Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama Expectations

The bloggers at FT have been painting a dismal view on an Obama presidency. Not that he's all that bad, they say. But in the wake of a brilliant campaign, expectations are running so high as to be impossible to meet in good times. Let alone these times.

Generally, I enjoy Financial Times' dry take on the world. But I think that the "expectations running so high" bit is just another serious miscalculation by a, yes, mainly older generation. The same generation who miscalculated the effects of race, facebook groups, and fluffy stuff like hope.

As contrast to how FT bloggers believe sentiments run, my expectations of my country and all it can do for me go like this: Health care? Pfff. Stable job? Pfff. Any job? Pfffff. Retirement? You got to be kidding me.

What I expect from an Obama presidency is to kick back some nights and listen to the highest official in the land talk with great depth, accuracy, sincerity, and eloquence about the importance of education, science, open-mindedness, helping the unfortunate, and freedom. I expect him to back this up by appointing qualified officials in these disciplines. I am dearly hoping for brilliantly crafted legislation that will initiate long-term trends in all these fields.

But in the meantime; jobs? Blogging will totally start supplementing my stagnant retail wages soon, like totally. Awesome health care tomorrow? Only by my own actions, I'm going jogging. Retirement? From what? Part-time pay and writing poetry?

So you see, my expectations are actually very limited. Even if at the same time they are over the moon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pink Shoe Economic View

Image via Tara

I have spent too much time this week surfing the news and should be prepared to pundit knowledgeably. But instead my views on the economy go something like this:

Down baby down. 777? Is that all you can do? Yay, 800. Okay, absorb the rate cut and then head further south. Oh my gosh I'm so thrilled that the economy is going down, I'm so thrilled. What better use could be found for Obama's soothing voice? It will be perfect coming out of a radio in a room where the heat and electricity have been cut off. And how else are we going to realize that the money we have been spending isn't free, but Chinese? And how else are the world's brilliant minds to be persuaded to do something besides stroke algorithms. Geez people go--discover a new a new world or something. Write poetry. Study sweet peas. As much as I enjoy cheap thrills, this could get old.

See. This is why I should write about poetry and not economics. I need to stop surfing the news and instead read something deep and obscure. I'm thinking Goethe?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Goat Cheese and High-topped Sneakers on the Roof-top

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I've been rearranging my life. My scientist-aunt took off from her Columbia job and headed for an emerging science project in the mid-west. This left me scrambling to find alternatives to her upper-west-side Columbia-funded apartment I'd been camping out in. I've ended up in a place in Brooklyn. My roomy is a startling combination of being smarter than me, nicer than me, and loopier than me. She free-lances for major newspapers and has a job managing a fashion web-site at ridiculous midnight hours. Last night she had friends over for goat cheese and wine on the rooftop, where you can see the glimmery lights of the city all around.

My roomy's friends are all as nice and smart as she, although not as loopy as either of us. They wear high-topped sneakers and say things like: "But how do you FEEL about skimming the quote unquote 'smart' kids off the top and putting them into 'honors' classes?" By this time, having lived in NYC for 9 months, and have vociferously pitched Obamadoctrine to my independent, conservative-leaning family all the while (a task I've been woot! largely successful at) I consider myself a Democrat. I even (shockers!) put myself down as a Democrat on my register-to-vote form (first-time registering too). That is, I check-marked the Democrat box without thinking. Then I saw the Independent option, said "crap" and tried to erase the Democrat check-mark. Then I thought of Palin and put a large, strong, unmistakable double check-mark next to "Democrat". So yes, it's official, I'm a Democrat.

But give me 5 minutes on a Brooklyn roof-top with goat cheese and liberals and you would think otherwise. I start uttering irresponsible things like "I love Narnia" and "Doesn't Giuliani just crack you up?" The conversation turned to Bloomberg and how the little cultural NYC neighbourhoods are being leveled over by un-conscientious billionaires. But all I could think of was how much I love this city, and not because of its "culture" but because of its bigness, its irresponsibleness, the what-the-hell greed of its sky-scrappers and lights. Yes there couldn't be a worse time to trumpet such qualities. But as much as I love goat-cheese on Brooklyn roof-tops, giving TLC to a fragile culture can get a bit lame as well.

Friday, August 29, 2008

dead ends and weekends

Some pics to keep things going. I'm in the middle of a six day work week after a one day weekend and have decided I'm at a dead end in so many places. I'll reflect on such cheerful topics until my next weekend, when I have many wonderful posts planned.

pics via Tara

Friday, August 22, 2008

Managing Mischief

One of my favorite quotes is from Einstein: "Always remember that in addition to 8 hours for work, there are also 8 hours for mischief."

Einstein of course developed his famous relativity theories while clocking hours at a low-level job in a patent office. The idea that you can work a sensible, stable job while concocting revolution in odd hours on scrap paper has always appealed to me.

Lately, though, my mischief hours have been disappointing. No startling space and time bending insights. No lyrical verse. Spotty record on the blogging front.

So I made a list of things I can do to revamp my mischief hours:

--buy a new poetry book
--study math on the subways
--date a cute guy
--start a new scribbling notebook

Let me know if you have any other ideas. I already know one thing: the new notebook is going to be pink. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On the bright side...

Images via Tara

Why can't there be two bright sides? You know, like the sun? Not every astronomical object has to be a moon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To Die in a Beautiful Dress

Working as a sales girl in Special Occasion Dresses is a wonderful way to listen to the drama of life. The other day, I had an elderly lady break down and tell me she wanted to be buried in the dress she was buying. I patted her on the shoulder and told her "Aww don't cry it's a beautiful dress." In retrospect this may not have been the most sensitive thing to say. But hopefully she understood what I was trying to get at. At any rate, she bought the dress. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tough Girls, NY

Image via Tara

Don't tell me you can't be cute and tough at the same time. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Keira Knightley Berlin!

The new September Vogue has Keira Knightley on the cover. And, she's in Berlin. In the Berlin art scene no less. I am thrilled. I have always been in love with Die Brücke. And apparently east/west tensions continue to fuel Berlin out the the merely picturesque affair the rest of western Europe sometimes seems.

Images via berlin.unlike and Vogue

Skimming the web for pictures to post, I notice a recurring theme. Her hair. What hair? The blogs are bitching about Keira's hair. I flip to the cover. Ah, her hair. Yay, her hair looks like my hair when I get out of bed in the morning. Being that one of my many doomed aspirations in life is to look like Keira Knightley, I am even more thrilled. Seriously people, what do you expect from an artist in Berlin. Or any city, for that matter. :)

Images via Vogue and Tara

Would you notice if a bridge led nowhere?

Images via Tara

This is me, recently enlightened by a passerby that the structure behind me is a bridge to nowhere. I had been leaning over the railing taking pictures and thinking about technology vs. nature and the spirit of 19th century capitalism. I completely failed to consider the structures purpose, or lack thereof. Tell me, would you notice if a bridge led nowhere?

Monday, August 11, 2008


Image via Tara

I decided to try my hand at portrait photography. Or rather, I got up the spunk to walk up to someone and ask to take their photograph. Actually, I just couldn't get over this elderly gentleman's combination of white shirt, zany hat, sketchbook, chess table, and coffee mug. I wish I'd figured out a way to work the light better (it started raining shortly after I took the shot). But he gave me his views on art: "You're not an artist unless you promote your work" and on writing: "You're not a writer unless you write." Which I guess is not bad for a rainy day's insight. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I got a poem for my birthday!

I had best birthday ever! I've been busy and apt. searching, so didn't really plan anything. Thus nearly everything I got came as a surprise. Not only that, but my sisters copied out a poem for me! Thus giving me a legitimate reason to blog about my birthday. Here it is. I think 26 is going to be a great year.

The Music Makers, by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lonely sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
Word losers and world forsakers
On whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory;
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And these with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing
And Babel itself with our mirth,
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth:
For each age is a dream that is dying
Or one that is coming to birth.

I especially like the line "Babel...with our mirth." I will have to research Arthur O'Shaughnessy. I would include pictures of the cards I got, just in case anyone here tires of "deathless ditties." Especially as one of the cards had a picture of a little pink shoe! But my camera won't take close-ups.

A huge thank you to everyone for a great birthday! Also, thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time to comment on this blog. It's been really encouraging.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

shop art

Images via Tara

I have become addicted to shop window photography. To justify this addiction, I need to start gathering material for a long, academic, dreadfully boring article on how the art of museums is dead and the real art is being produced in commercially driven store front windows. Or, I could just go out and take more pictures.

Wild Fashion

Images via Tara

Stalking fall fashion at Lord and Taylor.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poetry Carla Bruni Style

Image via New York Sun

The most exciting thing I did today was snatch up the latest copy of Vanity Fair from my local drugstore. Usually, I do not buy magazines. I buy a cup of tea at Barnes and Noble instead, read the week's magazines in one fell lunch hour swoop, and call this budgeting. But occasionally a magazine cover will make me draw my breath in sharply. How could I resist the title "Carla Bruni: The New Jackie O?"

Carla Bruni entered my consciousness this January, when a particular nude print began hurdling off the walls of the small photography gallery I was working at. I remember one immensely awkward conversation with a client, who demurred that our particular print had a slightly different hip-to-under-arm angle than the pose he was most fond of. Apparently Carla Bruni was a subject of frequent study by him, as he had her as his screen saver.

In following the news I've been vaguely aware of Carla Bruni's power perch beside the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. The Vanity Fair article delivers the heady, dense history behind this. Following the love affairs of the two of them required all of my concentration for a full 40 minutes. Yet what makes the story so fascinating is the character of the subjects. Carla Bruni, independent, violinist, lyricist, won me over by the end of the article, as had her amazing outfits.

But it was a Google search for Bruni after reading the article that brought the full implications of the subject to my attention. It appears that her latest album, No Promises, is no less than a musical rendition of poems by Yeats, Dickinson, Auden, and Rossetti. I'm super-excited and putting it on my wanted list. See, I was right to catch my breath at the Vanity Fair article. Even if my original reason for knowing the subject was some guy's screen saver.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Planetarium Pictures

Images via Tara

Kids and planets--I had so much fun with these pictures.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mutton Sleeves

Subway stop image via Tara

Today I had a productive day off. I went to a Calvin Klein seminar hosted by my job, got my hair cut, went to the Natural History Museum, and had a discussion with my boss about whether or not I should get paid for the time I spent at the Calvin Klein seminar. To my mind if, on your day off, you're going to go into work at 9am to eat croissant and strawberries, drink coffee, gossip with co-workers, and watch a Project Runway model demonstrate Calvin Klein dresses, you should get paid for it, right? Besides, I learned valuable information, such as what a mutton sleeve is, which I will shortly be dispensing to customers. The discussion went well, my boss threw his hands up in the air, waved them around, and smiled.

Serious Calvin Klein demonstration via DFR

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Art in Action Window

Image via Tara

Why, why, why, am I still up? I am going to regret this, seriously regret this, as I worked late shift tonight and am working early shift tomorrow. But somewhere I must fit poetry in. And that's why I'm still up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Borders on 59th Street Columbus Circle

Images via Tara

I adore bookstores. Where else you can travel around the world by turning a corner?

She was really into it. I wish I'd asked her where she was going. Oh wait, I think I know ::studies book and map:: Germany.

What's hot in the magazines.

Power of Art.

Starbucks moment.

Two awesome kids. They were reading the books aloud to each other with vivid commentary. One thing I couldn't help noticing is how the kid on the left is looking up at the picture of the black man on the cover of the book. It reminds me of the whole controversy over the Vogue cover which depicted LeBron James giving a power roar. At the time, I thought the controversy was over hyped. But looking at that little kid, I might have to re-think my position.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Whoa, whoa, whoa

I know, I know, I know. Where have I been going so fast? I'm sleeepy tonight. But must stop and give a passing bit of affection to this blog. It's half-way through July already!

Actually, things have not been going as badly as these past 8 days of blogging silence might suggest. I've been focused on work. And have written up a "spec" piece which I plan soon to be waving at various on-line magazines in hopes of tracking down free-lance work. And I've actually had the gumption to send out a bunch of poems to on-line journals.

I also have a sudden new belief. I'm possessed by the idea that organization is the key to all success. This would seem to bode dimly for me. Lack of organization characterizes everything I do. It's tantamount to the way I write poetry--tripping on ideas strewn across the floor, walking in through the wrong door, catching the wrong train, obsessing over the wrong idea.

But I think like most things, if you want to excel, you need to possess both sides of all equations. Be impossibly social and solitary. Traditional and cutting edge. Imaginative and grounded. Navigate both organization and disorganization. Yes I'm citing Csikszentmihalyi. So far, I've got disorganization down. And lately, my organization kick has resulted in me stacking up my books and papers, laying my clothes out for tomorrow, and finding time to go for a run. Woot!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bits and Bytes of NYC

Some more snippets of photography. I think I'm in love. :)

Bryant Park: Where great conversations are born on lunch breaks.

Gigabyte kids.

View into Whole Foods on Columbus Circle.

Intruding on someone's smoothy.

Making myself part of the art. A Central Park South Gallery I need to research further.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stripes in my Mind, Part 2

Image via Tara

I got a camera! It is possibly the cheapest camera on earth, and I paid way too much for it. But am as happy as if it were Canon. I have been taking photographs in my mind for forever. Here they are in real life for the first time! :)

I knew immediately what I wanted to photograph first. The Louis Vuitton Store on 5th Ave. I am not terribly obsessed with Louis Vuitton bubbles themselves. But I've always been intrigued the way the store teamed up with artist Takashi Murakami. And the way the store windows are themselves a work of art.

I did not realize there was a mirror behind the florescent tubes until I started taking pictures. So the picture at the very top of the page is my first, unwitting, self-portrait.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Freelancing Plan of Business, Part 1

Holbein's Erasmus via Wikamedia

I want to start taking writing seriously. To this end, I read Margit Ragland's book, Get a Freelance Life. It begins by attempting to puncture the hot air out of a writer's dreams. Writers are not destined to wealth or greatness. Writers need to be able to endure solitude, sell themselves, flip over backwards for people, and operate without the encouragement of a boss. And God forbid you contemplate quiting your day job.

The thing is, I'm fine with all this. I adore being alone, love promoting my ideas, am flexible to a fault, and get motivated without rhyme or reason. And I don't want to quit my day job. It's a endless source of new experience. Besides, I like the idea of having writing as sort of a second, secret life. Reading, thinking, and writing are what I do with my free time anyway, so why not make an extra living out of it?

This decided, I'm going ahead with Ragland's next point, which is to combat writerly vapidness by applying deadlines and operating off of a Business Plan. So, here is my Freelancing Plan of Business, Week 1:

--read chapters 1-6 of Learn HTML in 24 Hours. I've decided keeping abreast of technology is crucial and there are all sorts of things I want to do with this blog that I can't because of lack of tech wizardry.
--write blog entries for an outside, paying blog.
--apply to day jobs that relate to writing
--get name cards
--get a camera (some of the paying blogs require original photos)
--write 6 blog entries
--read a lot and start tossing around ideas for longer articles
--pin-point readings and such to go to
--interview other writers

All this of course needs to be fitted into a larger scheme of things (Ragland preaches the virtues of the 5-year-plan) that I'll get to in my next post. I will however insert a very unbusinesslike deadline here. My birthday is August 9th, and what could make for a better birthday than having a fledgling freelance business started? I'm going to work at getting something published by then.

If anyone knows of blogs that are looking for authors, or other venues a start-up free-lancer should look into, let me know! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My God has a bigger Forehead than Yours

Image via Skeptic

Posted in We Op-Ed

One of my favorite authors is acclaimed scientist and famous atheist Richard Dawkins. His latest book, The God Delusion, reads like a psychological thriller. An earlier book, Unweaving the Rainbow, sends me into paroxysms of poetic delight every time. On a scale of 1 to 10 of whether you will write a poem after reading his books, I bet you a 10. You should go buy them both now.

However whenever I do a google search on Dawkins to gather material for a seasoned, researched article, I keep getting distracted by one thing. The size of Richard Dawkins' forehead. Seriously. Refer to the pictures. I have never seen anything like it. It beats out the forehead of a typical religious practitioner by at least two or three times. I compared it to my own frontal lobe and came out a chastened and humbled being.

I think I will go now and and do worship on the alter of Rich-Ard Daw-Kins, in hopes that I may gain access to that divine region, His Front Fore-Head.

Richard Dawkins' forehead is so big it won't
even fit on the page:

Image via BBC Blogs

The Pope: Not even close.

Image via Katie Halper