No Summer Break

I thought I would take a few minutes from my busy Monday to relay on some happenings. All day today I’ve been editing articles, researching for my own and working on setting up interviews with some cool industry creators. There are so many things I want to do- for both my comic book sites and The Outcask (craft beer), it’s just a matter if I could grow a few more hands and decide I don’t actually need sleep to live.

But I do, most unfortunately.

It’s also strange for me to be doing so much work during the day. I’m a nighthawk when it comes to getting things done. For one thing it is a lot quieter at night and my focus is zeroed in on whatever I’m working in. During the day, especially a day like today where I could only describe it as perfect, I’m charging through the workload with tenacity.

At the end of the month my brother is coming in for a week. He’ll be here for my birthday which is a present in itself. I miss that dude! I’m definitely working on getting a lot things done before he comes in so that my week is free. We are already heading into mid-August, so I’m feeling the crunch.

Last week I spontaneously stayed over my friends apartment in Queens. We went to a bar down the street and left a little after 3 in the morning. We lallygagged our way back under the train trestle where we laughed at our voices with the echo. When we got back to her building we climbed up top of the roof and the result is the picture I chose to accompany this post. I’ve been thinking about that night a lot and it’s been helpful to alleviate some of the stress I’ve been under lately.

I think tonight I may open up a notebook and start scribbling a comic idea that I had when I took the Smithsonian and edX’s Superhero history course. I miss learning everyday. I try to, but sometimes the day just gets so cluttered with other things and I don’t get a chance to sit down and read about something new. I’ll work on that. Our coursework was learning about the history of comics and then to create our own alongside the themes and principles we learned about. I really like the idea I had, and want to flesh it out. For the past several years I’ve done all my writings on the computer, but I realized how much I love the feeling of paper and physically turning pages and scribbling in margins…. There’s a very romantic feeling to handwriting something for me.

One of my favorite quotes is that if you fall in love with a writer you will never die.

I’ll leave that as my last thought as I want to tie up this post and run away from the spider that just crawled up the back of my laptop.

 

 

 

Spontaneous Travel Version 2015

If you’re familiar with my life, which maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, you would know last year I took a six-week trip to Italy on a whim. It ended up being one, if not the best, experience of my life. Earlier this year I took a semi-spontaneous trip to visit my brother again in Phoenix, but the travel bug bites, and it bites me exceptionally hard.

Now, this year I’m not as fortunate to be able to take a big trip like that due to several factors. However, one of my best friends Alex had just moved down to Washington D.C. She’s there alone for a few weeks before her boyfriend moves down for graduate school, so she’s been a bit lonely. About two weeks ago the idea popped into my head to just go. I booked my flights and flew there on Monday, July 13. I returned early yesterday, the 16th. We fit a lot into 3 days and it was my first time to visit the capital.

After picking me up from the airport, we stopped quick at her apartment to change and freshen up and walked down to the bus station. The bus ride was a quick ten minute ride to the Pentagon metro station (not to be confused with the Pentagon City station -as she explained). Even during rush hour times the trains never seemed full. As a New Yorker who has commuted on multiple occasions I was astonished that people didn’t need to pack in like sardines. All the trains did seem a bit outdated, there was no ticker overhead announcing what stop was next or a light-up map either. So you do need to pay attention to the stops. I have to wonder what is at the Foggy Bottom stop. Also, the regular fair cards (not the Smartrip cards) don’t tell you how much is left on your balance. And the metro prices on how far you are going so you pay for how many stops rather than just to use.

 

We took the metro right to the National Mall, which is under construction in places. We stopped in the Smithsonian Castle and then headed to the top two museums on our lists (she had been to both before, but they are a must!) I kept getting these names mixed up, but apparently everyone does. First we viewed the National Museum of American History, which had great pieces. The Smithsonian does a superb job of curating. One of my favorite Periscope users is an archaeologist who always talked about being ‘edutained,’ and I certainly felt edutained walking out. This museum has such a wide-range collection, from George Washington’s swords to First Ladies gowns, a slab of the Berlin Wall, and different presidential mementos. There’s definitely an embarrassing video of me at the presidential podium giving John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech. That won’t be shared here, but look for the picture.

The next museum was the Museum of Natural History. Another amazing museum. They have Harry Winston’s Hope Diamond, an Ancient Egypt exhibit and an oceans exhibit among many others. The only exhibit I wasn’t crazy for was the taxidermy animals. I especially enjoyed the Bollywood and African exhibits. It pushes the boundaries of what you thought you knew.

We rounded out the first day with a visit to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. There are no photos allowed in the Rotunda which is for the health of the documents. It was an amazing experience to be in the same room as the most important documents in US history. The Founding Fathers were so intelligent in understanding that times change and so do people’s mindsets. What may have not been okay twenty years ago, is commonplace today, and I think we all need to realize that our freedom is in place to protect everyone’s ideals.

The next day we strapped on comfortable shoes and walked the National Mall, visiting almost all of the monuments, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr., FDR, World War II, and several others. We also stopped to visit the White House, which looks so different in person. While these monuments evoked a sense of reflection and humbleness in me I couldn’t help but think about what could be next.

The third day we took it easy and enjoyed the sweet peacefulness of her town and doing things we normally did when we lived together in college (i.e.: gossip, watch weird/bad movies, and eat food).

There are plenty of things I still want to do in D.C., like visit many of the other Smithsonian museums, and other museums like the Spy Museum, the Newseum, and the Writers Museum. I would also love to visit the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Capitol, the Ford Theatre and Arlington National Cemetery. D.C. is one of those places where you can always return to something new, and it is something I look forward to when visiting Alex down there over the next few years.

 

Redesign & Updates

With all the technical issues on my site, I decided to wipe my previous theme and start afresh with this new one, hoping it brings me better luck.

That’s not the only new thing I’ve been up to as well. I am now writing for another website, called The Outcask. The site was started by a good friend of mine, as a re-launch of a magazine she ran a few years ago. So, look out for my posts about craft beer and the craft beer industry! As of this entry, I already have 2 posts on the site.

Also, I’ve been having a ton of fun on the app Periscope. It’s a live broadcast kind of app, and I hope to take it on the road and do little travel pieces. Some of my favorite Periscopers are an archaeologist in Rome and a historian in Paris.

I’ve also been reflecting on my time in Italy last year. I have the Timehop app on my phone so it reminds me daily what I was doing via my social media posts a year, two years three years, etc. ago. Last year around this time I was soaking up the last few days of my trip on the beautiful island of Ponza.

That’s now for updates, and I’ll spruce up my Featured Publications page as long as it doesn’t crash on me!

EternalCon

I attended EternalCon, a local comic convention yesterday. The cool thing about this convention is the location: the Cradle of Aviation Museum. As you walk through exhibits highlighting Long Island’s strong aeronautics history, you also get to walk through Artist Alley, gaming centers, and racks of comic book stacks. I have attended a few conventions here, a wine expo and a chocolate expo, and I always have a good time.

Here are a couple pictures to hold you over as I am still tinkering with fixing up the site!

IMG_5338

IMG_5345

IMG_5354

Heads Up!

I haven’t been updating – I know! I’m even lagging on my featured publications page. I’ve been having server issues. Tomorrow I should have time to sit down and straighten it all out. Looks like most of it is running up to speed again.

Thanks for listening!

Lazy Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone!

The past few weeks have been tremendously busy for me, and it looks like the next couple will be hectic too. I’m enjoying my new full-time position, and I am still writing on the weekends and nights because I physically need to write. If I don’t write… my brain feels sick. I don’t feel validated. It’s a feeling I could never show you and my explanation does not do it justice.

I took my family out to dinner last night, it felt wonderful to do something like that for my parents who have been super-supportive the past couple of weeks. They have done so much to help me reach my goals.

It’s finally starting to warm up here in New York. Despite the little snow flurry we had yesterday, our temperatures are beginning to level off in the 50’s. I am so anxious to spend time in the sun. Just sitting reading or writing at a park or even on my porch would be perfect.

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful spring, the time of year to start afresh. May all my fellow writers feel rejuvenated!

Enjoy this adorable Sesame Street video:

To Arizona and Back Again

Giraffe AZAfter Valentine’s Day I visited my brother and his fiancé for 10 days. I was originally gonna stay 5-6 days, but I extended it to 10 after having so much fun and bad weather in the New York area. He lives outside of Phoenix. I had visited Arizona first in 2010 and we went up to Sedona, down to Tombstone, the Phoenix Zoo, Superstition Mountain, and a couple other touristy things.

This time around I visited the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, which was one of my favorite experiences. They rescue exotic animals that people have kept as pets or from overcrowded zoos. I got to feed a tiger. I heard hyenas laugh (and moo, yes they moo!). I also fed giraffes by putting a lead between my lips and having them take it from there. A lot of people ended up getting the giraffe’s tongue all over their face but both the giraffes I fed like this were gentlemen.

We went to the Arabian Horse Show and watched a jumping contest which was thrilling. Horses are incredible. My brother took me to the Arizona Renaissance Festival which was amazing. I had never been to a RenFaire before and it was super fun. The shows, turkey leg, mead, and vendors were all cool.

Flicker Fire and Me at RenFaire

We went horseback riding on the day I was supposed to originally fly out. Our family friend Herb owns them and after letting us walk around the corral we took to the streets. I had never been horseback riding that wasn’t on a trail or premeditated route so it was amazing to have control over the horse. And once again I’ll mention how amazing they are.

It was a wonderful vacation and I enjoyed the warm weather so much. After getting back to New York I bought a Sigma lens for my camera. Sigma lens are a hit or miss, but I tested it out on my Canon and liked it. I bought the 28-200mm lens secondhand for $30, and I cannot wait to take it out on a photowalk one weekend when the weather has cleared up here.

Andria & Me on horses

 

I did a lot of writing in Arizona, bought an ocarina at the RenFaire, and spent the most time I’ve spent with my brother in the eight years he’s been in Arizona. I’m so incredibly proud of him and his fiancé and will be so happy to return next year for their WEDDING.

Hopefully spring is right around the corner as I am beginning to feel stir crazy again. Check out my Featured Publications 2015 page for my most recent clippings, as always!

Arizona sunset

 

Writer Tip

As a writer I am constantly researching. If you looked through my Google history you would be appalled. And sometimes the subject matters writers research raise red flags. I’ve known peers and colleagues who have gotten a knock on their door from the FBI.

The great thing about Google is it has a whole bunch of hidden features. These features help maximize your search results. The first time I learned about them was in college, when I worked on a few investigative pieces.

I came across a handy little guide that I wanted to share so you too can find all your search engine needs.

Check out this page and have fun with the newfound tricks! You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy them! There are plenty more tricks you can learn beyond that, but we’ll start you on the basics.

Gentleman’s Guide

Last night my sister and I went into the city to see A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Walter Kerr Theatre. I had been wanting to see it for some time, especially after watching their performance at the Tony Awards. Opportunity knocked for lower priced tickets and I jumped at it.

The show was so wonderful; complete with fantastic humor, vibrant characters, and great songs. I met some of the cast after show at the stage door but we had to leave to catch our train.

The thing about going to see Broadway shows is that I get to completely turn off. Except during intermission, but if it’s a good play by the time intermission rolls around I am bouncing in my seat waiting for Act II. How often do we get to power down and let our mind focus on one thing? Not very often. Live theater is so exhilarating. There is a humble thrill to it, not knowing how the performance will, it the actors will mess up, or if you will feel a reaction.

A Gentleman’s Guide was pleasant from the very beginning to the end. There was so much laughter. I would definitely recommend seeing it, and may even find myself seeing it again.

Geeked Out!

I live a simple life, right? Just filled with personal experiences and making small but wonderful memories.

So when something like Director James Gunn tweets out an article I wrote about it… well… you can assume that I am flipping out! The good kind of flipping out!

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 3.15.04 PM

 

There the tweet is. The director of Guardians of the Galaxy himself.

And, update: he posted it on Facebook as well.

james gunn

And here is a link to the article.

My head is in the clouds currently. I am so gracious. It’s a damn cute article with tons of animals to boot.