Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008


a toner cartridge exploded on me yesterday. luckily i was wearing glasses, otherwise i might be blind in my right eye. and my pants are now magenta.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

they love the gulyas

we've had a cold snap. someone told me it's the coldest it's been in portland in 30 years. we actually had a snow day at work. it's not supposed to snow here. the result has been much movie watching and hot chocolate. spatzel stew is very popular in my house these days.

i've also been introduced to veronica mars, which turns out is a pretty good show. bonus points for the theme song being the dandy warhol's we used to be friends, which is both thematically appropriate and a great pop song (though, it maybe sticks in your head a little to easily).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

my fellow marketeers, or why i hate being in a marketing department

Alex Leo posted, what seemed to me to be, fairly reasonable remarks about sexist trends in advertising:
This was a big year for women: The first serious female presidential candidate, the first predominately female state senate, the first female Top Chef. Yet the advertising world has not caught up to the advances of half our population and continues to use stereotypes and violence to prey on our most vile desires. Here are the worst of them--the trends that won't die despite our cultural outrage, and personal boredom.

continue reading...
I was appalled, though not surprised, at some of the hateful responses readers posted. While I don't agree with all of Alex's analysis regarding the ads in question, I do agree with her overall point. I got into it a little bit with some of the commenters on the site, which I know is an exercise in futility. But sometimes it's fun to argue. Anyway, I've cut and pasted the exchange below. I get kind of high-horse-y in places, but if you read some of the earlier comments before my post, you might have a better understanding of why I ended up with that tone. (Parental units, please note that there's some harsh language used here.)

Flushy McBucketpants said...

i think a number of you are missing the point of what this post is about. (or maybe i am?)

it seems to me that this post isn't in opposition to sex in advertising. it's against perpetuating what should, at this point, be outdated and unacceptable modes of thinking about women—the idea that women are sex objects and should be subservient, that their reason for being is to please men.

the post's author does not complain about ad campaigns like the one that Dove ran not too long ago featuring "real" women in their underwear or the Marithe & Francois Girbaud take on Da Vinci's last supper (, which are both sexy, eye-catching, and tasteful.

just as there would be an outcry if there was an ad-campaign depicting people in blackface, people should be upset when women are treated like sex toys.

it is offensive. and in this case it's also dehumanizing.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

furthermore, regardless of the narrative that the viewer places on these images, they all have a clear subtext. You may not see the Dolce & Gabbana ad as as explicitly a gang rape scene, but it would be hard not to see it as an image depicting male dominance—a man appears to be holding a woman down while a group of other men look on without any of them showing a hint of misgiving. she's just an object for them to take advantage of.

the BMW ad is sexualizing a model with a very young features. while the model may in real life be of age, that does not seem to be what they are hoping to depict. and it doesn't excuse what seems to be an endorsement of pedophilia.

as for the LAMB ad, maybe there are societies where getting jizzed in the face is a noble deed to be trumpeted and applauded—the last ceremonial act before being crowned queen (or king) of all the land. but generally in the US, at least, it's considered somewhat degrading, and is often nothing more than the climax of male power fantasies.

for those of you that have the urge to defend these ads. stop and think if for a second. are you in favor of perpetuating male dominance? should children be portrayed as sex objects? were women put on this planet with the sole purpose of pleasing men?

i like beautiful, naked people. i like sexy ads. i don't like these ads.

David Kendall said...

Flashy, your post confirms that we each view an ad through our own eyes, bringing to it what we want to bring.

Now, I'm not trying to defend or attack the ads -- in a country where there's freedom of expression, even in advertising, you can't stop people from depicting whatever they think will sell their product -- unless you stop buying the product. But my point is sex sells, so they use it.

If you're objecting to the "objectification" of women, ANY ad does that. It then becomes a question of degree. I mean, you can't have "beautiful, naked people" and "sexy ads" without objectifying the subjects in the ad. A naked girl advertising soda is still naked, still an object of desire (supposedly), and is still being used to hawk a product, whether she's standing in the street, sitting on a bench, or lying on a bed with a guy.

The same is true about a beautiful girl, in tight jeans and a t-shirt, hawking the same soda. You're attracted to the girl, and then you notice the soda.

Same with the ads for men's cologne on tv -- you see guys with 6-pack abs playing soccer, and then you're told about the product. ALL advertising with models is objectifying the subjects for the sake of the product (unless the ad is simply a picture of the product). And ads that depict pseudo-rape, or purported "pedophilia" are simply pushing the envelope as far as they can before they alienate the consumers to the point where they won't buy the product.

As I mentioned before, the ads are not going to create the desire in people to rape, or stalk children, or act like sluts. They may attact people with those predipositions to the product, which is the point of advertising, but they don't cause the problem, and they don't perpetuate it. They feed on a pre-existing attitude for the sake of sales.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

David—I agree with you that all understanding is subjective. However, I wasn't intending for my argument to be about personal perception or semantics, but rather about social perception, social norms, values, and morals.

I do not believe that men will go running about gang-raping women upon viewing the Dolce & Gabbana ad. However, I do believe that images like that both reflect and help perpetuate patriarchal tendencies. When images like that are presented as a selling point instead of in a critical light, it only reinforces those kinds of gender roles whether you're interested in participating in a dominant–submissive relationship, or whether you're just interested in socially interacting with the opposite sex. We see the effects of male dominated society everywhere, from the gender split in classroom participation, to who runs the country (politically and economically), to the picture people imagine when they think of the words scientist and homemaker.

If I had a daughter I wouldn't want her bombarded by images of submissive, subservient women whose value lies in their ability to get men sexually aroused.

Objectifying people for beauty and objectifying people for sex are two different things (though there is often crossover). But it's not simply a matter of objectification. It's also an issue of respect for women and general decency. I may sound like some pro-censorship conservative whack-o, but I don't believe I am. I just want the people making these ads to be more judicious in their representation of people. I don't know why that's such a difficult thing to accomplish.

MarcWPhoto said...


Re: I just want the people making these ads to be more judicious in their representation of people. I don't know why that's such a difficult thing to accomplish.

It's not difficult to accomplish. However, the people who make ads are not being paid to do what you think they should do. They are being paid to do what their clients ask, which is to get people to buy their clients' goods and services. If your way worked better, they would do that.

If your way does work better and they won't do it, the obvious answer is for you to open your own ad agency and laugh all the way to the bank.


Flushy McBucketpants said...

Marc, I understand that people are paid to do this. But I'm pretty sure I gave a couple examples (Dove's "Real Women" campaign and the Marithe & Francois Girbaud Last Supper of ad) in one of my comments above that successfully used sex and beauty but in less dangerous ways.

Just because one way works doesn't mean another way doesn't. And just because one works doesn't mean it should be used. Company's use bribery and espionage all the time to turn a larger profit and get ahead of their competitors, that doesn't make that kind of behavior good.

Just because one type of ad helps generate profit doesn't mean that (a) it also doesn't have detrimental effects and (b) there aren't other ads that would work just as well without the negative effects.

Frankly, this type of advertising (e.g., the D&G ad) is not just morally reprehensible in many ways, but it's also unimaginative and lazy.

Yes, it's the ad agency's job to give the client what it wants, but somehow I doubt that the client asked for an ad that could be construed as representing gang-rape.

MarcWPhoto said...

The difference being, bribery and corporate espionage are against the law. :)

If D&G shared your opinion about the ad, they could have just not used it. Since they are a billion-dollar fashion icon and you are, well, Flushy McBucketpants, I am not yet convinced that they are idiots and you are superior in your evaluation of what sells and what doesn't.

If it makes you feel any better, the ads have been banned in some countries and the US will doubtless follow in their progressive footsteps at some point. Eventually you will win.


Flushy McBucketpants said...

It does not make me feel better that these ads are banned. That's not really what I'm looking for.

I am looking for some compassion and consideration, some respect for fellow humans.

When these kinds of ads are the outliers, it's not so much of a problem. We can look at them and say, "Wow. That's provocative." When these ads are the norm, they prove to be both reflections of society's accepted norms and also buttress those cultural standards.

I think promoting misogyny is wrong, whether it helps you earn money or not. That many people appear not to care about our society accepting and promoting misogyny just shows how heartless those people are.

Obviously this upsets me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


wordpress is nice, but for some reason they make embedding things like video a pain in the ass. also, i do like not having to pay for the privilege of altering my html and css when i want. as such, i've come crawling back to blogger begging for forgiveness.

* * *

muxtape in all its original freewheeling glory was killed by the RIAA, but there are a couple websites vying to be legit replacements. one of them is 8tracks.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

changing of the guard.

i'm going to try moving my blog to wordpress:

we'll see how it goes.

Friday, November 28, 2008

the joys of capitalism

this is really fucking sad. it's just stuff, people—stuff that costs a little less than normal.

found on the

Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down
NEW YORK -- A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday when "out-of-control" shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5 a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said. continue reading...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

déjà vu

New Zealand police were pulling this same crap. A number of people in the activist community (non-violent types who worked to promote peace, sustainability, anti-imperialism, and other good things like equality and liberty) I was a part of in Wellington ended up in jail with charges of terrorism stacked against them from these kinds of ridiculous policies. From the Washington Post:

Many Groups Spied Upon In Md. Were Nonviolent

By Lisa Rein and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 19, 2008; B01

Maryland State Police labeled members of a Montgomery County environmental group as terrorists and extremists days after they held a nonviolent protest at an appearance by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. at a Bethesda high school.

Police files released to the activists reveal that the governor's security detail alerted the state police's Homeland Security and Intelligence Division to what troopers guarding Ehrlich described as "aggressive protesting" by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network in 2005.

A review by The Washington Post of those and other files given in recent days to many of the 53 Maryland activists who were wrongly labeled as terrorists in state and federal databases shows an intelligence operation eager to collect information on the protest plans of a broad swath of nonviolent groups from 2005 to at least early 2007.

continue reading...

Monday, November 17, 2008

I thieve for you.

best argument i've heard thus far regarding the whole gay marriage crisis (what? it can be a crisis too! everything else is these days—oil crisis; economic crisis; fire crisis; global warming crisis; citigroup crisis; hunger crisis; budget crisis; ham sandwich crisis... i could go on) is over at the flying panda:

As you may have noticed from the last post, I’m none too happy about this whole Prop 8 kerfuffle. See, it pisses me off not just because of the hate, or the apparently comfort a certain segment of the population has with creating a fascist theocracy, or even the balls that some people have to act as if THEY are the ones who should be offended that they are being held responsible for their actions. See, I am also frustrated—and, to be honest, have been for quite some time—because there are so many more important things to do than try to assimilate with a worn out heteronormative religious institution . . . but man, those fucking Mormons have to ruin everything, don’t they. So I’ve come up with a solution for everyone:

Ban STRAIGHT marriage.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


sometimes when i go to work and then stare at my computer screen for
multiple consecutive hours, my brain goes on hiatus such that it will
not really function in any sort of active capacity, but only in a
reactionary capacity. and to get it to shift out of neutral and
accelerate requires massive amounts of mental oomph.

at night, i find the opposite. i can think and think and think putting
forth virtually no effort at all and there are occasions when i can't
stop thinking (a problem that seems to afflict a number of people i
know). and not only that but i can think in both broad strokes and
about the minutiae about virtually anything, from Armageddon, to pen
nibs, to the exploitation of sweatshop workers in southeast asia. my
nighttime thinking is often transportational—i can think myself into
various situations, with a heightened sense of empathy. i often am at
my most honestly self-reflective at night as well. and there have been
many occasions when i've composed letters in my head right before
going to sleep—thanks, apologies, or other sentiments—that seem at the
time extremely important things to say, but of course the next day,
the urge is lessened and i have an inability to recreate the words
just so.

for some reason i think most people are more thoughtful and honest at
night. probably right before they go to sleep. maybe this sense is
just a result of my self-centeredness—an assumption that everyone else
is like me or should be like me.

i wonder why this oscillation in thought (or lack thereof) occurs. is
the structured environment of an office actually destructive with
respect to thought processes? is the night some bizarre psychological
security blanket that allows the brain to wander off in any direction
without worry? maybe it's just the distraction of the computer with
its easily manipulated controls and infinite entertainments that
placates. it would be. stupid computers. (this is how bill gates took
over the world. it's diabolical!)

Kate. Beaton.

yeah. she can draw better than this. more humor if you click the image.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

sunday pizza

magic happens here.

in the white house.

"The Obamas are also going to take a huge pay cut. Sure, he'll make more, getting bumped from a senator's salary to that of a president, but he won't have time to write those bestselling books. Worse, she's not going to make a thing. The first lady is forced to work around the clock for no pay. She's technically a volunteer in the White House." —Joel Achenbach

Is this true? Is a first lady not allowed to work professionally? Would her working professionally somehow result in a conflict of interest for the White House (i.e., tax cuts to the first lady's industry)? Clearly there are unofficial White House-y duties to attend to, but does that preclude her choosing another more enjoyable, paid occupation? Self-employment perhaps?

Wikipedia answers:
"There is a strong tradition against the First Lady holding outside employment while occupying the office.[3] The first lady frequently participates in humanitarian and charitable work; over the course of the 20th century it became increasingly common for first ladies to select specific causes to promote, usually ones that are not politically divisive. It is common for the first lady to hire a staff to support these activities."

This is a pretty sexist precedent (outside of the fact that there have been no women presidents, obviously). I certainly support "humanitarian and charitable work", but I don't much like the idea of a first lady being pigeonholed into it.

First Black Lady—Lady Tigra

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

'In front of the White House, the celebrants came up with a new chant to direct toward the mansion: "Pack! Your! Shit!"' —Achenbach

what american culture gave me up to this point is a void—empty calories, hollow catchphrases, and meaningless toil. most things of value that i feel i have—outside of those things i was born with, i.e., a loving family, this awkward body, a somewhat unreliable mind—were gained in reaction to what america seemed embody.

but then last night, in all its historic, gravity-filled, momentous glory, our liberal messiah became the president elect. Obama then said this election was only the beginning and the real work is ahead. he appealed to the american people (that's us!) to do our part to help move america forward. then this afternoon i had an encounter with a fellow citizen while waiting for my order, (the bastille—a grilled panini with portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, smoked mozzarella, red onions, tomatoes, spinach in place of alfalfa sprouts, and sundried tomato mayo) at the local sandwich joint, who said electing Obama was a good first step, but that everyone needs to pitch in. i'm sure there are a number of other conversations happening all over the country with the same sentiment bandied about. i just don't know what it means. what part exactly are we supposed to do? how are we supposed to do it? is it sacrifice that's necessary? action? innovation? a psychological adjustment? what is and how do we make progress? this is really what most people yearn for, yes? some purpose? we'll eat it up if someone would just tell us, show us.

* * *
as for prop 8, isn't the basis for our country "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? isn't that what the declaration of independence was all about? the state denying a person their ability to marry someone they love is about as unamerican a thing as i can think of.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

thank god that's done with.

Friday, October 31, 2008

gchat, the economic crisis, outmoded halloweenisms

me:  people keep comparing this thing to the great depression... but no one seems to mention that we are a MUCH WEALTHIER country now than we were then...  i mean, things are going to suck, but not nearly as badly as they did in the 30s. 
Anna: I certainly hope that that is trueI imagine that it will suck a lot for a lot of people  but since I wasn't alive in the 30s, I really have nothing to compare it to 
me: also a good point.
and most people don't  we just know it was bad  and we don't want it

unrelated: the term "trick-or-treater" strikes me as a poor way to describe small children panhandling for candy. also, since the tricking is no-longer really part of halloween practice, it's misleading.

and i thought's definition was kind of amusing: (n) a children's Halloween practice of asking for treats from door to door under threat of playing tricks on those who refuse

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


made pizza again on sunday. it's been a while since i've posted some pizza photos. you'll notice the upskirt shot displays some pretty decent dots of char-ishness for a pizza made in a conventional oven. this is because i am a genius.

is no news good news?

Gorgon is back with a vengeance and a taste for dancey confections:

went apple picking on sunday in hood river, which is beautiful place to get some produce on a sunny october day—views of mount hood and autumnal leaves everywhere. also: alpacas, which are kind of like gangly camel–giraffes (camaffes? giramels?). very awkward. they remind me of Bill from Freaks and Geek, probably only because i've been recently re-viewing F&G with Laurel and Tom.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Obama's Loss Traced To Will Fain

thanks, TLee.

thanks, kyle.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

...and why it's hard to swat 'em.

and more fun at science friday.


why is it that i keep hearing about and reading in news outlets such things as "women voters will make a difference no matter who wins," "Latino Vote Could Be Deciding Factor," and "Women's Votes Could Determine Election Outcome"?

saying latinos, women, the middle class, or any substantial american demographic will affect the election is stating the obvious. it's like saying american citizens will affect the election. it's great that certain previously ignored demographics are having attention paid to them (i.e. they're being pandered to), but regardless of whether they're noticed or not by politicians or the media, clearly they have sway in the outcome of the election with the handy use of their vote (or non-vote, which depending on your perspective can have a variety of meanings; and for the sake of this argument, let's go with DFW's p.o.v., being that for every vote not cast someone else's vote counts double).

the other thing that irks me about these stories is that by saying one demographic's vote is key, it implies that somehow another demographic's vote is not key. the "Latino Vote Could Be Deciding Factor" headline says to me that voters of other ethnic backgrounds will not have a hand in deciding the election, which is bogus. if they were saying that all these other demographics are all locked up for one candidate or another, and the latino voters were still on the fence about things, they might have a point, but i hardly think that the latino voters are much more or less decided than any others.

these stories are fluff.

i'm also tired of news sources announcing new campaign ads (though it's nice when they point out the lies in them) for myriad reasons, which i cannot quite articulate right now.

the end.

Friday, October 10, 2008

the back end of the hope machine.

Bill Ayers from, coincidentally, a Sept. 11, 2001 article in the New York Times:
'I don't think you can understand a single thing we [the Weather Underground] did without understanding the violence of the Vietnam War,'' he said, and the fact that ''the enduring scar of racism was fully in flower.'' Mr. Ayers pointed to Bob Kerrey, former Democratic Senator from Nebraska, who has admitted leading a raid in 1969 in which Vietnamese women and children were killed. ''He committed an act of terrorism,'' Mr. Ayers said. ''I didn't kill innocent people.'

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Burrow, burrow, burrow. Sleep. Burrow. Lay Larva. Eat Brains.

Y'know, we lefty types like to complain about the fear-mongering of the conservatives. What Obama is doing is essentially the same thing. When he talks about McCain, he's warning Americans, don't vote for this guy, you'll end up in the poor house, breathing in toxic waste without any means of attaining medication, while having to simultaneously take care of your aging, atrophying relatives, with only pickles to eat and burlap sacks to wear. Not to mention the flooding from the melted ice caps, the hurricanes, and ice storms and subsequent frostbite, gangrene, self-amputated limbs, succeeding infections, further amputations and infections and amputations. Essentially what Obama is saying is that if McCain is president, we will no longer be a people, we'll be dead. OK, maybe he doesn't quite go to those lengths, but he's essentially doing the same thing that Bush did to get back into office only instead of saying his opponent is a sissypants who'll let terrorists into your bedroom, he's saying his opponent will probably eat your children to celebrate the bombing of Iran. It's the same thing that McCain is doing when he says Obama will run around with a white flag of surrender capitulating to terrorists and "rogue states" at every opportunity.

"We're going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children's children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free [if you vote for the other guy]." —Sarah Palin

Also I heard on NPR today that Obama is outspending McCain 20 to 1 on TV ads in Indiana. It's nice to know America hasn't given up on capitalism and a vote is always for sale.

Our democracy is the suck right now.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

moldy gold.

McCain from last night's debate, in response to a question about priorities in his platform:

We can work on nuclear power plants. Build a whole bunch of them, create millions of new jobs. We have to have all of the above, alternative fuels, wind, tide, solar, natural gas, clean coal technology. All of these things we can do as Americans and we can take on this mission and we can overcome it.

My friends, some of this $700 billion ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

As far as health care is concerned, obviously, everyone is struggling to make sure that they can afford their premiums and that they can have affordable and available health care. That's the next issue.

What? How did that get in there? Is McCain implying that the bailout money is being handed to terrorists? Or maybe that the executives of the financial companies are terrorists? Which, if it's the latter, I would then agree. Perhaps atypical terrorists, but the crisis they've orchestrated is certainly terrifying. The $700 billion could also be a reference to some other pool of non-bailout money... who's to say what's going on in that pretty little head of his.

In other news, I've started going to this kickboxing exercise class with Tera and Marty (or Kung Fu class as Marty lovingly refers to it). It makes it hard to lift my arms, which I'm learning were not made for exercise, but rather for dangling.

Also: =w= concert tomorrow. I'm cautiously optimistic. Though they wouldn't have to put forth much effort to improve on their previous couple of performances I witnessed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

hideously off target

Reading the rest of DFW's astonishingly insightful and engaging Rolling Stone article written during the McCain 2000 campaign about the McCain 2000 campaign (which i highly recommend you read, as you probably won't find any published article about campaigning that's quite as penetrating and observant as this one, not to mention that it pretty much could have been written during this campaign season—though be warned it is fairly long) has got me thinking about campaign coverage. And listening to some campaign reporting on NPR this morning, i have to ask: why does it seem nearly all of the reporting about the presidential campaign eventually is distilled into a question of how a candidate's actions will affect the polls? That is, why are our news teams guessing at their audience how their audience will react to, for instance, Palin's husband's refusal to cooperate with a subpoena or the sniping back and forth between Obama and McCain about their economic plans or knowledge (or lack thereof)? Surely the audience doesn't need to be told by the media what the media thinks that the audience might be thinking when the audience knows what they themselves are actually thinking. (Which in my case is that neither Obama nor McCain have any idea how to solve the economic mess we're in, but then neither does anyone else really, as economics seems to be based almost entirely on guesses and half-proven theories; and also the McCain 2008 campaign's claim that Palin's husband's refusal to comply with subpoena is legit because the investigation has been politicized is a crock of shit because (a) it was a politicized investigation to begin with as it deals with an accusation of gubernatorial—i.e., political—corruption; (b) the claim by the McCain campaign that it's been politicized implies that the investigation itself has become corrupt and because the McCain 2008 campaign only exists in relation to the dems (as, obviously, you can't have a democracy with only one candidate), implying the investigation has become a tool of the democratic party to make Palin and by association McCain look bad, when in fact (as I was told by NPR's Morning Edition) the investigation was initiated by Republicans and is being carried out by an investigator with a reputation of imparitality; and (c) because of (b) the McCain campaign have further politicized the investigation by implying its now part of some vendetta by the democrats to make Palin look like a hypocrite, which she is anyway, and yet they somehow managed to make the democrats look bad through the implication of a tainted investigation when in fact the McCain campaign are the ones that have fucking politicized the investigation! It's outrageous. And very, very clever. I also wonder why it is that the McCain campaign is speaking on behalf of Palin's husband, when the specific issue of the husband's non-compliance is an in-state, non-campaign issue involving a person, as far as I can tell, not officially part of the campaign.) I wish our mainstream political coverage contained some actual observation and analysis of what's really going on and not the very bland recitation of poll numbers and hideously off target guessing.

Read the article.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More DFW

OK. So I've been reading more about DFW the last couple of days and I found out that he'd battled a 20-year long bout with depression. I also found out he did an interview with Terry Gross in 1997 in which he proved to be as articulate and neurotic as his writing made him appear. If anyone knows where I could stream the complete WHYY Fresh Air interview from 1997, please let me know.

Otherwise I've been reading his article about John McCain from the 2000 campaign trail (Rolling Stone, April 2000). Here are a couple of the more relevant passages I've come across so far:

Such is the enormous shuddering yawn that the Political Process evokes in us now, in this post-Watergate-post-Iran-Contra-post-Whitewater-post-Lewinsky era, an era when politicians' statements of principle or vision are understood as self-serving ad copy and judged not for their sincerity or ability to inspire but for their tactical shrewdness, their marketability. And no generation has been marketed and Spun and pitched to as ingeniously and relentlessly as today's demographic Young.So when Senator John McCain says, in Michigan or South Carolina (which is where Rolling Stone sent the least professional pencil it could find to spend the standard media Week on the Bus with a candidate who'd never ride higher than he is right now), when McCain says "I run for president not to Be Somebody, but to Do Something," it's hard to hear it as anything more than a marketing angle, especially when he says it as he's going around surrounded by cameras and reporters and cheering crowds... in other words, Being Somebody.

And when Senator John McCain also says—constantly, thumping it at the start and end of every speech and THM—that his goal as president will be "to inspire young Americans to devote themselves to causes greater than their own self-interest," it's hard not to hear it as just one more piece of the carefully scripted bullshit that presidential candidates hand us as they go about the self-interested business of trying to become the most powerful, important and talked-about human being on earth, which is of course their real "cause," to which they appear to be so deeply devoted that they can swallow and spew whole mountains of noble-sounding bullshit and convince even themselves that they mean it. Cynical as that may sound, polls show it's how most of us feel. And it's beyond not believing the bullshit; mostly we don't even hear it, dismiss it at the same deep level where we also block out billboards and Muzak.

but then:

[McCain] chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts. But the point is that with McCain it feels like we know, for a proven fact, that he's capable of devotion to something other, more, than his own self-interest. So that when he says the line in speeches in early February you can feel like maybe it isn't just more candidate bullshit, that with this guy it's maybe the truth. Or maybe both the truth and bullshit: the guy does—did—want your vote, after all.


It's hard to get good answers to why Young Voters are so uninterested in politics. This is probably because it's next to impossible to get someone to think hard about why he's not interested in something. The boredom itself preempts inquiry; the fact of the feeling's enough. Surely one reason, though, is that politics is not cool. Or say rather that cool, interesting, alive people do not seem to be the ones who are drawn to the Political Process. Think back to the sort of kids in high school or college who were into running for student office: dweeby, overgroomed, obsequious to authority, ambitious in a sad way. Eager to play the Game. The kind of kids other kids would want to beat up if it didn't seem so pointless and dull. And now consider some of 2000's adult versions of these very same kids: Al Gore, best described by CNN sound tech Mark A. as "amazingly lifelike"; Steve Forbes, with his wet forehead and loony giggle; G.W. Bush's patrician smirk and mangled cant; even Clinton himself with his big red fake-friendly face and "I feel your pain." Men who aren't enough like human beings even to dislike—what one feels when they loom into view is just an overwhelming lack of interest, the sort of deep disengagement that is so often a defense against pain. Against sadness. In fact the likeliest reason why so many of us care so little about politics is that modern politicians make us sad, hurt us in ways that are hard even to name, much less to talk about. It's way easier to roll your eyes and not give a shit. You probably don't want to hear about all this, even.

Dude was astute.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

DFW Hanged Himself (To Death).

I'm certainly not the number one fan in the DFW fan club, but I read a few of his essays, short stories, and even somehow managed to dig my way through Infinite Jest (in seven months). Some of it I found near impenetrable (so much pseudo-marketing lingo) and some of it wholly compelling. In both cases there was an undeniable sense of the amount of thought and effort that went into the writing. And there seems to be an urge to try and create some kind of homage to Wallace in eulogizing him—a desire to in some small way recreate the dynamism present in his works. While that may be admirable—trying to carry on the spirit of his writing—I'm not sure anyone could quite match DFW in the department of authorial vigor. And really, what is there to say anyway? It seems to me that the best way to remember him is to read the text that he put so much of his life into:

"Did you know that probing the seamy underbelly of U.S. lexicography reveals ideological strife and controversy and intrigue and nastiness and fervor on a nearly hanging-chad scale? For instance, did you know that some modern dictionaries are notoriously liberal and others notoriously conservative, and that certain conservative dictionaries were actually conceived and designed as corrective responses to the "corruption" and "permissiveness" of certain liberal dictionaries? That the oligarchic device of having a special "Distinguished Usage Panel ... of outstanding professional speakers and writers" is an attempted compromise between the forces of egalitarianism and traditionalism in English, but that most linguistic liberals dismiss the Usage Panel as mere sham-populism? Did you know that U.S. lexicography even had a seamy underbelly?"—DFW, from his essay "Tense Present" in Harper's April 2001 issue

Friday, September 05, 2008

Politico notes the media's sexist treatment of Palin. The last five (short) paragraphs pretty much sum up how I feel about it.

As for McCain's speech, I thought it was fairly uninspired. He really likes short declarative statements and showed he isn't so much a straight talker as a direct one. Three quarters of the speech seemed like it was written in sound-bite form: two or three sentences, a repetition of the last couple of words, and then wait for applause (e.g., "We'll attack—we'll attack the problem on every front. We'll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off-shore, and we'll drill them now. We'll drill them now."). The comparisons he made between himself and Obama were misleading and his multiple shout-outs to God, whether honest or not, just seemed like pandering to the Christian base. Otherwise his speech seemed remarkably sincere for a politician. And finally, I have to say the Republicans exploited the POW business to an excessive degree, which is just so totally like them. McCain did a great job getting our sympathy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


the image links to amazingness.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bitten by the Cold, Hard Reality of Biden.

really? the candidate of "change" picked a guy who's been in the senate since 1973? while i can't say i'm surprised by it, it's a little bit disappointing. Biden's politics aside (which are OK in a pretty standard democratic party way), why pick the stodgy white guy? i'm fully aware that how a candidate looks should be pretty low on the list of reasons to vote (or not vote) for 'em, but Biden looks like an actor cast as president in some B-action movie. i was hoping for a little Bill Richardson action, who besides being a governor, was ambassador to the U.N. (executive and foreign policy experience in one!). plus he's a bearded, rotund Hispanic-American, which is an unusual sight in the American political landscape. (yes, i'm aware of his ties to the oil industry, but, really, who is in a position of power that doesn't have ties to some kind of life-devouring corporate behemoth?)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

weezer is cool again

Teenage Victory Song, a site attempting to review every single Weezer track in existence, has articulated my feelings about the band far better than I ever could:

The chorus is pure melody and beauty, the lyrics offering a more universal counterpoint to the verse’s personal childhood references: “In the garage, I feel safe / No one cares about my ways / In the garage, where I belong / No one hears me sing this song.” It’s a somewhat easy rhyme, but it’s entirely forgivable considering its melody, the originality of the lyrics that come before and after it, and the fact that this more universal moment allows the listeners to make this song their own, even if they think Kiss is the worst band ever. “The garage” could just as well be your room, your apartment, your car — anyone who feels a little “different” from the simpletons of suburbia can relate to that. And then, “No one hears me sing this song” — it’s almost an open invitation to sing along in your own little world, privately wailing out of tune, fists pumping, loving every moment of it. “In The Garage” might as well be Weezer’s manifesto: secret anthems for the lonely ones.
Weezer also seem to have become so popular that they are uncool, which somehow makes them cool again.


Friday, August 15, 2008

former man of leisure

please note that i found gainful employment at vtech communications where i'll be working as a junior designer and print production assistant literally next to tera and less literally next to marty. i start on the 25th.

thank you and good day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

internet mux music.

following in the footsteps of ian c. and many thousands of others, i made a muxtape.

t'anks to the bone tree for the reminder:

Saturday, August 02, 2008


courtesy of Don't, Dad. via

i have nothing more to say on the matter.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

the dark kinigit

finally saw the dark knight today in the company of batman himself.

brief notes and comments:

  • it is looooooooooooooooooooooooong
  • props to the casting director for making batmanuel the mayor
  • heath ledger did a pretty excellent job aping mark hamill's joker laugh
  • opening bank robbery scene was perfect
  • the joker was in fact funny, despite what your average movie critic says
  • the joker is probably the greatest villain in the history of villains—even better than hitler
  • jack nicholson who?
  • it is looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong
  • christian bale's batman-y voice is kinda silly
  • in as many ways as batman begins was poorly orchestrated, the dark knight was ridiculously well orchestrated
  • too much bat-motorcycle
  • thank you nolan brothers for getting the batman-joker relationship right
  • the watchmen preview looked awesome despite the fact that it neverevernever should ever have been made into a movie
  • holy fucking hell: the joker!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

quit your not complaining

Mostly quiet on the western front. I have a couple of interviews lined up. Who knows what the future holds... I mean besides the Shadow. Clearly.


Domino's Scientists Test Limits Of What Humans Will Eat

Saturday, June 28, 2008

squadron supreme

The work of Felix Sockwell. Image found at

Let's just say for a moment that the only way to interpret the second amendment is that it's the right of every American to bear arms. Most people probably would agree that the purpose that the hallowed founding fathers had in mind when they wrote this was insurance against an oppressive government in case their grand little experiment was a failure.

Now let's posit that we have a truly oppressive government. There's a popular revolt. It's the regime against the people. The regime has stealth bombers, stealth fighters, RPGs, the hydrogen bomb, M-16s, uranium-tipped bullets, apache helicopters, and so on. Don't worry though, my buddy Gary has a .22. He'll overthrow those fascist bastards.

I'm fairly certain unless the supreme court rules that all weapon regulation is unconstitutional, the second amendment does not serve the purpose for which it was intended. Reversing the ban on hand gun ownership in DC was almost insignificant with regards to protecting the second amendment and was just plain stupid.

I want my thermonuclear warhead, goddammit! It's my constitutionally protected right.

Sometimes law is stupid.

Friday, June 27, 2008

selfish bastard.

Holy fuck! I made good pizza. The crust was crisp yet pliant, dotted with not-quite-char and the edge was light and puffy. Basil was from me ma's herb garden. I used my patented double-bake technique--first with just the sauce and then again with the cheese. This keeps the cheese from burning while still allowing the crust enough time to get a little crisp. Total bake time was 6-7 minutes, which is probably the best I could hope for in a conventional oven.

Sadly, there were no live witnesses and I had to eat this pizza all by my lonesome (it's a hard knock life).

Two things I did differently: used more yeast in my dough mixture and set the oven to broil. I also wisely waited for my dough to rise in the fridge overnight. I also probably kneaded the dough less than I usually do, though I think this has little to do with my success. I'm going to go with Jeff Varasano and say that the rest time is more important for purposes of gluten-osity.

I've got three more balls of dough left, which hopefully will still be in good shape tomorrow for more pizza-making. Pizza anyone?

I was probably a little light on the cheese.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

this is why.

words are pictures: an example of why i like typography.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Tastebud Farm is now a restaurant, which lies hidden behind a walled courtyard deep in the forest of southeast pdx. My housemates and I ventured there prior to its official opening, but after building a following at area farmers markets over the years though, the cat is almost entirely out of the bag already and my housemates and i had to wait 40 minutes to get in. the busy waitstaff was kind to us, providing drinks on the outdoor patio.

Tastebud prides itself largely on its ingredients, which are fresh and regionally produced and the menu changes regularly to account for the change in seasonal goods. prior to the pizza eating, we sampled some pancetta with asparagus (believe the dish was roasted), which was overpoweringly flavorful—salty and savory. It was possibly the most absurdly tasty dish I've had the pleasure of consuming in recent memory. After that my expectations for the pizza were high to say the least. A wood-burning oven is always a good sign. Alas though, the pizza was only mediocre. While the sauce and cheese were certainly good, they really missed the third part of the margherita trifecta—basil—which was not yet in season. The pepperoni was a bit of a one note player, all smokiness, very little spice or sweetness. The clincher for me, though, was the airy-ness of the crust, which was the lightest baked good I've ever had. The air bubbles were universally large, which meant that you couldn't get any of that bready, umami satisfaction out of it. So pillowy. So very, very pillowy.

My recommendation: make a meal of the appitizers and desserts. The pizza's good, but it's not the star of this show.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

new hotness

so it took about four days of stumbling about, learning html and css, but i have a website now. it still needs quite a bit of work, but it's serviceable.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

you wish you had what i have

as much as searching for a job can actually be a full-time job, there's only so much actual work to be done at a full time job. what is one supposed to do when searching for a job becomes an exercise in circularity? since it doesn't require me to be tied down to one location as would a regular job, certain things can be accomplished that, during a day of gainful employment, I would normally avoid, such as baking, cleaning, gardening, bike maintenance, and grocery shopping. leisure activities are also an option—reading, drawing, blogging, listening to the hype machine, watching episodes of chuck on hulu, &c. ultimately though, at some point boredom sets in, even if it's not a long term state of being.

tom has made doughnuts. they are delicious.
i made bread, which is not quite as delicious, but partners well with butter.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

getting used to change is my problem.

New Orleans was a sandstorm—coarse, exciting, and fleeting. It was a
relief when it was finally over, but now sometimes all I want is to
return. I'm afraid if I don't, the three months I spent there in
overfed discomfort will quickly evaporate from my memory, and the
experience will become like some patched together story telephoned
from a friend of a friend.

In reality—the present—the experience of New Orleans actually is
someone else's. It belongs to friends. While my own little realm of
existence somehow still involves gypsy jazz bands, it is devoid of
morning meetings (which I am shockingly nostalgic about), beignets,
oddball nicknames (or one ball nicknames), mushroom trailers, colored
bricks, and a million other idiosyncrasies that I'd apparently grown
to appreciate. Oddly, even though I was crammed into what was probably
originally a three bedroom house with a rotating cast of 16 or 17
other people, sleeping in an unenclosed room on modified bunk bed, and constantly switching
jobs, I kind of felt at home.

That said, if there's one thing I've learned in the past 26-plus years
of consciousness it's this: life is transience.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

commie pinkos.

the greatest man that ever lived (variations on a shaker hymn)

seven leaked tracks makes for a pretty good sampling of the upcoming weezer album, which following a theme, is eponymous and in reddish hues. the shiny button of those tracks is "the greatest man that ever lived (variations on a shaker hymn)." grammatical error aside, it's a track that can't quite make up its mind over weather it wants to be an epic piece of rock history or a novel bit of pastiche. in a little more than 6 minutes, the song runs a gauntlet of styles from hip-hop to choral to hair metal, with others dotting the audioscape. lyrically it appears some parts are tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, while others are honest expressions. sometimes its hard to tell the difference.

it seems rivers cuomo is suffering from michael jackson syndrome and makes a point of appearing put upon and responding to fans and critics by making outlandish statements (a la mj's scream and unbreakable) about his sonic prowess. if he'd just written a good pop song and left his personal beef with his fans and critics out of it, we could all just get on enjoying this musical patchwork blanket. instead i'm left wondering whether rivers is really "tearing up the place" or we actually "love" what he's doing, because while certainly the song is ambitious, catchy, and displays a knack for pop music writing, it isn't innovative—there are no knew sounds here—and lacks the empathy that weezer's best stuff evokes in the listener. so the song ends up a false proclamation.

6 out of 9

Friday, May 09, 2008

just what is this... thing... called portland?

oh, happy day. oh, happy, sunny, nearly warm afternoon. bath me in your pleasantness. wrap me in the blueness (spotty) of your sky.

sometimes flowers aren't enough, ya know.

it seems that i may have my first bit of temporary employment with what looks like will be some lame-o financial company. i will detail it later after it begins, but probably not particularly thoroughly as i feel that would lead readership to drop from what is already a pretty lowly number. the consolation is that i know i will not have to work for a heinous financial company longer than a couple of months. and hopefully by the time its over, i will have enough greenbacks to exchange for a computer that i can then use to service mankind for good and not villainy or mediocrity... or some other antithetical noun.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

let the games begin: ken's vs. scholls

blistered, ken's artisan

margherita, ken's artisan

i'm sorry. the screen on my camera's broken, so i had no idea the photo was this awful when i took it at apizza scholls

chaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!, apizza scholls

in the past two years i've gone from pizza rich (scrooge-mcduck-swimming-in-a-tower-of-pizza rich) in brooklyn to pizza lower-middle class in new zealand up to pizza middle-class in the dc-metro area, and back down to pizza poor in new orleans. and now i'm in pizza portland, that as yet largely unexplored region in our nation's upper west side.

my search for pizza glory is not unlike an olympic athlete's search for the gold medallion. it requires dedication, high standards, and traveling great distances. however, unlike the upcoming summer games, there are no human rights controversies surrounding pizza (unless you count people being subjected to undercooked pies made with inferior ingredients as a human rights violation). there are however wheat controversies. the price of grain is up and so follows the prices of a slice. Di Fara back in brooklyn is now infamously charging $4 a slice. According to, the price jumped a whole dollar in one day from $3 on Feb. 5th to the cuatro on the 6th. judging by the waits at two portland pizza purveyors, the price hike hasn't appeared to slow pizza fans from chowing down on their favorite pies.

so far in two weeks of portlanding, i've found two quality contenders for pizza gold in Ken's Artisan Pizza and Apizza Scholls (Apizza, as i learned recently, is pronounced A-beetz). the former being a neapolitan-styled spin-off of the popular Ken's Artisan Bakery and the latter being a new haven inspired thin-crust slinger. both of these places provide nicely charred thin crusts, fresh basil, and root beer, but that is where the similarities end.

the first thing you notice when walking into Ken's, besides the hordes of people waiting up to two hours (as we unfortunately found out) for a table, is the magnificent looking wood-burning oven. shortly after that is disgruntled-looking pizzaiolos stretching, spreading, and sprinkling dough, sauce, and cheese at a clipped pace. the pizza's coming out of the oven are beautiful 13-inch specimens dotted with charring, the edges nicely puffed, and spots of creamy mozzerella on a bright orange-red water bed of tomato sauce. i tried their margherita and pepperoni-style sausage pie. the first was perfectly cooked, though under-sauced, a problem that seemed prevalent on all their pizzas. the uber-thin crust held up well though. and the sauce, when its flavor peeked out over the cheese, crust, and basil, had some zing—spice!—and tang saddled up next to some sweetness. the crust, while beautiful to look at, and that hard-to-find crisp-yet-pliant balance, was a little bland. the sausage pie displayed many of the same qualities but with the added smokiness and spice that one would expect from pepperoni. arbitrary scoring: 8 giant pandas out of 11.

Scholls' dishes out the 18-inchers normally, but i was able to get a 14" special (for the same price). the margherita with half pepperoni and extra basil burned the hell out of my mouth (in the classic pizza way, right behind the top front teeth) on the first bite. always a good sign: a seriously burned mouth often means a hot oven--not that i recommend others using this method as a test, but it yields results. luckily the tongue and its trusty sidekick, the nose, were intact. the sauce-cheese balance was spot on, with the sauce containing a bitterness not uncommon from canning, while the cheese seemed to be a blend of fresh and aged mozz. a well done crust allowed for a satisfying crunch that gave way to a pleasant chewiness. arbitrary scoring: a pair of short pants, a striped sock, and an american apparel t-shirt on a fully-clothed hipster.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


so i'm finally here. here being portland. portland, oregon, not maine. it's been almost exactly a week since my arrival and things are going swimmingly--and that's not because of copious amounts of rain. (oh, i'm sorry. did that pun hurt? well, walk it off you weak-kneed monkey butt.) list of accomplishments so far: signed a lease for a house; sent out two job applications; played one game of soccer; went rollerskating (i did not fall down); attended the stumptown comics fest; ate pizza (photos forthcoming).

first impressions are good. there are home gardens spilling over onto sidewalks everywhere with blooming tulips and fat rosemary bushes. streets are lined with cherry blossom trees, which are now liberally distributing their pink petals all over the city. businesses have a habit of being small and locally owned, including a glut of chocolatiers. and there are a number of second run movie houses dotting the landscape.

i'll soon send an email out with my address, &c.

for now, please enjoy this photo by Ryan McGinley (via

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"these aren't the droids we're looking for"

the journey continues onwards and a little to the left. 9 days in ithaca dark city, which actually churned out a little sunlight while i was there. sarah is americorp-ing in law offices, working to help people get disability aid from the government. the great catsby is adjusting to life outside of small apartments in the big city, cautiously exploring the new pet-filled landscape, being a bit of bitch to sarah's other cats and trying to reclaim her girlish figure, which had ballooned in sarah's absence (the theory is comfort eating). anna and susanne say, 'hi,' and 'i wish you were here.' ...please call them--they would love to hear from you.

4 days in nyc. poorly organized on my part. no one really knew i was coming. i just kind of showed up, but i've managed to see quite a few people anyway. had some pizza at patsy's on 11th and university, chilled out at the old office complex, watched an episode of the wire with carrie hanksering-for-a-chilicrowtherfabercheese dog, &c.

had my first experience at b&h, the magical gadget wonderland. it's what i imagine an international space station will be like in the year 2073. lots of hustle and bustle, many queues of people surrounding islands of gadgetry, with lots of signage everywhere. they conveyor-belt all the gadgets from the customer service agent who answers all of your questions to the cashier/merchandise pick-up area. these people are often on different floors. you get tickets from one agent to give to another. you wait until the next available agent's numbered light blinks. these sorts of things. and then when you're done with your purchase, after picking up your bag from bag-check, there's a little decompression chamber that allows you to sort through your new gadgetry while comfortably sitting down. in my case it wasn't really gadgetry that i sorted through, but rather a lens-cap and a battery for the minolta i found in cgr's distro building. for those curious, the battery doesn't seem to make the light meter thing run. also, minolta no longer exists. it seems it was purchased by sony. or konica. or both. also: carrie curlycheesefries gave me another lens. i have a collection of two now. film is the new plaid.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

photos from meg's garden

this is the crowning achievement of common ground's meg perry healthy soil project. a large portion of it is being turned into a CSA while another section will be a general community garden and a few beds will be overseen by common ground. there's some concern about the original owner paying back-taxes and reclaiming the property. but there's action being taken that will hopefully preserve its place in the community.