The very fonky Democratic convention won us back!

I looked up the Independent Media Center instead, paying a $10 donation to register. There, commandeering the entire sixth floor, was the hive for dozens and dozens of kids in their late teens/early 20s, with more electronic equipment than I've ever seen outside the timeless Matthew Broderick vehicle War Games. Wires ran everywhere, jury-rigged in the most frightening fire hazard I've seen yet—and I once had a landlord whose methhead son was responsible for our electricity. I finally cornered a nice young punk rocker who was willing to talk rather than look at me like I was some kind of oozing scab; apparently, they mobilize for "actions" only, handing out video cameras like candy to anyone who wants to taunt some po-lice. They all looked like they're getting regular nookie—a major feat for activists and anarchists, though Huntington Beach City Council gadfly (and candidate) Joey Racano, reporting on Aug. 14's activities, joked (I think) that he wished he'd gotten himself a little anarchist girlfriend while he was downtown. "They'll do anything!" he roared, like he does.

Check out—though a friend of mine says the Indy Media folks are going around spray-painting the camera lenses of mainstream-media types. That is not nice, children!

I commandeered the only taxi in all of downtown (I'm good) and sped at a terrifying four miles per hour to uptown-downtown, where Commie Mom was mobilizing with United Teachers Los Angeles, for which she is her elementary school's shop steward. (Shockingly, Commie Mom isn't the UTLA's only commie; there were more Che shirts in the crowd than joints at a Libertarian convention.) Stopping traffic for our three-mile hike was a black-clad SWAT team that kept having to run ahead of us—in the boiling heat, with their scary equipment, up hills both ways—to the next intersection. Poor SWAT-team guys! They didn't even get to stop at the Kosher Burrito stand and get a nosh. And hey! Who was that marching and chanting "Schools Not Jails" along with the teachers? Fullerton minstrel-extraordinaire King Kukulele, who was there with SAG/AFTRA to support the teachers' union, and he knew who I was. Ha ha, New York Delegation! You're not all that.

And I don't have room for the NBC San Diego team discussing their per diems over an Italian dinner; the lady who pocketed the $40 a guy gave her, requesting that the next five people at the soul food buffet be allowed to eat free; the panel discussion where Paul Krassner and Tommy Smothers couldn't finish a thought, their short-term memories being shot to shit, and how they kept exclaiming to one another, "I understand!"; Krassner's comment that he's never done a legal drug—he took some aspirin once, but it was a social situation; negative nelly Alexander Cockburn declaring the Natural Resources Defense Council a bunch of lawyers working for the corporations to defang environmental law; the almost fascist quality of hatred on evidence at the Shadow Convention—if you were in fact voting for Gore or Bush, you'd better not say it out loud; the gorgeous mural of Bobby Kennedy, Cesar Chavezand others on the side of a downtown building that had the Mac logo ("Think Different"), and I'm not sure if it actually was an ad or if that was an ironic comment on commerce's appropriation of our heroes; the guys handing out leaflets that George Bush killed JFK Jr. (; how the downtown buildings were so beautifully lit with red and blue as though they were buildings in Oz; etc.

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