9.27.2008

Green is the New Black (Market)



In a struggling economy where, in particular, energy resources are scarce, it is no wonder that green related thefts are growing . I recently came across a couple of articles reporting on the rise in PV (solar) Panel thefts throughout California. Where victims range from homeowners, to large businesses.

Thinking about it, the situation has it's pros and cons. While on the outset, it might suggest that solar has become more popular and consequently more valuable. On other hand, it may very well be simply that the high price tag for the equipment makes for a hot sell on the black market.

Those interviewed are convinced that purveyors of these thefts are assuredly industry insiders; because of the precision with which the thefts have taken place. The first certified green farm was robbed of 26 such panels - which would require a large truck and whole lot of wo(man) power. In another large theft, that's just what someone had. Fortunately the homeowner came home and caugh them red-handed and they fled the scene.

It seems like this might put a damper on any high hopes of getting solar to be more marketable to a larger segment of society, but that may or may not be true. It might just up the ante on the market for securing solar panels and protecting the interests of would be energy harvesters. Of course, we're only JUST getting this now because we've been so slow to adapt these technologies, whereas security measures are more commonplace abroad... GO Figure LOL

Check out more articles:
Solar Panels Are Vanishing, Only to Reappear on the Internet (NYTimes)
The Shocking Truth About Solar Panel Theft (NY Times)
Solar Panels New Hot Property For Theives (UK Guardian)

9.17.2008

Living in Cycles - Twinkle '07 = Network '76



A friend of mine recently posted a YouTube link on my facebook profile of the movie Zeitgeist and it reminded of this post (which I started in March but never published) about how apropos Erykah Badu's most recent release was to this year, 2008. But more specifically the track Twinkle.

I'm sure it was at least in part a consequence of the political fervor at the time. Late February to mid March was exciting, energizing even. Then I found myself trying to keep a tab of all of my favorite blak-politico artists and the dope tracks that they kept pouring out. Lupe and Erykah were at the top of the list. But Erykah has been and probably always will be in my mind "the quintessential artist." Her work is somehow always on time and seemingly effortless.

When I first bought Nu Amerykah, I couldn't get it out of my car stereo. Each song was like a little slice of blak-politico heaven. She never ceases to amaze me. Even though I don't have it on as constant of rotation, I might have to revive the practice even if only to inspire myself to action .

But I digress... The track "Twinkle" (07), contains an interlude in it that is too pertinent and real to ignore - CHECK THE SONG and LYRICS BELOW:






Twinkle - Erykah Badu

I don’t have to tell you things aren’t good.
Everybody knows things aren’t good
We know the air is unfit to breathe,
and our foods unfit to eat .
Young punks are running the street
No one knows just what to do, and there’s no end to it
The dollar buys a penny’s worth and banks are going under
Cobbler’s keeping a gun under the counter
We sit watching our idiot boxes
While some local anchorman tells us that today we’ve had 18 murders and 80 violent crimes
As if that were the way things are supposed to be
We know times are bad, worse than bad
People are crazy!
It’s like everything everywhere is going utterly mad
So we never leave our homes
We sit in our comfy abodes while the world is getting smaller
And we say, "Come on! At least leave us alone in our family rooms.
Let me have my microwave and flat screen and my 20" wheels and I won’t say anything.
Just leave us alone!"
But I’m not going to leave you alone!
I want you to get angry!
I don’t want you to riot.
I don’t want you to protest.
I don’t want you to write your Senator, because I won’t know what to tell you to tell him.
I don’t know what to do about the recession and the inflation and the crime in the street.
All I know is that you’ve got to get mad.
You’ve got to say, "I’m a human being, dammit!
My life has value!"

There is no doubt that those words are pertinent today as they were when spoken by Howard Beal in Network (1976) over three decades ago. Of course, with a few small, yet powerful, alterations.



Apart from what are the more superficial adjustments, to account for a passing of time, it is precise in the way it appears to speak to a different audience. In Network, Beals speaks to what is portrayed as a primarily, if not exclusively, white middle aged middle class audience. I read the subtext in "microwave and flat screen and my 20" wheels and I won’t say anything" to insinuate a presumably black significantly younger and somewhat less well off audience. Twenty inch wheels are a popular phenomenon - self soothing symbols of wealth some folk adopt as a way of keeping up with the Jones' . Further the piece about "and I won't say anything," speaks to the kind of invisibility that people, and in my experience - especially black people, think they have to engage in order to have a good life, "to be lef[t] alone in [their] family rooms."

A little reflection.

Obama - The Economy



For all the "right" has to say about Senator Obama not laying out his plan, this video seemed to nip that in the BUD. If you support McCain, DO YOU, but I am tired of people acting like Senator Obama is some sort of slouch or buffon, because the man is brilliant - PERIOD. Human still, but brilliant nonetheless (and I'm not just saying that because we both went to Occidental!)



All that aside. I found this video, after watching Barack on Tavis Smiley, after being PEEVED about the OBAMA Waffles fiasco. As much as I'd like to rip the ignorance of blatantly racist white folks to shreds, I'm just gonna let you hip you to Pam's House Blend and let you click to your heart's desire. I tire of addressing things that are beneath me, or any other self-respecting intellect. These people are RIDICULOUS and c'est la vie. The Obama campaign didn't dignify it with a response either.

9.12.2008

A Typical Day in tha Bay



I see and experience all kindsa random ish since moving to the bay, especially since I have been riding public transportation. There is so much that you miss (good and bad) when you rely on the modern convenience (or not- in this economy) of a car. On my way to work, last Monday morning, I saw this in front of the local bar, and I HAD to take a picture.





::chuckle::


It says all that it needs to. And while it's more than facetious (some have argued that for once our administration has offered an appropriate response re: the Russia Georgia situation) it still resonates given our administration's track record.

The sign was perhaps foreshadowing for what was to be a DAY OF COMEDY. That Sunday was FULL of surprises. First, I had an inspiring conversation with an elderly white woman with whom I shared my career ambitions while waiting for the Muni (the network of buses, trams and other transportation in SF proper). She encouraged me to be contented with what small positive influence I can personally have on this world, and not to give up. All this after she and I both were snubbed by two buses that were too busy competing for the road to notice that we were trying to board - ironic.

But I had an awkward moment with her when as I boarded the bus the driver assumed I was a "young fella," no matter how often it happens, and then later I was a young woman in another context. Gender is SoOoo HILARIOUS here! I watched the elderly woman as she disembarked, and I worried for her, she was using crutches and had a cast on her foot. But she was so self sufficient and independent. I found myself wanting to keep in touch but also feelin' like she appeared right on time and departed just the same.

Later, as I rode Bart from Embarcadero, I found a seat next to a black MIL (masculine identified lesbian) and we struck up a conversation and exchanged numbers. She was real cool and down to earth and I think we both took refuge in one another being clearly in the minority on that particular car - although quite a regularity in OAKLAND. Can we say BLACK STUD MECCA much!?

And THEN, after THAT -- YEP THERE's MORE -- I witnessed one of the most hilarious interchanges between an AC Transit bus operator and a woman who clearly might have an addiction problem. It was the stuff that an "In Living Color" sketch might have been made of ::LOL:: I tried to capture some of it on video, but the result was fuzzy and kinda hard to hear. Needless to say - myself and a couple of other folks got a good chuckle listening to the two of them go back and forth - The bus driver talkin' smack to the woman probably because she in some way was judgmental of the woman's presumed addiction issue and how she carried on when she got ON the bus.

See, the addicted woman didn't have enough fare to get on and initially was trying to haggle the bus driver with something like "I got 50cent and a transfer." (LMAO) To which the bus driver replied "I am not negotiating with you, that is not the fare!" Fortunately someone covered the other dollar for her and she had enough fare, but that only made the woman indignant, and a little self righteous. There was another interchange later when the bus driver got snippy with an elderly woman and the addicted woman came to her defense, saying to the driver "You must be having a bad day" and only aggravating her further. The bust driver threatened to stop the bus and kick her off and the woman replies "I paid my fare I aint gettin' of NOTHIN!" LMAO! There was so much said. A video would have been so much better.

But suffice to say, the bus driver was trife... probably at the end of her line, and her patience -- understandably so -- you couldn't pay me to drive a bus in OAKLAND! BUT STILL! She drove past a man CLEARLY tryin to get on, not too far from where I get off. And I tried to help the brother out by getting off the bus slow so he could catch it, only to watch the bus driver wave him off (even though he'd made it to the door before the light changed) and blow dust in his face.

All I could do is chuckle, knowing full well I've had a bus driver wave me off and keep on pushin'. I WAS PISSED. I felt sorry for the brotha, but I've learned -- that's just typical here.
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