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October 19th, 2007

on trolls and festivals


Chime Flare, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

Last year I took a simple youtube video of the Tyler Rose Parade, a festival in an east Texas town which serves as our region's center for commercial flower culture. The video shows scintillating sights such as shriners on miniature motorcycles and marching bands marching. I like the way the little video came out, even if the lens on my video camera appears to me, with hindsight, to have a drop of rain upon it.It's pretty much light cotton candy, as such things tend to be.

This morning I noticed that someone commented to this video, nearly a year after its production. The comment contained a fervent expression that the crowning of the rose queen was institutional racism, and expressed amusement at the supposedly porcine nature of certain of the honorees.

I'm always intrigued by this form of troll-like behavior. Until the internet came along, I had not realized that all the biological drives for things like food, sexual intimacy, a perfect gingerbread man, and non-lumpy oatmeal, were accompanied by the relentless biological imperative to anonymously cry for attention through posting scintillating negative material in hopes of drawing fervent comment.

In an earlier time, I might have worried about the poster, or about the video, or about the question of whether if there is life on Mars, it will all turn out to be six-limbed giant green people who roam the tundra on thoats smiling with glee as they post message board messages about money-making opportunities in the Ivory Coast and postings about Tyler Rose Queens and trans fats. I might reply, or delete, or mark as spam, or ban.

In this subtly more sophisticated era, though, I do any or none of those things, and often I don't worry about it at all. I just let the comment hover, unanswered,and only glancingly thought about, until one day, perhaps, I will put it out if its misery. It's a bit like the denouemont of the novel 1984.

Meanwhile,I rather think I will miss the Rose Festival this weekend, barring a change of plans when our guests come this evening. But Saturday there is still the Texas State Fair.

from westwood to big tex


Thistle blooms in the prairie, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

I began my morning with a cinnamon roll at the shop down the street from my office. The shop is located in a building that must have once been something like a Dairy Queen. A kind young couple runs the place, where warm welcomes and warm food is the usual setting.
The cinnamon rolls there are not too sweet nor cake-like, but are the right muted slow burn of cinnamon within.

Although I had a very busy day at work, I was able to get home at a reasonable hour. This worked out very well, as our friends Heidi and kenmora, along with their delightful seven-year-old daughter B., had just pulled in. They live in Westwood, but they've been at a film festival in Austin for several days. Ken writes things for films, and has fascinating things to discuss about trying to get this accomplished or that.

We adjourned to the Shady Oak barbecue restaurant, where my smoked chicken was delightful, and all were well-pleased with their meals. Heidi and I talked a bit of "lawyers we know in common", as she is a rather talented family lawyer in Los Angeles, while I am someone who used to practice a bit of my arcane little areas in Los Angeles for a decade. Law is a grand parade of great stories, so long as one stays away from the client matters and confidences. My experience is that the delightful eccentricity of attorneys renders discussion of any other topic nearly superfluous.

Tomorrow is our State Fair day, barring the unforeseen. We have our battle plan--arise early, get in, get out, get lunch, get on with the next thing. We tend not to invade things to occupy them with private contractors, but instead to blitzkrieg in search of the compassionate kriegspiel of fun. Then we may cruise to the natatorium.

We offered to take young B. tonight to Southfork Ranch--a nearby place where they used to film a television show called "Dallas"--for the haunted house seasonal to October. B. assured us, though, that fear is not on the agenda--but kite flying tomorrow might be.

Our dogs love kids. Beatrice is a bundle of energy. But B. has gone to sleep, where no doubt visions of fried pies and Big Tex will dance in her head.

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