that whole review is a and my thoughts exactly


Duration: October 15 - November 23

Status: Completed

All 1,989 notes can be seen here: x

For 39 days I did a little project to spread the news about Taylor Swift’s new album 1989. Since I am definitely not one of Taylor’s most outgoing fans, the best and most comfortable way for me was to write notes on 3 in. x 3 in. memo paper and leave them in random places to be found by strangers.

As if making 1,989 handwritten notes was not crazy enough, I one-upped  myself and decided to make every note unique. I made sure no two notes had exactly the same content. I thought of, or at least tried to think of, cute ways to get the message across on each one, which also made the whole process very tedious and difficult. Every note either had my own “clever” comments, Taylor’s quotes, media reviews on 1989, or lyrics from one of Taylor’s songs.

Since I started this project on October 15th, I thought I would definitely be able to pull this off by 1989’s release day. Little did I know, it would take me three times as long to reach the end! Even at my fastest pace, I was only able to write 60 notes in an hour… and that was with total concentration and no breaks.

Anyway, every hundred or so notes, I would either leave them as 3 in. x 3 in. notes or I would fold them into origami hearts. Wherever I went, I’d leave a note behind. I’ve left notes in subway trains, in my school’s library, in lecture halls/classrooms at school, on bathroom stalls’ doors, on random cars’ windshields, in between greeting cards and magazines at various drugstores, in Central Park, in Times Square… the list goes on and on. I also passed some out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I even folded a few into paper airplanes and flown them off the balcony of my school! Pretty much, I left notes in every nook and cranny I came across.

Here’s a collage of some of them: 

Over the past week, I’ve gotten mixed responses from people who have found my notes. Some were discouraging (x and x), but there were also much more pleasant ones (xx, and x).

 For those 39 days, there have been moments when I wanted to quit due to sleep deprivation, lack of motivation, and lack of support. Because I dived in head first and bit off more than I could chew, I found myself asking, “What have I gotten myself into?!“countless times. Since I’m a tough cookie and never like taking the quitter’s route, I kept pushing myself. So here I am, 39 days later and I’ve never felt more proud or accomplished. 😊

Thank you, Taylor, for being the only constant in my ever-changing life. This is just a small token of my appreciation.



Excuse me, this whole fish I ordered has bones! The horror!

NYC got torrential downpours yesterday, and my block got flooded. People with basement apartments around where I live have water pumps for this type of thing. After being hit with hurricane Irene and Sandy, everyone around here is prepared to drain out flood waters. I was outside just taking it all in, and lo and behold, this otherwise well intentioned, but often annoying white couple came over to say hello. I dread small talk with them because it always revolves around them doing “ethnic things” and eating “ethnic food”. They always want to include me in their ethnic escapades. I made the mistake of telling them that I cover African musicians in concert. This was a huge mistake on my part. Walking around the block involves me altering my route because if they see me, they will start talking about African music. They will talk me to death! Just hearing them pronounce Fela Kuti as “Fella Cutty” is enough to drive me bonkers. Why me?

Anyway, they recently went to an Ivorian restaurant in Harlem, and they were shocked that the grilled fish they ordered was a whole fish. Many West African cuisines include the whole fish and I guess they aren’t used to getting a whole fish on their plate, complete with bones. They were like “The fish had bones in it.” “It was not like grilled salmon.” “Why did the fish still have eyes? It was like the fish was looking at me!”

I guess I was supposed to answer all these questions. I just sidestepped the topic completely and started talking about the rain and flash flood. They really wanted to talk about the Ivorian restaurant serving whole fish with bones. Why should I be explaining what an Ivorian restaurant does? I have no desire to explain away things relating to what any African does. Not my job. If you’re an African, it shouldn’t be your job to do this either. What would you think of me if I went up to random white people to interrogate them about bologna sandwiches? Exactly.

Things like this is why you should never take critical reviews of African food from white people on yelp seriously. I once read a review where this white woman thought she was going into cardiac arrest after she had some pepper soup.

However, nothing beats this white guy who left a yelp review describing fufu as a bread-like dish and then complained about it being a rough meal. That is peak level whiteness. I don’t know how it’s even possible to reach any of those conclusions. I have yet to read a yelp review that has surpassed this in terms of sheer ridiculousness.

“Fufu is like bread. Plus it’s really rough.” A white man on yelp.