Monday, March 11, 2013

Splotchy Has Moved And Stuff



Monday, January 21, 2013


Baby on the way.  Pretty, lovely baby on the way.

Barry and the Setbacks, Episode 3: The Acquaintance Spreadsheet

Episode 3 of the Barry And The Setbacks series.

The Acquaintance Spreadsheet

Barry & the Setbacks Episode 3

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I don't think as much as I would like, but one thing that gets me to thinking is repetition.  If I see something on a regular basis, I might start thinking about it.

I passed by a large bus stop ad on my way to work over the course of a couple months.  The ad started to bother me.  And I started thinking about it.

I thought it would be interesting to dissect this ad (and potentially other ads) in a completely unscientific, haphazard way, and I enlisted Carla for her help and opinion.  We want to suss some ads, folks.

Here's the ad.

What the hell is it saying?

The focus of the ad is definitely the woman.  She's looking at you/me/the viewer with a "come hither" look.  She's holding a Christmas ornament that looks kind of like an apple.  It's forbidden fruit!  It's kind of naughty!  It's sexy!  She's showing some of her leg, and her face is tilted in a submissively erotic pose.  Sex sells!  She's wearing a ring on her index finger. What does that indicate?  That she *isn't* married?  That she's available?  I'm not sure.

Oh, I almost forgot, there's a guy behind her.  Who cares about this guy?!  I don't! He's not important at all.  It's you/me/the viewer that is important!  We are what counts!  Look at his stupid, impotent belt!  Maybe it's because I'm a dude, but I see nothing seductive about the man's pose or expression.  His maroon sweater blends in the background, while the woman's shirt pops with a brighter red in the foreground.

So what am I supposed to do, ad?  Am I supposed to buy Banana Republic clothes?  Why? So I can be like the guy behind the woman that she is blatantly ignoring?  Why would I want to do that?

The man is submissive and not pertinent to the ad. I am guessing that generally submissive men aren't seen as meant to be identified with by the average red-blooded male ad-viewer.  So what's he there for?  Is this an ad geared towards women?  Thoughts?

The first thing I though when I saw this was, 'Ha ha! That man told his girlfriend she would be able to hear Santa if she held a Christmas ornament up to her ear, and she believed him. He thinks it's funny, and he doesn't care if she's painfully stupid, because she is blonde and thin and probably tall, and that's all he wants in a girlfriend, because STATUS!' That's what I thought.

Silliness aside, I still think the ad is about status. A hot (by conventional American standards), blonde, thin woman, and a hot (again, by conventional American standards), fit man strewn across a pile of presents--like presents themselves--screams status to me. It is drenched in opulence. He has money--enough money to buy a pile of presents big enough for two model-thin, but very tall people to lay on; enough money to shop at Banana Republic; and enough money to attract a tall, hot, blonde woman who listens to Christmas ornaments. Everybody gets a status symbol! The presents are the couple's status symbol; the woman is the man's status symbol; and the $800 Banana Republic skirt is the woman's status symbol.

Basically this ad says, 'you shop at Banana Republic because you can afford lots of really nice stuff, and if you don't shop at Banana Republic, you wish you did.'

That IS funny about the woman.  She does have a dull expression on her face!

Do you think the ad as a signifier of status would repel or attract more people?  What about the people who can afford to get a shirt or a pair of pants from BR, but not an entire wardrobe?  Does the status suggested by the ad prompt them to buy the product in order to get some of the status to rub off on them?

I find this display of status kind of repulsive, but each person has their own reaction. The whole premise of buy-our-product-and-get-status ads is repulsive to me in general, so I have plenty of negative bias that affects my judgment.

I find status display ridiculous and empty myself. I think in Banana Republic's case, they do not want someone who can afford only one shirt, but not a whole wardrobe, to shop there. They want only wealthy people to shop there. After all, if a scrub like me was seen in a Banana Republic blouse and *shriek* a pair of Old Navy jeans, that would tarnish their brand and the image they are trying to sell.
I don't think the ad is about convincing people to spend more on their clothes; I think it's about convincing people who have more to spend on their clothes to spend it at Banana Republic, and not Ralph Lauren or Donna Karan. They use traditionally attractive people to delude the wealthy into thinking their clothes will make a big ol' honkin' schnoz (assuming they haven't had it fixed, savages) look like a perfect Barbie button nose.

They also want to plant seeds in the minds of those who will one day become rich (maybe by marriage--or even the old fashioned way, by working hard) that Banana Republic is where you want to shop when you get you some money. But don't come around until you have some money, okay?


What do you guys think?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Death is a movement

Death is a movement
From is to was
Sometimes there's no why
Only just because

Friday, November 16, 2012

all the world is lower-case

all the world is lower-case
every religion, every race
the children that you put to bed
the country where you lay your head

long shadows on the bathroom floor

long shadows on the bathroom floor
because you're not here any more
they're always there, day or night
something always blocks the light

Thursday, November 15, 2012

little acts

little acts of kindness
little acts of rudeness
little acts of self-aggrandizement
little acts of lewdness

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Flash Fiction: Heather

Original Image

 "Was it me?", she thought.

She usually didn't take this way to the train. Ray would know how she got to the train, right? She would take the most direct route. There would be no reason to go down Polk Street, unless she wanted a cup of coffee. She took her coffee to work almost every day. Ray knew this. Or did he? He didn't drink coffee. He liked the way it smelled when she brewed a pot in the morning, but that was the extent of his fascination with it.

 The sign could have been printed anywhere, by anyone. Sometimes when Ray would email her, he would say "haveta" and "gotta". It was some kind of slang affectation. He thought it was cute, she assumed.

 What would he even be getting at? They hadn't fought in a while. He had wanted to go fishing last weekend with his friends, but when she reminded him of the trip to see her mom, he seemed fine. Well, he seemed a little huffy. Was that it? He *knew* about the trip to her mom's weeks in advance. So she's being unreasonable? It's *her* problem?

 And why couldn't he just talk to her? What is hard about that? Now she has to read a note on Polk Street? Is that something a mature person does?

 "When I get home," she thought, "I'm going to give him a piece of my mind."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pissing On The Grave Of An Old Friend

In 1999, I was a happy, new presence on the web, editing HTML files and uploading them to  I talked about records I bought, milkshakes I drank, motel signage I fancied. It was the 90's!

Then, after a long hiatus from having a presence on the Internet, I came back.  I started blogging in 2007.  I made blogger friends.  Some bloggers I met in person, some I only knew online.

I blogged pretty seriously (is seriously the right word?) for several years.  Gradually, many bloggers stopped blogging.  Some went to Facebook.  I know at least one died, though she wasn't someone I knew well.  Friends of mine were friends with her.  Her old Twitter account still gets recommended to me from time to time, and it's a mixed feeling of poignancy and uneasiness I get every time it happens.

One of my blogger friends deleted his blog back in 2009.  He said it was because of the new job he was getting. I still have his blog in Google Reader.  Google Reader will cache posts for a time.  I'm not sure how long it does, but his blog still sits there, even if it no longer exists in the blogosphere.

I noticed that there were 50+ posts in my RSS feed for his blog today.  Someone has apparently taken his blog address and is using it for spam.

Crap is what people will see if they visit his quirkily-named URL.  They won't have any record of what was there.  But I still remember.