Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

New York, New York / January 21, 2006

There is something so wrong about sitting here on a Friday night in my pajamas, doing nothing.
I should have painted. Or at least sketched. (God forbid I should go out). But I was full of self-pity, so I played video games instead. Games are my little mental anesthesia. I feel completely brain dead by the time I’m done. Bad for art. Good for distress.
You know… I think I’m starting to understand the New York City subways a bit. The first step, as with anything else, is to discard your ideas of how complicated they are in the first place. All human interaction with our environment is based on symbols. So trying to figure out things like traffic patterns and transit networks is no different. If one level of information is too complex, make it more abstract. (In my home town, I would watch every car on the street to decide what to do. Here in DC, I watch the lanes.) Once I’m on the train, I’m set. But… you know… figuring out how to get to the right train? I’m completely fucked. So I still gotta work on that.
Did I mention I was in NYC again last weekend?
I was dragged out there by a brutal woman who didn’t care how busy I was.
(kidding!)
I was dragged out there by a beautiful woman who I’d been anxious to see now that she was ‘free’ again from visitors.
As much of a panic as they caused me, I really do love the Chinatown busses. They ferry people literally from the streets of one city to the streets of another. No terminals. No kiosks. No signs. No uniforms. Pay $17.50 and you’ll be 300 miles away by the time anyone notices. Okay… I probably should have thought more about how crowded a Friday afternoon shuttle was going to be. But still… I caught the second bus I tried for, and was only about 2 and a half hours behind schedule. The Washington Deluxe route lets you off at 34th and 8th; right across from the New Yorker hotel. This was the first place I ever stayed in NYC. It has a certain freaky grandeur. The neighborhood scared the shit out of me back then. But time has changed the place, and Friday night in that little corner of Manhattan is loud and bright. Busier, in fact, than during the day. (I’d had paranoid day dreams about sparsely populated sidewalks leaving me standing out like a purple elephant, with a sign saying “mug the tourist”.)
We went into Brooklyn on this trip, to see a jazz concert at the music conservatory. Apparently I’m working my way through the city one borough at a time. I can see what so many long-time NYC residents like about Brooklyn, though. What tiny bits I caught sight of through the rain (and rain, and rain, and rain…) and greasy taxi windows reminded me of all the character of Manhattan, but shrunk down to a human scale. (Well… once you’re away from the bridges, anyway). I actually felt safer walking to the subway after the show there, than I do most places in DC after dark. Could have just been blissful ignorance, though.
Earlier that afternoon, we went to the MoMA, to see the Pixar exhibit. The exhibit itself was fun, and certainly makes me want to see some of their movies that I’ve missed. But I was mostly impressed by some of the pre-production artwork. I was surprised how many early character designs were done as traditional collages. I haven’t seen anyone use the technique for practical purposes in what must be forever. (No. Photoshop doesn’t count.) Other than that, I probably enjoyed the color studies the most. Blocking out entire movies in highly abbreviated, highly abstracted scenes on long scrolls of paper. This great, super-condensed chunk of pop culture and art and motion and…
I got to indulge my New York City fetish on the way home, as we walked through Koreatown and stopped to pick up dinner from Madison Square Garden. Did I mention I have a serious thing for Asian pears? But since they’re roughly the size of a softball and weigh over a pound each, I didn’t think packing them home on the bus was going to work. At least not with my backpack already full of shit.
I pick on Indri, for sleeping late and taking so long to get ready to go out. In DC, thats a very ‘suburban’ thing. But until I sat here writing, tonight, it didn’t occur to me how much we did once the day finally geared up. Up through Rockafeller Center, MoMA, Koreatown, Dinner, Concert, Movie. That is very NOT suburban. And that was just us, having a slow weekend, and a sick host to boot.
My only deep regret is a lack of photos. The weather outside was primarily miserable the entire weekend. Friday and Saturday were all about rain, and Sunday was cold enough to stop me in my tracks, literally. A few pictures of Indri, of course. But otherwise, nothing. I really need to go back when the weather is less horrid, and I have time to wander.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *