Monday, February 28, 2011

I Feel Good....And I Knew That I Would

As many of you know, I love going to museums. From the architecture on the outside, to collection items inside. From modern "art" to impressionism...from dinosaur bones to historical documents. I love being able to use my senses and engulfing the culture around me. For the past five years, I have been making sure that I do not take New York City for granted. I make sure that I go to at least one new museum a year, while making multiple trips to the ones I love. One of my favorites has always been the MET. There is just SO MANY different genres of work crammed into one building. I'm able to put my headphones on, and enjoy whats around me. From people watching, to admiring portraits, paintings, sculptures and more.

However, the one thing I love the most is the process of actually getting to the museum itself. Unlike the American Museum of Natural History or Ellis Island, there is no subway that takes you right to the admission desks. You either have to take the 6 to 77th and lex, the B or C and walk across central park, or taxi it...And I don't mind. After living in the area for 6 years, I've never gotten sick of walking around the city. I get to take it in. Sure, sometimes you're in a rush and need to get there ASAP but many times, you just enjoy it for what it is. 

One building that has always caught my eye is that of the American Irish Historical Society. It's what seems to be  a small town home sandwiched between two larger buildings. It's architecture is beautiful, and for those who love the Irish culture like myself, the Irish tricolor is hard to miss hanging from the building's flagpole. I've noticed it many times, have many snapshots of the building on my phone/ camera but never dreamed that one day that I would get the opportunity to get to go inside.

My wonderful advisor has allowed me the experience to get to roam the halls of this establishment. For the past week I have acted as a docent to the Jackie Clarke Collection. A wonderful collection from co. Mayo. I've been able to meet and greet with some of the collection's archivists. while at the same time see history in the making. The collection has some amazing pieces in it correlating to themes such as diaspora and the 1916 uprising!  I've got to demonstrate my Irish-American knowledge by providing tours to those who are interested! While many of the tours have only included one-to-two people at max, it has still given me the opportunity to practice my skills as a tour guide. There was never really, a set script to the collection, so each time I'm able to make the tour my own! 

This experience has given me the chance to meet new people, in the field I will someday join. The fact that I enjoy going back each time makes me feel great! I've found something I love doing, which makes my search for continued education seem well worth it and totally justifiable! I Feel Good!

This Weeks Songs 
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag/I Feel Good" -James Brown

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Irish for a Day...Southern for Life"

So I was talked into submitting a paper to the call of Papers for the ACIS Southern Conference. With much skepticism and fear of actually talking in front of a group of strangers, I was hesitant and fearful that my paper would actually get accepted...and on January 6th the verdict was set...a gaggle of Drewids would be heading south to Savannah, Georgia for this Irish conference because ALL of our papers were accepted.

The conference took place in Savannah's historic district! Where most of the streets are cobble stone, and the culture of the town just oozes out from every corner and seam that keeps the city together. On my first day here I had much time to kill, so I decided to explore the city by foot. So in the high 70 degree weather (In FEBRUARY mind you) I took in the southern air and enjoyed my afternoon. One of my favorite parts of Savannah is the number of squares and parks that they have (26 to be exact). Perhaps the most visited and better known is Chippewa Square. Which was the location where Forrest Gump sat on a park bench, telling the world that life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're gonna get. While the park is just as green and beautiful as the Hollywood version, the bench was just a prop used while filming. You can however visit the bench for a cost of $5 and a visit to the Savannah Visitors center, and home of the Savannah Historic Museum.

Chippewa Square









"The Bench"





One thing which surprised me about my trip to Savannah was the town's Irish history. There is a rather large Irish population found in this southern city. It was the final destination to many Irish immigrants over the years, and the town actually is home to the 2nd largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the US! Who knew?


The Belfast Boys playing a private show for us at Kevin Barry's Irish Pub
























                                                                       Se├ín O'Se Singing us a song!!! 


AND One can not come to Savannah with out visiting Paula Deen's restaurant The Lady & Sons. You have to get there early to put your name down for lunch and dinner (the line starts at 9:30, and usually wraps around the industrial looking building). But it is well worth the wait (and the cost)!! Inside the restaurant has a lived in feeling where you feel like your eating at someones home rather than an up scale establishment. I some good southern eats, and probably gained 500 pounds and 10-15 new cavities, but that's something I will just have to deal with.

Orleans Square...in my opinion the least cared about in the city












It was good luck to touch the rain spout...soooo it had to be done!











So overall my trip to Savannah was well worth the fear of public speaking. I was given the chance to practice my conference skills (in front of an audience of familiar faces thanks to the support of the Drew Community), listen to some pretty awesome Irish presentations to expand my knowledge of the culture I LOVE, experience the Savannah night life with a few great friends old and new, soak up the southern sun and culture with it's warm weather, live music, and good cookin'. One thing is certain. As I trek back to New Jersey's cold winter weather and cosmopolitan streets I sure will have Georgia on my mind.


This week's song of the week:
"Georgia on My Mind" - Ray Charles


Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing is more American than an Eric Church concert

If you have not had the chance to experience Erich Church and his band live in concert, than you my friend are missing out on something. I recently got to experience his show for a second time on a whim. I knew that he was playing near by, but in a place which is really hard to get to unless you drive there...a place called the Starland Ballroom (Think the barn/dance hall in Foot loose). This place is literally in the middle of nowhere, New Jersey.

After waiting 10 minutes on the road (due to concert traffic), maneuvering parking directed by local VFW members and crossing the dim-lighted street (as well as dodging non-concert drivers) I finally got to wait in the 20 minute long line for ticket holders. (Mind you it was about 20 degrees outside...it was no spring picnic). Conveniently my phone died as soon as I got inside, where I was supposed to meet up with a couple of friends. However, as luck/karma/something could prove it I ran into a a few mutual friends of mine and my other country loving pals. I was able to wait with them as we were able to all join together.

After hugs, and the how-do-you do's were passed around, it was not long before the first act went on. Sean Patrick McGraw and his band were not too shabby for an opening act. They were mostly upbeat, sang songs about being cowboys, and kept the crowd jumping and grooving while the caught up with old friends, met new friends and threw back a few cold ones. However, the crowd was still anxious for the main event...chants of ERIC and some random boos to towards the stage were shouted by some of the more Eric Church loving fans.

Between sets there were even chants of U-S-A...these fans were country lovin, American pride, whiskey drinkin', cowboy hat wearin', kind of New Jersey folk...much different from the more popular "Guido" stereotype which people may have due to the popularity of such shows as the Real Housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore.

But it was well worth the wait!
Eric Church and his band have an AWESOME opening act, with lights, guitar solos and intro using Clutch's "Electric Worry" , instant goosebumps and a feel for a promising show were presented.


He sang everybody's favorite songs as well as his own. At the end of the night the crowd left more than happy, well at least those who weren't thrown out, not lucid, or passed out in some corner of the bar. The crowd sang along, people danced along to the songs which had the beat bumping and swayed and threw their lighters up to those which were more sentimental. If one thing is certain, New Jersey welcomed Eric and his band with wide open arms, and they put on a damn good show in return.


This Week's Song of the Week:
Eric Church - "Smoke a Little Smoke"


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Last semester...so bitter-sweet

So my last days at Drew University are quickly dwindling away.
I am happy that I will be recieving my Masters this year, but there are so many obsticals I must overcome that are still in my way..so lets take a look

Plans for the Present (aka graduating)
1) In order to delay my loan payments I had to be considered a full-time student. Therefore I needed to take a class on top of my thesis work. The class I chose is interesting and will help me with my understanding of Irish history in the long end, however its readings and papers are def cutting into my thesis time.

However my time is not spent 50/50 with those two subjects...so lets take a dive into other projects/activies I devote my time to:

2) I'm still working at the General Commission on Archives and History for The United Methodist Church. I work here 15 hours a week, it's the bane to my existance because its what pays the bills...its also teaching me the many skills and abilities I will need to perform in future job settings...so this is equally important...which divides my time 33.3/33.3/33.3...But oh wait there is more! of course silly!

3) I was asked to present one of my papers to an Irish conference in Savannah, GA. So what the heck I thought I'd give it a whirl. I answered to the call of papers AND my paper got accepted...wooohooo? I HATE public speaking...so that should be fun... A lot of my friends and advisors from school will be traveling there as well so it shouldnt be that bad...and it will look GREAT on college/job resumes...right? So as of right now that leaves my time to 25/25/25/25

4)And then there is my time spent as the History and Culture Convenor...I basically am the link between students, the faculty and the GSA. I am supposed to voice out the opinion of the masses and bring peace and prosperity into the minds of those in the History and Culture Program...also good for the resumes...and getsme more involved with what really goes down here on Madison Ave. Leaving my time at 20/20/20/20/20

THE FUTURE
My time also has to be spent job/school searching for future plans which means
a) school applications (in Library and Information Science) AND
b) job resumes (in libraies, museums, schools, etc etc)

Most of the schools need Essays and applications which = time...while most of the jobs require that I have a degree in Library and Information science...I will lump these two together...leaving me at 16.7/16.7/16.7/16.7/16.7/16.7 equally shared time between my activites I must perform before graduation

I also need to throw in sleeping/working out/eating (and drinking...just to keep me sane) which leaves me a grand total of 14.3/14.3/14.3/14.3/14.3/14.3/14.3 equally divided proportions for my last months here at Drew..so again, I'm happy that I'll (hopefully) be graduating this semester...but at the same time I'm equally terified of how it will take place


This post's song:
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" - The Verve