Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
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Like my brownhouse:
   Central Park in Indian Summer
Sunday, October 31 2004

Nathan and I grabbed some coffee at a chain coffee shop (but not Starbucks) in Midtown. We sat in the window and watched the people go about their business in a way that seemed unnecessarily businesslike for a Sunday morning. Nathan told me some things I'd completely missed from his life, that, for example, he and Janine had fostered two different troubled teens over the past couple years.
Later we walked fifteen or so blocks up to Central Park to enjoy the day, which was absolutely perfect. The temperature was 68 degrees and there were almost no clouds in the sky.
We headed up the east side of the park looking for a coffee shop because I needed another cup. (Nathan was inexplicably still working on his first.) Interestingly, though, there were almost no places where one could actually buy a cup of coffee. This probably reflected the extremely high real estate prices of the underlying land; it's simply too expensive to justify selling anything that delivers such low profits for a given square foot of real estate. (To understand what I mean it helps if you visualize a slacker lingering for as long as possible over single cup of coffee.) The WASPY culture of the East Side is built on the idea of things being delivered; this was made abundantly clear when we wandered as far east as Park Avenue, which didn't appear to have any commercial real estate at all.
The beautiful weather had seemingly brought all of New York outdoors. They know that this late in the season every day like this is a gift from God. The park itself was crowded with people, and it proved difficult to find a place to sit that wasn't within thirty feet of someone else. If one wanted to, say, smoke marijuana, one would have had difficulty finding a place sufficiently private. Unless, of course, that person were to climb atop a large granite outcrop, lie face down in a hollow, and light his paraphernalia while it lies upon the ground.
Marriage parties, strolling couple, and the rare mother with a stroller passed beneath our vantage point. After what was probably a very long time, we got up and began the long walk back home. On the way, I was being somewhat experimental with my eye contact, choosing mostly to catch the gaze of men who were in the company of attractive women. Without exception, all of them seemed to be glaring at me angrily, though I couldn't decide whether what I was seeing was homophobia (because I was with a man) or jealousy related to their girlfriends.
We ran across a newspaper vending machine and decided to get a copy of the New York Times. The machine demanded $3 in coins, not the form of money one normally has much of in his possession. But together we just barely managed to find the necessary twelve quarters. Most of these, believe it or not, were loose in the bottom of my billfold. While he had the machine open, Nathan asked if I wanted a paper too. "Sure, I can read it on the bus ride home." We really thought we were sticking it to the man by scamming our own two-for-one discount. But later, much later, when we went to read these newspapers, we found they were two weeks old. The bastards who maintain these machines leave old newspapers in them! It shows you what kind of New Yorker I am that I'm only learning to be wary of this possibility two years after I moved away.

Back at the Roosevelt, Nathan and I watched all of The Terminator, but dubbed in Spanish. Watching a familiar movie dubbed in an unfamiliar language seems like a good way to learn. At some point we got to talking again about religious fundamentalists and Nathan made an interesting observation, that evangelical Christianity is a quintessentially American form of religion because it is passive and requires no real effort, much like television. After declaring your acceptance of Jesus, it's like you've flipped a switch. Unlike, say, Catholicism, Judaism, or Islam, you don't have to do anything else from that day onward.
We watched a little football down in the second floor gym while lifting weights of indeterminate value and pedaling stationary bicycles at a leisurely pace. Neither of us allowed our heart rates to exceed 140 beats per minute.
I needed to go home tonight, so Nathan and I walked down to Times Square together and had pizza and beer on the edge of Hell's Kitchen. We got to Port Authority just after one of the buses to Kingston had left, so we suddenly had an additional hour and a half to kill. We ducked into a little dive bar nearby and chatted with the two lady bartenders, the only other people there. One of them was from Poland and the other was from Mauritius. They were fun, if a little dull, but when they started singing along in unison to Phil Collins on the jukebox we had to split.

Enjoying the weather in Central Park. Click to enlarge.

Enjoying the weather in Central Park.

Enjoying the weather in Central Park. Click to enlarge.

Gothic twin towers on the Central Park skyline. Click to enlarge.

A Sallyesque dog in Central Park.

A wedding viewed from above in Central Park.

5th Avenue just south of Central Park.

Waiting for the Kingston bus.

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