Monday, January 28, 2008

So a man walks down the street...

at one a.m. and a little finnish girl pops around the corner to ask him about his housing situation. It went something like this-- "hey there sailor, you have a place to spend the night or do you need me to find one for you?"

Ok, so maybe things didn't go quite like that tonight, but, strangely enough, I did ask quite a few men tonight about where they would be spending the night. I was not, however, wearing fishnet stockings and my winter hat can in on way be considered even remotely sexy. Rather than propositioning people, I was asking them where they were spending the night to find out whether or not they were homeless, as part of the NYC HOPE count on homelessness. Since I know nothing about homelessness in New York, I thought that this might be a good time to learn a bit about it. Funny enough, i ended up in the group with the city commissioner and the media, so I wandered around midtown with them, asking people if they were homeless with a video camera peering over my shoulder. Probably not the most tactful thing ever done. But other than that, I had a really great time talking to people and offering services (homeless ones) to those people who really did need it. And it was fun to talk to the commissioner about homelessness issues and find out more (and possibly network...?) Standing out in the cold, talking to people about homelessness, made me so grateful for my little place in Brooklyn and my warm soft comfy bed waiting for me. I am such a lucky girl, and there are so many people who are not nearly as fortunate. It is good to remember that and know that there are ways to help.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good-bye, President Hinckley

I found out tonight while I was hanging out with some friends that President Hinckley had died. We had been playing Rock Rand, but somehow, we lost interest as we sat there contemplating the death of our prophet.

For those of you who don't know President Hinckley, he was the president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the 15th prophet since Joseph Smith, and the one I know best since he has served as prophet for almost 13 years. For more information about his life, go here and here . I want to just write a little bit about what I remember about him and what he meant to me.

I am going to miss President Hinckley. I loved listening to and watching General Conference and hearing him speak, because he always bore such a simple, yet strong, testimony about the truthfulness of the gospel, the love that God Has for us, and his love for Jesus Christ and testimony that he is our savior. I don't remember hearing anything completely revolutionary from the pulpit, but always left with a feeling of love and safety. I remember a few years ago when I went to the Sunday session of General Conference at the conference center. It was amazing to sit there, and feel this incredible electricity in the air when President Hinckley came in, and to then stand with thousands of people singing we thank thee o god for a prophet, with tears streaming down my face and my heart so full it felt like bursting. He was a prophet of God. I knew then, and I know now, and I've had that testimony reinforced so many times.

I remember when the World trade Center was attacked and collapsed. I remember the words that President Hinckley said comforted me. I don't remember what it was exactly that he said, but they were words of love, not hate, encouraging us to become our better selves and not seek revenge, but rather to heal together. Something like that. I remember the talk he gave right before his wife died about how amazing women are, how women are God's greatest creation, and how he shared how much he loved his little wife. It was beautiful, and a few days later, after 67 years of marriage, she passed away. He was so sad, but then testified constantly of the eternal nature of families and the knowledge that he had that they would be together again shortly. I remember coming home from my mission and being too traumatized by life in general to do much, and so the first book that I read was the biography of president Hinckley while on the beach in Prince Edward Island by the cabin. I inhaled that book and grew to love him even more, learning about his life dedicated to service in the church and serving people everywhere. I loved also to learn about his own struggles early on, and how he stuck with it. He was a prophet after my own heart, with the way he brought temples to people all over the world. There are now 126 temples in the world! and one of them is in Finland! Because of this effort, so many more people can participate in the blessings of the temple. Oh, how I wish I could bring all of you into the temple with me! Then you would understand why I love it so and how I can be so dedicated to this religion and what it means to have a prophet on earth today. I can't wait to find out who the next one is, and I hope to be able to sustain him.

President Hinckely will be missed. But what a great man to have in the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A play with two actors as their own audience.

Imagine sitting at a table in a coffee shop, across from a friend. But he isn't your friend at the moment, but rather a stranger. And you aren't yourself, but rather an actress in a play, a play you know nothing about. But here you are, and stage directions come from the headphones on your head. You are in a scene, and each line and movement is fed to you and you do them, and your partner also hears things on his headphones, but something different from you and does them as well. But the actions and words all go together and create a play where only you two are the audience and only you two are the actors.

The play is "Etiquette" and it is playing at the Veselka Restaurant until January 31st. I would recommend it to all of you, but it is sold out for the remainder of the run. However, you can try going at midnight, because I guess they don't take reservations for those. I read a little blurb about Etiquette and it completely fascinated me, and so Rus and I tromped down to this Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village and sat down across from each other. After a moment of instructions, we put on the headphones and nodded that we were ready. And the house lights went down and suddenly, there we were, following directions. It was disorienting and fascinating and one of the most interesting experiences I have had. At first, I was self conscious, and couldn't help but get unexpected giggles because it was so strange, but I managed to compose myself into a serious actress (although i couldn't keep my brow furrowed for an entire scene as I had been instructed by the British voice over my headphones). We had little props on the table, little figurines and sticky tack and water. At one point, I poured water around my eyes to make it look as if I were crying. Really, I can't describe it very well because it is something that is almost completely in your head. The voice tells you what to do and what to say, and then cuts away and is telling you how you are feeling embarrassed, but you are also incredibly aware of what is going on. What is also interesting is that while you re paying attention to the person across from you, your experiences are divergent because they are hearing something completely different.

Wow. Amazing experience. And so strange.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King jr.!

MLK day is my favorite holiday. Why? I'm glad that you asked. There are a number of reasons. 1) I like civil right. Kind of for them. It seems like a good idea. 2)There are absolutely no expectations for MLK day. Christmas, presents and Jesus. New Years, some spectacular kissing. Labor day, good bbq and last bit of summer fun. Fourth of July, good fireworks and looking good in a bathing suit. The list goes on. But on MLK day, there are really no expectations for what they day should be like. It is just a day off. 3) BUT, it always ends up delighting me. While birthdays are consistently disappointing, MLK day always has a pleasant surprise in store, like a really great lecture or getting together with friends to watch a civil rights film or going to a candle light vigil. I love those things because it isn;t just another day off, but a day off with some sort of meaning. Today I went with Ben (my genocide friend) to breakfast at Tom's restaurant (they have such tasty french toast there and the servers are the friendliest ever) and then we went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for a concert put on by the Good Day Chorale, which was directed by Mrs. Lovinia Pointer, age 91 and height 4' 10". She was hilarious, playing the piano and not afraid to stop the singing at any moment to reprimand the choir or the audience when they got something wrong. Nothing quite like some gospel songs and hearing the I Have Dream Speech to remind you what this day is all about.

Really nice commentary in the NYTimes by Sarah Vowell. Go here to read it.

Do you think that we are done with civil rights? we have come so far in this country, but I still think that we have further to go before we eradicate racism and prejudices of all brands and true equality exists. Maybe it isn't so much based on race these days as it is on economic levels. Or maybe it is-- I suppose that it is hard for me to say for sure as a white girl. But, I have seen this in the last year that makes me think that we have "a long way before we rest"-- the Jena Six, nooses hung on the doors of minority professors at Columbia, and more African American men ages 18 to 35 have been to prison than to college (and did you know that you can't vote for the rest of your life if you have been convicted of a felony? That is over a million disenfranchised voter). And even if we did have it all taken care of here in the U.S., looking outside of our borders we would see a litany of human rights abuses based on the race or culture of a person-- starting with the genocide in the Sudan and moving on to Iraq and the rest of the world. I have asked myself many times what would I have done if I had lived during the Civil War or the civil rights movement-- I remember being really perturbed by this in the 6th grade, thinking dejectedly to myself that I would probably have had to own slaves and would have just sat in the front of the bus because I wouldn't have known any better. That thought made me really sad, and I was relieved that I lived now so I could grow up knowing that people are equal. Now that I am grown, I still think about this, and realize that the fight isn't over. There isn't complete equality in our society now and there are plenty of boycotts and struggles to join. I heard Angela Davis, a former Black Panther speak last year for MLK day at the U of U, and she rallied the students there by telling us that the struggle continues and we must be watchful and not just accept the status quo. I don't have answers, but I do know that I can fight harder. Write more letters to representatives, make more phone calls, be more vigilant, and most of all, be kinder to people and recognize the humanity in everyone.

Those are my thoughts on that and I would love to hear what you have to say about MLK day/civil rights/anything at all.

Then this afternoon I went to Juniors with the singles from my ward. Juniors= giant hamburgers. Yum. but more food that I think should fit into my body. I spent some time writing and finished my story, which now needs some editing but at least I can say that I accomplished something over this break. Then off to the Upright Citizen's Brigade to see my friend Tim perform a political improv show and get some good laughs in with Em and Helen, and then home, home to bed. Or rather, home, home to chat with Em and write on the internet before realizing that is it 1 am YET AGAIN and I am not yet asleep and school starts tomorrow. I can't believe how fast the time has flown.

Em says hello to all of you.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I have a UN badge!

I'd post a picture of it here, but the photo on it is so bad that I can't bear for anyone to see it unless absolutely necessary. Which is when I go to the UN. I'll take a picture there next time to prove that I can really get in.

You may be saying to yourself now, but Suvi, how did you manage to get a UN badge? And why? Are you sure this is real and not just some crazy dream you will wake up from and be disappointed? Let me assure you, it is real, and it is a dream come true, at least I think so. Ever since I was a little, I've loved learning about the UN and used to write my essays about what I want to be when I grow up about being an ambassador. No, I have not been appointed any sort of ambassador. Nothing that fancy. But, I am the UN representative for the Worldwide Organization of Women, who has NGO status at the UN. And that, my friend, is a pretty freakin' awesome thing to be. I'll be attending meetings and representing the organization, and for the most part really just making some good connections and working on recognizing the contribution of women to society, and making it possible for women everywhere to reach their potential. I can't think of anything I'd like to be involved with more. Seriously.

This position (internship-- I will be paid in terms of experience and connections which,a s VISA says, are priceless) really has fallen into my lap, and I couldn't feel more lucky or grateful for it. It is funny what sorts of things can come out of relationships even when they don't work out. Lucky for me, I date pretty decent guys-- in this case, he put me in contact with his absolutely amazing mother who happens to be president of this organization and just happened to need someone in NYC. I am more than happy to be that person, and this opportunity feels like a great next step for me-- a culmination of the things I've been doing the last few years with domestic violence, international relations, women's development issues, non-profit organizations, and teaching about eternal families. I hope I can do some good, and I am thankful for people who think that I can.

I am so, so excited. I can't stop smiling.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Greatest Bocce Ball Comeback in All of History

Team Tigers was defeated by Team Worms in a stunning comeback from a 2-9 game last night at Union Hall. April "Meow-Meow" Tiger led Team Tigers in an early lead with stunning accuracy in throwing the bocce ball. Teammates Michael "I will eat you Alive" Tiger and Lauren "Purr" Tiger nearly drove Team Worm into the ground with their blocking and knocking strategy. But in the 11th hour, as Team Tiger had one point to win before eternal victory, the deflated Worms mustered their skills and cried into the night "We will not be defeated"! Like the minute men who fought the far-better equipped redcoats in the Revolutionary War, Team Worms at last found their game and discovered the art of throwing the bocce ball. Suvi "I won't take this lying down" Worm strategically threw the jack (the smaller ball) closer than other times, changing the entire dynamics of the game. Kirk "I will make YOU eat dirt" Worm perfected his underhanded, backwards-spin throw for extra precision, and the team quickly started gathering points. Both teams watched anxiously as Team Worms staved off defeat three times by keeping the Team Tiger balls out of point range. An observer to the game texted the scores to a friend as she waited breathlessly for what she knew would be a colossal upset. And with one last flick of the wrist, Rus "The Composter" Worm knocked the victory and glory out of the hands of Team Tiger.

While it was a stunning victory that will be talked about for years, some controversy has already arisen concerning the change in fortune. While traditional Bocce Ball games are played to six, the teams played to ten points, which may have leg to fatigued throwing arms on the part of Team Tiger. While this is unusual, it was, in fact, agreed upon by both sides. Another controversy surround an order of French fries, whose appearance seems to be directly correlated with the downfall of Team Tiger. The tapes will be reviewed to see exactly how much on an impact the french fries had on the performance of the teams. But scandal aside, this was truly one of the greatest Bocce Ball comebacks in all of history. Ever.

Family Fun Time.

So, over the holidays, i got to spend time with my family in Toronto, and it was so much fun. I know it was a few weeks ago, but here I am finally posting a few pictures of Christmas time. I don't know how it is with your family, but for me, it was just awesome to hang out together.

Thanks to Michele, our bellies were full of good things to eat (especially the 12 different types of baked goods that we finished off in what, 3 days?) and yummy Christmas dinner with all of the traditional things. We have a Finnish tradition where we eat rice porridge on Christmas morning, and there is an almond hidden in it. Whoever gets the almond is supposed to have good luck for the next year. I have never, ever gotten the almond, but this year I knew it would be different, I was feeling good things for 2008. Guess who got it? Nope, not yours truly, but Meri. Well, at least now I can tease her mercilessly for the full next year about "getting lucky" because of the almond (and no, that joke will never get old).

We have a cat named Molly who hates all people, except for Beni and Jane. I keep thinking that one day we will be friends, but let's be honest, the day I walk by and she doesn't hiss at me will probably not happen in this lifetime.

So, we ate, and slept, and read (oh the glorious Christmas morning books! Nothing is better than curling up and reading a new book all day long and ignoring everyone else), and played who wants to be a Millionare entirely too many times (but we did learn some really useful facts from it at least), and watching movies, and then going out for pieces of fresh air. Can you even imagine a better vacation than that our family? Seriously, we were all so exhausted-- Liina and Jarom just finished up their last intense semester of med school and months of visiting hospitals for residency, meri just finished her first semester at med school, I just finished my first MPA semester, Vilja just came home from a year and a half long mission (waking up at 6:30 am every single day), Jane just finished applying to universities, and Beni, well, Beni at least had plenty of people around to play with. Sampo is in Texas so he wasn't home for Christmas, but I gaurantee he would have been in exactly the same boat. Glorious lazy days.

Sometimes, when there are so many people at home, things can get a little... stressful. My sisters are the only ones who know how to push my buttons and make me mad enough to storm off and raise my voice. I hate getting that way because it seems so childish, but family dynamics are hard to change. But, i think that we really are all growing up (Liina is having her own baby! Weird!), and brining that maturity back home with us. It is great to be with my family and to feel peace. I am a crier, and when I think about my family growing up, i get a little choked up. But, it is also really awesome to see everyone growing up and becoming beautiful, accomplished people by their own merits (Jane getting accepted to UC Fresno, BYU, and U of U!). We are on our way to one day all being grown-ups. But for now... it is good to know that people can still be convinced to dress up in old prom dresses and have a soiree.

Friday, January 11, 2008

If i had a wish to grant...

I would wave my magic wand and make amazing, committed, pretty-cute-but-not-drop-dead-gorgeous, smart, funny, loving boys who like spooning to appear and fall in love with all of my girlfriends. Is that too much to ask?

There is just too much heartache for sincerely amazing and beautiful women to be experiencing. If they smelled funny, then okay, I would say the alone heartache is deserved. But for the love of Pete, there are people out there who smell like roses and cotton candy and fresh apples pie who are alone out there and their hearts are broken or breaking. And they do not deserve it. They should have hearts that are full and whole and happy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 7: Other people

First of all, the weather here in New York today was BEAUTIFUL! 53 degrees. I wore a sweater outside and I was hot. It. was. wonderful.

So, April and I went for a long walk, through the park, down the street, to a cafe, to the cemetery, past a cookie factory, over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house. Okay, maybe not that last part. But we had a delightful walk in the sunshine. On the way, we found this picture frame, and since Emily and I collect picture frames (why buy when you can find them on the street?) I picked this one up. A lovely blue color, but a bit dirty. But was the frame empty? oh no, it had a newspaper article from July 11th, 1982, titled "The "white priestess", arts and mysticism" and picture of a woman with an altar with a real human skull. It was about this woman, Caro Heller, who was an artist/voodoo expert (and, might I add, a trim brunette 5 foot 5 with hazel eyes? the article makes that clear) and made all sorts of crazy sculptures with ideas she got from traveling to Haiti (ideas were crazy, not that they came from Haiti). Anyways, I carried this picture frame all over New York with me, and then, it cracked and I had to throw it away. i think it may have been possessed.

We walked by a building with an incredible sweet smell wafting out of it, and asked a passing mail carrier what it was. It was a cookie factory run by Hassidic Jews. It was totally delightful, except that they didn't offer us any cookie samples. But otherwise they were quite nice and we could smell the deliciousness for blocks.

On the train we saw a vampire couple. Okay, maybe they weren't really vampires (though I will not guarantee that statement), but they were kind of dressed like that and the lady had these really crazy cool eyes that were like cat eyes (color wise). The best part? They were really kissy face and said "I love you" to each other so tenderly. i am so glad that they found each other.

Lucky for me, April happened to remember that David Eggers was speaking tonight at the 92nd St Y, and so we trekked up there and met up with Emily to go to the reading with him and this woman named Chamanda something (also an author). He read from "What is the What" and now I am going to promote that book: It is so GOOD! Seriously, I think that everyone should read it. 1) You will understand the conflict in the Sudan so much better, and that is important. But it isn't like going to a lecture on the Sudan or watching a documentary, it is a really engaging, beautifully written memoir about a Lost Boy who had to leave his family at the age of 6 or 7 when his village was burned. You will learn things and not even realize it. 2) It is a fascinating story. People get eaten by lions, he falls in love, rivers are crossed and alligators eat people, people ride in planes for the first time... it is an action packed book and it is all real. This is a biography/novel, so all of the things that happen actually did happen. As I read it, I could not believe what Valentino had survived. 3) It is an incredibly moving and sad book. It made me cry, but in a good way. it is so well written and gives such a good glimpse of the life of this boy, and so many others like him. 4) it is motivating. Go volunteer with refugees. 5) Proceeds from buying the book go to a foundation to build schools. 6)If none of those other reasons convince you, this is just one really well written, interesting, compelling book. Even if you don't like to read. Seriously. I wish I could write like that.

Finally, the evening concluded with this classy little old lady in the bathroom-- tiny, with huge round glasses (bifocals, she told us), and quite the outfit (she designs her own clothing) including a hat. I want to be just like her when I grow up. hopefully I shrink to 4'7".

I really, really love people. Today was one of those days that I just wished that my eyes were cameras that could take pictures of everyone that I saw so i could show you.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Day 5: I've been outed.

So, my fine blog-reading friends, I've been outed. Beware of what you write on the internet, on this innocuous little blog that I was convinced people wouldn't read and would be a safe space for my random pontifications, on say, a certain obsession with Ira Glass and the young man who resembled him. Yeah, you think you are safe with the internet shrouding your identity, and then one day, you are having a pleasant conversation at the end of a lovely evening with the aforementioned young man and he brings up Ira Glass. And you choke on your cranberry juice, and turn the color of the juice you are choking on. At least that is what happens to me. Turns out that a friend of his (ahem, Tim) happened to forward him my blog, especially entries that seemed to reference him. I've been outed.

Goes to show you, the internet is NOT a safe place and BE CAREFUL what and who you write about. Because they may actually read it. But you know, I guess I wrote those things knowing that, and that is what makes having a blog so exciting. You send your voice out into the universe and want people to read what you have to say, and you share personal things, things that are funny or profound or nonsenscial, but just whatever it is that you want to send out, and there is a rush knowing that someone is reading these silly little words that I write, without me actually having to say it directly to them. And people who you never thought would hear you, listen. I admit it, i read some blogs and find out about people, about their thoughts and what they are going through that I wouldn't otherwise know or think to ask. I've also found people who are incredibly shy in person to be really funny on their blogs. Despite my embarrassment this evening over being caught writing about someone on my blog, I will continue to write what I want to. This is simply me, edited in the way that I want you to see me.

And for you, Ira Glass boy, I apologize for writing about you on my blog if an apology is necessary, but I don't think that it is, because I think that secretly you may have found it flattering that I wrote about you. Thanks for a fun night and an education in improv. The more I get to know you, the less I will have to make up to write about you for the blog.

Friday, January 4, 2008

in a cafe today...

I met a person who makes the universe better place. His name is Andrew, and he happened to be at the cafe with his Russian pop-star friend. Who had to leave Russia because he made a music video about Chechnya. "Don't Do It" by Oskar.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day 3: IOWA.

We'll start with the big news today-- IOWA Caucus. Obama for the Democrats and Huckabee for the Republicans. Wow. If you want to know how this whole caucus thing works in Iowa, go here, I watched it yesterday and it was helpful. For some reason, this year I feel more baffled than ever before by the fact that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are the big campaign states and pretty much decide who gets the democratic and republican nominations. Why those states? How are they in any way a reflection of how people in the U.S. really feel? Is this a consulation prize for living in Iowa, the most boring state in the nation? (kidding, Iowa. I've only driven through you and you had some lovely cornfields. And Liina and Jarom said you were really, really cold). Are there any big cities in any of those states? Not to question our democratic process, but.. okay, i am questioning it a bit. It just doesn't seem like all that rationale of way to choose candidates. In any case, after months of campaigning, Iowans can now rest easy knowing that it'll be another few years before the candidates and media come knocking down their doors again. There are more pigs than people there-- do you really think they enjoy the media circus? One interesting statistic though-- only 10% of Iowans actually showed up for these primaries. You would think that with such an important job, more people would show up. Let's hope that more come out for the presiential elections to determine who gets their two electoral college votes (I'll hold off my comments on THAT topic until November. Good grief.) Anyway, Obama and Huckabee. New Hampshire will be interesting. I have some friends thinking of going up to campaign for Obama, and think that would be pretty cool. Now, as for Huckabee, he is one odd cat, and I kind of hope he wins the Republicn nomination just because I think he would be easier to beat than McCain (although none of them haver really stood out in the pack). I'm going to stop being apolitical pundit. And leave that to Emily-- she has a great theory about Huckabee trying to be the white, conservative Obama and suddenly all about change.

On to other news...
As much as I would've loved to have gone to another museum today, alas, i did not, although April and I did have tentative plans to go see the mermaids and dragons exhibit at the Natural History Museum (but the cost was prohibitive). Instead, i lay in bed curled up with my electric blanket for a while doing some reading, and then got to work. It has been an internet day, and not too productive (starting lots of things). I was checking out my schedule for next semester and got a little bit stressed out about it-- Public Economics and Finance, Intro to Policy, Multiple Regressions, and Program Evaluation. i mean, i am excited for it, but can see a long winter spent in the library ahead of me. And that part stressed me out a bit because I was kind of hoping to find a part time job-- student loans, while incredibly helpful, have their limits. but I won't worry about that- education really does come first and I am not willing to sacrifice that. So then I spent some time looking at scholarships and seeing what I should apply for. Looks like I'll be spending time writing some essays about poverty. Also did some research on UNIFEM for my NGO position as a UN representative-- but more on that later! It is kind of a dream come true and I think I may still be dreaming it up.

After being all studious, i decided to get some groceries before I get scurvy and die, and then headed out with April to a fabric store so I could pick up some material and thread to learn how to SEW. Yes! I got a sewing machine for Christmas (thanks, Santa!), and am so excited to learn. We went to this fabric store somewhere deep in Crowne Heights, owned by a little Puerto Rican man named Juan who called us lovely girls and asked if we had boyfriends. April told him she was married and he made comments about her learning to sew clothes for her babies. He told me not to worry, I was pretty and someone would want me (it's gotta be true coming from him). This shop was amazing-- there were incredible party press shiny fabrics (though nothing appropriate for curtains) and ribbon and trim of all sorts everywhere. It was amazing. Amazing. Once day, once I learn to sew and come up with a suitable project, i am going back there to buy that brown trim with glitter emroidered flowers. it was fabulous. We came back to my house, ate cookies (yummy, thanks mommy April), and April sewed a bag while I managed to sew long lines of thread into a piece of cloth. Now I at least know what all 25 stitches look like. Productive. The evening concluded with eating Indian food with Emily and listened to NPR and wondering how many Indian restaurants there were in Iowa (we guess not too many).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Day 2. more art! yes!

This really is turning up to quite the most amazing January. Day two was spend lounging in bed in the morning doing some reading for my Sunday School (we start the Book of Mormon this year, and I am really excited-- all are welcome to attend-- Park Slope ward at 11 am). After making my oatmeal, I then sat down on my computer to work on a short story that I started about a month ago but haven't had a chance to do much with. i'm really excited about this story-- it is a little bit dark and somewhat based on actual events, but takes kind of a strange turn. I think I'll call it "the Love Story Thief" because it is about this woman who is obsessed with recording people's love stories and stealing them to make them her own. There is a lot more to it, and I hope I can put pen to paper and make it flow in a coherent way, or rather, fingers to keyboard. You will see it when it is done (which will hopefully be by the end of the month).

In any case, got some writing done and then headed off to the MoMA with Andrew from Wagner. Hooray for Andrew, he got us in for free because he has a friend who works there. Seriously a good way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, wandering about this incredible museum.

There was an amazing exhibit by Martin Puryear that just blew my mind-- he makes these huge sculptures out of wood, and really is very talented. He also uses other materials, such as wire and mesh and rawhide, but the wood sculptures were the most impressive to me, maybe because wood just really speaks to me. I loved how the things that he made seemed so fluid and round compared to the upright trees that they came from. Some of the items that he made seemed almost like cages (most of his work was hollow) and I thought of how much fun I would've had as a kid sticking a sibling or friend inside and pretending to be a witch. One of the pieces reminded me of the work of a talented artist friend of mine, Ben Howell, who took an entire room in Damian's house and filled it with pieces of wood attached at 90 degree angles. it took him 9 months but the end result was an impressive space filled with wood and at the same time not full at all. It is fun to know creative friends like that. That reminds me, i did an interview with Ben a few months ago for my podcast and still have yet to edit it (and still have yet to set the podcast up. both projects for January).

Andrew was delightful company on this adventure. Now he is off to north Carolina to hang out with cousins and then to Mexico. lucky dude.

I thought I would call it a night, but then my old friend Kirk called me up to go to a comedy show. Since I am on vacation, I figured why not? We didn't make it to the comedy show, but we did end up at Momofuku in the east village, which is a super yummy noodle bar. It was good to hang out with Kirk again, I've seen him every once in a while these last few years, but not much since moving from Provo. He is now in my 'hood (we share the 7th Ave subway stop!) and it'll be nice to see more of that kid. And, hopefully we'll do some creative projects together!

So now I'm home, hanging out with Emily. So glad to be inside instead of outside-- as I walked to the subway station tonight, I got a brain-freeze from being in the wind. it is that cold. I'll be sleeping with the electric blanket on hot tonight! Tomorrow come the Iowa primaries, and I am excited/nervous to see what will happen there!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Day 1 of the most amazing january ever.

Woke up at April's house because was playing Scrabble until 3 am. Came home quickly to shower and change, and then headed to the Upper east side to meet up with Mike. Hurray! I haven't seen Mike in a few months, but have been wanting to hang out with him. We went to the Guggenheim Museum to see the Richard Prince exhibit. I have to admit, i wasn't super impressed at first, since the exhibit started off with some photographs that were really blown-out and grainy, and looked like cheap advertising from the late 70s. I did however like his huge canvases covered with paint and words-- although most of the words were really stupid jokes. The idea was cool, and I liked the effect of it-- I just wish that the words would have been more obscured by paint and not as stupid. The best part of the exhibit were the nurse paintings-- Richard Prince has these series of "naughty nurses" that he has done from the covers of those nurse pulp romances that are really interesting and kind of disturbing.

Made me want to paint on a really big canvas. While this exhibit was impressive, I have to say, i think that my favorite exhibit was a smaller on off of the main gallery of collages and photographs from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. There was some early Dada stuff that I found to be really whimsical and powerful at the same time. I may just be parical because I really like collage as a medium and using current images to create an artistic/political statement. There was one photograph in particular that was of a group of people, men in suits and they were all a little bit blurry-- the picture had an amazing sense of movement to it. Wish I had written down the name of it. Anyway, go to the Guggenheim! It is free on Friday nights.

As for being productive, I filled out my U.S. citizenship application today. I've been thinking about doing it for a while and just haven't done it, mostly because the cost is huge and I have been too busy to take the time to do it. but, i came home this afternoon and sat down to fill it out. It wasn't that difficult to fill out, except for the part that asked you to list all of the places you've traveled since becoming a permanent resident. Considering how I have been a permanent resident since 1988, that was a tad bit difficult, but I think I managed to piece together a fairly accurate list from stamps in the passport. I hesitated over checking the box asking "If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms on behalf of the United States?" In fact, i haven't yet checked it off. I mean, I don't think that I would actually be expected to bear arms to go fight someone, and neither would most people I know who are citizens. It is just in the oath of allegiance and I know I need to be able to answer yes to that if I want my citizenship, so ultimately I probably will check that box off. but, am I willing to bear arms for the U.S.? Am I willing to bear arms for any country? I don't think so. I mean, I am just a really non-violent person. I guess the easier way to look at it is-- if someone came to take away my home and family, would I fight for it? In that case, the answer it yes, I would fight to defend my home and family. I suppose in a way, that is selfish way to look at it-- if I am in physical danger myself, then I would take up arms, but not in order to defend others in this country or to protect the way of life here. I think another concern is that I am completely unwilling to take up arms unless the cause is a just cause, and I don't trust the people making the decisions. Sigh, hence the citizenship application. At least I could check the "I am not a communist" box without hesitation.

Now I just need to figure out how to get $675 to pay for this application. I am accepting donations.

Doing it in the Park. Doing it after dark.

DANCING. I don't know what you were thinking about.

New Year's Eve always has this heavy responsibility of being amazing, and never, ever lives up to expectations. So, this year I pretty much made no plans, and had no expectations, and ended up having a fabulous New Year's Eve. I read most of the day (What is the What by David Eggers-- so, so good). I then went by myself to the Peace concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, this massive building in Harlem, for this beautiful, free concert, with the New York Philharmonic, opera singers, and a number of other local artists. With the vaulted stone ceilings, the music echoed down from the ceiling to surround us with sound. You know, i really enjoyed the music and thinking about peace for the coming year. It was a good period of reflection. Not to worry, however, I didn't spend all evening alone, I went and met up with April and Michael (and Karem and TJ and Beky and Kristi) and we went to the rockin' new Year's evening celebration right here in my own hood, at Prospect Park. Free hot cocoa and a funk band, all sorts of people from the community and fireworks, and best of all, James Brown Jr. gyrating his hips to ring in the new year. Hot dog. it was awesome. To end a lovely evening, i went to April, Michael and Beky's and played scrabble until 3 am. No new years kiss this year, but I had plenty last year and it didn't get me anywhere, so I figure this new year is probably better.

So I am excited for the new year. I know that it is just another day, and in no way should change things. But. I don't know, i have this really excited feeling for this upcoming year. in 2008, there'll be no hate. 2008 the year to date and find a mate so i can procreate, but not fornicate. Hmm, maybe I won't take that as a theme. I'm feeling more like 2008, the year to create. Speaking of creating, a resolution I have is a plan for the most amazing January ever, and that entails creating. I have three weeks of nothing planned, three glorious weeks and a list a mile long floating around in my head. I have stories to write and pictures to paint and topics to research. So excited. I love this lovely life. I am so excited for this new year. Everything and anything is possible.