Not miss vs. Miss

July 7, 2010

I’m starting a few post themes.  The first of which, starting with this, will be something I will not miss about NYC, countered (for balance and fairness sake – though not necessarily related to the thing I’ll not miss, as will be noted below) by something I will miss.  For the other theme, I’ll think from the MN perspective about things I’m looking forward to, and things I’m kinda dreading (read: winters).

For today, it’s about NYC:

Not miss: 2-inch “water bugs” (aka cockroaches) climbing on my bathroom wall.  Thankfully, my roommate had some roach poison to spray on it while I kept the dog free from harm’s way.  Notice the role reversal there, of me being the discoverer of the roach and non-dog owner, yet not having to kill the thing myself while protecting my roommate’s dog.  I have a way of getting out of scary things.

Miss: High quality, free or very cheap comedy shows.  I thought of this one a few times over the course of the past few weeks when I’ve seen some really great shows.  One was at Prospect Park with Jeneane Garafalo, Jim Gaffigan, and my personal fave, Kumail Nanjiani, all for $3.  Another was a free show in Union Square, and then, of course, the monthly show I regularly attend at Le Poisson Rouge, John and Molly Get Along.  I think cheap comedy shows just about anywhere other than NYC have a very high chance of sucking and making the audience feel uncomfortable.

That’s all for now.

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8:36pm

June 17, 2010

Due to cajoling by Corin, I decided to join the masses who are photo-blogging about their lives with the project called 8:36pm.  The mission of the project is to take a photo at 8:36pm every day in order to document your life, and to challenge yourself to take what could be mundane photos in a creative way (at least I think that’s the point).  It’s another one of Buster Benson’s creations, who also started 750words.com (which lasted for about 4 days for me – whoops!).

I’ve managed to post 6 days in a row, and I’m keeping the photos in a set on my flickr account here.   So far, I’m really enjoying it, as I love to keep a record of what I do every day anyway, and the photo idea is a good way to think creatively on the spot at least once a day.  Fun!  Here’s my photo from tonight, which was taken right after I heard the alarm I have set on my phone (only problem is, I didn’t hear the alarm until 9:38 when I was leaving work… still counts, right?).

View of 6th Ave, Bryant Park, the summer stage/movie screen, and the library

Old Me, Now Me

May 30, 2010

I came across an amazing website, via the l’etoile magazine blog, my favorite blog to keep up with MN news for my Minneapple project.  The site is called “Old Me / Now Me” by Zefrank.com.  Many contributors have rifled through their old family photos, then recreated them as they are today.  It is hilarious, heart-warming, touching, nostalgic and frightening all at once.  I wasted at least 15 minutes of precious work time with colleagues maniacally scrolling through the photos.  Some recreate their photos incredibly well, down to clothing choices and facial expressions.  Be prepared for some sadness, too, when some members of the original photo are not present in today’s version.  I love seeing how much people change and stay the same, equally, over the years.  Hope you like it as much as I do!

Click HERE to check it out.  And here’s a fave of mine:

Pandora radio gone wrong

May 2, 2010

I’m fighting the urge to start a new blog entirely devoted to Pandora Radio and it’s weird song selections.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of typing in an artist I’m in the mood to hear and getting a great playlist, all for free.  But sometimes the songs make no sense.

Today, I’m in the mood to hear romantic Frenchy music, so I typed in Edith Piaf.  And all I get are Edith Piaf songs interspersed with songs from cheesy 80’s rom-coms, like overplayed Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday songs.  I want French songs please!

I need a new source…

My guess is that a lot of people have this issue with Pandora.  That they expect one thing, and get something else entirely.  Or maybe not something drastically different but just not what they had in mind.  Or just the idiosyncrasies of the site in general. For instance, the fact that just about every modern music station I’ve created (Beirut, MGMT, etc) always bring up Radiohead, Spoon and Modest Mouse regularly.  Or that when I put in a female singer, I get a bunch more female singers, whether or not they are in the same style (i.e. Ingrid Michaelson every time I listen to She & Him or Bjork).

So much dissecting could be done!

It’s Friday night!

May 1, 2010

I decided just now that my life has had far too much structure lately.  Sure, a structured schedule helps me write a blog, keep up in my online Econ class, plan monthly happy hours, work a ton, and prevent NYC overwhelm.  But lately, it’s gotten ridiculous.

Managing NYC overwhelm is like a pendulum.  I used to be bored because I found NYC overwhelming.  I was practically paralyzed by the city, especially when I didn’t have specific plans.  Then, I founded a blog and a group (Minneapple in the Big Apple, for those of you not keeping up) in order to find myself again and stop the boredom.  And that has become the opposite.  Every night is planned to the tee – write this blog post, send these emails, read this chapter, call this friend for up to 15 minutes.

STOP THE MADNESS!

I miss spontaneity!  I miss novelty!  I miss happening upon things!  And I’m saying this from an extremely stimulating and exciting city!

This realization struck while I was sitting at my computer tonight on a Friday night with no plans and no strong urge to find any plans, feeling an old familiar feeling – boredom.  I pulled up my iTunes and created a new version of “shuffle” – type in 2 letters in the search field and hit play.  I did “ko” and was surprised to get Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance,” among other random old favorites.  No “ko” in that Lady Gaga title there, but was glad to hear it nonetheless.

Anyway, I loaded up my most recent photos onto flickr, heard some old favorite songs that reminded me of how I want to learn the accordion, checked out some real estate blogs from Mpls, then searched on craigslist for some things.  And suddenly I recalled a fateful craigslist message from about 3 years ago in the “musician” section where the poster was seeking a cute keyboardist to write adorable pop songs with.  So began my first crush in NYC.

And that brought me down memory lane with some old photos and reading my old livejournal, reflecting particularly on that spring/summer of 2007, which held promise, excitement, romances, crushes, disappointments (always follow crushes, don’t they?), discoveries, budding friendships.  Ah, it was like being 24 again.  But with a better job and in the most exciting city in the world.  And by that I mean Brooklyn.  Williamsburg to be precise (how I miss those pool parties!!!).

Central Park Cherry Blossom Tree - May 5, 2007

All this to say that I miss my free-wheelin’ self.  I’ve gotten too much direction, perhaps.  I mean, I like accomplishing what I set out to do, and setting out to do some big things (at least bigger than I had set out for before this point in my life).  But it’s time for balance.

Can I be both structured and spontaneous?  Can I be a little less focused?  Can I leave a little free-time in my life to just be and create and write and play and read and explore?  I’m going to try.  Try to not try so hard, actually.

Somehow, this photo says it all…

Union Pool after the first pool party (Superchunk) - June 24, 2007

My new favorite thing

March 22, 2010

Alice told me about a website called 750 words today, and it could be the death of this blog.

Basically, 750words.com is a place to free write.  The website offers a private journal where the user is to write at least 750 words, every day.  That’s the goal at least.  It’s based on a book and process called “The Artist’s Way” which helps people tap into their creativity.  A major part of The Artist’s Way is “morning pages” where you write 3 pages every morning.  The creator of 750words.com (Buster Benson, a friend of many of my friends) has equated this to about 750 words. The idea is that free writing helps get out the crap and distractions that are blocking your creativity

The website gives statistics about each entry – such as how many words per minute, how many words typed each minute to track distractions, and even mood and topic area based on your word choices.  Very impressive!  I think this could be my favorite feature of it.

I tried it tonight (I know it’s not morning, but I was curious), and so far, I think I could get addicted.  This blog was supposed to fulfill that “get out my other ideas” purpose, but I’ve been so bad about it.  Maybe 750words.com is truly what I need more than this blog, or maybe it’ll free up mind space to devote to this.   Or maybe I’ll write on 750words a few times and never do it again.  Anything is possible.

p.s. I think my 3 cups of coffee, the last of which I drank around 3pm, could be contributing to my late-night writing.  Or maybe it’s my anxiety…

Signature Song

February 22, 2010

I was asked on Friday night, by a regular Minneapple happy hour attendee at the LookBook show, what my “signature karaoke song” is.  This after telling her I used to host a karaoke night back in Seattle.  Well, I’m not sure I have one anymore.  Have I gotten too broad in my song selections?  Have I lost my style and niche?  Let’s see…

My signature songs lately
“I Was Made to Love Her” Stevie Wonder
“When You Were Young” The Killers
“Mad About You” Belinda Carlisle
“Always Be My Baby” Mariah Carey
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Whitney Houston

Past Signature Songs
“Fox on the Run” The Sweet
“Cold As Ice” Foreigner
“Anything, Anything” Dramarama
“Head Over Heels” The Go Gos
“Heartbreaker” Pat Benatar
“Life on Mars” David Bowie
“Hanging on the Telephone” Blondie

Good Duet Songs
“Always” Atlantic Starr
“Young Folks” Peter Bjorn & John
“All My Life” K-Ci & JoJo (preferably a duet with Jun, my work-wife)

Songs Soon To Be Debuted
“Just Dance” Lady Gaga (as a duet – probably with Alice)
“Rock’n’Roll Suicide” David Bowie
“Weak” SWV

There are a few others to be debuted soon, but I can’t remember at the moment.  I’ll have to write them down when they come to me because that list of new songs is WAY too short!  Most of them come to me while shopping at drugstores – they always have the best music playing!  That’s where I was inspired to do the Mariah and Whitney songs.

As far as the current and past songs, I do think my list is pretty diverse, but I’m not willing to narrow it down at the moment.  Ha!

My 3-year NYC anniversary party is just around the corner, and it’s going to be a karaoke party at Hope & Anchor in my neighborhood, so I need to get my debut list ready!  Good times!

Catching up

February 6, 2010

Friends, it’s been a busy coupla weeks.  My Micro-Economics course started in full force and so far, I’ve been very organized and diligent about keeping up with it.  The online course is an interesting format that I’m enjoying so far.

Then, there was the Minneapple happy hour last night, as well as 2 events I attended this past week that I wrote about on the blog.  Fun times, but late nights.

Here’s what’s happening with me astrologically-speaking:

The possibilities for transforming difficult parts of your life are substantial. I’ll name a few ways this could play out: 1. A confusing riddle may be partially solved through a semi-divine intervention. 2. A sore spot could be soothed thanks to the power of your curiosity. 3. An ignorance that has caused you pain may be illuminated, allowing you to suffer less. 4. If you can summon the capacity to generously tolerate uncertainty, you may find and rehabilitate an orphaned part of your life.

Riddles, sore spots, ignorances, and uncertainties.  These are all things I currently struggle with in various ways, particularly in the winter when the winter blah’s set in.  Let’s hope for some transformations in these areas!  Not sure if I’ve experienced this just yet, but we’ll see as the week progresses and hindsight can aid in the analysis.

Last week, I was supposed to acknowledge my happy childhood and let my fond memories help me in dealing with life’s troubles today.  I did have a happy childhood (thanks, mom and fam!), and I could use a reminder to experience nostalgia as a healing power.  I used to be extremely nostalgic for the past, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve turned my pre-occupations to worrying about the future and trying to figure out what I should do.  I’ve been working on living in the moment more often, and I think I should draw on the past more often, too.

I suppose it has to do with my weird life in NYC.  Everything I own here was basically acquired since I lived here.  It’s almost like I hit a reset button when I moved here, because it was supposed to be temporary (3 years doesn’t count as temporary, huh?).  It’s disorienting to not have pictures and old belongings and people from the past surrounding me.  Thankfully, I have some old friends living here, and visiting at times.  They will help ground me and remind me of what’s made me happy in the past.  Maybe those past happinesses can guide me now.

Wow, there really is a blog for everything…

January 27, 2010

I miss Safeway!

It may be an old blog that’s no longer updated, but I find my discovery today of the blog “Not Quite What the Doctor Ordered” to be terribly entertaining.

I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Pepper, and it’s that or Coca Cola Classic when I have a rare craving for soda. All the fake versions are too much – hilarious! And impressive that someone actually tasted and reviewed so many!  I commend them!

Check it out here.

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

January 17, 2010

Today, I finally put one of my birthday presents to use. I got some wild rice from my lovely mother, and I decided to use about half of it for some Minnesota Wild Rice Soup. I used this recipe, except I didn’t add chicken or celery and I used fresh mushrooms instead of canned. It turned out quite good, and it tastes a lot like the Byerly’s version that my family loves so much, which is about as delicious as my mom’s version.

I was inspired to put my wild rice to use when I was catching up on my TV watching at home over the holidays, and happened to catch Andrew Zimmern’s food show on the Travel Channel featuring MINNESOTA! I did not know until I saw this episode that Andrew Zimmern is from Minnesota. He covered the MN State Fair, of course, among other MN delicacies (read: lutefisk), and also traveled to an Ojibwe tribe to harvest wild rice.

It turns out that the process is both labor-intensive and time-consuming. Also, little did I know that wild rice is not actually rice, but is in fact a grass. Check out this clip of this part of the episode:

I thoroughly enjoyed my first bowl, but I’ve got lots of leftover soup, so come on over to try it out if you’re in the neighborhood!