Archive for January, 2009

T minus 2 days!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2009 by Cristina

sighhhh

My week has been going the opposite of this. Working 14+ hour days only to get home and do more work has been ummm, too much. So I guess I couldn’t have planned next week’s vacation for a better time: Operation Mormon Ski will be a most needed break from the city as I’ll be playing in the snow, chilling in an internet-free house, and drinking hot chocolate for eight glorious days. Now, more than ever, I just want to sit in a chair outside in the sun with a beer. Hmmm, how do I make the time pass more quickly?!

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Techno-creep

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 by Cristina

Techno-wallDespués de un día de catorce horas en frente de una computadora, quiero discutir algo interesante: el fenómeno de la cresciente presencia de la tecnología en nuestras vidas y la huella que éste deja en nuestras interacciones sociales.  Con los adventos de email, citas online, pilotos de la palma, y accesorios avanzados, nuestro ambiente se está convirtiento cada día más digital.  Nuestras opciones de modos de comunicación han crecido en los últimos años.  Pero es correcto decir que estamos más conectados y acercados que antes?  

Doctor Daniel Goleman, autor del libro Inteligencia Social, dice que no.  Él opina que estas tendencias marcan la lenta desapariencia de oportunidades para comunicación significativa con otros.  Dice que “el inexorable ‘technocreep’ es tan insidioso que nadie ha calculado su precio social y emocional.”  Según Dr. Goleman, la invasión de tecnología en nuestras vidas cotidianas resulta en consecuencias negativas y lo que el llama “autismo social.” 
Viviendo en Nueva York, observo que un gran porcentaje de las personas en el metro están escuchando a música y casi nadie hace contacto visual.  Me parece un poco extraño, pero tal vez esa isolación facilitada por un iPod sea una manera de protegerse del caos arrollante de la ciudad.  En realidad, es mentalmente agotador prestar atención a las cientas de personas que se encuentran cada día y por eso, es más fácil simplemente bloquearlas. 
En los años sesenta, el poeta T.S. Eliot advirtió que “la televisión permita que millones de personas escuchen el mismo chiste al mismo tiempo pero todavía quedarse solas.”  Muchos de mis amigos se quejan de que tan difícil es encontrar amigos en Nueva York, algo que me sorprende en una ciudad de más de 8 millones de habitantes.  Pero tomando en consideración el impacto social de la tecnología, esta queja no es tan sorprendiente. 
Un statístico significante y para mi, bastante alarmante, es que esta década más personas vivirán en ciudades que en el campo.  Imagínense, más personas que saben cómo manejar un coche que las que saben cómo encender un fuego.  Este cambio demográfico combinado con la ola, o mejor dicho, tsunami de tecnología, tiene el potencial de mermar nuestras aptitúdines sociales.  
Yo no soy una tecnófoba, al contrario, agradezco muchas inovaciones que hacen mi vida más fácil: me permiten compartir fotos con mi familia en otro continente, me recuerdan los cumpleaños de mis amigos, y también me ayudan crear esta grabación.  Sin embargo, pienso que es sumamente importante mantener nuestra arte de comunicar humano a humano para que no sucumbamos a la frigidez de la technología.  Estamos a riesgo de olvidarnos de cómo leer el lenguaje del cuerpo, cómo interpretar vistas intercambiadas, y siquiera cómo escuchar emociones en el tono de la voz.  Es mucho más fácil disculparse en un mensaje de texto enviado por teléfono que en persona.  Sin embargo, este tipo de atajo nos roba de la oportunidad de crecer y madurar socialmente.  Es posible que las experiencias humanas que son perdidas a la tecnología nos cuestan más de que nos damos cuenta.
Estas nuevas maneras de comunicación sí nos ayudan conversar con los a la distancia pero al mismo tiempo, nos alejan de un modo mucho menos aparente.  No deberíamos perder de vista que no hay substituto para un abrazo, una mirada, o una sonrisa en vivo.  Tenemos que dejar de escondernos detrás de avances tecnológicos y prestar más atención al momento humano. Espero que podamos continuar esta discusión cara a cara en vez de por medio tecnológico.

Many too many

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2009 by Cristina

I don’t really understand how civilized people travel like this, but apparently they do. While my morning commute isn’t AS insane, I do frequently put up with stuff similar to this minus the white-glove service. It’s really dehumanizing and I usually hate it… so much so that when I saw the following piece of art by Japanese artist Ryohei Hase, I understood the sentiment exactly.

Go forward and forward

Ryohei explains the Tokyo crowds: “Everyone walks forward and forward pushing their way boldly without expression, without looking back. I felt the hardness of life, and at the same time I felt sadness and a bit of fear.” Seems that our two cities have the same problem, less rabbits in NYC though.

The seeds & the bees

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2009 by Cristina

old school survival

I promised myself I’d take a break from buying more books until I finish reading some, but I couldn’t help it when I saw the Country Wisdom & Know-How book. My purchasing motivation was two-fold: the first being so that I can figure out a way to give my dad the gift of re-starting his bee-keeping hobby. When I was young and my parents managed a state-owned sheep farm in Romania, my dad had a few hives from which we always had jars and jars of honey around. I remember he was pretty into it and loved putting on that little white outfit and going out there with his smoker, good times. Now that he’s older and going through a bout of middle-aged curmudgeonry, I’ve been thinking this would be the perfect thing to pick up his spirit… so I’ll get some help from my Country Wisdom book.

The second reason I bought it was to gain a bit of dependency from all the modern-day packaged food and lighters and electricity. Although I don’t expect these comforts to go away anytime soon, it would be nice to know how to grow my own tomatoes and draw maple syrup, hah! As I was sharing this excitement with a friend, he mentioned that there was a seed-bank facility in Norway that holds reserves of all plant types on Earth, just in case, you know…

Svalbard

So I looked it up and was totally impressed: the Norwegian government spent $7 million on this remote island underground facility and Bill Gates donates oodles of money to upkeep it. Between the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, my Country Wisdom book and my dad’s future honeybees, I think we’ll be juuuuust fine.

Feels like…F#*k!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2009 by Cristina

I am usually indifferent to weather forecasts… but when everyone started flipping about about the impending apocalypse of NYC freezing over, I decided to wear 10 million layers of my Arizona clothes to stay alive. As I waited for the crosstown bus for 10 hours, frostbite almost set in and full of rage-a-hol, I finally gave up and walked the four avenue blocks the cattle-car L train.  The only saving grace of this frozen adventure was the chance to admire the cloud factory near my house.  In the brisk air and morning sun, the  man-made clouds looked more amazing than ever!Cloud factory

I’m sure I’ll eventually learn to deal with these “1°F, Feels like -7°F” temperatures. After all, I did spend a week in northern Alaska at Arctic Survival training, camping out in “-20°F, Feels like Death°F” weather. If only it were hip to wear this stuff around Manhattan, I’d be good to go:

Thigh-deep

Cocoa Perks

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2009 by Cristina

Cocoawesomeness

Having a sister who manages a high-end French chocolate boutique can be fantabulous. Twice this week I met her at the shop to take her out and it was worth it! While she counted the benjamins people had paid for mere ounces of goodness, I got to stuff my face with ganache leftovers. This gluttony is almost a nightly thing as she brings home the unsold deliciousness. As much as I enjoy the consumption, I also got a kick out of the insane chocolate fashion show I attended – I was blown away by how serious everyone was about these little bean pods.  In the midst of an economic unraveling, I was standing around drinking wine and watching chocolate-clad models prance around a catwalk, it was surreal.  I was fortunate enough to get a good laugh from this ridiculous model who temporarily made me forget all my mutual fund woes:

oh, the hotness!

…And the night ended with the most appropriate pickup line I’ve ever faced, “You want a hot chocolate to go?”  Hah, no thanks, sexy black lad!

Sugarland

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 by Cristina

crusty trees

I had no idea that Vermont looked like this!  After snow-play in Colorado, France, Switzerland, Austria, you name it, I thought I’d seen every beautiful combination of frozen nature scenery there was.  Luckily, I found out on a snowboarding trip to Okemo Mountain that I was way wrong.  The sugar-land scene that unfolded at the top of the ski lift was breathtaking.  Every nook and cranny of the nature up there was crusted over with layers and layers of iciness.  It was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen and it reminded me that this kind of awesomeness is in my own backyard.  No need to trek all the way up to leder-hosen & yodeling Alps to see cold magic like this:

icy crust