Monthly Archives: December 2004

Cosmic Coincidence Control Centre, .mx

I've had a very full day. It seems so complete that it almost seems a shame to normalize it with work, or even to booze it up for New Years. Rachel and I began by driving down the coast a ways, although not that far to be honest.

Some of you may find this strange, but I think the first time I ever saw a cactus (in the wild) was in 1999 or whenever it was that Dave and I drove across America. The difference between cacti in American and in Mexico is the ones along the road here have less bullet holes in them. This set of photos is from just past La Paz.

Had lunch again at El Quinto del Sol, a vegetarian restaurant and sort of general purpose natural products store not that different from one you'd find in trendy parts of Toronto (although the prices are about half). Below are a few pictures of downtown La Paz to give you a general idea of what you may be seeing around the time of the yet unscheduled BMEfest.

More and more this seems like the right place for it. Don't bother looking at flights yet, because unless you really “get” how to trick the travel system, you'll have a skewed idea of pricing — if this is what we decide, Rachel will put together a guide showing you how you can get here on the cheap.

Anyway, as we were ordering our food — veggie burgers (sorry, can't remember the term) con papas sin queso — the guy at the table next to us struck up a conversation. Although I am at this point over thirty, I've still got that “don't trust anyone over thirty” gut response so I imagine my initial responses were a little stilted. As it turns out, he was of the same mind on the matter.

"Where are you two from?"

"Canada... Toronto."

pause

"Do you know the book Modern Primitives?"

I told you a little while ago about the thrill of bumping into Patricia Morley at the post office, well, no offense Patricia, but this was much more exciting. He'd mentioned Modern Primitives because it had been published by friends of his; we were sitting across from Johnny Strike of the seminal punk band Crime (interview; check out Swami Records for the re-release). I realize that at this point about half of you have just had your jealousy glands erupt, and the other half are just going “huh…?”

Johnny told us about travelling through Tangiers, Southeast Asia, and the other adventures which are documented in his recently published novel Ports of Hell — in another interesting coincidence it is published by HeadPress who I've written for in the past — if I recall correctly they published a version of this interview with Ricki Lee King. I always hate linking those old interviews… Not that I'm a very good writer now yet, but back them my writing absolutely sophomoric.

After eating we walked down Independencia and visited Rafael at his studio Symbiosis which is perhaps the only piercing-only studio (not including beach shacks in Cabo San Lucas) on the Baja.

It was super hot at his studio because he was just fixing the plumbing — unfortunately we couldn't stay long because Johnny had kindly offered a copy of his book — note to self, ask Ryan to send him a copy of the ModCon book — and we were meeting him at the “Pekin” Chinese hotel and restaurant. On the right is a picture of his book, and of us on the roof of the hotel.

You can get the book from Headpress here (if that link doesn't work for you, try this one). I'm enjoying it so far, but don't just take my word for it — here's what William S. Burroughs had to say about it:

Just got around to reading the pages you sent and was agreeably surprised These are real maps of real places. That is what marks the artist, he has been there and brought it back.

I've burned through far more time than I should have packed into the afternoon's bowl, but today's encounters have made me feel even more that this move was the right decision. I wonder though — every day out has brought something special… how long can that continue?

Lies, lies truth, and more lies

First a letter to the editor that came in this New Years's eve morning. It's sad to me that people don't understand that body modification isn't something deviant and dark — that it's something positive and life affirming that's helping people and saving lives.

From: Lisa Kay
Subject: non support

I saw your site on the web

I find you and yours deplorable and disgusting.

Why push the bod mod?

Kids today have it hard enough trying to get a part time job at a movie theatre.

I wish that you wouldnt push this at the kids. Thats where you make your money. I understand that. Its sad.

LisaTasler

Like I said, it's just really sad, because I'm sure “Lisa Kay/Tasler” really believes what she's writing, and really feels that by taking away the right of ownership of ones body one is somehow helping young people. I wish there was some way to express to these people that their attitudes are causing pain and suffering, and that it's they that are the sick freaks behaving unaturally. I point out again that the oldest and purest form of human expression and introspection is body modification and body rites. Anyone who doesn't live under that credo is by definition deviant.

   …and some people have aspirations in life other than working at a movie theatre.

Anyway, I was reading FOXnews's “10 good things that happened this year” article and thought I should make a few comments.

FOX Claim: “Americas kids are all right. Juvenile violent crime has fallen every year — and nearly halved — since 1995”

Comment: Well, first of all, let's look at the math. Let's imagine that a million crimes were committed by youths in 1995. Now let's divide it in half every year and see what we end up with for 2004 when we follow that geometric progression:
      1996: 500,000
      1997: 250,000
      1998: 125,000
      1999: 62,500
      2000: 31,250
      2001: 15,625
      2002: 7,813
      2003: 3,906
      2004: 1,953
So for some reason I doubt the math genies over at FOX. Want to know why juvi crime is down? It's down because more juveniles are being tried as adults. It's a fucking word game. The problem is getting worse — it just has a new name.

Note: It has been pointed out to me that the problem may be that I'm no reading genie (and it's halved in a decade, not every year). Nonetheless the reason for the reduction is still the shift in prosecution styles.

Aww, screw it. Every claim they make is ridiculous and a full-on lie. “The world is safer” and “America is the cleanest country in the world” and so on? Give me a break. Do people really believe this junk? Gotta love doublethink. Do people really believe that dropping out of environmental treaties, rolling back pollution laws, and so on results in a cleaner environment?

You want freedom? I'm loving Spain who just approved gay marriage. Good for them. There are three deciding factors that make a nation free (not in and of themselves, but because they are “indicators”):

  • Recognition and legal protection of gay marriage and other lifestyles
  • Complete legal expression including all forms of adult pornography
  • Legalization or decriminalization of marijuana and other soft drugs

Why those things? Because those are the three essential core freedoms that you need in order to have a society that respects a person's right to do anything they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else. If you have them, everything else falls into place. A nation that doesn't have those is not entirely free… and freedom is absolute. You're either free or you're not. You're either alive or you're not.

I was looking at satellite photos from beaches in Indonesia; here is an animation I made of a before and after shot of one of the regions that got hit the hardest:

My attitudes on charity are no secret, but if you do want to help out, here are two groups that I strongly recommend: Doctors Without Borders and Telecoms Without Borders (some of you may also want to volunteer for the latter, although you'll see some screwed up EHM stuff along the way probably).

Sunsets in La Paz

While it's true that it's not BVI (warning: video link), the sunsets here are still really pretty. We're in the very inside of a sheltered bay, so they all take place behind the mountains. Here are a few pictures that I took while taking a break (the update is about 50% processed).

Other than that I keep getting TOS complaints about users that don't even exist.

OneVrySxyBlnd: This same person keeps coming in the same chat rooms, being very nasty , rude and abnoxiously picking fights with people on purpose and threatens to harm & sue in a court of law particular people who retaliate against her for posting thier private phone numbers, mailing address's as well as additional private information about them in open chat rooms which can bring disasterous effects and situations to innocent people caught blind sided. She has been reported before for the same mischief behavior amd lied her way back on to AOL to continue this same unwelcomed behavior. She must have her account taken permanantly away so she can stop being a threat and a stalking harrasser before someone gets hurt.

Fatso Patrol: This person is being rude putting down other in the room.I think his or her account should be taking away from this person

ANTEGIA3 SEXUALLY HARASSES ME WHILE I AM CHATTING WITH SOMEONE ELSE. HE CALLS ME A WHORE AND ASKS ME HOW MUCH I MAKE A DAY AS A CALL GIRL. THIS IS JUST AN SAMPLE OF THE KIND OF VERBAL ABUSE.

SOC631 THIS PERSON SENDS ME AN EMPTY E-MAIL TWO MINUTES LATER FACES APPEARED ON THE ENTIRE SCREEN AND MY COMPUTER FROZE. HAD TO RE-BOOT MY COMPUTER TRY TO SIGN-ON AGAIN TO THE GREEK CHAT ROOM AND THE SAME THING APPEARED (FACES) THE COMPUTER WAS STILL FROZEN THIS ONLY HAPPENS WHEN I SIGN IN THE GREEK CHAT DOES NOT HAPPEN ON ANY OTHER BRISTRO ROOMS.

THEN I CALLED LIVE HELP AND ANTHONY FROM AOL STAFF WAS WILLING TO HELP AND AS I STARTED TO WRITE MY COMPLAINT MY FROZE AGAIN. THEN I CALLED AOL HELP LINE ON THE TELEPHONE.

THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ABOUT THREE MONTHS AND I NEED YOU AOL TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PROBLEM IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU SEE TO THIS MATTER IS TAKEN CARE IMMEDIATELY. SOMEONE AT THIS GREEK SIGHT IS MAKING ALOT OF TROUBLE FOR ME AND I DON'T THINK THIS SHOULD BE HAPPENING. I AM ALWAYS RESPECTFUL AND POLITE WHEN I ENTER THE ROOM I THINK I DESERVE THE SAME RESPECT. AND I DEMAND THIS RESPECT AND AOL SHOULD BE CHECKING ON MEMBERS WHO ARE STARTING TROUBLE.

I have no idea if it's some kind of automated posting system or if some nut actually can't tell the difference between IAM's TOS form and AOL customer support.

Sanity sometimes sounds callous

The pictures below are of seven+ star hotels in Dubai [more], an Arab emirates city in the Middle East. They are considered some of the best if not the best hotels in the world. Unbelievable amounts of money have been spent and are spent in this region:

Because of its “if you've got money, you're A-OK” extradition laws, UAE is a choice destination for South Asian and Middle Eastern multi-millionaire crime lords as much as it is for earth-raping proletariate-abusing shieks. It's also a police state nation with no respect for civil rights (or anything else) for anyone who's not ultrawealthy, so fuck Dubai..

Here's what you need to do. Scrounge up the $2,000 a night it costs to stay at one of these hotels, dress the part, and walk in with a nice laptop on which you've installed some good packet sniffing software. Install keyloggers where you can. Take advantage of unpatched Windows boxes in the business centre. Whatever. But get those machines monitored. If you do, I guarantee that within two days you will have access to billions of dollars.

Maybe you can donate it to the tsunami fund if you can figure out how to launder it. Me? Personally I don't really care about taking their dirty money. I think I'd rather just start transferring money between emirates randomly and screw up their accounting as much as possible. The faster these empires fall the sooner the world can start to heal.

That said, don't (only) donate to the tsunami funds. I've been watching people donate so much money and time to the various tsunami funds. Blogs have popped up to help people donate, eBay is filled with people (many of them scammers I'm sure) promising to donate their sales, and I'm even getting email from piercers who want to donate their tips to help. First, let me be clear that I think it's wonderful that people want to help out on this. But please consider what I'm about to say.

This tsunami killed about 100,000 people. Perhaps it will turn out to be more. That's a lot of people of course and it's a terrible disaster, but as I mentioned previously, 50,000 people die every single day of causes that we could easily prevent. Even if it hits a quarter million, that's five days of preventable hunger and disease deaths. Five days. In fact, many of those deaths occur in the very region the tsunami struck. I find it fascinating, sad, and disturbing that no one cared about the deaths there until a flamboyant natural disaster struck.

I guess everyone wants to be a part of something big.

But let me point out a simple truth:

If the money being donated to the fashionable tsunami relief funds was instead donated to poverty relief and sustainable hunger solutions, we could save millions and millions of lives. That is, by channeling our aid efforts toward the tsunami instead, we are making the decision to let a lot of people die.

I guess the question is if you want to make real change, or if you want to feel good about helping out on something dramatic?

I'm sorry if that's hard to hear. All I'm trying to say is that if you really want to help people, as much as it truly is desperately needed in Sri Lanka, it's desperately needed all over the world, and whether you want to hear this or not, it'll do a lot more good in other places. If that sounds disturbing to you, then you're starting to understand just how big this problem is.

Unlike natural disasters which are almost wholly out of our control, excesses of hunger, poverty, and disease are almost exclusively byproducts of the decisions we've made culturally. They are our fault. The good news is that they're relatively inexpensive and comprably easy to fix. The bad news is that relatively few rich people give a damn when someone poor starves to death.

Yeah, you're rich.

What, you say “but I only make $4.50 an hour”? Well, they don't even make a dollar a day. You're rich. If you can read this, you are rich.

The odds of you starving to death or facing their level of poverty are slim to none, as much as life can still suck here when you don't have enough to pay your bills… So maybe it's not worth caring about. Tsunamis on the other hand, well, not only are they flashy, but they're also going to eventually wipe out New York City and plenty of other places that rich people live. Maybe that's the explanation, I don't know.

Even if you don't want to donate the money, let me point out the obvious again:

An F/A-22 fighter jet costs $258 million, and 277 are on order. If 150 were ordered instead, that would leave an extra $33 billion in the budget. The estimated cost for permanently curing hunger and malnutrition is $21 billion.

That's your money, your tax money being consumed. Money well spent, right?


Now that's a good investment!

That said, given the tiny percentage of people even willing to go to the effort to recycle their garbage, cut down on their water or meat intake, or any number of other small things that can create big change, maybe it is time to just let the system crash. Those that don't die in the plagues will understand that we need to rebuild the world into something better.

Holy hell do my posts sound deranged some days.

New TOS rule: Mensa members only

Read another 6,000 emails. One of them included this image submission (literally this image; nothing else, just this, no tattoos, no mods, just a filterd picture of a face):

Obviously I don't really have a place for that picture on BME, and the submittor got a form letter letting them know I didn't have a section on BME for that photo. They got so angry at me that they deleted their IAM page and sent me the following message:

please remove me from membership. I'll take the 10 buck loss. thanks ... rejecting pictures as not having a category for your particular tattoo or whatever the fuck is absurd. The pic I submitted was a tribal. you have a tribal category. make sure I do not exist in your database. thanks again.

Yeah, whatever, like I need more anger directed at me.

Well, now you don't exist in the database any more. Enjoy.