A diary of my trip to NY for the Association of Professional Futurists conference:
New York was awesome. They just have a higher tolerance for apathy while Seoul has a higher tolerance for cuteness than any place on Earth including Japan–at least when I was there. I went to the WTC several times. I had to take the subway there. I was taking the Path line to be specific as I was staying out in Jersey with a friend’s ex-girlfriend. I was afraid it would be a little awkward, but actually things were very cool. I got to see my friend Brent who’s a kiwi I met out in Seoul. We went to a Yankee’s game, and I bought a t-shirt that says, “Bahstan Sawks Cack.” Brilliant! I love it!
The next day, I wanted to go to the Gugengeim, but it was closed. So, I walked through Central Park and made my way to the American Natural History Museum. I suddenly realized just what time it was and figured I would want to stay there longer than I had time for. I took the train to Bleeker street and stopped in Generation Records. I picked up Covenant’s Northern Lights and VNV Nation’s Futureperfect. They were both released in 2002, but the VNV album seemed perfect for me just because of the name and what I was in NYC for. The Covenant album has Call the Ships to Port and Bullet which are two of my favorite tracks by them. I also picked up a New Order shirt. I was hoping to find a Fiendflug shirt, but they didn’t have any. Their only Skinny Puppy, Wumpscut, and Front 242 shirts were either way too big or way too small for me. I was very disappointed. Plus the Cure shirts were nothing special. I already had most of them. I then walked to Franklin Street which was a little further than I expected.
The restaurant where the conference was was very nice. It was a plush Greek restaurant. The cheese pies were a little disappointing. Perhaps if they were not served as hor d’oeuvres. I played the wallflower for awhile. I have been so stressed about school and uncertain about myself as a result that I didn’t feel quite up to mingling with the “real” futurists. Besides, I didn’t recognize anyone there. Thankfully Garry Golden, a guy I had interviewed for class a few months ago, recognized me. He introduced me to a few people. He certainly seems like a people person. However, I must admit that by the end of the night I felt much more like I belonged there. Being a student member of the APF I felt I should keep my mouth shut–always a good idea because I still put my foot in my mouth a few times–so I could just ask questions and listen. I finally met one of my classmates, Simeon. Simeon’s a good guy for all my envy. I guess I am just at that age where I get to despise the youth because they are young. Seriously, I was supposed to be published by now. I have only finished one short story for crying out loud. I wanted to meet Brent again, but I just couldn’t be bothered. He was out in Brooklyn and I was in the Lower West Side with The Path to where I was crashing just a few blocks away.
I didn’t sleep so well that night though. Perhaps I was anxiously awaiting the next day. We had a proper meeting and it was very interesting. I began to feel the passion for Futures Studies again which I had lost through studying at break neck speeds. We were given care packages and I chose the one with The Future of Everything by Dr. David Orrell. It’s about Chaos and Complexity. Because Michelle had some extras after the conference, I also filched a copy of The Making of Second Life. Something else from that first meeting, we did the round robin of introductions. I didn’t finish strong. I am great at starting and maintaining a middle. It’s the third act that I often need a collaborator for. I made it plain that I was looking for an internship though. I was offered one and I was given a suggestion for another and even offered help in finding one. Plus I saw a lady who intrigued me when I saw her posts on our listserv. She was talking about dramatic comparisons to Futures Studies which was quite interesting. Then everybody had to put in more than just their two cents. At the conference, she was so expressive and so enthusiastic that I suddenly wished I had at least read all of her posts. She reminded me of a number of girls in my drama classes whom I wished liked me and a couple I think might have. I started talking to her later and began to get a number of ideas for applications of my Futures Studies. I have an idea for a musical now. She may even be willing to collaborate with me–hopefully so at least for that third act, eh?
That evening, we took a field trip to Museum of Modern Art. There was a special exhibit called Design and the Elastic Mind. It was half artsy representations of futuristic technology and half the projects of design students trying to explore new avenues for innovation. One lady used a motion capture pen to draw a 3D chair in the air which was translated into the computer and “printed” out of a substance I can’t remember the name of. Someone else had a series of practical applications of new tech with artistic designs. There was an apparatus which gave off something akin to sunlight for winter time to reduce seasonal stress. My current profile pic is a shadow puppet wall which interfaced with a program which personified the hand puppets with eyes etc. as well as noises. The asians loved it–it was that cute. I just wish I had bought the companion book for the exhibit. Afterward, I went for pizza at Ray’s on Broadway. It was an expression of pure joy translated into a flavor. This pizza was a wetdream on a thin, crispy crust. After pizza, I went to an Irish pub and mixed with the students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) program. They’re cool guys. They have much more of an artistic perspective than we do at UH.
Later, I met up with Brent and he explained the history of the Five Points and Williamsburg Bridge. He works at the Tenement museum which basically tells the story of the immigrant slum in late 19th Century NY. They choose not to call it a slum though, and perhaps it wasn’t really. The next day was awesome. Among other things we did what’s called a fish bowl. There were four people in the center, and the rest of us stood around them. They started a conversation. As it progressed, we were to tap them on the shoulder at let the conversation continue without reverting to previous topics. I tried not to revert back, but it was difficult because one of the guys there so succicntly put several ideas that I nor anyone else in the circle could respond. He killed the conversation, but he was able to further the stereotypes I have for Canadians. All the Canadians I have ever met fall into one of three categories. They are either the most closed minded idiots or the most open minded and intellectual people I have ever met. The only middle ground at least as far as the Canadians I have met is that they are the most boring people. The intellectuals never said anything about weed whereas the rest all seemed to be chemically addicted as if that were possible. That’s proof enough to me that weed kills brain cells. What’s my excuse now, eh?
After, I tried to be social and that seemed to work out for me. We went to the village and had a beer and dinner. It was a good time had by all as we counciled Simeon on his relationship woes. I then was FINALLY able to contact Ian. He’s one of those guys I miss the most from my Korea days. He revolutionized my understanding of humor. He’s a cute little Jewboy, but he takes Jewish humor to new heights. Maybe the funniest Jews don’t actually go into comedy. I had a number of assumptions about Jewish humor, Canadian humor, British humor, and what we try to call American humor. He is some form of an embodiement of all of these. It’s no wonder the ladies like him so damn much. When I was thinking of going to the conference a month ago, I thought of asking him if I could stay with him. I figured it might be too much to ask from someone who knew him so long ago. Brent on the other hand has stayed in contact with me. Of course, it may actually be thatI have not stayed in contact with Ian. Anyway, after deciding not to go because the hotels were too expensive for me and I didn’t want to ask Ian, I completely forgot about telling him that I was coming when I later asked Brent. In my defence, I had completely forgotten that Brent was in New York too until my girlfriend reminded me. It wasn’t till I met Garry whom I mentioned earlier that I was reminded of Ian. So I wanted to e-mail him. I took my new iPod touch with me, so I logged onto Facebook because apparently that’s what the weakwilled yanks use. I changed my status just before the conference started back up, and I completely forgot to e-mail him. He sends me a comment, and I felt like such an ass. One way or another, we went out for drinks–one too many for me–and had a great time. Nothing bothers him as far as I can tell. No grudges there. Maybe he remembers how ineffective my memory is.
The only thing I didn’t do in NY that I wanted was go to the park where the 39-40 and 61-62 World’s Fairs were held. Of course, the Futurama exhibit is gone as is the Trylon and Perisphere. I still would have liked to go.
Right now, I’m listening to The Best of Electric Light Orchestra. I dig these guys. Just wish I had known them when I was younger.