a goodbye that came far too soon.

Tony & Jhayne w. Drew aka Schmootzi the Clod
The day we met Drew Keriakedes (aka Schmootzi The Clod) at Circus Contraption. ♥

Drew and Joseph Vito Albanese (aka Dexter Mantooth) and God’s Favourite Beefcake will be missed.

For those who haven’t heard the shocking news, Drew and Joe were killed at 11 o’clock this morning by a random gunman at Cafe Racer.

News of the crime and the murderer.

Titanium Sporkestra have opened up their rehearsal space for an impromptu vigil at 1700 East Marginal Way South, which is where I would be if I were in Seattle tonight.

The gunman killed another woman during his car-jacking escape and then later shot himself in the head when cornered by police, but did not successfully kill himself. (He is known to be mentally ill.) Kendall and Dustin were not present, but Len, who also works at Cafe Racer, is still in the hospital, potentially still in surgery, and the severity of his injuries are unknown. Drew and Joe’s families were not notified by police, but found out through their facebook pages, which was stunning to behold.

They were glorious, talented, and beautiful people, lions and lords of their community who I greatly respected and deeply admired, who always made me feel welcome and loved. My heart aches to lose them and I have spent my entire day glued to the news, watching the story unfold, unable to stop crying. They’ve taken part of the soul of Seattle with them.

“It’s been good to know ya.
The time has come for us to say goodbye.
Put on your mask and don your feather boa.
We’ll sing and dance until the end of time.”

echoes of a bell jar

“Because I’ll Never Swim in Every Ocean”
by Catherine Pierce

Want is ten thousand blue feathers falling
all around me, and me unable to stomach
that I might catch five but never ten thousand.
So I drop my hands to my sides and wait
to be buried. I open a book and the words
spring and taunt. Flashes—motel, lapidary,
piranha—of every story, every poem I’ll never
know well enough to conjure in sleep.
What’s the point of words if I can’t
own them all? I toss book after book
into my imaginary trashcan fire.
Or I think I’ll learn piano. At the first lesson,
we’re clapping whole and half notes
and this is childish, I’m better than this.
I’d like to leave playing Ravel. I’d like
to give a concerto on Saturday. So I quit.
I have standards. Then on Saturday,
I have a beer, watch a telethon. Or
we watch a documentary on Antarctica.
The interviewees are from Belarus, Lima, Berlin.
Everyone speaks English. Everyone names
a philosopher, an ethos. One man carries a raft
on his back at all times. I went to Nebraska once
and swore it was a great adventure. It was.
I think of how I’ll never go to Antarctica,
mainly because I don’t much want to. But
I should want to. I should be the girl
with a raft on her back. When I think
of all the mountains and monuments
and skyscapes I haven’t seen, all the trains
I should take, all the camels and mopeds
and ferries I should ride, all the scorching
hikes I should nearly die on, I press
my body down, down into the vast green
couch. If I step out the door, the infinity
of what I’ve missed will zorro me across
the face with a big L for Lazy. Sometimes
I watch finches at the feeder, their wings small
suns, and have to grab the sill to steady myself.
Metaphorically, of course. I’m no loon.
Look—even my awestruck is half-assed.
But I’m so tired of the small steps—
the pentatonic scale, the frequent flyer
hoarding, the one exquisite sentence
in a forest of exquisite sentences.
There is a globe welling up inside of me.
Mountain ranges ridging my skin,
oceans filling my mouth. If I stay still
long enough, I could become my own world.

my life in the belly of the world beast

by Albert Goldbarth

It dies. And a gazillion years in the future
the sight of its dying reaches Earth.
— Computed in dinosaur years, that’s three days
from the brain’s death to its being recognized as dead
in the far frontiers of the tail.

Night. A party. “Come out here for a minute.”
Dina told me: she’d miscarried. But
her body hadn’t registered that yet, it kept
preparing for a birth. And so we sat on the porch
in silence for a while, in the light of that star.

Required Reading: How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

This is the story of a wonderful idea. Something that had never been done before, a moment of change that shaped the Internet we know today. This is the story of Flickr. And how Yahoo bought it and murdered it and screwed itself out of relevance along the way.
Do you remember Flickr’s tag line? It reads “almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.” It was an epic humble brag, a momentously tongue in cheek understatement.

Because until three years ago, of course Flickr was the best photo sharing service in the world. Nothing else could touch it. If you cared about digital photography, or wanted to share photos with friends, you were on Flickr.

Yet today, that tagline simply sounds like delusional posturing. The photo service that was once poised to take on the the world has now become an afterthought. Want to share photos on the Web? That’s what Facebook is for. Want to look at the pictures your friends are snapping on the go? Fire up Instagram.

Even the notion of Flickr as an archive—as the place where you store all your photos as a backup—is becoming increasingly quaint as Dropbox, Microsoft, Google, Box.net, Amazon, Apple, and a host of others scramble to serve online gigs to our hungry desktops.

The site that once had the best social tools, the most vibrant userbase, and toppest-notch storage is rapidly passing into the irrelevance of abandonment. Its once bustling community now feels like an exurban neighborhood rocked by a housing crisis. Yards gone to seed. Rusting bikes in the front yard. Tattered flags. At address, after address, after address, no one is home.

It is a case study of what can go wrong when a nimble, innovative startup gets gobbled up by a behemoth that doesn’t share its values. What happened to Flickr? The same thing that happened to so many other nimble, innovative startups who sold out for dollars and bandwidth: Yahoo.

Here’s how it all went bad.

Which is to say, the above is an essay on why Flickr has become a niche market site, best for the sort of people who own DSLR’s, instead of the place where the majority rules. Facebook is now the largest photo sharing site in the world, even though it has some of the most distasteful user-agreement policies, because it’s easy and now everyone is already there. Perhaps, though, Flickr users will trickle back the same way LiveJournal has been recently regaining writers. Short form fast click blogging and photo sharing is great and I love it, but it doesn’t curl into life as deeply, and maybe the Yahoo team will eventually understand how to become widely relevant again someday. I don’t hold out a lot of hope, though. I only wish I did.

our roadtrip inferno

We saw the fire from the freeway, big, bright, smoke like a cloud factory, flames high enough that we thought it was only a fifteen minute drive away. With that in mind, we took the next turn-off, conveniently close, onto a gravel road to investigate, thinking we might get some pictures of a house on fire or a barn, our theories dying one by one as we continued to drive and the fire didn’t seem to get closer. “That’s too big to be a house.” to “Do farmers still burn fields?”

The first turn we took turned out to be incorrect, a south road, yes, but ending in a driveway and too far west. From that vantage, though, it was possible to gauge the true size of the fire, easily a mile wide and with flames so high they were dwarfing five story trees, making them into toy-like silhouettes that didn’t look real but seemed intricately cut from black paper.

By the time we finally found ourselves at right location, it was too late. The massive, incredible flames had burned themselves out with improbable speed while we were driving, as if a knob that controlled the rate of burn had been suddenly turned to “off”. All that was left was a dark field of sparkling coals even bigger than we figured, dotted with bonfires, poisonous smoke like a scarf of thick brambles along the ground, and a few scorched oil wells, blackened with soot but still moving. It was eerie, a certifiable vision of somebody’s hell, but not a tenth so impressive as the reason-defying wall of fire had been.

Our guess is that we happened to witness some sort of industrial accident, an oil well maybe exploding or some kind of pressure failure. It would make sense, too, to explain how quickly the fire vanished – once the oil burned off, there would be nothing else for the fire to feed on except grass.

texts from the road: minneapolis edition

Adventure #1: A picnic in a Walmart parking lot. I have never felt so healthy.

The moon from here is still “super” large and as copper as a bloodied penny. It’s incredible.

Astounding. Red, huge, and bright enough to cast shadows sharp as knives. We briefly flicked off our headlights, just to see what it was like, and we could still see every detail to the horizon, even though there weren’t any artificial lights. Spooky, beautiful, enchanting. A film negative, glowing world.

Oh hooray, my turn to nap. Rock on, roadtrip. Rock on. It’s only, what? 6:30 a.m. my time?

Once again playing the technogypsy, parked in a Mcdonald’s parking lot for free access the intertubes.

Whomever invented Montana should have hired an editor. This place looks badly clone-stamped. Also, plz fix the saturation. Thnx.

Currently stealing delicious, delicious internet from a McDonald’s parking lot somewhere in Idaho.

You know that song about where the buffalo roam? We just found it. It’s a rest stop in North Dakota. One just threatened a truck. Surreal.

Besides the very random, up close and personal surprise encounter with buffalo at a rest stop, my favourite part of Dakota has been the iron oxide dirt roads that twine next to the freeway like some gigantic heavenly brush swept down from the clouds and scored scarlet calligraphy into the earth.

Currently taking a picnic break at a ridonkulously windy rest stop somewhere between Bismarck and Fargo, about six to seven hours from Minneapolis.

Currently passing through Fargo. All I can think of are wood chippers.

Finished the Half Blood Prince. Uncertain. She’s still not a good enough writer, but her craft’s been improving with each book, so maybe? There is something there. I’m starting to understand.

Minneapolis is beautiful. My impression so far is of a comforting mix of Proto Blade Runner and The Beaches in Toronto, with a serious dash of alt culture thrown in.

Arrived and swept immediately to “goth prom”. Trying to hit the ground running, but it seems obvious that I’m not as spooky as the majority. NEED MOAR BLACK.

There’s a Ron Mueck piece here at the gallery. Crouching Boy In Mirror. It’s breath-taking, as in I-expect-it-to-inhale. Incredible, immaculately real. Beyond illusion or the uncanny valley into completely believable down to the pores.

You know you’re inured to art when rather than wondering why there’s a shabby piece of cardboard in the gallery, you wonder what it’s made of. (A: bronze).

There’s a number to call under some of the pieces of art in the exhibit John Waters curated. If you call it, he reads to you about the piece in pig-latin.

Heavy alt-culture here. Currently being awed and confused in a Matthew Barney room, which is what he does best.