First world problems, guys.

Which song would be my Official Jam of the Week? Should I subject everyone to the Old 97’s, on account of another magnificent show? Should I try to be cutting edge and post Kentucky Knife Fight, one of their openers? Should I wallow more and post Spoon, one of my favorite bands, whom I didn’t get to see on Sunday because of my cousin’s wedding and whom everyone was all “It was their best show in Minneapolis ever!” about?


I take Summer Jams seriously, so seriously that I must capitalize the genre. I think about mine a lot, starting around the beginning of May. Oftentimes I go with whatever pop culture says it is: “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” are for sure mine from last summer. (Guess what? I’m a feminist and I LOVE “Blurred Lines;” it’s the most-played song on iTunes for me.) This summer miiiight be the summer everyone gets sold on the wonder of Scandinavian pop…or maybe not. But if I had a convertible (or could even drive one) this would be the song that I’d want blaring from the speakers on hot, sunny days.

(Apparently the real video is forthcoming. This is the lyric video, which is, obviously, boring.)


Constructive summer

It’s day 4 of summer vacation. So far my days have been filled with sleeping until the ungodly hour of 6:30, and meeting my dad for lunch, and lots of reading. So much reading. (The bus, it turns out, is an awkward place for Lolita, even if probably no one was actually giving me the side-eye I thought I felt.)

And I’ve already seen my beloved Old 97’s. They covered a Clash song. All was right with the world, except that Rhett Miller still has better hair than I ever will.


I have about a month until my vacation is basically over for how crazy-busy it gets. So my summer resolutions are:

1. Picnic the fuck out of this city. The zoo! The Walker! The lakes! No patch of grass shall be left un-blanketed.

2. At least one dinner party. I’m going to feel like a glutton if I don’t share the Mason jar of Mississippi moonshine I’ve acquired.

3. Get at least kind of caught up on my reading, even though I’ve been reminding myself that I’ve read 47 books so far this year, and that’s not a bad showing.

4. At least 2 movies in the park. It’s my favorite part of summer in the city.

5. As many concerts (preferably outdoor) as I can get my little mitts on. The next one I have scheduled isn’t for another 2 months. Unconscionable.

Your summer resolutions?



I went to Boston over the weekend. It’s probably the shortest trip I’ve ever taken in my life, less than 36 hours in total. I fit in a LOT of stuff, though: lobster bisque and oysters and Kentucky bourbon beer Friday night with a friend from high school, a long walk in Boston Common, along the Freedom Trail and through a couple of cemeteries (basically, the route of the Pride parade, with more of a Sarah Vowell in The Wordy Shipmates twist) Saturday morning followed by the best dumplings I’ve had since 2008 in Chinatown, and then the wedding of a couple of friends.

Cemeteries are one of my favorite things when I travel. The oldest graves I’ve seen in Minnesota have been around 200 years old, so I really nerd out when I go out East and see people who died in, like, 1660.


Clockwise from the top left, that’s John Hancock, Paul Revere, the victims of the Boston Massacre, and Sam Adams. I was a little embarrassed when I saw that Crispus Attucks was a guy killed in the Boston Massacre. I just remembered him as a guy with an awesome name. History fail.

There’s no official video for me to post (and believe me, I looked) but I felt I would be remiss if my pick for the week hadn’t been “Paul Revere” by the Beastie Boys.



Today is a long day. I got home late from shopping with my gentleman friend, got 5-6 hours of sleep (which I’m too old to do and I should know better by now), and will have about a 10-hour day at work.

Is it summer vacation yet?

I’m a little bit over Atmosphere. This will never take away from how much I love “Say Shh…” or the better part of Seven’s Travels, but I think Slug has gotten lazy. The delivery is the same, and the lyrics have gotten soft. But “Kanye West,” while not quite up to old-stuff levels, is the best song they’ve put out in a while.


There’s more to life than books…

I’m getting behind on my reading. I’m supposed* to have read around 60 books by the end of June. I just finished #41. In the words of a great dog, “Ruh roh.”

Here’s what I read in May.

I bought Words Will Break Cement from Book People in Austin, a store that single-handedly made me want to move to that city. I heard the author on “Fresh Air” a few months ago and put it on my to-read list. When I go book shopping, I try to find the longest title on the list so it clears as much room as possible, because my to-read list already takes up two notes on my phone and I feel like three notes of books makes me a little bit Crazy Book Lady. Anyway, Words Will Break Cement is about Pussy Riot. I’ve long been on the side of “Putin is a dick, but he’s kind of a quirky eccentric dick.” This book put me on side “DUDE IS CRAZY.” So come on, Russia. Get with it.

Scar Tissue was pretty much the perfect vacation book. It was fluffy and trashy and long enough to read on the plane and poolside. I generally dislike the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and this didn’t make me like them any more, but it was a nice addition to my gigantic list of rock star memoirs.

When I told my best friend I was reading a memoir by the first female prime minister of Norway, she said it was “the most Minnesotan thing ever.” Maybe it was? Either way, Madam Prime Minister was mostly really dull and disjointed, but if you’ve ever wondered what Norway’s view on nuclear disarmament was in the ’80s, this is your jam.

I really only need books about music in New York in the ’70s to be about punk music. Love Goes to Buildings on Fire covered that, but also jazz (not so interested,) hip-hop (kinda interested,) and general Latino music (more interested than I was before I started the book, but still kinda meh.)

A Prayer for Owen Meany is the novel I’ve liked most in a long time. I think nonfiction is my real love, but it’s hard to get lost in it the way you can with a good novel. I’ve gotten pickier about what makes a good novel, but this was one.

The author of Becoming Jane Austen made an awful lot of leaps in faith that did not seem justified. Also, Jane Austen isn’t really that interesting. Sorry, world, but I’d really rather read a biography of her sister-in-law Eliza.

*Supposed to, in terms of arbitrary things, that is.