11/20/2007

THE END OF READING

OPENING STATEMENT:

Tonight I pulled into my apartment garage only to find that my parking space was taken by some asshole in a Mercedes. I had to park 4 blocks away and walk back with bags upon bags of groceries. Although that was annoying, I was quite excited to leave a note on his windshield—my very first "Hey Asshole…" note! But guess what? By the time I got back to my apartment, the car was gone. My note, full of devastating sarcasm and withering scorn, wilted in my hand, useless.

If I'm going to suffer indignities like this, shouldn't I at least get the satisfaction of bitching about it? I guess that's what this website is for…

FURTHERMORE:

A recent study shows that across the board, in all mediums, Americans are reading for pleasure less than ever before. This isn't just literature, novels, etc, this is all forms of the written word, including magazines, even the mighty Internet. (Yes, that would include even lighthearted easy-reading trifles like BurningBuilding.com)

Less than 30% of Americans said they regularly read for pleasure, down 5% since the mid 90's.

Who didn't see this coming?

In fact, 30% seems pretty high to me. I think out of pretty much everyone I know, only 3 or 4 people would be considered regular readers. Sitting down with a book is now kind of a quaint, old-fashioned novelty notion, almost an affectation, like smoking a pipe, collecting cigars, home brewing, bonsai trees, single malt scotch, and Renaissance fayres.

This is distressing to me, obviously, since 70%-80% of what I do with my life is based around writing, and therefore, by extension, reading. Am I training in an obsolete trade? Is my dream of becoming a successful writer kind of like my dream of becoming a successful blacksmith?

And, what exactly is causing this decline in literacy? The obvious answer is not enough "Reading is FUN" posters in our libraries. How are people supposed to know if they're not told? I think if the statistics were examined you would find a very clear link between the decline of Elijah Wood "Reading is Hobbit-Forming!" posters and the decline of American reading. But although this is certainly a major contributing factor, there must be others, because I've viewed my fair share of pro-reading advertisements, and even I find myself reading far less than I used to. What is going on? Let's take a look at a few of the elements of modern society that are edging out the written word…


Television

Low cost and ease of production for reality shows featuring attractive, vapid automatons in crude parodies of life situations allows for vast explosion in quantity of TV shows, with each channel boasting dozens of similar shows, each with its own spinoffs, knockoffs, and webisodes, until total psychological saturation is achieved. All available brain space is filled with the televised thoughts of attractive, vapid automatons.

Beowulf: the IMAX 3D Experience

CGI animated film hurls arrows, spears, axes, blood, guts, and naked Angelina Jolie directly at the viewers, completely blowing our minds and making us never want to read, write, talk, or walk around ever again.

Straight to Video Knockoff Films

Having already watched every other film in Blockbuster, people turn to low-budget, nearly-homemade films released to coincide with similarly named, similarly themed theatrical films, ie, Transformers / Transmorphers, Beowulf / Beowolf, etc.

Video Blogs (See Youtube)

Weary of ingesting the inane thoughts of strangers by reading them in written text form, Americans turn to video blogs, or "Vlogs", where they can listen to the inane thoughts of strangers while watching their faces from an uncomfortably close camera angle, and randomly assigning them celebrity status by public whim.

Sports/Video Games

Competitive entertainments allow bored Americans to work their reflexes and mental dexterity without actually doing anything, feel part of something without actually being part of something. People flock to Sports/Video Games as an outlet for their personal energies and as a general mental anesthesia. Helps relieve pressure of disposable income and time.

Youtube

Endless supply of videos where lightsabers have been digitally placed in the hands of people or animals who were not previously holding lightsabers.


THERE SEEMS TO BE A TREND HERE, ISAAC.

Oh yeah? What is that?

A TREND, IN THIS SENSE, IS A MOVEMENT OF SOCIETY IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, A BUILDING TOWARDS SOME NEW PARADIGM OR AESTHETIC, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH A "FAD", WHICH IS A SOCIAL PHENOMENA USUALLY CENTERED AROUND SOME POPULAR NEW ACTIVITY OR PRODUCT, SUCH AS THE CURRENT FAD OF THE "MACARENA" DANCE STEP ROUTINE AND "RAY BAN" BRAND SUNGLASSES.

Blue Space, I know what a trend is. I meant what is the trend you're seeing here?

AS PART OF THE GENERAL MOVEMENT AWAY FROM DIFFICULTY AND TOWARDS EASE AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION, HUMANITY SEEMS TO BE TRYING TO AVOID EVEN THE DIFFICULT SENSES. THE POPULARITY OF VIDEO BLOGS SHOWS THAT PEOPLE WOULD MUCH RATHER HAVE INFORMATION POURED INTO THEIR BRAIN THROUGH THEIR EARS THAN HAVE TO FOCUS THEIR EYES ON LETTERS AND ATTEMPT TO COMPREHEND WRITING. IS THE DAY TOO FAR OFF WHEN EVEN LISTENING TO INFORMATION IS CONSIDERED TOO MUCH EFFORT? TOO DULL, TOO SLOW?

That day will probably arrive just in time for the invention of direct-to-brain connections, so that entertainment won't require us to use our senses at all, it will just be dumped directly into our minds in a big, sticky, informationy gob. An entirely new form of blog will appear, the "brain log", or….blog. Hmm.

BRLOG?

Brailg?

HMM.

Hmm.

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11/12/2007

GEAK!

This Halloween, I took a rather DIY approach to my costume, although I drew the line at fabricating my own plastic lobster from scratch. But if I had wanted to take a ready-made approach to my art, there were some great options this year. Consider the following costume package, which was brought to my attention (and bought for me from Goodwill) by Burning Building contributor Steven Aguilar.

Behold:


I'll give you a moment to take it all in.



So, let's examine this.

GEAK
Instant

Not "Instant Geak" mind you, but "Geak Instant". Sounds kinda prosey, almost, like, "...and in that geak instant, he realized that he did not know how to spell basic words..."
(Actually, that's very close-minded and xenophobic-American of me, "geak" is probably the European spelling)

So what we have here are glasses, ugly teeth, and a bow tie, or "Cravat" as the package calls it. And in the middle, we have a little carboard square with a bold-font description of the costume. There it is, right there in the package: EACH KIT OF TOOTH THING OF THE BIG IN SIMPLETON

Ahem.

Ok. So, is this some kind of word-puzzle? A bonus word-scramble game included with the costume? Let's move on.

So we've seen the very perplexing front of the package. Let's turn it around to see if there's anything there that might enlighten us.

The back of the package is blank white cardboard with the following astonishing description, reproduced here, I swear to God, verbatim, with key passages in bold:

Important information of the product:

Dasini MAKEUP can use for every occasion (Disco, Vocal concert) sports events (football team, baseball team) and other feast day (All Saints Day, Dionysia, Easter Sunday) soiree, it will give you create the infinite vital force, there are colors to suit pretty well every time, have a lot of fun for you and your friends. Get creativity with this fun makeup--your designs can be as simpLe or intricate as you like! Exert your creativity, creat inDiVidual designs! Everything you need to create yourself.

I almost have no words right now.

So, basically...let me see if I've got this right. This Geak Simpleton costume has colors to suit pretty well every time. So, therefore, if I'm sitting there in church on Easter Sunday dressed as a Geak, or I'm in ancient Greece in the temple celebrating Dionysia dressed as a Geak, or maybe I'm just enjoying a vocal concert or a football team (or baseball team!) dressed as a Geak, no matter what the circumstance, my creative individual designs made with this set of glasses, teeth, and Cravat, will give me create the Infinite Vital Force.

AWESOME.

So, let's see if it works shall we? I open the package and immediately put on the bowtie/cravat. I'm feeling Geakier already. Next I put on the teeth. They feel exactly like those things they put on you at the dentist for administering Apple Cinnamon flavored Flouride Gel. They most assuredly contain high levels of lead-based paint. Next I examine the "nerdy glasses". But as you may have noticed in the picture, these glasses look nothing like their Geak example photo. They are not big horn rim glasses with tape in the middle, they're actually just black sunglasses with shaded lenses. They are in fact, Cool Shades! So, here is the finished product:


Here we have it. Not so much a geak, in my opinion. More like a classy-dressing Orc with very tiny Cool Shades, on his way to a Hollywood afterparty.
But what's that...? That feeling...rising up from the deepest depths of my being...Is it...? Yes! It's the INFINITE VITAL FORCE! The costume works! The power is mine! I will live forever, or something! Thank you, Geak Instant! Now I have everything I need to creat myself!

BE CAREFUL, ISAAC. I HAD THE INFINITE VITAL FORCE ONCE, AND AS YOU MAY RECALL I ACCIDENTALLY BECAME ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE AND DESTROYED YOUR WEBSITE.

Oh I remember, Blue Space. But I will not suffer the same fate. My mind is far more powerful than yours, I can easily contain the raging energies of the Infinite Vital Force without losing control and becoming an insane and destructive cosmic entity like you did.

....

What? You don't think I can?

WELL, ISAAC, I'M NOT SAYING YOU ARE NOT A REASONABLY SMART HUMAN FELLOW, BUT THE INFINITE VITAL FORCE IS VERY...FORCEFUL. IT OVERCAME ME, AND I'VE HAD THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH COSMIC ENERGIES. YOU'VE HAD...25 YEARS EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH...WELL, NOTHING.

Blue Space! You mock my powers! I possess the I.V.F! I will make an example of you that will cause future civilizations to tremble!

HOW?

By smiting you! With allergies! Allergies to cashews!

I DON'T EVEN LIKE CASHEWS.

And you better not ever change your mind! Because you will get such a rash!

I HAVEN'T EATEN A CASHEW SINCE I WAS 450. I HATE CASHEWS. THEY HAVE A GREASY, SICKLY-SWEET FLAVOUR.

Blue Space, you're disrespecting my new godlike status. I will not allow your impertinence to go unpunished, ok? I'm going to bring in a third party to deliver your punishment, someone who you will know means business.

WAIT. DONT.

Blue Space, present your defense to the ultimate judge of humanity, Senator Pablo McDougal.

hello from again a lot of time!! It has been a forever to the last time we talked, Isaac and Blue Spaces! Coming out for retirement of one lasting heist! REally? Yes!! it was true!

I AM NOT TALKING TO YOU.

laughlaughlaugh, Blue Space is always for a joking, just like somone who makes many joke! But funny times are short supplies now, since I was inviting here to provide a special punishing to stupid dumb blue talking guy. I will do it! Punishment was always my stock in trades! Just ask my Russian Bride! laughlaugh, laughing. Make domestic abuse, not war! it is for much better than conflicts in the middle East!!

THIS IS EXCESSIVE, ISAAC. PLEASE TAKE HIM AWAY.

i will always take Inifite Vital Force, and destroy many preconceptions about myself, as well as homes and civilians! haha, not a truism, I am never killing people because it is up against the law. If not--I make killing all the time instead of watch TV! hahaha, for much more realism than TV action show. Do you know?? it is a bad shame that things are unlegal. Everything fun is not allowed!!! it is a complaint that I have. Any way, now I am arranged to control Infinite Vital Force and strike down Blue Face, because to do Isaac's request! Get arranged, Blue Face! Arrange yourself to be punish of severity!

I'M LEAVING. I DON'T KNOW WHY I EVEN COME HERE. THE PAY IS NOT WORTH THE COMMUTE, MUCH LESS THE PARKING FEES, MUCH LESS THE ACTUAL WORK.




Hmm. He left, Pablo.

A good punishing was delivered promtply! Within 2-6 business days? Of course!! Blue Face was made to disappear, who knows what happened to his! probablhy very bad, we can hope!! maybe hit by a fast truck walking over street! We can hope he became killed!

Well, I guess this can count as a punishment. Thanks Pablo.

welcome to you're welcome, Isaac!!!!1! I am to go back to Senate now, my job is to be the Senator for the Washingtown state, it is the best of work, because i am always for getting money and buying cars of extreme expense! BMU sport car and sometimes Peace Car, the most expensive car made for Peace Symbol! S-Class! Animal skin on all seat and surface, of course, black interior. Respect my roots, like for the hippie movement I always supported. Senator is distantly better than grocery store clerk, way higher money and no one bothering me when make angry love with Russian Bride on Senate Floor. You know the phrase to be said, "When Senate Floor is a-rocking, don't come nearby!" hahahahaha, laugh.

Goodbye Pablo. Always good to see you.

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11/07/2007

TIPS FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING

If you would please direct your attention to the sidebar. You'll notice something so fun, you won't know how to do anything but soil yourself. It's Email subscription. Please enter your email address into the white box. This will cause you to receive a friendly notice every time a new Burning Building entry is posted. Allowing you to keep up with the times, like never before. Thank you.

The halloween costume poll has closed. As I suspected, it appears that by far the sexiest thing a man can be is Unavailable. "Sensitive Guy" is a close second. Contrary to common thought, "Rich Guy" came in dead last with only 1 vote, trailing behind "Giant Penis". It looks like the ladies and homosexuals of our readership almost have their priorities right.

I'm at a Starbucks right now supervising a visit, and I'm looking at a "Climate Action NOW" (CAN) poster, which is saying to "reduce carbon", and then offering a series of icons explaining how to do this. Regarding your habits at home, it instructs you to "Keep it Cool" (KIC)


55 degrees? Really? I guess I'm going to need to start wearing warmer clothes while lounging around the house. Nothing says "relaxing Sunday morning" like a warm cup of coffee enjoyed through the sight-hole of a fur lined tundra coat.
The other suggestions are car-related. First is "Inflate Tires" (IT)


With inflated tires, not only will you get better gas mileage, you'll also avoid those annoying showers of sparks from the bare wheel rims grinding on the pavement. Good advice I guess but I mean…Isn't this kind of a no-brainer?

Next is "Don't Idle" (DI)


This may be confusing at first as one wonders, how can I keep from idling? Won't I have to idle any time I come to a stoplight or get stuck in traffic? I think the suggestion here is that if those situations arise, you should not stop at all. That's right, just keep right on driving at posted speed limits. With luck, you will be able to push the other cars out of the way and keep driving at maximum fuel efficiency. But if not, you will most likely just get in a horrific auto crash, destroying your smog-belching vehicle (good) or killing yourself. (best)

The final suggestion is "Plan Your Trip" (PYT)


As best I can interpret the icon, the idea is, with your destination in mind you leave your house on a bike. At some point you abandon your bike and continue on foot. Halfway there, hijack a car and drive the next 1/4 of the trip. At the three quarter mark, find a bus, load your car onto the bus's "car rack", and continue the rest of the way by bus. This is called "Planning Your Trip", (PYT) and it is just one of the many ways you can Care About Our Planet (CAOP) or whatever. (CAOPOW)

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11/04/2007

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS CONSPIRACY

It's 9:00 pm but in reality it's 10:00 pm--or is it 11:00? Or 7:00? Who even knows anymore because of Government Time Experiments messing with the very hours and minutes of the universe. When will the Secret Shadow-Congress of Washington State stop playing God and let the cosmos run their course before the entire fabric of space-time gets hopelessly worn through?

ISAAC, YOU ARE COMPLETELY MISTAKEN ABOUT THE ORIGINS AND NATURE OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME.

Oh really, Blue Space? Then how do you explain the fact that if you count all the letters in the word "United States Government" and divide that number by the font size of the word "Daylight Savings Time", it adds up to "666"?

IT DOESN'T.

Exactly. But if it did that would be weird.

ISAAC, DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S TIME-BENDING EXPERIMENTS OF THE 1970'S (1973 TO 2428, TO BE EXACT) DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME (DST) WAS "INVENTED" IN 1905 BY AN ALLITERATIVE ENGLISHMAN NAMED WILLIAM WILLET, WHO LOBBIED FOR IT UNSUCCESSFULLY UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1915. THE U.S FINALLY ADOPTED IT IN 1918. IT IS SIMPLY A METHOD OF EXTENDING DAYLIGHT HOURS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS.

That's all just the lines they fed you, Blue Space, you just took that information directly out of the CIA Sponsored Wikipedia website and you don't even realize that's all part of the cover up, just like the "footage" from the Fake Moon Landing.

NO, ISAAC. I HAVE DONE MY RESEARCH WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE REAL WIKIPEDIA AND THE CIA CONTROLLED MISINFORMATIONAL DUMMY SITE. ANYONE SMART ENOUGH TO PROTECT THEIR PASSWORD ON MYSPACE IS SMART ENOUGH TO SPOT THE CIAKIPEDIA. AND NO, THIS IS NOTHING LIKE THE FAKE MOON LANDING, BECAUSE THE FACT IS THIS IS A WELL DOCUMENTED HISTORICAL FACT, AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT FBI SCIENTISTS IN FACT BLEW UP THE MOON AS EARLY AS 1943.

You're playing right into their hands, Blue Space. You're spreading their lies. Time fabric has been twisted to the breaking point by the fatal crossover of U.S Alternate Universe Oil-Drilling with black market Cuban Time-Tourism, and you know it.

GO TO BED, ISAAC.

Ok.

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