Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This post brought to you by 'Winter Song'

Sometimes I imagine New York City from a birds-eye perspective, and pinpoint the tiny dot that represents myself, there, almost at the very top of the island. With all of the thousands of dots milling around me that represent everyone else. And then I see all of the dots that represent those people who mean something to me, and where they might fall on the map at that particular moment, amidst all of the vibrating stranger-dots.

Right now, almost all of those friend-dots are gone. Vacated the island for the holidays. All of my go-to phone numbers for when I want to see a friendly face are not currently available. I am still here, just me and my City. And these absences make my interaction with Manhattan feel unaccountably different, even though this day may have progressed exactly the same even if all my friend-dots ran along their usual tracks on the map. But today feels not unlike one of those days in Latin America, alone in a foreign city, divvying up my day according to only my own needs and desires. Except that I'm in the city I know best in the world. But isn't that the thing about New York? You never really know it?

I will actually be going home this year, unlike the last two years spent respectively in a retail-bound New York City, and then the far more relaxed Caribbean waters of Panama.

I am really looking forward to seeing Pittsford again. Upstate New York is so beautiful, and though I would much prefer to be there in warm weather, I can't wait to take a long winter walk in the country. I loathe winter, though every day I do my best to find reasons to like it, and a country winter walk is the best thing about it I can think of. Silence, peace, stillness, and snow crunching underfoot.

I also anticipate some forced-relaxation at home, as even a day off here in NY compels me to run errands, and yes, even frequently do some work. Speaking of which...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The butternut squash tomato bisque, cornbread, and a soy cappuccino, please.

I don't know if this is going to paint me as a loner or lonely, (which right now, at least, I am not), but I am sitting down for my first solo meal, in a restaurant, with a waiter. To be fair, I guess it's a cafe, but I'm sitting at a table that gets waiter service. Even when I was traveling alone in Latin America I never went to a restaurant with table service and sat eating all by myself. I would order things and take them to go. More likely I would have stopped at a grocery store for a simple meal of local bread, cheese, and produce. Often I passed a day or two or three with someone else on the road.

It makes me feel very professional adult woman in Manhattan. Heaven knows that every Manhattanite woman's role model, Carrie Bradshaw, sat down for plenty of meals by herself. And that's exactly how I imagine the waiter thinking of me-- seeing me sitting here on my little netbook typing away with my soy cappuccino in the corner of my eye-- I am obviously a writer. With my my vintage-looking (but not) ring, my hair twisted into a braided french bun, my galoshes crossed under my Anthro dress. I think partly why I feel so at ease with eating my meal sola is because I'm so well put together today. It may be different if I felt like I'd just washed up in my tee-shirt, jeans, converse. Not to mention my usual day-off outfit consisting of sweaty work-out clothes.

Sigh. This is NYC in the winter for you. I can't go sit in the Park and eat my food, I have to tuck myself indoors, at the mercy of these lovely waiters. The first of December. I'm not sure either how that is supposed to make me feel, nor how it actually does make me feel. I reserve my 'holiday spirit' for work, and in the face of my currently breathtakingly overwhelming life, I focus on taking one task, project, emotion, day at a time. So the fact that it's December doesn't quite make an impact on how today is going.

If I did let myself think about it for a moment, I might think about how it's the first day of the last month of this eventful year, and consider how that would make me feel. I might think about how nervous I am heading into the winter season-- I don't do well without sunlight on my skin, and growing things within arm's reach.

What I do think about is ALL THE STUFF I have to do in the next two months and how I better stop writing this blog so I can get back to that. On this, my day off. That's life. At least if I'm working on my day off I can do so in a delicious, charming, cozy vegan cafe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blast from the past

Did you follow my blog while I was on my trip? If you did, you may recall this sailboat trip. The never-ending one... led by a perpetually intoxicated crazy captain?
I was recently tagged in this photo, posted by a lady I barely met on this night: New Year's Eve going into the year 2010. I do not have enough pictures of me on this trip and I was DELIGHTED to be surprised by this. All the way on the left is Llani, I can't remember the name of the next guy, above him is Joe, the infamous Captain Dennis (look at those rosy cheeks!), myself in the center (I AM SO TAN), and Kathryn to the right.

Ug. I cannot believe this was me 9 months ago. It is CRAZY how worlds-away this whole trip feels. I was writing a piece for my acting class about an event that occurred during this trip, so I was looking through a bunch of old blog posts. I still can't believe I did this. I want to do it again. Not next month or anything, but maybe next year. For the time being though, things are going really well. I feel some great momentum building, and I am really excited about some things happening, some expectations developing, and some results occurring. Yup, super vague. But suffice it to say my 3 jobs are progressing, I'm the slimmest I've ever been, I love the 2 acting classes I'm in, and I'm being really proactive about my career. For, really, the first time since leaving school. I am thrilled with the state of affairs.

Scroll down to the next post... Yeah, don't I look a whole lot better with a bit of makeup on? I am still really impressed I went this whole trip without a stitch of makeup. Cute boys and everything.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Last Tuesday I poked around friends' experience, brains, and the internet to find a headshot photographer in NYC that I liked. Last Thursday I met with one. This past Tuesday I shot with one. I got extraordinarily stressed out about this shoot. Not in a non-functional way, just in a 'Am I doing everything possible to make this a success?' way. I tried to pinpoint the castability I was aiming to emerge with. I shopped for hours looking for colors, textures, necklines that flattered. I didn't buy much. I worked SO MUCH I worried. A lot. I walked a lot. I didn't sleep well. I worked out.

I am an actor. Not a model. Acting feels very different to me than taking pictures. It's not what I have experience doing. It's not what I'm trained in. The only training I have is the school of America's Next Top Model. But what is training without practice?

My photographer and makeup artist were fantastic. I was really reticent about using the required makeup artist. I am a makeup artist and I haven't let anyone else do my makeup for years. But Joey was really wonderful, and open to anything I wanted to tweak. Laura, the photographer, was so professional, unbelievably detail oriented, and was a great coach. Also, so open to any tweaks I wanted to make. Since I'm a slow decision-maker I unfortunately didn't have too many tweaks to work with, but she knows how to take charge anyway. Take a look at her very impressive website by clicking here.

I thought positive thoughts. I thought confident thoughts. I had fun. I let go of the death grip I had on this photo shoot and tried to experience it as openly as anything else. Not as an imperative tool that would make or break my career. It's a really exciting, positive step forward. Do you remember my last headshots? They were lovely, but I needed new ones.Please take 10 minutes and help me decide on a few to get retouched and printed. Before you do, please read the below excerpt from Dallas Travers' book The Tao of Show Business.

"Until your resume stands alone, your headshot must clearly and specifically explain how you're best cast. Casting directors are busy people and in order to stand out, you must convey a clear, specific message. You don't need a ton of specific photos with lots of specific costumes. You only need one to three key photos that speak to your castability in a drama, a comedy, and as a specific character. You've got to know yourself, know how others perceive you, and be willing to showcase your specific and authentic self. The more you showcase your glorious self, the more easily success will meet you. Be your best self. Know who you are and embrace it... Remember that the sole purpose of your headshots is to get you hired. That's accomplished with a riveting photo that showcases the real you and speaks clearly to your castability. It doesn't matter if you're smiling or not. It doesn't matter if your body is off-center, or the photo is cropped tight to your head. It doesn't matter if the photo is horizontal or vertical. It doesn't matter if it's a close-up or shows a little body. What matters is that the photo captures the eye and showcases the real you. That's it."
I'm looking for a commercial shot, a drama, a comedy, and maybe just one solid could-use-for-anything master shot. Remember, I'm not ingenue, I am character. Open a word document or your email so you can jot down the number of the picture and your comments on it as you go. I appreciate any feedback I can get, whether that be specific photo numbers or even just "I like the blue for your commercial shot." Even though any decision I make is ultimately mine, I'm not very good at narrowing things like this down. My photographer narrowed over a thousand shots down to more than 400, which I have narrowed down to 78. Help me out with the last couple of steps by clicking here.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello Summer

I've had so many lovely New York moments the last couple of weeks, sometimes I wonder whose life or what film I've inadvertently walked into.

It started in Brooklyn. I baked some previously-mentioned amazing cookies and joined two sisters and a roommate at Prospect Park in Brooklyn for some free tunes performed by The Low Anthem and The Swell Season. Brooklyn is the most charming if you're in the right part, I kind of wish I lived there. The line snaked out through the park, but we had no problem scoring an acceptable square of grass and proceeded to enjoy our delicious picnic. It was the perfect temperature, with delightful company (I get along with the hipsters of Brooklyn so much better than with the uppity socialites of Murray Hill), gorgeous sun falling through the leaves, and warm golden melodies floating back to us. The Swell Season was absolutely fantastic. I wouldn't mind seeing their act again at all. Glen was sufficiently passionate (read: VERY), and they even played my favorite song from the Once album, 'Golden'! I wouldn't have minded whiling away a couple of more hours lounging on our picnic blanket in the park (I. Love. Summer. Nights. In. The. Grass.), but everyone else was done in for the night so we joined the masses exodusing to the subway.

A couple of days later, a friend invited me to some Hitchcock on the big screen in the Upper West Side. Done and done. I know that any Hitchcock enthusiast would roll their eyes at this, but I couldn't stop thinking of Mad Men. And I felt great about that. If I wasn't in love with the style of the 60's before Mad Men, I surely am now. Some great shots, some great style, some classic Hitchcock.
Post-film, friend and I joined a friend of his at an exclusive rooftop lounge/bar in Soho. How rarely do I get to say that I got into somewhere exclusive because I know someone who knows someone? 'Just drop Vanessa's name at the door, and they'll show you right in.' And the view. AND THE VIEW. I'll leave it at that. Great company, great atmosphere, great music, great drinks, and that wasn't the end. The rooftop lounge closed, and The Friend told us that she and the girls always go down to a small swanky club downstairs for live salsa music every sunday after the rooftop closes. Our group hesitated in the lobby, but after hearing those familiar, delicious strains of salsa I said that we at least had to peek in. And then once we were in, I, at least, could not leave. It was indeed small and swanky, with an absolutely fantastic three-man salsa band. (Word has it they play for the Moore/Kutcher clan.) The vibe was perfect, and the dancers were skilled. We had corner seats, and enough dance partners to go around. Plenty of flirting to go around too, including a very attractive lesbian-- I was so flattered. The night was unexpected, unpredictable, and absolutely perfect. And I didn't even have to take the long subway ride home alone. (Hmm, I did not mean by that what you think I am implying...)

The work carries on, as ever. I continue to work about 60 hours a week, so yes, a late night like that in the middle of my work week does take a toll. But luckily, at the end of my work week, that one day when I might find an hour or two to take a breath before plunging into my next work week, my glorious Thursday, my absolutely wonderful boss treated me to a massage at the Caudalie Spa at The Plaza to reward me for my hard work. I arrived after a liesurely stroll through Central Park and took every spare minute I had to relax in that peaceful refuge. And took about one moment to feel imperiously impressive about having reason to be at The Plaza.
The next night I attended an absolutely lovely cocktail party in the Upper West Side. Dreamy apartment, dreamy company, and it might have been my first bona fide cocktail party. I made sure to enjoy that. Drinks with a girlfriend after that.

And, finally, on Sunday I attended a dear friend's going away party. I am absolutely not happy about this dear friend's departure (well, except for the important fact that this is a momentous and good move for him). But his going away party was so much fun. It started at a little Italian restaurant in the West Village, and continued on to Marie's Crisis Cafe-- a hole-in-the-wall piano bar where everyone gathers around the piano to belt out showtunes with each other. It is tiny, dirty, and perfect. Most of the people there were obviously regulars. The creator/producer of Glee joined us for a few songs, and though I sang my loveliest for him, he was making out with some guy so I'm pretty sure I didn't snag his attention. He requested Funny Girl. Typical. The night included many good songs, a few bizarre people, and some weird-therefore-perfect moments. The piano player made some very inappropriate gropes to some males of our party. There was also a very tanned, bleached, Big Papi rich man who apparently owned half of the Dominican Republic who could not tear himself away from the males of our party, and told me that when speaking Spanish I have no accent! There was also this BRILLIANT MOMENT: the room suddenly went silent (I was mid-conversation and was both shushed and snapped at), and this woman, who I'd assumed was homeless, emerged from the shadows under the stairs to sing us a truly glorious song. Everyone was transfixed, figuratively bowed down to her, and then she retreated back to her shadows, where she remained, silent and motionless, for the rest of the night. And finally, as it was time to depart, Michelle and I sang one last song. There weren't many people left in the bar, and my back was to the door. Somewhere near the end of the song, I saw Michelle's eyes widen as she looked behind me at the door. I turn my head, and making their entrance sidestepping down the staircase, is a trio of truly made-up fabulous drag queens. There is always something dream-like about a drag queen's entrance, let alone a trio. My West Village dream night was so deliciously complete at that moment.
Tomorrow night: stargazing in Central Park at midnight.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Of conditioners and cookies

There are a lot of things about living in New York City that are inconvenient. But looked at askance, it's easy to see them as charming. One of these things is how in-your-face and drastically affecting of your life/plans/weekend the weather is here. When it's cold, it's f-ing cold. And you have to speed-walk umpteen blocks imagining the toastiest thoughts no matter what, every day (no running to the protected bubble of your car). You have to wear a hat or you will die, and that messes up your hair. And in the summer, it's laughable how quickly your best attempts at a toilette become the sweat trickling down your lower back. And when you're home, you seclude yourself in the one room where you can attempt to control the temperature: your bedroom with the air conditioner hanging out the window. And that drastically affects your electric bill, (although at least now I am environmentally guilt-free on this account because I use WIND POWER!) BUT. Isn't it sort of charming that even though central air conditioning is commonly used across huge swatches of our country, our old NYC buildings still cling to this antiquated solution to the temperature concern? Doesn't it make you smile just a little to see all those boxes in those windows? By the way, how terrifying is it that these colossal, heavy machines are preciously perched on our windowsills?! I frequently have visions of my unit suddenly, soundlessly, swinging backward over the edge of my window to crush some unsuspecting passerby below.

I do still have a so-called beef with my air conditioning unit though, even if I can squint and see the charm in it. And that is that it is ugly. There is no way around that. Well google found my weakness and advertised the above, beautiful air conditioning unit this morning as I was perusing my gmail. If only.

And now on to more delicious talk. Behold:
That may look like any old chocolate chip cookie, but it is not. Oh no, that, my friends, is a picture of some of the most delicious cookies I have ever created. Are you ready for this? Organic, whole grain, vegan, banana-chip dark chocolate chunk almond cookies. (Ok, those aren't MY cookies, they are Heidi Swanson's, from whom I pirated the picture and recipe and substituted to make them vegan.) THEY ARE DELICIOUS GO MAKE THEM NOW AND THANK ME LATER. Well, make them after you get back from Whole Foods because who has wheat germ sitting in their refrigerator? Oh, that's right, after this, you do.

(If you really want to make these un-vegan style, you can check out the original recipe by clicking on Heidi's name above. But go ahead, save some chickens and cows some grief, and make them vegan, because you can.)

Note: I am generally pretty generous when I bake. As in, I might throw in a few more chips, or quite a few more chips, just... because. Well, the measurements for mix-ins here turn out to be pretty spot on, so if you're as generous as myself, you might find that the actual dough isn't quite stretching as far as you'd like to hold the mix-ins together. Mine turned out fine in the end, but just to save yourself the worry, really just use what is recommended on this one.

Banana Chip Cookie Recipe

I look for organic banana chips - the ones I like are made with organic coconut oil and bananas.

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup (toasted) wheat germ (Toast them in a pan over low heat until they turn a darker brown and smell toasty. Really, this makes a difference.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (solid, if it's too hot in your apartment, as in mine, put it in the fridge for an hour)
1 cup natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
Egg Replacer for 2 eggs, or 1 mashed up banana
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup
banana chips, loosely chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup toasted almond slivers, chopped (or walnuts if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, racks in middle/upper middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat the coconut oil, then beat in the sugar until it is the consistency of a thick frosting (this didn't happen for me, so I just beat until well-combined). Beat in the egg substitute, and scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times along the way (important!). Stir in the vanilla. Add the reserved flour mix in two increments, stirring/mixing a bit between each addition (but not too much). By hand, stir in the banana chips, chocolate chips and almonds - mix just until everything is evenly distributed.

Drop 1 heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart and bake for about 7 - 8 minutes, until barely golden on top and bottom. Resist over baking, they will come out dry and not as tasty. Cook on racks.

Make about 24 cookies.

Each cookie is 140 calories, and is packed with some mighty-fine nutrients. That can be important information to know for guilt-free consumption.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What's in a name?

I'm pretty sure I am automatically biased to enjoy the song "Laura", covered by Mates of State here. Yes, it's a cover, get over it.

I'm also pretty sure I have totally fallen in love with my name. Took me long enough, eh? I always loved my nickname, Lola. I couldn't get enough of it, and wished more people would take hold and run with it. The nickname was given to me before it was linked to any connotation of sauciness or seductress in my young brain. I've never been this kind of Lola.

My newfound love for my name began in Central America, where everyone pronounced my name Laurrra. Rhymes with pow-ra. I've never taken to any other versions of my name, such as the 'Lara' pronunciation, or the French 'Laure' by which I was addressed in French class throughout middle, high school and college. But BAM-- here was a name I loved. And it was already mine! One that fit just right, and thrilled me to the core whenever anyone said it. Well, let's be honest, especially when boys said it. I thought, if only I could claim a drop of Spanish blood, maybe some Argentinian blood (they're pretty light-skinned in general, more likely to be believed), then I could make everyone start pronouncing my name the Spanish way. And though many (many) people have asked me if I have any asian heritage, no one has ever considered that I may be of Spanish descent. Anyway, I don't like to lie. I wouldn't want my very name to be a lie. A name stands for something.

My name means: victorious. It comes from the laurels the Romans used to crown victors with. When I would read this in baby name books growing up, I just shrugged. Big whoop. But now, I love being reminded of it whenever my name is used. As we all know, there are many (many) people in this world who have exceptional challenges to overcome. And compared with them, my life seems easy. But we all have our demons, and I like the occasional encouragement I get in my battles just from hearing my own name.

I've been thinking about this post ever since I downloaded this Mates of State cover. I called my mom one day-- much to her surprise, it was my third call that day due to some postal service challenges. She was surprised to hear from me, and certainly surprised to be sidelined by the "Why did you name me _____?" question. I'd never asked before. And her response, as I'd anticipated, was a vague dance around Laura Ingalls Wilder and not remembering. Not exactly the meaningful, story-laden response I'd been hoping for. (Not to downplay Laura Ingalls-- we all very much enjoyed her books growing up, and though I haven't read them recently, she is to be very much respected for being a female authoress in times when it wasn't easy to be so.) But that's alright. We can all make of our circumstances what we want, what we need.

I'd also like to say, in relation to songs of names, every time I hear this song I wish my name was Kate. I have wanted to send a CD to my niece Kate with just this song on it, because I think she'd get a kick out of it (very danceable), but I already fear that her parents are going to be concerned about the un-LDS influence I could have on their children (TOTALLY my own paranoia here, not their's... as far as I know), and I don't want to be the one responsible for any of the Thomason kids asking the "what does it mean when they say she smokes pot?" question.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I'm more than a little trepidatious about sending this query out into the internet world. But I have a few projects going on, and I've stumbled upon a question I think I could use some outside opinions on. So really, please tell me what you think.

There's a lovely thing in the acting world referred to as Type. I'm pretty sure that's all the description this concept needs. I'm trying to nail down, specifically, my type. Physically, characteristically, acting style. What cookie cutter mold can I easily be inserted into? If an agent were to ask me, 'Where do you see yourself? What type of roles can we market you for?' I would like to answer with a specific, relatable example. One whose response will be 'Hm, yeah, I can see that.' with firm nodding of the head. So I've come up with some ideas, and I'd like your response. (You can click on each other the actress's names for a reminder of who they are/what they've done.) I'd also love any other ideas you have to throw my way.

Elisabeth Moss (though who doesn't want to be Christina Hendricks right now?)
Samantha Morton circa In America
Alison Pill (Milk, Dan in Real Life, various Broadway)
Maggie Gyllenhaal circa Stranger than Fiction
Early Kate Winslet, circa Hideous Kinky or Sense and Sensibility

Other ideas are: Melanie Lynskey (not well known enough yet?), Rachel Griffiths (though too old), Toni Collette (though too old), Natalia Tena (I don't think she's had enough exposure yet, she's not well known enough, more her theatre career), Lauren Ambrose...

Oh yes, and if you need a reminder of what I'm looking like these days, (though Type is a little more than just what you look like), this was taken a couple of weeks ago...

Thursday, July 15, 2010


If you've ever asked for a book recommendation from me, I have surely recommended Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Chabon is such a talented writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed this recent book of essays he published about some of his experience being a son, husband, and father. I read the book a few weeks ago, and haven't stopped thinking about a few of his pieces, including the one this excerpt is clipped from, briefly exploring Chabon's struggle with David Foster Wallace's suicide, and his wife's near-suicide, and how what he does comes into play. (Not all of his essays deal with such dark/weighty concerns, but they are all poignant in some respect, and usually funny as well.) I recommend.

The world, like our heads, was meant to be escaped from. They are prisons, world and head alike. "I guess a big part of serious fiction's purpose," [David Foster] Wallace once told an interviewer, "is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves." The purpose or the blessing of that kind of access-- which I have often thought of and characterized by means of the word escape-- is ultimately to increase our sense of shared experience, of shared suffering, rapture, nostalgia, or disgust with our fellow humans, whose thoughts and emotions are otherwise locked away. And yet that gift of access, for all its marvelous power to console the lonely and to dislodge the complacent, is a kind of trick, an act of Houdiniesque illusion. When the vision fades and the colored smoke disperses, we are left alone and marooned again in our skulls with nothing but our longing for connection. That longing drives writers and readers to seek the high, small window leading out, to lower the makeshift ropes of knotted bedsheet that stories and literature afford, and make a break for it. When that window can't be found, or will no longer serve, or when it inevitably turns out to be only paint on the unchanging, impenetrable backdrop of our heads, small wonder if the longing seeks another, surer means of egress."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dear Readers

After my prolonged absence, I'm surprised you're back. Let's move on, yes?

An assorted combination of events has resulted in my having two whole days off this weekend. In a row. I cannot find the words to adequately impress upon you the rarity of this occasion. Due to other events, I have nothing whatsoever to do with myself. Friends/family are working, out of town, or otherwise indisposed. I had plans to return to Montauk via train today, but alas, the best laid plans... I am destined to eat all my delicious picnic food by myself.

What has driven me back to the blog is not the desire to write. Nor a need to share with my friends/family/unknown audience what's been happening to me. I think what really drives me here is the fact that my therapist is out of town for two weeks, and at the end of week one, there are far too many thoughts and feelings crowding my head and heart, and I am looking for some sort of pressure-relief valve. (I never imagined I'd grow so used to my weekly sessions that I'd feel such a difference when denied them.)

I am a pretty busy girl, but I don't, in truth, think that's the reason I've been avoiding this here ol' blog. I think the reason is that I had a lot of adventures while I was away. And as much as I love adventuring, I don't do nearly as much of it here in the City. That's not for lack of opportunity, I could create opportunities if I wanted. Yes, that does require some effort. Yes, that does require some wheedling of friends to come and adventure with me (and I hate wheedling). And yes, it usually does involve some money, even if it's just for a post-adventure refreshment of some kind. But I live in New York City, in the land of opportunity, and I just don't go adventuring every night. Or every week. And I think I'm a little ashamed of that. I feel the need to work up something more impressive, something more worthy of blogging. And when I don't, I don't write.

Well, maybe you won't mind some non-adventure posts.

Some thoughts of late:
--I went to Montauk on Monday. I've wanted to go to Montauk since I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and witnessed Joel Barrish fulfill the ultimate work/Valentine's Day doldrum dream of just getting on a train and getting the hell out. To Montauk. I've been wanting to obey Kate Winslet's beckoning voice to, "meet me in Montauk..." Well, I did not run into any Clementines or Joels there, but then I didn't have the whole 3 hour train ride to catch the eye of one because myself and a couple of friends took a zipcar instead. The ocean there was fantastic. Rough, cold, engaging. There was only a small span that we were allowed to swim in because the water was too rough outside of those limitations (which I certainly discovered when I accidentally swam out of the lines). Luckily, not too many people wanted to swim, so I had plenty of space to myself. I love swimming in the ocean, because it's a constant battle. Chris McCandless's character said something I love in the film Into the Wild:
The sea's only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong. Now I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.

That last part is the part I love. I love how the ocean demands physical engagement of you. And I love how, in the ocean, I am quite literally immersed in nature. I don't know when I'll have the opportunity to go out there again, which makes me really sad. It was a perfect day.

--I saw the Broadway production of Red by John Logan. It was transferred from the Donmar in London. It was f-ing brilliant. I savored every single word. Kept chewing on them for days afterward. I want to watch and read that play until the entire thing is memorized. I want to play Eddie Redmayne's character so badly. Damn gender.

--I was sitting in my friendly neighborhood bar this afternoon watching the Spain/Paraguay match of the World Cup. A Spaniard happened to sit down next to me, and we chatted throughout the game. When it was over, Vanessa and I paid our bill, and the Spaniard paid a little more attention to me, as his eyes no longer had to be glued to the screen. He was interested. I found him interesting. Without even thinking about thinking about it, my instincts kicked in and I deftly flitted away from the prolonged eye contact he was offering me, and the opportunity to exchange numbers. I ran away. And beat myself up as I was doing it. WHY do I do such things?! What is so scary about not being rejected? I could have had a Spanish lover, but now all I have is regret over sidestepped potential. I am now sitting in my friendly neighborhood Starbucks, hoping this local Spaniard will stop in for a beverage, and a second try at me. My chances don't look good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

the way I see NYC

Sorry for the interruption in programming, folks. I swear, one of these days I'll find a balance. I finally moved into my new place, so my hour here and there of spare time is going to unbelievably slowly unpacking. But I have been thinking of the ol' blog as I've scurried from one appointment to job to lunch to job to bar to girls etc. Here's a log of my last month in the City, as my iPhone sees it. (Using Hipstomatic and Tiltshift Generator applications.)

Spring is coming!

What could be cuter than a chubby stripy baby? I hopped down to Pennsylvania for a day to visit the Thomasons (sister and fam) for Easter. This is my adorable nephew, the Tobester.
Oh Chrysler Building, you steal my heart every time, and remind me where the hell I am.
Spending plenty of time on one of these, as my job regularly takes me out to Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester. Train=romantic. Even the LIRR squeaks by with that label, as the trees slide past.
(Favorite train moment: approached by a wayfaring Mexican drag queen at the 125th train station, he had fled from his homosexually-intolerant mother-country, traversed up the Eastern coast, only to arrive in NYC, his new home, with nothing else but the clothing on his back. ALL OF THIS RELATED IN SPANISH, AND I COMPLETELY UNDERSTOOD IT ALL! I gave him my strawberries and a ride on the subway.)
I am not going to begin to gripe about my transportation challenges with the train schedule. Let's just say circumnavigating the entire continent south of the U.S. was easier for me. And that includes a language barrier and a generally relaxed attitude towards punctuality. This may just be a personal challenge, who can tell.
Plenty of this. Tall Peppermint Mocha with soy milk, please.
My favorite cafe in Soho! Cafe Ceci Cela. (Oh how my French comes in handy.) The service sucks, but you can't beat the food, coffee, prices, ambiance, or location.
Bookshop dedicated to travel literature. My kind of place.
My sister Emily came to visit with the chillens! We visited the Museum of Natural History. If slightly dated, CLASSIC. And we snuck in without paying- win!

Fantastic subway art in Brooklyn.

Union Square= one of my favorite places in Manhattan. Farmer's Market? Love.
Crashed at Opulence (the well-deserved name of their apartment) for a weekend of fun with the girls in Brooklyn.
Soaking in some sun in a field in Central Park. I laid there for a good hour and a half on Thursday after moving in the morning. It was BLISS.
Central Park=Love.

More coming soon. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jobs with benefits. Unfortunately not those kinds of benefits. Or those.

But the benefit of bringing me to all different parts of this beautiful city/area. Parts that I wouldn't normally go to or spend time in. Places like Staten Island (first pause in Battery Park, then free ferry with great view of the skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Statue of Liberty!) A beautiful drive through Connecticut. The East Side, midtown-ish, where, apparently, the city's attractive young wealthy men have been hiding. Flatiron, great shopping. Union Square. Well, this is one place that I certainly would be if I didn't have this job, as it's one of my favorite areas of Manhattan. Likewise, Soho. If only I could live in Soho. Queens... ok, there's not much to say about Queens...

And today I spent the afternoon in the Financial District. Who would have expected that this playground of suits had such beautiful architecture? Spires, gargoyles, gilt clocks abounded. It was a glorious day, and I happily wandered around Wall Street for a while after I left the store. I kind of felt like I was in Gotham City.
The following is a fantastic graveyard. If you couldn't already tell from my Boston photography, I am a fan of old graveyards. This one's a treasure, right smack in the middle of BUSINESS as it is. Complete with gothic engravings.
I ended up in Bowling Green park. You would think, based on the name, that it used to be a green for bowling. You would be incorrect. But it is the oldest public park in NYC, so that's something. I soaked up some sun while enjoying my refreshments: Falafel wrap, some sparkly herby drink, and a famous mini brownie from Pret a Manger. I love Prets. It may be because I associate them with London, the first place I saw them on a regular basis. It may be that their moniker is French and I understand it. It may be their fresh, delicious food. It may just be that damn good brownie. It may be their whimsical play with food and photography. They are overpriced, but I patronize them anyway. With glee.
Can we talk about how head over heels I am with New York City? I am living a semi-insane schedule, so I am often quite tired/utterly exhausted as I stride down the Manhattan streets, but the beauty of this city is not lost on me. I feel so lucky to live here. It's a city that keeps growing on you the longer you live in it. The first time I visited New York, I'll be honest, I didn't love it, even if I pretended I did. By the fifth time, I liked it ok, but it still felt foreign, large, unfriendly, over-my-head, and maybe even over-rated. (You're wondering why I chose to live here then-- my opinion of NYC dramatically improved during my college years visits.) After living here for a year, I can see that the City just opens up to you little by little. So even if you think it's amazing the first time you visit, you have no idea what you could be experiencing a year down the road. It's the city of endless opportunities and new experiences. The history is thick underfoot and overhead. And even if I may eventually be driven insane by the anxiety and frustration caused by the Metropolitan Transportation System, and Starbucks lines, I am loving every day I have here. Despite that homeless man cursing at me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I may have found my soulmate

"I enjoy shopping at Whole Foods nearly as much as I enjoy browsing a good bookstore, which, come to think of it, is probably no accident: Shopping at Whole Foods is a literary experience, too. That's not to take anything away from the food, which is generally of high quality, much of it "certified organic" or "humanely raised" or "free range". But right there, that's the point: It's the evocative prose as much as anything else that makes this food really special, elevating an egg or chicken breast or bag of arugula from the realm of ordinary protein and carbohydrates into a much headier experience, one with complex aesthetic, emotional, and even political dimensions."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stay tuned for more pics.

Atop a towering pyramid in the ruins of Tikal, Guatemala.

Pretty adorable.

Music video of the week goes to... She & Him.

Yeah right, like there's going to be a weekly music video, I barely have the time to write a little blurb here and there. Enjoy while it lasts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A bit of Bolivia and Chile

These are Nikki's shots. Mine are coming soon-- some day when I'm not working, which actually, on second thought, might be never. So I guess I better just get myself to Starbucks with my laptop and be one of those people.
In San Pedro de Atacama, there is a fantastic bakery. Great food, great vibe. Veggie empanadas, I miss you.
Pretty excited about the Bolivian salt flats. Rightfully so, rightfully so. (This goofy look on my face in the last two shots? Totally influenced by the one and only Sara Moncivais.)

Taking a walk by a laguna in Bolivian desert. This is the land of Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Salvador Dali. I'm on the left.
Sometimes this happens when you're attempting a self-portrait.
Bolivian Salt Flats. I think Nikki is winning this fight.

Living the life in amazingly cheap Bolivia. I was pretty happy about that umbrella in my drink.
Oh, Emma and the Nikster. Reunited in Bolivia.