Sunday, April 25, 2010

Topsy Turvy Planter

This weekend I planted some tomatoes, but not in the traditional sense of sticking some seedlings in a pot. No, in true NYC fashion the only growing place I have besides my window sill is my fire escape. It is south facing, and gets lots of morning and afternoon sun. I don't want to clutter it up with a giant pot, so in a way that I'm not sure is entirely NYFD approved, but much less cumbersome than ceramic planters, I decided tether a topsy turvy planter to the steps.

The plants dangle upside down, attached to the escape with an S-hook and some galvanized wire. The roots grow upwards through the about 10 pounds of soil it took to fill up the planter. I planted 2 plants in hopes of lots and lots of tomatoes. There is nothing like a sun ripened tomato in the summer time. The store bought ones just don't hold a candle to em. It eliminates the need for stakes and tomato cages, and with all the rain we've been getting lately, as an added bonus I don't even have to water them! Homegrown tomatoes here I come!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Coats

Recently, I bought two spring coats. I had been searching for a new spring coat for a while. My wool coat is a little bit too heavy for this time of year, my rain coat is only appropriate when the weather is bad, and my fleece coat is just a little too casual for the office. The search has been on for a while. At first, I was convinced that I needed to have a brightly colored coat (yellow, blue or coral). I was enjoying the brights of spring, but the more and more I ran into people wearing easter egg hues in the subway, the more the colors offended me, and I realized I needed a nice neutral to add to my wardrobe. I mean, a bright yellow coat could be very limiting to my work wardrobe unless I want to run the risk of looking like a bumblebee every time I wear black.

The first one I purchased was from Ann Taylor Loft. Their spring stuff is SO adorable. It was all I could do to walk out of their without maxing out my credit card. Their sandals, accessories, coats, and dresses are totally wearable for work and play, and I left with a list of at least 5 things I want to go back for. It doesn't help that I am slightly brainwashed by What I Wore because she makes everything look so cute, and LOFT is currently sponsoring her. I am happy that LOFT is getting the publicity they deserve this season.

The second is from H&M and is part of their garden collection, which is made with all "green" sustainable materials, and some of them organic. What a better excuse to feel good about shopping than saving the environment? I went back and forth about buying this coat, because a coworker has the same one. But from the moment I saw it, I knew it had to be mine. Finally I gave in and just bought it. I'm not usually a copy cat, but we both have such different styles, it's almost like a different coat. AND it is a gorgeous creamy beige that I am such a sucker for.
The initial plan was to buy them both, compare at home and then return one. But let's be serious, does that ever work? I tried them both on at home, and decided that I loved and had to keep both. And I don't feel bad about it either. The Ann Taylor one was on sale for a mere $75 from and original $128 (half off!!!). And the one from H&M was only around $50 to being with. You can't beat two coats for only about a buck twenty. I've already worn them both about 4 times. They are perfect for the slightly warm, slightly chilly spring weather we've been having lately, and totally worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sun-Kissed and Beautiful: Who could ask for anything more!

In an effort to avoid skin cancer, but still not be that girl at the beach who is blinding everyone with their skin, I'm embarking on a little tanning experiment this season. Faux tanning that is. Yes, that's right, I'm going to use self-tanners of all forms. I swear that they are better than they used to be, and rather than streaky orange, you actually look tan (so I hear). Get your cringes out now, because here's where it gets exciting.

I happen to be allergic to self tanners. I'm not talking slight irritation. I'm talking, last time I did a full-body self tan, I broke out in full-body hives to match accompanied by burning itchy eyes that only susided with a healthy dose of benadryl. And, no, it wasn't the self-tanner I used. A friend had used it, and things turned out just fine.

To add to that, I have been graced with Polish ancestry, and the lily white skin to match. This gives me a high risk for skin cancer when exposing myself to UV rays. Until I discovered tanning beds in high school, I don't think I had every been tan. I have two skin colors, white and red, pale and burnt. Granted, by the end of each summer, I have managed to get a slight golden tint, but I have never been by any means nearing brown or bronzed. Even with tanning booths, I barely got to what most people call normal. Yet, tanning beds changed my skin. They allowed me to change to slightly tan after a burn instead of going back to white. However, they also gave me the starts of pre-mature wrinkles, and a 75% increased chance of someday having melanoma.

That said, now that I've wised up to the risks of tanning beds, I swore them off. I'd rather brave a few hives than cancer. I figure the only way to find out which self tanning products my body can handle is to try em out. I'm a reformed tanner, but I will not be caught in a bikini with no color anytime soon. The first on my list is the one pictured above, Nivea Sun-Kissed Beautiful legs. It promises a decreased need to shave (not really sure how it plans to accomplish that), along with a gradual natural looking color. I figured it was best to start out with a low dose of tanning agent and hopefully avoid the hives. All I have to say is so far, so good. Though it does have an unsavory tanning cream odor, if you put it on before bed it's not so bad. My legs are looking tanner without a sign of streaking. I'm on day 2 of application, and there's not a hive in sight.
Now, what to do about the rest of my body....

How old is your soul...

I always find it interesting when I hear people described as “old souls.” It’s an intriguing term reserved for people with an air of wisdom and maturity that far exceeds their age or life experience. The only explanation for their peculiar knowledge of this world can only be that their soul acquired this learning in lives past. It’s a rather alluring. You think of people with “old souls” as interesting, unique, not quite like all the others. I’ve heard young starlets like Scarlett Johannson described as such (whether I agree or not). I think of old souls as people who are slightly unnerving in their ability to perceive and understand. It always seems like it would be a compliment to be called an old soul. You are mysterious, clever, and have a grasp on things that not everyone does.

This website characterized old souls as having these characteristics:
• Giving and caring often putting others first
• More than likely had a soulmate relationship
• Somehow know you're different
• Have some psychic intuition and 'just knowing' things
• Find that you have deeper emotions and passions than most people
• People have extreme reactions to you - some just adore you and some seem to really dislike you yet you behave the same to everyone
• Have an inner creative passion
• Suffer lots of jealousy
• Feel your don't have much free will, like your life is being controlled by some outside force

Sounds appealing, right?

And yet, I think that if I had to guess at my soul’s age, that I’d probably be a rather young one (though this website rated my soul “Mature”). I have a tendency to feel and act younger than my age. I find most things amusing. I like to take on the world with a child-like wonder. There are always things to learn and discover, and some of them are pretty darn amazing. If you are too “adult” to oooh and ahhh over things why bother experiencing them? Sometimes I have a hard time taking things seriously. I still think that going on the swings or rolling down a hill is really really fun, and I love to play video games. Give me a really sugary drink and some cotton candy and I’m happy as a clam. Let me wear neon pink while eating it, even better. I enjoy being silly, and I don’t see why I should have to stop just because I get older. Maybe this attitude is really what makes my soul "Mature" and not quite old yet.

Today, wearing a flowery dress and a pony tail to work I felt like I was about 5 years old, pretending to be a grown up at work. Though I do have a real job, and real responsibilities, sometimes I look around and wonder how I’m old enough to be here, actually an adult. I still tend to feel like the same person I was when I just graduated high school and college, just much smarter. I was talking to my Gram about this one day, and she admitted that she still feels the same as she did when she was in her 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Now she just has an older body, but not an older mind. I’m not going to lie, it was kind of a relief that you don’t morph into someone different when you get older.

There has been a disturbing trend I’ve noticed among people my age lately. Everyone is complaining about being 25 and being soooooo old (myself included). They say they just like to go to bed early, and stay in, and be healthy. Which, I agree, are all good things. I go to bed much earlier than I did when I was 21, but if I absolutely have to, I am totally capable of functioning on 2 or 3 hours of sleep. I eat much healthier than I did when I was 21, but sometimes a bag of combos and a glass of champagne is still dinner. I don’t go to nearly as many parties, or go to bars as frequently as when I was 21, but I prefer to go out—even if it is to the movies or for a walk along the river—just the same amount.

I have one main gripe. I’ve noticed that people are starting to use “being old” as a synonym for “being boring.” Turning 25 does not suddenly sap the life out of you. In fact, as women, this is one of the points in your life when you are most able and energetic. That’s why these are prime child-bearing years in the biological clock time line, because your body is young, healthy, and energetic enough to chase around the crazy little bundles that kids turn out to be. Turning 25 does not mean your fun life is over. I know many 30 year olds who party much harder and more often than I do. Though your definitions of fun may change through the years, getting older certainly does not mean giving up fun, at least it shouldn’t. That’s not being an old soul, that’s just being an old fart. How are you going to gain the wisdom of the world if you don’t get out there and take it on?

I mean we’re only as young as we feel right?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Famous Writers Under the Influence

This is entertaining. It is a list of famous writers and their works categories by the substances they were abusing when they wrote them. How they do it, I'll never know. very entertaining.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's my birthday!

I was just listening to that Tim McGraw song, “My Next 30 Years,” and it got me started thinking about what I want my next 25 year to be like. In the words of Tim McGraw,
I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age, the ending of an era and the turning of a page, now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here, lord have mercy on my next twenty five years. Here are 25 things I would put in my song, to accomplish in my next 25 years, if I was a country singer:

1. Travel to Thailand, China, Japan, Bali, Egypt, Poland, India, South Africa, and other exotic nations
2. Go sky diving
3. Take a hot air balloon ride
4. Visit the rainforest
5. Take a road trip across the U.S.A.
6. Go skiing out west
7. Get a dog, or 4
8. Learn to salsa dance
9. Write a book
10. Find myself a hubby and have a fabulous wedding
11. Win the lottery (I can dream!)
12. Make/Actually finish a quilt
13. Own many more diamonds than I currently do
14. Buy a house in the country on a lake with a big porch and rocking chairs
15. Drive a Ferrari
16. Swim in the Dead Sea
17. Volunteer for OxFam
18. Have a job I enjoy (most of the time at least)
19. Have my own secret recipes that people want to get their hands on
20. Go zorbing. If you don’t know what it is, google it.
21. Ride an ostrich
22. Grow my own gardenia bush
23. Go to another music festival
24. Hike a section of the Appalachian trail
25. Try hot yoga

Even if I don’t accomplish half of these 25 things, I can only hope that my next 25 years will be as happy, and healthy as the past 25. I know that with all the fabulous family and friends I have surrounding me, I’m off to a good start.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

7 Things you can do that won't have any effect on the condition of your midsection:

I was reading the May issue of Glamour last night at the gym, when I came across an article that seemed like it would be revolutionary to spring/summer and the implied quest to get out of our winter skin and into our bikini body. It’s called “Good News! You can flatten your belly Fast.” It promises to reveal your sexiest tummy in days, without dieting. Sound too good to be true? It is. Glamour then proceeded to provide me with these useless tips to get rid of tummy pooch quickly.

1.Drink more water, so your body is hydrated and doesn’t try to absorb water from your food, which causes bloating.
2. Do something every day to relieve stress to prevent stress related food binging
3. Eat a little fat every day (sounds counterintuitive, no?), but eating a diet entirely stripped of fat can cause your body to lose it’s ability to digest fat, and make you crave fatty foods (true).
4. Tweak the way you breathe so you don’t push your belly out when you inhale
5. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to keep from throwing your hunger hormones out of whack
6. Cut back on artificial sweetners and carbonated drinks
7. Stand up straight.

Well Glamour, I already drink lots of water. I’m not stressed. I don’t eat exclusively non-fat. I know how to breathe. I get 8 hours of sleep most nights. I don’t drink soda or eat faux sugar. AND I happen to have great posture. Can we get some useful tips? And by the way, no one wants to see Lauren Conrad on the cover of a magazine. I guess the only way to get flat abs is through good old fashioned exercise. Good thing there's a really cute personal trainer at my gym!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's the D-the I-the-D-theD-the Y

Last night I went to see a taping of Inside the Actor’s Studio at Pace University. Sean “Puffy,” “Puff Daddy,” “P-Diddy,” “Diddy” Combs was the guest. I learned several things last night:

--Diddy (inventor of the diddy-bop) is an excellent dancer. Yes, James Lipton made him dance on stage, and the audience loved it
--James Lipton CANNOT rap, though he writes a mean internal rhyme
--Diddy was very pretigiously educated in Catholic private schools, and went to Howard University.
--Diddy’s mom has the same name as I do
--Diddy’s mom used to work at an “after hours spot” along with 4 other jobs to support her kids after her hubby was killed in a drug dealer dispute (the after hours spot was also news to Diddy last night)
--Diddy is really cute in person, and so is his son
--People who work in theatre (ahem Diddy’s acting coach ahem) can be EXTREMELY long winded
--Although episodes are only an hour, taping lasts nearly 3 hours. Don’t make my mistake, eat dinner before you go
--People who are from the Bronx WILL cheer anytime you mention it, in any context, even if a show is being taped
--Diddy helped Mary J Blige (one of my favorite artists EVA) to become famous
--The Daddy part of his nickname came from a barber who added it to anyone’s nickname at the end who had good style and because the ladies loved to call him Daddy
--Ludacris just tied Diddy for the most #1 charted hip-hop songs of all time (they each have 5)
--Diddy loves the Lord

However, in the category of things I will never know:

--Diddy refused to reveal where the nickname “Puffy” came from. My first guess would be that it’s from puffing on those marijuana cigarettes.

All joking aside though, it was a really fascinating 2 hours. I think many people look at Diddy and see a one-dimensional man, a hip-hop artist/record exec who produces hip-hop clothing. This could not be farther from the truth. Diddy is a really phenomenal man in his motivation, and his versatility. He succeeded becoming a music producer because he educated himself, and was entirely driven to do so, and worked long hard hours. He made music because he wanted to express his feelings to the world after being a producer in the industry for so long. He succeeded in starting a fashion line because he has style, industry contacts, and wanted to give men, particularly black men, a clothing line that was sharp and defied stereotypes of hip hop artists in baggy pants dropping below the butt and do rags. He is an actor because he went the extra mile of showing up on actor's doorsteps to get the chance to read for a part since no one took him seriously as an actor. Now he’s acting in one of Judd Apatow’s hilarious comedies this June.

Not only does he fight stereotypes (racial, that is, not the ones about rappers loving to roll around in money...) and strive to be a role model, he is extremely charitable. He has donated millions to children’s education in NYC personally, and started an organization to help give kids in underprivileged neighborhoods mind-expanding experiences that hopefully translate to an increased understanding of and curiosity for the world outside their hood. He devoted himself to raising awareness for the power of the young people’s vote in the Vote or Die campaign. He raised over $3 million when he ran the NYC marathon for children’s education in NYC, and though he suffered through the race, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat if someone would donate $10 million.

I am happy that I had the opportunity to watch James Lipton draw out the many sides of Diddy. He is one who has worked really ridiculously hard for all of the good that has come to him. He deserves it, and he is still humble and always looking for something new to try his hand at. You can’t begrudge him that, even if you’re not a fan of his music/clothes/acting abilities/new cologne line.

Is apple using their Genius on my shuffle?

I have a question. Does Apple had the iPod programmed so that when you are listening to shuffle, it bases it’s selections off the first song that you choose, similar to the idea behind the genius playlist? Because today, for example, I selected K’naan, “The African Way” as my first shuffle song since I was listening to it earlier, but then it shut off. Then the next song that came up was “No Letting Go” by Wayne Wonder and Diwali Riddim. It was followed by “Fu-Gee-La” by The Fugees. They are all in the ska/reggae beat. It happened to me this morning too. The first song up when I hit shuffle was a “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” the Cam’ron version. 50 Cent directly followed it, and rap continued to pop up until I started skipping songs, then there was a genre change.

Is that why shuffle is so great sometimes? It adjusts the songs to meet your listening needs? I would LOVE it if apple would install a Like and Dislike button to their shuffle function like Pandora does. Then you get the best of both worlds, all music that you already know you like (since it's on YOUR iPod), but streamlined to what you are in the mood for at the time. Take note Apple! And while you’re at it, throw an FM Radio listening function in there. If my cell phone can do it, you should be able to too. Make the nearly perfect gadget totally perfect.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Orchids or Pansys or Daffodils

A couple weekends ago, I visited the Orchid Show, Cuba in Flower at the New York Botanical Gardens. It was absolutely beautiful. Though I have to admit that the orchid show they had last year was better. I think it is because, in the desire to make the show representative of how orchids grow in Cuba (among grasses and other plants, and off the sides of trees), there weren’t the majestic arrangements and walls of orchids from the previous show that would never be found in nature without careful landscaping and contriving.

Also, I had seen many of the orchids before. There were new varieties in this show that I had not remembered from the previous show, a variety that looked similar to daffodils.
There were several varieties that seemed to be crossed with some sort of pitcher plant that had bulbous bottoms. Some of the orchids that had really dazzled me before, like these deep purple beauties did not have quite the same effect the second time around. They were even placed in the same spot in the conservatory, which although the flower remained just as gorgeous, gave me a sense of been there, done that.
I will always jump at a chance to spend my day immersed in flowers, and to give me an excuse to visit my Alma Mater, Fordham University. I followed my visit to the NYBG with a nostalgic trip across campus, lunch on Arthur Ave at my favorite restaurant, bread from my favorite baker, and a box of mini chocolate covered pastries. My only disappointment was that Casa della Mozzarella was closed and I couldn’t buy several balls of cheese. It was a lovely glimpse into my past when the specialty Italian stores (butchers, bakers, pastries, and produce) were at my fingertips, and I could while away the day wandering campus or the botans.

I left the orchid show with a couple questions that I have not been able to find the answer to. My friends and I kept noticing orchids that had a strange resemblance to other flowers, like daffodils, or pansys.
I spent quite a bit of time googling the pansy orchid yesterday, and I was not able to figure out. Is it simply different kinds of orchids bred together to give the appearance of totally difference flower breeds, or is the daffodil actually crossed with an orchid, and the pansy flower the same? I could not find a website to answer my question. They were all much too technical.

So, I turned to my Great Uncle who owned a whole bunch of greenhouses while I was growing up for the answer. Luckily, his bounteous knowledge of all things flowering, and through a good friend of his who breeds orchids, I found my answer: These orchids are species orchids. They are not crossed with anything but another orchid....not any other plant like a daffodil takes years of crossing the plants to get another species, and then the breeder has to prove the change in further generations.” Thanks Uncle Gene for clearing up the mystery! They really are fascinating little flowers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Modern day Knight in Shining Armor

Don't mind the gratuitous artwork, I just happened to like this John William Waterhouse painting of a knight in shining armor.

This morning I was stuck in an elevator on my way up to my office on the 12th floor of the Park Ave building I work in. Naturally, I was terrified. It’s not really the small space, or the hot temperature that bothers me, but the thought of indefinitely being trapped in any situation, even if it’s in a large open space throws me into an instant panic. But I found from this situation, that chivalry is not dead.

Now, I was trying my best not to freak out. There were two of my male co-workers in the elevator, so I didn’t want to make a big scene, but I knew I wanted to be out of there the second those doors opened. Then when the elevator doors were finally pried apart, we all found out who the real gentlemen were. I’m referring to the ones who stepped aside to let me, the only damsel in distress, out of the elevator first. Maybe they saw the terror in my eyes, or maybe that’s just how they behave in day to day life. I did happen to notice that one of said co-workers opens doors for me quite often, and always lets me exit the elevator first, which I appreciated especially in this situation.

Sometimes it gets on my nerves when men are trying to be chivalrous and it’s just non-sensical. For example, if the elevator is packed full, and you are in the front, do you really need to block the exit to try to let all the women out first? No, that does not make any sense at all. However, if it’s just you and me in the elevator, the proper lady inside me paired with my extremely impatient nature notices if you let me out first, or rush out ahead of me, and if you hold the door for me when I’m on my way out of the office. I don’t expect men to open every door for me, or throw their jackets on puddles so I don’t get my feet wet. I actually dated a guy who was overly chivalrous, and it got annoying because he was always dashing ahead of me to open the door. I can do it if I happen to get to the handle first. I have been opening doors for almost 25 years now.

Yet, it is nice to be in the company of a gentleman, when after walking around and going in and out of places all day/night you happen to notice that you haven’t touched a door handle the whole time. Yes, I notice. And, I appreciate. It’s just nice that there are still young men out there whose momma’s raised them right, and they know how a lady should be treated. If they hail your cab for you, even better, just don’t let them carry your purse. That’s taking things much too far.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

That's what spring is made of

I am in love with the new shoes that I have on today. They were a birthday gift that I picked out, and emailed to everyone who asked for suggestions along with a Macy’s coupon for a little extra buying incentive. They are Vince Camuto, leather with a stacked cone shaped heel. They’re about 3 inches high with a half inch built in platform (practically flats!). The picture is a little deceiving. They are more of a creamy nude in person, and they go absolutely perfectly with all of my spring ensembles. They have a rounded yet slightly pointed toe, giving the best of both style worlds, and gently scoop down the side of my foot so the leather doesn’t dig in anywhere even though this is my first time wearing them. They cradle my foot so I don’t slide down too far without being tight. They’re perfect.

I have a bridal shower to go to in a week and a half, and I plan to wear them with the (perfectly matched if I do say so myself) floral halter dress I bought from the Liberty of London for Target collection. Possibly with a bright pink cardi.
White shoes and floral dresses. That’s what spring is made of!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Revolution will not be Televised

I listen to my iPod on shuffle fairly regularly, which brings me a random mix of the 3,450 songs that I currently have uploaded to the fantastic little gadget. I like it because I have so much music, sometimes I forget about certain songs that I love, and shuffle reminds me that they are there. And sometimes, when I just can’t decide what to listen to, shuffle helps me out.

Today I flipped on the shuffle, and the 72nd song to come up brought back memories of an old favorite, and a song that had a large impact on my graduate studies.

It is a poem called “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron, and it was first heard in 1970 on the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, according to Wikipedia, and then reappeared on Gil Scott-Heron’s album Pieces of a Man as the b-side to single, “Home is Where the Hatred Is.”

I first heard the song my sophomore year of college in a sociology class about inequality (in several social categories: race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.). I was lucky enough to have a professor who was immersed in writing her dissertation about protest music, and who loved to bring in mixed media to drive the points of the class home. She played this song for us as part of the racial inequality unit. It gave me chills. I downloaded it later that day, and it’s been on my iPod ever since. It contains nearly endless political and cultural references, and it exposes the power of the press and television to televise, or not televise important events. It makes you wonder about the impact of cultural brutalities being televised, or not being televised. It makes you think about the power of social movements.

She also played the movie Life and Debt in this class, which has had a lasting impact on my understanding of global commerce. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must.

This class, and its introduction to all of the different types of inequality in the world, along with the fascinating ways we learned about it are a large part of what pushed me to continue on to minor in Sociology, and then get my Master’s degree in the same subject. It rocked my relatively privileged upbringing, and reminded me of what a lucky and blessed life I had grown up in. It made me want to learn more about the ways inequality works in society, and how inequality is established and maintained through social processes and power dynamics. It uncovered a passion for fighting inequality that I still carry with me.

Check out the lyrics:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What is the deal with all this word repetition?

I read a lot of magazines (you might remember this). I’ve noticed a peculiar phenomenon. From month to month, there always seems to be a catch-phrase or word that gets repeated over and over again through each article of the magazine. Maybe it is my proofreader’s eye that makes me notice this. I’m always scanning my own writing for overuse of the same word. It makes you sound like you have a limited vocabulary, and it is just boring to read.

I suppose I notice it a little more when it is words of whose meanings I’m not exactly sure. One month it was “gun metal” this word was used to describe everything in I believe it was Marie Claire (though I’m not positive). I mean everything from nail polish to clothing to the winter sky. Now, I know that gun metal refers to a shiny, metallic gray, but at the same time it’s not very descriptive. From someone not well-versed in weaponry, I picture guns as coming in all colors and mattes of metal from shiny silver, to black, to brass (maybe?) to rifles with wooden handles. Taking the term literally, I just didn’t know exactly what the author was getting at, and why all of the various people from the magazine are using the same word. Is it the editor? Or just water cooler chit chat? It is natural to pick up the language habits and expressions of the people you spend the most time with. I find myself using phrases that my best friends do, and even sounding like people I hang out with a lot just from echoing what we here. Or, is it just the word deemed trendy for the month that everyone wants to use.

To be perfectly honest, this practice gets on my nerves. It takes the originality out of the pieces, and I just don’t get it. Each author should be consciously cultivating their own voice, not leeching that of others purposely. I am currently on the bus on my way home for Easter weekend. I’ve been reading the April issue of W magazine, a feat that should take me just about the 3 hour trip thanks to it’s spectacularly oversize pages and tiny print. I am happy to have 3 hours to set aside to spend on one of my favorite subscriptions.

However, it’s starting to get on my nerves. The past 3 articles I have read, about widely varying subject material (1. Alexander McQueen and his tragic death, 2. Rich Clients of Neiman Marcus, 3. How QVC is arguably becoming a luxury arena) have used the word “hard sell” in various contexts. Once again, it’s a term that I get the general gist of, but its not until the third article that I find a definition of the term, which makes me guess that this writer is the one who came up with the idea to use it in the first place. I just find it irritating that it has been in all three articles. Granted, this is the shopping issue, and wrapped up in shopping is selling and the various techniques to do it, but be a little creative. I’m sure I could think of many other ways to describe what a “hard sell” is without using that little two word combo that by this point I just find obnoxious. AND all of the articles are by different authors, I flipped back to check. I plan to ask my sister who is nearly finished getting her PhD in Psychology what the basics for this phenomenon is. Stay tuned.

Half-Day Easter Holiday!

I love Easter. I don’t really know at what point in my life it became such a favorite holiday to me. I always liked it as a child because I got to make cute little bonnets in girl scouts with little chicks and neon colored eggs in them, and of course because it typically falls close to my birthday. It signals the coming of spring. And, my mom is known for her ultimate Easter egg hunts and overloaded baskets that will keep you stocked with candy for months. It doesn’t rank in my top 3 favorite holidays, but it’s really up there, maybe top 5, and I am ridiculously excited that work is closing early today and I can go home for the weekend, even though I am too old to have my own Easter egg hunt anymore.

I have so many wonderful memories of Easter in college. I think this partially stems from the fact that as a Catholic Jesuit college, Fordham gave us nearly a week off for Easter in addition to our normal spring break (if they didn’t already overlap), so we could celebrate all the high holy days. Despite being stuck taking an entire theology course on the passion and the death of Jesus one semester, this lovely spring vacation kept Fordham from diminishing the fun of the holiday for me. I’ve been taking a trip down Easter memory lane this morning, and I’ll share some of my memorable Easter moments from college.

There was freshman year, when my new friend Gwynne came home with me because Pittsburgh was just a little too far for a weekend. My mother was still humoring my desire not to grow up EVER at this point, so she put on the biggest, most spectacular Easter egg hunt for me and Gwynne (my sister wasn’t home this year, since her college celebrated mainly Jewish holidays). She hid over 100 eggs around our house, in genius locations, camouflaged by color in places you would never think to look. I’m not talking just set into plant pots, or on the windowsill here, they were real hiding places. It took us hours to find as many as we could, while my mom chuckled evilly watching us, and there were still straggler eggs found around the house for months. It was great fun, though I’m still a little bitter than Gwynne found more eggs than me. Counting all the ones my mom and I uncovered in the upcoming months, I think I eventually surpassed Gwynne’s total egg find.

Then there was sophomore year, when Easter fell just at the end of spring break. I arrived with my wonderful roommate of all 4 years, on Easter Sunday back to the deserted dorms. Luckily we were too exhausted and ill from a solid 7 days of non-stop sunning and partying in Acapulco to really celebrate the holiday since no one was around, and I’m pretty sure the cafeteria wasn’t open. But alas, there was an Easter miracle. Our RA had baked a bunny cake for our hall and put it in the communal kitchen. We discovered it, and had large chunks of bunny for every meal that day, starting with an entire bunny ear each. I’m pretty sure we ended up eating the whole cake by the time it was over.

Junior year, Easter fell on my 21st birthday while I was in Madrid. I celebrated with Sangria for breakfast, a couple ice cream cones for lunch, and lots of good old American fun. I saw a movie in English…I think it was Inside Man, and went to my favorite American club in the city, the Bourbon CafĂ©, where they played all my favorite music from the late 90’s. I spent the day pretending that it wasn’t already legal for me to drink in the country I had been living in for the past four months.

Senior year my sister and I were both home, and we dyed eggs and glued on the most hilarious faces to each one. They still give me a laugh every time I look at the pictures.

Since graduation, Easter has continued to be fun, but in a different way. For one, it’s an excuse to wear as many pastel colors all at once as your heart desires. I actually have an outfit that all of my friends make fun of me when I wear and call it my Easter outfit because it covers the whole rainbow of pastels (purple, yellow, orange, blue) complete with a pastel green cardi. Also, for the past 4 years, there have been two adorable little additions to my family. One of my closest cousins had twins, an adorable blond, blue eyed little boy and girl who make celebrating Easter fun in a whole new way. Last year we had their very first Easter egg hunt. I hid all the eggs, which mostly meant tossing them on the lawn, but I knew if I let my mom hide them the poor little kids would never find them!

The year before last we dyed eggs with them, and I let them dye some other body parts too, mostly their tiny hands because they were having so much fun dipping them in the dye. And I finally learned how to use those little cellophane egg wrappers. Did you know that when you dip them into boiling water that they shrink to fit the egg? They’re pretty cool, especially when they have Disney princesses on them. We’re having another egg hunt this year, and I think it will be even more fun since the kids are a little older, and will be a little better at hunting. AND it is supposed to be the most fantastic weather of the year this weekend to top it off. It’s funny how kids make holidays fun all over again when you are just a little too old to celebrate like a little kid anymore. They remind you of how much fun it used to be when you did it.


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