Wednesday, December 29, 2010

sorry NYC, Boston will always be laughing at you

In case anyone hasn't heard, there was a BIG, MONSTER snowstorm earlier this week along the east coast. It was all anyone in the media could talk about for about 36 hours (before, during, right after). Being from the Boston area, I was at home there with my family over the holidays and got to see the wonderful storm in action. It dumped nearly two feet on us, but luckily, it was overnight and most of the towns and cities were up and running again by Monday afternoon. I even have friends that went to work on Monday, in Boston.

So when I returned to New York today, I naively thought (because, in part, Massachusetts dealt with the storm swiftly) that everything would be fine. Not so.While the sidewalks are navigable, the crosswalks are slippery, there is still snow on the streets, and from the looks of things on NY1 (the totally awesome continuous-feed local news channel with totally awesome Ron Burgundy status anchors), many New York streets (many being in the boroughs) haven't been plowed, and many cars have been plowed under 4+ feet of snow. Trains, apparently, have been running in an abysmal fashion (speaking of which...haven't heard from roomie yet...she works in Brooklyn...can't wait to hear how THAT commute went today), and somehow people were even STUCK OVERNIGHT on a subway on Sunday. Let me tell you right now, if I had been on that subway, I actually would have wanted to commit suicide. MTA busses were snowed in, and the select bus service still isn't running, almost 3 days after the fact. To make matters even that more smooth, the MTA fare hike goes into effect tonight. To break it down for everyone: there's snow everywhere, mayor Bloomberg is making excuses, the metro sucks ass even more right now than it usually does, and the New Yorkers are PISSED.

But you know what I think would make New Yorkers even more pissed? What a laugh everyone in Boston is getting right now, at their expense. WBZ Boston did an entire segment on the lack of NYC snow removal on the 11 PM news last night, saying that New York "choked on this storm like it was a 3 games to none lead in the ALCS." OOOO. TAKE THAT, BIG, FANCY NEW YORK. SUCK ON THAT ONE. BOSTON HAS BEAT YOU AGAIN. The same amount of snow fell in both cities, but because Boston has no problem telling people to get their cars the F out of the way, Bostonians were able to resume their lives around noontime Monday (that is to say, unless you were traveling, because then you were shit out of luck). But we already know that while NYC has the reputation of being the fastest-paced, the brightest lit, and the most sleepless city in the WORLD, if you actually want to get something done in the city, you better set aside at least an hour, because it will probably take you that long to merely get to your destination, no matter how close you think it is.

For your viewing pleasure:
Keller @ Large: NYC Can’t Handle The Blizzard
Enjoy Mayor Menino's cameo. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Harry Potter Problem

This past week, I had the complete and utter pleasure of re-reading the 7th Harry Potter book. And my, my, I had forgotten how completely and utterly the entire series had sucked me in and drowned me in a sea of happiness. I know, that sounds really pathetic. And, while I consider myself well-read and versed in a whole range of literature, and can analyze Faulkner and Fitzgerald with the best of them, and was quietly devastated by Woolf and Cather, I don't think any book has wreaked such havoc on my emotions as the Harry Potter series has. And, believe me, I say that with much trepidation, as I am, admittedly, a little of a book snob (but you know this already).

I've already come forth with my latent love for one Ronald Weasley (and I'll never forgive that brainy, stuck-up Hermione Granger for stealing him from me), but when I wrote about that, I really was laughing at myself. A few months ago, being years removed from Harry Potter (I read the l final book when it first came out, and never turned back) gave me enough distance to remember the silly obsession.

Time Magazine, September 1999.
My love affair with Harry Potter began not with the first book, but with the second. My mother bought it for me at the old Bickerton & Ripley bookstore on Main st in Edgartown while we were on vacation. I remember thinking the cover with the red bird was kind of weird, and that I hated science fiction, but my mom insisted, she'd heard it was a good book. I was eleven years old. I began reading, and reading, and reading, and I was so engrossed I would make myself put it down just so it would last a little bit longer. When we got home from the Vineyard, I bought the first book and gulped that one down too. I was so excited to see advertisements in Borders for the third book, due out the first week of September. I was so jealous of my best friend, Kristin, whose mom went out and bought her the book on our first day of 6th grade. I didn't want anyone else to have him. I wanted Harry Potter to be all for me, my world, my secret. I constantly created new characters and plotlines that interwove with Rowling's own perfected, intricate story. And then, suddenly, Harry Potter was everywhere, and everyone loved him, and Rowling sold out and the books went to Hollywood, which upset my 13-year-old self oh so much.

Nevertheless, my passion stayed true, right until the end. I refused to see the movies (which was what I considered, at the time, to be a symbol of a "pure" fan...oh the irony...I have since seen a few of them), I read most of the books three, four, five times each. As I grew older, however, and the space between book releases became greater, I would lose interest, be reabsorbed into my own teenage dramas, far away from the non-existant magical world I had spent much of my pre-adolescence so enamored with. I was 19 years old when the 7th book came out, and I started reading around the clock-- a week before it was launched I re-read numbers 5 and 6 (just, you know, because my obsession had reared its ugly head to refresh my memory), and by the time 7 was in my hands (and in the hands of my dad, brother, and sister...that's right, we bought 4 copies), I couldn't put the damn thing down to save my life. In fact, when my high school boyfriend and I broke up later that year, this was one of his issues with me: "this summer you didn't even want to talk to me! All you wanted to do was read Harry Potter!" Which was a little of an exaggeration, if you ask me, but that's a story not for this blog.

But then it was over, the entire nerve-grating adventure, done forever without even possibility of returning for an eighth novel. I closed the last book, sorely disappointed that the entire series never addressed anything about what I considered at the time to be "real life" topics: sex, drugs, and religion. For instance, why do they have Christmas, Easter and Godparents, but no mention of whether or not they are Christians? Surely, for all the philosophical blah-blah that happens in the series, you would think it might have come up. I decided Rowling was one of two things: too exhausted to touch on religion (despite the fact that she so painstakingly included the two largest Christian holidays and the addition of a Christian tradition of Godparentage), or she had a mental lapse and forgot about it. And where was the steam? Where was the sex? You mean to tell me that they keep all these high school age kids pent up in a magical castle and none of them are doing the no-pants dance? Then what the hell was the room of requirement for? I was so upset that only "snogging" was involved. Rowling was so quick to sensor herself. No stirrings bigger than "a feeling behind the navel." Even butterbeer had to be corrected (because no one can have 13 year olds drinking), only house elves can get drunk off of it. How convenient. Don't crucify me! I was an advanced reader. Everything I learned about sex at an early age was from the thick adult contemporary novels I stole from my parents' nightstands and hid under my bed (Summer Sisters..what a steamy read, even still. To think that I read that one when I was 12!).
 
When I read it this time around, however, I was caught in the stranglehold again. At times I belly-laughed, at others I was breathless with fear, and at others still, I sobbed. And I finally saw that Rowling was not writing about "normal" teenage life. She was writing about love and friendship and the struggle between good and evil, and a teenager finding the moral, righteous path. It's about fear and conquering fear and knowing when to trust and when not to trust. It's about understanding that nobody, not even Harry's beloved, wise Dumbledore, can be a perfect human being, and understanding that just because you are flawed, this doesn't mean that you won't be forgiven. This was a series of books that shaped out entire generation and showed us how much fun you can have with your imagination, and under all of that fantastic imagination, there is real heart and lessons to be learned. And oh, how I still wish I could be Ron Weasley's American girlfriend and have a wand and go to Hogwarts and ride on a broomstick!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

"Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking, JUST A MOMENT."

If you've never seen Office Space, you should probably just go jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. Or rent it.

Things I sucked at this month:
Blogging
Getting into the Christmas Spirit
Not being homesick
Saving money (one anecdote: bought a month long metro pass last Sunday. I had lost it by the evening rush hour on Monday)
Sending Christmas cards (even though I bought them...I guess there's still time to send them)

Things I've been really good at this month:
having friends over for dinner
meeting friends for lunch
going to Christmas parties
remembering and being thankful for my wonderful: friends, roommate, parents, siblings, etc


I promise, more blogging will happen this week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New York Minutes: a phone, a bookstore, and some killer gams

Yesterday my phone committed suicide. Well, perhaps that is extreme. But the touch screen decided it didn't want to work anymore, so after work I decided to take a quick trip to the wireless store to see if they could help my plight. Lucky me, working in Times Square (otherwise known as the black hole of suck that has gridiron traffic at 3AM), there's a Verizon store in Bryant Park. Or so the internet told me (word to the wise, just because the internet said so, doesn't necessarily mean it's true), but I walked around Bryant Park for approximately 5 minutes, essentially lost (give me a break, it was 23 degrees outside) before I hightailed it to the 4-5-6 train (because I knew there was another Verizon store on 86th, because Verizon is like Starbucks and/or bedbugs in this city).

But that's one of the problems with New York. You KNOW that there's restaurants, subway stations, taxis, Starbucks, Anthropologies, pizza places and seemingly available men everywhere, but when you want that ONE said thing, it's absolutely nowhere to be found. Like the time, the other night night, when I was headed to Athropologie after work to kill time before meeting some friends at the movies (Black Swan. So messed up. So good. See it as soon as you can), and I walked the wrong direction for three blocks (Broadway always messes me up) and then basically walked in a circle around Anthro (I thought it was on 17th street, walked uptown toward 18th, then back down all the way to 15th...the store is on 16th), and was staring pretty much at the door without realizing it was what I was looking for. Or last weekend, when my parents and brothers came to the city, and I had found a perfect Pizza/Italian restaurant to dine in Friday night, only to find that when we got there, it no longer existed. We then walked around for almost an hour trying to find another place to eat (fat chance. Midtown on Friday night is a circus). Irony of ironies, when my parents were headed to a cigar bar later that night, they saw the ideal restaurant, Pizza/Italian, cozy lighting, waiters in pressed white shirts, a block east of their hotel. Good thing we had walked west, right?

Anyway, I came up from the subway onto 86th and, lo and behold, cannot find the Verizon store. But, there in front of me, beckoning with whispers and shelves upon shelves of books, was Barnes and Noble, where I, powerless to the pull of everything that has to do with books, quickly ducked inside. I browsed and perused, perused and browsed, wishing I had endless money to buy books and books and more books. Books and puzzles and games and calendars and empty journals. What is it with me and books? And then, as I was about to leave (taking one last lingering look at the Christmas cards) a man clad in a dirty-looking green jacket with a mustache and droopy eyes interrupted my sweet fantasy.
Man: "Um excuse me..."
Me: "Yes?"
Man: "I don't want to insult you but...you have....very nice....legs."
SAY WHAT?
Me: "Um, thank you..."
Man: (as I walk away) "Sorry, I just...wanted...to tell...you..."
He may or may not have been homeless. I blushed and then, couldn't help myself, smiled. Finally! Someone appreciates the way I look!!! And then, I was horrified. I took a compliment from a guy who is probably my dad's age sitting in Barnes and Noble (not reading...probably sitting there to escape the bitter cold) and was FLATTERED? How pathetic am I that I need validation from a strange stranger? Why was I not spooked? And then, because I freaked myself out, I was spooked.

So much so, in fact, I hightailed it home and never made it to Verizon. Good thing this morning my phone decided it wanted to live after all.

But seriously, homeless man, wherever you are, thanks for admiring my legs.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Pledge for December

I'll be the first to admit it. December, and the holidays in general, make me pretty depressed. I can never pinpoint why, though it might have something to do with the "ending" of things, as in the year. December always gives chance for reflecting upon the year being left behind, and a looking forward to the future, both of which can be unpleasant. The end of the year always fills me with anxiety and nameless dread. Christmas serves as fuel for the fire, helping only to see how materialistic and vain our society is (seriously, the tagline of Gap's holiday floor set is "Want"). You're supposed to be happy, everyone around is happy, and I somehow always end up feeling weird and sad. The guilt worsens when I'm asked to make a list of things I 'want'.

Perhaps this stems from some kind of childhood guilt where I couldn't comprehend how Santa Claus could come and leave oodles of presents at my house, and none for 'poorer children' (as we were told in school, etc). Christmas always makes me feel undeserving, like I haven't done anything to warrant the gifts given, like I know I should find a lump of coal and cannot understand it when I don't.

My favorite Christmas special is, at least in later years (because every kid really loves Frosty the Snowman, but have you seen that one lately? the plot doesn't even make sense!), A Charlie Brown Christmas, because he seems to know exactly what I'm feeling: "I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed." Of course, the ever-wise Linus returns with the remark: "Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem."

I guess it's time to change my act. So, for the month of December, I'm going to post about at least one thing every week that makes me happy. One thing that I like about the Holidays and the winter. Because it's important to remember how much you are thankful for. And if I'm feeling bad about myself, then I have to change something, do something worthwhile that makes me feel like a good person.

Then, perhaps, I will be able to understand Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Booklist for Gil

My dear friend Gil, manfriend of my dear friend Annie, recently lamented to me that because he doesn't know what reading would be enjoyable, he, by consequence, doesn't read. This is not the first time a guy has said this to me. My brother, my own flesh and blood, doesn't like to read. Some of the smartest guys I have ever met don't like to read. This makes me feel awful; I derive so much enjoyment from reading. I think being forced to read incredibly dry novels in high school, and especially novels of manners (Emma, Pride and Prejudice) may have shied lots of guys (and a fair share of girls) away from reading novels: reading = boredom. Fear not! SJT is here to provide a reading list of exciting, literary, guy-friendly novels for your reading pleasure!

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer, Random House 1997 (333 pgs)
    The harrowing true story of the doomed May 1996 expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, this book is pure action adventure at its best. Krakauer weaves his story flawlessly in and out of time, moving from the present to the informative past back to the present before you've even realized he's switched gears. Krakauer's Into the Wild was also a moving, thrilling book, but with much more subtlety than Into Thin Air.  Thin Air achieves page-turner status without insulting your intelligence. Filled with tales of he-man strength and male egos,  it will leave you breathless and wondering if you would ever have the stones to embark on such an adventure.

The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien, Houghton Mifflin 1990
     A series of vignettes that surround one platoon's (specifically the fictitious Tim O'Brien's) experiences during the Vietnam Conflict. What seems a compilation of short stories morphs into a bleak, profound, honest account of war and what it does to people. Reads like a memoir, and ends up having a much deeper overarching message by the end: it isn't necessarily a story about the War, but more the story of what Tim, throughout his life, learns.

Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis, Simon and Schuster, 1985 (208 pgs)
     Less Than Zero was the first novel Ellis wrote, and it was published when he was only 21. It is a good introduction to Ellis and his sparse, bleak, and at times terrifying writing style. He depicts acts of depravity, love, fear, and hopelessness disturbingly without changing tones. What the reader gets is a sickening picture of the society in which we live. I encourage everyone to read this book and then graduate to others: The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho(if you can handle the gore!), and Lunar Park (but don't read this unless you've read the others). Ellis uses many of the same characters in all of his books--they make appearances and it's gratifying to recognize them, and sometimes their appearances in other novels helps you find out more about them.

Liar's Poker, Michael Lewis, Norton 1989 (309 pgs)
   Who doesn't love a great true story about the greed of Wall Street? Michael Lewis wrote from the height of the Reagan Eighties, when he was a young stockbroker for Salomon Brothers. His tale begins during his days at Princeton, when interviewing, he made the mistake of admitting that he wanted to work on Wall Street because he wanted to make money. He didn't land the job at Salomon Brothers until years later. This book is about Michael's discovery of his disappointment in the shallow world of investment banking. He recounts the stresses (and thrills) of the trading room floor, the deception and lies, the outrageous amounts of money that people made, and the emptiness he felt when he realized that his only dream simply was not what he wanted.

Other great guy reads:
Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger, Harper Perennial 1991
Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, Norton 1996
The Way I Am, Eminem, Penguin 2009


Food for thought:
If Harry Potter was so magic, why didn't he fix his freaking eyes?

Monday, November 29, 2010

foot-in-mouth-syndrome

I'm afflicted. It's terrible. I know I can't be the only person, but perhaps I am somewhat sensitive to noticing my own faults. This disease, ladies and gentlemen, is foot-in-mouth syndrome. No, it's not that nasty thing where you get blisters and stuff in your mouth. It's the thing where you say something completely rude and somewhat condescending and you don't realize it until later.

My foot in mouth disorder runs rampant, from the gamut of accidently insulting where someone went to school, or talking too inexpertly about divorce, or making an offhanded comment about where someone is from, to sounding incredible stupid by not knowing something somehow everyone else knows. I don't mean to be so uncouth, and I often wonder why sometimes I don't think before I speak. I know that everyone occasionally sticks their foot in their mouth. But when I do it, I tend to think about it for hours afterward.

This is how a foot-in-mouth situation might unravel for me.
Making conversation with some old acquaintences from high school, I find out one of the girls is getting her MBA. In a moment in which my brain had temporary made like Elvis and left the building, I asked "MBA in what?" They looked at me with incredulity. "Oh, that was a really dumb question, wasn't it?" They chuckled quietly at my expence. I simply didn't know if there were different MBAs you could get...how was I supposed to know that there was only one MBA?

Anyway, so I can't stop thinking about the stupid thing I said. Then my mind rambles on, and I start feeling really bad about myself. These girls must think I'm an idiot! Here I am, supposed to be smart, but really I'm dumb and talentless, TALENTLESS. Yeah, I think I'm such a big deal, moving to New York, but really I'm just a FAILURE. A big fat one!

And this will go on for a bit. It's worse when I think I've insulted someone's intelligence or life or whatever, because then my self doubt spirals further. I'm just not a nice person. How is it I have any friends, when I can be so mean like that? Why am I so STUPID???

Maybe I just need to pay more attention to the things I say. Other people must stick their feet in their mouths too, right? Am I the only one who feels really bad when it happens?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Things I wish I had

I love my apartment in New York. I really do. But being at home has its perks, and I've gone through them before (shower pressure, doggie, big couches with fluffy pillows, unlimited snack cabinet, etc). The one perk I've never talked about is the study. It's a small room my dad intended for his own library and personal home work space, but, being the loving, sharing family we are, the kids and wife took it over long ago for our various internet endeavors and snuggled up alone with a book in a big green chair. I could call the study a computer room, but that sounds so white-walled and brightly lit. No, our study has warm tan walls and dark wooden bookshelves, framed portraits, and best of all, a big mahogany desk my dad recieved as a 40th birthday gift. If there's ONE thing I really wish I had at my apartment in New York, it would be my very own desk, preferrably near a window, a calendar hanging over it, pens and pencils in the drawer, and a stack of books-to-be-read under a lamp.


Doesn't that seem so studious and fun? I know what you're thinking: "I have many leather bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany" blah blah blah. I know! It's a silly want! But a girl can dream, right? I confess: I buy most of my books because someday I would like to have my very own study, with fiction and poetry anthologies, all of my favorite books right there for a cozy re-read, and a desk where I can write to my heart's content. I wouldn't even mind if my job stayed decidedly more Office Space than Devil Wears Prada, just as long as I could have a space in which to be creative at home.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The obligatory Thanksgiving wrap-up

Best holiday ever. Here's why:

Hometown football rivalries, best spent with Mom, Dad & brother in the stands, watching littlest (not-so-little) brother in the marching band, and my adorable grown-up cousin on the football field.

Listening to the noontime 100.7 WZLX airing of Alice's Restaurant. You can get anything you want...at Alice's restaurant...

My dad's superstrong coffee (Starbuck's Columbian, enough ground coffee for 8 people, but only enough water for 5) with a little Bailey's Creamer (is it me, or is the WORLD SHAKING???)

Thanksgiving dinner with only 26 close family members. We have SO MUCH to be thankful for! Did I happen to mention my supercute cousin Lindsay has a supercute and funny blog? Read it!

Sibling traditions: a late movie at the theaters (this year it was Megamind), an even later basement showing of Titanic, my brother cooking us hotdogs for a 2 AM snack (even though my sister opted for clementines instead...freak), and watching my brothers try to stay awake for 4 AM shopping (don't worry...I passed this year).

My snuggly dog who likes to take up half of my childhood twin-sized bed.


Sharing fun family memories. When we were kids and were doing something stupid, my dad always said to us: "What are you doing? What good can come from that?! NOTHING good can come from that!" Or, when he was really mad (my parents weren't the swearing type) he would say "Boo! BOO HISS!" like we were dogs or something. But hey, it worked. Just saying.

Getting to read the Boston Globe, my favorite newspaper.


I hope everyone else is having a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend!

ps...I'm already sick of Christmas music. No, I couldn't end this post on a positive note. Sue me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I must be the only person in America.

I hate the move Elf. I know, I know, you're all collectively GASPING. When I tell people I don't like Elf, they react like I've just said I hate puppies. But, you know what? Sorry I'm not sorry. Elf may have it's moments ("does syrup have sugar in it? then yes."), but I think that it's an all around creep-tastic film that Americans simply latched onto because it's quotable.

The real reasons I don't like Elf are as follows:
1. Will Ferrell has been in too many other movies where sexual innuendo and lewd jokes (which I do happen to find pee-your-pants on the laughability scale) have been the main attraction. It's hard to see him outside of that context. I can't help but imagine Ron Burgundy in that silly yellow leggings costume screaming "Veronica Corningstone and I had SEX and now we are in LOOOVE!" which is such a disturbing mix of movie characters. Elf's Buddy has this stupidity that leads to weird sexual jokes which he doesn't even know are weird. I know that Buddy is supposed to come off as sweet and endearing...I just find him kind of gross.

2. The scene where Buddy sings to his 'dad', who so obviously conceived Buddy in a brief love affair that shames him to remember, is PAINFULLY awkward. Which is confusing to me. Most of the awkwardness in Will Ferrell movies his pulled off in a funny manner, but this movie, and this scene in particular, just makes me feel uncomfortable.

3. Throughout the movie, Buddy's severe naivete borders on handicap: take him out of The North Pole context, he may have a touch of Asbergers. Or Tourette's. And that's not really a laughing matter.

4. Buddy's relationship with Zooey Dechanel's character is also strange. Here, I thought we were dealing with essentially a child's mind in a man's body, but then enter this blond elfin sexpot who works at the local mall who Buddy listens to in the shower, and all of the sudden we have a voyeur who "doesn't know it's wrong." And at the end they're in love, and if you have seen a lot of Will Ferrell movies, you can't help but feel weird about "Buddy" having "relations" with what's-her-face. And your mind is all, wait...isn't he like, a kid? The whole move has overtones of the Robin Williams movie Jack, about the boy who ages too fast and looks like a 40 year old at 10. Perhaps I would feel differently without this whole relationship in the movie's context if it wasn't there.

So hate me all you want. What I see in Elf isn't funny or endearing, but more of a very weird Jack meets Forrest Gump meets The Santa Clause. On the other hand, I love Jim Carrey's The Grinch. Maybe I should start seeing a therapist. I have some Christmas feelings I think I need to work through.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

start your week with a list

1. spoons are by far the best utensil. 
All the best foods are eaten with a spoon:
cookie dough ice cream, macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, honey bunches of oats.
Anyway, spoons are awesome because you can eat like a glutton. Scoop it in!

2. the boyfriend girl.
You know the ones I'm talking about: they have a horrible breakup
and then six months later they have a new guy
wrapped around their index finger. Which is great and all,
but I can't help but wonder: how does that happen?

3. I really wish there weren't bedbugs in NYC.
I would love to go see a movie.
Instead, I'm overloading on movie previews from youtube:
black swan
never let me go
conviction
somewhere


4. Currently girl crushing on Natalie Portman.
How many people can you think of that would look this stunning
even when bald?



Friday, November 19, 2010

fa-ridayyyy

Right now I am:
Listening to Vampire Weekend radio on pandora

Baking mini pumpkin pies (so cute, like really) for (wait for it...) the church bake sale tomorrow

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of my darling redheaded Marina!


Cheerio!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Black Friday

Next week is the best holiday of the year. No gift pressure, no hype, no songs that grate on your nerves, just family and food and football. The next day is the worst holiday of the year: Black Friday. We all know how I feel about shopping, but once upon a time, I was not this way. Once upon a time, I didn't mind crowds and driving around for a place to park.

So on Thanksgiving night, 2007, my hometown friends Annie, Lauren, Melissa and I thought it would be a great idea to take a little ride to the outlets a couple towns over from ours. The stores opened for special Black Friday sales at midnight, and we weren't 21 yet and we were home for break. We piled into my mother's Trail Blazer and pumped some tunes and joked and laughed and were going to have the best time!

But best time, we did not. We opted not to take the highway to avoid traffic. We were locals. We knew the back roads. Unfortunately, everyone else headed to Wrentham that night was also a local. Because that was the point. We rounded a corner on route 140 (a residential street) and we hit a SOLID wall of traffic. No big. It'll take a little while...all part of the adventure, right? We amused ourselves by taking pictures.
  Anyway, it took us 2 hours to finally get to the outlets. It was TORTURE. We were exhausted by the time we got there, but come HELL OR HIGH WATER, we were shopping. The crowds were nothing short of insanity. I'm talking lines out the door insanity. You would have thought they were giving stuff away. Finally, we threw in the towel and walked back to the car. I could almost feel my warm bed, the sheets tucked up around my chin, the pillow cradling my aching head.

But no. The traffic going out was worse than the traffic going in. I'm talking get-out-of-New Orleans-Katrina-is-coming traffic. Everyone's-leaving-New York-because-of-an-asteroid traffic. Epic, epic traffic.

There were cars trying to drive over other cars and over the grass and through the woods to get to the highway. Never have I ever wanted to see open road more than I did during those few hours. I was like GET ME SOME FOOD WE'RE GOING TO STARVE AND DIE IN THIS PARKING LOT. I was like I'M STARTING TO PANIC WE'RE NEVER GETTING OUT OF HERE!!! I was like CAN'T YOU PEOPLE START MOVING?? KATRINA AND THE ASTEROID ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL DON'T YOU SEE??????

We tried to keep our spirits up. Lauren, Annie and I kept playing the "Dear AIM" game, which makes fun of Melissa's instant messenger away messages that liked to voice her every complaint, but she was having none of that. And when Missa ain't happy, nobody ain't happy. But then again, if I were her, I would have punched us in the face.

dear AIM, today i got stuck in the WORST traffic jam. wrentham sucks. and then my car started acting funny. what a TERRIBLE DAY. UGH.

I got home at 5 AM.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

mormon blogging (No, I'm not hating)

As a part of the "bloggosphere" for the past year, I have noticed a few trends. 80 percent of people who blog fall into three categories: college girls "obsessed" with anything preppy, newly-wed-surprise-mommy-housewives (this breed can be a combination of any two), and the Mormons (though this can also be, and oftentimes is, combined with newlywed housewife moms).

Anyway, I knew some Mormon kids growing up, but never really noticed anything about them except they were usually blond and had lots of siblings. But when I started blogging and, by default, blog stalking (I'm telling you, I get sucked in and before you know it I'm reading posts from February 2006), I found that a disproportionate blogs were by Mormons, up on a soapbox, spreading the good news one "how we met at 19 and were married by 20" story at a time.  This is what I've learned about the Mormon faith through blogging:

They all have really nice cameras and take really good pictures of their really blond, chubby, cute kids and their ridiculously good looking and young spouses. They usually didn't go to college (unless it was BYU, which really just seems to be one gigantic singles mixer where everyone in attendance is 'serious about marriage') but opted to go on "mission" instead. As a result, they tend to spell things wrong, use the wrong tenses and punctuations, inappropriately use possessives (o.k., fine, there are a few really good blogs that are also by Mormons. But Courtney Kendrick is a professional writer. Just saying). They've probably vacationed to Hawaii or Southern California, and most likely live in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, or California. They LOVE Mitt Romney. They talk about religion and the "heavenly father" way too much. Maybe it's just me (and I'm pretty religious), but I am just uncomfortable blogging about religion. It's way too personal, but that's a story for another blog.

But here's the kicker, and why I think I'm so fascinated: all the Mormons are so happy. Happy much in the same, creepy way the Duggar family is happy (you know what I mean, happiness that you suspect might not be real happiness, but paraded around and shoved in everyone's faces until you either think something must be terribly wrong with you, or terribly wrong with them, but either way, terribly wrong). A happiness that seems borderline naive. Well, at least, it seems naive to me, being a 23 year old progressive/liberal/New England native/New York transplant. Yeah, I just classified myself as that. I basically make a living out of having an existential crisis every other day and getting drunk weekly and worrying and bellyaching about the state of the world, the state of the dating scene, and the state of things to come hourly daily. And I know I'm not the only one (or am I?).

But, as much as I poke fun, Mormons seem to be happy in all the ways many of us, in the midst of our loneliest walks home from the train, buffering the world with our headphones, wish we could be. They are in stable, loving, committed relationships, they get to have a mess of kids running around, they don't seem to be too preoccupied with corporate America, but rather living quaint lives in the foothills of Utah where they go to Church a whole bunch and sit around and read Bible verses. They use the word "sweet" a lot, and a lot of exclamation points, too. They don't seem to be worried about the state of the world or the state of the dating scene (because before you even have to wonder about a dating scene, poof! you're married in less time than most people will introduce a significant other to their parents). They don't seem to have existential crises...ever. They know that, somehow, every living thing has a purpose.

I'm not hating. I seriously am not. Perhaps I'm a little envious because from the other side looking into these warm, beautiful blogs about love and family and home, the cubicle city world seems harsh. But honestly, I should really stop stalking, because the fact that girls my age are married and have babies is just plain strange to me. But I guess if you can't drink and can't have sex, the next best thing would be to get married, right? Still can't drink, but at least you can have sex. But seriously, girls, have fun being sick of your husband by 28 and have a kid in high school by 35. Maybe I'm not so envious after all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I love being right.

In regards to this post, read this article. I'M SO RIGHT. I WIN.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meet Cute

There’s a moment in a movie (especially romantic comedies) where the main love interests first encounter one another that screenwriters like to call the “meet cute.” Now, it would be like my cynical self to scoff at these (and most of the time I do), but being of the female variety, even while scoffing “Oh yeah right, and now POOF, they’re just IN LOVE,” a little part of my grinchy heart melts.

I've been watching lots of reruns of How I Met your Mother, mostly because my friends from college recommended it (I mean, Marshall is the TV incarnation of my friend Greg), and because it's in syndication (7&7:30 every night on mytv). It's a silly show, but there’s a terribly romantic overarching theme: everything in Ted’s life had to be just so in order for him to meet the woman that would become his wife; the whole show is based on a meet cute the audience simply hasn’t seen yet.

In a strange way, this concept gives me a lot of (wait for it…) hope, and trust in whatever larger powers there are that everything (in terms of jobs, relationships, etc) will work out how it’s supposed to, and that perhaps I’ll look back in fifteen or twenty years and be able to pinpoint the exact moment where my fate aligned.

This all sounds awfully metaphysical, doesn’t it? Let me put it in some plain, real terms for everyone. My parents met on the street in Boston in 1983. What you say? ON THE STREET? Yes sir, and I mean it. That was the exact moment in which the rest of their lives, the houses they’ve owned, the children they’ve raised, the happiness they’ve had, was all poised to happen. What things had to go right for that encounter to happen? A million. Like, so many.
            Dad graduated from college in 1977. That fall he went on to grad school in Washington D.C., which he hated. He stayed for a year and a half working at a rent-a-car agency. His apartment had cockroaches. He wanted to tell his landlord that if the apartment didn’t get fumigated, he wasn’t going to pay rent, but had no idea whether or not that was his legal right as a tenant. Having had enough, and never wanting to feel ignorant in the ways of the law again, Dad enrolled in law school, and moved back to Massachusetts to live with his (wait for it…) parents.
            Mom, meanwhile was an RA at her college in New Hampshire, going to Dartmouth on weekends and tanning outside her dorm on spring afternoons. She graduated in the spring of 83 and took the first job she was offered: an office assistant at a company that ran the Bar Exam in Boston, the very same place where my dad was studying for his Bar Exam.
            Now you say, “STEPH YOU LIED! You said they met on the street!” But I’ll quote Ted Mosby: Story’s not over. They only ever exchanged niceties.
            Dad passed the bar exam and moved on, beginning his law career. Mom changed jobs. Six months passed.
            Then one day, Dad was on his way to court. He saw a blonde girl walking along the opposite sidewalk, thought she looked familiar. Pretty. Beautiful. He crossed the street. He said hello. She looked so great, he asked her out for lunch.
            She said no. BAM! Her boss wouldn’t let her off for lunch. He took her phone number, said maybe he’d call in a few months, things were crazy at work.
            Yeah, sure, she thought.
            But he called.
            And she said yes.
            And then they got married and had four kids.
            But think about it. What if my dad had stuck it out in Washington? Or if he’d decided to go to law school a year earlier, or right after college? What if my mom had gone home to Syracuse instead of taking a crappy job just so she could live in Boston? What if she’d called in sick to work? What if he’d been running late, or taken a different route to the courthouse? Think about it guys. You never know what dead-end job or crappy apartment or miserable class will lead you to the rest of your life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary

To my blog.
We met a year ago. Or, safe to say, I created you a year ago when I was having a bad night (of getting shut out of parties, etc). But, stupid is as stupid does I guess. Without you, bloggy, I would have so much more time on my hands. Just remember, sweet blog-o-mine, without me, you'd be nothing.
Love, me.

Anywhoo, I've been home for the weekend. It's been super. I had forgotten what a large bedroom my sister and I shared. And our closet! To die for. Taking a shower was like: Hey what's up water pressure? Haven't seen much of you lately! My soapy hair missed you! My dog has been so happy he doesn't know what to do with himself. Dogs are funny. They forget you exist when you aren't around; they're just as content as they were before. But when you return, they think OH MAN! YOU! I REMEMBER!!! YOU'RE THE COOLEST! I MISSED SNUGGLING WITH YOU! FEED ME SOME OF YOUR PIZZA CRUST!!!!! Friday night my sister, brothers, parents and I all cozied up in the family room for some dinner and Seinfeld. I'd missed them.

What's cool about the city (and I can't wait to get back for)? Being outside. All the time. And my friends, obviously.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Coffee culture

I am 23 years old, and I am not a coffee drinker. Or, safe to say, I never was a coffee drinker. Throughout my teenage and college years, I was vehemently opposed to the dark, hot libation; the beverage my parents, siblings, friends, teachers were so thoroughly dependent on. My aunt gave me a gorgeous coffee maker for my graduation from college, and I had to embarrassingly inform her that I never (ever) drank coffee. I was being honest.
Then I started working 9-5.

I would get to my desk yawning, stifle yawns while my boss showed me how to do things, and fight to stay awake, my eyes crossing or, in the worst moments, rolling back in my head.

I needed something. Redbull, which I was known to drink 16 ounces of to get through my waitressing shifts, was not going to cut it in corporate America. In the break room, one cloudy Tuesday, I broke. I poured a cup of coffee. I added Sweet n Low and a little milk (just how my mom drinks it). I brought it back to my desk. I stared. I thought of my father, who can drink an entire pot in one sitting. My mother, who brings her milky coffee in the car in a straight up mug, not even a travel carafe, the brown liquid threatening to spill with every turn and stoplight. I sipped. It was surprisingly sweet. It was warm. I sipped again, and again. I began to feel better, my eyes more open, my synapses firing,  the headache that usually pressed from behind my eyes subsided.

What is this? The drink of the gods? No wonder experts say adults only need 7 hours of sleep a night. With enough coffee, no one would ever need sleep.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New York minutes: the day the city hated me

 Ok. So this morning I woke up woefully late. Like, I woke up after I was already supposed to be at work. FML. I had plans this morning, BIG PLANS. I was supposed to shower (my hair needs some cleansing, my legs need some shaving, etc). I was supposed to pack (for my much anticipated weekend at home). I was supposed to eat breakfast (scrambled eggs, yummm). I was supposed to leave my apartment at 8 AM so I could have a leisurely commute full of fun songs on my new commute playlist (perfect for bopping along on crowded sidewalks). BUT NO. I had to sleep through the four (yes, four) alarms I set for myself. I woke up at ten past nine, and shot out of bed, my heart palpitating and my pits sweating. The rest of my day commenced in similar fashion.

  1. Not one M-79 (crosstown) bus passed my way during my speedwalk from York to 5th. Not one.
  2. 5th was a complete parking lot. Got in a cab, took twenty minutes and 10 dollars to go 12 blocks.
  3. Got out of the cab, convinced I could walk faster. I couldn’t. Bye-bye nice taxi man who was driving me. Have a nice trip down 5th without me.
  4. Tried to get on M-4 bus. Bus driver shook his head at me and shrugged his shoulders when he closed the doors in my face. I nearly gave him the finger.
  5. Experience the general world of suck Midtown is...ALL THE TIME. Usually I don’t really mind, but today I was running late, hitting every red light in all of Manhattan, and was seriously pissed off. People speaking French and walking around in clouds of cigarette smoke was not making me feel any happier.

Everything was pretty peaceful for the duration of the work day. I texted with my sister a little bit about our trip, told her my plight of having to go all the way back to the UES for my clothes for the weekend. Luckily, I told her we could make a quick pasta and sauce dinner. Peachy keenness until about 4:45 when I got this text message from my sister: “Just got a call from Amtrak. Our train is already running late. :(

Crap.

This train wasn’t slated to leave until 7:30, and it was supposed to arrive in Providence at 11:20. But if this train was pushed back, that put our departure time between 9 and 10 PM at best, which doesn’t put us home until close to 2 AM. But like I said, this is best-case scenario for delayed regional trains, because when your train is delayed, Amtrak cuts all losses and allows every other on-time northbound train to pass the delayed train, causing the delayed train (and its increasingly mutinous passengers) to stop in the middle of nowhere outside places like New Haven or Kingston for more than an hour at the time. I foresaw NEVER getting home.

The 7:00 Acela it was. My sister and I flew out of my apartment at 6:12, already panicky. It was rush hour, and we couldn’t decide which form of transportation back to Midtown would be best: bus (pro: stops right outside my apartment, and has special quick bus lanes. Con: stops every block, and a transfer was required, and who knows how long we would have to wait for that), subway (pro: usually a pretty reliable and quick mode of transportation. Con: three short blocks and four long blocks from my apartment, at least 15 minutes of fast walking, which I used to call “Boston Walking,” but have now learned that to get anywhere quickly in New York, you practically have to run. Also, we would have had to transfer trains as well), or cab (pro: no transfers. Con: unpredictable traffic, cost). We chose cab. We chose wrong. Every light was red. There was a gridlock moving across town. Our cabbie was mean. It cost us 17 bucks. We still had to walk/run and we didn’t really know where we were.

But, in short, we made it to the train, and we are happily speeding our way home on the Acela, which, for the extra buck, is kind of worth it. I mean, I have wireless. And I could have a drink if I wanted. Too bad I spent my beer money on cabs.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

thoughts about rain

I love the rain. It makes me want to snuggle on the couch and read magazines and watch movies. I like walking around in the rain, too. Something about bundling up in a scarf and trench coat and popping open your umbrella is so romantic. I always feel like I belong in a movie, because it's always so rainy in movies (has anyone else ever noticed that?). When I was a little girl, my brother and I used to don our dad's khaki trench coats (that reached our ankles, mind you) and play "detectives" (complete with magnifying glasses and x marks the spot maps) in the pouring rain.

But you know what I like best about rainy days? Seeing this happen to other people:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

best movie quote ever?

"Hey Goose, you big stud!"
"That's me honey,"
"Take me to bed or lose me forever!"
(Top Gun, 1986)

Monday, November 1, 2010

roommates

Here I am feeling a little lonely on a Monday night. I suffered an awesome two day hangover with a cherry-on-the-sundae of a very sore neck. I'm feeling extra lonely because I haven't had anyone to talk to all day, not even at work. Watching happy couples on House Hunters isn't making me feel much better. But, I was thinking about all the wonderful people I've lived with, and it's making me feel a little less alone. When I talk about many of my friends, I often classify them as "my roommate." I had someone say to me once, "Wait, how many roommates do you have?" The answer was, and is: many. I've had 8 college roommates, and a dozen or so more summer roommates. In each place, the roommates created a family, even if just for a short while, everyone had a home to go to.

The original roommate, my gorgeous sister Brittany
aka BooBoo
aka Middens 
(like mittens, but we're silly.)

College roommates: Kaylas, Alex, and Elizabeth. 
Alex and I were direct roommates for all our HC years.

More college roommates (and NYC pals)
Fish and Tines

No Ris, I did not forget about you! 
Congrats, Bets, you made it on twice.

My gorgeous (NAHT) first house on MV.
Jeff, Ben, Joe. Summer '08.

Girls summer '08. Ash & Cat (&me)

Summer 2009. Not all of these were roommates!
Half of them lived next door. Two of the boys were my blood relations.
The third might as well have been.


Summer 2010. My sweet, southern gentlemen who 
enjoyed their fair share of whiskey.
Will & John.

Summer 2010, Ash & Ben reappear. Beautiful couple.
 Life friends, even if they're far (Ashley lives in Singapore now, Ben in Cali)

 Hey Mikey! He likes it! Summer '10.
And who could forget my sweet Suzie Q? 
Thank goodness she lives in NYC.

:)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Romantic comedies

They are quite possible the most dead form of art there is (besides alien-adventure-end-of-the-world blockbusters). They are incredible wastes of money, a drain on your wallet and your mind. The acting is usually bad, the writing even worse. I do love a good chick flick every once in awhile, but they are so dang predictable. In the last year they have been bad (When in Rome), badder (You Again), to baddest (The Backup Plan). Notice two of them star Kristen Bell, the queen of the bad chick flick. But Kristen must have been too busy filming her next squeaky clean romantic role, because Rachel McAdams was roped into the next worst romatic comedy of the year: Morning Glory.

Now, this little piece of art isn't in theaters yet, but I have a few predictions to make. You see, what all romantic comedies have, and why they all appeal to women all over America are a few key elements: a pretty girl dedicated to the advancement of her career, a terrible boss/family/sister/situation, and a really hot guy who wants to be with the girl. She tries to balance the career and the guy (which SO MANY women can understand), but ends up failing, and then, winning. That's why she wins our hearts. She does the impossible: she gets it all.

This is what will happen in Morning Glory:
-Smart, pretty girl (probably went to and Ivy league or Stamford-type school, because apparently those are the only schools that exist) lands a nearly IMPOSSIBLE job to get. She's freshfaced and sweet, ready to TAKE ON THE WORLD.
- The hosts of the show will be set in their ways and will hate her and hate each other, but sweet, smart, pretty freshfaced girl will have so many GREAT FUN COOL AWESOME INNOVATIVE IDEAS that she will keep on keepin on....how AMERICAN of her!
- There will be a super HOT GUY she probably WORKS WITH who LOVES HER (for really no reason, seemingly....men in these movies can barely articulate anything besides "love"). She sleeps with him sometimes, but is uber focused on her CAREER and the success of THE SHOW.
- The culmination will come when everything blows up in her face. She will simultaneously: 1. Screw up at work, 2. screw up with guy, 3. realize she loves the guy, but has ruined everything and now has to maybe go live with her parents, or at least visit and they will make her coffee and give her a pep talk.
- Cue sad montage of girl walking sad and lonely through city streets while some "indie" Ben Harper or Ray LaMontagne song plays in the background. (Another thing about these movies: they thing that everything not played on the radio but in their movie makes them avant garde)
- Somehow she issues a tearful, embarrassing mass apology, and everyone forgives her. In the end, she gets the GUY and the CAREER and live HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Cue happy Natasha Bedingfield song. There might even be some old people love between the hosts whose mutual loathing for each other has turned into undeniable LUST.

Nobody ever seems to care that these movies are complete fantasy. Take The Back Up Plan for example, where JLo, pretty far from the block, plays a single gal pregnant by IVF suddenly meets a guy. In real life, this guy wouldn't be sticking around. He would be gone...byebye...see ya never. If Morning Glory was real life, Rachel McAdams wouldn't have gotten this job in the first place, and she would still be living at home with her parents, or working as a desk clerk somewhere. Hollywood sucks.

Bound to happen in this movie as well:
-Clumsiness on the part of the girl, because no matter how smart or savvy female characters are, men have to feel safe about their roles in life, so the girls are always falling all over the place. "Omigod, save me! I'm so silly and I fall all the time!"
- A couple of gags where OLD PEOPLE play with TECHNOLOGY! Gosh, aren't old people so stupid and funny?

Can't wait to see it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

reasons I need a pet

Tonight, after a long week of work (you know, the usual, pulling staples, scanning, pulling staples, scanning, removing paper jams, and scanning some more), I spent some quality time with my best buddies, blanks and lemon.
 I know blankie looks kind of gross.
But I love him.
 Isn't Lemon Bear the cutest? 
My siblings used to fight over him when we were kids. 
But he was always mine!

 Lambs joined too. What a ho. (Just kidding LUVYAGUUURL)
We be snuggsin with Blanks and Lambz allll nighhhht.


We need boyfriends. Or a dog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

“they say it’s your birthday…da-nana-nana-nana”

My mom ALWAYS sings that Beatles song on birthdays. Today is my birthday. I am 23. Yesterday I came home from work to find a mailbox full of cards, and a small box of gifts from my parents, all a day early! I’m spoiled rotten. I cried for nearly an hour. Perhaps I was a little homesick, perhaps because I finally felt the impending doom of today, perhaps I felt like I am undeserving of the love that was showered upon me by my parents, siblings, various other family members, and messages from amazing friends. I felt a little like Sally Field: “You like me! You really, really like me!” And though most people make fun of her for that moment, I know what kind of awe she was feeling: you can’t believe that many people can like you that much. And yesterday, it made me a basket case.

Birthdays can be a weird thing: I, believe it or not, have usually shied away from being the center of attention. I much prefer to share the spotlight. Nevertheless, on your birthday you are the center of a lot of love, and you realize just HOW MUCH you love everyone else. Perhaps that was the reason for the tears: when I acknowledge the trueness of pure love, I can’t but cry for happiness.

Best gift a girl could get? My mom filled out a recipe book for me. Some of my favorites from her recipe book, but in my own, with her handwriting. Open the floodgates. God, I can be sentimental.

Thanks everyone, from the bottom of my heart. I love you all so very much.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Annie said

Is totally and completely correct. Mah boy's wicked smaht. But seriously, like I said a couple of posts ago, it's impossible to get experience without actually having experience first. The workforce neither wants us nor needs us, no matter how great our resumes are. BTW, Annie did get a job, she was hired yesterday. Congrats boo!

Friday, October 22, 2010

New York minutes: after work adventures

I just started temping to make a little moo-la to pay for my habits (such as, but not limited to: grocery shopping, bar hopping, online shopping, bookstore browsing...and buying..) at a company with a swanky 5th avenue address. I mean, seriously, on my lunch break I window shop Harry Winston and dream of someday. Ha.

Anywhoo, while doing some worky at work, I thought about what I was going to do this weekend. And what I was going to do when I got home. And what I was going to eat next. As you all know, I'm in the middle of reading American Psycho, and it's getting a little, er...intense, shall we say. Like, I'm pretty much afraid of every handsome Wall-Streeter I see. So I was in the mood for something a bit fluffier, no matter how bad the writing, something a la Something Borrowed. Enter my quest to read The Devil Wears Prada.

Now, after a quick little search for the New York Public Library (I was taking my poor little bank account into consideration), I found that the flagship NY Public Library was a mere 8 blocks away! The Yorkville library is only a few blocks from my apartment, but it closes at 5, but the one on 5th is open until 11PM. Yahoo! I arrived, a bit in awe at the size of the building (and I thought Dinand library was big), wearing my work suit and pumps. They checked my bag for contraband (none...just my copy of American Psycho..hehe) and I proceeded to wander...and wander...for 20 minutes. No map, no indication of where ANYTHING in the library was. Finally, I swallowed my pride and approached a security guard.

"Um, excuse me. This is going to sound really dumb, but are there, like, books here? Novels?" I could feel my face reddening. Luckily, he was very understanding.
"Well, there are branches all over the city. This one is really only for reference books, and nothing can be taken out. Across the street and down a block, there's the Midtown Manhattan branch, where you can take out books."

I thanked the kindly security guard and got on my way. I arrived at the Midtown branch at the same time as about three homeless people, including a lady with a bright purple wig. No sweat, I can see the books. Bad free literature, here I come! But, like everything else in my life, this was a no-go. I couldn't find Devil in the literature stacks, and so I ran over to a trusty computer. There were two copies of the novel in circulation in the New York Public Library system: one in the Bronx, and one in reference at the 42nd street main reading room. Where I had just been. WTF.

So now I was cranky. I walked back 10 blocks to my bus stop, and huffily got on the bus when, of course, my metro card ran out of money. The bus driver took pity on me, probably because I looked like I was about to cry, and let me get on anyway. And up we sped to 79th and Madison, where I hopped off to catch the crosstown bus to the far east side (I'm talking past York Ave, down by the river). But this driver was not so benevolent. I had some money ready to go, but apparently in NYC you can't use dollar bills to get on the bus. Only quarters (that's what they mean when they say exact change...womp womp) or metro cards. Now, at this point, I had walked about 20 blocks round trip after a full day in 4 inch heels and I hadn't eaten since noon. I was hungry and tired and hated all the honking and the noise and just wanted to be back at my little house on the Vineyard doing crossword puzzles in my skivvies on my bed.

"So I'll just walk then," I said to the bus driver (who, rightfully so, didn't give a shit) as I rapidly disintegrated to same ability to control my emotions as a 12-year old and stomped off the bus. I seriously wanted to cry, or call my mom, but that would make me want to cry even more, and I didn't want to be an emotional wreck on the street.

Thankfully, I had simply been in my head too much during the day (quiet office=LOTS of time to think), and I felt much perkier once I'd changed into some yoga pants and had a few crackers with peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Roomie came home and we decided to order Chinese and watch bad TV. Someday I'll get the libraries down pat, though I think I'll stick to the one in my  neighborhood from now on.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New York minutes: things i have learned.

-No one makes eye contact. Ever. Don't be the loser who makes eye contact.
-In accordance, don't smile either.
-In order to get experience, you somehow already need experience. It's catch 22.
-It can take you 45 minutes to go a mile. How does anyone ever commute to this city? It takes long enough when you're in it!
-Buy a good pair of shoes to walk in that don't make you look like the tool wearing Asics with your dress trousers (I never did this).
-Sex and the City made it look like there were guys on every corner just waiting for you to look up. In reality, women outnumber men 5:1, and the :1 is either married or gay. Just saying.
-For the love of God, wait for the light to change to 'walk' before attempting to jaywalk. Especially if crossing a two-way thoroughfare.

Monday, October 18, 2010

American Psycho--a portrait of how much we suck

I hope some of you have at least read something by author Bret Easton Ellis, even if it's not American Psycho. I'm reading this novel for the second time, and this time around I'm really giving attention to not so much the gory, sodomizing, keep-you-up-at-night incredibly graphic sex/murder scenes (yes, they are one and the same), but really Ellis's attention to detail, his gorgeous prose, and the sadness with which he depicts modern American life.

I find that Patrick Bateman's often exhausting attention to detail actually pertains much to our superficial, materialistic existences. With painful precision he describes his morning in the bathroom: "in the shower I use first a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey-almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Vidal Sassoon shampoo is especially good at getting rid of the coating of dried perspiration, salts, oils, airborne pollutants and dirt that can weight down hair and flatten it to the scalp which can make you look older. The conditioner is also good--silicone technology permits conditioning benefits without weighing down the hair which can also make you look older. On weekends or before a date I prefer to use the Greune Natural Revitalizing Shampoo, the conditioner and the Nutrient Complex. These are formulas that contain D-panthenol, a vitamin B-complex factos; polysorbate 80, a cleansing agent for the scalp; and natural herbs."

and what he is changing into at the gym: "It was a cool morning but seems warmer after I leave the office and I'm wearing a six-button double-breasted chalk-striped suit by Ralph Lauren with a spread-collar pencil-striped Sea Island cotton shirt with French cuffs, also by Polo, and I remove the clothes, gratefully, in the air-conditioned locker room, then slip into a pair of crow-black cotton and lycra shorts with a white waistband and side stripes and a cotton lycra tank top, both by Wilkes....(it goes on)

and what other people are wearing: "He's wearing a linen suit by Canali Milano, a cotton shirt by Ike Behar, a silk tie by Bill Blass and cap-toed leather lace ups by Brooks Brothers. At Harry's we spot [Van Patten] who is wearing a double breasted wool and silk sport coat, button-fly wool and silk trousers with inverted pleats by Mario Valentino, a cotton shirt by Gitman Brothers, a polka-dot silk tie by Bill Blass and leather shoes from Brooks Brothers."

These passages go on and on about clothing, products, electronics, you name it. The point is that these people have everything money can buy them and yet they are all completely miserable human beings. I mean, Patrick Bateman is a serial killer, for God's sake! But I think the point Ellis is trying to make is that when we attach ourselves too much to the importance of material goods we become monster-like. Granted, Bateman's materialism is, in part, a manifestation of his obsessive nature: who can forge the memorable scene between Patrick and his brother Sean (of Rules of Attraction fame, also a great novel) where Sean, the younger of the two, seems infinitely cooler and makes Patrick seem nearly like a pariah. And there's also the scene where Bateman happens to see Tom Cruise in the elevator of his building and so wants to seem cool in front of him, but Tom Cruise has zero interest. What this points to is Bateman's lack of self esteem which leads to his obsessive materialism (to the point where it is all he thinks about) to his (perhaps fantasies of) brutal sodomizing and murdering of both men and women.

If you have the stomach and the patience to see beyond the horror, what you will find is a harrowing, depressing portrait of what may be a little Patrick Bateman in all of us. Without the killing, of course.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

tumbling....DUH

So I caved. Like much of the bloggy world, I have started a tumblr account. Mostly it will just be all the random things I want to post, but are not long enough to dignify a blog post (read: stupid quotes, stupid pretty pictures, stupid recipes, stupid poems I may or may not like). I know, it's queer. So what? Who cares? Introducing:


brought to you by your one and only sjt 
(that's me!)
(don't make fun!)
(I can hear you laughing!)
(I'm just trying to get all my emo energy out!!) 

 ...........plzreedkaythnxbai

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

ponderings

Things I love about New York (so far...)
1. all the things there are to EAT
2. putting on cute outfits and walking around
3. admiring cute shoes in shops from the safety of the sidewalk
4. making eyes at suits on the subway
5. making eyes at suits on the street
6. being able to decipher streets in scenes from shows like sex and the city and how to lose a guy in 10 days (one of the BEST chick flicks out there...)
7. seeing cute puppies all over the place
8. seeing cute suits all over the place.....did I say something to that effect already?
9. wearing my Red Sox hat out in public and feeling way too proud (that must be a Massachusetts thing)
10. knowing that the best is so yet to come...and I can't wait.

Monday, October 11, 2010

new york minutes: the plunger

I have arrived. Wahoo! Mom and Dad and I left my hometown in southeastern Massachusetts at 7am Saturday, October 9. Four hours later, I was on East 79th street. Home for the next year. I know I've said this before, but lets just say it again. WOAH. WOW. GOLLY GEE. I'm a New Yorker now!

Of course, with my life being my life, things don't always go completely smoothly. While roomie was out running some errands, I remembered that I had to pee. That's a thing about people that are in service industries (waitresses, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers): they always have to go to the bathroom, but they're in such a habit of holding it (because their jobs demand that they only pee once every 7 hours), that it can be easy to forget that your bladder is extremely full. Anyway, I overloaded my new, sensitive NYC toilet with too much TP. Dang. So I trekked up the street, having lived there for approximately three hours, to find somewhere I could buy a plunger. Lucky me, there's a D'Agostino's and a Duane Reade right on York ave.

At this point I looked a hot mess. I was wearing some old running shorts and a hoodie and flip flops, and I had just moved my entire life up 5 flights of stairs (ok. so some movers did the bulk of the work. sue me), so I looked a little greasy. On top of that, despite being alone, I was embarrassed over my clogged toilet. No plunger to be found at D'Ags. I was a little discouraged after this. All I wanted to do is take a shower and finish setting up my room and I was a little culture shocked and I didn't really know my way around, and if the drugstore didn't have a plunger I didn't know what I'd do because I didn't know where the hardware store was (still don't). Thank the stars, Duane Reade had 1 plunger left.

Now, there is no dignified way to buy a plunger. It's like buying condoms or Immodium A.D. (which helps with incontinence). Even if the checkout people don't give it away, you know what they're thinking. So I headed up to the counter with my plunger fit for a plumber (I mean seriously, this thing was industrial), but as soon as I swiped my debit card, the system went down. There I am, with a growing line behind me, my first four hours in NYC with a plunger in hand and no way to pay for it. The checkout girl shrugs, "System's down. Sorry." My face burned red. Stupid plunger, sitting up there jauntily on the counter. Everyone knows I clogged my toilet. Now I have to go back to my apartment and get my cash and then do the unthinkable: come back to the drugstore and try to buy the plunger again.

So back down the block I went, sweating in the late afternoon humidity, up 5 flights of stairs, back down 5 flights of stairs, and back up the block to buy my stupid plunger to fix my stupid, pansy NYC toilet. Then, to put a cherry on top of the perfect adventure, I had to ask the clerk if I could buy the plunger because, you see, I left the damn thing on the counter as I slunk away the first time, and there was only one left in the entire store. I reiterate: there is no dignified way to do this.
Me: "I was in here before...."
Checkout girl: (stares blankly)
Me: (softly) "I have to buy the plunger..."
Checkout girl: "Huh?"
Me: (louder now) "I have to BUY THE PLUNGER."
Checkout girl: "Do you want a bag?"

I decided against it. I walked back to my apartment with the plunger slung over my shoulder, my dignity ruined.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

things i need

1. a job. For the love of pete, someone hire me. I look real nice in a blouse sitting behind a desk, and I have a super sexy phone voice.
2. some snugs partners besides blanks, lemon, and tucker (only one of those things is something that's alive)
3. a supercute new boyfriend. any takers? I look real nice in a blouse sitting behind a desk, and I have a super sexy phone voice (wait did I already say that for something?)
4. one of those hour glass things Hermione Granger uses (did I just mention Harry Potter twice in one week?) to turn back time (whaddup Cher), because if I could rewind my life to April and live the last six months over I would in a second, without changing a thing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

cleaning up and cleaning out

I'm moving in four days. WHAT???

That's kind of how my morning went. Today I started the daunting task of packing for NYC. For good. I have to keep remembering that it's not like I'll NEVER come back to my parents house, but I still don't want to leave them with all my shit. I mean, my bedroom is like a museum. I'm one person, I don't need most of knickknacks that are here, but something prevents me from throwing them out.

Cleaning out my childhood bedroom has been strange. There are so many things I've left in here to collect dust for four years and more, things I'm not sure I'm glad I kept--old diaries and love notes (including one terribly pathetic one I wrote to my high school boyfriend that never got sent, telling him how scared I was to go to college and lose him), and, believe it or not, old instant message conversations I for some cruel reason printed out and saved. I found strange old jewelry I remember wearing in elementary and middle school which offered many funny "what was I thinking?" moments. I found ticket stubs for The Village, Bridget Jones' Diary, Rent, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, all from Sharon Cinema 8, the old crappy theatre the next town over. I found fortunes from fortune cookies, old pictures, some really old makeup (gross), wallets, etc etc.

But perhaps the funniest things I came across were the fictitious love notes I wrote to fictitious characters. I was quite the imaginative child, and I had a big literary crush on none other than Ron Weasley of Harry Potter fame. Enough so that I wrote him fake love notes. I so wish I was kidding about this one. There were several notes stored in a plastic baggie at the bottom of a drawer. Apparently my name was Ella Prewett, and I was an American witch (like Hermione but cooler), and Ron was my school boyfriend. I must have been eleven or twelve when I wrote these, all in my best cursive, all addressed to Ron Weasley, 5th floor bedroom, the Burrow, England. And the comedy doesn't stop there:
My Darling Ron,
          I miss you so...these sticky summer days just make me think of you more and more (uhh...what does that mean???). I need you and your face never leaves my thoughts. I had a dream last night that you and I ruled a country. You were the king and I was your queen. If only it could really be that way. I know we were destined to be together. I am coming back next year (presumably to Hogwarts) even if I have to run away from this place. Please write back. I love you x infinity.
xoxox Ella
I mean honestly, where did I come up with something like that? I even had Ron writing back to her...an entire correspondence. Uber pathetic. I don't know whether to throw them out or keep them for posterity. I'm actually having a hard time with throwing out most things that should be thrown out.


There are certain things that will stay here or go to good will: my summer clothing, a couple old t-shirts emblazoned with my name and number from my sports days of high school (HC rugby stuff will come with me), things that have been in my drawers since I was in high school. Many of my books will either stay here or have to be donated (shudder). Lemon bear and blankie of course will come with me (wait am I almost 23? Is it time to give them up? maybe when I get married...or not...). Lemon bear and blanks got put through the ringer in college, each suffering a couple terrible incidents: blanks got chewed up by my doggie Tucker (I'm just thankful blankie didn't meet the same fate as most of my nice undergarments), and good ol' LB was the victim of some vom splatter. Poor guy.

Tomorrow's task: tackle all the crap under my bed, which will probably be more difficult than the dresser.

Friday, October 1, 2010

anxiety

Tonight, at around 6 PM, I decided to go shopping. I hate shopping. I buy a lot of my clothing online...everything online is organized, you don't have to dig for size or search for color, and a lot of the time the website will recommend stuff to go with pieces you like. Mostly I hate shopping because I detest going to malls. Everything I wrote about in this post seems to have gotten worse. However, I'm moving to the big bad city and haven't really bought myself a good deal of clothing in a long time. I'm talking I own one pair of jeans, three pairs of flip flops, a pair of sperrys, a few sweaters and lots of t-shirts.Comfort, comfort, comfort.

So I drove off in my mom's car and I wasn't a mile from my house when I was struck with this awful, horrible, crushing feeling that I was never going to get back home. Like I was going to get in some sort of freak car accident and DIE.

I wish I was kidding. Then my mind, being my mind, extrapolated that pinch of anxiety to a near panic attack: I imagined what the evening news would say and the phone calls my mom would have to make to my siblings and my poor roommate stranded in an expensive apartment on the upper east side. I thought about the last half hour I spent with my mother, helping her make a buffalo chicken dip for her book club tonight. If I died, surely it would go to waste and book club would be canceled. The whole town would come out for my wake. It would be terrible. But worst of all, I would be dead.

By the time I pulled onto I-95 on my way to Providence, it was all I could do to stay on the road. I turned up the radio and just told myself to concentrate, concentrate. Luckily, the panicky feelings passed, though I was a little sensitive to anyone driving rather speedily within my sight range. I had made it to the mall and parked the car and entered the perfumed doorways before I started to feel panicky again.

Now this is a panicky feeling I cannot explain as readily as the death by fire-y car accident example, because no one was ever killed because they were shopping for sweaters. Shopping gives me an unexplainable anxiety. I feel perfectly fine in bookstores, could spend hours and hours perusing to my hearts content. There's something about clothing, like you have to get in and out as fast as humanly possible OR ELSE. But whats the or else? I can't quite put my finger on it.

I tried to ease myself into my sojourn by going to J. Crew first. I love J. Crew, but do most of my shopping there online. The store was so quiet. I could barely look at a couple of t-shirts (all of which had stunningly high price tags) before I felt a lump rising. I didn't want to dig around for my size, and I didn't want to cart anything around to a dressing room. I didn't want that nice girl folding corduroys to ask me if I needed any help. I didn't want to make anything match, or spend money on necessary accessories (because all of them are so cute, but so expensive!). Needless to say, I hightailed it.

It was down to the wire. I needed a pep talk or I was never going to buy anything. "Stephanie," I told myself, "you need some new clothes. This is not frivolity, you actually need to go into an office and look like a human being. Do you want to end up on What Not to Wear?So I took a deep breath and ducked into Banana Republic. Still a little angst-ridden, I tried to calm down as I looked at some pretty skirts. I tried a skirt on, with a poorly matched (on my part) sweater thing, a cardigan and some jeggings. Bad. All bad. I wanted to cry, and leave. Instead, I forced myself to look more. Look for outfits. Stop looking at prices, I needed stuff anyway. And I succeeded! I felt a little better, and bought three (yes, three!) outfits.

On my way out of the mall I stopped at Borders. I deserved a little reward, after all, for surviving my near panic attack(s). Baby steps.