Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Under the Weather

This is a bad week to be sick, but here I am nursing a cold anyway. I felt it coming on yesterday morning and came to work anyway, thinking that I might feel better if I just got up and moving around. It quickly became evident that wasn’t the case, and I packed it in around noon. I slept for most of the afternoon and sat lazily on my couch when I wasn’t sleeping.

Unfortunately, I’m back in the full swing of classes after spring break and a fairly light homework load last week. And it’s reunion weekend at work. I have to attend all day Saturday for a filming project we’re working on, which means that the rest I need isn’t as readily available as I’d like.

I’m trying to power through, though, and employing every home remedy I know. So far today I’ve taken a vitamin C pill and eaten an orange. I’ve downed a cup of Emergen-C, and I’ve been drinking lots of hot tea and water. So far I don’t feel healthy, but I do have to pee a lot.

If any of you know more tips and tricks to get over a cold quickly, please let me know. A lunch time run to Duane Reade is probable, so I can load up on zinc, echinacea, and whatever else you all swear by.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Begun

The packing has begun, and my apartment is a hot mess. Four boxes are signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered. Five others are 90% packed, but the little pockets where books don't fit (because, of course, that's the only thing I've packed yet) are still waiting to be filled in. I need more boxes and some bubble wrap, but at least I'm on my way.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Want to Pay More but Get Less?

If so, come to New York and ride the subway.

The MTA board yesterday approved sweeping fare hikes and toll reductions. Subway and bus fare will go up from $2 a ride to $2.50. A monthly unlimited card will go from $81 to $103. And my condolences to anyone who rides the express buses (now up to $6.50 per ride).

And what do we get for all this extra money we’re shelling out? Less. We get less. 35 bus routes are being eliminated; 2 subway lines are dead. Frequency of trains on many, many other lines will decrease.

The NYC system serves two-thirds of all the mass transit riders in the entire country. The Chicago El, the Boston T, the DC Metro...combined they serve half of what New York’s transit system covers. Albany has failed New Yorkers struggling to pay for an already overcrowded system in an economy where each dollar has to go further than it used to, and it has failed to support a system that encourages people to “go green” by taking mass transit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Busy Week

My days of lolling about last week are behind me. I was back in class last night and will be again tonight. It was actually quite nice to be back. I have a tendency to look at this program with a count down kind of attitude (ok, if I can take X number of classes per semester I’ll be out this quickly; after the summer I’ll be a quarter of the way through; etc.). I’ll be happier, though, if I recognize and appreciate the enjoyment I’m getting out of the process as I’m in it.

And in the meantime, I’m still managing (albeit with exhaustion on some days) to keep up with most if not all of my personal life. I’m 3/4 of the way through Watchmen right now, and I think Todd and I will see the movie this weekend. Also this week is the last show of my subscription to Roundabout and an outing with Todd and a couple of friends to see a sci fi opera. It’s a lot to fit in to a single week, but all of it sounds great, and I’m looking forward to it. Reviews of much of this to come!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Todd and I spent Saturday putting up the shelves we got at Ikea. The first shelf, of course, took the longest and included several trips to the hardware store in order to get space-aged screws that would actually bite into the studs hidden here, there, and everywhere in the walls. Todd really proved himself better than Bob Vila, though, and not only are these shelves up, they are not coming down--ever. The are as secure as secure can be. And when I wanted to take a nap halfway through the day, Todd made us power through. I'm so glad he did, because we put up every shelf we had. We still want to buy a couple for the bathroom and bedroom, but that includes another trip to to the Swedes or perhaps a more local run to Home Depot.

Seeing these empty shelves makes the whole moving in process seem more real. Even though we've been planning the big move for a while, until we started adjusting the apartment it somehow still felt far away. Now I realize that it's happening in 5 weeks, which isn't actually so far from now. I think next weekend I'll start packing. I really don't feel like living amongst boxes for ages, but I think the time has come. I've already brought over about 50% of my kitchen, and my clothes have gradually been moving in for a while, too. My fingers are crossed that what's left will be easy to pack up.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mourning Natasha Richardson

Last Year I saw Vanessa Redgrave give an amazing, heartfelt performance in The Year of Magical Thinking. Though I had quibbles with the show, there was something profound about Redgrave’s performance of a woman dealing with the loss of her husband and daughter.

With Natasha Richardson’s very sad passing, that show keeps coming back into my head. I just keep thinking about the emotional reserves Redgrave must have tapped into to play Joan Didion each night and the way she lived—for the run of the show—as a childless mother. Did that experience prepare her in any small way to deal with her own daughter’s death? Will knowing Didion and Didion’s experience so intimately provide any kind of guide for how to get through this?

It’s probably a small and weird thing to be focusing on here, but it’s easier to ponder than all the ways we’re apparently always at death’s door. By the news accounts to-date, Richardson’s fall was a normal one, not some Sonny-Bono-into-a-tree sort of scenario. Everyone who has learned to ski has fallen plenty, and I never once wore a helmet all the times I went skiing in Vermont. No one else on the slopes was wearing one either. And it’s not just skiing; freak accidents like this suggest that the wrong tumble at any time or place could do a person in. I think that’s part of the reason why Richardson’s death has gotten so much media coverage and seems to have captured people’s attention. For all the resilience we have, we’re simultaneously extraordinarily frail.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Big Move

As some of you have already heard, there are some exciting cohabitation developments on my horizon. At the end of April, I’ll be moving in with Todd! I can’t wait to live with him. I feel really lucky and grateful to be with him, and it’ll be even better to be together in the same space.

I dread packing. It’s a good prompt for me to clean out the closets and purge some of the miscellaneous crap I’ve accumulated, but it’s also a major pain in the ass. In related news, if any of my NYC readers are looking for some furniture, I have some to give away. Leave me a comment or email me and I can fill you in on all the details.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Writer's Block

WTF did I used to write about everyday? I find myself with a few free minutes right now, and I can’t think of one interesting thing to post about. I’ve seen no movies to review and no recent plays. I’m almost finished reading a book I’ve enjoyed, but it was the literary equivalent to a bag of chips (enjoyable but no nutritional value) and doesn’t really warrant a full write-up. Homework seems too boring to update you all on (in the midst of midterms—so exciting). I’m at a loss.

Todd and I are continuing to love the slow cooker, and tonight’s dinner is cooking up for us even as I write this. Tonight we’re having dijon chicken with spinach. My hopes are high. I’m also in the midst of a love affair with persimmons, and if anyone sees them at their local market, I highly recommend picking some up. Camilla continues to head butt me to show her affection, and I continue to struggle to recognize crazy people talking to themselves versus potentially sane people talking on the BlueTooths. Really, there’s not much to write about.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Todd and I had our first successful outing with the crock pot yesterday. We made some delicious chili that we loved and that both kids actually ate—that’s no small success! We worked off the recipe in the free cookbook that came with the slow cooker, making our own amendments along the way (the big one was substituting ground chicken for ground beef). We threw it all together, went out to play basketball with Dylan (that’s right. I’m sporty.) and came home several hours later to a great meal. So far, we love the crock pot!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a Crock

Yesterday, in our adventures in shopping, Todd and I picked up a crock pot. We're constantly devising ways to try to make cooking at home more enticing and are hoping that this new gadget and our subsequent ability to come home to ready-made meals will help us forgo restaurants. It came with a little cookbook of slowly-cooking recipes, but I'd love to know of any favorites meals you slow cookers out there have. Send 'em my way, and thanks!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Subliminal Advertising

Since everyone let me know which of my recent video posts you liked and had seen before, I thought I’d share one more. I really don’t want to turn this blog into an aggregator of random videos, so this will be the last one for a while. It’s pretty interesting, though. Take a look.

via videosift.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hedda Gabler

I saw Hedda Gabler last Friday night. It was my second attempt to see it; the first time I went, a week before, I had to really talk myself into it. I was pooped as pooped could be that day and really wanted to go home and crash. With the help of a coworker, I convinced myself to go. I went out to dinner by myself at the Edison Cafe, reading some homework over a sandwich. I got to the theater around 7:50, and the lobby was teeming with people. They hadn’t opened the house yet, which is definitely a sign that something is amiss. A few minutes after I got there, they announced that Mary Louise Parker wouldn’t be performing that night. The cast (along with MLP, it stars Michael Cerveris (a great stage actor I’m sure most of you haven’t heard of but who I love) and Peter Stormare (the guy from those weird VW commercials and, probably more famously, Abruzzi in Prison Break) was a big part of why I was attending. Along with half the audience, I decided to trade my ticket in for a different performance; this is allowed whenever someone above the title is out. It must be hard to be the understudy for a famous actor, always going on to half empty houses and knowing that even the people who stuck it out are annoyed to see you but just didn’t feel like traveling into the city again a different night. I’m convinced that MLP was just being a diva that night, too. It doesn’t take until 7:55 to realize that your leading lady has laryngitis, but it could take that long to realize that you can’t convince her to stop throwing a hissy fit. Of course, it could be something far more innocent, but until I have proof I’m going to assume it was a tantrum,-induced absence.

I went back the other night and saw it with the full cast on display. The show was uneven, but I liked it well enough to stay through the second act. I thought Peter Stormare was weird (I guess that’s his thing); it was like he had wandered in from a different production. Cerveris played Jorgen Tesman as something of a simpleton, and I wished that he’d imbued the character with more depth. It’s well within his acting abilities to do. Parker was mostly excellent, though she has some Parker-ish inflections that seem to creep in whether she’s playing a miserable 19th century woman, a 1980s pill-addicted loon, or a modern day pot mom. Still, I love her, so I guess it’s ok.

The second act left me less impressed than the first, but I’d still recommend the show for theater people, provided you can get a cheap ticket (the $20 Hip Tix, for instance). It’s not worth a bigger investment than that, unfortunately.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Do You Use?

The final project in one of my classes (yes, we're only half way through the semester, and I'm already being prompted to think about the final paper) needs to focus on a company that is specifically targeting me in their marketing outreach. I could be their focus because of demographics, behavior, psychographics--really anything.

So now I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what product or service to write about, and I'm having a stupidly hard time deciding. Who do you think targets you? What brands do you find yourself returning to time and again?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Random Videos

These two videos came up in my classes over the last week as examples of strange and wonderful things that become internet phenomena. I had never seen either before, though. Have any of you?

Charlie Bit My Finger

Where the Hell Is Matt?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What’s Swedish for “Stick to the list?”

Todd, Dylan, Sofia, and I are off to Ikea today. The last time we went we entered when it was still bright daylight outside and only realized that the sun had set when we were checking out. That place is like a casino in the sense that it’s all enclosed with no clocks anywhere (except for the boxed ones they’re selling, of course). It’s impossible to know what time it is, and so you end up spending both more time and money than you ever expected. This time, it’s all about a list: shelves, hooks, a file container of some kind. No more impulse purchases, which for me are always about baking materials that I don’t need and don’t use, like the bread pan in which I’ve never made bread and the cake decorating kit, with which I’ve decorated nary a cake. I still have high hopes for both purchases, but until I put them to use I’m cutting myself off from buying more. Except for maybe a rolling pin...I really need a rolling pin....

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Hello all! I feel like I’m just coming up for air after a busy couple of weeks, and I’ve missed blogging and keeping in touch. I owe lots of people emails and am generally ignoring everyone right now—it’s not personal!

While you’d think that half way through the semester I’d be adjusted to the new schedule, you’d be wrong. I’m in what I believe to be a temporary lull (low point?) between the excitement of starting this program and the point at which I’m fully adjusted to both the early morning hours and the added work. All will be fine, but I’m finding myself crashing early fairly often and simply unable to make myself stay at the computer when my work is finally done (hence the lack of emails and blogging).

Here’s a snapshot of some of what I’ve been up to:

School (duh). I’ve survived two group projects and been reminded of both the good and bad of working this way. The bad: I always feel like I’m doing more than at least half the group, and often more than everyone. I realize that this can’t always be true, but damn does it feel that way. The good: I’ve found a couple of people in my program that I really like. It’s definitely better to have people to drink with after class and with whom to trade papers. This last was especially helpful in my last assignment. It was a public relations assignment, and I have no experience whatsoever in PR. My prof has a unique approach, where class discussions are always engaging, the frequent guest speakers are great (last week: Peter Shankman who was fabulously interesting), and we never, ever talk about the shit he wants us to prove we know in our homework. Oh, yeah, and there’s no textbook. So basically we’re on our own to figure out what he wants us to know for the papers. It’s actually not an approach I’m particularly fond of, being intolerant of ambiguity as I am. Luckily, two of the friends I’ve made have worked in PR and were really valued resources.

Because we’re talking about media all the time in these classes, I’ve also seen a few random YouTube clips that have gone viral but somehow passed me by. I’ll share them in the next few days in case you guys missed the “Where is Matt” and “Charlie Bit My Finger” boats, too.

Now that I have a few minutes to write, I’m going to get some posts ready for the next couple of days, too. I’m back in the blogosphere (at least until I remember how much homework I have...)!