Monthly Archives: November 2008

this is getting ridiculous

A suspected pirate ship was sunk on Nov. 18 in the Gulf of Aden by the Indian Navy. The ship now appears to have been a Thai fishing trawler, according to a report.
11/25/2008 NYTimes

I guess the ocean is the last real lawless territory that is regularly traversed by people we (western postindustrial societies) are going to care about.  Actually, no, scratch that, traversed by goods that concern us.  Seems like no one government is willing to deal with all the hassle of taking on the pirates, and then figuring out what to do with the ones they can’t kill outright.  Maybe this much less nuanced issue (though obviously with some subtlety, see article) is really what private security forces should be used for.  C’mon Blackwater, you already have the perfect name!

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craig, lead me not into temptation

I lurk the craigslist free section a lot, I don’t really know why.  everything I’ve gotten off there has been a “but” situation–it works fine, but…

craigslist free lamp: standard floor lamp, with a dimmer dial.  thing is, (other than it’s being ugly as sin) the dimmer doesn’t work quite right–the dial has to be turned past a point and the light will turn on full power.  I guess in this case it’s a complicated on/off switch.  the rub is that it’s easy to just turn the dial past the point where the light will turn on, and not finish the twist completely. If the turn is not fully performed then after an indeterminate amount of time, sometimes a minute, sometimes twenty, the light will just turn off.  when the light in question is the only source of illumination in an otherwise dark and cluttered room, this is kind of annoying.

craigslist free printer: super nice, new, perfect condition printer.  hell, it even prints wirelessly–for when I want to store my printer on the deck, or maybe spend some qulity time with it at the beach.  what’s the catch? well, it needs ink.  $70 ink. “free” is a relative term, I guess.

and just as a bonus, I got some free shipping materials from USPS.com.  they’re super-slick DVD mailers, that can be folded to hold one or two DVDs and have adhesive already applied and everything.  I want to sell my DVDs because a) they don’t really reflect my current taste in movies and b) they’ve been rendered obsolete by netflix.  So, these mailers seemed like a godsend, and I couldn’t beat the price: totally free, and with equally free shipping.  no downside!  BUT: I neglected to notice that these were priority mail boxes, and were emblazoned with “PRIORITY MAIL POSTAGE ONLY.”  That’s cool and all, but to send a DVD (or two!) by priority mail costs around $4, while first class is a whopping $.42 or something.  When DVDs sell for maybe $7, that four bucks really cuts into my profit margin.  In the end that would cost me something about the same as the two print cartriges I need for my “free” printer.

I guess the old adage “there’s no such thing as a free meal” extends to lamps, wireless printing, and packing matériel.

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because green has ceased to be a dirty word

just turned off this week’s edition of meet the press, the subject of which was the woes of the american auto industry and whether they should get a bailout, and the options that this nation has for the energy sector—the affable T. Boone Pickens was interviewed about his eponymous plan for american energy independance.

What struck me the most by both segments was the theme of immenent economic turmoil paired by an emphasis on the possibilities for innovation and job creation figures in the hundreds of thousands (obviously the latter holds more possibility in the creation of a new energy economy, the american auto industry is going to contract regardless).  

This got me thinking.  It seems like looking past the next few years of economic recession with an optimistic eye one can foresee a sea change in how our society and economy operates, the ideals that it holds, and a myriad of new markets that tap into such values.  I feel like the best case scenario for the next decade in this country would involve authentic ingenuity, insight, and capitalization, and a good number of people making a lot of money out of it—money that would not be completely free of questionable provenance, but at least with more moral character than the fortunes made in subprime lending, derivatives markets, and the manufacture of vehicles with mpg ratings that parallel the amount o foresight (in years) of those that purchased them.  There will be fortunes made from providing services and inventing technology that will have, if not a unarguably positive long-term effect on our world, then at least less of a degrading one.

Now, how can I get in on this?

Edit: Of course, I wake up this morning and see that Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo covers the same territory in a much more coherent manner.

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if solely defined by drinking the “dark sweet wine,” we’re not so gone

so last night, after returning from a fine senior-citizen’s ball where much port (a brilliant spirit, as fit for consumption now as it was for brautigan and his flea-circus friends in long-ago san francisco) was consumed, and swampdonkeys admired, among other things–after all of that, cycling back to our fine house at 209 mott avenue, santa cruz ca 95062, I had cultivated a fine hunger.  For several reasons, I have not gone hunting and gathering in the urban orchards of TJs and Staff of Life in many moons, so in order to fill my stomach and play out the evening in well-fed fashion I determined that outside help must be enlisted to accomplish the task.  

the wonderful thing about our neighborhood is that there is no shortage of very proximate dining establishments, providing a cornocopia of cuisine options: seabright brewery (forgettable food, will probably become much more worthwhile when I am of age), the excellent engfer’s pizzaworks, a taqueria, day’s market (with the infuriating $10 miniumum on debit purchases–who the hell goes to the neighborhood cornerstore and spends more than ten bucks on a regular basis?  again, when of age I’m sure this will cease to be a problem: “well shucks, all I really wanted was a loaf of bread, but I guess a sixpack or two couldn’t hurt either), and, finally, the incomparable betty burgers (not betty’s burgers, which has far better flow).  It was decided: a slammin’ salmon to go would satiate my craving with plenty to spare.  Eagerly dialing Betty to place my order, I was soon greeted with what then sounded like the voice of a burger joint angel:

“Betty’s Burgers [even THEY understand this superior option], how can I help you?”

 I inquired if they were still open, which in retrospect might seem like a silly question, but in this case was an essential one:

“Whatssup, you guys still doing orders-to-go?”

 “Nah, sorry, we’re closed.”

Well, shit, why are you answering the phone?  Are you teasing me on purpose?  He assured me he was not, and that they had just closed.  Ah well, I can understand that.  On to plan b, Engfer’s. Dialed.  

“Engfer’s Pizza Works.”

“Hi, are you still open?”

“Nah, sorry, we closed two hours ago.”

Okay, seriously, that’s ridiculous, you seabright eateries are all dirty low teases.  She agreed with me, which did little to sooth my grumbling stomach but was appreciated.  

It was then posited by my fine housemate brian that he has a prodigious amount of kraft mac-n-cheeze which we could prepare posthaste.  This was a fine (and economical) comprimise, and we were all able to play out the evening well-fed and cheezed.  

This last part is an interesting postscript, as this morning I went to the gym and upon my sweaty return (it’s a beautiful day here, in the 70s, sunny, no wind, absolutely delicious) I realized that not only did I smell faintly of the alchohol exiting through my pores, but even more pronounced was the odor of mac-n-cheeze.  I smelled like mac-n-cheeze–if I were a cartoon, there would have been bright orange squiggly lines emenating from my rock-hard body (hey, we’re talking hypothetical cartoons here, I can take some license)

Holly thinks I should market this new eau de toilette, and I can agree: in this economy of recession, people are looking for things that comfort them (check out campbells soup stock prices) and what’s more comforting than the violently orange dish momma used to make?  people today are looking for security, such comfort can be found in the smell of kraft mac-n-cheeze, ipso facto mac-n-cheeze perfume will be a hit.

after showering, I walked to a seabright salon which is far-and-away the best stylistic establishment I have yet had the honor of giving patronage.  gabriella is a competent stylist, but even more than that, clients are greeted upon entering with the sublimely civilized question: “can I get you a drink? we have beer, wine, and soda.”  even better than that, saturdays are apparently mimosa days, with fresh orange juice.  if the petite bourgeoisie is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

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“rust-red scar”

just like all you see of 9/11 in the media is the spectacle of the towers falling, all one sees of hiroshima is the mushroom cloud.  From ground-level the true force of the blast, hidden by the sterile awe of the cloud, is observable on a human scale.  The story behind the pictures is pretty unbelievable, too.

hiro_1

Hiroshima: The Lost Photographs

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