Downtown Desolation

As a New Yorker I haven't had much reason to travel much further south than Canal street, except on rare occasions. Even when I did make those treks it was usually evening, or the weekend. Tribeca (the neighborhood below Canal street for those of you elsewhere) is a great neighborhood, and full of nice bars and places to eat and a few theatres, but it is mostly populated by financial types and so is at it's busiest during the week days. Today I had to meet a friend on Duane street, (just above Reade street... I never knew!). Getting out of the subway was a trick in itself, the Chambers street station seemed to have dozens of exits... but they were all locked off. I had to walk several blacks south of where I wanted to be, just to get out of the station. When I emerged I realized why... there was... no one. The streets were empty. It was a scene from the beginning of a zombie movie. I went two whole blocks before I saw another human being. In New York City this is a VERY disconcerting feeling. I'm used to the bustling streets and thousands of people everywhere fighting for space. After a few minutes I began to see the signs of life that I expect, the bodegas were still open, and there were a few people here and there but it was still nothing like an everyday situation. The city felt utterly different. Without the people I focussed a little more on the buildings, and the aging structure of the city. Now, I'm the kind of guy who LOVES the distressed surfaces around this city, peeling paint, dirty brick, old signs and posters... but today the city just looked a little tired, like it needed the rest it was getting from all of the people. Have you ever seen the look in the face of a mother of six small children when someone else takes charge of them for a while? That look of relaxation, but at the same time unsure of what exactly to do? That's the look that the city had today. Enjoy the rest NYC, the hoards will be back tomorrow.

Subway Sketches Part XXIV

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part XXIII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part XXII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

The Problem of Keeping Connected, Part 2

Even though my best friend tells me that my posts about my phone problems are boring I feel the need to keep you updated since I started it in the first place.

I bought a new phone... step one. It is Bluetooth, and Edge capable. I'm told by the Cingular sales people that tri or quad mode phones don't make that much difference in reception but that sometimes the brand name does, and that I should go for a Nokia for better reception, so that is settled too.

I spent a day or two hunting down the modem script online, since neither Cingular, nor Nokia officially support Macs, of course. After I had all that, I sat down to try and make my first connection... to discover that my laptop is NOT Bluetooth. It is compatible, and has all the drivers pre-installed, but not the necessary hardware. So... off to the Apple store.

So, now I have a Bluetooth dongle, and I have succesfully paired my phone, (maybe all this is boring... gah... I had NO idea what any of this meant a week ago). However everytime I try and connect to the internet the phone drops the pairing, and disconnects me.

My next step is to spend all day Monday at the Genius Bar, hopefully they will be able to help me with all this. After all they supposedly designed their computers to do this.

Hopefully my next update to this story will be posted via my cell.

Who Sketches the Sketchers?

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
On my way back from the Apple store today (I had to buy a Bluetooth dongle... more on my continued quest for internet access through my cell phone later) I did several sketches on the train (I'll post those later too). I wrapped up the last one and looked up from my own sketchbook to find this lady sketching furiously in hers. I was torn between disturbing her to say hello to a fellow artist, and leaving her be to finish her sketch as a major transfer point was coming and her model might get off. I snapped a quick phonecam shot, which proved to be the best move because it was she who left the train at the next stop. Hello, mysterious sketcher on the A-Train, next time I'll say hi.

Subway Sketches Part XXI

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

BEWARE: Geek Moment Ahead

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

I went down to the Javitz Center this morning to the Upper Deck 10k VS. tournament. My friends and I occasionally play the VS Card Game, but nowhere NEAR the level that these guys play at. This is of course primarily designed to be a kids game, sort of a Pokeman, or Yugi-Oh with super-heroes, so when I play I am usually more concerned with the fun that I can have (Teaming up Spider-man villains and Batman villains for instance... yes, I usually play villains). Sound effects, discussions of what would happen if the various characters "really" met, and attacks based not so much on strategy as on how cool it is that Green Goblin is attacking Superman are the norm. (I warned you that it was getting geeky in here.)

On the other hand the players at this tournament are all business. With thousands of dollars on the line, and the right to progress towards tournaments worth millions, I guess I can understand. No screams when their opponents whip out a particularly devastating card, no laughs about a supremely one sided match-up (Aunt May vs. Superman), no discussions of... well... anything really. These guys (and I do mean guys, I saw maybe 3 women out of about 300 players) shuffled decks, and turned cards in complete silence. No one had to read a card, or study the text before they played a hand. This was a PRO tournament. Someone in the room was leaving with $10,000.

Now, I'll admit that everything that I have mentioned so far places me squarely in the geek category in almost everyone's eyes. The sheer fact that I have played this game more than once plants me there in a fairly permanent way. However, I was in the presence of uber-geeks. Guys so far above me on the scale of geek that I am next to normal in their eyes. I longed to play one of them just to see how quickly they'd beat me. I'm sure it would be like an average guy facing a boxer, and going down in one punch. I may be lucky enough to land a good card combo or two, but in the end, I'm sure it would be a futile effort. But still, it would be an honor.

UPDATE: For information about the VS Card Game, go HERE.

Subway Sketches: METAPOST

First off, a big hello and welcome to everyone who has been found me via Danny Gregory's excellent blog. It was incredibly flattering to have been talked about there, and it certainly has boosted my readership today.

Since some of Danny's readership is interested in technique and materials I have gotten a couple of comments and a couple of e-mails regarding what materials I use for my sketches. Right now I am sketching in a very small Moleskin sketchbook. I think it is 3"x5", a nice size to keep in my pocket or bag and a nice size to unobtrusively sketch on the train with. And, yes, I sketch in ballpoint pen. I like using a Papermate stick pen, (apparently the model is called "Write Bros" which I never knew until looking it up just now). I like this pen because the ink is just a touch on the gummy side, and for some reason it allows for a very wide range of line weights. It makes very fine marks when I barely skim the page, and very dark marks when I need it to. Plus they are very cheap and common, and easy to get a hold of, so when I lose one on the train or in the bottom of my messenger bag I am not lamenting the loss of an expensive pen.

So... there you have it. Nothing very fancy, and certainly nothing not easily obtainable.

I've also been asked about people watching me sketch, or people reacting to being sketched. First, it is a fact of the city that people on the train are going to watch me. I came to accept that a while back. You routinely see people reading the paper or even a book over someone else's shoulder, so watching someone sketch must be almost irresistible. On the other hand living in such crowded conditions has also trained us all to respect other people's privacy, and generally ignore each other. So while I do sometimes get watched, it is very rare that anyone has taken the initiative to speak to me about it. (For you NYC readers, if you ever do see me, feel free to say hi!) As for people reacting to being sketched.... I haven't had a problem yet. In fact I am not sure if anyone has ever realized that it was happening. If they did they didn't acknowledge it. I tend to sketch people that are sort of obliquely seated from where I am, so that I'm not staring directly at them. And, if you'll notice in the sketches I also draw a lot of sleeping or reading people who are oblivious to me anyway.

Hope that helps answer any questions you guys might have! Again, welcome, and I'll see you on the train!

Subway Sketches Part XX

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part XIX

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part XVIII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
A good session today, the first that I have been able to get in for a couple days. Circumstances have been conspiring to keep my pen in my pocket recently, but as my departure nears I am desperate to get some good work in.

The Problem of Keeping Connected

I have spent the better part of my free time in the last two days researching internet connectivity through my laptop and my cell phone. First off, does it have to be this hard? I mean, seriously Cingular... could you have hidden the information that I needed a little MORE efficiently please? It seriously took me a dozen or more well phrased google searches to even begin to get anywhere, and the pages that I needed from Cingular I found linked off of other sites. When I tried searching for them directly on their website I got nothing. According to them the pages are not available.

The whole thing comes down to a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that it IS possible, and relatively easy. Even better was the news that it is particularly easy on a Mac, mainly because of iSync, which PCs obviously lack (HA! More vindication for Mac users). Even better is that if I have a Bluetooth enabled phone I can do it wirelessly.

After another exhaustive round of web searches, which again yielded little or no information from "official" sources, but rather from news groups and message boards and the like, I began to see the bad side of the equation. It seems that there are at least 5, possibly more, types of interfaces between cellular and net technology. Cingular uses two of these: GSM and EDGE. From what I can understand a laptop and a GSM phone will yield net speeds of about 20 or 30Kbps, slower than the first dial up modem that I ever had. EDGE has the potential to get me up to 300Kbps. My phone is only capable of GSM connections. I also discovered that I might be able to get a stronger cell signal if I had a tri-mode or quad-band cell phone. Basically these phones can operate on 3 or 4 frequencies, and would search out the available ones. My current phone is dual-mode, which means of course that it only receives on 2 frequencies. My current phone also does not have Bluetooth capabilities, so I would have to be tethered to my laptop with a wire. (Can you see where all this is going?) So the bad news is that for OPTIMAL connectivity, I should probably buy a new phone. My current phone is only about 8 months old, so there is no way that they would upgrade me. I'll have to pay full price for it if I buy it.

Further bad news is that all the phones that fit these three requirements, EDGE capable, Bluetooth compatible, and tri or quad mode, are UGLY. They are all bulky, square, ugly contraptions that I will not want to lug around in my pocket when I get back to the city.

So I'm left with the dilemma of whether or not this is really necessary and advisable. I have researched all of this with an exhaustiveness that I would not have considered possible three days ago, and I have more acronyms and abbreviations and techno-babble in my head now that anyone outside of a physics lab should need to know. the next few days will tell the tale. As you can probably guess though, I am leaning pretty heavily towards a yes on all this. I just can't see myself being that disconnected for that long.

Things Overheard in the Office Today

"At least this time I didn't walk out saying 'That sucked.'"

"But the first three were SO good!"

"It was better than the last two."

"It was a good movie, they just picked the wrong actors."

"Oh, the effects were great!"

Gee... I wonder what they are all talking about?

Big Brother?

Should it scare me that my hit counter informs me that someone with an ISP belonging to the US Department of Justice ended up here after doing a google search for the phrase "I hate books?" It linked them to this post, which is pretty innocuous, but still... the DOJ?

Commencing Countdown... T - 7

Tomorrow begins the first day of my last week in the city. Well... for three months anyway. I have a million things to do, sets to design and draft, there are still a few lingering boxes that need to be unpacked, I need to PACK to go away, artwork to do for freelance projects, finishing up the temp work I've been doing... GAH! Of course all I can think about is the things I am going to miss while I'm gone. Will I be able to come home for Pride? Will I be able to get decent food? I am going to seriously miss access to Japanese groceries, and Whole Foods, and the Poseidon Bakery. I'll have to drive again, which I haven't done in a year. I'll have to re-adjust to crickets and cicadas as my nighttime sounds rather than car alarms and sirens. Making the adjustment back to ordering materials, and waiting for deliveries instead of running down to Rose Brand, or Pearl. And as I've previously mentioned the troubles of cell service and net access. This is going to be QUITE the summer adventure.

Subway Sketches Part XVII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Childhood Home

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

This arial photo, courtesy of Google Maps, is the area that I was living during the time that I spoke about in the previous post. We lived here until I was about 6 years old. The red arrow is the former location of Big Mama's house, the blue arrow is where my family's trailer was located at the time, the green arrow is where my maternal grandmother's house was.

Concrete Memories

Some of my earliest childhood memories are linked, oddly enough, to the smell of freshly mixed concrete. My grandmother (paternal), who I called Big Mama, went through a phase of building onher house, adding concrete slab porches on both the front and back of the house, a concrete fish pond at one side, and she also built a sort of screened in, free standing building in her back yard. I'm not sure what you would call that building... it was screened on four sides, and reminds me now of the sort of thing that you see at national park recreation areas. I think later she ended up closing it all in, but I have a very strong memory of a party that was held in that space, with large quantities of hash being cooked. It seems to me that it was venison hash, though I can't be sure. When she poured the concrete for the porches she mixed it all herself, in wheelbarrows with water from a garden hose, and huge bags of concrete. The sound of the gravel and concrete being pushed back and forth in the wheelbarrow with a hoe is still with me as well. The fish pond was an elaborate affair that went up the side of the house and had waterfalls built into it and fake plants rooted in the cement, the type that you would normally put into an aquarium. All around the sides of the raised pond she imbedded marbles, many of which I was guilty of picking out and stealing over the following years. Of course she allowed me to leave handprints in the back porch, and there were foot prints on the front porch, there because I ran across it while it was still wet, and she didn't bother to smooth them away again. Though the house is no longer there, and I'm sure that the porches were torn up when new construction was done, there were a number of years of my life where that permanent record of my younger self stood frozen in time. It was a nice feeling, like immortality.

Anyway... there is a fresh sidewalk being poured a few blocks from the office, and I purposely chose to eat outside near that spot today, even though it was a bit chilly, just so that I could smell my memories for a while.

From The Top Down

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

My project at work is currently in the hands of other people, the team effort shifting to other members of the team for a while. I spent a lot of time today looking out the window, and watching the life of the city pass.

I grew up in a town with a population that is probably smaller than some of the high-rises that I could see. I lived most of my adult life in a city that covers 65.1 square miles, almost three times as large as Manhattan's 22.7 miles. It's population though is only 131, 510. Eleven times smaller than Manhattan's 1.49 million residents. How is it that I am so comfortable here? How was I able to make the mental shifts that allowed me to move through those three places? What brought me from where I started?

My renewed love affair with the city that started a few weeks ago kicked into a new gear today I think. Spring is finally blooming and I can feel my emotions stirring. Is everyone else as happy to be here right now as I am?

Subway Sketches Part XVI

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
On and off the train 6 times today for short trips, so I decided to do a "face collage" of sorts.

The Lost Boys

When do little boys grow up? Three times in the past two years I've been party to what I have (not so) affectionately dubbed "The Curse of the Disappearing Boyfriend." Three separate guys, all very different, all very mature in their own ways, who decided that rather than have the balls to call me, (or hell, even email me!) and tell me that they weren't interested in continuing to pursue a relationship they would rather disappear, as if I would simply forget the fact that they existed. They all stopped returning my calls, stopped answering my emails, and two of them have taken the steps to hide their presence on IM from me (As an aside: This didn't work... I DO have other screen-names that I use from time to time, even if you don't know what they are...). To me, this is the worst type of childishness. All three of these men were in their 30's with responsible jobs (one was a professor at a major New England university), who had every appearance of being fully grown adults. I guess I need new criteria for figuring out who's an adult and who's not.

Seriously... guys... if you're man enough to ask someone out, especially MULTIPLE times (in one case we had been dating for three months!) be man enough to call them and tell them that it's off. Hide behind your computer screen if you have to, send the email. Drop the IM. I know this is like telling you to face a hungry lion, and that it's a hard thing to do... but grow up. Be the man that you think you are. Your boyfriend/sometimes lover/date/whatever deserves the respect.

(Oh, and for those who can't read between the lines... yes, the most recent of the disappeared is Snowy. Goodbye, S. It would have been nice.)

Subway Sketches Part XV

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

I'm particularly proud of this one. The young girl was adorable, and there was something about the juxtaposition of her father's massive hands that made this an image I had to capture. I am pretty sure that the father was aware of me and that I was sketching them, he eyed me suspiciously a couple times and said a few things in Spanish to his wife. In the end though he sat pretty still. I'm not sure if it was posing for me or attempting not to disturb his daughter.

A Day So Nice, I Did It Twice

M's best friend came in for the week, visiting from our home town. As a welcome to New York for him we decided one of the best things to do would be to go to the 8th Ave. Food Fair. Fifteen blocks of sausage and peppers, funnel cakes, mozzerepas, roasted sweet corn and various other delectable delights. Another day of hundreds of empty calories (probably more like thousands), but I walked a good 3 miles today, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Subway Sketches Part XIV

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part XIII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

The Perfect NYC Day

Despite today's fickle weather, (overly warm for the sweater at times, then too cool to be without a jacket 20 minutes later) I spent what my friends and I have decided was the perfect way to spend a day in NYC. We started the morning as 8 having dim sum at the Golden Bridge. Afterwards one peeled away to go and meet her long distance girlfriend for a video conference, two split off a few minutes later to shop for DVDs at one of the many DVD shops in China Town, another left us a few minutes later to shop for a new lamp as we passed through the lighting district. The final three of us walked through a street fair on Gramercy sampling food even though we were all still stuffed. Then a cone from Mr. Softee. We shopped for clothes and hats and sofas and of course made the ubiquitous stop by Duane Reade. At 7:30 the last of my companions left me to go and see a show that they had tickets for, leaving me on my own. The original plan had been to see a movie, but of the two I wanted to see one was sold out until 9, and the I had just missed the start of the other. (Yes I know I could have simply gone to another theatre, but I had just walked from Canal to 42nd!) I decided to retire for the night to see if I could finish unpacking some of the lingering cardboard boxes still scattered about the apt.

It was a perfect day, a nice postcard memory for me to take to the backwoods for the rest of the summer.

Subway Sketches Part XIII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

This Asian guy was one of the most beautifully androgynous people that I have ever seen. He looked like a yaoi boy come to life.

Tourist Season

The town that I spent most of my adult life in was a tourist town, a destination on the southern coast. When summer arrived the town was flooded with tourists, come to see the azaleas, or go to the beach. One of the features of the town was that in the historic district there were several city block sized parks spread out across the city. To a native, or anyone with common sense driving around these squares was pretty intuitive, you simply had to treat them like medians, and stay to one side. Tourists of course never understood this, and so driving in the summer became a nightmare.

I'm beginning to notice the same sort of problems here now that the tourists are getting thicker. Things that seem basic to anyone that has lived here for a while just seem to baffle them. How hard is it to understand that you simply don't walk three or four abreast down a city street? Or that on escalators you stand to the right so that people can walk to the left? Of course there are courtesy rules that native New Yorkers don't seem to get either, like staying to the right, whether you are headed up or down, on the subway stairs. Tourists REALLY make that one worse as they not only take the wrong side of the stairs but frequently stop in the middle of them to make sure the rest of their party is keeping up. What other unspoken NYC "rules" are there that I might be unknowingly breaking myself? I don't want to be deemed guilty of the same thing that I'm blaming these guys for.

The whole thing reminds me of a t-shirt that was popular in my hometown: "If it's called tourist season, why can't we kill them?"

Subway Sketches Part XII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

One Brief Thing

Second chances or not... thinking about The Boy sure has distracted me from The Job today.

Subway Sketches Part XI

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part X

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part IX

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

I spent an inordinate amount of time on the platform at 42nd street Thursday, so I took a few minutes to sketch. It's harder than the train because people tend to move more frequently, so these are more unfinished.

Subway Sketches Part VIII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

The first of a wave of new sketches. It was a busy weekend, so not much time to upload.

Romantic Recidivism

I'm not sure where to start this story... My most recent 'ex'... (let's call him Snowy for some very complex reasons having to do with his similarity to certain comic book characters... trust me, it's a long story)... Snowy and I had a rather brief but fantastic affair over the month of March that ended with him emailing me to explain in a rather lengthy fashion why we were not going to work as a couple, and should end things right then to save ourselves the heartache. I challenged his assumptions for a day or two, but in the end decided that I wasn't going to make a huge effort over what was, after all, a pretty short relationship, with a guy who had decided that he wasn't interested in me anyway. Besides, his list of reasons was pretty comprehensive and for the most part valid. We made the age old promise to stay friends, (something I suck at by the way), and parted company.

Skip ahead a month and a half... Snowy and I were having a small IM chat on Thursday night, which culminated with him asking me if I would like to come over for a margarita, it being Cinco De Mayo and all. After a brief internal debate I decided that if I was going to make the transition from former date to friend that I had to face situations like this, and that now was a good time to start. We had chatted a few times, but this would be the first time that I had seen him since we broke up.

Turns out that the whole friendship thing... not so much. Fifteen minutes after I arrived we were tumbling around on the bed, debating the merits of trying to get back together. Yes, I brought up the enumerated list, which he pretty much dismissed. I am not saying that we are back together. There are a few issues that spring to mind right away, first that he had been drinking before this little tryst, so I don't really trust anything that was said. Also, while I AM interested in Snowy, and sincerely want to pursue something with him, but this can't be about both or either of us being lonely and falling back on something familiar. And as I admitted, some of the points that he made in his email were valid. That will need to be addressed too.

What's interesting is that this whole week has been about getting a second chance at opportunities that I thought I had missed... I'm working at a job that I thought I had lost, and kissing the boy who got away.

Another Day Another Dollar

Back to the workaday world. The designer that I've mentioned a few times called today and offered me another project, similar to the one that I lost last week because of my prior commitments. It's been quite a while since I have worked a real 9 to 5 type job, the life of a freelancer doesn't really require it after all. Still, it was good to have a place to go and to know that I'll have some money coming in soon to bridge the gap until I leave for summer. It isn't exactly the type of work that I'd choose, (it's more graphic design that anything else), but beggars can't be choosers I suppose.

I love the life of a freelancer. I went pretty rapidly from feast to famine in April, and now I'm back to the feast side just as quickly. Funny how fast your star rises and falls.

Just About There

After several weeks of arguing with the management offices, including a call to 311, things in the apartment are finally shaping up. A maintenance man visited today and installed the carbon monoxide detector, and the smoke alarms, he delivered the mailbox keys, explained why the door buzzer isn't working, and took some pieces from the leaky radiator in the living room to replace them. The landlords have agreed to prorate the days that we spent with no electricity, and the apartment was basically uninhabitable... so life is pretty good. I'm still struggling a bit to cram all of my belongings into a room that is half the size of the one I lived in for the last year, but the good news is that M&K do not mind me putting things into the rest of the house, unlike my former roommate. Her sense of design, and mine were VERY divergent and we never really came to a consensus on how to handle it. The result was that most of my belongings when into my room, unless they were deemed stylish enough to go out into the rest of the apartment. The biggest point of contention being her perception of my geekier belongings. Luckily all three of us are comic book collectors, and geeks in our own way, so neither M or K mind that want my Phoenix statuette on display in the living room.

Ah... home at last.

Culture Shock

I grew up in a rural area. The population of my hometown is 1,800, the closest grocery store was 10 miles away, at the time that I lived there there was one traffic light, (now there are three! Whew!), the newspaper is published once a week, (Wednesdays), and my high school class was one of the largest in generations... at a whopping 75 graduates.

Today I took a little bus ride into the country to visit the theatre where I will be working this summer. For three months I will be in the mountains designing musicals. It's a lovely place, really. Nestled in a valley, surrounded by trout streams, lots of rolling hills and picturesque views. The theatre itself is lovely, there's a great tavern attached to it, where I will probably drink many many beers this summer. BUT... (you knew that was coming right?) It is more rural than even where I grew up. Thirty minutes after arriving I realized that I didn't have a signal on my cell phone. Thirty minutes later I felt isolated and cut-off from the world. The production manager told me to go stand by a specific tree in the parking lot (!) where I mysteriously was able to pick up one bar. I was afraid to ask about internet access. The biggest shock? The closest comic shop is 25 miles away... I no longer own a car. (I'm a NEW YORKER!!)

For three months I will be cell-less, net-less, car-less, comic book-less... I'm amazed at how rapidly I have become adjusted to my cell phone and wireless internet styled lifestyle. These links help keep me informed, and employed, and attached to the rest of the world. Even if I was going back to South Carolina for the summer I'd have cell access. I feel like I'm going back to the stone age. The funny thing is, I have been considering a long hike (Appalachian Trail) for a few years now, where all of these things would also be true, to an even more extensive degree probably. This is different though... I mean... how am I supposed to work? To research without the net? I'm sure it will be fine. I'm sure I'll (re)adjust... but for today it seems pretty daunting.

Subway Sketches: METAPOST

My new apartment is not as clearly convenient to one subway line as my old apartment was. Before I had a spare half a block walk to the A, or a 5 block walk to the 1-9. Obvious which line wins in that situation, right? Here I am sort of in between both lines, with a walk in either direction, the 1-9 being just a tiny bit shorter (or at least it seems that way). After 2 days of riding the 1-9 exclusively though, my choice has become clear: walk the distance to the A.

What made up my mind you ask? Well... sketching. I figured out that it is next to impossible to sketch on the 1-9. The cars are not as wide, and all the seats run along the length of the car rather than having some that jut out into the center of the car like the A. The seats seem somehow smaller too, though that may just be my perception. I tried several times to sketch and just found that I couldn't. This does amount to basically staring at a stranger for several minutes after all, and this is much harder to do when they are a couple feet closer to you than you're accustomed to. There just didn't seem to be a way to discretely work it out. So, as of tomorrow, I am an A train rider again.