Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"I am a happy yellow bumble bee . . ."

For the latest web ring assignment, Kathleen (aka Ms. Maryment) asks if I could be doing anything today -- anything that I would consider my ideal -- what would that be? I gave this some thought and remembered that I've had a couple of ideal days recently, both involving Holly. In one case, we met for a movie, caught some drinks afterward, had good conversation, wandered the East Village, ate dinner, and wandered some more in the warm night air. The other ideal day happened when we wandered Chinatown, eating and drinking our way through to our way to the Lower East Side. The reason this was ideal was because I was with good company, there was no agenda, and there was good conversation.

As I type this, I realize unfortunately that this makes me sound like a beer soaked glutton. Okay, that's sort of true, but I prefer to think of myself as a gourmand and an epicurean. My ideal start of my day would of the dirty sex and coffee variety followed by a leisurely late breakfast with Billie Holliday playing in the background. Obviously my ideal morning involves an imaginary girlfriend, but it's best to suspend disbelief as I illustrate my point.

My ideal morning would roll into an ideal afternoon of culture -- museums, string quartet -- that kind of stuff. This fantasy can take place in New York or even Venice. A glass of wine here, a glass of wine there. Me and my fantasy girlfriend would go shopping in the open air green markets and fish mongers to pick up food for dinner. And that night, my perfect day would conclude with a good meal al fresco, all my friends over for dinner, and many bottles of wine under the clear night sky.

Unfortunately Ms. Maryment also asks me to, "compare/contrast this day with what your ideal day might have been 10 years ago." Let's see. August 1995. I was 16. My ideal was probably limited to reading Anne Rice novels and driving to the mall in my parents' minivan. I prefer my current ideal day much much more.

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment

Monday, August 29, 2005

"More gin!"

Dear Cleveland,

Your public transportation sucks and is a mockery to the term "Rapid Transit." Please do something about it. And you might have a more vibrant community with interesting people if your interesting places were actually open.


* * *

So have you figured out where I spent my weekend yet? I flew into Cleveland on Friday to visit Dennise where we drank too much gin, ate Thai/Cambodian food, cooked salmon from the Westside Market, toured a Frank Gehry building, and got far too many Hey baby's from random men in their vehicles. What's up with that?

With this trip, I finally completed my tour of all the New York area airports (except for Islip, which really doesn't count). Thumbs up for Newark and JFK. Thumbs down for LaGuardia, which I flew out of this weekend. Like Cleveland, LaGuardia really needs to work on its public transportation options. Those $25 cab rides are painful, especially when the cab driver misses the exit to Williamsburg and drives all the way to downtown Brooklyn. However, if there is a draw to flying out of LaGuardia (other than the theoretical closeness to my loft), it's the stunning views of New York during the take-off and landing. I especially enjoyed my aerial view of the Cloisters and the Hudson River.

Oh and a side note: Dennise and I got tarot readings from a sidewalk vendor on Saturday. Yes, you can roll your eyes, but she was right on the money. Big changes in the next 6 months to a year, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"Live through this and you won't look back."

La has asked me what my definition of success is for our latest Webring assignment. It's a maddening question because the answer is not based on a universal constant, but rather on personal needs and cultural norms. Ask me something that has a definitive answer. What year was the fall of Constantinople to the Turks? 1453. There, that's what I am good at. Articulate and cogent self examination? Not so good.

I am after all my worst critic -- impatient, hard to please, and always berating myself for not doing enough in comparison to the achievements of my peers. This is where cultural norms come into play, and by that measure I should consider myself unsuccessful for not having run for office, started a family, or operated on cancer patients. Cultural norms be damned; what are my needs?

I want to measure success in terms of three factors that reflect my current needs: financial security, emotional fulfillment, and career growth. (Wow, when did I become an adult?) Painfully aware of these needs, I have to confess that there has been this niggling voice of doubt infecting my thoughts lately. Did I give up to much to come to New York? Did I . . . make a huge mistake? Financial security, emotional fulfillment, and career growth are valid goals, but by using this yardstick against my life, I fail to recognize my own laudable achievements:

- Moved outside my comfort zone (DC) to a better challenge (NY).
- Translated my education and natural talents into a career.
- Gone farther than some will ever in their entire lives.
- Made J-Wo very excited over my first round web design comp.

As I walked down Broadway this morning in view of the DKNY mural at Houston, the cool late summer air reminded me of this time last year when I was running back and forth between New York and DC for interviews. I had that rare moment of contentment when I realized that I had come very far in twelve months. And every time I get that niggling voice of doubt, I will remind myself that by moving to New York, I merely cleared the board for future successes.

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment

Monday, August 22, 2005

"Saturday night and I ain't got nobody . . ."

Where does the expression "digging a hole to china" come from? The internet has yielded few clues, but some anonymous person out there claims that in the UK they say "digging a hole to Australia." Guess that makes sense. And where do the citizens of China dig holes to? Texas? These are the things I think about when I am trying to fall asleep.

I also sometimes think about the horrible realization that my childhood home in Olney -- the one that my parents lived in for 20 years -- now belongs to another family. Have they completely changed the interior? Will they find the wood beam in the basement that has a growth chart for my brother and I? Do they know that my cat is buried in the back yard? Sometimes when I am starting to fall asleep, I'll jerk awake and forget where I am. For a moment, eyes surveying the dark, I could have sworn that I was in my old bedroom in Maryland.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Which one of you bitches sat on my dress?"

I've been depressed lately. Really depressed. So depressed that a worried Jane and Fala tried to figure out what was wrong with me as I have not been myself for a couple of weeks -- glum, listless, and flat. After nine months in Gotham, I'm still struggling to keep ahead monetarily and rebuild my social network. I need to keep telling myself that these things take more than nine months, but nonetheless I've been feeling overwhelmed and cut off. When I don't have a social outlet, I get depressed.

Now this is the part where I stop whining and start talking about the steps I am taking to combat my depression.

- Bought a ticket to go see Dennise in Cleveland. Guaranteed hilarity and good times.
- Bought the DVD of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, one of my favorite movies.
- Joined a book club in Williamsburg.
- Bought new shampoo.
- Made an appointment for a haircut.

Slightly dismayed that only one of the actions listed above is low cost. Oh well. At least I'm not eating my way out of depression.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"Is this revenge for Prince Albert?"

Guilty pleasures.

When I came up with this topic for the weekly webring, I was brushing my teeth and listening to the new Jack Johnson album. I feel like a bit of a tool for liking Jack Johnson, whose contribution to western civilization is a song titled, "Bubble Toes," but there you go -- the album is catchy and makes me happy.

I was hoping to get people to confess to owning (and liking) more than one Jessica Simpson album since that was the direction of my mental tangent whilst brushing my teeth. Fliven rather tamely confessed to wanting to sunbathe on a nude beach one day. La took this a step further and confessed to the joys of picking skin imperfections off people (hopefully not strangers).

I'm not sure if I can top that.

My guilty pleasure (or admission) is that I find Lindsay Lohan attractive. Yes, you did read correctly. I find her hot in all her D cup glory. I secretly wanted to see Herbie: Fully Loaded until I heard Disney photoshopped her boobs down a couple of sizes. She's probably dumber than a bag of hair and a bit skanky, but for some reason that doesn't bother me one bit. Okay, it does bother me. I am repulsed by my own attraction to this vapid and unintelligent product of the Hollywood machine. If
Lindsay Lohan and I were to ever meet, I would be like Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway. "Don't speak. Don't speak!"

Hopefully by admitting my misplaced attraction, I can move on and start the healing process.

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment

Sunday, August 14, 2005

"Do we need to discuss your latest blog entry?"

Dennise insisted that I complete this survey. Since I pretty much do what Dennise tells me, I have listed my answers below. For the three or four random people who find my life entertaining (god knows why), here's a little background on our heroine.

What I Was Doing Ten years Ago
August 1995. I was 16, miserable, and getting ready for my entrance into my senior year of high school. It was around this time that I went on a camping trip with a loose bunch of friends who ended up becoming my very good friends even after 10 years. Dating status: single.

What I Was Doing Five Years Ago
August 2000. I was 21, miserable, fresh out of college, and living at home. What I remember most was doing job interviews around DC in the sweltering heat.
Dating status: single.

What I Was Doing One Year Ago
August 2004. Having deciding that I needed to get the hell out of DC and move to New York, I was traveling back and forth between the two cities for job interviews. Specifically there was this one company that I interviewed twice with and it really seemed like I was headed for a job offer, but nothing came of it. Go figure.
Dating status: single.

Met Holly and her parents, who were in town, at the Brooklyn Brewery. We then went to a couple of pubs in Williamsburg to escape the oppressive heat, shopped, and later went to Clinton Hill to see Holly's brother for dinner.
Dating status: single.

Ate breakfast, watched two episodes of Six Feet Under on DVD, and got ready to go shopping in Midtown.

Another eight hour day at my miserable job. Maybe even movie night at my local pub.

Five Snacks I Enjoy
Olives, hummus, cheese, stuffed grape leaves, and fruit.

Five Albums That I Know the Lyrics to MOST of the Songs
"Under the Cold Blue Stars" - Josh Rouse
"Lovelife" - Lush
"Lost Souls" - Doves
"Funeral" - Arcade Fire
"Us and Us Only" - Charlatans

Five Things I Would Do With $100 Million
Pay off debts, invest in property, travel, return my parents' investment into my education, and buy a nice place.

Five Locations I Would Like to Run Away To
Istanbul, London, Tahiti, Rome, and Tuscany.

Five Bad Habits I Have
Not being good with my emotions, over indulgence, math, not communicating well, and poorly managing my money.

Five Things I Like Doing
Exploring the city, travel, cooking, designing, and meeting new people.

Five TV Shows I Like
Absolutely Fabulous, Dead Like Me, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Trek TNG.

Five Biggest Joys of the Moment
Visiting Dennise in Cleveland,
Life Cafe, knowing that I have two freelancing checks coming my way, knowing that Fall is a month away, and knowing that everything will get better.

Five Favorite Toys
My iMac G5, my iPod, my digital camera, my Wusthof knife set, and the Adobe Creative Suite.

Friday, August 12, 2005

"Ohio is not an option."

Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to Cleveland.

Finally making good on my promise to visit Dennise, I'll be bound for the Buckeye State two weeks from today. I guess you could call it a vacation. Sort of. Now I am faced with the burning question, "What does one do in Cleveland?" Dennise says the city's got "stuff." I took to the internet to see if her claim could be backed up.

Ooo, there's a Cleveland.com. They seem to be pointing me towards the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a must see destination. Not really on my list, so let's try this again. Exploring the neighborhoods of Cleveland via the site, I have discovered that Tremont is "historic and hip." However when I click on a photo tour, this is one of the not so hip pictures I get.

Dennise, you're going to have to find me something better than the intersection of Jefferson and Professor streets.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"Buy yourself some back to school clothes."

In an earlier blog entry, I reported that New York was kicking my ass. Update: it still is. Good news is that I have a couple of fat freelancing checks coming my way. Bad news is that they are going straight towards the Great Loft Move 2005 fund since apparently I need to have $2000 in the bank for moving expenses. Oh how I weep.

Yesterday was a rare respite from the ass kicking. My mom, with two friends in tow, was up from Maryland for the day, which meant that dinner and cab fare was paid for (she insisted I take a cab home from Manhattan -- okay whatever). The last time she was in the Big Apple was back in November, she and my dad drove laps around the Bushwick housing projects in a frustrating attempt to find my new home. No wonder they think I live in the ghetto. In addition to dinner and cab fare, I got a check for $200 for new clothes. Though extremely grateful, I didn't tell her that I was tempted to spend it on my electric bill.

This is the first time in my life that I've really had to be an adult. No safety net, no parents to bail me out (okay, okay, but the $200 from my mom was an anomaly). I'm a five hour drive home (which isn't really home anymore since my parents sold their house in Olney) instead of a 30 minute drive. Scary stuff even for this 26 year old pseudo adult.

Monday, August 08, 2005

"Are you sure you want to close 4 open tabs?"

I was going to kill Fliven. It was his idea to explore the topic of extreme body art (piercing, tattoos, self mutilation) for our Monday webring assignment. And It was his fault that I suddenly had a picture of a penis loading on my work computer screen like a bomb ready to go off.

Hmmm . . . maybe that wasn't the best analogy to use.

Anyway, Fliven had forwarded along an article on the mainstreaming of some varieties of piercing. It was in that article that I read this:

"In Victorian England, Prince Albert pierced his [penis] to facilitate the daily ritual of hiding his privates underneath the grossly tight trousers popular in the 19th century." *

Wait. I knew a "Prince Albert" was slang for male genital piercing, but I didn't know that it actually originated with Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. And hiding his "privates" by piercing them? How did the piercing facilitate this?! Must know. Must know.

Rushing off to Wikipedia to confirm this possibly apocryphal nugget of historical fact, I typed in "Prince Albert England" into the search box and assessed the dozen or so options that came up. At the top was a link to Prince Albert's biography. Pretty harmless, right? Below that was a link to a page on the piercing aspect of this term. Hmmm . . . not exactly work appropriate, but it guaranteed to give me all the information I needed.

Please god, please don't let there be pictures, I silently said as I clicked on the link. Surely Wikipedia wouldn't have pictures of pierced penises, right? As a precaution, I clicked off the browser tab to something innocuous like Gmail, gave myself a few moments to gather my courage, and then clicked back on the Wikipedia browser tab.

Holy shit! There are pictures. I clicked off the tab and back to Gmail, my head darting around to see if anyone was watching my screen, my heart racing. I could feel myself slipping into panic mode, something akin to Threatcon Delta.

Okay, stay calm. Options . . . I needed options! Should I quickly click back to the graphically illustrated Wikipedia article and hit the back button before anyone was the wiser? Or should I abandon Firefox all together and pretend like the penis incident never happened?

Keenly aware of my surroundings and the fact that I have a 2 foot long studio flat screen visible to my bosses and coworkers, I realized I shouldn't tempt fate. With my luck, the moment I clicked back on the Wikipedia tab someone would whip around the corner and discover the picture of the dick in blazing technicolor on my oversized screen.

It was a tense minute and a half, but I took the easy way out and closed out Firefox. Phew. Crisis averted.

* Note the irony that this article comes from a Christian Web site.

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"Prepare to be underwhelmed."

I'm slightly intrigued and appalled that when you type "why don't I have any friends" into Yahoo Search, my blog is the second entry. It links to a missive I wrote as a response to Crazy Ex's stalkerish ramblings, but the link is there, sandwiched between links about gang activity and for a Christian message board. Hello, internet! I have arrived. And apparently you think I don't have any friends. Hmmm.

(Before you think that I have been typing "why don't I have any friends" into Yahoo search, I only know this from looking at my webstats.)

True, my NY friend count is three (give or take one seeing how Jess in living in London at the moment), but that wouldn't exactly place me in the social leper category. However I have a plethora of DC friends who have been asking recently when I am going to come down and visit to which I say, "When I have money."

It's been nearly nine months since I moved. Can you believe it? I could have had a baby, except having a baby would be a lot scarier than living in New York. And speaking of moving, I took the Find Your Spot quiz and apparently the place for me is Baltimore, MD, followed by Providence, RI, and Boston, MA. Hmmm.

* * *

I'd like to start an ongoing list that I would like to call, "Reasons I Need to Change Jobs."

Reason #452: Because laying out manuscripts that use the words "fecal DNA" is not cool.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"Things are looking up in Colombia."

The difference between New York in DC.

You're meeting a friend for lunch and enjoying a nice salad of wilted spinach, goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, and pine nuts tossed in herbed olive oil.

DC: The salad costs $7.99.
NY: The salad costs $10.99.

You notice someone famous at the opposite side of the restaurant sitting with a companion.

DC: The famous person is the former Assistant Secretary of the Defense and the dining companion is a lawyer friend.
NY: The famous person is a movie actor and the dining companion is his Broadway producer friend.

My caveat is that some details have been embellished to make a point. I once saw Ken Bacon, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, at lunch in DC (he had to be pointed out to me). The salad is merely what I would like to be eating right now for lunch if I had the money to blow. And let's face it, chances are my NY celebrity sighting would be a failed reality television star.

This ties in a very roundabout way to my next point. J-Wo, who was my dining companion when we spotted Ken Bacon, has come up with this idea of group blogging on a common subject. For some reason known only to her, she has chosen the topic tourism in Colombia -- as in Bogata, not the District of -- and their push for more international visitors.

Now the only incentive of visiting Colombia I can think of is that my salad would cost $1.99. However, the tradeoff would be a constant fear of violence and/or kidnapping due to drug cartel activity and a 40 year old guerilla war. Nothing says fun and relaxation like riding in a caravan protected with assault rifle toting men.

Hooray! I can't wait to book my ticket.