Thu, 30 Sep 2004

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fall

It is exquisitely subtle, but there is indeed an autumn in Southern California. Despite the fact that the highs are still in the 70s, the evenings feel pretty chilly. Like sweatshirt or light jacket chilly.

The smell of burning leaves pervades the crisp air, which, I suppose, makes sense since October is fire season. I always wondered what that smell was, but after the holocaust last year, I suppose it's the smell of the natural life cycle of chapparal.

When I was in the Midwest, the fall would always fill me with sadness and dread about the long, painful winter. The waning of daylight would send me into a tailspin of seasonal affective disorder. But, here, because of the eternal blue, cloudless sky and temperatures that rarely drop below the 50s even in the heart of winter, I feel myself more buoyant.

I'm not going to call it hope, though. It's been a long time since I've had that. ("Haven't had a dream in a long time/See the luck I've had would make a good man bad…" Thank you, Steven Morrissey. And Ferris Bueller.) Although maybe I wouldn't recognize it even if it bit me in the ass.

I might just start worshipping the Sun. Ra, Helios, Amaterasu, Mata Hari, Tamit, whatever you want to call him/her/it.

23:45:24 30 Sep 2004 > > permalink > 1 comments

Wed, 29 Sep 2004

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nyc fall 2004

Everytime I go on a trip, I always end up immersing myself in mind-numbing, artless pop music. These are the times I actually watch MTV (er, MTV2 and VH-1, to be precise) and I actually find out what they're playing on the radio these days. (I have saved myself from Clear Channel-style brainwashing by utilizing my iPod. How about that. Apple protects you from Big Brother, no?)

So without further adieu, the shit I heard on the radio, which I cannot get out of my head no matter how much I pray to God, and which I completely infect other people around me with, much to their chagrin:

  1. Destiny's Child "Lose My Breath"
  2. Avril Lavigne "Happy Ending"
  3. Usher and Alicia Keys "My Boo"
  4. Kylie Minogue "Fever"
  5. Frou Frou "Let Go"
  6. Juvenile "Slow Motion"
  7. Terror Squad "Lean Back"
  8. Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get it Started"
  9. N.O.R.E. featuring Nina Sky and Tego Calderon "Oye Mi Canto"

"Happy Ending" was the annoying song that would always get stuck in our heads. "Lose My Breath" played repeatedly and endlessly as we attempted to cross the George Washington Bridge to visit my relatives. It took about an hour to leave the city, and another hour to get to their place. The GWB was a clusterfuck of immense proportions. We probably heard the song about four times before we finally crossed the Hudson. I heard "Fever," which is an old track, playing in one of those jeans stores in SoHo. It was pretty infectious, kind of retro, freestylish, very '80's-like. Then again, Kylie did have a little stint in the '80's. "Lean Back" only stuck in my head because it references (intentionally? or not?) a place name in NYC, namely, Rockaway. "Oye Mi Canto" was playing everywhere. It took me a while to figure out Nina Sky is saying "Borequa morena, Columbiano, Dominicano." Interestingly, when I made it back to the West Coast, they added a few lines: "Borequa morena, Cubano, Mexicano" It's kind of like that song by "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)" by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, where each city inserted it's own place names into the chorus.

There was one song that I rediscovered on my iPod as I headed back downtown after making it all the way to 190th St. in Manhattan. It's kind of neat to be listening to a song in an artist's place of origin. Like listening to 2pac while in L.A., Kanye West while in Chicago.

Mos Def resurrects a freestyle classic "Summertime," originally done by Nocera. It was pretty sweet to be cruising down the West Side while groovin' to Mos. I did actually make it to Brooklyn, however briefly.

21:48:00 29 Sep 2004 > /playlist > permalink > 0 comments

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messy, not dirty

So I like to claim, at least. So today I gave in to my Virgoness and decided to neaten the tangled web of wires running all through my living room. Power cords, 10-base-T ethernet, USB, audio, cable. Like a sea of tangled snakes. I went down to Target and picked up some 3M cord controllers (or whatever you call 'em) and went to town. I don't know what it is (maybe it's just the realization that I spent 3 hours of my life that I'll never get back) but it does seem a lot neater. Of course, the rest of the apartment is a complete shithole at this juncture. I really don't know where to start. Stupid vacation.

Fuck. I have to work tomorrow.

21:25:11 29 Sep 2004 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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red line to the sea

As I pine for non-asphalt dependent public transit in L.A., the City Council decides to support an expansion of the Red Line [registration required] The Red Line is L.A.'s only existing heavy-rail subway, which currently runs from Downtown L.A. (starting at Union Station) up to North Hollywood (trying to bite off of SoHo in NYC and calling itself NoHo), with a little spur that goes a little ways down Wilshire Blvd. That spur was actually suppose to go all the way to the Westside, but, unfortunately, there were a bunch of explosive methane pockets in the way (undoubtedly inspiring the movie "Volcano") The straw that broke the camel's back was the huge sinkhole that formed in Hollywood, and politics killed any more expansion. The MTA has instead focused on light-rail and improving the bus system.

But traffic down Wilshire Blvd. is horrrrible, and the stupid bus lanes are actually hurting businesses and making the traffic worse for cars, so they are now reconsidering.

The price tag is stupendous: $1 billion. (I feel like laughing evilly and maniacally, and putting my pinky in my mouth.) But if it happens, then L.A. is on its way to becoming a world class city.

21:21:21 29 Sep 2004 > /unrealcity > permalink > 0 comments

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crash

Jesus Fucking Christ. When "crash" just doesn't mean the computer is going down. Remember that 3 hour delay at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) a couple of weeks ago? It was because a Windows server crashed, leaving 800 planes stranded in mid-air, completely out of touch with the air traffic control system, and leading to at least 5 instances of near-collisions.

If you ever fly in and out of LAX, I would suggest writing to the FAA to fucking switch back to using a UNIX system. Those things can run forever without crashing, while a Windows computer is apparently supposed to crash every 49.7 days or so.

08:33:15 29 Sep 2004 > /computers > permalink > 0 comments

Tue, 28 Sep 2004

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gold line

I randomly decided to hop on the MTA Gold Line, which runs from Union Station in Downtown L.A. to the eastern edge of Pasadena. I got on at the Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park stop and headed north to Lake Avenue in Pasadena, where I hoofed it down to Colorado Ave to visit Vroman's Bookstore (for some reason I can't get the actual site to load up, so I linked Google's cache.) I splurged and bought too many books, but, oh well. I have no excuses. On the way back I hopped on at the Memorial Park Station, which is where you would get off if you were interested in visiting Old Town. The bohemian-like enclave that I sighted off of the Mission St Station in South Pasadena intrigued me, and I had a rather late lunch there. I kind of wonder if it has always been there, or if it literally grew around the station. Of course, it was mostly white people. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

It looks like there are going to be massive developments adjacent the Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park station. There were a bunch of bulldozers at a vacant lot right next to the station. Just a block or so down the street is the Los Angeles River Gardens, which was the former site of Lawry's. I didn't really get to tarry too long there, although I may consider stopping there tomorrow before I head home.

While many people think it is completely ludicrous to build rail (whether heavy or light) in the city that built one of the first freeways in the country, it is interesting the patterns of development that subway and light-rail stations create. For better and for worse, nodes of gentrification are developing. You can see this most conspicuously at the Hollywood and Western stop off the Red Line. When I was in high school, this place was teeming with porno shops, and ladies were working the streets bigtime. Now it has given way to miles of non-descript strip malls and new housing developments.

I did have to chuckle a bit as the Gold Line crossed over the parking-lot like Pasadena Freeway. The experts estimate that the average speed of rush hour traffic will drop off to about 17 mph in a few years. Freeway widening will have little relief. (As I read somewhere—unfortunately I can't give proper credit—freeway widening is a little too much like trying to solve your weight problem by merely loosening your pants.)

Ever since I first rode the trains in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, I've dreamt of being able to traverse the City of Angels without ever having to hop in my car. It is unlikely this will ever happen in my lifetime, but at least the MTA is heading in the right direction. They plan to expand the Gold Line to go through East L.A. and some of the more proximal suburbs of the San Gabriel Valley. There is talk of using existing railroad right-of-way for the Expo Line, which would provide access to Mid-Wilshire and West L.A., and maybe even Santa Monica. As the traffic continues to worsen, as gas prices continue to rise, and as the world's oil supply slowly becomes depleted, someday the City of Angels will have to look to the future and build a reasonable transportation infrastructure.

One of the neat things about the Gold Line is the scenic route through the Arroyo Seco. As it heads out from Union Station, you get some of the urban vibe, but it quickly enters the viaduct maze where the L.A. River rounds the bend past the hills where Dodger Stadium and Elysian Park sit. From there on it gets pretty residential, and downright nature like, until it hits Pasadena. It quickly passes through a completely industrial area then ends up in Old Town, which is chock full of commercial fun. From there it finds itself in the median of the Foothill Freeway, where things are a little more nondescript, although Mt. Wilson looms grandly to the North. In the straight-up industrial and residential outskirts of New York and Chicago, I do not think you can get this kind of view. Sure, you get an excellent urban feel, which probably cannot be reduplicated in L.A. (although downtown L.A. does serve as the inspiration for all that noir fiction), but that's about it. In contrast, the Gold Line manages to highlight the natural beauty of the city which has resisted taming by even the most zealous developers. As one of my fellow passengers remarked, "Wow, this ride sure is pretty."

Which brings me to the fact that lots of people use the light-rail. In a city where it is often stated that there are more cars than people, in a city where the combined surface area of all the freeways could probably pave the entire state of Rhode Island over, in a city for which there is a song about how no one walks there, a lot of people overlook the reality that not everyone can afford a car, and the annual reg fees, the insurance premiums, the gasoline. In the trains I rode, most of the seats were occupied. Granted, no one had to stand up, and it wasn't packed the way a rush hour Brooklyn-bound B-train gets packed, but it was still impressive that lots of people were using it.

There was a computer game once upon a time (in the early 1990's) called "Rise of the Dragon" which depicted the city of L.A. with actually useful public transit. Like subways and shit. Since then, it's always been something I fantasize about. Imagine being able to take a train out to the beach on any of those numerous 70 degree days anytime during the year, and not having it take 2 hours to get back home. Imagine being able to hit all the hotspots without having to hop into a car.

Again, unlikely in my lifetime. Ah well.

23:43:27 28 Sep 2004 > /unrealcity > permalink > 0 comments

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k-ci and jo-jo "all my life"

It is interesting how travel to a distance place defines a boundary in time. Less opaquely, my trip to NYC sort of divides things into pre-vacation and post-vacation.

I admit. I am making a mountain out of a molehill.

I feel changed, as usual, by this trip. Which is interesting since I really didn't do much that was different from what I usually do when I'm out there. Walk around what is essentially a gigantic outdoor mall called Soho. Check out Central Park, the museums. Visit friends who I haven't seen for a million years and who try to eke out a few minutes out of their busy schedules just to meet up. Take the subway everywhere.

On one hand, I left with a tinge of sadness. I suppose the end of vacation is always tinged by a little sadness. But my friends and family out there in the city—expatriate Californians, the lot of them—are dear to me, and I miss them. The Internet and cel phones with monstrous amounts of minutes make the barrier of distance more permeable, but nothing beats being face to face and hanging out and just shooting the shit with an old friend.

But, now that I am on the other side, just waiting to go back to work, I realize for truth that I would not have survived easily there.

The illusion of being able to stay in touch is easy to fall for when you're on vacation, but the sad reality is that without extraordinary effort, even if you live across the street from one another, it is hard to not feel isolated. Even here, surrounded by family, the loneliness will sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night, this hole inside me aching, and me not knowing at all how to stop it from doing so.

I am slowly growing used to the notion that, no matter what, at the end of your life, you are alone. Now, I am, statistically speaking, nowhere near the end of my life, but, the point is, I am trying to grow accustomed to the idea that loneliness is an unavoidable aspect of the human condition.

But the reason this particular song struck me as I was letting iTunes meander through my rather incoherent music library is that it makes me think of my second trip to NYC ever, back in 1997.

I was still in college, and it was a family vacation with my parents and my brother and my sister, the first stop in an East Coast cavalcade that would eventually run down to Virginia Beach. We stayed in Midtown, and did all the tourist things. The Empire State Building. The Statue of Liberty. Times Square. Watching a musical on Broadway. The World Trade Center. (Me and my brother have this now eerie picture with the WTC in the background.) Shopping on 5th Ave. St. Patrick's Cathedral.

I think back, and I still remember just who exactly it was I had a crush on at that time. It is interesting to reflect on how I actually had hope back then, however misguided.

I was struck, however, by the fact that despite being surrounded by 15 million people in an area that is probably just on the scale of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, it is still possible to feel completely alone.

I do not understand why I have allowed the aftermath of that time in my life to continue to haunt me to this day.

It's like Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, really. You can figure out the causal chain of events, but you can never really pinpoint what exactly made you become the way you are. It will forever remain a mystery, the complex way that certain events in my life have conspired to lock me in to a particular behavior.

You know you're in trouble when you start entertaining the possibility that you are still right, and all the 6 billion other people in the world are wrong.

But this is all very cryptic, and I don't expect anyone to read this and understand what the hell I'm getting at. I have a feeling that a week from now, I'll read this entry and even I won't understand what the hell I'm talking about.

I was glancing briefly at Chuck Palahniuk's non-fiction work entitled Stranger than Fiction. His prologue brought up the interesting dialectic of the human condition. When we are in a crowd, we long to be in solitude. When we are alone, we start feeling lonely, and long to be in a crowd. I think it is more complex than just the "grass is always greener" syndrome. I think that it borders on pathology, just one hair shy of dissociative disorder. We want these two things simultaneously. We want to be alone, but we want to be around other people.

Or, to personalize it a little, every time I long for a relationship, someone always manages to point out the fact that a lot of times, there is a lot of pain and suffering involved.

Honestly, at this point in my life, though, I don't know what's worse. The aching, hollowing, sinking, sharp, stabbing feeling of heartache, or this dull, drear numbness that I currently wallow in. To feel pain or not to feel at all. That is the question.

I also finished Idlewild on the plane, which is by Nick Sagan (who, incidentally, happens to be Carl Sagan's son.) One of the little tangents he touches on is the question as to whether pain will be implemented in virtual reality. And the fact of the matter is that pain is a product of evolution. Pain serves an adaptive useful function. Without pain, we'd constantly be doing things to ourselves that would be fatal. A nice little cut here, followed by an infection, followed by gangrene, then septicemia, then death. This is one of the side effects of leprosy, by the way. It eats away at your nerves, and you cease being able to feel pain in your hands and feet.

But I suppose there is a difference between physical pain, and psychic pain, the pain that arises purely from the mind, and yet eventually manages to ravage the entire body. This kind of pain is real, but it's an open question as to whether it's really useful. Especially in my life, currently.

There's got to be another alternative besides pain or numbness.

Now the question is how the hell do I figure out what that alternative is?

01:09:56 28 Sep 2004 > /playlist > permalink > 0 comments

Mon, 27 Sep 2004

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spammers must die

I just spent a ridiculous amount of time cleaning up the spoor of some spambots targetting Blosxom blogs. I have enlisted the help of Doug Alcorn's modified writeback plug-in and his spam killing tools. We'll see if I can stop these dirty bastards.

18:04:45 27 Sep 2004 > /computers/www/blosxom > permalink > 0 comments

Sat, 25 Sep 2004

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mountains and the city

I want to write something profound in these last ten minutes before I board the plane, but, as has been the case for a disturbingly long time, the words escape me.

Being out here in NYC, though, I feel like they're within reach again. Somewhere behind the foggy mist of sleep deprivation, caffeine induced madness, and suffering and disease, there is something solid I can touch every once in a while.

This isn't some Matrix-like illusion. I'm pretty sure.

Well. Whatever.

So I watched "The Motorcycle Diaries" last night with my sister and her roommate, and it was a very thought-provoking movie. As they depicted Guevarra's growing awareness of the greed-induced injustice in the world, it struck me painfully how very little has changed in the last 50 years, and, really, in many ways it's a lot worse than then. But that is another tirade entirely.

Three experiences that my apophenic mind took note of: (1) I spent some time in the Natural History Museum on 81st St., and, like my trip to the Met, it disturbed me that there was little-to-nothing regarding the various Filipino indigenous cultures, despite having decent exhibits regarding other Southeast Asian cultures. But I found myself wandering through the section on South and Central America. It is always interesting to wonder what would've happened if the great American empires had been able to resist the invading forces of the Spanish. Not that the Aztecs were exactly great guys, what with their preoccupation with human sacrifice and all. But I have always been fascinated by the Incans. Particularly with the rash of theories that postulate that Proto-Malays—my ancestors—may have actually made it across the Pacific Ocean. That and the fact that they use coca leaf pretty freely over there. Not that I'm a coke fiend or anything. I guess, though, that Machu Picchu has sort of become the South American equivalent of Rome in terms of feeling like you have to go there at least at some point in your life. I also am interested in the experience of living at or around the elevation of 10,000 feet, and wondering how my body will (or won't) adapt. (2) When I brought this up to B, he commented on how tons of his friends have literally just come back from vacations to Peru, and somehow this segued onto our discussion on the unraveling of the Republic of the U.S.A., and our little debate regarding the consequences of globalization. My take is that, somehow, the U.S. has stopped producing anything of real value. Our biggest export is pop trash like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, and the idea of basing our economy on the enforcement of the sketchy concept of intellectual property in an age of worldwide Internet connectivity is dubious at best. Economic disaster looms. (3) Then I watched "Motorcycle Diaries," and a lot of the most thought-provoking scenes were set in Peru.

My sister commented on how the upper reaches of the Andes had a lot in common with the Cordillera in the Philippines.

I find it interesting that the U.S. is now involved in an imperial quagmire similar to the quagmire in the Philippines a 100 years ago.

Well, my plane is boarding, so more later.

13:03:51 25 Sep 2004 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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scrabble and the meaning of life

There is this Flash animation that tells the story of a woman who believes God talks to her through Scrabble, which entirely reminds me of a particular scene from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilog—or should I say pentology. In that scene, the protagonist of the book, Arthur Dent, who is one of the last living inhabitants of Earth AKA the largest computer in the Universe which was computing the question to the answer of life, the universe, and everything. As is well known, the answer is 42. Unfortunately, the Earth is destroyed right before it figures out the answer, so Arthur decides to see if somehow the answer if encoded in his brain, and he starts blindly picking out Scrabble tiles from a bag. The question that he comes up with is "WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MULTIPLY SIX BY NINE," leading him to comment that he's always thought that there was something intrinsically wrong with the universe.

06:05:58 25 Sep 2004 > /blog-bites > permalink > 1 comments

Wed, 22 Sep 2004

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music

I don't know if it's just the change in environment, the fact that I have so many good memories attached to this city, the fact that I'm not under the crushing oppression of working 12-30 hour days, 6 days a week, or the fact that I'm no longer deathly ill and sneezing out thick, brown snot, but I feel a lot more alive now. And I'm not really doing anything. I'm actually spending a lot of time on the internet, hunting down random mashups and bootlegs, walking around the tourist areas and doing a lot of window shopping, and checking out the Museums. On Saturday I revisited the Met, which I realize makes my head spin after three hours, and yesterday I headed up to the very northern tip of Manhattan to see Tryon Park and The Cloisters. That was nice, but a little disorienting. It's strange to have religious iconography somewhat decontextualized. I don't know if it's the conscious realization that this is a museum and not a sacred place that does this. The other disturbing thing there are the unicorn tapestries, which depict the hunting down and the killing of a unicorn, which can be seen as an allegory for the crucifixion of Christ.

Maybe it's also because I'm getting lots of sleep and plenty of exercise. I've been averaging about 12 hours, including a late afternoon/early evening nap (I'm still on Pacific Time, so this corresponds well with the mid-day dip). I'm probably walking a couple miles a day or so, including hustling up and down the stairs in the subway stations.

I really miss the city (not just this city, but the archetypal construct of The City), but I guess, doing what I'm doing, I wouldn't get to see the city much anyway, whereever I went, and the weather would make me more miserable than I'd like to be.

My question is, why didn't they build real cities in hospitable climates?

Anyway, trips like these always make me listen to pop music for some reason, and walking into the clothing stores exposes me to all this techno and trance stuff, so I'm just happily searching the Net and the iTunes Music Store for things that pop up. This also happens to be my first trip to New York where I've had my iPod with me. At first I was apprehensive about screwing around with it while on the subway trains. I don't actually think I'm going to get ripped off in the middle of the day with all these tourists milling about, but there's often very little clearance, and sometimes you need both hands to brace yourself against accelerations and decelerations. But then I noticed the practically everyone has an iPod here (by the tell-tale white earbuds.)

It's strange, when I lived in Chicago, I'd go everywhere with my iPod. Wicker Park, the Mag Mile, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, the Blue Line, the Red Line. It was my own personal soundtrack. But here in NYC, there's something soothing about the city noise. Probably it's just because I've gotten used to wandering the streets and the subways without any musical accompaniment.

I realize that it gives you the illusion of isolation, too, revealing my underlying Angeleno roots. This is apparently something other Angelenos prize, being able to live entirely in their cars, being stranded on the 405 with literally hundreds of other people and yet not being able to interact with a single one of them. It kind of makes me sad, but having grown up there, I guess it's an instinctual tendency. Really, no one walks in L.A. There was an article in the L.A. Times about this guy who decided to make it his quest to go up and down all the major city streets in the Southland, and he commented on how there are hardly ever any other people around. Not even homeless people.

If I do follow the path of least resistance (well, least resistance in some ways. Certainly not financially) and end up living in L.A., I will try my damndest to live next to a subway or light-rail station. I'm excited that they're going to build the Gold Line extension to the Eastside. Now all they need if the go ahead for the Expo Line to the Westside, and we're talking about the beginnings of a viable public transportation system.

Sometimes I wonder if I should've just gone into transportation engineering.

Well, that was a random walk through my brain. It's nice to have the time to ramble, these days.

07:29:02 22 Sep 2004 > /soul > permalink > 1 comments

Mon, 20 Sep 2004

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real city - episode I

I am chillin' in NYC, in the royal borough of the Queen, in Astoria, to be precise.

And now I have time to think. Scary.

Within hours of coming back here, I felt life flow back into my veins. I have missed the noise: the screech of subway trains rushing along the rickety tracks, the cabbies honking insensibly at the pedestrians crossing at the "don't walk" sign, the rumble of trucks downshifting as they barrel down the highway.

There are scarce parts of L.A. that actually resemble a real city, scattered haphazardly amidst the hills and valleys. But I don't even live in L.A. these days.

Despite the fact that San Diego is the 7th largest city in the country, it feels way too much like a gigantic, monstrous suburb of L.A., a place that exists only as a reaction to both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its Old Town pretty much abandoned, its Downtown wholly artificial and manufactured. Abandoned freeways—signs of horrendously poor planning—lie scattered throughout the entire city: Friars Road, Kearny Mesa Road, Nimitz Blvd. The over-capacious highways crisscrossing needlessly across Mission Bay. The overgrowth of needless bridges connecting nowhere to nowhere. The massive off-ramp from the 805 that deposits you right into an Albertson.

You know you're in a post-modern city when the roads are built around freeways—when the interchanges distort the grid of the city. Interestingly, L.A. is not a post-modern city in that sense. You can tell that the city grid existed before they built the Hollywood Freeway. Major city streets flow around the four-level interchange unhampered.

So I've missed the city, although being out in suburbia has made me appreciate wide-open spaces. The one thing that I like about L.A. is that it has a classical city core, but it is surrounded completely by nature. Mountains and rivers, canyons and passes. You can drive five minutes from downtown L.A. and find yourself in a quiet forest, even though it takes about an hour without traffic to get to the city's edge. And the looming mountains remind you how insignificant the monuments of humanity truly are. Can you imagine how less royal the Sears Tower or the Empire State Building would be if they were framed by the San Gabriel Mountains, jutting up to almost 2 miles into the sky?

The only thing really real in San Diego is the natural aspect. The Cuyamaca Mountains off in the horizon, the San Diego River meandering through Mission Valley, the endless blue ocean shimmering for miles in all directions, obliterating any notion of international boundaries. And amidst the attempt of urbanization, or at least suburbanization, are the hidden canyons and vista points.

Central Park is pretty impressive, but despite what they say, you still know you're in the city. If you climb up to Mt. Soledad in S.D., or wander the trails of Griffith Park in L.A., you can forget that you are well within the city limits.

But enough mental masturbation. I need to go outside and wander, in this wounded city between two rivers, where all roads lead, at least for a short while.

06:55:58 20 Sep 2004 > /unrealcity > permalink > 0 comments

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a.f. 632—a brave new world

Another quiz sighted on infiniti's site.

Good thing Freud has been thoroughly discredited. Otherwise I'd probably find myself inside of a loony bin.

Freudian Inventory Results
Genital (66%) you appear to have a progressive and constructive outlook on life.
Latency (53%) you appear to have a good balance of knowledge seeking and practicality.
Phallic (36%) you appear to have negative issues regarding sexuality and/or have an uncertain sexual identity.
Anal (36%) you appear to be overly lacking in self control and organization, and have a compulsive need to defy authority.
Oral (60%) you appear to have a good balance of independence and interdependence.
Take Free Freudian Inventory Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

05:52:23 20 Sep 2004 > /blog-bites/quizilla > permalink > 2 comments

Thu, 16 Sep 2004

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four humors

A quiz found on infiniti's site:

choleric with a touch of melancholy
Eysenck's Test Results
Extraversion (52%) medium which suggests you are moderately talkative, optimistic, and sociable.
Neuroticism (70%) high which suggests you are very worrying, insecure, emotional, and nervous.
Psychoticism (45%) medium which suggests you are moderately offensive, uncooperative, and rebellious.
Take Eysenck's EPQ-R based Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

07:44:55 16 Sep 2004 > /blog-bites/quizilla > permalink > 6 comments

Fri, 10 Sep 2004

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peace on earth

This little quiz that I found on R's blog matches rather synchronously with the book I'm reading entitled Peace on Earth by Stanislaw Lem.

The premise of the story is that a man has been sent to the Moon to spy on the robotic war machines there. He is shot by a ray which cleanly bissects his corpus callosum, the large nerve bundle that connects the right and left hemispheres. This causes his right hemisphere (the creative, intuitive side) to become independent of his left hemisphere (the anal-retentive, type A side) and the right side seems to be unable to stand the left. As they say, hilarity ensues.

Stanislaw Lem is a Polish science fiction writer. The books of his that I've read are really philosophical and, at times, satiric, informed by Cold War sensibilities and perspectives on both the capitalist and communist side of things. He also seems to have predicted a lot of what would happen once the Cold War was over. Some of his other books that I've read include Solaris which was made and re-made into a movie and Chain of Chance

But it turns out that I'm actually pretty right-brained, which explains a lot.

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (64%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (36%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com

21:45:02 10 Sep 2004 > /blog-bites > permalink > 6 comments

Mon, 06 Sep 2004

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simple machine

So I ended up being on the road for a good four and a half hours yesterday—as long as it takes to drive to Vegas, as long as it takes to get to Santa Nella on the way to the Bay Area. By the time I realized that I had forgotten my pager, I was already in Oceanside. Fuck.

The side effect of which was that I got to listen to my iPod more thoroughly. My iPod has gotten me through two semi-demi-cross-country trips, westward on old route 66, and a good number of journeys up and down I-5 in the Central Valley, but since the drive between L.A. and S.D. is (relatively) shorter, I find that I don't get as immersed into my music.

I remember, somewhat deliriously, lamenting about how it seems that these days, the only emotions I experience are 1. anger 2. fear 3. dull apathy. If I'm not pissed-off or utterly terrified, I don't seem to feel anything at all.

Of course, I suppose this could just be the medication talking.

But I find it kind of sad in a sterile, quarantined, remote sort of way.

Like it's only sad looking at it from a third-person perspective.

Because, like I said, a lot of the time, I just feel kind of numb.

But music seems to be the key. Or the double edged knife, depending on how you look at it. After a while, I started going through some of my cheesy pop ballad music, and I started meditating on my last quasi-romantic relationship which wasn't really a relationship (I am still at least a little dazed and confused about the whole thing, and have adopted a pragmatic stance towards it: if I can't ever figure out the answer, there's no point in thinking about it.) And how much easier it is to accept rejection these days, to accept that this is how things are, and this is how things are going to be.

To accept the notion of letting my genetic patternings decay into nothingness. To forswear the eternal chain of life and go it alone in the utter black darkness of oblivion.

To accept the fact that nothing lasting will come of this moment.

Again, sad in the third-person.

I do find it disquieting, in a rational, detached sort of way, that whenever I see an attractive woman, or talk to someone I really like, the feeling of defeat and futility automatically seizes me. In some ways, I suppose it makes it easier. Knowing that she will never like me the way that I like her, it is easy to tell the truth, to dissect my own heart, and lay it bare, letting it twitch like an anesthesized rat about to get eviscerated.

And then if we do get along (which is not that hard—I suppose I make a much better friend than I do a boyfriend), I automatically think about all the ways that it will probably go wrong, tell myself that there's no point in thinking about it, and just kind of accept the fact that there's no way in hell that I'll find someone that I like who actually reciprocates.

The odds are against me. I think I have a better chance of getting struck by lightning. Twice. In the same day.

I also recognize that I am making all of this a lot harder than it needs to be, which is, unfortunately, my nature. I am complicated. Soy complicado, not Estoy complicado

But I wonder if I will ever let myself fall that hard again. Having done it a few times to absolutely no avail, B.F. Skinner's principles ought to kick in. No more bashing my own head in with a rock or putting my hand in the fire.

But. As they say. Never say never.

I am so fucking doomed, no matter which way you look at it.

14:53:57 6 Sep 2004 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments