Today in “Pictures I Felt Obligated to Take Even Though I felt Creepy Taking Them”

DOG_4132
Click the picture to embiggen.

Bonus: The Moment I Felt the Most Like a Jerk

I was at the light when I saw the man sleeping. I found a parking spot, got out my camera, walked to a good vantage point, and… the man sat up. Then I got annoyed. Yes, I got annoyed that a homeless man dared to re-position himself on a crappy, uncomfortable bus bench before I could take a picture of him.

Bonus: The Moment I Felt the Second-Most Like a Jerk

When I took this picture.

Bicyclist-Killing Driver Gets 90 Years

Driver who hit, killed bicyclists sentenced to 90 years

While there is some satisfaction in finally seeing a person who killed and injured bicyclists, It’s frustrating that it takes a crime as horrific as killing two people, injuring many more, and then getting caught laughing about the testimony for some form of justice for the riders and their families to be meted out. Far too many of these killings end with an “oh, well.” In this month alone, three people on bikes were killed in a one week period, and I’d bet a nickel that the worst anyone gets is a suspended license. I don’t really think even that weak punishment will happen.

I teach in Burbank. A student at my school was hit while riding her bike. The driver watched while the kid pulled herself and her bike out from under the car. The driver got in her car claiming she was calling the kid’s parent, then drove off. A fellow teacher who is a hardcore rider got knocked down riding his bike in a bike lane on a main street in Burbank. The driver got away with it. That’s two people I know who were ridinging completely legally and nearly got killed in the last six months.

Have you ever seen a ghost bike? They look like this:

Ghost Bike with sign "A Cyclist Was Killed Here"
Image source: https://rvamag.com/news/community/a-ghost-bike-memorials-removal-and-what-it-means-for-the-community.html

I’m pretty careful when I ride, but Los Angeles roads are not built for me. A lot of Los Angeles drivers believe that getting to their destination a few minutes faster is more important than me getting to my destination alive. Watch for ghost bikes. Watch for me so I don’t become a ghost bike.

Storyboarding

My monkeys make movies. I make my monkeys make storyboards. When they make their first ones, they almost always use stick figures, which makes it really hard to know things like character size, position, and direction. I’ve started pushing them toward variations on Ivan Brunetti’s cartooning, and it’s really helping them be more expressive on the page.

Wisdom Tree Storyboard
Storyboard for The Wisdom Tree
Storyboard for The Wisdom Tree
Storyboard for The Wisdom Tree

It’s kind of surprising how much the simple shapes can express. And the kids are actually trying to match their shots to their storyboards. Neat!

If you want to try some Brunetti for yourself, he’s got a book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300170998/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

My Least Favorite Call For Donations

I like Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I even (briefly and indirectly) worked for them. But I don’t care for this:

Children's Hospital donation request with a nickel
If I had a nickel for every time I got one of these…

I understand that donations matter and that every nickel counts. I understand that sending money, even a nickel, draws attention to the request. And I also understand that a mailer with a nickel costs at least a nickel more than a mailer without one. Don’t send me money when you’re asking me for money. It’s weird.

Again, I have nothing against CHLA. They do good stuff. You should give them money. Go to chla.org/give and throw a few bucks in to help some sick kids. I just did. But tell them Luke doesn’t want their nickels.

…and no fair pointing out that their marketing not only worked on me, but got me to advocate for them as well.

The Most Important Records of All Time

These are the greatest albums ever recorded, and this certainly isn’t just a repost of old junk that I’m using to test how things look when posted to Facebook. Take the time to find these at your local record shop. I won’t regret it!

Connie Chung Live
Connie Chung Sings the Music of DEVO – Live!
Haunting and lyrical, Connie spins gold into platinum.
Denzel Washington - Damn Suspicious Clouds
Denzel Washington – Damn Suspicious Clouds
WARNING: If you try to play this and only hear a high-pitched whine, your tracking implant has been activated. Find shelter. It won’t help, but you will feel more comfortable until the reprogramming squad appears.
Tuvan Throat-Singing Politicians Volume 14: 1981-82
Tuvan Throat-Singing Politicians Volume 14: 1981-82
Maggie’s cover of The J. Geil’s Band’s “Love Stinks” finds surprising new layers of remorse and heartache. Hankies required.
Ed Asner (Soundtrack)
Ed Asner (Soundtrack)
Entirely composed from Asner’s grunts and body noises. Most people are more familiar with Giorgio Moroder’s remix of “Midnight After Taco Bell,” but the original is a stark reminder of the raw power of field recordings.

The Halloween I dream about

There’s a thing in Japan called “Jimi Halloween,” which roughly translates to “Mundane Halloween.” Instead of wearing fancy costumes, people dress up as ordinary events. It is the greatest thing ever. Pictured: Man who got a cart but didn’t get many things.

This year: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2019/10/27/japan-jimi-mundane-2019/

Last year: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2018/11/03/japan-jimi-mundane-halloween/

It’ll Be Just Like Starting Over

I used to have a fairly active web site. I edited each page and added them to manually to the main site. I made personalized templates. I posted whatever I wanted and didn’t really worry about who was looking. Most of it is still online, archived here: http://www.ga2so.com/indexold.php

Somewhere along the way, I (and most of the rest of the people who made internet stuff) shifted away from posting stuff on my own site in favor of places like Facebook, where it’s easy to get lots of exposure if you don’t mind giving up control over the rights your material and sacrificing individual style for conformity. As Facebook gets larger and creepier, I feel less comfortable with that model.

I’ve tried to re-establish a personal presence several times by creating new web sites, but I always lose interest, partially because the new sites are usually fairly focused on single subjects, and partially because there’s nothing like the sweet dopamine rush you get when 100+ people like a post. But here’s the thing: those likes don’t mean anything. You see a post, you click the like button, you move on, and you forget the post. I don’t need the stress of worrying about how many invisible no-prize votes I get.

So I’m moving away from Facebook, and posting everything here. For the next month or so I’ll post links on Facebook here, but then I’m going to let my account die and just put stuff on ga2so.com. I’m not going all the way back to the beginning though; I’m cheating and using WordPress for blog posts. And I’m staying on flickr, twitter, youtube, and tumblr, but I’m also going to make most of my posts on those platforms links back to here.

I haven’t really planned this all the way out yet. It’s going to be seat of the pants land around here for a while. But I’m looking forward to making my tiny chunk of the internet a little weirder and more personal than it’s been for a long time.