suspect that to some extent it has a political connection to previous (or current) regimes that are none too popular.

Finally, these last two pictures are from the Plaza de Mayo (like a central town square).

As far as getting around in English, I'd say it's about as easy as getting around Toronto in French… Definitely do-able, but I'm guessing about 10% of people speak English well enough to have a conversation (and it's not really hard to navigate the rest of it gesturally when it comes down to it). Pricing seems to be about 40% to 90% what it would cost in Canada or America. I wish we were able to stay longer; I'd love to travel farther south, but that'll have to wait until next year.

First impressions

Flying over South America I was really struck by how wet it is. At least for the parts where it was daytime, there were rivers and lakes everywhere. And the occasional thing on fire.

The weather is quite nice here, probably about the same as Toronto around a month ago. Cool, but bright and sunny and warm at the same time. Argentina, at least from here on south, reminds me of Canada geographically quite a lot. So far Buenos Aires is a funny mix of every city I've ever been to; there's a bit of Toronto, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Montreal, and even a bit of Caribbean flavor — incredibly diverse and cosmopolitan at first glance. It's pretty run down though, you can definitely see that while a lot of wealth has flowed through this nation but that it's been hurting for some time financially.

Those are just a couple quick pictures of the (under construction) hotel courtyard. Other than that we just went out on a pharmacy run, as Rachel has some mystery disease. If it's worse tomorrow we're going to have to seek out real medical care.

Thanks to la negra and Javier for picking us up at the airport.


Some of you remember that I used to travel with a small photo album of heavy modification photos. This was back in the day when almost all my photos were film and then scanned — before digital cameras became the norm or even affordable. Today I picked up a little die-sub printer so I could put that album back together for the Argentina trip.

It was a bit of an ordeal getting it — first I picked up Canon's Photo Dock mini-printer, which is supposed to work “with or without a computer”, and came with a USB connection. So I figured that it would work “with a computer” but it turns out that's just a confusing way of saying that it works only when directly connected to their camera. The USB connection? It's just a pass-through so you still download the pictures. You can't send a picture from the computer to the printer at all!

Wasted time. So I returned that, and picked up Canon's model, which looked like a better printer anyway, and was a lot cheaper both for the printer and the media. Unfortunately the store had lost the power supply for their remaining model, so it meant a third trip to another store to finally get it. I've got it installed now though and the output is very nice so I'll have my album back together shortly.

That said, Rachel is morbidly sick right now — in bed with a fever and all the rest of the influenza symptoms that polite people don't talk about. My stomach is a little rough right now but I've been putting a lot of effort into staying healthy, controlling what I eat and drink, and so on… but if she doesn't have some kind of radical overnight recovery the trip will have to be scrubbed, which sucks, but bigger things are on the horizon so fear not.

On the way home from getting the camera I bumped into Kerri/Slug who some of you know so I thought I'd mention that she's on her way to New Orleans, like all good lost souls are, at one point anyway. Hope she does better than our good friend and ACLU lawyer, George Hanson, who was beaten to death before getting to Mardi Gras. But I suspect she's tougher than George.

Got a letter from my old friend Lara in Hong Kong, who I've known for even longer than I've been doing BME (isn't that crazy). That's her in the newspaper picture with the Lotus Seven above but I have no idea what it says. Anyway, this is an excerpt from the letter:

I went to Beijing for my birthday this year and it was splendid but I hardly ever leave HK and have a lot to do here. It's like the US in a lot of ways and suffers from people blindly wanting material gain no matter what. Our fishermen having been losing money just for their jobs because the sea is polluted and the fish are scarce. Many honest people are at risk of losing their livelihood at the hands of people who are corrupt and have no regard for others.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that this is the US versus whoever, or any nation versus another. Almost all the hardship in the world right now sprouts exclusively from rich people clamoring to become richer, at the expense — and with the effort of — the poor of the world. Unfortunately though, rich people are very good at convincing poor people that they're border defined enemies… of course, at the end of the day, the rich people all deposit their money at the same bank and understand that they are on the same team.

Along those lines, I'll also mention that I got passed on the highway by a silver Porsche Carrera, widened and lowered, zipping in and out of traffic at well over 150 mph — probably one of the most aggressive drivers I've seen on Toronto roads. It was a big heavy-set black guy, and especially for those of you who've been nailed for DWB the license plate will be a gas — NOT STLN