Friday, January 06, 2006

The Results are Positive.

Just got my truck inspected, and it passed without so much as a single raised eyebrow. If you had never met my truck, you would be wondering why this would be such a feat? Well, that would be because you’d never met such a strange acquaintance. As my truck is most strange.

For the time being, I happen to be one of those assholes with more than one vehicle, amidst rapist gas prices and a strong argument that I might not need any vehicle whatsoever, beyond my sad vanity.

I represent that variety of asshole well, except that there’s no vanity involved. I’m selling the pretty one soon, and keeping the creeeeeeeky squeek-bucket that passed inspection today. I got it from my uncle, who had traded up on vehicles, and apparently had some trouble unloading this one. At first, I was almost touched by his offer to give the thing over, as a gift. After all, it does have value, does it not?

Sort of.

As soon as I get the a/c fixed, the windshield repaired (five cracks – FIVE), a second set of tires (had to get two just to feel safe driving it home), the transmission rebuilt and the differential replaced… I will have put just as much into the goddamn thing as it would have cost me to buy one, clean, from a stranger off a car lot. Except that I have to go through the motions.

He knew all of this on the front end, so I feel no remorse in sorta-scorning the “gift”.

When sitting still, the vehicle appears to be a work truck of some sort. One that might be used to pick up a half-dozen day-laborers to do lawn work or drywall installation. But upon closer inspection, the bed is not fucked up enough to give evidence toward that conclusion. No. Oh, no. To the trained eye, the little truck is an obvious victim of negligent truckicide. Drooped rear bumper, slanted front fascia, bald rear tires, a host of phrenological bumps and chips all down the sides… and the crackle-glass for a windshield, well, that’s just to say “I’m fuckin’ classy, so snap into a Slim Jim!” When the driver door is opened, it “drops” down an inch after it passes a certain point in its swinging radius. Just to keep you on your toes.

When in motion, it is not uncommon for people waiting on the curb for a crosswalk to take a few steps back as I idle nearby. Presumably, they fear that a fire may spontaneously erupt from beneath the hood. Or from the horrendous grinding sound that hums and tanks up from the rear differential. It sounds like someone is cutting lumber with a warped, jagged, circular saw. And when the clutch is engaged, a bevy of chirps flutters from under the hood, like a flock of parakeets, chattering a demand for me to keep it in neutral.

The truck itself is awesome. Profiling in it is equally awesome.

Driving it illegally made me paranoid. Driving it legally makes me proud to be a Texan.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Truesday and the Rant

Well, well, well. Looks like I’ll be writing a weekly “column” over at Austinist. Aptly named “Truesday”, which will post on (no shit?) every Tuesday (holy cow!).

I plan to suck real bad, and say really inappropriate things. So it won’t be much different than this here blog thing. You can check out the first entry here. My older stuff is here.

Feel free to comment on my writings there, as if you were doing it here. You can comment anonymously, and I’ll probably be able to figure out who it is. Or you can leave a clue, nickname, whatever’s clever. Hell, link your own blog on there with a witty comment. Who doesn’t love a witty comment, eh?

The strange thing about writing for a site like Austinist is that there is little to no real feedback. A story/post goes up, it gets read (presumably), but then just disappears into the void. I would guess that for every thousand readers per day, a comment is made. People keep pretty quiet, which sort of negates the purpose of having a comment field to begin with.

The only time I get any feedback is when I say something completely crass or inflammatory. Which has happened, but not intentionally.

Sometimes my opinions are wholly unpopular. Other times, I’m just flat out wrong. And out on the wondrously anonymous interweb, the douche balloons come out in droves if you so much as swap a “their” with a “they’re”. May the good lord help you if you misquote something, or make an off-handed assumption (better known as an “opinion”).

Understandably, the work I do at Austinist gets mistaken for journalism, as opposed to expressive writing, or blogging, and that’s okay. In fact, my particular perception of what blogs are supposed to do is quickly becoming the buggy whip of the online industry. Outdated, with a slight tinge of nostalgia.

You see, blogging, in my mind, was never supposed to be an “official” news source. That misses the whole point and beauty of the thing. It was initially seen as 100% opinion, and not taken as hard-and-thoroughly-researched journalism. Mainly because the unregulated blog world has no effective editorial oversight. Anyone can say anything they want. The hundreds of thousands of blogging finger tips, tapping away on keys, with nothing between their “opinion” and “fact” but the air pushed away to strike the board… that’s totally missing the point, putting far too much importance on the individual, and it assumes too much integrity from the writers. Insanity.

This is not only irresponsible and dangerous, it totally craps on the idea that blogs are a place for unbridled OPINION. Say what you want, cause a discussion, share some information. Why the hell is it being seen as “replacing” bonded, insured, fully resourced, tenured, associated press connected PERIODICALS? Unless the shits are editorial in nature, how is it that some recently unemployed dude in his underwear, with dubious credentials (probably a marketing degree), can write about politics on a free blog, and have his spew taken as gospel by anyone? Let alone: to the point where The Washington Post takes notice and begins to feel fear for their mindshare? Is this really happening out there?

Absolutely ridiculous.

My posts are never intended to threaten or replace what I see as professional journalism. Editorials are another story all together. A whole ‘nother enchilada. And I like enchiladas