Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Land of the Brave

Despite Oso's previous traumatic encounters with delinquents around the world, he was brave enough to embark in the lengthy trek from Brooklyn to the hinterland of Upstate Manhattan to meet up for dinner last night.

He brought along someone for protection (or to distract the potential assailants): Dr. Cereal. I have followed the Dr.'s adventures in Monterrey and on Southwest Airlines online, but I had never had the opportunity to meet him.

Oso has become my official social network agent as he helps me meet online personae who are fun and fascinating (the previous example being Nathan and Rosario). I can't wait to meet up with him again because I am sure I will meet yet another interesting individual(s).

We decided (more like I dragged them) to take in some of the local cuisine (or rather the cuisine imported by the local Dominican community). The food was good and the conversation ranging from the mundane to the insightful. It is strange to me that I have only met up with Oso three times, yet it feels like I am meeting up with an old college buddy. It is interesting how this new dynamic medium is changing the nature of social interaction.

We did discuss the veracity of online personae and how it reflects and differs from the actual producer of the persona. Oso sheepishly insinuated that I am whiny online (which I am), but claimed that I wasn't in real life (yet I am - just ask Sara). During the conversation, I realized how much of an academic I have become. Theoretical questions bounced around through my mind: What would Weber have to say? Does this relate to Durkheim and his concept of organic solidarity? I bet Goffman would have a cool blog and he would probably use it to mess around with people's minds. I also questioned why did I have to immediately relate our conversation to the academic. Couldn't I just take it for what it was? Three guys enjoying some Caribbean food over beer and sangría?

Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable evening. I hope to meet up with Dr. Cereal again since he lives nearby (although a very long subway ride) and he has just started a job that I would like to hear more about.

And as far as I know, Oso got out of my 'hood without incident. I even walked him to the subway to ensure his safety. Although I was tempted to turn to the dark side after glimpsing his iPhone (which he demurely kept shielded even as he used it to look something up).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stressful Days

In addition to the loads of work that is consuming my life right now, the fires in San Diego have consumed my attention.

My mother's home is safe - thank goodness. However, they woke one night to the eerie red glow of the night sky. From their window they saw the fire come around a large mountain not too far from their home. They were packed and ready to go. Fortunately they did not have to.

While my mother and stepfather are quite pragmatic (and hence I didn't think they would be in danger), both have put so much time and energy into their home that I could not bear to think of it going up in flames.

Beyond the immediacy of my family, it grieves me to see so many people displaced, so many of the places I know damaged or destroyed. My rational mind tells me that homes will be rebuilt and lives will move on, but my emotions take pause in the wrath nature has brought. The earth has been speaking to us, complaining about how we have treated it. When will we listen? Probably when it is too late.

A HUGE thanks from me goes out to Nathan (and his co-workers) whose hard work at KPBS has helped so many stay informed and connected. If only more of the media worked for the public good we would be much better off.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Visual DNA

I would say I am more of a dreamer and escape artist than a go-getter and conquerer, but these tests don't lie...

Thanks to Heliosphan

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sorry About the Wait

Ok, I know I taunted you with the picture and left you hanging for some time.

So what the heck is it?

I am a little disappointed that there weren't more guesses.

As to what it is, there is some debate and I guess it depends on the observer.

I consider it art, or at least a form of artistic expression. I call it Manchamantel.

Sara begs to differ (as her comment indicates, she isn't too happy about the picture).

She sees it as what it is: a stained tablecloth at Rosa Mexicano in New York City.

It is the mess we made during our dinner on Mexican Independence Day, featuring mole oaxaqueño, guacamole and chiles en nogada of a special menu designed by Susana Trilling.

While Sara sees the tablecloth as an embarrassing blemish of our lack of class, I see it as the fruit of us engaging and enjoying our meal - thus artistic. A clean table cloth is but a canvass on which we can feel free to create our gustatory designs while partaking of food.

The more spritually inclined might even see inspiration; perhaps spotting religious iconography in the image.

So there it is, perhaps it is banal and mundane or perhaps it is inspired expression. Who knows?