Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What I've done, what I'll be doing...

The exhibit I've been working on for class is being installed on Monday, and the opening reception is Friday!  Here's the blurb:

Wandering the World City documents the unparalleled cultural diversity of New York City in the 1960s, as seen through the unique lens of Belgian-born artist Jan Yoors (1922-1977). Best known for his writing, tapestries and sculptures, he was also an avid photographer. Join us for an exhibition of a small selection of his black and white photographs, which reflect the changing urban landscape he explored. 

I'm excited to finally see it up on the walls!  If anyone's planning to be in the NYC area in May with a bit of time to kill, go check it out (directions on the site).  It's been a long semester, full of frustrations and excitement in regards to this exhibit, but it's all come together pretty nicely, if I do say so myself!

But phew, it seems as though every aspect of my life has decided to get crazy at exactly the same moment.  This has so far been a week of dashing between different appointments all over the city, and somewhere in there I need to find time to research, create presentations, and write papers. Yikes!  However, I did finally get an offer for a summer job, so now I am just waiting to hear back from one other place before I make a decision.  But, I mean, really? Who wouldn't want this guy among her colleagues?

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taste the rainbow.

Ahhh, the colors of cooking.  One of my favorite things about creating a meal is playing colors off each other.  Tonight, I made my favorite lentil soup, and I love seeing the vegetables against each other as I'm getting everything prepped.

After such a lovely dinner, I decided to continue the colorful theme.  Tomorrow is my last class with my Masters cohort, so I made some rainbow cupcakes as a treat.  I'm a little unsure of how to transport them, especially since I have an interview across town early in the morning, and the class isn't til 3 pm, but I'm still pretty excited about them.  

I got lazy and just bought a box mix, which ended up kind of throwing me for a loop.  Normally, when I make cupcakes from scratch, I can fill the tins almost all the way in order to get a nice little top.  These guys swelled up and over the sides of the cups like crazy!  So, they're giant, which complicates my original Rubbermaid-box plans for transporting them.

But c'mon, it's worth it.  How often (outside of a Skittles ad) do you get to eat all of these colors in one delicious set of bites?  Yeah.  That's right.  Never.  This is the second time I've made these, and I was less shy with the food coloring this time (get gel food color rather than liquid -- it's brighter and allows you to add more without diluting the batter) to get colors I was much happier with overall. Could still add some more red to avoid the hot pink, though.  

E's pretty annoyed that they're leaving the house with me (although I'm not sure what he thought -- how often do I put this much effort into something that will just sit around our apartment?), but he'll live.  I've got a few other recipes I want to try out in coming weeks, anyway, so there will be more than enough for him.

Monday, April 19, 2010


...on Too Tall Bunny.

Saturday afternoon.

Monday morning.

Looks like good ol' Mr. Sun had it out for Too Tall Bunny as well. 

Not so tall anymore, are ya, Too Tall?

That's what I thought.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crazy comes in all forms.

E and I went to Disney World last May, and it was kind of a short-notice trip. As in, we decided to go and booked it about a month and a half before we left.  I hadn't been in about 3 years and E hadn't been in, oh, 13, so we were pretty excited about it.  I even downloaded a Countdown widget for my Dashboard to help me get jazzed about ice cream shaped like Mickey's head and fireworks every night and glorious sunshiney Florida days. Of course, that last bit didn't quite work out, since it rained. All. Day. Every. Single. Day, but it was still awesome.

Since the day of our departure came and went, the countdown widget has been counting the days since our trip.  E was teasing me about it the other day, so I fiddled with the settings a bit ... and lost the countdown. Gone! We were at -327 days and I couldn't get my countback back.  I was pretty sad about it, but since there wasn't really anything I could do, I decided to do the mature thing, and count down to our wedding instead, as so:

What was I saying about maturity?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Too Tall Bunny is a SHAM.

For Easter, E's mom got him this adorable basketball wielding chocolate bunny.  His name is Too Tall Bunny, and he's sooo tall that his ears stick out the top of the box (and he had to start playing basketball because he had no marketable skills aside from his height).  E has had this sitting around the apartment since April 4th, because apparently his reaction to chocolate is not the same as mine (which is, basically, STUFF IT ALL IN YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOWWW NOW NOW NOW).  The other day, though, I noticed something.

YEAH. TOO TALL BUNNY ISN'T REALLY TOO TALL, HE'S JUST STANDING ON A PLATFORM. His little bunny feet start right where that clear plastic window starts on the box.  He is not actually too tall, he is lying to us all.  And, judging by that embarrassed, panicked look on his little bunny face, he's just been waiting for someone to expose him as the impostor he is.

Whatever.  E and I just ate his ears off, so now he fits in the box, platform or not.  That's what you get for trying to FLIM-FLAM THE WORLD, Too Tall Bunny.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekend dreaming

It promises to be a soggy weekend in a rainy time of year, but you know what they say April showers bring: Pilgrims! Right. So. This time of year is tricky, because the weather swings from 85-and-sunny to 55-and-dank on what seems like a moment's notice.  It's such a tease to be able to wear a floaty dress and light cardigan one day, and be bundling up in thicker sweaters and slacks and jackets the next.

E and I still have our much-loved Crate and Barrel bedding out.  Most nights, it's fine, but more than once in recent weeks I have woken up sweating in the middle of the night, which is pretty annoying.  I've been thinking of the DwellStudio for Target coverlet we put off buying in store a month or two ago, and hoping it finds itself on my bed soon, since the quilt I've had since middle school really shouldn't be used for anything other than picnics and beach days at this point, it's so ratty.  We're also planning to renew our lease in the next couple of months, so we're probably going to paint our apartment.  We have various paintchips in lovely soft shades of grey on our bedroom walls, and I can't wait to take the colored-wall plunge.
Other plans for this weekend include a much-needed thorough apartment cleanse before the craziness of the next few weeks, and the last throes of hearty comfort food.  We'll likely finish the beef stew I made earlier this week (My first attempt, and it was delicious! I adapted this recipe for Drunken Irish Stew from The Crepes of Wrath), and I want to tackle some hearty, oaty, homemade bread as well.  Bread, for some reason, is really intimidating to me, but hopefully it will be successful. I love winter food (soup! stews! more soup!), and so even though I'm excited for light, fresh summery foods (sandwiches! salads! veggie stir-fries!), I'm a little reluctant to phase out some of the staples of our winter diets.

Other than that, I hope to sleep in (ahhhhh), wear comfy shoes (my feet are dying from a week walking all over the city in fancy-pants work appropriate shoes), and spend a few hours being productive in the library.  So, a quiet but happy weekend in store, which is just exactly what I need right now.  Maybe we'll even make it to brunch, my favorite!  At the moment, though, I should probably focus more on finishing up the workday. Pssh.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

School is cool.

So, after complaining yesterday about the sheer amount of schoolwork that is piling up in my household, I do want to say I am lucky to be studying things I like.  That's the nice thing about grad school -- no general education courses.  Every class I take, I take because I'm interested in it, and I pretty much never have tests and usually just have to write a research paper for each class for the end of the term. It's pretty sweet.

Right now, I'm taking a class in the architecture department on space and the politics of memory, which basically focuses on the ways in which we as humans create meaningful space, and the ways that created space impacts our collective and individual memories.  For my final paper in that class, I get to combine 2 of my favorite things: Disney theme parks and Cold War era thought and perception! Huzzah!

These are all of the Disney books I have out of the library right now.  For anyone who's ever said there's no reason to take an academic interest in Disney, HA! Look at all this material! And I've requested a few more books from partner libraries to continue the Disney-book apartment takeover in progress.  Okay, so the bottom book is actually basically just a picture book about the design process for the Disney "mountains" (Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, Everest, and Space Mountain, which is the one that's actually relevant to my work), and I actually own that one, but whatever.

Anyway, I won't say too much in case I ever decide to write a book on this or something equally awesome, but I'm writing about Disney's portrayal of the future in Tomorrowland, one of the themed "lands" of the Magic Kingdom. I'm interested in the ways in which the construction of the future in the parks changed from the 1960s (when there was an earnest effort to immerse guests in a utopian imagined future) to the 1990s (when Tomorrowland was completely remodeled to instead portray a "future that never was," ie a retro, stylized, 1950s-esque "future") and how thus giving up on imagining the future and focusing instead on the past relates to the conception of history and of the future in the collective public imagination.


Now if only I could somehow work in a research trip and get the school to pay for it... 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My school zombie fiance.

This past weekend, I went up to Boston to celebrate a friend's birthday with homemade dinner (including delicious pasta e fagioli -- hearty bean based dishes get me every time) and a night of dancing in a dark bar in Cambridge with a whole bunch of people who I miss a whole lot.  It was great to be back in the Boston area to feel how that city's energy differs from New York's.  Moving here directly from Boston, I have to confess that I have missed the quaint-y-historical-y feel that Boston has worked so hard to maintain and cultivate anew, but I also appreciate the different kind of electricity New York vibrates with, and the way it feels like the city is always trying to reinvent itself.  Ramblings aside, though, I mostly enjoyed lip-syncing to 80s music and celebrating one friend's birthday and another's grad school decision -- she'll be heading down this way to start at NYU in the fall!

I also had my first experience with BoltBus, the discount bus line offering cheap, direct service between major cities on the east coast.  They even have free wireless on board and places to plug in your computer at every seat!  Before I start to sound too much like a paid spokesperson, I will say that the journey up to Boston was a disaster -- the seats on Bolt seem a little narrower than other buses, and I was sitting next to an armrest hog, so I spent a lot of time leaning pathetically against the window.  Then, the bus driver actually got on a highway going in the wrong direction (as in, she got on 691-WEST going through Connecticut instead of 691-East), and didn't realize it til a passenger pointed it out like 25 minutes later. COOL.

However, the way back to New York on Sunday was quite pleasant: I had an aisle seat, we had time to stop at a rest stop in Connecticut so my butt didn't get numb and I didn't have to use the bus bathroom, and we even got in about 10 minutes early. Score! Overall, I think I'll be using Bolt again in the future.

Unfortunately, though, I made the trip up and back alone. We're coming into a stressful time of year, and E has begun the Great Finals Crackdown. Law school exams are, like, a big deal or something, because for the last month and a half of the semester, I might as well not have a fiance.  Instead, I just have someone who leaves dishes in the sink and appears in bed sometime between when I go to sleep and when I wake up.  Okay, I'm exaggerating, but that's the general idea.

I'm starting to stress, myself. My class has an exhibit opening in May and I am working on the website with another classmate, so that's taking up a lot of time.  I also have a lot of work to do at my internships, and end-of-term papers and presentations are coming up way too soon.  Plus, I still haven't done my taxes, whoops.

But hey, at least I have some fun things.  Like weekends in Boston with good friends, and Fage Greek yogurt with strawberry stuff. Because, seriously, I have been eating these things for lunch for like a week and a half now. They're like crack, I am so addicted.  In fact, I just ate one, and typing this out is making me want to get another one.

I wish I could find someplace to buy these in bulk.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My morning commute.

I've never really appreciated the Brooklyn Bridge the way everyone else in the world seems to. Like yeah, it's a cool bridge and all, but there are much more impressive ones out there, in my opinion.  Like the Manhattan Bridge -- I just think it's more visually striking!  However, my new internship's offices are located at South Street Seaport (and I thought it was just a tourist trap, ha), so I walk by the Brooklyn Bridge every morning on my way in.

I snapped this on my walk this grey morning -- how sad is it that my cell phone has a better camera in it than my first digital camera did in 2004? -- right after I thought to myself, "Okay, so maybe it's kind of a cool bridge."  Then I got on Wikipedia:
The occurrence of the decompression sickness (the bends) in the caisson workers caused engineers to halt construction of the Manhattan side of the tower 30 feet (10 m) short of bedrock when soil tests underneath the caisson found bedrock to be even deeper than expected. Today, the Manhattan tower rests only on sand.

At the time the bridge was built, the aerodynamics of bridge building had not been worked out
. Bridges were not tested in wind tunnels until the 1950s — well after the collapse of the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie) in 1940. It is therefore fortunate that the open truss structure supporting the deck is by its nature less subject to aerodynamic problems. Roebling designed a bridge and truss system that was six times as strong as he thought it needed to be. Because of this, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing when many of the bridges built around the same time have vanished into history and been replaced. This is also in spite of the substitution of inferior quality wire in the cabling supplied by the contractor J. Lloyd Haigh — by the time it was discovered, it was too late to replace the cabling that had already been constructed. Roebling determined that the poorer wire would leave the bridge four rather than six times as strong as necessary, so it was eventually allowed to stand, with the addition of 250 cables. Diagonal cables were installed from the towers to the deck, intended to stiffen the bridge. They turned out to be unnecessary, but were kept for their distinctive beauty.
Crazy! Also, the bridge was completed in 1883 but didn't get its first jumper til 1885, which to me indicates that the bridge lifted 19th century New Yorkers' spirits. And, in May of 1884, P.T. Barnum marched the gigantic Jumbo the Elephant (later to become the mascot of Tufts University, where they have his ashes in a peanut butter jar) across the bridge in a parade of 21 elephants to prove its stability (and promote his circus) after an 1883 stampede triggered by a rumor that the bridge was going to collapse killed 12 people.

Also on my walk to and from the train, I pass this flower stand, which always has the most gorgeous blooms out for sale.  Yesterday, though, I got a good chuckle out of this:

Ahhh, Engrish.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nice to be thinking about being back outside.

The weather has finally warmed up, and I am just crossing my fingers we don't get a mysterious early-spring cold snap.  Aside from finally breaking out the spring dresses and shoes (oh, sandals, I love you), the warm up also means that the library on campus is eerily empty. Apparently everyone moved out to the stairs/green spaces around campus.  Today I was tethered to a scanner that unfortunately can't leave the library, but hopefully one of these days I can block pedestrian traffic with my fellow students.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Faraway places

Tonight I am dreaming of all the places we could go if we repurposed our wedding budget. Oh, wanderlust, I haz you.
Please note, basically all of these photos come from random sites that aren't really worth checking out. Except the one of Sacre Coeur. Check that link out. Gorgeous.
Chile (via)

The Mayan Riviera (via)

Thailand (via)

Spaaaaaain omg spaaain (via)

Granada... as in the country. (via)

India. India. India. (via)

And, of course, France. Paris. PARIS.  (via)

Okay, so obviously our wedding budget would not allow us to jaunt all over the world and visit all of these places, and there are about a bazillion other places I want to visit of which I am not scouring the web for pictures.  But even one.... sigh.