Who is Deborah Schwartz?
The experiences of Deborah Schwartz
The persistance of Deborah Schwartz.
The relations of Deborah Schwartz



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Quick Update

Some things to note:
  • Alana has her own crafts shop online. And it's for a good cause.
  • I'm addicted to Photoshop Disasters
  • I finished starting my Filth and Shadows project. I plan to continue taking underexposed pictures with our little point-and-shoot and posting them, but who knows....
  • This weekend, we're going down to Florida to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. We = Brian and me, my brother, my grandmother, and ... Uncle Ira. I think this will be his first plane trip in 25 years. Wish us luck.

I made a masthead.
And I have some more pictures. Soon, I'll stick them up on their own page. Until then, enjoy!

A locked box on the Jay Street subway platform

A pillar under renovation on the Jay Street subway platform

An arched window as seen from Fulton Street

A smoldering cigarette on a sidewalk in Red Hook

Please feel free to send me your own Filth and Shadows pictures. Or pictures of Graffiti Vans. You know how much I love Graffiti Vans.

A week ago, when someone asked me how my non-profit was doing in these unsure economic times, I said I thought we were doing okay.

And I did in fact think that.

But now things seem so much less sure.

Shortly after I arrived at work on Monday I discovered that a quarter of the members of our small staff were being laid off. It was awful.

I work for a very tight-knit, touchy-feely organization, and the lay-offs hit us hard.

I was kept on. Me and my website updates and my survivors guilt. I feel terrible. The entire office looks like it's in mourning.

Susan met Brian and me for a drink on Monday night. I felt like hell. She said that her Museum had just gone through something similar. About a sixth of her staff had just been cut.

So maybe it is not surprising that I have of late been thinking of darker things. Most all of my dreams occur against a backdrop of places shadowy and labyrinthine, dark, dank corners, sewage pooling, where people and things disappear with the light. Filth is ever-present. Grime. Peeling paint. Graffiti. Like the rotting New York of The Warriors. Like the carrion of the 18th Street subway station.

I grew up in sunny South Florida, and my dreams should have been filled with giant waves, killer flamingos, and violent, pastel shoulder pads. But they weren't. One of the strangest things about moving to New York seven years ago was how instantly at home I felt. Because I had been traveling in these dimly lit allies, dark streets, decaying subway stations my entire life.

In my dreams these places are suffused with fear and foreboding. But in my waking life, I tend to barely notice them. I have decided, for no good reason, to document these places that look dream-time familiar in my waking world. I have begun yet another project I probably won't finish: Filth and Shadows.

Here are my first few entries.

Ceiling in 4/5 Fulton Street subway passageway.

Payphone at A/C Broadway Junction subway platform.

Erstwhile Laundromat on 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen.

I had the best veggie burger ever the other night.
I went over Lauren's apartment to watch the last presidential debate, and she cooked up some veggie burgers her chef-husband, Alberto, had made from scratch.

I was enjoying myself so much, I could hardly concentrate on the debate. The veggie burger was AMAZING. But every time I looked up at the TV, I would see John McCain making pained "indigestion" faces. He was really raining on my parade, so eventually I stopped watching.

Lauren lives in Brooklyn Heights. The burger was so fantastic, I didn't leave until midnight, and even then, I wandered all the way to Carroll and Smith Streets in a state of burger bliss.

I got home after 1 AM and told Brian all about my wonderful burger experience, and how I could barely watch poor John McCain with his horribly contorted gas face. I was still talking about the burger the next day, when one of my coworkers asked, "Are you sure there wasn't anything funny in it?"

It was supposed to be a joke, but I suddenly got really nervous. Do people make hash veggie burgers? What if instead of porcini mushrooms, Alberto had used 'shrooms? My drug knowledge is embarrassingly limited, so I continued to worry for the next 12 hours that I would find myself fiending for my next veggie burger hit.

So far, thoughts of Alberto's veggie burger produces only pleasant memories, and no D.T.s.

It's more than just a veggie burger that has kept me from following politics play-by-play. I still get so nervous. Lately, all my news comes from celebrity stalking site Gawker and the fake news show The Daily Show. And since I don't have cable, I watch my Daily Show episodes online and several days after they've aired.

What I love most about Gawker, besides their flagrant distaste for right-wing politics, is their pictures. The other day, they posted this adorable photo:

And last month, they had one of my favorites of all time:

This image ran with one of my favorite headlines as well: The Way to a Woman's Vote Is Through Her Ovaries.

If this election works out to be anything like 2000 or 2004, I will need many, many Alberto's veggie burgers to get me through the rough times.

Here is a quick pictorial update.
Three examples of graffiti in the East Village:

Another graffiti van.

Thoughtful subway graffiti (with less thoughtful retort)

Graffiti Obama. Neat!

Mostly, I think my blogging is dumb.
I am always plotting the day when I pull it all down and get a life.

I've been at it since September of 2002, and I still code by hand like a grouchy old typesetter who is afraid to use the microwave. Sometimes I think about ways to clean up my code so that I might be able to establish an RSS feed. But who cares? My heart really isn't in it.

But something bizarrely heartening happened this weekend. We attended the wedding of our friends Alison and Stuart. It was a really beautiful wedding in a really beautiful place on a really beautiful day. It was the kind of wedding that makes you want to get married. And then you remember you already are. Eh.

Anyway, the rabbi, in his speech, talked about the strange and fated circumstances that had occurred, causing Alison & Stuart to meet. They had seen each other on a subway platform, and then again on the street, briefly introduced themselves to one another, and then each went his or her own way (Alison had even mentioned this encounter to me).

A month or so later, well, there is some long, dumb story, of course, but I got really into craigslist missed connected. So I posted about it on my blog. Alison had never heard of missed connections before, but went on and posted a brief missed connection for the fellow she had seen a month or so back. Within several hours, he had seen the post, replied, and they arranged to meet again.

Now they are married. I found myself saying incredibly dumb things at the wedding, like, yes, I'm that blogger. Still. What a nice thing to have helped along.

I've had a lot to say lately, but I just haven't had the time or energy to put them into cyberspace. Our friends Sam and Valerie hooked Brian and me up with our first ever opera — Lucia di Lammermoor. I had no idea opera could be so fun!

Though many people appeared to have come directly from work, some people wore cloaks that looked like they were made from glossy pterodactyls. Also, there are subtitles right on the chair in front of you. Also, you get about 500 intermissions, during which you can stand outside the fancy-people's dining area and make sneering comments about how much butter the lady with the pterodactyls cloak is putting on her roll.

I especially liked Lucia di Lammermoor for its fake blood and excessive, unearned drama. Though I do wish there had been even more fake blood.

Maybe someone who loves fake blood, singing, and multiple intermissions will read my blog and discover a great love for opera. Maybe I will keep at the blogging a little longer, if only to fulfill my great obligation of tikkun olam the repair of the world. Though I'm not sure where my posts about weird people on the subway fit in.

The doors were closing
I ran down the stairs knowing that I was only going to cause myself more frustrating once I missed the train.

But then someone was holding one set of doors open. A slim, curly haired young person stuck out his head and said, "Come on!"

I jumped through, but my giant crazy-bag-lady tote got caught in the closing doors. The young man pulled the subway doors open again, and I wriggled it out.

"Thanks!" I said.

The young man smiled and looked at his companion , a chubby girl with a tight bun. "Look," he said, holding up his hands. They were smudged. "Ouch," he said.

"I'm sorry," I said.

"Don't worry, " he said, "I held the doors open for a lot of people before you."

"Sh*t," the girl said, "One time when I was holding the door open, my hand got caught in the door, and it was like this...." She made a slamming gesture. "And one time, I saw this this dude with really long hair get caught in the door. I was like, Oh, sh*t! It's going to pull all that f*cking sh*t out of his head. And his hair was long, you know. Sh*t."

"I used to have long hair," the young man said, "It was down to here. And that was curly. It was long. But then one day I cut it all off.

"That's when I learned I had alopecia. I cut off all my hair and I was like, Why does my skull feel all funny and sh*t back there? but I didn't know, you know, because my hair was covering it.

"I cut it all off because I was really anxious and sh*t. I was like crazy anxious. And when I went to the dermatologist for the alopecia, they were like, Why'd you cut off all your hair? and I was like, so you could see the alopecia Ha! But that wasn't true, you know. I cut it all off because I was having an attack.

"Hey," he continued, "that was the same time I cut my wrists and sh*t."

"I remember," the girl said, rolling her eyes.

That's when I stopped being so appreciative and started being worried. I inched away slowly.

The Style section pictures were posted and I was not in any of them.

Here's what they looked like.

At first, this made me feel terribly deflated. I mean, I was dressed way better than that guy with the hoodie and no shirt underneath. And that person with a pair of big glasses? Come on!

But then I thought: This was not my one big chance. There are style photographers lurking just about everyone in NYC. Even in Gowanus, Brooklyn. I just have to keep on dressing up like a freak and trying to smoke them out. Wish me luck.

Please feel free to contact me.

the history of debcentral