Showing posts with label Journal & Rants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Journal & Rants. Show all posts

27.3.24

Overcoming Bullying: A Personal Journey of Strength and Advocacy.

Discover how standing up to a bully in sixth grade taught me invaluable lessons about courage and speaking out.
Hey, y’all. In support of anti-bullying efforts, I want to share a personal story with you. When I was in the sixth grade, a kid in the lunch line bullied me. Every day, he would stand behind me and push me relentlessly. So, I went home and asked my parents, “How can I deal with this bully?” My dad suggested, “Just push him back,” whereas my mom cautioned, “Don’t listen to him; you’ll end up in trouble.” Fast forward to another day in the lunch line. Did I push him back? Yes, I summoned the strength, feeling empowered like Naruto, and pushed him. He fell to the ground, and I was astounded by my own strength. Panicked, I ran to the bathroom—the girls’ bathroom—and hid there for the entire lunch period: five minutes, then ten, then twenty. Eventually, the assistant principal called out, “Are you in there?”

I was then taken to Missus Schott’s office. Why she was named “Missus Schott” intrigued us all, as rumors suggested she kept a shotgun in her office. She asked why I was hiding in the girls’ bathroom. I explained how the boy who had been bullying me all year provoked me to push him. I apologized profusely. She reassured me, “It’s okay. We’ve been aware of his behavior. I’m glad you brought this to our attention. You’re okay.” That boy was disciplined for his actions.

But the story doesn’t end there. Upon returning to my sixth-grade class, guess what happened? He was suspended—not me. When I entered the classroom, to my surprise, my classmates applauded. It dawned on me that I wasn’t the only one suffering from his bullying.

Ever since that incident, the boy never bothered me again. I can barely remember what he looked like. So, what’s the moral of my story? I don’t advocate for physical retaliation, but it’s crucial to stand up for yourself. Bullies operate on a simple principle: as long as they believe they can evade consequences, they will persist. Perhaps the best approach is to speak up and make it clear that their behavior is unacceptable.
PDF Copy for Printing

19.1.24

Eulogy for Anthony Greig Roselli, Sr. (1950-2024)

Remembering Anthony Roselli: a heartfelt tribute, written by his middle son, Anthony Greig Roselli, Jr., to a life woven with New Orleans' spirit, culinary passion, and memorable adventures.

Eulogy

[Greig]: I'd like to share a few thoughts that I penned down in the parking lot. [laughter]

Anthony Greig Roselli, Sr.
Dad in the 1970s.
Anthony Roselli, a man whose spirit mirrored the vibrancy and resilience of the city he loved. In the past days, driving from Frostop to Airline Motors, I was struck by the transformations — y’all, Airline Motors is now a local branch of the New Orleans fairgrounds; that’s depressing. Can y’all believe that?

I found myself on the levee by the Mississippi River. Pam, remember when I brought you that piece of driftwood from there? The last time I saw my father was in February 2022.

I've only recently come to fully appreciate his impact. A woman on Facebook recalled seeing him regularly at Russell's, expressing her sorrow upon hearing of his passing. He touched lives, often without us even realizing it. At 73, he relished life's simple pleasures and profound depths, especially the culinary delights of New Orleans. From the bustling tables of Russell's Marina Grill to R&O's Restaurant, he was a connoisseur of our city’s flavors.

Like my younger brother Nicholas said, our knowledge of New Orleans cuisine stems from him. From high-end restaurants to the humble Waffle House, he found joy in them all. It seems silly to be moved by memories of Waffle House, but they’re part of the rich tapestry of his life.

My father’s life was a blend of deep roots in New Orleans and adventurous escapades. From humorous run-ins with the Causeway Police to mistaken identity mix-ups during my European student visa application — I’m “Anthony Greig Roselli, Junior, not Senior,” I said. Several altercations during Dad's single nights led to his imprisonment in the Parish jail. I'll let you connect the dots...

Dad certainly brought interesting moments! Despite the distance when I lived in Europe, his calls and texts, often oblivious to time zones, kept us connected. “Dad, it's 3 AM here!” we'd laugh.

His Italian-American heritage infused him with a zest for life, bringing joy to all who knew him. His presence was felt everywhere, from Coffee's Boiling Pot in Madisonville, where I worked as a busboy, where he'd lovingly pester me for refills, to the St. Tammany Parish Public Library, where I also worked after school, he'd proudly announce to everyone in the quiet periodicals section, “I’m searching for my book-shelving son.”

His unwavering support for Nicholas Adam, Brad Michael, and myself was constant. Also, his close relationship with his older sister of nine years — Carol Roselli Fallo.

One of my fondest memories involves his friend Jane LaBarre. Dad took us to City Park, where we met Jane for the first time. I’m sure she thought we were feral cats. And what an adventure that turned out to be — including a daredevil escape from the train ride, much to the ‘amusement’ of everyone, including the police later searching for a "Caucasian male."
My father and I fishing at
Percy Quin State Park (circa 1984).

Dad had a way of turning moments into memories, often accompanied by laughter. But the song 'Cats in the Cradle' – it’s a song that now holds a deeper meaning for me.
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon / Little boy blue and the man in the moon / ‘When you coming home, dad/son?’ ‘I don't know when / But we'll get together then / You know we'll have a good time then.’
[tears]

I was the son who moved away and did my own thing, which I believe was my father's gift to me, albeit a sad yet beautiful one. 

As we bid farewell to Anthony, let's celebrate his life not just with tears but with gratitude. He leaves a legacy in his children, grandchildren — Isabella and Ethan, his beloved family, many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and cherished friends — Susan, Danny, Jerry, Sharon, Michael Arevalo, and many more. His life was a tapestry of joy, love, and laughter, shared generously with all of us.

So, as we gather here, let’s cherish the memories, the laughter, and the love he shared with each of us. Let’s celebrate a life well-lived, a heart well-loved, and a man who will be deeply missed.

Thank you, Dad. We love you, and your spirit will always be with us. Yeah, you right.

[Laughter]

Oh gosh.

N.B.: Dad passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2024. The above eulogy, given on Friday, January 19, 2024, is a text in a slightly modified form. To hear the original eulogy, navigate to SoundCloud, where you can listen to the unvarnished version.

Obituary 
Anthony Greig Roselli, Sr., aged 73, passed away on Thursday, January 11, 2024. Cherished father of Brad Michael Roselli, Anthony Greig Roselli, Jr., and Nicholas Adam Roselli, who is married to Brooke B. Roselli. Beloved best friend of Jane LaBarre and her son Michael Arevalo. He was a devoted brother to Carol R. Fallo, a loving grandfather to Isabella and Ethan, and an uncle to many nieces and nephews. He was a proud retiree from the Shell Oil Company. Anthony will be fondly remembered for the warm friendships he nurtured at Russell's Marina Grill and Dixie Chicken and Ribs, where he was always greeted with open arms. Family, friends, and those who were touched by Anthony's life are warmly invited to join in commemorating his life. The funeral service will be held at Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home on Friday, January 19, 2024, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. To share memories or condolences, please visit Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home.

29.12.23

Personal Revelation: Happy Birthday Post (To Me!)

Today is my birthday. I will not reveal my age because you could do a quick Google search and figure it out for yourself. However, I feel young-ish. Happy birthday to me!

Greig Roselli is a happy egg.
I won't reveal when this photograph was taken.
---

🌱 Have you ever caught yourself apologizing for simply being who you are? Today, I had a powerful realization: I often say sorry when I'm my most authentic self. It's as if there's a part of me that wants to "correct" my behavior, to put me back in the "proper" place.

🔗 Why? Because that's how I was raised. Growing up, I was told—either explicitly or implicitly—that being "me" wasn't always acceptable. That showing my true colors was somehow a disruption, something to be muted or hidden away. 

🎭 We carry these learned behaviors into adulthood without even realizing it. They become automatic, a reflex. But the question is, why should we have to apologize for being authentic? Why should we dampen our own light?

🤔 It's time to break the cycle. Instead of apologizing for who I am, I'm choosing to embrace myself fully—quirks, idiosyncrasies, and all. After all, it's those very characteristics that make each of us unique, valuable, and irreplaceable.

✨ So if you've ever felt the need to apologize for being yourself, remember that you're not alone. But let's make a pact right now to stop saying sorry for being the amazing individuals we are. Because authenticity is something to celebrate, not apologize for.


13.12.23

Embracing Humanity: A Personal Journey into Understanding Suffering

Join me in a candid exploration of personal dysphoria, as I delve into the universal nature of suffering and its deep-seated role in our psyche.

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday, just before our significant holiday break. Christmas is approaching – exciting times indeed! I hope you don’t mind a more personal touch in today’s video. Lately, I’ve been grappling with feelings of dysphoria – this sense of being stuck. It’s a deep-seated part of my psyche, and acknowledging it is crucial for me.



In sharing this, I want to highlight that pain and suffering are universal human experiences. Often, we perceive these feelings as intensely private. For instance, when I express that I’m sad, suffering, or feeling down, words somehow seem insufficient. It’s challenging to convey the depth of human suffering through language alone. Think about it: when doctors ask us to rate our pain on a scale of 1 to 10, they’re attempting to quantify something inherently subjective.

As an educator, especially in the humanities, I believe it’s essential to deeply understand and contemplate suffering. My role isn’t just to impart knowledge; it involves exploring the complex representation of suffering in art, and sharing it in a way that resonates and provides catharsis – a concept the Greeks profoundly understood as the purging of emotions. In a sense, this video is my way of seeking a purgation of emotions.

We’re almost at the break, everyone. Hang in there, and thank you for listening. Take care. Bye!

16.11.23

What Learning to Program in the 1990s Taught Me About How Computers Work and Why Generative Artificial Intelligence Makes Sense to Me

It's circa 1991 — during my middle school years — I attended a small Catholic school where I enrolled in a computer science class. The computers ran on a slow-running operating system called MS-DOS that included a cool feature — a way to code in a basic programming language called QBasic, featuring a simple lime green blinking cursor on the screen. It ran Nibbles, a fun game to boot, but to play more advanced games, we used floppy disks, slightly larger than a postcard but smaller than a standard piece of paper, containing a metallic tape where data was stored.

Illustration of a classroom filled with old Commodore computers running on QBasic
I requested Dalle-3 to create an illustration depicting
my computer science classroom, vividly filled with
Commodore computers operating on QBasic.

The fun aspect of these classes involved playing games on these floppy disks. However, equally engaging was experimenting with QBasic. It's a simple, beginner-friendly programming language developed by Microsoft. It was quite popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s for teaching programming basics in an easy-to-understand way. QBasic is known for its simplicity, making it a good starting point for beginners in programming. We could create command lines and basic math problems. Our teacher introduced us to subroutines, enabling us to develop more complex programs like a quiz show. For instance, I programmed a game where the user would answer questions like "What is the capital of Washington State?". Correct answers led to more challenging questions, while wrong ones could end the game or reduce progress. By the way — the answer is Olympia.

Over time, I developed an advanced quiz bowl game with fifty unique questions embedded in different subroutine categories, enhancing my programming skills. My fascination with QBasic grew, prompting me to research more about it in the public library. I learned to replicate other programs, such as the classic snake game.

For illustrative purposes — here's a snippet of QBasic code.

SUB AskWashingtonCapital
    DIM answer AS STRING
    PRINT "What is the capital of Washington State? The answer is Olympia."
    INPUT answer
    IF LCASE$(answer) = "olympia" THEN
        PRINT "Correct! Now for a more difficult question."
        AskUSTerritory
    ELSE
        PRINT "That's not correct. Let's try an easier question."
        AskUSCapital
    END IF
END SUB
 


Fast forward to 2023, the world of generative AI is an evolution of my early programming experiences. When using a tool like ChatGPT, asking a question like the capital of Washington State, it processes the query using its neural network and provides an answer, similar to the if-then statements in my quiz game. However, the complexity and scale of these large language models (LLMs) are far beyond what we had back then.

These models, like ChatGPT, are based on vast amounts of data fed into them, enabling predictive text generation. Yet, unlike human cognition, these computers don't 'understand' in the same way we do. They process information based on input from human-made sources, creating an artificial neural network.

Looking ahead, these neural networks could eventually update themselves, especially if they gain access to the internet or large databases. This self-improvement capability in computer programs could lead to significant advancements in AI, potentially paving the way to what some refer to as 'the singularity.' The future of this technology is uncertain, but its potential is undoubtedly intriguing.

26.7.23

Deciphering the Language of Manipulation: From Billboards to Broadcasts

from Walker Percy's 1961 novel, The Moviegoer. The quote is as follows:  "We drive along the highway and see a sign for a restaurant. We stop and eat there, and the food is not as good as the picture on the sign. This is a universal experience. We are always disappointed."  The quote appears on page 12 of the novel. In the context of the novel, the quote is part of a larger discussion about the nature of reality and perception. Percy argues that the images we see on billboards and in other forms of advertising are often more perfect than reality itself. This can lead to disappointment when we experience the real thing, which is never quite as good as the image.  The quote has been cited by other authors and thinkers, and it has been used to explore the relationship between advertising, perception, and reality. It is a reminder that the images we see in the world are not always what they seem.
Percy writes about perception and reality in his 1961 novel The Moviegoer.
In this post, I explore the captivating world of language manipulation and marketing tactics by making my own thought experiment called "Walker Percy's Hamburger."
A plate of french fries and a hamburger
Would you like a yummy hamburger?
Metaphorical Journey into Authenticity
Picture this: You're cruising down a highway, and suddenly, an image of a perfect, glistening hamburger on a billboard catches your eye. This isn't just any burger; it's an artistic masterpiece that sends your taste buds into a frenzy. It's got glistening lettuce peeking out of the bun, a crispy patty, oozing mayo, and an immaculate spherical bun. This image is so compelling that you find yourself making an unplanned pit stop at the advertised restaurant. However, the reality that awaits you, sadly, is far from the tantalizing image promised. This dichotomy between representation and reality is a phenomenon that American novelist Walker Percy masterfully encapsulated. It also presents a fascinating lens through which we can explore the influence and manipulation of language, especially within the realm of our capitalist consumption.

Walker Percy's Hamburger
Walker Percy's illustration of the mouth-watering burger, which ends in disappointment, serves as a perfect metaphor for how language and marketing tactics can manipulate our expectations. These linguistic structures have a unique way of extending our experiences by luring us with attractive phrases, glamorous pictures, and strategically crafted narratives. One could even say that these structures are filled with what some have coined as "non-content fillables". They don't necessarily provide new information or factual content, yet they prove irresistible. Terms like "popular", "famous", or "most visited" are quintessential examples of these fillables. They aren't verifiable facts or insightful opinions, but they command attention and evoke intrigue, often without any accountability from the advertiser.

This practice extends beyond the fast-food industry and permeates our social world, shaping our perceptions and our consumption patterns. One might argue that these manipulative language structures hinder our ability to experience reality authentically or that they foster distrust. Yet, I propose a different perspective: This phenomenon could also serve as a tool to sharpen our critical thinking. It encourages us to dissect and investigate what's presented to us, essentially turning us into detectives of authenticity in an era of manufactured realities.

26.4.23

Celebrating 1,000 Posts: Reflecting on My Blogging Journey on Stones of Erasmus (Is it a Milestone Worth Celebrating? Yes! I Think it Is.)

Celebrating 1,000 posts on Stones of Erasmus! From poetry to lesson plans, join me in reflecting on my journey as a writer and educator.

1,000 Blog Posts Later
Writing my 1,000th post for my blog, Stones of Erasmus, is a milestone that I find challenging to write about. I started this blog when I was still a Benedictine monk, and it has stayed with me through various life changes, including my stint as a high school English teacher in New Orleans, my time at the New School for Social Research, and my New York City sojourn.

Initially, my blog was a mishmash of embarrassing pieces of poetry and ersatz literary criticism, sprinkled in with some theology and movie reviews. Over time, my blog has evolved and become more focused. Although it still includes some of those early elements, such as movie reviews and records of my visits to random art museums, it now features a lot of educational content related to my teaching career.

One of my earliest obsessions was making things up, and my journey as a teacher has allowed me to indulge that passion. I create digital educational resources such as clip art and lesson plans that I share on my blog. I also write about my creations, sharing my experiences with my readers.

A Writer's Blog As An Excuse To Journal
Writing on my blog has also allowed me to indulge in another childhood obsession: keeping a journal. I still have my first spiral notebook, which contains my first journal entries from the end of my fifth-grade year through the monotony of sixth grade. As an adult, I have only read it once. However, I am considering adding it to my blog, which would be a fun and nostalgic experience.

Answering Questions from My Students
Some of my high school students have asked me about my blog, such as whether I make any money. The answer is yes and no. I used to use AdWords from Google, but I stopped using it. My blog does make money, but it is minimal, around one hundred dollars a year. The income comes from people clicking on a link to one of the digital educational resources I sell, such as my popular lesson plan on teaching Plato's Allegory of the Cave to middle and high school kids.

The Future of Blogging
Another student asked me why I continue to write my blog when long-form writing appears dead. My blog is more permanent than other forms of social media, and I enjoy the idea that more people are likely to stumble upon it, whether through a Google search or a link somewhere. I am always surprised when old posts receive a resurgence, such as a post I wrote years ago about words from Greek mythology or a post I wrote about The Iliad, which has remained popular for some reason. The difference between long-form blogging and other types of content on the internet is that blog writers offer a unique perspective on things. I enjoy reading other blogs, such as those written by nannies or teachers, because they share their personal experiences, which is powerful.

As my blog has evolved, I have also learned some important lessons about writing. One of the most important lessons is to keep writing, even when I do not like it. I easily get discouraged when I get few views or comments on my blog. However, I have learned that if I keep writing, eventually, people will discover my work, and it will find an audience.

Another lesson I have learned is the importance of editing. Writing is a process that takes time to craft a well-written post. I often write several drafts before I am happy with the final version. It is also essential to proofread my work carefully, looking for spelling and grammatical errors. Reading my work out loud is helpful, as this helps me catch mistakes I might have missed otherwise.

Finally, I have learned that blogging is a community activity. Blogging is not just about writing for myself but also about connecting with others with similar interests.

Drum roll, please.
Here are my favorite selections from Stones of Erasmus (in no particular order):

16.3.23

Yellow Day: A Series of Portraits in Yellow and Pink (Plucked from the Multiverse)

Today is Yellow Day, a day to celebrate optimism, happiness, and warmth. In honor of the occasion, I used DALL-E-2 to create several versions of myself in yellow and pink, embodying the spirit of the day. 
Which version of me plucked from the multi-verse do you like the best? Let me know with a like and a comment.

10.3.23

Throwback Thursday: Pictures from Senior Year in High School (And Others)

With nostalgia in my heart, I look fondly upon the photos of me as a child  more specifically as a senior in high school. With joyful memories and contentment, I reflect on how far I have come. How much would I give to go back and speak encouraging words to my younger self? To remind them it's okay to be who they are; that their uniqueness is something to be celebrated with pride! Remind them not to worry about what other people think  they're just jealous. And if you're going to grow into an amazing adult one day, make sure you own it! Don't forget your retainer either — no matter how annoying it may seem now — because straight teeth don't stay that way forever without proper maintenance.

30.7.22

Musings and Photos: On First Meetings and How I Sort-Of Allude to Peekaboo in a Serious, Philosophy-Minded Kind of Way

In this post, I free associate about first meetings, love, and God knows what else!

Sometimes you have to lie back down on the concrete to see what's up there.

There’s something potentially powerful in a first meeting, So, which is why, if you watch like, um, Pre-K students or Kindergarten students, there's a struggle, a challenge in adapting to others because it's strange. It's not mother’s face; it's not home. It's not the womb. It's not the place where you grew up. It's not, it's not that, you know, and that's why like child psychologists or developmental psychologists will talk about like, um, the experiences of the young child, right before they go to school, where they, where they, um, experienced this back and forth between I'm scared; I'm safe; I'm welcomed. I'm, uh, I'm terrified; I'm. . . I'm taken in; I'm comforted, right? So this, like, gets encapsulated in the childhood game of like peekaboo. I'm here. I'm not there. So presence and absence. Um, and for me, you know, I can tap into some deep psychic shit, you know, like something, this, I can feel, like a child, when that love object is absent. I mean, it's such a strong visceral feeling, which is why I think first love for a teenager or a young adult can be so powerful and rip you apart. I mean, I can remember just longing for somebody who I was in love with, you know, wanting to be with them. And when I wasn't with them, it just was this physical feeling of absence. Um, so that's real. I mean, that's like kick to the gut emotion. Um, and perhaps you get out into the world — for me, moving from small town Louisiana to Europa to a Benedictine monastery (yes, that happened), to New York and the world again, I'm not sure what happens, but you get used to the pain — of that — of this — world. Offers or you take, or you look for; or, you pine. Are you able, you're able to sort of like sublimate, whatever you lost, what will you able to like, not replace, but you're able to sort of like transmute, whatever you lost into something new. Right? That's what art is. That's what creativity is and all that kind of stuff. Um, but going back to this original idea of like, when the, the potential power in a first meeting, right, the potential power there is, and just meeting someone for the first time, you know, um, uh, it can be such a satisfactory experience, right?

Photos (Read From Left and Clockwise):
Women in Red Dresses in Flushing;
Getting off the LIRR in Port Washington;
Two Dead Fish;
A Fishmonger and His Assistant

25.7.22

Journal Entry #2502022: I Woke Up This Morning on a Hot, Summer Day in Queens and I Fiddled

In this post, I dabble in a bit of online journaling. Take a peek at the day in the life of a bloke in New York City on a hot Summer day.
On a hot, Summer day I put on a blue surgical mask and go about my day.
The author dons a blue surgical mask
on a hot Summer's day.
I woke up this morning early. I fiddled a bit, then ran out of the house to catch the bus. And then I realized I was waiting at the wrong bus stop. I eventually made it to my eye doctor’s appointment — albeit a little late. Side note: I realized that I am still definitely afraid of the eye puff machine, even though the eye doctor told me they don't use the puff anymore. That doesn't stop me from mightily squinting and tossing my chin. “There’s no puff, Mr. Roselli,” the doctor said, “You can relax.” I love when medical doctors are so rational with their patients; it's comforting. At the end of the visit, he was like, you're a good patient — as if he was attempting to reassure me. Uh <laugh> but I was okay. I ate some Brazilian comfort food, hopped on an N train, and went to @moma. Tourists queue up to take pictures with Andy Warhol’s soup cans. Watching museum goers look at art is voyeuristic. A boy calls Jackson Pollock’s drip painting “cool,” and a family was having fun finding all the animals in Rousseau’s “The Dream.” I noticed @momafilm was screening the vampire flick Let the Right One In. One unique element of movies is how they create settings. This movie takes place in a gray, snowed-in Norwegian suburb. I highly recommend the movie. Amazing. I had seen it in 2008, but it's always splendid to see a good movie on the big screen.
Collage of a Summer Day in Queens
On Astoria Boulevard in Queens, there is a mural of a 7 subway train car; The author notes, "As I waited for my take-out, I snapped a picture of the fish in the aquarium. Life is good."

8.8.21

Travel Postcard: That Time I Visited a Public Library in Saltillo, Mexico

In this post, I write about finding a photograph of me standing in front of a public library in Saltillo, Mexico.

Greig Roselli stands in front of the Biblioteca Publico del Estado, Coahuila, Saltillo (circa 1998)
Greig poses in front of a public library in the city of Saltillo in Coahuila, Mexico (c. 1998).

On a Trip to Mexico When I was Seventeen and a College Seminarian 
I am guessing my friend Tony took this photograph of me standing in front of a public library in Saltillo, Mexico, sometime in 1998 or 1999. I am about seventeen years old in this picture — and I was on a trip to Mexico with a bunch of seminarians.

Finding Old Pictures of Me (And Why I Love Libraries)
I found the photograph in a stack of pictures that I had stashed away at my mother's house in Louisiana. Armed with my photo scanner (i.e., my iPhone), I scanned the picture. At first, I had no recollection of where the picture was taken. We had gone to a few cities on this trip, having driven a van from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Laredo, Texas, to Monterrey, to Saltillo, and then to Mexico City. Was the picture taken in Mexico City? No. In Monterrey? No. After a bunch of failed internet searches, I finally found out the picture's location after stumbling upon a similar-looking building on a website dedicated to the history of Mexico via photography. Voila! It's the public library in Saltillo (located in the Mexican state of Coahuila!), La Biblioteca Publica del Estado. 

I look thrilled and content in the photograph. I am obviously excited to be standing in front of the library. Here is the library from an archival photograph I found:

Archival Photograph of La Biblioteca Publica del Estado (Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico)
La Biblioteca Publica del Estado, Coahuila, Saltillo — Image Credit: Photo archived by Gerardo Zárate 

The Symbolism of the Library (for me)
Libraries are symbolic for me — they symbolize free access to information, reading, literacy, and learning that attempt to scale above the prescription that education is fixed and only for a certain type of people. I love how the door to this library is open — adorned with Corinthian columns, another symbol — of the liberal arts — and people are seated on the steps. Libraries are public spaces, as well as places of learning and knowledge.

When you visit a new place, where do you like to go? Let me know in the comments.

11.7.21

Journey to Willow Lake in Queens (And There and Back Again, Out of the Bog)

In this post, I take a walk to a hiking trail next to Willow Lake in Queens. It's a marshland in the middle of a metropolis.

The author looks out over Willow Lake in Queens
View of Willow Lake in Queens (Looking Northwest)

Would you believe me if I told you I'm still in New York City but surrounded by marshland, wet bugs, bees, and butterflies born from under the weeds of the milkweed plant? I am. 

The Pat Dolan Willow Lake Preserve Trail in Flushing, NY 11367:
Pat Dolan Trail
If you wend your way down a nature trail (near 72nd Avenue in Queens and Regent’s Park), you'll find a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Van Wyck Expressway. I expected to see a bloated corpse — left by a serial killer — the area does have a veil of secrecy and hiddenness. But maybe it's because I trekked the trail near evening fall — just a hint of daylight in the sky. Now — I need to find a way out of this bog

The Author, in situ and in sweat
Another view from Willow Lake

How To Get to the Pat Dolan Willow Lake Preserve Trail:
By Subway: Take the E, F, M, or R trains to Forest Hills / 74th Avenue. Alternatively, take the F train to 75th Ave. Walk to the trailhead at 72nd Road and Jewel Avenue. 
By Bus: The Q64 bus will take you to Jewel Avenue and 136th Street. Walk the rest of the way.
By Car: Take the Grand Central Parkway and Get off at Jewel Avenue (Exit 11).  You can also take the Van Wyck Expressway. Turn on Park Drive E., going south. The entrance to the trail is between 72nd Avenue and 72nd Terrace. Alternatively, access the trail on the Forest Hills side of the trail — next to the Willow Park playground.
Note: I don't claim to know every route to get to this trail. Trains, buses, and routes are apt to change due to scheduling delays, and other delays. When in doubt, use a map!

31.5.21

Travel Diary #34598: On A Memorial Day in Oyster Bay, Nassau County on a Wet, Rainy, Cusp-of-Summer Afternoon


In this post, I recount a Memorial Day weekend outing to Oyster Bay.
It’s Memorial Day, y’all. Do you think of history when you think of Long Island? Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt, the 
26th president of the United States, was a New Yorker — and he had a Summer home in Long Island? It’s a beautiful area. And you can climb up a hill and see where he’s buried (and get a nice view of Long Island Sound). 


And we hung out in a nature preserve. OMG. I felt like a kid. Going down random trails. Even though it was rainy, it was glorious. And I cooked a whole chicken and watched Dangerous Liaisons on HBO Max — the one with Glenn Close and John Malkovich as conniving ex-lovers in nineteenth-century France. It was a fun diversion. 

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12.5.21

Why Wednesday Is the Day of the Week to Send Messages (Because of Woden, or, as the Greeks Call Him, Hermes)

Wednesday is named for Woden — the Norse parallel for the Greek and Roman messenger god Hermes.

In Jackson Heights, Queens

Ephemera
I’m obsessed with messages, epistolary novels, and journeys and undertakings. I never 👎 skip by a note or love letter. Even a torn letter I see on the sidewalk. I'll pick it up. And save it. And I love to eat tears and swallow joy.

My friends say I’m constantly flexing. My students want the school year to end. I’m listening to lots of books on tape and cooking lots of sausages and egg salad.

Achievements
I’m proud of my student @jukycheng, who got accepted into a Summer engineering program at NYU Tandon in Brooklyn. Congrats, Juky!

And I’m also excited for the Summer—those dog days. But I’m into May. With its warm afternoons and occasional showers.

Let's Chat!
How are you holding up? Need a hug? Here’s one. Need a nudge? Here’s one? Need a ride on a white swan? I don’t have that, but drop me a message if you want to chat about YA novels and the best place to walk in New York City.


Mr. Greig Roselli, Teacher, Writer, and Philosophy Sprinkles Maker!

11.4.21

A Paean to Payphones (And Why I Feel Nostalgic for Old School Telecommunication)

When is the last time you used a working payphone? How sure are you that you can find one if your mobile phone goes dead? Do you have a quarter in your pocket?

Payphone in New York City Subway Station
Found a working payphone in the
Times Square / 42nd Street Station in New York City

Nostalgia is dangerous. Start feeling nostalgia, and suddenly, everything in the present is suspect. "Oh, I remember the days when you had to call someone on a landline."

But I like it when old-school technology still persists. I don't want to return to using payphones. They are clunky (and who has change, anyway?). And just when the conversation gets good, you have to add another quarter to continue the call.

You can find a working payphone in a few subway stations, strip malls, maybe a gas station in Duluth?

I used a payphone recently. I cannot remember why. It was when I was traveling. My phone was dead. I think it was in an Amtrak station (which I feel like is where I would find a working payphone).

Ironically, the school where I work has a payphone in the main hallway. But it does not work. It just hangs there on the wall. Hundreds of people walk by it. Heck. I didn't even notice it until like two years working at the school. I think it will become an art installation. Soon.

Fun fact: Payphones still exist. And one in five of them are in New York City! The Federal Communications Commission still regulates payphones. They still maintain a tip guide for using them and not get scammed when using a calling card. Remember those?

When was the last time you used a payphone?

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31.3.21

Spring Break with Jambalaya and Friends and Why I Love Faces (and Portraits!)

What’s the best feature of the photograph? Portraits! Photos capture faces. And I’ve appreciated faces lately — especially during this recent Spring Break-cum-Easter time and so on.
Cesar Caraval eats a bowl of Louisiana style Jambalaya with Andouille sausage
I made jambalaya and fed it to a few friends to
celebrate that we're all vaccinated and can now
officially hang out together (and of course, that does
not mean we are lax with social distancing and mask-wearing). 

As vaccinations against Covid-19 are more widely distributed, people are congregating with each other to celebrate. While mask-wearing and general social
Greig Roselli and his friend Michelle Ruderham Davis and her son hang out in Diversity Plaza in Queens on a Spring day.
In Diversity Plaza in Queens
on a Spring Day


Lauren after eating a spicy bowl of Louisiana-style Jambalaya

distancing guidelines are still in place, being vaccinated means I can hang out with folks I haven’t been with since March of last year. I saw my friend Michelle and her family, and I made jambalaya for a group of teacher-friends. By the way — the jambalaya was lit 🔥.


Miguel after eating a bowl of spicy Louisiana-style JambalayaKarina after eating a bowl of spicy Louisiana-style Jambalaya

12.3.21

A Year Ago Today: Going into Lockdown Because of the Coronavirus Outbreak in the United States (and the World)

Greig Roselli poses for a photograph in a back alley in Jackson Heights, Queens
Greig Roselli poses for the one year anniversary
of living through Covid-19 in these United States.

One Year Ago Today

Today is March 12th in the Year of Our Lord Twenty Twenty-One. Last year today, I was in a faculty meeting. “We’re not closing school,” they said. By Sunday, we were in lockdown. And the rest is history.

I feel like I’m living through a historic moment like folks who lived through the Great Depression and hoarded pennies in their mattresses. 

What Will Future Generations Say?

Future generations will ask, “What was

The Corner of 37th Avenue and 79th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens
On the corner of 37th
Avenue and 79th Street
 in Jackson Heights, Queens

the Twenty Twentys like?” My friend Amira’s child, who is now ten months old, will want to know what he did during the quarantine. “Mostly eat and sleep,” Mom will say. “But it was a long time before you saw real people besides the doctors who birthed you and us.” And Sam will say, “OK. I survived a global pandemic.”

Recognizing That This is a Deadly Virus

As of today, 532,466 people have died in the United States; and, worldwide over 2.5 million people have perished. I recognize I’m privileged because I’m vaccinated and generally healthy (although I need to lay off the potato chips and ranch dressing). The pandemic has disproportionately hit the most vulnerable of society. I realize I’m in-person with students — so there’s always a risk I can be infected. But think about folks who work essential jobs and live in small apartments where everyone is working, coming into contact with many people. I can slink away to the haven of a more-or-less safe space in my apartment.

I think this global crisis has revealed just how fragile the ties that bind are. I’m grateful for today. I mourn those lost to Covid-19, and I’m hopeful for the future.

Kristen Ahfeld waves for the camera in the courtyard of the Garden School in Jackson Heights, Queens
Kristen Ahfeld is a
First Grade Teacher in Queens.
How was your Covid-19 lockdown anniversary — and how are you coping? Let me know in the comments. ⁣

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