What are Your Guilty Plea$ure$

As originally posted here on TNGG…

Unfortunately, our party lifestyle, coupled with a bad economy, has given more than just the New York Times the idea that our generation has yet to “grow up.” One undisputed Gen Y talent is spending money; turns out a few of us actually have some! Even after rent and college loan payments, we still have a couple pennies to scrape together for ‘disposable income’ and we’re just dying to go out and spend it. So without further ado, I give you the coveted guilty pleasures Gen Y just can’t live without:

Booze — All of us are either still in college, or recent grads who aren’t quite ready to give up the college lifestyle. Whether you’re a wine snob or a beer geek, you spend your money on booze. When an old friend is in town on a business trip, we don’t offer to take them on a tour of our home city, we suggest drinks. It’s a work night? Who cares? There’s a happy hour special at the bar around the corner. You’ll be here for the weekend? Well then, obviously we’ll need to go hit up the best new club in town and then it’s off to the karaoke bar before we head home (or to breakfast!).

Coffee — Whether you’re a Dunkin Devotee, Starbucks Siren or Tim Hortons is your morning kickstart, we love our coffee and we need the caffeine to get us through the work day after we were out the night before — caffeine is our legal drug of choice. (Have you seen the answers to the “10 Questions for…” series on TNGG? Almost everyone lists coffee as something they can’t live without.) We rely on coffee. Our bosses better not ask us to start a project before our first latte (better make it a double!).

Drugs — Hello, have you met a Millennial lately? Our mantra is, “It’s my life; I can do what I want!” This holds true for the drugs that we do, and when we’re stressed out because that cup of coffee didn’t come soon enough, they help calm us down. Prescription drugs are readily accessible, we know this and we take advantage of it.

Technology — A force that has always been a part of our live. We have netbooks, laptops, iPods and e-readers in addition to our BBFL smartphones. We depend on technology to give us immediate answers to everything. We are addicted and we don’t even care. If they’re not in our hands, they are attached to our hips (literally!) or securely tucked in a back pocket. They accompany us every time we stand up from our desk because we can’t delay in replying to the latest person who tweeted at us. My biggest fear of losing my purse in the city is not my wallet (it’s not like we carry cash on us anymore — debit cards and my work ID are easily replaceable), it’s that I will lose so many things I don’t know how I could live without (iPod/iPhone). Like everyone else, I don’t have the patience to sit still for that long with nothing to do. And how could I possibly last a week without social media these days?

Vacations/Getaways — many of us still live at home and no one wants to be home in their house with their parents all the time. We went away to college and then our friends who used to live within walking distance dispersed all over the world. We value our leisure time and we’re traveling more than the older generations. We are still grasping at our dreams — when we were little, our parents told us when we got bigger, we’d have the whole world at our hands. Now that we’re all grown up, we want to travel the world. Maybe we can’t all go backpack through Europe because we’ve got those pesky student loans and rent payments on our shoulders every month, but one thing full-time jobs come with is paid vacation time and we take advantage of every single day available to us.

Spending money on our guilty pleasures helps keep us sane and appeases our addictions — because face it, that’s what most of our guilty pleasures are… or turn into. So long as we’re smart (hopefully?) there’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and again, right?

What about you? Any other guilty pleasures I left off the list?

Photo by BruceTurner

The Root of Who you Root For: New York’s Classic Sports Rivalries

This is my second installment for the blog I write for, The Next Great Generation — as originally posted here.

Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils and Islanders. The New York area has nine professional teams in four professional sports. (Eleven, if you count the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.) As a New Yorker (yes, it is where my birth certificate was issued), how am I supposed to root for three hockey teams, and two football, baseball and basketball (if I followed the NBA) teams? Given our plethora of options, we don’t just root for the home team, we root for our team. Personally, I bleed blue (Giants, Rangers, Yankees — and I would have to pick the Knicks, even though I’m not a big NBA fan).

While some of the rivalries are rather civil, like the Knicks and Nets, the rivalries between the Yankees and Mets (aka the Subway Series rivalry) and the Giants and Jets (they do share the same home stadium) can become much more heated — these rivalries even extend beyond the fans, into the players on the teams.

But even with the hometown rivalries, New Yorkers have greater rivals to the north — that’s right, up in Beantown. Since New York’s teams are not in the same divisions (the Yankees in the AL and Mets in the NL, the Giants in the NFL and the Jets in the AFL), we have bigger rivals in neighboring cities with our divisional rivals. AskMen.com rates the Yankee-Sox rivalry in the Top Five Sports Rivalries.

In 1918, the Red Sox won the World Series and in 1920, Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees  — the Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004. This “trade” became the root of the most intense, most publicized and longest-standing rivalries in the MLB. “1918” and “Yankees suck” chants are only the tip of the iceberg here — just check out YouTube and you will see the fights and brawls that have been caught on tape. Just think of the infamous time Pedro threw Zimmer to the ground. A word to the wise: if you are a Boston fan, don’t come to Yankee Stadium in Sox gear just for kicks.

Just as baseball rivalries exist in NY, so do football rivalries. Giants and Jets fans battle constantly for bragging rights — the rivalry is like that of a little kid trying to step into some rather big shoes (until this year, Jets home games were played at Giants Stadium). With only 16 regular season games, the two see most of their field time against each other in the pre-season — and this year brought along extra rivalry-fueled decisions, most of which were solved by the flip of a coin. Yet again, New York has a battle between the underdog and the well established team. And our underdog here has their divisional rival to the northeast as well, the New England Patriots.

Regardless of if it’s a New York-New York rivalry or a New York-Boston rivalry, it really all boils down to fans rooting for their home team. Whether it’s for bragging rights or a battle of the best city in the northeast, die-hard fans will always root for the home team (if you’re smart you root for the better, “all-American” team). At least with our intra-NY rivalries, the joking and teasing between fans tends to stay superficial and less people get harmed.
For a true, die-hard fan, who you root for defines who you are. It’s not just a game. It’s a lifestyle.

Type Softly & Carry a Big Stick

To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “type softly and carry a big stick; what you type will go far”. Part of why Millennials are given a bad rep is because regardless of the fact that we are all legal adults at this point, some of us still act like immature, five-year-olds — many do so for the entire world to see on the stages laid out in front of us thanks to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media and networking outlets. Unfortunately, it is when we act irresponsibly and immaturely in public that older generations seem to take note. Older generations aren’t even the only ones who think we lack ethics online. Last week my fellow TNGG writer, Federico Pieracci, pointed out that when u write like dis, you look “like an absolute tool”. In today’s technologically driven, web-based world, we are what we type and post — both socially and professionally.

Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter are all great tools — they are integral parts of many of our lives and all three should be used for their different purposes. Facebook is a great tool to stay in touch with people you (hopefully) know. It can be a great help when planning events, sharing pictures and keeping tabs on friends that live far away. LinkedIn is wonderful to help find jobs and stay connected with others in your industry; it’s also somewhere you might not want to update your status with every waking thought you have. Twitter is a bit more of a free-for-all; it is a place to share random thoughts, interesting articles, commenting on the live awards show and for stirring debates with virtual strangers. When scrolling through our various news feeds, people look for articles and comments that are going to interest them, not bored them to death — personally, I prefer posts that are going to make me think a little. (I’m not saying that you can never post to all at once, I’m obviously going to post a link to this article on all three of my profiles – but that’s because it works for all three audiences.)

Many are aware of the line that can be crossed by sharing TMI (too much information). While the line can be a thin one, and one that varies depending on the audience, some people have no problem ignoring the line and catapulting well beyond it. People do NOT want to read about what you and your significant other did in the privacy of your bedroom (nor do they care if you were able to find a new place to do it). While the TMI line is a widely known one, perhaps a more important line is the one drawn by what netiquette deems appropriate.

The golden rule of netiquette is to be smart. In the same way you need to filter some thoughts so they don’t come out of your mouth and offend others, make sure the same is done before you type something that you can’t take back. Recently Carrie James, of Harvard University, conducted a study which showed that young people lack online ethics. When you think about it, doesn’t it make sense? Why wouldn’t the same ethical norms in societies hold true online? The internet has given us a privilege, one that allows us access to more knowledge and resources then previous generations.

As with many privileges, this tends to become abused when people think they can have anything they want, with one click of the mouse, and of course it’s all expected to be free. It is not socially acceptable by most to walk into a store and steal a CD from the shelf, so why is it OK to download the music illegally online? Piracy of music and movies are not the only ways that things are stolen online. Ideas and work are becoming easier to plagiarize with such rampant googling skills that Millennials learn when trying to find information they are looking for — plagiarism can even be found in 140-characters or less on Twitter.

Netiquette extends beyond our actions to what we post online as well, especially when you forget who your audience is — everyone. Employers and schools are using social media sites to watch over what their employees and students, both current and future, have done and are doing. It is possible to get fired because of Facebook. Making a statement about hating your boss and job aren’t the only thing that can do it, you don’t want to call out sick and then post pictures of you at a party instead either.

Don’t forget, the Library of Congress is archiving all public tweets and there is no time limit on how long sites with your name on them will appear in Google search results (my high school track results from 10 years ago are still there). So, before you decide to tweet your next thought, ask yourself is this something that you’d be OK with if your grandma, boss and children 20 years from now see? Safe bet, if it passes that test, it won’t do you much damage.

**picture from World New Australia

Underdogs of Millennium

In case you missed my last post, I started writing for an amazing blog, The Next Great Generation. I’ve always enjoyed reading lots of other blogs to see things from other perspectives and lately I have been looking for some articles/posts to help support my next post. In surfing the web with a direct focus on my generation, it has become even more apparent before, that older generations think we are lazy, overrated and selfish. We are underdogs and unfortunately, instead of many cases, we are not the underdogs that everyone is routing for. We are underdogs because everyone expects us to fail.

We are underestimated, undervalued, underpaid underrepresented. We are over looked, over worked and over tired because we do so much. We are hard workers, determined, great multi-taskers, dedicated, opportunistic and team oriented. We are loving, kind, generous, caring, friendly and giving. We are confident, ambitious, direct, independent, diverse and  entrepreneurial. We are wired, “plugged in” and adaptable. We are smart, intelligent and well versed. We have, and will always preserver.

So to all of you who doubt us, thank you. Thank you for lighting the fire underneath an entire generation so that we pull together for each other. We will take our underdog status, rally the troops behind us and we will prove you all wrong.

Diamond’s Are A Girl’s Best Friend

So, I know it’s been a while, but that’s because I have been working on my first post for a kick-ass blog, The Next Great Generation. It’s a blog for millennials, written for and by us. My first post was published this morning and is about female sports fans — as originally published here — or you can read it below:

How many times have you been to a game where the girl sitting two rows ahead of you keeps asking the guy to her right to explain what’s happening because she can’t follow? After filing her nails, reading Spencer Pratt’s tweets and checking perezhilton.com on her bejeweled, pink iPhone for the duration of the hockey game, Whitney fluffs her bleach-blond hair and asks Johnny how the game ended with a score of 1-1.

Obviously, she doesn’t know that if neither team scores in OT and the shootout ends in a draw, NHL regulation games can end in a tie. In July, she thinks a grand slam is a meal at Denny’s. Come November, she doesn’t get why the football score is increasing in increments of 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Sadly, the majority of males seem to be under the impression that all the ladies at the game are like Whitney.

“If you ask me, Jimmy Fallon, his knuckler hasn’t been the same since the All-Star Break.”

I am not a Whitney. I bleed blue for the Giants, Rangers and Yankees (a true New York fan). I learned to throw a football before I could ride a bike.  I was born on a Thursday evening — week four of the 1986 football season.  Three days later, my dad held me on his lap while watching the NY Giants game in the hospital.  I watched the rest of that season in my father’s arms, and at four months old, I saw my team winSuperbowl XXI. Ever since, dad has deemed me the G-men’s, “Lucky Charm.” Over the past 24 years, I have watched more sporting events than I can count. I grew up destined to be a die-hard.

Female sports fans are becoming more vocal and abundant worldwide. Female fans can sit on the couch and drink some beers while watching Monday Night Football, or catch the Yankees game on one of the TVs at the local sports bar.

The best part is, we don’t need the boys around to have fun or know what’s going on. All we want to do is watch the game. We want to see our team wipe the floor with our rival. Seeing the other team’s starting pitcher dislocate his shoulder wouldn’t upset us in the least. We want to see our fantasy team’s defense have five sacks and twice as many interceptions. Come January, we don’t know what to do with ourselves on Mondays, because all we’ve been watching is the MNF games for the past four months. And when our team loses by one in the last game of the season, and just barely misses out on the playoff run, we need to be left alone to wallow in our misery.

It’s easy in our culture to assume that die-hard fans are men, because that’s how it’s always been. History is not the only thing we have going against us. The stereotypical female fan is the one who’s jumping on the bandwagon and doesn’t fully understand the game — or is simply rooting for her boyfriend’s favorite team. For the ladies who happen to be true die-hard fans, our motives as to why we watch are questioned.

Bandwagon Babes (ladies who jump on bandwagons) bring a bad name to all female fans. A perfect example would be the Boston sports dynasty of the past decade. The number of Boston female sports fans has skyrocketed since 2001. Why? The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Meanwhile, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, followed by the Celtics championship run in 2008. As a New York fan living in Boston at the time, what bothered me most wasn’t that Boston was winning; what was frustrating was seeing ladies become Sox fans simply because they thought it was “cool.” These are the same women who asked “What curse?” in an attempt to find answers, rather than to voice their skepticism. Boston is not the only city that has seen the rise of females jumping on bandwagons, which is why many men don’t see females as real fans.

In cities across America, many of the female “fans” couldn’t name more than their hometown team’s starting QB. There are an increasing number of pink jerseys seen in the stands at football games these days. And,while the pink jersey may be a cute look, other fans discredit them immediately upon seeing the feminine hue.

Being a fan is not about you and your favorite color; it’s about team camaraderie and the spirit and morale of fans as a whole. Otherwise, as a Giants fan with the favorite color green, I’d be wearing a jersey looking like an Eagles or Jets fan while cheering for my big, blue wrecking crew.

To the lady readers, which type of fan are you? Are you a pink-jersey-wearing-bandwagoner? Or are you a real fan who actually “gets it”? Perhaps you are like my friend Megan and I — we refuse to buy a Manning or Sanchez jersey because we don’t want people to think it’s the only player we know.

To the guys who are still having doubts that a female can be a die-hard fan just like you, I ask you to ponder the following: One of my most prized possessions is a game ball from when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. One of my most cherished memories is stepping onto the diamond at the original Yankee Stadium. Before I left for college, the most important thing I did was add my name to what was at the time, a 40-year waiting list for Giants’ season tickets. So I ask you — why can’t I be a die-hard fan, too?

Photo by hotrodhomepage.