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Uncategorized

No more comic books and super hero movies – PLEASE!

Hollywood never has had a very keen imagination but it seems like all they make these days are superhero and comic book movies – the lure of merchandising and cross media promotion was too much. It used to be cool, now it’s just embarrassing. Please, no more superhero or comic book films, no more 1960s and 1970s remakes, no more sitcoms or TV classics turned into features.

Something new would be nice. Here are a few ideas:

George Washington before America

The Surrealists

Folk Artist Narrative Biopics we’ve never heard of

Cesar Chavez

Nazi USA – where the Germans won WWII (Imagine a world where Germany dominates Europe and the USA is a fascist state..oh wait…we already have that…)

Norman Rockwell – Serial Killer

Ataturk starring Mel Gibson and Russel Crowe

Evil Kneival biopic

The most boring man alive – Ben Stiller does nothing for two hours while the audience checks their phones for text messages

The Stealing of the Presidency – an all out conspiracy nut pic starring every star you can think of but especially Woody Harrelson as Nixon and Angelina Jolie as Jackie O and later with Adam Levine as Reagan and Chevy Chase as Bush Sr.

Just please, no more comic books!

 

Categories
Politics Writing

We’re All Fucked – Even You.

Okay, the bad news first – We’re all fucked. Now that we have that out of the way – let’s move on to the good news – oh, wait – there’s not any. We’re all fucked and that is all there is to it.

How are we fucked? Well – let’s look at freedom. Think you have some? Yes, you do – you can either have an iPhone or an Android phone but if you need to use a payphone you are out of luck – because they are all being turned into wifi devices so if you don’t have a device with a tracking chip in it you can’t check on the bus schedule which runs on a QR code, you can’t check in without paying a ‘desk’ fee, and – well you get the point. But this isn’t a big brother rant about how the technology is getting a better rein on you and tracking your movements, purchases, online browsing behavior, and relationship status to decide whether you should be detained, given online dating ads, or awarded a bonus farmville page…no, it’s not that.

Want to build a house? Just buy some land…uh, no, it doesn’t work like that anymore.  To buy the land you need to have proper documentation to start with – try to buy a lot without a phone number and you will find lots of problems..and then even when you get the land you need to work with the planning department, the zoning department, the EPA, the city works department, the public works department, the approval of approval department, and the bank because even if you don’t take a loan out you still need to have insurance and paperwork. You are free to fill out forms with personal information to do something which affects you on land that you own. None of this is new though….

Illegal immigrants are flooding over the border – but that’s not the problem- the problem is we’re spending huge amounts of money to send them home and catch them instead of embracing them and letting them work hard and build a better life as they wanted to come here to do…and meanwhile, the immigrants who came here and did everything legitimate and earned a good living and became successful – they are buying property in their home countries and getting ready to flee this disaster of a country to go back home to where they can eat non GMO foods and have reasonably priced healthcare with no insurance premiums and not have to face a bunch of angry lazy white people who look for the closest successful brown person to blame their failure at life on…but that’s not really a problem for everyone – just for America – which will soon be a nation of very rich haves and pissed off ignorant have nots who aren’t able to get close to the rich without setting off proximity alarms because they are carrying cheap devices in their pockets…

Does anyone else realize we are all carrying around micro chip transmitters that tell our movements, record our conversations, and offer total access to our most personal data? And since when has data really mattered? Since all of our valuable possessions became lines of code and alphanumeric passwords…your bank account has been hacked – hard to do that if you use cold hard currency – but then the currency has transmitters in it too..

I don’t know much about common core but I know that when you take away the incentive to ACHIEVE you are taking away one of the greatest motivators of growth – we live in a society which is quickly heading toward “Everyone wins and no one loses” which doesn’t really serve to make everyone equal as to make it a problem for anyone to go after their full potential and for any conversation or moving forward based on ability and potential and achievement to be a source of taboo. A forbidden topic. God forbid that your child should be an honor student and you should be proud,  – the sticker for the new america – My child is a drone. All children are drones.

They’re giving kids medication to make them more amenable to the drone school system and for those parents who decide to discipline thier children in an attempt to teach values and character who are caught lies a future of losing your children and having them put with drones who will not push them in any direction but that of droneness.

We’re not fucked because of the wars or rumours of wars or because of the immigration problem or because of the technology – though if you think Google and Facebook and Twitter aren’t playing with what you see and are exposed to in order to make you a better consumer of the clients which pay them (including the governments) – you are a consumer, you are a product, you are a well greased wheel in the machine of society. And, by the way…you are fucked.

You are living in an age when decency is being replaced by a culture of outrage over people suggesting they might be better at something than someone else is. And then there is decency and respect – seems to have died with the WWII generation – the baby boomers brought in the ME ME ME generation and destroyed ancestral inheritance as they kicked thier kids out at 18 so they could focus on themselves again (if they even waited that long – since divorce and remarriage effectively alienated kids from anything they might have ever gotten in the first place (both materially and emotionally) as family homes were sold and since people generally remarry younger spouses – that takes care of that – if you see what I mean) Those kids grew up seeing their parents taking care of themselves and those parents just couldn’t believe it as they asked “How can they be so selfish?” because when kids have to take care of themselves and give everything to themselves because thier parents are so selfishly doing what is ‘best for them’ – it doesn’t exactly engender selflessness…and of course that cycle continues and now you see parents that don’t even seem aware of the fact they have kids as they pursue whatever they want despite having kids they should be taking care of (hello crack baby babies). And it doesn’t get any better…

All of this might be fixed if the power would just go out and the grid were shut down and civilization as we know it were to crash down around us – those who know how to work and use their brains would be able to succeed based on hard work and merit and brains… but shit, that ain’t going to happen. It’s just not.

The governments will keep the power on and the labs and companies will keep making people more useless as truckers no longer need to drive their trucks and no one else needs to do anything to do their job either and then it will just be a matter of either 1) the rich and powerful figuring out how to get rid of all of us unnecessary drains on their enjoyment or 2) the machines figuring out that there just don’t need to be as many of us as there are.

Sorry, unless the aliens come and decide to intervene or society crashes – those are the only two logical outcomes.  So, in conclusion – if you aren’t rich and powerful – you are fucked. If you are rich and powerful you are fucked because you are on the way to losing your humanity – but maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better – in fact – you might just not be fucked if you are rich and powerful enough.

 

Categories
Antiques

Destroying Cool Things for a Profit

Here’s something sad that isn’t new – often, the parts are worth more than the whole. Case in point – I bought a couple of really cool old items recently – a 1940s National Cash Register and a 1920s RCA Victor 5 Band World Radio.

2014-06-28 15.02.16 2014-06-28 15.02.05

I’ve tried to sell both at numerous prices – but with no luck. I tried to sell them high at the price that the pieces are worth when parted out and then, because I hate tearing cool things apart – I tried to sell them at just about the price I bought them for – which is roughly 25% of what they part out at.

They wouldn’t sell. Too big, too heavy, and folks just don’t have the room they used to have. All those McMansions are being sold as boomers realize they don’t want to climb stairs every night or mow an acre of grass in the front yard. They’re selling their furniture, selling their collections, and selling the collections they inherited from their parents.  The younger generation doesn’t have the money or the space.

2014-06-28 11.42.27

So, I’m going to destroy these cool old machines. I’ll sell the RCA Victor tubes for $20 each and the keys of the old cash register for $2 each – I’ll pull out the cool old dial from the radio and the bakelite knobs and then convert the cabinet into a bookshelf. I’ll scrap the guts of the register for about $30 more and paint the whole thing red and slap a coke label on it and sell it to someone for $35 which is the last price I tried to sell it for.

I’ll quadruple my investment even when you figure in the time spent pulling these cool old machines apart – but it sure seems like a shame to do it.

Categories
assholes

I hate having garage sales – a pointless rant

Before anyone tells me not to have a garage sale if I hate having them – let me point out that this is exactly what I’m doing by writing this – reminding myself of – not to have garage sales in the future.

Here’s the thing – I enjoy going to garage sales – but having one of our own is a bummer that I forget about until I’m in the midst of setting it up or dealing with the cheapos and wack jobs that show up for such things. They show up early, they make offers that are insulting (Will you take a nickel for this?) and in general – I’m pretty sure that giving all this stuff to charity for a tax write off is the better option – so let’s hope I remember this the next time I consider having a yard sale or garage sale.

Yes, there are some nice people and yes, we usually end up making a fair amount of money – but the days usually start off bad with people ignoring the signs or free listings on craigslist which say 8 am, no earlybirds – and before we get the chance to set up we have people going into our garage or opening up boxes without so much as a by your leave.

Then there are the old ladies with thier nickel and dimes and even worse the younger ladies or men with their nickels or dimes. Look, I’m a picker – I look for bargains – but I never offer less than a dollar and usually pay the price people are asking. I’ll make offers on high priced things but they are reasonable and respectful offers – and I never argue with someone about what their stuff is worth. I make an offer with a smile and maybe an explanation and then they either take it or not – and usually, we’re both still smiling. The creeps that come to my sales will try to tell me that I don’t know what something is worth and when I tell them that I own an antique shop and do frequent appraissals – they sometimes go so far as to tell me I don’t know my business. This is the point I tell them that they should leave before we have a serious problem.

A guy today tried to tell me he could buy a new gas powered weed eater for $40 at Walmart. I pulled out my phone and showed him that they are actually $138.47 – a woman asked me how much for an old mill saw blade – I told her $10 and she said “I was thinking more of a dollar” – I told her “You can give me your dollar as a donation, but the blade stays here for any less than $10” at which point another lady handed me $10 – little did I know that my wife had just agreed to sell it to her for $15 – but that’s fair game.

The early birds piss me off as a picker, a seller, and as a human being. My ads and signs clearly state 8am, no early birds – and yet people still roll up at 6:30 and sometimes knock on the door to ask if they can look early…these same guys are doing the same things to other sellers and when i show up at the listed time – the good stuff is usually gone – nice guys finish last – what kind of world is this?

Estate sales are a different story – you set a time and lock the door, let the crowd build and work themselves up to a fever pitch then let them in an entry point and have a controlled exit where they can line up and pay for their purchases…no questions, no b.s. – everything is the price it is marked until the last day then it’s half price – of course, my friends that run estate sales tell horror stories about that too…

It’s the cheapohs – crabs at the bottom of the bucket trying to suck all the same shit and clawing each other to do it – next time – I’ll donate it if I can’t sell it on ebay or craigslist…

 

Categories
Writing

Revelation Made Clear – The Breaking of the Seven Seals

The end days are upon us – I’m no Christian, but here’s some pretty clear revelation for you….

  1. First Seal: A white horse appears, whose crowned rider has a bow with which to conquer. (6:1–2) – this is Putin in Crimea
  2. Second Seal: A red horse appears, whose rider is granted a “great sword” to take peace from the earth. (6:3–4) – this is ISIS in Iraq and Syria
  3. Third Seal: A black horse appears, whose rider has “a pair of balances in his hand,” where a voice then says, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (6:5–6) – This is the revival of hostilities in Palestine and Israel
  4. Fourth Seal: A pale horse appears, whose rider is Death, and Hadesfollows him. Death was granted a fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (6:7–8) – This is the Ebola outbreak in Africa which is out of control
  5. Fifth Seal: “Under the altar,” appeared the souls of martyrs for the “word of God,” who cry out for vengeance. They are given white robes and told to rest until the martyrdom of their brothers is completed. (6:9-11) – They are resting
  6. Sixth Seal: (6:12–17)
    1. There occurs a great earthquake where “the sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon like blood” (6:12).
    2. The stars of heaven fall to the earth and the sky recedes like a scroll being rolled up (6:13–14).
    3. Every mountain and island is moved out of place (6:14).
    4. The people of earth retreat to caves in the mountains (6:15).
    5. The survivors call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall on them, so as to hide them from the “wrath of the Lamb” (6:16). – This is coming soon – big Cascadia Quake or maybe Greenland
  7. This is the 144,000 getting marked – coming soon…
Categories
America Politics Writing

The Internet Isn’t What We Thought It Would Be….

Back in the 1990’s I was an activist. Even while I was still in the Marine Corps, I was placing Greenpeace stickers on garbage cans in the barracks and trying hard to bring about little changes in consciousness – granted, it was probably the wrong place to do it and that might explain why I was fairly miserable in the Corps – a person out of place.

When I got my honorable discharge and split that scene, I set out for an activist town. My choices were either Boulder, CO or Bellingham, WA and I went with Bellingham because I was born near there and I wanted the chance to spend time with my grandfather before he got too old and passed away (sadly, I missed that boat – after about two weeks, I realized his dementia made it impossible for us to get to know each other better than we had), but Bellingham was a wonderful choice.

I still consider it one of my two hometowns with the other being Honolulu, Hawaii.  Bellingham was a hotbed of 1990s hippie activism and before too long I was the head of a Citizen’s Initiative Group, working on campaigns to save frogs, a member of the Community Food Coop, and involved in Permaculture workshops, organizing protests, and by 1998 actively involved in organizing disparate groups to protest at the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999.  I’d also set up a magazine and website called Conchsense with the stated goal of uniting creativity and culture through the medium of the internet.

Back then – we thought that the internet was the great leveler – we thought it was the tool by which activists could finally level the playing field with the media and corporate interests by using citizen journalism, organizing online, and educating the public about the ‘truth’. We were all big fans of the X-Files back then and the tagline “The Truth is Out There” resonated with us.

When my friend, John Zerzan talked about how the leveling of the playing field was temporary and how the internet was an illusion that would disappear as soon as the establishment figured out how to regulate it, or even that technology was just a means of greater control of the population – I couldn’t see it. I didn’t want to see it. I wanted to see people being exposed to new ideas and changing everything. I wanted to see a better world and even though I’d read Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto when it was published  and heard the Green Anarchist arguments that sided with his own beliefs that all technology led to enslavement – I didn’t want to believe that.

And it’s only now that I start to realize that John and Ted were right.  Technology is the great enslaver. Whether we are talking about the technology of the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, or the information revolution – every bit of it has managed to enslave and blind the common man further from the truth of the matter – we are controlled by those who control the technology.

Those early days were a window and that window has closed. Facebook, Twitter,  and Google are publically traded corporations that have boards of directors and public relations departments.  Facebook feels justified to conduct behavioural experiments on users without their knowledge and you can be certain that Google and Twitter are doing the same.  Google is analyzing your mail and Facebook is looking at what you post and Twitter is sharing your userdata with the NSA and more.  They are justified in it – you agreed to their terms of service.

People make a mistake with these companies by thinking that they are empowered users with rights – they, we, are not. We are the products. Our information is the product. We are not the clients. The clients are the advertisers, the marketing companies and the governments that pay with treasure or privelidge – we are the chattel. Like slaves in tobacco fields, we provide the product and like masters in the antibelum manor houses – the internet companies figure out how to sell it and use the profits to enslave us further.

I know – there are many positive things which have come from the internet – too many to recount here – but in fact – the internet is the worst thing to ever happen to the human species.  I know too that I am writing this on the internet, that I earn most of my family’s bread and butter on the internet, and that without it – most of what I’ve done in this life might not have been possible. I know that and still I say that this is the worst thing ever created. Worse than atomic weapons. Worse than DDT.

We thought the internet would free people. Instead it has stolen their souls. It has turned them into sociopaths. It has destroyed much of what was good in the world – not all of it – but much of it.  Ted Kaczynski was right. Dammit.

Don’t believe me? Read it and comment afterward.

http://cyber.eserver.org/unabom.txt

Categories
Work Writing

A 99 Day Break from Facebook

UPDATE: Just a few days in and I already find that I have extra time on my hands. It’s amazing how when I have a spare moment on the computer or in the shop or at home, my mind says “Check out Facebook” and then when I don’t I realize – “Hey, I don’t need to be on the computer and can step away to do something else” – it’s amazing how much of my precious time I was killing with FB.

Yesterday, I saw an interesting proposal online – it suggested that Facebook might be contributing to general unease and unhappiness in the world.  I was already feeling a bit nauseated by Facebook in light of the recent behavioural experimentation the Facebook scientists have been conducting on users without their knowledge.

new-profile-picture

If you haven’t heard of it already, Facebook manipulated what stories showed up in the streams of users and then monitored what effect that had on the posting behaviour of those users.  They then, rather naively, published the results which showed that by manipulating what stories users saw, they could manipulate what kind of stories users posted.

So, the chances are that you have already been manipulated by Facebook. And that’s only the study they are telling us about…It was in that context that I saw a Danish group suggesting that a lengthy break from Facebook might make people happier – in general. And they created a website and campaign to encourage people to give it a shot. 99daysoffreedom.com

Upon hearing about it, my first reaction was – “Whoa, that’s three months, I don’t think I could do that – I use Facebook all the time.” and then, those words hit me…What exactly do I use Facebook for? I use it to see what my friends are posting, to try to post things that my friends might ‘like’ and as a sort of ego extension. I use it to try to increase my readership and once in a while I use it to buy or sell something.  The real question is Do I need it? The answer is very clearly “No”. I’ve lived most of my life without it and actually, I was happier with my use of my time during most of that time.  In fact, Facebook has more or less become a defacto boredom time killer and I don’t need to kill time…it’s my most valuable assett. I have so much stuff I want to do and haven’t been doing because I don’t have the time – but suddenly – if I’m not spending my time scrolling through platitudes pasted on nice pictures – or looking at other people’s vacation photos – I’ve got some time.

I mean, you want proof? I’m writing this. I’m not writing it on Facebook, I’m writing it on my blog which I’ve been sorely neglecting lately. You might be reading it on Facebook though because my blog automatically posts on Facebook without me logging in at all. I’m not logged into Facebook, I’m not checking to see if people ‘like’ me or what I post and I’m not being pithy, smarmy, or snarky.  It already feels good.

So here we are 99 days without logging into Facebook begins…if you want to see where it ends…you can see my countdown here..

And if you want to contact me – it won’t work to contact me on facebook. Try emailing me, commenting on this blog, calling me, or even sending me a letter.

 

http://99daysoffreedom.com/vago-damitio

Categories
Uncategorized

The Worst Trade I Ever Made

Back in 2006, I went on a trading odyssey where I started with a skateboard I bought for fifty cents and saw just how far I could trade it up…it was fun.

I traded the skateboard to an artist for three pieces of outsider art. I traded the art for a handfull of junk rubies. I traded the rubies for three things:

A massage from a masseuse which I never used

A sailboat which a few days after I got it sank and was then traded for a sword which I later sold for $5.

And a timeshare in Wisconsin – which I thought was pretty cool until I found out that when I transferred the title I became responsible for the $1200 in back dues the previous owner hadn’t wanted to pay.

After trying to explain the situation to the timeshare people, I realized there was no getting them to cancel the deed, so I signed it over to them and sent it with a bill of sale before I left the USA on a life changing five year journey…and I forgot about it.

Fast forward to 2014 – I’m back in the USA, I’ve brought my family with me from Morocco, and we’re struggling to make a living in rural Oregon, pay health insurance, not default on student loans, etc.

Guess who suddenly pops up and tells me I owe them $6600?!!!! The same timeshare company. Apparently they didn’t bother changing the title or decided it was better to let interest and penalties accrue…

Guess who got told to go fuck themselves because my credit is already non-existant and I’ve made it this long without any credit cards or loans – yup…that’s the one.

So, in a nutshell – I traded a $.50 cent skateboard for $6,600 in debt and a bad credit report….

That’s the worst trade I ever made.