Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Stealing: BOOKS!!!

 ERMAGERD!  This Sunday Stealing is all about BOOKS!  Gratuitous bookshelf photo above says it all, I'm so excited to be talking about books today!  It's a perfect day to pick up a paperback for the park, isn't it?

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror? 
Science Fiction, baby!  All the way!

Hardback or Trade paperback or Mass market paperback? 
I like used paperbacks - the more yellowed and brittle, the better!

Amazon or Brick and Mortar? 
Amazon avails me of cheap books when I know exactly what I'm looking for, but there's a thrill to finding just the right book in a used bookstore or from a street vendor!  I can rattle off my favourite used bookstores the way other people can list their favourite bars.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? 
Borders...doesn't exist anymore, does it?
Bookmark or Dog-ear? 
Dog-ear.  I used to be subtle, too, now I just fold the whole page over.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction? 
I'm embarassed to admit a) I don't understand the question and b) I'm not a big fan of Asimov...

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or Random? 
errrrr....I'm lucky if I can just make it fit!

Keep, Throw away or Sell? 
I would either keep it or donate it.  The idea of throwing away a book has now made me nauseous, actually.

Keep dust-jacket or Toss it? 
Keep it?  Again, nauseous.

Read with dustjacket or Remove it? 
Oh, remove it!  Read it naked!  (Uh, that came out wrong.)

Short story or Novel? 
I preferred short stories as a teen, but now I feel I have the patience (and the commute) for novels!

Stop reading when tired or at Chapter breaks? 
When tired.  ALWAYS when tired.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time?” 
Once upon.  I do love a happy ending.

Buy or Borrow? 
I buy.  I know.  I'm a terrible book-hoarder.  I save a lot by getting them used, though!

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse? 
Recommendation almost always works out well for me!

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)? 
Collection - the style would be more uniform.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger? 
Tidy (ideally happy) ending!  I HATE CLIFFHANGERS.  It's like, Why did I bother reading all these pages just to not know how it ends?  Open ending, that's a different story.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? 
Subway time!  And sometimes into the night, if I've reached a good part on the way home and can't put it down.

Standalone or Series? 
I'm kind of over the idea of a series.  Every book that comes out these days has to be part of a series!  UGH!  Lazarus Long books DON'T COUNT - they're related but they stand alone.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? 
Everything Heinlein is SO underrated.  A good first dip into his would be The Door Into Summer because it's the least, um, racy?  And so wonderfully funny.  Talk about a protagonist to root for!

Favorite genre series? 
Mmmm, I'm not really sure what this means.  Okay, in the oh-so-popular-these-days genre of Young Adult Dystopian Sci-fi/Fantasy, the Pretties/Uglies/Specials/Extras books are really good.  I didn't expect to find such deep meaning in them as I did, and they're easy, fast reads.

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 Fandom Friday: RIDES RIDES RIDES

I LOVE RIDES.  I LOVE RIDES.  I LOVE RIDES.  I love getting in line all cocky, totally sure of yourself, trying to show off for your friends how cool and brave you are and then feeling, as the coaster goes up, that you are certainly going to die and this was a horrible mistake and never again you stupid fool.  But I'll probably go on it again, if you nudge me in the ribs and whine "Come ON!" so who's the fool here, huh?

1.  Pirate Ship (or Viking Ship)  you KNOW the one I mean.  That giant swinging ship that you sit and and go baaaaaack and foooooorth and scream EEEEEEEEE and OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!  First time around, I sit in the middle because I'm not brave enough for the ends...yet.  But maybe on the second go...

2. Polar Express  yeah, it's a fast circle.  It's also loads of fun!  The lights, the blaring music, being squished into your friend thanks to centrifugal force...I've never not had fun on this ride.  It's just going really fast!  How could that not be fun??

3.  Bumper Cars  ...I am a GREAT DRIVER, do you hear me, mother?  I'm a very cautious, considerate driver...that is, until I get behind the wheels of a bumper car.  Then WATCH OUT because I am OUT FOR BLOOD. 

4.  The Wonder Wheel  but NOT, and I cannot stress this enough, NOT THE ROCKING CARS.  I went in a rocking car one time after a day of drinking at the dive bar on the boardwalk and eating fried clams and the first time that car rocked me back off the edge of the world so high up, I nearly pooed myself from fear.  However, the Wonder Wheel has such good memories for me!  I loved taking my family and friends up there, and it really is the most romantic place at Coney Island to trap your sweetie up on top of the wheel and try to snog 'im.

5.  The Cyclone  I'm not sure, even as I type this, if I really like The Cyclone or just the idea of The Cyclone.  Those narrow cars bash your hips into your friend and I catch a little too much G on this but I'll ride it again - if only for the braggin' rights!
the second after this was taken, I started to regret getting on the ride entirely...

Honorable mention goes to The Swings...ahh, the swings!  I went on the swings at night in Luna Park last summer and they went just a little too high for my liking, but the views were unbeatable!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Buffalo Botanic Garden

I took so many pictures in Buffalo for Easter that I'm still dumping them out, can you believe it?  The weather is still crappy as hell out here so I'm living for flower shows and Botanic Gardens.  We had a little time to go sightseeing in Buffalo and since the wind was out-of-control freezing, I insisted that we check out the Botanic Garden.  Green!  Greenhouses!  The chance to take your coat off and soak up warmth and colour and the smell of flowers!  YAY!

Striped bananas!  Only to be eaten by royals, mind you.  Bananas!

A tale of two koi fish - one sassy, one shy.
Guess which is which!

The Botanic Garden inexplicably had dinosaur topiary in this room -
Bronto, Stego, and (above) T-rex.
Inexplicably, yes, but I'm not complaining!

I could have taken a picture of everything in the cactus room.
I miss having cacti!
Why do they shun my love and smothering care?

But seriously, I wanted to pet all of their fun leaves (gently!)
but there were signs everywhere saying
"Do not touch!
Plants can cause rashes!"
So of course...

...That man o' mine reached out before I could slow-motion "Noooooooo" and stop him from touching this weird flower covered in dew.

"It's sticky!?" he remarked and I thought oh, no, here comes the rash!

But instead, booooop!  This plant made a new dew drop for itself on its leaves!

(And no rash.  That is very important.)

What's a zombie's favourite cactus?

Braaaaiiiiiin cactus!

Don't get too excited, now -
this is a super-zoomed in shot of a teeny tiny pomegranate!
But I just had to share!

Now the main reason for going was that I had somehow gotten it into my head that I needed to see orchids.  Not sure why.  But there were orchids!  A whole room full of different shapes and colours but I like this one the best because it looks like a cow.  It totally looks like a cow.  I will now hear testament otherwise.

Right at the end, there is a huge room filled with spring flowers!  I don't think I'll ever get tired of smelling tulips and daffodils, and there was even a secret bench in the middle of it all, sheilded by vines and closed off, where I was able to enjoy a moment of just relaxing and inhaling the flowers.  I wish I could share that warm, peppery scent with you but maybe you could try leaning in real close to your monitor and giving this guy a whiff:


Smells like Spring!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Brooklyn Brine Whiskey Sour Pickes

Brooklyn Brine Co. Whiskey Sour Pickles

Tastes Like:
  These are THE ULTIMATE PICKLES.  Okay, it's not necessarily a TJ brand, but I found them here and without a moment's hesitation, after seeing the look in my boo's eyes holding them, I knew they were coming home with me.  They are sour, garlicky and HOT!  The way that whiskey burns your mouth when you sip it.  You can definitely taste that aspect in these pickles!

Great With:  These would be offset nicely with a good 2- or 3-year aged gouda.  Don't forget a nice cocktail!

Perfect For:  Brooklynites, and the people who love them.  Burly, Brooklyn picnics.  Grilled Cheese needs a Friend!  And those always in search of the Next Great Pickle.

Must Know:  There's whiskey in these.  Are you okay with that?

Costs:  $6.99 is, to say the least, a bit of a splurge for speciality pickles!  I hafta say, though, that a jar of these would be to your man like when he brings home a pint of that fancy chocolate gelato you like.  Hell, I'd take a jar of pickles with a bow on top and a bouquet any day of the week!  In short, splurge on two jars.  Give one away as a fancy present.  Keep the other one.  Problem solved!

Monday, April 13, 2015


I met Jennie Wood at NYCC14 and this review is so beyond late, but trust me, it's worth it.  If you're a fan of Sex Criminals and coming-of-age comics, Flutter is one to check out.

Navigating growing up and figuring yourself out is hard enough when you're a teenager.  Understanding your body and desires is especially tricky when you think you might be attracted to the same sex!  Now imagine all that, and you're a shape-shifting, self-healing teenage science experiment gone wrong who's running from the government.  No spoilers here!  But you'll get a kick out of this storyline.  Sometimes it's hard to keep track of who's who, but since the characters can change their appearance, I suppose that's part of the deal?  Also, my main complaint is that the story ends TOO SOON!  I just want to know more about these characters!  Thanks, Jennie, for signing my copy and for chatting with me at NYCC14!  Hope to see you and more of your work next year!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Stealing: Sizzle Says...

1. If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life? 
I would keep giving my ghost tours and go out on auditions.  And blogging.  Passion projects! 

2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren’t you doing it? 
Awww snap you got me there!  Except I also need a place to live, and since I can barely afford that as it is with my insane day job that swallows me whole for five days a week...

3. What’s better: horses or cows? 
Oh thank you, this one's easier.  I like cows.  I always have.

4. What do you think the secret to happiness is? 
I really don't know.  I'm kind of going through a personal crisis right now where I've been denying my unhappiness and it's finally bubbling up and I feel stuck in a vicious cycle without relief.  I'm the last person to give advice on this.

5. When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit? 
I dreamt recently that my friend Aaron was alive.  He was sickly, but okay.  Kind of the way he was right after surgery but before his big Labor Day party.  I was taking him around, showing him sights, and at one point I offered him to put his arm around my shoulder.  I wish I could have eased his trouble and pain in some way like that while he was still around.  It felt so good to help him, to feel like I could really be there for him.  Also, I miss his crazy energy, his zest for life, his easygoing mentality.  It was sad to be reminded of him and to "see" him like that but what made me feel so good was the almost tangible feeling of supporting him.  Bittersweet, it was.

6. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Everything...for at least five minutes.  But I think the one thing that was always true was that I wanted to be interviewed!  I would practice eloquent and deep and funny answers to questions about myself, my life, my success...maybe that's why I love these memes so much!

7. Complete this statement: Love is… 

8. Can you tell a good story? 
Yes I can in fact I do it professionally!  See #1!

9. Can you remember your last daydream? What was it about? 
...I was probably being interviewed.

10. If you were to thank someone today, who would you thank? 
The Academy...!  Just kidding, I would thank my teachers.  I can't pick one!!!

If you could be anyone's mojo, whose would you want to be, and why?  Olivia Newton-John.  Sandy from Grease!  She's so classy and the accent absolutely slays me!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter Vacation Recap

"Nothing in moderation" is my motto.  So when I had the chance to head upstate for Easter, I made sure to visit four towns in three days.  You've already seen my Owego and Corning, NY photos!  The majority of the trip was spent in the 'burbs of Buffalo, NY, visiting family all over the area.

Oh yeah, and I also brought my boyfriend along to meet some more of my family.  Am I crazy?  You already knew that.  But he took it in stride.  Probably because we plied him with seafood.

Here's a fun, cool, slightly annoying fact:  in Western New York, they don't have any soda!  They have something called "pop."  And it's harvested from giant bunnies in Tops Friendly Supermarket.

Shopping is pretty much the family sport.  At our favourite consignment shop, my mom bought me this bailey blue shir tdress (R) and as soon as I walked in the store,this Bettie Page red poppies dress (L) was begging to be tried on.  How could I refuse? 

So this was the year my mom stepped down as Resident Butter Artist and I insisted on picking up the reins...with much help from my aunt, who did much of the face after I was teased for making it look like a dog, then like a cow.  He has green eyes because I do, and while we were adding the eyes, my grandmother told us a cute story about meeting my grandpa:  Apparently, before she knew his name, she knew him as "Green Eyes" because that's the song he always requested at the local hangout.  I guess that also solves the mystery of where my "green eyes" come from!

On Easter Sunday, we had mimosas...or I should say, I had mimosas.  I polished off most of the cocktails and nearly napped on the kitchen floor with my aunt's dog.  The life!

Much to my mother's consternation, it snowed on the ride home.  Big, messy flakes.  Driving into it was kind of nice...except that it's supposed to be spring break.  Somebody didn't get the memo.

Until next time, Buffalo!

Friday, April 10, 2015

5 Fandom Friday: Black Magic Woman

This week's prompt is "5 Magical Items I Would Love to Own."  I'm not actually sure what that even means.  Are these items that contain magic?  Is this asking about Magic: The Gathering?  I'm not sure.  So here's me answering the prompt to the best of my ability:

1.  Salt Lamp  someone - okay, it was the internet - told me that these are magical.  That they promote like, sleep and deep breathing and relaxation or something?  I just think they look REALLY COOL and it would be awesome to have one in the bedroom for that super-flattering pink light winky winky.

2.  Sage & Incense  I'm already an incense addict AS IT IS, but my boyfriend's place has this little wood chip incense that you light, it smells super strong, and it goes out on its own.  I think this is AMAZING and everyone's bathroom needs one.

3.  Novena Candles  I normally try to get the ones without the pictures on them, so my house doesn't look like a Madonna video or Southern California tattoo shop.  I love these candles for their superior light and they last FOREVER.  That's kind of the point.  I once went to a bar that had these layered - all white - in the fireplace and it was the coolest thing!  They are A MUST for relaxing baths!

4.  Crystals  a part of me will always believe in crystals.  Don't tell anyone.  Remember those stretchy bead bracelets of semi-precious stones?  Oh they were so cool.  I bought that whole line and sinker about my hematite bracelet protecting me, my tiger's eye boosting creativity, and the rose quartz bringing happiness into my life.  I still kinda believe it.

5.  Maneki-neko  WHO DOESN'T LOVE THE LUCKY CATS, that's what I want to know?  I found out what they were called during a session for my chest piece.  Making conversation with my tattoo artist, I worked up the nerve to ask what those lucky cats are called and she told me "Maneki-neko." Me:  "Maneni-keko?" "Maneki-neko." Me (under the needle, trying to sort it out): "Maneko-neki?"  Her (still tattooing me): "Maneki-neko."  Me:  "AH!  Maneki-neko!"  and that's the story of how I learned how to pronounce Maneki-neko.  Learn something to distract yourself from pain, you'll never forget it. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Small Town Charm: Owego & Corning, NY

When you live in The Biggest City On Earth (well, at least The Most Important Big City On Earth), sometimes it's nice to get away from it all.  That's why Brooklyn exists!  J/K Brooklyn, you know I love ya, betch.  So when I go upstate to visit family, I always insist on stopping in my favourite little "Small Towns."

First up, the unbeatable Owego, NY.  I've spoken before about this beautiful little riverside haven and its humble charms, for a reason:  it's the perfect little town.  If I was banned from the New York City area, for some reason (shrug emoji) I would live here as my second choice.  Even on dreary days, it radiates sweetness and calm and comfort.

inhaling old book smell at Riverow Books

gnomes gnalore at Hand of Man

white-chocolate devilled eggs at Fuddy Duddy's

Next stop on the Upstate Grand Tour is Corning, NY.  Home of the UNMISSABLE Old World Cafe & Ice Cream (seriously, seafood chowder? Marry me) which is almost piece-by-piece rebuilt from an old ice cream parlour from the 1880's. 

Home to delicious lunches and unbeatable sunshine selfies:

big lunch necessitates stroll down Market Street

I was so in love with everything at Mint Velvet - I ran back and forth screaming
"Look at this!  Look at this!"
Then I got overwhelmed and just took a picture of the stairs.
Like you do.

Moose.  Cardigan.
What's not to love?

I scanned every shelf at Mecca Books looking for their science fiction -
then, behold, all the way in the back, this display.
And I knew I had found my place.
(bought me a new Heinlein novel, too!)

Last, but certainly not least,
a visit to Corning is never complete without saying hello to the guy I like to call Brickface.

When we say hello to this thoughtful guy, we must pause to ponder when we can come back again to see these sweet Upstate New York towns with their charms and allure...


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Trader Joe's Tuesday: 100% Cranberry Juice

Trader Joe's 100% Cranberry Juice

Tastes Like:
  Tart, tart, tart!  If Bette Midler was a juice, it would be this bright, sassy, bold concoction.

Great With:  Seltzer to water it down a little bit - my favourite is the Trader Joe's Raspberry-Lime flavour, but feel free to use any kind you like.

Perfect For:  Cocktails, darling!  Vodka cranberries!

Must Know:  This is cranberries.  Just cranberries.  Don't drink it if you're allergic to cranberries.  DUH!

Costs:  $3.99 for a LOT of juice if you're ready to mix up some cocktails, sip something sweet in the morning, or sing "Linger" in your head every time you pour.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sunday Stealing: Three More Things...

3 more things... 

1. cannot live without. 
coffee (caffeine addict), my phone (Instagram addict), and St. Ives Apricot Scrub (face-washing addict).

2. CAN live without, but cannot seem to part with. 
sleep, Peanut M&Ms, and that afternoon bodega coffee during 7th Period.

3. wish to accomplish this COMING week. 
plan for my job interview, shop for groceries for the week, and attend the No Lights/No Lycra dance party in Greenpoint!

4. have accomplished this PAST week. 
planned a pep rally relay race (major fail but everyone had fun so WTFC), finished all grading for the second trimester, and made a three-day trip to two different towns to visit almost all of my family.

5. ...on your holiday (or non-holiday) 'wish list.' 
having been a personal assistant for years, I would say I would like a personal assistant for a day.  The shit I did for my boss is the very stuff I hate: laundry, bank errands, making business calls.  All I would like would be the ability to alleviate some stress on myself by making someone else stand in line for hours at the bank. 

6. would like to change about yourself. 
my skin is terrible, I'm very hard to motivate when I'm "off," and I'm a rabid beast when I'm tired. 

7. like about yourself. 
my razor-sharp wit, my ability to lift heavy objects when the situation requires, and how beautiful I look when I'm laughing. 

8. should be doing right now instead of what you ARE doing. 
laundry, bank, groceries.  I just got back from a whirlwind vacation and I'm having a hard time peeling myself off this couch to do anything.  So much for that!

9. your life that could use a little more organization. 
my bedroom is mayhem, my drawer at work is filled with junk, and my bookshelf is where finished knitting projects go to die.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I Have A Crush...

Ever since I first watched West Side Story as a young girl, I knew I wanted to live in Manhattan.  I thought that was the place for me, and in my heart, I yearned to be at the center of the Big Apple.

And then, I started getting to know Brooklyn. 

I feel so dirty every weekend when I slip out of Manhattan and disappear into Brooklyn.  I felt shameful for liking it so much.  I felt like nobody could understand how I could live in one borough, and have these feelings for another!  CHEAT ON MANHATTAN?!?  What kind of monster have I become?!?

It started off slowly, I think:  First, I got a boyfriend in Brooklyn.  He's a big Brooklyn fan.  Then, I got a job in Brooklyn.  Therefore, I started spending more time in Brooklyn.  Brooklyn was pursuing me! 

Meanwhile, my relationship with Manhattan was faltering.  Transportation started to fall apart.  Everything became too crowded, too expensive.  My building went from being students and young families to drug dealers and all-night partiers.  Manhattan started to become too angry, too commercial, too cold.  Not to mention, every time I set foot outside in Manhattan, someone creeps on me.  It's starting to look like I might have to call it quits with Manhattan.

All the while, Brooklyn's humble, eclectic charm was calling to me.  While my old haunts were burning down, moving out, or turning into 7-11's, I turned to Brooklyn's vintage shops and offbeat museums for respite.  When Manhattan rushed me, I'd spend carefree weekends winding down windy streets.  And when Manhattan was too expensive, I'd get cheap kicks checking out the free street art, Brooklyn Night Bazaar, or fingering antiques at JUNK.

Little by little, Brooklyn stole my heart.  And with any new relationship, I'm excited to get to know each other better and to see where this leads.  It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.  Or more...?

Friday, April 3, 2015

5 Fandom Friday: Fangirl Out!

Five Times I Totally Fangirled

1.  Alan Cumming  when I was 19 years old, I worked at the Target on Reno Blvd. One afternoon Sunday shift, customers kept remarking to me offhand that a famous person was in the store.  Being a local star of the stage, I assumed they meant me.  However, it soon became apparent that Alan Cumming was in the store!  He didn't come through my lane, but I chased him down anyway and made him sign a receipt to me.  He is such a cute little slice of hawtness and I was shaking for the entire rest of the day that I had met the Master of Ceremonies from the revival cast of Cabaret!!

2.  Lou Reed  ...came to a magic show I worked at.  If that sentence sounds insane, it kind of is.  He was totally messed up, acting weird and paranoid the whole time.  He left early and I fought the impulse to chase him down the street and scream "I love Venus in Furs!!!"  Alas, the man that got away.

3.  Stan Lee  so I'm leaving Comic Con 2013, walking down 35th street by myself, and there's this guy who looks TOTALLY familiar surrounded by big dudes OH MY Flying Spaghetti Monster ITS STAN LEE.  We walked together (tee hee) down 35th and I tried to snap a picture without bothering him.  A bum on the street recognized him and was like, "hey Stan!"  I felt like I was part of one of his famous cameos in all the Marvel movies!

4.  Chris Hardwick  performed at Caroline's and I attended the later show. So the first audience was leaving, they're clearing the room for the second show, and I head to the ladies room before the show and there's this smiley blond guy shaking hands and I'm like "OMG HI!" And he throws his arm around me and snaps this totally epic celebrity selfie...and I got gersberms.

5.  Tom/Colin Baker  ComicCon 2013.  I was strolling around the show floor when a friend texted me that Tom Baker, aka The Fourth Doctor, was signing autographs in the back near the Dalek table (you KNOW which one I mean).  I screamed, nearly peed, and ran as fast as I could through the crowd to find...COLIN Baker.  Aka the SIXTH Doctor.  Who, by the way, was also totally awesome and after his panel I was a huge fan of HIS as well. 

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