Hits and Skype-ing with David Cross

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Last Thursday I went to see a one-night only event at the Spectrum theater in Albany. This event was for a showing of Hits, a movie written and directed by David Cross (of Mr. Show and Arrested Development fame). I knew nothing of the original Kickstarter, and I first heard about this movie on my beloved Harmontown podcast. David Cross was a guest and I was so excited about that in its own right to absorb most of the talk about his movie. I’ll admit I remained uninterested outside of laughing the jokes about Hits being the first legit movie released on BitTorrent. I mean, Dan Harmon rapped and David Cross sang along, so I was clearly focused on the important things.

A week later maybe I saw a post from All Over Albany about the movie showing at the Spectrum. I got excited, as I do when awesome things show up in the Capital Region. Once I watched the trailer I knew it was a movie I wanted to see. Next thing I know I see David Cross’s name pop up on my latest Comedy Bang Bang podcast episode (he was working it for this movie, obviously). As I listened to that podcast, I was reminded about the “pay what you want” feature, and got to enjoy Hits stars Matt Walsh and James Adomian yuck it up. Worried tickets would sell out, I grabbed a few the weekend before and made plans to arrive at the theater early enough to get good seats.

Movie events in general have a great energy to them. Last year (I think?) I went to a showing of The Big Lebowski at Proctors where they sold white russians and gave away random movie posters. It had a great community feeling to it. Things were a bit similar at the Spectrum, however with a heavy dose of exceedingly hip looking people in the mix instead of dudes in robes.

Hits itself was a solid movie. I laughed a lot, more than I thought I would, and enjoyed the whole experience. We were treated to a recorded intro from Cross cut together with random bits. The pace really kept things movie and it was SO funny, if a bit awkward and dark. Some especially sharp jabs were targeted to the NYC-savvy. (“We’re a collective out of Williamsburg.” “We’re out of Bushwick.”) I can see how some reviewers felt the package overall didn’t deliver, but knowing David Cross’s stand up a bit and his position on people who are famous for being famous (and his comments on The Simple Life), it all made sense.

I really loved the ending “twist” and absurdity of it all. It ended on a solid note, if a little frustrating. But that’s how the world is in the end, like when I try to explain to people the sharp commentary Anchorman 2 made about CNN and the dumbing down of news in America. But most people are like, ‘meh, not that funny.’ And Hits makes a solid point that people LOVE to bandwagon ideas or people or concepts rather than learn about the actual details of a plan or about who a person is (KONY2012 anyone?).

David Cross Spectrum

Maybe the biggest excitement of all was getting to experience a Skype session with David Cross after the film. I don’t know how to details were worked out, but he agreed to Skype in to chat after the movie and answer questions. One ticket seller told me it was one of a few theaters getting that perk. He answered questions for about 20 minutes, with only one or two painfully awkward moments or technical difficulties. It was such a cool event, and I’m really glad I went.

Is it Spring yet?

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Look, I get it, I chose to live on the East Coast. Snow happens. Cold happens. I can even have fun with it.

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BUT. We’re so close to a new season (okay not really but let me pretend) and I just want it so badly. It’s not Boston levels of snow, but this snow can now suck it. Also my parents who separately emailed me to tell me about the 80 degree heatwave out west (JK I love them).

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I moved away from this place at 18. WILLINGLY.

I want to run outside and not worry about falling to my death on ice. I would like to sit in the actual sun instead of sitting in my bathroom where the heat works best and the sun shines brightly so I can pretend it’s the summer.

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JUST LIKE SUNRAYS AMIRITE

It’s the winter mopes. In general life is pretty good. But when 20 degree days are rare magical unicorns, you just want to punch that stupid ground hog into giving you spring sooner. Right?

The Susie Q Memorial Half Marathon

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We came, we ran, we died.

It’s pretty cool having a race named after you. It’s even cooler to have a race name after you in antemortem anticipation. I’m not sure on the right phrasing. But rest assured we had a lot of theories on when and how this race would earn it’s “memorial” title.

You see, when I started my new job back in August, I realized I was going to have a lot more free time to fit in running. Since October I’ve been following a beginner training plan for a half marathon. My initial plan was to complete the training plan as best I could (with room for exceptions like travel and being sick), and then basically keep going and/or start over until I could run a race in the spring. Best laid plans, and all that, you know how that goes…

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One of my Christmas presents from Jeremy was a half marathon race in my honor. And how can you not love that?! Jeremy decided we should celebrate the first time I reached that 13.1 milestone with a semi-certified race. We all had bibs and everything! It was very (semi) official.

Crazy mofos

Crazy mofos

While we considered the snow and the potential cold (IT WAS REALLY COLD), we didn’t really consider just how much of the Mohawk Hudson bike path would not be plowed. And how none of us had really trained for snow. I’d say somewhere around 10 of the miles we ran were in snow.

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It turned into a trail race kind of adventure instead of a PR/race time event. Jeremy is great at cheering me on with Rocky quotes, no matter how much I beg him to stop. (I’ll admit I secretly enjoy it.) We all basically froze almost to death, with no one being able to feel their fingers at the end. I was probably the most hobbled, but we all made it back together. We managed to revive enough back at my apartment to celebrate with some Flying Chicken. And best of all, I won the race! Winner winner, chicken dinner. …I’ll excuse myself now.

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Overall it was a challenging experience but I’m glad we did it. Plus now I can say I’ve run a half marathon distance. Now on to pick a race for the spring…

OMG It’s Like Totally 2015!

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Well. Where the hell have I been? It has been a very busy couple of months. Busy in the sense of weddings, parties, trips on the weekends, and busy in the sense of doing so much at the office during the day that I don’t dare approach my computer when I get home. Busy in the sense of lazy, wherein my desktop computer bit the dust (in a fixable way, but you lug that giant 27″ iMac to the Apple store at the mall during holiday season!!), so I just made it work with the devices I had. Anyway. I’m currently writing from my wonderful, but holy-crap-I-just-spent-a-ton-of-money new macbook pro. It’s so pretty and fast and compact and I love it. Eventually I’ll get a monitor too for big screen TV and movie viewing. (The iMac will be fixed then sold for parts once I get around to taking care of it. My only 2015 resolution! ha) But for now it’s nice to have a normal working computer.

Anyway. Lets look at pictures. I’m not fully ready to blog again but here I am. So where was I?

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I was wine tasting in my best plaid before Jeremy’s wine glass marathon.

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I was cheering Corey on during his first ever marathon.

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I was getting hassled by an opossum while trying to get into my apartment.

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I was goofing about on Halloween with some lovely fun people.

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I was doing some serious leaf-peeping with my not-so-serious selfie skills. 

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I was turning 28 and celebrated with Bill Murray and another handsome talented man who made me a one-of-a-kind necklace.

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I was in Vegas for a work conference (and met Adam Savage!!)

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I was at the beach in California goofing with the boyfriend over Christmas.

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I was destroying French presses (ridiculous story) while goofing with my bestie and her puppy in Troy for NYE.

Lots of goofing you might say. It’s felt like a crazy time, but I’ll admit I’m enjoying it. Sometimes I wish I had more time to relax at night and do nothing, but I’m spending time with my favorite people and tackling some new goals. You may not have heard, but the First Annual Q Memorial Half Marathon is happening next weekend. Only the cool people are running it. (Also I’m terrified.) I’m working on fighting off a cold so hopefully I can still get some tapering runs in before the big day. Ahh!!

Laborious Labor Day Weekend

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I think we may have done Labor Day both wrong and right.

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Saturday: We climbed a tall mountain (what up Algonquin!)

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While considered one of the harder peaks we did it in about 5 hours.

So cold at the top!

IMG_2671Champion scramblers!! We wouldn’t feel the true pain until the next day.

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What up Lake Placid Beer! Delicious hiking reward.

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Sunday: We discovered mystical forest creatures. Herro friend!

Monday: And we ran long run kinds of miles in 8000% humidity, followed by chicken nuggets followed by moaning and hobbling. (not pictured)

Pretty successful weekend! Other life news has involved lots of exciting new challenges at work (really liking it!), being very busy with all this energy I have not commuting, and being silly all over the place. My handsome gentleman is off gallivanting in Europe now though so I’ll be tackling some books, new TV shows, personal writing projects and new running feats.

Cold Brew

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This summer I decided to get on the cold brew coffee train. I don’t have an A/C and in the hottest days of the summer mornings can be sweaty even without turning on the stove. I looked up ideas online, but everything sounded rather involved. Instead I just put my usual grounds and water in my french press and let it sit overnight. The results were pretty good! The coffee really does come out less acidic and makes for a great cold beverage in the mornings. But! I was discussing this with my dad and he told me about a neat relatively inexpensive cold brew maker.  It’s still a work in progress but I’ve been enjoying some new coffee styles outside my typical dark roast. A medium roast blend turned out really great with this little machine.

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Grinds are in the interior container, slowly pour water to fill

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It was kind of a slow process

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Look at how nice it turned out! And in my fancy mug

The end!

Stirring the Pot

Less the Stress: Day 7 – Cooking

Okay, so this is going to be one of those tips we’ll all have to agree to disagree on: cooking as a de-stresser. I’m not a cook. (Also, not a crook!) I like to bake some desserts (as I’ve written about my legendary Susie Cake), but cooking has just never been my thing. Whenever Jeremy comes over in the middle of an ambitious attempt at dinner, the first words out of my mouth are always “I have no idea what I’m doing!” It’s good that I date someone who enjoys cooking. If I could cook once a month or something I’d be happy and feel accomplished. After being a vegetarian for a few years and just never being someone who loved meat it’s not something I cook at home, which limits the creative options. I’ve tried a few things, and they’ve mostly worked, but cooking with meat still weirds me out.

Reason 231 I'm not a vegetarian anymore. (A delicious home cooked meal of course)

Reason 231 I’m not a vegetarian anymore.

I’m sure many people find cooking to be therapeutic. A few weeks ago I was talking to someone who described cooking a big chili as a very relaxing event. I get that. In theory. One of my best friends, Katie, loves to cook and bake and makes amazing things. And she doesn’t do recipes. I think that confidence in lack of directions combined with a love of cooking makes it relaxing for people. I always try to follow directions, get frustrated, work too quickly and throw things in half-ready. I’m patient in other ways? And I will forever seek out other people to feed me. And takeout.

Tune In or Drown Out

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Less the Stress: Day 6 – Listen to Music

New to the series? Read the first post here. I’d say the basic concept of listening to music as stress relief is that many people believe you’re supposed to listen to classical, calm, therapeutic tunes. I know that works for some people, especially for studying, but that will never be me. The closest I came to classical study music was the soundtrack to Into the Wild by Eddie Vedder. Most of it was instrumental and animal sounds or intonations. I love jamming out to music on my commute, but these days I listen to various comedy and topical podcasts more than anything.

A few years ago I discovered stand up on Pandora. I was in a period of my life where listening to music was not something I was able to do. It felt too vulnerable. Discovering stand up not only entertained me but gave me a nice background noise replacement where I could just listen to someone talk, especially once I got to know most of the bits. As someone who has worked almost exclusively in quiet offices, you basically have to have ear buds in most of the day to entertain yourself. Once I started my job commuting to Vermont I went full-force on podcasts. I’d started listening to a few on road trips but figured I’d need more than music and musical albums entertaining me while driving 2 hours a day. photo 5 OK, so lets get back to the point here. Music is a great stress reliever. If you’re me, that means belting along to impassioned songs from musicals. Or just a pop song I can’t get out of my head. These days, it’s something I kind of forget about. It’s weird to think about, but in a way I’ve gotten addicted to having a stream of voices in my head (Erm? I’m not crazy. Sure.) I like listening to other people discuss their lives, talk about history, share goofy stories, etc. But sometimes I don’t realize right away that it’s wearing me out. I don’t know if this can be classified as introvert behavior but listening to people talk a lot, even digitally, seems to exhaust my brain or make me anxious if I do it too much. It’s gotten to the point where I have to force myself to switch to music, but the results are always satisfying. I’m better about it now. When I’m scrolling my available podcasts and nothing is striking me, it’s time for a playlist. It’s easy to get caught up in background noise without realizing you’re hurting yourself. Similar to my meditation post, being able to be still and enjoy the quiet is important. Music to me is so powerful and helps me tap into my creative side. I love musicals in a similar-but-different way I love books: it transports you to another world. Except with musicals and music, you’re tapping in the emotion of the voice as much as the words, or even moreso. I can’t NOT tear up belting out Finale to In The Heights while remembering the way Lin looked delivering it live (Do yourself a favor and watch the link). photo 4 This past weekend I saw “Hands on a Hardbody” from the Park Playhouse production in Albany. I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was – I’m even considering downloading some of the songs. Now that I don’t live in NYC anymore my new musical obsessions have decreased greatly. I miss it.

Drink It In

Less the Stress: Day 5 – Green Tea

Green tea. What is it good for? War? No, but seriously, this is a contentious issue. If I keep repeating that. Green tea is a stress reliever? I know it’s supposed to have magic powers to make you healthy. And the ones that have caffeine are supposed to be better for you than coffee. But stress relief? Please, tell me more.

Drink Green Tea
Green tea is very soothing—it contains theanine, an amino acid that gives flavor to green tea and also promotes relaxation. It is also thought that theanine is a caffeine antagonist, meaning it counters the stimulating effects of caffeine. So, drink green tea, and avoid caffeinated beverages, since caffeine can worsen the stress response.

First of all, lets look away from the claim from Women’s Health magazine that you can reduce stress “instantly.” Okay, so they make a good point. Green tea without caffeine is calming. For a while I was using green tea with caffeine for an extra non-coffee boost during the day. Plus it does taste great in iced form. However Celestial Seasonings does make several kinds of relaxing teas that mix green tea with other ingredients for a relief. I get that. I don’t know if it falls into the caffeine category or not but my coworker shared with me a green tea that smells amazing (because it doesn’t always, unless you’re 100% on board with grass flavorings), and I found it very relaxing.

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