April 04, 2003

sorry wait no i'm not

when i was younger, and i would accidentally kick a dog, i would feel horrible and get mad apologetic. over the years it started to feel stupid -- rightly -- saying 'sorry' to a dog. besides, it's body language and the tone of your voice that dogs respond to.

so now when i kick a dog, i still feel bad, but i consciously hold back the apology. i kneel down, stroke it behind the ear for a few seconds, maybe coo at it quietly, and walk away.

bystanders stare amazed at this spectacle of me alternately kicking then stroking a dog, without a _word_ of apology, like, You're such a jerk!

i have to admit, i still make kind of an apologetic face though. those years of conditioning are gonna be tough to undo.

>I don't think I've every intentionally hit an animal, let alone a goose. I was
>walking down castro a couple weeks ago, passing a dog tied to a tree outside a
>store (with the owner inside). The dog looked away from me as I was walking
>along the narrow sidewalk, then he turns his head back just as I'm passing him
>and I clock him right in the face with my knee. It made a really gross sound. I
>unintentionally apologized (to a creature that didn't speak english). Hope he
>was ok. He could have been a she for all I know, but I figured I'd avoid the
>ire of certain members of the reading community (my girlfriend) by not refering
>to the dog as 'it'.
> Posted by gene at April 3, 2003 01:37 PM

Posted by at 03:35 PM

March 25, 2003

in their starched white shirts

when i got to the protest on thursday it was already late. there were a ton of
cops in riot gear at fifth and market -- maybe one or two hundred, and busloads
of them kept arriving and getting shipped away.

protesting has always struck me as a bit absurd, and this day was certainly no
exception. when there is an obvious target, when you are trying to shut down a
draft board or a meeting of suits discussing corporate globalisation in a
penthouse, then it's clear what you're trying to do, and the cops protecting
them are clearly on their side ('just doing their job', yes, but a job not worth

but when there's a crowd of protesters and a fortified line of cops, at a
_completely arbitrary_ line of demarcation, the whole thing just seems so silly.

the best you can hope for is for thousands of protesters to crowd the street and
absolutely refuse to move or be moved. then the government has a problem -- and
you increase the pressure and refuse to disperse until the city government
completely divorces itself from the war efforts of the state and federal
government. then you have begun something.

but even if you could get thousands of hardcore, dedicated protesters, you still
have the other hundreds of thousands of san franciscans, ranging from
indifferent to hostile. add to that a thousand or more antagonised police
officers, 'just doing their job', and you see this is a tall order.

so, i tried to investigate the last of these: the antagonised and antagonistic
cops. i tried to see if the line between 'protester' and 'cop' could be erased
or at least lightened. i wanted to know which of the cops were truly what has
been called 'pigs': thuggish, violent and fundamentally insensitive to social
concerns. i wanted to see if i could relate to any of them as human beings and
find out their feelings.

i found a few officers who seemed genuinely concerned about the rights of the
protesters: one even said 'please' every time he asked people to clear an area.
next time i will take down names.

the majority of them didn't show feelings either way. they were soldiers and did
their jobs, with stony expressions.

those left, and there were definitely more of them than the outwardly
'concerned' ones, were sadly the kind who get off on telling people what to do.
now their job is to make you move, and really, unless they openly revolt, that's
what they have to do. but you can just tell when someone really enjoys laying
their hands on you, pushing you and telling you what to do.

a lady went hysterical. she started screaming to the line of cops about how
people were dying, and kept asking them 'let her see her friends!' who, i guess,
had been arrested earlier. she was yelling graphically about children getting
hit by bombs, their body parts flying around, their blood spilling on the
sidewalk in front of their mothers. the cops stared straight ahead, and sighed
occasionally. one of the cops quitely asked another cop what was wrong with her,
and she (the cop) replied, too bored to actually be sarcastic, 'i guess she's
upset about the horrors of war, or something like that.'

it did seem, even to me, that she was exaggerating her tears. but then she
collapsed. some of us went over to help her, gave her water, and tried to get
her to stand. less than a minute afterwards, the cops decided to clear that
area. she was somewhere between supine and fetal, immobile on the sidewalk. the
cops began marching toward her. we asked that they wait a second, until we could
help her. they continued marching, we said 'wait, she needs help' and one male
cop piped in, 'Oh, just drag her away!' which, understandably, caused vocal
protest among us (we are protesters, remember).

kristen has written:

'I'll tell you, though, I walked up Market from Civic Center to Montgomery at
11:00 at night in a low-cut tanktop and no one leered or whistled or made a
comment or bothered me at all. But this cop stood right up in my face and winked
and said a few things I wished he hadn't and was the only one that night who
made me feel like a whore.'

i remember the night i was walking home alone at about 11:00 along pine street,
in the hood of hookers and bums, and how i stood shaking in my shoes as the cop
i had just entreated to quit kicking a homeless guy shined his light in my face

Continue reading "in their starched white shirts"
Posted by at 05:01 AM

February 21, 2003


Emoticon Awkwardly Translated On Telephone
- Emoticonicon provides much-needed feeling to human speech

After 72 consecutive hours logged on to AOL's Instant Messaging Network, and 5 months of communicating with friends and family only through e-mail, Patrick Stein was startled by the sound of his telephone ringing for the first time in recent memory.

"Hello Patrick," said the friendly voice of his mother, "I've been unable to reach you for ages!"

Patrick responded in a rusty monotone, "well mother whose fault is that smiley-face"

"Pat dear," she continued, modulating her voice to provide nuances of expression and emphasis, "Why don't you call us any more?"

"come on mom phones are dumb winky-guy" he responded. "no wait," he added, "make that winky-guy-with-nose"

"I don't understand your funny lingo, honey," she replied, puzzled.

"its the bset i can do to make you understand".

What Patrick meant is that he needed a way to translate the fluent expressiveness of his every day language into the artificial, contrived medium of direct human contact.

"thank god for emoticonicons" he thought to himself.

"Look maybe you could stop by for tea? Your father and I would love to see your face -- in person"

"you know what i look like winky-guy"

"Pat, honey, we want to see your face, your eyes and your expressions."

"look mom i'm either happy sad or winking. sometimes i have a nose. what else do you need? loveya winky-guy"

postmanpat signed off at 15:32.02
disappointedmom hung up.

Posted by at 11:17 AM

February 14, 2003

A Treatise on Thincking

person 1 - do you think we should invade iraq?
person 2: yes.
person 1 - how old is the universe?
person 2: about 6000 years.
person 1 - how am i supposed to take you seriously now?
person 2: please accept this complimentary bible.

Posted by at 12:49 PM


1 ^ saddam hussein is dangerous. he has weapons of mass destruction and no qualms about using them. we must invade iraq.

2 > then we must invade north korea too?

1 ^ are you crazy?! north korea has weapons of mass destruction ... and no qualms about using them! that could be dangerous.


person 1 > saddam hussein is crazy, sets a low worth on human life, and is suicidal. we need to invade iraq and possibly kill him.

person 2 < with his back against the wall, sh could
1) fire missiles at israel
2) attack u.s. troops with biological weapons
3) gas more kurdish villages
4) fire any combination of weapons at any neighboring country or people he wishes before he goes.

person 1 > are you kidding? that would be suicide. he'd have to be crazy.

Posted by at 12:47 PM

February 12, 2003

no tradebacks

the best part about getting mugged in panama was the following AIM conversation:

16:36:03 allenhaim: i got mugged yesterday.
16:36:07 ziaeian36: why?

and the best part about it happening again in ecuador was the following:

20:09:13 ziaeian36: you need to stop getting mugged.
20:09:30 allenhaim: yeah.

but the worst part about the second time was that in relieving me of my belongings, including my camera, they also took the film that was in it. so, i've been thinking about ways to gently ask your mugger to give you back the film while keeping the camera, and not provoking any further harm to yourself.


1) um i was wondering, keep all the stuff, but could i have the film back?

2) um i was wondering, keep all the stuff, but could i have the film back please?

3) after you develop and scan that film, could you upload it to my FTP server? lend me a pen and i'll write down the URL. don't worry! i'll give it back.

4) i'll make the password something simple. how about, 'mugger'.

5) no wait! that's no good. look, just log in anonymous. send your e-mail address as the password.

6) to press that little 'film rewind' button, remember to only use the attached SmartStylus (TM). using a needle or a pen could damage your new camera.

7) how silly of me! i realise you probably can't afford to develop the roll yourself. let me give you my credit card number, it's 53 ... oh, that's not necessary. you have my credit card.

8) you will find a business card for a cheap developing place inside my wallet.

9) our wallet.

10) your wallet.

11) yes, that's how you open it. but first you have to rewind the cartri---oh i see you've exposed the film.

12) *sigh*

Posted by at 07:50 AM

December 31, 2002

understand me, nice gay??

sometimes i get in trouble and sometimes i almost get in trouble.

my first day in panama city, actually just a few hours after getting off the night bus, i went to the supermarket, tired and grubby, in ripped jeans because my other pants were dirty. this guy approached me and asked if i was panamian, and i said No. he said, That’s too bad, and i said, Why?

he said, Well, do you want to do some modeling? i said i'd think about it. i asked him where the clothes were made, and he said the french company owned factories in mexico. so i asked him what the conditions were like in the mexican factories where the clothes are made. he didn't understand, or pretended not to ...

he said, Don’t worry, you’ll be treated very well. i said, No no, I’m talking about the workers in the factories. he looked perplexed. i explained how european and american companies exploit workers in poor countries and all the rest of it, and how the conditions in the factories were rough for the workers, and they have to work really long hours. and he said, Oh! Now I get it! Don’t worry, you’ll be treated well, and it’s only a few hours a day! i said i'd think about it.

the next day i ran into him again, and told him no, because i don't really like the whole idea of using your smile and charm to sell things, and also because of the factories. he looked sad but said ok, although he wanted to try to convince me. he wanted to take me out but i declined.

well, the next day, they tell me when i wake up, Someone dropped off a note for you.

it was in english, despite the fact that we had spoken only spanish before.



hi ... good morning, i will like to invite you to eat some, you now, like a cool food in my house (den) and that you will stay like last night* ... rock jeans, t-shirt, no shoes, no u/w**, really, why not. ! you will not participate with our publicity program....ok...! so ...
¿will you please give to me oportunity ot show you panamá & now you better before you leave??? you are special diferent, nice, so nice like a pu.... (you now). ok is it a invitacion....can you call me before mid day?***
i have a new offer for you, not thinking in employee's, ok? ...only on bussinnes! if you want...don't pay more hotel. you cant stay where i live & don't worry! good bread, salad, meats, chicken an bb'q special for you allan! ok, please call me fast.
like Tom C. Brad P. or, it is simple, is true!
welcome to panamá!
will you like to visit island in front panama bay, is it 1 hour from here, also really nice trip! good experience leaving from panamá canal piers under america's bridge! ok it is your personal decision....
you have to know that, i'm not a bad gay****, my only reason is it in the note #2, from this message!
thank you four smile....
god bless allan
i'm sorry --------- ily...!
i will like to take you to colombia, and say goodby over there, not in my country! 11:05 pm thank for read me allan! ok, if you want to make me a question....not and yes, two experience on high scholl, i have a nice family, but now you will like a new sun! ok, don't worry, i will like to be your best friend out usa! ok?? you are special so, i need to give you my true! understand me,
nice gay??
every time, i will remember you, walking inside super market, fresh, nice, with your switt smile like a i.d. presentation! please, remember me & panama!
i hope to receive your call.*****

* i.e., he was _stalking_ me
** how could he know that?
*** i didn't call.
**** simply uncanny
***** too bad!

this one goes in the category of ‘almost’. what if i had accepted?


or worse. oh allen.

Posted by at 02:34 PM

December 25, 2002


in ecuador alex and i saw this one tiny kid explaining something in an adult manner to another tiny kid. i wish there was a way to express the feelings that are caused by these glimpses into the lost world of childhood, but usually i can only express them passively. like by making comically serious faces at them when their parents aren't looking to try to get a rise out of them.

or by taking pictures. a few days ago for example, i nearly got a killer one of this kid reaching for a butterfly. but the butterfly flew away right as the shutter snapped.

but occasionally i can express it actively, like a few nights ago, on a night bus, there was this little kid sleeping in the aisle (that way they don't have to pay for the kid's seat). i gave him one ear of my earphones. his eyes lit up. he was so happy.

the music was very different from the accordion-and-bass stuff coming out of the speakers of the bus, and we shared a look of complicity at this secret between us. somewhere between 'high and dry' and 'fake plastic trees', he fell asleep against my legs.

Posted by at 02:52 PM

December 22, 2002


i met people with all kinds of eyes, bloodshot eyes, missing eyes, eyes with strange colored splotches, eyes for help me and eyes for i can handle it, drunk eyes and tired eyes, happy eyes and uncertain eyes, eyes for looking and eyes for being seen. the most pervasive quality to the eyes, though, is this yellowish hue -- like in michael jackson's 'thriller' -- and sometimes several yellowish splotches. i don't know whether it is due to malnutrition or a particular contaminant in the water, or maybe just too much sun? it has a sad, sickly look to it -- but after seeing so many yellow-eyed people, i suppose i got accustomed, after a fashion.

Posted by at 04:35 PM

December 16, 2002


the only episode of the best and worst show ever:

Sean Keane, Toddler Negotiator

[scene: a bank. enter two armed toddlers with masks.]

toddler michele: this is a thtick-up!
toddler didofoot: give uth all your money and candy and thtickers!

bank manager haim: get keane over here, quick!

haim: [in mock whisper to keane] hey, keane, what does the book say about this?

KEANE: [in mock whisper to haim, looking at book very seriously] well haim, it says here only BABIES try to hold up banks for money and candy!

[toddler didofoot starts crying]
[toddler michele takes off babs bunny mask, puts down water pistol and storms out with dignity]

toddler michele: are you coming, didofoot?
toddler didofoot: i think i just wet mythelf.

[scene 2, same bank.]

phone rings.

haim: hello?

toddler didofoot: [deepening voice to 1000Hz] thith is controller hollohan thpeaking. [clears throat loudly and forcefully. tells personal anecdote]

haim: yes?

toddler didofoot: tranthfer all your money and thtuff to michele's account.

haim: hey, keane, what do you make of this?

KEANE: [very seriously] it says here only BABIES act like inspector holohan and try to trick us.

[toddler didofoot starts crying]

gene: allen, this is the voice of GOD speaking.
allen: yes, gen--, uh god?
gene: allen i need you to end this submission at once.
allen: but god, i was just starting to have f--
gene: i said NOW!
allen: what a bummer, this is just like the odyssey
gene: WHAT?
allen: can i at least write 'fin'?
gene: [after a pause.] proceed.


Posted by at 04:37 PM

More Entries

sorry wait no i'm not - April 04, 2003
in their starched white shirts - March 25, 2003
feelings - February 21, 2003
A Treatise on Thincking - February 14, 2003
conversation - February 14, 2003
no tradebacks - February 12, 2003
understand me, nice gay?? - December 31, 2002
bulletproof - December 25, 2002
eyes - December 22, 2002
KEEEANE! - December 16, 2002
love letter to megs - December 13, 2002
corn variously opped - December 10, 2002
hello? - December 06, 2002