Monday, November 19, 2007

what was and is no longer

When I was in Europe, one of the main things that I fell in love with was the architecture. Each country has it's own style that represents the people and the culture. There's so much history in the buildings, and life has continued on for hundreds of years around them. It was humbling for me to stand beside a person's home that was older that our country...

In Amsterdam, the old city (where tourists frequent) is almost all original. There are some changes here and there, but the homes along the canals are all intact and maintained beautifully. Cars aren't permitted on most of the streets in the city center, and this allows people on bicycles and on foot the right of way, and it's a solution to keeping the narrow streets clear. I like that.. instead of changing the landscape for cars and commuter traffic, close the streets. Here you see beautiful Dutch girls on bikes with bunches of fresh flowers in their baskets. Amsterdam is a romantic and lovely place.

In Barcelona there are some newer buildings, but many of them follow the design trends of the older ones. There's amazing mosaic tile work in the city, covered markets, and a bit more traffic. There are plenty of pedestrian only streets and a lot of people ride scooters. The city is magical, and it reflects an exciting time in architecture with the Antoni Gaudi buildings, bright colors, the Sagrada Familla... you feel the culture of the Spanish in their city.

In Paris, on the other hand, Napoleon had a vision, and that was to change the landscape of the city so that it could grow. He wanted huge boulevards, higher, bigger buildings, and landmarks throughout the city. Because of this transformation, the city can handle traffic today. However, many of the buildings are still old and original, the fountains are maintained beautifully, the Place de la Concorde is still there, but with cars passing through it, past the Arch de Triumph, the Eiffel Tower, the obelisk... Paris speaks of an old world, slow to change, but one of glamour and class. It's a regal city rich with history and beauty. Many people think Paris is the most romantic city...

So what's my point? My point is that these cities are so
beautiful, breathtaking even, they end up on posters, in calendars, they steal people's hearts. At one time, our city, one with great history; the Big Apple used to be magnificent and beautiful like these European cities. Today, many of the beautiful buildings and squares that made this city have been destroyed to make way for cars, big glass skyscrapers, huge ugly stores, and a train station that's embarrassingly hideous. Here is Union Square... think of that huge DSW building that sits there now...

America's obsession with being the glitziest, the richest, and the most fabulous has seriously marred the face of this city and what it could have been. A real opportunity for a city in America to exhibit significant styles in architecture... people from all over the world could come here and be in awe of our Singer building, of our breathtaking Pennsylvania Station with arched steel and glass ceilings... I feel sad to think that this city could be as old and beautiful and rich with history as any other.. had we not have destroyed it all in the name of consumerism and modernization. It's completely possible to take some buildings down for new ones... it's possible to have an old city center with high rises in special areas.

Another piece of history that we no longer see is the above ground subway line, the EL that ran up 6th ave right through Herald Square. At one time, there were many of these lines throughout NYC, Brooklyn, and Queens. We still see them in some areas of Queens, Brooklyn, and up in Harlem, but they used to run through the city, as well as trolleys. Imagine if we still had trams in the city? They could be environmentally friendly and provide New Yorker's with yet another option for getting around. But instead, we place all of our emphasis on cars having the main priority here, and that, I think is a huge problem.

Herald Square, 1895

Here's Penn Station again, the main concourse.

What do I observe from writing this, that NYC represents America. That's our culture, making money and spending money.. big corporations, corporate apartments, and greed.
Don't get me wrong, when I look at our skyline at night it's beautiful, but I think it could have been something else.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

blogger's block

I've been blogging on my MySpace account for the past 3 or so years, and I have made several attempts at starting a new blog elsewhere. I've tried it here , here, on Word Press, and some other weird blogging platform which I can't recall..

My primary reasons for failing in these endeavors are that for some odd reason, I instinctively post my blogs on
MySpace. I feel that a lot of the material that I post is somewhat personal or silly... things that my friends can appreciate, but maybe that a complete stranger on Blogger couldn't.

I also like the appearance of my
MySpace blog. I've tried to figure out how to customize it here on Blogger to look identical, but I haven't been able to.

Most importantly, I have 3 years of history on my
MySpace blog. Things that I can't import here. I would lose the comments... and a lot of that represents different times in my life, and friends that I had who I no longer talk to.. so maybe I would say there's a nostalgia associated with my MySpace blog that makes it hard for me to move on.

Just writing that line makes me think that I let nostalgia prevent me from moving on in a lot of areas of my life, not just in my writing. So, maybe making a break from my old blog, and starting this one here, one with a new look, one without a history... I can teach myself that letting go of nostalgia for something new and exciting is a good thing.

Let's see how it goes


When I first started thinking about the ego and how it works, I was reading a book called "The Thai Chi Journey"... I think if you follow the book, you should live your life without wanting things. This means material items, wealth, love, respect... all of it. The book kept referencing an old Chinese man who would live out his life in a little fishing village, fishing, and not wanting, and being self aware.. all that stuff in order to find your 'chi'.

So, in theory that's great and all, but in today's world we kind of have to work and have material things.. and wanting love, well doesn't that just happen without effort.. maybe it isn't love that we want as much as human closeness. For sure we can apply those principles to our lives today and be more aware of our selfishness and want of nice things and respect and all that.. that would be good.

Several months ago, a person told me that the reason I was upset about losing my relationship was because of my ego. Maybe that's true to a degree.. when someone doesn't want you, you feel bad about it, and you want them to want you again.. and you think of ways to win them back.. is that all ego or is it human error, that we slide into places in life where we don't see what's going on around us so much, and then when the important things start to unravel, we're able to see again... and then it's too late for some.

But the idea that you react this way is based solely on a bruised ego.. then what are people all about? Is it possible that our egos rule the way we experience everything?

Recently, I told someone that I was unhappy with with our friendship.. that I didn't think it was reciprocal. Normally when you reach out to someone and you tell them that your feelings have been hurt, or that you feel angry, or dissatisfied, you expect them to actually listen to you and care about how you feel.. instead this friend sat there feeling defensive. This must be a case of the bruised ego.. because otherwise, a person would really care about making their friend feel bad.

I just don't understand people. We allow our egos to control us, and to run our lives in the end, don't we?
Does that mean that the ego is the ultimate character flaw? I think it must be if it makes us so blind.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I want to speak in a language of words that say one thing but mean another. I would like, perhaps to send my emotions into my fingertips and just allow them to type blindly on the keys until they stop.. and maybe then I would feel empty of what it is that plagues me.

a pause. and I am again at square one.

love bites

I think it is quite possible that the word love is one of the most over used and over rated terms in existence. We use the term to express feelings of intimacy towards another person, we use it with family members as the ultimate expression of close bonds, and also we may use it with our closest friends.

But the fact is that love, as a feeling is interpreted by each and every person in a completely different way. What one person sees as love, another sees as companionship, and another sees as lust. What level of the feeling is most accurate? Does love have to be a life long feeling that surpasses all others in the realm of intimacy, or can love be something that’s truly felt for another person, even in the short term?

I was speaking with a friend the other day about this very topic.. what is love? And he had a very interesting take on it. He told me that he had been in love before, but it had not been with women that he had dated. He fell in love with 2 women whom he had been strongly drawn to, but had never been intimate with. He explained to me that he did not think being in love was to spend your life with someone and to be their companion, or to put the other person’s best interests in front of your own. He told me that was an American’s idea of being in love, but Europeans thought that to be in love was to be infatuated with someone.

So I asked him well, what then when you meet someone, and you’re infatuated with them, then you move in together, you have children, and you develop a routine.. will you still be infatuated with them? And if not, what then? Are you no longer in love and where does that relationship exist in your mind? Well, he told me that he thought it was ok and healthy to have extramarital affairs, and that as long as it didn’t hurt anyone, it wasn’t bad.

Hmm.. I on the other hand have been in love only twice. I have only felt love completely once. I couldn’t imagine the bond that I experienced in my past relationship was not love, but merely companionship. The demise of the relationship ultimately brought about better situations for the both of us, and in that way, perhaps my Belgian friend was right, it is an American thought process that to truly love someone, you must be able to let them go if they need something else. Maybe somehow that thought process is American, but it feels much more solid to me than the other way.

But, as I posed the question, does love always have to be something earth shattering and long term to affect us the way a deep relationship would? And if it isn’t long term, why is it dismissed as something less than love? We've all heard the term "love affair", which often tends to be a short, forbidden, steamy series of sexual or intimate moments between lovers. Why then, does that read to me as "lust"? All of it reads to me as a blurry line that can only be deciphered by a person's own identification of their emotions.

According to, the definition of love is: (yielding a whopping 20 results only solidifies my feeling that the concept of "love" is quite undefinable. I've edited the list to spare you...)

1.a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2.a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3.sexual passion or desire.
4.a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.

5.a love affair; an intensely amorous incident.
6.sexual intercourse.

7.affectionate concern for the well-being of others.
8.strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything.

12.the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
13.Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing.

Some other emotional situations that fall into the love conundrum, invariably blurring one's ability to decipher their feelings at base level:


1.the state of being infatuated.

2.foolish or all-absorbing passion or an instance of this: a mere infatuation that will not last.


1.intense sexual desire or appetite.
2.uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
3.a passionate or overmastering desire or craving.
4.ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.

Companionship (with only 2 results (the latter referring to a professional companionship so I left it out), this situation which many of us find ourselves in, instead of the more passionate, 20 variants of love)

1.association as companions; fellowship.