Trying this again.

I really do want to give this a real shot, so here I am again.

Date: February 5, 2005
Time:12:49 am
Mood: Sick
Music: Weezer – “Photograph”
Title: Sooo…

What do you guys feel like reading about?

Give me anything. It can be personal, political, general, whatev. I don’t mind.

All I’m asking for is a little inspiration, please.

But for now, I’m laying the fuck down with my sexy boytoy because I feel a little like death and he doesn’t mind my germs. What a gentleman.*

Didn’t give myself much to work with, huh? Looks like I have a history of slow starts.

This is hard, though; now I’m remembering why I haven’t blogged in so long. There’s nothing more frustrating than really wanting to write, but realizing that you have nothing to say. I’ve successfully avoided this feeling for a while now, but the fact that I should be writing is always hanging over my head. Can’t win. Might as well face it.

So(oo…), what is there to say about this little nugget of a Livejournal post from more than nine years ago? The “sexy boytoy” (oh my God, seriously, WHO SAYS THAT) will be making a few appearances in later posts, which should make for some good/horrifying material. Spoiler alert: Despite his comfort with germs, that dude was no gentleman.

Beyond that, I got nothing. Sigh.


Posted in did i say blog, what is my life, why am i so cool | Tagged , , , , ,

Two whole years.

Wow. Two whole years practically TO THE DAY! since I’ve blogged here. Why am I paying for this domain again?

I was talking about WordPress during a meeting today, and logged into my account to show how users can add a page to their sites. I barely even recognized the place. Thankfully, no one got too crazy with the dashboard updates, and I was able to give my demo without looking like a total idiot. But since I just dusted off the cobwebs and all, I figured I might as well give the old posting function a whirl. Looks like it still works. Success!

So while I had personal weblogs on the brain, I decided to see if Livejournal 1) still existed and 2) had preserved my CLASSIC 2005-2008 exercise in vanity and delusion. To my excitement/embarrassment, both live! The internet really is forever, folks.

I’m not linking to said Livejournal here– though I’m confident you could find it, if you really wanted to– not because I’m horrified by the content (I mean, of course I am; every 19-year-old is dumb, and as much as I thought so at the time, I was not an exception), but because I want to try to a little blogging experiment: Reblogging my late-teens/early-20s self, Tumblr-style.

I’m not going to act like this is going to be a super-regular thing, because every time I do that, I disappear for years at a time, but I’m going to give it a solid try, starting with this. (I removed two dead links, but besides that and two brief notes, no edits.)

Date: January 30, 2005
Time: 11:22 pm
Mood: Hot [2014 note: I think I meant, like, heat-wise?]
Title: Take a chance, you stupid ‘ho. [Semi-relevant Gwen Stefani lyric!

You’re all invited back into the life of Nicki- the abbreviated version.

I’ve received requests to start the journal site up again (very flattering, by the way), and after two weeks of magazine writing class, I’ve determined that it may be a good idea. Honestly, these journal things are great practice, and I’ve felt as though my writing’s been suffering since I gave up the Blurty over two months ago.

Now, as for what to expect from this site…I’m not planning on maintaining this on a nearly-daily basis as I did with the Blurty, and you should probably expect far less trivial bullshit than before. As entertaining as it may have been, I need to work on making my writing less self-centered and more…worldly. Expect more rants, more political/social commentary, and far less “I’m soooooooooo drunk…my boyfriend is sooooooooo cuuuuuute”. My goal is to combine my professional writing blog with my personal blog and my political blog. So basically, what we should have here is a blog conglomerate. My life, as well as yours, should get a million times simpler.

There you have it. Welcome back.*

Now, I don’t want to give it all away, but hold on to your butts– lots of trivial, bullshit drunk posts ahead.

Posted in awkward, what, what is my life, why am i so cool | Tagged , , , ,

Dear Virginia, get out of my ladybiz.

Gov. McDonnell– Please veto HB 462, the mandatory ultrasound/waiting period bill. This legislation serves only to place additional financial and emotional burdens on women seeking a safe, legal medical procedure. As a conservative who has vocally opposed government involvement in private, personal medical affairs, I’m sure you understand how this bill contradicts these values.

I’m disturbed at how increasingly anti-woman today’s political discourse has become, and it’s even more disturbing to see it stemming from my own state legislature. I encourage you to show your support for the women of Virginia– veto HB 462. Thank you.

Nicole Levins

Write your own.

Posted in politics make me nervous | Tagged , , , , ,

Another “blogging for a grade” situation.

Hey, party people– for the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging over at MultiMultimedia, my temporary class blog.  If you’re interested in my thoughts on/general foray into the field of multimedia, that’s the place to go.

Posted in did i say blog, school, what, why am i so cool | Tagged , , ,

Ni hao from the greater Washington, DC area!

i'm large(Another reason I don’t belong in China:  I am too enormous.)

I’ve been back from China for about three weeks now, and it’s really nice to be home.  I like it here.  I liked it there, too, but not enough to want to stay there for an extra-extended period of time.

I learned a lot of things on this trip– lots of stuff about Chinese media, Chinese communication, Chinese culture– which is good, because that’s what I was there to learn, technically.  But probably my biggest takeaway is that I am not tough.

If I can’t handle China long-term, there’s definitely no future for me on “Survivor” or in the Peace Corps.  Yeah, China is a developing country, but it’s not developing in the Africa or even India sense.  I’d say it’s “developing,” emphasis on the quotes, because while sure, babies poop in the streets, most aspects of at least urban life are relatively sophisticated.  (Minus the spitting, the pushing and the sewage seeping out of the street, of course.)  For a few weeks, I didn’t really mind making sure I avoided tap water and lettuce, or side-stepping human fecal matter on the sidewalk.  But would I want to do these things every day for the rest of my life?  No, thank you.  I like brushing my teeth with whatever comes out of my bathroom tap.  I like food safety regulations. Put me in a REAL developing country, and I’d probably last about 15 minutes.

I was talking to a co-worker who traveled to China a few years ago, and she joked that the country’s motto should be “China: Where no one cares if you die.”  I’m sure this is an unfair generalization, but human life definitely appears to be undervalued.  Examples:

  • People drive like maniacs.  I read somewhere that cars have only been a common thing in China for about 15 or 20 years, because no one could afford to own them.  There’s no history of driving in China; it’s not like your grandfather taught your dad, who taught you.  Everyone’s figuring it out at the same time, and that’s a whole lot of guinea pigs on the road.  Also, the cars I rode in– taxis and rented buses, mostly– were basically stripped down tin cans.  Also x2, there is virtually no lag between lights at intersections; when one turns red, the opposite immediately turns green.
  • On a related note, crossing the street is CRAZY dangerous.  There are crosswalks, but they’re basically meaningless.  No one is yielding for your ass.  They’ll just honk, which is Chinese for “excuse me, I’m going to run you over now.”  Even when you’ve got the pedestrian signal, there’s usually a green arrow directing traffic right into your path.
  • Bikes and mopeds share space with pedestrians, and they, like cars, will not hesitate to run right into you.  I almost got hit twice: once while walking at night, when a woman driving a scooter neglected to have her headlight on (?).
  • Lax food safety.  Luckily, only one person on our trip got sick, and she recovered in a few days.  The food was actually delicious 90% of the time, so I can’t complain here.  I may have eaten the poop of mice, but I will never know.
  • Slippery and/or flooded sidewalks.  It rained several times, which often meant the sidewalks would be about six inches underwater.  Many of the more elevated paths– I guess because they were fancy?– were made of slick stone.  I learned this the hard way, and was terrified of breaking a bone for the remainder of my trip.

These examples are (mostly) rather cheeky.  But on my last night in Nanjing, my classmates and I witnessed the aftermath of a bike/car collision.  We can’t be sure, but a friend was pretty certain that the biker was dead, or if he wasn’t, he was close.  (Of course, no one wears helmets.)  There was a small traffic backup, but instead of stopping to help, the cars honked at one another until each one pulled through the enormous crowd… the crowd of people who were just standing there, doing nothing.  Not knowing the language or having access to a phone (“is there 911 in China?”), we were all completely helpless.  We tried to flag down a security guard at the school gate, but he couldn’t understand us.  It sucked, and really put a damper on the trip.  I hope that guy was okay, and that someone in the crowd made sure he got the medical attention he needed.

I don’t know why I’m complaining so much, though.  I really did have an amazing experience in China.  I’ll probably never have the opportunity to do anything like that again, and I’m so glad I took advantage of it.  But when I visit again, I’m for sure taking shoes with better tread.

Posted in complaining, deep observations, much excitement, school, the sads, what is my life | Tagged , , , ,

Ni hao from Nanjing!

I’m in China!  Today is Tuesday, and it’s 1:00 in the afternoon.  Back home, it’s also Tuesday, but it’s 1:00 in the morning.  Time zones, how do they work?

My first few days here, and especially the journey to Nanjing, were quite memorable.  Below, please find the highlights.

  • Our flight to China was so long!  My plan was to take an Ambien and pass out for as long as possible and hopefully just wake up and be in Shanghai.  This didn’t happen.  I took an Ambien, couldn’t sleep and then puked up the ramen that Air Canada served on the plane.
  • On Sunday afternoon, upon arriving in Shanghai (and still feeling like I had to puke), my traveling companions and I realized that the train station that was supposed to be near the airport is actually nowhere near the airport.  We set up a ride with some random non-official taxi, and probably got royally ripped off, but didn’t get murdered and managed to make it to the train station.
  • Once we arrived at the train station, I really thought I was going to barf again.  I was gagging, dry heaving at moments… luckily, I managed to pull myself together without vomiting in public.  Anyway, foreigners aren’t allowed to purchase train tickets at the self-service machines, which took us a minute to figure out.  We exited the station, walked about a block away, took some underground tunnel, and ended up in another terminal where, out of probably 25 service windows, only one was designated for English speakers.  Of course, this line was epic, and a bunch of Chinese speakers were ahead of us.  I don’t know why they wanted to wait in that line when there were plenty of other windows without waits.  I shouldn’t complain about this too much though; thank God there was an English option at all.  Yeah, so we bought tickets for the fastest train to Nanjing, which didn’t leave until 8pm.  At this point, it’s not even 6:00, so we weren’t too thrilled about this.
  • We stopped at some random noodle shop to kill time, and ordered from a lovely menu with pictures.  I had fried dumplings, which were delicious, but I could barely eat.
  • About an hour later, we headed back to the train station, went through “security” (a luggage x-ray and a half-assed metal detector swipe), and found our waiting area.  A very pushy woman begged for change by shoving her baby in our faces, tapping on our legs and pinching the poor kid’s cheeks and lips to make him (her?) smile.  This was also the first time I witnessed the diaperless baby bare ass that is so prevalent here in China.  Also, this was the first time I had to use a squat toilet, which was terrifying.
  • The train itself was incredibly modern and clean.  Fun fact: the train went up to 326 km/hour, which seems pretty fast to me.  We were in Nanjing in just about an hour and twenty minutes.
  • We had until 10pm to check into our dorm at Hopkins-Nanjing Center.  At this point, it was nearly 9:30, so we were desperate to get there as quickly as possible.  That’s why we ended up hopping in a van that looked and smelled like it belonged to a serial killer, and paying about five times more than we should have to get where we needed to go.  So, whatever, we get into the murder van, the driver pulls out of the parking spot and throws the car into reverse for some reason we can’t figure out.  He abruptly breaks, and says something that sounds like “window”– it was hot, the van smelled like mold, so opening the window would have made sense– and we say no, that’s okay.  The man hops out of the van anyway, and sprints away from the running vehicle.  It was the weirdest fucking thing, but we were all so tired and confused that we just laughed.  When he sprinted back a minute or two later holding a bowl of instant noodles, we laughed even more.
  • Driving in Nanjing is crazy.  I’d never want to do it.  I’m pretty amazed that, after looking at the address several times and stopping to ask a police officer for directions, we actually made it to the center…exactly at 10:00.  The guards opened the gate, then the front door…and thankfully, the attendant was still at the front desk.  After a short wait, we checked in without too many problems.
  • The dorm rooms are spartan, to say the least.  The beds are about as comfortable as the floor, and the pillow is completely flat.  I’m told this is pretty standard.  At least we have a western-style bathroom.
  • Yesterday, the center’s program coordinator, a wonderful ex-pat named Liz, took the whole class for a campus and neighborhood tour.  The morning ended with a humongous Chinese feast at a local restaurant that cost something like 33RMB per person, which I think is like $5 or $6.  (Last night, we had an “expensive” dinner at an Indian restaurant, which cost me 72RMB.)
  • Earlier this evening, some classmates and I wandered to some area that resembled a mini-Times Square, and got some small dishes and McDonald’s ice cream cones.  Tonight, we’re headed for 1912, which is rumored to be a fun neighborhood, with our professor.
  • Oh, and class– class has been really interesting so far.
Posted in much excitement, school, what is my life | Tagged , , , , ,

Countdown to China and bad food I like.

(No, this has nothing to do with China.  Keep reading!  Photo/Flickr user tonyjcase, under a Creative Commons license.)

My trip to China is coming up pretty soon, and I’m starting to freak out a bit.  What will I wear??  What should I pack??  Will my laptop explode when I plug it in??  What should I write about for my final paper??

One of the scariest things to me, though, is figuring out what I should (and more importantly, should not) eat.  My stomach is weird; I can eat a ton of shit and feel fine (see list below), but there are also some foods that sometimes hit me in an unpredictable and diarrhea-tastically way, like doughnuts, some fast food, Chinese food…uh oh.  And I really mean it when I say it’s unpredictable– I can eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl without issue, but maybe every seventh time I eat a large amount of peanut butter, it makes me feel sick.  I should probably take note of these things and talk to my doctor, but my doctor is an idiot and I should be following a healthier diet anyway.

But, so, yeah, I’m kind of worried about eating something that makes me feel terrible physically.  I’m also kind of worried about eating something that makes me feel terrible emotionally…like, because it’s a gross thing, such as duck blood, and maybe I won’t realize what I’ve eaten until after I’ve tasted it and then BARF CITY.

But!  I was thinking about all the things that I enjoy eating that most people, both American and Chinese, would normally vomit at the sight of.  I do enjoy good, quality food, but there is a special place in my heart (arteries?) for really nasty junk food.  Like, JUNK food.  If I can stomach–nay, ADORE– this stuff, weird foreign delicacies certainly shouldn’t be a problem, right?

The Top 10 Grossest Food Items That I Love (in descending order of perceived grossness– I should be calling this “List of 10 Awesome Things to Eat Always”)

  1. Deep fried Oreos, candy bars and/or Twinkies
  2. Ramen noodles
  3. Chili half-smokes, split, with everything
  4. Fries with mayonnaise (Euro mayonnaise only– Hellman’s need not apply)
  5. Sandwiches made of Nutella, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff (preferably on potato bread, but I will also accept whole wheat)
  6. Corn dogs
  7. Wendy’s Baconator
  8. Rice covered in A-1 Sauce
  9. Velveeta/Cheez Whiz/Easy Cheese
  10. Spam

(If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d make a slideshow of this.  It would be a thing of beauty, I tell you.)

In case you were wondering, I look like this:

Posted in fatness, gross, peanut butter, school, what is my life, why am i so cool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,