Wednesday, January 12, 2005

NY Journal # 25

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Laughs In Translation -
in the email trail of an order request I received:
---We work at Telefonica and as carrier providers we need to know some technicals aspects to reech a succesfully and opertionally upgrade of the line your customer leased to us.
---I apoligize if my english redaction is not pretty well, but I think you'll understand the meaning of the questions. If there is any doubt, please let me know.
---We'll appreciatte to get your answers as soon as you can send it back to us.
Yours, faithfully. Instalaciones - Puesta en Marcha

still no snow. insert pouty face here.
ok, so it snowed a little bit yesterday. but while it snowed, rained. it would have made for ideal snow enjoyment since the temperature was around 40° - which in East Coast winter thinking translates to "warm". rain during snow also means that none sticks to the ground. insert picture of me shaking fists and cursing Jupiter, Roman god of weather.
I heard on the news that last year we had 20 inches by this date. We've had three so far this year. Jupiter!!! wake up, you.. drunken Roman... gas .. giant.. what?

The first rule of Raider-shoulder club is.. tell everyone about Raider-Shoulder club.

Have I talked about "Raider shoulders" in previous journals? I probably have. If so... pardon my elaborations on the same:
What is a Raider shoulder? Ohhh, I'll explain... at length probably.

The "Raider shoulder" as .. not-at-all-defined by Merriam-Webster is: a walking, shoulder nudge to someone who, most often through general absent-mindedness or intentional A-hole-ness, moved themself into your way or after you say 'excuse me', is then not getting out of your way. Since it is basically for people "not playing by the rules" of general walking traffic, it must be done in a way wherein it is obvious to the person being bumped into that they were at fault.
Originally, the name "Raider shoulder" derived from the viscious tackles of Oakland Raider Hall of Fame safety, Jack Tatum. I have seen dozens of his tackles where four things happened, almost instantaneously: 1. a fast moving blur of Jack Tatum is seen coming in for a hard hit. 2. a massive collision occurs. 3. the player tackled goes flying, limbs flailing like a ragdoll. 4. Jack Tatum remains standing, nonchalantly looking down at his victim, as if he had calculated the physics needed to crush someone AND remain standing.
In practice however, the Raider shoulder isn't at all so viscious but actually refers to keeping your momentum going regardless of what absent-minded people around you are doing. I hate to romanticize it (who am I kidding, I love nothing more than romanticizing it!) but it is very Zen in it's cycle of maintaining your own (paying attention) harmonic motion while disrupting the disharmonic motion that people who dont pay attention exude. Walk through the obstacles placed before you. Bruce Lee would often say "do not strike a target, strike through your target". Bruce would have given a masterful Raider shoulder.
Why is this necessary? Well, because we all have common sense. We all know when someone around us is holding us up or causing a traffic jam for others. We even realize in hindsight that we have done that to others. That's fine. If you've done that, you deserved a Raider shoulder. I'm sorry, you did. I'm not above this, by any means. I have literally congratulated people on the fine Raider shoulders they've delivered to me ("good one!" i say). I seriously take No offense at this,.. whatsoever. I messed up. I'm adult enough to admit it. I needed to be taught a lesson about awareness. In turn, I shoulder (ha ha) the task of returning the favor to others who are caught up in their own heads when they should be paying attention to what they're doing. Your day should not be disrupted by the self-involvement of others. You shouldn't be dodging out of the way of people. You have your own space and agenda. Respect it enough to maintain it.
For example:
- when a bottleneck of people form so that opposing traffic can only pass eachother one at a time in either direction BUT two conversing people coming at you STILL insist on walking side by side... you definitely have to give a Raider shoulder to the one nearest you.
- when you're walking down the street and someone, or a group of people, just stop. right in front of you. without considering who might be walking right behind them... rrring-rrring ... who's there? Raider-shoulder!!
- when a group of three or more people walk side by side and you're walking at them... gaze straight through them.. Raider shoulder if needed (often they'll part to let you through... if they dont - bon apetit! deeelicious Raider shoulder!)
- when you've been holding a door open for people to enter a building and as you go to enter after them, some corporate meathead on a cellphone tries to barrel out of the building without a look or word of thanks for holding the door open... 'Ello Gov'Nah! Raida' shoulda' fo' ya'!!
- when people crowd a subway train door and dont let people off? Ohh there's a whole lotta Raider shoulder about to be dished out!

Am I describing some sort of individual, vigilante justice? maybe. Is it my job to teach people lessons? well... probably not. Am I suggesting we create an almost 'fight-club' type atmosphere by suggesting that everyone should take personal responsibility for enforcing the rules of public common sense and then accept accountability for when you've broken those rules, accident or not? why yes, it would seem that I am. Is asking questions and then answering them myself annoying? You bet it is. Will I stop? probably not. Why not? dont know... kinda dont feel like it. Ok, really, I done now? ........yes.

Think about it. How many times in life can you exact miniscule amounts of justice on the dumb people around you? I mean, really. These are not things you can do in a car... not without getting your insurance company or the police involved at least. You cant punch your boss in the neck for being an idiot. You cant reach across a counter and backhand a cocky salesclerk. You cant slap the cigars out the mouth's of yuppies. You just cant. I know you want to. I feel your pain. I share it. Trust me.
I know this all comes off with an aire of condescension but honestly, that is part of it. it has to be part of it. You are doing something right. And someone else is doing something wrong. Need an official mandate? Fine. I hereby deputize you as autonomous instruments of justice in the interest of maintaining order. Vigilantes dole out justice, that's what they do. If I were advocating knocking people to the ground or punching people in the kidneys, sure.. I'd be crazy, worthy of being locked up. I'm talking about a simple shoulder bump. A not-too-hard and not-too-weak reminder to the self-involved that their self-involvement burdens others. What I'm advocating is turning your back on timidity. "Do something about it" when saying "excuse me" isn't enough. "Do something" instead of doing nothing. Do it so you dont go home and bitch about what you could have done or could have said to some rude person. Think about how much better it will feel to go home and tell a friend or loved one about a nice hit you laid down on some idiot who blocked the heavy flow of exiting traffic so he could light a cigarette while still inside the building.
Tell a tale of how you stood up for yourself. How you may have added to the global common sense of the people around you. How maybe one person will be a little more aware the next time and not stop to tie their shoes in the middle of a crowded street.
There are varying degrees of the strength of the Raider hits you should be delivering, of course. And different strengths for different offenders. Mean old ladies might need a slight nudge - you really dont want to be the person everyone's staring at for knocking an old lady down. Try not to lay hits on children either - generally, your shoulders will be above their head height anyway. Basically, make the punishment fit the crime. Also, dont Raider shoulder roving gangs of hooligans.... or psychotic, crazy people. I haven't had reason to try, but I'm gonna guess that it'd be a good idea to not Raider shoulder the police. or body builders. what about people with knives? good, you're catching on - off limits. safety first.
If you're not using common sense with who you Raider shoulder... well... maybe you need a Raider shoulder. chances are, if you Raider shoulder inappropriately, you'll be lucky to get off with just a shoulder back.
In the right hands and used properly, the Raider shoulder will be your friend. It will love and protect you. It will instill a feeling of self-reliance and assuredness. It will administer small bits of justice in small enough doses to small time offenders. It will make your food taste better and your hair luxuriously soft.

One last point. or three. Once you Raider shoulder, never look back. always smile to yourself as you walk away. never apologize (unless you accidentally shouldered too hard to fit the 'crime'). You will feel better, they will have learned a lesson .. . . or not. in which case, someone else will teach them again, later.

And lastly - use your shoulders for good, never for evil.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
DMChronicles -
(to a tech at MCI) - "they laugh at me here, the way I talk. like I'm talkin' to a deaf person or retarded"

Super Size Me
if you eat fast food, at all, ever - see Super Size Me
if you have kids, or plan to, ever - see Super Size Me
if you teach kids, please.. - see Super Size Me
*and please oh-god-please.. make them see Super Size Me
if you're watching your weight, or have, ever - see Super Size Me
if you eat food at all, ever - see Super Size Me
in fact.... just see Super Size Me

in other movies-I've-seen news:
¤ i think.... that Elizabeth and I are in the background of the first Joe's pizza scene in Spiderman 2 Elizabeth's in a burgundy jacket & I'm in a white jacket. I know for a fact that we saw that scene being filmed.
¤ Shaolin Soccer is most, most excellent. hilarious and visually stylistic. there's a few scenes though where it's Airplane humor will make you want to kill yourself. be warned.
¤ Anchorman is so damn funny it hurts. Will Ferrell is walking genius.
¤ Hero is no Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
¤ Elf is appropriate movie watching material, any time of year.
¤ Shaun of the Dead is without a doubt one of the best movies I've seen in a year or more.
¤ as is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Cold, cold, cold. finally. but no snow. No. freakin'. snow.
how cold? below zero with the windchill. 9° without windchill, but c'mon, unless you're standing in an elevator shaft, there's windchill everywhere.
So what's the point of all this cold without snow? aside from the fact that people look so darned cute all bundled up in heavy jackets with furry hoods, colorful scarves, leather gloves and mittens, I'd say there's no point. No one goes out much it seems, except to coffee shops that get overcrowded and loud, kinda defeating the whole purpose of "reading at a coffee shop", right? right. I'm glad you agree. What about skiing? I dont ski. Ice skating? ehhh... no. thanks for asking though... it's more of a group activity. or for couples.
So when it comes down to it, a winter without snow is.. well.... it's an absolute bore beyond compare. If it were snowing, I could and would easily entertain myself with walks in it. Maybe an occassional snowball throw at stop signs or SUV's. Even just sitting on a bench or chair in the middle of a pristine, snowy field, reading, would be great. (I did actually do that a few days ago, at Bryant Park, though it wasn't actively snowing at the time, snow was all over the field)
So without much to do, I thank the gods for the company of kittens who in all honesty, have been doing a marvelous job of entertaining me, without much effort on my part. A plastic, bendy stick with a string leading to a tassle of leather pieces provides inexhaustible hours of play. That, mixed with chase-and-tackle runs up & down the hallway, through the living room, up & over my bed then back the other way is enough to make anyone smile. or scream. They sooo want to be tigers or mountain lions, it's ridiculous.

mid-post script - I am so awesome. I am. it's true. I talk about how there's no snow and what starts happening? no, not 'rain'. seriously, that's your guess??? guess again. Yess! snow! and now I hear from the office ladies that this is just the beginning - "we're gonna get hit big this weekend" says DM.
Bring. It. ON.

In other news:
¤ On Saturday, I shaved my head for the first time, ever. I hadn't initiially intended to - I'd tried out the buzz-cutter on it's lowest level, which... umm... ended up being so short that I figured I might as well go all the way with it, or I maybe never would. So I did.
Wow. it is quite the experience. Even with the M3 battery powered razor (which I swear by and recommend highly) shaving one's head is a substantially scary ordeal involving a necessary balance of wanting to be thorough and wanting to not slice your head open. It's ... a strange feeling, to say the least. The ingrained self-defense mechanism to do no bodily harm to yourself stands in the face of such an obvious flirtation with danger. Having said that.... ... it's also kinda fun.
and then your head is shiney!
And then... days later... prickly-sticky. like you wouldn' believe. like sandpaper. as in, it's difficult to put on beanie hats or sweater hoods. very sticky. almost frustratingly so. but still.... kinda fun. Basically, I've just been having fun with non-style hair styles since cutting off the long hair. It's -still- amazingly liberating... I wish I'd have cut the long hair years ago. Sadly, I did not take any pictures so I'm guessing I will shave it at least once more to get some pics. maybe this weekend.
¤ I'll be in Irvine in February for my mom's wake. Well... "memorial service" is what I was told it was. I wish it were an Irish style wake, full of tipsy laughter and joyous rememberance. Somehow I think it'll be more on the sad, lamenting side. Hmm. I may have to do something about that.
¤ There are film trucks all up & down Whitehall Street in front of my office building. The actor's trailers have about 12 doors on them, the only two with plastic placards printed with character names (as opposed to the handwritten ones you see for the lesser characters) say: Lucy and Desi. my guess is that they're not making some sort of I Love Lucy movie but that they name the lead actor and actress "Lucy" and "Desi" for fun. or to not give away what the movie is to passerby's. OR - and this may be too clever, even for them, Lucy and Desi are the producers/directors AND the lead actor/actress ala Alec Baldwin & Kim Bassinger or some other acting/producing duo like that.

¤ In tv news (since I'm inside too often these days) - Battlestar Galactica is back on the air and flippin' amaaaazingly good. If you saw the miniseries last year or even if you didn't... watch it. LOST is also quite, quite good. Very well written and everyone on the damn island is droolingly beautiful... I'm convinced the name of the show is actually short for Lost Island of Super Good Looking People. I haven't seen it yet but Strange Love looks hilariously addictive - Flava Flav and Brigette Nielson?? dating eachother?? yes, please. Significant Others may be the best show ever made. I found out after having watched a few of them that it's mostly improvised - which would make the actors Absolute Geniuses. Scrubs, as it always has, makes me cry laughing at least once per episode.

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