Monthly Archives: January 2005

Quotes entry…

I've been talking about adding this entry to the BME Encyclopdia for a while, but the one on body art quotes has finally been added, at least in prototype form. I need your help to fill it out though (if you want an easy start, feel free to harvest the old interviews and other parts of BME.

The bodyart crowd is a loving, highly intelligent group, despite public opinion. Tattoos do not instantly mean convict. In this instance, they mean "computer geek."

- Keith Alexander, RABcon98 (more)

Spanish School

Spanish class is fun, but it's really tiring adding five or six hours of extra work to my schedule daily… It really gives me mad respect for women who are able to be single mothers, go to university, and hold down a job. It blows my mind in fact. My work? Simple in comparison! Among many other things, I had to write “tres oraciones verbas 'traer'” for homework…

  1. ¿¡¿Por qué traes la pistola?!?
  2. ¡Porque tú traes el cuchillo, ha ha!
  3. No… Traigo el tigre hambriento. ¡HA HA HA!

Yeah, I only know present tense right now, laugh it up.

Luckily this isn't the sort of class that's graded.

Anyway, another guy joined our class today, so now there are four of us and I'm no longer in last place in terms of comprehension. David's age is hard to place… eventually deeply tanned people all look the same to me, and he's been living the nomadic life out of the back of his truck for the last six years, living for a while in every one of the continentual states, and a month and a half having ago crossed into Mexico to explore the Baja… He likes La Paz so much — nicest place he's been yet he says — that he's setting up camp here to learn the language.

After school we had lunch at one of the many little diners that sit along the waterfront of the downtown. It's been windy these past few days so there's a lot of seaweed on the beach, as well as quite a few not so happy looking — but stoic — seagulls having their feathers ruffled by the wind. As we ate we watched them and other birds perilously divebombing into the water and retrieving their catch of the day.

I'm looking forward to this upcoming storm season — a few years ago the winds hit two hundred miles an hour in the Sea of Cortez, piling many of the boats in the harbor up onto the beach in the pictures above and turning the streets into rivers. But with the stormy season come the whales.

Continued "buy nothing day" type BS

Please stop spamming me with “not one damn dime” messages telling me to not buy anything on Thursday the 20th. It's a stupid idea and it won't accomplish anything.

First of all, I live in Mexico. Before that I lived in Canada. I haven't lived in the United States for a very long time, nor do I plan to do so again any time soon. So you're wasting my time and yours writing me and insisting that I not buy anything on the day of Bush's innauguration.

Second of all, the “apathy approach” to resistance is a farce.

You might as well call it “buy twice as much stuff on Friday the 21st day”. You think the economy lives in a one day window, or that the “international media” is going to be reporting on the day that a bunch of over-spending consumers took down the President with their lack of gluttony? You think Bush gives a damn what The Guardian UK prints? He doesn't even care what the New York Times prints. Power has been seized. I feel like that dingleberry John Stossel here, but give me a break. If you do this, you can bet that the only end-effect is that those in power will be laughing at you.

If you don't buy anything on the 20th, one of two things will happen. If you then have to go and buy all those things afterwards, then you've accomplished nothing. However, if you don't, then you've illustrated that there's something fundamentally wasteful about your current spending. Fixing that is a lot more than one let's all pat ourselves on the back for doing nothing day — it's a lifestyle change that you either make for the long term, or not at all. If you can't cut down your spending, at least buy from small, local companies as much as you can though — that will make a difference.

Want to get Bush out of power through your spending and consumer profile? Don't buy from the megacorporations that put him in power. Hurt the corporation and you hurt the Republican political machine… although that would require effort and thought and even research. Who's up for it?

Writer Decision Made!!!

Making the decision as to who to hire as staff writers was an extremely difficult choice, one of the toughest BME dilemas I've ever had. There's no one on the final set that isn't writing better than I was when I started doing BME/News — and that's more of a commentary on their highly evolved skills, style, and talent, than my lack of them.

Making the decision I took into consideration their writing and interview abilities, their peripheral knowledge and skills that will help on the job (Photoshop work, HTML abilitiy), their life experiences, how they express themselves in their blogs, what the interviewees said about the interaction, personal impression (I've met both Matt and Jordon in person — his band played BMEfest 2003 among other things), gut instinct, and the advice of people who I trust to tell me the truth.

I even asked one of the authors to write a follow-up article (which will likely be posted as their first column) so I could be totally sure in my decision…!

When it comes down to it I don't have a single bad thing to say about any of these top three. I'd actually looked into the feasibility of hiring all of them, but I think it would be stretching myself a little more financially than I can afford to (although if this works out who knows, maybe). But… Without further blathering, here are the two new BME staff writers:

  

Congratulations! On the left is Jordan Ginsberg (IAM:snackninja), and on the right is Gillian Hyde (IAM:typealice). I'm very happy to have them on the team, and look forward to seeing the changes (maybe additions is a better word) that this is going to make to BME. I believe they can both bring things to the site that it needs that I cannot provide. The job starts in March officially, but don't be surprised if you start seeing things fire up much sooner than that!

I also want to say a giant thank you to Matt Lodder (IAM:volatile). It was an incredibly close decision and I know you could have done a great job and I hope we can work together in the future.

Interesting people in interesting places

One of the nicest things about living in a city with a high expat population is that you're constantly bumping into interesting people. Maybe the boring ones avoid me, but every gringo I've met down here has been a fascinating character (Johnny Strike for example).

Today I talked to two new people. The first is an old (well, not old, but older than me) sixties radical (now with the new left) from San Francisco who works at The Exploratorium and is relocating down here with her husband to escape a dying regime. The second was a pilot of thirty years who after retiring swore off airplanes and moved onto a 32' single hull sailboat with his wife — in the slip “next door” to him is a couple who just finished a twelve year old circumnavigation of the globe… Oh yeah, and his brother is Norman White, an eccentric robot artist that I'm sure some people reading this must know.

And the wonderful wonderful punchline is that the photo above is the heart of the downtown core of this city — no crime, perfect weather, friendly and interesting people… You know, we spend a lot of time in Canada, America, and I'm sure Europe as well, boasting to ourselves about how great a society we've created. But we're so inward looking. The more I travel and the more I see of this planet and its life, the more wonderful the world feels, and the more my concepts of hierarchy fall away.