Archive for March, 2009

  • Rob Spectre
  • 31
  • Mar
  • 09

Why does the world have to be such a lonely place?  Why do I have to feel alone?

You might wake up and notice you’re someone you’re not.   If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, you can find out first hand what it’s like to be me.  A stranger with your door key, explaining that I’m just visiting… finally seeing that I was the one worth leaving.

Photo: Daniel Austin

Photo: Daniel Austin

My gut is burning.  Won’t you find me some water?  Just forget it – can you bring me some gasoline?  Collect a couple forks, hold them three feet apart and wait for lightning to burn me right up. I want to hate you as much as I hate myself.

I can’t sleep anymore since you left.

I miss you singing me to sleep.

I can’t wake anymore in your arms.

I miss you singing me to sleep.

He thinks this is where I’m coming from – the dark suits me.  As we all know, it may take more than love to keep the poison down and she’s somewhere now as he’s sweating it out.

I will never sleep again.  I’ll never even close my eyes.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 30
  • Mar
  • 09

When TweetDeck started to chirp like Lassie had fallen down the well, I could be assured something was up.  Scoping my timeline, all my crew in the South Bay were announcing the arrival of an earthquake.  As the 4.4. temblor rolled up the Peninsula, so too did updates on Twitter.  With full minutes between my awareness and its arrival, by the time it hit San Francisco I was already outside with my pants neatly pre-shitted.

Source: USGS

Source: USGS

The Internet just warned me of an earthquake.

As fashionable as it is to make fun of Twitter, that kind of shitworthy notice is entirely new.  Email, IRC, IM, Blog, Vlogs, Smogs, and Pogs – no other mechanic online or off would have gotten me outside or my pants appropriately prepared.  Even a telephone call would take too long to connect.

The problem most people have with Twitter is existential.  Brian Williams commented on the Daily Show “the answer to the question of what I am doing at any given time is just not interesting enough.”  The fundamental concept of the microblogging format is fairly targeted as decadent and depraved; an egocentric, over-inflated platform for the pathologically self-centered.

But with brown underroos a full minute before the earth started to shake, I submit that search is Twitter’s real value.  The user experience is not what is important – it is the result of that user experience spread across millions of users.  Regardless of how pedantic it seems on the individual level, macrocosmically collecting in searchable format the immediate thoughts of millions of people is valuable.

Twitter is difficult to reconcile – it takes a fundamentally antisocial behavior and, by virtue of its aggregation, turns it into an entire social endeavour.  It makes the natural inclination of the egocentric valuable to everyone.

Ultimately, I didn’t feel the earthquake out in the Sunset.  But on my way to the laundry, I observed that I had never shit myself over the Internet before, and maybe that makes this newfangled trend something more than a fad.

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  • Daniel Austin
  • 29
  • Mar
  • 09
This entry is part 2 of 40 in the series The (d)SP0T

Mt. Tamalpais was one of the first places I ever went to in the SF Bay area that was outside the cities, and one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen anywhere in the world. The beauty is so bountiful that as many photos as I take there, I still find it incredibly difficult to convey the extent of the beauty found in the existential experience of it.

lookout-from-mt-tam

bank-right-to-balance

see-you-tomorrow

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 27
  • Mar
  • 09

An unexpected wave of warmth washes over the worker ants scurrying from the subway station.  Distracted by their labor, unsuspecting, they give a rare look upward to be showered in the sun’s shine.  Those scaling the stairs stop taking steps two at a time.  Those climbing the escalator stop in their tracks, hastened only by the miracle of modernity carrying them to the street.

The sidewalk above has every signal of the coming season.  Sun dresses and halter tops.  Power lunches on patios and mimosas washing down spinach salads.  Sunglasses the size of a windshield and skirts the width of a belt.  Stilettos switched for sandals and starched button ups swapped for wash faded polos.  A shirtless Columbian cuts into a blues lick in a bid for passerby pocketchange.  A black man in a fedora ratchets back the hard sell for his shoe shines.  The F line rolls by with its open top.

Spring has arrived to San Francisco.

Sirens and horns reverently hold their wails for another day.  Salespeople pull their headsets from their ears and put their phones on vibrate.  Bike messengers kill the chirp of their radios and bum another cigarette.  Street marketers hand out their pamphlets like church programs.  Each man and woman winding through this twisted downtown is silently wishing their afternoon was spent in the park than on the pavement.

This is no kind of day for this kind of labor.

While the city sucks in the warm glow of another California spring, across the bay four heroes are put in the dirt.  While we all make merry, Oakland lays to rest Mark Dunakin, John Hege, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai – four police officers slain while trying to stop a real life monster barely human.  While we chat about the golden weather and weekend ambitions, over 20,000 cops bury four of their own and chat about very little.  While we celebrate the arrival of a well-earned spring, four families in Oakland suffer the onset of an undeserved winter.

One breathes this air and bathes in this vernal light and the will for work evaporates.  This is no kind of day for this kind of labor.

No kind of day to bury our heroes.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 26
  • Mar
  • 09

The New York Times broke the news to America that her idols are, in fact, false.  After an initial denial got called bullshit, a spokeperson for the popular reality retard rodeo American Idol admitted that group numbers are lip-synced.  Tipped off by former contestant Justin Guarini, Times reporter Edward Wyatt finally wrestled a statement out of the national brand’s PR droid:

Due to extensive choreography and to balance their voices with open mikes against a screaming audience, the Idols do sing along to their own prerecorded vocal track during the group performances only.

Representatives from the show hastened to add that solo performances never use any recorded music or vocals, though they do record a performance to be released on iTunes after the show airs.

Coming up on seven years old, the unbearably ubiquitous StarSearch clone is unlikely to be damaged by the revelation of lip-syncing.  Like finding out a fairy isn’t putting the quarter under your pillow, the thin fiction of authenticity isn’t a central support of the competition.  American Idol is a contest of popular culture powered by a theme idealizing and idolizing a very narrow band of pop singer.

The throne of the Magic Kingdom should be made of formica.  Quarter-pounders should come with imitation cheese.  It’s not idolatry if the object of worship is authentic. Were Idol not to feature lip-syncing, it would be a farce of a farce, introducing a psyche shredding hall of mirrors brand of meta.  They would be failing to be the fairy tale they were packaged to be.

That’s what makes American Idol’s initial reluctance to admit to lip-syncing so bizarre.  Switching to high fructose corn syrup didn’t kill Coca-Cola.  Admitting matches weren’t genuine didn’t kill professional wrestling.  If anything, pop culture products that embrace the bullshit upon which they are built go on to scoop even more of their vanilla shill.

Putting up the sign isn’t what made Disneyland fake.

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