People Stopped Being People

“Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we’ve all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Frisco, Texas

Frisco, Texas

USB Dead Drop

I have been sort-of interested in… and planning to write about the idea of guerrilla publishing – using modern technology to distribute text in new and unusual ways. In that vein, one day I was surfing around this internet thing and stumbled across an article entitled Dead Drops: What To Do If You See A USB Stick Sticking Out Of A Wall.

This seemed very interesting to me, so I researched the whole idea some more. What you do is leave a USB thumb drive in a public place – like cemented into a wall – with the business end sticking out. Then people can come by and drop off any files they want. The term “Dead Drop” comes from the spy world – where information is dropped off to be picked up by someone else.

There are plenty of problems with this: the USB drive is susceptible to thievery or vandalism, there is the possibility of a virus or other software attack, and finally is the simple uselessness and strangeness of the idea.

These seem surmountable objections to me, so I’m working on plans to put out my own USB Dead Drop.

In the meantime, I wanted to explore the idea further. There is a website with a database, and I found a working Dead Drop here in Dallas. It is in a wall in Exposition Park and was placed there as part of an art project.

Dead Drop, The red arrow points to the USB drive mounted in the wall.

Dead Drop, The red arrow points to the USB drive mounted in the wall.

The USB drive sticking out of the wall.

The USB drive sticking out of the wall.

So today, after a fun bike ride around White Rock Lake and to a local Taco Place, I headed on down toward Fair Park to visit the Dead Drop. It was very easy to find.

In order to protect myself from a possible virus, I used a cheap Android Tablet that I carry with a portable keyboard to write with while I’m on my bike. It has a three-headed USB cable that I usually use for a keyboard and mouse.

My tablet hooked up to the Dead Drop USB. It was very hard to see in the bright sunlight.

My tablet hooked up to the Dead Drop USB. It was very hard to see in the bright sunlight.

It hooked up easily to the USB mounted in the wall. The one problem was that the screen was very difficult to see in the bright Texas sunlight – I kept having to retreat to a shady spot to figure out what I was doing.

There wasn’t much on the thumb drive – three odd images (no porn, surprisingly), a long politically charged video, and a PDF written by someone recovering from a broken relationship.

I wanted to leave something behind, so I copied a PDF – a four page short story that I had written (I didn’t include my name) onto the thumb drive and chose an odd image to add to the ones already there. Someone parked on the street right next to me as I was finishing up – the woman gave me an odd look. I’m sure she was very confused about this weird guy standing on the sidewalk with a tablet hooked up to the wall with a cable.

So no big deal… Now I need to stop by the computer store and buy a thumb drive…. I have an idea where I want to put the thing.

Something Technically Unique

“There was a wish to get something exceptional, … I also wanted to deliver something technically unique.”
—-Santiago Calatrava

The arches of a second Calatrava designed bridge rise in the river bottoms. The Horseshoe, Dallas, Texas

The arches of a second Calatrava designed bridge rise in the river bottoms. The Horseshoe, Dallas, Texas

Masses of construction equipment in the Trinity River Bottoms are roiling the mud with steel and concrete. The work area, like a giant’s anthill, is called The Horseshoe.

A second Calatrava designed bridge arcs up into the air. I’m a bit confused – this one is in one sense only window decoration – the cars will be relegated to the conventional concrete causeway. On the other hand, the arches will support bicycle and pedestrian spans. That is a cool thing, in my mind.

I only wonder how people on foot or on pedaled wheels will reach the bridges. I guess we’ll all wait and see.

Make Someone Smile While They’re Having A Piss

“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”
― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

Deep Ellum, Texas

Deep Ellum, Texas

Bicycle Tour de Taqueria – Tacos of Oak Cliff

There is nothing better in North Texas than the few spring days when the sun is shining and the day is warm – yet the killer summer heat is still a little off into the future.

Saturday was one of those days and I headed down to the Bishop Arts District for a bicycle ride – a tour of Taquerias in Oak Cliff.

Our first stop was Cool & Hot at 930A E. Eighth St. – Streetview

Hot & Cool Tacqueria Oak Cliff, Texas

Hot & Cool Tacqueria
Oak Cliff, Texas

Bicycles stacked up in front of Hot & Cool

Bicycles stacked up in front of Hot & Cool

Cool & Hot is a converted gas station right off the Interstate – it’s mostly a drive-thru. It’s open 24 hrs a day from Thursday through the weekend – something to remember on a late night trip home.

Then is was on to Taqueria Tiquicheo at 110 S. Marsalis Ave. – Streetview.

Taqueria Tiquicheo

Taqueria Tiquicheo

This was my favorite stop on the tour – more of a sit-down restaurant. The regulars were there for menudo or other specialties – the sweaty bicyclists descended like a cloud of taco-eating locusts.

Taco Selections at Taqueria Tiquicheo

Taco Selections at Taqueria Tiquicheo

All the spots offered pretty much the same traditional selection of Mexican style tacos. This is the sign from Taqueria Tiquicheo. If you think of tacos as hamburger stuffed into crunchy corn shells – well, these aren’t what you are thinking about. Served in foil in soft flour or corn tortillas with a little onion, cilantro, and a lime wedge – along with the house special hot sauces.

The fillings:

Fajita – grilled steak
Tripa – Tripe
Nopales – Cactus (a vegetarian option)
Lengua – beef tongue
Chicharron – fried pork rinds
Pollo – chicken – one person said this was “surprisingly good”
Barbacoa – slow cooked meat, the original sorce of barbecue
Chorizo – chopped sausage

Next was on to Jefferson Boulevard – the main commercial drag through the area. The next Tacqueria was a very small, unlabeled spot with a small dining room.

El Padrino #1. – Streetview

El Padrino #1 on Busy Jefferson Blvd. in Oak Cliff

El Padrino #1 on Busy Jefferson Blvd. in Oak Cliff

Lengua Tacos from El Padrino

Lengua Tacos from El Padrino

These are the Lengua Tacos from El Padrino – I ate them on top of a newspaper stand on the street.

Then we rode off through the residential streets until we reached Los Torres Taqueria, 1322 W. Clarendon Dr. – Streetview

 Los Torres Taqueria

Los Torres Taqueria

This was the most conventional restaurant that we visited, yet still it had that family feel to it.

And that was about all the tacos I could take for one spring afternoon. I split off and rode home – a little overfull and a bit overheated. But it was still a good time.

Maybe They Never Vanish

“Maybe it’s wrong when we remember breakthroughs to our own being as something that occurs in discrete, extraordinary moments. Maybe falling in love, the piercing knowledge that we ourselves will someday die, and the love of snow are in reality not some sudden events; maybe they were always present. Maybe they never completely vanish, either.”
― Peter Høeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow

One Last Look At Winter

One Last Look At Winter