We All, Absentee Consumers

How do so many tenants of dead malls stay alive, and why are so many videos of dead malls so interesting? Why do I keep watching?

Why is so much of a physical place’s legitimacy so pinned to what we all agree about it? Why is it that one minor opinion of it can cause the whole house of cards to come crumbling down?

This is human behavior.

The same social forces that govern whether a social club is dead also govern whether a mall is dead. It’s a trumped-up need where previously there was none. Artifice. We have so many physical buildings where thriving clubs, thriving social gathering places, previously existed, Now they’re only worth the marginalized clientèle who need haven. Same thing with dead malls. If a dead mall wants to survive, it needs tailors, dreamers, delusionists who believe they can survive long enough to keep paying the rent.

Humans are a fickle bunch. What once had juice can easily be bone dry. City boards can easily be fooled, but not consumers. Fat chance trying to fool them.

We are a country whose sole resource is retail space.

Nobody’s buying.

Blade Out, Turned Inward, For You

To those of you who follow me on the various social media: you’ve come to expect that most of the personal, introspective, realistic things I post are self-deprecating jokes, right? I can speak something serious, something plain and direct, but in the comments, you’re joking because you think I’m joking. Right? OK. So here’s a fucking joke for you:

Question: How do I talk to pretty girls?
Answer: I DON’T.

Go ahead. Laugh. I fucking dare you.

I might actually be hurting inside and completely alone, but that’s fine with you, right? As long as I make you laugh, it’ll be alright. Right? My loneliness is funny.

This is why I don’t say anything when I’m torn up inside. You don’t take me seriously. Do you ever have a moment where you say, “But he didn’t call for help. I thought he was doing OK. It was a joke, right?” This is that. Fuck you. You’re welcome.

You have all the answers. So do I. I’m not looking for your answers. I’m not looking for any answers at all. I’m looking for your empathy. I want to know I’m not alone. So many times I want to say something, but I don’t, because you have an opinion about what I should be doing. Well so do I. Your opinion doesn’t matter. This isn’t a game. Nobody’s keeping score. It’s not about the nail in my forehead. I know it’s there. I just want to know I’m not alone. Seriously. Reach out to me.

For once in our lives, reach out to me.


Radio continues to be a fickle and rewarding thing.

I spent some time in Brentwood park yesterday. Threw my 20-meter dipole between some trees and tried to make contacts. Due to a national HF contest, there wasn’t much space in the good parts of the band to get a word in edgewise. Eventually, I was run out of the park by some random dude who decided to practice Tai Chi under the same tree I was using for shelter (of all the trees in the park, he picks mine).

So with the heat of the young afternoon and all the confounding factors, I folded up and went home to drink water and not cause a scene.

Due to the excessive heat today, I didn’t get out until near sunset. Lacking any time to do a real setup, I made a last minute scramble and went to Northwest Park which sits in a low-lying area of town (it was a quarry once), where I clamped my poorly-performing vertical antenna to a picnic table, tuned it to 40-meters (because 20-meters was already closed), warmed up my radio, and called CQ.

WIthin a short time, I actually got an answer. I don’t work 40m much, so I’m not used to the higher noise level (especially with the nearby band of thunderstorms). But the one contact I made was with N9LVY in Illinois. We got enough info through the noise to qualify as an actual contact. Worth it.

So the takeaway lesson is that you can make the perfect setup in the perfect location, and you won’t get anywhere. But make a last ditch effort with improbable odds and — by damn — you get a message through.

This affirms to me that radio is exactly like fishing.