After not posting for a month, I announce that I’ll be heading out of town soon.  *SIGH*

My apologies, Dear Readers.  I’ve been juggling too many tasks lately, so more and more stuff has been pushed to the back burner.  Including these blog updates.  My bad.

So, I’ve been keeping very busy reading books and writing reviews.  My latest review book is over 800 pages long!  Okay, it’s in a graphic novel format, but STILL … In addition to my usual reviews — for the magazine and for the library — I’ve had a few “we thought you might like to do this extra thing” commissions.  All of which are coming just as I’m trying to tie up loose ends before we head up to Quebec for a week.  Yikes!  So on the plus side, my name will be out there more, and that will … I dunno, exactly.  Improve my Q rating?  On the minus side, I’m not getting paid for any of this, and my brain is starting to smoke.

I’m also keeping busy playing Pokemon GO (and doing so much walking that I’m getting shin splints) as well as Fallen London on my iPhone.  They are keeping different parts of my brain very busy — the text-based adventure with so much text that it’s like reading (yet another) book, and the game in which I catch bizarre and adorable monsters.

Fallen London

Pokemon GO

My boyfriend just retired, so we’re both adjusting to his new schedule.  Nine times out of ten, if I ask him if he needs me to set an alarm for him in the morning, he just gives me a look.  The great thing, of course, is that he has time to DO stuff.  Like take the car to the shop to make sure everything is in working order before the great drive north.  Like go out to dinner with his friends and colleagues (he didn’t want one big retirement party, but that means he’s having a dozen little parties instead!)  Like make me breakfast before I head out to work, fueling my walking-and-Pokemon-hunting time as well as the rest of my day.

Other stuff is … other stuff.  My brother has more ice cream and Italian ices in his freezer than before, which I DID NOT THINK WAS POSSIBLE.  But then again, it *is* ice cream season.

Freezer

He also had more cans of Axe Body Spray in his bathroom than … well, how many cans of Axe Body Spray do you think would be in the average frat house?  So, just take that number and round up.

Axe Body Spray

Seriously, though.  SERIOUSLY.  I mean, is it also Axe Body Spray season?

On the plus side, though, he sometimes exceeds my expectations.  We had a death in the family recently, and while I was afraid he wouldn’t call our cousin to offer his condolences, he actually did it.  Which, for him, is a major achievement since he usually won’t pick up the phone and make a call unless the world is ending (or the microwave is broken).

In other news, I’m keeping busy reading, writing, taking pictures, playing games, watching the Olympics, and listening to podcasts (most recently added: My Dad Wrote a Porno, which you should totally listen to … but NOT at work!)

In not-keeping-busy news, I’ve been utterly failing at updating this blog and updating my website.  Which sucks.  And which I need to improve ASAP, or whenever I’ve finished tying up all the other loose ends.

So, Dear Readers, does anyone have any Quebec-themed suggestions?  We’ll be staying for several days in Quebec City and several days in Montreal.  I’ll take historical suggestions, fun suggestions, poutine suggestions, and anything in between!

 

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While the vast majority of what I read is young adult literature, when I make time for “grownup books”  I tend to read particular fiction genres like fantasy / science fiction / mystery / horror, or else I read nonfiction.  I’ve been a fan of nonfiction books for many years, and true crime stories often have a special appeal. I’m easily swayed by excellent writing (In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt) and/or fascinating subjects (Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, celebrities, etc.).

I often find documentaries engaging and informative, even though a lot of them will bring me to tears and a lot of them make me angry.  I’ve walked out of the theater after watching some of these films feeling educated and frustrated at the same time.  Films like Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, Blackfish, and Capturing the Friedmans (directed by The Jinx‘s Andrew Jarecki) have pushed a lot of those emotional buttons in my brain.

If I’m flipping through the TV stations and I see an episode of Dateline, it can catch my attention within the first 30 seconds and then I’ll be hooked for an hour.  The same can be said for the Law & Order franchise with its “ripped from the headlines” stories.  Although in that case I might be multiplying that hour by however many hours the marathon is running … BUT I’m also factoring in who’s starring in each episode.  Is it an episode featuring Jerry Orbach or Vincent D’Onofrio?  Then I’m definitely sticking with it.  Does this episode feature Linus Roache as the super-annoying ADA?   Hmmmm … let’s flip over and see what’s on Dateline instead!  Or maybe I can find a rerun of 48 Hours, or even City Confidential!

And yes, I’m a big podcast fan, so one of the many podcasts I listen to is Serial.  I enjoy the format of listening to a controversial case unfolding one episode at a time, and that’s been another series that has been getting a lot of media attention lately.  I enjoyed the smaller scope of the first season (a 1999 murder case) and I found the transition to season 2 (a bigger case that was in the news a lot more) to be a little jarring.  But they just announced that they’re moving from a weekly to a bi-weekly format because they have so much new information coming in about the case of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, so I look forward to seeing how this will affect the story and if it can help uncover the truth about what really happened to him.

I’m giving you the background of my true crime / “true” crime reading, listening, and viewing habits so that you’ll understand my mindset when I first started watching the HBO documentary The Jinx about Robert Durst last year.  I watched the series week by week when it originally aired, and that inspired me to rent Andrew Jarecki’s earlier fictionalized treatment of the Durst saga All Good Things, which is what originally set the wheels of The Jinx in motion.  Then I recently read Jeanine Pirro’s new book He Killed Them All: Robert Durst and My Quest For Justice, and THEN I checked out The Jinx series on DVD and watched it all over again.  Along the way, my opinions about the Durst cases and the subjective reality of true crime coverage have been slowly evolving. (more…)

Last month I finally took Paul Scheer’s advice and checked out a podcast called The Worst Idea of All Time.  While I love bad movies and bad-movie podcasts, this one had an especially unusual premise: two New Zealand comics would watch one bad movie every week for an entire year, and record a discussion after each viewing.  For their first season they watched and discussed the Adam Sandler movie Grown-Ups 2 (and no, they hadn’t seen the first one).  For their second season, they are currently watching and discussing Sex & the City 2 (again, with little to no experience of the backstory).  After marathoning a bunch of episodes of the podcast over the last several weeks, I made an important decision.  I needed to re-watch Grown-Ups 2, and I needed to watch Sex & the City 2 for the first time.

SC2 Poster

I had watched Grown-Ups 2 just once before for a Razzie Project, and that was enough of  a traumatic experience that I never planned to do it again.  But after listening to several hours’ worth of rambling conversations that touched on many different facets of the movie, from music to minor characters to what the extras were doing in the backgrounds of different scenes, I wanted to take the plunge.  It was basically just as bad as I remembered, but this time I was more appreciative of the intentional and unintentional humor, and I got to fully appreciate Patrick Schwarzenegger’s acting chops.  Now, don’t get me wrong — IT’S STILL A BAD MOVIE.  But it was fun watching it with their commentary in my ears.

Then I watched Sex & the City 2, which is in some ways better, in some ways worse, and in other ways alarmingly similar to Grown-Ups 2.  I’ll bet you didn’t see THAT coming! (more…)

I usually schedule a few days off in December to catch up with last-minute Christmas shopping.  Today I went to midtown and visited the holiday shops at Bryant Park and Grand Central, and visited UrbanSpace Vanderbilt and the Fashion District holiday shops. I did some Christmas shopping and bought too much food, as usual.

Then I came home and did some laundry, recorded and uploaded a podcast, and caught up with watching the latest episodes of Fargo and At Midnight.

Oh, and I also caught up with various podcasts throughout the day.  Did you know that there’s a podcast called The Worst Idea of All Time, featuring two comedians from New Zealand who foolishly decided to watch the same bad movie every week for A WHOLE YEAR?  And that season 1 was all about the Adam Sandler fiasco Grown Ups 2 (which I watched last year for my Razzie Project) and season 2 is all about Sex and the City 2?

Well, there is, and you’re welcome!

Anyway, after all that happened I updated our library’s Tumblr posts.

And NOW it’s time to go to bed!

I just found out that the downside of getting paid for a magazine article is that I now have to fill out a bunch of paperwork.  However, the upside is that instead of using my article as an online feature as originally intended, they decided to make it a feature article in the print edition, which means a larger check!  Woo-Hoo!  Oh, and my boyfriend suggested that we go out to dinner to celebrate, and that we have the article framed.  Because he’s a great big sweetie 🙂

I’ve been doing so much walking around the city lately that I’ve been feeding my pedometer with lots of steps.  However, it seems that in my travels I’ve also been exposing myself to a lot more STUFF than usual … or I’ve been so wiped out and run down that my immune system has been screwy.  I thought I’ve been dealing with allergy symptoms for the last few days, but now I’m thinking it might be something more.  And I haven’t been sick in so long that I’m all out of the echinacea I would usually add to my tea to boost my immune system (I threw out the old stuff months ago because it had expired).  Right now I’m drinking a cup of Wild Berry Zinger herbal tea (because it is THE BEST) with lemon juice to break up my congestion and sorghum syrup because … well, because it was right next to the honey at the farmer’s market, and apparently my boyfriend isn’t always great at paying attention to labels (I’m not even going to MENTION the time he bought dog food for our cat!)  So I’m drinking the tea, plus taking some over-the-counter stuff that works for colds or allergies to try to cover all my bases.  And I’ve added honey and echinacea to our shopping list.

While I’ve been doing all this walking, I’ve tried to multitask and catch up with my podcasts.  I’ve found episodes of Spontaneanation With Paul F. Tompkins to be great company on my walks, although it’s sometimes problematic when the improvisers make me burst out laughing and suddenly I have strangers giving me very odd looks.  I’ve also been listening to episodes of Welcome to Night Vale, and the last several episodes, while chilling / awesome / hilarious as ever, have also incorporated music that is GREAT for walking.    I’m telling you that “Matches” by Sifu Hotman got me through a huge portion of my walk through the Northwest Forest of Van Cortlandt Park.  I might need that song on an endless loop whenever I go walking ANYWHERE.  Or it would even be good for dancing alone in my apartment … uhm … you know, hypothetically …

What else?  Oh, I got a kick out of this article my boyfriend sent me from the frigging NY Post: Women Are Not Capable of Understanding ‘Goodfellas.’  Because yes, that is one of the many movies that renders the remote control suddenly useless in his hand whenever he’s flipping through the channels.  And I’m all, like, Um, how many times have you SEEN this?  You really need to see it AGAIN?  And then I’ll be exposed for the upteenth time to the scene of the guy getting the crap kicked out of him to the song “Atlantis” by Donovan.  Which USED to be one of my favorite songs, except now it conjures up that damned scene in my head, which always takes it down a few notches.   Oh, and FWIW, the scene where Russell Crowe fights the tigers in Gladiator also has a very similar “can’t change the channel” effect on my boyfriend.

I stopped by work today to drop off and pick up books, and to bring in some cupcakes and good cheer for my colleagues.  Tomorrow night I’m having dinner out with friends.  The rest of the week should be pretty low key.  I’ve got laundry to do, and website stuff to deal with, and books to read, and reviews to write, and more walking / podcast appreciating.  Oh, and I have a work-related meeting, plus a YA book club meeting.  And maybe this weekend we’ll go to see Jurassic World?

So anyway, I should be busy, but not too stressed out.  Now all I need to do is break through whatever crap is clouding my head so that I’ll be back in fighting shape when I have to go back to dealing with our patrons next week …

We signed the lease for the new apartment this week, and I sent in my official notification to my current building management company that I would not be renewing my current lease.  We’re going to have a 2-week overlap in August during which we’ll be moving stuff, painting, having furniture delivered, having stuff installed, etc.  Going from a studio apartment to a 2-bedroom is going to be very exciting — another TV!  More rugs!  A new bed!  And more things we haven’t thought of yet!

I’m sorting out some more website/podcast stuff.  I moved my website content and podcast episodes to a new server several weeks ago, and while my newest content definitely exists on my website and sort of exists on iTunes (the new episodes are showing up, just in a new location), if you actually look up my podcast on iTunes all you see is the old list of episodes which stopped updating several weeks ago.  So I just sent iTunes support an email that I hope was polite, well-constructed, and able to convey that I took multiple steps to try to figure things out myself before bugging them about it.  So we’ll see how that goes.

Speaking of podcasts, I have several more episodes in the pipeline on other people’s shows.  So I’m waiting with bated breath to see if my brilliance / hilarity / impeccable comic timing will be revealed soon … ish?

We went to see the Rifftrax presentation of Sharknado at a theater in Union Square this week, and MAN, was that fun!    BTW, if you missed it they’re going to be re-airing it on July 15th!  Go see if it’s in a theater near you!

I went to several meetings in midtown this week, which means that I got to pick up some lovely lunches at Hale & Hearty Soups and Five Guys Burgers & Fries, in addition to some splendid desserts.  Oh … plus I got to exercise my mind, and stuff.  That’s what people usually remember about going to meetings, right?

Tonight I’ll be attending the going-away party for the librarian who’s leaving our system (and whose lovely apartment I’m inheriting!)  So that will mean good company, good food, and good drinks.  It will also mean loud music, but I can put up with that for an hour or two.

Tomorrow my boyfriend and I will visit my brother and deal with some more legal paperwork and banking stuff.  Next week I’ll be going to my bank to start on my beneficiary paperwork, as well as opening my own IRA and perhaps a savings account.  I need to set up several accounts so I can roll things into other things. It’s all VERY exciting.  Or, I suppose, it will be when it’s all over.

I went and ordered a Welcome to Night Vale t-shirt for myself today, which reminded me …

Welcome to Night Vale Shirt

If you’re not already listening to this podcast for the reasons I’ve previously shared (it’s hilarious, it’s creepy, it’s Lovecraftian, and the librarians are especially evil) then I’ve got a few more reasons for you:

10 Reasons to Listen to Welcome to Night Vale