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_darkvictory Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "_darkvictory" journal:

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January 30th, 2010
07:52 pm


Next Door to the Blues
Etta James is ailing.

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January 29th, 2010
11:47 am


Scam alert
Several people in my freelancers' group were hooked by this one.

You respond to a craigslist ad in the "help wanted" or "gigs" section. They send a reply saying they want to talk to you, but first you need to go to a certain website and fill out forms or do something or other. The reply is signed, usually by the contact name from the ad, but there's no company name, phone or URL. If you do a search on that person's name, you'll turn up a bunch of people who've had ID stolen or some other bad thing happen.

I understand how people get caught by this. Years ago, when you went for a job, they gave you a one page application. Now, you get a packet of forms, disclaimers, and authorizations. Many jobs that have minimal responsibility and no future whatsoever ask for credit and background checks. If you spend time "working the funnel" you get used to people asking for all kinds of stuff, and it's easy to let your guard down.

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January 28th, 2010
09:08 pm


Star Wars Origami
A friend and I spent several amusing hours yesterday afternoon with Star Wars Origami Guy.

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January 25th, 2010
07:36 am


Uzbekistan in the news, not in a good way
Uzbek photojournalist Umida Akhmedova has been charged by her government with slander and insult against the
people of Uzbekistan.

At issue are photos in the Men and Women from Dawn to Dusk collection. Uzbek officials say they make the country look backwards. Akhmedova says they are ethnographic studies depicting rural life.

Article here, BBC slideshow here.

For making a country look backward, it's hard to beat trying to surpress pictures of colorfully dressed people in the countryside.

The picture of the little boys peeking out of clay jars? One could build a whole tourist campaign out of that alone.


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January 13th, 2010
09:03 pm


Just last week we had a wonderful meal at TiGeorge's Chicken in Echo Park. TiGeorge serves home-style Haitian food ("The knife is just a formality here," my friend said of the deliciously tender meat) and really good coffee from his family's plantation. He told us about a trip back home he had planned for next month.

TiGeorge is holding a fundraiser for earthquake relief at the restaurant tomorrow evening at 5. I believe it's also a mutual support meeting for those with loved ones in the disaster area. Don't really have any details, but I thought people would want to know about it.

If you're in the area, tomorrow or any day, swing by and pick up a half chicken, some stewed goat, or the veggie plate.

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January 10th, 2010
09:27 pm


Two Photo Exhibits
Saturday night a friend lured me out to a reception at an art opening. It was for Put Your Finger on the Button, an exhibit of works by female photographers at the New Image Art Gallery 7908 Santa Monica Blvd. at Fairfax*. There were plenty of the Officially Hip and Beautiful there to see and be seen, but they didn't mind us regular folks wedging through the crowd to see the exhibits. In fact, after looking around the crowd, my friend and I were kicking around the idea of starting a side business, hiring out as "women with natural breasts and no art credentials whatsoever" to add a touch of working-class authenticity to these kinds of events.

The works ranged from straight portraiture, the kind that gets under the subject's customary "I'm having my picture taken" mask, to a video installation billed as "an attempt to seduce/agitate viewers in the dark" inspired by the artist's "shifts in logic after functioning without electricity for 14 days" following Hurricane Ike.

All of the pictures made me think. There wasn't one item on display that made me say, "What are they, kidding? That's not art, that's a underexposed snapshot of a stained tablecloth."

Then on Sunday a visit to St. John's L.A. in West Adams introduced me to the works of Wilfredo Benitez-Rivera, an Anglican priest who incorporates photographic works into contemplative practice. His Sombras y Misterio/Shadows and Mystery series is currently on display. I love the geometry in his photos, as well as the warmth of the human figures. These black-and-white studies were particularly effective in the glittery gold-leaf and stained glass interior of the church.

*Locals may remember this space when it housed one of the last of the old-time jumble stores, run by a lively, amiable Russian family.

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January 9th, 2010
04:22 pm


LOCALS ONLY: Los Angeles Budget Challenge
The L.A. Public Library is urging everyone to take the L.A. Budget Challenge. How would YOU balance our city budget if the trade-offs were yours to make?

L.A. City Budget Challenge website

I'm inclined to give library services priority because libraries provide support to our underfunded K-12 and community college systems, as well as providing internet access to everyone. Individual branches have Friends of the Library (FOL) committees that raise funds. I've heard staff people at several different branches say that some of the most active branches have the least involved FOL. Saddened, but not surprised.

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December 25th, 2009
10:13 pm


Sherlock Holmes (no spoilers)
Merry Christmas!

A group from MyPeopleConnection joined the crowd in Westwood to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. Several of us loved it; a few were "meh."

Think of this as an alternate history Holmes story. It's a chance to see the characters we love in what is, at heart, a very contemporary storyline. Purists, you've been warned.

The movie has us spend a good bit of time inside Holmes' head, not only following his brilliant process, but also experiencing the pain it can cause. If you're in geekdom, you have possibly met a person with a Holmesian mind; possibly you've seen that person punched in the face. Intellect does not equal judgment. I've had my all too human flesh and failings submitted to detached and scrupulously logical analysis, so I rather liked this exploration of character. I can see why some might find it boring.

Girly stuffCollapse )

I believe the more you know about Victorian London, the more you'll enjoy this movie. Our resident anachronism-spotters looked hard, but didn't find any. The two female leads are fully developed characters, believable for their time and place.

Downsides are mainly related to spoilers. Let's say there are some pacing problems and a few plot holes, but none that kept me from enjoying the movie.

Upsides: all kinds of gothy goodness in the costumes; beautiful brass, gears and tubes in the machines. Wonderful millinery. Great score. A satisfying ending that points to a sequel.

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December 19th, 2009
10:34 am


Weather Geek Roundup
How is it where you are?

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December 15th, 2009
07:53 pm


It's International Hug a Quaker Day!
Get right to it.

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