Monday, March 22, 2010


The ides of March!

Anyway, my ides were fine. I've had a midterm each week, and I have one left (an oral report/presentation) before the break.

I had a lovely last week, making birthday cards, baking, drinking with friends, and being vegan with guests from out of town.

Pictures to come. One week and three classes left until Spring Break comes, bringing with it one of my favorite midwesterners.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

You know you've been doing too much theory when...

...You had to use step division to figure out that 4/12 reduces to 1/3

...You can sort of understand why the cat won't stop licking your Cornel West book

...You can type "social constructionism" with your eyes closed

...You only notice that the sky is half purple and it's hailing when the cat gallops in to hide under the couch

...You know the difference between Bourdieu and Badiou

...You have paper cuts...on your torso

...You have Leftovers Casserole down to an art

...You have more blog updates than any month since NaBloPoMo

...You are cursing out webcomic artists for not posting their daily updates by 12:01 AM

...You know the local librarian by name

...You think you truly understand phenomenology


Cheap as free!

Coming from a working-class family background (holla!) I've always been frugal (well except for a few weeks in college for which I will always be paying). I've had to be; the trick is doing it with style.

I enjoy going out with folks, so I have to be extra careful when I am alone, because I essentially save all my extraneous money for acting like I'm not poor when I'm out with other people who don't understand. This is even harder in NY, because I'm hanging out with overall wealthier people with wealthier lifestyles. Not my choice, exactly (other than I chose to be a grad student, which poor people normally don't do). As I get to know more people and do more things here, I'm sure this will change, but for now, I must try to be cheap.

For example, today I cooked a huge breakfast at home: scrambled eggs with a little cheddar cheese and homemade biscuits*. Total cost for enormous breakfast: approximately 98 cents. In contrast, last Sunday my twin was in town, and we went to the only brunch place in the neighborhood. Cost for me (not include the bourbon pear mimosa, nomnomnom): approximately $15. That's two weeks worth of giant (meatless) breakfast at home, and I shouldn't be eating bacon anyway. At the time it was worth it because I had a guest, but I won't be repeating that often.

Of course, if I still lived in Astoria and I went to the cheap diner around the corner I could have had a large breakfast (of, well, diner-quality food) for under $5 (including the tip). Given the amount of time it takes to cook sometimes, going to the cheap diner was occasionally worth it, especially since I felt really uncomfortable using the flatmate's kitchen.

That's how it was the whole time: her kitchen, her hallway, her apartment that I just sort of squatted in. It was very challenging to be frugal there, mostly because of this not-having-a-kitchen syndrome, but also because of supply expenses: unlike my former flatmate, I am stingy with the cleaning supplies. FRUGAL! See above! Also, I'm too aware of my impact on the environment (and the world problems US pollution and consumption are causing) to use paper towels or 17 different kinds of aerosol cleaners.

My favorite example of my ability to save money has to do with soap. I'll admit it: I do actually overuse soap. I like a good, rich lather; foaming soap is my nemesis. I like to imagine getting rid of all the germs, and I having counting to 60 seconds down to an art. I am not frugal with soap. All my recent housemates or flatmates liked to buy liquid hand soap. For a small NY apartment (not, say, bulk for a 25-person house in Wisconsin), that costs about $4 per bottle, about one bottle per each of us per month. $4/month for liquid hand soap. Not bad, right? Well, one day I went to the dollar store to find other things and, hey, did you know that not everything at the dollar store is a dollar? Many things are more than a dollar, but some things are less. Like bar soap. Some obscure branch of a large cosmetics chain put out a rose-scented bar soap. This was 69 cents.

Do you want to know how long that 69-cent bar of soap has lasted me? Too bad, I'm telling you anyway. It's less than half gone and I bought it at the beginning of November. Even with being out of town for almost a month, that's a 6-month bar of soap. That's the equivalent of $24 worth of liquid hand soap. I saved $23.31 with this bar of soap. Boo-ya!

Let's try that again: Boo-ya!

Even though I'm awfully proud of that bar of soap, I'm going to start sharing cheap, free, and frugal things to do around New York City. Because really, I am not the only broke person in this city. And I don't know how long I'm going to be here, so I'm going to start trying to do as many awesome and exciting things around the city as possible, and the best way to do that is not to spend too much money.

*Ok, from one of those twist-pop tubes, but still, I baked them.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Help! No one can read this! How do I make my font centered in that lovely bar in the middle of the page? Please leave hints in comments...


Monday, March 1, 2010

New month

Well, it's been a while!

I haven't posted anything substantive in a while because I've been having some personal trouble that I've really been focused on in my life. I moved to NY into a two-bedroom apartment that a woman posted on Craig's List. I know that that's a risky thing, finding someone on the internet and it could have been much worse, but it is practically impossible to find an affordable apartment with out being in New York City. I needed someplace to live before school started, and I settled for something acceptable.

In short, it was a bad situation. And I know it's a bad idea to bitch about people on the internet. So I won't list her offenses or defend my responses or try to convince you that it sucked. But, suffice to say, that for the last one and a half months I've felt a weight settle on my shoulders when I got off the train and started walking back to my apartment. The dread of going to where you are supposed to sleep at night has been taking a serious toll on my mental health: depression and anxiety combined to essentially make me sick to my stomach. All of the time. I became an ornery, self-centered wretch. If you called me, all I would talk about was moving, packing, and my jerky flatmate. It was awful.

Time passed. I searched for apartments FOREVER. Eventually, I found a place, I found sublettors, I waited and packed and waited and waited. I tried to work and meet people and failed. I signed a lease and worried about being scammed. And FINALLY, yesterday I was fortunate enough to move the fuck out of there. And I feel totally great. Totally free.