Sunday, May 30, 2010

Words_a la Evie

My 6-year-old niece Evie wrote her first story. Goes a little something like this:

The Little Flower

Once upon a time their lived a little flower. Then a little drop of water fell from the sky. Then a sprout came up from the ground. The clowds were mooving until the sun came out of the sky. The flower came up and the flower was saved. People came to have a picknick their. They had a good time. End of the story.


Ten bonus points for writing it in a scroll-esque fashion. Another ten for included artwork. And twenty for giving her first story away as a birthday present.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Words_Ode to Robbey

If it weren't for Bob and Cathy, Robbey Redd would not be here today celebrating his 28th year of life. If you don't know Robbey, you probably should. He's what I like to call a "prih goo guy." But that's a whole 'nother story.

Robbey Fun Facts

1. He only eats once, maybe twice a day. And sometimes it's old pizza from a dumpster when he's on tour. I'm not judging.

2. He slaps dee bass in a band but generally hates talking about it so if you're going to make conversation, it's best to stick to sports, namely, the Orioles, Steelers (burp), or fantasy anything (that doesn't sound right).

3. His eyes go down like Hugh Grant's. Mine go up like Asians. If we were to procreate, our child would probably have level eyes.

4. He's generally a mumbler/low talker in conversation. The only time he's not mumbling is when you're actually supposed to mumble, like in church. He thinks he's whispering when really he's talking in a completely normal voice. So everyone in our row usually knows exactly what he's thinking or observing throughout the entire service.

5. He can grow an impressive handlebar mustache and talk passionately about how to properly care for one. This is usually done while on tour when I can't actually see him because he knows how much this generally creeps me out. Such love between us.

6. Under conditional circumstances, you may find Robbe karaoke-ing songs from Weezer, the Gin Blossoms or dueting "Your Love" by The Outfield with one of his best friends. It's a must-must see.

7. Robbe's dream is to live on a boat and sail around the world and surf with, no, not me, but his best friend David. I just can't compete with David's tall, dark and handsomeness.

8. Robbey is a what you see is what you get kind of person. He's not here to impress anyone (unless you're Cal Ripken). He treats everyone the same no matter who you are (unless you're Cal Ripken). He gives everyone a chance and is slow to judge, if he judges at all.

9. He's a guy's guy.

10. More importantly, he's my guy (take that, David!) Happiest birthday, Robbey. <3

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photos_Happy Birthday Vivienne

My best friends just had a baby girl tonight, their first child. Here's to the beginning of everything terrifyingly amazing.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I like coming across people's personal to do lists scribbled down, obviously forgotten or left absentmindedly. I found this one in Hallmark, placed in a card slot as if it were for sale. This person's handwriting (probably a woman's) reminds me of my grandmother's.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Photos_Conesy Inspiration

Just in case you missed it, here's a really beautiful picture of the gee-tar playing, cowboy hat wearing, string pluckin, beard-sportin', tunes-croonin', joke-telling Conesy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Words_Le Feminine Mystique

Disclaimer: The following contains women-sensitive topics including the use of various feminine hygiene products with strong references to a woman's monthly menstrual cycle. Should you be uneasy with the word "menstrual," "feminine hygiene," "women-sensitive," "monthly," "to," "strong," or "disclaimer" you should stop reading and think about the grossest thing you've ever done in your life which may have been five minutes ago when you peed in the toilet and didn't wash your hands and then you ate potato chips and licked the salt off of them and then you scratched yourself a lot and then ate some more potato chips and repeated this whole cycle over again and then you thought of the word "cycle" and remembered that whole "menstrual cycle" thing that you usually say "EWWW" to whenever you hear it but only because that's what other guys do and you actually have no idea what a menstrual cycle is, all you know is that it makes girls cranky and they eat crazy amounts of chocolate, at least that's what they did on 90210, and after giving yourself one more satisfying scratch you thought, well maybe reading a story mildly referencing a menstrual cycle experience isn't so bad after all, it could be educational.

I went to Target (Tar-jjjet) tonight to pick up face wash, some feminine hygiene items, and, an unplanned added bonus: The National's new CD ($7.99). (Quite good by the way so far.)

As I'm checking out, the woman employee notices my items, in particular, my feminine products, and says, "Have you tried the new Infinities?" (Infinity = latest marketing product by Always)

"Um, no, I haven't." I respond, first thinking that the woman is nice for engaging with me, the customer; then second, realizing we aren't talking about the latest shipment of Liberty stationery or Loreal's new microscrub face wash. We're talking about, well, our periods, and what we use to handle the situation.

"They're awesome," she says while taking my cash and shoving it in her drawer.

I'm not sure if I should continue to respond as the conversation has migrated into unknown, unchartered territory, but I give her an encouraging smile and offer a, "Oh, really?"

"Oh yeah," she says. "Once you try them you'll be like, how did I use anything else?"

"Wow," I say, humored, surprised, weirded out. "I'm intrigued." Which was the truth. But how do you continue the conversation at this point? As a courtesy, the next logical question would be, well, why are they so great? It's a fair question across the board, but of course this warrants information that isn't fit for stranger to stranger, employee to customer conversation. I'm not even sure it would suit friend to friend conversation. Perhaps a very good friend, ideally a bff to bff conversation aided by four or five margaritas, but anything less familiar and less sober than that would just be odd. I was waist deep in odd.

"Definitely try them next time," she says and hands me my receipt.

"Yeah, I guess I'll have to." I say with a concluding smile.

I guess I can't blame this woman for her passion and zest for a feminine hygiene product that works for her. I should be more receptive and sensitive to those who actually celebrate these kinds of products, as they are usually used as the butt of many a joke.

Target employee woman, thank you for giving me the weirdest conversation I've ever had in a checkout line. I commend you for displaying unparalleled loyalty for a socially unpopular but widely practical product. That kind of loyalty knows no bounds and reaches out to people you've known for no more than 30 seconds and connects you for a lifetime. That's powerful. That's admirable. Again a little odd but admirable nonetheless. I think we're both different people now because of that experience. And we don't even know each other's names.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I found out at work today that my occasional* visits to alakimi will sadly be no more as my community college employer has officially blocked blogger. Yes, you heard that right. Blocked. Blogger. Which leads me to my next question: Who blocks blogger? Is visiting so technically and socially corrupt that it now has been blacklisted over more significant social networking giants like Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, zoomba, beebo, and sharkfaceme? (Last three I just made up and any association they may have with social networking is purely coincidental.) It would be like going to McDonald's and not being able to order the McNuggets--not the most popular menu item but still a Micky D staple that brings abounding joy to customers of all ages. (Namely me, with honey.) (Actually these days I usually get the happy meal--hello kitty watches forever--or snack wraps with fries. The last time I had McNuggets was...well, I can't remember.) (P.S. I'm hungry now.)
I'm sure there must be a better explanation for this. They (the college) actually can't block Facebook because faculty use it at times for instruction. Scratch that; faculty use it at times for "instruction." Let's face it. We all know those faculty members are checking their Facebook throughout the day...planting some needed turnips, thumbs-upping a page about education, and pondering what "poking" really is. The college probably doesn't bother to block MySpace because it's only used now by the five of us who still like their background design...what can I say, I like robots. Anyway, I suppose this may be a "good" thing as my attentions can now be focused 10% more on things like my work. But oh, 10%, I will miss you, dearly. And I will never forget you or what we had together. And one day, when I get that job promotion because of that 10% rerouted energy, I'll look back on what was sacrificed and I'll pause to remember our good times together. And then I'll walk straight into that crazy institution without struggling, just this once, and I'll say: "They were right all along." And I'll begrudgingly look down at my phone and plant a few rows of tomatoes.

*very frequent

Monday, May 3, 2010

Photos_Emily's Brooklyn Apartment

Unlikely Frames

Purr from China

 Dear Wall Hangings

The Proof is in the Meat

Words for Life

 Bathroom Art

 Bunnies Know Best

Hands and Faces

Owls Read, Too

Apartment Life

Brooklyn Loves You

And I love you, Brooklyn

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Words, Photos, Videos_Oh, the Places You'll Go...In NYC

Words_NYC Story #1

On Saturday, Emily and I decided we would take a whimsical stroll around Manhattan with the hopes of
1. getting a haircut
2. finding a cute dress
3. buying cheap sunglasses

While on our mission, we had lunch at a cute restaurant in SoHo called Fanelli Cafe where we, without a choice, befriended a fellow patron who sat beside us at the next table. I admit, I knew from the moment we made eye contact through that restaurant window that she was going to make our afternoon undeniably interesting. What was it that led me to this conclusion? Maybe it was her roller blades or her helmet or her accompaniment of unwieldy shopping bags that abruptly broke the bar's steady hum of eating and conversation. Maybe it was her determined expression that met my gaze for four or five seconds too long. Maybe it was the definite sense of longing that quickly translated into: "I'm a needy person."

Before even sitting down, she was already interrogating one of the waitresses:

"Do you serve fish?"
"Is it fresh?"
"Yes, it's very good."
"Are you sure?"
"What else do you have that is good?"
"Well, we're known for our burgers."
"Okay, and they are good?"
"Yes they are very good."

She plopped down beside Emily, our tables inches away from each other. Emily and I felt her obvious stares but continued our conversation with more consistent gulps of beer. It wasn't but a minute or so when the girl started waving her arm towards the waitress who just sat her. After a few seconds we heard her inquire, "Is someone going to come over here?" I didn't turn to look at the poor waitress's face.

As we were nearly finished, the girl turned to us and asks with an accent: "Did you have the burger?"
"I did," Emily says.
"Was it good?"
"It was very good. Heavy, but good."
The conversation transitioned into what we were doing in New York. We explained our separate stories and she told us she was from Lebanon and came to New York for school in hopes of transferring to NYU.
"I have no friends," she says. "I'm trying to find friends."
"I'll be your friend," Emily says quietly. My heart dropped and I realized Emily is the nicest person I have ever met.
"Really?" the girl, whose name is Vivanna (or something like that), says. "Well, do you like adventure and suspense and stuff like that? Like, I like roller coasters."
Emily laughs because she just described the complete opposite of herself. She would take a book and cheap wine any day over anything remotely adventurous.
"Um, no I don't," she says and then points to me. "But she does. But she doesn't live here."
We then, for the next five minutes, give Vivanna a pep talk about how to make friends by joining club groups that are centered around roller blading or other niche sports or interests like "suspense" and "adventure."

Words, Video_NYC Story #2

As we are finishing up our conversation and paying for the bill, I looked outside the window and saw a guy with a gray over-sized beanie talking to another guy. I did a double take and realized he looked just like Channing Tatum. I looked again and realized that it's him, Channing Tatum. And he definitely noticed me looking all three times. (Channing Tatum is in G.I. Joe, Dear John, and Step Up.) I'm shocked that no one is bombarding him with autograph and photo requests. As we exited Fanelli's Cafe, a few others were mingling around waiting for an opportunity to snag a personal photo. We paused for a minute to employ this same idea and as we did I noticed that 1. he had the beginnings of a very scary mustache 2. he was a lot taller than I thought; on TV he looks like he's 5 "8, 5 "9 but he looked well over 6 feet. 3. Whatever conversation he was having looked like he was trying to comfort a discouraged friend.

So, due to #3, we decided to leave Channing behind, missing the opportunity for him to meet us. Sucks for him.

Later, while on some other side street, we ran into a filming taking place. At first we thought it was a no-name production until we looked closer and realized it was Michael C. Hall (Dexter). After scoping his work on IMDB, I think it's for an upcoming film called "East Fifth Bliss."

We finally got our haircut here: Dramatics NYC
We bought some home decorations here: Pearl River
There were no sunglasses purchased nor cute dress. :(

Words_NYC Story #3

While turning onto a street, we heard this loud, piercing screech which sounded like the tires of a bike or something. We turned around to see an older man passing by on his bike, the screeching sound coming from his mouth, yes his mouth, not his tires. And his face was a pure smile, like this was his thing, his enjoyment, his livelihood to fake like he was screeching to a halt to innocent passerby-ers by making a horribly high-pitched noise.

"I thought a dolphin had landed in NYC and was riding a bike," Emily said. We then agreed to make that noise whenever we were nervous from that moment on.

Photos_Oh, the Places You'll Go

 Emily & her sweet Chris (aka Marco)

 Does Emily know this isn't a real milkshake?

Awesome signage

Union Square from Feline's Basement window

Union Square #2
Goodbye NY, NY.
Love, Kimi

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Words_G.E.L. 2010 Recap

Two years ago I attended GEL for the first time. I really had no idea what to expect. I knew my boss and my boss's boss were advocates of it (they attended the first one in 2004) and that it was a bit unconventional than most work conferences where nine times out of ten you find yourself nodding off to an assortment of blase Powerpoint presentation.

At the heart of GEL, Mark Hurst, the founder/director, creates mini experiences for the attendees that add up to the theme of the conference. These mini experiences are direct, live experiences where the attendees are forced to interact with one another, sometimes working specifically in groups or independently, but within a group setting. And then the other side of the mini experience is presentation after presentation by progressive, innovative entrepreneurs, young and old, in markets from religion to fast food restaurants, who have created for themselves and for an audience a really unique and creative experience.

This GEL 2010 conference was really dynamic, at times moving, wholly inspiring, enormously educational, and refreshingly eye opening. I had a great time meeting new people (Russian this time instead of Norwegian), playing Werewolf with Improv Everywhere, making crafts with Noah Scalin, witnessing the amazing talent of Ysaye Barnwell from Sweet Honey in the Rock, drinking courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery, visiting offices, and hearing about how people are changing our culture and technology through practicality, creativity, and hard work.

So, without further ado, here are all the speakers and their Web sites. Please check them out!

* Personal favorites

More fun stuff: