Sunday, February 26, 2006
So long, 9th St.
These things are supposed to be marked by ritual: in about 12 hours I'm leaving this apartment, where I've lived since 1997,
and moving into a new place with my girlfriend. But instead of sitting around drinking a scotch and reflecting fondly on moments
past, I'm staring at a large pile of stuff on the floor and feeling a desperate need to sleep. Luckily the mattress is leaning
against a wall and there is no way to just...rest...for a moment. The stuff on the floor comes first.
But I still feel that it's time for a montage. I come in the door, 22 years old, young enough for my parents to help me move.
The next scene shows men delivering my futon. Then I lug some wood up the stairs to build a bookcase. My hair starts to gray;
wrinkles appear around my eyes. I hug a woman and she walks away. There's a shot of a group of friends, each holding a wineglass,
all laughing as I wear a wig. Etc. Then a shot as I nod slowly and close the door behind me, on my way.
Of course the montage could just as easily show me crying face-down on the bed, or the time I ate an entire chicken and a
loaf of bread while watching eight Babylon 5 episodes (downloaded via Bittorrent) in a sitting. Fade to a pile of cigarette
butts in a coffee cup; fade to the button popping off a pair of ill-fitting slacks as I sweat and curse, desperately try to
get ready in time to make a friend's wedding in the city. Fade to me vomiting white wine in the toilet after that wedding.
From outside the half-open bathroom door, my neighbor asks if I'm okay. (When I walked out of the bathroom, he said later,
I was naked.)
Depending on how you cut the film, I was mostly happy; I was mostly sad; I made good choices; I made bad choices. Regardless,
I've got to clean the bathroom, and my neighbor is going to help me wash the last of the dishes. There's no more time for
writing or saying goodbye to the last eight years, just a pile of stuff in the middle of the room.
Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some
There is a Facebook group.
You will regret following me on Twitter here.
About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit
things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.
If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at email@example.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am
glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.
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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford
Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose.
As a hobby I write.
Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out.
Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley.
Welcome to the Company.
“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”.
Forgot to tell you about this.
“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.
An essay for TheMorningNews.org.
People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately.
Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford.
Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford.
Nanolaw with Daughter.
Why privacy mattered.
0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford.
It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so
that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So:
Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand
below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every
Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came
unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...)
That Shaggy Feeling.
Antilunchism, by Paul Ford.
Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford.
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford.
(1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and
the historical fallacy.
The Moral Superiority of the Streetcar.
(1) Long-form journalism fixes everything. (2) The moral superiority of the streetcar. (3) I like big bus and I cannot lie.