Obviously there will also be a chapter entitled "Advice you should not follow under any circumstances, SERIOUSLY." These little guys could be published in that part:
Thursday, February 26, 2009
At least Jess can maybe get some ass at her party tonight, or, The time I made a revelation that is not going to change my life
When Jess and I publish a book filled with our AIM conversations (because anyone can publish a coffee table book, didn't you know?!), this little snippet will fall into the chapter entitled "Revelations that are really important but end up not mattering at all because we ignore them and continue living our lives in ways that are detrimental to our happiness."
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I seem to be one of the few people who is lukewarm about Jezebel's new Sex Q&A with mother-daughter duo Susie and Aretha Bright (dear Jezebel editors if I end up applying to intern for you this summer and you end up reading this blog for proof that I am literate please do not hold this against me xoxo thanks). It's not that I don't find the pair endearing, because I do, but I guess I'm not bowled over by their frankness because my mother and I are very open when it comes to discussing everything, sex included (my friends are constantly gasping when they hear the details of my life my mother is subjected to–helpful hint: my mom probably knows more about my sex life than you do. Deal with it.) So it just doesn't seem SO COOL that a mom and daughter are giving sex advice, which is part of what people seem to be loving so much. Don't get me wrong, Susie seems like an awesome woman, and barring a few differences of opinion I think their advice is pretty stellar. I guess I just have never liked the idea of a sex columnist doling out advice (reminds me of Cosmo and bad romantic comedies about sex therapists) on demand.
All that said, I am SO excited about the video included about the internal clitoris. As a few may remember, I learned about the structure of the clitoris this summer and was really anxious to share it with the blogosphere, but it was difficult to get the words to make sense in a non-overly-lengthy way and eventually I gave up. I've remained fascinated with the subject though, mostly because I think it's crazy that so many woman can be so ignorant about their own bodies. I don't mean ignorant to sound accusing or negative; I consider myself to be very sexually aware and open, and I didn't even know about the real structure of the clitoris. So what about the girls who are scared to pick up a vibrator, try masturbation, heck, say the word sex out loud? It's really ridiculous that we are all familiar with the penis just because it hangs out in an easily accessible way, but as soon as something is a tiny bit hidden we know nothing about it. This is the clitoris. 8,000 nerve endings, people! It is so worth it to procure as much knowledge as possible.
And that's why I've decided that Betty Dodson is a golden god. Watch and learn, kids. Watch and learn.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Today I went to the Saatchi Gallery with my Contemporary Art in Britain class. It has quickly become my one of my favorites, and I thank goodness every day that I dropped Ethics.
Anyway, our professor is this wonderful older British woman who is totally hilarious and says ridiculous things and is so knowledgeable and a total sweetheart most of the time but you can tell she has it in her to be a hardass, and she's all around great. So we're walking into the gallery and one of the guards stops us and tries to get us to gather to the side as a school group. Why? So he can tell us the rules.
At this, our professor got totally indignant, looked him in the eye and said: "Oh fuck off! They're not students. They're New Yorkers."
Good to know I'm not the only one who believes in the New York superiority complex.
Monday, February 23, 2009
When I attempt to post to this blog lately, here is what I end up writing: long-winded accounts of all the cool things I am doing abroad, long-winded ramblings about the potential death of humanity and the human race, long-winded sob stories about my insecurities and confusion with life in general, and long-winded angry essays about things that my friends have already written about far more eloquently. I refuse to post any of the aforementioned.
The rest can be found here.
So, in the belief that no one really gives a shit about my long-winded anythings, and also because I'm vain and think my photography is good and would like as many people as possible to see it, I'll now be doing another picture post. You can call this one "Borough Market on a Saturday," or "Vanessa is Fat Because She Likes (Free) Food," or "Do Not Browse If You Are Hungry." Or all of the above.
Apologies for the lack of words; I'll try to become a writer again soon.
The rest can be found here.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I haven't done an ounce of real work since getting here. I have three papers due next week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. My friend Allie, who is studying in Prague, will be here in about an hour to visit for the weekend. I am refusing to write any of said papers.
Instead, I did what I swore I would never ever do and started a fucking Twitter. Why? I don't know. I explained the concept of Twitter to two people on Thursday; later on that day, one of those two people informed me she had started one. I feel a sense of guilt anytime I clue someone in to a New Media tool they haven't heard of; the world would probably be a better place if no one knew about Gawker, Twitter, or liveblogging. I often wonder if one can unlearn all this information; could I ever go back to a time when I wake up and don't have the urge to check about ten blogs before leaving my room? Now that I've caved and started the stupid Twitter, will I be one of those people who updates every 10 minutes or will I be able to undo it?
I saw this brilliant play with my theatre class on Wednesday night called Shun-kin. When our teacher asked us to describe the performance in one word in class yesterday, these were some of the words people used: breath-taking, haunting, epic, complete, different, momentous. You get the idea; it was truly the best piece of theatre I've seen in a very long time. Anyway, one of the themes in the play was old vs. new, past vs. present, dark vs. light. And they mention how we are far past the time of using candles now, but they don't necessarily deem this a good thing: we learn that sometimes the best way to find lightness is through the darkness and the shadows. The final scene brings the audience very abruptly back to the present, with a white light backdrop that silhouettes the actors and literally blinds the viewers. The image has not left my mind since Wednesday, and I can't help but wonder: is there a point where light becomes blinding? Is there reason to believe some things would be better left in the dark? Should we be leaving more of our world in the dark as opposed to trying to light everything up as brightly as we can?
I don't have the time or energy to blog about anything right now, but lucky for me, my good friend Sam and my not at all good friend but person I still stalk Ned have covered what I want to say pretty fucking awesomely. I can't really decide if it's more embarrassing that we made it onto Gawker or into The New York Times. I've tried to be fair to TBNYU! in the past, but this is ridiculous.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
We all know that I love posting snip-its of my IM conversations to this blog, just to facilitate the oversharing of my life a tiny bit more. These are three gems from conversations I've had over the past 2 weeks, all of which I was too lazy to screencap, Photoshop, and post at the time. Now I'm avoiding writing 3 papers and I magically have the drive to do absolutely everything else. Yay!
To juxtapose the somewhat lengthy and serious piece I just wrote about feeling at home here, I thought I'd provide some visuals of my trip to Amsterdam this past weekend. I went with Emily, my closest friend in London, and a ton of other people including her best friend from school and my best friend, Kayla. It was unbelievable. I think part of what made it so amazing was that it was our first big trip, so Em and I were very proud of ourselves for actually making it there (despite taking the wrong train at the airport and ending up 40 minutes outside of the city, chilling with cows and windmills and corn stalks. That was fun.) Also, obviously, Amsterdam is a really cool city and I just appreciated everything about it.
We did a lot of touristy things, like a 3 hour free walking tour (I know so many random facts about Amsterdam now! Ask me anything!), a nighttime tour of the Red Light District, visited Anne Frank's house and the Van Gogh museum, took photos at the I AMsterdam sculpture, and wandered around exclaiming how gorgeous everything was. We also smoked/ate weed cookies a lot, and while I usually refrain from writing about anything I would deem "illegal" in this blog, it's totally okay, because it's legal to consume marijuana in Amsterdam! Well, actually, it's not. According to our tour guide, it's simply decriminalized (same as Massachusetts!) However, the Dutch don't believe in prosecuting for harmless crimes, so there has not been an arrest over smoking weed in 35 years. That's why the coffee shops aren't allowed to include "pot" or "marijuana" or anything in their names–technically, it's not legal. Gotta love the Dutch! Okay I won't bore you with any more Amsterdam facts...but I do remember lots more! So if you want to know what will happen if you snap a picture of a prostitute while she's working, or why there are random pictures on every building as well as their street number, or why some of the Dutch surnames mean "pubic hair" or "horse shit," just let me know! I am currently filled with knowledge about the city, and dying to share it. But for now, I will just share photos.
I've been bugging myself out on self-created anxiety for the past couple of days, but you know? I kind of love it. Not just because I'm all about rocking the melodrama whenever possible (life's too short to be boring, right?) but because of the greater implications these anxieties hold: London is home.
Come again?, you're saying. Being anxious puts you in the "this is home" state of mind? What? Well no. But let me explain.
When discovering a new place (and I recognize this from freshman year in New York, too), all one's energy goes into the discovery. You can't focus on how you feel because you're so busy focusing on where you are, what happens next, where the fuck is a grocery store, and how the hell do I get from Point A to Point B?! So whether you're happy or sad or lonely or homesick or content or whatever, none of it registers because you're too busy concerning yourself with a new landscape, a new setting. You can't get down to the meat of a plot and the feelings of a cast of characters until you've set the setting. (Sorry, that was an awful creative writing metaphor. I apologize.) But you know? How can I disagree with a friend when I'm busy worrying that I have no friends? How can I be pleased when the grocery store has a 2-for-1 deal on Jumbo Prawns when I can't even locate a grocery store? Feelings can't really come into play until you get your bearings. So I guess what I'm saying is that now I'm feeling an abundance of emotion, and that's a pretty good indicator to me that London is becoming more of the backdrop than the focus, which signals that it's becoming "home."
Which is not to say that I miss and love New York any less, nor is it to say that I'm enjoying the anxieties and dramas that are playing out (except you all know me too well, I totally am–I live for this shit.) I'm just saying that now when I take a weekend trip to say, hypothetically, Amsterdam for Valentine's Day (so good, so good!), there is a definite comfort and concreteness to coming back home.
The hostel we stayed at over the weekend had a sign that said "Home Is In Your Head." They meant that their hostel should feel like home, obviously, but I think I'm going to cop the slogan. It's such a good idea, and phrased in a way more uplifting way than that Garden State bullshit about home being a place that a whole family misses but can't recreate or go back to or something. Fuck that. Home is where you make it, it's in your soul, and when you deem a place comfortable enough to earn the title, it does. Hence, home is in your head, and for now, my body, my soul, my heart, and my head are in London. And I'm very pleased about it.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I often have conversations with other girls about all that they feel is wrong with feminism, so I was tempted to link to this article about the latest (kind of) high-profile woman who is hating on the movement, and use it as a jumping point for my recent thoughts. That seems kind of unnecessary, though, because Megan at Jezebel covers everything I wish to say pretty thoroughly. In fact, I almost burst into applause after reading her article. I particularly liked a comment that one reader, feather_spin, left: "Feminism made me unhappy with the world, and happier with myself."
I'll probably post more specifically about the conversations I've been having recently at a later date, but basically, I've come to be a little more accepting of girls who cannot label themselves feminists. It still bugs me, but as long as one believes in equality, I don't find myself in that much of a position to sit on my high horse and judge. Girls who actively and vocally denounce feminism, though, or call themselves anti-feminists or post-feminists, really piss me off. That is venom for another post, though. For now I just wanted to point out Megan's awesome response to an unhappy lady who is trying to pin her own personal failings on a movement that helps girls every day, and which I hold near and dear to my heart. You know, incase that wasn't already clear.
My blog is one year old today!
I'm not going to pretend to be surprised that I stayed committed to a writing project for this long, because as someone who has kept up a series of detailed journals since first watching Harriet The Spy at age 10, I know I am capable of sticking to it when "it" is the written word. I am, however, surprised about the turns this blog has taken over the past 365 days.
I began this endeavor as a project wherein I would write one haiku every day for a whole year (epic fail). This summer it transformed into a forum where I felt semi-comfortable to post mundane musings, but I have noticed over the past few months that it has really shifted into a completely honest project where I try to express my viewpoints as openly as possible. I'm still figuring out a lot of my own thoughts when it comes to feminism, my life, pop culture, and the world today. The cool thing is, this blog has allowed me to develop those thoughts and also share them with (a very tiny group of) others. It's gotten to the point where I can't really imagine what I'd do if I couldn't blog. Which could be viewed as depressing or weird or pathetic, but seeing as I'm in a celebratory mood, I'm going to view that as totally awesome. And end with a haiku, for URL's sake.
One whole year of odd,
things. Here's to one more!
Monday, February 9, 2009
An excerpt from a letter I received today, from my mother:
Be safe on your travels and in London, on all transport & watch out for pickpockets & unscrupulous foreign men–specially the charming ones!!
The more charming the man the more unscrupulous he may be!!
KEEP YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU AT ALL TIMES!!
I really miss my scanner at times like this because I wish I could include a photo that shows how the writing gets larger as she makes each point. Also, sometimes I think my mom says/writes things expressly to help me produce content for this blog. Finally, my mom is the best, incase you missed that. I can't wait for her to get here and come out drinking with me, mostly so she can help me avoid these charming yet unscrupulous men.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
So this article about a woman giving "homemade tattoos" to a guy who came over for a one night stand is one of the creepier things I've heard about all week, but I think it brings up an interesting point I've been thinking about lately.
Rich once pointed this out in an episode of Pot Psychology (RIP), and it's a really valid point: why would you sleep over after a one night stand? Like, I'm not prude, and I'm pro-hooking up with whoever you want, but I'm definitely anti sleeping in the same bed with a stranger. I realize this seems counter-intuitive and perhaps it is fucked up and we shouldn't makeout with/engage in intercourse with strangers either, but the fact of the matter is that when you're doing something sexual with a person you just met, you are presumably awake and with it. When you go to sleep next to a stranger, you are in a super vulnerable position and basically disregarding every rule our parents ever taught us about strangers and safety and keeping ourselves safe.
Which is not to say I blame this man in the least. I'm obviously not into victim-shaming, whether the victim is male or female, and it's completely fucked up and not okay at all that this woman carved tattoos onto this man's body. It makes my skin crawl to think about.
I'm just saying that this tale is a good jumping point for heightened caution in all our sex lives. Particularly while abroad, it's incredibly important to be aware of one's surroundings at all times. And again, while I support sexual activity of any kind, my mom kind of put it best in a Skype conversation we had a few weeks ago. "It has nothing to do with being virtuous," she assured me, as she warned me against following strange men home to "have sex in strange places." "Go ahead and sleep with people if you want to...but you don't want lunatic men coming at you with knives and trying to have sex you don't want to have!" She didn't want me to include that advice on my blog, but I think it's a good point to heed: lunatic men with knives, definitely bad. Engaging in dangerous situations without realizing how dangerous they could possibly be: definitely something we all do on a regular basis.
With that in mind, I hope everyone has a sexually satisfying, but safe, weekend. Maybe tomorrow night I'll actually manage to get my ass out and have reason to heed some of my own advice. Then again, the only sexual encounter I've experienced here so far is having a French man lift his shirt up while we were dancing, place my palms over his nipples, repeatedly tell me "You're so horny," and then "make out with me" aka lick my face until I could successfully pull away and contemplate killing myself. So you know, I may not need to worry about this whole "sharing a bed with a stranger" situation for a while.
As I'm sure a lot of bloggers do, I keep a Google Analytics account to track the readers who come to my site. It tells me lots of cool information, and usually boosts my ego when I get a few extra hits on those random days, but by far my favorite part of the tool is the section that indicates what words people type into their search engines (Google, obviously, right?) to get to my blog.
A partial list, compiled from the past week, of the things people have been wondering about that lead them, ultimately and I'm sure often unhelpfully, here (spelling and grammar left intact):
1. deactivating facebook
3. dying in anothers arms
4. diana snyder, mtvu
5. feeling romantically lonely
6. freaked out about reclipsen
7. hook up and feminism
8. hook up and not get attached
9. italian men and racism
10. joel walkowski
11. my eassay about myself
12. nyu class cancelled snow
13. pregnant or hungover
14. reclipsen other birth control wait
15. the city erin bangs
16. the city whitney port gramercy green
17. why do the love feelings go away
Some damn good queries, if I do say so myself. Sorry I'm pretty much useless in helping you answer any of them. In short, you should probably deactivate your FB, London is super sexy, vote for Diana, you CAN hook up and be a feminist (duh) but I can't hook up and not get attached, don't be racist, Joel Walkowski is a pretty sweet guy, sorry to be an asshole but it's spelled "essay", get a pregnancy test ASAP if you're even a little unsure, and if Reclipsen is giving you migraines or any other type of ailment get the fuck off it because it really messed me up this summer. And finally, I don't know why those "love feelings" go away, but I think that's the most depressing question I've heard in a while.
And this concludes an episode of "Vanessa is so lame because she's in a really cool (sexy!) foreign country and should be out partying but she was so sleep deprived that she took a "nap" at 8pm and then didn't wake up til midnight, only to find that her friends had texted her approximately 10 times and eventually gave her up for dead and went out without her." Oh well...when it comes to "go big or go home," I have always been a bigger believer of going home. Old habits die hard, and I guess tonight I just cut out the middle man of going out at all. Tomorrow will be a new day.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Because I have a weird obsession with that first scene in the movie Sylvia where Plath (Paltrow) is biking frantically in Cambridge and she looks so determined and beautiful and lost and wonderful, I got super excited about all the bikes I saw when we visited the town last week. I mean, that's probably why. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I was really digging the bikes, and per my resolution to include more of my photography on this blog, here are some of my bike-obsessed Cambridge photos. Enjoy.
I'm trying to write a paragraph on "My Definition of Justice" for my Ethics class and I stumbled upon this word in my notes: Akrasia. I don't remember writing it down or learning about it, but obviously I did. "Akrasia" means: weakness of will, or, knowing what the right thing is but doing what you want instead.
I'm pretty sure my professor made that out to be a bad thing, but to me, that sounds like the definition of "knowing how to let loose and have fun!" No? Fuck.
PS: It's okay, because also according to this professor, I am sick with ignorance (well, not just me, all of us!) and my soul needs to be cleansed. Because you know, medicine cures your body, so philosophy can cure your mind. And the ailment here is ignorance. To which, the cliche-hackney-writerly self in me wants to say...but isn't ignorance bliss?
I clearly do not belong in this class.
Just got home from a play. Walking back to my room, this is a conversation I witnessed:
(Boy standing outside girl's room, girl whispering)Girl: "I'm really sorry you can't come in, my roommates asleep."
Boy: "That's okay. Wanna get lunch tomorrow or something?"
Girl: "Yeah, yeah that would be good...um...do you have Facebook?"
Boy: "Yeah! Yeah, obviously."
Girl: "Okay, just find me on Facebook and we'll figure something out."
Boy: "Cool. Uh...what's your name again?"
Monday, February 2, 2009
Like I said, Kayla visited this weekend, and while we managed to go out and have a good time on Friday night, I ended up home super early on Saturday night. In (sometimes) typical fashion, I was in tears.
To be fair I'd had a few drinks, and I am known to be a weepy drunk when provoked, so I can't say the meltdown was entirely organic. Nonetheless, I know it came out of a fight that had something to do with feminism, artists, and hipsters, and I know it escalated when I felt abandoned and had to taxi home by myself from Covent Gardens.
I found myself curled up in a corner on a sidewalk (why do I always think it's an okay idea to start sobbing on street corners?), sobbing hysterically, and bemoaning the death of humanity. I think I actually said, over and over, "The world is dying."
Then I went home and probably scared the shit out of my mom by Skyping her as mascara ran down my face and I howled over and over about this unfortunate death of humanity. Then she had to go to a dinner party so I signed offline and eventually fell asleep.
The thing is, I'm still really concerned about this seemingly melodramatic behavior. I know my friends who were with me on Saturday brushed it aside as "Vanessa Being Drunk," but I wasn't that drunk, and I also recognize the sadness I was feeling.
Here's my theory: I am normally a composed person. Passionate, yes. Accused of being too angry, sure. But I don't allow myself to cry in public often. I do, however, feel my feelings very deeply. So it's really only natural that when I have a few drinks, and lose my inhibitions, the sadness that I feel on a day to day basis comes to the surface in the form of tears, rants, and drama. It happened freshman year, but back then, it was about a boy. I was in love with someone who did not love me back, and while I was silently sad about it constantly, I was very vocally and tearfully sad about it whenever I got drunk. Thank god that passed.
Recently, however, I've felt that same constant sadness about the state of our world. I know I'm supposed to be feeling all happy and optimistic, championing the change we all fought so hard to win with this election. But I don't feel that way at all. I feel hopeless and defeated. I feel as though no one is kind anymore, and no one is a good person. I am not exempting myself. It fills me with terror that the world is inhabited by intolerant, unloving, selfish people. Maybe not everyone is like that, but I do not believe enough of us are good. And I carry that fear and sadness around with me at all times, but only allow myself to truly wallow in it when I've got some alcohol rushing through my system. Hence my outbreak this weekend.
The thing is, freshman year I could tell myself that I would get over the boy eventually, and that it wasn't the end of the world. I'm not sure what I do when I really am crying over the end of the world?
Kayla visited me this past weekend and on our way to the Photographer's Gallery, which was brilliant, and not 11 pounds and sold out like the Annie Leibovitz exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery (no I am not bitter), we realized we needed to hydrate. Because my tap water is sort of opaque, and this concerns me, so I never drink it in the morning.
Anyway we were so engrossed in conversation we missed my usual "FOOD AND WINE" store, so we popped into the next one which is two doors down. The man behind the counter started talking to us and got really excited that I was from New York, informing me that he used to be a cab driver there and he had lots of friends in Brooklyn. I told him I don't, really.
Kayla said she was from Canada and had a conversation with him about that while I picked up two waters for us. I noticed that they cost 99 pence, not a huge amount, but a whole 10 pence more expensive than my usual store. We paid and left, and I said to Kayla, "The moral of the story is that we should always go to my regular store to get the 89 pence water." But she shook her head, and filled me in on the conversation she'd been having while I stopped listening. "No," she said. "The moral of the story is that the man behind the counter called Canada 'Canadia.' That's why you need to go to the other store."
Even though I'm abroad this semester, I do still go to NYU (yay!) so news relating to the lovely institution still interests me. That said, this is actually pretty cool.
Basically the Senior Legacy Committee of 2009 wants to create an internship stipend fund for future students. NYU's president, affectionately referred to as JSex, has said if they meet their $25,000 goal, he will match it. For those of you, like me, who struggle with math, that means the total will be $50,000 starting next year!
I know a few other schools (none off the top of my head, I just know my friends have spoken about it) that have an internship fund, and basically if you score one the school will give you a stipend. So whether or not (let's be real, it's almost always NOT) the actual internship pays, you can still make some money. I think at a school like NYU, where there is such a focus on having multiple internships (because why wouldn't you, with all the opportunities?) this is a great idea. I'm really impressed with the class of '09, specifically whoever thought up this idea. Nice work, classmates!
A lot of things have happened over the past few days that I've thought, Oh, that will make a great post! But then I don't have a minute to sit down at the computer and more things pile up and soon I can't tell what is actually worth writing about and what is just something that was funny/interesting/poignant at the moment. So I apologize if this post, or actually all my posts in the future, are choppy, is the long and short of it.
It snowed in London yesterday and today. The way the news is covering it you'd think it was a blizzard, but really it's much more of a light dusting. I'd say 2 inches, max. But apparently it just never snows here, so as a result the whole city shuts down. Classes were cancelled because the tube wasn't running so none of the professors could get to class, and even my roommate, who is in a very intense BBC Tisch program here, was given most of the day off. She had to walk an hour to her one class though, because no public transport could take her there. On the other hand, I didn't leave the dorm until 9pm when I finally put on my UGGs and walked 3 minutes to grab some Diet Coke. So, a snow day in college. Can't say I'm complaining, but it is quite humorous. Maybe there will be school tomorrow, but I don't have class on Tuesday anyway, so it doesn't matter much to me.
I've booked a bunch of trips in the past few days and I'm incredibly excited. I'm going to Bath and Stonehenge for free with NYU this weekend, and then I'll be in Amsterdam for Valentine's Day. I'm also going to visit friends in Prague and Madrid. I have yet to plan spring break, but I have from April 3rd to April 16th to roam about as I please; I hope this roaming will include Berlin, Italy, and France. I'm meeting my family in Paris for the last weekend of the break, and then they'll come back with me to London and stay for a week, and then I'll only have two weeks left of my semester in London! I get like this sometimes (read: all the time) when I look at the calendar and think about time...it's this intense feeling of anxiety that the whole experience is just going to slip right through my hands and at the end of it I'll feel like I haven't seen enough, haven't done enough, haven't lived abroad enough...I always have this awful sparring relationship with time, but I feel it most acutely when I leave home on journeys. I just have to relax, and remember that it's not the end of the world that I can't visit Greece, or Istanbul, or Barcelona this time around, because I have to believe I will have other opportunities to travel around Europe. I just have to remember to breath.