What is it about starting a new year that always makes us look backwards before we can move forward?
Even my new year motto is a distilled aspirational statement based on what I did NOT do last year: 'Judge less, do more positive' is a sincere reaction to my lack of engagement within my own metaverse and physical community as much as I am equally tired of hearing myself say aloud, 'I find he/she/it so frustrating!!!!'.
I think that Rob would agree.
I have just come to San Francisco after nearly 11 years of being away. It is a city I kind of recognize but at the same time, it is a chameleon of a place that plays tricks on me. I have heard the city get criticized for living underneath a liberal bubble, and I have to meekly agree that I do feel on the edge here. I am smack down the middle of America, and there is no sense of disorder: Pakistan bombings or economic difficulties in the UK. I smell urine, I see 'vets' in wheelchairs, and I remember a time when I was younger, hopeful and unaware of the general beauty of youth.
I could write a chapter on the US: the optimistic commercials, the pharma commercials with all of the insane, unacceptable lopsided side effects, the 'crazy stories that qualify as mind numbing news' and the news ticker that makes me sea sick and stuns as opposed to informs.
PS I have a strange attachment to the new Canada commercials...
My XX is not well and there is a part of me that cannot cope with it.
To say he is not well is not a fair representation of his forward movement or progress.
He is actually now home and slowly recovering from the removal of his appendix.
They have put him on a steady drip of medication to stave off infections following the surgery.
When I pick up the phone to speak with him and my mother, a part of me is engaged and willing myself to ask sensible questions, and another part of me is removed and unable to form the right vowels and syllables. You are my XX. You don’t get sick. You don’t get weak. That is commonplace for others, but not for you.
I want to apologize to him that I am semi-absent, that as a shadow I can only articulate half-sentiments and half-thoughts when underneath the hissing silence I am afraid, I care, and I wish for his immediate recovery.
Something tells me I have been neglecting you. Relocation has a way of decapitating me. Or, as I have suggested before and Cayce pointed out in Pattern Recognition, my soul takes time crossing time zones and oceans before it can eventually catch up with the rest of me and my body.
So, here I stand in Austin Texas staying at a good old American chain where everything looks and smells the same. I am about to head off to register for SXSW. I think I have finally pulled together my talk on tanglible interactions in urban spaces, or more to the point how would jane jacobs and marshall mcluhan approach the challenge of master planning in today's context?
As for the New York chapters. Those are still happening and have been happening to me. Oh yes, everything feels personal even if its impersonal. The adventures of trying to get into the US where as dramatic as the ones I blogged about before I headed to London. But before I loead myself down with self-pity, I am packing up and heading to SXSW down the road.
Catch you soon.
Since yesterday afternoon it has been snowing in London. Unlike Canada London has not seen snow on an ordinary basis in a few years, so it is quite entertaining to watch my neighbours interact with the snow as though it were some form of alien landing. It is an official snow day in London. The buses have stopped, the tube is interrupted, the airports are closed.
Kids rub snow off of cars to test out the weight of cold, while grown men test out their footprints on the white matter. A couple just waved up at me probably finding it strange to see a person sitting by the window just watching people from behind their computer. Snow suits London. In that cold kind of removed way.
dead stars may spew
exotic dead matter.
A sonnet written unconsciously to me in the contents page of the New Scientist. This is what I do regularly; look for signs of love, the faintest indication of affection, because it calms me. Just the slightest hint gives me a warm buzz and softens the edges around me. And I don't think I'm alone. There are others out there. You just don't notice them in the morning panic to get to work. You are too focused on where you have to get to that you don't notice where you are. But I see them. We all have that love sick expression on our faces as we scan our environments for any sign of love.
What better way to gaige how the American public perceives Obama's election than through the photography platform and social media sharing tool <a href="http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/multimedia/2009/01/gallery_flickr_inauguration">Flickr.</a> Wired pulled together some of their favorite Creative Commons photos posted by Flickr users attending Tuesday's Inauguration Day celebrations in Washington D.C.
Worldchanging published <a href="http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009326.html">the letter</a> they sent to Obama on the verge of his presidency encouraging him to put 'green' on his presidential agenda and to include it in his inauguration speech.
I just saw the Jeff Skolls produced movie Fast Food Nation and it struck me as very illustrative of how we have landed ourselves in the current credit crisis and global economic meltdown. Somewhere on our path towards industrialized modernity, we have forgotten what matters and what is important.Our attention has fixed itself on materialism and consumption. Consumption requires very little of us. I can't think of a more lazy activity to pass the time and Western culture has become synonymous with this laziest of endeavors. But what is even more disturbing is how this seemingly innocuous activity is in fact harming our economic stability and social infrastructure with the boomerang effect of unemployment; every day a different company announces more layoffs.
One of my favorite lines from the movie is when rancher Kris Kristofferson points out to hamburger fast foodchain marketing executive Greg Kinnear that the dirty state of the meat packing industry and presumably our society isn't about being good or evil, it is the story of a machine that doesn't care if it destroys animals, people or anything that stands in its way and all for more pennies on the pound.
And all I want to know is how did we get here? And isn't this current shakedown an opportunity for us to readust our lifestyles and our unsustainable expectations?
This doesn't even begin to touch one of the major storylines of the film which follows the journey of Mexicans into the promised land of the US. The machine depends on the abundant availability of vulnerable and needy humans to feed its insatiable appetite and greed. In this unregulated mechanism of capitalism, no one is safe. I can't help but feel that as human beings we need to work with each other more and stop seeing each other as floating dollar signs and competitors for resources. It appears that we have not strayed very far from the cave; however, now is our chance to stop and reflect on where we have landed and where we aspire to head next. We do not need to be a machine. It is our choice and our responsibility to do better for ourselves and for others and the planet.
Am I having a crisis of conscience? Yes. I want to believe that we are capable of better, although right now much of the evidence says otherwise.
Having just returned to London from snow groomed Montreal, I find myself looking for visible cues of global recession. The news shows seem to be a little more serious in London than they were in North America. Call me crazy, but beyond George W's announcement of the car industry bail-out, I didn't hear or read as much distress in the headlines or programming as I do back here in London. Yes, there were tips on how to reduce your chances of having your head on the employment chopping block, and suggestions on how to make gifts from North American friends on Facebook, but the tone is not as gloomy as it is here in the UK.
Naturally it could be the weather playing a vital part in this observation, but the job cuts being announced here on a daily basis, including where I work, are hardly encouraging. The financial industry was among the first to head to the guillotine; Merryl Lynch has just announced 1,900 cuts in its London workforce, but the construction industry also expects to see record drops with housing starts 'tumbling to the lowest level since 1924'. Retail sales fell 1.4% in total in 2008, and we can only expect sales to drop even more because of a lack of consumer confidence.
So have we hit rock bottom yet? Some economists say yes, others are less inclined to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel any time soon. A programme on the effect of the massive layouts in the car industry showed many African Americans heading to Church for some sign of salvation. They are among the worst to be affected by the car industry meltdown. And while things don't seem very cheery from where I'm standing, they must seem more grim for those who have always worked on the assembly line.
In the face of this economic turbulence, one question the global stage is asking: Obama, you ready?
The Observer's Review section took a look at what women have achieved in the last 80 years. It is at once frustrating and fantastic to see how far we've come and how far we have to go. And don't call me baby.
Martha Lane Fox, an entrepreneur notes that in 20 years time she would like to see women from all backgrounds in all countries having the same opportunities for education and employment as men - and be PAID the same. Amen. This is where it isn't cruel to be kind or just plain fair.
Zoe Heller, a novelist, says that if she were Prime Minister she would do something about the lack of decent, affordable childcare. Because we all know who ends up having to take the bullet on that back assed system approach to daycare. She also observes that in 20 years' time she would like to see a world in which the American female running for her party's presidential nomination does NOT have to shed tears to convince her voters of her likeability.
Yes ladies. Sex In the City is only entertainment. So until we see equal access, equal pay, equal representation, our work is still cut out for us.