Friday, August 29, 2008

Convincing People

Be compelling.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

For Basil (i'm doing it, dear)

The sun has left this sky and it's finally gray. I travel 180 minutes south and experience drastic increase in temperature. Late night bike ride in 48°F, it’s August. I’ve returned to working on the campus that scrapes its guts clean every semester. The ants (contractors) always dig and dig, emptying one hole to fill another. Come winter, this place will be a bigger mess than normal. Protecting my interests while sacrificing some time in the morning for work. PM hours are for “steady study” at the desk. The desk is cleaned, yet it still smells of old glue and burnt cellophane. It does not matter much, since I often find myself alone in the room. I will make it my own if people refuse to use the room for their own personal space.

I feel as if eyes are watching me. People wonder why I still linger around certain places. It is not for others that I live. I can remain in any place until I grow bored or understand things clearer. I run from a window to the bar, absorbing knowledge. The bar is where knowledge should dual and a winner crowned. There will be no need for peer-reviews, infinite drafts or canceled conferences. The bar is where true debate can transpire, which is where I need to go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A break from traveling

I used to look at the interstate expressways emerging from the tunnels outside of NYC and think of the the great country lying beyond the suburbs of New Jersey. Outstretched towards the west lay unknown territory beyond the industrial complexes of artificial marshes and sloughs. I’d imagine how the trucks would thin out to nothing amidst the forests and fields, with the occasional stray house with Amish and “country people” residing. The setting sun would cover this land with a soothing, profound glow and I couldn’t fathom what secrets and treasures lay beyond such a beautiful site.

I have a better idea of the “treasures” that lay beyond Bayonne in my older age. I also am beginning to find that much of what lies beyond, towards the west, closely resembles much of everything else. I could travel down the streets of Hagerstown and feel as if a familiar pizzeria in the deepest reaches of Queens is just around the corner. The marina in Cleveland bears a remarkable resemblance to the south shore of Long Island, minus the huge interstate that blockades it all in. Even excluding the shared Italian population Piccola Italia in Montreal bears striking resemblance to Bensonhurst. Larger differences among urban places are only noticeable if you’ve lived in a sprawling metropolis like NYC for as long as I have, while subtler differences that may be obvious to me will not be apparent to a visiting friend or relative who may even be more traveled than me.

Places share a common thread of consumerism, a thread that is now being stitched more and more into formerly poor areas of Brooklyn. The ubiquitous presence of Starbucks is an obvious example, as is the Subway chain. Many people are attracted to specific urban centers for the more local commerce of a specific restaurant or eatery, a specific clothing store, a favorite bar and the like. No one comes to Williamsburg to eat at the McDonalds on the corner of Broadway and Havemeyer St. They might want to come to the neighborhood for the excellent food at a Korean grill, or for the vast selection of brews at bars that cater towards the beer-snob. The national chains that open new locations are catered towards the locals, the older blood that has lived in the city longer and maybe lacks the financial backbone of people looking for the $15 dinner. *Insert vomited socio-economic theories here.

There is shared architectural design between cities, as well as a similarity in the infrastructure design. Some people find difficulty in knowing where in space they are relative to where they’ve just been. These people lack the foresight of recognizing the grid of a city. The changing grid structures throughout a city reflect different neighborhoods. Many people who haven’t grown up in a city often refer to neighborhoods as “towns” either out of habit, or because they fail to realize that there is usually a gradual change as you enter one neighborhood and leave another as opposed to a sharper demarcation between towns of a suburb or rural setting. I constantly wonder how the overall consciousness of a city will change with suburbanites flooding the urban grids. Again, the question remains, “What will the average face look like in 10 years?”


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Legs broken, time for hand-walking

I've been stomped, and I've been smeared against the wall. But as I peel myself off, I see the wall is at the head of a shinning corridor. I re-mold myself, and I embrace the pangs of being pressed into a thin, transparent film. Time to re-apply the dyes.