21 February 2012

El Presidente or "What is a Week End??"

Bonjou zanmi mwen yo!

I hope all of you had a pleasant long weekend. My President's Day weekend was surprisingly fun (albeit expensive)! It's been 280 years and George Washington is still having kick-ass birthday parties. Here are some of the highlights from the past four days (there are a LOT of new pseudonyms in this post):

-An hour-long coffee date with Sarah O'Neal. We talked about a lot of things, including life after college. It's weird to think about who you will still be in touch with five, ten years down the line. We speculated that the people you are closest to at the end of senior spring are the ones that you will stay lifelong friends with. That makes sense, but it's sad to think that a friendship developed over the course of college can deteriorate due to unaligned schedules during your last semester (thesis writers, JUST FINISH ALREADY AND HANG OUT WITH ME). I'm also going to be up front: I'm notoriously bad at keeping in touch, responding to text messages, etc. I'm going to do my best to change after graduating, I promise!

-Going to a film noir themed bar with Laura Dakota and Dale Alvarez. Pretty cool! I ordered a stiff whiskey drink so I could feel like Jack Nicholson from Chinatown, but I have a feeling this is going to be an acquired taste. Paul Robinson told me that this bar shows Mad Men episodes when they air and that the room is completely silent as everyone watches. Nice.

-Shisha (or hookah, for all you n00bs) with Verda Senturk, Laura Dakota, and Melanie Wright. As a future physician, I feel incredibly guilty every time I smoke tobacco, but shisha is really a fun and social experience (as long as you do it sparingly guys--don't get lung cancer). It was so nice to see Verda, I hardly see her now that she's graduated and become a REAL PERSON. She's definitely the future Prime Minister of Turkey: if it happens, you heard it here first.

-My cousin, Ashley Doherty, coming in from BC to attend a party at Harvard with three of her friends. Flanked by my "Army of Skanks," I had a great dinner at John Harvard's and then a fun night out. Kim Sullivan was a bit nasty towards Cole Parker (sorry Cole!) and I think Ashley slapped Aaron Okafor (sorry Aaron!) but I did have fun dougie-ing in the middle of a dance circle.

-An incredibly satisfying and SPICY hotpot meal in Boston with Priscilla Zheng and Jenny Gallagher. If you've never had this type of food, you should. Just like shisha, it's very social! You cook the food yourself at the table and you trade your neighbor udon noodles for mung bean ones.

-Learning that Dick Pulaski REALLY likes mozzarella sticks. :)

-Seeing The Matrix for the first time. Awesome, awesome movie.

-Building a fort in my common room with Diana Young. I felt like a little kid and it was awesome. We had a TV, a fan that mimicked outdoor breezes, and a really soft "touching wall." We watched Dodgeball inside. No one makes me bleed my own blood. See the picture!

-Going out to eat one more time with Diana and Paula Nelson. We needed some sustenance after spending a day camping in the jungle with DINOSAURS (at least that's what Troy Smith said the fort reminded him of). It was a new restaurant in the Square called First Printer and had really, really good food. They were out of crocodile and "mud bugs" (yes, these things are on the menu) but I had great risotto and will be going back again.

So that was my President's Day weekend! How was yours?? Comment please!

"I walk on untrodden ground." -George Washington


16 February 2012

On Being Indiana Jones or Backyard Adventuring

Greetings explorers! What follows is a post that ended up being much longer than expected but I hope you'll enjoy!

While I am incredibly grateful for the education I'm getting and the opportunities I have ahead of me, lately I've been feeling quite claustrophobic with life in college. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that they need an adventure sometimes: it's the reason why we watch thrillers and action movies (although no one wants their teenage daughter to get taken into prostitution, we all secretly want some reason to go on a killing rampage through Paris), or read books like The Hunger Games (yes, it's the reading level of a 2nd grader but it sure is a page-turner and Katniss is hot).

But our lives don't have to be mundane, and we don't have to live in constant envy of Legolas and the infant from Baby's Day Out. I present to you Eddie's Guide to Adventuring in The Modern World:

Try New Foods: Food is so great, guys. Unless you have an allergy or are Richard Pulaski, you need to try (at least once) every type of food that is put in front of you. Some of my best dining experiences have been in foreign countries or at ethnic restaurants here in the US. Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian, Argentinian, Cuban, I could go on and on listing the types of cuisines I've tried and loved (Fun fact: I actually can name all 196 countries in the world on Sporcle but I won't pretend to have eaten food from all of them). If you're usually boring with food, just try something spicy to start. If you're an expert, move on to deep-fried tarantulas or something. Trying new food is always an adventure and it is so easy to do (unless you're a hunter-gatherer or live in rural Pennsylvania). If you want to up the ante, try fugu: the Japanese-prepared pufferfish that can kill you if not cooked correctly. And also remember, new food doesn't have to be ethnic. One of my most cathartic dining experiences was my first In n' Out Burger (Animal Style, of course).

Go Somewhere Without a Purpose: Ally Hughes and I used to pick random days to go into Boston and explore neighborhoods we had never been to. These mini-adventures were some of the most fun I've ever had, and this was because we ended up doing things spontaneously. A previous post already mentioned the time we ran through sleeting rain to buy our decorative bowls from Crate and Barrel (yes, that happened). We also went into fancy hotels to steal some delicious apples. Aimlessly exploring is an easy thing for people to do in a city they live in, because they've usually been to all the major tourist attractions. When visiting a city for the first time, however, it's hard to go without an itinerary. But don't be afraid to stray from that itinerary! You might just end up driving a quadcycle through Chicago while singing "Bed Intruder" at the top of your lungs (also happened).

Do Peyote: You'll see.

Take Up a New Hobby (or 3): Sarah O'Neal recently took up knitting. And while I find that sufficiently gagworthy, it's an adventure for her! It is not hobbies themselves that are the adventure, but the process of trying out new things and developing skills you've never worked on before. Both starting and restarting the Ed-Word have been adventures for me because I don't usually take time away from my day to gather my thoughts and write things down. And it's important to keep picking up new hobbies as old ones become part of your daily routine. My first day at Bikram Yoga was definitely an adventure, but now my Standing Bow pose is sexy and I only feel like I'm going to die about half the time, so it's time to add a new activity to my life. I plan on going to a shooting range in the near future, and this will certainly be an adventure (even if Laura Dakota doesn't accidentally shoot someone in the leg). Maybe I'll try out squash. Regardless of what it is, the purl-stitch or the salsa, try something new!

Interact with Strangers: Meeting new people is always great but something that is especially adventurous is connecting on an intimate level with strangers that you'll probably never see again (yes, "one night stands" fall under this category, but let's focus on adventures that don't include herpes). The potential for fun is amazing when all the social obligations of acquaintances are taken away. There was the time, for example, that I bought a drink for a 35-year-old woman named Megan and had one of the best conversations of my life. Or the time that Dale Alvarez and I wandered around an unnamed college campus with a group of girls, dressed as a Playboy bunny and Oompa Loompa respectively. When visiting foreign countries, meeting strangers is especially doable. But Amelia Harper, Karen Fontaine and I make plenty of these "30-second friends" on our annual road trip in the US. You don't have to travel far to be surrounded by people you don't know. Put yourself out there! You may make lifelong friends (I have a pending dinner of jager and popcorn with someone I met in Singapore) or you may end up in a verbal altercation with a rude Indian man that you never want to see again. The possibilities are endless!

Do Something Mildly Illegal: The other night, a team of misfits (headed, I believe, by Gabrielle Carter) banded together to steal a street sign which is now in their possession. I'm so angry I wasn't there (Long Island Iced Teas will do that to a man) but I think they'd all agree that it certainly counts as an adventure. Now, I believe stealing street signs is actually very illegal, and I don't recommend it. But they made a judgment call here and it worked out. Things are always more exciting when there's the possibility of getting caught. That's why Manhunt was so fun when I was a kid, because we'd sneak through our neighbors' yards in packs (I would actually be terrified if I saw a pack of children in my yard at night, but that's besides the point). My favorite form of illegal adventure is ghost hunting. My friend Dan Peterson and I organized a crew to do it a few times this summer. You don't have to believe in ghosts to have fun running around a graveyard at night, scaring yourself and your friends, and hiding from the police and DEMONS. It's like an interactive scary movie! Exercise good judgment on this last point: I will not be held liable (or post your bail) if you end up in jail for trespassing. Nor will I save you if a witch coven takes you for human sacrifice.

So there you have it. Some tips for how to live an adventurous and fulfilling life without aliens or magic rings or Nazis or dragons or cowboys or treasure. Well, maybe a little bit of treasure (I'm still holding out).

Peace in the Middle East,


14 February 2012

The Return of the Ed-Word or Blogging is for Lovers

Well friends, I'm back! Although it took some prompting (I was held under duress by Cole Parker with a marshmallow gun), I'm glad to be sharing my wisdom with the world once again. I can only hope you've managed to get by in my absence (especially the people who really need my blog: grandmothers, preteen girls, Tibetan monks, UFC fighters, and au pairs).

Happy Valentine's Day! This annual February 14th holiday is, in a word, controversial. The tension in the air is palpable. On the other 364 days of the year (365 days this year!) single people can look at couples with scorn; they can say that they feel liberated and free; they can tell men that they're "whipped" and women that they're "clingy"; they can go on singles cruises; they can walk their cats or tortoises with their heads held high; they can wear really raunchy clothes and brag about nobody caring; they can go skinny dipping with an old woman who says she won the bronze medal in the 100-meter dash in the 1940 Olympics but they're not really sure but they do it anyway because there's no one holding them back and they end up spending the night at the police station explaining why they were found naked with a known art thief in Danny DeVito's pool.

Not today. For this day only, couples rule the world. And single people HATE that. While couples spend February 14th in a happy bubble of champagne, chocolates, and really good sex, single people let their rage flow out in waves that engulf society in a day of anarchy.

Here's an example of a typical Valentine's Day scenario in which members of a law firm are having a lunch meeting:

Bob: I just love--


Susan: Calm down, Karen.


Mark: I think you're just stressed Karen.

(starts foaming at the mouth)

Karen runs out of room through the wall.

Bob: I just love this gnocchi.

All the single ladies (and men), let the couples have their day. They're probably not taunting you (if they are, you'd be perfectly justified in putting laxative in their wine), they are just trying to celebrate their relationship on this one day. Oh, and on their anniversary. And New Year's. And in the oil paint section of Walmart. Wait a second....

"I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox." -Woody Allen


03 March 2010

Scopin' the Scene or We're All on a Boat Like Leo

When I was younger, I used to be friends with this homeless man named Frank. He lived in my town square and would have me collect leftover food from the dumpster behind the nearest Chinese restaurant. We would sit and eat it together, and he would always say things like, "Never turn your back on an angry hippo!" and "Those damned Frenchies take away all the fun." Sometimes, we had leftovers from our leftovers, and I would carry some food home in wrinkled placemats and my mom would scream and faint. Whenever that happened, my dad let us have breakfast for dinner and play with firecrackers!

...joke. But I did eat Chinese food sometimes. And whenever I went to Chinese restaurants, the placemats would always have the Chinese zodiac on them, with lots of pretty pictures of all the animals. Arriving in the restaurant, I would leap onto my booster seat (I was a smart and agile 3 year old) and I would immediately find the description of the "Year of the Horse."
"Horses have a pleasant, easy going disposition which guarantees popularity and a large following of friends...etc."
"OH EM GEE THAT'S SO ME!!" I would exclaim. My parents would look at me awkwardly, and quietly sip their wonton soup.

Anyway, the point is that I could not help but feel duped when I realized that EVERY SINGLE ONE of my friends was a horse. How can that possibly be specific to me if it applies to every single member of such a diverse group of 1990ers?

And then there's the astrological zodiac. While the concept is a little more believable than the Chinese one, the whole thing is a little bit ridiculous. Horoscopes are designed so that EVERYONE can say, "Wow! That applies to me!" They even have a link for yesterday's horoscope, so everyone can see how the previous day's events were written in the stars. These writers must be undiscovered geniuses, based on the way that they can make these predictions so obviously vague but so utterly appealing.

Angelica Haynes' horoscope, for example, tells her to "explore new horizons." Well, Angelica, you're fulfilling fate even if you just wear a bracelet that is a little crazy, or you try a new spicy food. When are we NOT encouraged to explore new horizons?? Did your teachers ever say to you, "Kids, stay WITHIN the box, and only eat cheerios and ketchup for the rest of your life!"

(Frank used to say that sentence to me a lot, but that's a different story).

MY horoscope today told me that my friends and family would need some words of wisdom from me. How fortuitous that I have a blog!

Wisdom: stop looking up at those stars every once and a while, and make sure you don't trip over life.


A watched pot never boils!


02 March 2010

La Vie Boheme or Classification Nation

Today I attended a play at nearby Emerson college. My friends Nathan Stanley and Amelia Harper performed excellently (good job guys!). But this post is not about one play in particular, but about the subculture that surrounds theatre in general. Arriving early and alone, armed only with an orgo textbook (which is not appealing) I had ample time to people-watch. The creatures that I observed truly fascinated me.

The girls I saw were not dressed flashily. Most had a mild air of superiority about them, and maybe a nose ring. Some were sporting scarves. They all knew each other. They wore overwhelming, but nice-smelling perfume.
The guys were, for the most part, gay. They interacted with each other and the girls in an open way that you never really see on most college campuses. They wore tees and zip-up sweatshirts that made them look way more casual than people usually look here.
Most people, guys and girls, had really fashionable eyeglasses. I mean, really fashionable. The girl in front of me had bright pink frames. They absolutely put mine to shame.

What do I make of this? This artsy, bohemian culture is way different than anything I usually come across at Harvard. It amazes me that an entire college can be largely characterized by this one subset of people. Are all universities like this?

Let's take Harvard to use as an example. I mean, the easy thing to say is that the people that go here are the "intellectuals" of our society. But compare us to a school like MIT (which is right down the river) and the students look like apples and oranges.

At places like Williams (which is definitely full of intelligent people), students walk to class in their pajamas. But at Harvard? If you're not showered and dressed in your Sunday best for your 9 AM class, there's always a little bit of judgment going on. Upper middle class attitude dominates the social scene--if you don't come from a wealthy family and private school, you're expected to act like you do.

I think that most college campuses can be characterized in a similar way. My POINT, however, is that I think that people let their school shape who they are to become in more ways than simply their education. It's true that we're all just 20 year olds (more or less)--how different can we be? But in the context of one's university, a lot of change is possible. I find myself restricting the number of days I let myself wear sweat pants and sneakers to class. I take international diversity for granted. I've bought into the final club thing.

At theatre schools like Emerson, students will similarly find themselves slowly blending into the liberal atmosphere that surrounds it.

Should we make a conscious decision to stop this process? I don't know. We chose our schools for a reason. Just don't let yourself get to the point where you alienate yourself from the millions of other college students out there.

A baker's dozen,


28 February 2010

Funny You Should Mask or Why I Want to Live in 1652

I will be attending the Sapphire Ball with Chelsea Remington this evening.

Read that sentence again. How Victorian novel-esque does it sound? Very, I think. But no matter how many date events that we have at this school, or what pseudonyms we choose for the attendees, to me there's always something empty in the actual event. As much as I enjoy grinding to Akon and his peers, I can't help but feel that we are making a mockery of what a "ball" truly should be.

I know that with this post I run the risk of sounding like a 28 year old librarian who reads romance novels (which I don't, but I know Alvin does). However, does no one else agree that the bulk of romance has been lost in today's society? What happened to masquerades where people kept their masks on and where they could only guess who they were dancing with? What happened to pebbles on a girl's window at 3 in the morning? Sure, a romantic dinner for two is nice. But EVERYONE does it, and if that's the case, every relationship is boring and identical.

I want to meet a girl outside of the solo-cup-littered club basements and dorm rooms, where everyone is sweating and the music is so loud that you can barely hear the kid booting next to you.

It doesn't have to be that difficult.
A quick catch of the eye across a dance floor. When you leave, you find yourself standing next to each other outside of the ballroom, both of you are separated from your friends. You decide to share a cab back, and on the silent ride, your hands touch each other. You part ways, but neither of you can stop thinking of the other so you meet up, and it's late. You go for a walk, breaking into a private garden, where there's a fountain. Kissing begins midsentence.

Etc. (no, I will not continue, Buck Turner).

It's sad that life isn't like this anymore. I wonder why divorce rates are so high.

Just once, I would like to wear a hat like this and win someone over by getting in a swordfight, NOT by doing a kegstand. I know you agree with me Dale Alvarez, you were such a sucker for Casablanca.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good party as much as the next, and Chelsea, I am extremely excited to be going with you this evening. But just for one day, let's party like it's 1799.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,


P.S. I want to apologize for being so lax in updating this blog. Laura Dakota has pointed out to me that I am only diligent about updating this when I actually have school work to do. Having been sufficiently scolded, I promise I will try to make this MORE than a procrastination outlet.

24 February 2010

Old Men Are Beginning to Snore or Why You Should Jump in Puddles

Days like today are inherently depressing. Even if you don't sleep through two classes and have a terrible midterm experience (=[), the combination of freezing rain, dark skies, and wet sidewalks is thoroughly discouraging. Your feet get uncomfortably damp for the entirety of the day, and every walk is a torture experience (WATERboarding anyone?). It's enough to drive you to sit in your room and listen to Simple Plan.

We've made it through one day of this readers. But how many more can we handle before we start losing our minds? Considering that the forecast is for this to go on indefinitely, I would like to use this post to show you the positive side of what Mother Nature is providing us with.

Inclement weather is automatically more exciting than "good" weather. No one wants to hear about a sunny day in Aruba. "People went to the beach today!" BIG DEAL. Rather, we want to hear about a monsoon that recently hit a large portion of South Asia. If you just had a leisurely stroll through a sunny park, that's nice, but I don't need a play-by-play. On the other hand, when Ally Hughes and I ran in sleeting rain through Boston, dodging cars and the homeless, in order to get a pair of decorative bowls from Crate and Barrel, THAT made for a story.

Don't use an umbrella. Umbrellas are for the weak. There is a reason that people who live in Boston go through 24 umbrellas a year. Mother Nature obviously does not want us to use them. You're going to get wet anyway, so embrace it! In the words of the wise Natasha Bedingfield, "Feel the rain on your skin." She's still got a pocketful of sunshine!

References to mediocre pop artists aside, if you walk into a classroom full of umbrella-toters and you're soaking wet, YOU are the center of attention. And your teaching fellow will take pity on you and give you an A. That's the truth.

By the time this extended bout of rain is over, spring will be almost here. And we'll be that much more excited for it. If the next few weeks were full of normal weather, the transition to spring would be unclear and unexciting. But now! Now, on that first beautiful day, I am going to spend the entire day outside and pretend I have nothing to do with my life (like I'm from LA).

Readers, don't mourn the sun in these next few weeks. Save yourself the skin cancer and get wrinkly hands instead!

Don't, like, jump in the river though. That would be taking it too far.

A hedge between keeps friendship green!