Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Random memories

I recently watched the 3rd Star Wars movie and it got me to thinkin' about the hardest i'd ever laughed in a class - St Paul's in Pacific Beach, CA - 6th grade, Ms Morrow bending over a students desk in front of my friend David and I, the whole class chatting quietly amongst themselves while this one student got some one on one time w/ the teacher - I look over to David who's gripping imaginary x-wing fighter controls, aiming to 'fly' down the 'canal' of Ms Morrow's rather large butt and in a cb radio-like voice quoted the Star Wars about-to-destroy-the-Death-Star line "stay on target... staaaay on tarrrget" - needless to say, I couldn't stop crying laughing and got sent to the principal's office for not fessing up to why i was laughing so hard. Immature? you bet. Hilarious to a 6th grader? without a doubt. ...Sorry, Ms Morrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

My old roommate bill lives in Vietnam, teaching English these days... they just had an earthquake and asked if I'd describe again for him and his class the story of the San Francisco quake of 89:

-----On October 18th, 1989, the ground, and everything else the Bay Area knew, shook. And shook a lot. The day started like many others had, bright and sunny, turning to slightly overcast - definitely nothing out of the ordinary for San Francisco. I was living off campus at the time, having been kicked out of the dorms the semester before for being one of two unfortunate late night revelers caught and then scapegoated for a massive party my floor had thrown wherein every inch of every wall of every corridor had been magic markered, penned, spray-painted and I do believe, even pizza-smeared. Exiled as I was, most of my friends still lived in the dorms and so, after a completely unmemorable Psych class and no more classes slated for the day, I went down to the Verducci Hall dorm building where all my former dorm mates now lived. As luck, or the lives of slacker college students go, my four friends who shared a suite were all there so we all sat around and talked and smoked, probably wasting time, I'm now guessing, until dinner time rolled around and we could dine on oh-so deliciously fine cafeteria fare.
-----5:04pm. Friends and girlfriends and friends who were girlfriends sat enjoying conversation and the relief that no more classroom obligations for the day brings when my feet began to... vibrate a bit. Strange, it's awfully late in the day to be feeling a nicotine rush from smoking. pause. more vibration. I looked up and saw that two of three conversations in the room had stopped. Pete and I made eye contact. Neither of us had a look of panic showing but something in the questioning look we shared, and then saw on everyone else's faces seemed to signal the start of something very serious.
-----Someone said "Earthquake" a little more flatly than I might have expected. In an instant, everyone was standing. In another instant, the vibrations we'd felt became shaking. One more instant and it had turned to violent shaking and the sounds of cracking drywall. The looks we shot each other changed from urgent concern to near panic and even, later on, to a frantic and unaccepting acknowledgement that our 19 year old bodies might soon be one with the cracking walls we were watching come apart from their load bearing frames.
-----Doorways. What do you do in an earthquake? Californians pretty much grow up knowing that in the event of an earthquake, you get into a doorway. The funny thing about doorways though is that they dont accommodate 5 people trying to stand in them. There were 7 people in the room and 3 doorways to stand in. Everyone in the room was closest to two of them so naturally we all tried to first cram into one, then we split to two and before we all split equally between the three doorways, for what couldn't have been any longer than a second and a half, my friend Chase and I looked at each other and laughed out loud a giddy, nerve-racked laugh at the musical-doorways game we were in the middle of playing. And maybe a chuckle or two more at the fact that we were laughing right before we were probably going to die.
-----From the bathroom doorway, I watched the walls crack and flex as the building twisted and contorted in ways I have only ever seen Jello move. It seems that in the 1960's and 70's architects thought that a building built on "rollers" would damped the swaying motion of an earthquake the way a circus hobo standing on a plank and balancing on a barrel, rocking back and forth can maintain equilibrium (note to writers: whenever possible, incorporate circus hobos into your stories). Instead, the actual effect that occurs is one of amplification of the earthquake's force as the height of a building increases. Being that we were in a 12 story building, and being that we were on the 5th floor of said building - we were in the middle of the "twisting zone" as the building rocked 3 feet North and then 3 back South. Ohh, but the lessons in physics didn't stop there. Being that the Northeast corner of the building sat over former landfill and being that the direction of the magnitude 7.2 strike-slip quake's shock wave was at a slight angle to the building we were in, the motion was actually more 3 feet north with a 1-2 foot twist East and then a 3 foot south motion with a 1-2 foot twist West back. Contorting. Twisting. And shaking. As you might guess, buildings aren't meant to experience such such perturbations, even under the worst case scenarios. Drywall cracked and crumbled, the creases of walls split along their seams in an almost Hollywood special effects fashion.
-----And then there was the sound. Good lord, the sound did not help the anxiety level in that building that day. How do you describe a building trying to twist itself free of everything but it's most rigid, underlying structure? We watched the constructional carnage while trying to keep bathroom and bedroom doorways from violently slamming into us and in some ways, maybe just in retrospect, were a bit in awe of the ridiculous force of this event. Panic looks raced around the room and every so often made their way outside where the view of relatively immobile trees gave a frightening perspective on how much the building was really twisting and swaying.
-----I saw Chase looking outside and hoping that, at least for an instant, looking outside would be better than looking inside, I looked outside. The body that fell past the balcony seemed to indicate it wasn't. Again, Chase and I looked back at each other, both of us now were ghostly white. That was it. I was through with it. I didn't want to be there anymore. Not even a little bit. And yet it all continued, the swaying, the shaking, the dust of shattered drywall making itself airborne, the sound. Ohh, the sound. And again, the image of being a small messy part of a very large pile of rubble came to mind. Furniture sliding too and fro, chairs too near to our doorways banging into us, books and things on shelves no longer on the shelves, shelves no longer on the walls.
-----And then, without any dramatic mark to note the change, the shaking lessened, the twisting and contorting motion of the building subsided. The slamming doorways slammed a little less forcefully. The screams however, continued. 12 stories of frightened, injured and panicked college students..
-----The major shaking done, we hurriedly made our way for the stairwells where we saw more signs of the damage - drywall covering the stairs and landings, split seams in the walls and dust covering every inch of everything else. The evacuation was remarkably ordered as I dont really remember any screaming or yelling in the stairway descent out. What I do remember is legs so sapped of energy they barely carried me down the stairs. I saw it in everyone else exiting with me - endorphin drained exhaustion. Obviously, in 49 seconds time, we hadn't done much that was physical strenuous or draining but our shaking limbs and near powerless muscles were showing all the signs to the contrary.
-----When we made it to the street, we gathered around a school representative giving out as much news as he had and instructions while trying to answer questions and keep everyone calm. "We do not know when you'll be allowed to return to your rooms", "at this time, we do not have other accomodations for you but you may head to the gym", "some of you mentioned see someone fall from the North side balconies - this was a mannequin and not a person, repeat: it was not a person, it was a mannequin", "we do not know when classes will resume".
-----And so it went. The Cyprus Freeway had fallen, a span of the Bay Bridge had too, the Marina district was on fire. Televisions reported, people watched and listened and braced for aftershocks. Being the only the only one of my friends living off campus, we piled into my car and went to the Sunset apartment where I was living. As we walked into my room, I saw on my coffee table, a postcard. Before leaving for the day, I had propped this postcard to stand almost vertical against a candle. This postcard was still standing in the same exact spot. Nothing in my room showed the slightest hint of disturbance. Why? The Sunset and Richmond districts sit on bedrock. Parts of SFSU and many portions of the city, namely the Marina, sit on landfill which is highly susceptible to liquefaction which of course, just makes everything even more exciting (amplified shock waves, density of ground becomes less stable, water rises to further disrupting stability, etc).
-----In the weeks and month or two that followed, most of us... and then many of us... and finally just some of us shared my small room in the Sunset. The city, I have to say, took on a wonderfully friendly and helpful vibe as people hung out on stoops and in parks and talked to neighbors like ... well, like normal people do in normal cities. There was almost a party atmosphere as the city unwound slightly. Details began to sift out from the now condemned Verducci Hall: a chef that had lived on the 12th floor was taken to the emergency room from cuts received by the flying wine bottles cast about by the shaking, a few students had broken limbs from moving furniture and swinging doors, the foundation of the building had cracked, the tennis courts below Verducci now sat in three upheaved sections, the outer walls of the building had separated from inner walls - which we all witnessed a month later when we were allowed to return in shifts (2 hours for each room) to scavenge personal belongings. Peering into other rooms through the cracked and separated walls, we could barely find a square foot of wall that didn't show some sign of damage.
-----10 years later, we returned. Not to scavenge more belongings or throw another raucous party, but to watch the building fall. Verducci had sat quiet, and unoccupied, for 10 years - a grim reminder for those who had been there and maybe the stuff of legend to those who hadn't but now lived in it's shadow. The official viewing spot was the SFSU garage building, conveniently located.. ahem.. downwind of Verducci (I have a way with foreboding, dont I?) and as we staked out spots and looked for familiar faces, we all chatted about our near death experience. Horns blew, birds scattered, rumpled sounds of primary charges reached out to us and then the big booms and flashes we've all surely seen watching footage of building demolitions. Before the clouds of billowing dust and rubble and probably asbestos overtook us, I sensed that there was the communal realization, among those who'd been in the building that October 18th at least, that this slowly tipping building before us could have tipped over 10 years ago instead. There is no way that I or anyone can accurately convey to you just how much it really felt like it was going to go at the time. And so I doubt that I was the only one who watched it fall and imagined, the whole way down, how it could have been the final resting place for us, for a lot of people.

Listicle 4.h

Listicle 4.h

~~~Dont buy me anything for my birthday or Christmas. make me something from this.
~~~Ok, if you feel compelled, I'm trying to keep an Amazon wish list updated.
~~~even better, I would be soo soo soo very very happy with you and think you're the coolest if you'd put this 100% harmless and potentially really helpful application on your computer.
~~~Very cool NYC photos, circa 1965. lots of Washington Square Park and West Village shots.
~~~Ya, I love weird people.
~~~and yeah, I still like bionic related things.
~~~and yes, please dont worry. I still love zombies too. how could I not when they're this cute?
I no longer think the Onion is funny. why? McSweeney's - every single day is funnier, and Phatphree too, they raised the funny bar too high. sorry Onion.. I'm calling you out.
~~~Pandora.com, "you complete me" - unless they're just fooling me into thinkin' it's cooler than it really is, I could see never listening to music at work any other way going forward - Basically, you tell it a band or song name that you like, then it scans the Music Genome Project and based on the qualities of what you told it to look for, plays music that is very similiar. You then rate things as Liked or Not Liked and it further refines what it'll play for you. I've created 5 channels so far & they've all played great stuff related to what i already like... whatever you can think of, band or song names.. it's craziness I tell you.!! I cant believe i'm just findin' out about this - ok, I'm ending the commercial hard-sell...... nnnnnnnnnnnnow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


My silly Quad champion plaque and even sillier Division champ t-shirt.

pre-Saturday v-ball at the Onasis Resevoir, Central Park:

pre-Saturday v-ball, Central Park, UES

Esra & I at the Statue of Liberty ferry spot, Battery Park

It's hard to tell, but Hambone is in mid-jump. and still as crazy as ever.

driving to Boston, Esra likes this photo, I dont.

Fine, ok, .... I have a thing for girls in glasses.

Laughing while kissing rarely makes for great photos.

A Boston sunset

And just 'cause this picture makes me smile whenever I see it:

And as much as I am not happy with the Raiders lately, so does this one:

--A different set of pics:
on the MetroNorth heading to a 1 yr old's birthday party in Highland Lakes NJ near Vernon, due west of Tarrytown, NY .. and/or, Sleepy Hollow, if you prefer more artificially (recently re-) named towns. New Jersey is freaking beauuuutiful when you're not around the city parts.

I'm getting good with this one armed photo-taking thing, eh?

Ahhhh, candid photos. flash helps. must .. learn.. that.. flash helps.

Ok, maybe I'm not getting that good at it.

The birthday boy's on the left. The girls are Esra's college friends.

This swan had major attitude. After making an impressive skid-landing in front of us and attempts at luring small children into the lake, it hissed like a cat at me and later barked like a dog at nothing in particular.

Here comes Mr. Rude. Oh, by the way, in New Jersey, you can have a house on a lake for under a million bazillion dollars. - Sincerely, Kory Dayani, future New Jersey resident.

little Rose hears the swan's siren song and wonders if walking on water is still not possible.

Later that night, Esra's friend Erica and her boyfriend Gary came over for "Turkish night" - Raki (pronounced reh-KUH) and appetizers and more Raki and then later more appetizers and Raki and me taking photos with one arm 'cause I think I'm super good at it.

So here's the deal: one glass with 1/4 ice, 1/4 Raki, 1/2 water. another tall glass of just ice water. Sip from Raki glass, set Raki glass down (two fisted drinking, it turns out, is not very Turkish), pick up ice water glass, take equal sized sip. set water down. repeat.

From there we went to Maia, a great Turkish restaraunt/bar on B at 7th St.

Yep. that's a tray of lit candles she's balancing on her head as she bellydances.

Esra gets pulled into the action. Note the proper female angle of the arms of 45 degrees. Men's arms should be straight out at 90 degrees. Gary was given a lesson on proper Turkish dancing.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Listicle 3.E

Listicle 3.E

*--.....hands down, the best pictures on the net - scan down for the ENTER button
*--.....Matt, Karen & I went and saw Rob Corddry of the Daily Show guest star in a performance at Upright Citizens Brigade a few Friday's back. hilaaarious. I'm constantly amazed by how funny improv can be when it's not done by these guys.
*--.....did I make you watch this World Trade Center time lapse film trailer yet?
*--.....man, I wish I could draw... or draw better than I do.
*--.....wow. it's a time lapse art kind of week, I guess.
*--.....1 out of 4 Americans has visted NY since 9/11. were you one of them?
*--.....Ahh the fine line between savantism and genius. truly impressive paper crafting.
*--.....have I mentioned that OverheardInNY.com is the best site ever?
*--.....You missed the leaves falling. No link, you just missed 'em, that's all.
*--.....I scored tickets to the Colbert Report for December 12th! WOOHOO! I am so awesome.
*--.....cool photos by an Iranian guy in NY who's not me.
*--.....I finally finally finally after 2.5 years... put some stuff up on my bedroom walls:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

date night ala Top of the Rock-efeller, Jimmy's Corner, Stoned Crow

.....When I first moved to NY, I swore that I would go to the Empire State Building viewing deck at least once a month, that's how much I love the lofty views. Any lofty view. All lofty views. It took just two tourist-swarmed, standing-standing-standing-in-line, Disneyland-like two-hour waits each time to pretty much convince me that if I made it up the ESB more than once every two years, that'd be more than enough.
.....And then [drum roll please] ... Rockefeller Center reopened it's observation deck [insert angels singing here] - and being one to combine multiple pleasures, I took Esra there for a little surprise-date-night city viewing. (re)Opened a mere two weeks ago, it's 67 stories of midtown goodness, with another three floors of verticality for the observation decks (yes, "decks" plural - as in 'tiered decks', the top deck not requiring your usual suicide-jumper-security since the tiered genius of it all means that if you jumped from the top-most level, you'd probably just break a leg on next observation level down). Since Rockefeller Center sits so close to Central Park, it stands as a Northern book end for the tall building bookshelf that is Manhattan and affords a tourists-dream view of: first, all the tall midtown buildings south, then the valley of relatively "short" residential buildings in between midtown and downtown (yes, 6 to 17 story buildings are "short" in Manhattan) and then finally downtown - which seems to be so far off in the distance you'd swear it was the large city center of a completely separate city. - And that's just the view South. Due North is Central Park which sadly never looks even 1/3rd as nice at night as it does during the day - though the buildings that rim the park make for an excellent light framed blacker-than-blackness smack dab in the middle of light central, NYC. To the West is the Hudson river with beautiful New Jersey beyond (NJ looks 2/3rd MORE beautiful at night) and Times Square to the Southwest, though a lot of buildings end up blocking most of the disorienting, overstimulation-effect you get from the ground in Times Sq. To the East are residential high-rises and what are obviously the Park Avenue headquarters of corporate giants just to the north of the MetLife and Chrysler Buildings and beyond that to the East, the outer boroughs. Which, I've heard recently, people even visit from time to time. Needless to say, it's a LOT to look at. And look at. And look some more at. And... ok, it's been almost an hour, how much more looking could we possibly do? Answer? 20 minutes more.
.....Oh. I'd be doing the experience a major injustice if I didn't mention the annoyingly sweet and nice and friendly and far-too-numerous employees of the Top of the Rock. Good god people, unless your manager is standing right next to you, save the enthusiasm for large tourist groups or for when the tourist-guide-book people come around. Also, try scheduling the amount of employees present to be somewhat appropriate for the number of visitors. Granted, they just opened so perhaps they wanted to acclimate to the NY tourist scene and provide some far too uncommon customer service in a city that barely recognizes those words but when you have 6 cashiers to take our money and then two people to guide us to the "pre"elevator that took us to the waiting-for-the-real-elevators-milling-area (where there were 10 employees) and then once atop "The Top" you see 6 security guards, 7 gift shop attendants, 9 question-and-answer agents and maybe just 4 elevator-line-control-agents... well, perhaps you were a little aggressive with your employee work shift planning. I'm not complaining - I suppose I'd rather have over-niceness than over-rudeness and the view just sort of makes you forget about all the other b.s. anyway. Oh. Also very worthy of mention is the glass ceilinged elevators that let you watch the super disco lighting glamming out the elevator shaft on the rides and and down - it's just a few techno beats short a Disney-fied rave experience - but fun, nonetheless.
.....What better way to follow up a NY landmark than Jimmy's Corner? Owned and operated by Muhammed Ali's former boxing manager Jimmy Glenn, it's a 10 foot wide by 60 foot long shrine to all things 'boxing'. And drinking of course, it IS a bar. A bar with regulars and no heaping helping of tourists - a true rarity, being that it's half a block off of Times Square. Before you say anything, let me say that Esra took ME there, not the other way around. What I thought was a complete non-sequiter ("hey, we should go to this bar I know, it's just a few blocks away" and then 3 minutes later "do you... follow boxing? do you like boxing?" (me: "what?? where did that come from?)) - turned into another hungry-eyed, detail-absorbing, NY-quintessence-living, almost goosebump-inducing thrill of being square in the middle of history, of stumbling into what boxers must surely consider hallowed ground - the sanctity of the place alive in each and every one of what must be a hundred signed photos lining the walls. Those who ponied up at the altar of the man who'd set sail a dozen or more boxing legends seemed aware of Jimmy's moment in the sun, but they'd also showed signs of time in the sun as well, granted, I mean that literally - I'm still trying to decide if the lady mid-bar had her facial skin replaced by cowhide. But I digress, as you know I love to do.
.....From Jimmy's, we headed through Times Square to either catch a cab or take the subway, and deciding on which to do, we got to play the game that's played everywhere but seems to be most fun in NY. I'm talking of course about the "subway-vs-cab which-to-take standoff game" which everyone knows the rules to, but I'll explain anyway: person A & B need to get to location X, person A wants to take a cab, person B either gives a disinterested "eh" look or actually says "I'm fine taking the subway", person A then has the choice of saving some money by taking the subway OR if they're really set on taking a cab, utters the delicious words "let's take a cab, I'll pay" - Win / Win, right there. Person A gets their cab ride, Person B gets a free cab ride. The "standoff" part comes when Person A backs down from wanting to take a cab and says "ok" to the subway - Person B then has the option of changing their mind and saying "ahh, what the hell, let's split a cab" - again, Win / Win. Persons A & B get to location X via cab a few minutes quicker than the subway would have taken them. The boring but responsible outcome for the standoff game is that Persons A & B agree to save money by taking the subway. Still, win / win ... just with lowercase W's. --Captain of digression, reporting for duty!! Ok, So we play the standoff game and Esra wins... well... win/win and we opt for a cab - which, I realize, we are trying to flag down from the middle of Times Square. My oh-god-I-look-like-a-tourist senses heighten and I have to check myself to make sure I dont look like one of them. Aire of cool restored, we finally flag one down at 42nd and head back to the West Village for a night cap at my neighborhood bar, the Stoned Crow.
.....Digression Alert: Do people still say "night cap"? Is it just a cheesy lure for one night stands in bad hollywood romance flicks these days? Is there any way to restore the classiness of "night cap"? No? Good. I'm going to start using it All The Time then.
.....So... let's see... a drink at the Stoned Crow, a silly game of video bar trivia... sadly, no bar popcorn (the Stoned Crow used to have thee best bar popcorn ever, no really) since they brought back their kitchen annnnd... what else? a quick stroll back to my place ended a wonderful evening. Well "ended" as far as you need to know at least - No, I'm not going into any detail there and Yes, I'm sorry for sorta partially implying details there. Need I remind you that this IS my journal and I reserve the right to traumatize you as I see fit?
....Doh - none of the disposable-camera-pictures from the Top of the Rock showed any city detail... imagine that? I know, I know... I'll get a real digital camera someday. I'm waiting for the 7 megapixel cameraphones to enter the US market (they've been available in Asia for a year now) or the Nokia N91 2 megapixel phones with 4 gigabytes of music storage. (all together now) "but I digress" .... here's the pics...

Isn't the Top of the Rock beautiful?? I should be an Associate Press photojournalist, huh?

I like this photo. again, it could be anywhere.

Another nice one, I suppose.

must... learn... basics.. of ... flash.. photography. still, I think it turned out pretty damn cool.

wind blown, but where? this could be anywhere.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ping pong league nights - experiments in humility

----Ping pong matches won last (monday) night:
Kory: 1
Kory's opponents: 5
----Ping pong matches won the last time I played:
Kory: 1
Kory's opponents: 5
----Ping pong matches won the time before that:
Kory: 1
Kory's opponents: 5
----And I really thought I was pretty good. I dont know what's going on. Ok, ok.. I -Am- pretty good. Ok, fine... I'm downright awesome. The problem is, so is everyone else I play with. They're consistent, I'm not... not yet. And so I lose.
----BUT... it is without a doubt the most fun I have all week, ...playing sports, that is (yes, volleyball and football included). I truly marvel, even after all these years of playing, at our brains' ability to throw an arm, a hand and paddle out to a spot in space where your paddle defensively parries a hard smashed ball. A ball hit so hard at you, that if you had to think about what you were trying to do, you'd never be able to return it. Volleyball, football, basketball, heck, even tennis, the parent sport to ping pong - they're all more conscious sports.. With ping pong (at least on defense) you can lose yourself in the zone of seemingly automated reactions. In the microseconds where your body takes over before your brain catches up, you can watch the years of practice instantaneously play themselves out without regard to confidence, ego, doubt. It's more than just "the sports zone" that people talk about - I always think of 'focussed determination' when I think of that 'zone'. No, I think of this pong zone as a short cut straight around the Ego to the most optimal play you didn't even realize you had in you. Interestingly enough, it seems to only appear in the lightning quick reaction times of defensive play - hardly ever when you're on offense.. Ok. End of story..... for now. I sense that I'm about to ramble on about sports again.
----More later if I can win more than just 1 match per night.
.... 11/15/05 UPDATE!
Yessssssss. thank you baby Jesus. I won 3 out of 5 matches last night. Granted, all of them came down to the 3rd of best of 3 games and two of them ended with 25 to 23 scores, but hot damn, I won. won more than I lost, that is. The two losses came at the hands of two players obviously way more skilled than I... one of which sorta toyed around with me, trying out various drop shots and top spins, side spins, back spins, you name it, he was having fun with it - and as much as it sounds like he was being patronizing, I much preferred it to the other loss I took where my opponent took every point ultra seriously and sought to put me away as fast as possible. In both matches, I got to play a little more loose, taking chances and hitting harder than I would normally, in a close game - so even though I lost both matches, I got to see a little more of my potential skill show itself - which I guess softened the blow of losing a little. Repeat: a little. losing still sucks.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Listicle 2.0

--+ Someone is impersonating god-of-comedy David Cross to get free drinks and sex. David writes in to tell us how to spot the imposter. (the comments below are pretty priceless too)
--+ OhMyGod-OhMyGod-OhMyGod-OhMyGod - I'm going to get like 10 of these for my apartment!! "And I'll put one in the bathroom! and I'll put one in the kitchen! and.. I'll put one.. NO -two- in the bedroom!! and one under the couch! and one..."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

another Listicle for your enjoyment

yep. you read that right:
Listicle - n. a (newspaper, magazine, web site, etc.) article consisting primarily of a list.
Etymology: list + article (frankly, I think list + testicle is more appropriate, but to each their own)
Editorial Note: This term is often used in a deprecating way, to describe an article or news story which required very little effort to produce.

and without further adieu, my very little effort!
+-- Ten very maybe surprising things about Iran
+-- surely you remember Jack Handey..?
+-- OverheardInNY and OverheardIntheOffice are STILL the best sites ever.
+-- Come to NY, we'll go here and here and here and of course, I know you want to do this.
+-- [in sing songy voice] if you come to NY, you can see theeese.
+-- if you come or not, you missed this. I did smell it despite my horrible sense of smell.
+-- blogs are stupid (ahem) but this one's pretty cool (female NYC taxi driver)
+-- Matt and I saw this guy (most notably of this and this movie) on this (my) corner of this city yesterday. he and his beautiful wife and beautiful kiddies were all dressed almost entirely in black. 'cause... they're cool like that i guess. Jean had a stupid phone headset hanging from his ear though he was definitely Not on the phone.
+-- October 17th marked the 1 year anniversary of Short-Hair-Kory.
+-- I started my first To Do list in 10 years. It's a little ridiculous that the joy of seeing something crossed off a list (that you, yourself made) is motivation enough to do things. This isn't so much something for the Listicle as it is something about lists. hey, my listicle, my rules.
+-- you KNOW the word "listicle" is going to be stuck in your head for days now, HA HAaaa! deal with it, suckers. ( psssssst.... Listicle! )

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

West Village Halloween - the stampede you almost might have heard about

So.... Hi! guess what? what? - No.. I wasn't offered a speaking role in the new DeNiro movie. No, no.. I didn't sign a book deal, but good guess. No... ....I almost punched a policeman last night!
*** yes. very exciting, I know! Ok, fine. I didn’t almost punch a policeman, he shoved me and I yelled at him – does that count? No? Psssh.. Whatever, spoilsport.
Let’s rewind a bit. as in... to last night. to Halloween. It's no secret: I do not like the Halloween. It’s true. I wont go into why exactly, but needless to say, the following tale did not help me overcome said disdain for All Hallows' Eve.
*** After work, I went over to the girlfriend’s apartment – the girlfriend, as a matter of fact, was born with the name of Esra, and not “the girlfriend” so maybe that can be the last time I refer to her as “the girlfriend” .... but I digress (I know, imagine that, me digressing). She had just returned from a RollingStone.com sponsored concert for Katrina in Memphis (Katrina did not strike Memphis, it’s true, good catch! ..and go figure) and short on sleep, she needed to nap and needed to have an early evening so I, World Class Napper that I am, joined her in a nap. We woke, went out for excellent Turkish food on Houston and then bid each other adieu (yes, a lot of adieu’s lately, eh?). I took the F train from 2nd Ave two stops to my W4th St station, which, it being 8pm, was smack dab in the center of the West Village Halloween parade chaos time.
*** This is how far I live from the station. This is the route I had to go instead, due to police barricades and crowds - it took me 45 minutes to get to my apt. 45. As if for karmic retribution for my "cops standing around, doing nothing" piece I wrote the other day - they were in full effect, standing around, doing nothing while I and about a thousand other people got caught in a bottleneck created by police barricades - all the while cops stood watch to make sure no one escaped the pushing and shoving mob corralled onto the 7th Ave sidewalk and bottlenecked by the "enclosed extra restaurant seating" areas that jut halfway out from restaurants on 7th, into the sidewalk area.
*** Yeah, I've been in some bad crowds before, shoulder to shoulder type stuff where you dont so much walk as ride the mob sway and hope to the gods that you stay on your feet - which are barely touching the ground as it is, due to crowd density. Marches and protests on San Francisco's Market Street can get a little scary - the leading edges of crowds there always seem to get compressed by the rest of the mob behind them. Last night was similar but the real problem came from the sides, namely the shrinking sidewalk space caused by the restaurant 'extensions' and police barricades intended to keep the crowds from spilling out into the street. And so, as mobs will do, they pushed and shoved - those by the building-side, got shoved into the walls, those by the street side, got continually pushed into metal barricades. To combat this, and to make a little headway in my attempt to go ONE block, I started picking up the barricades and nudging them about 6 inches closer to the curb. With each pick-up and nudge, I opened a little more space for the crowd trying to force itself by (in both directions, mind you). And while it helped a little bit.. for a while, we got to a point where all the barricade nudging in the world wasn't going to be enough. The crowd was at a stand still, now bordering on panic, fully pissed off at the police for letting this happen and yelling "Go!" at the stalled crowd in front of them. And so... I ... well.. I opened the interlocked gates. I had assumed that a hundred or more people would by dying to back me up and follow me into the parking lane. I had assumed that the police might look the other way when this eventuality brought itself to bear. Nope. I tried to walk on but was met by a forceful cop hand to the chest that shoved me back into the mob and tried to close the gate. That would be about the time that I yelled at a cop. Yeah, not one of my finer moments, I know - but if you would have been there, and had the balls (or frustration, take your pick) to speak up about fire hazards and crowd control safety, you would have joined me in the yelling. Honestly, I kid you not and I exaggerate not, it was the most unsafe public stampede-in-waiting I've ever found myself in - not just a fire hazard, not just a mob/panic hazard, not just a terror hazard... but a totally unnecessary crowd control F up. How do I know? Because the cop I yelled at agreed with me. And the rest of the cops I passed in the rest of the half a block I had to go were all shaking their heads at how messed up the scene was. They had orders. They follow orders, it's what cops are supposed to do. And yet, one would hope that some cop, some human being with the ability to change things, might. I know, I know... naive, right? And no, I wont be comparing these cops doing nothing (to prevent a stampede) with German soldiers being complicit to the Holocaust atrocities... I mean why would anyone equate inaction with guilt and then stretch that analogy to an extreme level? ahem. ok, point made. (albeit, a heavy handed, macroscopic one)
*** And so... yes. simple metal barricades ON the sidewalk.. it was no mere pain in the ass. it wasn't an inconvenience. it was literally almost a mob stampede. at one point, i stood still for 5 minutes, penned in on all sides while people pushed and shoved and screamed that they were in pain. How much worse would it need to be to make the news? Am I surprised that it didn't make the news? Nope. Someone would obviously have had to die or there would have had to be dozens of major injuries to make the news. Is that an exaggeration? Hell no it's not. You know the news - bloodbaths make them, not a broken leg or pushing and shoving crowds caused by poor crowd control.
*** It's so unfortunate... I fear that all of the above will be trivialized as stupid whining about a silly little delay that a dense crowd caused and not a borderline-criminal mishandling of crowd control. Even if the news had been on the spot with cameras, even if the children in the crowd had been trampled, even if a hundred people write in to the newspapers and tv news to describe the mayhem, the fact is - 'no deaths, no news' and the cops will continue to stand around, doing nothing, because they weren't told to do anything different.