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Still alive, and a father now. This is my daughter Josephina, 13 days old.

Suburban Hell
As those of you who are also friends with Megan know, the last couple days we've been all excited about the prospect of buying a house. I'd always assumed we just couldn't afford a house anywhere in Southern California -- we don't even live in a rich area, but the houses in our neighborhood all go for about a million dollars.

This weekend, though, I realized that houses the Antelope Valley, about an hour north of LA, are going for the national average right now, maybe even a touch below. You can get a kickass house like this:

for $120,000! The mortgage payment on that would be HALF what we're paying for rent, and we'd be building up equity. We're basically just flushing our money down the toilet right now, paying for the location, which we don't even really take advantage of.

So Sunday night we drove out there, and in the dark it's tolerable. Very monotonous, but quieter than LA, lots of stars in the sky, desert in the distance, row after row of nicer houses than I've ever lived in...

But then we just went back and reality was given the light of day, so to speak. Palmdale/Lancaster might, in fact, be hell. It certainly is A hell, if not THE hell. This is a ridiculously long, but fascinating article about urban sprawl, using the Antelope Valley as its case study. And it's ridiculously accurate. The entire city is was designed by land developers who never set foot there -- each perfect-square mile block is isolated from any sense of community by a brick wall, there's no foot traffic, no town center, no sense of community, no culture, no nothing, except block after block of sterile, corporate uniformity. We wouldn't have to make the zombie-like 2 hour commute like most people, but living there would still be absolutely soul-crushing.

Too good to be true probably is.

So instead, we're back in the San Fernando Valley, which suddenly looks like paradise, and vowing to take advantage of where we live more often. Might as well, because we're not leaving any time soon.

This article combines 4 out of the 5 biggest things that are wrong with the world no pun intended

Ignore the scapegoating, the stereotyping, the snickering, the journalistic integrity and the profit motive. Let's just look at the dumbfuck logic:

The argument we're given here is that fat people eat too much, which increases the demand for food, which puts a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere during production. Ignore the Michael Phelps diet for a second, just pretend there's no such thing as metabolic rates, and that fat people really do eat more than skinny people. Say it's the big fat pigs eating 12,000 calories per day...

The USDA recommends the average androgynous person should eat 2,200 calories per day. So our hypothetical big fat pig is eating 5.5 times what a normal person is supposed to.

That seems like a lot, right?

Well, it is, until you consider that eating meat uses about 16 times the fossil fuels to grow as soy, wheat, and corn. One pound of beef also takes 20 times the land area and 150 times the water of vegetables.

So the headline might as well be Meat-Eaters Cause Global Warming. But we wouldn't say that, because we're dumbfucks.

This self-righteous message was brought to you by Carl's Jr. Have it your way!(tm)


Completely unrelated -- is it a good sign that there's been no codification of hyperlink grammar? In the above passage, I linked a partial sentence to another article, and didn't include the period at the end of that clause in the hyperlink. But I just as well could have, and no one would have giving an F, or even noticed. It seems like there's no convention at all, which is good, because conventions are pointless.

The end.

Sweet and Hilarious and Mildly Embarrassing
Don't know if others will find this as amusing as I do, but Megan made me this video for Valentine's Day:

I Tweetled
I'm not sold on its worth yet, but Megan signed me up with Twitter the other day and I've been Tweeting up a storm. I'm not going to burden you with embedding it into LJ, though, unless there's unanimous petition for it in the comments. You can follow me on Twitter itself or on my blog's Twitter Page. Follow me and I'll follow you back.

Also, I'm trying to be more active on Facebook, so add me there if you're on it and not added, or comment to let me know I should look you up.

Edit: Don't worry, I'm not actually going to put 50 twitters a day on my LJ:)

Pick One

Poll #1326710 Color Blind

Is the figure at the center of this image predominently red or orange?


Found Poetry Feed
I just set up an LJ Feed for The Found Poetry Project: foundpoetry_rss. Sign up and check out the latest post, a great WebMD found poem by doctortina! Don't forget to keep an eye out for unexpected poetry, and send it to us. www.foundpoetry.org

Beating Megan to the Punch
It's dark and depressing, and uncomfortably accurate, but Revolutionary Road is the best movie to come out in a long time.

ETA: Damnit, I thought if I just kept it to one sentence I could be quicker. Oh well... Might as well add, if you didn't like Dogville, you should probably skip this, but that's one of our favorite movies, too. This is just so perfectly captures the slow disillusionment that is American life--the struggle not to accept one's own mediocrity, the immaturity of love. It's brutal, and the theater was full of nervous laughter, but try to find a scene that could be improved or cut and you can't.

I forgot to mention that I joined Goodreads a couple months ago. I added a lot of people from LJ already (and a couple more I noticed through Patrick just now), but I'm sure I'm missing some of you, so add me if you've got an account:

If you don't have an account, I'd recommend it -- it's like Myspace, but people are thoughtful and intelligent and talking about books!

The Found Poetry Project (beta)
About three years ago RM had a little post that sounded to me like a poem -- and so much better than the millions of war poems we were getting as submissions to Rattle. She wasn't trying to make it a poem, just blogging like the rest of us, but still the poetry emerges. I asked her if she minded turning it into a poem and publishing it, she said sure, so we put it in Rattle #24.

The little experience got me all excited at the time about making an anthology of found poetry -- not the traditional kind of found poetry, where the "poet" who adds line breaks gets all the credit, but something that acknowledges both the accidental artist, and the reader who was listening closely enough to hear the poetry in what was written.

The truth is, poetry is everywhere--it's not just the domain of people with degrees who dream of seeing their name in print. The idea that poetry is something special devalues the reality of what it is. Any phrase sings or rings is poetry, whether it's in a newspaper article, on a bathroom stall, or in Robert Hass's latest collection. All you have to do is pay attention.

So to that end, Megan and I have put together the Found Poetry Project at www.foundpoetry.org. It's basically a lit mag in a blog format -- posts every weekday as we have them (and of course we don't have any now). Anyone can submit, and we credit both the original author, and the poem's finder. The goal is to have a little fun, and get people listening to and enjoying the language they inhabit every day.

There are just a couple rules -- the original work can't have been meant as poetry, or written as literature. Found poems can come from blog posts, newspaper articles, letters, spam, street signs, graffiti, whatever you happen to notice. The "finders" can cut words and add line breaks and punctuation, but can't rearrange words or add new ones. They can also add a title or leave it blank.

Does this sound like fun to anyone? If so, we need your help -- we're announcing this just to friends right now (that's why the post says "beta"), so we can hit the ground running. So if you notice anything especially poetic in the coming days or weeks, send it in a note to submissions (at) foundpoetry.org. You can check out the About, Rules, and Submit pages for more info. Thanks!


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