Playing Catch-Up

Whenever I come home for the holidays — I somehow retreat into this cave of catch-up.  I read leisurely as if I’ve been censored all my life, I catch-up with current/new music, and I eat.  These seem to be how I conduct myself while enjoying the quite mountains and ease of suburbia.  I basically run away from the mayhem of city life — from Boston.  It calms my very erratic mind and I recharge for whatever may come in the coming year. 

What I see:
A view looking out to our backyard.
Yes, those are deer! (FYI: My camera lens was smudged)
View one evening.
Musical Obsessions:
Artist – Album
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below
Seabear – The Ghost that Carried Us Away
Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Signs of Life
Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
 Carla Morrison – Aprendiendo A Aprender
Literary Musings:
Author – Title
Bill Bryson – A Short History of Nearly Everything
Anthony Bourdain  – Medium Raw
Sloane Crosley – How Did You Get This Number
Haruki Murakami – The Elephant Vanishes
And so I’ll end with a lovely song.

Bye bye bye….2010! Hellllooo….2011!

I think I’m going to try to behave as if my last post was just the other day — its just easier on my psyche.  And I will definitely refrain from saying my last post was from last year — that just might tip me over the edge.  I know its been awhile but as usual — life has been a hectic rush at the last leg of 2010.  Frankly, I was beside myself to have that year over.  Let this new year ring in with all its new possibilities for success, growth, and even love.  And even with all my cynical and slightly neurotic posts — I do have a tiny bit of love in my heart (somewhere in there) and I’m grateful for those that have remained close to me through thick and thin.  2010 was a hard year filled with mistakes, challenges, and disappointments.  It started early on in the year and rolled all the way through to the end.  
As I look back at my end of the year post from 2009 — I’m amazed at how two consecutive years can bring such opposite results.  2009 was filled with lots of travel, friends, and laughter whereas 2010 (albeit travel heavy still) brought with it a sea of menace.  They say not to dwell on the past but to look forward to the future.  Oh I’m looking forward to it alright.  I’m staring at it right in the face!  But I do say this about 2010 — it has truly taught me (unlike most years) to be prepared for what life throws and to understand that we can only control ourselves.  Someone once said to me, “the way you approach and tackle a difficult situation is how you should measure your successes in life”.  
And so instead of  delving into the difficult times of 2010 — I thought I’d try to put a positive spin by relishing special moments and things that I loved.  Its my first positive act to ring in the new year with gusto, bravado, and gumption.

Memorable Events:
My brother receiving his PhD
Staying in a 200 yr old Cape Cod house
Reuniting with with dear old friends in NYC & FL
Challenging Events:
Attempting hot yoga
 Music I loved:
 Artist – Album
Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
The xx – xx
Rodrigo y Gabriela – 11:11
She & Him – Volume Two
The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love
Bats for Lashes – Fur and Gold
Broken Bells – Broken Bells
Florence and the Machine – Lungs
Claudine Longet –  Greatest Hits
Yann Tiersen – Goodbye Lenin!
Donovan – A Gift From a Flower To a Garden
Mirah – (a)spera

This year I’ve decided not to make a list of typical resolutions but instead to make a mental promise of accomplishing attainable tasks.  So by the end of the year – there aren’t regrets or disappointments but merely happy inevitable accomplishments and perhaps even surprising outcomes.  No forceful expectations — with only a promise to put maximum effort in whatever I attempt to do.   
Hope you all are enjoying the first moments of 2011 already and may this year be the start of a beautiful, prosperous, and healthy new year!  Hip hip!


“A” 4 riting

I know this post is somewhat random — but when are they NOT random?

Recently, in an academic grant writing class, students were given an exercise to review and edit our neighboring peers.  We each were given an assignment to write a scientific proposal for a future study and told to switch amongst our peers to accurately gauge each student’s work.  I succumbed to that terrible fear of being discovered a hackjob and terrible writer, so I put as much effort as I could muster into this assignment — about a day’s worth.  Trust me — that’s a generous portion.  As we swapped our writing samples, I prayed  that the individual who received my work refrain from manically breaking down in hysterically laughter.  
Then I focused on two samples given to me.  And I read.  And read.  Then re-read.  And I quickly realized the following:  people have no concept of the English language — its form, appropriate grammar, and even rudimentary spelling.  That being said — I did a mental manically hysterical laugh in my somewhat psychotic brain and breathed a sigh of relief.  Phew, I guess I wasn’t that much of a dumbarse writer after all!  Of course, my blog posts clearly represent otherwise.
Then I thought the death of eloquent and succinct writing had met its maker after the inception of instant messaging and ultimately text messaging.  How we write for efficiency and speed not content or quality.  Honestly, I’m probably the initial individuals to blame who certainly perpetuated this form of communication as it allowed for quick in-your-face gratification.  My earliest recollection of an instant message was as a freshman in college — or as I like to call it — the dark age of technology/internet when one was chained to a computer instead of actually going mobile. 
Then I remembered seeing the following on Jimmy Kimmel and it basically tells the story of where our future generation may be headed.  And its a dark one folks….
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This is what I’ve succumbed to…

Recently, the physiological nature of my home, my person, and my overall mental capacity has been — to put it mildly compromised.  
I believe this picture explains it all:

Now granted this might not be the EXACT photo representation of my current state of affairs.  But it certainly sets a close example.  As I write this, I have (yet again) a moundful (nay heapful) of reading, writing, and analysis to be completed.  All in the wonderfully fruitful and exhaustive timeframe of a day.  So instead of delving into the mindful world of science and the challenges of NEVER answering the age old hypothesis of whatever — I blog (i.e. procrastinate).  And so the picture you see before you is not only a cartoonish representation of my current state but a close sample to what has become and what inevitably will be.  Being mindful that I do lack some things from this pictorial sample.  Like that blue plate and  actually having ears.  Plus I lack that strange yellow triangle thing up the top of my head.  I mean don’t be ridiculously absurd.  Overall, it is still fairly accurate. 
As a quick update — which I’m known for such — I saw the recently released movie, The Social Network.  As most 99.9% of the population succumbed to the procrastinating effects of this devilish internet platform — I needed to understand the history behind it.  Why was this done?  WHY?!  And when this was in its creation — someone should have stopped Mark Zuckerberg and said, “but we implore you — this will only drive more decreased productivity and evil will only ensue”.  At least that’s how I would of said it.  Really.  Overall, the creation of Facebook was an inevitable progression in the human need for information — albeit it useless and painstakingly time consuming.  See my previous post.  I do admit to coming home and having a slightly elevated appreciation for the coding platform itself.  The CS nerd in me that never came to be was highly captivated as well as sufficiently intrigued in knowing more.  So I googled and googled and Facebooked. (yes, that night).  Until I came to the horrifying realization.  
And it was simply this:  that the option to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook to “Add as Friends” was painfully disabled.  I was left with nothing but misery. 

Hello, Newman

“Mister postman look and see
If there’s a letter in your bag for me
I been waiting such a long time….”
In the past, the relationship with my post person has been fairly rudimentary and followed a simple equation:

post person receive/deliver mail + Emily open mail box/pick up mail = happy.

Its been this way for YEARS in every city and every place of residence.  This relationship protocol has seemed to have halted temporarily however seeing I have been receiving messages from my current post man.  Let me explain.  My current place of residence has been a new experience — in that its a much older building then what I’ve lived in the past.  I like to call it vintage styled with its old hard wood floors, small walk-up feel and housing only six apartments total.  Its charming and quaint and I find myself working beside the bay windows much of the time.  Its got that neighborhood charm.

Now here’s where it gets a little nutty.  Each tenant must put their LAST name and APT # on their respective mail box.  A task I thought was given to building management.  As a result, I never made it a priority to make the correction/update.  In the past two weeks, I’ve been receiving a message here or there courtesy of the USPS man/woman indicating various versions of: “please put name on mail box”.  Now in my own ingrained paranoid NYC mind — I thought the following:  1) I don’t want my neighbors knowing my last name, 2) will the transaction of mail not be complete if said name refuses to appear on box, and 3)  F–k you mail person!  And went on my merry way.
Until I received this yesterday night:
Message from my postman
Now I was mad.  How dare he/she write in CAPITAL letters with exclamation marks! EXCLAMATION MARKS!  And write the slightly threatening, psychotic looking, “no name, no mail” message.  As I raced to get to class while still holding this wretched message my mind raced of all the things I could possibly do in response:
I could write my name in illegible cursive .
I could write in tiny print
I could write in a ภาษาต่างประเทศ (foreign language) (in Thai). 
I could respond simply with the word “No”.
Finally, the thought of ignoring the message was high on my list.  Then the obese hamster in my rusty mind started running on its wheel and I thought:  are they legally aloud to withhold mail simply because a resident didn’t have their name on their mailbox?  What about P.O. boxes?  Or places like dormitories?  These days 99% of my mail tends to be junk.  So it actually thrilled me to think I would be rid of those things.  In the end, the thought of not receiving the 1% that I do consider to be critical or important mail outweighed my neurotic, slightly mad and overly evil ways of countering.  
Damn you Mr. Postman!  Apparently Newman was right:
“When you control mail, you control INFORMATION!”

Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it…

Sometimes I think I blog to avoid any means of REAL productivity work-wise.  Hmm — nope I’m pretty sure that’s the case.  Across from my beat up old laptop lay a mountain of published papers to be read, analyzed and stored away mentally for brilliant thought provoking interchanges in class.  Some days I adore the intellectual stimulation and some days I quite literally feel as if I’m just barely holding on.  In fact, the other day while sitting in class, a fellow classmate leaned over and whispered to me, “did you read?  I have to admit I focused so much on our upcoming projects I simply read the titles for these journal articles.”  My mind raced as I mentally shouted, “I KNOW!  ME TOO! WHEEEE!  Yea, so I’m not the only dumb arse here.”  But I politely responded, “meh, I read hopefully its an easy night.”  Secretly, I wanted to pat him on the back and say, “welcome to my world friend”.
I do tip my imaginary hat to those academic braniacs who seemingly balance that careful line of academia while still maintaining a sense of actual normalcy and human persona.  How do you do it?  How?! Because quite frankly — I do need to be led into this tiny secret society.  Times like these I think (for the millionith time) why I chose a profession/career that required (amongst the basic of things) a detailed grasp on the study and analysis of proteins/peptides.  To be able to take a compound/subject/sample and to determine its amino acid composition, molecular weight, peptide mapping, etc etc etc.  Argh!  Now this thing is slowly seeping into my PERSONAL BLOG.  My HOME! My place of venue to vent and express how strangely bizarre it is to have an entire apartment vacant of clutter yet still maintain an untouchable corner of chaos — riddled with unopened mail/used tissues/stacks of half read books.  To the unadulterated eye it visually brings imagery of slight madness, obvious clammer, and a complete sense of disarray in a sea of order.  This table is symbolic and a physical sample of my mind.
Sort of like this.
Yes, its times like these that I think I wish I could rewind 10+ years and rework the following majors  or minors (computer science, creative writing, art/design, foreign language)  into what was already a packed academic schedule.  Perhaps I’d be living and writing about a different life. 

The Social Network et al

Its approximately 4:30am and yes, I am awake.  I blame it on partaking in an early evening “accidental” nap.  When I say “accidental” — its usually a result of gluttonous over-eating coupled with the cooler drop in temperatures that instigates this sort of behavior.  And so being awake at these ungodly hours makes for mischievous behavior.  Much surfing to be had.  Mainly catching up on my multiple blog readings, responding to emails, working on miscellaneous work activities.  But most importantly, I tend to engage in alot of my deviant online behavior (i.e. cyber-stalking) during these twilight hours.  With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and various other social networking venues — it makes for an easy task.  Thanks Google!  You’ve made my socially unacceptable yet obviously participated activity that much easier.

I’m pretty sure you are wondering, “whom are you cyber-stalking ad nauseum?”.  Well there isn’t one particular person.  Mainly random people from my past.  A sort of “where are they now?” type search.  Here’s the thing — we all do this sort of quietly private behavior at one time or another.  Which brings me to my first question.  Are both men and women equal in their cyber-stalking tendencies?  I have a theory that this voyeuristic practice sways strongly toward the female side.  So I asked a few of my male friends and discovered that they had absolutely no interest in such information.  That or they are lying.  Now granted my pool of questioned males might not be a large range in order to give an unbiased perspective – but I found it extremely interesting. 
So it comes down to this — nowadays everyone seems to be connected to this social networking bubble.  In the early stages of voyeurism there was (and this will date me) IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which led to ICQ/AOL Instant Messaging.  Then came Friendster which led to Myspace and finally to our current tool of interest, Facebook.  Now practically everyone seems to have a Facebook page.  And if you don’t?  Its as if you don’t exist.    This is true — no?  The other day a friend of mine said he didn’t have a Facebook account and I caught my immediate dumbfounded look.  The sort of look you give to someone when they say they don’t have a cell phone, rarely uses the internet, or finds the advent of electricity a revolution.  How can this be?  It’s impossible!  I had imagined such people existed.  But to be in close proximity to someone (under the age of 35) who would make such a statement — seemed an anomaly.  I felt he needed to be studied.  Like gorillas held in captivity.  What leads someone to make the conscious decision to remain a social networking enigma?  Incognito if you will.  Then there is the other side of the spectrum — those individuals who have hundreds of people listed as their supposed friends.  Its a little ridiculous if you ask me.  My 12 year old cousin has over 300 “friends” on her list.  I don’t think I’ve met 300 people in my lifetime!  How in her little protected bubble of school, extracurricular activities, and family did she manage to meet/know over 300 people?  So that led me to my second query — are females more social networkers then males? 
And the mad scientist in me wondered if such an interest in sociological research was ever examined or investigated.  So I did a quick search — thanks AGAIN Google!  I found this — a review of studies conducted by Harvard Business School to better understand how males and females use various social networks.  And they found that, “the biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.”  Quite interesting how women are open of their social networking behaviors while men claim to refrain yet clearly are the more dominant usage group.  If you are more curious about some of the studies and findings — check out this link to the professor who studies the social networking revolution.
How this became a discussion on cryber-stalking, social networking and gorillas — I don’t know.  I think its time for bed. 

CSN stores indeed!

Its no surprise that I’m a bit of a shopping fiend.  I am THAT typical girl who wants something and through the advances of modern day technology seeks online for the best deals.  Last year I was on a hunt for a baker’s rack and stumbled upon a website — CSNstores.  This website is amazing and has over 200 online stores where you can literally find everything from contemporary coffee tables to cookware to yoga accessories.  Best part?  They are based in Boston!  Small world indeed. 
So recently, my search has been to find a better way of transporting my yoga mat + gear to class — something convenient yet sturdy to contain all the necessary items.  And by all accounts, its been a bit of a chore to search since I’ve wanted to be more frugal these days — until I found it on the CSNstores website. 

 Isn’t it lovely?  Only $20 including shipping!   

And in these tough economic times a good deal is certainly worth its weight in literal gold.  I’m not ashamed to say that I will search high and low to find the cheapest prices from a wide range of varying websites. Who doesn’t?  Review to come.

A weekend a wedding

People have often expressed that the west coast part of Florida can be quite possibly THE most beautiful areas in the United States.  So when Kimmie & Wes decided to have a sunset beach wedding on Lido Key — it seemed to be a beautiful locale for the celebration of two people.  And so the wedding came and went.  Here is a review of the last leg to Kimmie & Wes’s eight year dating dance.

♥ The Wedding Weekend — Sarasota, Florida ♥

The Beach @ Lido Key
Clear watersBeach @ The Helmsley Sandcastle
An emotional night filled with food, friends, an emotional (moi) speech and (a plethora) of drinks. 

The Rehearsal Dinner @ Crab & Fin (St. Armand’s Circle)
 K & MeThe coupleThe ladiesFriends (Old & New)
More emotional and candid moments captured of the bride and groom.  And one lovely moment of being recognized as the traditional matchmaker of the pair through the transaction of an Israeli Shekel coin.

The Ceremony
The ladies on wedding dayK getting readyThe Groom (W) & parentsThe Bride (K) & parentsGroom's reaction to brideThe ceremony
Israeli Shekel CoinMarried!

The Reception (Longboat Key Resort)
The First DanceThe married couple & friendsThe wedding cakeThe 3 Musketeers + BoyThe ladies + boyCut & EatThe Hora!The ladies + bride

Weekend with the ladies

As promised, albeit it a little lagging, a post from the weekend events leading just before the wedding.  

♥ The Bachelorette Weekend — NYC Style ♥
The weekend began with a nice warm-up of the limbs golfing followed by consuming homemade sausage for brunch.  We wandered around aimlessly around the Meatpacking District & Union Square.
The afternoon ended with a bizarrely entertaining trek all over downtown Manhattan solving clues and relaying messages involving plane tickets, a frog, and an albino midget.

Chelsea Pier, Cookshop (Meatpacking District), Union SQ, and The Accomplice (Downtown Manhattan) 

Chelsea Piers, NYCK & AVIMG_6961IMG_6979
The night ended with an evening with the ladies (well sort of). 

Lips (Midtown) & Upstairs @ The Kimberly Hotel (Midtown)

Old & New friendsIMG_7078 

Two places I would highly recommend if you ever hit NYC (low and high budgets).

The Shake Shack (Upper West Side)
Shack Burger & FriesShack Burger

Blue Hill (West Village)
Blue Hill MenuOur indoor/outdoor areaThis Morning's Farm EggHeirloom Tomatoes, Stone Fruit and Vegetable SaladChilled Corn SoupHudson Valley Duck