This Day in Pictures

BBC has a thing on their website called “this day in pictures.”  Some of them are really quite striking, so I’ve decided that a few times a week, I’ll post a picture that intrigues me, sometimes with commentary, sometimes without.  Why?  Because I can 😉  So, without further ado, I present the first edition of TDIP:

From the Tokyo Nail Expo 2009

 

A tale of two boyfriends

I don’t think I’ve delved into Emily’s love life on here, or if I have, I don’t remember. Even if I have, new developments have occured. Emily’s ex bf is named Amit. He’s Indian and was studying at her university on a student visa. They started dating his senior year, her freshman year. The first thing I noticed about him is that he looks like a rapist in his facebook pictures, but that’s beside the point….

Anyway, he was super clingy and super affectionate, but super arrogant too. And he’s an idiot. I mean, if you knew that you were only in the US because of your student visa, and couldn’t stay until you got a work visa, which you couldn’t get until you graduated, would you decide to skip your last finals, leading to you failing all your classes? I didn’t think so….

Then when Em’s parents graciously allowed him to stay in their house that summer while he tried to figure things out, he stole alcohol from them and framed Em. Classy….

Anyway, they broke up and Em started dating Zach last christmas time-ish (the exact month differs depending on who you ask). He’s the complete opposite of Amit. He’s not romantic–not even when Em literally begs him to be–and is the opposite of clingy. In fact, Em’s the clingy one in this relationship.

They didn’t hold hands or kiss until March, and it only happened then because Em cornered him in a stairway, yet in May they decided to stay together while Emily studied in France. Apparently they skype all the time, but Em’s usually the one calling and he never says that he misses her or anything like that. He actually told her that when he’s studying in London next spring, he has “no plans to travel anywhere,” meaning that he won’t try to meet up with her even though they won’t have seen each other since August, and won’t see each other again until next June at the absolute earliest. Talk about a slap in the face.

As the dutiful friend, I always ask about her and Zach when we talk, but I find it kind of pathetic how hung up on him she is and how she writes him handwritten letters asking him to be romantic, then is overjoyed when he “mentions that he got the letter, but just isn’t good at that,” because she thinks it means that he’s “trying.”

When we talked yesterday, she also brought up Amit, who had to move back to India sans degree. She started saying how she felt bad for him because his life has so many problems, to which I pointed out that he caused them all himself by skipping his finals. She started defending him, saying that he went to boarding school when he was nine, and never felt like part of his own family, and had low self esteem, blah blah blah. She was more passionate about defending him yesterday than she ever was about him while they were together. And for the record, I don’t see how feeling lonely for 15 years (he was 24) would cause you to skip your last finals when you’ve lasted just fine 3.5 years…..

I think Emily’s problem is that she’s always comparing Amit and Zach, and between the two, she prefers Amit. She loves to be the center of attention and is very touchy-feely, and Amit satisfied both those needs. She doesn’t like when the situation is flipped around and *she’s* the one stroking someone else’s ego. But, at the same time, I think she sees Zach as a challenge and is infatuated with that. She’s always talking about how she’s going to “make” him more romantic or “teach” him this or that, failing to see that he’s not willing to change his personality for her–as he shouldn’t. Sigh. Why can’t Em just find a nice, normal, non-rapist-looking, interested but not obsessed bf?

The Bard

As mentioned in my honesty post, I love Shakespeare.  I don’t see how anyone could not.  I mean, not only was he an amazing playwright, the man invented over 2,000 modern English words.  I prefer his tragedies to his comedies, though his comedies are quiet amusing.  Romeo and Juliette is a classic, but it’s not my favorite.  That award is split between Hamlet and Macbeth.  What can I say, I love his tragedy when it’s at its most tragic.  I feel horrible that Shakespeare lost his young son Hamnet, but without that loss, the world may have lost Hamlet. At least something good came from the child’s death.

 

I haven’t read any Shakespeare lately, but I just finished reading Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper.  It’s a historical fiction novel focusing on Will’s first, but not officially recognized, wife, Anne Whateley.  No one really knows if he was married to such a person just days before he married Anne Hathaway, but the Worcester archives show that a marriage license was granted for Whateley and Shakespeare literally days before Will was forced to wed the pregnant Hathaway.  True or not, it makes for interesting speculation and a great story.  But the novel wasn’t all about romance–it followed Shakespeare as he created his most famous works, showing the motivation behind each one.  It certainly makes you look at some of his sonnets and plays in a different light.

 

So anyway, that book got me on an “I love Shakespeare” kick, so when I saw a Shakespeare display at Barnes And Noble, far be it for me to resist.  It had everything you might expect–a couple biographies, spark notes, and an assortment of his plays–but it also had a group of books I didn’t even know existed.  They were titled “Shakespeare in Plain English,” and were set up like dual-language books.  Old English on one page, “regular” English on the page opposite.  I leafed through a couple because I was curious to see how they translated it, and I was horrified!

 

Part of what makes Shakespeare Shakespeare is the flowing language and the imagery it creates.  The “plain English” version was just that–completely plain.  For example, take this short quote from Act One, Scene One of Hamlet:

 

Original version:

“For this relief much thanks. ’tis bitter cold,

And I am sick at heart.”

 

“Plain” version:

“Thanks for being on time. It’s bitter cold,

And I’m depressed.”

 

Or this, from Act One, Scene II of Macbeth:

Original:

Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together(10)
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the western isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;(15)
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Show’d like a rebel’s whore, but all’s too weak;
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,(20)
Like valor’s minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix’d his head upon our battlements

Plain:

The outcome was doubtful;
Men fought like tired swimmers who cling together
And wind up choking. The merciless Macdonwald,
A worthy rebel, because
The multiple evils of nature
Are in him, has a supply of Irish foot soldiers and
Soldiers from the Irish chiefs in the Western islands,
And fortune, smiling on his damned quarrel,
Looked like a rebel’s whore. Only they all lacked courage,
Because brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name,
Outshining fortune, with his brandished sword,
Which was steaming with blood in the hot use of it,
Like power’s hero,
Carved out his way through them until he faced Macdonwald;
And he never shook hands, said goodbye to him,
Until he cut him in half, from his navel to his chin,
And put Macdonwald’s head on top of our fort’s wall.


For me, it doesn’t elicit quite the same feeling……I only hope that they don’t start using these versions in schools to teach Shakespeare, because so, so much is just lost in translation.

The Nutcracker

This evening, I went to see The Nutcracker ballet at Lincoln Center.  I was super excited, because it’d been years since I’d last seen a live ballet performance, and I’m crazy about Tchaikovsky.  The theater was amazing.  It had just been refurbished this summer, so everything was like new, and my seat gave me a perfect view of the stage.  The show itself, however, was a bit of a let down.  It was still good–as if any show related to the Juilliard School could be bad–but it wasn’t my favorite interpretation.

I think the main reason for this was that the two main characters (Marie and the Nutcracker) were played by children who couldn’t have been more than 7 years old.  In the other versions I’ve seen, Marie was played by a 14-17 year old, but portrayed as being a bit younger.  The solos performed by these older ballerinas obviously couldn’t be copied by a 7 year old, so a lot of the magic of the first act was lost.  I mean, I paid to see professional ballerinas and ballerinos dance, not to watch little children jump around.  Yes, they obviously had worked very hard, and had the basic techniques down, but the stars of the show should be able to wow us with spectacularly hard combinations.

The show picks up in the second act, when the children arrive in the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and are danced for, instead of trying to dance themselves.  This act had most of the famous music pieces, and the ballerinas were older and exceptionally talented.  The only complaint I have is that the choreography was a little stale.  The dancers would perform these amazing feats that had the audience drowning out the orchestra with their applause…..and then they would do the move again….and maybe even again.  Maybe I’m just picky and hard to please, but a fantastic move just seems less and less fantastic each time it’s performed.

Overall, it was a decent show and I’m glad I went, but it’s not something I would go to again.  If I’m going to spend money to see a ballet, I’ll see Swan Lake, or one of the adaptations of Shakespeare’s work–something where I know little children just off the ballet bar won’t be in the staring roles, and where the audience will be a bit more sophisticated and know when to stfu.  😉

 

Customer Service 101

I’m usually not the type to gripe about service.  I’m actually quite forgiving, and I know that honest mistakes happen.  But when a mistake happens because the person is an idiot who’s more interested in socializing than paying attention to me, the customer, that’s when I get pissed off.

 

Like tonight I went to Subway for dinner.  I love Subway, and 9.9 times out of 10, I walk out of there happy.  I suppose that’s partially because my sandwich is the whitest sandwich ever, and therefore the easiest to make.  It’s turkey, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, and lite mayonnaise on wheat.  To quote Geico, “it’s so easy, a caveman could do it.”  But apparently the worker tonight was less intelligent than a Neanderthal. He wasn’t new–I’d seen him many times before–but he decided that his Punjabi conversation with his coworker was more important than me, so when I told him “mayonnaise,” somehow he translated that into “ranch.”  How he got to ranch is beyond me, but whatever.  I pointed it out, he half-heartedly apologized, then, instead of replacing the meat and cheese, decided to use a cucumber to wipe off the ranch.  Really?  I mean, fucking really?  In the end it was fine, because I guess my glare of death prompted him to replace everything, but this man really needs to get shipped back to Subway training camp and have the phrase “the customer is number one!” beaten into his brain.

Thanksgiving Part Two–EK’s House

Some time last week, EK randomly invited me to spend Thanksgiving at her house with her family, since I wasn’t able to go home for the holiday.  I was a little wary at first–this is EK we’re talking about….she has a tendency to be paranoid and I didn’t know if she followed the old creed that ‘dead men tell no tales about where things are’–but she assured me that since I “do not have a penis, I’m allowed to know where she lives.”  Aww, I feel special 🙂

After the parade, S and I were frozen and the subways were packed, so she decided to walk with me to Port Authority and take the blue line from there.  After we parted I bought my bus ticket–with a little direction from EK lol–and settled down to wait for the 12:50 bus.  The PABT was nice, but I wish it would have had seats….you know, like Penn Station and Grand Central do.  I’m just glad I only had to wait an hour, as that floor was not comfortable.  The bus was comfortable enough, but thank Steve Jobs for my iPhone or I wouldn’t have known where to get off, since the bus driver was no help.  EK picked me up, showed me around town, then we headed to her house for a delicious meal.

It’s true what EK told me about Albanians–they really do try to make you fat.  My plate was already loaded with stuffing when I sat down at the table, and I was very kindly pressured into taking a little from almost every dish.  The food was amazing–almost better than what my mom makes, but don’t tell her I said that–but there was just so much of it.  Then, just when I thought I couldn’t eat anything else, EK’s mom had to go and break out the irresistible pumpkin pie and some other desert, which was sweet and delicious.

After dinner we watched ‘Bend it like Beckham,’ which has Keira Knightly and Jonathan Rhys Meyers among others.  The acting is eh–the movie was from 2002, so most of the actors were young and inexperienced–and the script is really predictable.  It still made for an enjoyable comedic evening, though.  After it was over, EK and I rushed to get me to the bus back to the City.  We made it with just minutes to spare, because we’re awesome like that, and so ended one of the best and yummiest Thanksgivings to date 🙂

PS:  Over four hours later, I’m still stuffed….

Thanksgiving Part One–Macy’s Day Parade

So my friend S and I decided to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  She hadn’t gone in years, and I’d never gone in person, so I figured why not?  I’d never been an huge, huge fan of it–I would watch it on Turkey Day only if I happened to stumble across it–but I was up for anything.  So I woke up at 5am and met her in Times Square at 6.  We then headed up to 72nd Street to find a spot.  Even though we got there around 6:20am, it was already really crowded.  We managed to find a spot against the guardrails at 71st and CPW.  We were right near a light post, which obstructed our view a little, but it wasn’t really that big of a deal.

Being the nerds that we are, we had brought slides to study while we waited, since we both had quizzes on Monday.  I mean, we needed to do something to pass the time until the parade started at 9, so why not do something productive?   Well, there was this female cop who was in charge of crowd control in our area who was trying to be really friendly with everyone, especially the kids.  When she saw me and S reviewing slides, she loudly exclaimed “How you reading at the parade?  You should give these spots to people who will use them! Look at them, they’re studying!

Okay, for one thing, it was like 8:15.  The street was empty, and was going to stay that way for the next 45 minutes, so it’s not like we were missing anything.  For another, I don’t recall asking her opinion of how I choose to spend my time.  Yes, we’re studying on Thanksgiving while waiting for the parade.  Yes, some people might consider that really lame.  But, you know, we still have classes on Monday and some of us aspire to greater things than Thanksgiving Day crowd control……

Anyway, aside from that minor annoyance and the fact that we were squished up against the guardrails, the time passed fairly quickly and soon the clowns came by on roller blades to officially start the parade.  The floats were interesting and the balloons were classic but, I have to admit, it was a bit of a let down.  I’m glad I went, and I’m not saying it wasn’t great–it was–but somehow I expected more from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Maybe it’s because the balloons look a lot smaller in person than on TV which takes away some of the magic…….  That said, it was still fun and amusing, and when Santa came and the end to mark the passing of the holiday torch from Thanksgiving to Christmas, you couldn’t help but smile.