Wherefore Art Thou, WiFi?

Saturday, 29 April 2006

I’m cur­rently in the back­woods of Indiana. [Noblesville to be pre­cise. Hamilton county is one of the rich­est and fastest grow­ing coun­ties in the na­tion, but it still feel like back­woods be­cause] My aunt and un­cle still de­pend on AOL dial-up for in­ter­net ac­cess, but I’m cur­rently steal­ing WiFi from one of the $400k clone­houses that are creep­ing ever-closer to this turn of the cen­tury farm house. I’m con­sis­tently happy that I spent the ex­tra bills for a more pow­er­ful re­ceiver. My cousin is get­ting mar­ried later to­day, and there is an open bar at the re­cep­tion.

Adam’s Rules of Interstate Driving Etiquette

Friday, 28 April 2006

CAVEAT: This post con­tains egre­gious amounts of curs­ing.

• When merg­ing and you are in the yield lane, yield you moth­er­fucker. And for chris­sakes speed the fuck up on an on-ramp. You should be go­ing at least 60 by the time you reach the merge area on the in­ter­state.

• When on the in­ter­state and ap­proach­ing a merge, move one lane to the left, if pos­si­ble. This means that nei­ther you nor the dumb moth­er­fucker who wouldn’t know how to yield if his arms and legs were cut off by Graham Chapman have to slow down.

• If your car won’t go over 50mph, get the moth­er­fuck off my in­ter­state or I will beat you like a rented mule.

• If you are in the fast lane and a faster car comes up be­hind you, get the fuck over be­fore they have to put on the brakes.

• If you can’t get the fuck over be­cause there is an even slower moth­er­fucker in the lane next to you, speed the fuck up so the moth­er­fucker be­hind you doesn’t have to ap­ply the brakes, and then get the fuck over as soon as pos­si­ble.

• No mat­ter how fast you’re fuck­ing go­ing, stay in the far­thest right lane that you can, be­cause there will be a faster moth­er­fucker com­ing up be­hind you and you can avoid lots of has­sle by stay­ing in the slower lane where you be­long.

• If you’re try­ing to be a moth­er­fuck­ing badass and merge your Haibatsu Gravity Well from the fast lane to an exit lane in less than a quar­ter of a mile with­out us­ing your turn sig­nal, don’t get all pissy when I don’t let your sorry ass cut me off. I will fuck you up, moth­er­fucker.

• If some­one uses their god­damn turn sig­nal, let them the fuck in your lane, un­less you’re in a traf­fic jam and they are one of those ig­no­rant fuck­sticks who think they can drive all the way up to the ex­act spot where their lane ends and stick their dicks in your lane. Castrate those dumb­fucks.

• When ex­it­ing, don’t slow down un­til you’re on the fuck­ing exit ramp. That’s what they’re fuck­ing for.

Man, I haven’t gone on a rant in forever. That felt good. Yes, I know the ti­tle is re­dun­dant.


Thursday, 27 April 2006

A part of this view­ing list: Criterion Collection Spine #326: Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan.


Metropolitan is a movie about the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, debu­tan­tes and their es­corts, peo­ple who read lit­er­ary crit­i­cism but not the ac­tual books, and kids who ob­ses­sively worry about their own down­fall, de­bate the­o­ret­i­cal po­lit­i­cal sys­tems and don’t know how to drive a car. I would de­test hav­ing even the slight­est con­tact with these peo­ple, who are es­sen­tially all talk and no fol­low-through. Yet I en­joyed Metropolitan and I’m glad it made me go men­tal.

Metropolitan is a movie about class, and though the only class present is the up­per-class, the “UC” as the char­ac­ters so smarmily refer to it, this fo­cused ap­proach ef­fec­tively made me ex­am­ine my own class sit­u­a­tion in a new light. Luc Sante’s es­say, linked at the end of this post, says that America pre­tends that class doesn’t ex­ist. I think this is close but not quite. I think many peo­ple who aren’t con­sider them­selves to be mid­dle class. This makes sense, since mid­dle class can cover ground from some­one like me who makes less than $30k a year to some­one like a sur­geon, who might make twenty times as much. We’re still peo­ple make ends meet by work­ing for our pay. In Metropolitan, dis­cus­sion cen­ters not on the ne­ces­sity of work to make ends meet, but on the choices of pro­fes­sion that should main­tain or strengthen their sta­tus as UHB. They don’t need to work, but they need some­thing to fill the time.

The char­ac­ter that lets us [mid­dle-classers] en­ter in to this world is an ex-trust fund kid who, af­ter his par­ents’ di­vorce, has be­come one of the mid­dle class. In this movie, one is never poor, only “fi­nan­cially lim­ited.” But Tom’s fi­nan­cial in­ad­e­quacy is bla­tant. He has a rented tuxedo and can’t af­ford a great­coat to keep off the chill of Manhattan win­ter. His parent’s are also di­vorced, an­other mid­dle class dis­tinc­tion. Yet he went to prep school and has the right pedi­gree in all other as­pects. In fact, just hav­ing a pedi­gree helps him enor­mously. Some folks think he is a fake, but as the film de­vel­ops we find that, to some ex­tent, each char­ac­ter is play­ing the role of the UHB at the price of his or her own soul, and they’re all fakes. Most im­por­tantly we learn that Nick, who seems to be the ul­ti­mate UHB, is closer to Tom than we re­al­ize.

This trig­gered all kinds of thought processses. I re­al­ized that I had been watch­ing the eco­nom­i­cally de­rived cul­tural as­pects of the up­per class, which func­tions like any other cul­tural base, with its own taboos, rites of pas­sage and eti­quette. This in turn made me ex­am­ine the cul­tural as­pects that have re­sulted from my own mid­dle class ex­is­tence. This is the main strength of the film, by show­ing us an­other class try­ing to fig­ure it­self out, we in turn ex­am­ine our own sta­tus and role. It al­most seems to in­di­cate that cul­ture does more to sti­fle true ex­pres­sions of self than ease in­ter­ac­tion with oth­ers. Perhaps this is merely an ef­fect of the ex­am­i­na­tion of the strictly con­trolled ex­clu­siv­ity of the UHB, but I found my­self re­lat­ing to al­most every male char­ac­ter in the film. It would be in­ter­est­ing to watch it with a woman to see if she feels the same in re­gard to the debs.

This film would be a good tag team with Spike Lee’s Bamboozled for an ex­am­i­na­tion on how class and eth­nic­ity are knot­ted.

Tom also serves as a re­flec­tion of the movie it­self, which has be ap­pear high class while be­ing “fi­nan­cially lim­ited.” I for­got to men­tion that.


Criterion es­say by Luc Sante
The Wikipedia on class

GMMC Final Funding Meeting

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

The GMMC met for the fi­nal time in this fund­ing round last night at the Cleveland Foundation. We had de­li­cious Eastern European food from North Coast, rec­om­mended by Sokolowski’s. I par­tic­u­larly liked the stuffed cab­bage. And I hate cab­bage. Bob Brown from the Cleveland Planner’s of­fice spoke to us about the up­date to the city plan and gave an overview of the types of ac­tivites that the of­fice fo­cuses on. It seems that they have in­put in a lot of dif­fer­ent ar­eas like safety and per­mit­ting, but not as much power, ex­cept in their own lit­tle fief­dom. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Voices and Choices also spoke for a bit about their plan.

This was a tough crowd for her to speak to. Twenty com­mu­nity ac­tivists who’ve spent the last six weeks sniff­ing out the prob­lems in grant pro­pos­als were quick to ques­tion the ef­fi­cacy of the pro­gram. The V&C process ap­pears to en­gage this work­flow: Gather peo­ple to voice their con­cerns -> Have com­mu­ni­ties de­ter­mine pri­mary con­cerns -> Have com­mu­ni­ties de­ter­mine pos­si­ble so­lu­tions for those con­cerns. The key ques­tions cen­tered on what is go­ing to be done with this data? Who is go­ing to im­ple­ment the so­lu­tions? Apparently V&C is go­ing to give the re­sults to three dif­fer­ent col­leges, which wasn’t very sat­is­fac­tory to most of us, since col­leges aren’t pol­icy mak­ers. When we fi­nally got to the bare bones of the sit­u­a­tion we dis­cov­ered that V&C wants peo­ple from the com­mu­nity to take the fi­nal step on en­forc­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion.

While I think it is fine that they want com­mu­nity folks to do the work to im­prove their com­mu­ni­ties, it does leave a sour taste in my mouth that all V&C, with all its money, only fo­cuses on get­ting peo­ple to­gether to talk and not in pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to fa­cil­i­tate the so­lu­tions they want us to give them.

Then we had a frank dis­cus­sion about the Conflict of Interest pol­icy since some of the com­mit­tee mem­bers were won­der­ing what con­sti­tuted an “in­di­rect ben­e­fit.” The ar­gu­ment could eas­ily be made that any fund­ing that ben­e­fits a neigh­bor­hood can con­sti­tute an in­di­rect ben­e­fit. The up­shot of this dis­cus­sion was that Joel is go­ing to re­vise the pol­icy to make it a bit more speci­fic.

We funded nearly 50% of the grant pro­pos­als we re­ceived.


Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Well if I hadn’t been con­vinced be­fore, this month’s at­tempts at writ­ing a poem a day should have con­vinced me that my writ­ing process can­not be dis­ci­plined and ef­fec­tive. I write when the spirit moves me, when Papa Legba uses me as his horse and what not. So I’m bail­ing on National Poetry month a bit early and I think I might at­tempt to write some tur­boshort fic­tion in­stead. Something that even ADD can’t fight.

Spring Cleaning

Monday, 24 April 2006

I spent the en­tire week­end clean­ing my apart­ment. It wouldn’t pass a mil­i­tary in­spec­tion, but it is much cleaner than it was even when I moved in. Cleaning the win­dows was the worst part since they were sealed with caulk at the be­gin­ning of win­ter and I had to pick it all off. My hands are dry and cov­ered in tiny cuts. And it con­tin­ues to­day at work as I have to re­arrange my new cube into a con­ducive work en­vi­ron­ment. I man­aged to get rid of a book­case which cre­ates an il­lu­sion of space if not the re­al­ity.


Sunday, 23 April 2006

My first key had no key­hole
but I felt grown up any­way. I had
re­spon­si­bil­ity now, and se­crets
though even I did not know what
lay be­hind its lock. I would play
with my parent’s keys and ask
them to tell me sto­ries about
each, this one opens the
door to work, where things I
wasn’t quite grown up enough
to un­der­stand were done so that
I could have Frosted Flakes and
new shoes.