net banging

…is my favorite new term. It’s when gang members proclaim their affiliations through web pages, blog posts, guestbooks and myspace comments. In other words, digital grafitti.

The owner of the blog In the Hat describes his blog as:
“Gangs, crime, cops and politics in Los Angeles. I welcome commentary by interested parties. Comments are moderated so don’t waste my time net banging. All correspondence remains anonymous.” For voyeurs and chismosas like me, In the Hat is a fascinating read. Who knew cholos could be so articulate?

photo by Graciela Iturbide

dérive: san francisco to south san gabriel


dérive: san francisco to south san gabriel

Last weekend, I participated in a group dérive around San Francisco. We wandered between various SF bars, restaurants and other places. Meeting places were designated every three hours (it was an ambitious 24 hour derive) and in each place a few new people would appear. It was quite fun. Most people naturally walked their way through the city. We being true to our Los Angeles roots jokingly referred to our mobile method of getting around as a derive minus the “e.”

Allowing oneself to wander through the city to encounter unexpected experiences is a very attractive way to spend the day. In fact, today I had one such amazing experience. I met the most extraordinary man purely by chance and by merely asking him a simple question. In a cul-de-sac, a block away from my family home on a street I haven’t visited since I was in the eighth grade, I discovered a surprising bit of wild space and more impressive, an old man and his backyard Shangri-la.

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