Saturday, November 6, 2010

Billymark's West

Furloughed??! Yup. Oh, so so depressing. It was a sad, sad Tuesday, when it happened. Wednesday made it somewhat brighter, especially when we all went drinking after work at Billymark's West, where I found a "WHY?" written with a black sharpie on the urninal flusher in the men's room. For some reason, seeing that there on that night cheered me up, don't ask me why.

But it did.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Call Me Ishmael

I'm finally able to take a small break from work soon, which is great. Starting Wednesday I have 5 days off, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm just staying put. Well actually, I'm going whaling.

Figuratively, anyway. I'm going to spend my 5 days off reading Moby-Dick.

I'm suddenly obsessed with whales. Not only obsessed with their size, their beauty, their age, and their intelligence, but also with their horrific un-chosen marriage with the human race.

I'm almost done reading an amazing book by Philip Hoare, called Leviathan: or, The Whale. This book traces our relationship with the whale from the dawn of time until now. It's a heart-wrenching account, a saddening, depressing and enraging read. Hoare's book also examines Melville's Moby-Dick, which is the main reason why I started reading Leviathan to begin with.

I'm about 100 pages into Moby-Dick right now, and the remaining chunk of the book will be my focus during my time off from work. I feel like Moby-Dick is becoming my second Bible, right next to Les Misérables.

Cetaceans are immensely intelligent; the world's largest brain belongs to the sperm whale. Elder whales teach younger whales how to survive, whale groups have culture, they seem to have feeling and emotion, and most impressively, memory. (if an old whale teaches his young whale where the best feeding waters are, is he also teaching his youth how the evil man has hunted him and slaughtered him for hundreds of years? -Probably.) We've just begun to scrape the surface of understanding what really goes on in those massive heads, and we have a long way to go, yet may never get the chance we want because many species of cetaceans stand a good chance of becoming extinct sooner than we can imagine.

I want to get involved with cetacean activism somehow, but I have no idea where to get started. I guess that's my next big task..

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Real Books

Maybe I've reached the point in my life where I start being "old fashioned". If I had children, they would probably be embarrassed by my backwards, yesteryear ways. I would be so uncool in their eyes.

But here's the solid honest-to-God truth: Life as we know it is just becoming too damn "virtual". Too many real things are being replaced by fake impostors, electronic representations of authenticity. That, combined with the lack of procreation control, defines the end of Humanity, and the end of the planet we live on, but let's scrape this iceberg away a millimeter at a time.

Today I'm bitching about present-day literature, actual, physical BOOKS, and ... "things" (for lack of a better word) like the Nook and the iPad.

The book is becoming a virtual thing. I never thought I would live to see it happen in my very own lifetime, but here it is, becoming. It's sad, it's pathetic, it's predictable, it's a crime against Humanity.

And it's ruining the publishing industry. It's ruining our education. It's ruining our intellect. It's ruining everything related to books, reading, and learning.

And all I really wanted to do was blog about To Kill A Mockingbird!! Here's what I get for drinking before 4:00pm.

Anyway, as anyone with half a brain knows, nothing significantly worth reading has been published in quite a very long time. The plague that brought the recording industry to its death has finally found it's sleazy way to the publishing company. Anyone can write. Anyone can publish. Anyone can read. (careful, Kurt, careful...)

What am I trying to say? What I am trying to say is... Nothing beats real paper. Nothing beats real binding. You can't hold an electronic device that's a rough 1/4" thick and expect to experience Les Miserables the way anyone who's read the actualy physical BOOK has read it. Its very weight as an object ads to the experience. The process of printing, the font, the cover design (no, you cannot judge a book by it's cover - but yes, you can appreciate fine art craftsmanship!), the kind of paper, the texture of the paper, the quality of the binding itself, none of this you get in a Nook-like device. There is most definitely something to be said for a beautifully made BOOK. When you read an amazing story that feels amazing in your hands and beholds amazingly in your eyes, nothing else matters!


There's something in all of this that I'm just not able to communicate here. But if you have half a brain then you should be able to piece all this together and guess what I am getting at.

I am reading To Kill A Mockingbird right now. I haven't read it since that grade school class a very long time ago, when I was required to read it. Now that I am not required to read it, now that I've got more life in me and more brain cells filled up and wasted, I can finally appreciate this book for what it is - pure genius.

What can I say? I'm not articulate and I am lazy. But walk into any bookstore right now and all you see are teenage vampires, two dimensional crime mysteries and a whole lotta crap. I can't remember the last new piece of fiction I read and thought, "This is destined to become a classic."

And maybe my memory just sucks. But that's how I feel.

So I've decided to stop all this nonsense, and go back to all the classics. In these books, in these REAL BOOKS, written by REAL AUTHORS, with REAL PURPOSE, I find my own REAL HUMANITY.

Leather binding. Black ink on white paper. The smell. The touch. The weight. The story. The imagination. For now on, only the classics for me. I am a hard core bibliophile, and proud of it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Tri Over and Done

Got out of bed this morning at 3:30am to get ready for my first triathlon, the NY Road Runners 2010 Sprint Triathlon at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

We left home around 4:20am and got to the park around 5:45am, got everything all set up in the transition area, got suited up, numbered, and ready to race.

I probably jumped into the pool around 7:20ish, and an hour and twenty minutes later I crossed the finish line. It was a 400m swim, 13 mile bike ride, and 5K run.

My swim was good, the ride was ok, and the run was super slow. But, all in all it took me about as long as I estimated. Out of the grand total of 434 triathletes I placed 68th, and in my age group (30-34) I placed 10th out of 51 triathletes. All in all, not bad for my first race. A lot could have been better, a lot could have been worse, but most importantly I finished, and I finished running.

I've spent the remainder of today horizontal and resting in front of the TV, overcome with fatigue, aches and pains. But the weirdest part is I actually want to do it all again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy July 5th!

Am I alive? I think so. Yesterday is a mad blur, a smudge on my otherwise-faultless memory. I made my infamous mojitos for everyone who came by, and from that point on, the moment the sinful concoction touched my lips, I don't really remember one goshdarn thing. Today I pay the price, with bottomless cups of coffee, cold water, and aspirin.

Needless to say I basically took yesterday and today off from my tri training. I actually intended to head to the pool for an easy swim this afternoon, but I think the Y is actually closed today. I'll have to make up for it over the next couple of days, combining daily workouts double-time to make up for the loss. My poor achy body!

My apartment is also finally back to normal since Will moved in last weekend. I was having my doubts, but after a solid week of unpacking and rearranging everything, it does actually seem like this might work out. Anyone who'd walk into this place today would think we've been living together forever. And it actually even feels that way to me, but in a good way.

I drove up to Potter Hollow on Tuesday, on the one-year anniversary of my Dad's passing. It was a pretty intense day and I don't want to write about it, but while I was up there I spent some time at our family house, which was recently put on the market. We aren't very satisfied with the photos the realtor took, so I took my own and sent them off to my Mom, who will in turn forward them to the realtor for use on their website. Once the photos get on there I'll spread the link around to see if it can catch more interest from potential buyers. But for now, here's a couple of the photos I took. It was a beautiful, perfect summer day, and the photos required very little retouching to bring out just how perfect a day it was, and how amazing the property really is. For my Mom's sake, I hope the estate sells soon, and I hope it gets bought by good people.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I blog??

Well, I haven't blogged since Easter weekend. Why? 1) Because I'm usually too busy/lazy to, and 2) no one reads this anyway, so why bother?

Regardless, I'm blogging today for the sheer heck of it.
I've decided to kill myself. Well, not really, not exactly. But pretty darn close. I've decided to take a stab at triathlons. It's about time. I've been talking about doing them for years now, and I always said I would give it a go some time in my 30's. I was always saying that in my 20's, but now I'm 33 and I can't really put it off anymore. I feel like I was too young and too undisciplined to make this kind of physical (and financial) commitment in my 20's. I can't really say I'm all that much more disciplined and financially well-off now than I was in my 20's, but if I put this off any longer I'll be a white-haired old man riding around in a speedo on a bike. And that would just be embarrassing (I think).
So, I bought myself a hot new tri bike, some super-hero-looking outfits, and a really helpful super-cool tri coach. And I went ahead and signed up for the NYRR Sprint Triathlon on August 1st, 2010. I was going to train for a year before trying any races, but I realized, along with Lisa'a prodding, that I really am already in good enough shape to start doing sprint triathlons. Do I ever want to do Ironman? I don't think so. It just seems so bad on the body, like running the NYC Marathon. Just ask any doctor how bad it actually is for you. No, no. I think my goal will be to get good enough to compete in Olympic-distance triathlons: 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run. What I'll be doing on August 1st will just be a mere tiny little 400 m swim, 12 mile bike, and 5 k run.

Oops.. time to change buses. Will write more later.. (maybe)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dream Hood

I guess it was perhaps three weekends ago that Jamie, Will and I went for a stroll through a warm, sunny Forest Hills over in Queens. I go there once or twice a year. I've got family there we usually see on Christmas. I've always loved Forest Hills, and if money weren't an issue I'd move there in a heart beat. Maybe one day I will. Who knows. It's just really, really beautiful. The houses are old and amazing, the streets are clean and perfect, the trees are big, the grass is green, and the best part is that it's such a beautiful neighborhood that's really close to Manhattan. But that, combined with just how amazing the houses are, is what makes it such an expensive place to live. One day...

A guy can dream, can't he?

That's it for now. Hmm... maybe I'll actually have the TIME to blog again sometime during this week??

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pants On Fire!

OK, I lied. No blog last weekend. And no real one this weekend either. Unless I get an hour of free time sometime tomorrow night before Monday begins, which I highly doubt.

I go from having all the free time in the world to none in 0 seconds. It's all a whirlwind, yo. Don't ever start a blog right before starting a new job! It just ... won't... work.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No Sleep Till Brooklyn


Sorry. No free time makes Kurt a dull Blog Boy. But employment is such a welcome treat.

Alas, I shall blog THIS WEEKEND.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ah, Moon... Arkhitekton!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Black-Feathered Frost

I admit I was never a fan of Robert Frost. But then, I seemed never to care much for any of the writers who were required reading in grade school. It may have been because it just wasn't 'cool' to actually like your required readings. Or maybe it was because Frost was just too close to home? Maybe I always thought that nothing that takes place (or took place) within a 20 mile radius of my New Hampshire childhood house could possibly be worth any real interest? But I just realized that I never gave poor Mr. Frost a second chance, since grade school, to win me over.

And here I am, 33 years old, in one of the largest, busiest cities in the world, 5 hours away from New England, 240 miles away from that simple, beautiful Robert Frost Farm in Derry NH. Here I am, homesick for New England. Here I am, claiming to have a thing for poetry.

And I've never given him a second chance.

We just got buried up to our necks in one of the biggest snowfalls I've seen in a very, very long time. I was sitting all bundled up on the subway last night, drunk, on my way home from a night out with my friend Roger, and I looked up on the wall of the subway car and noticed a poem (part of the MTA's 'Poetry In Motion' project), and I read the lines and immediately felt incredibly touched, emotional, and I instantly longed for New England. And then I looked to see who the writer is, and I was surprised to see that it's Robert Frost! And then I re-read the poem a few times, and I thought to myself, "Well duh. Of course it's him. Who else would end a poem with the words '...of a day I had rued'?" And so now, one of my new tasks is to rediscover Robert Frost.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow

Shook down on me
The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart

A change of mood
And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ghost Poem

There are poems that never make it anywhere. They don't get thrown away, they don't get burned, they don't make it to heaven or hell. They are bound to me, haunting me, reminding me of my quirky unstable emotional wardrobe.

A bunch of years ago, some friends and I got together and made a book. It's called 'Ghost On The Highway". In a nutshell, it contains a short story about Alice, the one everyone knows about in Wonderland. But it's about her AFTER she got beheaded.

The story was written by my dear friend, Heather Hutsell. It's a pretty interesting tale, and interlaced within that tale from start to finish are random-but-not-so-random poems, sort of like little seizures, or strokes, which were written by me and two others- Ed Walters and Roxanne Nihiline. Each poem, and each chapter, are conceptual 'exits' off of the highway of the tale. And that's basically the only structure, however random, of the book.

I have no idea how many people know about that book, or have bought it, or have read it, or whatever. I don't really care, either. Our goal was to share with our friends something joyous that we all have in common- that being writing. We don't claim to be any good. We just claim to be a bit nuts. You can check it out by clicking here.

Anyway, here's one of my ghost poems. It was one of a few poems I wrote specifically with Hutsell's tale in my mind, but it actually didn't make it into the book. It, like so many others, is a reject, thus making it a ghost poem, haunting my mind.