Sunday Update #2 | Arctic Monkeys, Writing, New Apartment

Hello! It is 9 pm local time. I hope I have caught you before the Monday morning dread has set in. Or before you have fallen asleep. I literally don’t know when people go to sleep anymore. I have friends who are always in bed by 9 pm (Grandmas!) and friends who are liking dumb Facebook memes at 3 am on the dot (How do you function!?).

If you have already fallen asleep by the time this has been posted (like a baby), please enjoy this post in the morning, as you sit at your desk—cup of coffee in hand—and not work.

 


 

Arctic-Monkeys-tranquility-hotel

I’ve been enjoying the Arctic Monkeys’ newest album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, which came out on Thursday.

The Arctic Monkeys have been everything to me since I heard AM about five years ago, so I was excited to witness their first new release in a long time and catch them on tour this go-around. (I will be seeing them in Washington DC in July!)

Rolling Stone described Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino as a “space-lounge odyssey,” and there is really no better descriptor than that. The Arctic Monkeys are known for their genre-spanning evolutions between albums, and this is no exception. They have come a long way from the energetic Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not; the manic Favourite Worst Nightmare; the dark Humbug; the romantic Suck It and See; and the glam AM.

I’m starting to sound like a music critic and I really don’t want to, because this is meant to be a quick blog post and I am no expert. But I do like this new, risky direction that they’re going in as a band. Some of the songs sound too similar, and I miss Alex Turner playing the guitar, but I get that this is a piano-heavy concept album about a weary rock band playing at a hotel on the moon.

Songs I’ve been replaying, in no particular order: Star Treatment, Four Out of Five, The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip, Science Fiction, Batphone

In case you are new to the Arctic Monkeys, I made a Spotify playlist of my favorite songs that you are welcome to follow.

 


 

I pitched an article idea to one of my favorite publications, and it was accepted! In the next few weeks, you’ll probably see me posting it everywhere. This would be my first byline, and I can’t even couch the enthusiasm in jokes. I’m just happy.

Also, my best friend and I recently started our own two-person writing group, in which we exchange ideas and pieces we’re working on throughout the week. We’ve only been doing this for a couple weeks, but it’s already been so helpful for me to have someone read my writing and suggest feedback, offer encouragement, ask me to expand on ideas, etc.

In fifth grade, we used to write book-length novels together that were essentially fan-fictions of us (as teenagers) joining our favorite Christian pop band, so it has been fun returning to our roots as friends and as individuals.

 


 

I moved into my new apartment nearly two months ago, and it is finally starting to feel like a home. Here’s a picture, because I’m really proud of this corner. This is the first time where I’ve had full control over decorations, so it’s been rewarding to see this start to come together.

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I also love my neighborhood of Edgewater. I moved here because it was more affordable than Lakeview, where I had been living before, but I hadn’t known that I was moving to a neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places, filled with stunning homes built in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Surrounded by manicured gardens and young families, it feels a lot more like a community than when I lived a few blocks from Wrigley Field.

Here’s one of my favorites, to cap off the evening. If you are looking for a weekend trip this summer, I highly recommend Chicago! It is just starting to become beautiful and sunny again. My couch is always open, and my cat doesn’t bite (hard).

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Sunday Update #1 | Revisiting College, Sufjan Stevens, Queer Eye

Happy Sunday!

This is a new thing I’ve been trying to start for a while — an uncurated series of thoughts and happenings from the past week. I wanted a space where I can share bits from my life without the goals of “I need to think this through fully and form it into something” that a regular blog post comes with. So, please enjoy this new installation in the museum that I guess is me.

 


 

Last week, I visited my alma mater for its Ad/PR Senior Salute event, where I met up with old friends and professors and silently (and not silently) judged everyone’s outfits. Do people not know what “cocktail” means? I don’t consider myself a pearl-clutching kind of person, but I was honestly horrified at what people felt comfortable wearing around the people who will be serving as job references after graduation. *shudder*

On that note, it was strange not knowing anyone at school anymore. There were a couple people I had seen as freshmen that were now seniors, but no one I really knew. When I walked through the doors of Nicholson, I was half-expecting to see all of my friends and classmates from a couple years ago, not in their current state but frozen in amber, in that time.

It’s like when I visited my high school a couple years ago to have lunch with one of my teachers, and I was surprised to learn that they had paved over the retention pond near the senior lockers to make room for more parking spaces.

Driving away from campus, I couldn’t stop thinking about this pond. I had never had any particular attachment to it, and I’m not sure that I really missed it. But the simple fact that it had been there and now wasn’t was enough to rattle me — this inherent disconnect between memory and reality.

I suppose that’s what people mean when they say it’s “weird to be back.”

 


 

I’ve started to diving into the music of Sufjan Stevens, and it’s so dreamy and lovely. Why did I hop on this train so late? I first got into Mystery of Love from Call Me By Your Name, but now I’m going through his Illinois album. If you have any other song recs from him or someone like him, let me know!

 


 

My sisters Paige and Brianna and I cooked a Japanese meal from the cookbook I had given Paige for her birthday. We made okonomiyaki (a cabbage pancake) and gyoza (pork dumplings that I have now discovered are dually Japanese and Chinese?).

Making the gyoza was much easier than I thought until THEY STUCK TO THE PAN AND WE HAD TO SCRAPE THEM OFF. We tried cooking them with both metal and nonstick skillets, and the results were the same. What were once dumpings became a salad of pork, cabbage, and fried dough. The flavor was delicious though. I guess that’s what matters.

 


 

I went to Women & Children First‘s book launch party for Samantha Irby‘s essay collection Meaty. I had previously read her essay collection We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, and UGH, you guys, she is as hilarious in real life as she in her books. She is truly one of the funniest writers I’ve ever read.

I’ll repeat myself here: She is the best. I love her. Read her books and her blog!

 


 

I love love love Queer Eye, so please enjoy these interviews I’ve seen recently:

When Your Dad Is Queer Eye’s Karamo (Slate)

Jonathan Van Ness’ Favorite Things (GQ)

The Fab Five Insta-Stalk Each Other (Elle): Karamo, Tan, Jonathan, Bobby

 

That’s it for today! Have a great week!

 

I Determined My Worth as a Person, and It is $30

There is an aphorism that I’ve seen circulating on the Internet, usually related to salary negotiation, that goes “Know Your Worth.”

I didn’t know how to take this. What is my worth anyway? How can one tell? Isn’t it all arbitrary and based more on perception than reality?

So, safe in my internet cocoon, I have tried to do just that. I have very scientifically calculated my self-worth based on quantitative inputs like “Am I nice?” and “Do I purchase clothing from overhyped Canadian brands?”, and I have determined my worth to be $30.

Please enjoy and let me know if you also try this exercise. Your answer will determine whether or not we are allowed to speak again in the event of a dystopian takeover.

 

MY BULL-HEADED INSISTENCE THAT FIVE GUYS IS BETTER THAN SHAKE SHACK

Yes, I will grant you that the Shake Shack sources its ingredients locally, that the menu variety is a lot better, and that the cheese fries are indeed good. But c’mon, those crinkle fries, deep under that pound of cheese, are the kind of stuff you get at carnivals and at high school concession stands. The cajun fries at Five Guys are way better. C’mon. You know this.

+$30

 

INABILITY TO USE INSTAGRAM STORIES

If you have an Android phone, then you know what I mean when I say that the Snapchat app is awful. It is laggy and has an interface that’s virtually unusable. Every time I swipe, I almost start a conversation with a random acquaintance.

Enter Instagram. A couple weeks ago, I tried promoting my blog post over the Stories feature. I know a lot more people on Instagram and it’s way more customizable—what’s there to lose?

The answer is: my sense of ownership amongst my peers. I recognize intellectually that Instagram is more intuitive than Snapchat, but I tried so hard to replicate the cute text effects I saw on other people’s Stories (to no success) and I had to look at support forums to figure out how to include a hyperlink in my Story so people could swipe up to read. I still don’t know why that paperclip wasn’t showing up at the time I needed it most.

-$100

 

KNOWLEDGE OF MICROSOFT EXCEL

I have an intermediate-to-advanced grasp of Excel. I know my way around a pivot table, a VLOOKUP, a chart. This is my only transferable skill.

+$70

 

DIDN’T TUCK IN MY SHIRT ONCE

I was and still am a serial rule follower. In 8th grade, I was secretary in our middle school government. This was a largely symbolic title that meant I took notes every meeting, but I took this seriously and tried to uphold the rules and values of my school.

Now, I went to a private school, where we had to wear uniforms everyday. We had a strict dress code, which included keeping your polo shirt tucked into your elastic-waistbanded khakis at all times. A dorky look to be sure, but we were representing capital-G God in all endeavors, and God likes a tucked-in shirt. It’s one of the commandments, I think.

One day, my teacher (also the adviser of the organization) takes me aside at lunch and gives me an infraction for not having my shirt tucked in. She tells me something like, “This is not what a member of the middle school government should be doing. You need to be an example to the other students.”

In repentance for my grievous sin:

-$220

 

BRINGING LUNCH TO WORK

I am that person who’s like, “What’s so hard about eating PB&Js and crackers every day?” In unrelated news, I also don’t have many friends.

+$40

 

I AM NICE

On the plane to Orlando the other day, I got an aisle in the very last row of the plane. By some cosmic fluke, I had the whole row to myself! Me! Little ol’ Taylor!

The people on the other side of the row (D through F) were sandwiched together in normal fashion. The couple at the end looks over at me then asks the flight attendant, “Is it okay if we…spread out?”

I intercept: “They can take my row! I can sit at the aisle seat of their row.”

They accept the offer and thank me a couple times, and I feel like a hero. But then I start to wonder, when had they planned on asking me if it was okay to “spread out”? Did they feel entitled to the extra seats next to me, in the same way that I had felt entitled to them? Now, pretty much everyone won in this situation: The couple got to spread out, I got to spread out, and the woman in the far window seat got to spread out. But at what cost to my ego?

+$60

 

IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Pretty much everyone’s got it, so this confidence level of I can do things, but other people may be better may make me more relatable as a person, but counterpoint: who needs another self-deprecating 20-something in their life? That’s right. No one.

-$50

 

CUTE BLAZER FROM ARITZIA

I should not have bought a $200 piece of cloth at full price while unemployed. I never spend this much money on apparel or really anything. But here we are.

I will say, though, that this blazer is pretty much perfect and what I’ve been seeking for years—black, three-quarter-length sleeves, no lapel, loose fitting but not so much that I’m lost in it, dresses up any outfit.

Here is where I flounder, because I didn’t think through these rules. Is this a net gain, because I have acquired an item worth $200, or a net loss, because I am out $200 like an idiot?

I’m sorry. I need this boost.

+$200

 

Total: $30