Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Simple Life

I went to bed late but woke up at 7:30 to the sound of flapping. I thought it might have been a bug trapped between the window screen and curtain, but curiosity overcoming sleepiness, I pulled my curtain aside to see three mourning doves sitting on the railing of my fire escape. I think it might have been a family because at one point, one of the doves held the second dove's beak in its own beak and then shook it, as if it were regurgitating food. Then again, it was early and I might have imagined seeing that. I went back to sleep, but before I did, I thought how being woken by doves must be one of the more pleasant ways to wake up in the city.

Tonight, I took the train back late with a friend, and we happened to board an empty car. I excitedly said that we could run up and down the car screaming, and no one would care. My friend then pointed out a guy in an adjacent car. This guy was apparently the only one in his car. Through the narrow windows in the car doors, we saw him run toward then grab one of the metal support poles. He threw his weight onto the pole and spun around it with his feet in the air. It made me happy to see him having fun, like a child would have done without fear of embarrassment or self-consciousness.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Booooo Hoo

Sad Ghost Lamp, Marcel Dzama, $150

I wants it. Who could not love a crying ghost?

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Kidney for Sale! Kidney for Sale!

Not exactly a new story but I still found "Human Kidneys for Sale" to be interesting. It aired on public radio and was filed from India by filmmaker Samantha Grant. What I found especially disturbing was Grant's observation that
"India's Ministry of Tourism is promoting what's being called Transplant Tourism, aimed at drawing wealthy foreigners in search of a cheap medical fix. Its website even has a page called 'high-tech healing' and boasts that a 'kidney transplant package' in India would cost only $7,000, a fraction of what it costs in the developed world."

(The Web site she's referring to is Incredible India. According to the site, India also offers wellness services such as bone marrow transplants, joint replacement surgery, and, of course, yoga.)

Grant's documentary on the same subject can be viewed online at PBS FRONTLINEt/World. I haven't had a chance yet to check it out, but it's only about 11 mins. long. (Though the ending probably won't be as satisfying as that of Dirty Pretty Things, the Stephen Frears-directed film about the human organ trade. It's excellent!--I highly recommend it.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where Science Meets Culture

Jesse recommended I check out Phylotaxis. Pretty.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

World Jump Day

World Jump Day is fast approaching! On Thursday, July 20, be one of the 600 million jumpers needed to help change the Earth's orbit to stop global warming. Check out the official Web site for local jump times. (Or just check out this article, which explains the premise of the project.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Really, Really Free Market (Really!)

Got the word from Treehugger that there will be a Really, Really Free Market this weekend in New York City. I didn't make it to the Free Meet that I blogged about earlier, but I might just drop by this one with some stuff I'd like to get rid off, like my ax collection, which I've been warned is not good feng shui for the bedroom.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wizard Rock

While in Boston, I was introduced to the music genre Wizard Rock, which according to Wikipedia dates from 2002 with Harry and the Potters being the first such band. My friend Alice had seen Harry and the Potters and dragged me to see The Remus Lupins at T.T. the Bear's.

The show was actually quite fun. Despite the plural in the band's name, Alex Carpenter is the sole member, though he was accompanied on one song by friends on other instruments. I bought a copy of his CD--you can hear some of his music on his Web site and myspace page--though it lacks the energy of his live playing. (He also played the show in a Hogwarts uniform, sweater and all; I don't know how he withstood the heat.)

Still, he's a talented musician, and it was interesting to learn about another facet of fandom. (See Wikipedia articles on cosplay and slash fiction).

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tents and the T

Tents and sleeping bags

More tents and sleeping bags

Took these photos awhile ago. I've only ever seen these miniature displays in Target stores. I got such a kick out of them the first time I saw them. I like to think of them as matching tents and sleeping bags for your ferret should you go camping with your ferret. You could have the miniatures inside of the human-sized counterparts. Very postmodern.

I spent the July 4th weekend in Boston. I've been to Boston a few times now, but I still learned new things about the place, the characteristics that make each city unique. For example, sometimes two people will go through a rotating turnstile together on one subway token. I'd never seen that done anywhere else, but apparently it's common in Boston, at least in places where security cameras have yet to be installed. I'm not even sure two people can fit into the turnstiles here in the New York City subway.

The T is phasing out its token fare system. One night, I had to buy a token from the attendant. I could see through the glass that he had lined up all the tokens on the counter to his left. On his right he'd lined up different coins so he could quickly give out change.

The T passes are known as CharlieTickets and CharlieCards, named after the Charles River. That'd be like New York City's MTA naming its passes the Hudson or, as a friend pointed out, the East.

The announcements on the T sound a little mournful, not at all jaunty like the announcements on the Chicago El. No one can hear anything on the MTA, at least not on the older trains. (Saturday Night Live got it right with its sketch about why subway announcements are impossible to understand.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hulk! Smash!!

You are Hulk.
You are a wanderer with amazing strength.
Which superhero are you?

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