The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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August, 2010

Farewell, Brooklyn

My New York City stay came to an end Sunday, and I’m sitting in St Paul Minnesota as I type. I said goodbye to New York in style!

Knitting in McCarren Park

With lots of knitting and reading in the park. Restlessness was setting in big with long afternoons by myself and I couldn’t be inside at all.

French Toast Bagel from The Bagel Store in Williamsburg

With lots of bagels. I must have cream cheese coursing through my veins after these couple weeks.

Indian Food Feast

With my first ever Indian feast!

Washington Square Park

With some hanging out in Washington Square Park.

Sand Art in Washington Square Park

Little Italy

With lots of walking! We even stumbled upon Little Italy. The funniest part about Manhattan is how one street is all business, but the next block turns into a theme park.

I’ve been gone for a day and I already miss it. But I’m glad I’m not there anymore at the same time. I miss the energy and the options on every corner, but I can hear myself think for the first time in a month. I’m breathing fresh air and sitting on a couch. No mice, y’all!

It’s hard. Maybe there is no perfect place to live. I think I’ll ponder this over… MINI DONUTS AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR! GAH!

Who Do You Think You Are?

On August 12th I published a funny little blog post about the stupid things I’ve seen people wearing around Brooklyn since I’ve been here titled Chicago Hipsters Vs Brooklyn Hipsters. I’ve had this blog since February of 2009  and never have I gotten as much attention for anything I’ve written.

On the morning of the 13th Gapers Block put it on their front page, and in the afternoon it found it’s way onto Windy Citizen. That day I had 2,800 views, twice as many as my previous busiest day when I released my Summer Ebook.

It continued to get major play on twitter and facebook all weekend and on Monday the 16th the Chicago Reader picked it up. This past Friday it was Windy Citizen’s #1 most read story, so it got emailed out to their mailing list, me included, resulting in my second busiest blog day to date.

Since August 13th I’ve gotten 41 new twitter followers and The Sweatshop Facebook Fan Page has gotten 19 new fans.

Needless to say I was absolutely floored by the response to this post. I loved writing it and searching for pictures of the stupid outfits I was seeing around town and I spend really long time on it to make it just right. But I love writing every post I write and spend a really long time on every post to make it just right. I do this for free, for me and The Sweatshop, so if I didn’t love it I wouldn’t do it.

With all the readers, though, came some laughably negative comments, including a few extended fights between New Yorkers and Chicagoans about pizza.

A few of these comments went as far as to call me a stupid, boring asshole.

I don’t take any of these comments to heart and they don’t bother me in the least. I’m not stupid. And if I were boring you wouldn’t be reading much less leaving heated comments. And I’m not an asshole. I’m FUNNY! Sometimes, if you aren’t very smart, it is hard to tell the difference. It’s sad that a silly post about ankle collar sandals can get people as angry as it did, and that people put so much of their energy toward leaving anonymous angry comments on a random blog about knitting.

One of these negative comments did get me thinking, though. One woman asked, ‘Who do you think you are?’ before telling me I had no right to criticize everyone I see.

(Which, by the way, is ridiculous. America + Internet = Hypercritical Free-For-All, people! This is not new information.)

So who do I think I am?

I’m nobody. And neither are you. I’m a person who wrote a blog about stupid pants. I shouldn’t matter enough to you for you to call me an asshole anymore than you matter to me for calling me one.

I’m nobody. My opinion doesn’t matter. If you are sitting at a coffee shop wearing diaper harem shorts and a bra reading my post about how you are dressed like an idiot, you can easily do some googling and find another post about how you are dressed awesomely written by another nobody whose opinion doesn’t matter.

Who sounds like the bigger asshole? The person who writes about how stupid it is to wear shorts that look like a diaper or the person who anonymously calls a stranger an asshole for writing about how stupid it is to wear shorts that look like a diaper?

You think it’s her? Fine! You think it’s me? Fine! Unless you are my mom, who left this comment…

Allyson- I should not have read this at work…people hear me laughing and I am the only one in the room! One of the most enjoyable things you have written. Love you. Your Mommy

… I don’t care if you think I’m an asshole.

So who do I think I am? I’m me, ok?! Jeez.

There are a whole lot of words out there to read and I’m honored that so many people take the time to read mine, whether they think I’m an asshole or not.

Make Way for the Fung Wah Bus

Friday afternoon PT and I jumped on the Fung Wah Bus for Boston to visit our friends Lucas and Laura who recently moved to the area from Portland, OR.

It was a totally smooth trip. We heard about this bus catching on fire and being a real nightmare, but for $15 one way we decided to take the risk and it worked out swimmingly!

Little did we know what was coming.

Make Way for Ducklings!

But before things got hairy we made the short drive in to Boston from Framingham to explore on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

HUGE Angry Swans

Boston is a very beautiful city. It’s full of parks and old buildings and cobble stone streets.

Freedom Trail Cemetery

And old cemeteries full of cool old dudes like Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Ben Franklin’s ‘rents.

Freedom Trail Excitement!

We walked the Freedom Trail and it made me wish that everywhere I wanted to go was marked with a red line.

Lost in Boston

It still didn’t stop us from needing Lucas’s GPS phone and two maps.

Cannoli!

We got cannoli at Mike’s Pastry because that is what you do when you are in Boston. I was never into cannoli because I had no idea how good it could be. It was always soggy dough wrapped around cream cheese. This amaretto cannoli was a revelation. It was easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and I can’t wait to go back for more.

Candlepin Bowling

Another revelation? Candlepin bowling! It’s bowling, but with thin pins and smaller balls, and you get three rolls to knock down all the pins.

Candlepin Bowling in Action!

I loved it! It’s taking everything I don’t like about bowling out. Finding a ball I can actually throw? No need! All the balls are like bocce ball size and much lighter. Need an extra throw to try to get all the pins down? Take it! Pin stuck in the gutter? Awesome! Hit it and it will knock down more standing pins!

PT and Me Candlepinning

Don’t we look happy? Candlepin bowling on a rainy day. Getting ready to get back on that Fung Wah to New York without a care in the world.

In fact, we made it to South Station early so we jumped on an early bus, the 3:30, thinking we’d make it back by 7:30.

Oh were we wrong.

It was pouring rain our entire way out of Massachusetts and into Connecticut so we were already delayed about an hour when our bus driver pulled into a park and ride because the bus couldn’t get over 30 mph.

We sat. It rained. The bus driver was making calls, trying to get another bus out and a mechanic, but we were smack dab between Boston and NYC. We were thinking worst case scenario they send another bus for us, which will take two hours to get to us, and we are still two hours away from New York.

After half an hour or so the bus driver drove us a few miles down the highway, going 30 miles an hour, to Burger King.

Burger King Chicken Fry Dinner... ?

Where PT and I split a ‘Chicken Fry Dinner’. I had no idea chicken fries existed. This was the first time I had been in a Burger King since I was in middle school, but that handy ‘I eat chicken sometimes’ vegetarian rule sure came in handy because there was no way I could eat anything else on that menu, even with my loose rules.

The Largest Soda I've Ever Seen

PT Deals 'Em

We drank our very large soda and played cards for an hour or so before venturing out to check the bus status.

The mechanic was there and working on it = Good!

Fung Wah was not sending another bus = Bad.

If the mechanic couldn’t get that bus running then we were suck 30 miles outside of New Haven CT. Luckily, the bus got running soon and we were back on the road after about a 3 hour delay. But what if he couldn’t? Fung Wah didn’t give a shit that we were stranded and we would have been on our own, leaving us to cab to New Haven and take the 2+ hour commuter train into Manhattan. How is that a way to run a business?

It was still raining as we pulled into NYC and we had to drive through flooded portions of the highway to get back to Chinatown, but we made it. A good 8 hours after we left Boston.

Despite all of that Fung Wah drama we had the best time in Boston. So much so that it was really hard to come back to this this noisy, dirty city where I have no friends, in a tiny garage apartment with no food in it on a noisy street. Leaving for the weekend made me wish I wasn’t coming back.

And so, 19 days after arriving, I can safely say that while NYC is beautiful and fun and exciting and lively, I do not want to live here, and I do not want to be here any longer.

So it’s a good thing we are heading to Minnesota on Sunday!

Away We Go!

While I’ve only been in NYC for 15 days I couldn’t be more excited to get out of the city and go to another city this weekend.

PT and I are off to Boston tonight! We’ll be hanging out with our friends Lucas and Laura, who you’ll remember from our trip to Portland in February, and who have recently moved to the Boston area. SO excited to see them! And I’m gearing up for another food frenzy.

We are taking some shady Chinese bus for $15. That is one thing I love about being on the easy coast. Everything is so close! 4 hours in a shady Chinese bus and magically you are in Boston. 4 hours in a shady Chinese bus from Chicago and you’d be in the middle of nowhere Iowa or Ohio.

PT's G Train Stop, Train Approaching!

It’s loud here. It makes me very anxious, and I feel like there is nowhere to escape from it. It’s exciting and fun, but I like hearing birds and trees and breezes.

Bow Headbands for Renegade!

I have been knitting. I’ve made 11 Detroit Tigers Bow Headbands and I can’t even look at them. I want 20 for Renegade (which is coming up fast! It’s only three weeks away!) and I think I have 17 finished.

Headbands! Headbands! GAH!

I’ll have to knock out the last three in a week or so because I pick up my size 5s and I just have the urge to throw them out the window. Which, in PT’s apartment, would have them landing in the middle of the street since he has no screen.

I keep having to remind myself: NO SCREEN! DON’T REALLY THROW THINGS TOWARDS THE WINDOW!

… Weekend in Boston sounds like it’s much needed, right?

So instead of bow headbands I’ll be bringing my mom’s Christmas present that I started working on yesterday. That is right! I’ve officially started my holiday knitting, like any good home crafter, in August.

Have a great weekend everybody!

10 Reasons I Hate/Am Ok With the Yankees

My Detroit Tigers are in the Bronx this week so of course I was going. I had never been to Yankee Stadium so I wanted to see the $1.3 billion spectacle.

The New Yankee Stadium

10 Reasons I Hate/Am Ok With the Yankees

1. Yankee fans know their baseball I got to the stadium early to marvel, and everyone from the super old Polish lady on the train to the 7 year olds I sat next to while it was raining knew every player, that night’s lineup, the Yankee’s record against the Tigers this year, the Tiger’s lineup, the history of the pitching match up. I like being around people who love baseball.

2. Yankee fans are complainers If I believed everything I heard during that game I would think that:

a. It has rained at every Yankee game since the beginning of time.

b. Robinson Cano sucks. (He is batting 322 with 21 home runs and 73 RBIs at publishing time. Decidedly un-sucky.)

c. A swing and a miss for strike 1 is a boo-able offense.

Tigers Batting Practice at Yankee Stadium

3. Yankee fans are die hard, dedicated fans Who knows what would happen if the Yankees ever aren’t in a pennant race, but every person in that stadium had a Yankee shirt on. Most of them had a shirt and a hat and a drawstring backpack and kids with them wearing Yankee tshirts and hats. When it started raining they pulled out their Yankee umbrellas. They have a good team so of course they are decked out! It was fun to see every single person in one enormous stadium dressed exactly the same.

4. Yankee fans have absolutely no idea the Yankees are the best team in baseball While their tshirts say ‘Got Rings?’, their mouths say, ‘YOU SUCK!’, which is hard for me to understand. The Tigers are 10 games back in the AL Central and aren’t even playing 500 ball and I’m still not telling them they suck. They’ve had some hard knocks this season and are still fighting, which is all I can really ask for.

Rain Rain Go Away Already!

That logic would blow the mind of a Yankee fan, because if you aren’t hitting 1000, going 5 for 5 every night with 5 home runs, or have an ERA of .000, you just aren’t trying hard enough and deserve to get boo’d and told you suck.

5a. No rational person can afford to eat at Yankee Stadium

My $5 20 oz Diet Pepsi

Normal ballpark food is expensive, but when a bottle of Bud Light costs $9 something is terribly, terribly wrong.

5b. Sushi is not, and I repeat, NOT ballpark food, you pretentious douches

Really?

Yes, Derek Jeter, you order that sushi. 4 California rolls at a ballpark are totally worth $18.

6. The Yankee grounds crew does a choreographed dance to YMCA while raking the infield I have many issues with this:

a. You’ve worked your way up in the grounds crew world. You started in Cleveland, went over to the Cardinals for a few seasons but you earned your stripes and are now on the grounds crew of the New York Yankees. But before you start doing your job you have to learn choreography to one of the most obnoxious songs in the history of the world, the YMCA.

And you think something you never thought you’d think: GOD I wish I were back in Cleveland.

b. Why the hell are the Yankees playing the YMCA to begin with?

c. Not only do the Yankee fans not boo this display of ridiculousness and complete mockery of the institution of baseball, they drink it up! They all LOVE the YMCA like it was 1979, or like they are all 8 year old girls.

7. Yankee fans know how to follow directions Not only do they all love the YMCA, during the course of the game they danced wildly to Cotton Eye Joe, pulled out their American flags for God Bless America, got super noisy whenever the jumbo-tron told them to get noisy, did the wave when a man wearing a Jets Thomas Jones jersey started it, and yelled and clapped in unison whenever anyone around them started, ‘Let’s Go Yankees!’ clap clap clapclapclap. It was like kindergarten for angry fat men.

Love for Curtis!

8. Yankee fans have embraced my Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson on the Jumbo Tron at Yankee Stadium

When one of my favorite Tigers got traded to the Yankees in the off season this year I was crushed, but he is doing well for the Yankees and they seem to really like him! There were tons of Curtis tshirts everywhere and was one of only two players not to be boo’d by Yankee fans.

Curtis and Derek Jeter is your guess? And A Rod? And Posada? And Teixeira? No no no, silly. Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher were the only two Yankee players not boo’d during the game Monday night. Clearly two of the biggest names on the Yankees.

Wait. No. They aren’t at all.

9. Yankee fans are really, REALLY angry… The game did not go well for the Yankees Monday night. The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd and knocked out their starting pitcher Vazquez in the in the 4th.

I’m not an obnoxious fan, but I’m a cheerer. I was living in Chicago by the time I got really into Detroit Tiger baseball so I’ve been an away-from-home fan my whole fan life. I’m not afraid of getting boo’d or harassed from home fans but when Miguel Cabrera hit a solo home run off Joba Chamberlain in the 9th to make the game 3-0 the angry yelling and boos were so loud and intense that I wasn’t about to stand up like I did when Ryan Raburn hit his 2 run shot in the 2nd.

10a. … but they didn’t give up hope that the Yankees could pull it out

Just Before Things Got Scary

In the bottom of the 9th the Yankees loaded the bases with 1 out. I took a picture of the scoreboard before things started getting hairy for the Tigers so I’d remember that they were ahead at some point just in case they blew it.

These fans really thought they were going to score 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win the game! Maybe that is what years and years of winning does for you, but if the Tigers had bases loaded with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th I would be silently crying, knowing they weren’t going to pull it out so then on the off chance that they did win I would be totally surprised!

10b. But were still SUPER angry about it their hopefulness For instance, the Tigers closer couldn’t throw a strike to save his life. He walked the 9 batter to score the first Yankee run of the game, bringing Derek Jeter to the plate with the bases still loaded.

Angry Yankee Fan Next To Us: DON’T SWING AT ANYTHING JETER!

Ball 1 is thrown

AYFNTU: GOOD EYE JETER! KEEP THAT BAT ON YOUR SHOULDER!

Ball 2 is thrown

AYFNTU: KEEP IT UP JETER! DON’T SWING AT ANYTHING!

Jeter takes strike 1.

AUFNTU: Why didn’t he know that was coming? You don’t think he’s going to throw you a fast ball down the middle on a 2-0 count? JETER YOU SUCK!

PT and Me

Derek Jeter, who sucks, miraculously hit into a game ending double play and the Tigers somehow walked away with a 3-1 victory.

Despite the intensity of that last half inning, I had a great time at the game. I couldn’t afford to eat anything, was really confused about the Yankee Stadium music choices and misguided fan intensity, but I only got yelled at by fat Jersey Shore trash who had no idea what they were talking about and slept through innings 6-9, and I went home with a victory.

I would go back in a heart beat! Wearing a tshirt that says: Hey Yankee Fan! Chill Out. And the YMCA and Cotton Eye Joe are Really Stupid.