Monthly Archives: September 2010

Hello friends, me again

It’s been two weeks since my last post, and I’ll tell you why – I’m once again stuck on subject matter. My life, while exciting and everything Hollywood promised it would be, has become fairly routine. No complaints, it’s just become rather normal and un-blog worthy.

Already?! But Colleen, you’ve barely begun!

Too true. Perhaps someday I’ll get the hang of this blog nonsense, just be patient with me folks. In the meantime, let me tell you a long, rambling tale of life with an Empire State of Mind.

I often get asked from folks back home, how is New York? I always say, with breathless excitement, something like “wonderful,” “amazing” and “well, it’s okay I guess [and then we share a laugh because with sarcasm, I’m inferring it couldn’t be anything but awesome].”

But of course,  I don’t usually into detail. I truly don’t want to become obnoxious just yet. But with the close bond that comes with post-writer and reader, I feel like I can tell you the truth in proper cliche form – the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

I’ve already droned on and on to anyone who will pretend to listen about my internship. Still, with the good, I have to note that it’s still the tops. I’ve had an article published with more to come. I get to go to cool events where I meet psuedo-celebrities no one has heard of (nothing says disappointment like, “You won’t believe it, I just met so-and-so!” met with “Who the hell is that?”). Having a job that doesn’t pay anything doesn’t get to me so much anymore, just further preparation for a career in journalism.

As for New York, it still wows me now and again, but perhaps the shine is wearing off. Not that I don’t still love it here, I do, but I don’t really spend my days in Central Park or trolling museums or living out the exciting NYC night-life. While this may sound dull or even sad that routine has set in, it’s kind of wonderful. It feels comfortable here, I might stay a while.

Sidenote – Speaking of how I actually spend my time, I recently got into the show Mad Men. It’s a great 60s timepiece without being in-your-face about it, very clever without being unwatchable and staring Jon Hamm, with his Disney prince good looks, means it’s fun for everybody. So yeah, I lead a pretty full life.

Oh Jon Hamm, so handsome.

I probably shouldn’t gush too much, but I should give a shout-out to my roommate who makes all this possible. I have an incredibly understanding and supportive boyfriend. Seriously, I didn’t know what to expect going from long-distance to suffocating distance, but I’m not worried anymore. End of sappiness.

The Bad

There is a reason not everyone lives in New York. I recently ran across an Onion article called 8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live about the entire population simultaneously realizing their surroundings and moving out:

Incidents that prompted citizens to pick up and leave included the sight of garbage bags stacked 5 feet high on the sidewalk; the realization that being alone among millions of anonymous people is actually quite horrifying; a blaring siren that droned on and f***ing on; muddy, refuse-filled puddles that have inexplicably not dried in three years; the thought of growing into a person whose meanness and cynicism is cloaked in a kind of holier-than-thou brand of sarcasm that the rest of the world finds nauseating; and all the goddamn people.

In addition, 3 million New Yorkers reportedly left the city because they realized the phrase “Only in New York” is actually just a defense mechanism used to convince themselves that seeing a naked man take a s*** on a park bench is somehow endearing, or part of some shared cultural experience.

While I have not experienced anything quite so culturally illuminating, there are some experiences I’m sure will lose its charm in time. I’m not going to go into every little thing that can annoy, I’ll just mention a couple I’ve been exposed to recently.

One that is normally not terrible until it is: walking everywhere. As I ran errands for my boss all over lower Manhattan yesterday, I was reminded that there is no way to avoid complete exposure to the elements. In this case, a day of rain and non-weather treated shoes led to one wet and miserable Midwesterner longing for the days when driving everywhere meant you could go days without spending more than five minutes outside. Good times.

I hate to mention the painfully obvious one, but there’s much left to be desired being poor in an expensive city. True, it’s actually not so bad for day-to-day, especially when you know where to go. But when it comes to things like hitting the town, the pocket book suffers. It’s hard to see why the bars are open until four when you can easily blow a week’s budget in an hour, but I digress.

The one that gets to me the most is how lonely a big city can be. I’m very lucky that I have company, but when you’re practically falling over people in a crowded place, it’s surprising how hard it is to make friends. Most of all (ready for the sappy), I do miss my friends and family. It’s a sad Glee night when there’s only one overly-excitable person in the room.

The Ugly

Aside from missing people, there is one thing I hate most about New York, so much so that it deserves its own category. You see, it’s a dirty city. Remarkably clean given what it’s up against, but dirty nonetheless. This I don’t mind so much; what I mind is when it comes home.

I’m talking pests. Cockroaches and mice have both made appearances in my kitchen. I thought I was a composed, mature adult. As it turns out, a two-inch mouse turns me into a screaming little girl. My fearful reaction to a mouse or cockroach is probably similar to my reaction to a looming terrorist attack.

I’ve been informed that this comes with the territory. No matter where you live in New York, it’s bound to happen. I could just conquer my fear and realize that short of a new plague, these things can’t actually hurt me. Or I could just avoid the lower level of the apartment and let my fear own me. Stay tuned.

I know I’m very lucky, I’m not trying to be a complainy Janey. I just want people to know I’m happy and well without being smug about it. How did I do?

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New job, new lease on life

I started my new job Thursday (of course I use the word “job” loosely as I don’t get any pay or benefits, but you get the idea). How do I like it, you may ask? Well, even if you wouldn’t ask, I’ll tell you; it was meant to be.

My first day was essentially baptism by fire, but in a good way. Much of it was spent collecting news and learning how to update the website (my forte, naturally), but then on my very first day, I was assigned a story!  Well, sort of. I was given a flip video and a camera and told to “see what I could get” at this event.

The event, by the way, was a candlelight vigil Friday in support of the community center near Ground Zero (if you don’t know what that’s about, read the news once in a while, man!). It was moving, touching and had several semi-prominent speakers, including a Minnesota State Representative (jealous?). Alright, it dragged a bit near the end, but I was too busy trying to figure out how to film and take pictures of the same thing.

This is an AP photo from the event. Recognize anyone?

In fact, I had several challenges. One, outside of one photojournalism class, I’m not a photographer. Two, I had a dinky point-and-shoot digital camera.  Now, in order to get good photos, you really have to get in people’s way. Be obnoxious, but not so obnoxious you piss people off. Imagine a twenty-something redhead with said dinky camera and zero press credentials getting up close to strangers and taking multiple pictures. Sounds weird you say? It was.

There was an especially odd moment where I thought a little girl standing next to her father with a candle would make a great photo. It did, incidentally, but after weaving around the crowd to get the shot and taking many due to poor lighting, I really thought her dad was going to call over a police officer.

Also, what the hell do you take pictures of if you’re putting together a slide show? Crowd picture, someone speaking picture. Up-close crowd picture, unusual crowd picture, zoom-in on speaker. And then? Photography is not my calling.

But I digress, back to the job. It’s fantastic, did I mention that? The women who work there are all extremely nice while still devilishly smart. I get to meet cool people and do cool (at least my definition of cool) things. Last night, I went to a book signing with several prominent New York feminists. I swear they must have partied with Gloria Steinem.

And today, I got to file my first story. It was covering a Senate Judiciary Committee Meeting entitled “Rape in the United States: The Chronic Failure to Report and Investigate Rape Cases.” I know what you’re thinking – fun!

So don’t you worry about ol’ Colleen, she is doing just fine.

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Finally

It turns out that finding the perfect internship isn’t impossible to find. Starting Thursday, I’ll be working for Women’s eNews, a a non-profit, independent news service specializing in issues of importance to women.

As nerdy as this may sound, I’m pretty damn excited. It’s been a long, drawn-out process that somehow turned out alright in the end. And this isn’t like the last blog where I said I had a job; I’m actually going to work at this one.

In order to celebrate this joyous occasion, David and I are treating ourselves to Sangria, an insane pizza (have you ever heard of jalapeño pesto?) and Star Trek, good times. While my excitement is off the charts, I actually have very little to write about. But I swear, before the week is out, there will be more to come that may actually entertain someone.

And so….

KHAN!!!

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