Having missed posting for so long, I'm now in the awkward position of having too many things to say. What that means to you, the reader, is that I am going to say to much. You will read the first paragraph or two get bored and stop. Next time you see me, you will ask me about something that I wrote here, and I will look at you confused, since you should have already read it here. Or you will read the whole thing, so as not to antagonize me now that I have warned you. Which puts the pressure back on me (I said I had things to say... not that they are interesting). Also, I've been reading Haruki Murakami lately. If you read him too you'll probably have more idea what I'm talking about. Especially if you like metaphysical sheep.

I digress. The most important news is that J graduated:
Jessica's Graduation
She made it through with a 4.0 and got first in her class (Northeastern calls them Class Marshalls). Her parents and brother were out and a good time was had by all.

We took of the next day for a few days in NYC with her parents, who had never been there before.
New York, New York
Followed by a few days in Philly, just the two of us.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
More on that later...

During the time away, i was still finishing up the semester. I just finished the last of my thesis on Monday. I'm so tired of thinking about Montreal... hence all of the novel reading that's been going on the last week. I'm really liking both Murakami and Jonathan Lethem. I'm reading The Fortress of Solitude right now. It's about growing up in Brooklyn, but it really reminds me of growing up on my block in South Minneapolis (yes, I realize that mpls is a poor excuse for a real city). The way the kids roam the streets and have a world that the grownups don't really see resonates my childhood. In his world it's all out on the street, in mine it was up and down the alley, but still. There was just a section where the main guy got his bike stolen. I felt some pain for my awesome red bike that disappeared. sigh. (As an aside, the day I finished my paper on Montreal, Tourism Montreal put up a giant billboard directly outside of my kitchen window.)

On Sunday, J flew off to Thailand to work with an NGO for a month (after which she'll be visiting "family" in Ho Chi Minh City for a couple of weeks). She promised to resurrect her blog, so look out for that. I've talked to her once since she got there. So far she's lived through a small earthquake (which she said was probably God's wrath upon the earth for allowing Jerry Falwell to die, which is impeccable logic that the would have done the old man proud).

So, back to Philadelphia. What a cool city. As one of my friends at work said, it's like something halfway between Boston and New York. It's got the oldness and the row houses of Boston but the big city feel and ghettoness of New York (or at least that I'm told NY used to have before Giuliani had all the poor people sent to Siberia or whatever the hell he did with them). I really like a city that has a little bit of edge. Both Boston and New York are a little too clean. I like having some great graffiti and street art around:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Yeah, I gots work ethic too, boy.
There was also a dude who did these incredible mural things all over the place. This is his "garden":
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
And here's a couple of his buildings:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
No way you'd see that in Boston. Menino would have it re-facaded with red brick before you could say wicked.

We went to a Phillies - Cubs game, which was awesome. Great stadium. Ryan, don't worry about those wide concourses. If they do it right it'll be great. At Citizen's Bank Park, everything was just kind of open, so you could get your Hot Dog (or Cheesesteak) and still watch the game. And if you felt like it, you could stand there with your beer and watch from wherever you feel like. Also, the Fanatic could beat TC to a bloody pulp.

Also on the enjoyable list: The Institute of Contemporary Art at UPenn with J's friend Nicole and the crazy security guard lady. Oh, oh, and cell phone audio tours!!! What a great idea. And so democratic. And the theater where we saw Lookinglass Alice.

Horrible transit though. It's not good when your subway is creepier in the daytime then the streets are at night.

Anyways, I'm rambling, and no one really cares.

Last thing, I promise. I ran into James Howard Kunstler at work yesterday. He wroteGeography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency both of which I highly recommend. What an interesting guy. He said he's now writing a dystopian novel about the post-oil world.

Well, that's it. Congratulations for those who made it.


Ryan 11:56 PM  

I meant the extra wide concourses were a good thing. Especially when you can watch the game while you wait in line for a beer.

I'd love to go to philly. man it looks cool. you always point out things you never see elsewhere.

i think philly's transit is a private company. that's why the fare is something like six bucks. the workers get really low wages but they get free healthcare, free rides for their entire families, and instead of going on strike they stop wearing their uniforms during labor disputes.

onetenchelsea 8:29 AM  

The fare was actually pretty cheap. I think it was a buck 30 for subway. It's 2 now in Bos and NY. But it did suck. It's only two lines that make a cross and a couple of trolleys in west philadelphia (born and raised). What also sucks is that there are still trolley tracks and overhead wires all over the city, but no trolleys.

They also have an amazing market. (with amish people)

bethany 11:20 PM  

congrats j!
ps. thanks for the books.

Radman 2:24 PM  

Z, you've certainly rocked the house with the Philly review. I didn't get to see that much the times I've visited. Phillies... incredible, cheers to that.

Did you get to South Philly for a 'steak? Man, that was the best. The trolley lines I thought added to the very cool character of the town, be them useless now.

I can see why you like Kunstler. I read some of his "blog"; he's certainly got an edge.

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