Monday, December 30, 2019

Upside down drawing

    Lately, I've been trying to do some things other than being on the computer all day. One thing I've been experimenting with is drawing.
    I picked up Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain as one book I've been reading/working through on the topic. I like the exercises that it has you do. This one is my upside down drawing of Picasso's Igor Stravinsky. It didn't turn out exactly like the original, but I like it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Subway Drummer

    NYC has a lot of musicians that perform in the subways. I recently learned that they need to apply and audition in order to be able to perform there. Most of the time, I see these performers as just more noise pollution. But the one I saw today was actually fascinating.
    He was a drummer, but he didn't have hands. His arms looked like they were amputated just above the elbows. Somehow, he had the drumsticks attached to what remained and he sat on the floor with a drum held in his knees. Then he drummed.
    I don't remember it being particularly good or bad drumming. I don't remember anything at all about how it sounded other than that he did have some recorded accompaniment. But it was interesting to see this guy being able to drum.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sheer Terror

    Since it's Halloween, I figured I could write about a moment of sheer terror that I witnessed on the subway not long ago.
    There was this teenage girl waiting down on the platform for the train to come by. I noticed her as I walked down the stairs, but didn't note anything unusual as I went by. A minute or so passed as we were waiting and then I noticed her starting to walk up and down the platform at a hurried pace. I got an inkling that something weird was going on, but then it was like a switch was flipped and she went into full panic mode.
    We're talking like breathing heavily, panting, screaming, wide eyes, tears streaming down her face, running around in circles, intermittent sobbing. Basically, out of control panic. She was the most terrified person I've ever seen. She was calling to someone - sister or mom or something - asking why they left and where they went.
    I looked around for a police officer - there's usually plenty of them at this station - but I didn't see one. Luckily, an older lady grabbed her and got her to stop screaming and pacing. The poor girl just kind of melted there. The lady and a group of gathering supporters calmed her down some and tried to get her story from her.
    Shortly thereafter, my train arrived. I was satisfied that she was in good hands, so I got on the train and left.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Saving is not allowed

    I saw an interesting exchange on the subway during my trip home the other day. There was a guy between cars jumping and swinging around while yelling. Of course, you aren't really supposed to move between cars or ride where this guy was, but people do it all the time.
    Well, whatever he was doing, was really moving around and screaming. I thought I was witnessing my second near-suicide since moving to New York. Apparently, another lady had similar thoughts and she jumped up to pull the emergency stop.
    When dude saw what she was doing, he went crazy. He started screaming at her and then chased her back to her seat. At least he was back in the car at this point. This is where the social aspect of the exchange got interesting because everyone started intently not paying attention to what was going on.
    For the next couple of stops, the guy stayed in the back of the car. He was telling other people, very loudly, about how stupid this lady was. Of course, he used other words for her. During this time, everyone was trying hard to avert their eyes.
    After a stop or two, he returned to where the lady was now seated and yelled at her nonstop for another stop or two. She was trying hard not to acknowledge him and everyone else was busily finding a way to pay attention to something else - or at least look like they were.
    Finally, mr psycho guy left the train again. He went between the cars and was bouncing around again. He then entered the next car and there was a visible sigh of relief from everyone in our car. Shortly thereafter, people were talking to the lady - congratulating and reassuring her and so on. She left at the next stop.
    During the exchange, I was curious what people would think if the guy did fall off the train and die. The lady was the only one that tried to do something (at first). Were we all secretly hoping he would fall off? If he did die, would we all say "oh well" or would we feel bad for not interfering?

Monday, September 30, 2019

There are sirens all around...

    My wife and I spent a weekend in Boston recently. One thing we noticed was that we could sleep really well there. It was so nice. The first reason was fairly obvious. We left our kitties at home. They've lately adopted the routine of waking us up multiple times for food or attention at all hours. We love the kitties, but it would be nice if they let us sleep more often.
    The other reason wasn't immediately apparent. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until we saw an ambulance driving down the street. We were like - "heeeyy, there weren't any sirens last night." We haven't had a siren-less night in quite a while. The ones near our house are especially annoying in that it's like the drivers are starting and stopping them repeatedly. There's no constant rhythm to them. They also go off at all hours of the night, driving us crazy.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Oh! Chipmunk!

    Central Park is always an interesting place for people watching. Like this guy & gal who are biking around with their dog. That's not too strange, I would put my cat in one of those carriers if I thought he'd actually behave.
      But the tourists in Central Park can be dangerous. I had a couple miles left to finish out my century this past weekend and so decided to take a couple laps around the park. The tourists were a big problem. Many of them are on rented bikes that look very sturdy but a little clumsy. It seems like these people haven't been on bikes for many years because they're pedaling slowly and wobbling around in their lane (if they even try to stay in the bike lane). I almost crashed into a couple of them because they were just doing dumb things.
    The first one was this old guy who dropped a bag from his bike. That happens, but he looked down and back at it (while still moving forward) and then turned abruptly and slammed on his brakes. He stopped perpendicular to traffic, blocking two of the lanes. I did yell at this guy, but it was more of a "watch out" as I quickly dodged around him than anything angry.
    The next guy was more fun. He and his girlfriend were pedaling up-hill. Like others, they were going slowly and wobbling quite a bit. In this scary state, the guy saw a chipmunk cross the road in front of him. He decided to point it out to his lady, but in doing so lost control of his bike. He wobbled over and collided with her front wheel, almost knocking her over. Luckily, they were going slow so no one fell and got really hurt. Many people around just laughed at them.

The 11th Bus

    I take the bus to work. Actually, I take the bus and then the train to work. Most days, it works out well. Other days it's not quite so nice.

    On this particular day, I sat and waited at the bus stop as 10 full buses drove by. They had no room for more passengers, so they just kept going. Finally, I was picked up by the 11th bus (it might have actually been the 12th, I was pretty mad by then).

    Luckily, the buses come so often during rush hour that I only waited like 10 minutes or so.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Scariest Subway Exit (So Far)

    We took a subway ride on our way home from the American Museum of Natural History. We stopped at the Port Authority stop, where I go almost every day and have never really had a problem before. We wanted to get some dinner, so we took a different exit (8th Ave & 40th) than I have in the past. It was probably the scariest 50 feet of NYC that I've seen yet.
    My first thought was that the tunnel leading from the subway to the street felt weird. This is a pretty popular subway stop, but there was basically no one going this way. Soon after you start walking down the tunnel, you're greeted by this very shady looking video store. (Really? who uses video stores anymore?) Plus, most of the front windows were covered up. I didn't want to look too much more into it, so we tried to hurry past it.
    Right next to the video store, there's stairs leading up to the exit. Again, these were empty save for two people at the top of the stairs. They were acting kind of weird, and I was sure they were drunk or high or something, so we tried to hurry past them on the other side of the tunnel. We had barely past them when they started yelling and throwing punches at each other.
    My wife said one of them hit the other one and knocked him down the stairs. I didn't see that because I was focused on avoiding the homeless guy crawling around on the street in front of us while mumbling and picking up fries. (Manhattan street fries? I'm sure that's safe). We hurried past him and the other homeless hecklers and made it to the main street where there were a lot more people.
    Interesting adventure, at least I know to avoid that exit now.

A Manly Man with a Fan

    We took the subway to the American Natural History Museum the other weekend. Since it was a Saturday, the train was rather crowded. Luckily enough, some people got off the train after a couple of stops and we were able to grab some seats.
    At one of the next few stops, a tall man entered the train. It was already crowded, so he barely fit inside the door before it closed. He then leaned back against the door to rest. He was a very manly man - tall, looked like he worked out, had long hair done up in a manly way, and he had a nicely trimmed mustache. However, to our surprise, he pulled out a pink fan - one of those cheap, fold-able, paper fans - and began fanning himself on the subway.
    This guy was secure enough in his manliness to pull out and use a cheap pink fan on the crowded subway. I solute you Mr. Man.