A small dog, 2 cans of beer, and security escorts

20
Aug
2008

Gabe invited me to go with his friend Raffy and he to a screening of “Working Girl” in the park last night (part of the Central Park Film Festival). Gabe and I met beforehand below the park to grab sandwiches and drinks, and started walking into the park towards the screening to meet Raffy. When we caught up with him just outside the film area, he had his small dog with him and told us that the people at the gate wouldn’t let him in, even though no where on the site does it mention that dogs are not allowed and this was an outdoor event in the park after all. The problem was that Raffy lives up in Harlem and didn’t have time to take the dog back before the film started. At Gabe’s behest we started walking the perimeter looking for a place to sneak in. Gabe was somehow able to sneak in past the guards and call me on my cell phone to tell me where, but alas we were stopped by security before being able to make it in. Raffy put his dog into the bag he had with him and we approached the main entrance. When the security guy felt Raffy’s bag he told him that pets were not allowed and we just continued to walk in, towards Gabe who was already inside. We then found an inconspicuous place to sit and started to unwrap our picnic. Everything seemed fine for a few minutes until a very large (wide, more than tall) security guy came over to tell us we couldn’t have the dog there, then noticed our beer and told us that was not allowed either, and that we would have to leave. He followed us all the way to the exit where we passed the first security guard wagging his finger at us. So we sat outside on a lonely bench and enjoyed our picnic while the distant voice of Melanie Griffith pretended to gravitas.

The aesthetics of security

16
Apr
2008

The house I live in is fronted by a rather large metal door with 2 deadbolts. My roommate Julio showed me how to lock these when I first arrived, impressing on me the importance of locking both of them each night before going to bed for security. The top deadbolt takes no less that six complete turns of the key until it is completely cranked and the bottom, smaller one takes two turns. It strikes me that the “extra security” of turning the locks all the way is pretty minuscule, but I think it makes Julio “feel” safer to have to turn the locks a bunch of times.

I have long been fascinated by the aesthetics and illusions of security. We see this at work all the time (especially post 9-11) at the airport. How safe are we really being made by removing our shoes? How much of a threat is my toenail clipper or a lighter? These items and the senseless screening that goes on at many airports are providing nothing but an “aesthetic” and “illusion” of security without real benefit. But I suppose it makes people more comfortable that “something” is being done to protect them. (For an excellent discussion of the ridiculousness of current airport security, see this article from the NY Times.)

Insecurities

1
Mar
2008

I am at the airport, awaiting my flight out to Cancun.  Security at the checkpoints seemed pretty lax, or at least it was for me.  I could be wrong, but it seemed like the whiter people were having a much easier time getting through, while the locals were being checked more thoroughly.  Because of this, I get to my gate much earlier than expected and I decide to crack open the laptop and look for WiFi.  Security is pretty lax here too.  It is supposed to cost $9.95 for a 24hr WiFi pass, but I got around this pretty easily and am happily surfing for free.

See you in the Yucatan…