Cool. The Las Cruces Sun-News used a couple pix on their online Pulse. They also used a poem I wrote. I call it a "found poem" in that it's composed of actual snippets of overheard conversation, sayings on tee shirts and posters, pronouncements from band members, and stuff from the dark corners of my own mind, to create, what I hoped, was a fairly accurate representation of what went down.
The poem, Penguins Steal My Sanity (For Kristen), is dedicated to a 7th grade student I taught during my last tumultuous year teaching social studies at Hatch Middle School. On the outside she was part Goth, part punk, and ready to rumble if you wronged her. On the inside, her heart shone with crystal beauty. She was the coolest, most insightful student I had that year. Yeah, I really expected to see Kristen in the crowd. (So, if someone reading this knows Kristen, pass it along, OK?)
The forecast for Tuesday was "blazing sun" so I knew I'd better have a plan. No sunblock. Big floppy hat, maybe 14 inches across, so that my eyes were okay even when I removed my sunglasses to grab a shot. I found a shirt, a brand new, still in the plastic shirt, that I didn't know I had. It is white, long sleeves, vents all over the place, vented collar, sleeves roll up and button for short sleeve work. Fantastic shirt! Old high water white jeans.
Water. Grabbed a big bottle of some fancy schmancy water at Toucan Market cause it said it had "electrolytes" or something.
Food. Toucan Market. (I love that place. They're going to try and snarf some samples of Sea Smoke for me.) After checking out all the trail, I picked Choco Cranberry Crunch from Woodstock Farms. Big mistake. Around 1 p.m. I'm hungry so I find shade and open the pack. Shake out some snack. Nothin' shakin'. Look inside. Everything is lumped together in a big goo. Chocolate melted. So I used two fingers as a scoop and ate. Finished up by licking my now chocolate covered hand clean as I could. Then poured water over hand and wiped it off with a paper towel. I ate a bunch for breakfast yesterday. (I'm storing it in the fridge.) It's really very good.
The music. Never really got into punk, except I do have, and really enjoy, "Never Mind the Bollocks, We're the Sex Pistols." So I learned some new stuff by listening. First, the Satan from Hell gutteral stuff does nothing for me. Might have been cool the first couple bands did it years back, but geeze, I must have heard that pukey sound from at least half one third the bands I heard. (I first heard this sound when I went to a Halloween happening at a local punk record store. The singer was doing that pukey screaming, and a coupla kids in the small audience roared back in that same vomitous, SATAN!) I left.
Fall Out Boy lived up to their rep. The crowd showed their love by flinging bottles and moshing and suddenly the smell of weed drifted by and a girl made a sign to her boyfriend which translated as, "I need a toke!" I'm taking pix around me while digging the music and there's this pretty girl who's flirting with one of the audio guys where the sound stuff is inside this tent, and she comes inside and bares her breasts while he shoots some pix with his phone. Oh yeah, the phones! Everybody has a phone, and some are chatting away in the middle of the music and like, how do they do that? And now the phones can take pictures! And I'm shooting with this eight-year-old digital camera that's the equivalent of an Eastman Kodak Brownie - no focus or nothing.
Typical of all punk music is high energy. These guys/gurlz hold nothing back. And I guess that's why the crowd can get really rough and rowdy at times. I asked the cops (about 4 that afternoon) if they'd had any major problems, and they said, nah, things were cool for the most part. And that's what I observed.
Caught The Eyeliners next. Good stuff, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. (Missed My Chemical Romance cause I left around 4:30.) Scary Kids Scaring Kids was OK. Gina Young was very cool. I'd go see her at a small club. Motion City Soundtrack knocked me down a couple times. Some strange and wonderful music.
Jenny Christmas, fronting The Twenty Twos, hammered my poor stained glass heart.
(Interestingly, this pic of Jenny is one of two shots Pulse used.) Terrah Schroll produced some fluid mesmerizing sound with her keyboard, and Jenny, well, let's say this. I'll drive a hundred miles to hear this band. Bought their EP. "Touch and Go" just tears me up!
Brief aside - (Melanie Zipin is playing July 3 at Saint Claire Winery in Deming. I first heard her and Jeff at a free concert in Cruces just a few weeks after I'd moved here. I spoke with her between sets and, sure enough, she's cousin to a kid I knew in school in Phila., Peter Zipin. I love her stuff, and haven't seen her in, what three years? So I am definitely going.)
The crowd. I posted a link to my pix at The Well in the Punk Rock topic and some guy came back and said he was surprised to see families at a punk show. I responded that you could have counted families (like with kids and all) on one hand. Yeah, I have one shot of a dad her her daughter. But there weren't too many of those.
Really well behaved for such a large group. Lots of cool garb. (I missed a shot of one of the coolest ladies attired like no other. I can't describe it. She melted away before I could shoot. My only regret of the day. I kept an eye out the rest of the afternoon, but never saw her again.) Lots of black. Lots of metal. Lots of mohawks. Only one guy scared me. He didn't have any metal, or weird hair, or anything. He wore faded black jeans. No shirt. Long black hair. He was flanked by two guys as he strode the grounds. There was something about him. Maybe it was the way the jeans hung so freaking low on his hairless wire-thin body. Looked like a Manson family dude to me. Twice we crossed paths. Twice I held my breath.
So I got home around 5 and made me a big fresh salad with my backyard greens. Listened to Bush's address at 6. (Where was the usual foot-stomping applause that usually comes with playing up to an Army base? Guess even they are getting sick of the president's shenanigans.) Crashed around 7:30, expecting to sleep till at least 4 in the morning.
Woke up at 1:30. Might as well start downloading the pix. Sixty-five shots, downloading via serial cable to a 1997 Mac. Talk about slow! Out of 65 shots I thought 29 were usable. (Now, what I do is, if the shot doesn't stand on its own, I apply some effects which, about 95 percent of the time makes for a better product. Looking them over this morning, I see one effects shot I need to redo.) Finished up the whole thing around 8. You can see 'em here. Took a shower. Fiddled around awhile. Killing time. Waiting to catch "War of the Worlds" at the Telshor. OMIGOD! The waiting and hoping and praying for a worthy remake was justified. Very faithful to the book. Cruise will astound you. Oscar material. This film will shake you, scare you, and, in the end satisfy your lust for sci-fi/suspence/horror. (Please, don't take the little ones. During the matinee there were a couple babies and little kids bawling in terror.)
Capping the excitement was the trailer for "King Kong." OMIGOD! redux. Looks to be extremely faithful to the original. Only ramped up a thousand times over. You just wait.
I tried 3-Colors Tower of Hanoi. Worked very smoothly on my 1997 PowerPC Macintosh, so the site should be a breeze for everyone.
Movie for math geeks a real puzzler. Primer is a puzzle movie which, so far, has me stumped. Written and directed by an engineer, and produced for $7,000, the film is creating lots of buzz. I'm going to watch it again before heading out to Vans Warped Tour. Will tote ever trusty ancient digital shooter and post Wednesday any goodies I find.
And since I'm so gosh darn full of opinions these days, I'm gonna weigh in on the draft. Bring it back. Every able-bodied young man should be expected/required to serve his country for two years.
The peace people hate to hear this sort of thing from me. I'm sorry. I don't have anything against recruiters, or their tactics, or the violent video games they're reportedly handing out, or their cool ads on TV and in the movies. I have no complaints with them targeting low-wage (or no-wage) blacks, latinos, or anybody who's on the low end of the social ladder. Here's why.
Opportunity. Yes, you indeed may get blown up, shot up, cut down, or come home legless and blind. You may be emotionally scarred for the rest of your life. But that's the chance you take.
I joined the Army in October, 1965, because I hated school (although I did manage to finally graduate) and I wasn't happy living within my dysfunctional family. I was trained as a medic. Later I trained as a psychiatric technician.
This was in the midst of the Vietnam War, of course. I was told by my fellow trainees that after my psychiatric training they'd most likely send the majority of us to Vietnam as plain old medics. And, if you were a medic in the jungle of 'Nam, you were almost as good as dead. Those red crosses made great target practice.
I guess luck was with me. I never left the states. Interned at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Did my final two years at Valley Forge General Hospital. I've tended men broken in mind and body. And spirit. This is the human cost of war. I took my chances and won.
But, the draft! I can hear it now. The draft will take young men whether they wish to go or not.
That's true, folks. My best friend said that if his number came up he was heading to Canada. I had no problem with that. He was my best friend, and that was his choice.
They never should have done away with the draft. I believe that young men have an obligation to serve their country. Israel has had this policy for years.
If and when the draft returns, I'll fully respect anyone who flees to another country. That's a choice each man has to make for himself.
Well, it happened this way. I drove out to Barnett's yesterday to hear the sounds of the Harley Davidsons. I love listening to the tribal roars as riders announce their comings and goings. They had a Poker Run Sunday for muscular dystrophy. Bikers and their babes arrived in the grand style. Some were smoking cigarettes and I wanted one so bad, but I kept my impulses in check.
I wasn't going on the run. Too hot. Not enough money in the till. Just wanted to hear the bikes.
Las Cruces Mayor Bill Mattiace appeared. Worked the crowd. (He's a New York lad. I'm a Philly man. What we got in common? Pizza maybe? Still looking for the best pizza in Cruces.) I left about noon and drove out to Barnes and Noble. Ordered Addicted to War by Joel Andreas. Drove out to Sam's for bourbon and bleu cheese crumbles. Nixed the crumbles when I remember - must check to see whether the new upscale hoity-toity grocery, Toucan Market, is open yet. It is.
Walked in and was greeted by nice lady used to work at Spirit Winds. Can't place her accent. Aussie? English? Dunno. Nice lady, though. She remembered me, and I hadn't seen her in maybe a year and a half and I'm sporting a goatee trying to look like Gordon Freeman in Half Life. Anyway, she works at Milagro's now, and they've set up shop at Toucan. Smart move, chaps.
Oops! Think I'll keep buying my crumbles at Sam's. Dinero, ya know? Ok, see if they have Sea Smoke. (I don't know wine. Just happened to have finally seen "Sideways" and then joined a discussion of the film on the Well and some guy mentioned he'd had the most fantastic wine the other night... Sea Smoke.)
Really good wine selection but no Sea Smoke. They take my name and phone number and said they would call and see if they could get it and they'd get back to me. I don't want to leave empty handed, so I check out the beer.
Double Chocolate Stout, huh? I got to try this. Comes in a four pack. Fits quite nicely in my saddle bag. Laura rings it up - $2.44 with tax. I keep a poker face. Laura kind of churtles. I'm thinking, holy crap! If this stuff is any good I'm coming back in the car and buy 'em out. Hope Laura doesn't tell management, though, really, she should. I would. That price has got to be a mistake. I need to get all I can before price goes way up.
So, I sit down with a bourbon and work the net awhile. Just a little bit left in the bottle, so I pour me the rest. Must be 2 in the afternoon when I wake in front of the monitor. Maybe it was the bourbon, plus the fact that that morning I had watched "The Pianist" and the film just blew a hole in my heart and I was exhausted by film's end. Or, maybe it was the bourbon. or maybe I'm really sick and don't know it. Maybe my lucid dream is gonna come true. Maybe this is my last year on earth.
(Or maybe I'm still beat from the farmers market Saturday. Invested in markers and a poster board. Went there to sell my freshly harvested catnip at 25 cents a stalk. I figured, all the cat owners, 25 cents makes it an impulse buy. I created the coolest little pitch on the poster board and waited for the boom. By noon I'd sold three stalks. Drove home, slept, then dumped the catnip in a pillowcase, tied it, and made Caveman very happy.)
I stumbled to the bed and lay down with my boots on. Woke up around 6 cause my right foot's hurting from the boot. Get undressed and lay down, figure I'll get up later and eat some. And try the double chocolate stout. Caveman woke me around 8. Let him out. Not hungry. Just wanta sleep. Lay back down.
Meooow. Turn on light. 2 a.m.. Let Caveman in. Drink coffee. brush teeth. Check email. Ooooh. Violet wants me to see this. (Half the pointers Violet sends me I end up using here.) I check it out. Ho hum. Gonna be a tribunal. Lotta good that'll do.
Check the Well, Current Events conf. Hmmm, what's this? Topic devoted to Arundhati Roy. Hey, that's the guy in the tribunal. Turns out he's a woman. I read the entire thread. Smart people in this thread. They know their stuff. One's an author/ex-journalist. I like hanging with smart people cause it makes me smarter. Sometimes.
Turns out that Roy is considered by some to be the next Ghandi. Others see her as an opportunist. Won Booker Prize for fiction. Writes a lot of nonfiction. I leave a post there and ask for a recommendation as to the best book I, as a newbie, can read to get to know her core beliefs. I still don't use the tribunal link, but hey, Violet, I guess I did.
My computer says it's 6:15 a.m.. Before I wrote this post I e-mailed Bill Mattiace about an old sore. While writing Bill, I sipped the stout. (hence the French, perhaps? Or maybe I just got worked up living through the whole experience.)
Guess who's gonna be at Toucan's door 7:30 this morning?
Oh, please Laura. Hush!
Stout Update! - I scored their entire stock... three four-packs. Told them to order more.
One of the things I made note of while watching The Oil Factor was the degree to which the information in the film dovetailed with the reporting of Iraq's Riverbend. In other words, Riverbend gets it right. She's been a trusted source ever since she began blogging. Her most recent post contains information which gives you the notion that the U.S. is going to maintain a strong presence in Iraq for years to come. The film (which does not cover 2005 events) says exactly the same thing.
What people find particularly frustrating is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, the Green Zone is flourishing. The walls surrounding restricted areas housing Americans and Puppets have gotten higher- as if vying with the tallest of date palms for height. The concrete reinforcements and road blocks designed to slow and impede traffic are now a part of everyday scenery- the road, the trees, the shops, the earth, the sky… and the ugly concrete slabs sometimes wound insidiously with barbed wire.
The price of building materials has gone up unbelievably, in spite of the fact that major reconstruction has not yet begun. I assumed it was because so much of the concrete and other building materials was going to reinforce the restricted areas. A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of the Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from the future US Embassy and the housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water- a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone, also known as the Green Republic.
“The Americans won’t be out in less than ten years.” Is how the argument often begins with the friend who has entered the Green Republic. “How can you say that?” Is usually my answer- and I begin to throw around numbers- 2007, 2008 maximum… Could they possibly want to be here longer? Can they afford to be here longer? At this, T. shakes his head- if you could see the bases they are planning to build- if you could see what already has been built- you’d know that they are going to be here for quite a while.
The Green Zone is a source of consternation and aggravation for the typical Iraqi. It makes us anxious because it symbolises the heart of the occupation and if fortifications and barricades are any indicator- the occupation is going to be here for a long time. It is a provocation because no matter how anyone tries to explain or justify it, it is like a slap in the face. It tells us that while we are citizens in our own country, our comings and goings are restricted because portions of the country no longer belong to its people. They belong to the people living in the Green Republic.
I used to read Mother Earth News back in the 70s. You know the drill - there's a worldwide disaster coming so start raising chickens and get busy hoarding "real" wealth like coffee and gold bars. Stock up now so you won't be left hanging out to dry when the money supply turns into folding paper with pictures of dead men on them.
In the face of my day-to-day reality, it was hard for me to take this stuff seriously, although I did raise rabbits for a short time, and I credit Mother Earth with setting me on the road to organic vegetable gardening. The rabbits went (I just couldn't kill them anymore, though the barbeques were great fun). The gardening continues.
Thirty years later, I see that Mother Earth got it right. They were just way ahead of their time. Guess what? Devil's knocking on the door. All bets are off.
Here's the problem. Seemingly innocent crap whose base component is... oil.
I watched The Oil Factor last night at the Peace and Justice Center of Las Cruces. It's definitely a film you need to see. It won't drop your jaw like Michael Moore's polemic did. Rather, it's a well considered meditation on the underlying factors behind today's headlines.
If the filmmakers facts are right, and I think they are, based on what other analysts have been saying, peak oil is finished. There's a finite supply, and the U.S., today's sole superpower, is scrambling for control. As the film's subtitle says, Behind the War on Terror. Just so you know what we're really fighting for. Just so you know that, short of a change in global consciousness, we're just this side of the doorway to hell.
... and you'd like to treat your kitty to a stalk of organic catnip, drop by the Farmers Market on the downtown mall this Sat. morning. I figure I'll have maybe 50-60 eight-inch stalks topped with the prettiest pink flowering tops you've ever seen this side of... something or other. I forget.
Anyway, I'm selling this Sat. only cause my two plants are in the pink right now. Twenty-five cents a stalk or four for a buck. Such a deal! And, really, don't those little people in cat suits deserve the very best?