Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving with White People

Today I visited my Grandfather for Thanksgiving. It was great to see him in such great health. Afterwards, we drove up to eat dinner with relatives from my dad's side of the family. I am used to celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. It usually goes something like this: Everyone brings a dish, we say grace around the table, and we all grab food and eat over the course of six hours in various parts of my grandmother's house. There is turkey, but there is a lot of Filipino food as well.

The Thanksgiving I attended today was quite different. I haven't seen much of this side of my family because they live on the East Coast, but not I was getting to know them relatively quickly. We all sat down at the dinner table, said grace, and ate for about an hour. Then we took a walk and returned for desert. And it was truly fantastic. The food was great (mashed turnips, brussel sprouts, stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc.) andthe conversation was fantastic. My dad warned me that our family had a tradition of humor and wit, and today I witnessed it first hand. I laughed hard the entire evening.

I managed to make one of my cousins laugh once. We were eating pies, and there was a chocolate and caramel pie with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

"That's called Turtle Pie." my aunt pointed out. My cousin cut himself a piece and examined it.
"This pie is out of control." he said.
"Just like a turtle." I commented.
He laughed and added, "Yeah, when I see a turtle, all I can say is CALM DOWN!"

This was a pivotal bonding moment for me.

So now I am full and ready to sleep, and I am thankful to have such great family in all parts of the country.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pre-Thanks

My sister flew in from California yesterday. We got to Sarah Lawrence at ten o'clock, ate food, and explored the campus. She destroyed me in a game of Connect Four, and then we returned to my room to sleep. Ohio was gone for the holidays, so she slept in his bed and reported the next morning that both Sebastopol and I snore.

We took a train into New York City and then walked from Grand Central to Penn Station, with many adventures in between. We got lost for a moment so we stopped into a Starbucks for eggnog lattes and wifi, and we found our bearings and headed in the right direction.

 Brunch: $14.95 Time with a person who is just as weird as you: Priceless.

On our way to Penn Station we stopped at the New York Public Library. I mentioned to Erin that I wanted to get a library card. "I have one from Pinole, from Berkeley, from San Francisco, it's be cool to have one from New York."

"Then why don't you just get one." said Erin.

Awkward pause.

"Ok." I said.

I went up to the courtesy desk and asked to apply for a library card.

"Do you have an ID with your current address?" she asked.
I gave her my drivers license and my Sarah Lawrence ID.
"... I need proof that you go to this college. Do you have a piece of mail with your name on it?"

I didn't. So I left library cardless. I met Erin outside, who was reading a book with our luggage. I told her what happened, she shrugged, and we continued to Penn Station.

 DENIED

We took the train and met my aunt in Bayside. We dropped off our stuff inside her apartment, rested for a couple minutes, then headed back out into the city.

We went to go see the Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon inflating. It was very crowded but very exciting and slightly magical. There were lots of kids with fun winter hats sitting on their father's shoulders, and lots of beautiful mothers. Erin and I followed one in particular with short blonde hair and a beige and purple bag. Erin dared me to compliment her, but I was too shy and slightly afraid of a man that looked like he was her husband. We eventually lost sight of her.

Seeing the balloons was like seeing celebrities. They were all held down with nets, and we tried figuring out who was who. There was Spongebob and the Kool-Aid Man and The Pillsbury Doughboy, but my absolute favorite was Buzz Lightyear. I had a long discussion with my sister about why Buzz Lightyear is simply the best character out of all the balloon. [As I write this, Erin is in her pajamas, in her sleeping bag, reading a book. "What was your favorite balloon?" I ask. "Sonic. Duh."]
A wild Doughboy successfully caught!

OHHHHHH YEEEEAHHHH

Me: Explaining why Buzz Lightyear is awesome. Erin: Not caring.

BUZZ! OH MY GOD IT'S BUZZ! [my only problem, the bottom of his foot doesn't say "Andy".]

Sonic. Ok, he's kind of cool. For a hedgehog. And a balloon.

Afterwards we went to a birthday party on Central Park West. It was kind of awkward because we didn't know the birthday girl/woman, but eventually we got into talking to her friends and once we established that we were friendly we felt safe enough to eat the food.

We spent a long time talking to a man who grew up in Brooklyn. He talked about games he played as a child (playing with bottle caps and chalk, flipping bugs out of the gutter, kick the can) then we talked about school for a while (he was very interested in the idea of Sarah Lawrence. "It makes me want to learn again.") and we had a long, in depth discussion about the color of the walls of the apartment we were in.

"The color sort of reminds me of... facial cream."

Later we headed back to Penn Station, where we ran into a crowd of young men in jeans and button up shirts and women in tight dresses and high heels. They were loud and slightly intoxicated, and the crowd kept on growing and growing and growing. The crowd got so big and loud that at one point I thought a riot was going to break out, but we boarded our train before we could participate.

And now we're back and we're getting as much sleep as we can before we wake up tomorrow to peel potatoes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

West Point Mixer

So Sarah Lawrence College had sign ups for a West Point Mixer, and the list filled up within the first hour it was up. 39 women and me. When I told my friends that I was going to the Mixer, they guys asked "Why?" and they girls asked the same question but cried while doing it, and I told them that I needed writing material.

To sign up, we had to pay three dollars and read through the rules of the dance, which basically said "Do not get overly intoxicated, and do not fight with the cadets. DO NOT FIGHT WITH THE CADETS."

Fun Facts about West Point and Sarah Lawrence:

  • SLC - 70% female, 30% male. 
  • West Point - 17% female, 83% male 

  • SLC - most expensive college in the country 
  • West Point - Free 

  • SLC - Liberal Arts College 
  • West Point - Military Academy

  • SLC - Distribution requirements 
  • West Point - Core curriculum 
A match made in heaven. 

Friday night I dressed in my finest. I didn't have a tuxedo, but I did have a suit, which I wore with my roommate's black bow tie. I was going to wear a rain jacket, but my other roommate let me borrow his trench coat, and since I just got a haircut, he let me borrow his winter hat as well. 

Class.

Even more class.

SO MUCH CLASS! MOSCOW SWAG!

We loaded into three vans and left for West Point, which was an hour long car ride away. Our driver got lost and turned into a street on the side of the road and got stuck in a ditch. 

Yes. The wheels got stuck in the mud, and we were stuck on the side of the road. 

So, dressed in our finest, 13 girls and I piled out of the van into the cold and the mud and we pushed the van out of the hole. It took three tries, but we did it, and we felt more than ready to talk to the West Point cadets, since we now had something in common: physical exertion, heavy machinery, and victory. 

We made it to West Point and unloaded into the ballroom. There was a live jazz band, the West Point Jazz Band, uniformed and on-point. I talked to a couple of cadets and attempted to "mix". A bunch of the West Point students were wearing grey uniforms, but others were wearing dress shirts and slacks. After some brief introductions, a guy who looked remarkably like Andy Garcia took the microphone and told everyone to line up, girls on one side and guys on the other. 

We did, and once everyone was in position he gave us a crash course in ballroom dancing. We learned the basic move, which includes rocking twice and then doing two quick steps, which he had us memorize with the words "step... step.... quick-quick step... step.... quick quick step..." We practiced for a couple minutes, then he told us to find a partner and try it out. 

I danced with a SLC girl who is actually in my Oral History class. We weren't bad, but over her shoulder I could see a girl from our school in a red dress doing crazy spins and other moves with a cadet. I was bumping knees and steeping the wrong way sometimes, and I was constantly looking at my feet muttering "step... step... quick quick step...".

Eventually we left the dance floor and I entered a circle of cadets and started talking to them. I met Georgia, a stocky blonde girl in a grey uniform. She explained to me that all the first-years have to wear the grey uniforms. 

"I'm really disappointed in my friends. A lot of the guys are chickening out and not asking girls to dance, which doesn't make sense to me." 

"I guess you could tell them to man up." I said. " Or, maybe that isn't the best thing to say to a cadet." 

"Probably not." She said, looking over my shoulder. "Oh look! Rob's dancing with a civilian." 

"Civilian?" I asked. 

"Yup. You're all civilians." she smiled. "Ah, that guy. Good for him. I can still bench more than him though." 

This was my favorite phrase of the evening. 

I asked her to dance, so we went to the dance floor and Andy Garcia taught us and all of the other dancers how to salsa. This is very different from the basic step. Instead of "Step... step... quick quick step..." the pattern is "quick-quick step.... quick-quick step..." 

I placed my right hand on Georgia's waist and held her hand with my left. It was very calloused. 

We danced awkwardly and I asked her about school. 

"I'm taking six core classes," she said, "American Politics, English, Calculus, Engineering, Combatives..." 

"Combatives?"

"Yeah, we learn how to fight. Right now they're teaching us how to choke people out with our legs."

This was another favorite phrase of my evening. 

"What about you?" she asked. 

"Well, um....I'm taking three classes." 

"Three?!" She stopped dancing. "What? What three classes? 

"Um... Child Psychology, Oral History and... Spanish... Intermediate.... Spanish...."

She shook her head and left the dance floor. I sat down at a table with some Sarah Lawrence girls. 

"How did it go?! We saw you dancing!" 

"It went great." I said. "I'm going to the bathroom."

I walked out of the ballroom and across the lobby to the bathroom. Inside were the stranges urinals I have ever seen in my life. For those of you who have had many experiences with urinals, these jutted out of the wall and looked like toilet bowls shaped like tear-drops. A cadet was urinating one-handedly into one of the urinals, and I knew I would make a fool of my self if I even tried, so I locked myself into a stall and did my business there in privacy. 

When I was done, I left the stall and the man was washing his hands. I couldn't help notice how thick his neck was. I washed my hands as well, and I watched in the mirror how in one fluid motion, the cadet turned off the water and swept his hand over the motion sensor on the paper towel dispenser. He dried his hands and left. I waved my hand in front of the paper towel dispenser several times and nothing happened. On the fourth try it finally worked, and I felt very weak and small, like I wasn't bulky enough for the West Point paper towel dispenser to recognize me. 

I couldn;t find any more female cadets to dance with, so I danced with a couple more SLC girls until the dance ended. There was a dance contest and some girls I knew won "Call of Duty" the first-person war video game. 

The band closed with "Army Blue", a slow song, which I shared with an SLC student, and then we left for our vans. 

The mixer was apparently a success. A girl I talked to in the van said she met a guy who asked for her phone number, and that they were going to meet in the city the next day. 

"I don't know if he's a novice to dating or what though." she said. "He texted me twice already, and I haven't even responded yet."

We got back to Sarah Lawrence and I returned my roommates' clothes and changed into my pajamas. I pushed a van out of a ditch, I learned how to ballroom dance, and I salsa'd with a cadet from Georgia.  

Mission accomplished. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PACKAGE!

I got a package today from my Pinole Community Players family! Things are really getting stressful as the due dates of my conference projects get closer, but this package really boosted my morale. Some updates:
  • I am sick. My other roommate, Sebastapool, is sick too, and he moans in his sleep, but he's getting better now. I have a sore throat and I bought some DayQuil today, which is really some fantastic stuff. 
  • Radio show today was AWESOME. I was so prepared, and it showed. Tune in next week to hear an even better show!
  • West Point Dance tomorrow. I sort of learned how to tie a bow tie today, but Ohio is going to help me tie it legitimately before I leave tomorrow. 
That's about it! I must sleep.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update

So today I went to a Mealoaf Party in Kober. My radio friend DC decided she wanted to make meatloaf so she invited us all over for dinner. It was very homey and it felt like a family meal. Sort of.

I am climbing back on top of my work and having tons of fun while doing so. Yesterday I went into the city to interview a piano player who plays piano in Washington Square Park every weekend at night. He was a really cool guy, and I am hopefully meeting up with him again to talk some more. I want to learn piano so I can one day be as cool as this guy.

But other than that I am learning how to budget my time and money. This week I am saving $20 because I bought my own cereal and bananas instead of buying it from the Pub. Tomorrow I am getting a $3 haircut from a friend.

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving, and even more to Christmas break. It will be great to see my Pinole homies who know where I come from. Literally.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Work

I am slightly behind on school work so I am putting the blog on a short hiatus. I will be back as soon as possible. Holla.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Scrabble

I won Scrabble in Spanish tutoring again today! The winning word was "caliente" which included all of my letters, which gave me 50 bonus points.

I am so tired, still. I spent most of my transcribing the interview from last week, and tomorrow we're field-tripping back to Long Island City to do some follow-up questions.

Must go to sleep early to be ready for the children at 8:30am.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Weekend in Photos


Wish tree.

Fall Formal

Group photo

Central Park


My Weekend

I had the best weekend, as you can probably gather from the lack of blog posts. I am alive, though tired, and I will catch ya'll up once I get some food and sleep in me. Right now I am at work and I've been stamping posters and answering phones for three hours now. All I want to do is go downstairs and eat a cheeseburger. Or maybe something from the vegan section.

In the meantime, send me e-mails. I want to hear from my readers.

Truly,
Connor

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Three More Points


  •  Met Ohio's parents and I think they're charming. 
  • We now have a rug for our dorm room.
  • Went to the city with Gwenna (Shake Shack, Eggnog Lattes, Washington Square Park, Milk Bar, High Line Park)
I am having a fantastic weekend. Is this blog point disappointing? You know what? You will get SO much more blogging when there is not as much happiness to experience. But until then, I'm pretty busy having a great time. So don't judge. 

Three Points

  • Today was Fall Formal
  • Gwenna was my date
  • I wore my favorite tie, a dress shirt, my suit jacket, and PARTY PANTS.
That is all. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Best Day Ever

I woke up at 5:45am this morning, got dressed, and took the train from Bronxville to Grand Central Station to meet up with Gwenna. I got there early, so I walked around the building for a while. Eventually I settled into a corner near the 42nd Street Main entrance and waited.

After 45 minutes I texted her to find out where she was, but I when I looked up from my phone I saw her and my stomach flipped and we kissed right there.

The first thing I noticed was our mutual eye contact, which was impossible via Skype. The second thing I noticed was that it was 8:00am and I needed to get back to Bronxville for class.

Gwenna's flight was uneventful, probably because she was in sensory deprivation (ear plugs, sleeping mask) but she did note that there were a lot of babies on board. "One had pink pajamas. ADORABLE."

I got to school on time, dropped off Gwenna in my dorm, and went to class. It was long and agonizing, not just because of Gwenna but because I was hungry too. But on the bright side, I was the only one who did the optional homework reading, so I scored extra points with my don.

I said "Hi!" to more people than I have ever said "Hi!" to since I've arrived here at Sarah Lawrence. I was in a fantastic mood, and it carried throughout the day. As a wise woman once said, "Nothing like a girl in your dorm room to make you happy."

After Spanish, Gwenna joined DC, Massey and I on our radio show, "The Best Day Ever". The theme was "The Letter B" so we talked about anything that started with the letter B. It was one of our best hours on air, but unfortunately the school's website was having technical difficulties so a lot of people didn't hear it. But at least we did. Gwenna read Urban Dictionary definitions and won our "B-Battle". Massey was consistently hilarious, and DC ran the soundboard today, and she did a much better job than me. It all went so smoothly. It truly was the best day ever.

Later in the afternoon we went to Karaoke Night at the Black Squirrel. We both got milkshakes: I got a "Parent Trap" which was peanut butter and oreos mixed with vanilla ice cream. Gwenna got chocolate ice cream with peppermint. Empowered by Gwenna's presence, I sang "Bad Romance" with Hawaii and managed to slip in a Christopher Walken accent for the spoken parts. "I'm a free... bitch. Baby."

And now it's the weekend, and I am really excited to make the most of it.

Interview

Today I interviewed a woman who recently got out of jail. I have to type up three pages of transcript from the interview. First field trip of the year! To Long Island City.

So tired. But I need to wake up early tomorrow to get to Grand Central.

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scrabble

I played Scrabble in Spanish today. But it was the Spanish version so it had "Ñ"s and "RR"s.


SPANISH TUTOR: "Jueagas Scrabble? Eres bien?" Do you play scrabble? Are you good? 


ME: "Si. Soy el mejor." Yes. I am the best. 


The three of us (my tutor, my classmate and I) pulled letters from the bag and started the game. Our Spanish tutor put on Shakira music videos on her computer for ambiance, which was very distracting, especially when Shakira was rubbing black paint all over herself. But I got a double word score with "Perro" and a triple letter score on "bañe", and I ended up winning the game by ten points. 


"Yo se dijo. Soy el mejor." I told you guys. I am the best. 


Still noveling, hence the short blog post. Mr. Vineyards and I will type and read passages aloud to each other, which is really fun and helpful. I need more character development. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Strangers and NaNoWriMo

Tonight I went walking to prepare myself for the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month. Nietzsche said something to the effect of "All great ideas come from walking" and I totally agree. However, after walking around campus twice I ran into one of my classmates who actually lives in Yonkers. We explored the town for a little bit and eventually one of his friends picked us up. She drove us to her house and I met her parents and the three of us hung out in her basement gossiping about people I didn't know.

Afterwards, she dropped us off back at SLC, and I went back to my room. Vineyards is doing NaNoWriMo with me, so he set up a cot in my room and we're typing side by side for our first 2,000 words.

I am exhausted from all the typing, so this will be the extent of my blog post today. Happy November! Wrote 2,015 words tonight. Only 47,985 to go.