Category: explore buffalo
05/05/06 02:16 - 52ºF - ID#22043
Out of this Kingdom of Rust
By: E.J. Tower
We live in the bones of our grandparents economy,
Worshipfully preserved; behold its corpse in gruesome detail!
Empty eye socket buildings staring out across this kingdom of rust,
All safely guarded against the arrival of change.
We people of no name,
Looking for identity in ruins of what was,
Seeing not the self-made self in what could be
If only our chains would rust away too.
We who dream with such hope,
Each day set out to build an empire out of vestiges,
Each day returning with bleeding dusty hands,
Our undertakings thwarted by clout unseen. Fret not!
We are the flames of life breathed into this dead blast furnace,
To smelt away the rusted impure.
We rise each day from ashes, and spread wide our fiery wings to fly.
They cannot stand each day in crucible for long.
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: explore buffalo
05/04/06 02:30 - 71ºF - ID#22042
Its fucking awesome! I have found that I am in much better shape than I thought I was in, and now I am exploring buffalo because I am not taking the highways. When you aren't in a car you really notice the scenery.
I have been looking at some maps of the city recently and from my house on the east side, everything is pretty much 30 minutes from where I live by bike. When I say everything, I mean everything I do on Elmwood, on Allen Street, Everything Downtown, and Everything I do out on Transit Road.
Trips I have Planned For The Coming Week:
1.) SPoT DT by bike via Walden To Genesse
2.) Allen St by bike via Walden straight shot
3.) North of Elmwood Heights by bike via a very sketchy route I keep having second thoughts about.
Explore Buffalo Topic
I am also going to be doing some biking around sections of the city that most folks don't go to, mainly my neighborhood and the areas between south buffalo and the east side. I hope to get a camera to take pictures. I intend to post them under the above topic heading on this bloggy.
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/04/06 11:17 - 69ºF - ID#22041
Why do we act this way? It is a sign of what we have come to value in society. Some of us cringe and run for cover because we want to protect the array of electronic equipment we carry. Otherâ€™s cringe to protect their vanity; be it make-up, hair, or clothing. I am not, as many others are, against these two reasons. I have no problem with people who wish to protect their investments in communications, and image; it is all perfectly reasonable.
The problem that I do see though is our inability to let go. Even when we have our equipment firmly secured in our waterproof bags, and we are not dressed to kill; still even then we cringe because we cannot let go, we do not relax. In a world of increasing complexity and ever more demanding responsibilities, we must learn to relax.
Ask yourself when you see the rain coming down; do I have to run this time? Is it really going to hurt my clothes to get wet on a spring or summer day? If not, take the time to let go. Learning to walk in the rain and coming to accept being wet, takes time. The whole point of rain walking is releasing the habit of cringing, of realizing that you are safe in the rain, and that it is not your enemy. It is a practice of active awareness, of brining yourself to break with ingrained reactions, of knowing if the reasons for your actions are founded or not.
Location: Buffalo, NY
05/04/06 11:14 - 69ºF - ID#22040
Not so Entirely Back afterall
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/10/06 02:44 - 37ºF - ID#22039
I am BACK!
After some many weeks of not having a working computer I am now fully operational again. I am also fully wireless now thanks to (e:enknot) . My first order of business will be to read and respond to all of the comments that were left for me about my Atheist Life essay. I look forward to stiring the drama with you all.
Location: Buffalo, NY
01/28/06 01:49 - 44ºF - ID#22038
My computer has died. I will most likely be out of commission for a while until I can get another one.
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: fiction prose
01/28/06 12:56 - 37ºF - ID#22037
He was old, in the way trees are old, when he played the piano for the last time. A pianist for over seventy years, there was little doubt that he knew he was not long for this world. His life flew before him as he walked out from behind the heavy red curtains to thunderous applause. His mind drifted back to the first time he had heard that sound, he was 15 again, and it was 2020, the dawn of a golden age. The horrible wars had ended, and it seemed the whole world was finding new life.
It was the pain that brought him back. It reminded him that he was a long time from then, and much older. He didn't smile or wave at the audience as he approached the grand piano. He never did. The collar of his tuxedo was spiked, and he wore no tie. He never did. He was, as he always was, The Virtuoso. But now he had to shuffle slightly in his mirror black shoes. It was his posture that held the image intact. It always did.
He sighed to himself as he sat before his life long friend. The beauty, which had seen him through six discordant marriages, with which he could creature such harmony, that it brought tears to the eyes of marble statues. His hands moved across its varnish. Reflected in its gloss, he could see where his hair had receded to a collection of white wisps that he allowed to stick up in all manner of directions as tribute to his predecessors.
The sheet music that he had told them he would be playing sat in its stand before him. It was a piece he had composed many years ago to celebrate the rebirth of reason, the arrival of the second renaissance. He looked the sheets of music over now, paternally turning the pages to their intimately known ends. After viewing all the sheets, he took them and, with a flourish, made confetti of their contents. The audience gasped, but then went silent, watching. To him those notes were already dead, insufficiently composed for this event.
With this done, and before the last torn page of notes hit the floor, his hands were at work on the keys of the piano. The audience gasped again at the explosive triumph of this beginning. The notes were violent; yet they harmoniously spoke of life as no words could. Each passing moment was filled with expressions of his loves, his losses; his life's passions incarnate in music. The whole of it seemed to be building, reaching for a crescendo, but waiting just a moment longer to reach it because he was not ready yet.
He played for nearly an hour, pouring himself into the creation, and then, as the audience wept with the joy of the piece. It crescendos in a blaze; completing and joining all the themes into one final exhilarating, but absolute, end.
As the fingers of his right hand played the final notes in a hall of silence, his left slowly closed the fallboard over the keys. For a second or two there was no sound, a final rest in the music, and then the audience stood with tears in their eyes clapping in joy, and with enormous grief. For in that moment of final rest The Virtuoso had laid his head down across the fallboard concluding his life and work.
Location: Buffalo, NY
01/27/06 11:17 - 28ºF - ID#22036
My Atheist Life:
I don't believe in God. God is a dangerous hindrance in our lives, born of primal fear, that impedes scientific inquiry, technological advancement, but most alarmingly it impedes our intellectual growth as individual human beings. In my life I have believed faithfully in many conceptions of God under a few different religions. Reviewing these experiences will make it clear that each of them lead me to live a life in contradiction with both reality and my best interests.
The earliest memories of my being Catholic are filled with horrifying images and an unexplained sense of guilt, like when my grandfather kissed the bloody feet of a statue of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross and a feeling that the crucifixion was somehow my fault swept over my mind. It began as a normal Sunday but it was shaken when I asked why we had to go to church. The answer was sharp; in retrospect this was because I was acting up a bit, and it sent my young mind into a spin of confusion. "We go to church," my grandmother said, "because we must say we are sorry for the sins we have committed against God." The implications were shocking to my young mind but it set the tone for many years to come. Jesus had died for my sins and somehow that was my fault. What could I do to right this wrong of so long ago?
The doctrine of original sin, more accurately described as the doctrine of undeserved guilt, is a horrible thing to saddle a child with at a young age. Yet it is the basis of the first rites given to a child. You are told from day one that you were born evil, that your life itself is intrinsically bad, and that you must live a life of atonement for this sin. When I accepted this guilt I did so because I knew no better, but I did so at the peril of my view on the world. This unearned guilt drove me to view reality as a malevolent object, caused me to view my own life as an affront to what was truly good: the image of a dying man staked to a cross.
As the years passed this guilt drove me away from The Church and into a new religious outlook, Occultism. I was searching for an escape from this malevolent world and hoped to find it in the ancient volumes of the occult. As a Catholic I was primed for a belief in the supernatural, but as an occultist I sought it out; yearned to find it to the point of self-delusion. Convinced of my ability to discover ghosts I sought them out in an active train tunnel, in Western Massachusetts where many hundreds of workers died in the 19th century. Walking around in the dark, four-mile long tunnel I thought I was suddenly able to hear them. It was then that I discovered what faith was all about: it is a dumb boy standing in an active train tunnel looking to understand the ineffable by staring into nothingness until the train comes...
Faith is a blindness that no individual can afford to contract for very long or live with consistently because our very survival depends on our interaction with reality and use of reason. There is no choice more destructive for a human being than to choose not to think and to believe on faith. All across the world today people choose to deny the provable benefits of western vaccinations because of their religious faiths. Their children are crippled by, or die of, diseases we haven't seen in half a century because their faith in superstition causes them to live in contradiction with the reality of western medications. As I stood against the tunnel wall, with a speeding train ten inches from my face, I realized faith could get you killed.
When I chose to live my life as an Atheist I did so not because I wanted to be different, but because I lived through the real dangers of theistic life both psychologically and physically. Theistic belief hindered my growth as an individual. I beat my primal fear of the dark unknown by holding up the candle of skeptical inquiry and realizing that God is a shadow and no more. When I finally chose to shrug these chains I found I was able to live my life freely. No longer impeded by unearned guilt or baseless faith, I was finally able to grow as an individual.
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: fiction prose
01/26/06 10:22 - 18ºF - ID#22035
The Odd Story of Bryan Green: Part IV
"I said that I think this is your stop, buddy." The accountant-looking fellow said and pointed out the window at the uncovered concrete platform. "Buffalo."
"Oh yes, thank you." Bryan got up and walked towards the door to get off the train.
"Hey!" Bryan turned to see the accountant-looking fellow holding up a suitcase. It was his luggage, not quite zippered with a few pieces of paper peeking out. "You almost forgot your luggage!"
The cab ride to the hotel through the gently falling snow helped him to relax. He opened his luggage and straightened his papers. They were exactly as he had left them. Unfinished, riddled with errors, and full of boring information. He laughed to himself at the honesty in that thought. No one was out in the city except a small fleet of cabs and police. The buildings of the city around him looked empty and worn compared to what he had seen in his...dream?
It had all been a strange dream then. No need to worry, his luggage was safe, his job was safe, his comfortable boring life was safe. The two talking cats had been in his head after all. Though part of him was disappointed. Business, he was reminded, was really not his type of adventure after all. How could he go on after realizing that? That much had not been a dream.
He began to wonder what else he could do with his life. When he finally reached his hotel room, he had decided that he would finish his proposal in the morning before the appointment at noon. He had also decided that that appointment would be his last. The past five years with the company had allowed him to put a lot of money away into his savings account. He began to wonder if it were possible to go find Lisa after all this time.
As he undressed he turned out his pockets, emptying their contents onto the small table next to the bed. Then he crawled into bed and slept. He dreamed of the Phoenix, and felt the apprehension of starting a new life. For a few moments in the dream he was frightened when he burst into flames. Though it did not hurt, instead it seemed to boil away the fear, and apprehension. The voice of what-if screamed in agony, but he felt only comforting warmth. The golden light of the flames shined in his eyes, and he was annoyed that he couldn't see properly.
He awoke with the golden light still shining in his eyes. The sun was out now and it streamed into the window, glinting off something on the table next to the bed. He reached out and picked up the small piece of hard parchment. On one side the words on it were embossed with gold foil, and it smelled of jasmine.
New York Central Railroad
Grand Central Terminal, NY, NY.
On the back of the card was a message written in black ink. The scrawl of the words was familiar, but strange to find in that place. The message was addressed to him.
Second chances do not come around too often. This may be your last chance to be the explorer you always want to become. I hope you will read this and decide to take the risk. To join me, come inside the Central Train Terminal on the east side of the city when its clock strikes noon.
He shot out of bed. The covers of the bed were still fluttering to the ground, as he got dressed. The clock on the television read, eleven o'clock. He had an hour to find and reach the Central Train Terminal. Looking around the room for a moment in thought he jump across the room, and pulled open the drawer next to the bed, removing the phone book.
Bryan flipped quickly to the section he was looking for, Tanning, Taverns, Taxes, and Taxicabs! His finger held the spot on the page while his other hand dialed the service. They told him that a car would be around in twenty minutes. Packing his luggage unceremoniously he made way to the lobby to check out of his room. Ten minutes later, after a gruelingly slow attendant checked him out, asking repeatedly if there was something wrong with his room he was finally outside waiting for the cab.
He watched the hands of his watch tick slowly around until the taxicab was late. The sun was bright against the newly fallen snow of the night before, and the sky, a pale blue. The air was crisp, but did not bite the skin too deeply. For the first time in Bryan's memory he did not feel abused by circumstance, but instead he resolved himself to succeed. Thinking quickly he jumped at a passing opportunity, and in the process nearly scared the man leaving the hotel half-to-death when he shouted.
"Excuse me! If you're not too busy, I am willing to offer you..." Bryan flipped through his wallet extracting a wad of cash to count, "Three hundred and fifty dollars, If you will drive me to the Central Train Terminal on the east side."
"What? You must be joking." The man laughed, and began to walk away towards the parking lot.
"No! Please, no this is important. A woman I love dearly, and... well just trust me when I tell you that it is important that I get there before noon and no later than noon." Bryan looked at his watch, there was thirty minutes left. "Please, I'll pay you up front." He took the man's hand and slapped the wad of cash into it.
"Ummm..." the man deliberated in shock, but then came to the realization of cash in hand. "Sure, follow me."
The ride through the city streets was slow, it seemed that every street sign, and stoplight was trying to make him late. The closer to the terminal that they came the worse off the neighborhood became until there could be no doubt that the terminal was in one of the poorest sections of Buffalo that Bryan had ever seen. His driver did not say much during the trip, but instead seemed to be watching the clock for time, and the road for police.
"This is a very bad place to meet your girlfriend, Mister...umm"
"Green, my name is Bryan Green. It was her idea."
"I'm just saying that the last time I was to this place they had a huge security fence around it, to stop vandals from breaking into it." Bryan's heart momentarily sank with fear. What if all of this was an elaborate mental break down? He would loose this account, and... for the first time in his life, he didn't care. He only cared about reaching her in time.
"I'll figure it out when I get there. Thanks for the thought though," He would simply decide what to do when that time came. The car arrived at the security fence, as the massive clock face on the Terminals singular tower turned to five minutes to noon. Bryan shouted thanks to the man, as he got out of the car with his luggage, and surveyed the situation with keen eyes.
The fence was ten feet high with barbed wire on the top of it. It was nearly three hundred yards through an ancient snow covered parking lot, before he would reach the doors of the massive abandoned Central Train Terminal. He could see the broken windows, and cracks in the massive art deco building.
"What's going on?" a gruff voice behind him asked with authority. Bryan turned around to see that a police car had pulled up as he was looking at The Terminal. He turned pale. "Hope you're not thinking of trespassing." The police officer pointed at the sign on the fence that Bryan had overlooked. It advised that trespassing was a crime, and that trespassers would be prosecuted. Bryan turned away from the police officer and looked up at the clock that read three minutes until noon.
"No," Bryan said calmly, "I'm just looking..." Then he ran at the fence and began climbing. As he flipped feet over head on the barbed wire, he heard the police officer swear, then he heard his coat tear as it got caught. The barbed wire sliced a bit into his writs, and then he found himself on the other side of the fence hanging from his coat. He struggled out of the coat and fell to the ground as the police officer got to the fence.
"Are you out of your mind?" the officer asked.
"I don't know," Bryan shouted back, "But I need to find out!" As he ran towards the front doors he could see that he only had about a minute left. He slid on the ice and snow into the doors as his watch began to beep. It was noon. Getting up he shook the chains on the two center doors, swore, and then noticed that one of the side doors was open. He pulled it wide and stepped through.
The grand promenade of the Buffalo Central Train Terminal was littered with rocks, dust, and broken glass. He wandered around the massive room looking up at the vaulted brick ceiling, and the destroyed pedestal on which something grand might have stood to greet the travelers. Expletives written in graffiti defaced nearly every surface. The whole of the place was a testament to the greatness that had once been there, but it had become a mausoleum holding the cold ashes of a former time. The sun shined sadly through broken windows down on the dead ticket counters, and nearly crushed Bryan's heart. He dropped to his knees with the weight of failure; he must not have arrived on time.
"Tickets, Mr. Green?" The voice came from behind him at the ticket counter. He turned around to see Vanderbilt smiling as he stood in one of the windows surrounded by a brief flare of golden light. Bryan stood up, and walked to the counter.
"Yes, one please."
The waft of jasmine filled his nostrils, a prelude, but he didn't turn around. He had been wrong so many times before. "Make that two, Bryan." Hearing the sound of her voice brought him to tears. "You're not going to leave me here are you?"
Turning around he saw her standing there as though it were years ago in his living room. She had both his bag, and hers, at her feet. He ran forward over the broken glass and stone to embrace her. Kissing her deeply with his eyes closed, he felt the sensation of fiery warmth rise quickly from the dust around his feet. When he opened his eyes to look into hers, she was crying too, and to his surprise the Grand Promenade was alive all around them. Everywhere that he looked the Terminal was renewed. Though the people using the terminal seemed to be more eccentric than anyone he had encountered in the dinning car on Vanderbilt's train, including the talking cats.
A trail of nearly a hundred rats were making their way through the terminal, causing a number of brakemen, and ladies in long dresses to remove their hats and bow as though to passing royalty. A giant carrying a large steamer trunk under one arm was squeezing his way under a sign, that indicated the direction of the train platforms, with the aid of a platform attendant. Stranger still were a number of freight movers with a pile of well-carved wooden coffins sporting a signs that read: "DO NOT OPEN IN DAY TIME," and "THIS END UP!" Bryan stood up straight, and smiled at Lisa, who smiled back, putting her arm around his waist.
"Come, come, now!" said Vanderbilt playfully, as the women who actually attended the ticket counters shooed him away. He walked up to his two new employees, and smiled graciously. "Now onto business!"
"What's next boss?" Bryan asked, picking up his luggage, and following after Vanderbilt's brisk walk.
"We take our leave. We have a train to catch, and many new things to discover, about this world and ourselves, before we die!"
Location: Buffalo, NY
01/26/06 12:21 - 17ºF - ID#22034
Thoughts On Insomnia
The problems inherit in being an insomniac are not as a normal sleeper might expect. One does not get tired or weary. Instead one is spent wondering what to do with their time, and indeed the very idea of time becomes very convoluted and confused. For a normal sleeper it is easy to keep tract of time. For most people yesterday was the time before they slept, the morning is the time immediately after you wake up, mid day is when you Ã¢re half way through your day in relation to sleep, and finally evening is the time just before you go to bed. The normal sleeper eats breakfast in the morning, lunch at midday, and dinner in the evening. All according to a normal sleep pattern.
This method of understanding time simply does not work for an insomniac who does not follow the sleep pattern of normals, and has therefore fallen out of time with the rest of society. Being such a timeless entity is quite disconcerting for the modern man so the insomniac is forced to recreate a new method of understanding time. This breaks insomniacs into two camps. The literal timekeepers and the subjective timekeepers.
The first of the two, the literal timekeepers, keeps tract of the days in accordance to the actual time. The exact numbers change from person to person but a general idea is as follows: one refers to mornings as 12am-11: 59am, midday as 12pm-5:00pm and evening as 5:01pm-11: 59pm. Yesterday is anytime before 12am and tomorrow anytime after 11:59pm. One who keeps literal time is often at odds with normal sleepers because they prefer the mornings to begin when they wake up, or when the sun rises.
The second of the two, the subjective timekeepers keep tract of the days in accordance to their sleep patterns ignoring all clocks. This is always very different depending on the person. Morning remains the time after one wakes up, midday is never talked about because one never knows what the halfway point is in a period of sleeplessness, and evening is about the point one knows they are going to collapse of exhaustion. Yesterday for these people maybe as far off as two days ago for normal people, or as close as an hour ago. Similarly, tomorrow may not be for a couple of normal days from now.
So if you should ever been confused by someones referral to a few days ago as yesterday or upset by someones dictatorial methods of noting when tomorrow has arrived, remember they may be insomniacs who have fallen out of time...
Location: Buffalo, NY
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