What’s Up? (8/17/15)

Seven Thousand Words.
Today I decided I would write one thousand words once a day, every day this week. I don’t t think anything spectacular is going to happen that’s going to require a lengthy reflection. It’s more the case that I want to make up for lost entries. For every time something important happened and it failed to make it to the blog, there will be this week long super-entry to make up for it.

Starting With.
Yesterday I attended a friendly match between the US Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) and Costa Rica’s National Team. It was the first stop on the USWNT’s victory tour after winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The fervor of their championship victory was still fresh in my head; the way they stomped out Japan, their NYC parade, Rachel Maddow’s giddy excitement over the whole thing. I was swept up by the whole wave of energy, and when I heard they were coming to Pittsburgh, I knew I was going. I felt that I could not miss out on the opportunity to see Wambach, Rapinoe, Lloyd, Morgan, and Klingenberg in action.

What an event it was. With 44,028 fans in attendance, almost every golden-yellow chair of Heinz Field had a fan in red, white, and blue sitting in it. This was the highest standalone attendance for a USWNT yet, and the largest crowd assembled in Pittsburgh for the sport, period. I had a seat with a view I felt you could not beat. I wasn’t the closest to the field, but I had shade from the sun. (Judging from the sunburned and downright over-riped tans of the people exiting the game, it seemed that you really needed the sunscreen that  day). I was looking at the field long-ways, 90 degrees with each goal net. (If this were a match of American Football, I’d be dead center with the field goal).

Football is a funny sport in a number of ways. I noticed the game started without the dramatic flair of an American Football kickoff, which almost always includes rock and roll music and men run full-speed ahead. It started so quietly, that for a moment I wondered if this whole thing was a mistake. What if nothing happened and the whole game was this quiet? Wouldn’t that be the worst?

Yet it took only four minutes to see that things would not be boring. The US scored a goal, and Heinz Field erupted in such an uproar that a cheap microphone, like the one found in your phone, would likely record nothing but white noise. I found myself so overfilled with joy that I was laughing after the first, and every subsequent goal. I would scream, clap, and when I looked around and saw the celebration around me, I could do nothing but laugh at how amazing it was.

There were a lot of daughters in attendance, and the hashtag #SheBelieves was all over Heinz Field. It was inspiring thing, and it occurred to me that some of these young girls were more than fans, but looking up to the USWNT and dreaming of sharing in their success. (This environment contrasted with that of the Benedum Center, showing the musical production of Cinderella. Lots of young girls were in their own Cinderella dresses in 90 degree weather, and none looked as happy as those at Heinz field).

To my left sat a Nationalized Irishman and his daughter. He was teaching her all about the strategy of passing. “You almost never want to run the ball by yourself. You always want to move it to an open team mate.” While he meant to teach his daughter, I couldn’t help but listen and learn from him too. I learned to look at the US players as potential passes. I looked at the woman in possession of the ball, and spotted her team mates and tried to predict where the ball would go. Corner kicks also became a strategic guessing game, trying to envision where the ball would go, and who would try to headbutt it into the goal.

54 minutes into the match, Pittsburgh native Meghan Klingenberg scored a goal. It was during this celebration that the fans of Heinz Field proved they could turn up their volume from 10 to 11. We were already freaking out about the score becoming 7-0, and just as the volume was starting to come down, Klingenberg grabbed a Terrible Towl. You have this Pittsburgh native waving the ultimate symbol of Pittsburgh sports in celebration, and the result is apocalyptic noise.

The final score was 8-0, and it was a blast. I guess the next big thing that matters is the Summer Olympics, in which case, I’ll be tuning in to watch.

Magical Sleep.
The last thing I want to talk about happened today. It was a feverish stream of chain-dreaming. Where dream after dream, distinct from one another, keeps happening. I wake up, nod off to sleep again, and the memory of waking up becomes distorted, twisted into a dream whose premise is that waking up never happened.

A dream can start with me walking through England at night with my friend Naomi, then I wake up and fall back asleep. Now I’m in a house being torn apart by strong winds and rain with my friend Innes. What makes this all strange is that the premise of being in this house begins with me waking up in this house, thinking that bein awake in my bedroom was the dream. It has to be a symptom of not escaping REM. I wake up but my brain has the capacity to invent dreams still.

The feeling is like being under a spell. I don’t know how else to describe it. It makes no sense, it sounds like the talk of a crazy person, but that’s dreaming for you. Try not to think about it too much, just wake up and realize that, while fun, it’s best not to let yourself fall back asleep.


What’s Up? (1/28/15)

So the obvious disclaimer here is that I’m writing this on (1/29/15) but as Thursday is basically my day of rest, I have absolutely nothing to add about it, and since Wednesday is the longest day I’ve ever scheduled in college before, it’s all I can write about these days. 

Despite not getting a lot of sleep, I found my morning walk to class to be emotionally recharging. Pittsburgh was brighter than usual with two-three inches of snow around. Everything reflected the sunlight of course, and as such there were places that were actually really warm around town – places you could go to soak up the sun beams. There was also the smell of Fuel & Fuddle firing up the brick oven, God knows why they need to around 9AM. Some people must go in their for the brunch menu. I’m jealous of those people.

With my head thinking about bright warm suns, I listened to The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” (1969) and well, if you know me you know I almost never listen to The Beatles. By all accounts, Wednesday was going extraordinarily. I wrote to Marie Claire, I wrote for The Fourth Wave, I had a coffee, made lunch, and made the best out of the time I could take to relax at home.

Late Afternoon
My short-essay was the center of attention in a discussion about race in Intro to Gender and Sexuality, and modest though I am, it sometimes feels really great to know that you’re writing is teaching people something, and being enjoyed by people. At this point in the day I’m going so well that I knew “Wednesday was beat.”

During Senior Seminar I have a huge moment of inspiration. All month long I was in a huge writer’s block about what the hell I wanted to write about as my final piece of Nonfiction Writing as a University of Pittsburgh Student. “Who will it be” I kept asking, having only written extensively about people before. I should have been thinking “What will it be.” Research. I need to be able to hit up books at the Library. Then it hit me: The Gimlet. A standard, classic drink, yet one that younger people don’t really know. As my Professor said: “It’s such a simple, yet odd drink. You order it and people look at you like you’re 82.” I admit it feels a little funny to commit research hours to an alcoholic drink but, there’s a history there, there are people behind the history, and there are bartenders today with Gimlet-input – so there’s a story here. How many people want to hear the story of The Gimlet? Who cares! As I close Moby Dick for the last time this month, if anything I should take away that it’s totally fine to write about what you know, and what you love.

What’s Up? (8/26/14)

Life has been so different since August 21st, 2014, and I’m so happy for it. As I wished, it appears this last year of college really will be a reward and test of all the lessons I’ve learned since say, Senior year of High School. In short, hell yes I’m totally doing fine and I love how drastically different things have been in Pittsburgh so far. 

I’ve got to watch the Belgium Grand Prix somewhere, since I only saw the last 10 laps an apparently, the first 34 were the ones you want to watch. I’m also dealing with a wicked stuffy nose right now, not fun. I just walked away from the keyboard for 3 minutes sneezing and just feeling miserable. 

I need to get over this now, I have almost three hours of night class and then CWO tonight. I’m rapid-fire sneezing, what the hell? …15 minutes later, blew my nose, sneezes gone. Bitter about allergies. Wondering if I should do my laundry now, though I’d be cutting it close to class. 40 Minutes ago I could have… shit now I’ve got to wait until tomorrow. 

Laundry bums me out so much; so instead lets just remember that we have some cool new things in life, like Japanese Vinyl Records and naked e-hookah sessions. Feminist literature classes and quirky artisan shops. Bike-powered booze-mobiles and new faux-hawk haircuts. Teachers who remember that your hair was longer, and lettuces on Pittsburgh buses for some reason. 

What’s Up? (8/2/14)

I’m really going to be in Pittsburgh in five days. Wow. How ready am I? How excited am I? Home with my roommates, surrounded by all things important to me again. There’s something to my bedroom at Pittsburgh that’s different than the one in New York. The art is hand picked and new. The clothes are, I mean… I can wear what I want, experiment with colors. I guess it’s not like I can’t do that at home. The ability to change and grow just doesn’t feel, engaged at home. In the city, I felt engaged – at school I feel engaged, at home I largely feel, oddly uncomfortable.

“You’re usually the go-to person for finishing things — wrapping the presents, polishing the chrome, and in general, making things ready for public consumption. But today, you should try to get on the other side of that dynamic. Instead of being focused on the outward appearance or the finished product, get into the guts of things. Your mind is good for more than just playing dress up.”

That’s the Gemini Horoscope for today. Something about working in “the guts of things” inspires me to either work on a new, complex song – or art project. Like what? I’m not sure. I should look at my surroundings I guess, find some inspiration for a new project… Maybe I’ll work on some fake packaging or logo design… Stuff that’s more portfolio friendly, and less likely to get likes on Facebook.

I hope my plants are doing okay back in Pittsburgh… I’m going to ask my roommates to throw on the air conditioning and ionizer an hour before I arrive. My room will be cool and refreshing upon my return!

Four Hours In Lawrenceville

Arrive: 2:30 PM

Walk down Butler Street, past the tattoo parlors, the kittens in the shop windows, past cafes, bars, and restaurants. Past a french bakery. Past a coffee shop/record store. Past a Cuban restaurant and bar.

Arrive @Jay Soap Designs (enjoy the scent of candles and soaps, the whistling soapmaker, the sleeping kitten in the windowsill)

Walk back down Butler Street, past the bowling alley, past the furniture restoration shop, past the vaporizer bar, past pizzerias, and past the shoe shop.

Arrive @Wild Card (enjoy the cards, the gifts, the art, the pleasant cashier; the atmosphere of pure quirk)

Walk further down Butler Street, see familiar faces. The guy who’s going to run the single-screen movie theatre, the guy who owns it (and who owns a lot of Butler Street), and the guy that’s going to run a craft beer distributor. Walk past Row House Cinema. Walk up 39th Street.

Arrive @Arsenal Cider House

Drop off a paper, catch up with the manager, talk about coffee and donuts for a bit. The weather, the summer, the bus schedule… Head out, miss a bus, catch a bus – ride a bus until the end of the line. Get stuck at a Shop & Save, get saved by a stranger who knows that the 87 turns into the 93, get back on the bus.

Depart: 6:30 PM

What’s Up? (2/26/14)

A job interview doesn’t need to be this formal thing, why should it be? There’s room for being polite, yes, as there should be, but what do you get from asking me: “Can you tell me about a time that you had to act quick on your feet and hit the ground running?”
“Well, yes, there was this one time during a job interview that I had to come up with a solid answer that wouldn’t make me sound like a loon.”
Trust me, if we sat down and had a conversation, I’d learn more about your business, and you’d learn more about me, than we could from going through a questionnaire together. Let’s talk politics, let’s talk television, let’s vent our frustrations and tell stories like two human beings; especially when this job is all about talking to people, why not test a candidates ability by talking to them? Two interviews went in two very different directions in the last two days. Two nights with two hours’ sleep, two buses to one bus stop, two mornings in one suit. One brief questionnaire, one two-hour conversation, one bagel, one cup of tea, three pleasant folk, one neighborhood, nine blocks, three dogs, two men in lady liberty costumes. One hell of a week.

St. Vincent released a self-titled album today, er, yesterday (I’m up at 4AM again, so, to me it’s still February 25th). I think it’s really telling about the way my life has gone, or where it is, that even as an avid Beck fan, it’s St. Vincent’s new album that I’ve purchased and listened to – and not Beck’s “Morning Phase” (2014). I know where Beck is on his new album, a callback  to “Sea Change” (2002) which might be my least-listened-to Beck album; which is to say, he’s in a dark, sad place. St. Vincent isn’t exactly in the happiest place either, though it feels lively and smiling through confusion and disillusion; and I know I’d rather ride along with St. Vincent right now than Beck. I’m going to need to review both albums at some point, though I have some reviews from 2013 I promised I’d write, so perhaps I should get to writing those first… 

I feel like a lot of people reinvent themselves during their Freshmen year of college, but I find myself feeling very renewed and perhaps even a little reinvented this semester. New clothes, new synthesizer, a new rotation of music on the iPod, new clubs, new friends, new interests, new habits, new, new, new. And yet, there’s a lot of old coming back ’round. Autobiography and The Creative Impulse has put me down a path of deeper self-examination, just as I wanted it to, which means I’ve dusted off some memories and passages of life to put them on paper. Even outside of class, I’ve been experimenting with trying to figure out just how I’ve ended up where I am. In the last post, “On Revisits” I tried tracing the roots of my present life to coincidences and odd beginnings. I think chiptune culture has to have been the hugest coincidence-launcher of my life, butterfly-effect style. The music and art of 8-bit videogames has formed friendships, networks, and potentially even jobs, and realizing that has only increased my love for it. So I’m not out with the old, in with the new; but rather cultivating a better preservation and appreciation for the old, and recognizing and using it to create the new.

What’s Up? (1/13/14)

Today wasn’t horrible, though it followed a pretty turbulent yesterday. Sunday had the common ups and downs of a day packed tightly with the work and play that is scrambling to do Monday’s homework, and managing to watch football simultaneously. My alternate weekend mission was to finish Season One of The Wire, and as of right now I’m halfway there. Everything was okay until my frail psyche fell apart at what felt like another rejection, and I submitted to self-hate thoughts, until a few friends picked me up again by the end of the night.

Freight trains. You can hear them chugging along every night here in Pittsburgh. They start as early as, 11PM I suppose, but I’ve heard them blowing their horns as late as 4-5AM.

My little breakdown episode is symptom of a larger problem, one that needs facing and fixing, soon.