What’s a Weekend Without an LLM?

Let us take a moment to review one of the most important concepts in the English language: the Liz Lemon Moment.

Liz Lemon Moment, n. – a situation one might find him/herself in that involves embarrassing, awkward, absent-minded or otherwise culturally unacceptable behavior. The name comes from 30 Rock main character Liz Lemon, aka my hero, who often finds herself in such awkward situations. Editor’s note: “Liz Lemon Moment” was actually the winning word in the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The idea of an LLM is best described by these 30 Rock clips:

I am inclined to define the Liz Lemon Moment because one of the greatest LLMs of my lifetime just occurred.

I’m in my dorm’s laundry room. (Note to self: never do laundry on a Sunday night again. That’s when EVERYONE does laundry.) I’m carefully sorting my clothes, making sure all the whites are together and ready for detergent. Then, I realize my little bottle of Tide is sitting in my room, eight floors up.

Detergent in hand, I return to the laundry room. I’m halfway to dumping a cup of Tide into the machine when I hear a voice behind me.

“You know that’s a dryer, right?”

Oh, um, yeah, I just usually put soap in with my clothes when I put them in the dryer.

I moved my clothes to the proper machine and scurried out of the laundry room as quickly as I could.

Embarrassing? Yes. But Liz would have been proud. If Liz Lemon can survive a day with lettuce in her hair, surely I wouldn’t let the dryer incident ruin all the great moments from the weekend.

Our Tuesday crew at the Met. (Photo credit: Jonathan Knight)

I’ve been lucky to have found a great group of people in my building who want to explore the city. This weekend, we took a stroll through the recently opened High Line Park in Chelsea, a converted freight train track that’s now a walkway offering views of nature (flowers and plants line the path) and the city (gorgeous views of the Empire State Building). We also saw Super 8 (definitely worth your money) and made a couple of visits to our local Pinkberry.

On Saturday, I went with a couple of friends to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is stunning. If you haven’t been, you MUST go on your next trip to New York. I actually went twice this week (we went for an hour on Tuesday night but had to go back for a longer stay) and still didn’t see nearly enough. I’m no art connoisseur, but these were a few of my favorite pieces:

This ad encouraging people to buy war bonds in 1918 was printed as a supplement to "Electrical World"

Edgar Degas, "Dancers, Pink and Green" (ca. 1890)

James Ensor, "The Banquet of the Starved" (1915)

It should also be noted that, in the midst of museum-hopping and Pinkberry-eating, the Mariners (1/2 game back in the AL West!!) took two games of three from the mighty Phillies, including a complete game shutout from Jason Vargas. It’s still mind-boggling that the M’s are good this year (knock on wood) so I have to give a shout-out whenever I can.

That’s about it for the weekend – relatively low-key, but a lot of fun. S’pose I should go put my laundry in the washer…I mean, dryer.

(Credit for the black and white Met photo goes to Jonathan Knight of JKNIGHTPHOTO.)

Advertisements

Brooklyn, Skylines and Stalking Liz Lemon

Eight weeks down, two to go.

What?!

Somehow, eight weeks flew by and left me with just two more weeks in New York City. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to go home, but I’m also sad that time has gone so quickly and am determined to make the most of what remains.

I’ve failed at blogging this past week, so here’s a recap of what’s been going on in the Big Apple:

Last weekend, my dad visited! It was great to spend time and explore the city with him. Our first stop on Friday afternoon was the Museum of Modern Art. It’s not far from where I work, and admission is free after 4 pm on Fridays, so we walked over and looked around for a while after I finished work.

My dad (sporting Oregon State gear, as always) and I at the MoMA

I’m not an art connoisseur by any means, but I really liked seeing Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans in person.

Me with all the Campbell's soup you'd ever want.

We spend most of Saturday exploring Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, which was awesome. I hadn’t really had the chance to venture into Brooklyn, so exploring it with my dad was a lot of fun. He took a walking tour of Brooklyn back in June when he helped me move in, so he was able to tell me a little bit about the area’s history. One of the area’s most impressive landmarks is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, which commemorates the sacrifice of soldiers and sailors in the Civil War. My dad explained that the statues on the top of the arch are facing south, as if to rub the northern victory in the Confederacy’s face. Awesome.

The arch in Park Slope. Statues of Lincoln and Grant on horseback are on the inside.

We also walked around Prospect Park, looked at some cool hipster clothing stores (I guess that was mostly just me) and explored the neighborhood, which mainly consists of old brownstone homes. These houses are beautiful and historic – I have long-term plans to live in one of them.

Brooklyn's brownstones; a far cry from the apartments of busy Manhattan.

I think I’ve picked this one as my future home…52 Berkely Place:

A pink brownstone in Park Slope. I'll take it.

My dad and I also explored Chelsea Market, took the Staten Island Ferry and went for an exhilarating run (sense sarcasm) along the Hudson River. All in all, a great weekend with my padre in the big city!

I know this post is all about what I did on the weekends and not really about what I’m doing at work; I’m still loving my internship, but there aren’t really any great pictures and the stories aren’t as exciting. Unless you count the conversation I had with the guy in the cubicle behind me about the possibility of a Liz Lemon-Jack Donaghy relationship on 30 Rock. Turns out he loves Tina Fey, too.

Friday night, some friends and I treated ourselves to ice cream from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, a cute little place that’s under the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s an observation-deck-esque platform next to the shop that gives you an expansive, breathtaking view of the city.

Looking out at the skyline, I had a serious New York City “moment.” No, Frank Sinatra did not come back from the dead and serenade me in the moonlight, but I could see the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and the Empire State Building. Someone was even playing Frank’s “New York, New York” in the background. It sounds cheesy, but I took a minute to just stand there and take it all in. The city never looked better and I felt like a true New Yorker, at least for a moment.

And even though it’s not the same as being there, I took a video of the whole expanse with my camera so you could get a little taste of the view (you also get a taste of my mad zoom in – zoom out skills):

If you’re still reading this novella, you’re almost to the best part. Okay, it might not be as great as the shimmering lights of the New York City skyline, but if you’re a total nerd like me, it’s close.

Yesterday, I had the morning and afternoon free so I decided to explore the Upper West Side, a neighborhood I hadn’t really been to yet. I’m sure a lot of famous people live there, but the most famous of all is my hero, head writer of The Girlie Show and 30 Rock main character Liz Lemon. (Yes, my hero is a fictional character.)

Many 30 Rock episodes feature scenes in Liz’s apartment, and the shot shown before each apartment scene is the outside of an apartment building at 160 Riverside Drive, on the Upper West Side. As sad as it is, I actually looked up directions to the apartment on my phone while I was walking and took a little stroll past Liz’s place. I didn’t go right up to it and take pictures for fear of looking like a total lunatic, but I did grab a good shot:

I was in full-on stalker mode. Anything for a picture of Liz's apartment!

Anyway, now that I sound like a totally deranged person who stalks fictional characters, I’ll end this post. Thanks for reading about my adventures – I appreciate it more than you know!

A Post About Food

There is a running joke in my family that all of my clearest memories in life are tied to the foods I was eating during important events. While this may or may not be true (decide for yourself), it is true that I love food.

I’ve eaten a lot of great food over the past few weeks and have suddenly become obsessed with hunting down great places to eat more. Here is a sampling of some of the best I’ve had thus far:

Magnolia Bakery

Saint Cupcake, it’s been a great few years. My favorite cupcake shop in Portland has been dethroned by the magnificent Magnolia Bakery, a popular NYC destination. Everything about it is delightful, especially the “Grand Central” cupcake they serve exclusively at their Grand Central Station store. Their Grand Central Station store has its own Grand Central cupcake – a chocolate/vanilla marble cake with delicious buttercream frosting and a chocolate on top. Observe:

grand central cupcake

The Grand Central Cupcake, kept in one of Magnolia's genius upside-down plastic cup containers.

magnolia grand central

The spread of cupcakes at Magnolia Grand Central

S’MAC

S’mac is short for Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese, and “most amazing random food restaurant ever.” At S’MAC, you can choose from a bunch of different mac & cheese combos and then have it served to you on a skillet. I recommend the “Garden Lite” – mac & cheese with lite cheddar, parmesan, roasted cauliflower and portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, broccoli and scallions. Of course, that’s all I’ve tried, but it was pretty dang good.

mac n cheese from smac

Ignore the fact that I look really tired, and focus on the amazingness of that mac & cheese.

Street Meat

The street vendor/food cart craze is sweeping the nation, and you can bet NYC is no exception. Eating on the street is an art form these days, especially during summer weekends when street fairs pop up all over town. While on my way to a street fair in the East Village, I came upon one right in my own neighborhood (East Midtown). And while my best purchase of the day was probably Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium record ($7! Vinyl!), the second best was this lunch:

$1 lemonade + $5 chicken satay and pad Thai = $6 = the NYC equivalent of free

Even though I didn’t take pictures of all of my food, like some of my Rodale colleagues suggested I do during my first week (seriously – they were right; I should have), here are a few other places I’ve tried and loved:

Lombardi’s Pizza in NoLita (North of Little Italy) – can’t go wrong in a restaurant where you only pay $8 for two enormous pizza slices AND where they play Frank Sinatra music.

16 Handles – world’s most delicious self-serve frozen yogurt

William Greenberg Desserts – according to New York magazine a couple of years ago, they have the best black and white cookies in the city; those are a New York tradition

To me, a discussion of food isn’t complete without a little homage to my hero Liz Lemon, who loves food just as much as I do. So, while it really has nothing to do with anything I’ve said above, take 30 seconds to appreciate Liz and her food obsession. As always, thanks for reading!

Thank-You Notes, 2009 Style

As 2009 draws to a close, I’d like to copy Jimmy Fallon, my favorite late-night TV host, who does a segment every Friday night in which he writes “thank-you notes” to different people, events, objects, places, etc.  They’re irreverent, sarcastic and hilarious.

Jimmy writing a thank-you note to Simon Cowell.

Since I can’t get a full video embedded into this post, here’s a sample of the thank-yous:

Thank you, Oprah – for hosting a Christmas special at the White House this Sunday.  Not everyone gets to sit down with the undisputed leader of the free world…so I’m sure Obama’s really, really excited.”

“Thank you, screensaver that popped up while I thought I was doing work – for reminding me that, not only have I made zero progress, but I haven’t made a single keystroke or gently nudged my mouse for the past fifteen minutes.”

Now, a la Jimmy Fallon, I’d like to write my own thank-you cards for 2009:

Thank you, Liz Lemon – for being my new source of inspiration.  Since I started watching 30 Rock this summer, you have helped me embrace my inner nerd and not feel guilty about eating five donuts in one day, dressing up in a Princess Leia outfit to avoid jury duty and calling people “apple-faced goons.”  None of which I have actually done, but might be more inclined to do because Liz Lemon did it first.

Thank you, Oregon Ducks – for winning the Civil War and going to the Rose Bowl.  I can’t think of anything more wonderful than screaming my lungs out at one of your home games.  You’ve turned me into a huge college football fan and I can’t wait for next season.

Thank you, Twitter – for more or less changing my life – or at least the way I live it.  Now, when something cool happens, my first thought is how to condense awesome occurrences into 140 characters.  You’ve allowed me to connect with people all over the country and have forced me to come up with an explanation for why I use “tweet” in my daily vocabulary.

Thank you, skinny vanilla lattes – for always putting me in a good mood.  Also, thanks for giving me a good way to rationalize spending money; buying all these lattes, I have to be boosting the economy, right?

And last, but certainly not least, Thank you, my family – for giving me life advice, an education and for taking me on cool trips to places like New York City and Disneyland.  I mean, there’s more, of course, like food and a roof over my head, but I don’t want to get too sappy.

What thank-you notes will you be writing as 2009 comes to its end?  There are many more I could write, but I had to keep it relatively short.  I have to go finish my Christmas shopping.