Friday, March 10, 2006

The Scourge Of White Earbuds

I am an iPod user. As such I own a pair of white earbuds. The white earbud is the way that iPod users and iPod pretenders identify ourselves to each other. It's similar to a tiger having stripes or a leopard having spots. We spot each other grooving in our own little universes, sporting the white earbuds and nod because we know how fucking cool we are. I mean if you have an iPod you are coolness defined, aren't you? The commercials don't lie, but then again commercials have never lied to anybody, EVER!

No, no. Stop cursing me and calling me a heretic. You can put away your burning effigies of me for now. I admit, I was being sarcastic.

But I do want to talk about the earbuds, though. Those white earbuds. I pay attention to the media around me as much as I can. Sure, sometimes it gets muted to a sort of drone that can easily be tuned out and forgotten, but I do my best to see what's shaking and shaping our world insofar as what goes out into the ether of public consumption. Or something like that. Rereading that sentence even I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about.

But I have a bit of a beef with the whole phenomenon surrounding white earbuds. You might not realize it, but they are, indeed, a phenomenon. They're everywhere! You can't escape them. It's not just iPod propaganda anymore. The commercial world seems to have latched on to the iPod staple and turned it into some sort of coolness calling card.

I was flipping through a recent issue of Rolling Stone and noticed that the ad on the back cover was for the Acura TSX, which I discovered with some quick research stands for Toronto Stock eXchange. So there it was, a picture of the Acura Toronto Stock eXchange (worst car name ever!) and its seeming owner, this smug yuppie son-of-a-bitch with, yep you guessed it, white fucking earbuds connecting him to his car, parked somewhere, oh say about 30 fucking feet behind him.

The ad reads: "Your life. Your car. Connected. The Acura TSX is compatible with you. Your mp3 player. Your Bluetooth-enable phone. And just about every other part of your digital life. Man and machine never had so muchin common. The TSX."

And I'm not bringing that up because I'm trying to suck Acura's dick or anything. I just want to point out that I don't want to be on the road with any guy who's plugged into his mp3 player, his Bluetooth-enabled phone, and just about every other part of his digital life. Do you want to know why? Who the fuck is paying attention to the road? Seriously. The yuppie bastard is wearing his earbuds, can he even hear it when I'm honking my horn in frustration, stuck behind him at some greenlight he hasn't noticed yet because he's perfecting his Tiny Tim mix and jabbering at his yuppie scumbag wife on the old Bluetooth? Probably not.

I suppose if there were ever an ad that needed a disclaimer it would be this one. It could read: Warning, do you really fucking need to listen to your mp3 player and talk on your fucking Bluetooth every fucking minute of every fucking day? Wouldn't driving your car when you're behind its wheel seem more appropriate? Don't be a douchebag.

But now I've kind of gone off on some sort of organic tangent because I meant to talk about the earbuds.

So anyway, this Acura ad isn't the only place you see people sporting the white buds. Every time I notice somebody depicted wearing them I cringe. They're becoming a crutch for characters to be seen as hip and contemporary. These are people with modern day crises. They wear white earbuds.

The reason why I cringe is because in my experience with white earbuds so far (they make me a contemporary man, don't you know) I have found them to be really uncomfortable. At least the factory ones anyway. They're too big for my fucking ears, which either means I have freakishly small ears or I bought the iPod For Giants version.

This being said, if I'm a human of average dimensions, then why the hell are so many people sporting uncomfortable white earbuds that pop out of the ear canal every two minutes? Wouldn't people look more hip and more intelligent if they sported listening devices that were more carefully tailored for the human form?

I don't know. It's just a thought. I suppose that it's easiest to depict people in "modern" times if they're wearing white earbuds.

Monday, March 06, 2006

And Now, Michael Appleby Answers Some Hypothetical Questions...

I have a few books from the If series. The premise of these books is to just ask a bunch of hypothetical questions if, when read alone, will lead you down a path of self-discovery (or some kind of bullshit like that) or, if read in groups, should spark a heated debate that will either end in heated fist fights or copious amounts of jizz stains. So anyway, when I feel like the creative well is dry, which it seems to be of late, I'll flip through the books I have and see if I can find a few questions to answer for you people. Feel free to debate me (though you would probably be wrong) in the comments.

Q: If you could decide what will be written on your gravestone, what would you have inscribed?

I should hope that when I die I will still be viewed as a sort of outside-the-box kind of thinker. That being said I would like something simple, yet profound. about something like No Refunds? Yeah, that seems pretty cool. If I have a lot of fans of my work when I die I'm sure that one or two of them might make some sort of pilgramage to the old eternal resting place and if they saw No Refunds they might say something like, "Dude! That is so, like, thought-provoking! I mean, quick, like hand me the water bong for a second, I want to take a great big hit and then just try to wrap my head around that no refunds comment." Of course, my fans will likely be hippy-dippy stoner types. However, I am a bit of a joker, so maybe if my epitaph read, Post No Bills my rotting, maggot-infested corpse can laugh in the afterlife for years.

Q: If you were elected to be the leader of the United States tomorrow, what would be your first act?"

I think that my first act as president would be to make a formal apology to the international community for the foreign policy of the past number of years and promise to repair as much of the damage that has been done as is humanly possible.

Q: If you could pick one famous person to be your neighbor, who would you have next door to you?

There are a number of famous people I would love to live next door to. Certainly names like Maynard James Keenan, Gordon Downie, and David Cross come to mind with just a minimal amount of thinking. But the name that sprang into my mind immediately after reading this question was Chuck Palahniuk. It would be great to live next door to somebody who could talk shop with me as a writer, you know, give me advice and inspire me. Stuff like that for writers is invaluable.

Q: If you were going to turn to crime to support yourself from now on, what kind of criminal would you become?

A politician of some sort. If, though, we take into consideration that I would try to be a more diplomatic, more honest president from the question about being the president, I suppose I can't say that politics would be my choice for criminal activity. Since politics is now ruled out I suppose that I would sell marijuana because it's quite possibly the least morally reprehensible crime I can think of since pot should be decriminalized and/or legalized on the basis that, as a drug, marijuana kills far, far, far fewer people than alcohol or tobacco. I have a heavy conscience so selling pot would be something I could justify to myself.

Q: If you had to describe the single worst thing a friend could do to you, what would it be?

This is kind of a weak question I know. I mean, how do you descibe being kicked in the testicles repeatedly? Sure, it's easy to say, "Kick me in the balls repeatedly," and you can picture the repeated kicking and possibly me hunched over and in pain, but how do you really "describe" the pain of it? It's probably the worst thing that anybody could do to me, not just my friends.