"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

The Unified Theory of Josh

Starting to settle into the new groove. I took the temperature of the neighborhood last night, a little solo wandering. I haven't lived in the Mission for nigh on five years, and it's definitely changed. Gentrification was well underway when I arrived in '03, and has continued apace in my absence.

For instance, there are coteries of "pretty people" who I don't really think are all that pretty, but do make me feel underdressed. This reminds me of North Brooklyn in its heyday, and in the way of all NYC-to-SF comparisons feels a bit like being sent back to the minor leagues, but on the other hand this is where most of the good art comes from so you have to take the lumps with the cream.

Somewhat less pretentiously you can run into this action at a sidewalk cafe:

<a href="http://conbrio.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-hip">From The Hip by Con Brio</a>

This band is really good live, reaffirms faith in humanity via Korg and wail, etc.

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"Patriot Day"

A quick look backward. Nine years gone. What a fracked up time that was. I still take it somewhat personally, viscerally, being in New York City and living through it first-hand. So, for the day, some old links of what was in my mind then.

I still feel the stinging injustice of what our leaders ended up doing with via the manipulation of that raw emotional wound. I still believe what the day taught me about the fundamentals of life. I'm still grateful to have sparked a political awareness as a result.

And I honestly hoped we'd get over ourselves and see "9/11 the Musical Comedy" rather than it becoming an anniversary for pumping up hatred and intolerance. But that wasn't in the cards, I guess.

In many ways watching how Estados Unidos has processed the past decade has been an embittering and disillusioning experience, doubly so as a participant. I thought we were better than this. On a good day — and today is definitely a good day — I still hope we can be.

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Have A Little, Want More

What to say.

Shit is crazy out there. People wanna go back to burning books, and the dominance of wealth is increasingly too obvious to ignore. It puts me in a mind to consider what, in this context, the proverbial "have a little, want more" might really want more of.

Now, truth be told most people just want to hold on to what they've got. When fear of the foreign devil fails, just threaten someone's livelihood or straight up cast them into penury. Up to a point, this'll keep the proles in line.

But what of the rest? What of all the people who are still making it, but aren't actually members of the power elite. Say, people like me (socioeconomically, anyway), or even people who are more well off, simple (and fucking powerless) millionaires, for instance. What do these people want our of their lives?

I see a lot of decadence. There's a lot of fun shit out there to do and buy and eat and drink, and hell if I'm not a part of that scene from time to time. But ultimately I think there's an end to the gratification you can get from toys.

What I hope is that people start tuning in to the fact that what they want more of is not so much a bigger piece of the pie, but a better meal to begin with. There's a non-trivial connection between inequality and intolerance, between an increasingly brutal and dumb society and the neo-aristocracy that's growing up around us.

What I hope the have-a-little's want more of is civilization. I don't mean that in some refined haughty sense, but in the sense of a productive, vibrant, effective, lively, awesome society, one that produces truly great culture, that can pilot spaceship earth with honor and distinction.

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Season of Changes

It's shaping up to be a pretty big Autumn. My favorite season to begin with, a time of change, of ripening and harvest, of back-to-school, of warm days and cool nights, outdoor fires and strung up lights. It's the natural time for me to hit the reset button.

And that I have. Over the past two days I've helped clear and clean the Cornell Club and have taken up roost in the easterly-facing upstairs side of Houseku, which is a really nice house (verging on compound) down in the Mission with five other people who all Talk Nerdy living in it. The rent is unspeakable for someone with my class pretensions, but if I can live up to my ideal of utilizing the (awesome) kitchen instead of living off food I pay other people to cook for me, it's almost a wash since I don't have to drop $8 a day on BART.

Anyway, the point is contra my basic theorem of life experience one of the things you can actually do to shake up your life experience is shift your surroundings. That I have done. And hope to follow it up with a shift in routines as well.

The first is the switch away from take-out as a prime source of sustenance. I'm happy to stimulate the economy, but this is textbook BDE (Bad Domestic Economy; contra the progenetor of the Girth: "six dollars for a burrito?! that's just beans, rice and cheese... (shakes head in disgust)") and I get good vibes from cooking, so that's something I should do more.

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Back in the US(SR)

I'm back in Estados Unidos once more, surviving 10 days in bustling, socialistic, publicly drunken Yrup. I have more extensive scribblings on the subject of "does humanity stand a chance" based on my experience, but those are for another time.

For now, notable notes:

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RIP Sixto

Marco y Sixto

The dog who would not be silenced will bark no more. I am still sort of in shock. Apparently the night of Friday the 13th, Sixto was struck and killed by a car up Highway 299. I will miss the hell out of that canine. He was the beast who taught me to love dogs.

More words later, I'm sure, but for now I'll post the poetry of my friend.

Requiem For A Conquistador
By The Girth:

You were born in a hard summer.
I remember, the summer my father died.  
Your own master heartbroken, an intoxicated disconsolate youth.  
Later, we would chide you, the grown dog, for your irascible frustrations.
Calm down boy. So paranoid. So angry.
But I remember the puppy.
Standing guard, hardening, for the good of the herd.

You hated tweakers.
Weren't too fond of small people.
Didn't initially like women.
Rarely took to other dogs.
There was Ace of course.
But he was kind of a wolf.
And Quilan, who understood you.
As sub will understand Dom.

Peg leg didn't bother you,
No leg didn't bother you.
Didn't care.
Wasn't significant.

You got upset with me
For wearing a bini.
When i took it off
 u were relieved
And told me politely,
Get back with the damn group man.
As you were want to do,
You bit me on the thigh one time.
I was running down the beach,
I'm sorry, I shouldn't have strayed.

At Cornell Club,
you fought our raccoon.
We'll call it a draw.

You had to look out for number one
You found the shade
Under the truck
In the desert.
And told Dauter,
Who come to poach it,
Fuck You Dauter,
This is my shade.

That's right.
Go find the shade boy.

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Drunk Girls Know That Love Is An Astronaut: It Comes Back But It's Never The Same

I've been a bad friend, son, brother, and even lover of late. Too much workahol leading to broken plans, missed connections, absurd periods of radio silence. To all the parties waiting or wanting or hoping to hear from me, I truly am sorry.

So here's what's been going on.

I escaped my dayjob-infused routine last weekend to attend an Indian Wedding in New Jersey with the girlfriend. Oh yes, that's right, I'm using The Title now. Reluctance to do so in the past is — hindsight-wise — kind of embarrassingly immature. Also, while it sounds quite nice rolling off the tongue, "paramour" isn't actually a very flattering alternative descriptor.

For my part, this feels different than previous relationships. It's more... intentional. I chose pursuit in spite of improbability and long odds. While she's certainly into me (so I got that going for me too), this isn't one of those things that just fell into my lap. I had/have to work for it.

This is foregrounded because it's been long-distance, which is a pain in the ass, and also not the norm for me. Shamus jokingly scolded me that this was the best I could do given my quote-unquote emotional availability. Very funny, but there's maybe something to be said for the way in which the distance gave the whole thing a chance to sneak around various subconscious defense mechanisms of mine. A trojan horse for the heart, you might say.

It's gotten harder now that she is in London, and not New York, and timezones are a real barrier, and we have to plan and coordinate even to talk. But people do this, and even successfully. Seems kind of silly not to try.

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More On Elitism

It sounds very much like there is a storm a-brewin' designed to start cutting into Social Security. I helped fight this off back in 2005, and it's a real pity to see the same basic bullpucky return under Prez. Obama. Cutting Social Security is both unnecessary and cruel.

For the reasoned economic analysis, keep up with Dr. Krugman.

For a more colorful take, you can't do much better than George Carlin:

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Atrios on Obama's economy captures the essence of what I find so dispiriting:

The point isn't that there was some magic obvious solution, the point is that the problem was bigger than they imagined and, frankly, recovery noises from the administration started to remind me of Bush era noises about how things were always improving in Iraq.

Team Obama appears to have taken all the wrong lessons from team Bush. They pursue the limp magical-thinking type propaganda — "clap louder!" — couched as DC-centric conventional wisdom (which is itself morally and intellectually bankrupt), without apparently even contemplating the virtues of a Cheney-esque will to power.

They also play politics very poorly, much more poorly than the Clintons.

I find myself in odd moments beginning to wish we'd nominated Hillary.

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Happy Birthrday Frank and Brie

Two of my favorite people are a year older today. My hobmre Frank Edward Robbins the Fifth, jobseeking soon to be father of two, and of course my sister-pal, coming up from behind with her own brand of bound-for-glory greatness. I got a chance to break bread with Brie last night in Brooklyn on my way out of town, and she showed me this, which I thought was brilliant:

So happy birthday to both of you, and be glad you're not attacked by Pandas. Go get 'em, Leos!

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