October Spook-tacular (… not really)

Rogue snow(storm?) aside, October has been a weird month.

Weird in a (mostly?) good way, though leaving me in a constant state of flux. I’ve been both astoundingly active and needlessly bored from one day to the next and unfortunately, I haven’t spent as much time cooking as I would like, let alone try out new recipes. I’m gonna make a promise to myself to create a pumpkin chili I’ve been meaning to whip up for years and never have. This week. Scout’s honor. I’ll try to document it, too.

Mostly, though, I’ve been engrossing myself in music. Not that this is anything new; I tend to go through phases, though, where I’m content to listen to the same thing over and over for a month or more straight. I’m trying to break myself of that habit, and I’d like to share a few of the albums that have been making their way through my laptop speakers, car stereo, ear-buds, etc. as of late:

Black Cobra – Invernal

My love for Black Cobra knows no bounds, it’s true – but listening to their newest album, Invernal had me falling, head over heels, in love all over again, after all these years.

Wolvhammer – The Obsidian Plains

Conversely, Wolvhammer is a newer discovery and quick favorite/obsession. There is literally nothing I do not like, nay… love about this band. Raw, blackened thrash, seasoned to perfection with doom-y notes and charred over a roaring funeral pyre. Delicious.

Dark Castle – Surrender to All Life Beyond Form

Fuck. Yes. This album legit will send chills down your spine. Not a lot of metal bands out there today can do “spooky” so effortlessly and so well. Perfect for blasting, full-volume for all your Halloween-esque activities.

That’s all for now. Happy Halloween, dudes and dude-ladies.

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Mildly Rocked and to a Lesser Degree, Shocked

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, I know, but I’m back and with a vengeance, at that! First off, you may have noticed the new image at the top of the page. For that I’d like to throw out muchas gracias and tons of props to Mark “Wet Mess” Richards, Jack-of-all-Things-Weird. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a link to his website or his blog because he currently does not have either, but fret not! I’ve been assured that a site is in the works right this very moment, ensuring the masses will be assaulted with images of disgusting, barf-worthy nature in no time flat. ‘Bout time! Dude’s got pizzaz.

Secondly, I recently started writing for Metal Sucks, something I’ve been pretty stoked to keep up with. So far, it’s only been reviews and one interview, but I’m happy with it and actually looking to branch out to more sites and publications.

Now, on to business.

I had been asked a couple weeks ago to help out my friend Mike Pecci man (woman?) a table he had secured this years Rock and Shock Horror Convention. We would be selling some of his Grindhouse Shorts DVD’s that he had directed over the course of 5 or so years, and one of which I actually starred in. Not only was I happy to help out a friend, I had never actually been to a Rock and Shock convention, despite it being an active Halloween-time event for nearly a decade. For those of you not in the know a/k/a those of you from outside of New England, The Rock and Shock event as a whole is located in Worcester, MA and consists of a Horror convention and at a separate venue, arguably terrifying (to most) musical acts. I checked the schedule of events, as well as the celebrities that would be in attendance and what bands would be playing the Palladium down the street. On the up-side, GARY BUSEY WAS GOING TO BE THERE!!! Then I scrolled through the list of bands and was then thoroughly horrified. Mushroomhead, ICP, Twizted. Pretty much the worst line-up ever. But, I didn’t have to subject myself to the musical aspect, thankfully, just the fans that would be meandering the DCU Center for the actual convention. Close call! Who would subject themselves to that garbage? Oh, well, I guess I was going to find out!

Saturday morning, I woke up planning on being at the DCU center at 11 am sharp. It should be noted that this is a near hour and a half hour drive for me, so for a Saturday – well, for me on a Saturday – this was a bit ambitious. I guess my body thought the same thing, because I woke up with my eyes swollen shut. TMI moment: for the past couple months I’ve been occasionally suffering from some sort of ocular allergic reaction, causing my eyelids to swell up, get all gross and bleh, etc. After back and forth trial and error, I now think it’s my moisturizer. At any rate, I’m sure you can imagine transforming into a bombshell video vixen with gross, swollen eyes could be problematic. Maybe I could go as a zombie? Eh. After a few hours of chamomile tea compresses and cursing, the swelling went down enough to hussy myself up for the convention, and hit the road.

Let me say right now that although I may not understand or care for a number of different musical tastes, I fully support individuality and different lifestyles, no matter how outlandish. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else in the process of your soul-searching – go for it, buddy.
That said… I never want to be subjected to that many Juggalos again, ever, in my entire life. I was recently made aware of the eye-opening documentary American Juggalo and thankfully I watched it, because I had at least some sort of inclination of what I would be subjected to.

… though, actually, not a lot of them came to our booth. Sorry for all that build up, but that’s the truth of it. That’s not to say our booth wasn’t bangin’ – it was actually pretty on point. The location was great (right in front of the entrance and between two bathroom areas), the set up was eye-catching, to say the least. We had two swanky newfangled flat-screens playing clips from the DVD and some of the videos Mike helped direct with his partner, Ian McFarland. It was pretty fucking rad.

All this made for a pretty busy and eventful day – lots of autographs to sign, pictures to be taken with fans, weirdos to fend off, and so on. I had forgotten what it was like for people to actually know who you are, recognize you, and be excited about meeting you. It’s an interesting phenomenon, one that many close friends encounter often enough being in various touring bands. It’s a good feeling having people appreciate what you do, whether it be modeling, acting, or shredding people’s faces off in a metal ensemble. I always forget that sometimes the people I’m relaying a certain situation to go through it far more often. But I digress: after about 6 hours running around in my thigh high leather stiletto boots (yeah, that’s right, don’t hate) I was done for the day.

The next day would be shorter, and actually proved to be way slower, which personally, I wasn’t complaining about. More time I didn’t have to be running around in heels! PLUS I actually had time to meet and possibly take a picture with Gary Busey! Finally!
Of course, being the hot-shot, nutso celebrity he is, he was charging for autographs and pictures. I would probably do the same thing if I was asked to do a convention and had that level of notoriety Who knows, it’s not like that’s ever going to happen. Mike was nice enough to pay for both me, and our booth-mate Tony take pictures with the infamous loon. So, we meandered over, positioned ourselves in the very short line and waited for our turns. Taking up all of Mr. Busey’s attention was another group of vendors, all female, giggling and awkwardly flirting with the guy, which of course he was all about. Even knowing all about Gary’s unorthodox social skills, I was surprised to see these tactics in action. Frankly, I started to worry about what I was in for, after the mild groping and whatnot that was taking place in front of me. Finally, the ladies left, and after a couple people ahead of us, it was my turn. I shyly asked Gary’s assistant if he would be so kind as to allow me to take a picture with Mr. Busey, and ten bucks later, this became reality. I sat down and allowed him to put his arm around me, and smiled for the camera. Snap! Done. Attempting to get up, I was stopped. At this point, Gary stroked my face while uttering something about my “sweetness” and went in for a kiss. Dear lord. He did get me on the cheek. Ah well.

After a few more photos and autographs, it was time to be on my way, but not until Mike presented me with a huge, HUGE print of myself to take home. What am I going to do with a huge print of myself? Who knows. It’s a pretty awesome shot, either way:

The rest of October actually looks pretty busy, as well. Concerts, parties, all that jazz. Another Halloween in Salem, though. I’ll soldier through… maybe I’ll be a sexy lobster this year?

Drink of the Week: Sangria

Truth be told, all week I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with a suitable feature for my next installment of Drink of the Week. As an attempt to hold onto whatever strings of integrity one possibly could in keeping up an online tome of drunken ramblings, I’d wanted it to be something that I’d actually imbibed within a least the past couple of days. Not that I was at a loss for possibilities; red wine, multiple incarnations of vodka soda, Jameson and ginger ale… nothing at hand really piqued any interest. I told myself that I would get this done today, even with little money or ideas as to what the fuck I was going to write about. This morning, still under my covers and trying to mentally go through my breakfast options, I realized I had on hand the makings of red sangria. Or at least shitty, lazy-ass “this is kinda almost correct” sangria. What the hell, works for me.

Truth bomb #2: I haven’t made sangria in a while. After years of perfecting my recipe, I figured I’d give sangria a rest for a bit. After all, it would be a damn shame to get sick of such a versatile, festive concoction. There are innumerable variations and chances are you or someone you know has a go-to sangria recipe, be it white or red based. Personally, I stick with red and I prefer uncarbonated, though I find that for most people, and this seems to be the case especially in restaurants, carbonated sangria is the rule. Truth bomb #3: that pisses me off. Why sully a fantastic, full bodied yet refreshing drink with fucking Sprite? Who the fuck do you think you are, guy? I’m not some sorority chick looking to get wasted off a fruity, pansy-ass $7.99 pitcher of your house specialty. Do you know how many times I’ve seen sangria on a menu, gotten all excited, only come to find out the heathen mouth breathers at the bar throw together some Minute Maid, 7-Up, and a bottle of Shiraz and call it sangria? A shit-ton. Of course, everyone is free to his or her opinion of what good sangria entails. It is my belief that carbonated sangria is best suited for those made with a chardonnay base, but that’s just me.

Truth bomb #4: I’m currently drinking carbonated red sangria… and it is pretty fucking awful. Leftover Yellow Tail Cabernet, OJ and vanilla soda water which kinda makes it taste like yogurt. Sangria… yogurt. If the mere thought of that makes you want to vomit, trust me – it’s worse when you taste it.  Rest assured, what I’m choking down at the moment is nothing in comparison to what I usually make and is so far removed to what I would ever dare serve to a guest it’s a damn near crime.

My Red Sangria

    • 1 bottle of red wine (I usually use Zinfandel)
    • 2 cups spiced rum
    • 2 cups OJ
    • 1 cup chopped peaches
    • 1 orange sliced into rounds
    • 1 tbsp sugar (optional, I usually omit) 
    • Cinnamon sticks for serving

Marinate the fruit in the rum for at least an hour or overnight, in a pitcher if you have the time. Mix all ingredients except the cinnamon in your pitcher. Serve chilled, over ice, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Same as last week, this would be a fine accompaniment to a Mexican or Spanish meal, or how I usually roll: an accompaniment to homemade guacamole and chips. Damn, now I really want to throw another Taco Party… I should get on that. Now, excuse me while I finish this garbage-ass bullshit I’m making myself drink and proceed to vomit and curse for the remainder of the day. Integrity my ass.

Drink of the Week: La Paloma

Going out to bars, I usually stick with a handful of standard mixed drinks: Jameson and ginger ale, vodka soda with cranberry, and the occasional rum and coke or whiskey sour if I’m feeling extra sassy. For me, the time to get fancy is at home because I KNOW how I want my drink made and any fuck ups can be remedied at lightening speed with drunken precision. Sticking to such common concoctions also leaves less room for your bartender to look at you puzzled and pissed off when you request something they’ve never even heard of, let alone assembled. Still, there are nights I figure: fuck it. This is pretty standard, this guys gonna know what the fuck I’m talking about and make it for me lickity-split, no questions, right? Maybe not…

Me (happily): “I’ll take a Paloma, please”
Bartender (sternly): “Uh, no.”
Me (disappointed): “Oh, um, a vodka soda, then.”
Bartender (confused): “Sure… wait, what’s a Paloma, anyway?”
Me (informatively): “Tequila, grapefruit juice, club soda, and a splash of lime”
Bartender (sheepishly): “Oh… yeah, I can do that”
Me (stoked): “Yay!”

I can only imagine the embarrassment in having a 20 something pale skinned tattooed broad having to explain in detail the makings of a fairly standard tequila drink in front of a packed bar. But then, any mixologist worth their salt should really have this Mexican standard in their repertoire.

Yummmm

I’ll admit, I’d only heard of the Paloma in the past year. Having no actual bartending experience to speak of, I’ve always just kinda winged it, concocting on the fly with what I had on hand and/or with what I thought would mix well. Then I came across an article about the never ending plight of tequila – how for too long this once celebrated liquor has been reduced to a college kid’s nightmare, taking rank amongst Jager Bombs and Jungle Juice in the form of body shots or cheap-ass margaritas. It was touching really. Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL about margaritas. But it’s true; there is so much more to the world of tequila, and it was about damn time I put to use my inebriated alchemist’s chops to ensure its integrity. I started with the Paloma.

Spanish for “dove” (awwwww!!!), the Paloma is super-dee-duper common south of the border down Mexico way. It’s actually usually concocted with grapefruit soda and tequila, but an oft used variation (and one favored by yours truly) calls for tequila, grapefruit juice, club or soda water, and lime juice. Doesn’t that sound epically refreshing? You bet your tits it is! And low in calories, too, which… some of us care about. Check it:

2 oz blanco or reposado tequila
3 oz fresh grapefruit juice
3 oz. club soda or soda water
1/2 oz lime juice
salt for rimming (optional)

Mix over ice in a glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Definitely a welcome addition to any taco night/taco party – your guests will all be impressed, stoked, and appropriately buzzed. Maybe inappropriately, depending. But hey, we’re drinking fuckin’ tequila, right?! PARTY!!!!

Tofu Taco Tuesday

It’s true, it may be Wednesday now… but yesterday was Tuesday. Taco Tuesday.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that I tend to cook more in cooler months. My place doesn’t have central air or anything fancy pants like that, so the kitchen can get sweltering this time of year even without the use of the oven. Besides that, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this either, who wants to eat heavy comfort food on an 80 degree day? Don’t get me wrong; I’m counting down the days until the seasons change and the weather deems it acceptable to make my beloved baked stuffed squash. But right now the days are longer, the sun is oppressive and I’m sticking to light meals. I mean, I gotta keep my figure “non-beached whale-esque” for random beach trips anyway, right? C’mon.

It occurred to me the other night that I hadn’t made tacos in a while. And then I started to really want tacos. And then I decided that I wanted to do something completely different from the black bean and corn shebang I usually crank out when tacos pop into my head. They’re good! But… ordinary and predictable. It had been a while since I had experimented with recipes, to boot – the stars had aligned. Spinach and Tofu? Light, healthy, different, and super easy. Sounds about right.

I won’t lie – I used some pre-packaged chili seasoning instead of my own custom spice blend. It was on hand, staring me in the face!! I willsay, though, I felt I had somewhat redeemed myself after effortlessly whipping up the most AMAZING homemade “re-fried” beans on record (in my mouth) which, I mean, I know isn’t saying a lot; people don’t usually jump for joy, foaming at the mouth in the moments leading up to their unabashed, gluttonous consumption of… refried beans. But that shit was on POINT. In fact, I have leftovers and I’m totally digging into it with some tortilla chips later on, fat kid style. Anyway:

Chopped Spinach and Tofu Tacos

1 package extra firm tofu – drained and cut into super small cubes (cute!)
3 cups spinach, chopped and washed
3 -4 cloves pressed or chopped garlic
A heaping handful of grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 package corn tortillas
Half a packet of McCormick Tex-Mex chili seasoning

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pan on medium heat and add the tofu, cooking until lightly brown. Add the garlic and the seasoning and a bit of water (about 1 tbsp) and stir. Now add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted and coated with seasoning mixture. Throw in tomatoes, remove from heat and mix even more. You want the tomatos to be warm and a bit wrinkled from the heat, like your fingertips after staying in the bath too long. Now…

Awesomely Good and Stupid Easy “Refried-Beans”

1 14 oz can pinto beans
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
Dash (or two, to taste) of each of the following: red chili powder, garlic powder, and salt

Drain and rinse the beans, and transfer into a small pot with a bit of water (about 2 tbsp) and the oil. Mix and press down as the beans cook, partially to check for tenderness, partially because you want to mush the beans. Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir until the liquid has been absorbed into the mixture and you have a chunky, bean-y paste. Who needs lard?! Gross!

And assemble! I started with the beans, added the tofu and threw in some cheese and sour cream I had on hand. See for yourself, in the worst fucking picture of food ever taken, ever:

Shove these Bad Larry’s in your face and wash ‘em down with some vodka sodas (with extra lime) and you’ve got yourself a party.

Note: Skyy Vodka now comes in Dragon Fruit and it is amazing. Mix with soda water and the juice of half a lime (not a slice, not a quarter… half) over ice and BOOM – mouthgasm. Trust me. That’s my jam at the moment.

That’s all for now! Until next time, wherein we take an in-depth look into why I’m still single and I blather on about how I’m going to die alone and penniless in a homeless shelter at the age of 43 after an unsuccessful attempt at starting a Doggy Daycare Center/Singles Bar called “Booze Hounds”.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was…

Time flies, huh?

Already we’re nearing the close of August and while prior to late July my summer had been, well… a bit lackluster, I seem to have inadvertently packed a great deal of bananas goings-on into a short period of time. Mission accomplished? Potentially. The devil is in the details… so here are some brief highlights with vague side-quips:

– DIY shows! 40 chugging, sweat soaked, smelly, disgusting DIY shows. Fuck yes. Making friends by bringing homemade brownies doesn’t hurt, either. Props to Flying Snakes, The Proselyte, and Ramming Speed (among others) for tearing it up in Brighton and PVD, respectively.

– Having my parked car totaled and then going on a wild goose chase for a rental car all over the North Shore and Boston! (made possible by two of my favorite people ever – love you Adj & Jeff!!)

– Getting my first ever speeding ticket in the rental car!

– Lake Vacation!

– Shit-ton of adorable wildlife interactions!

– Getting rescued in the middle of said lake on a broken catamaran! A quick sailing trip turned “4 hour tour” a la Gilligan’s Island. Actually, fuck that, at least they had an island. It was more like The Perfect Storm.

– Bloody photoshoot! Literally, not figuratively and also not in a British sense…

– NEW (used) CAR!!!


– More shows!!

– Earthquake?! I didn’t feel it, but… it happened?

… and there’s more to come. Fuck yes.

For now, I’m gonna relax with my vodka soda (with extra lime), prefect my recipe for spinach and tofu tacos with homemade “re-fried” beans to relay to y’all (SO amazingly good AND healthy), and probably update this very post with more shit because I feel like I’m forgetting a thing or two or three. Hmmm…

Sleep Eating: I Still Hate Pretzels

The sling’s off, I’ve got my arm back, oh happy day, yadda yadda.

Let’s move forward.

This summer I’ve successfully visited one National Park, gone to the beach, and attended a horribly boring baseball game (great seats, great company, seriously shitty event). I’ve still got plans. It’s fucking summer and that means time for pool parties, camping, BBQ’s, WAY more beach time, basement shows, trips to NH, ME, PVD, and NYC and sealing it all up with a cross country road-trip before the crippling cold pummels New England yet again. In short: summer is about to be my bitch.

… but most of these things are yet to come, so let’s actually take a step back and explore the world of sleep walking/eating/gambling:

There are mornings, you and I both know, when you wake up oblivious to the previous nights’ goings on. Blacking out. Not an uncommon occurrence for those aged 21-30 (give or take). I myself have found myself in such a state a couple of times, I can’t lie… did you read the name of the blog? C’mon. You find yourself in your bed stinking of and Jameson and grilled cheese and PBR and and then you vaguely remember some two-bit, skank-ass ho’ named Bananacakes or some shit gave you a hard time down at the “Gentlemen’s” club because they played “Down with the Sickness” one too many times during your visit and maybe you got a bit sassy about it. So, that’s a night. That’s a story to tell, or a story to have told to you. You probably had fun! Go you. There’s a certain pill, I’ve come to find, that garners similar yet vastly different results.

Ambien

I’ll be honest – I’ve never been into drugs. I’m not gonna judge, to each their own, so I really… can’t say at all first hand what going on a true blue “trip” is like and I’m super okay with that. I mean, I guess until now. Because this shit is straight up fucked. A common prescription and seemingly unassuming, sure. I mean you take it, you fall asleep, and you wake up non-hungover. Kinda rad, right? I generally have trouble sleeping (to an annoying extent) so this was a welcome addition to my post-surgery arsenal. I think it could be understood that trying to get to sleep with the equivalent of a throw pillow tied to your arm and torso by two belts is not what one would consider an ideal situation, or comfortable, so there’s where the cycle starts. Take a pill, go to sleep, wake up. Take a pill, go to sleep, wake up. Take a pill, go to sleep, wake up… covered in chocolate and red pepper flakes. Also, a glass of lemonade… with red pepper flakes. And also, the kitchen is covered in chocolate footprints. And the light-switch is covered in, you guessed it – chocolate. So, that’s weird. But there’s an empty carton of ice cream in the trash, so… I ate it?
Apparently, sleep eating is not an uncommon side-effect of Ambien. People have been known to put out cigarettes in sandwiches and then eat them on the stuff. Thank fuck I don’t smoke.

Another night, similar routine: angrily (the Percocet Roller Coaster… another matter for another time) make some dinner, have a glass of wine, take a pill… wake up with pretzel sticks, hummus and a losing lottery ticket. For the record, I hate pretzels. I don’t remember the last time I went out and bought pretzels for myself. I mean, I guess that’s apparent. Because that’s apparently exactly what I did that night. In a zombie-like state, I left my apartment to go to the store to buy fucking pretzels and a lottery ticket. In the middle of the night. Asleep. There are eye witness accounts of this that were later relayed with both amusement and concern. Where did I go? Who did I talk to and scare the bejeezus out of with my zombie-like swaying hither and tither and possible REM cycle ramblings? I will never understand why, of all things, I chose pretzels. That scares me most of all.

So, that’s the end of that. In my opinion, stealthy weight gain and getting hit by a car when you’re walking (or driving?!) around at night on your way to buy snacks you abhor is not the way to live. And then subsequently die. Fuck you, Ambien.