November 15, 2005
November 15 - 18
North Beach, San
|I rented a gallery on
Grant St. for a couple of days, listening to music, painting
signs and nailing them up on the walls. Apart from a couple of
isolated Fuck You! s, the response from passers-by was
overwhelmingly positive. Signs are staying up longer
these days as well. People are finally beginning to wake
November 7, 2005
"We do not
||"I did not have sex with
The difference between Republicans
October 25, 2005
July 27, 2005
Freewaybloggers and those soon-to-be, It's a nice start, but
we need to do better: the only way to get more people doing
this is by doing more of it ourselves. When you put up a
sign it says two things: one, whatever you want it to say,
and two, that somebody cared enough about something to speak
out. Cardboard, paint, and something to say... that's all it
Before I became the
freewayblogger, I used to collect clothing and blankets and
deliver them to villages in the Sierra Madre mountains in
northwest Mexico. Each trip took about two thousand miles
and involved all sorts of hazards: driving in the middle of
nowhere on primitive roads, sometimes through snow, rain,
flash-flooded rivers, etc. At the border I'd have to either
elude or bribe Mexican customs officials to let me through
without the necessary permits, which are all but impossible
to get. Between 1999 and 2003 I made this trip over two
dozen times, bringing about a thousand pounds of clothes
each time and ended up clothing well over 6,000 desperately
poor people. It remains my proudest accomplishment and is
something I'd like to get back to once my own country is
safe from the idiots in charge.
The reason I'm mentioning this is that
when I first began doing it, the thing I feared most wasn't
dying on the road or getting thrown into jail. The thing I
feared most was that the whole idea was wrong-headed: that
just showing up at these villages with a bunch of clothes
would be considered patronizing or insulting to the people
who lived there. And it wasn't even their feelings I was
worried about... when you got right down to it what I was
really worried about was that I'd look foolish.
I told myself that if the stakes were as high as I thought
they were, and that the conditions in the Mexican highlands
were as bad as I'd heard (they'd just suffered a series of
cholera outbreaks in 1999) then I could certainly risk
looking foolish in an attempt to help. As it turned out, of
course, the people in the villages lived on something like
two dollars a day, were dressed in rags and damn happy to
see me. So here's my point. Even if we know in our hearts
that something is the right thing to do, it's still damn
scary if we're the only ones doing it. Ultimately though,
the thing we're really most afraid of is nothing more than
looking foolish. When you consider what's happened to this
country and its place in the world over these last five
years, as well as what could happen next, I think you'll
agree it's worth the risk.
Do what you can to make yourselves heard. Yours, Scarlet P.
P.S.: the mission to the Sierra Madres is still going strong
with the help of Paul Newman and my friend Delfino Cabarga.
You can find out more about it here:
June 16, 2005
Saw your site,
got some cardboard,
I found your site earlier tonight from a link on
and I fell in love.
I put up my first freeway blog tonight. Pictures are attached to
I live in Calgary, Alberta. I know I'll be doing a lot more,
and I'll be sure to send you all the pictures I take.
Dear Ben, Yow.
That's what I I like to see: somebody who finds the site and then
goes out there and does It. My one and only word of advice:
Paint the Cardboard White. It makes all the difference.
Peace, The Freewayblogger
June 9, 2005
Here's the latest sign from out here in rural Oregon. We get a
lot of honks (hard to tell what they mean...) a couple of friendly
waves and a couple of f*** yous. After a couple of signs torn
down we put up an electric fence and it's worked great so far.
Thanks for the inspiration...
- Oregon City OR
May 20, 2005
boyfriend's a Republican, I want you. Now.
I donít care how old you are, how
much you weigh or what you look like. I donít care if you like
cuddling by the fire or being slathered in mayonnaise with a clown
mask on. So long as you have a significant other who cares for you
deeply and voted for Bush, I can promise you without hesitation the
very best sex you have ever, or will ever have: brain-scrambling,
soul-shattering, scream-to-the-heavens sex that will leave you not
only walking funny, but mumbling incoherently for days. And believe
me, itíll be nowhere near as good for you as it will be for me.
This offer not valid to married or underage women or those with
boyfriends currently serving in Iraq. Theyíve been screwed enough.
April 20th, 2005
This is what happens when you spend $400 million
on abstinence only education
and forget to secure the domain name.
March 14th, 2005
Soldiers, 150 Signs...
Always move around. Never hit the same place too many times
in succession. Remember, you pick the time, you pick the
place. If something looks iffy, forget it. There's always
another time, another place...
March 2nd, 2005
February 22nd, 2005
January 24, 2005
in the Gym Bag
As told to me by Yves Eudes
Warning: this is a sad and disturbing story.
Last June, Yves Eudes, a
reporter for Le Monde, came
to my house and interviewed me about freewayblogging.
He was a younger man, in his thirties, good looking
and somewhat reserved, almost shy, which for a reporter
surprised me. As a political and war correspondent
he'd been in Iraq three times since the invasion and I
asked him what it was like. Specifically, I asked if
he'd seen anything he knew he'd never be able to
forget. He told me this story, and I think about it
whenever I feel like giving up.
"I was in Nasariyah and a couple came up to me on the
street asking for help. They were carrying a large
gym bag, an 'Adidas' bag, with their daughter inside.
The city was in chaos, and they came up to me, I
suppose, because I was a westerner and they thought I could
help them. When I looked inside the bag there was a
little girl, maybe two years old, with bandages around
her head. There was a terrible smell and I thought to
myself 'Okay, they have a dead girl...' The bandages
were loose and soaked in fluid - it was a terrible
wound, covering half her head. I guessed they'd gotten
her to a hospital and they'd done what they could
quickly and gave her back. It was the early days of the
war and the hospitals were full. I couldn't believe it
when I saw she was still alive."
"I took them to the Americans,
and there was a woman
soldier there, a big woman, who said there was nothing
they could do... that it had to be a military casualty
or something like that. I forget exactly. I want to
say she was mean, but I don't know. More like she was
just following her orders... she stood like this..."
he said, and folded his arms across his chest.
"We went to a couple more soldiers, but it was the
same. There was one young soldier who went for help, but
then came back saying he couldn't do anything. I went
with them for awhile longer, but it was obvious I was
useless. Eventually they just went away."
We were sitting in my garage, surrounded by the tools
of my trade: cardboard, paint, overhead projector.
Outside it was a beautiful day: a warm, late afternoon
in sunny southern California. "It's hard to describe
what they were like, the parents... they were beyond
sad, beyond scared... they were doing the only thing
they could do - looking for help - and I couldn't help
feeling that I'd wasted their time. I don't know if I
will ever forget their faces, or what it was like to
see their little girl... but the thing I know I will
never forget is the way they looked as they walked away,
wandering the streets with their baby in that bag...
looking for someone who could help them."