several of you who actually know me may be aware of my jeep crash ‘incident’. it goes something like this: senior year of high school, some years ago now, it snowed a lot. the white shit just wouldn’t stop falling. so one night, the eve of a friend’s departure to study abroad for a few months as i remember, i convinced my parents that letting me drive the jeep would be safer since it had just snowed a fresh foot. of course we all know that a jeep isn’t safer if you drive like an idiot, but hey, i was a responsible kid, right? so after the big going away dinner party, at which two in attendance got into the most ridiculous fight (followed w/ taunts such as “i’ll kick your ass” “oh yeah? i’m gonna call my brother, and his friends are gonna kick your ass” “oh yeah, well i’m gonna call yun-soo and he’s gonna get his asian gang to slash your face!”), i decided it would be fun to take the jeep off-roading through the fresh snow on the parking lot at north woodmere park. 2 friends, who for their sake shall remain nameless, rode w/ me and in fact videotaped the fateful event that snowy eve. all prepped, tape rolling, we inserted the indiana jones cd. the music starts, and your cue is to now download the video and let it speak for itself. mind you – there is no dubbing, no syncing, all audio you hear is how it occurred.
here’s a little insight for you: just about everything you own has been saturated w/ or is composed of or has been doused in chemicals. plastics, treated wood, computers, light bulbs, plates and utensils – everything. but we never give this a second thought. what’s only starting to be recognized is the negative health impact imposed on humans by daily inundation of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) at work and at home. this epa page gives a brief description of ‘sick building syndrome’, the condition associated w/ VOC related sickness. it is a growing concern, and is addressed more often by green/sustainable architecture, which focuses not just on energy conservation, but also health. office buildings designed w/ such concerns in mind will often end up w/ lower rates of absenteeism and higher productivity. the resulting financial gains are significant, and often result in higher profits. check out natural capitalism by amory lovins for a little intro to the financial gains inherent in a sustainable economy.
anyway, the target of this rant is that beside reduction of the cause by using healthier building materials, we can reduce the amount of VOCs found in our air by the simplest of methods. not turning on the AC or blowing fans, though they can help. PLANTS. think about it – plants breathe. they breathe our toxic off-gassing (CO2) and produce our fuel (oxygen). well, not only do they absorb CO2, but they absorb nearly everything in the air, including VOCs. incredible as it is, this was not taken for truth until NASA studies in the early 1980’s scientifically demonstrated plants’ abilities to clean the air . continuing research continues to bolster the concept of using plants to clean our air, yet plants still are not a design criteria.
other studies have shown that hospital patients tended to heal faster when exposed to natural light and plants, as do worker productivity and creativity.
putting plants in the areas you tend to spend most or your time – desk, bed, kitchen, living room – not only help clean the air, but look friggin pretty, and help connect us, in our techno-industrialized urban society, in some sense w/ nature.
every room, apartment, building should be filled w/ plants – they should be a design criteria, not a second thought as place fillers in the corner.
i was reminded this morning of a funny thing i saw this past fall. i was at a ‘lecture’ given by stan lee, pretty much the go-to guy for comics (he created spider-man, the hulk, the fantastic four, the x-men, etc.), and he didn’t really have much to say. in fact, he said that he hadn’t prepared anything at all, anticipating very few guests. i’d say he’s a lazy fuck-all who got payed a whopping amount of $ and got away w/ it b/c what are you gonna say to a guy who draws comics for a living? you jipped me? what does he really have to say anyway? but back to the story. of course dimwads from all over campus asked ridiculous questions, alluding to historical and current social/political allusions in marvel comics. there was one regarding the silver surfer as a christ figure, and trust me, there were plenty more interesting ones than that. but this dude asks the silver surfer question, and stan lee chuckles, chatters on about how there’s no christ allusion, but that anybody can read anything anyway they want. true, but he then goes on about the surfer’s character, and how the surfer is particularly amazed at the inhabitants of earth – how they have this beautiful planet and all they do is fight w/ each other all the time. and now i quote stan lee: “we live on the most beautiful planet in the world!” why do we fight? hehe. brilliant.
for anybody who likes to play w/ their computer, i have discovered the two bestest funnest toys you can install. granted, you have to like mac computers for this to be worth your while. it’s called object dock and windows blinds. they’re programs designed to basically skin your desktop so that it looks however you want, and also to add the dock bar as is found in mac os X. i downloaded windows blinds for free, and then downloaded the mac os x skin. the skins are all created by hackers, crackers, slackers, whatever, who have fun playing on the computer. so you install windowsblinds, and then from that window click ‘install skin’ point it to the location you downloaded the new skin, and then click ‘apply skin’ (you’ll see where these options are, it’s all right there). then there’s object dock. one you install it, you then have the option of hiding your windows taskbar, changing all the colors for the object dock background, icons, as well as adding docklets. docklets are almost like mini-programs that run in the object dock, which are really convenient when there are certain necessary components of the windows taskbar (such as start>programs and the system tray in the lower right hand corner). it may get a bit daunting if you don’t fiddle w/ your machine that much, as finding these docklets and icons takes a little time (it took me 2 hours to get it the way i want it), but it was well worth the wait. here are some images of how my desktop looks after all this:
wow, this article is amazing for anyone w/ a computer, so that means you. i have a lot of programs installed on my computer, so when i boot up my computer, it takes a while – a full minute and a half. that’s kind of ridiculous when you consider that every other electronic device is in a working state within ten seconds (at most) after _oot (my key for the letter that comes after ‘a’ in the alpha_et just stopped working, so every time you see a _ imagine it’s the letter that comes after ‘a’ in the alpha_et – yet another reason i hate sony computers). anyway, while searching for ways to get my computer to _oot faster, i came across this article on pcworld.com that explained the use of a microsoft tool to speed _oot times. according to microsoft, this tool was created for software developers to help optimize the way their programs’ drivers load when windows _oots. microsoft also states, in another article, that the goal of winxp was to get an operating system to boot to a useable state in 30 seconds. my computer takes 3 times as long to get to a useable state. the pcworld article merely mentioned how it got the author’s computer to _oot a full 25 seconds faster. so i tried it out according to the pcworld article’s directions, and lo and _ehold, it worked, and it worked in an amazing way! my computer _ooted a full 25 seconds faster – moving from 1min34sec to 1min03sec. that’s pretty awesome – it was apparent immediately – the _lue welcome screen on winxp was only visi_le for a_out 1 second, and then my wallpaper showed up. rock on.
pcworld article w/ link to program, called BootVis
apprently my ‘b’ key is working again. i can’t explain this.
finally, some rest from an exhausting weekend. friday nite after studio, we went to the austin ballet. immediately thereafter drove straight to dallas, arriving at 1:30a (working off of 4 hours sleep the nite before). woke up at 7a to catch a 10a flight to NY, w/ stopover in chicago. upon arrival in NY, quickly rode back to parents’ house, showered, drove into the city to meet girlfriend’s dad, w/ whom we ate dinner (my parents also drove out for dinner). old roommate, who happens to be in NY at the same time, joins us for desert, and then a ride downtown to a bar where high school friend is having bday party. roughly 1:30a by this time, resulting in major overload and crash, time to sleep. drop off old roommate at his cousin’s, drop off other friend at his car, drive home, but accidentally get on the queensborough bridge instead of going up town and taking the triboro bridge. instense need to urinate begins to build. construction on queensborough results in 2 minute drive becoming 30 minute drive. turn around, go uptown, take triboro, to grand central to van wyck to nassau expressway, down rockaway turnpike, left on broadway, get home, and pee until the following morning.
sunday reestablished my belief in the evils of the five towns and long island. following a sloth like morning of recuperating, cindy and i walked into town. i became the boyfriend tag-along for what quite possibly could have become a shopping trip. we stopped at ann taylor, and cindy tried on a dress. i went to the mirror by the changing area to look at the dress she tried on, but the manager informed me that men aren’t allowed in the back, b/c women are changing. well they’re not changing out in the fucking open! that’s why they have changing rooms you craggy old bitch! cindy can come to the front to show me, but i can’t go back. i have my theory for this sales practice, but sorry, i’m not sharing it.
we then walked around town a bit, got a carvel ice cream cone, and i introduced to cindy to cookiepuss and fudgie the whale.
anyone who wants to make a joke out of that fuck off. they’re ice cream cakes, and are well known to anyone in the NY metro area. even the simpsons spoofed them. anyway, while there, there was a family getting ice cream. the parents had to be 24-25. the grandparents were there too. the children were probably 3-4, and there were about 3-4 of them. they were lying on the ground, being loud and whiney, generally pains in the ass. did the parents chastise them? no. did the grandparents chastise them? no. did the grandparents advise the parents how to deal w/ the kids? no. that’s b/c it’s a statewide epidemic. these people, and these are well off, educated people, have absolutely no regard for public space, personal space, or image in public. they are a materialistic, selfish group, who would argue against these identifications to the death. that’s b/c these villifications are the public face they put on to everyone outside their community. to everyone w/in their community, they are angels, caring and giving. actually, a lot of the behavior crosses boundaries, it’s just that w/in the community everyone does it, so you can’t get aggravated. anyway, the kids are screaming and running around out of control in carvel, the parents take 5 damn minutes to make one order, and we’re sucking it up. this is the behaviour prevalent throughout the five towns – a different monster altogether from the jappy behaviour that characterizes long island. we took a walk to starbucks afterwards – there are no other places to get coffee in town – and cindy held open the door for a woman on her cell phone. no thank you in reply. the cashier is leaning against the register, angry at life for making her an ugly bitch, and barely acknowledges our order. no have a nice day, no thank you (which, generally, i don’t require, but at least some cordial acknowledgement that i placed an order). i asked her to turn the volume down a bit b/c i was reading, but she didn’t ‘have the power’ to do that. what?! are you joking? turning the volume down is outside your job responsibility to keep the customer happy? well, does anyone here have that power? the manager does, he’s that guy over there. of course, i run into an old high school friend on my way to the manager, and by the time i’m done, he’s gone. i ask another schlock behind the register to turn down the volume – sure, no problem. volume is down in 2 minutes. that girl was such a bitch!
enough about the five towns. yesterday we explored brooklyn. i’ve never been there before, and obviously neither has cindy. it was really nice – we discovered park slope, brooklyn heights, really nice neighborhoods. great places to move into when graduations are complete. yeah, they’re really expensive, but we can sell our souls for a few years to gather the cash. we found this restaurant under the brooklyn bridge called ‘river cafe’, which was funny b/c we had heard about it from cindy’s mom. now, cindy’s mom is a southern belle, prim and proper, and has never really travelled outside of the areas she’s lived in. sure, she’s done some international travel, but hasn’t really seen much of the US, and is darn gullible to boot. so she was in a cab in dallas, and was talking to the guy about cindy and my trip to NY, as well as her husband’s trip to NY on the same weekend (he had a medical conference to attend). the cabbie proceeds to explain how he’s not a dallas cabbie full time – nooooo, he has a string of cabs in NY and dallas (b/c the dallas cab market is about to be deregulated and he’s gonna make $$$). he only spends about a week driving a cab in dallas and spends the rest in NY in his park ave. apartment w/ his brother. he also happens to have a Ph.d, but won’t say in what. this sounds highly plausible. so when he lists off some restaurants to visit, its not unreasonable to take it w/ a grain of salt. a BIG grain of salt. so we payed no mind to the suggestion of dining at a restaurant below the brooklyn bridge. it should be noted, that we found the idea of a restaurant existing below the brooklyn bridge to be highly likely, we just weren’t going to take this guy’s work for anything. but, lo and behold, as we came to the brooklyn bridge promenade for an amazing view of the city, we found the ‘river cafe’. it had an amazing view, and an amazingly expensive menu. about $90 per person. so we just had some drinks, but you can imagine what the bill was. $$$. we then went back into manhattan to eat at the 2nd ave. deli. now, the 2nd ave. deli is a big piece of NY kosher deli culture. it’s been around 50 years, and is kind of THE kosher deli. i’ve never been there, but yesterday was it’s 50th anniversary, and they were serving food at 1954 prices. who can not eat there when a pastrami sandwich costs 50 cents?! that would have to be us – there was a 5 hour line wrapping around the block to get some cheap deli food. so we had pizza, another NY favorite.
we then quickly met up w/ a friend i used to work w/ at the now defunct iBeam communications at her new apartment. we drank some wine, talked for a while, and then headed back to penn station, got home to cedarhurst, and walked home at 11:30p. it was a very nice day, and we slept most of today away – b/c it’s fucking snowing!!!!!
ok, just a few things: 1. i guess my rant on eisner the other week has worked, since 43% of Disney shareholders voted to boot him out, and out he has gone. i guess other people shared my distaste for excessive dvd packaging.
2. despite having the segway for 2 weeks, i never posted any pictures. lord knows how many times i brought my camera w/ me during the day, then got caught up in work, and then it was dark outside. anyway, the segway was picked up monday nite, and, of course, i was sad. i cried. i pleaded. i begged. ‘PLEASE DON’T TAKE THE SEGWAY BACK! I’LL GIVE YOU MY FIRSTBORN CHILD!’ nothing worked. BUT, i did manage to get them to take a few pics of me on the segway before they took it away, so in case you don’t believe me, here i am in front of my house on the segway.
Posted by Hello
Posted by Hello
so now that the segway is gone, i’ve had to pull my bike out of the garage. the antiquated, outmoded, relic – the bicycle. honestly, the bike rocks. it’s got to be one of the most efficient machines ever. more people should ride bikes and ditch cars. but, man, are segways fun. the real use of, and defense for using, a segway is for commuting. they’ll pitch it to you that it’s a ‘human transporter’, which of course means absolutely nothing. it’s great for trips that would take too long when walking, but really shouldn’t require the bulk and pollution resulting from a car ride. like commuting to work. if you live relatively close to work, the segway is great. i rode 15 blocks to school every day, each way. i also used it for local errands, tho not for grocery shopping. you could even take it on the train if you had to. the segway is a great commuting tool – you don’t get sweaty riding it to work as you would a bike, and that is its greatest asset. the only problem i had w/ it was the battery. i live in austin, which is a hilly town. running hills chews the battery a lot quicker than the flat plains of the midwest would. a typical full charge could get me roughly 6 miles in austin, which isn’t very generous. of course, riding the segway at midspeed, like any electric motor, is more efficient, so i could probably get about 8 miles if i’m lucky, but really no more.
3. i’m going to NY for spring break on saturday. i’m not really all that excited. the weather here in austin is perfect – 70’s everyday now, the trees and flowers are blooming. i also have a lot of work to do, so it would be less stressful to stay in austin, maybe go camping for a few days, and get back to work. but i really wanted to go skiing this year, and a midwest trip was too expensive, so we decided to crash w/ my parents in NY and take a 2 day trip up to vermont or upstate NY as it’s a good winter in the northeast this year. unfortunately (from the view point of skiing, but fortunately for my bank account) i got pneumonia a few weeks ago, so skiing is no longer a smart option for spring break. instead we’ll go into the city, see museums, a show or two, get some nice dinners and just be in the chaos and excitement of the city. one of the highlights i’m planning on is visiting the ghostbusters firehouse in tribeca, a pilgrimage of sorts.
4. additionally, i should tell you that craigslist.com (select your city from the list on the right) is the most amazing selling forum ever. i posted my old desktop computer and sold it within a day for money cash. i’m a craigslist fiend now, and am trying to sell everything i don’t use. check it out, there are great finds to buy, or it’s just a great way to sell. it’s a free online classified section – no auctions, and it’s local. rock on.