Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bollywood, here I come!

Usually when I walk onto the elevator to leave work at the end of the day, I am stuffed into a corner amongst many other busy New Yorkers who just can't wait to get out of the office. So, imagine my surprise when there was only one other person on the elevator. That is, until, this particular elevator dweller decided to share his thoughts.

Out of the blue, he turned to me and said:
"You look exactly like this actress we have in India. Everything about you looks like her, her name is Charmy. I have even told my wife about you."

Now, even though, as noted by Hailey's friend Sari, "that conversation went from nice to creepy REALLY quickly," I'm trying to figure out if this guy was right. So I (ok, Tom) looked this actress up, and I'd like to get everyone's opinion. Should I move to India and start my acting career, or was this guy smoking a little too much hookah?

Here she is --- what do you guys think?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What I've been doing instead of writing...

I could blame my lack of writing this month to the usual seasonal pressures: shopping, parties, events, etc...but that wouldn't be fair. You see, even though all of these things have been occurring and have been taking up my time, I'd like to blame my lack of writing on my new singular obsession: Brit's new album, Circus. And since I've been listening to this album, oh, lets say 24/7 since my brother introduced it to my apartment, I thought I'd give you all the run down on which songs you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO DOWNLOAD as opposed to those rare Britney songs that won't go down on the list of Instant Crappy Music Classics.

Womanizer: Please. We've all heard it, we all love it, and it makes us think of Chuck Bass. I can't believe you didn't download this song months ago. Do it now. I'll wait.
Circus: In my humble opinion, the best song on this album. Makes me strut down the sidewalk as if Tyra and Ms. Jay were watching.
Out from Under: Two problems. Too slow and, sadly, too relatable. Sorry Brit Brit, I don't want to feel like we have similar life problems. I've watched your documentary. It's too scary to think about.
Kill the Lights: Even though the phrase "I kiiiiilled the lights" is maybe the most annoying in music history, Britney's minions refer to her as the Queen of Pop, so totally worth it.
Shattered Glass: I really like this one, although I shudder to think of Britney channelling Annie Lennox. You are a performer, Brit, Annie was a singer. Know your role and we'll be ok.
If You Seek Amy: Pure poppy (ie slutty) genius. A must-listen.
Unusual You: Again, Britney, stick with what you know. It's too slow and boring. Oh, this guy is so great, blah blah blah. Unless he makes you want to shave your head, move on, thanks.
Blur: This song makes me think of that one time (many years ago) that I did 4 Irish Car Bombs in 20 minutes and then made out with an indeterminable amount of people and then woke up, fully clothed, contacts on, in my bed, at 7am. And then I went to the Natural History Museum because I felt like I had done severe damage to my brain, and had probably forgotten math. Now, I'm younger than Britney but haven't done something like this in 3 years and probably never will again. It seems as though our girl does it all the time. Right on Brit -- THIS is how you live vicariously.
Mmm Papi: Let Christina stick to the Latin hits, sweetie. If you want to branch out, do country.
Mannequin: Haven't been able to get into this one, but my roommate likes it. I leave the opinions on this one to her.
Lace and Leather: Good old fashioned Britney. Very poppy, and adorably innocent while trying to be dirty. Bitch is dangerous.
My Baby: Oh, Britney. We know you love your kids, but don't sing about them. Not on the same album as songs about not remembering what you did the night before. If you really want to pay homage to your kids, make another song like If You Seek Amy. We all understand how biology works...we'll make the connection.
Radar: Britney describes, in detail, every guy who has lead her into her spiral of shame. And then she indicates that she is STILL LOOKING FOR THIS GUY. Um, +2 (shout out to the Daily Intel), because she totally would.
Rock Me In: Neutral. Not the best, but I wouldn't kick it out of bed (um, change it on itunes? What were we talking about?)
Phonography: This gets extra points because I guarantee Britney was like, "Pornography is dirty, so I bet the word Phonography is dirty too." Well, no honey, but close enough, we'll give it to you. Especially for the lines: "I need my blue tooth/buttons coming loose/I need my hands free." Because, brilliant.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's an illusion Michael. Tricks are what whores do for money.

If you've ever ridden on any form of public transportation, especially in NYC, you learn very quickly to ignore those who try to "entertain" you. 99% of the time they are awful (mariachi band at 8:45am on a crowded train? no thank you), and panhandling in any form is against the law. The rare performer who captures your attention is a special event indeed.

At first, I didn't think that my subway ride would include such an event. Especially after Act 1, aka "The worst rappers on the face of the earth." The mumbled something about New York, but I couldn't tell you one other word that was uttered. The eye rolling and grumbling as they walked through the car spoke for themselves. We are tired, it's after work, please leave us alone.

Not more than 10 seconds after the rappers du jour left the number 5 train, a man walked through the automatic door and started banging on what sounded like a pot. Now, I was frustrated. I just had to listen to the inane rhyming of two very poor "musicians," and now I was going to have to suffer through some crazy man banging on aluminum? It was almost too much.

However, as I looked up, much to my amusement, our newest subway companion just happened to be a magician. Always fascinated by magic, I was compelled to watch this particular show. To everyone's surprise, after about 30 seconds this random man had his whole audience laughing and engaged. The crowd almost lost it when he made a thong appear out of thin air after dipping a closed container briefly near a young woman's skirt.

After a few tricks, I was ready to be embarrassed when this man placed and "empty" container in front of my face and asked me to tap it, as hard as I could, with a magic wand. What I WASN'T expecting, however, was for a live dove to instantaneously appear in front of my face, flapping its wings furiously, as soon as I tapped the container. Now, one of my biggest fears, ironically (?), is that a bird will some day peck my eyes out. Don't ask why...we're all afraid of something completely ridiculous. Unfortunately the (cute) guy sitting next to me didn't have time to prepare for my debilitating fear, as he immediately had a random stranger bury her face into his shoulder, for a full 30 seconds or more. Luckily (for me), he found this incredibly amusing.

So, as our magician friend was getting ready to leave, I pulled out a dollar and placed it in his cup. Hell, I'll pay someone for amusement. Or, at least, I'll pay someone to keep his trained dove at bay.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The interweb justifies my blog!

Every holiday season, I rely on Pandora to provide me my Christmas music fix at work (I go into heavy detox in January). Whilst listening to my "Jingle Bells Radio" station yesterday, I stumbled upon a new feature...the ability to use three sliders (labeled "BPM," "Funkmeter" and "Popularity") to tailor a radio station that perfectly reflects your tastes. "Well, I should try that," I thought, "just to see what happens!" I intently placed my sliders where I believed they belonged (where did I REALLY fall on the spectrum of "Hold the Funk" to "Funktastic?") and anxiously pressed the "Launch Station" button to determine my perfect mix of music...

What song would be chosen as the first among the best music for my taste? What artist or group had tailored their songs specifically to my liking?

Don't worry kids -- even the interweb knows that I like bad music. The first song? "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," by the Backstreet Boys. Oh Pandora, you know me too well...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

O Tannenbaum

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore the Holiday Season. There is nothing better than cozying up by a fireplace, drinking hot chocolate and basking in the smell of a brightly lit evergreen tree. And this is made all the more beautiful when surrounded by friends and family.

Imagine my joy, then, when my parents offered to drive me home from my Mom Mom's (where we enjoyed our annual Lombardo family Thanksgiving feast, along with our newest addition, my cousin's new daughter Mia :-)) and, along the way, help me transport a lovely little 6 ft. Douglass Fir. Although it wasn't like decorating the family tree at our snowy home in Western PA, it was lovely to have my entire family (little bro included) help me set up my most beloved Christmas tradition.

After my parents and brother left for their journey to Western PA and the West Village, respectively, I engaged in the time honored ritual of blasting Christmas music (oh, how I've longed to hear "My Only Wish" by Britney Spears and "This Gift" by 98 degrees since circa July!), placing lights, organizing ornaments, and enjoying the crackle and pops of my New York fireplace (aka a DVD entitled "Cozy Fireplace"). Sure, the ornaments may not have all of the memories of a little plaster star with my kindergarten picture or the box set of Disney characters that I've had since childhood, but my ornaments will always remind me of my first New York roommate, and that's definitely a start. It's nice to know that your adult memories don't have to be so different from your childhood ones. And it's also nice to know that its true -- you can take the girl out of Western PA, but you can't take the Western PA out of the girl.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My life and the game beyond

A few truths from a morning in which our interweb was down at the office and we all filtered over to the museum for the Jim Fassel Foundation Press Conference:

Truth #1: Tiki Barber is an impeccable dresser and the most photogenic person that I have ever seen in real life.

Truth #2: Curt Menefee's voice IS that awesome. And he told me my sweater was soft, so it will ONLY be Fox NFL Sunday for me from now on. As if Bradshaw wasn't enough of a pull.

UPDATE: Menefee just emailed me for photos and offered to buy me coffee if I'm ever in LA! CBS is definitely dead to me now (sorry Coach Cowher!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

At least they weren't wearing slips and frolicking in Central Park...

A conversation I heard this morning, briefly:

Three high school aged girls, dressed in pyjama's, about to cross the street on the Upper East Side at 7am.

Girl #1 (slightly hysterical): NO! I can't LIVE like this! I can't make it through the day without taking a shower!
Girl #2: Don't be stupid, Chelsea. You have to learn.
Girl #3: Besides, we'll ALL be gross. That's the POINT.

This was seconds after I saw two high school aged boys leave their school in pyjama's as well, commenting on how they had slept a total of 15 minutes the night before.

So my question is, WHAT? Can anyone explain this to me? Are UES schools teaching children that they have to learn how to survive on no sleep or showers, possibly due to the economic crisis? And, if so, why has this not yet been an episode of Gossip Girl??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moldy Pastures, Stagnant Waters and a Restored Soul

I don't normally take well to being "saved" on the subway.

Like any New Yorker, I value subway time as special "me" time, where I can blast my ipod or bury my nose in a book and avoid the chaos around me. But alas, I had finished my book on an earlier ride and my ipod was not extremely appealing this afternoon. So, when the sweet, southern girl next to me, aptly named Angela, handed me a pamphlet and asked if I would like some reading material, I took it. Why not brush up on Psalm's been awhile since I've had to recite it by rote.

So, of course, Angela and I got to talking. At first the small talk niceties, where are you from, what are you doing in New York (although I could tell she was with a church group from the moment I sat down), are you enjoying your time here, etc. And then, as I knew she would, Angela asked me "Do you believe that, if you died today, you'd go to heaven?" Because I expected the question I was completely honest, "I have no idea. I don't even know if I believe in heaven. It's not that I definitely don't, but I can't be sure that I do." It's not something that comes out of my mouth often, and I can't say that it shocks me when it does, but it is interesting to hear out loud. We continued talking, and then Angela said something that I hear all the time, but for some reason held more weight than usual -- "Well, I know for sure that I am saved." I smiled, and at that moment, I realized that I was so happy for this complete stranger not because she was "saved," but because SHE KNEW she was saved. This knowledge clearly made her life all the better, which in turn made me happy as well. It's not that I envy her conviction in salvation -- it's not something I'm looking for at this point in my life -- it's that I believe that all people should be so lucky to live by what it takes to make them a good person.

As Vonnegut wrote, in what I hold as the ultimate view of tolerance: "Live by the foma* that makes you brave and kind and healthy and happy."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, We Can!

Nothing I say or write will be better than these words.

I have never been more proud to be a part of something. I haven't run down the street, skipping in pure, unadulterated happiness since the Steelers won the Superbowl. Never in my life have I seen and heard so many people crying in elation and cheering for joy as I did watching the crowds in Chicago and witnessing the streets of Manhattan last night. Even the air felt different. The hope was palpable.

Our cab driver couldn't stop smiling. He announced, "this only could have happened because of you, because of the young people," as he pointed and honked at a large group of 20 somethings celebrating on the corner. And I believe him. Our generation is finally part of something great. As our new president said, we have rejected the myth of our generation's apathy.

And yet, we have to realize that this is only the beginning. We must not become complacent now that we have come so far. We've elected a leader but it's up to us to follow through.

Now, we must be the change.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Open your eyes, so you can see what happens next

Why do we vote? I knew before pulling that lever this morning that my vote was almost completely inconsequential (for a completely different reason than my pulling that lever during the primaries was inconsequential) and yet, I woke up an hour earlier than usual just to made sure that I did it anyway. So why did I do it, and why am I so proud?

I think we all know that an election will never come down to one vote (despite what silly movies will have us believe), but our individual votes are much more important than determining an election. Today is a day that we say, as a country, that we are going to stand up together and take a vote on what we feel is best for our lives and our neighbor's lives, even if our opinions differ. We live in a country of very differing viewpoints, and that's one of the things that makes this country great. But even with these varying viewpoints, we pick a day and say, collectively, we are going to make a decision as to what is best for all of us. Your individual vote is so much more than individual, it is a statement of belonging, of loving your country so much that you choose to be part of it, no matter what the outcome. And this collective, despite scare tactic mumblings of communism, is why our country succeeds. United we stand, divided we fall. Or, in a more recent social context: Live together, die alone.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Down at Fraggle Rock!

Halloween is wonderful, because I actually went out in public dressed like this. And the only people who recognized what I was were my two favorite Irish bartenders. Everyone else just kinda fondled my nose for awhile and moved on.

On the upside, someone did tell me that they could tell that I was a muppet because I had a Gonzo nose. And everyone who knows me knows that I am totally Gonzo at heart.

I'd love to hear your Halloween stories/see your Halloween pictures, so send them over if you've got them!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You meet the best people in bathrooms...

Tonight, I had two equally important yet slightly conflicting events that I needed to attend: my weekly volleyball game (yes kids, I STILL play) and the Zombie Prom at the Delancey. Because the volleyball game was at 6:30 and the prom at 8, I decided that I could make both. Yet this included changing rapidly and without modesty in an elementary school bathroom after 3 hard fought games of volleyball.

And this was what happened during this brief time:

Me, changing openly in front of the door.
Nice girl from the other team enters the room, I apologize for changing out in the open.
She says "Its ok, I have to do the same"
We both rapidly change, throw on makeup (in my case, zombie makeup) and make small talk.
Turns out, we're going 6 blocks away from each other (on the complete opposite end of the island)
We decide to share a cab
In the cab, I decide that I don't have on enough zombie make up, so I ask said random stranger to apply it for me.
She does an awesome job/Zombie Prom is saved:

I love strangers in New York :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dance your cares away! (clap clap)

I finally took it upon myself to go crazy this Halloween and actually create (aka SEW!) my costume this year. This is particularly crazy because, as anyone in my 8th grade home ec. class knows, I cannot sew. It's not like I don't try, but it took me an entire 40 minute class period to sew one button onto a pair of shorts.

I've decided to be Wembley from Fraggle Rock:

I'll post the pictures of me wearing the costume tomorrow (I'd do it now, but my hair is braided to provide an 80's 'do for the Zombie Prom tomorrow). I'll just warn you all that my sewing skills leave much to be desired, and the nose + styrofoam crazy eyes are more than just a bit phallic...but isn't that what Halloween is all about? No?

For today, I'll leave you with a link to Daddy Likey's Halloween costume/story contest (or at least the first segment) because my story actually made the cut for runners up. And although others may have better stories, that was, in retrospect, the best Halloween ever (happy almost birthday, little bro!!!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love is more than just a game for two...

Being well aware of my Miranda Rights (do you get those if you aren't currently being arrested?), I'm going to refrain from many of the details of this weekend, now being referred to as "Best. Weekend. Ever."

I would just like to expound on some reasons why I adore our nation's capital:

1. When my train arrived late, I needed to take a cab over to Georgetown for the rehearsal. While most cab drivers in New York will either ignore you completely, scream obscenities at tourists or ramble on inanely for your entire ride about how they want to try out for (no joke) Indian Idol, my DC driver regaled me with his views on the upcoming election (including the congressional election, largely ignored in the current situation). Although I was frustrated that I was running late, I was at least entertained with a conversation about "Sam the guy who is not really a plummer."

2. The Tombs. The alley behind the Tombs. Another awesome cab driver. 'Nuff said.

3. The inability to figure out an elevator or order a pizza within the confines of the district.

4. My beautiful friend Dani, her amazing friends and family, and her perfect wedding :-)

5. The ability to be insta-celebrities. In New York we ignore REAL famous people. In DC, dress up really pretty, take some pictures in front of the Capitol building and sing " for the way you look at me" and you'll have flocks of tourists staring and asking in Spanish to please take your picture.

6. Wearing pearls and singing the Georgetown fight song outside of a chapel as the only way of calming a jittery, but excited bride.

OMFG! Chuck Bass + Britney Spears = True Love

Hate me all you want, this is the best commercial ever. Of all time.

My friends are so smart :-)

Thank you Jacki, for so eloquently discussing what has led to many of our mid-20's fears of inadequacy. Life IS moving very quickly, but hopefully we have plenty of time to still realize our dreams.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What does it mean to settle?

At first, I wanted to hate this article.

Then, after taking a shower to wake up/cleanse myself from this seemingly anti-feminist rhetoric, I re-read the article again. Now, I understand that I am not the demographic that Gottlieb is giving her advice, but at 25 and still waiting for that elusive second date, I'm not that far away. It feels like yesterday that I was moving into the city as a fresh faced 22 year old, and I have a strange sense that I will feel the same way 3 years from now. Life is moving very quickly, so I can't rely on the "I'm still young" excuse much longer.

It's certainly not that I agree with everything Gottlieb is saying. Most importantly, her article does make the dangerous assumption that all women want to be mothers. This is untrue, and unfair. I feel as though the social pressure to WANT to be a parent is one of the biggest problems that women face today. Not all people want to be parents, not all people SHOULD be parents, so we should not force people into feeling that their lives are unfulfilled without offspring. And the point behind this article is that women should settle so that they can have a partner in raising children, so those women who do not feel as though children are a part of their future should ignore this advice entirely.

But that brings us to those women (myself included) who do want something that at least resembles a traditional family. Should we start to worry at 25, 30, 35, or beyond? We have been taught to pursue our career dreams and that family can wait, but how long can it wait, and can we ever have both? Is the sage advice from Sex and the City true: "The key to having it all is to stop thinking it would look like what you thought it would look like?" If this is true, shouldn't we all be privy to this advice, not just our 30-something counterparts? It is in this that I believe Gottlieb makes some interesting, important points.

However, I find issue with one key term: settling. This word has basically lead all women to believe that they can never find passionate happiness if they don't meet their "soul mate" before the age of 23. This is painfully untrue. I don't believe in soul mates, but I do believe in kindred spirits. And, with the increasing population in the world today, there just can't be that many different personalities. Thus, anywhere you go you will be able to meet and connect with a person with whom you are compatible. It IS NOT settling to date/marry someone who doesn't exactly "turn you on" 24/7, because that sort of passion is fleeting. In fact, to me it seems far more like settling to shack up with the first person who makes your stomach flip. When Gottlieb states "Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business," I believe this statement to be mostly correct.

So, what does this mean? To me, it requires we take a good long look at how we define the term "settling." If you marry the first person who shows you any interest simply because you feel your biological clock ticking, then this is settling. But when you realize that you can look past a man's imperfections (just as he, guess what, looks past yours), then this can really be seen as intelligent and mature. So ladies, don't settle -- just be understanding enough to know that no one is perfect, no relationship is perfect, and that you have to try hard to make a partnership work. There is no such thing as Mr. Perfect, but that doesn't mean that Mr. Imperfect can't be Mr. Right.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You say you want a Revolution? Well, you know, we all want to change the world...

During my early morning ritual of blasting my ipod to ignore the depressed Wall Street suits surrounding me on the rush hour 4 train, my shuffle function chose Country Joe's "F.U.C.K cheer/I-feel-like-I'm-fixing-to-die rag." I found myself thinking, as I often do when one of these late 60's hippie anthems pop back onto my radar, "Why doesn't my generation have an artist that could call us into action with music? Have we failed to unite because no one has challenged us to ask 'War (uh, good God, ya'll), what is it good for?'" I know that we have a tendency to glamorize the hippie culture, but let's be honest, my parents' generation really knew how to come together when they believed that things mattered.

And this lead me to thinking about last night's presidential debate (try to follow my train of thought here, people). Not even the debate, so much, but the coverage afterwards. While watching *all* of the pundits praise Obama, I was legitimately shocked to hear the phrase, "We can't call this election yet though, folks. Don't forget that Barack Obama is black." Now, although this sounds like an intensely racist comment (and, lets be honest, it is), these pundits went on to explain that Senator Obama could lose UP TO 6 POINTS based on his race alone. This, for our great country, is sickening. But then, the ray of light: "But also, lets not forget how important the youth vote is here. And when you look at the youth vote, race goes completely out the window." And there it is. Maybe we didn't unite in the way of previous generations, but we still have our legacies. While our parents had the chance to vote for those who would make equality possible, we are the living, breathing proof that it's working. So, 20 somethings out there, please vote, and vote for who makes the most sense in your life. But, please, take a second to appreciate that our generation may be the first to truly view race as a non-issue. And be proud of that.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

For all of you Joe Six-Packs out there playing a drinking game: "Mavrick" *wink*

I've been speaking to people (at least somewhat) intelligently about the VP debate for the past few days. Now I've decided, screw it. This is exactly what watching that debate felt like:

What's that thing where doctors make you feel better just by talking to you? Bedside manner? Yeah, yours sucks, dude.

I've been so wrapped up in the excitement (and horror) that has been this season's political campaign/economic crisis that I've let this slip just a bit. So back to the idiosyncrasies of living in New York.

So I have had this flu that just refuses to quit (I still blame Sarah Palin). I'm usually pretty anti-medication, but it took a turn for the worse this Thursday morning and I decided to bite the bullet and just go get myself some antibiotics. Yet, what for some might be a relatively routine doctor's visit, for me was all but a three ring circus. For a bit of a back story:

I just began going to this doctor's office, and I actually really like the people, but the service is *slightly* questionable. Like last time, when I tried to have my blood drawn, and two nurses took about 15 minutes to decide that I do not have one vein in my entire body. Oh, until nurse number two felt around the side of my arm and said, "oh, well, this might be a vein. I mean, it COULD be a tendon..." Needless to say, all the blood stayed in my arm that day.

Which brings me to last Thursday. I awoke with lymph nodes the size of golf balls and the inability to swallow, which I explained to the nurse who was examining me. "Let's do a rapid strep test," she suggested, which of course made sense to me. She tried to do the test once, but due to my relatively pronounced gag reflex, gave up and handed me the swab. I proceeded then, to DO MY OWN strep test. Fine, I thought, this can't be that weird, right? I'm not sure I did this right but it should be ok.

I was then called into the doctors office, and as I was walking down the hall, the nurse who had "taken" by rapid strep culture yelled/whispered down the hallway "the test is negative!" Well, that's good news, but seriously? Everyone just heard that. So much for confidentiality. Also, I began to question my ability to swab my own throat.

The doctor sat down with me, and she was a lovely woman, but I couldn't help but notice that her bedside manner was just a little too friendly. Like when she said, "ew" when she looked at my throat the first time, and "wow that's ugly" when she looked again. She then proceeded to ask "are your tonsils normally that huge?" (really? i'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I HAVE A SORE THROAT!) and acknowledged that I "can take as many aspirin as I want, at any time." She did another culture (by herself this time!) and informed me that it would take 48 hours for the results. And then, she proceeded to write me a prescription anyway, on "good faith" that I wouldn't fill it until I found the results. Even after she assured me that "the rapid strep test is almost never wrong." Thanks! Could you write me a script for Vicodin too, on the off chance that I break my leg on the walk to the subway?

However, I took the prescription happily, and filled it before I got the results. In the end, you know your body better than any doctor, and my symptoms assured me that the DIY rapid strep culture was wrong. And what do you know, as I was listening to my voicemail last night, the friendly voice of the woman who told me that ODing on advil was safe and my tonsils were ugly informed me that, "yeah, you're going to want to start taking those antibiotics about now..."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Genetics at work

My life is boring because I have the flu. So I'm lame right now. I've watched 20 hours of Lost (with a brief hiatus for the presidential debate) in 3 days. But here is a text that I got from my kickass little bro earlier today:

hey how are you? are you feeling any better? i don't think they want the tv anymore...but random tho but you have to go on youtube or something and listen to britney spears new song called womanizer...its sheer brilliance as usual lol!

And of course he's right:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sick days and VP candidates

So, the first sick day I've taken in years and what happens? The world's most famous hockey mom shows up at my work. Not that I'm super upset about missing the future VP runner-up (boo yeah), but it figures that it would happen the day I'm not there.

My day instead of playing paparazzi/press release aficionado because of Mrs. Lipstick? Watching over half of the first season of Lost (because I like to hit these things at the height of their popularity, obvi), coughing up what's left of my lungs, and, the best part of the day, having my comment chosen for the Gossip Girl Final Reality tally of the week by the Daily Intel (the best recap of the best show ever). All and all, I like to think I still came out on top.

UPDATE: Bff Mof J's response to today's story -- "Your body subconsciously rejected Sarah Palin! That's awesome!"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saying goodbye to the House that Ruth Built

Anyone who calls themselves a sports fan has to admit that today was a sad, sad day in the world of professional baseball. Love them or hate them, the Yankees are a baseball institution, and Yankee Stadium has been a symbol of victory even before the man himself pointed to the outfield and indicated exactly where his home run would land.

I will always look fondly upon the stadium -- not only have I spent many birthdays and warm summer nights there, but it was also the bright spot in my morning before trudging off the subway at 161st Street and wandering up towards Grand Concourse and my first real job. And when I was there, I always recalled my collective history: Not only I, but my father and my grandfather sat in those very seats and watched the Yankees bat and pitch and field their way into baseball history.

So of course I jumped on free tickets last Monday, thrilled that I would be able to appreciate the stadium one last time before it closed for good. As I arrived (a bit late -- top of the second inning), broadcasting on the screen was the question of the day: "What Britney Spears song would you most like to hear?" Listening to Jeter, Posada, Rodriguez and Abreu request "Baby One More Time" really put everything into perspective. Never a fan of building a new stadium, I now finally realized what had taken me years to discover: without progress and change, we run the risk of losing ourselves in a certain image -- as well as shaving our heads and attacking the paparazzi with an umbrella. So bring on new Yankee Stadium. Maybe the Yankees comeback will be all we ever hoped for and more.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why did the chicken cross the cubicle?

Did you know that you can order your friends a singing chicken telegram?

Because my coworker found that out the hard way yesterday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hot coffee and giggling mayors...

I have very mixed and difficult feelings about Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Ok, so I'm clearly not the biggest fan, but I do appreciate that I probably wouldn't be living where I'm living without all the work he did cleaning up this city, I certainly wouldn't be working where I'm working if it wasn't for all of his efforts to strengthen the city after 9/11, and honestly, look at his policies and you kinda get the feeling that he's batting for the wrong team. So, despite my qualms, I can't help but like the guy, even after my bitter disappointment in him after the RNC.

So I am about to (gasp!) partially defend America's mayor by questioning whether or not his laughing spell about Obama's experience might not just have been his tendency to giggle at rather inappropriate times. I never would have said this before, but I had an interaction with him today that suggested that our man Rudy just may be a congenial, happy guy who likes to laugh. At a press opening this morning, I was standing a mere 3 feet away from Mayor Giuliani when he accidentally spilled some coffee on his hand. As proof, here is an image of Rudy and the offending coffee:

I noticed that no one was rushing to his aid, so I grabbed a napkin and quickly handed it to him to wipe off the coffee. Rudy looked at me with eyes that conveyed thanks, but then giggled like I had just tried to organize his community.

So Mr. Giuliani, thanks for the hope that your laughing spells are merely a way to express gratitude, and you are welcome for the napkin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Above and below

Yesterday, for brief moments, I was both 70 feet above and 70 feet below street level.

In the morning, my image, as well as my coworkers', was projected onto the side of the NASDAQ market site in Times Square. To check out pictures, go to: Choose the date (9/11/08), the event (911 Families' Association) and the password is 9T3PXCR4. The pics are pretty cool.

That afternoon, myself and those same coworkers ascended a ramp 7 stories to lay a flower where the North Tower of the WTC once stood. It's amazing that on the same day that I was so large on a screen, I could also feel so tiny and obsolete.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

America's Pastime: Downtown Edition

An actual exchange at my office this morning:

Me (to CEO): Did you get those names for tomorrow?

CEO: No, not yet. Right now I'm trying to figure out who this guy David Wright is.

Me (incredulous pause): The baseball player?

CEO (blank stare): Maybe?

Me: Um, yeah. Mets. Third Baseman. Really good. Very famous.

CEO: hmmm. uh oh.

5 minutes later -- email from boss: Emergency. Come the museum now.

I love my job.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No longer sure I want to live abroad...

Wow! My first blogging experience ever. Not gonna lie... a bit nervous. I'm Hailey and I live with Lauren. I have provided her with fodder for previous blog entries, including a windowcard featuring The Hoff and a late night 6 block trek with a $1000 Crate & Barrel loveseat.

I decided this weekend that I must share a certain event with the world (read: readers of Lauren's blog). At 3:00 on Sunday Lauren and I went to play tennis in Central Park. I haven't played in probably 5 or 6 years. We had an end court so we wouldn't constantly have to chase balls into other peoples' games (although we did send 2 over the fence).

About halfway through our hour, I began to talk to Lauren as we played because a) I talk a lot, and b) I play sports better when I don't concentrate (and by better I mean, less than average but better than awful). After about 10 minutes I was approached by a (foreign... possibly eastern European) man from two courts over who was playing tennis with his teenage daughter.

Man: "Ees very nice what you say and all, but it de-concentrate me. So..." (makes motion with his hands to represent a mouth closing and then proceeds to use his hands to pinch his own lips together).

Now I like to think I am a generally respectful person and had he come over and politely asked me to be quiet, I would have apologized and gladly done so. However, he decided to be unbelievably rude. I was already in a bad mood and while I have been taught to kill people with kindness or to not respond because it generally isn't worth it, I couldn't let this go. So I said...

Me: "You could have said please, thank you."

And off he goes, glaring and de-concentrated. I probably cracked up for at least 5 minutes.

While this story is not terribly thrilling, it really made me appreciate being raised with manners (although sometimes my temper wins out when necessary). It's these people who give credibility to the stereotype that New Yorkers are mean. And it's not even us!

So the moral of this story is... I don't swim in your toilet, so don't pee in my pool. And use please and thank you and you will go far... at least when I'm on the tennis court next to you in Central Park.

I'm still thinking of an unrelated thing...

My apologies for not updating often this week. It's a tough, busy one at work and I feel like any posting might just be depressing. So, I'll be back in the swing of things soon, and I'll get my roommate to guest blog about our experience with foreigners at the tennis courts this weekend :-)

P.S. If you are around a television on Thursday morning, I'll be on any and all business channels at 9:30am, as we are opening the NASDAQ market. Check it out if you can. If not, please give a minute, or 30 seconds, or even 10 seconds on Thursday to just think about what small thing you can do to make this world a better place, so that our kids never have to look at a giant hole in the ground like I do every day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Everyone's my friend in New York City

I hope to never forget how completely random and yet thoroughly entertaining this city can be.

Imagine the apartment (rather, about 4 apartments put together) of two former hippies -- Willie Nelson-type hippies who have an eclectic array of decorations, ranging from Jimi Hendrix posters, mild pornography and "Say no to [some] drugs" signs to "God Bless America" banners surrounded by signatures and photographs of the Twin Towers. In this apartment, for just a moment, I truly felt like the world (or at least this country) could really come together in peace.

The crowd was a collection of former Rescue/Recovery workers from the WTC site, myself, and (seriously) this guy from Finland we had met that day and asked to join us. The mission was to hang the gigantic American flag that once graced the side of One Liberty Plaza off the roof of the aforementioned hippie's apartment building. This ceremony is repeated every year, one week before September 11th, and is concluded on the following weekend by lowering the flag and folding it military style while the streets are blocked and residents look on. Random? Yes -- for me to be there anyway -- but this is how I live my life. Besides, everyone at this event was wonderful and generous and I figure Finnish guy off the street was way more out of place.

I only had my camera phone, so the pictures aren't the greatest quality, but you can get the idea nonetheless:

The view from the roof -- where I helped hang the flag

The flag hanging off the apt building

A visit from NY's Bravest, who came to cheer us on :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

If they wanna look, we can give em an...encore

P.S. (meaning pre-script) The title shout out is the aforementioned Brit Brit ringtone. In this song, she also rhymes "freakshow" with "peep show." Definitely the most brilliant lyricist of our time.

Yesterday being the last REAL day of summer (if you can't wear white, it's summer no more), a few of us decided to trek out to Astoria to relax by the glorious Astoria Park Pool. Had I known about the Astoria Park Pool before yesterday, this probably would not have been the first time I made this journey.

Whilst (yes, whilst) lounging in my oh-so-retro Esther Williams bathing suit (thanks Daddy Likey!!) a friendly female police officer wandered over to our group. Always the one to sit up and give my full attention to authority figures (I attribute this as the reason I never got in trouble in high school, despite various indiscretions), I thought that I should take note. What I was slightly unprepared for was not her message, per se, but the frank way in which she delivered it: "Listen ladies, just so you know, there are a bunch of perverts around here. They are gonna go over to that ledge and take your picture. When you see this happen, do not approach them, but know that this behavior is not ok. Let me know, I will take care of it." Lovely. It's not that this only happens in New York, but it is the probably the only place where police officers introduce it as a complete certainty.

The best part of this was, not 20 minutes later, my friends and I noticed one of these "perverts" (cleverly disguised as a well dressed woman with a $300 camera and a press pass) aiming her camera right at us as we blissfully swam away our last moments of summer. Seconds after we spotted her, the police officers leaped to their duty, seemingly ready to destroy her expensive camera if she didn't leave immediately. But (and here is the "only in New York" part) the most interesting thing that moment was not the eminent arrest of the woman taking pictures of park dwellers utilizing their final summer day, but the two young men, not 10 feet away from this display, staging an epic star wars light saber battle. Almost exactly like this:

After this, perverts were a complete afterthought. George Michael Bluth would have been so proud.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Men are from Mars, women are screwed or "I like to think they died"

Most of us girls have dated (or at least been on a date with) your typical archetypal guys. The momma's boy, the douchebag (aka the Popped Collar guy), the one track mind guy: these are men who, while bountiful, are easily identifiable and mostly avoidable. But there are always the subtly obnoxious men whose signs are not as telltale. I would like to now share whatever small amount of wisdom I have on this subject, in hopes that my follies will serve as parables for others.

The "I'm not in a place" guy: Sorry ladies, but, as most of us know, this is code for "I'm not into you." I'm starting out with what I believe is an easy one, but unfortunately all too many women still buy into this line. I am a firm believer that there is no "time" or "place." If you like someone enough, you'll go for it. If you don't, well, you move on. Sure, it feels better to think that the "I'm not in a place" guy isn't out trolling for women the weekend after this speech, but we all know that this is not true. The only person who has ever changed the "I'm not in a place guy" is my friend Heather, but don't let this give you false hope that this can be achieved by mere mortals. Heather is just that good.
Warning signs: You met at a bar. On the Upper East side.

The "We want different things" guy: The funny thing about this guy is that he never actually asked you what you wanted. He assumed that you were desperately in love with him after the first date because he's just that amazing. He also thinks that "casually dating" means texting you every 2-6 weeks. He's closely related to "I'm not in a place" guy, but he's self-absorbed enough to blame it on you.
Warning signs: You only hear from him on weekends. After 4am.

The "I'll actively pursue you until you are actually interested" guy: This guy is, and always has been, all about the game. The more you pull away, the more persistent he becomes. He wants to prove that he can have anything he wants, but he doesn't actually want you. The second you give in, you'll never hear from him again. This guy might be the least annoying though, because you never really like him and he's pretty easy to get rid of by feigning interest.
Warning signs: He's overly eager. You have absolutely nothing in common and yet he still will not leave you alone.

The "Great first date/no call back" guy: By far the most frustrating. Oh, sure, when this issue was broached on Sex and the City when I was an ignorant college student I thought, "This doesn't happen. WHY would this happen?" And yet I now find myself a fan of the Miranda justification: "I like to think they died." This one is tough because it makes you reevaluate your entire value system -- DID we really have a good time? at what point did I mess this up? is my phone not working (but only from his number, because mom seems to be getting through quite often)? etc, etc, etc. I think the only way to feel better about this one is that you are not alone (unless I am the only person that this has actually happened to). Also, take solace in the fact that this guy is a d-bag.
Warning signs: The date goes TOO well. Sorry to be cynical, if something is too good to be true, it almost always is. Most good relationships do not begin smoothly -- they only endure after a war of attrition.

The "Crazy Vampire" guy: Maybe this isn't a generalization so much as a very specific case, but it's being added, because, well, that dude freaking bit me!
Warning signs: Within five minutes, he asks what kind of monster you would like to be. He also drinks paint thinner-esque Jack and Cokes like water and has a taste for human flesh. Which he indulges while you are soberly throwing him into a taxi cab.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Some New York Yankees in King Ripken (Jr's) Court

I am thoroughly shocked as to how many Yankees' fans there are in Baltimore. I expected to arrive at Camden Yards last night and be heckled for the defiant donning of my trusty Yankees cap (that matched perfectly with our "Dani's Bachelorette Party" shirts, may I add), and yet almost everyone in our section seemed to be wearing not only the identical cap, but a Jeter/Rodriguez/Posada, etc. uniform as well. Having not been to Camden Yards since early September 2001 (when both the Orioles and this country were entirely different), I was not used to this post-Ripken Baltimore. Whatever. The Yankees won and we made some hilariously guido-esque new friends.

After that, we had quite a lovely bachelorette party and I managed to get in an argument about football with only one Ravens fan. He asked for it -- it isn't even football season yet and he was wearing a Ravens hat and polo at a bar. Honestly, the only place you can get away with that is in Pittsburgh. With Steelers gear of course.

One of my favorite lines came at the very end of the night, when a guy I had ran into in the lobby of our hotel got down on his knees to beg Dani (in a thick West Virginian accent) to bring the party to the hotel bar. As we briskly walked away, she asked where I found these people, to which I replied, "I'm from New York. I attract the freaks." Ever sweetly, Dani replied, "No honey, you are from Western Pa. You attract the hicks."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Did Steve tell you that?

More elaborate posts to come after the weekend, but I just wanted to share this little gem.

Ain't no party like my nana's teaparty. Word.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Slices of Americana, or "Where culture's defined by the ones least refined"

Coming from a small town, I have grown up with tiny amusement parks and town fairs that provide a day's worth of family friendly, good old fashioned fun. However, it wasn't until I was a bit older that I realized that these parks also provide, hands down, some of the greatest people watching outlets of all time.

My first glimpse of this was when I, as a college sophomore, brought my then-boyfriend to my own little piece of Americana -- the Butler Fair. The Butler Fair is everything you would hope it would be and more: death defying rides (no, seriously. you can hear and watch the bolts falling out), country music concerts, tractor pulls, and, of course, livestock. Lots of livestock. All of this seems harmless enough, but looking back, I should have known what that poor Connecticut boy WASN'T ready for -- Butler's populace. I'm not making any judgment calls, but I guess I never thought that someone from the northeast wouldn't be prepared to see a young girl, no older than 16, about 7-8 months pregnant, wearing a baby-doll tee stating that "I make good boys go bad." More power to ya, sweetie, but you are terrifying my boyfriend. Needless to say, he and I didn't last.

Which brings us to this weekend at Waldameer Park in Erie, PA. I was out visiting one of my closest friends from high school, his wife and children, and various other family members. We enjoyed the rides, outdoor grilling area and carnie games, but mostly (and I must stress this point) the amazing display of colorful characters surrounding us.

First there was middle-aged-possibly-drunk-tone-deaf karaoke guy. In the middle of the day, at a children's amusement park, swaying and rocking out to "New York, New York." "If I can (bum bum) make it there, I'll make it anywhere?" Even if we take the lyrics loosely, you are still about 10 miles from the New York (state) border. And you aren't even making it here.

Then came the most inexplicable player in this little game -- This guy (whose face has been blurred). Special thanks to Laura for posing to make it look like I was taking a picture of her!

Look closely kids, because this dude, for no reason whatsoever, has a small child's pink bikini stuffed down his shirt. Seriously. At least he was with a little girl, presumably his own, making this one million percent less creepy than it could have been.

And finally, the creme de la cream, the piece de la resistance of Waldameer Park, was a woman who could actually take parenting lessons from Britney Spears. After noticing that her infant child was chewing on her empty pack of Parlament Lights, she took the box, tore off the top, and gave the box back to the child. Just in case it wasn't easy enough for little KFed, Jr. to get at those extra tobacco shavings and remnants of nicotine inside.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

They Panic! They Panic!

Because our apartment remains intent to give us some sort communicable disease (I'm thinking of starting a blog that exclusively discusses hypochondria), my roommate Hailey and I are now not-so-patiently waiting for the Emergency 24 hour plumber. Hailey is currently singing a song about Leprosy. It's going to be a long night. Especially since our super has decided to tell our landlord that we were overreacting (panic!!!) as water gushed out of our sink and through our walls into our rooms. Needless to say, I'm not in the world's best mood.

But speaking of the world's best (worst transition ever), I'm entertaining myself by watching the late-night Olympics (yeah for 12 hour delays!). The more I watch this spectacle from Beijing, I have to wonder when the Olympics lost so much of its luster. Maybe it's because the evaporating water from my floor is devouring my brain with flesh-eating disease, but there is just something...missing this year.

Some highlights:

1. Records don't mean anything. I remember when breaking a world or Olympic record was cause for amazement. Now if Michael Phelps DOESN'T break a world record he's considered a failure.

2. There is no longer perfection. I still get chills when I watch Nadia's first perfect 10. Somehow Nastia Luikin's 16.9 just doesn't compare.

3. Questionable morals. This is the one that blows my mind. China has done NOTHING to make themselves look better on the world stage during these Olympics. In fact, in the first week of competition they have proven that a 7 year old can be "not cute enough" to perform at the opening ceremonies, but that same 7 year old is certainly old enough to win a gold medal in women's gymnastics. And as long as I'm pushing unsubstantiated rumors, I'm pretty sure that they shortened the pool and greased the men's still rings as well.* Seriously though, did we honestly think that holding the Olympics in a country with such questionable ideas about human rights would give them a reason to change their ways? Can we next look forward to Khartoum 2020?

Now I'm ranting and I still don't have a plumber. And, by the way, I now definitely have cholera.

*Libel! Libel!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And eat men like air

Ok, so Sylvia Plath is a little melodramatic...especially because I'm not even sure what it is to "eat men like air." But, hey, I have red hair now.

Thanks to the many suggestions of my friends (and the short-hair blessing of the bride), I chopped and dyed my hair last week. Dani's suggestion came the closest to what I eventually got, and despite everyone's persistence that angles were the in thing, my stylist assured me that they were soooo last season.

I've always loved before/after pictures, especially since the "before" picture is always the most unflattering photo imaginable. So here is my rendition:



After (w/bangs)

I'm a big fan of the new 'do, and, more importantly, have realized that this is a perfect way to use my friends for fashion suggestions. So here is my next dilemma: I need to find a cute pair of gold shoes for an upcoming wedding. The problem is, when I type "Gold Shoes" into google, I mostly get images of shoes best suited with whips. Suggestions on cute, non-cheap looking gold shoes anyone? And with my bad ankles, do I have to wear pumps or are there classy, wedding-friendly wedges?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We commandeered the sofa. It's a nautical term.

If New York has taught me anything, it is the importance and beauty of dumpster diving. If you have never lived within the boundaries of the 5 boroughs, it's almost impossible to believe what amazing stuff people will leave on the side of the road.

Last night I returned to my apartment, slightly inebriated, to my roommate proclaiming that there were two huge, perfectly good loveseats gracing the sidewalk on [address deleted due to maternal intervention]. The only thing that made sense at that moment was to go retrieve at least one of them.

Sure, it took 45 minutes for the two of us to carry one piece of furniture 4 blocks. Sure, several people stopped to stare, comment, and pretend to offer help. Sure, we probably now have some unknown infestation. But I completely sobered up in those 45 minutes, and this was still the best idea of all time. After a heavy dose of Lysol, this sofa of serendipity melded with its surroundings as if it could never belong anywhere else. What else would be worthy of living in the shadow of the Hoff?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Triangle Man hates Person Man

Gigantic Nerd Points if you can tell me where the title of this post comes from -- without googling it.

Now, I normally avoid haircuts like the plague (cholera?) but the recent humidity coupled with the several months since my last cut have created a monster that looks approximately like this:

So, in short, I need a new haircut. And, because I am painfully out of touch with current hair trends, I need someone to tell me what is stylish/appropriate. If you have any great ideas or just want to see what a crazy hairstyle looks like on a real person (what the hell---I'm adventurous) PLEASE let me know!
Some issues to keep in mind:
*My hair is thick, long and wavy. Hense the humidity/triangle look.
*I play sports and my friends have this lovely habit of asking me to be in their weddings, so I can't go too short.
*I like bangs, but I haven't had them since circa 1992:

And I'm not sure if anything in that photo bears repeating.
So please send along any thoughts and ideas -- If I pick one, I'll post it with a picture of my new 'do. The winner will receive a lifetime supply of my love and admiration.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm six foot four, an all-American guy, and handsome and talented as well!

As I anxiously await my pictures from this weekend (including those from the burlesque/magic/freak show I went to in DC on Saturday night), the pictures of The Best Thing Ever will have to do. So here it is, the newest addition to my living room:

Yes. That just happened.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Love in the time of Cholera

This story is in no way about love. It's all about how I'm about to get cholera. The title was the best I could do under these circumstances. It was either that or "If you had the choice of being the top scientist in your field or having cholera, which would you choose?"

I returned home this evening to find not one but both of my bathrooms completely flooded with, um, not exactly water. I've only lived in this apartment for two weeks, so I don't take this as a particularly good sign. Our super did come very quickly to clean the mess, so at least I am thankful for that.

Now, I wouldn't exactly call myself a hypochondriac, but that is because I would call myself a CRAZY hypochondriac. So, of course thoughts of the bubonic plague and diphtheria ran through my head, mostly because I had no idea what causes these diseases. Apparently I am relatively safe from them. My biggest concern is Cholera.

It's not even like Cholera has been confined to third world countries. According to Wiki (hey, its better than CNN), there have been recent cases in rural England and the mid-western region of the US. Cholera is, like, totally the new black.

So I'm not going to freak out, because I realize that the chances are very thin that I will actually contract Cholera. But from now on, I'm going to stay away from the Internet. We don't need a repeat of the time WebMD told me I had prostate cancer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the Road, Part Deux: "Hell is Real" or "You're in the WRONG city"

I should probably preface this post by saying that I wouldn't hate* Cincinnati if I wasn't (having been born and raised in the wonderful region of Western Pennsylvania) contractually obligated to hate Cincinnati. If it's any consolation, I hate Cleveland slightly more. But on with the road trip life lessons.

Leg #2 -- Pittsburgh to Cincinnati

"Hell is Real." At least Cincinnati warns you that its coming (ba-ZING!). No, seriously, someone paid to put not one but TWO giant billboards somewhere along Rt. 70 (or was it 71? It's all flowing together) in Western Ohio to remind you of this very fact. Listed on the back of the billboard are the 10 commandments. Just in case you were planning on creating false idols while driving in your car.

SAT prep question of the week: West Virginia is to Pennsylvania as ________ is to Ohio. The answer is c) Kentucky. Any "Deliverance - esque" jokes we make about West Virginians can definitely apply to those who call Northern Kentucky home. I'm not sure if it was the binge (liquor) drinking on a Sunday afternoon, the deep accents, or the way that each couple resembled each other just enough to question the familial distance, but lets just say they stood out in the crowd.

"Whoa. You are in the WRONG city." Someone (who may be jealous that my football team is better than his) "let it slip" that I was from Pittsburgh. To the Kentuckians. Now, if the tables were turned I would have been prepared to be pummeled by a barrage of Iron City Beer cans, but in this case I remained physically unscathed. However, I was definitely warned that I was in the wrong place. I took it in strides. I win -- I get to cheer for the Steelers.

*I don't actually hate Cincinnati. It was a lovely city, but a Pittsburgh girl has to keep up appearances.

Monday, July 28, 2008

On the Road, Part 1: "Truckers like to be flashed"

In an attempt to help fulfill a friend's dream while simultaneously proving the New York Times wrong, I embarked on an "epic" journey this weekend. The dream, still in progress, is to visit every baseball stadium in America, so we decided that a nice quick jaunt to PNC Park in Pittsburgh (yeah!!) and a stopover at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati (boooooo) was in order. To prove the NYT's wrong, free room and board was provided by friends and family. The following is a list of important life lessons along the way.

Part 1: New York to Pittsburgh

"Truckers like to be flashed." Or, at least, so we were told by the chalk-written sign on the back of an 18 wheeler on 80. Who knew? We did not oblige. (Did I consider? If you know me you know that answer.)

The only good race is a pierogi race. I wasn't close enough so I have to steal someone else's picture, but you get the idea. Brilliant.

Photobooth cameras favor the right and I have a huge head.

Pittsburgh, in its never-ending desire to be part of the south (Confederate flags above the Mason Dixon Line? You know it...) has actually gone so far as to not even know the difference. Labeling 279 South as 279 North is not funny and will not make me pledge my allegiance to Robert E. Lee when I accidentally end up in West Virginia. Fix that freaking sign.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life is too short to be anything but happy...

Today I received a tragic and heart-wrenching reminder of just how fragile life really is. Without going into detail (a blog that invocates Brit Brit must remain lighthearted), I just want to dedicate a few of my insignificant thoughts on life.

My first suggestion is to stop reading right this now and pick up the book "The Last Lecture." Randy Pausch's wisdom on how to live-like-you-were-dying (he is) is as inspirational is it is grounded and realistic. He calmly states, "We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn't matter. Life is to be lived."

I spent a long time thinking about this theory today, and I'm still mulling it over in my head. Honestly, I think "short or long" does matter. Because 24 years is way too short. And 2 months of marriage is outrageously unfair. And, of course, the thought that this may all be a reason to reassess one's own life is selfish. But life IS to be lived, and I couldn't help but imagine myself in the situation of this lovely girl that I hardly knew. If it really can end so suddenly, am I living my life to the fullest? What does that even mean?

If I understood my finite amount of time, would I go skydiving? Rocky Mountain climbing? Ride 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu? No (but thanks for following along, Tim McGraw fans). But I would strive, as I do every day, to be HAPPY. And this is not a forced happiness. Not an i-better-do-this-while-i-still-have-the-time mentality. Because you can make just as many memories watching Project Runway and dancing to bad pop songs and drinking wine in the park with your friends as you can scaling mountains. And you will cherish the time spent with those you really love rather than forcing relationships for the sake of companionship. So I guess my advice to myself (who else is reading this anyway?) would be to surround yourself with what you believe is good and don't put up with the bad, even for one second. And don't force looking for the one "true love" -- because true love is all around you everyday.

But Pausch is right on with the idea of "fulfilling your childhood dreams." One of mine was to be She-Ra. I'm pretty sure that I can still do it. Hopefully I have the time.

Update: Randy Pausch passed away on Friday, July 25th.

Monday, July 21, 2008

In the heat of a summer night (or A little bit Country, A little bit Rock and Roll)

Some of my earliest childhood memories recall cozying up in my parents' car, turning on that special radio (this was before you could tune in with your own), and enjoying a summer blockbuster in the middle of the woods. I was lucky enough grow up in a town that still boasts a drive-in theater, so these experiences continued throughout high school and college (albeit in different cars and with sometimes questionable decisions). It was an indelible part of our culture, and it reminded me that the kitsch of my hometown could be serene, comfortable, and somewhat enviable. Imagine what these city kids are missing!

And yet, after 3 full years of living in New York, tonight I finally rediscovered this feeling. The possibility had always been here, yet I had been too busy, perhaps too caught up in the city culture to notice. But it had caught my eye that the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival was showing "Arsenic and Old Lace," a film that had always been on my short list but had never quite made it to the top. So I rounded up some brave friends on a sweltering July night to share wine and a classic movie. What I didn't expect was the nostalgia the experience provoked.

Sure, there were no cars. No matter -- by the time high school came around (especially on carload night), we were bringing blankets and sitting on the ground anyway. Everything else brought back the magic that was the country summer. The sights (with a quick glance, those skylights look like stars), the sounds (warning signs of PDA), the smells (ahem...), the friends, the laughter, the closeness of complete strangers. Because nothing brings people together like a shared experience, and this one feels a lot like home. Maybe as I become more intimately tied to New York, the more I crave to recreate my country upbringing. Or maybe, just maybe, my two hometowns just aren't as different as they seem to be.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Words to live by

the arts are not a way to make a living. they are a very human way of making life bearable. practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. sing in the shower. dance to the radio. tell stories. write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. do it as well as you possibly can. you will get an enormous reward. you will have created something. ~KJV

Shameless Plug Sunday -- Summerstage

I may love blogging partially because there is no need to maintain any sort of journalistic integrity. I like to write about (and promote) things that are important to my friends, which apparently is a no-no in the editor's world. So here I would like to introduce the first shameless plug of "I like Bad Music" -- Central Park's SummerStage.

Some may think this is a backhanded compliment, seeing as how I can fully admit to liking "bad music." But I don't ONLY like bad music (I promise!), and personally, I go to SummerStage for the ambiance.

Take, for instance, last Friday's "25 Years of Video Music Box." Now, I'm not particularly "down with OPP" but seeing 6,000 people (capacity 5,000) "throw their hands in the air like they just don't care" in the middle of Central Park is a pretty cool sight. And the people watching is phenomenal (kudos to the guy who jumped the fence, immediately got caught, and turned around and jumped the fence the other way).

Now, you may not have the "extreme VIP" pleasure of sitting in the Skybox (translation: slightly raised platform with a few chairs) but you can't miss these FREE concerts if you are in the city for the summer. If nothing else than to drink a beer outside, listen to some music, and appreciate Manhattan and its residents in all their splendor. But try to get there early. The lines can get long and the fences are under heavy border patrol.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How can I be "angsty" while dancing to Bon Jovi?

While dutifully working at my cubicle on Wednesday, I stumbled upon this article. Now, before you say anything, I understand the dangers of holding up CNN as a beacon of news "truth." But who am I kidding, sometimes I get pulled in by headlines such as "Yikes! 8ft snake found in laundry" (how is this news?) and "Teens free neighborhood from fear" (If they are so good at fighting fear, can we get their help with the war on terror?). But I digress...

As a single gal, I can *kind of * understand the reasoning behind this article. Going through what I like to refer to the "first wave" of friend weddings, I have been alone at these ceremonies on more than one occasion. However, I would like to point out some resounding flaws, lest those overeager brides try to follow CNN's advice.

* We single girls actually aren't all "angsty" or even embarrassed about our current situation. It's a wedding...there are unflattering dresses and free alcohol to cause all that. Looking back at all the nuptials I've attended in the past 4 years, going alone doesn't even come close to the "Top 10 most embarrassing moments." Those are reserved for foolishly purchasing my bridesmaid dress in Queens (You know what's appropriate in a church? Cleavage and booty.) and not realizing that a cameraman was documenting a word for word, fully choreographed version of me rapping "Baby Got Back." I'm lucky I DIDN'T have a date to witness that.

* Please DO NOT have what CNN considers a "fun table." Because all that translates into is me sitting with your 18 year old cousins and that weird family friend who acts like he has to, by law, inform the locals when he moves into a neighborhood. Guess what, if I'm important enough to be asked to and actually attend your wedding, you can be pretty sure that we have mutual friends. Please seat me with them. If our couple friends are so obnoxious together that I don't want to be at a table with them, well, we need new friends.

* Seriously, ban the chicken dance. Sure, don't have your reception ONLY contain slow songs, but I don't think I'm leaving my drink to do a dance best remembered through roller skating parties in the early 90's. Why don't you try some music that you would want to hear if you and your friends went out for a night of dancing? And if Bon Jovi isn't in the lineup, he's being requested. I practice my fist pump for moments like these.