Friday, January 28, 2011

Oscar predictions, based soley on personal prejudices

I don't usually write about movies here (or anywhere really), and that's mostly because I hardly ever go see them anymore. Priced out of movie theaters, I've begun the practice of obsessively watching trailers online, patiently waiting for the movies to come out, and then excitedly looking up the spoilers on wikipedia. It's sad really, and I acknowledge that fully.

Last year, I had only seen one of the best picture nominations, despite the number being increased to 10. (Although strangely, I had seen almost all of the animated nominations.) However, this week when the Oscar nominations came out, I was happy to see that even with my negligent movie-going, I have actually seen a total of four of them. Naturally, this means I need to celebrate Astorian Dream style by blogging about my opinions of all those nominated (whether I've seen them or not). Spoilers may creep in, so consider yourself warned.

The Fighter: I've always had something against Mark Wahlberg. I think because I decided, irrationally or not, that he was trying too hard to be Matt Damon. That coupled with the fact that I don't particularly enjoy boxing movies (no, not even Rocky), means that this one really hasn't made a blip on my radar.

See? Poor man's Matt Damon.

Toy Story 3: Saw this one. Twice actually. This won't win naturally, but I'm content knowing it has the "Best Animated Film" award in the bag. My only quibble was that they had to sully the franchise by going the 3D route. I didn't notice any actual 3D effects, which was nice, but they still made me wear the glasses and pay an extra $5 to see it, which was not.

127 Hours: I can't be impartial about this movie for obvious reasons. I did enjoy how the trailer focused totally on the main character biking around to catchy music and hitting on hikers, when undoubtedly the majority of the movie was a much more somber, watching him drink his own urine and sawing off his arm.

I think we can all see who the real star of 127 Hours is. And it's not the guy whose face didn't even make it onto the movie poster.

The Kid's Are All Right: I thought this movie was pretty funny (once you get past the tool shed that is Mark Ruffalo); however, the Academy has so conditioned me to disregard comedies that I was almost confused to see it on the list. Granted, there is some substance behind the comedy, but I just don't think this one stands much of a chance. Also, the ending kind of dragged.

Inception: This was a fun one--well-paced, good concept, well cast. As long as you are willing to turn your mind off a little and not ask too many questions, it's an enjoyable ride. I think this could have had a shot last year, but this year, they're are too many movies on the list without questionable plot holes.

True Grit: Points to this movie for containing Matt Damon over Mark Wahlberg. Also, this was just a fun film. I only recently (within the last few years) realized I really like Westerns. That said, I don't think this will win, partially because the Coen brothers just won a couple of years ago with No Country for Old Men. I actually think True Grit is the stronger of the two movies, but I don't question the politics of the system.

Winter's Bone: Followed it when it first came out, and, based on the spoiler, have no real objections to it. Also, it's set in the backwoods of Ozark country, and I do have a soft spot for the unique beauty (minus the meth labs) of that part of the country.

The Social Network: I tried to rent this at a Redbox the other day, and it was already out. Now, I'm not saying that's David Fincher's fault...but it does make it more difficult for me to say anything positive about this movie. I do, however, like Facebook okay. Well, not "like" so much as "harbor the usual 20-something addition for."

Black Swan: One of my friends kept trying to get me to go see this with her, but having already read the spoiler (something I do as soon as soon as the movie comes out, if I have no intention of seeing it), I knew there were plenty of disturbing things I didn't want to see on film. Regardless of how well she does it, I just don't need to see Natalie Portman self-flagellating for 2 hours. I do appreciate that this movie made this fact possible (quoted from the No Strings Attached New York Times review): "[Portman] may be the only Golden Globe-winning actress to simulate sex on screen with two former members of the cast of “That ’70s Show."

Hasn't Natalie Portman been through enough without adding self-mutilation and losing toenails in the name of art to the mix?

The King's Speech: This is my pick to win. Based predominantly on the fact that I enjoyed the little mini Pride and Prejudice reunion it contained. Also, it was just an engaging, well-told story backed up by excellent acting. I found it to be not only an enjoyable watch, but the most Oscar-worthy of the films I've seen this year.

I guess it's a little early to be getting out the Oscar predictions, but I want to have mine on the record before they get diluted by my actually seeing more than half of the films in question. I think it was actually a pretty decent year for movies. I only hope 2011 can live up. Based on the trailers I've seen thus far, I'm not really sure. I can't seem to wrap my head around this one at all.

Also, on a completely unrelated to movies note, a friend of mine just started a fun food blog called the Ignorant Epicure. Check it out if you want some New York City restaurant tips. I haven't gotten her out to review any Astoria eateries yet, but I'll work on it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Whining, maligning, and past-timing

I'm in a bit of a malaise right now. It could be because James Franco just got nominated for an Oscar (Or that he fancies himself a photographer now). More likely it's this terrible winter that involves temperatures below 10 degrees and far too frequent snow storms. I like the hibernating inside and using it as an excuse to bake thing, up to a point, but I'm finding even with the p90x, I'm feeling lethargic lately. And, frankly, a little bored.

I am usually a champion for all seasons, but I'm growing weary of winter. The snow is pretty when it's first fallen, but in the city, it so quickly transforms into a canvas for dog urine, spilled coffee, dirt, and cigarette butts. Which I guess is what the sidewalk is covered with usually, but at least it doesn't have the whiteness to highlight it. Also, people take up twice as much space on the subway with their puffy coats. Gone are the days of easy to sit next to skinny jeans and tank tops! Now the ride to work feels like being suffocated by giant black and gray marshmallow peeps with wet shoes and bad attitudes just waiting to spill their coffee on you if a snow drift doesn't present itself.

Since I can't change the weather, the natural solution is to change my outlook. I think I'm bored because I'm not taking on anything new. Sure, I've been doing the fitness thing, but it doesn't help to get me out of my apartment. I've also recently started up tin whistle classes again (we're focusing on ornamentation this semester!), but now that I've been doing it for a while the mysterious patterns created by a mere six holes is starting to feel like less of a challenge. To sum up, I think I need a new hobby.

There are no shortage of classes in New York, including everything from butchering your own meat to learning to pole dance. There's even an entire school devoted to training yourself to be a reality tv show star. I would think taking acting lessons would defeat the purpose of reality television, but this would explain why I lack the marketable appeal of, say, Snooki. The Wall Street Journal hilariously says about the New York Reality TV School that they teach you to "be yourself, to the max, only more so!"

But I digress. The class that really does appeal to me, and has for quite some time, is in aerial silks. I took a trapeze class a year or so ago and through it learned that I'm not as afraid of swinging upside down as I thought I was. Also, I hear it's a great overall core workout. And it meets the criteria of getting me out of my apartment, but also being warm and indoors somewhere. In the past, the limiting factor for me has been cost. But now I'm thinking: it's cold outside; don't I deserve nice things like aerial silks classes?

Presumably this isn't part of the beginner class. Otherwise, I should probably reconsider pole dancing.

Anyway, thanks for reading through my wintry woes. Complaining incessantly is seldom the answer, but it can help. As can baking brownies. Also, eating brownies.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A cat around town

Back in college, my friends bought a puppet from a dollar store in Conway, Arkansas. This tiger, who we named K-Tiger as related to a dorm feud (the story behind which is a bit too long to go into here), subsequently appeared at most of our parties sophomore year. We dressed her up in construction paper t-shirts with uniquely anatomical designs on them and posed her in the usual array of college party pics. This may sound slightly strange, but it is really just the natural result of liberal arts students living in small town Arkansas (in a dry county, no less!).

After college, K-Tiger moved with one of my friends to Oklahoma where she (both tiger and friend) have been residing for the last few years. I'd all but forgotten the puppet (who is famous enough to have gotten her own facebook profile with close to 30 friends), until my friend started posting pictures of her seeing the sites of Tulsa. As all my friends from college are now living in far-flung places and don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, she suggested we mail K-Tiger around to visit new cities (and perhaps even foreign shores). A sort of Sisterhood for the Traveling Dollar Store Tiger Puppet, if you will.

I was the first to receive K-Tiger in the mail a month or so ago and was happy to see her again. She seemed to have aged since last I saw her. There is a touch of dirt under her chin; her fur has lost some of its luster, and she has a slight tear behind one paw. The hard-living seems to have gotten to her since her wild, college partying days. She seems to show all the wear and tear, while I, Dorian Gray like, maintain the youthful glow that still gets me carded at the wine shop on my block.

Since I devoted some time to this project, I thought I would share with my blog readers some of K-Tiger's adventures in the Big Apple.

K-Tiger and I enjoyed a nice visit to the Met (actually, we just popped into the Met gift shop and then popped out to take this picture, but who's counting?). I would have gotten a better picture that didn't feature that random guy so prominently, but I was getting slightly wary of the strange looks I was getting from tourists.

This was supposed to be a shot of K-Tiger climbing the Empire State Building a la King Kong, but due to some miscommunication with my photographer, the waning daylight, and the fact that I did my p90x arms and shoulders workout that morning and couldn't stretch my arm high enough--this is the best I could do.

K-Tiger chilling at the Plaza. We tried to go to nearby Central Park but she found it a sad excuse for experiencing actual nature.

Just a couple of cats, out on the town. Er, well, in my living room. Naturally, these two got along famously.

That about wraps up K-Tiger's big city adventures. I was actually quite thankful to have her warming my hand, as it's been pretty cold here these last couple of weeks. Sadly, K-Tiger will soon be leaving me to go to her next destination: Sheffield, England. I will be personally escorting her in a few weeks, not because I don't trust Fed-Ex, but because I deserve the vacation and I want to visit my friend. I hope none of you will think the less of me for spending my week cavorting with a puppet.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Danish defeat

So this is probably in complete contradiction to my last post (although, to be fair, I never said I was following the p90x diet), but I'm excited to announce the return of Pillsbury Bake-off season. Every other year, amateur chefs across America have the chance to win $1 million by cultivating the newest recipe made predominantly of Pillsbury products. My strategy in the past has been to take things that are good and then try to figure out a way to recreate them using crescent rolls and refrigerated biscuits. I should point out, for anyone hoping to emulate this strategy, that I have never actually won the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I think I might not be in touch with what the American heartland is looking for food-wise.

This year, I'm trying a different approach to make it to Bake-Off Stadium in Orlando for the finals. So far this approach is two-fold: 1) Make an entree, because there's less competition probably than the brunch and dessert categories, and 2) Whatever it is, cover it in cheese. Because most things taste better with cheese on them.

The winner from last bake-off: neither entree nor cheese-covered. The time is ripe for change.

I encourage all my readers to think of their own clever Pillsbury bake-off ideas. You can then enter them yourselves, or, better yet, give them to me to aid my quest for bake-off glory. If I win, I can't guarantee you a share of the million, but I would promise you the $10,000 in GE appliances. They would probably not fit in the kitchen of any apartment I could buy in New York for under a million dollars anyway.

For those of you questioning my past bake-off failure, here's my main entry from last year. It's perfect for anyone who needs a tasty brunch and who happens to have a lot of brand specific products from Pillsbury and its subsidiaries (I'm just kidding, you can use any brand of almonds).

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T corn starch
3 T sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 package Pillsbury Place 'N Bake Crescent Rounds
1/4 cup Fishers slivered almonds

Orange Glaze
2/3 c powdered sugar
2 T orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 375.

On the stove, heat over medium-heat the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, and cornstarch, --stirring until the juices are released and everything mixes well. Continue to heat on medium, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place crescent rounds several inches apart. Unfurl each round, press one end flat onto to the parchment, and rewrap the rest around the flattened end. It should make a slight cup where the filling will go.

When the fruit is done cooking, spoon enough to fill each crescent cup to the brim. Put the danishes in the over for 12-15 minutes.

While they are cooking, mix the powdered sugar, orange juice, and zest in a small bowl to make the glaze.

Allow the rolls to cool for a few minutes before drizzling with orange glaze and garnishing with almonds.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 3 of my journey to becoming a body builder

With the sluggishness that comes with being forced inside by cold and snow and coupled with the constant ads for gyms that pop up this time of year, I can't help but think I need to recommit myself to physical fitness. Naturally, the logical solution would be renew my gym membership which expires next week. However, I'm not ready to put down the money for a whole new year yet. Also, I haven't been to that gym in a good two weeks now. This is partially because it's cold and snowy and I didn't want to walk all the way over there, and partially because I'm slightly scared that their super aggressive sales team will convince me to renew while I'm sweaty and vulnerable.

Without the gym, and without being able to run outside for another couple of months, I worry that my muscles will atrophy and I will no longer be able to climb down the stairs to get more Belgian waffle mix to feed my new waffle iron (which is another reason I should probably be working out...). Luckily, my friend suggested to me a fitness plan that seems promising: p90x.

It's kind of pricey (although still about 1/4 the cost of renewing my gym membership), but if reviews on Amazon are any indication, it does give you results. And I could stand to be a little more toned. Actually, the reviews on Amazon nearly kept me from buying it. So many of them said that while it definitely did work in the end, that the workouts were so intense that it caused them to throw up. I was slightly concerned but then I thought, "why would anyone work out until they threw up?" I think if I was feeling even the tiny bit nauseated I would go ahead and put the thing on pause. It's a video; it's not army boot camp.

The system is 12 dvds with different workouts that you do for 90 days. There's also a diet you're supposed to follow, but I'm not doing that portion yet (unless, and I haven't verified this, it somehow includes the Chinese take-out I had for lunch yesterday). My main problem with the diet isn't that the food looks bad--the recipes actually look quite good. It's the expenses I would have to incur if I actually followed the diet. In an effort to get you to eat a nice variety of nutrients, the diet tells you exactly what you should eat each day for each week of the program (there are 3 phases). The first day you get to eat a cup of fresh strawberries with your breakfast spinach and egg white scramble. But then fresh strawberries aren't on the menu again for 2 weeks! They probably aren't looking too fresh by then.

You'd think the p90x fitness program comes with a free can of spray tan. Strangely, I couldn't find mine.

You're supposed to take before pictures and then pictures of your progress every 30 days. I won't be posting those, so you'll just to assume I'm becoming extremely ripped. Tony Horton, the bizarrely perky trainer who leads all the videos, assures you that if you do all 90 days, you'll be ready to really bring it and do another 90 days with the "double workouts" option. Then, after that, he promises you'll be ready to climb Mt Everest because "you'll be a beast." This is only true if kickboxing, wacky jacks, and seemingly endless ways to do push-ups are the secret to high altitude mountaineering, which I suspect they are not.

Nevertheless, I'm willing to commit to Tony for the next three months. Today is day 3.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blast from the spring of 2007

This is something of a cop out update because I've gotten really busy with some freelance work lately. If only I got paid hourly to update this site! It's actually pretty exciting because they're letting me edit some books that one of the full time editors couldn't finish before she was promoted to another department. Better still, my first book to edit is one titled Ghosts and Poltergeists. Finally, something I learned in college will come in handy! Or rather, the hours I spent hanging around with my roommates watching episodes of Ghost Hunters will come in handy. I've already found a way to work "fear cage" into the glossary.

While I was looking for one of these assignments on my home computer, I ran across the text I'd saved from a short lived blog I kept several years back. I'd never revealed it publicly, but it ran under the heading "She only ate pops that were lolly" and chronicled my thoughts while living in South Africa in the spring of 2007. I enjoyed reading over it and being reminded of such things as the time I met a professional mime in a hostel in Namibia or the (I now realize) somewhat paranoid fear that my parents were hiding the fact that my dog had died because they didn't want to upset me (he actually lived another year after my return). While I'm busy researching hauntings, I thought I could entertain you with one such post from this former journal:

It started innocently enough; I just wanted to improve my posture. My friend Geraldine is often bemoaning my apparent "hunch" and telling me to "stand up straight!" and "be confident!" and "don't be ashamed to show off your breasts!" All good advice, I'm sure. At any rate, I asked my friend who is an actor about the Alexander technique and how I can train my body to better nurture my spinal column.

She explained it to me in the following way, which I shall publish for the benefit of anyone reading who suffers from hunching: First, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and imagine they are tripods-- your weight should be balanced in the center of each tripod naturally. Your knees should not be locked (keep them soft!) and your pelvis should be tucked but not jutting out. Don't suck your stomach in or let it hang out; try to keep it in a relaxed position. Feel your spine lengthening and widening (I'm not sure I've really mastered this step yet). Keep your shoulders back. As for your head, imagine it is a ping pong ball balanced by the fountain that is your spinal column. Congratulations! You are now aligned!

The problem though is that I've become obsessed with my alignment. When I'm walking past a reflective window, I have to look at myself to see if I'm standing up perfectly straight. People come up to me or say "hi" (its a pretty small town) and I don't even hear them because I'm so fixated on my own posture. Also, another part of the Alexander technique is that you take the time to "inhibit." The enemy of bad posture is feeling rushed and not taking the time when you stand up or sit down or even are just walking, to make sure that you are aligned. Thus periodically it is important if you feel you are slipping back into slovenly slouching, to stop wherever you are and repeat the steps I so thoughtfully outlined above. Inhibiting has also become a regular part of my day. At first, I minded the strange looks I got from passing cars when I stopped mid stride, spaced my feet shoulder length apart, had a look of concentration on my face not unlike when one is preparing a bowel movement, and then proceeded a minute later as if nothing had happened. But gradually my embarrassment faded as I became truly addicted to inhibiting.

The thing is I do feel taller, more confident, and oddly prouder of my breasts, but I also really miss thinking about other things. I've been promised that once my body is really retrained under the Alexander technique that I won't even have to think about it. I just hope that day comes soon, before I get mugged because I'm too busy looking at myself in a car window to pay attention to where I'm walking.

Here I am back in 2007, posturing against the wind.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Celebrating January

The fact that I only have one post in 2011 is starting gnaw at me, so I suppose it's time to write yet another one. I know, I know, the things I do for you, readers.

I feel like there's a lot to look forward to in 2011. There are inevitably so many things to celebrate on any given day. For example, according to a random site of holidays for January, today is International Programmer's Day. I have a feeling most programmer's aren't even aware of that fact. I encourage all of my readers who are in fact programmers to go out and demand your accolades. Also, a website devoted to International Programmer's Day suggests you send the lucky techies in your life a celebratory e-card.

Quite possibly the ugliest e-card ever. Best hope the programmer in your life doesn't have an eye for design.

I'm not super jazzed about International Programmer's day (not that I don't support and admire anyone who can read computer languages--I personally flounder at even the basic html to run this blog). However, tomorrow is a day I can more fully get behind. According to the National Confectioner's Association, tomorrow is National English Toffee Day. I personally like to live every day as if it's National English Toffee Day, but I'm still glad this is officially on the books.

Outside of just this weekend, there are reasons to celebrate the entire month of January. For you see, January is also California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month. Yep, that's a thing. “Dried plums are a great source of vital nutrients and contribute to a healthy digestive system,” says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. You can start your digestive health off right this month by entering the Super Snacking Sweepstakes at the official California Dried Plums website ( You could be $1,000 richer in the dried fruit of your choice.

I'm more of a dried apricot person myself. Luckily, January is also Apricot Month.

For those who like their produce a little more...hydrated, it's also National Mail Order Gardening Month. As far as I can tell, this means you should not only start a garden but do so only from seeds and bulbs from catalog mailings. I don't receive gardening catalogs, but that's not as big an impediment as the fact that I live in an apartment on a busy avenue without absolutely no green space. It pains me that I won't be able to celebrate this one.

Wishing you all a happy January! May all your gardening supplies come from write-in order forms and all your plums be shriveled!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010: A year in pictures

I noticed in the last week many bloggers were tackling a year in review. Mine's a little late, but it's still the first week in January, so I'm hoping my loyal readers will let that slide. I haven't been blogging for a full year, but I can say with pride that I did survive the whole year of 2010. Even more amazingly, I actually took pictures. Rather than go through exactly what I did over the course of the last 365 days, I chose a picture from each month that I feel succinctly captures the whole of my experiences. Well, not really, but I did find 12 pictures, and I think that's good enough.

JanuaryJanuary was the month I boldly returned to Astoria after a four-month stay in the bowels of Brooklyn (for the record, I have nothing against Brooklyn...but this apartment truly was an experience). I also participated in my first (and, to date, only) celebrity ping pong tournament. This here is Mike Myers being super Canadian and ponging against a professional table tennis player. You can't see it that well in this photo, but the pro is playing with his smart phone instead of a paddle. Sadly, I didn't make it past the first round and thus never got to bring my dream of going paddle to paddle against New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz to fruition. But at the very least, I raised a little money for a worthy cause (826NYC).

FebruaryThis was the month I journeyed to Austin to see a close friend's show choir rock out.
Sadly, none of those pictures really came out that well. By default then, my favorite picture of the month was this one. I met a friend at a weird "space-themed" fusion restaurant near Union Square. My friend is more adventurous than I and ordered the tacos with lemon pepper crickets (while I ordered the more conservative shrimp). It was one of the more disgusting spectacles I have seen. Be glad I'm sparing you the photos of her with a thorax and hind leg sticking out of her mouth. Being a wimp, I refused to try it, and just took photos of her meal. Weirdly, I was the one who ended up getting food poisoning from this meal.

MarchNot being content with the level of drunken idiocy that usually accompanies St. Patrick's Day in New York, this year I journeyed with some good friends to Dublin for the spectacle. They pretty much force you to adopt leprechaun hats and "Kiss me, I'm Irish" paraphenalia when you step off the plane (my sister was the only one among us who managed to resist the pull of the tiny green headband hat). This is the not the look I ultimately went with, but I feel this picture more fully captures my experience in Dublin than any of the pictures of me thoughtfully posing in front of writers' birthplaces or the Jameson distillery.

AprilApril was the month I took my very first steps to becoming a tin whistle virtuoso when I signed up for that over the Irish fiddle class I originally wanted (because the tin whistle was cheaper and you can carry it in your purse). I also went to the Bronx to see the New York Botanical Garden orchid show. It was there I discovered my camera could take awesome close-up shots if I was just able to hold it still long enough (this seemingly obvious revelation should make it clear what a photography amateur I am). Thus, this is one of about eighty pictures of orchids I took that day.

MayThis was the month I started blogging. Thus all of the rest of these events, you'll likely be familiar with. This one is from my part in the New York dance parade. This was truly the culmination of my bollywood dance experience, although I guess I could always return to perfect my skill at theatrical dancing. I feel this photo best captures my confusion as I try to keep up with the other dancers. I like to think I'm doing pretty much the same thing they are though. Also, the guy who's butt is nicely centered in this photo was not part of our troop. He was one of the super aggressive swing dancers that kept bopping all up in our dance space.

This one is from my June safari to New Jersey. As part of the theme park Great Adventure, there's a safari space that you can drive around in. It came free with our admission to the regular Six Flags theme park where we were able to ride the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. Really when it comes down to it, what can't you do in New Jersey?

In July, I journeyed with my mother to Mexico City to visit some dear friends of ours. This photo isn't actually in Mexico City, but rather a smaller city outside called Pachuca. Pachuca, in addition to having a cute little town center, is the number one seller of pastes in Mexico. Pastes are a traditional pastry filled with delicious meat or beans. They're kind of like empanadas except that the filling isn't cooked before it's wrapped in pastry. I included this picture because I thought I captured that puddle in the foreground quite nicely.

August was super hot. That's essentially all I remember about it.

SeptemberIn September, I painted my apartment and got furniture that matched (albeit from IKEA, but it still looks more like a grown-up space than it used to). More importantly, my parent's visited me and we journeyed upstate to experience the joys of excellent food and presidential house tours in Hyde Park. We also toured the gardens of the Vanderbilt estate there. My dad is a far better photographer than I am, and he captured this photo. These beautiful gardens have given me just the incentive I need to spur me on to become fantastically and filthily rich. Dying house plants just can't compare to sprawling square miles of carefully manicured beauty.

OctoberMy second dance parade experience of the year was in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. I, and a number of others, learned the dance to Michael Jackson's immortal classic "Beat It" and performed it for an eager crowd of thousands along 6th Avenue. Before the parade, me and a couple of friend's posed in our gang member finest. Notice how we all have a far different interpretations of the direction "look badass."

I realize I may have posted this exact photo already on my blog, but it's hard to think of a better image to encapsulate all that Thanksgiving stands for (guilt-free gluttony). I was lucky enough to holiday with this bad boy in Dallas this past November. I was also lucky to spend the holiday with my wonderful family; however, they might have more to say about me posting pictures of them freely on the internet. Oh, and I also finished my young adult novel (er, sort of) in November. Here's hoping to getting more of that done and edited in the coming year.

DecemberDecember was a very busy month (but then isn't it always?). This particular December I spent much time in Texas; however, I also managed a weekend trip to the great metropolis that is Pittsburgh, PA. While there, I went to the Phipps Conservatory where they have an expansive tiny village with several trains running through them. Naturally, when you see a tiny village with trains running through it, you must assume the pose of being Godzilla, ready to destroy the tiny town. I was supposed to threaten the passing train with my gigantic god-like fist, but unfortunately, the train is just starting to come into the shot. So instead, I just look like a crazy person.

That's about it for 2010. It's been an excellent year for me and Dinah (although I realized I somehow made it through a post discussing my entire year without bringing her up--an oversight I'm meaning to correct with this parenthetical). Also, I realized that, as of yesterday, I've lived in my wonderful Astoria apartment longer than any apartment I've ever lived in. Once you trick out a place in IKEA furniture, you're there to stay. Happy New Year, readers!