5 Skeeball Tips from a (Practical) Pro

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Artwork by Glen Brogan

My parents propped me up in front of a skeeball machine at Mariner’s Arcade on the Wildwood Boardwalk as soon as I could stand. I racked up tickets quickly, savings hundreds of thousands over the years. The prize, for me, was in the game itself. Every summer I’d play. Alone. Sometimes dragging friends. Eventually taking dates. Always bringing my GAME.

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When I moved back to NYC, I wanted a way to meet new people and get out of my apartment, especially during my hibernation winter months. Because this city has EVERYTHING, I looked up skeeball right away and found a league through NY Social.

As captain, I’ve guided 4 teams to city finals. Made it to the final four twice. AND received 5 invitations to the Skeeball National Championship. That’s how I roll (also I’m the self-proclaimed mistress of skeeball puns. You’ve been warned)!

Guess who the #skeeball champions are? #carneylife #nyc #pinup #baller

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I just revived my Summer League, The Skeevil Dead and can’t wait to coach the new recruits! If you’re interested in getting involved in this incredible Ocho worthy sport, here are some basic practices to help you git gud.

1) You’d never think it, but skeeball is 80% lower body. Your stance is the most important part of your game. Everyone’s stance is unique so figure out where your feet need to be in order for you to be most comfortable and get the velocity you want. For my stance, I need my left foot firmly planted and lined up with the inner edge of the left bumper. My right leg crosses behind my left and my right foot is up on the tip of the toes, so I’m balancing a bit with my core and also pushing myself forward a bit.

This “personal best” is now my average!

Personal best. #NYC #skeeball #latergram

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2) Keep your wrist straight and roll with your whole arm, just like a bowling ball. I know this ball is much smaller and the lane is much shorter, but the technique is basically the same. Don’t twist or flick your wrist.

3) On every machine I’ve encountered, there is a shadow line that runs across the lane just before the point where the lane makes its sharp slope upwards. If you bank the ball off the point where that shadow meets the bumper, you’ll hit the 40 consistently. This is a good way to get a feel for the game.

4) It’s a drinking game anymore, but don’t go overboard. Find your buzzy sweet spot and it could improve your game! Balance is key.

5) Don’t go for 100 unless you have to. They’re super hard to hit and you could waste four balls worth 50 points trying to get that hundo. Hundos are for desperate situations and happy accidents.

Have you ever played Skeeball?

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Favorite Places: Coney Island Brewery

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Since we’ve reached peak craft brewing in this country there aren’t many breweries left where you can feel like a regular or enjoy truly exciting beers. But in a world of IPAs akin to kiddie rides, Coney Island Brewery has earned their hashtags #TakeTheRide and #ThrillYourTastebuds.

On a typical Saturday in summer, you can find me wandering between the brewery and the Freak Bar, sipping beers, emphatically cheering on the sideshow and talking to freaky new friends. Even on winter weekends it’s nice to escape to a place that feels so much like my childhood home in Wildwood, NJ.

Coney Island Brewery Black Lager

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I’m a big fan of their quirky and creative events. In the summer, they host big happenings and can releases at least once a month. My favorite last year was the Cotton Candy Festival. The Cotton Candy Kolsch is one of my favorites so I had to pick up some cans to bring home.. Not too sweet, but perfect for a summer afternoon.

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The Brewery’s Birthday Bash in August was also a total blast. Sideshow performers hung out and did their acts among the crowd Adam Realman, my sideshow professa from Sideshow School 2012, ripped a deck of playing cards in HALF and made my boyfriend bleed trying to replicate that feat of strength.

We spent Super Bowl VII with CIB at Kitchen 21, enjoying our favorite craft beers as the Eagles historically won their first Lombardi. Most recently, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with an excellent beer and chocolate pairing.

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Freak Show Saturdays are a great opportunity to get freaky with flavors. As CIB describes their Randall infusions:

Every Saturday a new, mad, reckless experiment in beer science will be conducted in our taproom as we infuse one of our styles with a new ingredient.

Think NY Honey Stout infused with Cafe Grumpy espresso beans, our Merman NY IPA blasted through two chambers of whole cone Mosaic hops, or perhaps Mermaid Pilsner infused with lemon starburst?

As someone who is routinely drawn to events to try their newest releases and limited editions, this is a kryptonite that guarantees I have plans every Saturday!

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It’s no surprise I’ve been a member of the Beer Freak Club since last year. I’m only one punch away from the mug club and definitely on track to score one of those BEAUTIFUL Beast Stainless Steel Growlers only the freakiest fans earn.

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NYC Beer Week is coming up fast and I’ll be checking out a couple of spots. I’ll definitely be at the kick off party at the brewery next Sunday. Then March 1, I’ll be hanging out for a while at the Brazen Fox. I love when CIB comes to my neighborhood! Who else is coming out?
beer week

Sunday Stats

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+1 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
Did you know that IBM developed the UPC bar code? This display at HQ drew me in because I can’t look at a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and not think of Andy Warhol. An IBMer invented the first UPC code, which looked like a bullseye and then evolved it into the bar code we’re used to. Bar codes are vertical bars so that in case of extra ink, the bar code gets taller, but is still readable. In 1974, a pack of Wrigley’s gum became the first item to be scanned with a UPC bar code, which became the standard method for inventory tracking. It’s awesome to know I work for a company that has revolutionized the retail industry, and so many others- and will continue to revolutionize the world.

Campbell's Tomato Soup Cans with IBM UPC Bar Codes

+1 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
I found a new way to embrace my awkwardness! When I used to get picked on in school and called “weird,” I’d respond with “at least I’m not boring.” I’ve evolved that mantra for my adult awkwardness. Whenever I do something embarrassing or say something nonsensical, I shrug and say, “it’s all part of my charm.”

-2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
I was sick the first half of the week and then threw my back out Tuesday night. So healing has taken precedence. I noticed a pattern in my gym behaviour where if I skip on Monday, I go to spin class on Tuesday and maybe Friday, but I don’t make it any other weekday mornings. I’m rectifying this next week by forcing myself to go on Monday morning. I have GOT to get myself into a steady routine.

+3 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
I’ve been working on a big project for work this week that will be shared with very important people. I got some feedback that I wasn’t putting enough of my own originality into my work and seemed to just be dictating the words of my managers. Because that’s exactly what I was doing. Because, I realized, in my previous role, if I didn’t do the work EXACTLY like the manager wanted, it would be my ass. I’d have to do entire projects and decks over and over again, working late and weekends, just hoping to get it “right.” I recognized this in the moment and told my current managers that Yes! I realize that’s what I’m doing and that I know I need to work on it. AND that I appreciate them calling it out because now I feel liberated to be the smart, creative, talented strategist I am.

+1 Luck – Something good that happened this week
I renewed my Beer Freak membership at Coney Island Brewery and the wonderful staff there let me keep my 2017 stamps! I signed up late last year, but I really want to earn the exclusive growler. Now I’m only 8 stamps away and already have a February event on the calendar!

+1 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
This week was exceptionally hard. I was initially panicking that my spending was out of control because I did buy some books, tickets to a couple shows and events, subscription boxes, a gift for Ryan since his Eagles won the NFC Championship for the first time in 13 years, and preordered two of every dinosaur from the upcoming Funko Jurassic Park line. Ok that does sound a little out of control…
BUT! Because of my company’s pay schedule, I haven’t been paid since the 12th. So I’ve been trying to stretch this check over almost 3 weeks instead of 2. Still, my bad habits lately haven’t been helping.

I’m still on track with my savings. AND to help create better spending habits, I’m creating No Spend February (#nospendfeb). The challenge is to (obviously) not spend ANY money, except on essentials (again, obviously- I can’t just NOT pay my rent and bills…). So next week, I’ll have an update on that. I will probably be in tears because this is going to be really fucking hard.

Golden Thread Tarot Interview

Now that I’ve amassed a healthy collection of tarot decks, I figured it’s about time I really get to know their personalities and differences at a deeper level. I’ve been using some of them for years, but others are still fairly new to me. Through an interview spread, I asked my newest deck, The Golden Thread Tarot, to tell me more about itself.

Golden thread tarot cards interview spread

Tell me about yourself.
IX of Pentacles
I’m all about leisurely indulging in life’s pleasures. Let’s make it rain and swim in a glittering Moroccan pool of liquid gold. I’m confident and free. That confidence and my patience mean I always persevere through the work knowing I’ll get to revel in the wealth of accomplishment later.

What are your strengths?
The Moon
I specialize in psychology and can tap into your deep subconscious to both reflect on what has been and illuminate the path forward. You can’t hide from me. I can see through your darkness and shadows to reveal the light. Get ready to get real, girl!

What are your limits
III of Cups
It will take a while to get to know me fully, but we will share a strong and unbreakable bond. I’m stubborn and introverted. Don’t share me; I won’t read for anyone else. I’m your private consultant.

Golden Thread Tarot and Rose Gold Passion Planner

What are you here to teach me?
Queen of Pentacles
Think of me as your Earth Mother, Taurus. I want to help you build a cozy life of balance, independence and stability. I’ll shower you with love and support as we work toward prosperity.

How can we best collaborate?
Queen of Wands
We’re both strong and independent in our views and we can both be stubborn. Be authentic. Be bold. Express yourself with conviction with me and expect the same in return. No BS.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
X of Pentacles
We’re working toward a sense of earned accomplishment. A wealth of knowledge and contentment. A strong foundation for future success.

I’m blown away by the feminine energy of this deck. Most of my decks feel so masculine, despite many of them having a more feminine aesthetic. It’s nice to have this nurturing, but tough presence in a deck. I feel confident I’m going to develop a deep bond with this deck over time. It even feels like a fellow Taurus based on its answers! I’m super excited to work with The Golden Thread Tarot closely this year and beyond.

How To Taste and Judge Grilled Cheese

Adapted from a previous version I wrote after the 2012 Big Cheesy (I miss the Big Cheesy).

Much has been written about the arts of wine and chocolate tasting. However, the most refined palates simply must learn the required method of sampling an exquisite fromage grillé. Please, allow me to guide you into the world of toasted cheese as you’ve never experienced it before.

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Tasting always begins with the eyes. Note the color of the bread. Is it golden or a deep bronze? Is it completely burnt? Does the butter give the bread a wet sheen, a just-kissed gloss or a saturated spongy soppiness? What of the cheese? Is it peeking from the edges, bubbling softly or is it rolling like magma onto the plate? Lastly, pay attention to the cut. Whether your sample is a square, triangle, circle or star, it has been specifically crafted that way for a reason.

Aroma. Get your nose right between the slices and into the sandwich. What do you notice? (Did you burn your nose? Too close. Wipe that cheese off.)

Texture. Sink your teeth into it. A good toasted cheese sandwich should have a signature crunch. A great sandwich boasts a thin, yet substantial topical crust with soft bread and cheese blending in the center. Some prefer a harder crunch throughout the bread juxtaposed by the soft meltiness of the cheese center.

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Cold ales and ambers pair well with grilled cheese and cleanse the palate

Meltiness. This is a crucial factor in tasting grilled cheese. Is the cheese melted properly? There’s nothing worse than partially melted or still-solid chunks of cheese interrupting an otherwise enjoyable experience. Keep in mind, different cheeses and/or combinations of cheese melt differently.

Bread to Cheese Ratio. There should not be too much bread. Likewise, there should not be too much cheese. This is a delicate balance. In the case of stronger cheeses, toasted-cheesemongers may use less cheese with a combination of fillers like spinach, ham, mushrooms or other additions that will compliment the cheese without overpowering the sandwich.

Little Muenster Tasty Trio

A Toasty Trio by Little Muenster

Flavor. You should already know your cheeses, of course, so pay attention to the notes in cheese combinations. If there are any additional ingredients like vegetables, sauces or meats, identify them and ruminate on what they bring to the overall experience as well as how they blend individually.

Pairings. If your sample comes with a accoutrements, try them. With wine, sip after each bite. If it’s a shot of soup, try both dipping the grilled cheese into the soup and sipping the soup after a clean bite. If the sandwich is topped with a relish or drizzled with chocolate, do not brush it off. When in doubt, ask the toasted-cheesemonger for their recommendation for consumption.

Hungry? If you’re ready to put your newly acquired tasting skills to the test (you’re welcome, by the way), try some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in New York at the Atwood’s Winter Grilled Cheese Festival.

2017 Credits

Let ’em roll!

2017 was the fastest year I think I’ve ever experienced. That’s probably a good thing. I did a lot of great things and fought through a lot of not so great things. Trying to navigate this weird new reality around me and find my center every day. It was a year I spent trying to distract myself FROM everything WITH everything. My depression got REALLY bad as a result. Kind of a mess, but this bull is ready to lock horns with 2018 and make some magic every damn day.

What I did // Got a sneak peak at the Nintendo Switch in January. Became an IBMer and landed my dream job! Ran my 5th 15k. Had a kick ass time in NOLA for my sister’s bachelorette weekend. And then served as Maid of Honor in her gorgeous wedding! Saw Shakespeare in the Park. Lost $200 and felt horribly out of place at the Belmont Stakes. Stuffed my face at Donutfest with Gluxbox. Spent a magical 4th of July at Coney Island with all my freakshow friends. Checked out the INCREDIBLE Jim Henson Exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. Saw so many concerts I started a new section here dedicated to Live Shows. Was completely underwhelmed by NYCC. Experienced one of the greatest Penn State Football games of all time vs Michigan and was part of a record-breaking crowd over #110kStrong. Went fly fishing and caught the most monstrous brown trout ever. Checked out a lot of cool new breweries.

Most-played albums // Bush*Black and White Rainbows + all the other albums, of course / Gorillaz*Humanz / Band of Skulls*By Default / The Dead Deads*Rainbeau + For Your Obliteration / Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds*Who Built the Moon / The Orwells*Disgraceland + Terrible Human Beings

Most-loved shows & films // Master of None. Game Of Thrones. Rick and Morty. 13 Reasons Why (even though watching it made me relive a lot of horrible shit). GLOW. Blade Runner 2049. American Vandal. Stranger Things 2. The Lure – a horror-musical mermaid Polish film. Love (more like hate-watching this one). Easy. Salem. Black Mirror

Places I Traveled // Austin, TX (not as weird as advertised), NOLA (If you need recommendations, I have them all!), Atlanta, GA to the Coca-Cola HQ. Philly. Monterrey, Mexico.

Live Shows I Attended // Paul Gilbert. Morgan James. The Gin Blossoms (and caught a pick!). Garbage x Blondie. Bush x 3!!! Paul McCartney (and Bruce Springsteen came out for the encore!). Brian Wilson. A Perfect Circle.

Top purchases // Nintendo Switch! Neon Yellow joycons for said Switch. Velociraptor socks at The Strand. Oliver Hibert’s Tarot and Secret Arcana. SNES Classic. Gold boots (they make me feel like a goddess and I get TONS of compliments every time I wear them). Apple Watch Series 3 – lifechanging. Passion Planner so I can make goals and break them down into tasks to ensure I’m staying centered, practicing gratitude and moving forward/upward.

Style obsessions // Gamer bounding (sometimes accidentally). So much black. Bomber jackets. Biker boots. Leopard and suede. Pins (all of the pins). Metallics. Trucker hats (I somehow amassed a collection as if it’s 2002…). Vintage t-shirts. Black and white leggings with psychedelic patterns.

Best things I did for myself // Started a Bullet Journal. Created a daily tarot ritual. Crystal bed therapy- I had some insane visions and left feeling both balanced/relaxed AND more powerful than ever! Ramped up my side hustle on Rover.com – I made over $3,000 to hang out with so many awesome dogs! Got an Equinox membership- it’s sweaty, eucalyptus scented bliss and the most motivating gym I’ve ever been to. Tried a spin class and got addicted to the bike. Stopped being ashamed of my depression and learned to ask for help when I need it.

Top games // The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch). Shantae: Half Genie Hero (PS4). Ever Oasis (3DS). Splatoon 2 (Switch). Stardew Valley (Switch). Super Mario Odyssey (Switch). Night in the Woods (PS4). Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS). Destiny 2 (Xbox). Golf Story (Switch). Oxenfree (PS4). Animal Crossing Pocket Camp (Mobile- I know! Never thought I’d see the day…). Worms W.M.D (Switch). The End is Nigh (Switch).

What were your biggest highlights of the year?

Three of Cups

Image via Golden Thread Tarot app


One of my goals this year is to make a good group of local female friends. Not easy in your 30s in New York. It’s extra challenging as an empath with severe trouble prioritizing myself in any way. After 6 months of putting myself out there continuously, joining groups, playing sports, saying yes to too many social events and stretching myself thin, I’ve made a couple of disjointed, one-sided friendships.

I’ve made girlfriends who can’t pass the Bechdel test. Who ask me to analyze every text message she receives from a guy. Intelligent, educated, interesting women. Who interrupt each other’s stories to squeal over a fleeting Tinder romance. Who remember everything a guy said or did or implied or didn’t say, but keep asking to make plans with me for the weekend I’m attending my grandmother’s funeral- which I’ve told her about. More than once.

Pulling this card fills me with hope, but it’s also upsetting. I give of myself until I am raw and and bare. I always will because that’s who I am. A friend who can be counted on and keep your secrets and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. I have incredible friends all over the world who love and admire me for this, among other things. I miss them. But all I want is a group of local women to go to brunch together and make fun of art at the museums or sip Prosecco on rooftops and talk about music and film and sports and- yes- guy problems because there’s nothing wrong with that until it consumes a woman.

No more deprioritizing myself just for the sake of company. Quality over quantity. I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m present with people. I deserve as much. Thanks, Three of Cups. I joined a promising book club today and skeeball season starts again soon. I’ll keep my head up and trust that my tribe is looking for me too.