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Time Passes

12 May

There is nothing you will read here that isn’t at least 2 years old.  A few new edits and few moves, but everything feels a bit dusty, slow, and left behind.

This is what failure looks like.

It feels like drowning without knowing you can’t swim.  Doing your 100% in the wrong direction. This is 3 years of being totally consumed by things other than myself. By my work, by the interests of others, by energy poured into another with no return.  Sounds bleak.

But where would I be without my crass humor?  My ability to be in the most dysfunctional situation and find beauty.  Bleak is a literal exposure to the elements, likening its softer existence to being windswept.  I am windswept. I’m stormswept with levees to break.

Change isn’t a warm, comforting feeling, like a down blanket on a cold winters night.  Its a gut wrenching jolt into the cold waters of reality, where I find myself wriggling in the bitter chill, gasping for air.  Because I can’t breathe when I’m drowning, no matter how much I dream for the sun.  

Not every neighborhood is meant to be rebuilt.

I started reading again.  I believe there will be a lot of “agains”.

“The ‘Brilliant Masses’ are composed of nothing less than the many great people of our generation, the bright, the talented, the intelligent, and resourceful– far too many of whom are operating at a quarter-speed, unsure of their place in the world, contributing far too little to the productive engine of modern civilization…all feeling like they haven’t come close to living up to their potential… Being guided by the heart is almost never something an intellectually motivated person chooses to do.  Its something that happens to them–usually something painful.” – What should I do with My Life? by Po Bronson

Let’s not wait.

Let’s get dangerous.

Let’s make champions.

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Plug me in, I want to be a robo Barbie.

7 Oct

I’m an advocate for connectivity and shared information.  There is nothing I hate more than repeating something over and over to get the same result.  (See dictionary for: insanity).

I’m also have a long time ethical standard for personal privacy. You might know my mantra of “no evidence”. I feel like a life of crime syndication would have been a great career choice.  I could still work for some of the biggest crime bosses in the world, the government! My jest via the open air internet has gotten me blacklisted before.  The number of physical pat-downs (aka the tax-payer hugs) that I’ve received at the airport has reached a  comical level.

I discovered how well connected I was with the world outside of my regularly frequented bureaucratic structures.  I was taking a client out to a fabulous breakfast at Cafe Renata and needed to keep the receipt.  Little strips of unreadable of paper usually find they way to the bottom of my purse or simply make it to the trash without thought.  Having a emailed copy, or better yet filing through my Expensify account tracks all of my financial moves and keeps me connected.  Who else likes being organized?

The  “square” does. A little swipe device that you can attach to your iphone to take credit cards. Super cute and small, its a real creeper.  When I went to ask for the receipt the clerk smiled said she already sent it to my account.  What account?  Little “square” has been tracking me all over town.  Cute and creepy “square”.

I also track how much “rest” I’m getting.  The shear evidence being collected on me though my sleep cycle is terrifying. While testing a new sleep app Sleeptime, I was fiddling around past mid-night, always chipping away at the hours, to log into some silly thing that will track my zzzzz’s.

I signed in with Facebook because at least it’s easy and now Facebook can track my sleep patterns. Mmmmm I feel the pressure of the Surrogates.  Soon, Facebook will know so much about me they can create me a life sized robot barbie!

What the sleep app did was to trigger an email to me address, so when I woke up it was already recapping my pattern.  I can’t wait until I’m robbed during my deep sleep cycle!

Today the gravity of how interconnected finally hit while in the deep haze of the morning commute.  My laziness coupled with the epic effort it takes to arrive at 30th St. Station for the long-ass train ride north, leaves me exasperated.

I don’t like to try to begin with so if I could expend less effort that would be great.

I was left with whopping 5 minutes to purchase my “monthly passes”.  Dazed and totally blanking on how ticket kiosks work I just desperately plugged my card into the NJ transit machine.  Without any instruction the screen shifted from a series of unnavigable questions to entra tarjeta and lit up with pass for Trenton Transportation Center to Princeton monthly, at $169.

I pushed yes about 10 times like a game show.  Even the little NJ transit boxes know my name. I’m a commuter super star!  And NJ transit is killin’ it!

I Hate Spring

10 Jun

It makes me want to fuck like a rabbit.  These pollens make me stupid and what I “need” is a Greek tragedy to get over myself.  Where art thou Romeo?  I’ve got some nightshade and teen angst to kill.  So, I do the best to protect my total idiocy.  I put stop gaps in my behavior, reminders to check myself.  Is this me or Mother Nature?

I can curb my carnal instincts (someone punch me before I hurt myself). Although these recent articles beg for the realization that I might just be on point.

But not street dudes, harping around like a bunch of birds in heat.  I feel like I’ve stepped into Discovery’s Plant Earth segment about mating calls.  I hear you baby, cat calling, sidewalk hustling, lip smacking.  Aren’t there rules for this?

You know what will really win me over? Serenade me at midnight while I walk down a dark street. Slide your hand along my ass as you inappropriately linger too long in the trolley car.  Aggressively scream that you’ll steal me from my roommate who you’ve assumed is my boyfriend. 

Don’t get me wrong.  There are unbelievably awkward moments that result in successful relationships. Like the Fu Wah guy’s sister, for instance, was followed by an Eagles player that came into her restaurant and bought her flowers on the daily.  Maybe if he wasn’t a popular sports figure, we would think this was creepy.

I still think its creepy.  But I also think cute Asian chicks have their own personal seduction hell.

This is all to say how excited I am about Hollaback Philly!  They did some work in my hood and are headed to be a panel at the Trans-Health Conference this weekend.

 

 

Yo, white girl, you a 10!

Thanks, I wonder what a full 100 looks like?

A Love Letter to SEPTA

1 May
Dear SEPTA,

Despite the running shitty jokes about your service, we know how hard you work. We’re there on the early train busting our asses to work, too. We know you keep a balanced budget despite our friends in Harrisburg throwing you under the bus (literally). And we know those 1981 trolleys, though vintage, are better for our air quality than any Prius. So I fucking  love you, despite the fat-kid-in-gym-class-getting-picked-last scenario.

While getting the 5th largest population in America to work on a miniscule capital budget you did me some fucking justice. You found my keys… to my life. House, bike, car. The whole bit. You found them, tagged them, and saved them. For me.

You better believe I fucking love SEPTA.

With all my heart,

Lost and Found Article #61

Last of the South Philly Kings

17 Sep

“Putting the cunt back into country” is pressed into large blue and red tin boards fashioning a bent over Bettie Boop.  This tiny corner luncheonette has been operational for over 20 years, surviving a destructive blaze only to be brought back by the love and hard work of its South Philly neighborhood.

Carmen’s Country Kitchen serves up some quirkiest combinations of tasty food that you never even knew.  Just last week, I plowed through homegrown tomato and buttermilk pancakes with a side of apple smoked bacon.  *die*

Not to mention the chocolate french toast with carmel ice cream and pecans, over flowing with a side of home fried potatoes.

But beyond the roll-over-in-a-fit-of-delight-and-comatose-joy feeling, was on that day, Carmen opened her shop up on a Monday.  Untraditional hours for the kitchen.  But we called to see if she would cook and she happy agreed to spend part of her Monday morning whipping up the food our mothers would have never even conceived of.

For Eric, it may be his first and last time at the Country Kitchen.  The lease holder has decided this tiny 15 seat luncheonette would be better off as another pizza joint. As much as I can down a cheesy pie, it won’t have the same kitchy feel as the Country Kitchen.  No nipple mugs, penis fertility sculptures, Mason jars full of chilled water, or  windows adorned with thriving plants.

I doubt there will ever be a line of hungry and patient patrons waiting for pizza as they did for the sweet taste of Carmen’s cooking.  Simply for now, thank you Carmen for finding the cunt in me.

Ms. Low Flow and the Escape Poo

23 Aug

Lets be clear, I’m not a fiction writer.  However, I am a professional, even when we need to get real with our body parts, fluids, and functions.  Try not to recoil, its impolite.

So let me tell you a story.  Ms. Low Flow is our environmentally friendly excrement relocater has always been kind, but not always effective in her duties.  Though a sweet bubbling lady, she has many enemies in the office. Some of these enemies are my unknowing co-works who are waging war on poor Ms. Low Flow.  But her greatest challenge has been Escape Poo.  The Escape Poo is always just barely lurking below the surface, often just beyond one’s range of visions.  He is determined if anything to remain above ground.  Ms. Low Flow does her best to quietly and discretely sweep him into the undercurrent, but without help from the unknowing staff, it is a downhill battle.

The absent minded staff inevitably allow the Escape Poo to resurface, simply by not holding the handle down long enough.  Ms. Low Flow can only do her part if you do yours.

So dear friends,

In the office, park, or public restroom, and even at home.  Remember our good environmental friendly machines can’t do their job effectively if we don’t participate.  Hold down the handle and save your spouse from encountering the

ESCAPE POO!

Lock Up: Nancy’s Arrival

1 May

“This is death row, although no inmates were ever executed here.  They were sent to Rockview Prison near State College,” said our tour guide Scott.  “Whoop whooop!” I said and I raised my hands in the air.  Nancy knocked them down.  “I don’t think you can rep a prison if you haven’t been there, even if it is in your home town.”

Our tour guide was recently nonplussed by my comments noting he may have been a geologist in a different life.  This second attempt at jesting/reping my hood made no mark on Scott.   To my amazement he was able to fend off and overly zealous tourist with a tactile dysfunction.  He ran around like a 12 year old, touching everything, including his homely girlfriend.

During our tour we came to understand that penitentiary was not a word commonly used at the time of the prisons induction.  It stands for penance…a type of silent waiting drawn from Quaker practices.  Either way, the prison was a cool tour and during the winter (what winter!?)

Eastern State can be so cheap (AAA, public school teacher, lowly student ID).  Its a great place to take a friend with free parking surrounding it on all blocks!

First They Came…

23 Nov

I am often quiet in the midst of many changing things.  I have observed the uprisings of the Occupy movement in every state.  I’ve witnessed my home of Centre Country be rocked by sex scandal and lack of leadership and have seen the community struggle to pull itself together.   I have said little in the way of either.  I have watched a middle aged women tell her aging mother that the Occupy Moment is just folks complaining about the rich.  And when her mother asked if this was happening world wide, she said no.  She must not have seen the 300,000 people in Madrid Spain, or the oust of political leaders in Rome Italy, or the streets of London.  She must not have been watching.  She must have simply been consumed by her own mundane life.

But I said nothing to her elderly mother.  I did not tell her assessment was right.  Yes, there is something going on in the world.  And I thought about this quote from Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

So, I share this.  Someone from my community, who was a graduate student from Penn State when I first met him:

Philadelphia: The City of Neighborly Love

9 Sep

We can’t all be brothers, its rude to even assume that in Philly everyone can share that brotherly love.  I suspect that’s why tourists are shocked by the aggression on the Schuylkill or the load honks followed by a passing middle finger.

Whats not obvious to the passing eye are the tightly knit neighborhoods that make up Philadelphia.  Even the most desolate and empty streets hold together an underlying bond.  Maybe its because we’ve all had something stolen or we know what its like when something important is returned.

Yesterday, my friend Greg relayed this story:

I bought this saxophone from the music teacher i was taking lessons from.  I was bout 13 years old and I loved it.  A few years later I had my saxophone and trumpet stowed in my car outside my house in Factoryville Pa and they were stolen.  It can happy anywhere people, anywhere!

A couple of weeks later my Dad strolled into a pawn shop and saw my saxophone just laying there.  He knew it was mine because it was very distinctive and he brought her back to me.  The trumpet never came home.

Well, last week Maggie (his girlfriend) and I were coming home and moving tons of stuff out of our car to a new apartment on Sunday.  On the following Thursday I remember I’d left my saxophone on the side of the street.  Stunned in all disbelief that I had left her outside and totally unable to move, Maggie began calling Pawn shops all over Philadelphia.

I took a moment to go to the kitchen where I found Rania (roommate).  I told Rania I was upset because I had left my saxophone outside.  And then she told me she had run into a neighbor  named Dave that had asked if someone wanted a trumpet that he’d found on the street.  She pointed me in his direction and I was off!

I saw someone on the porch of the house and asked if he knew Dave.  In turn he called up loudly to the third floor. “DAAAVVEE!” Dave stuck his head out the window and gave me a look that he knew why I’d come.  He came down holding the “trumpet”  and  I thanked him.  I asked if I could give him some money and he said sure.  I asked if $50 was enough and he said sure.  He told me he’d like to hear me play sometime and I offered to play it right then, but he declined shyly.

Before I left, he told me that someone up there (point to the sky) and told him to hang onto it.  He knew how important musical instruments can be.  That’s how I got my saxophone back.  So lets celebrate Dave!

West Philly Worship Group

9 Jun

I’m not too into religion, but I have to say I’ve been a church shopper before.  I am however, a Quaker.  Weird, huh?  A modern girl like myself.

Either way, Quakers in West Philly have been doing something cool and a little be out of the ordinary.  (Quakers in West Philly, who thought that was ordinary!?)  They hold a small worship group on Wednesday at 7:30pm, typically in someone’s living room.  Since it moves place to place each week, its good to check in with their list-serve. (Touch base here for more details: West Philly Google Group.

About 15-30 folks show up each week ranging in age (thought mostly in the 35 and under crowd) and coming from a wide range of spiritual (or non-spiritual) backgrounds.  The worship evening goes something like this:

  • Approximately 15 min of Check-Ins.  (Check-in is a period of time where folks can share their name and a little bit about themselves.)
  • 40 Mins of worship.  (Worship is silent.  Out of the silence anyone may be “moved” to speak and share a message.  If there are lots of messages, it is practice to leave a small amount of space in-between messages.  I typically count to ten.)
  • About 10 min. for After thoughts (anything that didn’t rise to the level of a message.), Joys/Concerns/Prayers, and Announcements.

There is always a bit of socializing afterwards and if anyone has questions about Quakers or the Worship Group, there are always folks available to answer questions.

Not sure what your spiritual inclination is?  Take the Belief-o-Matic quiz to get a better perspective!