“Am I here? You know it! It, you know!”

This week:

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Howdy,

Welp, would you look at that? I’ve managed to forget all about this thing for another period of several weeks and thus, unless we’re actually close friends or we’re connected on either Facebook or Twitter, you may have thought I’m dead or something. If so, here’s some good news: I am not dead. I am alive, I am well and I am prospering. I’m very sorry if my assumed peril has left you crying yourself to sleep each night for the last few weeks. Trust that it wasn’t my intention. I’ll buy you a drink to ease the pain.

(Just kidding — I’m broke.)

Things have been going well, lately; so well, in fact, that I haven’t really had the time to sit down and write about them here. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before a few times during my last two summers, it’s a little difficult to conjure up the energy to do this after working all day. When I was younger, I never understood why my parents were always so tired whenever they came home. They’ve always worked hard at what they do, and I knew that, but it didn’t make sense that someone could be so exhausted after spending the majority of their day sitting at a desk. Once you finally get one of those big-boy jobs, you start to understand. When you get home, you just want to eat dinner and take a nap. That’s usually how my routine works during the week, and after that nap, I almost always would rather watch Netflix than do something that involves using my brain.

Sweet Jesus it got hot as fuck up here last week, though.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 8.20.09 PM

Yeah, that’s pretty bad and what not, but what that forecast doesn’t show you is the accompanying humidity levels — anywhere from 50-70 percent each fucking day. It’s horrendous. Most buildings in the city have to abide strict energy regulations put forth by Con Edison — New York City’s equivalent of KC P&L — whenever a heat wave like this hits. In my building’s case, only one elevator was running up-and-down the building’s 17 floors. So, if I wanted to go downstairs, I’m had to wait about 5-10 minutes in a hot hallway before riding nuts-to-butts down a packed elevator with a dew point and scent much akin to that of an offensive lineman’s jockstrap during two-a-days. So, as you can imagine, I stayed upstairs with three fans — all turned on ‘high’ — pointed directly at my face.


So it’s been a few weeks since we last spoke, though, and I have some ground to cover. I’ll do my best to summarize.

draft

T.J. and I went to the NBA Draft a few weeks ago, which was a solid time. We were a little late getting there, but luckily we made it to our seats in time for the first pick. My mom was able to nail down a pair of tickets at work, and much to our surprise, they were in the Barclays Center’s club level. Had we known this, we would have likely dressed a bit nicer, but there we were: two drunk-ass KU fans wearing t-shirts and jerseys in seats that we obviously couldn’t afford. The people sitting around us were very cool, thankfully. I recapped the whole experience in the Kansan, so head on over there if you want to read more about that.

josh swade

I got a roommate that weekend, too. Well, a “suite-mate,” technically, but that term sounds a little too uppity for me. His name’s Romulo, and he’s from Brazil. He’s up here studying English at NYU during the summer and, though it’s hard to fully communicate because I can’t speak Portuguese, he’s a very cool guy and we’ve gotten along thus far. T.J. came down the week after Romulo moved in, and he brought one of his friends who he met while studying abroad in Peru. That guy is Brazilian as well, and since he spoke Portuguese, we had him talk to Romulo and convince him to come out to the bars with us. He obliged.

T.J.’s friend, who lives in Connecticut, knew a bunch of people who were at a birthday party on this rooftop in the Lower East Side, so we figured we’d start our night there. After hanging out with some people and drinking for a bit, T.J. turned and asked me, “Dude where’s your roommate?”

“Umm, I don’t know — he was with us just a second ago,” I replied.

We turned and looked around the rooftop. There were a lot of people up there, but it wasn’t packed. Within a few seconds, we saw him — he was over on the corner of the roof, making out with some random girl neither of us knew. Bear in mind, we had only been at this party for about 10 minutes, plus, he only had one beer before we left and is still learning English. He didn’t even know the girl, either. That’s beyond impressive. He stayed back with that girl — obviously — when we decided to leave for the bars, where we both ended up striking out. And we both speak English. There’s something about those Brazilians, man. The dude’s a legend.

10th street

The next day, Chad, one of our fraternity brothers, had been in New Jersey visiting relatives when he decided to come into the city for the Fourth of July. We had a good time, but we didn’t get too rowdy. After having a few beers at my place, we headed downtown to this outdoor beer garden right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a cool place; the beer was pretty cheap — by NYC standards — and it was packed with a lot of college-aged people, which, surprisingly, you don’t see as often as you’d think out here. We (over) celebrated the holiday there.

WTC close up

We faced a dilemma in terms of places to crash that night, though: NYU has this bullshit rule where you’re only allowed to have five guests stay overnight per month. We had already blown through a few of those the night before and we needed to save a few for the night of the Jay-Z concert, so we decided we’d head back up to Stamford to stay at T.J.’s apartment. That train ride’s a pain in the ass after drinking all day, but it was nice to get out of the city for a bit and finally sleep in an air-conditioned room for the first time in six weeks.

hov show 1

The Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake show was far and away the best night of the summer, as I’m sure we all expected it to be. My good friend and roommate in Lawrence, Greg, finished up his internship in Kansas City that week and flew back out here — where he’s from — on Friday morning. The night before that, another one of my good friends and former roommates (from my sophomore year), Dave, flew in from Atlanta, where he now lives and works. He was staying with T.J. and they were planning to head down to the city around 2 p.m.; my boss was nice enough to let me work from home/finish early, so once Greg made it into the city, we started drinking a bit and eventually met up with T.J., Dave and Kate. We drank all afternoon and lost track of time, so we started to freak out once we realized that we wouldn’t make it to Yankee Stadium by 8 p.m. — the time the show was scheduled to start. If you’ve ever been to any concert, you know that the opening acts don’t even start right on time. Normally, this wouldn’t be a cause for concern, but I had read the night before that both Hov and JT were going to perform one, big 40-song set that would take about two and a half hours. There was no opening act, either, so there was a chance that they could actually start at 8 p.m., or at least it would make sense. On our way to the Subway station, I called the Yankee Stadium ticket office and asked them what time everything was actually supposed to start. He told me that, though there weren’t any opening acts billed for the show, a D.J. would be playing some shit for about an hour or so before Hov and JT took the stage. That bought us more than enough time so, as any college kids would do, we grabbed a few more beers before hopping on the subway and seeing the show.

hov show 2

I could ramble on for about 2,000 words about the show, but I won’t do that to you. Suffice it to say it was the best show I’ve seen thus far in my life, and I’ve seen a lot of shows put on by a lot of different artists with a lot of different sounds. Jay’s performance was everything I hoped for and much, much more. I didn’t go to see Justin, but he was ridiculously good live (which shouldn’t be surprising, because he’s much more talented than a lot of people give him credit for). I’m sure I’ll continue to go to a lot of different shows and festivals throughout the rest of my life, but I’m not sure I’ll see another one as big as that — two decades worth of iconic hits played in front of a sold-out crowd in the best rapper alive’s backyard. Unreal.

empire state boozin

That’s about it, though. I’ll make an effort to get back to updating this thing on a weekly basis, but I only have two weeks left, so we’ll see how that goes. In addition to that piece about the NBA Draft, I reviewed Jay-Z’s new album, “Magna Carta… Holy Grail,” for the Kansan and you can read that here. I’m going to start working on a few longer freelance pieces that I’ll try to knock out in August when I’m back, so I’ll be sure to give you more details as they come around. I got a byline on an infographic that ran on the Data page of our Fourth of July double issue, but since it’s an iPad layout (with all the tappable stuff, etc.), I’m not exactly sure how to put that on here/show it, but I’ll hopefully figure that out by next time. If you have an iPad, go download it.

We’ll talk more next week.

All the best
AJ