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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Looking to Edit a Poem

I first submitted this poem to some publication back in September and sadly, I didn't win $500. I don't think this is my best work, but I'm looking to edit it and need some feedback. Here is the poem:

Lines From Seeing Detroit For the First Time
(From an Amtrak Bus)

hazy as the bright
May yellow sun shone
through the
bus’s dirt stained

Grape Faygo,
cold, a nice
gift from the lady
in the train station
that sat quietly
in Toledo,
sits sweating
in my warm hands.
Twiztid blasts
through my ear buds,
though I turn it off
to talk to locals
returning home.
My red backpack
sits on
the ground, a
rest for my
I know that
I will be
figuring my
way around Motown;
a reprieve now
before the back break.

To the Motor City!
the water tower read.
I was expecting
to see abandoned
houses and
buildings crumbled
to the ground,
much like
what our media
loves to paint.
to my surprise,
I see
a vibrant city,
like a Phoenix,
rising from the ashes
to its former glory.
High rise buildings
glisten in the sun,
breaking free
from a long,
monotonous winter.
Graffiti scribbles
introduce me
to the urban jungle.

The hustle and bustle,
we sit in traffic
for an eternity,
but my bus mates
are friendly
and welcome
me to Detroit.
When we finally
park on Woodward Avenue,
departing from
the friendly folks
and their families
I get to meet—
I start eastward
and head to the
first restaurant I see:
 Motown Coney Island
to plan my adventure
through Detroit’s

concrete jungle.

I am thinking when I edit, I might expand upon just the visual. As I was telling friends, Detroit is notorious for the assumption that all Detroiters are nasty thugs that are leeches. Though there are some people there like that (but, that's true in any city/town), I met a lot of nice people while I traveled there. Of course, I was very aware of my surroundings and didn't let my guard down. But, when you go on a trip, you can't just NOT talk to the locals. As much as we hate to admit, interacting with the locals are a must on any trip, though we are safe about it. Locals can add to our trips and I'm one to believe that there are a lot of good, just as there are a lot of bad, people out there. Nice locals make interesting conversations and give tips on cool local places to go to. They're vital for trips.

The few nice people I met while there, they put a smile on my face with the memories of the two days I visited. I remember when I was finished at the Motown Museum, I had to wait for the bus. As I waited for the bus, a black woman in a wheelchair rolled to the stop and we began talking. I asked her how if the Google directions of getting from Detroit to Roseville by bus was correct. She looked at the directions and said, "Hold on, let me call SMART!" She called SMART and as I was talking to her about the directions I had, I pronounced Gratiot wrong. I pronounced it in a French way, "Grate-i-oh" and she was confused. Gratiot is a major high way in Detroit. Needless to say, 5 minutes in of trying to get directions and me mis-pronouncing "Gratiot," the lady said, "let me see that map!" I handed it over and she exclaimed, "it's GRAT-ET!" We laughed at my pronunciation for a good five minutes, but I did get the right directions and to my hotel in Roseville. I still laugh at that. I think I will laugh about that incident for a long time. Do you think that should be put in a poem? I also want to put some other conversations and other instances of interactions with people. Maybe interactions would make this poem come alive?

Though, I love the conversations I had with these young black boys when I was waiting for the bus in front of the courthouse, to head to the Motown Museum. I would say they were 18 or 19 and it was interesting to get their take on the local culture (I was curious) and what else I should check out while I am here. Then when I was on the bus, this middle age man talking to me and pointing out where I should get out because DDOT ends at 8 Mile Road, where SMART picks people up to go to the burbs. One guy on the bus said, "You don't know where that is? Haven't you seen Eminem's 8 Mile movie?" With me replying, "Yeah, 12 years ago." He then said I looked concerned about 8 Mile Road. Fortunately, when I arrived there, a SMART bus was waiting. I thanked the one guy for his help. Then in Roseville, talking to this middle aged white man in Starbucks and him telling me that I seem excited about Roseville (when I was still planning to move there) and he wished more young people felt excited about that town, to get it back on track. He sounded hopeful, but there was also a tinge of sadness in his voice. But, I guess that is true for a lot of places in a post-recession America. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Academy of Natural Sciences's Half Female/ Half Male Butterfly and Other Things

Yesterday as I mentioned in my Thankful Thursday post, I went to the Academy of Natural Sciences. Three weeks ago I became a member for the year, which means I can get into the museum for free, get discounts on Mega Bad Movie Night and other special events, and 10% off in the gift shop. Two weeks ago, the Academy's blog posted about a gynandromorph, or half female/half male, butterfly that was hatched to the Butterflies! exhibit. You can view the article here. Sadly, the butterfly wasn't alive because they wanted to preserve it; the butterfly was still gorgeous and stunning, though! If you live in the Philadelphia area or planning to go to Philadelphia, check out the male/female butterfly while the butterfly is still on display until February 16.

After going to the Butterflies! exhibit, then seeing the male/female butterfly, I went to see the Science Live! show. I love these shows because they bring out the animals the Academy houses. Yesterday, a snake was shown and then a red tailed hawk. The snake was born with a disfigurement - it was missing scales by his mouth and as a baby, he couldn't eat. The breeder gave it to the Academy, the Academy had to force feed it and as he grew, he eats on his own. However, he can never be released back into the wild.

The red tail hawk is blind in one eye. The red tail hawk was breathtakingly handsome. He was hard to snap pictures of with my point and shoot because he was constantly moving. I managed to get a few on that camera, but most of the far away shots are coming from my cell phone.

I went to Cappricio's for lunch. I just love that place. I had a chicken salad sandwich and an iced tea. After I exited, I went to Starbucks across the street because it was less crowded. I wanted to call the Faygo distributor to see where I can get it in Pennsylvania. She told me of one location in Philadelphia and one in King of Prussia. Read yesterday's post about that story from yesterday. Needless to say, I wasn't going to 52nd and Jefferson Streets since I'm not familiar with that area. That's how I ended up on 2nd and Market Streets to see if any of the convenience stores there had Faygo. Nope. I ended up at Sto's Bar and had two Fluff & Stuff drinks. I think the female bartender said it was rum, schnapps and cranberry juice. It was so good. I want to go back some other time to try their meals.

I then went back to the Academy; most of the school groups left and it felt like I had the place to myself. It was empty at 2:30. Since the John J. Audubon page turning isn't until 3:15 at their library, I went to Outside In and saw the animals they have there. Just so awesome. I then went to the page turning and learned some more things about Audubon. Afterwards, I chatted with the librarian for a bit. It was just a nice day out.

Norwegian rat!

I love this one - this gecko was so curious with her reflection. She just kept staring intently in the glass at her reflection. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thankful Thursday 1/29/2015

Tonight's not going to be a long writing entry since I'm tired from going to the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the half male/half female butterfly and then the Audubon page turning. My membership came in a few weeks ago and I get free admission for a year. I'm thankful for this museum - I'm thankful for what they do for animals and what they do for the community in educating us about these animals. They have all sorts of events that are so much fun.

Today was just a nice day in the city. Before going to the page turning, I finally called the Faygo distributor for Pennsylvania. The drink is mostly in the Midwest and South because it was started in Detroit. I like it. I called and there was only one place in Philadelphia that sold it and one place in King of Prussia (I'll have to call to see if the King of Prussia place sells it - if the distributor has the right information). After I got off the phone, I started talking to this guy sitting next to me. He was very happy to help me to try to figure out where to go to get it. He was telling me the way to get to 52nd Street in Philly - there were 4 different ways. When I looked at the place on Google, it wasn't an area I wanted to go to (really bad area) and when I called the store, I got an answering service. I thanked the guy I was sitting next to for his time. It was nice that he was friendly and helpful. It was a good day and I'm thankful for it.

Here are some pictures. I'll write about the ANS tomorrow in more detail.

What are y'all thankful for today? Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How To Plan an NFL Party For Super Bowl 49

I wrote this back in 2012 for a class after having a Super Bowl Party. No one liked the teams that were playing in the 2012 Super Bowl (New York Giants and New England Patriots), so I decided to through an NFL Party where we celebrate the teams we love. Since there's only four more days until the Super Bowl, I figured people would find this guide helpful. Enjoy!

Congratulations! You were asked to plan your first NFL themed party! It might have been because your favorite team has lost the championship to secure them in the Super Bowl (and you want to celebrate your favorite team just because or you want to celebrate football in general—and let’s face it, no one wants to watch possible teams they don’t like…2012 Super Bowl for example) or because you have a loved one who is into football and requests a party based on it. Regardless of the situation this book will help you plan your party from start to finish, easy and painlessly.

Getting Started
Before sending out the invitations, decide if you want to have a party based on a specific team or you want a general party focused on the NFL in general. For example, in 2011 I had a Packers themed party complete with Packers decorated cupcakes and balloons. In 2012 I had a general themed party celebrating the whole NFL—my friends came dressed up in their favorite jerseys; cupcakes were decorated with the favorite teams of the guests and the plates were simply just footballs. For both, we had competitive games planned. Once you have planned how broad or general you want your party to be, you can work on invitations. For this how to, we’ll be planning a generalized NFL theme.
Guest Lists, Shopping Lists and Organization
This section might seem like a no brainer, but organization is the backbone to a party and without organization, well…it wouldn’t be good.
Guest lists:
Putting together a guest list is pretty easy. There are two ways in which you can set up a guest list.
In Microsoft Word:
1.)    Open Word.
2.)    Go to (2010)  or Open (2003).
3.)    You will see an area that reads “New.” Click it.
4.)    You will be given a list of templates you can use.

Getting Ready for the Party
Food is the most important piece to a party. Listed below are great food ideas of perfect finger foods that guests will love. I have proved the best of great food ideas and how to obtain or make them. I will include recipes in the appendix.
1.)    Bratwurst
2.)    Chicken wings
a.       Local supermarkets or restaurants have chicken wings for cheap. Restaurants also provide a low-cost order with the opportunity of different flavors that you might not get with frozen wings from the store.
b.      Handmade is fun and not time consuming at all. Whether breaded or not, spicy or mild, you can control what your personal preferences are.
3.)    Potato skins
a.       Wegmans or local grocery store
b.      Handmade, again fun and not time consuming at all. You can make the consistency and thickness to your liking (e.g. jam packed with potato or not very filled, but lots of bacon and cheese).
4.)    NFL Themed Cupcakes (pictured on the cover)
a.       I would suggest going to the local grocery store for this one—it could be time consuming.
b.      If you have a lot of time, check out the recipe I will provide in the appendix.
5.)    Chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc.
6.)    Fruit and vegetable trays.
Of course you can add as many items as you like, you’re not limited. However, it should be like a tailgate party. At tailgate parties you don’t get very sophisticated food, but finger foods that are easy to pick at and easily to eat on the go.

Decorations are the backbone to the aesthetics of a party. Below are some decorating ideas.
·         Place team jerseys on the back of the chairs. This will give the feeling that you’re a part of the team.
·         If allowed, hang posters or pictures of your favorite players. To the right: display of my Packers stock.

Like music, games are essential to a party. They are fun and guests love fun things. Fun things = good; boring things = bad, remember that. For a NFL party, anything that isn’t competitive equals bad. However, it doesn’t have to be over competitive because that would be equally bad with fights and whatnot. Below I have listed some fun activities.

Wing Bowl
Each year before the Super Bowl, places hold a Wing Bowl that garner national attention. For a party, why not create your own wing bowl? When I mentioned this to the people coming to my party, the enthusiasm was out of this world. Planning a NFL Party, a wing bowl would be a nice little touch to it. Hot or mild sauce, your guests will enjoy this. I had mine set for three minutes, but you can make the duration any length you want.

Relay Race
I played this game while I was out in Green Bay for the tailgate party before the Packers game. It's a great game for competitiveness and bizarre antics on the part of everyone--daring the loser to chug a shot of something or winning prizes—this game will definitely put a smile on everyone's face, even the most competitive of the group.

1.) Break into two or three groups. Name each group for a quarterback (for example: Team Rivers, Team Rodgers and Team Tebow). There should be two people to a group.
2.) As they walk, they must alternate the plastic cups. They should circle the cone until they get to the point where they started. No dropping.
3.) Once person #1 finishes, pass the stack of cups to person #2. They will have to repeat.
4.) Whoever gets back first wins!

Shirt Signing
This is another idea I stole from the tailgate party in Green Bay, but it’s so ridiculous that it makes everyone laugh.
1.) Get a group of four people.
2.) Make them put on a pair of men’s underwear and undershirt.
3.)They must obtain the most signatures from everyone in the crowd to win.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!


I hope this manual has been of some help to you while you prepare for your NFL themed party. I hope you have a great time and that whatever you have planned creates wonderful, cherished memories. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review of Twiztid's The Darkness

Twiztid, who was formerly signed under Psychopathic Records until 2012; is now under their own company, Majik Ninja Entertainment (since late 2014), has released a new album. The official release of The Darkness is today, but I received a pre-ordered copy yesterday in the mail. I have been a fan of Twiztid since 2003 and was excited for their new album, The Darkness, on their new record label. I was anticipating hearing their sound after Madrox and Monoxide did an interview for Revolver magazine and replied to the question of "do you think metal fans will dig the darkness?" with "if you take it with a grain of salt and open mind, you will find something in it you like. It's not Sepultura, but it's dark" (Madrox) and "a lot of the producers we worked with played live guitars, so there are some heavy riffs on there. One song called "FTS" is instant anarchy" (Monoxide). I've always been a metal fan and have always loved Twiztid, so there I was after reading the article two weeks ago on my couch, anticipating receiving my pre-ordered CD by watching the tracker of whether the CD shipped yet and how long it would take to leave Livonia, Michigan; I wanted to hear Twiztid's sound for The Darkness and I can say I was pretty impatient about it (that’s not typical of me)—I was happy yesterday when it arrived after two weeks of waiting.

The first Twiztid album I ever listened to was Freek Show back in late 2003. I loved Freek Show, which was released in October 2000, with the lyrics, the collaborations with Insane Clown Posse (fan of old ICP) and Mike E. Clark, and the skits in between a few of the songs. That album has been a favorite of mine for more than 10 years. However, I also love their song "Darkness" (from The Green Book, which was released in 2003) and I loved their 2012 album Abominationz, which was their last album with Psychopathic Records. I loved the sound of Abominationz because it has a unique blend of rock, some Southern rock/ bluesy sounds (to me "Bad Side" has that bluesy feel), and rap. I think The Darkness is a great follow up to Abominationz and like their 2012 album, I can't stop listening to The Darkness.

I have seen some former fans trash The Darkness because Twiztid departed from Psychopathic and the think the new sound is abandoning their roots. Some complained that their vocals and beats are too processed now. Yes, this album is different than previous albums, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I listen to all genres of music and artists grow with each album, which is what is needed from artists to be successful; especially in the music business. Everyone has to grow to be successful and I see Twiztid growing with this album—from young guys to very successful men. I think Twiztid took a risk and they succeeded with this risk. I like the thoughts, the lyrics and even the skits behind this album. I really loved how it was produced.

My favorites on The Darkness: Afraid of the Dark, In Hell, Back to Hell, Boogieman, F.T.S., Breakdown and Mind Goes Mad. I give this album a 4 stars out of 5 stars and it's definitely a must listen. Can't wait to hear more from Twiztid and Majik Ninja Entertainment!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quarter Crescent Winter Moon Triolet

Quarter-Crescent Winter Moon
Jessica Marie

The quarter-crescent moon quickly lights the sky,
once or twice, between the bare branches per week--
illuminating snowflakes and hale that float by.
The quarter-crescent moon quickly lights the sky,
lovers, stargazers, snowflake kiss and loudly sigh
about a winter that is so long and so bleak,
The quarter-crescent moon quickly lights the sky,
once or twice, between the bare branches per week.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party 1/19/2015-1/25/2015

Monday, January 19

The cat statue that was given to me in January 2000 left a cool silhouette from the moon in the bathroom. I thought this was pretty.

Tuesday, January 20

This was such an awesome book! I love snow men.

Wednesday, January 21

Snow! Only an inch, though... but the weather people scared everyone thinking there would be more, so everything closed early.

Thursday, January 22

Picked up my pre-order of Manson's new CD from Best Buy. You can read my review here.

Breakfast at Starbucks.

Friday, January 23

We lit a fire. So warm. :)

Saturday, January 24

More snow! 4 inches this time and I made snow ice cream.

Mimi is enjoying her Caturday.

 Sunday, January 25

#THEDARKNESSISCOMING I hope my pre-ordered CD comes soon. In stores everywhere 1-27-15!