Monday, October 31, 2005

NYC Post #9: Brooklyn - Downtown Brooklyn - Fort Greene / Clinton Hill - THE BROOKLYN NAVY YARD


New York City, First Quest, First Installment


While neighborhood is emphatically important in New York City, boundaries and perceptions are not as strictly set as in Chicago. The city evolves at a much faster pace, with demographics sometimes leapfrogging each other. Moreover, the prominence of Manhattan as the commerical center has reinforced the notion that all outer buroughs are primarily residentially oriented.

This might be why the area identified on maps and in guides as "Downtown Brooklyn" includes only a relatively modest business district and municipal center, which is generally overshadowed in favor of two prominent residential areas: Brooklyn Heights to the southwest and Fort Greene/Clinton Hill to the northeast.

Since Jessica and I live in the latter, it makes sense to start exploring New York City close to home.


There are boundaries set, of a sort, for Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. There is, however, an area connected to this neighborhood to the north but outside of the boundaries, which I am going to call "Navy Yard" after the area's most prominent feature. The "fringe" area is bordered on the south by Myrtle Avenue and on the north by the Navy Yard and Flushing Avenue. The western boundary is Flatbush Avenue, and the east is Classon. It is bisected from east to west by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which is elevated about thirty feet above Park Avenue.

Looking east along Park Ave.
Looking west along Park Ave.

North of Park, the neighborhood is primarily residential, being divided between a mixture of apartment buildings and subdivided homes and brownstones, as well as public housing high-rises:

Looking towards the Navy Yard from Adelphi St. Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in the Foreground.
The Walt Whitman Homes from under Park Ave.
A public school.

South of Park, the neighborhood is mixed industrial and residential. Manufacturing interests have probably been located here at least since the turn of the century, taking advantage fo parts demands from the Navy Yard shipyard, as well as the suitable infrastructure.

Another school.
Graffiti on a factory.
The Commodore John Berry Park.
Sacred Heart Church Pictures One and Two. Presently chained and closed, as I learned the hard way on Sunday morning.
Self-Storage America.


Half of the area on the map associated with the Navy Yard is the Yard itself. The district has a compelling history; that is, one that goes back to the Revolutionary era, and was one of the most important early sites in Brooklyn during that conflict. I had a golden opportunity to photograph this in late September, when the Navy Yard offered its first ever tour to the public. Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera are dead. Below are some pictures I've taken from the outside, though a few are blurred*. These are followed by an account of the Navy Yard itself.

Building #275.
The sign on Building #280.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is the home of Sweet N'Low.
A look into the Navy Yard.
The Main Entrance on Cumberland Avenue.
The Navy Yard from Flushing Avenue.
Building #30, Civil War Era.
The Navy Yard from Flushing and Carlton.
Picture One and Two of views into the Navy Yard.
Pictures One and Two of windows.
Pictures One and Two of Building #77, windowless, and originally used for the storage of munitions.
Pictures One and Two of the Steiner Motion Picture Studios and Manhattan in the background.

I was fortunate on the weekend of September 24th to be able to take a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard through an "Open House New York," allowing access to off-limit parts of the city in all five buroughs. For weeks I'd considered "slipping in," but until sixty years ago tresspassing as punishible by death**, and they're still incredibly strict.

The land presently occupied by the Navy Yard was originally swampland owned by John Jackson, but the true drama of its history emerged during the Revolutionary War. The British held New York during this period, and most colonial prisoners-of-war were boarded on prison ships. In the lightless, wet, and cramped quarters, disease was epidemic, and around 11,000 prisoners died from sicknesses ranging from typhus to gangrene. The cadavers were thrown over the side and into the swamp bordering Brooklyn, so that for a full century afterward, jagged bones cropped up in the Navy Yard.

There was, of course, no way to properly identify the bodies, so they were lain to rest in a cemetery occupying a corner of the Yard, while several bodies were interred at a special memorial erected in Fort Greene Park. The land, however, was too valuable to remain empty, so the U.S. Navy purchased the land from John Jackson in 1801. During the early years of the United States, it was one of the nations busiest shipyards, emplying from 5,000 to 75,000 workers. Along with literally hundreds of battleships and destroyers, the Navy Yard was also where the Moniter was built, the Union's answer to the Confederate Merrimac and one of the first steam-powered vessels, as well as the Niagara, responsible for setting the first transatlantic cable.

The Navy Yard was at its busiest during World War II, but the Navy began selling off the property to the city beginning in 1966. For many years the property was essentially unused, but a few years ago, the city passed control onto the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization that operates the facities as an industrial park to secure a manufacturing center in central New York City. Today over 220 companies and 4,000 people utilize the Navy Yard's 300 acres. $100 million (including $85 million of electrical reconfiguation) has been spent to modernize the Navy Yard. The goal of the BNYDC is both the most efficient utilization of the space for industry and self-sufficiency. At the outset of the tour we were told that the manufacturing future of the site was secure, since any adjustment would require changes in local, state, and federal law, due to the Yard's unique status.

* * * * *

Our tour began at the Cumberland entrance, and we drove back along Morris Ave. to Dry Dock #1, past the oldest, pre-Civil war sections of the Yard, although many structures are more recent, and there were tracks throughout studded with craneways. The speed limit is 18 throughout, which is a number corresponding to "life" in Hebrew, posted to discourage speeding.

The first major stop was Dry Dock #1 of 4, the smallest, best-functioning of the Yard's Dry Docks and, built in 1851, considered to be one of the oldest in the world. It is one of four "landmarks" in the Yard. The thirty-foot deep depression is built of recessed brick and granite, adjacent to the East River. Locks enclose a damaged or incomplete vessel separate from the river, then pumps excise water into the river so that ships can be repaired. The dry dock is considered an engineering masterwork not only for its age and resilience, and for being one of its kind, but because the design also takes into consideration the upward pressure of subterranean springs, utilizing an inverted arch as a brace.

After exploring the western section, we drove down Paulding St. past Steiner Studios. Dramatically instituted after what was essentially a bidding war between the combined forces of Robert diNiro and Rudy Giuliani and the Steiner family (I am happy to report that the forces of light won out), construction began on what will eventually be the largest recording studio on the East Coast. To date, films such as On the Town, Shaft 2, and Kiss of Death has been filmed here. A Spike Lee joint is currently filming.

In the easternmost extreme are the other three designated landmarks. First, there's a US Naval Hospital, with barred basement rooms for wounded Confederate soldiers. Both exterior and interior were solid and plainly adorned, set stone with, of course, that institutional asbestos smell throughout. The building may eventually be rehability, but due to its mass and the weight-bearing walls, the endeavor would be an incredible expense.

We also toured the Surgeon's residence, which was in questionable shape, though we were told it was structurally sound, and will probably be reahabbed in the near future. Since I don't have photos, I will post the more technical description of these sites from The Landmarks of New York: An Illustrated Record of the City's Historic Buildings by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel:

Built in 1830-38 the US Naval Hospital (formerly the US Marine Hospital) is a two-story, 125-bed Greek Revival structure in the shape of an E. The refined granite building contains a recessed portico with eight classical piers of stone that reach the full height of the building.

Occupying the same property as the hospital, the Surgeon's House follows the style of the French Second Empire with its low, concave mansard roof and dormer windows. It is a two-story brick structure divided into two main sections, the house proper and a servant's wing, together totaling sixteen rooms. The symmetrical entrance facade has a central doorway flanked by segmental arches and low balustrades. Also on the first floor is a handsome, projecting three-sided bay window; on the second floor, segmental-arched winodws rest on small corbel blocks. The side elevations of the house show both segmental-arched and square-headed windows.

The final Landmark, was the Commandant's house, which we did not visit. Our guides informed us that 7 acres are still owned by the Navy and they are "in awful shape," with the Nurses' Quarters and the Officers' Club onld "held together by the fact that molecules" like each other.


South of the Navy Yard, on Clinton near Myrtle, is the last true Greek Revival house built in Brooklyn. It has been restored to its original condition, including clapboard siding and temple front.

From The Landmarks of New York:

In 1836, Rem Lefferts and his brother -in-law John Laidlaw purchased number 136 Clinton Avenue and the adjacent vacant lot. They moved a small, existing house to the read where it became part of the service wing for the villa. Leffert's sister-in-law, Amelia Lefferts, then occupied the house with her three children, including Marshall Lefferts, who became an inventor and a commander during the Civil War. The house was restored in the late 1970s and early 1980s and is still a private residence.

Pictures One and Two of the house.
Corner pilaster and Corithian column.

* The Navy Yard is actually the source of all the images for this blog in Gravitane 28. The background is an old image from Harpers magazine, the square image features the main entrance at Cumberland. The rectangular images reature Buildings #280, #3, and #77.

** Actually, I'm skeptical about the literality of this threat. I suspect its historical basis is that trespassing on a military facility could be considered treason, and high treason is, of course, punishible by death. Post McCarthy, I doubt anyone'd be shot on sight, including me.

The Landmarks of New York:An Illustrated Record of the City's Historic Buildings
by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel
Monacelli Press, c. 2005


Gravitane 10, 28.


- Weekends have been quiet. On Friday, Jess fixed us a delicious roast. On Saturday, I attended my workshop on "innovate fiction" and later, Jess and I went into Manhattan to pick up supplies for her costume. I missed church on Sunday, but we carved pumpkins and roasted the seeds. Reading consisted of This is Not a Novel, by Markson and Rememberence of Things Past by Proust of the page-long sentences.
- By the way, Happy Halloween!

- Weather. Brisk but sunny this morning in New York. It's supposed to get warmer throughout the day, topping out at seventy. I understand it's ten degrees colder, in the forties, raining, in Flint. Ditto Chicago, minus the rain.

NY Times: Parties Set Stage for Showdown on Court Choice.

What is the perfect Halloween costume for you? Money and time is not an object.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Blue Skies Falling 10/30/05, Summarized.


Follow links to learn about adventures and blue skies...


Baggage and Autobiographical Junk.
The Fourth Cycle in Review, Years 24-26: August 2001 - June 2004.
The Fourth Cycle in Review, Year 27: June 2004 - September 2005.

Connor and Jessica get married and move to New York City!
Prologue: July
Part One: Before Cana
Part Two: Cana
Part Three: A Quiet Interlude
Part Four: Belize It.
Part Five: Another Interlude.
Part Six: My Kind of Town.
Part Seven: On the Road Again.
Epilogue: September and October

As informed by The Historical Atlas of New York, by Eric Homberger.
Part 1. Hilly Island.
Part 2. Dutch New Amsterdam. 1610 - 1664.
Part 3. British New York. 1664 - 1783.
Part 4. Rebuilding the City. 1683 - 1825.
Part 5. The Age of "Go Ahead." 1825 - 1860.
Part 6. "New York will be alive..." 1860-1898.
Part 7. Greater New York. 1898-1945.
Part 8. Cultural Capital. 1945-2005.

Public Service Announcement
The Second Horseman Has Ridden. Richard Roeper's Sun-Times Column.
And Here's Another.... Monica Davey's New York Times Column.

Post-Katrina Post #1
Post-Katrina Post #2



Saturday, October 29, 2005

The State of Blue Skies Falling.


As of 30 October 2005.

I've been working on the blog somewhat industriously these last two months, but more in the sense of chronicling and archiving what's been happening in Jess and my lives the last couple months and years. It's kept me from more general activity like political commentary and reviews, just as adjusting to my new schedule has prevented me from keeping up with outside blogs.

I continue to play with my schedule; my job situation is tighter than it was in Chicago, which leaves me with less time to post. As a result, while Blue Skies Falling will operate on a more regular basis in upcoming months, things will happen a little differently than before:

- Daily entries will be retained, but abbreviated. "Question of the Day" will be a daily occurence, but Country/News/Link/Picture will now be "...of the Week." I will also favor weekly journaling as opposed to monthly.

- I will try to write at least one BODY, one EVENT, one CONCEPT, and one DIARY posts each week. I will continue to update and add links as time allows.

- In the past I've tried to add other posters, but with limited success. If you are interested in using Blue Skies Falling as a forum for your thoughts and comments, and will commit to posting quality material on a regular basis (say, twice a week), send me an email or leave a comment, and we'll work out details.

- Most specifically, the plan outline in Here Is No Why continues. In the upcoming month I plan to post at least once for the Occlusion Group and a statement pertaining to Gothic-Funk. There will also be a post relevant to Black Hole in the Wall up by late December. Keep your eyes open for these.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.


Fourth Cycle, Year 27. The Year of Deep Wells



1. DES'REE. Kissing You.

After proposing to Jessica in the summer sunlight the dim windowlessness and office oppression of Neurosurgery seemed stifling; a thing beneath me. I counted down the days til my assignment was done, because I felt the resentment on my back wherever I walked, and I there were several conflicts.
On the night after I rang out the year of the Synchopated Sailer, however, I went on an ambitious nightwalk aimed for Joliet from downtown Chicago. I walked out through the Loop, the Medical Corridor and Lawndale, along Route 66 the whole way, through the suburbs of Cicero and Berwyn and into McCook, through an abandoned industrial district and a road boarded off, and isthmus between quarries. I got out half way and turned back. I missed Jessica, and while it was a wretched adventure with tears meeting up, I was happy to be back with her again.

A week later I finished with Neurosurgery. The Dumb Waiter and Hunter and the Bird, the final moments of the Nocturnal had also flown. With both Neurosurgury and Nocturnal the putting to rest had been taxing, but I felt like I was gradually shedding constraints with difficulty.

2. EMINEM. Sing for the moment.

These moments were intense in their difficulty. With Neurosurgery, I said goodbye to Evelyn and Lola and Linda and Alicia, and I had misgivings all the way. With the Nocturnal, as I drank beer with Lisa and Jessica and Evan and Maggy, we felt weary and relieved, and happy together, but I still ached at the sense of my failure, to them and myself.

Still, I was engaged.

Just afterward, I went to the Hyde Park Borders and drew up a plan for this Great Year. Year 28. I'd get married of course; major plans. Why not kick my life out of stalled failure? No more weak theater groups or wispy clinging to past triumphs. No more pining for Flint summers through Chicago three-quarters. No. I'd forge a future for Jessica: work hard and save for the future. Make the future. Get into grad school. Get going. Write manifestos and make them happen. I wouldn't compromise this year. I'd run until my muscles were raw.

I started on a simple Saturday, but I think it was an omen. I met Lisa and we went up north, to Edgewater, where I'd live soon, and ate at Kopi Cafe and talked about plans for our funding and for the Occlusion. Looking back now, 15 months later, I realize that we did absolutely everything we set out to do, though often without funding and often without using the Occlusion Group.

We went to see Fahrenheit 911 with Jess and Meridith and Matt, and talked about it, and Lisa drove me back to McKinley Park through Chinatown, and I got drunk and wrote passionate pleas to Michael Moore. Sent them out by email. This was a distant suggestion at what has become the happiest year of my adult life so far.

3. THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. Tonight Tonight.

For another week I was allowed to rush out the adrenaline high. I took a nightwalk that led me through Pilsen and then way up through Wicker Park to Lakeview. I planned Castlevania fanfiction. I got incredibly sunburned at the point, and started reading Red Dragon in preparation to revise my novella. Jess shared an apartment with Meridith and Mary and I spent most of my summer over with them. As June ended and July began I reluctantly accepted an assignment at Northwestern with the Department of Orthopoedics.

I had one weekend left, however, the Fourth of July weekend, and Jess and I celebrated first by attending the fireworks and watching from Adler as bright clouds blossomed out over the lake, before the skyline. The next day, the actual fourth, Monday, we attended a barbecue at Colin's, and then riding back to McKinley Park through a bombardment of fireworks on either side, we lived out a scene from a movie: perfect exploding technicolor.

After awhile at my place, Jess left. And I was alone. And lonely again. High and lows would continue as long as I lived alone, way out there, alone.

4. RADIOHEAD. Where I End and You Begin.

The next two weeks planted frustration and anxiety in my head. It swapped out... swamped out... the terror of Neurosurg and Nocturnum and swammpped in fractured terror. The was work like I had never seen before. Work without knowledge, in blindness, with blind speed, and with consequences. In the fastest, most desperate week I've ever worked I got written up and faced the prospect of a $10,000 fine.

And I wasn't helping myself, either. After work I read the Jungle by Sinclair and Red Dragon by Harris... for my novella. But it sure killed the mood. I'd drink and veg out and count down until sleep, because I knew as soon as I'd wake up I'd be running off again. The next morning.

At the end of all this, I got to put all my ulcers to work for me, as Cody, Jess, Lisa, and I (four of a hoped-for seven) converged for the first Occlusion Retreat. I listened to Radiohead the whole time and revised Adrift on the Mainstream and was rewarded with the best prose I've ever set to screen.

5. PEARL JAM. Betterman.

Needing something to yank these inky coils from my brain (I didn't realize how desperate I was just then), I took a week back in Flint to "work on Urbantasm," although now I know that's not what I was working on. I walked from Flushing all the way in, then got a ride from a friend the last mile to Tom Z's downtown. I worked for five hours, then bailed on meandering, showing up at Sam's parents' at ten o'clock. I stayed there two nights, then gave up and went home.

That was when I gave up on Urbantasm for this part of my life. I wrote John a letter and told him so. He wasn't happy. Though I have been persuaded to dabble a bit here and there.

My mother took me out to look at wedding flowers, and Advanced Personnel called... Ortho wanted me back. I accepted, reluctantly, but feeling like I'd dropped another dragging anchor in Urbantasm. Lisa gave me a ride back to Chicago and Jessica... back toward Ortho and headaches. I won't lie. It was a poignant evening.

6. LINKIN PARK. Place 4 My Head.

While I was in Flint, I'd been solicited for a submission for a drama contest, so when I got back to Chicago I took up Canaryville Blues, and spent the next week, after the Hell of Ortho (where they really hoped I'd take a permanent position... NO WAY), in one of the city's most daunting neighborhoods. In fact, this project would haunt me and taint year 27 well into September. But I finished the play and sent it off just a little late, though I was never graced with even a rejection notice.

Hallie had agreed to help me make Ojai again, and when I left Ortho for the very last time, things began to look up in a more permanent fashion. Jess and I walked to Unique and picked up Hawai'ian shirts for California, and went to one of Armand's barbecues, and talked with Lisa a bit, and then she drove me to O'Hare and I left for LAX.

7. R.E.M. All the Way to Reno (You're Gonna Be a Star)

California finished the transformation. I arrived angry and determined and joyful and ready to break hearts. I had my own room this time with a splendid view of the Happy Valley. While the prior year I'd expanded out and took in the whole Conference, this year was more insular and intimate. I followed my cast with intensity and rigor, though my own responsibilities were smaller, and I got to know the interns, really still in high school, very closely. Unfortunately, I've been an awful correspondent, because I learned a lot there in the summer sun. Several times I took long walks out over the dune, and then stomped my way back. We had a reading of Canaryville Blues that confirmed my greatest fears, but there was always wine and Corona to relieve that. Kevin and Karen and Abigail were there, and I saw Joe, and in the end, I had one full day in Hollywood as a tourist. I decided I actually liked the place, and hiked Runyon Canyon.

I wasn't happy to be back in Chicago at all.


But this was the beginning, not the end, of wonderful. As I applied for jobs but didn't get any interviews, my lease was up and I'd somehow persuaded Sam to move to Chicago and be my roommate. Now I was pulling out all of the stops; we'd live on the North Side, Edgewater, where the water glistens like jewels and the condos erupt from the lake in Miami Vice dreams. Miami Beach. We'd be in Edgewater Beach. I started playing with the words "gothic" and "funk" but I quickly realized I wasn't completely kidding with them.

There was an interlude; on one fine day, Jess and I met up with Lisa at the Medici and Michael seated us on the patio. We later went downtown and saw OutFoxed about the abuses of the Fox News Network, and walked about Millennium Park. Somehow it seemed to bracket the political and personal nature of that summer, when I was first engaged, between two documentaries... documentaries that bracketed fireworks and Flint and Canaryville, McKinley Park and Ojai.

Sam came to town on one of my last days in the McKinley Park apartment. We had a party up there, and when everyone had gone home, we started casting about and quickly settled at 5820 N. Kenmore, 1 block from the lack, from the Red Line, from Broadway. It was perfect. Perfect and beautiful. Except for the roaches.

The next day we applied for jobs downtown and Near North. Sam actually got two; one at Lego and one on a local cruise. I didn't, but I'm not as marketable as he is, and I don't have the poise in chance encounters. So there.

We heard that we had gotten our apartment, so we spent the next several days unloading and loading his little coupe and dragging all my stuff, my books and boxes, up to Edgewater. On the last night, as if the neighborhood was pissed off that I was going, the smell from the stockyards district went from baked cookies to wet meat. Sam and I ate at the New Archview; my last time, and went home and to bed. I'd have to make a few return trips to finish clearing the place, but Jerry later said, as he returned my deposit, that he was sorry to see me go. I was sorry to leave, but I know now that I needed to leave.

I left too much baggage in that little place.

I had to start fresh so that year could become the translucent winged thing it was aiming toward.

Racing. Racing. Racing. Race down the road. The skyline came into view many times that year. The John Hancock moving along the edge, with the North Ave. walkway straining across it. And gone. The Chicago Skyline's that wall, the monolithic plinth of buildings that soars out of the flat gray of the lake. There's nothing like it in any city anywhere, and when it's the end of the warm days of the year, and you're careening towards or away with the windows down, that's its own species of exhileration.

9. MARILYN MANSON. Chryptorchid.

I don't have this song... so I will have to imagine it. It really is the first Marilyn Manson song I've liked since Kiddie Grinder remix, but I like it a lot.

When Sam and I first moved into our new place, we didn't have beds or other decor. We had a lot of boxes. But Sam set up our computers by the bay windows that looked out over the lake and Edgewater skyline and we played Worms. It was the only time that year we'd play Worms, but between stomping roaches, as we'd aim our WMD from one worm to another and try to obliterate all on the screen, the night fell. Something about the static singe of those screens mingling with the rush of cars on the Drive and the crush of waves on the beach, and the lingering sour sting of Raid. It was comforting.

Those days, we put the Thorn Sojourn campaign to rest. It was another anchor shed.

"The angel has spread its wings; the time has come for bigger things."

10. APHEX TWIN. Fingerbib.

As Sam and I slowly settled in (and it was a slow process, involving many milk crates and trips to others' dumping spots in the alleys, Craigs Listing and carrying our finds for many blocks), another reckoning was on its way.

Jess and Lisa and I took a trip to Michigan for the Michigan Renaissance Festival, which we attended with my sister. After a day staggered by the impact of memories from that place but the general lack of familiar faces, I was roped in by friends at the closing moments. Our the way home, we four stopped for pop in Grand Blanc. Later, I drove out to Camp Jellystone, while some spoke disparagingly of me, and listened to them sing songs, and watched the fire eaters, and jumped over the first myself. I remember the enchantment, the promise of magic and sex at the ren fest, and I kept eyeballing my projects to this time. I think it was then that I realized "gothic" and "funk" was not such a joke after all.

When I got back into Chicago, and I was flushed from that whole experience, I hosted a housewarming party that went most of the night and empties many beers. Not long after that at all, I wrote the first Gothic Funk manifesto.

And was granted an interview at Northwestern.

11. MILK, INC. Boy Meets Girl.

In those days Sam and I didn't have internet access, so I used the Nigerian cafe on Thorndale. Sam's friend Sky came down to stay with us for his own interview, but Sam was gone that weekend, and I found myself in a dense conversation with Sky. I'd known Sky from a couple parties up North, and I felt a little awkward having to bear the burden of hospitality and talking all on my own. Soon, Sky would become another of my best friends. We both interviewed. He got his job. I did not. I would eventually return to Northwestern, yet again, through Advanced.

I started getting hate mail from Canaryville residents incensed by what the had read about my play online. It's a sort of hateful criticism that turned me inside out. It kept me up at nights, literally. It started up early September, and died by the end.

Meanwhile, I was circulating rumors of Gothic Funk, and our new, shifting and expanding, nebulous circle of friends started meeting at my place or Colin's to watch debates as the presidential race heated up. We were so passionate. We had much invested in this.

Sam's dad visited and took us out for Ethiopian food on Broadway, and we walked up to Loyola and scrambled down and up the rock with the spiders. It was still warm that night, and cool and dark in our apartment. Jessica came and picked me up later, and took me back to Hyde Park.

12. ORBITAL. Halcyon and On (and On and On)

We're starting to talk October now, and I was sufficiently politically fired to take a Sunday bus to Skokie to hear Senator Bieden speak in support of John Kerry and to sign up for this or that. In the end, it wasn't my crowd. I did some mobility through my blog, through letters to the editor, but I suspect the impact was minimal.

I was also ready to delve deepr into this gothic funk. By Blues N' Ribs I had conceived of a party as an articulation of the ideal; a party that is unambiguously that, a party, but with higher stakes, with artistic ambitions. A party people would attend not to observe, but to drink, flirt, talk, and dance, and through doing so, with implicit observation, communicate and absorb and emit and connote the nuances of their own informed perspective. If we gothic-funkified it properl, the effects would melt them.

I wanted to learn, so I read the Castle of Otranto, and the most daunting Mysteries of Udolpho. And I loved it.

I got an assignment with Advanced to the hospital's Department of Ophthalmology, specifically for the Laser Vision Center, but I would enjoy this position, and take on more responsibility through it, than any other I'd encountered so far. It was, at least, a fitting way to end my neverending tenure with Advanced Resources. And at the end of only the first week on the job, I was off to Michigan for some particular reason, taking the train and taking in the gorgeous autumn colors.

Somewhere around here I went for the autumn nightwalk, and it was one of the most beautiful and memorable moments of this year. I started along the lake, and it was a wild, bitter night, icy cold at first, with the sky wretching down rain on me like mote. The waves were huge, and just as the sun set, the buoys plummeted and plunged up and down in the distance. I walked down to Wilson, over to Broadway and the Borders and looked in vain for scholarships, and decided instead (only for a week) that maybe I'd better look into Law School as well. Then, out through the throngs from the Chicago Film Festival, out to Clark through the cemetery, up through Andersonville and Rogers Park and Evanston to the Burger King where I read Udolpho until three, and on up, wending, until I came to the Ba'hai temple, and walked about the floodlighted marble stairs and gardens. It was raining and I was basking in the lamplit solitude. It was magnificent! And I walked back south through it all, through Northwestern across the lagoon, and stomped on down Rogers Park as the milky wet sky went from black to blue to gray, and went inside and to bed as the sun was presumably rising behind the clouds.

13. EMINEM. Mosh.

As the election approached I was editorialized as fast as I could, but I missed an important part of the equation; I missed my first application to the University of British Columbia. I was in despair over these applications; everything, the Letters of Recommendation (who would write them?), the GRE scores (how do I take these?), the whole damn process was such maintenance, and I couldn't conceive how I'd tget anything done.

When I knew I was late, I asked if I could send in the Application a day late. No reply. Until two weeks later, when they said they hadn't received it, and to not bother. Well, I didn't.

Two days before Halloween I was beaten up by three kids on 63rd Street. They took my wallet. I was finishing Udolpho. I walked to Armands in my GF getup, and tried to enjoy the party.

The night before the election, there was a party at Amber's in Blue Island. I watched the Mosh video and it stirred me. The next day, in frustration, anxiety, despair... I was supposed to be doing something... canvassing, something, but all the trips were to Wisconsin and I was bound to go to Jess' election night party in Hyde Park. So I sat and watched that infinitely brown-mud-gray rain fall on the city and then I rode down to Hyde Park with Sam, where we and our friends sat for hours, and gradually came to realize that what we'd feared for several years had come about.

It made me miserable. The next day, I went back to work, and bought R.E.M.'s Around the Sun.

14. R.E.M. I Wanted to be Wrong.

I ended up crying for myself, my friends, my city, my nation... it's not a small thing when applied to single people. It's a big thing, an overwhelming thing that swallows us, when we contemplate that just like every other civilization, ever, our's will fail someday.

There is nothing in this world that is beautiful that does not come to an end.

That week I woke up a moment out of sleep into the buzz of R.E.M.'s I Wanted to be Wrong, and it said everything I wanted in the deepest shuddering breath coiled, wounded, and recalsetrant at the bottom of my lungs.

That weekend we threw Gothic Funk Party #1. It was sparsely attended, but a beautiful mix of odd and wonderful people; wonderous assortments solving mysteris, in the kitchen with projections of graffiti or the living room with blue lights from the floor, green from computer screens, and all those glimmering Chicago windows on Kenmore, on Sheridan.

It was a tragic week for us, and in its tragedy, it was a luminescently beautiful week.

15. GARY JULES. Mad World.

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, Going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, No expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrows
No tomorrow, No tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
These dreams in which I'm dying, Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very very
Mad World, Mad World

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And they feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, Sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, No one knew me
Hello teacher tell me whats my lesson
Look right through me, Look right through me

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which i'm dying, Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very very
Mad World, Mad World
Enlargen your world
Mad World

16. R.E.M. Man on the Moon.

It can't be so great always... the next several weeks blended into each other. I was trying, and failing, at my NaNo novel. I was listening to a lot of Eminem, and playing a lot of video games. with futility. I beat Ninja Gaidens one through three, through extensive cheating. For Thanksgiving, I went to Michigan with Jess and Jess went dress shopping with my mom. I went out and took pictures of the Fisher Body Plants to be demolished. I was going to go to Detroit to reseach YGB, but I went to the Atlas, and got my hair cut, instead. Back in Chicago, I took my GREs and did exceptionally well, though no school that required GREs would accept me. Only one school would accept me... and in Chicago, friends came over, like Jessica Johnson, and she'd talk with Sam and I of people back in Central, some I knew, some I did not.

And we celebrated Andy Kaufman day, by reading aloud from the Great Gatsby.

There was a second Gothci Funk party, in Hyde Park, with Dress Up and Tarot Card readings and drawings and cakes and mysteries. And an office party with my beloved Department of Ophthalmology, at which I got so schnockered that I fell asleep on the El and had to be tapped awake at Howard Street by the attendant. Jess threw her own Christmas party before leaving for Ohio and we sat in the dim light and talked. I had a sick eye, infected, and it crusted over. I was doing Biblical readings for Advent. And on the night of the Solstice, I planned my extensive Nightwalk, but called it short to go back home, and visit with Sam, and Jessica, and Skylar. I outlasted them all. I didn't sleep until after four.

17. POSTAL SERVICE. We Will Become Silhouettes.

During the last couple days of work, the jobs thinned out, and we exchanged gifts and went home early. I had a visit with Tom before leaving. On the last night in Chicago, Sam gave me a ride home, and introduced me to Postal Service and we talked about serious things the whole ride there. After shopping and the Christmas Eve Vigil, I talked to Father Osbourn at St. John Vianny and said I appreciated his blessing that past June; "she said yes." He said he'd mentioned me in his homily. After that, I stopped by the Crawfords and we sat up until late in the night, with a reunion that we hadn't had in years... Lindsay, Sam, me, Annie, Sarah, Amanda, John and Carol. Christmas was honeyed and we were at gradmas until very late. Before all of my friends flew from the county, we got together one more time and went to the White Horse and danced in the Ramsey basement. I worked on my applicaitons for most of the break. The wedding was still a long way off... my mom and I went to see Meet the Fockers. We had an energetic meeting with the DeVoes. I saw Lindsay one last morning with lots of coffee. We returned to Ohio. I rushed through my applications. On New Years Eve, we celebrated with Jeff J. Mr. Jalbrzikowski was in the hospital. These breaks always seem to get shorter each year... I didn't get sick this time, but I felt acutely that there wasn't enough time... that I just wasn't holding down quite hard enough.

18. POSTAL SERVICE. Clark Gable.

And of course the tsunami happened. I beame obsessed with the tsunami, not watching, rarely watching, but reading on it, thinking, and writing pages and pages of upset babble in my blog.

Work had gotten crazy; never nearly as crazy as Ortho, but the busiest I'd seen it. On one occasion, I worked over twelve hours without a bathroom break, and was so relieved that Jess and I rushed down in the snow to Hyde Park, and I bought us dinner at Calypso.

We began early Scavhunt meetings, and I asked Jen if Thalia would be our Flower Girl.

Gothic Funk #3, maybe my favorite of the bunch, was less involved and prepared than the others, but drew a crowd of thirty, and ultimately a mariachi band. Many danced who are not accustomed to dance, and there was not excessive drunkeness and the wonders went on almost until the sun came up. Somewhere about here we estabilshed our tradition of post-party breakfasts at the corner restaurant of Broadway and Thorndale. Here we'd have Sam, Jess, myself, Amber or Lisa, Sky or Bill, Coral, and we'd all go out to eat.

19. TORI AMOS. Horses.

And it was about now that I discovered the #147. Instead of shuddering under the head lamps of the grimy platform and wait for a hollow train to whisk me underground, I could stand in the sparkling dust of Sheridan and wait for a clean and fast bus to sweep me along the Drive, downtown, to work, in the lightening sun of lengthening days, in twenty minutes maybe. It transformed my mornings.

I drank tea. I read the Qur'an and Hadiths for Lent. It was a lot of work. I tried to throw a "vodka chess on the roof" party, but it was cold and we hung out downstairs and talked instead. January melted into February.

Gothic Funk #4, "Vendredi Gras" descended upon us, starting on Rush Street and bolting north for Edgewater Beach. Paul came and held his composure better than anyone else. There were lots of beads and drinks, and things got roucous for some of us. It evoked the spirit, however. And was sharp. I spent the next day with Paul, and we crossed all over the neighborhood, talking, before it got late and he had to get back to Milwaukee, to his job...

20. TORI AMOS. Father Lucifer

After this happened, I got sick and miserable for a week. Mr. Jalbrzikowski died. I still remember the night before, when Jess needed me, standing in the single-digit for fifty minutes waiting for the bus. It took over two hours to make Hyde Park. And one night earlier, I visited with Lisa and Sam over okra, and Lisa gave me a ride to Hyde Park to be with Jess. Jess and I went to Ohio for the funeral. People were together on the outside, but the ceremony reminds us that large families often discover themselves through losses.

Jess and I celebrated Valentines Day belatedly at an Italian restaurant.

Gothic Funk #5 was the largest by far, with hundreds, on a Friday in Lent when we ate with Tom and Michael. There was a lot of drinking, but delicious cookies and candies, and Sky walking about with a painted chest. Newly liberated, Bill sang the bachelor song. We all talked. After #4, it was serenely roucous.

We went to Chinatown to take pictures on a bittercold day, Meridith and Lisa and her friend and I (and soon, Skylar). But we sat in the restaurant and talked instead.

I ate a lot of fish and rice and veggies that year. Down on the Ramen soup. I watched Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, and Sam and my friends would come over in the evenings and we'd visit with them.


One night when Sam was out at a techno concert, I had a horrid nightmare that someone was being murdered in the apartment across the hall, but my door was open and I felt that if I called 911 I'd alert the murderer to my presence and so be murdered myself. So I imagined that I huddled at the foot of my bed and shook.

It woke me up.

I reflected, in that moment, that all was all right, because Sam was there if I needed any help.

I didn't know at the time, but Sam didn't come home at all that night. I was alone all night.

But just like every night in McKinley Park.

I went to Marshall Fields of the green and alabaster walls. I started role-playing through Phil's campaign. I started meeting Gemma and friends for Harry Potter discussions at Jimmy's. Anchors, but small ones. Jess managed to catch me up in Monk just as I started to drift out of Desperate Housewives, as I'd drifted out of Gilmour Girls. We watched VH1 programming.

22. SMASHING PUMPKINS. Set the Ray to Jerry.

Lisa starred in a show at the United Center; Carmina Burana. We watched her, then went to Ivo's to celebrate for most the rest of the night. Ivo would rotate in during the next several months. Our scavhunt meetings continued. I went to the St. Pat's day parade downtown with my brother. I went to the South Side St. Pat's day parade alone. It was beautiful. I got into New School. A watershed... despite all odds and expectations, a school had accepted me, and so, another party in celebration. Then we threw a St. Patrick's day party, and it was one of my favorites. There was good food and a lot of drinking, and great celebrations. The next day, a breakfast at the Corner Restaurant. It melted into Palm Sunday.

On Vernaltide I got Sky to walk with me as far as Thorndale, then I continued up to the icy brinks at Loyola and took pictures in the darkness, and returned home, windbitten, just over an hour later.

23. THE VERVE. Bittersweet Symphony.

I followed through Holy Weekend as usual, and after the Easter Vigil, Jess and I sat up with Tom and Michael over dessert for hours, then saw a rabbit on our way home. We worked on the wedding all Easter. And during the next weeks, the weather turned from that very sharp, angry, and crystalline dry winter toward a dry and muted spring. Terri Shiavo and popes passed. I returned to Armour Square and took five hundred pictures, from Wentworth Gardens to Chinatown.

One weeknight, after I'd helped Steve cover for Andrea, he took Jess and I to a steak place in River North, and we rode home in the thick rain. The rain stopped. It would be a dry spring and summer.

On another rare misty, rainy night, Bill and Sam and Coral and I raced to meet Sky at the Thorndale stop. We were going to the Hearland to hear Jazz. But Coral fell and cut open her hand, and I started laughing before I realized she was hurt. I felt bad for the next month.

The Jazz, however was sweet, and we didn't get back until almost three. I was the first to go to sleep. I always regret when I am the first to go to sleep.

The next day, Sky, Coral, Sam and I ate at Kopi. Sky, Sam, and I argued about the plausibility of free energy, and Coral tolerated us. As scavhunt approached, Jess and I heard Animate on the North Side.

24. TORI AMOS. Marianne.

There, in the thick of April, I knew what I wanted for my website, so Lisa flew Sam and I down to Saginaw and lent us her car, and we raced through the spring gloom to Flint. Sam dropped me in Flushing. The next day, I drove about and shot pool with dad at Skips and took a nap, and basically spent a Saturday as I might have in high school. I made my parents dinner.

At night, Lisa and Sam and I... we were all lonely, so we took a long drive down from Saginaw, and met Sam, and met at the Starlight, and nibbled on out coneys, drank our wet coffee in the dim light of that place. Starlight is perfect for sad neglect feelings because it feels sad and neglected.

On Sunday, the mission. We photographed Hall's Flats extensively, and explored, and Lisa and I ate and talked at Atlas, where we'd first met, and we drove back to Chicago, and talked about serious things on the way.

This is my April is my most favorite of months, most of the time.

25. TROI AMOS. Power of Orange Knickers.

One morning around here, I woke up to a song so moving that it pinched me gently on the neck, and at once I crumpled up and wept like someone's discarded tissue.

We drove through the UP and around Traverse City to plan the Scavhunt Roadtrip, and then, after last minute meetings, we had the Scavhunt itself.

And it was magic.

Of course!

It's always magic.

In some ways this time was more subdued than others, a bit more... not relaxed... contrite? More shivering. And anyway, I don't know where I ended up on Friday night. But it worked out well, and on the last night, at Steve Cicala's behest, we wound up on sand ridges at the 57th Street beach with beer and potato cannons.

And slowly, like always, the Hunt wound up. We had our postmortem, and then Jess and I went to see Revenge of the Sith, and it was okay, I suppose, but it doesn't really compare with the scavhunt.

Sit n' spin n' run n' hug.

About now I also finished Joe Loya's book.


Now I haven't made a big production of it, but this whole time I'd been stepping up my Blues commitment, and had attended Blues at several joints around the city.

As May crawled toward June, Colin hosted the Scav party, which was full of a somewhat different crowd (though not all all), and the same lechery you'd expect from the Gothic Funk crowd. We went out to the Point in the dewiness for more sit n' spin, and I schooled a kid in a freestyle rap. Jess and I made it home late, but not too late to make Sara's party at the point the next day.

27. JANE'S ADDICTION. Jane Says.

And after that, we moved on to Cate's birthday party. I stayed for four hours, talking and swapping stories. I saw My So-Called Life DVDs on the shelf, but was leaving early, so I felt too self-conscious to ask to borrow them. Jess stayed after I headed home. When she got back, she'd brought them. We hadn't communicated on this.

The next day, I went to Lisa's recital at the Lutheran Seminary, and we met with Jess and Lisa took our pictures for our engagement notice.

That last week of may, I fanatically stalked the beaches and streets of Edgewater Beach, trying to capture everything. I caught 700 pictures, and moved on to other parts of the neighborhood: Edgewater Glen, Magnolia Glen, and Lakewood-Balmoral. I never did catch Andersonville or Edgewater itself...

One night, Sam and I went to B.L.U.E.S., but we got there late, and Sam was tired, so he left soon. I sat in the dark and watched them strum. I was sitting amongst the yuppies.

On Memorial Day weekend, Jess and I went to Ohio to finalize wedding plans, and the weekend following, Cody visited with Jun. We took them out to the Hot House and saw Jazz Me Blues... the El rustled by between the acts.

28. R.E.M. Low

I tried to make the Blues Fest, but I was too tired to make much of it. Jess and I met Hallie for dinner; we hadn't seen her for awhile, and she shared news of her hopes for London, my hopes for New York. Sam's sister, Emily, graduated, and came to visit us for a week.

We attended our last barbecue at Armand's. I watched My So-Called Life and rehashed all of the reasons I had for loving it in the first place. Sam and Jess and I rode down in gray twilight to CWAC and met Lisa for the end of the year party for the Art History department.

29. BILLY CORGAN. Mina Loy.

The night before the Solstice, Billy Corgan released The Future Embrace. Primed for this by My So-Called Life and a full-decade's training, I bought the album and listened to it the whole way down to Hyde Park.

The next night, Sam was out of town, but I met with Sky and Bill and Coral and some friends at F212, a coffee bar, and we hung out past closing, since Bill was spinning. We walked to Sky's place and talked about demographics. Then, I walked north along Clark, and across to Ardmore, and home. I was exhausted, and the sun came up when I got home.

I read Billy Corgan's online autobiography. I prepared my writing for him as I'd been planning for so long. I met with Sean several times, and over drinks we rehashed the details of musical glory. We planned to see him in concert.

30. DORIS HENSON. When You Go.

It wasn't unusual, at that time, late Spring and early summer, for Sean or I to walk to the other's and drink a beer or six and talk about music for six to ten hours. Sometimes, the elevator in my building would be broken and we'd have to hurtle up or down the stairs. Once, both elevators were broken, and the dryer I spent several dollars on trying to get some clothes clean. I carried them up in a huge box.

On the weekend of the 3rd, Jess and I went to see the fireworks at Adler. But the fireworks started early, and we missed them under drunken adulations, and someone stole Jess' cel and we were upset and argumentative all evening. It was a wretched wretched night.

The night of the 4th, Sam and I stood in our dark front room, or stood on our roof and watched the firework brimson up over the foogy depths of the lake and explode, crescenting. We walked down to the beach and inspected the shattered and charred cardboard remains. The waves knuckled their way in along the bank like little invading ghosts.

The night of the 5th, Sean and I saw Doris Henson, Crimea, and Billy Corgan in concert, and through sheer patience, afterwards, I offered up my manuscript through the trusting hands of Doris Henson themselves. I bought their CD, and i admired it all night long as I prepared for Buick City Blues, my official stress relief.

Sam was gone this weekend as well. I was all alone. The first night, I was going to do Buick City Blues, but Meridith was the only one there, so we visited instead. The second night, Sky and Bill and Gemma and Christian came, so I did the show. The last night, I went down to Michigan to see my family, and have a kitchen shower at Peg's. Many of our relatives came, and Naheda, and the DeVoes, and Sam and John Crawford. It was bright in the front room.

31. DEPECHE MODE. Get the Balance Right.

We rode back, crowded, Caitlin and Cody who would stay a day, Sam and Jess and myself. We god back in sweatiness. It all primed me into my last two weeks of work at NMFF; I started training Sean to take my place.

That weekend I went to NYC to stay with Nina and find an apartment for Jess and I to move into come late August. I found one in a few hours, and spent the next two days trying to learn more about my new city, visiting with Nina, drinking coffee and reading and generally feelings lonely. I missed Jess. I missed my family and friends.

"It's almost predictable..."

I got back.

One more week of work passed, and Andrea gave me a going away cake, and they all wished me well. I could leave without rancor. I could leave without anxiety. I could leave happy.

Saturday was Pre-Cana. Saturday, Jess and I finished Harry Potter. All of these things were giving us adrenaline boosts, but now many things rushed towards conclusions. Our time was almost gone. I took one more trip to Flint. For packing.

32. R.E.M. Sweetness Follows

I took the train in. I rode all the way to East Lansing, talking to a Spanish teacher at MSU. When we arrived, my brother and father gave me a ride home, and Cody and I went out to Rube's for blues, then on to the Atlas for a coney.

I procrastinated through the next day before my family all rolled out to see Willy Wonka, and then I went in for the last walk. This would be my rainwalk, officially. I parked and walked around Mott Park; the park, the church, the rolling avenues and paths up there, and it was all damp and slightly drenched, and it's one of my favorite places in the world. At night, when I walk there, I feel echoes. Echoes.

The next day I visited with my grandmother and aunt and cleaned my room. Late in the day, the next day, Cody and I started back to Chicago.

33. BLUES BROTHERS. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

The next two days was the sweat and anxiety of dragging Jess and her possessions from Hyde Park to Edgewater Beach.

At the end, sweaty, my brother and my roomate transformed me into a Blues Brother, and soon we were joined by other Blues Brothers for my Bachelor party. We rolled from home to Rosa's to BLUE Chicago to the Green Mill, and while I bailed early at 3:30 AM, it wasn't without getting sick.

These were my last couple days in Chicago. I went out to the Ardmore beach with Sam and Sky and Libby between packing or recovering from my hangover, and we made rice with fish and Santa fe veggies and drank 312 and time counted down.

34. THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. Here's to the Atom Bomb.

Then I flew to Ohio for a week of preparation.

Adornetto's. Trader Joe's. St. Nick's fest. Certificates. Zanesville, Ohio. Nichol's. Birthdays. The Market House Inn. Driving through the late summer dusk.

35. DES'REE. Kissing You.

And got married.

Had a wedding. Had a reception. Had a wedding night at a bed and breakfast. Had a day for family and presents, shopping and packing. Had a morning for driving to the airport.

Had a flight to Belize, a night in the cabana with storms, a walk into town, a night on an island, a night to rest, a day on the monkey river, and a day on the Mayan ruins. A morning to get ready to go. A flight back... delayed... a night in Houston.

A week in Chicago, with friends. A harrowing trip to move. Through Michigan. Through Ohio. To New York City.

I moved here with my bride. This is now, and here we are, and this is my new life now.

36. SUFJAM STEVENS. All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace!

And here we are after many adventures and mishaps! All but fully moved in with more things and commitments than I ever thought I could handle as a child, as a teenager, as a young man.

Soon, I will no longer be a "young" man, strictly speaking.

And the future: well, I hope it holds a career and fatherhood. For now, I have a "real" job... two real jobs... tutoring and writing. I am also writing for two very demanding classes. I am also hooked on the O.C., courtesy of Jessica.

I'm in a new city, harsh and unfamiliar and full of alien faces, but it is a city full of jazz, and a new cycle has begun. This is truly a great adventure to be embarking upon.

It's like when a clown turns to you as a child and opens up, blinking fast. Like he's going to scream at you, "WAKE UP!"

* * * * *

Began in loneliness.
Stepped up to companionship and friendships on all levels with the deepest meaning and sincerity.
Blinked to see something, to try to describe something with meaning.
And then brought the meaning to bear by getting married and moving.

This is:



The Fourth Cycle, Years 24-26.


For almost everyone (anyone?) reading this, my journaling methods are a little arcane. It dates back to June 1991, when I was frustrated at not having a defined faith, and decided to invent my own, called Eventime. It's untimately more of a philosophical perspective, or even a chronicling method than a religious orientation, and does not conflict with my Catholic faith. Instead, through a series of rituals and evaluations throughout the year, I try to maintain a focus on the present moment and extract as much value as possible.

The oldest aspect of this process (dating back to 1990) is the naming of years... the typical year begins and ends around the Summer solstice. At this time the departing year is given a name on one night and the incoming year is welcomed through an all-night walk of many miles. However, years are also grouped in fours according to "cycles." The fourth year had (conveniently) aligned with major life events, so I'm in the habit of ending these years on the autumnal equinox. By this reckoning, the first year of each cycle is 9 months, the fourth is 15, and intermediate years are 12.

I welcomed in the upcoming year, year "28" last Wednesday the 21st by walking Broadway the length of Manhattan from 6:07 PM to 6:13 AM.

Tonight I will recall and say goodbye to year "27," listening to songs that meant something this year, giving the year a name at the end. Since tonight also marks the end of a cycle, I will give a brief overview of the other three years in the cycle.

Years 1 through 11: Undifferentiated Years

The First Cycle

Year 12

Year 13

Year 14

Year 15

The Second Cycle

Year 16

Year 17

Year 18

Year 19

The Third Cycle

Year 20

Year 21

Year 22

Year 23

The Fourth Cycle

Year 24

The Year of Horizon Divides began approximately one week prior to my graduation from the University of Chicago and one month prior to September 11th. I was already involved with Jessica for a year at this point, and had moved into a 2-bedroom apartment on the West Side of Chicago (Humboldt Park) with Ben Buckley. It was, on the whole, one of the most wretched years of my life. After a promising summer of theater work, I started at Advanced Personnel, temping in some difficult departments, while at home our apartment was plagued by gangs outside and roaches inside. Instead of actively pursuing writing projects or theater, I got caught up in impossibly ambitious reading lists and spent hours writing fan fiction. There were bright spots, however, I familiarized myself with the Harry Potter series and deleriously looked forward to the occasional week I'd take off from work. All this culminated in judging the U of C scavhunt for the first time, which represented pure catharsis to me. After the rush of scavhunt, I terminated my assignment and moved back to Flint for the summer; my goal was to revise at least half of Urbantasm, the novel I'd started in 1996.

Year 25

The Year of the Bossy Big Toe began in late June. I'd moved into the basement at the Crawfords house and tried (unsuccessfully) to get a job in Flint. While I spent many hours in the basement and developed a very intimate knowledge of my story and characters, I did not progress as quickly as possible. Jessica and I also went through several of our most severe crises that summer, but these were important trials on the way to establishing a long-term relationship. At the end of the summer I moved back in with my parents and spent a week visiting Sam in the UP. It was the refreshing start I needed to get going in Chicago. I shared a small K&G apartment in Hyde Park with Jess and her roommate, and applied to several hundred jobs in two months. Gemma, however, had recruited me to replace a lost actor in her UT production, Tales of the Lost Formicans. I agreed, and this rekindled my passion for theater, which I stepped up by directing Hallie's Play Produciton Workshop. After which I returned to my parents' for two months to save money and plan a new theater group: the Nocturnal. In winter I moved back to Chicago, crawling back to an assignment at Neurosurgery through Advanced, and subletting from Talia, then later subletting another place on 55th, and spring was again dominated by Scavhunt and the Nocturnal's debut production of All is Fair in Love and War, a response to the Iraq war, which had just launched. Finally, Jess and I moved to Flint for the summer, leasing a house on the Eastside.

Year 26

The Year of the Synchopated Sailor began dramatically when I took a harrowing all-night walk around the city limits of Flint. I worked at Angelo's Coney Island in a miserable dishwashing job parttime, and spent the week working on my novel and recruiting support for the second Nocturnal production, Artaud's Cenci. The summer was another watershed for Jess and I as we learned to trust and depend on one-another, and make a life for ourselves. Also, Colin, Jess, and I failed to create a Flint Scavhunt, but Hallie succeeded in introducing me to the Ojai Playwrights Conference. I moved back in Chicago with an offer to resume work at Neurosurgery, which was already a department overhwelmed with back filing. I got a very nice and affordable but remote studio in McKinley Park. The remoteness of the location helped define this as one of the most isolating years in my memory. I had decided to propose to Jessica and saving for her engagement ring was a major undertaking. Also, Cenci and the Nocturnal were not going well, and I was growing distant from several of my closest friends. In the end, the year had a surreal, lonely quality to it... the highs were very high and the lows were very low, but I was wrestling with most of this alone. Things came to a head in dramatic fashion as 2004's scavenger hunt was one of the most ambitious and wide-reaching ever with many crises involved, while on the other hand, friendships were ruined by the continuing unraveling of the Nocturnal. As the Nocturnal unwound, I started a less structured group, the Occlusion Group, for broader artistic support, and Lisa secured funding. I was to finish out my lease at the end of August, so I did not move at the end of the year. The year ended shortly after I proposed to Jessica at the Hidden Valley Gardens outside Jackson, Michigan. After proposing, Jess went on vacation in Myrtle Beach with her family, while my mom took me back to Chicago for work on Monday. A week later, the year of the Synchopated Sailor ended.

Year 27.

See Next Post.


The Great Adventure, Epilogue: September and October.


I'm going to give an account of New York these last two months by place instead of by time. It's an easier way to remember.

Our apartment is subletted from our friend Miranda. It is located on the fourth-floor of a rent-controlled building in the neighborhood of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, specifically two blocks from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is a one bedroom.

When we first arrived here, we had to resort to the inflatable matress, but it had sprung a leak and over the next several weeks stayed inflated from several hours to a rough minute. In the end, we entirely stopped bothering to inflate it. Sleep was difficult, and for a number of days we'd have strange dream. We often woke up after six hours, grouchy, and the floor was hardwood. After a few weeks, out mattresses were delivered, courtesy of mom and Bill, and we were melted into supported sleep. A couple weeks later, the bed frame arrived, a metal frame with curlicues from Ikea, courtesy of dad J. Jess assembled it that day, making it with the sheet set from my brother and our Sari comforter. I discovered that I absolutely melt under satin.

Next to our bed, we set our Tiffany lamp, where it glows, floral and lovely. We bought She Hate Me and School Daze, but in the mess of these few months, we've only seen the first. It isn't wonderful. We also received in the mail the first season of the O.C., which Jess has thoroughly addicted me to. We watched the whole mess in a couple weeks, with heavy addiction resulting from the mid-season Oliver episodes. We immediately ordered the second season, with its intense Trey epoch. Now we watch, one by one, season three on TV. We've also watched Garden State, which we liked.

In the main room / kitchen, looking out the kitchen window, one can see the Empire State Building, which lights up different colors every night. One can also climb out the two main windows and sit on the fire escape. I like this, and through all of September, I'd climb out with a reading assignment and a cup of coffee and sit and read for hours. I'd listen to Steven Sufjam's Great Lakes State which both Matt and Lisa got for me, and read.

Inside, bookshelves from Ikea. Our bookshelves are filled to the brink, which is problematic, given my continuing perchases for class. So far, they are Peasants and Other Short Stories by Anton Chekov, Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant, The Cheneysville Incident by David Bradley, Swann's Way by Proust, and the Sound and the Fury by Faulkner. But there are more, all of the time. I've been trying to finish my extended read of the Bible, but with other readings, I've gotten lost, entangled among the epistles, just moments from the Revelation. Cookbooks that Jess has used so far more than I (she's making a roast right now). My stack of my first readings, with comments scratched upon them.

On the opposite wall, she has assembled a hutch above the radiator, and this is essential, because our non-parishables have nowhere else to go. For the first several weeks we spent here, boxes were stacked upon boxes, all aclutter. And Jess has scrubbed cannisters with flour, rice, and sugar inside. Our wine kit that my grandma Coyne got us has been frequently used; the wedding wine is down to a single bottle, I think. And we have our contraptions, which are fun and make life cozy: the coffee maker, the iced tea maker, the toaster oven, and right now, the crock pot.

On top of our cabinets is the food processor, the breadmaker, the popcorn maker, the electric griddles, and the steamer. Jess got a blender with a WalMart Gift Certificate. And we have, in addition to Jess' table from Chicago, a small coffee tanble that we also got from Ikea, and a futon that serves as both a couch and a guest bed. I'm sitting at the computers in the corner. During our first week here, we relied heavily upon Skeletor vs. Beastman to keep ourselves sane.

Last week, in this very room, Matt and Bruce came to visit us. They liked the place. They're getting a place of their own on Classon. They're not quite neighbors, but nor are they a long walk either. Clinton Hill. A week before that, we threw a ghost-story party, though Daniel from my Lit Seminar was the only attendee. He read a creepy story about a doppleganger, and I read one of Lovecraft's most flambuoyantly overwritten stories. Jess suggested we put on the red light and read in its glare. The next day, Gemma came over, and we went out to lunch at a South African place on DeKalb, than walked through the farmer's market on Washington Park before perambulating through Fort Greene park.

We try to clean our place comprehensively once a week, and succeed roughly every other week. When my reading demands special concentration, I'll pour my coffee and sit at the main table and maybe put on headphones to block out the noise. It is very noisy at night; we're one block from the Queens-Brooklyn expressway. Looking out our window, one looks into the backyard gardens of the next several houses over, past the expressway, down into the Brooklyn Navy Yard (this month, Gravitane, 28, the pictures at the top and background are all the Brooklyn Navy Yard).

And mostly it has been a solitary experience for Jess and I in this apartment. We like it. We've seen neighbors once or twice. Normally, it's one of us or both, but rarely anyone else. Our bathroom is small. There are no screens in any of the windows, meaning a few months ago, flies discovered our apartment. It's too cold out now. You can see the Empire State Building out of our bathroom. On different nights, the building is different colors. Tonight it is molten red with a golden spire.

* * * * *

Our apartment. Our apartment is a rather dingy walk-up between Myrtle St. and Flushing Rd. It seems no matter how far I go, I'll always be close to Flushing... The stairs aren't bad, unless you're carrying something particularly heavy, or making many trips. We've passed the residents in our rent-controlled building, and they mostly seem to be elderly or young artists. Once, when we were coming back on a drizzly night, my key broke in the door. She managed to fish the shards out, and from that day on, we shared keys for two weeks before getting copies made.

Our neighborhood is Fort Greene, which I will talk about in more detail later on. On rainy, cold, and/or tired weekends, we'll typically walk to a restaurant on Myrtle for dinner. We've eaten Crown Pizza this way, and New York style (still, objectively speaking, inferior to Chicago style), Thai, and McDonalds at a dingy little dive where all of the lettuce on our burgers was wilted. One block from us, the Projets start, but they're not as depressing as I'm used to Projects being, and even their name, "the Walt Whitman Homes" are a little hopeful. There's a supermarket besides the Projects, the Bravo Supermarket, and this is where Jess and I do our day-to-day shopping. Cans are recycled for five cents in New York. Personally, I prefer the ten cent deposit... I know in the end it makes little difference, but it just seems there should be a more substantial payback for dragging your empty pop cans around. Our greater neighborhood encompasses Fort Greene Park, Clinton Hill, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, all of which I'll talk about in more detail in later posts.
Except we've passed through the Fort Greene Park Farmers Market on several occasions, and it's always noisy and fresh smelling, and there really is no shortcut up to DeKalb St., where we catch the subway, a fifteen minute walk for me, or twelve by taking all shortcuts. About a month ago, I bought a portable CD player (my last one broke, after just ten years of service) and using the rechargable batteries Sam got me, I'd listen to music on my fast walk to and from the subway in the morning. First, I was listening profusely to Michigan: the Great Lakes State by Sufjam Stevens. Then, the second-to-last track of NIN's With Teeth. Then, The Beekeeper, Martha's Foolish Ginger, and Goodbye Pisces by Tori Amos. And now, a song called Trance off a "rave soundtrack" that is more accurately described as short, distilled bursts of House pop.

Church has been a strange experience. I must confess I've missed as many Sundays as I've made, at least. Nowhere is particularly convenient, in time or place. There's one tolerable neighborhood possibility: Queen of All Saints is a fifteen minute walk and offers Mass at 10:15 AM. If I want to go, that is when I go.

On Labor Day weekend, on Labor Day itself, I rode the Q out to Coney Island, walked between the tents and boardwalk, ate a knish, and read C.S. Lewis. I met Jess and she waited while I looked at the nation's last remaining sideshow. Then, we lay in the sand on the beach on the Atlantic ocean. It was a cold day, and the sun set.

* * * * *

In Manhattan. On the 21st of September, I officially brought to a close both Year 27 as well as the Fourth Cycle. From work, I rode the subway south to City Hall, walked through the Financial District, with its weird, twisting, automobile-unfriendly streets and shadows down to Battery Park, where I watched the sun set. Then, I walked in a bolt up Broadway, making the Village in less than an hour, and made my seminar. After class, I stopped at Spain, a bar, for free sausaches and chips and $3 Buds, not a bad deal for New York. Then I walked along Broadway from eleven to one. I called Jess from Times Square. I passed through Columbia Circle. I stopped for breakfast for an hour at a restaurant on the Upper West Side, around eightieth street. And walked on north through Morningside Highes, Washington Heights, many paths and between parks to Inwood, and crossed into the Bronx, and took the subway home, getting back after the sun had risen, somewhere around seven AM.

The weekend of Labor Day, Jess and I had walked from our apartment down to the hulking remnants of the Navy Yard, many being refitted for new use, and from there, along Flushing to downtown Brooklyn. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and Jess saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time. We continued on to City Wall, walked down Broadway first to Ground Zero and then on to Battery Park where we looked at the Sphere. We were going to go to liberty island, but the line was impossibly long and cost $12 per person. So instead, we took the Staten Island ferry. On the ride out, we ate from our sack lunches. On the ride back, we hung out the westerly windows and watched Liberty Island drift by and the Battery approach. By the time we finally got home, we were exhausted. That was Sunday.

One day, Jess walked down to Soho on her own, and explored most of lower Broadway. One night, we met up with Peter and Amy and Matt and we went to a bar on Houston, then onto a karaoke bar in Alphabet City, where we all sang, and I slaughtered Grand Funk Railroad's Some Kind of Wonderful. One day, Jess and I walked to Thompkins Square Park and sat and talked for awhile. Another time we went there to hear a concert of Indian music and jumped the fences and dozed in the trees. This was late September... before we had met Peter at a French restaurant where Jess and Peter had gotten unlimited mimosas as part of a brunch deal, while I had two Bloody Mary's. This was the day when I got my new diskman and we finally got our keys recopied. Twice, I've wound up in Alphabet City on my own, typically wandering to Yaffa's for coffee and reading purposes. We also met Maria for dinner there once, and we talked and ate and Jess got a set of sunglasses.

We've wound up in the vicinity of Third and Fourth and St. Mark's place quite often. On one of our first adventures here, Jess explained to me the history of Cooper Union and why its students were so weird. As a New School student, I have access to Cooper Union's library.

I haven't spent much time in the West Village, on the other hand, but on the day when I'd first hand out my writing (the first 23 chapters of Urbantasm), I walked through the jagged, narrow, angled streets back there and got a fifth of Rye, and sipped it in coke along the Hudson river while I wrote notes on my classmates' writing.

Greenwich Village itself... everything seems to converge on Union Square. This is where I've ended up reading on the uncomfortable benches on several occasions... where I spent the anxious two hours before my first writing critique, and where just today a girl indignantly wished me a "good life" when I refused to sign a petition for her cause. There's a Virgin Megastore, and a screen above which I had been convinced displayed the national deficit, but which Jess confirmed actually displays the time of the day. Hmmm. I don't know. South of here one block is the Riviera theater, where we saw the 40-Year Old Virgin. South of here one block is the Strand, a massive used book store, where I can typically find books I am unable to find anywhere else, though one of my teacher's despises the place because it's not exactly productive of royalties. Then University Place, with a bowling alley I haven't been to but want to, down to Washington Square park, which I've strolled once or twice, and the News Bar. I feel more like the New Bar adopted me than vice versa. It's a coffee shop, often quite crowded, except they have three TV screens that constantly blast the news in silence with closed-captions and a rack of many magazines along the wall. I just like the feel of the place; it's good for reading. University Place is also where I met first Jessica, then later Reinhardt and Cecilia for the Sox-Astros game that was the longest in World Series history. The streets weren't empty, but were probably closer than I'll ever see them. I love University Place for its narrowness, it wetness and lights, and for all the florists that bring it quite bursts of color. Of course, down at the end is Washington Square Arch.

Fifth Avenue that far south isn't anything special. The main New School building is there... ugly. My first experience there was registering during Orientation, getting a vaccination, and so forth. Now, it's where I work my second job, tutoring writing, which is fun, stressful, and improvisational. It's where I've met Allie and Christopher and Jeremy and Marissa, among others, and Megan, my boss, and I've liked it so far, even though we are all crammed into a space barely the size of my apartment.

Then, there's the 13th Street Building, where I use (and abuse) New School's high-speed internet and free printing. I used to spend hours on end there. Now I only go over when I've something to print for class. During Orientation there was a comic act for us. This is the site of the Jazz School, and where I would've had Meditation Classes if I hadn't cancelled due to work conflict. It's where I stumbled the one morning I was involved in Katrina Relief.

The center of most academic motion has been the 12th Street Building. My Workshop with Helen Schulman has been a rigorous and character-driven, and my seminar with Jeff Allen has been rigorous and not. They're both very worthwhile, and all the more because of their conspicuous differences.

The workshop is structured like so: each weekend three of us bring in writing samples which we read for the following week. Each week, we evaluate the samples, starting with broad questions of character and direction, and zeroing in on prose. The writer is not allowed to comment or ask questions until the very end. It can be a very frustrating process, and inevitably many suggestions are not suitable for the development of each work, but this frustration is en route to a more effective revision, especially when the writer has a well-defined direction for the work. In the days after our reading, we meet with Helen to further discuss the work. From here we plot our direction. In this class I've met many friends, including Scott, Reinhardt, Christine, Marco, Tommy, Brian, and others...

The seminar is more relaxed than the workshop, although the readings are intimidating in-and-of themselves. We started slow with two-hundred pages worth of stories by Anton Chekhov and the same from Mavis Gallant. The Cheneysville Incident was touch, but highly worthwhile. I think that Proust will murder my soul. Fifty pages describing his bedroom and a kiss from his mother. Four hundred pages to go... but Jeff is one of the few to possess a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, and is also a native of Chicago's South Shore. In this class, I've picked up friends as Daniel and Bernie, and through them, Erica and Joe and others...

And of course, I'm starting to really know people from my classes. There are hopes that there will be a New York social circle that will keep these two years from being a total exercise in solitude.

I'm also attending a Saturday morning workshop with Frederic Tuten on alternative fiction. His course is rich and enjoyable, and it's more often given to rumination than discussion, but that's fine. Storytelling is an old form of didacticism, but in today's free-market of ideas (not to say that anyting goes) it is out of vogue. I like this storytelling. It's fresh and I learn a lot from it.

And then there's the Writers Colloquia, where visiting writers give readings. On the 5th Floor, typically. I've attended readings by Patricia McCormick, Julia Slavin, th release of Best American Poetry (in Tishman Auditorium, modeled on the human ear), Carolyn MacCullough, Jill Ciment, Alexander Hemon, Josip Novakovich, Susan Mitchell, which was glorious, Jonathan Safran Foer, which was enlightening, and at which I won a copy of his book, and the Future Press Reading. There've also been two MFA student readings, with beer and wine and pizza. I've seen my friend Timothy at each of these. At the most recent, this last Thursday, Jess came and met most of my New School friends, and we heard Erica read a gorgeous story called The Cajun.

* * * * *

Moving north; midtown.

My first job is at Facts on File on 31st between Sixth and Seventh. There is a man on the corner with a coffee stand who I get a coffee and bagel from for $2.40 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. He has my order memorized, and on some days, gives me a free donut. There's an overpriced diner with good food next to the job, with the beautiful name of the Cosmic Diner. Then, my job is on the 17th floor of a building with a chronic leaking problem that has ruined several of the company's computers. I hyperlink for the company. I've created blurbs for their 'This Month in History' section, and have hyperlinked their History of Cold-War Politics and Encyclopedia of Chemistry databases. I'm currently working on the Dictionary of Biology database. The work, at its best, is very educational and fascinating. At its worst, I still have my music and my coffee.

Just north a few blocks is the theater where Jess and I saw Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, the inspiration for our costumes. Just a few blocks north of this is Times Square where we walked around in the night that was so brightly lit that it didn't seem to be night at all. It is clear why thye call this the crossroads of the world. And one day we walked north from here and met Jess' friend Dr. Noble and her husband at noon, and they took us to the Guggenheim.

* * * * *

Moving north; uptown.

When we went to the Guggenheim on the Upper East Side, we went to the top and worked our way down, studying the Russian Painters. When we got to the bottom we walked through a portion of Central Park, past the Met, and on down to a diner where they graciously treated us to dinner.

On the other side of the Park, and far north, I once met Jess and Peter and Amy for dinner and TV. After my colloquium, I took the subway express up to 125th, and walked south along unknown roads to Morningside Park. I walked through the park, which is one of the most gorgeous small urban parks I've ever seen, with statified brick buildings leaning over terraces on either side, a huge pond, but best, huge hill with grass and rocks and willows. When I arrived at Amy's we watched Gilmour Girls and Supernatural, and it was late when Jess and I got home.

* * * * *

These things are out of order, but I believe I've touched on most of the main events, and this brings me up to the present.

The last three months have truly been my greatest adventure to date.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Places I'd Like to Live Before I Die



"Living there" requires at least a three-month residency.
Underscored entries indicates Jessica's preference.
Numerical scores (1 to 10) have only relative significance: a score of 1 still indicates a preference to "live" in a given place.
Scores assigned as of eastly August, 2005.
Toubled sites (ie. unsafe) awarded scores based on hope for a more favorable situation.

Flint, Michigan: Mott Park neighborhood
Seattle, Washington
New Orleans, Louisiana
Washington, District of Columbia
Cuba - Havana
Argentina - Buenos Aires
France - Paris
Romania - Maramures region
Italy - Rome
Greece - Athens
Great Britain - London
Ireland - Dublin
Israel - Jerusalem
Turkey - Istanbul
China - Beijing
China - Hong Kong
Japan - Tokyo

Flint, Michigan: Downtown
Flint, Michigan: Civic Park
Flint, Michigan: Carriage Town
Flint, Michigan: Eastside
Portland, Oregon
Mexico - Chichen Itza
Brazil - Rio de Janeiro
Romania - Cluj
Romania - Ploiesti
Romania - Bucuresti
Romania - Constanta
Romania - Tulcea
Romania - iasi
Italy - Naples
Italy - Florence
Russia - Moscow
Russia - St. Petersberg
Ireland - Galway
Ireland - County Kerry
Saudi Arabia - Medina
Saudi Arabia - Mecca
Iraq - Baghdad
India - Mumbai
India - Calcutta
Bangladesh - Dhaka
China - Tibet
Thailand - Bangkok
Indonesia - Jakarta

Detroit, Michigan - Southwest Side
Houghton, Michigan
Saginaw, Michigan
Zanesville, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Chicago, Illinois: Pullman
Chicago, Illinois: Beverly
Chicago, Illinois: Jacowo
Chicago, Illinois: Canaryville
Chicago, Illinois: Uptown
Chicago, Illinois: Rogers Park
Chicago, Illinois: Kenwood
Chicago, Illinois: Hyde Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Black Hills National Park, South Dakota
Denver, Colorado
Salt Lake City, Utah
Oakland, California
Los Angeles, California: Hollywood
Reno, Nevada
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Painted Desert, New Mexico
Iota, Louisiana
Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia
Miami, Florida
The Everglades, Florida
St. Louis, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Nashville, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Wheeling, West Virginia
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
New York City, New York: Alphabet City
New York City, New York: Harlem
Queens, New York: Astoria
Honolulu, Hawaii
Puerto Rico - San Juan
Canada - Iqaluit, Nunavut
Canada - Vancouver, British Columbia
Mexico - Mexico City
Belize - Placencia Village
Brazil - The Amazon Basin
Brazil - Sao Paulo
Argentina - Patagonia
Peru - Cuzco
Tanzania - Zanzibar
Kenya - The Savannah
South Africa - Johannesburg
Egypt - Cairo
Egypt - Alexandria
Spain - Seville
France - Marseilles
Germany - Berlin
Austria - Vienna
Czech Republic - Prague
Romania - Timisoara
Italy - Venice
Crete - Knossos
Lithuania - Vilnius
Estonia - Tallinn
Finland - Helsinki
Sweden - Stockholm
The United Kingdom (Wales) - Cardiff
The United Kingdom (Scotland) - Edinburgh
The United Kingdom (Scotland) - Glasgow
The United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) - Belfast
Ireland - Ennis
Lebanon - Beirut
Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek
India - The Punjab State
India - The Kashmir State
Bangladesh - Chittagong
China - Shanghai
Japan - Kyoto
Vietnam - Saigon
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur
Phillipines - Manila
Indonesia - Sumatra
Australia - The Outback
Tahiti - Papete
Antartica - The Ross Base