Monday, January 30

Saturday, January 28

Down + Forward + Fierce punch = Lasagna.

By my count, about 30 people showed up to my party! It was a bash. We had a puzzle, coloring, macaroni pictures, videogames, a little rum, lasagna (3 kinds, eggplant veggie, jerk chicken, and beef), 2 kinds of salad, dip, olives, British cookies, and John Ruddy. Oh, did we ever have John Ruddy. For those of you who did not come, thankyou for the leftover powdered donuts. It was low-key. People had conversations. Emily would thank you, but her mouth is full of them.

And then, at the end of the party (as at the end of all great parties), the ice-cream melted, everyone left except for a few people, and you had a nice little mini-after party sharing flash cartoons, doing dishes, and playing chess. Truly, the times were good. It is an honor to be friends with all the people that I am. Even if some of them couldn't get there, it reminded me how good it is to know all of you. Thanks!

My roommate Alex and I are sharing the dual golden ages of friendship that is beating Contra without the 30 lives code and playing Resident Evil 4. I'm doing homework...yeah, totally.

France and Germany coming up...but no time for the next 2 days. Grrr. I want documentation and closure, don't you?

Wednesday, January 25

My international experience was more valuable than yours.

In place of any really entertaining new pictures, here are me and my father on a mountain about 2 years ago. I look different. My hair is doing its Hyper-Sonic-the-Hedgehog-after-you-get-all-the-chaos-emeralds-and-get-fifty-rings-then-jump-up-in-the-air impression. I dare you to make a comic out of it. No, seriously. Do it! Ask me if you want the template for the comics.

In other news, I had a 9AM interview this morning for an ambassadorship at the study abroad program here at NYU. It seems like a really cool little gig, although the interview was a group job, and it felt as though I was competing with the other 5 girls in the room to show that we had the coolest experiences. Basically, this job would mean that I could design programs to bring the NYU in London community closer together...stuff buying cookies for a big British movie showing and sharing my addiction with the world. It was actually kind of fun, talking about it to people who already knew a lot about the program. I get the feeling that it will have a lot to do with building community amongst post-undergrad students here, since Plain yogurt-USA-NYU doesn't really have much of a campus.

Oh my goodness, two incredibly violent and entertaining flashes:

1. The Ultimate Showdown (A superhero rap/song thing, you probably want the subtitles).
2. gogo Happy and Smile (A side scrolling game. Play as either a kitten or a bunny and do anime supermoves).

And one song you must hear. Yes, it streams. It's called the Pirate Rap.

This week should be interesting. Tomorrow I have my first informational meeting for the NYC teaching fellowship--it's about teaching math and science, but I thought I would go anyway. As far as setting up my website, which will hopefully be, I'm working on it. I want to name it fish because there are a lot of fish in the world, they don't blink, they are creepy, and don't taste as good as chicken at lot of the time. In essence, they are exactly like my comics. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I would probably keep the blog running, unless I move it to that website. I doubt I would have such sophisticated websiting knowledge that soon, though.

Here's an old sonnet I wrote.


Downtown, I am hiding in my steel tree
]I fly up the phloem to the right height
then down into the chair, where I can see.
I am unwound into words by the light
on screen. This is the wood and wire axis
of all my modern organs, where I plan
to dream small, ‘til my stony brain relaxes.
From here, I dream I see a sharp young man
Like me, but closer to the sky. For I
Have just one giant eye, a boring view
Just this window, but at least I can spy
On all the other nuclei, and you--

My pupil reaches up for your soft fleet
But here, boy and star seldom ever meet.

Boy, I used to write a lot differently...I think I lost a sense of rhythm at some point.

Music: Tetris On Speed, from the audio portal.

Monday, January 23

The digital spans of trees

New toon:

Commencement = May 11th.
Due date for New York City Teaching Fellowship = Feb 12th.
Rock wall job = Early March.
Soft Skull = Thursday afternoons and Fridays (I wrote a press release recently! Exciting. No, it is not online.)
Observation for classes = Mondays?

Things are going slowly. I have a bit of reading to do (does this sound like last semester, to you?), and I have a bit of figuring out to do. Lately I have been considering going to Turkey after I graduate, and working for a living. No, I don't speak Turkish. No, I am not afraid of the Bird Flu. Do you know anyone in that country? I would need a job! I am highly qualified in the following areas:
  • Being a student.
  • Being an intern.
  • Being a son.
Also considering the Peace Corps?

Great news, dudes! Emily, photographer from A Softer World wrote me an email in response to my own, and said that she wanted to put my comics up in the guest section of the website! AND HERE I AM. WOW. WHAT A RUSH.

Music: "Michelle," by the Beatles. Also, "Techno Tetris" by Aphex Twin.

Tuesday, January 17


First day of classes, and not a scratch on me (I always open with a lie). Made some granola recently, in the fashion of Cousin (there's a reason "cousin" and "cuisine" are close) Jane Murphy, and it came out wonderfully. Pictures soon. Also, pictures for Germany and France are up! The next installation of the photo-safari book report isn't.

I met my roommate Alex finally! He is quite the dude. I will put up a picture shortly, but haven't taken any pictures yet. Although we are both graduating seniors, I am actually his first new roommate since freshman year--the people he was living with for the last 3 years just moved out. So...big shoes to fill.


Quaaludes to fail physicals
asthma and memories
of broken bones.
You lied to the armed forces.

And now here we are, free white Jews
on a white Christmas.
My mushroom omelette arrives
on a continuum, and everyone basks
in the Sunday morning of it all, waiting
for tea and inspiration.

Music: "Kate," by Ben Folds Five.

Sunday, January 15

It was the one-armed man.

Last night I tried my hand at baking gingerbread cookies, and...well...delicious.

Tonight: A show. Looks crazy. Please call me if you want to go.

*2 out of 3 good friends agree--the pepper within a pepper was normal. Word is still not in from cousin Jane, Mom, or George Bush...but that could wait. I trust Pantea and Emily about veggies.

Three new comics. Count 'em. Maybe you like 'em, maybe you don't. (One, Two,

Music: Jaga Jazzist, "Day".
Book: Driving Mr. Albert.

Views from my window are rather nice today.

Friday, January 13

Episode XXX IV: A New Hope, a New York.

Hey, everyone! I'm back in New York City, chilling with Katherine and the club in my brand new Duplex (1, 2, 3) on 2nd street, 3rd avenue (as of four days ago). The buildings are new, the internet is fast (I can even put pictures in my posts again!), and the people are grizzled. It's a heck of a town.

Check this out. It's a music site that dissects the music you like, and then predicts what you will like based on what you put in...apparently, I like breathy female vocalists combined with 8-12 time, leading piano, a slow moving base line, and major key signatures. Not quite sure what all that means, but it sure as heck works, it has known EVERY single band I've put in. It's hard to feel indie with technology in the way, you know?

Happy/Merry _______ and happy New Year. Whatever you got presents for or celebrated the birth of, be it a Jesus or a New Year, I hope you had a terrific time with that. I did. I spent a lot of time with my family in the last two weeks, but more on that later in this post.

Dudes: I totally had the pictures of Germany and France up, and I erased them, so I'll have to get them back on the flash drive next time I'm home. No biggie. You'll just have to see the US Virgin Islands pictures this time, and the Franco-Hessian ones next time (which will be soon, seeing as how my life is plugged back into an ethernet port again). I will tell you this, though. I had a near death experience in both countries, and an interesting living situation in both, and I visited the Reichstag on a VIP tour, the house of the German parliament. I owe Toma/Tamara/Tomato Wassermann and her family a GIGANTIC thank you for that (thanks, Toma! I have toasted many times to you and your family's health since I have been back, as promised.) The bottom line here is, the pictures will be cool.

These last few days, I have been figuring out my schedule and plugging myself back into everything. I have my classes pretty set up, but a number of variables are in the way and making the process more like juggling live housecats in outer space than anything easy. Here's the score. Let me know if you want to do any of the classes with me, because I want people to join me:
  • I want to take a wine class ($300, approx).
  • I want to take a coles athletic class. Not sure what in ($40, approx).
  • I was offered a job at the rock climbing wall around March. I have the go-ahead from the director there to give people business cards from him, so if you're looking for a job and want to learn rock climbing early for the job or just have it as an option, contact me! I would love to help you learn and decide if you want to work there. Especially since there's nothing better than working with your friends. (Not sure about salary, depends.)
  • I will be applying to the NYC teaching fellowship, in hopes of getting in and proceeding to acquire an MA from Pace university (classes start in June), and starting work in the five boroughs around Sept. With a full teaching salary and a $4500 annual Americorps teaching scholarship. I am BOOKING it to get ready to apply for this.
  • I want to spend one day a week working for Soft Skull.
  • I want to do volunteer work on the weekends/friday, either with Media 4 Humanity, or at schools.
  • I want to make a comic website (this one's a dream, I know, but give me some space, people. You're smothering me).

NOW: My classes are as follows, so I have to figure out how to work all that in:

Foundations of Educational Linguistics (3 cred) = 6:45-8:25 PM, Tuesday.

Education as a Social Institution (3 cred) = 11 -12:15 PM, Tues + Thurs.

Poetry: Advanced Workshop (4 cred) = 2-4:45 PM, Tuesday.

Topics: Emergent American Literature, Asian/American War Lit. (4 cred) = 2-4:45 Wednesday.

Basically, it's a schedule where I have Friday To Monday inclusive free, Until 2 on Wednesdays, and after 12:15 on Thursdays. Seems like a lot of time, right? We'll see. Got some emails to write surrounding the issues and the timing. Plus, the rock climbing instruction job might steamroll all over everything--but I want it because it will be a great way to practice teaching skills and assertiveness for becoming a teacher. My biggest problem, I think, is managing a lot of people, and the rock wall would be the perfect place for that.

Now then.


A photo-safari adventure book report by Simon Braunstein.

On our week long trip to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, my family and I saw many beautiful and frightening wildlifes. These included the giant spider that was in our bathroom, the fruit bat, a tiny lizard (1, 2, 3, 4) and the noble hermit crab, which rock climbs better than I do. My family and I also had lots of hugs, and mother nature had a laugh on my account when my father and I did some hiking to a dried waterfall with petroglyphs. Christmas, of course, was in full swing on the islands.

Our house (1, 2, 3), called Aria was the kind of place you spend 3 hours having breakfast and reading the house's journal in, which was appropriate, because we were on vacation. There was a hot tub, a pool, and an incredible view. Speaking of food, it was all amazing. Jerk chicken is good. Ask me to try and make you some, and I will.

The water was amazing, and so were the beaches (do you see me in that one?)

I tried to teach my mom chess, but we need more time. Alex read an awful lot, which I envied her for doing (Two Grisham novels, and then some).

The snorkeling was amazing! I saw barracuda, starfish, manta rays, picked up trash under water, and looked for Octopi but could not find a one. And my camera is not waterproof, so you can use your imagination.

In conclusion, I would like to conclude that the US Virgin Islands were a fun place to spend a great vacation with my family, even if we were forced to argue with each other the whole time for amusement (which is always a blast, I wouldn't perpetually bicker with any other high class lovable group of jewkers.)

Funny things:

One time we were sitting in town, and there was a chicken who was trying to get into a styrofoam container. So I opened it for him, and he started eating what looked like Chinese food for like 5 minutes. Funny thing is, when we went over there and looked at what he had been was chicken. Creepy.

The driver from the airport to one of the ports had a funny ornament.

There was a funny sign outside a church.

The USVI Chabad managed to find us and give us a free menorah.

Pictures of people:

Alex and I.
My dad and I.
Alex and mom.
Alex and mom. (Hilarious version)
Mom, Alex, and I with drinks in the sauna.
Alex and dad.
Mom and dad.
Mom and dad in the car.
Dad, turning the wheels of time. (At an abandoned historical sugar mill, which we hiked to)


Music: Heaven (Electric Skychurch), and Waltz / Better than fine (Fiona Apple)

Next time will be a much shorter post about Germany and France. SHORTER. I promise. Thanks for reading! --Simon.

Monday, January 2

In Siberia, Blog posts YOU


I am in Virgin Islands. There are wild goats here. I have not posted in a while, but it is mostly because the goat population is inversely proportional to the internet population.

I will update the pictures from here, as well as the ones from France and Germany as SOON as I get the chance, and don't think I have forgotten about my promise of videos. They will be up too, I just have to get to a happy place, electronically speaking.

I will be back in NYC on Friday. My room does not have a kitchen. I am not stoked. I'm going to call the housing people.

Our little house here is terrific! There are a lot of bugs crawling around, including giant spiders, the insects that look like sticks, centipedes, and giant praying mantises. Yay!

In my snorkeling adventures I have seen barracuda, mantas, starfish, turtles, and a lot of wacky looking things. No octopi (a tear).