Today: In Retrospect

Dear NYC,

You have been the best bearer of tough love I could have ever asked for. I have been humbled by you, in all your expansive, confusing, unique, horrifying and beautiful glory. You make me cry, smile, laugh, and you force me to be completely introspective and self-aware on a daily basis. Thank you for the lessons you have taught me, thank you for introducing me to some of the most incredibly intelligent and talented humans I have ever met, and overall - Thank you for being you. Today, I am a grateful human.


Guyetti Magick!


Wander Lust

I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

When I was five I remember I wanted to be a painter. [I have never painted in my life.]

When I was ten I remember I wanted to be a short story writer. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Hrabcheck, even told me that when I get married, that I shouldn't change my name, because she wanted to be able to find my work when I got published. [I hate writing.]

When I was in elementary school I started playing with electronics. I found out that the dual tape player stereo in my room had a microphone in the speakers on accident and would spend hours recording my voice and me playing keyboard and flute like a little nerd. This slowly manifested into an interest in media that I still have, and have a degree in,  but  I definitely don't want to pursue it as a career path.

I am definitely obsessed with documenting everything, though. Since I was little I've kept a "Memory Box" with printed-off AIM chats, secret BFF notes passed in the seventh grade hallway with backstabbing remarks about our "best friends", movie ticket stubs, disposable camera photos from the semi-formals, the pen he signed my yearbook with, etc. I even have diaries from just about every year dating back to when I was ten. Now keeping up with that trend digitally, my phone is full of photos, and a ton of voyeuristic audio recordings. Someday, I will make quite the friendship historian.

I digress. My point is that all I'm trying to do is be happy; that I have never had a consistent path I've wanted to pursue in my life. Something new and more desirable inevitably catches my attention, and I run for it. The only desirable thing that has ever been consistent in my life is: "what's next?"

I need to keep moving. NYC, Brooklyn, I love you. I hate you. I'm tired of you. I will miss you. Someday, in the next two years, I will wander again to another city, with another interest in mind.


Let Me Let You Go

The foundation you built your relationship on isn't steady, and I'm under it; Let me out.


Just So We Are Clear

I would be fighting for you if I wasn't afraid of losing your friendship or respect.



I'm desperately clinging to someone else because I can't be clinging to you.


Me Without You: A Love Letter.

I have always gotten what I wanted.  Even you, I finally got you after chasing after you for years. Losing you, though, is always painful. Especially when I lost you after our time together never went awry.

First and foremost, let me just say that I do just want you to be happy, and I want to stay in each other's lives, like you said. And I want to be happy, too, which I am. I just think it's unfortunate that we got so close to each other again and now you're sharing happiness with someone else.
I will say, however, I didn't see this coming; now not only do I not know what to do or how to behave, I am upset that I let this happen. Upset with myself, upset with you for consciously distancing yourself from me and not talking to me about it. I hate that we can't talk about it. I can't help but think that I could have somehow stopped it... But a lot of me is glad you're experiencing someone else. Maybe she won't be what you're looking for. There's only one way to find out, right?

So much of me wants to move on and start dating someone else, too, but that wouldn't be fair to whoever that person would be. To be quite frank it would just be a front, a small but ill-intentioned way to pass time. A distraction from the realization that the person I'm with isn't the one I want to be with. The person I want to be with is unavailable.  I've been doing that for years, and I'm trying not to do that anymore. I've hurt a lot of people that way.

So I won't do anything irrational or impulsive, I will just keep doing what I do, and wish you all the best, with great sincerity.




Holed Up.

I've spent this rainy day holed up in my bed, listening to album after album that I've recently got my digital hands on, Netflixing and looking at photos on Flickr. Basically just not leaving the house for fear of spending money and the fact that I just don't want to! I'm so comfortable and happy.

It's storming terribly outside and I think it's wonderful. I'm not quite sure what it is I love about thunder and lightning storms, how peaceful they make me feel. I think it might have something to do with how destructive they can be... tear it all down and rebuild. Cleanse.

That is all I want to do. I want to get out of this city that has not done much good for me at all. I haven't done much since I have been here but spend money, drink an ungodly amount of alcohol, become more and more reclusive, carry a chip on my shoulder because spending any amount of time in a public space in NYC (read: THE SUBWAY SYSTEM) will turn anyone into a defensive, cranky and semi-anxious asshole.

I know there are a million and one things to do in this city. I know there are plenty of wonderful people to meet (I have met a lot of them), many many many free things to see and do (I have done most of them), and endless opportunities for growth (I have grown up a lot, myself). I am just done here. I have not found what I am looking for in the almost three years I have been here, and I'm not doing anything but getting older and disappointed.

It's time to unplant my feet from the ground and move on. Travel. Get some *real* culture. Use my hands. Get dirty. Write a true story. Take photos to go with said true story. Cry. Get scared. Fall in love. Get creative. Feel helpless. Move around. Find peace.

So in the Spring of 2012 I will be taking a huge backpack full of the very bare necessities (most importantly a notebook and a camera and film) and going to Europe, with whomever wants to come. I am moving out of this city that I love and hate so much, and moving in with my mom for a year to save up for this trip. I am beyond excited, and terrified. But I need a challenge, life is dull here.

On another note, here are some of my latest photos. All July/August 2010 with 3200 speed B&W film in my Nikon FM10. Brooklyn/Long Island/North Country, NY.


Shouting Over the Manhattan Bridge at 1am

Last night after work I went and met Atiya at Madiba in Fort Greene where she works. It reminds me a lot of my restaurant, Miriam, being so neighborhood-y and all. A lot of locals. Anyway, we sit down at the bar and she introduces me to all of her coworkers and we sit, drink glass after glass of wine, and watch everyone scramble around us working hard. We order a bloody-ass rib-eye and continue drinking, chit-chatting, and delving into some serious [hilarious & mean] girl-talk. Then Frank texted her and asked if she wanted to go see Holy Fuck at the Cake Shop... I hadn't listened to them in years, and this was proving to be an excellent idea- drunk bike ride into the city as a little bike gang. Yes please.

I had never been to Cake Shop before, it was everything I thought it would be: overrated. I hate going into the City. It was way too overcrowded and hot, I was exhausted and drunk and Holy Fuck's droning was proving too much for me to handle and I started nodding off at the bar, so I took it upon myself to go outside and wait for Atiya and Frank so we could ride home. So many pieces of garbage walking down Ludlow. It's cold outside,you're wearing a tank top but calling it a dress, and my god what the fuck is on your feet? You look like a walking advertisement for self-hate and promiscuity. Go back to New Jersey or Long Island. Or Westchester. Bitch.

I hate everyone most of the time.

The bike ride home was so fucking fantastic, it made up for how shitty my experience in the Lower East Side was. We were shouting obscenities at people the entire time, especially "GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY" to all the drunk idiots walking in the street. Such a good way to blow off steam. Once we were on top of the Manhattan bridge, Frank made us stop and shout the best we could over the water. It felt fantastic, extremely reminiscent of Garden State. The photo above is from him shouting at the top of the fence, he fell and landed on his ass after that, it was hilarious. As much as I thought bike riding alone was fun, bike riding in a gang is way better. I love those two.


Things I like, Things I want

My green machine; she rides like a dream. Kelly green.
My bike is so sexy. 

I got a nice wicker basket for the front and everything, I'm going to spray paint it white and put some speakers in there so I can ride and blast my tunes.

I never posted pictures of my new bedroom, my mother came down a month ago and helped me paint and put up shelves/mirrors and schlepped me back and forth from Lowes to Ikea back to Crown Heights multiple times in a weekend. I fucking love my room now.
Now I just need to get some frames and get some shit on my walls.

Next step: the living room. Completely empty and bare-boring-white-walled. I want to paint 75% of it this color:

and leave one of the walls white (maybe two of them).

And I TOTALLY want this couch:
and it folds out into a bed like so:
I want the dark beige color, though.

I bought a beaded speed jump rope, like the kind you'd get in elementary school with the candy stripes (love it). That with my hula hoop and I'm ready for a kindergarten summer.

I want to get white bike rims for my bike. Really bad.

Things I like right now:

-the fact that it takes ten minutes to get to work now.
-that I've realized how well I adapt to my constantly changing surroundings.
-that I hardly EVER go to Manhattan anymore, which consequently means I never buy a metrocard or get on any fucking trains. This makes me very happy.
-that Atiya got another serving job at Madiba in our old neighborhood so I can go visit more
-that I'm going to Missouri soon
-that I'm bringing friends home (road trip!) at the end of May for my graduation party (finally).
-Picking up books at stoop sales on the cheap, or for free (just recently picked up Poloaroids from the Dead. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polaroids_from_the_Dead)

-getting back in touch with old flames
-THIS WEATHER is perfect. Sunny, 70 degrees, a nice breeze... perfect bike riding weather, park weather... everything weather
-getting to do whatever I want at work
-obtaining a ton of new albums (new to me) this week (fang island, friendly fires, old avett brothers albums, fruit bats, the newest caribou album, delorean, local natives, monsters of folk)
-TWITTER. I am loving it now that I've finally figured out how to use it.
-The Riches on Netflix Instant Play
-Being the boss.


In a cabin in the mountains

(My rooftop, Brooklyn, NY 2010)                                    (Sackets Harbor, NY 2008)

I'm going to visit my best friend from high school who moved to Missouri in 2004. He is graduating and having his film premiere in May and I'm going out to see it. I miss him SO much. I was walking back from the laundromat this morning and thinking about the last time I saw him, which was in my old cabin in Old Forge when I was living there for the summer and life guarding in the Adirondacks. When I thought of him, I wrote this on a scrap piece of paper in my head and hoped to remember it:

The last time I saw him, I pretended to be asleep when he kissed me on the forehead and headed out the door to get back on the road. It was easier than saying goodbye.





The Fail-Proof Feel-Good Solution For a Girl?

To get babed up, with her other babe-y friends and go out. I'm going to see Fruit Bats tonight. Done.

My Long Term Goals.

1) Purchase an apartment or house in this City or possibly somewhere else, who knows
2) Learn Mandarin
3) Adopt a baby from China

My Short Term Goals:
1) Continue paying all my bills on time so I can keep my good credit, purchase said apartment, and be a model adopting applicant
2) Adapt better to my current living situation, new status at work, money/time management
3) Spend more time by myself, though I've been really good at that the past two weeks.

I am so fucking pissed right now.


Baby Steps.

(Sackets Harbor, NY 2008)
For the first time in my life, I'm okay with taking everything one day at a time. I have been able to chill out by myself, and lay out all my cards in front of me to figure out what I need to do. I've been able to be patient with the amount of time it is going to take to get where I need to be. I'm content in this empty apartment, and have finally let go of my ridiculous expectations and settled with the fact that I can't snap my fingers and have this place be furnished. Every week, I am setting money aside to purchase all these little thing this apartment needs. I have a very practical mission, and I really like (/need) that.
Every day, I find another reason why I like my current life: where I'm living, what I'm doing, and who I'm becoming. I love my neighborhood, even if it is a little ghetto. I keep bumping into people I haven't seen in awhile and realize they live very close to me. I can walk to work. There are a few really great bars within walking distance. A great beer distributor with a wonderful selection of locally crafted beers is just a few blocks away. My building is safe. My apartment is adorable. (sidenote: do I have rooftop access? I need to find this out asap.)
I can't WAIT for warm weather. I can't wait to take the bus to Coney with Atiya and brown bag it the whole way there, then find crazy things to take photos of, stumble around drunk, probably get some Nahtan's, and MAYBE go on a ride there, since I never have before.

I've started training to manage the restaurant I'm currently working at, as well as picking up all marketing/PR duties to try and get us more hip to the north slope crowd. I can already tell what I'm doing is working, and I like that feeling a lot.

I can't imagine not working in a restaurant. I practically grew up in one with my mom working in one my entire child hood, and Erica's mom, who was also my babysitter from time to time doing the same. I never realized how much hospitality lives in my bones, and that I own it. I love helping people out, and I fucking love food. Serving it, cooking it, learning about it, teaching other people about it... But I have so much left to learn.

I'm just taking baby steps to get there.



(Bed-Stuy 2008)

Today my best friend offered to fly me down to Florida and go to an international wine & food convention. I said no. Why? Because my life is a mess. I am sleeping on a (twin size) air mattress, eating food (oatmeal, ramen, rice) out of a coffee mug and trying to work as much as possible to afford all necessary living items. That's why. Oh, Brokelyn.


Tony and my 35mm (unedited)

My trusty little Nikon FM10, and a new love for fuji neopan 1600 film from my lovely little lady, Meagan Sample. I can't believe the contrast I love it, and I'm excited to enlarge them myself once I re-learn how to do this, and get more grain. I LOVE film grain.

Being Alone Rules.

I just moved into my new apartment in Prospect Heights, and my roommate works a 9-5 so I never see him. This rules. Also my bedroom is FREEZING.


The second palindrome of twelve in the 21st century

10/02/2001 was the first, and today, 01/02/2010 is the second. I love patterns and numbers! I hate math though, is that so strange? You can love a part of something even if you hate the whole, right?


Small Talk and Why I Hate It

So I'm awkward, I will be the first to admit it. I'm only comfortable around my close circle of friends (about ten), and there is never an awkward silence or some feeling of necessity for conversation. Then there are my acquaintances... the ones I only see every few months who feel the need to ask "What have you been up to? Where are you working now?" Chances are the answers are the same, dick. I don't need to fill silence with insincere words to make you feel more comfortable. I am awkward because I give short, annoyed answers when asked questions like these, and I usually don't ask them back, because I don't care. Simple as that. Let's talk about something more meaningful, or don't talk at all. Not talking doesn't mean I'm mad, or upset, or bored... I am just enjoying my surroundings and taking them in. I love to watch people and figure them out. It's the Aquarius (rising) in me. Some people just don't know how to take that... and that is why they stay acquaintances.


Selfish vs. Selfless. Selfish Always Wins.

      In the novel The Fountainhead, author Ayn Rand brings up an innovative and brilliant point about selfishness versus selflessness. Her view on the two is contrary to the majority view; the modern majority associate negative connotations with the term ‘selfish’ and positive with ‘selfless’. Her thinking was ahead of its time when she wrote the book in the 1940s, and still is today, over fifty years later. The conventional connotation with selfishness is that one does what is in their best interest only at the expense of others, and that selflessness is that one does what is best for the greater good, but sacrifices himself in order to do so. Rand saw both of these conventional ideas as flawed; there are too many variables within every situation - every individual person has their own specific needs, adopting such a general idea to prescribe to an entire population full of unique individuals is unrealistic.
      Rand believed in the individual, a true original- not someone who was a second-hand copycat just climbing the social ladder in pursuance of approval from others. She believes these people to be selfless: they lack a true sense of self. They spend their entire lives living up to an unrealistic general set of standards in order to be socially accepted, to ride along the paved, comfortable path through life. They are completely engulfed by society’s expectations and thus become one hundred percent dependent on those expectations. By the time their life has reached its end, they are nothing but the cold, hard, shiny plastic exterior that society created for them from their generic cookie-cutter mold. They sold their self and traded it for a dishonest identity, an avatar dragging its feet through a desireless life to the beat of everyone else’s drum; they sold their self so that they wouldn’t have to be unliked, or better yet, alone.
      Each person has their own path to follow, and those who choose to follow their path and pursue their desires virtuously, have a true sense of self. Those who possess a sense of self, Rand argues, are able to pursue their talents, values and their self-interests to benefit the greater good instead of sabotaging it. These people have passions, talents, and intense integrity and will not let anything or anyone get in the way of that, even if it means being deemed a social outcast. Other people’s opinions of them, positive or negative, don’t affect them; they seek out their personal values and contribute to society honestly by doing so. Rand refers to these individuals as selfish, and they are the innovative artists, inventors, scientists, educators and great thinkers that have given our world the capability of being progressive.
      A few characters from the novel come to mind when the two aforementioned terms are brought up: Howard Roark and Peter Keating. Keating, the epitome of Rand’s definition of ‘selfless’, is a man who cashed in his dreams of being a painter to first pursue a more lucrative and prestigious career in architecture to please his mother, and then later in life cashed in the love of his life for a loveless marriage to please his boss and again, his mother. He graduated at the top of his class at the prestigious Stanton Institute of Technology for architecture, and was hired the day of graduation by a renowned firm, Francon & Heyer in New York City, by partner Guy Francon himself. Working with this firm for decades, Keating eventually climbs to the top of the social ladder, but by the time he gets to the top, realizes how lonely it is up there. At the end of the novel, when there is no more ladder left for him to climb and there is no more love in his life, he realizes the mistakes he has made in being so desperate for approval.
      Howard Roark, the epitome of Rand’s definition of ‘selfish’, spent his entire life pursuing what he loved: architecture. He, too, went to Stanton Institute and boarded with Keating and Keating’s mother. Roark never followed by the school’s rules of design and was very ahead of his time in the design world. Modern architecture was frowned upon and laughed at, and because of his refusal to conform and to design the buildings that society deemed popular, he was expelled. This did not affect Roark in the slightest; he moved to New York and sought work with designers he found to be like him: innovative, modern, and most of all individual.
      During the time that Roark and Keating knew each other, Keating sought Roark’s advice and approval on almost everything, because Keating was not able to make a decision on his own. This includes his design work. Most of Keating’s critically acclaimed building designs in his career were done with Roark’s assistance, who was too embarrassed to ever admit his contribution; Roark’s work was pure, untouched, and his buildings had purpose and integrity- unlike anything associated with Keating.
      Roark never once let anyone or anything get in the way of his love for his craft, and many times that meant being next to bankrupt and working a job that was not designing. He did what he had to do to keep his dream alive and never let society’s opinions on what is aesthetically pleasing and logical deter him from his values and his passion for the art. There were numerous times when he was flat broke, and completely down and out, that he had to turn down commissions because they wanted to tweak his designs. For Roark, it wasn’t about the way a building looked as it was for everyone else in the mainstream architectural field. Every design he made was for a reason; every line he drew on a page to signify a wall had a specific purpose, all of the walls, floors, and ceilings connected at the perfect angles to create honest unity- for Roark it was never about the way a building looked. Unfortunately the majority felt to the contrary, and for most of his career he suffered financially. Fortunately for Roark, material things were far less valuable to him than to his virtue of selfishness and pursuing his individual passion for modern architecture.
      One specific example of Roark’s struggle and the suffering he endured to stay true to his self, is at the end of Part I of the novel. Roark was long overdue on paying his rent in both his apartment and his office, and all his other bills were backed up. He had submitted a design for Manhattan Bank and was desperately waiting by the phone day after day to hear back from them, because it was a matter of being able to sustain his basic needs for survival. A meeting was set up with Roark and the board who would be deciding if he got the commission to do the building or not, which he desperately needed. After seeing his designs and hearing his presentation, the board was moved and agreed to give him the commission. However, there was one condition: they wanted to add a few ornate details to make it more aesthetically pleasing and less modernistic for the public’s approval. This infuriated Roark, and he was trying, with tremendous difficulty, to keep his composure and try to make these people understand the reason why one can’t just make a few simple adjustments to a building’s integrity, just like one can’t change a man’s integrity.  He ultimately needed to turn down the commission.
      In this specific incident in The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand creates a crystal clear situation of Roark’s independent thinking and loyalty to his self; he is unable to be swayed or tempted by financial gain to alter his integrity, unlike Peter Keating. Howard Roark is a modern-day depiction of the Aristotelian sprit: he believes human beings are capable of greatness of the soul. He has enormous integrity and strength of character; he is a proud, magnanimous man. Peter Keating on the other hand, is a sell-out, a fraud, a small percentage of a man, who could never actualize his potential; his loss of his sense of self was his inevitable downfall.


The last of the family has left and the house is back to the way it normally is, too large and empty. There is always that creepy post-holiday feeling I get once everyone leaves to go back where they came from and I am left behind. This comes with the territory of being the last to leave, I suppose. Being the last to leave town intensifies the empty feeling, which comes from all of the smiling Santas and snowmen and snowflakes splayed all over the inside of my mother's house. Christmas is over, and it's sad. I am by no means religious, and Christmas to me does not mean what, according to American society, it should. For me it means family, warmth, belonging, happiness, nostalgia, and an endless supply of food and booze. It just comes and goes too quickly, and once it's gone and I feel these empty feelings, but have the decorations that leave a stale taste in my mouth, I get depressed.

I am excited to go back to the City tomorrow, because at least there I feel like I belong there and that I wasn't left behind, regardless of how lonely it can be. Writing that down just now made me feel happy. I am moving forward in my life and becoming an adult, for the first time since I moved to the City two years ago it is starting to feel like home, and not just a temporary stop along the way.

Knowing me, though, who knows how long I will actually stay. That is something I need to work on... I need to find a place and just stay put for my sanity. Then again, comfort and stability have never suited me...

Here's to a new year. Cheers.

Erica & the Weather

I took these today of my best friend (since diapers, who now lives in Orlando) this afternoon.

The weather was clear... and then about five minutes into the shoot the snow started coming down... HARD. It made for an amazing time though and some all right shots, I think.


it is weird here.

I have been plucked from the cramped and mechanical streets of Manhattan and transferred to the hibernating village of West Carthage nestled underneath a thick blanket of snow.

Just to give you a little visual, you can imagine the type of weather we are currently having:

I love home. I have missed it here so much, and I have needed to come back here for months, the City is driving me mental. I need privacy, which I certainly do not have because I live with my boyfriend and at least two other people at any given time, and the space we live in just cannot accommodate us. I miss the vapid space up here.  I miss the ability to isolate myself and to become a ghost on a whim, to create a mystery of myself, and to answer to just me. I just don't have the opportunity to do that right now.

Maybe the innate need for me to be by myself is causing such a ruckus in my current relationship; I have felt so averse to the idea of "us" for the past few weeks and have been battling with it and trying to pick it apart, to figure it out on my own. I don't know what to do. Wait, yes I do. I need to have my own space. I am going to move out when our lease is up and start nesting with myself, creating a shrine of my own personal life in my own personal room that I will share with no one.

I like the idea of having the option of being social or not being social. There was a time in my life where that option just wasn't there; I just didn't have many friends I could hang out with, plain and simple. My entire freshman year of college I spent in my bedroom (which I had to myself) listening and discovering new "indie" music, obsessing over people I disliked at my mostly-athletic college and patting myself on the back. Ignorant behavior, mostly. I miss it, though.

I picture myself moving home again so I can focus on myself and the many parts of me that have been lost to the City that is New York and the overwhelming amount of stimuli that force me to turn off. It makes me want to cry when I think about how far behind I am on the independent music scene and how many new albums have passed me by in the past three years. It also makes me want to cry knowing I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life, especially since I just finished earning my Bachelor's degree and I feel a thousand times more lost than I felt at eighteen, when I was about to enter my first year of college.

I love the City for all its culture and unlimited things to do at any hour of the day; but I miss solitary car rides through the mountains and past the empty meadows and abandoned farms, where I would be blasting The Faint or The Arcade Fire or whatever it was I was listening to back in 2005.

I will say one thing though, I do not miss high school. That is a plus.