Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dearth of Print

Another casualty, another dollar (less) - media is going down the tubes, hard and fast. It's hard to imagine because in former recessions, we used to lay around all day and read newspapers and magazines about things we could never afford and profiles of people we could never be. Now, however, with digital goods and services, we've instant news and gratification (TMZ) and less spin and more critical thinking...
Forward thinkers argue that NYT should invest heavily in Kindle-readership, and abandon print for good (*and supply math to justify it). This to me is awesome, but it's also a utopian kind of dream that doesn't take into account the huge infrastructure to pull off. Still - when you look at the whole waste issue, it does seem inevitable that they'll have to go to this model sooner or later.
However - one argument in all of this that isn't surfaced is how much sales space has taken over media in the last 20 years and it's deafening impact on true content. I've seen actual "bias" in the media - and it's not conservative or liberal, it's "revenue". We've sold out actual information space to people who need to sell you cruise-ship packages, sectional-sofa sets and anxiety medication. Some rags are worse than others (the 'free magazines' I manage to get are circling the drain and getting thinner and thinner, ads getting larger and larger). If and when NYT goes this route - they'll have to switch to a pay-per article and probably abandon revenue-based advertising. Just my 02.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Circular Reference

I stumbled on a rather interesting youtube site where one of them steampunkers constructs moog-like electronica with a 1900's flair. Some of the controls are awesome and have a sci-fi look to them (they wouldn't be out of place in any of the retro or newer Doctor Who episodes).

Generally, I kinda lumped them in w/either the Goth's or the Burning Man crowd. I tended to be wary of people who engage in what i term as "unnecessary romanticism" (where the mere act of mining a narrative that's not clearly yours takes precedence over the present reality). However, I think maybe with looking for alternative energies and simplifying, going back to "steam" might be the most punk rock thing ever...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I was in a training class yesterday when the instructor (who is European) made a remark that American's have bigger houses and spaces (than elsewhere in the world), and in those spaces they have garages and it's more common than usual to have their car parked outside of those spaces, hiding the years of hoarding that have rendered their garages large filing cabinets of waste and memories. I suddenly realized my own spare bedroom serves this purpose, and that I hoard a ton of useless half-started projects and attempts that are going into landfill at some point. Usually when I dwell on the crap I've accumulated, I have a shudder and think of a few deceased shut-in relatives who collected newspapers and tin cans. However, rather than feel like the dirty, trapped-under-my-own-weight Grey Gardens-like horror (that my life could become) - I started to think objectively and take stock: Single, Childless, No pets, No major intent to remodel. Hmm - even though it's a crappy time, maybe I should sell? I've often thought about it - and I've entertained the idea that renting during these troubling times gives one some flexibility in terms of moving, living, etc. I am not necessarily committed one way or another, but a relief kinda came my way with all my recent mortgage anxiety (yes, the rates are going up - sigh)... Where am I going with this? Oh yeah - paring down. Simplifying. Getting the fuck out of my particle-board 'faux-yuppie' spray-on life and having some forward (not upward) mobility...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Revolution Grandma

I was standing in line at the local supermarket during a break from work and had the inevitable "old lady congestion" problem. This is where you're 2 or three people back in the Express lane and the kindly grandmother-type is at the front of the line, carefully counting her change to buy smokes and a lottery ticket. It takes more than 2-3 minutes, and usually, the awful ageist, impatient beast in me is silently howling to HURRY THE FUCK UP (and learn to use the ATM!)... but then something in me today ceased for a second. What if she's actually more adaptable to the current economic situation because she's the only practicing "Cash and Carry" consumer? The "greatest" generation pretty much knew where their paycheck was at all times and whether or not they were approaching the red. I figure their survival skills are probably a lot more in tune with living within your means (and not your credit) than we've ever known. Maybe I should switch financial advisors?