Archive | March, 2013

A view from NYC

25 Mar

Bookmark and Share The past couple weeks have been a blur as I started a new job and a new schedule. Trying to fit in my giant list of television show must-sees, I basically just eat and sleep (and try to organize by crumbling apartment organization).

So here are a few tidbits (important tidbits, might I add) that I have learned this week.

1. Snooki & JWoww used to live near me. Well, before I moved here, but in the same location. Big whoop right? Just a few blocks down, in an old firehouse is where the paint-shellacked bronze half-humans that consist on jars of pickles lived. I have walked past their old firehouse condo many times, wondering who lived there. I should have asked what lived there instead. Luckily, they moved out a few months before I came to town – but the hoopla was real. Meaning liquor stores and restaurants posted signs in their storefronts saying “No Snooki or JWoww allowed.” Props, Jersey City, props.

2. Tilda Swinton sleeps in a box. Well, for the next month anyway. She’s on display napping in a glass-encased box at MOMA, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. This Oscar-winning actress slash art piece wasn’t on view Sunday, unfortunately, when I went to the museum. To ask, “Where is the lady in the box?” was something to cross off my bucket list though. I get it. We are celebrity-obsessed. We box up people and stare at them from a far, making them unreal. But these people sleep, eat, poop just like the rest of us. It’s still weird. Glad it’s her rather than the Biebs. His hair gel would cause a mess.

3. Beauty Sale! Let me give one of those girl “Woooo’s!” As I mentioned above, I started a new job a couple weeks ago. It is in the entertainment magazine industry, and quite a few publications are located in one building. So imagine my surprise when I wandered to my cubicle to be told that a beauty sale would be held. Beauty editors receive crazy amounts of product from companies so that they will be featured and/or reviewed by the department. This happens daily, so you can probably picture my jealousy when the mailing room wheels over Sephora bags lined with red tissue paper over to their desks. Beyond jealous. Yet, their stores of makeup and hair supplies become monstrous, so they hold beauty sales for our company a few times a year. With most items being priced at a $1, I knew that I had to make my presence known at last week’s sale. All of my Black Friday shopping throughout the years had prepared me for this one moment. It was like a track event, except with more sweat and exhaustion. You just grabbed for eye shadows, perfumes, and curling irons – throwing them into your bag. If someone was eyeing a facial moisterizer, you took it. This is not a time to be charitable. Running toward the next section, you pushed and pulled your way to getting the perfect MAC lipstick or seven. My damage was $75 – but that was gifts for family and to aid my very expensive makeup addiction. My best purchase was a Karl Lagerfeld brush set worth more than $150. Yes, I’m bragging. Don’t care.

4. I’m one of those. Last but not least, I have checked off one of my high school check list-y things. “What do you want to be?” What is your career going to be?” For a while it was dentist. Next, it was writer. And finally, I just knew that I wanted to dress up and walk to work in a mass of people – like in 1980s movies. Seriously, during a dress-up day at school, I arrived in a suit carrying a suitcase. You know, the montage at the beginning of a rom-com movie where a woman would be walking among hundreds of others of people suited up for something. Yeah, that’s me now. Every day, I get out of the PATH train station next to the World Trade Center. Then, I walk with the other suits walking in their 3-inch heels or carrying their annoying umbrellas. So far, that has been a fascinating revelation. I don’t know when it will just become a droning everyday experience.

Anyways, I’m going to be late to work. Thanks for reading my oh-so public diary. Laters.

Facebook Inadequacy

11 Mar
Too legit to quit.

Too legit to quit.

The second loss this week. Another punch to the gut, it hurts just like before. My mind can think of nothing else, as I try to hurl myself into the darkness of sleep.

Facebook. It has been a constant in my life since its inception. Dorm friends and I waited anxiously for its arrival on our campus, as it was formerly an exclusive club for university students. When rumors began to fly around that it would be arriving any day, I tried to play coy. Oh, I wouldn’t be sucked into the trappings of online social media. That is also what I said when ICQ became a mainstay on my parents’ computer, quickly replaced by MSN Messenger.

Years have passed since I created my first online profile. Photo albums document my drunken college years, while friends can browse my “like” of Joan Baez and my past directorship of the group “Gay rights for grey squirrels.” A quick glance at my page could give a glimpse of my real life, or perhaps a person could see through the painstaking persona that I have created. Thoughtful quotes from others much smarter than I, favorite movies that I have maybe watched once, and the absentia of anything indicating my age. This is the shadowy enigma that I want you to see, a shimmering illusion of who I actually am.

While I consider Facebook a valuable resource – photo sharing, keeping in touch with close family and friends, sharing my writing – it has become quite a burden as of late. Maybe it’s because I have too much free time on my hands, but I cannot seem to stop scrolling the newsfeed. I know this about so-and-so and what this person said about another woman’s photos. It’s ridiculous. Many of these people I haven’t spoken to since high school, yet here I am looking through their six-month-old’s latest photo shoot. If I ran into one of these people, I would probably embarrassingly lie that I had no clue what they were up to, but knew that they worked out for 25 minutes at their local gym yesterday.

Probably the worst aspect of Facebook is developing this crippling feeling of inadequacy. Perhaps this isn’t such a problem with other people, but I have always had this competitive edge that won’t stop. Fellow classmates, colleagues, or family members may boast of an accolade, their new house, or an upcoming wedding. While happy for them, that green-eyed monster rears it’s ugly head. That is when the questions start. Why haven’t you been able to do this? Why are you wasting your time doing nothing? It’s a class reunion every day, without the much needed booze.

I have found myself becoming a bit too obsessed with my laptop and finding out what is happening outside of my living room. When I found out that a girl I was in high school band with and a girl I worked with in college had both deleted me, I panicked. Literally, panicked. What had I done to deserve this? Did I post something offensive? Are my articles too frequently added to the newsfeed? What is wrong with me?

When I asked myself the last question, I stopped. Really, what was wrong with me? I haven’t spoken in person to either of these two people in years. They were acquaintances at best, and probably wanted to pare down their friends list. And if they did have a problem with something I had written, well, what can I do?

It has made me take pause and look at all the time and energy I have put in Facebook over the years. Too much. What could I do with that extra time, avoiding the site and others that occupy my everyday thoughts? Write more, read more, perhaps live more.

One of my best friends confided in me long ago about the problem with Facebook. She ended up completely deleting her profile and hasn’t looked back since. Of course, that has had its downsides in this Mark Zuckerberg world. Events are sometimes only posted on the site and important information gets passed down the grapevine much easier through postings.

So I’ve made a bit of a challenge for myself. Fifteen minutes or less of Facebook a day. You may roll your eyes, but it has seriously become this horrible. Cutting off cold turkey like my friend has done isn’t possible for me right now, as I do value it. But giving myself a bit of a break throughout the day will most likely free my thoughts to flow elsewhere.

Maybe I will no longer wonder why a certain family member never comments on my postings and hopefully I will stop caring so much about what you ate today.

Here’s to a fresh start with Facebook – to use as a tool and not so much as a crutch.

Job, what?

9 Mar

three-big-job-search-mistakes_16001154_800721765_0_0_14044238_500

Insurance woes. Of the health sort. Oh, I’m not complainin’ about my sky-high premiums or Obamacare or any of that nonsense. I’m just wrapping my head around the fact that I haven’t had any since August. I know a lot of people haven’t had health insurance for longer stretches of time, and I can’t imagine that kind of frustration.

What if I develop some sort of infection or trip over a broken sidewalk? I haven’t been running lately partly because I’m afraid of twisting a knee or ankle in the winter slush. The other reason is I have become extremely lazy. Truth. So I have been extremely cautious, stocking up on over-the-counter medication, washing my hands like a mad woman, and trying to steer clear of germy people.

Why no insurance? No FT job. Oh, don’t feel sorry for me at all. I did this to myself. Had to move myself cross country to one of the most highly competitive job atmospheres – away from a FT job with benefits. But why? Love, curiosity, adventure. To see if I could succeed.

And what has that cost me? Well, insurance for one. And a much smaller savings account. But honestly, I have gained quite a bit during this period of instability. I got out of my comfort zone, found that I can stand on my own two feet, and took a real try at a substantial relationship. I’ve had to clip coupons, pare down my usual spending, and learn to do without. And budget, God, I really hated having to learn that. Relationships back home have had to be preserved by constant contact, a lot on my part. I can maneuver around the city on my own now, and have developed some street smarts – really, there has been a whole lot of good here.

While applying for a plethora of jobs during this time period, I have held positions bartending, babysitting, and freelance writing. Jobs that I have performed in the past and will continue to do (sans slinging drinks). Someone recently scolded me out for implying that these “menial” jobs were beneath me. That was some pretty laughable shit there. I have babysat since I was 13, and started working in customer service the year after. I have held part-time jobs every year since then. At times, it has been my only income (like right now), and am forever grateful to this kind of employment.

So I have finally landed a FT job, one with those oh-so coveted benefits. I’m excited to have a position in a creative field, one that I have a bit of experience in. I will miss spending mornings in my bathrobe, surfing the web for funny cat pictures – but am looking forward to the chance to try out my writing skills in NYC. Oh, and the whole benefits thing. I’m pretty excited about that too.

TTYL, party people.

Nice try, Brooklyn

4 Mar
Canada bars, Communist bars, even trailer park bars ... but nothing Midwest-themed (or at least deserving of the term).

Canada bars, Communist bars, even trailer park bars … but nothing Midwest-themed (or at least deserving of the term).

When I first moved to the NYC area, I had this crazy idea that I would mingle amongst other Midwesterners at some kind of Iowa-themed bar. Silly, I know, but I have “How I Met Your Mother” to thank for that. One of the main characters, Robin, ventures to a Canadian-themed bar if she ever feels homesick. She got the idea from Marshall, a boy from Northern Minnesota who visits a Vikings bar whenever he feels the same. TV shows don’t ever spread lies, I told myself, so there has to be a Minnesota or some kind of Midwest bar in NYC! Canadian bars, yes, even trailer park bars are available for refuge. Green Bay Packers have their own bar, but I am not a big sports fan. I just wanted a bar that would give me that “close to home” feel. So I found Burnside, located in Brooklyn. I had read some good reviews in various articles, and ventured there yesterday with great expectations.

Fail.

Walking in, I immediately felt like it was a Pinterest-inspired 1900’s farmhouse – if hipsters lived during that time period. Faded wallpaper, sandblasted wood, dim lighting through candles and old-timey lanterns – yes, if Laura Ingalls Wilder was trying to be ironic, in a really painstaking way, this would be considered Midwest. (There was a shuffleboard, so they get an up vote for that.)

Their beverage collection. Well … they had Milwaukee’s Best in cans, a Stevens Point lager, and Leinenkugel. And lots of microbrews from the NYC area. Ahem. Oh, I spotted a small bottle of Templeton Rye (shout out Iowa!) behind the counter. The same size I usually spot in a personal liquor cabinet, but eh.

Food? There were bratwurst and burgers, and portobello mushroom sandwiches (something I enjoy, but never consider an Iowa fare). But they had fried cheese curds. A saving grace, thank you God. I have been missing fair food, something I don’t eat a lot of but miss it intensely. You could buy a bag of jalapeno poppers or something fried and heat it up at home. Or just go to Leon’s Pizza and taste their decadent cheese balls with homemade ranch dressing … okay, now I’m drooling. But not here, they don’t have the same respect for fried food as some of us Midwesterners do. So we ordered two baskets, no reason to waste time when fried food is on the line. No side of ranch or ketchup (come on people!), and they tasted more like funnel cake then greasy, beautiful breading-wrapped cheese.

This was a disappointment.

We didn’t stay long, like we thought we would have. Instead, we headed home for supper, not wanting to even imagine what their burger tasted like.

It was decided that The Machine Shed would make a killing in NYC. Seriously, if something farmer-themed came here, I would predict it would be an instant hit. If I had a ton of money, I’d definitely try to finance something of that nature here.

So what I guess I am saying is that I’ll have to wait for a trip home for old-fashioned beer lights, good Iowa food, and an actual Midwest bar. No more of this hipster crap for me.

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