Category Archives: dull boy jack

4. Think Coffee

I loved to get up before the break of dawn. There was little as fullfilling as to walk along the emptied streets in the morning, and to admire the twilight that beholds the city in a mysterious covering which is neither cold nor warmth. I lived on the south side of Williamsburg and took the brown line into the city. Seated in the shaking aluminum subway car across the Williamsburg bridge, passing over the East river, filled with a few half sleeping, half awake ghosts, I looked at the rising sun that stood low at the horizon, casting an orange red glow over the silhouette of New York. The illusion of the sun caused by the atmospheric refraction in the morning showed a more romantic perspective of the real world with its dull practical commonalities, even if it only formed an imperfect impression compared to the full light spectrum of the day. Through the H-beams of the bridge’s construction I discerned the futurist, fragmented view of the island in full motion. I recalled the soul of a soulless city by Nevinson.

I tried to imagine a view of the island as it must have appeared four hundred years ago, when Hudson sailed into the bay. A thick treeline of rich forest with a few rocky hilltops and some open fields. The lowest tip of the island was only half the width it was now and at what is now Pearl street, a glimmering waste belt of oyster shells lay piled on the East river’s shoreline, like the glass skyscrapers of the financial district now piled along the shore. The real richness then was the beaver pelt trade with the natives. The symbols of this origin are still visible on the city’s seal and the same motley crew of rough characters and odd nationalities made up the early settlement as the current city.

I got off at Bowery station and walked up to Houston and Bleecker, passing a group of homeless men sitting and chatting in front of the Bowery Mission. At Think Coffee I ordered a large latte and sat in the corner with my back to the wall, facing the Morrison Hotel Gallery and the Project Renewal across the street. I took my book out, and placed it next to my notebook, my pencil and pen. I often came here in the morning before going in to work, to breath the brisk air, sip hot coffee, and fill my heart with the inspiration of early thoughts before my mind would be shattered. For one to two hours I was free to imagine and I felt myself before it would all be taken from me for the day. I read for about thirty minutes in Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller, his most authentic book I believed. Ideas sprang forth from reading, and occasionally I jotted my notes down.

I looked up when destracted by the movements of the door opening when someone entered or left, if tables or chairs were shuffled around, and at times I was smitten by the tick of a face, a leg or a gesture. Across the street another group of homeless gathered before the entrance of the Project Renewal. While I was burdened by the petty responsibility of my job, these wanderers without any obligation had total freedom. The poem The New Colossus engraved on the pedestal of the statue of liberty by Emma Lazarus came to mind: give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. They only had one real problem, and that was food. All other ills were imaginary, but food was no problem to me, all other ills were. Mother of exiles, where had I lost my self?

3. Diptych on Falsity, Part I: On Beauty

Behind the industry of advertising there is a factory that creates the grand delusion of beauty. Out of its chimneys pours the steamy vapor of poisonous white forms into a make-belief sky. Above our heads, we bend our necks up, to see an ideal world in the clouds that slowly drift by. Behind the factory walls ambitious youths work relentlessly, each one believing they are the critical vanguard, the outstanding heroes of progress, the representatives of a new future. And each generation has its own haughty youth. There was a generation of the steam engine and the railroads, a generation of the automobile, a generation of television. There was the generation of the computer, an internet generation. Each generation runs their mills with its own chimneys of deceiving smoke, its social change as a result of technological advance, and each generation has the accompanying smog of pollution and imploding parvenu egos that float atop and measure their volatile image of beauty by their fleeting sexy potency.

Near the end of the work day, around half past four, I started to feel more and more anxious, and I was incapable of doing any more work for the remainder of the day. All day, I battled to work on the practical assignments that added another little feature or implemented some improved business logic to the larger system. But as I fought to concentrate and complete these chores, I completely lost my spirit. The modern capitalist system was magnificently balanced to exploit you without exhausting you, allowing you just enough days in the week off to restore your composition without gaining your strength, allowed you just enough time for lunch in the middle of the day to gather yourself again for the afternoon, but never to find yourself again. It was humane enough not to collapse, for you must be able to keep going, always this endless turning of the wheels. Unrest built in my heart with the prospect of leaving soon, to be able to regain a little of my strength, getting away from my screen and desk that sucked me empty, evading my coworkers’ dull faces that stared back at me with equally half human looks, reflecting my own dullness, and I kept weighing when it would be reasonable to get up and leave or what excuse I could utilize, keeping a balance between provoking the worst and keeping the best. I angered myself thinking of being stuck, having let myself be trapped, raging inside, so strongly that I was ready to explode with hatred. I had always carried a seed of primal, rudimentary angst, like any healthy teen but it had never sided, which under the right circumstances could burn up to smoldering flames of anger enlightening engulfing fires. As a teenager I was an angry young man, be it not channeled, but in the course of the years I had funneled my energy in a passionate obsession for literature, easing my worst anger. But now a fire raged in my chest, so high it scorned all my reasonable thoughts.

By the end of day, I run out to escape this deteriorating predicament, which really becomes unsustainable at this point. I have to prevent myself from evolving into an uncontrollable eruption of gory violence, I must leave, no matter it’s early still. I feel losing my mind, approaching the edge of an abyss that I fear, afraid to lose my inner calm. The absolute self control that I possessed normally did little to sooth my fear of self, for there is nothing so sacred as self. To work however was impossible. So, I pushed my chair under my desk, grabbed my book and coat and hurled out. I exited the elevator in a hurry, stepped out and standing in the street, immediately, I felt utterly relieved. All my disquiet absolved in an instant, as if it was the inner walls of the building that were bewitched. I walked up Broadway and turned on Bleecker street, regaining the pace of being myself. The ability to appreciate life, that outside was everywhere, in the smiles on people’s faces, in the sexy fashion, in the bright light, the shadows, and a feeling of consideration for others, for myself reemerged, and with it a sense of identity. I still felt empty, mentally exhausted, but also vigorous for having lived another day, for still owning tomorrow.

I walked to the Village Tavern on seventh avenue and Leroy street and ordered a Yuengling beer. I sat at the window stool, staring out onto the street at the gorgeous women of New York passing by. The beauty of each one mesmerized me for a single second and washed away my disquiet in the instance of their impression. I felt so happily aroused, observing the sunset above the skyline, the dullness of the day slowly flowed away and stirred in me the happy inspiration of the orange night. I could be in love with each single one of them, even if I forgot the previous girl I had fallen in love with, as soon as I fell in love with the next. I sipped my beer and my eyes followed these goddesses on the street. The muscled, tanned calves, the exposed full breasts, the athletic asses and broad shoulders or the lean arms, the bright eyes, the fierce lips, the iron clad goddesses that battled on the front of each working day, these mighty birds and snakes of beauty that I would serve if I had the opportunity, if they were not so goddamn busy all the fucking time.

I could think again, eureka. I took my little notebook out and put it in front of me. I placed my pen to the paper and thoughts streamed out. It was as simple as that. The falsity of advertising lay not within itself, I realized, but within the falsity of men. It was worse than I had suspected before, but at the same time it gave me a motive to resign, to let my anger falter. Although I despised this caste of advertising, they served no other gods than any of the others did. They were all subject to the same submission to a dream, the same weakness of man that he could only overcome by the hope of something better. Man needs the delusion of a flight upward to accept the real limitations of life. The beautification of reality to create a lure beyond our resistance, to create an appearance of possibilities, was what made men get up in the morning, go to work, and be happy with their fates. To lure us by the best of illusions with the worst of products, simply in order to sell them, so that we want them, and so to boost the profits of the men who make or possess them, regardless of their utility and fact, regarding only their appearance, this was treacherous, this was advertising, but necessary within man itself.
It was innate to the mind of man to want to be better than he is, because we want to become better men, we believe we can do better, and as we aspire this ideal, no matter how false, to present ourselves to ourselves and to others in a better light than we could possibly deserve, and in the end simply to win over a more admirable beauty that we can never own. All this was treacherous, but innocent, necessary. Advertising is but the arena of this imperfect man, we cannot be perfect and stop advertising a better self to ourselves, this would be to admit to nothingness, and people choose to consume what they desire in order to become what they desire to be. All was simple, necessary treason. These are the gods we save by advertising. In the philosophical sense, advertising was an endless cycle of suffering, never sufficiently or permanently satisfying our desires to end them, but a suffering that brings at least a crumb of satisfaction and happiness to man. If man had a desire for honesty, if man had no desire for suffering there would be no advertising, but there is advertising, there is man, and there is suffering.

2. Room with a View

Early in the morning and being the first to have arrived for work in an empty office, I stared at the line of mesh office chairs pushed against the wooden tops of the deserted desks forming a lane of vacant work stations. The single sound to be heard on my floor was the buzzing of the ventilation system that conditioned the air in the office and was accompanied by occasional ticks of the heating pipes. With the lights still turned off, suspended in a lapse of importance, these two hours in the morning were the only hours I was able to work. I churned out line after line, inventing cleverly structured pieces of code that would process millions of rows of data, applying calculations, summarizing related information, forming output, and persisting results. This morning I worked on a feature that allowed online advertising in real life to be targeted by time of day based on the local system time of a user’s computer. The business logic was described in sufficient detail and satisfying simplicity, and the technical implementation was designed including the foreseeable bottlenecks like daylight savings exceptions and technical preferences. But quickly, I ran into the first unforeseen, unadvertised difficulty of ten percent of missing and unknown IP to geo location mappings.

Nothing ever was as perfect as was hoped for. Instead, always expect the unexpected. The rule of imperfection never fails. Intelligence was and had always been nothing more than an essential flaw. It did not differ from the nature of progress in evolution as an unforeseeable, random mutation in the process of reproduction, which by trial and error, more often than not failed, and by exception only found a useful purpose in a small number of cases. The problem in Artificial Intelligence was that it was still considered to constitute a higher disposition instead being based in error. Similarly reason was still considered to be deliberate, intentional and creative. But reason was simply the capacity to repeat a perception, to literally copy it, and only in failing to do so, intelligence as the error of reason, stumbled upon a mutation which fit better to an ever changing world that the attempted repetition of prior action. The rule always applied, it was the only rule never to fail. As a reasonable person more than I was intelligent, however, I believed still in perfection, the subsequent failure of reality was highly disappointing.

More difficulties arose as I approached a best of possible solutions, never minded all its faults. I degenerately lost my motivation to do any more work. Infrequent footsteps crowded the office, chatter filled the space, people flocked in alone or in small groups. I discerned the broken sentences of the morning chit chat of coworkers, the social compulsions of the shallow jokes they made, which were rarely funny, but did not fail to stir uncomfortable laughter so typical of uneasy company, careful murmur, occasional limbic activity, laughter, constituting a cautious cognitive awakening, excited by the expectation of soon-to-be pleasure that followed solving practical problems, the furnaces of people’s minds heating up, while in me these functions now reciprocally all died out. My irritation and agitation were simple signs of the social rejection that I enforced. I did not belong here, I was desperate to think why I was here. The energetic concern for petty tasks, the full mental involvement in this artificial group bonding that took place among a collection of random young professionals, to feel empathy for everyone’s shallow objectives, they made up the essential talent for success, and I lacked these talents passionately. I could not impose any sign of interest and convince others of my pretended interest veined for the useful purpose of business, and the whole house of cards, that forms a person’s career in life, collapsed before me, with the drought of other people’s presence scurrying around the office. It was a fate I no longer feared, but I had become lethargic toward, I went my way, and carved my path through the rock, chiseling patiently until the day was over.

All could be doubted but doubt, I know to know nothing, all Cretans lie. Once you know, it is impossible to forget certain insights, nevertheless their simplicity. Once you seek to know the truth, to forget is to be lost forever, and who can ever go back to a state of falsity again, who can sleep with open eyes. I could serve my own falsities at least like in a game or experiment, but not those of others. I could only resign to being present to theirs.

The wall of murmur grew higher until it had reached the cacophonous flood levels of the working day and I was unable to surf the relentless rolling waves of stupidity and lack of meaning. My brain drowned in this endless activity of rolling up this stone up the hill and in the consequent state of nothingness I managed only to do nothing, sitting defeated at the foot of the mountain, defeated. The chaos of another day of boredom had arrived, passivity overwhelmed me. Some chairs were pulled back, the squeaking of plastic wheels and cheap hydraulic springs pressing down or veering up, announced the activity of other worker bees. The hollering of self imploded opinions with the air of presumed fact, the delirious buzzing, the back and forth arguments of arbitrary hunches, the rushed pacing of continuously running late, ever so being busy as a result, the glorious imposture of everything being eternally important, nothing ever ending to be, business as usual, we are now all enclosed by our own point of view, and each point relentlessly rolled over me like an avalanche. Papers rustling while being ripped from blocknotes, notebooks and personal computers starting up, pens scribbled down jots of thoughts. Sales reps should be able to reserve a campaign. But for how long by default, would it expire without confirmation, and should the forecasting consider a reservation before it is finalized? These were all very, very important and even more interesting questions. In a flash I realized these challenges could be my life, if only I grasped it. I immediately thought of killing myself. I rolled my chair back, stood up and went to take a pee. I locked the door to the private water closet. State regulation for multiple water closets in a row demanded them to be divided by separation walls. I unzipped my pants, pulled down my underwear, sat down, picked up the New York Post from the water reservoir and started reading the outrageous headlines. I pushed back the foreskin of my penis and started to jerk off. The sperm ejaculated and landed in the puddle of clear water in the bowl. The same water that was used to flush the toilet was used as tab water for drinking. The spring water company filled its tanks for its fountains with the same water before it was directed down the Catskills aquaduct heading toward the city, and drove the bottles in trucks down for delivery. I wondered why and how this was happening, ripped a sheet of toilet paper and dried my glans. I imagined each attractive woman in the office drinking a cup of water contaminated with large drops of my cum. Back at my desk, I stared with a dull interest at my co workers and couldn’t decide if I should say something. In the end I decided not to and I looked up the system of the Catskill water supply of New York City on the internet.

1. Pier 34

The warming sun and brisk air of the morning still echoed in my chest around noon as my thoughts were compulsively drawn out of my office in the city into the open air, to escape and breathe the waterly winds at the harbor side. I decided to take a walk to pier 34 during my lunch break and sit on one of the two fingers of the boardwalk that connected the Holland Tunnel Vent Shaft to the Hudson river boulevard. It was only a ten minutes walk to the river from my downtown office, but rarely did any of my coworkers exceed the two blocks radius around the office. Instead they choose to confine themselves for lunch and restrict their lunch time to eating at their desks take-out in foam boxes from the Korean owned deli’s, a sugar coated doughnut from the Bengali breakfast or gyros from one of the many Middle Eastern street carts on the sideways of the city. I resented this imprisonment as if it formed an self-chosen exile of the imagination, a preliminary taste of death.

Close to noon, I scurried out and walked toward the corner of Broadway and Houston. I looked briefly at the two artists suspended in a carriage above the traffic, applying a new advertisement design to a blind wall of the office building on the south-east corner. They painted over an old DKNY wall advertisement of a silhouette of New York City. In their hands the scaled blueprints of what appeared to be a new advertisement for Hollister in a dull sand brown. Dulling! I thought, there is nothing left to chance. Every day tourists had halted to be mesmerized by the DKNY ad facing the Adidas flagship store and had their picture taken in front of it. It was the face of advertising in New York, and in the last year it had become iconic, the closest expression of artistry in a world that sucked the talents of a manifold crowd of youngsters.

I turned the corner and walked west by the Angelika Film Center. Posters hang in large window frames advertising the latest new movie ‘Whatever Works’ by Woody Allen, the archetypal clown of the city, a movie called the Baader Meinhof Complex about the Rote Armee Fraktion, and Extract. I passed the entrance with its round chrome steps leading to the cashier behind her fishbowl glass window, which always left a kind of magical impression on me, reminding me of the sad state I was in. Here was a world to escape to. Here you leave behind the numbing reality with it predictable routines and you stepped into the unpredictable world of erratic dreams and impossible hopes. The threshold to enter was eight steps high, but who had time to. Then, temporary for a lost gap in time, le grand plouf into the world of imagination. Forget your worries, forget boredom, live the life of the stars, your dreams coming true for a moment, before you were puked out again on the potholed asphalt of the New York City streets two hours later facing the bored reality that you could trust was always there waiting for you.

I crossed sixth avenue and stopped at the Blue Ribbon Bakery Market to buy an olive chiabatta, still warm and crunchy, and a square of soft Hudson Valley goat brie for lunch. I meandered through the narrow streets of the West Village toward the pier, and passed the West Side Highway. On the other side of the highway, I peeked through the entrance of the pier 40 building at a group of static kids throwing a baseball at each other in the grass field of the inner yard. I continued and sat down on one of the benches on the southern finger of the pier, letting the sun grown warmer and warmer on my face with my eyes closed. I stared at the oversized seagulls by Ron Baron, in the dark water below, which I had mistaken for real, living if somewhat fat crane birds, the first time I saw them, as I was blinded by the sun that was set high in the southern sky. I was afraid they would hover over me like a thief at the theater, preying for my lunch. An occasional jogger ran by before me, the sun shone intensely. I took my shirt off, revealing my pale, incarcerated chest, void of life, while I unpacked my bread and cheese. Through the fierce beams of sun light I distinguished a squeezed view of the diminished Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. Her torch burning, guiding the refugees of the past, toward the promise of a better future. But for many there only awaited the bitter disappointments of peddling the remote and dangerous countryside of the mid and wild west, or the inhumane sweatshops where they shared the fate of a day laborer no better than that of the negro slaves. And yet this illusion, this false dream had never died and stopped to appeal new hopeful huddled masses. How desperate is the soul of mankind to hope against reason, to believe rather than to know with certainty, to prefer the illusion of certainty over the truth of uncertainty.

I tore some bread apart and chew on a piece of brie. How perfectly calm I felt with a simple meal, rich in taste and filling the senses rather than filling the stomach. I became swallowed by the afternoon, by time, eating my lunch and feeling the river’s breeze against my heated body and face. The senses, taste, smell, feeling, it all came back to me, my imagination. From a distance, staring east away from the sun, I saw the undisturbed silhouette of the financial district’s skyscrapers, the palaces of capital incorporating the hectic of bankers and beggars, the gains and losses, the human greed, and the human suffering, greed and pity. This greed never stopped, it always rushed on, behind the the pale glass reflection of the silhouette. Behind me, the world of advertising and fashion, that fed and was fed by this greedy capital, that so many chased, higher and higher, reinventing beauty, because it always remained volatile, no matter how persistently these modern Tantaluses pursued it. I lost my sense of time and place in this pursuit. It was life that was filling me now. I realized that I was at the banks of a major sea port on the Atlantic and not in the middle of a blinded labyrinth of sky scrapers. The odor of the Hudson water, although not very salty, even at the river’s edge you never smelt the sea, its sensation was refreshing. I felt the approaching sun, closer and closer on my flight back to life.

The Muse of Womanhood

Walking to Think Coffee in the morning, before work, I feel a sad deprivation, a calm coldness without shiver, an absence of libido. I haven’t felt sexually excited all weekend, and in consequence I wasn’t able to concentrate or find any inspiration. Maybe it is my propensity to perpetually seek a sexual context, and in the absence of it, I feel impotent. I flirt and the boredom of the day disappears, a joy captivates my heart to see her smile. I stare and the light of the flesh uplifts my heart. The muse of womanhood incites a awe of imagination in me that I can believe in. I have always been civic about my sexual urge, I have always been selective, another disposition that is not always the most beneficial perhaps.
This weekend I panicked to think I would never sleep with a woman any more for the rest of life. I was satisfied to innocently flirt, even just talk, to feel a gentle hug saying good bey, or even be near a woman distantly. There would be something to do then still. My loving eyes are scanning the streets for a beautiful doll, it is not even lust, but the pleasure of beauty, the yearning for romance evoked at the first sight of a female’s face. The studies say this feeling exists independently from the attachments people form. I confirm that this shallow craving that possesses the body as well as mind, is like the wind that blows in the sails of a boat on a calm sea. It is not a rudder that sets the course, it is not an anchor that ties one down to the bedrock.

Shielded from the bending trees

A winter day, cold and clear like an autumn day. Shielded from the bending trees, the wet air, and the pavement, reminders of the morning hail. I stare outside the window, as a far observer. As the the day is lost, in nothingness, in goalless passing, I slowly grow aware of the opportunities that exist here to create a viable commercial product. Maybe I too have grown and excelled in the last months. Admitted, I am not determined by nature, maybe my late age of opportunity is a potent and clear signal of that. A silent witness of a wasted load, I realize my aim. I have always felt destined for something, I have always felt to have enough innate predestination, talent, and I also never felt ready, never felt sufficient, there was always another step to be made, there was always another day until tomorrow. I realized I was not in the right circumstances, not in the perfect moment, to reach and grasp, and to create the opportunities that were possible before me. There were too many imperfectly matching pieces in the puzzle, too many dust particles in the beams of light. Caught between these, I saw such immature possibilities. I am not a total loner, not among the notes of music at least, too one sided in my own capacity to follow a single line, my own except, and so I am in the hands of the unfinished time, unclosed circles. I am waiting for the lips to be in sync with the words that are spoken. When I am almost ready, my soul is silent. The tracks never run parallel and I wait. I wait for the musical singer to fall back in line with the choir, on the right beat, but realizing this will occur only by coincidence. Each moment that I awaited disappears again.
But now I am no longer dependent, in contrary, it is me who is the dependency, if the perfect chain breaks, it is because of my fault. My friend T. is faultless in the right opportunity to work out right. Of course I believe my own path leads me fastest to my goal. My niche is colored by its own light. My niche is to write neo-classic nihilist pamphlets that express the post war type of optimism that characterizes me, rallied by a strong will to survive the destined fate that we cannot escape, to enjoy, the seek pleasure, to undergo the experiences like a self-objectified subject, the mirror image within us. This remoteness of the self is a clear and inseparable identity of strength. In a new language, I speak, still looking to find the right words, the right tone, the logical sense for the meaning and form that will define me.

Rocco’s Pasteries

Rocco’s is one of those typical Italian pastery shops in New York whose cookies, cakes and pasteries are incomparable to any anywhere else and you ought to go taste them if you are in New York, it will change your opinion on and attitude toward obesity for good.


The fading colors of Beacon, New York

The train ride from New York to Beacon on the Hudson Line goes literally only meters away from the waterside of the Hudson, past Spuyten Duyvil, Yonkers, and Garrison. North of Manhattan rise up the high peaks of the Englewood cliffs, but then the softer hillsides on the Jersey side dominate the landscape. The most impressive sight is formed by the view at the historic bastion of Westpoint’s citadel, which stands tall and sheltered by its own remoteness on the top of the cliff across Garrison Landing. At Garrison station the first year cadets that will form the elite of tomorrow’s American army attract attention with their obligatory uniforms, their gray tops and white hats. Here is the history of the nation being conserved.

From behind the high doors of the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church on Main Street, Beacon, loud cheering and singing can be heard on a brisk but sunny Sunday morning. The black folks of Beacon unlike their white citizens are not enjoying the country western performances at the Harvest festival, but they’re praising the Good Message of their Lord. Down at the river side, the harvest theme prevails in the autumn bouquets, the embroidered children clothes and the Halloween pumpkins. There is nothing like American segregation, although there is little openly talk about it. On the side of the gas station up East Main Street, three hooded black teens hang around killing their boredom, as three old guys in their fifties on their Sunday’s Harley Davidson bikes rumble by the Yankee Clipper Diner toward Route 84. Man, the glory of America is faded away in these provincial towns. The abandoned premises of the Unico Special Products factory at the Fishkill Creek offers a bright sight of a dim America in autumn. In 2003 still listed on the list of The 888 most dangerous workplaces in New York State, now closed down. The autumn foliage is changing the leaves and trees along the water, alternating the slope of nearby Bald Hill in a colorful spectacle. The broad water of the Hudson river washes it all away, down to the Hudson Bay, to the Long Island Sound, to the Atlantic.

View a video impression of Westpoint’s Citadel from the Hudson Line train:
high [0.34 sec – 23.2MB]
low [0.34 sec – 0.44MB]