Bright Shiny Objects

Halloween Decorating 2014

It started simply enough. I put together a few fall festive items: a leafy table runner, some fall-scented and colored candles, a big leafy wreath on the door, pumpkin ceramics for the shelves, and fresh fall-colored flower bouquets. But something happened one week before Halloween. I started seeing the houses with all the cobwebs and the gravestones and the skeletons and, quite frankly, I snapped. I had to do something spooky in our apartment. Down came warm fall festive and little by little I creeped the place out. Here’s what we accomplished before All Hallow’s Eve hit.

Challenge: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Rules

My good friend has spent the last four months being told, bit by bit, to cut chunks of delicious options out of her diet as her doctors try to figure out what the hell’s going on with her and why she’s having such a terrible reaction to stuff she eats. So… goodbye onions and garlic. Goodbye chocolate. Goodbye dairy. Goodbye soy. Goodbye gluten. It’s difficult to watch, and I’m only seeing it now and then. I can’t imagine living it.

Meanwhile, Halloween’s here, and that means I’m ready to hunker down and make my annual pumpkin mini cupcakes. So when she sent out invites to her annual pumpkin carving contest, I had a dilemma.

How to Enjoy Comic Con as a Cosplayer’s Sidekick

Cosplay, or for the nongeek layman the art of dressing up in costume to represent a character from popular culture (movies, video games, anime, books, etc.), is one of the best parts of any major comic conventions. The sheer creativity that goes into replicating or interpolating the looks of a character — whether it’s classic, blockbuster, or obscure — is downright awe-inspiring.

I’m always psyched to hear Taran’s character wish list, then I get to watch as it all comes to life right in front of me. Once in a while, I’ll jump onboard, of course. More often than not, though, my desire to be comfortable wins out.

Still, accompanying someone in costume when you’re not has its own challenges. Here are a few tips for my fellow cosplay entouragers.

Slaying the Dragon Fruit

I was wandering through the Whole Foods produce aisle when I stumbled upon the strangest looking item. As soon as I saw the sign reading Dragon Fruit (ignoring the crazy expensive $9.99 lb price tag below it), I grabbed two and decided I’d figure out what to do with them later.

That evening I looked them over and it was clear that I needed to keep that gorgeous, scale-like rind solid for a colorful bowl to hold some vanilla ice cream. The rest I decided to bake into cupcakes to accompany (and to be eaten on their own).

Long Live Adulthood

First God, then rock, now this? According to a story in this week’s New York Times Magazine, adulthood is dead.

Nevermind that “[Concept] is dead” is the academic equivalent of click bait. In this case, the social media headline might read: “A respected New York Times cultural critic makes a bold statement. What he says will surprise you!” Unlike click bait, the content is indeed surprising and even worth reading; it’s also a bit off the mark.

Black is Back: 6 Foods for My Former Goth Self

You know Halloween spirit is ramping up when black food stories start making the rounds.

Burger King in Japan actually introduced the black-bunned burger two years ago, but it appears they’ve just stepped it up with a black cheese black bun burger with black ketchup.

It’s a specialty item that’s expected to be available for a limited time. As one reader commented on the Kotaku post, this is definitely a “stunt burger.” A quick look at the press it’s already gotten in the last day, however, and it’s safe to say it’s a pretty successful stunt. Successful enough that we’ll ever see this item stateside? Who knows.

10 Silly Kitchen Gadgets (Justified)

For someone who lives in a modest Brooklyn apartment, I collect kitchen items as if I own Martha Stewart’s personal kitchen. Of course I’ve never seen Martha’s digs, but I imagine her cooking nook is as large as my entire abode.

Some of my cooking doodads do elicit appropriate ooohs and aaahs of admiration, but many have been denied the respect that they so rightly deserve. Which is to say, I’ve been mocked mercilessly (often by my own partner) for owning not only unnecessary, but “ridiculous” gadgets. Here are ten maligned items that I will shamelessly defend.

On Re-Finding Feminism

Not just as a woman but as a human being, I appreciate and support all of the women and men out there who dig into gender issues, helping us to improve our thinking and keep us working toward true equality everywhere. It’s not normally an area I tend to write about. Maybe I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the vastness of the history. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good … and better to shut up than make things worse. Most likely I’ve been in a 15-year depression on the subject after writing an article about the rapes at Woodstock ’99.

The Tragedy of Modern TV Comedy

Seth Meyers’ opening monologue of the 2014 Emmys was wonderful in many ways. But there was one joke in particular that grabbed me. It was truly brilliant in being funny… until I managed to think too hard about how true it is.

To whit:

“We had so many great shows submitted this year. We had comedies that made you laugh, and comedies that made you cry… because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”