Anthony Bourdain and Gonzo

anthony bourdain

There are times in our lives where everything going on feels like one big synthesis of cohesive thought.

During college I experienced this while exploring the writings of Hunter S. Thompson, and in a similar comparison, his contemporary in Anthony Bourdain. Thompson brought us gonzo, a brazen style of interpreting the world. His words on the page were gritty and brutal, peeling back the wallpaper of an often over privileged world he dipped his toes into. Bourdain was much of the same. And I fell on to both of their works at the same time. It pains me to write about Bourdain in a past tense. Bourdain should be present. His work, from his books, to his shows to his op-eds… they will outlive him with the same realness that Thompson’s stories do. We’ll always see our society puffing out its chest to show off the good it has done, but cut open the belly and the gizzards and rot will splatter out onto the table. They are there the entire time, they just need to be exposed. And Bourdain performed that in his essays, his books, his television and his food, with the exactness of a surgeon and the wit of a mathematician.

Bourdain talked about food and its bleed into cultures and society with a twin tone to Thompson’s exploration on sports. They both took digs at the opulence and garish leanings of the privileged world. To me, Bourdain stuck his neck out more for the marginalized. He sang praises about the miracle of the beaten and downtrodden marched on. In any underbelly and seemingly gutter of society, Bourdain could see the unbreakable human spirit. He went further than going inside the workings of a kitchen, and sometimes this kitchen wasn’t to a confined place. It was in the open aired backcountry, or in a small mud and stick hut. But the stories he gleaned from the experiences held a spiritual connectivity, to hardship, to strife, to overcoming and continuing on. To the world of those working with champagne problems, Bourdain’s work fleshed out a misunderstood and ill-reported perspective. He demonstrated there was no sense in fearing the unknown, but to go ahead and take a bite, sit down and talk about the problems. Food, whether he noshed on it at a three-star Michelin or in a shack with a dirt floor, always tasted delicious if it was prepared by people who bore their soul in creating the dish. Some created it out of the need for survival, and others created it to temper their creative thirst.

Bourdain isn’t the ‘bad-boy’ we perceived him as. Sure, he was equipped with a tough exterior and penchant for rough liquor and chain smoking. But his death, his suicide, pointed out the vulnerabilities and infallibility we all suffer through as humans. His death is the kind where you stop and think, if it could be him, it could be me. It could be my best friend. It could be my aunt, my neighbor, my bully.

There’s unfortunately a myriad of harmful information about mental health still been slung about in today’s conversations, even if there is a conversation. At the core of it, with suicide rates on the rise in nearly every state in the country, I think what we need to take away is how we are treating others. When acting out as a child, my dad would always tell me, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Over the past few days, many friends and acquaintances have posted across their social media to reach out to them if you need help or to talk. I know this isn’t the case. You also need to actively do the reaching out. Check on all of your friends, your family. What the hurt may want is to have a real substantive conversation, but their mind and heart may be so plagued that they can’t muster the strength to reach out. Depression isn’t what the stock photo websites try to sell to you, it’s not always the sad looking woman with a weathered face, clutching a wall and looking downward. Sometimes it looks like Chester Bennington, who just hours before had been seemingly thriving playing board games with his family, or Kate Spade, who had been apparently talking about her excitement over an upcoming trip. 

Bourdain is missed. Just like the lives of all those who have taken their lives. In the wake of his death I’ve seen some pretty incredible stories of people, especially those in marginalized communities, thank him for shedding a light on their struggles, their food and their importance to our society. Be like Bourdain and be the one to reach out and uplift.

suicide prevention lifeline

The redesign is coming

Quick website update, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes redesigning my site so it may look a bit odd at the moment. There’s a lot of components behind it! Thanks for stopping by and please reach out to me if you have any questions. I look forward to the relaunch in a few weeks!

 

Best

Laura–

After the trauma

On Saturday night I was on a train home that derailed. Preliminary investigations by the NTSB suggest a service train violated our trains space as they were both traveling eastbound on both of the tracks. There had been service work on the Long Island Railroad trains all weekend.

It is so strange to go through this experience. In one instance, I am so connected to and on another I am brimming with curiosity. My day had been so wonderful up until that point and I’m finding it difficult to put the feeling out of my mind. A quote I read about another tragedy this weekend, the Palms Springs shooting of two police officers during a domestic violence call, replays in my mind. I feel awake in a nightmare.

The worst part on a personal level about today, about the day after, is I can’t stop feeling like I am shaking. My body is tense and if I close my eyes for too long or don’t have my mind occupied on something else, I get the sensation of being thrashed around. When our train and the other vehicle hit each other prompting the train to derail, that is the moment I keep reliving in my head. It’s not just picturing it over again, it’s the sensation of how my body was contorted. There was no sense of balance or control, it was chaos. In my head, the loud bang resounds and I cringe.

On another level, I have been viewing this day with profound humility. There were about 600 passengers on the train, 33 were injured and 4 seriously. I am so thankful to walk away from this event unscathed.

As a try to categorize my thoughts and reflect, I’m reminded about my fortune. It’s been a crazy 24 hours. At the moment, my life exists in a fishbowl and I’m not sure if I’m look in or looking out.

For more information on the LIRR derailment, read up on the following news links:

Time: http://time.com/4524216/long-island-train-derailment-what-to-know 

ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/commuter-train-derails-east-nyc-injuring-11/story?id=42675137

train

October and the Wonders of Fall

This year has been marked by several outstanding events. From weddings to engagements, to conventions, Broadway shows and milestones. On a personal level, it is a year to remember. Entering October, with three months still in the balance, it’s a good time to go through a little reflection. Not to mention, I’m also gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which I’ve done the past three years (and won).

Fall is my favorite season. It really boils down to the coziness of the entire time. Also, the best things happen in fall. New York Comic Con, Halloween, Thanksgiving… basically nerdy stuff and food. I will be at NYCC this year as an attendee, which is nice considering last year I worked at the event. Looking toward next year, I hope to return as a guest. It will be another great year at the event as I am already booked to meet the great Stan Lee.

On Sept. 21, I had the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway. The musical created by the genius Lin-Manuel Miranda went above expectations for me. It was humorous and honest, self-depreciating and intelligent. I have been listening to the soundtrack on a daily basis since November of last year and it has truly been gift to me throughout the entire year. I mention it because I want to get to my point.

My life is filled with so much art. And fall is always that season where art is incessantly there. I curl up with books more, watch more movies and television shows. Even video games fit into this section. I am my best self when I am surrounded by it, and people who feel as strongly and passionate about art.

With a chill in the air and leaves returning to warming hues of autumn, I am most excited for all the art that I will get to experience.

‘Sup?

It’s been a busy past couple of months. Between work and my brother’s wedding I haven’t had much time to sit and relax. But here, I’ve forced myself.

First up, the picture that accompanies this post, that’s me at my brothers wedding. Well, in the bathroom taking a selfie. I really loved my look and glad I pulled it off. Their wedding was absolutely stunning, and being that I was in Arizona for a few days I got to spend plenty of time with them soaking up the 85 degree weather (it was 30s to 40s in NY at that time).

The best part is no matter what I love writing. I can write anything and just have an enjoyable time. I’ve written non-stop since I was a kid. It’s a powerful feeling.

Some other things I’ve gotten around to in my online absence are buying Hamilton tickets, seeing Captain America: Civil War, twice. In addition, I’ve attended a ton of family parties and have written up a handful of articles. Oh, and I’ve bought a ton of new comics, especially a lot of trades. Still tackling that pile. I bagged and boarded nearly 100 comics yesterday, but still have to organize them in my long box.

Today I learned one of my favorite television shows was canceled. I really enjoyed Marvel’s Agent Carter. The Peggy Carter character was one of the most refreshing and wonderful characters on TV. Was the show flawed? Yes. But they were forgivable flaws. Perhaps the Marvel fanbase can do what it does best and revive the show, like they did with Agent Coulson.

Since coming back from my brother’s wedding I’ve had a difficult time getting back to the gym. With the weather in New York finally shaping up, I haven’t wanted to spend the time indoors (I am so guilty of just taking my laptop outside to work).

Oh yeah… I updated my Linkedin. I still have loads of tinkering to do with it, and undo the damage I did in my youth, but I must remember one thing at a time.

Happy Spring, everybody!

My sister’s engagement video

Steph & G's Engagement Reaction Video Compilation

This video is about SSteph Rdh Cerrone & Giancarlo DiMonte's engagement. Check out the reactions of some of my family hearing about the big news. It's best if you watch in HD 😀

Posted by Laura Cerrone on Sunday, January 31, 2016

I put together this little video of my sister’s engagement story. The link sends you to my public Facebook page. You’re more than welcome to follow that page. That’s been getting a facelift, too.

It seems I fell asleep for a bit.

Yes, look at this large gap in activity.

I let life get in the way, and now I’m busier now than ever. Which isn’t a total bad thing, but, I wish I had more hours in the day.

A lot has happened since November

  • I won NaNoWriMo, I never posted a celebratory message, but I did. It was insanely difficult this year, given my work schedule. Yet, it was so relieving to know that I can set my mind to an intense goal and accomplish it.
  • December was quieter, post-NaNo is pretty much catch-up-on-sleep-month. Christmas was 70 degrees here in New York and we barbecued. My dad also stood outside our house in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and an alcoholic beverage in a pineapple.
  • January was a mic of work and more work. We’re gunning down to the last few months before my brothers wedding, so it’s been crazier. Even crazier, my sister got engaged. So, now preparing for two weddings. If you would like to go to a zoo, just come over.

So that leaves us in February, which is really just filled with wedding planning and personal training. Winters are usually quite quiet for me, but it’s been the opposite. I wouldn’t say that I fell asleep, but rather just got so caught up in life ~outside~ the internet that I took a little break.

But I’m back.

Hello.

P.S. – I desperately want to see Hamilton the Musical. Help?!

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2015 Edition

In the past, I had spent the beginning weeks of fall blogging about my ventures into NaNoWriMo. If you asked me a week ago if I was doing NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month), I would have shrugged and leaned on a ‘no’ answer.

But here I am, November 1st, in a local cafe with other local writers churning out words like many people woke up today spewing post-Halloween party vomit. This is my third year undertaking NaNo, and will most certainly be the most difficult.

My first year, I had carefully mapped out and concocted a well thought out story weeks, and months in advance. Last year, I had the idea, but didn’t construct it before, and still won.

This year, having no story idea and no prior preparation, will be tough as hell. I am doing it though. The past two years I had primarily been doing freelance work, but now I am full-time working, so I feel that pressure. I guess I will be penning things on my break time to make up. Weekends will also be used as a tour de force. I asked a bunch of friends to send me writing prompts, so I’m just working on writing a bunch of short novellas and piecing it together as one entity. They aren’t continuous, but that simplifies the process.

So, as I’ve wasted a good five minutes getting this blog post together, I won’t relent another moment to distraction.

Back to writing!

And Happy NaNoWriMo!

Recipe Time!

I have never posted a recipe on my blog but at the request of my Mom, so she could easily access it and share it around, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes. It’s also a recipe I learned two years ago when I was eating healthy. I’m working on getting back on track. This recipe is so, so good. I can’t remember where I had originally found it (it may have been a Jillian Michaels recipe honestly).  It’s super easy and quick.

Honey-Lemon Marinated Chicken

Ingredients:
¼ cup organic raw honey
¼ cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (can be substituted by canola)
1 teaspooon crushed rosemary (I picked mine fresh from the garden and minced it up)
1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 organic chicken breasts

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients (except chicken) and mix well.  Marinate the chicken in honey-lemon mixture for 1 hour in a shallow baking dish.  Broil chicken for 5 minutes (I put the broiler on 350) brush with pan droppings, flip chicken, and broil for 5 more minutes. Check if cooked, if not, another five minutes should do. If desired, bring marinade to a boil; simmer 2 minutes.  Strain hot marinade over chicken.

Servings: 4
189 Calories
5g Fat (1g saturated fat)
60 mg cholesterol
388 mg sodium
18 g carbs
0g fiber
23 g protein

marinade

honey lemon

Is the end nigh for superhero movies?

Director Steven Spielberg has been quite vocal in the past about the marketable quality of superhero movies. He’s back in the headlines saying the end is nigh for them,  that they will go the way of the Western, and I have to wonder about the accuracy of that statement as someone who is invested and writes about the entertainment industry.

I decided my blog would be the best place for this post, and not the websites I write for, on the account that this is more on a personal level then an Op-Ed. I’m also speaking without sources or research. This is purely heart and mind speaking.

So, Mr. Spielberg, with one of the most well-decorated film careers in history, I can’t say I agree with you. But I respect your thoughts on this. There is something similar I believe in.

I do think we will get an over-saturated market on superhero movies. If you look back in the history of comics you will find snags in sales. After WW2, comic book sales were at an all time low. Here we are in 2015, in a post-war era, and comic books, and their movie counterparts couldn’t be doing much better. It is smooth sailing.

Westerns may not be around that much any longer. But there is still deep-seated appreciation in the art. Cowboys are still popular in media. And modern films draw allusions to Westerns and those of the spaghetti variety constantly. Westerns aren’t dead, they just ceased to be as we had known them.

The next few years are jam packed with superhero movies, and more and more keep joining the roster. Comic book fans are excited. There are new demographics of fans rushing into theaters and comic book shops to ingest all that they can, and what they are discovering are beautiful, well-thought out stories. We eventually will tire of the superhero movie, we will find fault in the repetitiveness of these kinds of heroes and villains stories, we will, but we won’t stop loving it. The ticket sales may slump and movie companies may be more wary on green-lighting a new project, but the fans will be there.

Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix proved something to me. It reinvented the story. While I had been feeling tired over Avengers: Age of Ultron, flipping the script on Daredevil put the spotlight on the storytelling. As long as the story told is the root and heart of the film or TV show, superhero film and media will survive.

Spielberg is half-right, or half-wrong, however you want to spell it out. Early on in the production of comic book adapted films, most of them were terrible. Years later, the formula was revisited. People care about these characters and the obstacles they endure, because they are similar to their own battles. While we may not be donning spandex suits, it’s uplifting to see our media represent questions of morality. What is good and what is evil?

Superhero movies will always come back. They will hit snags as people will tire, but the narrative is ever-changing, and they will be back. Remember, only Kryptonite can kill Superman.