swimming pool

my old room

palm trees

street light

video tape

molly's window



sign of the end times

triangle square


burnt tree

painting of a red woman on a white wall

from a train

fence around my junior high

low pressure

demon in the corner

tree in shevlin park


congratulations! you've become a parody

This is, hands fucking down, the dumbest fucking thing I've ever read in my life. A snippet:

It’s December 2030, and I’m shopping with my grandson in a mall in Northern Virginia. We’ve purchased a gift for a relative.

“Gift wrap?” inquired the clerk.
“Yes, thanks.”

“Happy Chanukah, Merry Kwanzaa, or Eid Greetings?”
I frowned. The clerk whispered, “Listen, I think there may still be a few rolls of Christmas wrap in the back if you want…”

My grandson looked up at me and asked, “Why is the man whispering, Grandpa?”
The clerk leaned over the counter: “The store’s Diversity Regulations stipulate that we’re no longer permitted to offer anything saying ‘Christmas.’”

“Grandpa,” David asked, “when did the stores stop offering Christmas paper?”
“I’m not exactly sure,” I replied, “but I do remember that already back in 2005 stores like Kohl’s and Target no longer allowed their employees to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Now even schools are forbidden to print the word ‘Christmas’ on their calendars in the December 25th box.”

Logic is useless against drivel like this. It's like spraying a turd with perfume. (Thanks to Pharyngula for the link. Although, I don't know if I should be particularly thankful for being made aware of this tedious bullshit.)



In this here browser are ten open tabs, all brimming with information, and yet I cannot bring myself to read a one of 'em. Why? I experienced something similar the other day at the store when I stood there, anxiously trying to pick a toothpaste. There were so many that I felt paralyzed. What if the one I choose will be the wrong one? What does it mean to choose a wrong toothpaste? This sort of thing happens all the time when I read someone's blog. One post will have a few links and to the left or right will be a blogroll with at least fifty links to other blogs, and those blogs will have about the same amount of links to roughly the same blogs (maybe a few odd blogs here and there), all with hundreds of posts containing text interspered with links, asides, footnotes, and affixed with vaguely argumentative comments. Some (neoliberals?) would argue that this is a good thing, that the more choices we have, the better. But are we really presented with a diversity of choice? There are innumerable bloggers and basically all of them say the same thing, link to the same articles, get in a fuss over the same pseudo-outrage, have the same opinions, etc. They all grew up in the same general middle-class environment and live in this PR world. Much like the mainstream, established media they supposedly threaten.

I suppose this is what they call information fatigue. I remember several years back when I became interested in politics and began seeing things in political terms and I thought, Yes, excellent, I'm on my way to becoming a proper, well-informed adult. But slowly I became apathetic; I had the sneaking suspicion that everything I was being fed was crap. I went through the same thing as a child when I realized that God is just something people believe in to make themselves feel good. See, I grew up a strict Jehovah's Witness and my parents never bullshat me about Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, patriotism, etc. but this worked against them in my case because eventually I saw through everything they subscribed to as well.

When life gets me down, I turn on CNN. When the world is too bleak, I watch Fox News. I know I'll never see anything real on either of these channels. And why should I? Life is often disappointing and disappointment doesn't sell; it's not entertaining. Footage of the war, footage of someone getting shot, the spectacle of one talking head screaming at another, etc. are all carefully edited to be tantalizing and engrossing. I've seen unedited war footage and it's really depressing and troubling; I felt nauseated. But CNN war footage? It's awesome. Very moving, in that Spielbergian/talk radio kind of way. The military is right: there is no such thing as an anti-war movie.

My mother worked at a voting registration site last year. We've all heard about voting malfeasance, but my mother, the most apolitical person you'll ever meet (this particular job was just another job to her), saw this malfeasance first-hand. She told me about registration affidavits that were found in the trunks of election aids' cars, all unaccounted for, all Democratic, all on their way to be torn up or burned or shredded or whatever. She knew people who were getting paid to destroy any and all Democratic voting registration affidavits. I voted anyway, but the whole thing felt hollow. I vowed I'd never make the mistake of wasting my time doing that again.

Most would say that my general attitude is pessimistic or unnecessarily negative, but I disagree. I think we live in a world of public relations. Look at what happened with hurricane Katrina. Many people were shocked and appalled at the way the poor were treated in the aftermath, but any poor person knows it's just par for the course. This outrage showed me that even the most liberal among us buy into the notion that the U.S. is, ultimately, a just and great nation. When all is said and done, we're living good lives, we care, we have our degrees and careers, we love pop culture (read: we hate pretension), and we strive for equality. In sum: we're good people. I wasn't shocked at all with how the government responded to the situation in New Orleans; I was, however, surprised that so many people were outraged by it. Outraged at the outrage, if you will. This neglect has been going on forever, I imagine. And it will continue to go on. That is, until taking care of the poor creates a lot of wealth for someone, can be broadcast on TV within thirty minutes, and is generally light-hearted and fun. Even better if it confirms the neoliberal purview.


la three

la two

apartment in costa mesa

la one

central california




ye olde guitar

lazy afternoon

i admit i have standards

This dude Trent insists that "irregardless" is a word. See, my problem is this: it's not so much that it isn't a word, but that it's illogical. "Irregardless" means the opposite of what's intended. When you think you're saying "without regard," you are, in fact, saying "with regard." It just doesn't make sense to say "irregardless." The two negatives (the prefix "ir-" and suffix "-less") cancel each other out. My mother says "irregardless" all the time, no matter how many times I correct her. It's kind of like when someone says, "I could care less." Really? So, you do care, then? Sure, most people don't notice or care about these errors, but there are those of us who do. And behind closed doors, we endlessly make fun of you.


why the real estate is so out of control here

I live in Irvine, California. Right now it is preternaturally clear, 82 degrees, with 13% humidity and winds from the north at 5 MPH. Pressure is 30.02 inches and rising. And the forecast looks like little will change in the next several days.


you + your flickr page are boring

This post at Lindsayism is a really nifty rant on the ubiquity of cameras. It's weird because I'm a photographer and I've been interested in photography since I was a kid, but I find myself becoming disillusioned with the entire enterprise. Everyone and their fucking mother is taking pictures of everyone and their fucking mother and it's really getting out of control. Lindsay makes a good point about the people who take pictures at parties and shows: they do it just to prove that they were there. They aim the camera at other people, but it's really just a way of calling attention to themselves.

What really bothers me about the oversaturation of photography is the low quality, which, truth be told, is inevitable with the increasing democratization of the medium. Most people just don't take interesting pictures. I'm glad you and your buddies had fun making pizza the other night, but do I really care to see 5 pictures of the burnt product? And why are there 12 people commenting on it? Is it that interesting?

Anymore, I just want to leave my camera behind and live in the moment. I want to travel all over the world and not take one fucking photograph. That would be amazing. Another thing: as a photographer, I have to say it drives me insane with misanthropy when a photographer tries to document unfortunate and/or tragic situations. Put the fucking camera down, for fuck's sake. Jesus Q. Not everything needs to be documented. And what exactly are you trying to convey by taking a picture of someone? Photographs, more often than not, fail to convey the real weight of a particular moment. Of course, there are photographs that are arresting in their enormity, but those are the exceptions. (An obvious example would be Steve McCurry's "afghan girl," but how many documentary photographs are that amazing? Not many.)

Alas, as digital cameras flood the market, photography becomes more and more boring. I love digital cameras, but the convenience, quantity, and overall "soccer momness" of it all, for the most part, has resulted in bland fucking pictures of bland fucking people livin' their bland fucking lives. How many more parties can The Cobra Snake document? It's just boring now. Don't get me wrong: I give The Cobra Snake props for doing absolutely nothing and becoming a celebrity for it, but how many parties of zombie-like hipsters can you photograph before the whole thing has become some kind of sad parody of itself?


and what is up with this royal we business?

The Modern Age links to an article in the Guardian Unlimited about the esoteric drivel of music bloggers. The article (which manages to include a lovely picture of M.I.A., but what picture of M.I.A. isn't lovely?) cites Sasha Frere-Jones as a prime example of such impenetrable navel-gazing, although the writer of this article is not as mean-spirited about this affliction as I. But it is not just music bloggers who deal in head-scratching asides and nonsensical adjectives, as one brave attempt to tread through Pitchfork Media can readily attest. Do people actually read the reviews at Pitchfork? Do the writers at Pitchfork even listen to music? The "reviews" seem like mere vanity pieces for the writers. The concept of reviewing music is, like, this totally inconvenient way to prove to Gawker (hopefully, at some point) and other assorted appropriate entities how snarky and witty and cool they can be (read: publishing deal). The "reviews" at Pitchfork just reek of gimmickry; all those "clever" and "new" ways to write about music just come off as a trust fund baby's desperate attempt to prove how cool he is. And, really, what's up with the Lacan and Derrida references? They don't even analyze the music in any postmodern or deconstructionist way, they just namedrop Lacan and Derrida! And blogs are worse. It's been stated in the aforementioned links, but bloggers do trade in jargon and in-jokes, which is funny because these are the same bloggers who chastise artists for being too "artsy" and "pretentious" (read: "I don't understand this music, it isn't poppy enough, it isn't accessible enough," etc.). I guess being inaccessible and weird is okay only if you're a blogger. All I'm asking for is a little consistency. If you're going to couch your writing in pretentious bullshit, don't criticize an artist for doing the same. If you demand that music be poppy, entertaining, fun, and immediate, shouldn't your writing be the same?

But it isn't just music "criticism" that suffers from this. Literary bloggers fall into the same trap. Fuck, even pop culture blogs, like The Minor Fall, The Major Lift send me scrambling for a decoder ring. I mean, seriously, what the fuck is that guy talking about?

Coming back to the title of this post, this royal we shit must stop. If referring to your lonesome self as "we" isn't the height of pretentious bullshit, Christopher Hitchens is a humble lad with malleable opinions and meek delivery. And if you don't agree, check out what the wikipedia has to say about the royal we:

Pluralis majestatis ("majestic plural") is the plural pronoun where it is used to refer to one person alone. This is also known as the "royal we" or the "Victorian we" because it has usually been restricted to august personages such as monarchs, bishops, Popes, and university rectors. The reason behind the pluralis majestatis is the idea that a monarch or other high official always speaks for his or her people.
[emphasis mine]

By the way, hi, my name is Aaron.

everyone thinks they're a photographer

oil slick in the sky


patio door




another bend picture


late summer

cirrus cloud

on a clear day

get lost

shevlin park

cumulus humilis

art opening

afternoon walk

like a painting


nighttime laguna beach