Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Did I Accomplish My 2014 New Years Goals?

As 2014 winds down, with The Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy Channel playing in the background, I thought I would check back on my 2014 Goals. Here is what I have done, what I have not done, and if not done will be placed on the 2015 Goals list.

Dani’s 2014 (Two Thousand and Clean!) Goals

Starting: January 1, 2014
Ending: December 31, 2014

(If in bold it means that it has started and in progress. If it had a line through it it is complete or something happened and I did not complete it.)

Read 100 books (57/100)
--Black Hole by Charles Burns
--Divergent by Veronica Roth
--Fairest Volume 2: The Hidden Kingdom by Bill Willingham
--The Walking Dead Volume 15: We Find Ourselves by Robert Kirkman
--Locke and Key Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill
--Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock Knock Jokes by Karl Kesel
--Morning Glories Volume 6: Demerits by Nick Spencer
--Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
--To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
--Mind Mgmt Volume 1: The Manager by Matt Kindt
--Stripping and Other Stories by Pagan Kennedy
--All Star Superman by Grant Morrison
--Robyn Hood: Wanted by Pat Shand
--Dominique Leveau Voodoo Child: Requiem by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
--Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
--Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabios Moon
--The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
--Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman
—X Men: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont
—Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
—The Kingdom of Wrenly: The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn
—The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
—Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
—The Walking Dead Volume 16: A Larger World by Robert Kirkman
—I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
—Catwoman: Her Sisters Keeper by Mindy Newell
—Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Vampires/Werewolves/Zombies/Demons by Pat Shand
—Harley Quinn: Night and Day by Karl Kesel
—Fun with Kirk and Spock (A Parody) by Robb Pearlman
—Catwoman: Death of the Family by Ann Nocenti
—Suicide Squad Volume 2: Basilisk Rising by Adam Glass
—Wonder Woman: Odyssey by J. Michael Straczynski
—Where’s My Happily Ever After? by Elle Kay
—The Walking Dead Volume 17: Something to Fear by Robert Churchman
—Ame-Comi Girls Vol. 1 by Jimmy Palmiotti
—I, Vampire Volume 1: Tainted Love by Joshua Hale Fialkov
—Sin City: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller
—I, Vampire Volume 2: Rise of the Vampires by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea
—Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
—The Walking Dead Volume 18: What Comes After by Robert Kirkman
—Over Easy by Mimi Pond
—Huntress/Power Girl Worlds Finest Volume 1: The Lost Daughters of Earth 2 by
Paul Levitz and George Perez
— Manga Classics Presents Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
— Catwoman: No Easy Way Down Volume 2 by Ed Brubaker
— The Walking Dead Volume 19: March to War by Robert Kirkman
— Night Passage by Robert B. Parker
— On My Knees by Periel Aschenbrand
— Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
— The Walking Dead Volume 20: All Out War by Robert Kirkman
— Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E. Zuiker
— The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker
— Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
— Marie Antoinette Serial Killer by Katie Alender
— The Walking Dead Volume 20: All Out War by Robert Kirkman
— Level 26: Dark Prophecy by Anthony E. Zuiker
— A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Watch 50 movies (26/50)
--Her starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johannson
--Ride Along starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube
--Violet and Daisy starring Saorise Riordan and Alexis Bledel
--I, Frankenstein starring Aaron Eckhart
--The Lego Movie starring Will Arnett and Elizabeth Banks
--Mr Peabody and Sherman starring Ty Burrell and Max Charles
--Tiger Eyes starring Willa Holland and Amy Jo Johnson
--Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater
--Muppets Most Wanted starring Ricky Gervais
—A Haunted House starring Marlon Wayons and Jamie King
—The To Do List starring Aubrey Plaza
—American Mary starring Katherine Isabelle
—Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie
—Thanks for Sharing starring Mark Ruffalo
—That Awkward Moment starring Zac Efron
—About Last Night starring Kevin Hart
—Guardians of the Galaxy starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana
—Grudge Match starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro
—Sin City: A Dame to Kill For starring Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba
—Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johannson
—Dead Still starring Ben Browder
—Austenland starring Keri Russell
—The Shining starring Jack Nicholson
—Kill The Irishman starring Ray Stevenson and Christopher Walken
—The Other Woman starring Cameron Diaz
—National Lampoons Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

Attempt to go to bed every night at 11pm and wake up at 6am every day. (Yeah...this sort of happened...not every day though)
Laugh at myself more often. Stop taking everything so seriously. (Another thing I need to work on.)
Save up enough money for either an iPad or a Alexander McQueen scarf for my birthday. Birthday passed. Didn’t get either. Its all good.
Participate in a Photo 365 Project on Facebook. (Granted I would forget and not post on the particular day but I did it.)
Write more in a journal. (Did this too. Not as much as I should have, but again something to work on.)
Try a yoga class. If I like it, will continue. If not, that is okay. (Nope. Didn't even attempt. Will not add to 2015 goals list)
Take a class at Havens Kitchen (Something else I did not attempt as their classes are expensive and I did not want to go by myself.)
Experience one of the Side Tours in NYC. (Same reason as the Havens Kitchen reason)
Ask everyday on Facebook before I go to bed “So what was the best part of your day?” Keep a log of the best responses for a new blog feature. (I did this for a while but it did not catch on. Oh well.)
At end of my workday, write down three positive events/what I am grateful for. (For whatever particular reason, I stopped doing this. I do not know why. I will start this up again.)
Walk across and back over the Brooklyn Bridge. (Again, I always write this and NEVER DO IT because of the fear of doing it alone.)
Read a fact a day from Love, Sex, Death, and Words by John Sutherland (The facts got somewhat boring but I think I will start this up again.)
Continue to study French, even if I am not taking classes at FIAF.

--Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl X Experience at Discovery Times Square (2/1/14)
--Jersey Championship Wrestling in Edison, NJ (3/14/14)
--Heathers The Musical in NYC (3/22/14)
--WWE Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans, LA at Mercedes Benz Superdome (4/6/2014)
— Pro Wrestling Syndicate in Rahway, NJ at Center Circle (4/26/2014)
—Jersey Championship Wrestling in Middletown, NJ (5/10/2014)
—Screaming Females at Brooklyn Night Bazaar in Brooklyn, NY (5/16/2014)
—NYC Zombie Crawl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (5/25/2014)
—Pro Wrestling Syndicate in Rahway, NJ at Rahway Rec Center (6/7/2014)
—Lindsey Stirling in Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom (6/20/2014)
—TNA Impact Wrestling in NYC at Grand Ballroom (6/26/2014)
—Dita Von Teese Strip Strip Hooray at Gramercy Theatre (9/20/2014)
—Robert Kelly at Gotham Comedy Club (10/17/2014)

So, how was your 2014?

2014 Best Pop Culture Favorites As According to Moi

With some inspiration from Stephen King, I asked myself this question -- Did I have a great year pop culturally speaking? I would have to say yes; and this years list includes only things I enjoyed in 2014 and that is fine. Here is a list of 15 things that made me squee with fandom. Please remember -- I am more interested in entertaining myself than in a OMG this is a great moment/statement. So let us get this ride started.

15: The book Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This was the little book that could if you are a dystopian reader. This book was highly underrated. It is a trilogy and this is the first book. Please look beyond the unfortunately inevitable comparison to The Hunger Games. Here is the book description: On desolate Mars, the protagonist, Darrow, is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, taking on a dangerous role in an attempt to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. By turns brutal and heartfelt, Red Rising is nonstop action with surprising twists and unforgettable characters

14: Scarlett Johansson being a bad ass in the movies Lucy and Captain American: The Winter Solider.

13: Guardians of the Galaxy. Do I need to say anything else?

12: The episode "The Sign of Three" of Sherlock.

11: The music service app Spotify. I started using it more instead of Pandora as it has more of a selection and it has helped me find music that I haven't heard in a long time to creating mix CD's for my love and friends. If you haven't used it, give it a shot.

10: The book The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. David Mitchell weaves a story like no other writer today. Bouncing around through time, making the early 80's come to life just as easily as making the not-so-distant future terrifyingly real. The characters are what keep you reading through the endless pages. Lucky us--the ending promises to revisit many of them in the next go-around. Highly recommended to David Mitchell fans, but newbies should start with his earlier work.

9: Getting really into the Funko Pop figures to the point that I actually pre-ordered the Dancing Groot one.

8: Pausing to "look at the flowers". It happened on The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy that just speaks of the allusion from the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men and that made my inner bookworm squee.

7: The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. This trilogy is considered to be nontraditional science fiction and how could you not enjoy these plots: The first book trails a team of women chosen (sacrificed?) for an exploration of Area X. The second investigates the aftermath of the expedition from the halls of a broken, festering government. And the third? It ties everything together, forming the crux of VanderMeer's deeply unsettling philosophical argument. If you have not read this trilogy yet, get your hands on it in 2015.

6: The complete shock that Jax Teller kills Wayne Unser on Sons of Anarchy in the second to last episode of the series. Now of course I expected Jax (Charlie Hunnam) to kill Gemma (Katey Sagal) due to the fact her lie and deceit about the murder of Tara was perpetuated by her but Jax putting a bullet in Unser (Dayton Callie), who refused to leave the two alone, turned some fans against Jax and made a bunch of us question WTF? It wasn't just the most shocking moment of the final ride, it was the most shocking moment of the entire series, at least for me.

5: I fell into the hype of the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and will say that the movie was better than the book. Maybe I should update that blog piece? I certainly get why some fans of the novel, which I am not, walked out of the theater disappointed. Movie adaptations never mesh with the way we envision characters on the page. But I will admit -- I enjoyed the adaptation put forth by David Fincher better. I loved it as a bleak account of modern love after it's curdled, as a wicked satire of cable-news scandal-mongering, and as just a good old-fashioned dark-as-hell thriller. Fincher's film managed to tease us, play with our loyalties, and sucker punch us with surprise twists most of us already knew that they were coming.

4: Something else from Sons of Anarchy -- the song "Come Join the Murder" by The White Buffalo and Forest Rangers. It was perfect as Jax found peace in death; the same way Hamlet did.

3: This isn't something that I would consider to be the best pop culture favorite but it brought to light that even though you make others laugh and smile and appear to be happy does not necessarily mean that you are and that everyone needs help -- the suicide of Robin Williams. This news came to a complete shock to everyone, including myself. I remember stepping out of my room and telling my family and the look of WHAT across their faces was the look the entire world had. If you know anyone who is suffering from mental illness, please make sure to reach out to them to make sure they are okay.

2: This was the year that staying dry was a challenge. Yes I am talking about the damn ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I did not participate as my body would have hated it due to my disorder but it was nice to see a cause go wildfire. I just hope the money raised for ALS actually got there.

And the best pop culture favorite for 2014 goes to...

1: THE BUTT. Sir Mix-a-Lot should really consider a career as a trend forecaster. The rapper was way ahead of his time when he proclaimed his love for a juicy booty in his one hit wonder "Baby Got Back,'' because 2014 will undoubtedly go down as the Year of the Backside. Jason Derulo's ''Wiggle'' encouraged big butts to shake. Meghan Trainor defied those body-image expectations with ''All About That Bass.', even though you should consider yourself beautiful regardless of your size. Nicki Minaj even sampled ''Baby Got Back'' on ''Anaconda.'', much to my smirk and smacking my head. Then there was Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's duet, ''Booty,'' in which the video was basically the U.N. Summit of Ladies With Well-Endowed Cheeks. Plus, how can we forget Charlie Hunnam revealing his rump on Sons of Anarchy a lot this year and had the Parents Television Council crying and most of the Internet cheering. But why all of this focus on the rear? It's not rocket science — we have been working our way down the body. In the '90s, boobs were huge, both literally and figuratively. We moved on to abs in the 2000s, with Britney Spears displaying her midriff whenever she had the chance. Enjoy your time in the sun, butts. Hollywood can be fickle. Maybe in 2015, legs will get a shot!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Haul 2014

As I have some Food Network playing on my television in the background, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to write up my 2014 Christmas Haul. It has been a crazy festive time. Donated clothes to The Bowery Mission, wore a reindeer sweater to work, drank copious amounts of peppermint hot chocolate, visited various holiday windows, and wore mistletoe. I think because I work in Kindergarten as well as finding my true love is the reason why this holiday season for me has been magical. I want to wish you all a festive day! For myself, today is all about my wonderful family, the food that my mom has prepared for us, and enjoying each others' company. I also cannot wait to share the joy! My wish for all of you that read my blog is that you are surrounded by loved ones and have a wonderful, relaxing day. Happiest holiday to you. With all of this being said, here is what I received this year. Please do not think I am rubbing it in -- I do know the true meaning of the season.

From Myself (Yes I bought gifts for myself. Do not judge.)
--Anchor knee high socks from Sourpuss Clothing
--Stars and skulls knee high socks from Kreepyville Clothing
--Ouija board knee high socks from Too Fast Clothing
--Black athletic striped tube socks from Amazon.
--Clinique Almost Powder Makeup in Fair
--Maybelline Master Smoky eye pencil in Smoldering Violet
--Farscape IASA t-shirt from Think Geek
--Doctor Who Tardis over the knee argyle socks from Think Geek
--The UK Edition of My True Love Gave To Me book edited by Stephanie Perkins
--A skull open cardigan
--A Weeping Angel Statue of Liberty
--A Doctor Who TARDIS cardigan

From My Family
--A classic peacoat in black
--The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm (that I must share with my brother)
--The Book of Excuses and Lies

From George
--Flowers in a stocking boot.
--His horseshoe ring that fits perfectly on my left hand....hmmm....
--A heart locket necklace
--A Hershey's Kiss pendant (the kiss that last forever)
--A Sons of Anarchy thermal
--Revival by Stephen King
--A black and gold charm bracelet that I can add to if I wish
--A Woodland Walk, Sundried Linen and Mountain View candle
--Four handmade wooden pins
--A teddy bear Christmas ornament
--A skull and crossbones bandana

From Fran in work
--A Hot Apple Cider candle
--A pair of heart earrings
--Nourishing hand cream from Avon

From my students
--A lot of chocolate
--An Alex and Ani four leaf clover bracelet
--A The Body Shop Clementine gift set
--A Pumpkin Spice candle
--Homemade cookies
--A scarf
--A LeSportSac makeup bag

Monday, December 8, 2014

"The Book is Better" Holiday Gift Guide

Today I decided to put together a mini-gift guide of books I have read and loved, because as always the book is better, divided by who in your life who might like them. Most, not all, of the books are fairly recent and have published in the past two years or so.

Enjoy and happy reading!

For your advice loving friend: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

For your comedy fan friend: Yes Please by Amy Poehler Nine times out of ten, he or she has probably read everything written by George Carlin, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and Bossypants by Tina Fey.

For your crime/thriller friend: Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E Zuiker

For your writing obsessed friend who just finished NaNoWriMo and wants to continue writing: On Writing by Stephen King

For your healthy tips loving friend: Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath

For your paranormal romance/vaginal fantasy fan friend: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

For your zombie fan friend: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

For your romance fan friend: Written in My Own Hearts Blood by Diana Gabaldon

For your graphic novel fan friend: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

For your comic book fan friend: The Joker: Death of the Family (The New 52) by Scott Snyder

For your dystopia fan friend: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

For your horror fan friend: Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

For your post apocalyptic fan friend: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

For your sci-fi/fantasy fan friend: The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

For your historical fiction fan friend: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

For your non-fiction fan friend: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Advent Calendar 2014

Besides Halloween, I will admit I still get excited for Christmas time. Things just seem to be more magical in the month of December. Maybe it is because of finally finding the love of my life or maybe it is due to still working in Kindergarten; I do not know. For the fourth year in a row, I am doing an activities Advent Calendar to count down to Christmas after reading some great articles online about it. I am big on traditions so here is an outline. Most of the things will be done either by myself, with George, or with my family. Also, just because there is a date attached does not mean it will happen on that date -- it is more of a checklist.

December 1st: Gather clothes and bring to The Bowery Mission.
December 2nd: Make Christmas mix CD for George and mail it. (Done!)
December 3rd: Get holiday cards.(Done!)
December 4th: Wear mistletoe headband. (Done!)
December 5th: Watch the movie Scrooged.(Done!)
December 6th: Get some chocolate coins and give them to people who make me smile. (Done!)
December 7th: Wear Christmas ornament earrings (Done!) get some hot chocolate at Hu Kitchen (Done!) & walk around Union Square holiday market. (Could not do this due to all of the protests going on because of the Eric Garner grand jury decision. Did not feel safe.)
December 8th: Watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
December 9th: Start writing out holiday cards. (Done!)
December 10th: Get a holiday inspired manicure. Make sure one nail is sparkly! (Done!)
December 11th: Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Done!)
December 12th: Mail holiday cards. (Done!)
December 13th: Spend some time with some old friends and laugh at some Christmas mischief. (Done!)
December 14th: Watch He-Man & She-Ra A Christmas Special (Done!)
December 15th: Get a holiday inspired candle from Bath and Body Works.
December 16th: Make Star Wars themed glitter snowflakes.(Done!)
December 17th: Go watch some ice skaters in Bryant Park. (Done!)
December 18th: Watch one of my favorite movies Untamed Heart and have a good cry.
December 19th: Cozy up in some pajamas and watch the Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. (Done!)
December 20th: George visits. Visit the Rockefeller Center tree (Did not do as everyone does this and we are not ordinary) and walk along 5th Avenue and look at the holidays windows (Same reason. Everyone does this. We are not ordinary and never will be. I did see the Macy's windows as I have to walk past it to get to the Port Authority.) and take a picture with Santa. (Done!)
December 21st: Watch all of the Christmas episodes I have on DVD.
December 22nd: Make sure all of my gifts are wrapped. (Done!)
December 23rd: Wear ugly Christmas sweater to work. (Done!)
December 24th: Go Christmas caroling in Washington Square Park. (Could not do this due to the rain. Oh well.)
December 25th: CHRISTMAS!!! Open presents and watch The Muppets Christmas Carol.

I hope all of my readers are enjoying this holiday season! What did you do for the season? Leave a comment below to let me know!