Wednesday, August 16, 2006
In the Wake of Wanderlust
Sunday was a record travel day for me.
For albeit I did not travel for the longest time I have ever traveled at one time, I did seemingly take every possible form of transportation available to me.
Going from Atlanta to the Jersey Shore I started off at 7 AM speeding along Highway 400, clippin' 80 knots or so (i.e. MPH or some equation of "Kilometers" as them fancy folks in the like to use) in my rental car; then I took the Hertz Shuttle bus, then the world's longest escalator, the world's longest airport shuttle, the plane to Newark International; the elevator to the tram that took me to the train station; the NJ Shorline train that took me to the very last stop, and finally the long drive to the shore house by car, so that I was on the couch, ready for a siesta, by 4:30.
Alas, this seems to be the essence of my life lately, moving from place to place, rarely settling down long enough to feel as if, "Finally, I am home." Yet, despite the sigh and what might seem like a complaint, I really could not be happier, for life has been good to me so far. And if everything works out as I am planning, as I am diligently working toward, I will be traveling a lot more in the years to come.
Besides, I've always wanted the world to be my home, so perhaps I should just get used to the this interminable exhaustion, the weariness in the wake of wanderlust.
While I was at the Shore for the last two days, I spent some quality time with Enzo and Nicky my great American superheroes, my greatest sources of daily inspiration.
Here Nicky shows off his new water-(not-so)-tight shore shirt.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Time Keeps On Slipping 014
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom
Time Keeps on Slipping
The only things happy to be flying this morning were the pigeons that were obliviously bobbing their heads to and fro in the bright sunshine beaming down right outside my terminal.
I arrived at Newark airport at 6:15 AM and it was simply a fricken madhouse – lines a mile long, people waiting in those lines for more than two hours, just to get in one line after another, and lots of folks huffing and puffing, and yelling at each other. Tempers were running high and tolerance was low.
Thank goodness this latest terrorist threat didn’t occur during the heat wave last week because fuses would have blown all over the place.
Initially, I was planning to casually check my carryon because I had brought along hair gel and contact solution. If you haven’t heard, all liquids and gels in the US and UK can no longer be carried on board flights because the latest terrorist plot involved concealing nitroglycerine in bottles.
Alas, the check-in line was a lot longer than I could have imagined and so I simply discarded these items and headed straight to the e-ticket kiosk, where I slipped in my credit card and a few seconds later out popped my boarding pass.
From there I turned to go the gate and noticed that there were long lines at the escalators as well. Apparently, they were regulating traffic at every possible juncture.
Well, although this line curved back and forth like a boa constrictor, I conveniently happened to be a few feet away from the escalator entrance when there was this sudden surge of people as the official let people on and up.
Oh, boy..did that rankle the throng, rattle the snake, so that they hissed, hemmed and hawed about those that were inadvertently passing them by.
Disregarding the roar behind me, I just got on and never looked back. There was still another long line ahead of me at the security check and with the strong likelihood of flight delays I was eager to take every opportunity to expedite my six hours or more of travel.
Moreover, coincidentally the book I took off the shelf this morning to take with me on my trip was Time Tactics of Very Successful People by Dr. B. Eugene Griessman. I began reading it in the car on the way to the airport which picked me up an hour earlier than I had originally scheduled because of the anticipated delays. Hence, by the time we arrived at the terminal I was all revved up to begin taking advantage of the lessons I had learned, which was essentially:
1. Assess how much your time is worth,
2. And then immediately double its worth.
This tactic was meant to motivate you to make prudent decisions based on your priorities, and would effectively spur you to take action that ultimately helped you accomplish your goals. Thus, I immediately took the lesson to heart and “gave myself a raise” as Dr. Greissman advocates.
In addition, I also recently had had a very interesting experience the last time I was here at the security check a few weeks ago. Once again, there was a long line, but conveniently there was a fairly short one for first class and “elite” passengers.
However, the line for the economy, budget-conscious middle-class and other hoi-polloi was long because they were employing the newest security contraption that puffs random jets of air from head to toe in order to check you for traces of explosives. The masses were being subjected to both this and the traditional metal detector, bag checks, magic metal wands and “we suggest that you take all your clothes off.” Needless to say, it was slowing things down immeasurably because there was only one of these new million dollar machines. And by my calculations, the line was about half an hour long, which would give me less than15 minutes to get to my gate and get on the plane.
Two guys in front of who were dressed in white t-shirts, gold chains, Adidas sneakers and long baggy blue jean shorts were talking about “cars, girls and guns.” When we reached a curve in the line that was rubbing up against the elite line, these fellas decided that they were tired of waiting and conveniently slipped under the rope that separated us from them. I couldn’t help notice and yearn to do much the same, espeically since the elite line was moving as fluid as water down a drain.
However, since you could not see what lie ahead, I hesitated for a moment because I was afraid that either I’d get caught “Whoop! Whoop! Call the security police!” or they’d check my boarding pass, and than I’d just have to get back at the end of the poor man’s line again.
But then I noticed that they were terribly short staffed and that only one person was checking the passes, so that she was totally oblivious to what was happening behind her.
So, I said “Fuck it,” and followed the fellas.
What followed completely shocked me. For about a hundred feet in and down the corridor, out of sight from the huddled, disgruntled masses, were three separate short lines, each with its own metal detector, but without any puff-the-magic dragon “You’re a terrorist” lie-detecting time machine.
“Whoa,” I thought, “This is blatant class discrimination.” I was surprised to find that the authorities would believe terrorists would not figure out that all they had to do was purchase a first-class ticket to thwart the system.
Nonetheless and allthemore, both the thugs in front of me and myself passed without the slightest hitch.
This was a disturbing experience, because obviously the security system was not very secure, for all one apparently needs is either a suit and an AMEX card or a bit of working-class balls to slip right under the radar. The fact that terrorists obviously have the chutzpah already to do so, tells me that albeit many of us sheep may be kept at bay (“bahhhhh,hum bug!”), with its irreverent gall, terrorism has little to worry about.
Anyway, today the wait was a little longer, but I got on the plane on time and made it to Atlanta safely.
Moreover, I am very excited to be here because tonight I am going to this hip-hop, body painting event downtown somewhere. Its called BeNice SkinDeep with Live Painting, DJs, and a party with all you can drink Heineken, Miller-Lite, Wine and Hunch-Punch, all for $10 (You may be asking youself "What's Hunch-Punch?") Brooke Novak kindly informed me of the event yesterday. Thank you Brooke.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
A Self-Serving Public Service Message...
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom
I contend that for must users, flickr is inherently “self-serving,” as are phenomenally popular sites such as Blogger.com, MySpace.com and Friendster.
Tom Smith, of Information Week writes this morning that “the number of blogs has increased 100-fold since 2003 to 50 million. In addition, the total has doubled every six months for about two years, according to a new report quantifying the blogosphere by Technorati. In July alone, there were 1.6 million blog postings daily, or 18.6 per second. Two blogs were created each second of each day.”
Moreover, MySpace alone, now has 95 million registered users, that ‘s more people than there are in countries like Germany and France (and every other EU country), Canada, and the Philippines.
Recently, I had a conversation with Stewart Butterfield, one of the co-founders of flickr, and he excitedly conveyed, saying it twice within a matter of minutes, that flickr is now getting “more than a million uploads of images a day”…a day.
Albeit, the numbers are fairly astounding, I am not shocked to hear them, because as I relayed to Stewart, I believe part of the brilliance of their application (and others like flickr) is that it keenly serves the ego of the individual. All one needs is a few positive comments from some virtual stranger, somewhere half-way across the world, someone you may never, meet, touch, feel, hear, taste, or even see in person, and your day is made, you get giddy with goose bumps, you brim with self-satisfaction because someone praised something you created or shared what is otherwise a “real” part of your life.
However, perhaps more importantly, both photo and blogging sites not only serve our individual egos (and thus make us happy), but they serve what I believe is a much greater purpose: they connect us to each other, they build communities, they enable us to share our quite common, yet, utterly diverse, lives with each other.
For some of us it also a very encouraging way to spur our creativity, boost our self-confidence, document our (daily) lives, make art of our lives, as well as make friends, network and “hook-up.”
Sadly though, it is can also be a means for some to clamor for attention in ways that are conniving, malevolent, sometimes vile, and often vicious.
Apparently, there are now formal outlets of sorts where sadists and masochists meet to be cruel to each other. They are known as “delete-me” groups on flickr where you post a photo and fellow members purposely lambaste you and tell you what a horrible photographer you are. Sounds like fun. Well, not really, at least not for me. But then again, each to her own.
Nonetheless and allthemore, my photos occasionally get derogatory, sarcastic remarks accusing me of being “self-serving.”
Well, the truth is, I most certainly am. But then again, so is everyone else. Who doesn’t like to feel the love?
Besides, unless you are one of those darlings who by chance was chosen to represent the face of flickr, your screams and squeals are silent in cyberspace. In other words, if you don’t promote yourself, say “Hey, look at me!” it is likely that no one else will. Unless, of course, your work or your words or your opinion merit promotion; in other words, are interesting.
Then again, I may be making a mountain out of a molehill, una tormenta en un vaso de agua, زوبعة في فنجان (zawba3atun fii finjaanin), Sääsest elevanti tegema, Делать из мухи слона. For the critics are actually relatively few, but their impact is great. It is like trying to sleep in a big room with one seemingly invisible, hungry mosquito. A better analogy might be the feeling you get when flickr “friends” indiscriminately post really bad photos of you…
In sum, in Dutch, Finnish and Italian the proverb to describe my feeling here is relatively the same: Van een mug een olifant maken, tehdä kärpäsestä härkänen, Fare d'una mosca un elefante—don’t make an elephant out of a mosquito.
Nonetheless and allthemore, I will add that to be truly “self-serving,” you would have to post primarily photos of yourself (i.e. self portraits). However, when you share pictures of other’s lives or the life that bubbles, brims over, and explodes around you, then that should indicate quite clearly that you are interested in the beauty of others’ lives (and not just your own or yourself). I think most of us then, really, are not as “self-serving” as we might be accused of being.
Granted, it takes some gall to “promote one self”—some see it as self-confidence or an ability to employ some basic marketing skills; others as arrogance or narcissism—personally, I like to see it as levels of one’s ability and comfort to share with others.
Although, I will say that it is quite ironic that practically any “beautiful” woman can be a successful self-portrait artist, and no one will ever say anything about the inherent narcissism. Personally, I admire these people, the men and women who can creatively express themselves, even if the vast majority of the images they share are of themselves, because it demonstrates a certain amount of courage and willingness to risk putting oneself on the line, out before the crowd for all to see and potentially poke at, prod and make fun of.
So I say “So, what?” if someone posts a photo of themselves or writes about their day, their adventures, their disappointments or accomplishments. If these things are of no interest to you, than you most certainly have the freedom NOT to click on the thumbnail, not to read the accompanying description and not to leave a derisive comment. As Mr. Butterfield might say, there are a gazillion other choices to choose from if need be.
I further contend that those who like to criticize are simply trying to bring attention to themselves, and thus are just as self-serving, if not more so, than those they accuse. I gather they are either envious, don’t get enough love, or simply have lives that are a lot less interesting than those of others.
That’s nobody’s fault but their own, because we all prospectively have interesting lives, and we simply have to make an effort to make them interesting. Moreover, one has to make an effort to see their life as such. Perception is everything. So if you think your life is dull, bland, boring—turn it over, take a look at its underside, shake it up and see what falls from the dusty rafters.
But more importantly reach out, connect with others, touch someone with a positive comment, and ultimately take advantage of this brave new world in which the world is now accessible to you straight from your computer screen.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years of trying to get other people interested in you.” - Dale Carnegie
The world is becoming a better place because of sites like flickr that open our eyes to the wonders that bristle about us. Ultimately, they facilitate greater interest in ourselves, as well as those around us.
And thus, when we are inspired to impart diurnal tidbits, and in turn, celebrate both the inherent diversity, as well as our common bonds—we realize that the individual is just as important as the unified whole. Ultimately, we see that we, are alone—yet, we, are still one.
Post-Scripte: So, is this message or the sites I cited truly-really “Self-Serving”? Maybe not, maybe yes.
All I really wanted to do is state my opinion and solicit the opinions of others in turn. I certainly didn’t think that this merits creating a new flickr group; just looking to hear from others, here and now.
And by the way, I welcome opinions posted in earnest. As to those who merely wish to vent, clamor, or hurt others who comment—your remarks will promptly be deleted.
Sunday, August 6, 2006
In The Blink of an Eye
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom
1.Not sure we got enough beer, 2. Deli dance, 3. Karaoke, 4. Not sure who took this either, but thanks!, 5. Heatstroke, 6. Ohio love, 7. Blink of an Eye reception: Laughter at the top of the (Red) Sky, 8. Feelin' it, 9. Gillian & Lorenzo, 10. Lorenzodom serenades us (or maybe he was shushing us, I don't recall), 11. Heather, 12. lorenzodom
In the blink of an eye life can pass us by, unless of course you take a picture of it…
So, I guess today is collage day…This time I’ve put together an assortment of recent photos taken by gillianleigh, absolutewade, carpe ichtus, runs with scissors,and lasadh during and after the Blink of an Eye show.
Besides, it so happens that I literally killed my camera by drowning it in a bag of vodka that night (instant karma, as fellow conspirator Gill can attest). So, I have no photos to offer myself...Nonetheless and allthemore, the little bit of the Kettle One that was left in the pilfered bottle tasted pretty good, considering it came at such a high price. Moreover, there were other benefits to this loss as well.
The party to all the revelry at Red Sky and a local karaoke studio included, but was not limited to:
absolutewade (Beau Wade), carpe ichtus (Ryan Brenizer) ,lomokev (kevin meredith), itsthejameson ( Jameson Campbell) ,awfulsara (Sara Heinrichs) , gillianleigh (Gill), dogseat (Eric Harvey Brown), Runs With Scissors (Ken Stein), MacRonin47 (Paul),Lasadh (Sherri Jackson), myself (lorenzo(dom)) and Heather.
Note: Sorry if I missed anybody, send me a note and I’ll gladly add you to the list.
Other Tales of Drinkin’, Depravity & Debauchery:
A Touch of Evil
In the Blink of An Eye
This Diurnal Yearning
Three, Things I Like
Brain-Picking, Mind-Blowing and Just Getting Drunk
(Hanging with Hizoner at Gracie Mansion or
“A Married Woman and A Thousand Gay Men”)
Half-Crazy Wild Women
Being The More Richly Endowed, More Varied Man
Love, Lust and Other Things
The Lush Life
Having A Drink
Living The Lush Life
(Series of drunk self portraits taken after a black tie dinner)