Thursday, February 25, 2010


I wonder if the Eskimos, who have so many words for snow, have a word for the dirty, slushy, icy mess that the plows are now pushing into big piles on the sidewalks.

So it's snowing again today. When I was walking to school, the snowflakes were the size of snowballs. They were big and wet and by the time I'd walked the 7 blocks from my apartment to my office my black wool coat was solid white.

New York makes a fellow feel differently about a lot of things. Snow is kind of a nuisance here, but when I was a kid in Oregon, I loved it so much.

An Oregon winter is nothing if not wet, but it was a rare occurrence for the temperature to be below freezing at the same time there was precipitation. My siblings and I would wait by the window late into the night, hoping the rain would become snow. It sometimes did but it rarely stuck. And if it did stick it was twice as useless as what we could get by driving an hour into the mountains.

I wore the wrong shoes today and my feet got drenched.

To get to the point, I'm sick of Winter. On the bright side, I only have two weeks left. In mid March I head to Portland and then to beautiful San Francisco. I'll be gone 1.5 weeks. And when I come back, Winter will be over. At least, that's how I've planned it.

And by the way, if we can trust wikipedia (and what type of world would it be if we can't), then the Eskimos do have a word for the white dogshit that's currently littering the New York City sidewalks.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I knew I was going to be traveling a lot last week so I purchased an unlimited ride metro card. Here's what I did:

Tuesday: I went to NYU (for microtomy) and then to New Alternatives (for that I could bake some chocolate chip cookies for GLBT youth).

Wednesday: I went to see The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Thursday: I took my little friend Levi to see The Sleeping Beauty.

Friday: I went to see the movie The End of Poverty.

Saturday: I went to a friend's Basque themed party. There was a rather violent documentary about the Basque National Liberation Movement on in the background. I left early because I very suddenly became ill.

Sunday: My flu like symptoms kept me from volunteering on Sunday evening, but didn't keep me from going to see Present Laughter as well as making my seasonal stop at the vegetarian butchers on Sunday afternoon.

Monday (today): Sadly it also didn't keep me from working twelve hours today in pursuit of elusive rheological results that I desperately need before I present at APS in March. (Don't worry, I worked in virtual isolation, so there was no one for me to infect. The life of a rheologist is nothing if not lonely).

I used my last swipe to return from City College (the home of the rheometer) at 8pm tonight. I took fourteen rides total which means buying the unlimited card saved me a dollar. But since I usually just walk home from city college, I sort of lost a dollar. On the ride home, I thought about this. It would be really great, I thought, if I run into a friend as I'm leaving the subway station and they're heading out into the world for the night. Then at least some one could get a few more rides out of my card (unlimiteds expire at 3am). I knew the odds were slim though...
The train stopped at 110th street and when I walked through the turnstile, a person at the other end asked if I could spare a swipe. Stalling for time I asked him to repeat.
"It's okay, if you don't have one," he said, already turning to ask the next passengers. I nervously looked over my shoulder. Fortunately, no MTA employees were looking. I pulled the card out of my 'wallet', explained to him that it expired at the end of the night and quickly left the station. At first I was a little disoriented because I came out on the West side of Broadway (because I was on a downtown train). After that excitement passed, I thought about my card. At first I thought, what if that guy really needed my card to go help his sister who was in trouble at South Ferry (presumably stuck between the Staten Island Ferry and the docks, unable to yell loud enough to be heard, and with all the buttons smashed on her cell phone excepting the one for her brother's speed dial). Then I thought, what if that guy really needed my card because he's a hitman and he needed to go kill a little girl because she was too good at cheerleading and another girl's mother was jealous. (That really happened before, by the way, and HBO made a movie about it). I definitely felt responsible for whatever that guy was going to go do, and I hadn't even asked him. Finally, as I was turning the key to enter the front door of my building, I thought that I wished I had been raised in a Godless household like so many of my friends. Then I wouldn't worry about his actions. Oh, and also, it took me several tries before I could get the key to work.