September 2011

09.23.11

I have been away from the blog because I was in California visiting my family and friends. It's been a while since I've been to CA in September... though it's basically like any other month b/c the weather barely changes. That said, there is a certain "beginning of the fall" smell in the air that I like.

Since coming back from CA, I've been running around NYC prepping for my trip to Egypt, which has been getting pretty expensive. I basically have to buy myself a new "Egypt appropriate" warddrobe (loose fitting clothes that I won't mind losing in the wash) and an entire pharmacy that will hopefully last 2 months. On top of that, I was told I have to purchase some database software for my laptop, and I don't think I can be reimbursed for it. Since it's work related though, guess what I'm going to write off come tax season?

I don't think my tickets to Egypt have been purchased yet (thankfully I don't have to pay for that), but I believe the plan is that I'm going to leave on October 6th and come back on December 8th. I'm really not sure how reliable the internet connection is going to be, so I've told David, my web dude, to upload the comic during that time. When I'm able, I'll try to post some blogs to let you all know how Egypt is. You can also look for signs of life on my fb group or on Twitter. If you haven't joined the group or followed me on Twitter yet, please do!

Other than that I'm speaking at the International Comics Art Forum at the Center for Cartoon Studies on September 30th. My talk is called "Ancient Egyptian Figured Ostraca: An Ancient Parallel to Modern Day Comics." If you're on the east coast, you can make the trip up to White River Junction, VT to see me and a lot of other comic scholars present some really interesting ideas. Here is the program.

I got a grant from NYU to speak there 'n' everything!

Jen

09.10.11

I'm going to a wedding up in Fort Tryon today and it is sure to be beautiful! Congrats to my friends tying the knot- I got them a really cool his and her decanter set.

BTW, up in Fort Tryon is the Cloisters, which is actually a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The building looks like a medieval monastery and houses several medieval cloisters as well as beautiful tapestries, altar pieces, and statuary. If you're ever in NYC and are wondering what to do in the city that is unique, you should pay a visit to the Cloisters. It's a bit far, but it's worth it. If you live in the city and want a mini vacation from the hustle and bustle, the Cloisters is a great place to go. Tim Gunn says he loves to visit so maybe you'll see him there!

In other news, all of our new furniture is at our new apartment and it looks great. For the first time in about 6 or so years, I ate at an actual table for dinner.

Jen

09.04.11

The nuttiest bus ride of my life. Boston --> New York, September 3, 2011

Let me begin by saying that for the entire bus ride, there was a guy who kept getting up to go to the bathroom to make less than pleasant smelling deposits. He was going roughly every hour on the hour and every time he went, the people in the back whispered to each other about how stinky his trips are and wondering what the hell he ate that day.

For the most part, everything was nice and peaceful on the bus for a good three hours. Then we hit Stamford, CT and these women in the back started very loudly complaining about how we didn't go to the rest stop that the bus company normally stops at in the middle of CT (in my experience, whether or not we stop at the rest stop totally depends on how the driver's feeling that day... it's a cheap Chinatown bus, so I'm fine with the ambiguity). Apparently this one woman was jonesing really badly b/c she decides to go in the bus's bathroom to smoke even though that's clearly not allowed. No one is saying anything b/c it's a sketchy Chinatown bus, the women looked less than reasonable, and when you are from a big city you learn that it's usually safer to mind your own business. Anyway, it started to smell like a poorly ventilated casino so someone decided to spray their cheap perfume to cover the smell, which of course, only makes it worse.

Then the guy who was making trips to the bathroom made his fourth and final visit.... By this time we've just passed White Plains, NY. As usual, the smells coming from the bathroom are pretty bad, but this time the women in the back start to more loudly complain about it. When the bathroom door swins open, the women in the back start to loudly taunt him for being such a "dirty ass mother f***er," which I thought was pretty extreme and uncalled for. I began to feel sorry for this person, since you know- bad GI days happen and these women were being particularly cruel by openly insulting him and making sure the entire bus could hear.

All of a sudden the entire back of the bus starts screaming. Chaos broke out. It went something like this:

"OH HELL NO!" "OH NO HE DI'NT!" "THAT DUDE IS CRAZY." "YOU ARE ONE DIRTY ASS MOTHER F***ER, YOU F***ING CRAZY ASS CRACKER!"

Then one of them started screaming for the bus driver to pull over "BUS DRIVUH! YOU HAVE GOTS TO PULL OVER... THIS IS NOT RIGHT!"

But of course we don't pull over... then one of the girls lets out a piercing scream, yelling "THAT DUDE JUST SH** HIS PANTS!!!!" "OMMIGOD THAT IS A NASTY ASS MOTHA F***ER!"

Meanwhile I look over my shoulder and the poor man is just reaching my aisle when I notice that it does smell a bit worse than usual.... then he walks by me and lo and behold.... there was a HUGE clump of feces smeared all over the back seat of his pants, belt, and the back of his shirt. I remember thinking "How did he manage to do that?!" and then he SAT DOWN (thankfully very far from where I was sitting) and presumably got this all over the seats.

After making some racial slurs at our Chinese bus driver, one of the girls in the back starts dry heaving. Her friends more violently scream at the bus driver to pull over (which he doesn't. And btw- even though they apparently really want the bus to stop, they couoldn't be bothered to walk up to the man- no, screaming at him from the back seems like a much better idea </sarcasm>). I turn around and this visibly pregnant girl is dry heaving pretty violently so I'm like "Somebody give her one of the trash bags!!" but too late- she just vomited all over the floor... just as someone in the middle of the bus is spraying their cheap perfume to unsuccessfully cover up this cornucopia of bad smells.

By the time the girl vomited we were thankfully in view of the NYC skyline so I knew it wouldn't be too long before I could get out of there.

Before anyone makes any jokes about New Yorkers being rowdy/obnoxious/stinky, let me just say that it was clear from the conversations that followed that those ladies and the man (who I later found out to be a bit "off") were all from Boston.

In the end the bus smelled like vomit, poop, cheap perfume, and old cigarettes.

This makes for a great story though.

Jen

09.03.11

Today is my last day in Boston... or actually, my last few hours in Boston. I'm heading back to NYC.

I really enjoyed my stay in Boston and it's a place where I could probably live more long term. I know the winters here are a bit brutal, but the summer was pretty great!

Here is my list of Pros and Cons for Boston (something every city has... it doesn't matter how "perfect" it may be... I'm looking at you, NY):

Cons:

1) Too many college kids make you feel unsettled/old/creepy or all of the above. I get the feeling that Boston is primarily geared toward college students and tourists though I know this also depends on the neighborhood in which you live. I was near Northeastern University so I got a heavy dose of Boston as a college town this summer.

2) Not too diverse- I barely heard any foreign languages and the majority of Boston (at least downtown Boston) is pretty white. It's also harder (than NYC, for instance) to meet interesting, counter cultural types.

3) A bit on the conservative side and not as cultured and sophisticated as some cities I've been to.

4) Bostonians are terrible drivers- they are too hesistant and timid. They will ALWAYS stop for a pedestrian even if the pedestrian isn't trying to cross and even if stopping makes it more dangerous for the traffic behind them.

Pros:

1) Really beautiful city with a very active relationship with the water. I miss living in a city that looks out to the sea. NYC doesn't really have a nice harbor or a relationship with any of its rivers... it's a very inward looking city as my freind's boyfriend once put it to me.

2) Bostonians know how to cook meat really really well- when you say "medium rare" they'll make it "medium rare"- very pink and slighty bloody, which is how I like it.

3) Seafood is fresh, cheap, and plentiful.

4) Boston has honest to god supermarkets with wide aisles and multiple departments. Also, there are no cockroaches crawling around on the floor while you shop.

5) A very nice and relaxed pace, though not so relaxed that you feel like there's nothing to do.

6) A very interesting history that is retold vividly via the landmarks on the Freedom Trail (which I would recommend doing)- you really get the sense of how old the city is and the pride that Bostonians feel for their history.

7) A very high sense of comradery... there's something to be said about entire pubs (located throughout the city) clapping/stomping along and knowing the words to every old Irish ditty that the guitarist plays for the patrons. This type of comradery is also often seen at sporting events. This has to be eperienced to truly know what I mean- come and visit to see for yourself!

8) Everyone's pretty down to earth and not completely neurotic (unlike NYC where there are a lot of prententious, neurotic people)... this is not to say I haven't seen or met my share of crazy people in Boston, however.

9) Beautiful architecture, well landscaped parks, clean streets.

10) Everyone cards so you always feel like you're young and hot.

11) Boston smells like the ocean- it's nice.

12) My two besties, JewNick and Ava, live here.

What contributed to my love for Boston most of all, however, was my job at the Museum of Fine Arts. Everyone there was so nice and it was one of the most positive work environments that I've ever had. The museum's art collection is very impressive and the museum itself is not so big where it's completely overwhelming. Best collections at the MFA (in my opinion): Egyptian, American, and Japanese. It broke my heart to leave.

Thanks for a really nice summer, Boston. It was a really great experience and I hope I'll get to see you again soon.

Jen