Hauntological Updates

Back in 2021 I wrote about windowless buildings. In that post I mentioned the 10 freeway adjacent Abram Friedman Occupational Center, a monolithic, windowless building ornamented only with a crass Harbor Freight  sponsorship ad. Thanks to Steven Sharp, editor of Urbanize LA I now know that underneath all that stucco there’s a handsome 1920s era building:

I’m guessing the race to the bottom that is Crapitalism™ and a related disinvestment in public trade schools explains this bizarre architectural decision. The before and after pictures of this building reveal a transformation into what looks like a prison, hostile to any poor soul who walks the barren sidewalk next to those blank walls or who wanders its liminal, florescent lit corridors.

Or, to repeat the most bizarre architectural conspiracy theory on the interwebs, could this be another attempt to erase the lost Tartarian civilization?

Ghosts of Christmas Present
In a post this summer I mentioned a combined aesthetic/moral/anxiety crisis I described as a horror of  rootless landscapes. It turns out that Mark Fisher coined a word for this feeling: nomadology. Merlin Coverley author of Hauntology: Ghosts of Futures Past describes Fisher’s term as,

a sense of unease, akin to travel sickness, engendered by such anonymous environments as airports and shopping malls whose sameness seems to deflect even the possibility of nostalgia for a past that is wholly absent. Instead these spaces, whose endless repetition the world over leaves one feeling as if one could be anywhere, provoke ‘the sickness of travel [. . .] a complement to, not the opposite of, the sickness for home, nostalgia.’

I recommend Coverley’s book and, in my own take on Christmas ghost story reading, I just picked up a copy of Mark Fisher’s hauntological classic Ghosts of My Life.

Root Simple email subscription
A few readers alerted me to the fact that they were no longer getting Root Simple’s blog posts emailed to them. It turns out our subscription feature got nuked by Feedburner. I’m looking for an alternative but it’s going to take me awhile. I’ll let you all know when I find a solution.

Happy holidays to all of you who have stuck with this blog over the years and best wishes for a great 2023.

Weekend Linkages: Advent Hauntology

All Saint’s Margaret Street. Photo: Diliff

A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories

If you like the idea of Christmas ghost stories let me recommend the writings of M.R. James that you can access here for free

Eric Garcetti’s Broken Sidewalks

Coincidence department: Will Self discovers evensong and the hidden charm of All Saint’s, Margaret Street (which we visited last month in London)

Watch out for the flu

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Christmas Tree Pops

Weekend Linkages: Covid Brain Edition

How to take care of your avocado trees

Polyrhythms played on two Igbo cowbells

LA City Council meeting now with more cowbell

Outrage: future generations will laugh in horror and derision at the folly of facadism

Weirdcore and the Eerie Atmospheres of Postmodernity

Rationalist Harry Potter and the Collapse of Crypto

Elon’s Biggest Boondoggle Why did the world’s richest man spend the past five years trying to sell cities a hole in the ground?

The Truth Was Out There: On the Legacy of Art Bell

We’ve Got the Covids

We made it almost three years but finally caught the Covid. Thankfully we’re fully boosted and doing okay.

Kelly woke up with flu symptoms on Tuesday and used a home test kit that flagged her as positive. A very nice friend and neighbor offered his garage accessory dwelling unit for me to quarantine in. As a precaution I went to my health provider for a test on Thursday which came back positive today and now I’m back in our house.

Kelly felt bad this week and her doctor put her on anti-virals that seem to be working. I have very mild symptoms so far.

I think we’re in the midst of a huge covid surge that’s vastly under-reported. I know a lot of people who have come down with it in the past few weeks.

I’m very thankful for our dear neighbors who are looking after us. Be careful this holiday season.