The Contraband series is a collection of sculptures made out of items whose possession, sale, use, and/or transportation across state or international borders is illegal. Each object is encased in a plastic bottle with a label identifying the contents. The bottles are then sealed with red shrink wrap.
2005aug03. Accidental discovery: By shrinking the text on a google maps page (in firefox: control-minus several times) you can make the map area much larger. Today is google maps day.
2005aug03. When google maps doesn’t have an address for something, they go ahead and link it to a physical location anyway, which may be the center of the city. In this example, there are two links to the Easy Going Travel Shop & Bookstore, one with an address, and one without. The one lacking an address has defaulted to a suburban area that has only houses. I know because I went there yesterday, looking for a phantom ATM, directed by google maps. While I’m frothing, Easy Going Travel ... a travel store ... doesn’t have directions to their store. “For personalized directions from your door to ours please call. We are located in Kensington, California.” Special note to brick & mortar people residing on the internet: your number one super-link, the one that catches everyone’s eye immediately, is ... [dramatic pause] WHERE IN THE HELL ARE YOU
2005aug06. Yeah. On reconsideration, that Saab thing is probably just a bunch of canned upbeat testimonials, woven together with your little cranky prank text so it looks like you’re getting your message out to the multitudes but really you’re just in the throes of self-delusion, sort of like what you are if you buy a Saab thinking that somehow this is going to set you apart from every other car owner. And of course, they pulled out the ole’ “different” chestnut (“You’re different. So is Saab”) which I have discussed at length before. Please refer to page 117 in your notes.
2005aug06. Saab is running some crusty website called maintainyouridentity.net on which they seem to be trying to make the point that the great unwashed masses are huddled together listening to the same ten CDs and surely you’re not one of them ‘cause you got your own thing and somehow owning a mass-produced car is also like the thing you got. Anyway, they prompt you to type in a bit of text indicating “how you maintain your identity” and then “seconds later” your post appears on the website “homepage.” I guess you can pretty much type in anything you want. Like this.
Ten minutes later, it’s still floating around on the page. [special thanks to laura]
2005aug06. The part that really grinds me about paying $36 to the City of Berkeley isn’t the money, nor the sweet little street-sweeping scam they have where the cop drives just ahead of the street-sweeper – no, it’s that the check has to be made out to “City of Berkeley Customer Service.” But yeah, I guess I was served. So maybe it’s the money. No, wait, it’s the “service” thing again.
2005aug07. Went and saw Broken Flowers at Pixar the other day. The theatre was swank-e and did not contain people talking on cellphones, yelling children, the ugly odor of overly-buttered burnt popcorn, people loudly discussing the plot during the movie or “responding” to the characters, nor sticky floors. I was confused. My tour of other bits of Pixar was very similar to Wagner’s except replace all the Finding Nemo paraphernalia with The Incredibles paraphernalia and the part in which the tourist has a camera handy with a part in which the tourist forgets a camera. [special thanks to b/j, certainly!]
yeah on the saab thing.
I was bored at work and put in a few different ones (my favorite “I AM A ROBOT. DOES NOT COMPUTE” etc.) and keep checking throughout the day to see if mine ever came back (I even left the page open for a few hours) and didn’t see them after re-loading the flash.
kinda dumb but I was bored. It’s tax free weekend!
I tried the Saab thingy, and came to the same conclusion pretty quickly. All the other “replies” were safe and warm and fuzzy and shit, while my entries (“I drive a Ford Fairmont,” “I wrote my name on my forehead”) stayed up on the screen. I checked again later, no sign of any odd entries, including mine. Yes, wacky individuality ... you may visit, Mr. Consumer, but you are not permitted to live there.
2005aug08. Changing address at credit card junction.
“Mr. Robot, I’ve noticed you’ve been a customer of [credit card company] for over 14 years, and I was wondering why you haven’t taken advantage of our cash-back blah blah blah blah upsell upsell card?”
“It’s funny you should ask that. Several years ago, I phoned your company and reported that my card was missing. You sent me a new one. I took my girlfriend out to dinner for her birthday, and somehow the old card magically re-appeared in my wallet. So of course I got to speak to security that evening. Instead of realizing what had happened, the security agent brought the hammer down and warned me not to “escalate” matters when I asked for his supervisor. Just a total dickhead who chewed me out on the phone. So, since my employment has been rather spotty the last n years, I haven’t been able to get a new credit card. I’m holding onto yours until I can jump to a new company, then I’m going to kick you guys into the mud.”
“Ha ha! Okay, you take care, now, Mr. Robot.”
That’s what I should have said, actually. But a robot without credit is a sad robot.
does cram cream have a website?
Hmm. After applying massive amounts of google-fu, I am happy to introduce you to the CREATOR of Cram Cream (scroll down to the end of the comments). But the designer does not drop a URL on our various brains, and I can only locate websites selling Cram Cream along with other products.
2005aug09. What happens to the stuff at Costco when it’s cleared off the shelves? According to this trip report, it goes (mostly) offshore! Here. Now that I am a living bachelor, I don’t buy anything at Costco, because there’s too much of it. Even the baguettes come in twos. Frickin’ baguettes. Who will help me eat these baguettes? You naughty kittens. I really don’t know where this is going, but I kind of like it. [puts on soft Italian music] No, really, tell me about your day. [listens intently]
2005aug10. On the The Aristocrats website, Penn Jillette has a section in which he discusses obtaining each of the interviews shown on film. Great stuff. On the opposite side of the coin, the format is an object lesson as to why large wads of text should never be presented via the “flash” interface. I would have never given this the time of day had it been dial-up, and even now with the hi-speed I’m this close (proffers microscope lens) to closing the window forever.
2005aug12. No matter who you’re using a “search engine” to find, chances are better than half that one of the first ten results is some other idiot with your quarry’s name has run a race, somewhere, and there’s a webpage with his standing.
When – when for the love of baby jesus – did running times become more important than resumes, biographical information, journals, articles, news stories, etc? Is the search engine jazzed with running time pages because there are bunch of numbers there? “Ooooh, data! It must be important 01010111101111000111 ha ha yeah, me too 10011110111110 no, really, tell me about your day” [100100101111110101 1010101111110110]
2005aug15. I usually don’t mention these things, but I’m taking a vacation away from this nonsense for awhile. Yes.
That looks like a prime germ-spreading activity.
So there’s that. I like the style of three people on that thing – two of them grab two rings at full speed (when it was starting up one woman grabbed four rings, but that’s not shown), and another woman has this lazy loose throwing style that cracks me up. The buzzer / clown eyes lighting up isn’t much of a payoff. And by the time it registers, I get the impression that you’re already more than a quarter turn past actually seeing it.
Still not doing “this thing.” No. I’m on a break.