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Aug. 1st, 2014 03:40 pm
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
A meme from [livejournal.com profile] egelantier: Comment on this entry, and I'll give you three themes along the lines of "username and [some idea or concept or thing]". You then post what you have to say on these themes in your own livejournal.

She gave me:
[livejournal.com profile] wordsofastory and new york
I love New York. I've lived here for almost eight years now (I arrived at the end of August in 2006) and would very happily stay here for the rest of my life. I've lived in three neighborhoods in two boroughs, so there are huge swathes of the city that I know too little about. Or that I haven't even seen, considering that I've still never been on Staten Island other than at the ferry dock or on the highway across it.

I like the physical conveniences of the city – subways and a bus system that actually works; every store or movie or restaurant you could possibly want; access to trains and airports and people who are more than willing to visit you just because of the city. But I also like more intangible things: the feel of the people, the rules of social interactions, the smell of a pizza place or bakery or, on occasional windy days, the ocean. I like the anonymity of it – like any big city – but also learning to recognize or be recognized by the people at few favorite places. The only thing I don't like is the price of rent; whyyyyyy is it so high? Okay, I know why, but it still pains my soul.

Also, I've gotten to the point where I can claim to be a real New Yorker, because I can give people directions. (Well. Usually.)

[livejournal.com profile] wordsofastory and dreams
I actually don't dream very much! Or perhaps I just don't remember them. On the positive side, that means I almost never have nightmares either; the last one I remember having was years and years ago (and was about an elephant chasing me down stairs, which for some reason was TERRIFYING).

I wish I did have more memorable dreams. I'm always a little jealous when people recount theirs, and they have dramatic plots and fannish characters and cool settings or whatever. I must be happy when I'm unconscious though, since I've been told I giggle in my sleep fairly often.

[livejournal.com profile] wordsofastory and favorite narrative tropes
Ah, so hard to choose! I think I tend to respond to stories almost entirely based on how I feel about the characters, rather than the narrative. But some of my favorite tropes are traveling (road-trips or post-apocalyptic search for survival or traveling circuses or finding the MacGuffin or anything like that; traveling just for tourism is much less interesting to read about) and things to do with cons or trickery; if we're going to have a straightforward good vs evil narrative, I prefer our heroes to be underdogs who have to work through less-than-straighforward methods (spying, assassinations, lying, stealing, disguises, etc) instead of meeting on the field of battle, so to say. I'm much more into friends-to-lovers than foe!yay or antagonist pairings. I like people who are broken in one way or another (usually emotionally, but it's all good) not getting better, but getting on with their life, having relationships that manage without healing. I tend to be waaaay more interested in the stories of an established relationship than a first time – like, great, now you know you're interested in each other, that's important, but what I really want to know is about how you work out differences and make compromises and decide where to live or who sleeps where or who does what, when you tell the other about some important backstory or future goal, how you come up with routines or nicknames or inside jokes, how you fight and make up, little things that didn't seem important at first which become obstacles. I feel like there's so many stories after the first time, and they tend to get less attention, alas. I also almost always tend to write characters in relationships that are at least open to some degree, if not explicitly polyamorous. I don't know why; I guess jealous is boring and petty and I just want to explore all of the characters with all of the other characters. ...This has sort of devolved into talking about character tropes again.

ANYWAY NON-ROMANTIC NARRATIVE TROPES: I really adore retellings, reversals of tropes, fairy tales and mythologies. I love taking an old story and twisting it, doing something different with it. (Which is one of the reasons I like fanfic so!) I like lovingly described settings that are really important to the plot, so historical AUs and cyberpunk and things like that really work for me. The protagonists Saving The Day is obviously awesome, but I am also fond of bittersweet or mixed endings. I can even like a bit of grimdark, depending on how it's done.

Hmm, I'm sure there's a ton more I love, but I can't think of them. I'm so bad at plots, really! I go to look at what I've written, and it's all slice-of-life or relationship details or little ordinary moments. People actually doing things, pshaw.


Apr. 13th, 2011 07:05 pm
brigdh: (the city)
People keep asking me if I have culture shock since I've gotten back. No, not that I've noticed, but I think I might have something like climate shock. In India it was the middle of summer; here in New York there's not even leaves on the trees yet! Though some of them have flowers, mostly little white ones that might be cherry blossoms, though I'm certain these trees don't produce cherries, so maybe not. Small white flowers that cover the entire tree, so that from a distance the whole thing looks like a child's drawing of a cloud, and that freckle the sidewalks beneath, tiny circular petals marking the gray pavement like drops of milk. And there are my favorites, the magnolias: such big, heavy flowers, one petal the size and weight of an orange peel.

The farmers' markets are small, still, offering only the last dregs of winter vegetables: potatoes, parsnips, turnips. Even ramps- which I think of as the very first sign of spring- aren't here yet. But the sky is blue, bluer than it was in Gujarat, which had a high sky, distant and pale as old denim. New York's sky is a vivid blue, and lower, so that it often seems just a little way above the buildings.

But today it's raining, so there is no blue in the sky of any shade. Instead it's a cloudy gray, so low that it does touch the buildings, overlaps with the tallest ones, in fact, erasing their upper stories. The rain washes the petals from the trees, plasters them to the ground like tissue paper. The branches of the trees without flowers are dark with water, stark black lines against a sky which is somehow bright and colorless at the same time, the light coming from everywhere with no sun for a source. At night the streetlights turn the bare branches to glass or silver, some shining, reflective substance that seems more than wood and water.

And it's cold, of course, much colder than India, though not enough to really bother me. It's the sort of brisk, damp cold that comes with rain, enough to chill your face and turn your breath visible, but not enough to reach under your skin and effect your inner warmth. I walk around and I think New York, New York, a feeling that has no more words than that, just love for this city and so very much joy to be home again.
brigdh: (the city)
1. Snake has virgin birth. This is even creepier than that shark virgin birth a year or two ago, because these babies also have freaky genes. MUTANT SNAKES: DO NOT WANT FOREVER.

2. Kids Reenact Project Runway (video) - Hahahaha, this is hilarious. And helps me get over my bitterness regarding the winner of this season.

3. Towards a Steampunk Without Steam
4. Stupid Things We Say - Two articles about the imperialism/colonialism/racism/sexism/etc of unexamined steampunk. I love the idea of "cotton gin punk" so much. I would totally be all over that genre. Whereas steampunk- there's a lot of interesting things happening in it, but the genre itself is not what I would have chosen to be the next big thing. I still miss cyberpunk! Why did we get tired of that?

5. 50 Reasons to be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City - OH GOD I MISS NYC SO MUCH. (Although Jesus, what's with the bitterness in the comments?) Cardiff can bite me. I want New York.


Oct. 20th, 2010 03:29 pm
brigdh: (MWAAAAAAH!)
1. I finally succumbed and paid LJ for another year. I know, seriously, at some point I am going to figure this Dreamwidth/LJ thing out, but I keep putting it off, and the ads were making me sad. As was the fact that I only had 5 icons. I have resisted the temptation to buy extra icons, so I still don't have all 140 or whatever, but at least I know have 65, which I tell myself is really all the icons a reasonable person needs. ...we'll see if I manage to keep to that.

2. Other stuff I am doing: Flikr! (Which, unlike LJ, I have not paid for, so now I can't upload more photos until next month.) I've been organizing some of the pictures I've taken recently; I don't claim to know much about cameras or what I'm doing, really, but I quite enjoy taking pictures, so I thought I'd share:
The Bronx Zoo
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden
New York Botanical Garden

3. A Monstrous Manifesto by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna. An amazing poem, absolutely worth reading.

4. The 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in the USA, 2010. Unsurprisingly, none of them are in NYC, while three are in Ohio. Hahaha. I am totally sending this link to people I know who keep telling me how dangerous NYC is.
brigdh: (Buffy)
Idol Ceremony, one of my favorite etsy stores, is having a 30% off sale! Today is the last day, so get over there.

The New York City libraries are facing massive budget cuts, to the extent that they will have to completely close 10 branches, and all libraries will only be open four days a week. Help protest this! You do not have to be a resident of NYC to help; even if your sole association for NYC libraries are those statues of the lions outside the one on 42nd street, please help.

If It Was My Home: I know everyone already knows how awful the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is, but this is a great website for the visceral feel of it.

When Teen Pregnancy Is No Accident: a really fascinating and horrifying article on abusive relationships and pregnancy. Leyla's story turns a modern fable on its head: that of the woman—call her the femme fertile—who conspires to get pregnant, perhaps by "forgetting" to take her birth control pills, as a way to “trap a man” and force marriage—or at least keep him in her life. In reality, experts researchers on dating violence and unintended pregnancy say, it’s Leyla's version of that story is all too common. Two new studies have quantified what advocates for young women’s health have observed for years: the striking frequency with which it is in fact young men who try to force their partners to get pregnant.

Macbeth comics!
brigdh: (Old School BtVS)
I have escaped from under the volcano's ash and have returned home! I was unconvinced that we would actually be leaving until a few hours before the flight, so it all seems rather surprising to me. We had the random luck of being one of the first flights out of Heathrow (seriously, the flight number was 2), but alas, that did not mean we got to be interviewed by the BBC, as was my secret hope. However, neither did the whole "really, the ash is safe now! We promise!" thing turn out to be fake, since the plane did not crash, for which I am grateful.

London is, on the whole, a nice city, and it certainly has a much better architectural variety than New York. However, having woken to a brilliantly sunny, warm day, with streets full of vividly green trees and garden-plots of overblown crimson and yellow tulips, after a night with rain-slicked streets and the smell of the ocean in the air, and a twilight full of just-turned-on electric lights which, from the air, looked exactly like the sparks of a bonfire, I have to conclude that NYC is still the best city in the world, no contest.

Anyway, I did not have much internet access while in London, so I am way behind on LJ news. Tell me what's been happening with you!


Sep. 12th, 2009 07:34 pm
brigdh: (tomato star of the earth)
There is nasty weather outside today. Grey, low, cloudy skies, strong winds, rain that never quite stops but that never grows strong enough to be a storm either, just drizzles and and mists and sometimes, briefly, patters.

Despite all that, I went to farmer's market today, and bought an enormous amount of things, mainly because I had missed the market for the last several weeks. My haul includes: grape-apple juice, oyster mushrooms, a dozen eggs, bok choy, white onions, white carrots, garlic, a pint of mixed heirlooms tomatoes, and a handful of mixed hot peppers (jalapeno, poblano, Hungarian wax). Nom nom nom.

Also! This video is brilliant.
brigdh: (the poppies send up their orange flares)
I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden today! Shamefully, I had never been there before. It's an absolutely lovely plant collection/garden/display/formal grounds/research center/etc, divided into areas like "Shakespeare's Garden" (plants mentioned in Shakespeare), The Fragrant Garden (plants that smell good or have funny textures), and a Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden (that's pretty self-explanatory). So, of course, I took photographs!

Pictures! )

A list.

Nov. 28th, 2007 09:17 pm
brigdh: (Koumyou laughs *with* you. Not at you)
Things to love about living in New York: Astor Place is a wide intersection, with a flat island in the middle, surrounded by relatively tall, old buildings. Most of the buildings are facing Astor Place, creating a sense of a sort of cup or valley walled on four of five sides with tall canyons. Today when I was walking across it, in the middle of the afternoon with bright light and plenty of people and cars rushing about, a man was playing a jazz version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" on a saxophone. He had somehow managed to place himself where the walls of a building where broadcasting the music, making it loud enough to fill Astor Place and here long before and after you could see, even with the noise of traffic and people.

Things to hate about living in New York: Later this afternoon, I attempted to go to a talk being given by one of my professors. 50 minutes later, and still over 40 blocks away from my subway stop (not to mention, you know, finding the building and then the room within it), the subway train I was on broke, not only forcing me to get off but blocking that line for other trains to come up. The express trains on the same line were so packed (it was rush hour) that it took three of them stopping at the station before I could manage to get on. At this point, I was 20 minutes late for an hour long talk, and was clearly not getting to the event anytime soon, so I gave up.

Random things which I am not sure to attribute to New York or my own luck: Leaving the subway station, I planned on catching a bus and going home. I briefly confused East and West when coming up out of the station, and walked a block in the wrong direction. Turning around, I heard someone call my name, and looked around to see M, a fellow grad student. "What are you doing up here?" he said, so I explained about the subway. "You're on my block!" he said. "You have to come home with me and help me eat the end of my Thanksgiving leftovers." And so I did.
brigdh: (you give me brainfever~)
On Saturday, I needed a book for a class that my university's library did not have, but which I noticed was available on the New York public library's website. I hadn't been to the New York public libraries before; I know I should have, but the abundance of used book stores in this city meant that I could usually simply buy whatever I wanted, usually without paying more than a few dollars for a book, or even no more than fifty cents. So I'd not yet gotten around to getting a library card.

But this weekend I needed this book, and so I borrowed Racheline's card and went to the library. After some small difficulty finding the place (since I had the wrong address), I discovered the first of my problems with the library: when one goes into a library, typically they have computers set up so that one may look up the call numbers of the book one wants, and then locate it within the building. The New York's library's computers require you to type in your account number and a password before you can use them.

Wait. Let me explain this. These computers do not have access to the internet. These computers cannot be used by random people to check email, surf the web, write their screenplay, or any other random activity which might impede others' access to the computer. The only program these computers have on them is the one that searches for books within the library. Why is this access restricted? And sure, most people in the library probably do have library cards, but I'm sure there's plenty of situations in which people don't- children who check out books on their parents' card, people who want to use the library for research without checking things out, people who use libraries as just a place to go after school or work. And now they can't even find out what is in the library.

I didn't know Racheline's password, but I knew the book I wanted was about ancient India, so I just followed the maps to the history section and then wandered around until I noticed others on the topic. It was a bit annoying, but not a big problem.

There was a fiction book I wanted, and thought I'd check to see if they had it before I left. It was one of Tamora Pierce's Tortall books, which are popular enough that I assumed there was a good chance the library would have it, and figured I should check in their YA section.

I had to ask for directions twice before I could find the YA section. Imagine, if you will, a square area with windows running along the left hand side and the path through the library on the right hand side, walls to the top and bottom, all the space full of shelves of videos parallel to the windows. Picture the shelf furtherest in the top left corner, and thus furtherest away from where you would walk if you weren't looking for a video, but rather, you know, books. This shelf, and only the side facing towards the window and therefore not visible from within the library, was the YA section.

I was annoyed enough when I finally found it, as you can probably tell. But then I started to see if they had the book I wanted, and realized that it was not alphabetized. And I don't mean that it was sort of disorganized and messy. I mean that this shelf had never been alphabetized in its life. Books by a single author were scattered randomly. Copies of the same book were feet apart from one another. Spanish-language books were mixed in with the English-language books; non-fiction was strewn throughout fiction; books that were clearly not YA (The Count of Monte Cristo,for example) were not only on the shelf, but had YA stickers on them. I was so irritated that I sat down and started at least alphabetizing things for about an hour before I gave up. And this wasn't some ghetto branch library where I would be annoyed but unsurprised; this was a library right in midtown, in fact, right across the street from the famous library with the big stone lions and Bryant Park.

Maybe I am spoiled, because my hometown has an excellent public library system. But seriously, what the hell is wrong with the New York public libraries? No wonder people don't read, if this is what they have to deal with.

Back Home

Aug. 18th, 2007 06:32 pm
brigdh: (art)
Today is a very lovely day.

I'm back in New York now (I think I've said that already, but maybe not), which I am finally done traveling, at least for a few months. In the last four months, I have been on planes from: New York to Ohio, Ohio to New York, New York to England, England to Athens, Athens to Cyprus, Cyprus to London, London to New York and Ohio to New York. And in all that, not once was my luggage lost, a plane missed, or a flight delayed for more than a few minutes. I even only got called over for extra searching by security once. Clearly I have the best airport luck of anyone ever. Although, come to think of it, I've never had my luggage lost, but perhaps that just proves my point.

I like being back in New York. It's not quite like any other city; London has the skyscrapers and the history, Columbus has my family and a skyline and districts I know by heart, like a mirror image, and Nicosia has character and individuality, a pretty little halved city with ancient Venetian walls and UN guards diving into the capitals of two different countries. But New York has that and still feels like a place where people live, a home and playground and market and setting. Even the parts of the city that are most gentrified, most designed to appeal to a tourist, still feel like that to me. Even Time Square, for all its ads and chain stores and crowds so huge they spill out into the streets, crowds so dense they feel like a mob that hasn't decided which way it wants to go, even Time Square has its people who are there to live in it: the guys selling ten-dollar watches and fake purses shouting and joking with their friends or customers, and the women in heels trying to shove across a sidewalk to make it to a show on time at one of the theaters all around there.

I missed New York while I was away. I 've never been homesick before (if you can call it homesickness when you've only lived someplace for a year); I've missed people, or a certain restaurant or store, but not whole places, just for their feel. I do love something indescribable, intangible about the city, the angle of its roofs against the sky, or the pattern of all those rectangular buildings- some taller, some shorter, white marble or grey stone or red brick- that shouldn't be different than any other city's but somehow is. I love the dusty purple of the night sky and the long, narrow horizons down the avenues and how the subway trains sway and roar and their brakes squeal in the stations, and how people move quick and sure to an exit or a transfer.

Today I went to the Union Square farmers' market, which is bigger this time of year, wrapping around three sides of the park, the south side with people selling paintings and photographs and t-shirts and candle-holders giving way to the west and north sides with vegetables and fruits and honey and flowers and houseplants, everything smelling like green growing things. I bought bread, a fresh loaf with white chewy insides and a crunchy crust. I missed bread in Cyprus; we ate homemade bread, but the only kind available was thick and tasteless, some trick of local wheat or cooking style making everyone's resemble rubber; and cheese, sharp cheddar, smelling strong even wrapped in paper; baby carrots, pale but thick and round, like little fingers; tiny strawberries the size of my littlest fingernail but so sweet, stronger-tasting than a huge berry; and my favorites, the heirloom tomatoes. They have so many of them right now, and in every variety: yellow and orange and red and green and purple, little tart green zebras striped in shades of grass and lemon, and big old germans, mustard colored with ketchup streaks coming up from the bottom, but sweet as sugar and big enough that one tomato easily weighs over a pound.

Then I sat in the sun for a while in the grassy part of the park, to watch the people. A man in his mid-twenties climbed a tree until he got as high as the branches could hold him, perched there for a few minutes, and then came back down; he was wearing a bright yellow t-shirt that was just the color of the underside of the leaves when the sun shone through them. Across the street, a man stood on the roof of a building, far enough away that he was half the size of a dime. He had dark hair and stood with his back to me, wearing only a pair of pale grey sweatpants, so the line of his spine was visible when he leaned back against the railing at the edge of the roof. He stood there for a long time, half an hour or so, taking in the sun and doing nothing, until a man wearing only black shorts came and said something to him, and they went away together.

As I said, a lovely day. Though it would be even nicer if, you know, Racheline was not currently on the other side of the continent.
brigdh: (spring)
Tomorrow is my last day of classes for this semester. I'll have to write a paper next week (well, I also have to write one today, and get ready to give a presentation), but that hardly counts; I'll just be glad to finally have completed this class that's been driving me crazy. At least bad things, like everything else, eventually come to an end.

That's the main reason why I've been so busy lately; a million final projects and things to prepare for the summer or fall, meetings and papers and emails and endless other things that all have to be done, and done now. It's annoying, but not really terrible. I've also had some sort of terrible cold, though I think I've finally gotten over it. I even ended up at the student medical center on Monday when I nearly lost my voice, after having decried the fact that they were closed on Sunday: how can you close a medical center serving thousands of people for a day a week, particularly when most of them presumably cannot afford to go to an emergency room and don't have local doctors?

I'm insanely behind on all the ficathons that are coming up- I want to read and produce recs for [livejournal.com profile] sprinkkink and [livejournal.com profile] remix_redux and [livejournal.com profile] yaoi_challenge eventually, and I completely forgot to write one prompt I'd signed up for, but I'll do that sometime. Next week, hopefully.

Despite all that, I'm really very happy in general, for many reasons. We've been having gorgeous weather; real spring stuff, for the first time in months. Sun and warmth, and coming right after a week of rain where I don't think I saw the sun once, it all seems exaggeratedly bright and wonderful. And it stays for longer too, so that sunset doesn't come until around 8, so that there's still actual blue sky and liquid orange sunsets long after my body clock expects it to be night. It's so pleasant.

On Monday it was in the low 80s, and I spent a few hours sitting in a park (yes, not even death-by-illness can beat the appeal of hot, sunny weather. I would make an awesome sun worshiper). There's a large fountain slightly off-center in Washington Square, but they haven't turned on the water yet, so crowds of people were sitting inside the rim, on each of the steps down to the lowest center, which would normally be under a few inches of dirty water. People took turns taking advantage of that stage-like space in the middle: someone dressed up in a turban and robe doing what looked like a cross between yoga and capoeira, a group of break-dancers, a guy with a guitar singing pop songs.

Two or three days of sun isn't enough to tan visibly (though it's certainly enough to burn if I'm not careful), but I love that I will, soon. The end of winter does always does this to me: once I hit the point where I no longer have any visible tan lines and I can see blue veins halfway up my arms, all I think about if how I want summer to come back. It's strange, because pale on other people is perfectly attractive. It's only for myself that I want brown and gold and freckles and every possible mark of heat and sun.
brigdh: (XD)
Wow, I haven't made a non-poetry post since Sunday. But it's not my fault! I've been very, very busy. And now it all seems like too much to make into a post, heh.

While I'm sure stories of the endless talks I've had to go to recently or of running around to fill out forms would be terribly fascinating, I think I'll spare you. I did, however, manage to go to a Broadway show for the first time on Tuesday (only because people invited me, though I suppose eventually I would have gotten around to it myself). We went to see Coram Boy, which was amazingly excellent. It's set in England in the 18th century, and is about... well, lots of things, really. Music and orphans and angels and family and obligations and secrets; the plot revolves mostly around two boys (played by women dressed as boys!) studying to be musicians and the problem of unwanted babies in that time period. It's based on a YA novel I haven't read, but it was much darker than I expected.

The staging was also excellent. It was a mostly bare set, with only things like tables and chairs carried on and off by the actors as needed; everything else was conveyed through the choreography of the people on stage, which sounds strange but worked so very well. Despite that, it felt like a very big, intense production; there were often multiple things going on the stage at once, and a choir that came out during suitably dramatic moments.

Anyway. It was excellent! You should go, if you're around.
brigdh: (dotdotdot)
Just after I made that last post, I heard a boom outside, and went to the window to see what it was. A parked car just outside my building had exploded. Or caught on fire. Or something. I called 911 to let them know what was happening (and, by the way, calling 911 in New York is insanely complicated), and hung out at the window, watching the flames and smoke and the fire trucks arrive.

For some reason, the firefighters couldn't or wouldn't actually put out the fire, so the car continued to burn with big orange flames and dark, billowing smoke and occasional additional booms when gasoline or something exploded. After a while I noticed that there was now so much smoke that I couldn't see anything out of the windows, just thick gray clouds and everything smelled like burning oil. I could still hear, however, and managed to catch someone telling the bystanders to back off, because it was unsafe to be breathing this.

So I decided to throw some things in a bag and flee to a coffeeshop for a few hours, despite that I'd not been planning on venturing out into the massive rain. Just as well, I suppose, as in leaving my building I found it had been surrounded by something that looked like police tape, except it was red instead of yellow and had DANGER written on it.

Well. That's interesting. And just when my apartment had stopped smelling like burnt duck.

Rain, rain

Apr. 4th, 2007 06:55 pm
brigdh: (you know you love me)
Yes, yes, so I'm apparently spamming livejournal today. I'll stop soon.

I am so tired today. Possibly because it's that time of the month; I'm lucky enough not to get cramps or mood swings, but massive blood loss wears me out terribly. I should be writing a paper, but I can barely manage to stay out of bed, so I'm not certain if that will happen. I can always write it next week instead, though it would probably be a better decision to do it now.

I think I'm tired because of the rain, and the cold. It's been raining since last night, in a drizzle that occasionally fades to merely a heavy mist and occasionally increases into a real storm. My apartment has an air conditioner in one window, and when it rains hard the water drums on it, echoing in the hollow metal box like someone tapping their fingers on a table except ceaseless and without rhythm. There's the sound of cars on the road too, softer and distant, the shushing they make as they drive through puddles. All of it seems the soundtrack for sleep.

The city looks different in the rain too, of course. Smaller, because the clouds and rain blur anything far away, or hide it completely in faded gray static. And everything is colorless, except for the few trees that have started to flower already: magnolias, all vivid pale pink compared to everything else. I've started to dread the rain because it always lowers the temperature. A few hours of rain mean days of cold weather to follow, even if the sky clears.

It's day for fireplaces, and soft places to sit- the kind you sink into when you flop down- with pillows and blankets. Maybe someone else to share the seat with, to fall asleep with a head on a shoulder. People do make excellent heating pads, after all.

Come and tell me interesting things so I'll stay awake, since I unfortunately don't actually have a fireplace. I do have coffee and an interesting coffeeshop with wood floors and big glass windows, but it's not at all an adequate substitute.


Apr. 2nd, 2007 05:19 pm
brigdh: (dance)
I made a mix that I'm mailing out to people as part of [livejournal.com profile] audiography's Mix Trade, but I decided to share it with you lovely people as well. Locked only because I'm not entirely sure how that fits with the rules of the trade.

Concrete Jungle )

Okay. Now I'm going to go get some dinner, and then I really, seriously, oh-my-god-I-can't believe-it's-due-tomorrow have to finish that one story.
brigdh: (New York City)
Today I had to go to the Institute of Fine Arts, which is, among other things, a library of the sort that has copies of ancient, first-edition-but-never-republished, obscure scholarly texts. And thus the reason I had to visit it, as it is apparently the only place in the city which had a copy of a book I needed for research (though not an old one, but instead one barely in English; a sentence from the 'Introductory': In conclusion, I hope that you will find the opportunity to acquaint yourselves with this book since it is a record fraught with the entire required information about Eridu and since it contains the answers of so much inquiries). Because of this, you cannot check books out of the IFA; you simply go and visit them during the few hours a day the place is open. You come in the massive front doors, made of glass and wrought black iron, and show the appropriate identification to a guard sitting at a desk just inside. You sign a timesheet, and the guard gives you a new ID tag to wear; you take this across a black-and-white marble tile floor and up a wide, curving staircase to another office and another desk, where you tell the people what book you want.

The IFA is not the sort of place where one fetches one's own books from the shelves, you see. They find what you need, and sit you in one of the many rooms to study your find.

The IFA is on the Upper East Side, and is surrounded by other, equally impressive buildings. Most of them have marble columns guarding their doors and windows, or copper gratings gone green with age; what brick there is has long since faded to a respectable, dull brown. They generally look like the sort of hotels wealthy adventures would have stayed in before the first World War, or maybe the sort of place an unusually wealthy pop star might live in, when they happen to be in New York. Directly across the street is Central Park, so if you tire of looking at the pale marble and dark metals you can turn and admire the green hills and trees stretching away. Someone was painting a portrait on the top of one of these hills when I walked by today.

The IFA itself apparently was once a house or, more accurately, mansion. Instead of the big, open spaces more typical of libraries, it has multiple hallways and small rooms, which were presumably once bedrooms and parlors and so on, stuffed with bookcases and plain wooden tables and chairs. These rooms still have their wide windows and false balconies, fireplaces, paintings, molding around the ceiling and floorboards; certain corners hide statues or exquisite furniture. It has the silence and creakiness appropriate to both libraries and old homes. It makes me feel particularly young and awkward; I don't think I own the right kind of clothes to be there.

I have to go back tomorrow, because I wasn't finished with my work when they closed at 5. Of course, it would help if I ever managed to make it to the place before 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Tomorrow- or sometime soon- I also have to go to Chinatown, which is in the opposite direction, to buy a chicken, or a duck, or a goose; whatever happens to be available and which I feel like eating. Why Chinatown and not whichever grocery store happens to be nearest? Because I need a whole fowl, with the feet and head and bill attached, so that I can use its skeleton for a different class. After I've, you know, boiled the flesh from its bones, a process which will surely make my roommate wish she'd gone somewhere for Spring Break.

The juxtaposition of these two things makes me think I have the strangest life.
brigdh: (real friends help you move bodies)
So! Look, it's an actual update.

As I've mentioned, [livejournal.com profile] esrafil and her friend, Laura, came to visit me this weekend. They both came in on Friday, Laura first. There'd been a bit of miscommunication, so I was waiting to pick her up at Grand Central (note this; it'll be important later) when she actually came into Port Authority. Fortunately, they're pretty close together, so I managed to get there without leaving her stranded in the confusing, crowded station for too long, and then we went back to my apartment to wait for [livejournal.com profile] esrafil to arrive. She got here after midnight, and we went wandering around to find a place to eat.

You know, for the whole 'city that never sleeps' thing, New York seriously does not have that many 24-hour places. I can only name two, one of which is Dunken Doughnuts and the other of which is a coffeeshop that once kicked me out for staying too long. Where am I supposed to go when I need to write a paper at 4am, people?! At least Columbus had some diners.

Anyway, we found a sushi place still open and ate dinner, and then came back home. The next day we started out down at St. Mark's Place, which is Greenwich Village and full of various fun tattoo places and goth stores and so on. We ate at a Thai place (which was actually incredibly good and surprisingly cheap) and ducked in and out of wherever looked interesting, and [livejournal.com profile] esrafil and Laura bought neat things. Then we went up to Herald Square for the Lush store (which smells so good, and seems to be where I take most NYC visitors), and then further up past Times Square and the Rockfeller Center to stop at the Kinokuniya and another store or two. Then back to my apartment for [livejournal.com profile] esrafil and Laura to get ready to go to a Scissor Sisters concert. Which, despite my lovely company, is the real reason they were in New York.

So they went to do that, and I hung around and checked my email. *grins* Because I am exciting like that. And, well, I can only handle so much of being social. I got one from a girl I went to grade school with; I knew she was also currently living here in the city, but I hadn't got around to writing her to see if she wanted to get together sometime. Her email said, 'Were you in Grand Central yesterday? I thought I saw you!' What the hell. Eight million people here, and I run into the one I know. I swear this would only happen to me.

Sunday we first stopped at a Polish restaurant, for the sake of perioges, much-loved by Laura, and then went to Andromeda, a piercing place on St Mark's. [livejournal.com profile] esrafil had wanted to get her eyebrow pierced, and I'd been thinking about getting my cartilage pierced for a while, and decided this was a good opportunity.

Photo! )
Though you can barely see it, against my hair. Apparently I have funny-shaped ears, or so the guy told me, necessitating it being very low down. Which is where I wanted it anyway, so that worked out. Also, I swear to god someday I will stop looking like I'm 12. It didn't hurt, or at least not nearly as much as I thought it would. It did feel strange, like a pinch, and then I could feel the needle pop through the skin. It's still a bit sore when it gets bumped, though.

While we were waiting, a mom with little children came in, who wanted to get her daughter's ears pierced. The little girl was about five, and the guy who worked there asked the mom if she thought the girl would actually sit through it, since they used actually needles instead of a gun. She said she didn't know. "We can try it," the guy said, "but if she freaks out- and even some adults do- I'll have to charge you anyway."

"So do you recommend we go someplace where they use a gun instead?" the mom asked.

"No," the guy said. "I think you should wait until she's older."

The mom and her kids talked about it, and they decided to go buy clip-on earrings instead. But it was a neat sight; you don't often see people turn away business.

After that, we walked around, stopping to get bubble tea and go through a Halloween store (hey, costumes are always cool, regardless of what time of year it actually is), before [livejournal.com profile] esrafil and Laura had to leave. It was fun. They are fun people! And I continue to say that everyone should visit me.
brigdh: (oh quite mad)
There is a woman at my coffeeshop, who is here possibly even more often than I am. She stands out a bit from the rest of the crowd, which is why I suppose I manage to recognize her, being much older than the average college student, and with a habit of wearing blouses with huge patterns in bright colors, giant movie-star sunglasses, and huge, cream-colored fur coat. I think she must be a professor, if not at my university than one of the other ones nearby. My guess is she's in Women's Studies, English, something like that; the pile of books she has are always on topics like 'the gaze in western art' or 'body image and eating disorders' or 'women characters in Victorian literature'.

She sort of drives me crazy.

She has a habit of taking up two or three times the space of anyone else: she'll put her coat and bag in one chair, arrange her books and notepads in front of a second, and then decide to go spend a hour taking a phone call on the opposite side of the shop. It wouldn't be a problem, really, but the place is generally so crowded that there's certain to be someone who could make more productive use of some of the space she's occupying. Also, she treats the shop like her office; I've witnessed her hold what I'm fairly certain were office hours here, meeting with one student after another and discussing things like grades and paper topics.

By this point, she recognizes me also, and so if we happen to be sitting at the same table, she will delegate me to watch her things while she goes off on some random activity or meeting. Not that I mind, and she's always very nice; once she grinned at me and said, "Your seat was waiting for you!" when I managed to snag a good spot right after someone else left.

But I tell you all of this, and I am particularly annoyed today, because she again has several of the very best seats, and I am stuck in one of the worst ones. Woe!

Today also I went by the farmers market, to buy some things for the next week. As I was crossing the street to the park it's held in, I noticed white material all over the ground, and wondered idly why there was still snow here when it had melted everywhere else. And then I got closer and realized it was feathers. Hundreds of thousands of white and grey down feathers, drifting in the wind and clumping in masses in corners and caught in some people's hair, like they'd been rolling in them. Some people were ripping open pillows and comforters to add more, and there were large amounts of already ruptured pillows in a trash can. I passed one guy, without a shirt but wearing some bizarre arrangement of belts or straps or something, the right side of his face painted blue, being interviewed by someone with a camera. "We just want people to have fun!" he was saying as I walked by. I have no idea what that was about.

I rounded the edge of the square, getting away from the feathers and into the farmers market, to run into a dense crowd of people, all staring up in the same direction. There was a hawk in one of the trees, sitting and looking appropriately predator-like at the people below.

And that is, so far, the limit of crazy things which have happened to me today. Except that, after I wrote this, the internet ceased to work for about six hours. But that wasn't the fun kind of crazy.


brigdh: (Default)

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