May 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In New York, Chris and I would take Nathan to the (from our perspective at the time) mostly adequate dog park in Carl Schurz park. The dog run was about 600 square feet, and depending on the time of day would be packed with anywhere from 8 to 15 large and often aggressive dogs. That wasn’t fun for anyone, least of all Nathan — we’d go through phases where we’d take him a few times, have a bad experience with one of the other dogs and/or owners, then swear off dog parks for good. Eventually we’d worry that Nathan wasn’t getting enough exercise, and the cycle would begin anew. Here in Spokane we won’t have the same kinds of issues; see above, which is nearly 9 minutes of SpokAnimal dog park goodness, shot by doting dogdad Chris. In conclusion, by every metric, I do not understand why anyone would want to live in a big city.
May 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Last week Chris and I relocated from New York City to Spokane, and have spent the last few days slowly unpacking and eating as much fresh produce as possible. Moving is always stressful, but in this case the transition has been fairly painless, largely due to how glad we were to leave pee-smelling, crowded-ass New York. I don’t care what logistical hoops we might need to jump through; where we are is so much easier and so much prettier than where we were. I’m happy just to be here.
The best part of being back (my parents have lived in Spokane since 2007) is the trail behind our house, which for several miles runs parallel to the Spokane River — see above. The trail has been my Spokane running go-to for years, and this time around has significantly cut into my time on the internet. Not just because being on the trail means not being in front of a computer, although of course there’s that, but because being on the trail has impacted the way I think and feel about the internet.
Specifically, it makes me less patient with the dizzying turnover of inconsequential content that undergirds the click-based web economy. The things people are screaming at each other about today are seamlessly replaced with whatever thing they’ll be screaming at each other about tomorrow, which will promptly be forgotten once Gawker posts whatever snarky thing about the next socio-cultural indignity, for example the latest episode of HBO’s Girls. Everyone will start screaming again, and Twitter will light up with jokes that are both mean and not funny, and the whole process will almost immediately begin repeating itself. I’m tired of watching people scream at each other over nothing, and am tired of getting worked into a lather over things I know full well will be forgotten by the morning. I’m tired of impermanence, I guess you could say, which is why I like the trail and river so much.
Obviously, trails and rivers undergo constant change — rain and ice erodes the soil, animals burrow holes and croak in the underbrush, the leaves go from green to yellow to gone to green, and all that. But I can come back after a year and still know where to go for a run, still know where the poison oak grows, still know where to watch my step. Maybe I’m just getting old, maybe I’ve spent too much time online these last few years and have simply reached my limit. Whatever the reason(s), I have drawn a surprising amount of comfort from knowing what to expect, which has resulted in sudden and pointed disinterest in who’s mad at what on the internet. It’s possible that this feeling will pass (minds are strange machines), but it’s also possible that it won’t. Either way, I’ll be outside.
May 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Tomorrow Chris and Nathan and I begin our journey to a place far far from here, most likely never to return. Internet for the next few days questionable, as we will be returning our cable box in the morning. Next stop, Pacific Standard Time! Also marriage. And so, New York City, I bid you farewell. You’re…ok.
There’s nothing else to say, really, so instead of trying, I will post someone else’s intellectual property. I like the idea of a couple of delinquent child freaks joining forces, tearing up an abandoned warehouse and forcing a sunset for no apparent reason. Seems appropriate, somehow.
April 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of my dissertation defense, which…how, but ok. This reminded me of some of the odd compulsive behaviors I normalized during those last few months of writing. I had this thing about music, and not just music but bad/weird/otherwise shameful music — I would ironically-ish listen to the same, say, Britney Spears song one hundred times on repeat, which I’m assuming kept the snark part of my brain occupied while I wrote. Whatever, here is one of the songs I must have listened to two thousand times during that summer (a bad lip read of this musical splenda-fest). I love this shit so much. It is playful, completely unnecessary to society, and not mean. I’m going to listen to it ten times right now!
Also, unrelated, here is another thing I like. Posting only things that don’t give me an ulcer is fun!
April 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Last night, Motherboard’s Jamie Lee Curtis Taete posted the following list of the most cynical mainstream responses to the Boston bombings. As she writes:
Across the country, while people were trying to make sense of what had happened and wondering what they could do to help, website editors and bloggers asked themselves “how can we get some traffic out of this?”
Below are the six most shameless click-baiting efforts I saw in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. (BTW, I am fully aware of how hypocritical it must seem for me to be aggregating content from other sites for a listicle complaining about sites traffic-whoring in the wake of a tragedy, but eugh, whatever, these posts really annoyed me. If I could turn off the hit counter on this page, I would.)
Her list includes:
- Celebrity clickbait (Joey MacIntyre missed the blast by 5 minutes!)
- Listicle clickbait (29 reasons to love Boston!)
- Celebrity listicle clickbait (10 celebrities from Boston!)
- Travel tip clickbait (people from Boston sometimes go to the Caribbean!)
- Celebrity reaction clickbait (celebrities have feelings about current events!)
I’m not bothering to link to the above articles, all of which are actual things written by humans; for a more complete rundown, see Curtis Taete’s piece here.
All of which links in important and depressing ways to this Guardian post written by Rolf Dobelli, which argues that the news –particularly disaster news– is bad for humans. It makes us sick; it makes us sad; it actually makes us less informed, not more. And yet, against all reason, we continue to consume it — not because it is in our interest to consume this sort of drivel (“consume” used deliberately, here, as a reminder that even in the wake of tragedy, or perhaps more accurately, especially in the wake of tragedy, we are still, ultimately, eyeballs for advertisements) but because it is in the corporate interests of the professional trolls, for whom disaster is little more than a business opportunity.
Normally I avoid talking about media in terms of “consumption,” since that sort of framing implies that the human mind is merely a convenient vessel into which the next marketing ploy may be slopped. I have far too much faith in our ability to remain creative and thoughtful, even in the face of the most cynical corporate content. But disaster coverage is different. Disaster coverage is forced upon us in a way that other forms of media are not. Disaster coverage implicitly equates reading whatever empty, obvious content (you’re telling me that Matt Damon was heartbroken by the bombings???) with caring, and in the process of slapping a price tag on compassion, cheapens the experience of being human. I have a great deal of respect for the experience of being human, and so I have nothing but disdain for this sort of coverage. We deserve better.
February 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Today Ethnography Matters posted my second in a three-part guest post series. Here is the opening!
As promised in my last post, this post will discuss my role as a participant observer in the 2008-2012 troll space. It was weird, I hinted, which really is the only way to describe it. Because space is limited, I’m going to focus on three points of overlapping weirdness, namely troll blindness, real and perceived apologia, and ethnographic vampirism. There are other stories I could tell, and other points of weirdness I could discuss, but these are moments that taught me the most, for better and for worse.
The three points of weirdness include:
- It’s Just a Death Threat, Don’t Worry About It
- inb4 apologist
- You’re a Vampire, Whitney
In other words, it’s a comedy. Click here for the whole article.
January 31, 2013 § Leave a Comment
So I am getting married this summer, and the person I am getting married to is pretty froggin great. Here he is talking about his origin story, which I am posting because I am proud of it. I am not mentioned in this video because, as Chris said, I am not part of his origins, I am his trajectory. He says shit like that to me all the time. Chris Menning, everybody!
January 2, 2013 § Leave a Comment
And Chris discusses things like chew toys. It’s a win-win situation!
December 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
December 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
As of 1:00pm on December 21 2012, I am on vacation. I am resolved not to do any work, in fact any form of higher-order thinking, until January 2. I am also looking forward to unplugging — this means very limited email (I will check my various inboxes every other day or so; I have disabled all push notifications to my phone), no pouring over the day’s
most depressing latest news, no Twitter, none of the things that normally keep me checking my various checkables every 15 seconds because WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING. I may well miss a few things this break, and will probably be better for it.
So — smell ya next year, internet. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have television on the internet to go watch. #yolo