Monday, September 28, 2009

justin bobby

it's not quite a verb yet, but urban dictionary's definition of
justin bobby does explain the relevant circumstance

[preamble: i'll admit i watched the first season or three of the hills -- an incredible transition in the reality tv realm from mostly real to mostly fiction, posing as reality. that show made several young people into highly paid actors who were playing fictitious accounts of their 'real' lives. what! as viewers, we're required to accept contradictory truths about the main characters. they're famous for playing fake versions of their real lives -- we know it's fake and we looooove it. that's an interesting way for mainstream attention to turn at the end of the first new-millenial decade -- we love fake reality (hello second life). it's the new american dream -- people trying to utilize their persona or circumstance for recognition, status and pay-out.]

scrolling through perez on my reader today i came across a justin bobby post. i haven't watched the hills in ages, but it makes my day to see a justin bobby post every now and again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the coming insurrection

one of my online browsing hobbies is pouring over's lists of new or bestselling social sciences non-fiction books. i keep a reading list of books i'd like to read some day -- because otherwise as soon as i have no particular book in mind to read, then nothing sounds appealing. take for instance the ending of my first year of grad school -- once i had free time and went browsing at the central library downtown all i ended up checking out were huxley's island and a few parapsychology books that were pretty crap. i didn't flip my reading switch back on until i found canadians, a pretty interesting book about contemporary canada. after that my reading floodgates flew open and i've been a devout bookworm for the last 18 months.

it seems that just reading books isn't enough, as i'm now tediously examining finite sub-categories of social sciences non-fiction for titles to add to my reading list. i justify this minorly obsessive habit by telling myself that, as an avid reader, i know there are plenty of crap books out there -- especially research on nano-contemporary social phenomenons. take for instance the absurd popularity of malcolm gladwell's books right now. [sidenote: i personally judge gladwell's popularity because i'm not impressed with his pop sociology; i think he over-generalizes some pretty subtle things and stamps his interpretation on it to the crowds' delight; i'll be curious to see how his theories hold up over time.] so sociology is the hip non-fic category for this millisecond -- which means the publishing market is churning out more content in that field, interesting concept, research and writing, or not. phenomena flood the market with junk, so it's not too wacky to keep an extensive list of options -- that way, i know that if the book doesn't deliver on the content-front within the first 20%, i don't have to waste my time feeling like i have to suffer through the book out of some kind of reader's responsibility.

now that i've hyper-analyzed my reading strategy, i can explain that i've so thoroughly combed through and .ca, as well as many computerized cycles of recommendations based upon my book profile, i needed a new source for my fix. i turned to i thought it would be the exact same as amazon, just with its signature green-theme design. as in the color, not the trendy environmental phase currently enrapturing the western world. i was surprised to find that its classification scheme was different than amazon's; then again, i would think that's interesting due to my status as an information professional.

browsing bn books > non-fiction > political theory & ideology, i came across something called the coming insurrection. what a title! the book description reads:

The Coming Insurrection is an eloquent call to arms arising from the recent waves of social contestation in France and Europe. Written by the anonymous Invisible Committee in the vein of Guy Debord—and with comparable elegance—it has been proclaimed a manual for terrorism by the French government (who recently arrested its alleged authors). One of its members more adequately described the group as "the name given to a collective voice bent on denouncing contemporary cynicism and reality." The Coming Insurrection is a strategic prescription for an emergent war-machine to "spread anarchy and live communism."

looking at the customer reviews section, under the 'good for' heading were the options: book club, gift giving, inspirational, intellectual stimulation, topical conversation. i had a nice lol when i saw that book club got 1/5 stars -- this book is about the coming insurrection, theoretically by the masses, because that's what an insurrection is. the coming insurrection would be a perfect book club item, because the idea is to spread the word of rebellion! so how the hell did it rate only one out of five stars?

i had an even better lol when i looked further down the 'good for' heading to topical conversation, which was rated 4/5 stars. isn't a book club topical conversation? it's the same thing. and yet the completely divergent customer ratings.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

frozen ocean

not only does facebook make attendance at my upcoming 10 year high school obsolete, it makes me feel like i'm witnessing my 10 year high school reunion every damn time i log on. nothing but peoples' boring vacation pictures, boring wedding and house pictures, boring baby pictures, and delightful puppy and kitten pictures (if my supposed fb 'friend' knows how to take a non-shitty picture, which half of them don't).

for better or worse, i generally know how maybe half my graduating class is doing these days. but due to the fact that i started facebooking five years ago while i was still an undergrad, i never really got that much distance from my high school classmates. it's the general presence of those regulars that make the mia's that much more illustrious.

while walking down my building's stairs and exiting onto the sidewalk, my thoughts leapt from approaching autumn to winter to alaska, snow and icebergs to here down the coast to southern california to frozen ocean.

a little over ten years ago my high school marching band was preparing to take a trip to southern california over the christmas holiday. during a band practice the director explained the trip itinerary included an afternoon at the beach. a plump, blond, simple girl who was new in town from texas raised her hand and asked, 'but if we go in december, won't the ocean be frozen?' the band director looked as though he'd gone slack-jawed and was then pressed between heavy dictionaries with tissue paper. he was an exceptionally thin man to begin with, but his interior rage at the blunt moronic-ness of the question seemed as though he would implode into a fairy twinkle, and then absolute nothingness. taking a moment to collection himself, the director asked for any other questions, invalidating the girl's query by ignoring its existence.

a 15 or 16 year old high school student asking whether the ocean nearest disneyland would be frozen in december would normally be a sign of a failed education system (i did note she had moved from texas), but this was the suburban midwest. as if any high school students anywhere need a reason to pick on others, this girl was already fat and from texas -- it was as if revealing her stupidity was the last straw in the argument of how could you possibly not pick on her?

from then on everyone referred to her as frozen ocean behind her back, at least in the beginning. it seemed so casual that it must have made it back to her at some point. the girl committed a massive social blunder and suffered extensive alientation -- it's one of those things you look back on, now as an adult, and think 'no wonder people end up fucked in the head.'

but that's not the point i'm getting at. even though this girl, this frozen ocean, had the odds stacked against her, she seemed to dig her own grave by thinking, or at least acting, as though her peers were her friends -- her desperation was so sad that no one really shunned her to her face. she seems like exactly the kind of person who would go on fb and friend anyone that was in her high school graduating class, and people would accept her request out of pity, knowing they could hide her from their own fb feeds. it's these aspects of this girl that i haven't seen in over ten years that make her absence from a social networking website so glaringly obvious.

so no, i don't want to attend my upcoming ten year high school reunion -- i want to know what the hell happened to frozen ocean.