Wherefore Art Thou, WiFi?

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

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.

Metropolitan

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

metro1.jpg

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.

Metroface.jpg

Cri­te­ri­on essay by Luc Sante
The Wikipedia on class

GMMC Final Funding Meeting

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.

Turbo

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

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.

Lockpick

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.