By Paul Ford
The first thing I see biking to work are the casket trucks loading up, each with the same soothing and ambiguous sunset painted
onto it. That's right around the corner on Union Street. At any point in time (check your watch) Brooklyn probably has as
many just-dead people as went to my college.
I watched a cat die in Chinatown. I was just about to get onto the bridge. It twisted, just-hit, in the middle of the street
with at least 100 people close. No one moved. Should I cross the street, dismount, and stomp it to death with my sneakers?
The importance of stomping suffering things to death was imparted to me as a child, but I've never had to do it. The cat stopped
twisting before I could move. So I pedaled onto the bridge, and when I got home I tried to pet green-eyed Desdemona, who sneered
at me, and tore a long gash in my hand.
One day two women were coming out of Cattyshack on 4th Avenue, standing next to me as I waited for the light to change. One
said to me, with a confronting tone, “I've got my nipples pierced!” I guess in an Oxford shirt and soft-chinned on a nice
new bike I look like a real typical asshole.
Later I think: so does my boyfriend. But I'm already home, key in the door, when that comes to me. Then, last week, a spraypainted black car pulled up next to
me at Jay St. “Do you love sluts?” yelled a woman in the passenger seat. “Because sluts fucking rule!”
I love skinnin' em! I think later. When I get home I tell this to Mo she shakes her head; thus I have twice failed to be funny. I used to be in the black car, yelling at strangers, I think, and I try to pet the cat, but she tears off a piece of my finger and runs away as fast as she can.
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.