01/16/07 11:32 - 14ºF - ID#37733
Take this blog post, from a little over a year ago, that I put on the myspace blog that I had.
Alone - November 20, 2005
Recently I have been struck by how alone I feel. Now to clarify, I do not feel sad - I feel alone. If I were the lone guard in an outpost on the furthest reach of the Great Wall of China, I do not believe I would feel much different. Though I am hardly the first person to feel as I do; I am still alone in my location and have never experienced what it is like to relax in the presence of complete understanding.
Sometimes what I long for most in life is to not require every statement I make to require explanation. I wish to learn to play Go from a person who can discuss its complex nature in the context of the Art of War by Sun Tzu. I wish to walk through the city streets with someone and ask what they see here and be enriched by their perception of now.
Though the Internet allows me to connect to people of similar minds to my own it is not the same as actual human contact, it is little more than a faster correspondence to my lone outpost. The best this correspondence can offer me is when I write something that another understands. They do not feel the need to write at length to elaborate on what I have written because what I have said was all that was required. It is then that I am comforted by the fact that on this Great Wall there are others like myself.
Yet I am still alone, here.
Similarly the emotional need to write about my life has arisen once again. This time I am writing to say that for perhaps the first time in my life I no longer feel as alone as I felt when I wrote the above post. I just spent the last week with a girl who did not require me to explain everything I was talking about; she could hold up her end of the conversation very well. She is perhaps the most delectable girl I have ever been with, and my heart pounds for her (among other things that require blood to pound). Though she had to get back to where she lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada - some 3000 miles away - I have many reasons to hope that with some work this will turn into a great relationship.
Thats all, this was mostly for me, but if you have something to say - go for it.
Location: Buffalo, NY
01/09/07 04:46 - 31ºF - ID#37601
Buffalo and Global Warming
In previous conversations with people they expressed concern about Buffalo's survivability because of our close proximity to the lakes. I attempted to point out to them that the lake we sit on dumps its water over a cliff we like to call Niagara Falls, but they seemed quite sure we would all be underwater regardless.
So I have looked into the issue, as part of my long term planning thoughts for how Buffalo fits in my life. So some facts:
1.) Buffalo is situated at its lowest point (down by the coast guard station) some 177 meters above sea level (thats 580 feet for the SI disinclined).
2.) In the worst of the worst case scenarios that I could find about rising sea levels, the sea only rises about 100 meters. For an idea of what that would look like please go here.
In that pic you can see that though every major city on the east coast becomes Atlantis, we are high, dry, and still a long way from beach front property.
3.) For a more dynamic and less dramatic look at what is considered a more likely rise in sea level you can go here and play around with the maps. Still again the rise is only about 14 meters max, leaving about 163 meters to go before we start to think about rolling our trousers in the lowest part of our area.
4.) This is really just a joke on my part. I do not think that anyone should consider investing in the city just because they are looking for good post-warming property. However, if you are looking for another reason to see Buffalo as a stable place in the long term environment projections, this is one more reason.
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/31/06 04:11 - 31ºF - ID#37473
Opportunity Costs and God
The liberal states of the north are quite burdensome in their taxation and tendency towards socialist practices. To any business person thinking of building himself in those places, keeping a hold of the money you make is becoming increasingly harder with each passing year.
On the other hand the conservative states of the south are becoming quite burdensome in their religious fervor and tendency towards fundamentalist ideals. To any atheist person thinking of living his life generally free of an oppressive regime of people who believe in a white bearded man in the sky, keeping a hold of ones sanity in those places is becoming increasingly harder with each passing year.
For me, an atheist business person, this is just a great chance to apply a bit of socio-economic theory. It seems that once I manage to answer the the question of where I want to live for the rest of my life, I will have inadvertently also answered the questions
How much of my money am I willing to pay to keep my sanity? And How much sanity am I willing to pay to keep my money?
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/29/06 07:30 - 31ºF - ID#22053
Human beings have a funny way of drawing lines in the sand. We do it all the time; all over the place in fact. It is so ubiquitous that we have come to accept some of these lines as metaphysical facts, because we never even think to question them, we do not realize the ways in which they imped our ability to envision places to draw newer, better lines.
Now, perhaps my view of lines is slightly skewed. I have lived my whole life being made very aware of the lines I lived near, on, and between. Take the basic boarder between Buffalo, and Cheektowaga for example. It is common practice for insurance agencies to keep track of information, and people locations by zip codes. I live in zip code 14211, if you run that on almost any insurance agency computer the answer you arrive at is that that is a City of Buffalo zip code. However, if you look on a map you will see that a portion of Cheektowaga is also included in that zip code. As such it has been very hard to get some insurance agencies to realize that we are not technically the city.
In this case when political lines are combined with zip code lines, it turns a small chunk of land from a suburb into a lost zone. I run into the same problem with the Department of Motor Vehicles and almost every other zip code based computer system a government or other such entity owns. Growing up on this odd piece of land starting me wondering about other lines we have around here that might not make any sense, and others that do.
Political boarders are very important, they determine what police and fire departments are assigned to your house, they determine who you pay your taxes to, they determine what public schools you can attend, and they determine where you vote and who you can vote for; but when you get right down to it thats about as far as it goes. The municipal and state political boarders do not determine where you shop, or where you can go to have a good time, or what friends you are allowed to make. International boarders do have restrictions on shopping, but not on where you can have a good time, or who you can be friends with.
The reason that I bring this up is that here in Buffalo we often don't think outside the municipal lines. Most of the town, village, city, and hamlet entities are very introspective in their views of our area. Each area concerned only about its personal well being instead of seeing how they fit into the whole economic ecology. This municipal level view translates to a county level view that ignores most surrounding counties.
Just a though experiment, but lets presume that major economic activity causes development. That development means buildings, roads, homes, and street lights. Then you might say that you could map major economic activity and common interests with satellite maps of our area at night. If you look below you see that we would have overlooked our very close neighbors to the north otherwise.
I assure you that they come here very often to shop in our malls, drink in our bars, enjoy our jazz and arts, and then go back home across the river. Remember most people in Buffalo live closer to a Canadian than they do to people in Rochester.
These lines that we create in the sand are only good so far as they are useful to us in defining and understanding our world better. However, when they begin to become arbitrary reasons to ignore each other, then they become a problem and a burden.
One such bothersome line that I have noticed in the Greater Buffalo area cannot be found on any map. It is rather a slight cultural line between the urban area and suburban areas. This divide is often exacerbated when partisan politics rages in our county. More conservative suburbanites look down at new urbanite liberals, and new urbanite liberals look down at conservative suburbanites. I have seen this spark all sorts of crazy exchanges, one such exchange was over which was a more aesthetically pleasing alternative, A strip plaza or the elmwood strip. Without going into it much, the new urbanite liberal had said that the development around the galleria mall was horrible looking, and the conservative suburbanite said that he didn't care so long as he could find a place to park his car.
It is my proposition that the above divides are of little use to our community at large. Be it, continued political fictionalization of our area, urbanite "greater than thou" elitism, or simply a failure to see that common economic interest is a good reason to talk to one another; We need to create greater social bonds between these areas.
How? I'll get back to you on that.
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/28/06 12:02 - 38ºF - ID#22052
EJTower Reading Don Quixote Is Dead
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/27/06 11:36 - 38ºF - ID#22051
EJTower Reading The Hollow Men
T.S. Eliot is a poet from the world war one era whose poems sum up the general feelings of the people after the war, which was in fact the horrific birth of modern warfare practices (machine guns and everything we know today). The Hollow Men is one such poem, and here I am reading it to Patrick Cassidy's Lament.
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/18/06 08:38 - 38ºF - ID#22050
So get this...I can draw?
I'm currently downtown at SPoT thinking about the various new options that have opened up to me since I realized that I seem to be capable of drawing. Many years ago (about ten) I stopped drawing, and started focusing on my writing abilities rather intently.
In the years in between I have not drawn much of anything at all. In fact I began to believe that it had almost left me entirely. About six months ago I started thinking about trying to write a graphic novel or a comic strip, as a thing to try. So I tried my hand at attempting to draw some cartoons, got discouraged by my complete failure and started trying to outsource the job of illustrating to other people.
Unable to find a single person who was interested in illustrating a comic strip with me, I eventually gave up entirely on the project idea, and sent it over to "The Pile" to ferment until another day.
About a week ago though, someone I know challenged me to attempt to draw a portrait of someone from a picture. Always open to random creative challenges, I jumped on it. Swept away the ten years of dust from my drawing pencils, now found buried deep in a closet, and set about the task. As I went along, I was surprised as it all began to come back. A little bit at a time, shading, lines, illusions to create lines. I churned out a halfway decent looking portrait, the sort of piece that impresses most people but you keep thinking is slightly off in the nose or eyebrow.
Happy with this realization, that I have a new resource to tap, I set about thinking of ways to implement it. Oh yeah, I realized, I have that thing on "The Pile". So here is yet another project idea on the queue. ha ha.
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/15/06 03:10 - 45ºF - ID#22049
My life is currently in a state of uncertainty. Like some sort of quantum level particle, I feel like I am heading everywhere and no where at the same time. Its exciting and stressful. There is so much that I can do, and yet because I lack the time to do it, it might be as though I couldn't.
As I rest so close to graduation, and with my current financial issues, so close to not being able to continue in school. I am filled with the excitement of what each of these possibilities will bring me. The first, if I land the money to continue, I will go to school and continue on this current path towards graduation sometime in the spring or summer. The second, if I cannot land the money to continue, I will go to work full time with the company by whom I am employed. Under the second, I will finally have the room and time to expand my creative works, yet will be unable to expand into the professional world very far. Under the first, I will have little time for creative work, and will be able to expand into the professional world as far as my ambition and politics allows.
To decide a question like this you have to ask what I value more, and for what reasons... That would be a good question, that I can not answer.
Come What May.
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/14/06 03:30 - 40ºF - ID#22048
Driving Sitting Backwards, One Handed
Maybe I suffer from some sort of disorder, or this is just what people like me tend to think, but my life always feels like its heading into a death spiral. This feeling of being completely out of control has made for some very interesting dreams that my incredibly active imagination create.
In these dreams I am sitting backwards in the back seat of a car. I am usually steering the car with one arm, reaching over the front seats to grab the wheel. The accelerator is set by a brick, and I am usually heading down some unbelievably busy street with no brakes. The best I am able to do is try to minimize the damage I create as I fly down the street. Bouncing off of one parked car, avoiding another moving car coming in the other direction; I just jerk the wheel from one side to the other afraid to crash and afraid to continue on down the street at full speed.
This is a dream of my life. For the most part my life is out of my control except for a few basic side to side movements.
Now let me be clear, this is not a plea for advice, I know exactly what I should do, and like the good marching lemming that I seem to be of late, I will do it. So, you wonder, what the fuck is he talking about?
I am talking about school.
When you're a kid everyone tells you that going to college is the greatest achievement. At least they tell you this when you are born in a working class neighborhood in Buffalo. They tell you this because the people who go to college are so much more successful than the people in your neighborhood.
What the people in your neighborhood have no idea about when they tell you this is, that if you are smart in anyway at all, you will eventually run into teachers who will waste your life. You will want to explore the topic in one direction, and those bastards will tell you that that is not what they are going to teach. You will know that they are wrong, and you will have to reproduce their wrong work back at them so you can get a nice shiny A to keep your GPA up.
What they don't tell you is that you'll reach a point when everything you do in college will no longer feel like instruction, it will feel like obstruction. And oh! Oh, everyone back in your neighborhood, and your friends, they will tell you to just do the work and get out. But what they don't know is that every single assignment you complete for these obstructer's feels like treason to your own intelligence.
What they don't tell you is that every time you push up against these obstructer's they will have that much more capacity to make your life a living hell. Educational institutions are a joke and a half more than half the time, everyone whose ever been in them has seen it. You are expected to march where they make you march, open your mouth when they tell you, try to chew the sized bits they break off for you, and swallow. Always swallow what and when they tell you to, and you'll always get an A.
(Thats all that matters anyways right? Just the A.)
I don't work this way!
I work best in a situation where all the information is put in front of me, and no one demands that I memorize terms. Application of concepts is something that I excel at, but remembering the terms this particular text book writer decides to call that concept is a waste, and I suck at it.
If you gave me a text, a problem, and two hour period. I could probably figure out what I needed to know to solve the problem, and whats more I would be able to present an impromptu speech on it when I was done. And I would not forget it.
But they give me: In marketing, what is a _______ ?
and they ask me: To choose - A, B, C, D, or E.
I want to blow their useless brains out. If anyone ever wants to know why critical thinking is not a skill that our graduates possess, this is why.
Thats all for now. Thanks for you interest,
Location: Buffalo, NY
12/12/06 01:01 - 41ºF - ID#22047
Today I tried to burn down my house.
Thanks to about a dozen of you repeatedly telling me that I should take up posting here again as I walked around (e:enknot) 's party on Saturday night, I have returned to try to keep an online personal journal here about whats going on with me.
For those of you who do not know, I am EJTower, the guy who was walking around with the laptop and a microphone at the party? I am 6'6" tall ? Putting it together through your happy drunken haze? Good.
So here I go, my good faith start. Thanks for your interest.
December 11, 2006: Today I tried to burn down my house.
In the morning, you understand, I am incredibly incoherent. This problem has plagued me for many years and as such I have designed my life to be a post-noon life for the betterment of all humanity, but mostly myself.
On those rare occasions that my life gives me cause to rise before mid-day I do my best to get a hearty breakfast, otherwise I am in the habit of being rather temperamental. Down right asshole-ish if you must.
Today was such a pre-noon day in need of a hearty breakfast start. So I turned to the pantry and pulled out an oatmeal bar; the kind that are delightfully tasty when warmed in a microwave. Then instead of proceeding to make the oatmeal bar in the microwave as I should, I instead made a short tangential trip to the freezer to get two hot-pockets for lunch whilst at work.
In my morning stupor I decided it would be a good idea to preview the directions for the making of these hot pockets, so that upon arrival at work I would not be completely helpless in front of my coworkers. Coworkers who delight in making fun of the helpless for no other reason than they enjoy being mean. Anyways, I read the directions on the hot pocket box:
Two minutes on high, rotate once after one minute to ensure full cooking.
Then I broke open the package for my oatmeal bar to allow proper ventilation of steam, as per its directions, set the microwave and proceeded to wander upstairs to check out the work of the painters who had come to work on our house a few days previous.
Satisfied with the competency of the painting crew which was by now three days gone with the landlords money, and anyways out of ear shot of my angry morning painting criticism; I returned to the kitchen to find the microwave beeping happily while it filled the room with thick gray smoke.
With retrospective eyes I can now see how the microwave might have thought it was being helpful, seeing as it had successfully completed the task of cooking the oatmeal bar to my specifications. At the time, however, I could give the microwave nothing but my total scorn because I wanted the oatmeal bar done well, not well-done.
Now, before I relate to you the comedy of errors that proceeded from the moment of my finding the thick gray smoke emanating from the joyfully beeping microwave. You should know that the error lies in having been forced to wake before noon, everything else is a sort of casual catastrophe caused by that situation. For example it was clearly not my fault that, after reading the directions for the hot pocket, I proceeded to type two minutes into the keypad of the microwave. A microwave which just assumed without asking that I preferred my oatmeal bar charred to a crisp and covered in molten plastic for good measure.
For the record the difference between what you type for a hot pocket, and what you type for an oatmeal bar is only one zero. 2-0-0-start for hot pockets, 2-0-start for oatmeal bars. Now onto my comedy of errors.
Seeing as the room was already filled with gray smoke, from ceiling to floor, I decided to open the door of the microwave to make it harder for me to breath. Now filling my lungs with gray smoke I decided it was time to try to open the windows. Our kitchen windows are the crank kind, but you see some time ago both of the crank leavers disappeared, and were replaced by a single set of channel lock pliers.
So now that I was choking on the gray smoke, and unable to breath, did I run from the room? No no, like my diligent microwave chef i continued on longer! After finally getting the windows open I hung out them and scoffed out the smoke from my lungs.
I then proceeded to run about and clean the whole room. ah, there is more but it is not quite so much fun as all that. thus dear reader, i will give you the short of the rest of my catastrophic morning:
1 burnt oatmeal bar
1 broken glass
1 soaked pair of pants
1 instance of hanging myself on a door knob by the cord of my headphones
1 late arrival at work who smells like an arsonist having just completed his job
Location: Buffalo, NY
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