Notes From The Flip Side: 09.12.2004
"And in the midst of the mounting tide of atavism stand men from a different world, men who conspire in order to end conspiracies among people, men who steal so that there will be no more stealing in the world, men who kill so that people will cease to murder one another."
Meat Is Still Murder.
[PETA2] punkrockacademy.com contest
As most of you know, I've been a vegetarian for about 15 years now, largely thanks to Norman F. Dessel, Ph.D., a brilliant professor of Natural Science who spent the best part of a semester reviewing the Worldwatch Institute's "State Of The World" report to explain in painstakingly minute detail exactly how fucked we are. He attacked the production and consumption of meat and meat products from just about every conceivable angle - ethical, moral, environmental, economic ... it was basically a full-frontal assault of such power and efficiency that at least 1/3 of his class walked out vowing never to eat meat again. He pulled the curtain back and showed us who the Wizard Of Oz really was.
When confronted with a substantial body of irrefutable evidence (much of it taken from industry advocacy groups) which shows the massive amounts of grain and fresh water needed to get a single pound of beef to the butcher shop, when considering the billions of people who share this planet but don't have easy access to drinking water, when considering the environmental impacts of large-scale meat production and what it does to the surrounding area, someone has to say enough.
For a number of years, I've supported PETA in various ways - donations here, handing out some leaflets there. I can't claim it was entirely selfless - most of you also know that I love to cook and I've gotten a lot of great recipes out of it. Thus, when a representative from PETA2 emailed me to ask if we might be able to work together to raise awareness about animal rights issues, of course I said yes.
And that means that you all benefit because PETA2 is sponsoring a drawing!
There are 10 prize packages consisting of the "Liberation" compilation - featuring songs from Propagandhi, Frenzal Rhomb, Anti-Flag, NOFX, The Eyeliners, Bigwig and Good Riddance - as well as an autographed peta2.com sticker from The Eyeliners, Bigwig or Anti-Flag! As an added benefit, PETA will add you to their email alert list so you can begin learning about how you can act locally to benefit critters everywhere. It's the right thing to do and it's more fun than talking shit about who sold out on a message board, so enter already.
[PETA2] punkrockacademy.com contest
No, Seriously Dude, Who Would Jesus Hate?
Just loan me a guitar and a chord and I'll figure all this shit out, I swear. I have all the words I need - just give me a few minutes to put them in the right order and we'll be able to see and solve all of our problems because what we're doing right now doesn't seem to be working.
And wouldn't it be nice if we had one righteous anthem, one song so simple that everyone could sing it as we marched in solidarity to save ourselves and everyone around us? Wouldn't it be nice if we could protest and the cops didn't shut us down?
Mission Accomplished: On A Dubious Milestone.
Over 1,000 dead now. And for what? Do we have any fucking clue what the end game is, besides an oil grab and allowing Halliburton to bend the country over and tell us all to squeal like pigs?
Fuck these assholes.
Technical Difficulties ... And Then Some.
If this update points at one theme, it's longevity. My Dragons fandom (scroll down for more on that). My vegetarianism ... and, until now, my ISP. I became a CTS customer in the very early 1990s. I stayed a customer through mergers, acquisitions and buyouts. I fought with the companies that acquired CTS and the companies that acquired those companies. I fought with them to deal with their spam problems and a slew of other issues. This weekend was the straw that broke the camel's back.
A company named Concentric recently acquired one of the companies that acquired CTS. In the four days since cutting over, my email has gone down for two days because someone missed a key technical detail about email aliases (in essence, anything going to any address at punkrockacademy dot com was bounced) and this update is late because it didn't occur to them that people might need to update their sites during a migration which has apparently been going on for over a week now. I can't push files to the old servers. I can't push files to the new servers. And that constitutes a major technical debacle. If I've learned one lesson in my time in technology, it is exhaustively testing everything before cutting over and making sure that it is rock solid ... and rolling changes back if necessary. Downtime is unacceptable. And, as a result, I'm switching all of my hosting services over to Pair, which managed to get me up and running in a matter of about three hours and with flawless execution. Go Pair!
Resolving the fundamental issues in my life isn't easy. It's a long, bloody process filled with fighting, denial and wishful thinking. It's a matter of actively resisting things I don't want to admit or acknowledge. If my world has seemed darker than normal lately, I'm coming to a point at which I have to recognize that I am currently part of the problem ... and that I am also the only solution.
It boils down to something simple - trying to be and do everything for everyone, as I told a friend of mine lately. It reduces more simply to trying to give too much and pick up the slack for others so no one falls behind when that isn't my responsibility; when, to put it even more simply, I'm trying to carry people who simply don't want to walk because I want them to like me. I'm developing relationships based on what I do for people, not who I am - and when I can't or won't keep giving, it all falls apart.
To fix things, I have to break a lot of shit.
Over almost a decade now, The Dragons were - by and large - one of the bands that meant the most to me. I was at a Dragons show with Philip, my co-defendant, when a process server caught up with me and handed me paperwork that let me know that me and my zine were being sued for libel. Not long after that, my mom killed herself and I spent many nights in various stages of blacking out while The Dragons played music that sometimes felt like it was the only thing that would ever make me feel okay again. After the lawsuit was over, The Dragons played a benefit show to help Philip and I recover our legal fees ... but honestly, that blurry night felt a fuck of a lot more like a victory party. After I moved in with my ex-fiancee in the late 1990s, I didn't see them as much. My car had flamed out, I had no way to get around. The first time I saw them after that debacle of a breakup, I said something along the lines of, "I feel like I'm home." Jarrod looked up from his drums and said, "You are home, buddy."
And that's how I'm going to remember these guys.
Thanks for all the music. Thanks for all the hours of being able to set my problems aside for a while.
Off The Top Of My Head ...
- If you've ever enjoyed one of Billy Bragg's songs, then you simply must check out this collection of songs that The Weakerthans' John Samson recorded for the CBC.
- Problems with electronic vote tallying still exist ... and seem to be multiplying. Forget Florida - we have bigger problems this year. I hope someone finally gets around to listening to Avi Rubin's comments on this subject. Can I just say, once again, that Avi Rubin totally fucking rules? Yeah, I'm a fanboy. I can't help it. And as long as I'm on the subject, let's hear it for Bill Lockyer, California's Attorney General, who just joined a lawsuit alleging that Diebold Inc. sold the state shoddy hardware and software which exposed elections to hackers and software bugs. Go, Bill!
- Having problems figuring out who's stretching the truth and who's telling bald-faced lies ... on both sides of the party lines? Spinsanity and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania's Fact Check.org can help.
Rilo Kiley. Aesop Rock. El-P. Rachel Goswell. Chet Baker. M83. The Mountain Goats. A Certain Ratio. Horace Silver. The Album Leaf. The Good Life. Grabass Charlestons. Billy Reese Peters. Volante. Pedro The Lion. Owen.
Michael Chabon, "The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay"
Paul Avrich, "Anarchist Portraits"; Bertrand Russell, "Why I Am Not A Christian"; Umberto Eco, "Island Of The Day Before"; Alan Lomax, "The Land Where The Blues Began"; Peter Guralnick, "Lost Highway" and "Sweet Soul Music"; Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again"; Steven Heller, "Graphic Design History" (edited with Georgette Ballance); Gunnar Swanson, ed., "Graphic Design And Reading"; Daniel Guerin, "No Gods No Masters"