Monday, December 24, 2007

So alive

When I am with my family, like tonight, with my uncle, it is a
reminder of how huge one life can be. I mean how much life you can
actually fit into your day and how alive you can feel. My family is so
much fun. I know people don't enjoy their family as much as I do.

Right now, we're watching live brazilian music performances and
drinking champagne. Just finished playing a lot of guitar hero with my
cousin. We're going to watch a tribute to Ayrton Senna (F1 racer) in a
minute.

As much as I dislike Florida, I love how much life and energy my
family has. When I say miss Florida, it's them I miss.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Moon over Miami

It's a bit after sunset and tonight's full moon is a "Yule moon." It's
so bright! It's the highest riding full moon until 2013. Right below
it is Mars (you can't see it in the photo) at its closest and
brightest tonight until 2016.

If you're reading this on the 23rd, step outside and look east.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BAN the horse-drawn carriage industry

More visibility on the issue of horse drawn carriages, just in time as people think that a ride around the park is soooo romantic. Brian Lehrer had NYC council member Tony Avella on the show talking about introducing his ban on the industry. Let's get behind this! Contact your council member and Mayor Bloomberg and let them know your feelings about this!

Don't know what to say? Here's a letter you could use.

Listen to Brian Lehrer's show here:


Watch a trailer for a new documentary about the horse-drawn carriage industry called Blinders.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Seek and you shall find

Ok, I realized that I've been talking about my job a lot lately. The last thing I'm going to say about it is that I'm so thankful that it's showing me how difficult I find change, that I struggle with humility, and that I still replay old, defunct mental scripts. Good. I need to know these things; I'm grateful for the awareness and the opportunity to change and grow.

Moving right along... I was in a mood last week, one that found me looking back with curiosity, wondering, "what are my exes up to?" Not that I have a desire to reconnect, email or speak to any of them; frankly, the thought of talking to any of them seems incredibly unnecessary, but I do wonder about their lives in a non-jealous, non-romantic way. I wonder sometimes what became of them, the same way I wonder what ever happened to Tiffany Brissette from Small Wonder.

Incredibly, most of my exes are untraceable via the internet. I find that to be both completely bizarre and kind of irritating. How does one avoid getting their name somewhere online? Are they just not into the internet? And, come on, post a photo and a profile! Are you happy? Married? Still a jackass? Exes want to know! I have stuff out there and if you can spell my name right, you are rewarded with a few recent photographs and some profile info. Do the same!

But if you seek, you shall find, and one must be prepared to face the consequences of poking around in the past. Such as learning via Facebook that a recent ex is now engaged. And that said ex is on both Facebook and Myspace when he was content with dial-up when you met him and couldn't use the internet without generating a million pop-ups and crashing his PC.

When I found his profile, I also found hers, which contained an album full of pictures of the two of them. They looked happy. I thought about how hard it was to break up with him, how he was an incredibly kind and selfless human being, how we didn't have that spark and how hard it was for both of us to let go. Looking at their photos, I felt sadness yes, but also a real sense of peace and closure.

So M, if one day you're sitting around and decide to google your exes, I wish you all the best and that your life is full of love and happiness.

But I hope you don't look back.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You're a stupid girl

Let me let you in on a secret: I'm bad at math. It's the real reason I don't take cabs, why I don't order delivery. I can't do basic math without counting on my fingers and I need a calculator for higher numbers. I'm lucky I can determine the tip at a restaurant, but that's because I've memorized how to do so. Math is my kryptonite.

My new boss is metrics man. He loves it and he rocks at it. He's into doing projections, models, all this stuff that I can't even name. I wouldn't have taken this job had I known that I would be responsible for coming up with metrics. It's not my strength. He knows that I'm a noob so he's patiently showing me how to do this.

For the past week now, he'll call me over to work on a spreadsheet. I'll be sitting at his desk, my face hot, holding back tears while he's coming up with shit that makes my head spin. All I'm thinking about while he's showing me his model is that I can barely add and subtract. I have flashbacks of summer school, tutoring sessions that ended in failure, aptitude tests that confirmed my mathematical incompetence. This process has unearthed a level of insecurity that I haven't felt in years. It has unearthed old shit that says, "You're only smart if you're good at math. You're not good at math, ergo you are stupid." It has unearthed an intense shame and deep rooted fear that I'm not smart at all. The real secret is not only do I feel stupid for being bad at math, I'm afraid that everyone else thinks I'm stupid too. Forget my strengths, ignore that I'm smart in many other areas, because the only thing that counts, the only measure of my intelligence is my mathematical abilities and without any, I'm nothing but a beautiful dumb girl. These are harsh, unforgiving and unloving messages that I tell myself.

I want to quit my job, give up and give into the belief that I can't conquer this, that it's best to leave now before being fired, because to be fired will confirm my belief that I am being judged, that I am stupid. The other part of me wants to head over to Barnes & Noble, pick up "Math for Dummies," and work harder than I have ever worked to nail this shit and show myself that I can do it (and that I am smart).

It wouldn't be without precedent: In college, I challenged myself and took algebra II, physics (yes), statistics (uh huh), micro and macro economics and got nothing lower than a B. While I do think there's a difference between working on equation after equation and acing tests compared to working out real-world scenarios, I have proven that with a lot of hard work, I can do it.

So I can't give up, right? I can do it!

Wait. Doesn't all of this reinforce my belief that I can only be considered smart if I'm good at math? There's no room here for me to struggle at it and still consider myself intelligent. It's a zero sum game I've created.

I didn't expect this job to challenge me in so many ways.

Monday, December 3, 2007

just no.

just so you know, spicy Mexican hemp pasta followed by mint madness soy dream is not a good idea.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I heart NY

Most if not all of you know that I have an interest in "old" New York, whether it's my nostalgia for the bygone days of the Automat or my disappointment that the city destroys beautiful historic architecture to turn itself into a giant suburban mall. Sigh. Well, I'm not alone. I found some great blogs about what's happening to NY that I added to the nav but also want to directly pimp out to y'all.

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York
. This is great site chronicling the city's changes. It's also a little depressing, but that's the point. Learned a new word, too: Yunnie.

Lost City. Another site dedicated to discussing the loss of New York's architectural and cultural history.

This stuff reminds me that I need to post more about the Automats.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hard day

One of the great things about being a business analyst was that I knew my job. I knew all the standard ways of gathering requirements, working with business owners and felt confident about how I did it.

Now as a product manager, I totally understand why it took eight interviews to make a decision. I scoffed and wondered why they were putting me through it and I rolled my eyes because I thought it was a slam dunk decision. The reality: It was a risk to hire me.

It has been a particularly tough week. My new boss started on Monday while a coworker got fired. The process the company has in place to approve projects is the equivalent of an elimination panel on a reality show; it is nasty, brutish and long. (ok, hyperbole). I felt like not only did I need to hit the ground running but I also had to get it right. No mistakes. This job isn't one where I walk in and know the ropes. For the first three weeks, a coworker guided me through the process, but no one gave guidance on how to do the job. It has been a constant challenge to figure out what I'm supposed to deliver and I've been feeling like I'm not delivering what's expected.

Then today, I met with my new boss. He gave me some feedback on one of the documents I have to present to the aforementioned elimination panel and while it was useful feedback, I felt defeated, on the verge of tears and I really just wanted to quit. He picked up on my frustration and mentioned that he had to learn all of this stuff and that part of his job was to help me, to teach me. So that's what he's going to do.

I felt instant gratitude, relief and also fear. Will I learn? Can I do it? Am I smart enough? Quick enough? I realized that I'm completely outside of my comfort zone. There's a real chance that I could fail at this job and clearly they will fire anyone who isn't up to their standards.

I can't remember having a job this difficult or working this hard.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The first step

When my father answered the phone, I didn't know what to say. "Hello, dad, this is Viviane" seemed too personal. "Hello, father" sounded like something out of Star Wars. I didn't want to call him by his first name, that was too detached. So I said, "Hello, this is Viviane."

Of course I managed to mumble this and I had to repeat myself a few times. He didn't recognize my voice and I had to clearly explain who I was (his daughter). He was really, really surprised. It shocked me to not have my voice recognized (even though it's totally logical) and I fought really hard to control myself because I was going to start crying.

We had a nice talk. We both avoided diving into conversation about the past and talked about the weather (twice), where we lived, what I did for a living and other safe topics. He did mention that he was a different person, a calmer person. When I ended the conversation, I made a point of letting him know that he could call me, that this was just the beginning of us talking, and that we couldn't let habit keep us from moving forward. He was really happy I called and said that it meant a lot to him that I did. It was clear that this was true. When I ended the call, I looked at my phone; we talked for 51 minutes and 52 seconds.

I'm not 100% aware of all of my feelings about this. It's been a long time since I've even thought about my father. It's hard to even type this. The whole thing is sad and has left me thinking about the amount of time that has passed, the amount of time he has left, my upcoming birthday, getting older, relationships, children, parents, love, the meaning and purpose of my life, of his. I am overcome with the feeling of the fleetingness of life, of how time is always passing and that nineteen years has gone by where neither of us were capable of ending this thing. But why? Why did things work out this way? I know some of the answers, but I also want to look forward and have hope for the future, because nothing that has happened in the past can be changed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Swindled!

I had a very New York experience yesterday. My friend C and I hit the town, looking for a replacement hat (I lost my fabulous Parisian hat somehow) and we ended up at Bryant Park. The Holiday kiosks were set up and we wanted to enjoy some hot chocolate and sit and watch the ice skaters. So we walk up to the Bari kiosk and placed our orders. As I'm standing there, I noticed a packet of Swiss Miss instant cocoa behind the counter. Noooo, I think. Noooooooooooo.

Yes the did. They served us Swiss Miss instant cocoa. I don't know why I didn't say anything. I think I was tired. I didn't want to argue. I looked over at C. She noticed the Swiss Miss too. She also noticed that they even used water, not milk.

I walked away from the kiosk annoyed and I threw out the cup without even drinking it. At least C tried to give it to a homeless person but even he didn't want it.

Well, do a touristy thing and you're bound to run into someone looking to make a quick buck. Total for this experience? $3.50.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving


I went to my aunt and uncle's house in Long Island for Thanksgiving. Like usual, I didn't want to go, but once I was there, it was fine. My aunt's family was there and they're very nice and everyone was in good spirits.

My uncle spoke to me about my father. I haven't spoken to my father in nineteen years. I actually thought it was fifteen years as if that makes a difference. I haven't spoken to my father in nineteen years. Gosh. I didn't realize until writing that down that it was that long ago...

Moving on, I cut my father out of my life because he was a jerk. When I was sixteen, my parents got divorced, all kinds of parental drama ensued and I moved out and moved in with my grandparents. I was angry. Really angry. I lived in fear of my father for so long and then something clicked, I realized I didn't have to be terrified of him any longer.

As I got older, I had to deal with my anger and trust issues. I had my share of bad boyfriend choices in my early twenties thanks to his example. I worked hard to work through my issues and I'm still working on issues that sprung out of my relationship with my him. Over the years, I felt the best way to live my life was to keep him out of mine. My expectation was that I would never, ever speak to him again.

So yesterday, my uncle, his brother, spoke to me about father. That my father has been unable to move on from that point nineteen years ago when I moved out and stopped talking to him. He is consumed by what happened and cannot get past it. What happened between us is his biggest regret, and that he's stuck. He's stuck and cannot move on.

To think that I have impacted a person like this, that someone is unable to go forward in his life, and that this person is my father broke my heart. I always assumed his life went on just like mine did. I actually thought that he never cared about me at all and was only angry that I turned my back on him, angry that I held this grudge.

It is more important to me to have him move forward in his life than it is for me to continue this silence. I've decided to call him this weekend. What am I going to say? My uncle suggested that I start with hello. He said it doesn't have to be a long conversation, that it's ok if it's just a five-minute phone call, but that it has to start somewhere.

It's time for me to end the silence and let my father, and myself, heal from this and move on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

File under "what was I thinking?"

Sometimes I'm all cute and dressed nicely and that's lovely but sometimes I will walk out of the house in a lounge outfit with grandpa socks. Huh?



I thought I was going to run a quick errand but I ended up having to go to the co-op. I'm walking down the street and normally I don't care about looking like crap (we all look like crap sometimes), but geez, this was a ridiculous outfit.

Feel free to chime in. This is bad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A week without TV: the end

Ok, I actually did do most of the week without TV. Friday night I broke the fast and started watching some of the shows I TiVo'd. I liked going most of the week without TV. The week felt longer in a good way even though I was tired.

Will I do it again? I'm going to do it this week, but I won't blog about it every day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 3 without TV: Huh?

I still come home and sit on the couch in my TV viewing position. Sometimes I just stare into space. I am overwhelmed with how tired I feel. I played a staring game with my cat; she held out for a while until she blinked first. I thought about moving furniture around in my bedroom, but taking the bed apart at 930 at night isn't the best idea. I will go to bed around 10pm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 2 without TV: Tired

One of the things that not watching TV does to me is it makes me aware of how I'm feeling. I'm tired. It's 10pm and I'm going to hit the sack. Normally, I'd watch a show even though I'm tired and turn in at 11. I've been waking up early and going for a run. I'm still adjusting to that.

I got some thing done: had a very unhealthy dinner of chips and dip (French onion), washed some new shirts by hand, went through my RSS feed. I got home at 8, so I haven't really done much.

Overall: Too busy and tired to really care that I didn't watch Bones.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day One: A Week Without TV

Since starting my new job, I've been trying to figure out how to prioritize my life and do the things I want to do during the week. No doubt, I love my TiVo but I find myself watching shows just to numb out and that's not a good thing. I want to make sure that the shows I'm watching I'm engaged in and that when I'm watching TV, it's not because I'm trying to get away from something.

Well, I should cut myself a bit of slack. Sometimes one needs to watch TV and zone out.

I decided to conduct an experiment anyway. A week without TV. I'm stretching the truth a bit here because I'm allowing myself time to watch a show while eating dinner, but that's about it. What else will I find myself doing instead of sinking deeper into my couch?

Well, tonight I cleaned up my kitchen, put away laundry (which usually stays out the entire week), talked to my uncle for 45 minutes on the phone, went through my physical mail, caught up on my RSS feeds and a bunch of other small tasks. Not bad. Now I'm obviously blogging and I'll have time to go through my email and then go to bed at a decent hour.

Let's see how the rest of the week goes.

Frank Buckles - Last Man Standing

Mr. Frank Buckles, at 106 years of age, is the last living American soldier who fought in World War I. 

Pretty incredible, right?  When he dies, this period of American History is firmly in the past.  Yeah, it is in the past right now but having someone alive, someone who participated and witnessed is a link. 

Check out the op-ed in the NYT. 

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Automat cafeterias: former locations

Trying to physically find the locations of former Automats wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. This is New York, these buildings have been around forever. Surely I'd be able to find them.

I started off with an old Horn & Hardart Menu directory


and created a map.


View Larger Map


Then walked from 14th street to Times Square. I did wonder if any of the street numbers changed as I wasn't really finding stuff. So many of the buildings appeared to have been torn down and replaced with boring steel and glass high-rises.

Finding old photos of Automats wasn't that easy either. I spent a lot of time at the library, even going through microfiche, to try to find something to compare the present to.

However, during my week off in between jobs, I did make a little headway. I still have a bunch of locations uptown to investigate.However, during my week off in between jobs, I did make a little headway. I still have a bunch of locations uptown to investigate, but I have a few photos to show.

I made the Automat map public. If anyone has pictures of Automats, please send them along!

Friday, November 2, 2007

boxes and neighbors

I've been trying to have the post office redeliver a package this entire week. I'm not home during the day and while I left notes to try the super, he hasn't been available. I've come home every day to find nothing on my doorstep.

I opened my door this evening, thinking how tomorrow I'm going to have to drive on over to the post office when I see a note from one of my neighbors stating that she has the package.

Well that's nice! It's also surprising. Then I realize why this older woman who lives on the second floor took the time and energy to climb up two more flights of stairs to leave me a note: I helped her with her bags. I remember her reaction. She really looked at me for a good while, asked my name and gave me hers. She was thankful. She also seemed surprised. Maybe none of our neighbors had offered to help her in a while.

In this city I live in talking to your neighbors is an anachronism. I guess helping them out with bags is as well.

Her note spiraled another thought: picking up the package. Would she invite me in? Would I be offered a drink? This thought made me think about how there was a time that inviting your neighbors in was expected, the polite thing to do. I thought about the state of my own apartment. Oh no, I could never invite someone in spontaneously.

Growing up, my mother kept the house tidy. While she gave me a hard time about making my bed, she wasn't aggressive about making me clean my room. It wasn't messy to begin with, but I actually think she cleaned it for me up until I moved out. I did go through a period of time when I lived with my grandparents where I kept my room disorganized and went through a long postponed teenage rebellion, but once I lived out on my own, I tended to keep things tidy.

And then I moved here. This place is larger than the studio apartment I lived in a few years ago, but a lot smaller than the two bedroom duplex I came from. I forgot how quickly a small apartment can go from tidy to messy. Leave a plate, some mail and bags on a counter and it goes downhill. A little more effort is required to keep stuff under control.

So there I was, note in hand, thinking that I need to clean this place more often. I want be ready should I like to invite someone in.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A shining band of gold

The title of this post is terribly cheesy but I fulfilled one of my childhood dreams tonight: I saw The Police live in concert at MSG!!

Sting's voice was outstanding. He hit notes and held them long; he sounded exactly the same and looked fantastic. Andy Summers made guitar playing look easy while Stewart Copeland was so freaking focused and incredibly hot and intense. Plus, they all wore costumes tonight!

It was fantastic to be surrounded by fans and so many people. I danced, sung, even played air drums during Wrapped Around Your Finger. (yeah, but it's my favorite part of the song!)

They played Every Breath You Take as an encore and I called my mom and held up the phone. We love this song, we love this band, and I got all emotional wishing she were here, having her on the line sharing this moment while remembering when I first heard this song, how my mom and I used to blast it on the stereo at home or in the car. So many memories.

I've waited for 23 years to see The Police in concert. This was a great experience and wow, nothing makes me feel more alive than hearing music live!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, October 29, 2007

Murder Inc and Starbucks

Just read an interesting article. A new starbucks in the Park Sheraton Hotel's lobby on West 57th Street once held a barber shop in which the mobster, Albert Anastasia, was shot and killed.
"You think people care?" says one barista, out on a smoke break and checking her Sidekick, and who, as per company policy, would not give her name. "That was 50 years ago. Trust me. They just want their coffee and they want to get on their way."
Do people really not care? I think it would be cool to walk into a place and find out all sorts of random information about the place. It could be on a plaque or some kind of historical booklet available to patrons. In NY, almost every place has a history and sometimes a macrabre past. I kind want to go look at those floors now, but I would have been more interested if the place were still a barber shop.

New Job

Last week I started a new job. I definitely think it's going to be a great, but right now, I'm trying to figure out a new role, a new company, new coworkers, new processes and new work hours. It's a lot to take on and on top of all of that, the new hours impact my personal life and I'm trying to adjust to that and determine my priorities. Like, when am I going to blog? And, what about all of the things I read online?

I can say, however, that I'm glad that I left my last job and am working for a place that values the intelligence of its employees. I work with incredibly smart people.

Now I'm off to read NYT, check my reader, pay some bills, clean up, watch TV and relax for a bit before going to bed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Meet Me at the Automat

Horn and Hardart Automats were the original fast food. Slip a nickel or more into a coin slot, turn the nob and help yourself to velvety mac and cheese, fluffy mashed potatoes, creamed spinach or delicious pies, all of which were made to high-standards. Every morning, company VIPs tasted forkfuls of food, throwing out and not serving items that didn't meet the standards.

Oh my God, the coffee! Horn and Hardart introduced drip coffee to the North (Mr. Hardart was from New Orleans, where coffee was brewed by the French-drip method). The rest of the country boiled coffee!

Once there were more than 50 Automats in New York. Every single one of them is gone. It had its heyday from the 1920s through the late 1950s. What happened? Things changed in America after WWII, with people moving away from cities and to suburbs, and it went downhill from there. Horn and Hardart closed its last Automat in 1991.

So why am I interested in Automats? Maybe I was taken into one as a kid. They were still around, albeit in decline, when I lived here in NY. Maybe I passed them by and was fascinated by their signs and art deco architecture. I know I must have seen them or at least their artifacts; I certainly walked by where they were growing up. Maybe it's because I watched a lot of oldies growing up and have forever been obsessed with the earlier part of the 20th century. I know I saw "That Touch of Mink" plenty of times. That's really what I remember about the Automat, Doris Day peeking through the tiny vending window to speak to Audrey Meadows, who's working in the cafeteria. I remember being completely taken by the Automat scenes in the film and peppering my grandma with questions about them.


Growing up in Florida, I was under the impression that the Automats were long gone and I was incredibly disappointed to hear that the last remaining Automat at 42nd and 3rd ave closed in 1991. My fascination, however, did not go away. In 2003, the Museum of the City of New York had an exhibit of Automat photos, memorabilia, fixtures and stories. I got to hear first hand from folks who ate there regularly. To hear them speak... gosh, the men and women I spoke to truly missed the Automat, missed the food, the equality of the place (tables were shared so you'd get all kinds, musicians, businessmen, working class, poor, everyone ate there), the magic of the vending machines, the magic of the "nickel throwers," women who made changing dollars into nickels an art form. Without looking at the coins, they would give you the exact amount somehow. It is legendary. I cried hearing their stories . And I wasn't the only person crying. It was unbelievable, the yearning, the nostalgia, the good feelings. It felt like stories from my own past. My nostalgia for the Automat took on new life. Last year, I started collecting Automat memorabilia. Then, I wanted to know, where were they here in New York? Have I been in a building that was a former Automat? Can I find these buildings now?

That's when I got an idea.

The Plan. See how many former Horn & Hardart automat locations still exist and if any are reconizable as such. By locations I mean buildings, not interiors. If any original exterior facades exist, I'd be shocked. If an interior existed, then I somehow time traveled.

The Research. First I'm starting with google and I have already done a lot of work. I already own and have read "The Automat," by Lorraine Diehl and Marianne Hardart. I have an automat directory from the 1940s which lists all of the cafeteria locations. I'm going to walk around Manhattan and see what I can find. I'm going to pull up old photos of the exterior of Automats. I also will go to the library and review their collection, delving into microfiche if need be.

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tori!


I went to see Tori Amos tonight and she was AWESOME! I thought I would be in the fifth row but I actually was in the second. That's the closest I have ever sat to the stage in a concert.

Tori came out, wearing a yellow dress and latex pants and kneeled doggy-style on the bench, her rear to the crowd. Everybody went wild and then she busted out singing. Just fantastic!

I was sitting to the left of her piano, which faces the right, allowing me to actually see her play. I've always been too far back to see her hands.

After her set, I rushed the stage (with many others, not just me!) and watched her encores from there.

I wasn't expecting this concert to be so great! She totally rocked it!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Whack: Craigslist's Trophy Post

This morning, I read about a woman who posted on Craigslist looking to marry a rich man and a response from a male reader that followed.

WTF on so many levels.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Girl, blow out that match!

The stupidity of my company requires me to print out a form and have
it signed by a director to complete a help desk ticket submitted
online. My direct boss is not a director so I had to take this trivial
request to his boss, the C Fucking O of the company.

I walked in. It's his opportunity to ask me about my decision to leave
the company. He looked giddy with joy. I told him about the new job,
what I'll be doing. "Sounds like a lot of work." He smiled the entire
time. I never could tell what was on this man's mind, he's as dry as
they come. But I bet he's glad to see me go considering he all but
shut me out of any opportunity for advancement. I stood there and
remembered when I sat at his desk, a year ago this month, as he made
it clear that I would not even be considered for the managerial
position left vacant by my boss, despite my seven years of experience
and stellar performance reviews.

I was tempted to be sarcastic. I was also tempted to be passive-
aggressive. I was tempted to tell him the truth about why I was
leaving. Instead, I thought about how much I didn't want to burn my
bridges. The truth, while it would feel good to yell out, won't change
the past or the state of the company. Besides, you never know who you
will work for or who will work for you. So I smiled, said I was
looking forward to the creativity and challenge offered by my new job
and that I've enjoyed my time at this company.

The last part was a lie. Oh well. I can live with that.


Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Onslaught

A new commercial from Dove that I think is pretty powerful:



Last week, I went to my dermatologist for a follow up visit. I've been seeing her about clearing up a bout of acne. In a moment of spontaneity, I decided to Botox my frown lines, the ones between my eyebrows (known as the "elevens" for the vertical lines they create) and the horizontal line at the ridge of my nose. The injections were painless and over the course of a week, my ability to create these lines lessened and now that area is very smooth. I look rejuvenated. I look great.

But why did I do it? I'm not apologizing for getting this done and the reasons are varied, contradicting and complex so I want to write about it here instead of throwing out the "because I felt like it" answer. What are some of the reasons behind my choice?

I did it because I wanted to try it and view it as a temporary, relatively benign cosmetic procedure. I just started to develop a faint crease on the ridge of my nose and Botox can prevent that line from getting deeper. If you can't make the line, that wrinkle can't get any worse. I did it because this little line is an indication of getting older. I like hearing from strangers that they think I'm 27. I like their surprise when I tell them I'm 34. I value looking younger than I really am. I'm scared of getting and looking older, of becoming invisible.

I did it because I like gadgets, new technology, cutting edge shit. It's crazy to get a toxin injected, to paralyze your face to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I love the show, Dr. 90210. I confess that I wanted to experience that world, to do something that people with means can afford to do, that's outrageous and extravagant and totally unnecessary. I still feel a thrill thinking that I got my face Botoxed! Just like those crazy rich people and celebrities! I'm having a lot of fun with it. One of my favorite facial expressions is an arched brow and I could barely do it, my entire face had to scrunch to get my right eyebrow to raise a tiny bit, and the effect was one of goofiness instead of wit and elegance. Now, I can isolate my right brow and raise it! Whee!

I did it because no matter how much I say that it doesn't matter what you look like, I know it really does. I know I'm considered to be a pretty gal. I know this is valued by my family and my culture. I know that for a woman, being pretty is a source of power. While I try and not let myself be defined by an external standard of beauty, I want to be considered beautiful. I won't go to any length to obtain it, but I'll exercise, buy nice clothes, wear makeup, moisturize, wax, and now inject my forehead with a toxin for it.

I did it because while I never feel thin enough at least I have a pretty face. After years of thinking I was ugly, I started to realize in my mid-twenties that I was pretty. I don't want to lose that. Not yet.

How does it fit into my feminist point of view? Tough question. There's a conflict here between cultural standards of beauty, personal choices and feminist beliefs. I believe that I do examine the beauty mandate and my own rituals. I understand how the patriarchy affects my decisions and behaviors. Even though I'm a smart woman, I am still susceptible to its messages. How much of my decision is based on my own standards of beauty? How much of it is influenced by cultural messages? And doesn't one influence the other?

Friday, September 28, 2007

In the circle game

I walked down the hallway here at work, looking at the activity in the
cafeteria, people standing and talking next to a cubical, and I
thought about how an office is analogous to how life goes on when you
die.

One minute you're in the office, a part of the culture, organizing
meetings and working. You pass by your coworkers daily, have small
talk with them, meet up for lunch. Then you switch jobs and leave.
Depending on your social and organizational place in the company, you
are grieved for but everything continues as it did while you were
there and if you could pop in and observe them, it's like you were
never there at all save for your personal interactions, as everything
keeps on going.

That's how I imagine it is when we die. People in our circle are
impacted, but the world, the machine that is our neighborhood, our
cities, our country just moves on like you weren't even there. It is
sustained as people come and go. It is bigger than a single individual.

I don't mean to sound nihilistic, and I'm not saying that are lives
are anymore meaningful or meaningless than it already is. But when I
walked down that hallway, it occurred to me how sustainable these
companies are, how who we are is less important than the role, and
that once you're gone your space is filled and things keep going on
without you.

All this to say that I got a job offer, from that company where I had
that awful interview. I start in three weeks.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

OMG EWWWWW

Holy crap! Just watched an episode of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. I have never been so disgusted and I almost, almost, was going to give up eating out at restaurants.

Ok, so this is what happened. Well first, let me set this up. This is Gordon Ramsey's American show. He has a UK version of Kitchen Nightmares (which I used to watch when I had DirecTV. Sigh) where he goes to resturants that are on their last legs and helps them out. Sometimes they survive and thrive after he helps and sometimes the owners can't manage it and the restaurant fails. The US version is the same concept.

So ok. Chef Ramsey goes to this Indian restaurant, thankfully one that I never been to. OMG this kitchen is absolutely filthy. He's pulling out rotten meat, green chicken, rotten tomatoes. He goes downstairs to the basement and there are rat droppings and roaches everywhere, in boxes and in a refrigeration unit. He pulls back the rubber sealant on the unit and it's alive with roach activity. I thought I was going to lose it.

On a commercial break I look up the restaurant, to see what if anyone has had to say about it. Then I look up the NYS health inspection report. Bam, closed by the health department earlier this year!

But wait. Chef Ramsey turns this place around. He hires cleaners for the kitchen and takes the managers and owners to his own restaurant to show them how clean a kitchen can be. Let me tell you, that made me feel much better to see his kitchen but it also made it clear how much of a roll of the dice it can be to eat out. (Chef Ramsey's kitchen is spotless but unless you go back there you will never really know. I wish I could tour kitchens. I'm one that judges by the bathroom. It's an area that's highly trafficked and gets very dirty, much like a kitchen. If they don't care what their customers think, imagine the kitchen. Dirty bathroom = dirty kitchen.) Back at the restaurant the dining area is remodeled and the restaurant is renamed Purnima. At the end of the show things are looking up, the kitchen is clean and the food is fresh.

This was a tough episode to watch. I love Indian food and I've been in some places where I suspected the kitchen was pretty bad. I may never go out to eat again but I can't wait for more kitchen nightmares!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

new domain

I bought the domain www.imnotaplasticblog.com, so you can access the blog using that instead of typing out the entire blogger url.

Retro TV Logos

This brings back a lot of memories. See if you can remember some of the shows these logos are from. Muppet Show, Greatest American Hero, Zoom, Family Ties are the ones I instantly remembered.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ban The Carriage Horse Industry in New York City

OK, This is something that has bothered me for a while. Why do we still allow horse-drawn carriages in the city? This weekend, a horse died after being spooked by a drummer. I hate to hear stories like this and hate to hear of a horse being hit by a car. It's completely unnecessary to have horses pulling these carriages. I do not understand why people think that it's romantic. I've walked past the horses near Central Park and it's heartbreaking. They look so sad. They are stuck on a street with noise, cars, trucks and buses pulling a carriage. It's a freaking hard life on an animal. And where do the horses live when they're not working? In small stables on 37th street far on the West side where they can't even lie down. When the horse gets too old or weary of the street, they are replaced. If they are injured, they are replaced. What does replaced mean? Some go to good homes, but how many homes can take in a horse? So they get sent to auction and then potentially to a slaughterhouse.

It's all about the cash. It's not fair. They do not deserve to be used and treated like this.

If this is something that has bothered you, or you're just thinking about it now, please sign the Ban The Carriage Horse Industry in New York City Petition

More info here.

"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself know peace." - Albert Schweitzer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

But I can locate the U.S. on a map!

My interview with the CEO at a SoHo start-up started ok. He was a
young, pleasant looking guy. The room was very warm, and I took off my
jacket and drank liberally from the ice cold Poland Springs I was
handed, but I wasn't sweating. Still, I was nervous and aware that I
was speaking full sentences in single breaths, but I was making sense,
and quickly calmed down. I tend to ramble a bit and as I was talking,
the CEO kicked off his shoes and tucked his legs under himself on the
couch. Like one does at home in front of the tv.

That was really weird. I kept on going. Actually this discussion - he
stressed that he wasn't interviewing or testing me, he only wanted to
get a sense of who I was- went well and he was true to his word. The
job, product managing the site, developing new ideas and managing them
through implementation, sounds exciting and challenging to me,
different than my current business analyst role but one that still
benefitted from my 7 years of experience. My "discussion" with the CEO
was the fourth time I had been to their office and I had one more
interview left, with the CCO, right afterwards.

The CEO liked me and let me know that I had his vote. So with a
feeling of ease, I went on to meet with the CCO. "Name something
you've accomplished, either in your personal or professional life that
you're proud of and that went against the norm."

Huh? My mind went swirling, looking for professional and personal
moments that fit. Putting myself through college came to mind. It was
the only thing that came to mind and to my horror, I started to share
this story out loud.

I went into a total nosedive, hearing myself tell this man that my
parents didn't go to college, talking about how I worked full time and
won a scholarship, and all the while I'm saying to myself, "Abort!
Abort!" and I'm trying to find ways to undo this story while at the
same time mentally cursing myself out. I felt like Miss South Carolina
Teen USA
crashing and burning, unable to stop.

The interview did get better than that moment, I did go on to answer
his questions with relevant professional examples, but it was tough.
The issue I was stuck on, the question I could not satisfactorily
answer was to give an example of how I'm creative in my job. I was
struck down. My job isn't creative. All creative energy has been
sucked out, I've been beat down at this job I've held for over 3
years. So I explained that my job isn't creative, not in the way he's
looking for, but that I am creative in my personal life, that I write,
and that I was here to find a job where I could be more creative in my
professional life.

It wasn't a smooth interview. It wasn't my best performance. I left
feeling like I made up some ground, noticed that folks, including the
receptionist, were still there at 6:30 (vastly different from the 9-5
jobs I've held for most of my adult life), briefly worried if I'd be
expected to do the same, and then reminded myself that this job went
from being a sure thing to highly questionable.

So I don't know if they will extend an offer. How heavily will one bad
interview out five weigh? I do not know. If I don't get the job I will be
ok. If I do get the job, I'll have to deal with the concerns of
working at a start-up and having a work/life balance. In the meantime,
I'm trying to forgive myself for making a professional blunder.

Ugh. At least I'm not all over you tube.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 13, 2007

you may have noticed

I've been playing around and now I have options on my posts for you to digg it, (I know you dig it but you can digg it too. HAR.), add it to del.icio.us or share it on facebook. O la la, if you use any of these features I'll laugh my ass off (You can use it if you deem it worthy, I'm just playing with you). I'm just having fun, it makes my site look so serious and with it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And where will this get me?

Ok. I did something today that's a little unplanned, a little crazy
that has an uncertain future.

I froze my gym membership.

I've frozen it for the next 3 months and I have many reasons why this
seemed logical to do.

1) I haven't been going to the gym. Since the weather got nice earlier
this year I've been running in the park. It's actually something I
enjoy doing, (but yes, August was indeed too hot for me to run outside
so instead I sat on my couch watching tv but whatever it's getting
cooler out). I want to run outside for as long as I can stand it as
it's infinitely more interesting than staring at the back of some guys
head on a treadmill.

2) I'm really not into the gym routine anymore.
The thought of the process involved to get there, take stuff out of my
rented locker, take my clothes off, put my gym clothes on, workout,
take my gym clothes off, shower, put my work clothes back on (yes, I
brought clean undies along) makes me want to sit on the couch and
watch tv while eating chips. And the workout is so routine. I've been
doing the gym thing for a 13 years. Time to do something else for a bit.

3) I want to try doing yoga and pilates.
Every time I say "yoga and pilates" I have to do so like Madonna does
in American Life and I feel really, really gross. But I do like y&p
and want to give it an honest try because I see myself as someone who
would get a lot of emotional, spiritual and health benefits from yoga
and as for pilates, everyone i've seen who does it has an awesome body.

I wonder how this all will work out. I'm not trying to doom myself
before I start but this is a vastly different fitness program for me.
I'll have to get appropriate running apparel for the fall, probably
get new sneakers in a month, sign up for some y&p sessions and really
stay committed and see if this new program is better than going to the
gym once in a while.

I do wonder about strength training. I hate doing it and pilates
probably won't take care of my needs. Will I buy free weights?
Probably not, but I'm going to try this for 3 months and go from
there. I can always unfreeze my gym membership.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ack! Sexism


Those of you not watching Madmen, and please let that be none of you, know that the show is my new obsession, with its nostalgia, great set design and fashion, and intriguing characters and plot. It's so good that I may even buy the DVD when it comes out. Don't miss this show, people!

Anyway, through my fascination with Madmen I found Jetpack's blog and yesterday he posted a vintage ad (which I copied over from his site, but do check out his blog) that reminds me of the sexism that pervades the world of Madmen and which seems totally unreal. I don't know when this ad was published, but ewww it's real all right.

Today

I'm glad it's an ugly, rainy day today instead of a brilliant, shockingly beautiful Tuesday like it was six years ago. You know, I still can't believe that it happened, even though I remember things clearly, remember briskly walking through the WTC concourse, buying my metrocard at 8:44 am at the Cortlandt Street station, feeling the weird rocking sensation at 8:46 on the train that didn't leave the station or had even closed its doors.

Had I decided to stay on that train instead of stepping back onto the smoky platform I wouldn't have stepped outside, wouldn't have seen the scared woman who told me things were falling from the sky, wouldn't have seen the burned business documents floating down landing at my feet, wouldn't have seen the second plane hit the building, wouldn't have been knocked down to the ground and nearly trampled, wouldn't have met up with a bunch of guys who all had the same gut feeling to get as far away as possible from the buildings for fear that it would fall like dominoes. Between some buildings near the seaport, we looked for a fallout shelter and watched and heard the first building fall and started running again.

Had I stayed on that train until it left the station, it wouldn't have changed what happened that day, just my own experience of it.

I will never, ever forget the lives lost that day here in NY and the mark it made on my life, on this city, and on this country.

My Street: Then and Now

I found a picture of my street and building from 1916 so I decided to take a photograph of how the street looks now, from around the same spot as the original photographer (click on image for larger view).

1916


2007


Not many trees in the 1916 shot and only a few things changed on this side of the street. I'll take another photo when the leaves are no longer on the trees to get a better comparison.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The road home

Well the trip is almost over. I'm at the gate waiting for by flight,
which appears to be somewhat on time. So, now is a good time to post
some reflections of the trip.

* I shouldn't give Spanish-only speakers such a hard time. I brushed
up on my Spanish ordering coffee and met some nice waitstaff.

* I really like seeing my grandparents. I don't call them enough.

* Grandpa told me that his life passed, snap, like that and now he's
going to be 76. It's really fast so live large.

* There are a lot of brazilians in Florida.

* Family gossip can be interesting but otherwise sucks when you get
sucked into it and have to repeat what you heard.

* I love the rain in Miami, how it's rains heavily and quickly.

* I really like seeing the clouds at dusk, and looking at them over
the sawgrass, wondering how long will we have this before it gets
developed.

* I love driving on the highways in Florida and how I know where I'm
going. It's such nostalgia and it makes me happy.

* I really like driving in the sawgrass expressway at night.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hot sauce

I think I've mentioned this to some of you, that our family makes hot
sauce. This is my uncle's jar. He was kind enough to give me a bottle
of peppers to start my own. He gave me the instructions (secret) but I
usually screw it up. Let's see if I can get it right this time.

I didn't take the photo though. My 14 yr old cousin, a fantastic
amateur photographer, took the photo.

Coffee

Miami is filled with these tiny Cuban restaurants where everyone
speaks Spanish and the cafe cubano is flowing. I'm sitting at the
counter Waiting for my cafe con leche and tostada which she's making.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Greetings from the airplane's bathroom

No mile high club, but some photo action.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Remote Post: on the highway

It's nice to be here, in the back seat, my stepfather driving west on
836. My mom is asking me about Chevy's, the Mexican restaurant we
just passed, and then we remenisced about El Torito, the long gone
Mexican joint my parents and their friends used to go to, me in tow
looking forward to the chips and salsa, wondering if I'd be allowed to
order a shirley temple.

I like knowing what road I'm on, where it leads to, where I'm going. I
love the familiarity of this place.

I'm starved and we're going to hit Pollo Tropical (chicken on the
grill!), my favorite fast food joint for some rice, black beans, yuca
and plantano maduros. Nothing like having dinner at midnight.


Sent from my iPhone

Remote Post: Delays

Right now I'm sitting in a terminal at JFK airport. I'm in gate 35 for
American airlines which isn't my gate but the one heading to Zurich.
There's an interesting mix of people here from various ethnic
backgrounds, most of whom have a vaguely European look about them.
Mostly they are better dressed than the average American traveler.

I'm also here at this gate to take advantage of an outlet to charge my
phone (as I type). It's this little cafe-like table with a pole of
outlets that's now completely full (I'm the only one with a seat
because this is the only chair near it. Mostly mac users with iPods or
laptops). The other reason I'm here is that my flight is delayed for 3
hours due to mechanical problems. Well. At least I'm not spending 3
hours on the plane waiting on the Tarmac.

I had fun at the agent desk whipping out my iPhone and asking them
about Rule 240. (sorry can't add a link here). People oohed and ahhed
not over the phone but at me when I was calmly throwing questions out
about availability on other airlines, flight number for the plane
arriving and in flight time, going on orbitz and letting the agents
know that orbitz was reporting that 5 seats were available on a delta
6:45pm flight. Shit like that.

Yeah, didn't get me anywhere but I had some laughs with fellow
passengers, one of them bellowing "rule 240 in effect" repeatedly. I
should have suggested we all get drinks.

I did walk around the terminal for a bit. It seems newly remodeled.
Where is the section of JFK that has that distinct design?

No hassle with the security theatre. Had I known that it would have
been so easy I would have packed my 4 oz sunblock.

Ok at this point I'm rambling. I'm going to check on my flight.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

you voted...

and by 1 point you suggested that this blog remain anonymous. I'm still not sure what I'll do, but thank you for voting.

I planned on doing a post on my pet peeves but then I forgot and got lazy. And then last week, I planned on doing a post about this Spiegeltent party K. and I went to. Too much time passed on that one. Argh.

I'm going on vacation Friday (to Miami) and hopefully will come back refreshed. I totally need a break.

I will play around with some of the layout and tools now, though.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wanderlust

I have wanderlust in my heart.
Every once in a while I want to quit my job, not renew my lease and
buy an RV and go around the country. Why wait until I am of retirement
age? It would be nice to have the freedom to go anywhere, pick and
choose what state I'm in the mood for and then just drive there.
I'm not talking about a rinkydink motor home either but one of those
class-A bus-like RVs with a nice sized interior. Imagine driving
around the states in that? The kind of motor homes stars have?

Then reality creeps in. First off, isn't the rest of America filled
with republicans and walmart? What exactly am I going to do once I
pull into an RV park? Is it safe, and is it only filled with
retirees? Won't I get bored after a year, which is why the elderly
have RVs because how many years are they going to drive around anyway?
And then, how am I going to pay for gas and food? I guess I could
freelance every once in a while to pay the bills. Plus, I'm afraid of
being attacked by a bear and don't RV folks go to camps and national
parks? I'm quite urban. Oh hey, won't I have to deal with my own
sewage? Ewwwwww.

Seems more and more like a fantasy rather than an implementable plan.
I don't know, but I'm enjoying looking at Winnebago's website.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Picture post: my desk

I'm at work right now playing with my iPhone (after I ate those
chips). Here's a pic of my desk.

Sent from my iPhone

MSG! Yum!

This is an empty bag of Lay's sour cream and onion chips. This is my
third bag this week and I had Monday off. This could easily turn into
an addiction. Why are these so good? Why can't I just eat one? Because
no one can, kid. No one can.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

identity vs. anonymity

I originally set up my blog under my known username (my email address name), but changed it to I'm not a plastic blog. I couldn't decide if I wanted people to know that I was writing this blog. Everything would seem so open and I would be easily be searchable on Google. That can't be good, I thought.

Then I read this article today about a woman who wanted her son's name to be easily searchable on Google, one that was uncommon and visible online. Interesting. Here's a quote from the article:

In the age of Google, being special increasingly requires standing out from the crowd online. Many people aspire for themselves -- or their offspring -- to command prominent placement in the top few links on search engines or social networking sites' member lookup functions.

Here I am in complete anonymity, with a very unusual name and an unusual username and I'm choosing to keep my identity hidden when others are going out of their way to be visible online. Part of me does want to be searchable. I do want an internet history of my thoughts and writings. I do want my friends to easily find me. What am I afraid of?

So, what do you think? I put up a poll to the left. Let me know your thoughts. Please feel free to comment. A lot of you like to send me private emails with your thoughts and while I welcome that, you are also welcomed to interact with me here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The best school no one has ever heard of

Back in 1992, I received this issue of Sassy magazine that had an article, "The Seven Most Innovative Colleges We Could Find." This is how I found out about Eugene Lang College. The author, Allie Merriam from Fashionista.com, generously took screenshots of the magazine, but I'll retype the blurb on Lang as it's hard on the eyes:


Forget all that collegiate stuff - I want earnest feminist dialogue

Out of all the colleges here, The Lang College of the New School For Social Research is probably the least collegiate in feel, located as it is in a five-story building in New York's bohemian mecca, Greenwich Village. Ther are no sports teams, no extracurricular activities, no all-campus parties and only 400 students. But who cares about all that when you've got so many amazing classes to chose from? I got so jealous looking through the course catalog: "Inventing Reality: What to Believe in What the Media Tells Us," The Shaping of the Modern City," "Anthropological Perspectives on Gender." Tasty. There are majors in Lang - they're called concentrations - but you don't have to take a huge number of classes in a department to fulfill your degree requirement. Also appealing: there are no boring, overcrowded introduction to/"101" classes here - all classes are seminars. This means they're small, reading- and writing-intensive, and very discussion-oriented. "Classes tend to be really inclusive," says Alice, a recent graduate. "In any given literature class, you could get a really good dose of feminism and history too." Often seminar classes go so well that professors and students continue to meet informally long after the class itself has ended. And if you don't want to be taught by a procession of staid old tenured men, Lang is a dream. "I'd guess that 90 percent of my classes were taught by women, so you don't get much of that weird, male-hierarchy stuff," Alice says, "and the teachers all tend to be feminists."


I liked what I read and attended Lang in 1994. It was really the best school no one has every heard of.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

10 Good Reasons You May Not Want to Have Kids

Hilarious list from Dirty Writer...You may or may not have figured this out: They are born knowing nothing. A blank slate. This means that you have years, possibly decades before they have anything insightful or interesting to say...

read more | digg story

Welcome to America

When writer Elena Lappin flew to LA, she dreamed of a sunkissed, laid-back city. But that was before airport officials decided to detain her as a threat to security ...

read more | digg story

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Staying Gold

I know this is a bad thing to say, but I think smoking still looks cool. I know, I know, that’s horrible, and I don’t smoke, never have and never will, but on the right person in the right setting, it can be so bad ass and sexy. I was walking down the street Friday and this guy came out of a store, flipped open an old fashioned lighter, lit his cigarette and leaned back against the brick. It looked so cinematic. I wish I could have that quality sometimes (that quality being considered cool by other people) which Simon Rich captured very well in last week’s New Yorker.

I noticed how my default behavior whenever in a group of people I don’t know is to assume the role of the outcast. Thursday I went out to see one of those outdoor movies in the park that the city does during the summer. I wasn’t very social and to be fair, it seemed like the girls that were there were talking to those that had come with them, so I wasn’t being terribly rude, but I became very aware of my behavior when my friend engaged in conversations with the other girls around us. Her body language was open and inclusive and she would turn her head and make eye contact with me, signaling that I wasn’t being left out. Consciously or not, she exuded inclusiveness and I was struck as to how morose and misanthropic I can be, and how I let a definition of myself from 20 years ago still impact the way I behave today.

Outcast. The word that can sum up my junior and high school experience. The girl with the notebook who sat either in the stairwell alone or in the journalism room to eat lunch. How something that I felt defined me in 1987 can still feel so relevant in my life 20 years later is mind blowing (as is the fact that that was 20 years ago). Yet, here I am, 34 years old and still feeling like an outcast. Once defined by others now I self-define. I’m the one that keeps it alive after all of these years. Now I cultivate this image of myself and being an outcast has become a badge of honor for me, a source of pride. I’ll define myself first, I’ll set myself apart, no, fuck you I’m better than you, I can’t get hurt by you.

I haven’t had a lot of friends. I’ve kept the numbers small and manageable and shied away from accumulating acquaintances. While there’s a lot more to why I do this, my high school experiences of feeling like an outcast is a major factor. I think about the vulnerability of that young girl and how hurt I had been, how I had to build up this armor and keep most at arm’s length and wave only a select few in. I had once compared my friendship style to an exclusive boutique, one where you had to ring a bell and not everyone is allowed in. Look what that says about me. Do I want my friendship style to be a Wal-Mart? No, but I could ease up the barriers of entry a bit and be more open. It doesn’t have to hurt me to the core if someone doesn’t like me or want to be my friend, but I won’t even get to that point if all I do is stand in my metaphorical corner smoking my metaphorical cigarette and pretending like I don’t care about anyone or anything.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Meh

Lately I've been wondering how am I to give back to the world. When I say "give back" I don’t just mean monetarily, but also creatively and in a humanist way. What kind of mark am I to leave in this world? Am I to leave a mark at all?

Something that I'd like to become a part of is micro lending. I heard about a few organizations that help people across the world start their own businesses and work their way out of poverty through the use of micro loans. I've been looking into Kiva as a way to contribute.

Creatively, I've been trying to write more. Mostly I've been writing private journal entries offline and I have yet to start on a book of writing exercises that I borrowed from the library for the purpose of getting back into the habit of writing. I do not know if through writing I will find my purpose in the world, but it's something that I have always felt would, but I don’t hold it as a given like I did when I was sixteen.

Some, but not all of this thinking was prompted by the discovery of a lump in my breast three weeks ago, for which I go this Friday for more tests to determine what it is. While I’ve read that 80% of lumps are benign, it brings out fear of the worst, fear that I don’t deserve it to be benign. It’s ridiculous and it’s a fear that I shouldn’t give much thought to or buy into in the slightest, but it’s still there, it’s a darkness I feel. I’m trying not to worry about it unless I end up having something to worry about. I’ve been doing a good job of that, but today, not so good.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

food porn

I just made some Indian food tonight and took some pictures (with the iphone of course). Saag paneer (spinach and cheese) and paratha (griddle bread). The paneer is store bought but it's not that hard to make it (if I get the recipe I will next time).


BFF

I currently don’t have a best friend. It’s something I think about pretty often. I miss having a best friend, a girl friend that knows all of my secrets and I know all of hers, comes over to hang out, go out to dinner or shop with, talk late on the phone about stuff. I’m not dissing the friends that I have. Anyone who is reading this is most likely my friend and you know that I love you but we're not each other's best friend. Most of my friends and I are no longer local.

Back at the turn of the century (I just love saying that), I had a great group of friends and we used to go out for dinner all the time and it just was such a highlight of my life to have these two friends to laugh and share stuff with and hang out with on an almost weekly basis. I thought it was a friendship that would last through all of our life changes. We were pretty tight and then, something happened. One moved out of the city the other quit her job, one started a family the other started her own business. Now, no one can commit to even meeting for dinner once a year. I remember the day that I looked at my shelf and saw that I had pictures of my friends and me together and it hit me how long ago they were taken. So I took them down. I know that we all still care about one another, consider one another friends, but the reality is we don’t know each other anymore.

I know things change, people start having families and priorities shift, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel alone and feel like I have no one to confide in. I think about moving back home to Florida, not because I have a strong desire to sweat and complain about how flat everything is down there, or how suburban it all is, but because at least my family is there, people who know me. If I feel alone I could just hop in the car and go visit my mom, my uncle or one of my many cousins who are in my age range. While I love NY, I often look around and wonder what's keeping me here. I don't have anything or anyone here. Why should I stay?

Ok, I know it sounds like I’m having a pity party but I’m not. I hardly ever talk about how lonely I feel. I keep myself busy with concerts and blind dates and hanging out with my coworkers after work and reading in the park and that’s great. But is it unrealistic to want a best friend at my age? Is it unrealistic to want close friends who live locally and can come over?

If one of you tells me that I should find something on Meet Up, I will hunt you down and hurt you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's toasted

Just watched an episode of Mad Men. I know a lot of people have fantasies of going back in time to a different era. I have always figured the early part of the 20th century was more my style. This show is based in the 1950s, a time when people drank alka-seltzer, women were secretaries, businessmen had bars in their offices and smoked everywhere. While I do enjoy Doris Day films, I have no fantasies of going back to this era, except maybe to eat at an Automat (but I could do that in the 30s and 40s just as well). There’s no fantasy here in this show, except if you’re a man perhaps, one who longs for the days when ad men were successful and ruled Madison ave, the Darren wannabes of the world. For a woman, it was a time of being called Honey, knowing your place is in front of a typewriter, that is until you landed a man, and then you quit the charade of a job and got on with the business of being a housewife and mother.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t any feminists in the show. I counted three headstrong women going against the flow, but there’s also the brutal reminder of how far women had yet to go in the 50s before we took being considered an equal for granted.

It’s a good show. I recommend watching it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some cool videos

Royskopp (caveman song)

Bat for Lashes

AIM: back on sporadically

Since my company bans any communication with the outside world except
via phone, I haven't logged into IM in a long time and consequently
that led me to stop using it at home too (I use gmail's chat feature
more often but that limits me to those who are also on gmail).

Today I found a great app for the phone so those of you still using
AIM you may see me on there as I pop in and out to check who's on. Say
hello when you can and I'll do the same!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bat for Lashes

Going to a show tonight a last minute decision but for $12, what
excuse could I come up with to not see this English band?

I'm also testing blogging from the phone. I've also tested Hopstop
which works pretty well on here too.

I'm at work, bored out of my mind. Say hello. :-)

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

iphone: day 3

I am still in love with my phone. I am still using it covertly under my desk at work. It is still the greatest piece of electronic equipment I own.

I had a realization: I was describing iphone and realized that the iphone is the equivalent to 1984's Macintosh. First, Apple completely changed the way people interacted with computers in 1984 with the completely revolutionary Macintosh that was so easy to use, so easy to understand and now with this incredible, simple, elegant piece of machinery, apple is changing how people interact with cell phones. This is the 2007 version of the Macintosh!

And in case you never saw the commercial that gave me goosebumps when at 11 years old I stood and stared at the TV, my mouth hanging open in complete astonishment and awareness, yes awareness, that this thing was going to be way cool and would forever turn me into a macAddict, a member of the iCult, here it is.

BTW, I still have my original Macintosh from 1984. It's in the storage unit downstairs. And it still works.

Monday, July 23, 2007

iphone

I don't know what possessed me to do it. I typically don't make rash decisions. It might have been David Pogue's video. Most likely I was desperate for email. Sunday afternoon, after some light shopping and a visit to the treats truck, I bought an iPhone.

It was so freaking easy. I walk up to an employee that's standing around, ask him if the phone is in stock, he gets the phone and right there in the middle of the store, he swipes my credit card with this portable reader, emails me my receipt and we're done. No time to squirm, no time to waffle, the phone is mine.

The phone is outrageous. It's the easiest cell phone I've used that has internet capabilities. It's so simple I don't have to read a manual. I have zero buyer's remorse. None.

My uncle, a fellow MacAddict, got the phone today. We're both screaming in excitement. While he's jazzed to show off the phone to everyone, I took it into work today and discreetly used it, making sure no one noticed. Why? I haven't bought a case yet and I'm keeping it snugged up in a lint free cloth in my bag. I don't want to bring it out and carry it around all naked since I tended to drop my old cell phone all the time. I also don't want it to get stolen. Once people know, that phone cannot leave my person. There's no leaving the phone in the bag once they know it's there.

The bright side of keeping my new toy under wraps is that I don't have to deal with people wanting to hold it. I'm so not letting anyone handle this thing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

She's Back

Resurrection: a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival.

It's time. I'm bringing back the blog. Why? Because I'm feeling creative and I'm feeling like sharing, communicating and most of all, writing. I'll experiment with different styles of writing in that there will be some posts that will (hopefully) read like a column, I'll comment on some current events or stuff on the internet, or I'll share stuff that's going on in my life, things that I wouldn't have a problem talking about IRL, but it's not going to be a diary.

I'm excited to try this again.