A Little Bit of This

Let me start off by saying that I can’t believe it’s May already! Where did April go? And while we’re at it, why hasn’t it felt like Spring until just now?

April was a really tough month for me. I couldn’t really bring myself to do much of anything for the better part of the month, much less write a semi-decent blog post. Despite that fact, there is a lot that I want to talk about, so let me just jump right in…

BOSTON

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My dad sent this to me today. Copley Square, Boston, MA.

The Boston Marathon Bombings left me pretty numb for a good two weeks, and I still haven’t fully recovered. Being from the area, most of my friends and family were at the Marathon, many close to where the bombs went off.

The attack hit really close to home, both figuratively and literally. The worst part, for me, was experiencing it all from 6 hours away. I was so emotionally invested into what was happening in Boston that it was hard for me to focus on anything. All I wanted to do was curl up under a blanket and watch the news, like so many of the dearest people in my life were doing. But life goes on, and most people here didn’t seem phased by the events that happened. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop thinking about them.

For those of you that don’t know, “Marathon Monday,” as it’s called in Boston, is also a holiday: Patriot’s Day. So, it’s kind of a big deal (if for no other reason than that it always marked the beginning of our Spring vacation week). I used to go into the city to watch the Marathon every year. Up until April 15 2013, the worst thing that ever happened (to me) at the Marathon was having to buy a really awful pair of Gap wind pants and knowing that I looked less-than-stylish all day (clearly tween Martine had her priorities straight).

Luckily, family and friends were all ok. Unfortunately, one of my mom’s friends cannot say the same. He and his girlfriend were standing right near where one of the bombs went off and are still in the hospital today. His colleagues set up a GoFundMe campaign for them and they’re very close to their $100,000 goal. Even if you aren’t in the position to donate anything, I encourage you to go to the campaign site and read the updates from him. Today, he was visited by the EMS crew who saved him, and gives some insight into what exactly his ambulance ride to the hospital was like. Scary stuff.

My Ink to the People t-shirt!

The light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, is how truly amazing it has been to watch Bostonians and Americans come together to support our great city. Emerson students created a Boston Strong t-shirt that can be purchased at the Ink to the People website. Net proceeds from each order will be donated to The One Fund. Professional sports teams from all over the country gave special tributes to the city of Boston intheir own ways, which, as a sports fan, was especially nice to see. Even the Yankees, the number one Red Sox rival, played Sweet Caroline after the third inning at their game on the day after the bombings. And runners in cities across the country honored Boston Marathon runners with runs of their own. We even did a Boston Solidarity Run right here in Philly. My favorite, by far, was the Boston Red Sox tribute video, which I unfortunately wasn’t able to properly embed on the blog, but it’s worth the click, I promise!

In the wake of tragedy, the true American Spirit shines. I think, as a country, we can be proud of our resilience in the face of terror and know that we all are Boston Strong.

BEING (A) WHITE (TWENTY SOMETHING) IN PHILADELPHIA

At the beginning of April, I went to a town hall style meeting at the National Constitution Center. The meeting was hosted by Philadelphia Magazine and was a discussion about their then-recent piece titled “Being White in Philadelphia,” written by Robert Huber. If you haven’t read the article, and especially if you live in the Philly area, it’s worth the read. Not necessarily because it is such well written, hard hitting journalism (because it’s not), simply because it was a very hot topic when it was released, and it’s good to stay in the loop with things like that. Well… I think so, anyway.

The meeting was really interesting. It did get heated (if only I had popcorn!), and it wasn’t exactly super productive, but I think it was at least good that people came together to try to talk about the race issue.

As for the substance of the meeting and the article… Since the main point of the article was to get people talking about race, I think Huber did a great job. Was the article balanced? No. Did he step out of his comfort zone to get a different perspective on things? Absolutely not. But that’s one of the main reasons people talked about it. And it certainly did get a conversation going, even if that conversation was mostly accusing him of being a bad journalist.

One thing that someone said at the meeting that really stuck with me was something along the lines of the “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck” saying. Basically, don’t dress like a thug and act like a thug and then be offended when people think you’re a thug.Now, that might not be the most PC point someone could have raised, but still… Yes. So. Much. Yes. If you want to be taken seriously in this society, you have to act the part. Now I’m not saying it’s ok to judge a book by its cover, but come on, people. Be smart. It’s kind of like when women get whistled at when they walk down the street. If I’m in sweat pants and a sweatshirt, then, yeah, why the fuck are you whistling at me? But I would expect nothing less for the woman I was walking behind the other day, who was wearing a skin tight dress that barely covered her ass and unbelievably tall heels. See what I mean?

As a white twenty something living in Philly… I can’t say I’ve ever been too concerned with black people. Not because I haven’t ever encountered a black person while living here (hopefully that wasn’t what you were thinking), but because I don’t really look at people as black or white, they’re just people. To me, it really doesn’t matter what race you are because by now I know that if you’re a good person, you’re a good person and if you’re not, you’re not. Race doesn’t have anything to do with character. Sure, how a person is raised has a lot to do withthat, but how you’re raised shouldn’t have anything to do with race. One of the panelists at the meeting kept trying to communicate the difference between race and class. Class, she suggested, is the real issue. Whether someone is black or white (or asian, hispanic, etc. etc.) doesn’t have as much to do with how someone is brought up and acts as much as class does, since class is dictated, in large part, by wealth and education. Changing the conversation from race to class is important, I think, because in order to make any progress with the issue, we need to first understand the issue.

I took a lot away from the meeting and I’m really glad I went. The older I get, the more I appreciate doing things that are a little bit out of my comfort zone and out of the ordinary eat, sleep, work, repeat. What different things have you done lately? 

Here’s hoping your April was better than mine. All I can really say is, bring on May!

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Round Up: Weird Current Events

Have you been paying attention to the news lately? Here are some things you might have missed (and some you hopefully didn’t)…

1. Fans voted and the cat will now replace the iron game piece in Monopoly. Now, I’m a big fan of cats, but come on! The iron piece is a classic! Luckily, you’ll be able to purchase a special edition of the game that has all of the pieces, old and new. (I know you were worried…)

2. Valentine’s Day is long gone, but you can still get these awesome Undead Teds (read: zombie teddy bears) from an illustrator in England. Give me zombie bears over fluffy bears any day of the week.

3. Colin Kaepernick (the quarterback who didn’t win the Superbowl) got a new tattoo. On his chest. That outlines his, um, boobs.

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Photo courtesy of Colin’s Instagram

4. This article about face tattoos happened. It’s not so much about the topic of the article, but about the author. I have a confession: I read CNN. All. The. Time. And granted, he authors the “Apparently This Matters” column, so you know it’s going to be something off the beaten path, and possibly more interesting, than a typical CNN article, but still. He’s pretty hysterical and definitely a recommended read.

5. Wine. Ice cream. Wine ice cream. It’s a thing. Do I really need to say more?

6. A Carnival cruise ship caught on fire and basically broke down in the middle of the ocean (good times!). Passengers were stuck on the ship for an extra 4 days with little electricity, long lines for food and sewage seeping down walls and soaking carpets. I don’t know about you, but after hearing about that incident, I’m pretty OK with never taking a cruise (like, ever).

7. The Pope quit is retiring! The Philly Post did an interesting Q & A with a Vatican chronicler (a what?) to get some insight into the event. Yes, event. Because the last time a Pope left office while he was still alive was in 1415.

8. Sparknotes version: Chelsea Welch was a waitress at Applebee’s. “Was” being the key word there… She got fired after posting a picture of a customer’s receipt (below) on Reddit.

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“I give God 10% why do you get 18″… Why are you a PASTOR and only giving God 10%?

There’s a lot more to the story, so I suggest reading Chelsea’s Guardian article. Know this- if you go to a restaurant and don’t tip your server or are rude to them… YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE. No ifs, ands or buts about it. (End rant.) Chelsea, not that it really means anything, but I would hire you if I could!

9. Caroline is an 11 year old who just wants to play football (and apparently is just as good or better than her male teammates). Unfortunately, the Catholic football league that she played for has a “boys only” rule. Rude. Her parents started a petition to let Caroline play and it already has over 100,00 signatures. Sign it! Go Caroline! (Brought to you by females everywhere.)

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Photo from the Crossing Broad website

10. Help Utley (the dog) get knee surgery!!! He’s SO CUTE! (And I might have a slight affinity for animals…) His owner is trying to raise $8,000 to be able to get this adorable pup back to dog park glory. You can donate to the fund here. (Do it!)

11. The very same day that a large asteroid passed by Earth, a meteor blast injured a bunch of people in Russia. I may be a super nerd at heart, but you can’t tell me that isn’t at least mildly interesting, especially since it’s about as common as seeing a car on the Schuylkill River trail… (Apologies to those of you outside of Philadelphia who may not realize how uncommon that actually is.)

12. Someone is making a “high-tech replica” of the Titanic! Titanic II is being made in China (instead of England) and apparently fans of Titanic (the movie) will pay upwards of a million dollars for a ticket to ride on the new vessel… And also I’m apparently the only person who thinks making an exact replica of a ship that tragically sank in the middle of the ocean after hitting a giant iceberg is a bad idea…

Lucky 13. Last, but certainly not least… There’s a Tamagotchi app (for Android only, sorry fellow iPhone users!) that is just exactly what you need to bring you back to the good ol’ days. You’re welcome.

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Photo courtesy of my roommate’s Instagram

Round-Up: Current Events You Should Know About

Do you keep up with what’s going on in the world? Hopefully you already do, but if not, you should start! As 20-somethings, we already have the power to choose our nation’s leader, so, you know, it’s probably a good idea to learn about some stuff happening not only in our country, but around the globe as well. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of some recent newsworthy stories below. Enjoy!

In no particular order…

1. Manti Te’o. Heard of him? I hadn’t either (sorry folks, not much of a college sports fan). You can read the full article here, but I’ll just go ahead and sum it up for you… This Hawaiian guy plays football for Notre Dame and he’s good, so he’s kind of a big deal. Part of his popularity is due to some tragic events that he went through this past year. Namely, the death of his grandmother and girlfriend… On the same day… Before a big game. And despite those losses, he goes on to play phenomenally in this game. Only problem is, the girlfriend never existed. SPOILER ALERT – Manti’s friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (whom I have affectionately nicknamed Ronny Hot Mess) was merely pretending to be his girlfriend, unbeknownst to Manti, of course. Which apparently worked because Manti and his “girlfriend” had never actually met in person. So that makes perfect sense, right? Kudos to Deadspin for doing what no other news organization had done and actually looking into the girl Manti claimed was his deceased girlfriend…

And then I found this video… Thanks to a friend for posting it on their Facebook!

2. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t hate Meryl Streep! If you didn’t catch JLaw’s Golden Globes acceptance speech, it went something like this…

And then, predictably, the gossip about JLaw hating Meryl started. Well, never fear, JLaw cleared the whole mess up when she was on Letterman…

Shame on you, Hollywood, for not recognizing a movie quote when you hear one!

3. Beyonce was not actually singing the National Anthem at President Obama’s Inauguration. Sigh. Lots of celebrities have come to defend her lip-syncing, though, so that’s nice of them… I guess.

4. A security guard in Trinidad and Tobago shot his penis off. Safe to say, he’s having the worst week ever.

5. This kid came out to his entire school at an awards ceremony. Do they have an award for Balls of Steel? He definitely deserves it.

6. Over 200 people died in a fire at a Brazil nightclub this past weekend. This hit me particularly close to home since I’m all too familiar with the unbelievably overcrowded Philly bar scene. Stay safe out there folks, and maybe stay away from attending any shows where bands shoot off fireworks inside.

7. This is the best dad ever.

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Stumble upon any fun news story recently? I want to hear about them!