I’m exhausted.  I went and saw a midnight showing of Harry Potter last night, because I’m a huge nerd.  The highlight of the evening was when the grown man (in costume) two seats down from me wept at the end and had to be comforted by his girlfriend (who was dressed in a slutty Harry Potter costume). Anyway, I don’t feel wordy today.  So here’s another photolog post.  Deal with it.

Stairs

I like it when my graffiti tells me to read more…as an annual reminder.

Jingle BenzI feel like whoever decorated this Mercedes Benz station wagon in a Christmas theme did so for a demolition derby.  I’m not sure if they suspected at the time that they’d be driving it around town, in July.

PickAxe

When you think about it, a guy taking a pickaxe on the subway isn’t that odd.  Especially when you imagine  all the insane things people have carried on the train in New York.  Still, it throws you for a loop when you see one on your morning commute.

bike

I’m often puzzled by the amount of broken bicycles left chained up around the city.  Even if it was run over and knotted together with another bike, like so, I think I would still untangle/unlock my bicycle and take it home,  not just walk away.  But that’s me.

ruinsA building in my neighborhood randomly collapsed one day.

And finally:

obamaI’m tempted to buy a stack and send them to random southern addresses.

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WWIn this reoccurring series, Profiles in Awesomeness, I honor the people who make our world a brighter place and have ascended to a level of greatness that can no longer be described by the word “great.”  These are men and women who refuse to settle for the mediocrity of life, like the man who looked at two blocks of wood and a length of chain and came up with nun chucks.  Or the first person to wear a tuxedo t-shirt to a black tie event.  These people are awesome and deserve to be recognized.

In a change of pace, I’d like to present not only a more personal profile in awesomeness, but also our first woman recipient. Yesterday, while on my way to work, I lost my money clip.  I had just gotten off the B61 bus and had entered the Bedford Avenue subway station when I noticed it was gone. I raced back out of the station to the corner of Bedford and 7th avenue.  The bus had left and I was literally panicking.  I frantically dug through my bag, hoping that I’d uncharacteristically slipped it in there without remembering. My bank cards, metro card, health insurance card, driver’s license, and cash were all gone.  How can you survive in this world without them?  I’d have to walk the two miles back to my apartment for the jar of loose change I keep on my desk, use it to pay for the subway, and go to my bank for a counter withdraw.  I’d have to cancel all the cards and wait for replacements. And worst of all, the money clip, a graduation gift from a beloved teacher was gone for good.  And just when I was about it loose it, she came up to me.

“Excuse me,” she said, “did you drop something?”  She was tall and wearing horned rim sunglasses, I was freaking out.  “Yes,” I said with a slur of financial terror—no doubt some lucky and amoral hipster was spending my freshly deposited paycheck on a pair of Chuck Taylor’s and shitty independent rock music.  With suspicious hope that she had it, I explained in a jumble of words that seemed something like a sentence: “My money clip….wallet…everything…I lost it somewhere.”

“Is this it?” She asked holding my money clip.  I could just make out my engraved initials through tears of joy.  “Yes,” I yelled and hugged her.  I offered a monetary reward, but she politely refused.  It wasn’t until I got into the office that I realized I  should award her a profile in awesomeness, but I didn’t think to take her picture with my phone or even catch her name (hence the Wonder Woman pic).  Miss, if you are reading this, please send me a picture and your true identity so it can be known throughout the world that you are truly an awesome person.  Thanks.

[Pic via fictionmachine.com]

A Douche Bag I am.

A Douche Bag I am.

[Editors Note: This essay is based solely on the Star Wars films, excluding last summer’s animated Clone Wars feature.  Please do not e-mail me with observations or evidence found in comic books or continued novelizations. I’m a nerd, but Jesus even I have my limits.]

So recently I was running the entire Star Wars movie plot lines through my mind (I often do this when I’m on the subway and I’ve finished whatever I’m reading and there’s still a bit of time left in my commute).  And I realized something: Yoda is a total douche bag.

Never mind that when Luke (and the audience) first meets him in Empire Strikes Back, Yoda pretends to be just some random annoying alien instead of…well Yoda. Or that when Luke realizes his friends are in trouble and wants to rush off to save them, the Jedi master discourages him (Adventure? Excitement? Loyalty to friends and allies? A Jedi craves not these things) or even volunteer to tag along and help.  Forget that he tries to dodge Luke’s questions about Darth Vader being his father or that he never even bothers to tell Luke that Leia is his sister (though there is the definite risk of accidental incest).  Completely forget his behavior in the prequels: like scarring the hell out of a little kid whom he suspects will turn to the dark side because of “fear,” taunting that same child as an adult for being on the Jedi counsel but not recognized as a master, and then ordering two newborn twins (Luke and Leia) be separated and raised apart.  No, the reason Yoda is a douche bag is his total disrespect for English grammar.

Look, I get why Lucas wrote Yoda’s dialogue the way he did.  It implies a sense of otherness while making him appealing to the kiddies.  With Yoda’s success has a memorable character among fans it’s understandable that Lucas would want to try to repeat it with Jar-Jar Binks.   For Jar-Jar, the inability to form a proper English sentence at least makes sense because he’s an annoying moron.  But when you take the character of Yoda fully into account along with the fictional Star Wars Universe, it doesn’t add up  You’re telling me that a creature with seemingly omnipotent powers allowing him to kick ass via light saber fights, lift spacecrafts with his mind, and live on past death as a ghost/spirit can’t master the simple concept of subject-verb-object word order?

That’s when it hit me: the reason Yoda doesn’t speak grammatically proper English is because it’s the language of humanity and by not even bothering to learn or implement its basic rules he shows his passive aggressive contempt for the species.  “But why would Yoda hate humans?” You ask. Well, who wouldn’t be pissed at humanity?  What with their Galactic Empires and Death Stars. And although the motivation is understandable, the end result of Yoda’s shattered English makes him a douche bag.

bus1I live pretty far out of the way in Brooklyn (my girlfriend refers to it as ‘Siberia.’). It’s the sort of area where I find myself looking for a dead body every time I go out for a run. Not that my neighborhood is particularly dangerous, it’s s just desolate. There are warehouses everywhere and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway cuts right through it. I imagine that anyone driving around with a body in their car (I mean, come on, who hasn’t been in that situation?) would find my neighborhood the perfect place to dump a corpse. Living in this isolated and possible body dumping ground has given me a unique situation to enjoy the city’s mass transit system, I have to take a bus and two trains to get into work (it’s not as bad as it sounds), and I’ve noticed something.

It seems that people prefer to ride the subway trains over riding the buses. A friend recently went on a rant about how he hates riding the bus claiming that it’s always “crowded” and “stopping all the time,” but this guy takes the L train everyday, and I was riding it this morning—smushed up so close to another man that in any other situation it would of looked like we were going to kiss (for moment, I thought we might) and stopping a few times under the East River because of “train traffic ahead.”

I think people hate riding the bus because there’s a schedule. When you’re waiting for a bus, the sign at a bus stop tells you how much longer you have to wait, along with pointing out just how close you missed the last one. But if you’re waiting for a train, which has no posted schedule, there’s the constant possibility that the next one can come at any minute. Then when the bus is late, everything is out of order, and it feels like it could be hours until the next one (oddly, the next bus can never be about to show up at any minute). In Washington D.C., the Metro has electronic signs that display an exact countdown to when the next train arrives and it feels something like a cross between the two experiences. They’ve tried it on a few subway lines in New York, but if you’ve ever been in the Bedford Avenue Station in Brooklyn, you know they’re always off.

Last week, I watched a guy at the bus stop just about lose his mind because the bus was late. He was pacing and walking out into the road to look for any sign that it was coming, cursing under his breath. I just didn’t get it. What was the logic of trusting the accuracy of a schedule produced by the New York City Metro Transit Authority, an organization that you then can’t expect to keep to the schedule? And getting angry didn’t make any sense either. Rage won’t make the bus get there any sooner; it’ll just put you in a bad mood. I’ve started to ride the bus like the subway, with no expectations of when “the next one” will get there. I just don’t look at the schedule when I get to the stop.

It makes my whole commute feel like I’m hitching a ride on an untamable force, like the current of a river or the flow of wind in the sails. It’ll get you there when it get’s you there. You just have to enjoy the ride.