Educating My Sinfully Uneducated Readership

I’ve started into a routine where I use my half-hour commute every day to *expand my mind* (it’s important to stay active as you get older, guys). So I will read while I am sitting on the train and pop in a podcast while I am walking from the station. I love me some NPR (I need a shirt that says Peter Sagal is my homeboy), but I like to mix it up with stories from The Moth or with my new favorite podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class.

You guys. YOU GUYS. History is so freakin’ interesting! And I honestly learn so much every time I listen to this one. The best part is that I will share it in my staff meeting as my “high” for the week and therefore impress/disgust everyone with my listening skills For your benefit, I have culled a few of my favorite facts I have recently learned. You’re welcome.

  • Michaelangelo wore boots made out of dogskin for months at a time and when he would finally take them off, he would peel off a layer of skin with the boot. 

BMW

  • Edgar Allan Poe (who, as much as UVa wishes to claim was an alum judging by their bookshop, actually only went there for a year) MAY HAVE DIED OF RABIES. It was claimed he died of alcoholism, but considering he was not drunk or have a lick of alcohol in his system at the time, that is debatable. During the four days that Poe was in the hospital, he was hallucinating and confused before falling quiet and dying; in the periods when he was lucid, he refused to drink water (hydrophobia, y’all!). While he had no bite marks, you can also be infected with rabies for a YEAR before showing any symptoms. So I probably have that.

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  • Two awesome people to know: Charley Pankhurst and Nellie Bly. Charley was born Charlotte in 1812 but lived his life as a man; the fact that he was biologically female  was not discovered until his death. Charley voted in California in 1868, making him the first female to vote in that state. Way to go, you! Also, Nellie Bly in general is a kick-ass lady. You should definitely read more about her, but to sum up: she was a female reporter in the late 1800s-early 1900s who, among other things, committed herself to an insane asylum to report on the horrific conditions; beat the Around The World in 80 Days by traveling the distance in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds; and then landed a millionaire who was 40 years older than her.

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Nothing else really important to say except history rocks.

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Woody Allen Marathon

One of the ways in which I define myself is as a lover of movies and identifier of obscure movie quotes. Despite my massive, 100+ DVD collection, I carry a secret shame about my movie-watching habits: I haven’t seen that many classics. The “modern classics” I have on lockdown: Forrest Gump, Titanic (don’t hate: it’s in the AFI Top 100!). If it has Gene Kelly in it, I’ve most likely seen it and gushed about it to you already. There was also that nebulous period in high school after the AP US History test where my teacher, Mr. Meissel (the greatest teacher to ever grace this earth  – he deserves a post of his own) just showed us some film noir classics like The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. But in scanning the list of Top 100 Movies, I realize that most of them are all meshed together in my head: I know I’ve seen movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and North by Northwest, and God knows I have read the Internet enough to understand cultural references, but I haven’t really seen enough.

Nowhere is this more true than with Woody Allen movies. That man has produced approximately 1,692 movies per year for the last 100 years, and I’ve only seen a couple. No more do I want to just smile vaguely and nod sagely when people talk about Annie Hall, damnit! I want to be able to say something smart about it!

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With that in mind, I embarked on an epic quest of a WOODY ALLEN MARATHON with one of my favorite people, who just so happens to be temporarily living in New Hampshire (which works out for both of us so we are about equally as friendless and can easily cling to each other).

The most interesting part of this experiment is discovering how passionate people are about Woody Allen movies – mostly by disliking them. For example, my mother:

“I just don’t like Woody Allen on principle.”

I paused and stared at her for a moment as she laughed. I prodded, “Umm… more explanation, please?”

She immediately responded, “Well, after that movie where he was a sperm, I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

Screaming

Fair enough.

Given Woody’s 1,692 movies, this mighhhht take a while. But my friend and I kicked it off with some not-so-classic classics: Crimes and Misdemeanors and The Purple Rose of Cairo. We both agreed we are not nearly clever enough to fully comprehend C&M, although reading Ebert’s review after the fact definitely made up appreciate it more. We also decided that Sean would be a crummy reviewer because he would be terrified of making the actors anger with a poor review. His entire review would read: “I really enjoyed this movie. This actor wasn’t perfect, but you could see where he was going. Actually, I really liked him. DON’T BE MAD AT ME.” Sign him up, papes!

(Also, you should watch the Purple Rose of Cairo because it was magnificent. Plus it has the actor who plays Richard Gilmore except he’s 30+ years younger and it’s really amusing.)

Any favorite Woody movies I shouldn’t give a miss? Right now, the only one off the table is that sperm one. A lady has her limits.

Top Things I Have Learned About Boston

Image via pintrest

Image via pintrest

So I recently moved to Boston for the foreseeable future for a real-person life and a real-person job, after living in DC for six years and then spending most of May 2012-June 2013 abroad or living with my parents (gents, form a line). Although I’ve visited the city as a tourist a few times and lived here for a month in the summer of 2012, my time thus far has taught me several important things about the Hub. And because I am selfless, I shall share with you.

  • The Red Sox are literally always playing a game at Fenway as I am on my way home from work. The T line I take from work to my house includes the stop for Fenway, one after where I get on. And it doesn’t matter what time of day I get on the train, from 4pm to 8pm — the Sox are inevitably playing 20 minutes later. Meaning that the train is CRAMMED full of sweaty fans in Sox gear. Why does the baseball season last from essentially April 1 – March 15?
  • I may be smart enough to keep my (negative) opinion of Boston sports teams to myself – mostly – but I shan’t be quiet any longer about Dunkins coffee. Guys, it sucks. Admittedly, I don’t drink coffee coffee, but I tried their latte and it was terrible. The best chain latte I’ve ever had? Panera, actually. Get down wit yo bad self.
  • Pretty much everyone hates the T, but those people have apparently not commuted much in DC. Yes, the lack of transfer points is infuriating (most of the lines intersect in downtown Boston and then extend to Cambridge in the north and then out to Brookline/Allston/Brighton in the west, where I live, but to transfer to another line you have to ride alllllll the way back in to Boston and allllll the way back out). So that’s annoying, but in my experience the train has been pretty prompt and speedy. Try getting down to a DC metro platform and being greeted by, “The next train will arrive in 25 minutes.” THAT is the pits.
  • Boston pride is a thing, and it’s awesome. Besides the pride in the sports teams, which is cult-like, the slogan of “Boston Strong” is everywhere, and I love it. Walk up and down Bolyston (where the bombings occurred) and you will see sign after sign — even “Public Library Strong.” Walk past neighborhood bars, and you see that they have a special collection for X victim going. Even street graffiti professes the Boston pride.  Image

In order to do some Very Important research on this topic, I also watched a couple of Boston-centric movies, aka ones with Ben Affleck. And the top thing I’ve noticed in those movies (besides the accents and, you know, the robbing-of-banks-ness) is the incredible amount of Boston pride. It’s not quite like anything I’ve experienced before. I have plenty of pride for my hometown in Virginia and my adopted hometown of DC, but Boston is such a tough little nut that people will always defend. And while I may have slung some choice curse words towards the Patriots just yesterday (okay, I may already be an un-fan of the Pats, but because of their STUPID pre-season game, JEOPARDY WASN’T ON!!! Unacceptable), I’m still excited to make Boston into my home and to wrap myself up in some Beantown spirit. 

Image via Boston Magazine

Image via Boston Magazine

How to finally nest (ish)

For someone who loves stability, I have been remarkably without a home for the past year+. I’ve thankfully always had a roof over my head and a bed(ish) to sleep in, but since I moved out of my last actual abode in May 2012, I’ve slept in – count em – twenty nine different beds/homes. The largest chunks of my time involved spending July 2012 in Boston (where I got to experience wonderful university housing beds – it was so uncomfortable I honestly had to go buy a foam padding thing from BBB the next day cause I’m a princess), August-December 2012 in London (another time spent in university housing, except I funnily enough had three single beds to call my own. I like to be crazy!), and April-July 2013 in the parental dwelling (where I stubbornly refused to give up my first comfy bed in a year unless it was to a worthy elder).

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to finally – FINALLY! – be able to unpack my bags for the final, foreseeable time, and unwrap my belongings that have been in storage since last May.

Alas and alack, we are not at that point yet. My first two months in Boston are consisting of me living with two very good friends of mine (it’s an awesome Three’s Company/Big Love kind of situation, except not actually) and then a month-long sublet with a rando who I literally agreed to live with because she laughed at my jokes and didn’t seem murdery. The person moving out (from whom I am subletting) has two cats and I was a inch away from saying, “…but can the cats stay?” I HAVE CAT NEEDS, PEOPLE.

How I inserted myself in with my friends/roomies/hosts, the married couple. I think they find me adorable

How I inserted myself in with my friends/roomies/hosts, the married couple. I think they find me adorable

Anyway. Come September 1, I have a home again! Where I actually live, and pay rent! And not sketchy back-alley rent but a rent attached to a lease! (At least, I think so. The property manager just scribbled out the name of my friend, since I’m taking over her lease, and handwrote mine in. I got panicked that the Boston Public Library wouldn’t accept that as a viable proof of residency and did some questionably-legal things to get that library card, but that’s a story for another day).

In the meantime, I have this whole nomadic thing down to a science. The basic rules:

  • When feeding off the teets of a friend’s generosity (yup), be sure to leave secret signs of yourself around the house. If you are staying with a married couple, even better! See above.
  • Never assume a plate is microwave-safe.
  • You haven’t really worn out your welcome until you’re accidentally blown the fuses in your nomadspot
  • There is no sadder thing than to excitedly unpack your backpack into a dresser of your week-long home, only to find that your three shirts don’t exactly need five drawers.
  • I like to believe I can sleep in most places, but I at least need a window. And wifi. And high standards of living. JUST KIDDING I really just need a window. Windowless rooms are the pits.
  • Laundry is for fancymen, and ain’t nobody got time for that. If it is not visibly dirty or have a five-foot-smell radius, it’s fine.
  • When you do have to get your laundry sent out since you don’t have a home and obviously don’t have a laundry machine, assume that something will get stolen/lost, and it will probably be the t-shirt present you got from your mom less than a month ago
  • Bedbugs aren’t that scary, you guys. Man up.
  • Most important one: you never realize how powerful your friendships are until you are in the wandering state of moving. I have relied on the kindness of several friends just to get me up to Boston, including and not limited to: a friend driving me to the airport, her wonderful parents taking my bags in their car since it wouldn’t fit in hers,  friends graciously hosting me immediately upon my arrival, a friend offering to lend me a sofa bed when I realized my August sublet option would only be an air mattress, and another friend sourcing a real bed for me to borrow and, without asking, volunteering to help me move it.

As much as I love traveling, I seriously can’t wait to stretch into a new joint and start nesting, y’all. Mainly because I picked up a blanket from the store that I proclaimed I loved more than my current hostess, and she threw it on the floor in anger. It’s a really good blanket.

(A week later, after she had accidentally had five limoncellos at dinner with her family, she came home and sheepishly told me the blanket was really good.)