Thursday, February 26, 2004

Cell-free Zone

It's mid-week, halfway through the vacation, and I've completely lost track of days or dates. It's easy to settle in to an easy going routine. We did some snorkeling on Monday which was fun. I got a little burnt on my 'flounder side', y'know the pale back part of your body that never sees as much sun as the front side.

This evening after our regular cocktail hour we went out to do a little shopping. For the first time in days I heard a cell phone ring. I hadn't missed them really, but it was weird all the same. Living in an urban environment I hear cell phones all the time. Unless someone has a ring tone that is the same as mine I can filter the noise out. Something similar to a mother penguin and her baby. Even in the office, personal cell phones go off more than our work phones. It's an invasive aspect that I find annoying even though the convenience is undeniable.

I really do like the fact that I can do things without being tethered to my home waiting for calls. If I'm busy or with someone I don't have a problem turning off the phone and letting calls go to voicemail rather than interrupting my plans or company. I do get annoyed with the way that you get subjected to all the gory personal details of some random stranger because their appropriateness filter is broken and their phone rings. It's fascinating and horrifying. It's a lot like finding out your friends are the sort that like to talk while viewing movies in a theatre. You want to know why are they like this and how can they feel it's okay.

And while I'm hovering on this side of a rant, I thought I'd share a little rant by Foamy the Squirrel on low carb diets [click on the Fat-kins toon]. It's how I feel mostly about this. Go out and have a nice bagel with cream cheese and then just eat like a normal person with some sort of control over what you put in your mouth. And turn off your cell phone 'cause we don't want to hear it. Sheesh!

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Retro Mexico

[I've been back a while but this is an entry I wrote while on Vacation in Mexico. Isn't it nice to know that even blissed out in a tropical dream I was still thinking of you?]

I think it's Sunday. Saturday was a fuzz of sleepy ever blinking sights. It wasn't that cold in New York, even the ever breezy JFK airport, so I was able to slip through unscathed in my red-eyed zombie state. Mom and Karen had just checked in and were waiting for me as Dad dropped me off from one terminal to the next. This was a good plan as I was totally on auto-pilot. The thought of coffee sounded good. However I didn't take into account that my head thought it was 3am PT and it just made me chatty yet unfocused. Sorry guys!

I felt funky all day and managed to get in a short nap in the afternoon which did help. We had a low key evening, snacking at the cocktail hour, taking a short walk before heading back to the room and to sleep. The next day, today really, I felt so much better and well rested. We headed off for a day at the beach.

I suspect most beach days will be the same. So here are some images from over the top of my book - baby blue skies, clouds dotted here and there, more an accent color than a threat. The wind blows in from the Caribbean Sean so it's never too hot on the beach. The sea is inky black on the horizon but softens to a rich turquoise as it rolls in with white edges onto the soft, pale beach. The sand is so fine and soft as our the waves. Nothing like the cold and brisk Pacific waves at home. The beach is littered with sunbathers, round thatched umbrellas and seabirds looking for a snack. Those little buggers are aggressive and will quickly snatch a baggies of goldfish crackers or a hamburger bun from an unsuspecting child. My visual palette is filled with Yellow towels, blue and white chairs and bodies ranging from white, pink, red and brown wandering along the shoreline along with speed boats and their colorful para sails bobbing up and down the coast.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Like a Zombie

Wow, it's been a while since I've added something new for you all. Sadly, there isn't any horribly exciting reason for it. Just getting busy with life. I will be away for a week to vacation and relax in Cancun with my mom and cousin, Karen. Even though it's not the most direct route, I will be flying to New York on a red-eye this evening and then flying down to Mexico from there. It will be faster and will have me on the beach hours earlier than if I flew straight from home. Just the thought of a red-eye flight makes me tired. I will arrive at JFK like a zombie. Luckily I can catch a few more winks on the second leg of my trip, 'cause no one likes a cranky Steph.

This entry's song is a tribute to all zombies everywhere, but especially those in New York. Everytime I hear Zombie Jamboree by Rockapella I think about West sitting on the floor of my bedroom at the house on Delancey St and making a 5 volume Alphabet Soup. This one cheers me up and is one of my silly happy songs.

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Simple Things

I’m having problems reconciling my pleasure at seeing learning and growing experiences all over the place with the obvious marketing and product placement around them. For example, I’m sitting in a Starbucks sipping a grande non-fat chai latte. From my vantage point, a cushy micro-sueded blue wingback chair, I can expand my musical horizons to jazz, world music, and classic American music from the HEAR music rack. I can purchase and read both the local paper and the New York Times. If I don’t want to buy them, I can peruse people’s pre-read magazines and papers from the considerately placed paper basket. I can learn and buy dozens of coffee and teas as well as purchase coffee and tea making and drinking accessories. In a coffee shop years ago I would have been able to sit and get food and drink. If I wanted to buy something I’d go to a store. There was more separation.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a certain pleasure in sitting in a living room-like environment and kicking back with a drink with some friends. But knowing that every cozy little detail was engineered to facilitate parting me from my money is annoying and more than a little creepy. Sure, sure, I know I can avoid these places – and usually I do. But damn I keep getting sucked in by the comfy chairs that provide me with excellent people-watching perches. In addition, I can plug in my laptop and write journal entries for you. I’m working on using cafes as places to commit art (thanks to you and your generous art-related gifts). These are things I can’t get at home. Right now there are about a dozen or motorcycle dudes clad in tight leather body armor. The odd of them pulling up to my house to grab a coffee and hang out are slim.

I suppose that I’m sensitive to this because I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge. Last Thursday I went with Esther and her posse to see the Diane Arbus exhibit at SFMOMA. I was fascinated and hopefully Esther was inspired. But it was all about the art and the artist. Yes, I know they have a museum store but it’s off to the side and they don’t have advertisements in the exhibit on where to purchase things in the gift shop. On a side note, if you go on Thursday evenings, you can get in for half-price from 6-9 pm. I know I'll be back there again, until the two times I was there when I worked a couple of doors down from the museum. You just need to make the time.

I was at my local library the evening before the museum trip (also refreshing void of shopping opportunities) and picked up a few videos, a couple of books on bonsai and the book The Well Educated Mind I found this book compelling since it’s premise is that you don’t need to sit in a classroom to learn something. It outlines how to read and even takes into account that most of us subsist on ‘fast food’ information derived from television, movies and magazines. It also provides a starting point of lists of classics along with my the author feels that this would expand us, her reader. I was please to see that I had read many of the authors. I know I still have a lot to learn, but it was nice to see that I wasn’t starting from scratch.