Archive for the 'The World' Category

design, signs, questions, and the Atlantic Project

Following a link that said “what’s the cost of being a nerd?” I landed at the Atlantic.Project–which looks to be a new package for the Atlantic. Set up as a series of questions, there’s a cute little video for each and links to “conventional” articles and blog posts. The whole thing looks great! Screenshot (click to embiggen):
what's the cost of being a nerd

Each question gets written out in neon in some wonderfully ordinary place, on the street, on the steps of the library, in a diner, and people are standing and sitting near them when talking in the videos.

The opposite of the neon lights though, are the questions written up to camouflage with the rest of city signage:
can selfishness save the environment?
who killed the great american novel?

These are the most beautiful. The mimicry is spot on, and to see these in the city would be such a sweet, private moment of being disarmed. They remind me of my favourite Steve Lambert work:
call you mom (soonish)

I’ll keep my thoughts on gentrification to myself, for now.

how to cheat on your girlfriend and get away with it..are you becoming the man your mother divorced?

I’m posting this because I’m in a good mood so it amuses me more than anything else. Photo snapped in the subway system somewhere (42nd street, on a Q to 2/3 transfrer, most likely).

It’s the end of my semester, celebrated with a good mix of academic awesomeness (in the form of a Critical Urbanism conference at CUNY, beer and potato salad, french onion soup and Settlers of Catan, Contra dancing, egg creams, and tomorrow’s crafternoon. Now that I’ve emerged from the coccoon of idea-arranging and time-bound-thought-thinking, shitty magazines are somehow amusing again.

tired. cranky. busy.

adam, dory, avigail This is what the end of a semester looks like.

departmental bowling

bowling alone coverColumbia Urban Planning went bowling the other night, against Pratt and NYU. I didn’t make it, choosing to stay in Brookyn and play home made Apples to Apples. My dear housemate Kurt went bowling with his department the other day. It’s the season for rented shoes, I suppose.

And then today I discovered this bit of info on the Berkely Planning website:

Ph.D. Bowling League: Robert Putnam observed that “The most whimsical yet discomforting bit of evidence of social disengagement in contemporary America that I have discovered is this: more Americans are bowling today than ever before, but bowling in organized leagues has plummeted in the last decade or so.” The Berkeley Planning Bowling League sponsors a regular happy hour for Ph.D. students in an effort to counter this trend and rebuild social capital. They have yet to go bowling, but it could happen some day.

electoral crafts

I bought this fabric over the summer, and had been holding onto it, not sure what its highest and best use was…and then it occured to me:
oven mitts!
Oven mitts!

closer up

Pattern is from the Lotta Jansdotter Simple Sewing book, fabric from the Oneonta Norwich WalMart.

I’m kind of charmed by From 52 to 48 with love, a Ze Frank project about bipartisan collaboration. Or, well, the support for the idea of bipartisan collaboration. I think the mitts count—I mean, both of your hands have to work together, right?

are we gonna get new bicycles?

On Halloween, we carved these pumpkins:
obama pumpkins

Somehow Halloween, the NYC Marathon, and the election seem inexorably linked. Next year there will be halloween and a marathon with no Sarah Palin Costumes and it will seem odd. I guess the first time you do anything (like live in America) seems like the “right” way.

Anyhow, happy election day, everyone.

It’s no secret…

dory jon and kenan at the diner

(Jon, Kenan, and I ate breakfast at this diner in Afton that was pretty much the most perfect thing ever. We stopped at the Quickway diner on the way up, and the Roscoe coffeeshop on the way down. I’m happy just thinking about it a week later.)

No secret indeed that I love Upstate New York. Last weekend Jon and Keenan and Lady Grey and I went up to visit Na’aleh. We stayed in the ghost town of a site that Na’aleh is in the off season, and did pretty much everything we did all summer, but compressed into a day and a half: we went to 2 bars and three diners, bought used junk at an “antique store,” ate ice cream at the Treats and Eats, and went to Frog Pond Farms and saw the largest pumpkin ever:

dory and the pumpkin

I don’t mean this to be just a rattling off of things done. It’s just that these away weekends have been wonderful and the folks that I’ve spent them with have made me really happy.

This string of upstate adventures is over for a little while (especially since the trees are bare and the drives are that much less lovely). I can focus on here for a bit.

Numbers and seasons

Between June 21st and September 21st, Lady Grey* and I drove 4695 kilometers. That’s just about the distance between my home in Brooklyn and my house in Vancouver, though that’s not the road I drove this summer.

I reset the odometer for fall…we’ll see what I get up go driving across the street and back again to park and unpark, cruising the length of the BQE, and heading upstate and to Connecticut for various adventures.

I’m constantly making lists and then forgetting to keep them up. Its nice to have something count for me.

*Lady Grey is my little car, an ancestor of X-woman Jean Grey, the Queen who ruled England for a mere 9 days, and a kind of tea.

It’s fall.

I skipped a class last week, which meant that I got to leave my house at 10 rather than 8 (to make it to Columbia for my 11am). It was so nice to walk to the subway when all the shops were actually open, seeing folks ambling about the neighbourhood. I stopped to get coffee and a bagel at the place that I like, and the gal behind the counter knew everyone’s name and their order–I think that this is really starting to feel like my ‘hood.

And then this morning it was really sunny and chilly as I biked over the Williamsburg bridge listening to Herman Dune. Small pleasures.

Assorted news:

Kurt and I got a kitten. Her name is now Ossington and we’re calling her Ozzy. I have become That Person who photographs her cat:
ozzyface
ozzy with her leg out

Lindsey came out to New York and she and I and Hollis went up to Rhinebeck for the New York State Sheep and Yarn Festival. We bought sock yarn and watched a knitting-with-chopsticks contest and pet some sheep and went to a Ravelry party. We camped near Pougkeepsie. I’m doing a pretty good job of exploring New York State and environs, I think. A better job than I ever did of understanding Ontario.

Here’s Hollis, folding some yarn:
she said, 'I just want to stick my face in this,' and then she did. (you can see Hollis in the first photo here, at the epicentre of yarn-and-blog fame.)

And here’s Lindsey on the Poughkeepsie riverfront:
yup. fall. I told ya.

wherever I ordinarily reside, that’s my home

If you are a Canadian who happense to be outside your riding on election day, you can vote by special ballot. But to request a special ballot, you need to prove your eligablity to vote.

Step one is the affirm your “residency criteria” by answering a simple question: Is your place of ordinary residence in Canada? (Yes or  No)

Confused? Perhaps you need the Government of Canada’s definition of “ordinary residence”

A person’s ordinary residence is the place he/she calls home. This is the place where he/she resides and intends to return to when away. A person can have only one place of ordinary residence at a time.

New York state is the ice cream capital of my life

Andy at Voss
This is Andy, at Voss’, in Utica NY, where we stopped for milkshakes when driving to Connecticut to visit Anna back in May. Overhearing conversations while standing in line, we gathered that it was one of the first few days Voss’ was open; everyone was really excited about their summertime milkshake fix, and there was one girl who squealing because of how pleased she was to be bringing a friend to Voss’ for the very first time. We kept quiet and didn’t let on that it was our first time there too.

And then, a month and a half later, I show up here, in the Sidney/Bainbridge/Unadilla area (the Tritowns) and realize that there are these magical ice cream stands EVERYWHERE up and down the minor highways. The closest is the Sidney Tastee Treat:
tastee! which doesn’t have as good cheesecake ice cream at the stand we stopped at in Norwich (on the way to see fourth of july fireworks), but is close and now I feel that lovely sense of ownership that one develops for things they can’t possibly own.

Like route 17. I really feel like that’s my highway.

New Bicycles

Just like Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle, but more exciting: When Obama Wins!

Making Headlines

It totally drives me crazy when journalists–in print and on the radio–say that person/thing/event “made headlines.” As if they, the media, have nothing to do with what “makes headlines” and becomes part of the discourse.

Maybe they’re just giving a lot of respect to the late-night copy editors who actually make the headlines.

november 4

It’s morning, I’m baking bread and listening to the CBC. It occurs to me that I will be living in America on November 4th, when as Martina Fitzgerald, the radio-lady, says “Americans will vote for a new president.”

When I was in New York last month, the election excitement was palpable, with Obama buttons and t-shirts that felt like real enthusiasm, not just kitsch. And it’s displayed on real humans, not the internet or the Globe and Mail. So it will be even more thrilling to be in the country during actual elections. I won’t get to vote then–maybe I can volunteer to drive little old ladies to polling stations. Do they even do that in America?