“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - From Fear and Loathing Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
Drove down to Santa Cruz with the missus yesterday to fete youngest nephew on the occasion of his graduation from the local university. The drive and Santa Cruz are very nice. Lots of green, it was great to get away for a bit etc. And youngest nephew is well deserving of celebrating. But in a weird way the highlight of our journey was a stop in a godforsaken hell hole called Union City. I suppose its name derives from the fact that it is a union of all that is wrong in cities.
We pulled into a large outdoor mall area to hit the Starbucks for a caffeine fix. There before us was American culture in all its sterility. Every imaginable fast food eatery all the shops you see in every city of any size in the US and a massive multiplex theater showing major films being screened all across this great land of ours. (Sic.) There was enough diet cola within a five mile radius to drown a village. There was sufficient fatty foods and sugar to kill off every terrorist in the world twice. There were obese Americans waddling about in shorts and sandals. There were other overweight people smoking practicing a desperately slow but sure method of suicide. There was the cocoon that the American middle class wrap themselves in. All the supposed comforts. The familiar highlighted (or low lighted) by piped in and popular music serving more as a sense duller than entertainment.
People could hang out at the mall for hours shopping and slurping then drive home (you must drive no walking or bikes or public transportation in suburb city) and sit in comfort in front of your TV to watch what everyone else was watching. Or to sit in front of your computer screen to update your status and check other people's. How was cousin Fred in Dayton doing? Still in a relationship? Let's find out. Oh and to post a photo of the new dealy whooper I bought. Won't that make Mavis back in Canoga Park jealous!
Yes the vast outdoor mall was quite the reminder of what lies out there all throughout middle america (the heartland!!!). Acre upon acre of the same damn thing everywhere you go. Regional differences are a thing of the past. We're all one big homogeneous glutinous mass of butter and electrical wiring. From screaming out of the womb to whimpering into the grave americans are securely nestled in a common culture of corporate consistency as they clamor for the creature comforts of conformity.
Speaking of the internet....I am extremely easy to find. My name is not exactly Mike Jones. Indeed I do believe I'm the only one of me to be found on this planet. A quick google search will lead to this blog where my email address is easily found. As a consequence I hear from all manner of crackpots degenerates and brain addled addicts -- and those are just my old friends. But I also get requests to look at a short film -- and sometimes longer ones -- and to write nice things about it a (sorry Mr. Scorsese but I'm kinda busy these days). If you've got a film you want me to watch the answer is no. I really am a busy lad and I don't want to feel obliged to say nice things. Good luck though. Also I get a lot of requests to link with my blog or to advertise with my blog or to say nice things about their blog or website or product. To those I say: leave me the hell alone. This is not a commercial endeavor and I'm not in it for anyone but me and anyone who happens to read something and enjoy it (both of you). I thank my reader most profusely.
I'm often asked what questions students most ask me. That's an easy one: "are you going to retire soon?" Another question I get asked a lot is: "can I transfer to another class?" And finally I frequently get this question: "will you please wake up." And now you know.
One great thing about teaching is that you get to be around other teachers. For the most part these are wonderful insightful clever people. Many have a wicked sense of humor (I don't and think that any attempts at humor either in writing or speaking should be severely punished preferably with a bullwhip). So other educators are peaches and that includes most of the people I currently work with. There are exceptions like this one -- I wanna say person but I may be stretching it -- who conducts personal phone conversations well within hearing range of most of San Francisco. A beauty of cell phones is you can go most anywhere and talk. Privacy is always possible. But this one individual sits a few feet away from us describing symptoms to her doctor. Suffice to say that far from needing to hear this we do not want to hear this. Said person also gabs about less delicate matters while in our midst and this is merely annoying not to mention inconsiderate. I think she's kind of a kook, a belief shared by others. Whattaya gonna do?
I got nothing else folks. But I'll be back again soon with another edition of Gonzo Blogging. Peace.