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.
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
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
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.
5g Fat (1g saturated fat)
60 mg cholesterol
388 mg sodium
18 g carbs
23 g protein
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.
The past week has been a whirlwind for me. We were invited to a friends of a friends summer lake house for the weekend. I had two jam-packed days of sun, jet-skiing, boating, tubing, water slides, trampolines, and lots of BBQ. On the second day we spent a good chunk of time just sitting on the dock or on the water mat, our feet dangling off the sides into the water. We barely spoke for long periods of time. We stood in awe of a beautiful hawk circling mere feet by the tree canopies. It was a weekend where I often left my phone in my bag, and the times I did take it out I forgot I had it on me. Luckily my waterproof pouch worked. My utmost gratitude to the family that invited us to enjoy a beautiful weekend on Connecticut’s Candlewood Lake.
We arrived back home at midnight, and on Monday morning we were up bright and early to visit my grandma and enjoy her beach. My mom met up with a bunch of her friends. I was feeling fatigued so I mostly sat under the umbrella and napped, too sore and sunburnt from all the activity I had enjoyed over the weekend.
My week of fun didn’t stop there. Last night my cousin called me up and asked what I was doing in the evening. Nothing was my answer. She just so happened to have two extra tickets to the Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins game for her friends birthday. My sister and I met up with cousin, trekked up all the way to the Bronx (I was there on Monday for my grandma’s house), and we ended up having an amazing evening. Our tickets were for the Champions section, we were six rows from first base. We pigged out on food and drinks. A-Rod hit an amazing Grand Slam to pull the Yankees into the lead after being down a few runs. The ball boy gave the birthday girl’s daughter a foul ball. We danced the 7th inning stretch YMCA on the jumbotron. After the game ended our connections took us on the field. We delighted ourselves with a ton of pictures and videos. I cartwheeled on the Yankees grass, tossed around the foul ball, and stood among the spotlights to feel just a touch of greatness.
It has been an amazing week and just goes to show how wonderful summer can be. If every summer could have a week just as perfect as this past one was, I would have it made.
My mind feels at ease, my body is recharged, and with a new flurry of energy I’m about to annihilate all the writing projects I currently have going on.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!