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June 25, 2005

the power of the dark side

jedisandwich.jpg

2 weeks ago, I brought a homemade turkey sandwich to work.

At lunch time, I put it in the toaster oven in the kitchen. This toaster oven is known for burning people's lunch - if you leave it in the oven too long. My manager used to burn her sandwich all the time because she always left her lunch in the oven and then completely forgot about it.
So I put my sandwich in the oven, it took more than 30 seconds for the oven to even warm up. So I went back to my cubicle. I swear to god, I didn't forget about my sandwich. It's only a minute or so, I started to walk to the kitchen. And I smelled "that smell" in the hallway. A partner from sanitary department came out of the kitchen, "Is that your sandwich?" Then I know it's burned, well, but sometimes if it's not too serious you can still eat the food after taking off the burned part.
And when I went into the kitchen, that's what I saw - a black unknown chunk. The cheese I put on top has become a big bubble and burned into a black shell.. The bread is almost not recognizable. The turkey is still okay. But who would eat that piece of turkey after the sandwich is ruined like that?
That partner from sanitary said, "Are you Kathy Eiseman Jr.?" Kathy is my manager.

Posted by kay at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2005

The Otehr Side

lirr2.jpg

Almost every weekend, I take Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to the City for dance class and dinners with friends. I use a 10-trip ticket, and the train conductor punches on my card for each trip I take. Somehow, I like to flip things over and see what's on the other side. So I always flip my ticket over to see the configurations of punch stamps I get. The last ticket I finished seems to have a theme - spooks?!

(From right to left) The second ride I had with this card, I got a cross and the tombs came after it. The fourth ride got me boxing gloves, followed by picks. The one before the last, I think it loks like a bat. The back of this ticket looks a bit creepy as the crosses and tombs are placed together.

I tried to google for an answer on the configurations of the conductprs' punches but got nothing. Almost every stamp is unique - I haven't seen same shape for two conductors. So if any one of you can find out the story behind it, please let me know.

Mm. Today is an uneventful Sunday, which is kind of nice in a way. :)

Posted by kay at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2005

driving

小莊- good job on that "Kay's back" comment.

I haven't blogged enough these 2 years. And now American suburban life seems to take away lots of my abilities to speak of my thoughts, or rather, ability of generating thoughts.

Office, highway, my desk and bed comprise all places I stay, almost for everyday. The only time I am really alone with my mind - if it's still clear after 10 hrs of office work - I'm in the car with the rest of tens of thousands of Long Islanders who get stuck in traffic every morning and afternoon. Driving to work for almost a year now- commuting with personal vehicle never earns my favor, but there's some fun part if one does pay attention to his/her daily 25 mins trip on the highway.

At first, I thought driving was very impersonal. I grew up in big cities and have always been a big city girl. I loved the subway and bus when I lived in New York City. Watching people is a fun thing when taking public transportation. And the friendship and relationship people build with each other by taking the same train or bus, especially for peak hour commuters, gives me a subtle warmth and comfort. Exchanging smiles with the stranger friend who always takes the 6 train 8 AM with you, being squeezed together inside the overcrowded car.

There's no such relationship for drivers. 7AM, you warm up engine, signal, speed up, and go. Avoiding crazy aggresive drivers and cursing at them when being tailgated are pretty much what I do during my 25 mins trip to work. People who're sharing the same lanes with me at the same time of the day don't have a face. They're just different makes of cars, different years, in different colors. To others on the highway, I'm just a silver gray Nissan. Yet, after driving on a fairly regular schedule for months, there seems to be something offering some personal "spices" to driving. (Or maybe it exists because I've searched so hard..) Although cars aren't like human who have unique faces and facial expressions that we can tell one from the other, some cars do have features that make them recognizable.

Custom license plates is one. There's a minivan i have followed quite a few times on my way home, whose license plate is "DAD4SONS". And the person actually lives in the same building with me. There's also a Mercedes with a MD plate(special plate for doctors) who always cuts other drivers off like she's in a big hurry - the way she drives, phew, she may rush to the ER in time, but more likely dead and not able to save someone's life...OK, now I'm being mean, because she really gets on my nerve. You see how this becomes personal now? I wonder if other drivers think about and look at daily commute the same way. It's still sad that suburban commuteres connect to people whom they share the same air and land with so little; even I have found this cute fun extra thing for driving, people around me are still numbers, letters, or a glance of their left sides of face at most. To be honest, it's actually hard to find suburban advocates who believe in sharing. Relationship with strangers? That probably means invasion of personal privacy. As a planner, the situation appears to be a chicken and egg problem - did we create the environment that stops people from connecting to each other, or do people chose to live this way and drove the market to provide isolated bubbles for them? Either way, I feel we architects, planners and urban designers are responsible. (how did I get so serious?!)

Daily highway commute is still very stressful to me no matter what. I do wish I could do something about it - getting used to it, enjoying driving, or even fighting to influence the driving culture, but I think I gave up. I'm gonna escape and run away from all these soon.

God bless suburban America...

Posted by kay at 07:57 PM | Comments (2)