A thorough essay on precisely how fucking hot it is in New York City today…

Bonjour.

 

 

By the looks of it, our entire country’s shaping up to become a vast, desolate wasteland of ash, rubble and smolder by the end of this summer. Apparently it’s 106 degrees in my hometown of Kansas City right now, and according to the damn near illegible weather map I just pulled up on Google, I think they’re only losing to the few splotches of light pink around New Mexico and Arizona. I could be wrong — I pulled a C- in meteorology class during my senior year of high school and my only source of weather information comes from the drop-down weather app on my iPhone — and there could be a few more miserable places to be in the United States than Kansas City, but it’s still safe to say they’re not having the best time right now.

It’s only — and I’m only saying “only” because the next statement follows the above paragraph — 91 degrees in the city right now. Yes, that’s technically 15 degrees less than it is in the Midwest, but I’m willing to fight anyone who has the gall to say it’s more violently uncomfortable in Kansas City than it is in New York right now.

Imaginably, heat waves aren’t too enjoyable in Kansas City, but they’re a completely different story in NYC. It doesn’t just get hot here — it gets immeasurably hot. Oppressively hot. It-feels-like-twenty-naked-Finnish-bastards-are-dripping-sweat-in-the-sauna-that-has-taken-up-inside-your-lungs hot. When you first step outside, it doesn’t feel like you’re taking a breath; it feels like you’re taking a 10-second drag from the burning end of a cigarette. Once you get acclimated to breathing so hard and deeply that it alone makes you sweat, each new block greets you with long, rusted grates on the ground which allow the Subway system to breathe. God forbid a train pass by below while you’re standing on or near one of these vents. When that happens, the already stifling heat is compounded by the painful blast of dense, steamy air that rockets its way out from the underbellies of New York City onto the pissed off, exhausted and already short-tempered NYC populace.

 

 

For those of you who haven’t been in NYC during one of these weekend-long hell fires , or if you haven’t seen Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, It’s a little difficult to understand the effect that all of this has on the people.  The five boroughs are home to a little more than 8 million people, and Manhattan is home to approximately 1.5 million people. The fact that so many live here isn’t what makes things difficult in heat, though; it’s the density that makes it hell — the island of Manhattan is only 23 square miles.

For my friends and family from Kansas, I’ll give you this for reference: the entire City of Leawood is 15 square miles with a population of about 32,000. For the sake of visualization, let’s take Prairie Village and a little bit of Mission Hills and herd them into Leawood’s city limits. That should give us about 23 square miles, give or take. Now, add another 1.4 million people, plus about 10,000-20,000 European tourists in capri pants, all-white K-Swisses and Armani Exchange shirts.

“But AJ,” you say. “If we added all those people to this new (and as you could imagine) nauseously snobby, decadent, opulent, depraved Leawood-Prairie Village-Mission Hills hybrid town (or hellhole), where would they live?”

Well, you’re going to have to put them somewhere. Why not build thousands of buildings out of concrete and steel and cram everyone in.

In case you’re an idiot, concrete and steel are good for a lot of things. Not only are they the go-to choices for building solid, sustainable infrastructure; they’re pretty damn good at absorbing every last ray of merciless sunlight and transferring all that heat into the stagnant, breeze-less air.

So that’s why it’s more unbearable in New York City than it is in Kansas City today. I’ve lived through 18 summers in KC and two in NYC, so I feel like I’m at some liberty to discuss the matter. If anyone’s experienced more of both and would like to argue their case, I’m happy to hear you out.

 

 

Thankfully, this fucking heat wave is supposed to let up next week. It better.

 

All the best
AJ

 

P.S. I was originally going to write about my drunken escapades on the Fourth of July, but Mother Nature’s savage punishment for the good people of New York City kind of sapped my motivation. Stories about work and life as usual will come tomorrow.

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A Game Of Inches…

Buenas noches.

 

 

If you were around on Thursday when I last wrote, I mentioned being at or near the halfway point of this summer. Turns out I was a few days early because yesterday was the actual halfway point, which makes today the first day of the home stretch — the first minute of the second half, if you will. Just how that would leave 29 minutes left in a football game, it leaves me with 29 days left in New York City. If you caught it, the title of this post is derived from Al Pacino’s famous halftime speech in Any Given Sunday. It’s a loose reference, mind you, because Pacino’s speech is meant to rally the team together for a comeback in the second half because they’d been getting the shit kicked out of them thus far in the game. I haven’t been getting the shit kicked out of me — things couldn’t really be going better — but I sat here for about five minutes trying to think of a title before eventually coming up with this one. I think it’s clever, so if you don’t, you’re an idiot.

 

 

Since the cheesiness and corniness are already oozing freely into my writing tonight, I’ll take a stab at making another loose connection between Al Pacino’s speech about “inches” and my recent happenings. Back in the day — when most print newspapers were still culturally and societally relevant — journalists and editors used to gauge the length of a story or article by inches. This was the most effective way to do it before computers rolled around with their fancy ‘word count’ features.  So, in the parlance of the yesteryear, I’ve had a solid number of inches posted since we last spoke.

 

 

Today, I went through and posted all of the stories from issues #1 and #2 of Huffington onto The Huffington Post. Luckily for my grandmothers and anyone else who reads what I write, this means that the texts of both stories I’ve written in the magazine are now available to those without iPads. There’s nothing fancy about them — I was literally told the copy/paste the text from the magazine article onto the website — but they’re there, now. I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t got anything more productive to do with your evening.

 

Click here to read.

 

This story appeared in Issue #2 two weeks ago. Dr. Good was a blast to interview and is doing some pretty innovative and honorable things when it comes to how we deal with stray animals.

 

Click here to read.

I’m not really sure why this one has my face on it, but when I filed it, it showed up. This story appeared in our double issue, Issue #3-4, last week. Interestingly enough, one of the sources is going to be a KU student. It’s pretty strange when people voice their emails real professionally and you know that they go to your school, but it was cool to be able to relate like that.

So there they are. I’m not sure how many other things I’ll have published this summer. We don’t ship another issue until next Thursday and I know that I won’t have a byline in it. After that, I think I’ll only be around for one more issue, so unless something comes up and I’m asked to write something, these may be it. I’m cool with that though — I didn’t even think I’d get to write much at all this summer. Doing editorial work on the magazine is a lot of work and there isn’t much time to write.

The Fourth of July is on Wednesday. It should be good. I’ll tell you about it when we speak next.

All the best
AJ

The Sound Of Your Own Wheels…

‘Evening.

 

 

 

 

Considering how inconsistent my updating habits are, the lag time between this post and the last is shorter than usual. I wrote last on Sunday, which means I’ve only got things that happened on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at my disposal. I’m not really sure what your preference is — i.e. less talking or more talking — but on the off-chance you savvy shorter, more to-the-point posts, you’re in luck.

Actually, even though this one probably won’t end up as long, I don’t know who the fuck I’m kidding when I say “more to-the-point.” For some reason, I don’t have any problems keeping my focus when writing articles, stories or what have you — but it never really translates here. Oh well, just treat it as a one-sided conversation.

 

 

 

 

If you were to take all the days I’ve had so far in NYC, sort them into groups of three consecutive days each and ask me which 3-day period has been the most eventful — at least in terms of being busy — I wouldn’t bat an eye before picking this one. It’s been good, though. I told you last time about how our managing editor, Katy, was gone on a trip with her family from Thursday until Tuesday. She’s been the one who’s showed me the ropes thus far and has given me things to do. I’m one of several people who handle the editorial aspects of the magazine and we usually get done with each issue on Wednesday and Thursday. So when she left last week, I would encounter a few lulls during the day where I wouldn’t really have anything to do. The people who do all the designing would start preparing page layouts, and granted that I usually wasn’t doing anything of importance, I would start working on them and try to get them done as fast as possible. It worked out pretty well — Katy and I have sort of tag-teamed each page thus far, but since she was gone and I knew how to do the things that needed to be done, I was able to keep the pages we’re usually responsible for on schedule for the next issue.

 

 

 

 

In our weekly meeting on Monday, Tim, our executive editor, gave me a little shout out and told me that he appreciated the work I’d been doing. I felt a bit like a deer caught in headlights because I wasn’t really expecting it — don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely got an ego, but I try pretty damn hard to bottle it when I’m given opportunities like this — but it felt tremendous. To be honest, it wasn’t that I was happy because I was being commended; I was mostly stoked because I’d earned some trust with the whole magazine team. I don’t think that there’s really been a point where they didn’t trust me, but you’ve got to look at it this way: this magazine has been in the making for so long and HPMG’s put so much effort into it. It’s gotta be hard at first to feel comfortable asking a 20-year-old kid from Kansas to do something that, if done wrong, could spell big problems for everything you’ve been bending over backwards for in the last year. I know that, if I were them, I would have been scared handing me a fucking pencil. But now, I feel like I’ve proven that I can do what they ask and I can do it correctly. That was half the battle.

So I think that’s why Katy put my name on the masthead today. Try finding a writer who doesn’t love seeing their name on paper…or in this case, an iPad. I should probably get used to that.

 

 

 

 

In other news, I also told you about the story that I gave a re-write to last week. I did the same thing this week — only instead of a contributing byline, our culture editor, Danny, put my name in the primary byline spot with the original Patch editor who wrote the original story. I didn’t even know that was going to happen, either. I just saw it when I went to check copy on all the pages this afternoon. It’s awesome. It’ll be my first byline in a magazine.

 

 

Sneak Peek.

 

 

I’m really happy with the story, too. The interviews with all three sources went flawlessly and when I sat down to write it on Monday night, it kind of flowed out seamlessly. I love it when that happens. On a side note — this has been the first story I’ve written for HuffPost or Huffington where one of the sources has been a KU student. I didn’t even plan that, either; I was just re-interviewing the sources from the original story and when I asked her where she was going to school next year, she said “the University of Kansas.” It was pretty funny — when you consider the odds, it’s pretty rare, too.

Also, I copy-edited the cover story for Friday’s issue, which was written by David Wood — the man who won the Huffington Post its first Pulitzer prize a few months ago. It was an easy edit because he’s a storytelling juggernaut, but the few times I ran into something that I questioned, I was scared shitless to change anything. Luckily John, one of the editors, was around and was able to answer the few questions I had about any edits. The story’s absolutely tremendous, though, and I’m not just saying that to kiss this guy’s ass. There’s a reason he’s a Pulitzer-winner and you can see that when you read his stories. If you’re looking for just one reason to buy this issue ($0.99) — his story is it.

 

 

 

 

On the off-chance you’re looking for multiple reasons to buy this issue, you could do it because you want to read my article. I don’t think that they’re going to be accessible on the website for a while and I’m pretty sure I can’t post a JPEG of the article on my blog because, technically, that’s republishing something for free that you’d normally have to pay for. So if you don’t have an iPad, convince your friend who has one to download the magazine if you want to read it, or if you’d like, message me on FB or tweet me and I can probably email you a .pdf. I just don’t think I can publish it, unfortunately.

 

 

Apparently there are BVHS alums in NYC…and they own a deli.

 

 

I think that’s about it. We’ll talk soon. BUY THE ISSUE FRIDAY.

All the best
AJ

Still stoked and still broke…

G’day, friends.

I don’t really have the urge to count everything and do the actual math, but I’m pretty sure that I’m at — or arriving at — the half-way point of my stay in NYC. I remember this realization being particularly bittersweet last summer, but this year, it’s a bit different.

By this time last year, I was starting to get a bit homesick. I use that term loosely because I was still loving life in the city, but I was starting to miss the simplicities and lack of responsibility that come with your typical college summer. I’d get jealous each time I’d see my friends’ pictures from parties/concerts/the pool posted on Facebook. I’d miss being able to sleep in every day. I’d miss driving my car. I’d miss barbecue. I’d miss getting drinking all the time. I’d miss every intricate facet of a Midwestern summer.

I’m not necessarily saying that I’ve grown out of them or that I don’t miss them — I just don’t really think about them this time around. I’ll spare you unnecessary anecdotes, but I’ve sort of grown up in the last year and I’m not really bothered about being away from all that. It definitely helps to have three months of experience in NYC under my belt this year, but I’m totally comfortable with where I am and what I’m doing. I’m sure I’ll be ready to go home when the time comes, but I have zero complaints as it stands right now.

Not to mention the fact that I remember how fucking bored I got during winter break each year. Sure, the weather’s hot and there’s a bit more going on, but for all intents and purposes, summer at home is essentially two winter breaks strung together. That’s a lot of boredom that I’m glad I don’t have to deal with.

Issue #2 of Huffington came out Friday. I thought it was a very, very solid issue and came out better than the first. For the first two weeks, I would have to constantly ask our managing editor for specific tasks because I wasn’t quite sure what my role was in the production of the magazine. I’ve got it all figured out now, and since she left town for vacation on Wednesday, I didn’t really have any problems or difficulties in getting my shit done. I even have a pretty firm grasp on how to do some of the things that she would usually take, and whenever they’d pop up and I’d have a free minute or two, I’d go ahead and do those. I used to feel pretty guilty being the intern with a thousand questions and a thousand mistakes in the beginning, but for the most part, I feel like I’m able to help out and prove my worth.

I also got my first byline (contributing) of the summer on the ‘Greatest Person of the Week’ feature about a veterinarian in Georgia. Each week, one of the editors scans through all the different Patch articles and picks one of them to run in the magazine. Though we’d probably like to be able to just copy/paste those stories straight onto our page, almost all of them are written for that Patch community’s audience and don’t translate perfectly into a national magazine. That happened with this one, so one of our editors assigned me to call up the sources and do some more interviews so we could add a bit more detail in our version. I ended up having a really, really good interview with the guy and got a ton of quotes and anecdotal stuff — enough to essentially write another story. I wrote a separate article and plugged in a few parts from the original, and that’s what we ended up running in the magazine. The original author still has the main byline, though. She’s the one who found the story and brought everything to light, so I don’t really have any problem taking the contributing line despite re-writing the story.

In other news, I got a chance to see The Hives at Terminal 5 on the Upper West Side last night. I’m not a massive fan — I have all their albums and listen to them from time to time — but I’d seen them before with my dad in Lawrence and they’re one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. In my opinion, their music translates far better through their live shows than it does on record. I took a bunch of pictures, though, so here’s a little montage.

I can’t really think of anything too exciting that’s coming up soon, but I’ll write here again once I’ve got something to talk about.

All the best
AJ

PS — To all my family who may be concerned: the title of this particular entry has nothing to do with my current financial status. The lead singer of one of the opening bands at the Hives concert introduced one of their songs, ‘Stoked and Broke,’ by saying, “This song’s called ‘Stoked and Broke,’ because we’re still stoked and still broke.” I thought that was fucking hilarious, so that’s the title.

You don’t need to call me to ask if you need to wire me money. I’m doing fine.

Number one in the hood, G….

Hola, amigos.

As to be expected, all is good. Though there are days when I feel overworked or stressed, it’s comforting to know that I’m not sitting at home with nothing to do or that I’m not working at some restaurant for a boss that I hate. Inevitably, that’s probably how it would be if I never got this job. Every time I’m back for an extended amount of time, there’s stuff going on every now and then, but the majority of my time is spent sitting at home watching TV.

In case you couldn’t tell by my Facebook posts/tweets/Instagram photos, the magazine finally came out last week. As you know, I’m technically working for the Huffington Post this summer, but more specifically, I’m the lone intern on the Huffington magazine team. This is HPMG’s first step into the magazine world and I got lucky enough to be a part of it. When I started work a few weeks ago, the free preview issue was complete and we were in the middle of finishing up the premiere issue, which was released on Newsstand last Friday.  My primary job is to fill in wherever I’m needed in terms of copy editing and caption writing, and since the stories that would come out in the premiere issue had already been through the wringer, I wasn’t really too swamped at any point. But, as these things go, deadline came fast-approaching and the entire team was rushing to tweak things in the last couple of days. It was a bit strenuous — even worse for the designers and tech people — but everything got done on time. It was pretty relieving to know that the project was finally out and on its feet, but I’ve only been here for three weeks and I can barely imagine how good it must have felt for the rest of the team who’s been working on this for months.

The night before launch, Arianna Huffington and my editor, Tim, threw a really fancy launch party for the magazine team, the higher-ranking members of HuffPost’s editorial staff and many of Arianna’s high-profile friends — all on the rooftop of the beautiful Gramercy Park Hotel in midtown Manhattan. I’d really never been to anything like it before; about fifteen people in bow ties were circulating with platters full of hors d’oeuvres and the magazine’s celebratory, “signature” drink (cucumber juice, gin and mint), several tables were set up throughout the room with the iPads pre-loaded with our premiere issue and a smattering of photographers from Getty made the rounds snapping pictures of all the big-name guests. As cool as it was, I couldn’t help but feel a bit out of place; everyone seemed to know each other and was carrying on conversations about business, the upcoming elections, etc. For a while, I had a few drinks and floated around the room until I ended up next to someone who I could introduce myself to.

For the most part, I met a lot of Arianna’s friends and colleagues from her political days in the 2003 California Recall election. Several of them held high-ranking positions in (what seemed like) advocacy groups or political non-profits, which made it all-the-more surprising that they’d come up to the only college kid in the room and strike up a conversation. Like everyone else I’ve met, they all found my Midwestern accent to be amusing and asked me if I’d ever been to their favorite Kansas City barbecue spot (I’d been at each a thousand times). Our conversation would eventually wrap up, they’d hand me their business card and we’d go our separate ways.  I kept each one, though. Nowadays, connections are far more valuable than grades.

After a while, Arianna and Tim took to the little stage in the corner of the room and gave a speech. They talked about the genesis of Huffington, gave kudos to our team and congratulated David Wood on winning HuffPost’s first Pulitzer a few months ago. They gave a toast, everyone clapped and continued socializing. Unfortunately, none of the interns I’ve made friends with so far were there and almost everyone from the team was in the middle of a conversation with people I didn’t know, so I left. I was glad to be invited in the first place, but I was starting to feel increasingly young and out-of-place as the whole thing progressed. I said goodbye to Tim — I tried to introduce myself to Arianna as the magazine team’s intern, but she was understandably busy greeting guests all night —  grabbed some tacos down the street and headed home.

The next day was pretty relaxed, as you can imagine. The magazine launched in the morning and none of us really got into the newsroom until a little before noon — and that’s just the few of us who came in. I spent the day working on several things that I’d been assigned to do for future issues while the others did the same.

Around one or two, Tim sent out an email notifying us that we were ranked #1 in the App Store, the same day that a bunch of other big-name magazines were released. Even better, we beat out People, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Better Homes & Gardens in only six hours. That still hasn’t really set in. I’m well aware how lucky I am to be in this position, but it still doesn’t register that I’m one of 24 people behind the number one electronic magazine in the world. It’s fucking crazy, and when I checked today, we were still ranked #1 on Newsstand. From what I’ve read, every single critic that’s reviewed our magazine had lots of positive things to say about it and it’s gotten a ton of publicity through various mediums. It still feels unreal.

 

 

So all-in-all, things are great. Just like last year, I fucked up when it came to submitting my hours to payroll again, but luckily I’m going to get my check in the mail tomorrow instead of having to wait a week and a half with no money like last year. We should have everything done with issue #2 in the next few days and then it’ll be the weekend. The Hives are playing at Terminal 5 on Friday, so I’m more than likely going to go to that.

I can’t really think of much else. I’ll bring a wider selection of stuff to the table next time.

All the best
AJ

A Weekend on the Island + A Day at the Races…

Good evening, brothers and sisters. Here’s hoping the weekend treated you as well as it treated me. If it didn’t? Tough shit. Sorry. You’ll get ’em next time.

The last time we spoke, I informed you that I would be leaving the city for the weekend to visit my pledge son on Long Island. So, after a stressful-but-shorter day in the newsroom, I was on my way. The last time I had visited him (last summer), I misunderstood his directions on what trains to take and ended up taking the subway (rather than the Long Island Railroad) as far as it would go. I didn’t realize that I had messed up until I got off in Far Rockaway — a reportedly dicey area east of Rockaway Beach — and called to see where he was. Immediately after hearing my location, there was an “Oh shit. Stay there, I’m driving now.” I didn’t have any problems; if there’s anything I’ve learned after living here for months, it’s that most of the places people claim to be “sketchy,” are only sketchy if you make it obvious that you’re scared or paranoid.

Anyway, this time I made it a priority to get on the correct train and arrive at the station that’s located about a mile from his house. To do that, I had to take the subway up to Penn Station, probably the second biggest train station aside from Grand Central. Once I got to Penn, I had to find the LIRR tracks and buy a separate ticket. Unfortunately, I arrived at Penn at the same time as everyone else who commutes home to Long Island each day, so the lines for tickets were super long and I already missed the train I was supposed to take, twice. Eventually, I called Greg and got things figured out.

I had a good time that night. Greg’s family was extremely welcoming as usual and his friends were all very laid-back and fun to talk to. As usual, every utterance of my Kansan roots was quickly followed by the all-too-common flurry of questions that bombards every Midwesterner that visits New York. After dispelling rumors about cow tipping and questionable business decisions from the Royals’ front office, we got to drinking. Along with the sketchy “Long Island rules” for beer pong (i.e. cup is pulled immediately after shot is made, no re-racks until you have less than five cups, etc.), I got to know his friends pretty well and I hope I’ll be able to make it out there a bit more as the summer progresses.

I don’t really think I deserved the hangover I woke up with on Saturday morning, though. I felt like total shit and Greg’s family had places to be in the morning and was gone when I awoke, so I sat on the couch for about an hour watching Saturday’s Euro Cup games and swearing off drinking for the rest of my life. Eventually, Greg got back — and as is customary with swearing off drinking, I broke that promise about an hour later. That should be understandable, though; the Belmont Stakes were that day.

I’ve never been to a horse race in my life, but my dad has always been pretty enthusiastic about the sport. General admission tickets only cost $10, but I knew there was a significant chance that I would end up spending a lot more than that thanks to my inexperience with horse betting. The upper-tiers of the Belmont Park grandstand were reserved for people with actual seats, but the bottom level that extended all the way out to the track rail and the ‘backyard’, a dirty, booze-soaked and crowded area behind the grandstand, were open-game for us. We found a few of Greg’s friends from the night before — they had cleverly sidestepped the park’s brand new anti-BYOB policy and stowed away a good amount of drinks — and started betting/drinking.

After a few failed $5 bets, I looked into my wallet and started to worry. I knew that the inverse relationship between my rationality and blood alcohol content could pose a problem, not to mention the fact that adrenaline would probably cause me to get a bit ballsy when betting on the actual Stakes (the 11th race of the day). A ticket back to the city costs $11, so I pulled it out and stowed it away in my pocket so I wouldn’t bet it and get stuck on the island with no cash. I continued to bet about $5 to $6 on each race, but I split the bets up and only took horses with odds low enough that I could potentially break even for the day if I hit. It may have been a smarter strategy, but it didn’t work. By race 9, my wallet was getting pretty slim. We had been talking about wanting to be in the stands for the Stakes race, so we decided to cut our losses outside, finish our drinks and head in.

Once we got inside, they all bet on the 10th race, but I decided not to. I had called my mom earlier in the day and she told me that my dad had put some extra money into my bank account so I could make a bet for him. As I said earlier, my dad knows his shit when it comes to this stuff, so I consulted the betting program for a bit before calling him to ask for his input on bets for the Stakes. He asked for me to put down a 3-horse exacta box for his bet (you pick three horses, if two of them go #1 and #2, you win) and advised me to take two horses as long shots when I bet. I had been betting on underdogs all day and, though I had come extremely close a few times, I hadn’t won a dime. His bet cost about $12, but if I placed a 2-horse exacta box, it would only cost me six dollars. I liked two of the horses he picked (Union Rags and Paynter), so I put down an exacta for them and placed a $2 bet for each to win and for each to place (second). Now that I think about it, it was kind of stupid to bet more than half of my wallet on different combinations of two horses’ fates. If neither of them broke past third place, I’d be fucked, plain and simple.

(Paynter still in the lead, Union Rags seconds away from sprinting up to first)

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Paynter was in first place out of the gate and held it until the final stretch. Union Rags was towards the middle of the pack heading into the final stretch, but started hauling dick along the rail in the last 200 yards and passed Paynter to get the win. I was going fucking crazy. I had such a bad day at the betting window before that, but in the Stakes — the headliner, the biggest race of the day — I essentially hit the jackpot: my father and I both picked Union Rags and Paynter to go #1 and #2 and I had placed bets for both horses to win and place, respectively. I cashed my tickets after the race and not only broke even for the day, but had enough money to eat very well for the remainder of the week.

After waiting forever with nearly 100,000 people to get out of the park and board our trains, Greg and I got back to his house, ate a solid dinner and had a few beers. We had sobered up during the Stakes and the subsequent commute home and were exhausted. His neighbor was throwing a party, but everyone was planning on going to the bars and it isn’t too easy to get in if you’re underage where he lives. We decided to head back to his house to watch the Pacquiao fight — which I’ve been rather outspoken about, if you saw my tweets over the past 24 hours — and called it a night.

All in all, a solid weekend. The premiere issue of Huffington is finished and comes out on Wednesday. If you have an iPad, it will be available in the App Store/Newsstand and I strongly encourage you to pick it up. It looks tremendous and the iPad-only features are pretty badass. At some point, I remember hearing that .pdf versions of the magazine will be available, but I can’t really confirm that. I hope they are, because I’d hate for my non-iPad-owning family and friends to miss out. Anyway, I’ll probably write here again after the launch party on Tuesday.

All the best
AJ

A little schtick before the weekend hits…

I’m sorry if this upsets you, but I honestly can’t think of too much to go on about, this evening. I know the throngs of die-hard fans and paparazzi who have held vigil outside my home each night for the past few years will be heartbroken, but I hope they will learn to cope in wake of this tragedy. Rest assured, though; I took some pictures here and there and I’ll share them with you.

If you follow me on Instagram (like I told you to last time…) you’ve already seen them. So that sucks.

Work is going really well and it’s unlike anything I’ve really ever done before. I’ve always savvied myself as a writer and not much else, which is precisely why I chose to take this specific job at HuffPo. My editor told me to choose between writing for one of the site’s sections or taking a risk and working on the new magazine. Since tablet-based magazines are the way of the future — and this one is undoubtedly going to raise the bar upon its release — I decided to go for it. Why not, right? Broaden my horizons.

So far, it seems as if my job is going to be a lot like a pinch hitter/pinch runner combo. Wherever there’s something within my capacity (so no heavy-duty page design, graphic design, photography, etc.) that needs to get done while the others are busy, it floats on over to my email and I start doing it. If you read back to some of the posts I wrote about my job last year, there were a few times towards the beginning where I mentioned feeling weird because I didn’t feel like I was an intern — I felt like I worked there, like I was an actual reporter. That was one of the coolest experiences and I absolutely loved it, but I feel like I’m truly paying my dues now. As I reread that sentence, I realized that it may sound like I’m complaining — I’m not. The people with the best, most successful careers in journalism didn’t stick to their strengths the entire way. You’ve got to do a lot of things that don’t come easily at first and you have to learn how to get them done efficiently. Luckily, nothing that I’ve been faced with so far has been too difficult for me, I just haven’t done some of them in a while. I pride myself on having a perfectionist attitude when it comes to things like this, so I haven’t really been the most satisfied with myself. It’s still the first week, though. I’ve got a good idea of how things work and I’m looking forward to getting better at them.


Outside of work, I’ve been trying to re-experience a lot of the things/places I enjoyed so much last summer. I’ve eaten at almost every place that I would drool about every time I thought about NYC last semester (including a trip to Katz’s with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years, Kylie. Check her blog out), I’ve taken a few of those long, luxurious walks throughout Manhattan with my headphones in and I’ve tried to soak it back in as much as I can. Shit, tonight I even went up to Times Square to watch the USA/Russia wrestling dual. The Olympic teams that will compete in London were on display and the headlining match-up was between two Americans for the last spot on the team. It was crazy; the guy who ended up winning that last spot was overjoyed, as you can imagine. I can’t even begin to think about what it would feel like to do that, especially in front of thousands of people on the streets of NYC.

Anyways, it’s kind of hard for me to explain exactly how it feels to be back here, but to keep it blunt, it feels right and it feels good.

Strangely, there’s a very good chance that my first weekend out here will be the best that I’ll have all summer. After I get done at work, I’m headed out to Long Island to visit my pledge son and good friend, Greg, as well as the rest of his family. The last time I was out there, I got a little too drunk and suffered for it on the westbound train the next morning, but I had a great time. His family is incredibly welcoming and is a blast to be around. According to the phone call I had with him today, we’re going to be drinking tomorrow night and we’ll be at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday — which is especially cool because I’ve never been to a horse race, let alone a Triple Crown horse race, let alone a nationally televised horse race and let alone a horse race where I could potentially see a horse win the first Triple Crown since 1978. As far as I’m concerned, Saturday’s a pretty good day to see your first race.

I’ll try and write again on Monday. The magazine launches next Wednesday, and I’m not sure whether the launch party is on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Either way, you’ll hear about it and you’ll see pictures from it. It’ll be cool.

All the best
AJ

P.S. Every time I write here, WordPress reminds me that it only costs $20 to buy the rights to “whatdoesbarbosathink.com.” I think I’m going to do it after my first pay check, and I’m going to do it out of pure laziness (because I hate getting to it through WordPress first) and pure egomania (because then I’d have my own motherfucking website). Stay tuned.