By Paul Ford
Such a commute: a man stumbling through the train with a huge billboard hung around his neck. “The FBI will want to talk to
this cardiologist!” he yelled, and we all looked away. I snuck a look at his eyes. They stared out straight and wild. On the
Broadway-Lafayette platform, a man in a Gold's Gym jacket watched a pornographic DVD on a tiny player. “Now that's anal! Go
and fuck it!” said the player, its words punctuated by thick, wet noises. I looked over, and tried to get a peek, but the
man shifted away and then got on the B train. I came out on 50th, and halfway to 5th Ave, a tall albino construction worker
passed, walking the other direction. He carried two 2”x4's. I turned to look after him, and another man began to scold me:
“Yeah! Go ahead and stare at my friend! The freak albino! That fucking freak, right? Stare at him!” I turned away, ashamed,
and found a man in front of me. “Give me twenty dollars, man,” he said. “God, please help me!” I gave him the change in my
pocket, and entered an office building. I signed for the security guard, and waited an eternity for the elevator. An impatient
bicycle messenger waited with me, tapping his feet, along with a short man with a four-inch wire protruding from his ear,
into which he apologized for arriving late.
On the third floor, a group of women in smocks entered the elevator, smelling of haircare, and one said to the other: with
a thick Queens accent, “I told her, you wear those highlights you look like something else. You're older now, you want a classy
look, like mine.” The other woman laughed. One the 9th floor all stepped off, and I rode to the 11th by myself.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
© 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.