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Posts Tagged ‘QRA’

Reno Image – Scattered Pride, Bitchy Inaction and Trashy Chic

Normally I don’t like to give other alt-weeklies, be they paper or online, much of a mention, as one of two things will occur.  One, I’d be seen as piggybacking on ideas and writing them (…which I kind of am right now…) and the other is boldly standing dependent on the output of another.

This is different.  The Reno News & Review, long-time alt-weekly of Reno, love it or hate it, is presenting an editorial, kind of doing what a lot of folks are doing in and about Reno: identifying a problem, chanting negativity, and leaving little else in the way of solutions.

It’s a subject I have talked about and discussed, pondered and chin-scratched over for years, more recently tackling some other ideas and thoughts via God Hates Reno, the predecessor to this here site called Burncards.  Why Burncards even exists, and GHR before it, was the idea that Reno can be more than it is.  It seems like such a theme in so many people’s eyes, that Reno can be so much more, but we’re almost hard-wired to expect it NOT to be.  Investors come in thinking this is an easy cleanup job, invest in a few properties and rake in the cash–it ain’t that easy.  Nor is it easy to have a necessarily good viewpoint on this town, and so I give a partial pass to those who might highlight their negativity.

This time I’m going to into a bit of a criticism-of-a-criticizer’s role, which seems mighty pointless, until I justify my intent.  I realize news and opinion, public opinion and the like, are really based around honesty.  I might add as well, there is no dishonesty going on.  What I do see, however, is a matter of civic pride that seems to almost be a cliche in Reno, because usually, we have none.  It’s quite easy for any one of us to write up a laundry list of what sucks here, and we look at fan-boys and girls of this town that actually like it here as eccentric nobodies–I mean, how many times have you heard someone say, “Oh well I’m STUCK here like the rest of the few displaced talented/cool/rich/decent people.”   Erm, okay.   Real nice attitude.

Editorials are great.  In the futureworld of 2011, EVERYONE gets an opinion.  The problem is, opinions are not always geared with the intent of the recipient, it’s usually the ego of the writer.  The  R&NR editorial piece here, as written by anonymous, is worth exploring.  It is a typical and classic example of what we here at Burncards call QRA, (also search the site for “QRA” for other instances).   We have here, someone who apparently has remained nameless, sitting back, comfortably on a computer, basically blackballing Reno.  They get a pass and a nod because they aren’t all wrong.  What isn’t flying with me is the commonness of how this is applied versus nothing being DONE about it.  No where in the article, which outlines McCarran’s inner ring as a source if problems (never mind MidTown, a baseball stadium, the Old Southwest neighborhoods, parks, rivers, art galleries, bike paths, etc etc etc etc etc etc), dropping the typical “Vegas” comparison (which, if you know me, L.V. can K.M.A.),  further comparing to San Francisco, then just going after low blows calling vendors “carnies,” and essentially calling the town a circus.  The town needs a little help, especially downtown, and no one is perfect.

My question is, who is this bitter San Jose vacationer, and how faster can I get his or her ass back to their two-story, expensive, cookie-cutter, law-saturated utopia?  Did you bother leaving your Silver Legacy suite on a weekday special or just sit in your room on the Internet calling up Yelp reviews and opinion columns?

Perhaps it is a local.  To that I challenge, so what’s your solution?  Should YOU move or should you start enjoying funnel cakes and Natty Ice by the river?  There’s some really fun, dirty, shameful things to do in this town, along with some pretty sophisticated “big city” type lifestyles.  That’s part of the charm.  Without either of those things, it’s chain coffee shops, check loan cashing joints and bad gringo-fresh-Mex food—-utter HELL in my eyes.

The ludicrous end in this pointless debate stops where the words start:  so where’s the SOLUTIONS?  I know so many business owners that not only are out there doing something for a living, they’re making a community!  Beyond them are event organizers that are NOT Hot Exhaust Blights oriented, couldn’t give two shits about Street Vibrations or ArTown, and actually work quite hard to turn over zero profit for the sake of culture.  They exist in art galleries, on small side streets off Virginia, occasionally develop in living rooms, basements or warehouses.  Side streets, converted dwellings and even motels running art spaces.  Music ideas turn to bands that turn venues that turn to scenes.  Cookingklatches can turn to groups to co-ops to restaurants.  Coffee and beer aficionados throw caution and life savings to the wind and risk it all for a business they really love—that all come together and create a TOWN they love, so that people will have something more.

There really is no excuse to come here, live here or even leave your front door, if all Reno is and ever will be is a dead shell, compared to Vegas and San Francisco (like comparing a 1949 Porsche to a 2011 Bentley–i.e, unfair) and call residents nothing but (and I mean, no exceptions) trash and losers.

It is suggested Reno has an image problem.  I say residents then must have an acceptance problem.  When we are faced with a problem, and they (defined as anyone else but the complainant) can’t fix it, then you (defined as you) find out how to exploit and enjoy it.  Lemons into lemonade, ya know.  See this website?  The one I made before it?  My bands?  My shows?  My participation in my community?  Yeah.  Get the picture?  Here, I’ll help those that are a little lost to understand:  I don’t know how to fix this town, but I DO make it better.  It’s called effort.

There are then those that simply need to get out and go make some other town miserable.  They are hopeless.  They are the losers.  They make a career out of their own inaction and thrive on the lack of effort of others.  No art museum is big enough, no event classy enough, no party exclusive enough, no business front-page enough will ever, ever, satisfy them.  With that said, I love this town, that’s why I stay here, work here, live here, drink here, play here and enjoy my many good neighbors, fellow business owners and ultimately:  people that are INTO Reno.   WE are THIS TOWN!

May Reno’s real, positive and constructive voices, efforts and success rise above those that chain themselves like anchors to this town’s feet and keep it down by ignorance and rhetoric alone.

Reno pride, motherfuckers.

Unhinged Reno Park Authority Gets Filmed

Quite honestly, I don’t even know what to say about this. Something about removing a fly from a friend’s nose with a hatchet, or to that effect.

While I am perfectly okay and with the guy getting pissed off about some kids making his job harder, spending tax dollars to fix the park, but can we say “public relations?”

In today’s world, Big Brother is actually, and most likely, someone’s little brother, with an iPhone or some other kind of recording device, catching people in what should be considered embarrassing acts. Would the City of Reno or Washoe County be particularly thrilled to hear this guy talking like this to the kids of taxpayers? Lack of identification aside, even if he were an authority with a badge, should he be engaging people like this? Most notably, saying Reno is a shit hole meanwhile trying to instill a sense of fear and morality of local youth, even more while supposed to be doing a job for the City of Reno.   Interesting approach.

Especially since the kids were of the general opinion, “Okay, we’ll leave—-sorry…”  None of the youth were being jerks, well, unless you ask the trees and landscaping.  And this guy.

I’ll let the rest of you decide. It’s funny in one way, disturbing in others, and filled with not-safe-for-work audio content.

QRA saves the day.

It’s Meme versus “Me Me Me” These Days

Granted, I have no idea if the owner of this license plate is a physicist that works long, arduous hours up at the Desert Research Institute playing around with molecular structure and different forms of matter, but generally speaking, they usually aren’t driving polished Soccer Mom SUVs, either.  There’s a practicality problem with that lineup.

It could be a very enthusiastic voter, encouraging others to matter, too.

More to the point, I had to wonder if this person simply has taken Mr. Rogers’ message to heart, and has ran away realizing that they are not only unique, special, and need to turn that sheepish “cog in the wheel” feeling upside down and declare:  “I matter!”

As Ken might say, “Of course you do, sweetie!”

It’s another example in my theory we’ve ruined our X and Y generation with false notions of being important.  Wait, they aren’t important?  My little angel children I tried to shield from the 1980s and all of its terrors and let be raised by the apathy and faux-hippie 1990s?

I sort of talk about it more  in another article “Quick-Fix Politics: The War Against Politeness.” Fueled by pills such as antidepressants and Ritalin, they forged a new path of can-do-no-wrong, growing up after this era and having kids of their own.  While largely not a disagreeable bunch, I sometimes wonder what will become of them.

I have never before seen 30+ year old adults sit around without jobs, unemployment numbers be damned.  The sheer amount of  irresponsible Generation X/Y-ers that just don’t care.  They aren’t looking, and until it come served on a silver platter, refuse to go another step.  Homelessness?  No way, I always have a safety net.   I had one kid mention recently his married mother and father were quite happy on unemployment, and could just sell a thing or two on ebay their grandmother gave them for money.  Say what?  This is child rearing, eh?

“Kids these days!”  as I shake my fist.   They aren’t all too bad, just lost, I suppose, but generally speaking, stick close to home, within a block or less, don’t go outside, for fear of the child molester–like their teacher.   Yet news reports abound about video social networking sites that host “video chat,” and even teenagers in the digital age are going to do funny things without clothing given the chance to be around one another.  Even if it is from their own bedrooms.   They have their own MySpace pedestal, credit cards, and it isn’t a matter of “…if I get a car when I turn 16….” it’s a simple choice of what color and model–totally expected.  Television shows of wealthy family situations, “You Can Be A Star Too, Joe and Jenny Average Boy or Girl!”  show us the spotlight is available, ever brighter, ever further.

I can’t say I am/was immune from this either.  Something fundamental (and I don’t mean religious, either) has changed with our attitudes, and life now is just expected to be easy.   Working is farther down on the list of important things to do than ever, degrees are for superfluous “experience,” than a job (philosophy, liberal arts, English), everything we do hurts something or someone, so therefore, do nothing.

Personally, I have had times when I needed a job, and breaking the inertia to go do it was almost impossible.  I would have rather figured out a way to survive by my own means than be “owned” by someone else.  Even if it meant a drastic change in my lifestyle.  You know, probably even harder than getting a full-time job.   In my youth, I don’t remember too many people telling me to do otherwise.   See?  Even right there:  I’m more willing to blame someone else rather than my own inability to get out of my own way–and in conflict I am.   I know I’m not the only one.

I wasn’t unique or special (gasp), I don’t think other kids were told it was more important what we chose to do, in lieu of what what we were.

Because, after all, you, I matter, we all matter.  Just by being you.  Our simplicity of entertainment is even so bad we’ll soak up anything original, because practically no one in pop society is even trying anymore, what with remakes showing us how great our past was (consequently showing us how lame we are now)–enter the age of the Internet meme!  Instant satisfaction and easily amused; we’ll wear anything on a t-shirt.  Nyan Cat anyone?  (That reference will be obscure in three months from now.)

Let’s face it:  we get what we want, and we don’t have to do anything.  China will make us stuff, Japan will ship us cars, Canadians give us syrup, India answers our tech gripes, some Arab guy gives us oil, Australia makes us laugh, Europe gives us suggestions on how we should live , and there’s always a fruit-bearing tree giving us the means (we don’t even have to get up and pick said fruit–thanks, Mom and Dad!) and it will never, ever run out.  Ever.  It’s always been this way, so far as we know.

Thanks, feel-good entropic society.  You have given us utopia at last.

QRA – Reno Is More Reno on the ‘Net

I recently had an engaging conversation via the Internet.  Sometimes they DO happen.  It had to do with people that I either know or through a friend I know, bringing up this photograph of people in Reno, along with a host of bitchy criticism:

“Steampunk/Victorian Christmas Party”

Reno Folk

The subsequent fun-making was noting how this wasn’t really “steampunk,” or “Victorian.”  I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t note that these people weren’t dressed particularly “Christmassy,” either.  There was talk about this is why people hate this town, and how lame this is, etc etc.   What was interesting, is it came  upon two notions for me to consider.  One is the fact that yes, people can be particularly cruel in criticism, even if it is about someone’s innocent merrymaking.   The other is the strange, huge pedestal people expect Reno to live up to and of course, never does.  The very accepted notion of comparing it to larger cities, or even the world,  as if Reno had the ability to stand on a stage with “greats,” in any realm.  This isn’t to say Reno CAN’T do this, but where and how else are people supposed to try without someone, or should I say, people en masse, quashing their efforts?  And why did it have to come down to Reno, anyway?  Why couldn’t it just be some people that were disliked or criticized?  Personally, at least the dude with the weird arm apparatus pulled out all the stops, and the guy on the far right looks pretty dapper to me.

Someone inevitably is going to decree “bullshit,” toward yours truly, because I have many times exhaled woes about the mediocrity of the efforts of people in Reno regarding art, business, fashion, music, and the like.   Especially when someone has a show and the art/music/performance, quite frankly, sucks.  Reno CAN come up with good things, and sometimes it fails.  This isn’t something to go on and on about, nor broad brush the entire town to the color of “sucks.”

This was a Christmas party someone captured a moment of and put it on the Internet.  Fair game, I suppose, but…if people are expected to bring their best 100% of the time, then Reno is truly set up for 100% disaster.  It deserves some notation of how extreme Reno can be in some instances, if not for ego, expectation, depression, ignorance, etc.

Meanwhile, back in my Internet conversation, I get a few responses:

I think it’s just Reno. The people here, for the most part, don’t have high standards for anything. :( You should see Halloween around here…it’s painful. …says one.

My god, this is like people going to Fallon and complaining about cows. It’s Reno, yes. Yes. It’s obvious. No slack for the weak and pathetic, I reply, hopefully in humorous response.

I think it’s closer to being *stuck* in Fallon and complaining about cows, says another.

This is where, maybe to my embarrassment, I wished to wax philosophical.

More to the point, the most Reno thing of all is to complain about Reno while being in Reno. To hate Reno. No, don’t try to do your best while here, that’s because Reno keeps you from doing your best. Because of people like these picture…d here. Also, talk mad shit. MAD shit. Naysay, browbeat, criticize. Damn, you Reno. I’m always curious about how much of a pedestal Reno has been put upon just so people can throw shit at it. It’s fascinating. People from real cities love it here, people born here can’t wait to leave and come back, the prevalence of unwillingness to realize personal contributions to community (negative or positive) and the thick focus on everyone around rather than on themselves. Now you know why I DO stay here! It’s truly interesting, I retort for consideration.

Kyle, I hear you–you can only make the best of whatever hand you’re dealt. Blame is easy but ultimately counterproductive.

But with respect to the ‘stuck’ bit, that’s not necessarily just some psychological barrier that we can change if we want. There are people with familial obligations, financial obligations, legal obligations or otherwise that can keep you tied down to a particular location. Those of us who are free from such constraints should count ourselves very lucky.

If you love Reno, that’s awesome. You’ll make it a better place for others with that frame of mind. But often people have very valid reasons for disliking a place due to their experiences which are necessarily different from our own. And just because someone doesn’t like a place doesn’t logically imply that he isn’t volunteering in the community or trying to improve their community.

At the end of the day, people can complain about whatever they want, including people complaining, right =)

This was the point where I realized someone was essentially admitting they’re being counterproductive and defeatist but don’t let this fool you,  they do their part.  This may very well be true, if not confusing.   Nice parry and equal-match about the fact I brought this up  by complaining in the first place–see Internet Rulebook.    QRA:  “You’re just like me, no matter what you say.”   Forcing a kind of tribal affiliation?   Interesting.    It’s an all-too-common Reno attitude.   If you mix that with bad manners and uncouth socializing, well… off we go, darkly.   Nice offer, but no thanks.

The rest of the conversation became a facsimile of what was already being said, and me being the idiot I am, figured “Oh, I’m not making myself clear, perhaps I should find a different way of presenting this.”  It was obvious my opinions weren’t being objectively acknowledged (merely politely complimented), nor was I willing to join “The Reno Sucks Tribe.”  I sensed the conversation barely getting personal, expression I may be angry, the other party internalizing wrongdoing,  further categorizing and rationalizing what I’m saying into a box of cast-aside wonders… hey, I knocked, can’t complain about who answers.

That’s the Internet.   Reno is a real city, and one that I have my feelings for, both good and bad.  I think, like most, Reno has LARGE potential.   As evidenced by my conversations, this not being a unique one at all (just a poignant and recent one) there are smart, engaging, talented and motivated people here.   I just find many of them being misguided, and interested in doing what Reno does often, making excuses, complaining, and seemingly not doing what might be necessary to make themselves happy, let alone something for the town.   It confuses me.  I don’t like being unhappy, unsuccessful or bored.  I strive to change that.  If I fail, then I do the least amount of outward damage as  possible.

As a Renoite, people from larger cities respond, “Well, duh,” if I proudly announce my self-initiative.   It’s no big deal in other places.   Obviously, it shouldn’t be here, either.  Unless that’s the hive mind speaking.   I’ve never been good at being in a hive.

While I consider myself somewhat akin to the complaining part at times, it’s where I’m taking it that is key.   At times, I like to present Reno to itself in just the fashion it is familiar with:  criticism…which isn’t all bad, just like Reno.  It’s just how it is used.  My main criticism is probably no better than the original subject:  Reno tries too hard.  Whether or not this is a failing or a feature, something to be encouraged or trashed, is up to the individual.

I’ll close with one thing I said that perhaps sums it up best:

[This] may just be the same template of expectation that Reno does habitually: establishing something grand or with potential in a universal light, blaming the seedling for not simply being a solid tree… perhaps crush it, stamp its efforts, or dilute the power behind it.  When the seedling makes itself known, it’s a hard thing to accept in that case.

(forgive my lack of photo credit to the individuals here, please, feel free to make yourselves known in the comments section below)

QRA- In a Thrift Store, yo!

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time in thrift stores. Quickly scanning the aisles for janky old keyboards, or rad Janus films in the bargain bins. To the layman, you spend an inordinate amount of time sneering at garbage with a bunch of other jerks. This would be fine and dandy if it weren’t for the aforementioned ‘other jerks’. Case in point being that most of them have little to no respect for unhindered paths, or aisles. Much to the chagrin of their fellow shoppers, they will block whole aisles by extending their bodies, shopping carts and children. In such a manner that enemy soldiers could take cover behind their brood.

This is the tale of one such occasion.

It was shortly after 2010, in the future world of 2011. I think it was Tuesday. I was walking through the Goodwill on Oddie, in Sparks [booo-hisss].

As I approached one such obstruction (a mother with a cart and her teen son) I noticed the son placing an unwanted shirt on a lingerie rack (snicker).
I stopped to stare at the discarded Elway jersey with a slight but noticeable grimace of disdain. Having made my point, I went to pass the 5′ 2″-110lb kid, who instead of moving slightly to be considerate, decided instead to engage me in a staring match that included a quick, jerky motion from his arms and upper-torso.  The kind of motion that is referred to as “fronting” in middle schools; thus intimidating other insecure males. So, I stopped and continued to stare at him until he broke eye contact and walked away. Which all-in-all was a good thing, being as I’m not usually in the mood to be punked-out by a twelve year old with a pretty blue earring. When the path to the electronics department is sealed off, I tend to develop super-prison-laser-eyes(tm). They worked in this situation, but the next victim of Skyler’s “fronting” might just turn his neck into a sprinkler.

Now this QRA may seem minor.

“Oh, they were just blocking an aisle. Go around them.”

There was no ‘around them,’ two people and a shopping cart managed to fill the aisle, and set up a pretty good check point. Being as there are two main arteries in the store, it could be argued that they were creating a fire hazard. I didn’t have any matches.

QRA: What in the Reno is “QRA?”


About two weeks ago, a truck driver came to my work to pick up freight, as happens on a semi-regular basis here.  Upon walking in my dock door, he had this angry, “Don’t mess with me,” attitude, but overcompensated to the power of ten.  He did his job, and he didn’t say a word, but it was the look in the eyes, and the way he trounced about my warehouse.  It must have been a territorial thing, or a “I’m a dog in a new house,” tail-stiff-as-a-board, haunches shaking and teeth ready to go.  I had never seen this guy before, and since I’m in my warehouse, I have little to fear from this guy, as his nature was defensive more so than anything.  At work, I’m typically a focused, direct, organized and no-bullshit kind of guy, and on top of it, I’m normally very easy to get along with.  Ask anyone who has worked with me.  Overall, I wasn’t afraid of this guy, there was no need to be.  I’ve seen dangerous people, they don’t “look like,” anything, they just give off this electricity.  This poor truck driver just came off as… upset.

I treated this guy as I do most people who act like this, especially in a professional environment, I simply ignored the attitude, talked with him, pried a bit of information out of him, and eventually it lightened him up.  Evidently, he and I both worked at UPS at the hub in Sparks at similar times, and that really made a difference to him.  Off he went, me none the wiser.

Today happens.  I get a visit from the same guy to pick up some freight, except this time, he is practically elated to see me.  He rushes over, maneuvers the dock plate, grabs the freight with my pallet jack, bullshits with me like we’re old pals, fills out paperwork and is just a gem of a truck driver.  He really wanted to linger around and shoot the crap, talk shop, all that, which I really didn’t mind, but in my head I’m thinking… “…what in manic Reno hell?”   It was quite funny, but at least the guy was a bit more relaxed, if not just as overcompensating.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen in this town.  Really, similar instances happen far too often.

We have a concept here at Burncards we like to call “QRA.”  It stands for “Quintessential Reno Attitude.”   You can thank Ken Manz for this concept, adapted from “TCB,” or “Typical Cracker Behavior,” the stereotypically-sad instance wherein white people repeat specific activities, notions or…behavior.   Like TCB, the QRA end of things is aimed at a group of people (Renoites, mostly) that seem to represent a stereotypical attitude toward just about anything.   Some notable examples are, in my experience:

1)  Spitting on new things, art, windows and the mirrors of bathrooms.

2)  If male, spitting in an overly tough manner when passing by another male on the street, doubly-effective if putting a bounce in your step while doing this.

3)  Yelling “faggot,” at pedestrians, while in moving cars, through the open windows.

4)  Avoiding and talking about the Citifare bus system as “The Shame Train.”

5)  Witnessing something totally unacceptable in public and not doing a thing about it (call cops, tell them to stop, inform security) and then complaining to everyone else who won’t do a thing about it, either.

6)  Finding just about any excuse NOT to do something about anything:  It’s too hot outside/it’s too cold outside, it’s too new/it’s too old, it’s too corporate/it’s too small, it’s downtown/it’s not downtown, it’s boring, I hate the people who go there, it’s not local/there’s no selection, blah blah blah.

7)  Using the roads, highways and byways as a place to enforce your personal philosophy about speed, who-owns-what-lane, freeway merging, and who should or shouldn’t be in front of you.

8)  When making a free right turn, honking obnoxiously at people in the crosswalk when pedestrians have the right of way with the little lit-up walking dude.

9)  Going above and beyond, way, way, way beyond, for not purpose or goal, but a over-the-top way of getting noticed/attention, making your point, or stating your general existence.  See this video.

10)  Being tough.  Looking tough.  Talking tough.  Spitting tough.  Doing so in groups, at dog parks, at bars, in public, wherever other tough people might be.

What this gentleman expressed in my place of business both two weeks ago and today are prime examples of “QRA.”  I’ve noticed similar attitudes in towns of the same size and general demographics as Reno, but not quite as strong as here.   Let’s face it:  We’re a bunch of edgy folks, very territorial, with something to prove, unwilling to suggest alternatives to anything that sucks, and yet the first to bitch when there’s a problem.  When we do this in public for all to see, we’re committing QRA.

In a way, the QRA is a study of Reno, and there’s probably a multitude of reasons why Reno does things like this.

In recent discussions, a lot of people have genuinely found Reno becoming a less safe place to be.  Violent crime has gone up overall, I’ve heard of rapings, muggings, and robberies increasing.  This is serious stuff, folks!  QRA be damned, at one point we used to be a pleasantly safe city, perhaps with a lot of misanthrope attitude and unmerry passers-by, but when people start really having problems in their own town, it’s time to put that shit aside, especially when there’s no real reason or root cause for it.  Our fake toughness, ignorance, whining and being scared ain’t going to cut it if we don’t become a community.

QRA as a label is intentionally funny.  It really doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s just an embarrassing part of why Reno tends to be a drag-ass city when things are trying to get someplace, culture to be established or status to be gained.   Much like the guy who stopped by my warehouse on the first visit, realized I didn’t play dice and then turned it around the next time we saw each other, maybe we can think about this when we’re being straight up assholes, whiners and defeatist/obstructionists out there.   This from is someone who both loves and loathes this town, has been here long enough to know better, and gets sucked into QRA with the best of them now and again.

Until then, allow us to post future instances of QRA: we encourage you to share your own instances of QRA either via e-mail, video, pictures or comments here at Burncards.com.   Hell, extra points if you recount yourself doing it!

Perhaps while we’re addressing the issue of QRA we can have some fun with it as well.  Which, incidentally, is a little QRA in itself.