Today the spring issue of Saratoga Living Magazine was delivered, and this is the first time I’ve had an actual article published for them! I wrote about a new book coming out for Saratoga’s centennial this summer, a choral festival, and about the maple syrup events that are happening in the area. I also edited a lot of the articles in this issue, so it’s an exciting copy of the magazine for me. Check out the photos I took of the magazine below!
Two weeks ago was the Readmission Hearing Protest at Skidmore. If you want to read up on the incident, you can see it here. I was quoted in Albany’s newspaper, the Times Union, and you can read that article here.
On Friday, Skidmore students demanded greater accountability for sexual offenders on campus.
“I think there needs to be consistency and transparency,” senior Ileana Paules-Bronet said. Until Keifer spoke out, Skidmore basically kept students in the dark about sex crimes on campus and the outcome of the cases, Paules-Bronet said.
“I think a lot of students are using this case as a stepping stone to sharing their own stories of abuse,” she said.
Do you love maple syrup? Check out this list I put together for Saratoga Living Magazine about some of the great maple events happening in upstate New York this spring!
Tonight I was walking home from work, texting my friend Lisa,* and I realized I didn’t know whether or not she was a virgin. Until about 3 years ago, I had tabs on all my friends’ sexual activity – I knew that Kate had been only ever had sex with her boyfriend, that Caroline lost her virginity at sixteen, but hadn’t slept with anyone in a while, and that Rebecca liked sleeping with anyone who made her feel special. I kept tabs because I truly thought it mattered. Somehow, virginity and sexual experience seemed to define people. Which meant that I was naive, inexperienced, and unknowledgeable.
What I realized today was that none of it matters. I don’t know whether Lisa is still a virgin or not, and I don’t care. She might be, she might not be, but who gives a damn? Virginity does not define you – it doesn’t make you a good or bad person, it doesn’t make you smart or stupid, it doesn’t make you beautiful or ugly. Your participation in a specific sexual encounter says nothing about who you are. Nothing.
For a long time I thought losing my virginity would be a big deal – that it would somehow change me. News flash: it didn’t. I woke up the next day feeling exactly the same as I had the day before (maybe just a tiny bit more sore). The world didn’t stop spinning, I didn’t get invited to join some special club, and I didn’t feel “mature” all of a sudden. Want to know why? Because I was already the person that I am, with or without the intangible concept of “virginity.” Sex is a big step for a couple and you need to trust, respect, and be comfortable with the people you sleep with – but sex doesn’t need to be a big deal. It’s just another step in a sexual relationship. And it doesn’t need to involve anyone outside of the people who are participating in it. Because honestly? It’s just sex.
*All names have been changed.
Last week was Spring Break, which meant I finally got to relax and do nothing for the first time since Winter Break. I decided that while laying on the beach soaking up the sun (with SPF 70, of course), I would read for fun again. In the airport I had picked up Chelsea Handler’s latest book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, hoping for a light, humorous beach read. I’m generally a big fan of celebrity memoirs, which I know seems ridiculous, but as an aspiring writer, I like to see how female comedians (mostly) have made it big. I absolutely loved Tina Fey’s Bossypants and had a blast reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and am still working on Grace Helbig’s Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up. Still on my reading list are Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind Of Girl, and Neil Patrick Harris’s Choose Your Own Autobiography. I’m not going to lie, I hope to one day write a book like one of these (unfortunately I’m not a television personality, so my chances are probably pretty limited. Oh well).
Anyways, back to the matter at hand: Uganda Be Kidding Me. Now, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Chelsea Handler, but I also haven’t experienced a ton of her humor – I watched a few episodes of Chelsea Lately a few years ago and watched her standup performance of Uganda Be Kidding Me: Live on Netflix over winter break. First of all, I did really enjoy the book – it was well-written and funny and I would definitely recommend it to someone if they were looking for something silly to read on vacation. I would only recommend it after other books, like Bossypants, though.
My favorite part of this book was the beginning, when Chelsea was on safari in South Africa and Botswana – I loved reliving the memories of being on safari myself last spring. Putting aside the stories of elephants and giraffes, however, I’m not really sure how I feel about the book. It may just be me, but I find Chelsea Handler’s humor just a tiny bit too crude. I laughed aloud a lot, but I also felt it was entirely unnecessary to read a story about Chelsea Handler losing control of her bowels on a beach.
Chelsea Handler makes it very clear that she’s a party girl – she writes about smoking copious amounts of weed, being a “functioning” alcoholic, and sleeping around – but the way she composes herself just isn’t very classy. One of her sisters, at some point in the book, says something along the lines of “You have to understand. Chelsea is the most successful person in our family, but she’s also the biggest fuck-up.” I think that sentence accurately describes Chelsea Handler.
Honestly, my biggest problem with Chelsea Handler is not her partying or her un-classiness, she just genuinely doesn’t seem like a good person to me. She is pretty mean to her friends, she is unrelentingly selfish, and she is happy to act as if the world revolves around her. I don’t know if I can explain exactly what it is I don’t love about her, but I guess you’ll just have to read her book and make up your own mind.
If you’ve read Uganda Be Kidding Me or Chelsea Handler’s other books, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Check out my article on Unwritten!
Sorry for not posting this week, I’m on vacation and my computer is not getting along well with the hotel’s wifi. I’m currently posting this from my phone while walking on the beach. Here are some photos to hold you over until next week when I can post reliably again!
Today I was published for the very first time in a newspaper! I’ve been working on this important story for The Saratogian for the past two weeks now, and it is finally online. Tomorrow the story will run in the print edition of the paper (so I will obviously take 30 copies to send to relatives, don’t worry Mom). Not only am I proud to have my first article published by a real newspaper, I am proud to have gotten to tackle such an important topic. Please click on over and read the article – I’d love to hear all of your feedback.
Check out another one of my articles on Unwritten about remaining platonic friends with an ex!
Check out my article on Unwritten (the one that was also skeezily posted by universityprimetime.com).
Last week I got an email saying someone had mentioned me in a tweet on Twitter. I hardly ever use my Twitter, which is only for publicizing blog posts anyways, but I followed the link and found the following tweet:
Intrigued, I followed up with this mysterious tweet and emailed them back. Almost immediately I received a response, saying that they would love to hire me as a writer – I would make $10/article. They even let me know that their highest-paid writer had made over $700 by writing articles for them. I was impressed – not that $10/article is a lot, but it’s more than the current $0 I make for all of my writing. I also checked out the website (because I’d never heard of it before), universityprimetime.com. The website seemed pretty legitimate, with interesting articles, fun headlines, and nice pictures. There were some parts of the website I didn’t love, like the attention to partying and greek life, but I figured I could overlook small things like that. I looked around to see if my writing style would fit with the site, when I came across the following article:
Hold on. I wrote that article. I scanned through it, and indeed it was my article. I had published it earlier that day on Unwritten. They used my exact words and the exact same picture.
What didn’t they use, though? My name.
Unless I had been renamed “Primetime Legend” without my knowledge, then that definitely wasn’t cool.
I emailed the man I had contacted earlier and posed the following questions:
I tried to be professional, but also WTF. He emailed me back later that day, saying:
Well, I mean if my bosses at Unwritten were “cool with it,” then clearly I had nothing to worry about. Just in case though, I Facebook messaged my editors and asked them if they knew about this site and if they had, in fact, given them permission to use their content without referencing the original author. They had, kind of. I wouldn’t exactly say “they were cool with it,” but they had given UniversityPrimetime permission to republish articles as long as they gave credit to Unwritten and the author. That clearly hadn’t happened.
I considered writing for them for a week, and came to the conclusion that this website wasn’t worth giving up my integrity. I’m about to leave the Facebook group, so I’m saying goodbye about my dreams of writing for money… at least for now. And you know what? I’m not even upset about it.
p.s. My favorite part of this classy website is the University Primetime “Dimes” section, where they highlight pretty girls who show their boobs on Instagram.