marching for our (kids’) lives

03/24/2018

Today was the March for Our Lives, organized in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, but expanded to encompass so much more than that. For too long, the entire “debate” around gun control, or even the most basic attempts at minimal regulation that couldn’t even be described by any reasonable person as “control”, have been driven by the gun manufacturers’ lobby, otherwise known as the NRA. Having seen attempts to get anything done in the aftermath of myriad shootings get caught up in their rhetoric in the past, I honestly don’t know how this ends, but I’ve never felt this hopeful before. After Sandy Hook, I just felt despair – I remember writing posts on social media practically begging for something to change, and just…knowing that nothing would. But people don’t sit at home and write posts on social media anymore. Well, they do, but those posts are to organize and take to the streets. The biggest march today was in Washington, but as of last count, there were 817!! sister marches around the world.

The New York City march started (as they all do these days) at my front door. So I headed out this morning in my most comfortable shoes and my puffy vest that leaves my arms free to take pictures, and I took a bunch. I wasn’t close enough to the speaker stand to see anything, but I was really impressed that most of the speakers were young people. The two recognizably “adult” people were the librarian from Sandy Hook elementary school who survived the shooting there, and the mother of a shooting victim from NYC. There was also a significant emphasis on black lives matter and the fact that, despite the obvious attention the shootings and schools like sandy hook and parkland receive, black kids are ten times as likely to be victims of gun violence than white kids. That should not be forgotten. It’s also not just about school safety. It’s about life safety.

On another note, from the moment I entered the march, and throughout, there were teams of people trying to register folks to vote, checking to make sure people were registered to vote, reminding people to vote, etc. That is the most important thing right now. Nothing happens if we don’t vote in November.

Anyway, here are the pictures.

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#womensmarch2018

01/21/2018

It’s been a year. An entire year since the inauguration. And a year since we created the largest protest in the history of our country. There have been more protests since then, and activism, and donating money, and time, and explaining to my dentist that I’m grinding my teeth like never before, and living every day like there’s another shoe (or worse) about to drop.

But it’s been a year. So we marched again.

Last year it was enormous, but organizationally complicated. This year it was simple. They started this year in my neighborhood. The entrance (until it got so crowded that the police had to keep moving it northward) was literally my street. So after I finished up my morning routine (including, yes, the aforementioned dentist), I fortified myself with some lunch, got my camera, and just walked out my front door right into the middle of things.

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recycling

08/6/2017

I realized I haven’t posted anything in about a month, despite the fact that I always still take take pictures. Here’s one I took about a month ago, walking around the village one evening. I love the idea that they re-used the old sign as the base. My theory is actually that new hanging signs like this are actually prohibited (because they have the potential to fall on people’s heads), but the old/existing signs are grandfathered in, so these guys found a loophole. Which is awesome.

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subway

04/16/2017

It was a long and arduous process, but over the decades, the New York City subway eventually adopted Helvetica as the font of the NYCT system. The really classic mosaic designs of the IRT system are (to my mind) more beautiful, but for sans serif fonts, nothing beats helvetica.

(I may be biased – helvetica is also the principal font on this site)

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(not my) presidents’ day

02/20/2017

On a technical level, I recognize that trump won the election based on the rules as they are written. The fact that he and his cronies/backers/the russians may have gamed the system to influence voters (at best) or possibly outright rigged the system (at worst), is something that we need a better remedy for than relying on the integrity of members of his own party who view him, despite their whispered, off-the-record misgivings about his sanity, as a convenient patsy to sign their starve-the-poor legislation (at least for the time being).

So, yet again, this is what we do. It’s presidents’ day, so people took to the streets again to protest. In NYC, the main rally was very conveniently in my own neighborhood, and so I just wandered down central park west – since this was a little more planned than the immigrant ban protests, the signs and costumes were a bit wittier and funnier, and the whole thing was a bit better organized (and controlled by the police). I didn’t stay all day – once the main stage started playing some truly awful free jazz (yes, I know, insert every liberal stereotype here), I decided that was a subliminal method of crowd control and I willingly complied. The photos are pretty self-explanatory. as aways, click on the thumbnails after the page finishes loading to see the full image.

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the new world

02/4/2017

We hear it said all the time. America is a nation of immigrants. To a greater or lesser extent, for those of us whose families came here over the past half a millennia, this is true. This is not true, of course, for the native americans who were already here and might have a bone to pick with the notion that we were immigrants and not invaders. This is also not true for the millions of african americans whose ancestors were kidnapped and brought here in chains.

But make no mistake. the overwhelming mass of people controlling the government, manning our borders, making decisions about “who we are” as a people? have roots that are not on this continent.

We are a nation of immigrants, refugees, slaves, and their descendants. We have, by and large, always struggled with what this means. There have been some ugly times in our past, even in the 20th century – from restrictive immigration laws to Japanese internment. But those are things that we studied and looked at from our late 20th/early 21st century viewpoint as how we failed as a society.

We’re failing again. Last weekend, the trump regime signed an order, late on a Friday (after anyone who could provide administrative guidance had gone home for the weekend) barring already-vetted legal visa-holding travelers to the US. It threw airports into chaos. Refugees who had spent years being vetted (and yes, despite claims to the contrary, we spend years vetting refugees), landed in the US and were immediately sent back to the danger they were fleeing. Green card holders who have lived here for decades, who have homes and families here, were being barred from entry for the crime of taking a vacation or going to a conference on the wrong day.

This is ugly, and un-American. and so we did what we do now. People turned up at airports around the country in force, and in public spaces to protest this. Because some of us remember history. And some of us simply know that this is not who we are. Courts are now stepping in and every single one is slamming this obviously racist, over broad, unconstitutional order.

These are photos from last Sunday’s protest in Battery Park and march to Foley Square.

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drugstore

01/26/2017

Most of NYC has been overtaken by the Walgreens/Duane read-ification of every open storefront, but there are still a few, lonely independent drugstores (with fantastic neon signs) that continue to survive, at least until their leases expire. My own independent shop shut down a few years back and simply notified us that all of our accounts were being transferred to the closest Duane Reade. Monopolies are fun!

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3 years, 364 days to go…

01/22/2017

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am a bit of an introvert. I get pretty severe anxiety at the thought of being in giant crowds, and even when I go out with friends, it’s pretty rare that I don’t have some sort of exit plan. I’ve been known to have “shut down” moments, where I just…hit a wall and need to leave immediately – it has nothing to do with the company I’m with but with my own capacity.

This post/link I read a few months back explains the feeling really well (and also why I woke up this morning with what felt like a massive hangover, despite having less than one beer after everything yesterday).

All that is to explain why there was no way I was going to Washington. But I did force myself, even against my natural inclinations, to get out to the march for women’s rights in NY. Because it was just too important.

So, yes, the introverts showed up. Attempts to meet up with most of my friends (except one) failed, but it was a blast, and more importantly, it was deeply powerful to feel so much less alone.

I said the following on Facebook yesterday, but it bears repeating here: …the real reason I’m going to sleep better than I have in months tonight is just the incredible feeling I had today being among SO MANY people who turned out to support each other at this time, not just in our coastal enclaves, but on all seven continents, and all over this country, in blue states and deep red states like West Virginia.

THIS is what democracy looks like.

All this is a precursor to my photos from yesterday. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge. (The pics are pretty self explanatory, so I didn’t individually caption most of them in the interests of not taking three years to get through writing this post)

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