The Right to Disassembly

How an amendment smothered the right to protest in Montreal.

You can’t stay sad for ever, you know?#

Minutes From a Meeting at the Bay Area Radical Transit Association Known as Lyft

lyft“Hey guys. I’ve got an idea. It’s kind of crazy, but stick with me. Getting around in cities, it kind of sucks, right? Things are far apart but it’s so crowded and the traffic is bad and you have to waste all this time driving, when you could be checking your email or your Twitter or playing Clash of Clans or whatever. And thousands—maybe millions—of people are facing this same dilemma. So, like, imagine if there were places you could go in the city, like designated spots, maybe like intersections or something in these densely populated areas, and these designated spots never changed, and if you went to them at certain times, you could pay a nominal fee to get into a vehicle of some kind that would just like take you to other spots within a designated area. And not just you, but like, practically anyone, like the public, man. We could call it…HotSpots. I know it’s like almost cheesy but I think it works really well because the spots are popular, like hot, and I really think that people will need something familiar, because like wireless hotspots, to wrap their head around this concept, because it’s so totally radical.”

“Wow. It could fail miserably because no one’s ever done anything like that, but we have to try. We just have to. Not just for the public. But for our investors.”

On Doing Everything Right and Still Making the Wrong Decision

My husband and I are a supposedly elusive breed: the Millennial Homeowner. However, this is not something we are celebrating. Three years ago, newly engaged and living in a new area, we started looking for houses. It was a kind of mania with me, some programming that we needed the house and the big yard and the mortgage to be real adults, to be successful. We had been very careful financially.

Both of us are teachers, and we had spent years limiting our spending and living in cheap apartments, squirreling away money for the house of our dreams. My soon-to-be-husband especially was a big saver, quietly amassing over $20,000 dollars in his bank account over two years, while I was not far behind with my own savings. When we moved to a new place, a beautiful, rural area of Virginia that bordered the Chesapeake Bay, our suburbia-raised selves rejoiced. Everywhere we looked were wide-open fields, desolate beaches, roads lined with wildflowers. We went for bike rides and ate fresh seafood and thought: This. This is it. Weʼre going to stay here forever.

So, when I saw a listing for a historic farmhouse on three acres, I immediately took a drive past it. Bordered on one side by a few acres of woods, with a big backyard, perfect for those imagined future kids and pets! With the house flanked by beautiful, old trees, I was overjoyed. I came back that weekend with my fiance and my father, a real estate agent who was visiting us for the weekend. The house was less perfect once we were inside. The owner had clearly not done anything, including clean, in a long time. The floors needed refinishing, the kitchen made my stomach turn, and rooms were decorated with ancient pink carpets and deeply creepy stuffed animals. In one of the rooms, the ownerʼs dog had thrown up at some distant point in the past, and it had gone unnoticed. A dead mouse lay in the middle of another room. However, all these things added up to one thing for us: a low price. 

Washington D.C., Ranked

1. Veep
2. Scandal
3. Alpha House
4. House of Cards
5. Homeland

“Over millions of years, essential genes haven’t changed very much, while junk DNA has picked up many harmless mutations. Scientists at the University of Oxford have measured evolutionary change over the past 100 million years at every spot in the human genome. ‘I can today say, hand on my heart, that 8 percent, plus or minus 1 percent, is what I would consider functional,’ Chris Ponting, an author of the study, says. And the other 92 percent? ‘It doesn’t seem to matter that much.'”#

Chromatics, "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around"


I am fairly impressed by the way Chromatics have been able to sustain the aesthetic they first committed to with Night Drive back in 2007 (I know, it didn’t seem right to me either but I went and double-checked and yes, it was that long ago, wrinkled sadface emoji goes here) while still making interesting records that so perfectly encapsulate a particular mood, but life is full of surprises if you know where to look. If you are unfamiliar with Chromatics, one good place to look is here.

shutterstock_91893437You’re tired. You also anxious and angry and a little scared—and always, always sad—but usually these days when you suddenly take a step back and survey who you’ve turned into while you weren’t paying attention, you realize that mostly you are a person who is tired. And not just tired in the world-weary way we have all become because of the continuous content assault absorbed each day as we wend our way through life’s web; no, this is an actual physical fatigue. You’d kill for a rest, just an extra hour of shallow slumber here or there but even when you find yourself in the perfect position—eyes closing on the couch and nothing in particular to do for the next sixty minutes—you can no longer sustain any sort of sleep before the worry wakes you, so you sit there, head slumped on your shoulder, recalling how easy it used to be not so long ago for you to turn everything off. But now? There’s nothing natural you know of that will let you lay yourself down, and even the chemical cures are proving less and less effective. There are plenty of reasons for this, some of them psychological, some of them due to how hard you run yourself and how little room you allow for the sheer silence and the utter absence of stimulation; a lot of it has to do with the way that everything is terrible and only getting worse and the accompanying physical toll that it takes on you to pretend otherwise to yourself and the people around you, to proclaim in spite of all the evidence that things are really great, that you don’t understand how anyone can’t see just how terrific it all is and why isn’t everyone cheering about what a wonderful world we live in now etc. etc. etc. to the extent that you know you have to just keep on shouting about how amazing it is because if you stop for even a second the next sound out of your mouth will be a low, keening wail wracked with a pain so profound that it will never find itself finished. So yes, you’re tired. It’s a constant struggle. But come Sunday morning the clocks go forward an hour; at least your end-of-day exhaustion will shimmer a little longer in the late-afternoon light. That’s something, right?

Photo via Shutterstock #

New York City, March 4, 2015

weather review sky 030415★★★ The early sunrise and the ambient albedo of the new snow sent wakening light around the edges of the blinds, despite the overcast sky. Men with shovels were out breaking up the thick old curbside ice, levering up a huge gray slab like demolition rubble. The opening notes of “In Bloom” looped mordantly in the mind at the thought of the thaw. The MTA’s recorded message about cold and flu season played asynchronously on the opposite platforms, bounding off floor tiles evenly covered in a damp shine. A vast gray lake filled the corner by the cupcake shop downtown. The fresh whiteness headed swiftly toward slush-gray or soot-black, where it wasn’t headed to oblivion. As twilight approached, a light and still falsely springlike rain fell, making wet spots on the–when did this happen?–bare and dry bricks of the forecourt.

The Right to Disassembly

protest

On April 5th, 2013, a cold early-spring day in Montréal, I interviewed a young activist during a protest, walking briskly alongside her as the march circled a public park. Police and their cars blocked every intersection where protesters might deviate from the park’s periphery to roam around the city, as Montréal protests often do. There was a blaring, unintelligible announcement over police loudspeakers. Then the riot cops charged; they encircled the crowd, their shields between us and them, faces blank. “Excuse me,” I said, “I’m a journalist. I came here as a journalist.”

“This protest has been declared illegal under municipal bylaw P-6,” an oversized megaphone announced in French.

No one was surprised. Municipal bylaw P-6 was the reason people were protesting. Over the past three years, P-6 has been used to control and suppress over a dozen protests in Montréal. It gives the police a range of different strategies for arresting and ticketing protesters, and has been used as a tool to target certain political activists and movements whenever it suits the authorities. In other words, P-6 is a textbook anti-protest law.

Seriously why have you not watched the new season of 'High Maintenance' yet?

First things first: watch the first season of “High Maintenance” for free RIGHT HERE. When you’re done, create a Vimeo account and rent the new season by clicking the “purchase” button in the video player above. Or you can just go here.

Here is the deal. They’re not paying us to promote this. But they ARE giving us a cut of sales. So if you buy it through that link, we get a cut. That is our full disclosure. Also we think “High Maintenance” is terrific and we would have done this for free anyway. So someone got played here.