What I’ve Been Up To, As If You Wanted To Know


Here’s another (unrequested) update on my existence here on the Eastern Coastal city-side of things. I’ve done a few interviews for jobs, and I’m not going to talk anymore about it right now because I don’t want to jinx it. If and when I finally obtain employment, I will talk about it then. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’ve been looking into doing some volunteer work in order to keep busy and possibly build some connections, and I’ve learned that volunteering is not as easy as one would think. In fact, it can almost take as much effort to volunteer as it is to obtain a job. You have to interview, attend orientations, fill out applications, aggressively pursue the volunteer position with phone calls, etc. It’s a little ridiculous, when you consider that all you are trying to do is offer your god-given FREE TIME for FREE in order to help an organization out. I understand that there’s some legalities to cover and that many organizations don’t have the time, money, or man-power to deal with it, but at the end of the day, it should be made as effortless as possible for the volunteer so that they can just get in there and HELP.

This is where NYCares comes in. Realizing that it is obscenely difficult for people who want to help out but don’t have the time nor inclination to deal with such a mess, some intelligent do-gooders formed NYCares to provide a direct, organized, and efficient means of connecting volunteers with needy non-profits. Instead of having to interview with each place and apply and make an extended commitment that you may not be able to provide, you just go on-line through NYCares, look at the calendar of upcoming volunteer needs, and click to sign-up for the day(s) that you have time for it. And that’s how volunteering should be. Welcome to the 21st century.

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, which has involved tinkering around with my new Ubuntu system and trying to kind of learn the command line Linux stuff. It’s like the old DOS, but I don’t understand any of the commands yet, and probably never will. Which is OK. I’m alright with being someone who has to have everything simply supplied in an easy-to-use graphical interface.

I’ve also been trying to learn some basic HTML and CSS. It’s fairly straightforward from what I can tell, but I’m just not sure that I have the necessary devotion to get into it. I have visions of designing my own website someday. WordPress.com is wonderful for its ease-of-use, sense of community, and–of course–FREENESS, but you can only go with the blog templates that are provided, unless you want to learn a little HTML and get in there and make your own.

As you can probably tell, the arrangement and archiving of this blog are not ideal for what I’m doing. The only way to go through my past writing is by digging around in the extended list of categories or by date–but in order to get to the first post in a series, you have to really dig. I want a new method of linking and ordering all of my writings that makes it more logically accessible, such that–for example–if you wanted to look at my writings on Peru, you would be able to click on Peru and it would take you to the first post on that topic, not the last, and you would be able to quickly scan within that sub-tree by topic, date, tag, etc.

I’m not quite sure how I would structure it yet, all I know is that I want something different, organized specifically for my needs. I write about a lot of different types of topics, so it’s hard to simply use categories to organize them coherently. If any budding web designers out there have any ideas on what would work best for this blog, let me know. I really want to take my blog to another level, but I’m not sure how to do that yet.

On other fronts, I’ve learned that being in California all my life has spoiled me in terms of having access to fresh air. I’m used to wearing sandals. I’m used to being able to sit in a room with air from the outside moving through. Now in NYC I’ve been wearing close-toed shoes and realizing that my feet are gonna have to learn to adapt to not being able to breathe, cuz those motherfuckers STINK. Also, I’ve been sitting in the apartment and just sweating, because even with the window wide open and the fan on, I still don’t get enough air flow. So apparently my body is just going to have to learn how to survive with stuffiness. Or I’m gonna have to start spraying anti-perspirant all over my body. Or get botox injections.

I’ve also been reading a great trendy green book, WorldChanging, on the subway, which has become the place where I fit my reading time in. This book is the perfect guide to anyone who is remotely interested in positive and sustainable change. Lots of neat ideas that are exciting.

Here’s some observations on New York and New Yorkers:

  • All the residential buildings are made out of brick. However, most of these bricks are not “brick” colored. They tend to be off-whites, yellows, and greys. When one does finally encounter a brick building with brick colored bricks, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Which is to say that the environment in NYC just tends to be remarkably drab. Which leads me to my next point:
  • The peops on the street in New York tend to reflect their somber surroundings, and they wear mostly dark colored clothing. They also have a tendency towards certain accoutrements, like women towards high boots, and everyone towards large impressive looking coats. Due to these nice looking coats everyone wears, I tend to feel underdressed.
  • One often will be an unintended witness to random barfings. Within the 1st week after I’d moved here, I saw two girls, on two separate occasions, in the middle of the day on a week-day, huddled over against the wall barfing, one on the street, the other waiting for the subway. I was scratching my head over the frequency and strangeness of this witnessed act until I ended up doing it myself one night after guzzling down two of the mandatory drinks you have to buy at a comedy club. They were Long Island iced teas, and my tolerance is way down. On the way back home, in the sway of the subway, and then on a bus, I started to really feel the mix of cheap alcohols. So I shoved my way out to the street and subsequently barfed all over the sidewalk, the kind of public act I haven’t performed in quite some time. But it made me realize something which leads me to my next point:
  • There ain’t no public restrooms anywhere. As someone who has a bladder the size of a pea, it can be frustrating when I’ve had a cup of joe, hopped on the hour-long subway ride downtown, and then have to pee as soon as I get out. It’s then a matter of walking 10 blocks to some Target or Old Navy to use their bathroom, if you know where one is. So if there’s a quiet epidemic of a noro-virus spreading throughout the city, for example, then it is quite understandable that a certain segment of the populace can be found huddled against a wall somewhere out in broad daylight barfing their brains out. There needs to be some kind of public hole out on the street-level for the masses to unload into. It’s inhumane. I think everyone around here must be severely dehydrated, or they have evolved to not have bladders the size of peas.

In other news, I’ve quit drinking coffee, as it not only made me need to pee a lot, but it also stained my already stained teeth, and it also made my energy levels fluctuate too dramatically for my taste (heart attack level nervousness –> hardcore crashing). I had gotten addicted to the stuff while in Colombia, and I’ve been drinking it everyday since. I’m glad I’m done with it, as I can now go back to my most beloved form of imbibing caffeine: Yerba Maté. In case you don’t know what maté is, it’s a South American herbal tea that is primarily drunk through a filtering straw (bombilla) from a gourd. It looks, to the untrained eye, kind of like some illegal smoking apparatus, which is what also makes it cool. It is bitter tasting, so some people add milk or sugar or whatever their sweetener of choice to it, but I like it straight myself. But the best part about it is that it not only gives me a great burst of energy, but it is a sustained energy that lasts for hours, and that energy doesn’t make me crash later on either. So I highly recommend trying it out if you want to find an alternate source of morning caffeine.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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