Atlanta Stories

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Language Rant – Business Edition

Sometimes people say things that others find irritating, I think that’s a pretty basic truism. At times I can get pretty annoyed myself, but with me it’s not so much the content of the commentary, but rather the choice of words. And I don’t mean cursing, I’m usually on fucking board with cursing. It’s when it so happens that all of a sudden people start using these hitherto unknown words to describe something; when just using what they did a few weeks before works just as well (or better); then I am baffled. I know this makes me sound old, a little stodgy perhaps. But I’ve been like this since at least my teens, and all this time I’ve always pondered, why doesn’t this stuff bother everybody else?

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Clichéming

Last year I was happy as hell when I downloaded a free meme app on my iPhone.  I was even happier when I saw that it was easy to use.  My mind raced as I thought about the countless images I could appropriate to my own ends (which usually meant a movie scene and a snippet of dialogue to go with it). Read more

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Savannah

The road to Savannah, Georgia from Atlanta is a long one, laid out like a bent outstretched arm with Macon serving as the elbow.  While chewing up miles on that long drive on the highway one can’t help but wonder why the state of Georgia didn’t simply use the direct path that General Sherman and his 70,000 troops so generously provided back in 1864.

They removed obstacles like railroad tracks and buildings, even helpfully leveling whole towns that lie in the path of the army.  When Sherman got to Savannah itself, however, he was so impressed by the town’s beauty that he ordered the place to be largely left alone.  And Savannah has been mostly left alone by developers and the modernizing tendencies of succeeding generations ever since.

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Polemic #1: Nobody Cares

OK, this one isn’t about long ago days in Hollywood or about growing up (finally) in New York.  This one is a little bitter, maybe even caustic.  It’s time to vent.  I vent because some people think they can make you care, and….despite their cloying efforts, you just don’t.

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The Legend of Huey

There’s a store in Marietta, Georgia.  It should be called a warehouse really; it’s bigger than it probably has a right to be.  Perhaps conscious, or self-conscious of this fact, a few years ago store planners built additional walls ranging from 20 to 100 feet inside the originals, making effectively a store within a store, a retail Matryoshka doll, if you will.

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I’M NOT SHOUTING AT YOU

Whether in a bookstore or a restaurant; or even SPEEDING ALONG on the highway, we are nowadays usually face down in a cell phone or tablet, typing out or dictating messages.  Though often delivered without much forethought; intention is ACTUALLY EVERYTHING in messaging. This is because intention has always been everything in writing, and messaging is just a form of writing.

But because there is no face to face or eye to eye contact, MISINTERPRETATIONS ARE RIFE. To save each other from hurt feelings, this is probably why we deliver to each other such SHALLOW SENTIMENTS, and why we abbreviate to such ridiculous lengths, with LOL’s and JK’s. ROTFL’s.
It is the compromise we make so we can avoid the LABORIOUS and hardly-worth-it efforts to make personal contact, which may include a drive in the car to visit a friend; or even just a phone call.
Staying as shallow, and thus as safe as we can, sometimes just to keep things interesting we go OUT OF OUR WAY to find offense. One way is to not respond quick enough to a person’s text or email. Another is to read INTO SOMETHING not based on any error of content, but instead of form.
Form, of all things, is an UNFAIR THING to fault in the nearly formless (and certainly artless) endeavor that is texting. A lot of times someone can get an angry point across by typing in ALL CAPS. Doing so is a way of saying, “You’re not paying attention to me so take THIS!” Or maybe the intent is to drive some point across, underscoring intent, or to show SARCASM. Conversely it is often used to express joyful excitement.
There are many different intentions that can be expressed in one form. But increasingly, the message is received by the addressee in one way, as one of anger. The reader has, by reacting this way, surrendered his right of interpretation by doing this.
We are left with this humorous exchange in text form: “HEY HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?”
And the response, “I’m great, but why are you shouting at me?”
Anybody can see the response doesn’t match the intent of the message. When you think about it a minute, it’s just strange that someone can get ANGRY AT A MESSAGE that is simply different from any other only in that it contains only upper case letters.
I’ve even seen people read all capped messages and wince as if they can hear shouted words in their head! I’m surprised the person who overreacts like this doesn’t look around to see if anyone else can hear the “shouting.”
Imagine a person in a car reading a text that is all caps and suddenly swerving off the road, hearing screaming in their head. I’ll bet it’s happened somewhere, in fact I’m almost SURE OF IT!
I wonder if any friendships have ended because of the ALL CAPS BUTTON. I’m pretty sure there’s been a few. The only good thing about texting, caps and all, is that the word “like” doesn’t seem to make it to the recipient’s screen as it seems to as every third word to our hearing ears.
It’s our choice to not get annoyed by written words, to keep our blood pressure down and ask for clarification or to just chuckle at a typo. It’s amazing to consider that it’s always the case, that we can interpret the things we hear or read as more positive than our initial reaction might feel.   Maybe it would be a good idea, until we get all this errant capitalization and it’s horrific and unintended effects under control, that we should go back to a little more face to face discussion. HEY,IT’S JUST A SUGGESTION.

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Don’t Leave Me like This

I’m still sad.  One week past Labor Day weekend and I’m already jonesing for the next DragonCon.  DragonCon is the best fan-centered large sci-fi and fantasy convention there is.  Spread over 5 hotels in downtown Atlanta, cosplayers, goths, gamers, geeks, writers and watchers converge on the Thursday before Labor Day to stand in a registration line that nobody likes, but everybody seems to tolerate.

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The Great Debunker

“Hey dude, yeah you.  I see you or someone like you every morning on my way to work.  You’re the guy who impatiently blows by me on the road, you know, because I’m only going 10 miles over the posted limit.  Do you ever notice that I’m also the guy you see 5 traffic lights later, idling at a red, just on your right side?  I don’t know you, but you seem to display a clear misunderstanding of the principles of traffic flow.”

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Find Yourself

I love being tracked.  I know people nowadays have concerns about the NSA snooping into their business and whatnot; civil liberties: blah blah blah; but I just look at all that as a sign that somebody somewhere cares.  It’s comforting to me.  I realize this attitude may come about as a result of negligent parenting, but I try not to dwell on the whos or whys too much.

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Ice Station Atlanta

If you would, please, bear with an old man, for I have a digressive tale to tell, full of reminiscences (I can’t help myself – the world was so small back then). I’m going to take you back, back like a rocking chair (as we used to say); back several decades to 2014 (yes, I am that old).  There was one day in particular that I suspected I’d never forget, and that suspicion has certainly held up, even until now.  I’m referring to Tuesday, January 28th, the day a big ice storm hit Atlanta (when my wife and I still lived there).  It made national news for days on end.

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“Georgia Driving School”

It’s not unusual that singular observations come at you enough times to where they harden into opinions.  But it’s quite rare (and not to mention gratifying) when those observations and opinions (even the ones where nobody else seems to agree) are proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  “Reasonable doubt?!” you might scoff.  “Why yes,” I’ll attest, “it was even proven to me in a court of law!”

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How To Dragon*Con

The following should be treated as a cautionary tale by any sci-fi conventioneer

   During Labor Day Weekend in 2009, my wife Isabelle and I decided to attend a science fiction convention in downtown Atlanta.  I knew that since we’d lived in New York, this would probably be a snap (always thought that about doing new things).  We’d once been to a one-day Star Trek Convention at the Javits Center back in 1989.  I may not have seen any celebrities there, but I did buy a cool transporter pad coffee mug and some rubber Spock ears.

 And a tribble.

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Confessions of a Cinematic Conservative

I just saw the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” and now I’ve got celluloid agita.  Please indulge me whilst I try to articulate my discomfort (oh yeah, requisite spoiler alert:  blah blah blah).

I’ve gotta admit, I went into the theater a little defensive; after all I remembered what happened to Vulcan in the first movie back in ’09.  I felt that they’d just better not……..

Well, there’s nothing after that.  There was just a vague feeling that they’d better not do something I didn’t approve of.  Just don’t change it too much, ok?  I entered the theater with just that mix of excitement and trepidation.

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