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Category: explore buffalo

12/30/08 10:28 - ID#47223

One Way The Wrong Way

Dear car drivers who persist in trying to kill me:

I am sure that I don't know any of you personally, and as such I cannot determine at what point in my life I have managed to wrong you. But, as you have made it abundantly clear to me (no less than four times) that you wish to see me flattened like a bug under the tires of your car on South Division Street in down town Buffalo, I am forced to speculate: why?

Perhaps my running theory that the people of Buffalo are in fact pseudo-Canadians has upset some secret cabal. The evidence is clear to anyone who wants to think about it. Most of us drink Canadian Beer, and of course there is our obsession with Hockey, and I have to admit that while flipping the channels on my television I, like many of you, have stopped for an hour to watch Curling for no explainable reason. Yet, somehow, proffering a secret cabal as the central source of the four attempts on my life seems too far fetched.

Perhaps it's that girl I met on New Years four years ago. We hit it off fairly nice for two heavy drinkers. But then, sometime later, I just decided to never call her again. I couldn't afford a relationship that required a fifth of rum and a fifth of whiskey on every date. To this day, when she sees me walking down the street she will roll down her window and just scream at me - no words - just a blood chilling banshee scream of an addict that lost their free source of junk. It seems almost conceivable that she could escalate to attempting to run me down with her car, and her friends were crazy too...

Yet, no - that is not the reason I was nearly run over by four cars today.

The real reason is you, crazy car driver. You know who you are! You Sabres jersey wearing lunatic! You only come downtown when there is a game, so you're completely fucking lost down there in a rat maze of streets. Now you never bothered to invest in seasonal parking to go along with your season tickets, no you just drive around looking for something on the street - maybe, you think, the genie of cheap parking will materialize in front of me and grant my wish for something close to the dome. But there is no genie, and then you're running late, the game is about to start, and that incredible amount of money you spent on season tickets starts to itch at your conscience.

You and several hundred other cars are all trying to make their way to the dome down Washington Street, bumper to bumper, and you spot it. An open street, you could go around this Bull Shit. Why didn't anyone else see such an obvious short cut? So you slam on the accelerator and before you can sing LETS GO SABRES! you're heading west down South Division Street and nearly collide with a pedestrian.

Yes, crazy car driver, that was me in the gray wool coat with the tan scarf screaming, "WHAT THE FUCK!?" as you nearly ran me over. You see, South Division is what we metropolitan people like to call a one way street. And you, are what I like to call an Asshat. You and the other three idiots who followed right after you. Up South Division to a wall of confused traffic waiting at the Main Street and Church Street light. No doubt you were shitting bricks when you were almost side swiped by the train.

We look forward to having you all back in the metropolitan area soon!

Best Regards,

~EJTower.

P.S. Buy a tom-tom.
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Permalink: One_Way_The_Wrong_Way.html
Words: 630
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: explore buffalo

12/26/08 12:07 - 27ºF - ID#47188

The Bus Drivers

Anyone interested in studying the effects of absolute rule on the human psyche might do well to look to Bus Drivers. You can almost see the faces of every king and queen that ever lived in the eyes of these monarchs of the road. Each imposing tolls, monitoring immigration and emigration with the variability of every form of rule there could be: I have met bus drivers who would let you on if you flashed a gray napkin with a number on it, and others who would argue your right to ride the bus based on where the issuing driver chose to punch your day pass.

The Number fourteen is ruled from six until midnight by an insane time czar. The universe could not be as accurate as his arrival and departure schedules. A curb popping despot with terrifying accelerations and brakes, I have heard him screaming holy hell out his slide window at any car driving heretic in the way of his accurateness. "Come on you cocksucker! FUCK YOU!" I've seen him leave flag waving old women standing at the stop for being a minute behind. Once I swear I felt him bump a car in front of us out of the way, but none of us said anything and the car didn't chase us.

In the afternoon and late morning somewhere on The Number Twenty you may find yourself in the domain of Time Thief. A robber baron of a bus driver, who has learned to fold time out of his schedules to further his own ends. Driving from the bus station at North Division he floors the accelerator, only choosing to pick up those stops that have large crowds. Goodbye single business woman on Delaware and Huron, see you later chic marketing man, catch the next one in ten minutes - The Time Thief has just stolen your minutes. Rocketing up the street he eventually comes to the stop at Elmwood and Forrest, pulling to the side he turns off the bus, and as we watch in confusion he closes the doors and goes into the Mobil Quick Mart on stolen time. A piss and a coffee purchase later, we're back on the road and still on schedule.

What does it really mean to be "On Time"? It's open to interpretation, whose time really matters most in the monarchy of the bus driver? I will warn you this way: woe to those who argue with the keeper of the doors, for they will kick your ass back out onto the sidewalk even after you've deposited your fare.


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Permalink: The_Bus_Drivers.html
Words: 430
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: books

12/24/08 04:57 - 46ºF - ID#47174

Anathem and The Long Now Foundation

Last night I downloaded a very interesting book, which I am listening to in audio while I work. The book is by Neal Stephenson, the author of The Baroque Cycle and a few other cyberpunk classics like The Cryptonomicon. This book is titled Anathem and is for the reader or listener who enjoys the experience of imagining other cultures through fiction, and exploring their deep histories and linguistic differences as a lens to understand our own. So, if you enjoyed the epic scope of Frank Herbert's DUNE, or J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings (or if you had the gumption to read through Tolkien's notes on elf language, or the mind melting cosmology of The Silmarillion) then I have no doubt that this book is for you.

I will not waste time giving you a plot summary, which you can find here on wikipedia, or by looking it up on Amazon. What interests me more about this book is the connection it has with The Long Now Foundation in San Francisco. I have been following the doings of this foundation for some time, because they have a wonderful monthly podcast where scientists and leading thinkers of our day are free to speculate about the next 10,000 years.

The book itself budded out of the continuation of Stephenson's involvements with the foundation on their most ambitious project of creating The Clock of the Long Now, or the 10,000 year clock - a sort of every lasting sign of human ingenuity and a inspiration for thinkers to think not towards short term horizons, but toward long term horizons measured in near geological timescales.

The chimes for the clock itself were developed by Brian Eno using algorithms to ensure that each time it chimes it will be different than the last.

Proceeds from the sale of books, and a number of other items related to the world of Anathem through the Long Now Foundation's website go towards the 10,000 year clock fund.
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Permalink: Anathem_and_The_Long_Now_Foundation.html
Words: 329
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: life

12/23/08 09:53 - 27ºF - ID#47161

The Internets & Me

SO... I've been away from the strip for over a year now. A year and some four months for the counters. Much to my general disappointment this past year and four months has been a hellfire downward spiral on a rocket. Punctuated - as all interesting downward spirals are - with heavy drinking, a falling out with friends, and a protracted period of alone time.

Hard to tell where the bottom of the whole thing was, or is, but I have moved to south buffalo, ditched my car in favor of the bus system, and stopped drinking. The cherry on top of this cascade came when I was rushed to the Emergency Room back in November with heavy heart palpitations, numbness in my fingers, and pain shooting down my arm and up my neck. Thinking I was having a heart attack they took me in for monitoring and later took me out of work for two weeks.

So, out of work for two weeks killed me in the money department. No one is getting a gift from me this year, not even me. But the heart thing came to a relatively happy ending that could make a person laugh, or at least made me laugh after all of this. The chest pains, my cardiologist advised, were caused by elevated stress levels - Relax, he said, you're only Twenty-Five.


(My internet connection died in August, and I just got it back today.)
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Permalink: The_Internets_amp_Me.html
Words: 241
Location: Buffalo, NY


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