Tuesday, April 25

Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs, writer of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, has passed away. When a nonfiction book about urban planning written in 1961 can knock your socks off in 2005, it's something impressive. In Death & Life, Jacobs talks about what makes cities great, and what causes cities harm. My favorite parts are always when she talks about the LES and West Village (where she'd lived).
Last year I was on such a street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, waiting for a bus. I had not been there longer than a minute, barely long enough to begin taking in the street's activity of errand goers, children playing, and loiterers on the stoops, when my attention was attracted by a woman who opened a window on the third floor of a tenement across the street and vigorously yoo-hooed at me...."The bus doesn't run here on Sundays!" Then by a combination of shouts and pantomime she directed me around the corner. This woman was one of thousands upon thousands of people in New York who casually take care of the streets.
If you haven't realized, much of what makes Death & Life amazing is that Jacobs truly believes that people working together (in the rightly designed city) can make life better. More to the point, really, is that Jacobs believes people's natural inclination will be to work and live together happily.

Obits: from the NYT; WaPo
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Wednesday, April 19

My Carbon Monoxide Meter Went Off In The Middle of the Night

Well, it went off at 6AM, which I suppose for some people is first-cup-of-coffee-o'clock. The thing about carbon monoxide is that they call it a silent killer, and so once the alarm goes off, it's hard to know what to do next.

We checked on the internet, but the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea, headache, and feeling tired. Who doesn't feel like that at 6AM?

Were we dying? Should the domestic partner and I leave the apartment? We really had no idea.

So we called 311, figuring they might know more than us. 311 connected me to 911, who connected me to the FDNY. After you've just paid taxes, it's a real thrill to see government resources at work.

Five minutes later, two fire trucks showed up with at least ten hot firemen. Yum. Firemen. I went up to one of them who was taking his axe out of his pocket and told him about our potential death by the silent killer. Then I said, "My, that's a lot of tools you have." And then I turned bright red.

Ten fireman followed us up our five flights (which I guess is nothing to them) and did a reading of our CO level. I hate to be anticlimactic, but our reading was zero. No CO; no silent killer death.

Tuesday, April 18

I'll Eat You Up!

Let's all get ready (waaaaaaaay in advance) for the movie of Where The Wild Things Are. Directed by Spike Jonze, and written by Dave Eggers, it's sure to be, well, either horribly twee and self-reflective, or enchantingly off-kilter & super awesome. I'm intrigued.

Monday, April 17

I Date a Hobo

Seattle has a lot of bums. No seriously, it does. It was a surprise to me too. Coming from NY, you'd think I wouldn't notice. No city could have more bums, beggers, and derelict mumblers than my own New York. Thing is, NY isn't so clean, so it's easier for all bums to blend in.

Seattle thought -- well, it's downright tidy, with spacious streets, parks and plazas. It's basically gotta be clean, since it's washed by a near-constant drizzle. All this adds up to more noticable--and more chatty--hobos than you'd ever meet in New York.

So I suppose it's no surprise that when the boy approached an indie yuppie chick in Capital Hill she assumed he was a bum.

As he said, "Excuse me, but we're looking for Broadway -- do you know where that is?" she gave him the I'm sorry, but no nod that translates to: I feel very bad for the life you're living but I am not giving you money, cigarettes, alchohol or blow.

It only took about four seconds before we both realized that the boy had been outed as a hobo. And with that, friends, I believe the boy has a new moniker.

(See the lil' hobo that can't get directions above.)

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Thursday, April 13

This Is What I Do -- For a Living

I saw Rhett Miller & the Believers tonight at Webster Hall. Great show. Rhett Miller reminds me a little bit of an old friend & roommate, Eric wedreaminsound. (I think it's cause of the flock of seagulls-esqu haircut they both sport.) Rhett's style onstage is one-half sharp sexiness and one-half unselfconscious awkwardness.

Let's not say too much about the drummer, who was blonde, female, and a good chick drummer without any kind of grrrl power to it. (Well, let's say a little, if only because our birthdays are a month apart. And cause, ya know, maybe I have a wee girl crush. Oh. Angela Wilson...unfindable on the internet, but still pretty great.)

That's all. Just a old fashioned kickass show. Rhett Miller broke a string mid-song. Just as I noticed it dangling, a lackey ran up with a new & tuned guitar. (The boy would like to interject here and mention that the technical name for the lackey would be 'roadie.') You could tell no one in the band was a punk kid anymore, because when they burst out the champagne for Angela Wilson's birthday, they poured it into cups, and then played another song for the crowd. No drinking out of the bottle, and certainly no pouring champagne on bandmates.

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Tuesday, April 11

Back From Seattle

I'm back--and oh, internets, how I missed you! I did not have computer access for over FIVE days. No internet. When I wanted to find out the weather, I went outside (luckily, in Seattle, the weather seems to be kind of overcast/drizzly every day).

I'm back now, with email to read, blogs to catch up on, laundry to do...but don't worry, there will soon be stories about Hotel Demoralization and How I Found Out My Boyfriend Was a Hobo, etc, etc.

Oh, internets, it was a great vacation but I am glad to be back & wireless.

Tuesday, April 4

The Closest I Get to scandalous!

I had a mini-reunion with my Freshman Hall Girls (I mean, women) last weekend, and we met sailors!

Sailors! In Newport. They bought us two (2) rounds so we love them.

Note that there's a sailor looking down Jane's shirt. Note also that I'm holding on to a sailor's hand so it doesn't go a'wanderin' any further.