Sunday, December 14, 2008

Books I've been reading...

Well on the bus around town, and my top shelf reading I have been finishing book two and three of John Shirley’s brilliant Eclipse trilogy. Also known as the Song called Youth books. It is an excellent set of books telling the same story all in a very slightly different style from the last. The third book for example seems to a bit more gritty than the first two.

You should read them written in the mid to late 80’s it foresees the rise of corporate war profiteers and racist neo conservatives. Excellent story and great characters, great Sci-Fi war war three novel.

On the Toilet reads are important to me because well I think a great toilet read is a fantastic thing. I’ve had two great bathroom reads. First up was a book from the directors cut series of essays about filmmakers. I got a book at the library on the films of John Carpenter. I loved reading about the metaphysics involved in my favorite Carpenter Movie Prince of Darkness.

The next great bathroom read I am still working through is the Anti-matter anthology. Norm who used to play guitar in the Hare Krishna hardcore band did a really respected zine in the 90’s. What he did best were interviews. I’m really enjoying the interviews with a lot of my favorite hardcore bands. Some old friends. I enjoyed the interview with Rob Pennington of Endpoint most of all. Reminded me what special person he was, between him and Duncan it was a good reminder that the heart and spirit of that band is what made them a special band.

Great interviews with Richie from Into another, Quicksand, snapcase, Sick of it all on and on.

One thing that kinda annoyed me was reading the interviews with Mike Judge and John Porcell. They talked about selling-out straight edge. I read the interviews long ago when the zines first came out but something they said really bothered me. I am not angry at them, they didn’t break my heart or any of that bullshit. I don’t expect much from the people in the big bands.

Mike Judge said “It was hard to stay sober when he was going through troubles,” or something to that effect. Worse Porcell implied that everybody gets weak, as if every straight edge person has fallen. I found that to be really insulting. I enjoyed his interview for the most part and I think he sounds like a good and positive human being…but no we don’t all fall.

I’ve been edge for 19 years, had some really rough times but never not once did I lose my commitment to my edge. Does that make me a better person? No. It just makes Porcell’s statement to be an insult. Not just to me but the guys in Earth Crisis who never sold out, to Kurt of Catalyst records who never sold out, to my friends Ed and Randall…I mean the list of people who never sold out is endless.

Food is different:

Research for my almost finished novel. Just started this book about the WTO and how they are fucking up everything involved in food production. I like this short book because it lays out the problems quickly and offers solutions that our governments could use to get the WTO out of effecting global food supply. Important book. Check it out.

Also been reading Iron Fist graphic novels but I don't feel like writing about those.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good Bye Lisa.

More than a month ago a close friend of ours died. We just found out last night. We were worried that she was not returning phone calls, e-mails and last night Cari e-mailed a mutual friend. Lisa died in the end of October.

We have no details yet, we don’t know how it happened. We are heart broken but sadly not surprised. Lisa was not healthy and appreantly that was the cause.

Over a year ago Lisa called to tell us that her daughter, who had been the focus of her life had died in a drug overdose. Lisa had battled with her daughter Danica’s addiction for some time. Lisa never recovered from her daughter’s death, she was convinced it was not accident. I can say after talking to her about it I agree. Lisa had become devoted to bringing Danica’s killer to justice. A lot of things didn’t add up.

Lisa was essentially homeless the last year, choosing to live in a van. The last time we talked a few weeks before her death, she sounded upbeat and slowly returning to normal. She had told us that her health was not good but assured us she was working on it.

I first met Lisa in 1999 in Indiana and it was hard to compare the beautiful strong hearted warrior I met then with the woman who was struggling in the last year. We met during the fight to protect Lake Griffy from a proposed Golf course that threatened the lake’s ecosystem. Lisa headed up an effort to keep star bucks out of town, She tried innovative activism that I didn’t always think was effective.

Our friendship took off when we had long talks about what was effective. I always loved talking strategy with Lisa. Even as she in the last year waged a fight for the truth about Danica our talks involved what was the best way to expose the issue. It was how we had bonded.

Lisa quickly proved that she was a badass activist. Where she really proved this was with her total support for the radicals. In Bloomington at the time the ELF quickly became hated after the ELF burned down homes being built on Lake Monroe. I was never a big fan of those actions myself but Lisa stepped forward to explain her support for the ELF when no one else would.

After these comments to the media Lisa was attacked in letters to the editor. Some of the attacks were quite harsh. Lisa even got phone calls with death threats telling her to shut up. Lisa refused, even better she went further. Lisa put on a huge panel discussion featuring a former FBI anti-domestic terrorist dude and Craig Rosebrough the spokesman for the ELF at the time.

The death threats against Craig and Lisa poured in. Lisa and our activist collective organized security for his talk, including a ninja trained vegan bodyguard. 200 people showed up including this hilarious cult of people who consider themselves elves based on Tolkien books who issued papers suing Craig for the use of the word ELF.

To this day it was one of the biggest coolest activist events I’ve ever been too. Lisa also got attention for fighting back against an abusive ex-boyfriend and refusing to accept it when the city seemed to be taking the abuser’s side.

Before Danica’s death Lisa was a force of nature and I am very proud to have worked with her. This last year I had been preparing myself for this awful news and was worried she would never be able to move on. The worst tragedy is she sounded better, She sounded ready to take care of herself, and try to be the old Lisa again. I can’t express how much I will miss her.

It also reminds me again why I am Straight Edge. Drugs took another victim in Lisa. She’ll be missed and never forgotten.

Fur Free Friday and Portland Vegan foodies

Thanksgiving is a painful time to be a heart heavy vegan. Every news cast talks about how people are cooking “their bird” and everyone talks about “turkey day.” Even the seven day forecast on our news had steaming cooked bird corpse on screen where pictures of clouds and rain usually are here in Portland. It is the normal for your family to expect you want to enjoy the holiday by sitting at a table whose centerpiece is a corpse with bread crumbs rammed up her ass.

I fucking hate Thanksgiving. The release for me has always been the next day when the rest of the world is focused on stomping Wal-mart employees to death to get a half off TV’s. In the Animal Rights world this is not Black Friday it’s Fur Free Friday. In 90’s it meant getting arrested or doing jail support as activists blockaded stores that sold fur from it’s customers.

In the 90’s we had the fur industry on the ropes, Things looked grim for the industry. So what happened? It is a larger debate than I have time for but I believe in part we lost focus on this winnable target. We can’t that energy back because as best I can tell the current AR movement is a little focused on peaceful protest. Which our media has proven they could care less about.

Chad of Food Fight our local all vegan grocery store recently ruffled some feathers by pointing something that is sad but true about our local vegan community. “Folks need to try and understand how frustrating it is, to consistently have a handful of people turn out to issue-based activities that can make us all more effective advocates for the animals. And then have hundreds show up to sample the newest vegan snack.”

That being said a huge crowd showed up for Fur Free Friday, next year I hope we can do better. Sure I’m annoyed that crème filled vegan donuts are a bigger draw than the biggest protest of the year. Vegan hipsters of Portland were missed but they were not the presence I missed the most. Where was the news media? A police sanctioned march doesn’t bring out the media.

The fur industry probably feels pretty good about that but they should not. If the media keeps staying away were going to have to figure out a way to get them back. The fight we used to put up at their front door worked. Don’t forget that. Animals are suffering so it’s time we remember what it took to remind people.

Animal rights films that need your support!

Cari and I recently went to the second of the Let live lecture series here in Portland. The guest speaker was Shannon Keith long time lawyer and animal rights ass kicker who directed Behind the Mask. When asked what is best to help the animals Shannon said “Media, media, media.”

She talked about reaction to her first film and how many people have written to her to express how it changed the way they viewed animal issues and us activists as well. The impact of the film Earthlings is hard to measure. Bob from Vegan Freak radio called it Thor’s hammer for veganism. I think he is right. It is a life changing viewing experience and if your not changed by you must be a asshole.

I believe bring my message into my fiction in subtle ways is in effect answering Shannon’s call to media, media, media. More on that in a bit.

Shannon is hard at work on a second film about the fur issue called Skin Trade. She needs money. So if you don’t some buy your ticket early by making a donation. Organize a fundraiser or spread the word.

Also answering that call is producer and animal rights ass kicker Eric Presscott. Who is working on a project called “I’m Vegan” He has however already raised the money for his budget. Awesome. Now he is casting Vegans. It’s easy you have to be a well spoken vegan and talk about being Vegan.

Get to it. I admit I want this project to fly since the Eric and I wrote a screenplay together for a vegan themed horror movie. “Media, media, media.” Stay posted for that one.

Support these movies!

Bizarro con and congrats to Gina Ranalli

In Mid November Portland was host to the first annual Bizarro fiction convention. I was there only on Saturday as I have been busy and Try Vegan PDX was holding a class on Sunday so I was only there for one day.

Several of the bizarre movement Flag bearers were there and the day was full with readings. The reading were diverse and the highlight of the day. The first half of the day was only soured by a fruit fly invasion that right before the panel I was on moved to a back up room. I was apart of a discussion on Bizarro crossover.

The discussion was suggested by Chicago based bizarre writer Garret Cook. The lead question was “how do we crossover into other genre and ensure that writers will not lose their bizarro cred?” That wasn’t hard for me since I am more of horror writer with a little bit of bizarre cred. It was a short but productive discussion.

The readings were wonderful, probably the highlight was Bram stoker award nominated Jeremy Robert Johnson reading a story he wrote when he was 14 - It had a killer twist! Personally I read a chapter from The Very Last Drop the book I’m working on at the moment.

I always enjoy hanging with my local bizarre pals but I was super excited to hang with Gina Ranalli. Gina is kicking butt and taking names of late. Recently she has gotten acclaim from the peeps running Horror Mall and has become one of their best selling authors. She also is getting a $150 a book limited edition slipcase of her horror novel House of Falling Leaves. It is a milestone when an author has book published they can’t afford to buy. It’s a great read by the way, so far it’s my favorite of Gina’s work.

So what is icing on Gina’s vegan cake? Well Saturday was also the first annual Wonderland awards the new highest prize in bizarro Fiction. Gina won for best short story collection with her book 13 Thorns.

So next year consider heading to the bizarro con it’s a great time. Thanks to Rose and Carl for doing such a great job putting it on!

Getting caught up with the blog.

Hey sorry I have not updated the blog in a bit, but November has been a busy month. Working with Afterbirth Books to get the trade paperback second edition of Screams from a Dying World fit to print. I’m also writing the last third of The Very Last Drop which is my first Science fiction novel. I think it’s pretty good.

I also started lifting weights with Ed Bauer - he is a new Vegan Straight Edge kid who recently moved here. Ed is a personal trainer and awesome to work-out with. Ed grew up partly in North Carolina and was friends with some of the Day of Suffering kids. He was also one of the founders of Motive company.

I’ve had some wonderful things happen and I’ve had some really sad news. So anhoo I’m going to post like four posts at once.

The pics are of our rabbits Yuen and Luna. Cari's Birthday cake from Sweet Pea vegan Bakery.