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Adventures in Wanderlust
20 most recent entries

Date:2010-04-15 12:07
Subject:This one goes out to Jesse

Jesse, on your quiz you said "If three whole other people post to LJ within a few days, I'll be delighted enough to not have any preferences about who." I hope you didn't mean just posting about the quiz, because I don't think I can do that. Here's the short version: People call me Ali, I'm wearing the same damn black tights I wear every day til May, and three of my favorite drinks are Diet Coke from a soda fountain, Diet Coke in a bottle, and Diet Coke from a can, in that order.

But I will post!

I just got back from a writing conference in Denver, which was awesome even though it did include panels where the audience was greeted with a "Hello, spirits." Even though! I spent time mostly with Alaskan writers, and boy you think you hate Sarah Palin? You have no idea, people.

The end of my semester—and first year—of grad school is looming just a few days away. It both frightens and tantalizes me, kind of like the Southern Oracle in The Neverending Story. I've lined up a number of rewards for when I finally finish. They include:

•Tana French's new novel, Faithful Place, which is about big boss Frank from The Likeness.
•A bottle of Cabo Wabo Blanco tequila, which I was randomly sent at work today. No idea why. Also, the tequila company was founded by Sammy Hagar. So there you go.
•The Country Music Awards (or is it the AMAs? Whatever) at Sara's.
•A trip to Washington DC next weekend for a wedding and a trip to the Newseum! Finally! I have been wanting to see the Newseum for a long-ass time. Since before Tim Russert died, even, and now he's an exhibit there.

Oh, and friends! I will see you all again, I think. That'll be nice. But before all that I'll need to finish my semester with a bang, and also get over a nagging case of bronchitis (maybe?) I seem to have picked up. I keep saying it's allergies, but as I become closer and closer to pulling a Fee by breaking ribs from coughing, perhaps it's time to explore other diagnoses.

Hey, remember that time Duke won the National Championship? Good times.

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Date:2009-11-13 10:39
Subject:Ladies and gentleman, we have lease-signing

Apartment: Mine!

Cossar: Not going to be deported at 12:01am on New Year's Day!

Annahita: Visiting tomorrow!

All good things!

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Date:2009-11-09 11:46
Subject:Novelty is the spice of life

Bright and shiny brand-new things:

1. View! I moved about eight feet to a new desk at work, but it's next to the window so: upgrade! Unfortunately it's a south-facing window (which, as you learn when exploring NYC real estate, means lots of natural light, oh gosh!). So the blinds stay down for much of the day. Still, pleasant, bright.

2. Job! Well, a part of it. I'm taking over editing our Sex & Dating section, in addition to my other duties. I consider this a tragic joke the cosmos is pulling on my terminally single self. But Kat is the designer for the section, so we'll call that: upgrade!

3. Title! I'm now officially Allison Williams, Senior Editor. Any distraction, ditziness or lethargy on my part will henceforth be known as "senioritis." Came on the same day that a good friend here at work was unexpectedly laid off, which sucks. So we'll call that: bittersweet upgrade.

4. Tights! I bought green tights this weekend. I've never owned green tights, I guess because I was wary of the Peter Pan associations, but I threw caution to the wind and you know what? I dig 'em. Wearing them today. Upgrade!

5. Apartment! Ok, knocking on wood, nothing's signed yet, this could all change…but things look good for my new place on E 7th Street between First and Second Avenues. In the East Village. This is hard for me to take, because I've always been a West Village girl, and even the word "west" makes me happier than the word "east," and I'll miss the smaller streets and the good cheese shop and the easy commute and, you know, everything.
Um, yes, this is indeed a little melodramatic for a move that's all of, uh, a mile? If that? But I will have to leave my wonderful apartment and roommate, and pay a shitload of money to live in my new place (I looked up what I could rent in my parents' new Bend neighborhood for that price: "3B 2 Bath House with 2 Car garage, fenced yard, lawn service, harwood floors Furnished.") So we'll call that one: even.

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Date:2009-10-02 23:51
Subject:Adventures in typography

If you're looking for me, I will be at ¶.

Aw, that's fun to type! Anywho, Paragraph (henceforth "¶") is a writing studio on 14th Street. You pay a membership to use their super-quiet writing room, and...well, that's about it, really. I'm hoping it helps me concentrate on this whole "writing toward an MFA" thing.

Truthfully, I'm finding that buckling down to complete this master's degree is hard. Real hard. I mean, I've seen other people sacrifice large chunks of their social lives to complete graduate degrees, so I'm not sure why this is surprising to me. I guess it's the independent study-ness of it all. And, honestly, the creative thing. I keep reminding myself that if it's not hard, it's not worth it. Right?

Of course, in my first visit to ¶, I wrote all of two pages, watched YouTube clips of Tony Award performances and downloaded two versions of "I Go To Rio." It's a process, people.

Some photos of bar hop birthday! Also, Labyrinth singalong!

I probably shouldn't share that photo so indiscriminately with the world, but it just cracks me up every time I see it. Evil eyes! You're welcome.

Oh, also! Send me an e-mail. About anything. I'm at 9998 Unread in my Gmail account, and I really want to know if it'll explode when it goes to 5 digits.

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Date:2009-09-21 09:54
Subject:Samcro, Fame, goblins, et cetera.

Back in business! Whew. Three weeks or so back in the city, and I'm pretty much back to normal. Trying to reacclimate myself to the Village throngs and adding schoolwork into my crowded schedule. I kinda can't wait for cold weather to kick in so at least I don't spend my days reclining in the park. This weekend was ridiculous! Sunny, warm, not a cloud in the frickin' sky...how am I supposed to get anything done?!

I also spent far too much of this weekend getting into the FX show Sons of Anarchy. I'm so in love with this bikers show. Yeah, I know. It has everything I look for in a guilty pleasure series: a smokin' hot British dude playing an American (hello), just the tiniest touch of smart (it's got a loose Hamlet structure...er, very loose). A Veronica Mars-style Cali neon noir thing. And a baby in a biker hat! Seriously, somebody else please start watching this show because it cracks me up.

Tonight is a work party, and then tomorrow I am going to a Fame-themed dance class at Crunch. As in the workout class teaches you choreography from (the new?) Fame. This might be amazing. Or awful. Or both. Any Crunch members want to join in on the possible trainwreck?

Also this week: A Central Park concert featuring the Counting Crows and Alison Krauss and Carol King (of course it's supposed to rain on that day), then Bar Hop Birthday + Labyrinth Sing-along on Saturday. Power of the voodoo, who do, you do, etc etc.

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Date:2009-08-07 22:45
Subject:Suddenly, this summer

Oh, hi guys.

So, yes, long time no talk. Let's catch everyone up, shall we?

Picture 13
I am here. Give or take less than 2 miles.

Um, let's see I left NYC right before the 4th of July. I've since gone to: Bend, OR > Olympia, WA > Anchorage, AK for a two-week residency to kick off my MFA in Creative Writing > Eagle River, AK for a camping trip with fellow students and faculty > Denali National Park > Kenai Peninsula, AK. What remains is: Juneau and Sitka > Olympia > [Maybe Bend again?] > back home to NYC before Labor Day. Whew! [Oh, and no, I didn't quit my job; it's a whole unpaid-leave situation that my completely awesome boss let me do. Back to it in Sept.]

So the nitty gritty: I got to Anchorage and, honestly, didn't love it at first. It's a tiny sprawl of a city, with lots of strip malls and left-turn lights. Nearly the whole city was destroyed in a massive earthquake back in 1964, so, yeah, they rebuilt the whole thing at a time when American architecture was not at its finest. The UAA campus, where I was going to start a three-year (mostly remote) masters program, was tiny compared to my past college experiences. I was doubtful, is what I'm saying.

Then I met all the other (30 or so) MFA students, started hanging out with them at the local bar, and got really excited about writing. They're smart, diverse, crazy talented and remarkably non-snarky. And the locals—from Juneau, Nome, Sitka, Homer—made me start to love it, even dirty old Anchorage. It turns out you have to be an optimist to be a literary writer/poet or an Alaskan resident.

Oh, and it's been like 65 to 75 degrees and sunny about 90% of the time I've been here. Sunlight 'til near midnight. BEST WEATHER EVER. I'd actually like a rainy day so I can get some damn writing done without feeling the need to go enjoy the sun. (Not really, weather gods!)

I alternate between traveling on my own (Denali! Homer! Wasilla!) and hanging in Anchorage with my new buddies, who I like more than I ever liked any of you people. (That's a lie, I miss you all terribly, every day, except when I hear it's 95 degrees and muggy, or when you drunk-text me from a fabulous party.) Here are pictures, and though I hate being that person, I'm taking a million of them because it's so damn gorgeous:

Mountains Beyond Mountains (if it weren"t already a book, it could be about Alaska)Collapse )

Jealous yet?

More photos. In case you miss me that much.

Oh, and Alaskans friendlier than anyone, anywhere, and I include those cheery southerners. I've been offered places to stay, loaned a car for two weeks, cooked dinner by strangers, and generally entertained on a daily basis. My cynical little New York heart has grown two sizes since I came here, but don't worry, it'll wither back down soon enough. Miss you all.

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Date:2009-05-05 11:15
Subject:When the going gets tough, the tough buy yacht rock

So this was funny-slash-embarrassing:

Having lost all the music I'd bought off iTunes (I'd never backed it all up properly), I contacted AppleCare to see if they'd let me redownload it. Which they did (most of it, like 85%), once we'd determined which account I'd used. It involved them looking up my account, and then asking "Is this you here? The last thing you downloaded was a Billy Ocean song on Thursday?"

Uh, yes. Yes that would be me. They then put a gazillion songs on m download queue. Holy crap, I've spent how much on music since the advent of iTunes? Enough for the person at the helpdesk to write me: "You've truly been a remarkable asset to the iTunes Store Family." Ha.

Since I had half-assed backing up my music, I'm stoked to get so much of it back. And yes, Apple-haters, this company did give me hard drives that die once a year, and they don't sell full access to songs, but it's pretty excellent that it only takes them 2 hours to send me everything I've ever bought from them, for free. Also, the guy on the phone refrained from laughing about Billy Ocean until after he finished the call.

(Also, they sent me a list of things I'd bought that are no longer available/priced the same on iTunes, that they couldn't give me; of course the classical stuff and "Rabbit Fur Coat" were all buried in the middle, while the first thing on the list was ""Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) [Live]." I could not be less cool if I took classes on it.)

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Date:2009-05-03 17:55
Subject:Your annual backup reminder!

My hard drive crashed again. This happened last year; My entire hard drive just phoop, stopped working, and there's nothing to be done. So, first of all, everyone: Remember to back up your data! I'd backed up a month and a half ago, which isn't bad, considering. Lost a few photos, I'm sure, and a few false starts on writing projects.

But I don't back up my music as regularly. Sigh. And after losing all the years of CD game songs AGAIN, I don't have the energy to dig up the CDs I have left and re-import them one by one. Does anyone in town have them all? Katie? I'd love to just bring over my external hard drive and do a big steal. Pretty please?

I made a bit of scene at the Apple store to get my way this morning. When they told me they wouldn't help me til, like, Wednesday, I commandeered their reservations computer and talked to the over-the-phone AppleCare people until the Genuis Bar took me. Um, it worked.

ETA: I just realized that this last happened almost exactly a year ago, minus 4 days. Mayday indeed!

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Date:2009-04-01 16:25
Subject:Whoa, sugar high

Someday I'll have to have a birthday without Kat bringing me Hoboken pecan coffee cake, but thankfully that year hasn't arrived yet. I'm overdosing on cupcakes, oatmeal cookies, pecan pie and other sweets, and it's excellent. Thanks, friends.

Tonight we're doing bar hop at Death & Co (433 E 6th between First and A); if you have a yen to celebrate my birth but can't make it today, never fear. There will also be a more relaxed thing on Saturday 11, at a bar, evite to come. Gird your loins, people.

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Date:2009-03-27 13:15
Subject:Sit. Stay.

I don't do internet quiz/meme thing, but Marisa's "A look at my workspace" thing has been fun. It took me about a week to remember to bring my camera in, and I had waaaay too much trouble with the words on the photo—especially for someone who, ya know, used to use Photoshop and Quark all day.

Some notes: 1. The "art from Katie" says "your boots may/be made for walking...but mine are/in case i need to kick your ass." 2. Normally there are at least two Diet Cokes on my desk at any given time, but I just cleaned. 3. Almost exactly a year ago, I left my last job and took a picture of my desk on the last day. Aw, old desk, and damn my computer was a lot sweeter back then.

Which is bigger, my computer screen or Shane Battier"s head?Collapse )

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Date:2009-03-23 15:10
Subject:Fish day in France.

Okay, people, need some feedback: Anything happening Friday Apr 3 or Saturday Apr 4? I've been phenomenally negligent in setting up anything for my birthday. I'm leaning toward Sat 4, but wanted to check with the huddled masses.

If I don't get my shit together for that Saturday, rest assured that Bar Hop on Wed 1 will have to be extra-special. Maybe a Fancy Dress Bar Hop?

ETA: No one's leaving town for Easter, are they? Weekend of the 11th?

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Date:2009-03-12 15:42
Subject:Better than a brain tumor for breakfast

Working in an office sucks sometimes, except for health insurance and the phrase "cupcakes for someone's birthday!" Oh, lovely. Plus tomorrow the art department organized Pies for Pi Day Observed (Pi Day being Saturday, 3/14), which serves to make me curious about what they'll be dishing up on April 20th.

However, the birthday cupcakes reminded me that my own birthday is (ugh) approaching. I want to do something, I like celebrating, I think celebrating is an important part of life. After all, I am a staunch tradition-maker (BMABC, bar hop, anyone?), and birthdays are built-in traditions. But the thought of organizing something is exhausting me, so I dunno.

Tonight, ER! I've become a refan of this show of late, plus tonight is a big reunion episode. I have a distinct 1996-ish memory of putting away my violin case in the Olympia High School music room, chatting with a girl named Amber about how someone died in a fire on ER the previous night. Things that don't exist anymore: My association with Amber (don't even remember her last name); the OHS music room; my ability to play the violin; Must-see TV. Things that do still exist: E-freaking-R.

Also, Heathers: The Musical! I was going to link to the TONY blog posts I did today on Heathers and ER, but then remembered how our web team goes through all the ingoing links to the TONY blog, and that doesn't need to happen. So, if you're curious, go to the Time Out New York website and check the Own This City and Upstaged blogs for your bloggy amusement.

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Date:2009-03-09 10:35

An update:

I just spent two days in Washington, having gone home to attend the memorial service for my friend Ethan. He's a high school friend who married a girl I've known since childhood—just two months ago I spent New Year's Eve at their place. He got so sick so quickly, and all weekend it never quite made sense that he wasn't there. I can't really think of an elegant way to describe it; I'm just sad.

I've got a bunch of memories of Ethan, including the the Myers-Briggs personality test in senior year psych class, when we both came up "INTP"—I was stoked to be like him (and realized that my perfect match is a male version of Stacey). And the time we taught ourselves to play Texas Hold 'Em from watching Rounders. And then there's the last year, when he kept a blog of his and Stacey's pregnancy; highlights included a sonogram he drew on a Post-It and the line "The other day Stacey wanted to eat some Scotch tape. Then asked me not to tell anyone. How am I going to keep that a secret?" And, of course, last Christmas when I saw their day-old baby, Chloe; he was immediately and almost preternaturally adept at fatherhood.

So the whole weekend was horribly surreal. I got to see a whole passel of old friends, who were equal parts happy to finally see each other and horribly sad for the reason we were gathering. The rest of the time I spent with my parents, which was calming. On the way home, I went straight from the airport to Matt & Anne's for the Duke-Carolina game, because if the weekend reminded me of anything, it was that being with friends is a good thing, even when Tyler Hansborough has to be involved.

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Date:2009-02-26 00:50
Subject:I almost e-mailed Annie for help. No lie.

It just took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to double-space something in Word. I...had to google it.

Now I haven't written in Word in years; Word formats text, which fucks with most publishing platforms, so I got very used to doing my writing in bare-bones programs. These days I can't really let my mind work right unless I'm using something like NewsEditPro or TextEdit (at the office I have it set to Plain Text, so it won't even italicize; if TextEdit would just add a wordcount feature I'd use it til I die).

But wow, it really took me back to be putting something in Word. Except for the realizing I don't know how to double-space. For someone who, you know, writes and edits pieces of writing for a living, that was a bit weird.

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Date:2009-02-23 14:21
Subject:Well, ugh.

Hello, world. I've spent most of the past two days on the couch, recovering from what I first thought was a touch of hangover (for a cruddy Saturday), which then turned out to be flu (there goes Sunday!) and now, just to be mean, has migrated to a sore throat (fuck off, Monday!). I planned to stay home to recover and do the laundry that never got done this weekend, but now I'm just hoping to be mobile at some point today.

I'm very glad that this didn't happen next weekend, though. That would have sucked.

Happier thoughts: Next weekend is February Sucks! Cossar is about to have a birthday! (Which means that somewhere, Scotty is too, and which means I forgot Rami's birthday, dangit, happy birthday Rami! February is so crammed with birthdays.) Let's get well, it's almost party time!

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Date:2009-02-17 10:42
Subject:Mt. Ow

So I was sooooo proud of myself, for going to Mt. Snow up in Vermont and kicking its ass on skis. I wasn't tired! I wasn't sore! I got up at 7am the second day to hit the slopes! Then I tried snowboarding on Sunday afternoon, and even with a lesson I managed to fall squarely on my ass in a spectacular lift-exiting flail. My arms, my knees, my bum—oh so very, very sore.

But! I'm slowly progressing on the snowboard and I'm ready—nay, eager—to go it alone with a snowboard on some real runs. Um, once I heal.

Also, Mt. Snow was great, because it was sunny AND there was a Waffle Hut right next to the lifts, serving hot chocolate and waffles. Vermont is pretty, I'm a fan. The skiing—hmm. Well, I was lucky to ski where I did as a kid, snowmaking still irks me, and I still haven't seen skiing out here that can rival the west's. But I can appreciate the efficiency and loveliness of right-coast skiing, really—Mt. Snow had some excellent cruising runs, and I dig that. Still: If you can groom it, it's not a black diamond, people.

Short week full of bar hop and a Jay Clifford concert and Oscars in Jersey. I will probably also spend the week regretting my decision to not shoplift the New York Times Magazine from a rest stop on the Thruway. Dangit, I could use the big ol' picture of Shane Battier on my wall right about now, but I'll have to wait til my parents send me their copy.

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Date:2009-02-06 17:47
Subject:Things that will be popular with my set

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. ... What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.

Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice)..."

April! I'm starting my birthday wish list now.

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Date:2009-02-06 09:33

Hey guess what! I managed to talk for seven minutes on the radio without saying "fuck" once! Go me.

Hey also! Our company announced 5% paycuts all around yesterday, go us! What's not on Gawker is that in exchange for a 5% pay cut, we get to work 5% less; the cut comes in the form of unpaid vacation, one day for every 20. I mean, of course it's still a cut and it totally blows—plus we're not hourly workers, it's not like we can clock out and just, uh, make less magazine—but I will give my company credit for trying to compensate us. And since I was already considering the idea of unpaid leave this summer to get out of the city, well...decision just got easier.

This weekend, see Coraline! I incoherently babble about why in the radio clip above, but more succinctly: It's cool. It reminded me of the moodier bits of Labyrinth, of all things, what with the jazzy music and totally-on-crack visuals. I wish I had been 10 when I saw it, because I was a dreamy little sucker and would have been absolutely transfixed.

But the 3D gave me a headache that hasn't gone away for three effing days.

Duke lost to Clemson, and that also sucks, but the Carolina game is next week. Saving it for the one that really counts? I hope?

Tomorrow: ComicCon! This is going to be interesting, y'all. For work I'm talking to the Fringe, Life on Mars and Dollhouse people (Joss Whedon! What should I ask? "Why can't I get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so many friends just adore it?" I need something better). For fun I'm going to wander the craziness with Kat and Moira until I see all the weird there is to see.

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Date:2009-01-29 10:44
Subject:Genius has turned to madness, which then turned to bacon.

Updates, kids:

1. Boo, Duke losing to Wake. Well that was a fun few days at No. 1.

2. Other than the above, nice Bar Hop this week, guys. Except for a certain someone's blatant Duke-baiting, it was a good showing all around. I  like how for most of the night there wasn't a single woman in the bar who wasn't part of our crowd. There are gay bars in Chelsea with more ladies. Bleecker Heights Tavern: For beer, basketball, burgers, and, apparently, boys.

3. I'm trying to rush through my close today so I can attend a charity event tonight, a Human Rights thing (for, not against). I totally blew off a swank event with Flight of the Conchords on Monday to, no lie, go to the gym and watch the back half of an episode of American Idol on the elliptical, but now I'm completely rearranging my schedule to head to the UES to support a downer charity, which I'm not actually supporting because I'm using free tickets, so really I'm just ripping them off. I'm not so good at this rock-n-roll lifestyle.

4. I spent much of yesterday with the song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" stuck in my head. This sounds like a complaint; it isn't. I actually really enjoyed the constant Meatloaf in my head. And that sentence is gross, isn't it.

5. Grosser and yet more awesome: Why can't I have a "massive torpedo-shaped amalgamation of two pounds of bacon woven through and around two pounds of sausage and slathered in barbecue sauce"? Please. Also, the part where the guy looks at the pile of raw bacon and goes "Hmm, I could weave this into a mat" is basically akin to the moment an apple fell on Newton's head. Brilliant.

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Date:2009-01-19 13:37
Subject:Not-so-manic Monday

I'm either having the best or worst Monday ever. Slept til 11am, ate a leisurely breakfast before coming to work, have my cowboy boots up on my desk, and am listening to a Single Ladies/Andy Griffith Show mashup song over my computer's speakers. And I haven't gotten that much work done and am considering taking a break to read a book for a little while.

But the office is surprisingly empty. There were a lot more people planning to come in as of Friday, don't blame 'em for changing their minds, but I need other worker bees to convince me not to bag it and head home. And I really, really want to take an extended Inauguration break tomorrow.

Ok, I have 1067 emails in my inbox (unread: 0! This is good). If I can get it down to 500 and get my desk in reasonable working order—very possible, as my desk at work is 500% cleaner than my room at home—then I can blow this popsicle stand. Deal?

Oh it's snowing! Good thing the hero pilot wasn't trying to land in the Hudson today, that sucker looks icy.

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