Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Brain: Bloggers

So, apparently the theme these past few weeks here in Unkosher-land is writing posts about random things so that I don't need to do any heavy thinking on my own. Sometimes you need a break, yaknowhatImean?

Back for yet another peek into the constant mish-mosh that is my mind, it's.....

THIS WEEK ON THE BRAIN: New Favorite Addiction Blogs

I love finding new blogs - it's like getting a quick fix. (...not that I would know.) 

You spend all day sucking in the delicious fumes of humor and introspection. Getting giddy with the feeling of newness as you discover this new world of a blogger. Then fall into a lifeless lump of procrastination and lethargy at the end of the night, dreaming about all you and this writer seem to have in common, to have shared in those fleeting moments of intimate reader-dom. 

And then the next day you read the slightly disturbing comment you left on their last post, glance around your dump of an apartment, and stare into the mindless recesses of your bleary eyes asking, what the hell happened?

This, my friends, is how I spend my nights: perusing the minds of equally neurotic, imaginative oddballs like myself. And fucking loving it.

Blogs That Automatically Win 
My Emoticon Heart
Adventures of Bacon
You had me at bacon. I honestly don't care what else the site is about - although luckily, it is about the daily travails of a plush bacon that can only repeat, "I'm bacon". Need I say more? 

My own betta fish:
the late and great sulking Selkie.
The Junk Drawer
Kathy's humor is the junk to my trunk. I thought that would sound funny. I also thought it would make sense. Neither of which are true.

The Sneeze
This man is funny - the male equivalent of Allie Brosh from Hyperbole. I was particularly tickled by his Betta fish story. In all fairness, I do have a soft spot for Betta fish, but now I can't really write about mine 'cause this dude already did it better.

Was That Awkward?
Each painstakingly funny post is closed with a rating on the awkwardness. Where have you been all my life?

Bent Objects

Not only are his photos adorably hilarious, they feature food (which is an automatic plus for me), and Terry Border is an inspiration: sometimes you don't always find your craft right away. But judging from his work, the wait is definitely worth it.

Anal Sex Is Sex
Seriously, it's not what you think.
....Okay, it is.
I'm not just putting her on here because she's one of my good friends; the girl can write, and apparently she can also have lots of sex.

Fake Science
Like Billy Nye, only snarkier.

I'm not a girly girl, as you've probably noticed. (.....Okay, correction, I don't let on that I'm a girly girl even though I really do love clothes and cute things because i have some childhood tomboy-envy issues.) Fille isnt your typical gal either, but she's got everything a woman should have: snappy writing, wit, and a helluva sleek, contemporary blog design. She is the woman I aspire to be - on my normal days.

Honorable Mention

These are the blogs that are in my Google Reader Evaluation stage; I read some posts, became slightly amused, and yearned to be further titillated. And so the evaluation begins....

Check these 20-gonna-be-somethin's out. You gals have got it - now flaunt it for your unkosher lady!

Please - send me more delicious blogs!!! Nom nom nom nom nom......

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tara Aspires to Pterodactyl Status, Via Words

Have you heard of 750 words?

Well you should have - and if you haven't before, then you have now.

I first learned about this site from Ryan at Cyan Years. It was Christmas Eve, and I was feeling a little fret-lagged (the term I use for making the anxiety ridden shift from bustling New York to quietly boring New Jersey.)

I took a peek at this new writing tool - which was a sort of private daily blog that keeps track of your words each day and interprets their meaning in a page of statistics, designed to be an eyeball into your subconscious.  Like the "morning papers" that the author suggests a writer should always keep in The Artist's Way, a book I had read coincidentally not too long ago. In fact it was these same papers that I had tried to force myself to no avail. There was really only one disciplinarian in that equation, and that was me. And I sucked at it.

I didn't think that 750 words would be any better. At an average of 3 pages (for those big-handwriting folks) daily, I figured I would last a day or two. Maybe a half a day - I get lazy. If I had been trying to write for this long, even with a number of blogs already under my belt, how the hell would I be able to keep THIS going without losing enthusiasm (and steam) after the novelty wore off?

Well hell, I thought, why not? I had nothing better to do than sit trapped in a house during the great blizzard of 2010.

Long story short, I wrote about 7 days straight. Granted, it was during the holidays, and I was literally stuck in the house with snow drifts of up to 5 feet outside my door. But there were many other useless things I could have done with my time - and instead, I allowed myself to squeeze in about an hour or two of thoughtful reflection before I busied myself with something consisting of less neural activity.

I've since been on-and-off on my usage - what with work, sleeping and procrastination. But sooner or later, I'll log on, start typing about how I don't have anything to write about, and before you know it, I'll have surpassed 750 words.

Oh, it's absolute drivel; but my mind is suddenly clearer, my shoulders lighter, and my fingers satisfied with their efficiency. More than often, it's the only way I can get through all the muck of criticism and anxiety to find what's really going on inside my little inner-me.

I'm not really that into fads, diets or yoga, or any other sort of obsessive trend that some bloggers may enthusiastically rave about. I also think it's really effing annoying. But I have to admit, 750 words has done me a world of good, both as a writer and a person. Sure, I can write in my blog till the cows come home, but the truth is, I'm always going to have an audience in mind. This site allows me to write as if it were a journal, where I don't need to be conscious of who else is reading.

So why is it actually better than your basic, run-of-the-mill journal?
I admit, I do miss writing like in olden days. However, here's what I don't miss:
  • Obsessing over my handwriting
  • Hand cramps
    Having my innermost thoughts lying around for sneaky people to read
  • Wasting trees

Here are the reasons why 750 words (or any other live diary, for that matter) beats pen and paper:
  • It's smart; all of your words are counted each day and tallied altogether, so you can keep track of your progress. It also lists statistics based on what your focuses are, which can help to see what's driving you subconsciously day-to-day.
  • Like Jesus, it saves. Every day. And you can go back to re-read things without having to navigate through hastily written handwriting.
  • You can copy and paste anything that's good enough to show elsewhere.
  • You get gentle reminders to write every day, and little incentives to keep you going. Like a penguin badge. Penguins make everyone want to work harder. (Personally I aspire to the Phoenix, Pterodactyl and Monocled Owl.)
  • If you forget to write one day, no one stabs you in the face.

And there you have it. I have successfully plugged But don't try it for me - I bet you'll be hooked from the moment you start.

And that's when I'll get my check.

I Haz a Dream

I know I've been neglecting my blogger-ly duties here for a few days (gimme a break, willya?)

So while you wait for my inspiration to return (or my laziness to recede - both are acceptable in this case), why don't you take a peek inside my dreamscapes?
(You can also access this site from my sidebar feed and the cute little tab on the top right.
Organized much?)


Now you know where all that imagination of mine is really hiding!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Iz Be Famous!

Ok, not really. But I got you there for a second, didn't I?

Check out my film blog, Got Film? 
My voice over is on a Pillsbury cinematic commercial.

Creepy Sim people in a 3D world trying to sell stuff to test audiences by glorifying products. 
If you've ever wondered what I do well....I produce that shit.

So watch it, listen to my super-cute advertising voice, and go buy some fucking Pillsbury already!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In the Words of George Michael....

Faith. You gotta have it.

Some people confuse faith and religion. Just like they confuse religion and spirituality. They all can exist together, but they can also function independently. I don't have to be religious to have faith - but if that's the case, then what does faith really mean?

Well, I know I don't have much of it. So that's a start. Over the years I have grown more and more pessimistic. Whether this has to do with getting older, dealing with more disappointments and sorrows, or having more responsibilities, I'm not sure. But I could guess that it's all of those things.

You might ask, how is it possible to have hope in a world like this? Where strife is on the daily news, and things have a tendency to suck. A lot. More than often.

Or you might say, having faith is for idiots who aren't in tune with reality - who just want to ignore the inevitable. To maintain a fabricated, lovely world for themselves.

And maybe you have had faith before, and in turn been disappointed. And now you're angry, hurt, and believe that the only way to prepare yourself for the future is by assuming nothing can go right. That way, you don't get hurt.

Well, it took me awhile to realize that even though I might catastrophize every single possibility, even if I assume that things are going to be terrible, even if I try to pretend that it won't occur, if something sucky happens....guess what?
It still fucking sucks.

But now it sucks even more so, because instead of being happy for days, weeks, even months beforehand, not bothering to WORRY or be ANXIOUS about what the future might bring, you were miserable.

So who really wins?

Bottom line is the universe/life/God/Satan/Spaghetti monster/Nature/Essence/Buddha - whatever the hell you want to call it - is gonna do what it's gonna do. Shit happens, and sometimes it doesn't matter how you prepare, how you push back, how angry or happy you get, because it's not going to change the course of nature. Living things die. The weather, moods, jobs, relationships, feelings, and fads change - constantly. You don't get what you want, while some people do. Some of that may be in your power to fix; but when it's not, what choice do you have?

Therein lies my problem. I tend to conveniently forget that there are some things I don't have the power to change. I admit, that's a little egotistical. When you're a child, it's normal for you to be the center of your own universe, as that's all you know. But as a 25 year old woman, I must understand that there are things beyond my control, that have no personal connection to me whatsoever. Yet, I continue to personalize EVERYTHING.

This was particularly my issue this passed year, when a series of awful things seemed to be happening in succession:
  • First my email was hacked.
  • Then my credit card was stolen.
  • My loans increased.
  • I had surgery on my appendix.
My first thought was "Why is this happening to me?" ANGER ---> Tears and rage ensued.
My second thought was "Of course this would happen to me." PLAYING VICTIM ---> Depression set in.
My third thought was "What am I doing to do? I can't deal with this." ANXIETY ---> Worry after worry.
And then finally, from my hospital bed, I said, "You win." ---> ACCEPTANCE.

Don't get me wrong; fighting my own feelings of dread while stuck in the hospital with an inflame urethra and bladder bordering on explosion was the biggest obstacle of all. I kept thinking, "I can't get through this. This is going to kill me."

But I'm still here. Somehow, I survived.

I go through this cycle every single day. And I'm still alive - so far.
And I don't think I'm the only one. Never once when I was going through this ordeal, or any other for that matter, did I think to bypass the ANGER and the PLAYING VICTIM and the WORRY to get straight to the ACCEPTANCE: this is what is happening; how can I cope with this now.

For some reason, the universe put me through this. Yes, reality is chaos and there are most likely no Greek gods playing chess with our lives up in the heavens. But I do believe there is a thru-line that connects everyone and everything, and that there is a reason (or a reason to be found) for what we go through. Sometimes the only way to learn something is by getting a slap in the face by old Spaghetti Monster himself.

So, where the hell does faith come in, now that I've gone off on this ridiculously long philosophical tangent?
Keep your shirt on.

I believe that faith is what can keep us all sane during these times when life gets hard. Faith that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That you will survive. And most of all, faith that the universe will lead you in the right direction.

I'm not saying it won't suck. Because sometimes, it will suck majorly. But you will be stronger and happier if you have that faith, rather than the anger, fear and anxiety (which will only serve to feed more negative energy), to guide you through these challenging times.

I like to give myself credit for this Zen-like metaphor I thought up for my guest blog on Cyan Years, to describe this state of paralysis I often find myself in when confronted by challenge (if only I would quit thinking up fucking metaphors and just follow my own damn advice):

You’re holding onto a flimsy branch to avoid being swept away by the fierce rapids of a fast-moving river. Of course you’re afraid to lose your grip – you could be trapped in the current for days, hit a rock, be lost over the threshold of a waterfall. But if you stay clutching the branch, you will never budge from that spot. The only way to move on, the only way to break free, is to let go….and see where the river takes you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Moving Forward into Adulthood..for real this time

 Oh, I forgot. I turned 25 this December.

I have officially been on this earth for a quarter of a decade. The day was pretty uneventful as far as quarter-century checkpoints go, but I spent the night with people who cared, so I don't regret it.

The inconvenience of my birth date is somewhat reminiscent of my family's inherent untimeliness. I suppose you could say that after all the car breakdowns and odd injuries that besot my parents before I came into existence, my birth - which occurred 2 weeks early the night before New Years Eve, and 5 days after Christmas - was preordained to hassle.

It was because of me that dad couldn't work the New Year's bar shift; but I made up for it by being tax deductible.

I've always prided myself in desperately clinging on to my childhood: who says cereal isn't dinner? someone else will eventually wash the dishes! cartoons are forever! I shall showcase my stuffed animals and useless trinkets without shame!

I mean, I still sleep with a stuffed octopus for godsakes.

Somehow, even through my childish thinking, I've made it up until this point without seriously damaging myself or others around me (though that first point could be greatly debated.) I suppose that's pretty good.

However, now that I'm 25, it's as if I am forced to accept the fact that I am an adult now. I've passed the threshold. When I first started working at my job, I was the youngest at 23, merely a tadpole in a pond of...frogs.
25 seemed ages away.

Well, it's not anymore, baby. It's right here.

I can no longer hide behind the cloak of naivety. I don't need to change myself, but the way I think needs to change. This is mostly to help myself function in this crazy world of reality, and to re-assert the power I've always had, but have never believed I did.

Here are 15 ways I pledge to be a better adult:
1.) Don't leave dishes in the sink. It stinks; literally.
2.) If you can't take care of yourself, don't mope around when you get sick and wonder how the hell this could have happened.
3.) Take responsibility for the things you do wrong. There are no siblings around now to blame.
4.) Cheeseburgers are NOT a good weekly source of vitamins and minerals. Neither are fruit snacks.
5.) When something angers/upsets you, understand that you are not a pussy and can deal with it.
6.) "Because I don't wanna" is no longer an excuse.
7.) Tantrums are for 5 years olds; not 25 year olds. That's why we created misdemeanors and restraining orders.
8.) Learn to throw.useless.shit.away. You will never use it; and you haven't used it for SIX YEARS.
9.) Realize that humans are only human.
10.) Realize that if you leave clothes on the floor...they will most likely stay there.
11.) Finally, remember to love yourself, not expect others to do so, using the four mantras:
12.) Compassion
13.) Understanding
14.) Forgiveness
15.) Willingness to Learn
And conversely, these are the 10 naive things that I will continue to do, regardless, in order to keep the spirit of childhood innocence alive (and because adults are inherently boring.)
1.) I reserve the right to buy and keep toys; for no other reason than they are cute and/or awesome.
2.) They may not be for every day, but I ain't cutting cheeseburgers completely out of my diet anytime soon.
3.) If my body decides to sleep till 1pm on weekends, I shall continue to let it do so.
4.) I will tell stories with completely anti-climactic endings, whether you like it or not.
5.) My heart may be jaded, but fluffy animals with big, sad eyes will still make me melt.
6.) I will keep Gossamer, Sailor Jupiter, Donatello the Ninja Turtle, a winking banana and the smiley egg on my key chain.
7.) The pajamas stay.
8.) All dogs are puppies.
9.) I'm still allowed to use my imagination.
10.) I can still call my mommy.
All adding up to 25 pieces of good advice for the new year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mechanical Animals

Check out these great new animated short films
on my film blog, Got Film?

Rats. Fish. Cougars. Cars.
...wait, what

Monday, January 10, 2011

Confessions of a Fake-Food Porn Addict

Hi, my name is Tara.....
And I have a problem.
(Well, apart from my other problems, that is....)

I have an unhealthy obsession with fake food. Not the kind that's mass produced by an evil corporation and contributing to the nation's obesity. Not real fake food. But the inedible kind.

There are many odd obsessions in my life:
  • The smell of old books
  • Items that are filled with water (like snowglobes, sicko)
  • Things that are tiny.
  • Things that are fake food. 
  • Things that are tiny and also happen to be fake food.

These last two take the cake (pun TOTALLY INTENDED! Hah!) And when I tell you they're an obsession, I mean that whenever I see a stack of pancakes with a smiley face I respond much like I'm falling in love. Drool and all.

To give you an idea of the level of my infatuation with all things appearing edible, I went to Ikea a few months ago to carry out my adult duties of purchasing housewares. And this I did; except, in addition to my new window trimmings and bookshelf, I also left with these:

Look at the wittle snausages!!!!
Plush Swedish Smorgasbord. Also know as Children's Stuffed Toys.
I was this close to buying the fruit basket hat.

And, in a twisted mingling of childish and attempts-at-adulthood, these are now sitting on my kitchen table, as if ready to be feasted upon. Needless to say, my boyfriend is not amused.

I wanted to share these foodie feelings so that I could prove I am not alone in my pining. I recently found that my previous obsession with old, abandoned locations actually has a label: it's ruin porn. (Hipstercrite says so, and that's good enough for me.) So naturally, I had to assign a label for this obsession in hopes of at least slightly normalizing this very odd excitement towards fabric pizza.

Be forewarned: if you're like me, delving into the rest of this entry will soon lead you into a bottomless pit of food-crazed compulsion.

...or in this case, cats'.

This is so effing cute I think I'm gonna throw up.

Food as [somewhat functional] fashion.

The egg gown is my fave. That's what I'll most likely what I would wear to the Oscars.

(I'm not going to put the cupcake bra on here cause, contrary to the general populace, that video was slightly disturbing to me.)
The ultimate cute factor in fake food: Softness and Smiles.

Oh my little bacon-and-eggies, I'll love you forever!

Feed your little inner child.

I personally have an egg keeping my key ring sunny.
For Christmas, I got a lemon and a lime in a sidecar.

Everyday items that have been given the tasty treatment.

Lego my Eggo!
A cruel, cruel trick.
Helium for breakfast.
Why did I not have this as a child???
Please show your love for all things fake- food related and check out these links!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Hungarian Films Are Fun!

New review for Taxidermia up 
on my film blog, Got Film?

Read it.
Then you'll understand why it's so fun.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Have Stooped to the Bloggies

I'm usually not one for tooting my own horn.
Loudly that is.
....Okay, that's also a lie. Let me rephrase:
I'm not one for tooting my own horn, albeit loudly, without the inevitable onslaught of incredible guilt that hangs over my head like a rain-sodden cloud of dread.

There, is that better?

But I shall try to chase this cloud away for once (heh, good luck), and ask that you all honor my unkosher lamentations by nominating Interrobang‽ for a 2011 Bloggies Award.

This year, I was sieged by cockroaches and reggae, enraged by the MTA, and robbed....twice. During nostalgic times (which is like, everyday), I harked back to better times, romancing over lost toys and the sarcasm of my youth. And just when I thought the year had stopped surprising me, my appendix unexpectedly peaced out.

Yes folks, it's been quite the whirlwind year. Help me start off this new one right - by grasping an intangible award as merely a reason to pat myself on the back.

But, fo' seriously now. It would be great to get the recognition for any of the categories below, and the love from all you gosh-darn spiffy readers out there.

Vote here or click on the cute little sparkly-star button on my sidebar to submit your nominations:
  • "Best Writing of a Weblog"
  • "Best Humorous Weblog"
  • "Best-Kept Secret Weblog"
  • "Weblog of the Year" (I'm really stretching here I know, but might as well go for the gold while I'm at it.)

And don't forget to vote for all your other favorite bloggers as well! We are a fragile folk, us writers, who constantly crave your affections to relieve our inner qualms. So don't leave us hanging; or we'll have to swallow our bitter tears of neglect with a gallon of Häagen-Dazs.

Thanks so much to all of you for being a loyal reader throughout this tumultuous year. And be proud to know that you are slowly rebuilding my self-esteem, one bloggie at a time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

This passed week I celebrated Christmas, my 25th birthday and the end of a decade.

Here are my firsts for 2011:

FOOD: Cookies & Leftovers
MOVIE: Summer Wars
MUSIC: Tron Legacy Soundtrack
PURCHASE: Cheeseburger w/Fries

Starting off the new year as the maladjusted woman-child I am?

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