Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living your life, doing your thing

Yes, it's been a while, and I was hoping to use this post to give several updates on projects, but some things especially the current things I'm working on, take time. The novel is well on its way to being written, but I'll tell you right now, this project will not take just a week or a month. I have no specific time goal either. When you decide to take on a big project, the hard work always seems hidden, but I won't be ready to show something for a long while. I've decided to write in this innovative form that involves adding several layers, so showing you my current stuff would be counterproductive.

Another project that I'm working on in partnership with two other editors, is this online literary magazine that will focus on controversial pieces, and the working theme is, it doesn't matter how deviant the content is, as long as its well written. I'm really hoping that this site will take off, because it's a great way to house well written works that have been rejected because of the topic, whether it be based on sex, politics, social deviancy, etc. We're working on getting the site up and running, and I can't wait to name drop it, so you can see what we've been doing these last few months.

I've been dreading writing this post, because I feel like I'm just making excuses, but... I don't know. I feel that if there is a project that you really believe in, you should make a full effort to complete it, regardless of the time it takes. And both of these projects will be well worth it when complete. Cheers.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Best of Wilderness House Literary Review Volume 2

I'm very pleased to announce that the the printed Best of WHLR Volume 2 has included my narrative "Jersey City: a shocking tale" (page 198). This is a real honor for me, and I'm excited to be a part of a best of series with such talented writers. This is my first published presence, and since I got a copy, i've been just staring at it, and opening to page 198, just to keep verifying that I'm in there. After Lightness of Being, Im very much looking forward to reading it.

I'm still currently into philosophy and physics, and strongly focusing my free time on this fiction project, but it's a great feeling to see your work in an actual book, printed and arranged for other people to read and enjoy. I just can't wait until I have something published solely with my name on the cover. The next step is a self-published chapbook, which you know will be posted here first. The "Pride is Universal" essay will hopefully be in the Winter online WHLR.

Here's the web site where you can get the book too. http://www.lulu.com/content/4921477

I kind of have that dehydrated, too much sun, kind of hungry and tired feeling, and it's keeping me from writing, so it's time for a break, but I do have some more philosophical stuff to share.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What are we missing

Time has gone by so quickly. I've come to realize what would make me truly happy. I want to be able to express myself artistically and not have to worry about success or getting a paycheck for it. This could be through writing, screenprinting or any other artistic outlet that I haven't discovered yet.

I just finished "Iconoclast" by Gregory Berns, and it has left so many more questions than I initially had before reading it. In it, he discusses how our visual perception is completely skewed, because we have a blind spot right in front of our faces that our brains automatically fill in. I've come to wonder how much we're actually missing, when our brains are trying to make sense of what we don't see. Do all lines actually connect? Is space and perspective created by the mind? Does color even exist? I'm gonna say no. Reading this book drew so much of an impact, that I've come to question everything and believe nothing.

I think we have actually accepted that our eyes pay tricks on us. You could have 5 eyewitnesses standing in the same place and they would give you 5 different testimonies, and this happens on a regular basis. I want to explore that the sense of touch plays tricks on you too. You touch something to confirm depth and texture, but if your mind alters the way you feel things then we can bet that our eyes will adjust accordingly as well, and we end up experiencing something completely different than what actually exists. We may as well forget the world we're living in, because our mind is just making it up anyway.

I would do anything right now to spend my days writing, going to the gym, and doing my art stuff. So I'm trying to take the next steps to make that happen. Step number one, start writing. If JK Rowling can write a 7 book series, while raising 3 kids on welfare, I think I'm out of excuses. I've mostly done those non-fiction narratives that I post sometimes, but I think I'm gonna try my hand at fiction. The worst case scenario of this project is that I coerce someone to include it in a small unknown literary review, in which case I'll make a chap book out of it and give it away. Best case scenario...writing, gym, art. It's win-win because I always wanted to parade around with a chap book and have a fake book release party with my friends. A real book release party doesn't sound as much fun, because you have to sign books, talk about money, and people are in your face all the time and want to have a conversation about the book you thought you were done thinking about when the editor said "it's clean", and you can't make a drunken fool of yourself. God, I hope I fail.

But yeah, I'm gonna write a fiction piece now. Probably no more than 5,000 words, although I'm not aiming for a specific count. It's the story that I dreamt when I got my first full night's sleep after having my first experience with jet-lag in London (I had been to California several times before, but a 3 hour difference never had a major effect on me like traveling to London did).

Last night, I went to the Somerville News writer's festival, which got me pumped up to get started. Before the festival, I was reading Junot Diaz's book "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao", and it was so good that I told myself that I should hold off writing until I finish this book, because I felt that reading this book would make me a better writer. There were just so many new ways of thinking. The exposure alone would make me a better person altogether.

That's really what I have going on. I made Kitty a mix CD of nothing new. I rediscovered classic rock and the OTHER Jack Johnson albums and threw in a few indie songs from the free CDs I got at Virgin records.

I really want to get back into the art thing too. This morning I woke up and the sun and the venetian blinds were writing sheet music on my wall. That's what it looked like. I opened the window and the pace grew faster. It was so cool. I took several pictures and now I want to make a project out of it, but I want to focus on writing too.

How do I like my job? Sometimes, I have the sudden urge to stand up over my cube and scream, "what the fuck is wrong with you people?" All of these intelligent characters working in a mechanical zombie zone. At first, I felt like I was losing a year of my life with every passing minute. Now, the boredom of tedious nonsense work is so bad, I swear I'm starting to forget what makes me, me, because "I" would never work here.

That's it. This is Liz Glines (Senior Copywriter looking for a full-time pharma advertising job in the Boston area) Peace.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pride is Universal

I was offered a rare volunteering opportunity, when my local church ran a designated water station for the Gay Pride parade in Manhattan. I initially went for the guaranteed eyeful of entertainment, and the church’s participation suggested that perhaps my reform beliefs were shared. I denied the possibility that I would be amongst a group of opportunists, ready to give out cupfuls of judgment at any occasion.

I assumed there was no risk for shell shock. I had already experienced an AIDS Walk in the late 80s and had grown accustom to barrel-chested men in Speedos and angel wings throwing condoms at me, at a young age. But my impression was that this parade would be on a much deeper level of inner-subculture than anyone exposed me to in the past.

While I was arranging paper cups on the table, a man wearing pearl earrings approached me without warning and stuck my shirt tag in to help me avoid “tag tan” as he put it. His fragrance was of a sweet red plum wine gone spoiled, often worn by elderly women. It was surprisingly quite refreshing and far less potent than the Chanel Number 5 projecting from the gentleman to my left.

For a while, we just stood there, anticipating their arrival with thousands of others crowding the sidewalks on both sides. Looking up 5th Avenue, I saw a flash of color in the haze and heard scuffling sounds of a marching band and motorcycles. I was expecting the most outrageous surprise, a vision that I’m sure I had blocked out as a child in my AIDS walking days. I couldn’t pin-point an exact image, but I was sure it had something to do with my mom freaking out over a collection of “free samples”, she had discovered in my hand after we passed our first water station.

When it was clear that they were coming, we frantically poured water into paper cups and arranged them onto trays, where they would be taken, ferried out to the thirsty marchers and returned for refueling in a constant cycle that went on for hours. I missed the first arrival of the parade. I was delegated as the water pourer and tended to my assembly line, keeping my head down. After I had determined that my simple job was hurting my wrist, I decided to rotate myself out and deliver the water.

I grabbed a tray and shuffled into the forbidden street reserved only for parade marchers and water distributors. A zoo-cage themed float was heading our way, so I followed the water carriers ahead of me. Preceding the float was a team of street marchers, women (perhaps?) in detailed mermaid dresses, bright yellow sun dresses, stunning silver halter dresses, and matching four inch heels. They waved and smiled at clicking cameras. We must have been the first water station, because our operation had brought the parade to a complete stop several times.

A 7-foot tall diva in a gold sequin gown had been making eye contact with me for two blocks and made it very clear that she was thirsty. Her eyes got wider as she approached me, and exclaimed “God bless you, child” as she took two cups of water and poured one over her wig and drank the other. I was convinced she believed her march was a virtuous obligation, but I was struggling to understand what message she was trying to send. I was both confused and star struck by her appearance. She returned to me two empty cups with dragon red lipstick stains and then snapped into a model pose, which I didn’t realize until I stepped away to view her full stature and discovered someone from the crowd was taking her photo.

I could hear the underground jungle music getting louder. Someone from inside the cage spotted our trays and forty hands stretched out. As we approached, we held our trays as high as we could. I realized the great difficulty in transporting water on an elevated moving float to tanning oil-covered bodies that refused to stop dancing. Still, the obstacle was surpassed and the water went quickly. The caged men continued dancing, and I continued to wonder what the point of this parade was. The crowd applauded and verified that I was the only one in the dark.

As quickly as the parade came, so did the dark clouds, and the flash, and a long deep growl.

The crowd roared back as if the howling thunder was part of the show. A hint of cold moisture hit my shoulder. Then I saw it. A hearty raindrop landed on the cheekbone of a pop diva and streamed down to her chin, taking her hot pink face with it. Shortly after, the heavens voiced an opinion of the event with a blanketed downfall. Cold pelting comments were received quite well with further applause, with the exception of a few women sobbing over a puddle of gold glitter, revealing masculine features, weathered from a lifetime of unknown factors and the occasional use of oily foundation, apparently non-waterproof.

The persistent chilling rain eventually reached inside us all and stripped away any extraneous color. The lively street retracted back into its gray reality. The head dresses came off, the nearly naked had acquired clothing, and the parade was over.

I huddled closely under someone’s umbrella, watching others scatter to the closest storefront awnings. Our water distribution team started packing up, acknowledging that a higher power had taken over. I was preparing a B-line from one umbrella to another, when I saw a group of girls shielding the rain by holding a banner above them, which read, “Be proud of how God made you.”

I stepped out from under the umbrella and let the rain soak into me as I walked home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Theories from a pseudophysicist

So, I'm no scientist or medical expert, but oddly enough, my job is to read and understand poorly written material about complicated diseases (probably written by doctors, ugh) and rewrite it in a simplified version that anyone can understand. I see myself as a communicator, who isn't an expert, because I can't explain what I haven't written.

Although, my current job as a medical writer isn't exactly my dream job, these new experiences have cascaded my pseudoscience thinking, and I've come up with some theories:

When you throw a rock in the still lake, you create ripples that can last as long as the energy exerted, when the rock hits the water. I'm willing to continue to say that even when the ripples stop, energy is still being transferred, even though it may be very little. So, what happens when you wave you're arms in the air on a calm day? I say that the energy is transferred to the oxygen molecules in the air, and they keep transferring until they run out of energy. If you fan someone with your hand, they can feel the air being moved from your hand, but the energy doesn't stop, when they stop feeling the breeze. I think that energy, although its very little, is eternally moving in a continuum, yes on earth, yes in the atmosphere. I think the atmosphere and gravity do a great job at holding down things with weight, but weightless transferal of energy can go pretty much forever. So what does this mean? This means that every time you walk around town, you're bumping into several others' leftover energy. It means nothing really. The oxygen molecules that are moving around are still breathable, so no worries. But I gather that every one's leftover energy has to add up somehow, I just have to figure out how. Proving this point would be especially difficult, since I already admitted that it probably doesn't affect anything. How do you prove something that doesn't have an effect?

Oh well, so my next idea was going to solve the mystery of crop circles. I had always been mesmerized by this as a child. Already discrediting the idea that aliens did it, I always thought of creative ways that giant circles could appear in the corn fields. My first guess? A midnight pool party, where people rolled in and set up a giant above-ground pool (or more than one depending on the number of circles) and cleaned up before the sun rose. My next guess, more recent, had to do with sun spots. I recently shot this down, because apparently another common trait of crop circles are where the stalks are cut by the stem, and sun spots can't do that. But I was very curious about the effect that sunspots have on earth and crops. You could either view the sun as a light bulb, where the small writing on the bulb doesn't matter, because the light doesn't give focus, or you can think of the sun as a projector, which shines images over the earth. So if the sun can specify where light shines and where it doesn't, I wonder if this can happen in some sort of pattern. So in large open areas, could some crops get more light than others? Is this at all mistaken for bad soil, or the crescent effect? I have some seeds to sow on this one, but one conclusion I've come to...crop circles are caused by farmers looking to get a quick buck from the Daily Mirror.

The next idea revolves around gravity and energy similar to the first theory. Its silly really. So we all know what a ripple in the water looks like, but what if we took jell-o or something more viscous so we could hold it upside down and threw a rock in the center? Would the ripple be more convex because of gravity? Would we be able to tell since a standard ripple fluctuates between both convex and concave? Hold on...my guess would be that it would look the same, because energy is energy however you look at it. If you throw a ball up or down, it won't exert any special patterns, regardless of which direction you throw it in.

So, that's all I have for now. While I have the free time, I may get started on some more literary pieces.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside

I surprised everyone when I actually pulled through, and rented a UHAUL truck on Friday night, moved my stuff out of Jersey City by noon on Saturday, drove to Littleton, MA, where I picked up some other pieces of furniture, headed to Southie on Sunday, where I unpacked everything, and returned the truck by 6PM that same day. Even the UHAUL people charged me an extra day, and I had to call and correct them, exclaiming that I only needed the truck for two full days. Friday didn't count, because I couldn't load the truck until the next morning, due to the fear of sketchy Journal Square natives stealing my possessions.

I am all moved in, but for these last three weeks, I managed to survive without a couch or a TV. I never knew how much allocated time I had previously reserved for watching TV, which I had replaced with working from home, by means of sitting on the coffee table with my laptop balancing cautiously on my knees.

Work had been a touchy subject until recently. I had about 6 promising interviews, only to realize that they weren't actually hiring. I realized I had been in this Manhattan bubble for three years, which wasn't easily affected by the economy. Several companies were always hiring. I had an offer after two weeks of looking in New York, and in Boston, it took over a month for me to find something substantial.

In that month, I turned to none other than Community Boating for work. I had finally accepted the fact that I should stop relying on them and start giving, and as soon as I accepted this, I went ahead and used them as a crutch until I found something writing related.

I found a job as a freelance medical writer at CLD Inc. I honestly wouldn't say that this is a place I would spend my life working in, but its a great field and I'm working contract which is perfect. I'm told that after a few months I may get to work from home, which would be great, now that I have a comfy couch to work on.

So, with new environments, comes new inspiration. My sister's recent political actions actually inspired me. She was unexpectedly laid off from her job and was awaiting her unemployment check, while she looked for a new job, but the check never came. She went to the State house, spent a few hours talking to Deval Patrick (the governor of Mass), and came out with a check for $2500. When this girl wants something done, she can make the ground shake, and that inspires me.

Upon arriving here, I found a few things that I wanted to change. I travel to work every morning by getting on the Red line at the Broadway station. During rush hour, a whole slew of people run down the stairs with me as we look at the empty escalator going up. Nobody uses that escalator in the morning. so I'm going to request that the train guys put in the extra effort to switch the direction in the morning.

I recently joined the Boston Athletic Center. It's a great gym, relatively inexpensive, and a conveniently short walk from my apartment on the way to the train station. The only qualm I have about it is that after the safe walk through the neighborhood, pedestrians going to the gym have to cut through this abandoned loading dock. It's quite scary, when you're up before sunrise trying to get in a workout before work. My request, as soon as I figure out who to contact about it, would be to put lights in that area. That might take longer, because that actually costs money, whereas the escalator thing involves simply flipping a switch every morning, and it would benefit many more.

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have some good theories coming up, and my whole move transition is finally complete.

This blog is still very much a part of my life, because it helps me track the progression of my writing style, which I will never retire from, and I promise to never abandon it, so please keep checking in. Cheers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

If you don't change the direction you are headed...

... you will end up where you are going.

I'm gonna focus on the apartment search first, because that aspect has been the most fun. Where I was going to spend my first independent year in Boston was crucial. I looked around places in Cambridge, and it reminded me too much of my trouble-making youth. I always escaped the confines of my "dry town" which was hardly apparent, since I rarely bought the liquor I drank. Cambridge was our liberating commy refuge that accepted us for the pink-haired people that we were. Although areas of this city were promising and far from my teenage surroundings, I decided to venture into other neighborhoods.

I had made some ground-breaking decisions before this move that set the precedent for my ideal living situation. Now that I have successfully paid off school, I will no longer subject myself to the ghetto. It's about time that I experience my success. I also decided that I'm living alone, which is exciting because I have never not had a roommate before. For those, who exclaim 'oh you'll get lonely,' I will not. Everyday I will wake up and decide on my own time, when I will use the kitchen, TV or shower. On my own time.

So anyway, I ran a pole amongst friends and asked where young professionals are living, and South Boston came up frequently. When I initially heard "Southie", my initial thoughts were stories about my dad going into the Old Colony Housing Projects with my Uncle Jack to pick up a bag of potato flakes, and carrying a slab of metal and a baseball bat in case someone tried to fuck with them.

I knew that parts were up and coming, I just wasn't sure which parts. When I taught windsurfing, I would often volunteer at the Harry McDonough Sailing Center on Pleasure Bay . I loved it, the beach, the sailing, the planes. So, I agreed to look around in the area. The first three places were okay: bad paint job , crazy Irish landlord lady, sketchy pub nearby, all good things, but they didn't fit the criteria of no longer living in the ghetto, so I moved on. I stumbled blindly into a realtor and asked if they offer rentals, and that's how I saw my apartment for the first time.

After the 3 floor walk up, I opened the door to this beautiful wooden cottage-type atmosphere with a large living space and bay window. I had already decided that this would be my apartment. The previous tenants were still there and had left kiteboarding gear everywhere. It was a sign. Then I realized that there was no bedroom. I went up another set of stairs to reveal a bedroom taking up the top floor which led out to a large outdoor deck that overlooks the ocean. Hanging over the deck railing were a few drying wetsuits from the tenants who had recently gone kiteboarding. The ocean was only two blocks away.

I move in this weekend, I can't wait. I just know that it's gonna be tough moving out of Jersey City and into South Boston in 3 days.

Next post will be about career moves and new projects stemming from being in a new city.

"If you say 'think outside the box' then you're still in it." -NPR

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lizzie is coming back

I've spent three years working here in New York. I sometimes feel like it's been a constant battle trying to adjust to this city. Growing up in a place that called New York City the "Evil Empire", where I was raised to think that all Yankee fans were assholes, made it difficult. But I always pushed through the whole team-hating thing. I thought to myself, what if I was raised to think that everyone from a particular race was an asshole? If I wanted to overcome this racist upbringing in disguise, then I had to spend part of my life in the empire that El Puké pitched for.

No wait, why did I really move to New York? I really wanted a job in advertising. And Boston had very few opportunities at the time in the field. I was destitute for a "real" job in general, so I made myself an ultimatum between two extremities to confirm that I was worth something; a windsurfing instructor in Puerto Rico or a copywriter in New York. In the end, the copywriter won by a judgment call, and three years later, here I am, pen in hand, with no windsurfing gear in sight. I have learned through my experiences that I actually like pharmaceutical-specific advertising. I have more ownership and knowledge as a copywriter, so I've confirmed that in my life, this is something I would like to pursue, although I wouldn't mind teaching sailing to kids either.

You might think, of course you prefer teaching sailing, why not? But our job was still stressful at times, and our job description didn't end at teaching. There was this incredibly diverse group of kids at this program, with all kinds of reasons for coming here: our family has a boat in Nantucket, so John needs to learn how to sail, this program is known for having the best sailing program in Boston (take that Courageous and Piers Park), we have 10 kids and can't afford to send them all to camp, we can't keep our kids out of trouble so we signed them up, now they're your problem. Some of these kids came with some effed up baggage, and it made me feel good that they could confide in me with their issues, even though there was the occasional fight, temper tantrum, weekly head injuries, or the countless isolated incidents, isolated to each kid, but numerous when you see hundreds of kids everyday. We also had to clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, clean goose poop off the docks, and other nasty tasks. I once did a fleet check in the middle of a hail storm. I can still remember feeling the pricking on my back. I can also remember loving every minute of it. We would sing Sloop Jon B as we made an assembly line of moving trash bags to the dumpster after a late night of entertaining some function event. "I wanna go home," but I really didn't. If possible, I wanted to stay overnight. They became my second family, who supported me through everything.

And after a super late night of annotating the Print CVA in New York, I thought that I wanted to go home, but I wasn't joking this time. I was burnt out, and no one seemed to care about how I felt. I told my friend in Boston, and she revealed to me the term "work/life balance." And I knew it existed, I just wasn't sure that it existed in the ad industry. There were a few times, when I asked myself, what if my son has a baseball game next Wednesday night? Am I expected to just miss it? I guess so. I don't have any kids, but what if I did, and they played baseball, and I didn't want to take a full day off to ensure that I could make it to their 8PM game? Apparently, that's what work/life balance means. You still work, you'll still have some late nights, but...life. I wanted to go to a Journey concert on a Wednesday night and told my boss a month ahead of time, and I was told no.

That's when I determined that I was done with SYMBICORT. I went on some interviews at CDM and Juice Pharma.

CDM is way too buttoned up. I asked them about it, and this guy in dark jeans that looked like they had been pressed and starched, said something like, well obviously that's a rumor, look at me I'm wearing jeans in the middle of the week. But I really liked that they were focused on creative aspects like pitching and concepting. I forgot that I was a creative. I don't remember the last time I was in a pitch. I've asked, but my brand is always busy.

Then I interviewed with Juice Pharma. Talk about doing something groundbreaking. I would be working on the Gardasil vaccine, and other preventative vaccines in the pipeline. Working on a product that helps people is my fuel, and Gardasil could keep all women from getting cervical cancer, so I was estatic.

That interview went very well, because if I'm truly excited about something, I am completely focused on conveying it, so they knew my word was honest.

Then somehow things turned. I finally realized how many events I had missed with my family and friends in Boston. Barbeques and birthdays and life stories all forgotten because I wanted to live in Manhattan and didn't mind what it took to get there. As I kept looking at my situation, moving to Manhattan became less and less of a priority compared with seeing the kids I taught how to sail getting their life on track and going to college, or seeing the kids I grew up with getting their life together and pursuing their dreams.

Boston is my extended family, and I miss them all. Even the kids who made fun of me in high school, because I was shaggy and dressed like I was on welfare. I miss you guys too.

So, I made an announcement about moving back to Boston, and no one believed me. I guess I had threatened to move back before and it never happened. I was...I am serious. I gave MedicusNY my two weeks notice, and the ones that I'm quitting to be closer with called me a "fucking idiot for shooting yourself in the foot and quitting your job without a safety net." Meanwhile my friends here in New York were in complete denial and were crossing their fingers for an offer from Juice Pharma. But recently, everyone finally realized that I was seriously determined, and I'm finally getting the support that I was hoping for.

This week, Juice offered me a position with 15K padding, and I turned it down.

I have three days left at my job. I plan on visiting my cousins on Saturday, and spending most of next week in Boston. The first thing I will do when I get there is get a membership, a real membership to Community Boating.

I have to find an apartment...and a job...and a Red Sox bar, oh wait. They're all Red Sox bars.

I'm coming home.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Gee Whiz! Why would you leave Journal Square?

LANDLORD:
Dear Tenant,

I have been informed that you will be vacating your unit. In an effort to improve customer service, we are requesting that you provide a reason why you are vacating. We would appreciate it if you took a few minutes and just gave us a reason why you are leaving.


ME:
Sure, so I wouldn't call it vacating, but rather simply not renewing my lease. Why do you ask? Well, (my room mate and I) we have lived in our unit for 2 years. Our super has been attentive and well respected, our apartment has been very well kept, and our neighbors have been quiet and thankfully almost non-existent. But the issue lies outside of the building. We're in the apartment in Journal Square... Last night, I exited out the front door of my building, and a coked up woman who was drinking something out of a bleach bottle fell into the door and I had to step over her to walk outside and down the street to Subway. On my way, I saw a woman on other questionable controlled substances and she unexpectedly threw a Snapple bottle on the ground in front of me. And this was in broad daylight. I experience these happy little events everyday, and I'm ready to overcome the oppression and move to a safer area where my status as a middle-of-the-road working professional is known.


LANDLORD:
Thank you. I am really sorry to hear of your frustrations regarding Jersey City. I hope your future residence will be more suitable. Again thank you for taking the time to respond to my email.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Think Positive

After reading the past few posts, I realized how negative, annoying and cocky I can be. I try to always think on the positive side, but in a certain light, when I start writing, what I feel will shine through. I'm not gonna lie, in the past few weeks, I've felt overconfident and negative. It's now clicking that I should make this blog experience more enjoyable for everyone. When I first started this project over three years ago, I made up a series of rules that I've been seriously breaking recently:

Rule 1: Don't use my blog to vent; no one benefits from this but myself
Rule 2: Don't talk about relationships; this behavior ruins gawkers' lives, and bad relationships are not something I want to look back on
Rule 3: Stick to entrepreneurial and passion-driven adventures; no one wants to hear about my fun day in the park
Rule 4: Don't revise already published posts, it doesn't reflect how I feel in that moment

So, I have broken all of these rules, and since I'm no longer really into what the next big business venture is, this project has turned into a semi-literary, semi-this is my life kind of ride.

But I want to try to stick to the rules, and this includes leaving in the negativity posted a few days ago. I would like to know from people who read regularly, what you particularly enjoy reading about.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

M.I.A. PAPER PLANES

...Kinda bummed she stopped touring.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We pack and deliver like UPS trucks

I'm finding it hard to write about things recently. I can't bitch about anyone, because they're all reading my blog. And I just finished reading Chelsea Handler's newest book, so I'm have this particular drive in making fun of my friends and family, especially since my vacation begins with my dad opting the family out of going to Maine, because our cheap hotel of choice was booked. I guess it will have to wait.

So, this morning, I got up early as usual to go gymming before work and was in an apathetic morning mood, which is odd because I'm a morning person. I'm walking out of the door of my building and this Hispanic guy with missing teeth and dirty clothes stops the door from shutting and begins to stumble into the building. "Umm, excuse me, umm do you live here?" I tried to be confrontational, but he mumbled angrily back at me in Spanish and walked back inside my building. I would have done something, but I was feeling especially careless and I was already 15 minutes late to my usual gym arrival, and although I know no one really cares, I have this paranoia that the gym crowd judges me for sleeping in an extra 15 minutes instead of working out earlier. After my workout, I came back to my building to discover the same man attempting to carry an Ikea couch-bed frame out the door. I stood there for a few minutes, appalled that I may have just been an assessory to a burglary, and I felt it gave me permission to watch him struggle to push this contraption, by himself, down a set of stairs and through two sets of doors. He looked up at me and motioned me to help him by nodding at the other end of the frame. "I'm sorry, I have to..." and I bolted downstairs and knocked repetitively on the super's door. He came to the door, and I immediately started explaining what had happened. He interrupted and told me to never let anyone in, who doesn't have a key. He then proceeded up stairs, and I took the elevator making it a point to miss the ground floor on the way up.

-- switch switch --

Hitotoki is going to publish my stuff, and I love my new editor. He said that my writing is "crisp and clear", and that I describe images so well. I think we're gonna hit it off, because he is great at the criticism sandwich. You know, you give someone two fluffy compliments, and somewhere in between, when they're not looking, you slip in the meat. He wants me to work further on a story and describe how I feel in certain parts, and I thought the last time I truly described how I felt about something, I ended up taking an impromptu weekend trip to "rest" at a mental institution. So perhaps I had a little knot that I had to kneed out before continuing with this pursuit, but I am seriously intrigued by this publication. And I was told that Hitotoki may soon go into print, which is perfect.

-- what what --

When I heard that the fam wasn't going to Ogunquit, Maine, I was a little upset. We go every damn year, and I don't think the fact that we're all technically adults should impede on continuing a family tradition, not to mention that half of the town is made up of hotels. I arranged to stay with my friend, Anna, at her house up there, and have myself a Maine event. It was pouring Friday morning in Boston, and the house was chilly as usual. It took more effort than anticipated, but I made it on the road before noon. As soon as we crossed the Maine border, the clouds parted, and the sun upped the temperature 15 degrees. I arrived at 1, and we immediately headed to the beach to overdose on Vitamin D. I could tell that I was malnourished, because I could actually feel my body sucking the warm sunshine out of the air. Anna and I talked about coming here, when we were younger and I realized that the strange things that I missed about coming to Ogunquit, she also shared. Like, both of our parents refused to pay for snacks at the beach, so we put on our entrepreneurial hats and collected cans from all of the nasty trash bins until we got enough to buy a carton of fries from Charly's. And there was nothing like the feeling of getting fries over your parents demand, because it was your own hard earned money, especially at age 7. We also talked about the yearly talent show that Robert(family friend) would initiate. No one would be allowed to eat unless they performed, and I always had something well prepared to keep from starvation.

I tried my best to fit in all of the standard traditions in the 24-hours I was there: Candy store, surf shop, a run along the Marginal way, beach, actually going in the 45 degree water, digging a hole, and fireworks, which has recently been replaced with karaoke night, although I would totally take fireworks over karaoke any day. I think I finally overgrew the digging of the hole. Why work, when you don't have to?

I headed back to Boston Saturday around noon, and apparently so did many others, because it took me three hours to get back. I took a long nap and woke up just in time for mom's BBQ and the arrival of adults and kids. The eating and drinking was just getting started, when the bored kids decided to play wiffle ball. I often wonder why "adults" don't partake in BBQ sports. I, of course, participated and hit a few doubles in the process. and the kids brought a giant wiffle ball bat that makes a dramatic hollow thud sound when you hit it. After working up a sweat and finishing my beer, I headed back to continue eating and drinking, and when things got boring, I played some more.

The next morning, we all went to the assisted living home to visit Grandma and were forced into watching Catholic TV for the entire hour. Her favorite show is of this guy preaching about how lust and betrayal are everyone's sins, and blah blah blah, but when when the guy said something vile or inappro and it got pretty graphic, we all tried to hold back our laughter.

After Catholic TV, my cousins (from NY) and I went on the Fenway Park tour before heading back to New York. I had never been in any area of the park other than the crappy bleachers, so that was pretty exciting. The tour guide made fun of my uncle the entire time, because he's a self-proclaimed and not ashamed Yankees fan.

-- simma simma --

So updates...I AM still working on the art project. I really don't want to lose sight of that, but when someone calls you and tells you that they're gonna publish your work, you can't really ignore that either.

The annual Littleton Appleman Triathlon is less than a few weeks away. I'm a little nervous despite the fact that I've done it 3 times already and I'm in much better shape than last year's tubbyness that still managed to flop across the finishline. And I've actually been training, so maybe I should just quit the needless anxiety.

Oh and I'm working on a new essay about the Tranny Parade in all it's glory. Supposedly, I'm not allowed to have my work published anywhere else, but fuck it, I'm totally posting it. It's too funny.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Curse of the kiteboard

So, this yellow kiteboard has been an issue for over three years. I finally got rid of the thing, but with a terrible expense. So, kiteboard recap...

About three years ago, I was co-teaching a windsurf clinic somewhere on the cape, which ran simultaneously with a competition called freestyle frenzy. During my break, I went to one of the tents and bought a raffle ticket for a bunch of sweet windsurfing prizes, and won this bright yellow kiteboard. At the time, windsurfing and kiteboarding were polar opposites. You either did one or the other. So, it didn't make sense to give a kiteboard away at a windsurfing event. I tried selling this thing on ebay, iwindsurf, and ikiteboard, but because this was a board from a small company that no one had heard of, no one wanted it. I drove this kiteboard to New Hampshire at the only kiteboard shop in New England. It was on consignment for like 6 months, and one guy said he was gonna buy it and then didn't show up. Andrew, the shop owner, offered to ship it back to my house, because he no longer wanted it in his shop. So, this year, I decide to sell all of my windsurf gear to make room for the big move to Manhattan. Some of my gear sells, and the rest, including that damn kiteboard gets shipped to Community Boating. No one told me exactly what was being sent to Boston, so I didn't find out that the kiteboard ended up back in Boston, until I found out the trouble that the kiteboard had brought with it.

So Community Boating is a great place, but sometimes the kids that work there (including me, when I was working there)... just do stupid shit. We're talking tying one end of a rope to a tree on an island, and the other to a motorboat and throttling the engine to see if you can pull the tree out of the ground. We're talking throwing a top gun can (bathroom cleaner spray) to the ground and watching it explode near the gas lockers. We're talking going full speed down the river in the fog, standing at the bow, while remotely driving the boat with a broken tiller extension duct-taped to the suicide knob, while drunk. Stupid shit. So, I shouldn't have been surprised when the arrival of this kiteboard widened the eyes of the next generation of thrill-seeking sailing instructors. Three of them saw a brand new wakeboard, waiting to be pulled by the fastest motor boat in the fleet. And of course just being pulled was nothing, unless you had a wake made by another fast boat, which weaved in and out of the tow line. They would have been fired, except two other kids got in a fight with each other and got themselves fired earlier that week, and you can't fire 5 people in one week, so they're on some kind of probation. (Correct me if I'm wrong, I heard this from ten different people)

I decided to visit CBI, unaware of the trouble my donation has caused. Actually, unaware that the kiteboard had made it back at all, and discovered the truth when told "So, you're the one who gave us the wakeboard." Wakeboard? They didn't have to say any more. I already knew the drill. 8 years ago, I would have done the same thing.

What made me angry was that I felt like I was in trouble too. As if I should have known that this was gonna happen. So, I asked if I should take the kiteboard back. I really didn't want it. I left it behind.

--switch switch--

I was so excited that my essays were being published that I got overconfident and decided to submit my stuff to the Atlantic Monthly. Then I found out that there are 18,000 submissions for 15 spots in every issue. I'm still going to submit, but I'm also looking into other publications. I recently came upon www.hitotoki.com which has a publication based in New York, and the rules entail that your submission be under 500 words and about New York. The word count thing is a little annoying, but I have some material that applies, so I'm excited to submit. My next essay is not based in New York and well over 500 words, which poses a problem, but I'm happy with my options.

--what what--

I'm still trying to think positive and take on projects that benefit others, but I've run into a few snags, which may lead me to put a caveat on my altruism. I'm trying to help this one kid get a job, and he's not showing up to anything I set up for him. He's like I need to get a job, and I want one in Boston accessible by subway. So, I called up a few people who I know that work in retail, two responded back and said yeah just tell him to stop by. He seemed excited, and thanked me multiple times, maybe he didn't want to hurt my feelings, because he was too proud to work at the GAP, but he didn't show up and I haven't been able to reach him. So, I stopped putting in the effort. Why should I if he won't? I still want to help others, but only if they want to be helped.

Maybe this is the mark, where I'm starting to not understand these kids. The gap is just too wide now. I have already outgrown this street credit crap. I think they have too, but they play along with it, because others haven't. It's one big game of chicken, and it has Boston on a tight leash.

And this whole mind game has taken hold of my sister, an architecture grad student, a very smart kid. When she feels threatened in Boston, she snaps back, and people leave her alone. But a recent trip to New York had this aggressive kid wound up like a toy. With every shove on the street, rude look, shrug comment, bus door closing early, cab cutoff on a walk sign, led her to complete frustration, which ended in disaster at a Starbucks, when her giftcard was accidently deleted. A breakdown, a swing, a breakdown. Is this how Boston has taught us how to act?

Don't get me wrong, I miss my hometown and friendly people and the clean subway, but I've learned to not be threatened when a cab cuts me off several times in one stroll. There are a million battles here, and it's not worth it to pick even one.



Hitotoki — A narrative map of the world

Monday, June 16, 2008

Giving is all of the fun

It turns out that only some of my equipment sold, but I really see this as a blessing, because this was a great opportunity to give back to a community that gave me so much. I gave the rest of my windsurfing equipment to Community Boating, and it was the best decision I made in a while. Donating to Community Boating is like buying a genuinely happy moment. If you give money, you see immediately what is being improved to the program. If you give your time, you see first-hand how teaching someone how to sail impacts their lives. And if you give windsurfing equipment to CBI, you get the most sincere thank you, and the equipment is rigged up and becomes the highlight of the week that members can't live without. I almost feel like I'm always getting more out of giving than CBI is, because their gratitude is priceless.

It's a good feeling.

So, I may have spoken too soon, when I exclaimed that no one is publishing my essays. After I submitted numerous entries, the Wilderness House Literary Review has accepted two of them for their Summer volume (The non-fiction section), after many revisions of course. My raw material is too slack for them--or rather not well written enough. The editor said that it's not my best work, but it made it. Still, I am thrilled. The Summer volume will be posted within the week on the following web site: www.whlreview.com.

So other than the above, my life is pretty boring. The making connections segment might restart again very soon. Remember? I've had this ongoing project to network and make a connection between two people that I know, without directly benefiting myself. My benefit is knowing that I'm capable of connecting people, and justification that I'm somewhat of an altruistic person.

I'm just on this kick that when you help others, their lives change. And if you help only yourself, you really don't get very far, because you've only promoted yourself, which doesn't leave much of a footprint. I want my existence to matter, and I want to ensure that my life actions affect others for the positive. Ok, Ciao.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A fabricated sea breeze

Growing up relatively close to the water, a random Boston sea breeze was a frequent event. We would be outside on the porch watching the constant summer movement of the surrounding people when a certain whoosh sound would rattle the trees from that one special direction. Everyone would turn their heads, freeze and take in the salty air.

I figured that Manhattan would be no different, but the overpowering potency of life in this city, which ironically is often filled with cigarettes and greasy food, often overwhelms my senses.

While walking down 8th Ave, not too far from the river, I inhaled deeply, in reaction to almost being hit by a car. I felt a breeze but it was from an odd direction. The rustle in a nearby tree told me this mighty wind had come from the ocean. I tilted my head back, and let my nostrils fill like a parachute with sea fresh air. I closed my eyes and held my salty lungs in for one long moment. I hadn't felt this free of interruption for a long time. How could this exist in such a complex place? Slowly the scent began to break down. What I thought was authentic ocean air, unraveled into a disappointing collection of Chinese food, dried piss and stale cigarettes. Who knew that the formula for making the freshest scent consisted of such rancid ingredients!


Okay, that was a quick attempt to write something of quality for the Wilderness house literary review. Ever since my Jersey City journal entry was almost instantly accepted, I've had trouble submitting anything of real value, and have failed to have anything accepted since. Oh well.

This weekend, I started off by going to Harlem to watch the dance class that my friend taught all year, in a recital. It was cute, and made me want to volunteer more, although there was no A/C, which made me feel more ill, and probably a good reason why I'm sick now. I've posted some notable pics below.


There's nothing like cooling off from a fire hydrant in Harlem


Photo of the Boston Gas Tank by Sister Corita Kent


The beginnings of my artwork inspired by Sister Corita

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Giving up one passion for another

When I first moved to New York (Dirty Jersey) to pursue my career in advertising and passion for writing, I knew that I was leaving my windsurfing lifestyle behind, but I held on to my windsurfing gear with the slight chance that I might return to board shorts and year-round summer sun. Now, I'm getting ready for a bigger change. In October, I'm moving to Manhattan, a feat that I had limited myself from until I paid off all of my student loans, which is almost accomplished. Since the big move date is not too far away, I reevaluated what lifestyle changes I had to make to adjust. I knew that space would become an issue, so I sorted through all of my unused belongings until I came across my windsurfing gear. The gear wasn't particularly hard to find. The 100 liter board, kite board, 4 sails, two masts, boom and associated gadgets were hiding under my bed as the 300 pound gorilla in the room. If I were to move to a square-foot-challenged Manhattan apartment, the gear would have to go. I found out about this swap meet taking place next week, and signed up to drop off my stuff and have it sold. The days approaching this drop-off date were intense as I bartered back and forth with letting the tangible artifacts of my life go.

Then I thought:

How could I have possibly put myself in a position to have belongings that I don't use and don't want to let go of?
Because, there was a point in my life where I couldn't live without my gear, and I still felt that when I moved here. I didn't want to come unprepared, so I brought my whole life, but now it's collecting dust under my bed, because I love writing.

How did I fall in love with windsurfing?
Through Community Boating (CBI), which kept me out of trouble (mostly) and taught me endless lessons about life. Windsurfing was the added interest developed to keep me coming back to the safe haven. Teaching windsurfing was the niche I fell into on purpose, so CBI would always need me, because I knew that I would always need them, in spirit or in experience.

Why did I stop?
Writing is what I love too, and I invested money into my education, for the sole purpose of profiting from it. Windsurfing would have kept me in debt.

...So after philosophizing over the decisions I've made in the past four years, it was time to drop off my stuff. This morning, my friend Jomy piled all my gear into his Suburu wagon, and we headed to Windsurfing Hamptons surf shop. The 2 hour journey was relatively painless, but when we arrived, I felt quite anxious. We unloaded the gear onto the grass, and I spent some time "evaluating" it. I had forgotten about a sail that I had. The surf shop guy began the pricing process. I was a bit reluctant to put a price on my pride, but when he offered 600 bucks for my board, my jaw dropped. I only paid 250 for that board. The pricing continued in my favor. I was still a little upset to see my stuff go, but the fact that my stuff was selling for a pretty penny helped ease the blow.

The shop guy continued, "What about the 2.7 sail? How much do you want for it?" I picked up the sail bag and squeezed my fingers into it. "Not this one. Too many memories." I remember, when I went to my windsurfing instructor interview in San Francisco, four of the months were spent in Costa Rica, so I asked the manager what sails I should bring. (The smaller the sail, the stronger the winds) I mentioned the 8.5, 6.7 and 5.1, and then I kind of said "Oh yeah, and I have this 2.7 sail, but I just bought it for the kids to sail with" and he said with the most seriousness that any surf shop owner could have "Bring only the 2.7...yeah, the wind is THAT great."

Then I remember, when I brought the 2.7 sail to CBI, and the smaller kids were so excited to have a sail that they could lift up, and I felt so bad when I de-rigged it, but I wanted to take it to the Harry McDonough Sailing Center and have the kids try it over there too.

So, i took the 2.7 back with me in the car along with some of the miscellaneous cheap gear. I decided to just give away the 2.7 to CBI. I would feel more relieved if CBI benefited from that sail than some rich kid from the Hamptons.


The art project is coming along well, although this weekend's progress was a stand still, due to today's day trip and yesterday's great weather.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dot Goddard

...I think I know what I'm going to be for halloween!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I'm a New Yorker. Fear's my life!

Something happened to me today that would never have happened anywhere else other than Manhattan. I was walking with some friends on Broadway near 30th street trying to find a good place to eat brunch, when suddenly we saw hundreds of people running and screaming from the west side of the street to the east and 2 blocks uptown. Women in heels didn't stop to take off their shoes. There was no time to think, no time to look back to see what they were running from, it was 'just go and don't ask' time. I came to accept that in New York, although seldom, this situation can exist. In those ten seconds of following these hundreds of people, just reacting to change as any animal would do, I was questioning in my mind what I was running from. Was a building falling over? Was there a man with a gun on the west side of the street? Was there a policeman being generous with mase? Was the Cloverfield monster throwing flames to the west side of the street? I had no idea. I just followed the crowd as Scottish sheep follow each other off a cliff. Don't ask, just go. When the ten seconds of running was over, we found ourselves against the wall, out of breath and in a line. The line wasnt as confusing as the people in business suits, on a Sunday. I soon realized that these people, who all worked for the same company, were waiting in the street until they found out where the line to their event began, and right before we turned the corner, it was announced where they had to wait in line. Additionally, there was some major incentive to get in line early, hence the screaming and intense rush. After I found out, I jokingly hit one of the guys in line and exclaimed in all seriousness, "You scared me!" And as if that wasn't embarrassing enough, we lost one of our friends in the sprinting dash and had to sift through the line to find him. The people in line were laughing, but instead of laughing at us, I assume they were laughing at the extent of hype that they had succomb to, and how it was perceived to strangers outside of their environment.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Losing hope is easy

Writing becomes useless if there's nothing to say, but my art project will soon be underway, which will leave little to no time to document what's being done. This is the calm before the storm. since I have made little progress, I will show you a little bit about the process of what this project will entail.

Step 1: Take photos of high contrast images with a particular idea in mind of how the imae will be arranged on canvas.

Step 2: Load photos into photoshop and adapt the images so they are highest in contrast. Print out saved images.

Step 3: Copy printed image and adjust size to ideal canvas size

Step 4: Use myelin or acetate to color in the needed areas with india ink, using the print out as a guide. May need to do multiple times depending on the number of layers

Step 5: Burn emulsion screens and let to dry

Step 6: One layer at a time, screenprint the image onto canvas.

This is the basic idea of the process of each of the projects, and I know I won't always get it right the first time, but i intend to try.

Not many other updates. I plan on adapting the union square pillow fight bit into something for the literary review, but that's when I find more time. All will most likely be solved when I move into Manhattan, where my gym, grocery store, and launromat are all within walking distance. I am counting down the days, and I've already started talking to an agent about it.

One thing at a time. Art first, and I'm tring not to lose hope. I know I can create great things. I think I might have before.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back to Life

I'm back on my regular schedule that I was protesting before I left. I kept saying to myself that I really needed a vacation, but now that I realized how changed I am, let me exclaim that I really needed this vacation. I think most of my emotional change took place when I first decided to book this trip, but the internal change that I experienced was a complete physical detox that consisted of 2 straight weeks of 8 hour-a-night sleep, healthy food and constant exercise. Before I left, long work weeks sent me into a spiral of lack of sleep, eating takeout and not working out so I could sleep in more. A week later, I noticed that my best fit dress pants were more than a little tight. Now that I'm back, my pants fit fine and I'm more focused during work and geared toward waking up early for my daily run and gym activities. Also, now that I have my pictures from my trip, I can get started on my summer art project (fake art show). I did not get the scholarship, but I still plan to join the Manhattan Graphic Center and create the ideas I have documented in my little Kurt Vonnegut notebook.

Speaking of that notebook, while on my trip, I was overtired the first few nights but later had the best rest in a long time, and had the most interesting lucid dream ever. It was like a movie, and it was so suspenseful that when I woke up in the middle of it, I was determined to fall asleep again and leave off exactly where I left off, and for once in my life, it worked! I was able to continue my dream, and I finished the story.

I am so determined to document this that every morning after the gym, I write some more of the story down in my Kurt Vonnegut notebook. When I'm finished, sometime, when I haven't written in a while and I feel guilty, I'll pull out my story and redeem myself.

I just wish I had more time. My schedule is usually as follows:
5:30AM wake up and go to the gym--iPod time on train, run for 30 minutes, lift for 30 minutes
7:30AM eat toast with butter and jelly
8:30AM go to work--notebook time on train, usually reserved for reading or listening to French tapes
Lunch: chicken, dried fruit and nuts, peppers, green beans or broccoli with ranch dressing
7:30-8ish come home, clean, blog, watch Law and Order, eat chicken, time should be reserved for art stuff, happy hours and editing my imprompt essays
10PM sleep (I usually push it til 10:30)

Routine and boring, I know, but I like to get a lot accomplished in the week and this is the best way for me to do it.

I was trying to go see that play that I mentioned in the last post "Minus 30 million words". it's tomorrow, but the Obama-Clinton debate is tomorrow, and Thursday is a Sox-Yankees game, and I'm going to Pat O'Briens bar to celebrate the known victory with other sox fans.

Ok, I have some work to do...ciao.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In cognito travels Part Deux (what else)

My travels continue...
The last beautiful day in London, before i went to Paris was indeed beautiful. I went to Covent Gardens and wandered into Hoburn until I found a park filled with people tanning, or so they thought, and reading and relaxing. I was tired from the day before, so I opted to find a coffee shop and pick up a tea and crisps and catch up on my London Lite gossip, while sitting in this park.

I found myself undecided in Starbucks, and someone behind me in line had asked to go ahead of me. It was Amy Winehouse. Or so I thought. I was spellbound. I said, "yes you can go ahead of me, I haven't decided yet" but my feet were stuck to the ground. I didn't move to get out of her way.

I later found out that it was an imposter, but I didn't believe it. This person looked exactly like her. And I couldn't help but stare, while texting my friends to seem busy, like I had a reason to be there. Suddenly, the day in the park turned into sitting in Starbucks. I couldn't breathe. I had to take a walk, and when I returned, she had left. I asked the barister if it was really her, and she said no, but she also kept saying Emmy Whitehouse.

Whatever, it was her.

Anyway,
The next day was a complete waste of life called Heathrow Terminal 5. The day I was to leave for Paris, Mother nature decided to throw a blizzard in London. After all this negativity, and being booted onto other flights, and waiting in neverending lines, I decided to take a train to Paris instead. Finally, I arrived. Looking stranded and tired, I took my first Paris metro ride to Helene Bignon's house. I arrived at midnight, and she fixed me a quick meal of soup, cheese, bread and fruit, and although I was so exhausted, I stayed up later to finish off every last bite of this amazing meal. At that point, I thought to myself, this is Paris. This soup that I want to lavish in and never stop eating.

Again, don't want to bore you with the details, but highlights include:

-That soup. I think it was some variation of escarole soup, but omg, so good.

-Following a group of other tourists, one by one as the people ahead of me turned the corner, I heard there 'whoa' reaction when first seeing the Eiffel Tower, and then when I turned the corner, I couldn't help but do the same thing. It was like going over the first drop of a roller coaster ride and hearing everyone ahead of you exclaim their reaction first.

-I frustrated a lot of people with my poor grammar and very limited French, but when I bought boots that ended up being in two different sizes, I fought back entirely in French and got what I wanted, two boots in the same size. Je veux allure a quarante and quarante sil vous plais, Bitches. This tourist doesn't take crap! Ok, I didn't fight, and I later apologized for not speaking very well.

-Seeing Yael Naim in concert and discovering that I could take pictures/video during the show.

-Hot waiter at Le Deux Magots (haha)

-Conveniently having a tourist beside me and laughing when I first saw Fauchon and said aloud "fo sho."

-Ooh and the first day I set out was the running of the torch, and all of the protesters were there chanting Libere la Tibet. I was actually expecting only a small group of them, but everytime I turned there were hundreds more. That moment was very impactful.

Actually, I could keep going. I loved Paris so much. Even when I was tired and hungry, and my feet hurt, I was planning my departure to live there. I was thinking that I could freelance, or just be an artist, but the frustration of not knowing the subway, the culture, and who am I kidding, I suck at French as well. This made me miss New York. And I'm in London, now. I'm looking at all the bottles of wine I bought and trying to figure out if I have enough sweaters for padding in my suitcase. And I'm planning my two days of rest, and how I can best prepare for work, when I come back. Should I try to sleep in, or should i just wake up at 3AM and spend extra time at the gym that day? when it's 6PM and feels like 11, will I be able to suck it up at work?

I will find out, I'm sure.

--switch switch--

Ok, so the feeling is almost gone, because it's been so long since I saw this play, but here it goes.

Three weeks ago, I saw this one-woman play, starring Sue Costello. It was so good. She built up so many characters that she was interacting with, and I was explaining all of these characters to friends and how they relate to the main character, and my friends were like "I thought it was just a one woman play" and even I forgot. And this play was about growing up in Dorchester, MA. I am so thankful that I didn't experience half of the events mentioned, but growing up in an area of Belmont that is much poorer than people think, I knew people that do have a similar past, and the emotional turmoil that the character went through really opened up some wounds. This performance was so powerful, and yet I'm surprised that not many people know about it. It's called 'Minus 32 Million words,' and it really changed me. So please go see it. Cheers.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mika - Lollipop

I found a new theme song. thank you ITV!

Monday, March 17, 2008

In cognito travels, Part One

Sometimes, things don't always work out as planned. After a full year of not climbing, I was quickly reminded at the competition how quickly muscle memory can be lost as 10 year old kids surpassed my abilities. Not to my surprise, despite my intermediate regisrty. This was a rare time that I was happy to be called into work on a weekend. A great excuse to escape a rough patch.

And the escape didn't stop.

I'm now one happy week into my vacation, reflecting on my life from London, looking in. My week has been a carefree journey packed with eating, walking and too many extra sweaters.

I don't want to bore you with details, because I saw pretty much everything, but highlights included:

-Climbing on the lion statue outside of the London Museum, a climbing feat that required a running start and a risk of a 15 foot fall to the concrete floor

-Afternoon tea at the Wooseley, where we saw Ralph Fiennes. I heard my favorite British quote so far. So the waitress took away the three tier tray and left what we haven't yet eaten, and said 'Let me shake you first, before I rob you'

-Picking up Jaffa cakes at Tesco's after hearing that Amy Winehouse and her drag queen DJ friend had offered some to the paparazzi, who were camping outside her door

-And finally finding a store worth buying things, which I did. Fortnum and Mason, the ultimate gift shop with teas that scent the isles, and unique chutneys and champagne-infused jams that left trashy key rings outside the door.

After filling my basket several times with cherries soaked in balsamic vinegar, and pom-molasses, and ginger-lemon biscuits, I stopped and put mostly everything back, because I still haven't been to Bouchera and Fauchon in Paris, which I heard holds high quality as well. So, I only picked up tea and jam and carried on to Camden Town, where my friend had to assure me that my jam was not going to be robbed.

Today will be a bit lighter. It's the last of the beautiful sunny days, and I did two long walking tours yesterday, Tower of London right after the Westminster Abbey, so I'm ready to just go to Covent Gardens to look for Matt Damon. Supposedly, he's filming a movie there.


A very exciting and surprisingly sunny vacation.

--switch up--

But I forgot to document some two very interesting events that happened before vacation.

Two weekends ago, my friends and I impromptly went to this vast pillow fight that took place on the entire free area of Union square. We arrived and saw mobs of people with feathers, fuzz and stuffing flying everywhere in the middle. We watched in horror as people walked away with retired pillows and an orb of feathers surrounding them like pig-pen from the peanuts gang. We were brave. We wanted a picture of each of us swaying our pillows back and forth. I was first. I went up to one kid and threw a playful gentle blow to his arm. As soon as I knew it, I was surrounded by his ten friends and was being gang-banged to the ground. As I crouched down, throwing my pillow, or punches, it didn't matter, suddenly, I heard 'I got your back, keep moving.' I turned around and a gang of pillow punchers looking for a fight, were by my side. I wasn't frightened anymore, because I was on a makeshift team of feather-gagging gangsters (Yes, I am 25.) We left shortly after, walking down the street randomly bumping each other with our now ratty pillows and a flee of feathers following us. It wasn't again until afternoon tea that I felt like I was 7.

The next thing I've been waiting to tell all about is this One-woman one act play that I saw last week, but I've been etching to get out of this flat, so I can see the last of the lucky sunny days I've experienced here. A blurb about the play will be featured in Part Deux, promise. This play was amazing though. Definitely worth seeing. Cheers!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Red Roses and Petrol

This is the name of the next film I want to see. The preview depicts a combined drama and slapstick comedy set in Ireland...and the title is very clever.

Anyway, this is nothing but an update blog.

It's tough to keep up a literary blog, when one is a writer for a living. I would write more often, but sometimes after work, I am so burnt out, I just want to watch crappy tv that doesn't induce thinking. Last week, a storm cut out our cable and I came home and watched the blank screen for an hour before realizing it.

So, I have applied for a scholarship at the Manhattan Graphics Center. I have no expectations of getting it, but the recipient gets to attend any of the art classes, unlimited time in the print lab and a $100 stipend for supplies. I don't really see this as a scholarship but rather entering in a contest. If I don't get the scholarship, I'm still going to join in the summer, so I can work in the lab and create.

I finally purchased a painting by Rah Crawford called Mystik Gardenz. I have been waiting for the perfect moment to buy his work, and his increasing fame wasn't making it any easier, so I gave in and it's arriving next week.


Mystik Gardenz
by Rah Crawford

I also recently found out that he will start filming a movie with Jesse Martin and James Gandolfini, so his stock is pretty high, and I doubt I'll ever get this opportunity again.

--the randoms--

Switching gears, the random person who sent me stamps was my sister's boyfriend. Apparently, it came up that I used to collect stamps, and he just happened to have some stamps to spare, so he sent them to me with a pen name in the return address, so I would be surprised...and I was. I thought that someone was sending me anthrax.

The electronica mixed CD I'm going to make will include these songs:

Do it again- Chemical Brothers
D.A.N.C.E.- Justice
Love Today- Mika
Can I kick it- A tribe called quest
Calabria 2007- Enur

and a few other songs whose names I haven't found out yet.

The marketing essay probably won't happen. The passion's gone. I just wanted to convey that the English language has since been filled with adjectives coined by brand names...and some are brand names. I think I used "bootylicious" as an example...oh well.

My French is improving rapidly. I forgot how much I learned over the years (there's a quote) and how much I remembered.

I got my taxes done this weekend, and my accountant sasid I was the first person he heard say "This was fun." I'm getting a convenient hefty check this year from the feds, woohoo!

I also saw a great movie this weekend, La vie en rose. When watching the oscars, I found out about this movie and my first reaction was "How come I never heard about this before?" It's a film about Edith Piaf's life, and I'm a huge fan of hers. The movie was phenomenal. I was balling the entire time.

Oh, I may have already mentioned this, but in May, I'm selling all of my windsurfing gear at a flea market in the Hamptons. My eyes watered a little bit after making this decision, because I'm abandoning this past that was apart of me for so long. I still love windsurfing, but if I want to move to Manhattan, then there will be no more room for my gear. Also, I need a car to transport it to the water, and whenever I go windsurfing, I rent anyway. It will still be sad to see my stuff go, but I'm guessing I'll bring in around 2 grand for it, which I can't complain about.

My climbing competition is on Saturday. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pure Rubbish

So I've been kind of busy, and...I had to post this essay, but it's complete rubbish, because I've been so preoccupied with other things. I actually did write the marketing essay too, but it was so terrible, that i opted to rewrite it.




Is a routine formula the best way to go?

Is getting in the groove of a daily routine really the healthy way to live? My friend told me that one of his biggest weaknesses is not being a creature of habit and being unable to follow a routine. I didn't think that was necessarily a bad thing. Especially since he was explaining why he was never a heavy smoker.

Think of an empty house lined in wall-to-wall white carpet. And the furniture going on this white carpet, and the grooves that the entertainment unit digs into the white carpet, and the bookshelf in the corner that weighs down the left side more than the right.

And in this house, the only connection between the front door and the kitchen is this white carpet. So after a few years, a natural trail has been cleared away. And maybe at night, the children in this house sneak potato chips under the couch.

And when you move, you remove the furniture and realize how much of a groove you got yourself into.

If you take the rug up from its tacks, and bring it outside and analyze it, you’ll realize that you have put yourself in such a routine that natural fibers are having trouble withstanding your habits.

And physically how can you withstand yourself? Every time you wake up at 6AM to trek to the gym, your body has had it.

I think the reason why we long for school, when we’ve been out of it for so long during the summer, and the reason why we eventually wish for a snow day is because we’re tired of routine and need a change.

We’re naturally hoping for new opportunities and experiences and too often excuse the trail in the rug for the sacrifice you make for family values. I reject that excuse. Every step through life should be another opportunity to tread a different portion of the rug, and stop the violence against yourself which are the habits you’ve incurred along the years, both healthy and not.

And even if you’re habits are considered healthy, consider that after forty years of eating the same shit, and doing the same exercises it is recommended that most people get a colonoscopy to clean out their dilapidated system, and a full physical to make sure the definitely permanent long-term damage is known.

I discredit habit and encourage all to walk over to the bookshelf once in a while, and then maybe check behind the entertainment unit and see just what’s going on back there. Probably nothing. But you don’t know that.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hear me wrong

Let me correct you already. The absence of blogging doesn't necessarily mean the absence of brain activity. No. The longer pause between posts should prompt the anxiety of something more exciting than before that awaits the time to stop the presses and document it.

This post will be a splurge of past stories, which brings inspiration for current ideas...

I have always been mesmorized by what Philly calls "indie living." Indie, shorter for independent began as a term for off-label music, and later attached itself as a name for the hipster-dressed people that heard the music. A wave of independence took off from there. Suddenly, listening to off-label music also meant disbanding ones self from the government, and taking under the table jobs, while paying rent month by month in cash. and pretty soon as witnessed from what I coined as the oddest birthday party ever, this break down started to spread in the way that they used household items and utensils. I went to this birthday party, when I was in college.

Someone brought a bottle of wine and a blueberry pie, from what I understand was stolen from fresh grocer, for whatever anarchist reason. I looked around. Utensils were hung decoratively in silk ribbon over the sink, and funky wine glasses lined the window sills. I was in a circle of friends, who were passing the blueberry pie around, and each person took a handful and ate from their hands. The wine bottle was moving in the opposite direction as each person took a swig in a communal fashion. The birthday girl had a stenciling of a chair tattooed on her upper arm, because, well in indie life, there is no needed reason for anything. I'm a pretty liberal person, but when it comes to organized living, I have extreme OCD. My room mate put the dishes away last week and I had to reorganize them, because they were in the wrong place. Tall cups first, then the short cups, so you can see what you have. But I missed the freeness that indie life bestowed upon me. We went to some free music shows and I could jump up and down with my eyes closed, while holding my nose, and doing the macerena and no one would say anything. I longed for this and went to Philly last week to fill my script for nonsense.

So, while in Philly, we went to this club and saw the last ten minutes of Club Lyfestile Dance Squad, which is this dance group which is something out of a Spike Jonz music video minus the dance talent. The theme of the club was New Year's 3008/general futuristic, and people were wearing those sparkley glasses that said 3008 on them. It was strange, but the music was really good. Electronica, naturally. I could dance however I wanted, because there were indie people there, who were dancing far worse.

--switch gears--

So this story begins with an impromptu hannukah party that I had. I started telling everyone that I support any holiday where food is the main focus, especially greasy food. At the time I was dating someone who had to work through the hannukah season without eating his mom's cooking. So I decided to make latkes, very difficult, and invited my friends to bring food as well. I didn't know what music to play, so I looked up hannukah on the online radio and a few israeli stations showed up. I played them and heard this song that was actually in french, not hebrew. It was Yael Naim singing, but I didn't know who she was yet. A few months passed by and I was due for making a mixed CD for my friends. About twice a year, I trade mixed CDs with my friends and that's how I discover good music. I made a crappy CD and thank goodness I forgot to bring it, because a month later I discovered Yael Naim's music again. She was on La Journal, singing Brittney Spears' Toxic, and then her song was in a commercial. Her music was so inspiring, I made a whole new mixed CD and sent it to everyone I knew. It included these songs:

1. Tears dry on their own-Amy Winehouse
2. Valerie (acoustic)-Amy Winehouse
3. Rehab-Amy Winehouse
4. You know I'm no good-Amy Winehouse
5. Die alone-Ingrid Michaelson
6. The way I am-Ingrid Michaelson
7. Breakable-Ingrid Michaelson
8. New Soul-Yael Naim
9. Breathe me-Sia
10. Brand new key-Melanie
11. Little bit of me-Melanie
12. Chariot-Page France
13. Sea of love-Cat Power
14. Don't wanna fall in love-Jane Child
15. We don't have to take our clothes off-Shalamar
16. Going whichever way the wind blows-Pete Droge

...and somehow listening to this CD made me reconsider my life values. I should have called this CD "Dharma Bums" because it had similar effects. I asked myself why I'm so focused on paying off my debt. I haven't really been able to enjoy the result of my successes. The answer was in paying off debt, I can eventually live without debt in my mind, and I'd be more able to get a loan so I can buy a house and bury myself in more debt, grownup, socially acceptable middle class debt. It was then that I decided that paying off my debt can wait. I decided to go on vacation. The first two weeks of April, I'm going to London and Paris. I'm meeting my friend, Emily, in London then traveling to Paris to visit family friends and see Yael Naim in concert.

The aggressive plan of paying off my debt will continue when I come back and I still want to pay off school by the end of this year. And the goal to get out of New Jersey and into Manhattan by the end of this year still stands. But this vacation is necessary, because it will remind me what lifestyle I'm saving for.

--switch switch--

So a month goes by, and suddenly i have a busy schedule ahead of me. Some future dates I need to keep in mind:

March 1: Go to Boston to get my taxes done. I'm prepared this year, almost.

March 8: Climbing Comp at Chelsea Piers. I don't climb anymore, but for $25, I get to climb at Chelsea Piers and loads of sponsored giveaways like climbing apparel and gear, red bull, designer khadejha shirts that I can't even order online, and day gym passes that fund "gym days" for me and my friends throughout the year.

March 14-18: I have to keep these dates open for the asthma convention, in case I need to go. if not, then Palm Sunday/St Patty's day falls on this weekend.

March 29-April 12: London/Paris trip

--guess what--

I finally found a screenprinting lab that i can work out of. I'll admit, I haven't been actively searching that whole time I've been here, but I plan on joining for the Summer semester, that way I can go a few days during the week after work, since work isn't as busy during that time. The name of the lab is Manhattan Graphics Center.

Since I have to sign up on an hourly basis, I was thinking that I'll do all the preliminary drawing work at home and that way I can only use the lab time when I need it. I'm very excited about this. Ive already come up with some great ideas. In fact, I want to do a bunch of pieces and maybe have an art show. Not just any art show...a fake art show. After taking design courses in school, I've come to realize that art is interpretive. I've been to some funky art shows, where I saw people gawk at splattered paint on a wall that could have easily taken 10 seconds to make. So my art show will really be a test for the viewers. Am I a legend that studied for twenty years to define splattering paint on the wall, or am I a writer who doesn't know gauche from crayola? And I'm going to invite my friends, who are also artists at heart, without the serious banter, to display their work.

...just came back from Utrecht, and we're definitely having an art show.

There are more things on my list that I can't get to. I was gonna describe a light installation and... some other ideas. I'm purchasing a Rah Crawford artwork, some random person sent me stamps, I'm making another mixed CD of only electronic music, and my next post will be (yay) a literary essay about how marketing has changed the English language. But I'm burnt out on writing so I'm done.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Amy Winehouse at her best PART 3

Because of this clip, Amy Winehouse is now my role model...a modern day Dean Martin. ha.

My suggestion would be watching PART 1 first.

Amy Winehouse at her best PART 2

Amy Winehouse at her best PART 1

Friday, January 11, 2008

G-lines Newsletter endorses Barack Obama for America

After careful consideration of candidates from both parties, The G-lines Newsletter and all its staff proudly endorses Barack Obama for president. We believe that Obama is the most applicable candidate that can repair how other countries view our nation and most importantly, how we view our nation.

From now until November 3rd, I will dedicate a large portion of my time on the Obama for America campaign.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The G-lines Newsletter is ready to make an endorsement

I'm preparing a very informal endorsement letter. I figured since this is called a newsletter, I can post an endorsement letter. i mean, I can post what ever the hell I want but I want to be tasteful about it. I'm going to the headquarters today to volunteer with a friend that doesn't believe in organized government, but then again, I went to the Ron Paul headquarters on thursday because, well, it has a bar.

I will announce my endorsement shortly.