I will now go out into the night. Maybe I will take some pictures. Probably not. I will probably just wander around the dressed up naked city. A nightmare before All Saints?
October 2002 Archives
Chocolade was sold out today, except for the really bad kind. I somehow managed to find a combo pack somewhere in the back of the pharmacy. It still amuses me. Pharmacies in Europe are these dream stores for fans of flasks and drawers and other alchemistic knowledge. When we needed a balm from our Pharmacist in Poland, we would give them the prescription, and then he would make the stuff, usually overnight, just in case some special substances were needed. In Germany, a similar situation. The pharmacy smelled like the inside of a chemistry set. The chemists all looked like scientists, and they were. I liked to buy syringes in the pharmacy. I just enjoyed the penetrating inquisitive look of the pharmacist, when I requested the works, sterile syringes, sterile needles, I could have been in a risk group for HIV infections, I could be sharing my favorite substances with friends with whom I did not want to share the needles. Syringes and needles were super cheap. I used them to refill my ink pens and to work with my liquid paints, of course. I tend to almost pass out when I see a needle go into one of my vein.
Pharmacies were the only places open 24 hours. One of them was always open at least. One pharmacist per neighborhood would stay up, or sleep with his chemicals, just to make sure one could get medication at any time of the night. Imagine waking up a scientist at 3am to get tampons and some aspirine. Last time I saw a face similarly angry was when I leaned on a Brinks armored truck. Somebody inside made it pretty clear that this was not the place to be.
Pharmacies in the US are different. There is some pharmacy in the back somewhere, but it is mainly a place that has it all. Sure, batteries can be good for your health when used properly, yes, cosmetics can prevent attacks of depression, yes, pen and paper might be great to keep sane. But how about all the sodas and sugar-bombs available in the front. Cigarettes in the Pharmacy, in my still sly Hispanic neighborhood also Cigarillos, chew tabacco. How is that? It feels a bit as if the hospital had some bone breakers and skull smashers in the waiting room, or as if ambulances came with some mercury shots in the minibar.
I got my chocolate in the pharmacy today. There have been many children at the door already trick or treating. There was no Halloween in Poland. It was just recently introduced in Germany. Who knows maybe the Apteka and Apotheke will soon also be little supermarkets there.
(I know this is a very strange connection.)
A single pigeon is resting on the windowsill of the top floor of the building across Broadway. It is resting on top of a crack that extends through all floors, all the way to the street level, perhaps even beyond. The crack might continue for miles into the ground. This is obviously a very heavy pigeon. Its own body almost collapsing under the tremendous weight. What will happen when there will be a second pigeon of similar weight next to it? Will the building give in, will there be casualties? Innocent lives will be lost. We have to protect the city from led pigeons before they can hurt us. Or maybe they already have? Are all cracks in buildings across the city caused by led pigeons? It is quite possible. We are obviously looking at a serious threat.
The pigeon flew away.
There is a little girl in the window of the top floor of the building across Broadway. She is holding on to the windowsill, as she is peeking down onto the street through dirty brown child-guards. Her left hand must have created a crack that extends through all floors of the building, all the way to the street level. She looks very from here, but she obviously is a very heavy girl with quite miraculous powers in her tiny left hand. If we let her grow older and stronger, she will probably have the ability to tear down buildings with one little finger. Or maybe she knows how to already. She obviously was able to almost split this building in half. Whom is she looking for in the street? Is she looking at the led pigeon that just flew away in a quiet and secretive way? Do they know each other? Is the pigeon a messenger that will send secret plans of destruction to a little boy with even more devastating powers somewhere on the other side of the park?
We are obviously looking at a serious thread. Or not?
One more Subway article, this time from the New York Times: Stand Clear of Closing Doors, and That Love Seat
I remember when I first came to the upper west side, to take a look at some appartments. I took the express from Times Square, where I happened to live back then and it was just one short stop to 72nd street. The station was tiny, the stairs were very narrow, the station house felt very original. There was the Ansonia, Verdi Square, Big Apple Bank. It was love at first sight. I moved to a tiny brownstone apartment on 73rd street shortly after and the 72nd street station became “my station”. It was one of the first stations in the system actually. I felt very special to be able to enter my commute through such historic piece of New York. Today, for the first time since 1904, this station house was closed. There is a new one now, the station on 72nd street has a much wider platform, the new Station allows for transfers between uptown and downtown trains. I live one express stop further uptown. 96th street is my stop now. I took the train to 72nd today, just to take a look at the new station house now located between 72nd and 73rd on Broadway. It mimics in shape the old station house, but it is made completely out of Glas and iron, a large glass house, bright and open. Not quite a cozy as the old one used to be. The original station house will reopen to the public in March. It will be then restored again, and it will be not completely responsible for all the masses of people who use the 72nd street station. It might be time now to get some help with the 96th street stop. Maybe in the next 100 years.
The links section of this site was getting a little dusty. I am now switching all of the link management to Movable Type. This should help me regain some control there. (Changing blogs first.) Also, would it be a good idea to open the link section to other authors? Hmm.
how could it be that I just passed out, unannounced, just sat down on the bed and just left reality with an express train. Boom, gone, just like that. Woke up again, just because this voice in the back of my head kept telling me that I have to reply to a few emails. But I can barely see the screen, and I can barely keep my head up. It is definitely a sign that I have to rest a little more.
Good night. Sleep well, as well.
Just ordered my Epson Stylus Photo 2200 Inkjet Printer. This seems to be an extremely popular product somehow. Mine will be delivered somewhere around the 20th of December. Wow.
It is a bit like this joke once told by Mike Bloomberg in the Harvard Club, or like the supertoy that you unpack and then it does not talk and does not walk and certainly not fly. Today was a swing lesson. The teacher was not the nice woman who taught Salsa last week, it was some strange German sadist, who wanted to mae sure that everybody in the room knows that they are absolute beginners. Frightening. It is always fun to hear my name twisted and turned into Vito, or Veto. “I never hear this name before.” “It is a Polish name. Very popular in Poland.” And then there was Teresa. She just smiled. She was maybe 40 and definitely from Poland. I did not even bother asking if she spoke the language, just asked her in Polish where she was from. “From Lódz, the city.” as if there was a Lódz, the country. I knew exactly what she meant though. This girl in Paris hugged me last December hugged me because I also was from New York. She was from Syracuse, New York. Teresa had some issues with the spin. I had some issues with the dance teacher. The lesson is over now. “If you sing zet you kan not remember anyzing, do not worri, just come back next veek.” Oh, I certainly will. Step, step, rockstep.
The girl across broadway has a huge Viking helmet on. She is on the phone. Her brother, who usually spends hours and hours playing video games is jumping around her like a crazy monkey. I will now take a step back again. Rockstep.
One of my camera lucida ink drawings on shikishi paper is the featured artwork of the week on reFresh : reLoad ®, the really excellent interactive Art-Screensaver gallery by Dom Murphy. Several of my pieces are in rotation, but being featured feels really special. In order to view more of the work curated by Dom, download the screensaver, install it, and let it randomly display one of the more than 300 pieces of art, design and illustration by probably about 100 artists. If you like a piece on your screen, one click will bring you to the artist’s site.
If you would like to have your work displayed in this context and reach an audience of about 5000 interested users around the world, follow the very simple submission instructions.
It just happened out of nowhere yesterday. I was not able to access the Movable Type system of this site. This had not much to do with the Movable Type system itself, which is truly fantastic, but with the unannounced move of my Host servers from Florida to Texas. My site suddenly had a different IP address and certain components of the site just stopped communicating with each other properly. Everything seemed to be here, the site looked as if it were alive, but I had no way of adding, removing or editing anything on the site. I am not really an expert with the backend of my site and so I was pretty much in trouble. It was Ben Trott, the man who wrote the Movable Type system himself (Mena G. Trott being his partner in crime) who came to my rescue (again.) Ben somehow found the time to dive into my new server and fix all the things that went broken during the move across several states. (Thank you again, Ben!)
I will now need to catch up with some of the posts. We also have some lost comments, which I will now try to fish out from the other server in Florida. Wild virtual adventures.
there are several photography exhibition going on in New York City at all times. And because Aperture celebrates its 50th birthday, there are now fifty more, hidden all around the city. One could pick up a map at Aperture on 23rd street today and participate in a citywide treasure hunt. Most of the visitors at the open house today were more interested in the snacks and the open bar, as well as the band that played. The house was open, but it was not a spacious house, so there was barely room to somehow take a minute with one of the photographs displayed in a salon hanging. And then there were the photographers. Many were very young, very wager to press the shutter and to somehow record their vision right there and then. “Can I take a picture of your neck? Just the front. Very close up.” Click, click, click.
There were at least 5 photographers with cameras in various stages of camouflage (one had put black tape all over her ContaxG2, so it looked like a broken piece of a toy), shooting a passing by homeless lady. Her dogs liked it. She did not. It felt as if the spot in front and inside the Aperture headquarters were a more interesting place than the rest of the city. Just one look over to the empire state building with its random flashs from the observation deck, calmed me down a bit. Film was being exposed somewhere else as well.
I had no snacks, I extended my subscription though, for 50% less than usual. I will hunt for treasures later next week. Oh, there is an article in the Times, of course, about the whole event: A Citywide Treasure Hunt for Photographs With Vision, by Sarah Boxer.
Hello, what is your name? oh, my name is Witold. I am doing this for the first time. Are you doing this for the first time? Oh, I did not think so. And quick, quick, sloow and quick, quick, sloow, and side and and siiide and side and siiide and quick, quick slow, and quick, quick, slow. And switch. Hello, how are you, my name is Witold, what is your name, if I may ask?, oh, and are you doing this for the first time? Me too. Let’s enjoy the mistakes. And quick, quick, sloow and back, back, sloow... and...
It was a very packed room and in the hour spent there I must have “danced” with 20 or so partners, each one of them such completely different personality and age and of course “skill level” as this seems to matter in a dance school. My hands were touched by new perfume last night, a mixture of scents that tend to transfer easier from sweaty palm to sweaty palm. “I should not be leading you, I know. My husband always tells me I should not lead.” “Oh, I can see, this is not really your first lesson, is it?” “Oh, noo, it is definitely not the first.” She was a head taller than her husband, both of them dressed in sheer, tightly fit black clothes. One of the women used the 10 seconds we had to actually talk to tell me that there was a guy somewhere where she did not want to point to, who had absolutely no sense of rhythm. I was amazed and wondered what she would tell the next man about me. He was an obviously professional dancer, maybe in his 50’s, wearing an outfit that must have looked quite stunning when he got it a few decades ago. Some hands were shaking, some hands were shy, some hands were holding on, a set of hands would just not stop stroking my fingers. I am afraid of dancing, I might admit it again. I am afraid of large groups that are asked to perform a certain task in synchronicity. I do not really enjoy latin music very much. I would have rather stayed at home last night and maybe drawn. But as the evening progressed, as the stress levels went down, there were some tiny observations that went beyond the direction placement of feet on the parkett floor. It took a split second to just feel that the other person was somebody I could talk to for hours, or somebody I would run away from for years. I could feel if the other person liked to cook, or only some hot things. I could feel what mistake the other person would make in the next split second, even though she might not have known and even though we saw each other for the very first time. I had the illusion that I understand, I had the illusion of communication. It was a very good, a post modern tribal experience.
That was salsa, what will be next, swing?
I took the bus at first and then walked from Bookstore to bookstore to my own library home. As I was turning the corner of Broadway and 95th street, I saw a high school girl running up 95th Street, towards Amsterdam Avenue. She did not seem very athletic and had no chance to outrun a man who was speeding after her. He was in his 40’s maybe, not too badly dressed, maybe of Indian descent. He was swinging a long metal bar. Obviously a weapon in this case. The girl was quickly caught and he began dragging her towards Broadway. He did not hit her, but his grip must have been so solid that the girl just screamed and kicked. And she was not alone. Her girlfriends caught up with her now. There were three more, all in High School uniforms. The metal bar worked well as a protection from their attacks. The man was swinging it so wildly that there was not a chance for the situation to really change. A seven foot tall boy joined the event. His huge jacket made him look even larger than he was. But he was laughing, he was not screaming like the girls. New Yorkers did not pay attention to the incident. The event here, even though it might sound quite strange, somehow possessed a logic of its own.
“They split open the skull of this boy, with a baseball bat last week.” said the doorman of the building I was standing by. “We had to drag the boy into the lobby, or they would have killed him. When the police car arrived, the guys with the bat just walked away.”
The man let go of the girls. They now screamed even louder, they made some screeching sounds, but there was an undertone of defeat. One of the girls slowly returned to the corner. She kept screaming as if to make sure that no ghosts followed her. She picked up a yellow bag. “They are all crushed!” It was a bag of M&Ms.
I later saw the man again. He is the owner of the newsstand on the corner of 96th street. “The kids always come and I give them candy. That is no problem. But today, this girl came up to me and...” he makes a movement as if he were pulling up his sweater... “ she exposed herself to me like this... what can I do, I know they are minors. I tell her not to do that. So she grabs a bag of candy and all her friends do too. I know they are minors, but you have to teach them a lesson, they can not just come by and start stealing things. This is my life. I got this location last week. I had one at the World Trade Center, but it is not there anymore. So now I am here, and I know that if I let them steal it once, they will come again. We have to teach them a lesson. If we do not teach them a lesson, nobody will.”
I congratulated him on the new location, I welcomed him to the neighborhood. I also paid for my candy bar.
There is a very peculiar imprint on my right underarm this morning. It is a little reddish and even gray. There are two parallel lines that are maybe half an inch apart from each other. I really thought it was nothing, that I must have slept on my arm again, as for decades now, since I was a child. My right hand is actually becoming weaker and weaker maybe because it does not get enough blood at night, when it is trapped under my heavier and heavier body.
I first saw the imprint a few hours ago, when I went to bother my eye. And now the imprint is still there, in a place mainly visible to me, like the signature of a forgotten dream I must have had last night. Maybe?
Many cars must have driven over the little piece of plastic that was out there in the third lane of downtown traffic on Broadway and 95th street. The CapitalOne visa card was there, pigeon down, pressing more and more into the asphalt. The signature was so tiny, shy, it avoided the 19 numbers on the back. I put the card into my back pocket and forgot about it for the entire day. Just called the CapitalOne and the person will get a new card in 24 hours. Why am I writing this down? Would it be more interesting if I wrote about the sniper? ; )
The best moments happen when there is no camera involved. Superior alignments of elements, compositions in movement. Lines in the sky, left there by planes traveling, burning fuel high up, where clouds wait to be made. And then seagulls, just minutes ago. They played, toyed with these lines, crossed them at the right angles at the right times, synchronized, composed... an incredible series of images.
But of course none of this was really planned, or arranged, and none of the actors knew that I, the observer enjoyed the performance. I just happened to be in a place which allowed me to have the illusion of order for a few seconds from my point of view.
It is the same sense of illusion that lets us believe that there is an Ursus Mayor and a belt of hercules. It is the same illusion that lets us believe that there is a “north” star, that the sun travels across the skies. It is the same illusion that lets us see beauty in general. We walk through all of this with a sense of beauty built into us and we organize something that is far bigger, much more wonderful into something we can understand and appreciate.
I saw a galaxy a few days ago. It was a bit like ours, a spiral in slow movement. It happened to be made out of growing hair on the head of the man across from me on the subway. He probably shaved his head because there was this area right above his hair line that must have been impossible to control. What must have been a constant bad hair day for him, was a brief moment of happy alignment of signs for me.
Or there were the ripples in sand, by the shore of lake Tahoe, shaped by water and wind into layers of black and white sand. I then saw the almost same ripples on the palate of a friend’s dog. The best things happen when there is no camera involved. And even better things happen when there is no mind to judge anything that is happening, of course.
Hello, it is not good blogging style to constantly point out changes in the design and to go on and on about what will change in the future and how things will look very different on one’s own site or blog. But it is very tempting, of course to write about all this, because quite some time goes into making things as simple as possible (and not any simpler.) Some good amount of time also goes into making things look good, of course. I am glad that I am not alone working on this here. I would not have been able to construct this site without the help of Tom who sits in London. Really. He helped me with the original templates and now he really helped with the random titles on the blog pages, not just here, when you go into the archives you will see that there also, things have changed. The images in the archives are based on my memories of paintings from the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I dream in black and white, I remember things in black and white, so it only makes sense for the illustrations of the archives to be this blurry memory black and white.
The pull down menues on the right hand side of the page were written by Chris, who has a quite fantastic multi user blog, where I sometimes even contribute. (there is a pixel version of me that contributes.)
When you decide to leave a comment, you will notice that there also things are changing. A little hotel phone from Hotel Atlantic in Montauk is there now, shot 1993 or so, maybe the third time I came to the United States. Somebody told me that they knew that I would move to the States. I could not believe it back then.
There still seems to be a bug in the comment pop up... It is very odd, but the system somehow does not remember the user information. It is very odd, because I have reused the code from the individual archive page, and the “memory” works there. Try it. To leave a comment do not click on the comment link, but on the time when this entry was posted. You will be able leave a comment and to store your information in a cookie. (Remember it.) Very odd.
I think the blog roll is too long. (the list of links on the right hand side of this page.) It is nice that at some point all of these links on the right hand side were very exciting for me, but I must have started losing track after reaching the golden 50 per category. I will need to take some of them and put them back to where they belong, into the links section of this site.
I also will need to assemble a little top 10 list of my favorite posts on this blog. Not all of the posts are essential, but there might have been a few good ones. It would be nice if readers who stumble upon this site had the opportunity to read something good, not just whatever happened on this particular day.
There will also need to be an about me page, I guess, something that explains why certain things are happening, and who the heck I am.
I also am not quite sure how many users come to visit this page anymore. I will probably have to install a little counter again, just to see if I can start writing about more privat episodes, because there are no readers here anymore.
The blog will very soon reach the 900th post. I think I will write past the thousand before the end of the year. There are so many more plans for change and improvement here. But I can not give them all away just now...
Oh, I am working on little Holiday presents. They are supposed to be real, original valuable pieces. I am very serious about them. There are good things on the way here. Please come back from time to time, even if I am not the typical angry writer or the sarcastic writer, or the writer that somehow knows so much about everything. (I am actually not a writer at all.)
I can just observe tiny subtle changes in the world around me and be really amazed by the things I see and hear. I promise to write more about them. Soon.
Every day. I hope for years to come. With always new eyes.
Just tried a little piece of software that was supposed to find words in my phone number. (Our non American readers might like to know that it is possible to dial words with a phone keyboard in America. The numbers from 2-0 have letters assigned to them. This makes it easier to remember certain phone numbers. While it might be not very easy to remember 1-800-225-5288, it is very easy to remember 1800-call-ATT...or 1-800-GO-FEDEX... or 1-800-pick-UPS. Companies in the states use this method to burn their phone numbers into the memories of consumers.)
The software worked at my 1-212-749-9593 number for about 15 minutes and came up with 59(!) such brilliant word combinations like: 21-A-SHY-95-ZE, or 21-BP-49-95-YE. I wonder if it would help anyone to remember my number if I told them that it was 212-SIX-95-WE. Hmm, looks like I will just need to keep telling people my email which is 21ASHY-95-ZE(at)witoldriedel.com... (all easier names were taken.) I actually never answer my phone anyway. Ok, rarely.
a tiny bird just rushed by the window in a straight line, at full speed, like a tiny bullet with wildly moving wings, the neck stretched out to be faster, sooner there, going uptown, alone, certainly on a mission, maybe late for that very particular little bird moment.
As I was clicking my way through the always beautiful lifeuncommon.org (Check out also the Homemade Autumn Desktops), where I came across a link to the Textism site by Dean Allen (Who looks as if he were a young president.) And there, on the homepage, below the fold were two really sweet little images. One image was of Oliver, the other of a quite beautiful little Grocery List. So glad there are these little wonderful corners out there.
every day around this time, a man walks down broadway. He walks all the way from somewhere around 125th street to supposedly 59th street. I can hear him come and I can hear him pass by. His voice gets louder and then softer again. All he screams on top of his lungs is “JESUS” and “HALLELUJAH”, “GLORY”...(repeat.) He is a bit of a reminder of the turning wheel of the day, the week, the month, the years... life, on the Upper West Side and just in general. He is here every single day,mostly dressed in a brown three piece suit. He often wears a hat. I sometimes just want to run out and shake his hand. Sometimes I just want to thank him for passing by.
Somebody at work once made fun of him, using him as a side note of the silliness of Christianity. I could not agree at all. His way of meditative chanting is such a universal expression of any belief, such a powerful way to mark the day. I can imagine that there are more of these messengers around the world. I am glad that he moves through my neighborhood...
The new ZAGAT SURVEY is out for New York City and the top spot on the list is, as last year: Daniel. I can not say too much about the restaurant, I have never been there. I am certain the food, service, decor are excellent. The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (Mental Hygiene... hmm...) took a closer look too... here is the Report. The “violations” might be a sign that we have a really French kitchen here? Isn’t cheese “milk beyond the date of consumption?”
Looks like Jason Kottke is moving to New York. Read kottke.org :: Off to New York and see how many people responded to his announcement of the move. (Ok, I even posted a little coupon for him, but only if he is a nice person. We’ll see.) This city is definitely big enough for the 8 Million of us.
I used to look directly at the sun when I was a little boy. A bright blue disk would burn itself into the center of my sight and remain there for a few minutes. I would sometimes burn several of those and walk into things, half blinded, at my grandparents’ house. At home in Jastrzebie Zdrój, I had a magnifying glass that helped me burn holes into paper. Never burned holes directly into my retina.
I also liked and still like the hundreds of blue spots that fly away, so it seems, over snow. I sometimes just stare at snow for a while and there they are, in various formations. Rubbing the closed eyelids for an extended time can be fun too, as carpets of color dance and glare up between the eyelid and the irritated eyeball. All of these are self inflicted eye injuries. Then there are these other artifacts somehow sticking to my eye-lenses. Tiny particles of dust, maybe scratches, keep flying around the room now, as my eyes are growing older. I do not see them all the time, of course, just sometimes, when I really want to focus on them. Maybe it is time for me to wear those Florida glasses.
Oh, my eyesight is pretty good. I am sly far sighted, but have not required any kind of ocular aide so far. (He knocks on wood.)
Had a little conversation with Rainer Maria Rilke this morning. Well, actually with Malte Laurids Brigge. To be quite honest... it was my own voice, in my head, reading to me, this good 1910 Journal of a Danish Nobleman in Paris. (There seems to be an English translation, called: The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge available at amazon. I had picked up the book as one of the many possible voices currently resting on my bookshelves. Whenever I go to Germany I come back with a suitcase filled with books, but somehow never manage to find the time to read all of the bounty. Now and then there is a little more time flying around and then I grab one of the recommendations made by me or my German friends, now here, ready to be read. Malte Laurids Brigge came to me as a gift. A curator brought if for me from Germany. She liked the book so much, she brought two editions on two separate occasions. And I never had the nerve to even start. I am not very deep into the book, but it is striking how interesting it feels from the perspective of the age of Blogs and online journals. The thoughts captured in the book seem more like prosapoems, very dense (Dichtung) compact little pieces that look like a journal, but are of course something sly different.
there was no ATM service at the Chase branch on 96th street. So not only did I have to walk over to CitiBank on the northeast corner, I also had to now pay $1.50 for it. The man before me just walked away, leaving his information on the screen. He had $1,629.50 in his account. I pressed the cancel button. The ATM treated me like a bank robber, showed me a large graphic of a screw driver on its angled low screen. I waited. “How can I help you?” I glanced into the dark mirror in front of me. There was an inch long dark streak extending from my mouth. I wiped it off with two fingers of my left hand. It was bright red, watery, fresh blood. “How can I help you?” on a blue screen... Maybe not.
there is an old abandoned building on 96th street, right between the back entrance of Chase Manhattan bank, the main entrance of Gristedes and the donation center for the salvation army. This is a bad description for a building of course. The building itself is much more majestic than any one of the entrances. It must be four fs high, has a beautiful facade. It is just this large empty room. It probably used to be a power station, or maybe a pump station, a turn of the century industrial space, 20th century, not the current one. From the window here I can see the back of the building, the roof, the four steps the brick wall makes to finally make believe the building is the size it is. The back of the building is not as spectacular as the front, of course. They rarely are in New York, where every walk in the street is an experience, crafted by generations of architects, among others, of course.
The building is now abandoned, empty, which makes it a stone structure, almost like a little mountain, a hill, for pigeons. There were just two of them showing off their wings on one of the small roofs behind the building’s main facade. It was a bit like a conversation I could see from here. The shadow of the battered flag on the roof of our building gave them a temporary shelter from the sun.
A police car just drove down broadway with howling syrens, at full speed. This sound made a dog bark somewhere in one of the apartments on our floor. A double decker bus just drove by, packed with tourists, the guide explaining the importance of this corner. A barge, heavy and big, like a house itself just moved soundlessly towards the ocean, and a little white plane zipped across the bright blue sky. There are only little whisks of clouds over us today.
The shadow of the flag has now moved on. There is another little plane, louder this time. The pigeons are gone, there are new ones, in their place. The dog is quiet now. The tourists must have reached the park by now. It is time for me to go to the front door and take a look at today’s paper...
the sunrise is such a spectacular event, every single time. Always. Waves of warm color wake up in the city. Right now there are reflections in the windows of a church on the other side of the Hudson. One bright reflection, the sun almost blinding me here, while the rest of the buildings is still in a blueish sleepy state. Here comes the again, birds are getting into their positions to catch the first rays. How can this one window in this one church be pointing straight at me? So strange.
There will be a Panel discussion at The Drawing Center today. Here is the information. If I manage to leave the house in the next two hours, to get breakfast, I will very much try to attend this event. Aaaargh, weekends, with their lazy, cozy mornings, huge weekend editions of the Times (subscribers get the Magazine today too, you know). Oh, and it not even strictly morning anymore. Sleepy.
Panel II ï¿
Saturday, October 19, 4 PM
Gary Garrels (Chair), Chief Curator, Department of Drawings, Museum of Modern Art
Julie Ault, Artist and Independent Curator
Okwui Enwezor, Artistic Director, Documenta 11
Renï¾e Green, Artist, Selections (23) Winter 1983
William Kentridge, Artist, The Drawing Room January 1998
George Negroponte, Artist and Co-Chair, The Drawing Center, Selections (1) Summer 1977
Panel II will address the role of artists and their experimental, process-minded medium of drawing in relation to the institution as an activist organization in todayï¿s art world.
Admission $5/Members free
(thank you for the tip, K)
Tom Flemming, the mastermind behind tomaken in London found some time to help me with this blog. Tom implemented a feature that randomizes the header image of this blog. There are many different headers. All of them come from my collection of 600x250 photographs of which some can be seen in the 600x250 of this site. If you want to see all of the various header photographs, you will need to visit many, many times.
I will write a little more about the 600x250 photographs soon, but for now, explore. I will adjust the collection periodically, of course.
1. How many TVs do you have in your home?
one, I got it for free. : )
2. On average, how much TV do you watch in a week?
one?, ten?... not quite sure.
3. Do you feel that television is bad for young children?
absolutely. I was basically brought up by Polish Television, then German television. I am somehow immune to American TV. “Stay with us, as the story continues, right after these messages...”
A friend of mine only allows her son to watch soccer transmissions, because these are interrupted only once and otherwise create a continuous experience for the boy. Do you think short attention span increased with the increase of advertising prices on television?
4. What TV shows do you absolutely HAVE to watch, and if you miss them, you're heartbroken?
none anymore. I read the times at about 5:30 in the morning, magazines, I google (a lot), I surf so much that my elbows hurt and my wrists are getting bad.
5. If you had the power to create your own television network, what would your line-up look like?
I used to be seriously addicted to Television though. As a little boy and really until I started spending most of my television time with the web. I could be watching television right now, but it looks like I am blogging again. ; )
the lady on the bus is gone. She might return, but she will probably return as a header illustration for this blog. I know that the navigation is gone right now. It will return. I could not look at this drawing anymore. It was time for the drawing to go. The photograph above will be randomized, so it will be possible to see more than just one picture and every visit will feel a tiny bit different. Isn’t this the way it is supposed to be anyway?
Just noticed this morning that a photograph I had taken of Chief, the inaction figure is now featured in a little online gallery on InactionFigure.com. Another tiny happy moment.
Hmm, after several hours here at starbucks, things are turning into a normal world for me again. It seems almost possible to work under these conditions. The connection speed is, as the man who gave me technical support on a napkin put it, “smokin’”. I can not really use my usual email client, but everything else works very well. I brought my own music, so no need to listen to starbudeus here. There is movement in the room, and the productivity might actually be higher among the visitors here than at some “shops” in 1999 (or now.) I have strangers staring over my shoulder, there are some people asleep in the corner. This does feel like a real office. Soon I will be helping with the art direction here, just wait and see.
When I was a little boy, my mother told me not to catch or even touch butterflies. Their wings are made out of millions of little scales that can be just destroyed by the touch of a little boy, of course. So I tried to avoid touching them, of course, not to hurt them. There was this one butterfly I once fouund in the fresh snow in Poland. It was obviously very slow and cold. I took it home as far as I could. I did not quite understand that it would die even when in a warm environment. I just did not want it to be cold. I remember letting it climb onto my jacket sleeve. It then slowly crawled toward my face, which must have been warmer than then sleeve and was, of course also higher than my sleeve. I left it in our building next to a heater. THis was the closest I could offer to a summer.
On the last trip to California, another butterfly incident. The monster durango has a huge water cooler, of course. It is a gigantic dragnet for hundreds of insects. A horrible thing. One of them turned out to be this beautiful large monarch butterfly. It was stuck to the cooler and obviously about to die in a very horrible place. I (for some weird reason) still did not want to touch it, so I took it onto the key chain that came with the car. The animal managed to cling onto it, and so I was able to free it from its dodge durango trap. The butterfly was injured, of course. It posed for the picture below and then flew away, just to be caught by a bird a few seconds later. At least this way it became part of the california food chain.
Please forgive my expression in the picture. I obviously see the injury of the animal and know that it will die very soon.
There is a new little Wallace and Gromit movie at BBC News, and it is cute again. So happy when Nick park makes the shorter kind of movies.
So here I am, in the rain, down the block, in the starbucks on 93rd and Broadway. (Broadway and 93rd.) I am using the free trial of T-Mobile HotSpot, which works quite excellently. I will probably need to put on headphones in a minute or two. Two teachers are discussing their social life next to me and a mother is completely overwhelmed by her little tantrum driven babyboy. She is feeding him another muffin, so there is definitely more to come. Kid is definitely high on sugar and just keeps hitting her, as she keeps asking him what he would like. I am afraid of the time when this little guy will grow up to be a spoiled expecting young man. Scary thought indeed. Oh, and the music is just a mixture of copyright free something loud. Hmm... Maybe it is just time to get a coffee and feel good...
Mother:“Pasta and chicken, pasta and chicken... zzzzzzzz zzz zzzzz”.
At 1/1000 of a second, the shutter of the camera does not manage to synchronize properly so it seems and so a pretty sharp picture has these strange variations in brightness. My assumption is that it is the shutter. The lens was a 300mm Sonnar (built since 1936-today), the camera a PraktinaFX (1954), the film was Kodak Supra 400. Settings f4 / 1/1000s.
This Sunday, October 20th 2002, Stephanie Aaron, of Aaron Design, Inc. will be one of 5,000 cyclists in the 18th Annual MS Bike Tour. Please support her, so she can reach her donation goal. Give something, but give. Click the following link: 2002 MS Bike Tour - General Donation. See, it is very easy. And it helps.
The name of my Teddy bear was just teddy bear (mis). My hard drives used to be named after the rooms I lived in + number... I stopped it after room7 however, because it just did not seem quite right. Then I partitioned my drive and called the partitions after home entertainment systems. Playstation, Xbox, TheCube. That was not the greatest thing either and after I decided to just make them one drive I called the united drive... “united”... how creative...
Now I renamed my drive “daily” and changed the icon to a rice bowl. Still not quite happy. What is the name of your drive? Does your computer have a name? Any stickers on it? Does it have a name?
the scans will be done around 8:30 pm... i will try to post some pictures shortly after, of course... :)
The scans are not ready yet. The pictures are. Just spent the last three hours just going through the prints. Some of the pictures came out not quite bad. Some just touched the limits of my good old praktina and its shutter. The cloth curtains of the shutter just can not quite synchronize at high speeds and so some of the images are ruined technically by variations in brightness. They look like streaks. All in all it seems that this trip was much closer to nature and to animals than I remembered it to be. I will post some of them tomorrow, it looks like there seems to be some intimate relationship between me and the animals i shoot. Some of the images look a bit like staged portraits of domesticated pets, and yet they are taken of completely wild birds and insects, and even some deer. I can already see that much of this autumn will be spent in , or even better in Union Square, where sqaurrels are fearless and encounters are many. I seem much too shy to take good pictures of humans.
a large monarch butterly just flew up to my window here to say hello. it then flew away. Encounters of nature. Everywhere.
The crisp morning was here today. The crisp day is here today. And what am I going to do on such a wonderful autumn day in New York? I will have my mouth looked after with various rotating and not rotating objects. It’s that time of year again. Dentist, dentist, here I come.
The asphalt is damp and the objects that happened to fall onto the sidewalk are surrounded by a dark aura of humidity that does not want to go away. The air is sly opaque and the sky is almost white. Contrasts are much softer from now until that crisp golden cold morning coming up, in just a few weeks from now. It feels so good to be in this city. I love New York in the autumn. It is the best time of the year.
It is always good to be back in New York. This time I would have actually loved to stay in one or two places in California. It was a magical trip. I have not touched a computer or even a phone keypad for a full week. The first thing I managed to do upon my arrival in my email land was to delete my inbox. But not all is lost. Some of the messages were sorted away. If you sent me an email and I have not replied all of last week, then because I was gone. If you sent me an email and I will not reply for the next three days or so then please email me again. Argh...
One thing I did not stop on the trip was blogging. Well it can not be called blogging, of course, but it was some jotting down of those little facts and findings that are just very personal and yet need to be shared. I will now try to catch up with this blog, until the pictures come in. There are many pictures and I will not say how many, because chances are that none of them came out. Oh, and this site needs some redesign. I hear you, I hear you. I can not look at the back of the head of this woman on the right hand side forever. So here we go. The posts I will type up now will appear below this one, because they were written prior to this one. (Not really very complicated...)
The skunk was gone by breakfast time, of course. The café by the harbor turned out to have some of the most fantastic breakfast. It could be that I was hungry like a lumberjack, of course, after my little excursion around the bay in the morning. As I was finishing my dish, the sky over the bay became a bit too busy to ignore. There were maybe five pelikans that flew over the bay in circles it seemed. The number of birds increased drastically from minute to minute though. I ran out of the restaurant towards the bay just to see the most spectacular feeding frenzy all over the Eureka bay. It was like a scene from birds (which was shot at Bodega Bay, a few hours from here.) There were about 30 or maybe even 50 or so pelikans circling over the bay just to dive from the sky to grab a fish every few seconds or so. There were also some other birds, but they were more of the quiet observers in this very well organized hunt. I was not quite sure how it was possible that so much fish was accumulated in this bay, right by the boardwalk, basically in the middle of this little city. I tried to take some pictures of the birds, but it was really impossible. They are such great air acrobats and they were working for their breakfast too close to me to be able to get any of them. I must have shot two rolls of sky with some blurry flying animals in them. The hunt was over as suddenly as it began. And with the end of the hunt, as the birds began to return their homes across the bay, came the answer to the question how the birds could have managed to attract such a large swarm of fish. In several corners of the bay surfaced the actual hunters. There must have been 7 or more seals peaking out of the water now. They seemed to be almost smiling, or changing their tricots after a successful game. This was a good hunt. We had just witnessed the above water portion of it. It was time to leave Eureka and find the good old trees. We had to find them and look at them before sundown. There are no s in forests here. So we had to rush.
I woke up hours before sunrise. Much too early to do anything really. It was somewhere around 5AM. I was ready and willing and definitely not able to take pictures in old Eureka. I was the only car in the streets, I was the only parked car by the water, I was the only man walking the empty streets, the only man with a big tripod, confused, not knowing much about this old little city, hours, hours before any natural allowed to do anything. It was so dark that the only reading I could get out of my -meter was an annoying E, even at time settings of 30 minutes. It was very quiet and pretty cold in this little victorian wood and gold-rush city. Eureka is very charming and some buildings are very lovingly restored. It is certainly not a 24 hour place though. I looked into the shop windows. There was a little bookstore on F Street and 2nd?, or 3rd? In the window a paper from 1991. War on Iraq. Next to it a declaration by the UN, a historical document. A quiet commentary on the horrible situation we are in now. So there was intelligent life out here. Oh, and then there was the skunk. On a lot right next to the harbor was his home. He lived in this pipe which was supposed to become a street in the upcoming harbor rejuvenation/condominium project. Right now the entire block belonged to the little skunk. He saw me. We looked at each other for a little while. It was too dark for me to do anything with my camera. I said hello. The skunk went back to checking the place for food and to rubbing himself against the grass, probably to mark the territory. The territory consisted of the mentioned lamp pole, an anker, some other large marine object and really not much more. This was prime real estate, across the street from the town café, and really a jump away from the boardwalk. I walked towards the boardwalk again. A heron whom I had seen before must have confused me with a hunter. There was a lot of noise as the bird flew away, screaming over the fishermen boars in the port. I should have just waited a little longer. The sun did not even announce its arrival. I was really hours off. I got back into the car. Driving around the empty streets seemed a little bit more natural than walking with the tripod and a 300mm lens. I found a street that led to the carson mansion, a building straight from the fantasy-world of a comic artist. Take a look. The sun decided to finally arrive. It rose somehow very slowly and somehow behind the mansion, which does not look half as attractive facing away from the city. So the pictures I took here will probably be pretty bad. I noticed a bridge leading to an island that actually was the harbor of Eureka. It did not take a long time for me to be on that bridge, in the middle of a beautiful bay, driving into the little harbor, where fishermen (amateur fishermen) were boarding somebody else’s ships. There was also a wildlife preservation area with a tired pelikan and some other water walkers. The backdrop of the bay was a huge factory which happened to produce really unhealthy looking clouds. I decided to drive all around the bay. There were two more interesting bridges I had to cross to find myself on the other side, on the shore where the mansions were groups of huddled trailers. This was probably not Eureka anymore. The money did not seem to radiate this far. I was in the middle of a not so wealthy place. All looked so incredibly peaceful at 7am on a Sunday morning. There were more crossings over the beautiful waters of the bay. The NPR reception was quite good here, in the morning, in the mist. One of the reports was from Brasil. The reporter was telling the horrible story how streets through the rain-forest are the main cause of evil. The streets make it possible for new settlers to enter the area and it is the often illegal streets that destroy so much the nature that belongs to all of us. These greedy poor people burn down portions of the jungle to plant crops. They are not even good at it. So the logging companies end up using the roads to get the precious old trees out of the so sensitive rain forest. It was somehow incredibly ironic that I was here in a monstrous all wheeler driving down a 6 lane highway through a mist that is the ideal nourishment for some of the oldest trees on the planet, towards a city that made its money by selling the now gone forest around it to San Francisco. Much of San Francisco is built with the wood that used to be here, until the street was built, until greedy people started looking for gold, until basically exactly the situation happened that was now being presented to me as an environmental catastrophe, not as the discovery of “abundant natural resources”. History tends to be written by winners.
I was really looking forward to seeing the large and untouched trees this afternoon. There was so far not a single sequoia in sight. I arrived in a well lit, cute Eureka. It was time for breakfast.
The Historic Eureka Inn. Sir Winston Churchill stayed here as did president Hoover, Ford and Reagan. Truman Capote, J.D. Rockefeller Jr. and Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., and Laurel and Hardy stayed here too. And now so did we. There is a big beautiful fireplace in the lobby, the folks in the lobby were very eager to talk to strangers. Live music was a bit scary (very scary) but it was there. Eureka in is a very charming place. It can be recommended. It feels freshly renovated in the 30’s and then again in the 60’s and maybe a tiny portion of it in the 90’s but not enough to show. All a good thing. The style feels like a good backdrop for any adventure. It is a 1922 frame house hotel, seemingly entirely made out of redwood.
The ride to Eureka was quite magical at first and then later almost made me throw up as driving along the incredibly winding last portion of Route 1 through the woods at night might just do that. I felt very much like in the astronaut trainings camp. Acceleration, deceleration, 90? curves, 180? curves, 35Mph curves, 5Mph curves. Steep inclines, steep declines. All in a huge monster 4x4, a dodge durango that looks like a comfortable but a little ugly sneaker with a chrome nose. The suspension on this thing makes even the smoothest road feel a bit off-road. Who knows how it will feel out there in the wilderness. I kept the two wheel drive option on for now. Hope to save some fuel this way. Not quite sure saving fuel and Dodge Durango fit into one sentence though. The vehicle is huge. There is room for 7 adults. This was the only 4x4 the rental place had. We did not want to risk being stuck in the red woods in a compact, so here we go, monster-trucking through Northern California.
The ride on Highway 1 along the Pacific coast is one ofthe most beautiful rides life has to offer. Empty beaches, high cliffs, rocks out in the ocean and even in the middle of the beaches. None of this can really be captured on film anyway. So there will be no pictures. (Just really incredible memories.) I am really ready for the red woods now.
Hilton Oakland Airport. There is a photocopy of an article with a picture of Tom Hanks in the lobby here. Tom used to work here as a bell boy. He probably worked here during the day shift though. The young gentleman at the nightshift desk has some great prerecorded phrases though, I can almost see his instructor teaching him these nice little chunks of happiness. Oh, I feel so cozy and at home when he says: “Mr. Riedel?” he looks at me, as if there were anybody else there who could be a Mr. anything in the lobby of this Hilton hotel at 1AM. “Welcome back, Mr. Riedel”. (Welcome back? This is the very first time in my life that I have ever been to a Hilton hotel. We are here because the f arriving at this early hour plus hotel was still cheaper than any other f arriving at any other hour.) The young man behind the desk notices that he has to enter me into the database... “It is your first stay with us?... Welcome to our property, Mr. Riedel.” I am actually glad he learned these phrases so well. I feel like I had a great branded experience.
The room is quite nice. There is no remote for the TV, however a Nintendo 64 joystick invites to a happy jumpy game of Super Mario 64 for $7 at 2 in the morning. There is also a keyboard which could unleash the power of the internet for me, at a similar rate. I make the harsh decision to stay away from computers, to not seek out cybercafes and to not even use the phone for a week. My interface will be camera, people, car, trees. Maybe not in this order and maybe not a complete list, but a good to exclude computers for now.
I am certainly not ready for another f. The American Airlines Experience on this “domestic” (6:30 hours) f was quite sad. “Turkey and cheese, turkey and cheese?” A passenger had the guts to ask for an alternative to “Turkey and cheese”. The stewardess actually laughed. “Options” (The smile was still on her face.) “No.” (Smile completely gone. The turkey and cheese experience was a masterpiece by Michael Angelo (Was Leonardo our pilot?) call 1-877-Italian. A true masterpiece of processed food.
The copilot was about 19 years old. He was very excited to announce that we should remain seated until we pull up to the terminal. This is something a stewardess usually announces, but they might have been asleep.
Entertainment was Everybody loves Raymond and other CBS gems. All without sound. Sound was $5 extra. I opted for the free sleep. It was well deserved after the entire check in experience.
I had the tripod checked in separately, as it was a sort of a weapon. It got its own large one size box. It took a while to find somebody in the terminal who knew how to operate a tape dispenser. He then managed to tie the box in a way that it had a very new shape and so that one of the flaps covered the destination sticker. Most of the security personell made me sing the first line of Beck’s loser in my head. It was all so sad. I felt almost challenged to try out a prank. I could have made a knife out of pizza or something. Pizza went through security unchecked. My buckle and my shoes were very well inspected however. The buckle to a degree that made me think that this guy was truly enjoying his job. All rolls of film were hand checked.
The entire terminal 9 had the charm of an abandoned train station. The glamour of air travel seems definitely gone now. American Airlines have been removing seats from their planes. They might as well keep doing that.
The air by the Oakland Airport seems fresher than the air in the deepest depths of the rambles in .
I have not taken a single picture yet, but I have measured the subtle changes of , using the new spot meter.
The sun just decided to rise over California (there is a 3 hour delay to New York). Today will be an 8 hour drive to Eureka in Northern California. We will have to pick up the car too, of course. Life is beautiful.
Dear friends, dear visitors, hi,
My writing on this blog will now pause. I am going to be away from the computer for about 7 days. We will be taking new pictures of old trees in the Redwood National and State Parks. Please take this opportunity to leave any comments here. I will not check them for a week, so make it a good surprise.
You can also visit other areas of this site. Please comment. It helps me to stay real.
If leaving comments is boring, or if you would like to explore other blogs I read, please follow the links on my blog roll, which is on the right hand side. Just click on one of the “better blogs” links.
Better Exprets will bring you into to sites I find very interesting.
O.K. Stay out of trouble. Inspire someone. Help someone. Feel free to perform random acts of kindness. (At least one a day.)
See you in about a week from now. Here?... Bye...
Somebody is singing under the shower. Really loudly and really badly. Why not keep this one in mind for posterity?
When will there be the first blogs from under the shower? When will we be able to blog without a perceivable computer?
1. What size shoe do you wear?
Hmm, oddly enough, I am not even sure. I think it is 43? Which is 9, which is 10.5, depending where I am in this world. My current size is 10.5?, but i would not bet my feet on it.
2. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Hmm, looks like I have more computers than pairs of shoes? I think I have about seven pairs of shoes. Ok, maybe 9. (I will count later, ok?)
3. What type of shoe do you prefer (boots, sneakers, pumps, etc.)?
it really depends. I definitely like simple and classic shoes every day, but I tend to wear sneakers on weekends. Nothing beats great specialized boots during the harsh New York winters. I do not wear sandals. My feet are just too funny for those.
4. Describe your favorite pair of shoes. Why are they your favorite?
It is probably this pair of campers at this time. They are Camper Pelotas Napa Negro (16390), the wide kind. I changed the shoe laces on them, so they are not quite as flashy as the original design. They look a little funny, almost as if had gotten them by prescription. They are incredibly comfortable. These Spanish shoes are basically sneakers that look like classic black leather shoes that look like funny clown shoes. How is that for a description?
5. What's the most you've spent on one pair of shoes?
I probably spent more on a pair of shoes at some other occasion, but the most expensive pair of shoes felt to be the these running shoes I got in high school back in Germany. Everybody was wearing Air Jordans then, it was odd how our entire school began to abandon adidas shoes to wear nike.
I was not ready to wear what everybody else was wearing, and these air jordans just really did not look right, so I went for these very specialized running shoes. (Nike Terra (Don’t laugh, I got them in 1982)) They must have been the est piece of running equipment I had ever seen. It was almost as if I had to tie them down, so they would not fly away. This ness came at a price. I do not remember how much they were, I just remember them being very expensive, or at least incredibly expensive for a high school student. It turns out that they are one of the worst running shoes money can buy, because they offer no ancle support whatsoever. I am actually quite glad that I am not a passionate runner. I would have probably injured myself in them.
My salesguy in the filmdepartment of B&H had his hair shaven only on top of his head. His beard was quite substantial. I was buying some film again. Hmm. Not easy.
Witold: I don’t think I will be able to tell anyone how much this film is.
Salesman: At least the business is good.
Witold: Hmm, the business is good?
Salesman: Yes, I mean you are making some money with this film. How is business, good?
Witold: Oh, business. Yes, it is quite good. Quite good.
Salesman: Anything else?
Witold: I think that’s it.
Looking at the Apple - Switch - Ads one might ask oneself if these people are actually real. (Sorry for this convoluted grammar.) Turns out that Dr. Mark Gibson is from Brooklyn and that his practice is a real one. They have a website, of course, take a look at Animal Kind. Thank you for this link, K.
Today and tomorrow, you will not have to leave any personal information to comment on this blog. So feel free to comment on anything, in any way, tell it like it is, do the right thing. (I will probably still remove death threats and the like, but otherwise. Go ahead, speak up, door is open!)
You can even start with this post.
Ground Zero: 6 New Drawing Boards is the title of today’s comment by Herbert Muschamp, the Architectual critic of the New York Times. And what an enjoyable article it is. Muschamp has a very strong opinion about the six new candidates chosen by the Lower Manhattan Develoopment Corporation for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Listening to the city was one thing, now the city will be shown six proposals that will come from six established Architectual firms. The results should be very interesting. The Firms chosen are: (1) Greg Lynn, Ben van Berkel of UN STUDIO and Reiser Umemoto, (2) Lord Foster and Partners, (3) Richard Meier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey and Steven Holl, (4) Frederic Schwartz and Rafael Vińoly, (5) SOM (Their new site is a rollercoaster experience and a little scary) and Daniel Libeskind (the navigation of his site fills me with fear as well.)
Hmm, what was supposed to be one of three posts about architectual development in New York City today, just gave me a headache.