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Okupa México

For decades, Mexico City’s elite has hid away in suburban hills. But Bernal is one of the new generation who have descended into the urban cauldron and pushed up the value of centrally-located property. With its charming architecture, Roma was especially ripe for development. Bernal said he would have preferred to remodel the building in Roma, but for decades tenants paid little or no rent, and it fell into disrepair. Instead he wanted to tear it down and erect a six-story condominium with a façade that complemented the neighborhood.

Okupa México: Are Mexico City’s violent wars over gentrification a window onto our collective future? by David Biller

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A place to put my stuff

After a few delays, I finally moved my “stuff” to my new place. Yay! As usual, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The morning that I was planning to finally get my furniture (i.e., bed – it’s nice to have a place to sleep) to my new place, Francis had a different idea. While walking the dog, a garbage truck went by and he decided, “I have to catch that.” So he ran, and I found myself propelled toward the road into oncoming traffic. Continue reading A place to put my stuff

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Old school, meet new school

From the WFMU Twitter stream, I found this article on Why Young Music Fans Buy Vinyl — and the Apps That Can Help Them:

For people my age, having grown up with Napster (and Limewire, Bearshare, and Soulseek — remember those?), it feels silly to pay for MP3s. The same goes for CDs. All you’ll do with them is rip them to your computer and iPod. For those of us who want to pay for music, vinyl is a way to do that in return for something that isn’t easily obtainable for free on the internet. And for audiophiles, the sound quality of vinyl is often a factor too.

As someone with a pretty hefty vinyl collection (though paltry in comparison to my father’s thousands), this rings so true. It took me a super long time before I finally got an iPod/MP3 player. Now, I pretty much solely listen to music from my phone or my record player. Nothing beats the fun of sifting through dusty records, except maybe downloading awesome tuneage for free.

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Flip It

pinball machines

I got to hang out with my closest friend this weekend. He lives in South Jersey and I’m in North Jersey, so we agreed to meet in the middle in Asbury Park. The highlight: he’s a genius for taking me to the Silver Ball Museum. I’d never heard of it before, which is unfortunate because it’s awesome! You pay by the hour and can play all kinds of vintage pinball games. They also have some vintage video games mixed in there as well.

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I Think, Um, Maybe

The key to this is an idea called linguistic co-ordination, in which speakers naturally copy the style of their interlocutors. Human behaviour experts have long studied the way individuals can copy the body language or tone of voice of their peers, some have even studied how this effect reveals the power differences between members of the group.

Now Kleinberg and so say the same thing happens with language style. They focus on the way that interlocutors copy each other’s use of certain types of words in sentences. In particular, they look at functional words that provide a grammatical framework for sentences but lack much meaning in themselves (the bold words in this sentence, for example). Functional words fall into categories such as articles, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, high-frequency adverbs and so on.

The question that Kleinberg and co ask is this: given that one person uses a certain type of functional word in a sentence, what is the chance that the responder also uses it?

From Algorithm Measures Human Pecking Order. Continue reading I Think, Um, Maybe

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Music: Snow Tha Product

Found her here, and then saw this:

Now that she has relocated to Fort Worth, started her own label, and released five CDs and mixtapes, Snow may have left those guys in the dust. She is currently tweaking her style to accommodate both her girly side and her central issue with life in America: the hot topic of illegal immigration.

Granted, she had me at femcee.

Fair warning: if you work in a office you may want to put some headphones in.

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CliffsNotes: Tattoo Etiquette 101

A few days ago, I read Alli Thresher’s article in xoJane on “Tattoo Etiquette 101 – How to Appreciate My Body Art Without Making Me Hate You.” After sharing it into the Twitterverse, a few people asked me, “Wait, really?”

I’ve had strangers pull up my shirt sleeve, touch my hair, even grab me by the collar to get a “peek” at the hint of a drawing they think they see. […] When they’re visible (and they’re usually not), my tattoos are not an invitation. They are not on my body for anyone’s enjoyment other than my own.


To be completely honest, I usually enjoy the fact that my tattoos can be a conversation starter. I like to meet new people and tend to be relatively quiet by nature. If my body art pulls someone in for an interesting discussion, I’m glad.

Continue reading CliffsNotes: Tattoo Etiquette 101

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The Cloisters

I went to the Cloisters for the first time a few days ago. It’s been a while since I had some fun at a museum and I’m not really a huge fan of medieval art. However, I am a fan of Fort Tryon park and have heard that the museum is really beautiful.

And it certainly was. I could hardly believe that I was still in New York when I walked into this place. Continue reading The Cloisters

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“Knowledge of places is closely linked to knowledge of the self, to grasping one’s position in the larger scheme of things, including one’s own community, and to securing a confident sense of who one is as a person.”  Keith Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places

I’m lucky: I have my family, and I have friends who are like family. For Thanksgiving, I went to a one such friend’s house for dinner in my hometown. For the most part, I moved away from South Jersey when I was 18. I rebelled, with an appropriately dramatic teenage flair, against where I grew up. Not one for the quiet life, I was drawn to the stimulating toughness of the city.

Continue reading Hometown