Notes From The Ant Empire

Recently I drove up to San Francisco, zipping up the Central Valley as fast as I could, escaping LA for a night to visit a friend. Cemeteries. Gun Ranges. Oil Refineries. Fast Food Restaurants. Trucks and Truckers. Shredded tires baking on the asphalt. The road itself is a tale of two cities, but with the same plot: man, buildings, and money.

I love to drive. It’s what I do. Some people dance, some swim. I take road trips.

I once drove straight to Missoula from LA in about twenty hours, saw a lot of bountiful country and hardly a town, it was beautiful. There is something reassuring about being nowhere. Being off the map. Being amidst so much, much nothing. Being somewhere even Google can’t find you.

But lately I’ve been amazed how fast nothing can change. How one year it is a dusty field and the next year it’s a Carl’s Jr, a web of roads and stoplights, a whole town with a name, complete with disillusioned youths and shopping centers.

I’ve done this trip so many times I can tell distance by the roadside landmarks. Harris Ranch. Pea Soup Anderson’s. So I notice what’s changed. What part of the valley has filled in. The familiar attractions allow me to know just how much further it is till San Francisco, or how close I am to home, like Magic Mountain – which breaks my heart to pass knowing it’s closing soon and the best roller coasters I’ve ever been on are shutting down.

At 80 mph, paradoxically, the world comes at you a bit more gently, in slow motion.

Fenceposts stabbed into the earth keep time heading north, as the sun descends to your left, and in both directions rows of alfalfa spread to the horizon like a lake. It’s easy to lose yourself in the momentum as the hours tick down and you get closer to your destination.

Right next to every gas station is a fast food joint, it was only a matter of time before someone put them together where they belong. Now the Subway is in the Texaco and the Arby’s is in the 76 station. I park outside and watch fat people going in and out and decide to enter too.

I order something tasteless, fatty, and that will probably kill me one day. I eat it quickly, nervously. I can’t wait to get back on the road, back to my car, my turtle shell, upon which is stacked all the cars in the universe, and we’re all holding the world aloft.

Out on the road, it’s obvious that the power lines strangle us all.


The bad thing about the Internet is that there is no individuality in the text itself, the font withstanding. You can’t take a handwriting sample, for instance.

You can’t tell that someone was angry by how hard they pushed on the pen.

For someone to really notice, you’d have to write like this:


I was living in Boston during the 2000 elections with my brother. We stayed up late awaiting the results but he went to sleep and told me to leave him a note who won. When they gave it to Bush I scribbled BUSH FUCKING WON! on a piece of paper and left it there on the coffee table.

The next night we noticed that I had written so hard it scratched the words BUSH FUCKING WON into the coffee table. Double bummer.


I bet from space we really do look like an ant empire.


Since Day Light Savings was moved up I’ve been thrown off by the sun setting so late. It’s getting dark now as I type this and it’s almost 8 o’clock. I look around my apartment, wonder if the plants notice the time change and that reminds me to remember to remind myself later to water them when I get around to it, and I exhale and let out carbon dioxide and watch it fly out the window.

I’m pretty sure the plants don’t think about time.

But we do. Obsessively.

I read this article about a man who works in Mexico, which chose not to move up their date, so he has to leave home an extra hour earlier for work, since 8am here is still 7am just twenty miles south of him. This proves time is an illusion.

And so is breakfast and its propaganda, with its fascist lies that it’s the most important meal of the day. The egg cartel needs to be broken.


What will we ever do if we run out of things to sell? Offer dinner in the dark?


This afternoon I was driving to a friend’s in Highland Park and passed by the so-called “Hollywood Fire”. I snapped some pics of it with my phone. Probably should have been watching the road but I couldn’t help staring at it. I felt like some kinda arsonist.

Later on I watched the news and the talking heads were all excited about the possibility of the fire possibly being able to, hypothetically, burn down the Hollywood sign.

If conditions were worse they asked the fireman in front of the microphone, with lust in their throats and high drama in their voices, it could have posed a danger to the sign, right?!

That’s all anyone really seemed to care about.

The sign.

The news of the small brush fire, a rather common occurrence in this dry county full of hills and brush and fuel for that sort of thing, beamed all over the world because the pictures of the smoke behind the sign were so compelling.

Drudge had it blasted on the top of his page like it was signs of the apocalypse.

The smoke was billowing high in the sky and it did make a bizarrely spectacular panorama. I guess I don’t totally blame the news anchors for being somewhat breathless about it. Pass Burbank, a large orange cloud of smoke passed overhead and darkened the freeway a pumpkin hue, it felt like Mars in Total Recall.

Reminds me, I haven’t heard lately, does Bush want to go to Mars still?


If wildfires increase due to the earth heating up there may just come a day when the poor people will be living in the hills and by the rising ocean and the rich people will all live in the valley and the east.

Bel Air will become a flammable ghetto. Sun Valley home to movie stars.


Also today in LA, the LAPD announced the use of new 5-inch flashlights instead of their old skull-crushing Maglites they used to roll with. This is all in response to a beating they gave some guy three years ago, 11 blows to the head, all caught on tape.

LOS ANGELES – Police will soon be outfitted with a cutting edge flashlight that is not only brighter than others, but too small to be used as a weapon.

The idea for the 7060 LED flashlight was conceived just days after news cameras broadcast images of LAPD officers beating car-theft suspect Stanley Miller with a two-pound, two-foot long standard issue police flashlight.

That’s bad PR, ya’ know.

So instead of teaching their officers restraint they made it so they couldn’t use their flashlight as bludgeons anymore. Am I missing something? Don’t they still have batons? And guns? Your child crashes the truck so you buy them a car.

Isn’t the point to just apprehend the suspect instead of pummeling him?

I wonder if cops lament the new lights and think they make them look girly.

Or if they’re generally relieved not to have to carry those old, heavy suckers from their belt anymore.


Some people collect their thoughts in a journal.
I collect mine online.


One thought on “Notes From The Ant Empire

  1. Pingback: Fire in Los Angeles, Deer and Coyotes, « Art of Starving

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