Tag Archives: crime

selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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selections from Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Feminism, as writer Marie Sheer remarked in 1986, “is the radical notion that women are people.” (122) Continue reading

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selections from Civil Disobedience

“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. (385)

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. (386)

I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also. (389)

There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man. (391)

It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. (393)

Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. Why do they not dissolve it themselves,–the union between themselves and the State,–and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury? (394)

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels? (395)

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth,–certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn. (396)

I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should do something wrong. (396)

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. (398)

Confucius said: “If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are the subjects of shame.” (401)

The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State, until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose, if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellowmen. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen. (413) Continue reading

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…and walked into the sky.

i read a book this weekend. it’s all about a little girl named Lyra and her dæmon Pan and this magical elementary particle called Dust and a truth-teller called an “alethiometer” and battles between witches and gyptians and armored bears. … Continue reading

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Why [archive]

here are three of my favorite flags ever, in some particular order:

i bought a pretty big version of the second one there on the Haight on saturday. i had plans for a week or longer to get a giant rainbow flag, not just for Pride, but also just to have because rainbows are awesome, but when i saw the coiled snake hissing, DONT TREAD ON ME, i had to choose that instead. to make it up to San Francisco, i got a rainbow bandana too. Rachel bought some wild white leg warmers which she sported at Pride the very next day:

everyone loved her. we discovered probably the best stage at the whole party because it was blasting heavy, funky, trippy four-on-the-floor beats, the best to dance to. once we cleared out a big enough circle in the crowd for Rachel, she got her hoop on and everybody fell in love (except for the two or there people she may have knocked here and there). one creeper in particular, after making sure she wasn’t my girlfriend, kept insisting on turning to me and telling me how fucking sexy, how fucking beautiful, how fucking hot she was. fuck you dude i just want to dance! honestly, i actually got my fair share of attention too, though i have no tits nor ass nor was my outfit as crazy as Rachel’s. i was wearing my DONT TREAD ON ME flag as a cape and wielding my disco ball with the fury of a thousand suns (the little lighted dots that reflected the one circle in the sky across the faces of everyone around me). dance party in the day!

on monday, after finishing up my work in the morning, i went with Rachel to an awesome coffee shop at their original location in the Mission. i had a “Tantalizing Turkish,” long known to be one of my favorites. while Rachel slaved away with Bay Area foreclosure data entry over shitty wi-fi and periodic injections of consciousness-dependent caffeine, i sipped my Turkish and read Dostoevsky. check out this brilliant barrage of wisdom, vomited by the protagonist’s only companion, drunk at the time:

‘What do you think?’ cried Razumikhin in a still louder tone. ‘Do you think I am annoyed because they talk nonsense? Rubbish! I like people to talk nonsense. It is man’s unique privilege, among all other organisms. By pursuing falsehood you will arrive at the truth! The fact that I am in error shows that I am human. You will not attain to one single truth until you have produced at least fourteen false theories, and perhaps a hundred and fourteen, and that is honourable enough in its fashion; but we can’t even produce our errors out of our own heads. You can talk the most mistaken rubbish to me, and if it is your own, I will embrace you! It is almost better to tell your own lies than somebody else’s truth; in the first case you are a man, in the second you are no better than a parrot! Truth remains; but life can be choked up; there have been instances. Well, what are we all now? We are all, without exception, children in the kindergarten, in respect of science, progress, thought, invention, ideals, desires, liberalism, judgment, experience, and everything, everything, everything, everything! We have been content to rub along on other people’s ideas–we have rusted away! That is so, isn’t it? What I say is true, isn’t it?’ exclaimed Razumikhin, shaking and squeezing both ladies’ hands. ‘Isn’t it?’ (171)

much of my media consumption lately has been concerning crime:

it’s almost a poem. “crime and punishment / a cross the universe / irreversible.” plot points for all three combined read like the trailer to a Jean-Luc Godard French New Wave classic: The pretty girl. The bad boy. The revolver. The nice man. The stupid manager. Death. The little Parisian. The jewel thief. The French house. The police. The pin-up. The musicians. The “skivvy.” St. Petersburg. My friend Razumikhin. John Stuart Mill. The American interviewer. The Utilitarianists. The camcorder. Tenderness. Adventure. Lies. Love. The Golden Gate Bridge. Fear. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Closure. Memento. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT A CROSS THE UNIVERSE IRREVERSIBLE. The best book/live dvd/film around now.

i can’t read as fast as i can buy books, unfortunately. i got a bunch of new (used) books! for about $20, in total:

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (inspired by the Whitman house)
Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara (inspired by Tori)
East of Eden by John Steinbeck (inspired by Allison)
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (inspired by Dan)

i love used bookstores. Dog Eared in the Mission is particularly incredible. yeah, after finishing up at Philz Coffee, Rachel and i wandered around the neighborhood with no particular mission. she bought a sparkly little sequined purse at Goodwill, where i got the Steinbeck. we also discovered not one but two bizarre little stores almost right next to each other on Valencia. the first was filled with taxidermy, fossils, awesome books on nature, and even had a backyard pond complete with plants. the second was a pirate shop that we’re convinced never makes any money because all they sell is cheesy pirate gear: eye patches, peg legs, whale oil, etc. then like fifteen steps away were three amazing used bookstores, including Dog Eared, where i got the non-Steinbeck books listed above. i want to live in the Mission.

after all the wandering, we were quite hungry, and Rachel had wanted to go to this place called La Oaxaqueña. i can’t remember the names of anything we had except for Rachel’s crab enchiladas. but, as one reviewer said on Yelp, “Their Mexican Hot Chocolate is HAPPINESS IN A CUP.” yessirree.

on tuesday, the vicious kitten and i explored a different brand of hippiedom: Berkeley. after we had exchanged musics a couple weeks ago, i naturally became more aware of her gifted musicians in all the music news streams i check. so when i noticed that CocoRosie was playing a free show at Amoeba Berkeley, i easily convinced Rachel to stay until at least Tuesday night. they put on a great show. it’s these two sisters, Bianca “Coco” and Sierra “Rosie” Casady, both born in the US but they formed the band in Paris. Wikipedia says, “Their music has been called “freak folk”, and incorporates elements of pop, blues, opera, electronica, and hip hop.” i say, they’re the Notwist with not-as-depressing vocals sung by females instead of a male, one being Joanna Newsom meets Bjork and the other being a great opera singer in the shower as heard through a bedroom wall. yeah, it’s weird stuff. they even had a beatboxer on stage providing most of the beats. i really liked that.

after the show, we wandered in circles trying to decide what to eat, until finally leaving it up to Yelp, which led us to this inexpensive, incredibly delicious Indian place. spicy curry, warm naan, squishy mushrooms, nice rice, hot tea, some strange mango drink, and enough tap water to wash an elephant; Rachel and Ronny are fucking in heaven.

bodies bloated, minds meandering, the two Rs next wandered to a little sanctuary Google Maps tells me is called People’s Park. check out that article. apparently this particular park has quite a bit of history. we didn’t know that then, though. i just lay in the sun, blasted the diverse throbs of Bassnectar from my bassless iPhone, and watched this gorgeous girl spin in time with the entire solar system:

Rachel in the park

before Rachel’s flight out of Oakland at 8, we drove aimlessly up the Berkeley hills. i was somehow confident we’d find a cool lookout spot, and we did! all of San Francisco Bay lay before us like it had just two weeks earlier from Treasure Island. a beautiful girl and a beautiful bay, like a sweet cappuccino served with a freshly baked croissant. perfection; kill me now.

the day after i lay around lazily for most of the day until evening, when i went to Adam’s house for his BBQ-less/farewell party/high school reunion shindig. he had invited Chris, Mark, me, Stephen, and Tori, but only Tori and i showed up at 730. the rest came a couple hours later. i had such a good time though. after i ate a killer quesadilla (thanks Adam’s dad!) and delectable salad (thanks Adam’s mom!), the three of us just lounged in the living room, listening to choice vinyl from the Adam Lee collection and shooting the shit. dear Adam and Tori, i love you. you guys have great taste in music and great taste in conversation. i could sit in a living room with you two talking for the rest of my life. as long as delicious tri-tip quesadillas and juicy tomato salads are served periodically.

now don’t get confused. i’m not about to tell the same story twice. i just have really cool friends. ready?

yesterday was a very special day. Tori came over in the afternoon and we flew to Jupiter and beyond the infinite. actually, we just went to walgreens and shopped for sunglasses for about twenty minutes. i don’t know. but we both got new sunglasses. then we just had to go somewhere where there would be sun so we could put our new purchases to work and the only place we could think of was the beach. so we went to the Fort. and walked. and talked. and balked at stuff. and ate chalk. and socks. full of sand.

Tori holding the Fort

next we went to the Mission, a place i’m starting to literally fall in love with. it gives off pheromones or something. Tori wanted a goddamn good burrito so i took no chances and took her to a place i had just confirmed as divine on saturday with Rachel: El Farolito. that time i had a super burrito de lengua, this time i had a super burrito de chorizo. for some reason it was much smaller this time, but i made up for it by eating the rest of Tori’s. (girls.)

stuffed, we drove over to Dolores and lay in the leaving sun while listening to Flying Lotus masturbate about Los Angeles from Tori’s iPod Touch. it got cold quick, though, and we still had an hour to kill before the Eagle Tavern show, so we went to Dog Eared to read for awhile. i picked up Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary for 60¢ (i told myself to not spend any money on books, but a classic for under $1 is irresistible). Tori bought a cool Billy Collins book, leaving the O’Hara because she “can just listen to me talk.” i’m blushing.

saw Oh Sees again last night! after i see them on saturday at serra bowl (wtf?) i’ll have seen them eight times, the same number of times i’ve seen my ALL TIME FAVORITE BAND EVER IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE (nin). and seeing as how them there Nails ain’t tourin’ no more (supposedly), i’ll definitely surpass those eight for good once i see Thee Oh Sees maybe in august and if not then sometime else (unless John Dwyer decides to make yet another band).

Oh Sees opened for this Australian garage punk rock band, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, the band Tori really came to see. after having just watched Thee Oh Sees, it took me a few Eddy songs to adjust to their sound, but by the end i was rocking my face off. got nice and sweaty. again. drove home with my shirt off, a beautiful dark-haired girl at my side, and a 90mph wind in our faces.

made sure to download Eddy today. speaking of, i added a bunch of music recently:

Andre Ethier – On Blue Fog (2007)
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (2008)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush to Relax (2010)
Fela Kuti – Alagbon Close (1974)
Fela Kuti – Why Black Men Dey Suffer (1970)
Fly Pan Am – Fly Pan Am (1999)
Fleming and John – The Way We Are (1999)
Jefferson Airplane – Bless Its Pointed Little Head (1969)
HEALTH – Get Color (2009)
Nancy Elizabeth – Battle and Victory (2007)
The Pogues – Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1985)
Yanni – Live at the Acropolis (1994)

most of these were recommendations from strangers on the Internet. the Yanni might make sense if you go here. Adam gave me (and Tori) the gift of Fly Pan Am, this amazing post-rock band.

i haven’t been really listening to any of that lately though. if you want to know my recent obsession (and don’t ever check my Facebook or 6stars), just press play.

Continue reading

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In Ghosts [archive]

there is way too much on my mind right now.

right now, i am listening to RADIOHEAD’s ‘IN RAINBOWS,’ a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll record about the universe. there might only be one thing that i enjoy doing more than listening to the record and it’s staring at the album art. IN/ RAINBOWS IN RAIN/BOWS IN RAINBOW/S IN RAINBOWS/ IN RAIN_BOWS RA D IOHEA _D _RAD IO HEA D yellow blue orange green yellow-orange red sky blue orange cosmic supernova enveloped my ice rink blue star child. they really got the aesthetic right.

before i continue, let me just say that we should make 6am the new midnight. that way, when you wanted to talk about your crazy night out partying, you wouldn’t have to waste your breath saying, “yeah, so last night slash this morning was fucking crazy.”

anyway, last night/this morning, tori and i spent the night at the ft. funston beach. all my life, all my conscious life, i’ve wanted to spend a night at the beach. and just sleep there. sure, it’s a bit cold, but what more can a human ask for, what more besides the sound of perfect rolling waves dashing against your dreams? nothing. i woke up with the dawn, stood up, wrapping my blankets around myself and stared at the sea for maybe an hour or more, while tori slept. the ocean is a beautiful thing. it reminds me so much of the universe.

tori and i had a long drunken discussion about the universe. it was kind of like the argument i have with a certain environmentalist who has an easy time seeing the world in terms of the man/nature dichotomy. look at that powerplant blocking my view of the lake. look at those hideous skyscrapers, like a tumor on the foggy bay. look at those scraps of metal, orbiting this life rock we call home. no, no, i cannot pry myself from the belief that man is as much a part of nature as i am, as you are, as the bees are, as the trees are, as the walri, fungi, cacti, music, blossoms, words, and rolling waves. nothing is unnatural.

is music alive? this past weekend has been utterly musical and magnificent. friday, adam tori and i headed over to outside lands, ticketless and determined to see some good performances. after circling the golden gate park concert’s perimeter once, we started making a second round, returning to a little hill that we sighted on the first trip. some people were walking down already. i sat on that hill for awhile, realizing that it led to the backs of a bunch of vendors. eventually, i just said fuck it. walked down the hill straight to the fence, thought once thought twice looked around thought trice thought quice looked around said fuck it and jumped. my heart was beating like a motherfucker, but i was in and safe. eventually tori and adam made it over too. we were elated.

so we let some reggae quell our adrenaline rushes, feasted, and caught half of beck’s set, before making our way to the massive monolith of fans that was the site of radiohead’s performance. minus some highly disruptive, certainly memorable sound glitches in the early part of their set, they put on an amazing show, as usual. starting with 15 Step, ending with Everything in Its Right Place (classic.), making sure to play You and Whose Army?, blowing my mind with a dramatically intense performance of Exit Music (For a Film), radiohead made it good. the fog might’ve helped them.

on saturday, jumping the fence worked equally simply as on friday. after catching the end of an excellent bluegrass performance by Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet feat. Bela Fleck, dan adam and i made our way to the front of the stage to make sure we could see the lines on Devendra Banhart’s face. before he played, he and the band came out to throw everyone ice creams! dan adam and i each caught one, got a ice cream sandwich myself. after i finished eating, the band came on stage and the show pleased me greatly. if you throw your fans ice cream before you play, if you cover a classic summer song during the summer at a summer festival, if you happen to end your set with a song completely stuck in the mind of one of your fans, then you have successfully put on a very pleasing show.

i thought my excitement had been exhausted after devendra, because even though adam was excited for the next act, M. Ward, i really hadn’t listened. boy was i mistaken. from the first second to the last my ears surrendered themselves to that man’s guitar. i love concerts.

after that show, adam dan and i headed over to amoeba records. i traded in a ton of horrible CDs and a couple good ones for two records: ‘Ambient 1: Music for Airports’ by Brian Eno and ‘Marquee Moon’ by Television, two outstanding releases. if you haven’t listened to either, you absolutely must. the first will make you more relaxed than you have ever been in your entire life. the second will also make you relaxed, but you might want a beer to relax with that one. on top of those, adam bought me nin’s ghosts on vinyl as a late birthday / early christmas present. super super super happy happy happy yes yes yes.

oh dear goodness: meryl and i are seeing nine inch nails live in less than two weeks.

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 Continue reading

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