Sunday June 29, 2003

"Fuck softer toilet paper, where’s the Darwin dividend? We eat food pellets and wear water bottles like better rats, what happened to our early promise? When we were ugly and died all the time, all anyone talked about was salvation, family, overcoming desire, throwing off these chains and more dessert for the guests. Now that everyone’s a king—aren’t we even interested? "
-- a quote from The T hree Manifesto.

My favorite song of late has been "Fool" by Cat Power. Number six on the new album. In a lilting, sarcastic and sad way she sings about an "Apartment in New York, London and Paris" and then later says, "Why can’t we see as fortunates see? Living as legends have lived." And that last line explodes into so much for me. It's beautiful and comforting to know that I have been living as legends have lived. That my life is legendary when I take just a tiny little step outside my solipsism. And this is no stupid exaggeration. I'm talking about a historical context (pluck a random person from the first half of the 20th century to observe our lives and watch their jaw hit the floor) but also a geo-social one.

I don't need an apartment in New York, London and Paris to be a legend. And I don't want to see myself as an ordinary. I am humane but not ordinary. (Oh, get a hold on your democratic disgust. This is hubris for the sake of making a point.) I was talking with some friends the other day who had traveled to the 3rd world and some who hadn't, and they both said that they must have it exactly the way they have it now. Meaning that even though they know how superior their current lifestyle is to those poor fuckers, they would not tolerate being treated in a superior way. That they are more or less equal to the persons they deal with on a daily basis (as one would want it to be, I agree) and that they would not play a part to any unequalizing forces if they were to travel in, say, oh I don't know, in India.

They would not feel comfortable with maids, cooks, porters, drivers or any of the other symbols of a ruling class. How about a guy to shave you every day? The idea of someone taking care of them is also offensive to their sense of independence. What struck me is that this is selective anti-colonialism when it really doesn't matter. If you go to the trouble of spending more money than a person makes in 10 years to fly all the way around world, leaving your life of leisure to visit them, don't you think they'd be amazed and puzzled? Why try to act like you're equal? You might even see how it would be offensive to someone; even appear to be condescending to that poor fucker, when that person who is fabulously wealthy and exotic tries to play out some fantasy of equality.

And it's parochialism clothed in good old fashioned decency. And it's white guilt. Is it so hard to remember that every day of our life is a wondrous fairy tale to 90 percent of the other people on the planet? If someone puts you on a pedestal, you can try to climb down, but then they'll wonder why their statue would be so unmagnanimous as to self-destruct. Why don't they throw down their Chinese takeout right into that designer wastebasket and toss those American Spirits off their weather-treated wood deck? How can they put up with subjugating the entire earth for all that shit? Because the plain fact is that nobody is going to give up what they got without a fight. No matter how much they got.

"We’ve become gods, so now we must create or we will destroy." - 3

Nobody I know is more hedonistic than me (except for my friend Miguel I guess) so I don't want to put on that I'm some "sustainable living" nut. I'm kinda saying the opposite: That you need awareness first of your wealth and position and privilege. (By the way, I recommend getting it first hand, not reading about it on some website.) You need to give thanks for it, not in the weak-ass protestant way of "Yes Holy Father, I'm a sinner and I don't deserve it", but in the "bless these genes" absurdly lucky way that it is, and get on with taking advantage of your advantage. I brought those poor fuckers back with me and they ride around in the hip pocket of my $140 jeans.

The obvious response to this is that I am rationalizing plain, old, boring, over consumption. That I'm on Oprah explaining why I have to drive my Escalade down the freeway to Target and no one is listening. That even the awareness and thanks that I spoke of makes no difference. I say awareness and thankfulness is the only difference.

Read The T hree Manifesto again, even if you read it 5 years ago when I posted it first on It's mostly for college-age kids but older people enjoy it as well.

"Cool people advertise a playground to sell their ghetto." -- 3

Sunday June 22, 2003

When I'm checking my web stats I usually find some message board post somewhere on the internet where some smart-ass guy has grabbed an image from my website and is using it as a visual aid in a conversation. This is made possible by image searching of course. And what's even better is that I can see when and where I'm being sampled. And I've got a good one today. I don't know how long this post will stay up on the net (it's some pretty low-end drivel on a site called but somehow, Google knew that I loved Led Zeppelin in 7th grade possibly more than anything else on earth and when someone went searching .... ah, forget it. Just look at this post.

Friday June 20, 2003

Regarding a topic that's on everyone's minds these days: The Apu Trilogy. You can get the PAL Region 2 DVD's here but it suggests there will be a Region 1 release sometime in 2003. This is big news for me as I will be buying them as soon as they're released. I think you should wait a little longer as well. An email to Sony Pictures Classics confirms they'll release their Merchant-Ivory restored versions later this year. Fuck Yeah.

Monday June 16, 2003

Ruth at CHALK wanted me to type up some general computer troubleshooting guidelines for the office so I wrote her some and then I thought it would be nice to post it to my website so other office workers could read it. I genericized it and removed my cell phone number and now I'm giving you that same basic info. The best you can do, of course is use some common sense. After you read this email you'll have a little bit more common sense than you do right now but you already possess more than you probably think. Confidence is key. Remember that lightsaber training scene from Star Wars with young Luke and Obi Wan? It's like that.

You will probably use a computer in your work in every job you have for the rest of your life. Consider the following generic employment training.

Call or email your system administrator if you can't figure it out. Hopefully they don't mind helping out.

There are a few things that go wrong that prevent Youthline listeners or other fine members of our staff from doing their job and they're divided into 4 basic categories.

  1. Problems with (the website hosted on our ISP
  2. Problems with the office's internet connection (DSL provided by
  3. Problems with the local office network or server (Chalk mail, files or databases)
  4. Problems with the computers in the office

When something goes wrong you should try to identify *where* in time and space the problem is located. Try to ignore nagging questions like *what* the problem is. That is the least important thing. The first thing you always do whenever there's a problem is stop what you're doing and try to figure out what you were doing when you noticed something was wrong and when was the last time you can remember it was working. Ask yourself or the person complaining this question: "What you were doing when you noticed something was wrong and when was the last time you can remember it was working?"

This is the most important thing about troubleshooting and by asking this stupid question over and over again to people in trouble I was able to make hundreds of thousands of dollars as a computer consultant. For advanced troubleshooters looking for a shortcut, here's one: The problem usually resides somewhere in the space between the keyboard and the chair.

Joking aside (for now) that question is really the most important because it is necessary to determine if something is actually broken and can be fixed or if it is really just the way things have always been. You'd be surprised how much how much smaller the "problem domain" becomes after passing this test. Generally, fixing things that have never worked is not the job of the troubleshooter. That falls to the engineer. This is not an engineering how-to.

The next thing you do is think about the chain (1 through 4) and start with #4. If the computer you're on is not working or not doing what you want for any reason, try a different computer and see if it does what you want. If it does, Boom! You've isolated the problem to that computer and you can calm down because there are lots of computers in the office. Assign a low priority to the problem, move and continue your work. Can't find your MP3 files? Tough shit.

If the other computer has the same problem it might be a problem with #3 or above. Try something that involves only the local network or the server. Try your Chalk Outlook mail or try to get to the database folder on the server. (Most adult staff know how to do this). If you can do that, #3 is probably OK and you can move on to #2. If not, the problem is probably somewhere in the office. Call the sysadmin.

If you got this far, you're probably trying to use a website or some other internet resource. What you do here is similar to #4. Try some other website or some other internet resource. If you can't get any webpages to work, you probably have a problem with #2 and then you should call XO communications and report that you think your DSL is dead.

If the internet connection is working and you got to this point and you think that only is the problem, you can call Interland and tell them the website is down but generally, you should call me first because there's a chance that I can fix it. For example, just this weekend Adam let me know that there was a problem with zipcode lookups on and I fixed it.

That's it.

Saturday June 7, 2003

M Ward, the object of my idolotry is shown shredding like nobody shreds for free on your demand at this site in the Netherlands. Check out the video "Matt Ward 3VOOR12-sessie Crossing Border 2001" (you need dsl) and stay until the end because he does this thing he calls "Rag in Marjor D" that is jaw dropping. I'm here right now, trying to figure out which John Fahey songs to download so I can get going on that fingerpicking thing.