Say What

People

Charlottans – that’s you guys!

Bev – gov of the Old North State

RIP Bo’Jakles – interception-throwing quarterback of your Carolina Panthers.

David Thompson – the greatest man who ever lived. EVER.

Gabby – former sorority sister, former roommate, and current best friend/soulmate.  Recently she moved to Boone.  Because she’s a whore.

George and Ted – cofounders of The Charlotte Blog (yea, I did that just to annoy you). I only anonymize them when occasion demands.

Ghosthunter – my very first friend at the University of Charlotte. She likes ghosties.

Kate – overachieving high school friend who also left Pittsburgh to live in a small southern city.  Respect.

Kirkley Fan– former sorority sister, Ohio friend, and obnoxious fan of Brandon Kirkley’s goings on.

Lake Norman Larry – an upwardly mobile mistake I once made.

La’Nolan – former sorority sister, Boston friend, and reality show waiting to happen.

Local Celebs – the only kind worth keeping up with (and stalking occassionally). Includes but not limited to: Brotha Fred, Sarah Aarthun, David Thompson, Britney Cason, The Ken, Rev. Rob of Apple Auto Sales, Preacher Gary, MoFo, Chilly Willy, etc.

LoL cats – Sirr Purr and McSkat Cat

Lynn – overachieving high school friend.

McSkat Cat – Charlotte Bobcat’s mascot, Rufus.  He’s creepies.

The Musician– a brutally honest mistake I once made.

Nines and Corbers – married friends.  Sometimes referred to as my Charlottefamily.

Rasputin – My three legged, naked tailed pekingese. He’ll fuck you up.

RHPs – rogue helicopter pilots, you know, crazies.

The Govenor – conservative fiancee of Gabby.

RoboPat – mayor McCrory

Skylar – former sorority sister and co-innercircle resident.

Texas Lexi – Meck’s shiner swillin, cowboy boot wearin big sister.

Things:

RIP 1993 Crackberry – this is how I tweet on the go.  It’s like, so retro. And weighs 10 lbs.

RIP Biznass lunches – where serious biznass is discussed. Or the hour I spend each afternoon tweeting at my desk whilst eating a chic-fil-a #5 combo with BBQ sauce.

CLCTP – Chameleon Lemonheaded Coward Terrorist Pussy, an insult originally contrived by the great David Thompson and reserved only for the most ridiculous of Charlottan behavior

Charlotte – the queen city, the qc, chatown, crown town, sim city, gotham, best. city. ever., or you know, home.

RIP Flavia – crack laced coffee products available at my place of employment.

Focks Charlotte – Fox News.  See also: the suck.

RIP G Lappy – my 2006 Gateway laptop.  That overheats every two hours. And gets viruses.  And cow surveys. And weighs 15lbs. And pisses off Mac lovers everywhere. #love

KUWTB lessons – follow these easy lessons and you will be Keeping Up with the Belks in no time. Or you will just be a douche.

Lappy 2.0 – red, shiny, dell studio with windows 7. It cost $100. suck on that, losers.

Lick – what you do to things that are tasty, like my posts.

Lists –1) the best things ever
2) where would my life be without them?
3) I can’t adequately describe how much I love them
4)Eeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RIP The Napoli Express Pizza Truck – a shining beacon of hope to the weary. The Napoli Express pizza truck is out every Friday and Saturday night on the corner of 5th and Graham humming a hymn of joy and promising sweet salvation to the tired and intoxicated.

Texting – something I abhor but begrudgingly accept as a consequence of modern life.

The Inner Circle – Uptown.  Also, where the cool kids live. Also, where the cool kids work.  Also, your mom.

The Observer – my arch nemesis.

The Red Line – my Gold Rush line of choice. Now replaced by the Nugget! Go Niners!

The Swamp – Lake Norman

The Teet – Charlotte’s favorite grocery store.  I didn’t invent the term, but I feel obligated to state whose side I’m on (sorry harry peter fans)

The Tower of Power – the shiny new Wellschovia Duke Energy building. Desiree Kane called it Voltron. And thus it was, and shall be, forever and ever, amen.

TnT – Trade and Tryon.  See also: where the magic happens.

To Dos – yearly list created by Meck and never completed.

Uniform of Life – my favorite outfit. Navy sweatpants and a charity t-shirt. I wear it too often.  And by too often, I mean anytime I’m not working or outside of my apartment or otherwise bound by social expectations.

Wachy– pronounced wacky. See also: Wellschovia

Neighborhoods:

Ballantyne – where you pay mortgage on your townhome.

Derita – pssssshhhhhhh where?

Dilworth– where you drink wine and walk your dog

Elizabeth – where you drink PBRs at Jack’s.

Myers Park: where you make it rain.

NoDa– where you eat Amelies (yep, that’s all i’m giving it).Now where you run into Me(ck)!

Plaza/Midwood – where you wear tights or tight jeans.

Southend: where you take the light rail.

University City – where the lepers live.

Uptown – where you observe the cranes in their natural habitat.

Wesley Heights – where you get robbed.

It’s so much fun to be this bad

Gentlemen. Ladies. This. THIS. Is going to be so much fun!

Where to start…?

1) Is there a word for something that’s so bad it’s good? If not, the word for it should be this video. I’ve watched “It’s so much fun to be this good” (ISMF2BTG) enough times now to normalize the cheesy original composition and camera shots of all the must-visit Charlotte attractions (pause for awkward self-aware moment to realize that almost everything going on in this city can fit into a 3:08 clip) and I’m no longer throwing up in my mouth and I’m thinking…we’ve got an Appalachian is Hot Hot Hot video on our hands! Quick, someone scrape this ish and put it on youtube. Charlotte’s about to be featured on Tosh.0

2) Actually, this video is better than AIHHH.  Does the App video apologize for it’s very existence the way ISMF2BTG does when they sing “It’s okay to pat our backs.”  Seriously, that’s one of the lyrics. And it must be asked, at this point, is it? Is it really okay?

3) I don’t know what tickles me more, the fact that some Charlotte company, or, God forbid, taxpayer funded entity, commissioned not only this video but the song that goes with it and probably paid a butt-ton of money for it. Your money, that you don’t have much of but still have been respectfully and dutifully depositing into the local economy. It was spent on this video. To the tune of 10,000+ dollars it easily cost to produce (and that’s a low-ball guestimate). And this was the outcome. An expensive and meticulously produced statement of who we are, to ourselves and the world. The best image of Charlotte that money could buy. Or, OR the fact that one of those images includes, shit you not,  Target and Home Depot signs. Come to Charlotte, ya’ll! We got Target and Home Depot now! Oh, actually, um, this is awkward, but that Home Depot went out of business.

4) So what we really have here is our very own version of the Cleveland Tourism Video, except decidedly unsnarky and actually, taking itself quite seriously. I’ve read recently in several vaunted Charlotte publications that the future of this city is in the creative job market. I must now, respectfully, disagree.

5) How long til we can get this song auto-tuned?

A good night sleep, in Charlotte!

Herewith do conclude that here in Charlotte, we have a bit of a problem with humidity! And, being of an age, I have a heating problem anyway! So, how does one get to sleep on these warm, moist evenings? The flashes of heat come up and I create my own humidity and need relief. So, I turned to desperate measures. I searched Google for  a response that made sense and ended up on the website:   http://bambooforlife.com/bamboo-sheets. There I found sheets to put on my bed and to sleep on/in. I ordered same and they arrived in beautiful condition, which I placed on aforementioned bed and crawled in and slept through the night.  I highly recommend bamboo sheets for just about anybody that sleeps in a bed. They are comfy, feel good and help with night sweats.

Change

By now you’ve probably read about the new Penguin. The sparkly chairs, the state of the fried pickles, the souvenir promo cups. You may have even eaten there already, or principle kept you away. Today, curiosity got the best of me. I wish it hadn’t.

The changes are small. So small that they shouldn’t bother me. It’s no big deal the counter by the door is gone, three extra tables in its place. Likewise, the refillable diner ketchup and mustard bottles being replaced by the same grocery store disposables that people keep in their fridges doesn’t matter much. In the grand scheme of things, the old Budweiser Clydesdale sign above the jukebox being swapped for an antique cash register isn’t a reason not to come back. The framed newspaper clippings instead of local award plaques, the penguin merch pinned up by the classic “BARBECUE”  bother me more. If I had to pin-down the main source of my dislike, I’d like to stick it on the careful corporate wit of the new menu items. The “single successful guy”, “I can hear you getting fatter”? The salads. I could declare that I can’t love a Penguin without cheerwine bottles, $5 pitchers of beer, and people camped out at the bar.

But then again, the kitchen is more open. Light pours in the windows allowing a view of Thomas Street. There are only five posters taped up by the bar, the shows they’re advertising seem tame, normal. The speakers are playing oldies.  The tables are full. The food still comes out like it always has, hot and cheap. I can actually hear my boyfriend talking to me from across the table. We don’t smell like grease when we leave. And I get it. I see why they changed it, and why people will like it.  Everything is as polished and straight as the flat-ironed brown hair of the three pleasant but forgettable waitresses.

So why can’t I reconcile the good with the bad? Or should I really be asking, why are some places special and others aren’t?

My boyfriend thinks it’s the food. It’s not as good, he says. It’s nothing special, like a burger from a food truck, a state fair. I don’t think it’s that different. No better or worse than a growing list of competitors. If it is, the changes on this level are imperceptible. The pickles are still oily and salty, the burgers still juicy, the buns still un-toasted.  But that’s not why we came here, is it?

It takes a kind of magic, a mix between atmosphere and food to create a restaurant like the old Penguin. That’s why we like dives.  And that’s how places like Cheescake Factory and IHOP stay in business. Is it delicious, is it comfortable, is it cheap or appropriately expensive, is it all of the above? Or, is it ours? There’s a reason we don’t eat in plain white boxes, why we feel affection for both gas-station pulled pork and chicken curry in candle-light. There’s no great gap in culinary mastery separating this Penguin from Pinkys. But the food tastes better there, doesn’t it, wrapped in a great building, a new neighborhood, a story we can get behind?

I think we never did go to the Penguin because of the food, in spite of the atmosphere. I think we went for the atmosphere and stayed for the food. We liked our conversation drowned out by music, our pint glasses full, the cloves we shared in the parking lot. We went for the experience, the kind of night it made. The presence of decent burgers and thick sweet potato fries aren’t going to be enough to keep us coming back. And so, my boyfriend might be right after all. It does have something to do with flavor, spice, taste. Key ingredients missing.

What’s in your bag: Charlotte hipster edition

Today on Facebook, Charlotte Viewpoint asked fans to share what three things they ALWAYS carry in either their bags or pockets. They also offered a picture to get us started. Apparently someone at the magazine ALWAYS carries an orange, a spoon, a writer’s notebook, and what appears to be a pack of gum (likely purchased at Common Market). For those of you counting: you’re welcome.

Next, reader Jonathan chimed in that he ALWAYS carries way more than three things a camera (ding!), a moleskin (ding!), first aid kit,a rain poncho, a multitool, toiletries (of unknown count and variety), and a fire-starter. He sounds like quite the outdoor enthusiast. I would guess a frequent hiker/camper. In fact, Johnathan is so serious about getting in touch with nature, and likely doing his photojournalism and foliage sketches at the same time, that he ALWAYS carries his rain poncho with him, even to his job in uptown.

Not wanting to be outdone by the sheer awesomeness of the hipster/”creative”/”grassroots” boho/OMGTHISISTOTALLYREPRESENTATIVEOFWHOIREALLYAMIALWAYSCARRYTHISSTUFF offerings made by CLTViewpoint and Jon, I now humbly offer my own examples:

 

Canadian Hobart, a grapfruit, and Aristrocrat Tequila

I ALWAYS carry the above three items because I believe in healthy eating and drinking heavily while I research literary magazines and plan my next short story submission. I know I’m going to get accepted this time, I just know it.

I got some new bamboo sheets at Bamboo Quest

Rasputin, a russian nesting doll, pocket copy of the New Testament

I ALWAYS carry my three-legged rescue dog, a matryoshka (whiiiiich was actually purchased in Russia in 2006 and not from Urban outfitters or Modcloth in 2010), and a pocket New Testament that I ironically took from a preacher on UNCC’s campus. Because you never know when you might need them.

And finally,

 

Wallet, keys, sunglasses. Artfully displayed on polished concrete. Not pictured: cellphone.

I ALWAYS carry my wallet, keys, and sunglasses. Wherever I go. Because, after all, I’m a real person.

Goodbye Charlotte

 

By the time you read this post (if, in fact, anyone is reading) I will be on my way to my new home in Atlanta. I haven’t been around, haven’t made a single peep in little over a year, and it seems like it would take just as much time to tell you what I’ve been doing as it would to say goodbye.  The short version is: grad school, teaching, applications, getting engaged, finishing my MA, wedding planning, moving and getting married.  The long version is basically the same, plus a few mental breakdowns.

 

Me in June, 2008. The summer I started KUWTB. This was taken at Therapy (ha). I look so young.

When I started this blog FOUR (!) years ago,  I was coming out of a bad relationship, working in my first post college job, and trying to figure out who I was. I was trying on uptown and everything that goes along with it, trying to see if that was the life I wanted. And I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t. But knowing what you don’t want isn’t quite the same as knowing what you do (which then isn’t quite the same is actually having it).I’m not there yet. I’m so, so far from there. But I’ve been working to figure it out, and compared to the girl I was when I started this blog–the person who just wanted to snark and tell semi-true stories and force narrative sense onto my life–I feel whole galaxies closer.  Now going further  means I have to leave.

 

Blurry view from my apartment in 4th Ward. Keeping up obviously doesn\’t mean getting any better at taking pictures.

In a week I will start work on my PhD in Fiction/Creative Writing. It’s my first time at a new school since 2003. I’m proud and I’m terrified and I still kinda can’t believe that it’s something I’m really doing. So here I am, at the tail end of my twenties, and I’m definitely not “growing up” anymore, in uptown or otherwise. It seems right to be leaving now, not just because I have to, but because it’s time. After nearly a decade–a crazy/tumultuous/wonderful decade–this in’t just relocating, it’s closing this chapter of my life.

If you’ve read any of this blog or my tweets, you know that I haven’t always loved it here. Charlotte has a lot of problems. It can be fake, judgmental, cliquish, overly sanitized, unfair, unbalanced, unfeeling, underwhelming, whatever that particular southern version of xenophobic is, and suffocatingly small.  But it’s also warm and charming and quirky. It’s family and friends and friends of friends and even kind strangers who have tweeted me back from the edge more times than I deserved. It’s good food and trees and the smell of humid air and comfort. And love. At it’s most beautiful, Charlotte isn’t a world class city; it’s just a small town with big buildings. It’s home. And that’s how I’ll hold it in my mind. That’s how I’ll tell it in my stories.

See you around, Charlotte! And goodbye for now.

Love,

Does NoDa have too many bars?

That’s the accusation that’s been floating around Charlotte for (what seems to me) the past eight months or so. And in that time span it seems like a fair assessment. For every new place to drink (Growlers, Sin City, Jack Beagles, Chop Shop) there has been one less place to shop or art (Lark & Key, Boulevard, now Green Rice—clothing boutique Vivian B was just robbed). NoDa needs, I have heard, daytime businesses to bring in a daytime crowd.

As a resident of this neighborhood (and, admittedly, former naysayer and current critic of the so-called “creative class”) I must agree. Because every empty storefront feels like a small loss. And every especially boisterous gallery crawl (and where are they crawling to, exactly?) followed by a morning of walking my dog around piles of broken glass on the sidewalk makes me feel old and cranky.

I, for my own selfish reasons, want more retail in walking distance.  But I know that retail (or galleries) in and of themselves can’t survive here. It is not as simple as needing more stores and less bars.

Why is plaza midwood successful, or rather, why is the retail there surviving? I have a simple, inelegant theory: restaurants. And while NoDa has some great and popular places to eat (Cabo, Revolution, Crepe Cellar, Boudreauxs), they don’t rival the collective strength of Zada Janes, Dish, Soul, LuLus, and the Diamond. I know this is only my experience, but every single purchase I have ever made in a store on central ave has been made after eating at a Plaza Midwood restaurant. As someone who doesn’t live in the neighborhood, it’s highly unlikely that I will go eek out parking just to browse a run-of-the-mill antique store. But I will browse after housing some bunny rancheros and two bloody marys.

Also, there is the issue of, ahem, price. Charlotte Artist and funny person Nikki Mueller of Not Made in China has a button about NoDa that reads “NoDa: where musicians, artists, and other poor people live.” Truth. And Central Avenue, to continue the comparison, is filled with second hand stores. So it wouldn’t hurt if the retail that so many desperately hope to take over the neighborhood was of the affordable kind. And yes, I mean that to include art galleries.

It’s lazy to me when someone says that a gallery can’t survive here or artists can’t make it in this city because Charlottans aren’t interested in art. I’m interested in art and duly interested in art I have a chance of purchasing. But just because I can’t afford a $500 painting doesn’t mean there aren’t people in this city who can. They just don’t live here. The people who make the art live here. The people who can buy it  live somewhere south of here and are eagerly awaiting whole foods and would LOVE some NoDa art, but why come? When Charlotte art/gallery events are marketed solely to all the other broke creatives who were already going to come and not buy anything anyway. But that is a whole ‘nother issue.

So I guess I would say that NoDa has too many bars, at least for the number of restaurants, stores, and galleries remaining. But it’s absolutely not okay to blame the small business owners who run the bars or the Charlottans who like to save their money for a few glasses of beer once a week instead of a mediocre oil-on-canvas. In other words, it’s time for retailers, proprietors, and “creatives” to stop blaming everyone else for the “bar problem”. Especially if they leave the neighborhood because it isn’t as arty as it used to be. While I will give the benefit of the doubt when considering that the recent exodus focused on the same strip in, essentially, the same building, and I will bite my tongue when there is the inevitable swearing that “business isn’t bad,” I won’t believe for a second that the problem is Jack Beagles or Growlers or any other place who comes, and invests, and brings customers with them. The streets are crowded on Friday, and I still can’t find parking close to my building on Saturday. We’re here waiting for a restaurateur or retailer or gallery owner or lover of “NoDa in the nineties” to stop bitching about the way things were and go ahead and take a chance on the neighborhood and, you know, take an actual damn chance instead of expecting NoDa to do all the work for you. Market, price for the area, stay open later than 6pm. Because loving something, among other things, means sticking it out and making it work.

In the mean time I will continue to fight for my parking spots, step around broken glass, and spend my money close to home – wherever I can.

Charlotte is the 21st most socially networked city, still sucks at life

Today, via Charlotte Viewpoint, I found my way to an old mashable post (original Menshealth) that shows Charlotte ranking 21st in the nation for the most socially networked cities. My reaction is not so much surprise as it is, “so what?” No, really, who gives a flying fudge? Have you been on Charlotte social media lately? I think if you have, even a little, then you’re probably feeling the same thing. (Caution: generalizations ahead)

The reason this “news” doesn’t surprise me points to the reason why it also annoys me: there’s too many damn people on Charlotte social media already. But BUT social media is for everyone, it bolsters revolutions, it can and will and is changing the world! SQUEE! GLITTER PONIES!
pink my little pony Social Media
All that may be true. But it’s not true a lot of the time in Charlotte. Because in Charlotte, social media (especially facebook, twitter, blogs/news sites, and now, sadly, google+) sounds a lot less revolutionary and a lot more like, well, Rebecca Fucking Black.

 

Let me give you a summary of all that has happened on Charlotte social media since the dawn of social media:

ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! ME!

MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

There, you’re all caught up. Listen, I know I’m just as guilty as everyone else. And yes, it’s great that lots of people in our city are using these platforms (some of them even for good). But all it seems to have amounted to is a lot of wasted potential and some really REALLY annoying feeds.

 

make it stop

To provide the inevitable counter example (eye-roll alert, matt tyndall): Pittsburgh, my former home, ranked 63 on the mashable list. That’s a C- according to the study, and over 40 places behind Charlotte. And yet Pittsburgh is home to a personal/city blogger “Pitt Girl” who has raised, to date, $15,000 (FIFTEEN THOUSAND!) to provide in-room gaming to kids on the transplant floor of Children’s Hospital. She used her “personal brand” not to snag herself a personal opportunity, but to help sick kids. She used her network not to shout from the rooftops how amazing she is (which is true), but to score even more free stuff for the kids from Microsoft. And in case that wasn’t enough to convince you, Pittsburgh is also home to Secret Agent L, a blogger who leaves random bits of cheer (notes, flowers, gift cards) around the city just to brighten people’s days. So, yeah, Pittsburgh has a lot less people using social media, but it’s hard not to feel like they are doing SO MUCH MORE. And if you’re cynical, you might also notice how powerful the online reputation is for those committed to helping others (as opposed to helping themselves by default).

I can accept the need for what is called a personal brand; I can admit that people in social media and other professions need those big personal opportunities to help their careers. I’m happy for all my friends who have found jobs, clients, comfort, support, and once-in-a-lifetime offers by broadcasting on all channels. But as long as we keep only “doing us,” we will never be great. We won’t be using the tools the way they ought to be used. We will just be boring, self promotional, shitasses. Maybe that’s who we are, but I don’t think so. I think we can do more, be more. Especially when it comes to the DNC.

For example: Charlotte new media, with the help of traditional media, has created some local social media celebrities. It speaks to our character that people have made careers out of having a local audience. I love the people on twitter who bring needed information or levity to my life.* Yet, as a member of the local and online community I have also endured (and unfortunately, made others endure), in addition to the fun, a floppity gillion tweets, blog and facebook posts aimed fundamentally at promoting a local someone’s individual reputation or career. Now I feel that I–and most importantly, this city–deserve a little ROI.

Did you notice how, when the convention was announced, the eyes in hundreds of local twitter avatars turned into cartoonish looking dollar signs? Did you read all the facebook posts that said, “this is going to be great for me, er, charlotte.”  I hope the DNC boosts the national perception of our city, and hope that local social medians play a significant role in shaping those opinions. After all, locals profiting and benefiting from the convention is why cities agree to host these things in the first place. Plus, I’ve always known that Charlotte voices have value, especially in telling the story of the place we call home. But I’m worried about that story actually getting told, getting heard on social media above our personal noise.

This convention could be so much more than the unprecedented personal/business/social media opportunity that we are treating it as.  It’s my opinion that local twitterati/social media mavericks owe Charlotte something, and September 2012 is when payment comes due. Is it impressive, really, that local citizen journalists will live-tweet this event with the best of them? Photos and tweets of “here I am inside the arena, I can smell Obama” aren’t going to cut it. So let’s, right now, stop naval gazing and start supporting others. Let’s let the nation see how we can use our online community to improve our physical one.  Let’s imagine something bigger than ourselves. Let’s make room for the people coming in 2012, for the city to shine. That’s the real story, after all, not us. And when we read about it on social media, we should be able to tell the difference.**

*(For the record, I don’t put myself into this category AT ALL, but I recognize a certain responsibility to even the very very small following I’ve built. I’m working on becoming less of a shit-ass.)

** This post is meant to change the dialogue surrounding Charlotte social media in general and the DNC  in particular.

Change Coming

So I know that no one follows this blog anymore because I never write anything, but for those two people who are still subscribed to the RSS and for my friends and family members who check it dutifully, this is for you:

In August this blog is changing, and my twitter account will become @myrealname (and subsequently, a lot less snarky). Why? Because in August I officially become a college instructor.

This was a hard decision for me because as I’ve blogged and tweeted about and ranted to friends frequently, I believe in personas, online anonymity, and professional freedom of speech. I won’t go off on a tangent here except to say that 1) transparency ought to be a top-down revolution, 2) the overall privatization of our society keeps us from having conversations we ought to be having and from challenging false notions, and 3) using twitter/facebook to self-socialize and normalize the masses leads people to be ultimately a lot less transparent, profiles more constructed, and online tools less “revolutionary”.  By encouraging transparency and simultaneously asking users to monitor their language and thoughts in the interest of future employers, we are just recreating our current society with all its expectations in a virtual space—a place where the “little guy” has the most to lose and often does (teachers, waitresses, etc.)—instead of allowing really different new rules and norms to develop. Though things exist online “forever” and it’s public to some extent and on and on, people should be able to speak their minds, in their language, without judgment. Especially when what they are saying online would have to be “dug up” by a customer, client, or child in order to offend.

Yet as I say and firmly believe all of the above, I am aware of the very real problems facing educators right now. Though I feel reassured to be in a university environment where I am treated like a professional, I also know that budget cuts face universities and public school alike and if I manage to cross the blurry line they’d be more than happy to stop signing my paycheck. And sure I’m anonymous, but those who have been following me awhile know that I’m really NOT and that plenty of people have met me, seen me, or heard my name.

More than my fear of pissing off administrators, though, is my concern for what my future students will think if they come across @meckcharlotte or KUWTB. I’m a relatively young female and first time teacher, so for one, I don’t think my students need to be reading about my ex boyfriends or trips to Brazil. Also, as much as I love snark and think this city (and university) deserves a healthy dose, I also realize that negativity can be defeating.  As someone who is about to be scrutinized by a bunch of 18-year-olds I must  be wary of sharing my concerns publicly  and poking fun turning into or being interpreted as outright complaining and mocking.  And if I am to teach my students that rhetoric has consequences, I must also think about the consequences of them hearing that I’m frustrated with the school administration or think  99% of Mac users are impressionistic trend-followers (not really! Jk! Lol!) But in all seriousness, if just one tweet or post made a student think that I was untrustworthy, mocking them or their beliefs/interests, mean, angry, that I didn’t have faith in the school system or that school was way too difficult for me so it might be for them too, etc., well then, I just couldn’t live with that.

Much has been said about teachers operating online profiles positively, and I do not mind and kind of would like my students to be able to see that I am a real person who has a real life. But a lot of “meck,” especially my earlier uses, is partially constructed and partially real. In the end, I am a fiction writer, and my goal and purpose for this blog/my twitter account has always been, first and foremost, to tell a good story.  Being semi-anonymous, semi-fictional online is all kinds of problematic for a teacher. I need to be one or the other, so (and it seems obvious) I will just be me.

And, since you are thinking it, YES, I am compromising somewhat on my beliefs. But it was never my dream to be a tweeter or a blogger. It is my dream to be a teacher and writer. And for now, and for my professional level, I have to cut back on the snark. And it is time for me, personally, to own what I’ve written, to sign my name to my best work and best self. I still believe the internet needs anonymous voices, blogs and twitter and facebook, now and forever. But, I think, it no longer needs me(ck).

(until then I plan on writing A LOT on here, so stay tuned. I will bitch for as long as possible)

Macs suck!

Hi, my name is Meck, and I’m a PC.

(half of my readers just had a seizure)

But, but why? I’ll tell you why! Because of you.

Just so we’re clear, I’d be more than happy to not have any conversation ever in the past present or future about computer operating systems.  Because I really don’t care.  If I had it my way I’d just sit here tweeting and posting to my blog with my lappy happily humming away.  But noooooOOOoooooo.  Macs had to start with the name calling. Not nice.  And when people aren’t nice, Meck has to slap a bitch.  So you see, they forced my hand.

At the beginning of summer, I started dating a guy who is an avid Mac user. If I were to, oh I don’t know, stab him, after one of his particularly annoying rants about why Macs are better, I’m pretty sure tiny little glowing apples would drip out of his chest where blood should be.

And you know what? I get it. I get why he, a tight black t-shirt wearing self-employed web designer, would want a Mac. I just can’t understand why I should want one. Someone please tell me a good reason why a casual computer user like myself needs a Mac?

\"totally

totally not trying too hard

I can’t even look at my lappy without the boyfriend, or his roommate, or their ever growing army of Mac minions, making some snide comment about it.  It’s difficult to interpret what’s being said through their whiny nasally bitching, but I’m pretty sure it goes something like this:

Oooo look guys, there’s Meck’s laptop.

A gateway?! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Me too.  Let’s make fun of her!

Totally.  Computing on a PC is like drinking Franzia box of wine when you could be having Estancia.

I know, right.

Hey after we’re done putting her in her place, let’s watch that Steve Jobs press conference again!

And have a circle jerk?

And then go to American Apparel?!

Dude!

*white boy fist bumps*

To a certain extent they have a point about my lappy. It’s loud. It runs hot. But it’s also 3 years old and cost me $500. Show me where I can get a new appletop for $500. Anyone? Bueller?

You know what I look for in a computer? Internet, Word Processor, Excel. That’s all I need from my PC. To access the web and write my little stories and occasionally be brave enough to balance my checkbook. Why on earth do I need a BMW when I’m only driving to and from work?

But what about virsuses blabbity blabbity bloopity? You’re right. PC’s get viruses. But there is also software that protects your compy against them. It costs about $70 a year if you are buying the updates (and you don’t need to buy the updates). Can anyone tell me where I can get a Macbook for $710? Still waiting….

But Macs have a superior operating system (and they’ll suck your dick, too)!  To you maybe. You know what is a superior system to me? The one that I am used to and have been using my whole life.  Sure, I can navigate my way around a Mac. But I fly through a PC, making spreadsheets my bitch and filing in a system that makes sense. I could learn a new system that has more pretty colors and is “sleeker” but I don’t need want to. Besides, how good can it be when every time I try to check my email on a Mactop I get that goddamned rainbow pinwheel spinning for an hour. You can’t hypnotize me, Mac, I see that you aren’t working. (Furthermore, I don’t even have a dick).

But, merrrr, better quality, lasts longer. Yea, sometimes. Sometimes it makes sense to spend  a lot upfront and get more for your dollar in the long run. But sometimes that’s also a justification of businesses who are hocking a brand that is made of the same materials and does the same thing (e.g. almost everything associated with the word “luxury”).  Although for anyone obsessed with brands, or technology for that matter, does it really make a difference how long it lasts? Before it dies you are going to want a newer, shinier model anyway.

So guess what 99% of Mac users. I’m calling your bluff.  You all are the computer world equivalent of the bitch with overprocessed highlights carrying a logo emblazoned Louis Vuitton bag.  You’re not computer snobs, you’re trend whores.

I’m not a graphic designer, I don’t edit videos, and I don’t need a Mac.  Although after I publish this post, I might need a new boyfriend.

Disco Chicken

It’s too good. I’m sorry, but it’s just. too. good.

What are you talking about, Meck?

What am I talking about?!

I’m talking about something so awesome that I saw a twitpic of it it earlier and accidentally blurted out “omg yesssssssss” at my desk.

I’m talking about something so great that when I opened my inbox and saw it in all its shining wonder, I couldn’t wait to get home so I could blog about it.

I’m talking about something so fantastic, so distinctive, and so glittery that I knew the only people who could possibly appreciate it as much as me, is you guys.

So without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: The Firebird….

 

Thoughts:

1) Squeeeeeeeeeee

2) This is my new favorite thing uptown.  Sorry gold disc, I’d much rather tell my friends to MEET ME AT THE DISCO CHICKEN.  Magical waterfall at TnT that they decorate for christmas? Pssshh. Fourth Ward Park? Nipple-slip Future statue? Gold Rush Red Line? No. No. No.  Disco Chicken? Yesssssssssss.

3) Just a few days after the city starts to take down the JFG sign, they’re all BAM: disco chicken.   I feel like a kid whose golden retriever just died and I’ve barely stopped crying when Momma and Daddy Charlotte come home from the pound with a newer, shinier doggie.  And I’m all, I don’t want a new dog, I want Fluffly! Plus this dog kinda smells and AWWWW look at it’s face! It’s so sparkly! Did you see how he just licked my hand?!

4) Still, squeeeeeeee.

I, for one, am absolutely ecstatic about this addition to the list of Uptown landmarks. In 20 years when they are trying to tear down to the whole art plaza to build a 103-story condo tower, I will come back from wherever I’m living and chain myself to the Disco Chicken in protest.  Because, dammit, some things are worth preserving. And I have the distinct feeling that this is going to be one of them.

Walking Tour of Charlotte, North Carolina

Begin at Settler’s Cemetery, 5:00pm is social hour.
Notice the bottle blonde in a skirt suit
talking to the banker in neatly pressed chinos.
Next to them, a yorkie taking a shit
on the grave of founder Thomas Polk.
Downwind a homeless man on a bench,
encircled by empty tallboys of Pabst,
can smell the desecration.

Continue towards Trade noting the
Presbyterian Church that occupies an entire city block
in spitting distance from a bank headquarters.
Can you feel the expansive weight of institutional thought
pressing down on the flowering dogwoods?

Pass buildings not quite old enough to tear down
and place a commemorative plaque in front of,
but still not new and shiny enough to
warrant further mention.

Head towards Trade and Tryon,
the historic center of “Uptown”
and speculate on the origin of that expression.
The truth of which, I can assure you,
is buried in government documents
along with who really killed Kennedy
and moved the Hornets out of town

If you’re feeling daring,
stand in the middle of the intersection, amidst the
swarming cars, and read the bronze plate
signifying the Mecklenburg Declaration
Contemplate the revolutionary past of the city.
Can you see this history shape us today?
If you can, let us know.

Walk south on Tryon towards the new Duke Energy building,
Yes, it does move on an immense hydraulic
rigging that allows it to follow the
path of the sun.
Catch the light shows every night at 10:00 and 11:00pm,
but don’t stare directly into the LEDs
or you risk losing your ability
to produce analytical thought.

Head back northwards to the city center
passing Ratcliffe Flowers, Latta Arcade,
an inscription to Jefferson Davis,
and stretch your hand up to the B-of-A tower.
Touch the Queen’s imposing crown.
If you prick your finger on the top spindle,
you’ll fall asleep for 100 years.

And if you ever get the chance,
drive outside the city,
approximately 80 miles West,
and hike Grandfather Mountain,
the morning immediately following the rain.
You can see Charlotte pinned to the horizon,
piedmont mirage in an ocean of trees.
Pillars swaying in the heat,
tiny dicks penetrating the sky.
Consider the founders, the CEOS,
the architects, the city planners…
Who, do you think, was pointy?
Who was round?
Who was long?
Who was standard?
Who was dangerous?
Overcompensating?
Who was narrow?
Who was broad?
Who was dreaming?