England, Scotland, Soul

victoria street edinburgh

Writing about my recent travels is a Sisyphean task. Every time I set words to paper, the rock comes tumbling back down and Zeus is off somewhere on Mt. Olympus having a right old chuckle on my misfortune. Traveling is so multifaceted that to tether it to a singular idea is counterproductive. But here I am, gearing up once again to roll the rock up the mountain concerning my recent exploits into the United Kingdom.

Quit laughing, Zeus.

I now have had more than a few days to marinate in the memories. Now, it feels like the right time to try and pick through this truly spellbinding experience. The difficult thing about a trip is trying to explain how much it has changed you. It’s as almost as if these changes only exist at the molecular level, and I am half tempted to stick a microscope in the hands of those I speak with and beg to be discovered. I don’t know how travel does it, but you aren’t the same person you were before. I suppose I will have to travel for the rest of my life to try and understand why. But maybe the reason never really needs to be known, and just felt in my soul.

I notoriously don’t like the word vacation.It conjures lying belly up on a beach with a comped sugary alcoholic concoction that will have you passed out before nightfall. That’s all fine to do on the occasion, especially under a burnout period, but it is one of my biggest fears when traveling. What is travel if not to explore, indulge, imbibe and learn while somewhere new? It is biggest injustice you can do when you embark on an adventure to not meet a land and its inhabitants as it comes to you. It is a castration of the soul. You traveled likely hundreds of miles and all to just… sleep? Travel is nourishment. Travel done right strangles your rough edges, and leaves your soul raw and exposed to the world.

While my plans to visit Scotland earlier this year were kiboshed by unexpected vet bills (kitty is okay!), I am glad it worked out in favor of the trip I took to both London and Edinburgh and some surrounding locations. It was kismet when Randa, one of my best friends, and I, were both unknowingly searching travel deals on Black Friday. A few days later, I was holed up in her room, our laptops sprawled out on the bed and our wallets opened. With a high five and many exalted squeals, we had booked our trip to London and Edinburgh with a travel group focused on young adults. Less than a month later, we were boarding a Delta plane at John F. Kennedy for our overnight flight to London. It was the day after Christmas and in the air hung that sweet cheerful holiday hangover. I barely slept on the flight as my mind ran amuk, brimming with excitement and filled with the prospective adventure with one of my oldest best friends. In some leftover Christmas miracle, I managed to arrive to Heathrow in good spirits.

After what seemed like forever waiting to go through the line at customs, we found our chauffeur and a few of other other group members on the tour. In the 15-20 minute ride to our hotel, located in the charming Chiswick, we easily bonded with these ladies. Our collective energy was hunger, the kind where even if you’re burned out you are kept alive and awake by the looming excitement of the future. Upon looking out the window of our ride I noted how the settled fog throughout the trees of some open land felt like I was back at my college in the Hudson Valley in New York. There would be a lot of little moments like this while I was in London.

The visions I had about London prior to arriving ended up incongruous with the London I stepped into. In my imagination, London was of fairytale proportions. It was a clash of Harry Potter whimsicality with Mary Poppins primness and gritty underground anti-Thatcher punk.

Sure, London was mapped out with order, and while there were smatterings of my fancied London, it wasn’t as if the whole city had been brushed with magic that I had spent years reading about, watching or consuming through the lens of social media. There was as much charm as I find in the squares and parks in New York. Little havens and enclaves that let you steal away from the bustling city centers. A good photograph will often incite the romanticized feeling the actual place falls short of.

All this talk may sound as if I have a negative view of London, but that is contrarian to how I feel. I wasn’t left with the Paris Syndrome, which happens to plaque a dozen or so Japanese tourists when they visit Paris and are shocked that it doesn’t meet their expectations. I rather enjoyed London because the sense of familiarity it provided. When not in our tour group, Randa took the reigns on navigating transportation when we had off time since she had been to London before and from watching her figure out our stops it was apparent the tube is simpler to traverse than our hometown subway system (when it feels like running).

We strolled into Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus after our welcome mixer at the Marquis Cornwallis on the first night. At the Cornwallis, we got to know our fellow tour mates and have some light bites and drinks. There is a resounding coziness you’ll find at good pub anywhere in the world and the Cornwallis that night certainly had it.

Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus – not an actual circus

Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus were a nice way to end the rather long night. A few of us got some hot chocolate and desserts and strolled along until just before midnight when the tube stops running. We didn’t feel like taking a bus. The lights from Christmas were still strewn across the streets and the locals seemed to be a bit groggy, as if the holiday still cast a haze of enchantment on their beings.

Royal Albert Monument
A little silliness never hurt at the Albert Memorial

The next day we were up bright and early for our morning tour around London. We had a really pleasant local guide who kept the jokes coming as well as the interesting information about the city. Our first stop was the Albert Memorial located in Kensington Gardens. In all the pictures I have seen of London, this was never included of them, so the imposing 176 feet tall statue came as a surprise. It’s located across the Royal Albert Hall, which our tour guide touted as one of the most beautiful theaters with some of the worst acoustics. Prince Albert died in 1861 of typhoid and Queen Victoria, for which the era is named, constructed the monument as a way to pay homage to her late husband. Interestingly, the monument contains several allegorical sculptures depicting Victorian arts and sciences as well as several regional groups that England had prominent or colonizing relations with.

st. paul's cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral

From there we drove on down to see more of London, passing by Trafalgar Square and some other spots. We got off the bus to walk around St. Paul’s Cathedral and then hit London Bridge before setting off for Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards. One thing to be noted, which many people get wrong, is that London Bridge isn’t that large iconic stone one you see in all the photographs, that’s Tower Bridge. London Bridge is a fairly simple bridge but has some great views of Tower Bridge.

guard buckingham
Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Following the intriguing changing of the guards, our morning tour group disbanded and Randa and I were free for the rest of the day. We split from our group to enjoy Hyde Park and then ventured back to Trafalgar Square. The square is a nice area but Parliament ended up being not much to look at, especially with Big Ben completely under scaffolding. It will apparently be under heavy renovations for a few more years so even if I make a return trip I may get the same disgraceful view. I never realized that Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abbey were all in the same area so it made viewing these London icons fairly simple.

Randa and I crossed the Millennium Footbridge, or as Brits call it, the Wobbly one, to grab a traditional fish and chips with mushy peas lunch at the Anchor Pub. We also got up and close with the Globe Theatre which was a fantastically nerdy moment for me. After lunch, we walked through some winding London streets, perused the produce and various wares at Burroughs Market and hung around the Tower Bridge area before crossing it and heading back to Hyde Park.

As the sun set on our first day giving rise to the night, we found ourselves in a pedestrian cattle herd heading into Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. A marvel of lights, food, rides and lots of drinking, the Wonderland was a dazzling way to end our first full day of the trip. After getting mulled wine on a spinning carousel bar and picking enjoying a high flying amusement park ride, we spent most of our time in the Bavarian Village area under a heated tent with hundreds of other drunk revelers. We called an Uber back to our hotel in Chiswick and as Randa happily dozed in the back, I watched London go by only illuminated by lights. We passed the Egyptian obelisk and the dragon statues that mark London old and new, and the information I learned earlier in the day about these monuments bounced off in my head.


The next day was our completely free day in London to do as we pleased. Instead, we opted with a few other of our tour mates to go to Stonehenge, about a two-hour ride from London located in Salisbury. Our bus driver claimed to not be a tour guide but regaled us with tales as we passed through London. He remained quiet for much of the trip and piped back up when we got closer to the ancient world wonder. Once we got there, we had two hours before our bus would depart back, so we made the most of our time and opted to do the 30-minute hike to the stones. Good thing I wore heeled boots, right? Actually, wasn’t too bad, I consider myself a trooper and fortunately the grass wasn’t soggy. What I loved about Stonehenge is that it is still so much of a mystery to us. There is a sereness surrounding the rocks, as if they are gently whispering to you to listen.

The Salisbury area itself is quite lovely with its majestic green fields. There were sheep grazing in a field right behind the stones and it kind of felt like we could have been standing at them 2,000 years ago and would have a similar view, except for the highway. Our time passed quickly at the rocks and we realized we needed to get back to not miss our bus departure. The shuttle line was too long and we didn’t want to risk it, so we hiked back and made it in the nick of time.

Randa and I had originally planned to do a proper English high tea at 4pm, but our reservations came and gone. Undeterred, we headed to the Covent Garden area and had dinner and tea at the Parisian place Laduree. They have locations all over, such as here in New York, but there is something quite special about having a cup of tea in England. I had a cheesy chicken dish and we split a dessert of macarons and cake and ordered our own teas. It was delightful, and a wonderful way to kick off our last evening in London.

witches cauldron london

We had more plans! We ventured uptown to the Cauldron Pub and were a bit early so we popped into a sort of popup barcade right around the corner. I enjoyed a local beer and we played BS with the cards that I had packed in my backpack to soak up the time. I had made a mistake and thought we were in the wrong location, but I had been looking at their older address. In order to calm my anxiety, we left the barcade and went to see if the Cauldron Pub was where it was supposed to be. Randa was right – we were in the right spot, but the bouncer couldn’t let us in early so instead we waited in the cold and struck up a conversation with the man. John ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. The man’s story was riveting, talking about living in Italy and Colombia, serving in the army, taking care of his mother and his plans to return to Italy and start a farm just for him and his friends and for people down on their luck. We weren’t sure if we would see him on our way out but we both gave him a big hug and thanked him for being so honest and real. He had a pure soul.

There’s also a location in New York, but we couldn’t miss the opportunity to do something truly magical in a place that is so synonymous with our shared love – Harry Potter. The Cauldron Pub, which is no way affiliated with JK Rowling’s magical empire, does let you conjure up your own cocktails with some magical (scientific) methods. The bar give you cloaks, wands and instructions and we proceeded to have a blast playing pretend and getting tipsy in the process. Randa and I both looked at each other with disbelief knowing it was one of those moments in our friendship that we couldn’t have chosen a better person to experience this with. Our magical server David, or Davros as we called him, was spot on and attentive and even took a shot with us at the end of the night. Cheers, London, you were a kind beast.

platform 9 2/3
Yup, it’s true, I’m actually a Slytherin

It was another bright and early morning for our departure from London to Edinburgh via King’s Cross on December 30th. Yes, the King’s Cross, a dream of a dream of a dream for me. Entering the station, with the light cascading in from its large factory-like windows, I felt for a moment that I wasn’t apart of this reality. For Harry Potter fans, King’s Cross represents the bridge between worlds of magic and non-magic, and it felt very much like I had crossed through the barrier.

Speaking of barriers, the King’s Cross Station features a Harry Potter photo opportunity for travelers seeking to recreate the crossing from the Muggle to magic sides of King’s Cross. While we had arrived at the station with seemingly ample time, we found that the photo opportunity didn’t open until 9 am, not 8 am as we assumed, and I was under instruction that we had to meet back up at 9:15 am to begin boarding our train up to Edinburgh. Showing my stubborn side, I remained on the line for the photo opportunity. With a little Felix Felicis, I grabbed a quick photo at exactly 9:15 am and then dashed off to meet with my group to board our train. I wasn’t able to purchase the picture in the shop, but I did ask a bystander to grab it on my phone.

A porter lead us to our track and the swooning familial score flushed my ears. It really felt like I was getting on the Hogwarts Express. Edinburgh, in a way, is the true home to the much beloved magical world, and over the next few days I would get to see these hallmarks firsthand. But first, the lovely four hour train ride through sweeping English countryside, with some glimpses to the dark North Sea before pulling in to Waverly Station.

While I described London’s personality of almost being devoid of too strongly, Edinburgh is a beautiful contrast of stark, almost gritty architecture supported by some of the friendliest and charming people you will ever meet. The city has a particular mood. There’s a coarseness to it, a broodiness that reverberates in every nook and cranny.

Upon leaving the train station and the quick trip to our hotel which was right around the corner from Tron Kirk (church), my eyes remained fixated on the buildings and streets. The city was busy, filled mostly with others in town for the Hogmanay celebrations. It was a flurry of frenetic palpitations.

After getting situated in the hotel and Marie, our director, giving us a rundown of the map, we hustled to find dinner as everything was so busy. We got some fish and chips (and I tried a deep fried Mars bar, a must!) and when our tour mates texted that the line to pick up Hogmanay tickets was nonexistent, we snatched those up before our vault and graveyard tour. We even managed to catch the kick off of the Torchlight Procession. The opening ceremony was beautiful, tying in mythology and tradition, I was quite moved by it and to see everyone illuminated by torchlight in these aged city streets was dreamlike.

The Auld Reekie Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and Vault tour was also something else. Our guide John first brought us to the Kirkyard, stopping at the infamous Greyfriar’s Bobby statue before taking us through the darkened cemetery to visit a few graves of importance. He also talked about the Flodden Wall and its bloody history. John was a man who dearly loves his city, as most natives I met seemed to be. They talked about their city with a certain sparkle in their eye. His sense of humor was also appreciated, especially before the vault part of the tour when conversation turned exceptionally dark. I’ll leave the remainder of that night to mystery, but what we learned in those vaults was profound, startling and yes, horrifying. When we came out of it, Marie treated the group to deep fried Mars bars and we all needed a bit of time to reflect and let the color return to our faces.

After, Randa and I joined our friends Ashley and Kelsey to bar hop and do a little dancing. We started at the Banshee Labyrinth- the most haunted bar in Edinburgh. After exploring there for a bit, we took in some live music at Club Voltage before getting our dance on at Sneaky Pete’s. All and all, a solid first day in Edinburgh.

It was another early morning for our walking tour of Edinburgh. We covered some of the spots that we hit during the graveyard tour but it was nice to revisit these spots during the daylight. And what a stunning daylight it was. The city felt most alive in the soft light, like the buildings were specifically crafted to enchant during this time. I think Alexander McCall Smith said it best with, “This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.” Our local guide regaled us in stories of Deacon Brodie’s, Burke and Hare, and JK Rowling’s Hand Prints among some other fun spots.

We took in the charming and colorful Victoria Street as we made our way to Edinburgh Castle. Even with the bone chilling wind, the castle was a foreboding presence sitting high atop the extinct volcano. Our guide provided such a rich history of the structure, calling attention to how many gates blocked potential invaders from pulling off a successful siege. Fun fact: Edinburgh Castle was never captured by an enemy by charging the front gates. The only times the fortress was taken over were by legal documents, or, by a surprise siege by scaling the walls. It’s also home to the oldest building in Scotland, Queen Margaret’s Chapel, which has remained intact since its construction in 1130.

After our tour concluded, we were given free reign for the rest of the day until our New Year’s Eve group dinner at the Frankenstein & Bier Keller. Randa, Ashley and I checked out a few of the buildings at Edinburgh Castle (those crown jewels!) and I left our group to visit Victoria Street to scoop up a copy of the first Harry Potter book. Yes, I already own the book, a few copies, actually, but it’s one of my favorite souvenirs to pick up in a place that holds importance to me. When I was in Italy in 2014, I bought a copy of the first book in a tiny bookshop in the town my dad was born in.

With that book, I headed to The Elephant House and waited a half hour to be seated. I got to sit right by the windows that overlook Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. I ordered the Fleur’s Fantasy, a hot chocolate with Bailey’s essentially, and a purple yam cake. I dredged out my beautiful leather bound travel journal and got writing. The moment was a spiritual one for me and I felt very connected to JK Rowling, even if just for a few moments. Hygge appears to be most applicable here. I remembered to visit the  bathroom here and sign the wall, thanking JK for the magic, as always.

After the Elephant House, I stopped off at the hotel before joining Marie and a few of my tour mates for a hike up to Calton Hill, one of the places you can have incredible, sweeping views of the city. We watched our last sunset of 2018 up here and I couldn’t think of anything more perfect. On my way back to the hotel, I bought myself a super touristy kilt, and then freshened up for our New Year’s Eve dinner at the Frankenstein. After dinner, we all headed to the Hogmanay Street Party. We drank, we danced, we hugged, and at midnight, we were dazzled by a ten-minute fireworks display launched from Edinburgh Castle. To echo what I just said before, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to close out one year and begin the new one.

We spent the rest of the night bar hopping until the wee hours of the morning, starting at the Banshee and ending up at a place called the Espionage. Despite getting just after 8 am, I still managed to make it for our Highlands day trip.

The Highlands excursion was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, putting a surreal and rightful linchpin on already one of the most amazing journeys of my life. We explored the grounds of Doune Castle, which has been popularized by being the filming location for the first episode of Winterfell in Game of Thrones, and in Outlander and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We fed some cuter than words coos in Callander, and hiked up Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park for our first, and truly unbelievable sunset of 2019. I’ll let the pictures pick up where my words give out here.

When we got back into Edinburgh, we reconvened with the entirety of our tour group for our farewell dinner at the Caley Room. We got Christmas crackers and wore the silly hats and we laughed and traded experiences while chowing down on haggis bon-bons, burgers and cake. We celebrated Ashley’s birthday and began to say our goodbyes to these new friends and to the marvelous couple of days we had together. Even now, I am getting tearful just thinking about the last hours there. Several of us stayed up quite late at the hotel’s bar talking about the future.

During these balmy and barely palpable hours, all I could think about was David Tennant’s Doctor during his regeneration… I don’t want to go.

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.


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!

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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.

New York Comic Con Recap!

Phew! It is a damn good thing today is  Columbus Day because I definitely need a day to recuperate. New York Comic Con was intense! Intense in all the good ways, of course!

My first time at NYCC was in 2011, and I only got a taste of what it was since I was there for a few hours on the final day. This time around I won a 3-day pass from the wonderful Pete’s Basement Comic Book Talk Show and came equipped with a better knowledge of events and the floor layout.

Day 1

I took my cousin Sandra as my first guest (I won 2 passes) and she has never been to a Comic Con. I think she totally loved it just by the sheer volume of pictures she took. We arrived to the Javits Center before 10am in hopes of making our way to the Marvel booth. All went well until we got inside, I wasn’t sure where we were in relativity to the booth (we walked in closest to the Weta Workshop booth) and by the time we elbowed our way to Marvel the line for the raffles was looped around a couple times. We still got on line praying for a miracle. Marvel set up their panels and autographing session with Clark Gregg a bit differently then the rest of the Con, you basically get on line and pick a ballot. Some ballots give you the wristband and some don’t so it is a complete gamble. We were maybe 10 people away from getting a chance to pick a raffle before we were told they were out. I’m guessing you have to seek your first-born child to get into a Marvel panel/screening because I lucked out the rest of the weekend too.

Denied but not defeated, my cousin and I perused the showroom, gaping at the ginormous Bumblebee at the Chevrolet booth (real person in there too). I bought an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. t-shirt from the Super Hero Stuff booth and I made it my mission to also track down a Funko Pop Vinvl of The Winter Soldier. That figure has been just as elusive as the character is and I finally found him an hour before we left. I also bought an original Winter Soldier paining by Tony Santiago and a Hello Kitty style Winter Soldier from I believe Tom Kelly. It’s pretty evident that I really love this character and I am so glad there was plenty of great artwork that has interpreted him.

Comic Con also has a lot of fun photo booths scattered all over the place. My cousin and I took lots of them and had lots of goofy faces to give the camera. Artists Alley was also another highlight. We spent a lot of time just watching these artists at work and admiring their craft. I know who to keep an eye out for as I learn more about comics and what I like in reading and viewing comics. It was really something special to meet Allen Bellman who drew for Marvel in the 1940s and 1950s.

Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) was doing his signing at the Marvel booth. We were able to watch him and got some photos of him. Gregg has one of those demeanors that make him look so warm and caring. Two of the people getting autographs signed had a phenomenal cosplay of Captain America and The Black Widow and Gregg jumped up to take a special picture with them. He is a total fanboy and proud.

Our day ended around 4:30/5ish. My cousin had to leave to go to work and I left with her because I needed her 3-day pass for Saturday since I was bringing a friend.

Day 2

Saturday was easily the busiest day. My friend Cat and I arrived about an hour in and it was already bustling. Unfortunately, it had been a very rainy morning and while I kept my Winter Soldier metal arm dry, putting it on my own wet arm was a bad, bad, terrible idea. I suspected the top part was beginning to crack the night before when I was trying it on one last time but I felt it crack more on this morning. There is still no visible crack but it is going to need a Franken-fix on it. The water also smudged some of the paint. I couldn’t get the arm up to my shoulder due to my arm being wet so it didn’t look right in its placement. Also, I need to make the cuts better so I can have some mobility with it. ONE MORE THING: A lot of people kept bumping into my arm. Dear people, please try to respect anyone wearing a homemade costume, it is likely that we spent a LOT of time and MONEY on it and even if it’s not that good it is still near and dear to our hearts.

Despite my cosplay snafu I enjoyed the rest of my day. I didn’t buy much except for lunch, beer, and an Agent Jemma Simmons identification card. My bank account needed a rest from how much I spent on Friday. We tried to get into a couple  panel’s such as the Mary Sue one on women in comics but we were shut out. We even showed up an hour before it would start. I guess I just don’t know how to get into them!

We met up with some other friends who had taken advantage of the fact you can buy alcohol. It was fun to talk with them and hear about their Con stories. I ended up taking the same train ride home with them which was definitely nicer than traveling by myself.

Day 3

I arrived on time and by myself this time. My friend Erin was caught up in an assignment and didn’t make it until the late afternoon, but I am so glad she got to enjoy herself for a few hours. I did bring my nice D-SLR camera so I roamed the floor taking shots of people cosplaying. I’m always in awe over these costumes. The time, love, and craftsmanship that goes into them is astounding. It’s interesting to see what people chose to cosplay, to see what’s important to them.

Erin and I had a lot of fun trying on silly hats and goggles. We had a really awesome conversation with one of the guys from the Weta Workshop (post will come later). I bought some cool prints made from a 95 year old press machine and also a Doctor Who tumbler so I can enjoy my pumpkin spice beverages any time I want.

There was a guy outside of the Javits Center dressed up as The Doctor and he brought his own Tardis. He was a great sport and a fantastic Ten impersonator. He definitely put a lot of smiles of peoples faces that day, including mine.


New York Comic Con was a blast and I wish it was every month. I barely slept with how excited I was every night. There a few things left in my adulthood that cause that kind of reaction. It had a way of making me feel so relaxed. I was surrounded by things I love and people who love them just as passionately as I do. And like the heroes we admire, I had no fear.

Well, there’s now less than 365 days until next year, time to get planning!

Here are couple pictures I took throughout the weekend:

What I’ve been up too.

I’ve been busy, and then not-so-busy. I’ve been playing catch-up with personal business but am finally seeing the light of it and I’m able to balance my private and public matters better.


As of late I have been freelancing for a chain of local papers. It’s been great learning town codes and the ways towns work.

To see some of my work visit here.

On top of that I’ve just started writing for a digital music zine called Deep in the Music Media. My first album review was just posted and you can check it on on their Tumblr. This is the website and this is a direct link to my album. Be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram too! I haven’t written an album review in a very long time so it was nice to stretch those muscles out!

I’ve also been scribbling some non-fiction and fiction pieces, nothing is cohesive enough to post yet but I may crack one out in a few days. This warm weather is inspiring me to write, just got to remember to write it down and not store it in my head.

Hope you are all doing well and healthy!


Paper comes out tomorrow!

I’ll have another article in the printed edition of the Long Island Press, but here’s one that I covered today.

The new Barclays Center in Brooklyn is sure to attract a lot of Long Islanders to its concerts and events. The Long Island Railroad is adding more trains to the Atlantic Avenue terminal.


Check out my coverage here!


Major Article!

For my Spring 2012 Ottoway Seminar class at New Paltz, with New York Times investigative reporter Andrew Lehren, a group of classmates and I worked on and article about retiring NYS Representative Maurice Hinchey and his earmarks.

You can read the article here.

I’m very proud to have worked on this and to have learned so many research techniques, especially using databases and fiiling for information and FOIA’s…

So much learning = so much loving!