"You know how I know you're not an athlete?" or that time I tried to be extra curricular in college...
High School for me was a time of great discovery: I learned that I adored comedy and kicked major ass in improv at tournaments. I figured out that skin problems don’t just “go away,” and I learned that getting into college meant being parts of loads of clubs for the sake of saying you were in them. I was very involved! I did speech and drama, student council, yearbook, choir, etc., etc.,
But college was a different story. I was burnt out, and I knew from jump that graduate school wasn’t happening. Why should I have to go to college after college? I was already going to college at 16 and forced learning had really taken a toll. I just wanted my extra time to myself, and so I limited myself to house council of my freshman dorm and playing stupid stupid video games.
Look at me killing it at DDR. If only that would find me a ridiculously high paying job in this economy…
After about 3 semesters, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything. I was great at goofing off around the dorm, but my evenings became nap-central. I NEEDED TO TRY BEING ACTIVE. Food Service (the generic name for the cafeteria at Berea) was distant, and luckily for me I hadn’t put on any extra college weight. I was still, however, without any muscle definition. You know who did have muscle definition though? Christie Monteiro.
Christie Monteiro is the fictional Brazilian Capoeira fighting style character on the popular video game Tekken. She was easily the best player in the game and if she could do it, I could too, right?
Wrong. So wrong. 1+1 does not equal 10.
I went to the first Saturday afternoon Capoeira class thinking that I could bounce back and forth like she does when you’re contemplating which move to do. Literally her default setting is this bouncing around jig. I figured that that would be the entire first class, and then the next classes we’d focus on spinny kicky back-flippy things.
The first day we were instructed to pick up a chair and to attempt to cartwheel over it. Did I mention that I’ve never successfully completed a cartwheel? I’ve come close, but I get freaked out halfway and always abort mission. I’m 22 and I can’t cartwheel. It’s fine! I have other strengths.
But what I learned is that you cannot become an athlete this late in life. Sure, I can start running. That’s something. That’s a very difficult something—but I’m not going to be on the olympic team any time soon. We live in a nation of extremes, and maybe we don’t have to do any "Insanity" or "Shreddy McShred ABS" or whatever. Maybe we just have to be more active than we were yesterday.
And as for extra curricular activities—well, I found a pretty good group of friends and we started making comedic sketches for YouTube. I still kinda do that…
To paraphrase E.B. White, the perfect sentence is one from which nothing can be added or removed. Every word plays its part. In my more giddy moments I think that a simple comic strip featuring Calvin, a preternaturally bright six year-old, and Hobbes, his imaginary tiger friend, features some of the most lucid sentences committed to print. And when I sober up, I usually think exactly the same.
Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes ran between 1985 and 1995. His comic strip managed to infuse wondering (and wandering) on a cosmic scale into an ageless world of lazy Sunday afternoons, snow goons, and harassed babysitters. I’m not saying that you should take moral and philosophical guidance from the inventor of Calvinball (a game that runs on chaos theory), but you could do much worse.
So here, in no particular order, is a selection of quotes that nail everything from the meaning of life to special underwear. Enjoy.
On life’s constant little limitations
Calvin: You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.
Calvin: Everybody seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!
On why we are scared of the dark
Calvin: I think night time is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction.
On the unspoken truth behind the education system
Calvin: As you can see, I have memorized this utterly useless piece of information long enough to pass a test question. I now intend to forget it forever. You’ve taught me nothing except how to cynically manipulate the system. Congratulations.
On the cruel reality of commercial art
Hobbes: Van Gogh would’ve sold more than one painting if he’d put tigers in them.
On the tragedy of hipsters
Calvin: The world bores you when you’re cool.
On the tears of a clown
Calvin: Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humour? When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it’s funny. Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us?
Hobbes: I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.
Calvin: (after a long pause) I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.
On the falling of sparrows (or providence’s lack of a timetable)
Calvin: Life is full of surprises, but never when you need one.
On why winter is the cruellest of seasons
Calvin: Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.
On the gaping hole in contemporary art’s soul
Calvin: People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.
On playing Frankenstein with words
Calvin: Verbing weirds language.
On realising God is more Woody Allen than Michael Bay
Calvin: They say the world is a stage. But obviously the play is unrehearsed and everybody is ad-libbing his lines.
Hobbes: Maybe that’s why it’s hard to tell if we’re living in a tragedy or a farce.
Calvin: We need more special effects and dance numbers.
On why ET is real
Calvin: Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
On looking yourself in the mirror
Hobbes: So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they’re already met?
On the future
Calvin: Trick or treat!
Adult: Where’s your costume? What are you supposed to be?
Calvin: I’m yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Madison Avenue and Hollywood, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you’re old and weak. Am I scary, or what?
On the truth
Calvin: It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…Let’s go exploring!
“I love unmade beds. I love when people are drunk and crying and cannot be anything but honest in that moment. I love the look in people’s eyes when they realize they’re in love. I love the way people look when they first wake up and they’ve forgotten their surroundings. I love the gasp people take when their favorite character dies. I love when people close their eyes and drift to somewhere in the clouds. I fall in love with people and their honest moments all the time. I fall in love with their breakdowns and their smeared makeup and their daydreams. Honesty is just too beautiful to ever put into words.”—
When you’re on the prowl for food that satisfies your need to avoid dieting while still realizing that eating crap is kind of awful for you, 4food is the place. 4food is this outstanding restaurant in Midtown Manhattan that makes delicious fast food from great slow, green ingredients. If you’re looking for some pink slime, feel free to cross the street because you won’t find it in here!
4food is also kind of super tuned into what’s hip and cool. There are iPads to play on and innovative design choices all around—from the circular mirrors in the basement, to the concrete stairwells and images of the food on the walls. They even have a wall of tweets that updates when you update @4foodnyc!
I ended up getting the “Mac Daddy” burger, which is complete with macaroni and cheese and omg, it was amazing! I’ve had the “Give Thanks” turkey burger there before, but when you need comfort foods, the Mac Daddy is the way to go. You can really taste the freshness in the meat, cheese, and vegetables they use!
Loads of people have been requesting hair tutorials, and to be honest, I don’t really do that much to my hair most days. Oddly enough, I really like wearing my hair straight everyone once in a while. I straighten it 4 times a year at most, but it really switches up how I have to treat my hair and helps me see how much it’s grown. It’s super simple. You can do it in just 3 easy steps (that might take 3-4 hours):
Step 1: (should be “clean your mirror before you take pictures…) After washing your hair, properly moisturizing with whatever you like, and detangling—section it into 10-12 little buns with hair-ties. This makes blow drying way easier because you can just go from ponytail to ponytail and really make sure the hair is dry.
Step 2: Blow-dry hair. I use medium heat because I don’t like it when my hair gets crunchy or smells like burning bacon. Do one ponytail at a time, and make sure it’s really dry. Because my hair is so coily, I know it isn’t dry if there’s a particularly kinky piece.
Step 3: Flat Iron your hair. I suggest investing in a really good flat iron if you want to do this on a semi-regular basis. I use the Paul Mitchell flat iron (the one with the green parts) to flatten out the hair. It runs about $125, but I’ve had it for like 5 years, and it is still going strong.
It wasn’t as straight as it could be this time because I forgot to use the heat protector (super important. get a heat protecting spray). Only do sections as wide as the flat iron, and don’t get discouraged if you have to blow dry some parts again to make sure they’re dry enough to be flat ironed.
The most important part of straightening natural hair is moisturizing really well. You will end up with loads of breakage if you don’t moisturize. I suggest braiding at night, or at least wrapping tightly with a leave in conditioner!
I have skinny fingers. It’s just a fact. I have always had unnecessarily petite hands, and because of this, I lost a lot of rings growing up. It’s gotten to the point where I never wear rings and I would probably let a lucky guy down if he proposed because I’d tell him to take that crap back to Jared and buy me a necklace.
However, I recently found this great company that makes the most AWESOME RINGS.
My Roommates Kloset is this sweet jewelry site that has beautiful rings for super cheap. I choose not to spend exorbitant amounts of money on jewelry that might fall down the drain or in the trash, but with these rings, I’d definitely do my best to make sure they stay on my tiny fingers.
They have loads of great designs and even some rings that have an elastic band to stop the slippage. You can literally have rings for every finger and not even drop a twenty!But they carry all kinds of different jewelry, leading me to wonder why you would ever choose not to look super fly on a budget?
So if you have long, skinny, Grinch-like fingers like me, or even if you don’t, you should definitely give them a look.
I saw this posted at a recent show and really enjoyed it:
“The first messages sent out via the telephone, IM, Twitter, and other advances in communication.
This spring, we chuckled when Stephen Colbert asked Twitter cofounder Biz Stone if, given that the first message sent over the telegraph was “What hath God wrought?,” the first Twitter message was “What hath God twat?” Which got us to wondering: what exactly was the first message sent out on various modes of communication? Answers below:
TELEGRAPH: ‘What hath God wrought?’ America’s first telegraph message was transmitted by Samuel F.B. Morse from the Supreme Court room in the Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore on May 24, 1844.
TELEPHONE: ‘Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you.’ The first telephone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, to his assistant Thomas Watson on March 10, 1876.
E-MAIL: ‘QWERTYUIOP’ The first e-mail message was sent through ARPANET (precursor to the Internet) by Ray Tomlinson of BBN Technologies in late 1971, between two computers that were literally side by side but were connected only through ARPANET. The exact text has been forgotten, but it is reported to be something like this. The first spam e-mail message was sent via ARPANET on May 3, 1978, to 400 users by Gary Thuerk on behalf of the now long-defunct computer manufacturer DEC, advertising a new line of minicomputers.
AOL INSTANT MESSAGING: ‘Don’t be scared … it is me. Love you and miss you’ The first documented AOL instant message (sent through the AOL client) was sent by future AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis to his wife on Jan. 6, 1993. Her response: “Wow … this is so cool!”
SMS (TEXT MESSAGING): ‘Merry Christmas’ Neil Papworth, an engineer at Airwide Solutions, sent the world’s first text message from a computer to a cell phone. The message was sent to Richard Jarvis, who was at a Christmas party near Vodafone headquarters in Newbury, England, in December 1992. The first commercial text message was sent from Los Angeles by Brennan Hayden, at the time an engineer for the Irish wireless company Aldiscon, in June 1993: “burp.”
SKYPE: ‘Tere, kas sa kuuled mind?’ The first full sentence spoken over Skype was uttered in Estonian by an unknown member of the original development team in April 2003. Its English translation is “Hello, can you hear me?”
TWITTER: ‘just setting up my twttr’ The first tweet was by Jack Dorsey, creator, chairman, and cofounder of Twitter, at 12:50 p.m. PT on March 21, 2006.”
This is a true story. It sounds ridiculously unbelievable, but I swear to you it is as true as true gets.
I decided to go towards Times Square for lunch today. I work like 4 blocks from it, but it was too hot to walk in the crowds, and I honestly didn’t feel like getting a sweaty face before I had to go to an interview this evening. As I descended into the feverous 7 train platform, I realized that (a) oddly no one was around and (b) someone was screaming for help.
I didn’t exactly run towards the screaming. My instincts have always been all about self preservation, so I half-heartedly walked over to make sure the danger wasn’t approaching me. I found a young 20 something girl standing with a crushed up iPhone in her hands, on the train tracks.
ON. THE. TRAIN. TRACKS.
Just a bit of back-story, the 7 train comes and goes roughly every 5-6 minutes. Why anyone would ever get on the 7 train tracks is a mystery to me. The G train typically has 15 minutes between trains, so at least it’s more than enough time to ponder getting on the tracks, work up the nerve to get on the tracks, get on the tracks, and then get the hell off the tracks.
Anyway, she was hysterically telling me that she couldn’t pull herself back up. Of course that was the time I heard the rumbling of the train approaching. She had about 35 seconds to get out of there, and luckily I and all my biceps (joke) and upperbody strength (another joke) was there to save her.
So I laid down on the unforgivably filthy platform and helped pull her back up. She rolled onto the platform with about 15 seconds to spare. In that 15 seconds, I told her that her crushed up cell phone was not worth dying over, and that if I hadn’t shown up, what would she have done? Just gotten killed because she wanted to play angry birds? UGH!
In hindsight, I probably could have been nicer, but between the platform being overheated, my body having to make contact with easily one of the germiest places in the entire world, and exerting myself more than I ever would want to, I couldn’t muster up enough sympathy. She thanked me and ran up the stairs crying, and I decided I was not hungry anymore.
Everyone knows that a guilty pleasure is something that you take great joy in that is either too embarrassing or too taboo to enjoy publicly. We all have them; I personally really like watching Sesame Street sometimes (I’m 22, oh lord), and maybe I have watched a few twerk team videos on the weird part of YouTube.
But what’s more important than having guilty pleasures, is claiming those things that aren’t really that embarrassing, but still somehow feed the soul in times of need. I’m finding as I get older, I lose the time to pamper myself with these seemingly simple joy-bringers. I’m vowing from this moment forth to make the time. Some of my absolutely not-so-guilty-pleasures are:
Sugar-Free Orange Jello and Sugar-Free Cool Whip.
This combination is so ridiculously not guilt-inducing, but at the same time, who really needs to add Cool Whip to Jello? Like, they compliment, but I just doubled the calories (a whopping 20 now) by adding the Cool Whip. I end up eating this like 4 out of 7 days in the week.
Pretty Woman on DVD (look at that fingernail, too)
I first saw Pretty Woman on a boring weekend night in college. I went to a tiny liberal arts school where the typical weekend did not include some big boozefest, but rather, studying and whining to my mom on the phone about how I didn’t want to be studying. One particular weekend, all my friends decided it would be cool to go home, so I went to the library and rented this gem. I’ve never looked back. I can safely say that I watch this movie upwards of 5 times a year with no plans of slowing down. I’d say it was a guilty pleasure, but I’m not ashamed. This movie is 90s-tastic and the perfect romance movie.
Being that Roommate that Hogs the TV
I love my roommates. Truly. They’re the kind of roommates that are immaculately clean, they don’t complain, and they even buy everyone donuts as a way of saying thanks for allowing their visitors. I could not have gotten luckier moving in with people I didn’t know. But considering we have one television, and we rarely are home at the same hours, I run a pretty oppressive monopoly on the living room between 7:30-11pm. It helps me do my work, and I’m the one that brought HBO GO to the xbox! There have been no complaints yet, but I don’t ever want to be that roommate that holes up in her room with a tv. At least this way they can enjoy Sex and the City and Girls and The Newsroom with me. At least I have good taste in television!!!
What are your favorite “guilty-but-really-not-so-guilty” pleasures?
Just read your ABG rant. I feel similarly. Also got cut off. Also, my girlfriend is in one of your photos. That means you just missed me by like an inch, haha.
Hahahah! Thank you for reading. I really didn’t mean to come off as bringing down ABG or Issa Rae, but how unfortunate was it that our time was wasted like that? I really hope they learn from that mistake, and create solutions before problems arise in the future!
Also, I have so many pictures on my camera, you probably are in one of them :D
How To Employ Basic Logic OR That Time I Almost Got to Go to The Awkward Black Girl Premiere...
Let me preface this commentary by stating that I have the utmost respect for Issa Rae and the entire ABG crew. I’ve been a fan for years, and maybe that’s the reason why this bothered me so much…
So I saw that Issa Rae posted on her tumblr about having people RSVP for a free advanced screening of the first episode of the new season of Awkward Black Girl. I was super excited and immediately sent in my RSVP. For those who don’t know RSVP stands for Répondez s’il vous plaît or “please respond/reply.” It is used to reserve a spot.
I got a confirmation email that said my RSVP had been received for me and a guest, but to note that it would not guarantee me a spot. I acknowledged this, but figured that since I was going alone anyway this would not be a big deal.
I get there at 6:30, and there’s already a HUGE LINE. Like enormous. I even saw Issa Rae sneaking in a side door, and was just getting super excited. I made friends in line, and figured that this would be a really good event all around.
After standing in the heat and humidity (for some reason no one thought to wrap the line indoors) for 2 hours, I was starting to get discouraged. We’d barely moved at all, and the event was set to start a half hour earlier. Something was amiss.
Fast forward to someone who works for the theater cutting off the line 30 people in front of me because the theatre was at capacity. It was officially a wrap.
There were many alternatives to this situation that could have made this experience better for the 200 people who stood in line for 2 hours who didn’t see even a minute of the web series:
(1) They could all not have jobs and therefore get there way earlier to get in line, thus making a different group of 200 not get in
(2) The event planner could have cut off the RSVP list if it didn’t mean anything anyway. At 225, tell people it was at capacity and stop getting their hopes up.
(3) Someone in her camp could count heads at the event and tell people they could go home because they couldn’t find a way to make it work.
(4) It’s a 10-20 minute premiere, maybe use another theater (hint, it was totally dead there aside from this), to show the episode right afterwards. This required about 40 steps and someone to rewind the film.
(5) Anything at all.
I’m not even mad anymore, but I am surprised by the lack of logic or problem-solving skill executed at this event. You had a free event in Harlem, what did you think the turn-out would be? I have a lot on my plate right now, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who lost 2 productive hours of life waiting for something that never happened. And why couldn’t someone from her camp come and apologize? Why send someone who works at the theater as a scapegoat?
Like I said, I enjoy ABG and I will watch the premiere and rest of the season online, but the display was absolutely pitiful last night, and supremely unprofessional from a group that has so much funding and support. It could have gone off without a hitch.
I understand that in my post about Dough Donuts, the last picture exposed my increasingly ratchet manicure. I get it, I should fix it now, but who has the time? I have a whole whole whole lot going on (yay) so I haven’t had a chance to fix it.
However, I also work a pretty sweet job where I get cool products a lot of the time. Yesterday, I got some nail polish!
The colors from left to right (That thumb nail sucks, I get it):
Yellow Kitty is actually a very light canary yellow color, perfect for ending Summer. Commander in Chic is this great neutral neude/grey that looks really upscale. Plum Luck is the perfect purpley-plum color, with no metallic at all. Haute Chocolate is actually a reddish-brown metallic polish, and Midnight in NY is jet black with sparkles. Love Love Love!
You have my word that I’ll be using one these beautiful colors from Sally Hansen Friday evening. No more chipped nail photos!
That Time I Met Chescaleigh (And Registered to Vote!)
As I’m sure you all know (since I’ve beat this dead horse to the point of it coming back as a zombie now…), I moved to New York about 6 weeks ago. One thing I had been ultimately unsure about was if I’d have to absentee vote again this year (I was in Disney World during the presidential election of 2008) or if I’d have to get a New York State ID to be able to vote here. I was clueless until Chescaleigh posted on her blog about hosting a voter’s registration event for the Andrew Goodman Foundation.
For those of you who don’t know, I am an avid YouTuber hoping to start making videos full time in the near future. Of course I adore Chescaleigh! Her videos are great, and she seems to have a level head on her shoulders. What’s more, she was hosting an event that I needed to attend, in an area of town I hadn’t yet explored (Greenwich Village is so my style), about an organization that I much admire.
The Andrew Goodman Foundation aims to help disenfranchised groups register to vote, and to educate them on policies and procedures that may hinder their ability to vote on election day. Andrew Goodman himself was fighting for that cause in the 60s when he was kidnapped and murdered by the KKK. The event’s purpose was to not only register unregistered voters, but also to inform them about current voter laws being proposed across the US.
So I met Chescaleigh, and she was bubbly and adorable (and tall, I didn’t think she’d be tall), and she gave me super advice for starting improv courses at Upright Citizens Brigade. Maybe if I’m lucky we can work on a sketch together. Hint hint hint. (I really hope she reads the tag “chescaleigh” on here…)
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”—Carl R. Rogers (via selfinspiration)
Around the Neighborhood: Dough Doughnuts, Clinton Hill.
The moment I moved to Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, everyone was telling me about the great things to do right down the street. That’s part of the charm of Brooklyn, you are in walking distance from great little shops and eateries all the time.
Well the first place that anyone mentioned was Dough Doughnuts. They raved to me about it! “It’s Zagat rated!!!” I didn’t even know what Zagat was, but I’m now absolutely certain it’s a high honor.
Dough makes fresh donuts, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Probably starting at 4 a.m. through close at 7p.m. They have new unique flavors that are rarely associated with donuts. Just look:
The space is small, with only 2-4 seats, so it’s kind of a grab and go establishment. But it’s really the industrial/warehouse/open feeling that makes the place. There is definitely an experience that it provides that screams “YOU’RE IN BROOKLYN OKAY. WE’RE TOO HIP TO FUNCTION.”
I bought the Dulce De Leche for my friend, Brittany, and I got the Cinnamon Sugar one for myself! The donuts are huge, even for my big mouth, and one is more than enough.
So now that I’ve past on my raving, it’s safe to say that I totally recommend this place and if you end up in Brooklyn, you must make an effort to stop in!
You probably thought I was joking, but much like all of the absurdities of New York City, this is very real. I was riding the subway and I happened across this sign. I decided that since I only know a handful of people and I’m trying to be more open to new experiences, I should allow myself to get adopted by a squirrel.
I went to the city parks foundation website and entered all of the necessary information into the form. I assumed that like any sort of normal adoption, I’d be in the system for any number of months before finding appropriate placement. Wrong I was. I was given a squirrel mom almost immediately:
Huh. A squirrel mom. I must admit I was hoping for a squirrel dad, but I was in no position to complain. That is, until I realized that this so-called Carly Smith fosters 231 other kids! What gives, Carly? It seems like there must be something in it for you after, you know, kid 150!
I got really scared to actually go meet my squirrel mom in Central Park (have you seen Law & Order SVU? There’s a protocol…), so I backed down. But truthfully, it’s great that NYC transportation is so interactive. This is just one of the many ads I get to see every day on the subway. Sure it smells like feet most of the time, and there’s no air conditioning, but things like this really do make the subway enjoyable.