Metropolis Musings

Night at the United Nations

September 13, 2009
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IMG_0516This city sure is supplying quite the spectrum of events. After a concert in a shoe store days prior, last night I attended a function at the United Nations.  The UN hosted the Concert for Pakistan, an event meant to raise awareness towards the 3 million internally displaced people of Pakistan.

The evening was filled with both speakers and performances.  Some of the speakers included Deepak Chopra, Jeff Skoll (who was the first president of eBay and now runs many socially aware companies and foundations) and Dr. R.K. Pachauri (who along with Al Gore, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007).  Performance highlights included Gavin Rossdale (who was accompanied to the event by Gwen Stefani), Sting (via video) and Junoon.

IMG_0527

iPhones can capture some pretty amazing pictures.

Though perhaps not as star studded as Darfur or Burma, it was definitely a top notch event.  The “Who’s Who” of Pakistanis were there, flying in from all over the country.  As exciting as this all was, the message stood, peace in Pakistan is paramount for securing peace around the world.

So that was my Saturday night.  Pretty standard.

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Posted in New York City

Shoe Store Surprise

September 11, 2009
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Well, my initial hypothesis stands.  New York City is just so random and last night was no exception.  It was what is known as “Fashion Night Out” in NYC so the trendy shopping areas go crazy.  Now, if you know me, you know fashion’s not really my thing, so I was not intrigued until I happened upon some exciting information.  I looked up what stores were involved and finally saw one I recognized–Nine West.  photo-8The rest were mostly designers, well I’m assuming that’s what they were, just lots of European names that sounded really expensive.   So I click on Nine West and to my surprise, they were having a concert in their store that evening.  And who would perform in this unusual venue?  Third Eye Blind!  It’s a band, people, anyone over the age of 35 may have to google them.

So.  Now I’m pumped.  I love Third Eye Blind (or as they are affectionately known, 3eb).  When I arrived with some friends, there was a line around the corner, though they were located one store from the corner so it was not a horrific wait.  However, in the scheme of how many patrons a shoe store could fit, it was iffy if we were to get in.  A few girls behind us left when they heard Justin Timberlake was at Saks, but that didn’t help us move up in the line.  Finally they let a few people in and that was it!  Already filled to capacity.  I refused to accept defeat yet!

We hung out in line for a bit longer, people in front of us slowly drifted away and you could hear the music inside.  Eventually enough people had left so that I was at the front of the outdoor crowd.

Before I get to the climax, I must digress and mention that there were some characters out last night.  3eb has it’s followers, but is not as mainstream as some bands, so its followers come out of the woodwork for Nine West concerts.  There was this one guy who was in his 40s, I’d say, and was a diehard.  Sang along to all the lyrics, but showed his undying support by sporting a yarmulke with a 3eb logo stitched on.  Mighty impressive.

The other hilarious encounter was not so much a devout fan as it was just awkward behavior.  There was this Asian girl that weaseled her way up right in front of me.  After a few minutes, it became clear that she was trying to find her friend in the back of the crowd.  She kept turning around and looking back and forth constantly and every now and then glance back down at her phone.  Then she decides she needs to be a bit more proactive and thinks it best to try and call out to them.  She goes to bring her hands to her mouth and yell out to them, but then thinks better of this and chicken’s out.  After all, some of us are trying to listen.  Well she continues to do this at least another dozen times.  It ends up looking like she is dry heaving, very erratic.  Finally, she commits, and in an ever so soft whisper calls out “Chris”.  Yeah sweetie, now he’s got the location pinpointed.  She was thoroughly amusing to watch.

Alright, back to excitement.  So, I’m towards the front or the crowd outside, and what should happen?  Stephan Jenkins (the lead singer) feels bad and decides he’ll come outside and play a song for us!  With the people having to make room, he is literally standing directly in front of me, no more than a foot between his guitar and myself.  It was incredible.  I don’t get star struck, but I was somewhat in shock of the whole situation, definitely worth it to stand outside for the minutes prior.

3eb

Stephen Jenkins of 3eb, this picture is zoomed all the way out.

So that was my randomly amazing evening.  The added bonus being that Nine West gave out free umbrellas just for kicks.  It was drizzling off and on, but they came in handy later.  And with a free umbrella and a performance that breached my personal space, I went home happy.


Posted in New York City

Pale is in!

September 9, 2009
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skin whitening

TV Commercial: A dark skin guy turns to his friend and says in Hindi, "I am unlucky because of my face." His light skin friend replies, "Not because of your face, because of the color of your face."

Why is the grass always greener on the other side?  In America, the ads tell us that attractive equates to looking like we just washed up from the sandy beaches of Belize.  Now when I saw this product, I became quite excited at the concept that finally the trend had reversed and soon my skin tone would be all the rage!  Alas, though I may be idolized in the Asia, I fear my dear America is still disenchanted with the hue of my complexion.  And it doesn’t take much to see that when advertised in other cultures this product has some pretty egregious racial implications.

But just as flannel shirts are making their triumphant return, I so hope that someday, pale skin in the US will too.  People didn’t always used to be this dark all year round!  Spray tans are relatively new inventions!  But for those of you who like to be early to the party, might I recommend SPF 70 or higher sunscreen.  It’s like spreading cream cheese all over your body, but without the lactose upset.  Don’t leave home without it.


Posted in Miscellaneous

New Pet

September 9, 2009
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Last night I had my first apartment visitor.  And by that I don’t mean a friendly face knocking at my door.  Or at least I didn’t hear him knock.  He had already made his way into the kitchen when I spotted him, running down the frame of my roommate’s bike.  My very first apartment mouse!  He was a cutie.  And a decent size, certainly no rat, but bigger than the tiny mice you see running around the subways.  Clearly he knows how to stay well nourished.  I don’t mind him taking up residence in the apartment, as long as he doesn’t hog the TV and eat all my food…


Posted in Miscellaneous

First day of school

September 8, 2009
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Well it’s official.  I had my first class as a grad student today.  Even just yesterday I was beginning to think my degree didn’t exist.  If you attempt to search for my program on the NYU website, you won’t find it.  Tip off number one.  Then it took until the middle of August for me to get anything that even resembled a way to register for classes, and at that it was only hearsay.  Yesterday, I moseyed by the bookstore to confirm I had ordered the right textbooks, and guess what, no books.  I guess they don’t order books for a program so small.

How small you ask?  Well today I go to class, I had already met this professor before but was anxious to meet my fellow students.  Or should I say student.  Yup, that’s right, it’s me and one other person.  I told you it was a small program!  I had read through the first chapter of the book, knowing the class was small and not wanting to sound ignorant on my first day.  It worked.

This is very exciting stuff.  Sky’s the limit with biomechanics.  We took a few moments to look at actual journal articles written in the biomechanical world.  Topics ranged from studying meat butchers to robotics to landing patterns in female athletes.  So fascinating, or at least to nerds like me.

Now for some random anecdotes I observed to and from class:

As I was walking to class, there was a young businessman walking in front of me.  He had looked over his shoulder for a moment and by the time he looked back where he was walking, an older scruffier man had positioned himself in the other guy’s path, almost purposely.  I got to see this all unfold, which was amusing.  The businessman, nearly crashing into this guy, stumbles back a step and then continues to walk around him.  Then, just as he is about to pass, Mr. Scruff turns to him and kicks him in the shin!  It was bizarre!  Both the young man and I were quite startled by this.  But everyone then walked away…..

On my way back from class, I was walking down the street and there was a giant cat on the sidewalk just watching me as I approached.  When I passed by, he turned and walked back into the store he was guarding.

New York is so weird.


Posted in New York City

Drugs.

September 8, 2009
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How splendid!  The other day Matt called me and said when he was doing some deep cleaning he had found a bottle of medication I had left at his house.  How fortuitous it was, as that was the exact medication I was needing for my stomach!  The doctors/insurance co./pharmacies have been arguing over filling it for two weeks now and eating has been a challenge.  Well just this morning it was delivered to me via FedEx.  What service!  I bet drug dealers don’t even provide such courtesy.  So here I am, drugs in my system, didn’t even have to leave the house. This is proving to be an auspicious day already!


Posted in Health

City Rat

September 7, 2009
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Measuring 82 centimeters (32.2 inches) from nose to tail and weighing around 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds), the species is thought to be one of the largest rats ever to be found.

art.giant.ratI’m pretty certain this is what ran in front of me the other night.

“This is one of the world’s largest rats. It’s a true rat, the same kind you find in the city sewers,” said Kristofer Helgen, a biologist from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, who was part of the expedition team.


Posted in New York City

Reindeer for Obama

September 7, 2009
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Reindeer for ObamaSo yesterday as I was walking through a street fair, one of the vendor tables caught my eye. They were selling t-shirts, and since it was well away from Times Square, I don’t just mean the tourist classic “I ♥ NY” shirt.  These were nice graphic-Ts that were going for $15 a pop. However, they had a side table for $2 a piece or 3/$5! Well I went a’fishing and found a real gem.

Those of you who know me know I’m not crazy into politics nor do I like to advertise my opinions, but this was too good to pass up.  They had lots of other versions as well, but mostly in smaller sizes.  Some other popular phrases were “Polar Bears for Obama” “Penguins for Obama” and of course my “Reindeer for Obama”.

I know that the message is Obama is environmentally conscious and promotes sustainability–ergo these fine polar dwelling creatures will still have a place to live and therefore, support Obama.  But now that I think about it, could you contrive the theory that the subtle message is that Obama was more popular in places that endure colder climates?  Let me tell you from experience, the South is not going to be selling these shirts, at least not with the intent that you’ll wear them.  Which made me want to buy them for my family down there in case they wanted some and were disappointed at their inaccessibility.  There were some perfect children’s sizes I could get for all my cousins to wear!  To my uncles reading this, just say the word and I’ll run back for some!  We could take a family portrait!

At any rate, I was proud of my find, it really is quite comfortable as well.


Posted in New York City

Sushi Tales

September 6, 2009
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Why does it have to be so difficult?  I have no food in my apartment, so last night by the time I left the house I was starving.  I met up with my friends Tyler and Kenny and they agreed to get something to eat with me, despite eating an hour prior on their own.  So here’s what happened.

There was a sushi place right by that sounded like a viable option for all levels of hunger.  I was ravenous, Kenny could get a nibble and Tyler just wanted a drink.  So after careful selection we placed our order.  But then it got confusing.

The waitress came back and told us it was an $8 minimum per person.  That sounds self explanatory, but then there’s a catch.  Sushi is 50% off–but–you can only obtain that discount if you end up with an $8 minimum per person after the discount.  Follow?  So in order for you to receive the 50% off and abide by the $8 minimum is to order $16 worth of sushi…per person.

With our original order I ordered 2 rolls, for a $10 total, Kenny was at $4, Tyler’s drinks were not included in the quest for the ultimate discount, though he was required to total $8 in drinks.

This became a simple math problem that in turn was tripling the duration of our stay.  Kenny had to get $4 more, but once you reach $8, you might as well go for the $16.  I was up to $10, but it would actually be cheaper for me to get $16 which would bring it back to $8!  Still with me?  The problem with this, though it ultimately turns out to be a great deal, is that none of us wanted to consume anymore food!

So after thorough calculations, down to the cents, we figured out what we needed to order.  When the waitress came back she looked at us like “how could this possibly be taking so long” and we explained our predicament.  To which she said she would already give us the discount.  Ugh.  I repeat, why does it have to be so difficult?

Chalk that up to a New York thing.


Posted in New York City

Day 1 in NYC

September 4, 2009
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Welcome to my new blog.  After much ado over my seasonal medical debacles, I figured I’d keep the story telling going, but in this new facet of my life.  I moved in to NYC yesterday, my dad and I loaded up a cargo van full of my stuff and hit the road.  Upon arrival at my new abode, we double parked and proceeded to unload.  Just as we were wrapping up, we had our first run in with the NYPD.  I was beginning to think they didn’t do anything.  If NYC driving is any reflection of the job their doing, I think it would be fair to stereotype and say they’re just eating donuts in the station.  So the police officer gave us a ticket for double parking…and incidentally did not give one to the car parked behind us.  Gee thanks.

In an impressive feat, I fit all of my belongings in my 9×9 room. It’s actually mighty cozy!  This place is only until Oct 31st, but it should suffice quite nicely until then.

I am now intimately aware that visiting the city and actually living in the city are two diametric experiences.  When you visit it’s all fun and games.  You spend obscene amounts of money on cabs and food and chalk it up to being on vacation.  Well now I’m money conscious.  I’m about to be a poor student.  I’ve never been poor before but I’m trying adjust.

Example:  So I needed a few things for the apartment, so I walked myself over to TJMaxx and Bed Bath & Beyond.  I picked up the essentials which included a trash can.  Well, I can’t resist a good bargain, so I bought this fabulous trash can at TJMaxx. How can a trash can be that fantastic, you ask? Well, if it is made of pure marble!  It retailed for $50 but was on sale for $5!!! How could I pass that up?  Honestly?  So I do the rest of my shopping and now have my hands full.  What would I usually do? Load everything in my car.  Drive away comfortably. What must I do now?  Make a decision.

I can either pay money for a cab or suck it up and walk the 10 min walk back home.  I chose the latter.  Remember, I’m being money conscious.  Now, if my trapezius muscles were sore from moving yesterday, this just about ripped them apart.  Who carries a marble trash can and other junk back?  I do.  My hands are still raw from the bags inching their way down my palm and fingertips, tearing the flesh as they went.  Pleasant really.

Aside from my noteworthy trash can find, my other exciting purchase of the day was chapstick.  Sure, it may sound trivial, but those of you I have converted to Neutrogena chapstick will appreciate this.  It’s here.  In New York City.  The best chapstick ever made.  Stores stopped carrying it, at least on the West Coast, but there it was, its own shelf devoted to tube after tube of emollient bliss.  I bought two sticks, just in case the chapstick apocalypse were to return.

That’s about all I’ve got to report right now.  Chapstick and trash cans.  Livin’ the life….


Posted in New York City
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Adjusting to city life...

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