"the deadliest bullshit is odorless and transparent" - William Gibson

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

i'm outta here

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I've grown tired of dealing with comment spam and other stuff on the blogger platform. Plus, since I've just moved to a new physical place (NYC) it just seems time to move to a new online blogging home and blogging MO. Odorless & Transparent will be dark for a while longer, but look for O&T to reemerge with vengeance soon on BeDirty.com.

In the meantime check out this Napoleon dynamite video mash up thing I made today...
Napoleon Dynomite Strip Tease Mash-up.


P.S. Old style voicemail is back. Barely audible and barely funny clips await those who call when I can't get the phone.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Don't beat a dead darkhorse

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Thank God we can already start betting on the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. I was going to lay 10 british pounds down on a canidate but my pick wasn't actualy listed (hint: his runningmate would be Ursa). Below is in my opinion the top 11 darkhouse candidates left off the bookie's sheet:

1. Christopher Walken
2. Dick Cheney
3. Jesse Ventura
4. Cindy Sheehan
5. Barbara Boxter
6. James Dobson
7. Oprah Winfrey
8. Zod
9. Mike Huckabee
10. Mike Easley
11. Angus MacGyver

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

atrocity and hope

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Last time I was in New Orleans I was at a business trade show in the convention center. Frisbees, laminates, booths, industry panels, etc. Right now its becoming clearer that the commerce building along the Mississippi was not one blood drop short of Hell on Earth. Anyone reading this probably already has heard tales of the misery, but if not, this story from Nola.com describes the nightmare convention center from a National Guardsman's perspective. It is beyond comprehension. As Melville says "Man rebounds whole aeons back in nature."

I suppose I understand if people want to direct their anger at Bush or any other politician, I even probably agree with most of the specific charges. Outrage and demands for action are needed, but I don't honestly believe blaming Bush or anyone else does any good. The truth is that the fault and iniquity spreads wide and touches nearly everyone. If you want to examine why the aftermath of Katrina was so horribly fucked up, you need to look a lot deeper than which incompetent rich crook is presently in the White House or Governor's Mansion or City Hall. It's about race, money, history, panic, fear, and human nature's evil parts in a city that has been hanging on by a thread for decades.

Everyone knew it would happen and everyone sat by. I was part of the "mandatory" evacuation of Hurricane Georges in 1998, eventhough many stayed. It looked like it would be The Big One, but the city was spared. The same year the very tail edge of Hurricane Earl (basically no more than a couple hours of rain) proved too much for the pumps my 7ft below sea level house in Uptown NOLA was thigh deep in storm water for a day. Earlier that year I was also help up at gunpoint by a fucking 12 year old in a catholic school uniform in broad daylight, and then driven around by fucking openly racist cops. I don't know who all to blame for that. Unfortunately, in NOLA many of these problems are deep and institutionalized. They only recently stopped letting ex-cons become police officers. I love that city, but It had some major fucking problems.

I have no room in my heart for petty and cynical politics right now. Sure, there are reasons to be angry, but this disaster is on a scale much bigger than us and we need to be better than that right now. Once the dead are buried and we've at least had some time to mourn, we can start looking at how our leaders and government mechanisms failed us.

The constructive things I personally know to do to help are:

1. Donate where and what you can.
2. Read Renew New Orleans's action list of what can be done to help and forward it on to your congressional leaders and newspaper/media outlets. I trust the opinions of these people I know and that live there. If you disagree with something on the list then edit it or write your own, but I think their focus on what should be done now and more importantly in the coming months/years is important.
3. Volunteer at a relief event or organization in your community. Band Together NC is a great one around NC. These events help get communities and especially corporations to contribute funds, resources, and jobs to the relief.
4. Figure out what we as smart caring tech savvy people can do to set up information and communication systems which will facilitate recovery and better prepare for the next duster. Check out Jeff Jarvis over at buzzmachine, who I think is doing a great job with leadership and info for this mission.

I saw a few things today that gave me some hope for the future of NOLA and my alma mater Tulane. I watched Max Sparber's New Orleans: Pictures from a Drowned World flickr slideshow of NOLA pics from last year and I was reminded of many of the things I love the city. I also saw these photos from college kids in the Uptown area where I lived in the late 90's. The damage was much less than I feared, and I admit some of these pictures even made me laugh. Also the brazen (if perhaps naive) "we're returning ASAP and we're going to do everything we can to help rebuild" spirit on this unofficial database for Tulane students surprised me and though I know the gusto of a few mostly rich mostly white collegiate teenagers may not mean much in the big picture, it does offer a bit of hope to me. They make me proud.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I don't want to hear

The situation in New Orleans and the Gulf will get much worse before it gets better, and Hurricane Katrina will go down as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, or at least of the same magnitude as the Great Quake or Great Fire. It is a horrific and worsening tragedy.

So, as long as there are still bodies floating through the flood water, I don't want to hear shit about global warming. I don't want to hear shit about global politics. I don't want to want to hear shit about whether or where to rebuild the city. I don't want to hear shit about people not heading the warnings. I don't want to hear shit about the taxpayer's bill. I don't want to hear shit about the Dutch and their system of levees. I don't want to hear shit about fucking gas prices.

If you aren't talking about donating to the relief effort or trying to help grasp the scope of the tragedy, then please keep your mouth and your online comments shut. At the very least until the drowning stops.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane memories

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I remember being a young kid, maybe 14 or so. I went with my father and my uncle to board up our beach house in anticipation of a hurricane. We were riding in our quasi-futuristic silver Toyota Previa and we were armed with hammers and for three hours it felt like we were driving into battle. It was even a school night.

I remember being safe in New Orleans at school when Hurricane Fran totally wrecked the beach house and very nearly took out my parent's other house 200 miles inland. When I came back, trees and docks and ceilings had been destroyed. Some friends and I had a great party at the beach house that was in mid-repair. Someone installed a new overhead ceiling light drunk and we played cards on a weatherbeaten table. The hurricane had taken from us a water heater, but its surge had brought us two hibachi's and one exercise bike.

I don't remember exactly why we decided to leave at night, but after many beers we had made a quick, firm, and potentially unwise decision to flee New Orleans in the dead of night. There was a big hurricane coming and our new mission was to head upriver toward Nashville. Some time in the night we almost hit a fallen tree. I was too drunk and tired to know if there had been real danger. We listened to a lot of chris rock CD's. When we reached Vanderbilt University and found a welcoming refugee camp set up on a friend's floor, we felt safe and powerful somehow. We watched the weather channel and saw the storm still headed at our home and we talked to friends who had all fled sooner or later and at that time we all felt that we very well might not have a home to go back to. We did everything we could to share our spirit of freedom and excitement and play our role as the entertaining refugees. Our hosts ensured that we had all the neccessary booze and extreme indoor sporting equipment to stage a memorable refugee party. In the morning we awoke slowly and bruised and watched as the storm turned at the last minute and missed our city. We were all glad, but also a bit disappointed. The freedom of being severed from possessions and school obligations by an act of god was quite enticing. After another day, we learned it was safe to return and we drove back.

I remember walking back from cultural anthropology class to find my ground level apartment thigh deep in water. Cd's and books and clothes floated around in our living room. My roomates had saved the electronics, but the flood came quickly and the house was a disaster and my car was deep in floodwater. We relocated to a second story house and learned how the pumps that keep water out of the city had failed in the tail end of some hurricane which came onshore far east of the city. People water skiied in the streets, canoed to bars in baithing suits and went swimming in former classrooms. We carried around what we could save from our liquor collection and visited friends that lived out of the flood's reach. It was the most fun I've ever had.

The clean-up was brutal and eventually life went back to routine, but I never really recovered. I have no doubt that we all inhaled tons of unhealthy black mold spores or whatever grew in the flood soaked walls. I got appendecitis and had to have a friend carry me against my will to student health. I vommited out the window for most of the ride to the hospital. Later that semester I passed out at the library and had to get 16 stiches put in my head. I withdrew or took incompletes in several course. When I came back the next semester I moved apartments and spent most of my time in the library trying to finish an unholy amount of credits to graduate. I barely barely made it. I turned in my last paper on my way to the Superdome for graduation ceremonies. It was the first time I had been back in the Superdome since I saw a woman fall to her death 2 and a half years earlier.

Now I watch a storm which "represents 10 or 15 atomic bombs in terms of the energy it releases,” bear down on New Orleans, and that same Superdome is a place of last resort for 20,000 or so New Orleanians who had no where else to go. Everyone always said that if New Orleans ever got hit by the big one, the city could be destroyed, washed off the map, reclaimed by the gulf. It looks really grim right now. I tried to watch the web cam ontop of Fat Harry's, a favorite uptown bar with good cheese fries and a great jukebox, but the wind and the rain and lights make it too blurry and abstract and frightening.

I hope the storm weakens before it hits. I hope the levys hold. I hope everyone got out who could. I hope I can go there soon, I miss it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

bring back the ceremonial rock, you pesky seperatists

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As if my fatherland didn't have enough problems with the recent flooding...Floods, stone theft scupper Swiss rock-throwing: "A medieval-style festival of stone-throwing, wrestling and yodelling has been cancelled after floods swamped Switzerland and Swiss-French separatists stole the iconic rock traditionally hurled by competitors."

I'm all about symbolic iconoclastic theft, but there are now several burly Swiss farmers who don't have a rock to throw, and they are getting a bit restless.

End of a pantless era

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I'm headed up to NYC soon, and that means I will be selling my car. I'm looking forward to being able to walk and take the subway everywhere, as driving is the number one aggrivator for my knee. Integra #2 has been great to me, but I can't wait to turn over the keys. This closes a long and fruitful chapter in my life, as I will no longer own a vehicle on which to put an "I'm not wearing any pants" bumper sticker.

I first had them made in 1997 after my spiritual advisor came up with the idea, and since then I have given out over 200 stickers. They now can be found across the country on the cars and trucks of friends, friend's parents, zany businesses, a few 18-wheelers who probably take it literally, and many complete strangers. I remember the first time I saw a bumber sticker on a strange car in the Cafe Driade parking lot. I walked in expecting to know someone, but I didn't recognize a single face. Some person I didn't know had one of the stickers. It was an amazing feeling.

Over the years I've gotten countless honks and stares and laughing points, two newspaper mentions that I know of, a couple crazy people knocking on my window at stoplights (I always have some extras in my car to give out), one really really awkward conversation with an older woman while I was changing into shorts before soccer practice. My favorite story comes from my very own cousin who was worried about what people would think when he went to pick up his daughter at elementary school. So, he glued magnets to the back of the bumper sticker so that it could quickly be removed and replaced at a more socially appropriate time.

I still have a dream that one day in the future I'll be in Minnesota in the middle of winter and I'll pull my car into a filling station. As my arthritic fingers are struggling to pump the $90 a gallon gas, I will look over and see an old gree pickup with snow on the bumper. Hidden behind the snow I'll see a stragnley familiar blue sticker peeking out. I'll drop the pump and hobble over to the pickup. My liverspotted hands frantically brush away the snow to reveal an "I'm not wearing any pants" bumper sticker, and I'll fall dead on the spot, a big smile on my face.

To all the brave and glorious people out there who have risked excommunication by putting a bumper sticker on your vehicle, I thank you and I love you. It means a lot to me and hopefully to the people behind you in traffic.

I'll probably be making another batch at some point, but in a different color. I still have a few of the original batch left if anyone out there wants one.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Toys & Games

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I'm still a little bitter about wasting money on spidey handgloves, but I can't wait to get my Electronic Thing Hands. If they are half as good as Hulk hands, they'll be worth twice the price. They even made Electronic Thing Feet, about which some goulish wound-up fanboy said, "if you really want to waste your money on this do so. but the real Thing from the Fantastic 4 has black boots." I wonder what the purists would say about the ridiculous Human Torch 4-wheeler not to mention the film itself, but who cares. Here's the Fantastic Four Review from Exile.ru, just because I love the site.

Also, here's a tragic love story between Kevin Smith and Prince, it's long but satisfying.