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San Francisco Journalcon photos
Wednesday after work

November 9th, 2002

Culling The Bullshit
Overcast, but the sun was out between the clouds as I walked to breakfast. The usual group running and walking the lake or heading into Gold's Gym. The same bodies as last week, but sporting different heads. Same bodies, same stories, different people. A young woman, pregnant, sweat pants and shirt, portable CD player and headphones, self absorbed, thinking. Another woman, yet to break a sweat, bright yellow plastic doo-hickey elastic strapped to her arm, measuring, I assume, heart rate, walking (from? to?) the lake. A young man in dreadlocks as wide as he was tall ambling down the sidewalk like a Panzer army toward Gold's, world and water bottle in hand. The Farmer's Market is setting up their tables and tents across the street. Carrots. Cucumbers. Body oils. I am ready for breakfast.

I was listening to a program last night, an author flogging another book about the future of society and Internet culture.Oakland City Center performance My guess is a little less optimistic than those written at the height of the boom, but interesting, none the less. He was talking about changes in communication (what else) and how young Japanese women (age 15 and thereabouts) began using cell phones to maintain continuous contact with their closer friends, typically a clique of five to seven women hanging together, talking and exchanging email. The girls started, the boys followed and it has spread to the older and wider culture. I've seen some of this on BART here in Oakland, someone making a short call, a cryptic "I'm at the tunnel", click, or just "Yo!", click, or the current equivalent, so we have this same culture here, but from what they were saying we're behind the curve as our technical cell phone infrastructure is less, um, modern or something than those of Japan and some of the Scandinavian and South American countries.

Anyway, he gave another example. A friend had integrated a bar code reader with his Internet connected wireless phone so it would send the bar code scan to Google and Google would translate the code and do a search on the number. So he scanned a couple of items in his kitchen. Google did the search and he had a yard of information in his hand on each product, one including a news article about a law suit against the manufacturer for the use of a controversial additive of some kind. Oh. Light bulb. They went on to the question of who would control this kind of information in the future, talking about current battles underway behind closed doors, companies with deep political pockets who want to keep a lid on it using tactics similar to those currently being advocated by the music industry. Oh. That's a light bulb I know.

Went to see Mile 8 this afternoon. I'm not that familiar with Eminem, know little about Hip Hop. Reminded me of Purple Rain, although, I suspect, Eminem is the better writer. Liked Purple Rain, although the finale, Purple Rain itself, wasn't quite the killer song that was needed to pull off the ending. Now, in Mile 8, Eminem's mother is played by Kim Basinger, who lives in a down at the heel trailer park, has a boy friend who's not much older than Eminem himself, a graduate, in fact, of the Eminem character's high school, and we are supposed to feel sorry for the son of a bitch, as sorry, one assumes, as one is meant to feel for the Prince character in having an alchoholic father who says and does bad things in Purple Rain. Sorry for having a mother who looks like Kim Basinger? Hello?

It was difficult enough figuring the culture when I was sixteen, never did figure the culture when I was sixteen, but I suspect it's more difficult doing it now. Don't envy the problems sixteen year olds must have in culling through the bullshit. I'd give 'em a hand, but I'm having trouble enough throwing, let alone culling the bullshit myself. Here in Oakland.

The banner photograph was taken at the Hotel Utah last week in San Francisco, the second in front of the Oakland City Center.