Cut weather in half and there is more weather.
As I walked out this warm and beautiful morning there was a man
with a pitbull, and the pitbull wore a hand-riveted tin muzzle. The
man said hello, could he ask me a question? He had only a few
teeth. His face looked like it could fight a beehive and win. He
asked: Do you know where there is the animal shelter around here that
That was a great question. I thought about nothing but this until a
few minutes later, when I was going downstairs to the train at Beverly
Rd. and a blast of air came up at me. Then I thought, There's a
tiny climate right here. It is different from the climate in my
For the rest of the day I kept looking for shifts in the weather. I
tried to figure out how many climates I might experience daily, in the
same way physicists calculate how many atoms of Caesar's last breath
we take in every time we breathe (2, or 3), but there were too many
variables to even do a back-of-envelope estimate—there might be
a trillion temperature differentials. There might be a cold front in
the back of the train and a warm front in the front of the train. And
the train itself pushes weather around. (On the subway platform a
small group of teens passed me, quietly chanting something to each
other, loose shirts flapping as the B train left them in the
By my first meeting of the morning I'd already been through a dozen
climates: Coming up at Columbus Circle where the stairs meet
the sidewalk (windy); next to a bank machine (dry); an elevator (very
still, with a tiny, unfelt whistling breeze); and so forth. I kept
finding different barometric footprints: Bus, train, cab, restaurant,
a 30th floor, Central Park, Chinatown, NoHo, next to the United
Nations, and Midtown. It was a day of errands and full of weather. To
remind myself to write this I put a TODO into my phone with these
words next to it: “Air and salt. And ultimately rust.”
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.
: 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.