Letter to the OC Weekly that will not be published

Dear The OC Weekly:

Please reboot your paper. You have maybe 3 or 4 good writers left: Arellano, Moxley, Schou. Ziegler’s Meltzer riff on Matt McCluer was good last week. The rest is painful: a depressing and irresponsible guide to holiday drinking, a Social Distortion tribute band, a review of a Paul Frank party, a botched mess of a feature that should have been excellent about the Asian sex mystique, and the worst circle-jerk of solipsistic first-person journalism ever seen. Reading the Weekly now is watching a party clique amuse themselves and each other. One friend of mine suggests that each feature should be indexed to its corresponding episode of “Arrested Development.”

There is a spanish phrase “verguenza ajena” which means “pain on seeing the embarrassment of others.” It’s the cringe sensation, and we’re feeling it for you. Improve!


I can’t believe I’m tying an onion to my belt, here.

Today is August 11, 2006.

I am using Windows 98 SE and an RS-232C serial cable to program a new radio. To do this I have to run Virtual PC on my Mac, use a USB serial adapter, tell VPC to use that adapter as COM2 on the Windows box, and manually set all kinds of options for this “serial port.” Then I get to use a 1996 quality Windows application to read spreadsheet type data and very slowly write it to the radio over the serial cable. This works approximately 40% of the time.

I have no reason to believe it would work more of the time if I had a PC laptop running Windows natively.

There’s a place where the wonderful Web 2.0 Nifty Gadgets Open Source Free Extensible Modular Optimized World of Today ends. It’s the place where you have to hook your computer up to a device, any device: radio, weather station, medical equipment, anvil, surface to air missile, automobile, inclined plane. Immediately you’re struggling with some antedeluvian program written by a semicompetent nerd who hates humans, using ten-year-old tools, which is never ever going to be updated. The interface is guaranteed to be opaque, features will be missing or greyed out forever, and there will be no tech support of any kind. You are, at this point, in Hell.

I wish I knew how to write software. Half this shit has open protocols and is just begging for someone who isn’t an assclown to write something useful using exciting new technologies like “USB” and “user interface.”

White people are weird.

I made the mistake of clicking on a weird looking ad link in the Mark Morford column email from sfgate.com and ended up in this pavilion of what. I spent a good half hour trying to figure out if there was anything going on there.

It is not clear that they have ever done anything.

Looking at the self-submitted biographies of their founders, staff members, employees, and “conversation hosts” reveals that they are all wealthy well-educated Bay Area white people. They take care to mention that they have been to other countries for months or even years and that they speak foreign languages, and that they ride bicycles and use solar and hybrid power. They’re all well-off, cheerful, and in fine physical shape.

Anyway they’re going to save the world by talking about saving the world. I think technology is involved, and there are certainly oboes and wide, beardy grins. The stages are apparently 1) noticing that history and biology have happened 2) meditating and making your own brain better and ready to evolvulate and conversatify and 3) something they’re putting on the web site Real Soon Now that will be a social network.

I’ve got a better idea. How about all of them stop with the website and the neurocosmology and the self-improving oneness of spirit exercises and just make sandwiches, say, 20 a week, all at once, on Saturday. They all have lots of time and money, so this isn’t a big deal. Then, take the sandwiches to a church in a really poor neighborhood and give them a cooler full, and say “Hey, give these sandwiches to people who don’t have anything to eat, okay?”

If they want to Create a Space to be Thoughtfully Open or work on their Epic Journeys, that’s cool too, but not until the 20 sandwiches are delivered. Deal?