Tag Archives: knox college

Now selling John Ashcroft’s backwash on eBay

UPDATE (12:17 P.M. cst AUG. 4) eBay has removed my listing, calling it “adult”. I guess this means Ashcroft’s backwash turns them on.

I finally got around to it. Until August 10, you can bid to be the proud owner of a glass full of former U.S. Atorney General John Ashcroft’s backwash.

I would relate the story behind me getting the item here, but I did it pretty well in the listing summary. So here is that:

This is not a joke. This is actually a glass of former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s backwash.

He spoke at Knox College April 22 (Earth Day, of all days) and was a pretty big jerk to every one (including your humble seller). There is a YouTube video of him being mean to me, actually. My retort got more cheers than his, so if applause meters selected Attorneys General, I would be there right now.

(I am the dude in the purple shirt around 6:10)

After he left, my friends and I attempted to regain our ability to reason after the vicious attack against humanity that spewed from that man’s mouth, so we decided to play a little music in the theater where he spoke. You know, to channel that frustration into something productive.

And what do we find still sitting on the pedestal? John Ashcroft’s glass, still with water and backwash in it (in one photo, you can see the water pitcher and glass on the pedestal during his talk).

(P.S. Thank you, Evan Temchin, for the photo)

We first dared each other to drink it, but nobody would. It’s like Satan’s glass or something. You just never know.

Then I thought, Hey, we could probably use this to put hexes on him or something. But I don’t know anything about hexes. Derrick Jensen spoke at Knox a few days later, and he suggested we plant his DNA at a murder scene so he is found guilty. That’s by far the best idea, but I would have no idea how to do that. And how do you find a murder scene? I’d have to have pretty good timing (and happen to have the glass on me).

So, defeated and out of other ideas, I did what any good American would do. I decided to try to make money on it on eBay.

So here is your chance to buy the backwash, fingerprints, lipprints and DNA of a war criminal to do with as you please (though I wouldn’t suggest the framing for murder thing, since now I’ve spoiled that idea by writing it here).

It is a few months old. I’m not sure how long backwash stays good. But on close inspection, the water is still clear. There is nothing growing anywhere. I think Ashcroft’s saliva has a strong disinfectant in it that destroys all life. That would explain a few things.

And very little has evaporated, since it has been sealed with cling wrap and a rubber band and kept in a dark closet this whole time.

The glass is part of the deal, and I will figure out a secure way to ship the items. So worst case scenario, you have a glass that John Ashcroft drank from. That’s pretty cool, right? You can pour guests a glass of water and say, “You are drinking from the very same glass as the man responsible for the torturing of prisoners in American custody!” The perfect way to liven up any social gathering!

Happy bidding!



Filed under My Life, Resisting

Derrick Jensen vs. John Ashcroft

Derrick Jensen came to Knox just three days after John Ashcroft. I could not imagine a more incredible span of ideas on one campus in one week (I guess Ashcroft’s lies count as “ideas”).

Anyway, Ashcroft’s visit was so much fun. The student protests were awesome, and completely stole media coverage of the event. The student questions were good and even got picked up on Olbermann (not bad for a tiny school in the middle of the prairie). And John Ashcroft was a dick to me, but my counter got more cheers than him. So he can eat it. There’s video of that (I come in around 6:10):

Besides getting a chance to yell at a war criminal, the Ashcroft thing was really interesting because The Knox Student got to try out a bunch of new web features, and our coverage of the event rocked. Just a couple months before this, we were not even online yet. I think we changed pretty fast.

But after a really upsetting debate on campus about whether or not the protests were justified (support your protesters, people. They are putting themselves on the line for you, even if you don’t agree with them), I started to lose the rest of my faith in a revolution coming from the American people (and any semblance of support for the Democrats was completely exploded, though there was not much left by this point).

And right at the perfect time, here comes Derrick Jensen. He is the perfect person to read if you are starting to completely doubt mainstream America’s ability to make changes in our completely fucked society. The amazing thing about Derrick is that he really won’t tell you anything you didn’t already know when you were in third grade. Hey, if I have money, doesn’t that mean someone else somewhere doesn’t? Hey, if there is a limited amount of oil, won’t it run out? Hey, if you catch too many fish, won’t they go away? But for me, Derrick was a slap in the face, making me look closely at the very foundations of our culture and realize that it is, truly through and through, insane.

Let’s just say, my world, which was teetering, came crashing down. Here are some videos I took at is talk. Sorry for the shitty quality. I had the camera set from a theater project I did (more about that in a future post).

I highly recommend reading Endgame.

More to come on my new found interest in resistance. And in other news, I stole John Ashcroft’s glass from the podium after the talk. I am going to be putting it on eBay as John Ashcroft’s Backwash. I wonder how much the several-month-old DNA of a war criminal goes for in the market these days…


Filed under My Life, Resisting

Launched web site, had a hearing, graduated, working for the KC Star …

Well, it’s been a while since I updated on my life. I guess it’s been a pretty crazy couple months.

I graduated from Knox College in June, but not without a fight. I started some controversy over an editorial I wrote for The Knox Student and was taken in front of the Broadcast, Internet and Publications Board on bogus charges of irresponsible journalism (my second time in front of the board). It was pretty awesome, actually. I ended up not only winning the case, but the board charged the faculty executive committee with changing how faculty committees handle a free press at Knox (because right now there are no rules, which is bad for us). So I feel pretty good about that.

If you want, you can read all about it on TKS’s new fucking web site. This site is probably the reason I stopped writing on this blog (well, that and a Hemingway class I took where I read pretty much everything the guy ever published). It’s built on Django, which seems to be working out spectacularly. @mattbaker really worked his ass off on the site, and he now has a crack team of programmers going at the thing. A lot of interesting web journalism ideas floating around TKS these days. I mean, what school of 1,300 has a student press this active? I wish all those folk the best of luck next year (I probably made their jobs a lot harder in a lot of ways … oops).

Also, I got an internship at The Kansas City Star for the summer writing features. Their (our?) site has a pay wall still, but you can read what I’ve written until it all goes away. It has been a great experience, and there is nothing like getting paid to talk to interesting people and write about it. That is just the best job someone could hope for. And this is just so cool:

Also, my grandfather has died. Not only was he my grandfather, but he was my name sake. I wonder if the family can hold together without him. Maybe it’s already too late. Over half of us have moved away from St. Louis already.

My internship will be over at the end of August. Then my plan is to move to Denver. Because why not? For the first time ever, I don’t have anywhere to be.

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Can Knox protest like this?

Many student activists at Washington University in St. Louis, my hometown, protested a talk by Alberto Gonzales yesterday, charging him with being a war criminal. Excellent St. Louis blog, PubDef, covered the protest:

I wonder if little ol’ Knox College, far from a big city, can conjure up the energy to protest our upcoming visit by John Ashcroft with similar energy. I think we can, but I’m a pretty optimistic guy.


Filed under My Life, Things That Interest Me

A long day of social networking

I spent today on the couch where I woke up creating Twitter accounts for The Wiki Fire, The Whateverist and The Knox Student. Then I used Twitterfeed to feed RSS feeds from each web site to automatically tweet.

As of 10:22 p.m., I am still in my pajamas. Yeah, it’s been that kind of day.

Anyway, I would love to introduce to all of you The Whateverist. It is a WordPress blog using the new Prologue theme, which is based on Twitter. Whateverist is the brain child of everyone’s best buddy, Jay over at fysigunk.us. As of this posting, there have been three different contributors. We don’t know what this thing is going to do, or who we want to invite to it or anything. So it’s kind of exciting. I’m sure Jay has a better idea than I do, since it is his thing.

the whateverist screen

Also, I am very excited about the Wiki Fire twitter account. I have it set right now so that any time a new article is created on the site (which is based on MediaWiki), it will tweet with the article title and the beginning of the body text. Pretty neat. This screen is of a Twitter article I wrote in order to test it …
the wiki fire tweet screen cap

In other news, my good friend Kelli Refer has started a cyberfeminist blog called Reviving Emma that should prove rather interesting. Cyberfeminism is an interesting, complicated series of ideas that I don’t think I know enough about. So teach me, hot stuff!

In other news, I installed Adobe CS3 today, and it is extremely fast on my MacBook. Like, it surprised me how fast it was. Photoshop flies around like I always wanted it to. It’s magic. I also figured I would take a look at the new stock photo search in Bridge, and searched for a picture of a gavel (research for a graphic I need to make for the paper). It returned tons and tons of images, so I click one, and here is what I got:

expensive photos

I had to look at this screen several times just to make sure it was, indeed, trying to sell me a boring photo of a gavel for, at the very cheapest, $100. I mean, really? $100? Will anyone ever buy that? Why does this exist in Adobe Bridge? It’s so strange. If these do sell, then I am quitting college right now and taking random photos of shit to sell on Adobe Bridge.

Anyway, in the AFK world, I spent all week working on a strange theater design project involving minimal lights and very loud, strange audio. It was really disorienting. I wish I could describe it better, but I don’t know how. Basically, the audience faces a short wall in a rectangular black box theater. The two walls on either side of the audience and the one in front of them have lights pointed towards them. We led them to their seats in absolute darkness, leading them with a flashlight so they could find their seats. Then we let them adjust to the darkness and the quiet. Then a conversation between my buddy Danny Fisher-Bruns and I started. That goes on for a while and is kind of existential and stuff. Then a smooth kind of feedback noise comes on while the sound of footsteps and shit being dragged around plays. At this point, the lights start, but very subtly. I’m talking 3% intensity, so you are not even sure they are on, but you know you’re getting dizzy. Then as things are dying down, a massive ridiculously loud noise wall comes at you and the two walls on either side of you start flashing back and forth in a very bright red that disorients you more and you can’t hear anything but crazy noise and then it ends. Total time, about 20 min counting silence at the start. I guess some things don’t translate into digital format very well, though. Sorry.

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Filed under My Life, Uncategorized

New computer, new life, o algo

I have a MacBook now, and it’s wonderful. It’s kind of interesting how having a camera above your screen at all times really changes the way you compute. And running Ubuntu in Parallels is basically the coolest thing ever.

I have neglected this site since being back at Knox College, as usually happens with every non-Knox project I have going. But I will graduate soon, so don’t run away.

I’ve been writing a lot, mostly “creative non-fiction”, whatever that is. Here’s a story I wrote today that involves my good friend Jay over at fysigunk.us.



But it was fun when we made that drive to Steubenville, Ohio and got your fingernails done by a man named Nam whose brother, named Viet, was a friend of Jay’s and the school paid for it all. It was a tiger stripe acrylic job, and we made you curl your fingers towards us like a cat and say, Meow. We laughed and laughed.

Viet traveled from Seattle to Steubenville on a motorcycle to join his brother in the nail business. He was there for two weeks before he went back home. He traveled through our school on the way down. He stayed with Jay, and got into the safety report for shimmying up the walls in an apartment building hallway until he could press his back to the ceiling. Jay was going to call his story, Viet Goes to Nam, but before he could finish, we had to talk to Nam, too.

I had never been around you for this long before, and it was the first time we had really traveled together a decent distance. Holding the bottoms of your fingers gently under the light, Nam told us he had traveled all around the United States when he was a little younger. He now had a wife and kids and two nail salons in Steubenville that are fairly successful, following in the footsteps of his and Viet’s parents. After arriving in Seattle from Vietnam, the couple decided to open a nail salon named Nam Viet. Nam, being their oldest son, was named after their salon. So was their second, Viet. Nam said he was happy in Steubenville because he realized one day that “everyplace is the same” and stopped traveling.

We got back in my car to return to Illinois. The northeast Ohio steel towns hidden into the Smokey mountains would surprise us as we drove around bends, exist for a minute, then be gone again. Brilliant was the name of one town, mere miles from Steubenville. Every corner of a massive steel frame structure lit with a single light. But there were hundreds and hundreds of these corners throwing their light across the mirror of a lake. I slowed the car, trying to hold onto the view as long as I could.

I held your hand, then. Jay never finished the story.


I have really enjoyed writing again, as it’s been a while since I really sat down and wrote a “creative” story (as in, not a story for the newspaper, not that those aren’t creative, also). I am going to write a script for a YouTube personality, I think. It’s an interesting format for a fiction writer, I feel. I’ll see where that goes, though I probably won’t be able to talk about it too much, since it’s supposed to be all “real” and stuff or whatever.

I will try to write here more. I have decided that my posts do not need to be perfect, so I will try to up the quantity and see if the quality really goes down that much. Let me know what you think.

To leave, I embed to you a video that will turn your brain to shit. It’s Peter Aidu performing Steve Reich’s Piano Phase. Simply put, one hand is playing the same thing as the other, but at a very slightly different tempo. You will see what happens.


Filed under My Life