Monday, December 28, 2009
it's been one year since i left you. just wanted to say hello and see how you've been. although it's hard to admit, i'm a lot happier without you. i have changed and i know you have too. i was so young when we first met and back then, you made a lot of sense to me. but this is a whole new era now. i met someone new and they're really amazing. even though it's nice to see you every now and then, to catch up, we both need to move on and embrace the future. i hope you have a fun new year's. i hope your ball successfully rises and that you're not too cold. i will be with my new love. i will be smiling, excited about what lies ahead for 2010.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
today i biked through a violent early morning rain storm to get to my job on time. in the dark. the sun will rise later every single day until next week's solstice. i was drenched by the time i made it to work. luckily i brought a dry set of clothes to wear...wait. this shit is getting boring now.
when i'm at work i think of all the things i want to do, all the projects i want to start. but lately, when i get home all i can think about is not being at work anymore. more on that to come...
today, however, i got home from work--socks still damp--and did interviews with 3 different folks who are interested in joining our aid & abet collective. we have 2 more tomorrow! phew.
i feel like things are brewing right now and the potential for 2010 is already starting to explode. i like it.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
there was something about today. it felt like the beginning of a new era, a forging of that balance between self-confidence and self-critique. there was a heightened awareness of where i'm going and what i'm doing. this week, month, year, and beyond.
and now here i am, writing again. hello. it's nice to be back...
Sunday, September 20, 2009
i struggled to accomodate my bulging to-do-list with this new lifestyle. home by 3:00 each day, but there's a conflict between the lazy desire for relaxation, for post-work leisure with a burning passion to get shit done.
last night i closed all the windows in our beautiful new apartment for the first time. fall creeps in and with it, the urgency to create and live hard.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
where are we going? what are we doing?
it's always in the most desperate, seemingly hopeless moments that we reach our most brilliant and life-affirming revelations. disaster brings out the very best in human nature. crisis as a glimpse of utopia...i can't do this anymore. let's pursue what truly matters with reckless abandon, together.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
so, once we were on 91 heading south toward philly with the windows down and classic rock blaring on the speakers i felt relieved. but also full and content after a mostly lovely weekend in the town i called home for 3 and 1/2 years. every moment between thursday evening and that late afternoon sunday departure was a reminder of either why i stayed as long as i did, or why i'm glad i left. each one a manifestation of this ongoing love/hate relationship. with its culture, streets, buildings, and residents; this complex personal history with a town that's population has consistently remained 30,000 over the past 100 years.
the good and the bad. the paralyzing beauty and alluring ugliness. so much promise and potential. so many limitations and disappointments. i took it all in with a sweaty hug that lasted 3 days. all of it. in those final moments i realized that i had overstayed my welcome and relieved the awkwardness with a bike ride past the medows and the county fairground. i will keep returning, but maybe next time for just 2 days...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
i've also been thinking about, in the mean time, finding a new shitty (or maybe not so shitty) job and also about visiting northampton...which i'm doing this weekend! looking forward to seeing the good people that still live there and to be back in new england again before the end of the summer. who wants to go swimming?
Monday, August 10, 2009
many years later, there's part of me wants to just wake up on the last day of summer. all of my worries figured out. nothing but promise and potential ahead of me. but there is beauty in struggle. it makes us who we are and gives us appreciation for the good times.
i'm still a little kid. enjoying the summer.
Friday, August 07, 2009
one small victory did occur this morning when i tried to turn my stereo on...it totally works! i will now proceed to turn up the volume, lay on my floor staring at the damaged ceiling, and sing my lungs out to "this year" by the mountain goats.
but you're right. it won't kill me.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
arriving in my bedroom i was greeted with puddles of water around the open windows, but the windowsills themselves were mysteriously dry. i discovered that my ceiling had leaked directly above my stereo. over a dozen cd's were destroyed. the 5 disc changer that i had possessed since my senior year of college had been murdered by the house's structural damage. the meaning of this incident soon turned itself on its head when i realized the opportunity it presented me. the value of these personal items lost in the storm was about equal to the check i would have soon written towards rent.
instead i wrote a letter to the landlord explaining the situation and, interestingly enough, the day i lost my job he stopped by the house to pick up one less rent check and my letter which he scanned and left on the dining room table. today i plan on mailing it to him. now that i have returned to the financial insecurity of unemployment i feel weirdly grateful for the summer rainstorm and the improperly repaired ceiling for helping to keep me afloat an extra month.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
last week he mentioned that the owner of the store would be coming back to town soon and that i needed to increase the production level of the sandwiches since they're the "pet project" of the big bossman. over the next 3 days i did so, "producing" more sandwiches than i previously had been. when i left sunday, before my 2 days off, the sandwich case was filled to the brim, overflowing.
something else happened sunday that contributed to my termination...as i was wrapping up the sandwiches that afternoon my boss was getting ready to leave, complaining to the other kitchen manager about how stressed out he was. i decided it was clearly a bad time to ask him about taking a few days off at the end of the summer. i left an hour later and just went ahead and wrote in the days i would be out of town on the kitchen staff's calendar. apparently this was a big mistake: "you've already taken time off and the way it works here is that after you've worked for a year you're eligible for a week off." wow. i wish i knew that before i got hired.
oh, and he mentioned the recession a few times.
so obviously there's a lot more to say, but that's what happened today. ironically, i just started working on an article for wiretap about my experiences job-hunting (and eventually getting hired for a low-wage job) in the context of the economic crisis. now i have another chapter to add. hopefully something positive will come out of this.
Friday, July 24, 2009
-gone on a loooong bike ride with lv...50 miles north to quakertown. then back the next day.
-surprised my sister by showing up to her open studio show at the school of visual arts in nyc. thank you $5 megab*s ticket!
-enjoyed another visit to philly by jen angel.
-taken advantage of my 2 days in a row off. most notably by squeezing in a trip to maine during part of my family's vacation week there. chinatown bus to nyc, then another to boston; followed by the train to old orchard beach. arrived 1:26 am monday, departed at 2:50 pm tuesday. totally worth it.
-continued to work, pay bills.
-celebrated lv's 30th birthday!
-read more than i had been: finally finished "passionate mistakes and intricate corruption of one girl in america" by michelle tea! currently: "where we stand: class matters" by bell hooks.
-volunteered a bunch at the wooden shoe. getting ready for the big move.
-and thought a lot about writing and work for aid & abet. finally getting around to doing it NOW!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
today is the last day of june. the final day of the first half of the year. what can i say about these past 6 months? in some ways, it seems like just yesterday that i moved to philadelphia. at the same time it has been a long droning period of struggle with unemployment and lack of direction. and now, all of that is over. this is a new beginning. the rest of the year is ahead of me...
after less than 2 weeks at my new job i received my discount card--20% off everything in the store! i'm starting to get paid too as the anchor slowly drops in the deep ocean of debt and neglected adult responsibilities. soon it will stick and i will be able to move forward, beyond merely catching up.
and i exhale, thinking about tomorrow's opening day of a certain chocolate-themed restaurant chain at 15th and walnut that i will not be working. tomorrow is the first day of the second half of the year. it's my day off and i plan on making the most of it, to start this new era.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
tonight i showed up there at the suggested 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. it started raining before i arrived so i was a little wet after locking up my bike and walking into the building. i said hi to the bar manager, who looked at my wet long sleeve striped shirt and informed me that i was supposed to be wearing my uniform. i reassured him that it was in my bag and that i would go change into hit. walking to the bathroom i exhaled and felt the relief of the temporary nature of this ridiculous situation.
i joined my fellow choco-men and women after punching in and spent the next 4 hours learning how things work behind the chocolate bar. we did get to taste some of the hot chocolates which was nice, but the whole experience was pretty surreal for me. knowing that i really don't need to absorb any of this information, that it's all pretty meaningless, i vaguely paid attention just to prevent boredom.
all 9 of us trainees cleaned and closed up the whole thing, bumping into each other and squirming for direction from the trainers brought in from the union square restaurant in new york. by quarter to 9:00 we were done. before we left the general manager had us meet him in the basement office where he handed each of us paychecks for our 2 hour orientation we had to sit through last month. a whopping $12.05!
it was still raining outside when i was reunited with my bike. this week can't be over soon enough.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
there's really too much to say about what happened last night. the main headline is: because of a "gas issue" mb will not be opening for business until july 1st. however, they calmly reassured us that they would keep us busy until then with various trainings and even make it fun for us! whoopee.
i received my uniform before leaving at 8:00 pm: 2 medium-sized brown t-shirts with a drawing of max's head on the left arm and the phrase: "chocolate is good for you" in big colorful letters on the back; a brown apron with one pocket and "100% pure max" scrawled at a dramatic angle across it; and finally, a brown beanie (which one of my fellow baristas pointed out, "is not fashionable and, rather, resembles a horseshoe crab") which ties in the back and features the word "chocoman" on the front. of course, the female-identified barista's hats are labeled "chocowoman." fucking hell.
in addition to the opening day being delayed until "july one," they granted us with today off, along with saturday and sunday to celebrate father's day weekend. this is all good news.
the experience actually wasn't terrible, but it did make me desire the natural food store job even more. this morning, after finishing up a coffee date with local radical historian dan berger, i received a voicemail message from the kitchen manager that had interviewed me yesterday afternoon: "we want to bring you on."(!!!)
i called back and chatted with him for a minute and he asked me to come in thursday to start training. great! the whole cafe is vegan, the people seem really cool, and the only weird thing is that i am expected to bring my own knife to cut the sandwiches....but no uniform! just can't wear open-toed shoes or tank tops. no problem.
SO. i'm still gonna go in for another day of training at mb tomorrow since i'll get paid for it. i mean, what do i have to lose? then on thursday i'll give the bar manager the bad news and my address to mail the check. word. looks like things are gonna work out okay this summer afterall!
Monday, June 15, 2009
on friday night lv's roommate and bf ollie began to move out of their 2 bedroom apartment. the living room was filled with boxes filled with (most of the) kitchen items and all the large furniture ready to be moved across town the following day, along with her amazing dog marmalade and cat, estelle.
late that night a car parked across the street from my house (where my least-friendly housemate had moved out of for the summer the day before) containing 3 good friends that i missed a lot. it was so great to see liz, david, and michelle again. l & d were on their way to new orleans where they are moving for liz to begin her librarian career. they picked up michelle in nyc on their way to philly and at 2:30 am they all settled into my bedroom to sleep after a long day of travel.
also, last week i applied for a job at a local natural/organic grocery store that's near south street. they had posted an ad on craigslist the day before for a sandwich-maker and i figured that if they hired me it would be vastly superior to the corporate chocolate culture of m*x brenner that i would begin training for this week.
and that brings me to today. i just had an interview for that job and it went really well. if they call me back in a couple days offering it to me than i can kiss the bald man goodbye forever. although tonight i am going in to begin my week of training. luckily i will get paid for it and i have this plan to finish the training but not work when the restaurant opens for business next week. crossing my fingers!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
i wouldn't have been able to sustain myself here this long without lv's love and support. she has just been so amazing. and now she has been laid off from her full-time job and is battling the bureaucracies of unemployment offices, her dysfunctional agency, and the non-profit job-hunting complex. i hope to support her through all of this. we're gonna make it, together.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
i had never heard of max brenner (mb) or its "chocolate by the bald man" before, but i soon learned they it is a growing "international restaurant group" and in addition to locations across australia, israel, one in the phillipines and one in singapore, there are two of these chocolate-based concept restaurants in new york city. and now, the company is preparing to spread its "chocolate culture" to philly. um, okay...
the space where it is moving into is right on walnut street amidst a concentration of other high end restaurants and boutiques. i entered the building, signed in, and took the elevator up to the second floor. they had set up a temporary hiring office, sort of assembly line, where they greeted us with a application and clipboard and asked what position we were interested in. people were spilling out of this room and i almost turned around and left as lv was meeting for lunch down the street. but i decided to stay and go through with it.
i came back later and ended up being interviewed, one by one, by each of the various managers of this new establishment and by the end of the afternoon i was filling out tax formers and being welcomed to their weird cultish family as a barista. so i finally got a job! but the feeling was pretty surreal and bittersweet since i wouldn't actually start working for a few weeks when training starts. there's a lot more to say about all of this too. i'm sure it will all come out eventually...
as june's rent starts to loom over my consciousness i still need to figure something out. the challenges continue but whatever happens should be interesting. we'll see.
earlier this month i resigned myself to truly prioritizing employment. i carved out a daily routine of looking at every job listing on craigslist upon waking up and applying for as many as possible. over coffee and cereal i would bust out disingenuous "cover letters" detailing my passion for filing papers or making coffee drinks. i rewrote my resume and fine-tuned my references. for the most part the result was a defeaning silence of an empty e-mail inbox, with the exception of two bizarre possibilites that came to light last tuesday.
at 1:30 in the afternoon i found myself being interview on the fourth floor of one of the tallest buildings that compose philadelphia's skyline; the headquarters of the nation's largest pharmecutical corporation's: cigna. yes, pure evil. but no, i was not applying for some sort of office job there. the position was to be a barista in the new "coffee bar" of their cafeteria. crazy, right? i could say a lot more about this but long story short is that after competing with 20 other desperate unemployed folks, they didn't call me at the end of the week. phew!
to be continued...
Friday, May 08, 2009
i've been having a lot of vivid dreams lately, ever since it starting getting warmer outside. i wake up missing all of these people from my past lives. i run into some of them in real life too and meet for coffee and have really fantastic conversations about where we came from and where we're going.
my mind is racing too much these days to abandon this now. i'm here. come back to visit soon...
Friday, April 24, 2009
this evening, ten years later, i will be attending another event in philadelphia for mumia who is still unjustly incarcerated after all these years despite an international movement of supporters. the "more than a book release" event tonight at the historic church of the advocate in north philly will celebrate mumia's latest book jailhouse lawyers and will feature a number of speakers and performers. there are a number of similar events happening around the country today, mumia's birthday.
for more info visit:
Friday, April 17, 2009
today, i find myself at a coffeeshop all over the place. i jump from researching freelance and proofreading jobs to feelings of guilt around not booking an early summer tour for one of my aid & abet clients. all the while, the impending may rent looms over every action and thought like a fatal illness. but i'm optimistic that i'll figure something out over the next couple weeks.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
tuesday night i went to a fantastic zine reading at the wooden shoe with cassie j. snyder and al burian. cassie was hilarious and it had been about 4 years since i had last seen al perform. i enjoyed the thread connecting all of the pieces he read: what was it that initally brought us to punk and why are we still in it? why were we all there that night? i had really nice conversations with all the other wooden shoe folks afterwards as i got pumped up for the couchsurfing.com meet up i was heading to afterwards!
there's a japanese restaurant/karaoke club where local couchsurfers have been meeting every tuesday night for various specials and a private karaoke room. i was inspired to check it out this week with the temptation of visiting the philly pretzel factory at midnight when the 35 cent, fresh pretzels are available!
i had fun meeting all of these random people, some from philly, others couchsurfing from across the globe. over 30 of us squeezed in this room to sing songs accompanied by the cheesiest japanese karaoke videos that you could imagine. i bonded with some of them after my performance of "dancing with myself." ha! i biked down to washington after midnight beating the carpool to pretzels. it was great to finally experience the freshest, hottest pretzels in town before biking all the way back to west philly.
there's so much more to say about this week. mostly, that jen angel arrived via train on april fool's day and it's been great seeing her again. her event at the wooden shoe last night was a success and i had a blast hanging out with all these great folks afterwards that came out for it. jen's crashing at my house over the weekend while i'm in nyc with lv. then sunday i'll be heading back to western mass to celebrate my birthday and see all of the wonderful people in my life up there. see you soon!
Friday, March 27, 2009
and today actually felt like spring! i had the pleasure of meeting tyrone who does the really amazing website enough and our conversations inspired me to write about my experiences in philly...here. things are turning around and i'm excited for my favorite month, just around the corner!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
maybe sometimes i'm too hard on myself, but i really wish that i had worked harder and had more to show for it now. but i know it's not too late and that i am the only thing that is holding me back from making it all happen.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
the other thing, of course, was getting interviewed for the internship with prometheus. the update on that is that they decided to go with someone else for the position which, as evidenced by my previous post, was not a tragic blow to my life. they had tons of applicants for the position and even though i was one of the top 3 candidates, there was someone else that had a lot more fundraising and development experience. it seems like the organization is going through a lot of upheaval right now so i wish that person the best and hope that it's a fulfilling experience. i'm mostly pscyched that i can still come back to northampton for the entire week of my birthday, as i had planned, before the anarchist book fair in nyc!
that's it for now. more updates later...
Thursday, March 12, 2009
yesterday i had an interview at the prometheus radio project for a paid internship that would go through september. they're a rad organization that works with community radio stations all over the country and their main office happens to be 3 blocks from my house. the internship wouldn't pay much, but enough to for me to live on and definitely more than i'm making now. i have mixed feelings though because i wouldn't be able to dedicate as much time to my aid & abet work. jen angel pointed out, though, that the summer is a slow time for booking tours (at least on college campuses) so maybe it would be fine if i got it. we'll see!
i'm trying to be better about structuring my time and being productive as a self-educator/employer, but it's still a challenge. i have a lot of ideas and projects and time i just need to be more motivated and focused. but this is nothing new.
i will be going back to massachusetts around my birthday next month which i'm really psyched about! of course, if i get this internship it will cut into my spring break time since it starts that week. hmmm...
Monday, March 09, 2009
sunday morning we walked around the neighborhood and jon took portraits of me with his new camera. i had to catch a 1:30 bus back to philly but i had just enough time to meet cristy road for breakfast. she just joined the aid and abet roster and i'm psyched to work with her and set up some sucessful for tours later in the year.
during the bus ride i cleared my head and felt good about the trip. arriving right near philly's 30th street station i bumped into dave end who was taking a train up to nyc to rehearse for a big performance he's doing with kimya dawson at carnegie hall soon. he also informed me that kimya will be playing at the unitarian church in philly the next day and he might join her for a song or two.
i jumped on the subway toward 5th st. and made it with enough time to get a snack before the wooden shoe collective meeting which i was facillitating at 5:00. the meeting went well as we approved the restructuring of the collective's bylaws which we passed at a daylong retreat two weeks ago. it's the beginning of a new era for this radical institution and i'm excited to be part of it right now.
Friday, March 06, 2009
i woke up this morning exclaiming "today is gonna be a good day!" it's been a good week. sort of unbelievable that today could be any better than the last couple but i have a feeling in my gut.
yesterday saw a pre-sunrise bike ride with lv to the upenn dental school. she put her name down to be seen later in the morning and we walked around a bit as the sun slowly emerged into our day. i got home around 9:30 am after they finally called her number. my housemate adam greeted me from the kitchen as i walked in the front door, reminding me that it was rent day and that i should put my check up on the fridge with the others. i nervously confirmed my awareness of this fact as i headed upstairs to check my bank balance online.
the day before, after a little research, i figured out how to find the status of my tax refund on the irs website. my refund was due to be directly deposited on march 5th! with that knowledge, i took a deep breath and closed my eyes as the page displaying my balance loaded. this has become a routine over the past couple weeks, an act i have performed many times each day with the hope of newfound riches at my disposal. but this time i was more optimistic. i opened my eyes and gleeful discovered two additional digits in my checking account! enough to cover this month's rent and maybe even next month's too!
i wrote out my check to the landlord and posted it on the fridge with the others. everything is going to be okay. spring is almost here.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
march is always a wild card. the snow that arrived in the middle of the night during the final hours of february, and the initial hours of this new month, began to melt in today's bright sun. something shifted today. i busted out my review of the new thermals album for jesse's website sadie, and finally figured out how i will cover my rent this month. what a relief! inhale. exhale.
now i have returned to my new favorite cafe on 43rd and locust where you get two free refills, the sun shining through the big windows facing the street. i am determined and focused now to finally finish this article i've been working on about our new president and the challenge of social movements to develop strategies to navigate this new political climate. things are starting to fall into place. i think spring is afoot...
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
in philly, you can see a free concert every friday at noon. sponsored by npr affiliate wxpn (based at upenn), the world live cafe hosts premium live music each week for free--usually touring bands playing in the city that night.
i discovered this the week i moved here. an increasing popular northampton band called the winterpills just happened to be playing there my second day in philly. lv and i walked the 15 or so blocks before arriving at this venue that feels more like a museum when you enter it than a music club. there is a little stage in the street-level restaurant where smaller, mostly acoustic acts play, but the free at noon bands perform downstairs in the music hall replete with full bar and the biggest sound board i have ever seen.
it's always disorienting walking in to this dimly-lit, windowless space from the sun of high noon, in addition to being at a concert in the middle of the day with a few hundred other people who are either unemployed or skipping work. but once your eyes adjust you can begin to appreciate the siutation.
at the end of january i had the pleasure of seeing devotchka who were so fun to see live with their vast array of instruments. i returned again yesterday for a concert featuring two songwriters i had never heard or seen before: john wesley harding and m. ward.
i use the word concert very consciously. i enjoy going to see free live music in the middle of the day on fridays as much as anyone else, but there's something detatched about the culture that stirs up an awareness and pride of my punk roots. it's a strange dichotomy: watching free music in a deeply commercial (even if xpn is "member supported") space. on the wall next to the stage where the bands play, the logo for comcast is projected underneath the xpn call numbers. the majority of musicians fall under the oxymoronic "commercial indie" genre, which for me is sometimes a guilty pleasure. i love devotchka's music but what is the significance of a band gaining noteriety from a movie soundtrack? and i know not every band can be fugazi, but i just feel like integrity is important. of course this won't prevent me from continuing to go to the free at noon concerts it's just things that i can't stop thinking about while i'm there...
Thursday, February 19, 2009
this week my alma mater, bard college, decided that it would not renew the contract of one of my mentors, professor joel kovel. this is undoubtedly a result of the college's unfortunate allegiance with the state of israel and joel's outspoken, principled critique of zionism and the escalating oppression of palestinians in the occupied territories. read his statement about the situation here.
the following is a letter of protest that i wrote to the president and vice president of bard:
Dear Leon and Dmitri,
As a Bard alum, I am writing to express my shock and disapproval of the college's recent decision to terminate one it's finest professors, Joel Kovel. Not only did I learn a great deal from Joel's classes, I considered him a mentor and a friend. He was an amazing resource for his students and was extremely supportive of those of us committed to political organizing on and off campus.
It is outrageous to me that Professor Kovel never received tenure during his 20 plus years teaching at Bard. Your decision to not renew his contract is an insult to those of us that gained so much from him. Furthmore, this unfortunate action undermines the values of academic freedom that the college was founded on and that both of you have claimed a committment to during your time there.
As similar letters pour in from around the world in support of Professor Kovel it should become uncomfortably clear what an egregious mistake you have made. I urge you to reinstate him immediately or to at least issue a public apology.
Matt Dineen, Class of 2003
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
i talked to my mom today and she shared with me the bad news: she found tj dead earlier in the week, curled up in the closet with the cat door, tongue sticking out. so sad.
tj stands for tigger junior. my brother's cat tigger was hit by a car when i was 5 years and we got tj a few months later from someone that my mom worked with. i remember the night tigger died. paul was really devastated and he sat on the living room floor listening to "every rose has it's thorn" by poison on the radio:
every rose has its thorn
just like every night has its dawn
just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song
every rose has its thorn
i feel grateful that i was able to see tj one last time before she passed away. as my mom pointed out, "she's been such a thread connecting our family all these years." she had her cremated and will bury her ashes in the spring under a forsythea bush.
rest in peace, tigger junior...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
when spring actually arrives, for real, it will be so extrordinary. we're not there yet--not even in temperate, ice and snow-free philadelphia. when it does get here, everything will become alive again. it's the greatest feeling in the world. i've found that it's necessary, although frustrating, to have these little glimpses of the possibility of spring throughout the final months of winter. it keeps me going until the real thing makes it.
after a nice visit to boston i am back in philly, slowly moving into my new house. the possibilty of early spring is fueling everything right now. it's good to be back.
Monday, February 09, 2009
i've been back in new england for a week. when i left philly it was sunny and warm. spring was in the air and i was feeling good. soon after arriving in northampton the "snow showers" predicted by the weather channel started to fall on my old town. my nose started running within an hour of being back. sniffle. sniffle. emily opened up her apartment to me and let me use her car the next day to drive to evolution. i worked the lunch shift and got paid in cash. it kind of felt like i had never left, like the month of january had never happened. despite drinking heather's amazing conconction of raw garlic, ginger, lemon juice and cayenne, i felt sick and wiped out when i got out and just went to bed early instead of going out dancing at the basement. didn't sleep well that night, waking up dehydrated and blowing my nose.
wednesday morning i walked through town for the first time since december, but just to stop by the bank and then straight to the bus station. i made it just in time to hop on the 10:30 bus to brattleboro where my mom was meeting me. she could tell i was sick before i even got in the car and i basically spent the next two days relaxing at her house and taking care of myself. the first night there i realized that one year ago i was in the same place, surrounded by snow, house-sitting for her while she was on vacation in the dominican republic. one year later, i listened to a certain album that i associate with that week, filled with mixed feelings. it was all too weird and appropriate.
i felt a little better when i took the bus back to northampton friday. i got in just in time to work one more shift back at the cafe. i was reunited with austin and we trudged through a crazy night featuring a concert that made my head pound. it was all worth it for the free food and money. definitely my last shift ever though!
saturday was the first day that i was actually able to hang out and be back in northampton for real and it felt good. it was great seeing old friends again that i have missed a lot and i had so much fun dancing and running around town again.
i woke up early and walked to my old apartment building to make sure my bike still existed. it was securely locked up and even had plenty of air in the tires! my mom drove down before work to meet me for breakfast and paul came up with lee and her daughter too. it was really nice to see them all before i went back to philly.
this morning i returned to valley free radio as a guest on tony and keely's show parapolitics. we talked about the new administration and the forging of new activist strategyies with obama in office. i'm trying to write an article about it all using the inauguration as a metaphor for this dilemma and the lack of visible dissent at his swearing in, particularly compared to those of bush in 2001 and 2005. that's what i'm doing now with my last day here.
tomorrow, amanda and are going on a field trip to boston. i'm excited to see tyler after so many months since our last visit. then back to philly on wednesday. i'm looking forward to feeling like i actually live there, after a month of just visiting, as i will move into my own place. also can't wait to see my sweetheart who i miss so much...see you soon!!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
monday, dec. 29th: my last day of work at the cafe.
wednesday, dec. 31st: leave northampton for philly.
friday, jan. 2nd: paychecks are issued. my address in philly hangs on the cafe's bulletin board.
thursday, jan. 8th: check has not arrived. i call the cafe and the owner explains that there was a mix up between him and the manager about who was going to mail it to me and, oh, sure enough, it was just sitting there as i anticipated the mail delivery each day. he promised to mail it before the end of the day.
monday, jan. 12th: the check has still not arrived.
tuesday, jan. 13th: i call the cafe again to inform them that i still have not received my check and acquire the owner's cell phone number. i leave a brief, stern message on the voicemail of said cell phone.
friday, jan. 16th: are you fucking kidding me? my former boss receives a more caustic, blunt message on his voicemail. he calls back like everything is cool: "oh, i mailed it a few days ago. and yesterday i mailed the check for your tip money. so you should be getting them soon." i call the cafe to give them the update.
saturday, jan. 17th: the absence of this money begins to affect every aspect of my life and complicate this transition in a new city. psychologically distracted from other projects, i begin to check craigslist for jobs. getting home late after my first volunteer shift at the wooden shoe anarchist bookstore, i find the check that he sent for my tips. it was sent the day after my paycheck, which still has not arrived.
tuesday, jan. 20th: i call the cafe to ask about w-2 forms. one of my former co-workers leaves the owner a note about the persistant non-arrival of my paycheck.
wednesday, jan. 21st: he calls me back after seeing the note. we agree that it was most likely lost in the mail and if does not arrive by the end of the week then he send me a new one.
friday, jan. 23rd: i leave him yet another message informing him that i still have not received the check and that it is his responsibilty, especially since he did not get it in the mail when originally promised (x2), to get me my money as soon as humanly possible. he is instructed to return my call with a plan of action. an hour later he leaves me a message about the payroll company cancelling the first check and mailing him a new one. he will then send me the new check via priority mail, probably monday or tuesday. the message ends with the word, "peace." it is later replayed for lv on speakerphone.
wednesday, jan. 28th: message left while i am doing work informs me that the new paycheck has arrived and that he had it sent to "overnight." i have to be present to sign for it when it gets here around noon.
thursday, jan. 29th: at 10:15 am the dog barks. looking out the window i see the postal truck drive away and subsequently discover a slip in the mailbox informing that i would have to wait until tomorrow to pick it up at a local post office. fucking unreal.
friday, jan. 30th (today): i walk the treacherously icy sidewalks toward the post office at 53rd and florence. it's sunny today but i am hating on philly in all kinds of ways. i eventually figure out how to get around (or over, to be more accurate) the train tracks that split the neighborhood like a spinal chord. at 4:00 pm i sign for my express mail and am delighted to see the cost to ship it overnight: $15.20
maybe there is some justice after all? next week i will be returning to visit western mass and will simply deposit this check into my account there. ridiculous. it's over...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
since i left northampton i have maintained contact with valley free radio, following up on some projects and responsibilites. realizing that this has distracted me from the work that i want to be working on here, i decided on monday to unsubscribe from the station's e-mail list and start to move on. approximately 15 minutes after my confirmation message that googlegroups had removed me from both the discussion and announcement lists i received another e-mail welcoming me to the wooden shoe books listserve.
i had recently submitted the form to volunteer at philly's formidable radical bookstore/infoshop and apparently they just added me to their email list to keep me up to date on events, meetings, and the global anarchist struggle. part of me is nervous about volunteering at wooden shoe. partially it stems from my past experience in madison where i was unemployed, floundering for months, while volunteering at rainbow bookstore cooperative after just missing out on getting hired as paid staff member when i first moved there. but i think i can balance some volunteer work with paid projects and hopefully my experience there will fuel and inspire the other work i'm doing.
still waiting for my final paycheck from evolution, by the way...
Monday, January 12, 2009
nyc. we took the city by storm friday night after deciding not to navigate the subway deep into the bowels of brooklyn to erik petersen's mischief brew set at a house show. instead, we walked around lower manhattan in disgust and awe of the spectacle that permeates the streets. we sought out pockets of resistance finding ourselves sipping coffee and reading the onion in the low-lit cafe that was once a record/bookstore; a show raging in the bar below. we were on a date. we meandered our way toward washington square park and had dinner at one of the neighboring vegetarian establishments before indulging in cupcakes. we eventually retreated to the subway toward park slope where we were staying for the weekend with lv's friend tal.
on saturday we walked all over brooklyn and ran into some familiar faces, while meeting some new ones. surly northampton baristas transplanted to this strange urban world, prince and pearl jam rotating on the stereo. a bizarre afternoon children's birthday party at a neighborhood bar. heart racing, i resisted the urge to steal all of their cupcakes. spicy mexican dinner and kindly discounted red velvet cake was followed by an incredible event to benefit make/shift magazine.
hosted in a ft. greene apartment of supporter's the rsvp benefit featured readings from contributors and a chance to meet the magazine's editors who were visiting from LA. after coincidences, surprise people, and networking the reading began. halfway through the first person's piece i felt my nose running which was strange since i did not have a cold. sure enough, my fingers appeared bloody after inspecting the situation, lv was horrified as we sat there silently. i felt like every eyeball in the crowded living room was focused on my nostrils as napkins were procured as i tilted my head back, or forward..."wait, which one is it?" this hasn't happened in 9 years! i retreated to the bathroom after the first reader was done deconstructing the movies of al pacino and diane keaton. every word was torture until it ended. the blood stopped flowing and i thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the event. so glad we made it, really.
after walking the snowy streets and flawlessly riding the controversial G train we made for the last song of khira's band behavior. it was their first show and cho's variety was packed wall to wall with a disturbing ratio of northampton bodies, which michelle pointed out when she eventually arrived. i had a great night and an overall fun time in "the" city.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
this doesn't seem like winter. i don't know what it feels like; an androgynous season in this strange new city. i feel emotionally grounded but completely alienated from almost everything that surrounds me. taking out library books on the history of the city is my attempt to have some sort control, or at least greater understanding of this urban environment.
how is it so far? i don't even know how to answer this question honestly to myself. i'm alone most of the day but i don't feel lonely yet because i'm getting work done. i have friends here that i just haven't made the effort to reconnect with yet. i don't miss my old home too much yet, but i know i will. i'm focusing more on the impending visit to nyc with lv this weekend and reuniting with good friends there.
for now, i try to scrape together a routine, to sculpt together a comfort zone in this foreign complex land that's mostly intimidating as hell. and i continue to balance on the tight rope of excitement and fear...
Monday, January 05, 2009
where everybody's there and nobody leaves
i think back to last monday, the last monday of 2008. after doing my final radio show and completing my last shift at evolution cafe, emily picked me up at the apartment that i had been living in for over 3 years. when i got in her car she wanted to wish me happy birthday but she paused and realized that even though we were heading to my party it was to commemorate something bittersweet. my going away party was fun but emotionally exhausting with all of those hugs goodbye. i wanted to have it on monday so i would have all day tuesday to get all of my shit together and be ready to hit the road early wednesday morning.
i am the biggest procrastinator in the world. i'm always scheming ways to extend deadlines to put things off even longer until the absolute very latest moment they can get done. it's embarassing. i got off to a late start on tuesday and spent a leisurely morning/afternoon doing laundry and beginning to excavate my bedroom. emily lent me her car when she got out of work in the evening and, with some help from pauly, i packed it with an assortment of belongings to store at my grandmother's house in westfield. i didn't arrive at her house until quarter of 9:00 after a stressful drive alone on 91 and the masspike in which i left a number of frantic voicemail messages for people in my life that i wished were in the passenger seat providing moral support. that's waht the ride home looked like too, except i took the back way, and was a little sorer after carrying everything up to the third floor of her house.
emily and i agreed to leave northampton at 6:00 am to drive to avoid the impending snow storm. by the time 2:00 rolled around i was faced with the reality of staying up all fucking night as piles of material possessions and refuse surrounded me, closing in on my sanity. i was able to take an hour-long power nap at 3:30 which proved to be the difference between making it to philly before the new year. i made countless trips from my fourth floor apartment to the dumpster out back, in the eerie, cold silence of pre-dawn. i sent emily a desperate, apologetic text message at 5:45 explaining that even though i stay up most of the night packing i would not be ready at 6:00 but was aiming for 6:30. i picked her up at 7:00 just as the snow started to fall on this town i was leaving for good. we drove back to my house only to begin loading the car up together and to finish desposing of the last pile of weekly papers i had been hoarding since 2006. we finally got on the highway at 8:00 after brushing the snowing off her car. we hit the road and proceeded to plunge through the state of connecticut at a tortoise-like 30 mph.
we finally arrived in sunny, snowless philadelphia around 5:00 pm. driving over the delaware river we marvelled at the dramatic sunset and it's reflection off the city's triumphant skyline. i pointed out how weird it is that this will be my new home. so strange. we landed in west philly right before lv got home from work with a prime parking spot right in front of her apartment. i felt like half a human as we all carried in my stuff that filled up emily's massive trunk, before taking a much deserved nap. feeling more human, i got dressed up fancy with lv before we headed to a lovely dinner party in heath's bedroom. i managed to stay up until midnight and almost got kicked out of gojo's for wearing a "happy new year" plastic tierra instead of the more gender-conforming plastic top hat. 2009 had arrived and i was ready to crash. the longest day of my life had culminated with a kiss in this new city and a new year.
this monday is a completely different beast despite waking up around the same time: i made coffee and oatmeal for sweetheart and then after she left for work i made my way down the street to the satellite cafe (sort of the haymarket of west philly) where i now find myself, struggling to be productive, to approach the projects i'm working on as a full-time job that my life is structured around. in 2 hours i will be checking out a room in a house in the neighborhood that i might move into before the end of the month. this is my new life in philly that i am slowly adjusting too. i miss the old mondays but am embracing this new one.
tony sent me an e-mail around 9:30 informing me that the last episode of passions and survival that i recorded last monday was being replayed this morning, just in case some listeners missed my final show. maybe next monday too. and even though i will be here in this strange new city each monday, my heart will be on the airwaves and in florence and in northampton with people that i miss so much.