first snow of the season!

It snowed today! It’s still snowing! Because of the nor’easter! And I almost froze to death! I really, really need to check the weather more often. And I really need to listen to people when they tell me that it’s going to snow, because a light jacket and Keds were really no match for snow, especially snow that was coming down at an angle due to the wind. Waiting at a corner to cross the street, the trash can next to me blew over – woah.

I wonder how long it’s going to continue snowing for. Hm … I guess it’s time to break out the winter coat, scarves, gloves, hat, and snow boots. Acks, so excited! Snow is still sort of a novelty since last year was quite mild. Roomie E ain’t too fond of it because she grew up with lots of snow, but I still think it’s cool. Then again, I am sitting in my nicely heated apartment and it’s only the first day of snow … we’ll see if my opinion changes as the winter progresses.

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after the storm … just eh

That cataclysmic event never really happened where I am. I’ve gone through hurricanes before, so I thought everyone was unnecessarily freaking out about this Hurricane Sandy thing, but I got prepared anyway. Well, where I live things are just peachy. There was some wind and rain, but no flooding or building damage, and no loss of power or water. I’ve seen pictures from elsewhere in the city and wow things look bad! But not so much in upper Manhattan.

Central Park is closed but Morningside Park was open. A few trees were down and there were branches and leaves everywhere, but otherwise not too bad. Life uptown is going on fine, lots of people out and about. Only issue is … HOW LONG ARE THE SUBWAYS GOING TO BE SHUT? Because seriously, that’s going to be a problem. Guess that means no work tomorrow!

the frankenstorm begins

This is the view out my window. It’s only 6:30 PM, but it’s really dark outside, the wind is howling, and I have a feeling a few of those trees lining the street aren’t going to last very long. The storm’s just started, so it’ll probably get much worse as the night goes on. No school/work today or tomorrow, so that’ll give me a chance to catch up on thesis research and give me some time to recover from being sick. Thankfully we still have power! And lots of chocolate!

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park ave illusions

I have left New York for the summer, and I must say … it’s weird. It’s weird because I don’t walk. It’s weird because I have to drive everywhere. It’s weird because it’s so quiet. It’s weird because everything is SO SLOW. Sigh. While I do appreciate the relaxing pace here and the fact that every interior space is air conditioned, it’s a change. I think I definitely prefer city life. I still have some pictures from New York that I’ve been meaning to blog about, so here are a few from the end of April.

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One of the things I miss about New York is all the art. For example, on Park Avenue (I think they’ll be there until June) there were sculptures by Rafael Barrios … and they were awesome! When you first see them, they look like three-dimensional geometric shapes, but as you crossed the street you realize that BAM! They’re pretty much flat.

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Pretty cool, eh? I thought so. There was a whole series of these sculptures on Park Avenue of different shapes and colors. Here’s another one:

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And as you cross Park Ave and stand on the median:

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So cool. New York is able to have sculptures like that because the optical illusions rely on the perspective of the viewer. Since there’s heavy traffic (car and pedestrian) along and across Park Avenue, it works. Plus, they’re pretty. And New Yorkers generally like art. There are few wide medians like these that don’t have a sculpture of some sort, and since they change every now and then, it’s always nice to just walk around the city. I couldn’t imagine the same series of sculptures working in a city like Houston. Unlike New York, Houston is so spread out and lacking density that most people probably wouldn’t even notice the sculptures since streets are so wide and cars just drive on by.

Anyway, this summer I have an internship lined up in the Museum District, so that’ll give me a chance to check out what this city has to offer in terms of the arts. I don’t think it could possibly compare to New York, but hey, few cities can.

still not feeling too great

I’m still sick. This is about six days now. Am I getting better? Uh, not really. Is the NyQuil helping? Uh, maybe? Anyway, I’ve been going through a bunch of pictures from China (I still have a few gigs worth to sort through), and I came across one that seems to match my current predicament. Because I’m feeling kind of pitiful at the moment.

I took this picture back in July when I was traveling. Specifically, I was in the Wulingyuan district of Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province, China, and this was just some random broken mannequin along the side of the road. I had walked to the salamander reserve from my hostel, but the entrance fare was ridiculous (I think it was 100+ RMB), so I was walking back to my hostel when I saw this. It was fairly early in the morning so it was pretty empty out and I remember there was a local who stopped and watched me take pictures of the mannequin. I’m sure he thought I was nutso, probably because Chinese people only take pictures of people and not trash. Anyway, back to my point: I’m still sick and I feel like this discarded mannequin. The end.

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shanghai in new york apples

Today (or rather yesterday) I took a bit of a walk around town. While walking down Broadway, I hit 79th and I saw it. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Was that really what I thought it was? Yes. Oh yes. It was a sculpture. Of a bird. On a stack of apples. Oh wow. I’m sure I must’ve looked like a complete idiot standing on the street corner staring at the sculpture and smiling from ear to ear.

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Are you confused? Okay then, let me explain. The above picture was taken on October 23, 2011, at the intersection of Broadway and 79th, Manhattan, New York, United States. The below picture was taken on April 17, 2011, at the Jing’an Sculpture Park on Shimen Er Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai, China. Notice the similarities!?!?

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I finally looked it up because seriously, what a coincidence! The artist is named Peter Woytuk. The one in New York is called “Raven on Three Great Apples” and the one in Shanghai is called “The Colour of Happiness.” Very cool, eh?

snow snow snow

There’s been snow the past few days and some pretty big flakes too. On Tuesday, I basically turned into a snowman. My jacket is fleece, so the snow stuck to it pretty well. I finished my finals on Tuesday, so now I’m done! Yay, vacation! I was planning to do a bit of shopping this afternoon, but I think I’m going to stay at home instead. The below picture is from this morning, when it wasn’t snowing. The current view out my window is white haze.

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hey pretty lady

It’s always nice when someone says that you’re pretty. The other day I was in the elevator of my apartment complex and a lady stepped on, looked at me, and said, “Oh, you are so pretty.” Aw … thanks, lady. She was an expat, spoke English, probably in her 30s-40s, and spoke with a smile. That is fine. However, when people tell me I’m pretty and then proceed to FOLLOW ME DOWN THE STREET … oh hell no. Don’t touch me, get away from me, and stop asking me if I have a boyfriend. Ew.

I also need to get better at saying no to people. I’m used to being friendly and other people being polite, so if someone gives me a flyer I feel like I need to take it. Unfortunately here that usually leads to a short conversation, the person following me, and/or someone trying to drag me off. Even though it’s really rude, it’s so much easier to just pretend that I understand what they’re saying, shake my head, act all exasperated, and say bu4 yao4 or vyo. Should’ve done that today … bad bad bad. No matter, I am now home and safe.

Quick recap of everything else: First week of school and all is well. Found the foreign language bookstore and it’s fabulous. Need to figure out a better sleep schedule. Need to figure out how work is going to work … id est, when I work next and what I need to do. So all in all, things are just fine.

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boring week

This week went by ridiculously fast. People are dropping like flies in my class … well, they’re all going home. There’s only one week left of the summer session, but my class (which started out at 17 people) is down to six. So things have been pretty quiet because it’s not as much fun going out to eat lunch when there’s only two or three people. Before we’d have huge groups of seven or eight and then it’s easier to order family style. Next week will probably be even more boring than this week was, but at least it’s been going fast, eh?

After class I usually will do a bit of shopping, or more of window shopping. I really shouldn’t be spending so much money … tsk tsk to me. Friday afternoon I went with a few classmates to the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum. We never went to the museum, we just stayed in the subway station. That sounds really odd, but the subway station is actually one giant fake market. I ended up buying one “Jimmy Choo” bag. Not because of the “brand” but because I needed a new bag. I paid 150 RMB for it but I probably could’ve gone lower if I had tried and if I wasn’t so fed up with everything by that point. Oh, and I’m fairly small. And for some reason people think that makes it okay for them to grab my arm and drag me into their shops. And unfortunately my flip-flops didn’t provide enough traction, so I got pulled into places fairly frequently. That was really annoying. They would grab me rather strongly, block my exit, follow and chase me down the hall – not fun. I don’t think I’ll go back there for a very long time. It’s an experience, but it took forever, I got yanked around, bargaining was a pain, … yeah. I was ridiculously tired at the end of it.

The sculpture below is from a shopping street near Nanjing Road, which has more of the classy shops, where there’s no bargaining. The area caters towards Western tastes as nearby there was a Krispy Kreme and Papa John’s. Oh, and apparently a Carl’s Jr is in the works nearby. Further along the road there was a Nike store and some Gucci kind of places. Way out of my price range, but a nice place to walk.

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