Friday, December 31, 2010

A Look Back at NYE 2009

It’s been quite a year for all of us, hasn’t it? For the past few months, I’ve been referring to 2009 as The Year of the Grind. It pushed us to our limits and definitely made us stay on top of our game. If you weren’t prepared for it, this year quickly swept you under its current. But now at the end, most of us are still here, heads above water, ready to take on the next wave.

There was a lot of tragedy and hardship this year, and while in the midst of it, most of 2009 seemed pretty hopeless. There were many a great thing that happened; 2009 just made us work extra hard to see them. From the deaths of our close friends that continuously plagued us to the empty wallets and rising prices that mocked us as we struggled to survive in one of the most expensive cities on earth, 2009 was definitely not an easy burden to bear, but we’re here now. Just a little more than 24 hours left and a beautiful new decade is upon us to create a fresh start.

In 2009, a lot of dreams were deferred, a lot of dreams were revised and lot of new dreams were born. I believe this past year taught each of us a lot about ourselves and I’m excited to see what the New Year has in store, what new things we’ll learn and, what’s more, I’m excited to see each you continue to grow. One of these days, we’ll have it all figured out, right?

Personally, it’s been a rough year for me. As most of you know, I spent about 10 months unemployed. Quitting my job last December to pursue a career in nonprofit, I never imagined that my time as a “lady of leisure” would last quite that long. The future seemed very unpredictable, if not extremely bleak. Fortunately, I was offered a position at a fashion accessory company and began work back in October. Not really what I set out to do, but this company is wonderful and I fit right in. But not one to give up hope, I’m still pursuing nonprofit opportunities and know that everything will work out the way that it’s supposed to. This was also the second year that I’ve been without my mom and I’m still trying to deal with everything that comes along with losing a parent. I can’t believe it’s been two years already. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and I can only hope that if she were here, she’d be proud of the decisions I’ve made. Luckily, I have a wonderful father who's been my biggest supporter and has always kept me focused, grounded and driven. I've been so fortunate to spend more time with him and the rest of my family than I have in recent years.

All of that aside, this past summer was easily one of the best times I’ve had of my life. Dare I say it came close to the revelry that was 2003-2005? I met an abundance of amazing people that I’m happy to share futures with and I have a multitude of great memories to take with me to 2010.

So with that being said, much like New York magazine, I have compiled a list of things that I loved about the city this year. Please feel free to add on:

1. because we think that right after a blizzard is the best time to go to the beach.
2. because it’s the only city that Madonna is NOT “triple A list” at a restaurant.
3. because it’s the only city you can run into Jay-Z and Beyonce playing Buck Hunter at a dive bar.
4. because it’s the only place that a bowling alley can get away with being an upscale lounge.
5. because a person covered in tattoos isn’t automatically assumed to be a low life degenerate (although they usually still are).
6. because no matter how retarded you dress, there’s ALWAYS someone that looks worse than you.
7. because pizza.
8. because our mayor is a billionaire and everyone is secretly hoping that one of these days he’s going to give us some of his money.
9. because our governor does not give a flying fuck if you sue him!
10. because getting hit by a car is the new getting mugged.
11. because it’s really easy to stalk Robert Pattinson.
12. because no other city is as obsessed with food as we are.
13. because the sight of the city as you cross over the bridge still takes your breath away.
14. because paying $90 a month on a metrocard is still cheaper than paying $90 a week on gas.
15. because you know that no matter how “safe” your neighborhood seems, there’s probably someone tied up in a basement right next door.
16. because we hate gentrification, but still really love being white!
17. because the rest of the world thinks Lady Gaga is insane, but we just think she’s what you see on an average Tuesday night in the west village.
18. because a movie being shot in your neighborhood is really fucking annoying, but you still love bragging about it to your friends back home.
19. because you pass by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale with their children without any body guards in union square.
20. because Top Shop.
21. because buying clothes from Target is cheaper than buying clothes from Good Will.
22. because even if you make $70,000 a year, you’re still just middle class. (keep that blue collar street cred, bro!)
23. because these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you.
24. because Andrew WK.
25. because cab drivers are finally getting better about driving out of Manhattan.
26. because back home you were the weirdo, but here youre the normal one.
27. because your friends are the biggest super stars that the rest of the world has never heard of.
28. because when a club is dead at 1 am, we know it’s because “it’s still early.”
29. because pregaming is an art form.
30. because every single one of your friends is on OK! Cupid and you just don’t know it.
31. because the cash back option at Whole Foods make for a really great (and fee-less!) ATM.
32. because you’ve accepted that the little, old chinese woman WILL get that seat!
33. because gawker.
34. because what better place to have a rave than a chinese restaurant?
35. because you can go out with 20 of your friends and none of you will have a drivers license from the same state.
36. because while some of our newspapers may be tabloids, the others are THE standard around the rest of the world.
37. because we’re the only people in the world that were sad that Gourmet magazine got shut down.
38. because Century 21.
39. because the Shake Shack line is a right of passage.
40. because the Yankees FINALLY won the world series and now we actually have a real reason to be arrogant assholes about our team.
41. because buy backs.
42. because everywhere else is scary as fuck.
43. because brunch is a way of life.
44. because if you never wanted to leave your house for anything ever again, you don’t have to.
45. because where else can you get away with charging $26 for a burger and have it be your most popular item?
46. because it’s ok to be pasty white here.
47. because you know to stay home on Puerto Rican Day Parade day.
48. because can you just imagine what Chelsea’s going to be like once gay marriage is legalized?
49. because AT&T clearly has NO idea what to do with us.
50. because Brooklyn. <3

If I had to do this year all over again, I’d gladly do it with all of you by my side. Keep hustlin’, y’all.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

bitch, bad ass, dick, douche bag. the list goes on of terms and phrases that signify a person of contemptible character, but for the sake of brevity, i'll just squeeze them all under the umbrella of Asshole. it's unfortunately come to my attention recently that quite a number of people have been trying to project the image that are an Asshole, when, in fact, that couldn't be further from the truth... which brings me to the question that i've been pondering for a few days now:

when did being nice become such a bad thing?

i suppose we could blame media, which over the years, has turned into nothing more than a celebrity-fueled machine, where the most outlandish, atrocious actions get the most press. i mean, we blame it for everything else, right? (too bad we're the ones responsible for it becoming that way.)

case in point, Keri Hilson. remember her? the girl who did that cute song about love coming back around and then did a really awkward semi-tribute to Michael Jackson at the 2009 BET Awards? yeah, her! i'm not really a fan of Keri's music; aside from Love Comes Around, i usually turn the radio when she comes on, but i've always been a fan of HERS. she just seems like she'd be the best girlfriend to have. like, you could go to The Ivy and eat salads for lunch and then spend the afternoon shopping on Robertson Blvd. or she'd be the first one knocking on your door with a tub of Ben & Jerry's when you and your boyfriend break up. just like, the ultimate, sweetest homegirl. so, for the life of me, i can't understand why she would ever release a video like this:

aside from the song making me want to Van Gogh myself with a dull, rusty key, she just looks like a buffoon. she's skinny and awkward. her gyrating makes me want to have a hysterectomy and denounce having anything to do with being a woman. and it's not even on some women's lib righteousness, because god knows i love to see some pussy poppin', but this video just isn't her. i've heard the argument that "oh, she's just playing a character." well, if that's the case, then her acting is just as horrendous as this song is. she can't effectively portray a character like this because it's obvious that she has no personal experience to base it on. she's a tramp without testimony.

also, i recently heard Rihanna's "Umbrella" for the first time in a long time a few days ago and almost choked on my oatmeal when Jay-Z harked: "little miss sunshine, Rihanna, where you at?"

little miss sunshine??? doesn't that like seem like forever ago? when she was just this charming, starry-eyed girl from a land far, far away? now, she's decided to cover herself in shitty tattoos and sing songs about faux-lesbianism and sadomasochism. we get it, you cut all your hair off. now you wear a ridiculous red wig. your boyfriend beat the shit out of you and the whole world knows about it and that really sucks. but there's life after chris brown (sorry, you're stuck with those shitty tattoos for life). you're the kinda girl that every girl wants to be; no need to be mean-mugging around the streets. if we wanted to keep some overly-sexed bitch from the islands around, we would have kept Patra in the picture.

which brings me to probably the most relevant example of all, everyone's favorite asshole-cum-apologist, Kanye West. Kanye has always been a genius in my eyes and i've always respected his Assholian ways. he came out with a song recently that actually toasts to those who are cut from this same scumbag cloth. considering his latest album sold almost half a million copies its first week out, i'm assuming that you've heard the song that i'm referencing, but if not, this one's is for you:

this song has spurred what i like to call the Catcher In The Rye Effect. the song's lyrically simple. it's catchy. it has a lot of bad words in it. you're kinda not supposed to like it. you're kinda not supposed to like Kanye. but all of a sudden, Kanye's cool again. and if he's talking about Assholes, then Assholes must be cool and you MUST be one of them, right? Kanye is now someone who the hipsters of 2030 will be namedropping in their "favorites" lists to show that they're edgy, rebellious and diverse. but, of course, not to be outdone, there are hipsters of today that have already beat hipsters of 2030 to the punch. toast to you guys, but you're still not Assholes!

aside from these high profile personas, i've been seeing this Asshole image trending in my personal life as well.

there's a guy that i was somewhat briefly, romantically linked to. he rolls with some true Assholes, like some real-for-real pieces of shit. so he likens himself to these people. he wants to be a writer. some of his favorite authors are bret easton ellis and hunter s. thompson. and he likens himself to these people, too. however, in each of these groups, there's just one that's not like the others.

he was pretty misunderstood growing up, and i know exactly what that's like. he now spends his weekends getting wasted, doing drugs here and there (probably a little more often then he lead me to believe, but hey!). he has a pretty fucked up sense of humor and thinks some pretty fucked up things sometimes. but mainly, he sits at home and reads. and it's a very endearing quality. we have mutual friends and they've used words like "gentleman" to describe him and could go on for days about how great of a friend he is. and just in the short that we were linked together, i could tell these things were true. he was the blanket over my birdcage: he calmed me amidst all of the chaos that i've brought upon myself these past few months. he knew how to quiet me without enraging me. he was intelligent without arrogance. he was inquisitive without being intrusive. he was attentive without being overwhelming. and, most of all, he never even blinked an eye during the times i went bat shit crazy on him. (can you even imagine?)

does this sound like an asshole to you?

it takes more than weekend benders and racist jokes to be an Asshole. being an Asshole just isn't the things that you do, it's just who are. and now looking back, i guess this is probably why i started to drift from him. there was just some internal red flag that was telling me that the image he was putting forth wasn't matching the personality that truly was. and it's a shame. him being a good guy is what i liked the most, but i just can't fall for a facade...

i also have girlfriend, who, every time Steel Magnolias is discussed, insists on paralleling her personality to Ouiser (Weezer). you know, the crotchety old hag: "I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad MOOD for 40 years!" (please don't act like you've never seen Steel Magnolias.) now, i can see WHY she would think there are similarities: they're both smart, quick-witted and head strong. unfortunately, that's pretty much where the resemblances end. my friend draws people to her as if she actually cast a line. she has the biggest, warmest brown eyes that would surely make you think Van Morrison wrote songs about she herself. and she does what so many others struggle to do: she thinks before she speaks. she's completely wonderful and a lot of people wish they could be just like her... and it isn't any Asshole-ish tendencies they're hoping to mimic...

so why the sudden influx of Assholes? i guess i don't have an answer, really. it's hard to draw a conclusion about a phenomena that i'll NEVER be able to understand. sure, it seems like bad boys get all the girls and bad girls have all the fun. but you know what? i imagine that all the card-carrying members of the Assholes Club would hand in their resignation to have someone say the things about them that i just said about these people. i know i would.