Monday, August 23, 2010

Peace Out and Namaste, New York.

"The time has come. The time is now. Just go. Go. GO! I don't care how...
You can go on stilts. You can go by fish. You can go in a Crunk-Car if you wish." 

- Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now

A Crunk-Car, Mr. Seuss, M.D., Ph.D.? I do wish.

The time has come: this Saturday, I'm packing up a car (with an overwhelming heap of boxes filled with books, comics, DVDs, tchotchkes, clothes, and random loose articles like tea bags, bobby pins and fancy matchbooks) climbing in, and leaving New York City to return to Massachusetts after four years.

There are several reasons why this move makes a whole lot of sense, and if you know me, you know them. For the rest of you, you should know it has to do with "family stuff" - nothing life-or-death, but important, nonetheless. I'll be staying with my family for a few months to help out and get my feet on the ground, then zip off to Boston (where I lived for a few years previously in the North End).

I've scored a sweet new job as a senior publicist at a mid-sized book publisher in the area, and will be making up for lost time with old friends at local haunts; checking out bands, movies and indies with the little bro (until he moves to Japan for a year in November!); cooking dinner with my Dad, being forced to watch mind-numbing wedding shows like Say Yes to the Dress with Mom; weaseling my way into the neighborhood comic shop until it becomes "mine." I'll be blogging more, taking the time to write, catching up on books I want to read and spend some time, finally, putting my graphic novels in alphabetical order.

I'm looking forward to sleep devoid of sirens, thumping bass and the metallic melody of suspicious midnight-roaming ice cream trucks - at least until I get sick of the quiet. I can't wait for the New England autumn to surround me in that burnt-sienna kind of hug, that smoky air, the crunch of leaves under my feet. I like that.

I'm excited. Frightened. Happy. Relieved. Nervous. I'm afraid of being bored. I have friends that I'm going to miss terribly. I'm petrified of no all-night pizza and Indian food delivery.

Four apartments, five jobs (freelance or otherwise), one sublet swindle, a few failed romances, one laptop robbery, and several indecent subway exposures later, it will be nice to.......breathe......in a way I haven't been able to for a long time.

Peace out...and Namaste, New York.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Thank You Note for you, my Facebook (and IRL) friends.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’re privy to the everyday occurrences in my life – for better or worse. I’ve spent the last few years accumulating a host of incredible acquaintances and even people that I can happily call friends, even though I’ve never met them.

I know how they take their coffee, when they fight with their spouses, their favorite books, opinions about Obama. I know when they’re feeling nauseous, and I’ll give them advice on how to make them feel better, in addition to 20 other tippers (lemon ginger tea! Milk for acidity, if you’re not lactose intolerant!).

I cross my fingers for them when they have job interviews, ailing friends or family, kids in talent shows. I check out the preliminary sketches for their new comics projects (in the case of some of my illustrator friends); I consider their one-line movie reviews, music recommendations, recipe suggestions.

This little community I’ve created for myself with the purpose of networking has suddenly grown huge (with over 3,500 friends), with more added each day. It has now become more than just a social website, but a support group, a never-ending stream of thoughts, opinions, words of wisdom, advice. Feeling crappy? Post it on Facebook and see what happens.

That’s just what I did last week when I had my laptop stolen right out of my office (my precious new Macbook Pro) – I posted about it on my page. Within thirty minutes, I had about thirty comments, several from people who wanted to help give and raise money to help me replace it. It started with a few suggestions – a PayPal account was created – and over the course of a few days, people had donated and spread the word enough to help me raise more than half of what I needed (that’s several hundred dollars!). A week later, donations are still coming in – along with supportive words, suggestions, and links to places to find cheaper refurbished laptops to replace my precious (Gollum-style).

As I watched these donations and messages come in, I was overwhelmed; people I’d never met (and people I have - thank you, my dear friends!) were forking over their hard-earned hundreds to help me. I admit I may have shed a few tears in appreciation and, I’ll say it – shock at this kindness.

So this is an attempt for me to try to thank all of you who did what you could – whether it was to help me out with cash, or to help spread the word, or to just be there to make me feel better – I wish I could do something for you.

I am so thankful to have people like you in my life, who give without suspicion, share selflessly. And though I may not know what your smile looks like in person, my only hope is that I can provide you with a few of those, as you have for me.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Foodz, Gwowious Foodz!

Being healthy makes me happy. I've struggled for years with maintaining a healthful lifestyle, and I've always been an all-or-nothing type of gal; case in point: exercising religiously for 3 months, only to drop off on a pizza and margarita binge, leading to a 3-month gym hiatus. Or that time two birthdays ago when I couldn't really afford groceries, and lost 15 lbs. I looked good! Took horrible care of myself - I was partying, drinking, not eating, sleeping odd hours. Making out with randos and inanimate objects.

For the first time in a LONG time, I've found a lifestyle change that's stuck with me, and that's through creating attainable short-term goals, exercising patience for my body to adapt to a new way of eating, and allowing myself to really get buck wild with the food I crave (see: PIZZA) once a month or so.

I'm not thin. I'll never be "skinny" - that's not my objective and I'm not built that way. I got junk in the trunk and I ain't cleanin' out my sedan any time soon. But I can proudly say that I take good care of my body and that I'm healthy - and can totally lift weights with the dudes at the gym. Which does not make my boyfriend uncomfortable.

Click "Read More" for the rest!

Vegetamables!

Vegetarianism certainly isn't for everyone (what I mean is, not everyone is awesome enough to be a vegetarian. Oooooh burnnnn!). I've had to answer to several testy people asking me WHY I am one; am I an animal rights activist? elitist? allergic? I'm really none of the above. Sure, I care about animal rights, and I'm appalled by the production methods of the meat industry, but that's not what lead me to cut meat out of my diet for the past 3 years. And, in fact, I think meat is delicious. There's nothing like a sweet cut of filet mignon with béarnaise sauce and a side of mashed potatoes - but that's not the point.

It actually started with a desire to make a tangible change in my life that I could commit to for the long term, given my track record, and to hopefully lose weight on the way. I started experimenting with fake meats, lots of soy products, and ways to get protein without the chicken, turkey, beef, fish, etc. It was tough - and the first year I actually gained weight. Which made me feel really good. Really good.

Along one of my bookstore perousings, I discovered the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, which ultimately became an entirely new way for me to look at food. The book's guidelines are super strict and, seemingly, for people who are independently wealthy who can stay home and prep food all day - but I took with me the basics and applied it to my life. It has become my bible of eating, and the first lifestyle plan that's really ever made practical sense to me. The breakdown: eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, using the formula Health=Nutrients/Calories. Choose the food you eat based on the nutrients, vitamins and benefits it brings your body - period. A lot of what we eat today (see, again: PIZZA) is purely to soothe some sort of mental craving, and carries no nutritional merit for your body. Doesn't mean it isn't freaking delicious and satisfying; and I believe that mental quelling is equally as important, which is why I allow myself to rampage on a pie every now and then.

Because my body has now adjusted to the different food I've been shoveling in, I'm satisfied with meals I used to think were kind of boring, and I now crave those things over junk (most of the time - please, I'm human). An example of what I usually eat:



  • EGG WHITES: usually scrambled with vitamin-packed veggies like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes. Then, proceed to sing the jingle from the 1990s eggs commercials. I love eggs. From my head down to my legs.
  • OATS + GRAINS: Steel-cut oatmeal with fresh sliced fruit: strawberries, blueberries, bananas; Kashi cereals (Go Lean, Go Lean Crunch and Strawberry Fields are the BEST) with rice milk
  • VEGGIES + SALAD: Giant baby green salads with black beans and/or chickpeas, red beans, celery, avocado, vine ripe tomatoes, sunflower seeds and a mix of balsamic vinegar, EVOO, garlic powder and chives as dressing 
  • FRUITS: Watermelon, fresh berries, apples, bananas are great as snacks and in cereal, a bowl of soy yogurt, or on your lover. Wait. What?
  • NUTS + SEEDS: A handful of almonds now and then. Doesn't fill me up at all, but they're crunchy! I also throw sunflower seeds into my salads.
  • TEA: I drink a lot of low-calorie fruit juice and iced tea combos - my favorite is Fuze Black & Green Tea with Acai. I fill up a huge cup of ice with this stuff and it fills me up and makes me urinate like 52 times a day - which is always a good thing. Right? 
  • SPLURGES: Pop Chips, wine, hummus, Green + Blacks Mini dark chocolate bar,  Indian food (naan - mmmm), tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole, M&Ms (pretzel!!!), cucumber/avocado maki. I'm sure there's more. A lot more.
I don't believe you need to be a vegetarian to be healthy. Lean meats can be great for you in moderation, and are packed with protein (especially good if you're strength training). And I don't want to repeat all the info that's drilled into your head from those fitness and health magazines, because it gets redundant. More importantly, I'm not trying to preach to anyone to tell them how to live; I'm sharing what's worked for me and what's improved my life tenfold.

The clean-ish diet and exercise started as an attempt to LOOK better, to lose weight, and to boost my self esteem. But I think too many people use these changes for that reason only, while the real value comes from the way these changes make you FEEL. When you eat nutritionally, you feel GOOD. When you exercise, you feel GOOD. Your body starts digesting better, processing vitamins and nutrients more efficiently, your mind isn't plagued with the "did I just eat that?" guilt, you can climb the subway stairs without feeling like you need a chair-lift, and, all in all, your life is less littered with excess.

Next time: "I Like To Move It, Move It: Exer-ma-cise!"

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hawt Fun in the Summertime

I won't mention that I haven't blogged in two months - nor that I forgot how to sign into Blogger. Or, why in the heck I continue to use Blogger as a platform anyway (laziness? impatience? transferring everything over to Wordpress is a beotch). So now that THAT's out of the way. I'm just not going to mention it at all.

I guess it's time to do one of those bulleted updates I do every once in awhile to catch my "readers" up on my latest solid life news. So much has happened this past year that it's hard to summarize, but I'll give it a hearty go!

  • One year anniversary as Public Relations Manager at Mark Batty Publisher. As of this month's Book Expo America, I will have been at MBP for one whole fantastic year!

  • New apartment! Let's make a long story short: amazing Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment sublet turned sour; had to make an emergency move and took the first place I could find that seemed ok and affordable - it's in a not-so-desirable area (Kensington) but the apartment is nice and shiny and new. I just wish the streets didn't smell like rotten fruit and skinned Halal calves.

  • Both of my best friends in New York moved away about a month apart - Lucy Vonne to Los Angeles and Cara to Bozeman, Montana. I'm still mourning over it. I've replaced them with human-sized stuffed dolls with wigs and I curl up with them at night and stroke their "hair" while I cry.

  • New boyfriend! We've been dating for about 6 months long distance, Boston-New York style. His name is Greg and he's an illustrator (he's worked in comics, on major brands like Lucas Films and Mattel, and other awesome projects) - and if I do say so myself, one of the most talented artistic geniuses I've ever met. He's pretty incredible; going to try to keep this one around for awhile, so I've filed down my claws. A little.

  • New secret project! Can't divulge the details just yet, but I will be working on an exciting new TV/web series/website to rep the nerd community. Perhaps you may see me as a guest-hostess with the mostest by next year? Perhaps interviewing some of your favorite geek idols? Stay tuned.

  • As you can see in the corresponding picture of my face, I now have laserbeam eyes that will PEW PEW the heck out of you.

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else. BUT...there will be more actually interesting and less mundane updates soon! God how I've missed you.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

What I'm Reading Now - Buddha: Volume One, Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism, Invincible, The Fall



Buddha: Volume One
by Osamu Tezuka
Vertical, Inc.



Invincible
by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker
Image Comics



Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism
by Christopher D Salyers
MBP



The Fall
by Albert Camus
Penguin

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else!
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Best & The Worst of Upcoming Action/Adventure Movie Trailers

Like some of you other media nerds, I like to keep a-breast (hyphenated on purpose) of any upcoming flicks worth shelling out to see. The Apple Movie Trailers website is a great place to do that - tons of previews, from indie to big-budget are posted there - and that includes some really goddamn AWFUL ones. After the jump, my top picks of some trailers for action/adventure movies that look pretty awesome - and some that make me want to gauge out my eyes with a spork.

Here's the deal: the trailers might be good as their own separate entity, but I'm basing my judgements on how the movie looks in my extremely humble personal opinion. Humble pie.

Big Screen-Worthy


It is my duty as a comic book geekstress to see this movie in the theaters. I would engage in coital debauchery with the mere idea of this film. Period.



Duhhhhh.




Pew-pew! Boom! Jeffrey Dean Morgan! Chris Evans! Popcorn!




I love me some M. Night Shyamalamadingdong, and this one looks like it could be one of his best.

* * *

Click "Read More" for the Netflix Queue-Worthy and Spork-Eye-Gauging Worthy trailers!


Netflix Queue-Worthy


This really teetered on Big-Screen Worthy, because I love the subject and the story, and I heart Ben Kingsley - but I hate Jake Gyllenhaal's face enough to protest paying twelve bucks to see it on a giant scale for 2 hours.



This one will be great to watch while I'm not really paying attention. And when I am paying attention, it will only be for the scenes where Ethan Hawke is tawpless.



I really don't know what this movie is about (nope, not a sequel to District 9, amazingly enough), but there's a lot of "pew-pew" and "ahhhhhh!" going on, so it will be another great one to watch while I don't pay attention and have no idea what's going on.

* * *

Spork-Eye-Gauging Worthy


This movie is so evil that it has stolen my ability to verbalize my distaste with its satanic powers.



Kind of farcical action-adventure - but I thought this character sucked on SNL anyway. Despite the all-star cast (Phillippe, Kilmer, Wiig), I still think this movie is going to be a big pile of forced-satirical crap.



I don't even know how this classifies as an "action" movie, but it makes me want to "actively" mutilate myself.


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Happy Blogtime! Brief Bulleted Review: "Ninja Assassin"


In this poor economic state (and by “this” I mean “my”), I very rarely shell out the bucks to see a movie at the theater, so it takes a gem of a film to peak my interest enough to sacrifice what little disposable income I have (and by “disposable income” I mean “I don’t have any”). With Ninja Assassin, it was a complete given that I would see it in the theater – ninjas? assassinating people? assassinating other ninjas? Heck yes! The trailer boasted sweet fight scenes à la The Matrix trilogy's Wachowski Brothers, a riveting storyline – a ninja scorned returning to his clan to exact revenge-by-death upon them – and a true taste of the tongue-in-cheek ninja films of Japan that I so adore.

What we actually got as the reel started turning? A clichéd American-style Europol “thriller” that happened to involve ninjas. The opening scene was indeed promising, with some seriously blithe and bloody slicing & dicing (almost Tarantino-style), but it only went downhill from there, with barely noticeable dialogue, uncharismatic characters (besides the lead, Raizo) and a deadly dull, unintelligent plot.

Pros
• Ninjas
• Ninjas
• Ninjas
• Main character Raizo's (South Korean pop idol, Rain) hot ninja body.
• The fight scenes were well done: lots of ninja stars, swords, hand-to-hand combat and over-the-top gore.
• That's it. Seriously.

Qualms
• The ninjas spoke pristine English – not even a Japanese accent. Would have been nice to create a sense of authenticity and mystery.
• The entire Europol story line – and it wasn’t even good as a movie in that genre. Couldn’t this just be about a ninja exacting revenge upon his evil clan?
• The Western clichés dotted throughout, even down to the hero carrying the female lead in slo-mo from a burning building.
• *SPOILER ALERT* Nobody really wants to see ninjas defeated – they are the epitome of stealth and combative talent. Defeatable ninjas kind of lose their cool factor.


Ninja Assassin gets 1.5 out of 5 ninja stars on my rating scale, five being the best.

What did YOU think??
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Chili Time!

Veggie chili win! As mentioned last week, I've made it a goal to whip up something healthy and delicious each week and post it on the blog; this past week was veggie chili, originally planned to have a cornbread side. When it came down to it, however, I opted out of baking the cornbread and went for a healthy "summer" salad instead: mixed greens, avocado, corn, tomato, homemade strawberry vinaigrette and homemade garlic croutons.

The chili came out well - not as thick as I would have liked (I underestimated how many cans of beans I actually had) but Cara had some fun with hers and added rice, cheese and sea salt to pump up the flavor and the density.

Now, on to the next one - stay tuned!

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Happy: The Art of Fooood!

I've always enjoyed cooking - especially by taste, using only my senses to decide what spices will work, what won't. My younger brother, now 23-year-old Jake, can attest to having tried some of my gnarly concoctions as a kid. I remember trying to make gourmet english muffin pizzas with any type of cheese I could find in the fridge, including cream cheese. Then, as we got older, the EMP's graduated to homemade fettuccine alfredo, with lots of parmesan and garlic, which turned into a rich, strangely delicious paste rather than a sauce - but my brother loved it.

I would learn of the pots and pans from my parents, from tangerine chicken, to simple fritatas, handmade egg rolls. Baking, however, was a different story. I was never actually equipped with the art of patience, and you have to do all that awful...waiting. Pretty much everything I've baked, I've burned, including the horrific double chocolate cake I attempted to make for a boyfriend in my college years, who ate it smugly despite the crisp edges. Needless to say, that was the last cake I made - and next time the secret ingredient will be tears.

Click "Read More" for the rest - and to find out what NOM NOMs await me this week...

Now that I've been a vegetarian for a couple of years, I've found it necessary to get a bit more creative with my meals; there's only so many tofu and vegetable stir-fries and Gardenburgers you can make without wanting to gnaw off your hand at the thought of braving another.

And cooking is an art. Every flavor, every spice is like its own color of paint, and the meal itself is the final painted masterpiece. And it makes me happy, especially when paired with jazz and a good glass of wine.

This week? I'm trying out the vegetarian version of my favorite chili, which I previously would make with ground turkey, and a side of homemade cornbread. This is happening on Wednesday, people, and I'll post pictures if you like. Paired with a Malbec, it's gonna be one hell of a classy chili.

Vegetarian Chili Ingredients:

Black Beans
Kidney Beans
Fresh Garlic
Onion
Bell Peppers
Crushed Tomatoes with juice (as base)
Corn
Carrots
Yves Ground Meatless Meat
Chili powder
Maybe mushrooms...
Maybe celery...

And cornbread...ain't nothin' wrong with that.

And for those of you that are still in shock over the fact that I actually have some sort of maternal/nurturing instinct, please do not be alarmed. It's all a front. Gotta go watch some Batman cartoons now.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creating a Home Away from "Home"

Happy Blogtime did, indeed, see the light - but then came back before she went for it - she had some unfinished business. A pro blogger recently told me that the worst postings you can make are the ones apologizing for not posting - then you just have a blog full of annoyed sentiments. Which is true.

But back to happytime. Which, in reality, life has truly been. My new job at MBP has been an utter joy, really, and it makes me even happier to be able to say that. It's been a long time coming. Sure, money is still tight, and I'm pretty positive that for as long as I live in New York, it will be - but the financial stresses I was experiencing even as close as a few months ago have waned.

I even went as far as to have thoughts of staying in New York for the long run. When I moved here, I saw this city as a place to conquer and then leave once I accomplished what I had to for my career. It wasn't a place I ever thought of settling down in, or to make a home. I've been saying for years that I'll eventually move back to Boston to settle down after I stay here for a bit - but now that I have more stability, an amazing job and the opportunity to have explored some of the finer crannies of the big city's boroughs, I've seen elements of this world that could suit me for the stretch.

Click "Read More" for more wax-domicile.

I recently moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn just this past month. Among the plethora of babies, happy young couples, birds chirping and the smell of coffee bubbling from streets lined with quaint cafes, organic markets and boutiques, I've seen a part of NYC that is gentle and abundant enough to be called "home" - without the pretentiousness and off-putting ritz that so many parts of the city offer. In my "new' Park Slope apartment (and I put "new" in quotations because, it's in fact, a wonderful but very OLD living space - a fixer-upper, if you will) I've laid down tiles, painted things, hung pictures and filed books on shelves - things I avoided doing in my previous living spaces because I saw no point: I wouldn't be living there forever. In mentally living like a vagabond, I subconsciously created a discomfort and underlying anxiety that wouldn't quit until I decided to make whatever environment I was in a place that I wanted to stay.

I know I'm not going to be in this apartment forever; I might not be in it for more than a couple of years. But the lesson is that you should make your space your own. Decide what kind of life you want to have and create it - even if that only means taking the time to prop up a photo on a desk or light a candle, or welcome a plant into your room. At least, that's what's worked for me.

I've also learned that, in your mid-twenties, if you're too sure about anything, you're most likely in need of questioning it.

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