1929, NYC, but where

May 25, 2005

This is a photo of my grandfather (left) during his brief stint in New York. He arrived in 1928 and stayed one year, eventually skipping the country back to his ranch in Mexico. He was working parking cars at the Waldorf and had crashed a fancy car. This would have meant prison, so he left... quickly. He had saved almost four hundred dollars had planned to marry my grandmother, take a steamer to Argentina, and start a ranch down there (100 dollars would buy a nice spread), but one of his sisters used the money for her own wedding (a blowout apparently), and that was it for that plan. He would never return to New York, but in his 90's he would recall small telling details like the electric smell of the subway cars or the way men with black umbrellas would walk through central park in the snow holding their girlfriends close and tight. Always at the end of story he would always turn a a bit sour on the memory of his dream unfulfilled.

My question with this photo... does anyone recognize the street? There aren't many places where such wide avenues are bisected by sidewalks like that, but the buildings are fairly anonymous.... I know he was living on the west side in the 70's... New Yorkers? Any ideas?

May 14, 1994

May 24, 2005

I have no idea why I wrote this or where I was, but this little snippet was scribbled in the margin of a notebook and dated 3/14/1994. Sounds like a bad short story:

Sometimes I find myself pulled with sudden and inexorable force away from everything to this place. Again, of course, as always rain. Other than the downpour on the roof, not a sound. Here I can finally rest and have a moment of peace and perhaps sleep. Nobody knows I'm here.

. . . .
Jenn's sister beck has been blogging as of late. Jenn claims she wants to blog, but won't start until she finds the right name.... I think everyone should blog. Then we can all keep tabs on each other without leaving the keyboard.

The eyebrow...

May 23, 2005

see the boy's raised brow in the second photo. That my friends is pure Gutierrez.

Crayola

May 22, 2005

I'm not much on poetry, but I found this one cut out from the New York Times Book Review dated 2/16/91. I had used it as a bookmark in a dictionary (it was in the W's) and I kinda like it.

Crayola

My favorite in the box of 64
Was Prussian Blue, rich with its hint
Of green, blue enough to suggest
An exotic 19th-century
Militaristic world.

I'd have colored everything Prussian Blue-
Except tree trunks, hands and faces -
But it had to be carefully rationed
Lest, its paper cover stripped away,
It would wear down to nothing.

Without it: prosaic Umber and Sienna,
Yellow-Green, the all-but useless White.
Adult life, I assumed, is when you own
All the Prussian Blue you'll ever need
To color anything you want.

LEWIS GARDNER

unphotographable

May 21, 2005

People complain that I always have my camera out, but I never get the best images I see. This post was inspired by the website unphotographable.

These are but a few photographs I did not take over the last two weeks:

A man with his back to the road standing out in the desert looking at the empty sky, hands aloft. Nobody around for miles. I am the only person in the car who notices him.

5 boys, 1 with a gold tooth, beggars, faces pressed tight to the glass of the window. All startled into silence by the site of a Korean, a gringo, a baby, and a set of identical twins.

A small Mexican cemetery amongst the joshua trees at twilight.

Several young girls in their white confirmation dresses, one with blood on her knee seeping through the dress.

My Tio Rodolfo sitting in a chair at twighlight looking a bit like his father and smiling to himself at the scene of his grandchildren running around him.

Jennifer asleep with her hair all over the pillow. The light just right. Naked baby nuzzled by her side.

A Bush Cheney piñata broken in half in a courtyard.

Four old men holding a wooden coffin aloft on a hot day in Monterrey.

Graffiti on an abandoned building near Highway 59 that said "2 boys got shot here" with flowers strewn around the junky lot.

Mr. Maldonado telling a whopper of a tale, involving his wife, a thief and a submarine, his eyes crinkling when he got to the good parts.

My old treehouse, or what's left of it, covered in vines. Blackberry bushes growing below, bugs in the hot air. Forest light.

A girl from my high school, unrecognizable with age standing in the middle of an empty supermarket late at night.

All the abandoned sno-cone shacks in Lufkin.

The crowd of ladies in their colorful hats outside the gospel Church on Sunday morning waving their fans in the heat.

Some secret places I know.

The sight of the city from the BQE over that big graveyard at dusk.

Muslim ladies with their kids flying kites on the promenade.

Our baby on his grandfather's stomach, both laughing.

Too many other things...

on my mind...

May 19, 2005

I've become a big fan of del.icio.us the online social bookmarks manager. While explaining it to people is difficult (even my wife who sort of glazed over by the time I had said "online social"), if you just start using it, you'll soon wonder what you did without it.

Anyway I find del.icio.us provides a pretty good snapshot of what's on my mind at least in the realm of my computer. You can see my tag cloud yourself by clicking here. I'm a relatively new user, so my list isn't very robust yet, but it will fill out soon enough. I'm at http://del.icio.us/themexican/.

And while I'm leaving webdroppings, I should include my audioscrobbler homepage and my last.fm homepage as well. Want to discover new music you like. Build up a playlist in audioscrobbler and then start listening to last.fm's personal radio stations of your 'musical neighbors'. Again a bit hard to explain sometimes, but brilliant once you get the hang of it.

Oddly (or perhaps not oddly), of the thousands and thousands of users, I personally know 2 of my musical neighbors.
. . . . . . .
Hmmmm.... what else...

Jenn has started Spanish classes so we've been conjugating verbs around the house.
. . . . . . .
We've noticed that my dad inserts the phrase "and the baby is cute" somewhat randomly into paragraphs when talking to people on the phone.
. . . . . . .
After only 10 days out of the city, I return damaged. I keep looking for a horizon. Must defeat this urge.
. . . . . . .
Crash Review:

Jenn and I snuck out and watched Crash two nights ago. I knew absolutely nothing about the movie going into it and was impressed by the good acting, but was annoyed by the too neat and tidy story line. And why does a movie about racism manage to treat each character as a racist stereotype? You can almost hear the screenwriter's wheels turning, "I'll take a racist cop and have him do something utterly abominable to a woman and then, get this, I'll have him save THE SAME WOMAN. And the Persian guy, I'll have him so beaten down by racism that he becomes a racist himself." The basic idea is everyone is driven mad by racism, and each character has a twist (or in screenwriterese "an arc"). The "bad" characters are all warm and fuzzy underneath, the "good" characters are all capable of horrible acts. While there is an ethnic stew of characters, as usual Asians get short shrift. Ultimately I looked at the film as manipulative and cynical in it's attempt to portray acts of grace. My prediciton this film and it's cartoon racism will be wildly overpraised. The discussion of real race issues is almost completely absent in popular American culture, so if a film seems to be saying the right thing the kneejerk reaction is to deem it a masterpiece.
. . . . . . .
Do you ever feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to get done? Right now I'm running underwater.

New York Times to start charging for online content

May 17, 2005

The NY Times announced today they will start charging for online content. Most of the daily paper will still be free (available for a few days before being pay per view) but op eds and special features will available only for paid subscribers. They will charge $79/year, $39/year for people who already buy a $250/year subscription .

I believe the Times is making a mistake and is going about this backwards. Right now the Times articles are not indexed by google because they expire after a few days. This will continue. Premium content will make op-eds even less accessible and limit their audience. The upside, I believe, will not compensate for the loss in audience. Unlike the Wall Street Journal which thrives on a subscription model, the type of content the Times will be charging for is available elsewhere on the net and the subscriptions will generally not be covered by corporate expense accounts.

What is the right model? I believe the Times should open up it's entire archive for free to the public. Make it searchable and indexable. Then The Times should sell micro-ads on keywords, specific stories, or on themes. Given the depth and breadth of content available (ie it's not just news) I believe the profit potential is staggering (cough, cough, google, adsense, record profits). As a side benefit the Times would become relevant on the web (right now as far as it's google and the other search engines are concerned it's completely invisible) and will gain readership not just by pushing news daily, but as a historical and cultural archive.

But the Times (and other major papers) do not think this way and we are all the poorer for it.

Tombstone

May 15, 2005

in the Garden of Memories near Lufkin: 'Jackie Lee Asque, April 10, 1919. March 4, 1983. See, I told you I was sick. P.S. I knew this would happen, I just didn't know it would happen so soon.'

things happen gradually...

May 11, 2005

...but one day you find yourself sitting at the adult table in your uncle's backyard on a hot night with a cool breeze watching the kids playing freeze tag and darting through the legs of chairs and remembering what it was like to be one of those kids in that same backyard not so many years ago.







Platypus Tooth

May 5, 2005

Our baby sprouted his first tooth today. Jenn refers to it as his platypus tooth. This freaks me out. (baby platypuses have a single tooth that they use to escape their eggs.)

a tree grows in Brooklyn no more

May 5, 2005

The city has been cutting trees around Brooklyn Heights at a scary pace. Three 50-100 year old trees have vanished just on the route I use to get to the subway. I asked a city worker why they were doing this (assuming the answer would be disease). His reply, "I don't know. They tell me to cut them, I cut them. Maybe the roots were hurting the sidewalk, but it could be anything."

It's gotta be disease, nobody would cut down a tree just because the sidewalk was a little uneven... would they?

I vary my route now to avoid the corner. Makes me sad.
. . . . .

My dad and stepmother are back in town. As Frederik of smudo.org said the other day, "the goal in life is not to be a parent, but a to be a grandparent."

Greenberg Editions

May 4, 2005

I picked up some big prints for a client today from Gabe Greenberg. Gabe runs the 20x24 Polaroid studio as well as a high end digital print service. I can't say enough good things about the entire experience of working with Gabe as a printer. His attention to detail and knowledge of digital process is top notch. I was very happy with the results.

You can see a small online version of the print shown right here.

Maria Del Mar

April 30, 2005

I found this picture today of my grandparents, my dad and his sister on vacation in Tampico. Nobody looks like they are having much fun, but I remember my grandmother talking about this trip with great fondness despite having to endure many meals with the smell of fish. My grandmother, a product of the desert and inland ranchers, was a great hater of fish.

Does anyone else find it sad that these types of photo places with painted backgrops are dissapearing? Like drive in movies and a good malted they are tokens of another age.

Here is another one of these images, one of my favorites, a famous one featuring Lorca and Buñel. Lorca appear to be rather serious. Perhaps Buñel bullied him into posing.

There is a poet I like named Kenneth Koch. He has a long series of short poems called Aesthetics. They are all just a few lines... for example:

Aesthetics of Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Walk her to the place
Where she can get a taxi
And say good-bye
If she is wearing
An overcoat
Place one hand
On her shoulder-or if she is not
Shake hands, embrace


or
Aesthetics of Harshness to a Horse

You should never be harsh
To a horse. A horse is always doing
Its best. Otherwise it is a bad horse
And harshness has no effect.


anyway one is titled the Aestetcs of Lorca and I rather like it:
Aesthetics of Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca stands alone
Luna, typewriter, plantain tree, and dust
The moon is not just watching him, it is watching over him.

Rock Paper Sissors and sand.

April 29, 2005

Why does Raul love the Japanese? This is why. Read it quick as the link will expire in a few days.

I direct you to this NASA photo of one of the Mars rovers stuck (for good it seems) in a sand dune. It was on it's way to Terra Nuevo, but it looks like this is the end of the road... and from the looks of the dunes, I imagine it will be swallowed up sooner than later.

Christopher

April 27, 2005

Today, April 27th, would have been my brother Christopher's 35th birthday.

As he's been gone for a little over 15 years this fact, the idea of him as a 35 year old adult is hard for me to wrap my head around... He is always 19 in my mind or even younger.

He comes to me often in dreams and we talk about the issues of the day (actually talk is a mild way of putting it, we often debate as he was something of a contrarian). Christopher was passionate about politics and science and any number of other subjects from photography to ethology. We were often at odds, but only because we were so similar to one another. Sometimes in the dreams he just sits and watches silently from afar as Jenn and I play with our young son. I always call out for him to join us, but he always gives me a sad smile and walks away out beyond the far distance.


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