hey everybody,
guess what i finally got around to?

yeah, that's right
after a year and a half of promising and forgetting,
i finally put my photos of russia up online
not only that,
i put up my photos from new york, too

so, if you feel like giving them a look,
you can find them here
'vg' stands for volgograd
'sp' is saint petersburg
'msc' is moscow]

closing remarks

i'm in the final stretches of my internship right now
as we speak,
i'm taking a lunch break from my final project
as soon as i finish eating,
we're heading upstairs to get this conference underway
man, this shit is over way too quickly
it seriously doesn't feel like i've spent four months in this city
i feel like i was sitting in my orientation sessions yesterday
listening to them talk about what a good time i would have,
and walking through manhattan on my own for the first times in years

i feel like i got the best deal of all the interns in the program
i clicked with my mentor right away
we're on the same wavelength with almost everything we do:
he gave me some incredibly interesting work to do,
he knew how and when to challenge me,
we had some really great, in depth conversations,
and we've had an awesome time doing it
i've never had a boss like him before,
and i'm really gonna miss this place when i'm gone

i've made some really good connections in this city
met lots of really interesting people in all facets of the labor movement,
and gotten to see what life is actually like for union members
i spent my entire time working on projects that are supposed to enrich them
and, even though i was only involved in side roles through most of it,
i felt like i personally had a role in giving them a valuable education
i don't particularly care what the other interns say,
i think i had the best internship with the best mentor of anyone in the program
i feel like i've probly taken the most away from it,
and it's given some dimension and direction to my life
i wouldn't trade this internship for anything


a place to call my own

okay, so here's the end of the cliffhanger i promised:

i come back from work tuesday night [the one before thanksgiving],
i got the mail in one hand, my bag hanging off my shoulder,
and am ready to pass the fuck out, since it's 11 pm by this point
i open the door, flip the light switch...
after an under–the–breath '...the fuck?', i try it again
and again, nothing fucking happens
at this point i look around, and the entire apartment is pitch black
my alarm clock's off, the fridge isn't running, the tv box is black
so at this point, it's pretty obvious that the power was turned off
but, it was only in my apartment
at this point i'm really fucking pissed and confused
since there's no reason for this too be happening,
and drop my shit on the floor
at that point, i remembered that there was mail,
so i checked to see if there was anything for me [by way of the hallway light]

in this mail stack, there's a letter from a lawyer,
addressed to some guy who doesn't live there anymore,
listing him as a 'plaintiff' in a law case
i rip the top off it to see what the fuck this was about,
and scan through the letter
in brief, this is what it said:
'hey jackass,
you ran up a HUGE electric bill in winter of 2009
and you never paid it
conedison is pissed the hell off,
since they've been trying to contact you for payment,
and you haven't responded
so they got a lawyer involved [that's me!]
and i've been authorized by a judge to cut your power
so, you can either agree to a payment plan,
pay in full along with my lawyer fee,
or you can live in the dark for the foreseeable future

fucking jerk

so, i called my roommate,
who, of course, is in another fucking state
just my luck right?
[for the record, this is normal: she's a flight attendant]
she says she'll call the lawyer guy to get everything straightened out
and apologizes profusely
i slog through it for the night, wake up the next morning,
and get on the train to spend thanksgiving with my family

fast forward five days:
i get a call from my roommate
she says she's called the lawyer guy and talked with him
apparently, it takes a lot more than 'this guy doesn't live here,
i do, i can fucking prove it, now turn my goddamn power back on'
to get these people do anything, we'd have to pay the fees
so this jackass basically gets off with not paying his bill
we get stuck with huge fucking fine,
and the landlord won't do shit about it
[yeah, that guy's a fucking pip]

at first i think i can live with it,
since i only have three weeks left in the city at this point,
and it's really more an inconvenience than anything else
and then i discover that i no longer have hot water:
it only takes one hypothermia–inducing shower to convince me,
'get the fuck out of here now'
so i called up some friends and called in some favors
and, in a move that is completely antithetical to my typical tagg luck,
someone has a spare room i can stay in for the rest of my time in nyc
so i pack up all my stuff, clean the apartment, leave the keys
and got the fuck up out of there

so now, i'm sitting in my new temporary abode,
which is lit, has warm water, and is heated
thank god someone took me in
i can only imagine living there for another three weeks

so, yeah, that was my week in a nutshell
how bout you guys?

gearing up for a slow down

i should probly update this more often
but you know what life is like in the big city
crazy and hectic, doing shit all the time,
so that doesn't particularly help my case
either way, i'm doing it now

i got super lucky this week,
because my tuesday class got cancelled
good thing my history prof has a heart
[that or she realized no one would be there]
she wrote us this long email about what we could do with the free time
read a book, study, work on our papers, go out and enjoy the city,
eat a nice meal, do some work, sleep, whatever we desired
it was actually kinda funny
i'm glad she had the wherewithal to put in 'sleep'
she must know me better than i think

not a whole lot to report on for the past week or so
i didn't do a whole lot at work,
since it was kinda slow
and we're in the eternal process of waiting for people to get back to us
partly the lij thing, partly waiting for word from presby
[though that's more on management than bennet]
i did get to take part in a jobs committee 'taskforce' meeting today, though
it was pretty interesting
some of the higher ups/lmp people wanted to do a jc training session
and i got to take part in it
make materials, take notes, write up the ideas, that kind of stuff
it wasn't the best, but it was better than nothing
i'd rather be part of the process than not involved

the good thing about that meeting i went to
[if ever i could say such a thing]
is that it's for an ongoing project
which they will be more meetings/materials/involvement to come
it kinda sucks that work is picking up right before finals
but i would so much rather end the semester that way
crazy busy yet crazy productive
can't go wrong with that

i'll have a funny story for you guys when i get back
a funny yet insanely irritating story that is still unresolved
once it gets taken care of,
i'll share with the world
and with that cliffhanger, peace

training in gotham

holy shit on a stick, son
i got some travel in the past two days, boy
bout time, too
i was kinda sick of sitting in that office all day

first, on wednesday, [the 10th],
i got to go up to columbia presbyterian for the afternoon
i finally managed to get some field work!
i met up with an organizer named bennet,
and we both went to a grievance hearing with the psych dep't
[fun fact:
this was the delegate's first ever grievance hearing
since she just completed delegate training last month
talk about excitement, eh?]
after the hearing, he showed me around the facility
i got to see the school of dentistry,
school of optometry,
part of the psychiatric care ward
the old and new psych buildings
and the tiny little office the union works out of
after we finished the tour and did some paperwork,
i got to sit in on their jobs committee meeting
being out in the field was much better than i anticipated
i wasn't expecting it to really be my thing,
but damn did i enjoy it
i'll be heading back up there sometime after thanksgiving
and i can't wait

then, yesterday,
i went out to hicksville
[yes, there is a hicksville in new york
hell of a name for a place that isn't a backward–ass hooverville]
anyway, me and ramón went out there to long island jewish medical center
apparently they're trying to develop a delegate training curriculum
and they wanted to incorporate the labor–management project
so me, my mentor, and the other intern's mentor went out
we had some meetings, got some bagels,
and generally had a productive time
AND, because i am respectfully critical and insightful,
managed to give my two cents about the matter
and not come off like a giant douchebag
[apparently they were somewhat impressed with my assessment,
since they told ramón that after we were done]
so i actually attended a meeting that didn't bore me to tears
and i got a free round trip on the lirr
it was a good end of the week for me
add on the fact that i didn't have to go to class today,
and it was a damn good week for this guy right here

this week is supposed to be heralding what's to come down the stretch
ramón really wants me to get involved in some of the department's projects
so i'll be sitting in on a few more meetings
[which, believe me, is thrilling]
and handling more of the substantive work
along with going out in the field
and meeting some of the higher ups in the union

damn, did i get me a good internship or what?

a note on hipsters, and other thoughts

you know,
for a city of 8 million+ people,
and the largest metropolitan area in the country
this place doesn't have SHIT open late at night
the only place i've found open all night is a starbucks
and a really, REALLY shady 'internet cafe' near my apartment
c'mon new yawk, get it the fuck together
i can do more things at midnight in east lansing than i can here
and that just reflects badly on you

halloween was this past weekend [obviously]
and i have to say, the costumes i saw were kind of disappointing
i contribute that to two different factors:
first, i have to go through fucking williamsburg to get to the city
which means i had to see all the hipster 'costumes' that were out
talk about an unimaginative bunch
second, i spent most of saturday/sunday in the east and west villages
and there's a lot of hipsters/college students/yuppie fuckers there
and they aren't the most original bunch
not in this city, anyway
so there were lots of repeats
lots of stock costumes that were obviously bought in the same store
it was a big ol' clusterfuck of fail

i did, however, see one awesome costume on my travels
[and by travels, i mean across the street from where i live]
i saw a chinese kurt cobain, accompanied by requisite grunge groupie
best part? he was signing nirvana songs while he was walking
and there is nothing funnier than hearing 'lithium' in a thick chinese accent
'i so happy,
cuz today i foun my fwends
dey're in mah head
i so ugly,
dat's okay cuz so are yooou
broke awr mirrows
sunday morning is eveyday
for awl ah care'

i about pissed myself i laughed so hard

and finally,
a note on these fucking hipsters
i have to see them every goddamn day on the subway
and i do mean every day, in droves
that's the beauty of going through williamsburg the long way
it just gives them more time to get on
and then i have to go through the lower east to my connection
which means i go through their manhattan haven,
so i get to see even more of them
it's bad enough i have to look at them
with their weird fucking fashion and terrible haircuts
coupled with tedious discussion and 'ironic' music taste
they're like fucking cockroaches, man
i bet if brooklyn got nuked,
these scrawny bastards would start poking up out of the rubble
talking about how 'meta' everything is

i don't care if i sound like a crotchety old man
i make friends with people of all types
and i let people make their own lifestyle choices
there's a guy in this program who's so punk he's actually crusty
and yet, he's a great guy, so i don't give a shit
i know people of all walks of life
but goddamned if there isn't something about them that boils my blood
every time i see one of them reading kerouac or jung or hemingway,
i just wanna reach out and choke a bitch

you how bad they are?
they make me miss emo kids
yeah, fucking emo kids
i would rather deal with people in black nail polish,
overly–done eye makeup with black swooshy hair to match
bitching about their pitiful existences and listening to hawthorne heights
having to suffer through terrible, angsty teenage poetry
and hearing them complain about getting called 'goth'
than deal with these fucking hipsters
maybe it's cuz emos are less assuming, and aren't aloof about it
with them, you just don't understand one person's pain
[you don't know what it's like to be me]
with hipsters, you just don't understand anything
[you don't get irony, do you?/have you ever read anything so meta?]
overly–judgmental lofty pricks

so be warned, droves and droves of people i know who want to come here,
new york isn't at all bread and roses, happiness and joy, grunge and sorrow
there's also fucking hipsters here, too
and you're gonna have to deal with them
and you're gonna hate every fucking second of it

i don't think i'll ever be able to complain about msu hipsters again
they just don't cut it, as far as hipsters go
they're like shallow shells of could–be hipness
at least, armed with the knowledge i now possess,
i can start knocking them down a couple pegs
break enough of their souls to get them to shut the hell up
be warned, e/l hipsters: i come for you


i had a damn good weekend
i normally do anyway,
but this one was extra awesome
and i'll tell you why, in three words:
museum. of. sex.
[parents, since i know you read this,
consider yourselves forewarned]

i'd never heard of the place before coming here,
and it actually got recommended to me by a professor at cuny
[shows how liberal new yorkers can be, i guess]
so, anyway, i went with one of my friends who was visiting
and we spent a few hours wandering around
and yes, there are photos,
you can find them here

first off, when you go in,
the lobby is filled with sexy shit to buy
they have tons of sex books, sex position guides,
calendars, trial sizes of lube, condoms, the works
the even had a wall of sex toys
some of them were funny [rubber ducky vibrator]
some were weird [pocket penis sleeves]
and some were downright terrifying
i think faye from q/c sums it up best:
'it doesn't look WEIRD, it's a lovecraftian HORROR!
it has non–euclidean geometry!

so anyway,
the first floor we go through is all film
showing the history of sex in the cinema
it shows stag films, early nudies, 40s/50s euphemisms,
celebrity sex tapes, warhol films, you get the point

the second floor is all alternative artwork depicting sex, 'n stuff
the 'iron hole' photos were up there,
along with the rubber tit suit
there were a bunch of exhibits portraying sexuality
they even had realdolls
two of them, actually
and two partial ones you could grope
[i wished i'd taken photos of them]

the third floor is also artwork,
but this is stuff on a specific topic: condoms and stds
they had old pamphlets showing servicemen how to avoid disease,
newer pamphlets explaining how to protect yourself during sex,
and lots of art made inspired by/made of condoms
[hence the condom statuette and condom–grater]
there was a group of high school students on this floor with us,
and boy were they having fun
i can only imagine what their parents thought of the trip

the fourth and last floor was dedicated to science
they had a decent–sized display about human biology
explaining where we get our instincts and urges from
and a large display on sexual behavior in animals
they had a big wall of queer animal sex,
they had an area specifically devoted to monkeys
and then, my favorite area
the humping room
[that's where the panda statue was]
it's kinda hard to tell in that photo,
but back behind where the pandas were
there was a statue of an elk threesome
yes, you heard it hear first:
even elk want to get freaky sometimes

on the bottom floor of the museum,
they had the 'oralfix aphrodisiac café'
basically, it was an over–priced non–alcoholic drink bar
laden with herbs/spices/ingredients to boost certain traits
you know: endurance, seduction, virility, longevity, euphoria, &c
i forget which drink i had, but it wasn't that great
and like i said, over–priced
but hey, it was there, and i might as well

this place was fun, but kinda expensive
then again, everything in this fucking city is
so in that context, it was probly a steal
it's on the corner of 27th/5th if you ever want to go

n.y. state of mind

you know,
for a city of people as pissed and in a rush as new york is,
there sure are a lot nonchalantly slow motherfuckers
i thought having a quick walking pace would be a boon here
but no, of course not
there's just a metric shit–tonne more slow people to dodge
i just can't win on that front

in other fun new york news
i walked down eighth ave tonight from columbus circle
[i was heading towards the port authority building]
and the whole thing was closed between 42nd and 60th
it was cordoned off by cops,
and there were street sweepers and trucks everywhere
the best part?
there was garbage everywhere
lining both sidewalks, on both sidewalks,
piled up on the corners, and strewn in the street
it was a true trashpocalypse
i'm not sure if that's a normal sunday night thing,
or if this was a particularly bad night
either way, it was certainly a sight

i don't remember if i described in depth where i work or not,
so i will now [since i've been doing it for almost two months]
i work at the education/development department of 1199seiu
so i've been doing a lot with delegate training and upgrading curriculums
[delegates are elected by members to represent them at union meetings,
and they serve as a go–between for the members and management]
i also did some work on the rally we went to last weekend,
along with some other projects including grievance handling,
organizing, and actual delegate training
i work on 42nd st right next to the port authority bus terminal in hell's kitchen
it's a pretty nice building, and it's a great neighborhood
[though too close to times square for my taste]
best part? i work in a corner office [see here and here]
that's right: i'm a BAMF with an awesome office that's bigger than my boss's
can you say upward mobility?

also, as a parting thought
you know what just feels right?
riding the train through brooklyn late at night listening to notorious b.i.g.
it doesn't get much better than that

rallies 'n shit

hokay, so, here's the deal:
i spent the weekend in d/c
and it was awesome
i'd never been before, so it was nice to finally see it
i got to hang out with a friend from american university
[and, after meeting them, a massive amount of her friends]
and yes, i did see most of the requisite d/c sights
washington memorial, lincoln memorial, smithsonian,
white house, capital building, 50 states memorial,
and ben's chili bowl
i also found a really cool jazz club on u street called 'café nema'
i'm definitely heading back there if i'm ever in d/c again

i did actually go to d/c for a reason
there was a big rally being held at the lincoln memorial
you probly haven't heard of it:
[i'm not saying that to be pretentious or elitist;
there was almost no marketing or advertising for it]
one nation's 10.2.10 rally
it was basically a liberal, working class answer to glenn beck's rally
and the union i intern with was one of the sponsors
[my union's prez was actually the guy who created the rally]
it was certainly an experience
i have plenty of stories/opinions about it
if anybody actually wants to hear them

i can't wait until the weather starts cooling off
i'm tired of sweating my tits off at work/walking around
nothing better than a sweat stain from wearing backpack
let me tell you: it exudes classyness

productivity and galavanting

i was actually productive this weekend
i did all the reading for my classes
i did a little bit of work stuff
and i redid the russian club website [again]
i don't know what i've done with myself,
but i'm not sure i like it

i went up to the bronx today
which means i've now been to the four boroughs that matter
[sorry staten island, no one cares bout chu]
i didn't plan to go there today
but events and books conspired to make me go
goddamn cuny library system doesn't want to work for me
so instead of waiting for the book transfer system,
i just went and got the books myself
i have to say, lehman college has a pretty nice campus
it's actually got trees and grass and shit
go figure

we've finally stumbled upon a place that's open all night
[since nothing else in manhattan seems to be]
granted, it's al all–night starbucks,
but it's better than nothing
and there certainly are some interesting characters there
gotta love people who get coffee at 2 a/m

it rained again today [big surprise, yeah?]
but this time, i just happened to be outside and looking for distraction
so, instead of sitting in bryant park under the trees and reading,
i decided to go for a walk in it
i am happy to report that even in the midst of urban sprawl,
surrounded by douchebags in suits and tourists
[and THOUSANDS of umbrellas]
rain–soaked walks are still as cathartic as ever
though drying off in the hot/humid subway tunnels was a bitch