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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Friday, September 18, 2009

I am NOT DEAD.

I swear. I'm blogging tonight. I'm holding myself to it! Now, for your pleasure: Ninja Hamster


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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Big Love for Minis!

Let's take some time to appreciate life's small stuff - in the most literal way possible. If you know me, you know I have this strange adoration of miniature versions of things - from foodstuffs, to plumage, to animals. I gush at small puppies, squeal at little Japanese toys, delight in tiny replicas of things.

So now, I share with you: some things I think are way better as mini than they ever were at full size. What are YOUR favorite minis??

Donkeys



Pickles



Golf




Click "Read More" for more miniature delight!


Condiments




Bananas




Cacti




(Veggie) Burgers




Mini Me



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Sunday, July 5, 2009

What I'm Reading Now - Preacher, Optic Nerve, A Graveyard for Lunatics

I've been a busy comic book bloggin' and book PR-in' bee, but I always have time for my beloved books. Now, ladies and gents, what I'm currently flipping through (and reviewing soon!):

Preacher: Proud Americans (Third TP) by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon



32 Stories: The Complete OPTIC NERVE Mini-Comics by Adrian Tomine




A Graveyard for Lunatics by Ray Bradbury


No need to click "read more" - there's nothing else!





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Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy, Jobby Blogtime!

I’m a bad, bad person. If I were Catholic, I would go to confession and say: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned – I have not updated Happy Blogtime in weeks. Also, I have had impure thoughts about Joe Jonas in a leotard and heels.” Then he will make me eat crackers that taste like Jesus.

The reason I haven’t updated in forever is quite legitimate. I recently started a new job as the Public Relations Manager over at Mark Batty Publisher – an incredible (I’m not biased) independent publisher of crazy wonderful books about design, pop culture, graffiti, music, font, language, and anything involving the literal art of communication.

So, brace yourselves, people – I’m still going to blog about comic books and other happy time joints, but I’m going to attempt to integrate the other aspects of my life into the blog: working in the publishing industry, books on all different subjects, urban culture and street art. I’ve always loved this stuff, which you can also see in my older posts, so this is a giant wonderful thing that’s happened to me.

If you're interested, check out the books we put out. I set up a Twitter page for MBP, which I'm still building and also a Facebook fan page - covering all the bases. Ah, the life of a PR lady.

And don't worry, faithful Blogtimers, I'm not going to pitch you - as always, this blog is going to be about sharing the Happy shtuff.

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else!
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Maine Comics Arts Festival Maine-ia!



Though the true highlight of my weekend was, in fact, my awesome lil' brother's college graduation, the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland was next on the list. I met some amazingly talented artists, scooped some soda freebies, and copped some customized swag.

You can check out my short-but-sweet recap and photos of the Fest here at The Daily Cross Hatch.

Meanwhile, I had to share some of the goodies I grabbed/really wanted to grab (my budget was $20, peoples!) - click "Read More"...for more!








Edited by Austin English




By Dane Martin





By the Boston Comics Roundtable (David Marshall, Roho, Josh Mills, Michael Paoloni, Alexandra Mills, Erik Heumiller and more, cover by Marcelo Buchelli)






By Joseph Lambert






















COELACANTHUS Comics
By Michael Connor



By Mark Gonyea


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Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Just Read: "The Unwritten" #1

It's the first issue of Vertigo's The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross - the same team behind Lucifer - and I'm hooked. The story of a Harry Potter-esque tale come-to-life in modern day UK is funny, entertaining and smart, and makes an interesting commentary on social/literary phenomenon. Can't wait for the second installment!

What are YOUR thoughts?

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else!
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Weekend: The Maine Comics Arts Festival

This Sunday, you can catch me in Portland, Maine at the Maine Comics Arts Festival, getting the scoop on over 70 comic artists and writers in attendance, including special guests: Kean Soo (Jellababy), Becky Cloonan (Demo), Chris Giarrusso (Mini Marvels), Gabrielle Bell (Cecil and Jordan New York Stories) and more.

I'll have a full report for the folks at The Daily Cross Hatch, which I'll of course link to when it's up.

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thrift Store Adventures: "Reflections" by Virginia Clarke

I love old books - maybe because I believe that The Neverending Story was a documentary, maybe because I just love the mystery of them - but I always get this rush of excitement whenever I find a beat-up, wrinkled old book. I love imagining the hands they've passed through, whose lives these words have maybe influenced, the stories behind the stories themselves - which is why I flipped when I found this one, Reflections collected by Virginia Clarke, at my favorite Brooklyn shop.

This small book was published in 1914, and is a collection of poems written by the likes of Shakespeare, Poe, Browning, Tennyson, Longfellow, and others. I'm not sure if this was a personal publication of poems that Virginia Clarke just seemed to enjoy - but either way, it's pretty freakin' cool. There are also handwritten notes inside by a mystery hand, with a short scribbled intro on the first page:

"These Reflections I've read for the last time. I return them - now- together with the clippings attached to this page that were enclosed. I've taken the liberty to make a few marginal notations to sort of supplement yours marked, so..."

The notes must have continued onto the page that was originally clipped to the book, which clearly lost its way along its travels. If anyone knows anything about the old Virginia Clarke (not the current living editor of the same name, coincidentally), please do share!

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else!
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Must...Have...This T-Shirt!


TopatoCo has some hilarious tees - but this one takes the cake. Buy it here. For me.

No need to click "Read More" - there's nothing else!
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Friday, May 8, 2009

All Nerdy in Mah Air Force Ones

Inspired by Laura Hudson's coverage on Comics Alliance of the Van Wolverine Air Forces below, I did a lil' sneaker shopping of my own.



Nike Dunk - TMNT Custom Sneakers. Someone PLEASE buy these for me.



Vans Sk8 Hi model by R. Crumb!



ADIDAS Hellboy II Plan Pack.



My main man Paul Pope's line of Chuck-like sneaks for DKNY Jeans - new colors out, too!



Click "Read More" to see the rest of my geek-sneak picks! And if you have your own awesome nerdwear submission that I missed, send it on over!


Flawless Victory hooked up some Nike Vandals with a neon Venom theme.



Puma Basket 68 Comic Book Print.



Nike Air Force 1 Playstation Edition Sneakers



Comic Book SB Dunks by Mache.



These Nike Assault and Vandals were part of an official Comic Book Pack launch (last year, I believe?) - and even though they're legit, I would still totally rock them.



Nike Dark Victory Dunk Hi Customs by Shadir.



Aaand more Batman (obvs) - the official Limited-Edition DC Comics Air Force Ones.



Custom Hand-Painted Dr. Seuss "The Lorax" Chucks.



TooNice from TN Customs'Adidas "Silver Surfer" Sneakers.



Suzumiya Haruhi Custom Nike Sneakers.



Nike Nintendo Wii Air Force II High.



Errr. Can't wear these Nike Transformers Marine Convoys...but d-d-d-d-damn!




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