I Have a Food Addiction

I have a food addiction.

It has taken me a while to realize exactly what it is that I have, but bottom line is that I have an irrational and controlling urge to eat. Compulsively binge. There maybe no real solution either, because I love to eat. Food makes me happy when I’m sad, it calms me down when I’m upset, and preparing food is a wonderful creative art that I love to partake in. The last part of that list is really where the focus should be, because the first two of that list are just more symptoms of my addiction.

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Donna’s Donuts in Tewksbury, Ma

Donna’s Donuts is a 1980s throw back in everything from decor to the signs outside the building. The signs outside boost about their coffee but what brought me to upstate Massachusetts is their donuts that are shaped like various sandwiches. The three corner stones to their donut display are a Hamburger, Meatball sub, and steak and cheese sandwich crafted out of Donut.

I kept it simple in my selection at Donna’s Donuts opting to try two of their specialty donuts; the Hamburger and the Meatball Sub; and two of their normal donuts; the Boston Cream and an Apple Fritter; with, of course, a cup of coffee.

The coffee was nothing spectacular, but in a state where there Dunkin Donuts appear every five hundred feet a decent cup of coffee is worth bragging about. The Boston Cream donut was average, the cake wasn’t too far above average and maybe only a third of the donut was filled with cream. The Apple fritter had the same problem with the amount of filling but the donut itself was a fried honey glaze that melted in my mouth immediately. The combination of that donut with the sweet Apple filling was incredible.

But the real reason for the review, the Hamburger Donut. I posted photos of this donut on twitter when I was at the shop and people assumed it was a real hamburger between a donut by the photo. They’ve taken a plain cake donut, cut it open, and placed a chocolate donut in between with Boston Cream to look like cheese. The cake donut didn’t have much flavor and the chocolate donut’s flavor was kind of masked because of it. The Boston cream was delicious, but ultimately there was nothing exceptional about the quality of the donut, it’s just two average donuts combined cleverly.

The bun of the Meatball Sub donut was of the same as the hamburger donut, but the meatball sub used cinnamon donut holes which had enough flavor to overcome the taste of the “bun.” The Boston Cream complemented the pairing quite well.

In retrospect, I regret not also trying the Steak and Cheese donut because that one was a lot more creative. The filling was a mixture of chocolate donut and Bavarian cream, as opposed to just having a plain donut sandwiched in between a second donut.

If you’re in the area I suggest going for the Apple donut and the meatball sub. The Hamburger Donut looks incredible but in truth isn’t more special than two donuts sandwiched together… but that isn’t so much a bad thing. It’s not worth any exceptionally long drive out there. I hope to return soon to try the Steak and Cheese donut and some of the other flavors of their regular donuts, and to satisfy my constant craving for another one of their Apple filled perfections.

Top image from spoonfulofflour.com all other images are my own

Panels at Otakon Vegas

I will be at Otakon Vegas January 3rd through 5th and will be giving four panels! It feels like only a few weeks ago that they announced the convention and finally I will be going into the very center of Sin City and… giving academic panels about Japanese cartoons… I don’t think I’m doing Vegas correctly….

Hope to see you there!

Tortured Artist: A portrait of Hideaki Anno

Where: Panel 2/Celebrity 5

When: Friday January 03, 2014 at 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Starting in the early 1980s Hideaki Anno forced his way into the anime industry by impressing veterans with his sheer talent. As a founding Member of Studio Gainax and his works, including Gunbuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion, remain an influence to anime almost twenty years later. However, Anno’s career in animation was cut short by a crippling depression that had become his signature narrative element. This panel examines the work of Anno from his early days into his fight with depression where he creates some of his most striking an innovative work.

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San Francisco Trip, April 2013

Back in April I took a four-day trip to the San Francisco area for work. Work took the majority of the time, and the last full day in the state I had a serious cold that was made much worse by the six hour plane flight back to Connecticut, but I still got around to see some of the area.

I only real time I got to spend in the city I walked around the Marina area, which is an extremely wealthy section of the city featuring million dollar water front condos which have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a beautiful area, although the overcast and chilly wind but a damper on the exploring I was able to do.

On the way back up north I detoured and did the one thing I didn’t want to miss: walking on the Golden Gate Bridge. Again, the wind off the Pacific Ocean made it cold and unsettling. Imagine being 220 feet from the water protected only by a small ledge in a strong wind. The entire time I was walking towards the massive gate my feeling of being stable slowly drifted away. With that combination I couldn’t make it across the whole bridge but I walked out to the first gate, touched it, and walked back. Mission successful.

The next day, my cold in full swing, I didn’t feel up to walking around San Francisco so under the advice from some locals I drove up the mountain to Muir Woods and Muir Beach. The view of the mountains with the city in the background was stunning. Photos don’t do the view justice; nor can they capture how small you feel while looking out on the Californian hills and valleys. 

Muir woods itself was a beautiful hiking trail covered in massive trees and beautiful moss. I went into the woods a little bit, but again… sick.

Finally the winding path down the mountain led me to Muir Beach and, again, the photos do not capture the scale of the Californian coastline. It’s one of the most meaningful moments in my life looking out on the jutting coastline and thinking how many people before me had seen that ocean, how many millions of years it took to cave its shape out of hard rock.

I hope to return to San Francisco soon, not on business but where I can dedicate all my time to see the beautiful city and explore more of the countryside. But now I’m just glad I was able to see any of the west coast and I’m grateful I have a job that took me out there.

You can see the rest of my photos over at Flickr.

Bioshock Infinite

More ink has been spilled about Bioshock Infinite in the past couple of months than any other shooter in the last few years. It has inspired fans to write long pieces on why the game is one of the greatest accomplishments in human history and inspired people who are tired of hyperbole in the gaming press to come out and vent their frustrations.

IMotorized patriot bioshock infinite irrational games1600 6 1600x900 markednfinite accomplishes something that most other games I’ve played recently fail to do: it was consistently fun. Enjoyment is the starting point for discussing the merits of a game. Dishonored, game of the year contender in 2012, fails to do this maybe 60% of the time… let alone consistently. The main element that helps Bioshock Infinite maintain that consistent enjoyment is that death is not that big of a deal. At first I was against this, but as I played on it started to feel right that death was a minor setback - not something to force you go replay the last five minutes of a game over and over again. The respawn upon death wasn’t a cheat either. Players do spawn with some ammo, but doing so places them at a disadvantage if they had a stock pile of a single type they planned to rely on.

Combat is nice and fluid. Shooting a gun feels incredibly satisfying especially - with the Hand Cannon, which just blows enemies away. The Vigors serve as an extension of the available weapons, not something the game encourages use of as opposed to guns. The one thing that bugs me about the vigors is that it feels like any vigor in any situation seems to work; it is rare that any specific vigor feels better in any of the situations the game places the player in.

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