Saturday, October 26, 2002 at 21:31:28 (EDT)

In which, I take up space
Killing time while waiting to go to somebody's birthday party at Low. I've never been there before, and it is proving impossible to find any information out about it as its name renders it near impossible to google. B added helpfully that it is the bar below Rice, a DUMBO restaurant. This is also difficult to search for, as many restaurants offer rice on their menus. At any rate, I am not optimistic that the scene will be the sort of thing I like. Last night, M and I cruised around his neighborhood, which happens to be Williamsburg. But again, I must beseech you that we are not 'hipsters.' Certainly not! M's way of describing what people term as hipsters is to say simply "too cool for school." It's a fine line, it is. We hung out at the Sweetwater, which is a great bar, except for the enormous tv set that provided the only light source in the main room. We were there for a while until some Europeans came in and began to gently but persistantly elbow us, until we were compelled to leave. We tried to go to Rosemary's but as expected it was too crowded. Not so the Sardine Can, which I realized only stays open til 1 AM. In this way we were able to 'close the bar out.'

I continued my project of enclosing the back porch in acrylic sheets. I have to walk through the Pratt campus area going to and from the hardware store, which allows me to pretend that the large plastic sheets I am carrying are for some uber-concept art installation. Those Pratt students furrow their brows and try to imagine what wondrous creation I am going to birth using these items. Ah, I do not envy them the fact that they will never know I am taking them home to screw onto the windows of the shoddy, homemade back porch thing attached to the back of my apartment.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Friday, October 25, 2002 at 10:43:47 (EDT)

In which, MSN litters for advertising
Motherfuck those damn butterflies! Someone tell Bill Gates he's not using the right kind of adhesive, cuz those suckers were all strewn in the gutter when we were walking down Houston last night.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 20:00:43 (EDT)

In which, Seinfeld gets interrupted
So I'm trying to watch Seinfeld and the news comes on with this interminable coverage of a press conference about the arrest of the sniper suspects. That's fine, it's important news, but they are waiting on Charles Moose to come out and speak and so they're just killing time, repeating themselves ad nasueum. The guy on the scene just said "We're operating on 'Moose Time.'" Maybe I'm just oversensitive because of that New York Press thing, but that sounded suspiciously like "Colored People's Time," the epithet meaning that black people are always late for anything, save music or dance. Mr. Moose is a black man. Maybe it's splitting hairs, but that shit annoys me.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 14:15:04 (EDT)

In which, I get mad again at a legitimately published author
New York Press has an article in this week's issue that really pisses me off. It's sort of pitched at the same level as their Williamsburg-bashing pieces in the "Best of Manhattan" issue: inflammatory and offensive, refusing to see the bigger picture. I love it. In this case, the guy, Tim Hall, is all upset because he lives in a mostly black neighborhood and doesn't like it. I have to assume he's white since his delivery follows all the usual 'white backlash' angles: drug-dealing is rampant, blacks want special treatment without reciprocation, brokers are in a frenzy to gentrify, black men spit when he comes into sight. One wonders how long he has been in New York, since his shock at seeing graffiti and overpriced apartments seem too innocent for somebody who has spent any time here.

This irks me more than it usually would because he is talking about my neighborhood. I live in Clinton Hill, or more correctly, the small strip of Greene Ave that lies outside of the Clinton Hill area on the historical maps mounted on the lamp posts outside my building. I know a little bit about it, as a white guy in a predominantly black neighborhood, and I know he's full of shit. Or full of fear. I can't help but wonder if the "South Park"-styled piece in Bowling for Columbine was not accurate in its conclusion that White America wallows in fear, and always has. This guy definitely is. He's disgusted that realtors are popping up all over the place and trying to sell houses at inflated prices, apparently assuming the area is about to blow up and become, as his friend excitedly tells him, "the New Williamsburg!" While Realtors annoy everybody with their parasitic relationship with this city, it can hardly be said that this neighborhood is the only one suffering from too much attention. Maybe he pines for the days when Realtors didn't even bother with this neighborhood, back when 1 out of every 5 brownstones was a burned-out shell left over form the '77 riot. But something tells me Mr. Hall arrived much more recently than that.

But let's give him the benefit of the doubt: he doesn't want Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy to become Williamsburg. Fair enough, neither do I. But usually in this sort of equation, one professes such a desire in hopes of maintaining a neighborhood's cultural integrity. In short, nobody wants the good aspects of their home messed up by a bunch of suspiciously wealthy hipsters. But Hall doesn't like his neighborhood as it is, and he certainly doesn't offer any preferable situation, so having an opinion about this issue is moot. He despises the people who were born and raised here, taking personal offense at such bathos as graffiti, drug-dealing, spitting, and even the use of the word "Sister". Is he kidding me with this shit?

He's convinced that black folk are out to get him, except for a couple 'good negros', including his Rasta neighbor and the elderly black man at the C-Town who sympathized with him when his debit card didn't work. I think I can see what's going on here: he really wants to live in the deep south, pre-1960. Instead of black men spitting when he walks by, he'd like them to step off the sidewalk and remove their hats. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it sure doesn't seem too far from the tone of his article. He has a weird superiority complex going that assumes anybody gives a damn about his existence. Well, they don't. If guys are spitting because of you, then you ought to feel good because at least they are acknowledging your presence. What's more likely is this guy rented a pad here because, as everyone knows, it's cheaper here than Park Slope. What he didn't count on was a dearth of accessible, brochure-ready citizenry. Didn't he see Do the Right Thing? He acts like he's the first white person to ever live here, when in reality (as he himself mentions in discussing the people in his building) the neighborhood is quite diverse. The stick in his craw is the fact that blacks are in the majority. He's all for the melting pot , so long as the base always consists of White Bread.

Yes, there aren't as many cool restaurants and bars here (though it's hardly the "serviceless wasteland of simmering racial hostility," as he pleasantly puts it). I mean, that's what's really lacking here, isn't it? This is a much more residential area than the hot neighborhoods of Brooklyn. It's a long way from having the 5th and 7th avenues of Park Slope, or Smith and Court streets of Boerum and Cobble Hill. It's light years from being Brooklyn Heights. But if is were to undergo even a little bit of Williamsburgization, it would start to get like that. Hall doesn't want that? Not even a little bit? Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy will never become Williamsburg; as the New York Press points out, Williamsburg never had a face, so its appropriation by hipsters (or whatever they are) was fairly simple. It won't happen here like that; if anything, this area will just become more like Fort Greene. And while not perfect, we could do a lot worse.

In the end, I'd tell Hall to get the hell out of the neighborhood if he's so unhappy, but it's clear he'd find a way to make himself miserable wherever he chooses to live. If I knew what he looked like, I'd be sure to spit when walked by.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

New York Magazine's description of my neighborhood

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 at 13:04:15 (EDT)

In which I start adding junk to this site
So the reason my CGI comments add-on didn't work was because it expects the blogging script to produce a unique ID for each entry. Fair enough, if I can just figure out how to add the famed $BlogItemNumber$ or whatever, I'll be set to be ignored on a whole new level.

To make up for my disappointment, I added the little thing on the right side of the screen so all the world can tell what I listen to on WinAmp at a given moment. As you can no doubt see, my musical tastes are beyond reproach.

I lke the idea of this thing listing songs; it goes back to something I realized about rock criticism and how it sucks most of the time. I came to the conclusion that I didn't want critics to try to explain music, becuase they never get it right. The only service they could possibly offer is to tell us what bands they like. No explanation or bad metaphors, no comparisons to other bands, no use of the word "blistering." If I really wanna know about the band, I'll go to All Music Guide or something.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 at 00:15:40 (EDT)

In which, I misdirect my CGI frustration on some hack
There's an article in this week's New Yorker about what Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are respectively doing post-Seinfeld. It blows. The author, Virginia Heffernan, ostensibly writes about Jerry Seinfeld's return to his stand-up roots after figureheading one of the most popular TV shows of all time. But in discussing his upcoming documentary, Comedian, she reveals his limitations as a writer concerning herself with the Funny Business. She claims the few jokes we get to see in the movie "are just not funny." Then she denounces his appearance on David Letterman's show because his jokes seemed too Seinfeldy. Well, duh. What did she expect? That Seinfeld, no spring chicken in the comedy game, would be able to invent an entirely new persona? I don't really care if his stuff isn't funny, it seems to me the film is supposed to be about watching a guy try to build a new act, something few people have ever seen, I'd wager. That the result is not striking dissimilar from his old act is moot; if it's new material and it works (even in that old Seinfeld way), isn't the process the more important focus?

She further reveals that she just doesn't get it when she goes on to discuss the carry of Larry David, who is now coasting well on his new show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Listen to what she says about it, and tell me if this person was perhaps not the best choice to write about this subject:

The program's title is misleading: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which is shot in Los Angeles, pictures upper-class life as offering nothing so luxurious as ennui. Rather, the world of David's peers is filled with never-ending contention—day after day of quarrels with friends, enemies, and employees.

She misses the simple concept of the title; it's works both ways. It can be said as a sarcastic comment to someone who lacks drive, but it can also be uttered to quell someone who is in the throes of passionate debate. It's like how sometimes you say "I could care less," but actually mean "I couldn't care less," while other times you really do mean "I could care less." Okay, that's not the best example, but I can't believe Heffernan couldn't see that side of it. After all, the main characters is supposed to be a grouchy cynic, no? Anybody who has ever known a cynic knows the fundamental construction of their world is always having something negative to add. I try to do this myself every day, and this is why I'm loved by animals and circus folk alike.

The whole article feels tacked on to an issue that already seems a bit thin this week. I dunno, maybe I'm just pissed that David Denby didn't like Bowling for Columbine. Or maybe I should stop skipping to the back sections of the magazine first. I thought of writing an inflammatory letter, but I just know I could never meet the New Yorker's quota for six-dollar words. Ah, if only this piece had been published by The New York Press! They print absolutely every letter they receive, if not in print, then online. It's actually kind of a fascinating read, especially if you haven't read the article against which the angry correspondents rage.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Sweat over body-image issues virtually! (Not Mozilla compatible. Jerks.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 at 14:39:33 (EDT)

In which, I ride out the clock at work
A frightening development may be taking place: I am in the office today, and so is my cubelette-mate, D. I am here because I had to deliver a cd-rom and attend a meeting. Back from the meeting I am horrified to find that D has vacated and found a cubicle somewhere else. This is alarming, since this shared space was cornerstone of my whole "I work at home all the time" philosophy. Maybe if I start breaking everything in sight, they'll force me to work at home.

I guess this isn't so bad. I suppose I should venture out and find the illustrious cafeteria I've heard so much about. But frankly, I'm tired of walking. I tried a new route to the office, hoping to avoid Ground Zero altogether, but this route took even longer. So forget it. When I leave tonight, I'm going down to 1 WFC, walking through the building and taking the pedestrian overpass to get to the subway. That is, unless J contacts me about going to the John Street Bar to take advantage of their Happy Hour specials.

Not having a lot of computer knowledge is really annoying me. I spent hours last night trying implement a Comments feature on the blog, only to be hornswaggled by my own blogging code. Don't lots of people do this? Why would people use ready-made code when they can do it the Hard Way? And now today I promised some guys that I could easily put a link on their site that won't move, even when people scroll the screen vigorously. Usually when I promise people wonderful javascript toys, I assume I will be able to find it, whatever the function, on one of those javascript sites. Then I adjust the code to meet my needs and then I'm done. In this case, however, I ran into problems because what I wanted to do was far simpler than any programmers wanted to bother with.

I searched for the script and came up with a couple things that were close: a "back to top" link that always stays in the top right corner, a graphic 'watermark' that stays in the bottom right corner. When I started messing with the first one, I realized the code was written rather close-mindedly, and I soon gave up trying to get it to work. The other script did exactly what I wanted, but it used a graphic when I wanted it to simply be a text link. So I wasted a bunch of time in Photoshop, making a graphic that, get this, looks like plain text. This worked, but then it dawned on me to go into the code and tell it to do what I wanted. This code was much more flexible and I soon had my highly-irritating static text link. It's like those TV logos they put on the screen so you don't for a second forget you're the asshole watching Fox. You can see why people would want that on their website.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Monday, October 21, 2002 at 15:59:07 (EDT)

In which, I remind the people what a bar is
Oh yeah, the other night after we saw "Bowling for Columbine," we retired to Freddy's for drinks and those bizarre videos they always show. I just wanted to point out that in the time it took me to (leisurely, I assure you) consume 3 drinks, my colleagues had, respectively, 1, 1, and NONE! At first I thought they were taking their time, but by my third Brooklyn Lager, I realized with mounting terror, they weren't drinking any more. Alas! What has this world come to? I'll have to pay better attention in the future. Perhaps I should declare a "2 drink minimum" when socializing with Mr. Legs.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Monday, October 21, 2002 at 15:10:45 (EDT)

In which, I commit self-butchery
Working from home again. I was gonna go in, for the sole reason that it would put me closer to a barbershop. I am in desperate need of a haircut. I am no longer young enough to simply let a haircut run rampant over my head. This is mainly due to my hair's inability to come to a consensus on how to grow on my head these days. The hair on the sides and the back are trucking along fine, the hair coming in fast and actually has some substance to it. The hair on top, however, has all but given up trying and now grows much slower and ever-thinner. Unfortuantely, it is this hair that must be used as guide for the better-growing segments of its population; thus, I gotta keep the sides and back short so they make less of a contrast to what's lacking on top. This makes perfect sense to me, although B always insists I look better when the whole mess grows longer. I have no idea what her logicf is based on; it's patently fallacious. Maybe it's her thing with Woody Allen. I dunno, she apparently likes a guy with a 70's film director 'do with a nice bald spot in the center.

Anyway, I hate going to the barber, because they never do what I want. they cut the top too short, not taking into consideration the obvious need to let it do its thing, rather hedging the more fecund parts of my skull. I can never make them understand, and when the haircut is over, both barber and barbee are thoroughly humiliated. I can't believe I tipped the last one. Sheesh. I used to cut my own hair all the time, and last year I got a set of electric hair clippers to get even more 'professional.' With these I nearly skinheaded myself, not understanding how the guides on the clippers work exactly. Having exhausted every normal resource, I have been forced in recent months to pester B to cut my hair. Usually, after many days of said pestering, she will relent and actually do it. This is great for me but traumatic for her. She always thinks she is doing a horrible job with my hair while cutting (and admittedly, my head of hair is not exactly the best environment ot hide one's mistakes), and of course, she didn't want me to get a haircut in the first place. But it always comes out looking good. Well, as good as it's gonna get, what with my follicle limitations and all.

And now, for the Point: I was left alone today, and I tried to cut my own hair again. It's like Ernest Hemingway after they released him from the loony bin: "Me? Oh, I'm fine. I'd never do anything like that again, no sir. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go in this little room now ..." The worst part is that at first it looked okay. It was gonna need some touching up, presumably by B when she got home, but overall it was not bad. Then I got to thinking about those clippers ...

Left Side of My Brain: You're not seriously considering ...
Right Side of My Brain: Maybe I am! I know how to do it this time!
Left Side of My Brain: No you do not. Last time you had a flattop for 3 months! Put those clippers away!
Right Side of My Brain: No, I've got it this time. I understand how to use the guides.
Left Side of My Brain: Oh I can't watch.

[buzzing sounds ensue; follwed by gasps of horror]

Right Side of My Brain: Whoops.

In trying to 'fade' my bottom hairline, I succeeded only in chopping large holes into the back of my head, leaving me with the appearance of Zippy the Pinhead. Here is an unretouched photo of the massacre. It's kind of the wrong angle to really get a feel for it, but I assure you, it is simply awful.

It's really not clear enough to see the carnage. My only solace is the simple fact that I am the only perosn on earth who cannot see the back of my head. After tomorrow, I will have forgotten about it. Of course, first thing tomorrow, I have a meeting with some people. I wonder if I can keep my head always facing these two guys , orbiting the room if need be. If we try to have the meeting in my cubelet, I'm sunk.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

The White folk are so lovable!

Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 14:40:29 (EDT)

In which, hipsters are discussed but remain unknown to us
M and I went to Union Pool, a bar one block from the Metropolitan station, that neither of us had ever been to before. I am not sure how that is possible; M lives right down the street from it (he can all but see it from his house), and I have always been a big fan of any bar that is near a subway station. It was a nice enough place, good place to meet up with people, but ... six dollars for a lil' glass of Jim Beam? I had two and realized it cost me almost as much as it did to purchase a whole bottle of Beam (as I did on the way home from the hardware store the other day). That sort of sucks. But Stella Artois was cheaper. Williamsburg really has everybody by the balls, doesn't it? Maybe that's why everybody hates it.

Apropos of the scene, we started discussing 'hipsterism' and the growing concern surrounding it. Williamsburg is apparently crawling with hipsters, which, M pointed out, doesn't mean what it did to Allen Ginsberg. The word was brought back in the past few years with an ironic slant that implies that someone is posturing themselves to resemble the old-school hipster in form, but not spirit. This causes a lot of confusion, because there are probably a few 'true' hipsters out there, somewhere. I'm not sure who they are, but rest assured, they're lookin' out for the rest of us. Like "Highway to Heaven" with black turtlenecks. Beyond that, there seem to be many discrete shades of faux-hipsterism, but nobody can agree on what is what. The New York Press has worked itself into such a lather about hating hipsters (specifically Williamsburg hipsters), they sometimes get caught in their own web of bile. In the recent 'Best of Manhattan' issue much ink is spilled in discussing how much the place sucks, although quite a few 'best of Manhattan' awards go over the train to this neighborhood of ill-repute. But the best line in the whole issue was in discussing the audience at the Billburg club, Luxx: "... and gaggles of posers who clearly do not live in Williamsburg." So what degree of hipsterism does that put you at, when you want to half-assedly emulate somebody who is himself trying to half-ass a style (which is already widely denounced) which apes the trappings of some beatnik who lived in the Village when it was still a cheap dump. And that guy probably just wished he lived in Paris the whole time.

The bottom line with hipsters is comparable to what Steve Albini said when he was explaining the Shellac song "Dog & Pony Show":

It’s like the child pornography of the world or snuff films or satanic cults. Everyone accepts as fact that these things exist but no one has ever witnessed one.

It's the same with hipsters: we all know what they are can spot 'em a mile away, but nobody seems to know any. Nobody thinks of themselves as a hipster, right? But chances are, if you are of a particular age bracket, enjoy certain types of music, and dress in a way that differs even alittle bit from the attire of a fraternity member, someone at some time has thought to themselves as you strode past, "Harumph. Fuckin' hipster."

Posted By Jimmy Legs

Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 03:05:47 (EDT)

Bowling for Columbine kicked ass! Go give this movie your money. Michael Moore sometimes has problems making his points and then ramming it down your throat. But in this piece he seemed to keep from running it into the ground. The underlying question, never resolved to anybody's satisfaction, is why do people in the US shoot each other so damn much? He starts off assuming it's because we have so many fucking guns and we need stronger gun laws. But then in an extended sequence focusing on Canada, we see a society that inexplicably can buy all the guns they want and *doesn't* shoot everyone in sight. How can it be! There is obviously something very wrong with this Utopia, the guns are symptom, the NRA is a symptom, Bush's approval ratings are a symptom. Whatever the cause, I get the impression that violent movies and even Charlton Heston are not to blame (although Heston's got a lot of explaining to do).

I spent the whole day fixing up the basement and the back porch. I hung the big ass rug like I said earlier, and after some regluing it actually seems to be holding. It looks like a cheap-ass rug store in the basement now. I need to get at least one more rug to enclose the 'room within ia room' thing I've got going, and then I need to put up some cardboard to cover some other empty spots. Then it's time to make it purty! I don't think that's possible.

Posted By Jimmy Legs

 
 


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