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Archive for October, 2011

Stalking Pumpkins, An Attempt

Due to less than popular, but occasional request, I attempted to recreate the Stalking Pumpkin effect this Halloween.

Here is a photo of the finished pumpkin:

Reverse Face Pumpkin

Now, that may not look like much, and indeed may not be much, but it does kind of work.

Unfortunately, when I took my very first .mov video with my video camera, I could not get anything to read it, including the VLC media player that has its logo on it when I tried to upload it to Flickr.

Not sure what the problem is here. Very new to this. But, by Dog, I tried.

It does work, but most people don’t believe it until they see it.

Anyway, back to the photo. The white stuff is sealing caulk, because it’s hard to cut out a pumpkin face, flip it around backwards so that it is concave instead of convex, and have it fit without cracks. Cracks will ruin the whole illusion.

One tricky part of this is cutting at the proper angles so that the cutout face won’t just fall in to the pumpkin. I am starting to think of fixes for this as I go along. I just can’t understand why I don’t see these on the net, but maybe it’s because of the problems with getting it across on video. You have to do it in the dark, and keep the trajectory smooth, and if you do it perfectly, I guess it looks like you’re just standing in front of the pumpkin.

But AFK, its face appears to follow you as you walk past it. I learned about this from the same thing being done with concave metal sculpture at some art show about 25 years ago.


Well, Yes; OPOL

This whole country used to be a Free-Speech Zone

Revolutionaries don’t ask for permission.

We don’t need no stinking permits.


Oh. Look.

See, they can do it!

This is awesome! Look at all the Kossacks I’ve supported in their works, having a good time over there in San Francisco!

Good happy times, Kossacks. That must be so wonderful.

Oh, wait. Miep who?

SF Kossacks host MinistryofTruth, barnstorm, occupy around the Bay (photos!)In a fly-by-day maneuver instigated by Shockwave and midwifed by navajo and jpmassar, a bunch of SF Kossacks had pitched in to fly Jesse out to Oakland to catch a little bit of the MoT vibe, introduce him to his West Coast occupying brothers and sisters, and last but not least, show him his long-lost roots, as he had expressed his desire to finally see San Francisco, the place his mother once roamed in the early sixties.

It was a high stakes operation, not only because Jesse had less than 24 hours in town (flew into Oakland at noon yesterday, left at 6am this morning) and Shockwave was driving up all the way from SoCal to pick him up from the airport (let’s just call him the Kossacks’ Neal Cassady), but because navajo, the driving force behind all things SF Kossack-related, couldn’t be on site because she was sick. Though far from absent (we all got text messages sending us lots of love and instructions on how to kick ass – just kidding on the latter), the task of documenting this historic gathering fell to us rookies. As jpmassar already documented this morning, we had a lot of meaningful interactions with people from all walks of life.

This diary is the visual accompaniment to a magical day, an attempt by kimoconnor and myself to walk in the shoes of navajo and be the documentarians of this plucky little community for just one day.

Hopefully there’ll be some more pics in the comments, but for starters, here’s the day as seen through Kim and my eyes.

Yeah, I guess I must be misremembering a lot of stuff. Like when Ministry of Truth was so financially fucked up and was writing about he had to eat ketchup. I sent you a $100 then, Jesse.

Remember your friends, Jesse. You were scared back then. You’re in good shape now and I’m happy for you.

I do find it a little ugly that you apparently forgot, though.


Meteor Blades, You So Silly!

Note: I really, really don’t want to keep posting essays here about Tim Lange.

I’m going to try to give it a shot here.

MB has been posting on DK for lots of years. He’s done good work there and elsewhere with promoting the First Nations people. not to mention lots of of other good works he’s done with his writing.

He’s part Seminole.

He is a really good writer, and a really good blogger.

He’s about 65 now, in years of age.

He got abused by biological family members.

Later, he married a woman from Libya. He worked to take care of her and her children. I don’t have to tell you that Libya has been in a hell of a lot of trouble lately. He helped get his wife’s daughter out of Libya via smuggling in a passport for her in his boot.

He had a vasectomy relatively early in his life. These are his people.

He went to jail when he was drafted to the Viet Nam War, instead of submitting to go kill strangers. How many others went to jail when they resisted the draft?

He went to jail when he joined the protestors for civil rights in the South in the 60’s.

He was raped as a child, when he got stuck in some horrible juvie place when he was just about ten.

He went on to write about all of this, on Daily Kos.

I’m going to stand up right now here on Right of Assembly and say that I’m totally damned tired of all of you who want to drift around the Soapblox blogs trashing Tim Lange. I see him as being one of the best heros we have.

I have no idea why he keeps hanging around Daily Kos. Well, I have some ideas, but none of them include “Meteor Blades Beard For Republicans!”



Am I Observing Entropy at Work?

I’ve been reading political blogs since they first started appearing on the net and there were a whole bunch of them that I used to follow closely. Now, not so much. Remember Billmon? What happened to him? FafBlog has only a now and then appearance. Atrios, who used to write good analyses is now kind of reduced to pushing public transit in Philadelphia and posting things like “The Catfood Commission eats a mouse and gets sick” followed by a link to something. Talking Points Memo, which used to do pretty good analyses now seems to work mainly on the People Magazine level. If only Lindsey Lohan were more interested in politics, it would give them a whole new world of coverage.

I’ve written a blog myself for over 3 years, day in and day out (not about politics), and so I know something about how difficult it is to sustain that level of writing. The alternative to less intense/involved posting, or just less posting seems to be to include more writers (Firedoglake or Crooked Timber, eg.), which makes it a little more like a daily magazine with uneven content, or to include so many writers (Huffington Post) that the reader weakens at the thought of having to sift through the morass. Digby and Glenn Greenwald are the exceptions, certainly, in keeping up their intensity day in and day out, mostly on their own..

Maybe it’s not entropy; maybe it’s natural selection and survival depends upon finding an environment where your level of intensity is a feature and not a bug. I don’t know. I was just thinking this Sunday morning about what I used to read and what I read nowadays. Of course, maybe it’s not the blogs that are running down: maybe it’s me?


Operation Faux Hunt

Anonymous threatens to destroy Fox News on Guy Fawkes Day

Digital Trends, 10/29

November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day. Save the date.


World’s Scariest Spiders

(thanks to quauoarpower)


What Happens To Whales When Humans Don’t Exterminate Them

Life at the Bottom: The Prolific Afterlife of Whales

Scientific American

From February of 2010

The first hint that dead whales could host specialized animal communities came as early as 1854, when a zoologist described a new species of centimeter-size mussel extracted from burrows in floating whale blubber collected off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. When industrial deep-sea trawling began in the 20th century, researchers learned that such dependence on dead whales was not a freak occurrence. From the 1960s onward an increasing number of whale skulls and other bones with attached specimens of new mollusk species were recovered from nets around Scotland, Ireland, Iceland and particularly the Chatham Rise to the east of New Zealand. One bone specimen trawled off the South African coast in 1964 was covered with the same small mussel first seen in 1854 in roughly the same area.


Are There No Workhouses?

Drug Sentencing Reforms Halt Decades Of Prison Population Growth

HuffPo, 10/28, by John Rudolf

The reforms reduce the sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine quantities from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1, and eliminate mandatory sentences for possession of small amounts of crack. The Bureau of Prisons estimated that the sentence reductions will save the federal government $200 million over five years.

This is what passes for progress these days. Lower economic classes are more likely to use crack cocaine, while higher economic classes are more likely to use powdered cocaine. So now we are only going to discriminate against the lower classes by a factor of 18, instead of 100.

But the real story is this business of keeping people in prison is expensive. Of course, it does, on the other hand, keep them from starting Occupy movements.

Also, $200 million over five years really isn’t big money in the federal budget these days.

But wait:

But in many states, it is crippling budget deficits caused by the economic slowdown that have spurred elected officials to finally take action to slim their bulging prison populations. With a strong focus on non-violent offenders — many locked up for drug-related crimes — states are increasingly looking at alternatives to incarceration and enacting new polices to moderate long sentences for those already behind bars.


The U.S. leads all nations in incarceration, with nearly 2.4 million people in prisons and jails, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That is about 25 percent of all people incarcerated worldwide, though the U.S. represents only 5 percent of the global population.

California recently ran into trouble when it started shifting some of its prison population out of state prisons into county jails, because they could not then continue to have these people work as firefighters for a few dollars a day. Oh, California, you so silly! The answer is obvious.


Anonymous Threatens To Take On Major Mexican Drug Cartel

Article in Spanish

Translation of above

Another article in English

Thanks to Splatterh0use on reddit.

This would be a bit of a step up from messing with the banks.