Category Archives: Culture

Ghost-Riding The Whip

The other day I learned from one of my coworkers that Bay Area culture is deeper and more nuanced than I could possibly imagine. Heart-touching music videos such as this one from E-40, that detail the finer points of the Hyphy movement, apparently make many locals’ hearts quicken with pride.

Confused? Yeah, I am, too. This video helps me make a bit more sense of it all:

But not that much more sense.

Genius Often Has Trouble Buttoning Its Own Shirt

My father just finished washing the car, and now he’s drying it off with the leaf blower. I don’t know whether to commend him on his brilliance, or curse him senile and sentence him to a home.

JJ Abrams Is All Over The New Star Trek Movie

And the world is a better place for it.

  • Location names are set in Futura. Come to think of it, Futura is all over the place.
  • They discuss “Slusho” in the bar at the beginning of the movie.
  • I swear one of the doctors who delivered James Kirk was the scientist from the Dharma Initiative videos in Lost.
  • Angry ice world beast thing looks like a puppy version of the Cloverfield angry beast thing.
  • Time travel.
  • Movie totally kicked ass and I want to see it again.
  • And again and again.

Pork and Beans

This is the greatest music video ever. Hooray for the intertubes.

Sol 0

My neighbors celebrated June by drinking beer from 10:00 in the morning until 3:00 the following morning. Outwardly I pretend to be impressed, but inwardly I’m annoyed and disappointed that they didn’t make a day of it.

Locker Room

Just as soon as we started describing Twitter as a micro-blogging/text-messaging tool, a well-oiled jealousy engine, and a scalable narcissism platform, it seems to have evolved into something beyond all that. Judging by my list of favorites, as well as those of others, Twitter has become a venue for sharing your profanity-laden sexual innuendo with a willing, self-selecting audience.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m just saying. I mean seriously, listen to the art that Twitter has made possible.

Wait, did I say innuendo? I meant penis.


As a society, we have a moral imperative to protect the cultures of indigenous tribes such as this one, heretofore unmolested by the modern world. For if we do not preserve their unique languages, where will our next crop of great domain names come from?


After finishing some client work this evening I intended on watching Into The Wild, which just arrived from Netflix. For ten years it has been one of my favorite books (its challengers include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rand McNally U.S. Road Atlas) and I have to admit I was a little bit apprehensive to watch the movie.

My nerves about it are prickly not because of the usual “OMG they better not ruine mine favorite Book!!1!” but because I’m afraid of what I might find out about myself. You see, aside from the whole “starving to death in the wilderness” thing (which I’ll admit has a fair amount of romance to it), I want to be Alexander Supertramp.

At least, I used to want to.

Or do I still?

My post-collegiate path has been a winding one, both of place and of being. The spring I graduated from college I skipped my graduation ceremony so I could leave Minnesota and start driving to Oregon just one day sooner. I loaded up all my worldly possessions in the Green Dragon Wagon, not knowing if I would be gone for three months or three years. In the end, I worked as a windsurfing grunt until I ran out of summer, a snowboard instructor until I ran out of unbroken legs, and a web designer until I ran out of Vicodin.

I stayed in Oregon for two years and lived in two towns, moving back and forth between them until I moved back to Minnesota to work as a wilderness guide. I took an eight-day Wilderness First Responder course. I met someone lovely. I spent three months growing a beard and living in the woods. That fall, my reintroduction to civilization involved getting choked up over such amenities as toothpaste and ice water.

The following summer I did it all again, only this time I was joined by someone lovely. I grew a beard. I stomped through Yellowstone for twenty days with five guys and three mohawks. That fall I moved back to Oregon as my love traveled all over the Western United States, living outside and learning about land rights and trying not to freeze to death. We reunited that December, though she was kind of freaked out that I had shaved my beard.

For 1 1/2 years now I have been planted in Hood River, working with the intertubes, kiteboarding during the summer, snowboarding during the winter, and occasionally visiting Walla Walla for some reason or another. In four months Kate and I will be moving across the country to attend graduate school at Indiana University, she to study environmental policy and me to study interaction design. After finishing my program I want to be involved in some Pretty Big Shit in my industry, which likely means I will no longer be taking three months off at a time to guide trips or teach snowboarding or fret about not having work during those unfortunate “in between” seasons.

Aye, and there’s the rub.

Part of me thinks that I’m ready to move on from this lifestyle. Another part of me fears that for all these nomadic experiences, for all this living in the outdoors, I have still managed to miss something, some hidden meaning. This elusive nugget of truth drove Christopher McCandless in his travels, and is what gave rise to Alexander Supertramp. I’m certain that Christopher would agree with me when I say that the logical conclusion of this journey is something besides starving to death in the backcountry of Alaska. What it is, however, I haven’t figured out yet.

I’ve changed a lot over the last five years, especially over the last two, and I’ve noticed my nagging sense of wanderlust begin to fade. With it I fear my curiosity goes as well, my unconventionalism, my identity. I speak of piling all my furniture on the front lawn and burning it, and people laugh as though I speak in hyperbole. I do, to be sure. But for me, owning more stuff than will fit in my car is painfully embarrassing, every bookcase and file cabinet a trophy to defeat. I have lost my mobility, but I have gained… what, a sofa? A coffee table? These are changes I have not been dealing with well.

It was in this context that I started to watch Into The Wild.

I got as far as the DVD menu. I watched it loop a dozen times. My vision blurred and my chest tightened. A dozen times Christopher burned his money, hitchhiked to Alaska, grew a beard, and posed in front of the bus.

I turned off my television.

That there’s mah drinkin’ music!

I’ve said it before, but I need to say it again.

I love shitkicker.

I had missed it for a spell, but my recent investments in massive amounts of technology have reunited me with my favorite internet radio station of years past.

You see, I’m normally not much of a radio person. In all actuality I don’t even own anything that pulls in legitimate radio. Well, I guess that’s not entirely accurate, as I have a Subaru that is rumored to pull in a mighty fine FM signal. This is a claim that might warrant some investigation at a future date, but for now my MP3 mix CDs are spinnin’ mighty-fine on my Panasonic CQ-C7403U. That, and its dot matrix display shows people surfing at a fidelity matched only by pinball machines!

Anywho, I recently acquired a Samsung HL-S4266W. You would never guess from the name, but that’s actually a 42″ DLP TV, which I adore now that I’ve gotten over the fact that I slammed down more than a kilobuck for such an obscene piece of passive entertainment.

…as an aside, am I the only person who is disappointed that Apple is the only company in existence right now that assigns names to their products that can actually be deciphered by humans? Apple releases a new product and they call it the Apple TV (even though I’m in complete agreement with Jobs that it should really be called the iTV). Samsung releases a new product and it’s called the SCX-4725FN. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that does.

Yes. I now have a large TV with a ridiculous number of inputs, and it does a great job at anchoring my living room to the ground and preventing it from drifting down the street to hang out at the neighbor’s house. It even has VGA inputs, which I consider to be pretty cool even though I’m a DVI guy through-and-through ever since switching whole-hog to Macs a year ago.

Over the weekend I took a trip to RadioShack, a store whose motto is “Becoming Increasingly Irrelevant by Offering You More and More RC Cars! Everyday!” I picked up an audio cable that lets me plug my PowerBook directly into my TV, and dammit if that simple thing changed my life. Even though I had to delete all my MP3s from NeverSummer (the laptop, her name is NeverSummer) a few weeks ago to free up hard drive space, I can still stream my entire music collection wirelessly from BitterRoot (my G5, she’s known as BitterRoot) straight to NeverSummer, and subsequently to my entire living room.

Do please take a moment to marvel at my ingenuity, as you realize that I’m using my PowerBook as a $2,000 version of the Apple TV.

Yup, it took a completely dumb amount of technology, but I finally got my abode to a point that the rest of the world reached fifty years ago. While I don’t care much for listening to the radio while working at my computer, I find it to be a wondrous thing when I’m milling about my place, whether I’m cooking, cleaning, or trying to figure out whether I should be cooking or cleaning. All the while drinking, of course.

Enter the shitkicker. It’s no secret that my favorite internet radio station of all time is Boot Liquor Radio. In the past they’ve described themselves as “dysfunctional cowboy music,” and “music for saddle-weary drunkards,” and that pretty much says it all. It’s nothin’ but folk and country songs about drinking, gettin’ drunk, and bein’ drunk.

Wholesome? Hardly. Some of the songs have names like Shitfaced, Loaded Gun In The Closet, and I’m In Love With The Girl Who Done Run Off With My Wife. They plays a healthy mix of such stars as Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and Lyle Lovett, as well as lesser-known acts like Meat Raffle Road, the Groovy Rednecks, and the Drive-By Truckers. The music is pure Americana, plain and simple, and I’m certain that we’ve covered a few charts from their playlist in the Como Avenue Jug Band. If the slide guitars and mandolins don’t warm your blood, boy, ya better start hittin’ the whiskey harder.

Ironically, Boot Liquor Radio also plays a bunch of songs that are old-time favorites at camp, including Desperado and Ghost Riders in the Sky. Yup, here we are trying to create a positive atmosphere for kids, all the while singing songs about whores and hell.

Anywho, I haven’t kept up with the whole lineage, but it appears that Boot Liquor Radio is currently operating under SomaFM, a brand to do Huxley fans proud. You can take a look at their recent playlist, or just go ahead and listen to Boot Liquor right now.

Seriously, just dive in. You very well might be missin’ such kick-ass songs as Beer n’ Bacon, Warm Beer and Cold Women, or Viagra In The Waters.

I’d have ya tell ’em Dane sent ya, but that’d probably just get you kicked out of the joint.


This is all I have to say about this.