Taking Serious Bites

11 01 2013

Being a Foodie can be overwhelming for your wallet and your caloric intake but it can be the saving grace for your taste buds in a world fueled by fast food. Foodies are often seen by others as pretentious and sometimes obnoxious. This doesn’t have to be the case! Delicious morsels can be found in all sorts of places, from dive bars to five stars. Some places to check out on a budget are:

French Quarter Bistro: The entire menu is wonderful! Creole fusion.. absolutely try the fried pickle and crawfish bisque!

The Pickering Creek Inn: Stop by on a Thursday for $2 tacos and try some Wild Boar! Also, Tuesday is half priced pizza… the Mac & Cheese pizza will knock you off your bar stool! Make sure you also try the Bourbon Wings, Aaron’s secret recipe will tantalize tastebuds.

Tiger’s II: The pumpkin pancakes are to die for and healthy too! Made with whole wheat and flaxseed

Soltane Bakery: Try the olive bread… make sure to buy two! One for instant gratification and a second to look forward to. Dip in some extra virgin olive oil and enjoy with a glass of wine!



Third Eye

3 11 2012

Little green devils dance through eyelet windows,

a passionate tango on the left side of the brain.

Poison ivy strangled visions of living grow weedily

across the barren seascapes of the mind

twisting everything into tangerine sundreams

instead of fly-buzzing cow-pies.

Flutterbies glide on the whistling breeze,

flapping and flaunting glittering lies.

From its resting spot within the third-eye,

the great raven–Lenore–swoops, swats

swallows them whole, one by one,

the flutterbies are nevermore.

Silent whispers seep through curved tunnels,

tiptoeing across creaky unswept floors.

Heard is a humbling humming, a haunting tune

that resonates like Hitchcock mysteries

and with a smoking pipe, spouting silver-clouded swirls,

the canonistic caterpillar quizzes and questions,

“Who are you and where am I? Are we

inside the dilapidated dreaming mind or

wake-walking through a dream reality

where down is up and up is in between

the beginning and the end of the middle,

where going has a drink with arrived?”

Melodic thoughts manifest across a blank measure,

like the flickering abdomen of lightening bugs,

inhaled through pores; black holes

across a universe of skin, absorbed into the stream of life.

Hues of understanding cascading from above.

The Things We Thought We Knew (Mindless babel)

20 08 2012


With the elapse of time comes change. It seems as though things that should be concrete, unwavering, are being falsified. Yes, seasons change, people die, new discoveries are made, but when does change make you question everything you ever learned.  Some things we were just lied to about because for some reason grown-ups think it is better to lie, sugar coat, and then when the kids figure it out, deny, deny, deny. Consequently, we are being taught on a subconscious level that lying is OK! Tsk, tsk… This is where my mom would say, “the big DUH!” (Her way of shaking her head or refuting something you are telling her she doesn’t like without arguing.) Why lie at all? Over the past years kids have quickly stopped being treated like kids and are now carrying around $600 iphones, dressing like hookers before puberty and entering into world wars on videogames with intense graphics. Just a short 12 years ago the only violence you willingly engaged in was a game of Survivor where the worst that happened to you was getting pegged by a Koosh ball and bruised; or sports of some nature. Now kids are running Special Ops and seeing the glorification of war. When did it become fun? Bob Dylan said Times are a changin’ but I don’t think he envisioned this.

Let’s start with basics: Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, I mean, really? So, now there are only 8 planets in our solar system. I guess I can adjust to that (I feel bad for Pluto though, being cut out like that, so rude). Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the backbone of all modern Physics, is faulty… But that man was a GENIUS! There aren’t enough of them to start going around dismantling the very perch on which they’re placed. How about St. Patrick’s Day, do people realize good ol’ St. Paddy hated the Irish? I mean, understandably so, considering he was from the U.K. and kidnapped by Irish gypsies who sold him into slavery (but fuck the British, payback is a bitch). The simple truth that the Irish hate the damn Brits, rightfully so, more than anything makes me wonder why they have a religious observance of the man that thieved Gaelic beliefs and “saved” the Irish with his missionary crap. “Let’s get drunkkkk.” Good job; leave it to Americans to mess that all up. And thank God they can’t prove Jesus wrong; cause faith is solid ground to walk on. It’s like walking on water, except unlike magical Jesus; we drown pulling stunts like that. Flailing like morons as we fail to keep our heads above water. It’s too bad that the Christ-like figured head of Penn State football thought he could stand up to the challenge, but he’s sinking faster than all of us; an accessory to the criminal investigation of a CHILD MOLESTER. And students, acting like children on a temper tantrum, are rioting in the streets; I guess they didn’t read the news articles. Or maybe this is like the crucifixion for Joe Pa… I don’t think he’ll rise again in three days though. He took the path of Punctious Pilot, trying to wash his hands clean. Now he’s dead.


Ah, Becoming a Pretentious Blogger

30 04 2012

I was apprehensive when signing up for this class. I have always been a regressionist when it comes to technology and digitized media. I also was worried I’d become one of those hated pretentious bloggers. There is nothing worse than the stereotypical “smater-than-thou” English Major (the one who is always right, one upping your literary reference with something from Ecclesiastes). They probably wear those ridiculous fake glasses that don’t actually increase visualization. After I swallowed the blogging thing down it was actually rather interesting. And to boot, the class was full of intelligent people with very different opinions which always enhances the learning experience.

The main obstacle for me, forcing me to step outside my comfort zone, was writing for an audience of internet-based readers. The world of web writing is fast paced and the averager reader has a very short attention span. This pressures the traditional prose writer to condense their would-be flowery language packed with metaphors into hard-hitting excerpts of their comprehensive ideas. Romanticism is dead on the Internet. But, mixed media writing is the future so I better get a grasp on it!

Our first project of creating a rhetorically successful website was an exciting challenge. Deciding what kind of audience you wanted to capture and what type of content you wanted to curate was not an easy decision. At first I wanted to do a blog dedicated to understanding Shakespeare. This site would have been equipped with a forum for questions from students who were studying him and just couldn’t quite grasp it. My next idea was a travel blog, reminiscent of Matador Network. I realized that would have been more successful when I was backpacking Europe or South America two years ago, but not so much taking the train back and forth from the suburbs to North Philly everyday. Finally, I decided to combine my love for music and writing (As well as my love to give my opinion on things).

After researching other websites dedicated to the Philadelphia music scene, I realized that there weren’t many, if any at all. It was a sign. Ever since I had a column in my high school newspaper I loved the idea of doing a weekly commentary. It was tricky to figure out just who my audience was, and if they would change post to post, depending on the show that was being reviewed. This gave me an opportunity to interview people at shows, sit in on band practices, and really get the low down on certain events. Because music is the love of my life and writing is my passion, this was a wonderful combination of the two. This helped me to channel the enthusiasm Gary Vaynerchuk had in his video.

Once my site, Mental Expanders, went public I was excited to see if it got a response. It was minimal but I realize that there are certain aspects of maintaining a blog that I need to research more and learn how to execute. One thing that is really important is traffic and you need proper tags to ensure traffic. Deciding how to tag each post is important because then they have the potential of coming up in a search on google. Another aspect that is important is getting people to leave feedback on posts, showing that there is interest in what you have to say.

Although I have little feedback, I was luckily still able to attain an internship based on the work I have done thus far. I was offered a position at ReverbNation based on my Black Keys and Catullus articles. ReverbNation is a company that is dedicated to doing promotional work for artists and festivals, as well as updating social media sites and writing musician biographies. This was exciting because it shows that I was successfully gearing my writing toward a specific audience, which was my biggest fear for this class. I have a tendency to be too wordy.

Overall, I think this class was extremely helpful in bringing me out from under my rock. Not only did it force me to look at the future of writing, it forced me to put my writing up for everyone to see. I have always been shy about my style and never had much confidence (which is a superior hindrance considering how much I love to write). And thank goodness I did! Otherwise I wouldn’t be someone’s personal errand bitch in a New York office next year haha. Since I bought my domain I hope to keep it up and running and continue to improve.

I also came to the conclusion, yes bloggers are pretentious asses. That’s what our blogs allow us to do, even if we try not to.

Reinventing Storytelling

23 03 2012

Digital fiction is the new wave in writing. For those of us who cling to the past with contempt for the future, you may need to get your toes wet before you do a canon ball. I was (and still sort of am) hesitant to embrace this reinvented storytelling. The use of audio clips, visuals, and interactive navigating are innovative and a way of adapting literature to this increasingly digitally-based world. I tend to find it distracting rather than enhancing my understanding or enjoyment of the story being told. This need for multi-media fiction speaks volumes to the necessity to multi-task. People can’t just sit down and indulge in a great book, they need to click graphics, hear irrelevant music, and choose the path of the story (Goosebumps did it first).

Digital Fiction Pieces

“My Body” by Shelley Jackson

The first thing you see is an illustration of a body with named parts. There are a multitude of short stories waiting behind each part, with short prose pieces hiding inside each story–all just a mouse click away. This is a less in-your-face version of digital media, requiring little interaction other than choosing which body part you want as the inspiration for what your read. There are some illustrations included within the pages of text, but it is rather simple. And enjoyable, she is a talented writer.

“Underbelly” by Christine Wilks

This piece was absolutely infuriating, in my humble opinion. You are forced to click on floating graphics, listen to mini-clips of videos, and listen to bizarre voices that echo from a distance. I would describe it as schizophrenic mixed-media. There is no ease in the flow and it can be rather confusing at times to decipher what your next mouse click should be. If you don’t know what to do or where to go next follow the crawling woman. She will take you further into this disjointed land of a frazzled woman and her issues.

Welcome to Pine Point by The Goggles

Although I myself am resistant to this innovation in fiction, I quite enjoyed this piece. At first it was slightly awkward and distracting to have sound and movement while trying to read but as I clicked on the digitization seemed warranted. It was interesting to see actual photos from the town on which the story is centered, the people who lived there, and their stories. It wasn’t an overwhelming interactive piece that confused the reader more than intrigued them, it was cohesive and organized. You had the option to further explore the subtopics of each page or to just continue on without loosing anything from the core of the story. It was comical, informative, and heart-wrenching all at the same time. A town flourished and then dissapered, leaving fragmented memories of half-truths. “Absence preserves, and prevents what might have been,” this is my favorite quote from this piece. It is from the post-abandonment of the town, talking of peoples’ memories of where they grew up and how they are affected since the town no longer exists. I thought it was bittersweet that “someone still mows the grass in Pine Point’s cemetery,” the only thing that remains of the town is the bones of those that died in it.

So, are these new leaps in the literary world a response to our inability to…

Open Your Blind Eye & Close Your Wallet

24 02 2012

Before your read, watch Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson

Rap music indulges in remixes and samples. Led Zeppelin ripped off musicians left and right, from guitar riffs to lyrics. George Lucas used scenes from over 50 old films as templates for scenes in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Hollywood is the most notorious place on Earth for copy and pasting, 74/100 movies are remakes, whether it is toys, comic books, novels, or amusement park rides. This incorporation of other peoples’ ideas regurgitated and disguised is not only rampant in the Arts but in the Sciences as well. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb, he redesigned it. Henry Ford didn’t create the first assembly line or the automobile, he just combined those ideas to be successful.


All ideas require inspiration. One never knows the extent to which they subconsciously copy someone else’s creation until it is pointed out to them. We are so wrapped up in our own genius that we forget to credit those who inspired us in the first place. Ideas are interdependent. Social evolution is contingent on the sharing of ideas, while one person might have a great invention, they may not be the best at executing it. This is where community is important, there is always someone who can do it better.

If we lock away the right to alter an idea, we prohibit the ability to improve. Now we are stagnant. Would you sue your son or daughter for using your genes to create another human being? Nature is fueled by the sharing of genes to create better results. We should allow those same principles to fuel social evolution, thus creating the most enriching environment possible.

Unfortunately, greed works overtime to convince people that they need more, deserve more. This sense of entitlement is what hinders progression. The irony is, the idea which people wish to copyright and sue for is a compilation of other peoples’ ideas that they themselves stole. Money, money, money. Rather than experience a better world for humanity, most humans only want it better for themselves. This causes people to go to lengths to get wrapped up in EXPENSIVE lawsuits over property that isn’t entirely theirs just so they can have the final right.

Tasty Morsels: Feed Your Ears, Eyes, & Mind

20 02 2012

New blog, The Mental Expanders, is up and running!!! If you’re interested in the local music scene check it out! My goal is to feature local artists from the New York to New Jersey area, as well as more established bands traveling through the area. I will also highlight craft brews each week to keep everyone’s taste-buds in tune! —check it out !!