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January 31, 2003

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January 31, 2003
Upup and away...

There was a line in front of Sapporo and I really did not have much time, so I thought that it might be just nice to go across the street and have some fish on this foggy, cool friday. Sushiden always has tasteful pieces of art in their window, so I imagined that the food could possibly be delicious. Once I found my way to the upstairs restaurant I was surprised how tiny it was, at least from what I saw. There were maybe 5 tables, all packed with sophisticated young urban professionals (oh boy). The sushi bar was the same, a picture that felt like 1988. Many Manhattanites networking and enjoying their lunch break. I would have maybe waited for the "few minutes" I was told it would take to get me a seat, but then a sharply dressed highly caffeinated bolding guy asked me if I was indeed waiting for the coat check. I had to leave. I will go back, of course, just maybe in a quiet moment, maybe in the summer. When not all of these people are there, at the same time.
I like the streets of New York when the sidewalks are wet like today. New Yorkers do not look up when walking down the streets and avenues, so this is a good opportunity for them to see the city reflected in the water on the ground. I do look up. I do not think I will ever stop looking up.
Just sometimes one can become a little dizzy doing so.

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January 31, 2003
Subway series 14-15

Calling the books strictly Subway sketchbooks is probably a bit misleading. I do not only use them in the subway, of course. Sometimes the books make it to high floors and places that are nothing like the New York City Subway system. This drawing happened in the back room of the Marian Goodman Gallery. There were these curtains in the windows and I just snuck behind one of them and found it humorous how these elegant town houses on 58th street were now very much dwarfed by whatever had been built on 57th Street. It is a New York Classic. Elaborate houses that might have had a view of some sort are now condemned to face some simple back facade. Oh well, 58th Street is not bad, of course. There are real horror stories (this one is unfortunately completely true.) of people having river views and then some skyscraper being built just (3!) inches away from their windows. Frightening, isn’t it?
The buildings on 58th Street look like good old friends. I also have the feeling that they are going to stay on that block for a little while. Enough money is being poured onto them to keep them happy even in a street that is just a block away, from the most expensive mile in the world.

January 30, 2003

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January 30, 2003
The F train man.

The homeless man on the F train going from Brooklyn to Queens was wearing a hat that had the train name on it. (F) from Brooklyn to Queens. Official MTA embroidery. He announced his line, he was homeless and hungry, asked for anything, money or food. I happened to have a banana in my pocket. He took it and thanked me by saying that this would cover his potassium for the day. He also wished me to get home safely. I replied with a reflex of a "you too..." and noticed after a split second that I was sitting in his home, maybe. He was in control of the situation. He was the man, on the train, his train. We were his, he was not ours.
The lady next to me gave him a dollar bill.

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January 30, 2003
Subway Sketchbooks 3

Pages 12-13 from the November/December mini book. Enjoy.
The drawing on the right hand side is a bit of an accident. On the original page there is also the phone number of somebody I was meeting for a conversation about a possible project that day. (I obviously removed the phone number and the name and the name and address of the ad agency.)
I ended up taking the offer from a larger place, a different project for a different client. When I was in the subway that day though, I must have just had the drawing on the left, with which I was pretty happy, and then there was just this empty page onto which I had written the address. So I drew the door between cars, I started something somehow jotting down the reflection in the polished steel inside of the Number 3 train. It is a very short ride, just two stops to Times Square, the station where I had to leave the car. I never went back to that drawing. I should have probably not even started.
But the cables on the ceiling on the left hand side are wild. And there are two kids watching the tracks. Oh well. : )

January 29, 2003

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January 29, 2003
I am fine

The doctor was very nice. It was one of those really happy visits one would see on television when the show is about this really caring doctor. He asked the right questions, was honest with me, did nothing painful just for fun. It was good.
And he gave me options. I could either do nothing, which is always a great option. I could do some tiny procedure involving needles, or I could go through some major surgery which would put me in a cast for two weeks.
I opted for option number one. So I have a silly bump on my right wrist now and I might not be able to be part of the olympic gymnastic team. (With 6.3, or 190cm, that was out of the question anyway.)
The cracking sound the wrist makes? Well, it seems to be just a side effect of the silly bump. We looked at X-rays of my wrist and it looked like any other wrist to me.
The tingling and numb feeling in the fingers? That is just because I spend too much time typing. Oh well, we somehow knew that.
So I will just keep wearing my special brace to bed, will try to keep my elbow straight while asleep, and in no time I will be 80 and have some real health problems to worry about.


Yes, there is a medical term for the "silly bump". (I actually was right on target when doctor Google and I did some self diagnosis.) But why call it by some serious name when after all it is just a silly, sometimes pain causing bump.

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January 29, 2003
Subway Sketchbooks 2

As promised, here is the second installment of the pages from my little November Subway Sketchbook. I will post just one spread (2 pages) at a time starting tomorrow, but today, just to keep the get us going, six more pages, (three spreads.)
Please stand clear the closing doors.

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January 29, 2003
Stripey, camera, action!

It is really fantastic to see a community spirit here on the site. And it is also amazing (though not surprising,) that readers of this daily notepad seem to be incredibly creative people. You, yes you. Thank you for surfing by with your Macintoshes and Windows machines, with your Internet Explorers and Safaris from all over the world. (Can the person who surfed here via ARPANET please stand up?)
Thank you so much for sending in your desktops and little pictures of stripey the icon-sock-dog. Most of the pictures were posted in the comment section of this entry,and Shauna suggested that Victor Stripey Hugo might deserve his own blog, just like Hugo, the ferret.
I am not sure I am as good with setting up blogs as Anna.
The reason for this entry are two animations I received today, both featuring Stripey and not posted in the comments. First, let’s dim the s as we take a look at a little dock action filmed by Deane: Here we go. A really cute animation, I think. I have no idea how he filmed such an intimare moment of Stripey the dog in his dock. I watched the movie many, many times today. (Even though I have my own stripey in my own dock.)
This evening a simply fantastic Stripey movie arrived here. I laughed out loud when I saw it. It is a masterpiece. Rob Tourtelot is the creator and once you’ll see the little flash you will understand why this man is one of the most sought after flash experts in New York. (He is more than just that, but that's more than fits into a post.) Take a look at this secretly filmed glimpse at Stripey, when he felt unobserved. Here we go. Fantastic, isn’t it?
Thank you so much for all of the pictures and animations and emails. These have been very happy days. Thank you. : )

January 28, 2003

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January 28, 2003
Subway sketchbooks

Sorry for repeating myself, but my wrist is not doing so well. It is my right wrist, I am left handed, so it could be much worse, I guess. Drawing is no problem, photoshop is a bit painful, typing is not very pleasant.
So what can I do? I tried to write a little less, but then I got carried away and just wrote and wrote and wrote. So what about drawings...
Remember May last year?, or was it April, when I used Movable Type, and thus this blog to upload the little aero drawings in the catalogue section? I would post a picture a day for weeks. It was fun and it was not too self centered, I think. (I am not a friend of pure meme blogs I guess.)
So in order to expand the catalogue, and also in order to write a little less and still show more...
I will post my little Subway Sketchbooks. They are small moleskine sketchbooks and I use them to draw on the subway, mostly, every day. You will see that the lines are shaky and some shapes out of shape. This is not because I am completely losing control of the pen, but because of the movement of the train, or because I was standing while drawing, or because I was standing in a moving train while drawing sometimes in a packed train.
The first book to be displayed here, page by page is the one from November 2002. I will post 2 pages per day, there are about 76 pages with drawings... that would make 38 days. Some pages are just not as exciting as others (some are even empty!), and we have to get this thing going, so I will post 6 pages tonight. This is a bit of a visual adventure. I do not draw people on the subway. Expect some strange silly things, even though the whole trip starts off quite relaxed. So, "please step into the car, use all available doors, and... Please stand clear the closing doors! Next Stop, my private books you were not supposed to see."
(Oh, and I am working on more icons... they do not hurt and are great fun for everyone.)

January 27, 2003

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January 27, 2003
The Sock dog and you.

Many readers of this blog really seem to like Victor Stripey Hugo (He is the one with "witold" in the picture. He is a sock dog, he is a one of a kind guy, hand made by the incredibly talented Anna of Absolutely-vile.com. So while I can not quite share the actual toy with you. (VSH is busy protecting the house.) I can still share images or maybe some tiny little pictures for your desktop. So here we go, I made two little icons of Stripey for you, dear reader. You can download them and use them for your private icon needs. They are a gift for you. They are not for sale. They are not to be used commercially.
I can not guarantee they will look good on your desktop. If they do, please send links to screenshots. If they do not, please let me know. I am not sure I will be able to fix anything, but I could try.
The icons work probably best in Mac OS X. The largest picture below is the actual size of the actual icons. If you do not have the newest Macintosh operating system, you can still use the icons. You will only get to see the tiny size though. (Until you upgrade or Switch.)
I also made versions for Windows™XP®. I do not have this operating system here, so I have no idea what the little sock dog will look like on your PC™®. (Let me know...)
Again. I am not responsible if you decide to delete all files on your hard drive to make room for the dog. I also can not take any responsibility if the dog bites or pees or does other funny things (no, wait, he will not, he is a sock dog turned into two little icons). He is a virus free animal (as long as you get him here). He was originally hand made by Anna of absolutely-vile.com and then drawn for you on my little PowerBook by me.
Macintosh users: Sitting Stripey or Standing Stripey.
Windows users: Sitting Stripey or Standing Stripey.
If you would like to know how to use the icons on windows and or would like to get more icons, visit dotico.com, I think it is a division of The Iconfactory, one of the greatest sites for mac users. So if you are a mac user, make sure to visit The Iconfactory. (They are also the makers of iconbuilder pro, the filter used to turn Stripey into a desktop icon. I could just go on and on about The Iconfactory, but you probably are not even reading anymore, but playing with your sock dog. I am happy for you.
Enjoy your own desk top sock dog. Have a great week.

January 26, 2003

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January 26, 2003
Chewing gum...

My paper this morning did not contain the main section. I got the international business section twice, and the real estate section as well. I also got two copies of "The City" the section about, well, the city... The main article here is called Out, Damned Spot. Deborah Stead found some fascinating facts about the beginnings and the endings of Chewing Gum. Of course all of it is somehow New York related. After all, Chewing Gum, as we know it, was invented here by Thomas Adams. (He received a patent for it on February 14th 1871). The very first Chewing Gum Factory was in lower Manhattan on Vesey Street (1876). The packages sold back then contained 200 (!) pieces and featured an illustration of the area near City Hall and the slogan: "Adams’ New York Chewing Gum, Snapping and Stretching." They cleverly left out the "Sticky, and will never get out of your hair, or the pavement" part. New York these days is completely covered in silver dollar sized black spots (some are pink, but this only means that they are less than 24 hours old). I actually use the density of the spots on the platform in the subway station here, to gauge where the doors of the Subway car will be. Some of the spots change their shape over time, like in the pedestrian tunnel between the 2 and 3 trains and the L and the F train on 14th street. The dots there are all about 4 inches long because of the decline and the heavy foot traffic.
There are places in New York City where the black spots are not welcome, of course. Grand Central Station with its marble floors is one of them. I have seen the brave men with their razor blade scrapers working away at the dried Double Mints and the Juicy Fruits. A tough job.


Do you remember your very first chewing gum? I think my very first gum was called Donald Duck. It was a brand sometimes available in Poland in the 70’s, as far as I remember. It contained little picture stories (4 panels or so) with Disney characters. Exciting stuff. The actual gum and the packaging were pretty much like the American Bazooka bubble gum.
We would later also buy chewing gum in Hungary. That would be a journey equivalent to the f to Australia, just to get some round sugary chewing gum. My first Wrigley Spearmint came from a Pewex store. These were shops in Poland where no Polish currency was accepted, only Dollars and Deutsche Mark. Fascinating, isn’t it? My mother bought me a 5 pack of gum in Kraków. I could not figure out why there was a message on each one of the sticks suggesting that we should love our environment. I spent days chewing every one of the sticks. (I am serious, I would save them over night, next to my bed.)
I did not try the trick some children in my school showed off proudly. It was the great hit in second grade to make brightly colored chewing gum. They would break a colored pencil and chew the inside with the chewing gum. This did not look healthy even then. (I also did not eat erasers as some kids did.)
It happened from time to time that the chewing gum would just disintegrate in my mouth. It would not be chewable at all, just turn into this mixture of tiny chewing gum particles what I then had to spit out. I just recently was told that this was a very clear indicator of extreme dehydration. Interesting.
The strangest "chewing gum" I ever had was probably this strange thing a friend’s made for us when we were camping in the woods in southern Poland. He somehow roasted tree sap for us and then gave us this weird looking blackish gook on a stick. It was supposed to be this really wonderful chewing gum. All I can remember is spitting it right out behind the next tree.
I know this is in no way related to the article about Chewing Gum in New York City. Did I mention that Chris posted a link to the information about Chewing Gum and New York on his site back in May? Take a look: chrisdiclerico.com
So what is this Superbowl about?

January 25, 2003

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January 25, 2003
Fun Stamp-ede

Now that I posted a picture of myself with my sock dog, I might as well admit to another thing. I am... a Stamp Collector. I know, I know, we all are some sort of stamp collectors at some point in out lives. I do not remember not having a stamp album. I collected mainly Polish and Russian stamps, then exchanged large portions of my collection for these three nice large stamps from Panama. But that was then, that was in Poland I was 9. Now I am 33 and so things should be different. Shouldn’t they? I collect stamps. I collect mainly British stamps. I subscribe to British Stamps. I collect three of each of British Stamps. I get all of the First day stamps as they are published. The hand stamp on them is the one based on the significance of this particular stamp, I get the presentation packs, which are mint issues of the same post mark with a brief description of the story behind the whole event. And then at the end of the year I order the entire collection for the year, in a special bound book, it is a limited edition item, and it contains the story behind the design of every stamp issued by the Royal Mail in this particular year. It is also at the end of the year when I seek out all the issues which were never really available to the public and get them as well. Oh and on top of that, I also collect the PNCs, the Phillatellic-Numismatic-Covers, which are releases of British Stamps combined with the releases of either special edition Coins or Bills. I missed a special edition gold coin last year, because some Japanese collector got the last one before I could order it, (5 minutes before me!) and I was actually upset to not have spent some silly amount on a tiny coin with the picture of Queen Victoria on it... You get the idea. It might look like some sort of condition I have.
I also buy the entire collection of commemorative American Stamps and the Canadian Stamps. These I do not collect as compulsively though, I do not seek out all special editions.
Is my British Stamp Collection worth something? It definitely is to me. And it is really not about the monetary value here. I collect the stamps because of the amazing creativity and the love that is put into every single one of them. Especially the British Stamps are just a pure joy when it comes to that. I am not going to write about some highs of my collection, but the reason why I am writing this post because I am excited (stamps+upcoming+excited=odd?) about three upcoming Stamp releases. I am not sure if I can find pictures of them anywhere (actually they are not available anywhere yet), but they will be just so cute and funny that I just had to write about them. The first release will be called "The secret of Life" and it will be a series of 5 stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix by Francis Crick and James Watson in 1953. The stamps contain five illustrations by Peter Brookes, political cartoonist for The Times. The stamps are hilarious. I really laughed. The first one is called "The End of the Beginning" and it shows two incredibly joyful scientists putting the last puzzle piece into a large puzzle that is shaped like a gigantic... puzzle piece. (Brilliant!)
The "Comparative Genetics" stamp shows a funny scientist behind the bars of a cage. In the foreground is an ape that looks pretty much exactly like the scientist. Another stamp "Genome Genetic Engineering" shows a whole party of scientists, all engaged in very serious conversations... one has a sheep head, another one is a toad, a third one a crocodile. Wonderful stuff.
The second release I am looking forward to are truly interactive stamps. The series is called "Fun Fruit and Veg." Ten self adhesive stamps with photographs of fruit and vegetables breaking out of the constrains of the stamp square would be pretty cute in itself. The series comes with a sheet of 76 little stickers however, which allow to personalize each one of the stamps... A mailable game of Mr. Potato head. (the presentation pack contains a story by the illustrator Jason Ford: "Albert Aubergine and his intrepid gang." It is about the vegetables disguising to escape from supermarket shelves. Yeah!)
The third release I am looking forward to is so simple and yet so brilliant! The series of six stamps is called "occasions" and these stamps are the very first Multiple Choice stamps ever. Yes, that’s right. The stamps contain each three options that can be checked to bring a message across before the recipient even opens the envelope.

[ ] Goldstar, [ ] See me, [ ] Playtime
[ ] I (heart) you, [ ] XXXX, [ ] S.W.A.L.K. (what does that mean?)
[ ] Angel, [ ] Poppet, [ ] Little Terror (Poppet!)
[ ] Yes, [ ] No, [ ] Maybe
[ ] Oops!, [ ] Sorry, [ ] Will try harder
[ ] I did it!, [ ] You did it!, [ ] We did it!

How fantastic is that. The presentation pack was written and illustrated by the incredibly funny Steven Appleby, who also designed the First Day handstamps. (One says : "um... er..." and the other one : "I can’t decide") Steven Appleby apparently has a Sunday comic strip in The Guardian, Who knew. Awesome.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention. (To find out more about past and future issues of British Stamps, visit RoyalMail.com, yeah, it is a .com.

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January 25, 2003
Like, totally Leonardo...

I actually wanted to write an elaborate introduction to Holland Cotter’s article about the Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman Exhibition at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I just do not even know where to start about this article. The exhibition is certainly an event of a lifetime. I want to see it as often as only possible and I know that many people will. Why would the article have such a strange tone to it though? The language used by Mr. Cotter somehow overpowers what he would like to tell us, it seems. The entire article reads like the review of a garden party or maybe some casual conversation in a hip bar. Why is that? Is this article written like this on purpose, to attract the casual shopper, somebody who is just walking by the museum and would like to step in and have a look at some “very weird” and yet “huge” drawings by this “guy”? And then ask themselves “what planet was this guy from?”
I understand that articles written in a style of a dying art historian might not be the most inviting thing that fits to print, but to just send a writer into an exhibition and let him be seemingly impressed by the color of the walls and like this totally weird stuff, rather than by the work by Leonardo seems like a serious departure. Or am I just getting too old for this? Language evolves and it gains some ground in some areas and transforms some ground in others. Leonardo would have had his fun reading the article, I am sure. Finally somebody who sees that he did not only work a lot, no he made “studies galore”, he did not really try to grasp the proportions of a body, he drew “sexy models”. Not sure he would know what “telephone pad doodles” are, but that is quite O.K. (Because there was no O.K. before 1924.) Holland Cotter stopped short of putting emoticons in his article, but otherwise, the whole thing reads more like a blog and less like an art review article in a newspaper that claims to “look deeper.”
So what am I trying to say here? You should read the article, it is, like, totally fresh or something. And it will make you smile. Leonardo: The Eye, the Hand, the Mind. I think I will now look for Holland Cotter’s blog and ask him to write something about my stuff here. I am digging the way he writes more and more. Like, totally.

January 24, 2003

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January 24, 2003

It is cold in New York this morning. I alternated my eyes to prevent them from freezing while walking from 7th avenue to the 8th. One block. I seemed to be the only person out there. I was not, of course, but when it gets really cold, the body just pulls everything back and tries to keep a warm core.
It took a half hour or so for me to realize that I was in the office and that I should probably start taking off my jackets.
Yes, I am wearing layers. Even now. Layers of gloves, layers of jackets...
Slowly warming up. Very slowly.
Let's not even talk about the barely working heat in my apartment.


January 23, 2003

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January 23, 2003
Sweet 90 Seconds.

Is anybody keeping track of bloggers who give up so early in the process that their sites become "monuments of 3 minutes" rather than archives of enjoyed years?
How crazy is CrazyJane?
I think, pretty crazy. She is probably still waiting for us to tell her how to make her site "as cool as other people's." Had she only left us an email address, we could try to tell her. Just keep writing, crazyjane! 90 seconds sometimes just are not enough.

January 22, 2003

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January 22, 2003
The Sockdog and me.

The dog arrived here last Saturday. He is the most adorable little guy. He has so much personality and joy in his little sock belly. Anna of absolutely-vile.com made the little dog as a thank you for me being one of the friends of her pet, Hugo, the ferret. Hugo was very sick and we all contributed to pay for his expensive operation. Hugo is doing much better now. You can read all about it on his site.
I have not met Hugo, nor a ferret in general for that matter. I actually do not even have a pet right now. (I used to have cats and dogs and various other animals, just not now.) Well, now I have the sock dog. We instantly became friends and I definitely wanted to take a picture with him, to show Anna, that he is in good hands. I was thinking of a classic portrait with dog. The result below might show more of me than of the dog, but I think you can see that he is a happy little guy there with me this morning. I would have shot a better picture, but I ran out of color Polaroid film. I am really happy about the dog, I just wanted to look serious in the picture, so he looks even happier in contrast, soes it make sense?
Maybe I can get some later this week, then I could take more pictures of the dog.
Do you think Stripey is a good name for a dog like this? I am really, really bad with names. Maybe his name should be Victor. As in Victor Hugo?...


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January 22, 2003
right wrist continued...

My right wrist hurts, so what. Still need to blog, still need to write emails.
It was incredibly cold this morning at 9am when I finally made it to 60th Street. My orthopedist’s office is just behind the new AOL/Time Warner building. It is a very windy block right off Circle, right off . It was so cold that my eyeballs seemed to freeze. Tears just came out of my eyes and turned into cold streaks on my cheeks.
The office of Dr. Rosenstadt looked very nice and relaxed. I had requested the appointment more than a month ago and was happy to finally be let in to see the man who might be able to help me with my right wrist.
Turns out my appointment was not for today. I will need to come visit a week from now.
Back into the cold, more tears.

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January 22, 2003

It is really cold in New York. It is even colder in a subway car with the open door. (The one between cars.) I tried to close it, but it was really stuck.
I sat in my seat by the door, took a good look and kicked the handle with all force, with the bottom of my shoe, with my entire body force. This would have been the moment when I would be kicked out of the train in Frankfurt.
Here in New York, I just got a tiny bit of privacy. Everybody in the car avoided eye contact with me. The door? The door closed. I could relax and draw.

January 20, 2003

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January 20, 2003

My sight sight Ht night Ht night RIGHT WRIST hurts quite a bit so I decided to me this Appu inkped tedmgy to write tm's post with ng uA howl HAND on a wacom tablet lt 1h N my sbw ml it does not M< 100% IT IS ALL VERY SLOW AND DOES NOT WORK 100% AAAAARGH! H took me 10 Mimuts to write Mis! WRITE THIS! DO I HAVE To CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING 1% ORDER FOR IT TO WORK? GRRR...

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January 20, 2003
Snow in seconds

Gone is the city from one minute to the next. It was replaced by a white cloud of snow. The flakes look like supreme particles and they play their games with birds and houses and people, and even the black smoke from the building on West End Avenue seems to have fun participating in this game.
And out of nowhere a seemingly yellowish flooded the scenery. The sun will make sure that the white powder does not stick.

January 19, 2003

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January 19, 2003
Good Night

I am giving up for tonight. I was supposed to be up and joyful and meet up and laugh and have fun. But I can not now. I am done. Spent. Exhausted. Sorry.
Across Broadway a jumpy little girl performs a dance in front of a larger than life elmo on a high definition screen.
Good night.

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January 19, 2003
Blanked out

Should have probably read the instructions for the film I was using. Left the negatives emerged in an 18% Sodium Sulfite solution I mixed myself, but for much longer than the 1 minute minimum, and so when I went to wash them in water as I was supposed to, the pictures just went down the drain, leaving me with nice pieces of clear film. Another reminder that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to chemical photography. I am just still a pretty analogue kind of guy. As the pictures vanished of the film, I just smiled. Really, I did.

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January 19, 2003
The Upgrade

Chris upgraded my blog to version 2.51 and it took him less time than it is taking me to write this post. He then finally fixed the search function here on this page. Now you can really search the blog (and only the blog) and get some meaningful results.
In the link section of the site, he added these little numbers that remind me that I should finally migrate my old bookmarks to this more quiet area of the site.
(I have more friends than myself, unline indicated by the empty friends list.)
Thank you again for helping me out Chris!

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January 19, 2003
black cloud

this one building on Westend Avenue must have an illegal incinerator. Sometimes during the day a short burst of black smoke just climbs from behind the water tower and within seconds can not be connected to any building. It is 4:15 now and the building is seriously blasting a black cloud over Broadway and 96th. The pollution is so bad that the buildings around here almost disappear behind a wall of smelly darkness. This has been going on for minutes. Wow.

January 18, 2003

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January 18, 2003
nice portfolio...

I can not help it but laugh a tiny bit. Somebody found this site by looking for a "nice portfolio" on google. And if that was not impressive enough, turns out that the catalogue section of this site is the #1 nice portfolio according to google. Now that’s really nice. The cute kind of nice. The catalogue is not even a portfolio. : )

January 17, 2003

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January 17, 2003
Mr. Cableguy

The cable guy came fully equipped. He was motivated and very interested and professional... until I told him that I had to "switch to cable service because my dsl company went out of business." "It did?," he replied, "no wonder I am having so much trouble."
Hmm. Now that was a very strange answer. I tried to somehow clarify. "Oh, not all dsl services are out of business, only direcTV send me this letter..."
He was on a roll: "Oh, sh*t, direcTV went out of business?, no wonder I am having so much trouble."
"No, not all of direcTV... just the dsl unit..."
He was still very motivated and excited about the installation. Then he really wanted to get to the cable outlet that happens to be behind one of the 8 foot tall bookshelves. I tried to explain to him that it might not be possible to just move it.
I am glad he ended up screwing something into the other cable outlet in the living-room. (I wonder what it was.)
He then asked me if my computer was a G2. I had to sign that my floppy drive was not damaged by the installation.
Once he left there was some trouble with my airport-cable modem-network setup, but if you are able to read this, then I am up and running at pretty nice speeds, live from anywhere around the apartment.
The sun is setting already and it is cold out there. No wonder I was having so much trouble. (or not.)

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January 17, 2003
Ms. Cold

Layers upon layers upon layers are between me and the cold. And yet we still shake hands. She sneaks into my gloves, both pairs of them and touches the fingertips just sly at first and then she grabs them one by one. Then the kisses on my face, the tip of my nose, the cheeks, she sucks on my lips. Enough already. She finds a place where I did not tuck in my sweaters under my jackets and her hand goes right there, straight onto my skin, straight for my back, right there. Oh please. I pull my hat over my face. Nobody can recognize me now but her. She still goes for my neck, she still embraces my legs, she even... well, you know.
So I just go from door to door to door, trying to avoid her advances. But once inside, for too long, I miss her.
Winters are really tough in New York.

January 16, 2003

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January 16, 2003

There is a black stripe on my nose all of a sudden. But maybe not all of a sudden. It could have been there for the last 2 days for all I know. Because of all this running around and doing things I had no time to look at myself in the mirror. (Yes it is possible...) And so this morning, there is a black stripe on the saddle of my nose. Will need to take some special care under the shower.
At least I did not wake up as a transormer bug.


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January 16, 2003
SBritt.com RAWKS

Who knew that such happiness is just around the corner. I must have clicked on a link somewhere and there I found myself in the amazing fun universe (okay, a website) of Stephan Britt. I surfed in using Safari and thus only saw a little tiny bit of the actual site, and yet I was still blown away. I immediately bought the Coloring CAN Be FUNNY! book and several stickers, just to realize about 3 minutes later that there was also this incredibly cute Good Frends t-shirt also available for sale, so I went for it. And so should you. If you still want to be my friend, please go to his site and order one of the "good frendship" starter kits. (It is just $17 and you can pay via paypal.)
I know you want it anyway, just making sure.
I had no idea that Stephan was also a friend of Nathan Jurevicius, our long time favorite from down under and the man who first told me about loobylu. (We all *love* her, of course.)
In fact, Stephan and Nathan turned out to be both part of fantastic contraption which I thought was an illustration agency, but which turns out to be a happy place and more of a friendship kind of organization. So power to them as well, and if you can not wear a t-shirt, because your entire torso is missing (including heart and soul), then you might still need a fantastic contraption 2002 calendar. You should probably get it before this year ends.
As mentioned before, all this discovery happened as I was using my Beta Safari browser. Little did I know that the SBritt.com site contained a huge portfolio (i mean pages and pages of goodness!) and interviews and other exciting things, like links and other cute stuff. I have not even clicked on the links yet, but I will now, so expect more reports back today.
Also, it turns out that Stephan is a fantastic writer and that his confirmation emails are just incredible. You get a taste of the goodness by reading the interviews and maybe signing up for his newsletter. (Which I still have to do.)
So, once again. Buy the "good frendship" starter set. Then report back. I am back to exploring. What a day.

January 15, 2003

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January 15, 2003
bloody who?

Dzien Dobry, yes, I was born in Poland. I think I might be pretty Polish. (Though I do feel like native American at times, and sometimes like a little a snow monkey.) Do I keep mentioning that I am Polish? Or does it simply radiate through my writing style? You know that Poland has this amazing energy somehow that just glows through sites like Eeksy-Peeksy.
So, I was linked to by a site called... bloodypolaks. You can imagine my rage when I clicked on that link? And what happened then? Not much. The site does not seem to show much when viewed on a Safari. I came back as an Internet Explorer and saw that the site is run by a Polish guy who is actually “promoting polish existence on internet”, and that rawks. (= rocks = is a good thing.)
Some of the sites he linked to are quite unusual... pregnantki (the Pregnants. Or the documentary of three pregnant photographers by a non pregnant photographer. All children, all sons are now born.) But some of the other Polish links are pretty diverse to say the least. Happy clicking.
One of my favorite links is the one to Internetowe Muzeum Polski Ludowej (The Internet Museum of The People’s Republic os Poland,) which is a bare bone collection of artifacts from the time of the cold war and Solidarnosc and such.
Some of the gems of the collection are definitely the coupons for sugar (2 pounds/family/month/if you are lucky to find it), or a combo card for Sugar, Soap, Detergent and some special item... (really). Or how about this beauty, for meat, smoked meat and beef. You can also listen to snippets of the underground broadcast of Radio Solidarnosc. This is the original sound quality so be warned. Actually, the sound quality is not so bad compared to the western propaganda radio stations that had to fight their way through the airwaves on frequencies crowded by cover up national broadcasts. I wonder why I do not remember tik-tak and his little world. I guess I was too old for all this cute stuff in 1981. Strzalka.

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January 15, 2003

look ma, i have a hole in my sock. i have a big hole in my sock it is so big i can see the other side of the city through it, and there are some kids playing on the roof down there, they are so tiny.
words are fun.
broken movable type because of cheap hosting is no fun at all.
i know, i know, there is nothing more boring that to read about some broken back end stuff. (Unless you get really excited reading that i fixed my imaginary horn glasses with golden duckttape this morning and that my pocket protector is now made out of a silk-pashmina blend.)
this blog is broken, my friends. i chose the cheapest hosting i could find and now i have to pay for it. did you realize that there have not been any pictures posted here for a little while? well, my upload image script stopped working a tiny while ago and because i am not the best hand-coder.... no pictures for you.
(or me, or anybody.)
oh, and i do not reply to comments? guess what, the comments are no longer being sent to me. they are kept a secret by the mighty and smart server that sits somewhere on a farm in texas. boy oh boy...
but i got a haircut today and spoke with miguel, who was hidden behind many options in the time warner cable phone system. our conversation was recorded for trainings purposes and i will now go out into the supercold again to pick up my cable modem... (with proper id)... because... my dsl provider went out of business. swell. (i somehow like this word ?swell?... as long as it is not spoken with the ghostly voice at midnight.)

January 14, 2003

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January 14, 2003

It was a very strange dream. Only portions of it were black and white. Not even sure which. There were maybe twenty little birds flying around in the room. I would hold my hands in front of me and they would land on my finger tips. Some were very odd looking, some were pretty much average sparrows.
I had a parakeet once and it sat on my shoulder one single time. It was a very special moment. We later had a gray parrot. My found it in the backyard of our building. The bird was so loud, it was not surprising that it had been allowed to escape. It only produced this one single sound. The sound was as if somebody had collected the shreek of breaking subway trains for a few days and then channeled it through this little gray bird. I am not sure what happened to this one.
I had many canary birds in Poland. I thought that they were cute pets at first, but it turns out that my parents used them to monitor the gas levels in our apartment. This is what canaries were used in coal mines, and since my worked in one, this might have given him the idea.
There was a time when the birds would die on a regular basis. We would then leave the windows open and I would be shipped to my grandmother?s for a few days. Oddly enough, my grandmother lived in one of the dirtiest cities of Europe. I guess it was still better than gas.
The dream was beautiful. It was a beautiful simple dream. Many little birds starting and landing on almost all of my fingertips. Wonderful.

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January 14, 2003
Our friend Hugo...

I have been working a lot in the past few weeks and I completely forgot about Hugo. Anna had written about the little guy on her (fantastic) blog and she mentioned that Hugo needed help. I was more than happy to be able to somehow help out. It looks like I was actually one of the first people to become an official Hugo friend (this is amazing. I am also happy to see Dawn as one of the friends as well.) Also, there is now a sock dog made especially for me. Look at this little guy. Anna really cares. Hugo now has his own blog, there are updates on his condition. We know that his bloodwork came back okay. (I think I know more about Hugo now than I know about myself. But it is all great. This is what animal love should be like.) Hugo?s operation is scheduled for tomorrow. Let?s wish him all the good luck. I think you can still donate for Anna?s animal causes. You definitely should. She is very serious about the well-being of her little friends.
I have to admit that I never met a ferret in person (or should I say in ferret?) but Hugo looks like a very friendly little guy. Even if I never get a chance to meet him. I am glad that he has Anna and I am glad that I can be one of the friends.

January 13, 2003

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January 13, 2003
Some company...

It was a bit like opening a window on a trans atlantic f a few minutes after take off. The pressure difference between the cozy lobby of Worldwide Plaza and the furious outside of 49th street made it almost impossible to open the door at first. And then it just sucked me out into the cold winter night at 3am.
I positioned myself on the corner of 8th Avenue and tried to stop one of the little s on top of the many cabs traveling uptown.
A white Chevrolet pulled up in front of me and a woman in her 20?s rolled down the window. There were two of them sitting in the car and I assumed that they were lost and about to ask me for directions. "Would you like some company tonight"?
I must have looked very surprised, because they smiled in a very non-seductive way just a few seconds later. They really caught me off guard. I did not expect anything like this and not there and not at this time and at all, ever.
A cab stopped for me and the little car sped off towards uptown, the window rolling up as part of the vehicle motion.
I jumped into the back seat of the cab and did not even say the destination. "They just asked me...", the driver did not understand the context, of course, and I was not about to explain. I asked to be brought to Amsterdam and 95th, the easier corner to get to from where we were.
In the middle of the cab divider a 12" LCD lit up with a message informing me that the driver did not know anything about what about to appear on on the screen, so he would not be distracted by the upcoming programming. I felt as if a leftover passenger from a previous ride leaned over to me and assured me that what was about to happen would be a thing completely between the two of us.
The monitor became very bright and began showing me some really cheesy logo animations. These were followed by a bad commercial about FAO Schwarz. "Look Jim, I can use this pen for drawing, but when I blow into it, look what happens." (She blows a heart onto a piece of paper.)
"These are not your average soap bubbles, these are actually stackable!"
Great. I was told that a certain law-firm is ready to help me with all my law-suit needs.
After this, the system told me that it was targeting the young affluent New Yorkers and that I should consider using this most innovative communication channel for advertising. A barely dressed woman pointed to a URL, which made me go to their site this morning. It is i love taxi tv dot com.
I do not think I even like taxi tv. Especially not this late at night. But who knows. Maybe it is a really good idea, just with the right programming. Maybe the two ladies just wanted to drive me around town and show me animated funnies in the back seat of their chevrolet?
Of course not, but I like imagining a pretty harmless world.

January 11, 2003

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January 11, 2003

Not quite sure, I think the place was called Jimmy?s. It is next to the Apple store on Prince, and it was only chosen, because good old Fanelli did not have breakfast. They had omelets, but they were $7.50. So a nice lady with a joyfully British accent recommended Jimmy?s, because of their much larger breakfast selection. Stylish little nest this Jimmy?s. Red lines on black lacquered wood as a theme, many cute pictures on the walls, some drawn on napkins, real diner steel here and there, red pleather seats in the booths. Everybody looked absolutely fabulous. Trained tight bodies in little fashionable uniforms. As for the Cheese omelet? The only cheese the young trained waiter had to offer was swiss and it came with ham. (Oh why?). The ham had to be not there please.
The meal looked nice. It tasted horrible. The cheese were little cold cubes in an egg calzone. The home fries tasted as if they came from a salt mine. The coffee was good. No refills, no real sugar, just those little prepackaged things that create a branded mess on the table.
There was a bearable airport reception even in the far away seats, but the food will keep me away from Jimmy?s for good. The omelet was $10. Coffee $2.50. They did accept credit cards. How come the other patrons looked as if they were regulars. Fascinating.

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January 11, 2003
me vs. tree

According to what my parents told me when I was a little boy, the Christmas tree should leave the house on January 6th. This is 3 King day, the day when the three kings, Balthasar, Melchior and Kaspar finally made it to Bethlehem. I missed the date and the tree here in the house started dropping the decorations one by one, telling me that it was time to let it go.
I could have just wrapped it into a piece of plastic and dragged to the trash room, but since last year or so, I made it into a tradition to cut the tree into pieces before giving it back into the recycling bin. So for the last two hours or so, it was me versus tree. It is pretty clear that I won this battle. I was equipped with the little wood saw that is part of my leatherman. I did not want to use anything more advanced than that, to give the tree a chance to protect itself. Whatever I could handle with my bare hands, I did. The tree only had needles and tree sap. It was a tough fight.
I decided not to use any gloves and for fairness reasons to attack with no shoes on. It was a vicious fight with many dodged punches and some more or less serious injuries on both sides. Both of my hands are bleeding now. The left hand got saw some serious needle cuts. The right hand is now black bacause covered in a layer of tree sap mixed with some forest dust from the tree. I will not be able to wash this off for days. (I remember last year, this stuff is here to stay.)
The fight was so tough, that I decided to keep the trunk of the tree and to make little tree skulls out of it as a reminder for the generations to come... wait, there is no such thing as a tree skull. I will probably make little farm animals, or maybe some other cute decorations for next year.
Most of the needles are gone now. The vacuum cleaner will make the apartment smell like pine until August or so.
I am back at the computer, working at my project.
I hope the spirit of the tree will forgive me that I cut it apart like this, but actually, this was a much more exciting way for the tree to leave the house than to be simply thrown out. The trunk still smells like a deep forest as do my hands. Boy, am I glad that the Christmas tradition does not involve decorating a grizzly bear.

January 10, 2003

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January 10, 2003

1. Where are you right now?
i am in at the office in midtown manhattan.

2. What time is it?
it is 6:50pm

3. What are you wearing?
i always wear the same things. a blue shirt, a blue sweater, good pants, black socks and comfortable shoes. (yes, there is underwear in the mix)
oh wait... i am not wearing a shirt today, just a t-shirt and a tennis shirt with long sleeves. (Yes to blue sweater.)

4. Any people or animals around you? Describe them.
everybody left. i am currently making last preparations to leave the office as well. I will have to work on a project this weekend and need some source material from the server. Logos and things.

5. What are your plans for the weekend?
i was supposed to leave the city this evening. i was pulled into this exciting presentation however and so my weekend will be spent working on a fun project. i can not tell you what it is, but it is pretty exciting. (I am serious, it is a good one.)
I also promised to have a different proposal done by monday, so this is going to be some wild weekend.

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January 10, 2003

Ricardo Gomez Perez is from Venezuela. He is an award winning photographer and he recently took some very interesting pictures of his Caracas. Oddly enough, everybody in the shots seems to be smoking. It would be difficult to take shots like these in New York. Take a look at Ricardo Gomez Perez panoramics.

January 09, 2003

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January 09, 2003
Color only.

The header of this blog is still made of the same 51 random images. I just wanted to see what colors these photographs are made of.
I found the results interesting, so I replaced all of the photographs by their color only counterparts. Maybe just for a day or so.
Reload the page to see other images. (You know them, but will you recognize them?)
To see photographs (and other work) visit the catalogue.

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January 09, 2003
sans filtre

A man next to me on the train took a little while to open the chest buttons of his jacket and then his shirt. He reached deep into some hidden pocket and pulled a pack of cigarettes without filter. He pulled one of the little sticks with his mouth and began sucking on it as if we were under water and not just under ground.
A young woman by the door on the other side of the train seemed to wear the entire palette of her expressions on her face. She seemed to be missing the filter which allows most of us to keep our faces from ing up when we have nice thoughts and keep them still when there is a storm inside. It looked almost as if there were massive clouds of expression rushing over her face, sun rays between them. From one second to the next there was fear, love, sadness, joy, hate, indifference, curiosity, disgust, flirt, and fear and love again. She wore an outfit that was all colorful stripes, just as if she wanted to express in her wardrobe what seemed to be the natural state of her face. Red and yellow and green and orange and blue and aqua and black and white.

January 08, 2003

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January 08, 2003

One of the s that stayed on last night was here, at my desk. A very important project had to be ready for this morning and so I stayed up again, making all the adjustments needed for things to go smooth today. I was really happy to sit in that cab at 4:30 am this morning. Just a few precious hours of sleep and I am back at the desk, after a short presentation.
The writer in the office next to me just started singing with a really incredible voice. I knew that he played guitar quite amazingly, but I have never heard him sing.
Lack of sleep results in my body just going into auto-pilot mode. So I am not even sure if I am really writing this. I do feel the size of my skin however, as it seems to be covered with tiny crawling electrical discharges. My brain has been replaced by a larger, more cottony model, slower and less worried about possible mistakes. I would not recommend to myself any us of any heavy machinery.
Last night was not so bad actually. My record period of continuos work without sleep will hopefully remain the 64 hours I spent working on an animation project for a German bank, but that was in 1992.
(And yes, productivity does drop after the first 16 hours.)

January 06, 2003

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January 06, 2003
make it 7 random

The blogroll on the right side of this page was getting a bit too long. I felt as if I had lost control over the amount of links displayed. I wanted to have them nicely sorted and then grouped and still, 150 was just too much. So tonight I took out my (electronic) scissors and snip-snapped the list of links down to seven random ones per category. There are now 7 links to other blogs and seven links to other sites. This has two effects. (Maybe 2.5 effects.)
1) Whenever you reload the page, there will be new links. (Yey!)
2) The link to the map is visible again. Please, if you entered your info more than a few months ago, it is quite possible that the system kicked you out. Please leave a new picture of yourself and a link.
And what is the 2.5 effect? If you would like to see more links to other sites I like and like to visit, then please go to the links section of this site. I know that many of the links have not been transfered from the old system yet, but I will do it... (I am forcing myself, can you tell?) Oh, and you can leave comments in the link section.
Are things getting better?

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January 06, 2003
Jun-ichi who?

Ladies and Gentlemen, please let me introduce you to a great draftsman of our time Jun-Ichi. Well, actually he is a drafts-boy, because he was born on September 17th 1989. I had no idea this young artist (some call him genius) existed. I was stunned when I found a little book filled with quite amazing drawings. This boy was an art star at the age of 10. He published several books, created visuals for large corporations. He seems to love New York and PEZ.
Enough talk. Let’s look at his really fantastic Scrap Book. Once you are done with it, take a look at the incredible early work. Oh, and then there are several acts of I like drawing. What more can I say. I love the work. I even think he likes my work, because he quite obviously drew me (second drawing, thank you, not the first one, thank you.) When I had sly longer hair. This is an illusion of course. He does not know about me, I bet. Isn’t his work great?

January 05, 2003

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January 05, 2003
Streetfighters 2

Are we ready for another Monster? The new Rolls-Royce Phantom looks like a cartoon version of a car. One that could push any silly hummer off a cliff without breaking into the sest sweat. Will this cute cartoon look inspire new generations of children (future designers) to draw cars differently? The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars site will go live tomorrow. I wonder if it will be as much fun to explore as the Maybach site.
It would be fun to see the three cars above as transformers in a street fight. The hummer would have a heavy American accent, be aggressive, dressed in day-glow yellow camouflage clothes and hold on to a half empty oil barrel. The Maybach would speak softly and have a more than a 100 year old fighting style, while the Rolls-Royce would pretend really hard to be an english gentleman, but the leder-hosen and the heavy Bavarian accent would give it away as a pure bread German muscle-boy. (Who can not be injured in any way and has a ton of movies to prove it.)
And on the sidelines would be the old Rolls-Royce brother Bentley, with a huge VW (Very Wicked) gold collar attached to a leash, attached to his new foster parents in Wolfsburg. (Wolf-Castle.)
Ooo Yeah! (I am such a boy.)

January 04, 2003

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January 04, 2003

Police is here now, and the screams are just quieting down. Just a minute ago two women were banging each other’s heads against the glass doors of the Chase Bank branch across Broadway. Now there is some quiet time. The cops slowly took the fight apart. I missed a major portion of the event. When I came up to the window one of the women, the one who was closer to a group of men in a black Jeep, put her bag on the pavement and opened her coat to somehow show something to the other woman, who was being held back by somebody about 100 years away. It took seconds for her to break free and make the dash and in a moment they were tearing at each other’s hair. Then one of them had the idea to use the building as her third fist and so she slammed the body of her opponent against the concrete wall. This also gave her a short time advantage the other woman briefly stopped throwing punches. Once they hit the Chase entrance, the roles reversed. The one who just had been thrown against the building went low and threw the most vicious punches onto the lower belly of the other. One of the men standing near by wanted to separate the women but he did not even manage to get close. Somebody in a large jacket, or maybe just a large man grabbed him from the back and punched him right into his face.
The scene is quiet now. All actors gone. Police just left and there is not the sest sign of violence in front of the “24 Hour Banking” sign on 96th and Broadway. From here all looks peaceful.
Sometimes there is blood on the sidewalk. Little drops in strangely public places. One could wonder how anything could happen in the middle of a highly populated street.
The average time for Police to arrive at a scene of violence in New York is somewhere under 10 minutes. I have not seen fights last longer than maybe 2 minutes on the corner here. It is a busy intersection. And there is a dunkin’ donuts.

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January 04, 2003
...Jan 4th 1996...

Because of jetlag the morning of January 4th 1996 started very early for me. I woke up in my little room in Hotel Remington and there was this noise, there were the smells, there was the 60Hz . I sat at the tiny desk and began writing, trying to somehow fathom what was happening and where I really was. My body was obviously somewhere, but what about my mind? I read these few pages in brown ink every year on January 4th and each time my voice seems more and more distant. Each time the views and expectations belong to somebody younger and younger than me. There he was, this 26 year old guy who had just abandoned whatever he had in Europe and made this surprisingly courageous jump onto another continent.
I was afraid. I was scared of myself and what I had gotten myself into. I was the first of my family to ever cross the atlantic ocean. I had been in States before and I had been to New York, but the situation I found myself in on this January 4th was very different. I had just made this giant leap into a different world and was supposed to just function, just pick up the slack, just run ahead. My family and I escaped from Poland in 1981, so I was ready for humble beginnings, of course, but when I had left Poland with my parents and our dog, I was never alone. We could share our fears, our expectations, our hopes. We were a bigger unit than this really lonely me in that hotel room on 46th Street at 5am. I must have somehow forgotten that jumping into New York would mean to land in a place where I barely knew anybody. The city was this incredible love of mine I kept returning to, but New York is known for just ignoring their lovers sometimes. I was scared. I did not want to call anybody in Germany and complain. Not on my second day in the States. I tried to somehow explain to myself that what was about to happen was the most logical event in my life. I went through the strangest scenarios of where the 26 year old me could have been on this January day if, let�s say, my parents had decided not to leave Poland, or if I had done my community service at the right time, or if I had visited a different art school. I was not giving myself the choice of any answer other than that this was the right thing to do at the right time, and that I was the one to do it. I had chosen to move to New York for a reason. This was supposed to be the final coming home. I wanted to be part of this city. I wanted to be with it.
And here I was. I think this is also where I realized how helpless I felt without my friends. I was really incredibly lucky to know some of the brightest minds in Frankfurt. And here I was knowing only my future boss, about to work for a company where I was a bit less than welcome.
Not the ideal situation.
I had spoken to my friends in Germany about this move, of course. Klaus Mai (KM7), simply said that I could either choose to be a well known designer in Germany, or a, well, nobody in New York. Somebody else brought it down to the image of being a big fish in a small pond, or a tiny one in the ocean. So here I was. The �ocean� i had chosen was making this typical New York noise outside of my window and my mind was just slowly walking towards the point where my body was, in a chair by a tiny desk, on the 8th floor of a small hotel on 46th Street, near Times Square, where 7th Avenue meets Broadway, the Broadway, right in the middle of Manhattan, the center of my world. The content of my suitcases was a bit of a protective bubble I had brought with me. It was as if I condensed all of my previous life into them and as if I had landed here on this beautiful planet and now was afraid to put a foot out the door.
It did not take long to realize that my English was really another barrier I had brought with me to the States. My English was great for buying things. It was far from enough from enabling me to sell anything. And, after all, this was what I was supposed to do now. I was supposed to design things and sell them internally, I was supposed to just work with vendors, with photographers, with artists. I was supposed to build a design department using a language that somehow controlled me much more than I controlled it. My mind was going at a high speed, and what I was able to say sounded like a crawl. It was just a horrible place to be trapped in.
Then there was the fear that it would take me months to find any appropriate home. If the people I was supposed to work with, all real New Yorkers, could not find a place for me to stay, how was I supposed to tackle this task in the few minutes I would have per day between my mountain of upcoming projects?
It all felt incredibly overwhelming. Much more overwhelming than I had the courage to write down into my book. I was more concerned to record that it was me who had made the decision to move to New York and that it now would be me who would manage to figure out solutions. I was not there to prove a point to anybody, not even myself, it was just the way things were supposed to happen. My life was like a linear path, I was following it, I was on my way beyond this morning, I was walking steadily into the right direction. My very own, chosen, pretty daringly independent direction.


I made a little x into my book. This was the place and time where I now was. Things would work out somehow, solutions would find me, or I would find them. (Or both.)
The new day was about to begin. The sun was rising over Manhattan.
It was time for me to go to work. It was my first real New York Thursday.

January 03, 2003

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January 03, 2003
7 years ago...

It is exactly 7 years ago that I was picked up from JFK with a sign that said �Andy Riedel�. It was cold and windy that day and I was ready to finally fall into the arms of the city I was so much in love with. I should have come here 1995, but at the age of 25 I had to serve my community service, my �Zivildienst�, which postponed my move to the city that never sleeps by a year. So I had a year to prepare. I had a year to turn everything into a preparation for my final move.
I had put my entire library into storage, I had left girlfriend, all friends, everything behind. I was following this urge to go home. New York was the home I carried in my heart, I knew, so there was nothing more natural than finally arriving here.
In the nights before the flight there were many dreams and nightmares. I dreamt of living in a room filled with little baige boxes, and on another night of a dirty wooden shack through which I entered just to end up in an elevator and later at a window with a nice view of the Manhattan as I imagined it. This move was a completely new beginning. I really reduced my possessions to two suitcases and a box for the computer. I was ready to crawl through a cleansing little ring and to arrive at the other end happy and in midst of the city I had dreamt of.
I had visited New York many times before. It was always as a tourist. It was always as the kind of visitor who comes here for sightseeing and for shopping. I had seen the inside of the statue of liberty, I had seen the top of the World Trade Center, I had taken a bicycle around . I was a little afraid of the subway, I had never taken the bus, but I knew that the cabs were fun to ride and that many of the cabbies were much better educated than I ever would be.
I had seen the facade of New York City, however I had never seen the guts, the back rooms, the actual living thing. And on January 3rd 1996 I was ready for it. At least I thought I was. It did not sounds all too difficult at all. I was supposed to arrive as the new art director of an independent record label who�s offices were located right on Times Square. I was supposed to arrive in my office in the morning and then inspect my new apartment on 8th street. I had seen the floor-plan. It was just one room but this seemed to be a standart size for Manhattan, it had windows facing a back yard, there was a sleeping alcove, which could be separated from the rest of the room, making it almost a two room space.
I had negotiated a good salary with my job. The projects were waiting for me. The first one had to be out the door about a week from my arrival.
Everything was so incredibly exciting.
And then I was picked up from JFK with a sign that said �Andy Riedel�. It said that because the person who organized my pickup was Andyman, the guy who was responsible for day to day operations and publicity at the label I was about to join. The car dropped me off at 46th street. (I asked the driver to take a picture of me:)


I remember how glorious the entrance was when we really turned to Times Square. The lights felt so much brighter then, the city felt more alive than anything else. The car then turned on 46th street, and stopped in front of a sad little entrance. The building had a simple brass door. The lobby was a narrow corridor leading to some retrofitted elevators. The one that finally arrived for me had a broken squeaky fan and a blinking dim light. The 8th floor smelled like glue and burned hair. It was not the grand office of a record label, it was Bob Kelly'�s toupee business. The doors were open and I could see rows of wooden heads, hair in all colors everywhere, on the floor, the walls, the tables. Several women around the tables making hair pieces by hand. Somewhere in the background was an old man showing off his tattoo covered arms in a yellowish tank top. There did not seem to be a record label anywhere. There were photographs of old and less old actors and celebrities on the walls of Bob Kelly'�s hair shop, apparently all toupee users, but no record label.
I was given directions. There was a small door in the back. It was in the back by the bathrooms. A windowless room with loud music. There were several interesting New Yorkers working here, some of them had expected my arrival. The label was just getting on its feet.
Andyman was not there. He had left a job description on my chair. It was his job description. He had written it for the owner of the label, J�uergen Korduletsch. The job description included my position of the art director for the label. I was obviously entering somebody else�s territory. I had not been told. I was brought in to help. I was suddenly an intruder. This began not to feel right.
My computer had arrived in its gray box. My trusty quadra 800 was supposed to be the first machine in the new art department. It took seconds to discover that the hard-drive had been damaged in transit. Somebody must have dropped the box too hard. I could not check if the computer was really usable in any way, I did not have a monitor yet, not a desk, nor a chair, nor really an office. My place was a corner in the middle of the windowless room. It was not really a cubicle, just two low walls. My computer looked big in this space. I had also mailed ahead a maria staue. It now made the area a tiny bit more private.
There was simple dance music in the room, it was loud, it was not the kind I really liked and the volume was not adjustable because it was coming out of a cheap stereo system placed on a shelf in the middle of the south wall of the room.
There were offices in the office. There was Bobby Orlando'�s office in the corner. He was not there when I arrived. He was a legend, of course. He was the producer of the Pet Shop Boys, the inventor of their name, he was a great figure in the business. He was not there.
His composer was there. A kid in really strange sweatpants, drinking water from a sad, old snapple bottle.
Harry Towers, the chief of promotion welcomed me to the office. The owner had not had time to come from his home in New Jersey and so Harry was supposed to bring me to my place. It was not the apartment on 8th street. Somehow the deal had fallen through. There was no place on 8th street for me. We walked out onto 46th street and looked for a hotel. I was checked into the Remington Hotel half a block away from the office. It was a little Brazilian hotel with a barber shop by the entrance. The front desk was behind very heavy, gold painted gates.
My room had tiny windows facing the roof of St. Mary church on 46th and the BMG building.
I was definitely not a tourist anymore. I was home after all. I was a tiny bit afraid. (No. I was really scared.)

January 02, 2003

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January 02, 2003
a bit tired

The temperature just dropped. And the air is now filled with billions of tiny needles, eager to hit the ground. The Hallelujah man was screaming on 50th street as i was walking towards the subway. He blessed all of us, stomping the ground. He appears less loud in midtown, but that’s because midtown is just so very loud.
The homeless man on the train was quite honest and to the point. He was just looking for money. The last car on the 9 was almost empty. He was using the classic blue coffee cup for his money collection. “We are happy to serve you.”
At taco bell there was no beef. “We have no beef, just chicken or steak.” I guess that is pretty honest as well. The lady preparing my food got a phone call in the midst of it. So the food was prepared with one hand.
I then ate it with one hand.
I will probably need a bit more rest. Starting now?

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January 02, 2003
What is this about?

nudethoughts.net has a funny little things section and in this section are two versions of a strangely cute and weird Japanese commercial. Little Red Riding Hood sings a song accompanied by larger than life animals. That would not be too strange if the animals would not have some very strangely developed bodily features. Does anybody know what this commercial could be for? Here is the short version and the longer version. Hmm. I am puzzled.

January 01, 2003

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January 01, 2003

Happy New Year. Did we even think that far? Did we even include 2003 in our dreams back in the day, back in the 20th century?
So what is there to do? How can we make this one incredible and special. What are your plans?