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no more excuses

Another year, another Americorps? (too bad some vowels don't have the same pungent alliteration as consonants)
I started at Van Go (formerly "Van Go Mobile Arts") a week ago and things have been pretty quiet thus far. I'm able to gratify my love of material organization (anywhere but in my home!) with quite a bit of research (poking around on the internet and reading about Ann Cooper) and menial things like cleaning and preparing for our next big event.

It's incredibly different from City Year's exhausting sturm und drang - most of the staff is older and the general understanding is that the troubled "youth" we serve (some of them are close to my age) are the ones who will be serving forth the drama.

I have to admit that it's nice to be in a setting that is structured compared to the loosey-goosiness of college life, with its indeterminable gaps between classes which, more often than not, served as occasions for stolen naps in the stacks. Everyone talks about how nice it is to be able to go home and not have to worry about homework or preparation.

The problem, as I was complaining to Drew the other day, is that I feel like my entire life has become about coming home, preparing a meal, and then cleaning the kitchen (with reading, internet-ing, and PS3 Civilization-ing thrown in the mix). Not a terrible thing, granted, but one that needs to be a little more stimulating considering I expend relatively so little energy throughout the day. However, I've noticed that I've become a lot more conscientious about my food since I've started Americorps - a whole lot less meat, less eating out, less random snacking. It's not perfect, admittedly - I'm munching on a large bag of Jalapeno Crunchers as I type this - but it's a noticeable change from the harried indulgences of student life.

This has inspired me enough to really begin an exploration of home cooking, as is so popular on and off the blogs nowadays. I'm calling it the Poverty Diet, though hopefully it'll be rich in flavor while low in cost. This may change if I get food stamps (fingers crossed!) but either way, I'm going to look into producing more well-rounded meals, with an emphasis on vegetables. I have yet to jump on that local food wagon yet but in preparation for Van Go's summer food program (more on this later) I might start picking up ideas.

We'll see how it goes but I'm off to a decent start. Last week included a lentil stew-ish thing (which looked incredibly bland and off-putting but tasted great in my opinion) with quinoa and an unctuous mushroom bourguignon that was easy though time-consuming to make (10 PM after shopping and prep was far too late for my Midwestern 7 PM eating schedule).
I've been especially inspired by Sara Dickerman's lovely "Food Lover's Cleanse" journal for Bon Appetit. I love reading food diaries like New York Magazine's "New York Diet" and have thus decided to set forth into creating my own on this very blog. I probably won't write about many of my meals (my lunches usually consist of strategic leftovers) but I think it'll provide me with a push to get some variety into my diet. Let's see what happens!
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too young

Heeeeey friends.

Sorry, but everything's suuuper busy this summer. I'll actually update something worthwhile soon to my two readers (hrumph, Jessica and Tyler).

Just some quick things:
Vogue goes shopping with Michiko Kakutani and Maureen Dowd? Whaa? Two of the most respected/feared women in journalism? Hilarious. But refreshing, at the same time; feminism finally lets its hair down.

Also, this:
Amazing, right? Stefani Tonchi already seems to be flying out of the gate at his new post. Unstoppable.

BTW, I changed the color scheme to something a little more summery/I'm super into forest green thanks to this dude (my new favorite blog!).
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start spreadin' the news


I am here:
Which is to say that I am in Morningside Hieghts. Which is to say that I am in New York.

I guess I have a backlog of explaining to do (not that this blog is much for explaining any particular element of my life). After fake graduating in May (I'm going back for a victory half-lap in the fall), I've flown out here to begin an internship that begins tomorrow. I'll be interning at the Bronx Museum of the Arts through the Arts & Business Council of New York. Most of my feelings about this internship involve rapid fire excitement and vague, haunting fear. It's enough to say that I am, as always, worried. But I know it'll be fine. Even if I know nothing about art.

It's nice to be back in the city, even though, as I told my friend John, I'm still trying to adjust my gaze from a touristic mode to a residential one. It's strange living in Manhattan and having Zabar's a couple of subway stops away. It feels, one could say, empowering. I could be Woody Allen and Meg Ryan. (Is it sad that those are the only two people really conjured up when thinking of the Upper Westside? Yes.)

For the first time since I've been here, the heat haze has temporarily lifted off the city, but only because of the threat of thunderstorms and hail. In fact, walking back from the bookstore, I was almost cold; a funny sensation that nevertheless made me wish I had changed out of my shorts.

I am someone who sweats. A lot. And not anywhere strategic or unnoticeable. It seems like most of my sweat comes from my head and lands directly on my face, where it becomes mired in my eyebrows, above my lip, or right around my nose. It makes me look like I am an oily, ghastly brute. It makes me feel like one too. I hate it. I realize that I'm going to be feeling like that a lot this summer with an apartment that isn't air-conditioned. But never mind that for right now. I'll have plenty of time to complain.

Back to the bookstore. I love how bookstores seemingly are just in constant supply in Manhattan. On Friday, I picked up a book at my favorite bookstore, McNally Jackson Books. It's called Dancer and it's by Colum McCann. It's a fictional retelling of Nureyev's life. If anything, I am a very specific fan of this very specific genre. Non-fiction sometimes gets stuck. Fictional retellings of non-fiction people flows, particularly this example. It flowed so well that before I knew it, I had read a third of the book. Now I arrive at a quandry. Today, I went to another bookstore and spent an hour and half deciding. Do I purchase the book that I really want to read, but have already read partly through? Do I buy his other book, which I hear is also fantastic but might be too much McCann for one person to read in such a short time? Or do I go with something else? I went with an art theory book, which also made me really worried that I wouldn't read it because I would be tired from thinking about art all day with my job. Though it will be great for dropping little factoids.

Once again, this is to say, Oh well. I am happy. I am spending lots of money. But right now, feeling the breeze whirl around my room and threaten to push over the box fan, it's good. Now I have to try and remember how to tie a tie.
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cousins, separated by mediums

I love this thoroughly romantic portrait of Tristan Knights by famed photographer Paolo Reversi. Doesn't it look like something Elizabeth Peyton would've done?
Images from here and here.
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so happy to serve you

Proof that good design isn't always sparsely printed in Helvetica, the iconic blue and white cardboard coffee cup associated with New York diners and street stands has an almost mythical quality to it. For me, it brings up ideas of intellectualism, tradition, and speed. Imagine a tall man, hunched over against the wind, wrapped in a tweed overcoat with the steaming cup in his hand. Although the coffee inside wasn't always very good, the cup itself was always just right.

The inventor of the "Anthora" died this past week. Leslie Buck was an immigrant who somehow utilized Greek imagery to create an American icon.

Several years ago, the Anthora was revitalized when shops began selling a witty ceramic version of it. I have one sitting on my desk; it's much too cherished for everyday use. You can get your own here.
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this lights up my life

There are so many great things about this video:
1. Patti Smith on a kids' show? Yes, please.
2. Her considerate and insightful answers, all spoken with that drawling Chicago accent.
3. Patti Smith earnestly singing "You Light Up My Life", the Debby Boone that is considered one of the sappiest ballads of all of time. Confession: I secretly love that song and Patti totally rocks it in a weird, "can't really sing" sort of way.
4. Her performance is to be followed by an appearance from Count Dracula. Awesome.
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I've been feeling it for awhile, but last night's Beach House concert cemented it for me: I'm feeling for California.

Okay, so this band's wispy musical stylings are based in Baltimore. Nonetheless, they reflect an on-going resurgence in the dream-cool that's taking place on all fronts.

For me, it started last fall with the collections of cool kid designers Proenza Schouler and Thakoon. Their Spring '10 collections showcased surf-inspired looks that had just the right amount of long-limbed insouciance, messiness, and gracefulness.
Proenza Schouler from style.com
Thakoon from style.com

I love the electric blues and yellows that they showed - enough to reconsider a diversion from my normal black, gray, and dark blue. Maybe this summer will have me sporting vintage Oakley's and one of those bright pink swimming shorts so popular in the nineties?

But my obsession with California has less to do with most American's associations. In fact, I've always been kind of disgusted with the reality of California, especialyl SoCal. Instead, I've meshed a sort of laid-back utopia out of the surf culture and Laurel Canyon-era electic bohemianism. Imagine waking up in a house with white-washed wood floors surrounded by lush trees (something like this), driving barefoot to some shack to get fish tacos, and getting stoned by the beach while wearing an oversize t-shirt with holes in it. Sort of Joni Mitchell on a surf board. Privileged, a little bit unthinking, and young.

Anyway, I've already been listening to them for awhile, but I'm going to soothe my California-less woes this summer by listening to the Girls while driving to the lake. To follow up, I'm temporarily changing the colors of this blog.