Alberto Castro

Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass

Winamp skin based on the Enlightenment (DR16) skin by the same name.

Winamp NFT initiative

My submission to the Winamp Foundation's NFT Initiative.

This skin was designed sometime between 2002-2004.


Graffiti in Belgrade


Lortek Interview

On my first trip to Eastern Europe, I had the honor to meet Lortek, a native of Beograd and a veteran writer with more than 30 years of experience.

Recently, Street, published an interview, a collaboration that I did with Pablo Canvas, where we interview Lortek about the reality of bombing in Beograd.

The interview is both in English and Spanish.

Link to the Interview.


Ode to Thomason Part II

Ode to Thomason Part II

Everything that goes up, must come down

Narrator’s voice: I will borrow a line and say, “everything that goes up, must come down”.

And here it was that the summer began.

Thanks to their fake mailed-in driver licenses, edited in the school’s computer lab, laminated and signed, Thomason and his group of vacationless peers, where enjoying the night. Sitting down in the Cairo Sofitel, in a Mexican Restaurant-Bar called Los Amigos. He pushed the idea to climb the pyramid, and he was not talking about just any pyramid. “It has to be the Great one!”. The one that has given Egyptian anthropologist headaches, and the ones to come...

Sitting in the taxi, he bribed the man to take the group as close as possible to the Giza Plateau. The group was dropped off within the comfort zone of the driver, from here it would be a peregrination of several minutes, un-light alleys, filled with sand, as to remind you, that Cairo is a big mystery.

Having conquered the terrain, having used the shadow of the night as their shield, within ten minutes, the group found themselves in front of the great beast. They moved fast and had managed to avoid detection. Half an hour later, amidst the moonlight, triumphant, they caught up with the top of the world.

They began to explore the corners of the flat surface. The top of the pyramid is flat. As if a piece of the monument is missing. It was curious to see his resilience, leaving no stone unturned, snooping and glancing at the thousands of graffiti tags and signatures of past climbers, some dating back to 18th century, some, even included generations of families, dates.

A few hours passed, sunrise, a distant memory, cold & mosquito bitten, the group decides to call it a night. In his mind, he knows, he will be back.

The descent was a lot faster than expected. The six men, the military police, who went on about their business, knew all too well that the group that had managed to bypass their sentry had to climb back down. It was just a matter of time, inevitable. By now, another man had joined their ranks. Soon, the two would meet, as if their fates had been sealed in hieroglyphs, and it would go down in history, as the biggest bargain of his young life.

Back on the ground. Surrounded. A short, robust man stepped away from the shadows. He spoke, “What do you want?”, “You can go to jail or...”, Thomason cut him off, “or I can give you my credit card and tonight you let us climb the pyramid again, and we will pay you”, “Baksheesh, Baksheesh”, originally a Persian word, it is a form of bribery.

Nobody really knows, what Thomason was thinking, but to their surprise, the thick, compact man, didn’t hesitate to accept the plastic. An agreement had been settled. Thomason would be allowed to return that same day and climb as if he had explicit permission from the gods.

Sigh of relief. The group left. Easier said than done.

Perhaps the height of the pyramid had affected their compass. Still not out of the woods yet, out of the shadows, the group was ambushed by a white bearded old man in civilian cloths. He had jumped out of nowhere. The man wasn’t wearing a smile. He was dead serious. Firmly gripped, he was aiming an assault riffle, probably an AK-47 from the Soviet era.

The group, was motionless and startled, when Thomason yelled, “Baksheesh, Baksheesh”, “Bukra, bukra, sadiq”, as if it were a code word, telling the white bearded man, “tomorrow we will pay our dues my friend”. And so it was. The white bearded man, lowered his weapon, and the group was allowed to proceed.

What other surprises awaited them? Above all, it was still necessary to find a means of transportation and return to normality.


Ode to Thomason Part I

Ode to Thomason Part I

The last of the summer nights

Narrator's voice: I assume that when we set out on this journey, he had one goal in mind and that was to make it to the top. I don't know if it ever occurred to him, the trouble we could of have gotten into. I mean, a small group of foreigners climbs one of the pyramids during the night….

This was the summer before his Junior year. This was just another goal that he had to accomplish. He was always of the adventurer kind, always up for a challenge. He knew it was forbidden, or as he would of said it best: "it's there, it wants you to climb it." Getting to this remote location out in no man's land was the easy part. He noticed how easily people would oblige when money was involved. His eyes where fixed with the sole purpose to climb this monument of an ancient civilization. He probably never registered the danger. Six men standing around, moving from place to place. Protecting this relic as if they were once warriors of this lost civilization. The only sign was the moon. As the group began to climb this magestique monument, he knew that the men with the duty to protect and guard this monument had caught their eyes.

He knew that the sooner they started climbing the easier it would be for them to move freely vertically upon this rock. His legs were not limber. He obviously had experience when it came to climbing. He looked down at the quarrel of men that were shouting for the group to come down. "Come and get us, why don't you!" He yelled. Each time louder with an added laughter towards the end. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw the warriors go about their business. He spoke again, "If they want us to come down, they can come and get us!"

As he reached the top of the pyramid, he perhaps questioned how soon he could do this again. And with more people. Perhaps next time, bring a camera and what not. Up at the top, it felt safe. Up there, the last of the summer nights felt like an Eternity. Time passed, marked only by the mosquito bites on his arms and legs.


The 10 commandments

The new norm

NO! to the new norm.

Beyond the feelings generated in me, by this world event, my own validation, that we live and above all, that we live in an orchestrated norm, full of injustices, I can only say: No! to the new norm.

The new norm sounds like the title of an executive order from an oppressive regime, just as it was, Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950’s, Pinochet and Sadat in the 1970’s, Mugabe and Noriega in the 80's, Hugo Chavez in the 90's.

The idea of maintaining a population or society under stress and fear, is nothing new.

So how did we get here?

We have been in this situation for a long time, eons. When a population or society is fundamentally unjust, its injustices grow and become stronger over time. New developments that occur can routinely (flow) into existing systems, even abuse them.

Take these 10 flash points, I call them, the Ten Commandments.

When corruption, the police, and racism become a public health crisis.

George Floyd's death spread to all US states, and to countries around the world; in Mexico, the death of Giovanni Lopéz, for not using a face mask. There are long stories of abuse and police brutality in both nations, particularly directed at those with the least amount of monetary and social resources to hold them accountable. And meanwhile in the US, this attack has become an implicit stimulus to continue doing so.

April 1, 1829. Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña, a liberal by conviction and an active Mason in the York Rite Lodge, became the first black Mexican President. In one of his speeches, Guerrero exclaims, "A free state protects the arts, the industry, science and commerce, and the only rewards are virtue and merit."

Guerrero continues, "If we want to acquire the latter, let's do it, cultivating the fields, the sciences and everything that can facilitate the sustenance and the entertainment of the human being, let's do it in such a way that we are not a burden on the nation and only otherwise.

Guerrero, is a Mexican hero, the state of Guerrero is named in his honor.

The economy and unemployment.

According to experts, it will take around 10 years for the world economy to return to its pre-covid-19 point.

Femicide and domestic violence.

In México alone, 8 out of 10 women feel insecure and the majority have been attacked, not to mention, child abuse.

The abuse of our privacy, human rights, and the use of our metadata.

I don't know when it happened, but we are no longer using Social Media, Social Media is using us. How is it possible that Facebook knows in advance that a woman is pregnant while she doesn’t? Facial recognition, such a strange thing, when the W.H.O. begs us to make use of a face mask. Privacy is the basis of all our rights.

The war on drugs.

The war on drugs, its failure and how it has transformed the economy and influenced culture, not only in Mexico (Malverde), worldwide.

Climate change and technology.

Climate change and technology have become politics. The future is radical.

The pandemic.

After 16 weeks in confinement, it’s no longer a surprise to see societies demanding their freedom, the protests against racism, and as the month of June are concerned, México registered its most violent day, despite measures to curb SARS-cov2, with 117 homicides. The movement against Lopez Obrador or Doctor Chapatín, as Daniel González calls him, prevails in 115 cities and continues. During this time, domestic violence has grown, due to the “grand confinement”.

I leave you this question, "did you imagine someday living this confinement with your aggressor?"

It should be noted that on the last sentence, the aggressor is not only that physical person, but also all the systems infected by injustices, that is why I say that we have been in this situation for a long time.

According to the dictionary, normality means quality of life. Remember, we have a contract between the people and the government.

NO to the new norm.