Diaries: We all used to be someone else

Who you are when you’re fourteen is not who you are going to become. In fact, I would argue you are hardly a person at all. In this regard, I have proof. I have always been an avid archivist and was recently going through some old journals, inspired by the hilarity of the Mortified podcast. Case in point, here are some actual quotations taken from my actual journals from the years 2004 and 2005:

“I have come to the conclusion that I am doomed.”
“My song is Crush by Mandy Moore because it describes our situation perfectly.”
“It’s hard to be cheery and describe a good day when you’re dead inside.”
“Geometry sucks big ones.”
“I watched Joan of Arcadia and this hott science guy kissed a science girl and my heart went all aflutter. I want that.”
“Stephenie Meyer is my hero.”
“MCR is GOD.”
“Everyone hates me.”
“I don’t think <name redacted> likes me. Yesterday online he was such a sweetie! Today he acted totally different…I’m gonna keep him until the dance. I really want a date and a Valentine.”
“Yesterday was the dance. Guess what? <Name redacted> broke up with me! At the dance! How classy! Grrrr. I HATE HIM.”
“I want so badly for someone to love me.”
“<NAME REDACTED> DOES NOT LIKE ME AND I DO NOT LIKE HIM! I will not deny he’s cute and I wanted to sit on his lap today. SHUT UP BRAIN!”
“What am I doing? My life is spiraling in the wrong direction.”

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Checking In: FODMAPs and Exercise

My doctor cancelled on me for the third time and rescheduled my appointment. Ordinarily, I would not complain, but she’s my gastroenterologist and I really need to see her. Little known secret but for the past two years I’ve been dealing with unexplained stomach issues that I’m still in the process of diagnosing (my hope is to have things close to sorted by the summer).

Long story short, I’m gluten free and also a bona fide FODMAPer. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols or delicious things I can no longer eat because they make my stomach angry. I have to avoid fructose (apples, honey, high fructose corn syrup, rum), lactose (some dairy, but not all dairy; let’s hear it for lactose free milk and ice cream people), fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin, aka stuff that is in EVERYTHING), galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, and soybeans), and polyols (sweeteners like mannitol and sorbitol, apricots, pears, mushrooms, cauliflower). It sounds incredibly restrictive, but it’s really not so bad. It has meant some inventive times in the kitchen, but I kind of enjoy the challenge. Getting used to the diet had a steep learning curve, but I seem to be getting on the right track with the help of a talented team of physicians. It makes dining out difficult, but that’s what sushi is for. And it is not a forever diet. Eventually, I will add that which I’ve eliminated back in and figure out what I can tolerate and what I really can’t. But I have to figure out what’s wrong before I start challenging my body.

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Review: Seconds

As I may have mentioned before (here), I’ve never read Scott Pilgrim, but I’ve read both of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s standalone works. His newest graphic novel is called Seconds or, as I like to refer to it, a trippy, whirlwind, fable of wonder.

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Seconds is a lot more grown up than Lost at Sea, whose protagonist is so reserved and adrift. Lost is very much a story for young adults, while Seconds’ protagonist Katie is no kid. Seconds tells the story of the sharp-tongued, clever, and talented chef Katie. She’s nearly thirty and well established in her life as a professional chef at her successful restaurant Seconds (see what they did there?) and is in the process of opening her new, dream restaurant. However, things quickly begin to go wrong as her ex-boyfriend makes an appearance, her relationship with the new chef at Seconds begins to sour, her new restaurants becomes entrenched in contractual purgatory, and one of her waitresses is badly injured on her watch due to said “workplace canoodling.” And then Katie is faced with an out: a mushroom, a notebook, and a set of instructions reading, “1. Write your mistake. 2. Ingest one mushroom. 3. Go to sleep. 4. Wake up anew.”  Katie is given a second chance (again, see what they did there?) and is able to erase her past poor choices. From there, things quickly begin to spiral out of control as Katie embarks on a series of “revisions,” abusing what was supposed to be a one time only opportunity and has to deal with the consequences of her actions. Katie is impulsive and has the tendency to be a “hot mess,” but she’s also sweet with good intentions. She is desperately searching for the right thing to achieve her happy ending.

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2015-03-07 12.37.05

I went to PAX East for the first time this weekend after managing to snag an elusive Saturday pass at the last minute (friend of a friend had an extra; big thanks to Kara, Kevin, and Cam, you guys are the best!). For those who don’t know, PAX is one of five expos held throughout the year by the Penny Arcade crew. It’s a celebration of games and nerd culture from video games to table top gaming. There are panels on intriguing topics like empathy in indie game narrative, universality of video game music, and making a tabletop game/becoming a better tabletop gamer. You can explore the gigantic Expo Hall with booths from the biggest names in the industry like XBOX, Nintendo, Oculus, Microsoft, Square Enix, Capcom, Blizzard, and so many others (SO MANY). There’s even an area just for indie games in development. You can playtest games and talk shop with the developers. There’s a section completely devoted to tabletop gaming, where you can check out board games and play to your heart’s content. They have tabletop, Magic, console, and PC tournaments. There’s also a neat arcade area. People cosplay and generally geek out. On Friday and Saturday night, there’s a big concert (in addition to smaller events during the day).

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Review: Displacement

Displacement: A Travelogue by comic artist extraordinaire Lucy Knisley examines the realities of our own mortality and the strain of age. When her ailing grandparents decide they want to go on a luxury cruise in their 90s, no one in the Knisley family is very keen on the idea. Lucy steps up and offers to accompany them on the Caribbean trip hoping it will be an opportunity to bond with her grandparents and somehow not be too frustrating. It ends up being a quite moving examination of familial relationships, the ability for compassion, and the need for sensitivity in the most discomfiting situations told with a humor and grace that is awesome to behold.

Displacement by Lucy Knisley
Displacement by Lucy Knisley

I’ve loved Lucy’s work for quite a while. She has quite a number of graphic novels available for purchase including French MilkRelish, and An Age of License (all of which I have read and are truly excellent). She has quickly become one of my favorite artists. I love her style. It is so elegant. No matter whether it’s ink or water color (her water colors are gorgeous), it is always beautiful. It’s like she beams whatever is in her heart directly onto the page. Her writing style is equal parts wit and honesty. She shares so much of herself with her audience and does so with a wholly original voice. Lucy’s thoughts are very easy to relate to. She has a universality about her experience that is wonderful to inhabit.

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