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twenty years

maura @ 11:04 pm

This fall is a big anniversary of many events. We’ve been in NYC for 20 years now, which means we were here on 9/11. I don’t really know what to feel about the 10th anniversary. I’ve been thinking that I should have something to write about it, but even the things that I start writing in my head don’t get anywhere. Then I feel guilty that I don’t have more to say. But we were here and we were lucky and I am still grateful for that: I was 6 months pregnant, everyone we know was safe + sound (if scared). I was proud to be a resident of NYC* and to experience how well the city pulled together.

* I still am: thank you, Occupy Wall Street.

On a much much much lighter note, this fall is also the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album. I know it’s reductive to pin all of the changes in music since then to one record, but it’s always seemed like that to me. Before that record it was “college rock” — played on college radio, mostly on independent labels, small venues + shows. And after, after it was “alternative” — on all of the radio stations, big shows, etc.

For us it coincided with leaving college and coming to grad school (version 1.0), which I’m sure is at least part of the reason it feels like lots of big changes. I had a show on my college radio station with a pal; when we got to grad school, the station was much more professional and didn’t have time for us. I know it’s trite to complain about bands getting big — “I liked their first record,” said in self-mocking tones, was something we said often. But there’s a practical side to a smallish music scene, too. Big shows are more expensive for tickets + drinks. Big shows are harder for shorties like me to navigate; I’ve spent innumerable shows jumping up and down, not because I love to pogo but because otherwise I couldn’t *see* anything.

Of course music is completely different now in our internet world, some things better, and some things worse. It seems almost quaint to think back to a time when radio mattered that much, and when the freaky kids suddenly got popular.

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tucky says

maura @ 4:25 pm

When we first moved to NYC we lived in Manhattan. Coming straight here from Chicago we couldn’t quite believe how expensive the rents were. But we wanted to be able to walk everywhere so it never even occurred to us to live in Brooklyn or somewhere else. High rents + paltry grad student stipends = roommates, so we teamed up with two friends from college to find a place. I still laugh when I think of the reasonably-sized 3BR with exposed brick that we rejected because it was a 4th floor walkup and on a street in Soho that seemed dodgy at the time and is now so posh we can’t even afford to walk down it.

In retrospect we did get lucky and ended up in a 3BR duplex on Elizabeth St. between Houston and Prince with all the mod cons: laundry in the basement, a dishwasher (critical with 4 people), and air conditioning. Of course there were some small annoyances about that place, when is there ever not? During San Gennaro the neighborhood was insanely crowded and the sidewalks were gross the next day. But really there wasn’t much to complain about: the location was fantastic. The old Knitting Factory was right around the corner and we could walk to almost anyplace we ever wanted to go. It was literally ages before I rode the subway north of 14th St.

We lived on the 3rd floor (I think) and at first there was a big empty lot on the south side of Houston between Mott and Elizabeth. Our apartment had a greenhouse-style window at the back of the living room where we put the TV, stereo, and video games, so we spent lots of time looking out of those windows. Just across Houston St. was a building with an enormous painted advertisement for Tuck-It-Away storage. It looked kind of like this:


That crazy squirrel used to completely crack me up: his cart reads “u store it, u lock it, u keep key.” We never knew Tuck-It-Away’s location was because there wasn’t an address on the ad (this isn’t the actual billboard from Houston St., it’s a similar ad that’s apparently in Harlem). I couldn’t imagine where in Manhattan there would even be space for a building devoted entirely to storage.

We lived on Elizabeth for two years and sometime in the second year construction started on a huge apartment building on that empty lot just north of us. It was a sad sad day when the building rose high enough that we could no longer sit on our sofa and see Tucky and his cart encouraging us to store our stuff. The structure with Tucky painted on it was itself next to an empty lot, and later still (I think after we’d left Elizabeth St.) yet another new building went up on that lot, and Tucky was gone.

This past academic year I’ve been doing fieldwork for my research project at City College up in northern Manhattan. I hadn’t thought about Tucky in years, probably almost a decade. But as the photo shows there’s a big Tuck-It-Away facility on Broadway and 131st St. The 1 train does a curious thing and pops aboveground at 116th St., heading back underground by 137th St. where I get off to go to City College. One day as I was getting myself together before my stop I looked out the window and there it was, in all of it’s orange glory: the home of Tucky. And now I know.

Photo by Julia Manzerova

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wigwam field trip tomorrow!

maura @ 9:44 pm

Also student interviews for my research project. And a billion other things. About which I will write more then.

Because tonight I am tired. Among other things, today we went to the zoo and ogled 6 adorable tiger cubs. And you can ogle them too! Right here.

(Seriously, click the dang link! They are ridiculously cute, you must see the video.)

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day 2…

maura @ 10:52 pm

…and already I am too spent to post. How did this happen? Probably my grand tour of NYC today: to the Upper West Side and then to Kips Bay for meetings, then back to work in Brooklyn (for a conference call and then a meeting a few blocks away in the other building), then back to Manhattan for dinner, then home. Rode 8 subways today. A good day, if tiring. Wish I could buy a few more hours, but doesn’t look like that’ll happen.

If I ever fail to be impressed by the view when the train goes over the Manhattan Bridge, that’s when I know it’ll be time to leave New York.

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the weatherman on tv ain’t creating the weather

maura @ 10:01 pm

It’s lame to complain about the weather. I know this, but I cannot help myself. It’s 87 degrees outside right now (down from today’s high of 934 or so) and feels like it’s been this way for weeks and weeks. Even with liberal A/C use (and the electric bills to prove it), I still seem to get all hot and sweaty several times a day. I’m tired of having to shower twice a day and all of the extra laundry. I’m sick of feeling lethargic and crabby and not getting enough exercise. Begone, global warming!

I spent what seemed like a huge amount of time this weekend ferrying Gus around to his various social engagements via car and subway, and I found myself daydreaming about a summer house someplace colder. But where’s cold enough? It’s been in the 80s in Vermont and Maine, and there’s not a lot of a/c up there. Upper 70s in Montreal and lower 70s in Quebec, that’s a little better. A surprising 84 today in Halifax, which takes it out of the running, I’m afraid.

Or we could go for the ultimate: it’s in the mid-60s these days in Reykjavik. And for an added bonus, the sun rises at 3:56am and sets at 11:13pm!

It was an interesting mental puzzle to keep my brain busy. In this scenario we would sublet the apartment and would pack up the cats + take them to our summer getaway. I could take my vacation and maybe some research time and smush it all together to make a biggish chunk. A month, say? We’ve never been away for that long before. We’d need to end up someplace that’s either so exciting + interesting (forest and water? ocean? pool?) for Gus that he’d have loads to do (because we would likely need to spend at least some of the time working) or put him in some kind of camp.

The reality is probably considerably less rosy (or feasible). We’d need to arrange for *some* time with other kids, because a month with just the three of us would probably drive us all batty. And I’m sure that once we got someplace cooler I’d be grumpy that there’s not enough to do. Because one of the other things that makes me sad about this heat is that we haven’t had the chance to do all of the fun summer things there are to do here, like go to Governor’s Island or check out the new part of Brooklyn Bridge Park or visit the lion cubs up at the Bronx Zoo. NYC FTW!

(or maybe I’m just trying to psyche myself up for a hot hot bike ride to work tomorrow morning)

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just a second

maura @ 10:09 pm

I was going to write a real blag tonight, but I’m too tired. Today’s the mysterious holiday Brooklyn-Queens Day so I took the day off and Gus + I went out to the incredibly deserted, surprisingly clean beach at Fort Tilden on the Rockaways. From Brooklyn to Queens, get it? I hate the beach, really (ugh, sand) ((double ugh, sun)), but it was a gorgeous day and the kids had an utter blast, running themselves around til they were exhausted, so it’s hard to argue with that.

So, in lieu of an actual blag post, here’s some Twitter. Warning: I went to a conference last Friday so there will be a bunch of library-specific tweets in there. I also presented at the conference and was tickled to find that my talk was both livetweeted and liveblogged, w00t! Will try to post something about that soon, but probably over at my other, less goofy blag.

Today’s fun: a mostly deserted Ft Tilden. Happy Brooklyn-Queens Day!
about 4 hours ago via Echofon

RT @JenHoward …please email me at jennifer DOT howard AT chronicle DOT com. Thanks! That 370-page conf program is daunting. 2/2 #ala10
about 6 hours ago via web Retweeted by you

RT @JenHoward Academic librarians! If you have some advice on what sessions a higher-ed reporter should attend this at #ala10 ths year year…1/2
about 6 hours ago via web Retweeted by you

@What_Went_Wrong Cool, have fun! BTW, Gus is totally into the Warriors books, thx for the rec!
about 14 hours ago via Echofon in reply to What_Went_Wrong

Curriculum night: all about rhinos
Wed Jun 9 18:48:29 2010 via Echofon

Popping in to rejoin #TeamAchieve with 656 hard-fought words this morning. Better than powerpoint, at least!
Wed Jun 9 09:41:59 2010 via web

RT @TheRepoRat: RT @liber8er: Possible Boycott of Nature Publishing Group Journals at UC. (Yes!)
Tue Jun 8 23:39:32 2010 via Echofon

Too much powerpointing recently, need to try and do some writing tonight.
Tue Jun 8 18:55:34 2010 via Echofon

@librariAND Thanks! I sent my slides to the nelig folks if you’d like to take a look.
Mon Jun 7 23:49:23 2010 via Echofon in reply to librariAND

@What_Went_Wrong ooh, have fun!
Sat Jun 5 20:17:26 2010 via Echofon in reply to What_Went_Wrong

@aegisnyc O M G
Sat Jun 5 14:02:00 2010 via Echofon in reply to aegisnyc

Farmers market goers: +1 for buying healthy local food, but -2 for double parking yr bigass SUV at the top of the park. #ecofail
Sat Jun 5 11:36:27 2010 via Echofon

Not that there’s nothing to do, but the crunch is over. My summer of not working (most) nights & weekends starts…now! *exhale*
Sat Jun 5 09:36:27 2010 via Echofon

@divanoir yeah, you know, manhattan is just one big mall these days anyway. Brooklyn FTW!
Sat Jun 5 09:08:09 2010 via Echofon in reply to divanoir

@divanoir no way, funny!
Fri Jun 4 21:10:13 2010 via Echofon in reply to divanoir

@lifelobsters cool, thanks for the link!
Fri Jun 4 21:09:05 2010 via Echofon in reply to lifelobsters

Hearing 1 min wrapup of the day’s sessions really makes me wish I could have been in more than one place at the same time! #nelig
Fri Jun 4 15:50:12 2010 via web

RT @niathena Students more engaged with media projects than with research papers: they’re excited by sharing w/audience beyond their professor. #nelig
Fri Jun 4 15:18:19 2010 via TweetDeck Retweeted by you

Wow, awesome student podcast assignment at Colgate U w/research, writing script, peer-review and reflection paper #nelig
Fri Jun 4 15:10:47 2010 via web

credibility issue flipped is an equitable way of participating in knowledge creation, the opportunity is enormous #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:41:39 2010 via web

Strategies for libraries: look to our peers for inspiration and collaboration #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:33:39 2010 via web

Wow, asked kids to make videos interpreting each chapter of the book (Born Digital) — so interesting! #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:23:50 2010 via web

Kids steal music but don’t know that there are lawful ways to use/remix other people’s copyrighted materials. #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:18:05 2010 via web

Found big range w/kids re: credibility but most use wikipedia to get background info and find sources (good news!) #nelig
Fri Jun 4 11:13:46 2010 via web

We can encourage kids to participate and to build their own learning spaces. #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 11:07:09 2010 via web

Very long tail of participatory digital culture with kids from making a Myspace page up to writing code #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 11:04:23 2010 via web

@jtheibault hoping for the latter (tho the former would work, too). but I’m hoping to be able to draw on similarities for my work. #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 10:59:23 2010 via web

Gaming is the big thing that joins kids across socioeconomic statuses #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 10:53:13 2010 via web

Hoping to takeaway lessons about non-elite institutions from Palfrey’s talk. #NELIG #CityTech
Fri Jun 4 10:48:59 2010 via web

John Palfrey getting started w/his keynote at #NELIG
Fri Jun 4 10:43:33 2010 via web

@jrrnyc absolutely. unless it’s your own panel, then it’s not so good.
Fri Jun 4 10:39:36 2010 via web

RT @notjonathan OMG “@CarcassonneApp: Available now on the App Store:”
Fri Jun 4 09:15:49 2010 via Twitter for iPhone Retweeted by you

No electrical outlets on the Metronorth trains :( #firstworldwhining
Fri Jun 4 07:23:50 2010 via Echofon

@edrabinski hot damn! me too — finished w/paper + slides + taking today to ignore it before presenting tomorrow. good luck!
Thu Jun 3 10:10:52 2010 via web

@ChrysalisArch Awesome — congrats! Thanks for the photo, too.
Thu Jun 3 10:09:10 2010 via web

@Annefesto Har, u crack me up! I’m working hard prepping 4 a conference pres on Fri & appreciate the early wishes!
Wed Jun 2 23:41:59 2010 via Echofon in reply to Annefesto

@cryptog xW00t!
Wed Jun 2 19:42:09 2010 via Echofon in reply to cryptog

Wed Jun 2 11:24:10 2010 via Echofon

@captain_primate I bet there will be links. we could probably get a group order going + divvy them up. (2/2)
Tue Jun 1 21:29:40 2010 via web in reply to captain_primate

@captain_primate yeah, the place we got from was min order 50. can’t find details on SPARC or OA week websites, but as Oct gets closer (1/2)
Tue Jun 1 21:28:46 2010 via web in reply to captain_primate

@captain_primate Last year we ordered ours from a place linked from the OA week website. I can try and dig up the vendor if you want.
6:09 PM Jun 1st via Echofon in reply to captain_primate

@divanoir nah, not up so late, just a coffee addict.
3:49 PM May 31st via Echofon in reply to divanoir

What the park really needs is a roving coffee vendor.
1:43 PM May 31st via Echofon

@Annefesto I know! We’re actually trying to get him to start a blog so he has an outlet for videogame details that isn’t us. Stay tuned!
11:53 PM May 30th via Echofon in reply to Annefesto

Gus & friend are deconstructing the relationship btwn Bowser, Peach & Mario over dinner. Hilarious. And such attention to detail!
7:22 PM May 30th via Echofon

@edrabinski As well you should! I’m tired & having a hard time banging out the words, but 700 should finish the presentation so I press on.
5:15 PM May 30th via web in reply to edrabinski

@lwaltzer Dude, the hidden downside of literacy. Happens to us too.
12:17 PM May 30th via Echofon in reply to lwaltzer

Guess how long the bike ride lasted before we had to stop for a hot dog?
12:14 PM May 30th via Echofon

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