tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:/posts mark von rosenstiel is present. 2021-06-18T21:18:54Z tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1704874 2021-06-18T21:18:53Z 2021-06-18T21:18:54Z On this day. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1700502 2021-06-08T00:51:42Z 2021-06-08T00:51:43Z Modern Romeo and Juliet ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1698977 2021-06-04T19:04:17Z 2021-06-04T19:04:17Z yellow dots

When I was young, I’d walk home from school some days on the aptly named High School Road, heading straight down the center of the road stepping on all the worn yellow ceramic pavement markers; parts of their circular shape worn away like slot canyons in Utah, feeling my sneakers slip off their contours like the details of so many memories.

I can remember walking with my friend, David, who’d walk the whole way home on his toes to make his calves stronger: he had huge calves. Later on in life he’d end up managing a bar that occupied that unusual ground between a strip club and airport bar: lots of brightly colored shots and too many teeth in everyone’s mouth.

I’ve been feeling a lot recently that my memories have begun to crystalize in a way that I find a bit unsettling. The ability for a memory to mean lots of things has disappeared and I find myself looking back into a field of statutes. Each memory has suddenly become a monument to a single idea of a single moment, but somehow removed a bit from my own experience of it. It maybe feels a bit like that last scene of No Country for Old Men (or last page depending on how you consumed it) where our memories become dreams, and our dreams become strangers to exactly who we are; just dust sprinkled on tracks of a car long past.

Maybe it’s a bit the feeling of the world becoming very factual in a way. I’ve talked with people who believe fiction is not needed as a genre as there is plenty in reality to look at in wonder. I would argue that the parts of reality we take wonder in, are parts that still have an unknown to them and therefore are fictions in our mind. We converse around these ideas of this “real” thing and in fact are telling stories of the same memory of the present in a different way.

One person tells the story of a road dotted in yellow ceramic disks, while another tells the story of a road that rose and fell with waves of emotion for future ex-girlfriends.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1692620 2021-05-19T16:30:40Z 2021-05-19T18:00:26Z forgetting

I’ve been having a funny relationship with forgetting these days; the sensation of being on the cusp of suddenly seeing a past self as an Other instead of Me. Which, I guess, is something that happens throughout life, although we hardly see this progress as it is usually the carving of slot canyons of the soul; long nights and days over desert outlooks.

I catch myself looking at people in my life and wondering “who did I once know you as?” and there’s a lot of trajectories that suddenly become apparent, like fireworks shot out of one of those tubes I can hold on 4th of July.

I’ve been thinking a lot of a friend I had long ago, who I fell out of touch with. Back then, word was that he had just gotten in a car and disappeared and maybe had become a chemist, or a professor, or started a company. 

Now new words have trickled in of sad posts on Facebook about being a single Dad and the heaviness of a certain type of life. Part of me heard this and hoped instead that he was trolling people in a way that he found funny. I remember long ago when I was in high school I had gotten an email from my doctor (or it appeared to be so) that they had found some unusual things in my blood work that had just been done; this had just been that friend spoofing emails, which back then was as easy as cut and pasting sentences from Wikipedia.

If the medium is the message and we are the collection of thoughts and interactions of a world around us — a medium in flux — we become messages for a period of time that we have coalesced around; a jellyfish caught on the mind’s paddle. 

I think at moments it becomes startling to realize this message and to wonder if this is really who we are. 

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1687299 2021-05-05T00:32:27Z 2021-05-05T00:32:27Z fishbowl

Today everyone was shouting from cars that were fishbowls on wheels; voices were muffled and eyes wide as the panoramic view of the future extended in front of us all. 

We glanced with cartoon eyes at each other and hoped that we would never see each other again.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1684713 2021-04-28T22:53:20Z 2021-04-28T22:53:21Z highs and lows
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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1684687 2021-04-28T20:52:03Z 2021-04-28T20:52:15Z stone tabacco

What did we believe in during those sunsets when we stuffed smooth stones between our teeth and lips? I remember you driving wildly into those nights, thinking the roads were extra curved, only to realize later that you had driven through a park playground and up and over an abandoned property overgrown with blackberries. 

It was a place with no roads and I watched your taillights disappear behind a seesaw and I think I saw you spit — out the open driver’s side window — slimy dip spit the color of granite from teeth that were daring the future to break them.

With smooth rocks tucked like so much dinner food in cheeks, it’s hard not to feel like everything is a little dangerous.

You spent the night panicking and then back at the apartment, only to fall asleep draped across the back of an Ikea couch; a bear rug discarded in human form: one nose pad missing from your glasses; you grinned fiercely and a whole river of stones fell from your mouth.

At night sometimes people think the tapping on their metal roofs is seagulls dressed in leather jackets dropping expensive oyster shells on their roofs. It ends up most of the time it’s ghosts of people letting stones fall from their mouths.

Lazy ghosts grinning with novocaine lips.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1684088 2021-04-27T16:16:31Z 2021-04-27T16:16:51Z Pixelated Zoos

I’ve had the sensation as of recent that I’m laying on my head against a newly installed section of drywall. I’m standing and slumped against the wall with my cheek just a few inches from a tape line that has just been mudded and sanded. That new construction taste is in the air, which if you haven’t familiarized yourself with it as of late, is a bit like if the oldest materials on earth had a bit of a drug habit: it’s both earthy and chemical at the same time.

I wonder if one was to spend enough time around cement mixers, if their lungs would eventually become a Rachael Whiteread sculpture; two human chest balloons gray and speckled in concrete; delicate like dove eggs that breathe on their own and think of their future as birds.

This wall my head is against makes it hard to write. It makes it hard to paint. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever make something of purpose again. I guess that’s the dramatic ebb and flow of process. I think part of what has been on my mind is how I don’t have the desire to write about things in the way I once did. I have a different feeling of voice in my head that isn’t concerned with what it once was, and as someone that grabs desperately onto the past this is concerning to me. It makes me wonder about this current me and if they’re a very interesting person.

This is that large expanse of wall that gives no playful hints at closets or bedrooms, but instead only seems concerned with vantage points and long lines that are parallel but can seem to touch if given enough room to roam.

I have been thinking of being in a zoo a lot recently where the displays are windows in aluminum frames, set in concrete walls looking onto various animal exhibits. The aluminum frames have calking oozing out between them and the thick glass, giving the impression that each exhibit could be filled like a fish bowl, shaken and rinsed of its contents. 

Looking at the monkeys they eat fruit in a bored manner, take two bites and throw half eaten fruit bowls to the ground. I think talking to people can be a lot like dressing up as monkeys and eating fruit. People casually discard threads of conversation and pick up others with the interest of clouds discussing precipitation: all is known and nothing is new.

Every once in awhile I lock eyes with someone and watch them carve the contents of a piece of melon perfectly down to the rind with a spoon the color of lightning. They are a surgeon with foods that have high water content. I can hear the spoon like a blade against the onslaught of a five o’clock shadow.

This morning two brown rabbits sat by a freshly dug well in the backyard. One ran by in hi-def and the other seemed a bit pixelated.

I wonder how each of them eats fruit.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1676264 2021-04-08T18:20:15Z 2021-04-08T18:20:54Z Dumb dumb

I’ve been working the last 3 months on paperwork to build an ADU in Los Angeles. It’s been a slightly opaque (haha, JUST KIDDING, it’s been a muddy river filled with food dye) process which brings into question a lot of things around what politicians mean versus say and the PURPOSE of what people say is important. Never-the-less I’ve tried to just jump into it like a seal learning new tricks trying not to think about its own captivity. 

Today I had to resubmit a section of paperwork because it was a scan of a page and not the original, but having thrown away the original, I had to bike to a notary before heading to the department of building and safety.

Signatures on signatures.

I pulled up to UPS and placed my document on the seat of my bike, only to watch it blow away into a puddle. With original signatures called “wet signatures”, the thought that an original document with wet signatures now was a wet document with wet signatures seemed like a good fit of language.

And as I stood there dabbing the document off on my shirt (wondering where this water even came from…) I looked over at a tangled coat hanger laying next to a tree planting and thought about the convolutions that had gone into the process that I was in that simply was a coat hanger at heart: something quite simple to keep a shirt off the floor.

On the bike ride to the building department I pass one of my favorite buildings in LA: the Promenade Tower Apartments. It truly looks like something out of Belgrade or Chisinau; all angles and glass and concrete coming together like a crescendo of a brilliant composer; that soviet-style where it looks both accessible, but at the same time there is zero daylight that reaches its interior. As you get close to it, however, it is absurdly simple. Low resolution and a bit like fitting square blocks in square holes. It is only from a distance that we can pretend that it holds some complex meaning. 

I think a lot of human endeavors are like this. We wish to stay far away and make things always seem complex in order to guarantee ourselves something to do in the future. We are terrified of the moment that we must just sit. The complexity and drama is the purpose… outcomes are not really the point.

Endless scrolls on a news feed is a bit like doing paperwork for the city. It is the paperwork that IS THE POINT. All that ink, wet or dry, perched on pages like the front row of a gospel choir singing its own praises.

I just finished reading a short story about a conscious mechanical machine that runs on air: air pushes through it to activate its enormously complex mechanisms. On opening itself up, however, it realizes that the mechanics of itself are actually just recording states of the airflow. In a way, the air itself is the consciousness it believes the mechanics were holding.

I think paperwork is the same. I think a city is just a manifestation of 8.5”x11” paper (or A4 if you’re in Europe) being passed from one person to another. It is all that fiber and ink like strings to the toes and fingers of its inhabitants.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1673489 2021-04-02T00:45:16Z 2021-04-02T00:45:16Z beverages

Spring has come in hot and everyone seems intent on making lemonade by squeezing the sweat from the body of their nearest neighbor. 

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1673442 2021-04-01T23:08:21Z 2021-04-01T23:08:22Z revisting belgrade

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1672684 2021-03-31T04:58:59Z 2021-03-31T04:58:59Z cure-all ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1672620 2021-03-30T23:00:33Z 2021-03-30T23:00:33Z 3 stages of walking ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1670304 2021-03-24T23:37:18Z 2021-03-24T23:37:57Z To focus on distance

There’s a piece about getting older where everyone seems to get a bit further away. Their lives become more dense and who they are as a person also takes on a more facetted quality; stories that they tell, that I used to only take as lighthouses of past experiences, now become a throbbing electrical pulse in the present. We are all kites crashed in windstorms, string tangled around a 1000 trees. 

And there’s this piece to me that pushes back against this thought, because I want to be someone that thinks we are all close to those we love. But I think that in some ways, love that is strongest is love that is aware of distance. This, of course, comes off as a little self congratulatory as I am married to someone who lives 3000 miles away (it may be more… probably not less), but I think this is just a coincidence of external circumstances coming into line with an internal state, much like two cars at a stoplight who have a blinker that enjoy the same downbeat, periodically. 

Although I love being congratulated, love at a distance doesn’t refer to something long-distance itself, but instead refers to love that is aware of the space between the people involved. I’ve always said that love is the absolute measure between two people, a unit-less number like a ratio, and I think some of the pleasure of how we love people is knowing that we can love equally or more people that are emotionally or physically far away.

When first meeting people we have the sensation of always being able to move closer, but there is a point where language and physicality find their own Planck distance, and there is no way to have the sensation of being “closer”; but yet we can still love more. 

I think understanding that we can see how far we are from being the same as someone, but love them closer than anyone before, speaks to the way we can find satisfaction in the abyss between individuals: the divide that guarantees I don’t wake up some day and think I am someone that I’m close to.  I think the problem is that we sometimes think of the abyss as a void full of nothing. But I think the abyss is maybe a space filled with too much. 

In complexity sciences most interesting behavior is created on the edge of chaotic systems evolving from order: the point of intrigue is the moment before things shatter apart or coalesce around a single thought. It’s like throwing a memory of childhood towards the sky and zooming in right as it reaches the moment where its direction is neither up or down.

I was riding my bike along the LA river yesterday and the wind pulled its skirt up right near my face with pollens from desert plants pulling me into songs of sex and bloom. It was an affront, but made my teeth sew a sweater of the scene; something tangled in memory and craft; smile gnashing at all around. On the return trip the wind was still pushing hot against me, and I couldn’t help but think the wind had taken its directional queues from the ever pervasive LA traffic. 

I thought of the place in the middle of the river where the two streams whooshed past each other. This quiet place where the winds skirt went back around her waist, and the pollen all sat quiet in the front row as the last song was just played. Stage empty of ghostly instruments.

As lights dimmed across an incredible divide a deep bass resonated through us all.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1658660 2021-02-25T22:23:54Z 2021-02-25T22:23:54Z Perfect workstation ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1658565 2021-02-25T18:15:51Z 2021-02-25T18:15:51Z 7 hours, 16 miles.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1655787 2021-02-18T21:56:05Z 2021-02-18T21:56:05Z talking to the dead

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1655726 2021-02-18T17:40:53Z 2021-02-18T17:44:46Z middle distance and anchovies.

I was just at Whole Foods getting some groceries. It’s been a week of middle distance gazing and a bit of crisis around who I am and what I am doing. I sometimes think 25% of art is this crisis, which is maybe more readily described as trying to understand the relationship between purpose and meaning.

I wandered the whole length of Whole Foods once without really taking in what I was supposed to be doing, which meant, like a typewriter, I had to fling the return back to the beginning and start my traverse all over again; the Whole Foods as blank white paper with the partially dressed LA glamorous hiding in the margins. 

In moments like this the sights of the world can feel a bit like tennis balls bounced off a practice wall during overly hot summer days.

My current condition made me think a lot of a movie I had just watched, Another Round. The premise of the movie is that a group of friends decide they are going to spend the day partially drunk in an attempt to prove whether human beings are meant to operate with a constant, slight elevated BAC.

What was interesting about the movie is that the protagonist, played by Mads Mikkelsen (who on recently hearing his name from a friend declared, “How’d you come up with THAT name?!?” as if it was fictional), comes to this experiment in a moment of unoriginality in his own life: his relationship and career are steady, but steady in that way that stagnant water in unkept parking garages is also steady; he is lonely and slightly used feeling: a penny abandoned on a highway, still currency but battered and with no sheen.

He is adrift. 

The movie reveals the exuberance that drinking brings back into his life as well as the downfall that comes with the eventual excess. But neither the upswing or downswing is total. It is jittery and unfinished, bouncing between the good and bad without showing moral certainty; a bouncy ball down attic steps, but ending up always in the attic. What I loved about the movie is that it put a vice (alcohol) in relationship to the constrictions we create in our own life. The vessels that we hold ourselves — relationships, career, spirituality — can be filled with the infinite or can be filled with a poison that will sink us.

Much like a wine glass the containers of our lives can bring joy or destruction depending on how they are utilized and what practices we make around them. The movie made me think about how much we condemn vice while never looking at the more broad cultural constructs that lead us to them.

In a way, containers (ones of vice or culture) can be mechanisms to view the totality of something: something that tears us from our multitude to see only a single vision. “I believe in X so this means I am Y”. But instead an infinite can be seen in any container. Much like Henri Bergson or the like talk about a number being made of a unit of measure, where the number is this multiplicity as well as the object itself, the way we decide the units of our containers, change the density and countability of those containers. One hundred can be made of a hundred singles or one hundred can really be two hundred made of what we think of as halves.

Carl Jung said, “A decisive question for man is: is he related to something infinite or not?”. 

I think in days like today, where a pandemic draws a box around my experience, I feel a certain dryness in the last years of my creative practice, and my friends (and wife) are cast at distances which now are harder to travel, it is easy to loose the ability to see the infinite. The imagination seems to be at a place where it actively discounts the parts of life that give it a multiplicity; or maybe fixates on what is missing. I think William Blake had something to say about this in relationship to his idea of Ulro.

I once dated a woman with a heavy french accent (a great tongue twister for a heavy french accent, “Terry Richardson lives in a wardrobe”) who wrote me a long email about the pain of living in a world that had, among other things, Nazis and social security numbers. I think she was maybe talking about boxes of different types; containers. And I still look to her with inspiration for the fearlessness that became her box, so tightly wrapped around her, as she flung conventions to the way side, pounding on the doors with those eye slit openings and used ammonia not to clean her studio but cook crack.

We need to be aware of our countable containers. We need to find ways to see their edges. And then step half the distance and half that and half that… and finally just see the infinite steps.

As I finish my second pass in Whole Foods, a woman in fashionable layers, with skin and thin fabric on a date to some desert rave, walks a small dog through the canned goods aisle and I watch it sniff and pee a little on a can of beans.

I buy some anchovies and pasta and head back home.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1653268 2021-02-12T19:14:10Z 2021-02-12T19:15:45Z I left (will leave) my heart (sex life) in San Francisco ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1653070 2021-02-12T05:53:12Z 2021-02-12T05:53:12Z a spark

Today I was driving behind a truck that was dragging a large metal beam on a chain. The beam was bouncing all over the peaks and valleys that are south LA roads. A single spark flew off towards the sidewalk screaming at the top of its lungs, echoing the conversation of two old carbon atoms sitting around a pit of ice and talking about when they were kids. 

But the spark also whispered something about prairies and homesteading. 

Another two sparks jumped off at a particularly high frequency wave of concrete. They shouted about the life that they heard about in the city. With no protection, they shared an electron.

It was hard to hear their voices over the clatter of the beam. 

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1648791 2021-02-02T20:26:22Z 2021-02-02T20:26:23Z still life ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1640412 2021-01-15T16:04:00Z 2021-01-15T16:04:01Z bedtime scene ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1640185 2021-01-14T21:43:26Z 2021-01-14T21:44:05Z on affordances

I’ve been reading about New Materialism recently as it’s popped up tangentially in a few other things I’ve been reading; reading begets reading. Unbeknownst to me, there’s a bit of a scuffle going on in the backrooms of New Materialism and Object Oriented Ontology, with people pouring out into the alley that connects them, taking swings near where they both dump their recycling. Some of it seems like subtlety that is only important in an academic sense of needing to define why one idea is different, but possibly in practice quite the same, as another. If I drove up next to your Ford Focus in my Toyota Corolla (how great would it be, if you had three kids, to name them Corolla, Camry, and Avalon? They’d just power through life. At 40, they’d get their first checkup at the doctor, be fine, and then live for another 160 years) and you said to me “nice car”, and I replied “mine is Japanese”, it wouldn’t really be adding anything to the conversation more than my spite of you.

A lot of New Materialism and OOO scuffle seem a bit like this. BUT there are also, obviously, some differences, many of which I ignore because they aren’t really relevant to the part of the world I want to look at. Which, in itself, is interesting about camps of philosophy that take architects, designers, and artists under their conceptual wings. Like how much do I actually follow a New Materialism way of thinking, or really care if I’m 30% NM and 70% OOO? Is it necessary to be philosophically complete in the pursuit of a material expression of ideas that are themselves reaching for withdrawn parts of ideas? I don’t think so. 

AFFORDANCES. This is the thing I came across and love. The following is from a short article, “Digital Tool Thinking: Object Oriented Ontology versus New Materialism”, by Neil Leach

Let us turn, then, to Gibson’s ‘theory of affordances.’ This theory suggests that there is a particular set of actions ‘afforded’ by a tool or object. Thus a knob might afford pulling—or possibly pushing—while a cord might afford pulling. It is not that the tool or object has agency as such, or the capacity to ‘invite’ or ‘prevent’ certain actions. Rather, it merely ‘affords’ certain operations that it is incumbent on the user to recognize, dependent on pre-existing associations with that tool or object. Likewise, those operations are also dependent upon our capacity to undertake them. Thus certain operations might not be afforded to those without the height or strength to perform them. Moreover, certain tools afford certain operations, but do not preclude others. For example, we could affix a nail with a screwdriver— albeit less efficiently—if we do not have a hammer at hand. Similarly, it is easier to cut wood with a saw than a hammer.

I love that this approach to the object takes out the need for the object to ACT in some way in relationship to us: to have purpose outside of some that we give it. But it also doesn’t meant that the object is necessarily passive in the sense that it can evolve as the ability for us to be perceive it in new contexts also change. As Sjón points out in From the Mouth of Whale, a hammer is just a hammer as a tool for hitting nails until someone uses it for violence, then suddenly it becomes something quite different.

In some ways this makes the object a slightly less communicative person in a new conversation. Language is a lot like light, in that it bounces of something (a person) and given that things affordances (is that person receptive to conversation?) we can engage and create a space between us. If I throw some light at a horse shoe, it affords me its shape that I can then engage with using my physical self and combine these affordances with my muscle movements to toss it at a stake in the ground and play a game called horse shoes: affordances as an idea allow for a hooking into an object both conceptually and physically. 

In some ways my car analogy from before isn’t quite as hyperbolic as I set it out to be, as cars are not just an object that affords transportation but culture has latched into affordances around class and hierarchy that are available between us and a car. Objects have affordances to culture, particularly if culture can put people in relationship to that object in a “us vs them” way.

(I think my parts of speech are all over the place (shut up, Aaron, I hear you), but hopefully the idea comes across.)

OH. A last thought in this age where we all know more about the mechanisms of viruses than we would like to. This idea of a receptor in a cell being misused for other means, which is the reason Covid can spread so easily in our bodies, is a bit like the Sjón comment on the hammer.

Covid is a bit like a hammer used for violence.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1639907 2021-01-14T00:41:07Z 2021-01-14T00:41:08Z what I learned today.
A yoked heart means a dead human. #hypertension
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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1637483 2021-01-08T21:21:30Z 2021-01-08T21:21:31Z from cz to au
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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1637051 2021-01-07T22:22:53Z 2021-01-07T22:22:54Z dinner ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1636634 2021-01-06T23:02:29Z 2021-01-06T23:07:46Z I guess as long as you're white, if you're a violent, looting asshole, you'll still just be labeled a protester.
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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1636607 2021-01-06T22:47:22Z 2021-01-06T22:47:23Z lo tech, hi tech ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1628028 2020-12-15T01:10:13Z 2020-12-15T01:10:14Z getting close.

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tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1626607 2020-12-10T22:30:38Z 2020-12-10T22:30:39Z it only took a few years, but all the parts are coming together ]]>