4 January 2015

First snow of 2015 NYC, by Shaul Schwarz [3 January 2015]

Ok, so it's been [checks date of last blog post] 21 months since I last wrote anything on this page. Do I have an excuse? Not really. I could say I've been busy relocating from London, to Georgia, up to New England again, and finally settling in NYC. I could say I've been busy with ever changing roles at my job. I could say time was taken up by friends getting married, buying houses, moving, and changing jobs.

To be honest though? It's mostly just that I'm lazy.

But it's a new year! Resolutions and all that jazz. So here we go!

We did get some snow here in Brooklyn yesterday morning, though only for about 20 minutes, after which it promptly turned into rain for the rest of the day. Baby winter steps I suppose. I think I got spoiled by the "harsh" winter NYC experienced last year, which to me was just about brushing the lower level of what I think winter should be. Most of my co-workers, on the other hand, thought it was a snowpocalypse. The city will probably get some actual snow this year, but most likely not like last winter. I will just [still] have to live vicariously through Boston.

Overall we are liking living in Brooklyn. With the layout of NYC's five boroughs, sometimes it is easy to forget we actually do live in NYC, especially since we do not get into Manhattan all that often. But we are looking to move into a less suburban-like, more city-like neighborhood this month, which will help. I still don't feel quite the connection to this city I did with London, but I am really hoping to get there soon.

In sports news, the Patriots are back in the playoffs! Woohoo! Check back in this space next weekend to see how the first game against the Ravens goes. [oh man I hope it goes well...]

I also am trying to find a project to work on/volunteer for/establish myself which centers around the more social + design issues I am interested in. With the hours I've been putting in at work, it's been hard to motivate myself to do something with my free time, especially in the winter with the limited sunlight. But lately I am trying to keep myself as close to 40 hours a week as I can, which hopefully should give me the time to get my ass going a bit.

So, you know, a few small goals for the new year.


7 April 2013

its amazing how quickly 72 degrees out can feel like 720 degree when running a couple of miles in a paved cul-de-sac development with no trees for shade....


25 March 2013

overlooking the strange interpretation of north america's geography, I so want this to be a reality.

I'd be hopping on trains all over the freakin' place.

[image from here]
[Taken from the Penguin book "Transit Maps of the World" by Mark Ovenden]


19 March 2013

ok sports industry, I have a bone to pick with you.

look, I understand women's sports will never be as universally popular as men's.
I get it.
I may not 100% agree with it, but I get it.

that being said, the disparity of attention given to the two is appalling.

March Madness. aside from NFL playoffs and the Olympics, it's my favorite time of year. I love the atmosphere, the games, the 'anything can happen' arena of the bracket.
and, coming from a state in which both the local university's basketball teams kicked ass, I am used to the women's games (and subsequent achievements) getting just as much attention as the men's.

but I am not in my home state at the moment. haven't been for a good long while now. and when abroad or, as recently, down south, I turn to numerous reputable and well-known national sports websites to catch up on the goings on in the sports world.
which in mid-march primarily focuses on tournament brackets.

and here's where it starts to get f***ing annoying.

the men's tournament: articles, discussion, up-to-the-minute and realtime updates, both live and pdf printable brackets. which is great. I love it. bring it on.

ne'er to be seen.

out of the four websites I frequent (I practically live on them during the NFL season), I was able to find information on the women's tournament on one.
and that site doesn't even have a bracket available.
I had to google image it and eventually found one on the huffington post's website.
(did you know the huffington post had a sports section? I did not. learn something new everyday.)

now, these are pretty much the top four sports coverage entities in the country. they are respected. they have magazines and tv shows. they employ top writers, including many a former athlete.
so what the hell are they playing at?

the argument is there isn't enough interest to warrant the time and effort to provide the same amount of coverage as mens sports gets. the argument is not enough people care.

and the response is the majority will not bloody well care if the media keeps acting like women's sports are somehow inferior and don't matter as much.
as long as the leaders in sports coverage push women's sports to the side, hide them under dismissive labels, or don't acknowledge them at all, the general perception of their worth is not going to change.

and I argue that while women's sports may never command the same level of fan base, sponsorship, or media wealth, there are plenty of people who care.

and we are sick and f***ing tired of having to search the netherworlds of webpages for any indication that the sports we enjoy and support exist.

it's 2013.
sports is no longer the realm of the chauvinistic and the misogynistic.
so get with it.


18 March 2013


I actually miss the rain.
the driving, soak you to your skin, turn your umbrella inside-out, make you curse the invention of clouds rain.
I miss walking in it.
I miss staying inside with a cup of tea and a book watching it.

but mostly, I miss the rain because it was london rain.

and oh how I miss london.


13 March 2013


found this cleaning out the attic the other day. 
couldn't help myself. 
I'm a sucker for red-headed shenanigans.


6 March 2013

so don't really want to spend a lot of time on this post, I am still really bummed about it (as evidenced by the fact that these events went down over two weeks ago, I and I am just getting around to this now), but we will not be returning to london.
shall we say, things went down. things involving sadistic border control officers, immigration holding rooms, fingerprinting, attempting to sleep on the floor in a locked room in the bowels of heathrow airport (and failing), and an eventual deportation back to the US.

there's no use expounding on the downsides to this development (I've done that enough in my head anyways), so here going to focus on the positives.

-unlimited cheerios and cheez-its
-no barriers to getting to the two weddings this summer we are invited to
-closer to family and friends on this side of the pond
-I might actually get to eat the lobster my family has been so kind as to call me internationally to tell me they were having over the past few years
-girl scout cookies

and ok then. enough on that.
on to more interesting (and less depressing) things!

all these have caught my eye lately.

This house is 7 feet wide, built in 1830 by the cranky owner of one of the buildings next door because he wanted to keep people from using the alley next to his house.
we all know I like odd buildings, constructions that are just a little bit strange or imperfect. but houses built specifically out of spite? that I am definitely on board with.

'the E-inkey Keyboard Concept, designed by Maxim Mezentsev & Aleksander Suhih. The keyboard (hypothetically) uses E-inky technology to create a keyboard whose keys are customizable and responsive to the programs you are using.'

I want these murals by PIXERS in whatever future home I may own.

this 'accidental movement':

When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: "Iranians ... we [heart] you." Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message -- and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like "Israel loves Iran," "Iran loves Israel" and even "Palestine loves Israel."
Ronny Edry of Israel accidentally created an online movement for peace in the Middle East when he posted a Facebook image that declared "Iranians, we will never bomb your country."
The image became a catalyst for dialogue between the people of two nations on the brink of war.

there are no words to describe how much I covet these.

this hedgehog statue in Kiev...

...which led to the discovery of this ridiculously cute short animation, Hedgehog in the fog, created by Yuri Norstein in 1975.

and finally just the overall wintery insaneness of this.
[necessary to click link, no way to embed video...]


13 February 2013


so it turns out we are in fact returning to london. at least for a little while.
visa has still not come through (nor any of the steps leading up to the visa, in fact), but we already had our return flights, and ben's boss prefers having him in the same continent, so on monday back to london we go!

however, since the visas have not yet manifested themselves, I will not have the ability to work or search for a job over there at the moment. which means over the next three months, I will have to find other ways of occupying my time.
this is what I have come up with thus far:

-continuing working with the NGO I've been volunteering with (and have been since last October), re-building a school in Haiti that got destroyed by the earthquake in 2010.

-finding ways to make our £80 a month food budget last all 30 days...

-toting our camera around the city, exploring a bit and practicing how to actually use this fancy dslr contraption we have (I keep avoiding doing this on my own, for fear that people would think that I am in fact a tourist, instead of a local. like anybody would actually care. it's irrational, I know).

-network the hell out of everybody I know so that when (not if, when) our visas come through I can find a job (and hopefully, a job I like).

-go to the museums I have not been to yet (and re-visit some old favourites).

-furthering my quest (we do live right across the street from a library over there, after all).

-catching up on a few tv shows I've been remiss in watching.

-figure out how to hang stuff up on our bedroom walls...

I know it seems like a lot, but we'll see how much empty time I manage to fill productively (instead of just sleeping a lot).

[photo mine]


6 February 2013

hit book number 7.

it was okay. have many more lined up in my queue that I am much more excited about. (two of them may or may not involve julia child...)

and for those of you curious how I've been rating the books I read on my quest to a 100 in a year, I present to you, my book rating system:

0 out of 5 stars: oh god that was horrible.

1 out of 5 stars: eh.

2 out of 5 stars: suppose it was okay enough, for a quick literary distraction. however, no need to go anywhere near it again.

3 out of 5 stars: enjoyed it. might even search out other works by the author. but consider that particular book checked off as 'read', and nothing more.

4 out of 5 stars: really liked it. might go out and buy it, for a future re-read or two.

5 out of 5 stars: loved it. probably am going to go out and buy it. and will read it at least 3 more times over the next ten years.

I try to keep myself in the 3 to 5 star range (what's the point of reading a bad book?), but every once and a while a 2 or even a 1 will slip in there. (my stubbornness gets the better of me sometimes, 'screw you book, I don't care how bad you are, I am finishing you, damnit! this was the case of the latest conquest)

but even my stubborn nature can be bested by a 0. I usually quit on those about 5 pages in....


21 January 2013

well, one of my new years resolutions fell through last night.
the patriots lost to the ravens in the afc conference championship game.
they will not be going to the superbowl, nevermind winning it.
(and, thusly, at least for the next two weeks, I am a 49'ers fan)

therefore, time to focus on the resolutions that are in my control
(instead of just wishes, hopes, and superstitions)

I have already made some decent headway into one of them, my (renewed) quest to read 100 books in a year.

three weeks in, and I've knocked down 2.

not completely fabulous, but in my defense I am doing a lot of volunteer work for an ngo back in london, and we got a new lego game for the wii for christmas.
there are only so many hours in the day, after all.

anyways, if interested, you can follow my reading progress here.
(pinterest. the lazy man's way of keeping track of read books)


11 January 2013

new years resolutions:

1. stop ignoring this blog. it has feelings too.

2. attempt to read 100 books in a year. (again. grad school got in the way last time...) 
(btw, I will be documenting my conquests on my pinterest page this time. waaaaay easier)

3. see the new england patriots win the superbowl again. (granted, this one is slightly out of my personal power)

4. find a job. this one's not only a resolution, but a necessity.

5. find a job I like. (that's the hard part)

6. travel more.

doesn't sound so bad, right?
however, I have had this post sitting in my drafts folder for two weeks already, so...there's that.

[image from here]

12 November 2011

what do you get when you combine a country that has a decisive lack of tins of pumpkin puree and two whole pumpkins left over from halloween?

bethany and ben in the kitchen becoming all domestic-like and making their own puree from scratch.

(btw, its surprisingly easy. we're following these steps. bonus: you get to stab the pumpkins 10 or so times with a very large knife.)

now we we have enough pumpkin to make these again!

and these,
and this,
and this,
and maybe, just maybe, some of these.


london as seen from a trafalger square lion at 2:30 in the morning

10 November 2011

when I saw on the schedule of the semester that we had a reading week in early november, I was like sweet! no classes! I can run errands and clean the flat and do all the non-school stuff I've been putting off!

well, turns out, I've barely had time for the reading.

that flat remains un-scrubbed.

but it's the though that counts, right?