Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bleached Hair and Bedazzled Bags

In order to take my mind off the lameness that is currently the Giants defense, (c'mon. It's the Eagles. Let's go.) I am going to describe to you the eerie similarities I have seen shared between North Jersey and Texas.

Note: for those of you not familiar with the state of New Jersey, the state is actually broken down into three parts. South Jersey is like... Oklahoma. Farms, pickup trucks and wide open spaces. That's right. Oh, and Atlantic City. Central Jersey (where I'm from) is home to the Boss and Bon Jovi and is cool, laid back and awesome (of course). North Jersey is the Sopranos. It's women with bleached blonde hair and fake nails, guys that actually say Fuggetaboutit and is home to those accents that everyone associated with the state (oh. my. gawd.).

A disclaimer before I continue. Mom, I know you're from North Jersey. No offense.

This Saturday, my boyfriend and I attempted to attend the Dallas Sample Sale. I think I heard sample sales discussed in Sex and the City once. They're supposed to be trendy sort of yard sales for designers and other high-end labels. How wrong I was.

Our first stop was a warehouse sale. We had parked on the wrong side of the building and walked into a big scary room where the most popular items appeared to be housecoats and dog beds. Second, we found ourselves in a giant antique sale, where everything smelled like a bowling alley or a church (or a terrible combination of both). If you missed it, I'm sorry, because you totally missed out on your chance to buy an ear horn.

The third try was the charm and we finally arrived at the Dallas Sample Sale! Let the shopping begin!

Yeah, right.

This is where the eerie similarities begin. Bedazzled bags, bleached blonde hair as far as the eye could see, jewelry that would have been tacky in the 80s. I started having flashbacks to family trips to Bayonne in the 90s. Household furnishings ranged from what looked like end tables carved out of stumps to collectors sets of colorful crosses. My vision blurred from over stimulation. The tackiness was palpable.

Still... it made this Jersey Girl a little homesick. Pink tipped nails, teased out hair, blue eyeshadow. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank yous from abroad

I love the "Yes We Can" video from Will.I.Am. Even more now, I love the comments that have been posted (and yes, I am ignoring the racist, bigoted BS that always appears in YouTube comments). Some examples:

Congratulation for Obama from Brazil!!!!

Sin duda esto va a dar nuevas esperanzas a millones de personas en todo el mundo
Presidente Obama!!

congratulations you all americans !!!
Thanks so much

Congrats, this is history in the making folks. Best of luck from your neighbours to the north, you deserve it

Enhorabuena al nuevo presidente de los Estados Unidos. Greetings from Spain.

Thanks to everyone who voted obama from north west london UK you've saved the world.

Yes. We. Can. And we did!

When I Found Out

Growing up, the 2 big questions I always had for my parents were "where were you when the first man walked on the moon" and "where were you when you heard JFK was killed?" I know now that I will have my own question to answer: "where were you when Obama was elected?"

My answer:

I was sitting my couch with some of my closest friends, watching the predictions roll in. I'd been assured of a landslide victory all day, but I wasn't buying it. I refused to buy champagne because I didn't want to be the one person that jinxed our country's best chance for change (and yes, I am that superstitious). I cheered when New Jersey went Democratic and nearly cried when Texas was initially declared "too close to call". Finally, at 9:59, Wolf Blitzer made the call.

With 20 seconds left before the West Coast polls officially closed, CNN's anchor declared, "I think after we get these results, we'll have a major prediction to make". All Obama needed was California and the (predicted) victory was his. We counted down like it was New Year's Eve and I inched closer and closer to the edge of my couch, head in my hands, too nervous to watch.

I heard the now-famous CNN Prediction jingle, looked up and saw "Barack Obama Elected President". I fell to the floor, unable to speak, completely in shock. It had happened. We had done it. We had risen above bigotry and deceit to elect the best candidate to our highest office.

Congratulations, America. I'm proud!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I was told this is "classic Texas"

I've been reading up on Ike and trying to figure out how much wine I'm going to have to buy to make it through the next few days. I stumbled upon this article via Fark, which had this gem of a quote:

"If the island is going to disappear it has to be a tsunami," he said, as he walked along the block where his home is located, drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. "If it ain't your time you ain't going anywhere."

I read that aloud to my coworkers, who deemed that "classic Texas". One said that people like that drive her crazy, and I had to break it to her that almost all Jerseyans think Texans talk that way!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bringing back some Italian hand guestures

One of my favorite book series are the books about Stephanie Plum, a character created by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum is a true Jersey girl, and she often refers to the hand signals notoriously made by New Jersey drivers as "Italian hand gestures". I'm famous for them. Really.

Let's go to the third person for this story. I just think it'll make it more interesting, plus things are always cooler when you talk about yourself in the third person.

We catch up to our heroine, the lovely Vespa rider as she ignores yet another group of men yelling "hey girl" out their car windows. She drives past a construction site and again marvels that men still believe that whistling actually has any effect at all. The gorgeous rider heads down Greenville, cursing under breath at the minivans coasting along at 5 MPH (It's my story, and I can exaggerate what I want.)

She expertly takes a right turn, ignoring the one rogue minivan driver attempting to go 60 down a side street. The light in front of her is red, of course. When riding a Vespa, lights are always red, especially when it's raining, scorching hot or when our heroine is starving.

Today she is starving AND boiling.

Green light. Signaling like any good scooter driver, she advances into the intersection and waits for oncoming cars to pass so she can turn left. This being Dallas, it involves watching one near rear-ending, one person choosing to turn right from the left lane and one car clearing the intersection at about 90 MPH. During all this activity, she hears a honk.

And another honk.

And a lean on the horn oh my lord my wife is having a baby get out of the way honk.

She turns around and sees the mini van driver from before glaring at her, gesturing her to turn left in front of the 90 MPH deathmobile.

Our heroine, ever the cool, calm and collected, waits her turn and turns left.

And drives off into the scorching sunset, middle finger raised in the air.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The trouble with

To start, I guess I should confess something. I am a huge Yankee fan. I know, I know, they're the evil empire, I'm such a frontrunner, etc. I've heard it all. I've also been a fan forever, just like any good Jersey girl. I can remember the 1996 World Series vividly, sitting about 5 inches away from our 12" TV in the kitchen (why I wasn't in the living room, I'll never know) absolutely convinced that Derek Jeter was my soul mate.

Was! Not is! I swear!

Anyway, after moving to Texas, I realized that I couldn't make it the rest of the season without the ability to watch my boys play ball. Not only that, but the Yankees were playing horribly, and when I watch, they win. Therefore, for the good of the team (and with some persuasion from my Red Sox fan boyfriend), we got

It sucks.

The audio cuts in and out. The high quality video doesn't work and the low quality skips. It constantly says we're logged in on multiple machines. I even broke down tonight and called technical support. They recommended I empty my trash. What?!

That's not the biggest issue. As a marketing geek, I grimace every time there's what MLB calls a "break in the action", a time when cable stations are showing commercials to pay the bills. splits this time 3 ways:

1. Inanely repetitive commercials for the store with horribly messed up audio levels
2. Inanely repetitive commercials for Sony starring a Dane Cook lookalike and a scary pale physics professor
3. A graphic that for some reason says "Break in the action", superimposed over the text "134 RBI", which I imagine must be some magic number in the mind of MLB.

I know this is a paid service and MLB might get some flack for selling commercials, but what if those spots had a significant effect on the price of the service? Not only that, but when I subscribed I handed over all sorts of demographic info - info that certainly showed that I'm not in the market for a Sony TV sold by Professor Creepy. Why not put up ads that are targeted to me?

Fine, fine. If MLB wants to avoid the whole paid advertising during a paid service issue, at least put some highlights or anything with audio in there. The same Sony ad 3 times in a row followed by a jarring silence for 45 seconds or more is really throwing me (and thus, the Yankees) off our game.

What's your solution to the quandary?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long Weekends and Funny Signs

First, this was the sign on an ATM in Jersey. Check out the fine print on the bottom. Looks like they're sorry for more than just not taking deposits! Courtesy of my mom, her cameraphone and some LOLcat building fun:

Thank you, New Jersey. Even when I'm over a thousand miles away, you never cease to amuse me.

My boyfriend and I are taking a day trip out to Fort Worth this weekend for some good 'ol fried pickles and honky tonk country music. I can't believe I just said that!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Gift from HARO!

I just got my HARO (Help A Reporter Out) shirt and it's awesome:

It came in probably the first hand-addressed envelope I've gotten so far at work!

To all my PR-type and journalist friends (that's right, I swing both ways...friend-wise) make sure you check out HARO. Journalists can submit pitches and PR pros can find out who needs what. We've already pitched a few articles about the museum, and HARO has been a great resource!

(Reminder: make sure you vote for the Hot Blogger Calendar!)

(Reminder #2: follow me on Twitter: @agardina)

Traffic's like a cattle drive

Granted, I've never actually witnessed a cattle drive. But, I have seen a cow, which puts me ahead of a lot of my fellow Jerseyans. And the most recent cow I saw was at Visions on Friday night (that's right - there was a cow at a women's expo. Don't question it, this is Texas.)

Before I get too into the weirdness that is cows at a trade show, let me lasso this one back on topic. I'm a Jersey driver. I scare my Connecticut and Upstate New York friends with my constant honking, Italian one finger saluting, cursing self. I've driven to Boston in rush hour, something I will never EVER do again. I've had several near-death experiences as a passenger in New York City - in a cab, in a van and (perhaps worst of all) with my mother (just kidding, Mom!)

Therefore, I consider myself an expert on bad driving. Bennys (tourists to the Jersey Shore from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark and New York) are classic examples: running stop signs, turning right from the left lane, I've seen it all.

Then I moved to Dallas.

People here are out for blood. They drive crazy, they own guns and they tailgate you at 80 MPH in giant Ford pickups on monster truck wheels. Route 75, the highway that runs north/south, is so insane during rush hour (which goes from 6 AM until 4 AM as far as I've seen) that I find myself wishing for the relative sanity of the Parkway South on Fridays in the summer.

Let's review some traffic laws that Dallas drivers have decided are optional. Red lights don't really mean stop if you were anywhere in the vicinity when they were yellow. Signaling from turns, heck, even being in the correct LANE for turns is considered a sign of weakness. Nodding in the general direction of stop signs is just as good as actually stopping.

Luckily, these drivers seem to be confused by my little Vespa and me. They keep their distance (or pull up next to me and catcall), and for that I'm grateful. Nevertheless, I'm still not afraid to honk or yell - even if I am on a scooter.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hot Blogger Calendar

I'm not sure how this happened, but I managed to get myself nominated for the Hot Blogger Calendar. And, since I work in marketing, I'm no stranger to shameless self promotion. Thus, in order for you all (y'all?) to make an educated decision, here's a picture of me in all of my glory (granted this was taken during a vacation in Hawaii when I was tan, relaxed and full of pina coladas, but it's a close approximation)

Now you can all go off and make informed decisions! (And if you're still feeling confident about your decision, vote here!)

I'm really in a pickle

(Note to new readers: I love bad puns)

I've noticed this odd trend in Texas. Everywhere I go, there seem to be pickles for sale. Not in jars, not on sandwiches, just a big vat of pickles for the sellin'. Movie theatres, 7-11s, they all have pickles placed in the same prominence as other big sellers like popcorn and lottery tickets.

Always eager to point out that I really don't know what's going on in Texas, I decided to ask my co-workers about this pickle fascination. The response? "What fascination? Don't you love pickles too?"

Now I'm not one to make fun of another culture's culinary decisions (and if you don't think Texas is a completely different culture from Jersey, visit both and compare). However, this pickle thing is a little too much for me. Apparently Texans have decided that popcorn + a pickle is an ideal movie snack. When lounging at home on a Saturday night, a pickle + Cheetos is a great snack, and a pickle by itself is a... treat?

I find myself, again, in this North/South pickle (I had to do it). So I ask you, dear readers, should I take the plunge and embrace my inner pickle-loving Texan, or should I stay true to my Jersey roots and save it for the sub?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Best Headline Ever Award

Just a quick post to award the "Best Headline Ever" award to CNN:

McCain Roach Wins in Landslide

I just also have to point out that this race apparently took place in Jersey, so a big shoutout to my home state - you sure know how to pick 'em!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Adventures in Unsocialized Medicine

When I was studying abroad in London, I had some fun experiences with socialized medicine (that later led to 4 weeks in a foot brace, but that's another story). I'm not a hypochondriac, I'm not plagued by terrible medical maladies (thank goodness), but I am pretty clumsy and pretty.. well, clumsy pretty well covers it.

I also haven't had a physical in 5 years (switching insurance companies 3 times in 3 years while away at college didn't help). I'm one of the lucky few (again, I'd like to send a big "thank you" to those of you who killed our economy) who have full-time employment and affordable health care. Unfortunately, this "affordable" health care comes from that lovely company known as Humana. I've encountered Humana before, when I worked as a researcher for the Project on Government Oversight. We researched Humana and found over $125 million in lawsuit losses. What a model company.

I'm furious right now because they're denying a claim from my recent tetanus shot with whooping cough booster. I haven't had a tetanus shot in over 10 years. Unfortunately, according to Humana, after I turned 18 I lost all rights to immunization. That's right - after you're legally an adult, you can no longer get all those wonderful diseases prevented by vaccination. What a time saver!

My coworkers have also had wonderful experiences with Humana, ranging from sudden revelations that in-network doctors are now out-of-network to a policy that makes deductibles for surgeries astronomical.

Well, Humana, you messed with the wrong Jersey Girl. Thanks to your policy (page 17, section 2, paragraph 4), I, along with my coworkers, will be pressuring my employer to change providers. They may not be much better, but I'll take the risk because they're probably better than you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Ode to Colin's Driving

I have decided that my boyfriend's driving merits many haikus. I will call them:

An Ode to Colin's Driving
By Alyssa

Deep holes in pavement
They call to me tenderly
Get a flat, so what?

The stoplight is red
But I really must go left
Just go anyway!

Five miles 'til exit
And the right lane is so slow
Better be prepared!

Changing lanes, turning
No need to signal at all
Just keep them guessing

Anger, in silence
Muttering under my breath
Don't honk, shows weakness

For those of you that haven't driven with Colin, the preceding haikus detail his love for potholes, turning right on red, being overprepared for exits, lack of signaling, and failure to honk when people drive poorly.

By the way, in Texas - people really are aiming for you on the highway.

It's a Touchy Subject

I went to school in upstate New York. Our hippie to non-hippie ratio was somewhere in the ballpark of 20:1. We had green home goods stores, compost sites, and initiatives to replace all our bulbs with energy-friendly alternatives. I, as a SUV driver, was not considered to be green. Here in Texas? I'm the office environmentalist. I recycle, I drive a Vespa (which wasn't really an option in the arctic north), and I turn my computer off every night.

It's actually pretty easy being green, comparatively.

Something that I got comfortable with up in the North (and, yes, I get called a Yankee all the time) was homosexuality. It really never seemed like a big deal to me. We made jokes, I talked candidly about my love (however unrequited) for Shakira, and it was, all in all, definitely NOT a "don't ask, don't tell" culture. We were open about it.

Fast forward to July. Me, the enterprising young Yankee makes a joke about loving Jodie Foster. Honestly, I just said I love her as an actress. Scandal ensues. I, a straight woman, LOVE (?!?!?!) a homosexual actress?! Gasp!

...if my friends from college had a conversation with my friends down here, much political incorrectness would ensue.

This is followed by conversations about "gay" areas, newsletters in my inbox detailing bars that most homosexuals "stick to" and a bunch of other comments that make a liberal kid like me from the north feel pretty darn awkward. I knew that perspectives would be a bit different down here, but, just like my political views, I find that censoring myself has prevented a lot of questioning looks.

I wish I had a snappy conclusion to this blog post, but I'm pretty much just confused and feeling a little out of place. Maybe we should make a movie as a modern-day version of "An American in Paris" - "A Jersey Girl in Texas". I've got plenty of material!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Missing the Back to School

I get to be mopey for this entry. It's my prerogative as a blogger. I've been talking to a couple of people who are gearing up to go back to school in a few weeks, and it's just now hitting me that I'm not one of them. No more wine nights, library marathons, smoothies at Campus Center, party hopping in the Circles. I miss it. A lot.

I know this is the same kind of crisis a lot of recent grads go through, but that doesn't really make it any easier. My best friends are spread out from Maine to LA, Ithaca to Texas (me!) We're working in restaurants, museums, newspapers, and something along the lines of education (right?) And after all the trials, tribulations, attempts at success, and crazy roller coaster ride that these past few months have been, I just really want to sit back with a bottle of Barnyard Red and play some Cranium.

On the bright side, it's Restaurant Week (what self-respecting Jersey girl isn't distracted by food?) and we're checking out a restaurant called Fuse tomorrow night. Plus, it's someone's birthday, so some celebrating is in order. /mope

Monday, August 11, 2008

Being a Northern Liberal in the Good 'Ol South

Being a liberal in Texas is kind of like having a weird hobby. You enjoy it, you know others enjoy it, but there's really no good way of finding out who else likes collecting stamps or categorizing bugs (ew.) In my case, I kind of listen to the people in my office talking, and when one of them says one of a few key words (Obama and Democrat, for example) without sneering, spitting, or otherwise freaking out, I usually approach them. The next step is to quietly ask, "so you like Obama too?" and go from there.

Funny enough, those I know who align themselves with the conservative side of the political coin aren't saying much about their love for John McCain. The consensus seems to be that they not only are afraid of Obama (because he's clearly Muslim and his wife is unpatriotic), but they're afraid of McCain as well.

(Sometimes I feel like a spy, planting anti-McCain thoughts in the minds of my "Republican" buddies)

I've encountered a lot of mockery from my family about being a "dirty liberal". Then I went away to college and started to lean even more to the left. Now I'm down in Texas and the whole politics thing (even in a city like Dallas) is kind of hush-hush. Yet, as we get closer to November, and politics start being on everyone's mind (I hope), what's a Jersey girl to do?

Maybe the same thing I do to my Grandpa - retaliate to his McCain propaganda with fact check and some snippy photos from Pundit Kitchen and hope, come November, everyone will see the light. (That's my light. Not the McCain light. The Obama light. Right.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Turning into a Yuppie

No. Seriously. I am. Except for the plush downtown loft, which I can't afford (thank you, economy). Apartment aside, let's check the Yuppie checklist:

Wine lover
Vespa owner
Banana Republic shopper (okay, outlets and clearance, but it counts)
Foodie and cook
Central Market superfan

I think that about sums it up. I also just joined the Young Association Professionals group, an online community for young non-profit professionals. I've found a lot of groups in the past few weeks (longer, if you count my passive participation in the We Are Media project. I think these groups will serve me incredibly well - I already feel as connected as when I was a member of AAF (the American Advertising Federation).

Which brings me to my point (yes, I have a point): social networks are as valuable as you make them. Having a Linked-In profile is great, but if it's not updated, no one's going to find you in search results. Twitter all you want, but if you don't have any followers, no one's listening to what you're saying.

I'm working on a launch of a bunch of different social media for the museum, and I'm afraid of falling into what's basically the social media trap. If you don't update, you're obsolete. If you're irrelevant, game over. It's an intimidating prospect, but for an organization that currently has one blog post written about it, the risk factor is actually pretty low. I'm going to be leaning on these communities pretty hard for the next few months, looking for advice - but isn't that what they're there for?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Valet for A Vespa

This weekend I spent some time with a bunch of other Northeast-to-Dallas transplants, and we were discussing (over several glasses of wine) some of the major differences between the Northeast and Texas. My favorite comment was about how we feel compelled to dress up on Sundays if we're going out in public, even if we're not going to church (it's true).

That got me thinking about one of the differences I've noticed most: valet parking. Now I'm a Jersey girl, and we Jersey girls are lazy in our own right, but Dallas takes the cake (and eats it too). Dallas has valet parking for restaurants, concerts, movies, the mall, cafes, sandwich shops... you get the idea. (Coincidentally, the only time they don't have valet is when there's no parking to be found for miles. Go figure.)

Most of the time, valet's your only option - the only parking in the area is reserved for valet spots, so you have to fork over $5-$10 for the privilege of having someone else park your car.

Maybe it's because Dallas girls wear such high heels all the time... (I wore jeans out to dinner on Friday *gasp* and got some looks from my fellow females. I was in a pizzeria. Get over it.)

I digress (as always). I have, however, found a solution to the valet parking problem: my Vespa. Valet guys don't expect to be allowed to just zip off on my Vespa, so my approach now is to just hover around the valet stand until they notice me and point me to some prime sidewalk space. Close parking, no payment necessary, and a Vespa monitoring service all-in-one! I could get used to this...

Next up in our Dallas-is-kind-of-lazy series, grocery shopping. (Seriously.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Making a habit of it

I just got a comment on my last post and realized that I've kind of abandoned this blog. Thanks to MizFit (*waves*). I'm going to try to update more regularly, but I always bounce between boring the (few) people who read this and actually updating more than once every few weeks.

The job search continues for many (not for me, but for many of my friends). I'm trying to help out the best I can, but there's only so many LinkedIn and Talentzoo searches one can do. I do want to recommend Talentzoo to all my recent grad/ad industry readers - it's a great resource for jobs in ad/marketing/PR. The economy, however, isn't playing along:

According to CNN, unemployment is up to a 4 year high, so let's add that to Alyssa's list o' things to ignore in order to remain optimistic.


I'm not an expert on any of this, but I think that after all this job-hunting, adjusting, post-grad crisis stuff is over, I may be. Is there any sort of certification for job counselors? How about life counselors? That's me. (Not saying I don't like it! I love being there for my friends! I just want a certification!)

Maybe I'm certifiably... something (ha!)

Anyway, this post is getting rant-tastic, so I'm going to sign off now. This week has (yet again) been completely exhausting, and I'm staying late at work tonight to help with a video shoot. I need a glass of wine.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A week of long days

It's been one of those days for a lot of days now
I need a day where the world can take care of itself
This isn't what I wanted how I thought my life would turn out
And I wonder if it's like this from here on out

"Not Done Yet" - Superchick

No one said being a grown up was this hard, but now I understand when people say "if it's not one thing, it's something else". It really is. Being a recent grad in a recession has something to do with it as well, because we're really just trying to survive. Each gas tank fill up, each electric bill, each trip to the grocery store is full of one question - can I afford this?

And I don't want my graduating class to be accused of being spendthrifts, lazy, or anything like that. I've cut back bar nights, virtually eliminated shopping for non-necessities, and we (gasp!) don't have cable. (Internet is now a luxury item. Ridiculous.)

I subscribe to blogs about saving money, I write down tips about how to save everywhere I go. Yet, to me (and I'm obsessed with savings, obsessed with rainy day accounts), I'm barely staying afloat.

It's scary. Did I grow up too fast?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Honestly, who isn't on facebook?

Well, to answer that question, my mom's not, but she knows my login information, so that's close enough. I'm pretty excited because I just launched the museum's Facebook page and, after some hard work (thanks Colin and Nic!), I think it looks pretty good.

I have to pitch a social media plan to the board next week, and I'm starting to get pretty nervous. Luckily, fate's on my side and I found this article, which sets me up for a lot of common objections and how to respond to them. Being prepared to present new media to a group of VIPs? Check.

I'm trying to decide what to blog about for the museum - I want a mix from exhibits (to go along with our podcasts), current women's issues, and discussion about the museum's future. I really want to start the conversation about the museum - there's nothing on blogs, twitter, etc. yet. Scary yet exciting!

In Vespa news, honking at me then waving and saying "nice wheels" is not a good idea. It does get my attention, but it makes me swerve, and I don't think I'll make an attractive trauma patient. Thanks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The economy and pick-up lines

Graduating during a economic decline, recession, rainy day (whatever you want to call it) is hard. Employers aren't hiring, gas prices are skyrocketing, food is expensive, and I've even had to cut back on my weekend bar-hopping (jeez!)

I recently invested in a Vespa to get to and from work and save me from spending a fortune on fueling my Ford Escape. Since I've gotten it, I've been the recipient of more than my fair share of pick-up lines, catcalls, and kissing noises from passing car windows. I'm wearing a helmet and sunglasses. It's not attractive.

Anyway! The majority of the pick-up lines haven't been at me. They've been at my cute purple Vespa, which averages around 65 MPG. Yesterday, while I was stopped at a red light, a guy walking by yelled out, "what an efficient little thing!" (Now, if he had said that directed at me, I probably would have decked him, but the Vespa can't fight back).

In the era of a declining economy, my scooter's fuel efficiency is more attractive than I am. Ouch.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Caught in a post-college limbo

I was talking to a friend from college today (I sound so old, even though it was only 2 months ago that I graduated) and I told him that I recently came to the realization that he and I were almost the only people I knew who had graduated and immediately gotten a job. This isn't for our other friends' lack of ambition or qualifications. In fact, we often referred to our group as "overachievers" and often joked that if we ever got in trouble the headline would read "Student Leaders Arrested." (What we would get arrested for, I have no idea)

So what happened?

Some are traveling. Some are going to grad school. And some just can't seem to catch a break. I got the only job I interviewed for, and thank goodness for that. On the blog "The Consumerist", an article about health care after college inflamed tensions between the employed and the...wishing to be employed. For example:

If you major in something besides Underwater Basket Weaving, you ought to be able to find a job with health benefits. And here's another novel idea, search for jobs and interviews BEFORE you actually graduate.


Novel approach? Isn't that why the vast majority of college graduates spent at least four years of their lives at the university working their asses off, eating ramen noodles, and going up to their eyeballs in hock? Do you think HR managers just line up at graduates' front doors with job offers? News flash - it's not 1998 anymore.

I know people who have applied for over 150 jobs. My boyfriend applies for several a day. Most people I know haven't even gotten called back for an interview.

Now I know it's the economy, it's our entry-level needs, it's... whatever.

You know what it is? It's just depressing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Digital Heritage and me, perfect together?

It's amazing what you can stumble upon when you're doing random searches on Technorati. I found a program at the University of Leicester in the UK that offers a masters in Digital Heritage (!) I got more and more excited as I read through the degree description and found this:

Course aims: To stimulate students to engage critically and creatively with the opportunities of new media, and, in particular, to encourage the development of the philosophical approaches and practical skills needed by new media professionals, managers and others in the museum and heritage sector.

Sign me up! I emailed the professor in charge of the program and he got back to me (promptly, I may add - in contrast to some U.S. institutions where you may never, ever hear back from a professor). He also mentions Web 2.0 in his email, which is an awesome sign for a history professor! The program starts in April 2009 and it allows for distance learning at a cost of around (with the current exchange rate) $10,000 a year. I wonder if I can swing this...

In other news, I joined 24 Hour Fitness yesterday and took a Turbo Kickboxing class. And, oh how I'm paying for that today. (No pain no gain, right?)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Back to the blog

Hey all - I'd be surprised if anyone's checking this blog for updates anymore, considering it's been months since I've posted anything! Anyway, I've moved to Dallas, found an apartment, fallen in love with my job, and bought a Vespa!

No wonder I'm so tired!

Anyway, I'm going to transition this blog from all about me to all about the things I'm working on, things that interest me, and, to be honest, a lot of stuff about social media and non-profits. I've started religiously reading blogs like Beth Kanter's blog on non-profits and social media and Museum 2.0.

Apparently I'm going to be in charge of the museum's social marketing strategy, anything from Twitter (Follow me!) to Facebook to... whatever else I can figure out. This also includes writing a blog, so I'll be updating here more regularly to get my writing style back!

Newest find: Be The Media, which describes itself as a Social Media Empowerment Guide for Nonprofits. I'm joining in with the community in hopes I can share and (especially) learn about how I can use Web 2.0 to get interest up, increase attendance, and, most of all, share the mission of this amazing museum I get to work for.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Blog Crazed

I've always considered myself something of an early adopter as far as technology is concerned. At my current internship, I've given myself the title of Tech Goddess, with the subtitle of "Thou who installs printer drivers and figures out the website". It's pretty interesting, especially because I work at a local historical society, and technology is very hit or miss. I've learned to piecemeal things with OpenOffice or work on machines that are 10-15 years old. (And I love it!)

My newest foray into technology has been ongoing. I've taken to reading blogs that have to do with my future career ambitions and subject interests, so last night I went Google Reader crazy. I've found some awesome sites, such as Museum 2.0 and I'm in Ur Museum Blogz (which has a great post about finding a job with a museum... check!). I'm not sure what the policy will be like at my new job in Texas, but I think creating a blog for a museum is a great way to generate interest (and these blogs have some other great suggestions for basic marketing as well).

I mostly write in my blog to keep in touch, but I'm going to also write in here about new strategies for museums and my thoughts. As a college senior, I think I offer a (naive) (or new) perspective on the world of public history.

For starters, check out a post on my old blog about Mount Vernon. It's an example of a museum taking technology and using it to enhance exhibits, not to overshadow them.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Place to Sit

Well, I don't have a place to put my stuff or lay my head or whatever the saying is. However, I do have a place to sit! I was on the phone with my boss the other day, and she mentioned to me that they were (at that very moment) getting me my desk! I finally have the perfect place to put my digital picture frame and photos like this:

(this may be my favorite photo of all time)

Also, an update on the apartment search. The leading apartments are a bunch near White Rock Lake or the Village Apartments, where my boss lived when she first moved to Dallas. They're farther out than I would like, but it's almost all 20-somethings and they have a great gym, intramural sports, and a restaurant/bar right in the community center.

I also got my work email address and phone number! I'm so excited to get started down there, but, for now it's back to some college senior debauchery! (Read: finishing the last paper of my college career - I'm a rebel).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Loving Technology

So today I was introduced to a new thing called Flagr, which is really helping me at least map out where apartments are. Right now, my possible apartment map looks like this:

All of them are pretty close to work, which is also good! I know I'm being really obsessive about this, but, hey, that's how I am! My dad yesterday (hi Dad) was telling me how I've got everything planned out and how that's really good etc etc etc - and I told him that if I didn't have a plan right now, I'd probably be freaking out.

I mean, I'm freaking out anyway, but maybe to a lesser degree? Oh well, it's the weekend and it's GORGES outside (ha ha), so I'm off to enjoy the sun!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sight Unseen

I'm finding out that it's really REALLY hard to find an apartment in a city you've never visited. It leads to falling in love with a place with all the amenities, and then finding out something like this:

(Okay, there IS an image that goes here, but Blogger won't let me do it right now - check back soon)

UPDATE: Day 2 - and Blogger still hates me :-(

Which is kind of conflicting. I don't know much about Dallas, but it doesn't seem like these people can agree on how to rate the place where they actually LIVE. Also, ever the skeptic, I'm not sure that I can trust the positive reviews (may be written by management) or the negative reviews (may be written by management from the place next door). Sigh.

However, I have found a few places I'm feeling good about and I've booked a few appointments. I also found out that there's an IKEA (!!!) right near Dallas, so my furniture needs should be close enough to met. (Thanks for the living room sofa, Mom!)

I also passed my background check today - I guess they decided I wasn't going to rob the museum or something like that. Today also marks one month until graduation (or close enough). I can't believe I'll be leaving college so soon, but I'm really excited to go to Texas!

I might be most excited about doing a weekend at a dude ranch - who wouldn't love that?!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Leaving the Jersey Shore

I was on the phone with my mom today, trying to figure out the logistics of graduating, visiting home, packing, going to Maui (!), and moving to Texas. I had a great plan worked out, except for one thing - it involved me driving south through Jersey on Memorial Day weekend.

Now those of you from Jersey are already groaning and rolling your eyes, but everyone else has no idea what I'm talking about. Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey shore is downright painful. You can't drive south. You can't drive east. And you most certainly can't do either on Friday or Saturday. Why? One word. Bennys. Bennys are tourists from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York (hence the acronym), and they can make any Jersey girl's commute and social live incredibly difficult.

When people find out I'm from the Jersey shore, the first question is always "How close are you to the beach?" The answer is - very close, but it might as well be an hour and a half away. The population of my town nearly triples in the summer, and driving/parking at the beach is a nightmare. To be honest, one of the major bonuses about moving to Dallas will be the decreased amount of tourist traffic.

Anyway, that whole rant leads to me having to drive home 3 days earlier than I intended. Thanks, Bennys. I hope you have a good summer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sudden Realizations

Today I've come to realize certain... realities? Like - I'll need an apartment in Dallas (fast!), I have to move across the country, I have to DRIVE across the country, I have to start packing!

Memo to self: start packing. Now.

I only have to pack up an entire apartment before graduation (5/18) so my parents can each load up their cars and try to store all of my belongings in my garage in New Jersey. How did I amass so much stuff? I can't believe four years ago everything I owned fit in a dorm room!

I called a few places yesterday about potential apartments, but I'm not too familiar with the neighborhoods in Dallas. I know I want to live downtown, and I've found a lot of places that are really affordable and have a gym, pool, and hot tub! I'm liking my new city!

I also did a Google Maps search for my drive down there. It looks far, but really interesting - it takes me though a lot of southern towns I've never visited. I'm hoping to break up the drive with some stops in new cities and maybe visiting some people along the way!

View Larger Map

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Decision time

So I'm sitting on my couch, relaxing after a whirlwind tour of Minneapolis and watching South Pacific. I think I should be watching a western or maybe No Country for Old Men. After all, I am moving to Texas in less than 2 months!

For some quick background: I'm a senior at a college in central New York, and I've been lucky enough to land my dream job out of school. I'll be working in the marketing department of a museum in downtown Dallas. The only problem is that I've never actually been to Texas, but I love country music and line dancing, so at least I have that!

This blog is going to cover my cross-country move and the culture shock I'm sure I'll experience from moving to the south and just living life after college! It's definitely going to be an adventure, but I'm excited to rise to the challenge!

I also want to point out that it's been my dream since I was eight to move to Texas. When I was 10, I wrote and recorded a song about my love for the Lone Star State, and the chorus went like this:

How many seasons does Texas have?
Oh my friends say 4, but my folks say 365
Before any ol' Texas year is done

There's also a line in the song about wanting to go to Texas no matter what:

No matter what my parents say
Damnit I am ten, I'll do what I please!

I think my ten-year-old self would be very proud of me right now!