Monday, September 29, 2008
Just to clarify before we get into this deeper. I have no intentions of becoming Muslim. As those of you who have been reading this know, what I am really interested in doing is LEARNING. Lets go back in time a little bit... when I was in 8th grade, I participated in a friend's Catholic church's Christmas play. I dressed up like an angel, learned dance movements to the Hail Mary, processed down the aisle in front of the entire Christmas services, and participated as one of the angels in a church whose religion I don't even follow's Christmas play.
In college, my freshman year, I joined a Jewish sorority. GRANTED, I didn't KNOW it was Jewish at the time I joined... but it really made no difference to me whatsoever once I found out. I consider myself lucky to bave had the privilege to be exposed to Jewish culture and tradition through the friendships I have made through my Jewish sorority and through the years of planning parties around Jewish holidays and daily sayings or practices that I've had explained to me.
Now I really am just continuing on my lifelong practice of exploring other religions and learning more about other ways of life. I find it interesting that nobody ever asked me if I was considering becoming Jewish even though I spent so much time around Jewish people while at Syracuse. I attended Hillel sometimes, I ate the Jewish meals, I've had motza and eaten at Pickels plenty of times. I planned the damn Hookah for Sukkot event for petes sake! But now that I'm just starting to spend time with some Muslim friends and learning about Muslim culture, numerous people have asked if I plan on becoming Muslim.
So anyways, the Bazaar was really fun! There were different tunics, scarves, and more traditional Indian dress for sale, BEAUTIFUL and exquisite jewelry, henna tattoos, purses, food, etc. The event was only for women and although there weren't many white people there (or people not dressed in traditional Indian clothing) I didn't feel out of place and I was welcomed by everyone.
I have never really seen people dressed in traditional Indian clothing in person... I've seen people wearing the long robes and head scarves but not the dress clothing, and seriously, everything was BEAUTIFUL. I wish I could have taken pictures but I didn't want to feel like a tourist at this event. But the colors and the beading and the patterns and the accessories... everybody looked so amazing and some of those women were drop dead gorgeous, I just wanted to stare. And OMG, the little kids all dressed up? Priceless.
I really enjoyed myself and loved getting to know this friend more. She is really sweet and really makes me laugh. One of the most interesting conversations and also the saddest conversations that we had was with one of her friends. I made a comment about how I am very friendly to everyone I meet and will talk to anybody... my friend commented that she had heard that is the way people are in the South all the time. I asked if she had ever been to the south and she laughed, as did her other friend and they commented that there was no way that they could ever go down and live in the south and they woudln't even dare visit there for fear of being discriminated against. They told horror stories of friends they'd had who had visited the south/gone to school there but dropped out. The joked about the KKK coming after them and what would happen if they walked down the street in their traditional dress.
I stood their awkwardly, wanting to stop them from saying these things, but not really sure what could I say. That this isn't true? I've never been to the south and I especially don't know what its like to be a Muslim in the south or a Muslim here. I felt terrible. The last time I felt like that was in the winter when I had a conversation with an African friend about being discriminated against. It makes me feel guilty, resentful, unappreciative, angry, torn apart, to have these conversations with people.
Someone once told me that the advantage that white people have is that they DON'T have to think about certain things. They DON'T have to think about if they were pulled over because they were driving 5 miles over the speed limit or because of the color of their skin. They DON'T have to think about whether they got their job because of their merits or because of the color of their skin. They DON'T have to think about whether or not they can travel to the south because of the color of their skin (unless they are worried about a sunburn).
And that right there. Is something to think about.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So as I read this article on MSNBC.com about the U.S. keeping a close eye on pirate ships off the coast of Somalia that had stolen a ton of weapons off of a Soviet ship and are feared to have links to Al-Qaida... what did I think?
Did I think? Oh no, we could be in danger?
Did I think? How are we sure that these people could have links to al-Qaida?
Did I think? Are we taking all of the proper measures to be sure that these people don't get far?
Did I think ANY of these things? Not really.
My real thoughts were... HOLY CRAP... pirates EXIST???
Read the full article here.
And don't worry... more lessons with actual stories involved will emerge again at some point.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Just in case.
Cause when it comes down to it, you are the one that will look like the idiot if you have nothing to show for the work you've done when it comes time to present it.
So first, a little background on Ramadan that I learned today. I looked this information up before the dinner, and then during the introduction to the event, most of it was reinforced. The month of Ramadan can when it takes place during the year because it is based on the Lunar calendar.
It lasts for 30 days and although there are numerous factors associated with it, the most notable is that during the month, Muslims fast and abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise until sunset.
Fasting is supposed to teach people patience, sacrifice, and humility. It is not supposed to be a torture mechanism but it is supposed to induce a feeling of peace and calm, cleanse the body, teach self-control and feel sympathy for those less fortunate. Also during Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance into the future, ask for help in refraining from everyday evils and try to purify hemselves through self-restraint and good deeds.
Ramadan ends with Eid ul-Fitr, a day of celebration and feasts. I’m actually sort of ashamed that I never learned this earlier because for the past 4 years I have had a day off of school for Eid ul-Fitr. Yet I never took the take to actually find out why we had that day off besides that it was the day of some funny holiday whose name I couldn’t pronounce. Eid isn't until next week but today, Ramadan was celebrated at work.
The more I learned, the more I liked this holiday because it is practical and it isn’t outrageous. You may think that it is extreme when you hear “fast for a month” but it really isn’t so. Elderly, those critically ill or even anyone not feeling well that day, pregnant women, women on their period, and women nursing are all exempt from fasting. Those traveling are exempt (time differences), children are exempt (ends at puberty) but they often try. For those that cannot fast, they are asked to donate food to someone less wealthy then them and if possible, make up the day that they missed later on in the year. There is also a focus on sharing and helping others and a social aspect of inviting others to join them for meals.
yesterday I decided that today, the day of the work Ramadan dinner, I would fast for the day in order to get more meaning out of it. Throughout the day I jotted down my thoughts and the times that I had these thoughts. This really is kind of funny for me to read now too because I legit just had a word file open all day where I would write something down when it popped into my head related to fasting. Not going to lie, it was REALLY intense.
6:15 a.m. Time to get up! I know the sun rises in about a ½ hour so I’ve got to make sure to get some water into my system.
6:48 a.m. – SUNRISE IN ALBANY, NY --
6:54 a.m. Dang it! I got distracted by blow-drying & straightening my hair that I didn’t realize how much time had gone by and I didn’t drink as much water as I would have liked. Ugh. Here goes nothing…
7:34 a.m. As I’m driving to work I have urges to stop everywhere I want to get something to eat. Weird, since I never usually have eaten at this time… it just goes to show you how much of it is mental. Because I don’t think I’ve ever had a desire to get breakfast at McDonalds. In the words of my brother, “I’d rather lick a toilet”
8:22 a.m. Stomach growling begins. I REALLY want a glass of water.
9:49 a.m. I am trying to ignore that I really want water and coffee.
10:32 a.m. Actual hunger is starting to set in.
11:18 a.m. Hunger is fading. Right now I’m really more bored. Usually I get up throughout the morning to get coffee, go to the bathroom, refill water bottle, etc.
1:02 p.m. Umm… I just went and sat with my friends while they were eating. I’m not really hungry right now but I’m exhausted and my head is cloudy. I don’t know if I would feel this way if I had eaten/drank and maybe I’m just tired? Who knows, but I just want to take a nap right now.
1:08 p.m. I lied. I’m hungry again.
1:43 p.m. Ooooh! Look at that! I went 35 minutes without thinking about the fact that I was fasting.
2:30 p.m. I’m so thirsty and hungry. I want to go to sleep. I want to nap until it is time to eat dinner. I remember my friends used to tell me that when they would fast for Yom Kippor they would try to sleep through the whole day if possible. Yeah. I’m totally feeling like that would be good right now.
2:40 p.m. I wonder how thirsty I’d have to be to be at that stage where you drink your own pee?
2:44 p.m. I send an IM my friend saying I don’t know if I can make it through the day
2:45 p.m. How much of this is mental and how much of it is my lack of food/water literally making me want to close my eyes and nap immediately.
4:19 p.m. Good news? I just had a meeting and forgot about this for a little bit. Bad news? When I stood to get up I felt a little lightheaded.
4:46 p.m. Is this over yet…
5:33 p.m. I’m feeling good. I think this may be the best meal of my life coming up.
The dinner was AMAZING. I had incredible rice, shwarma, rice/vegetable stuffed grape leaves, kebab, hummus, nan, and baklava for dessert. AMAZING. I sat with the wife of the couple I befriended and some of her friends, older women, who all practice fasting throughout the entire month of Ramadan.
I was so proud of myself and happy that I made it through the day of fasting because it really meant a lot to these women and they were so surprised and respectful of the fact that I fasted. That I told them I wanted it to mean something and that I really respected the reasons why they all fast. Also, food was served at 6:30 p.m. but sunset wasn't until 6:50. The women kept telling me that I should eat because I didn't NEED to be fasting but I told them I wanted to wait those last 20 minutes with them. It was hard but it was easier to do it with a group. I can see how Ramandan brings people together, really.
Today was a great day. I learned so much, ate delicious food, made new friends, experienced a new culture, etc. Today's lesson might have been the hardest I've learned so far. Literally, no food and water was so hard.
P.S. Sorry for the long post!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The theatre was filled with parents with little children (some were dressed up like characters-- so cute!) as well as a large amount of gay men. The atmosphere in the theatre was totally fun... everybody was laughing a lot and just having a good time. At the very start of the movie, the sound was messed up and you could only heard the background music and sound effects but none of the voices. A couple of men filled in for the crowd and literally were reciting EVERY line, with perfect pitch and imitations of the characters voices. Basically it was like Wizard of Oz karaoke. It was HYSTERICAL. The entire theatre was laughing.
Anyways, I heard about this event from a blog I've been reading called All Over Albany and they recommended people check out the movie but also check out some of the political theories and interpretations behind it and the supposed allegories of the characters. They directed me to a few links and I printed them out and read them while I was waiting for the movie to start so they'd be fresh in my mind.
Basically, people say that the movie and the character reflects some of the political situations of the 1890-1900s. Dorothy represents the naive, simple, every day person just trying to get by and get back to normal when a tornado (i.e. a political revolution) carries her to a world with wonderful resources, but serious political problems. In the original book, the slippers were silver, so there is said to be symbolism behind the silver slippers being taken down the "golden" yellow brick road to an "emerald" city... all of which being a symbol for the issues that were going on behind coinage an representation for currency. Where the "emerald" city represents a world where green paper money doesn't really have value in itself and is something that is just built up which no real value behind it. And even though the author of The Wizard of Oz said he came up with "Oz" from a filing cabinet labeling "A-N" and "O-Z" people speculate if Oz really is due to the fact that oz. is the abbreviation for ounces, the measurement used for gold and silver.
The Tinman is said to represent the industrial workers, badly mistreated, and left alone rusted and helpless until the Scarecrow, aka the representation of a farmer comes along to help him. This mimics a much discussed Labor-Farmer movement of the 1890s. Also, the Tinman's dependency on the oil can is taken as a symbol for Rockefellar's rising oil conglomerate (ummm... which if this was meant to be a symbol for larger scale oil dependency, that DEF. still has relevance today-- did anybody see the price of oil shoot up today? ugh.).
Anyways, the movie was totally fun and some of my favorite lines that I wrote down were:
"A heart is not judged by how much it loves but by how much it is loved by others." -Wizard of Oz
"What puts the 'ape' in apricot?" and "A rhinocerous? Imposerous!" - Lion (Both these were during "If I were the King of the Forest" and I just thought they were funny... maybe it was because the same men that were sitting behind me acting out the movie for the theatre when the sound was out continued that throughout the whole thing... and they got such a kick out of these lines that I did as well).
"Some people with no brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?" - (Um, at this point the men behind me shout, 'yah-- and they get elected for two terms!'... which I thought was comical)
"There is no place like home." - Dorothy
If only it were that easy, huh?
Seriously though... seeing this tonight just reminded me what a fun, funny, magical, and educational movie this is. Go watch The Wizard of Oz today.
P.S. Anybody from the fam remember when we were playing some game like "Taboo" and someone was trying to get Chris B. to guess the word "Brain" so they said to him, "If I only had a.....?" and his response was "Chair?"
On Sunday, 9/21, I learned the answer to this question.
The book I am currently reading is called “This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession” by Daniel J. Levitin. It is about the human obsession with music and it asks and answers the questions, “What is music?” “Where does it come from?” “Why do some sequences of sounds move us so while others—such as dogs barking or cars screeching- make many of us uncomfortable?" "Why do we listen to music?" "Why are we willing to spend a lot of money on music listening?" "And for those that aren’t willing, why aren’t they affected?" "Why do some people prefer certain types of music?" And more.
“A bowl of pudding only has taste when I put it in my mouth—when it is in contact with my tongue. It doesn’t have taste or flavor sitting in my fridge, only the potential. Similarly, the walls in my kitchen are not “white” when I leave the room. They still have paint on them, of course, but color only occurs when they interact with my eyes.”
“Sound waves impinge on the eardrums and pinnae (the fleshy parts of your ear) setting off a chain of mechanical and neurochemical events, the end product of which is an internal mental image we call pitch. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? (the question was first posed by the Irish philosopher George Berkeley.) Simply, no—sound is a mental image created by the brain in response to vibrating molecules. Similarly, there can be no pitch without a human or animal present. A suitable measuring device can register the frequency made by the tree falling, but truly it is not pitch unless and until it is hear.”
Pretty neat, huh? And although I won’t plug the book itself since I just started it… I will plug its Web site. It is one of the best author’s sites I’ve seen.
Monday, September 22, 2008
A few select pics of the weekend...
P.S. I had to put up the pics of the clothes because when I say that I learned my friends were making moves... it wasn't a lie. One of my roommates from senior year now has her own clothing designs featured in the windows of a store on campus!! How beautiful are these clothes? I want them all. But especially the orange and off-white one in the bottom picture.
I was really surprised by this but then thought more about it... and we're in an age that SO MUCH is done digitally that it really shouldn't be shocking that dating is now taking place online.
Only a few years ago, people would have laughed and scoffed at the idea of people making friends in COLLEGE online. College is sort of know as a place where everyone comes in freshman year desperate for friends and might possibly be the one time in your life that is the most ideal set up for people to make friends. However, nowadays, even freshman in college are making friends online via facebook. It really is sort of sad.
But dating online is becoming the norm for people and not a last resort for those desperate hearts. Everybody that I was speaking with at lunch that were so open and normal talking about Match.com were young, attractive, fun people. One of the guys I had met the week before and had thought he was totally adorable and wanted to spend more time with him. It was so weird to me to hear that he was meeting people online. I thought to myself, "Why does he need to do that? Is there something wrong with him?" but when I thought about that I realized that online dating isn't something that people do nowadays because they NEED to but just because they WANT to and its becoming more of the norm.
Anybody agree or disagree?
With this observation, people may think, "So are you signing up now?" and my answer is no. I am in a position where I am constantly meeting new people every day and using more traditional approaches to meet people. But it isn't something that I would totally rule out of the future. If I came to a point in time where my opportunities to meet new people were stagnant and I wasn't really getting out much... who knows?
Obviously, I always love comments... but I'd like to really propose people throw out their opinions on this one.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Anyways, Thursday I learned that inflation is a real live thing and I can now officially join the ranks of old people that say, "Back when I was young, you used be able to buy ____ for only ____ and now you have to pay ____!"
I got word from some friends that prices of pitchers at my favorite Syracuse bar were raised from $3/pitcher to $3.50 and pizza was raised from $1.00/slice to $1.50! I sent text messages to all my friends informing them of the highway robbery that I felt this was and I wanted to warn everybody since we'd all be headed to Syracuse that weekend for Homecoming.
Now, just so people don't think I'm a brat. I do realize that even with the price increases, this is ridiculously cheap. First of all, I don't even PAY for pizza at this place because 3 years of flirting has led me to be best friends with Benny, the young guy whose family owns the place and always works the late night shift. It even got to the point that the other employees knew me so that if I ever showed up and Benny wasn't there, they recognized me as his friend and continued the free pizza fest for me. Second, later this night I went out for a drink in Albany and one single beer cost $5 so yes, I realize that $3.50 for a pitcher is ridiculously cheap!
However, I now will definitely always be using the phrase, "Back when I was in college you could get a pitcher and a slice of pizza for $4!"
(This type of behavior is why we need cheap pitchers.)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I sort of wish that I was living in NYC and living in a tiny, crappy apartment with some friends. Working long hours at a job with lots of other young kids right after college. Wandering the streets and taking the subway and trying to make every penny count. Doing things like I did last summer when we planned a free food happy hour tour of the city and going to "quarter pitchers" night at Town Tavern getting the most for our money. I wish I could spend my weekends lounging around at different friends apartments. Having literally a world of options at my fingertips and all of my best friends from school, home, and abroad all right in the same city. Did I make the right choice to come here?
I've grown up SO much in the past few months its sort of crazy. In some ways, I needed that to happen, in some ways, I feel like why am I rushing? I'm young.
So I realized that I'm not the only one having these problems and these thoughts. I'm not the only one struggling to fit in. I'm not the only one who isn't really sure what they are doing with their lives and if the path they are on is the right one.
Now, I never really assumed that I was the ONLY one, but today after having conversations over the past few days with friends and today after a 45 minute phone call around the world... it just really made me realize that we're all susceptible to these thoughts. And you need to be there for your friends and we all need to realize that we can help each other out by just being there for each other.
I also had some reasons to NOT go. That list was:
- The pants I had with me were the ones I'd worn at the that morning and that day, I wore these REALLY tight stretch capri pants that I shouldn't be wearing until I lose like 30 more lbs. I wear them to the gym because they are comfy to work out in and other people wear way more ridiculous stuff than I do. However, I didn't want the people from work to think that I didn't know I shouldn't be wearing these pants.
- Also, since I went to the gym in the morning my long t-shirt was all sweaty. I had a shorter one in the car, but I didn't know if I should wear the short shirt with tight pants or the long sweaty shirt with the tight pants.
- I don't know how to play ultimate frisbee
- I really wanted to watch TV at home.. I'd slated myself some time from my roommate to watch the main TV and see stuff I'd DVRed
- I had plans that night to get drinks from a friend and I didn't want to have to shower again.
Finally, I figured, screw it, I'm going to go. And I wore the tight pants with the short-nonsweaty shirt.
So when we got there, not going to lie, I was a little intimidated but my friend swore to me that nobody would care that I sucked. The rules I learned, were pretty simple. I will try to compair to sports that are more well known... for example. Like football, you have to have one of your teammates catch something (the frisbee, duh) while in a designated "end zone" area. Also like football, you start with the ultimate frisbee version of a punt and throw the football all the way down to the opposing team. You pass the frisbee back and forth to your teammates trying to get the frisbee into the end zone.
A key rule is that when you catch the frisbee and have it in your hands, you cannot run. Like basketball, when you stop dribbling, you can pivot and keep one foot in place but you can't run. When people are passing, you can try to play defense and catch/block the frisbee. If the frisbee hits the ground (by someone dropping it or by it being swatted down by the defensive team) then possession switches and the other team has the frisbee. If you throw it out of bounds, possession switches also (like basketball).
So, I hope that this description of the rules wasn't too boring, but I totally had a fun time and I recommend it to everybody to get out there and play some sports and don't be intimidated if its one you aren't a pro at. Well, you can be intimidated-- but don't let that stop you!
P.S. I'm still playing catch up and writing this post the day after I played... and I actually received an e-mail from someone who I played with yesterday as to where I could sign up to get more e-mails and keep playing with them!
Anyways, the banana conversation quickly turned from talking about food to talking about something way more technical and advance (which is what happens when you work with engineers/scientists).
Someone at the table had heard on a Scientific American podcast about the future of bananas, and people, the truth is horrifying. The podcast featured an interview with some dude who wrote some book about bananas. Fascinating, I know. But it gets better.
What I learned is that there is only one strain of bananas that are actually eaten by regular people... that is the Cavendish banana. And these Cavendish bananas are genetically the same and they are the only type of banana that is hearty and tough enough to handle the travel time from wherever it was grown to your supermarket. So for anybody that has ever pealed and eaten a banana, that was a Cavendish banana you ate.
The exception being if you are over 50 years old and you've been a banana fan for your whole life. Cause there used to be another kind of banana that went extinct 50 years ago, and that was called the Gros Michel. There was a disease called the Panama Disease that wiped out ALL the Gros Michel bananas! So the banana anybody ate today? Not the same kind of banana Grammy ate as a little kid.
And guess what? PANAMA DISEASE IS BACK. The dude says in the podcast, "It has spread all the way through the Pacific to Australia and it is coming to our hemisphere. It has not hit yet, but I have said often and it is absolutely true that it is coming. No banana scientists, no plant pathologist denies that. "
Did you all read that. NO BANANA SCIENTISTS DENY IT. I'm sorry but if you don't trust a banana scientist, then who do you trust?
So fill your freezers people, bananas are on their way out. You can all thank me later for what I and now what you learned after Monday, 9/15.
And P.S. Fun fact? Bananas are actually berries!FULL TRANSCRIPT
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Basically I was all over NYC this weekend from Harlem to Brooklyn to the East Village. For those of you who don't know NYC, let me clue you in-- thats a lot of traveling and a lot of subway. However, I really actually enjoy the Subway, as odd as that sounds. Last summer I really enjoyed my 1/2 hour subway commute where I would sit and read the paper, get ready for my day, and be shuttled to where I work. I appreciate public transportation a lot more after now having a 1/2 hour driving commute to work.
I can't read while I drive. I can't eat breakfast. I can't close my eyes and rest if I am so inclined.
Even though it wasn't a commute, I do enjoy being on the Subway. All the people, all the noises, all the sights. The hot subway platform and then the burst of cool air conditioned air when you get on the subway car and then when you get out and emerge into the bustling city. I dunno. I just like it.
HOWEVER, I do not like when the train so much on the weekends when lines are closed. And I can never seem to figure out how people know when lines are closed. On Sunday I had to travel from the Village to Columbia. First of all, I didn't double check with my friend that I was traveling to, which stop to get to. I just looked at the map, saw "Columbia" and was all, "Bingo, lets go!".
Well, I waited forever for a certain line, tried to get on a different line that I thought when the same way, realized it didn't and that I was going the wrong way, had to retrace my subway steps, waited forever for a certain line, let a few trains go by that I could have gotten on because I didn't realize that one line was running another line's schedule, I didn't know which trains were running local and which were express. Basically, I was a MESS. And it took me 2 hours to finally get to the place I thought I was supposed to be.
However, when I got off the train, I realized that I was on the wrong side of the damn park and that I was still like 6 avenues from where I needed to be at 8:00 p.m. alone in Harlem with a suitcase. At this point, I hopped in a cab.
So yeah, I am pretty freaking good with the Subway, I know the lines, I know what things mean, I am fairly confident with my Subway ability. However, on Sunday, the 14th, I learned that you can't be too cocky with the Subway because it will turn around slap you in the face. Plan ahead. Make sure you know where you are going, what lines aren't running, and when you need to switch trains.
Winging it? Doesn't always work.
Needless to say, I didn't really have a good impression of Brooklyn and during the time that I thought I might move to NYC post-graduation, I never even considered the possibility of living in Brooklyn. However, this weekend on my trip, when I headed to my friends apartment I learned that Brooklyn can be a pretty badass place to live! My friends apartment was very big and clean. They had a GORGEOUS 7th floor balcony with an incredible view of NYC and of the Statue of Liberty. It was quieter and more neighborhoodlike than Manhattan, lots of little stores and places to go, and an AMAZING pizza shop right around the corner from my friends where we got pizza with truffle oil. Um, delicious.
Another one of my best friends lived really close by, and we also visited another neat apartment that was really big with roof access-- which is always fun.
Basically what I learned on Saturday 9/13 is that Brooklyn, is a pretty darn neat place to live!
Pics of the view to come!
So whatever, I drove into NYC and I had planned to park on the street up by my friend's dorm at Columbia. She had been scoping out the parking situation for me for days and learned that there was one street perpendicular to where she lived that had free parking on the street (with actual spots-- not parallel parking!) where I could leave my car for the entire weekend.
When I arrived in NYC there was an ideal spot that someone pulled out of that literally could not be any closer to my friend's apartment. It was right by the corner of an intersection and as I pulled up, I could have darted right into the open spot but decided to be a safe driver instead and waited with my blinker on for a car coming on the left hand side of the road to pass. You can see where I am going with this. The douche bag, jerk-face with no blinker just drove right in even though I was CLEARLY waiting for that spot. I was PISSED.
And obviously, there were no other open spots in this area of parking. So obviously, all the work my friend put in to find this ideal area was wasted. GRRRRR.
I'm still heated when I think of it, but I guess what I learned was that when driving in NYC... go all-out, no holds barred, petal to the metal, AGGRESSIVE driving. Next time, that parking spot will be mine.
P.S. Is "no holds barred" the correct phrase? It doesn't really sound right to me and I couldn't tell you what it originates from so I feel like it is possibly false. After the "all intensive purposes" incident I'm paranoid.
Friday, September 12, 2008
- Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and sit down. List all sources of income on a monthly basis. Next, identify all of your major expenditures, such as rent, car loan, insurance, utilities, food, clothing, etc. Even include savings here!
- Subtract your expenses from your income and it is time to analyze.
- Focus on savings versus spending and rethink priorities.
- Put off buying unnecessary items today, and dedicate that money toward a future dream purchase.
- See if you can top how much you have saved each month.
- Make wise cuts.
- Predetermine your withdrawals. Before going to the bank or cash machine, know exactly how much money you are going to withdraw. Make this money last a designated period of time.
- DOCUMENT EVERY TRANSACTION.
- Monitor your budget on a weekly basis.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I took it on vacation with me because that took place right after I got the camera, I wanted to play with it, and I wanted to show off the new perk of my job :) I've had these videos stored on my camera since the vacation and have done nothing with them. To be honest, I haven't even really used the camera that much either, so I hadn't paid attention to how to do any editing, or if any editing was possible with the camera.
Last week I began using it for work and was planning all of my films to be shot in one single take because I didnt think I had editing capabilities. Upon seeing some of the things my peers had put together with the camera, I realized that editing was possible, so I spoke with them, and they told me the basics of how to edit with the Flip camera.
When I got home from work, I loaded everything onto my computer, practiced some different editing and movie making techniques. So yesterday, I learned how to make a movie, with music in the background, cutting up different shots, etc. It took a long time to load together and I left my computer running as I went to sleep.
This morning when I woke up, the movie was completed, and I decided to try and load it onto YouTube to share with you all! I had never done that before, so at 5:30 a.m. this morning as I was getting ready to leave to go to the gym, I got distracted by that and learned how to load videos onto YouTube! However, I wasn't sure if I was doing it right, and again, it took forever to load so I just left it running and went to work. Just a few minutes ago, I decided to check and do a quick YouTube search and see if my video was up there and sure enough it was!!
So check out what I've created from my learnings from the past two days. And if you want to get the link or watch it outside of here, just search YouTube for "Waukewan" at any time. (Oh yeah, and I still have a lot to learn as far as editing goes... these weren't in the order that I wanted them in, I accidentally have a video in there twice, the song starts to repeat itself at the end, etc. but it is still pretty cute and fun).
P.S. $5 says my mom cried.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I'm sort of obsessed with social media and viral marketing. My Google Reader is filled with blogs on the latest trends in the field and the reason that I started my own blog in the first place wasn't to stay more in touch with people, but because I wanted to learn as much as I could about the blogosphere and the world of blogging. My friends all know me as the one who is constantly sending out blogs that would interest them, intriguing articles I've found online, and YouTube videos that range from ridiculously smart and innovative to ridiculously silly. So needless to say, I was pumped for this meeting.
I realized this morning that it was taking place in one of the fancier conference rooms and that lunch would be served during the meeting. I didn't realize until I walked in and met those that we were meeting with that it was our company's top digital marketing executive we were meeting with, as well as a member of her team (and an alum of the communications program I am in!), and two representatives from an outside digital marketing/media firm that are the master creative and executive minds behind my company's video series that I'm obsessed with (example below).
So, when it came time to eat, I didn't get any of the food offered because I am still trying to eat healthy and what they were offering wasn't so. Free things are MY favorite things ever so I opted for just a Diet Coke instead. I guess I must have drank the 20 oz. bottle of soda a little too fast because shortly after the start of the meeting I realized that I had some major carbonation-provoked burping issues. NOT OKAY.
I literally spent the entire meeting TERRIFIED that if I opened my mouth a burp would accidentally come out. I had to keep swallowing them, I felt so bloated, and I am positive I must have had the most ridiculous looks on my face as I struggled to not explode. It was terrible.
So, what I learned today is do not, I repeat, ABSOLUTELY do not, EVER, drink a bottle of soda before or during an important meeting.
I can honestly say, I will never do that ever again. I learned this lesson the hard way, but not the REALLY hard way, because luckily, I kept all those burps down and was able to contribute to the meeting (although whether or not my contributions were seen as valuable, I don't know).
Sunday, September 7, 2008
My mom told me today that a phrase she'd read in my blog was wrong and she wanted to make sure I know. In a past entry, I'm not even sure which one, I used the phrase "for all intensive purposes." And what my mom told me, which I had no clue about, is that that phrase is completely wrong and doesn't make sense and what is actually correct is "for all intents and purposes."
As embarassing as this is and as hard as it is to hear that you've been wrong (and in this case, it is as if I've been wrong over and over and over since I've been saying "for all intensive purposes" for a while) it is always a good thing to learn something new.
We went to Target to pick out a gift for his friend and it was really interesting to see how it works. I think that Target is a great place to have a gift registry and it was so easy to use. We went to the store and were able to easily search at a kiosk for the couple's list and print it out free of charge. The print out had the exact store AISLES written down of where you could find each item. It listed if it had been purchased, if it was available in stock, and the price. It was SO useful.
You also could have just gone to the Web site and ordered something directly from the store. Very easy.
It was cool to see how this works and since my sister has gotten engaged these sort of wedding things jump out at me. So sis, maybe what I learned can help you out!
We went to a bar in Schenectady that I'd actually been to a few times for lunch with co-workers and had also been taken on a date there a few weeks back. It was interesting to see this bar in a different light... or I should rather say in the absence of light, as it was the first time I'd been there at night. There was a live band and the outdoor portion of the bar was a great atmosphere with lots of people. We all had a really good time and what I learned on this day is where all of the people who work at the gym I belong to and all of the really intense, hardcore, gym people go out.
Now, with my quest to make friends and all you may have thought that this was a good thing... to start to recognize some people that I know around town and run into friendly faces. But yeah, that is absolutely not the case. "Gym people" freak me out. By "gym people" I mean those people that have solid muscular bodies, survive off of energy bars and power drinks, only associate with other gym people, and either work at the gym, spend all of their time at the gym, or both. They are buff, they are dedicated, they could all beat me up, and they scare the hell out of me.
These "gym people" I feel judge me. I feel they are superior human beings. I feel like as I fidder fodder around at the gym not really knowing what I'm doing and fighting to lose a few pounds, these "gym people" are probably laughing at me and my incorrect form and technique and way of working out. I've always said that I will not try to debate things that I do not know anything about with someone that does know a lot. I know that I probably am not doing things perfectly at the gym but I do the best I can. I can't run the farthest or the fastest, I can't lift the most, I definitely do not have the best body. And yet I have to work out in front of all of these "gym people" who do know what they're doing.
So apparently all these gym people go out to this one bar and apparently the intimidation that I feel by them translates outside of the walls of the gym.
I'm fairly certain that I will never be one of these gym people and I am fairy positive that I don't want to be. Hopefully, one day I'll get to the stage where I don't feel quite as judged or intimidated by "gym people."
Thursday, September 4, 2008
So, in honor of this weekend's annual Dragonboat Race in the Blackstone River and in honor of the Providence Journal officially becoming my favorite news publication simply for reprinting this photo of last year's race... featuring someone... I know quite well, I have decided to learn about the history of dragon boating.
Dragon boat racing is one of the oldest forms of competition and sport in mankind. It originated in China in pre-Christian times and reemerged as an international sport in 1976. The crew of a dragon boat team usually consists of around 22 people: 20 manual laborers who paddle the boat, 1 drummer, and 1 steerer. Although this is only a general guideline... dragon boats can range from 10 paddlers to 50 paddlers.
The drummer is the "heartbeat" of the dragon boat and keeps the paddlers in unison because let me tell you, from what I've read on Wikipedia and other sites, it is absolutely CRITICAL that you are in sync with the rest of the team, especially the person sitting right next to you. The paddles or oars used in dragon boat racing are not attached to the boat in any way, shape, or form, so this makes it very difficult to stay in unison and you also can't leverage the mass of the boat at all and takes a lot of strength to row. And it is different from canoeing because in canoeing, you row with your back facing where you are going and with dragon boating, you FACE where you are going.
A race concludes by having a "flag puller" grab a posted flag before any other team. This originated because back in the day there was no such thing as "photo finishes" and instant replay, which was even adopted by the nation's pasttime, baseball, last week! If you want to see a badass "flag puller" in action, check the image up above.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I prepared by looking through a Weight Watchers recipe book... not for exact recipes to follow, but for inspiration and a little advice. I then went to the grocery store and bought a lot of fresh vegetables and various ingredients for some of the meals I wanted to try. Like my high heels practice, today I STARTED a learning process and hopefully I'll keep up different recipes that I particularly enjoy and tell you about them.
Tonight for dinner, I sauteed onions and green peppers until they were caramelized. Then, I added garlic and some kielbasa, cut up into bite size pieces, to the frying pan and cooked until the garlic was perfect and the kielbasa was brown on both sides. A little salt and pepper and it was done!
I know it sounds totally simple but it was absolutely DELICIOUS. The sweet, caramelized onions and peppers combined with the salty kielbasa was perfect.
I was so proud of myself I didn't want to quit learning new combinations and experimenting in the kitchen. I also decided to make some meatballs. I've seen my mom cook meatballs for years so I had an idea of what to do but I didn't use any recipe or guidelines and just added things that I thought would be good. I used:
- ground turkey
- cooked, minced garlic and onions
- italian seasoning
- bread crumbs
- parmesean cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg
I know thats pretty standard, but I was proud of myself and they came out delicious! Something that is also exciting for me is that I am cooking for one and cooking in a way to count points and still be healthy with Weight Watchers. The peppers and onions meal I ate was only 6 points... 5 for the kielbasa and I added 1 for the oil I used to coat the pan. The meatballs I counted to be 5 points for 2 meatballs. Obviously, my cooking made a large amount of meatballs. I packed them up 2 per ziploc bag and froze most of them so in the future, I'll have delicious meatballs, in individual serving sizes, ready to defrost. Yum Yum!
Look forward to more recipes as I learn to cook with different ingredients, different flavors, and different methods, while still being healthy.
Due to what I’ve learned from August 1 - August 31, you can now find me standing up straight, walking around in heels, in beautiful makeup and wearing hot necklaces that I got for a bargain. I will not allow the pleasure of free things cease to thrill me nor will I stop loving my friends. Because of what I learned, I’ll be hanging out in the sun with some old friends and new friends, discussing politics, playing Mario Kart, singing along to La Vie Boheme or John Mayer, and having snacks of apples to boost my metabolism and Cumberland wine. As the time gets nearer for me to be the Maid of Honor, I’ll be God-slapping my sister to seal promises about our secrets, like the kind Julia Child had-- or we could just talk in code. If I ever travel to China, I’ll know some fun facts about their superstitions, I’ll triple check to make sure I have everything I need and that I read up on things that don’t translate into their culture. I’ll be complimenting everyone I meet, doing favors for others such as helping them tie their ties, reading palms, and giving massages. As summer vacation comes to an end, I know that I'll be succeeding at work and that 22 will be a GREAT year.
Much love and please stay with me as we head into month 2 of this project.
Monday, September 1, 2008
- The end of summer
- The start of school
- A day off from school and an extra day of partying in college
- A day off from work
- Good sales
- "Family Fun Day" at Abbott Run
Although exciting and important to me, I didn't think that any of these things were the original intention of Labor Day. So today, Labor Day 2008, I decided to look up the actual meaning and origin of Labor Day. Much to my surprise, there isn't really THAT much more behind Labor Day besides the day off from work.
Labor Day began in 1882 on September 5th and was celebrated in New York City in accordance with the Central Labor Union. The day was created to honor the working men and women of the United States and give them a day of rest off from work. Through the growth of different Labor Unions at this time, the holiday spread and in 1885 there was nationwide celebration by labor unions. Labor Day REALLY IS a day meant for workers to spend time with their families and to just relax and have fun.
I think this is totally awesome. I sort of feel bad that I just spent an hour on my work computer getting some things done! On that note, I hope that everybody had a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day and have a great 4 day work week!