Archive for October, 2007

  • Rob Spectre
  • 31
  • Oct
  • 07

I was grabbing dinner with Amie at one of the few legitimate restaurants in the Bay Area. We were munching on some bacon-wrapped prawns, the combination of which is much like the twinkies and hot dogs. That is to say, bacon and prawns are not something that something that immediately leaps out at one as something that should be combined, but much like Devastator become the most powerful of all appetizers when they join forces. Swine and crustacean, almost like it was meant to be.

While preparing to dig into the culinary innovation, Amie paused mid-sentence. The point in which she stopped didn’t suggest dramatic delay, so I was initially very curious. All concern was abandoned instantly however when I finally realized that the fucking earth was shaking.

“You feel that?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“That’s an earthquake.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“AHHHHHH!”

Earthquake

The giant blue square in the diagram above was *my ass*. At 8:04pm a 5.6 magnitude temblor scrambled up the peninsula to wreck my dinner.

Earthquakes, like tornadoes, are difficult to describe. The shaking was the same severity that one would expect in a house next to railroad tracks. What was weird about the shaking, though, was the origin. When the El rolls by in a crappy hotel in Chicago, one can feel the direction the offense. With an earthquake, it was as though vibration has a timbre that betrays its origin. It feels like it is coming from the earth, like the evening rumble after a gnarly lunch at Taco del Sol.

A few tectonic plates jockey for elbow room and folks across the Bay Area freak right the hell out. My phone immediately explodes with instant messages after the earthquake. West Coast folks wanted to know if I felt it (jesus, yes). Midwest folks wanted to know if I was okay (as much as a guy on the Pacific Rim can be). East Coast folks wondered when I was going to accept this message from the Lord God that he was going to sink this hippie-infested state into the ocean and move back (fair question).

Amie said she could usually tell when an earthquake was about to happen; this animal instinct that seems to alert everything more perceptive than us that shit is about to go down. Clearly it is a trait I don’t have, as I was freaking right out.

Talking to a colleague the next day I indicated, “You guys really need to figure this shit out. This earthquake problem has gone on for too long.”

“By ‘you guys’ you mean Californians? You don’t consider yourself one yet?”

“Dude,” I declared, “Last night when that quake hit there was not a person in that restaurant that thought I was from here.”

Flickr:

Doppelganger

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 30
  • Oct
  • 07

Dear Caltrain Announcer Lady:

I hate you and your fat ass.

I hated you from the first time I heard your voice. I hate you more each time I hear it. That means every day I hear you is the day that I hate you the most.

I know I am not alone. But I know I hate you the most.

Your message is simple, perhaps the most efficiently evocative message I’ve heard:

While on Caltrain please keep your shoes, socks, and bare feet off the seat backs, seat cushions, or arm rests. If your feet are tired after a long day, Caltrain has generously provided you with a nicely carpet floor.

And then, just in case we missed it, delivered 10 decibels louder:

Keep your feet off the seats.

What’s astonishing about the effectiveness of your announcement every time I ride the train home is the combination of condescending prose and shrill, horse apple delivery. It’s not simply enough to talk to grown adult professionals like they took the same short bus as you in junior high, you *also* have to talk your voice box gets a direct feed from your twisted, evil soul. In many circumstances, one is offended by the manner in which some message is delivered. In others, the content causes one’s blood to boil.

For you, Caltrain Announcer Lady, it is both. I hate both your voice and the brain that controls it.

As difficult as it is to imagine that you are employed, as hard as it is to fathom your ability to fit your ass in the train’s doors, it gets more difficult every time to understand why on earth you insist emphasizing the final three words of each phrase with increasingly dramatic pauses and graduated shrillness. It’s as though every time you announce, it is like the first time we heard it. Like if you only deliver it with even more annoying tone that somehow it will elicit a laugh.

No one’s laughing for three simple reasons:

  1. It is not funny.
  2. Everyone on this train has heard it before.
  3. We hate you and your fat ass.

I know you know this is a commuter rail. I know you know that we all take this train every day. You’re talking to one such person while I type this. Your conversation with this person is perfectly normal. Your voice is not irritating. The content of your conversation is not condescending. There is nothing in it that would allow an individual who didn’t know you as I do that you are have a cold, black heart of darkness in the disguise a autistic five foot mutant toddler.

I want you to know I’ve tried taking other trains. I’ve tried the 6:27pm limited express. I’ve tried the 6:33pm baby bullet. I’ve braved the soon-to-be recent divorcees on the 8:25pm and the batshit whackos on the midnight making all local stops. I’ve tried to go my way and let you and your horrible fat ass go yours. But just as I settled into my chair, the second I get comfortable and take a deep breath saying to myself, “Rob, today was the day. Today was the day you beat Caltrain Announcer Lady. At last, your diligent effort has paid off.”

Just when I get that sliver of relief and the train begins to roll out of the station, I hear you.

It’s like you and your fat ass are following me; always following until finally the day comes that I walk up to you, jerk the microphone from your chubby hands, and announce to the weary commuters whose struggle I share, “This woman is annoying as fuck and we’re not going to take it any more!”

I’m just saying, can’t you work for the Muni? I’ll even fill out the application.

Yours very sincerely,

Rob

p.s. I hate you.

p.p.s And your fat ass.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 28
  • Oct
  • 07

The strike was called and I was out of my seat, screaming at the top of my lungs in the now sparsely populated restaurant.  Boston had just won and none of the hippie motherfuckers around me could figure out why it was important.

When Boston won in 2004, I was driving back from band rehearsal, screaming Dropkick Murphys as WBRU played it ten or eleven times in a row.  Cops and firefighters had their lights on, screaming to each other over their squak boxes.  Highway traffic stopped for impromptu celebrations.  Everyone was flashing their lights, swerving this way and that, giving thumbs up and gregarious shouts.  A drive that usually took me about 20 minutes ended up an hour and half mobile party.

All of New England had cause for the kind of celebration that can only come after nearly a century of losing.  The two weeks that followed, I had never seen Boston happier.  Normally, traffic with the Big Dig’s constant eff-ups was cutthroat and unforgiving.  The kind of charity on display on my rush hour drive through that city three days after the Curse of the Bambino was broken was the kind people get canonized over.  Folks in SF give East Coasts a (fair) amount of grief about being abrasive; it was the only time I had strangers smile at me in New England.

Sadly, my celebration this year was with a nearly empty restaurant, texting friends dear both far and near to share the jubilation.

The streets of San Francisco were empty while my scream after Papelbon put the third out away rang against the walls of a hollow AT&T Park.  But, I know they could hear it in Boston when I sang “Tessie, you are the only, only, only.”

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 26
  • Oct
  • 07
  • New Features

Several new features have been added to (d)N0t in the past couple days.

1. Subscriptions

There was an implicit subscription system to (d)N0t, now you can subscribe without signing up for yet another user account to manage.  Subscribers will get an email each time the site is updated (~thrice weekly) and special event notices for Fight the Future events.

To subscribe simply click here.

2. Tags

Tagging will now add greater grouping to posts than categories.  Best example is all posts in the series covering Russia can be found here.

3. Facebook

You can now share posts with your friend’s on the finest social networking website on the interflop.  The bottom of each post has a “Share on Facebook” link that will take you to a page to login.  After logging in, the post will appear on your Mini-Feed to share your fight with the future with all your friends.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 23
  • Oct
  • 07
  • Meaning

Real love, I’ve learned, is what she does when you’ve done your worst.

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