the contextual life

thoughts without borders

Posts Tagged ‘thoughts

favorite places :: flying

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we were on the J train headed towards manhattan. just as we crossed over the bridge, as we rolled past the projects on the lower east side, she leaned towards the window and said, “this is it. my favorite place—because it looks like you’re flying.” then she made a whooshing sound and possibly some superhero arm movements. it did look a little like we were flying: the steel poles were out of sight and the cars, pedestrians, and cyclists were just below eye level.

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Written by Gabrielle

October 27, 2010 at 5:32 am

(e)reading

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books: i’m a junkie, a stockpiler, a fanatic. i have more books than i’ll ever be able to read and there appears to be no end to my weekly acquisitions. it was inevitable that i would get an ereader but as a notorious late-adopter, the question was never ‘if’ but ‘when’.

the other day i was pleasantly surprised with a free Sony ereader. “do you have one of these?” i was asked. “no.” i said and was promptly handed a small cardboard box. two days later, a sunny Sunday morning, i downloaded my first ebook: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which turned out to be more appropriate than i couldve imagined, but more about that in a later post.

there’s way too much talk out there about the demise of the publishing industry and how it’s largely the fault of ebooks and their most popular peddler, Amazon.com. i will spare you more of this type of talk simply because we’ve all heard enough and in the end, it sounds a whole lot like speculation rather than cold, hard fact.

as a heavy user i believe there is room in my heart for both physical and electronic books and anyone who sees the subject in black and white is, in my opinion, not a true fan. Kant on a Kindle? Nietzsche on a Nook? no way. not for me. those guys deserve notes in the margins made with real ink. Sci-Fi, first novels, books normally bought in mass market format…sure, you were most likely going to toss them onto a take shelf at your local community hang out anyway–or at least that’s what i do with them; so why clutter up your apartment with the tangible form?

as mentioned, i’ve stepped into the realm of ereading with the classic Douglas Adams Sci-Fi novel, the omnibus to be exact—all 6 novels in the series equaling 832 pages; something i would not like to cart around in my bag. luckily, i don’t have to. nope. the full collection fits onto my 7 x 4 inch, 10 oz. electronic device–a little smaller than my moleskin notebook, a little lighter than my digital camera.

but all is not roses and rainbows. i’m mildly disturbed by the presentation of the text—the generic font against a generic computer screen. it has no soul. no smell. no texture. it’s cold, heartless, without a pulse. how am i to interact with this thing? this thing that doesnt breathe, doesnt feel, is without history. as i hold the stainless steel story in my hand i long for yellow pages and a fragile spine: one that cracks with every opening and threatens to spit out its contents with every flip of a page.

real booknerds will never turn away from the physical: we know the value of the spirit.

Written by Gabrielle

October 13, 2010 at 7:49 am

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new york (1948)

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Every block or two, in most residential sections of New York, is a little main street. A man starts for work in the morning and before he has gone two hundred yards he has completed half a dozen missions: bought a paper, left a pair of shoes to be soled, picked up a pack of cigarettes, ordered a bottle of whiskey to be dispatched in the opposite direction against his home-coming, written a message to the unseen forces of the wood cellar, and notified the dry cleaner that a pair of trousers awaits call. Homeward bound eight hours later, he buys a bunch of pussy willows, a Mazda bulb, a drink, a shine–all between the corner where he steps off the bus and his apartment. So complete is each neighborhood, and so strong the sense of neighborhood, that many a New Yorker spends a lifetime within the confines of an area smaller than a country village.
– E.B. White, an excerpt from Here is New York

Written by Gabrielle

August 11, 2010 at 7:11 pm

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what do we tell the children?

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i was thumbing through a collection of essays by the incredibly prolific Betrand Russell the other week when i came across the section on education. he mentioned that most theorists have been childless, which i thought was interesting – yet incredibly believable. while i am far from what anyone would consider a philosopher, i am a theory-junkie and i could never imagine having a kid. i’d rather use my time to read. that being said, in what seems to be a theme among many philosophers, i love thinking about education and society. while reading kant’s introduction to logic i came across a great paragraph, which is now underlined and starred. it goes:

Reason is an active principle which ought not to borrow anything from mere authority of others – nay, not even from experience, in cases where the pure use of reason is concerned. But the indolence of very many persons makes them prefer to tread in the footsteps of others rather than to exert their own understandings. Such persons can never be anything but copies of others, and if all men were of this sort the world would forever remain in one and the same place. It is, therefore, highly necessary and important not to confine the young, as is commonly done, to mere imitation. pg.68

Written by Gabrielle

February 8, 2010 at 6:34 am

Posted in books

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