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MY BRAIN, lately


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2011: an audio review

I recently had to get a new computer hard-drive, and lost a big chunk of my organization/files/crap. Mostly this has been almost like a digital rebirth. I’ve called it my Tech Revival. One exciting thing I just found was all these old audio clips I started recording, mostly randomly, on my phone. Listening to them, I’m amazed at how quickly I’m transported right back to that exact moment. I think they provide an incredible reflection on this past year.

1. a recording of the floridian tropical downpour of rain, recorded August 29, 2010 at 9:13pm (ok, not quite part of 2011 but still counts): The rain in Florida is magical and torrential. Powerful like no other rain I’ve seen/felt/heard/been soaked by.

tropical rain

2. an audio note to myself, recorded February 6, 2011, 11:35am. In this clip, I am driving and speaking an audible list to myself. The first part references a to-do that causes me to move to NYC, and end up dedicating a majority of my year to Creative Time – a place where I met amazing people and artists and was really introduced to this whole new world. The other things in the list appropriately encompass almost everything else going on in my life and brain at that time. ending of course with “finish my plan”

list to myself

3. an audio portrait of driving in the nissan maxima, recorded February 25, 2011, 9:00am. I remember recording this clip when I knew that my days of driving on long stretches of sunny sunny highways into the palm tree sunsets were numbered. I wanted to capture the sounds of the windows all down, the car making horrendous noises that are surely signaling its slow breaking down, and the one CD that was stuck in the radio that I didn’t mind at all playing over and over on repeat.

driving in the nissan

4. a clip of the mariachi band that was playing in the subway, recorded April 13, 2011, 12:09pm. I was coming back to Manhattan on the 7 train from a Creative Time staff meeting in Corona, Queens at the Immigrant Movement International headquarters. I thought they were very beautiful.

7 train band

5. a clip of a longer interview with Ashley Young of Brown Girl Love, recorded April 20, 2011, 9:34pm. This is a longer interview, which is currently unedited (so don’t listen too critically). Ashley and I had set this up as a blog interview to discuss our blogs and visions and what we cared about in the world. It was a lovely discussion, which I had thought I had lost/erased. Happy to have found it and to edit it soon.

ashley interview clip

6. an audio portrait of the empty (old) Essex Street Market, 80 Essex Street, NYC, recorded October 12, 2011, 3:49pm. This was towards the end of the run of the exhibition (Living as Form) and I realized that I wanted to capture the noises and the feel of walking around this huge space with a life of its own. The street, the cars, the people walking by, the windows creaking, the lights buzzing.

inside the essex street market

7. a sampling of the musical offerings at the third night of Hanukkah, recorded December 21, 2011, 6:00pm. I went to the public celebration of Hanukkah put on by Chabad of Brooklyn at Grand Army Plaza near my house. Not only was there this rockin’ techno-version of vaguely Jewish tunes, but there was a giant 45 foot tall menorah (and a rabbi in a cherry picker to light it!), hot latkes passed around, at least 4 mini-vans with menorahs strapped to their roofs, and a million identically dressed Jewish children running around. It was so festive I couldn’t even suppress my festive spirit.

techno hanukkah

8. the draft voice-over for PEAK Technical marketing animation I’m working on, recorded December 22, 2011, 9:42pm. I’m almost embarrassed to include this one, but I think I need in order to complete the 2011 audio compilation. This is me reading through the voice-over script for the marketing animation I’ve been working on. These are kinda bizarre animations that our clients just keep loving and asking for more — no matter how many weird rainbows and flying text and flowers with money signs we throw in!

Aliya PEAK voice-over draft

9. the reverberations of the bells at Riverside Church, Harlem, NYC, recorded December 25, 2011, 12:23pm: we went on a mini-tour of the historic Riverside Church in Harlem after the Christmas morning service. This was recorded on the 20th floor of the Church tower, and the subtle drone of the bells was beautiful, haunting and ever-present as we looked out on the city.

bells of riverside church

what a beautiful and audible year.

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being productive by procrastinating

I have a love-hate relationship with notebooks. I use them all the time and have to write out lists and draw diagrams and take notes (I always hated the people in school who could just “absorb” all the knowledge and learning and never took notes. ugh.). BUT, I almost never look at those notebooks after maybe 1 day after writing the notes/list/diagram. It just becomes not important/I don’t look at it so I forget I wrote that down. or I make a new list.

So today I realized I was in one of those situations where I needed a notebook. But I don’t have any that I would want to just scribble some notes or diagrams in.

DILEMMA: need big writing space that is clean, no lines, lots of space, fun to draw/write on, but not expensive/fancy, big, heavy, or clumsy (in size etc).

ANSWER: The Paper-Bag-Notebook!

It is compact and travel-able (with handles even!), economical (free with your groceries!), readily available (it’s all I have around my apartment!), clean drawing space that can be expanded for big drawings or compacted for small lists (or purse-stashing)!!

1. Start with a paper bag (possibly from your super-friendly neighborhood Brooklyn Fare!)

2. tear down the (vertical) seams of the bag to separate the front from the back, but keep the bottom connecting the two big wide sides together. Just look at the pictures not these words.

3. do this on both sides and fillet that bag real good.

4. detach those weird arm piece things. (anyone think of a good way to use these pieces? I couldn’t really think of a good one so I just gave up on them.)

5.  fold the sides down like a giant hotdog. sorta like a hotdog. do this on the top and the bottom.

6.fold the whole not-hotdog thing into an accordion book, fold it into 6 sections so it closes up like a book.

7. how to make the individual “pages” expandable? rip the edges right at the fold of the end of that “page”. rip the seam at the top right of this photo below. If I was sitting next to you this step would be easier to point out. but you’re smart you can probably figure it out.

8. ta-da! see, now isn’t #7 more clear?

9. ok so when you hold up the cute handles, the book falls apart and becomes less compact and travel-able ! bummer.

10. inspect the contraption — decide that you need some fastener in the “spine” of the notebook to keep the thing together and at its full potential.

11. easy solution = paperclip! done!  (but… it doesn’t sit flat when you open the book/you have to not lose the paperclip….)

12. fancy solution = sew a little loop / single “binding” ! (red string/embroidery floss is preferable, of course. and you know you have so much embroidery floss hanging around just taking up so much space with its potential uses and seductive range of colors)

13. BAM! look at that sexy notebook sitting flat and keeping its shape as a notebook!!!

14. ok so here it is! it’s sitting flat, a great drawing surface, expandable for when you need more drawing room, compact-able for when you need to grab it by the handles and go on your important business trip, and has more pages for when you have more lists to write!

It’s also a great raisin snack holder/temporary plate. and those are always temporary because I eat my raisins so fast. Also a great accompaniment to your SPOT coffee Delray Beach nostalgia mug of delicious tea.

OK So great! wahoo! i love this thing really! I’m gonna make so many for all my different projects. or just ideas. have one with you at all times!!

Leave a comment or send me a picture of one you make if you decide to! I really recommend it. This bag-notebook has really changed my life in the 8 hours I’ve used it so far. So don’t wait any longer ok. I know the directions above are not the most helpful but there’s so many pictures, you gotta be able to figure it out.


p.s. I of course made this during the time I needed to be doing other things, but I needed the notebook in order to PLAN those other things!! so that’s another dilemma to investigate into: how to plan and organize more efficiently so that they don’t take up the time I actually have to DO the project….

p.p.s. have you entered the lightbulb earrings GIVE-AWAY (that means they’re free) contest yet?? The weekend / now is really a great time to do that.

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my dad’s solution to my too-many-projects-to-ever-complete syndrome:

DAD: so, did you write out a list of all the projects you want to get done?

ALIYA: yes. I mean, I wrote most of them. there are a few I left out, because I know they’re never really going to happen. But I got all the important ones on there.

DAD: ok. so first, cross out 3/4ths of the things on that list. Then burn the list.

more blog soon.

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last day of may huh.

so I guess this concludes Blog-A-Day-May!

It was fun, huh? Sometimes I felt like I didn’t have anything to say so maybe I was diluting the potency of this blog. But then I remembered that my readers were counting on me to produce a blog post every day in May. I couldn’t let you all down. (except I did a few days… whoops.)

tonight was supposed to be a great post about how I whipped up another great one-day-dress/shirt thing, but unfortunately I think I just produced the most labored over very bizarre most matronly boring shirt ever. Here I am thinking I’m edgy, contemporary, young, hip, but no. I just made a really boring shirt with some weird thing in the back. Darn.

I was hoping to have this chic new shirt to wear on my upcoming trip to Chicago — a city I’ve never been to! I’m going there for the 4th national weekend of the Landmark Education communications program I’m doing — team management leadership program. I’m really excited because these weekends are really fun — all the people in the program in North America all meet in one place and are a communication force to be reckoned with 900 people with beautiful yellow nametags. But this is also exciting because I get to see MY BROTHER! and, friends KERIANNE, and SERENA and JULIE (who’s driving out from new hampshire!). I hope I can see everyone and the city and be relaxed about it all instead of frantic about how to fit it all it. Whatever happens, it will be great aliya. Even staying at the Frat House…

May has been a great month. hott pink dresses, milagro center, beginnings and endings, turtles in pools, blog makeovers, haircuts, finally becoming summer, greensboro, sleepovers, portland, dance parties, reunions, art making, art discussing, new friends, stuffed animals for sale, probably the end of the gulf of mexico as we know it, being published & sequins.

I just had an idea to make my shirt less boring: sew plastic horses to it.

p.s. I think I am most skilled in List Making. Someone, please hire me to make beautiful lists for you.

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project ideas sparked while at the conference

also, lots of dress ideas:

p.s. don’t steal my ideas.

p.p.s. is this more interesting as a slightly un-readable but visually interesting picture, or would be better as a typed out bulletted list?

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in chronological order

  • 5:45am: wondering where I am, and what time it could possibly be. Waking up. Going back to sleep.
  • business: website organizing and uploading
  • messing up my makeup with tears
  • being given an amazing map from my amazing host
  • following that map to mocha mud
  • incompetent copy-shop people who can’t print out my important business lady business cards
  • garden-sausage jack-cheese only sour cream on the side please western breakfast burrito brunch with north carolina friend and with d.c. friends of the north carolina friend, people originally from maine, but currently living in oregon. or maybe california.
  • the weather finally catching up with florida and creeping above 75 degrees. outfit change to the much cuter (much more portland ready) jumper skirt.
  • meeting more friends of friends!
  • taking photobooth pictures with natalie!!
  • handing out many many etsy business cards based on compliments on my shark earrings. thank you liam and skye.
  • walk forever to the most southern eastern part of the PSU campus, only to find that I didn’t really need a stamp today. feel pretty hardcore having the stamp on the inside of my wrist. “Open Engagement” — looks really nice.
  • sat in a coffee shop for 4 hours on skype to florida to attend the classroom for my landmark education communication program! was elected the team leader for the spring quarter!!! holy moly!! really excited for this training as a team leader and a organizer and motivator and person who can actually produce real results in my life and others.
  • fell while rushing to the bus, and TWO people came to my rescue, offering a hand to help me up. omg this place is so friendly.
  • expertly got off the bus at the correct stop and walked to the table-on-the-street potluck between the two houses where we are all staying. Reunions, new friends, salads, coleslaw, quinoa, chocolate cake, beer.
  • could not believe how lovely it was to be with mary, amber, eliza, and new friends lauren and hannah all at once. oh my goodness it was so perfect. it rang true.
  • exchanging of art-project literature and patches and gifts.
  • surgery operation to remove head-stitches utilizing two lamps, a pair of tweezers and debatably sharp scissors. we all feel queezy afterwards.
  • adventure to “north” to meet long-not-seen high school friend meg. drink alaskan but not actually from alaska beer and talk about florida a lot.
  • make a nest with two lovely short ladies in a pull out bed next to a psychedelic fabric wall mural featuring a deer.
  • blog while mary reads from “the wind in the willows” next to me.

goodnight friends. a lovely day on the west coast, a place that feels so far away but also so friendly with this many amazing people surrounding me.

tomorrow: cast reel.  somehow, i have agreed to wake up at 6:45am to cook a wild foraged breakfast which may or may not include elk or eel?? I think it will actually be more like 7:30 for me really. but we’ll see. these ladies could convince me to do anything.

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