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Slow night at the restaurant so it’s easy to accommodate the out of town party. Two couples, a little girl and her grandfather cluster around the table. Easy to seat, you should say, as they send a bottle of sparkling water back for being flat– you taste it and there’s nothing wrong with it at all. Great, slow night and the biggest party are a bunch of yuppie fucks, but that’s part of the job.

The two couples occupy one another leaving the little girl to be entertained by her grandfather. There’s something off about him, you notice, something inherently creepy in his face or bearing. “He looks like a child molester” you tell a co-worker, and it’s true that he does. The little girl, on the other hand, is pretty and precocious and better behaved than the adults who brought her here.

It’s a little surprising when she suddenly comes up to the counter, boxed in by the creepy grandfather. She holds a plate of bread out and the old man says, “Ask the nice lady for some butter”. The girl, obviously articulate enough to ask for butter on her own repeats as she has been told. “Of course, sweetheart,” you say, and pass a dish of butter over. The grandfather, meanwhile, stands behind the girl rubbing her face and hair;

not in an affectionate caress along the cheek as might be expected, but across the face entirely. “Ask the nice lady to spread the butter on the bread” he insists to his grand-daughter. It makes your guts churn, the way he dictates, but worse still is the suffocating pawing. Still, you focus on the girl who deserves the attention, “Of course, sweetheart, I’ll do that for you.” You adorn the bread but all the while you’re distracted by his hands on her face, rubbing. You pass the bread back and the little girl is let down from the counter stool. “That’s a nice lady,” he tells the girl and they return to their table where the couples conversation consumes them.

They don’t stay long. Without any notice being taken by the other adults the grandfather leads the little girl outside. Normal behavior to pacify a fussy child when the food is long in arriving but the little girl’s an angel. Your stomach takes a dive as you see them leave view of the front window. You get shaky, and you can’t swallow. You take the phone and step outside, to make it look like you’re making a call. They aren’t in view anymore, corners equal distance away from the front door. You follow what you hope are their steps, to the corner overlooking a vacant lot, and follow the sidewalk down the dimly-lit street of warehouses and trash and old cars either abandoned or parked and forgotten. Down the block, cast in shadow, you see them. It’s far away and they’re indistinct but it looks as tho the little girl is standing face-first against the wall of a crumbling building, partially obscured by her grandfather and his long coat. It’s too dark and they’re too far away but you’d swear he’s pushing her into the building, pressing her face against the bricks. You’re standing with a phone to your ear straining to see what exactly is happening when the grandfather frees the little girl from the building, and she stands now clear of his body and long coat. He bends down to her height and removes a handkerchief from the recesses of some pocket which he uses to wipe her face. Then he stands upright and propels her further down the street, away from the restaurant. You could swear he’s crossing himself as they walk, forehead, mouth and heart, like when they read the gospel in church.

You go back to work and wait, guts churning, unsure but filled with a horrible sensation and certainty. When the grandfather returns with the little girl she walks in and seats herself at the table, once again consumed by the conversation which has continued unabated. You catch the grandfather’s eye as he walks past and he looks right back at you, then continues on to the bathroom. You tell the waitress that you’re going to the office but to call you when the table’s check is ready. You sit and you don’t know what has happened but you know deep inside exactly what has happened, what is happening, what will happen. You take a drink, you call a trusted friend, you implore them for advice and as you’re talking the office phone rings. The waitress tells you that the table is paying now, and you stand to

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Completely unrelated is this clip of CNN mania from a year or so ago. A story on Richard Cohen, a formerly gay and now converted straight psychotherapist (of sorts) who aids gay men in reclaiming their straightness through unconventional means to say the least. It caps off at almost seven minutes but you should really watch all the way through because the action at the end is really worth it.


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Typical CamWhore

Popular among marketing executives who’ve reached that point in their career where the cocaine and booze can no longer create the necessary plasticity to do their jobs is having adults attempt to use hip-hop slang. This lazy tactic started in the 80’s and quickly spread through pop-culture sending titters through middle America and your parents. It should have died out and never been reborn but, because the gene pools have been diluted beyond repair, the hilarious grey-haired matron talking jive to the kids returns time and time again to sell you cell phones or Sunny Delight or whatever the fuck people buy. “Hahahahah! How clueless is she, that retard, trying to talk slang like she’s down?” thinks shiny happy white people holding remotes.

These commercials always, without fail, cause extreme embarrassment for me. I don’t know why, I’ve never done the market research to unearth what deep-rooted trauma lurks in my past to cause such discomfort when some nameless day-actress says something like “keep it on the DL” on national television. Okay, my mother has probably humiliated me in this fashion but I can’t think of a specific instance except for one wonderful Thanksgiving where she was conversing with a younger cousin and it popped out onto the table and began infesting the Turkey with tapeworm. She wonders why I always loved working holidays.

Well, perhaps my horror at witnessing these displays of out of touch adults is an issue of empathy. I don’t understand many of the popular trends currently corrupting society as a whole and the greatest wormhole of confusion can be found here on the internet. The very fact that within a short period of time computers went from being something that, if you knew how to turn one on, could get you physically attacked and verbally ridiculed to being an indispensable daily asset baffles me; I distinctly recall them as being a very uncool thing that labeled users as insufferable nerds and caused my dad to think I was gay. Now he knows about youtube and rappers have websites and myspace pages. Myspace baffles me. I’ve seen people lurk on it for hours at a time, posting comments and trolling through profiles. There’s people who pimp other people’s myspace pages. This is making me feel very much like a clueless adult.

But the truth depths of modern perversion were, until quite recently, hidden from me. I thought that myspace was the ultimate in hyperactive media saturation until livejournal came into view. Message boards have changed significantly from the times of BBSs, although fundamentally they remain populated by geeky recluses who know that appearing at the local mall will elicit mockery and death by being pelted with pennies or small, hard candies. Yet they’re sleek and snazzy and in color with pictures and wobbling icons and, most horrifying, their own slang. In a way it’s a natural evolution of shorthand. You’re typing and you’re excited about the exchange– you need to relate the thoughts bursting from your head as quickly as possible. OMG has been with us for a long time and most of the western world can understand the implications. Kewl has, blessedly, disappeared entirely from usage.

It goes beyond a simple matter of slang, tho. There’s an entire generation coming up that has successfully integrated the internet into their mannerisms and interests and, unfortunately, their lives. A perfect symbiosis has occurred and millions of little wingnuts the world over have been fucking sold on the concept. Little shits posting video diaries of themselves on youtube capture the attention of nations while disaster, fire and brimstone reign supreme unnoticed. There’s a level of humour solely dedicated to online chat and postings. There’s memes. Imagine being airlifted from your safe hovel where you can walk through the room with no light and not bang your knee and being dropped in the middle of a Krystal Meyers concert. Then replace everyone with computers and give them programs designed to allow their unabashed inflation of personality present itself in technicolor with streaming video and audio.

Fortunately there’s an oasis out there where you can kick back for a spell and follow the links, absorbing the terms and cultural fads which populate this hinterlands we’ve created. Last week at work we were busy speculating as to what this new room across the hall was being used for. Actually, those of us who’ve not been in a coma or terminally stupid know exactly what is going on in there but we were speculating all the same. When they first began using it I taped a picture of an alien autopsy on the window which had, for the sake of privacy, been spray-painted opaque. This did not suffice. They’re growing pot in there, someone said. What is this, the 20’s? It must be something sinister. Someone brought up the fact that all employees in the new room must sign confidentiality waivers. This same someone also invoked the memory of a former owner/manager who had been bought out and removed after incurring repeated accusations of sexual harassment and general leering creepiness, suggesting they were being brought back into the fold to run this new top secret department. That’s right, my friends, they’ve put a production studio in at Amoeba and they’ve begun producing and streaming child porn.

We needed to do something about it. Posters, we must make posters and cover their door and its opaque window with evidence of our knowledge. But how do you communicate child porn besides writing on a piece of paper, “We make child porn in here”? Why, you find pictures of pedobear on the internet.

Pedobear

WTF? Pedobear is a pedophile bear that crawls through the internet in search of lolis. Pedobear is an unstoppable force lurking in online forums and virtual worlds hunting for underaged girls. Pedobear can be seen on youtube dancing with bananas. Pedobear became the poster child for the new room across the hall from us. I fired the first salvo finding a suitable image and scribbling a clever caption

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underneath and taping the shit out of it all over their door. Some prissy fucktard tore it down. I found a more disturbing image and someone devised an even more clever caption which I taped the shit out of all over their door. Some prissy fucktard tore that down too. Someone realized we had a lot of label paper on hand and soon were were populating whatever surfaced were handy with pedobear stickers. The denizens across the hall tried to fight back by taking our own posters and sticking them on our own door. We were not amused but responded by more posters, more stickers, more clever captions. We totally pwnd them, is what I’m saying.

Yet where did pedobear creep in to our collective consciousness and begin to fondle us inappropriately? Our source material came from The Encyclopedia Dramatica. As the Onion is the cool-kids lampoon of American news, politics and

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general going-ons ED is the internet’s bastion of in-jokes, snideness and being horribly offensive for the lulz. It’s toilet humor for people that are smart enough to see the joke in the fuck you but geeky enough to appreciate painstakingly photoshopped pictures of cartoon bears and young girls. It completely consumed our entire Thursday and left everyone following each random link lustily, laughing hysterically and calling one another to our computers. Friday saw a resurgence of fascination as well as a continued assault on the neighbors. It also saw someone figuring out that you can have animated gifs as your desktop’s background. It’s the perfect distraction for whiling away the idle hours at work, it’s horribly addictive and it may be the greatest summation of today’s internet culture that has been pointed out to me.

Lulz

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I sincerely

apologize… It’s been a hell of a month and it seems knowing me was a sure fire way to have some trauma in your life: Three people I know lost loved ones this month, one losing two friends in seperate overdoses. A friend’s grandfather also was admitted to the ICU with a highly elevated white blood cell count but no tests have proven conclusive last I’d heard… My parents’ both lost their cars in one fell swoop. A high speed chase ended in my dad’s van which ended in my mom’s car. Both rear axles were snapped and the insurance company towed the derelict husks away in exchange for a total of five grand which, as you probably know, doesn’t buy a new car let alone two. This instigated a week-long mess for the folks which involved trains to Sacramento, cell phones landing in Salt Lake City needing to be returned, locking keys in cars (on loan) and a faulty oil change dumping everything on the street and leaving the car empty and needing to be towed to a diagnostic by Honda. When I last saw them they were just finishing the paperwork for the accident a week prior and looked pretty worn out. My roommate had a late night collision leaving his bike a little fucked, the car unfucked and some staples in his head. Black eye, swollen face, light concussion ambulance ride and a night in the hospital. After a couple days being cared for by his mom he returned home wearing huge and ugly sunglasses but in a chipper mood. Two friends spent time in psych wards, one brought by the cops and one on their own terms. The spiral of impact these events had on others was enough to wipe me out for a month on their own so luckily they happened within a week of each other smack dab in the middle. One friend decided to check into rehab which I guess is good but also carries a lot of bad into the conversation. The same head-trip as the last paragraph,

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I suppose: where were you before all this happened and why do you think trying to deal with if after makes up for the neglect and carelessness you showed not being there for people… Ah… Hell, I was declined for the first credit card I ever applied for because I don’t have any references. How do you get references? You have previous credit cards. They offered me a lower limit pre-paid card but frankly I just wanted free airline miles so fuck you and the pigs… Feel like I’m forgetting things and to be honest I probably am since I lost my ability to think about two weeks ago and have only slowly begun to sleep more than six hours at a time and complete sentences again. It wasn’t all bad: a friend of mine found out she was pregnant (which was good news) and two friends just announced today they had birthed a baby girl. Two friends got married (to each other, which is easier to deal with) and I was allowed to watch. A lot of people were in town who I don’t get to see very often and it was great to be able to spend a little bit of time catching up. Then again my friend in from Minneapolis was hung over when we met (we only had an hour due to my dealing with some shit and his previous engagements) and tho he was doing well it did come out that someone we had both worked with and been friends with years back had been killed a couple years ago in an accident. Tho by a bow or a boat I’m still not certain. Anyways, it brought the already quiet and still morning to an even slower speed. Anyways, a pretty polarized month. More eventful then most, to be sure, but I’m not really made for constant activity of the best sort let alone the worst. Again, I’m sure I’ve neglected to write something down so if I’ve missed your personal trauma and you would like an apology just get in touch. If I neglected your happiness remind me of that too unless I just pissed you off… Sorry for another indulgent, off the wrist posting. No pics, no links, no regard for the world outside my head… Shame, for shame! I promise to get the pony started in July with actual research and thinking and cross-references and babies flying out of carriages and shit… Seems like I’m dripping topics from my pants right now. Let’s be safe out there.

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Tongue-tied with a sudden sharp ache in my chest as my faltering heart becomes overrun with an adrenal sneak-attack. The prospect, the very idea, of attempting communication– the simple art of opening my mouth and flooding the local atmosphere with my wit and humour– sends shock-waves through by body, one powerful surging tide of anxiety laying waste to vital organs and clumsy limbs alike. Just a little self-contained Nagasaki, babies bursting into flames created by the friction caused when I come into contact with the outside world. An extreme example: another collision with a mystery wandering around the neighborhood where I find myself employed. For all intents and purposes she remains a fictional character, an empty husk in a demure coat flitting from vague instances of imagination to the busy streets of anonymous obstacles clogging my day like a drowned rat clogs a toilet when you try and flush the little bastard. However, as these non-interactions become more frequent the little monkey living in the back of my brain where the lizard became the man has begun to take a pair of pliers to various nodes and nodules responsible for a variety of impulses best left alone. Yet as the growing desire or compulsion to attempt some form of communication beyond awkward eye contact and reflexive looking away there also grows the more overwhelming physiological impact of a possible exchange. But as I said this is an extreme example. Typically social interactions are fraught with nausea, faintness, a burning desire to leave and my hands and mouth cross-dressing. It’s a very rare occasion when I find myself at a party and a nearly extinct one where I leave feeling that the evening wasn’t yet another challenge to my right of existence. Against any available wall-space or tucked into some convenient corner a mental checklist is checked more thoroughly than any examination by Santa Claus or the CIA. I don’t know how to behave, how to approach anyone, how to effortlessly and naturally become part of a conversation, how to think, how to dress, how to talk and even if I did what the fuck am I gonna talk about? There’s a million and one rules of engagement in any social

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gathering and I will violate each and everyone until I’ve shamed the poor sods who invited me into leaving to make sure I get home okay. Not that I need to go to parties and attempt to fit in, make nice, meet people or enjoy myself. This is an avoidable pitfall and nine times out of ten I’m smart enough or balanced enough to decline any well-intentioned invitation to leave the safety of my little hovel. Unfortunately, while life is full of parties, it’s also full of various obligations which require even more stringent application of communication skills and an ability to stand in the correct line with the correct paperwork and the correct questions and answers. I’ll be taking to the friendly skies soon and my excitement about this impending vacation is tempered by an acute fear of dealing with the airport, getting stressed out and anxious, then boarding a death-trap which will use the force of gravity against my stomach and fill my head with visions of corrupted fuselage breaking apart. I’ve been told there will have to be an exchange with the plastic smiles lurking behind the check-in counter instead of the animosity expressed by the automated tellers. I think the last time I checked-in through the counter one of my bags was x-rayed and my other bag and I were both stopped by security and humiliated publicly. This would be more of a brick-wall in my life if my job was better paying and I found reason to, I dunno, check out pyramids somewhere. Trouble commences whenever I need to ask someone at a store where something might be– I know that it won’t exist until I ask some over-worked and under-paid future assistant manager for life who will drop everything they’re doing to take me right back to where I was looking and politely point out the neon lights and bells and whistles surrounding the product of choice. Hell, ask the guy down at one of my liquor stores how well I deal with paying the correct amount. Then there are times in your life where you have to enter some strange place with bad carpeting and worse lighting where employees have compulsory attire and perfect, white teeth. A faint memory of intentions long drugged, murdered and dismembered slowly began to haunt me after reading an article detailing the recent protests which briefly interrupted the shareholders’ meeting for Berkshire Hathaway. (more…)

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A stupor of homogenous thinking took hold this week. I am even tired of magazines. I decided that the prevailing culture dominated by inbred circus media was getting me down. I always worry when I return to questioning the existence of museums. I was weak and embattled. Had Medialomania beaten me? Is Medialomania contagious? What is Medialomania? I

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looked up “medialomania” on Google and got five hits back. Two of which were domain name advertisers. One other was German and I can’t call the fourth. The fifth? Well, I stopped caring because something has to have more than five hits on Google to be anything. However, when I do that search post publishing, I will find myself on that list with the only firm definition of “Medialomania”. I hope. Is this not a good test of Google’s panopticism? Or should we all just wait for Wikisearch? (Which currently hosts an expired blog by a former board member). The details may play out in a soap opera script,

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or may not…. So allow me. –noun med.i.a.lo.ma.ni.a [mee-dee-uh-loh-mey-nee-uh] 1. Psychiatry, – institutional Psychiatry – the symptom of media corporations observable in offensive delusions of importance. Mediolomanic institutions will often get embroiled in adolescent ratings battles. Medialomanic activity increases proportionally to group size. Behaviours extend to racial profiling, empty headlines, long-sightedness, lack of context and human interest stories. – cognitive psychiatry – within human individuals medialomania is evidenced by mutations of institution medialmonia, that give rise passive rose tinted consumption of the world and its events. 2. Journalism – communicative psychology – the obsession of largess media with doing extravagant or grand things, eg graphics and scrollling headlines and a clock and a busy news room behind and five monitors and a nice silk tie, or “oo, look honey, she’s done her hair differently tonight…”. -adjective med.i.a.lo.ma.ni.ac [mee-dee-uh-loh-mey=nee-ak] 1. Of, pertaining to, or suggesting megalomania; a person. group or corporate boardroom that displays the symptoms listed above. [Origin: Wednesday, 28th March, 2007; media- + -lo- + -mania; media- + -lo- + maniac] I recently subscribed to the feed from the grandly titled Institute for Public Accuracy. I know nothing about the editorial team but I have enjoyed their strong opinion and bare journalistic swagger. This week I discovered photojournalist visionary, Fazal Sheikh, who is making the sublime legible. Edward Burtynsky is as brilliantly shocking as he is aggrandised by media elites. But aren’t there thousands of people doing work as human? Let’s see it. Let open source reign. Lets see the facts laid bare and let them be unobscured and unfiltered. I’d rather discomfort and awareness than sensation and numbness. A wise man once said, “If you are to choose between security and liberty, always choose liberty”. Journalism is not entertainment. Entertainment is predictable and voluntary. Journalism, with the world as its looking glass, is every possibility simultaneously and your a fully subscribed member. If entertainment is security and journalism is liberty, then the only question remaining is which do you choose? Allow the medialomanic corporations to continue their circus, just don’t turn on your TVs.

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