Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Scientology, Cheeseburgers, and Getting Lost. Not Much has changed, apparently.

It's been a while since I updated this. I was worried that I would taint the memories of my study abroad trip by ever using this blog again, but I realized recently that I had intended this to be an ongoing thing. So for the first time in quite a few years, I'm writing a new post here. I hope I get around to doing it again, as I'm already having fun.

Coincidentally (or maybe not so), I am back in New York - One of my best friends from Carleton lives here, and I try to come visit every so often. It's a little cold today (around 30 degrees), and so cloudy that I can hardly see any of the Manhattan Skyline, even though it's just across the river. I was reluctant to go out this morning, but I did anyway.

Can you guess what happened? That's right, I got lost. Not immediately though. I guess I'll just start at the beginning.


Not long ago I discovered an awesome website called Fitango which allows you to track your progress for various goals (weight loss, financial, events, etc.). One of the "Action Plans," as they're called, didn't really belong there, but it seemed too awesome to turn down: A week long Burger Tour of NYC. I went ahead and implemented it, and went to the first place on the list today: Five Napkin Burger. Amazingly, I just hopped on the PATH Train, only wandered aimlessly in the subway station for about 2 minutes before I found the C train, got off at 42nd street, and walked about 4 blocks, pretty much right to it. In fact, I did it so quickly, that they weren't quite open yet, and the hostess asked me to come back in about 20 minutes. I figured that I was right near Times Square, so I started wandering over in that direction, in hopes that I could find that interesting sound art piece that I remembered from our New Media trip.

I dodged pretty much all of the people handing out pamphlets and was just starting to feel proud of myself when a fairly young, good natured looking guy approached me and handed me something saying "this is for you!" with a big smile. I took it and smiled back and looked down to see what it was. A ticket to a free showing of something...something that I vaguely recognized with a picture of a volcano...Then I saw the words: Dianetics. It seemed familiar, but I couldn't quite remember what it was. He asked me "Have you heard of Dianetics?" I stared at the card for a moment, trying to think how to answer that. I wasn't sure if I wanted to say no and find out way more about dianetics than I ever wanted to, or if I should say yes and hope he didn't probe too much. Almost as soon as that thought crossed my mind though, I remembered it having something to do with Scientology. I have always found Scientology fascinating, mostly because I can't understand how anyone can take it seriously enough to become a Scientologist. I was taken in by my curiosity, and decided to answer with "Well...it sounds familiar, but I can't really remember what it is..."
"How about you just come see the movie now? Let's go!"
I panicked for a second, wondering what I was getting myself into, but I figured, what else am I going to do while I wait for Five Napkin Burger to open? So I followed him around the corner and straight into the Church of Scientology. The movie was the best thing I've ever seen. It was about this teenage boy on a highschool football team who gets injured during a game and becomes paralyzed from the waist down. Then, most of it is about how he's in the hospital and all of these evil psychologists want him to tell them that he's envious of his father and then cut his head open and poke his brain. He freaks out a lot, and eventually his girlfriend, who looks pretty from far away but horrible close up, brings him a book about Dianetics, and just in the nick of time (for the doctors are on their way to give him unnecessary brain surgery against his will), he figures out how to walk again. Despite my attempts to contain myself, I did actually start laughing out loud at some point, I think when the main evil psychologist saw the kid walking around the hospital room, and his accomplice doctors put a stethoscope on his chest and said "It's IMPOSSIBLE!"

When I left, the girl at the front desk showed me the Dianetics book, hopeful that I would buy it (I definitely did not), then gave me a free DVD of the awesome movie I had just witnessed. I've already promised to send it to two people, so I might need to go back tomorrow and get some more.

I made my way over to Five Napkin Burger, and enjoyed myself immensely. The burger was good, the atmosphere of the place was even better, and I was still giddy from that movie. Wanting to end on a high note, I decided to just come back to Brandy's apartment when I was done. About halfway through the subway ride, however, I decided I was too excited to go home already, and wanted to have more adventures. I figured maybe I'd stop by the little guitar store that I always go to when I'm in the village. I hopped off the train at 14th street, wandered out, and wasn't anywhere near the village, though it took me about 45 minutes to realize that. Finally, the cold water was starting to seep through my shoes, and I decided to just try again tomorrow. So now I have some plans.

Now, I'm sitting in Brandy's apartment, my socks and pants are in the dryer, the cats are all asleep on me, and I think I might finish the rest of my cheeseburger. Overall, it has been an amazing day.


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