Sunday, April 20, 2008

I had almost forgotten why I hate the New York Times

The New York Times' article "Finding Your First Apartment" epitomizes all I hate about the Times. It gives advice for an incredibly small slice of privileged New Yorkers, while ignorantly assuming that 'everyone' has the same problem finding the "elusive $2,000 apartment". Why not just re-title the article "Ivy League Finance Majors move to city and discover New York apartments are hard to find and must live in Upper East Side instead of Murray Hill'. Moreover, the article isn't even right - most Wesleyan people, even those in finance, live all over the place, at all kinds of different price points. It's totally stupid and New York-centric. In anthropology we dealt with similar questions ("ethnocentrism") and the way out was through post-modernism: acknowledge you are coming from a certain perspective, insert yourself into the story, and let the audience make the judgment about how your personal point of view affects the story you tell.

If this author talked about writing his article from his cushy apartment, mentioned his son's search for a two-grand apartment fresh from school, etc., etc., I wouldn't fault him for it. I also love reading magazines like New York Magazine, which by their brand name assert a specific point of view. Yes, I know the Times is left-leaning (Republicans love to mention this), but aren't papers supposed to at least pretend to be papers of the people? I'll have to think about this more...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

IM Logging and other Waves of the Future

A familiar scene in movies and books goes like this: an old woman unwraps stacks of letters tied with string, triggering a flashback. Variations have intruders upon an expired person's estate coming upon these brief snippets of someone's life and piecing them together.

Tonight I did a Google desktop search for a paper I wrote in college, wanting to recall its title ("The suburbs as a site for deviance and criminality" for my television class Junior year, Laura that is for you). That was the fourth hit. Before that, I discovered thirteen months of IMs logged between an old 'lovah' (do I want to call him that? only in this context.) and myself.

To read through months of contact in minutes was odd. I could barely recognize myself in the words I wrote - could not remember the reasons I apologized for being away from the computer for so long; did not recall the ennui I described experiencing over my winter break. At times I seem posturing, other times I revel in my biting wit or astonished with my ability to be mean and nonchalant.

What put me in that ambivalently sentimental mood even more was not reading between the lines in the conversations, but trying to fill in the gaps between the conversations. Unanchored by text, I have only wispy recollections of what occurred between these conversations, and a sense that what happened was both worth remembering and much too painful (in that shallow, angsty way) to bother. At times our attitudes toward each other change in tandem, as we both respond to some particular event, but other times our conversation remains the same, even as I remember a marked change in our standing with each other. College was an intense blur - parties then studying then parties, so much fun yet so stressful at the same time.

I find it interesting that after centuries (millenniums!) of letters being the primary personal record left behind, AIMs are coming into the equation - I personally started logging my AIMs so I could remember what it would be like at X age, in case I ever wanted to write something about this time period. There's definitely some incriminating content on those logs. I'm sure should I ever get famous or some nonsense like that, what I wrote would quite possibly be the downfall of my career (full disclosure: I have never hired a prostitute a la Spitzer), but I think that would be the result of whatever I've written getting miscontrued and blown out of proportion, not because I would have done something truly reprehensible. So I can sleep at night. In fact, that's what I'll do right now, sore throat and post-nasal drip notwithstanding...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chinese Celebrity Birth Control Crisis!!!

With yet another young star getting knocked up, I have but one thing to say: our nation's birth control pills are filled with sawdust! This is going to be another Chinese toothpaste scandal!

As much as I like films like Knocked Up and Juno, my laughs of choice regarding pregnancy are more in line with Onion articles. With teen pregnancy rates tentatively rising, and pop culture acolytes leading the way with their celebuspawn, I just don't know what to do with myself. It's too much of a mindfuck to be seeing all these people my age having children (celebrity and non-celebrity).

I remember once hearing a professor say children and pregnant people were like aliens on college campuses, since you live in a place with such age homogeneity. I definitely was more than a little freaked out this summer when I was unemployed in Seattle and the Upper East Side, when during the day all you see are BABIESBABIESBABIES. When going through a major life transition like that, it's enough to make you want to "opt-out" before you even opt-in, just have a baby and avoid the real world. At least that's the way it sounded to my unemployed self.

As for my own buns in the oven - with a few seconds in the microwave, you can barely even tell when they're a little stale...

Friday, April 11, 2008

La De Da Dee

Last weekend was underwhelming - a date on Friday night with a mere glass of wine, and then more wine on Saturday with Jess and her work friend LeeAnn (we talked about making homemade granola! I tried this week but kinda sorta burned it but then ate it anyway..) but not mustering up the energy to leave the apt.

Anyway, I did have a good time at the show, which took place at Mercury Lounge and featured Mahogany as an open, which played poppy, fun music. They're based in Brookyln so I'm sure I'll hear them again. The main act was Dirty on Purpose. The highlight of the show was the wasted guitarist, George. He was very cute, especially when he presented the bottle of Jack Daniels with a plastic nipple on the rim to the band member celebrating his birthday. Not so cute when he basically disappeared, because he was sitting on the floor playing his guitar and stumbling around wasted, and drinking whiskey like I drink water after a long run. At one point someone in the audience tried to feed him a hot dog and/or a piece of cake. His band members were like "What is that!? He has a nut allergy. Are there nuts in that?" Funny juxtaposition of the rock star lifestyle and reality.

This week I haven't done much - I've been feeling under the weather so I've been sitting in the recliner chair with my blue puffy down blanket and watching loads of TV, and feeling like a huge couch potato when my roommates return home after exciting evenings. In my fitful sleep, I was awakened to one roommmate coming home at 2am two nights ago. The life. Instead I've been sleeping for ten hours. Yesterday morning I pressed my snooze button and had a seven minute dream about taking a shower before my alarm went off again and I realized I still had to take my shower. I hate this level of sickness - where you're not that sick but feel compelled to 'take it easy' lest you delve into a deep sickness and inability to do anything.

Yeasayer and Man Man are tonight, at Brooklyn Masonic Hall. I'm nervous to go out in Brooklyn...