Sunday, March 29, 2009

One World Trade Center

There's been this big brouhaha here over the past couple days because the Port Authority announced that they'd be calling the ridiculously-named "Freedom Tower" One World Trade Center from now on.

Of course it's all manufactured controversy to get page views and sell newspapers. Most of these guys at the New York Post or whatever don't even live here. Pataki probably really does feel slighted, but he was always an idiot anyway, an upstater out of touch with New York City.

Thing is, a majority of New Yorkers wanted the World Trade Center rebuilt exactly as it was. The people lost that political battle, but we still call it the World Trade Center. Even though there's nothing there, that's what we call it. The subway station is still World Trade Center, the PATH station is still World Trade Center (and everybody cheered when they put that name back up on the rebuilt station, to the surprise of some outside New York). How is calling it what it was before terrorists attacked it "unpatriotic"? I'm not letting some terrorist take that name from me, and I'm certainly not letting George Pataki do it.

And I'm glad the Port Authority isn't either. This building will be One World Trade to me from now on. Or just "the world trade center", which we always used interchangeably between the twin towers and the larger complex.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tonight's Project

Still got a big backlog to post!

But I'm proud of myself tonight. Tonight, I did this:

First time I ever wall-mounted a TV. Turned out pretty good, so far. I know it probably looks like something isn't quite straight - it's most likely the floor. I used a level on the TV. And it's a little off-center, but I had to mount it on a stud. No way I'm anchoring this thing in anything other than wood. I didn't hide the wires; it's pretty much impossible with plaster. I haven't found an electrician that'll even try. This stuff's like digging through bedrock.

Anyway, now I can finally play all my old Atari, Intellivision, and Coleco Vision games again, instead of just displaying them as if my house is some kind of museum. And I can watch TV while working out. (Ha!)

But I admit, I also did this:

I put my futon right up against the wall. (And yeah, my futon still has a sticker on the back that actually says "BACK". Nobody sees it, normally.) Because I don't quite trust that this thing's going to be there tomorrow. And I know if that happens that I'm probably not going to save the TV... but I'd like to save my nice bamboo floor, at least.

Hopefully tomorrow I won't have pictures of a shattered TV set to show you.

By the way, I got my mount from $11 for a tilt-swivel mount. That place is like the Radio Shack of the 21st century. All cheap stuff that you actually need.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DIY Fender Blender Clone

I have some pretty cool friends.

Ok, those of you who think Facebook is useless, check this out. (Some of you are probably reading this on Facebook, in which case you can ignore that.)

I found an old college buddy of mine on there one day, and it turns out he now builds guitar effects pedals. Which is a great coincidence, because I play guitar. And I'm a little short on effects.

(I know not all of my readers play guitar and some of you probably don't even know what an effects pedal is. Well, they're a big part of what makes any electric guitar sound the way it does.)

Anyway, so the other day I got this in the mail:

It's a Fender Blender fuzz pedal clone that he made. Wired to the same specs as the originals, same parts and whatnot (as far as I know). It kicks ass! It sounds totally badass. And it cost me nothing. Real original Fender Blenders go for hundreds of dollars... and they don't look this cool, and they're not one-of-a-kind items.

Much fun to be had with this, especially as I continue recording my magnum opus.

Anyway, just couldn't keep this to myself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Open for f'ing business

We're up. For all your Japanese rock, punk, gothic and lolita fashion needs.

We still have a bunch more stuff to add. And another shipment coming on Monday. This is only a beginning.

The site itself and the user experience will also be continuously improved (I hope).

This is really a soft launch. I'm only announcing it on the blog. We'll start marketing for real once we've got more stuff.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


Even jaded New Yorkers occasionally still have their moments of zen with this city. They usually come unexpectedly. Today I was sitting on the train on my way home, and it was really quiet, and it was the first night of the year when the sun wasn't down by the time I left work, and it felt like spring. And I started thinking about summer in the city, and Swervedriver's "Girl on a Motorbike" was playing on my iPod.

I was born in New York City, although for the first part of my life I lived outside of it. But I always thought of myself as a New Yorker. About every other weekend by the time I was old enough I'd come into the city for a day. I never felt like I really left. I finally moved back inside the city almost 20 years ago. I consider myself a native.

My first summer in my own apartment was when this song came out, and every time I hear it, I remember everything about that year. It was still a pretty dark time in the East Village - the Tompkins Square Park riot was still fresh in everybody's minds, and the squatter riots were just around the corner. (These would inspire the Broadway play "RENT" lateron.) There was a lot of crime. I saw lots of police tape that summer, and lots of helicopters and ambulances. I had major drug deals happening in the apartment below me.

But I couldn't parse any of those things, or if I did, I didn't think of them as bad things. To me, it all felt raw and real and authentic. I felt like I was somewhere, and back home. I wanted to experience everything. There was no good or bad.

People always talk about the energy of New York City, but you have to understand that's a relative thing. It is like that in the beginning. After a while, the way this city is just starts to feel normal. Your body adapts to the pace and the excitement, and you realize that all that energy isn't coming from the city but the people in it. Including you. The city's taking energy, not giving it. That's when its problems seem to overwhelm it, and other places stop feeling boring and start feeling easy and nice. And that's when it's time to leave.

So now I live a mile outside the city limits, where it's a little quieter and a little less draining, and where the people are a little nicer. But still, I'm in the city every work day, and on a lot of weekends. Sometimes I hate it. Certain things about it I hate all the time. It is a myth that New Yorkers all love their city unconditionally.

But every once in a while, I'll get that feeling like I had that first summer in my own apartment. And at that moment, at least, I'm glad I'm there.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Almost there...

There is a lot of little crap to do when starting up a business. Even a web store, if you want to do it right. And we're going all the way:

All you guys reading this on Facebook, you thought I was joking when I said I was now a corporation! It's a tax thing.

We should be able to open up for business this week. All we're really waiting for is some email gremlins to take care of themselves - can't run a web store if your email's down. And it'd be nice to have a second shipment to put up, which will hopefully be tomorrow.

Once that's all done, I'll have more time to post some regular shit here. I've got stuff going back to Valentine's Day that I've been meaning to talk about.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Random thought of the day

Most people don't know what they're doing. What matters is how good you are at faking it.

This is true of most things in life.

It's probably the most important lesson I've learned as I've gotten older. Well, that and "never eat shellfish that smells like a wet dog".

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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