"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Catching Out w/the Rastafarian Navy

Well, it's been light posting here these past few. The dog days of August are foggy in Westhaven, and the various tasks related to getting ready to leave for Burning Man have left me w/precious little time to do my creative writing exercises.

If all goes well, we'll hit the road tomorrow afternoon and get in on the midnight line. If there are snags, we may still try to make Nevada City, or we may just decide to start Monday morning. I want to be all set up be Monday night, because at 1:51 AM on Tuesday the full moon goes into eclipse.

I'm mildly perturbed that I'm not more excited about the whole event. We've got it all, of course: a huge shade structure; whiskey shotguns; bike trailers ready to blast dub reggae (or whatever); the full setup for a high quality shower structure; friends a-plenty; delectable foodstuffs; a 2000 watt generator and more. It's going to be a good little camp, and I'm definitely looking forward to getting out of America and away from my routine for a while.

Still, there's a lot of "been there done that" rattling around in my head. A disturbing trend in my life receives another datapoint. Josh Koenig needs to get out of his comfort zone.

I'm sure my sense of adventure will perk up sooner or later on this one, and in the mean time I'm having fun wrangling all the preparatory details. I plan on taking a bunch of video out there, so while I'll probably be radio-silent until early next week, I should come back loaded with the highest quality of content.

Until then, peace out.

Update: Rarrrr! Moamar blows something out ascending the first pass on the 299. The good news is we can make it home pretty easy. The bad news is my pickup is now shot and I've got to find some kind of rental solution.

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John From Cincinnati

They canceled the show, choked it out early really, which is why the last few felt kind of rushed. Cocksuckers. It wasn't the ratings monster that was The Sopranos, but it was doing about as well as Deadwood according to the stats, so I don't see what the problem was. It certainly didn't seem anywhere near as expensive as Rome to produce...

More stuff to plead with the suits, if you want. I honestly think given that they cut the 12-episode run to 10 that it's not coming back. Fools! Think of the cult DVD sales!

On the plus side, I was able to use it as a frame for a blog post about Ari Fleischer's return to politics ("Ari Fleischer should get back in the game"), so that's nice.

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The War As We Saw It

NY Times has published an editorial by seven non-commissioned officers in Iraq, which is absolutely piercing in its insight:

...it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

If you've been picking up even a fraction of the current yammering going on over the value of the Surge -- which is going to get a renewal sometime after Labor Day, I'd wager -- the contrast set by this piece couldn't be more stark. Not just in terms of opinion, but in specificity and linguistic clarity as well.

In my business, we'd call the likes of Kenneth Pollack and Bill Kristol "hand wavers." Salesman, essentially, as opposed to people who can actually write code. They understand a lot of things in theory, and they have a good jive, managing to sound credible to the uninitiated. But if you pay very close attention and/or know very much about the underlying issues, you can tell when someone is speaking from a place of direct and real experience, and when someone is speaking from a place of theoretical vision. More importantly, you can tell when they're feeding you a line of BS.

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Nature, The Power Of

This is kind of amazing and cute and terrifying all at once. I assume mr. Cobra has been de-fanged; the kid seems to love it.

And here's some amateur safari footage that'll cheer you up on any day when you feel like it's all gone wrong. Be sure to watch through to the conclusion:

Ok, one more, and not of nature. A repost of sorts, but because Fred and I watched this at Yearly Kos and I remembered how funny it was. Wahsington, Washington, six-foot-twenty / fucking killing for fun...

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Threads of Opportunity

As a follow up to the previous post declaring my new tag -- The New Cultural Movement -- I'd like to outline some of the specific threads of opportunity that I see as being germane here. This is kind of internally remedial for me, but seems like a good exercise anyway, and probably helpful for others to get a sense of the scope of things.

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The New [Cultural] Freedom Movement

So, as regular readers will know, I write occasionally under the subject of revolution (older posts here). What do I really mean by this?

Mark and I have started discussing again an old idea of ours, The New Cultural Freedom Movement. It's a terrible phrase (though developing) as far as marketing is concerned, which reflects the state of our thinking. After more than a decade it's still pretty vague; but it's the best idea I've got going, so here's the shot.

Early on in teenagerdom, those halcyon years when you were immortal and unfettered and when the idea of pure raw rebellion ala ¡la reveloucion! was a lot more plausible, we hit upon a pretty good insight: our ability to individually drive change through direct acts was pretty limited. The real action was in inspiration and empowerment -- in turning people on -- and maybe the real _real_ action is in inspiring and empowering people to inspire and empower _other people_, making waves and ripples and shit like that. I turned on to movement politics early.

This never took any concrete shape for Mark and I and our peers, but the idea lives and animates many of the things we and other people do in life. My politics has largely been driven by this kind of stuff -- inspiration and empowerment -- and Mark's work serves many of the same ends also.

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Help A Sister Out

UPDATE: Housing secured. Also, Brie would like to point out that she is not, in fact, a "gangbanger."

Any of my New York readers know of a place to say in Brooklyn?

Brie is teh awesome. You should be so luck as to have her as a roommate.

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Goings Ons

Out there in the world: Happy Birthday Big Gay Frank, homeowner, and now cat-owner. And Happy Birthday Brie, and thanks for writing such hilarious haikus:

August 2006:
One year in Cali
Ashley and Cian get hitched
I just used "Cali"?

September 2006:
Internet research.
WebMD is for suckers,
More like: FearMD

October 2006:
Life changes so fast.
Space aged chairs and vitamins
But still no answer.

As for me, I arrived last night in Westhaven with NZ Jess as a passenger. She's an old monkey comrade who I haven't seen since the summer of '04, visiting the states again and bestowing us with brilliant kiwi logisms such as "the hard yards" -- whatever's difficult and often avoided, but also generally rewarding -- and "overtaking" -- as an alternative to "passing" when driving. Definitely helped make up for the lack of stereo on the drive.

It's good to be back. Mark returns tonight and we'll be doing a fair amount of Burning Man prep over the next couple weeks. Should be a fun series of projects. The Rastafarian Navy will have a shower no matter what the devils of Babylon try to do to stop us!

Other things that are going on in my increasingly bourgeoise life:

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You Watch Now

Oh, and this too, from my Sister's (happy birthday brie!) former employer no less:

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Moamar: Back In The Fold

Well, I managed to recover my pickup from a lot in Contra Costa County today. It was an ordeal: trips to two police stations, a cab ride to nowhere in San Pablo, $650 in impound fees, and the discovery that some strange and dirty business had been going on. In addition to stripping out the last bits of my stereo, the thieves removed my futon from the bed and left a couple car batteries, and some other hardware back there. Plus about 1000 new miles on the odometer. Moamar! What happened?

This is all very frustrating, especially the bureaucratic runaround. Nobody seems to really know how anything works. The fees are an insult too (aren't I the victim here?), but luckily I can afford them and am fortunate not to lose the vehicle completely, so I'll can swallow it. But the whole thing makes me realize one again just how deeply fucked you are if you're poor in this country. Anything goes wrong and your back is up against the wall. It's a real shitty situation.

Anyway, it's interesting experience at least to see into the world of police stations and towing companies. To be honest, I really wish we didn't have such a car-centric culture. I think it would be a nicer country that way.

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