Wherefore art thou?

30
Aug
2008

My friend Juliette just arrived from London today and we will be leaving Tuesday to head to Peru for a few weeks. You may remember Juliette and I met and traveled together in the north of India just a little over a year ago. I am thrilled she decided to come with me on the first leg of my South American adventure.

Why I returned my iPhone

29
Aug
2008

1. The network, which should be fantastic in a place like NYC, sucks very badly. Not only did I have the switching problems that many others suffered, often times it didn’t matter if I was on EDGE or 3G. With full bars showing, I often couldn’t get web pages to download AT ALL, or they would take forever. Friends of mine in the exact same place and time with other brands of cellphone or first gen iPhones could get on and download easily.

2. GPS has serious problems in a place like NYC.

3. When I bought the iPhone, I assumed it would be able to be unlocked soon (as the first gen was), but that still has not happened. Since I will be traveling in several other countries for long periods in the next few months, I didn’t feel like paying ATT’s outrageous roaming charges. If I can’t pop a new SIM in wherever I go, that is a problem.

4. Constant denials from Apple and ATT about problems are not good customer service. On the other hand, my experience at the Apple Store (West 14th street) when returning my phone was exemplary. They were very helpful and kind and did not hassle me about my return.

I really loved the iPhone when it was working properly, but that was all too rare (at least in NYC. It seemed much better in the Midwest with both GPS and Internet access.) When I return to the US at the end of the year, I will look into getting another. Perhaps the problems will be fixed by then.

Home Delivery

28
Aug
2008

I just went to see a really fascinating and satisfying exhibit at MOMA entitled “Home Delivery“. It deals with the intersection of mass production and art, specifically in the development of prefabricated housing. If you are in New York before the end of October, I highly recommend it. As an added (and really cool) bonus, on the west lot owned by the museum they have placed four prototypes that can be explored inside and out. Below is a slide show of my MOMA trip this morning.

I’m here, where are you?

26
Aug
2008

I had a lunch meeting setup with my client/friend Roland today. He asked me if I knew the restaurant called “Hell’s Kitchen” on 9th ave, and I responded that I did, having passed it several times in the past few weeks here on a couple of my walks. I got to the restaurant about 5 minutes early and got a table and waited. And waited. At about a quarter past the hour I figured something had come up, so I sent Roland a text message saying “Are you coming to Hell’s Kitchen?”. About a minute later came the reply “I am at Hell’s Kitchen.” I looked around the restaurant but didn’t see him, so I sent a message back saying “I am”, and then called him a minute later. It turns out that there are TWO restaurants with the name “Hell’s Kitchen”, and both are on 9th Ave. One is at 47th and the other at 39th.

So if you have a date in Constantinople, he’ll be waiting in Istambul.

So this is what working is like

26
Aug
2008

Through an odd set of coincidences, I have had quite a bit of work fall in my lap while here in NYC. I have spent the better part of the last week building and setting up two websites, and configuring a home office network and new computer. I wasn’t looking for work at all , but I can sure use the cash. It has been interesting, especially with the website programming, to be cast back into that headspace. It is quite a different place to be than where I have been over the past 2 years. Not completely unpleasant either, there is a small satisfaction in figuring out these types of things and synthesizing a solution. The trick is not to get flustered when stuck, and not to let these things stress you out. More and more, it seems to me that when I do return to the land of the working, I should aim for these types of finite contracts. They will allow me to remain more present and outside of the long term stresses that large office politics can produce. Then again, contracting has its own set of hassles, not the least of which is the administration and money chasing. In any event, if I can make it as breezy and fun as the last couple of weeks, it will definitely be worth it. And it will leave me time to write and blog and work on other projects. And not have to wear a suit or have a fixed schedule or location.

Although ideally, I would still want this job

Privacy and habits

25
Aug
2008

A simple question for all of you (perhaps this should be a poll, but I think written responses could be quite interesting):

When you are alone in a house or apartment (yours or someone else’s) and you go into the bathroom (to relieve yourself or bathe), do you close the door (and/or lock it) or leave it open?

Over…there

24
Aug
2008

Last night I went to have dinner with Johnny and Kevin and a few of their friends at a truly wonderful restaurant called Flatbush Farm in…Brooklyn. And the night before that, my friend Sivan and I were hanging out and having great Indian food (well, by US standards anyway) in the Jackson Heights area of…Queens. It is amazing what psychological barriers we have in place for all sorts of things. I remember coming to New York as a kid and later living here on a university co-op assignment at the age of 19. In those days, Manhattan WAS New York, no two ways about it. And there was something off-putting to me then about leaving Manhattan. And there was something even more off putting about the idea of actually living outside of Manhattan. You don’t travel hundreds or thousands of miles to move to New York just to live outside of it, I reasoned at the time. And I was not alone in my assessment. The media and culture at the time were similarly Manhattan focused and dismissive of the other boroughs. Of course, as the economics of living in Manhattan became increasingly perilous, more and more people moved out and New York seems to me today to be a much more decentralized place in terms of where it is all “happening”. If anything, I notice a little reverse snobbery from Brooklynites these days when they are forced to leave their beloved borough for “…over there”. In any event, if I move back to New York, I will feel much more comfortable living in any number of neighborhoods spread out through the boroughs …of Manhattan, Brooklyn or even Queens, anyway. You couldn’t pay me to live in the Bronx or Staten Island.