Climbing the New York Times Building (as metaphor)

Ray Clark climbing the New York Times BuildingI have never felt more in an office.

Today two men climbed the outside of my office building, the fifty-something story New York Times Building in midtown Manhattan (one and two). Meanwhile I was in meetings or sitting at my computer. Metaphors begin in things that are real. I can still hear the sirens outside and the cheering of the crowd below.

Both guys made it all the way up the fifty-something stories and were arrested at the top. The first carried a banner about global warning. The second wore a t-shirt saying, “MALARIA NO MORE.” Indeed.

I have never seen the point so much of climbing mountains—deep down, at least. But I have hardly seen anything so beautiful as climbing buildings.

View to the onlookers below from the 22nd floorHaving been at computers and meetings all day, with none of the incredible fear or exhilaration, metaphor remains. It is Babel, it is Icarus, it is a glorious mis-use. Imagination, salvation, persecution. I heard there were police officers running through the building, trying to pull off the glass to stop him (the first one) but he went up more quickly than they could ride the elevators.

Man against machine. Suicide. David and Goliath.

And there were two of them. Copycats. It’s like the pillar-sitters of late antiquity, who were saints, sitting on top of pillars for years and bestowing miracles. When the fad showed up again in the 1920s, the flagpole sitters were less saints than fools.

The wind was no less strong. Death to malaria.

Hello World!

The Row Boat has been redesigned! Though only powers above mine can know if it was really necessary, I’ve spent the last two days obsessing over migrating from Little Logger to WordPress. All the old Row Boat material is still available on the Archives page, as well as through the search field on the sidebar.

Until now, The Row Boat was one of the few blogs out there not running on one of the major software platforms. Little Logger is a blogging program I built in early 2005, using Perl, static files, and a lot of workarounds. It has served very well since then. But in recent months, it has become clear to me that a change needed to happen. In particular, working with WordPress at The Immanent Frame has shown me what a powerful platform it can be.

The conversion process has reminded me why I stopped being a computer science major in college and switched to religion. I have been quite unable to think about anything else ever since I’ve started, and now I am worried about whether I will fall asleep tonight. This was a regular phenomenon in my computer science days—thrilling, but also perfectly exhausting. It makes me long to be thinking speculatively again, which hopefully can begin again tomorrow. The topic, presently, is Anselm.

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