empire state of mind. as usual.

29 06 2011

on a tshirt i saw in urban outfitters

new york city, you fabulous place. it was lovely to spend a long weekend with you again. i do so hate leaving your beautiful face to come back home to silly atlanta.

me and madre and nadia had such a fabulous time in NYC. we arrived on thursday morning and spent five lovely days exploring, revisiting, eating, and photographing. we found some new places, ventured out beyond our comfort zones (some of us, that is – my comfort zone stretches far and wide), ate a lot of really good food. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE JERSEY BOYS!!!

finally!

that’s been a long time comin… and it was everything i wanted and more. dude did a great job as frankie valli. i got to sing all of my favorite four seasons songs. loved it loved it loved it!! we also saw Billy Elliot, which i knew was gonna be good, but i didn’t think i was gonna love it as much as i did. 🙂 fabulous show times!! i need to start making a list of other shows i need to see, since i’ve pretty much done my broadway bucket list up to this point. no complaints here 🙂

we frequented the chelsea market this year- hadn’t been before, but it was only a few blocks from our fabulous hotel. (we stayed at the new hilton in the fashion district- i picked this place in part because of their rooftop bar, but unfortunately we never quite made it up there. the irony.) the market has a ton of bakeries, restaurants, and shops that were housed in a cute warehouse-type building… we had some fabulous lobster rolls there, i had an excellent soy latte, and we found some really cute cupcakes as well. i will definitely be back there on future trips to the city.

da best.

another great place we discovered was a place i actually went in december to grab a chocolate croissant- the food hall by todd english at the plaza hotel. i don’t know why i didn’t notice the place for what it was back then, but it’s a fabulous open space full of barstools, long tables, and visible food stations… reminded me so much of the market in madrid that i was constantly drawn to during my stay there. we were, likewise, drawn to this restaurant of sorts. what started out as a stop for a drink turned into wine, chicken and ginger dumplings, cod fritters, and a marvelous cheese plate of cheddar, camembert, and drunken goat plus olives, tapenade, quince paste, and fig jam all the while watching miniature lamb gyros, sliders, and burgers being crafted before our very eyes.

deeeeliciousness.

we were entranced and enthralled. i tell you what, nadia and i both agreed that it’s super hot when a guy can cook… 😉 the place and the experience was so fabulous we went back the very next day for madre’s birthday lunch (she was quite taken with the place). that day i had perhaps the best wine of the trip- a cotes du rhone (of course)- and more fabulous cheeses, as well as some chorizo from the grill. madre got some fantastic fried oysters, and nadia got the mini gyros. everything was delicious… but nothing moreso than madre’s birthday dessert- chocolate ganache cake that was to die for, chocolate gelato (i was in heaven), and watermelon sorbet. i will definitely be visiting your food hall again, todd english. remember this girl’s face. and stomach. 😉

the plaza food hall by todd english

we went to brooklyn on our last day to visit my dad’s high school… my mom and sister wanted to see his name on the plaque of outstanding students (a guy and girl are chosen each year from the senior class), and of course see the neighborhood where he went to school. while the neighborhood wasn’t super-enticing, it was great to see the school and a little piece of history. it was also nice to get away from the city and see where “real” people live, ya know? it’s so easy to think of the city and the lifestyle there, and easy to forget that most new yorkers live outside of manhattan. i would pick manhattan, though, if i had the choice… and the money.

grover cleveland h.s.

the other notable part of the weekend was the fact that pridefest was going on… coincidental to the occasion, governor cuomo signed the same-sex marriage law into effect on friday, causing a ton of celebration in the city, especially in the village. we got a chance to witness part of the parade on sunday and see all of the characters in the village and walk through the street fest (and get lots of fun free stuff! always a plus in my book). it was so uplifting to be in the city this weekend with all of this stuff going on- it was really nice to see how open most people are to alternative lifestyles and how it’s not such a hush-hush topic as it can be sometimes here at home. it was also really cool to see the empire state building lit up in rainbow colors 😉

empire state building

rainbow cookies at a bakery

as always, our time in the city was too short, but it keeps the desire to come back that way as well. i’ll be back at the end of august for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan (yesssssss!) on Governor’s Island, but i’ll be hangin in the city during the day for sure. can’t wait. speaking of my favorite person… 😉 nadia found me a book about Dave and his 20 years on the road so far and that’s what i read on the plane since i accidentally packed my kindle in my suitcase. whoops. but it’s really nice to read about the history of my favorite. i’m getting really excited.

we took so many great pictures this weekend, y’all.. i’ll have the rest of them on facebook, of course, once i get’em organized. til then, peeps.

peace,
-j.





*misadventures of a new homeowner*

4 05 2011

so this week i bought a house!! lucky you- i have a whole new category of posts that i’ll be able to write, now that i’m a homeowner. i mean, i thought it was super cool that i now i had my own house, my own little fenced-in yard, my own garage, my own SPACE. i didn’t really know (even though it was floating around in the back of my mind) the extent to which i was actually gonna have to be in charge of all all of this… stuff. so here we are, the beginning of an era, jamila the homeowner, clueless, adventurous, and super pumped.

MINE!!!

so since i’m being super stubborn and decided not to have an official “moving day” and to try to move over the course of a month (silly, silly girl that i am), i’ve been able to move a total of two carloads of stuff to my new house over the past two days. it’s barely a drop in the bucket. (don’t worry; i feel that a moving truck will play a huge part in my near future.)

i am lucky to have so much space in my house, but it looks like a big empty hole at the moment. i have yet to bring a piece of furniture over. my dad just LOVED that last night- he brought me a pizza (favorite! pepperoni for me!) and we had to stand up and eat. fine by me, of course, but i suppose i should think of my guests and at least have a camp chair available for “emergencies” such as Pizza Night. workin on it, dad!

i’m really glad my dad came to see the place last night, actually… yeah, he’d seen it before, but this was the first time as MY house. i didn’t know exactly what he was gonna look at, since i didn’t have much moved in yet, but in typical dad fashion, it turned into an educational and valuable visit. it was the first installment, an orientation if you will, of Little Girl Homeowner 101 in which i got to learn such things as, for example, which pipes are for hot and cold water. where the water shut-off valves (is that what they’re called??) are for my outside water spigots as well as for my washer and dryer (did you know you should turn off your washer water every time you go on vacay? avoid floods, people!!). i even discovered something as remote as where the power to the vintage 90’s intercom  is in my basement.

other things i’ve learned so far (mostly through the keen observations of my dad):

  • i will have to figure out my fuse box because the previous owners did not leave a list of which fuse is for which thing. if anyone wants to play with some walkie talkies one day soon, lemme know. oh, and i should also put the fuse box cover back on the fuse box so i don’t shock myself into the next life.
  • there are two parts to an air duct. one gives you AC and heat, the other one sucks air out of the room. my guest bedroom only has the “sucker” kind of vent. future guests, this is your fair warning! (don’t worry, there’s a fan.)
  • where the gas lines go.
  • where i can put new electrical sockets in my basement if i want.
  • how to operate my dehumidifier in the basement.
  • that there are three locks inside the house that are, at the same time, installed backwards and don’t have a key. awesome.
  • i can’t change the lock on my bedroom door (one of these three without a key)… most likely because paint around the knob has sealed it in… for now. sweet.
  • that there is a definite problem with one part of my gutter right outside my basement door  because it was not draining properly. and i got soaking wet when i opened the door in the rainstorm.
  • i can’t unscrew a simple shower head by myself. even with the help of a wrench.
  • the carpet is quite comfy. this is where i went to lay down and feel sorry for myself immediately after realizing i couldn’t change the shower head myself.
  • about the heaviest thing i can move in by myself is my tv. at least that’s taken care of now. and, you’ll be proud- no, i didn’t trip even once.
  • this one is courtesy of my sister’s finger: yes, the hot water dispenser really does dispense really hot water. (the hot water dispenser says “you’re welcome.”)

for two days in, i think i’ve learned a lot. i will be keeping record of all of my misdaventures for your delight and reading pleasure, world. this is gonna be a fun 30 years. 2041 here i come!

peace,
James





cats are weird

31 03 2011

disclaimer: i am not, and never will be, a cat person. belly is an exception.

before i even start, can i just say- mad props to wordpress for making my blog look so effing awesome on an iPad. i heart you, wordpress.

if you know me, you know i’m not a cat person. hate the species in general. but, if you know me, you also know that i am now a 6-month-in cat owner. i took in an unfortunate tiny black-and-white kitten one night in late september. i took her in thinking i would save her from a life on the streets, maybe foster her for a bit then let her move on with her catty little life, right. 6 months later, we’re still here. she’s set up shop, picked out a favorite chair (thanks, ikea!). she’s the proud ower of a large luxury litter box that self-cleans (that’s more for my benefit than hers) and she even has a fancy automatic feeder since i tend to wander off for days at a time. in short, she’s moved in. for the long haul. and while i’m still unsure as to whether cats are my deal, this little one is definitely one of my people.

posing. you know.

her name is isabella, for “real names” sake, but i call her belly. one, because it’s short for her “real name.” two, because i couldn’t really wrap my head around the name izzy (which the fam likes to call her). i like the name belly though. she’s definitely got one. she eats one whole hell of a lot. i’m actually surprised she’s not bigger than she is. (if you care: she’s a whopping 10 pounder.)

i recently learned black-and-white cats that look like belly are called tuxedo kittens. i find this absolutely hilarious. why? because she’s a lot like those tuxedo t-shirts. you know, of the “i want to be formal, but i’m here to party” genre. she tries to be all formal cat-like and all, or appear as such, but she’s really just a silly little thing who’s not quite right in the head.

oh nothing. just hangin out waiting for my fancy feeder to gimme some.

i don’t know much about cats… but this one is weird. i’m used to being around puppies. puppies are always happy to see you… they want to share every moment with you (unless that moment is tearing the meat off a bone, of course), they want to stare into your eyes and make sure you’re giving them every bit of attention you got, they are ready to love you every minute they can possibly stay awake. cats? i don’t think they get this idea. cats are more like, “oh hey” when you walk in the door, and then go back to what they were doing. cats hear ‘NO MA’AM!!” and they look at you and look around all like, “i know she doesn’t think she’s yelling at me… who else is here?” cats think everything you own is their property. cats also think they’re cool because they can jump higher than you can. not cool, cats. cats also make some strange-ass noises. i don’t know what cats usually say, but belly asks questions, she makes statements, and she also talks back. i have no effing idea what she says, but she definitely says something in her effed-up cat language. i also think she’s got a messed up noise-maker in there…. that whole purring thing? she does that pretty much 24/7 and it’s kinda out of tune. on top of the purring, she also makes really weird noises when she lands on whatever she’s jumping too, and it sounds like a broken rattle in a toy.

my approach with the cat thing from the start was to start off treating her like a puppy. i’ve heard if you do that, they might turn into halfway normal socialized creatures. i can’t tell if it quite works all the time, but it seems to be working half the time. half the time she keeps to herself on my ikea chair or the windowsill, and half the time she’s reaching up to pet my face or she’s jumped up on my shoulders to play with my hair or she’s busy trying to head-butt my forehead or even chew on my chin (ew. i know.)… i tolerate this ok because i figure, hey. she’s trying to be like i want her to be, even if she doesn’t quite understand it. even if it’s really effing weird. so… gohead on, belly. just keep being your weirdo self. it’s expected. i think we’re well-suited for each other.

yours,
James





#mylife: packing. thus far

24 03 2011

hey world. james here. again. so sorry i haven’t been keepin up with ya so much lately… winter break and all that… but never fear, spring is here, and i am… somewhere. i’ve actually picked up on all of my Eff&Music posts lately so i’ve been writing a lot about the music in my life, but not much else. and there is much else!

well, i kinda already told you about it, but… i’m buying a house. i guess the important part of this statement is that i have to pack up my life once again and move it from my tiny starter apartment to my new, it’s-way-too-big-for-me house. no worries though- i am sure i will be able to fill it up, if not with furniture and all of my stuff that others are too quick to call “junk,” then definitely with love. i have a little over a month until i move, and, while that seems to be a long time, you must realize i’ll be venturing out of my work life for the first time this year on some travels.

next weekend we’re going to destin for our annual anesthesia conference (read: anesthesia spring break), and after i come home from that, i work pretty much every day until we leave for california to go to… COACHELLA!!! i so cannot wait for this festival. it’s gonna be as awesome as last year, but actually so much better since we know what to expect and have planned it out so much better this year. yes, yes. and after we come home from that adventure… i have about a week (in which i’m working almost every day again!) before it’s time to start the closing/moving process from marietta to brookhaven. joy.

packing is gonna be a bitch. as i said, i have a shit ton of stuff, and not a lot of places for it to go in my apartment. if you think about it, my apartment kind of looks like a really cool thrift store. (i do love a really cool thrift store. so this doesn’t really surprise me. and shouldn’t surprise you. actually, it should worry you. because with the arrival of so much more space in my life, i may frequent really cool thrift stores more often and come home with more really cool thrift store stuff. *sigh*)

i decided to start the packing process by taking some pictures off the wall. that proved to be a mistake of grand proportions. not only did my cat decide my cute pictures were attack-able, but she also tried to eat the nails & thumbtacks they’d been hanging on. (she’s crazy, by the way.) in addition to that madness, i realized that a wall without pictures was unavoidably depressing. so, i stopped after clearing one small part of one small wall and moved on to another project.

i managed to weave my way through my “craft area”( that i haven’t been able to use in months) last night and start putting that stuff into boxes. i figured that would be a good place to start, since it’s unlikely i’ll be sitting down to do any fun projects before may. ha! is it sad to anyone else but me that i can’t bring myself to throw away stuff from college and high school? i mean, mementos, man! i can’t do it. impossible. anyway. it was a nice start… it’s highly unlikely anything else that productive will happen again in the next few weeks, but hey. i made a dent.

i’m gonna make a strong effort to keep you up-to-date on all of this packing madness (and my upcoming travels, of course), if not to entertain you than to just keep track of my madness, which i’m sure to conveniently “forget” during one of the rage blackouts that will show up sooner or later 😉 i know you can’t wait. til next time-

yours.
james.





hello, world!

7 03 2011

man, it’s been a long time! i’ve been here. just not here here. sorry! i’ve been takin care of Eff&Music business on the blog front, and just being crazy busy on the other fronts. i haven’t even been traveling! like, hardly! can’t wait for that to start again. until then, i’ll just catch you up on a few fun things.

concert season is in full swing. i have a new tradition for my shows- i got a pair of grey TOMS shoes for christmas and i’m going to write the name of every band i see this year on them. my Year of Music shoes! so exciting. they already look fabulous and i’ve only seen a handful of shows so far this year. here’s their virginal picture. i’ll have to update throughout the year.

also in music news, we’ve got some great events coming up… you know you can always check my shows page to see what’s on my radar, but at the end of this month we are going to Athens to see my favorite Avetts… then a couple weeks after that we head back to cali for this year’s coachella. you can always keep up with me on Eff&Music: TakeOnlyWhatYouNeed to hear more about that fun festival and the bands that’ll be there. every tuesday, folks.

last but not least, in big awesome news… i’m buying a house!! well, at least i’ve picked out one that i want to buy. that was the biggest part… and now it’s just the waiting game. we shall see what happens, but i should have a new home come may. yay!

happy march, y’all. have a good one and i’ll try to talk atcha more. 🙂

peace,
james