Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, April 16

Gapers Block

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With our esteemed editor-in-chief making a name for himself on Chicago Public Radio, I've decided it best to knuckle down and do things right.

I forgot the column last week. I can't believe they haven't fired me yet. Won't happen again fellows, promise.

1001 Afternoons
This is a column about media (at least sometimes). Gapers' Block is a website. Gapers' Block is media. Self reference, therefore, is wholly appropriate.

At our last public gathering, I was moved to say a few words. I got a little choked up, but covered it well. "Why are we here?" I asked. "Why does Gapers' Block Exist?" I tried my best to explain, but I'm an amateur. I'd have done better to quote from Henry Justin Smith, as he tried to explain why Ben Hecht poured his life into 1001 Afternoons:

"He was going to be [Chicago's] interpreter. His was to be the lens throwing city life into new colors, his the microscope revealing its contortions in life and death."

We've not been canonized like Hecht yet. Give us a few decades; we'll get there.

The Other Sites
So I have it on good authority that the Gawker family of web sites are undergoing a redesign. Gizmodo, Gawker, and FleshBot (not at all worksafe, that one) are under the PhotoShop knife as I type.

Which, you know, is all rather ho-hum. Not the sort of news that warrants a mention on Gapers' Block.

But here's where it gets interesting: The designs are being produced here in Chicago by some enormously gifted design talent (no, it's not me - they're a lot better). I'd offer more detail, but I'm probably not supposed to be talking about it. Just make sure to refresh your browser and clear the cache when you visit in early 2004.

You'll be able to tell your Mom, while inspecting FleshBot, that it was produced right here in Chicago. Just like Gapers' Block!

This sounds like an easy joke. A simple way to fill a few column inches at the last minute.

Unfortunately, I'm entirely serious.

When the Paris Hilton sex tape made headlines, I sincerely believed it concerned a hotel in France.

With the wildly successful -- at least according to the Apple marketing department -- iTunes Music Store, Apple computer has clearly entered the realm of media. As such, we can use them as fodder for Warm & Tepid.

Even if it is a bit of a stretch…

Renowned for their industrial design, the Apple manufacturing and customer service regimen could stand some improving. Due to gross negligence and incompetence on their part, my incredibly powerful and beautifully designed laptop computer is in the shop.

The screen was mottled with whitish discolorations; unacceptable for someone who spends the majority of his waking hours staring at it. A problem well documented by end users like myself, I sent it back. Two weeks ago.

If I don't receive it back soon, I'm going to call Steve directly and give him a stern talking to. It's OK, I'll wait…

Here's why this matters to you: In an effort to keep current on the latest in film criticism and to enjoy the fruits of my NetFlix subscription, I often write while sitting on the couch. A wireless connection keeps me connected while Star Trek episodes play in the background (shouldn't have said that…I'm never going to get laid again). Even when faced with the realities of biology, the computer can join me in the lavatory, there to compose columns like this one.

Without it, we're stopped up.

And so I've turned toward another tech fetish of mine for help. Found at the local junk shop, this is being written (initially, at any rate) on a late '60s model Olivetti Ventura portable typewriter. In perfect working order, it's proven itself invaluable. Far more useful than the antiques we've already bored you with.

Because of Apple, a media company. This is appropriate material for a media commentary piece, really!

GB store


Naz / November 28, 2003 1:02 AM

PK yes?


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