Life around the Gutierrez household

June 22, 2005

I am up in the attic engrossed on my computer working out some arcane css issue and I feel something skitter across my toes. A cockroach. No too big. A rat. Chills, then terror. I let out a man scream while simultaneously rolling back in chair and jumping in the air.

Cut to my wife in her underwear rolling on the ground with screams of laughter under my desk with a piece of string that she had run across my food. Cracking up so hard she can't breath. Tears.

Then Becky, Jenn's sister, runs up (she thought I had fallen down the stairs) and Jenn (still hysterical with laughter), mocks me "Who am I? Who am I?" as she mimics my inelegant scream.

She got me.

But this is an ongoing war I will have my revenge.

This is me tired:

June 21, 2005

1. Work on project late. Get to sleep 3:30am.
2. Wake up and tend to morning baby wakeup 5:20am.
3. Sleep 7:15am-8:45am.
4. Work. Work. Work.
5. 3:30pm take car from Jenn to fill it up with gas and park it (I had told Jenn to fill it up with gas before her errands). Car runs out of gas in the middle of Court street.
6. 3:35 Raul pushing car with 2 homeless guys to the side of the road and running to buy a slurpee cup full of gasoline.
7. 5:00 turn in one web project.
8. 5:15 start another web project.
9. 5:30 decide I'm not ready for project #2 and need a nap. Snap this picture:

10. 10:08pm Back to work.

random

June 21, 2005

can't be good:

Fort Greene:

they are asking a million for this fire damaged ratrap of an SRO (with a rent control tenant!):

Can we say bubble?

Photobloggers 4

June 19, 2005

Perhaps because weddings and funerals have been the primary venue for my public speaking, there is an emotional sense memory attached to the act of standing in front of an audience. The unhappy anticipation generally leads to dryness of mouth a blankness of mind, and a rabbit-like heart rate. Weird things happen to my voice. It's awful.

But last night when I finally started talking I calmed down. While I went off the rails a bit and babbled, I wasn't nervous, which I suppose is progress. Still, I envy those people who can speak clearly and eloquently in front of a crowd like some of my fellow presenters. Travis Ruse in particular, gave a compelling talk about the thinking behind his subway photography. By documenting his daily commute week in and week out, his images form a dignified portrait of the people of this great city presenting a cross-section of it's diversity, complexity and grace. He spoke of being compelled to his project by a sense that the rest of the world misunderstands Americans, thinking of us all as right wing lemmings and wanted to in his small way to fight that image by small portraits of our daily truth.

As I was sitting there listening to Travis, I thought about the ease with which virtually anyone with access to the internet can publish to a worldwide audience and present a portrait of his world and just perhaps change a few minds. We are lucky indeed.

My Dad's Birthday

June 16, 2005

We had a nice little brithday party for my dad today. As usual Jenny made an amazing meal. My dad basically didn't let go of the baby the entire time he was here...

the heat

June 15, 2005

has broken and the entire city of New York seems to be in a better mood today. This does not explain why I ate an entire bag of spice candies (I feel sick now).
. . .

The books say 6 month old babies don't have nightmares. I beg to differ. REM is occasionally followed by tossing and turning, leg pumping, and then a sharp blood curdling scream. After being woken up there is some disorientation as the memory fades. Pretty much exactly how I experience nightmares (only I scream a bit louder).

On the left is a picture of a baby during the scream. On the right, a few minutes later, after a few songs by yours truly.

The pictures were taken with a Hogla with a polaroid back. I found the polaroid attatchment recently on ebay for $11. Best $11 I've ever spent.

The other new toy in my life is an Epson 4990 Scanner, a replacement for my dead Agfa. The Agfa was one of those $99 specials thrown in for 'free' when you buy a new computer. After years with the Agfa, what a joy the 4990 is. I can scan straight from photoshop, it scans 48bit color, the colors are accurate, and it's fast. Really fast. Now I regret the countless hours I spent waiting for the Agfa to scan and fixing the colors of those scans.
. . .
Does anyone have good links lying around for hypnosis techniques. I've decided I want to teach myself this skill but became frustrated after an admittedly short google session. The best I found was this page (beware badly rendering html) with links and explanations of different theories: http://www.deep-trance.com/definition/hypnosis.html

. . .

Back to the baby. From the picture you can see he is developing a bit of mohawk. Now I like the idea of a baby with a real mohawk, but in practice it would probably be sort of lame (I think of all those little redneck kids I grew up with in their tiny mullets) and anyway it probably wouldn't grow in properly (my guess, the swath of hair will just fuzz out). I'm thinking we should should shave him down to even everything out. My wife disagrees.

wilting

June 15, 2005

I am a great hater of hot humid days. They make me grumpy and foul tempered. I become especially grumpy when the fuses in the house keep blowing under the strain of our measly window units. Good god, and it's not even officially summer yet.

We must retreat like Europeans to someplace more agreeable.

24 Middagh

June 13, 2005

Brownstoner is running a series on Brooklyn Heights this week. They start with 24 Middegah which according to The Brooklyn Historical Society is the oldest standing building in the neighborhood. While most books say this house was built in 1824, the caption this picture from 1922 says "This place was used as a chop-house in 1815. It became a residence in 1836" which would imply it was older still:

As noted by the Brownstoner, the other house of interest on Middagh was #7. Back in the 40's W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee all lived there together for one alcohol tinged year of bohemian living that proved inspirational for several books, musical compositions, et-cetera amongst them. The story of the year is told in the book February House (there were lots of February birthdays). #7 was torn down to make way for the BQE.

The name Middagh came from the Middagh farm. This document (originally from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1896), a treasure trove of information about the area circa 1800, notes:

"The First ward was occupied by the HICKS and MIDDAGH farms, the land being
about equa11y divided between the two families. The boundaries were Fulton street,
the East river and Clark street.. The dividing line was midway between Hicks and
Henry streets. HICKS having all the west and MIDDAGH having all the east section.
Soutb or the Middagh farm were the small WARING, KIMBERLEY and Samuel JACKSON
properties.

Another o1d time land owner was the famous Dr. SWEETCOPE, a Hessian who had
served in the British army during the revolution and remained here after the close
of the War. He had an office at the corner of Fulton and Clinto streets and his
property lay along Love lane, which then ran from Fulton street to the river."

The document goes to talk about a fight between Mr. Joralemon, a harness and saddle maker, and Charles Hoyt a real estate speculator. Joralemon opposed the creation of Clinton street named after a politician who spearheaded the Erie Canal project. I will now never cross the intersection Joralemon and Clinton without a chuckle. Damn that Mr. Hoyt.

Happy Trails

June 13, 2005

We had a great time this weekend. Have a safe trip back to Buffalo!

photobooth

June 12, 2005

We were visited by the fabulous Bea Hoffman (and her family) this weekend. This was her first photobooth portrait.
Our son, of course, is already an old pro.

photolinks

June 7, 2005

1. Although I hate sites that have pop up windows, I do enjoy a bit of surrealism now and then.

2. Photoblogger's 4 is happening on June 17 @ 7:00pm at the Apple Store. Stop by and watch me choke (I'm one of the speakers and anyone who has known me long enough knows I'm famously shy about this stuff). Otherwise these things are like big slide shows. Is anyone in blogworld ancient enough to remember the family slideshow? Or even better the neighbor's slideshow of his vacation ("The Sullivans go to Vegas!"). Anyway it will sort of be like that. As a random aside, if you don't know the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, you probably should.

3. Check out this nice bit of photojournalism on land and identity from Magnum. I found this link via Martin Fuchs who is interning at Magnum this summer.

On Leaving Iraq

June 7, 2005

This Newsweek corespondent Rod Nordland on leaving his assignment in Iraq sums up the grim mess. If you care about such things, it is hard not to feel despair at the utter failure of leadership and imagination that is consuming our nation's prestige like a cancer and turning the world against us.

Edit me

June 6, 2005

I know. I know. This blog is filled with typographical errors. I often write at night or with a baby sleeping on my knee. Sometimes hours pass between halves of sentences. An Ivy League education can't hide my lifelong dyslexia or a childhood in a rural Texas school system. Sometimes I write sentences that look correct to me, but are in fact inverted. I am prone to grammatical train wrecks. If you find these errors and they bug you, please let me know about them. I edit myself as best I can, but I make plenty of embarrassing mistakes. Please just leave a note in the comments. I will thank you and you will feel better about making the web ever so slightly more pleasant.

It is beyond late...

June 6, 2005

... and I'm still clicking away trying to finish up a project that never seems to end. I am weary...

Earlier tonight Jenn read to me--various passages from a book she is into. Jenn is a reader in the way I used to be and would like to be again. We had been lying down together on a twin bed staring at the ceiling and talking about how sometimes we miss our baby when he is asleep when she said, "Oh I have to read you something..." and so she did. It is hot in our apartment and we don't have enough fans. We were lying a few inches away from each other so as to not generate too much heat and stick together but there was a hint of breeze through the window and I had just finished a popsicle which cooled my insides so the temperature was bearable. So Jenn read and I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sounds of her voice and the nice words she was reading. Outside the sounds of Brooklyn.

I have many friends who are wary of benefits of marriage (which is of course their prerogative), but if I could just find the words to color all the ineffable emotions of that small moment and so many others like it, I feel sure their ambivalence would dissolve into want with a capital W for the things they do not yet know.

Post Secret

June 3, 2005

Post Secret has been all over the media lately including stories in the NY Times and on NPR, but then again, the site is genius. It deserves the attention. If you haven't found it yet check it out.

sonambulance

June 2, 2005

Sorry to keep posting these old journal fragments, but it is always curious to find something in your own hand that you do not recognize:

1993, Beijing

Letter to my future wife wherever you are:

Forget the ocean... forget last night and try to remember that long afternoon near the end of summer when we spoke for the first time. We talked of the color ultramarine and of the ideal day. A day in which every moment is polished and perfect and even our breath overlaps. I tried to imagine this but found my mind wandering... round river stones tumbling, the word s o m n a m b u l a n c e kicking around my head... But too much thinking is pushing away this future memory so I turn off that part of my brain and just let your words flow over me. Listening to you I knew you could make me forget and perhaps for a while, even now when you are just an illusion, you did. Do you remember all this because I do? and I know that that perfect ideal day will be the first day, the beginning of something.

The aptly named Stung Treng

June 1, 2005

From an old journal:

June 1rst, 1993
Stung Treng, Cambodia

Last night we awoke to the sound of a woman screaming nearby. There was no electricity, no light but starlight. It sounded as if she was being assaulted or worse.

The racket if I had to describe it would be of a woman being sawed in half. Soon her screams were joined by the voices of other women. I was awash in the chill of pure terror. Despite every instinct to run in the opposite direction we (myself and the other men on bus garroted in a cheap guesthouse) made our way outside towards the noise up the steps of the other platformed guesthouse where the women were sleeping. A snake, an enormous one of at least 60 pounds, had fallen from the rafters onto the women's mosquito net and began writhing to free itself. The woman had been trapped and paralyzed with fear. None of this was apparent before a match was lit... upon entering the room we just saw two dark shapes struggling with manic energy. Finally a match was struck, the scene revealed & much shouting.

An old man deftly and with practiced precision did away with the beast with a quick sharp jab of a knife through the eye. The woman bruised, and almost mad with fear had been bitten several times, though the bites weren't poisonous she was hysterical. When the blood was cleaned she was left with just a few puncture wounds. By the time the excitement was over the sun was breaking, the snake had been skinned & gutted, and put into a pot where it boiled for two hours.

I was just served a bowl of the oily dark flesh. I think I will pass.

crawl

May 31, 2005

Almost 6 months and still not crawling, but he's working on it.

North Korea Links

May 28, 2005

Longtime readers will know I have a bit of a North Korea obsession.

A few links of interest I've discovered recently:

The unofficial guide to the Pyongyang Metro System

The Tower of Juche Idea

North Korean Propaganda Posters

Official North Korean News Agency (which oddly always includes a few items in Spanish).

Downloadable North Korean Magazine (pdf format).

more here...

odd fact: The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents the US as consular protecting power),

and on an unrelated note, I just downed an entire box of melba toast.

holidays

May 27, 2005

I like spending holidays in New York. The city is deserted and you feel like you have the place for yourself. Still it's hard not to be just a little bit jealous of my friends who are all heading for the hills (and beyond).

My wanderlust is in high gear right now. I can't wait to escape the keyboard and get "out there" somewhere beyond the familiar.

111724941978539420

May 27, 2005


About once a year Ted swings into town from Hong Kong and throws an awfully nice dinner. Although most of the invitees are friends and we all live in NY, often the only time we see each other are at these semi-annual dinners. Sad really.


Virtually everyone who meets Raul Andres comments about his good natured smileyness. People tell us we have been spoiled by such a mellow kid. I'm sure it will all even out. We predict he's going to be a terror as a 2 year old.


At 5 1/2 months the baby has more than doubled his weight and is 2 1/2 feet tall... & still criminally cute.


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