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Wake up (it's 1984)...

-Oingo Boingo

For those of us who would prefer not to be the subject of law enforcement cameras without a damn good reason, it just got a bit harder to live in Boston. Why? Well, read this:

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/conventions/articles/2004/07/18/surveillance_targeted_to_convention?mode=PF

...essentially, it talks about how the Federal Government is going to be installing a number (over 75) of surveillance cameras in the downtown Boston area for the Democratic National Convention, and then taking them and a large number of existing public (and private) cameras and linking them into a network so that they can be centrally monitored.

This is how things start, and more importantly, this is how things get worse. A small little reasonable-sounding bite at a time. Sure, the DNC is going to involve hectic craziness, so sure, it makes sense to have cameras keeping an eye on things, especially protesters. Schyeah.

What can we do about it? I don't know. Sounds like it's too late to protest it, although we can certainly voice our disapproval in local elections and to our representatives. Given the rush to seem 'on board for Homeland Security,' though, I don't know how much good that'll do.

Of course, we can all become jammers. That's one thing we can do.

Just because the cameras are there, doesn't mean we have to ignore them. During the convention, or any time, hold up a big sign reading "YOU ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT" with an arrow pointing to the camera. Show it to passers-by. I wonder how the Feds and cops will feel about this? More importantly, I wonder how citizens will feel?

I had an idea a few months back about these things. I recall musing on how expensive it would be to put together a bunch of small adhesive disks, each with a small, center mounted laser diode, mounted in a glob of silicon or gum. Every time I see a camera pointed at me in a public place, find a spot to stick the disk, aim the diode at the camera, turn it on, and leave. Or, better yet, stick around with a camera of my own, and when the Men From Behind the Camera show up to remove the disk, photograph/tape them obsessively.

Fed and BPD cameras, this is probably a good way to get arrested. It probably is worth it. On the other hand, it's a good way to screw with all those random commercial surveillance cameras watching public space, whose tapes the FBI and police seem to have so much fun going to nab all the time. Large buildings with overeager security forces are a prime target.

Hm...I can't see those costing more than maybe a couple bucks each, in quantity 25 or so...heh.

As I sit here in this small living room in this depressingly small apartment, many things wander through my mind. With my ex-wife asleep and in her typical hyper-sensitive "any noise including no noise at all will wake me up" mode, I have much time to think. Everything else makes noise.

I lament the mistakes I've made, I long for the people I've lost, I wish I could sleep, I pray for some kind of sollace or rescue from the horrible pain inside me.

More than that, though, the overwhelming thought in my mind right now is this:

Who the fuck builds a one bedroom, one bath apartment and puts the fucking bathroom inside the bedroom?!?!

This is seriously broken. I can't go to the bathroom without going through the bedroom first, and of course that wakes the bitch up. I can almost understand the thought of having a "master bathroom" off the "master bedroom", but, uh, there's only one of each room, and the damned toilet itself is off in what can only be described as a closet with a light and a fan in it. It's fucking carpeted. That's right -- carpet in the room with the toilet in it.

I'm really starting to hate this world.

My DVD player has no 'eject' button on the remote. This frustrates me.

The remote control has a surplus of other buttons, including ones for such functions as multiple angles1 and chapter shuffling2. However, seemingly one of the most basic of functions is absent. Whenever I mention this to folk, they fail to see the source of my frustration. "But surely you have to go over and get the DVD from the player anyway...", they say. The answer to that is yes, I do. But the overriding factor to consider in all of this is that I am inherently lazy.

With my current DVD player, I must walk over to the machine, kneel down and grope around for the eject button (cunningly unmarked) on the face of the machine. I must then wait for it to decide to eject my DVD, and then remove it from the tray. The whole process is much more complicated and time-consuming than it need be.

With an eject button on the remote control, this entire process would be much simplified. I would simply have to press the handily-placed 'eject' button on the remote I already have in my hand, and walk over to the machine while it is ejecting my disk. All that is then required is to remove the disk from the tray. Much simpler, and takes much less time than the previous scenario.

Precisely why this remarkable point of design is neglected in almost all the DVD players I have come across is somewhat perplexing. My VCR has an 'eject' button on the remote, and a mighty useful button that is. Is it perhaps that the designers of DVD players have to devote so much time to the complex intricacies of the device's inner workings that they do not have time to consider smaller, but equally useful additions?

Perhaps we shall never know. Perhaps, one day, all DVD players will have the ever-brilliant 'eject' button on their remote controls. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


1 - This is described in the manual as 'only on supporting DVDs'. Thus far I haven't found a single DVD that supports it.
2 - Precisely why one would want to shuffle the chapters in a film, I'm not entirely sure...

I'm back in Málaga from Madrid now. I LOVED Madrid, though it´s far too huge to do everyone (er-- I mean everything) in one weekend. I would love to come back; I´ll look into prices and schedules for this weekend, I may very well go back again, though it´s about 400+ km away.

I spent most of my time in Chueca, Madrid´s gayborhood. It turned out that my German friend who said he lived in Madrid actually lives in a suburb of Madrid called Alcobendas, 25 kilometers outside of the city. I came to Madrid in part to enjoy the nightlife, so I came to the center of Madrid and checked into a hotel instead. Not a hostal; a hotel. I am disgustingly picky when it comes to sleeping accommodations. I must have my privacy, I must be comfortable, and I must feel safe if I am to achieve sleep.

My German friend and I went to some random bar, got the scoop from the bartender about where to go to find the pretty people, and started walking around to kill some time, since Madrileños party so damn late here! (Which is AWESOME, BTW). The parties START at 03.30, and go until 09.00 or 10.00. I was WAY overdressed for the gay nightlife scene here, which was suprising, since I had always read and heard that Madrid was the leading overly-fashion-conscious city of Spain.

But I also looked a little out of place -- very guiri -- because I was wearing, like, New York style clubwear, and everybody else was wearing jeans and T-shirts. I was expecting it to be like a fashion show up in here -- remember how worried I was about shopping for clothes before my trip? The good news is that my haircut issue is all fixed because my hair grows fast.

I went to this club called Ohm, and a few bars, I met a very sweet guy, Alvarro, and he was my Madrid nightlife guide and companion. And I would love to go back. I just may do so this weekend.

I LOVE SPAIN. And Spain loves me back.

Dick in my Hand

Mick was an alcoholic and a drug addict of sorts and one of the more beautiful people it is possible for a person to meet. Isn't it always the way. He is dead 8 years now, he was 22.

When the body dies, what is left is a shell, nothing, decaying flesh. There is no spirit, no soul, no god, no afterlife, no universal essence. This I believe.

So, let me relate an interesting and absolutely true story. When I was about 17 myself and Mick decided to have a few drinks and watch a video. A few spliffs later and the young me is in absolute tatters. Nature calls and I stand up to trot off to the toilet, picking myself off the floor after the absolute failure of my legs I crawl the short distance. Whether I actually managed to relieve myself I still dont know but my next memory is Mick waking me up on the bathroom floor, im lying there with my dick in my hands, utterly fucked. Mick smiles and picks me up - clothes me and drags me up to my bed, which I proceed to vomit all over, again Mick smiles, picks me up and puts me in his bed where I sleep.

Im going somewhere with this - trust me!

Mick was waked in the local church. The church dudes were farily cool about the whole thing, leaving the church open the whole night allowing us access to him. At some stage in the night I was in the church with a few friends. At about three in the morning I got up to leave and a usually very proper and civil friend of mine, Emer shouts out "where are you going Mar - you off to fall asleep in the toilet with your dick in your hands?".

It took my brain a while to process exactly what she said - I looked at her (as did everyone else) in total shock, she was a bit shocked herself and could not really believe/understand what she had said. I stood there staring at her for a while trying to figure out if I was dreaming or something, it was a fairly surreal moment. Eventually I sat down beside her and asked her what was going on. She was a bit drowsy and had been on the edge of sleep and she told me she was having "a chat" with Mick in her head, Mick had allegedly decided to tell her an embarassing story about me and proceeded to regale her with the 'dick in hand' incedent. She could not really tell me why she had blurted it out.....

I am sure I had never shared this story with anyone before that night, for obvious reasons. There remains the possibility that Mick had told someone and through a highly unlikely chain of events, Emer, alone among my friends, had heard of it and chose that time, in the church, to take the piss out of me. Somehow I doubt it, amongst other things, Emer and Mick hardly knew eachother.

So what is the point??? I was going to put my own interpretation on events but I still don't really have one, I suppose what i'm saying is even for a guy like me - you can never really know....

Wait, you mean I’m supposed to be ready for this now?

It was just a few months ago that I was a kid, going through the motions of high school without anything more than a fleeting thought about the future. I just went through the motions, got mediocre grades, and trudged on.

Then they dressed me up in a purple muumuu, marched me across a stage, and handed me a nice little piece of paper. Isn't this the part where they tell me what to do next? I’m still waiting.

I don’t mean to sound directionless. I’m going to college in a month, majoring in Philosophy and Religion (I have a strange love for the more intangible bits of humanity, I admit). I would like to go to law school eventually, if they’ll have me. I have a lovely girlfriend, and we’re even headed to the same school. I think I am in love for the first time in my life.

And yet every time I allow my mind to wander, it drifts invariably to the unknown. I worry about living alone for the first time, about meeting my first roommate. I worry about being able to handle my classes, indeed even about making it to class on time. I worry that my only escapes from worrying are my girlfriend and my books. I have taken to sleeping with the light on.

Is this how I am supposed to feel? Will I get over it? Am I supposed to know what to do now? Who the hell put me in charge? I wish over and over that I had the answers to these questions as I prepare myself to jump haphazardly from my safe little cliff and tumble into the dark expanse of adulthood. Here goes nothing.

This is an important warning about something that may not pertain to you. Have you ever seen a position where you were in that you were approached by people asking questions about the type of morning cereal product you eat? They will ask why you eat that product and why not try another that benefits them through salary structures involving bonuses paid out at the end of the year in a lump sum arrangement. These people are doing market research. They are former communist party members. Their aims are suspicious as are mine.

Once again as happens every summer I am at a picnic with friends and associates. This time I had a suspicious in nature event. I was eating a large slice of watermelon and taking no care in the eating process. I had water, melon and air falling onto my shirt in a steady downpour as I ate. At this time a friend had realized he wanted to introduce me to a single woman who was not at all put off by the fact that I am a middle aged man of mixed races raised in post-war Germany. However, she might have needed a second wind in her approach to the conversation when she saw what an absolute hog I was making of myself in my carefree watermelon eating. Seeds were everywhere and I was wearing soleless shoes so I slipped on them a countless number of times leading to many pratfalls and near-pratfalls. She declined my invitation to dinner due completely to my eating habits and pratfall percentage. Matt said he would be dyed and tied before he tried setting me up with another woman. It was a strange expression to use in conversation, but I questioned whether he expected me to have sex with these women or just buy them dinner and flowers. I don't think it is right to have sex containing but not limited to intercourse with people who are emotionally involved with friends. I learned this lesson after an incident with my friend Dale's wife where I playfully pulled up the back of her skirt and slapped her buttocks softly in a whimsical fashion. My playful attitude was seen as something Dale called "going over the line."

One date I was on a couple of years ago involved her meeting me at an ATM machine that dispenses cash. Once there, she asked me to make a hundred dollar withdrawal. She took the cash from me, got into her car and left. No more was heard of her. This may have been a scam but I think it was just a misunderstanding.

Seafood is a popular first date fiasco here in Baltimore where I live but know nothing about the culture or slang. Where I come from in post-war Germany, when someone calls you "Hon," you should immediately try to put your tongue in their mouth in a french kiss style. I made mistakes for some time in Baltimore because of this. Many of the cases were dropped out of court.

My closest friends include Dale, his wife, two lesbians and a man who is funny in some way but I just don't see it most of the time. The two lesbians sometimes encourage me against my will to pursue a homosexual experience. I am not sure why. I don't understand why two women who like just women for romance and whoopie are so interested in men having clumsy bedroom relations. They may have brought this up mostly because of the story I told them about what happened with the car mechanic when I didn't have enough cash to pay the bill for the repair.

Sometimes I will spend hours pouring over the sunday newspaper. I spend considerably less time pouring sugar into my coffee or tea. This sometimes bothers me because one activity I enjoy more than the other so that one should be shortened to keep me honest in life. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

I find athletic women to be very arousing. They seem to be in pretty good shape back and front and they like to sweat and grunt. Can you imagine what it would be like for two good looking youngsters to get it on sexually within the limits of their relationship right after a long jog? I often think about that and would ask a nature film company about it if I thought they could help me. Arrest could be imminent in today's climate if suspicions are aroused. Two different kinds of arousal were discussed in this paragraph.

I was ripped off at the movie theatre attempting to see communist fare. A young man gave me a ticket while another swiped my car keys and took my LeBaron, a Chrysler product, for a joy ride around town. I decided not to press charges due to the hassle. I blame drugs. I would have liked to try to settle out of court with the youths involved but they walked away without making an offer. If I involve a lawyer it will get interesting.

A wily Mexican was selling suspicious burritos from an unregistered stand in the downtown area the other day. Others avoided him like the plague but I was drawn to the aroma. I had several burritos and a very greasy taco. Later I got violently ill. I tried to find the wily Mexican to settle out of court but he was long gone. That is why I refer to him as wily.

I have not been out on a date recently that didn't involve theft of goods or services from me. Several times money was exchanged without a follow through. The modern dating scene is very difficult. Some of the ladies that are dangling out there looking for a man are somewhat deranged. I believe that one of them may have eaten my hamster's babies while making an ill-advised visit to my home. This was a shortcoming of hers I could not get past. It might not even have been her but she was in denial of this and other matters.

We need to act more like men in this country. I am not sure why there are no scrap metal drives going on right now to aid the military build up. This was one of the things I remember from World War II. It is strange that people forget the necessity of drives. I have also noticed that sugar rationing has not started or with other products. There will be shortages soon don't say I didn't warn you. The girly man issue has been raised by the foreigner who is governor of California.

I don't know how many of you are disgusted. I have been to the homes of close friends for social gatherings where a spread of cheese and crackers is put out. Often I find that the crackers seem wet in nature, yet while everyone is looking at you select the wet cracker it becomes impossible not to eat it due to being judged by their eyes. This may be a watershed issue so it may be inappropriate to discuss it openly.

Another concern of mine is today's youth. They started with inhaling aerosol cans and now they are using pickling spices to get a high. This is of grave concern, as pickling is not something to be taken lightly. These youths are a growing number who mix the pickling spices together to create an envigorating odor and then jitterbug around it.

A good way to solve the wet crackers problem is to only eat crackers at home. At home you can supervise your crackers and maintain their dryness at all times. Just a bit of good advice you can use.

I hope you are enjoying your lives with the help of words on a computer.

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