On Monday, Christoph Niemann had another piece in the Times: I LEGO N.Y.
It's one of those things that seems so obvious in hindsight, yet so clever. It made me quite nostalgic. One of the pictures I didn't get, the "worst" building. I lived in NYC for 11 years but don't know what that's supposed to be.
Niemann's last piece was the one on coffee. Where each picture is drawn using coffee on a paper napkin. Equally brilliant.
by Kim Erlandsen
Conversations with My Mailman III
It was a warm afternoon; the rain was ending and the Sun was coming out.
My mailman was under an awning with one bare foot on the pavement and his shoe on the mailbag. He was wringing out his sock.
I slowed when I got near him. "Step in a puddle?" I asked.
"Yeah." He said without looking up.
After a moment he noticed I was still there and he looked up, then smiled. "Oh, Hey. I thought you was someone else. Yeah, these puddles'll get ya. I was talking with a buddy of mine over there across the street and I stepped in the gutter when I was talking. He's a new dad and trying to figure out what to do with himself."
"A lot of responsibility." I offered.
"You telling me. His woman keeps telling him, 'You aint no man. You just a boy!' It's cause he doesn't do anything with himself, just watches the game and plays his Nintendo. He says to me, 'What makes a man a man?' which I don't want to hear cause he's older than me, but I tell him 'my old man was a man'. I tell ya, my dad taught me how to sew and how to cook, and you know, that don't make him no sissy. When he was in his boat and the sail gets ripped or the net gets wound up, he's got to sew it up again. Or when he's off in the woods, he's got to fix his own meal. He can't wait around for room service and wait for somebody else take care of his problem."
"So he was independent."
"Damn right! He didn't need nobody. All these young guys now, maybe they don't got their mommas cooking for them, but they just eat at McDonald's or whatever, and what's the difference? They can't take care of themselves and they're just little boys."
He began to put his sock back on.
"But you know, it's more than that. Being a man means having honor. More than anything else it's honor and respecting yourself."
"And how do you get that?" I asked.
"Well, we was arguing about that when I stepped in the puddle over there. My buddy said he figured it was giving money to his woman to pay for the kid, but I said he was thinking too small. Honor aint just doing what you're supposed to do anyway. That's called being adequate. Just doing what people need you to do is being adequate. Plenty of guys pay for their kids but don't have no honor."
"I guess it's going above and beyond what's expected of you." I suggested.
"Yeah, that's good, but even boys do that. A kid is real good at sports, does better than anyone expects, he's 'exceeding expectations' but he's still a kid."
"So what is it?" I was getting impatient for the revelation.
"It's doing what you're supposed to do, regardless of people's expectations, regardless of whether they even know you're doing it. Honor is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching."
I couldn't think of an argument or improvement to his theory and I told him so. He put on his shoe and we said goodbye.
I took a walk through the local cemetery (the Vanderbilt plot has a lovely view) and on the other side was a Kroger's grocery. Some people here seem to have opinions about which is better, Kroger or Publix (northern chains don't exist here) but they seem pretty much the same. You can sell wine in grocery stores in Georgia, which is a big improvement over New York or Delaware.
Something I had never seen up north was this:
As I was exiting the liquor store around the corner, I nearly walked into my mailman, who was getting some lunch. He seemed to be walking a little stiffly and I asked him if he were alright.
He turned to the cashier to conduct his business and, talking over his shoulder, mentioned how the warmer weather means more sweat, especially where the strap from his bag rubs his chest and back, and more especially in his crotch. He said the other day he put a thermometer down his pants and after a minute he pulled it out and it read 126°.
Walking home a little drunk at 3am, stop in at Kennedy Fried Chicken.
At this hour in this neighborhood, guys behind counters always seem happy to see a whitey stop in.
"Wings it is then. 6 pieces, please."
I first met my mailman when I happened to go out at the same time that he was putting in the mail, and I wasn't sure whether I should just ask him to hand it to me or leave it for later.
But he saw me and asked, "you wanna take it?"
So I did, and we exchanged pleasantries before I left, carrying my mail with me around town for the next 9 hours or so.
(4 credit card offers, 1 bill, 1 other thing)
The next time I met my mailman was at the liquor store around the corner. The store probably has a name, but the sign outside just says, "Liquor" so I don't know what else to call it.
I did something today.
I made coffee from previously-used grounds.
Experts say this would yield sour, bitter, terrible coffee.
In fact it was fine. It was weak, but not bad.
The idea came to me from having used a French press for my coffee for a long time. Often I leave the grounds swimming in water for up to 15 minutes before I depress the plunger.
Drip-coffee is based on the premise that coffee should have as little contact with water as possible.
Intro to Physical Computing Fall, 2003 Jeff Feddersen
No funny business this time. Just work. All sentences. In fragment form.
Dan got eggs and bacon at deli Friday morning.
I coveted his breakfast.
But why were the eggs so yellow?
I mean: Yellow.