Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Thing #67: Hi, hi birdie!

I love the animals. I grew up with typical suburban-kid pets: dogs, hamsters, my brother's newts and frogs, and the occasional stray cat that I would feed on the porch in secret. I don't currently have any pets, and sometimes the void is practically tangible. I'd love to give a home to a shelter dog, but what with living in an apartment and having a full-time day job, I just can't at this point. But that doesn't mean I can't still help an animal that needs me. So today, through the World Wildlife Fund, I adopted an endangered species. Settling on exactly which animal to sponsor was tough. Then I started thinking about how global warming is sort of the "hip" environmental concern right now, and that changing water temperatures and fluctuation of tides are probably affecting sea life more than we yet know. We hear the most about water fowl when there's some sort of disastrous oil spill, but what about the rest of the time? In the interest of standing up for the underrepresented endagered birdies out there, I chose this:
The bluefooted Booby.
I've named it Rita.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Thing #66: Da doodlie doodlie dood de doo do do do do do do

The title of this post may or may not mean anything to you. It's my poor written reinterpretation of the Mister Softee jingle, which in the summer drifts through dense, humid Manhattan air, eliciting a Pavlovian response in ice cream lovers and sugar fiends, of which I am both. Yet I've never once bought something from one of the ubiquitous trucks. Today at lunch, I happened upon one at 33rd and Park, so I bought a Mister Softee cone. It was a semi-impulsive New Thing; I wasn't sure I'd be able to find a truck, so I had a backup plan that I'll use another day. I really wanted a root beer float, but sadly Mister Softee (in the flesh!) was out of root beer, so I just had a classic soft serve vanilla cone. If there is anything better to do on a lunch break on a gorgeous summer day than walk up Park Avenue eating ice cream, I'd like to know what it is.
I'd also like to get better at taking pictures of myself in public.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Thing #65: I Hardly Know Her!

Tonight I played online poker at Party Poker. I wish I could tell you how the game went, but I have no idea what I was doing, so I can't! I don't even care that much about being good at poker that I'm embarrassed that I didn't know what I was doing. I sincerely cannot tell you what went wrong, or right, or what the adorable poker nicknames for my hands were. It took me a while to even get into the groove of making the move I actually wanted to make; there were times when I accidentally checked when I meant to raise, and folded when I wanted to stay in. Since I played the free, not-real-money version, I had no motivation to actually do well. In fact, at one point I wanted to see just how ridiculous I could get, and how lucky I would have to be for my bad moves to not bankrupt me. I thought perhaps going all-in when I had a 2 and a 7 with a jack and a 10 and two fives on the table would throw of my virtual competitors and lead to a surprise victory for me. That, of course, did not happen. But here's a pretty picture of the table my virtual self sat at:

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Thing #64: Not the Fockers

Without delving too deeply into names and details, I will say that today's new thing was new on several levels: I introduced my parents to the parents of my boyfriend. We'd made dinner reservations at Ouest for an entirely different combination of people, but it ended up being the six of us, plus my cousin and her boyfriend. I think things went well!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Thing #63: Fancy Me


When I was freelancing at Scholastic, my route took me through trendy SoHo. One thing that constantly jumped out at me was the red awning and gothic mystique of Balthazar, about which I knew little more than that it was a fancy, expensive "scene" type of place that I usually avoided. But somehow it appealed to me more than superSUPER trendy places in the meatpacking district. Balthazar always seemed accessibly trendy, and I always wanted to eat there but never had cause to, until my parents started planning their trip to New York and my dad got one of the coveted Sunday brunch reservation spots. So today I had brunch at Balthazar.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Thing #62: Move it move it

My aunt and uncle moved last month from their house of something like 35 years into a cool 50s stone sprawl on a golf course that they added on to and moved rooms around in. Today I visited the new house in Flourtown, PA. Then I came back with my parents and continued to hang out with them (tonight they took us to dinner and jazz), and it's 2am now, and I'm stupidly tired. I'll upload everything I still have to upload later.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Thing #61: Call ME!



Today I took awesome college friend Brian's suggestion and went go see a Today Show summer concert. He suggested this on Monday, so I checked the schedule and guess who was on it? BLONDIE! I totally went to the Today show (which I'd never done before) and saw Blondie live! I met up with Louie and Kristina at the totally indecent hour of 6:30am, and we packed ourselves into the Today show concertcorral with a bunch of tourists and watched a 60-whatever woman rock it like she was in her 20s. Then I was off to spend an entire day with my parents, ending in dinner and the philharmonic with them and Kevin. (Update: I just now am uploading the video. I haven't been home much!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Thing #60: Donkey Tonk Woman

This one has been a long time coming. I registered to vote the year I turned 18, and I voted in my first election, the 1996 California primary, the day I turned 18. I hit the ground running into adulthood as a socially aware, politically active member of society. The only problem? I was a Republican. At the time, it made sense; my entire family was Republican, I went to conservative schools in conservative areas and didn't have a reason to question anything. Then I went to college, moved to New York, attended grad school, and got some perspective. I re-registered as Independent in time for the 2004 general election (mostly because as much as I refused to be Republican, I wasn't ready to become a full-on Democrat because Dean and Kerry were both a tiny bit creepy). I didn't vote in the primary earlier that year because I was still technically a Republican, but refused to vote for Bush, and you can't vote out-of-party in the primary. You also can't vote in your new party the same year you change your party. I didn't find that out until today, when an email I got from BarackObama.com served as a gentle reminder that I need to change my party affiliation before next Spring's primary election. So today I registered to vote as a Democrat. I am now ready to head into the 2008 election season guilt-free and ready for change!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New Thing #59: Skinny on the Rocks

I haven't had alcohol in over a year. I got to a point where drinking bored me, and the people I now spend most of my time with either don't drink or don't care whether or not I drink. Plus, teetotaling is less expensive and leads to better conversations. All that aside, tonight I took an introductory bartending class at the New York Bartending School. It seems to be a really great place for people who actually want to become bartenders. It was a totally free class, and we still had the opportunity to get behind the counter. We learned to pour shots, mix highball drinks and cocktails, and use a soda shooter. I'd never done any of that before! At NYBS, all the bottles and the color of what's inside them are the real thing, but the liquid is water. The giggly chicks at the end of the room seemed disappointed. My favorite part was when the awesome instructor went around the room asking people what their favorite drinks were. I especially loved the double-takes I got when I gleefully shouted, "cranberry juice!"
(I couldn't get a photo of me in action. I really, really wanted one, but it seemed inappropriate)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Thing #58: Atticus Had a Point

Today's New Thing idea was completely brilliant. I can't take credit for it; I can't even properly thank the person who can! Kind stranger Inna made this suggestion on the suggestion page. It was so simple and awesome that when I mentioned it to coworker Alina, she immediately agreed to get involved. Alina and I both have very large feet, so I borrowed her size 9 sandals and I walked a mile in someone else's shoes. Actually, it was a bit over a mile. I walked from work to Columbus Circle, which works out to 25 blocks and change (a mile is 20 blocks) then from the subway home, in pretty gold sandals, which I test-drove earlier in the day when I went to get a pedicure.
I went from wearing these:
to wearing these, exposing my skanky toenails,


to still wearing these, but exposing much lovelier toenails.
Alina's are good shoes to walk in! In addition to being a kick-ass writer, she's a tall, pretty former midwesterner turned sassy city wife and baby mama. She's also got her shoes well-trained; they didn't give up any secrets or reveal any embarassing moments. Perhaps it would have been another story if I'd borrowed her sneakers...

Monday, May 21, 2007

New Thing #57: Grillin and Chillin

Originally, today's New Thing was going to be to attend a book reading at a bookstore. I did some poking around, and had decided to go to a drama book-group event at the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble after work, when something caught my eye. I checked the clock and grabbed my stuff- it was noon when I noticed it, and the event was starting in half an hour. I dashed up to the 54th street Barnes and Noble, where I met George Foreman! The event was a booksigning to promote his autobiography, but I had no interest in that; I just wanted a piccy! A guy waiting in line was worried that he had too much memorabilia, so I offered to take some of it off his hands (I gave it back later). By the time I got up to the front of the line, an hour after I arrived at the store, George was tired and probably had hand cramps, and wasn't super friendly, but he still shook my hand warmly and smiled pretty:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Thing #56: Fly Girl


It's been the weekend of toys! When I picked up Baloney the Pony, I also treated myself to a remote-control helicopter! It was labeled an 'indoor flyer' so we went down to the basement and Kevin and I flew a remote control helicopter in the building! It creeped me out at first because it reminded me of a very large bug. I couldn't immediately keep the height steady, so I spent the first couple of the helicopter's six minutes of battery life bouncing it off the floor and the ceiling. Here's what happened after I got the hang of it:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New Thing #55: Pretty! Pony!

When I was 11, I saved months of baby-sitting money to buy my very own Double Dare box game. It was kind of the coolest thing ever, at least in my terribly uncool 11-year-old mind. I played the game full-out a couple of times with my family, but mostly I took the physical challenge games to theatre camp and wore the plastic basket on my head at lunch break so I could show everybody how good I was at using it to catching a foam ball.
That was the only thing I can really remember saving up for and buying as a kid- after that, it seemed less gratifying to blow a whole pink leather wallet's worth of cash on just one thing. A few months ago, a couple of different friends blogged about how they each saved to buy My Little Ponies. Having been a Cabbage Patch Girl myself, I wasn't so into the Ponies. I thought they were neat and i would pay with them at friends' houses, but that was the extent of it. And I sort of regretted it. So today I bought myself a My Little Pony. I waded through all the Deluxe Sets and Variety packs offered in the unlabeled 80s Nostalgia section at Toys R Us and found an uncomplicated, un saddled-and-castled solitary pony.
The pony's given name is Dream Blue. I changed it to Baloney.


This from the back of Baloney's box: [Baloney] always writes down her dreams in a special journal. One time she dreamed that she was stuck inside a chocolate factory! That dream was so nice, she didn't want to wake up!
You and me both, Baloney.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New Thing #54: Itchy and Scratchy

A couple of days before my birthday, Kevin and I went to a party hosted by one of his clients at the Meadowlands. The client really went all out: they had gender-specific gift bags, a buffet dinner and dessert bar, as well as an envelope with a pre-paid $5 bet (Kevin's yielded $60!) and a free cheesy lottery scratcher game. While I showed absolutely no knack for gambling on horses (despite also having been given an in-depth program with stats and reviews and analyses for each horse, dating back five years), I did show an incredible knack for using a quarter to scratch the gunk off the "Amazing 8s" scratcher. It turned out to be worth $20! And it was the first scratcher I've ever scratched! I had it rattling around in my wallet for nearly two months, and I really didn't have any plans to cash it in. So today I gave the scratcher to a homeless guy. I hastily explained that it wasn't trash, that it was worth $20 and he just had to bring it into any store with Lottery and they'd cash it. He asked me to repeat myself, then swore at me, but he was smiling, so I'm guessing the swear was meant as a compliment. I hope.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Thing #53: Coffee break dance

You know how you totally wish your office were a disco, but it totally isn't, and if you want to have people over to dance, you have to cram into the space behind your desk and just sort of dance in place? I do! This is because I had a dance party in my office, during which I danced on my desk. And my boss never busted us. Because she was totally there.

(Thanks to Amy, Doug, Jenn, Alina, Sharon, Adam, Grace and videographer Alex)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Thing #52: Outside the Box

I turned the cube in Astor Place.
I'm not going to write much; Amanda's awesomely directed video speaks for itself.

(...but for you out-of-towners, The Cube is a crazy sculpture at the tip of the East Village and at night is a refuge for homeless teenage vampires who later wash their faces and go home to their families' brownstones on Gramercy Park.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Thing #51: I am what I tram

When I lived on the Upper East side, I would walk over to Carl Schurz park to sit on the benches along the East River, read on the lawn, shoot goofydorable pics with the Pearl Brunswick girls, smooch my boyfriend and watch fireworks. Always there out of the corner of my eye was the northernmost tip of Roosevelt Island, a mysterious land in that weird netherrealm between Manhattan and Queens. I know three people who have lived there. One of them loathed it, but I still had to check the place out for myself. So today I took the tram to and from Roosevelt Island and I did some sightseeing in between. What a strange place! It's oddly towny and remote for a place that's just a few hundred feet from two giant boroughs. There's lots of construction under way right now, at the tram station and on several gigantic condo buildings. I took the red bus a few stops north, but not all the way to the lighthouse (sorry, Amanda!). I walked back to the tram station from wherever it was I got off the bus. It was slightly creepy; After getting off the tram/bus/subway, people who live on Roos Island seem to just disappear. Nobody really hangs out outside. And it was totally beautiful today! I don't get it! I don't like hanging out in deserted areas, so I didn't stay very long.
Here's what the place looks like, from the tram to the walk and back to the tram:







Monday, May 14, 2007

New Thing #50: Knife Try

I have a set of really nice steak knives. My mom gave them to me in college and I've used them for pretty much every meal I've eaten in the last seven years- chicken, turkey, mac and cheese, cake, root beer floats, pickles, Peeps, milk, jellybeans and, fine, steak. They've been like friends. Friends who muscle their way through an overcooked ribeye, who feed me cereal when I'm out of spoons and who occasionally make me bleed at the fingertips.
I saw no reason not to use them for tonight's (attempt at a) New Thing. So when I (tried really hard to) cut the peel off an apple in only one long, curly, flawless slice (and totally couldn't do it but eventually got the idea but by that time I had run out of apples), I didn't even think twice about what to use.
I bought three apples because I was sure I wouldn't be able to do it on the first try but foolishly thought it would take no more than three tries. It took at least four. I say that because while on the first two apples I segmented the peels like worms and they broke off in sections, by the time I got to the last apple I realized that you have to take longer cuts deeper under the surface. I also realized that really nice steak knives are absolutely totally wrong for this task. I'm wondering whether there's some sort of Apple Knife my mom hasn't given me yet. It's probably long and flat and slightly curved and coated with a special kind of glue that keeps the peel from falling apart. That would be nice.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Thing #49: Wurker!

It seems preposterous that despite being both a New Yorker and under the age of 40, I have never bought any furniture from Ikea. I've lived with people who have, and I've even owned furniture handed down by other people who have. I bought my desk and dresser from Gothic Cabinet Craft, and both have served me well. The fact that they were assembled by other people served me especially well. I figure it's just a rite of passage to assemble your own furniture, but like most of life's other rites of passages, I'm getting around to it late. So today I bought furniture from Ikea and assembled it. Kevin built the intricate, foldy-slidy dining room table, but I totally made the chair by myself (except for one brief moment when Kevin had to help me reposition the cushion. Baby steps). I still have three chairs, a bookshelf and an entertainment console to go, but it's a start!

My chair totally holds a boy! I must have done it right!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

New Thing #48: It's Not Easy Being Dinner

This suggestion came from my sister, and at first I just highlighted it and set it aside as "something I might do later, maybe, I guess." Tonight Kevin and I saw a great jazz show in Chelsea and headed to dinner afterwards at Chan Penn. I had a New Thing planned for on the way home, but at dinner, a very interesting opportunity presented itself. After seeing on the menu that I could order them, I ate frogs' legs. While they were longer, skinnier and webbedier than such, they really did taste like chicken. Even when, as I was in the middle of my first bite, Kevin started singing "The Rainbow Connection." I had to remind myself that my beloved Kermit is GREEN FELT and not a real frog. After all, we both eat chicken, and neither of us ever feels guilty about murdering Camilla.

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Thing #47: Sing sing sing song

This is one of those things that mutates and expands and gets to the point that no matter how many times you've done it, there is a way to make it new. I've been building up to this one for a while. The rehearsal process along takes nearly two months, and before that there's a lot of thought and mind-changing. Tonight I sang Michael Jackson's "Beat It" on the stage at Galapagos before a packed house for Terry Jinn's Enormous Television, also known as ETV6. I'd never before performed at Galapagos, a trashy-chic loft space in Brooklyn with a reflecting pool in the gallery space at the front. I also bared my midriff in front of a packed house, something I don't think I've ever done. I'm rather protective of my midriff. But it was out there in all its white shiny glory tonight, and it put up with my semi-involuntary grimaces and high-kicks. I forgot to have anybody video tape it. I have a video from the rehearsal that I didn't realize Maddy took with my camera until two days later. And Kevin has many, many pictures (not just of me but of the whole night) and they're pretty awesome. The whole show was pretty awesome. And by "pretty awesome," I mean "MIND BLOWING." I am extremely tired. Visuals later.

Rehearsal video, wardrobe by Butter by Nadia

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Thing #46: Crooks suck

A good friend of mine from high school, who lives in California with her adorable husband, had a new experience of her own this week: she had her house broken into and robbed. It was ransacked and the jerks took pretty much everything that wasn't built in—computers, jewelry, video game systems, cameras. As is the case when anybody I know has something bad happen to them, I swung into MUST DO SOMETHING mode, even from all the way on the other coast. Stolen items move pretty fast, so Friend and her husband have been checking all the pawn shops and flea markets in their area. If I were there, I would join them, but I'm not, so I'm searching for their stolen items on eBay and Craigslist. I've messaged Friend a few descriptions that match, trying to keep in mind that crooks probably lie about the origin of the objects they sell; if someone says something belonged to their grandmother, I don't automatically believe them. I don't know how successful this will be, but eBay has an automatic alert system that emails you when something you want goes up for sale. Someone else I love recovered a camera in less than a week that way. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New Thing #45: Buy buy buy

I'm not sure if today's New Thing actually panned out the way I intended, but I'll give those involved the benefit of the doubt and assume it did. Maddy and I had a quick pre-ETV rehearsal dinner at a restaurant in Chelsea, where I decided I would pay someone else's tab. When the waiter returned with the credit card, I handed him a $20 and tried to explain what I was doing. You can't really tell (or hear me) in the video, but he actually put the $20 back on the table, as if he were trying to politely refuse what he thought was a large tip. I told him again to pay for the dinner of the next person who asked for a check. We think he did. We'll assume he did. If not, I gave a hard-working guy a big tip, which is ok too.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New Thing #44: The Queen of Queens

In March, I moved from the Upper East Side, where I had lived for three and a half years, to the wayyyyy Upper West Side. My roommate/cousin/buddylady, Cat, moved to Queens. It only took us a month and a half, but finally this week we made it to each other's apartments. Last night, Cat and I had dinner with our Kevins in myKevin's and my hood after a tour of the apartment. Tonight, I went to visit Cat and herKevin in Queens, where she fed me cookies and then the two of us had dinner in an Italian restaurant where the waiter poured water all over the table and enlisted us to move stuff around while he very efficiently changed the paper part of the table cloth. After living together for over four years, the novelty of visiting each other in different apartments was rather acute. I now know how adopted puppies, separated siblings or, like, drumsticks that started out on the same chicken but ended up on different dinner plates feel when they visit each other's apartments. The apartment was fun and homey and situated in a great neighborhoody neighborhood, and the Italian place nearby was ambient and well-staffed with klutzy but polite waiters in vests and ties who didn't care that we were both in jeans.

Cookies!

A lady!

Another lady!

Monday, May 7, 2007

New Thing #43: Horse Sense

Last week, big boss's assistant announced the annual office Kentucky Derby pool, wherein everyone who wants to throws in a buck and draws a random horse name. I like this more than football pools or even Oscar pools, which require some sort of strategy and knowledge of the subject. Picking up a random piece of paper? I can do that! My slip of paper had a little picture of a cartoon jockey next to the name "Street Sense." I commented that it was a cute moniker, tossed the slip onto my desk and forgot about it all weekend. This morning, I got an email from the assistant telling me that Street Sense had totally won! And so had I! I won $28 in a Kentucky Derby pool and used most of it to buy everyone donuts, as is the tradition here.
The cashier at Dunkin Donuts may be wondering if I'm a stri pper:
My cell phone camera would like you to believe that the world is tinted a sickish green:


In about a month, I will be buying donuts again to celebrate another money win. One that we'll all watch on tv. Until today, I thought I'd be able to use that as a New Thing. I'll have to find another way to nonchalantly describe the newness of that day. If you don't know me, this has been the most confusing addendum to a post ever.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

New Thing #42: Roller Boaster

Ow. I did another thing that made me hurt. And not in the powerful, strong way yoga did. As part of sassy pal Eliza's brithday festivities, I rode the Cyclone at Coney Island. It's a wooden roller coaster that's about 322* years old, and while it's kept in perfect running condition, it's hardly the pinnacle of comfortable riding. I sort of barrelled onto the ride without admitting how scared I was; I don't like high, fast, non-Disneyland rides, but to acknowledge that would have meant missing out. Pain, fear and nightmarish visions behind closed eyes aside, I'm really glad I did it. I didn't open my eyes the entire time, and wasn't sure whether I'd better hold on to the bar, my purse or Kevin's arm. I either held on to all three, or none. I don't really remember. During one drop, it sort of felt like my spine had splintered, and during another like my sternum had cracked open to reveal a porthole to hades. I'm being dramatic, of course, but seriously, ow! There were signs with warnings, like do not ride if you "have had surgery" or "are pregnant" or "suffer from heart problems," or "have had bone breaks." There was no warning not to ride of you "are essentially a human rattle because you have next to no natural padding."

The ride:
The reaction:
The dude with the birdie and the snakie:


*or, okay, 80. Like, exactly 80 this year! And it's an actual historical landmark!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

New Thing #41: Miss Potato Head

This suggestion came from everybody's favorite ray of sunshine Glennis, with whom I spent the morning walking the Revlon Run/Walk for Women, then chilling with bags of freebees on a lawn in Central Park. I had a show later in the afternoon, and by the time I got home I was both completely exhausted and ravenously hungry. Luckily today's thing involved food: I made my own likeness out of edible items. I didn't have much to go on in the way of instruction; I had the photos in an email Glennis sent me, and that was it.
The Ingredients (or, as it seems, The Cast):
Face/head: Potato
Hair: Roast beef
Eyes: Circles-of-Swiss-cheese corneas, green-olive irises and avocado-skin pupils
Nose: Deli-sliced turkey
Mouth: Radish slices
Cheek color: V-8

I'm neither crafty nor used to making art with my hands, so my placement is a bit sloppy. I had to get creative a couple of times. I intended to use whole-wheat spaghetti for the hair, but it blanched when I cooked it and couldn't pass for brown. The roast beef was unconvincing as hair, so I sliced it at the top to make bangs. I forgot to get anything to make eyelashes; certain herbs apparently work, if you can get past the fact that they are usually green. Ah well.


(Contrary to what you see on the potato, I am not missing a chunk of my left cheek. I also do not have a ropy brown root growing out of my left cheek. The missing chunk is the result of a rootectomy.)

Friday, May 4, 2007

New Thing #40: Si ves algo, di algo!

On Monday night, I had dinner with one long-lostish friend, and went to see a show starring another long-lostish friend. While attempting to take the subway home from the show, I realized I didn't have the 30-day Metrocard I had purchased just two days earlier and concluded that it must have fallen out of my back pocket. My train was coming, it was getting late and I didn't want to risk getting stuck with a local A all the way uptown, so I very quickly bought a new unlimited 30-day card and thought nothing of it except, "great, there goes another $76."
Oh, but wait!
Last night on the way home from a Blue Man show, I was reminded by a friendly MTA ad that if my Metrocard is lost or stolen, and it was purchased using a credit card, I can get the balance refunded!
So this morning I had the MTA refund the pro-rated balance on my 30-day unlimited Metrocard. I've lost these cards before, but usually with only a day or two to go, when the card had already paid for itself, and its loss was due to my own stupidity. I didn't even ask for a refund on the unlimited 30-day card I bought on September 10, 2001 and had to abandon when I evacuated my apartment the next day (I don't even know if the program was in place back then). My company does reimburse me with tax-free dollars for that $76, and only once a month, stupidity and pocket falling notwithstanding.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

New Thing #39: It IS a Good Book!

Somehow during my Protestant upbringing and laterally Catholic college years, I never did much Bible reading. This isn't because I'm one of those church-raised kids who completely shunned religion and declared themselves an athiest out of frustration and in defiance; I'm absolutely comfortable with religion, and consider myself spiritual in a completely personal way. But I wasn't so much church-"raised" as I was church-"near," having attended services off and on during my childhood, when the family could commit to it. So I didn't get much Bible reading done. This is why today I took my mom's suggestion and I read a complete book of the Bible. When I told her I was doing this today, she suggested Galatians, a petit, 6-chapter book which is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the people of the province of Galatia, addressing the mishandling of Mosaic law. The message is essentially, "don't be a hypocrite. Follow the laws and quit trying to bend them to fit your lifestyle." Also, it offers a contextual translation of father as Abba, and now I have "Dancing Queen" playing as I get ready for bed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

New Thing #38: I Carried a Watermelon

me: DIRTY
DANCING
Amanda: FOR SERIOUS
I woke up smiling cause I knew tonight was dirty dancing night
me: You have no idea how excited I was when I saw they were showing it. It was rereleased it right before my 20th birthday, and ALL I wanted to do for my bday was get everyone together and see Dirty Dancing on the big screen. My friends all bailed, so I went out with my family instead. And not to see DD.
Amanda: NO!!!!!
me: I get back to my dorm room, and my "ringleader" friend had left a message on my machine: "Hey Jen, we thought we'd all go see Dirty Dancing, but I guess you're not around. We'll let you know how it was."
Amanda: ARE YOU KIDDING
well
you have a free ticket tonight!
What goes around comes back around!
me: you are awesome.
this will be my New Thing today.
Amanda: YAY
I made it!
me: yes you did! There will be callouts and links and everything.
Amanda: I actually thought "hmmm I have to give jen something"
but this wasn't it
me: it is now!
This was magic. Just me, Amanda and 200 stranger ladies (and about 5 guys) cheering and singing and quoting the lines to one of the very best movies of the 80s that I had never had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen. I realized that I've never even seen the whole movie in one sitting; I've never owned it, and any time it's on tv, I usually miss a chunk of it. Seeing it uninterrupted and unsegmented in an actual theatre was AMAZING, especially in a giant I-Max style Times Square theatre.
Taking any actual video would have been impolite. Here's audio (encased in video, since I haven't taught myself to extract audio yet) of the audience reaction to what I'm going to graciously assume is everybody's favorite part (note the audience's quivery anticipation of The Line):


(Please note what sounds like a sound-effects punch right after "she taught me," at about :12)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New Thing #37: Law law law

I've been surrounded by law my whole life. My dad and my brother and a few other relatives are lawyers. Many of my friends from high school and college are lawyers. I even know lawyers who do comedy. And I've been known to watch more than a few consecutive episodes of Law & Order: SVU. I never really considered becoming a lawyer myself, but a couple of years ago I did flirt with the notion of taking the LSAT. I did okay on some online practice tests, but never actually sat for the $200 Life Defining live version. I think it was because as much as I really did want to take the test, and as interesting as law school is to me, I have no desire to actually practice law. I like being a journalist, and long hours in a firm don't appeal to me. But it's always important to keep an open mind, yes? So today I went on a tour of the Fordham University School of Law.
I visited the admissions office and spoke briefly with a representative, who gave me a map and suggested I take a self-guided tour. Having the map gave me access to the actual inside of the law school itself. It's finals day; two ladies in the elevator were bemoaning their unpreparedness, and uniformed ladies with stop watches and sign-in sheets sat outside every door in the long, locker-lined hallway. I sat briefly on a bench overlooking a lounge area, but didn't seek out any professors or peek inside any classrooms, as the brochure suggested. It seemed inappropriate on finals day. I also didn't take a lot of pictures inside; it's not a good idea be creepy on a college campus, especially not these days. I did duck inside the library, full of green lamps and stressed-out counsel-to-be.
The outside part of the tour was much more peaceful. Fordham's campus is like Columbia's, a homey little oasis crammed into the shadows of urban life, but it's not as intellectually intimidating. With its drippy Chinese elms and willows and pink cherry blossoms, it sort of makes me think I'd court skin cancer all semester, with the amount of time I'd be tempted to spend outside. So that's why I'm not going to become a lawyer.

The outside:

The inside:
The stairwell:

A guy who's skinnier than I: