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.

Metropolitan

Thursday, 27 April 2006

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

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.

Turbo

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.

Lockpick

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.