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[sticky post] gonzo.org is not for sale [Feb. 26th, 2022|12:05 pm]
Just a note that gonzo.org is not for sale. I just renewed it for another five years.

I keep meaning to make some sort of meaningful update here, but nothing comes to mind except it's rare for a website so old to still look the same after so many years. What do I with something I spent so many hours on, whether building the website, revamping the website, emailing fans, etc. It's time I wouldn't trade for anything!
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Domain is not for sale [Apr. 11th, 2020|08:09 pm]
Just a note that gonzo.org is not for sale. I just renewed it for another three years.
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Twelve Years On... [Feb. 20th, 2017|01:04 pm]
T. S. Eliot observed that April was the cruellest month, but on my side of the Rockies it’s definitely February. Look into this bleak canvas long enough and you begin to doubt if sun and blue sky still exist.

no title

The anniversary of HST’s death is one that I have put off writing about for each year, almost every year. It’s hard to write in starry-eyed ways at 40. Yet today there was still something that I could write about that came from the same place of sincere admiration and affection.

I’ll put it plainly - I miss that my friend B is not in this world anymore.

If you remember the very early days of this site, it had a mirror version. Back then a generous fan helped it get out of Geocities. Afterwards and out of the blue I heard from B, who offered me mirror hosting. From that moment a nerdy friendship was born. It was thanks to B that many fans enjoyed the message board and other things that I was not able to configure at the time. Remember it was 1998. You could buy an entire book on how to FTP or program your modem! PayPal was not a thing and each Canadian postal money order I sent off for an eBay win also went with the hope that the seller would cash it at a real post office and not a US bank.

The Internet is so effortless these days. I might as well hitch an onion to my belt and whine, “Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you'd say!”. It was onerous to find fellow fans when searches turned up Hubble Space Telescope pictures. Don't get me started on the days of non-graphical Internet.

We still enjoyed our friendship, even if it was more distant now as we moved on to meatspace things. It was a shock to find out that he passed away last year and that he was actually just a few years older than I. This is the dissonance that life on the screen brings - we're all ageless, timeless, even faceless. B did not like having his picture taken (neither do I) and the first time I saw a photo of him was after he died last year.

A few days ago, sitting at the kitchen table, I was overcome by the most intense grief while looking out into the foggy void. Someone that made such a difference in my life is not out there making a difference in other people’s lives. The truth of that was too heavy. I miss my long-distance brother, that I can no longer ping with a joke or a note. All I have is his FB page to visit. This is mourning in the digital age. Scroll up, scroll down, click click. Save it before it disappears like so many ICQ messages.

It's a left right punch to my heart and gut, how deeply I still feel the kindness of people who ceased to be random strangers. All we could give each other was friendship and chat and that was enough. Fandoms have a huge appetite for consumption (witness the amount of fan stories, art and recordings for anything) and along with it is a huge desire for connection. The Internet makes this possible, made this especially possible in the late 90s. Science fiction and comic conventions and clubs have existed for some time, not so much for other genres. Nowadays at the comic expo one can always run into one or two HSTs kitted out with fly swatters and there's no need to explain.

The Internet was supposed to be a fad like CB radio. It wasn’t “real”. Twenty years on there are still people who will say it’s not real. Of course the people behind the screen are real. The quiet pause when the news that an old gonzo fiend has passed away is real. The profound effect that HST had on more than one person's life is very real.

Maybe February isn't the cruellest month, but it is the most melancholy of months where so many anniversaries and remembrances pile up. It's not quite winter, not quite spring. Chinook winds push and pull the snow as easily as memory pulls on my heart strings. There was another friend that I was going to write about today, who has also passed away, but I’ve had enough feels for one week. The shortest month has already been long enough.
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Weirdsville! [Mar. 11th, 2015|10:07 pm]
Hi friends...if you noticed anything strange on the site, your eyes weren't deceiving you. At some point, in December I believe, the website suffered an HTML injection attack. I removed the ones that I could find, and I'm sure there are others. Just know that I haven't started selling fake Gucci bags or Air Jordans :-D
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The Burning of the Christmas Tree [Dec. 25th, 2014|07:53 am]

Merry Christmas!

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Life with Chaos Cockatiel [Oct. 13th, 2012|11:53 am]
[Current Mood |busybusy]

Every now and then I feel like putting out a PSA for pet bird ownership, and today seemed timely after a morning of chasing Chaos Cockatiel around the house. Until a few years ago, I only had ever owned budgies. They're cute and cheerful, but the downside is that they are so overbred that one is lucky to have one that lives a long time. One gets tired of losing budgies to tumours. So when a friend of a friend mentioned that they had a cockatiel that needed a good home, I stepped up to the plate.

Any time a new bird comes into a house, there's a honeymoon phase where the bird is very friendly and tends to be quiet. They are ever so polite. Then, a few months in, one wonders why the quiet, polite bird is suddenly replaced with one that knows exactly how to push your buttons! They absorb every aspect of the daily routine.

Forget the Chaos Butterfly; Chaos Cockatiel knows how to wreak havoc in a large way on a small scale. You like this mirror? It's mine now. How about these cupboards? Mind if I chew on them? Hey, look at that, you're out of reach. The cocky arrogance overwhelms and exhausts as he looks for distractions to steal a bite of food. He'll chew through a bread bag in seconds flat.

Chaos Cockatiel is 11 years old but is a permanent toddler that screams, flies and poops everywhere. Many people buy pet birds without realizing just how long they will live. As a result, pet birds often have multiple homes, just like Chaos Cockatiel. Birds form long term relationships, and multiple homes and owners have turned him into a very needy Chaos Cockatiel. Where are you going? Are you going to be back? Do you still love me? Wheet? Wheeet? WHEET! He expresses all these feelings in variations on one sound when I'm trying to get some homework done before finally letting out a shower of whistles. Notice me! Love me! My heart breaks for such a simple creature.

He'll live another 9 years or more, and probably will, as we take good care of him. Few people understand that birds need vet care just like any other pet. So Chaos Cockatiel goes to the vet for an annual exam, where he hisses and scrowls at the nice people and makes a furious show of how brave he is. And he is stupidly brave and bold. It would take all day to recount the stupid things and near misses his bravado results in.

Life with "pet" birds is essentially life with a wild animal that has all its wild instincts intact. And one of those wild instincts is the urge to nest and mate. Suddenly any dark spot looks very attractive, and any male a competitor. Chaos Cockatiel's previous homes mistook his clucky sex noises to be kissy sounds, and unfortunately, probably unknowingly, encouraged some negative behaviour that still persists.

Have I mentioned the noise yet? Cockatiels are LOUD. Louder than budgies. One can tune out senseless budgie chatter, but try tuning out a piercing WHEET. Parrots are meant to communicate across a forest, and your house is not a forest. A closed door and loud music aren't always enough to drown out Chaos Cockatiel's calls. He's akin to a baby that can't be calmed and hushed. He can be LOUD for hours.

All the pet books and websites can't prepare one enough for cockatiel ownership because each individual is so different. If you're going to get a pet bird, you MUST BE SURE you LOVE the bird personality. You must love having a fragile pet that is constantly curious and likes to chew. You must be prepared to be bitten. Sometimes a lot. It's hard to equate the amount of mess or sound in a book.

But still I wouldn't trade Chaos Cockatiel. We'll be his last home, his forever home, no matter what. Because even when he's distracting enough to make a simple task take half an hour, he still has his alter ego Calm Cockatiel. Calm Cockatiel enjoys preening my hair and sitting on my chair or eating peas. He can chew for hours on a piece of string and is generally a joy to be around. It's taken a lot of time and training to tone down the Chaos Cockatiel behaviour.

So please, before considering a pet bird, consider all that it is going to come with it - just not the cost of the bird or the cage or the food or the vet (and please, please don't get a bird if you can't afford a vet) - make sure you truly have space in your home and heart for such a creature.
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I SWEAR I thought this was a parody at first... [Mar. 2nd, 2012|09:26 pm]

Ah, I hate to give some people more attention than they deserve, but...combine two 80s Apple ads with an odd amount of fail and you get this:

I do like the poop shooting one much better though! It's supposed to be mud, but come on!

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Bug Jack Barron [Jan. 8th, 2012|09:07 am]

It's funny how you can know about something, yet not know about it at the same time. Such is the case of Bug Jack Barron, a 1969 novel by Norman Spinrad. The reason I should have known about it is that it heavily influenced Transmetropolitan - his name is plastered all over writings about the graphic series and yet somehow in my youthful HST tunnel vision I failed to pick up on it.

It's possible that the timing was all wrong too - it was recently re-released as an eBook on Smashwords, so it was probably out of print for some time. The first couple of chapters had me lost for a bit before the story picked up its groove, and once I got on track that the "Bug" part was not a nickname, but the name of Jack Barron's call-in show, things went more smoothly from there.

I think it's unfair to categorize the book as science fiction, but it certainly must have seemed that way over 40 years ago. People were still struggling to figure out how all this new media and technology jazz was going to work or change their lives. Thankfully there isn't a heavy focus on technology - nothing is more painful than the clunky names that authors gave technology back then. In the future, a phone will still be called a phone, but there's no way Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury could have guessed that. The one glaring piece of outdated technology in the book is in fact the Bell Videophone, which just never ever caught on. The videophone figures prominently as the main form of communication between Jack, his friends, callers and enemies.

A good deal of attention is paid to the format of the call-in show, where Jack constantly signals to his producer to manipulate what the viewer sees - such as splitting the screen and cutting callers off. As such, the book also explores media literacy. I almost want to know if TV and radio personalities had as much power back in the day, or if Spinrad was just able to predict the power one personality could have over an audience.

Bug Jack Barron really gave me the shivers in more ways than one and it's fair to say that a lot of the concepts in the book have come to pass. Jack Barron is a social activist turned talk-show superstar, inviting his audience members to call in with what's bugging them. He stumbles quite by accident into a conspiracy that crosses race, economic status and political corruption.

It seems prudent to warn that the character of Jack Barron is also a little sexist and the characters often expouse racial ephitets. Jack is a bastard, plain and simple, and either you love bastard characters and writers or you don't. Anything that involves the future is also a product of the time it was made. I sense there is increasing discomfort with people of today looking at things of the past with all their ugly inequalities and prejudices. But it would be a shame to reject these cultural works or histories because they only serve as a reminder of how much growing and changing society has done and still has to do.

Like HST, Spinrad was also influenced by the Beats, seen in the stream of consciousness flow of the characters thoughts, anxieties and nightmares. Naturally there is a drug influence too. More straight up narration and storytelling alternates with this flow to make an interesting, well-rounded novel. I really enjoyed Spinrad's economical style of writing which keeps the book at a great pace. Gonzo fans will definitely enjoy this story of a hero-journalist!
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Playboy releases HST correspondence [Oct. 18th, 2011|05:54 am]
We all know HST led to write and FAX letters, so enjoy this new Trove!

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Tweets for Today [Aug. 28th, 2011|01:00 am]
  • 05:30 Tweets for Today: 19:50 Tweets for Today: 00:00 Tweets for Today: 05:45 Roxanne Pulitzer's amazing Telluride man... t.co/EA34Xoo #
  • 07:29 @Borzage Nope :-) I was trying to feed Twitter to LJ, but I think something is broken with LoudTwitter. #
  • 07:30 Rum Diary trailer now available! t.co/ecT5C2u #
  • 07:36 @Borzage It's hard to believe those times ever existed! So magical :-) #
Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
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