Dream, Part 2.

The universe is coming closer to realizing my dream.  Check out this video.

The Official Ralph Lauren 4D Experience – New York from Ralph Lauren on Vimeo.

Also, this video below gave me chills:

Songs of desperation

It’s been more than a month.  And yet I can’t stop coming back to this song.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Some moments are indelible.

Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

songs of desperation
I played them for you
a moment, a love
a dream, a laugh
a kiss, a cry
our rights, our wrongs
a moment, a love
a dream, a laugh
a moment, a love
a dream, a laugh
just stay there
cause i’ll be comin over

Sa plus transcendante…

Back from Montreal.  What an amazing city.  As a coincedence, I just came across the song “Dans la lune” by Zazie.  Being in French, it reminded me of Montreal.  And it is sexy as hell.  Have a listen here or below.

Consumption Junction

Lately, I’ve been kicking around this idea. Rather than being defined by what I do or create, I have allowed myself to be defined by what I consume.  Moreover, through social consumption, I have taken an active role in this transformation.

Much consumption is personal.  I read the news that someone else creates.  I read links that others have promoted, to stories, videos, and pictures that still others have created.  I listen to music and movies created by other people.  Food prepared by others is delivered to me by other others.  I’m a “Blackberry person” or an “Iphone person.”  Even worse, I buy into the hype of future consumption, anticipating the next great thing.  Most of all, I’ve bought in to the idea that my choices in consumption somehow define me.

Moreover, consumption is increasingly collaborative.  And by sharing my consumption, I define myself to others in tiny increments.  Any time I’ve shared a link over email, Google Reader, or Facebook, any time I’ve asked a friend whether they watch Dexter, I’m micro-self defining.  In this way, we seek social approval.  I’m not the loser who watches The Apprentice, I’m the cool guy who watches The Wire.  Not only that, we track each other’s consumption, on sites like Facebook, Google Reader, Netflix, and so on.  Why, this very blog is oftentimes merely a memorialization of consumption, and you are consuming it right now.

I cannot claim ownership of the concept of “social consumption.”  One author wrote in February 2010 that “we pour[] much of our energy into expressing individuality through our consumption” (and yes, I recognize the irony of referencing another to validate my views on consumption).  Moreover, the marketing types who are hard at work pushing you in one direction or the other have recognized this phenomenon as well.  In the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, two authors conclude in the Fall of 2006 that:

The analysis showed that materialism correlated significantly with social consumption motivation and a mid-range level of opinion leadership, and was a significant and important predictor of time spent shopping and spending. Results suggest that materialists are sensitive to the social acceptability and communicative ability of products and brands.

From Wikipedia: Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.

I’m not saying I have a new idea.  Even by this post, I have not really created anything.  Most of what I’ve said here is probably said better in Fight Club.  I don’t I have an answer, other than perhaps awareness.  But isn’t that the way it is, every goddamned time?

Born to Run

1. My buddy Chris lent me this book, Born to Run.

If I finish this book (which I hope to), it will be the first book I have finished since law school. This is an accomplishment in and of itself.

2. In addition, the book has inspired me to run more, and run smarter. This past Thursday I ran/walked 5.34 miles, for probably the first time ever. Previously, I thought I could not do this, as an old ankle injury (I broke my ankle in four places when I was 14 or 15 years old) caused chronic problems, such as achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and general pain and discomfort in the ankle, after prolonged running. Born To Run taught me to focus on every footfall, minimize heel impact, and listen to my body’s signals. As a result, I had little or no discomfort after the 5 mile run. I started out from 38th, then over to the West Side Highway park at 34th, then down to Morton Street and back up to 38th via the West Side Highway. Doing this gave me renewed hope that I could try distance running. While it’s probably too hot these days to run (this week is in the high 90’s), I hope to get in some more runs on the West Side Highway when things cool down. If I continue along this path, I plan to reward myself by getting some tracking gear, like the NIKE+ Ipod or the Garmin Forerunner.

3. Peggy Noonan is probably my favorite conservative columnist. She was a former speechwriter for Reagan and an amazing writer. She recently wrote a very poignant story titled “A Cold Man’s Warm Words” relating to the authoring of the Declaration of Independence, and specifically the pain Thomas Jefferson experienced as he watched his words cut down by committee. This passage was perhaps the best:

Jefferson had, in his bill of particulars against the king, taken a moment to incriminate the English people themselves—”our British brethren”—for allowing their king and Parliament to send over to America not only “soldiers of our own blood” but “foreign Mercenaries to invade and destroy us.” This, he said, was at the heart of the tragedy of separation. “These facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us renounce forever” our old friends and brothers. “We must endeavor to forget our former love for them.”

Well. Talk of love was a little much for the delegates. Love was not on their mind. The entire section was removed.

And so were the words that came next. But they should not have been, for they are the tenderest words.

Poignantly, with a plaintive sound, Jefferson addresses and gives voice to the human pain of parting: “We might have been a free and great people together.”

What loss there is in those words, what humanity, and what realism, too.

“To write is to think, and to write well is to think well,” David McCullough once said in conversation. Jefferson was thinking of the abrupt end of old ties, of self-defining ties, and, I suspect, that the pain of this had to be acknowledged. It is one thing to declare the case for freedom, and to make a fiery denunciation of abusive, autocratic and high-handed governance. But it is another thing, and an equally important one, to acknowledge the human implications of the break. These were our friends, our old relations; we were leaving them, ending the particular facts of our long relationship forever. We would feel it. Seventeen seventy-six was the beginning of a dream. But it was the end of one too. “We might have been a free and great people together.”

To me, those words showed a real sense of lament over the split, and one that is often overlooked by history. The second emotion that resonated with me was the pain Jefferson surely experienced as the words he agonized over were whittled down by committee. That is an experience to which all lawyers can certainly relate.

Crosstown Traffic

Last night, I jumped in a cab from the West Village (Bleecker and Grove).  As he dropped me off and I began to get my wallet to pay the fare, a warning message flashed across the in-cab television: “Warning, you have been charged an out of town fare.”  You would think that after this NYTimes expose, and the resulting communal outrage, that cabbies would have known better than to try this scam. In any case, after the warning message flashed, I checked the meter, and sure enough, the number “4” was right on the side (higher fare code for Nassau and Westchester cab rides).  I was furious, and told the cabbie I wasn’t going to pay him a cent, since he tried to scam me.  I exited the cab and he came after me, getting in my way, demanding payment, and ignoring the fact that I caught him.  After some short words, a bystander informed me there was a cop nearby, who I flagged down.  Once the cabdriver realized that I was going to involve the police he jumped back quickly into his cab to make a getaway, but it was too late.  The cops flagged him down, checked his hack license, and quickly determined he was a cabbie for 15 years, which led the cop to believe that the overcharge was not a mistake.  The cop issued the cabbie a summons and will be testifying against him, and invited me to do the same.  Hopefully, he gets his license revoked like these guys.  The worst part was, we were both Punjabi – whats with the Indian on Indian crime?