Month: December 2006

Defence Woman come in Peace?

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Rafael Correa has promised what it is reasonable to call a revolution of the Ecuadorian society – along the lines of Morales and Chavez. He won the election in November and will officially begin as president on January 15. Four years to change it all – quite a challenge. substantial parts of the education section are already privatised off in the first, as seen to by the leaving parties.

Yesterday Correa announced his cabinet, best described as “socialists and women”, if you judge the tone set by the media. (Really there are 17 members of the cabinet, 10 men, 7 women and all more or less socialists.) Amongst them a female defence minister – have you ever heard anything like it?!?!

Today Guadalupe Larriva was all over the radio telling how she was a woman and that women do not do war, they do care; and so she would do her defence job in that way. (As an aside, without wanting to deny anyone’s good intentions, let’s lament here the existence of Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi -amongst others- and celebrate the existence of Harriet Tubman and Phoolan Devi -amongst others- to dispel the myth of the caring woman.)

Later in the day, this afternoon, approaching el oriente in the bus, I wondered what impact Larriva could have on a society so heavily securitised and militarised, as we came to the military police check point, the usual scene:


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How to make a Mars bar: mix cocoa beans with slavery and add capitalism to taste.

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Mars bars are here used as a general signifier of industrial chocolate for the sugar craving masses. This blog entry concerns the recipe of chocolate. What does it take?

Let us begin with the basic ingredient, the raw cocoa. This is how it looks:

Let chocolate reveal itself…..

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“!Ayahuasca, Ayahuasca, where do we go from here?”

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Last night we had an Ayahuasca ceremony – a psychedelic ritual with a medicine man, a spiritual cleansing; we met a curandero, were touched upon and blessed by, seen by, seen right through, in a sense, by a shaman; we became acquainted with a Yachak. He has a mobile phone, we have his card, and he saw my stomach acid and my bad back and unsurprisingly noted that colona’s energy was pure (or sorted, or whatever the term was).

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Flippn’ Fotos: 2

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Been testing jUploadr, which is a convenient tool that allows for drag-n-drop and automagic resizing of photos. It has an authentication method that takes place via your browser so that it simply connects to your photo album and adds your new stuff. jUploadr also works with Zooomr, which is the new hot thing, coded by a teenager and modelled in great part on Flickr. We tested Zooomr with jUploadr, which has some clear advantages over Flickr, such as a much bigger upload allowance if you blog. However, the “graphical user interface” (GUI) of Flickr appears a bit more simple, easy for your mother to navigate, as it were, and the slide show function is quite neat without being tacky.

Zooomr looks promising and Yahoo! has bought Flickr, so why stay with Flickr? Well, it was basically the way that the slideshow works and the simplicity of the GUI (which might well be a very subjective issue) – but one final point worth mentioning may be that, yes, Flickr is owned by Yahoo! and so be it, Zooomr, on the other hand, is still young, fresh, hip and in Beta, but that really means that anything could happen: Rupert Murdoch might buy it tomorrow. I do not wish to engage further with the Flickr/Zooomr politics, have to get on with my life and upload some photos that my mum on the other side of the planet can easily look at.

With regards to jUploadr, still have to file a bug: it cannot upload more than one photo at a time, if you drag-n-drop several and choose upload it just stalls….  And ohh, we are fasting before our Yule Ayahuasca ritual tonight, so no dead birds or feast: we will be here tonight:

Flippn’ Flickr Fotos.

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Having slothfully posted pictures intrusive of Bebe’s privacy, it all became clear: we need some sort of photo album, so i googled “flickr alternative” because I had heard of the Flick Off group, but nothing seemed to spring easily to mind. Then I realised that photo-import-manipulation software exists for GNU/Linux, which allows easy uploads to Flickr – so there we go: a lock-in to the Flickr framework – for now, for colonos: – there are only two pics up yet, just registered a minute ago; one thing at a time, tiempo ecuatoriano 🙂 You can also go straight to the slideshow, and as the pics slide by you can click on any of them to read its description and then just choose “RESUME SHOW” to carry on.

Supreme method of being

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The sloth is a fascinating creature, sweet as can be, determined as you like, and agile to such extent that its slow, lard-arse moves stick to the back of your imagination, stored in your memory as an ode to graciousness in slow-motion. No special effects needed – these are outerworldly creatures, or perhaps our patterns of perception are aligned within such a narrowed down spectrum that encountering the unknown in nature is always a surprise. That is perhaps the best thing that there is to say about the Great, Western, Liberal (capitalist) mindset: even the most mundane might appear fantastic, if we could only see.

Imagine if everything was ordinary – ohh, seen that before, once had a T-Shirt…but likewise, imagine if all was marvel and remained like that, oh no, that won’t work, what goes up must come down. Can’t have your cake and..

Well, then, let us just imagine it plain normal to find pleasure in little things, to perform senseless acts of beauty and random acts of kindness, as it were, – here’s to all the sloths in the world for taking it god damn easy, Why Work?

This is our local friend, Bebe. She (there appears to be no penis) gets bottle-fed and hangs out in a rented house with two primates, a crippled bunny, two adolescent monkeys, a dog onto whose back the one monkey clings most of the day – just living a dog’s life in the garden, where the cat tries to balance the life of birds and bees.

Movie of Bebe being bottle-fed (Quicktime, 7.6MB)

Profile of Bebe (226.6KB)

Bebe’s foot (67.8KB)

Bebe right on (235.1KB)

Bebe’s hand (117.7kb)

Of Poodles and Hats.

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These last few days we’ve been getting hassled by one of our neighbours: a small French Poodle or some similar type of canine. Her name is Maya and she’s just given birth to three puppies, one of them still born. Ever since she seems to have completely lost all common sense and engages in weird digging activities under our bed and in the corners of the room. She has also lost all control of her generally very well-behaved attitudes regarding human food. Her voice has changed, too, and basically she’s become a serious nuisance. I found her still-born the next day in one of the very few existing public rubbish bins across the road. Our landlady had made one of her tenants discard it for her. He’s a native, he can do such things.

Apart from that, the days are arising and passing as ever, thankfully with relative speed, and Christmas announces its twisted head through the unignorable appearance of woolly red and white Santa Claus hats at every street corner! We find ourselves near the equator, at the edge of the Amazon rainforest should anyone have missed that. Woolly hats aren’t exactly what people need around here. But given the fact that Father Christmas is a radically European figure with no relation whatsoever to Andean-Amazonian local traditions, it is no wonder that the hats peddled in his name are all the rage.

Since the solstices at these low latitudes are hardly noticeable, Christmas seems an even greater Christian imposition than it does up North. The economically downtrodden position of most inhabitants of this area, however, spares us from witnessing the seasonal and nauseating consumption of everything that can be bought. I don’t know if “fortunately” is the word I am looking for in this context. It is easy to see subsistence farming as righteous and dignified when you cannot help but feel acute and stabbing pointlessness in the roles and activities modern capitalism has to offer to even its most benign participants.