October 2006

Monthly Archive

tollboothFor the second time in 19 hours I passed through the toll booths on the East side of the Bay Bridge. That is certainly a lower ratio than people who commute with commitment. According to my mate Dennis, who really likes bridges, it is laughably infrequent

Aside the brand cialis online pharmacy Port of Oakland a vast tarmac apron opens up and welcomes a cavalcade of commuters. The booths eat our carcases that lay prostrate within our four-wheeled ergonomic choice for carbon monoxide, alloy (and in certain cases hybrid) dependence.

Amidst this familiar and depressing view of post post modern modern human

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unit transferral, I came across cheer and human connection. I would not have appreciated toll booths previously as points of meaningful contact. Fortunately, not all people are so pessimistic or blind or both.

 I got a long over-due tutorial

The staff at the Bay Bridge Toll Booth, and for that matter all toll booths, are impressive people. This is my first hesitating post and I want to kick off on a good note. I have an incredible amount of respect for a workforce that deals directly with people all day -but by virtue of those peoples’ necessity and intentions to be elsewhere – have few meaningful interactions. I was open to their coping strategy … one of humour and civility.

Last night I was introduced to Burmese music blasting out of booth 3. It over the counter viagra substitute was a cross between east africa dumbolo (sp?) and hyper-japanese pop. Kitschy but cute and certainly an antedote to the theme tune to bladerunner running past my head. generic cialis online The booth operator was keen to share his music.

Today, I was told by a very jolly Senegalese man that I should take good care of my wife. He said she was beautiful. I didn’t want to point out that the lady that sat next to me was a work colleague and that my wife was at home where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to

douse his healthy conversational fire. Instead, I put on my handbrake and asked a couple of questions. He didn’t have a wife, but he sure wanted one and he wanted to buy the lucky lady a house. He was a nice fella.

The traffic was queueing on the other side of the plaza due to traffic density. Urgency was low. I drew no horns of anger from drivers behind for my lengthened stay at the booth. I urge you to take some time next time you go through – you’ve waited 25 minutes to get to the booth, why not stay awhile? You’ve earned it. Think of it as a reward. It’s infinitely more entertaining than the democrat bumper sticker on the nissan sentra in front.
These two interactions made such an impact because I’ll probably not see those fellas again. I’d like to thank them. I often consider people who jolt you from your self-obsessed cynicism as post post modern modern angels. The interactions stand out because from canada pharmacy online steroids within the confines of your rolling box with music (car) its easy to make people anonymous.

Who are the anonymous workers? With inevitable racial profiling, it is my observation that the jobs on the toll booths are taken up, as are many monotonous service jobs, by new immigrants. I don’t feel comfortable talking about immigration (legal or otherwise) as I generally fall back on gross assumption, pensive depression and anger about the late capitalistic abuse of civil rights.

Why am I affected? In four weeks I have an interview to become a conditional resident of America. I am from england and have married a fantastic las who happens to be from the comfortable middle classes. No matter how desperate we were, it would never occur to us to consider a job for on the toll booths of the Bay Area. I admire the folks that accept our dollars in rubber-gloved hands. Gloves are a mediocre metaphor for the detachment of driver and tollster. I cannot accept the limits of this interaction. The tollsters give it minor importance. They listen cialis 20 mg price walmart to the radio and tell you about their lives if they’re in the mood.

 It is an old message. It is simple. It is the type viagra generic of point mothers and grandmothers make. Appreciate one another. I feel guilty for not sufffering financial hardship. I feel guilty for sounding slightly patronising. I feel guilty for not being more eloquent. I feel guilty for resorting to simple and specualtive analysis when complex and supple commentary (without necessary conclusion) is more suitable.

But, conclusion is necessary for an opinion piece. I like toll-booths. Does Dennis feel like this? Maybe, but he also incessantly crosses bridges without tolls.

Please note the picture within this article is not mine. The car in front cialis uk next day delivery in the picture is not a nissan sentra.

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bleepIf I’m not careful, one of these days I’m going to join a cult. I got about ten minutes into What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? before something seemed a little fishy. I paused the movie and did a little research and bam. What I thought was going to be a passively eye-opening brain-fest is some recruitment video for a faith led by a 35,000 year-old warrior named Ramtha. The film basically makes unsubstantiated claims regarding quantum physics and spirituality that are presented as fact, and satisfactorily lead us to believe that we can manifest our world through positive thinking. It’s tempting to believe that reality is simply a manifestation of our thoughts, because we can control our thoughts right? And it’s easy to bend the unanswered questions of quantum physics to be evidence of that conclusion, because it’s a blank canvas for your imagination with no real danger of being disproved. This in itself is relatively harmless. The real problem comes from a polarization of outcomes. People like myself want to believe that these claims are true so much, that once you find out it’s a new age sect (read: cult), the spell of fantasy melding with reality is broken. I find myself hanging in the balance of despair at the thought that any fantasy is impossible in the face of accepting these facts. It’s my speculation that an inability to reconcile or cope with these feelings leads some people to move in the opposite direction and seek out even more fantastic claims that are so unbelievable, they must be true. The consolation – and in fact what I believe to be a superior solution – is that the mystical or spiritual can be seen in very concrete examples. I’m constantly astounded by the wealth of information constantly flowing before our eyes, and all we have to do is reach out our fingers and watch it bend around our hands. Indeed, if you’ve ever shown someone how to email a photo who has relatively little knowledge of the internet, it can seem like magic to them. I’m not sure that it isn’t. I think that the explanation of something gives it power rather than taking it away. Is a space shuttle trip to the moon more amazing before or after you learn how scientists did it? I’m surprised that the rise of the internet hasn’t heralded a mysticism of its own. Or perhaps it has and I’ve just never seen it that way. Or maybe the average person doesn’t know enough about how it works to appreciate how unknowable it is. It’s the realization that you’ll never read all the books in the world times a million. Blogging can be seen as being a conduit for this unknowable stream; a network of priests preaching the gospel to those who will listen. Only this time it’s not abstract, you can see it, and it will answer your questions. Spam bots are creating other spam bots, and the net as organism is building its own anti-viruses. There are too many autonomous entities existing solely in cyberspace to name and they’re growing on a daily basis. Worlds within worlds. At least this is my protection against the various cults out there. If I

suddenly disappear you’ll know that I’ve found the truth and it’s not in books or the net, but actually purchaseable for ever increasing amounts right here in San Francisco.

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A small white dog appeared today. He was hunched into the corner of my viagra para mujeres casero doorframe, on the small landing through a set of clunking green metal doors just below the slightly larger landing where my bike was stolen yesterday. My accusations of a conspiracy at the center of which were elevator service staff were denounced as scurrilous by Chinese acquaintances that staunchly maintained that this was impossible. My investigative powers in this instance are markedly limited, and I suspect the perpetrator will never be found. This cute dog is an equally tangled mystery. I have to admit my first impulse on spotting him was to quickly secure the beast in my apartment and keep him for my own. He must have known this thought had flickered briefly through my mind as I returned home passing for the second time the scene of the crime. Was he some form of compensation? I had been imagining going around making sadface at the security guards. I planned to clunk my feet loudly and give puffing sighs, chafing against a backpack that would have been lightly in my bicycle’s basket. I had thought to reflexively pantomime the motions of maneuvering the bicycle’s stately silver frame into the cramped confines of the viagra label elevator. Then shake my head at how silly I was to have forgotten, turn my palms upward, and share a wistful little laugh with the uniformed lousy lift worker who probably tipped the thieves off. Not knowing which of the staff members was the responsible party, I was reduced to giving inscrutable and discomfiting looks to each in turn, attempting to gauge from their reactions the probability of complicity. I think this kind of behavior is a bad habit of mine. I didn’t learn anything. This was the latest in a series of personal detective failures. Here is a music video about immigration: I don’t know what’s going on with this Web site. It http://realviagraforsale-rxonline.com/ is worth a read for a few reasons, but more interesting are the pictures. It does call itself “Tasteless” so I can’t really get down on them for anything. I continue to be fascinated by the Elian Gonzalez-style political football. He appeared just before Christmas, the near-miracle child of Juan and Elizabet, born into a parallel universe Hell on earth communist Cuba. The reporting on the incident felt very murky, with the circumstances being far more entangled than similarly dramatic soap opera plot lines.It is an interesting reminder of a time when the conservative base considered Janet Reno and the Clinton administration as heavy-handed rights abusers. Talk radio couldn’t shut up about “Big Government” and the loss of personal freedom. The present situation is impossible not to think about, so I won’t belabor the point.The remembrance of conservatives attacking Clinton as being too tough on immigration is also chuckle worthy, but Elian’s improbably wealthy Florida family and swiftly supplied expensive toys probably made it all seem less “beaner” to the suddenly compassionate, spirit of the law-leaning right wing. But it was always unclear exactly what Elian Gonzalez wanted. Clinton is certainly

a man politically minded enough for one to suppose he was eager to spin and manipulate the story in the service of general US-Cuba policy as well as his own immigration and border policy platforms–the controversy surrounding the infamous closet photo aside. The Cuban government had equal reason to put forward its version of the facts. The result was two families and two governments trying to get their way, and so journalistic standards fell as writers tried to build story lines into what was essentially a stalemate until the whole matter was instantaneously resolved with dozens of machine guns. The cartoon bluntly illustrates the furor and harsh rhetoric that sprung up around this and makes me hearken back to the days of my youth when Americans considered this kind of storm in a teacup a major international incident. It is interesting to note viagra daily that the Bush and Clinton administration stances on Cuba are quite similar. Of course the language is different. Bush sticks to his open-fly, lazy-shotgun diplomacy, calling out the country by name and giving it a list of things it has to do to avoid getting shit on. Clinton chooses tact:

Fifty years ago, a farsighted America led in creating the institutions that secured victory in the Cold War and built a growing world economy. As a result, today more people than ever embrace our ideals and share our interests. Already, we have dismantled many of the blocs and barriers that divided our parents’ world. For the first time, more people live under democracy than dictatorship, including every nation in our own hemisphere, but one — and its day, too, will come.

Speaking about Latin America policy as a whole, he says:

Now we must act to expand our exports, especially to Asia and Latin America — two of the fastest growing regions on Earth — or be left behind as these emerging economies forge new ties with other nations. That is why we need the authority now to conclude new

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trade agreements that open markets to our goods and services even as we preserve our values.

While every US President’s Latin American economic policy–and NAFTA in particular–has certainly caused a bunch of Hell, it may be partly because the more liberal portion of the policy hasn’t been followed through on:

We should all be proud that America led the effort to rescue our neighbor, Mexico, from its economic crises. And we should all be proud that last month Mexico repaid the United States — three full years ahead of schedule — with half a billion dollar profit to us.

Gosh, last I heard about Mexico, Obrador was planning to run a shadow government from the streets and the courts were heading into a long deliberation about which districts to recount. Is Mexico still there? I sure hope so. Oh wait, this is the last I heard about Mexico: Teacher hacked to death in besieged Mexican city.

Clinton mentions increasing exports to Latin America, noting that the continent’s growing international reach necessitated a new economic strategy. As it stands, things have deteriorated pretty badly with Venezuela, which is kind of a blow-it considering that they have a lot of oil. With China throwing a money party and Russia selling weaponry down there, it seems like we’re well and properly alienated from some countries and missing out on a bonanza with others. The article reports:

Chinese President Hu Jintao said China would invest $100 billion over the next decade in Brazil and Argentina on a variety of infrastructure projects. Chinese trade with Latin America generally is growing: From 1994 to 2004, trade between China and Latin America quintupled to $40 billion a year. U.S.-China trade is at more than $400 billion.

China’s growing commercial presence in South America has raised alarms in the U.S. Congress, which last fall held hearings to determine whether U.S. interests were at risk. The consensus of those who testified was that they were not.

For all the hatred directed at Janet Reno and the recent revival of criticism of Clinton, they caught Timothy McVeigh. It took both a broom and a bell pepper to get the cute dog out of my apartment.

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It would seem that my hostility towards consumerism does more than alienate me from the world but also has the added effect of leaving me stranded on the side of the information superhighway… I had to actually go back and type that last bit after a deep debate with myself… Anyways, my traditional approach to life is if something’s not incredibly cheap, on sale or free I don’t need it… Eventually I find myself the recepient of antiquated equipment which, for the purposes of this pocket of the internet, include a Windows 98 Office laptop, a G3

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desktop computer and, as of Monday, a first gen Titanium iBook with an airport card too

weak to pick up any signals in my living room… I guess you could

consider the results of my miserly behavior a bit ironic since it precludes me from amassing endless amounts of free shit that are available online… Where’s the porn, youtube, MP3s and news? Out of reach… I could step outside and buy versions of each in the real world but… I guess I don’t actually need it… But thanks goes out to the local television stations that carry satellite feeds from abroad which enable me to watch German and Russian cable news as well as SF’s own 5 Day News… Did you know that Somalia had been overrun by Islamic militants? I had no idea and I kind of feel that if I were trying to sift through the endless amount of articles generated by online newspapers with their automated feeds I never would have noticed… Ah, a forty and a couch suceed where technology has failed… And, 40oz aside, it was free… Okay, but I am at work, y’know…

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Thanks to Matt for this video, which is, as he puts it, “unstoppable”: Along with this video, I’ll file Bob Woodward’s The State of Denial http://cialisfromindia-onlinerx.com/ under things that make me happy this week.

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P.S.

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