"Hello welcome to my website where I provide expert investment advice " - Gal, Expert Investor from Vancouver BC Canada.
May 18 2023
Days fly by at the job and the slog becomes familiar and comforting, but I still fantasize about winning 200k on a scratch and win and dipping for a year or two. People care about their career and about money and I guess I do as well, but it's tough, I can't deny that I'd rather be at home making pita bread or fresh pasta, or shooting hoops at pandora park. Today they brought dogs to the hospital for 'pet therapy' day. The courtyard outside the cafeteria had several stations with golden retrievers and different kinds of doodles for the sick kids to pet. I ate my curry in the sun and watched as people aww'd and smiled. Earlier I walked through the first floor hallway and the biomedical engineers were doing a showcase, they had brochures and they invited us into a room filled with medical equipment to show us how it all worked. I used an electro-cauterization device to slice an orange peel while a vacuum sucked up the smoke, and then I watched as a technician played with the NICU incubator and showed us two kinds of infant ventilators. I ate a free cookie and was handed a brochure that I threw into the recycling 30 seconds later. Why were they doing the showcase? Printed brochures, cookies, coffee, 6 different biomedical engineers in scrubs showing us the various equipment and inviting us in for a mini adult field trip. I had fun for those 5 minutes but couldn't help to think, did they have nothing else to do? Who made the brochure? I guess when there's no equipment to repair they gotta think of something to do. Perhaps they just want to spread awareness about their likely overlooked positions as biomedical engineers and I'm the one who's crazy for being surprised at how much extra effort people put into their jobs.
Tim asked me once what I would do if someone gave me 10 million dollars and I think he was half-expecting me to say that I would quit my job to make music, which, fair-enough, was my first instinct. I pulled the contrarian card and told him that I probably wouldn't quit my job, because having nothing to do only encourages me to do more nothing in a positive feedback loop of doing nothing. Also what kind of music would I end up making if I had all that money and no stress? I'm not saying that rich people can't make good art, more-so that good art has to be relatable and that I wouldn't have anything in common with most people at that point, so why would they care about my art? How can you expect to be relatable if your life is a big adult playpen and your experiences are stress-free and inconsequential?
Anyway keeping the job is easier said than done as it would probably be hard to get work done knowing that you didn't have to, and at any point could go full cucumber mode, stagnate mentally and never have to worry about anything but instead just poke around on your phone and fiddle with the trumpet that you've been meaning to get good at for years. Alie sometimes talks about how celebrities are stuck at the age and maturity that they were at when they got famous, kind of like a curse. And the more I think about it the less frustrated I feel with having to work every day, I start almost feeling grateful. But I'd still take the ten million dollars. Curse or no curse, I'd love to go full cucumber, at least for a little while.
I made a facebook event for the first time in ages, for this show I'm doing at 'burnout cafe'. I went there once to get a coffee while waiting for my laundry. The coffee was actually not great, sour type coffee like third-wave style but not pour-over? I don't get this trend of coffee that tastes so acidic that it curdles the milk right away. Anyway the spot was pretty big and empty except for a guy called Yosh who showed me the back room that had a stage and quite a bit of space. I asked him if they were thinking of doing shows and he said yeah. So when desi asked about a gig for Careen and a shoe-gaze band from Virginia called "Keep" I thought it would be a good opportunity. I made the facebook event and haven't shared it at all but Eris commented on it 27 times, mostly the same comment : "about the Narrow group" , plus a few other comments about getting cancelled or something. Turns out the Narrow group owns Burnout cafe and some other spots like Uncle Abes and Slim's BBQ. I am not familiar with the various ownership situations of Vancouver bars and pubs and coffee shops, but given that they are business owners I am sure they are the same as the rest, hungry for profit at the expense of much else. I'm guessing Eris has a problem with me doing an event that would result in profit for their private enterprise, which is fair enough, can't argue with that. In fact, fuck small businesses, they think they are some kind of heroes for the community swimming in those tax breaks and jacking up prices of everything all over town. At the same time, in a masterful stroke of diy genius, eris did in fact bureaucratically oust me from doing shows at black lab, and red gate and green auto are always booked up, so I'm not sure what other options I have. The spot is too prime, so close to my house, and I don't really care if I'm helping the Narrow group make a few hundred dollars if it means I get to do shows there. Also I heard Eris left the board at black lab after getting punched by someone in rinse dream, or something like that? Who knows, all I know is that the goddess of discord is living up to her reputation.
May 10th 2023
I really hate apple
In the summer of 2017 I quit my SQL job to go on a massive 50+ day tour with over 40 shows in almost every state and province, and as I was still completing tasks for the job I had just quit, I brought my apple laptop with me, it was a 2012 15inch Macbook Pro retina. The tour was going great, we had an amazing run of shows down the west coast and through texas, all the way to the south where we got to spend time in New Orleans, Alabama, Atlanta, and North Carolina. New York DC and Connecticut + more, Montreal and Toronto, all amazing, until we hit Detroit, where we made an unfortunate 20 minute stop at Einsteins Bagels, during which our van was broken into and all our bags (except nicks) were taken, which included all our clothes, most of our passports, all the money we had made so far (over 3000$ USD cash) and my laptop (which happened to contain over ten years of consumer ticket-master data, including purchase history, credit card information, usernames, emails). Shoutout to Mo Neuharth and Johnny for taking care of us that terrible day. Thankfully we finished the tour and were able to get back into Canada no problem, missing only one show in Cincinnati. Needless to say when we got back to vancouver I needed a new computer, and searching for the right laptop on craigslist was how I met the legend, "MAC".
He said his name was MAC but obviously that's not his name. I found a post advertising a 2016 macbook for cheap that was loaded with all the software you could imagine, photoshop, lightroom, final cut, logic, ableton, microsoft office, you name it. I was pretty stoked so I met up with the guy, he told me that all the software was pirated and that I could create a 'time machine' backup and replicate it for any new mac.
This got me started on my side hustle of reselling macbooks, specifically 2012-2015 macbooks and sometimes imacs. There was a special time when apple switched to the "High Sierra" operating system at some point in winter of 2017, it caused a massive price drop in certain 2012 macbooks and 2012-2015 imac models. Essentially what happened was that High Sierra was not optimized to work with "fusion" hard drives, and so those models that had a 'fusion' hard drive became virtually unusable unless you upgraded to an SSD. No one was really made aware of this, and so instead of spending 100$-$200 to upgrade their hard drive, they just sold their old imacs/ macbook pros for super cheap and bought a new one. I bought a few old 2012 macbooks for virtually nothing, replaced their hard drive with an ssd, loaded them with MAC's software package and then flipped them (at a reasonable price mind you). I never thought this would become a regular thing, until I met MAC for a second time.
Nick was looking for a 2013-2015 macbook pro 15 inch for under 2000$ in 2018, so I scrolled through craigslist to find MAC's posts and low and behold he was selling a 2014 macbook pro 15inch for only 600$, loaded with all the software. We met up with MAC and once against I cloned the time machine backup of Nick's new computer, which I then used to resell numerous other 2012-2015 macbook pros and imacs, loaded with the amazing software at a reasonable price. I met other macbook resellers in the process, including a repair person called Chung from south vancouver who I am still in contact with, and an SFU student from Florida who would ship junk 2015 macbook pros from the south and resell them in vancouver (sometimes to me). It was a golden age of sorts, we were all cashing in and everyone was going home with nice computers loaded with the most up to date software. I was swimming in macbooks and Imacs, and I was making videos on premiere pro and songs in logic and ableton and laughing to myself all the while that Apple wasn't getting a dime of my money, or anyone else's money who I was selling to, and it felt right because we all knew that the newer 2016 to 2019 models were trash. In case you donated an old laptop/ computer to me during that time, I need to clarify that all the donations went straight to red gate / DTES NPOs and I did not profit off any of that I god-damn promise.
At some point in 2018 I acquired a relatively ancient 2008 Imac for free and thought, what the heck, I'll give this thing a shot. It was fast as hell! Even for most websites including youtube. I asked myself, why are these things virtually free? It didn't take much research to understand that it all really comes down to Apple updating the operating system and software so that the old versions become unusable on older models. Of course there are other factors at play, like how websites were changing and becoming more and more computationally expensive to run. Simply scrolling the web can be quite demanding on the RAM nowadays. That being said, this free 2008 Imac was totally usable and free and likely could have continued to be that way had the OS and compatibility been kept up to date. At that point I knew it was only a matter of time before Apple found a way to destroy my 2012-2015 MAC fantasy dream life.
I stopped reselling Macbooks after the first M1s came out in 2020 because a) I had a job again and b) I reckoned the M1s were faster and cheap enough for me to feel pretty bad about profiting on the flipping business. I'm betting MAC also took a bit of a financial hit around then, but I still saw his posts on craigslist. Macbooks and Imacs loaded with the most up to date software at a premium price, with his signature move of adding a nice hard shell case and keyboard cover. As of today I am still typing away on a 2015 Macbook Pro, of which I own two, as well as a 2015 imac that Alie and I primarily use to record our music and stream NHL games. These computers have been running flawlessly, super fast with no problems whatsoever, until I hit my first real snag a few days ago. I won't go into too much detail, but essentially I do all my work using an IDE called "RStudio", which relies on a graphics engine that recently got updated by Apple and you guessed it, cannot be installed on my OS. Why? Because Apple didn't want to do the extra work of making this minor graphics engine update work for older models. Easy way for them to force people to update their perfectly functioning computers.
Not a very exciting end to my story, but let it be known that what I experienced was not unique and will happen again, and has happened in the past as well. Who knows what kind of nonsense Apple will pull next time, and whether the resale market will flourish once more only to be crushed by some new OS or software compatibility issue. At this point their computers are so pointlessly fast and overpowered that it seems absolutely crazy for them to have to pull this shit again in five years, but you just know that they will do it somehow. At least I'll always have my PC.
April 24 2023
Since the beginning of April Alie's parent's have been away on an extended road trip in Europe, and we've been taking care of Dilton, a 17 year old scottish fold who is very loving and cute, but who has been ruining my life by preventing me from getting more than 4 hours of sleep in a night. Don't get me wrong I truly love the guy, he comes up to you wherever you may be and sits on your lap, on your back, on your legs or belly, depending on how you're sitting or lying down. He snuggles up real cute and rubs his tiny little head against your arm or face. He loves to lick, it is a compulsion, he will lick my arm or face for ten minutes straight or until I wake up and shove him off. I move him away from me 4-5 times a night only to wake up cradling his body with my neck, or with my arm around him, pressing his body down to prevent him from licking my face. The addiction to licking is so acute, if I push him off myself for having licked a scab into my elbow I will hear him loudly licking Alie in her sleep, a dour expression on her face. He uses a different litter than our cats that is much more gross because it sticks to his paws and it smells pretty bad. He will walk across your face at 3 am spreading cat litter on your cheeks. You're probably wondering why we don't just lock Dilton out of the bedroom at night- and the answer is that he's very loud and that it stresses him out and makes him puke. I wake up at 3 am to feed him and then at 6 am as he paws my eyelids. He only eats whiskies pate, and if he eats anything else he will puke. Kevin is also very into the whiskies pate: it is the mcdonalds of cat food- and so it is very difficult to keep kevin away from dilton's food, something we must do diligently because whenever kevin eats the whiskies he pukes. Needless to say there was a lot of puke at the beginning, and that feeding is an experience that requires very close attention- as dilton essentially demands a personal security detail to prevent kevin from slurping up his breakfast lunch or dinner at a moment's notice. Thankfully leeloo is not interested in the whiskies, but three cats in a one bedroom apartment is too much piss and shit for once a week litter changes, so I end up spending most days scooping shit and vacuuming- with full litter changes every 5 days. I am writing all this with Dilton sitting on my belly, stretching his arms out every so often to bat away at my typing thumbs.
April is almost over and we will be returning Dilton to Alie's parent's soon, and although I will be happy to get a normal amount of sleep again I will also miss him. He is undeniably loveable and I think Kevin and Leeloo overall enjoyed his company (after initially being extremely shocked by his existence and hiding for the first two days). Hopefully now I will finally be able to read Anna Karenina in the book club that I started and have persistently been delaying due to that I have not read the book.
I have managed to make time for music and going out, with my cousin Maor visiting from Portugal I've taken him to a couple shows with Nir and my sister as well. Also at the end of this month we are going to have a well-deserved mini vacation in LA where we will attend a renaissance fair, laden in medieval peasant attire. I feel this befits our status as eternal labourers in feudal north america. It will be nice to celebrate Alie's birthday where we can witness the glamorous lifestyles of elite cosplayers and larpers.
- Twitter blue checks - boring and I don't care, happy to see that twitter isn't making any money but also I don't care.
- Chat GPT - really fun to use, unfortunately hasn't been super helpful for my line of work yet. I asked it to do a sort of complicated regular expression and no matter how many times I corrected it, it kept giving me the wrong answer. Nice to see that other people have found it helpful, hopefully it will be useful for me soon but for now it is moreso just fun to talk to.
- Protests in France - this is why I love the French, they know when to stand up for their rights. It is a bit tiring hearing people minimize the whole thing as being about the 2 year increase in retirement age.
- Federal Service worker strike in Canada - again, happy they are striking, and extremely annoyed with Matt Galloway and other news sources trying to frame the whole action as simply being about demanding remote work when in reality it is about demands for a lving wage that increases with inflation.
- Sudan Don't know too much about what is going on politically but the videos that I have seen have been shocking.
See you soon.
February 10 2023
Seems that the best "investment advice" is to be an evil mfer. Traditional markets are exploding with profits. Oil and Gas is booming, with exxon mobile
soaring to new heights. We're also seeing massive corporate profits in Mining
. Do you still want to be rich? At what cost?
People used to throw money into tech as some kind of 'ethical' alternative but that's over now. Google just lost 100 bn in market share
because of a mistake their AI bot made in an advert. Stocks like NVIDIA, AMD, and TSMC are not seeing a recovery from their pre-recession highs. The internet isn't new or exciting as it once was, it being clogged with adverts and disinformation. What used to be a vessel for independent journalism and democratic action is now just another tool for manufacturing consent, another playground for venture capitalists.
The most common go-to recommended option for us common folk is to invest in real-estate. "Get a mortgage" they say, "buy land! - they aren't making any more of it!". Alie has been going off about this for a while now, about how it's a massive pyramid scheme, how "politicians' promises for affordable housing are coupled with another implicit promise to their home-owner voting base - that housing prices will continue to go up." (quoting Alie here) As long as housing prices rise, as long as people continue to purchase real estate for investment purposes, rents will also have to increase in accordance, and affordability will become non-existent. Rent control? Great idea for renters, bad idea for anyone invested in real estate. When you buy a house as an investment, you're buying into the idea that housing costs will continue to rise, you're buying into a pyramid scheme where the banks are at the top and renters are at the bottom. Trying to take out a 400k mortgage? You'll only pay 20k off the principal in the first 2 years, and overall you'll pay over a million on a 400k loan at todays interest rates. Shit is fucked. This article is really great
I am not optimistic about the future. People are getting more conservative
, more religious
, and less educated
. Progressive society peaked in the late 70s and since then everything has gone downhill.
I got a new job as the resident biostatistician for the reproductive infectious diseases lab at the department of obstetrics and gynaecology. It's part time and I am still working my old job at the centre for rural health research, so I have two jobs now and it's a little much. Alie and I had a sweet engagement party where we made our friends play some fun games. I'm uploading one of the games here (corrected as there for some mistakes in the original version) because I want to document it.
Take care y'all.
November 16 2022
I had 3 people text me saying 'world war 3', good thing that missile was ukrainian. New dumb album is out hope you enjoy it, I'm linking a song above. Also I would like to congratulate Eric Davis formally for getting so many votes in the Port Moody city council election. I had the privelege of being Eric's campaign finance manager and web designer
and I think he did a marvellous job and I'm excited to be part of his campaign again for the next election. You'll get em next time. I do have to remember to file the final campaign finance report disclosing all expenses which I promise to do.
Elon Musk firing people left right and centre while making some of the worst jokes I've ever heard and then getting flamboyantly praised by users with nft profile pictures and crypto related bios. Meanwhile crypto is flailing like a goldfish outta water, the exchange FTX plummetted into bankrupcy, leaving a massive dent in the investmenet portfolios of both Tom Brady and the federal teachers union in good old canada. For real tho FTX is getting exposed and called theives and scam artists for doing all the shit that banks probably regularly do anyway. They would still be living large having weird nerd orgies in the bahamas if elon hadn't done that stupid SNL episode. That was truly the beginning of the end for crypto if you ask me, when the billionaire dressed up as 'wario' it began the process of crypto collapsing completely. Soon all of it will be gone and we will all laugh as we recall the past four years and refer to them as 'the crypto era'.
In other news I will have to find a new job soon as my contract expires in March. I was hoping to rely on the UFC betting app side hustle where I was building an app to help rich people bet on UFC, but I've slacked so hard on that and haven't made any progress since the summer so now they are going with another developer. It was fun while it lasted but at the end of the day it turns out I don't care enough about the UFC. On Sunday they want to have a google meeting where I pass on everything I've done to some new guy who I don't know who he is or what he's going to do. Part of me wants to just continue developing the app on my own and then pitch it to some investors before they make any progress on their own. Frankly it would be totally within my rights as I built the whole thing and they never made me sign anything and exclusively paid me in cash. If someone breaks my kneecaps let me tell you who it will be it will be Jon and Prasath. JK JK Prasath is a super nice guy but I don't know why he's lying to me about being the 'CEO of a marketing firm'. His website is clearly fake as hell and is usually under construction
The dude has clearly made all his money through money laundering and is now trying to masquerade as a CEO life coach crypto guru meditation type fit workout bro with a golden dragon on his belt. I will miss working for them but honestly having one job is stressful enough and I can only hustle so hard.
I finally read three body problem! It was so good I loved it. Excited to read the next two. I read it on the month long vacation that alie and I went on. I am not going to write about that crazy an immense vacation as it will take a long long time , but just know that it was amazing AND I proposed to Alie on top of a cliff on Inishmore in Ireland it was extremely epic. She said yes.
June 29 2022
I donno what Marlena and Ezra did while taking care of our cats this weekend, but all of a sudden these two kitties have turned to be so damn loving and sweet and way less annoying. Maybe it's just the heat tiring them out easy.
Anyway kind of like my cats I've chilled out a bit after a beautiful wedding (congrats max and amanda) and a relaxing stint in Calgary for sled island music festival. It was fun but the calgary air is very dry and gave me nose bleeds - cab driver said I would get used to it if I lived there.
June 21 2022
TJ and eris need to get off my dick. Literally every show that they're at they spend an hour on and off the stage talking about me, saying I'm an active shooter or that I'm 'gay for accessibility rights' or whatever thing they believe passes as an insult, I don't get why they think anyone even knows what they're talking about. y'all are two walking talking monuments to Poe's law. At first it was somewhat flattering but now it's just plain confusing.
June 16 2022
Hope Justin Bieber's face gets better. I know they're saying it's some kind of allergic reaction but I'm putting my money on drugs. One time my friend Elise's lip swelled up like a duck because of some bad molly. She couldn't move it or talk for a few days, it was funny.
Here are some shows:
May 17th 2022
A little while ago my brother Nir showed me this 'Vibe Shift' article
by some guy that shares a name with the injured captain of the Calgary Flames
. It's all about some vice news type beat millenial who's superpower is that apparently he can predict trends. Anyway this guy believes there's going to be a 'vibe shift' and it's going to make people more into early 2000s american apparel stuff and that everyone will be 'less woke'. Would be pretty funny tho imagine everything goes back to 2006 and this guy is reliving being i na super cool and fun bushwick basement party and mgmt is blasting and everyone's snorting molly and wearing red spandex and looking like where's waldo and it's like big yellow salt crystals and looks like sea salt and everyones sinus is completely mangled and no one bothers to tell him that he's 'taking up too much space' while he's splattering people's faces ranting about how his mom is crazy.
w.r.t the 'woke' thing - I don't feel like shit ever got all that 'woke' to be honest, could have gotten a hell of a lot more 'woke' if u ask me, just not necessarily in the way of corporate posturing or dragging people on social media. Like they could have at least raised taxes or slightly defunded the military but I don't think that happened overall or on average. We had our foot on the gas pedal of the woke-mobile culturally speaking until people were like hold your horses how much money did they make on that gofundme?!?!?' I guess as a 'trend' the whole thing was always gonna collapse on itself with so many people using political correctness and social justice as a guise for getting what they want, but I don't see that as any reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater if you know what I mean.
May 11 2022
'Stagflation' and the recession are looming, interest rates are rising, and the war in ukraine is drawing some really hard cultural lines in the sand between the 'liberal' and 'conservative' information camps, all while useless radicals depressed and ashamed of the world they live in exercise a keen and observant critical interpretation- that we are stuck in helpless opposition to a force that immediately commodifies our demands for equality, selling them back to us as a marketing aesthetic, as hollywood character design, as a wink wink nudge nudge we get what you're getting at and here is a new villain, these are your new heroes, this is the new narrative. Is it not exactly what you were asking for?
It's the little things in life that really make it special. Like this added coffee cup fee that the city of vancouver approved a few months ago. They said 'now you have to sell people the disposable cups - you may no longer give them out for free' thinking that this would somehow 'help the environment'. Or the hilarious plastic bag ban where now I just have 100 tote bags and am still buying plastic bags for my garbage. And how many times do i have to use my choices tote bag until it becomes better for the environment than a disposable plastic bag? hundreds? We have no idea what we're doing unless it's to try and make money. Big ideas big ideas.. I think it's sad that people want to pay to get rid of their guilt. It's like catholicism all over again but through community go-fund-mes and refillable soap dispensers purchased over the counter from a boutique supply store on main street - I'm doing my part! Frankly I'm surprised there isn't a greater variety of guilt being marketed back to people. Like, when are they gonna try to sell me an app for crowd funding lobbyists for 'grass roots' causes in an effort towards direct democratic action? I know this sounds kind of all right but it would also be further legitimizing existing corruption. Slogan idea: "Tyranny is unavoidable?" They should call it 'democratize' or 'legisl8' or something like that.
Israel is not looking any better. Deaths are piling up and the public and media are refusing to see it as a political issue. It is 'war' they say. They say the problem is that 'They (the palestinians) are educated to hate us'. I watched a video that my cousin posted where a guy was ranting about how we have to view the conflict differently, stop telling ourselves that it's a few isolated radicals and understand that there is an anti israel ethos embedded in the palestinian psychi. What he was saying is in fact true, and there is a reason for it, that being the ongoing mass incarceration of palestinians, the ongoing killing of palestinian children
, that we continue to strip away their land and make them watch their families get evicted from their ancestral homes
, that we limit their mobility and kill their journalists
. All the while the response in Israel is 'we should kill their leader' as if killing Yassin helped at all, as if murdering them hasn't only radicalized them further all this time. I remember how much everyone hated Arafat back in the day. Nowadays he seems like an angel.
Come to this show at black lab, will be fun, first nice apple show since 2019:
April 27th 2022
I find it funny that i bought one of those sink filters from home depot and yet somehow my sink is still clogging. Goes to show it's got nothing to do with the big chunks going down the drain, more-so the accumulation of fat creating a gross black jelly that i then have to scrape out of the wall pipe. Disgusting.
I got really into Israeli twitter? It's been good practicing my hebrew and hearing funny takes about various idiots in the knesset or people's experiences interacting with hassids on Israeli tinder. Also now I read about Palestinian kids dying in three different languages. Total shitshow right now but what else is new.
I hope all the stocks keep crashing. I've lost around 2000$ on all my investments but it's worth it to see the panic. "We're heading into a recession" says deutschebank while having insane lending practices. They let trump default on his loans twice before he got made into a president by everyone he owed money to. There's definitely going to be a "recession" but I'm hoping that won't actually mean very much to us lowly non-millionaires. After all, the "inflation" already happened right? Happy to say housing prices are going down? Won't mean much until that gets reflected in people's rent. Depressing.
I don't know what else to say. If you want to hear the new dumb album it's here- pray 4 tomorrow
This site is important to me so I'm gonna make more of an effort to keep posting on it. After all it's been over a year since I started so that's something. I know a few of you have been checking it here and there (I set up google analytics) and I appreciate that, but I haven't been updating it recently. It's just been hard with all the war going on, ukraine and palestine, netanyahu and idit silman and smotrich, will smith and elon musk and meat loaf dying (rip), i end up reading more than I care to pretend like my opinion matters about. Also with the pandemic being over and all of a sudden I'm covering shifts at red gate, booking tours, + i have this other side hustle going on where I make software to help my friend bet on ufc fights (markowitz portfolio calculator linked here )
. Not to mention kevin. Beautiful kevin.
At some point in late March, kevin (our black cat, the orange one is leeloo) stopped playing, got really thin, seemed very sick, was peeing an excessive amount (his litter would get drenched within 3 days of me changing it). It got to the point where he looked so thin and wasn't moving at all, wasn't playing or leaving his sleeping area to get treats. I was fully convinced that he was going through ketosis - where you have untreated diabetes for so long that it causes weight loss and can lead to kidney failure. I took him to the emergency vet one friday night, march 25 I think it was. I took him to Canada West, they were really great actually. The urinalysis came back negative for kidney failure and diabetes. They did a blood test and noticed he had high CPK so that could have been due to injury or something. They also found a higher than normal white blood cell count which could be a number of things (infection, cancer, autoimmune disease). I brought him home that night and he still wasn't moving around much, he ate a bit more which was good but he still seemed to be in really bad shape. We took him to our family vet and got him on appetite stimulants, subcutaneous fluids, a shot of antibiotics, pain killers because he was clearly in a lot of pain and also got veterinary food. They sent his blood away to do a number of different tests that all came back negative (feline HIV, feline leukemia, toxoplasma). A few days later he's still not doing great and I take him in again to get an abdominal ultrasound + fine needle aspirates to investigate the white blood cell thing. They found inflammation of his inguinal lymph node which was consistent with the most common kind of cancer in cats - small cell lymphoma, which is unfortuntaly terminal and untreatable. That along with everything else led them (and us) to believe that he had a terminal and metastasized cancer. We were still waiting on a few other tests to get back, but eventually the last test for toxoplasma came back negative at which point they emailed us saying that they were fairly certain he had cancer, but that they just had to wait on one more test (PARR test) to confirm the diagnosis before proceeding towards treatment.
We were already in a complete wreck emotionally, and kevin had just started to seem like he was doing a bit better, so it was crushing to hear. I wouldn't say that I came to terms with kevin's death, but I was fully working towards processing it. I had already moved past the phase of trying to fix whatever was wrong, having spent over 4000$ on vet bills, completely spot cleaned my apartment of any potential toxins, re-potted a number of flowers that I had planted and tossed out some others thinking they might have been the cause of his illness. I even spoke to a number of my friends and family about it and had them console me about his coming death. I took leeloo to our family vet just in case it was something contagious, whatever it was, but she was fine. When I was at the family vet, she consoled me about Kevin's cancer, she told me about her family dog who's spleen ruptured due to cancer, and how the dog got thinner and thinner until it looked like a pipe cleaner. They kept the dog on appetite stimulants and pain killers until it was clear that the dog was no longer enjoying its life and then they put it down themselves (they are a family of vets). It was a very sad story and when I got home I told Alie and we decided we would keep kevin alive as long as he was sitting in the sun and eating, and then we cried.
Around ten days go by and kevin seemed to be getting slightly better every day. At first we thought it was just because the appetite stimulants were working. It was so sweet to see him start playing again, lying in the sun, scampering towards us when we had treats, but it was also sad because we were reminded every day that his life was likely coming to an end. We called the vet regularly to see if the cancer test results had come back, but were otherwise convinced that he had cancer, but every time I got a call from the vet my heart would skip a beat. At some point kevin started running around again and we began thinking that he actually didn't have cancer after all, but that was difficult to believe after having already come to terms (in a way) with his cancer. Then some morning in April I get a call while Alie is in a meeting and it's the vet telling us that Kevin's lymph cells were determined to be incompatible with lymphoma, and that they now believe that kevin had some sort of infection. An insane amount of relief washed over me, and then eventually when I told alie after her meeting she also became ecstatic. He's been doing so well ever since, gaining weight, running around and playing, meowing real loud when he wants to be let outside. What a damn roller coaster.
Feb 25th 2022
Just had a short conversation with the barista Anna about Ukraine, TSMC semiconductors, how fractured the US power grid is, yada yada yada. Her husband (who also works at the cafe) walked away mid conversation because he's probably tired of the whole thing and I don't blame him. On one side I'm flooded with 'donate to the ukrainian military' infographics and on the other side people who quote Dugin unironically.
One of my childhood friends is an oncologist and also very actively involved with this communist website/ publication (marxist.ca). He often reaches out over facebook to invite me to their meetings and to donate to their publication, I have tried to decline as politely as possible as I have always been interested and just haven't had the time. I gave the website a cursory look and thought it seemed cool and was happy that there are active marxist groups in north america fighting for labour rights, although I was dissuaded by the monthly membership fee. I imagine that when they hang out they take turns raising their glasses and making passionate speeches about seizing the means of production and the fall of capitalism, and that appealed to me. Anyway yesterday he posts on facebook, some innocent publication
about their take on Ukraine and the invasion. It's written very speech-like and is what you would expect, cautioning against support of NATO, critical of the western narrative, with a large focus on the 'denazification' of Ukraine. Here's a little bit of the article:
"Obviously, the question of Ukrainian membership of NATO will be off the agenda. Under the declared banner of denazification, there will be a purge of right-wing and ultra-nationalist organisations. It is self-evident that the Russian occupying forces will want to rid themselves of actual or potential enemies, and this will certainly include the fascist and ultra-nationalist armed militias."
It's difficult for me to take this 'denazify' angle very seriously. Right wing people love the military, they flock to militaries around the world, and it shouldn't be surprising that there are right wing groups in any military. Putin is virtue signalling some purported 'anti naziness' to justify invading another country and killing hundreds (maybe thousands) of his own people and this left wing organization is eating that shit up. And although I agree that NATO is also responsible for these deaths, the article also has a clear tone of reverence for putin, lauding his strategic prowess while slamming NATO. The last straw for me was that the article also cites a random facebook-user named 'Dmitri Kovalevich', who I couldn't find anything about online aside from the fact that it is the faceless name of someone's facebook page that claims to be a "Ukranian commentator" but posts exclusively in English.
Anyway I brought it up with him (my marxist.ca friend) over facebook messenger, and he did not take kindly to it. I thought I asked a fair question; who is Dmitri Kovalevich and what credibility does he have? The facebook account was making a lot of claims about how the Ukranian weapons and defences had already been eliminated before the fighting even began, claims that I had not seen verified elsewhere. It wasn't long before I was in one of those annoying internet arguments with someone and I just wanted out. It's not worth it.
I think it's really hard for some people who 'identify' as leftist to have the same opinion on something as a centrist. Some kind of contrarian agency kicks in and we start digging for reasons why supporting Ukraine is actually not as cool as you'd think. The US media is extremely hypocritical about all this, as is the Israeli media, and it feels crazy seeing americans who supported the war in iraq go on to condemn the invasion of the Ukraine. But at the end of the day I think there's a lot of mental gymnastics involved in convincing yourself that the whole thing was manufactured by the west, that Putin was cornered into invading Ukraine, or that this whole denazification invasion will actually help bring an end to globalism. Putin bad, he clearly has no regard for human life, russian or ukranian. I'm not saying I agree with the Fukuyama or Freidman camps one bit, I don't care about everyone westernizing or liberalizing or whatever, but I don't have to look into literature at all to understand that invading a country is bad. I don't think it should be that complicated.
Anyway Quincy is going to the Ukraine and then he's going to kill Putin himself with his bare hands.
Feb 22nd 2022
"In each of us, in varying proportions, there is a part of yesterday's man; it is yesterday's man who inevitably predominates in us, since the present amounts to little compared with the long past in the course of which we were formed and from which we result." - Bourdieu
YO excuse me but am I in the minority here for thinking that it's wack to say shit is 'retarded' or to call people 'pussies' or say 'that's gay'? I've been noticing a lot more people using the words 'retarded' or 'gay' as synonyms for bad or crazy like it's 2007 again. Maybe it's that red scare podcast or something, I've never listened to it but I heard about some complex head in your ass justification for why it's ok to say the 'R slur' in a derogatory manner - about how it's less 'classist' or more 'inclusive' to accept the use of certain words that us pc-fascists have deemed unacceptable, in an effort to be more welcoming and less judgemental to a larger portion of the population: yesterday's folk, people who went to high school in the 90s, people who've worked the same job for 30 years, that sort of thing (as if all those groups are actively using the vernacular of a 13 year old boy in 2003). I guess once netflix and disney started virtue signalling in every scene, the whole notion of dismantling oppressive language fell out of vogue, and a bunch of 20-30 something year olds started reverting back to who they were ten years ago. I don't watch Euphoria but Alie told me that there's a scene where one of the characters says 'that's retarded' and then the other one goes 'aren't you not supposed to say that word' and then the first character says 'it's still retarded' (or something like that). Gotta keep reminding myself that it is yesterday's man who inevitably predominates in us.
Feb 6th 2022
Every time I see media repeating itself I am reminded that we are in the dark ages 2.0 (copyright alie lynch 2021). It feels like the same north american cultural insights are being 'revealed' every decade, but that these insights are not absorbed by the world, and so writers end up re-telling old stories in a modern setting with the hope that maybe this time people will understand.
Take Invisible Man (1952), Do The Right Thing (1989), and The Bluest Eye (1970), all approximately 20 years apart, and you'll hear the same stories being told that you see playing out in the news today. Reading through the Harlem race riots described by Ralph Ellison and then seeing those themes repeated in Do The Right Thing and watching the news after George Floyd - feels like nothing has changed since WW2. In 1952 Ralph Ellison described the moralization of race riots, the positive media descriptions of volunteer cleaning crews picking up after the mess left behind by looters during a race riot, the vilification of the rioters who's ongoing oppression boiled over in an eruption after the killing of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer. I saw the same thing on the news after BLM protests in 2020, where they had a whole special about people 'doing their part' to clean up the broken glass on the street, only 70 years later. The same old vilification of black anger, contrasted with good-old law abiding citizens who just want to make sure the street is clean and that the businesses are taken care of. I read about the bewilderment of white upper-class Americans in the face of racially motivated 'crime', a lack of awareness regarding the context and experiences of black Americans. Both Morrison and Ellison do an amazing job of presenting the stories of both black victims and black perpetrators of heinous acts in such a way that we are made to sympathize with people who do absolutely terrible things, and further understand how their motivations and suffering are a direct product of the racial violence that they faced throughout their lives (Cholly Breedlove's character in the Bluest Eye is very similar to that of Jim Trueblood). Half a century later we hear Meghan McCain talking about how 'looters are ruining BLM for everyone', as if the protests weren't an inevitability but rather a coordinated exercise against white America.
Feb 5th 2022
I have been pigeonholed into class-consciousness tiktok, bearded nerdy dudes being like "and that is why you are a serf unless you own property...and that is how they make you work 40 hours a week...back in the day sometimes our fields were tilled and our animals were fed and we got to chill for a week". I mean I totally and completely agree I would love more time to sleep and bath and eat grapes and stuff but i'm not tilling a damn field I can say that much. I did a good week and a half of labour on my uncles orchard once, it was me, my cousin shir segal, 3 Vietnamese dudes on tractors and a druze family (the women all wore full on burkas picking pears in 47 degree weather, very beast-mode if you ask me.) Shir and I had originally signed up for 2 full weeks but we tapped out early after a week and a half, I think my uncle was relieved. I remember he gave us 200 sheckels for our week and a half of work. That's like 70 canadian dollars for a damn week and a half of waking up at 4 am and working until 1 pm picking pears. I'm a spoiled little PNW raised pokemon-loving longhair nerd out there picking 1 wagon a day and not even filling it all the way up, meanwhile Tehm, one of the kids of the druze family, would finish a wagon on his own by 11 and then come and talk to me and Shir while we tried to finish filling our wagon with pears. He was pretty cool he had a nokia phone and he played backstreet boys on it and asked me about what kind of music I listened to and I probably told him led Zeppelin or some shit.
Anyway my point isn't that I disagree with the tik tok tankies, I totally agree with them, we're definitely entering dark ages 2.0 (as alie likes to call it) where if you don't own any property you're basically just going to be left behind or forced into servitude by insane rental prices, and at a certain point they probably won't even bother trying to entertain you anymore to make it more bearable, you'll be there on your phone before your shift scrolling and all you'll see is stuff that you don't understand at all that is completely foreign and confusing to you and then you'll have to debug a robot waiter or answer customer service requests for 8 hours a day to afford the mortgage on your living pod, a 2' by 2' by 10' insulated living pod with built-in blue tooth speakers and LED lighting that you can control with an app on your phone.
If anyone has any good reading material recommendations on the topic of the french revolution let me know.
Anyways, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with the tik tok marxism evangelists, in fact I fully support it, go team. I will say however, in the least critical way possible, that I think most of them lack a certain self awareness, causing them to come across as condescending. For example, IMAGINE someone who's spent their whole life looking for steady employment, imagine telling them something like "Your superiors are profiting from your surplus labour, we are all serfs", meanwhile this dude is like begging people to pay him for his surplus labour so he can feed his family. Or here's another completely not hypothetical scenario, imagine some guy who was raised having to spend his weekend nights cleaning restaurants with his family after hours so that they can afford the rent on their home, imagine explaining to this guy how through the real estate market we are being forced into servitude via the 5 day work week. Like this guy doesn't already know it, you know? What ever you are explaining, he probably knows it better than you. You have the time to walk around your property with a selfie stick and make 2 tiki tokes a day preaching the gospel of economic equality, telling people about how we're all serfs. I guarantee you tonnes of people see that shit and think 'Wow this person is an asshole who is telling me that my life sucks'. I hope this makes sense what I'm saying.
That is basically where I'm at with these truckers. Alie and I were talking about it and we may not understand what they're going for, and neither do they probably, but at least I think that they are expressing some form of class resentment. I'm not saying that the truckers represent the lower class at all, or that I share any values with them at all, but I will say that if anyone is gonna revolt in any way it's that crowd. Alie always talks about how striking the photos from the Jan 6th 'insurrection' are because it's one of the only times you got to see a real freak standing in the halls of congress. In real life we know way more Q shamans than we know Nancy Pelosis, and like I said earlier in this blog, you won't see a bunch of left wing liberal arts majors storming the capital. And just to circle back, I'll say that I guarantee you won't see any 'class consciousness' influencers storming the capital either. I wanna believe that you'd see me storming the capital but you likely won't.
January 27th 2022
I have COVID, I thought it would be mild but it's surprisingly bad. Alie is mostly fine. Happy that I lasted this long without getting it but also wish I could have gone all the way.
To be fair we were kind of asking for it, hitting up simply D's on a Saturday night, it was packed. I even ordered oysters and we crushed some pitchers of Sapporo and some sake bombs. What can I say, I was excited to be out at a bar, it had been a while, I was boosted and I felt invincible. Some guy in the bathroom started talking to me about Bill Cosby for some reason while I was urinating and I later suspected him of having stolen 60$ cash from my pocket, only to realize that I stuffed the cash into my bookshelf when I got home later that night.
Anyone else have this quirky problem? When I'm drunk or braindead for whatever reason I take my valuables and I hide them in places without thinking twice that I won't be able to find them later. This COVID brainfog is kind of doing the same thing: I have this 'Yubikey' usb hardware authentication device that I use for work, to sign into a 'secure research environment' where I access private MSP data. Needless to say I can't really do my job without this weird little flash drive looking thing. Anyway in the heat of my fever I was cleaning the house and I took it and I threw it in the garbage without thinking twice. A few minutes later I realized what I did and immediately went to go fish it out of the trash. Disgusting.
Anyway having COVID pretty much sucks, I thought it would be dope to take work off for a few days but I'm not mentally present enough to do anything productive like make music or work on a web project so instead I just sit around coughing really loud and scaring the shit out of both of my cats. They're doing all right, I don't think they have covid. We took them outside the other day on a leash one at a time and both of them freaked out. Leeloo wouldn't stop panic screaming and crawling towards the bush and kevin also clearly couldn't handle being outside and also kept trying to run into the bush. It's almost like if you raised two kids in the same room their whole lives and then brought them outside. I think we'll try again at pandora park on a nice day, get them acclimatized slowly till they enjoy it.
November 25th 2021
My childhood friend and current top recommendation for a plug said it nicely this morning over ig story: "Rule number one: things aren't always going to go your way, it's how you pick yourself up and keep on moving"- with his left hand holding the phone, his face under blue LED light and his right hand for some reason applying deodorant to his beard. His current online presence is extremely rewarding. One time he somehow managed to flip his bmw sedan on a small side street somewhere in fairview and some passerby posted it on twitter and it kind of blew up. His personal caption that day was something like "tried to kickflip my car". Otherwise his ig is mostly videos of him shooting watermelons with his shotgun. I think I could learn a lot from that guy.
November 18th 2021
Sometimes shit gets stressful at work and elsewhere and I gotta remember not to take it out on my loved ones when they clearly don't deserve it. We're all constantly being inundated with corporate messages of hope and resilience in the face of the constant turmoil by the hands of the same groups delivering these messages, whether it's Telus or UBC or whatever massive institution that is struggling to appear sensible while haemorrhaging cultural capital. These companies and organizations have long ago been publicly drained of their credibility and watching them try and scrape their way back into relevance using inclusivity and accessibility jargon is tiring to say the least. Having to participate in UBC's charade of radical politics and actively facilitate it has made me angry.
I've been starting to get into Bourdieu, reading through la distinction and nodding and raising my eyebrows and telling myself 'damn this guy gets it'. Alie likes him too, we've been listening to people on youtube lecture about the Habitus, Field Theory, DOXA, cultural capital etc. For me the big one is this idea that we are constantly and unconsciously reproducing existing social structures around us, as our habits, skills, and dispositions (our 'Habitus') are governed by our relationships with existing structures and our social position within various fields. I went to school to get a degree so that I can get a job, and in doing so I reified the cultural power of both academia and capitalism. The attitude and mode of behaviour that I gained from participating in that system are being exchanged daily at my job for personal income, and in doing so I am reproducing and validating those social norms and accepted practices. Or in another field, when we write a grant for our studio CHOMS (nickshortrecording.com)
or for Red Gate
, we regurgitate non-profit art-speak to show that we are versed in that field, and in doing so we help perpetuate those existing bureaucratic structures that we are benefitting from.
The long and short of it all is that there is a relationship between education and cultural capital, or education and taste, and that your taste and how much cultural capital you have depends on your disposition for social action, which is determined by our position within various fields and your class, gender, ethnicity, as well as something called hexis. This is a dated example, but in the beginning of La Distinction Bourdieu talks about this survey from Paris in 1968, where respondents were asked about their occupation and socio-economic status as well as their musical preferences, specifically in relation to particular works of art. This involves distinguishing between three songs, Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach, Raphsody in Blue by Gershwin, and Blue Danube by Strauss. The whole point is to show that there is a clear correlation between taste and class/ level of education, where "Legitimate taste" is represented by Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, as it is an older piece that is established and "increases with educational level and is highest in those fractions of the dominant class that are richest in educational capital." Hungarian Rhapsody represented Middle-brow taste, which "brings together the minor works of the major arts" that are "common in the middle classes (classes moyennes)". Finally "popular" taste is represented by the Blue Danube, which apparently has been "devalued by popularization", and is "frequent among the working classes and varies in inverse ratio to educational capital (which explains why it is slightly more common among industrial and commercial employers or even senior executives than among primary teachers and cultural intermediaries). "
At the bar last night we spoke with Selina Crammond and Dan Geddes about this stuff. Selina for years ran DOXA film festival, which took its namesake from Bourdieu, and Dan is currently very involved in the field of Aesthetics. We spoke about the structuralist reluctance to 'separate the art from the artist ', as well as how current contextual understandings of taste have ultimately dissolved the tendency to view popular art as lesser or lacking taste. Turns out they already gave it a term, it's called 'Poptimism'- the belief that pop music is worthy of critique - derived from another term I hadn't heard of - "Rockism" - the belief that rock music is more authentic or artful, and therefore better than other forms of pop music.
In other news a 13 year old boy, Mohammad Da'das, was shot and killed near Nablus by the IDF during a protest against the Elon Moreh settlement. Can't find anything about it in wapo or the times but it happened, and it's one of many times that a Palestinian child has been shot and killed by the IDF over the past year (see Btselem
). I did however find an article in wapo about Blue Wolf
, and the IDF's efforts to document the faces of every Palestinian resident of Hebron in a mass surveillance initiative, including facial recognition cameras placed around the city as well as at checkpoints. This is also based on the testimonies of ex-IDF soldiers speaking out against army abuses in the occupied territories.
The Israeli spyware firm "Black Box" made its way into headlines via the britney conservatorship
. One of my country's top exports
is 'cybersecurity'. Besides Black Box we have Cellebrite - who claim they can hack into any iphone
, NSO group
- the company behind Pegasus software used by cops all over the world for spying on journalists and activists, Kape technologies - a malware distributor
who just acquired ExpressVPN for 1 Billion USD, and ironSource
- the company behind the 'installCore' software that allowed for the spread of the infamous mac Os X 'adobe flash update' virus, among many others. There's even an article in the Jerusalem Post - "The dark side of Israeli cybersecurity firms"
. And if you want to log off, we still got you, I implore you to look at the multitude
involving Israeli firms
training militias and armies
all over the world.
I should make it clear, I am not suggesting that there is a cabal of jews for worldwide military hegemony, please. The reality is more straightforward. Israel is a military state and therefore invests a tonne of money in the security education of our population. Obviously a majority of this education is adversarial, and it's no surprise when the best and brightest carry on with the context of their education, allowing it to frame their understanding of value and profit.
I always thought the whole military service thing would have been pretty cool without the military part. Imagine that, in Canada, after high school, we all had to spend 3-5 years serving our country - not learning how to assemble a TAR-21 or parachute from a plane - not learning how to interrogate suspects or assess security threats-, but doing something good like installing solar panels or endangered species conservation. Alie says there should be a 'tree planting corps'. There is a thing in Israel actually, where you can postpone your military service and do a year of 'non military service' doing volunteer work
, but conscription rates are 100% for graduates of this 'non-military' service year, which leads me to think it's just an incubator for keeners.
AOC abstained on the vote for the Iron Dome budget, apparently because she is prepping for a senate run. Seems that she is becoming a real politician.
Alie and I just watched all 8 seasons of History Channel's "Alone" in the past couple of weeks- reality tv show where they separate ten people alone in the wilderness and whoever survives the longest wins $500k. Turns out even extreme survivalists hate being alone and starving in the wilderness, everyone breaks down, tears streaming, yelping in agony, hiccups, head in their hands or staring into a go pro, crying about how they miss their family or friends. Some contestants start off very confident, only to tap out a few days in because they're afraid of bears or cougars. Sometimes the cries of loneliness seem strange coming from someone who hasn't eaten in two weeks- but even the ones who thrive, with mushrooms, rabbits, fish, still collapse into tears.
May not be a real good nuanced way of saying this but I don't amount to much without the people around me. Shutting myself off and being a hermit would seriously fuck me up. Often I feel like a transparent reflection of all the people I speak to, so I understand the desire to isolate. And I get that these days people enjoy the lonely tortured protagonist, the maverick, the reassurance of your own individuality and uniqueness. I know the vibe, I read the fountainhead. Not my jam though.
Alie just told me that they found gabby petito, her boyfriend left her somewhere in bridger-Teton national forest and now he's on the run? Or maybe he's dead yet? Nancy Grace is gonna have a conniption.
I'm getting really tired of the notion that individual action is going to reduce carbon emissions enough to mitigate the effects of global warming. Don't get me wrong, I do the dance, I recycle, I turn down the heat and put on a sweater, I'm taking shorter showers and eating less meat and what not, but I gotta recognize that at the end of the day, individuals making marginal changes to their every-day lives are not going to help enough. We have Industry, Electricity, Transportation, taking up or 75% of all CO2 emissions. In terms of electricity it's mostly coal, gas, and oil power plants (replaceable). In terms of transportation, the current economic inequality is massively impeding a complete switch to electric vehicles (expensive), and there's still no way to fly sustainably. Also - industry? How do you expect my individual actions to have any affect on the practices of manufacturing processes. I am often seeing emissions presented in terms of 'end use'- distributing the burden of emissions onto the whole population. It can be done in many different ways, but it really comes down to who you blame, and I think it's time to publish some literature that puts governments and corporations in the hot seat rather than the world population. Seems obvious that we won't see them do anything that will affect their incomes tho. Least we could do is start giving them more and more shit.
I ALSO wanted to say that I think AOC is fucking cool as hell and so is her dress. To be fair to all you ideologues, it would be nice if she wasn't at the met gala at all, or if she donated some money to help bail out those protestors, and yah the capitalist realism quote really made a lot of sense transposed onto her image in three different edits, and hell i'd go as far as saying that sure, she's a shill for the "elite", she's performative or whatever. I mean theoretically yah, her participation in a system that perpetuates inequality only further validates that system and isn't helping eliminate it. Sure! truth! preach brother! to be honest I don't give a shit. I don't care what you call yourself, if you're a shrigma male or an anarcho syndicalist, IF you think that an impending revolution will not only "bring down capitalism" but will also result in a sensible alternative you are basically stupid as hell. The recent massive increases in economic inequality and the looming climate crisis will guarantee that IF there is a revolution, it will not be fun or good, it will be some sort of religious fundamentalist BULLSHIT or a military coup, not a bunch of liberal arts graduate students storming the capitol with pride flags and then we guillotine some senators. Although that WOULD be dope and very lol. Anyway, point is, incremental change from within the system is ALL WE HAVE.
Basically I think AOC is trying to bridge the gap in economic equality and that is good. AOC is advocating for workers and women and immigrants against millions of dollars of corporate funded lobbyists. AOCs constituents fucking love her and love that one of them made it to the met gala for the first time and not as a caterer or valet. I'm sure it would be fun as hell to go, and fortunately I'm not a even a congresswoman so i dont have to worry about being dragged for it later on.
Just please consider, when you, as someone who is correct online, start sounding like mike pompeo or rudy giuliani, you better take a big slurp of that self awareness juice and ask yourself if you really care about economic equality or if you're just annoying, or maybe you actually believe that a drastic revolution will destroy capitalism as we know it in one fell swoop. slurp slurp.
jokes aside, this leads me to another less clownish topic that I've been talking about with Alie for a while: this idea that what distinguishes the left from the right, generally, is how much we disagree with one another. The narrative is that the right wing doesn't actually care very much about your beliefs, so long as you love america and hate abortion, you're in with their crowd and they love you, whereas on the left everyone is an ideologue obsessed with discerning righteousness and exposing the bad guys. And as much as I'm sure we're all tired of this dichotomy, I'd say this interpretation is pretty spot on.
I'm saying this as someone who is 100% guilty of being an insufferable contrarian pedant. Ask my parents- all us "leftists"-we're all a bunch of quarrelsome nerds on an endless quest to achieve the most impartial interpretation of current events, the most scientific and empathetic understanding of our own existence, constantly grappling with and comparing the various contexts of our upbringing, and it is good and I love it. The only issue is it's not very welcoming and our numbers our dwindling. But what can I do ? you know? I'm not one to start reaching out to liberals and conservatives, chomsky and debord in hand, knocking on doors asking if they want to talk about economic inequality. What am I gonna say to appeal to them ?
"hey neighbour! I noticed from the sign on your lawn that we likely disagree about welfare or whatever -but I guarantee you we both have ancestors who are mass murderers! Let ME convince you to care about poor people! I PROMISE I won't cancel you for being okay with the police existing"
I don't know! it's difficult because, if i actually showed up at most right wing family homes, they'd likely invite me in, feed me, talk to me about the lord, ask me if I was from India or timbuktu, and then we'd play cribbage or some shit and they would nod at me politely while I struggled to explain why I was there in the first place.
September 1st 2021. New day, new month, new life-era.
I always thought it made more sense to have new years in September, one thing that my people got right. Felipe has left to Barcelona and I am happy for him, my coworkers are quitting and I'm happy for them, my sister is back in mtl, happy for her too. Who knows maybe Alie and I will move to new york city. Lots up in the air, might be prudent to give an update and compare my perspective a few months /years down the road.
1. John furlong - my friend jon rozen put me onto this asshole and now i think everyone should be putting this guy on full blast till he gets impaled on the olympic torch statue thing. Seriously nuts that this man is still in a position of power as an ex residential school teacher with over 40 allegations of assault or sexual assault. The man spoke at a big UBC event as late as 2017, was president of the arbutus club, and is the current head of the vancouver winter olympic bid. Meanwhile the reporter (laura robinson) who exposed all his bullshit in the georgia straight in 2012 is still drowning in lawsuits against her. Last I heard no one has been indicted for any of the (currently over 6000 and counting) deaths of indigenous children at residential schools across canada, but this man would be a good first candidate. I listened to the Canadaland podcast about this whole thing but I'm sure there are other good resources. There's also so much more to uncover, who knows how many ex residential school teachers are currently sitting pretty in positions of power across BC and Canada.
2. afghanistan - not sure how much i can contribute to this conversation. I say best bet is give every afghan an iphone 12 and a free data plan and hope for the best. Very sad for those whose lives are gonna get much worse under the taliban, but what the hell did we expect after 20 years of war- no better way to radicalize a population.
3. biden falling asleep during meeting with bennet - funny as hell.
4. Canadian election - not sure what the hell is going on tbh. probably gonna have to vote for jenny kwan again, but i bet trudeau will win. If otoole wins its bc of the anti vaxxer vote, unless the delta variant gets them before sept 20.
5. donda - i keep trying to listen to it but end up skipping the boring parts for the hits, which are good but the jesus thing is suffocating. Probably not gonna try again.
6. new 14 inch macbook- p funny i heard theyre bringing back ports and getting rid of the 'touch bar'. So glad they're giving up on all that nonsense
7. New Orleans is nuts right now. The few people I know there have evacuated, and most others don't have any electricity or service or AC or otherwise are running out of gas for their generators. Not sure how long these hurricanes usually last but I may go out of my comfort zone and donate to some mutual aid. Seems crazy down there.
8. They banned abortion in Texas. Greg Abbott is straight up evil.
and there you have it folks. Lots of other stuff on my mind but i think that covers it in terms of the current international zeitgeist. Honourable mentions go to eris and vandu/ dulf for giving away more clean drugs, to alie for keeping me up to date and in check, to my parents for their 35 year anniversary, to global warming and the impending doom, to my cats leeloo and kevin, to my brother nir, to nick felipe and shelby for making the last 5 years unforgettable.
August 5th 2021
This happened last heat wave but I saw someone who I hadn't seen in a while at home depot while alie and I were buying fans. He said 'hey long time no see' and we chatted for a bit and I asked if he was also buying fans for the heat wave and he said that no his apartment had AC and I wanted to smack him. We left and Alie was like "Why were you unusually mean to him?"
Israeli courts just made an unsurprising decision about Sheikh Jarrah, to quote Haaretz:
"The court suggested that the families be allowed to remain in their homes under 'protected residents' status; the locals would have to pay a small rental fee to a settler group that acquired the rights to the land that once belonged to Jewish families."
One of the decision makers in this case was 'justice' noam solhberg, who lives in a settlement in the west bank. I can't help but think of all the historically palestinian homes currently inhabited by israelis (including the home I was raised in), and the fact that none of us israelis have to pay a rental fee to the palestinian refugees who evacuated our current homes.
In other news seems like dumb has one more show (Poster by Felipe):
July 16 2021
We played one of DULF's (Drug User Liberation Front) free-drug giveaway block parties last week on the street on hastings between dunlevy and jackson, eris set it up. It sort of blew up online the next day, with Melissa Di Genova insinuating all sorts of things on twitter. The positive news is that all the yaletown classholes seem to be down for safe supply, they think it will result in a reduction in theft. Interesting motivation while there are 6 people dying a day but heck I'll take it, I won't key your porsche now. Granted - the vancouver subreddit (where alie found these opinions) is one of the most wretched places on reddit.
I never understood the whole Q-Anon obsession with sex trafficking, like they picked one of the more disturbing things they could think of knowing that fighting against sex trafficking somehow comes across as morally superior to fighting against police violence. Melissa DiGenova cleared it up a little when she insinuated on twitter that the handing out of free clean drugs helps fund sex trafficking. "Follow the money" she tweeted, and later pointed out that money flowing towards organized crime will surely fund sex trafficking. That's when it started to make sense for me, the idea that supporting any "criminal" activity whatsoever means you are supporting sex trafficking. The idea that a website for buying clean drugs online is surely linked to sex-trafficking. The idea that it is the illegal criminal underbelly of the world that exclusively funds sex-trafficking, completely independent from establishment socialites associated with high profile sex traffickers like Epstein. Sure it's bill clinton, it's chrissy tiegan or whatever, sure, but more importantly it's any criminal whatsoever, because what they're saying is, is that if you support crime, you're supporting sex trafficking, and if you don't support the cops, you must support crime, and therefore you must support sex trafficking. I think I've made it clear what Melissa DiGenova and QANON are saying when they warn us about sex trafficking. It's all justification for the institution that pays her husband's salary. I don't feel great talking so callously about the whole issue, referring to it as a conservative talking point rather than a truly disgusting ongoing practice but heck.
June 16 2021
I was gonna write a thing about some comedians/artists feeling like they can't do art because of the 'times in which we are living' as if bigotry hasn't been around for a minute here, as if this isn't one of the more favourable sagas in North American history to be a minority, but now I don't care anymore. If you can't do art because you feel bad about racism, I get how and why that's a real thing that some people are feeling right now so I'll arrest my judgement.
Anyway, the cease fire is broken less than two days into Bennet being sworn in. My mother shares a post with the family chat about how this is the most diverse Knesset ever, with representation from minorities, women, the differently abled, and the first arab minister. I feel bad, I sort of unleashed at her, telling her I would rather it be all white dudes and we stop displacing Palestinians in silwan and sheikh jarrah, that I'd rather it be Bibi again and we stop bombing Gaza. We get into another 3000 message tiff over the family chat, my bother and sister pissed that we're blowing their shit up. My dad thinks the whole thing is a set up, that we had an egypt-brokered agreement with Gaza to bomb an empty building in response to their "incendiary balloons" - a response to the nationalist march through east Jerusalem (and the continued displacement of Palestinians) - Sort of like the trump bombing of the Syrian air base in 2017 being seen as brokered by Russia as an acceptable and useless show of force. Psycho ego battles at the expense of real people. I don't know if it's true but either way I don't care, Bennet is a dolt and so is Lapid and Gantz too.
I don't have any updates otherwise.
June 8th 2021. How long will this coalition last? Some guy on the BBC said there's a high chance that we will see another election within the next year. I don't see Bennet as an upgrade, but I am amazed that the most conservative part of the joint list signed onto a coalition with "Yamina" (-translates directly to "Right" - vs left). Maybe it reflects how it was Menachem Begin who left Sinai, or Sharon who left Gaza.
I am tired of arguing with my right-wing fam. I think it's time to sink into the bubble, tune into the next IG feud or something. Hopefully shows will start happening again, bands will crash on my floor, Jim will start asking me to do liquor runs. Alie says that theatres are opening again soon, I think we might go once a week for the next while.
may 24 whatever
cease fire now, good news, except now we're providing police escorts to a parade of settlers through al aqsa, al jazeera reports that Palestinians were beaten and prevented from entering the compound in the process. Seems like we already broke the ceasefire but thankfully nothing came of it. Meanwhile Alie informs me that gigi hadid and dualipa received a full page slam in the new york times calling them out for promoting genocide after they made anti-zionist remarks on twitter. My parents send me photos of posters spotted along commercial drive that read "fuck off zionist", I try to explain that zionist does not mean jew. My parents still see the posters as anti semitic. The past couple weeks I've been going back and forth and back and forth with 7 of my most right wing likudnik Israeli family members over ig chat. I've decided there's no point in holding back, since I truly love them and care about them, I should be honest with them about how I feel and why. No surprise they think I am a self hating jew, "auto antisemite" they say, "The IDF is my flesh and blood", "Hamas wants us all dead, if it's not their kids being killed it would be ours". Days upon nights filled with messages, voice recordings, video chats, links to videos, links to books. "I love my Palestinian brothers and sisters, but there will only be peace when they accept the state of Israel." I've been hearing this rhetoric my whole life, I won't mention all the holocaust reminders.
There's not a lot that facts can do to change someone's mind once it's already made up. I tell them that this "war" is Bibi's way to hold onto power by preventing a coalition between the arabs (Joint List), Gantz, Bennet, Lapid, and others in the knesset. I tell them that the IDF kills families and that we have to accept the responsibility for those deaths rather than blame HAMAS for bombs that we dropped. I explain my issue with claims that Hamas uses human shields, and beyond this, that if they are in fact using human shields, we are participating in their war crime by continuing to bomb those "shields". Both Hamas and the Likud benefitted tremendously from this conflict. I feel ashamed for speaking so callously about human life and I don't think I changed anyone's mind, the only bright side for me is that my parents and I now agree on a lot more. Mainly all that's left is the whole idea that speaking out against Israel is not anti semitic. I feel that most Israelis have a difficult time in conflating anti zionism with anti semitism, which in itself should be proof that there is some fucked up and deep nationalism going on there. I don't know if I am capable of changing anyone's beliefs on this, it is far too ingrained.
May 13th 2021. 90 deaths so far, 83 in Gaza and 7 in Israel. There is no end in sight. Israelis are trauma bonded to the nation by their military service, united by a common enemy, haunted by the memory of the Holocaust. We are told that Hamas will kill us all, they will push us into the sea if they had their way. What about evictions of Palestinians? Blame Hamas. What about mobility restrictions? Blame Hamas. Mass incarceration? Blame Hamas. We are expanding settlements, pushing Palestinians out of their homes, bombing civilians, rewriting history textbooks, and somehow it is all justified because "The Hamas charter denies the existence of the state of Israel!".
I remember going to a Sabliminal (Israeli rapper) concert near Yehud in 2003 with my cousins. I was 12 years old. Hundreds of people in the audience were waiting for him to take the stage and amidst their impatience a large group starts chanting "Death to the Arabs". I remember looking at my mom who was shaking her head in disapproval. Eventually Sabliminal takes the stage and shuts everyone up "No No No... not death to the arabs, Life to the Jews!". It was too late, at that point I had already realized we were no different from the "enemy".
Yesterday a house in my home town of Yehud got flattened by a rocket, but thankfully everyone was in the shelter at the time so no one was killed. I am afraid for my family in Israel and I hope they are safe. My mother's side of the family is from Yehud, she is the youngest of 10 children of Yemeni immigrants, so naturally I have a huge family there. I have over 40 first cousins, and I love all of them. Growing up Nir and I would spend endless hours with my cousins Or and Dor, smoking sheesha, playing guitar, talking about Dragonball Z, arguing over who would have to jump the fence to grab the basketball. I enjoyed climbing olive trees, walking through the blistering desert heat to get popsicles, soggy falafel with fries in it. I got my ass kicked after shit-talking another kid on the street and waking up in Dor's parent's bed with a black eye, Dor told me he would make sure my parents wouldn't find out, "I'll tell them we were playing soccer and you hit your head". My cousin Yarden, Dor's sister, was my closest friend, I still talk to her often about her baby, about her degree, we would help eachother out with homework. We never talk about politics.
Today is May 11th 2021. It is a sad day, 20 palestinians were killed by Israeli air-strikes in Gaza, 9 of them children.
Every time this sort of thing happens (which is often), my parents and I have to rekindle our conversation about my rhetoric coming across as anti-semetic. "We agree with you, the airstrikes are unjust, but you have to stop criticizing Israel as a whole, it is not all of Israel". I have to explain to my father that it isn't anti-semetic of me to criticize Israel, in the same way that I am not criticizing all americans when I criticize american foreign policy. "They want you dead, they want Israel wiped off the map" they say, "You think Syria or Egypt would treat the Palestinians any better?". I ask them: "if all three of your children were killed by Israeli airstrikes, would you not want to respond with violence against the state of Israel?". "Yes you are right" they say. I see videos of nationalists celebrating a burning tree at temple mount on the "jewish voice for peace" instagram, they see videos of katyushas shot down by the missile defence system in the merkaz. I send them a video of police violence at Al Aqsa, they send me the stories of Israelis hiding in shelters from missiles. "There are no Jewish casualties" I tell them, they say "you sound as if you're hoping for a Jewish casualty". Of course, I am happy that there are no Jewish casualties, but I don't value Israeli lives over Palestinian lives, so overall I am sad. I am sad because it is the state of Israel that is perpetuating this violence. It is the state of Israel that profits from this violence and it is the state of Israel that uses every excuse it can to placate the kahanists and the religious right, to perpetuate the military industrial complex and maintain that Palestinians are second class citizens. I am sad because, as Israelis we have the power to make peace happen, but instead we are fighting a losing internal political battle with ourselves over whether naftali bennet or bibi is gonna be prime minister, as if having a 4th election in less than two years will change a thing about how many Palestinians are murdered. It's not easy being an Israeli at times like these, but it's definitely a lot easier than being a Palestinian.
If anyone is interested in the history, I recommend "The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities" by Simha Flapan. I read it when I was 12 and haven't been able to call myself a zionist since. Click on the image for the pdf of the book.
Today is march 30. Decent day, can't complain. I recently did a mail-out of some dumb t shirts and records and wanted to save money on postage by personally delivering all the local orders. It was sincerely nice to see everyone. My first delivery was to a nice man named kellen at some joinery workshop by the dump at marine drive. He asked me if dumb was gonna do a mixed gems soon, i said i didn't know.
Then I drove drove to the west end and dropped off a t shirt and a tape with michael lachman. we had both recently binge watched search party, we talked about tv shows and pandemic life. michael and his partner lindsay pomerantz run (among other things) dynamo arts, where nice apple had our album release with cave girl a few years back. I've always loved those two.
Fortunately Craig (from yep) was willing to haul his old station-wagon over to my apartment for his order so i came outside and we chatted (madison was there too). I can't remember how we got onto the topic, but it turns out we face the same soda water dilemma, that being- we consume a lot of soda water but are unwilling to purchase a soda stream because of how they've been treating workers in the west bank. I find myself carrying 4 flats of perrier home from london drugs twice a month only to read about how nestle is on trial for child slavery in cote divoire. Gonna have to switch to gerolsteiner I guess. The other day in snackland I got yelled at by papi chuco for doing a "whataboutism" by bringing up how nestle is likely just as bad as soda stream. I mean he's right, neither are good-granted he did say he was waiting for elon musk to invent a new soda stream. Anyway Craig had a lot to say about it. Craig told me about how this is not a new thing at all, and how in pre-civil war times in the states, it was trendy for northerners to buy what was called "free produce" - stuff like expensive cotton clothing sourced ethically. The clothing was expensive, and although abolitionists like William Garrison and Fredrick Douglas initially supported the movement, they later on suggested they would rather northerners actively fight for emancipation than create esoteric markets for self righteous liberals. Here's a quote from Craig's (unfinished) dissertation that he sent me:
William Garrison began to bristle at free produce proponents' moral superiority, noting that products made by the enslaved were "so mixed up with the commerce, manufactures and agriculture of the world-so modified or augmented in value by the industry of other nations,-so indissolubly connected with the credit and currency of the country-that, to attempt to seek the subversion of slavery by refusing to use them, or to attach moral guilt to the consumer of them is, in our opinion, preposterous and unjust"
My final local delivery was to adrian teacher. He lives on my block so we went on a short coffee walk at around 9 am after I dropped alie off at work. We walked down wall street and cycled through our usual topics, new releases, getting vaccinated, work, what the scene is gonna be like post pandemic. I told him that I knew just as well as he did. I don't know what the scene is really like at all to be honest. There's so many bands from so many different social circles playing all sorts of music. I'm also getting older and more and more out of touch with anything beyond red gate, black lab, and toast collective. I can tell you one thing tho, before the pandemic started we were seeing an unprecedented number of fresh faces at red gate meetings and shows, some sincerely cool kids who make good art and music and are looking for somewhere to perform. It made me sad to think of all the "transistor riot" or "chaotic neutral" shows that didn't happen. Those kids are the future of the scene.
Today is March 18 2021, solid day, couldn't complain. Anyway, let's get to the point. My line is ringing day and night - folks want to know where to put their money. The reality? Shit is always changing, everyone wants to know the future, but by trying to predict it we cause it to change. Point is, is, that liquidity is fluid (I always say) and investing in the stock market doesn't make practical sense when the priority is to organize the coordinated demolition of DNS listed servers. So with all of this considered, I do have some advice based on personal experience, and I am willing to share it out of my own good will.
My first piece of advice: invest in dj eris nyx aka ban e mc bannerson of the black lab, CPDDW, eris nyx and the slam hogs, lil poop, crust pastor, cloaca, paenkies, the abusers + more. I've already seen a massive return on my initial investment of an entire can of computer duster and 10,000 hours of my precious time, time that could have been spent learning css or finally reading k punk. And while my professional reputation as one of the top 30 under 30 vancouver business gurus was already quite "off the rails", since this investment, it has gone even farther off the rails into an obscure realm known to some as "galactic clout".
- gal av-gay