Friday, October 23, 2009

New York – Idiocy, Luck and Caution

Upon arriving in New York I was greeted by the twisting labyrinth of Penn Station. It turns out that two stories up from the platform, in a corner that seems disproportionally small, is the baggage claim. In my defense I’m fairly sure I was not the only one confused. After another 20 minutes of wandering I managed to locate the subway and after only another 10 minutes I managed to purchase a metro card. This was the beginning of my battle with public transportation, which I have proved remarkably obtuse and unobservant in understanding, fortunately I have also been cautious, lucky and well planned, kudos to Google Maps and it’s public transportation function. On the not-so-lovely side my hostel turned out to be right in the middle Harlem, I’m believe at least 40% of the people I passed were laughing at me, my backpack looked pretty ridiculous. On guy I passed asked me how I was doing, seemed incredulous that I was fine, then said something about “we will overcome”, I’m not sure how my New York experience could have been made any more stereotypical.
New York Hostel 99 was very clearly three apartments that had been crudely retrofitted to serve as a hotel; meaning that they threw a bunch of cheap bunk beds is every available room, taped signs all over, turned the closets into “lockers” that appeared as though they had been broken open several times. Pros include the presence of a bed and free breakfast the next morning, cons include the water tasting like chlorine, the rooms being too hot, snoring roommates, having the top bunk, and breakfast not be served until 9:00. Because of the above factors, as well as my bed being slightly too short, I did not go to sleep until about 2:00.
The following events are rather muddled, and several theories will be presented. Sometime after 3:00 I woke up and managed to go back to sleep, to what extent I was asleep is debatable, as I was in a state I would normally associate with having a high fever. At 4:15 I woke up with my sinuses in agony, which faded when I got up and then finally disappeared after I left. My immediate thought was that I was allergic to something in the room, it did smell rather odd and the pain seemed to worsen when I was coved with the blankets, another theory, one which accounts for the hallucinatory dreams I was having earlier, is that I have caught some of the flu Emily and my father had before I left. On the train I considered the same ailment when I felt like complete crap the first morning, which would imply that whatever I’m fighting off I am less able to do so after only a couple hours of sleep.
Regardless of all of this after I left and began to walk downtown toward the Museum of Modern Art I started feeling much better. After a brief moment of panic when it that appeared like I might not be able to check my backpack I proceeded to explore the MoMA for approximately 2.5 hours, I don’t think that I did it justice, but by the end I was very tired of standing up (I had walked 5 miles from the hostel) and was nervous about reaching the airport on time, which I did, as in I reaching it 3 hours before my flight was going to depart. Just as I was thinking that I had finally gotten through security without issue they detected a highly suspect unidentified (soon to be) flying object in my carry-on backpack, which turned out to be my laptop cord and converter/surge protector thing.
My conclusions from the New York experience are as such, I am bad at figuring out new, transportation-related, scenarios, however, I can combat this effectively my giving myself plenty of time, allowing me to indulge my impulse to be overly cautious without undue stress. Also it appears that walking is far more enjoyable and stress-free than public transportation, what I have plenty of is time and that is the only real difference

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


please note that the line spacing is specific to the word document and thus some elements of the poem bellow are not as they were intended to be.


Within some great ox of industry rumbling through the land,
as an earthquake the sleeping forest-

In the night the mountains are black;
men sling lights from their lintels,
attempting to throw sight into the moorless voiding darkness.
These yellowed pools shudder past in a haste,
island ages gone nearly afore they can be sorted from the brightness

Dawn comes a sudden misting glow
Mounds of stone passing in and out of fog as morning dreams of a mind long awake.
Hills settling unto a Teton steppe

Trees dryly twisted and dark as if charred by the unfettered sun in that empty expanse.
Dry grass and sage and crisply browning aspen.
All things etched and cracked,
the chilling wind has leached out their every verdancy.

Eroded ziggurats rise out of the prairie, stained with the blood of the gods of this scrubland.
A metallic groundstone scent.
Dry-rot town in arrested decay.
Heaps of railway slag rusting.
Brackish and muddy seeps cutting - greyly - through the sod and clay.

Salt blight.
Dimming light.
Horizon sky.
Plains open and unpillared far away north until bound by tundra and glacier and sea

Amtrak: Across North America at 79 mph

Current Location: New York Hostel 99
I'm not going to post my entire trip log for the time i was on the train because it is rather mundane. it's a train, you sit there and stare out the window. the following is a summary.
it's hard to sleep on a train. it's hard to sleep when upset. it's hard to sleep when nervous. it's hard to sleep while some stupid redneck is bitching about his job four seats up. i got maybe 3 hours of sleep the first night, never for more than 45 minutes at a time.
Cities of the Plain was unusual and unexpected, Candide was hilarious, Thus Spake Zarathustra continues to blow my mind.
total number of words spoken on the train, not including returning a phone call, could not have been more than 20.