Month / September, 2003

Mall Trash

The funniest part about growing up in Manhattan is that many things people outside deeply urban areas experience, I find exotic. As people coming to the big city enjoy rides in elevators, because they seem exotic if you don’t ride them daily… when you ride them daily it becomes standard.

I like malls.

They’re kind of exciting. Huge monstrosities, built to capture the senses, entice the appetite, and empty the purse. It is the cultural counterpart of the casinos in Vegas. A world where time stops and direction becomes skewed.

Being that my favorite activity is people watching, malls are like meth for the senses. A smorgasbord of bad hair and tasteless teens, roving like packs of hideously dressed wolves searching for other packs of hideously dressed wolves. They swarm about food-courts, talking to each other, passing nervous glances to the other opposite sex groups across from the Cinnabon.

It eventually becomes overwhelming. The visual pollution, while intoxicating, begins to overwhelm the senses. It begins with a sale sign in the wrong shade red and then the garish reality of your surroundings begins, much like too much sugar, to eat away at your sanity.

It’s a uniquely American experience. Like pecan pie, Fluff, Peanut Chews, and conformity. A representation of truth and the american dream, all laid out for purchase.

We accept Mastercard and Visa.

Print This

Our printer has decided after 5 years of service it is taking a rest… permanently. Therefore, as any good american, we are throwing it away. Fixing this thing is far too scary of a proposition, only because the company who manufactured it back in 1998, Apple, doesn’t even make printers anymore. We have no guarantees that after hundreds of dollars of repairs, that the thing will ever work again.

We have opted, instead, for HP’s LaserJet 5100, the industry leader for high-quality laser printers. It features 11″ x 17″ printing, which is standard for the design industry.

The thing about HP which urks me is that if you buy the low-end printer from HP it costs $1,439.00 (MacMall’s price $1,299.00) and if I want to upgrade the memory of the blasted thing by 128MB it costs $869.00 at HP (Kingston’s price $55.00!?). I find this practice of gouging your buyers for memory upgrades completely unethical. A 128MB memory chip shouldn’t ever cost $869! This unreasonable.

What HP is doing is gouging business people for costs which they, unknowingly, pay. Charging 16 times the correct price for a piddley memory chip is ubelivable and should be stopped by such a respected name in the industry.

Resistentialism

Following up on my entry about my “peanut-butter that talked my knife into cutting me,”:http://www.upthetree.com/wp-uploads/030915_cut_off.html (One of my most commented entries ever!) I found an article in the New York Times about why “inanimate objects attack.”:http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/21/magazine/21ONLANGUAGE.html

_I would say more, but I’m sensing my keyboard is annoyed._

Found In the Closet

I am a sweet person. That is, I love sweet foods. They call out to from shop windows, whispering their quiet descent to my, somewhat resolute, self-control

I Love Sweets.

My mother and father were not sweets people. Rarely, would I find anything resembling junk-food within the confines of my parent’s apartment. The closest thing to a snack in my childhood was a plain rice cake, because it held no purpose outside the peckish impulses both my my sister and I expressed. Simply, we were Cherios(TM) children; that all too common class of New York City children born into upper-middle class liberal families that had read Dr. Spock and enjoyed MacNeil/Lehrer News hour.

We were the tragically un-hip children in school. My younger sister and I were destined never to be popular donned in our sensible L.L. Bean jackets and non-name-brand shoes. We were never the envy of other kids.

“I am not going to get you those [expensive] shoes,” my mother used to say in her staccato german accent “you will out grow them in a month.”

“But mom!”

She was right of course, we would have out-grown them too quickly to ever rationalize spending hard earned money on plastic and leather. No child of 10 should wear $50 shoes, but back then it was of little comfort that I would dress in shoes that kids in communist china would have considered “so last year.”

I had Velcro shoes before it was remotely cool to have Velcro shoes.

My sister and I were born to practical parents. Parents who knew the value of a dollar and would never frivolously spend money on such extravagances as expensive shoes or yummy treats. Bet we had a secret fund that we would use to purchase our contraband goodies. It was the gravy-train, known to most inner-city children of non-legal working age as allowance. This magical pot of gold would surface every week and offer a child a temporary spending spree of delectable sweets. This sugar trust-fund should have, theoretically, lasted a week, but I as weak and left to my own devices could devour a 1 lb. bag of Twizzlers in one sitting.

I have had a problem.

For all intents and purpose, I should have diabetes with the amount of sugar I have ingested in my lifetime. This severe addiction lasted well into my teens until, thanks to a hiatus in my deforming acne, I found girls far more intriguing. I had to loose the pudge and swore of candy and took up a healthier diet.

I’m still obsessed with sweets today and regularly have to remove a bag of Twizzlers from my basket at checkout at Duane Read on my purchase of shampoo. They just seem so inviting, small little glossy bags of goodness and I break easy. I am, however, getting better. I almost completely stopped going to CVS after Halloween to buy discounted Cadbury Cream Eggs. I hardly ever buy the seasonal Hershey’s Kisses after Christmas anymore.

I am a reformed candiholic, but it’s still hard, because once I break my candy seal, as I’ve said to many invitations to a chocolate morsel “you’ll find me in the middle of the night, in the closet, with a flashlight, a mouth covered in chocolate and a bag of snickers bars.”

…and unfortunately it’s all true.

Isabel again, Damnit!

Convinced that the *pirates as weather men* thing was funny (and I’m brilliant), I have spent a little more time… improving the point. I’m not going to move on with my life until someone out there laughs at my joke.

_(I’ll also take a chuckle, or giggle.)_

In the meantime, please enjoy some “pirate jokes.”:http://www.stolaf.edu/orgs/privateers/Piratical_Fun/Pirate_Jokes/pirate_jokes.html

and today is also “talk like a pirate day”:http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

Isabel

Pirate Weather Man

bq. Shiver me timbers!
Thars’ a storm a’ brewin’!

(If only pirates were weather men)

Hold the Mayo

When I was younger, 8 or 9, I used to think that mayonnaise had some sort of preserving feature. I thought people smeared that disgusting white stuff all over their sandwiches, because it protected the bread from getting soggy from the tomato. It was like bread paint.

*A protective barrier, if you will.*

When I later learned that is was smeared on sandwiches for flavor, I was utterly at a loss. Why would you voluntarily smear an opaque gel across you perfectly tasty sandwich? For years after I forbade it from ever touching a sandwich of mine. Finally, at age 14, I accepted mayonnaise into my life, because I discovered the joys of Ham & Swiss.

Now, I enjoy a little mayo on my sandwiches. A splash of the low fat variety, is a treat I do indulge in. I’m not a over-indulger by any means, if I take a bite of a sandwich and mayo begins to squirt out the other side… I have to perform a moyodectomy (smear the excess on the bag).

Funilly enough, it was when I was 18 I realized, from a lengthy examination of a “Hellmann’s”:http://www.mayo.com/ bottle, that mayo also doesn’t contain dairy. I just assumed. White stuff, other than “Fluff,”:http://www.marshmallowfluff.com/ equals some sort of dairy product. It doesn’t.

*I checked.*

Cut Off

Have you ever almost cut off your index finger with a serrated knife, while trying to cut stale bread, to make yourself a mid-afternoon peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with peanut butter you just found from 3 months ago?

_ow._

9/11

It’s eerie how much today was like that day. It was bright, beautiful and cool; just like today.

I struggled out of bed into my living room and turned on some morning news program as was my custom at the time. Every morning the same cheery cast of characters telling me banal stories that had no importance in my life. I got a cup of coffee and sat down on the futon in a daze of sleep and my usual morning “cheeriness.”

bq. Today is beautiful and now over to Sheri with the traffic report…

Nothing important. Boring. I turned off the sound on the morning news and focused on assembling my computer in the corner of my living room. I had just gotten a new freelance design job and decided I was going to go to work late in order to put my computer together and get it all running for the big job. It took me about 15 minutes and I hopped into the shower to congratulate a job well done with a good scrub.

Getting out of the shower I toweled myself off and heard a dull _thud_ that sounded like a car backfiring nearby. I looked at the television, the news people were still happily chirping soundlessly and I turned off the television. looking at the clock, I realized I was really late and got dressed and got out of the house in minutes. I had gotten as far as the subway entrance when I noticed people coming out of the subway station. One of the people leaving mentioned something about an accident. Being the pessimist I am, and needing information from _authorized personnel_ I decided to get information from the subway clerk and continued into the station.

Below ground it was pandemonium. People were asking the subway clerk, not for instructions, but for information about the plane.

*Plane?*

It didn’t take me long to realize that this was serious. No trains. Nothing running. Go home. I walked across the street, back to my apartment, and saw a few people walking towards the Connecticut Muffin. I went back upstairs and turned on the television. These were not the people I remembered. They were not cheery, but instead looked like ghosts and flash the picture changed to the Twin Towers one had a gash along it’s side and was smoking. I turned up the volume and heard the reports now coming in about a plane hitting tower 1, then as if in replay an explosion in tower 2 and the second plane hit. Then as before, a dull _thud_ from outside.

It was at this point that I realized this was not accidental. It was terrorism and not bad flying as I had initially rationalized it. Family called me making sure I was alright, Phone calls disconnected mid call. It was all very confusing.

My girlfriend, at the time, got through and asked me to pick her up at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden where she worked. As I was on he phone the first tower fell and this time I heard it before the television showed it. It was a rolling noise like dragging a concrete block across a concrete floor. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I got my girlfriend. We barricaded ourselves in the apartment, I got a kitchen knife and had it at the ready fearing the poisonous cloud of gas that would soon be released by the terrorists. The poison gas never came. Nor did the terrorists. It was a panicky time.

All I can remember from the days after was what would come to be known as “the smell.” It was everywhere. You would choke from the horrible burned plastic and burning sheet-rock smell. It would change with the wind and sometimes you wouldn’t smell anything and then sometimes it would be so thick you’d smell when you got home. It went away about two months.

*Two years later I still think about it.*

Drawing of the Twin Towers

5 Inches of Pure Pleasure

I’m a media junky. I love to horde CD-Rs and burn my life onto plastic. Back-ups, custom audio mixes, projects, drafts, masters, you name it I burn it onto cd.

Unfortunately, most of my cds look like I have terrible penmanship and live on a boat riding turbulent waters. “My Pictures of Pepper” written on sharpie just isn’t good enough some times… enter 5inch.com. Now you can buy artwork that’s already printed on the surface of your CD-Rs. No more crappy looking default looking discs, now you can impress upon your friends your true wild side.

As a designer, I rarely find any pre-printed designs I would call nifty, but these are *Nifty.*

MY FAVORITES INCLUDE

* “Bikini Club”:http://www.5inch.com/index.php?page=big&fid=1001&pid=143
* “Satellite”:http://www.5inch.com/index.php?page=big&fid=1001&pid=85
* “Sushi”:http://www.5inch.com/index.php?page=big&fid=1001&offset=12&pid=120