Monday, December 22, 2008

Andy Rooney: Perusing the Christmas Catalogs

A quick blip. I got a kick out of this past Sunday's Andy Rooney segment on Xmas holiday sale offers. $20 gift card with the purchase of $100 or more. Hidden pictures calendars with Highlights for Children subscriptions. Free fudge. Hah.

The latter is what stuck in my mind: a memorable quote I'll remember until I become as old as Mr. Rooney (Andy, not Mickey).
Free is the worst kind of fudge.
Potent to me, for some reason. Feel free to substitute fudge for the alternative, whenever you fudge something up, for instance. Gasp.

Read the whole thing here.


And on the site, the several movements at the end of Abbey Road are really connecting with me today. "Her majesty's a pretty nice girl. Someday I'm gonna make 'er mine." (and) "OH YEAHHHH, OH RIIIIIGHT. OH, you're gonna be in my dreams--tonigh-eet."

Sigh. :-)

"Don't let it be anymore"

As many as my friends are well aware, my efforts toward greater sustainability, community-oriented responsibility, and recycling has intensified greatly over the past year. After taking the first course installment, this past summer--called "People and the Environment I"--I began to ask myself many questions about why we do the things we do, and what comes next. Individual responsibility should and does come first when creating a social movement. My mission toward reuse, recycling, and "recollecting" refuse is a fire inside my core anymore. Look forward to reading about the internal conflicts I put myself through. I never denied that I wasn't a little crazy.

Anyway, I started reading about a small neighborhood called City Airport, outside Detroit, which has really bitten the dust since the 1960s and 1970s. It is where many auto workers once lived. But when plants began to close, whites moved out, blacks later moved out--now it's a hodgepodge of drug dealers and the dreadfully poor. Everyone is afraid to leave their hiding places; the neighborhood park and former school are abandoned and decrepit.

The following article is from a man who began writing for the Detroit News about the misfortunes and small victories in this struggling neighborhood, where only four to five homes remain on each street. There was an man who found an abandoned tire after returning from a barbecue in the park. He decided to take individual responsibility and roll it to the nearest dumpster.
Somebody hit a ball over the backstop and across French Road during a batting-practice session at Fletcher Field last Sunday.

A little pooped from the previous day’s festivities – our second annual barbecue at the park – I was just watching from the bleachers along first base. So I got up, crossed the road, found the ball in the high grass along the City Airport fence line and then tossed it back into the park.

On my way back to the bleachers, I spotted a discarded tire near the Fletcher Field fence line and decided I didn’t want to leave it there. I put the tire back on its treads and started to roll it toward a dumpster on the Gilbo side of the park, which was put there the day before for cleaning up after the barbecue.


It took me about 5 minutes to get to the dumpster, with the tire wobbling most of the way and falling altogether occasionally. I then picked up the tire and heaved it upward to get it over the dumpster’s 8-foot wall. Before I did this, I should have checked the interior of the tire.

It was full of dirty water, which splashed all over me – hair, face, shirt, pants. I was a mess.

As I headed back toward the baseball diamond, somebody along the route took one look at me and asked me what happened. I told him of my stupidity, that I should have known the tire was full of water.

He then offered this: “Why didn’t you just leave it (the tire) where it was?”

For some reason, what he said struck a sour note with me, really fired me up.

“That’s the problem,” I shot back. “Everybody leaves it.”

We just can’t leave it anymore.
Michael Happy is his name. He bares no resemblance to the animated character Mr. Happy, but I like this guy.

[Extended reading:, UTNE Reader, "Bloggers vs. Blight: An online community beats back urban decay in Detroit"]

Now I would have rather that tire made it to a recycling facility, but in a place like City Airport, you do what you can. Anywhere else though, where resources are more plentiful, there's this:

Many cities in the United States have already started using rubber sidewalks in select areas, improving visual aesthetic in neighborhoods, prevented the razing of curbside trees in sidewalk buffers, improved walkability of the sidewalks--in terms of pedestrian health and route viability--and greatest augmented tree root health and drainage. Regional city Hamilton, OH seemed to be working towards implementing rubber sidewalks in its historic Rossville neighborhood, but I'm not sure what happened with the effort. The next time I'm in Chicago (12/31!), I'll be looking for their own rubber sidewalks, located near the Chicago Center.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Fix _ 12/20/2008

I have been having such great luck with used music lately, so I decided to log it in some way. Shake-It Records, here in Cincinnati, has an expansive $1.88 section that seems to have some quality buys. Conveniently the price is $2 per selection after tax, so one can easily make a killing on disowned music.

Today I picked up the following:

  • 764-HERO _ weekends of sound [Up Records - 2000] ($1.88)

    Feels like much of the forgot late 90's band I enjoy who have a minor chord, chugging/creeping progression. It would be perfect music to delve deeper into depression as an angsty new adolescent. As a happy person with adult responsibilities, it's a wonderful opportunity to get lost in the swirling aura of empty study room aura and a longing voice of reason. Contains many stints of instrumental frustration with eventual splooge of powerful guitar force. Thanks, I've got your number.

  • Frank Black _ Frank Black [4AD/Elektra - 1993] ($1.88)

  • Anthrax _ Return of the Killer A's [Beyond Music - 1999] ($1.88)

  • AFrames _ 2 [S-S Records - 2003] ($1.88)

  • Atreyu _ A Death Grip on Yesterday [Victory - 2006] ($1.88)

    I'll update this list with my takes and shakes when I get around to all of them. I also was blessed with several dozen free downloads from Rhapsody, so I have been taking advantage of out-of-print, hard-to-find, and other somethingdashsomethingdashsomethings. The first night I tried to redeem them, several of the codes didn't work, but others completely screwed up, granting me $10 credits instead of the normal 99 cent credits. Should I feel bad? Eh. It's not like when someone dropped a dollar in the lunch line back in grade school, feeling so guilty about keeping it that I handed it over to the lunchlady serving the "pizza". No, this is a ticket to obscurity. Like sexual fulfillment, sometimes you take what you can get, but you never know what you're going to get. All music ever created should be kept in print at least digitally.

    The birthday was a wonderful one. Recaps forthcoming.
  • Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Meathook Manicure

    I did, in fact, go on a 2 1/4-mile run, Friday night. Of course the first mile or so was rough, since I hadn't done it in so long. But at the midpoint, it hit me: "I've been waiting for this for so long." My run could have lasted longer, but I did not want any possibility of a tendinitis flareup to occur.

    Well, I guess I'm a chump. It's currently 42 degrees outside--cold and rainy. Rather than gain inspiration from the runners I still see out there, I'm just sitting here...feeling lumpy. I decided not to run the 5K on Saturday, mainly so that I don't complicate the time spent while Emilie is in town.

    Oh, and she told me today that she'll be going out for a run upstate New York. You and I know what that means: I need to get out there and try for three miles.

    And as I promised, and as no one cares... :-)

    Perhaps it will end up being the "before" photo of a "before"/"after" diptych.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    I don't wanna look like that, oh you make me breakout

    Many things have been encircling my mind lately, and most have to do with self-improvement, my own expectations of life, others and myself, and the ability to seize the day more effectively. I have been accused of over-thinking things before--I wouldn't deny that it happens more than with which I am comfortable. Tonight I realized that not only am I a difficult person to please, but it's equally difficult to please myself. Several times per day, something will stimulate and excite me, but I need a worthy follow-up to keep my contentment satiated. I create missions for myself that wouldn't make sense to anyone else, and it only "makes things right" for my mind to handle later. (Even all that was much to digest, for myself included.)

    I have been in this arm cast for a little over a couple weeks now. (For those who are not aware, I broke a bone in my wrist in a bicycle accident. A wood piece flipped up into my spokes during an evening work commute, causing me to fly over my handlebars. I broke my entire fall with my left hand...I think--I don't remember the impact at all.) Prior to this burden, I was riding 20 to 32 miles per day for a work commute. I felt healthy, I apparently looked healthy, and the peaceful zen I experienced during each ride was unlike anything I had felt. Now I sleep later, I feel less rested, and my body feels like a scrunched object that constantly needs to be stretched. I can't applaud, daily tasks are more difficult, and I obviously cannot bike or even deliver my repaired bike to my apartment. Realistically, it's not very feasible to even run. Think sweaty cast: ick.

    Well, I'm fed up. I so badly want to start running again, craving that personal time to myself and nothing else. My decision today tomorrow in spite of the circumstances was an easy one. That also involved finally attacking something that has bothered me for years: finding a healthy yet filling breakfast option. Thanks to the internet, I found some interesting guides for my mission. Smaller portions, more portions, more sleep, more accountability. Tomorrow's breakfast will be toast with peanut butter and banana slices. I feel that this is exciting journey through trial, in order to avoid spending $5.95 on a Sausage and Egg McMuffin Value Meal. (I can thank the Monopoly promotion for that.)

    Oh, and the run. Well, I had plans to run my first 5K next weekend, but it looks like that won't be happening, due to the cast. However, I would like to run *a* race before the weather turns very cold, and this hindrance will not stop me...even though I'm basically running from scratch again. Ursuline Academy's Run for the Lions 5K is on Sunday, November 16, which is about a week-and-a-half away. It falls during the same weekend when Emilie visits, so I'm not sure how thrilled she'd be about it: she's only here for about 2 days.

    I plan on following a careful, safe running schedule to achieve whatever race I end up running this fall. I am convinced, based on feedback from virtual associates, that I will be able to run longer and faster in a race than I expect. The 99th Annual Thanksgiving Day Race is a 10K in downtown Cincinnati. My ultimate goal *was* that race. Following the aforementioned theory, I am going to follow a consistent schedule, and by the eve of race day, I will decide if I want to take the plunge.

    Finally, on the running topic, I don't feel like I currently know anyone from whom I can find inspiration or common goals. This is why I suppose I have drawn inspiration from running blogs of some truly inspirational people. I *do* feel a bit lonely in my quest, but I know that I'll find satisfaction in my semi-daily runs, no matter how grueling. I absolutely need this, to expel all the bad energy that dwells in me after too much inactivity.

    I will say that there is no shortage of inspiration these days. Thank Barack Obama for exhibiting such a heartwarming model for perseverance.

    Tomorrow I will post a very triumphant photo of myself in running gear and an awkward arm cast. I *will* run tomorrow!

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    No diggity, I got to bag it up.

    I bought this very pricey bag from Freitag tonight, which completely eliminates any possible claims from me that I'm biking to save money. So much for that. Really though, I needed a completely waterproof backpack for my bike commutes. My work clothes and important work-related materials need to be kept dry, so this was the wisest purchase I could make. Unfortunately, this eliminates the likelihood that I will be able to afford a decent front bike light for several weeks.

    Both were expensive items, but I figured that a sensible bag outweighed the need for a front light. The purchase has me both gritting my teeth from the price and flapping my wings in giddy anticipation.

    - Made from recycled truck tarpulins. While trailers in North America are solid-walled, European trailers are made from heavy-duty plastic tarps. Although this is no good for the environment, it is especially advantageous to keep them from landfills, and to make use of these materials.
    - The materials were meant to be durable, so they continue hold up well in the form of a backpack.
    - Since each bag is made of a cut from a truck tarp, each design is unique. Yes, this is a luxury, not a necessity, but a perk.
    - The bag is also made from recycled car safety belts, airbags, and bicycle inner-tubes. I wear what I ride and rode, eh?

    Blame the exorbant price on all of the above. It'll surely last a lifetime though (or more).

    I don't care if it has your name on it Emilie--it's mine!

    Don't make me over...

    So long.

    Oh, but I did. I felt that I needed to pump new blood into a dying blog, repainting the interior walls with a fresh coat and renaming the joint. This all comes when I am faced with new challenges and I embrace new inspiration by which to thrive.

    My unexpected undertaking, of a full-on bus/bike commute to my co-op job, changed many aspects of my life. First, it reminded me that I really need to get prepared for a 20-mile round-trip per day, so that means getting into shape. Fortunately that also means getting off my feet, putting less strain on my tendinitis problem. Second, it means being more disciplined in how I conduct my daily routines. My work ethic during the summer sessions was great training for this, even though I did not find out that my carpool option for fall co-op would no longer be an option until afterward. If I care more about the condition of my own living space, if I realize just how many hours in a day there are to get things all adds up. With a fresh start in a new place, I have most certainly taken a breath of fresh air to a fire inside.

    Now, I won't be awake at 3am like this after tonight. It's going to be boring Christian for several weeks: sunrise at 5:30, bus ride at 6:30, homebound at 5:30 with arrival at around 7-7:30. Mom has been worried about my safety, and so has Emilie. I will be riding along US 127 en route to Hamilton, after riding the bus to its route terminus. After a 32-mile bike ride (below) on Sunday, I believe that I am finally prepared for the daily commute. What a fulfilling personal goal met. I just hope that I can clean up well, perform work tasks up to standard, and continue to meet my own expectations.

    So that's 80 per week for the commute. (I plan to borrow my mom's car one day per week so that I can carry things to work that I can't manage on a bike.) I am even planning to run a 5K in mid-November. Staying off my feet for all that commute time, and little time for much else, should help me manage a steady training schedule. I've heard that runners are generally crazy. I've also heard that hardcore cyclists are crazy. We're all a little crazy when we push ourselves to limits we never thought existed. I don't believe there is any denying that I've hit that crazy...and I'm grateful for such an opportunity.

    I still plan to ride for leisure as well, whenever possible. When that will be--you've got me.

    Vanity rant over. Expect more soon.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Discrepancy between performance and expectation

    When I was in grade school, from fourth grade to sixth grade, I discovered that I no longer wanted the self-deprecation that came with under-performing. That ethos carried over into my seventh grade year in high school. I managed to get straight A's throughout the year, despite the transition between primary and secondary learning. However, due to more variables than I can began (or choose) to disclose, my performance, self-confidence, and outlook on life deteriorating just a few weeks into my eighth grade year. Retrospectively, I can say that I have been selling myself short since developing a better understanding of my environment and the various functional roles that comprise life as a puzzle.

    During this academic quarter, I have assumed a more focused study and work ethic. I am not employed at the moment. I am devoting more time to my studies and keeping up on reading assignments than I ever have before. Due to the nature of summer quarter, I knew from the start that if I didn't follow a specific plan, I was doomed to fail. Each step of the quarter relies so much on the prior steps: there is just no alternative.

    I believe I have amazed myself for the first time, and I'm not sure how to take it. The shock I am experiencing's a beautiful thing. There is clearly a discrepancy between how I feel I perform--in relation to my own expectations, high personal standards--and how I actually do perform. These thoughts have been reaffirmed today, especially.

    This past Tuesday, I had to two exams on the same day. I cannot even remember the last time I had been in such a situation. Poor performance on one exam (there are three total in each class per three-and-a-half week session) could be very detrimental to my own dreams of success. So I went into both with several hours of studying the night before. I had fallen lax from the more astringent study habits of the first week, which is what can happen went you perform better than you expected: you make cuts to your strategy.

    My impression was that I overcompensated for my economics exam (believing that I really did need to better understand concepts), and I underestimated my People and the Environment exam. I was very insistent through dialogue with my friends that my greatest expectation was a grade of barely passing on the latter.

    93? Really? That "9" could have very easily read "4", making it a 43. Not the case. I'm somehow still en route to maintaining a top average for this quarter session. I'm not sure what to make of it. I do feel that I am assuming a new stance. It seems that the work has paid off so far somehow.

    Keep going, Christian. This feels good. Don't give this feeling up for anything. You've maintained your social relationships (despite the many concessions you've been forced to make), your relationship with your mother remains strong, everything is going very well with Emilie, your health has improved--don't stop. You have always wanted your expectations to lead to equitable output. This is for you.

    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    We've got plans for you.

    Well, as a few of my friends are aware, my summer quarter will be almost entirely focused on my studies. I will endure three economics courses, two installments of People and the Environment (I am excited about that), and a sociology course named Urban Society. So, although only one of my classes will be in the planning school, I've made quite an effort to create a consistent and sensible schedule basis on my current efforts.

    For my own reference as well as the very curious (and nosy):

    Summer First Session [June 23rd - July 16th]:
    Economics 101 - 9:30am to 11:20am (M-F)
    People and the Enivironment I - 11:30am to 1:20pm (M-F)

    Summer Second Session [July 17th - August 8th]:
    Economics 102 - 11:30am to 1:20pm (M-F)

    Summer Second Half Term [July 29th - August 30th]:
    Planning Applications of Economic Concepts - 2:00pm to 4:50pm (Tu & Th)

    Summer Third Session [August 11th - August 30th]:
    Urban Society - 9:30am to 11:20am (M-F)
    People and the Environment III - 11:30am to 1:20pm (M-F)

    Oh, but there's more in store for me. Since I'll be stranded in academia for a while, there's no way I'm going to wait for it to hit me in the face. Rochester, New York will be my destination immediately after I'm finished with my co-op term on June 19th. Megabus to Indy, Green Line Shuttle to the airport, flight to Detroit and then to Buffalo. Then a ride back to Rochester. The same thing will apply for the return trip. I will return on the 22nd, just in time for classes the next morning. Yeah, could you really expect anything less ambitious from me?

    Oh, and a friend who moved to Brooklyn from Cincinnati, about eighteen months ago, is visiting for five days. Unfortunately I'll be gone for most of that, but I'm sure there will be plenty of reacquainting and debauchery before I leave. Hopefully.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    We need a resolution!

    Once again, it's been quite a long time since I had done this thing. It really isn't new news though. My life encountered yet another saga over the past couple weeks. I have mentioned it to almost everyone I know, so I am quite tired of talking about it. In short though:

    I was thrown out of the Minus The Bear show in town before the concert even began. I had markers in my possession, which had been banned from the venue since the last time I was there. The bar became cash only, I was very low on funds, I hadn't eaten in several hours, and I needed to exit in order to take out my last twenty dollars. Upon my return, I forgot to stash my markers in my shoes as I had the first time. The men at the door demanded that I either take them back to my car (I walked) or to throw them away.

    The culmination of frustrating events led me to fury. For one second of my life, I lost it. I swung my bag against the wall, giving no prior thought to its contents. I stormed back to the stage to my friend "Lucy", aggravated beyond reason. Second later I was apprehended by a member of security. Supposedly I had put a HOLE in their wall, and I was "outta here". I was forcefully ejected from the venue. The hole was actually a slight, white blemish in the brightly-painted blue wall.

    My life seemed to have gotten quite good up until that point. I was happy (and I am still happy) with my co-op job, the weather was improving, and stress was virtually devoid. I felt like I hit a low when I discovered that I busted my digital camera open, rendering it useless. My iPod also exhibited a gash in the top of its casing, and the screen had a large crack. Both were gifts from my mother too, so I felt horrible. Long story short though is that all is now okay. Thank you warranties.

    In order for me to completely detoxify my psyche from the whole experience, I felt the need to drive to Bloomington, Indiana to see the same bands on the same tour, two days later. Not only did I do that, but I had an amazing time. Blue Moons were overpriced, so I only had one. While I was driving back to Cincinnati, my oil light on the dash kept flickering as I went down hills or when I braked. Not a single gas station was in service, so I sped such that I could gain refuge quickly. Well, my speedometer been non-functional for months, so I had no idea that I was going 80 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone. The cop pulled me over in the middle of nowhere, proceeded to give me a breathilizer. He wanted to ensure that I wouldn't be driving impaired. "Hey, give it a shot--you won't find anything," I replied. Not only was I not phased by the incident but I was tickled. No qualms.

    The next morning, I was a half-mile away from work in Hamilton when the car battery light illuminated. "Why is my battery light on--" The next thing you know, my Toyota was stalled in the high-speed lane of the highway. Luckily I was able to start it up to get to work. When it was time to leave for the day, my stomach felt hollow as I walked to my car. What else, I asked myself. I got about a half-mile down the road when my steering wheel began to lock up, and I veered into a collision service parking lot. Irony.

    Despite the horrible sounds that my engine was making, I managed to start the car again. What was I going to do in a tiny gravel lot in the middle of a city without public transportation? I was prepared to drive off the road at any minute. A few hundred feet later, I turned my car into an auto service parking lot. A couple days later, I got $175 for transferring the title to the shop for parts, for the car that finally met its day.

    So I'm without an automobile, and I don't intend to purchase another. My eyes are on a 7-speed, German-made Biria bicycle. The job is still treating me well. I would consider myself to be happy. Things to work on include: trying to get over my stress fracture situation that limited my running satiation; planning a trip to Columbus to test ride my future bicycle; finding a short-term job for summer quarter; registering for classes; figuring out when I can go to Norway to see my grandmother.

    That was *not* in a nutshell. There's always more. And there is.

    Tuesday, March 4, 2008

    May I have a bottomless cup, please?

    I'm currently sitting at a coffeehouse to which I have been very loyal since their opening days in January. It's like my second living room, trumping the poor excuse of the one at my residence. I have my chili to the right of me, an empty bottomless mug I need to fill soon(!), and my iPod is playing Jawbreaker's "Sluttering (May 4th) to my right.

    The girl working the counter, "Jane" has been a crush of mine for several years now, but nothing so serious that I made it a priority. Plus, she's a few years younger than I am.

    When I was working at a drug store on the east side of town, I'd see her every few days after she got off from work. I had just entered my twenties when she was finishing up her senior year in high school. I never found any reason to pursue her, believing that we did not have enough commonality between us, and our lives were very different. Many years later, I've seen her around campus several times, crossing paths at a few parties off campus, and conveniently working as a barista here at the living room.

    Without very strong expectations, I'd like to see if anything is possible with her. The way she carries herself really appeals to me. She's finishing up an undergrad program in women's studies and throwing around the idea of a master's degree in urban planning. Of course I know a bit about that, but I don't see that as a foothold of opportunity through my pursuit. Her bangs kill me, she enjoys great music, and I find that we hold more common things dear to us than we ever had before. I hope for a rendezvous soon enough, when neither of us are busy with our studies.

    Three luminous things to melt this slushy snowy mess

    Three great things happened to me last week.

    I finally landed a planning co-op job, within a forty-five minute drive of home, with a city planning department north of here. This will give me more time to save money for subsequent academic quarters, give more time for my kitty to live in one place for more than three months (it will get to that point, unfortunately for her), and I won't be "forced" out by my soon-to-be former roommate. That's another story entirely. I am very excited about the departments approach, future goals, and green standards already written into their comprehensive plan. I am eager to learn (and get paid!).

    On a minor note in the grand composition, I nearly aced my literature midterm exam, despite never having taken a lit course, and never having to take one again. It requires hours of reading that I never undertook before, but I've learned so much. Topics in Literature: Women in Travel--this quarter has impressed me by the subtle crossover relevance between my classes. Contemporary Social Issues gives everyone the opportunity to really engage themselves through discussing issues that affect us all. Of course I always chime in with my natural planning perspective. Of course I'm straying... (I refuse to use the phrase "...but I digress"; it's disgusting and overused.)

    Thirdly, my roommate is moving out! I know that might confused some who don't know the situation. Simply, she has different ideals than I do, and they clash. She has experienced all the common socialization of an upper middle class, white, suburban upbringing. She "knows what she wants," she stated in an argument we had last week, and she'll "stop at nothing to get it". That's fine and good, but she manufactures a different brand of judgment than I produce. I find her brand overpriced and with flashy packaging. No thanks. Perhaps we'll get along more easily when we are not living together. Meanwhile, her ex-friend (my acquaintance) "Brad" is moving in, and I think we're going to have a blast. No, really.

    So, despite the great seventy degree weather we had yesterday, I didn't get a chance to run. Now we're heading into the thirties before another upswing on Monday. Priorities, as great as they are when you adhere to them, tend to get in the way of other life perks...naturally. I walked the streets during the afternoon on the way to the bank, but it was mostly me looking out from the inside. Income taxes are done. I voted today. Now I'm blogging instead of reading for my 3:30 lit class. So it goes.

    Sunday, February 24, 2008


    I just had the urge to go running, during the nine o'clock hour, while snow and ice cover the ground where is there is not pavement. So what does that mean for me?

    I'm going running! For the first time since December! Hopefully my stress fractures I suffered do not recur. My new running pants will finally get their store tags snipped off. Imagine that. My new Asics had only gotten one two-mile run before the pain caught up with me. It's time to get back to a routine.

    Gasp, indeed! A run is probably the best thing for how I've been feeling lately.


    One word: painful. It wasn't pain due to an injury but pain from the cold air. I don't regret my run, but I do hope that more snow melts tomorrow (a high of 50 degrees). I had to slow to a walk a couple times when snow covered the pavement. Overall, it felt really great, except for the lazy college diet that has consumed me lately...along with the abundance of coffee, pizza, and other speed bumps . Long hours and a few all-nighters doing work doesn't give much time for eating healthily. Not having any groceries in my apartment doesn't help the cause either!

    I hope to get a mile or two out of my system tomorrow. First, I must remember to take it easy on my legs for a week or two. It's been nearly three months since I incurred my injury, and I would rather not reignite it.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Pictograms! and the love for cities

    Most of my day today was spent not doing work but giving into a growing obsession of pictograms. They simply soothe the minimalist aesthetic love deep inside me. As young as I can remember, I have always loved interstate signs, road signs, wordless traffic and pedestrian indicators. I loved the clean fonts used in transit stations and on subway maps. My obsession for transit, big cities, and even the American highway system ensure that I will always live where the buildings scrap the skies (the latter: up until about a couple years ago--I encourage more eco-conscious infrastructure these days). Like urban planning--never knowing it was even an option as a career choice until about three years ago--the silent presence of pictograms has finally spoken loudly.

    My friend "Ion" shares some of the same love for cities as I do. We have gone out on photographic expeditions downtown and out of town many times. Even my ex-girlfriend Kate and I went on nearly frostbiting shutter-clicking sprees in the Chicago Loop. I have photos of us at the Lake Street Red Line station at three in the morning, documenting urban still-life. I'd rather walk the steep grades in San Francisco than a grassy hill in rural isolation. My dream is to live in the old city in Montreal, enduring cold winters with shoddy windows--all to be one cell in the lifeblood of a metropolis.

    Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    Earthquake weather

    I have had an insatiable urge to blog lately. There has been so much on my mind, and only so much of it can be expelled through social interaction. My school obligations are continually prodding me. If only I had time to exercise or conduct some sort of physical activity. Instead, I have been frequenting coffee shops nearly every day, trying to remain driven. The blood in my vessels are contending with a new kind of cell--the coffee cell. The good old red, white, and coffee. Wave that flag...

    Even though the speed at which my life is traveling now requires a coffee bean remedy and medical assistance, I seem to be at equilibrium socially. I might not be able to shoot a couple rounds of pool with one friend. I might not be able to wander an outdoor mall with another friend. My encounters primarily consist of mutual agreements bound by contract of "fuck off please while I..." I couldn't thank my friends enough of cooperating with the demands that tax me, joining me frequently at Taza or Highlands during my inundation.

    It's currently storming heavily. My friend "Lucille" has been sitting to my right for a couple hours, nerding out on our Macs, occasionally pausing to talk about how we're going to die from a giant dog in the sky...or something rather. Somehow I'm growing closer to my friends than ever before, even in times of ridiculous educational demands. It blows my mind, but I'm not complaining.

    Meanwhile, I have also been in pursuit of an fascinating woman. "Eloise" happens to be my same age, in fact. We've been through similar trials. She recently started college, even though it had been nearly five years since graduating high school. Her aspirations simply astound me--eventually studying the Ebola virus. It seems that she will stop at nothing to pursue her dreams, after a few bad relationships, several bad life choices, and the like. I told her tonight that I "think she's amazing", but I made sure to expound that the basis of my expression is only of the little I know about her. Assumptions and expectations are not part of the formula anymore. I am simply looking forward to another hour or two over coffee or beer. I would like that.

    As Guero breaks between songs, the only sounds I hear are the raindrops on the rooftop and the tip-tap of our keys...