So the recent media frenzy of the queen of hot mess, Lindsay Lohan has gotten to me, and I just need to say my piece. In jail, out of jail, in rehab, fighting a tranny in a club, in the middle of a media storm, whatever it is, we’re constantly inundated with Lindsay. But is she necessary? Check out my beautiful face in HD and see what my verdict is!
Somebody’s got their panties in a twist. Recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie claimed that the perhaps over-popular show “Jersey Shore” “takes a bunch of New Yorkers, drops them at the Jersey Shore and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey”, and that as a result his state is painted badly in the press. Well guess what, govy, I’ve spotted a pattern. It seems that that these… fine people seem to gravitate to your dear state on their own, trucked in just like most of the tristate area’s waste to your landfills. Trashy things just seem to love the armpit of America. However, I think Governor Christie was on to something…
“Jersey Shore” is built around the phenomenon that is “Guido” culture, which I instantly picked up on when viewing the show for the first time last year. Those with a good reality TV memory should have realized that this idea wasn’t as fresh and new as it seemed.
“Growing Up Gotti” was a short lived show on A&E about the Victoria Gotti and her three sons, pictured above in all of their track-suited, blown-out glory. While it wasn’t really anything remarkable in terms of television, it was a hit in my neighborhood, and several others in South Brooklyn.I distinctly remember some friends of mine tracking down the “Gotti Boys” at the 18th Avenue Feast of Santa Rosalia (definitely a post on this event in late August). While our borough is probably best known today for the hipster haven that Williamsburg has become (gag) or the nostalgia and muggings of Coney Island, it was also once the epicenter of the “guido” phenomenon. The Gotti-Agnello boys were actually interchangeable with many people that I grew up with, cookie cutter copies, all the way down to the brand of hair gel that they used. And not even I was safe by what was in style at the time… Yes, I had a “blowout” hairdo a la DJ Pauly D.
Yes, this is me circa 2004. Believe it or not, this photo used to be saved on my computer under the title “Me, really good” (insert irony). I still maintain that I was a victim of circumstances. I was emulating what I saw all around me. Looking back now, I see that my style was just in bad taste. Having been part of this whole phenomenon is probably the reason that I don’t find “Jersey Shore” that entertaining. It’s a reality that is sad, but true for myself, whereas others just get to laugh at the stupidity of a bunch of guidos in Seaside Heights (which was a popular after-prom weekend getaway for many of my high school classmates as well). Perhaps shows like “Real Housewives of Orange County” aren’t as entertaining for wealthy residents of the O.C. either. I guess it’s a funny phenomenon of reality TV: it’s not as funny when it’s actually real for you.
In addition to feeling like I’ve lived through several episodes of “Jersey Shore” in my own life, there are other reasons that I don’t really find it appealing. Let’s face it, this is trash TV, and there are many other shows out there, that I feel do a better job. I guess their trash is just more palatable for me. Also, I have to agree with many that say it perpetuates some ugly stereotypes about Italian-Americans, but let’s face it, there’s a little truth in every stereotype, and MTV didn’t invent “The Situation”. Overall, it’s really boring to me too. Every episode is the same. GTL, go to Karma, get into a fight, someone’s handcuffed, ugly girls in the hot tub, repeat.
Even thought the “guido” craziness has sort of subsided in Brooklyn, it still runs rampant in other areas, like lovely Staten Island, the red-headed stepchild of NYC. I leave you with a funny account of how residents of that lovely former dump feel about their new status as the guido capitol of New York. Enjoy.
New weekly obsessions!
1. Lady Gaga Vomit Interlude Video
Who doesn’t like sparkly teal vomit? I mean, I know I do. However, the reason that I truly love this video is because I thought I would never be watching it again in this kind of quality. Some of you may know that I went to see Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour on July 6th at Madison Square Garden. One of the things I loved about the show was how well it flowed, and how well thought out the video interludes were. They are not just time fillers to allow LA GAGA to get through her infinite costume changes, but also help link different parts of the show. It was a shame to me, because I assumed, as is the case with most tours, that these videos would never be released. To my surprise, this one was leaked! It also has an interesting nod to Alexander McQueen and his practice of Deconstruction which you can get a taste of here!
2. Avene Thermal Spring Water
I first learned about this stuff because I was selling it. There are several brands of fancy French water out there that claim to improve skin health if used daily due to their high content of trace elements and minerals that your skin needs to function normally. Many of these come from springs that have hydrotherapy centers attached to them. Think hospitals where people bathe all day in order to cure ailments like psoriasis an eczema.
One of my old coworkers used to claim that Avene’s water was special, even among all the other waters out there due to extra soothing properties. One day, on her advice, I sprayed some on a sunburn that I had acquired from a long, suncreenless day at the beach (my how times change). To my surprise, my sunburn actually became less inflamed and more comfortable. I’ve been loving the water this week, as I’ve found it to also be effective at reducing the itch caused by insect bites, which I have so many of for no reason. MIRACLE IN A CAN! Check it out here!
3. Deepak Chopra’s Twitter Account
So, if you don’t know who Deepak Chopra is, read this. While I’m not gonna pretend to be a huge fan of his, I have known of him for quite some time, and decided to follow him on twitter after seeing some of his content re-tweeted by others. I find a lot of his tweets inspirational, and eye opening:
By God when you see your beauty you will be the idol of yourself—Rumi
… like chicken soup for the new age spiritualist’s soul. He also posts a lot of cool articles, so be sure to follow him. Check it out here!
Well, I’d have a big announcement for you, my children. I’m sure all 3 of my readers will be happy to hear that I’m debuting two new and huge concepts! The first is a new series about unnecessary things (and sometimes people) that will be ongoing on my blog. The second is the fact that this post is a vlog! Yes, you get to see my beautiful face in all of its HD glory! This was an arduous process, so I hope that you all enjoy.
Props to Chris Laugier for helping me out with cinematography and editing!
Another round of weekly obsessions!
Topshop is a little bit lesser known in the U.S., since there is only one store in SoHo, but is huge in the U.K. . You might know it as the store that sells clothes designed by Kate Moss. While I’m not in love with all of their men’s stuff, since it tends towards hipster fashion, I just ordered three pieces from them to add to my growing collection. What warrants the obsession is that they make clothes that fit me! I’m really short and thin, and that’s a deadly mix when looking for a good fit in men’s clothes. Their XXS is awesome. They also run really great sales. Those three pieces I bought came out to only $40 and I got them shipped free from England (SUCK ON THAT)! Check it out at www.topman.com .
Why? Because it’s a portmanteau of a portmanteau. Also because it has consumed a lot of my time as of late. I set out to film one short video to start out an upcoming series of vlog and blog posts, and out of it I got two really long videos. It isn’t so much vlogging as it is a legit documentary, and let me just tell you, if I have to hear my own voice again, I’m gonna cut a bitch. More to come soon!
Yeah, I know, she sang “Milkshake”, but it’s this album that’s bringing me to the yard. It may not be your cup of tea if you’re not into electronic music, or techno, or house, but this is a masterpiece that must be listened to at least once, all the way through. The reason I say that is that it’s very well constructed, and brings something fresh to album-based music while the rest of the industry seems to be moving towards selling songs one by one. All the songs have interludes between that help the album flow in a really organic way. It is short and oh so sweet, exactly what it needs to be in under 40 minutes. GET IT!
As of late, I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to get to know the parts of my city that are remarkable, yet unseen. I get to spend a lot of my time with people who are not from New York City, and this has opened my eyes to the fact that they often do not know of of the outer boroughs (everything but Manhattan). As I am a Resident Assistant, I thought it would be clever to do a bulletin board about this, one that listed interesting things that my residents could do in each borough.
However, I was at a loss when thinking about something interesting to do on Staten Island. No offense to the locals, but nothing came to me off the top of my head. I know many Staten Island residents, yet I think they would agree with me when I say that the only remarkable things that jump out at you would be that it has a better mall than Brooklyn, and you need to pass through it to get to New Jersey (more on the armpit of America to come in a later post).
Never underestimate the powers of the internet though. Google brought my attention to quite the attraction in “the borough that might as well belong to Jersey”, Historic Richmondtown. This timewarp is actually a collection of conserved and restored buildings in the heart of Staten Island with structures dating back to Dutch colonial times (the 1600’s). As part of my commitment to learn more about the unseen of NYC, I decided to set out to see this site with my favorite ginger, Caitlin Nolan.
Upon our arrival, I was happy to see that there were people actually dressed like they lived in the colonies! I was so fascinated! Where did they live? Did they stay in character? What did they wear when they went home? Why be a reenactor?
We quickly learned that the illusion of colonial life would be easily broken, as the village actually had cars running through it, and was bordered by stereotypically gaudy Staten Island residences.
However, I did get to take more pictures of people in costumes. We learned in one building that operated as an actual Tinsmith that there was an apprenticeship program going on to educate 11-14 year olds… more on that later.
They also have a museum on site with lots of large restored pieces. They’re currently doing an exhibit on baby stuff, and lemme just tell you, I went batshit crazy over it!
When the time came, we embarked on a village tour. To our surprise, we were the only people taking the tour who were not visiting from another country. This was interesting to me since I always thought of foreign tourists as the types that would be spending their time in Times Square or at the Statue of Liberty. We also found that our tour guide was full of wit and practical knowledge.
Do you know the origin of “mind your P’s and Q’s”? Well now I do, thanks to this man! He brought us through various buildings and explained how life was in this exact town through the ages. Very interesting. What I liked about the tour was that the guide did not pretend to be a citizen of the time period. He spoke as if it was 2010 and was informative without being boring… except for a few points, like when he explained to us the wonderful story about how he learned the name for a pig-tall cow-high fence.
Overall, I would have to say that Historic Richmondtown is like historic town lite. You can get through the whole thing in about two hours, which is just what I needed. However, the high point of our journey really came at the end of the tour. We were left off at a basket weaving facility of some sort, where we met the sassiest bitch in all of Richmondtown.
Now, this basket lady was probably like any other. You could tell that she probably mildly enjoyed her job, coming to work every day to be an 18th century basket maker. However, this week was not like every other. Apparently, basketmaking was very popular among the preteen apprentices that had come to Richmondtown in order to dress in borrowed historic garb and step in copius amounts of geese shit (sandals were a bad choice for Caitlin). Our basket lady seemed to have no patience left, so she vented to the tour of ESL tourists and myself and ginger for about 5 minutes about how she only had a few more days left of the torture she had been subjected to by the higher ups that actually cared about children, and how she would use physical violence to keep the basket children in check if it were legal. She then asked if we had an questions about baskets and was answered only by the noisiness of the children outside. I ventured a useless basket question simply to break the silence. Baskets were passed around, but basket lady could not be heard over the children outside AND THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!
Basket lady walked to the door and opened with “Hey you guys, I have something called a ‘tour’ going on in here. Maybe you all should shut up!” The yelling continued for another 30 seconds before basket lady returned to the most awkward silence I have ever been a part of. The only sound heard was my uttering of “Get it!” Oh and that day, it had been gotten.
Fast forward to myself and my faithful historic exploring companion in my time traveling Pontiac driving into the sunset, back to Brooklyn and the 21st century. We had much fun composing a rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” which we dubbed “Rock Your Bonnet”.
I’ve decided that I should aim to post new content at least two to three times per week. I know that this will slowly become a job, and that I will be cursing myself for it, but what ever came out of ease?
I had a great idea to do a weekly post about things that I’m currently obsessed with. This may seem a little unnecessary to some, especially now that everyone and their dog seems to be endorsing products or liking things on Facebook, but it means more to me. For me to actually say that I like something takes a lot. I’m really stingy with my praise. At the same time, if I really like something, I become all out OBSESSED. Anyway, enjoy.
1. True Blood
If you know me well, it’s no secret that I’m in love with True Blood. I actually tried and failed to really get into it in the beginning since I felt that the pilot was VERY SLOW. However, I suffered through it and eventually caught up with the series, and got hooked on it like Lindsay Lohan on coke. Fast forward to last month and I’m at a midnight fan event nearly getting sexually assaulted by a middle-aged woman dressed like Sookie Stackhouse. Now that’s commitment. I like this series, not because it plays into this whole vampire trend that seems to be all-encompassing within the media world as of late, but rather that it is able to use trashy appeal (sex scenes, violence) in an interesting and intelligent way and tell stories beyond its own, while developing really interesting characters that you want to know more about. In my opinion, it’s one of the best written shows on television right now.
2. The Wonder Wheel
I have this theory that, as a local of a touristy area, you never get to see the sites that your hometown is famous for. For instance, I never visited the Statue of Liberty until the 6 forgotten years that I spent not living in New York. In this same way, I had visited Coney Island before, but never had the pleasure of enjoying The Wonder Wheel, one of the oldest attractions of arguably the most famous area of Brooklyn, my hometown. Its fame is second only to the Cyclone (which you can watch coming apart as you ride, one of my good friends has pointed out). I love it because you can ride in a swinging car which takes the whole ferris wheel idea, twists it, and makes you shit your pants in the process. Also, you get a panoramic view of Coney Island and the Ocean. I may post about my thoughts on Coney soon.
Grapefruit was a food that I had despised for years. I had tried eating one with a spoon when I was a child. Not only was the taste really bitter, BUT IT SQUIRTED ME IN THE EYE AND ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! My eyes burned for hours (thanks citric acid). This event was topped only by the time that a roasted chestnut exploded near my face and sent schrapnel into my eyes (last time I help with Thanksgiving dinner). ANYWAY, I decided to try them again this spring. To my surprise, I uncovered the secrets of the mystery fruit! If you remove the membranes, the taste is not only sweet, but quite awesome. I like to just go at it with my hands rather than effing around with a knife or spoon. The added bonus to the hands method is that you get to smell like grapefruit all day, which is a really pleasant scent (to me at least).