Friday, June 17, 2005

sign of the times

every day as i'm stuck in the gridlock, i look around and take note of all the wonderous things around me. like the metal fences they're trying to grow moss all over, the random trees they're planting haphazardly all over the sides of the road, and litter in the shoulder.

but some of the sights have become important landmarks. you know you're halfway there when you pass the monster merger and two left-hand exits. you're sitting pretty if you're not stopped by the bank with the temperature and the perpetually fast time. and you're doing really well when you actually moving past the sixties-style, propped-up-by-posts-like-the-HOLLYWOOD-sign letters of a hospital on the left-hand side.

until today. today, i noticed that the old-school tan brick hospital that peeks out over the highway, the building with the plain old sign in big white block letters, calling to mind the 80's themesong credits of 'general hospital,' was different.

they changed the sign!

i can't believe it. that damn sign was so retro it was almost cool again! maybe in another 6 years it'd revolutionary. and what did they replace it with? a freaking plastic-y looking (that probably lights up) one like you'd see over a gas station or small-time stripmall bakery! one errant bird or flying rock from an untarped dump truck and this new sign is toast. the worst part is that the heyday of stuff like it came and passed in 1989.

now they're going to have to wait another 30 years to even be close to being retro-hip again. and it's just ugly to look at.

29 comments:

Ale said...

cadiz when you move to my villa in italy- your commute to your studio from the bedroom would be rather pleasant through my mediteranean garden. :)

Ale said...

thanks omar for letting me be comment number one this time!

omar said...

No problem, ale. I like to give others a chance, sometimes.

I felt the same way when they changed the sign outside of my old high school. It's like they moved "forward" by getting a sign that would have been "new" back in the 80's. They really should ask us before making these decisions...

cadiz12 said...

whoohoo! do you think i can commute via Vespa? i cannot wait.

i know, they really should at least take a newspaper poll or something. talk about public eyesores.

o, did you hear that kodak is going to quit making photo paper? seems like sacrilege, but i was always an ilford girl anyway.

omar said...

They're only quitting making black and white photo paper, from what I understand. Everything about Kodak is big news here, for like 50+ years they were the biggest employer in my hometown (my dad worked there for 26 years). Unfortunately, most of that news is about layoffs.

Still, it's making a lot of the artsy photographers upset.

cadiz12 said...

man, layoffs suck the big one.

their b/w paper wasn't very good, anyway, in my humble opinion.

jazz said...

i wanna move into the villa tooo!!

i used to notice billboard changes too. sucks to have to sit in that much traffic...

Jon said...

I hate it when they change a landmark or mess with the character of my town. We used to have a Carpeteria down town that had an awesome giant genie on top of it, but someone complained that it was racist and insensitive, so they were ordered by the court to take it down… I miss that genie. That part of the street looked naked to me for several years. I think you pay for progress sometimes with history and character and it’s not always for the better. We have this cross, put there by Father Serra himself, on the top of one of the hills in Grant park, and there’s some a-hole who is demanding that it be taken down because, as an atheist, he finds it offensive. Well, as an atheist myself, I find his behavior offensive. I think it’s offensive anytime you try and force your opinions and perspectives on anyone. He says he doesn’t want to have his kid growing up looking at that thing and getting the wrong idea. What wrong idea? That there’s more than one way to look at the world? I celebrate that. I think that cross also symbolizes the history of our town. It exists because it was one day’s walk from the last mission. The whole city was built around the mission. What’s the worst thing that happens? His son asks him what that thing on the hill is, and he tells him that the people who founded this town believe in God. They put that up as a symbol to all that traveled through would know what kind of people live here. And if he asks about God, tell him. Then let him make up his own mind. Is that so hard? …I’m getting uppity…

I’m sorry, I got a little carried away there… um what were we talking about? Yeah, layoffs do suck. I’m against them.

cadiz12 said...

i know the feeling! how is the genie racist? were they trying to say it was a carpet store of a certain ethnicity? obv genies go with carpets (disney's made sure of that), and it doesn't have anything to do with race. genies are blue.

there's a vonnegut story about *handicapping* people with above-average talent so everyone would be more equal -- strapping heavy stuff to ballerinas and putting people with stammers on as tv anchors. he's wacky, but he makes some decent points.

speaking of billboards, they don't seem to be doing anything about this horrible gentleman's club one near the highway that says 'welcome to the jungle' with a hoochie painted with leopard spots. but they're messing with hospital signs? i don't get it.

cadiz12 said...

omg and don't even get me started on how they've f-ed around with the town i was born in. a typical outing back in the day: family grabs the stroller, gets some bread from the mom-and-pop grocer, goes down to the river to feed the ducks, maybe take a spin in the paddleboats, maybe roll down sled hill. walking around, having a picnic lunch, maybe even hit the library.

today: load up the suv, forget the kids, go to the eddie bauer (where the old grocery store was) go to some swanky bar for drinks, wait a ridiculous amount for a table at some city-transplant restaurant. maybe take a walk by the river, but be prepared for a major crowd. then grab a nightcap at starbucks b/c the oldschool dairy is gone, too. and where sled hill is, there's now a freaking 6-ton bell tower that goes off at any time and will scare your soul away.

i'm not saying it's all bad. but i really miss the way it used to be. sometimes the yuppies make me gag. sorry, i'm a little riled up.

Jon said...

I know what you mean. I don’t hate all the progress, but I’ve reached that age where I can legitimately tell people, “I remember when this used to be nothing but fields and lemon orchards!” It really makes me feel old sometimes. Only my dad is supposed to talk about fields and such old timey things.

And we say we live in a democracy where the majority rules, but it’s really the minorities that have all the power. I don’t mean that racially, I just mean that if you go to a school with 2,400 students, and it’s December, you can celebrate Christmas until one kid, or more specifically, one kid’s parents, who happen to be Jewish, don’t like it, so they take away Christmas for everyone else. One Middle Eastern family feels that the genie is a racist abomination and is sending the wrong signal, and we take it away. I never thought about it. I don’t recall teasing all the Middle Eastern people with taunts like, “Ha, you’re such genie! Flying around on your magic carpets and such! Grant my wish! Grant my wish!” is that even really teasing? I wish I could fly no a magic carpet. Heck, if anything, I’m depressed that I’m not Middle Eastern. Why did I have to be German? You know what being German means…

cadiz12 said...

me too. i think my heart broke a little when they turned the last farm around here into a subdivision.

i'm all about people's feelings being respected -- within reason. if the offended person has a good reason that a situation needs to be questioned, that's fine.

like native american mascots, i'm not down with that. especially after i found out that the fighting illini football team had Chief Illiniwek's face printed on the toilet paper as little as 8 years ago. their reason for keeping him is that they're *honoring* a tribe whose members aren't even around to back up what they're doing. t.p. doesn't sound like honor to me.

but i do think some people get carried away with it. you're right; if we over-equalize, it's all just going to be one bland, soggy social situation.

yeah, you know those germans. all they do is eat wienerschnitzel and drink beer out of big old cups.

Jon said...

That’s what I’m talking about, I’m NOT your typical German…

And I guess I don’t have a huge problem with the mascots, mainly because I never thought of them as derogatory. I can see how they are now, but not as a kid. And there is a certain history to it that I think is unfair to just throw away… It’s definitely a gray area…

cadiz12 said...

it's tricky. because the alumni with all the cash want to keep it b/c it was part of their heyday, even though anti-illini arguments about it being cobbled together from a bunch of different cultures are valid, too.

but i did notice they didn't bring him to the championship games, so maybe they're finding a compromise.

Jon said...

YES!!!! This Batman is worth seeing!! I know you weren’t talking to me, but still, I have to promote what I believe in.

Jon said...

Oh, and national exposure will change things… it’s funny like that.

cadiz12 said...

i was. you're the one who recommended it to her, right?

so, i've got to add this to the list? which of the other batmans are netflix-worthy? all? none? i've heard good things about michael keaton.

Jon said...

Well, I think she was going to see it anyway, but I can’t recommend it enough. The first one with Keaton is also very worthy. Both of these movies are similar in that, in spite of the ridiculous nature of a man dressing up as a bat, you believe it. When you get to Val Kilmer and George Clooney, they lose that. Not because they are bad actors, but they had the wrong directors, you know? Batman is a dark character, you can’t put a lot of bright colors in there, you know? I read a lot of comic books when I was younger, so I am kind of a snob about it too. So you’ve got that to think about. Definitely the first with Keaton, but don’t get too excited about the second… push that one down on the list a bit.

cadiz12 said...

how about off the list? or is that pushing it?

you have no idea how long the list is. even i am beginning to question whether i was abducted by aliens or something for the last 20 years. there's so much i have missed.

Jon said...

Yeah, in my opinion, skip it. The first one is worth your time, the second one not so much. Push Remo up a bit though… that’s good stuff. I’d say the 90’s were my prime movie going years. I absolutely love movies. I took an intro to film class in college, pretty basic, but I was surprised at how good I thought Casablanca and Citizen Cane were. I hated the teacher, but I loved the class.

cadiz12 said...

gotcha. don't worry, i need to see that whole walk-on-water thing. even though you spoiled the ending.

i know what you mean. during my animation class, i realized that three hours with one of the most knowledgeable yet boring people in the universe, three times a week is enough to make you lose consciousness, no matter how entertaining tom and jerry are.

Jon said...

No, this guy wasn’t boring, he was cocky and creepy. I had the class with a friend of mine that I grew up with. She was very physically attractive at the time (she’s kind of doubled her weight, I’m not sure what happened. Genetics I guess, I saw the same thing happen to her older sister) and he used to pay a lot of extra attention to her. She hated it for obvious reasons. I thought it was pretty creepy too. That’s what made it a little more difficult. Man he was an ass…

I haven’t spoiled the ending at all. There is so much more to that movie… it has some great lines. Just got to pay attention : )

cadiz12 said...

okay, very good.

i hate that. especially when they're so overt about it. the student has no choice, and everyone else just sits there and cringes. i know someone who got a really awesome internship based on her looks. well that was my opinion, because the questions she asked in class made it seem like she had no idea what she was doing.

Jon said...

Looks matter an awful lot more than they should… I’m just as guilty though… I hate that I do it, but I judge on looks… not nearly as much as some, but I still do it sometimes.

cadiz12 said...

everyone does. you can't help it. i do think you were a little harsh on dakota. she just needs to lay off on the m&ms and drinking acid.

Jon said...

You try telling her not to drink acid… I’ll bet she’s just like the Olson twins were at her age… refusing to do a scene until they got their happy meals… something about that scares me…

Actually, when I found out that she really does have a deficiency and has to have her teeth pulled out because they won’t fall out on their own, well, I felt like a complete jackass, and rightfully so.

cadiz12 said...

ah, that explains why she is all toothy in the media.

you didn't know. hey, at least you didn't say it to her face. and they're public figures; if they want that fat paycheck, they've got to be able to withstand a little scrutiny.

Jon said...

That’s right, that’s why I never put myself in the spot light. I honestly think she’s very talented. But she’s also kinda creepy in real life the way she talks. It’s like hanging out with an old lady… I just want her to be a kid!

and actually, I kind of did say it to her face. I left out the part where we were hanging out during one of the after parties and I was like, "What's up with your teeth Dakota? They are all jacked up and stuff." She ran away crying...

cadiz12 said...

ouch. you'd better be careful the next time you reach into your Oscar goody-bag. she's an academy favorite.