1. Cruel Summer Pt. II: Governors Ball [Super Mega Long Post]

    I saw OutKast. Front row. On an island in New York City. After standing in the same spot for 9 hours, with no food or drink. Here is my story:
     
     
    BACKGROUND
    On my birthday, 20 years ago, the greatest duo of any genre, artistic medium, anything ever, period [fight me], released their first album. Two 19 year olds, from my city, who would one day come to mean the entire world to me. More than anyone will understand. </dramatic intro>
     
    I grew up listening to Outkast. They were popular, they were from Atlanta, and I lived in Atlanta. So they were just part of the soundscape of my childhood. I can’t even say they stood out to me more than say, Kilo Ali or Raheem the Dream or anything, really. Just another thing that was normal to me at the time, but now plays an integral part of who I am, and why I love my city so much and wouldn’t have grown up anywhere else.
     
    It was when my aunt let me borrow Stankonia and I never gave it back, that I became a super charged crazy ass OutKast STAN. But by that time they were already done touring and the thought of seeing them live was never something I really spent too much time on because i assumed it wouldn’t happen. But I still loved them. They were my favorite. I moved to NYC with my 6’by 4’ OutKast poster in tow. One of only two [the other was a Goodie Mob poster] that I had brought up with me from Atlanta.
     
     
    THE ANNOUNCEMENT
    I had heard rumors that Outkast was going to be at Coachella. I didn’t take them seriously. Months before, someone had faked a Coachella lineup and put Outkasts name on it, so I thought nothing of it. Until Big Boi announced it on Instagram.
     
    I was crushed.
     
    There was no way I could make it to Coachella, for many many reasons.m
     
         1. I couldn’t afford it: Coachella is insanely expensive already, add in the fact that Im all the way on the other side of the country and don’t even                                             know anyone in California i could even stay with. So you have tickets, flight, hotel, transportation *sigh*
     
         2. It was already sold out, haha. I found out about Outkast late in 2013. Coachella tickets went on sale that previous May.
     
    So I got really sad about it. How could Outkast, Atlanta legends, reunite in California in front of a bunch of white drugged out hipsters who won’t even know 98% of their set. How could they do this to their fans? I was super super hurt. I resolved to stay up until the wee hours and watch the lifestream. It was the most I could do.
     
    And then…
     
     image

    I honestly can’t remember where I was the first time I saw this. I do remember being bombarded with links of this same announcement on different blogs from everyone who knows me and knows I love them.

    I remember running to my coworkers, who I knew had went to Governor’s Ball last year and asking them multiple questions, mostly about if I could buy a single day ticket. I literally had NO other reason to go to Governor’s Ball unless it was to see Outkast, so I didn’t really want to pay for a 3-day ticket and go to one day.

    After confirming that I could, I settled down and waited for them to go on sale. I followed @govballnyc on twitter and set notifications so that EVERY tweet could come to my phone. I waited for them to announce one day tickets for I think 3 months, getting notified at least once or twice today that they tweeted something I didn’t give a shit about.

    I was going to get a one day ticket. i was going to be front row. I called this Operation Not-A-Fucking-Game.

    OPERATION NOT-A-FUCKING-GAME PT. 1: THE TICKET

    Finally, GovballNYC tweeted when single day tickets would go on sale. There were two dates. One early presale date for Citi Card holders, and one regular date that was a whole fucking two days later. I started asking my coworkers which one of them had a Citi Card and got my friend Kate to buy my ticket on her card and I’d pay her back. 

    On the day the tickets went on sale, I came to work with my game face on. I had gotten a withdrawal before I got to the office and gave her the money 2 hours before tickets went on sale. at 9:55am, 5 minutes before the tickets went on sale, I looked over at her desk and I couldn’t find her. 

    She had went to a meeting.

    I died. I could see her in the meeting room through the glass. She was meeting with someone pretty high up, so I didn’t want to just press my face on the glass. I just had to wait until the meeting was over and feel a little part of me die for every minute that passed that tickets were on sale and I didn’t have one. 

    At 10:02, she emailed me a copy of my ticket to Governors Ball. She had taken her laptop in and bought my ticket during the meeting. I could have cried. 

    OPERATION NOT-A-FUCKING-GAME PT. 2: THE PLAN

    The first people I talked to were Amber and Chris. My coworkers and festival experts (They were going to Coachella, and Governor’s Ball, and Lolla that year). I tried to get as much info from then on the Gov Ball crowd as possible. 

    Then I searched the internet for any detailed blog posts on someone Gov Ball experience. I wanted to know how the crowd was, how last year was, how the ferry service was, etc. I needed info so that I could cater my plan and figure out the best way to get front row.

    I downloaded the Governors Ball app and stayed subscribed to their twitter notifications so I could know when they would release the festival map so that I could plan my steps. I checked the site every day for the same reason. Gov Ball had added a little feature, allowing you to like an artist and make your own schedule, since there were multiple stages and staggered times. I didn’t need a schedule. I had one place to be. But I checked because I could see how many people scheduled Outkast. I wanted to get some sort of feel on how crowded their set would be relative to other artists. Each of the 3 days had tons of different acts and one main headliner. Friday was Outkast, Saturday was….idk. And Sunday was Jack White. I expected Friday to sell out first, but it actually sold out last. I was surprised and actually…a little disappointed. It was a sign of things to come.

    Finally, everything was released. Set times. Ferry times. And festival map. I planned everything to the T, went over it every few days or so, and counted down to June 6.

    OPERATION NOT-A-FUCKING-GAME PT. 2: OPERATION

    The night before, my friend, my love, Rebecca, flew up from Miami for Governors Ball. She stayed at my apartment, as well as Justin, and we all talked about life, jobs [I had just lost mine] and art, as well as smoking and eating. 

    I cut the party short though. I was waking up early. I told them they could come with me if they wanted, but that I wasn’t waiting on anyone at any second. They understood, but I knew they wouldn’t come with me, and that was fine. Gov Ball was about me and Outkast. 

    I woke up at 8am and put on my clothes that I had laid out the night before  [My black ATLien shirt + some cutoff shorts + chucks]. Everyone was still sleeping when I left. I wasnt going to eat but i got hungry before I even got to the train and stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, afraid that even that small detour would make me late and have me standing in the back behind thousands of pseudo-fans. I got off the train and walked about 4 long blocks to the ferry dock. There were about 10 people there. Security wasnt even ready. I felt good.

    There was a group of women next to me, each of them had to be in their 40s or 50s, but wearing clothes from like..Hot Topic. They were talking about this guy, I assumed it was who they were going to see. I had no idea who else was performing for the day except Outkast so I couldn’t guess who they were talking about from the snippets of conversation I heard. One woman talked about flying out to LA to see him and seeing him all over the country. They all tried to one-up one another about who was the biggest fan. The main woman, we’ll call her Old Dusty, OD for short, lamented about how she couldn’t wear her band shirt because she had mistakenly ordered a medium and she wanted a small (she emailed the seller to get a small and they said they were sold out and she was just sooooo disappointed in them and she emailed them multiple times talking about how she was sooo disappointed, and she DMed them on twitter about who disappointed she was).

    I wanted OD to stop talking, but she wouldn’t. And I couldn’t move lest I lose my space in line. 

    Finally, the line started moving. We were patted down at 3 different locations before being allowed to get on the ferry to go to Randall’s Island. Since we were so early and this was the first ferry, it wasnt even half filled. Just a straggle of crazies who wanted to be at the island 2 hours before gates even opened. OD and crew sat first, in the first row of chairs. There was one chair left beside them. So I had to make a decision. Spare myself from listening to OD gobble on and on about nothing, or be the first off the boat. I sat next to OD and crew and did any and everything to distract myself. 

    We got to the island and OD does some weird power ranger leap to the door and she’s first off the boat. Theres a tunnel, the entrance is decorated with a Governors Ball sign. We don’t make it all the way through the tunnel. We are stopped halfway by a festival coordinator that explains that they’re not ready yet, they haven’t set up the ticketing system and the arm bands and all that. Im in the first row of people in the small mob. OD and crew are still beside me, cawking away about their mystery man. 

    Finally, were let throw, I go to the ticketing tent and immediately get my one day bracelet, then I walk to the doors. There are already people there. People who decided not to take the ferry and just to take the train or walk (I didn’t want to take my chances with those methods). I was behind about 10 people. I hated it. OD and crew had finally disappeared somewhere. 

    We were all in one long line when staff came out and asked us to form 8 lines. Some people didn’t move, but I did. And I  became first in my particular line. We still had about an hour and a half before doors opened, so I went over my plan again.

    I knew Outkast was getting on at 9:15 and I knew what stage they were playing. Since it was the largest stage, I had even seen it when we were on the ferry coming to the island. I sorta guessed where it was relative to the doors, and looked last the ticketing and security stands as far as I could to try to make out my path and match it to the one I had made by staring at the map. 

    While I was being pat down for the 4th time, I kept my eyes on the prize, staring straight ahead, so that I could take off running speed walking. I finished my pat down and booked it across the field to the main stage, past other stages, food vendors, whatever. 

    I stopped. I had to. 

    I had to buy a popsicle from  King of Pops, an Atlanta based popsicle stand. They were one teeny tiny white cart in an empty field of green. It was almost beautiful. I bought a Georgia Peach popsicle, keeping up with the theme of the night. Then I ran, popsicle in hand. I also a couple of other people running. But I saw my spot. The front row was empty except 3 or 4 people who I have no idea how they got there before me but I heard they let VIP in early. I got to the front row, it was so close to the stage that it was nice and shaded. I grabbed the rail and settled in, knowing I would be there until the end of the night at 11pm. It was noon. I sat.

    The girl next to me was wearing a tee that said “Julian Casablancas” on it. I had no idea who he was and she seemed shocked and amused. She explained that he was the lead singer of The Strokes (I just had to look that up because I didn’t remember). and also had his own band. 

    I gathered that he was her Outkast. She told me about how she saw him in LA and it clicked that this Casablancas guy was the mystery guy that all the old ladies were fawning over. And as I looked around, there were ALOT of people wearing Casablancas shirts. They were there for him. I started to realize I was the only Outkast fan around at the time. Julian was getting on at around 430 and I prayed that all his fans would leave after him, letting all the Outkast fans come to the front. I really didn’t want to be around a bunch of white girls singing Hey Ya and texting during the rest of their set. 

    So, the first act of the day goes on, and then the second, and so on, and the routine is sort of set in place. An act will go on, we stand, we watch, and then in between acts, we sit and talk to people. We’re so close to the stage that we can actually sit in the shade. This helps me ALOT because I know Ill be there for hours. But as the day goes on and the acts get more and more famous, soon there is no room to sit, and by Janelle Monae at 3pm, I am squished. Between sets I have to stand and lean over the railing, thats really when hell begins. The original plan was for me to actually save spots for Justin and Rebecca since they were coming later, but I knew that since they weren’t there by then, that they’re weren’t getting anywhere near the front.

    Julian Casablancas is after Janelle Monae (I think) and the crowd gets very very very dense. People are squeezing behind me so tight, and I get really annoyed. I know its not their fault, but the front bar is pushing against my stomach, and Julian hasn’t even gotten on yet. I do this thing where I grab the bar, and push my body back as hard as I can to get people off of me. I have to do this about a thousand times before the night is over.

    Julian gets on, the girls go crazy, and I felt *kinda* bad *sorta* for the people behind me who love Julian as much as I love Outkast. I thought for like .38 seconds about giving my spot up for someone and switching back afterwards, but i laughed it off. 

    After Julian was Phoenix. The girl next to me was there for them. She had a big sign with the words “FUNKY SQUAREDANCE” written on it, and during the down time before Phoenix went on, I asked her what they meant. Her story was incredible. 

    Basically, she’s a huge huge Phoenix fan. She goes to all of their shows on the east coast. She’s always there early and its to the point where certain members of the band and road crew know her. 

    Once they realized she had been to a ton of their shows, their manager contacted her and invited her to one of their shows in NYC for free. Funky Squaredance was a random track off their first album that they never perform live, but they sometimes did for her if they saw her holding up that sign.

    She was shaking, jumping up and down before they even got on stage. There was this strange twinkle in her eye that I recognized as the stan twinkle. That twinkle you only get when you’ve been standing in the same spot for 6 hours, waiting for your favorite band to come on. I was so happy for her. And when Phoenix got on, I spent most of the time feeding off her happiness. 

    She jumped, and cried when one of the band members recognized her. Everyone around her saw her passion and we all respected it and gave her space. At the end, the lead singer broke the head off his mic and gave it to her, and she sobbed and sobbed. Once the band left the stage, we begged the security guard to give her the setlist, and she left. To give some perspective on how dense the crowd was, when she left, 3 people filled her tiny space. 

    Next up was Outkast. 

    It was finally starting to get a little dark and cooler out, and I was getting excited. I get a tap on my shoulder from a girl, shorter than me, indian. She asks if Im there for Kast. I say yes, and she gets excited because Im the ONLY other person she’s found thats there for them. We hit it of immediately, joking about Andre and Big Boi seeing us in the crowd and inviting us backstage, and I even find out that she’s originally from Georgia and is set to go back there for grad school once summer is over. Her name is Shub, and I turn my phone on for the first time in hours so that we can change Facebooks. 

    I have a ton of texts, some from Justin and Rebecca asking where I am,  some from another friend, and one from Sean that says “I don’t know how to say this, but Ryan died, they think from a heart attack”. I respond back “what?!” and he explains that he just found out. I am in shock. Its a weird feeling, standing there at the front of a huge dense crowd, as the sun is going down, waiting for your first time to see your favorite musicians ever, and hearing that your friend has died. 

    I dwell on it, then store it away for when I have more time to think about it. I friend Shub on Facebook, then turn my phone off again, we have a whole 30 more minutes until Kast gets on. 

    30 turns to 45. The music starts about 3 times, we all cheer, but then nothing happens. 

    My heart can’t take all the false starts, but Im still excited. I cannot feel a thing, no pain, no sadness, and no grief. Finally, the cube appears. THE CUBE. The CUBE that has been the center piece of their show for the entire tour thus far. A red veil is lowered over the cube. Its dark out. I start to scream. My heart feels ready to burst. Theres no music. Just a track of thunder claps.

    Im screaming and screaming, my camera is recording, the red veil is lifted, and my babies are suddenly inside. Big Boi reclined on a chair, and Andre, my Andre, standing, facing the crowd me. 

    My camera starts to shake  and I start to cry a little. I put down my camera and enjoy the show, only recording little clips for my enjoyment later. Im jumping up and down, the crowd is tight, and I am not a small person. I also have long, butt-length braids but I don’t care whose getting smacked, whose getting stepped on, I make my own space and I jump and scream and rap and wave and scream at Shub and rock and wind through their whole set. I take some time to look over at the crowd and see some other fan on the other side waving a big huge Stankonia flag, the cameras scan the faces in the crowd, and later on my friends in the back tell me they all saw me. I have the most fun I could possibly have I get my entire life. I stay until the bitter end. One of the first to get to the crowd, and I wait past the end of the show to see if I can get a setlist, but some BITCH walks up and takes them all, so Im unsuccessful. I wait a little longer to be totally sure that Kast isn’t going to come back. Shub leaves and we promise to talk on Facebook. I take my first actual step since standing for 9 hours, and my legs are weak, I almost fall. 

    My battery is low. My thighs are numb. My feet feel swollen. My head hurts. Im extremely thirsty and hungry, and I have to pee.

    I do my best to levitate above the seat in the disgusting porta-potty, then run to the concessions before they close and buy a coke and a water. I manage to meet up with my friend Zaria near the front before my phone officially dies, and we get in line for the ferry back to Manhattan. 

    Zaria and I end up meeting the guy who was waving the giant Stankonia Flag. He’s a black dude who lived in Boston and is another Outkast stan. He had even flown to Coachella to see their first show together. We get into a long conversation about Outkast that lasts our entire wait in line, then we all get on the ferry together talking and rapping. We split up on the Manhattan dock, get FB info, and promise to link up again.

    As Zaria and I walk back to the train station, I stop and get another drink, Im so thirsty. My feet and thighs are hurting so bad and Im so tired that I sit down on the nasty subway floor with my back leaned against a stone pillar, carrying on a conversation with Zaria with my eyes half closed. Its about 3am by now, and I am out of energy. 

    I take two trains back home. My phone is beyond dead. I am beyond dead. The 4 short blocks back to my apartment feel like an eternity, but i finally make it back in. 

    I never met up with Justin and Rebecca, and when I see them again, they are asleep on the couch, as if they never left. Mike is up though, he waited on me. He had even made chicken. I eat and go straight to bed. I plug my phone up and watch some videos I recorded of Outkast, before I finally fall asleep. Hard.

    I dont wake up the next day until after noon. Im still buzzing, and happy. I know I dont have a job, but I know I have a couple thousand coming in a severance check. I feel kinda…free. I push away the nagging “get a job” voice to the back back back of my skull, I tell Justin and Rebecca my Governors Ball story, and we laugh. I decide to just work on my portfolio and dont get all crazy about it. And just see what the summer has in store and hope I land on my feet. 

     

     

  2. My New Obsession: Mick Jenkins - The Water[s]

    So I recently bought a new iPod Classic off this guy on Craigslist and Ive been slowly rebuilding my music collection. Its a very exciting, exhausting, heartbreaking thing.

    Its heartbreaking because I never realized just how much music I had. Over 100 GBs of discographies, random tracks from random blogs, remixes, snippets, all sorts of unorganized odds and ends, some of which Ill never get back. 

    Its exhausting because, shit, downloading all of that music and organizing it and putting it on the ‘Pod takes time and effort. And I’m very weird with music, so a song or album that i don’t have or want will pop up in my head at any time, and Ill *need* to hear it, even waking up out of my sleep to do so. 

    Its exciting because I get to rediscover music that had been buried in my music collection for years, forgotten about until I obsess over it again for a week, or never listened to in the first place. Also, since I now have an iPod again, Ive started to partake in my favorite activity, discovering NEW music. 

    Which leads me to Mick Jenkins. I had heard of him a couple times before, his name had been on some blogs that I frequent, but I think the first time I heard of him, was this song about 6 months ago and then this song a month ago, that I went crazy over. And now Ive been listening to The Water[s] non. stop.

    Im not a music reviewer person, so I don’t have any sort of professional review to give it or anything. All I can say is that I love it dearly. Every song is dope and the detail and time he put into it is apparent. I feel like, even though Ive heard it in its entirety about 20 times now, that theres something Im missing. Themes Im not picking up on. Or maybe Im just over thinking it. 

    Tagged #mickjenkins
     
  3. Some shots of this little crazy thing that runs around my house

     

  4. Cruel Summer pt: 1 - Tiesha and the amazing, terrible, confusing week (May 31 - June 6)

    I know, I know, its been so looooong. It really has. So something major happened. I lost my job. Yea.

    That was a crazy week. A lot happened. And really, a lot has happened since that week also. I want to eventually cover it all, but I want to do little segments. 

    So I want to talk about that week, I guess its the week that started it all and kickstarted probably the most random summer Ive had in my whole life. No pictures this time. Just story:

    On May 31, after finally getting back to the hotel from The Roots Picnic in Philly with a bag full of Wendy’s, Erica and I sat around and talked about our jobs. I told her about how, although Im very grateful, Im not completely happy, how Im trying to leave. It was a really good talk about what we want out of life in general over frostys and burgers.

    Back at work that Monday, I walked into the kitchen and chopped it up with my friend Ryan about seeing Snoop Dogg and the Roots in Philly before starting another dragging work day. Ryan was always the person I went to to talk about hip hop, whether I had just went to a concert or fallen in love with a  new album. We had went together with his friends to a Homeboy Sandman concert a few months back. Anyway I didn’t leave work until 10pm that night, because Sean and I were busting ass on something due the next day. On Tuesday, Ryan was absent, and around noon, we all got a scary email from the CEO (who NEVER emails us). She told us to all gather together on our floor in an hour.

    In the meantime, Sean and I messaged each other about what the meeting could be about, first going to our long-running inside joke: we’re getting fired.

    This was our running joke for a couple reasons. First, what we do is very niche and sometimes hard to understand. Even when you do get the hang of things, you still never feel as if you’re doing everything right, and there is SO much room for error that you do mess up sometimes no matter what. So we often felt like we were fuck ups. But we’d be mostly joking. Second,and more seriously, the company was showing visible signs of tearing at the seams. People were getting laid off or leaving on their own all the time. Id say an average of at least one person a month since I started there in Fall 2012. We had a couple executives that only stayed a few months, some people leaving mysteriously, and just a month before, 3 designers had been cut at once. A repeat of another massive cut to the design team that had just happened half a year ago. And most recently, there had been a new initiative in the company, called “HOF”, which stood for “Hello Old Friend”. 

    HOF was announced to us at one of our morning meetings, and I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t picked to be apart of it. HOF was explained as an initiative to bring back old clients. The company had rebranded its services and announced a tiered approach. We had created an “economy” version of our services to bring in new, lower-end clients. Designers and project managers were told to choose a brand and basically cold call and email them, reintroducing the company and talking about our new packages. She split everyone up into 3 teams and announced rewards for whoever could get even ONE client to sign an SOW. (Basically a contract). 

    It sounded horrible. When our Director announced it in her sweet voice, she tried her best to make it sound like this cool new thing. But I, and many others, saw through the bullshit. It was desperation. It was “please work with with us again! We won’t charge you as much!” It was “save us!”.  

    At 12 o clock, everyone gathered in our couch area and waited for whatever was coming. I remember feeling annoyed because I wanted to make this tiny change in a PSD and I hated being pulled away from my work when I only had a little bit left. 

    Our CEO, Cofounder, Financial Lady, and Director got off the elevator. Our CEO, usually so poised, elegant and beautiful that she has an article in Forbes thats primarily focused on her wardrobe, had been sobbing. Her face was red and she only stopped wiping her nose to tell us that the company has tried to expand and couldn’t. That the industry hasn’t yet caught on to what we were doing. That they had to make tough decisions.

    Sometimes, when Im worried, when I dont know whats going to happen, I get this feeling. its similar to my body being slowly filled with ice water. My arms got cold, and the cold crept up my neck..

    “The executive team is taking pay cuts, and a group of us are leaving today”.

    I immediately knew some people were getting let go, I just didn’t know who. At this point the team was so small that I couldn’t think of anyone who wasn’t crucial. 

    “So everyone go back to your desks, and some of you will be hearing from us shortly”

    Usually after a meeting like that, afterwards everyone bursts out talking and laughing as we walk to our desks. This time it was dead silent. I sat back down and immediately got back to what I had been working on.

    An email came through addressed to me and 4 other designers: “All, please come to the 18th floor”. We all saw who got it, I locked eyes with another emailee, Alix. I quickly messaged Sean “Its me, Im getting fired”, got up, and walked with Alix to the elevator. I didn’t wait for his response. We all met up at the elevator, the 5 of us. The doomed ones. We knew what was happening. As we waited in the elevator, we didn’t talk to each other, just made faces, rolled eyes, shook our heads. 

    We all sat in our large conference room. The 5 of us on one side of the long white table, together. The CFO on the other, tall windows behind her. It was a really good view. She was sitting in almost the same place my coworker Eric was when I had my first interview with him over Skype. I remember staring at the view behind him, at the buildings, imagining myself being there and looking out of those windows, hoping and praying that I got this New York job. 

    I was very calm, I barely talked, as she explained our last day of employment and severance pay.  The only time I spoke up to ask about the money which, at that point, was the only reason I was still at the company anyway. She left and we all had a moment to talk amongst each other. One person was really mad, but I had a sort of delayed reaction, and I was really mostly worried about income. 

    Id be wrong to leave out this little tidbit, I did get emotional our Director when I had my one-on-one chat with her. I had an emotional moment when I thought about the possibility of me having to go back to Georgia. She explained to me that I wouldn’t, that they’d help me with whatever reference or review I needed. I don’t want to say I cried. I maybe just cry talked for a couple sentences then kept it together. 

    Afterwards we all went a bar to get drinks, and there I met people from the other departments who had got let go, including Eric, who had been with the company for 8 years. Everyone was so funny. We joked about work and free time and a couple of other previous firees joined us.

    I have to say, sitting at a table with a bunch of other people who got laid off too, beats walking home alone with my thoughts, even though I knew Id have to eventually. As much as everyone else joked about having free time, my body wouldnt let me. My wheels were already turning. Already figuring out my next move.

    On the train ride home, I tried to chill. I tried to think about all the shit I could do with my free time, all the books I could read. All the *sleep*, I had been complaining about my lack of sleep.

    When I got off, I stopped at the grocery store and got a bunch of junk food. My plan was to lay in bed and fuck around on my phone while eating them. 100% carefree.

    Instead, I hit the job boards. I had about 40 tabs open when I finally stopped. I didnt apply to any, I didnt have a dedicated place online to lead people to look at my (recent) work. So I finally allowed myself a break. I thought about the two checks I still had coming and how far that could carry me and I figured I could give myself a week to just build my portfolio and job window shop. Friday was, after all, Outkast, and I couldn’t afford to be stressed that day, I had a lot to do. Friday was going to be awesome.

    Thursday night, my friend Rebecca flew in for Outkast. I told her about my job and we talked about being in “the matrix” and how we both feel that a 9-5 Monday - Friday isnt a good structure, an expansion of the conversation I had just had with Erica in Philly days before. Justin, Rebecca, Mike and I, had a good ole “fuck everything” smoke session before I went to bed early in preparation for the next day.

    The next morning I woke up early and headed to Governors Ball. I was the 4th person in the venue and was first row for Outkast, who, fortunately and unfortunately, were the last act to perform. I stood from 12pm to 11:00pm. Enduring every act and every intermission before OutKast. Being smushed up against that front rail, with aching muscles, but never moving. At some point during the last intermission before Outkast, I got a text from Sean that Ryan had died.

    Were still not sure how. I think he had died Thursday and had been found in his apartment the next day. The apartment in Union Square that he had recently bought. I had been in his apartment where we smoked and drank before the Homeboy Sandman show. I had to find this out *right* before Outkast.

    I thought happy thoughts and enjoyed my favorite group. And BOY did I enjoy them. All that standing was worth it. Best time Ive ever had.

    The trip home was grueling on my sore, aching legs, but I made it home at around 2am, and didnt wake up the next day until noon-1pm.

    Then it was crunch mode. I was about 75% done setting up my Behance profile. On Monday I planned to start sending out applications rapid fire.

    And thats my crazy week. Loss of a job, loss of a friend, and I saw my favorite group live. I promise a more painstakingly detailed account of Governors Ball in my next post, then I want to cover all these interviews, and job leads, and freelance, and jobs I’ve had and how I am, at the time of me writing this, full-time again but still looking for something else. 

    Peace. 

     

  5. Ramblings

    Lets start this out with a picture of the first frittata I ever made. This shit was so good. I went into it not knowing what would happen, but it came out of the oven beautifully. I learned that there’s no wrong way to make a fritatta. You can throw whatever you want in it. I basically stuffed mine with some leftover chicken from something I’d previously made, sausage, turkey bacon, regular bacon, peppers, chives, an assortment of spices, and a little bit of honey. After I fed The Boy, I cut a piece, plated it on my favorite stark white IKEA plates, and began to take pictures and edit it for a full 15 minutes before I even took a bite. And it was fan. tas. tic. Ive really been getting into cooking for myself when I can. Its fun and opens you up to new ingredients. Plus if youre always on the brink of being broke like me, it saves money. Especially when you work in a part of Manhattan where a salad can easily run you a smooth $12. And you know what I fuck with extra hard now? Muthafuckin Bay Leaves. But I digress….

    Its been over a month since Ive blogged but I honestly dont have very many major updates. Its safe to say that the sun is officially out though, so Ive started crawling out of my hole. For one, I got a bike.

    I havent been able to ride it these past 3 (three? Yikes) weeks for one reason or another. Usually too busy. Ugh. But when I do ride, I love it. I love the burn in my thighs and the wind on my face and i love riding down block after block of gorgeous brownstones. Brooklyn is such a pretty ass place. 


    Ive been slacking on my exercise so hard. Idk what my deal is. Justin and I have been riding together a few times and its been really fun. We just cruise around Bed Stuy, talking, getting things off our chest. Same shit we’ve been doing since 7th grade, really. 

    Work has been fine. Ive been over it for months now but I cant complain much more than that. Its good income in my field, easy work. This doesnt mean Im comfortable, no. My portfolio is actually online! Under a shitty free domain name that no one will guess, giving me the time to play with the code and make sure its perfect before I take it public for real for real. In the meantime Ive completely overhauled and updated my Behance portfolio (still under construction) and started a dedicated Tumblr where I post WIPs and other little things im working on. Just know that I have a plan for the next few months. 

    Theres a 100-days challenge going on at work. Some people are doing a chosen task every day for 100 days. I chose to design. Im sticking to my word, too. Its a good exercise.

    The apartment has changed ever so slightly. Ive begun painting my room a really deep dark purple. I don’t have a picture of the full room because Im only halfway done. My room is so big (I know, right) that I actually needed twice as much paint as I thought. Of course, once i was done, the last thing on my mind was going and buying more paint, so Ive pushed the completion of the project to this weekend.

    I do have a small consolation. A random picture I took of my jewelry area to see if my phone could catch the color right. Its blurry. Ugh. I kind of want a real camera now.

    Ive also starting putting up some nice triangle decals in the hallway. Not sure how I feel about them. They may be transferred to the ceiling of the kitchen. 

    Anyway, I hate doing long posts without more than a couple images to break things up and give the eye a bit of rest so I will resume this next weekend where Im sure Ill have a good recap of my birthday, Mike’s two (2!) engineering job interviews he has later this week, updated pictures of my purple room, Godzilla, and whatever the hell else I’m starting to have going on now that the weather is nice. 

     

  6. I was afraid to check this blog and see how long it has been since I had posted. Has it really been a month? Argh. Update by this weekend, I swear it. 

     

  7. The Great Pre-Spring Sickness

    After getting sick twice through the winter season last year, I expected this year to be the same. After being absolutely miserable during Christmas Break because i was sick and had a tooth ache, I figured it would only be a matter of time before #2 came rolling around. So I was pleasantly surprised when March came around and I hadn’t gotten sick again. I figured i was adjusting to the weather here. That my blood was thickening up. And then, the coughing came. 

    I just remember that I had never coughed that hard in my life. It was painful. It hurt my chest, it made the veins on the side of my head throb, every cough felt like I was swallowing a spiked bat. This lasted for about 3 days. Then I woke up on a Thursday morning and I felt like I had been hit by a train. 

    I emailed my job and told them I wasn’t coming in, but that I’d see them tomorrow. That day, I laid around on the couch and eventually Mike showed up with his gaming PC in tow (which now lives at my place, he’s slowly moving in with me). I eventually got the courage to walk with him to the store to buy a second chair for the work area. It was a dumb decision. It was about a 3 long block walk on the coldest day of the week. I had forgotten my scarf, and I was really sick. But i didn’t want him to buy an ugly chair and then have to deal with it being here. *sigh* 

    That night, I got worse. I coughed and sneezed, my head was throbbing. When Mike came to bed that night, he wrapped his arm around my waist like he usually does, and immediately commented on how warm I was. I coughed and sneezed and sniffed into the night. Finally, he told me to take my temperature because I was very hot. So I did. It was 101.4. I had a fever. But I was freezing. I had the chills. 

    That night, I could barely sleep. I kept having to pee and otherwise, the sneezing, coughing, headache, and chills kept me up. I emailed my job, apologized, and said I wouldn’t be in the next day either.

    The worst part of that night was the work. Missing work on Friday meant missing an important meeting where I was presenting 4 new templates that i was supposed to have been working on on Thursday. This meeting had been pushed and pushed and pushed because of everyones workload, but we had all finally settled on Friday. I couldn’t let them down and let the meeting get pushed again, and so I worked under conditions I hopefully have to never work under again. I finished the template, and slinked back to bed. Mike held me the whole night. He’s a great guy. 

    I spent most of Friday horizontal on the couch watching Pokemon. Mike made pancakes that I barely ate. Everytime he mentioned food, I felt like he was asking me to run a marathon. It made me tired to even think about eating. As a result, by the time Sunday rolled around, I had lost 6 lbs. Of course it was all water weight and its all back now. 

    After a couple more horrid, snot-filled days, I was fine to go back to work. Of course, I still have this shitty cough. Now its not as damaging, but it comes in very long, very loud fits that I cannot prevent or stop once they’ve started. More than once Ive had a fit on the train and had everyone slowly move away from me. Tonight while riding home, I only coughed once, so hopefully its the beginning of the end. 

    Ive never had the flu before, but I can definitely tell you it makes for a very shitty time. 

     
  8. Finished my landing page mock! 

    This is the plan for V1 of my portfolio website. I think as I learn to code more and more, Ill want to change some functionality or make it cooler, but right now this is a perfect starting place.

    Ill be learning to code this while designing other pages of the site, sort of parallel pathing. 

     

  9. Humbling my tits

    Man, this weekend we stayed inside pretty much both days and just watched Pokemon Indigo (It’s on Netflix now). I didnt want to do anything, I wanted to spend a minimum amount of money because I wanted to even things out from spending SO MUCH FUCKING MONEY last weekend.

    Ugh! Ok so a couple of weeks ago, I reluctantly agreed to go out to eat for Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is basically a week of very expensive, top-notch restaurants in the city offering huge discounts on a fixed menu, usually multiple courses. The set price is $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner. I was hesitant to do this for multiple reasons:

    • Expensive restaurants usually means ridiculously small servings (so what if the food is pretty, I want to EAT)
    • Who the fuck do I think I am paying $38 for a dinner full of teeny, servings? Diddy? 

    I got into it for a second though, I wanted to have the experience. I figured I’d do it once and never do it again. So I went ahead with it, dreading the expense.

    The dinner was set for last Sunday.

    So Ive been trying to cook a lot more cool shit, trying to teach myself to cook different things and eat different things. Friday night, I made Turkey Pastelon. It was pretty good. Later I was browsing Craigslist for a coffee table (I was set on buying someone’s old table, idk why) and I come across this cute little mixed media coffee table. The posting said it was from IKEA, but I had never seen it before. It had a wooden top with metal legs and it was a decent price ($50). I searched the web for about an hour trying to figure out what the model was and what year it was released but I found nothing. The only time we could settle on was that Sunday at noon for me to come pick it up. Mike and I took a bus across Bed-Stuy to Prospect Heights and walked a couple blocks to this guy’s magnificent apartment (exposed wooden beams, wooden columns). He helped us carry the table out into the hallway. We called a van, put the table in the back seat, and now its here and its awesome!

    image

    After posting the table on the IKEA Fans website for identification, I learned that the table is actually from the first IKEA PS collection released in 1995. Its practically ancient. And its in great condition. A few little scratches here and there, but hey, the table is 19-years-old. Also, despite the table being IKEA, its actually pretty big and heavy (Mike and i thought we may be able to take it back on the bus but we nixed that plan the second we lifted it), and I also don’t even think it was pieced together like most IKEA furniture. Its put together so well it seems like it was bought as one piece. I consider this a steal. Its an awesome table, everyone loves it, its sturdy as fuck, and its really cute. I think this is my best Craigslist find yet. Cant wait to stick a carpet under there, though Justin likes the wood on wood look. I like it too, so ill just have to find a carpet I like more. 

    So the apartment is inching along! I promise Ill take some pictures soon. just a few more things I want to get. 

    After laying around on the couch for a while, listening to Mike play guitar and watching Duckie sniff the new table, I got up and got dressed for dinner. 

    I wore a flowy, thin white tee, a skirt Ive had for years that I got on sale from Target, and the best tights on Gods green earth.

    Pause. Because listen, I am fat ok? Im working on it, but right now, Im fat. And while its not super hard to find clothes, its SUPER hard to find tights that don’t roll down during the day. Even the tights I got from ASOS, which I thought would be really good, failed me. They failed me hard. I had just about given up on buying tights. I thought my dreams of wearing skirts and rompers with tights and chucks or booties was just that..a dream. Until last week when I was at H&M (buying a pair of jeans that are my size but run small but don’t quite fit so now they’re my weight loss jeans), I gambled again and picked up a pair of their plus sized tights. I wore them the night of the dinner and OMG. No rips, no rolls, perfect fit. I almost cried when I first pulled them on. And I got 2 pair for only 13 fucking dollars. Bitch.

    Anyway, my excitement over my outfit quickly faded by the time we got to the restaurant. The place was all cute and shit and just smelled expensive. *sigh*

    Mike and I agreed that Ill foot the dinner bill if he helps out on the groceries, which was fine. He doesn’t make as much money (or any money really, he’s a student) as me, and I wanted him to come. I had been complaining about how much everything was going to add up to, so we agreed ahead of time to not order any sides or drinks. 

    But oh, whaddaya know, my side and drink ordering friends decided to split the bill 3 ways anyway, and I ended up paying more than I intended. Not wanting to be that guy, I just went ahead and paid. But *sigh*.

    It was my own fault, ya know. Just growing up the way I did, I just always err on the side of cheapness, no matter how much money Im making. I mean…yea I have a lot of Apple products, but I’d much rather spend money on that than like…

    image

    this. 

    But whatever. The dinner is done. I had a good time seeing my friends and eating overpriced food. Everything was perfect except the bill haha. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that i was losing grip though. I am still poor at heart. And I like having that mentality, it helps me make the most of the money I make. 

    That night, I made a bunch of quinoa salad with grapes and chicken to eat for lunch at work. I made too much actually, its a week later and I still have a lot left. It wasn’t one of my better recipes, I won’t make it again. Its good though, just not…that good.

    Anyway, Justin came back from a week of being in Georgia on Tuesday night. After he worked his shift, he came over around 11pm and showed me all of the video and photos he took while back home. It felt so good to be around Justin, watching videos of our friends, of his parents, hearing their accents, and smoking. I felt grounded again. I told him how I had just spent $112 on a dinner 2 nights before and how it made me feel like a fucking asshole, how Ive been taking work way too seriously and how I felt like i hadn’t had time to relax. We talked about everything. It dawned on me that we’ve been doing this with each other in some form or fashion for a decade. Im really glad to have him around.

    Then the next morning I realized that he took my lighter and I was pissed. 

    He always fucking does that shit!

    After that, the work week was a breeze. I worked, didn’t let myself get sucked in, and before I knew it, Thursday was here. I left work early, and Mike and I went to Colbert!

    image

    (my god, his beard looks extra red here haha)

    Afterwards, Mike wanted to look for a hard-to-find honey mead that I’d been really wanting to try ever since we’d heard about it. Luckily, there was a liquor store a few blocks down from the Colbert Studios that happened to carry it, he bought that, then we were walking to the train when we found this Amish Market. We walked in and I fell in love with their honey selection alone. He asked me if I wanted a jar and I was about to pick out a jar that had the comb still in it when the word “ginger” caught my eye. On a higher shelf, I saw a glass bottle of ginger. syrup. I put the honey back, grabbed it off the shelf, and showed it to Mike, holding it like a precious artifact. 

    We got home and immediately poured glasses of Tej and watched the episode of Colbert we were just on. 

    That Saturday morning, I woke up and cooked a full breakfast. I was ready for that ginger syrup and I wanted to do it justice.

    I cleared all of the empty glasses, nail polish remover and random bullshit off the table, folded some napkins into triangles because Im fancy, and put two plates of pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs and grits down. We also had some iced coffee that i had brewed the night before in the french press and let cool overnight in the fridge. I placed the precious ginger syrup in the center of the table and Mike and I set down and chowed down while watching like 5 episodes of Pokemon. It was a glorious morning. 

    Later that day, Mike wanted to go get some of his favorite beer. It’s pretty expensive, but he found a store on Bedford that sells it for cheap. Bedford Ave is about 10 long blocks (the equivalent of 20 regular blocks) away. We decided to walk it, the weather was decent enough.

    It took us about 30 minutes. It was nice and scenic, with brownstones to our left and right the entire way. We talked about owning one, what we would do if we had a million dollars and a lot of other randomness and then we were there. Then we walked all the way back, stopping at a grocery store along the way. We walked a total of 4 miles and it was great.  

    image

    About a block away from home, I passed by these cool buildings, and took this awesome picture. 

    That night, I made Mustard Roasted Chicken and we crashed.

    This morning, i signed up for a new gym opening just 3(!!) short blocks away from my apartment. A 2 minute (tops) walk! Its the same price per month as my current gym, I had to do it. This way Ill be in there a lot more often. I dont have to worry about bringing my gym bag to work, or even a gym bag at all. I can just walk home after the gym! Im also super lazy about getting to my current gym and I give myself the excuse of having to get on the train. Im terrible. So with this, theres no excuses. Im so excited for this. It doesn’t open until June, so Im keeping my membership at my current gym until then. 

    the rest of the day was a normal Sunday, more Pokemon, talking shit with Mike, and lounging around, preparing my fucks for work tomorrow.

    Im a little excited though because just an hour ago, I finished cooking these babies, which will be my lunch this week:

    image

    Tilapia fish cakes!  

    I just ate one of the finished ones and they are soooooooooo good. I will be making these again and again. 

    This weekend felt nice and full. The weather is showing signs of easing up, which, in turn, means Im going out more and having some fun.

    Next week I think Im finally going to paint my room. 

    Mike is calling me George R.R Martin because this Tumblr post is running so long. So Im going to step away from the computer and kick his ass. 

    Excuse me. 

     
  10. First mock of my site Im planning. This one is a little airy and girly for me, but I like it. I figure Ill do some more mocks before finding my fit. (I did not create that logo, its just a placeholder)