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Posts Tagged ‘University of Chicago’

I just ate the most delicious omelet sandwich at Dizi.  Fluffy eggs cooked with fresh chive, mayonnaise, tomato, and lettuce on a toasted sesame kaiser roll.  So delicious that it was gone in under 2 minutes, I mean it.  And it wasn’t small.  This is all that’s left, and I’m taking my time in finishing the veg.

I desperately needed this comfort food, and a big breakfast was in order.  I need to get this off my chest, and I figure, soon enough I’d be telling the world anyway.  I’m applying to doctoral programs.  Maybe I already mentioned this on the blog, but I’m not sure.  Due to intense, paralyzing fear, I have begun and abandoned this process about 3 times before within the last 6 years.  However, the fact of the matter is, I belong in academia, and there is no way around it.  I have amazing skills which I apply to many different fields, but eventually, I fall into pits, despondency, melancholy, depression.  Yet, I read.  I read a lot.  I research a lot.  I write a blog in large part to simply spit out my thoughts to anyone who would want to listen.  Being able to contribute to a genuine conversation is such a strong desire of mine, my skin is crawling, I physically crave it

So what has the problem been?  My self-esteem regarding my academic merits is in the crapper.  I am so scared of failing to get into a program that I cannot act.  I have convinced myself that no professor will remember me, that nobody will want to stand up and speak for me.  I’m scared that those who have in the past will be annoyed that I’m asking once again, like the boy who cried wolf.  I’m scared that I won’t be able to adequately communicate what I want to study (because I’m often not certain myself), and I’m scared that whether I do or not, the powers that be will decide it isn’t a subject worthy of attention (Science Fiction), OR, that it’s been studied to death and I just don’t know it.  Rendering me stupid, useless, and a failure all around.

The thing is, I always got wonderful grades.  I loved being in class, and I know that my professors valued my participation.  I’m a member of Phi Beta Kappa for god’s sake.  But when I look at programs where 100 people apply, and 5 people get in, why would I be a good candidate?  Despite a 2-year MFA (a practical course, not a research course), and starting an MA program 5 months ago, I have been out of it for almost a decade.  What are they going to think about that?  What the hell am I doing even trying?  Then I look at my transcripts (I dug them out yesterday), and I’m blown away at the person I once was.  She was a stellar student.  Stellar.  There is no other word for it.  I graduated with a 3.8 and a 3.9 in my major from the University of Chicago, an institution to which as an alumna I have been devoted in my participation and fundraising.  Would that they take me back…

All I’m saying is that, hard as it may be to ask, I need my friends these days.  Deadlines are looming, and as usual, I have procrastinated myself into a panic.

Better get going with my salad.  Vitamins are important.  Gotta order a coffee, too.  Caffeine is certainly in order.  Have a good week, everyone.

 

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An "art-short-story" I adore, created by Brian Andreas. I keep this above my bed.

‘Twas yesterday.  My birthday.  31 on the 31st.  My golden birthday, gone in a flash.  Shared another birthday with Harry Potter (and his creator JK Rowling), and now an anniversary with Chelsea Clinton, apparently.  Went swimming in the sea, had a lovely Italian breakfast with my mother at Rustico Basel, a leisurely soy ice coffee with my sister at Loveat, and had a little wine and cheese night up on the roof garden with dear friends and family (some of the best Camembert on record!).  Besides the detour of picking up party supplies, cleaning house, and baking my own cake, it was very relaxing.

Harry turned 30 yesterday

I am absolutely thrilled that I had a wonderful birthday – and that it was like almost any other good day. What I mean by that is for the first time in my life, I didn’t put my birthday up on a pedestal.  I didn’t stress out.  I didn’t have high hopes or low hopes.  I didn’t have hopes.  And it was marvelous.  Not too different than other marvelous days, but just a little more special.  I am looking forward to future birthdays just like this.  Fun, but without grandiose expectations.

Birthdays are always a good chance to take stock.  In recent years I feel like I haven’t accomplished much.  When you’re young, in school, working your first jobs, achieving demonstrable things is what’s expected.  School plays, good grades, choir concerts, varsity letters, diplomas, certificates of honor, promotions, etc, etc.  Now, it’s not so noticeable; life seems to grind on. A lot.  And it’s not so clear what you or the world would consider an accomplishment.  So, without further ado, an attempt at listing this years’ (potential) accomplishments, in no particular order:

  • Forging a new career as a freelance virtual assistant , writing/blogging consultant, and editor.
  • A trip to Provence with good friends for good food, good wine, good culture, good Scrabble, and good conversation.
  • Lots of organic veg, lots of cooking and eating, and lots of blogging about it.
  • Wine work – huge expos, weekend wine tastings, a couple trips to wineries, and my first actual (I guess, professional, ee gad!) presentation.
  • Yoga! Lots and lots of Yoga. Every Thursday. Come rain or shine.
  • Sommelier course – or the closest you can get to it in Israel. So much fun, for so many reasons.
  • Got into grad school (MA in Creative Writing). Starting in 2 weeks. We’ll see how that goes…
  • Buddhist meditation – life-changing practice. It’s saved me, for so many reasons.
  • Vipassana retreat – silence and meditation 24/7 for 7
  • Leadership, again – helped form a Sangha (meditation community), 10th college reunion committee recruitment chair (12 new members in less than 2 weeks!), and potentially volunteering to organize an alumni event for the U of C Israel Alumni Club.
  • Reality TV show – my sister and I (and our lovely apartment) starred in a house hunting show.
  • Almost a month in the States – spent quality time with old friends and family by way of an east coast whistle-stop tour, a mid-west road trip blasting Hemingway on the speakers, and an Iowa wedding. The best of times.
  • Read some good books, made a couple good friends, drank some good wine, and at brief moments, felt good and knew it.

Not a bad year if you look at it empirically.  I know that I diminish my accomplishments and experiences because the negative and what I perceive as missing, overshadow the good. Namely, the never-ending battle to achieve work-life balance, and the never-ending battle to get out of dodge (aka single-dom).  Luckily, I’m much less paranoid about both.

My hope is that I (and all of us) will continue to become grounded, perceive the here-and-now as much as possible, be in a position to recognize moments of happiness when they come, explore our world, explore the paradox, create beauty, and take some risks.  Some good big risks.  Onward and upward!

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Hit “play” and keep reading.  Just do it.  I’m aiming for some atmosphere here.

Another Friday, another wine tasting.  The wine shop had a decent soundtrack. Sade always takes me back to the summer of 1997.  I had just graduated from high school, I was about to start my first year at the University of Chicago, and life was just buzzing.  I found a great summer job at the Rand McNally store at the mall.  A combination travel bookstore, map store, travel accessories and luggage store, and fancy travel-related gift store (expensive globes, paperweights, penknives with compasses, etc), it was kind of a perfect place for me to work.  My parents were gone half the summer, I had my own car, MTV still played awesome music videos, grunge still clung, nobody had heard of Britney, summer festivals and parades were on the agenda, and the weather was fine fine fine. Not a care in the world.

And Sade.

So much of retail is the same.  You end up standing around a lot.  Today’s wine tasting, included.  I remember three states of being while I was at work: 1) bored; 2) frustrated and ready to go home, and; 3) so busy I couldn’t keep up with the customers and demands.  The time was broken up evenly between the three.  The store’s CD player (a boom box on the floor in the back) alternated between the Best of the Police and Sade.  Perhaps we had some Enya, too.  I was thankful.  The summer before I had to deal with fitting lingerie on fat old ladies while listening to “smooth jazz” (Kenny G and his contemporaries).  I can safely say this is perhaps the one genre of music I really loathe.  But when I hear Sade, I’m transported to that store, the awesome collection books I got to devour, the globes to play with, the funky trinkets like airplane ear plugs and bizarre “hidden” money belts, the word and number and geometry games I would invent for myself when it was slow.  No – it transports me further.  I hear Sade and I can even feel the clothing I wore on me (khaki trousers and bright polo shirts – oh yes it was rather ugly and rather butch), the first diary I ever kept with the cover of Monet’s painting of the woman with a parasol on the hill with the blue skies behind her (I would write dozens and dozens of pages every day, at home, on coffee breaks and lunch, it felt so important somehow), my first NC-17 film (The Pillow Book), and the pennies, yes, probably the hundred or so pennies I tossed up with wishes, one every day, into a large pseudo-rococo fountain in the mall near the store.

My journal cover

And Sade.

And today.  And then.  What a difference.  What little has changed.  I remember my general state that summer being one of sheer excitement.  My “whole life was ahead of me.”  I knew that I would be going away to four years of incredible adventures in universityland.  And four years was an eternity.  As scared as teenagers can be.  As anxious as teenagers can be (and boy was I anxious – those were the days before I knew what panic attacks actually were).  Anything was possible.  And everything was certain.  Now, nothing is certain.  Four years of knowing where you’ll be as opposed to not knowing what each day will bring.  Not knowing what work I will have.  Not knowing where I’ll up and move to.  Not knowing.  And lots of worries about practical things – money, transportation, bills, chores, money, veterinarian appointments, dentist, money, parents, work, work, work, money. Jeez. Is this life?

The funny thing is, I’m still OK.  I’m very OK.  I’m calmer.  I’m dealing.  I am a healthier person.  But boy do I wish I had that certainty again.  Four years.  Sure, there was anxiety up the wazoo, big time.  Mood swings.  Depression.  Self-confidence in the toilet.  But the rapture! College, books, writing, art, travel, the future.  Absolutely certain of the fact that things were about to get better and better.  I’m healthy now.  But I want that optimism back.  The energy.  The certainty.  With my deeper understanding of and perspective on reality, is it possible?  Is this perception even real?

It was a good tasting.  Sold about 10 bottles, 5 of which were really gorgeous, expensive single vineyards.  I haven’t lost it.  If I love something, really love something, I can sell it.  But only if people want to buy it, that is.  Boy was it amazing when I discovered that.  I could sell guidebooks, suitcases, globes, almost anything in that store, because I loved almost everything in that store.  I gave restaurant tips for people going to Paris, for goodness sake.  At 18.

And Sade.

This is no ordinary love.  How ethereal.  How evocative of… a time and place that you feel you remember intimately, but only vaguely, like a dream, like a Mr Holland’s Opus Bill Clinton is Sexy Manhattan Project Priscilla Queen of the Desert  Blade Runner The Real World Milan Kundera Pearl Jam Wimbledon and Chocolate Carmina  Burana Silver Cigarette Case Sunrise on Lake Michigan Womyn’s Bookstore Rocky Horror Endless Cup of Coffee Tori Peppermint Tea Rainbow Melissa Atom Bomb 1984 Washington DC Shakespeare Picasso Posters The Tempest Names Project Angel Hair Pasta Kate Winslet Borders Books Volkswagen Indigo Camp Visit Words Words Words and Heat, kind of place.

No ordinary love. God. What is that?

But.

What love is ordinary?

Retail is limbo.

Christ in Limbo, after Hieronymus Bosch (16th century)

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“A Friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

My American adventure is two-thirds over, and let me tell you, I’ve had a ball.  No, I’ve not kept up this blog as much as I could have – and you know what?  For good damned reason.  It’s that old raging debate – if you’re busy recording, are you actually in the living experience? Humbug. Let me tell you why this trip has been incredible:

Friends.

I have exceptional friends.  Beautiful compassionate intelligent hardworking friends.  Besides laptop-working out of myriad Starbucks across this great nation of ours, I have spent most of my time seeing old friends.  And as they’re some of the world’s best people, I’d like to tell you about them.  Besides, this is the most accurate way to describe what this year’s American adventure has been.

Philadelphia: I’ve already blogged about Philly, but I just feel the need to spread the love to my pals Bruce and Kate.  Bruce, dear friend and mentor of mine is the founder of the Philadelphia City Paper, and his wife Kate is the founder of a unique design firm.  It is always a pleasure hanging with them and meeting their friends.  Over our dinner celebrating their 25th anniversary, I met Ariel Ben-Amos, a proud young Philadelphian urban planner.

New York: Here the adventure picked up speed.  Besides seeing my sister Ashley (aka “my sister the surgeon”), serendipity is the only word to describe the few days I spent in this exciting metropolis. While strolling in Central Park on Sunday, we happened across the queue for the Public Theater‘s “Shakespeare in the Park” performance.  A longstanding NY tradition, something I have always wanted to experience, I dropped everything and got in line.  Lo and behold, I was one of the last 10 or so people to snag tickets to The Merchant of Venice starring none other than Al Pacino.

Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky

Ashley having abandoned me to my obscure follies, I met up with my friend Paul (aka DJ Spooky) who happened to be in town for just about…15 hours…between his varied gigs worldwide.  I caught up with him between Switzerland and Seattle.   With the number of projects he’s simultaneously involved in (he’s an artist, author, editor, teacher, and much more), it’s hard to keep up.  He recently collaborated with Chuck D of Public Enemy on a remix of “By the Time I Get to Arizona,” in response to the recent outrage down south (really worth a listen).  We met near his place in TriBeCa, had some decent Italian fare (but better wine by far), some more than decent conversation, and happily made our way to Central Park for the show.  Despite the stormy weather (of course I wore a silly short-sleeved tunic and sandals), there was a brief lull for most of the play, aided by yet more wine (thank you, dear Paul).  Rain and wind and all, it was a pretty awesome day.  Amazing how connections just happen.  And yes, Al Pacino was incredible as Shylock.  Incredible.  You, too can get a taste of him in the comfort of your own home from the film version of the same play.  Thank you, dear Al.  I must say that I was even more delighted by getting to see actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste onstage, as well.  I have loved following her career since Secrets & Lies, an all-time favorite of mine, so thank you, dear dear Marianne.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

New York, New York was a gift that kept on giving.  I got to see Margo, a dear friend who in college had staged managed for me, and who is now a producer on Royal Pains.  Jenny, a talented actress in her own right and now a produced playwright, met me for a brief breakfast at Whole Foods at Columbus Circle.  And Kamilah, a talented editor at the Guggenheim who is also the fiction editor of Make Magazine, introduced me to a gourmet underground cafe in Greenwich Village on the very street that was used as the exterior shot of the Cosby Show’s house.

Even more?  That’s right.  I met with another college theater bud, David (he played Romeo to my Juliet in our Shakespeare acting class), who just graduated with an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University.  He completed his thesis doing a performance project with children in Benares, India.  AND my best friend from childhood, Sarit, just had her first baby.  I had a visit with her new family in lovely South Orange, NJ (which proved a minor public transportation adventure, alone).

James Joyce

The frosting on the NYC cake? Bloomsday on Broadway. No friends could come to this one, but my sister Ashley, my dear sweet sister Ashley indulged one of my exceptionally (and painfully) odd quirks.  We went the 29th annual Bloomsday reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses at Symphony Space.  The readers included Stephen Colbert, Ira Glass, Eilin O’Dea, Marian Seldes (who had just received a lifetime achievement Tony Award two days before), and many others.

Chicago: Sheesh has this post become amateur, sentimental and long long long! I will not be doing Justice to Chicago.  What a pity.  My cousin Danielle Klinenberg is a talented artist.  She has had a very successful year, and her work is more beautiful than ever.  We enjoyed a beautiful

"Driftwood" by Danielle Klinenberg

vegan lunch in her garden in Old Town.  Hallie and Rocco Palladino (she a writer, he an academic in philosophy, and both together amazing cooks and food connoisseurs amongst many other things) were a big part of the reason I came to the States last year – for their wedding in Ojai, CA.  A lovelier wedding I’ve not seen.  We hung out twice, talked about everything under the sun, and let me tell you, better hosts (and margarita-makers) in the world do not exist.

My sister Ashley’s (the surgeon’s) best friend Wendy was in town house hunting.  A brill special education teacher, she and her husband are moving back to Illinois after living in the Quad Cities for 3 years (and according to them, good riddance).

Wendy and her sister Dana lived kitty corner to us, and we essentially grew up together since the age of 4 (or 1, as in Ash and Wend’s case). We had a ball hanging in her parents’ house, playing with her new dog Bandit (a “Blue Heeler“), eating spinach and mushroom pizza from Giordanos, and gushing over her dad’s very complete Start Trek anthologies.

My friend Heidi Thompson Saunders, formally the world’s best stage manager and for several years now the best Chicago theater management exec (Court Theatre at the U of C is lucky to have her), hosted her annual barbecue.  There, I reconnected with Elizabeth Levy, actress and theater educator (check out Barrel of Monkeys Theater); Bryson Engelen, an actor whose production of Twelve Angry Men just won the coveted Outstanding Ensemble Award at the Jeff Awards; and John Boller, another U of C theatre friend whom I haven’t seen in years and years. Unlike the rest of us lost souls, John is a mathematics professor at our alma mater.

Aida at the Bailiwick this summer

And finally the last few days: I saw Connor Coyne who has written an avant-garde novel, Hungry Rats, that will be coming out later this summer. Julie Burt Nichols, one of my oldest friends from high school, and I had lunch at a typical old spot for us, The Corner Bakery at Old Orchard Shopping Center.  Julie is part of the producing team that has resurrected Bailiwick Chicago.  Already having produced four or so shows in under a year, they have two going up at the same time, Elton John’s Aida, and Joe DiPietro’s Fucking Men. And this evening I had a refreshing walk all over Rogers Park with Matti Allison and Joe Szentivanyi.  I can’t but nearly burst with excitement when I encounter Matti and Joe.  They are such interesting people, talented artists, that it’s impossible to be bored.  No, impossible not to be fascinated.  They are world travelers, voracious readers, expert cooks, opera connoisseurs, longtime Rogers Park residents, and enthusiasts of dive-curry-shops.  It is essential that each and every reader of this blog who has reached this point check out Matti’s blog, The Squishy Jesus Taxonomy.  I highly recommend the section entitled, Convenient Tit.

Virgin de la Leche with Christ Child and St. Bernard Clairvaux By an unknown artist from Peru 1680 (AKA "the twofer")

And there we have it.  Friends.  My friends.  And there is much more to come.  I’m traveling to Minneapolis tomorrow to see some very old dear friends.  By car.  Alone.  And I had really better get to sleep in order to do that.  Then I’m off to Iowa.  To see more amazing friends.  What a world.  You marvel why there’s any war.

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On Saturday I went to alumni weekend.  I nibbled dry pastries at an international brunch, listened to boring speeches at an award ceremony, schmoozed with staff at the alumni center, attended an “uncommon core” class on the nature of happiness, listened to the university president drone on like a highly polished politician, and drank really crappy wine at a “wine tasting.”  And I had a ball.

The University of Chicago glimmering green in the drizzle, gigantic swirling gray sky, stormy cobalt lake,  flagstones solid underfoot, dewy-eyed students on every corner.

I’ve developed an inferiority complex in the years since I graduated from college.  That, or we can call it low self-esteem.  It’s just that sometimes I have to pinch myself – I can’t believe that I was accepted to, studied at, and graduated from the University of Chicago.  Like that fact should somehow make me in awe of myself, except that these days, I usually can’t believe that it was me, that that’s where I learned and grew and blossomed and developed into myself.  Since my convocation, the memory of Chicago, the nostalgia, the mythos, have all increased to legendary proportions, so much so that although I dream of returning to graduate school, I’ve convinced myself that my alma mater would never take me back.  There’s a whole “paradise lost” phenomenon at work here.  Love and alienation.

No more.

On this visit, I felt welcome.  I felt at home.  The anticipated, “everyone has done more, seen more, accomplished more, made more than I have,” feeling never came.  In its stead a real sense of inspiration.  Thank goodness.  Inspiration to continue doing the difficult things I find important, and inspiration to change a lot of what is problematic with my life.  It sounds silly.  But thank god for alumni weekends.  I may still have a place in the world.

Thank you, Chicago.

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Our own personal Proustian Madeleines.  In this case, an Italian sandwich.

If we’re attuned to it, I think we all have these moments daily. A smell we notice while walking down the street, a new food at a cafe, someone’s perfume, laundry, kitchen. And BOOM — you’re instantly transported into a memory.  Sometimes the memory is unclear for me — I can’t pinpoint it, but I can usually assign a time period or location.  Late high school.  Sometime at summer camp.  Ireland.

And sometimes, you know exactly where and when that trigger takes you. That happened to me at lunch yesterday.  I was trying to get some work done at the Loveat on Yehuda HaLevi (after having an awesome haircut at Tomer Reshef, I have to mention — best place in Tel Aviv for curly hair — bar none).  Lunch isn’t cheap at Loveat, but it’s vaguely organic there (perhaps just the coffee), and with the larger sandwiches, you get your choice of side dish — I had a cup of split pea soup — a real treat compared to what you get at most cafes.

Loveat - I really like the atmosphere at this branch

My chicken panini (or gabetta, as they call them here — I’m pretty sure they mean ciabatta; panini would be far more appropriate as that refers to a sandwich often made of a ciabatta; whatever, it’s Israel) was incredible.  When I took the first bite, I was transported back to the 2rd floor coffee shop of the Reynolds Club at the University of Chicago.  This cafe functioned on take out — basically, all the restaurants in the neighborhood brought their best takeaways — pad thai, pad seeyu, curry and rice, samosas, and tons and tons of sandwiches.  I was a vegetarian at the time, and I often got the roasted vegetable sandwich from Pizza Capri (it’s still on the menu!).  It was heaven: roasted red peppers, eggplant, perhaps zucchini, perhaps a slice of cheese, and tons and tons of garlic.  I can assert to the fact that it had peppers, eggplant, and garlic — the rest is a little hazy.

Although my Loveat gabetta had chicken, the rest of it was very much like my sandwich of yore.  The roasted red pepper I think was what took me back.  And why is this significant?  I almost lived in that building.  The theatre was on the 3rd floor, and I think I had 80% of my meals from that coffee shop.  I may have eaten more than 200 of those sandwiches over the course of 4 years.  When I had my internship at Steppenwolf Theatre, there was even a Pizza Capri across the street — and I ate it once or twice a week that whole summer.  The flavor and texture of that sandwich represents the blood, sweat, tears, and every ounce of passion I put into my undergraduate education.  It represents the grimy yet super-comfy theatre lounge I hung out at every day, where I ate half my meals, where I caught up and prepped before classes, where I piled onto ancient sofas with friends and collaboratively did the New York Times crossword, where I held weekly production meetings, where I memorized lines, where I read play after play after play, where I played snood and mac-brickout and checked my telnet email account on ancient computers, where I developed and fine-tuned proposals, where I planned my future and dreamed.

Reynolds Club 2nd floor coffee shop - much as I remember it

It’s almost ten years behind me now.  Seems like yesterday, and I can’t believe how far I’ve drifted from what that girl thought she’d be.  And that sandwich.  Do we go back and try to jump start what we used to love or thought we loved?  Is it pointless to try?  Is it too late?  I didn’t know it then, but it was the happiest time of my life.  Sure, I was miserable a lot.  But I was also challenged and busy and growing and trying and achieving and failing and was surrounded by some of the most interesting people I have yet known.  That sandwich yesterday highlighted my relatively isolated and somewhat stagnant state.

It’s time I announced my intentions: I want to go back into academia.  It will be very different this time.  Nostalgia will probably play a distracting and not-too-positive role in this.  But I’m doing it.  It will take time.  Part-time completion courses.  Maybe a second masters degree in order to get where I would like to be — an excellent doctoral program.  Not in theatre.  A social science/philosophy type course.  Life is horrible, complex, beautiful.  I study it anyway.  I want to be with people I can speak with, research with, and who have passion for these abstract and seemingly ridiculous and impractical notions.  Perhaps I’m sounding arrogant and idealistic here.  Probably.

Powerful sandwich, that. Wouldn’t you say?

A fantastic blog article – a picture-laden tour of the University of Chicago — with a particular focus on all its bizarre coffee shops (my fave was not focused on, however — although I am proud to say I frequented ALL of the ones featured).

Imaginative & refreshing cinnamon lemonade at Loveat

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Don't put pleasure off 'til tomorrow...if you can enjoy it today!

I’m still in New Years mode.  My parents are still visiting in Israel.  As such, every day includes some sort of adventure, for good or bad.  I have so much interesting food and wine news and gossip to spread, but I just don’t have the time and energy. So, I’m making this particular post short.  Juicy chunks of meaty entertainment must wait.

But…I’ve got great links! Enjoy them!

Open That Bottle Night” (OTBN) – is the last Saturday in February, this year, February 27th.  This was started by two of NY’s leading wine critics, and I think it’s a fine idea.  Looking back at the subject of my earlier post, it’s nice that there is an attempt at creating a holiday devoted to “that special wine bottle.”  No more hesitating or excuses for not opening the best!

A Cheeky College Essay” – A lovely little controversy or silly brouhaha revolving around a college essay that was so humorous and loved, that the dean of admissions at my alma mater, the University of Chicago, sent it to remaining prospective students still going through the application process – in order to ease their nerves.  Read this.  Hilarious! My alma mater is famous for its college essays.  There are incredibly creative prompts, the essays inspired reveal the personal side of the applicants, and I know that these are taken into account (sometimes heavily, depending on the student’s academic situation) when decision time comes around.  I personally spent ages writing and refining mine, going through up to 6 or 7 drafts, and at the time I was so proud of the resulting essay, believing it to be the finest writing I ever produced.  And it probably was.

Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow” – Fantastic little article about research into pleasure…and why we put it off.  Basic message – we need to place deadlines on fun – or we won’t have it.  New years resolution to us all: have fun NOW.  A great read.  Let’s hope we can cash in those frequent flier miles, take that vacation, and open that wine…soon.  (with thanks to Bruce for sending it to me)

Champagne, in brief – a nice little history and how-to tasting guide for Champagnes, brought to you by France Guide, the official tourism website.  I like this site.  Don’t know why.  They have catchy little gimmicks like entertaining vlogs, fun quizzes and giveaways.  And I love France.  So it’s cool.  And hey, as far as capitalistic industries go, I’m good with tourism.  Get out there!  See another country (or state or city)!  It’s good for you, and I bet it’ll be fun, too!  In France you can drink lots good wine for cheap(er)!

Fun, beautiful, attractive, and appealing things…to me:

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