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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zombie Cupcakes

Today I made zombie cupcakes to bring to work tomorrow. On Sunday, mom and I went to Joann's Fabrics and I saw a zombie kit on sale. I bought it.



I debated making the cake from scratch, but I saw the Halloween cake mix was on sale for $1 at Walmart. I used the cake mix and mixed a packet of Starbucks Instant Coffee into the batter (followed the directions and added the instant coffee). However, if you would like to make the cake from scratch... here is a recipe for a cake nan's friend used to make:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

If wanted: a packet of Starbucks instant coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.


Mom didn't have the small cupcake tins, just the huge ones. I baked one cupcake first to make sure they came out okay. They did and I baked 15 cupcakes.

Tester

I needed the laugh.


He looks afraid... very afraid.

Poor dude!

I didn't want to buy icing because I prefer homemade butter cream icing. I made butter cream icing, but I thought 1 cup of butter = 1 stick, but 1 stick of butter = 1/2 cup. I went with it and covered 14 out of the 15 cupcakes. I hope my coworkers like them - I tried one and they are good!

Butter Cream Icing

1 cup of butter
2-3 cups of confectioner sugar
2-3 tsp. of milk, but if you need more, add it!
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla until creamy. I added red food colouring; if you'd like to add food colouring, add as many drops as you'd like! Enjoy!




Thankful Thursday 10/23/2014

“The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.” ~Unknown

Yesterday's Blog City (Writing.com) prompt was "what do you look forward to every week?" and I thought this would be a great way to start Thankful Thursday. My friend on Writing.com, Joy, posted that beautiful quote above. She heard it from a motivational speaker, but wasn't sure of their name (so I just credited it to "unknown"). I really love that quote. Last week I looked forward to seeing and meeting Twiztid for the first time. I remember on Sunday, one of my Instagram followers said, "Now what, huh? No more excitement." I replied, "Actually, this will hold me for a very long time. I will never forget these moments and I look forward to writing about them and scrapbooking the pictures. I don't have a burner anymore, but maybe I'll send the videos to someone who does along with a DVD and they can make me one."(Any readers care to help? E-mail me: nose.pierced.beauty89@gmail.com) It's true, though, even though the concert has passed, the memories and smiles shared with Twiztid and the awesome people I met at the concert will not be forgotten and I cherish those memories.

Yesterday I posted that I looked forward to going to work each week. I do - I love my library job and I love the people I work with. I love seeing kids and I love seeing kids smile and laugh after story hour. I love helping patrons and I have loved getting to know the regulars over the past eight years. I look forward to it each day and I will continue to as long as I work there. When I was still working at Software Application Training of West Chester University, I loved going into work there as well. I enjoyed writing manuals, teaching the manuals and I especially loved seeing Harry and Eliot each week for our computer club. I loved helping them navigate the computer, I loved helping Eliot with photography. But, I mostly enjoyed their stories. I know when I do get another second job, I will look forward to that as well. 

I also look forward to the adventures that life loves to throw everyone each day. No day is the same and each day has its own special adventure and lessons learned from that adventure. You grow each day. I also look forward to my walks and taking pictures because I try to take a picture every day. Joy brought up a good point and I can't believe I forgot it. Joy is older, but I believe it applies to everyone: to stay alive and well. Each day we wake up, even if it's not the best of days, is a gift because we never know what will happen to us. Every day we are healthy is another gift... sometimes I think we all fail to appreciate health until we are either sick or see a loved one sick. It's amazing what we learn when we experience it or see someone experience it. Even in our worst days, when we fail to see the good in life, those memories of happy times should be held close to remind us all nothing lasts forever (cue in Guns N Roses November Rain: "nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain..."). I love reading Joy's writing.com blog because she's very wise and I can learn about myself from reading her entries. Thanks, Joy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thankful... Wednesday?

I've been thankful all week and I know it's Wednesday, but I wanted to post my gratitude and thankfulness for this weekend today. I will still do a post for tomorrow, but since I'm still in a great mood and have felt grateful since Friday, I am writing today. I feel grateful for my experience this weekend. I know I have said last week that I was thankful that I had the opportunity to meet Twiztid, but I am thankful that they truly are genuine guys. I'm thankful that they take the time for their fans and will talk to them. I know there are some musicians that aren't like that. I am grateful for the hugs and just everything else about the meet and greet. One of my Writing.com friends posted this and he's right:

Hey Jess, I am happy you had such a wonderful time at the meet and greet and that everything met your expectations. It sounds like these guys genuinely care about their fan base which makes them stand-up guys and worthy of the admiration.


I'm also thankful for the people I met at the show and still keep in touch with. They were all wonderful people, especially since they made sure I got home okay. It's also cool to know that other people have had the same experiences; no one is truly alone. I know a few people give Twiztid/ICP fans a bad rap, that they are "awful people," but in my experience they aren't. The people I knew growing up from Tower City weren't bad people, the people I met in the Midwest (who would have thought that some of the Packers fans I met were also Twiztid fans?!) and people I talk to from the Midwest are awesomely nice and the people I met this week were genuine as well. I am just thankful for my experiences. Besides one person (Andrew, you know who I'm referring to), I've always had positive experiences and I've always felt like I belong. It's hard to put into words the gratitude I feel or maybe the words just fall short, but I just feel amazing still.

I'm sure some of my readers remember this: Dear Me 2014. I'm going to write a follow up, I'm going to write what I learned this year and everything I've accomplished this year. I've done a lot this year and I think I've grown as a person. I may post it. I'm also going to write "Monoxide Smile Pt. 2" as a poem. :) I feel very inspired to write about everything. As I told Christina last night, "I'm thinking of releasing a self published book soon before I actually publish a Wisconsin book. It's been three years since I've self published and I want to again." I just feel so good and I love the feeling.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Twiztid's This Way to Hell Tour 2014

I left Aunt Kathy's house around 2 pm and dad dropped me off to the Dekalb Station to take the P & W (err, Norristown High Speed Line) to 69th Street then catch the el into Philadelphia. I was dressed in my old pair of ripped jeans (I'm going to have to get a belt for them... they're stretchy and by the end of the night, I had to hold them up) with purple/black striped stockings and my black Twiztid shirt. I had my hippie purse around me and my camera bag in hand. I was ready to get pictures of the show and for whomever to take pictures of me with Madrox and Monoxide. Dad said, "I'm glad you're excited. It's cool you're meeting them." When we pulled into the Dekalb Station parking lot, dad said, "Have a great time, but be careful. I'll be up until 11." I said, "I'll be home around 1:30. Friends have said their shows usually end at Midnight." "Okay, have fun!" I headed down to wait for the P & W, it came five minutes later and I blasted Twiztid on my iPod all the way until the city. I was pumped, excited and a bit nervous about meeting my heroes and my crush: Monoxide.

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I arrived to the TLA at 4 pm. I still had an hour until the VIPs were supposed to meet to get the goody bag and get the instructions of where to meet. I wasn't the only one waiting, four other people were waiting and we all introduced ourselves. They were cool to talk to. Gradually more people came and it was so neat seeing cars drive by for the concert blasting music. One car had Twiztid stickers all over their back window. We all thought that was cool, but we wondered about the legality of it since we always thought seeing out the back window had to be visible and couldn't have too many stickers. We shrugged it off and continued talking about Twiztid, Faygo, where we were from, etc. Gradually more people were coming and then we were told to wait on the side. While we waited on the side, I started talking to more people. One group was a couple from Allentown (Pennsylvania) and we just started talking about concerts and music. We introduced ourselves: Dan and Laura were their names. Justin, one of the guys I met when I first got to the TLA, loved Dan's speakers since he was playing Abominationz through his iPod. Justin is a DJ and wanted to see how his music sounded on the mini 808 speakers. Then the Twiztid Shop guys came out and said things had been moved back until 6. Laura and Dan said, "Alright, I guess we can catch a quick drink. Let's all go!" So a bunch of us went to that bar across the street from Jim Steak's.

We ordered our drinks and just sat at the table and talked. Laura was talking about a concert she went to previously and that's when I asked where they were from. They said, "Allentown" and I said, "Oh, neat! I went to a few concerts there." "Really? The venues are usually lame." I replied, "Yeah, I didn't like the Crocodile Rock. I went to see Mindless Self Indulgence in 2008 and apparently at the time they wanted you in the mosh pit. I had a panic attack because it was getting out of hand and I'm small. The owners actually yelled at me about getting out of the pit,but I did and watched the show from the side. Still a good show." She replied, "I was at that show! And the same thing happened to me, and I waited on the side. It was a good show." Small world. We then talked about our excitement and nervousness about meeting Twiztid. We were just imagining what it'll be like to finally meet them. They have been fans for a long time as well and I believe it was their first time seeing them too or at least first time meeting them (actually, when I first got there, I said it was my first time seeing them and meeting them and someone said, "Wow! You're going all out for your first time!"). I looked at my watch, told them it was almost 6 and we finished our drinks.



When we got back, the Twiztid shop guys were there and handed us our bags and VIP passes. We were told we'll be let in to line up to meet them at 6:30. Laura, Dan and I split up and I hung out with Justin for a bit. I also met Rich and his sister, Bre. I met George when I first arrived, but we all started talking more about the time was nearing to meet the performers we all loved for 10+ years. It was awesome to see that there were other long time fans there and others who could relate to them as well. George held up his cell phone to get a picture of everyone waiting. I asked him if he could take one with my phone so I could post (after all, I'm short and he was tall...):
George, Me, Bre, Rich and Justin is behind George.

This guy was cool and I loved his makeup. He had it done professionally and it took a few hours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm still shaking even though it's been a half an hour since the last hug from Jamie and Monoxide took place. I was still fan girling and thinking, "OMG! This just happened! I just met the people I loved since I was a teenager and someone I have a huge crush on! They were awesome!" when the time Rich and I walked from the merch booth to where Bre was saving a spot for us all: front row. The TLA is standing room only, but there was still room to sit so we all sat and waited until the show started. Bre and I gushed about meeting Monoxide and how cool it was. We both were squeeing. I also showed off pictures of the birthday cake I made (remember that one? The one with Monoxide from Mostasteless and he loved, then wished me a happy birthday?), which everyone loved.

The show finally started at 9 pm with Whitney Peyton opening (hmm... I did talk to her... she's from the Philadelphia area and someone I had a class with in college knows her personally and has worked with her since she's a musician... that was an awesome experience too. She's probably about my age and she was down to Earth. I bought a shirt and she signed it. I'll have to download more of her songs from Amazon or iTunes) with "Wasted Pt. 2" which she collaborated with Twiztid (and a bunch of others) on the Get Twiztid album. That was really cool.





Her whole opening act was really cool. I loved the special effects for "Pinwheels" and she ended it with a burst of confetti (which there are still a few strands hanging out in my Twiztid bag... save them for a scrapbook) and then body surfed in an inflated donut flotation device. I really liked her style and I would see her again. She was good.






The next band was a heavy metal band, which reminded me of Poison the Well. They were called Neurotic November. It didn't surprise me they were playing because Jamie is a fan of metal music and that's why Twiztid sometimes can have a rock sound... they were on Rock Tunes for a long while in the early to mid 2000s. Which, yes... Twiztid and the cartoon I've had printed out since 2004 is still there! Twiztid Cartoon. They weren't a bad band, but I think I'd like to check out their CD and form a judgement. They had a lot of energy and I loved their playing... but the lead singer was meh. I think they accomplished what they were hired for as seen here:



Kung Fu Vampire was the last act before Twiztid. They were a combination between rock with the instruments and rap, since the rapper rapped. I thought they were interesting and I liked their style too. I really liked their energy and he was a great choice before Twiztid playing. The guitarist was awesome as well. Oh, there was also a controlled mosh pit; Kung Fu Vampire had us part to the sides for those who wanted to mosh could mosh for a song. It was a controlled pit, but I stayed on the side. Kung Fu Vampire thanked people for helping people up who fell and considerate of others around them. :)




The mosh pit. Rich had to take that picture... being small and all...


Ah, Twiztid! Twiztid came on around 10:45 and played until midnight. Oh man, their performance was AMAZING! When they came out on stage, since I was in the front row, Madrox and Monoxide dowsed me with their water bottles. It was freezing cold water too! It sort of reminded me of the polar plunges I did and it made me even more alert. More people began to mosh and a lot of them were put on the side since no moshing was allowed. I also became between first and second room because some people moved up to get pictures of their idols. I didn't mind and I'm glad most of my pictures turned out well.

Here I am... all soaked. At least it was water, haha.









I really love this one. :)


Their set list was AWESOME. They played a lot of songs from Mostasteless such as Rock The Dead and Blink, which those are my favorite two. They played "We Don't Die," which was the Twiztid song that got me into them back in 2003. They played "Afraid of Me," "Down With Us," "Lift Me Up," "Whatthefuck," "Bagz," "Breakdown," and a bunch of others. I was singing, errr, rapping along with them and jumping up and down. No wonder why I was hoarse at the end of the show and I was all smiles. I waved to Monoxide a few times and gave him a big smile. :D






They ended with "LDLHA-IBCSYWA," which is my absolute favorite song by them. This song is on Abominationz and it's always something I listen to. If I ever play the piano again, I'd play this. I sang along with it and you can definitely hear it in the video. When the song ended, the lights dimmed and we all screamed, "FAMILY! FAMILY! FAMILY!" Madrox and Monoxide came back out and did a mini comedy routine. Madrox started saying, "Monoxide, I want to give you a big hug" and Monoxide started running from him - it was a game of cat and mouse on stage. Monoxide gave a big smile, but sadly that picture didn't come out.. however, I did capture another Monoxide smile moment (I love his smile! His smile makes my heart melt). Then they thanked everyone who performed. Jamie said, "after me let's give everyone a "whoop motherfuckin' whoop whoop!" We had to do it a few times, I gave a really loud "whoop motherfuckin' whoop whoop" to Monoxide. Monoxide just said, "I'm not as creative as Jamie, so let's all give Jamie a simple "whoop whoop."


Monoxide smile... this makes me melt. I love his smile.

It was just so much fun, so much fun. I can't wait to see them again because it was just a really powerful show with so much energy. That was one of the best weekends this year and this totally made my year. Check out my photo album: Twiztid Meet & Greet, This Way To Hell Tour 2014.

Oh, I was on Wesley's profile and Twiztid posted this! Sadly you can't see me because Monoxide is covering me... but that goes to show I had front row view of that awesome, handsome man... so it's okay! :D


Monday, October 20, 2014

Meeting Paul and Jamie (Monoxide and Madrox)

So, I've decided to split this in half. This entry will be about the meet and greet. Because I can get picture heavy (and video heavy), I decided your computers will be happier with this way. Either later or tomorrow I will post about the actual show. :) Enjoy!

~~~

The moment was finally here! As I was waiting on the black steel step leading up to an upper level of the TLA, my heart was fluttering about the fact I was going to meet the group I've loved since 2003 and have wanted to see since then. I also couldn't get over the fact that I was going to be talking to Monoxide. "I hope they like their cards and treat bags," I think to myself. I'm nervous about it, but it was a fun gesture. The security guard then motioned me to step forward and I felt in awe as I walked into the room and there was Madrox and Monoxide standing at the table.

I was closer to Madrox, so I handed him has card first with the treat bag, then Monoxide his. I said, "Hey, Happy Halloween!" Both of them were so happy when they got their cards and treat bags, they both said "Oh my God, thank you!" Madrox gave me a huge hug first, then Monoxide (I was squeeing on the inside). I put my things up on the table for them to sign, and grabbed the permanent marker and they both said, "it's okay, we came prepared!" They both started talking to me because I was a bit nervous and they asked, "Your name is spelled the traditional way, right?" I laughed and said, "Yeah, my parents were traditionalists." Both laughed and said, "Good, that makes it easier for us." We then started talking about the city.

Madrox asked me what my favorite cheesesteak place was around Philadelphia and I said, "Well, I don't really eat them much in the city. My mom makes the best steak sandwiches and I prefer those. I like helping her." Madrox replied, "You need to make us some and send them!" Monoxide added about the other things I post and would like those too. Monoxide thanked me for coming and I said, "I wouldn't miss this! This is my first Twiztid show!" He smiled and said, "Awesome. Enjoy!" Then the group picture. Both of them gave me a huge second hug, then they complimented my awesome camera,

It lasted about 15 minutes probably, but they were so sweet, genuine and down to Earth. You could tell they genuinely care about their fans and they do read my Twitter feed (and I guess they get a kick out of the things I post). Knowing that made me really happy. Actually, the whole meet and greet made me really happy. My nervousness faded away and it was like I was talking to old friends - very laid back. They truly are my heroes and they're just amazing individuals. I'm still on cloud 9 right now... I'm just really happy about my experience. I was musing to myself last night, "My 14-17 year old self would be so jealous of me right now." (I had a huge crush on Madrox from when I was 14-17... then 23 and onward on Monoxide.)






I would definitely recommend the meet and greet. You're given a bag of things, but the experience of meeting them is awesome. I can honestly say that this was one of the best moments of my life and it was definitely one of the best times this year. I'm still happy and smiling. I'm actually still in fan girl mode. I was totally squeeing like a fan girl on the inside. Ah man... starstruck.

What they signed for me. :) VIP pass isn't signed, but the ticket is (not pictured). I have to get a shadow box for these.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Post-Twiztid Concert and Boyler Room

Hi Y'all,

I'm exhausted because I came home around 2 AM, went to bed at 3 AM and was up at 8 AM to check on Aunt Kathy's dogs and to upload pictures. I'm at Aunt Kathy's tonight, so I will be writing (with pen and paper) about the AWESOME concert last night and meeting Madrox and Monoxide and post tomorrow. I'm still in awe about meeting them. They're so genuine, down to Earth and chill. I'm still glowing... but you'll hear about that tomorrow. :D

I ended up going to the Boyler Room, which is right next to the TLA. I took the Broad Street Line thinking it would bring me closer to my destination instead of walking 5 blocks from 5th and Market... but I ended up walking more blocks. I stopped at Brauhaus Schmitz, a German restaurant I heard so much about; but, it was too crowded and I didn't want to chance being there past five pm (the Twiztid shop told everyone who was VIP to meet at the TLA at 5 PM). I walked on and looked for the Irish Times, but once I spotted where the TLA was... I wanted to stay local and I saw the Boyler Room. Also, walking the several blocks, I just wanted to sit down.


The Boyler Room's menu is simple: sandwiches, salads and soups. Since I didn't get my crown yet (have to call the dentist tomorrow), I ordered a cup of homemade potato soup and a Jack and Coke. The soup was amazing. I also ordered water because well, I didn't want to be too out of it for the meet and greet - one was enough. The Boyler Room wasn't crowded, but I talked to this one person who was visiting from Oregon. He was interesting. The Boyler Room was very laid back and welcoming. I'd suggest it for a quick meal before a show at the TLA: the food is good and it's cheap - it was only $6 for the soup and liquor (I was surprised... Jack and Coke in the city can easily be $8 for a glass instead of $4... but it might have been happy hour since it was 4pm).


Friday, October 17, 2014

Philadelphia Homelessness

Today I ventured into Philadelphia for a job interview and Philadelphia in the early morning (7:30am) is interesting. There was a lady handing out samples of free tortilla chips and gave me two bags. Until I get my crown, I've been avoiding chips and so I knew I couldn't eat them and I knew it would be ridiculous walking into an interview with tortilla chips... I decided to give the bags to homeless people. Two homeless people were very thankful and it made me happy that something so small could make someone so happy. I guess most people can take food and water for granted and we don't realize it until we're struggling.

However, something really made me sad. When I walked to the bank to get out money, I saw a homeless guy sitting in the area between the MFL station on 15th Street and TD Bank holding a sign: "I am homeless and diabetic. I need $19 for my insulin copay and I won't get my first paycheck until next week. My father died last week and I've been struggling." He was a young guy and he was shaking... I felt really bad. I was debating going back to say, "Where do you get your prescription?" and going with him to get it - I never give someone money... if a homeless person asks for money for food, I take the person to get a meal because you know that way they are getting food instead of drugs and alcohol. However, I thought it would cause an issue of "why do you want to know?" and well, I'm not sure how a pharmacy would react... if it was true. Although, I felt really bad for the guy, I went on my way to the job interview. :(

Tomorrow I'll be going back into the city for the Twiztid concert. I'm really excited and today the Twiztid shop sent me an e-mail and called me to tell me to be at the TLA at 5pm so I can get my VIP pass and directions of where to stand for the concert. Ah, so surreal! The guy that works for the Twiztid shop was so nice and we had a five minute conversation. I said, "This is my first Twiztid concert. I'm really excited!" He sounded happy when he said, "I bet and y'all get to meet them! That's so cool! Enjoy!" :) Today has been a great day and tomorrow will be awesome too.