Saturday, January 15, 2011

43 Resolutions

We can go ahead and admit it:
Something is terribly wrong here.
But it's no reason to get hasty about ending it all, kids.

When the culture devolves to the point of needing to be italicized or put in scare quotes--the culture, the "culture"...

When you can't hear the words through the shouting...

When the reportage of the moment becomes the moment...when we live to text about it, blog about it, IM about it, Facebook about it, Twitter about the point where we've forgotten what it was to begin with...

When I use more ellispses than Céline...

When the media eats its tail--it's tale--swallowing itself in a gastro-sexual mouthfuck ad infinitum...

Well, shit's just gotten a bit weird, that's all. Our obsessions are moving faster than we can keep up. Cultural relativism is passé, Chuck. It's been relative for awhile. Now it's all equally irrelevant.
[drawing by Adam Zyglis, from Politically Illustrated]
Seems our friend Jared Lee Loughner--symptom or disease?--had an eventful night before his murder spree, which included taking sexy photos of himself with his piece. Yep--picture tomorrow's rock star, Jared Lee instead of Jerry Lee, insecure gear tucked into a Republican red banana hammock, Glock 19 rubbing himself full of confidence to do the deed. Is that a high cap magazine in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? We really are a nation gun-fuckers, aren't we? As Frightwig so poignantly queried: "How come a missile looks like a cock?"

It's no wonder I've been looking into alternative realities in which to live. (Well--it's been existential malaise coupled with the fact that Laura and I are planning to get a place together and I realize my credit is absolute dumperschitz.)

Lately I've been fascinated by Kowloon Walled City. Originally set-up as a military outpost during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Walled City became, by the late 1800s, a squat of 700 people. From there it turned into the most densely populated place on earth, an urban "megablock" with 30-50,000 people living in a 6.5 acre area--smaller than your average city block, basically, with a population hundreds of times more dense than Hong Kong itself. It was torn down by the HK government in 1993-4.
Relatively few photos have been taken in the interior of the Walled City, among them is a book by Ian Lambot called City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon City, which sounds amazing but runs around $90, so I don't, as yet, own it.

In terms of video of the interior, that also seems sparsely available, there's some shaky but interesting hidden camera footage, Jean Claude Van Damme's film meisterwork, Bloodsport, and a German documentary from 1989 which is by far the most interesting look:

When I first started looking into the Walled City, it struck me that I'd visualized it already, in dystopian futures like Blade Runner and William Gibson stories. It's the logical conclusion, the ultimate urban future. I hate to sound like a nouveau Malthus, but have you ever heard of the world's population declining? When they pave over the last tree, this is what we'll have: a monument to our own importance eclipsing the sun. A hovel, a rat's nest Taj Mahal in which to cower in fear of ourselves. Twisted, like our logic.

Not that Kowloon itself was necessarily all that dystopian. Sure, it had its criminal element, but a world without cops can't be all that bad (at least it's worth experimenting in...) Gibson references Kowloon in a piece he wrote for Wired about Singapore called "Disneyland with the Death Penalty."

I'm also intrigued by Denmark's anarchist micro-country in the middle of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania. A cop-free zone, the residents of Christiania handle their own shit. In an attempt to rid their town of heroin abuse in the 70s, some of the residents cooperated with police to drive the smack dealers out. The cops jerked them around and busted their hash connections instead, so the residents of "The Town" told the cops to fuck off, and, in 1979, launched the "Junk Blockade" and kicked the dealers out themselves.

DIY glass house in Christiania:
Don't worry--everyone is way too high to throw stones. Hash stand on "Pusher Street":
With hash bricks the size of Pop Tarts, I'm assuming this is a typical day in Freetown:
Freetown, like Slab City, was built on an closed military base. I hate to sound too much like a hippie twat, but wouldn't it be great if we could close all our military bases and make hash-head anarchist colonies on them?

Barring this, we can go the way of self help. We can, you know, bootstrap our way to the top of the heap, Horatio Alger style. Walk to school uphill, both ways, barefoot in the snow. Make New Year's Resolutions. I resolved to outdo myself this year and made 43. And, because I know you're fascinated by my soon-to-be remedied shortcomings, I shall present this list, with brief explanations when appropriate.

Enter, if you will, another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Step into Door 43:
1. No overdrafts.

I've paid banks more than I've ever saved in my life, that's for sure.

2. Lose 20+ pounds.

When I graduated high school, I weighed 194 pounds. This went up to around 215 until, in 2004 or 5, I trained for a marathon and went down to 180 pounds. Now I am a lard ass. Chinese people poke my tummy and giggle.

3. Take a Photoshop class.

4. Read more.

5. Ride my bike from Portland to SF.

Hear that, Gabe?

6. Move in with Laura.

7. Straighten out finances.

Money openly laughs at me.

8. Start meditating again.

9. Be more aware of my computer and phone usage.

To wit: right now my girlfriend is lying in bed next to me groaning.

10. Cut back on alcohol intake.

Five nights a week working in a bar and drinking "only" 6 or 7 shots of Jameson a shift is starting to sound perfectly reasonable.

11. Save money.

See No. 7.

12. Start freelancing again.

Since the Guardian got it's cake, I'm wondering if I can eat it too. Well, maybe not so much.

13. Start writing fiction again.

Jesus, it's been awhile.

14. Travel.

Setting this one off next month in the desert.

15. Scatter my father's ashes.

I'm thinking of doing this in the mountains around Downieville: carrying them in a backpack on the trail and leaving them in the woods.

16. Catch a ten pound bass.

17. Photo show.

I've got a spot in mind I'm going to approach about hanging my photos.

18. Buckshot swag.

Shanti and I are working on marketing and promotions.

19. Start running again.


20. Bike shop on target.

I'm planning on opening a bike shop. Anyone want to invest?

21. Work less nights and spend more quality time with Dolly and Laura.

Which would entail getting some kind of day job. Would love to work in a bike shop, or, you know, writing something worth writing. Anyone?

22. Ride Downieville and Northstar at least five times each.

23. Shrimp and white wine.

24. Go camping a lot.

25. Go snowboarding.

26. Surfing lessons.

27. Skydiving.

28. More amusement parks with Dolly.

29. Meet Laura's mom.

30. Go to more Giants games.

We are the World Series champs, you know?

31. Ride skateparks more often.

When I was a kid we'd skate ditches all day. Now that there's million dollar parks in every podunk town, I hardly ride them.

32. Ride a backyard/hotel pool.

33. Ride Bootleg Canyon.

34. Let go of obsessive thought patterns.

You know, like making 43 fucking New Year's Resolutions.

35. XXX hits a day for Freak Magnet.

Not telling you the actual goal, for fear of not appearing, like, you know...popular.

36. Build/sell more custom bikes.

Do you need a bicycle? How come I'm not building it for you?

37. Spend more time with family and friends.

38. Get in shape.

I think I was pretty stoned when I came up with these. Laura and I were smoking weed and thinking of them, and clearly my shape was on my mind. (Round is a shape.)

39. People stop foolin'.

Don't pay that no nevermind.

40. Get more massages.


41. Go to more museums.

42. Read more philosophy.

43. Get Cannon on DVD.

The whole fuckin' thing. A Quinn Martin production, bitches!

Well, that was a mouthful. Things ain't all bad, I guess. Do you remember when Wellgo MG-1 magnesium pedals first came out? Them shits was like $100 a pair. Now they're $19.87 on the eBay. The future is now. Thanks Kowloon City! Or Taiwan at least.
And you can buy the titanium spindles separately.

What really counts in this new year is that you motherfuckers play it safe. No, really. Safety ain't no goddamned laughing matter:

I'll tell you who didn't play it safe--if only for reasons of a tenuous, forced transition between random videos. The motherfuckin' Z-Boys, that's who! And Larry Bertleman, who fuckin' shredded skateboards as well as surfboards. The Bert slide has to be my favorite skate move, and nobody does it like the man himself.

Sometimes I check the stats on this blog (see number 34) and see shit that makes me laugh. For instance, the search keywords that lead people to my site for completely random reasons, thus giving me the false confidence boost that can only come from, you know, "hella hits."
If you click on the above image, you'll find:

1. give not all the to don't stop

Almost the title of one of my blogs. Almost makes sense in English.

2. matt caughthran bald

Matt Caughtran is the singer of the Bronx, who I've posted photos of. Far as I know, he's always been bald, so this search seems to make no sense.

3. pictures of men in with jumbo or super-sized testicles.

Your guess is as good as mine.

4. scheiße

Also the name of a blog post, but somehow I don't think it's what the searcher was looking for.

And finally, before everyone is completely asleep, the random shots. These were all taken by me:
Any fuckin' time:
You never know when you'll need some:
Availability is the cause for much celebration:
Shoe manga sculpture at store on Haight. I forgot where...True maybe? They had a fuckin' DJ playing on a Sunday afternoon:Oh, is that a little girl peaking out the window?
Nope, it's the freakiest sculpture ever around the corner from my house:

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