Monday, September 26, 2011

Is This Really My Life?

These past few days have been one amazing adventure after another.  I've been meaning to post blog entries every evening, but I keep finding myself falling asleep before I can complete them.  So I just decided to stick them all together and create one massive "I really can't believe my life's been so great" posting:

It all started Friday morning.  I was supposed to have an 8am French class, but thanks to my broken alarm clock, that was a no go.  Instead, I spent the extra time primping and preparing for my upcoming story.  My original plan for the week was to shoot a profile on the Big Gay Ice Cream franchise.  They'd just left the food truck business behind for a stationary alternative, and I thought a Q-and-A with the owners might be fun.  Originally, they said sure no problem, but after they found out I was going to be filming their store, I was turned away.  Basically, it was Thursday night, and I was scrambling for a story.  Thankfully, my professor emailed the class the AP daybook just as I was in the middle of my panic attack.  I saw that he official opening of "Education Nation Experience" was to be held on Friday morning at Rockefeller Center.  The tiny snippet describing the event promised children, so I figured closeups would be plentiful.  Anyways, come Friday morning, I waltz over to where other cameras are set up.  Mind you now, I'm definitely the only student there.  Everyone else is national news (not even the local stations) and here I am with my baby canon camera.  But, I set up my tripod and act like I belong.  The real excitement though happened after the speeches were made, and the ribbon was cut...Ann Curry (the co-hot of The Today Show) was one of the speakers at the event.  She gave a heartwarming talk about her father teaching elementary school, and she stressed the importance of every child having access to the internet regardless of their parent's pay check.  All of it was quite sweet.  So, I just sauntered over to the stage when everyone else was packing up and started asking her clarifying questions.  Here I am, a 20 year old NYU student interviewing Ann Curry.  I'm sure she was thinking "Who is this little twit?", but she answered all my questions and was very nice about it.  Even after her personal assistant said it was time to go she made sure all my questions were answered.  After that, I took the 6 train down to Grand Central Station where I filmed a sneak-peek of the World's Oyster Shucking Competition.

Saturday morning, I decided my footage from the 9th Annual Oyster Frenzy Preview turned out so good that I'd turn it into my story for the week.  So again, I took the 6th train to Grand Central and set up shop.   Twenty-eight competitors from across the globe came to Manhattan's Oyster Bar for a chance at the $3,000 prize.  In two minutes, they had to shuck as many oysters as they possibly could.  Following each round, top chefs held cooking demonstrations, and New York City's own Naked Cowboy would serenade the audience.  But the professional shuckers weren't the only ones competing.  Spectators raced to see who could eat 12 oysters the fastest.  This years winner slurped down his dozen in less than 10 seconds.

With the smell of sea salt covering my clothes, I left the restaurant around 3:00pm and headed back to Lafayette for the day's top festivity...The Alabama vs. Arkansas Game.  Because NYU's lacking in the football department, tailgating isn't really a Saturday tradition on our campus.  But, with it being the first real SEC matchup for Alabama this season, I felt like it needed to be celebrated.  Plus, one of my fellow Southern Laf RA's is a Razorback fan, so I wanted to be there to rub it in his face with they lost.  For my game day cuisine, I paired a few of my mom's favorite recipes along with my own specialties.  And if you ask me, I'd say we ate quite well:  100 pigs in a blanket, chocolate-chip  dip, Roll Tide cupcakes, chicken wings and spinach artichoke dip.  Adorned in my crimson and white U of A dress, I cheered for the elephants just as loud as if I were actually at the game.  The game's final score stood at 38-14; it was a good day for any Alabama fan.  
Just Some of Our Food
On Sunday morning, I had my first building wide event.  For the Arts Collateral's September event, we planned a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.  I'd never been there before, and I must admit I was rather impressed.  Works by Picasso, Monet, and Cezanne hung on the walls, but it was the special exhibits that really caught my attention.  The winner of the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize covered his entire space with 100,000 $1 bills.  If you haven't seen it, please make a special trip!
Money, Money Money...Money!
Following my museum visit, I edited some video footage then made my way back to Lafayette for our third floor event.  We've been feeling a little bad about all the junk food we'v been feeding our residents, so instead of your typical sweet, we made 100 smoothies.  Of course they weren't all finished, so I probably drank 5 or 6 banana-strawberry soy smoothies while my Co-RA downed 10 whole milk variations.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Le Basket

For my first journalism assignment of the semester, my professor wanted us to visit a restaurant or cafe around campus and shoot 20-30 scenes that we think best represent it.  After a quick Q-and-A amongst some of the Laf RAs, I decided upon Le Basket.  Nestled on the corner of Broadway and Third, it seems like just your typical NYC deli, but customers say it's their outdoor seating and abundant Four Loko that keep them coming back.  Despite looking like a complete creepster (you figured I had my camera, a tripod, a boom mike, huge headphones, and a ridiculously long extension cord), the owner graciously let me film inside the bodega-esque store Friday afternoon.  The salad bar, the sandwich line, the coffee station, and the chip rack were among the still options I shoot.  Interviews were a little hard to come by, but Marty McFresh's (yes that's his real name) was definitely usable.  Sure, he may have been promoting Four Loko (not so much Le Basket), but every time I watch it I can't help but smile.  Plus, since he actually spoke it complete sentences, it should be a super simple edit.

But, it was the footage I got Saturday night that showed what makes Le Basket a frequent hangout amongst NYUers.  With Broadway as their backdrop, twenty somethings perched themselves around the outside metal tables.  As night faded into morning, more 24oz. pop tabs were pulled, and more interviews were conducted.  The general consensus revealed that Le Basket is a great place to hangout when you're broke.

I just showed my professor the material from my Le Basket adventure.  After a quick tutorial in Final Cut, it looks like I'll be editing my raw footage to actually create a package.  So, be sure to check back sometime next week for a finalized version.

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Floor Program

Last night the 11th Floor held our first floor event, Sunday Sundaes.  And, I'm pretty excited to say 32 people showed up.  Granted five were RAs, but that doesn't discredit the programs success. My CO-RA and I decided the only way to insure people would come was with free food, so we spend our Saturday afternoon making homemade (I guess it'd actually be dormmade) ice cream.  To showcase my Southern roots, we of course followed the Paula Deen recipe I've become some familiar with.  To represent Michael's home state of Minnesota, we made an "Ice Cream" playlist filled with popular songs from Midwestern bands.

Because our floor houses 69 residents, we had to make two batches of vanilla ice cream.  My roommates didn't quite understand the noise coming from the ice cream maker; one just thought I'd left the blinder on for too long.  But both agreed the annoying crunching of ice and rock salt was well worth the results.

To make our sundae party more authentic, we purchased hot fudge syrup, caramel sauce, strawberry drippings, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles.  And for all our lactose intolerant/vegan visitors, Oreo cookies were available.

Our total cost for the program was $45.  Not to shabby if you consider we had to buy eggs, sugar, milk, 4 cans of evaporated milk, 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and 28 pounds of ice.  We're thinking next week's event wont be quite has complicated; perhaps just a visit to Happy Dumplings will suffice.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to the Books

Boring School Books for the Semester 
My semester has officially begun.  I've met my professors, spent too much money on books, used a whole packet of notecards, taken the NYU bus, and drunk a venti lattte from Starbucks.    It's only been three days, and already I've been forced to conjugate verbs in French and read about London's medieval history. No longer are my sole responsibilities RA training and first floor event planning.  Granted, that doesn't stop residents from knocking on my door at 2:30am to ask for a building sticker, but at least I've ventured above Canal Street.

Despite my daily 8ams (yes that's Monday-Friday), I'm pretty excited for my classes.  However, it's a little weird to think that two years of my college days are already behind me.  I'm no longer "new" to the city. This week, freshmen have actually asked me: really, how stressful is finals week? what's the best dining hall? where should I go to buy a fake?, etc.  One gutsy freshmen even asked me for my number while we were waiting for our breakfast in the omelette line. When I explained to him that despite my blonde, curly hair and baby face, I'm actually 20.  His response was, "So is that a yes or no?"  Oh boys at NYU, they seriously think that because there's so few of them all girls will fall for the lame pickup lines; usually they're right, but come on, the omelette line.

However, it wasn't just Welcome Back Week for me.  The little boy I babysit began the third grade yesterday.  So, on Wednesday, as a last hurrah, we made a special trip to the NY Transit Museum. Highlights of our visit included a tour of vintage subway cars and sitting in the driver's seat of an MTA bus.  For lunch, two slices of tomato pizza hit the spot; then, we were off to Barnes and Noble for an afternoon of picture books and Godiva hot chocolate.
Olie Driving the Bus 

Danny, Olie's Friend, Driving a Bus From the '60s 

The Boys in an Old Train Ticket Counter 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back With My Brooklyn Babies

For more than three months now, I've been without my Brooklyn Babies.  Although they've sent me cute emails throughout the summer, nothing could top the warm hugs they gave me Wednesday morning.  All last year, I spent three afternoons a week hanging out with Sophie (13) and Oliver (8) while their parents worked in the City.  However, working for their family was definitely more than a job; it was more like having a second set of parents with an adorable little sister and brother---basically, it was just what I needed with my Georgia family living 1000 miles away.  

With the kids not starting my back school until next week, I'd just assumed my first day back on the job would entail homework duty and tae know do lessons.  But, I got an email from their mom wondering if I was available to work an extra morning this week.  When I got to their adorable brownstone, Martha asked if I'd be up for an adventure.  She said, "The day's just too pretty to be spent indoors."  She suggested we spend the day in Manhattan.  

After breakfast was served, facebook was checked, and teeth were brushed, Sophie and I came up with the game plan for the most perfect afternoon:  We took the F train to Central Park, where we saw exotic animals in the zoo and rode the antique carousel.  

Enjoying Their Snack in the Park
We had a picnic lunch underneath a shaded tree, followed by cotton candy and strawberry ice cream for dessert.  A game of pickup baseball was progressing, so Oliver took a swing while Sophie and I chatted about her upcoming last year in middle school.  After we all agreed we couldn't explore one more inch of the massive park, we made our way to Dylan's Candy Bar.  Sophie had an IOU from her parents for her birthday and decided to share her present with her baby brother.  Neither one had ever been to the Wonka-esc Wonderland, and both just couldn't get over how many sweet treats for available for purchase.  After exploring the three-story-confectionary-palace, Oliver decided on a giant Crunch bar, a water gun that shot bubble gum, and some candy shaped like Lego pieces, while Sophie settled for an assortment of chocolates, multiple Smarties, caramel chews and gummies.  As we made our way back to Brooklyn, I just couldn't get over how much fun we'd had.  More than that, I couldn't get over that I was actually getting paid to have all this fun!  It really was a perfect way to ease back into the working world.