Monthly Archives: October 2004

Andre the Photographer

100904andre.jpg

I like to take pictures of photographers taking pictures. I have a future photo essay that I need to collect together of this series.
Yesterday, Alex’s catered a beer truck at the Etnies Skate Park event. A professional photographer asked to take our picture. When he was finished, I pulled out my Casion EXLIM-Z40 and shot a picture of him. The photographer was very surprised and kept asking “What is that?” of my camera.
After I took the picture, I explained my series, he laughed and said, “You have something very rare there, one of the few pictures that I have allowed to be taken of me.”
Thanks to Andre for being a good sport.

Zip Guides

The nice folk over at enature.com (National Wildlife Federation) have a great feature on their website: Zip Guides. Enter the zip code of the area you have been bird watching in and it will give a list of birds that are known to frequent that zip code. Click on the bird and you can learn and listen.
Excellent resource. Now if only I can find out who the bird is that I have heard but not seen for the last week in the backyard.

VolcanoCam

Forget live web cams featuring some young thing around her house, or a live web cam of someone at their desk at work, or even of a city or airport, let’s talk – Mt. St. Helens.
Yes, everyone’s favorite moody, and occasionally eruptive, gal in Washington State has her own live web cam and you don’t have to trot out your credit card. Go watch her.

Speaking of Justice for All..

Why is the Bush Administration holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay? The longer the prisoners are held without due process and access to counsel the more sick I feel all over for America.
I don’t care that the Bush Administration is calling them “Illegal Combatants”, it is still wrong to violate our Constitution and their humanity in the name of facist control. If the Bush Administration really believes they are terrorists or enemy combatants, then try them in a court of law, don’t hold them indefinitely with no access to others and no charges against them.
Finally, I think the Bush Administration are cowards, yes, cowards, for holding their prisoners of war at an “U.S” military base on the land of a sovereign country that is our supposed stated enemy.

This is why I am disenfranchised…

When I was a puppy, about 17, I left the LA punk scene due to its hypocrisy. The stated ideals of the scene were not matching up with the reality. The same thing happened with my breaking politically from my hardcore Republican family (can we say Goldwater?) upbringing about the same time.
If you are a nice person, then be a nice person. If you are deep down inside a greedy bastard, then let the world know, buy the big house and Hummer, then brag about it. If you like to play games, be up front about it, play games, manipulate in broad daylight. If you want the one of the world’s largest reserves of oil to control the American market, then say it, don’t LIE about weapons of mass destruction to gain the oil. If you love Jesus, then seek to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and spirit, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Be who you are. Consistent. One person.
My longtime buddy, Peter Schrock, has pointed to a Christianity today article, entitled “Salt-and-Pepper Politics“, that brings to a head why I can’t vote for the Republican party.

Which brings us to Democrats and Republicans, and to why I will be voting this November with, well, fear and trembling.
Justice, in biblical terms, is more than equal treatment under the law—it involves putting power at the service of the powerless and wealth at the service of the poor. My friends who care about justice argue that Democrats have spent 50 years advocating for the vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the youngest, the oldest. And though the party of the powerless also has a curiously strong appeal among the elites of Hollywood and Manhattan, on the whole my friends are probably right.
Righteousness, meanwhile, is more than honesty and fair dealings—it requires the alignment of our lives with God’s original good intentions for creation. Like justice, righteousness in a nation especially benefits the poor and powerless, who cannot insulate themselves from the effects of sin. My friends who care about righteousness argue that Republicans have held the line against values that come straight from the maw (or the mall) of individualistic consumerism, where pleasure and preference reign. And while the party of moral character raises lots of money from people whose only interest is making the world safe for consumerism, I can’t argue with these friends either.
To make matters worse, each presidential candidate has blind spots even in his area of putative strength. John Kerry declines to see that abortion is not a matter of private morality but of public justice for utterly vulnerable human beings. (Bizarrely, he justifies his position by saying that government must keep out of people’s bedrooms. Abortions do not generally happen in bedrooms.) Any public official who professes Catholic faith and is as enthusiastically pro-choice as Kerry does not have, in the words of the Catholic bishops, “a well-formed conscience.”
Yet our President’s conscience also seems too clear to be true. Asked a simple and predictable question at an April 2004 press conference—to name his greatest mistake since September 11, 2001—he couldn’t answer, saying, “I don’t want to sound like I’ve made no mistakes. I’m confident I have. I just haven’t—you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.” Is it too much to ask that the most devout President in recent history have a more concrete response to a question about his own limitations?
Such is the state of our presidential politics: an evangelical President flummoxed at any suggestion of his own fallibility, and a Catholic candidate who sidesteps his church’s teaching authority. And in both our political parties, concern for justice often serves as cover for self-justification; righteousness curdles all too quickly into self-righteousness.

The Republicans frequently bill themselves as the Party of Righteousness but continually make more mockery of the term than Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker ever could. I can’t swallow their Pro-Life stance when they lie, cheat, and steal out of every orifice.
I can’t in good conscience fall for the Democrats hook-line-and-sinker either. The other day I received an over the top pitch letter from the Planned Parenthood of American about the evils of the Republicans. Sorry folks, but I refuse to be a single issue voter. For too long, abortion has held American politics hostage. I am pro-life, but not to the point of ignoring every other platform.
How about a viable third party that is pro-life (anti-death penalty, anti-war, and anti-abortion), a good steward of the planet that God has given us (yeah evironmentalists!), pro-balanced budgets, pro-poor, education friendly for all, justice for all, pro-looking ahead more than just this quarter’s worth of profits and pragmatic on infrastructure? Anyone want to join? Be you Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, Aetheist, Hedonist, TV-ist, Fashionaista, Punk Rock-ista, etc… how about we take American politics away from the blusterers and big business? How about it?

Phone Geek Envy

As you may know, I have been searching for a good cell phone with PDA, camera and … don’t forget… the ability to make a phone call for sometime now.
This August, when I went to the MT party, Mie showed me her new Nokia 7610 that someone brought from Singapore for a bunch of MT staffers. I have been watching her moblogging and Molly’s as well with more than a wee bit of Geek Jealousy, as my hand-me-down business Nokia is sans camera.
I just did a search at the Nokia website and found out that the 7610 is now on sale in Ireland… but not in the U.S.
But then there is the Nokia 9500 on sale in Ireland… hmmm… Guess I better start saving even more money for my trip. These phones better come unlocked… ;oD

Random Thoughts from a Thursday Afternoon

Before I jet (or putt) off to school, here are few things banging around my brain recently:
1) Thank God for SXSW Interactive! It seems to be the ONLY internet conference with reg fees that are reasonable for freelancers. Everytime I see a cool conference, I about die when I see the registration fees that start at over $700 or $2,000, not including airfare or hotel. Yikes! SXSWi is a breath of fresh air at a $195 for a great conference.
The SXSWi folks are now accepting websites for the Annual Web Awards.
2) My local Ralph’s grocery store is going downhill. It used to be one of the few “good” Ralph’s, but ever since last year’s strike it has been cutting corners in all the wrong places. Before the strike, I did 1/3 of my shopping at Ralph’s, 1/2 at Trader Joes, and the rest at Whole Foods. Since the strike, I have been shopping 50% at Trader Joe’s, 45% at Whole Foods and 5% or less at Ralphs. If Ralphs continues its devolution, I may get my dry goods at Target or Sav-on’s and get the rest at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Now if TJ’s or Whole Foods would just start carrying good pancetta…
3) A discussion came up yesterday at Alex’s about home schooled kids and how they turn out. Contrary to many assumptions, some of my best students have been home schooled. Any and all objections to their naivete or potential conservative indoctrination are out weighed once they are in college by their superior writing skills and preparation for college. If only other kids from public or private high schools were so prepared.
3) Scruffy is 11 months old today! Yeah Scruffy!