Job tomorrow! Monday, Jul 31 2006 

Tomorrow I start my new job — my first, actual, real world job!

I’m nervous.
But mostly excited.

The only thing I can think about is fitting in! I hope I fit in with all the other new employees.

But now that I think about it, I loved this place so much in the first place when I interviewed there because I felt like I fit in perfectly. I was so stiff and nervous at my other interviews — here, I was joking around and giving an impeccable play-by-play account of my resume!

And so it begins!

I’m entering the workforce!

Paris Pictures Saturday, Jul 29 2006 

These Paris pictures are mostly out of order, but I’m not going to do anything about that. It’s just about time that I get them UP!!!

This was my fourth time in Paris and Sars’ third, so we didn’t spend as much time doing the touristy things — we mostly hung out in the Marais, Ile Saint-Louis and the Latin Quarter. We did go to the Louvre — but just to use the bathroom there!

Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris, in the 4eme arrondissement.

Buildings lining the Seine.

Jardin du Luxembourg, and that’s the Pantheon in the distance.

A statue in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Place de la Bastille, in a rainstorm, and a borderline riot! Sars and I got out of there fast.

Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre, from the top of the Musee d’Orsay.

Behind me: the Louvre. In front of me: the Tuileries. Far in front of me: Place de la Concorde, the Obelisque, and the Arc de Triomphe. Eiffel Tower is slightly to the left.

Little kids played with boats on this fountain — so cute!

The interior of the Musee d’Orsay. It’s our favorite museum, since it’s French art from 1824-1920ish, I think. All the impressionism.

La Tour Eiffel

Things and such Thursday, Jul 27 2006 

Tomorrow is the Hong Kong Duets Karaoke Contest. First prize is $100. Erica and I are singing Toto’s Africa. It’s going to be awesome. And I love the fact that while I may not be singing with a fellow glee club alum, I’m singing with a fellow glee club alum’s sister!

I’m finding nothing to write about….I HAVE been doing stuff with my friends — most recently, Jordan’s and Martini Monday at Venetian Moon. We had a big group there.

Work starts on Monday! I need to get a T pass….it’s quite expensive….

Project Runway is AWESOME! I don’t know why I’ve never watched it until this season! I was so happy for Bradley — there’s no way that he deserved to be in the top three, but his outfit had a great silhouette. I love Robert. I think that if I could be dressed by any designer on the show, it would be Robert and Keith. I would be all over Keith if he were straight — LOVE him!

And Baby-Sitters Club! I am replenishing my collection and I’m finding books at such a crazy rate. Seriously, as soon as I discovered what a huge fan base there still is among girls my age, I’ve been sucked in again! Ebay is great for finding books, as is the bsc_trade community on livejournal. At the moment I have 121 of the 225 books in the series, and around 30 are pending. I’m also making the rounds with the used bookstores — I actually went to SAVERS in REVERE today! Savers is a giant thrift store, and it was recommended by someone in one of the communities. It took me forever to find it, but after I had given up, I saw it.

I bought seven duplicates of books I already have: Kristy’s Great Idea (new cover), Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (new cover), Mary Anne Saves the Day (both old and new), Claudia and the New Girl (new), Hello Mallory, and Stacey and the Missing Ring. If there is ANY chance that someone out there wants to trade, you can have any of them for any book above 90, any Friends Forever, or any mystery above 17.

Oh, man. I get too obsessed.

I also went to a coinstar machine today, and was surprised to find that they didn’t have the no commission for a gift certificate for Starbucks, iTunes or But I got $16 out of it.

I got a new black iPod.

This is the most boring blog entry I’ve ever written….

….So how am I feeling?

Excited and a little nervous to start work, nostalgic that these are my last few days of freedom EVER, and full of dread because while times are great now, virtually all of my friends will have moved away by September, to greener pastures like DC, Florida, Texas, grad school in New Hampshire, and BOLIVIA (yes, Kara, I know you’re coming back, but six months plus is a long time!!). It’s sad. It’s like the end of college — I kept crying while we were still together, like at the Senior Farewell and the last Pops concert. Once I left, I was fine. I haven’t cried since. So this is marring the last of the good times I have with my friends. It just has a black cloud hanging over what could be an amazing time.

I think I’m going to watch a little Colbert.

JOB! Friday, Jul 21 2006 

I’ve been so unfaithful to my blog! It’s been so busy, especially this week — interviewing like crazy, plus getting in and out of Boston. I can’t wait to move into town — it’ll be so much easier!

So I interviewed for quite a few jobs.

And I got an offer.

And I mulled it over.

And I called them back and asked extensive questions about benefits and bonuses and all that.

And I accepted it!

I am now a research assistant at a loyalty marketing company in Boston. It sounds like a really cool company.

But best of all, from the moment I walked in for my interview, I felt great. I ROCKED that interview better than I’ve ever rocked an interview — and I know I interview well, in general, but this was amazing. I clicked amazingly with the women who interviewed me, and we were laughing as much as we were asking and responding to questions. I walked around, looked around, and I felt, more than anywhere else, that I belonged there. I’d fit in perfectly. This just WORKED.

The complete package is great. And it’s located in a cool area of Boston. My dad says that area is REALLY up-and-coming — that there used to be a lot of dot-coms there, but after the bust, they went out of business and now a lot of new places are starting up. Plus, once Sars starts at Emerson, we’ll probably be meeting up for lunch.

So I start on the 31st. It makes me smile a bit — tons of the business students at Fairfield have had jobs even since last FALL, but they’re all starting them around now — and I just got mine!

Also — I ran into Jess Riu from Fairfield at the bar last night (I went out to Hong Kong (karaoke night!) and Sissy K’s with Lisa, Erica and Faith) — and she says she’s going to be moving to Boston soon! (I also screamed in her ear, since the music was really loud, “I’VE BEEN INTERVIEWING AND THEY ALL MAKE ME TALK ABOUT DOGWOOD AND WE HARDLY DID ANYTHING!” She was bemused.)

I also ran into Stacey Campbell from Fairfield — one of my roommates in Florence! She has a job in Boston — I think it’s at a marketing firm on Atlantic Ave — and right now she’s commuting from DRACUT. That’s a twenty-minute drive to Lowell (and Lowell is not the nicest place), and I think the train takes almost an hour to get from there to Boston. And I thought Reading was far! We ran into each other as we got off the train, actually, since I took it from Woburn that day, because they have a huge parking lot. (It was actually the day of my interview at the cool place.) She said that Lindsay, her best friend and one of our other Florence roommates, has a job in Boston, too. She’s from Wayland, so that should be easier.

Oh, and at karaoke last night, the four of us sang “You Shook Me All Night Long” and dedicated it to the Reading High Class of 2002, since that was our prom song. We also sang it under the pseudonyms “Kristy, Claudia, Dawn and Mallory.” Guess which one was which.

Funny Venice Monday, Jul 17 2006 

This graffiti made me laugh….

….but not as hard as this man’s ensemble did. Yep, that’s a fanny pack on his fanny.

These Native Americans played really good music — and, oddly enough, they were also performing in Bruges when we were there!!

Venice Sunday, Jul 16 2006 

Here are pictures of Venice — my second time there (but first time during the tourist season) and Sars’ and James’ first times there. Venice really is magical, but I wouldn’t recommend staying longer than a day. Not even if you were on your honeymoon and doing everything slowly and romantically. AND AVOID TOURIST SEASON. It was much more peaceful when I went there in November.
Venice is full of bridges like these over the canals.

We had lunch at a place called Vivaldi, and it was completely decorated in a musical theme. But you’d think that for a place that so embraced a classical music theme, they would play something on the radio besides cheesy 90s music.

Another canal.

A doorway — I really like this picture.

Pigeons are one of my biggest fears, so Piazza San Marco is a nightmare. You can actually pay money to feed the birds. And I kept scaring Sarah because I kept singing, “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag….” from Mary Poppins in a spooky voice.

Basilica San Marco, and Piazza San Marco.

The view from the top of the Campanile. On a clear day, you can see to Slovenia and Croatia.

The side of the Palazzo Doges from the Campanile.

The Bridge of Sighs — really disappointing. It got its name because it’s the last thing prisoners would see before they were executed.

A bird caught in mid-flight in Cannaregio.

Update Wednesday, Jul 12 2006 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my everyday life. Here are a few tidbits:

–Sars and I went to the American Idol concert in Manchester — which I loved!! Elliott was so adorable — he announced that it was his first concert, EVER, and he sang Luther Vandross’s “Never Too Much” (which I looooooove!!!) but forgot tons of words, so he hopped all over the stage. Ace Young looked GOOOOOD….Sars thought he was “creepy.” And there were these middle-aged women who were absolutely wild for Taylor Hicks, dancing in a really awful way during his whole set.

–I just downloaded Nelly Furtado’s CD “Loose” — I really like it. Especially “Te Busque.” “Promiscuous” is awesome, of course. And “Maneater” could be my new anthem! Heh. 😀

–For anyone who is a Baby-Sitters Club fan, you MUST check out Amsterdam, Amsterdam! It’s a fanfiction, a genre for which I held absolute disdain until I read this. It is the funniest thing I have ever read. (Of course, you need to be familiar with the BSC in order to get all the funny parts.)

–I’m also reading The Nanny Diaries — I’m really overdosing on nonliterary books this summer! But it’s really good, in the same way that The Devil Wears Prada is good. I’m looking forward to the movie, which stars Scarlett Johanssen, and Alicia Keys (whom I love) has her first screen role in it, too! Although I’m wondering who she’ll play.

I’m exhausted. I ended up walking around Boston in 3-inch heels today, through Downtown Crossing and the Financial District to the waterfront, probably covering about three miles altogether with the walking I did with Lisa by the Common and at the interview in Cambridge today. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now my feet are KILLING me. (Dad: “Why don’t you just wear sneakers like everyone else and carry your boots?” Me: “Do you KNOW who you’re talking to?!) We also had a freak thunderstorm today that was crazy — my train stopped out of fear of being struck by lightning, and there were pools of water downtown and on Charles St. near the cemetery.

Also, I am most likely going to see the Red Sox game on Thursday with my dad!!! 😀 It’s impossible to get tickets anymore, so I’m thrilled. My Uncle Mike gets tickets, and he always goes with my dad, but he can’t go this time because….

Well, Uncle Mike retired last summer and has decided that he wants to be an actor. His first job was being an extra in “Gone, Baby, Gone,” which is filming in Boston and is Ben Affleck’s directorial debut. It’s by the author of Mystic River and it stars Morgan Freeman. It’s about a missing child and how it affects the area. (Interestingly, Uncle Mike plays a newspaper reporter. He was an editor at the Boston Herald before he retired.) Anyways, now he’s in the Screen Actors Guild, and he’s an extra in “Underdog,” which is filming in Rhode Island. And it’s filming during the game (which is against Oakland). I’m excited!!

That’s it for now! God, I have so many more pics from Europe to post….

Cute Florence Pictures Saturday, Jul 8 2006 

Here are the rest of postworthy pictures from Florence.

Artists emulating Botticelli by Piazza della Repubblica.

I put a coin in il porcino’s mouth while rubbing his nose to guarantee a speedy return to Florence. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it had the adverse effect, considering that I had never done so before, yet returned quickly twice.)

A little boy gets so excited to ride a motorino!

Sars and I check out the best deals in Florence!

Lisa has loved this guy since we were abroad. She visited me in Florence and we ate at Le Collinine three times. This guy is the cashier at the restaurant, and he speaks no English. Lisa loved him because he’s a tall Italian — but he always had TONS of stuff in his pockets. Hence, what was written on the placemat. Lisa was THRILLED when she saw this!

The crowd for the World Cup game — there were thousands of people watching!

U-S-A! U-S-A! (The game was a tie, 1-1.)

We had the best seat there — just hoping on a very comfy motorino with a perfect view! (We were also near the corner of American students.)

A kid with an awful rat-tail sat in front of us.

In Milan, outside our ONE STAR HOTEL, which definitely lived up to its rating!

Fashion in Florence Friday, Jul 7 2006 

On our last night, we got a little bored (especially because Sars and I weren’t drinking, so we didn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the city), so the three of us walked around Via Tournabuoni and checked out the clothes at the designer boutiques.

I pose at my favorite designer’s boutique.

I imitate a mannequin….

And another….

James sees a suit he loves at Dolce & Gabbana!

Sars points out that the Dolce mannequin’s fly is down.

Florence Night Scenery Friday, Jul 7 2006 

The Ponte Vecchio from that little place where you can take the road down to right on the river, near the Uffizi.

The Ponte alle Grazie from the same position.

I believe this is the Ponte alle Grazie from the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte alle Grazie again, from the Oltrarno….

I think James took this amazing picture. Again, the Ponte Vecchio, from the Ponte alle Grazie.

Mistaken Identity Friday, Jul 7 2006 

I saw this and immediately assumed it was Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Nope. Courtney Cox and David Arquette!

Thoughts on The Devil Wears Prada Tuesday, Jul 4 2006 

Sars and I read The Devil Wears Prada during our trip, and we then saw the movie the day it came out. And I haven’t said this about any movie yet, but….

This is the new Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Bridget Jones’ Diary is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I can watch it again and again without wanting to fast-forward at any moment. It’s perfectly cast and the acting and writing are great. But most of all, it was based on a hugely popular book and actually improved upon the book. Immensely. The Devil Wears Prada does the same.

Basically, it’s about a new college graduate named Andy who goes to New York looking for a job in writing and ends up as assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of Runway, the biggest fashion magazine in America. Miranda Priestly is a bitch who gives Andy tasks like, “Get me the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript for my twins to read within the next three hours.” The job sucks, BUT if she works there for a year, she can get a job literally anywhere she wants. And she gets access to tons of designer clothes.

**Spoilers begin here**

The best thing about the film is that the flaws in the book were immediately recognized and cleaned up. Here are some of them:

–In the book, Andy is obsessed with The New Yorker and yearns to work there — but she doesn’t really show signs of being that literary, even though she went to Brown. She doesn’t seem like an intellectual. But the film makes her more journalism-oriented, being the editor-in-chief of the newspaper at Northwestern. It’s more believable.

–In the book, Miranda Priestly is young and a size zero. But I had such a hard time picturing her that way (probably because I knew it would be Meryl Streep). But she was too young, and too tiny. (I can’t imagine a tiny size zero being that intimidating, even if she is wearing Jimmy Choos). Meryl Streep fits the role perfectly, being an attractive woman in her fifties and pretty tall as well.

–The whole alcoholic Lily storyline is removed, which is contrived and predictable in the book.

–Miranda Priestly is shrieking and shrill, always yelling at Andy, in the book. But in the movie, Meryl Streep does it PERFECTLY by being soft-spoken. Yelling doesn’t make someone more intimidating! After all, who’s scarier — a guy running around in a ski mask with a chainsaw or Robin Williams’ character in One Hour Photo or Insomnia?

–FASHION!! It was nice to see the outfits. Andy can describe her brown suede Gucci pants over and over in the book, but seeing a two-second clip of a her in a head-to-toe Chanel outfit does infinitely more than any words can do.

–Miranda Priestly was portrayed as being too “arch” in the book — she was too evil, without any other dimensions. The book gave no indication that she knew anything about fashion. But with the monologue Miranda gives about Andy’s cerulean sweater at the beginning of the movie, she immediately establishes herself as a fashion authority. And when Miranda finds out in Paris that she’s getting another divorce and appears in front of Andy without wearing any makeup (it’s scary to see her like that), it really humanizes her.

The only problems I had with the movie:

–Alex’s name is changed to Nate for some reason (and I thought I’d mention that I have identical twin cousins named Nate and Alex). And casting Adrien Grenier?! When I heard he’d be in the movie, I thought he’d be perfect for Christian, the slick, sexy writer! He fits that role much better than the geeky but adorable, doting boyfriend.

–Alex/Nate is a sous-chef instead of a Teach for America teacher in the Bronx. I liked him as a teacher in a rough neighborhood not only because one of my best friends is in Teach for America now, but also because it provided a foil to Andy’s job.

–Anne Hathaway was PERFECT for her role as Andy from the neck up, but I had no idea she was so tall and skinny! Although they gave her a little bit of padding for the earlier scenes, she ends up 5’10” and 120 lbs. in an Oscar de la Renta gown. Thankfully, she looks like an average girl glammed up, which is how she looked in the face. But she looked like a model! That was wrong.

**Spoilers end here**

Overall, this was a GREAT movie based on a REALLY GOOD book. Please read and/or see it so we can talk about it!! I can only talk to Sars so much!

But I have one thing left to say. The most important lesson that I learned in my fiction classes at Fairfield was this quote, either made by Dr. White or implied otherwise: “Just because it happened like that, it doesn’t mean it makes great fiction.” Absolutely, 100%. I had to spend some time explaining that to my mother when I based a story I wrote on an anecdote she told me from when I was little.

Anyways, the author (it’s so bad that I can’t remember her name!) was an assistant to Anna Wintour at Vogue, and Miranda Priestly is based on her. I think that the author tried hard to be true to Anna — but the truth is that Anna is the exception, not the norm. She’s younger and she’s a bitch, but from what I’ve read, she’s a caricature of herself. Great material for a nonfiction piece, but the author took it too far for believable fiction.

Goodbye Oil Shoppe Tuesday, Jul 4 2006 

Since I’m into my Florence pictures right now, I might as well post my Oil Shoppe-related post that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

I spent my first semester of junior year — fall 2004 — in Florence, and it was absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t until after fall break that we found out about a place called the Oil Shoppe, a little sandwich shop only a few minutes away from my apartment. We went and fell in LOVE with the sandwiches and went as often as we could.

The shop only sold sandwiches from about 11:00 to 2:00, or whenever they ran out of bread — the rest of the time, they sold varieties of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine, plus meats and cheeses that they used in the sandwiches. The man who owned the place was named Alberto and he made every sandwich to order. You would make a simple request — salami with parmesan cheese, for example — and he would immediately chew you out for choosing something that didn’t mesh well, and he’d make the rest of the sandwich for you, choosing everything down to the sauces.

The best part was when Alberto would yell at you — it made him like the Sandwich Nazi. Sometimes my friends would intentionally concoct something inedible and feign ignorance, just to hear what he’d say. Alberto was amazing. He would often say, “I am the poet of the sandwich.” One day he cut himself on the meat slicer, and, after bandaging his hand up and slipping a rubber glove on top, announced, “I am the doctor of the sandwich.”

My favorite sandwich was spicy salami with spicy sauce, pecorinato cheese, arugola, bell peppers and artichoke hearts, with oil and vinegar, of course. There were so many combinations — turkey with parmesan and truffle sauce, or prosciutto crudo with pesto….

I’ve been back to Florence twice since then. It’s completely different.

When you go into the Oil Shoppe nowadays, it’s obvious that it now caters ENTIRELY to American students. It’s covered in signs, all lettered in English. It’s a bit obnoxious. There’s now a kitchen in back, where you can get hot food. (That I don’t mind.) And the prices are different — 3.50 a sandwich, 4 Euro for a sandwich and a water — and the formerly plain white bags are now emblazoned with the shop’s logo. Not that much of a difference, but enough to show that the place keeps improving upon itself.

But worse things happen.

You can’t pick out a sandwich from scratch.

Alberto has a list of ten different sandwiches you can choose from — a certain kind of meat with a certain kind of cheese, with the appropriate sauce and accoutrements. (Hehehe. That word always reminds me of The 40-Year-Old Virgin.) You can’t order a sandwich from scratch. My favorite thing to do was to tell him the kind of meat I wanted and then for him to do “whatever would be good with that.” Now, if you ask him that, he’ll look confused.

I hate it! THIS is what made Oil Shoppe so good back in 2004! It was all about the attitude you’d get from Alberto! Getting yelled at by him was the best part. Of course, the freshly sliced meats and good prices were good incentives as well, but you can get amazing food all over Florence.

Alberto wouldn’t compromise for anybody or anything, so it really sucks that he’s sold out for better business. The perfect example of this is in the signs that have been added. I’ve seen people ask him for two kinds of meat, and he’s adamently refused. But now you can get “double meat” for a slightly higher price. There are also sandwich combo deals, as if we were at a Subway. Nobody self-respecting Italian orders a sandwich combo any more than he would order cappuccino past noon.

I’ve been back to Oil Shoppe on two separate trips since my semester abroad: in March 2006 for Gleetalia, and just now with Sars. Both times I told Alberto that I was a faithful customer in fall 2004, and the first time he was absolutely delighted to hear that and told me how excited he was about the changes. (The second time, he apologized for not recognizing me. I’d never expect that!)

But it’s so disappointing now. The essence of Oil Shoppe, and any other cult food place, is that you don’t expect them to compromise; you get great food and you get it THEIR way. But now they’re conforming to the standards of what American college students want, and I think it’s much worse that way.

I’m never returning. My lunch of choice in Italy is pizza for less than 2 Euro now, anyway. It’s too bad. I just hope that Alberto doesn’t expand Oil Shoppe into a franchise, because he is the REASON why people go there.

Florence Scenery part I Monday, Jul 3 2006 

Here are some lovely scenery pictures from Florence.

Tuscan countryside in the distance from Fiesole.

In Fiesole, a Tuscan hill.

The view of Florence from Fiesole.

The Ponte alle Grazie and the Oltrarno at sunset, with San Miniato al Monte up there.

A slightly askew shot of the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset.

A dramatic shot of the city at sunset. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

The view of the Campanile and the city from the top of the Duomo.

Santa Croce and, slightly to the right of there, my apartment where I lived when I studied abroad there! 😀

Blogger is being weird again, so it will probably be longer before I can get more pictures up here. Enjoy these for now.

London Monday, Jul 3 2006 

Our journey began in London. Since I had a different flight, I arrived at night on Wednesday and she didn’t arrive until the afternoon the next day. Which gave me time to have fun, sightsee and travel BY MYSELF — which I absolutely loved. I’m looking forward to traveling alone in the future.

I’ve been to London before (with Sars and my parents), so I didn’t feel compelled to do a lot. I just relaxed and had a good time.

Astor Hyde Park in London — quite close to being my favorite hostel of all time. I loved it and highly recommend it. They also had an (empty) Cadbury vending machine.

Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived until she died.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament!

The London Eye — and the River Thames.

The best picture I could take of Westminster Abbey. It’s, like, the Duomo of London.

Buckingham Palace — I just missed the changing of the guard, but that was okay.

I love this picture — St. James’ Park (which reminds me UNCANNILY of Boston Common), with the view of the London Eye.

The Stag!!!

Sars arrived in one piece and we met some really cool guys from the DC area — Doug and Rob. They were really nice. We were going to meet up with them in Venice, but it didn’t work out — so if you guys ever check this, we had a blast with you!

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