Goth Panda

December 2, 2012

Reboot

I have been ignoring Goth Panda for quite a while, in favor of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and the rest. I didn’t have a plan for Goth Panda when I started it. It quickly became something of a food blog since I started the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge soon after, and I continued posting recipes after that. Although I am still trying new recipes, particularly for bread, I haven’t had much motivation to photograph and post about them. Maybe in the future that will change.

A few weeks ago I started a Tumblr to organize my future travel plans. Travelling is one of my big goals for the future, and I get a lot of inspiration through Pinterest and other travel blogs on where to go and what to do. I thought tagging things on Tumblr would make it easy to organize information for future trips. But I started to feel guilty that I have a site I designed myself, and continue to pay for every month, that I was ignoring. So I decided to integrate my Tumblr posts with Goth Panda, posting my original posts here and sending them there. Things I link to and reblog will just be on the Tumblr. I also integrated my Instagram photos to post to GP.

Since this is first and foremost my personal blog, and I don’t have any plan to “focus” or “brand” or “monetize” it, I think opening it up to include more things will prevent me from neglecting it again. That’s the plan, anyway.

January 8, 2010

Lessons Learned from Whatever Works and The Black Dahlia

[This is continuing a series of short movie reviews I used to do on our old blog, Population Five]

Whatever Works: If you are a religious, Red State Republican, you should move to New York City and convert to atheism, liberalism, and unorthodox sexuality, and you will be much happier. Now, I lived in New York City for three years, and no one could be more supportive of atheism, liberalism, and unorthodox sexuality than I am, but even I found this to be a little condescending.

Also, did the teenage girl have to fall in love with the elderly curmudgeon? Really? Again? I actually liked Larry David’s character, but he is the only memorable thing about it. Except for Patricia Clarkson. I wish she hadn’t undergone her metamorphosis, because I liked her a lot better as the hyperventilating Southern matriarch.

The Black Dahlia: I am pretty sure that if you manage to get yourself the nickname “Black Dahlia” while still living, it is only a matter of time before you will end up an unsolved murder victim. And this was based on a true story!

I didn’t much like this movie, and I really didn’t like the ending. It was trying to be a 1940s-style movie, and couldn’t pull it off. The acting by all four leads was decent, but the story was confused and meandering. Also, I had serious objections to Josh Hartnett’s severely center-parted hair. I realize that is not a substantive criticism, but it had to be said.

On movies that are actually still in theaters, I do not want to see Avatar, no matter how many times it is described as “the future of movie-making.” I thought huge amounts of post-production, CGI, and special effects at the expense of storytelling were the present of movie-making. It’s depressing to think that will be the future as well.

June 4, 2009

A Break from Bread and Ice Cream

People, I have decided to look into buying a house. I was always planning to buy one eventually, and the market is so good right now for buyers. That, in addition to the fact that I prequalified for a first-time homeowners’ loan and will be eligible for an $8,000 tax credit, convinced me that I should at least look for one before the deadline expires on November 30. I figure if I can’t find anything I like and can afford before then, I will continue to rent.

However these beginning few days of home searching have been so stressful that I am not sure I will live to see the end of the process. I might die of sleep deprivation before then, counting endlessly over in my head possible mortgage payments and budgeting plans.

You see, I have never bought a house before. And up until now, I have had a significant amount of disposable income which I have been…well…disposing of. Will I be able to survive not having extra money to spend on kitchen equipment? What about traveling? Can I force myself to spend less than $400 a month on groceries? For two people? Who are vegetarians (at least at home, Mike counts as one too)? I know that might seem excessive, but the point is, I have been used to excess. Buying a house is the most financially responsible thing to do, since I will be putting all that extra money into something worthwhile, but it also makes me nervous.

Here is something else I have learned about home shopping: the importance of property taxes in what makes something affordable. I went into the process assuming it was all about the purchase price. I am learning that is not nearly the most important thing, since the purchase price can vary by what seems like a lot without making much of an impact on your monthly payment. But property taxes — which, here in New Jersey, vary widely in each little township and are also the highest in the nation — make a huge difference in what is affordable or not. In some instances, a house that is $10k or $20k more than one in a neighboring town is significantly cheaper per month, all because of the property taxes.

Also, I have learned that some people have not updated their interior decor since the 1950s.

May 12, 2009

Yes, I Have a Neti Pot

Since I have been sick for the past THREE days, it is probably an appropriate time to talk about my new neti pot.

I definitely did not think I would ever have a neti pot. I had no doubt that they worked. Everyone I know who has tried them told me they were the best thing ever for colds, allergies, and general sinus unhappiness.

But you see, I had a problem with the idea of pouring salt water into my head. I don’t like the sensation of water up my nose. I always hold my nose going underwater when I am swimming. I do not like to be dunked unexpectedly. I blame this on my grandfather throwing a much smaller me into a lake (after he promised he wouldn’t) to “teach” me how to swim. Needless to say, the only thing I learned from that incident was not to trust adults.

But I have been having low-grade sinus issues for months. There was stuff in my head, just enough to be bothersome, but not enough to make me definitively sick. I didn’t have an infection or a fever. It was just annoying. So I decided to try the neti pot.

Neti Pot

Neti Pot

The idea behind a neti pot is that you pour warm salted water into one nostril and it COMES OUT THE OTHER NOSTRIL. I don’t have a good grasp of cranial-facial structure, so this seems almost miraculous.

You can see an illustration here. This woman looks entirely too happy to be performing this process. Trust me, when I do it, there is a lot more dripping and coughing and swearing.

Entirely Too Happy

I even had to buy special neti pot salt, since you need un-iodized table salt. I don’t have any table salt – just kosher and sea – and neither of those would work.

Neti Salt

So my verdict is, yes, the neti pot is unpleasant when you are actually doing it. It is hard for me to get the angle of my head right so the salt water doesn’t trickle down the back of my throat. However, it is incredibly effective. I have been using it to combat this cold, and I think it is even more effective than the pseudophedrine at clearing my head so I can breathe. It is not fun, but it does work.

April 29, 2009

Someone Got a New Car

New Car

New Car

New Car

It wasn’t me, though. This is Mike’s new Mini Cooper, as you might have guessed would happen after all those visits to dealerships. Sadly, these pictures don’t show the sunroof and the interior “mood lighting” that changes color. It is seriously cute.