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New Sights on a New(er) Site.

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I’m packing up and almost ready to start my new semester in Prague. That’s right. Czech Republic. Formerly communist, and formerly Czechoslovakia. So this should be really fun.

Anyways, I’ve decided to switch to another blog, or tumblr (or both) that focuses on all the stuff I do, places I see and things I think about while I’m in Prague. If this disappoints anyone, sorry. Maybe you’ll devote your time towards something else. I kind of want a fresh start, and feel like this is the best way to do it.

If it doesn’t disappoint, then great. Glad to know you’ll be along for the trip.

I’m gonna go experiment and see what’s best. God speed, and see you on the Czech side.

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Everybody’s Free…to Freeload.

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I’m a freeloader. If it’s free, or available to me at my convenience, I’ll take it.

Like now, for instance: I’m sitting in a Starbucks to use their free WiFi because I no longer have internet access in my apartment. For some reason, my building decided to call it quits on the free wireless network that was available to anyone who wanted it last night, because – I guess – that’s just not okay. Or they enjoy torturing us penny-saving tenants by forcing us to subscribe to Time Warner Cable. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. It’s just inconvenient. I kind of wish this could have happened at a different time, say like, after I leave for Prague, when I don’t really need to worry about it.

But so be it. I’ll take my free internet elsewhere. I could survive without it until it’s installed, but this way, I actually leave my tiny, hot apartment and venture out into the real world. With real people. And sunlight. Have you heard of it? It’s quite nice.

Other free things I enjoy: taking an obscene amounts of fruit from NYU dining halls, desserts from the bakery, free music downloads (not stealing, but actually free), and concerts.

During the summer, NYC puts on free shows at Pier 54. River Rocks on the Hudson River. Last night was Metronomy and Class Actress.

This is Metronomy:

I got this cool t-shirt from the concert.


Pretty cool night. You should definitely check out both artists if you’ve never heard of them. One of the reasons I like going to concerts to see bands or artists I’ve never really heard before is to see if they perform great live. If they’re awesome, I’ll invest.

Anyways. I’m getting kicked out of Starbucks. Gotta find somewhere else.

Guess Who’s Back?

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Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, thank you for holding. Let’s resume, shall we?

Obviously, I’ve taken a rather extended hiatus from blogging. What with the last weeks of school having been a super buzz kill to my confidence, happiness, and social life, I didn’t have anything worthy of posting. It would probably have read something along the lines of  “Oh my God, I’m so tired…so fed up with all this apartment searching…these allergies are killing me…where are my friends…” and blah blah blah. What a bore.

So here I am, drawn back to my not-so-private online journal, to….start over. Yeah, that seems to be it. I feel like this summer has been something of a reinvention for me. A good one.

I owe a lot of my newfound confidence to my job. I am still the ‘newbie’ at Magnolia, but I feel so welcome there that it hardly seems like I’ve worked for less than 2 months now. I’ve had shitty jobs before (not going to endorse) so working in an environment where I can joke around with my co-workers feels fucking great. Excuse my french.

If you think I’m a quiet person, come visit me at work. Half the time, I’m yelling out Mean Girls quotes, half the time I’m singing at the top of my lungs to the music. I know almost every song – and I’m not sure how that’s possible. Plus, I love my co-workers. I joke around with the guys: they have this guy system/code that seems to only make sense to them. But I’ve figured it out! I was informed that I’ve been inducted into the ‘Gentlemen’s Club.’ I suppose I should feel privileged. I don’t know if it means I’ve started to think like a guy, but gee whiz, I’ve certainly learned a LOT about how they think on days when I’m the only girl working counter. ‘Manly Mondays’ at Magnolia. Stop by for a treat.

And on days when work kinda sucks, I still get to eat cupcakes and banana pudding. I’d say win.

I suppose that’s it for now. If anyone was worried I was dead, well…I got better.

American Pie.

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It’s probably the worst sort of torture for me that tomorrow’s Techniques of Regional Cuisine class is all about pie. I’ll elaborate: It’s less than a week before Lent ends, so that means I can not indulge in desserts until Easter Sunday bright and early – probably all day. My consolation prize was going to be to make a Cherpumple.

Correct. A Cherpumple. What’s that, you ask?

It’s three different pies baked in three different cakes, stacked on top of each other and slathered in frosting and whatever else. Maybe I’ll drizzle some chocolate and dust it with sprinkles too – oh who am I kidding? I’m probably just going to dip pieces in melted chocolate like fondue. Gluttony suits me.

Anyways, back to the problem at hand. Tomorrow’s region is North America and we’re making pies. Originally I thought we’d stick to staples like hamburgers, french fries, meatloaf, any kind of pasta dish. I realize this is a gross generalization – I don’t know anyone who eats meatloaf these days. But considering how we made desserts from South America last week, I would have guessed we’d steer clear of those from North America. Nope. Fruit pies, dessert pies, even a pot pie.  At least I can have some of that.

But I’ll quit my complaining. I’m pretty excited, despite my qualms. I will use this as an opportunity to improve my pie making skills. I’ve made pie crusts only a few times before, and let’s just say more practice makes pies more perfect. I made a Quiche for my Intro to Foods final exam last year and still blame the points I got off for lack of time spent in the oven.

Don’t worry guys, I’m not going to feed anyone anything undercooked.

And just because…

“Sing a song of sixpence,
pocket full of rye,
four and twenty blackbirds
baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
the birds began to sing:
isn’t that a dainty dish
to set before the King?

The King is in his counting-house
counting out his money;
the Queen is in the parlor
eating bread and honey;
the Maid is in the garden
hanging up the clothes,
when down swoops a Blackbird
and snaps off her nose!”

Sex and the City, and the City.

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I’m actually a little disappointed in myself for not having found out about Sex and the City until now. I didn’t tune in regularly to watch episodes while the show was still running on HBO. To be honest, I was always a little nervous about turning it on and seeing something I wouldn’t be ready for or themes that went over my head. I mean, it premiered in 1998 and I don’t think I would have gotten much out of it as a 7-year-old.

But both my roommate Ashley-Michelle and my friend Ivy rave about how good it is, and I’ll catch a few episodes when AM puts it on or I’m at the gym. But until now I never thought to put it on high priority in my queue of things to watch. Now that it’s over, I guess my consolation is that I can see them all sans commercials, and without seasonal interruptions. If I want. And I guess I want. Mostly because I would like to figure out which one of the characters – Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte – I resemble (in terms of persona) the most. But it’s also a pretty clever show.

I’m pretty sure I can rule out Samantha. What I noticed is that while each of the characters have certain traits that could easily fit to one stereotype, they’re really not one-dimensional. After all, no one is. So I’ll have to do some more research.

Right now I’m torn between Miranda and Carrie, although I often see a lot of Charlotte in myself. See what I mean? Work in progress. To be determined…

Meanwhile, in the real world –

I’m still hunting for jobs, internships, and anything to keep me on my feet this summer. Most people like going back home to relax, get their bearings, and reconnect with those they left behind. I do too, but in shorter bouts of time. Four months is an eternity. Especially in Guilford. I usually get super bored, and that’s when I start getting lazy. So if I’m in NYC (which I’m going to be), I don’t miss out on the city lifestyle and I don’t spend all of my time watching OnDemand and eating junk food. That was high school, this is now.

Soot and Smurfs.

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Here’s another poem I wrote a while back for class. My professor thinks it’s very “Blake-like.” You can decide for yourself:

“Height”

Would you like to hear the story about a girl who tried to fly?
She decided she would take some clay and climbed up to her roof.
She envied not the birds, but others with wings that kept them high
The girl thought she would make it when she leapt up to the sky.

Time moved too slowly while her thoughts moved too fast.
She beat hard those heavy arms that were never meant to last.

Her mother found the little girl, after having heard her yell.
The clay had shattered all around, broken pieces everywhere.
The sun had been too hot that day, but that’s not why she fell.
The little girl managed to take flight, reaching heaven but not hell.

 

I can see why she might think that. I find that my poems often have a moral attached to them, or tell a story. Maybe it’s because of all the Aesop’s fables or Grimm’s fairy tales that I read when I was younger.

I like “The Chimney-Sweeper”, by William Blake.

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry “Weep! weep! weep! weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved; so I said,
“Hush, Tom! never mind it, for, when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”

And so he was quiet, and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight! —
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black.

And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins, and let them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind;
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm:
So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

Mind you, it’s not a very happy poem. Blake presents images of a depressive nature within the common rhyme scheme of aabb – death, orphaned children, labor – contrasted with images of renewal and resurrection – angel, innocence, freedom, etc – which are all relevant conditions and themes for the time period that he wrote this (England, late 1700s). I find it both interesting and clever how poets such as Blake can write about such dark matter using a form that most people associate with nursery rhymes.

As for me, I sometimes find poetry that rhymes somewhat difficult to like. Parts of me find it cheesy, while I simultaneously wish I could write just as well. I guess I’m more of a fan of internal rhyme than external.

 

On another note: We watched a video claiming that the ’80s television show, The Smurfs, was overwrought with themes of communism. Papa Smurf : Karl Marx. What? Yes, apparently. What I learned: I know way too much about this show – more than my TA who evidently used to watch it – because she was surprised to learn why Smurfette was the only female character of non-smurf origin present in the town of blue men (she was created by the evil wizard Gargamel). Of course I filled her in. Why do I know so much about this stuff?

Antediluvian.

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So April, as it turns out, is poetry month. Well, well, well, what a thought. Challenge accepted!

The prompt for my last poem was to pick up pieces of conversation that I thought stood out in some way, or bits of language that seemed interesting to me. I would then need to find a few other quotes or lines from miscellaneous sources that I could assemble together with what I already found. I would wind up with a poem with a collage of all sorts of stuff.

Let’s just say I understood the prompt in my own way. I took bits of conversation I heard from people walking past, a line from The Killers, a line from my Media Audience teacher, some scenes from movies or situations I have seen, and a few street signs. I noticed more “He said, she said” language than anything else, which is why the perspective of this poem is told in the third person p.o.v.

 

 

In the Beginning

He says, “They say the Nile used to run from east to west,

like the streets I walk on to meet you.”

She says, “People rush in waves, this river

hasn’t been calm for years.”

He says “Its flow is fast, loud and the undertow

will catch you unawares.” “If you’re not

careful,” she said.

 

He says: “Coffee leaks from the mouthpiece of my cup.

I sip the stray beads, remember

I don’t like coffee all that much

but I like the feel of it in my hand too much.”

Jagged holes. His hand needs something

to hold, because looking into

her face has become

unsettling.

 

As they rummage through the rubble,

she starts zoning out. Images play back

of past nights together. He says: “You

partied like a fucking rock star.”

A golden God, he watched her fall,

taking him with her. “A vicious

cycle,” she said.

 

He says: “We were happy.” She asks: “Were we happy?”

“Once,” he says. She begs to differ.

“I will wager all my marbles that I

was happy once. You came along,

with your New York look, my heart

beat beat beat for you” he says.

“Genesis,” she says.

 

“Omega,” He said.

He has taken precautions for the flood

that comes, with floaties and goggles.

Her days as lifesaver are numbered.

“It is just like you said it would be,” she whispered.

God said, let them be

happy.

 

Tune in next time for some more poetry –  if you aren’t tired of it yet.

I’m patiently waiting for Lent to end so that I can indulge in some sweets. Then the days of posting cupcakes and cookies will begin!

Get ready.