Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oggy goes Bloggy

Have I cursed this maddening gigabyte world today? I don't think so. Let me take a moment to admit my ignorance regarding most things related to computers. I know JUST ENOUGH to buy an EIDE hard drive to store my music video footage...but NOT ENOUGH to realize the PATA signifies Parallel ATA, which will not work with the EIDE/SATA hard drive enclosures that I bought. IS this the end of the world? Yes. Yes it is. The world is ending. Goddamn it! I'm cracking. This is such a western lifestyle. I could either buy a SATA drive to go with my enclosure or buy a PATA compatible enclosure. This just sounds insane to me:
"40 pin or 80 pin?"
"PATA. No, wait. EIDE."
"Is it PATA or EIDE or both?"
"Both. The HD is both."
"Your enclosure?"
"So you need a PATA USB 2.0 enclosure?"
"Correct. PATA EIDE. Not SATA EIDE."
"Or EIDE?"
"No, the HD is 40 pin PATA EIDE."
"That won't work in a SATA EIDE USB 2.0 enclosure."

It sounds like the world is ending. Please, let's just go back to the old days. PLEASE! Haven't we had enough of this repulsive bullshit? My grandparents not only never used a computer (Grandma wrote long hand or on a manual typewriter) but the worst they had to adjust to was fuel injected engines. It isn't that I'm incapable of adjusting to THIS TAWDRY BULLSHIT but at the end of the day I feel it's devouring all the humanity that remained after Ronald Reagan left office, which wasn't too much. We've managed to create the machines that we must nurse 24/7. They work for us but my god, we've all got to be film directors now? Current TV has millions of videos made by random people. But the technology to allow that is less than a decade old. In my lifetime it's gone from "the internet doesn't exist" to "my existence revolves around the internet."
And this damn PATA SATA EIDE 1.21 Gigawatt debate is driving me crazy. I think the adobe suite is overwhelming my computer and even if it worked flawlessly it's the most comprehensive editing software in the world and I'm going to need to go to workshops to learn to use it so I can edit a damn song about a guy getting on a bus. Does that make sense to anyone? I make a video about chickens that's now viewable by the entire wired world, chickens in Nairobi can watch that video, but it's still about chickens. Was it really necessary to learn the skills to put that video together?

I'm going to persevere because at this point I don't have anything to lose. They broke Don Quixote but they're not going to break me. It's only intolerable when I compare myself to the cultural norm.

In happier news I'd like to point out that I have posted 174 times in 2010 compared to 172 times in all of 2009. That shouldn't surprise anyone since I had absolutely no electricity for 9 months of 2009. In fact, I go look at some of the posts from this time last year and I was dog sitting at a house for two dogs (the big one ended up with a different family) and playing guitar in the desert dungeon with Mack and Jay. I had to drive into town and go to the internet cafe and do everything in under one hour for 15 or 20 pesos. My computer didn't work but I had my camera. So, I've got electricity now and a computer that works. I don't really have internet service but I've got a library nearby. I don't think quantity counts for much more than a demonstration of how much free time I have to be writing. I'm convinced that the Santa Cruz book has monstrous potential. I've isolated the dichotomy of a reflexive/passive personality and an instinctive/active personality. It's a study of extremes like Narcissus and Goldmund. John Updike wrote his first Rabbit book with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship Grant. I think I'm going to apply for one. Anyone want to be a character reference? In the meantime it looks like I'll be a clean room medical machine operator after all. It's a means to an end, like my buddy down in Wellesley said. I'm just afraid that the means will become the end. The upside is that it doesn't pay enough to live on so I'll die much sooner. Oh, the irony of making medical devices that I can't afford to have fix me!

Let's hope the chicken man has thick skin

I'm going to risk ridicule and put this video up on youtube with the comments feature enabled. That exposes Farmer Ken and me to the entire world's low brow (and high brow) opinions. I've said before that I posted a video of me playing the guitar and someone commented "Charlie Manson live at the Holiday Inn" I didn't know if I should be flattered because I made it to a hotel lounge, or if I should be insulted because it's only the Holiday Inn and not the Marriott. Manson is a martyr in my opinion so that part didn't bother me much. I'm in the process of recording a different video of my guitar work as a response to those cruel comments.

My point is that people are cruel and youtube comments are notoriously cruel and a documentary about chickens is already exposed to cruel comments in any venue. But the comments are important because I'm curious how others will respond to this. It'll be amusing no matter what they say.

Here's the same video on Current TV. It probably violates some agreement if I post the same content on two different sites but I'll wait and see.

Turbinado Sugar

I was in the health food store today picking up Blueberry jam and giving sunflower seed butter a try (tastes a little nuttier than peanut).
I saw a bag of turbinado sugar and a wave of memories from Santa Cruz came back to me. There's a bread store where I would buy baguettes and a cup of tea and pile in the turbinado sugar, listening to the rain on the plastic awning, reading the paper or a book of philosophy, wrapped in a blanket. The turbinado sugar represents that coastal california ethic of honey and philosophy, tea and fresh bread, street musicians on the corner with a tambourine and harmonica.

I'm struggling to get in the right frame of mind to write more about Santa Cruz. All the pieces are in place except my frame of mind. I'm not focused on the details as I know in my heart. I want to blame it on all these frivolous blog entries which strike to the heart of the story in 500 words or less. That's bullshit as far as I'm concerned. It'll entertain but it doesn't linger and it doesn't build into an out of control avalanche of images and dramatic concepts.

The sugar reminded me of the poverty, of saving for a week to buy that cup of tea and drinking it in the garden out back, pipe smoke drifting from over a worn fence. Maybe there were carp in the pond. A student or two would be nearby gravely bent over their texts, and the cup of tea in a big white mug was a thread of connection to civilization that I didn't have in the forest. This was before the sitcom Friends had made these cafe moments cliche and it was my first exposure to the california Kerouac might've known. I was in Yosemite the first time I lived in California and the Sierras/Central Valley are not really a cafe/turbinado sugar types of culture. Redwood City had elements of culture but it was mainly latin based. Santa Cruz was different. This is where everyone would use the same spoon to get the sugar, where styrofoam cups did not exist, where big groups of yoga lovers would pose on the beach, where ravens flew into the forest at night. I felt a lifestyle devoted to economy was not abnormal there. Fruit and nut communes were planned at every table. Social Justice workshops were free with the purchase of a blueberry muffin. The people in Santa Cruz believed that philosophy was an active noun.

My point is that this isn't an anecdote. This can't be tackled with 500 words and talking about myself every other sentence won't work either. My experiences were unusual while I was there so that will help piece together the ideas I think are valuable but the normally flippant way I write, unedited and stream of consciousness, is not the frame of mind I want to have. It doesn't work for a 15 year old story. But the turbinado sugar holds the key, those large brown grains, the way it sticks to the wet spoon, the way it slowly dissolves in hot tea, the way it represents the unrefined, organic nature of the Santa Cruz lifestyle. Yoga and washable menstrual pads and bike racks and needle exchanges and frisbee in the park and a guy who roller skated around in disco short shorts listening to a transistor radio. I'll have to buy some turbinado sugar to get myself in the right frame of mind. It's all about the frame of mind. I'm always in the frame of mind to whip off an amusing 1000 words about beating off when I was 17 years old, but it's a completely different perspective to paint a grand mural covering several years of turmoil.


“And Jar wants to ask,” Jar says with his finger pointed straight into the sky, “If there have been any meat products eaten today by any of you, you food not bombs family people. And Jar…”
“Jar, that’s a personal question for some people,” says Kim in a textbook social service tone of voice, a tone of voice perfected through hours of welfare case meetings and mental health adjudications.
A sound that is Jar’s approximation of “Ah” creeps from his whiskered lips. His worn hemp turban tilts slightly to his left as he processes this hitch in his inquiry. In fact, Oggy thinks Jar is going to have a meltdown judging by the way his mouth is moving without any words coming out and the increasingly violent rocking motion that Jar has developed.
“Now, Jar, it’s a personal question but we understand why you are asking it.”
“Jar thinks of the baby chickens and goats,” spits out Jar.
“We know. Most of us are vegetarians.”
“What about milk?”
“I drink milk. Milk’s good,” says a shaggy man nearby. “They got milk at the shelter. Chocolate milk on Thursdays, from the dairy in Boulder Creek. Why? You got any?”
Jar backs away like a cannibal ghost has materialized near the broccoli florets pile. Kim attempts to intervene with her calming words but Jar is stumbling backwards toward the safety of the corn stalks. Kim reaches out to his shoulder but he has renounced all contact with women and this only makes him recoil further into a shocked shell.
“Milk!” he cries.
Jar turns and plows through a group of gutterpunks sniffing crank powder off a notebook cover.
“Hey! Puta!” one of the punks yells and watches Jar disappear into the sunflower garden. His tweaker friends sag with indifference, their tongues drooping over lip rings and tattoos.


In the plaza in downtown La Paz is a courtyard called the zocalo. They play a bingo style game called Loteria in the afternoon. The object is to fill up the whole card when they call things like "Dama" or "Mano" or "Pajaro". You could say it was a cheap Spanish lesson. It cost cinco pesos every game, which is about 40 cents. Some people got three or four cards but they were faster than I was. I could barely keep up with one card. This picture was posed, like I'd won something, but I never won. I was walking down memory lane today and saw all these pictures from Mexico and I decided I had the right idea but you've got to be a warrior to sustain it without flipping out. Gypsy wandering is an art form, like meditation. There is no way to prevent getting older or to avoid the troubles that will befall you on the road, but there is a way to maximize contentment, to roll with the punches, to experience the highs and the lows.
I didn't plan my trip well enough to stay the whole year (It's been about a year since this picture was taken) but I can see in reflection what changes to make so the time doesn't run out. This was not a vacation. There is only one reason why I would not be wearing a ring on my right hand in this photo. A reason that continues to haunt me...

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.