Category Archives: Photo Essay

Koninginnedag – Queen’s Day

Today is queen’s day. It’s like the oppossite of May Day. In fact, it’s conveniently celebrated the day before May Day, despite it not being the current queen’s birthday at all. Essentially, it works like this: the monarchy grants the peasants one day of freedom of the year, throws a huge party in Amsterdam, and everyone gets all misty-eyed and patriotic. Okay, no one gets misty-eyed. Everyone just gets shitfaced. Everyone from all over the country pours into Amsterdam and gets drunk and chants things and generally trashes the city. One of the lessons of the day was a reminder that random destruction isn’t necessarily a liberating thing. Sometimes it’s just hooliganism, or hell, patriotism.

It seems like the anarchists who don’t need the money mostly head out of town. Those who’re broke either hawk stuff, work bar, or collect cups for the deposit.

In the last photo, below, you can see an entire street covered in piss that is leaking from an overflowing portable urinal. And still, folks are lining up to use the urinal as it streams out directly onto the pavement.
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I arrived in Amsterdam a few days ago, and a friend picked me up from the train station. It would be simplest to say that it felt good: for the past four years since I left this place, I’ve had constant reoccurring (pardon my spelling: the browser is set to underline everything that isn’t dutch) dreams about coming back to Amsterdam. In most of those dreams, I can’t find my friends, all the squats I knew were gone, everything was changed and I was a stranger.

That stuff is only partly true. The scene here is a lot more divided than it was four years ago, and an anti-squatting law is looming over the country like… like something bad that looms. Like the threat of Voldemort. Squatting is only legal here because the squatters fight tooth and nail for their spaces. In the 80s, some ridiculously large percentage of Amsterdam was squatted. Now it is a fraction, but it is a vibrant and wonderful fraction.

Anyhow, that first night, I woke up at dawn and went up on the roof of the place and took pictures. The cat was kind enough to join me.

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Protesting Sea Lion Slaughter at Bonneville Dam

In what is essentially a textbook case of scapegoating, Fish & Wildlife have begun this years round of sea lion killing. For background about the whole thing, there’s an ORC article from two years ago that sums up the problem (the short version is: there’s a dam in the river that kills salmon, and the fish pool up at the base of it, so sea lions hang out at the base to hunt, but people get upset because they want to raise fishing quotas and can’t because the sea lions are eating some tiny percentage of the fish). Anyhow, In Defense of Animals set up a protest the day after the first killing of the season. We drove up to Bonneville Dam and had ourselves a little media spectacle of a protest. What matters, though, is a continued presence, to let people know that yes, folks are watching this despicable act.

I also got to see a fish ladder in person, and see some awesomely pretty fish. More pictures after the break.
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Palomar Pipeline, Solo Timber Sale

I’ve been continuing to document the Palomar Pipeline and its course through the public lands of Oregon. This time, I went out to the Solo Timber Sale (timber sales have funny names like “Straw Devil”, “Biscuit”, and, in this case, “Solo”). It was a controversial timber sale that’s been fought for by environmentalists and won. Tree sits were erected, rare lichens were found, and the courts and the public reached the conclusion that it ought not be logged. But, of course, pipelines are immune to all those pesky environmental restrictions, so they’re planning on punching right through this isolated, beautiful bit of old growth forest. A friend and I went up to explore, and I took my sturdy minivan on sketchy icy roads that of course I probably ought not have.

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Palomar Pipeline, Clackamas River Crossing

On Sunday I went out with some friends to where the Palomar Pipeline is set to cross the Clackamas river. It’s one of the many, many places that this pipeline will be remarkably disruptive: in this case, running across a beautiful section of river and then clearcutting a whole bunch of old-growth. For fun, go ahead and check out the gas company’s myth-busting of common Palomar myths! For example:

MYTH: Palomar will require clear cutting, and the construction will destroy sensitive environmental areas.

Clearing the right-of-way is very different from the clear-cutting claims project opponents have made. Palomar proposes a temporary 120-foot-wide construction easement reduced to a 50-foot-wide permanent easement once construction is complete

this one is awesome cause it’s like: myth: we’ll be clearcutting. When in fact, we’ll be clearcutting. The myth about eminent domain is pretty good too.

anyhow, more pictures of the area after the break.

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Palomar Pipeline, Fish Creek Crossing

Last week I went hiking with two friends out along Fish Creek in the Mt. Hood National Forest. I went to go take pictures of the areas that are going to be clearcut for the Palomar Pipeline LNG project. The super-short version of this is: they want to build more fossil fuel infrastructure in Oregon, including hundreds of miles of clearcutting to run pipelines of Liquefied Natural Gas. Well, technically the pipelines are for normal natural gas, but the idea is that it is shipped from overseas in its supercooled state. There are a lot of things wrong with this.

  • Building new fossil fuel infrastructure is ridiculous and generally backwards-thinking.
  • LNG tankers are ungodly explosive.
  • Clearcutting hundreds of miles through sensitive areas sucks, a lot. A long line of clearcut is actually significantly more invasive than the same acreage felled in a square, because it divides wildlife, creates new false edges to the forest, etc. etc.
  • No one actually wants this but gas companies. These terminals were successfully driven out of California, and now Oregon has to deal with it.

Anyhow, Fish Creek is an area that the Forest Service admitted it needed to protect better, and they actually pulled out all the roads in the area so as to let the forest heal. And now? A damned pipeline looms. The bridges you see in these pictures are remants of the old roads… you have to hike miles to get to them. Personally, I’m a sucker for ruins, for abandoned elements of civilization. I actually think they’re prettier than regular, untouched nature. I guess that’s why I’m post-civ, not primitivist.
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It’s snowing in Baltimore. Like, a lot. This could actually fall under the Things I Love, Things I Hate category: it’s beautiful outside, and wandering around is like wandering around an abandoned city, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, the Red & Black Ball was supposed to be tonight, but it was postponed. And I was supposed to go wandering around Falls road (pictured) with a friend of mine, who got snowed in elsewhere.

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Ithaca Is Ogres

I just spent several days up in Ithaca, NY. I went to do a book talk, but stayed for the waterfalls. Well, and the company of course. Seriously, Ithaca is absolutely stunning. The autumn leaves and the fair weather didn’t hurt at all. And guess what, travel kids: they want more travel kids to show up. Well not oogles or scumfucks of course. Nobody wants oogles or scumfucks. But interesting folks interested in neat stuff? Go to Ithaca! Well, I can’t say more than it was nice for the 3 days I was there. But boy howdy, was it pretty. More pictures after the break. [click on pictures for bigger versions]
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