Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Insects and the City

Ok, so at what point am I allowed to stage a protest that I cannot work under the present conditions, I'm leaving, my paycheck should continue to be deposited indefinitely into my account because I am working from home from now on? Is there a manual for this? There should be. I may write it.

Here's the deal. I work in a major city. That city has a major transportation system. In and around that city and transportation system are the many flavored restaurants of a multi-ethnic metro, serving exotic cuisine from far and wide. So what, right?

Well that means that if I want sushi, bam, it's at my finger tips. Need to go across town to catch a sale at lunchtime? Sure! Catch the El, be back in a bit. Want to meet a friend, try on shoes and grab some Thai food before heading back to the grind? No problem.

In a big-ish city, all of those things are possible and more. But there's a price. A well known, but tightly kept secret that some of us part time city dwellers know all too well. All that convenience and wonderfulness attracts others that want a piece of the action. You know who I'm talking about. The ones that show up and stay but don't pay rent. That's right, vermin.

Yes, rats, mice and roaches that are so big and so prevalent that they should have their own offices and get on the 401(k) plan. It's unsightly. It's gross. It freaks me out. Hopefully you've never encountered the likes of these creatures in all your days, but if you have had the misfortune, you know. You just know what I'm talking about.

I'm not even getting into the origins and raison d'etre, they do their thing and we humans we do ours. But man, I still wish they could do theirs in some way that I would never have to know about.

Which brings me back to the insular point of this evening's rant. At what point is enough, enough? Check this out:

What we have here is the demise of Cleophus the Roach. Cleophus started his day like any other. Woke up, tentacled his wife and eggs before leaving out of the soda can for a long days' work at the Chinese food carton. The boss sent him on a special assignment that day though. This project could mean that he and his family would get transferred to the other side of the street where most of the food was pickled! Who knew? The possibilities were endless. Cleophus excitedly tentacled with his work partners and headed up to the office floor to scavenger the area and bring back a report of the findings. He had heard of many others going to the land of the carpets but anything could be up there. Humans, poison, anchovies, anything!
Traipsing off on the call of duty, I'm sure Cleophus had no idea that he (or she, what do I know? Are they identified by gender??) was going to meet with this end of my camera phone and a toilet on this day.
But I ask you, really? I mean, really??
Grossed out? Yeah, well, me too. You understand what I was going in there to do, right? Well I gave Cleophus a proper send off but I'm at my limit. Do not believe for a moment that this was even near the first time or even the most disgusting. At least Cleophus had the decent courtesy to be dead.
So all I'm saying is there's got to be a limit. There's only so many times that I should have to face Cleophus' brethren before it's just too much. I'm traumatized. Everyone else just seems to accept it saying, that well, that's what happens in the city. I'm starting to think that strip malls, huge free parking lots and chain restaurants maybe aren't so bad. Country mice versus gang banging rats? I just don't know anymore...

Monday, June 7, 2010

I was walking home today and saw this in the sky. Although it's not the best quality pic, I imagine that you were keeping step beside me when I whispered in revered awe, "Are you seeing this?"
Look how the light is just pouring through the clouds and filtering out through the bottom like the cloud simply cannot contain all the goodness coming its way. It's moments like this that I remember and am remind how wonderful the world really is. Yes, I have a weird fascination with clouds. I think they're pretty. :) But there is something so enlightening and wonderful that I see in those wisps of ozone when touched by the light. It warms my heart and calms my day. I marvel at how something can appear so untouched and so perfect.
Does anything touch you in this way?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Airplane Etiquette

Do you remember when flying in an airplane, for those of you that enjoy traveling and flying, was a pleasant experience in of itself? My memories are filled with in flight movies, actual mini meals snacks, drinks, blankets, earphones, you name it, you got it in miniature form. Granted, I was a grateful passenger in those days, rather than a full fledged, paying adult, but you have to admit, there was something about flying in the days before 9/11.

Now it's understood that you are checking your dignity along with your baggage and clothes at the door. We know exactly how it got to be this way, I'm just bemoaning the lost of decent travel to accommodate the actual destination. The other issue is that, we could probably get over the lost of our modesty and right to privacy if the prices of the tickets had not increased to the sky and we were getting charged for the privilege of, well, everything.

Between new charges attached to the mini bag of peanuts and, most offensively, the baggage to accompany your travel, anyone who would like to explore the world is smacked around with hidden costs here and there where none existed before. I still say that the baggage situation could have been handled better. As passengers who may also read the news and have some inkling about the status of the airline industry may understand why more money is needed to support the conglomerate. But maybe the should have eased us into it. It's one thing to pay $5 per bag to get started; but hitting us with the $20-$25 charges right up front? It's insulting.

So I know that I try to cram everything into my carry on to avoid fees but that is only determined by the length of my trip and how much I need to bring. It's such a pain overall.

We might even get over our lost of privacy if it seemed like it was for a good reason. For all the people that appear on the no fly list, or whose names appear on a list of suspicious persons and cannot travel through our airports, there also seem to be a handful of people who still seem to be able to make it through. There are also plenty of people who accidentally transport forbidden objects that could be used as weapons, only to discover them on the other side of their trip.

So with all this going on, is it too much to ask that passengers observe some basic airplane etiquette to avoid a riot?

1. Try not to hold on too the seat in front of you as you try to heft yourself out of your seat. The seat in front of you is the headrest of another passenger who is not being jerked around because of your resistant center of gravity.

2. Stay in your seat until your row is letting people out; it is rude to jump in the aisle in front of other people. Come on, this is an easy one. Many people have connecting flights. You are just being selfish by pushing into the aisle only to stand there and wait.

3. Stay in your lane. Unless you are cuddling up next to your sweet on the plane, try to stay within the parameters of your arm rests--that includes your feet, knees and the bobbing of your head while sleeping. We know the head-bobbing thing is sometimes unpreventable if you're passed out, but just try.

4. If your music is loud enough to drown out the sounds of the world, your probably drowning out the sounds of your neighbor's world too. This one goes for any mode of public transportation in close quarters. We know you have your headphones in but they are not as far inside of your ears as you think. Please be mindful.

5. Babies crying is also sometimes unavoidable. But your little scamp that is learning to know better, bring along some games or amusing activities. Learning about the birds and the bees was fun the first time, but the 11th? Not so much.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list and I did not experience all these things during my last trip. But seriously, if more people just thought about the kinds of things that they were annoyed by on various airplane trips, maybe they could see past all their own selfish needs and be a little more considerate. Or at least stop running down the aisle when the place stops. Ya'think?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Random Occurrence - Crab's Play

At some point in your life, you may have been told not to play with your food--so is it ok if someone else does? Check this out: This is such a random occurrence. Although this particular establishment is indeed a fish market, it's located inside a larger varied market where you can get lunch at different restaurants and from local
merchants. I'm in another line, waiting for my order of grilled salmon from a Thai restaurant, and my friend and I happen to look over at the fish market. These crabs are alive and the man is gently tickling the underbellies of the crabs. As he does, their legs wiggle back and forth in the air.
While I imagine that he does it to entice business, I found it a bit creepy.
Also creepy? When I asked if I could take a picture - he was like, no problem and actually touched the crabbies a little more so they could wiggle-pose for the picture. So random.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bugged Life

It's not that I'm into bugs but come on, you have to admit that these close ups of the buggy species are pretty wild.
I was out and about and happened upon these marvels of nature. Check out the attention to detail on the one with the color, above. The delicately scalloped wings appeared completely motionless as I snapped this photo with my camera phone. I imagine the survival instinct of "just stay perfectly still while this human idiot does whatever they're doing and it'll be cool" kicked in.
This chica just seems like she has some serious armored gear. Also still, she didn't even appear to be searching for anything, just waiting for me to get close, take my pic and go on about my business. She's on the side of a newly stuccoed home.
I hope you some times take a look around and check out the life that's passing you by. Sometimes it's actually going pretty slowly or even labored enough for you to catch it. I think a lot of people aren't paying attention. Or they think they are but then their IPhone rings and it's a fragmented thought. Now did those two bugs upon whose species and type I am completely unfamiliar change the course of my day or make me a better person?
Perhaps I look a little closer at the mundane, looking for the extraordinary details. Maybe it leads me to take a couple of picture so I would be inclined to post about it. Indeed, if you're reading this, whenever you're reading this, it may make you appreciate something--something that you would have caught tomorrow, but now understand a day earlier.
A ripple effect of touch and go existence.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Open Palm of Broken Glass

Looking dead on at this image, it may appear as though a detached hand is offering a palm filling with precious stones. There seems to be some type of dusting around the dark hand and it's peculiar arrangement almost has it's own comment.

Would you believe that this image was snapped just like this in a residential-street parking spot at 6:30 in the morning?

What would you think if I told you this represents a comment on living at the high end of gentrification?

Those shiny looking morsels in the palm of the discarded glove are remnants of a busted car window. There's been a lot of that going around in this neighborhood. About once per week, those walking along this up-and-coming area will see the shattered windshields and windows of smash and grab victims.

That absolutely sucks. Imagine coming out to go to work in the morning and discovering a bunch of jagged glass next to your vehicle. You may look at your car, truck or SUV and wonder, just for a split second, why you can see into your front seat so clearly and without any glare. Then it hits you. Someone busted out your window or part of your windshield. You've been robbed. You're a victim.

You could comfort yourself with the knowledge that at least your car is still here. But I imagine this is the part where you start to wonder what you may have lost and what you left in your car. You're mind is scrambling, thinking about what was in the console or on the seat on the floor that may now be lost.

If this has ever happened to you, especially in your own neighborhood, do you wonder why your car was targeted? Do you finally remember that wallet, cell phone, bag, watch, whatever that you left visible and think that may have been the reason? Don't get me wrong, no one deserves to be a victim of a crime, especially theft of one's personal property. It's not right to make it like the victim is at fault. It just begs the question - what made that thief choose that car?

I venture that it was because of that item, that personal bit of valuable, that someone must have been able to see. And when I continue through my neighborhood I'm wondering about the reason. Is it because this neighborhood is a hot second off the real 'hood? That this neighborhood used to be part of the hood until the middle income folks started to move in? Is it that the economy is so bad that those who were on the edge are now more desperate? Are the perpetrators seasoned criminals who are targeting those who believe they are safe in their gentrified neighborhood? Some of it or all of it?

I don't know. But I do know that I'm tired of seeing the crushed ice of windows and windshields when I walk down the streets. I'm sure the victims are too. We shouldn't have to protect ourselves like that, but we must. Just a thought.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Things for Sale, Need and Want

As usual, I have linked together some seemingly unrelated morsels of thought and feel the need to share.

I just saw The Book of Eli (decent movie, entertaining and engaging although I have some problems with the implications). While fighting the incoming crowd in order to scurry back to the car, I thought about one brief moment in the movie that stuck with me --as "deep" movies often attempt to do. While describing the era before the tragedy, the main character said something akin to the idea that the population, we, had much more than we needed. This simple concept easily describes our entire generation and point in history. I started thinking about how true this was and let my mental eye gaze over Buddhist philosophy in this respect. I thought about all the things in my house, in my life and on my personal that I have but don't really need. Sure those things make my life easier or more comfortable, or so I think, but I also go through a lot of very extra drama to keep them.

Any day you have not felt like going to work, just because you don't feel like it, is an example of one of those things that one has to do in order to keep your stuff. You go through it because you want to keep your stuff. If you didn't have your stuff, you would be upset because you would want that stuff. The desire to have that stuff, keep it, hold it and share it with others (only when you feel like it), is what drives you to do things that you may not ordinarily do. This is not religious rocket science but sometimes certain thoughts hit you a certain way for a reason.

I periodically wonder about myself, if my building was burning down and I had to leave with my life, what would I grab, what would I take, if anything? I have so many things that are dear to me, I know that I would be one of those people who found found later, burnt to a crisp, holding on to stuffed animals, charred books and linked with ropes and tarnished jewelry. In truth, the last time a fire alarm caused me to exit my slumber and my home, I grabbed pets and purse. I put on only coat and shoes to make for the stairs. I was happy with that at the time. It would only be later that I would mourn for the countless pictures and books of my history. My computer, which has served as an electronic safe and storage for me, would be lost and missed. But I would live and I would be happy with that.

And maybe that's all there is. If one were to reduce their possessions to the essentials, really just the things that s/he would try to take in the event of an emergency...would that sufficiently simplify one's life? How to does one reverse the pining and even the simple convenience of having that stuff? Can you be happier, knowing what you're missing?

With those ideas still lingering in my cranium, I came across an interesting website today through a very interesting post I receive by daily email.

Within these pages lie photos of individuals that are showing the one thing that they have kept through their travels. Centered on a location under a bridge in Texas, the participants count upon their experiences, homelessness, drug addiction, criminal activity, incarceration, redemption, community service and purveyors of the Word. Some of the people have nothing left. Others are the one person for which that object still holds sentimental meaning.

Without realizing it, I do a dress rehearsal for this website every time I think about a fire. The answer all ways changes and the reality, when tested, was far from the stage. Should we choose to reduce what we have to what we need?

From one extreme to the other, hot and cold, yin and yang...where do you fit? Better yet, where do you choose to live and will you change it if you see fit?