Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My planner, my dictator

Is there anything better than getting a new planner? I mean really. I love school supplies so much, it was always the most exciting part of starting a new year. But when you're an adult, we just have to go buy supplies when we need them, and if you work in an office, most of the time, that work is done for you. But I choose to purchase my planner on the academic calendar, so that means I still have the excitement of buying school supplies, though I can see 30 approaching.
I think it was high school when my life started being dictated by my planner. It's safe to say that my longest relationships have been with planners, which is incredibly sad but the truth can sometimes be sad. And just like in a relationship, I'm very particular about what type of planner I need. I don't want one that's daily, I don't want one that's lined, I don't want one that's got time slots in it. I just need a blank calendar by which to fill with experiences and exploits.
That's oddly what I'm looking for in a relationship too...a blank slate. No baggage, no tricky maneuvers, no glaring hurdles from the get-go. Just someone to have an adventure with. Spontaneity is key (hence the unlined paper, full of free space to write in anything).
As Carrie Bradshaw as this all is, it's true. I think I should take this opportunity to say that I am very much like her, this fictitious Bradshaw. I don't want to be like her and in some of her more neurotic moments, I don't see myself. But then again, I kinda do. And I hate that. But what can I do about it? Not much. We see the world, and specifically New York, in a very similar way. I hope I'm not as much of a brat as she is, but regardless, I identify with her the most. (it pained me to write that)
So today, I start anew with my planner, and much like the change that I said I felt was a-coming, this is a fresh start. And as the seasons outside shift and click into their new places, so will I.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The change

Bob Dylan said 'the times they are a-changin' and then Peter, Paul and Mary said 'the times they are a-changin' and then Paul Simon said 'the times they are a-changin' and then the narrator in Anchorman quoted Bob Dylan saying 'the times they are a-changin.' We get it. They're changing.

I woke up this morning and felt that. There are times in my life when I just know something is about to change and it's going to be a big deal. I don't know if I have an eerie sixth sense about this sort of thing or if I'm like the zoo animals that could sense the earthquake was coming before it happened or if I'm like my leg.
Yeah, my leg. I broke it when I was younger and there is still some hardware in there from when they had to put humpty back together again. Well, when the weather changes, the metal in my leg acts up and I can feel it. So while you probably get your weather information from, you should probably just be asking my right knee instead.

But the change I'm talking about isn't a weather thing, though that's certainly happening too. Fall is coming gang and I couldn't be more excited about it. No this is a different change entirely. Though I'm not quite sure yet what it is. But that's not important. Something is changing and I'm ready. I just watched Chocolat again and I just think it's one of the more beautiful films that too many people haven't seen. In it, Juliette Binoche comes to a new town with the changing of the winds and leaves again, it's very Mary Poppins of her. The point is, she feels a change is coming and she allows her life to change accordingly.
So while I may not be eating a lot of chocolate right now, and I may have watched He's Just Not That Into You after I watched Chocolat (for reasons that are my own), I feel a change a-comin. I get excited about this kind of stuff. When you're young, you fear change but as I've gotten older, I've realized just how great change can be.
So I'm ready. Just like all the crazy people on top of that building in Independence Day. I'm ready for a change.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a week

It started with an earthquake and ended with a hurricane. It was quite the week.

 BLEEP is getting released this week so that's what happened the first part of the week. Work work work.

 Why my neighborhood is fun.

 They made us evacuate the building after the earthquake. I love that this is my view when I leave work.

 So I go to Walgreens to get a diet Snapple and one of the shelves is pulled out. There were mannequins behind it, just chillin. What.
 Here's a better look.

 Man with Star Wars lunchbox.

 Girl with severed head.

 Uh, I'm gonna need that coat. Don't know what for, but I'm gonna need it.

Hurricane prep in Harlem.

 Some people stocked up on water and non-perishables. I bought Gushers.

Pre-hurricane glow of Harlem.

Don't know what you saw on the news, but this is actually how New Yorkers prepare for hurricanes.

So in the end, the earthquake wasn't a big deal and the hurricane was pretty much a big rainstorm. But that's okay. Bring on the first weekend of September. Fall is upon us and you know that's the best time of the year.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My 'Lovesong'

I was sitting alone in my apartment last night, taking a break from working on things and I was listening to Adele. Lovesong started playing, I closed my eyes and sang along. About halfway through the song, I thought to myself, I want to mean these lyrics. I want to be able to say these things to someone and mean it. It's a sappy moment to write about here, but it wasn't sappy when it happened. It was just honest, because the song is honest.
When the song was over, I turned off the music and sat alone for a few minutes. No TV, no laptop chirping at me, no texts...nothing. Is 'Lovesong' the most romantic song that's ever resonated with me? It just might be.

I used to think 'Kissing You' from Romeo and Juliet was the most romantic song I'd ever heard and I still think it's breathtaking. There's something about the simplicity of it and the movement of the music that just makes you feel like you should be running hand-in-hand with someone significant to you. Maybe you're running in the rain. Maybe you're laughing. I just think it creates a canvas to paint a portrait of your love for another.

You know what else is a breathtaking song that most people aren't familiar with? 'Paris' by Faith Hill. It was the last cut on one of her more recent albums, it's not a country song at all, and it's gorgeous. Beyond the fact that her voice has never sounded so flawless, it's a stunningly beautiful song that resonates so deeply inside of me. As a matter of fact, when I was in Paris this last summer, and I was wandering around the Eiffel Tower at night, I listened to this song and had a private moment of reflection.

I know there are so many songs that are incredibly romantic and endearing. But, I don't think any song has resonated with me like 'Lovesong' did last night. So it's fair to say that I'm in one of those emotional, contemplative moods today and that's just fine with me. Clears the clutter out of the way and makes room for something else. I love when there's room for something else. That means anything can happen.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's almost fall, but until then...

 No. I didn't go to the concert. I spent that money on seeing a show that changed my life. You'll see more below about that.

 Harlem. Beauty is where you find it.

 I'm still shrinking. Feels good.

 The show that changed my life, Sleep No More, with my friend Frank. No, we're not in a slasher flick. Just experiencing Macbeth in a way unlike anything I've ever experienced before.

 Three floors of mexican food and all I could notice was the design of the floors. For Lisa.

 Saturday night, let's have dessert, fried ice cream, sounds great, delicious, never again.

 This just made me laugh loudly in public.

Spent Sunday working on the next issue of the magazine. It's gonna be good.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sleep No More

I thought I'd need to wait a little bit before posting about Sleep No More, figuring that I'd need time to process it. But there's no amount of time that would be enough to process what happened last night really.
I've been hearing about Sleep No More for months and finally had the money to go and check it out. So my friend and I go over to this secluded part of Chelsea, to this abandoned hotel where they have staged Macbeth. We get inside, they give us these masquerade masks to wear the entire time we're inside, and set you free in there. Really. You just start wandering through the halls of this hotel and finding the characters existing. You're existing with them as the story plays out.
It would be pointless to rehash what exactly you find in there. Pointless. Just understand that it's dark, there is this eerily beautiful mood music playing throughout the hotel, and it's been converted to cemeteries, the woods at night, living quarters, ballrooms and forests.
Once I found Macbeth, I stayed with him for most of the night. That's where my friend and I got separated. But you don't care because you're so focused on what is going on. That's when it became real. When, after Banquo's ghost appears at the most stunningly-beautiful slow-motion banquet (really, I can't explain to you how beautiful really. There are no words), the next thing I knew, a bloody and very upset Macbeth was literally in my face, staring at my through the eyeholes in my mask. I lost track of how long that lasted, its like you are in a trance when you're in there. Meanwhile, my buddy is following a nurse and ends up alone in a room with her, being told a bedtime story and being spoon-fed tea. For real.
The whole this is as if you are immersed in the world of Macbeth - this incredibly voyeuristic experience of watching these people fight, make-up, mourn and exist. And then there are those moments when they let you know that you're in the experience by interacting with you, by grabbing your arm and taking you with them as Lady Macbeth did with me.
It was breathtaking and I can't tell you how many times I was in awe of what was going on. It was unbelievable. I love when something is such a dynamic experience that it becomes lingers with you. No, more than lingers. Stays heavy on you. I don't remember getting home last night and it's not for any alcohol-induced reason, rather I was in such a daze, processing the experience. It's set up in such a way that at one point when I was wandering around alone, I lost track of what floor I was on, where I was, I just knew that I was in a forest, trying to find the way out to find Macbeth again.

I will say here that while the experience on the whole isn't scary, at one point, I was standing in a ballroom and the next thing I know, the trees are moving in around me. Right. The trees were moving in around me and it was too dark to see how. Terrifying...and amazing.
Everything about this show was perfect. If I had the money, I'd go again to find what all I missed and go down the rabbit hole again. As a kid you make-believe that you are in a different world and that movies and books come to life. The Harry Potter part of Universal Studios is meant to give people that feeling. But I can tell you that last night, I was actually a part of Macbeth, the world around him and I've interacted with the characters, I was in a different world and I have the mask still to prove it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

You know I don't care for books

I read this morning.
I know you probably think there should be more to that statement but there's really not. On the train into work this morning, I read.
I'm not a big reader. I haven't been since I was much younger. I got into movies and then into television and my time for sitting and reading just disappeared. I'd rather watch it happen than read about it happening which is why I have a Masters in Visual Rhetoric and not just...rhetoric.
But be that as it may, I read this morning. Earlier this week, feeling rather splendid about the day I was having, the prospects of the week ahead and exciting possibilities of the weekend after that, I found myself wandering through a Fox Books...uh...I mean Barnes and Noble, looking at the covers of people's memoirs, judging them and plotting what the cover of my own will look like. Some were on sale, so I ended up purchasing three.
Maybe it's something about New York. When I spent my first summer here as an intern, I read a lot. Well, a lot for me, three or four books that summer. Well, on my commute each day, all I see are people reading on the train, which makes perfect sense. But I'm usually listening to music and I'm zoned out for this reason or that. This morning, that changed.
While I consider reading these memoirs more a research-based activity, it doesn't change the fact that I am reading, even though I don't care for books. Yes, I was the English major that didn't like to read and I'm the writer that wants to write books but doesn't care for reading them. Yes. I am a temple of ironic mischief. A tower of contradictions. A lone reed.
The moral of this story is that I read this morning and more than likely, I will read on the way home tonight as well. Now whether I will continue to read after I have pillaged these memoirs is another story. A story that I will no doubt keep you posted on. A story that perhaps, you will read in my memoir.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Such a realization

I just realized I've been in New York for a year now. Okay technically I've been in New York for a year and like 4 days. I'm not big on anniversaries really so you'll have to forgive the tardiness of my realization.
A year.

If you've followed along the rants I've posted over the past year (there have been quite a few), then you know I'm not playing games when it comes to this city. There are too many things to do and too many adventures to have to just sit around. So that's what I've done. I've had one adventure after another.

And why not? That's what life is right? One big adventure? At least that's how I choose to see it. It's not something for us to sit and look at. Life is something to experience and I try on a daily basis to experience it. And let me tell you, the crazier and more random the adventure, the more I like it.

It also stands to mention that it was right around this time last year when I started developing, recruiting and creating the publication that would become BLEEP. And here we are, just two weeks away from the fifth issue and I couldn't be more blown away by what a ride it's been. Again, it's been such an adventure.

I will say this, I feel a little like Carrie Bradshaw writing about my anniversary with my city. Sounds very much like it should be the voiceover that starts an episode and after half an hour of things going wrong, she somehow has a deeper love for the city. But I'm not her. She's not even my favorite character on that show. New York is my favorite character on that show. (insert profound oohs and ahhs here please)

When I first visited the city 6(ish) years ago, I had no idea that I would end up planted here. I will never forget one of my first impressions though. We had just arrived, our hotel was down by Central Park and we were wandering around. I was journaling (as I still do) and I wrote something like "I mean it's cool and all but I don't get it. It's just a park." Still makes me laugh when I think about it. One of the multitude of moments when I was an idiot.

So here's to the next year. And the one after that. If they are anything even moderately adjacent to this past year, then it's going to be a hell of an adventure. And even though it doesn't need to be said, I will say it anyways because it's truth: I heart New York. It should also be known that that is my favorite episode of Sex and the City. Full circle people. Full circle.

My CCD and TBD are acting up

So I don't do the whole horoscope thing. It's never really done anything for me, I find the whole thing kinda silly that some guy or a computer can sit there and type out the dictation of the day ahead of us before it happens. But, I know a lot of people really dig it and that's fine.
Well, people have started posting their horoscopes on Twitter and every now and then, when a Gemini (I'm one apparently) posts on there, I will read it just out of my CCD (compulsive clicking disorder - it's much like TBD [too busy disorder] from which I also suffer). So this morning I was on a clicking spree and I read this horoscope for myself:

Your life is on an upswing now, and you're probably seeing the positive effects of your rising self-confidence. You may be more inclined than usual to talk about your feelings with your friends and associates, without giving much thought to what you're actually saying. Don't reactivate yesterday's drama; an easygoing approach that focuses on the present moment enables others to meet you on a new and more equal playing field.

I hate when stuff like that is 100% correct.
And I'd love to write about how it's true and try to form words into poetic musings that make me sound both intelligent and witty in a quirky-yet-approachable way - but that little horoscope kinda says it. That's kinda how I've been feeling the past week. Except for the drama part. I don't have much of that in my life. I'll leave the drama to the people on reality TV and to the people vying for the Republican nomination for President.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Help

I just saw The Help, and like so many of you, I loved it deep-deep. There were a lot of great lines in there and so much that resonates within me for one reason or another but as weighty as some of the lines were, the one that resonated most loudly inside me was:
"Fried chicken'll make you feel better about life."
It's not about food.
It's not about southern comforts.
It's about the simple things.
It's about the simple things that matter in this life.
I've written a hundred times about how it's the simple things in life that are the most important and I find examples of that every single day. It's in a hug. An iced coffee. The smile of a hot stranger. Remembering that that skyline is my skyline. The knowledge that I'm making it. All the different shoes people are wearing on the train in the morning. A text message from a new friend. A quote that spurs my thinking. The sound of life on the streets. A movie that makes me cry. The possibility of endless possibilities.
These are a few of my favorite things.
And my most favorite are the most simple.
And that makes me happy. Which I am. Happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Zip locks

A photo broke my heart tonight.
I was just sifting through Facebook photos and I ran across this photo through an old family friend's page. It's the church I grew up in and it's gone now.
It's not that I miss it or anything, the church moved to a different place when I was in 7th grade and even that church is no more at this point as well. But when I looked at that picture, I just relived every moment that I spent in that building. The all-nighters spent there with the youth group playing 'kick-the-can,' the endless hours spent rehearsing for whatever production I was in, the back hallways we would run up and down before and after service. It brought every minute of that back to me.
But can I tell what the moment it made me think of the most? It was during one of those all night youth group parties and during a game of 'kick-the-can.' If you're not familiar with the game, it's pretty simple. There's a can, everyone is split into two teams, one team goes and hides and the other goes to find them. Once you find someone, you have to beat them to the can in order to either stay in/knock them out of the game. We played a no boundaries game and we played it in complete darkness. Well, needless to say, it was one of the most fun games I've ever played in my entire life. It's right up there with broomball and car-wars.
The reason that photo reminded me of that is because that tall part of the building that's exposed where the wood comes to a peak - that was the attic above the sanctuary. There was a small and rather secret door to get in there and since I was at the church so much, I knew the secret. Well, we'd go in there, climb up in the rafters that you can see exposed there, and no matter if someone came in there or not, they would never possibly know that we were up there. I've always remembered the cavernous attic that we would hide in and I am not afraid to say that it's the one thing I miss about that building.
That's why that photo broke my heart because not only were they tearing down the building that housed so much of my childhood, but it was like my hiding place was exposed finally. No I don't live in any delusion that I was the only one that knew about it. But when you're a kid, you do have those delusions and since I left that building for the last time when I was a kid, that's how it will forever be remembered in my head. It's amazing how we are able to hold onto the memories. Just like we took them and put them in zip-lock bags. We see them exactly for what they were at that moment and we don't allow them to age with us.
I think that's one of the wonderful things about being a kid. Our memories are stored in all these metaphorical zip-locks and we don't allow them to age like we do when we get older. We rarely say 'oh I was young and now that I look back at it, it was stupid.' No. We look back and say 'that was awesome,' no matter how ridiculous the memory may now be.

I will always cherish the times that I spent in that building and the people that it allowed into my life, some of which are still very much a part of my life. This other picture is my favorite picture from my childhood. It's my 'Sandlot' photo and for those of you that have seen that film, you understand what I'm talking about. It was taken at Kid's Camp when I was in 5th grade and these were the guys we hung out with in that old building. It stands as the definitive image that sums up (for me) the joy and zeal for life that you have when you're that age and while one-by-one, I've seen some of these guys from this photo lose that zeal in favor of...normalcy perhaps...I like to believe I haven't lost it. If anything, my zeal for life has become greater. When I was that young, anything was possible. But I still believe that. It's been almost twenty years since that photo was taken and I still believe that I'm still just as full of life as I was then.
See, this is why I blog. It's free therapy. I'm no longer broken-hearted about this photo. I'm full of joy. I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything in the world. And I wouldn't trade the memories made in that old Christian Life Cathedral building in Dallas, Texas for anything in the world either. And I love my zip-locked memories.

The Weekend that happened

 One of the things I love most about New York is the joy of spontaneity and the knowledge that if you're open to it, anything can happen. So why not meet strangers and make new friends. You only live once.

I love that when I leave my office each day, I can look up and see this view.

Down in Washington Square Park for a photoshoot for BLEEP.

 I can't handle how amazing Kate's dress was for the first look of the shoot.

Even the Italian tourists wanted to get their photo taken with the American magazine models.

Shooting in the fountain.

Taking sand art to a whole new level.

The BLEEP photo shoot team.

Not in Italy. In the Village. I love New York.

Street fair? Check. Deep fried Oreos. Check.

Y'all I totally found the Sorcerer's Stone.

I was enamored with fabrics and textures all day for some reason.

 So happy.

Stay tuned - next weekend looks to be even greater.