Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mill Avenue Nights Saturday, January 24th 2009

Envy and Cole

Envy is far enough along in her pregnancy (end of the first trimester I suspect) that she’s showing. I found her in very good spirits and we sat and spoke a while at the drum circle. Numerous people came by looking for Cole—to our amusement, every time someone asked, they were standing literally right behind him.

“Seen Cole?” came the question.

“Turn around,” our thrice reply.

She tells me that they have a house in the works and will therefore have a place to stay, hopefully for a while, especially with the baby on the way. She also said that Cole’s mother learned about the child and was overjoyed—banishing Envy’s fear that Cole’s mother would have instead been furious.

Which is good news.

And now for the bad news (or strange news.)


Kristina is a young (eighteen-year-old) street rat with blonde hair and a hyperactive demeanor. She’s been on the nerves of a great deal of people because she has a sort of in-your-face approach extreme extrovert attitude going on. When I first met her she had been causing Osiris some annoyance because she was physically striking him with a rolled up bit of paper and had to be sternly backed off. At the time I feared for her safety if she behaved like that with some of the more high strung street rats.

Of course, that isn’t the extent of her bad behavior. Further events have transpired to put her into an even more precarious position of her own making.

It is not uncommon for various members of the community to posture. By this, I refer to threatening to “beat someone’s ass” for disrespecting them, for being annoying, for doing this, or doing that—but often this just comes to loud discussions or arguments, and rarely fisticuffs. Kristina’s case may differ, however, in that it takes both parties avoiding the fight to actually avoid punches being thrown.

Recently, Kristina has broken up with her boyfriend, Shadow. Up until now he had been the major stabilizing force in her connection with the rest of the community; by and large because he happens to be well known, and stood between her and those who might have taken their frustration out of her hide. He no longer shelters her under his wing, and has gone out of his way to explain to others that they have a “green light” to take Kristina’s harassment at face value.

So, that’s one barrier down that was originally preventing her from whatever street justice she might have found by acting like such an obnoxious brat. I had hoped a few months of running into the more stern by calm street rats might cause her to chill or back off—but tonight I learned more troubling elements of her excitable personality.

Envy sat and told me about a few events that happened between her and Kristina before the girl visited the Ave for the first time and met me. It would appear that Kristina took a shine to Cole, and fully aware that Envy is pregnant with Cole’s child, she Kristina decided to call Cole and ask him to a sexual dalliance because he happened to be a sadist. This did not go over well with Envy.

To top all this off, Kristina has a violent streak: she hurled a metal chair at Little Nub’s head during a disagreement. This story has been corroborated by a few of the street rats, so it’s likely not entirely an exaggeration. But, if Kristina is going to get violent with people—they will get violent with her.

Didn’t see her out tonight; I doubt she would be showing up after some of this news.

Jeff Rose and Vincent Piater, newly visiting street preachers

I got some chances to observe members of a group that had come out with Shawn Holes last weekend preaching in front of Urban Outfitters and the Post Office later in the night. The full breadth of the observations about them can be found on the Better Than Faith Mill Avenue Resistance Reports article for tonight.

To the mixture that is Mill Ave they certainly added to the general noise and mayhem. Jeff Rose with particularly loud preaching (not quite as loud as Shawn gets, but still up there) and managed to gather crowds that turned on and off unruly. This is going to be an issue with any groups drunken possibly on either machismo and alcohol in equal proportions.

The Resistance set up with him and, when they moved so that Papa Soul could play in front of Urban Outfitters—and he does play even louder than even Shawn or Jeff can breach—they asked the Resistance to move with them to the Post Office.

There were a couple violent and near-violent incidents directly related to Jeff’s preaching including an apparent street rat whose name I don’t know pulling his speaker cable. After a few successful attempts he was assaulted by one of the males with the group (Vincient Piater) and used that as instigation to posture and threaten. Fortunately, that situation was diffused without any bruises.

After that had calmed down, I witnessed something that I’m quite amused by. A sociologist that I was speaking to did something that I rather liked. While he was talking to the street kid, he shook his hand, and did not let go until he explained that yanking the cable and nearly getting into a tussle is not acceptable.

I did not have a chance to speak to the street rat to learn his name or more about why he was acting the way he did. He was a black American young man, wearing a ratty t-shirt, and a clean safari-style felt hat. After that incident he vanished entirely from the Ave; I didn’t even see him at the drum circle.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Man Poked by Katana Wielder In Ann Arbor

So, Djenna just sent me possibly the funniest article for the beginning of this year yet. Some kid at a fraternity got “poked” by a katana.

Ann Arbor police said they arrested a man who poked an unruly partygoer with a sword Saturday morning.

Officers were called for an assault at the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity at 820 Oxford Road at about 3 a.m. and found a 23-year-old man with a small cut on his abdomen, Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

The man refused medical treatment and told police he was at a party at the location when a resident threatened him with a sword.

Yes, for some reason the journalist who wrote this article seems to want to use “poked” to describe the assault. Although, it seems to me that anytime a sword is brandished and pierces someone else's skin, that it was in fact a stabbing—isomuch however minor the wound.

I guess that the journalist just doesn't realize that there are more gradations of assault between jabbed at and ran through.

Yes, I am assuming it was a katana, I could be wrong. The writer describes it as a “samurai sword” and in American culture that's generally only katanas.

Link, via

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Mill Avenue Nights Saturday, January 3rd 2009

Wandering the Ave I had time to spend with Squirrel. She’s a tall, round-faced girl, with thick glasses and a thicker expression. Today she came sporting a heavily draped t-shirt and a baseball cap which cast a half-shade across her face as we walked through the shifting streetlights. Her motions are slightly contorted, as if stilted by strings, in an almost Huntington’s muscular jerk.

She talked about her visitation down in Tempe to see one of her children and the new light rail system. Which I got to see first hand while spending time waiting for it to arrive; listening to the airplanes screech through the night air and the clack-clack-clack of the trolley along the tracks.

Corky and Cindy came by and stopped to talk to us while we sat on the bus stop bench (not waiting for the bus, but eating.) They paused to talk to us when Jim Coleman came over—we didn’t have much time to speak with them, however, as Squirrel needed to rush along as not to miss the light rail.

Together we walked through the light crowds of the Ave, bantering about nothing except our own lively experiences in the city. The street hushed around us as we moved like casual cats, slinking past barely aware crowds. The light rail tracks have glowing buttons embedded into them, glowing red. Above are guide wires that I suspect carry electrical currents like for the streetcars in San Francisco. I have seen sparks shatter from them like falling pixies.

While dawdling on Mill Ave after Squirrel took her leave via the rail; I met a pair of nomadic streetrats, carrying their heavy packs and bedrolls. Scruffy with days of travel, but grinning and brimming with knowledge, Sarah and Aaron jested with me about my cane—“That’s a kur-beater!” bellowed Aaron, casting his gaze from beneath a floppy brown hat. “I hope that you have beaten some kurs with it. Say that you will beat some kurs with that kur-beater.”

Sadly, no kurs revealed themselves for the beating.1

At the drum circle I found Envy and Cole, as well as a visitation from tall-as-a-weed Jimmy. They had quite a lively setup tonight, with several drums, and two children running around our midst. I even gave away a book to one of them; and showed off my top hat.

A number of people came out as well, interested in talking to Omar Call about his article in the New Times.

Mill Avenue Vexations gets a little love from the press

One of our local newspapers, the Phoenix New Times, has a blog and they just posted a book review of Mill Avenue Vexations.

Link, via the Phoenix New Times.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

9-11 ASCII Trending

So. Today Google Trends has something fun for all of us. The number #2 search is basically ASCII 9-11 art.

✈ ▌▌

No kidding! Also, it doesn't seem to pull up any results from trends. So who knows. This might be the first. It's amazingly irreverent; but thou know what? If we cannot be a little irreverent by now (7 years later) when can we?

Monday, January 05, 2009

First Friday Artwalk Nights Friday, January 2nd 2009

First Friday is damn interesting.

I got to listen to a number of different prevailing philosophies and actually got a chance to stand out and stand in at the same time—by this I mean, I met other people with steampunk aspirations. One guy in particular wanted to get my photograph, he wore an interesting vintage leather vest and a pair of goggles. Go steampunk.

I tell ya, when I have Helljammer up and running steampunk is going to become a way of life.

For those who don’t know much about the steampunk aesthetic, you have a great deal of studying to do! I would suggest starting with this video done by a fan of Abney Park.

This night I had a chance to actually range a little bit further and wider than usual. I split from the usual location between the obnoxious preachers and the obnoxious Scientology Corporation (the Phoenix Anonymous were protesting them again, with their V for Vendetta masks on.) After quitting these depressing locales, I found myself wandering the bazaar of bazaars.

Not a single city block away, past a fading building that had seen better times and sported a “Safe Place” sign (an image of one person hugging another on a yellow diamond sign.) And past the sweet, meaty smells of cooking and food—a beautiful restaurant that plays music and plies apparently good food. There, between dirty roads and loud traffic, I found stalls set up with all manner of artwork portrayed.

Apparently these are even pretty cheap to buy space for. Much less than any Con.

I walked past people selling paintings—even painting paintings while they sold them—some playing strange EBM music to the wind and selling CDs. Stalls that contained brittle metal fragments tortured and bent into beautiful, intertwining shapes. The best one, really, though that really caught my attention was selling mustard.

Mustard. Right next to the hotdog stand.

Now that was brilliant.

And from what I saw, it was amazingly good handmade mustard.

The entirety of my observations about the preachers that come out to First Friday is taken over at my Mill Avenue Resistance blog for Friday, January 2nd. Suffice it to say that new preachers already caused something of a stir by insulting the egalitarian sensibilities of some of the members of the Resistance. And one of the Resistance also decided to go visit the Scientology Corporation and discover what their free stress test was like.