Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This Place Will Last.

Dear Vanderbilt,

First and foremost, let me put out there that I realize you're moving on. You’ve made it clear to me via an extended and anticlimactic series of speeches that you are ready to say goodbye, and that’s fine. I know you've found a whole new class of someone elses now, and this letter is not going to be a plea to take me back.

We've had a good run. I can’t honestly say that I’m ready to bid you adieu, but for the sake of my pride and my well being, I'd rather remember our relationship and all the amazing times we've shared together in a positive light than dwell on the fact that you're ready to be happy without me. So I'm telling you from the getgo--I'm moving on too. I won't Facebook stalk you and obsess over photos of you and yours, I won't text you at inappropriate hours of the day and night (although, as you may remember, during your farewell speech you encouraged me to do so if I needed anything, even money), I won't resent that your feelings towards me have changed.

The four years I spent with you have been the best of my life. You've made me laugh, you've made me cry, you've made me laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh. I never realized when I stepped foot on your campus (a national arboretum! Things I won’t miss: allergies) that I would be meeting the place I may want to spend the rest of my life with.

When I first opened the door to my tiny cinder-block framed Kissam room (things I won’t miss, part II: The Office of Housing and Residential Education), my initial thoughts included: “Ooh, a lofted bed just like in college movies…sweet!,” “Why is the chick across the hall in a sundress, full makeup, and cowboy boots to unpack?”, and “Mommmmm can I have money to buy things to decorate?” My wee freshman mind didn’t even ponder the realm of events that would, until I called said office of Housing and Residential Education whining enough to be switched to a room in Branscomb, unfold in the 10X10 space on the fourth floor of Kissam Hall. That inhumanely small space was where I fell in love with my first college boyfriend, met some of my best friends, shared memories I will never forget and some I will never remember (Momma B, I know you told me over graduation that you read my blog, so apologies in advance).

Sophomore year was an upgrade. Oh, Peabody Commons, with your glorious and spacious lawns, the Commons Center that could be utilized for everything from studying to eating to inconspicuously pregaming. Sophomore year brought me closer to my campus, my sorority house, my classmates, my friends, and myself. Days were spent gallivanting from HOD classroom to HOD classroom and from fraternity porch to fraternity porch, nights were spent consuming food and wine on the Vandy card, dancing around downtown, and often holed up in the reading room of the Peabody Library, which does have both a fireplace and a glorious collection of children’s books (spare me, A+S).

Junior year was a series of ups and downs for you and I. I became fed up sometimes with more of the same—didn’t you have anything to offer me but fun? Entertainment was good and well, of course, but I was ready to get serious and I wasn’t sure if you could make the commitment. But meetings with advisors, long talks with friends, and yes, gallivanting from HOD classroom to HOD classroom and from fraternity porch to fraternity porch and from honky tonk to honky tonk proved to me that you really did care about me, and were in it for the long haul. I took on an extra major, made the decision to spend a semester abroad, and was forced to choose between adventure and stability in the worst way possible. Nonetheless, I came out stronger, more sure of myself and my goals and values, and with a plethora of wonderful stories to tell.

And then we got to senior year. I’ve always believed that one can’t properly reflect on something without the passing of time, and it hasn’t truly been long enough for me to decide how I feel about senior year. All I can say is that it was the best of times and the worst of times. The most amazing things that have happened to me during my time with you occurred this year, as did the worst. What I can say with certainty and definity is that I don’t regret a single choice, a single night, a single element of the string of events that led me, and us, to where we are now. You told me on our last day together that “this place will last,” and I truly believe it will. So here’s to: A traditional called raging. Waking up at 8 am for tailgates. V-U(!). 903. Sunset Grill. Dan McGuiness. The Stage. Costume parties. Towers. Pregames. Postgames. Taking beach vacations at least once a month. Formals. Informals. The Porch. Speeches. Crawfish. Late nights in Peabody, Stevenson, and The Dungeon. Gordon Gee. Nicholas Zeppos. Dolla Beal. Kristin Torrey. Jay-Z. Being young forever. The pursuit of happy-ness. CMSB. And finally, me and you.

Thanks for everything, Vanderbilt. I will always love you. Maybe, in the future, when we’re both more mature, we can give it another try.

Until then, with love, yours truly,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thing of the Day: Senior Week

Things I learned at Senior Beach Week:

1)I never want to live anywhere near Spartanburg, South Carolina. Above picture was taken in the parking lot of a Spartanburg McDonalds. Case in point.

2) All beach towns are basically identical. Some may think this is a mark of corporate capitalist America taking over all that was once good and pure, but I think it is really awesome. Reasons why include Senor Frogs, and souvenier shops. I have come home from Myrtle Beach several hundred dollars poorer but one hermit crab richer. Speaking of...

3)Responsibility sucks. I spent approximately $14 on a herbit crab, hermit crab food, a hermit crab habitat, and a nifty instruction manual at a wonderful corporate/capitalist America establishment called Wings (which also sold useful things such as chandeliers made out of shells, neon tanks, water balloon launchers, and shotglasses boasting "I got tipsy in Myrtle Beach" (you stay classy, spring breakers). Anyhow, since acquiring said hermit crab (Jamie La-A Esteban), I have been sporadically breaking into small fits of stress about whether it has enough crab food, whether I have moistened its' drinking sponge, and whether its habitat is warm enough. Last night at midnight I text messaged one of my roommates to move Jamie from his (or her. Google hasn't been helpful in teaching me how to determine Jamie's actual gender) spot on our kitchen counter to my room because I couldn't sleep thinking of how someone might knock over his (her) cage. Further Google research has showed that hermit crabs live approximately two weeks in the care of silly vacationing owners, and I have spent at least one hour today picking Jamie up to make sure he (she) is still alive.

4)Teenagers are crazy. The second night of Beach Week, I actually took the time out of pregaming to MTV News to save a note in my Blackberry reminding me to blog about this piece of groundbreaking news: Justin Bieber fans are sending Kim Kardashian DEATH THREATS because he Tweeted a picture of the two of them together calling her his girfriend. WTF, fourteen year old girls? Maybe it is because fourteen year olds are sort of out of my age range for potential boyfriends, but I really don't see what all the Justin Bieber fuss is about. Yeah, he's kind of hot for someone who has yet to go through puberty, but first, the video of a small child crying in suicidal fits because Justin Bieber isn't her boyfriend, and then death threats to Kimmy K? A slight bias because I adore Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber sounds like a girl when he sings and has a silly haircut, but mothers, control your teenagers. Why do teenagers even have Twitter? One really shouldn't be allowed to broadcast their opinions on the internet until they have exited puberty and can make fun of themselves/have unbiased opinions.

5)I really really really love my graduating class. Yes, you guys. I have spent today doing useful and important things such as letting Jamie crawl from my left hand to my right and emailing strangers whose blogs I admire in order to avoid packing up my apartment for my impending departure in a week. If my stuff is still here, Vanderbilt can't make me leave, right?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thing of the Day: Sabotage

Clearly the Gods of Natural Disasters/Oil Spills have something against the Vanderbilt graduating class of 2010, since in the past two days have brought:

1. The relocation of senior beach week from Destin, FL to Myrtle Beach, SC. Thanks, BP. Although it really is extremely impressive how rapidly the senior class rallied when massive oil spills threatened drinking on the beach activities.

2. APOCALYPSE 2010. A 20 inch downpour has completely flooded the city of Nashville! The above photos are just a few of many of what is going on in Tennessee. Both these pictures were taken Monday on the exact street of bars on which we had our senior pub crawl Saturday, and are really fairly scary, considering that yesterday when my boyfriend and roommates learned that the city was on a flood warning, we rejoiced at the cancellation of Monday finals and spent the day eating at the two restaurants that weren't closed (Cheesecake Factory & P.F Chang's in one day? *Embarrased emoticon*), and spending copious amounts of money at Target on rainy day activities (Buzzword, Mancala, 750 piece GLOW IN THE DARK puzzle).

The Vanderbilt campus was for the most part unaffected by the floods, but several dorms shut down and a particularly low-rise parking lot was completely drowned. Ironically, it was 80 degrees and sunny today as we surveyed the damage and felt guilty for spending 7 hours on a puzzle yesterday when the city was in crisis. I think I'm volunteering tomorrow with Hands On Nashville to make up for assembling a 750 piece skyline instead of taking note as Nashvegas turned into Lake Nashville.

Karmic retributions complete, rain storms? oil spills? I can't help but ask--does anyone else see it as a blatant sign from above that Vanderbilt doesn't want us to leave?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thing of the Day: Iron Fork/Vampire Weekend

Iron Fork Nashville
Good week!

My rebuttal to the CNN article on "hooking up" was published in the campus paper, which led to a huge amount of support from friends and strangers (thanks for the comments and the love, everyone!) as well as several moderately uncomfortable moments, such as a professor leading a class discussion concerning the matter as I sat blushing and awkward, my mother somehow finding the article (stop Googling me, Margarita) and BBMing me a series of messages praising my writing and scolding my opinions, and a stranger named Terri commenting on the Vanderbilt Hustler website that I will surely never get a reporting job because of my views on sexuality. Either way, the positive response was overwhelmingly larger than the negative, and I'm really glad I wrote the piece.

Eating adventures were plentiful as well. On Wednesday, my roommate and I had one of the most excellent Nashville culinary experiences of my college career. Several weeks ago, we had bought tickets to Iron Fork, an Iron Chef-esque event that takes place every year in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I had never actually been to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and to experience it for the first time in an open-bar-unlimited-sample environment while watching chefs from several of my favorite Music City eateries (Acorn, Eastland Cafe, Sunset Grill) battle it out in in a live show with an actual secret ingredient (purple sweet potato?!?) was nothing short of weekday perfection. The next day, in continuing my search for the perfect pad thai in Nashville, I had lunch in great company at East Nashville's Thai Phooket and was pleasantly impressed. Despite the hole in the wall location (trailer in parking lot), the food was both delicious and cheap--definitely the best Thai I've had in the South thus far.

The weekend brought Rites of Spring, a Vanderbilt concert with a scheduled lineup of Cold War Kids, Phoenix, Drake, Passion Pit, Ben Harper, and more. Although sake bombing caused us to miss Cold War Kids on Friday, Phoenix was amazing! Passion Pit unfortunately cancelled due to "illness" (or, "we're hungover and don't feel like playing in the rain), but the rest of the acts put on a great show.
And the perfect closing lazy Sunday: I just got back from Date Night. Tina Fey is possibly the only female I find funny ther than Chelsea Handler, and the movie was a high point on both her and Steve Carell's parts. Except for the fact that (spoiler alert, sort of) in a high-action scene, the day was saved by a Kindle. Details aside, this would clearly just never occur in real life. I wonder how much Amazon paid 20th Century Fox to have their silly gadget featured in such a heroic scene, because there's no way I buy it. An iPad, maybe, but a Kindle? Spare me, Amazon.

In other news: I can't stop listening to Vampire Weekend's Contra, although I don't really understand what a Contra is. Is it like Contra-band? Or Contra-dict? Wikipedia says it might be referring to a Japanese video game, or a Nicaraguan rebel army, so I'm really not sure what VW (Hipsters--is this an approp abbrev for Vampire Weekend?) is getting at, but I think the song and the CD are great. Also, why do hipster bands and popular rappers always think its okay to make up words and phrases? The only one other than Contra (because, apparently, Horchata is a thing) that I can think of right now is "Badonkadonkdonk" but I'm sure a quick review of this decade's hip hop songs would provide us with at least 50 more.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thing of the Day: Hooking Up

In response to "No Hooking Up, No Sex for Some Co-Eds"

Disclaimer: I do not mean to attack Frannie Boyle’s personal choices, simply her choice and means of publicizing them.

That being said… (has anyone seen the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David asserts that any time someone begins a sentence with “that being said”, what will follow will likely insult, upset, or judge you? It’s true), I am disappointed and confused with Frannie Boyle’s CNN piece on her decision to refrain from “the hook up culture at Vanderbilt.” Had Ms. Boyle chosen to express these choices to a few dear friends, or on her personal blog, or perhaps in her opinion column in the Hustler, I would respect and in some way admire them and leave them to exist in a realm different than mine. Boyle, however, has chosen to share this resolution with millions on Leaving me to ask—why? is not your sealed-with-a-kiss-heart-with-a-key diary, and I do not know why their reporters deemed the decisions of one Vanderbilt student’s love life (or lack thereof) news-worthy for millions of Americans. True, as far as new sources go, tends to be trashy and emotional, which is why readers frequently do not know how many civilians have died in Iraq but do have access to really cute videos of army wives and husbands reuniting (note to those recovering from the “casual hook up” or “friends with benefit” encounter gone awry—watching these and crying into Ben and Jerry’s—the FroYo kind offered by the Munchi Mart, you mustn’t let yourself go entirely—can be very therapeutic), but nonetheless, my first question is: how did this piece go beyond the realm of the Hustler? Who does Frannie Boyle known at that publicized this story to the point where my mom can awkwardly call me and say, “Honey? Are you friends with this girl?...ah, I thought you might not be.” And I know this is a lot to ask after this article, but whoever they are, can they possibly get me a job?

Newsworthiness and favors aside (but seriously…call me if they can), Ms. Boyle’s argument against hooking up, casual sexual encounters, and in some perverse and rather inexplicable link, day fratting (side note: I do take personal offense to Ms. Boyle’s arguments against day fratting and am moderately angry that when I hear the words “afternoon delight” I will no longer think of the charming and entertaining Will Ferrell film Anchorman but of her judgmental viewpoints against it) is faulty in several ways. Although she claims she abstains from any sort of non-committal sex because she “respects herself,” what Boyle is actually doing is disrespecting almost a century’s worth of feminist and women’s rights movements. In the 1960’s and 70’s, women practically begged for access to casual sex. They did not want to be virgins, sweethearts, or housewives, rather, they wished to claim full right of their sexuality and exercise it fully to their desire without criticism. If Boyle had kept her decision to abstain to herself or discussed it with some friends, I would not believe that she was in violation of what this movement had achieved for women. However, she chooses to not only share with millions but does so in a matter that makes those women who participate in non-committal sexual encounters seem morally and intellectually inferior to her. In saying that she “respects herself” by abstinence she implies that those who do participate in the behaviors she has left behind are not respecting themselves. And what do we call a woman who does not respect herself? A fool? A floozy? A slut? Ms. Boyle perpetuates this type of naming and stereotyping by identifying herself as the pure outsider.

A woman’s sexual choices, serious or casual, few or far between, are not to be publicized, discussed, and studied from sociological and cultural perspectives. They are her own. To criticize them is to take a dozen steps back from the heights of equality we aspire to. Furthermore, the “Bring Back Dating Facebook group cited in the article is inherently anti-feminist. “At least take her out on a date before trying to get her into bed,” the group’s motto reads. Umm…in our fight for rights and representation, didn’t we claim that we were equal to men in every way? Do we see men begging to be “taken out to dinner” before we make our moves? No, because that would inspire never-ending mockery on their fraternity list serves and rapid loss of male friends. But also, no, because if a man wants to be taken out to dinner, he will tell his woman. Not the world. In an unrelated but equally important note, claiming that Boyle has lost “male friends that don’t understand my decision …but they were probably never really my friends anyway,” makes the males that engage in casual sexual behavior seem as inferior as the females. And no, they were probably never your friends anyway. When you flaunt a BORN AGAIN VIRGIN stamp across your forehead, chances are, your f*ck buddies will likely stop calling.

And finally—what was it that happened to Ms. Boyle that so enforced this vendetta against “hooking up?” “After consuming large quantities of alcohol before a party, her night would sometimes end in making out with a stranger or acquaintance,” reads the article. After a year of this, she quits cold turkey. Honey. The best way to get over a particularly insensitive fratstar who you found locked in the tender embraces of your sorority sister at the last “GI Joes and Barbie Hoes” party is to blatantly ignore him, make a point of having a great time without him, and go home laughing when he texts you “Long time no see…where are you?” at 2:30AM (You are happily in bed with Bagel Bites and a Diet Coke, thank you). No reason to give up altogether. After all, in the wise words of the Gawker rebuttal “Warning: Celibacy Can Be Hazardous To Your Health,” Brian Moylan writes: “College is a fantasy world. It is a wonderful dream universe where children get to party their way to a degree, get graded on an easy curve, survive on meal plans made entirely of fast food, and live in comfy dorms way nicer than anything they'll be able to afford once they graduate and enter the stagnant job market. Trying to get them to give up the sexiest part of their extracurricular activities is just making it worse.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thing of the Day: The Motherland

I am basically the only first generation immigrant in my circle of friends and aquaintances, and I often forget how absolutely ridiculous the place that my family comes from actually is. My father is from Moscow, which is an awesome metropolitan city that I don't consider too different than New York. Of course, my views are slightly biased given that my only adult trip to Moscow was with a large group of Americans and I spent my time there eating overpriced food and gallivanting among nightclubs and casinos, but nonetheless, I don't think my Moscow upbringing would have been drastically different than my Manhattan one.

My mother, on the other hand, is from Norilsk, the Northernmost city in Siberia. Norilsk was founded for nickel mining in Gulag labor camps and is legitimately only accessable via sled in the winter months. Grandfather Bogo often used such sleds to hunt and catch deer and elk, the antlers of which we have mounted in our den despite numerous allegations from both myself and Sister Bogo that this sort of decor is really creepy and inappropriate in New York City and scares away potential non-immigrant suitors.

Momma Bogo just got back from visiting family in this wonderful place (average temperature, -10 degrees Celcius) and has sent me the above photograph. In addition to frolicking with small baby wolves like it was no big (these small baby wolves inhabit her brothers' back yard...normal), she participated in activities such as cross country ice skiing (I went cross country skiing once and threw down my skiis in a fit of rage and demanded to be carried back to the lodge...I was probably around fourteen), igloo building, and making me really glad that I grew up in a comparatively temporally climated city of tens of millions.