Thursday, November 16, 2006

a NYTimes article - .... meanderthals

Apologies for not having written lately. A bit of writer's block void lately, I suppose. more soon, I swears.

The below is copied from a NY Times article from 2002. I've bolded (below) what might be the best word ever invented.

from the NY Times, July 16, 2002
Think You Own the Sidewalk?

On the sidewalks of New York there are jaywalkers, baby walkers, dog walkers, night walkers, cellphone talker-walkers, slow walkers, fast walkers, group walkers, drunken walkers, walkers with walkers and, of course, tourist walkers.
Unfortunately, all of these walkers are walking into one another.
"People no longer know how to walk on the sidewalk," said John Kalish, a television producer in Manhattan. "There was a time that any real New Yorker had a built-in sonar in terms of walking down the sidewalk, even a crowded one, and never bumping into someone. Now — forget it."
In a crowded city that is forever rebuilding itself, sometimes it is impossible to be a graceful walker. Still, strollers say that many problems could be avoided if some basic rules were followed.
First, walking rules are like driving rules.
"Stay to the right is the golden, No. 1 rule," said Chris Avila, 29, who has lived in the city for nine years.
Europeans used to driving on the left side of the road have acute problems getting used to New York sidewalks, said Giannandrea Marongiu, 36, who moved to New York from Italy five years ago. "They don't know where to go," he said. "They are all over the place."
Second, don't be a sudden stopper.
"People who stop short really get me," said Carla Melman, 26, a lifelong New Yorker. She said it was the equivalent of a car wreck on the Long Island Expressway on a Hamptons weekend.
Third, when walking with friends, don't crowd every lane of the sidewalk.
Ms. Avila said she reserves a special sidewalk in hell for "mall walkers," which she defined as groups who insist on walking three or four abreast. "They make me so mad," she said. "When you are around a group of mall walkers, you just have to find a way around them."
Fourth, keep it moving.
The average New York City fast walker does not have to get stuck behind a pack of mall walkers to grow sour. A single person moving at a slow clip-clop can be enough. There is even a word for this slowpoke: meanderthal. An Internet dictionary of slang defines him as "an annoying individual moving slowly and aimlessly in front of another individual who is in a bit of a hurry."
Fifth, don't be a heel stepper.
"I hate it when someone gives me a flat tire," Ms. Avila said. That happens when a heel stepper clips the back of her sandal, knocking it off her foot and causing her to become a sudden stopper.
Sixth, get off the phone.
Pedestrians say cellphone talker-walkers are so lost in their own hyperconnected universe that they are almost as likely to break the rules of walking as tourists. "When you are on a cellphone, you are a group of one," said Michelle Nevius, 32, a walking tour guide in Manhattan.
Roger Evans, a musician, agreed. "Typically I think of a cellphone talker as a guided missile," he said.
However, it is the bike messengers who many complain are the true missiles. Mike Nelson, a bike messenger born and raised in New York, says the walkers have gotten worse. "With the cellphones, Palm Pilots and all the other gizmos, people aren't even aware of what's around them any more," he said. "It's not just the bikers that will run them over, but also trucks, cabs, whatever."
Seventh, keep Fido on a tight leash.
Peter A. Perez, 28, a dog walker at the Wagging Tail, a dog care center in TriBeCa, says too many inexperienced dog walkers use long leashes that can become tripwires. And, he said, dog walkers should "never allow dogs to introduce dogs to other dogs," as this can create overactive obstacles.
Unnatural obstacles can also spoil a stroller's stride.
Scaffolding, a major walking hazard, seems to be growing like kudzu in front of buildings in the city. "You do see more scaffolding," said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings. In 2000, nearly 4,000 permits were issued for new scaffolding and worker sheds, up from roughly 1,600 in 1995, Ms. Fink said, mostly because of tighter building inspection laws and building owners with more money for upkeep in flush times.
Ms. Fink volunteered her own pet peeve about city walkers. "I can't stand when people are standing at the corner talking to their friends or rubbernecking," she said. "I'm like: `Why don't you move? You don't do that when you are driving a car.' "
And Ms. Fink would not hang up the phone until she had pointed to another danger: baby strollers. As an admitted mother, she knows that mothers think of the stroller as an extension of themselves and, therefore, do not consider the added space they are occupying. "When I would be jaywalking with the stroller, people would be like, `Do you know you have a baby?' " she said.
Even if every walker followed all the unwritten walking rules, it would still be hard to get around because New York is more crowded. In 1991 there were 22,790,000 visitors to the city, according to NYC & Company, the city's convention and visitors' bureau. In 2000 there were 37,380,000 visitors walking the streets, it said. Add that to Manhattan's 1,537,195 residents and some 800,000 daily commuters until millions of people are fighting over the sidewalks.
Fred Kent, president of the Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit group that advises communities on public planning, sees the walking crisis as part of a much larger problem. "I think it is all part of this trend away from being comfortable as a pedestrian," he said. American cities and American life in general is so focused on the car, he said, that "we are becoming enormously obese, because we have few opportunities to walk and very few opportunities to exercise."
Mr. Kent says walkers should not be mad at one another, for they have a common enemy. "They are in this situation by manipulation," he said. "We have developed rules for pedestrian traffic to enhance car traffic rather than traffic rules that would benefit pedestrians." But short of ripping up the city's roads, Mr. Kent could not offer a walking peace plan.
But Stella Cashman, who organizes racewalking events in Central Park, could. She pointed to the rules of track and field as a model to help ease the congestion. First, "no intentional contact (or pushing)." Second, "no attempts to impede the progress of others." Finally, "Allow sufficient distance (i.e. three steps) before cutting in front of another."
With those rules, a referee in some parts of the city would be awfully busy. At the corner of Canal and Broadway there is a perfect storm of pedestrian obstacles. Merchants sell everything from shoes to diamonds. Food vendors' carts face the storefronts. Nearby scaffolding, a subway entrance, a few homeless people on the ground and tourists looking for a deal make the corner nearly impossible to navigate.
"A lot of time I take to the street," said Kwok Wan, a letter carrier who has walked a route in the Chinatown area for 18 years. "If they are shopping, they are not moving."
Michael McDaniel, visiting from Birmingham, Ala., was shopping there with his family. He said he thought he obeyed the rules for walking in New York. "I follow the no-walk sign," he said. "Sometimes we ad-lib when we see other folks doing the same."
Mr. McDaniel acknowledged that his family often stopped suddenly if the urge struck them. But they were learning fast.
"Single file moves much faster," said Mr. McDaniel, now a reformed mall walker. "If we try and go three across, it slows us down."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

pictures and pictures

Rooftop party pics. I'm really not quite sure why I take these.. the nighttime shots rarely turn out. Oh yeah... lots of wine made me take these.
Perhaps if I used the zoom feature on my camera phone that I just discovered the other day. How long have I had this cameraphone?
Camping on Fire Island. this, after a night of rain and more mosquitos than I have ever seen in one place, Ever. I've been camping many a time (says the former Boy Scout) but the mosquito density was almost more mosquitos than non-mosquito air. I guess that's what happens when you put campgrounds in the middle of protected swampland.

Esra and the mosquito repellant spray bottle were friends. That bottle and all of us were friends.. not that it helped much.
The day after, on a hunt for a cheap(ish) hotel on Fire Island (the idea of a second night camping on Mosquito Island was, as you might guess.. not so pleasant). Somehow we're all smiling in this photo. Pshh. Remember that you cant spell SMILES without L-I-E-S.

Lest you think the boys would escape a photo show.

No matter how cute they're being and how it happens nearly continuously, one of them will always look away at the perfect photo opportunity moment.

Esra and I right before turning off our cell phones, awaiting EVIL DEAD, the MUSICAL to begin (which was Soooo AWESOME that I insist you picture me screaming Soo AWESOME! right in your earhole) I'm going to see it again in a month or so, that's how Soo AWESOME! it was.

Well, well.

Imagine that.

An empty bag that's not empty... because it's filled with a kitten! (that's not a kitten anymore but whom I will forever call a kitten)

Esra asked me to take this picture of us in front of a Mark Rothko. I make nonstop fun of the modern art section at the Met 'cause I firmly believe that most modern art is one level below poop-cakes. YES, in my opinion.
At the... Wax Museum! yes, it's true. My dad and his lady friend? or.. companion were in town and they really wanted to see the wax museum. Esra and I didn't really wanna go 'cause, well.. I, at least, am often too cool for school. We actually ended up really enjoying it. I'm.. not.. umm.. quite sure how that happened.. but it did.

Lou Reed is just as waxy in person.

John Travolta's face was so disturbing, I thought you deserved a close up to wash out the detail with the flash. You'll thank me later when you're not haunted by dreams of a wax Travolta.
Despite her being wax, I still managed to creep out Paris Hilton.

Lindsay Lohan too. They both put wax restraining orders on me immediately following the photos.

After kicking George W Bush in the nuts, I was tackled by secret wax service agents.

Salvador Dali didn't like any of the three-plus hours of hilaaarious existentialist jokes I told. Lllllaaame!

The sign said this was Mick Jagger.
Yeah, maybe if you poke yourself in the eyes really hard.
like most San Franciscans (who didn't like the Grateful Dead), I finally got my opportunity to exact nut-kick-justice on the lead singer who died too early for me to ever do this in person.
Esra didn't like the fact that I was going around kicking wax dudes in the nuts so she started bluring the photos. Thanks, babe. Oh well.. guess Bono's gonna have to get kicked in the real nuts if I ever see him.

I uh.. got a little artsy with Bob Dylan. I told him to look up. Man, some people are so full of themselves.

I ended up tearing Johnny Cash's right arm off 'cause he got a little fresh with Esra, off camera.