Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Last week, I had a marvelous adventure in, shall we say, vintage casual.
See, every year around Christmastime, NYC reintroduces a few vintage subway cars back into the line, and lucky passengers get to ride on them, taking a trip down memory lane ... er, memory track, as it were. Levys' Unique New York planned ahead for a vintage subway car that would leave from the Lower East Side, head to Queens, and come back, and encouraged New Yorkers to "Party Like It's 1912," by dressing up in period attire, bringing tea and cookies, and listening to live ragtime ... all while riding a jostling, jerking vintage subway car.
My dear roommate agreed to dress up with me (with these sorts of things, it's usually best to bring a friend for two reasons: so you aren't the only person dressed up strangely, and so that if the event is full of crazy people you have some protection), and after church we and another friend grabbed lunch and headed downtown. After some navigational mishaps on my part (shocker), we made it to the party. Hastily hopping on a subway car, we moved through a couple cars looking for classmates and admiring the costumes of people who seemed rather normal, except for owning complete Victorian/pre-WWI-era outfits.
After we found one more friend (a smartly-dressed chap with impeccable core balance), the train finally got moving. The live ragtime band played, the lights flickered off and back on, and couples danced like the Titanic had never sunk. The train was extraordinarily bumpy, so while all this quaint, wonderful stuff was going on, I (and a few others) began stumbling on top of people, who were also stumbling on top of us. Unlike a normal commute, in which needless bumping of strangers gets a death glare at the very least, everyone just chuckled and held on tightly. Our tour guide, a man in a gleaming white suit with one of the most impressive moustaches I've ever seen in person, seemed to be the only one who could (or dared) move through the densely-packed subway car (though the smartly-dressed chap and a few others did manage to simply stand and not fall over).
After a few stops, a series of remarkable things happened. Our mustachioed tour guide and some charitable man began pouring tea (a delicious, spicy herbal blend) into dixie cups and asking us quite properly "one lump or two?" Then a woman came forward with a silver tray of goodies. Then a man passed forward a package of shortbread cookies. It was New York City, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and there were strangers sharing food with each other in the subway. Truly, it was a miraculous thing. Even as we (and by we, I mean I) fell on top of our newest and closest best friends, everyone smiled. This was partly because the music and jostling made conversation difficult, but partly because it was such a very nice experience. Not everyone dressed for the period, but most had (minus the modern cameras and videocameras and flip phones in use to document the event), and it was delightful.
We made it to the end of the line, hopped off, found more friends, and eventually got back on. It was more of the same, except that the band had moved to the other end of the train, and in order to get to the music, we had to pass through a series of moving vintage subway cars. I mention this only because it was a lifelong dream I didn't know I had — that is, until I was standing there, grabbing the handle of the next car, watching the tracks whoosh by underneath me, and I realized I had waited my whole life to do that. Huzzah!
Where were the economics you ask? Well, beyond the signs advertising $0.12 subway fare (a constant remind of inflation and bygone times), I was struck by how little had really changed in the economics of it all. The women wore ruffles and the men wore hats, but getting dressed up for a party was universal (and something I've been promoting for years). The ride was much bumpier (the MTA has done something right since 1912!), but the subway still got people to their destinations. The ads were quaint and promoted enviable prices, but good music and good food still brings people together, no matter what a gallon of milk costs by comparison. The band played much differently, but couples in love still danced.
At its heart, economics is about the choices people make. Choices like dressing up and riding the subway for a few hours. Choices like buying subway fare. Choices like not putting enough lifeboats onboard the "unsinkable" luxury liner that sank in 1912. Even though many of our choices (and the rational behind them) have changed dramatically, it's nice to know that parties, food, and music still bring people together, be it in 1912 or 2010.
I partied like it was 1912 in:
Gray menswear capris, black tights, black long-sleeved shirt, gray lace suspenders, black and gray newsboy cap, and gray ballet flats. (I was a newsboy!)
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Trying to support Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Chipotle raised the price from $0 to $2 (for you mathletes out there, he multiplied the cost infinitely). They're donating this money to the Food Revolution (which will go to regulating food more heavily, increasing the amount of food-related propaganda, and limiting your choices to those deemed "healthful" by the nutrition nazis). Oh, and to top it off, you couldn't dress like a burrito, but had to dress like a "horrifying processed food product" instead of a burrito.
(If you weren't personally harmed by this, let me put it into perspective. I had to have snarky parenthetical commentary on four out of five of the sentences in that last paragraph.)
Tonight, instead of leaving Chipotle with a big smile, I left pretty frustrated. I had had to explain my costume to three employees before they gave me the deal, I had to pay $2 that went to an organization I don't support, and they were stingy on everything because the man making my burrito wasn't watching it at all. I'm admittedly grateful for $2 burritos, but it's a little hard to swallow after the glory days.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
As it turns out, fall break has been one of the most delightful four days of my college experience. I hung out with my cousin in Brooklyn, walked to, across, and back from the Brooklyn Bridge with my roommate from last year, fittingly watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off, saw an incredible rain/hail/thunder/lightning storm, went to the gym, hung out with two girls from my house, and had a really lovely time.
Perhaps most notably, I went on a day trip with three friends, and we saw Boston in the fall! (For those of you unfamiliar with Big Idea Productions, Veggie Tales, and other cult favorites of evangelicals, the Pirates who Don't do Anything sang about how they had not painted daisies on a big red rubber ball, bathed in yogurt, or been to Boston in the fall. As a result, autumnal Cambridge has become a bit of a mecca for those of us who grew up with the lazy pirates.)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Kids aren't stupid - they know that if everyone's getting one, it's not really anything special. So no matter how many participation trophies you give out, you're not really fooling anyone. You're giving them something nice for their shelf, but if it wasn't earned, it's less important to display. In America, we promise everyone as equal a start as we can - that's what the Bill of Rights is for. After that though, you're on your own. We don't promise everyone an equal outcome - although awards banquets show that perhaps we'd like that better.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Buffets are great ones for that, as they employ economies of scale against you. See, you pay the same price at a place like Sweet Tomatoes whether you eat a single piece of lettuce, or enough food to make a "food pyramid" that would make Giza jealous. So, in order to get your money's worth, it makes more sense to eat more (and of course, there's no sharing). However, for dieters and those who like fitting through the average doorway, eating your way to a bargain has a lot of negative ramifications.
After-dinner, the fruit and cafeteria-style desserts aren't too bad, as long as you like unripe honeydew and sugar-free jello mousse. Really, the perfect cherry on top of a calorie load is some artificial sweetener. There's always a special baked dessert - from chocolate lava cake to cherry cobbler, as well as brownies, because nothing says "just like mom's" like the next dress size. They also offer soft-serve "non-fat frozen yogurt," but if you put it on top of the baked dessert, and add syrup, toffee, peanuts, and cookie crumbles, you capsize the fat-free lifeboat. On top of this, they have nice people walking around with baskets of chocolate-chip cookies that they deposit on your now-groaning table.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Next we went to the art museum and saw the King Tut exhibit (my Granny is a member, and now that I go to school in NYC, I find museums to be normal ways to spend any day). Since the exhibit is new, it was very crowded, so during the second half, I gave her the "Reader's Digest" version of their information plaques above the various relics. After the museum, we visited the "cookie lady," which my uncle told us about - technically she was closed, but we still got three yummy cookies for $1 (and you know how I feel about bargains). We then went back to the store and got my shirt and necklace, got on the Light Rail, and headed home. A fun day!
While these people are living in reality, our tax dollars are paying for a wasteful (albeit whimsical) pet project designed to foster spontaneous friendship. The problem is, life isn't a children's book - people don't leave work to play the piano and quit chasing success and decide to go home and paint a picture with their kids. Pianos can't sit outside for months and not experience physical damage. People who have never spoken to each other don't start speaking when the scenery changes.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
1. People who like you tend to gain a lot of brownie points in your book for having "such refined taste in women," perhaps creating a heart fart of your own.
2. Creeps and weirdos are irrepressible.
3. You probably actually do have refined taste in men.
This is an awkward group that's usually full of lab partners, exes, and overly friendly men on the street/in the grocery store/on the subway, etc. Despite the initial awkwardness, your only job is to let him down gently but firmly, and not lead him on. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but since you're not emotionally entangled, there's not a lot riding on Category 2 fellas for you.