Introducing a “sub-blog” …

Unbeknownst to most, including myself, I think, I started up a separate blog about a year ago. I called it Museum of Moments, a little side project that lived on the free WordPress platform.

It was centered around my dash cam, primarily. The dash cam was outdated, and limped along by modern HD standards. It had no sound and could only pump out a resounding SD picture with a whopping 640×480 resolution. Needless to say, all the videos from that device were of dubious quality, a hopelessness further exacerbated by the 1920’s-era silent picture feel. Here is a typical video from the dash cam.

The quality sucked. Still, I had no immediate plans to purchase an HD dash cam with sound in the near future. Not exactly a “must-buy” for me. Still, during one Christmas shopping trip in December, I saw a shelf of Cobra dash cams on sale at Fry’s. I was caught up in the moment. It was an impulse buy. I walked out the store with a new dash cam that afternoon and that was the moment the character of my side project changed. The addition of visual clarity and sound added dimensions to Museum of Moments that could not be captured similarly by my old, fuzzy, mute dash cam.

My Museum project was awkward in that I refrained from editorializing and “hyperbole-izing” as I do here. It was an odd tone from me and felt foreign, unsure, unreal.

After some time of plodding through the other blog, I considered bringing it under the umbrella of Social Extinction. Maintaining and creating the blog separately from this one seemed odd and forced. I felt as if a short-changed aspect of my creative spirit was not allowing me to devote my full attentions of running Museum. It never seemed right, and the most fitting approach was that all Museum posts should be folded into Social Extinction.

I’ve decided to create an on-site “sub-blog,” as I shall call it, planted as a “page” that will be accessible via my header menu items. I’m not quite sure how I will structure the format, but for now, I will gradually migrate what I have on the Museum of Moments site to the Museum of Moments page on this site.

Now the aim and nature of the Museum of Moments universe is a bit nebulous. It is not merely a blog consisting of dash cam footage.

As the “title” implies, this is a museum of moments.

A grand compilation of incidents, images, narratives, that seek to capture slivers of our present existence for the amusement of future generations and posterity in the same way we can now look back at historical photographs left us by our forebears from 50 or 100 years ago.

For the sake of a thorough explanation, I am re-posting something from April of last year in which I introduced my new Museum of Moments blog. Entitled “My new timeless blog project, part 1,” it should lend a little more clarification with what I’m trying to accomplish with this Museum project. Whereas I once introduced a new blog, I am now introducing a new “sub-blog” called Museum of Moments which will abide by the “principles” I set forth then. This is the post in its entirety.

The most jarring, beautiful thing about these old photographs and videos is not the images they offer of an unfamiliar Los Angeles monochromatic vision of antiquity, but the sense of harsh, frightful mortality they present.

As one watches these videos and studies the photos dating back 40 or 70 years, the one overarching realization is that most of the people in the visible frame are dead. Old photos and old videos make real the incessant march of life and death, which we, ourselves, are part of. The old images taunt us with our own fatalism. We will go the way of discarded images, too, and in decades we will be fodder of the deceased past.

But for now, these few delicious moments, we are alive and we can realize this consciously.

This is why I love the old images.

Of course, it is interesting to see Los Angeles as it pulsed languidly in the 1940’s or 1960’s, but the deathly bleakness that the photos remind me of is what draws me, mesmerizes me. There is no shortage of old stock footage and photography of the City of Angels.

This old noir-style filmed footage of Los Angeles from the 40’s has been digitized and posted over at the Internet Archive project. Apparently, this particular footage was intended as stock footage for potential use in a theatrical production as automobile “rear window” scenery.

This classic footage originates from a drive along the Sunset Strip in 1964. Many of the landmarks are gone, some have generally remained the same, but the ghosts of time’s passage hover over this 4-minute cruise.

And on Facebook, there is a wonderful “Vintage Los Angeles” page in which users are welcome to donate/upload their own museum remembrances of Los Angeles past which has proven to be a great source of historical photography.

Looking southbound on Vine.  Ansel Adams, 1945.
Looking southbound on Vine. Ansel Adams, 1945.
Folklore in Los Angeles, The Witch's House.  1920's.
Folklore in Los Angeles, The Witch’s House. 1920’s.
Venice Beach, 1970s.  No further explanation required...
Venice Beach, 1970s. No further explanation required…

It all looks vague, indecipherable, oblique, foreign. Mysterious.

I can’t touch feel these photos thoroughly because they are so old and unidentifiable.

At best, we’re lucky to know the approximate year the film or photo was taken. But I’m a precisionist documentarian.

I just made this up. But I am.

I absolutely enjoy old visions, but I want to know when and where they occurred. Landmarks help, and second-hand accounts of approximately “when” but they were snapped, but those who left us posterity didn’t consider this important. Rather, it was not emblematic of the time of be this precise.

Precision is the curse of our age.

Everything we do must be data compressed and data confined. Our mind is now shaped thus.

In 1940, they weren’t concerned with the unique geospacial/universal identifier that would place the coordinate of the photo within an infinite particulate of space time for us to consider. This is fine. I’m still delighted that they bothered to leave us something.

Even the antique “dash cam” footage was sorely lacking in metadata.

Those of us familiar with Los Angeles might be able to piece together the geographical location based on familiar recognition, but it is never a sure thing.

In fact, as I studied the old black and white 35mm dash cam action and the Mad Men-era color Sunset Strip footage, it occurred to me that we have always been intrigued by the “dash cam” concept. A car moves and covers so much more territory than a person on foot can. Doesn’t it follow that we should film our travels through the windshield?

I bought my dashcam in October, 2012, following a small fender bender with a driving skills-deprived Sino Californian. I’ve periodically transferred most of my driving footage to a hard drive. I have hours of driving footage archived. It’s all marked with GPS tags of time, speed, geographical coordinates…all the juicy data I love.

It would be interesting to pore through this digital footage museum of mine and pull out snippets of random footage and still shots and paste them in the netherworld of blogdom.

Since Social Extinction is self-hosted and I’m hardly a master of code, and I really hate battling with the incessant speed drains I’ve been experiencing here, I’m going to start a “sister” blog devoted to snapshots and footage from my dash cam history.

Since it will be based on a dash cam, it will be stamped with all the pertinent meta data. Plus, I don’t really give a crap if someone spends useless time and effort dox-ing a no-name blogger like me. I won’t hold back.

Here is an example of screenshot I might use:

Exhibit 1

In 75 years, someone might be looking at this putrid East LA alley and awe at the exotic spectacle.

Time rewards, and time kills.

One of the greatest gifts we can leave our progeny, our future generations, is the gift of our moment, uncapturable and never liveable, but frozen and molded in visual memory to sustain the decades of time’s passage.

In leaving my dash cam photos and video clips, I will cement a past that will hark back to my perished soul for those who might stumble upon remnants in 50 or 100 or 200 years.

The internet is the largest archive in the history of man. Everything we say, write, present, will be engraved in a non-physical medium for eternity. Once the digitized traces of our humanity seep into the atmosphere and have left our Earthly boundaries for good, they will linger in an ethereal disembodiment that other sentient beings can capture until the ends of time.

So when I post photos of innocuous automobile footage, I will capture much of this life that I cannot capture in my living room. A broad horizon of civilization through a motor vehicle.

And why do I write all this?

I will be embarking on a new blog soon devoted to nothing but dash cam video- and still-footage (as in the example above).

I will occasionally link or cite the new site from here, but I will not cite or link Social Extinction from there. It will be a one way street.

It will be a wonderful, strange project. More to come.