Thursday, August 30, 2007

Research: Caves and War

Mostly thanks to Bldg Blog, a morning's worth of web-surfing generated some great links to topics on caves, militarization, and geological borderlands.

Bldg Blog:
Formation of Afghan Caves.
Earthquakes as Weapon

Spectre of Bin Laden.

Telegraph UK:
Tora Bora
Website's search engine also brings up many articles on the subject.

Orwellian Wormholes

GIS-Nogales Border town

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Word of the Week

quis·ling [kwiz-ling]
a person who betrays his or her own country by aiding an invading enemy, often serving later in a puppet government; fifth columnist.

[Origin: 1940; after Vidkun Quisling (1887–1945), pro-Nazi Norwegian leader]

RAIN, 'I'm Coming'

Korean singer Rain, for those of you who haven't traveled to the Pacific Rim lately, is the latest Asian pop sensation, an even more baby-faced version of J.T. I stumbled across this video after seeing Stephen Colbert's hilarious parody of another music video on Youtube. This one's not so hilarious...
'I'm Coming' is so far gone, I don't even know if Debord's theory of the Spectacle can aptly capture what's going on here. Apparently, Rain is coming...
Coming on a pair of prosthetic wings,
coming to land heroically yet tenderly in a war zone,
coming to an ambiguous, yet affectlivey middle eastern town,
coming to save the shell-shocked GI's,
coming to pop-lock our way out of disaster and terror,
coming to assuage your fear w/ R&B hits...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Mississippi

The great Mississippi River has spawned enough American music, literature, and folklore to last an eternity, or at least until it's drained of every last drop of fresh potable water. And after that terrible demise, the great 405 fwy will still be flowing, my very own version of the Mississippi. Happily, this meandering geological demarcation happens to be just beyond my property line. (Above) Currently, the 405 fwy is undergoing expansion from the 101 fwy to our north down to the Marina to our south. It's great that the state of California is spending a grand total of $263 million to widen this estuary. This may improve traffic conditions for an entire fiscal year.
What a farce!

According to the o so reliable Wikipedia, there are roughly 26 million automobiles in the greater Los Angeles region. Sure, public transit has become more of an urgent topic. However, without a big push to promote bicycling culture, mass transit will never be able to achieve the density required to make bus and light rail an intuitive habit for the average Angelino. A stop will never be a 5 minute walk from everyone's doorstep.

Let's do the math: For this latest 405 fwy project, $263 million is being spent. If the state subsidized sweet ass bikes for the common commuter, this project could afford (at $200/bike) 1,315,000 bikes. Immediately, that's 5% of all commuters. Yea!

We've already conquered this junction of the 405 fwy!

Better yet...Although this may be a harder sale...

What if we all reverted back to horse riding? Sweet gothic romance throughout the sunshine/noir landscape of Los Angeles. Ever seen Ed Norton in 'Down in the Valley'? Let's say an average work horse costs $3000. That's 87,670 horses! Imagine what this could do to revive communities. Innercity riding trails, West Hollywood leather goods boutiques, riding the pony on your way to da club, sustainable transportation, neighborly interactions, and so on...

Let's get creative folks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chicks with Sticks

There's been quite an uproar in the civil unrest in Islamad surrounding President Musharraf iafter his miscalculated step of dismissing chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Amidst the hoopla of sweaty and unkempt Pakistani lawyers, an interesting little faction has popped up on the radars of western media. Right-wing Islamists from Lal Masjid (translation: Red Mosque) contain a group of women activists known for their direct-action tendencies to confront authority and kidnap police as well as the occasional prostitute.

What I don't exactly understand is their militant aspirations to reinstate Sharia law if and when Musharraf's government topples. I understand religious acesticism, and I understand self-flagellation, though wouldn't recommend either. What I don't get is actively and passionately inscribing a chauvinistic code upon one's own life and body that completely mechanizes self-oppression. It does bring to mind 'The Army of Roses'. Back in the early 90's, Arafat coined the term when attempting one of his acrobatic public relations stunts by endorsing the unprecedented phenomena of female Palestinian suicide bombers/martyrs. Barbara Victor documented the 'movement' and its conflicted participants in a book by the same name. Again, women somehow inspired by a nefarious system that only champions patriarchal fallacies that directly results in self-destruction.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


J.D. Okhai Ojeikere'S photographic series is an intriguing study into the intricate art of Nigerian hairstyling. Looking at these photos makes me think of mid-90's Asian gangster hairstyles. Let me explain the leap in logic:

Ojeikere exposes a rather proud and celebratory trade in hair crafting, whereas African hair in the U.S. has its own peculiar pitfalls of identity politics. I have always felt that in America, black women and asian men have been in a pas de deux on the margins of racial politics and cultural representation. Some of the immediate aspects that come to mind are the hyper-sexualization of the black female body and the desexualization of an effeminate or monastic asian male. On another material note, black women have developed a whole complex industry (largely distributed by Korean-American businessmen) of Black hair products and techniques (techniques heavily influenced by West Africa). The crux of black hairstyling is the huge sculptural range of possibilities coupled with the sacrifices in time, money, and identity. With regard to hair, asian men are again perfectly counterpoised to the black woman. East Asian hair has very little range to offer in its shorter forms. A thick, coarse, and severely straight hair typology, without a significant amount of hair gel or pomade, it sits in a fluffed out non-denominational manner. Asian men who wear shorter hairstyles often default to the fade, spiky on top, suit-cut, or some combination thereof. With lack of possibility, the asian male either despairs w/ resignation or boasts w/ hair product. Enter the mid-90's asian bang cut. This is an interesting style deviation where the side fade moves to a buzz cut while preserving enormously long bangs swept backwards over the buzz.

Ok. I just attempted to searcch for a good photo online and came up empty handed. This hairstyle was a ubiquitous phenomenon during the 90's and anyone living in an asian-american suburb will know what I'm talking about. No photos on the internet? Well, looks like we're going to have to develop a blog collection of now 'vintage' mid-90's suburban asian formal dance photos that were collected and traded like baseball cards.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hubert Duprat

Another charming study in hybridity today is the caddis-man-gold-case. Intervening in the natural metamorphosis of the caddis fly larva (Trichoptera), Hubert Duprat introduces precious and semi-precious materials into the environment. The larvae incorporate these materials into their sheaths or cocoons. Imagine, a bachelor pad made of gold flakes and pearls.

Check out the video on Cabinet magazine's website.

Duprat cites the work of 19th century entomologists François-Jules Pictet and Jean-Henri Fabre.