Culture, Technology

Forced Exposure + Forced Silence

Some posts just rock your world. Pamela Jones’ post today on her site www.groklaw.com is just one of those posts:

Forced Exposure

Posted by ~pj Tuesday, August 20 2013 @ 02:40 AM EDT on www.groklaw.com

The owner of Lavabit tells us that he’s stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we’d stop too.There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum.What to do?

Editor’s Note: Later the same day, Ladar Levison suspended Lavabit’s operations. Continue reading

Standard
Culture, Religion

Called to be Counter-Cultural?

He quickly learned that much of his time was spent being against something, instead of being for anything. And he’s not alone.

WHEN WE DEFINE OUR LIVES BY WHAT WE ARE AGAINST, WE END UP LIVING HORRIBLY UNCREATIVE LIVES.

It’s a celebrated virtue in many Christian circles to be known as “counter-cultural.” We are often content to place the prefix “anti-” in front of a word and believe it is a way of stating what we are for. But I wonder if, by choosing to arrange our lives around what we stand against, we are limiting who we are called to be. If we always react against culture, the very things we rise up against will become our central point of reference for morality—which means we won’t get very far.

It’s easy to define yourself by what you are against. It’s figuring out what you are for that presents a real challenge.

— Are Christians Called to be Counter-Cultural? by Relevant Magazine

Standard
Culture

“Everything we do, you do.”

I remember reading just how many cups Starbucks used to go through before pioneering green.

Everything They Do, You Do

That’s an interesting title, isn’t it? No, it’s not the name of my new indie band, but it’s a concept I think needs to be scrutinized thoroughly as we enter the new decade.

I went to Starbucks today and on the back of my cup it says, “Everything we do, you do.”

Read more…

Starbucks’ Reusable Plastic Cups Are A Hit, Data Shows

Those $1 reusable plastic cups that Starbucks rolled out early this month are apparently a hit.

A survey conducted by research firm YouGov Omnibus shows that more than a quarter of Americans have already bought or plan to buy one of the coffee tumblers, which aim to lower rates of paper cup waste. The survey, which was not commissioned by Starbucks, also indicated that 7 out of 10 respondents believed the cups were a good idea.

Still, talk is cheap — only 2 percent of those respondents had actually purchased a cup.

Read more…

I really should find that reference. It was from back when I was at UW in the Seattle. 2006?

Standard
Culture, Music, Neuroscience, Psychology, Writing

A thousand years, if not for this…

O [redacted], You have searched me And know me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You sift my path and my lying down,
And know well all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But see, O [redacted], You know it all!
You have closed me in, behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me –
Knowledge too wondrous for me,
It is high, I am unable to reach it.
Where would I go from Your Spirit?
Or where would I flee from Your face?
If I go up into the heavens, You are there;
If I make my bed in the grave, see, You are there.
I take the wings of the morning,
I dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
There, too, Your hand would lead me,
And Your right hand hold me.
If I say, “Darkness shall cover me,”
Then night would be light to me;
Even darkness is not dark for You,
But night shines as the day –
As is darkness, so is light.
For You, You possessed my kidneys,
You have covered me in my mother’s womb.
I give thanks to You,
For I am awesomely and wondrously made!
Wondrous are Your works, And my being knows it well.
My bones was not concealed from You,
When I was shaped in a hidden place,
Knit together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
And in Your book all of them were written,
The days they were formed,
While none was among them.
And how precious are Your thoughts to me, O El!
How great has been the sum of them!
If I should count them,
They would be more than the sand;
When I wake up, I am still with You.
Oh, that You would slay the wrong, O Eloah!
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed!
They speak against You wickedly.
Bring Your enemies to naught!
O [redacted], do I not hate them, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
With a complete hatred I hate them;
They have become my enemies.
Search me, O El, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my thoughts;
And see if an idolatrous way is in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Standard
Cannabis, Culture, Neuroscience

Teenage girl suffered strokes, brain damage after smoking synthetic marijuana

Real marijuana has never killed anyone.

Spice is a synthetic cannaboid that is legal in some U.S. states. It is commonly used as a replacement drug for marijuana.

A teenage girl from Texas suffered from multiple strokes after smoking synthetic marijuana – leaving her brain damaged, blind and paralyzed, the Independent reported. Continue reading

Standard
Culture, Documentation, Ethics, Religion

Watchtower Documentation: “Thanks to ANONs”

700MB of documents RE the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses

We like to thank all ANONS who helped to collect, evaluate and sort this material.

Browse all files · Full Archive (bzip2, 700mb) · Added January 18, 2013

  • An interesting, mainly credible, account of an insider’s view of congregation workings over the past several decades. JW’s Brooklyn and Manhattan real estate holdings, possible fraud, Watchtower history, and their policies toward child sex abuse cases, beginning in the 1980s, are detailed. A good place to start for someone with limited knowledge of Witnesses. (PDF, 460kb)
  • Folder of documents on the “Chimera” lawsuit, a current pro se action brought in San Mateo, California involving alleged congregation fraud, money laundering, and a wide ranging RICO scheme involving bank, city, and public employees, to divest older members of the congregation from their spiritual leadership positions, and control over congregation cash. The case itself may not offer much insight, but does gives clues as to how the congregation is structured, and details some of their inner workings on maintaining bank accounts, fundraising, et cetera.
  • Some of this information about building fund schemes, touched upon here and in other Chimera case docs, may be of interest to those who are studying Scientology’s real estate transactions and fundraising schemes, as described in Lawrence Wright’s new book “Going Clear”. (PDF, 105kb)
  • Collection of material about child sex abuse allegations within the JW. Witness testimony, a large volume of info on William Bowen, who founded a Jehovah’s Witnesses survivors support group, SilentLambs, Inc, corporate docs, and lawsuit material between the congregation and Bowen, included.

There is lots of more data in the archive, including video testimony and various other court documents. Use the links  to access the full data. We like to thank all ANONS who helped to collect, evaluate and sort this material.

Standard
Culture

A California Teenager Goes Undercover to Investigate Life Among the Moonies

By 1977, with a fledgling community of committed and dedicated people, and with a sound teaching that inspired us to live our ideals, the Unification movement in California had grown rapidly. Our first challenge was to become ourselves a model of what we wanted the world to become. The love-ethic presented in the Divine Principle demanded a life of prayer, study, and service to others. We sought within our community to be caring, creative, and loving people, and upon this foundation to work actively for the sake of God and humanity.

We called ourselves “The Creative Community Project” and used a former fraternity house on Hearst Street as a place to teach the Divine Principle at luncheon and dinner programs. We were inspired by an ideal and wanted above all to communicate that ideal to those around us who, so it seemed, had very little commitment to anything other than self-interest.

Most people we encountered had only the foggiest sense of ethics, so we felt great meaning in sharing with them, through our dinner discussions and lectures, the significance of our own ethical ideals. Those who were serious and wanted to pursue those ideals further were invited to workshops at Boonville and, later, to other country retreats. — To Bigotry, No Sanction: Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church by Dr. Mose Durst

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, Scott Keeler, 18, knew what every other teenager knew. As one of his classmates put it, “There’s this place you can go if you’re fighting with your parents. They’ll take care of you.”

But unlike most of the others, Keeler also knew that the “place,” Creative Community Project, was owned and run by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon‘s Unification Church. As student body president at Alameda, Calif. High School and reporter for his school paper, Oak Leaf, Keeler decided last spring to go underground and investigate the Moonies.

Using the alias Dirk Schwerte, he quickly discovered that Moonie recruiters were on the lookout for unattached teenagers.

“All anyone has to do,” he says, “is put on his backpack and walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf.” Though no mention was made of Reverend Moon or his church, Keeler was invited to the Moonies’ San Francisco headquarters. Here is his account of his bizarre experiences:

Creative Community Project is a large white Victorian house on Washington Street. I felt my stomach in my throat as I jabbed the doorbell. Before I could ring again, the door swung open. “Come on and join our circle,” said a young man with a fixed smile. He offered his hand. I cautiously took it and sat down. He squeezed my hand, smiling and staring at me.

Later a low-protein, vegetarian dinner of rice and broccoli was served. I noticed that all the first-time visitors had acquired a new Moonie friend hanging close by their side. “Come on, let’s go over and pull up some rug,” said a young man, putting his arm around me and beaming. His name was Bob. I noticed he didn’t have any food.

“Aren’t you eating?” I asked.

“No, I’m fasting this week. It’s spiritual fasting. Some of the people in our community do it.”

An hour and a half later Bob was still sitting beside me and holding my hand. We were being lectured by a Moonie leader named Sherri Sagar when there was a loud crash at the front door. A man was shouting “Jeannie!” and trying to force his way in. Suddenly at least 25 Moonie reinforcements flooded the entry, trying to push him back out. “Where is Jeannie?” he shouted. “Jeannie! Jeannie!”

“There’s no Jeannie here,” insisted one of the Moonies. “You’ll have to leave.”

“What do you mean?” shouted the man, clinging to the door molding. “She came here last week, you bastards! What have you done with her?”

The Moonies kept pushing, peeling his fingers from the door, and finally shoved him outside. We could hear him shouting after the door was closed and locked.

“What was that about?” I asked Bob.

“Just somebody being negative,” he said. “People attack us because they don’t understand what we’re doing.”

At the end of the evening everyone clasped hands and formed a circle. “Okay!” said Sherri Sagar. “I hope you all liked what you saw tonight and will come up to our farm. We have cars leaving tonight. But before everybody goes, we’re going to do a mass Choo-Choo!” The newcomers shrugged and exchanged glances. “Got it?” she shouted. “It’s easy! Just shake your partner’s hand until we’re through. Ready? One, two, three—Choo-choo-choo! Choo-choo-choo! Choo-choo-choo! Yea, yea, pow!” We newcomers began to laugh, but the Moonies just smiled. “What’s the matter?” they asked.

The Dodge van was packed with 15 people heading north to the Moonies’ farm at Boonville, Calif. The lecture about the farm had sounded appealing—being out in the country, by a cool creek, with people you liked. Sitting beside me was a Moonie named Joanna. She was 20, already married and divorced. “I’m so inspired now that I’m in the Family, I never want to leave,” she said. “There’s so much meaning here.”

No one had mentioned Moon or the Unification Church yet. I decided to take a chance. “How long have you been in the church?” I asked. Joanna’s eyes became distant. For a moment I thought she wasn’t going to answer. “How did you know about the church?” she asked finally. “Most people don’t know this early.”

I told her my cover story, and she seemed satisfied. “Well,” she said, smiling again in the darkness, “it’s good that you’re so open. Most people don’t understand and say bad things about us and the Principle.”

“What’s the Principle?” I asked.

“Well, it’s…” Then she stopped. A man on the other side of the van was looking at her with intense disapproval. “You’ll get that in the lectures,” she said finally. The stranger smiled and nodded. I nodded back.

“How are you feeling, Family?” shouted David, our leader, the next morning. “Great!” everyone yelled.

“Is everyone ready to have the best weekend of your life?”

“Yes!”

Dr. Jack was our exercise leader. “Now let’s do 25 regular jumping-jacks and 10 free-style.” We began bobbing up and down in count with Dr. Jack. I started wondering whether I was 8 or 18. After exercises we were separated into new groups, each recruit accompanied by a Moonie. Eight of us sat on the grass in a tight little circle with blankets and songbooks.

“Okay,” said Dr. John, our group leader, supposedly an M.D. from New Zealand. “Let’s start off this fantastic day by giving your name and sharing a little bit about you.”

When my turn came I talked about Dirk Schwerte, but emotionally I was telling about Scott Keeler (“My mom and dad are divorced. I keep mostly to myself. A lot of people call me a sissy because I don’t play sports…”). “That was really fantastic,” said Dr. John at the end of the sharing. “It shows how open you can be up here in the fresh air.” He laughed as we all clasped hands, and we laughed too. I was beginning to feel so warm and comfortable I wondered why I had ever suspected there was anything wrong with these people. I felt intensely guilty about deceiving them.

The first lecture was a 70-minute presentation of ambiguous references to God, cosmic principles and spirituality. Oriental symbols were put on a blackboard but never explained. After the lecture broke up, we went back to our groups. “Does anyone have any questions?” asked Dr. John. I raised my hand. The other recruits still did not know these people were connected with Reverend Moon and his church. I wondered what would happen if I mentioned it. “You know in the lecture when you talked about God being everywhere?” I began. “Well, is that what the church believes?”

Dr. John dropped his smile. The other Moonies stared at me. A fellow recruit named Paul looked bewildered. “What church?” he asked. No one answered. My eyes locked with Dr. John’s for what seemed a long, uneasy time. “That’s a good question, Dirk,” he said slowly. “Who can answer that?” His eyes never left mine.

“Ah, yeah,” Bob began uncertainly. He talked and talked and didn’t tell us anything.

It was time for volleyball. “Everybody hug in close,” commanded Dr. John. “We’ve got to be positive and chant so loud every second that we’ll love-bomb ’em right out of the game!”

“Yeah, yeah! Great! Yeah!” Every Moonie in our huddle was screaming. I forced a smile and chanted along with everyone else: “Win with love! Win with love!”

“Follow the game!” shouted Dr. John. “Keep your eyes on the ball!” It got easier and easier to chant as I followed the ball with my eyes. I began to lose track of the words I was repeating over and over. I felt I could do anything. A smile spread across my face as I heard our voices echoing off the surrounding hills. Suddenly I fell, and it took me several moments to realize I was on the ground. A Moonie was standing over me. My breath had been knocked out, but I went on chanting “Win with love” in a whisper. I couldn’t stop and it scared me. “Are you okay?” he asked. I picked myself up and checked my watch. We had been playing for more than an hour and had finished two games I couldn’t even remember.

The next evening I walked to the van to return to San Francisco. I said I was sorry I had to go, and I was. “Where am I ever going to get love like this on the outside?” I thought to myself. I was almost crying, and I went up and hugged Dr. John.

“Look, Dirk,” he began slowly, “can’t you just call your mom and tell her you’ll be home in a couple of days? You can call her right now.”

“Sure, just call her now,” said Bob. “You like it up here, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“Good,” said Dr. John, “because you can go up to Camp K with us tonight. I’ll drive you myself. Why don’t you tell your mom now?” Stepping forward, they closed in on me in a way I didn’t like, and I took a step backward.

“Hey,” I said finally. “I told you, I have to go. I’ll be back when everything’s straightened out, okay?”

A few days later I did go to Camp K, a converted Girl Scout camp in the Napa Valley where the Moonies continue their indoctrination. Before I went there, I spoke with several authorities on the Unification Church. They warned me that the Moonies were trying to isolate me from the outside world and to keep me from critically examining what they were saying. “If you’re good,” one of them warned me, “they smile and love-bomb you. But if you argue, then they descend on you.” Later one of the Moonies told me the church teaches that you don’t have any responsibility to your friends or family; your only duty is to Moon.

Unification Church members are smiling all of the time, even at four in the morning. The man who is full of love must live that way. When you go out witnessing you can caress the wall and say that it can expect you to witness well and be smiling when you return. What face could better represent love than a smiling face? This is why we talk about love bomb; Moonies have that kind of happy problem.

By the time I got to Camp K, I was beginning to understand some of the things I guess I hadn’t wanted to see before. At Boonville I had become close with a girl named Maureen. At Camp K they deliberately split us up. That’s when I realized they were playing with people’s lives. Any one-to-one sexual activity is absolutely forbidden. Couples are selected for marriage by church officials, often before they get to know each other. After I left, I seriously thought about kidnapping Maureen and having her deprogrammed. It took me about two months to reach her. I told her who I really was, and she got very defensive. She said, “I’m not leaving here. I’m better off here than on the road.” I knew I had to let her go.

In all, I spent three days at Camp K. Then I went back to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco to continue researching my article and to photograph Moonie recruiters. While I was there I ran into Dr. Jack and another recruiter who knew me. They demanded to know who I was and what I was doing. I told them.

“Give me your film,” Dr. Jack demanded quietly, moving close.

I told him I wouldn’t.

“Give me the film,” he insisted.

“No,” I said, trying to hold my ground.

“Give it to me,” he droned. “Give me the film.”

I grabbed my camera, wrapping the strap around my arm and gripping the lens barrel. I almost gave in from fear, but then I exploded.

“No!” I yelled. “Forget it! I’m not going to give you the film!” People in the park turned and looked at me.

“Scott Keeler?” asked Dr. Jack. “Alameda?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“We’ll be in touch.”

My Daddy escaped the Moonies camp with a new friend in tow. They met again at the NIblick’s Hessen Cassel.

Works Cited

A California Teenager Goes Undercover to Investigate Life Among the Moonies.” : People.com. N.p., 24 July 1978. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.

Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon: a Cult Survivor’s Memoir” Neufeld, K G. College Station, TX: Virtualbookworm.com, 2002. Print.

Standard
Culture, Prophecy

Rev 13:18

Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: 666.

Whats the use of the most literal translation?

Here is where wisdom comes in: Let the one that has intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast, for it is a man’s number; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six.

STRONGS NT 5585: ψηφίζω
ψηφίζω; 1 aorist ἐψηφισα; (ψῆφος, which see); to count with pebbles, to compute, calculate, reckon: τήν δαπάνην, Luke 14:28;τόν ἀριθμόν, to explain by computing, Revelation 13:18. (Polybius,Plutarch, Palaeph., Anthol.; commonly and indeed chiefly in the middle in the Greek writings to give one’s vote by casting a pebble into the urn; to decide by voting.) (Compare: συγψηφίζω, καταψηφίζω,συμψηφίζω.)

Standard
Culture

Angela Baxley, San Francisco

Mark Linares teaching his little sister Elaine to ride her bike on our block.

Mark Linares teaching his little sister Elaine to ride her bike on our block.

Well, it’s official. I’m officially a San Franciscan again.

While I love the weather of Southern California, San Francisco is a city which feeds my mind like no other!

I skipped the Mission this time and landed along Divisadero, strategically planned along the Apple Shuttle route between two bus stops. I have no idea what to call my neighborhood: two blocks from Alamo Square park, two more to NOPA, with both encompassed as the Western Addition.

I have an address without an apartment number, and get to say that my cross street is Golden Gate… but best of all, I have a full size washer and dryer in my apartment. Nothing like renting and lugging laundry in your thirty’s to remind you that you’re living in a bubble land. A step in the right direction, with the washer and dryer, indeed!

Moving day came—today—and my friend Mark was visiting from New York and was my partner in supervision, with two great guys who go by Ashbury & Malone to unload, the only problem was that POD’s didn’t put up the no parking signs to save the spot!

After hours of sitting on the stoop waiting, hoping and praying for anyone to come out of their homes to move their cars so I could start somehow a game of collecting enough spaces on the street — adjacent! — to put the garage sized POD for several days I was nearly delirious with visions of absurdity: moving my entire apartment from a block away, or putting it in the park, maybe?? Anything so as not to lose the opportunity to have Mark help me unpack, and get settled in, this being, what? my fifth move or so in a years time???

Now a funny thing had happened earlier. My landlord left the house, while I was sitting on the stoop and she stopped to talk to me. I asked if she knew who owned the construction truck parked on the street (as it would give me ample space, if the owner would move it) and she pointed out the neighbors and told me some crazy stories. I listened bewildered and wide eyed. I wondered to myself why she’d tell me these stories — after all, I’m a stranger, and this is my first impression of her… what kind of impression did she think she was giving me, I continued…? I snapped back to focus as she was saying that the other neighbors went in on it together to even go so far as to get a restraining order against them. Whoa. What kind of street am I moving on to?!

Well, here I am, obviously in tact, and I’ll wrap it up.

I learned my momma was right. Not that I didn’t already know that. She’s always right. At least I’m pretty sure she is. Anyway, I was on the phone with her, sitting on the stoop while Mark walked up the street. I’d been stuck on the stoop waiting any car movement for hours now. What else could I do?? My momma said pray about it, and I proceeded to tell her the crazy stories about all the neighbors on the block. Again, I wondered what did I get myself into? But I thought perhaps she’d exaggerated, and didn’t know how crazy all of these stories sound to an outsider?

Then it happened. The gate on the big fence on the house she’d pointed out earlier opened and out came an attractive white haired tan man with brilliant blue eyes and he headed to the truck. I gasped, momma heard and said, “What?” I told her that the man, the neighbor I’d been warned not to interact with, but who also owned the truck which could save my moving day had just come out. Momma told me to go over and talk to them, we’re not the type to allow someone else to form our perceptions and perspectives for us.

I did. I have to admit I was terrified. She’d told me some hefty stories, all the while with wild eyes and flushed cheeks.

I smiled, and said hi. I awkwardly asked if that was his truck, as I attempted to explain that I had a POD being delivered (simultaneously wondering if he even know what a POD was, to know what I was even talking about) and finally concluding the world’s biggest sort-of-kind-of-tried-to-ask favor: Could you park your long bed truck elsewhere for the weekend?

I sort-of-kind-of-tried-to-ask but I sort of more just moved straight into breathlessly explaining that I knew just how huge of a favor and imposition it would be if he were to attempt to park his vehicle elsewhere, telling him about my family and my dad with his multiple work vehicles and parking issues to deal with as well…

The Truck that he would have moved to save me. 🙂

And then, it happened. Three separate cars move. All at once. All right directly smack square in front of my apartment.

I thanked Mark, and said I was pleased to meet him, but I had to block these spots!

He said, “here, let me help” grabbing traffic cones to mark the space.

I smiled, how wonderful that worked out. I got to meet my neighbor, and didn’t even have to ask the favor — the favor he knew I was about to ask, the one I wouldn’t fault anyone for declining… I had hesitated worrying what if he had tools in the vehicle and it was broken into while it was parked elsewhere on my behalf?! — and got the best spot for the POD too!

So thus I met my first neighbors, Mark Linares, who living across the street with his wife, Maryline, and two children Mark and Elaine. Apparently Elaine is young, three and half years old, and so I’m super excited to meet her, as she’s about the age of when I last spent a good amount of time with my nieces.

Standard
Culture, Writing

florilegia-florilegium

            <div class="figure"><figure>
                <img src="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2brzt6soh1qzyde6o1_1280.jpg" alt=""/>
            </figure></div>

    <p><a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/08/01/networked-knowledge-combinatorial-creativity/"><strong>Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity</strong> via Brain Pickings</a></p>

It’s quite telling, I think, that the amount of work that went into florilegia in the Middle Ages made them the most lavish and expensive books to produce at the time. And I have to wonder, when did we lose this sort of creative meritocracy in how we treat dot-connecting content curation and today’s culture? When did we stop valuing the enormous amount of effort and time and thought that goes into culling and connecting ideas that shape humanity’s creative and intellectual direction?

Standard
Culture, Documentation, Ethics

FRAUD: Curtiss Parker, Wakabayashi Fund

This story has no actual linked connection to the story in July 2011, The Devil Slept In My Bed, and thus a link is added by the author.

On my to do list lately has been to address Curtiss Parker, of the Wakabayashi Fund and the Parker family (see mother Patricia Zinsmeister Parker), and formerly Managing Director of Bear Sterns Co. (and prior to Bear Sterns, Mr. Parker was associated with the Boston Group, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Lehman Brothers).

Curtiss Parker also happens to be my upstairs neighbor at good ol’ 6767 Neptune Place, La Jolla, California 92037. If you want to write him, he’s in unit #16.

The first day I met Curtiss was the day I was looking at the apartment below his. As I waited in the street to see if I could view the apartment he called out from his deck above and offered sangria with he and his pal John, and I could look at his apartment—the second floor replica of what would come to be my own.

I agreed, and asked if I could change in his restroom—I was still in my presentation clothes for the executive presentation I gave at Qualcomm earlier that day. Upstairs I accepted the sangria—quite good actually—looked quickly around the apartment to get a sense of it, and then excused myself to the restroom to change. After I came out I was a bit uneasy as his friend was no longer around. My momma taught me never to be alone with a man, let alone a stranger in his apartment. I straightened my back and sat on the couch. Somehow in the course of the absolutely bizarre conversation to follow, he leaned over (while I swear I somehow wasn’t aware?!) and kissed me full on the mouth. I recoiled, beyond grossed out. I will never forget those lifeless limp bulbous lips. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Let alone that he’s got blonde highlighted hair to his shoulder in a Fabio-esque style, and an orange tan to rival George Hamilton’s (who I later am to learn is his idol). Ew.

A few weeks later as my roommate and I move in, I tell Thanasi about what happened and warned him to steer clear of him. I don’t know why, but over time Thanasi decided to befriend Curtiss. He thought that he wasn’t that bad.

Then we fast forward to July. I’ve kicked my former roommate out for being a world class do nothing all day stoner, and now have to deal with Curtiss who find my apartment to be a mere extension of his own. I would “scream him out of the house”, a drunkard who is drunk from the moment he gets up to the moment he apparently slips back under the rock from which he must have come (sorry Patricia, I’m not a fan of your son, he’s a world class creep—then again I imagine you’re not so proud of what he’s done to your family name either).

One of the instances is a lovely evening when I thought I was indeed alone in my apartment. I come out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, and go to my bedroom. As I stepped over to my dresser, I dropped my towel on the bed and there, standing in all my naked beauty, I hear him coming. He’s entered my home, and is approaching my mirrored bedroom. I start yelling at him to get out, and he (in an act?) drunkenly misunderstands.

On another occasion I was looking for a neighbor with a truck to help me pick up the mattress I purchased from Macy’s. John, Curtiss’ roommate was always a nice enough guy, and I had left a voicemail to see if he’d help me. Instead, my world-class awesome neighbor Aaron helped. But I get home to find a disgusting used mattress circa 1980 which looks like it’s been pulled from the dumpster in my spare bedroom. He had entered my home while I was not there and put a used mattress in my home. I asked for help from one of the neighborhood kids and hoisted the disgusting thing back up to his door and blocked his door with it.

My landlord, Karen of Neptune Place, has done nothing to assist. She sits as gossip queen passing on the latest of the slander I usually hear first from my neighbor informant. She believes everything. Whatever it is, obviously rejecting Curtiss wasn’t the greatest idea for my residency here. However, you’ve all noted that I’ve been being patient for quite a while. You see, I believe in people doing the right thing, and second chances.

However, after having Karen alluding to there not needing to be neighborhood drama (when I suggested perhaps I should file a restraining order against him?) I acquiesced.

Hello?! Did you not notice that you’ve evicted me Karen? Where is there any reason for me to behave now?

So please, meet Curtiss’ Parker of the Wakabayashi Fund. He owes me $10. He passed a bad check to my friend, and there is a $10 balance left.

Yup, this is all for $10, well, that and the repeated molestations.

Curtiss Parker, age 51 of La Jolla, defrauded investors out of millions in a pump-and-dump scam. Continue reading

Standard
Culture, Psychology

unexpected benefits of not being able to focus.

They recruited 60 undergrads, half of whom were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). So these kids had real difficulty focusing and sticking to any one activity. All the students were then given a variety of creativity tests (including the Creative Achievement Questionnaire, originally developed by Shelley Carson at Harvard) and, surprisingly, the ADHD students generally got higher scores. When White asked, “Who among you has won a big part in a play, an art prize, a science prize?” — who has been recognized for his or her achievements out there in the real world — again it was the ADHD students who had done better.

Minds that break free, that are compelled to wander, can sometimes achieve more than those of us who are more inhibited, more orderly, the study suggests. Or, as Jonah chose to put it, there are “unexpected benefits of not being able to focus.”

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/11/18/142467882/leonardos-to-do-list

Standard
Culture

Steve Jobs Died

REPRINTED FROM GAWKER ARTICLE

In the days after Steve Jobs’ death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He’s been hailed as “a genius” and “the greatest CEO of his generation” by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man’s reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.

We mentioned much of the good Jobs did during his career earlier. His accomplishments were far-reaching and impossible to easily summarize. But here’s one way of looking at the scope of his achievement: It’s the dream of any entrepreneur to effect change in one industry. Jobs transformed half a dozen of them forever, from personal computers to phones to animation to music to publishing to video games. He was a polymath, a skilled motivator, a decisive judge, a farsighted tastemaker, an excellent showman, and a gifted strategist.

One thing he wasn’t, though, was perfect. Continue reading

Standard
Culture,

The Cleanse Song, Bright Eyes

I met him at my favorite coffee house, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. As I joined the line to order, I noticed him. I summed him up. Nicely dressed, but so is everyone else who lives here. Nothing striking about him. A little shorter than average height. Given to talking to people, I told myself I wasn’t going to talk to him. I needed to focus. I’ll pass.

He picked up the white cardboard container of organic oatmeal, examining it’s nutritional values and marketing.

“I’ve been wondering how that’d taste.” Oh, well… Well, I had been.

“I was wondering the same. I don’t imagine it can be that good, but I’ll try it.”

“Right? Can organic oatmeal in cardboard taste like anything but, well, cardboard?”

He smiles. Warm, dark eyes, with dark eyebrows that made him seem both deep and sincere. He buys the oatmeal and orders a coffee, and then takes the corner table against the garage style window.

The Cleanse Song, Bright Eyes

Hear the chimes, did you know that the wind when it blows
It is older than Rome and all of this sorrow
See the new pyramids down in old Manhattan
From the roof of a friend’s I watched an empire ending
Heard it loud and long the river’s Om
Time marching on to a madman’s drum
Don’t forget what you’ve learned all you give is returned
And if life seems absurd what you need is some laughter
And a season to sleep and a place to get clean
Maybe Los Angeles, somewhere no one is expecting
On a detox loft through a Glendale Park over sidewalk chalk
Someone wrote in red, “start over”
So I muffled my scream on an Oxnard beach
Full of fever dreams that scare you sober
Into saltless dinners
Take the fruit from the tree, break the skin with your teeth
Is it bitter or sweet? All depends on your timing
Like a meeting of chance with the train station glance
Many lifetimes had past in a instant reminded
Of a millstone house in a seaside town
When your heart gave out in a mission bed
So your wife gave birth to a funeral dirge
You woke up purged as a wailing infant
In Krug Thep, Thailand
Hear the chimes, did you know that the wind when it blows
It is older than Rome and our joy and our sorrow

Standard
Culture, Music

Simply, the classics.

Simply, the classics.

A leather binder, adorned with my Mickey Mouse pin that I’ve carried since the mid-90’s. The Charger’s a Los Angeles team brought to San Diego by Barron Hilton. My classic iPod, and the song that was playing, a hint… “It may be years until the day my dreams will match up with my pay”. Oh, and did you make note of the tiny patch of madras pattern? I did. 🙂

Standard
Culture, Music

Mira Parfitt. I just love a woman on guitar rocking Rainbows.

(Taken with Instagram at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters)

One of the day dreams I’ve had is to help young artists find their audience. Mira Parfitt (@miraparfitt) was one of those people who inspired that in me.

Update January 21, 2013: Mira released New Plaid Shirt on Mira Parfitt, her own label.

The photo below was taken at my favorite San Diego Coffee shop, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and is nearly two years earlier.

Standard
Peeping Tom of Windansea
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Culture, Documentation, Ethics

Peeping Tom

for summer twist and friends

The other morning I woke up and felt for once like myself… softest sheets on my bed, nuzzled up warm, safe, and alone in my home. The waves a deep roar as they crash ashore fifty or so yards beyond my bedroom window. I rolled over and lingered a little longer, those being my last days in the only home I’ve ever really known as my own.

I got up decided as it was gray and dreary that I’d make my own coffee, the Bird Rock Backtalker’s blend, a special blend made by the bright and brilliant Jocelyn. It’s then I check my voicemail and listen to the worst of the worst from Uncle Tom. Here’s that one, and a whole selection of other priceless Uncle Tom voicemail gems…

 

“Cry and whine how thirsty they are…”

Gidget, the Chism Bag

Listen to Voicemail September 14, 2011. 7:44am:

“I know you thought I was looking at your body, wishing I could lick it and juice on it and everything like that, but no I was actually looking at how thin you were. Try to eat something today, try to eat more—forget the beach niggers, forget about being sociable and feed yourself today, you know? And, uh, heck no man, I couldn’t get rid of you if I made love to you. It’d be a bummer for ya, you’d be bummed. All these guys using you as a chism bag and here’s the old Uncle Tom loving you and having respect for you and giving you multiple orgasms, shit, I’d never get rid of you… so see, it all works out for reasons. I know you were wondering all of that, Uncle Tom wants my hot little body but no I was really looking at you, try to feed yourself a little better today. I’ll check ya.”

Gidget and the Hillbilly Monster

 

Listen to Voicemail August 16, 2011. 9:06am:

“There are many things you can Google. One of the places that stands out the most in the memories of where you’re at is a thing or a program called Hee-Haw. Hee-Haw was originated in, I think, the 60’s or the early 70’s. It was a stereotypical program of the Bible Belt and the midwest, or the mideast or somewhere back there—nonetheless, it’s wow. I hope California hasn’t affected you enough that the, the, the, hillbilly monster’s get ya. Oh well, check ya.”

Uncle Tom Helps Poor Young Women Who Need a Second Chance

 

Listen to Voicemail July 31, 2011, 5:23pm:

“Boy did I get hurt last night, did I get hurt last night. All I’m trying to do is trying to help poor young girls, poor young women who need a second chance that have been caught up into the system. All I try to do is help them. And these, these, these, these bad men try to put me down, and these poor young girls don’t know what to do, what to think. And, they tell me this and I get so hurt. And you know, there’s a new phrase in town, it’s a phrase that’s been around a long time, but you’re in town and it’s new, and whoever these people who’ve talked about me, that’ve tried to stop me from helping poor innocent young girls, poor innocent young women maybe, who knows. But, you can just call them a bitch fag. Down right hard bitch fag. That’s the new phrase, first you had beach nigger, and now you have bitch fag. And they’re a bitch fag, trying to stop a simple man trying to help young women. What’s this world coming to?!”

 

I’d call the police, but they made me promise not to call 911 again. I refused to promise, but since the last time I called I needed help with an emergency and they could care less and instead threatened to take me away to County Mental Health, again.

They then left, I guess they were corrected by whoever they called up.

So yeah, I am left to deal with life without the civil protection afforded to normal citizens of San Diego County.

Funny thing is, I met the Chief of Police, William Lansdowne at Harry’s a few weeks ago. I know when I get around to asking to speak to him that he’ll remember—I’ve been told that no one forget’s meeting Gidget.

Too bad I don’t live closer to my Uncle’s police force in Fort Wayne. I bet he would handle a few things around here that seem to be a little broken.

More voicemails stacked below…

Standard
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Art, Culture, Technology

Be Infectious

Infected me, September 16, 2011

“Be Infectious” was awarded the 2011 Telly Award for Branded Short Film and Cinematography.

The music was performed and played live by the young man in the film, and is a shortened version of mid-1800’s piece by Antonio Dvorak’s “Dumky” Trio in E minor.

I would say speaking from experience, that children who are easily bored, are often ones who have had their creative thinking squelched to a degree, and have lost some of their innate imagination and curiosity which are two things ideally suited to get rid of boredom!

 

Standard
Culture, Documentation, Ethics, Technology

Bryan Hertz & Telcentris vs. Angela Baxley

voxox for business by Telcentris

This story started a year ago. I’ve waited one year for Bryan Hertz, CEO of Telcentris and my former boss, to do the right thing. However, I did file my complaint with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in May 2011. The case is still pending.

September 2011, one year after being fired, and denied my final paycheck and reimbursed expenses, I began this campaign for social justice, which may or may not beat the law to the punch.

UPDATE: September 15, 2011, Shekhar Vyas, the lawyer for Telcentris called and offered a settlement. I didn’t even listen to terms, and let them know that while they thought the DLSE case was closed, it was indeed still open. One year later, I will not settle. I deserve full compensation and penalties. It’s the LAW. Bryan Hertz, and the Hertz family of “serial entrepreneurs” apparently think that they are above the law.

“I would recommend not sending out any tweets or communicating anything that could imply or cast the company in a negative light. There is no reason for that.  I would think you’ll want to keep things friendly and professional, and I’d like to do the same.” —Bryan Hertz, CEO Telcentris, September 17, 2010

Wanna skip the story? Just read the State of California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Wage Adjudication Claim of Angela Baxley vs. Telcentris.

When I left San Francisco, the epicenter of the raging party of technology and design, I had very little oomph left in my heart. I think I’d left it on the Yahoo! Shuttle somewhere on the miles commuting back-and-forth between The Mission and the South Bay. One night, Micheal and I slipped quietly out of the city in a U-Haul headed south for San Diego packed with his belongings and mine. I’ll never forget the listless feeling pulling away that night looking back at the arm-chair that wouldn’t fit. My heart was crushed, my spirit broken.

I spent the months of November and December alone. Many nights I slept on the couch. At some point I started watching LOST and that fascinated me. Day after day I’d get up and move to the couch to vegetate and gaze unmoved at the brilliant blue sky outside beyond my patio. It was right about Christmas time that I’d had it. I was bored. Enough. I needed a job. Something to do. Great timing, the holidays and all.

I’d talked to my pals at Sapient (highly recommend them!) about work on the [redacted] account, but couldn’t even fathom the commute to Rancho Bernardo every day! If I’d wanted to commute, I could have stayed in San Francisco and worked for Apple or Facebook. Then there was this little family company, Telcentris. My Aquent (now Vitamin T) talent agent, Amy McFarland, told me about the family—serial entrepreneurs. I did my homework and learned that they’d had some legal issues with their companies in the past, and had been through more than their fair share of designers, but all-in-all seemed to be nice enough guys. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Continue reading

Standard