Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I am a Wasteland

Here's a little teaser post about Thanksgiving, mostly because the other one will just be about the food aspect. This is about me getting from my apartment to my dinner destination. In addition to it being a holiday adventure, it had that little something extra because it was my first time going to Queens (other than going to the airport, which I don't count as spending time in Queens).

My first time traveling to Queens involved taking a couple trains with just one long transfer (hey, Times Square station, hey). Probably the best part about my journey was noticing that everyone had a bag or two, like me, that contained food. One guy must have just finished baking the pie that his bag contained because when he walked on the train, the entire car soon filled with the aroma of fresh-baked pumpkin goodness. I would have probably noticed more, but I was ferociously reading in an attempt to finish my book.

Maybe I've acclimated to New York so well that I look comfortable even in new areas. Maybe I just look pleasant and approachable. For whatever reason, when I got off the train in my friend's neighborhood, I was soon approached by a gentleman who was about my age. Our conversation went something like this:

Him: "Excuse me, miss. Could you help me? My friend told me to get off at this stop and walk towards the McDonalds. Which direction is that?"
Me: "Not sure. See, my friend told me to get off this stop and walk towards 21st street sooooooooo yeahhhhhhh. Sorry!"

We laughed and parted ways. I'm going to assume he found his way. I win because I was more observant and easily saw which direction to walk.

Headphones back in, Ben Folds serenaded me as I made my way further into Astoria. There were Christmas decorations above the street and trees being sold on one corner. Then it happened. The song "Effington" came on. Now, I love this song. It's great. Here, have a listen, if you like.

And my first thought is about how Astoria kind of looked like how I imagined the epicenter of Effington would look. So I tried to snap a photo to capture it.

I mean, it doesn't really show everything that I saw (but it does very conveniently include the Christmas decor). Oh, Effington/Astoria/Whatever-You-Are, you are adorable. Soon I arrived at my destination, ready for some Thanksgiving magic.

Most of the supplies for the cooking were already in Kelsey's apartment. We had done our shopping a couple days prior and I allowed her the honor of schlepping the wares back to her abode without my assistance. Yes, I am that good of a friend. However, that does not mean I arrived empty handed. My bag contained a number of goods. I had dessert (some pumpkin and chocolate chip cookie bars), my book I was reading, a backup book in case I finished that one, some seasonings for the turkey, a sweater, my water bottle, an empty container to put leftovers in, and a couple tea bags in case I wanted to make tea. Chris, Kelsey's boyfriend, commented that I was much like a boy scout. Because of my current literature, I replied that I must be a Wasteland, and thanked Chris for helping me realize that. He was confused.

I pointed to the cover of the book and explained the premise of the chapter of the same title. (Quick book review: It is a delightful, it made me laugh, and Patton Oswalt is a lot of adorable.)

We made dinner. Drinking games were played. Football was watched. And at the end of the night, this Wasteland trekked home. On the return excursion, I did indeed finish my book (so good planning ahead on my part having that back up book) and began the next one, even with all of the distractions surrounding me. There was first the pile of vomit at one of the car I walked into. Then there was the whole people having bags obviously full of leftovers. And then the couple walking through the Times Square station with giant Toys'R'Us bags, full of their already-acquired Black Friday plunders.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This is kind of what my life is like

So I get home. Lights are on. Roommate's computer is open. First thought: oh man, we're getting robbed and they're using my roommate's computer to find the nearest getaway house. Or something. I don't know what robbers google. Then I realize roommate must be home. And she is. Then this conversation happened.

Roommate: Hey! How was your Thanksgiving weekend?
Me: Great! My team won!
Her: ...........
Me: I mean, it was good. And my team became the champions of the state of Florida today.
Her (shaking her head):
Me: Oh. And the whole food thing was good too. But seriously, my team won!!

That really happened.

Friday, November 25, 2011

This is a great example of why I started this blog.

So I'm watching Mad Men (because I hate myself and apparently never want to get work done ever). I started the series on Wednesday and am currently watching episode eleven of the first season. I am a fan. I will continue in the fashion in which I am typically accustomed and devour this show as quickly as possible. The sooner I finish, the sooner it can't taunt me anymore. All of this exposition is not necessarily required for the point of this post.

Okay. So. I'm about to nerd the fuck out a bit about this show and weather and climate. The episode is titled "Indian Summer" and features numerous characters talking about how warm it is. Don Draper let's us know that it is October. An air conditioner salesman even makes an appearance at the house to hock his wares. My first reaction was questioning why he would be selling air conditioners in October. Then it hits me. What were the weather conditions like during October in 1960? How different were they from those typically seen? Let's check that out.

A google search has revealed that there was indeed a stretch of days in 1960 that were warmer than the 75th percentile of the climatology. Very interesting. And it makes sense. It happened later in the month of October and the subsequent episode takes place in early November. Well, that was fun. Oh, and ladies and gentlemen of the Man Men world, the next two Octobers also feature at least brief periods of significantly warmer weather.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is about shoes.

As part of my birthday week celebrations, the lovely Anticipated Serenity joined me for a shopping adventure. We had intended to photo document a lot more of it, but we were easily distracted by who knows what. Probably our own conversation. Or people. Or the shoes. The quest was for shoes, but we acquire numerous other goods as well. It wasn't until we saw some really horrendous shoes that we remembered our secondary goal of documenting our adventures.

Oh man. Check out those hairy, hairy shoes. And lucky for us, they were just her size! I mean, yes, it would have been funnier if she had to ask the sales associate to grab the correct size, which would have had the added benefit of seeing both feet encased in those fashion disasters, but this would do. These fabulous shoes also prompted us to consider if we could function if we had such shoes. Mostly, we had questions about if you had to brush them. Or style them. That is what led us to discussing how should we own such shoes, we would get distracted by them all the time, mostly in that we would attempt to braid the hair. It would probably preserve the subtle crinkle that hair would have upon purchase.

So while I was trying on shoes (trying to find a pair of boots that I could try on up here that my mom, should she so choose, could purchase them for me as a gift for Christmas), A.S. sought out task number two: find the tallest display shoe in her size.

They're crazy tall (and also look very funny next to the sneakers).

Good times. I found some boots. Almost bought them on the spot but they were expensive so we dashed out of that store before I couldn't control myself anymore. The solution? A cheaper shoe store. I was looking for some cute ballet flats. Not so successful in that, but it was my turn to try on some wonderful shoes.

The best part about these is the atrocious gold zipper that goes all the way to the toe.

All in all, it was a very successful day. We both made some purchases. I gathered a number of items, almost all on some sort of crazy sale. Because I'm a geek, I added up how much it would have cost (150-something) and how much I actually spent (80 and change) to see how much I saved (a fuckton). Win!

This story would have ended here if it weren't for the next morning. When I was waiting for the train, there was a girl next to me with the hairy boots. I stifled my giggles and snapped a photo.

Not the greatest photo, but at least it answers the question of if someone would actually wear those shoes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Boys don't like me. It's probably because I'm too awesome.

As I sit here sipping on a beer, watching a documentary on atomic bombs while waiting for Monday Night Football to start, I am again reminded of why dudes should love me. This is my Monday night (and given my occupation as a server and bartender, my Saturday night), and I wouldn't have it any other way. That's a lie. The only thing I would change is someone to enjoy it with me. And maybe cable so I could actually watch the game (because streaming online is not always the best and refreshing the score on ESPN's website is so not the same). But alas, I am boyless.

Seriously though, how is this possible? I think about this often. My poor friends have had to listen to this diatribe many times. I am very much an independent woman. I can do this whole living as a pretend adult thing all by myself. I have my job, my work, my friends, and my hobbies to keep me entertained. But let's be honest. Sometimes I want to cuddle on the couch and watch a movie with a boy. Or go out for beers and watch a football game. Hell, sometimes I'm even down to just bum around and play video games. And when I get bored with them, you can continue, and I'll hang out with you and read a book or the internet or something (unless it's been all day, then seriously dude, let's go outside and do something). I really am that simple of a girl.

It was recently brought to my attention that maybe this nonchalance might actually keep the boys away from me. I mean, if I were a guy, I would think I was a perfect girlfriend. I enjoy sports and hate romantic comedies. I can't hear the word "thermonuclear" without thinking of WarGames (this thought brought to you by the documentary saying the word). My perfect date would probably be dinner and a movie. Or a show. Or a concert. Or a walk in the park. And dinner doesn't have to be anything fancy. If my team (or your team) is playing, bar food and some beers is totally okay. As long as your focus your sports banter mainly in my direction (you know, showing me your attention), I'm good.

Speaking of banter, my job should really help me in the whole dating scene. I work in sports bars. I'm surrounded by sports and guys all day. And part of my job is making the guest feel welcome at the bar. Typically, this involves engaging them in conversation, and I really do pride myself on being a girl who can hold my own. I admit my shortcomings and embrace where my sports knowledge excels. It's adorable and many people eat it up. Given this, you'd assume I'd probably be good at flirting, but I am one of the most awkward people ever. It might all be in my head, but it's most likely a fact. Or maybe I'm just never aware of when it's happening.

Really, boys, don't be intimidated by me. I have my girlie moments (usually in the case of being unsure about boys or needing to take a day to go shopping or making baked goods). And sure, I know about sports things, but I'm sure you know more. And I like video games, but I bet you can beat me at Halo more times than I can beat you (but when it comes to the original Super Mario Brothers, don't hold your breath. I will kick your ass). I don't need you to take my out to super fancy dinner (though a nice date here and there never hurt anyone).

Okay. That's all for now. If you need me, I'll be in the kitchen making cupcakes. And grabbing another beer.

None of this really needs to be said but I've come this far already.

And by "this far" I mean that I have opened the blogger page with the intent to write a real, longer blog post, but am not quite up to it just yet.

Anyway, on my breaks for studying for the LSAT I have been accomplishing great things. I sent my mom a Christmas list (because that is what mature 27-year olds do). I read random things on the internet (some of it legitimate news). I annoyed my little brother with inane gchat messages (he has a real, adult job and work to do or something). Debated editing/deleting a Facebook status update I made because it had a typo and I'm kind of obsessive about things like. Decided to leave it there. Debated acknowledging said typo right here, right now. Decided it was okay because I was thoroughly tipsy and full of love and joy when I wrote it. And I looked up future internships I could apply for as a law student because I'm impatient and too much of a future planner, and I want those jobs now! Because they look awesome. I am going to be the best Lorax ever.

I'm the epitome of productive. Or ADD. Both?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The whole world is watching.

I wonder how many blog posts are going up all around the world with that as the subject (or at least as the prominent feature) of the post. It's true though. The whole world is watching what happens with the Occupy movement. Being in New York, I felt compelled to join the protests, but did not. I kind of regret not being a part of this great moment in history. My reasoning was that I was going to get work done. Instead I spent a good chunk of today mesmerized by my Twitter feed, the Occupy Wall Street webpage, and the most importantly the livestream video. It sounds so cheesy and lame to say that it warms my heart, but it does. It makes me truly happy to see people out there voicing what should be a concern for so many of us. If I didn't have to work tonight, I would have been on my way to Foley Square. Just to witness it all, to be a part of it.

There are a lot of people out there who don't understand what the movement is about. Really, I don't think they want to know. They'd rather just sit idly by and let everything carry on as it should. When people ask me if I am for or against the protest, I smile and answer that I am so for it. When prodded further as to why, I iterate that the Occupy movement is for people like myself and many of my peers. It is for my generation, the next generation, for every generation. They are fighting for change for good.

The people that make me the saddest are those that know they are part of the 99% and claim that they do not stand with us. I even read something today with a quote from someone that was along the lines of that person being okay with barely making ends me, struggling with ever-increasing debt, and having no light at the end of the tunnel. How? How are you okay with this?

I look at my life and my future. I did everything right. I went to school. I went to college. I did well. I went to graduate school. I went for more graduate school. I have applied for jobs, was constantly rejected (not even brought in for an interview because of the 300 something applicants, I didn't even make that cut), and eventually got a job waiting tables. My life plan originally (well, as of a couple years ago) included going on to get a PhD. Part of my decision to stray from this idea was the current economy. Funding for research based PhDs is decreasing while the lack of jobs is increasing the number of applicants. Even if I were to get a degree, the prospect of jobs is grim. I have since reevaluated (see previous post about law school), and yes, part of that was as a result of looking at what is feasible. As a counter to this, I offer the fact that I almost didn't go to college. I almost dedicated my life to being a professional ballerina. I didn't because I knew that I would have a longer and most likely more successful career in academics. Eight years later and I have the same job I had the summer after my freshman year in college.

And I'm okay with that. I was thinking today about how my morning consisted of me sitting on the couch, reading the internet, and eating Cheerios right out of the box. If I wasn't so confident in myself and my future, it could have been a depressing sight to see. I know I will overcome this year off from academics. I will return to the scene and get shit done. And the Occupy movement will hopefully allow for enough positive change in our country that it will be worth it. Hopefully those who work hard and do what was always taught to us will come out okay.

Last little tidbit before I go. I think one of my favorite things about the Occupy movement is how "occupy" has come to signify so many things. It is often used in a joking or even derogatory sense, but it's there. It has infected our culture. And that is what this protest is about. Getting people thinking and talking. Making people aware. It's step one. Whether people like it or not or agree with it or not, they know about it. They're thinking about it. They're talking about it. The conversation has been started and we will all keep it going.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"No, it's like bandaid Nelly"

Tonight is Birthday Eve. Original plans got cancelled at the last second. Sad face. Whatever. They were rainchecked for actual birthday so can't complain. Last minute dinner plans were made instead. I didn't have to pick a time or a location, and that is probably a great thing because I am terrible at such decisions. Now, the dinner wasn't for me or anything special. It was a couple of my friends enjoying a pre-show meal and the invite was extended to me to join. We sit down and chat while waiting for food. My two dinner companions had both been to this establishment before. I had not. Upon hearing this, they made it very clear that I must check out the bathrooms prior to departure. They apparently don't read this blog and don't know about my love of interesting bathrooms and how they were once a post on here (right here). So yes, this dinner involved the almost asshole comment of "I am so going to blog about this". And I am true to my word.

Basically, there are four individual bathrooms, each with a star with the name of a music icon (probably the best word...maybe...) printed on it. The favorite bathroom for both of my friends was this one.

Due to Dolly being occupied (apparently it is the favorite of multiple people), people had to mix it up.

Kris went with Nelly. Kelsey skipped me in line for the one I wanted, so I waited patiently. I mean, how could I see her star and not choose it for my bathroom experience.

It was worth the wait.

Not just because while you're doing your thing you have this crazy mural next to you, but you are serenaded by the artist while you do your business. Why yes, Cher, I do believe in life after love after love after love. Also, I believe in crazy awesome, overly thought out bathrooms.

Hey neighbors.

This is a quick story to say that I sometimes do weird things that are funny to probably just me. And sometimes they are accidental. Like today, when I was going to do my laundry, I threw on some sandals to head to the basement. Get back upstairs and take off said shoes. It wasn't until I went to put the shoes back on to go switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer that I noticed that it was two different sandals. Now, if I say sandals, I definitely mean my Kinos because those are the only sandals I have. Given that, I do have a ridiculous number of these sandals in all different colors. This pair that I had spontaneously created was two different styles on top of being different colors too. Being too lazy to find the proper companion for one or the other of these shoes, I just kept wearing them for all of my laundry endeavors. And of course this is the one time that I run into many neighbors and my super. I doubt they noticed. But if they did, awesome.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm being productive in the library!

Well, sort of.

I could preface this with a lot of backstory about how no one in this library has yet offered to go get me a salad, but that would take time (and that pretty much sums it up already). Whatever. I looked up from my work (okay, I'm only kind of working as in I just started working, but I think I've accomplished some things today, mostly email sending, so it's alright) to observe my fellow library inhabitants. Maybe their incredible focus would inspire me to stop just chatting on the internet and do some actual work. That's when I noticed that I'm sitting almost by myself and everyone else is crowded on the other side of the room.

Note that there are no tables behind me, no one sitting at my table with me, nor anyone at the table directly in front of me. Everyone is just crowded together over there. What the hell, guys?! I thought we were all studying together! This is a library after all. So I probably should yell at them for being so antisocial. Or rather, for making me look antisocial. Actually, I probably shouldn't yell.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You know that list of reasons of why I will never be a real adult? Add this to it.

So, on the verge of panicking about not being able to access data, graphics, and the scripts to produce said graphics, I sent out my third attempt to contact the owner of the hosting server. Previous emails were all polite. They started with things like "hope things are well" and "long time no chat" followed by the point of the email. No response. What do I do? Send the best email ever written:

Sorry to bother you again, but I'm still hoping to hear back from you about the status of the server. Need to snag some graphics and matlab files from it. Let me know if it's alive, dead, or sleeping, and if/when you know it'll be back up and running. Thanks!


In a slightly crazier world (or a world were people understand the processes going on in my brain), I would have included a postscript. It would have gone something like this...

Ps. I know you are alive and somewhat with internet as you tweeted the other day. We're all very excited about Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls series is indeed amazing. But seriously, email me back.

Update: I received an almost immediate response from the email, even without my awesome postscript. There were apologies and a promise to keep me informed. Apparently, the server has been asleep since the snowstorm. Or in a coma. I'm not sure how you classify server ailments.

Not all who wander are lost

Tolkein was a wise man and I am definitely a wanderer. Sometimes I might think I am lost, but I find my way back to some path and let it take me wherever. I am at the whimsy of the universe. It got me here via a constantly changing life plan that I had laid out for myself. And I am okay with that. I am okay with the fact that I entered college with no idea what my degree would be. Graduate school was never my intention, but once the idea was posed to me (and yes, with the encouragement of you would be very successful in it), it seemed like the only path for me. I abandoned my somewhat recent aspirations to be a broadcast meteorologist (and I will go on the record to say that I was pretty good at it) to pursue further education. It kind of makes sense.

Throughout my undergraduate work, I took more classes than required and took classes that were completely not related to any major I was considering pursuing just so that I could learn as much as possible. I did this in graduate school too, taking on more courses than required for the degree. I even took a couple of anthropology classes because they seemed interesting and totally relatable to meteorology and climatology. My meteorological peers were mostly confused and the department as a whole probably thought I was some sort of weirdo ("What do you mean you finished all of your required courses and have taken three electives when you only needed to take one?").

Really, it all comes down to my love of learning and gaining new information and stepping outside of the box. Luckily my professor at Florida State knew all of this and encouraged me to apply to the Climate and Society program. I had looked at this program for a couple years and dreamed of getting in. I never thought it would happen. It did. And it was amazing. It was everything I wanted. It was a mix of everything with a huge emphasis on seeing how different disciplines can be connected together. You know, exactly what I had done while I was at FSU. The most important thing that I wanted to take away from this program was what my next move should be.

I thought PhD. I applied. Rejected. I applied to a handful more schools the following year. Rejected. Seriously, people, I know I'm competent and can do this. They apparently don't think so. I start doubting myself. Maybe I'm not cut out to be a scientist. Maybe all of those years growing up and not liking science (not sure why, but I didn't) caught back up to me. Maybe they sensed that I couldn't actually do it. The time to consider applying again has arrived. Time to start looking at programs and research opportunities. And I felt myself not being able to do it. I also felt myself reconsidering something I had always had in the back of my mind but didn't really share with anyone because I thought people would think I was crazy.

So here it goes. I had always considered law school. Environmental Law, specifically. It was one of my "what should I do after Columbia" questions that I posed to myself. And really, it kind of makes sense. It's all logic and facts and puzzles and bringing that all together to tell a story of sorts. And if you ask me what I want to do with my life, it would be to make some sort of difference by being able to write about the environment and climate and climate change with some sort of authority. So law school seems like a possibility.

I start looking into it. I research the possible institutions and their course offerings. I even look at some job postings to see what kind of opportunities I could be presented with post graduation. I'm kind of a lot of excited. And for everyone thinking it's quite the deviation from my path, don't. I did always consider it, but wasn't sure it was for me. The more I think about it, the more I realize it's for me. I've started studying for the LSAT. I will take it next month. The score I get will determine when and where I apply. If I have to take another year off, I will. If I decide to apply to combo PhD/JD programs, I will. I have time. And it could be yet another great, spontaneous adventure in my life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just another ordinary day with Susan

Let me start this off by saying that I have known my friend Sue for just about eight years now. We met our freshman year in college, and our friendship flourished over the years through a mutual appreciation of academics, hilarious things, and adventures. Conveniently enough, I live in the same city as her family and her husband while she (tragically) must live in South Bend for school. Lucky for me, this proximity to said family means that she visits often and usually stays for longer than a weekend or so. It is those times when I get to see her, even if it's just for a day. Or part of a day. Or whatever. And yes, we are totally those friends that can go for what seems like forever and a day without seeing one another, but when we get together, it's like nothing ever changed.

This brings me to our most recent adventure. Her school had their fall break and she chose to spend hers in New York. Shocking, I know. So while we could have just met up and had lunch and chatted, we decided to make it a little more interesting. She proposed the idea of going to Chelsea Market for an afternoon of walking around various specialty shops and sampling a variety of food stuffs. Making the day that much more fun and hilarious was the addition of her niece. And yes, this is the rest of the adventure that occurred the day that I bought Role Models by John Waters (featured here).

Since Sue had been to here before, she actually had a list. I had no agenda other than acquire food. Prior to finding a legitimate meal, we had to take care of Susan's errands. First stop was The Filling Station. Sue needed olive oil or some vinegar or something. There were a number of people crowded into the one little section. To avoid being in the way, Krista (Sue's niece) and I stood back, waited, and watched. Oh, and of course making comments. I had just relayed an observation to Krista that it appeared that people were sampling the oils and vinegars from little paper cups. Just straight. Not quite like a shot, but still, totally straight. I probably made some sort of almost judging them face. And with perfect timing, Sue comes up to us and with the sincerest excitement, she thrusts a cup into my hand with a statement along the lines of "you have to try this".

It was at this moment that we solidified that this would have to be a blog post, and so, in the name of journalistic integrity (or something like that), I tried the two different vinegars. We also sampled a couple of the oils. Really, why not. It was so absurd. Krista would not participate. She chose to spend those moments looking at us with confusion on her face.

While Sue debated which vinegar to purchase,
I turned around to check out the salts. Yes, the salts. All kinds of different flavored salts.

That's right! Bacon flavored salt. You could sample these too. And I did. Except I tried the merlot salt.

It tasted like...salt.

Sue made her purchases. We stopped by other shops. We sampled some candies. All was well. One of the best moments of the day though might have been Krista announcing that she thought it was weird that Sue and I didn't think any of this was in any way extraordinary. We had no answer for her.