Monthly Archives: July 2011
Boy, I really like the rain. When I left the office yesterday, leaped down three flights of stairs, and said goodbye to my elevator-man-best-friend, I walked out onto the street and was greeted by a thick, cool rain. I instantly started smiling.
Most people hate walking in the rain-especially in the city. I get it: your clothes are probably super nice and are dry-clean only, your hair will get all frizzy and you’re gonnnnna look WEIRD, and those shoes were 350 dollars and rain water probably isn’t the best thing for them. (Also, how come everyone in NYC has really nice shoes?)
But for me, I wear the same flip flops I’ve had since High School, I don’t own anything dry-cleaned worthy, and I’d much rather walk in a cooler, albeit wet environment than feel like a hair-dryer is blowing hot heat directly in my face. The rain also takes away some of the city-smells. When it’s hot and balmy, I smell a mix of dirty heat and rubber tires and sidewalk trash and halal food (although that smells good) and subway smog and dog urine and whatever else that makes up that unique scent I like to call…“New York City.”
So here I am walking down the street, and it’s raining pretty hard. And I’m smiling and smiling and getting wetter and wetter and goose bumps are forming on my arms and my tattoo looks all weird and neat and I’m happy and there’s mud on my heels and I’m smiling. I constantly say “no thank you” to the umbrella-sellers, wishing I had time to explain to them that I’m already soaked and a crappy $5 umbrella will not make me dry again, while simultaneously believing that they must be smarter than any weather man since within 12 seconds of the first drop of rain they appear out of thin air selling their crappy umbrellas to sorry tourists and people with really nice shoes.
Then I realize how much I’m smiling in the rain and that when I’m at the office all day I probably rarely smile. And it’s not that I’m not happy—it’s just that when you’re sitting in front of a screen all day and you’re sucked into your own little world and you’re typing and researching and thinking and concentrating that it would look weird if someone was spying on you and you were doing all of that stuff while smiling. Right? I do smile when I talk to people; I strike up conversations with the girl next to me who is from Burlington and Serbia, so I grill her about life and why the hell she’s in NYC and does she really like coconut water and how can you afford to live in the West Village? I am also forced to talk to this guy in the office that is either extremely hipster or a little bit gay, but is definitely ADD and travels around to different computers to do work and tap his hands on the keyboard. He asks me about every 45 minutes what I’m listening to on my headphones and this usually bugs me because they’re noise-canceling for a reason, and I have to take them off just to hear him repeat that same question, where I always lie and say I’m listening to something weird so he thinks I’m weirder than him which is an absolute fabrication.
The other time I smiled in the city was when I was on the subway and I saw this couple fighting and the girl was crying and the guy was touching her butt and I wanted to be like dude, she doesn’t want you touching her butt right now you suck but I kept that to myself and that made me smile. And then these two guys from Jersey were asking their third friend how much they’d have to pay him to move back to New Jersey and he said $50,000 a year and I thought that was AWESOME and then I found a gift that my boyfriend Azin left for me but unfortunately someone stole the gift and I was left with only the tag.
And I also smiled when I woke up from a dream the other night. I dreamt I was walking out onto my friend’s roof down by South Street Seaport and I discovered a whole secret world lying on top of Manhattan and there were trees and driveways and small, simple houses and the ocean was feet away and you could see the tops of skyscrapers poking out from underneath the secret world’s ground. It was beautiful and peaceful and perhaps symbolic. And I smiled and smiled and smiled.
Songs. I like songs. You like songs. On my walk today while I was listening to songs, I started thinking about different songs, and how they make me feel different things. And that I listen to them for different reasons. Diversity. Songs. Then I thought I’d make a list. Here ya go.
(!!! ! !!!!! ! !! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! !!! !)
The most beautiful few seconds in the most beautiful song: 4:00–>4:30 (roughly) in Radiohead’s “Let Down.” Incredible climax. I go crazy.
Best guilty-pleasure (although I don’t feel guilty at all) song: “Halo”-Beyonce. So good. Too good. I even managed to fit it into my thesis presentation. I compared it to a Ghanaian funeral drum sequence. Yes.
A funny song: “Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Jimmy Buffet. I LOVED this song when I was little; I would try to finish a Muppet Babies puzzle before the song was over while singing about Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes.
Most poignant lyrics in a song: Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” This whole album is haunting; inspired by Jeff Mangum’s experience reading the diary of Anne Frank, he pulls from her life story. Some of the lines? ”And one day we will die/and our ashes will fly….But for now we are young/Let us lay in the sun/And count every beautiful thing we can see.” My favorite line? The last one in the song: “How strange it is to be anything at all.”
Most nostalgic song: “You’re the finest” by P-Square. P-Square are a Nigerian R&B duo from Nigeria, and they are crazy popular in Ghana. I listened to this song over..and over, and over..and over while I was there. It was ALWAYS playing. Everywhere! And it always brings me back to that..happy place.
Just one of my fav songs: “Come on! Feel the Illinois!” by Sufjan Stevens. Layers and layers of musical geniusness (I created this word). Too good. I’ll never get sick of it.
A new enjoyable song: “Autumn Tree” by Milo Greene. Check out their bandcamp. This song does something for me.
My go-to album: Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.” (I know this isn’t a song…but they’re my rules and I can break them).
Writing on this blog is fun. I write how I want, when I want, and about what I want! Talk about the first amendment.
BUT. I also get to blog/edit for joonbug.com, a popular nightlife guide to clubs, bars and lounges in major US cities-but mainly the big ol’ Apple. The job is great! I get paid free dollars an hour, I have total health coverage until I’m 18, and I even get off on the weekends.
I’ll be honest- I’m lucky in that I am the editor and writer for their charity blog, so I’m writing about things close to my heart: philanthropy and charity events, fund-raisers, volunteer opportunities, etc. And the fun, yet challenging part is creating serious content that still appeals to a certain audience.
Part of my job is writing daily “green” tips, so I wrote an article about washing your clothes the eco-friendly way. The tag line? Dressing “green” doesn’t mean having to a wear a burlap sack while going shoeless. Just wash your clothes the eco-friendly way! I’m even allowed to “curse,” so I included: Modern washing machines are the $hit—you don’t need hot water anymore for a thorough clean!
Trying to stay geared towards 20-30 something female readers, I also wrote about eco-friendly beauty projects, with the subtitle don’t leave a carbon footprint on your face. I liked that one. Another favorite? Have you ever wanted to support a fundraiser where people paddle kayaks to raise money and awareness?….Of course you have!…..(right?)
Another reason I like the job is that I get to use a lot of ! ! ! in my articles. Exclamation points are frowned upon in most genres of writing, but I can totally get away with it. Cancer sucks! Run for a cure! Come out to an eco-friendly nightclub! Organic cocktails rock! I am so excited about everything! ! ! ! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then there are the charities. Oh the charities! (!!! !! ! !!!! ! ) It’s amazing what people can come up with to raise money; I’ve been researching hundreds of organzations that all fundraise for important and unique causes. There are, of course, hundreds that raise money for cancer and other diseases (including funding for prevention, cure, research, awareness, and treatment). There’s human trafficking, food and hunger, health, education opportunities, rainforest saving, homelessness, etc as well. But did you know there’s even a 5k coming up in Phili to raise money for a farm that uses equine-therapy for people with physical and mental disorders? And that you can go to a Yankees game for free if you go hang out with blind people and provide them with the play-by-play (are they in it just for the hot dogs?). And you can even get a tour of the playboy mansion to help raise money for children in the DRC! Go Hugh! It’s amazing what is out there for you to get involved with–so if you find yourself feelin’ philanthropic, know that there is probably some way you can volunteer your time. So, like I said in a joonbug article, aaand I paraphrase: How many hours do you spend on your iphone, trying to figure out how to tweet in less than 140 characters the mishaps of your previous night’s bar hopping on the Lower East Side? The answer? Probably many, many hours. So instead: go out and lend a hand. I think the Yankee game thing sounds the coolest.
I thought about this on Wednesday, but I like alliterations. And maybe this can be a theme on the blog…! Thoughts for Thursdays, Facts for Fridays…Mundane Mondays? Tips on Tuesdays? Ehh.
Anyways, lets talk vision. Familiarity. Physical perspective. What do I mean exactly?
Yesterday at work, I tried sitting in all the different areas of our three-floor, chaotically designed building; it was slow, so I passed the time staring at the architecture from different standpoints while waiting for customers. Then I remembered how I first pictured the building when I walked in to inquire about a job: the kitchen was secretly tucked in the back to the left, the 2nd floor bar all the way on the right seemed way too exclusive for my liking, and the third floor-forget it. That seemed miles away, and waaay too VIP for me.
It’s funny how my perspective of the restaurant has changed. I’m usually standing in the back by the kitchen, so my vision of the floor plan is reversed, as I look out into the dining room, towards the entrance. The whole place looks completely different now that I’m familiar with it. It’s like a brand new space.
When the unknown becomes common-place, your vision of that space dramatically changes. It’s like putting on a funky pair of glasses. I remember the first time I sat in Big Trees grease-van, the first time I walked into my dormitory in Ghana, the way I looked at Skidmore on my first tour. These spaces–both small and large–changed. Not physically, but..optically.
Am I going crazy while I sit and listen to our kitchen get torn apart, which is only adding to my already-seven-day-and-going-strong- headache? Yeah.
Am I antsy as I try to lie to myself that I don’t have an ear infection so I can drive to Barnes and Nobles and plant myself in front of their travel section and find myself a new home? Yeeeas.
Am I avoiding googling how to use excel formulas before my “scope assessment” as part of my b-i-g- interview tomorrow in NYC because I really just don’t want to go? Yup. (Also, what is a scope assessment?)
Have I subtly tried to tell you that I’ve been sick and thus feel the need to complain about it via the interwebs since I’m obviously cranky? No. Definitely not.
Is it time to indulge and provide some random facts?
–My feet are different sizes. SEEEEE? The right guy is a 1/2 size larger, although I always just purchase the same size shoe. An 8. But when I’m in Europe they grow to size 34!
–I hate even numbers. Don’t ask me why…I just do. Six out of my seven cell phone digits are even numbers. It sucks : (
–I don’t really love the beach. It’s OK, but it doesn’t do much for me. Neither does summer. Autumn is the best.
–Speaking of kitchens, we’re getting a new one. Ours was about twenty-seven thousand years old. So that’s cool.
–I was convinced in the 7th grade that I was going to be a math teacher. I rocked middle school algebra like it was no one’s business. Obviously, dreams can fade fast; once numbers started becoming cubed, square rooted, and imaginary, I lost all hope.
–I used to have a dog. His name was Bo. He was an ex-show dog and died when I was two-ish. R.I.P. BO YOU WERE THE BEST DOG IN THE ENTIRE WORLD
–When and if I get married, I’m not changing my name. I’ll hyphen it. (I hope I marry someone with an equally crazy name. That’ll be lol).
–I used to play a lot of sports. Including hockey. Don’t tell the hipsters.
That’s all. Thanks for stickin around.
Shall we call it The Scallion?
Dollar-Store in Suffolk County Forced Closure Due To False-Advertisement
Steve’s Dollar Store on Rt. 101 was forced to shut down by the Town of Huntington early Tuesday morning. The owner is said to have been charging an upwards of $1.70 on items, even though the store’s name exclusively says “Dollar.”
“It’s the dollar-store, not the dollar-fifty store,” scoffs Suffolk County Police Officer Ted Bowdin. “The owner is a liar, and lying is a crime. The store had to go.” Bowdin was buying a Miller-light before his night shift out on the Northern State, when Goodwin rang him up for $1.69.
“I arrested him on the spot,” smirked Bowdin.
Steve Goodwin, 49, who was the store’s owner, is recently divorced and also a father of three. His wife left him because he allegedly told her how much condoms suck when having sex. Now, currently unemployed, he has to continue to put his kids through school.
“They call themselves ‘hipsters,’ and all want to move to Williamsburg, Brooklyn when they graduate. So I told them I’d pay for their liberal-arts educations so they could major in graphic design, anarchy, and interpretive dance. ” His children were enrolled in top private colleges: Sarah Lawrence, Bard, and Vassar College. Since he lost the store, they’re all transferring to Binghamton in the fall, to most likely major in Business.
“It’s devastating,” says Goodwin.
The closure of the dollar-store has also affected many residents in Suffolk County, who relied on Goodwin’s products in their day-to-day lives.
“I used to haphazardly use bobby pins, never keeping track of where I left them,” says Nancy Boodshine of Centerport. ”Now, I actually have to try not to lose them, or else I’ll have to go to CVS and buy their 100-bobby pin set for $2.99. In today’s economy, I can’t afford that.” Tween Susie Edwards is already panicking about her Halloween costume now that the dollar-store has shut down. She claims to have “no inspiration,” now that she can’t walk down the aisles of Goodwin’s shop to look at the different wigs, masks, and hair dye. And Tyler Katz of Northport reports that he’s “at a loss” without having Mylar Ballons, 7-Up, glue sticks, soap, cheetos, and table-cloths right down the street from him. ”I’ll have to go to Walmart,” says Katz. “Atleast, unlike Steve’s, they’re not corrupt.”
“I admit my faults,” grumbled Goodwin, who is now more anxious about his financial situation than he was before his store closed. ”Money was tight, so I raised some of the prices in my store. I should have just murdered one of my kids and not told anyone for 31 days to cut back on the cost of living. I probably could have gotten away with that.”
I love The Onion because it’s smart. It’s sarcastic. It is “fake” news, but like sexual orientation, there’s always a spectrum. Real or not real, The Onion draws from true thoughts, fears, and opinions, and extracts them. Makes you think.
I love The Onion because it feels what I feel. So read this article. It’s great.
8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live
Welcome to English Class 207; today you will be learning some new words and phrases.
In other words, I say weird shit.
And you’re going to read about it.
First up is LOL. I started saying “lol” as a joke to make fun of aim lingo, but then I started using it so regularly…in every day conversation…that it would be hypocritical of me to say I still use it insincerely. LOL, or “laughing-out-loud” is quite universal, and I use it in place of the words “funny,” “humorous,” or even “hahahah.” Moreover, it can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective! Let’s go to the chalkboard:
“Oh man, that was so LOL.” Adjective.
“That movie was really funny, I LOL’ed all night.” Verb.
“LOL.” Noun. (right?)
Next is a series of words I use that pretty much explain why I’m single. I usually say things like yo dude, or hey man. I really like referring to a guy as man when I’m talking to him, which seems like a sort of masculine thing to do. Also, when I should respond to thing guys say with an “I agree!” or “you’re totally right,” I say word.
Nice looking guy: “Hey, my name is Dean. What’s yours?”
Stupid me: “Yo dude, my name’s Laura.”
Nice looking guy: “Oh cool, my sister’s name is Laura.”
Stupid me: “Word.”
Stupid me (to friend): “Where did that nice looking guy go?”
Next is my take on “you’re welcome.” If someone ever thanks me, I ALWAYS say no worries. I have no idea where this came from. Whatever. (Word?) No worries, it’s all good. I say that a lot too. It’s all good.
This next one is very important to me. Hard Chilling. I don’t know where I came up with this phrase, but it holds a very special place in my heart. I have a friend from college who still tells me that her dad asks about me from time to time, inquiring if “Laura is well, and is she hard chilling?” Now listen: hard chilling isn’t just an act, it’s a mindset. Think, meditation for hipsters. Maybe. It’s hard to put down into words, but just know that when times get rough, you should sit down and hard chill.
Lastly, dt. This stands for downtown, and everyone should use it as leisurely as I do. Wherever I am, if I want to have even moreee fun, or go on an adventure, I suggest “going dt.” You can be in Texas, New York, Sri Lanka, I don’t care. You should all go dt. And while you’re at it, have a dp. (I’ll let you figure that one out for yourselves.)
Class dismissed. lol.
I experienced my own mini 9/11 the other day in the city. I was in a coffee shop (sounds better than saying Starbucks) when I heard a loud explosion and saw people running down the sidewalk, covering their faces from the smoke that was filling up the street. Oddly, I looked around me and nobody seemed startled by the predicament we were in.
Turns out it was just a manhole explosion. No big.
In other news, I apologize for recently being MIA. My cant-sit-still-must-be-doing-something-productive-at-all-times-lifestyle has been flourishing lately. I began interning in the rotten-apple itself, as the editor for a new Charity Blog that’s being launched on a very popular website in NYC. Since I’m so caring and love to work for free, I balance being in the office three days a week with waitressing on Long Island three days a week, leaving me with Thursdays to feel unproductive and lazy. The blogging thing has been going well so far, except that sitting in front of a computer all day is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done….in my life.
I’ve also been thinking about my past year, and how many people have deemed it “bizarre.” I guess when I speak about it it does sound a bit crazy; I graduated, went on a camping trip across the country, moved to Maryland, interned at the Smithsonian, found a waitressing job, moved into DC and lived with three gentlemen and a dog, interned at another nonprofit and learned how to write grants, moved back to NY, flew to San Francisco to temporarily join a band and go on tour across the country, found myself back in NY, got another waitressing job, got a tattoo, got an internship, repeated the word “got” a lot, and landed three actual job interviews (one in NYC, one in Boston, one in ….Liberia.)
I guess that’s kind of weird.
Or maybe it’s my generation. My past year might sound crazy, but my other friends are embarking on different, yet just as exciting adventures. I have a friend in the Peace Corps in St. Vincent, and another that moved to Seattle to work for the JVC. Nicole moved to Manhattan to get her Master’s, is now the personal assistant for one of the most powerful woman lawyers in NYC, is helping write an African cookbook, and is going to Iceland in August. My other friend moved to Chile to teach English, became fluent in Spanish, and landed a nonprofit job in Santiago. Ali lived in Canada before moving back to NY, getting a job at a medical school and going back to school herself.
So maybe I’m not that crazy.
Or maybe, we all are.
Side note: Can you see what I covertly snapped a picture of? That’s a guy on the LIRR with a disc-man in his lap. Thank you, Man. You have restored my faith in humanity.