A Steed Dropout Blast From His Berkeley Past

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 15, 2012

Berkeley, Emeryville ca


Contents Advisory.

This yarn contains self-reference in its basest form, the self-promotional, vulgar
narcissistic type.

Also, the piece assumes you have even the remotest interest.

Here at Berkeley Reporter, we always conclude that soft news about our founder is of some value, but that is about as far as we will go in our endorsement.

Here’s the case for the piece. It humanizes Steed Dropout, BR founder. Humanizing is the first rule of feature writing. Here, at BR, we’re all about the feature. And of course, humans.

Now for the yarn.

If you really want to know about it, it began when I killed my T.V., by failing to maintain the delicate fix a friend installed. What difference does it make? The machine was robot comatose, like when the bot is popped in numerous sci-fi plots.

BFD, right? Dude, just go out and rack up some debt. That is what any good citizen would do. You will recall GW’s response to 9-11 — go shopping!

But this is not about shopping. It’s about anti-shopping and having your TV , stereo, a back-up radio, your computer, and your IPad, all fail, for a variety of reasons. Virginia Heffernan, when she was writing on tech for the NYT’s Sunday magazine wrote movingly of losing her internet data, or as she put it — lost her life.

A statistician tells me that you can’t make odds on this happening once it happens. We agreed that hurricanes, power failures, and other natural disasters can cause what happened to me.

I did not lose my data, or my life (in fact I may have found my life) except for a lost half blog, but a half that was so inspired it cannot be reconstructed, as we cannot reconstruct our lives.


Before anything else — fix that computer, telling all the people at Apple, I was a reporter, and had to have my computer working, but a reporter for the majors would have all kinds of backup.

I would have gotten the computer back sooner than the next day, had I checked my cell, but I don’t carry one. The part where people calling you need to know where you are, that’s too extreme.

At Apple, we had to update the software to my I-PAD1. All this was like going to the dentist, or barber. And you always feel better after you go.

While on Fourth Street, which is Berkeley’s Rodeo Drive, I popped into a stationary shop and met a really cute bicyclist-clerk. Great Gal.

Then I ran into Andy, an old friend from the Cafe Mediterraneum, and we had a chat.
Andy is one of those anti-apartheid demonstrators from the 80’s I admire, and born and raised in South Africa.

He had some personally unpleasant things to say about me. He was repulsed by my Cane Up a Blind Man’s Ass story and will not read another word I write.

Trying to recover from all that, I took off on bike for Emeryville’s faux downtown — a great construct — a Disney-esque version of what Emeryville by the bay might mean. Pixar-Disney is nearby.

I fooled around at only one of our two surviving Bay Area Barnes and Nobles, and checked out the food and the shoes.

Then I headed for Best Buy, but a few ergs away, and here’s where we experience a Steed dropout day from back in the day.


I was recently shopping for the big TV in the sky. I’ve shopped these “home theaters” for thirty years, and in the end I’ve always opted for no TV or an extremely cheap one, like $200, or my last one $150. This is a Berkeley lifestyle that is probably pass‚.

Only this time I was stoned and was close to spending $1,500. And would have had not there not been a deal breaker.


I returned to Best Buy next day to see what had become of my almost buy the previous day.

I call such interrupted transactions speculative consumption, like Thorstein Veblen’s, “conspicuous consumption.” Speculative consumption is a shopping pattern characterized by actions leading to the point of purchase, but not completed.

While in the store, I experienced a blood sugar drop, felt faint, but was saved by a diet coke and M&M’s purchased in-store. Then I lost my bicycling helmut somewhere in the store.

I was, unfortunately, not stoned. I want to establish that shit happens when you’re “straight.”

Best Buy closes at 7p; it was 7:30 and I was still mucking about inside. I was what we used to call “fazed,” then “zoned” out — all drug-free. Drug-free,the ultimate trip — facing life without drugs. Still I was fucked-up. But I found the helmut and left at 7:45p.

Left forty-five minutes after the store closed, dazedly not noticing that everyone was closing down the store.

Perhaps they were too sweet to tell me they were closing, and these people at BB were sweet.

I bought a tuner/amp. But the great home theater screen in the sky…that is on perhaps another 35 year hold, when I will be 108.

Salesman, Rasheed says, he will screen my copy of Casablanca if I bring it in, to see how it looks on my dream TV.

If Casablanca looks the way, I think it will, I could be brought to the point of no return, if you really want to hear about it.

Dear reader. Was this TMI?

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