Tag Archives: summer

Summer in the Cubicle

Summer is glorious. It’s pure bliss filled with swimming pools, beach trips, long days and summer thunderstorms that make the perfect soundtrack for a midday nap and – oh yeah – still having to go to work. Damnit.

I absolutely love the summer, but ever since I started working I realized how it’s a double-edged sword. During the winter, I’m excited to get inside, sip some free coffee and order food delivery to my desk for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also have the perfect excuse to never go out during the week, and hop into bed by 9 PM on the weekends. Summer lures me out of my TV cave and demands that I spend almost every night going to dinners, events, drinks or social events. By the time summer is over I’m TOTALLY exhausted because I’ve completely overextended myself in order to soak up all of the summery goodness that is for the most part cannibalized by the annoying need to pay my rent and have food to eat or whatever. Everyone should get free rent/ free food for the summer. Am I right? Me for President, guys! I’ll make it happen.

Anyway, this summer I’ve been trying to make the most of it a little more so that I don’t spend all my time sitting angrily at my desk, cursing the fact that I’m located directly underneath an air vent. I will never understand why people find it necessary to make the inside temperature hotter than summer in the winter and colder than winter in the summer.

This is why we never have office margaritas

Here are some tips for keeping yourself feeling summery while you’re inside. I take no responsibility if you get fired.

#1 – Wear your bathing suit under your work clothes at all times. Double points if you use this to avoid doing laundry for another day.

#2 – If you’re hungover, go outside and throw up in the park instead of the office bathroom. There’s nothing like vomiting in the bushes and looking up to see an audience of bewildered squirrels. Oh, the magic of nature.

#3 – Instagram a picture of being outside, every. single. time. you’re outside. When you look back on your feed it will make you feel like you spent a lot more time outside than you actually did.

“Look guys, I’m outside!” “Here I am… outside again!” “This time I’m outside AND I HAVE FOOD” “Outside in black and white LOL”

PS, those are all my Instagram photos. So I am VERY GOOD at taking my own advice.

#4 – Use summer occurrences as an excuse to be late to everything work related.

  • “Dear work, the rain is making all of the subway trains flood. I am afraid I have to work from the park – er, I mean home. You know, because it’s raining so much.”
  • “Dear work, there is some sort of Dominican Republic/ Gay Pride/ Mermaid Parade going on and they’re not allowing me to cross 14th Street.”
  • “Dear work, Occupy Wall Street is back. I’ve decided to join them this year. #Occupy!”
  • “Dear work, ain’t nobody got time for this heat.”

#5 – Everyone loves the “It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere” approach. Except for maybe authority figures. So just to make sure you’re covered, keep one of those cocktail flavored gums on your desk next to your beverage in a smoothie cup.

“Oh, no. This is just a smoothie. It’s the gum that smells like booze.”

And, if all else fails and you are totally stuck in the office all summer long, you can just beachify your cubicle. After all, there’s nothing like the feeling of packing peanuts between your toes amIrightamIright!?

Ikea should sell this as a box set.

Peace, love and is it 4th of July weekend yet? 

BWCE

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The Cicadas Are Coming and It’s Going to be The Shit

One of the things that I loved about growing up in small town Georgia was what a BIG EFFING DEAL everything was. It snowed ten inches? The blizzard of ’93 will live in infamy. Hurricane Opal hit Florida? We had no school because of wind. Some crazy dude climbed to the top of a crane and the SWAT team had to lure him to the edge of the crane with water, taser him and catch him with helicopters? Ok, that one was pretty crazy. I loved the feeling of community that came from being in a smaller place. If something happened, bad or good, it happened to the whole town. Everybody was talking about it, so much so that I have vivid memories of making friends at a generator-lit Wal-Mart during Ice Jam 2000. Maybe I just like natural disasters that are given names.

Anyway, that’s why I read Gothamist every day. It reminds me that despite the fact that I’m living on an island with like a gagillion people who will probably stab me if I take too long to swipe my metrocard when the express is at the station, it’s still an island that’s (physically) smaller than my hometown of Snellville, GA.

I love reading every morning about the soda ban, the Citibike battles and the newest restaurant that’s serving Korean-Russian-Trinidadian fusion out of a tire that washed aboard a boat that washed into a warehouse in Red Hook during Hurricane Sandy. I want to be part of a community, and Gothamist makes me feel like I’m part of the coolest (most expensive) community ever. Other than whatever people are doing in like, Dubai, but I don’t think I have the energy for that anyway.

If you’re not paying attention to news about the Northeast right now, all I can tell you is this –

THE CICADAS ARE COMING!!!!!!!!

As a Georgian, I’m kinda like… you guys ever heard of locusts? Or, I dunno, bugs? Basically everyone is freaked out (or ironically freaked out, I can never tell) about the fact that cicadas go dormant for 17 years and then come back just about the time the trauma has subsided in order to torment people with the sounds of their incredibly loud mating calls. According to Gothamist, “their 90-decibel calls can rival the sound of a subway!”

I am still not impressed, possibly because I live on The Street That Is Apparently The Only Bus Route To Boston, so it is constantly loud. But the other reason I’m not impressed is because I believe in New York. This amazing city can handle 9/11, blackouts, hurricanes and anti-semitic Sesame Street characters. Do you really think we’ll crumble under the mating call of the cicadas?

In the words of the Nappy Roots, “Aw naw, hell naw ‘main.” We’re gonna rock the shit of this insect infested summer.

NYC loves rare shit.

Last year someone made a dinner out of rats. Do you really think we’re not gonna eat the fuck out of these cicadas? A couple of weeks ago I read a series of articles about how “ramps” were overrated, which lead me to something about how the “ramps” were in season. I dunno if I’ve ever had a ramp, but it looks kinda like a scallion so I imagine it’s not THAT different. But New York loves rare.

All I can say about cicadas V. ramps is SCREW THE RAMPS. THIS SHIT IS ONLY AROUND ONCE EVER 17 YEARS.

Can you even imagine? The absurd cocktails and infusions? 

In researching this post (lol, because I research), I Googled, “Can you eat cicadas?” Yes. Yes, you can. I would like point out the fact that because cicadas shed their exoskeletons that there are multiple textures associated with the cicada.

“Have you tried our Cicada Crush? It’s like a grasshopper but with cicaca-infused creme de menthe. It’s divine and oh-so-rare!”

Spicy Cicada Crunch Roll, anyone?

And what about the jewelry? 

You know that every boutique everywhere is going to start selling gold-dipped cicada carcasses. Mary Kate will get one immediately.

Cicadtronica = the new Seapunk. 

Don’t hate on my poor music production skills – there’s a reason I’m not in music anymore. I can just imagine hipster bands everywhere, sticking their iPhones out the window at night, sampling cicada noises and putting crazy reverb on their calls. Seriously, have you listened to Seapunk at all?

So yeah, New York, don’t stress. I have faith in us making The Summer of The Cicada the best summer ever.

Here are two jokes I came up with that didn’t fit into this post but because it’s only every 17 years I”m going to get to write about cicadas, I’m gonna use them here.

#1 – I’m going to be singing this a lot this summer – “The park has cicadas. C-I-C-A-D-A-S!”

#2 – Where are the cicadas going? IN ONE DIRECTION.

If only the cicadas flew over from England, this would be even better.

Peace, love and LOOK OUT THE CICADAS ARE COMING!!

BWCE

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Crash Dieting 101

The summer between fourth and fifth grade I started to ‘develop.’ I didn’t notice until the incredibly mortifying moment that my mother mentioned to me it was probably time to get a training bra which, by the way, is just an uglier version of a bra… why does society do this to awkward pre-teens? After the training bra incident, I started to keep track of all the weird shit my body was doing. We had just gotten cable, so I spent most of that summer watching TV marathons instead of playing outside like I normally would and my body began to reflect the lifestyle change. I noticed sometime in the middle of the summer that my belly had grown round, and protruded from all my child sized clothing.

I didn’t really think about the fact that I was fat until 6th grade when I developed my first crush on a real boy. I say a ‘real boy,’ because my first intense feelings for a member of the opposite sex were for Tobias, a character in the Animorphs book series who happened to be stuck in the body of a hawk. He was totally emo about being stuck as a hawk and missing his family and I was super into that. Anyway, in my 6th grade drama class I met this boy named (I kid you not) Clay Cox. He was popular, he dated one of my neighbors and he was an actor – he was on this Cartoon Network morning show where pre-teens reviewed cartoons on Saturday morning.

I’m positive Clay didn’t know I existed. He made fun of me once and I cherish the memory to this day. I realized that unlike Tobias, whose every thought and feeling I could know just by purchasing the next Animorphs book, I would actually have to get Clay to talk to me in order to learn anything about him – other than his thoughts on Johnny Bravo, which I knew very well since I immediately started waking up on Saturday mornings to watch his Cartoon Network show. I looked at my neighbor and wondered how she got Clay to talk to her. She was blonde, popular and a cheerleader – that definitely wasn’t happening for me. But, she was also skinny and my dad had recently lost a ton of weight doing the Atkins Diet. I was so sure that Clay and I were meant to be that I cracked open the book and decided at the ripe age of 12 to cut out carbs.

That was a terrible idea. My weight ballooned and by the beginning of 7th grade I weighed more than I do now. My family moved long before I ever slimmed down and got a chance to talk to Clay. In my attempts to enter a relationship with another 6th grader, I entered what has become a life-long relationship between me, my scale, body dysmorphia and crash diets.

I’m not one to lament this struggle, because for the most part I’ve been able to keep my weight in the ‘normal’ range since I turned 18. When I was younger I controlled it with a combination of seeing a nutritionist and bulimia and now I’ve moved onto healthier habits like exercise and weighing myself regularly to stay on track. The being said, I’ve also tried almost every crash diet under the sun.

If you’re considering going on a diet for summer, don’t! Diets are stupid and you’re much better off counting calories and working out. But, if you’re not going to listen to me here’s my advice as far as diets I’ve tried that work and those that really, really don’t:

Successful: The Depression Diet

Open the fridge, look at the food, decide you don’t have the energy to deal with choices and that maybe if you don’t eat for long enough your heart will stop beating and this cruel life will end. Close the fridge. Go upstairs and listen to the Dirty Projector’s What I See on repeat and cry.

Unsuccessful: The Atkins Diet 

The Atkins Diet posits that if you cut out carbohydrates for an extended period of time your body will enter something called Ketosis. Ketosis causes you to burn fatty acids instead of glucose for your energy, resulting in significant weight loss. The only approved medical use for a Ketonic diet is for people trying to reduce epileptic fits, but the diet has remained popular for a number of years probably because it’s one of the only diet that encourages you to eat a shit ton of meat and cheese. This sounds like a lot of fun, until you actually experience ketosis. Entering Ketosis SUCKS. Your stomach feels like it’s full of venomous acid from hell and you get a fever.

The diet sort of feels like you’ve been tricked into joining Scientology – in order to test and see if you’ve entered Ketosis, you can pee on these ‘Keto-Sticks’ that look a lot like the sticks you use to test the chlorine level of a pool. Imagine saying to your friends, “I’ve almost entered the Ketosis stage!” at dinner while you chow down on a plate of sausage.

Successful: The Breakup Diet

Similar to the depression diet, The Breakup Diet involves a lot of crying and starving oneself. It does include two new elements; alcohol and cardio. Don’t rush to the gym just yet – by cardio I mean sex with strangers you meet at the bar where you’re drinking alone. Need some extra thinspiration? Arrange for a meet up with the ex to exchange personal belongings, that should buy you at least another 5 pound loss.

Unsuccessful: Eating Disorders

While long-term dedication to anorexia and bulimia might lead to more permanent types of weight loss, it can also lead to hospitalization. Not fun. What is fun is trying each of these eating disorders for a few days or weeks at a time. Did you know there’s one called Spitting and Chewing? You can eat anything you want as long as you don’t swallow it!

Successful: The Undiagnosed Food Allergy

Nothing solves late night eating like waking up at three in the morning and getting violently ill because you ingested something that you’re actually super allergic to. After about a year of this, I can guarantee that you’ll be so scared of eating that you won’t even think twice before turning down desert.

Unsuccessful: The Austin and Tiffany Vegan Challenge

It started with a couple of tipsy texts from me at the airport on my way home to Thanksgiving Break. “Austin, I bet if I go vegan for the holidays I will lose a bunch of weight.” “OMG, I’ll do it with you. I bet I’ll beat you.” We made a bet that the first person to break the vegan diet would owe the other one $100. The problem with this diet was that more often than not, we’d drunkenly decide we had the night off so we could eat Spicy Specials. Like eating disorders, I’m sure veganism works for the more dedicated, self-controled individual. As a crash diet, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really want to make yourself hate tofu.

This post is getting long, here’s a list of some other ones I’ve tried:

Successful: Bill Phillip’s Body for Life; Suzanne Somers’ Somersize or maybe that was because I grew a few inches that summer; Getting a parasite from a burger place in Boston; The flu; The only drink coffee and eat one apple every other day diet; Adderall.

Unsuccessful: The We Just Eat Salad until we go to Walmart late at night and buy donuts diet (aka- Freshman Year of college); The Jillian Michaels book that I tried for one day and then realized I don’t want to wake up at 6 am to do circuit training at the gym nor do I want to make canned tuna a core part of my diet; Juice cleanses; All raw vegetable cleanses; Waiting until I hear my stomach make a noise to know that I’m hungry; Giving up sugar for Lent; Eating whatever I want and loving myself just how I am.

Honorable Mention for being the only diet that I know of that is also a cult: The Weigh Down Diet.

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Georgia

My second summer in New York is fast approaching. Because I’m only a few years out of college, I have yet to abandon the mindset that time passes in school years. I’m nearing the end of my junior year of life… I’d say that after I get to the end of senior year I’ll gain a sense of direction and feel like I’m going somewhere, but I took an extra year in college, so I’ll probably take an extra year in life.

Either way, I get all introspective at the end of Spring and the feeling is particularly acute as my last day of working at the flower company is June 6… it feels just like I’m ramping up for Summer break. The feelings of fear, excitement and confusion aren’t dissimilar from the way I felt ages 18 to 20. I think one of the reasons I see the connection between these two stages of life is because during that period my only major goal was to move to New York and live with my best friends, Nina and Austin.

Austin’s been asking me to write the story of how we achieved the outlandish pipe dreams we had in our late teens, and I’ve been promising to do so for months. I sort of don’t know where to start, because life has taken so many twists and turns from the first time 18 year-old Nina and I stared up at the brick building in Soho and hatched a plan to share a loft.

I think I have to start with Rome. No, not the one in Italy.

Ohhhhh yeahhhh. Rome, Georgia bitches.

Population: 100,000
Location: Northwest Georgia, only a handful of miles from the Alabama and Tennessee border and even closer to the Coosa Valley paper mill that gives the people of Coosa birth defects and the rivers of Rome the delightful smell of diluted skunk – all seven of them.
Fun Fact: Rome has the most churches per capita, per square mile (don’t freak out, Wheaton IL, we added in the per square mile part since you technically win). Most of them are Southern Baptists, who will tell you all the others are just Satanists masquerading as a church in order to mislead people into a cult they like to call Presbyterianism.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I was 18 I was about as intelligent as a lobotomy patient still under anesthesia, and I was 100% positive that I was going to become a famous singer-songwriter… like Jewel, but with the hotness of Britney Spears. I applied only to conservatory programs for Opera music, which I was terrible at, and was promptly rejected from all of them except a school in Rome… Shorter College. I was a really good student, so had I applied to any school for academics I would have likely gotten in, but again, as I was stupid, the only school I applied using a purely academic application was Harvard, where I was wait-listed and then rejected. I’d assume schools like Harvard only have a wait-list so people like me can be all “NO REALLY… I WAS SMART ONCE, I PROMISE,” because seriously… who’s going to say “Got into Harvard, I don’t really know if I want to go there.”

In August of 2004, off I went to Shorter College in Rome, GA while Nina moved to New York, Hibben to DC and all my classmates to reputable schools that are not currently the center of a national controversy.

As it turns out, ending up there was a real shot of luck. I’ve had many moments where I’ve shaken my fist at Harvard, my teenage brain, and all the other random things that caused me to end up in rural Georgia… but it’s in those times that I think of Austin. I’m fairly certain that no amount of liberal arts classes could have impacted me in the way our friendship has.

In what I hope to be many future posts, I’m going to tell you the story of how I shed my Baptist faith, got drunk off of Everclear in someone’s mama’s backyard and bonded with a school janitor about a rabid opossum… oh yeah, and how I ended up living here just like I promised my journal I’d do at 18.

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