Bookish Things: #1 Roller Skating

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Hello all!

On this Sunday afternoon I'm sitting in the cafe at the bookstore eating dinner on my break. My schedule is still as busy as ever, but I've been trying to keep to a schedule to make the most of my days. I'm rather infamous for not wanting to wake up early. I like sleeping until the last possible moment before I have to get up and go do what I have to do. Recently, however, I've woken up early and got a few things done: namely writing and running. 

For example, yesterday I woke up and wrote for a few hours before I went for a run and then to work for the rest of the day. This morning I did the same thing, expect I decided to roller skate instead.

For a couple of years now I've been interested in roller derbies and thought it would be awesome if I could give it a try. This was always a far fetched idea because I'm not very good at sports and I mean, really. When would I have time to join a derby team? Then a few months ago I finally caved and purchased quad roller derby skates. I figured, I'm a pro at roller blading, it's the same thing.

Not at fucking all. The first time I tried on my skates I tried to stand and fell flat on my ass. I thought I had broken my wrist, I landed so hard. My mom, my sister, and Pietro were very worried considering my notorious lack of grace or athleticism. However, I was determined. I bought a bright pink helmet to match my pink wheels and a set of wrist guards/elbow pads/ knee pads to cushion my looming falls.

I tried skating twice in the city, but it never worked out too well because the ground was not flat nor paved well enough. Time went on and the skates became another box in my closet. Lately though, the skates have been calling. I get bored of running every day and wanted a different kind of exercise to try. 

This morning was the morning that I would try again.

And so I did, still as clumsy and awkward as ever. It took a few laps up and down a well paved path in Riverside Park before I was able to gain any speed or fluid motion. The trick is to squat really low and keep all my weight balanced in my butt. This resulted in a fantastic work out because I basically held a squat for a half hour.

What surprised me most was that skating is as good as a release as yoga. For a half hour I was so focused on not falling that I did not have a chance to worry about anything. As previously mentioned, I sometimes have trouble with feeling severe anxiousness. While running I don't have anything to distract me and my ind often wanders to everything that I have to do, or the rent that has to be paid. Skating this morning though cleared my mind if everything!

Long story short, I will be on these skates more often now and perhaps one day be god enough to join a derby team. I guess that means I'll have to learn how to punch though.


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About Me (So Far)

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Ramona Flowers
Some of you have been loyal readers, followers, and friends for the past two years and others of you are very new to my corner of the internet. I figured everyone (myself included) could use a reminder of who I am, and why the hell you should be reading what I have to say. 

My name is Zoë Gulliksen, I'm 22 years old and living in Manhattan, New York. I started really doing damage on the internet in April 2010 when I decided to cosplay as Ramona Flowers at the AnimeNEXT convention in New Jersey. This was before Scott Pilgrim got really big and hardly anyone was sporting the bright wig + goggle look. Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O'Malley retweeted a ton of my pictures and suddenly I had hundreds of followers overnight. 

That July, Midtown Comics in Times Square, held a Scott Pilgrim volume 6 midnight release party where I suggested via twitter that they should hold a costume contest. I went with my best friend Angela (@Angelaplz) and met up with a bunch of people we had befriended online. I ended up coming in 2nd place in the contest (behind a brilliant Wallace Wells), but the following week I was offered a job to co-host  store events. Thus I was plunged into the geek world full time.

I had already been reading comics for a couple years before this happened, but working at a comic shop and blogging online about it escalated my involvement in the industry. I started cosplaying more, most notably as Black Canary, Video Game Ramona Flowers (which I was the very first person on the internet to do so-> Fact) and Peggy Carter from Captain America. If you Google "Zoe Gulliksen Cosplay" you'll be able to find more pictures.

With Scott Snyder,
Trevor Mccarthy & Kyle Higgins
In 2011 I started co-hosting the Midtown Comics Book Club, and filmed a pilot for a reality show based in the store. If you go the Midtown Comics YouTube page you can find all the videos I did with them, including the one I did with Angela at the Scott Pilgrim costume contest! However, be prepared- I act much the doofus in the majority of these videos. ;)

In May of that year I also auditioned and was given a starring role on Kevin Smith's "Comic Book Men" A string of crazy and surreal events occurred as a result from that which you can read about all over the internet but it's summed up pretty well HERE. You can also listen to what Kevin Smith had to say about me on his podcast HERE.

With Chris Evans
In Summer of 2011 I started working for The Daily BLAM!, a new entertainment site as a journalist. This turned out to be my big break where I was able to start attending movie screenings and interviewing celebrities. Notable people I've talked with since then include Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Frank Oz, Gary Oldman, Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleson, Clark Gregg, Nick Frost, and more.

Until May 2012 I was still in college majoring in Creative Writing and Organizational Leadership, juggling school work as well as working at a bookstore, the comic shop, and at The Daily BLAM! However, once I graduated I had to try and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I started working as the Director of Social Media & Events for a start up company in Manhattan which didn't leave me with free time for much else.

In September 2012 I moved to the Upper West Side in Manhattan, the neighborhood of one of my favorite movies "You've Got Mail". I also quit my job at the start up because I didn't like the hostile people working there. I took a month off of everything to figure out what I wanted out of life. I knew I didn't want to be around people I couldn't trust or who treated others cruelly. However, I did know that more than anything I wanted to be around books again.

The New York Public Library
In October I started interning at The New York Public Library handling Social Media & Events as well as working at a bookstore by my apartment, both of which I'm still doing. I'm also writing a lot, go to movie screenings with Pietro @Poni_boy all while enjoying living a quiet though odd life in Manhattan.

So that's a general overview of who I have been and who I am today. You can read more detailed stories about my adventures in previous blog posts here. It's strange to see how I've changed in the past few years, I'm no longer actively involved in the New York comic book community because I have learned that the majority of the people are unnecessarily catty and I have no desire to deal with that. I'm still friends with many people involved and dedicated to comics, I'm just taking a break for a while. My priorities are more focused on making my rent on time and writing my novel. I'm enjoying my ridiculous life, working seven days a week and I'm very thankful that so many of you have cared enough to follow all the endeavors I've gone through.

So back to the question at hand: Why should you read what I have to say? Well, I tweet about my crazy every day life in New York City, I blog about the bigger events such as meeting celebrities, and work events, and I plan on becoming a published author at some point in the near future. (Also, I finished a comic book script in the works). If you ever have doubts ask any of the people who do follow my adventures- they know better than I do! I'm still just a girl trying to make it in the world  and sharing my experiences with you. Thanks for sticking with me<3


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Bookish Review: "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan

As soon as I read the title for this novel, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. It's a good size newly published hardcover with a bright yellow cover and enticing name. Any bookstore open 24 hours a day must have a good story to tell within it's walls, especially at night. And so we meet Clay Johnson, a causality of tech nerd culture in San Francisco, California. Clay is laid off from this poorly executed bagel start up company and is looking for a job he doesn't despise.  Clay finds a position working the nightshift at a queer little store that has book shelves stacked up stories high instead of rows deep. He can mostly do as he pleases but he is not allowed to read inside any of the books, which all happen to be in some sort of code. 

The book from there on follows Clay as he becomes entangled in the crazy world of the people who buy these books (the few and far between) and more importantly, the people who make these books. I was very engrossed from the beginning, wanting to know where Clay's mission end up leading him (thankfully to New York City at some point) and also more about the colorful characters he befriends. 

Namely, we learn more about Mr. Penumbra himself and how he managed to get himself into this mess. Also, we meet Kat: a tech savvy and ambitious Google employee who sparks up Clay's life. I enjoyed this book because the writing is well done, the plot is full and not predictable, and Sloan managed to pull off the present day setting very well.

Often in stories that are set in our present technology filled society miss their mark. I just tried reading a novel titled "The Twitter Diaries" about two females whose friendship unfolds through the social service. The book failed to reach a certain level of literature and ended up resembling too much of an everyday interaction. It was as though the author she copied and pasted her own twitter feed and bound it into a book, which I could have found anywhere online. 

However, "Mr. Penumbra" did not fall into this trap, instead recreating the world of Googlers and coding nerds paired with old school scholars and literary professionals. I recommend this book for the surprising plot to anyone who loves books, the modern technology, and (not kidding) World of Warcraft.

Read up more about Sloan on his website and follow him on Twitter. Drop us both a line if you end up checking out the book!


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Bookstore Adventures

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Hey guys!

It's been over a week since I last posted because my schedule quickly went from doing nothing to working seven days a week. As most of your know, I'm interning at the New York Public Library (NYPL) and working at a bookstore by my apartment. In the first week I've worked at the bookstore I've encountered many off beat and quirky customers, which I would like to document here for you all. Ironically enough, I work in the eReader department of the bookstore. This is ironic because for years and years I have been strongly against reading eBooks. The first eBook I bought was Fifty Shades of Grey because I did not want to be seen in public reading these books. And so, here are the highlights of my first week working there:

4.) European Prince

On my second night of working I was held late after closing and was told not to go home yet. There were about 20 men dressed rather intimidatingly standing about the store, but I did not think much of it. Perhaps this was how to closing protocol went at this store. A half hour later however the manager gathered all the employees around and told us a prince of a country somewhere near Scandanivia just left the store and as a thank you for staying late he gave everyone $50 cash. I went home with more rent money and feeling lucky.

3.) The People Who Don't Know How to Use the Internet

The majority of my job is not selling eReaders but explaining to technology impaired customers how the internet works. Most people do not understand the concept of WiFi and how there is not jut free internet everywhere. Children are better at understanding how a device works than a grown up. Overall my tolerance and patience for people have improved significantly.

2.) The Man Who Knows Everything About Turkey

There is an older gentleman who has come in three days in the past week and likes to talk to me about the lengthy history of the Turkish government. His lectures can be excessive but he's friendly and I like the enthusiast company so I don't mind listening. I know now quite a bit about the Ottoman Empire oddly enough. However, he is not as entertaining as the older asian woman who asked for a book about "these", where she then began to grope her breasts. Turns out she was looking for a book titled "Big Breast and Wide Hips" by Mo Yen.

1.) Karen Allen

I don't think I shall ever get over the moment Karen Allen walked right into the store and asked for me help with finding a book. Allen, if you aren't familiar with her, is the actress who played Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ask, the first Indiana Jones film. Allen has always been one of my favorite actresses and I could hardly keep my cool when she approached me. 

I had met Allen in September when she appeared at the Indiana Jones marathon to do a Q&A. She wasn't allowed to talk with anyone afterwards but I ran after her and asked to shake her hand real quick, explaining how much of a fan I was. And then less than two months later she walks into this huge store, approaches me of all people and asks to find "Hallucinations" by Oliver Sacks. Even though it wasn't my department I jumped at the chance to show her around to find her book. Even after she left the store she ran back in, walked straight to me once again and asked where the bathroom was. My inner fangirl was squealing but I was able to stay calm. Besides, if Karen Allen is a regular I want to become her friend, not known as that employee who turns into a blubbering mess around her. I do regret not mentioning that I knew who she was or that I had met her before, but hopefully there will be other chances.

In an odd way, I've come to think of her as my good luck charm or patron saint of New York City. When I first moved here and met her at the movie theater, I was having a hard time adjusting to my life, plus I had a really awful cold, and I had just gotten over the stomach flu. Needless to say I was not doing too well, but meeting her by chance reminded me of all the crazy and wonderful things that happen in this city.

When I met her last week I was also having a rough day. I had just had some sort of anxiety episode as soon as I got to work and had to settle myself down in the bathroom. Still reeling from that I was not fairing too well and yet in comes Karen Allen looking adorable as ever. It sounds rather silly, I know. but once again she reminded me of how crazy and surprising this city can be.

And that is all within the first week of working here. I'm not sure if I'll come across any more crazy incidents but who knows? Apparently Matt Damon and Chris Rock are regulars as well in this store. I can only hope that perhaps one day fate will bring Robert Downey Jr. into my life and I can die fulfilled. 

Until then,


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"Authors do not write fiction, they write truth from the point of view of their characters."

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Hello guys!

I hope everyone is doing well whether you're in the Tri-State area and still recovering from Hurricane Sandy or somewhere far away. It's turning cold here in New York, quickly skipping Fall and going straight into Winter. 

I started working at the bookstore yesterday and I'm enjoying being back in the atmosphere very much. I received my schedule however and turns out that I probably won't have a free day off of work until Thanksgiving which is kind of scary. I'll be working at the bookstore four days a week and then at the library the other three. I wish I could go home next weekend for my mom's birthday but rent has to be paid after all. 

There are links on the left side bar of this blog leading to my Twitter, Tumblr, Amazon Wish list and WePay Store. I'd really appreciate it if you could check out the store, I could also use the extra cash since things will be tight this month. Thanks!

In other news, #NaNoWriMo has started out really well for me so far! As of right now I'm up to 4,133 words and keeping up with my 1,666 words a day goal I set for myself. The story is called "The Inventor and the Curious Bookkeeper"set in mid century New York City. I have yet to see Disney's new short "Paperman" but I'm using the images I've seen of the characters as inspiration for my story. I'll give a synopsis when I have a better feel of the plot but the process is working surprisingly brilliant for me. Not being "allowed" to go back and edit my writing frees of the overwhelming need to perfect every sentence. Now I just write without scrutinizing myself.

Nothing else big is going on lately, though I wish I could do more with this little blog of mine besides diary entries. I want to give more to you lovely readers but I don't know my direction yet. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment below with suggestions!


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