Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

How else could I end the year? A photo collage of my best faces of 2008, combined with some rousing haiku poetry chronicling the past 12 months is the only way to do both the URL and the official title of this blog any justice. And, you know, satisfy my vanity. So without further ado, I present to you a Photoshop collage that's intricacy proves exactly how much I want to avoid packing for London, and 12 poems which I believe showcase my Best Work of the year. Enjoy, and Happy New Year! See you in 2009.


1.
In January,
I tried to balance two groups
of friends. Mission: failed.

2.
Feb featured Spice Girls,
a trip to Toronto, and
late night Mickey D's.

3.
Shopping for Sara
was the highlight of March. Oh,
and going to Prague.

4.
Flip-flopped all April:
Do I love New York or do
I want to transfer?

5.
Traveled to Israel
for the first time in May. It
was love at first site.

6.
Still psyched to be home
come June. Was not yet sick of
"typical Newton."

7.
Hung out with Evan
and my parents for most of
July. A strange mix.

8.
Not that I don't love
home, but moving back was the
best part of August.

9.
Ninth month, lots of new
beginnings. Not all good, but
all interesting.

10.
Everything that took
place in October can be
summed up by that face. 
(see collage above)

11.
Barack Obama
won! As for November, well,
nothing else matters.

12.
December: I got 
bangs, turned twenty and leave for 
London in two weeks!

Sex Sells Socks

I'm still deciding what I think about Susannah Breslin. On the one hand, a lot of her writing fascinates me. On the other hand, her attitude towards feminism sort of pisses me off. And the fact that the product description of her book on Amazon describes her as a "post-feminist" writer is more than a little confusing...I didn't know feminism was so successful that we'd reached a place where it was possible to be post the whole movement. Silly me.

But forget about my opinion of this Cowgirl for a second. It's her American Apparel ad (and Debauchette's, and Last Night's Party's) that I'm really thinking about today. Breslin seems to mock anyone who would call it "anti-feminist," but after thinking long and hard, I've decide that maybe it's got nothing to do with feminism. I don't think it's a feminist ad. I don't think it's an anti-feminist ad. I just think it's...weird. I know AA enjoys being known as a brand that uses sex to sell, and hey, who doesn't...but it doesn't seem like they're selling anything with this ad except sex. I know, I know, they're selling socks. Except no, they're not. They're selling this lady's bod.

Sasha Grey consented to being photographed. A woman photographed her (Breslin makes a big point of this, acting as though a woman cannot possibly act in a way that harms women as a whole...a subject for another post). Everyone's (presumably) getting paid. And Creepy McCreepster is profiting. So is there anything wrong here? I don't know. I can't pinpoint what it is that makes me uneasy, but something feels messed up about this situation.

This isn't really new. Apparently the French American Apparel ads have been doing this forever. Or at least since December 2007. But a comment on that Jezebel post sort of sums up my real question, the heart of this confusion, I suppose: "But why?"

Perhaps one of my dear readers can shed some light...why the added nudity to the already overtly sexual AA ads? And why does it seem to be upsetting me so much?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Cabbage Soup Diet, or Why I Was Not A Normal 10 Year Old

You might be asking yourself, What is that piece of loose leaf paper with awful handwriting scribbled all over it?! Good question! You will never in a million years guess.

Oh, it's just the Cabbage Soup Diet, scrawled down in purple metallic Gelly Roll ink by my tiny 10 year old hand. Yes, dear reader, at the tender age of 10 I was looking for a way to lose weight. And I somehow decided upon the Cabbage Soup Diet, at the urging a close family friend who I think was about 80 at the time. I mean, there are so many WTFs embedded into those three sentences I won't even go there. Instead, let's just focus on the LOL highlights:

1. I didn't (and still don't) drink tea or coffee. So why was I obsessing about not putting milk or sugar into either?

2. OMG! On Wednesdays I was allowed fruits and vegetables! YAY!

3. Why was I allowed 13oz steaks on Saturday and Sunday? I mean, I guess after starving all week it's a good reward, but I'm pretty sure a typical portion for steak is like, 4oz, no? At least that's what I'm told by my nutritionist nowadays.

The truly tragic part of this whole thing is that I actually was not fat at age 10. It was a luxury I didn't get to enjoy for much longer in life, so I really should've been making the most of it. Or, you know, not worrying about my weight because children should be carefree and whimsical, not neurotic and paranoid about how to best cover their "stomach bulge." (Overalls were my go-to answer and I actually cried on the first day of 5th grade because my mom had washed them the night before and they hadn't dried, and I was convinced if I didn't wear them and cover my stomach, the other kids would notice how fat I was and not want to be my friend. Hm, okay, this might have now crossed the line from hilariously-tragic to actually-pathetically-sad-and-depressing.)

It's stuff like this that makes me truly doubtful when people try to convince me I'm normal.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My opinions about The City, because I am totally unqualified to have any

I never watched Laguna Beach. I never watched The Hills. These are the only two things I read about The City, Whitney Port's new "reality" TV show that aired on MTV tonight. In fact, until one of my good friends Arielle called me up and said, "Yo, we're watching The City tonight," I had no idea who this Whitney character even was. So with that intensely qualified background, I will proceed to give my opinions about the premiere double episode that aired tonight.

1. These kinds of shows just stress me out. I can't help it, everyone involved always inevitably bothers me, and I find myself wanting to pull characters aside and yell at them. The fact that I'm supposed to go along with this whole thing being "real" just intensifies the stress, particularly because Whitney actually seems like a nice girl. Which is also annoying, because then I find myself actually caring about her, and wanting to punch this stupid Jay dude in the face. You look like a dick already, bud, you don't have to add to the vibe by sporting the fedora. Seriously.

2. The Upper West Side vs. Lower East Side drama they tried to create was really annoying. Like, okay, some people in New York are rich socialites, and some people in New York are (not in comparison to the rest of the world because they live in NYC but I guess in context) poor hipsters. And then you know, some people are NYU students whose parents have an apartment uptown but they live in Soho, and some people are rich hipsters, and some people are homeless, and some people live and work in midtown and enjoy both sides of the city...it just seems like such a dumb cliche route to take. Oh, poor Whitney, she must choose between the beautiful "art dealer kids" or the sexy "hipster club kids." Right. Because those are the only two options in the city. And your fate is just made by whichever side you pick. And you can never change your mind. And no one enjoys a quiet night cooking dinner at home and watching SNL. YOU MUST CHOOSE YOUR IDENTITY. Anyway.

3. I liked all the shots of the city. As Arielle pointed out, 60% of the show seems to be taken up with scenic shots, but hey, what can I say...I miss it. And it is beautiful, and they captured some gorgeous spots. Oh! And I swear, there was a view of Gramercy Green at one point! As soon as they said Erin lives in Gramercy I was waiting to see my dorm, and sure enough, for a tiny second they showed it! I got inordinately and unnecessarily excited. The one bothersome thing about the scenic stuff: those fuzzy shots they did where all the lights look like blurry dots on a black background, and then the city comes into focus. They do that a lot on Gossip Girl too, and I find it aggravating. Like, the city only ever looks like that if you are almost blackout drunk, and if that's how you're viewing things, it's probably time to go home. I don't need that experience simulated for me on nighttime TV, thanks.

My gripes aside, I have to admit...I might be hooked. If only because I love Erin's bangs and Olivia's snide looks (and sunglasses so large they rival MK's!) Oh, and because it's so bizarre that they make a point of filming working men checking out Whitney everywhere she walks. Like, girlfriend dresses well and is cute, but she's not that hot? Or maybe that part is real. Who knows. The guesswork involved with this show might end up being part of the fun!

PS: No matter how much I end up liking or disliking the show, I am personally offended that anyone, anywhere, ever, had the gall to even pretend that this chick could be the New Carrie Bradshaw. A sweet girl on fun fake reality TV, maybe. But Whitney taking over the role of Single Goddess, offering advice and hope to hordes of crazy ladies in New York City and beyond? Bitch, please.

[photo by MTV]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Advice from Madre

I was having a funny conversation with my mom this morning and she said something that made me laugh a lot, so I said, "I'm going to put that in my blog!" Then I kept laughing, but kind of stopped and thought for a moment, and I said, "Actually mom, that's not very tolerant." She agreed, and said, "Don't put that in your blog! It's not PC and so everyone will get mad at me and then I will get hate mail!"

So I am not writing my mother's hilarious comment in this blog. To quote her: "Not everything I tell you is meant to be put on the Internet!"

Genius words to live by, and something I worry I don't always remember, especially as of late. Not everything is meant to be put on the Internet. Shocking! Good thing I have this wise-hip-mom-lady to remind me not to be a moron.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Lights

One of my favorite Christmas traditions (aside from going around whining that I wish I celebrated the holiday, gushing about how gorgeous all the trees and decorations are, and begging my father to let us have a Hannukah Bush) is driving around with my mom on Christmas Eve and enjoying all the lights. It's slightly creepy in a voyeuristic sense (particularly when I see people standing by their windows and feel like a drive-by-stalker), but mostly it's just a fun mother-daughter activity that allows us to enjoy the beauty of the holiday (my dad is strictly against the Hannukah Bush idea, no matter how many times I suggest it.)

This year though, our drive was sort of a bummer. Not many houses seemed to have decorations up, and the ones that did were very tame. Maybe it's because of the economy, or maybe we were just sticking too close to our unrealistically-highly-Jewish neighborhood. I don't know. It was sad. KISS 108 wasn't even playing good holiday jams. Luckily, when we got home the Hannukah candles were still burning...so at least we got to enjoy some holiday lights.

With that said, I realize my enjoyment of Christmas lights is a more superficial aspect of the holiday. I know it's about family and love and all that good stuff. So Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Clarifications on my Feminism, Part II: Hooking Up

Something that has bothered me for as long as I can remember is the way we (society?) view "hooking up." Now I know it's a hotly contested term these days, even though I'm pretty sure it's absolutely nothing new (I wrote a paper on "Hooking Up" for my journalism class senior year, and even then the term felt stale), but for clarity's sake (because that's what this series is all about) I will define "hooking up" as I mean it. When I say "hook up," I mean: anything from making out to having sex. Including everything in between. Excluding meeting for coffee.

So here's what pisses me off: I don't think hooking up is by nature a feminist activity, but I think it is 100% anti-feminist to say that a woman cannot hook up, because she will end up either (a) used, (b) regretful, (c) attached, or (d) all of the above. That assumption, implication, and accusation, which I hear all too frequently, makes me really mad.

Let me preface this by saying: I am not one to casually hook up.
I am inherently bad at it. I like being intimate with people I'm close to, so the whole nature of a hook up doesn't really work for my style of intimacy. Still, I've been known to attempt a casual fling here and there, but they generally end badly. Which means they also generally end with my friends alternatively drying my tears and rolling their eyes, all the while reminding me, "I told you you would get attached." So okay, fine. Potential one-night-stands, take heed: Vanessa is bad at casual hookups. But just because it's not my thing, does not mean it's not ANY GIRL ON THE WHOLE PLANET'S thing. My inability to casually hookup does not directly correlate to my vagina. 

In 7th grade, a boy I thought was cute wanted to feel me up. So I let him. I was a willing participant, and frankly, I was quite pleased. My two best friends were not. "It's not my call, Vaness," one wrote in the journal we shared and guarded with our lives, "but you know I didn't think it was a good idea." The other concurred: "I am NOT smiling." I understand that when one is 12, sexual boundaries are confusing, and figuring out what is okay and what is not okay is tricky (heck, it's
still tricky.) But why did my friends automatically decide this situation was a bad one? The assumption behind these judgments, I think, is that the boy got something out of the situation and I was left used. You know. Devalued. Dirty. All the stigmas we attach to "ruined women" now. But back then we weren't talking sex, we were just talking a quick chest-grab in the coat closet at a Bat Mitzvah, because we were, you know, 12. I didn't feel used, devalued, or dirty. I felt as happy as the boy. But my friends didn't acknowledge that.

So now that we're in our twenties, it
is about sex. And I constantly hear women warning other women: "Don't sleep with him because then he's using you. You'll totally get attached. Anyway, then you're just giving him what he wants." The implication being: he is getting what he wants and you are not. But what the fuck?! Are we not at a point where we can acknowledge that–gasp–girls enjoy sex too! That maybe, if a girl sleeps with a guy, she's not giving in to him or agreeing to be used by him, she is simply enjoying herself and enjoying sex? I thought that was obvious by now, but apparently not. While out for dinner the other night, I mentioned to some friends that I would still hookup with a guy who was an asshole to me a while ago, if the opportunity arose. One girl gasped in shock. "That's fucked up," she said. "That goes against your whole feminism thing."

Aside from being a tiny bit offended that the values I hold dearest to me were written off as my "whole feminism thing," all I'm asking is: HOW?! I'm not saying making out with a guy who screwed you over is the most feminist thing in the world to do, but I'm unclear how it's
anti-feminist. Perhaps it is degrading, or shallow (hey, he was cute!), or even Not The Best Idea...but it aggravates me when people use "feminism" to try and tell me whether I'm handling sexual things right or wrong. A big problem with the feminist movement right now is the act of defining "feminist"; everyone thinks s/he is the "best feminist," and wants to tell all the others how to do it right (stay tuned: this will be the subject of Part III of these Clarifications.) Anyway, it is just always really frustrating to me when people act like "hooking up" is all about giving in to a guy, giving him what he wants, and cheating yourself. That seems like a really backwards way to look at kissing, copping a feel, or sex.

I'm not saying a casual hookup is the most fulfilling thing on earth, but I do not think it is a degrading thing for a woman to do. And I challenge the person who does think that to consider if you'd say the same about a man doing it. If you would, then we just have different sexual beliefs, which is chill. But if you think it's okay for a dude to stick his dick into anything with a hole in it, and assume he won't have any emotional/mental/physical repercussions, but are not okay with a woman doing (essentially) the exact same thing...then you need to stop telling me that
I'm the bad feminist. Because feminism = equality, and double standards do not equate to that. Women and men can enjoy hooking up casually, and women and men can get attached or end up feeling used. It's not a gender thing. It's not "fucking like a man." It's just life, and feelings, and sex...and when it comes down to it, we all bleed red and we all love orgasms. So stop making me feel guilty about mine.

You say Kleenex, I say Love

Last night, an old friend was telling me all about her new boyfriend, and everything sounded wonderful and exciting and beautiful, as a good relationship is apt to sound. And I was a tiny bit jealous, of course, but also genuinely happy for her because I'm in one of those phases where I just appreciate love for existing. So we were chit-chatting and somehow the topic of ridiculous fights came up, and she admitted that she and her perfect-sounding boyfriend were not immune to them.

She explained that she had slept over at her boyfriend's one night, and had gotten up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She needed to blow her nose, too. When she got back to bed her boyfriend was awake, and angry. "Where were you?" he asked accusingly. She was confused, and explained she'd just been in the bathroom, blowing her nose. Aha! "Why would you need to go to the bathroom to blow your nose," he asked, "because...
the Kleenex are in here!" She relayed her total bafflement at his craziness. He is a very normal guy, she explained, and she just could not understand why he was being so crazy about the Kleenex, and why it mattered that she had been in the bathroom, and what he could possibly assume she was doing in the bathroom that would have been so terrible anyway.

It kind of made perfect sense to me.

He's in love with her. And he woke up and expected to find her snuggling next to him, only to discover the bed was empty. So he panicked and got upset, but when she came back there was no way to explain, "I love you and I was upset that you weren't next to me," because sometimes even in the non-harsh dimness of night these things are difficult to say, so instead he justified his upset by picking some crazy fight about the whereabouts of the Kleenex. I'm not saying I don't love me some flowers and poetry, but next to that, this is one of the most romantic gestures I can think of.

I mean I could be wrong. I've never even met the boy, so I don't know where I get off psychoanalyzing his actions. But I know I've found
myself crying on the corner of East 30th and Park Ave. South, exclaiming over the cruelness exhibited at Blockheads when a certain boy didn't "make sure I had a seat to sit innnnnnnnn before you sat down with your friendssssss." And I know what I was really trying to say was, "I love you and I know we can never work out but I don't understand how you feel about me anymore and it makes me sad and confused and nervous and I just hope you like me as much as I like you and you're not visiting so we can just be friends," but those types of things are difficult to say, too. So I pretended it was about a seating arrangement, much as I assume this boy pretended his feelings were about a Kleenex box.

But it's never really about a chair or a tissue, is it?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Birthday Roundup

I turned 20 yesterday and all I can say is I am very lucky to have so many wonderful friends and such a great family. I spent midnight at an apartment in Boston with some of my best friends and a bunch of randos from high school, which is my favorite kind of Newton gathering. My mom waited up until 3am to wish me happy birthday. She also mentioned a really fucking gross horror story she read in a magazine at the hairdresser and told me she was quite pleased she no longer had to worry about "teenage girl" scare stories because I no longer am one. I can also no longer be a teen-mom. Cool!

I woke up Sunday morning to open presents. My family spoiled me. My favorite gifts are two books: Influence, by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen from my mom, and Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963, recently released by Susan Sontag's son, from Miss Nina. My Facebook wall was filled, both from close friends and casual acquaintances, and some people in between. I got calls from family in South Africa, friends vacationing in Florida, Kayla in Toronto, and Sam in Colorado. I did not leave the house once all day, but admired the gorgeous snowfall from my living room. I made dinner with my mom and got drunk off champagne and for once my dad didn't seem to mind. I watched the season finale of Californication and downloaded that song, Keep Me In Your Heart, and then I drifted off to sleep and when I woke up it was no longer my birthday and that's how it works every year, I guess.

I know that it's next year that's the big one, or the big two-one, but I feel pretty grown up and satisfied right now, despite the fact that I still cannot legally enjoy an alcoholic beverage at a bar.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"I've got a sneaking suspicion love actually is all around."

Every single thing I read online today depressed me. Every. Single. Thing.

So instead of angrily blogging about any of it, or curling up with a bottle of wine and bawling my eyes out, I watched Love Actually. And I thought about how the opening and closing scenes, talking about love existing so clearly in the arrivals at Heathrow Airport (where I will be in less than a month!), remind me of Ani DiFranco's song "The Arrivals Gate." And I prayed that the cheesy but satisfying and beautiful movie was right: maybe there is more love than hate, more right than wrong, more hope than despair in this world.

I'm turning 20 tomorrow and while I'm not convinced of any of the above, I figure that if I can't be hopeful at age 20, the rest of my life is going to be very miserable indeed. So I'm trying. Maybe I should just stop reading the Internet for a while.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dating in 2008

Guy: Did I ever tell you what happened after she and I broke up?
Girl: Well you said you were going to be friends with benefits, and I told you those don't exist.
Guy: Oh. Well, yeah, we did keep hooking up.
Girl: Uh huh.
Guy: And you know how we hadn't had sex?
Girl: Yeah.
Guy: Well, we did. After we broke up.
Girl: Oh! How did that go?
Guy: It was good. And now there's closure. So that's good.
Girl: You had sex so now there's closure?
Guy: Exactly.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clarifications on my Feminism, Part I: Labels

I was out for dinner and drinks on Tuesday with three of my favorite people, to celebrate my birthday and mourn my last night in the city, and of course somehow the topic of feminism came up. The conversation then went into some interesting places, all of which got me thinking a lot about my own beliefs when it comes to feminism. As a result, I will be blogging a series: "Clarifications on my Feminism." I'm not sure how long the series will be; I might continue it indefinitely, because things are always coming up that make me question and wonder and try to answer to myself exactly how I feel about that tricky ideal: feminism. So this is Part I of that series. Get psyched.

Not one of the three girls I was with on Tuesday identifies with the word "feminist." My mom tells me I am too judgmental when it comes to this topic, accuses me of being extremely tolerant on all subjects except this one. She says I get too angry, too frustrated when people don't agree with me. I try not to be, but I guess she's right to an extent: this is the one topic where I get a bit judgey, because it really makes no sense to me when a girl does not want to be called a feminist. That being said, I'll try to make this post in the least judgmental way possible, and hopefully I won't offend any of these girls, because they are my best friends, and incidentally they all read this blog. (Hi guys!) And I do love them, ardent feminists or not. This just got me thinking.

Girl #1 explained that she does not call herself a feminist because she does not like labels. As one of those teenagers who thought I was super liberated and awesome for having a bumper sticker on my notebook that said "LABELS ARE FOR JARS, NOT PEOPLE", I can understand that mentality. I guess what frustrates me about this argument is that I think the sentiment that labeling is bad is for negative labels. And I think something that frustrates me most about my generation's treatment of the word feminism is that it is a bad thing, with negative connotations. For example, it's not okay to label someone a "slut," because of the negative connotations that go along with it and the assumption that the label would hurt the person's feelings. I have rarely heard complaints about a person being labeled a "genius."

The issue with girls not identifying with "feminism" rarely has anything to do with a girl's beliefs. Quite often these "non-feminists" believe wholly in feminism ideals: equality for everyone, regardless of their sex. Those who don't believe in that are another story, but the women who do, but do not want to be called "feminists" really make me sad. It's proof that in our culture, feminist is a dirty word. And I really believe the reason for that is because society has told women that causing a stir is wrong, that voicing your opinion is not okay, and that "you are already equal, so quit whining and making a big deal about nothing, already." And that really fucking pisses me off. So although I understand the desire to steer away from labels, I think that if you can call yourself a girl, or a student of life, or a person, then you should be able to call yourself a feminist. That's how inherent I believe it should be.

[photo from sijeka*'s flickr]

From my essay entitled "Deactivating Facebook, Activating Myself":

Stalking a person on Facebook does not mean you know them. 

Reading between the lines of messages and photographs and friend requests does not equal understanding. Blogging does not always mean sharing, reading does not always mean knowing. An interesting thought is that the Internet age, far from making us overexposed, has actually added more mystique and intrigue than ever before. We market ourselves, carefully cultivating what we share, and even when it seems as though a boundary has been crossed, really all we have done is marked a new line. Knowing that my interests include “polaroids, poetry, pink wine, mary kate olsen, etc.” tells you nothing about me, except maybe that I’m a pretentious asshole. But even then, the question lingers: am I really a pretentious asshole, or am I cultivating the image of one? 

The girl in my Facebook photo is not me. None of it is real. So how can I judge others with this standard? If I know nothing online illuminates a person, or at least does not illuminate the person fully, what is the point of caring? We use a flashlight pointedly on the Internet, leaving most of our true selves in the shadows, untouched. 

And yet that is true of real life too; perhaps the Internet and the real world are not so different.

Stereotyping Italian Men

Creepiest.

This dude, Heath Campbell, from New Jersey, has named his kid Adolf Hitler and is upset that a cake place refused to write "Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler" on the kid's cake.

I can't decide which of the following is creepiest: his house is decorated with swastikas, he has another daughter named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, he believes the cake place should be more tolerant, he said he named the kid Hitler because he likes the name and no one else would have the same one, or this quote: "Yeah, they [the Nazis] were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They're not going to grow up like that."

I mean even typing all that gives me the chills, but then another part of me wonders if this is disobeying some sort of law...like, "All names shall be given honor in icing," or something like that. I don't know, something free-speechy. But is it maybe the cake company's right of free will to refuse the order? They're not being racist or ageist or sexist, they're just being...nameist? Or is it the ideas behind the name, in which case, they're being normal people and rejecting the ideas of Adolf Hitler the mass murderer, not Adolf Hitler the toddler.

I don't know. I'm officially creeped out.

Breakdown @ Bobst

I'm a little late commenting on this, but I just thought I'd weigh in because the one person who tried to express what I think is my opinion did so in such a rude way that he came off as an asshole and everyone on the message board treated him as such.

So basically Take Back NYU, a group which I admittedly only know through their website, staged a study break dance party at Bobst last Thursday night. I missed the actual event because Thursday was actually the only weeknight I did not spend at Bobst last week, but I heard about it, read about it, and saw photos. The point of this group of people seems to be: "demanding budget disclosure, endowment disclosure, and student representation on the Board of Trustees." And encouraging more school spirit. None of which I'm against. And the dance party looks super fun! But I have to say, I agree with Will Solomon, the one commenter who complained about the demonstration/party, but in a less harshly worded way.

I understand the "party" at Bobst was only 40 minutes, but during finals, or really any night when you have a huge paper or a lot of studying or any kind of work, 40 minutes can be a big deal. It's the difference between going to bed at almost-3am and almost-4am. It's the difference between squeezing in a nap. It's the difference between chugging that last Red Bull or accepting that you'll be done soon so you really don't need it. Personally, if I had trekked all the way to Bobst (approximately 20 blocks from where I live) to work on Thursday night, with no scheduled breaks in mind, and had been interrupted by a dance party...I would've been pissed.

Or I mean, maybe I wouldn't have. Maybe I would've been in the mood to take a break, and dance, and chill. Maybe. But the point is that a library is a place for studying (or having sex on the 8th floor, if we're to believe Craigslist and JuicyCampus) and if students are there, it's safe to assume they're there to work. I just think there are more effective places this dance party could have taken place if the group is trying to get the attention of the administration (outside JSex's apartment, perhaps? During one of those lunches he hosts? As street performers outside Silver? IN the Silver elevators?) and I don't think it's fair to tell any students annoyed about the event that "It was 40 minutes of your life, lame-o," or "It sounds like you are super stressed, and getting a little cranky."

Whatever, I mean, I won't be in Bobst until September at the earliest, and as I said, I don't really disagree with Take Back NYU on any fundamental level. I just don't understand why anyone's surprised that students attempting to study at a library were disturbed and slightly perturbed by a dance party...in a library...during finals week

Just sayin'.

End of Semester #5

I'm home. It's weird.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I still sort of wish this because who doesn't love milkshakes?


My favorite way to procrastinate is to read through my old Livejournal. It has a different ring of truth to it than any of my real journals, because I knew I was writing for an audience, and if my last paper for Brit Lit II taught me anything, it was that a writer's intended audience can really influence what the author reveals. Here is a particular gem from Junior year, which was strangely four years ago. I honestly have trouble remembering that...I tend to reference "high school" as if the whole thing is still secretly going on in the present. Right.

"On more than one occasion, I have wished that life was more like Grease, or perhaps a Betty and Veronica comic book. 

You know, hanging around the local hangout on a school day with my best friend, both of us sipping from long strawed milkshakes and gushing to each other about our fabulous boyfriends who totally loved us to no end, homework only really being something you talked about in passing and never really had to do, or when you did do it it was souly so you could set up a study date with the faithful loving aforementioned boyfriend, and life would just be sunny skys and gumdrops. Or something.

And, when there was conflict, it would only be long enough to last about twenty minutes, or else it would ruin the movie, or perhaps it would go on for a few boxes, but nothing long enough to leave the cartoon with a bad/sad ending.

And I kind of always hoped life would be like that in high school, because it seemed like it would be really fun to hang out with a best friend after school everyday and drink milkshakes and have a specific "the gang" and always have a boyfriend and never be upset for too long.
" - September 23rd, 2004

Best part: "hanging around the local hangout." And: "Souly." Thank you, fifteen-year-old self.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Do Feelings Ever Go Away? No, Except When They Do.

I went for dinner with a good friend tonight and we ended up getting teary eyed over sushi. The Volcano rolls and edamame were perfection, but when the talk swung around to feelings, we each got a little overwhelmed with our own. Here's the deal.

We were talking about life, and family, and boys, and then it became apparent that we've both had similar situations with some boys in our lives, so we started chatting about that. And how it's really hard to stop caring about someone you once cared very much about. So then my friend asked, "Do you think feelings ever go away?" and my immediate response was, "No, I don't."

I think it might be just me, but the thing is, of the two boys in my life who I have felt very strongly about (I hesitate with the word love, because, well, because I do...) I still feel very strongly about both. I am no longer dating either one, and though I am on good terms with both, and have managed to not translate those good terms into anything sexual in a while, I feel as though my initial feelings will never truly go away. Yes, they change over time, and yes, I think I will find someone who I feel more strongly about one day, thus making the feelings seem even more distant...but I do not believe they ever go away. At least for me. I'll go ahead and use "love" hypothetically here: I believe that once you've loved someone, it does not go away. You just wait until you find someone you love more, or at least more intensely, and then you can move on. People do not forget their feelings...they just rationalize their way out of them, or convince themselves they mean less than the long list of "cons" that helped facilitate the end. 

Or so I thought.

But then I remembered the terrifying thing that I've seen happen to a few friends, heard about happen to some married couples, and read about more times than I'd care to. It is a phenomenon that literally gives me goose bumps, strikes fear in my heart, and that I truly cannot wrap my head around. It is the idea that one day, your partner of six months or two years or three decades can wake up, turn to face you in bed, and realize: I don't love you anymore. I don't know how that happens. I do not understand how you wake up one day and realize you are no longer in love with the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with, but I know it happens. And that scares the shit out of me, and also sort of debunks the idea that you never stop feeling your feelings...because apparently some people do, and it happens kind of a lot.

So I guess my answer is that I never stop feeling my feelings. Rest assured, if you are reading this, and I have ever loved you...I still do. And I always will. And maybe that is my downfall, but I actually find it quite comforting to know I will never have to look another human being in the face and say, "I don't love you anymore." Because for better or worse, that is simply not how my heart works.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just something to think about as I continue to edit my essays, due 12 hours from now:

When discussing what our goal should be when writing, Rachel answered simply: "Uncovering the truth of human existence." I don't know what I am going to do without this class every week.

3 Red Bull later...

The situation of having a lot of work is far less daunting when you just accept you're going to be up all night. Like, if I was aiming for sleep, it would freak me out that it's 5am, but since I know I'm not getting any, I can just acknowledge that I have 5 hours left before I have to get on the bus and go to campus. It's soothing.

Speaking of work, I just have to finish editing my two creative non-fiction essays and then I'm practically done with the semester. Sure, I have a final on Monday, but after writing 45 pages over the course of 48 hours, I can't feel too concerned about that silly little thing. One of my essays I'm working on is about Facebook, and while one would think it would be easy to discuss the force that governs my generation, I'm actually finding it incredibly difficult. I just have too many anecdotes and I can't tell which are relevant and which are funny versus which are idiotic. Most are probably all three.

Also: everyone should check out Jess & Josh's blog from today. Well, you should check it out all the time, but I'm featured there today...my 16 year old self, that is. Jess had the idea to gather old journal entries from readers' teen years and post them on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (I think?) It reminds me of Cringe, an event I have still yet to make it too and now probably will not until I return from London. Bummer. Anyway, I passed on some melodramatic crazy talk from the good ol' Livejournal, and will probably send in more, because who doesn't need to see the psychotic things I thought were appropriate to post on the Internet from 2003-2006? Good thing I don't do that anymore...oh wait.

Please keep in mind that the entry I submitted to J&J was written at a time when I still thought it was acceptable to take photographs like the one above. You know, because I was sooo artsy with my lacy tank top and Converse sneakers. Clearly that's why I thought I was allowed to be super angsty, even though life was actually probably great.

Because I'm so qualified to give life advice

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Titles I'd Like To Use For My Currently Unfinished 10 Page Seminar Paper, But Can't

Mary Wollstonecraft Was A Badass, Can We Just Leave It At That?

I Think The Annotator's Name Was Hubert P. Maric But His Handwriting In The Front Of The Book Was Kind Of Sloppy So I Can't Tell For Sure

Mary Wollstonecraft, The Rights of Woman, And Why Feminism Shouldn't Be Related

Mary Wollstonecraft May Have Supported Women's Rights Before Her Time But You Can't Just Call Her The Fucking Mother Of Feminism God Damn Penguin Classics Introduction, The Word Feminism Did Not Even Exist in 1792 JESUS

I'm Not Sure This Is Coherent But I've Been Working Since 1pm So Give Me An A Anyway Please That Is Eleven Hours In The Library!

How Hubert P. Maric Interpreted Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication, and Why It Only Kind Of Matters

Fuck This, I Just Want To Be A Bat Mitzvah Planner Anyway

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I've been sitting at a library cubicle since 1pm.

I have been noticing skinny legs lately. On boys and girls, but mostly girls. I know lots of people in the city (read: everyone) are body conscious, so it makes sense that there should be some sick figures out there. But I'm not talking about good bodies. I'm talking about itsy bitsy stick like legs. It's not cute. It's not attractive. It's fucking creepy that even with a layer of denim clad around your calf it is still skinnier than my wrist. And this is all coming from a girl who thought Mary Kate looked hot when she was 88lbs. I don't know how these skinny legs came to be, if it's just natural or if they're anorexic or if I missed some quick-make-your-legs-tiny diet, but they're kind of scary. Especially encased in a boot, which exaggerates the thinness. I don't mean the type of leg where you're naturally thin so your leg is too. I mean the type of girls who look normal all the way down to their hips and then suddenly their legs are petrifyingly tiny. I mean okay, I probably wouldn't complain if my legs looked like that, but I'm not aspiring toward it, and I am generally of the school of thought that no one can ever be too thin, ever. See: MK example above. So I'm just sayin'.

Anyone else notice the tiny leg trend? Other creepy shit coming along with winter? Let me know! I only have 7 more days to observe the oddities of New York City before I leave forever...or you know, until next May.

Only at NYU...

"God, I hope she wasn't named after the J.D. Salinger character." - scruffy boy in Bobst elevator

Monday, December 8, 2008

"It's just life."

Nina and I posing behind a near-perfect replica of the front page of the 2004 Graduation Issue, in cake form, at the Volume 44 Denebola Banquet
As Nina wrote a few months ago: "Look, I'm published!"

A little-known fact that many readers of this blog may not know: Nina and I were brought together by Denebola, our high school newspaper! That's right; I first met my now-close-friend-and-all-around-fabulous-neighbor as an authority figure, the high and mighty Arts Editor to my measly "Centerfold Writer." She was Editor in Chief of the paper for Volume 44, and I was Editor in Chief for Volume 45. And now, in a cyclical fashion that pleases me immensely, my baby (read: 17-year-old-and-much-taller-than-me) brother is Editor in Chief of Volume 48. Another fun fact: Keith Gessen was an editor for Denebola, too!

Earlier this year, Nina contributed to a new feature my brother and his colleagues had designed for the paper, a column called "Word From The Wise." The idea is that former senior editors of the paper write a column explaining how Newton South helped prepare them to college. Or some such life advice. I thought Nina's article was great, but was jealous that I hadn't been asked first, by my very own brother! So he dutifully assigned me to the month of November, and I almost killed myself trying to write something that didn't make me sound like the Biggest Tool in the World.

I don't know if I ended up succeeding. Unable to find an eloquent way to describe how Newton South helped prepare me for New York City, I wrote about how I deal with life now, and how I wish I had in high school. In retrospect, the whole idea of giving advice to high schoolers who don't know me and are gearing up for college and reveling in house parties and cheap beer and not giving a shit what anyone says seems a little problematic, but I'm not altogether unhappy with my final product. 

But you can decide for yourself, and I'll continue writing my paper about Thomas Carlyle and Oscar Wilde and how they gave advice that they couldn't really follow and they thought everything they said was Very Important but in the end missed out on a lot of points they should have been bringing up and highlighted ones that weren't that important, all in an effort to gain power and satiate their desires...oh wait. Fuck.

My Bat Mitzvah occurred on December 8th

"We're happy enough. We're pretend happy. That's better than nothing...isn't it?" - Harper, Angels in America, December 8th 2003 [Livejournal]

Pretending is better than nothing, I agree, but I actually am happy now. And that's even better.

Deadlines

I've been pretending to start working on (one of) my 10 page papers due Wednesday since 2pm, but I just can't buckle down. I'm chatting online and complaining how cold the study lounge is and wondering what food I'll make for dinner and refreshing Dear Old Love and generally just not doing anything. So I'll pause, blog, then reattempt this paper. Perhaps if I unplug my ethernet cord I will finally be able to get something done.

This time next week, I'll be done with the semester. I have four papers due this week and then a final next Monday, but by noon it will all be over. I've always found some kind of a comfort in deadlines, stress-inducing as they may be until they're over, because they do signify that at some point, they will be just that: over. Sure, I have 20 pages due on Wednesday and another 20 due Thursday, but as of 6pm on Thursday, all those pages will be written. Because I have no choice. Like, I'm not not going to hand in my assignments. So somehow, someway, I will get it all done. And then the papers will be handed in, and there will be nothing left to do. Likewise with studying: I'm not sure how I'm going to know enough to take my Brit Lit final next Monday at 10am. I'm not sure how I will cram all that knowledge into my head between now and then. But I have to, because no matter what, I am taking the test at that time, on that date. So it just will happen.

There is comfort in absolutes. Nothing but those deadlines is concrete in my life right now, and while one would think that could be freeing, it's not. I'm relying on this work, on these deadlines, to get me through the next week. Everything else is just...space. And I have no idea what will fill that space, and frankly, right now, that is more frightening than knowing I need to write 40 pages in the next 3 days. Go figure.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My future, gold digging, and the economy





Just having a lovely AIM conversation with Evan about the economy, how we're all fucked, and oh, how I plan to basically become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah event planner, or a professional Arts-and-Crafts-ist. Notice how I get quieter when he starts to talk about real things, because even months into this recession situation I am still pretty clueless when it comes to the Real World and Money and Stuff That Will Matter Sooner Than I Think...good thing I have this whole gold digging scheme worked out (JK JK!). Um, anyway, to close, when I told Evan I would probably post our conversation to my blog, his response was: "Ok. Post this: The USA trade deficit was $70 BILLION for September alone." And on that note...goodnight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Reflections from the past that are still relevant so maybe I wasn't so dumb in high school

Life is so strange in that it is never constant. Nothing stays the same and nothing lasts forever and no relationship ever stops, it always keeps growing and changing even if part of the growth and change is accepting the fact that it's over and will never be a functional relationship again. And memories change, and perceptions change, and friendships and loves and goals and people and groups and everything. - February 4th, 2005 [Livejournal]

Sorry that I am just posting old stuff lately. This time of the semester has me quite stressed out, but in an effort to not abandon this blog for too long, I am still posting...it's just not original material. I have quite a bit to say about a lot of things though, so be prepared for tons of word vomit as soon as I get past December 15th.

Story of my life:

"God, I feel like every time I'm supposed to hate someone, I end up getting drunk and being their best friend." - Arielle

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"She's just cool."

So this is pretty exciting. I am a dork and track my visitors on Google Analytics and I noticed I had a huge jump in visitors yesterday. I investigated and discovered that College Candy chose to include me in their "College Blogger Shout Out"! The way they described this blog is ego-inflating but laughable; if anyone has ever been intimidated by me at a bar, I would love to know about it. I guess I'll let the secret out: I am not cool. Still, I'm psyched to have even a few new readers and definitely appreciative of the shout out. Thanks College Candy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Season Greetings from my ten year old ex-camper

It's going to be okay

"The nice thing about writing is if you say you are a writer, you are. I need to write and I need to live and I need to enjoy and that is about it." - my journal, December 2nd 2007