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Charity Auction: Rose Baboian’s Armenian-American Cook Book

I have a copy of this fundraiser cookbook first published in 1964 for auction on Ebay. Click here to see the listing.

50% of the sale will go to Equality Armenia. (This percentage may rise as the bidding rises.)

The auction will end on Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 5pm PST.

Auction link:

About Armenian community cookbooks: From Ajem Pilaf to Yalanchi Dolma: Armenian Cookbooks Added to Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive.

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Buying Stuff for FREE On Here with Cryptocurrency

It’s simple:

If you have some cryptocurrency, and wish to buy something here, that can be arranged.

The easiest way is to use Coinbase. There are many good exchanges out there, but Coinbase seems to be the easiest for newbies. The best thing is, you can get “free money” from Coinbase to pay for the stuff.

Free Money

Coinbase has a “rewards” program where you get paid (in cryptocurrencies) to watch short videos and take easy quizzes.

The rewards are small – $3 or so is typical – but, over time, they can appreciate in value as the interest in the currency increases. Here’s what I’ve made in rewards so far (as of May 10, 2021):

It’s a little over $200, for watching instructional videos.

The ones at the top, I watched around a year ago. They’ve appreciated in value, a lot!

The ones at the bottom, I watched recently, and they dropped in value, though, not too much. Also, it’s not like I put any money into the system. This was free money.

Sign up with Coinbase through this link, and I might get a commission if you buy crypto on there.

The Videos

The videos weren’t boring. They were short explainers that described each cryptocurrency. Each is trying to find a niche in this new financial system. Watching the videos helps you learn about the product, and also, cryptocurrency in general.

Whether you think bitcoin is legit, or a big ponzi scam, you can still watch these videos and learn how these companies/capitalists are thinking.

Odds are, nearly all these products will “fail” and be swallowed up by a bigger company. That’s just capitalist consolidation. In the meantime, they are flush with venture capital money, and trying to get mindshare.

This gives the entire system a kind of flaky, bullshitty quality. It’s slick, but seems fake.

It’s not really “fake”: it’s promotional.

The companies are trying to identify and build lists of early adopters who are open to taking financial risks. At this point, we are not “early adopters”, but the people who come after the early adopters, but we are still a valuable customers, because we take risks.

Customer acquisition costs in finance are, according to a random blog I found, $175 per customer.

Think about those numbers above: they paid $3 in fake money to get me to watch a video, and now, I’m blogging about them. Holy moly, talk about “growth hacking”.

Buying Stuff Here

Anything I have in here, in inventory, or on Ebay, you can buy with crypto.

For example, I have a book and DVD combo for sale on Ebay for $8 + shipping. The shipping comes out to around $4. So the total is $12.

Coinbase will do transfers of crypto between users, for free. No fees. (Normally, on an Ebay sale, I pay 13% in various fees to complete a sale.)

So, you transfer $12 worth of crypto to me, and I’ll delete the listing on Ebay, and mail the product out to you.

The trade will need to be arranged online, through chat. You can reach me through the contact form. Contact me there, I’ll set up a chat and we can walk through the process.

The info I’ll need are: your mailing address, what you want to buy, and your Coinbase contact.

If you want to see what else I have for sale, using “funny money”, so you can get big discounts, check out my Listia and Simbi accounts. Both will give you free “coin”, so you can get stuff for the cost of shipping.

How to Time the Market

Watch videos when the market is down. Then, later, when the market is up, you can turn around and convert the coin into one of the stablecoins, or spend them by transferring them to me, to get goods in return.

My general policy will be to convert the coin into a stablecoin, or convert to a staking coin that’s down.

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Los Angeles and Mexican American Movies

I have these for sale in a discount bundle on Facebook, Craigslist, and Listia. Listia is a site where you “buy” things with “points”, a kind of walled garden of weird commerce.

I went and bought a bunch of LA themed movies. There are a bunch of them, obviously, but these were the lesser known ones.

The Black Dahlia, Scorsese – I wasn’t too into this, but it has a really nice look to it. The story is about this woman, Elisabeth Smart who moves to LA and ends up murdered.

Lean Like a Gangster, Mexican-American – family drama with gang activity. I haven’t watched this one yet.

South of Pico, Los Angeles – poverty porn about life “south of Pico”, which is basically South LA. I found it melodramatic and stopped watching.

Banda Girls, Los Angeles Mexican-American – this is a poorly written movie but it has a lot of LA scenery, and a lot of hot girls lying around in bikinis. Lots of inside jokes, and a lot of scenes that reflect city and suburban Mexican-American life mainly on the eastside and Southeast LA. I enjoyed it.

MacArthur Park, Los Angeles – excellent and disturbing movie about crackheads in Macarthur Park, which used to be a real nightmare drug spot. The park got some fame when Robert Downey Jr. was scoring heroin around the park. Good performances. It was an exploitation movie, but I liked it.

Infierno en Los Angeles, Spanish – a Mexican production about this small time crime gang in Los Angeles, filmed around parts of LA in the late 80s or early 90s. Great retro hairstyles. Lots of scenes in Skid Row and South Central. Best scenes are at the Alameda Swap Meet, where the gang steals from the immigrant vendors. It’s not cool what they did, but they did it with style, and screwed over their countrymen.

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Shinjuku Incident with Jackie Chan

Chan goes dramatic with a self-produced film to flex his acting skills. Chan plays the straight man, “Nick”, aka Tietou a Chinese tractor repairman who chases after his girlfried, Xie Xie, who emigrated illegally to Japan to seek a better life. He meets up with his brother, “Joe”, aka Jie, who arrived earlier, and knows Japanese. Nick arrives the foreign innocent, but the film takes plot twists: he saves a cop’s life, sees Xie Xie dressing Japanese and with a Yakuza, gives up on morality, ends up involved with crime, sees his Joe maimed, seeks revenge, maims a gangster, and then becomes an assassin for the Yakuza, rising high in the ranks. Nick cannot let go of his morality, and tries to use his new power to have the local Chinese businesses go legit. This is a morality play with twists and turns like this, over and over, with Nick going from good to evil then good again.

This all takes Shinjuku, a multicultural ghetto populated by immigrants, gangsters, thieves, and drug dealers. Shinjuku is also well known, globally, as a hub of Japanese youth culture. Within Japan, though, it’s known for being sleazy.

As a Japanese American viewer who lives in a Latino community, I couldn’t help but empathize with the Chinese underground community in Japan, facing racism and structural oppression. This movie is layered with a complex presentation of racism, and how the oppressed people negotiate the terrain, and manage the situation.

You get a taste of conservative Yakuza ultranationlist racism, but also Yakuza Eguchi’s working class sympathies with the Chinese immigrants. You get the conflict between the Taiwan gangs who are controlled by the Yakuza, and the Mainland Chinese underclass who engage in small time theft. You even get a gigantic video billboard with English language discussions about racism, oppression, and underground economies – a narrator explaining the big ideas, but in the language of global hegemony.

If you know a Chinese language or Japanese, I suggest watching this with subtitles and the original audio. The dialogue switches between different Chinese languages and Japanese, and the characters also switch languages mid-speech. The effect contributes to the atmosphere.

The film also flips between genres. It’s mostly a gangster action drama, sometimes feeling like an HK action movie, sometimes feeling like a Japanese Yakuza movie, and sometimes feeling like a Japanese cop drama. There’s even a moment that felt like moralistic Communist propaganda.