Saturday, October 29, 2011

Folks Don't Understand Being Broke

I was having a conversation with about the Occupy movement came up. My friend said something to the effect that instead of occupation what the young folks should do is collectively buy stocks in corporations and effect change from within the system.

Now, I might be misinterpreting his words or not understanding conceptually what he meant.  But I'm going with what I think I heard which is something to the effect of "there can be no change by what they are doing, get into the system and fight."

It is not a bad suggestion. Not a good one either. I get it that he is trying to find his answer.

I did point out to him that many of the people protesting can't find jobs or are locked out of employment. There was a gruff acknowledgement but then he said some of those people that support the movement could do it.

Not Really The Point

When I was broke, busted, unemployed and things where looking kinda dicey I can truthfully say that I did not have money to buy stocks or mutual funds.

I had choices like a bag of discount frozen french fries or toilet paper.
Off code meat or day old vegetables.
Finding soda cans that could get me bus fare to look for work.

I didn't have family to turn to. I did have people that took me to dinner once in a while. Thank Sprint for Craigslist. Other folks gave me good advice. . None of which involved going to a broker and putting a tenth of one percent of share on a company.

Being broke and fighting for survival is a full time job. It is more than just not having income. It is a feeling of being powerless. It is knowing that you are trying your best to do the right thing only to be told that you are a loser.

Gotta tell you that is a cultural mind fuck that hard to overcome.

Bootstrapping Is a Myth

I think people want to understand but we still have that mentality about bootstrapping. First you must have a boot. Then good laces. Then the foot to put into the boot. Libertarian 101 embedded in our fabric of influences.

That is not a bad thing. We as Americans pride or false pride ourselves as being self sufficient. And yet you need a community to support the making of goods and services. You need the infrastructure to be able to buy and sell. Skilled craftspeople are also necessary.

My point is that no, there is no self made anybody. We are interdependent with each other. We can chose the degrees of interdependence, and that is a good thing because there are some folks I want nothing to do with or held at arms length.

Yet applying the bootstrapping metaphore the questions still kick up. What do we do when industrial, manufacturing and many service jobs have been exported overseas? How do folks get a job when technological advancements have eliminated a range of labor and management positions?

You see, there is a space of disconnect that has to be talked about and damn if we are doing our best not to even try.

So no,  I am not going to tell folks scared silly about where the rent is coming from next month where to find a good broker.

I want to know more about alternative infrastructures and financial systems. Not to get rid of capitalism but maybe find other systems that helps folks cope a bit better than being told to shut up.

Hey Where Is Poetry In Plain Sight?

Well yeah, there is a story about that. The poetry readings generally happen at a branch of the Pasadena Public Library. That branch is undergoing renovations. Currently the folks are meeting at Maui Wowie, accross the street from Pasadena City College.

This is a good thing. Visually. And I like the smoothies.

But from an audio standpoint it is a mess. You can hear the blender. You can hear the radio pumping out top 6 hits. You can barely hear the poets.

There is no audio cleaner in the world that can handle that kind of background noise. The renovation continues at the library so there is no expectation of repatriation until many mid December.

Or so.  If you are a local poet who want a poetry writing workshop then check out Maui Wowie cuz Don and folks will be there.  But from an audible and copyright standpoint, I just can't record.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Libraries and Occupations - Then and Now

The library nerd in me loves that this video even exists. Matthew Battles is an author and librarian. His book, "Library: An Unquiet History" talks about how libraries constantly are re-invented for the needs of the time.

In this video, Battles talks about the 19th century Chartist movement paved the path toward the public library system we have today. Toward the end of the video Battles makes the point about how the camp libraries of the Occupy movement will also shape how we share information in the days to come.

For more info on the book:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TOWS NY and Words From Jay Smooth

I pay attention to what Jay Smooth has to say. Brother can post once every three months and it is all right with me because when he does hit record it makes sense to me. I've been trying to write my own thoughts but I can yank three pages of them cuz Mr. Smooth has scope out part of the signal.

Case in point about Occupy Wall Street New York:

Especially the part about the ringers. The guy from American Spectator that started the ruckus at the Air and Space Museum and all the media pundits, pundi, pontificates and those that cannot see non-scripted reality for the life of them.

Oh yea, oh yea there will be co-opters, on both sides. There will be a voice that will be worthy and then not worthy. I know this. I've seen it. I also know that once a fuze is lit all it takes is some kindling.

The kindling catches and boom, you have illumination and heat. It might take a little longer for the kindling to catch up in Los Angeles but once folks get their iPhone 4S they will be back to normal. Can't do jack with them until they get the Apple fix.

I'm keeping my camcorders charged just in case.

Monday, October 17, 2011

OWSLA or Los Angeles Has A Financial District?

Los Angeles is a place of contradictions. Thousands of them. Los Angeles does have a kinda sorta Wall Street but the traders have to wake up early to play with the east coast markets. They, I heard told, do not necessarily walk around in gray pinstripe uniforms, er suits.

Los Angeles does have towers of banks and financial institutions that are far up in the sky. Far away from commuters, the homeless population, vendors wanting to buy gold and silver and the other teaming masses.

So no, this march will have no impact on them at all.  Still, it happened. 

There was this woman who I rode the train with who went to law school, paid $120,000 and can't get a job.

There were people wanting to get rid of the Fed. Not sure if it was the federal government or the federal reserve. I have a flying in my bag about returning to the gold and silver standard as well as the abolition of federal tax system. And forgiveness of all debt.

There were college students and long since college folks who wanted to make a point.

There were people with cameras and camcorders everywhere. The cops had them. The hotel parking folks had them. People who were walking down the street not knowing about the march and took some snaps just in case. Yes, there were some reporters and photographers in the area.

There were actual protesters too.

I have been trying to find a way to write about what I am seeing. There is a struggle because I'm seeing too many things at once. It is the text and subtext kind of thing.

Still trying to work it out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Two Thoughts and Then I'm Outside for the Day

Got an e-mail from Barnes and Noble about buying Borders customer data. Thing is, I opted out of Borders e-mail long before the bankruptcy. What I forgot was that I was a Border's member. It appears I can have a limited free membership into the BN premium club until I would have to pay in 2012.

I don't want to pay BN an advance on the books I may or many not purchase. I didn't want to do that before the Nook and I don't want to do it now.

I have another e-mail from Writer's Digest talking about them helping me to bulk up for NaNoWriMo, if only I would spend $125 or so in purchasing articles and books on how to write a novel in 30 days.

I took a class years ago on how to write a book in 6 weeks. The dude talked so fast my ears burned.

Literally, he was going like a house on fire. He was informative but by hour 2 my head was thumping. I bought his guide to how to do it for $40 and stumbled home with a migraine.

Anyway, NaNoWriMo is an endurance event, not a shopping opportunity. Ok, you can buy paper and ink.

So I gotta say I'm feeling pressured to buy even though my rational mind does not want to buy these items.

I'm heading out for what the day will bring. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

To The Person That Almost Ran Me Over

It is a known fact that there are chunks of Los Angeles that are automotive incompetent to drive a car. There are cities with reputations of having distracted, uncaring and flat out unskilled drivers.

There are also people that transcend geography that have a tendency to piss off 8 out of 10 pedestrians. Now I don't want to cast all those who drive BMWs and Mercedes in a bad light. But I would swear that it is part of the code of automotive arrogance that allow almost hitting pedestrians is a badge of honor.

A few minuets ago I was bringing my laundry home. I don't have a car, I use a small vertical shopping cart. I am two thirds across the street when this car decides to make a turn.

Into me.

At first I thought it would be a rolling stop. Slow way down to allow me to finish crossing even though he was in the wrong turning lane from the get go. If I was an on-coming car he would have almost hit the car. Instead he was trying to hit me.

I'm in-between him and the sidewalk. He does not slow down. I'm covered with light as I scream Stop!


He never stops but slows down a bit more as I make my way to the sidewalk.

I am angry. He is half way down the block.

I would have cursed him out for not seeing me. I'm not that spiritual when people aim a car at me. Spirit understands it is one of my many shortcomings.

I would tell that person that he had no place he had to go to that was worth trying to run me down.

I need to know what phone cal or meet-up was so important that it required you to turn into the wrong lane and not see me? Cuz you were in the wrong lane and I know this because the person driving a car in the correct lane could not make the turn because you slunked beside him in the wrong non-existent lane and tried to turn into me.

I hate mobile phones in cars. I hate distracted drivers and most of all I hate the lack of civility that passes for status these days.

There is no place to go or find that doesn't have lunk heads behind the wheel. I re-affirm my desire for $15 a gallon gas and computer driven electronic cars.

Or the functional development of a transporter. If I have a choice, Transporter!

I am fine. I am grateful for a big mouth. And to be typing this. I don't recommend it as a permanent cure for writer's block.

Still, you gotta go with what works.