Author Archives: Blair Koenig

How One Tree Hill Saved Me From Myself

How One Tree Hill Saved Me From Myself

Toward the end of summer in 2008, I lost my job. It was a terrible experience made even more terrible by the fact that I’d actually hated my job. Initially, of course, I walked away feeling psyched. Awesome! I thought. This is an opportunity for a fresh start! But in reality I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, or even what I’d planned to do the next day. Some people would probably go to a museum, or take a walk in the park to collect their thoughts. Others would simply dust themselves off and dive right back into the job search. Me? I found One Tree Hill. More »

8 Grown-Up Gifts To Ask Your Parents For This Holiday Season

8 Grown-Up Gifts To Ask Your Parents For This Holiday Season

All through college, whenever the holidays approached I would ask my parents for cash. I didn’t want to ask for anything too fancy, because as far as I was concerned, helping me pay my rent and tuition was gift enough. And the truth is, I wasn’t worried about the fact that I slept on a crappy futon, had used the hell out of my generic desktop computer, didn’t have a matching set of plates, and had been wearing the same glasses since high school. I figured that eventually, all of these things would get upgraded. I just never figured out when. More »

Orphan Week Essay: Why I’m Thankful I’m Not Going Home For Thanksgiving This Year

Orphan Week Essay: Why I'm Thankful I'm Not Going Home For Thanksgiving This Year

This Thanksgiving, I’ll give thanks for food, friends, and family (not necessarily in that order), but for the first time in my life, I won’t be spending the holiday passing the cranberry sauce to my mom or watching my dad awkwardly carve the turkey. Instead, I’ll be spending it more than a thousand miles away in my adopted home of Brooklyn, and I couldn’t be happier.

The truth is, while I’ll miss celebrating the holiday with my family, I’m looking forward to avoiding certain things. And no, I’m not referring to the judgment cast by my grandmother for biting my nails or for not sitting up straight, nor am I referring to the always-hellish experience of holiday airline travel. (Last year I was assigned a seat that had no cushion. Just a raw, curved piece of plastic. Good times.) No, I’m referring to the even more harrowing experience of running into people I knew in high school around my hometown when I least expect it. More »

Space Relations: Cleaning Tips For Semi-Clean Roommates

Space Relations: Cleaning Tips For Semi-Clean Roommates

Even if you’re a neat freak, the chances that you actually want to do more than your share of cleaning in a home you share with roommates are pretty slim. There’s something about cleaning up other people’s stuff that just seems gross, whether it’s wiping a glob of toothpaste off the bathroom sink or smooshing down the garbage pile so the trashcan lid will close. When it’s not yours, it’s hard to want to touch it, clean it, or throw it away. Especially if it’s food or bathroom-related.

Because of this fear of the unknown, and also because most of us are very lazy, shared homes are usually pretty bad examples of cleanliness. So today I wanted to share with you guys some cleaning tips for semi-clean people living with roommates. More »

Space Relations: The Pros And Cons Of Living With Your Significant Other

Space Relations: The Pros And Cons Of Living With Your Significant Other

Amidst the sea of roommates I’ve had since my freshman year of college, I can count two as boyfriends. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t pretty much live with other boyfriends (much to the dislike of my actual roommates) by having them over sleep every other night and take up one-third of the couch, but that’s something else entirely. The arrangement I’m speaking of today involves two people who are dating and living together, with all their shit thrown into one space (physically and emotionally speaking). It’s an entirely different type of roommate relationship, but one that has just as many ups and downs as all the others. More »

Space Relations: Why It’s Important To Have Fun With Your Roommate

Space Relations: Why It's Important To Have Fun With Your Roommate

One of the things that’s annoying about living with others is hearing everyone else’s opinions about who you should live with and why. When I first got to college, the rule was, “Don’t live with your friends, because by the end of the first semester you’ll want to kill each other.” But as I wrote in a previous column, that line of thinking proved to be totally wrong; my former roommate and I are still friends to this day. More »

Space Relations: 19 Technology Resources For Roommates

Space Relations: 19 Technology Resources For Roommates

It’s no secret that my experiences with roommates haven’t always been pleasant. Personality conflicts, lack of communication, and inconsiderate behavior are all factors that created rifts in roommate relationships I’ve had, and I think those types of issues will continue to be at the core of most roommate disputes for years to come. But one thing that’s changed in a big way since I first started sharing a home with roommates is technology. More »

Space Relations: How To Know When It’s Time To Live Alone

Space Relations: How To Know When It's Time To Live Alone

Last week I wrote about the concept of living with roommates past our 20s. And while that isn’t a totally crazy, foreign idea, the point that I wanted to make was that it’s cool to live with others if you’re not interested in living alone, even if you can afford to live alone and are over a certain age. This week, I thought I’d write about the opposite. When is it okay to live alone for the first time, and what are the signs that help you to determine whether living alone is right for you? More »

Space Relations: How Old Is Too Old for Roommates?

Space Relations: How Old Is Too Old for Roommates?

When I was in college and dealing with my first real roommate relationships (outside of sharing a bathroom with my brother or sharing a bunk at summer camp), it never occurred to me that I might still be sharing a living space with roommates well into my 30s. And while I personally haven’t yet entered my 30s (I’m on a six-month countdown!), I read an interesting article this week about a woman in California who does just that. Leilani Clark is 37, sharing a home with three others—a married couple and another friend—and, surprisingly enough, loving it. More »

Space Relations: Is It Better to Have a ‘Random’ Roommate Than a Pre-Selected One in the Dorms?

Space Relations: Is It Better to Have a 'Random' Roommate Than a Pre-Selected One in the Dorms?

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times ran an op-ed titled “When Roommates Were Random.” It was written by a college professor at NYU who not only reminisces about his time spent in a freshman dorm but also makes an argument for colleges to issue a ban on what he calls “roommate choice.” As I read it, I found myself wondering, “Is this another one of those ‘way back when I was a boy…’ old-school-versus-new-school subjects, or is this debate still relevant?” More »

Space Relations: Noise Pollution — How to Not Be the Loud, Obnoxious One

Space Relations: Noise Pollution -- How to Not Be the Loud, Obnoxious One

In this column I’ve mentioned several obnoxious habits that roommates have, but one thing that irks me the most when living with others is heightened sound. Sometimes you just want to sit—or sleep—in peace and quiet, but you can’t because your roommate just got promoted and is having a party. Or she got laid off and she‘s psyched, or she got a great score on her final when you have yet to complete your exams (and in fact have another one the next morning at 8 a.m.). More »

Space Relations: How to Not Be Gross

Space Relations: How to Not Be Gross

There are plenty of problems one can have with his/her roommates, but through all of the drama, the late bill payments, and the refrigerator wars, one thing remains of utmost importance: Cleanliness. And I’m not talking “we should be able to eat off our floors” cleanliness or “whose turn is it to scrub under the burners on the stove?” cleanliness. I’m talking about the basic manners one should possess, regardless of who or how many people he or she lives with. And yet, despite this obvious necessity, there are a lot of people who utterly fail at cleanliness beyond showering regularly. So, this week’s column is all about the things that no one actually says to their slightly (or more-than-slightly) gross roommate, but really, really wants to say. More »

Space Relations: How to Throw a Party While Living with Roommates

Space Relations: How to Throw a Party While Living with Roommates

Today’s column isn’t about the number of kegs you should get to throw a proper house party (although I recommend one for every 30-40 people). It’s about how to throw a party while living with roommates. Granted, there are households occupied by roommates who are legitimate friends that run in the same social circles. When those types of roommates throw parties together, the conversation only lasts like 20 seconds. “Hey, roomies, are we going to throw a giant house party and get totally wasted with all of our friends tomorrow night??” “Hells yeah, we are!” End scene. More »