Love in the Time of the Nuclear Apocalypse

Each year, I support wildlife conservation and self love by naming a cockroach after an ex for Valentine’s Day. It’s cathartic, tax-deductible, and includes chocolate! (Assuming you send your naming certificate to yourself and NOT the aforementioned ex, that is.)

The Bronx Zoo has been doing this donation event for years and I truly love it. They offer a few different donation tiers that come with various treats, but all tiers include a certificate (digital only at the $10 tier) where you can dedicate your cockroach to your ex. For $10 a pop, go nuts and name all your exes!

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Real ex’s name redacted


I like to get creative with my certificates and work them into an annual ritual. Write a little poem. Craft an insect themed analogy for the relationship. Jot a memory that may be sticking with you. Meditate over the certificate, visualizing your love and energy returning you. Envision any hold your past relationships still hold on you as hooks, vines or whatever elemental image works for you and see those strings of attachment breaking apart. Then, burn the certificate to make sure there’s no lingering energy and allow you both to breathe free of each other. Enjoy the chocolates in a cleansing bath!

Make a donation here. They start at just $10 for a digital certificate or $35 for a physical one with chocolates!

First Look: Nintendo Switch

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Splatoon 2 in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch

After an awkward Nintendo Direct Thursday night, I had some concerns about the Nintendo Switch. There weren’t any shocking new reveals about the hardware. The presentation was clunky and poorly executed. By the end, I was having  Wii U flashbacks and preemptive buyer’s remorse about the lack of launch titles.Over the weekend I had an exclusive opportunity to experience the Switch first hand at a “secret location,” thanks to my Gal Friday Gluxbox and I’m pretty confident it’s going to change the game.

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Breath of the Wild Link “greeted” us at the entrance to the space

The space was configured across two rooms with the main room divided into different console use scenarios. Nintendo created an airplane,  a cozy living room, the interior of an RV and a seat in “Mario’s Diner” (to this displaced Jersey girl’s delight and amusement). A huge presentation screen divided the room where Nintendo staffers held gameshow-like demos throughout the evening. The rest of the space featured lounge areas where we could kick back and kick ass.

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It’s a squid! It’s a kid! It’s a squid!

Splatoon 2 was easily one of my highlights. The station showcased both TV and handheld play, and allowed us to team up and splet other attendees. I was massively disappointed with the Wii U, but Splatoon was THE game that revived my console from the dusty graveyard of my entertainment center. Naturally, I was excited to check out a new weapon and MUCH smoother gameplay in Splatoon 2 on the Switch. On the handheld configuration, the gyroscope feels much more intuitive. The system itself is thinner, smoother and far less clunky than the GamePad was, offering a less frustrating experience that STAAAAAAYS FRESH!

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This is what championship milkers look like

We ducked over to two large glass booths housing Nintendo staffers in silly hats to try out 1 2 Switch. This game, which should come packaged with the console but does not, includes a variety of games that show off the hardware features and functionalities. Wild West Dueling pitted Glux and I against each other in a showdown, eyes locked and intimidation faces on!

If you saw the Nintendo Direct, you may remember a demonstration involving ice cubes shaking in a glass. Without the joycon in your hand, it was impossible to make an impact. But playing Balls (yes. That’s literally the name of the game) you can really feel a number objects rolling around “inside” the joycon (yes. The object of the game is literally to feel balls).

By far the best of the 1 2 Switch demo was a little game called Milk.

Yep. You strategically squeeze and tug the joycon to simulate “milking a cow” and whoever milks the most glasses wins. Hysterical. I was on the floor laughing because I am a grown ass adult here. Is this game worth being sold separately for $49.99? Probably not. Again, it’s a cool way to show off all the console’s capabilities, but software like this should really come preinstalled.

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One of three Inkling Girl options in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Many people seem pretty disappointed that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe won’t include any new tracks, but I LOVE the new Inkling additions and their karts. Plus, Nintendo brings back Battle Mode in this version- a nostalgic throwback I’ve been missing in every Mario Kart game since I was a kid. I’m looking forward to reliving my sibling rivalries from afar!

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Making Nintendo Great Again

After several addictive battle rounds and some races, I got called up on stage with a stranger to play a co-op puzzle game, Snipperclips. This may be a cult hit for the Switch. It was unexpectedly, but delightfully engaging, silly and just challenging enough that I didn’t make a total ass of myself on stage. I won the sweet hats Glux and I are modeling above.

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Switch swag

We got some time on Street Fighter, PuyoPuyo Tetris, Just Dance and others. The comfort and ease of using the joycons in their various forms for every game, regardless of intensity, surprised me throughout the event. I particularly loved being able to use the joycon independently in each hand. When we played multiplayer games that utilized the joycon completely independently, they were small, but still totally manageable and comfortable. The whole system felt quite sleek and sturdy, unlike the juvenile and clunky Wii U Gamepad.

If you’re a dude or have bigger hands, you might want to consider the pricey pro controller. I’ll likely grab one for my boyfriend, along with the joycon charging grip (because we are going to be lost in this thing for the rest of the year). We also saw little wheel peripherals for Mario Kart- a fun novelty, but they’ve never done anything for my racing experience, personally.

We had to leave way too soon, but got some nice swag and a thirst for more Switch. March 3rd can’t come soon enough!

If you’ve been quick/lucky enough to score a preorder, I recommend trading your Wii U in sooner than later before the market floods and the trade value drops. I traded my system and several games in on Monday for over $400 in credit!!!  That’ll more than cover the accessories I want to get the most out of the Switch when it finally launches.

2016 Credits

So 2016 was a motherfucker of a year, huh? Rife with death, sadness, struggle and one WTF after another, we all deserve an award for emerging from it. I am battle scarred. I am exhausted. And I am determined to face 2017 ready to fight hard and play hard and love hard. Starting by looking back at what WAS awesome about 2016:

What I did // Took my family on an Obscene Art History tour at MoMA. Ran my 3rd Hot Chocolate 15k (in the rain, with no music and KILLED my previous time by 20 minutes!). Saw The Dandy Warhols. Started a new Skeeball team that placed in city finals and qualified for Nationals. Joined the Gotham Girls Roller Derby Rec League and nearly broke my damn back. Lost a job. Got a new job. Took my sister to Vegas to live her dream and see Britney Spears. Got into a fight at a Britney Spears concert. Saw The Beach Boys and Sloan and BUSH THREE TIMES! Took a knife and hatchet throwing class. Saw Soul Asylum. Went to Brew at the Zoo with Gluxbox. Ran the NYC Turkey Trot. Got to see one of THE greatest games in college football history when Penn State defeated Ohio State in an amazing display of talent, grit and sheer team chemistry. Went to NYCC and spent way too much money. Formed an amazing tribe of girl friends. Discovered the carney-est beer ever – Funnel Cake Ale by Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing.

Most-played albums // Allie Goertz * Sad Dance Songs (Rick & Morty concept album). The Dandy Warhols * Distortland. Sloan * Never Hear The End Of It. Bush * All of them 😂.

Most-loved shows & films // Deadpool. Game of Thrones (I watched ALL of it this year). Shameless. Black Mirror. Rick and Morty, obviously. The Love Witch in all its campy glam glory. Scream Queens.

Top purchases // Riedell R3 roller derby skates. The Wild Unknown. NES Classic Edition. Nintendo Zelda edition Vans! A long weekend at The Cosmopolitan in Vegas.

Style obsessions // RED LIPS. Wearable art. Retro. Gamer bounding. Cartoon colors and jewel tones. Bomber jackets. Biker boots. Psychedelic patterns. Caftans.

Best things I did for myself // Joined the Radical Self Love Coven. Tuned myself in to the Universe. Fell madly in love with myself. Reconnected with my soulmate. Burlesque burlesque burlesque!

Top games // FTL (PC). Risk of Rain (PC). Star Wars Battlefront (PS4/Xbox One). Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (WiiU). Earthbound (3DS). Spelunky (PC). Gun Slugs (3DS). Overwatch (Xbox One). Animal Crossing New Leaf Welcome Amiibo update (3DS). Monster Hunter Generations (3DS). Pokemon Moon (3DS). World of Final Fantasy (PS4). Final Fantasy XV (PS4). Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero (PS4).

 

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.

 

How To Sever Cords of Attachment

I love. Verb. It’s what I do. It’s my energy. For a long time, I stored that love in other people, real and fictional, because I didn’t know I could invest it in myself. Until I exhausted myself pleasing other people. One day, I channeled it all back into myself and regained my power and happiness.

But I still felt a weight on my chest. Sometimes even a physical pull so strong I’d actually jerk forward like there was a giant fish hook in my heart. When we form relationships with people, we attach our energy to theirs with metaphysical cords. If paths divide and relationships end, those cords remain and can hold us back or become toxic and unhealthy.

I needed to let go of someone. As I’ve been working with energy, I tried a couple cord cutting rituals, unsure if they’d worked until I was sure they had not.

Last night, I was lying in bed when I had the idea to try a visualization related to this person. Instead of cords or rope, I closed my eyes and envisioned vines. Like weeds, they grew through my heart and out through my chest in one thick, twisted mass connecting my energy to his. I saw them. I felt them. And then I saw a startling flash that actually pulled me out of the moment. I knew it was working, but it took a second to figure out how to use that. I went back in and the bright yellow light came again. I saw the light drying out the vines. I felt them become frayed and brittle. I heard them splintering. Then, I envisioned myself pulling the vine straight out of my chest and it HURT. Wow. But it was out and I immediately felt lighter and free.

So here I am, holding this metaphysical vine that represented a love I never thought I’d feel AND that I had nurtured for almost 2 years. I am sentimental to a fault, but I had to destroy it. Cutting cords of attachment isn’t about leaving them lying about. This is meant to decimate energy connections. I envisioned a fire and I watched the dried vine burn.

And then I did something interesting. I surrounded the fire with stone, sort of creating a pyre in a fire pit. I transformed this connection I’d killed into a powerful love beacon meant to attract my equal, a true deserving partner.

It was exhausting, but I felt incredibly clear and light and free when it was done. There are lots of cord cutting rituals out there, and I’m no pro, but after getting frustrated with others, this one worked for me.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Be ready to let the person go. Without strong, clear intentions, you’re just going through the motions.
  2. Get comfortable. Sit, stand, lie down, breathe, light candles, burn incense, take a rose petal bubble bath- do whatever gets you into your calmest state. You don’t need to sit in lotus pose (unless that’s your calm space)!
  3. Invoke your protectors (because energy work is vulnerable stuff!)- whether it’s the elements, the divine, angels, spirit guides, invite them to surround you with white protective light and help you.
  4. Envision the cords in a way that calls to mind the specific person or relationship- for a family member, maybe it’s an umbilical cord or tissue. For a friend or lover, colored ribbon, the gold chain of a friendship bracelet, guitar string, ropes, or maybe the fish hook thing works for you. If nothing comes to mind, try envisioning their zodiac element as a physical cord like a burning rope for fire signs, a swirling vortex of air, a strong water current concentrated in your chest or branches, weeds, vines for Earth.(Note: if you have energy cords to cut with multiple people, don’t do them all at once. Focus on one relationship to hone your intent and ensure your ritual is successful. Do the next one another day.)
  5. See yourself destroying the cord. Pull it out. Tear it up. Burn it. Blow it up. Bury it. See it washing down a drain. Whatever feels powerful and gets it gone.
  6. Thank your protectors. They’re awesome.
  7. Relax and reward yourself. Have a glass of wine or eat a piece of dark chocolate because that was spiritually tough and you earned it.

If you’re not confident it worked or you feel that energy still with you after a few days, try it again with a new combination of mediation and visualization. Eventually, the energy will align and you’ll be able to complete your ritual. Rinse/repeat for any unwanted or negative attachments.

My Ass Looks Like a Rorschack Test

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The Screaming Demon of Derby leaves his dark mark of possession

It’s hard to imagine I will ever be good at this, but it’s important to remember when I was new. Saturday was my first time on skates. It felt like I’d been bestowed the power of flight. And crashing. My brain feels ready to be comfortable on my skates already, but my body needs to learn the skills. The intersection of frustration is where the brain feels ready to do something, but the body still needs to learn the skills. Or vice versa.

With running, my body knew what to do. We just had to convince Brain that we wanted to run and that we were enjoying it (we don’t and we never are). Last weekend, I ran a 15k an unprecedented 20 minutes faster than last year, under far worse conditions (rain, no music). On skates, I want to fly, but my legs just do that cartoonish twisty baby giraffe on wheels thing.

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Meet my new friends

I now have a solid idea how hard this is going to be. Still, I’ve never wanted anything more. I’m looking forward to mastering T-Stops. Stopping seems to easy for everyone else, but I didn’t fall until I tried them. My wheels feel clunky and uncompromising. They don’t want to give me friction. They just want to STOP. And down I go. Stay low.

Stay low.

Hands on kneepads. Stay low.

 

A New Chapter

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Through this door, your life’s about to change.

From the moment I heard the thunder of skates, derby had me. Immediately, I saw myself bursting through a paper banner to deafening roars from the crowd, making the rounds to Sparks Are Gonna Fly, skating backwards while swallowing fire (just kidding. That’s dangerous. Maybe). It wasn’t “I want to do this;” it was “I have to do this.”

I was volunteering at the first bout of the season to learn more about the sport, meet some skaters, ask questions and generally see if it was something I actually wanted to do. I’ve never  I wasn’t expecting the contact rush of adrenaline or the welcoming community of badass women who didn’t treat me as an outsider even as I asked a thousand questions- sometimes more than once- and then still not-so-stealthily googled gestures or terms as they happened.

I made a very patient friend that night. She invited me to a meet & greet the following Friday, which I almost didn’t go to because social anxiety. But I recruited a pal and got myself settled with a beer and met a few other skaters. The next day I walked into Five Stride and got outfitted with a rookie package before going to the warehouse to watch the level 3 skaters scrimmage (and a lot more googling).

To say I’m Fresh Meat feels a bit far too advanced. I am raw- not even butchered- meat. It’s safer to assume I’ve never been on skates than to try to remember when I last strapped a pair to my feet, but I imagined it would feel the same as it does when I’m in the water- part of it, made to move in it. Not so. As OMG WTF helped me up in my skates and I realized I could not let go of her hands, my fire skating carney/derby dreams dissolved into visions of myself landing on my face in the ashes.

I am not a patient person. If I am not immediately good at something, I get frustrated and give up. It’s why I can’t play an instrument more advanced than a kazoo. As I stood there, wobbling to find my center, I understood this about myself. But roller derby doesn’t feel like despondent piano lessons or the cheap Fender bass my mom dusted off and sold at a yard sale years ago.

Roller derby feels like fire in my chest. Even if my feet don’t know it yet. I can barely imagine doing some of the footwork I’ve seen the advanced girls do. Hell, I can’t imagine propelling myself forward on skates without a slightly warped floor and gravity.

The first question I’ve been getting from everyone is “aren’t you afraid to fall?” No. Falling is inevitable. I know I’ll fall. A lot. I’m afraid I’m going to quit. So I’m going to document this journey from the very beginning because I am in LOVE with this thing I can not yet do. In 11 weeks when I can (hopefully) make it around the track and stop without running into walls, I want to remember that moment in the skate shop when I couldn’t even stand on wheels by myself. And I want to apply that memory to every frustration I have in the next round of Basic Training. And the next. And tryouts. And one day, with a team of supportive and fierce ladies who all started out wobbling.