Monday, March 31, 2008

The American Dream


Sunny with blue skies.
Grey and gloomy
and inhuman
and not quite inspiring
and a bit dangerous
and boring
and dreadful
and ugly
and a huge bloody failure.
Despite the weather.
The modern world isn't what it promised to be.
And this is a relatively nice part of it.
Believe it or not.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Has Yahoo lost it?


I've been trying to get to my inbox for like half an hour by now.
Up pops all sort of messages about temporary this and that.
This is just one of them.
This isn't just today.
It's been going on for weeks.
What's happening with Yahoo?
Is someone trying to make Yahoo work like crap?
Chasing away customers, driving down further the value of the company?
Or has Yahoo simply lost it?
Lost people who keep the servers running properly?
Or lost the ability to plan and build for the traffic they surely must be anticipating.
Is Yahoo falling apart?
Despite the pain in the butt to get all friends and business colleagues etc. use a new email address I'm very tempted to skip my Yahoo accounts and go with my gmail.
I'll give it a week max.
I'm getting very tired of this.
By the way, even while in, mails don't always open. which means I'll have to go back and refresh and try again.
Is somebody else out there experiencing the same problems?
It's not my computer, I have the same problems no matter what terminal I use,
i have four different computers at home, sure, that the same modem, but yahoo works as lousily at work.
I've tested it at friends too. Same crap performance.
Yahoo might be loosing it. I'm sorry for that. Been a longtime fan.
However, if Microsoft gets their hands on Yahoo, I might dump them anyway. I'm not a huge fan of Microsoft right now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lemon


Definitely lemon.
Not perfect.
Like life.
The cycle.
Decay eating away.
Bit by bit.
Decay wins.
One life form fighting another.
Mold. Living.
Spores.
Alive.
Is it?
What is?
Permanent is not.
Never. Ever.
Green is good.
Or not.
Green means death.
But it's alive.
Is it a lemon?
Is it a universe for another life form?
Thriving.
Mold.
Molds are everywhere.
When does mold die?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lousy service


With the standard delays of trains at Penn Station nowadays
it's not uncommon to see people sitting on the floor.
Neither is it uncommon so see people people using the floors as beds.
There are always a number of presumably homeless folks
sleeping in nooks and crannies in the station.

None of these guys are normally threatening.
When they're awake they hang around outside the north west entrance.
The police at Penn must be aware of this.
Although they don't seem to be too busy chasing them around or out.
Personally I have no huge problems with that.
It's a tough life being homeless.

But again, I'm a rather tall guy in decent physical shape.
I fear little from these guys.
It might be different if you're a bit elderly and a little frail.
Or a young mother with small kids.
Or a visitor from out of town schlepping around tons of luggage.

I have a feeling they don't let piss drunk people sleep on the floor in Grand Central Station.
From GCS you get to the rich suburbs of Westchester and Connecticut.
From Penn you get to New Jersey.

Jersey got its fair shares of tony burbs populated by highly paid professionals commuting to the Big Apple.
But judging from our station and the first 20 minutes of the ride NJ is hell.
And it starts in NY.
A few feet under Madison Square Garden.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Busy Boston



Well, Boston isn't exactly New York.
I reckon it closes around 5.30 P.M. or so.
This is the airport just after 9.P.M.
As most every flight out of Newark was delayed about three hours due to some strong winds coming from a surprising angle!? we landed in Boston a bit late.
Very late, apparently, Boston time.
Quite early New York time.
Well before the first cocktail.
Actually, the time in the air is about 39 minutes.
The time difference is about 300 years.
Not that Boston is in any way behind.
Intellectually.
Harvard's in Boston.
It's a university town.
All the young dudes.
Boston is a very important city in many ways other than Harvard.
Other than Bush. This is the Texas he's from by the way.
And in many ways far more modern than New York.
However, getting off a plane at Logan later than 5 P.M makes you feel like being the first person landing on Mars.
Rather inhospitable if you ask me, and I've only been to Mars twice.
Client meeting the first time.
Wrong flight the second time.
Both equally alienating.
Anyway, I was soon beamed up and put to bed
in a nice comfortable bed in a nice pretty house in little suburb
somewhere not too far from earth.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Penn Soldier


I've been going to Israel about once a year for years.
Family business. Love of the land.
When I told people that you couldn't even enter a supermarket without having your bag checked they wondered how on earth anybody could live a normal life in such a place.
They wondered what it would feel like having armed soldiers in the midst of normal life.
Such as going to work, or buying an ice cream , or go browsing the latest fashion. Buying underwear. 
Well, just go to Penn Station, NY, and it's not that different. Nowadays.
Not that they check every bag or rucksack.
But it certainly looks like a war-zone. 
And I'm not just talking about the state of the place as such.
Not that the guy in the picture was much of a guard at the moment. Chatting along with a female friend of his I could have easily disarmed him. Sure the gun was hooked up to a stretchable curly "phone" cable, but hey, that would be child's play for me.
Not that I was ever tempted to test his skills. But I'd tell you one thing.
He was a far cry from the guys in Tel Aviv.
Despite his parted legs, broad neck, and posture.
As a matter of fact, he was more of a danger to the crowd than he was a protector and a shield. 
Not because he would harm anyone. But he had nobody behind him. 
It scares me a bit.
This is posture.
Not real protection.
It's supposed to make people feel easy.
To someone like me? It makes me feel quite the opposite.
I'd rather have discreet guards than those seemingly tough guys not knowing crap about what it really means to protect a place and the people in it.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

time stood still


This is the longest stretch between two entries on my blog since i started it.
My juice has been sucked out by other projects.
Blogs are rather useless as publications in general.
They mostly serve as some sort of therapy for the blogger.
I've hadn't had time for that therapy the last couple of days.
So now, ridden by guilt for breaking my promise to keep it going, 
I abruptly interrupted was I was really doing. 
The stuff that brings bread to the table.
Blogging might be rewarding, but not necessarily pecuniary so.
Well, here's an image I took just a few moments ago, 
rather looking like it could have been snapped 10 or so years ago.
Perhaps 15 years ago. That depends on the model of the car. 
I wouldn't know.
But I assume American cars rarely last longer than 10 or so years.
Many other things last much longer however.

This modern, pulsating city on the forefront of things, a world-leader in, I don't know what,   certainly do not look like it on the surface. 
Mostly it is a weary looking rather old fashioned town. 
Beautiful only rarely, mostly from a distance. 
Close up it's weathered, toughened, rough around the edges and very traditional.
The cultures of old Europe are better preserved here than in the places of their origin.
Time do often stand still in this high paced city.
Although people rarely do.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Clear view of Downtown


8th floor. 
The window is possible to open.
The view not obscured by the usual grime covering most windows in NYC.

Friday, March 14, 2008

View from a train


Swamp view.
Slum view.
Wasteland view.
Badland view.
Soprano view.
Back yard view.
Derelict warehouse view.
No matter how you view it, pretty it isn't.
Leave New York, enter New Jersey.
The first half hour on the train offers little but gloom.
No wonder New York jokes about what's at the other end of the tunnel.
No light. They say.
When referring to New Jersey.
Gloom, however, can be quite fascinating from a camera's viewfinder point of view.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the big picture


Tunnel vision. Zoom in.
Reflect.
Small things.
A fake orchid in a corner of a shop window in
Spring Street, SoHo, New York City,
A could, but not entirely unpleasant winter day in March.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wasting time in the waste lands


The trains have been delayed every day for the last couple of weeks.
Sometimes stretching a promised 30 minutes trip into hours.
If it isn't branches falling down on the wires, cutting traffic off,
it's simply the "equipment" that is not working.

They have no shame charging full price for the service whether it's equipment failure or mother nature causing the delays.
I buy the fact that they can't do much about winds or leaves.
But hey, it's a matter of maintenance as well.
Why wait pruning until rotten branches fall of the trees?

The only time in years the train wasn't delayed was yesterday.
I came running into the station 8.11.26. p.m. The 8.11 p.m train had left exactly on the second.
That has probably never happened before.
But it did yesterday.
I would have made it if it wasn't for the fact that the Metro, the subway, also took far longer than normal, snailing its way through the tunnels.
It took a different track and didn't stop at Penn Station as it was supposed to. So I had to run a couple of blocks over. We were a whole bunch of people chasing down the street as rats running towards a newly opened cheese store.
Why run? Well, the trains a tthour are an hour in between.
Sure the enough. The 9.11 was 15 minutes late.

You simply can't trust public transportation in NY and surrounding states to work as promised.
It's a bloody nightmare.
If you don't take a rather pragmatic view of missing meetings, theaters, dates, job deadlines, life etc. you go nuts. Which most New Yorkers actually have. Gone nuts that is.

I lived in Tokyo for a while.
It's a way bigger city in many ways. Far more spread out.
Trains and subways were never delayed. Not even seconds.

Add insult to injury by being offered one of the ugliest of approaches in the world to a big city.
On the way in from the suburbs of New Jersey you pass through wastelands. The ones Springsteen sings about.
Soprano gangster-land. Derelict factories.
Slum neighborhoods. Decay in general.
And what naturethere is, are swamps.
Penn station isn't much of grand welcome either, which I have written about earlier.
Ugly is an understatement.
Anyway, it's still a helluva city be in. NY.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

no feeding pigeons


Is this New York?
SoHo?
Sunday?
Quiet. Eerily quiet.
New York is not supposed to be quiet.
Or empty. 
Not even on a Sunday morning.
People are not THAT religious here. 
Besides, they don't have the same religion.

The bagel cart is not on its usual corner.
Not a bread crumb in sight.
The pigeon finally decides to leave too.


Sumo among giants


The old New Yorker Hotel just north of Penn station
has seen better days.
However, from the glory days of a luxury hotel packing in big spenders and the famous, to a much less glamorous existence as a"value" hotel for tourists and package travel, it's maintained its awesome size and girth. It's an impressive block of brick.
Very Gotham City.
When approaching from New Jersey via train you can't miss the huge light sign on top of the building, the east facing facade. It's a welcome to New York as impressive as any.
Regrettably the old and very beautiful sign was recently taken down and up went an equally big, but not half as beautifully designed re-construction.
I guess the old sign was falling apart.
They don't do neon signs as they used too.
Or they didn't hire a talented enough designer to do the job.
Opposite the hotel's main entrance, across 8th Avenue, is the site for one of New York's more impressive commercial murals.
Still painted by hand.
I wonder how much paint it takes?
Exactly how long it takes?
How many brushes?
And how much patience?
I now for sure it takes weeks, even months, to cover the wall.
They do it about once or twice per year.
I pass through there most every day, so I've seen the process and the different messages over the years.
First they paint over the old one with white or black depending what comes up next.
Then they start on the actual motif.
Right now a massive Sumo wrestler cover the wall.
Very fitting next to the New Yorker.
www.newyorkerhotel.com
Although I figure sumo wrestler are more Tokyo.
But the biggest of them all was from Hawaii.
I am not sure, but I think he's the guy on the wall.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Clip


What do you do with images of clip-men you don't have a use for?
Well, just scribble a bit of quick crap on them and post them on your own blog site.
That's the only publisher who would accept art of that standard.
Is that the beauty of the internet?
Or is it the end of civilization as we know it?
Now, of course, nobody will ever find your blog anyway, so it doesn't matter, does it?
 

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Juicy New York


No, not that kind of juice you dirty bugger.
But juicy as in energy.
Or fruit.
New York's giving out thousands of new licenses for fruit carts to be in the streets
in poorer neighborhoods.
To stem the consumption of junk food.
Some neighborhoods are eating unhealthier than others apparently.
The presence of fruit on the street corners is supposed to make mouths watering 
for a healthy apple instead of a big mac with fries.
Bad health costs the city large sums.
I just wonder if its going to work?
There are in fact fruit and vegetable stores in most neighborhoods after all.
But better try than not.
It certainly looks wonderful and mouth-watering.
The cart above is in Spring Street, SoHo, however, where fat people are tourists from Bronx.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Morning close-up


The first thing we tend to face in the morning is the toilet.
Followed by the sink. 
And then that face you never seem to be able to get away from.
Good news however is that other people see you differently.
You see everything about you the other way around. 
Mirrored.
Think about that when you wake up and feel like pulling that sheet back over your head.
It may not be as bad after all.
And look at that beautiful light in the sink.
Promising good things to happen.
Rays of hope.

Monday, March 3, 2008

34th street


It all depends on how you look at it.
Either it's the same every day.
Or it is totally new every day.
If you're a tourist and has never been in the New York Metro system
it might even be a bit exciting. Something to call home to Oslo about.
There was a time when it was rumored to be a bit dangerous.
And probably was. Partly. 
It may still be. The wrong station the wrong hour, with a bit of bad luck.
But basically it's safe. 
It doesn't even have graffiti nowadays.
I feel much safer in the NY underground than I ever felt on the subway in Stockholm, Sweden, when I lived there. And that feeling is probably not false.
I don't have the statistics at hand, but with all the millions of people safely passing through the NY subway system every day it's for sure one of the best ways to travel this jungle.
It just depends on how you look at it.
Personally I look at all the different people, the different scenarios, the different vibes. Changing on the hour and day and season.
The light is pretty dreary. But still, somehow, it makes for quite interesting imagery.
I never quite liked the artificial perfect lighting of most advertising photography.
You go to a place, and then you start putting up all this light. Basically everything changes. 
It becomes a frigging studio. So why the heck go there to begin with?
Sure, a raw flash in a certain space can change the mood totally and add to the scene.
But lighting everything?
I don't think so.
I'm a bit of a purist in one sense.
On the other hand, I hate purism, as it borders on intolerance.
It's a fine balance.
And of course, you could always light that scene in a thousand of ways if you're not pleased with its natural changes. 
Of mood.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Shanghai reflections


About this time last year it was cold in Shanghai.
As it normally is around this time of year.
The air was clear.
That is not always a given.
Few cities can compete 
with the compact gloominess 
of a fog-ridden Shanghai.
But this night it was crisp and clear.
We seldom think of the effect weather conditions have on light at night.
Dark is dark.
Or is it?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

shadows


A shop window.
The display is not in anyway eye-catching.
It's actually rather ugly.
But,
look closer, 
crop the view, 
and you might see something different.
You could come back ten times the same day, 
look at the same spot, 
and see something different.
God is in the detail.