iTu(n)esday

Yesterday school started–kids and all–but let’s not dwell on that. Let’s dwell on the fact that in a week I’m taking my first day off this year and going Up North, and on the fact that this weekend I’m going to gorge on cheese curds and as many deep-fried things I can handle without dying, and seeing a lot of bands I love (or at least really like) at the State Fair. 

Also, this might be the wrong attitude, but there are only four more days until the weekend, and until I can ostensibly sleep past 4:52, which is when the cat woke me up today.

Last weekend Ben and I did board game night. Saturday we had plans, but…we gave them all up in order to binge-watch “30 Rock.” And then…I gave up all my other plans because I needed an introvert day in which I could lay on the couch and read books. I do not regret it, not even a little.

The plans I gave up on Saturday were going to the Cultivate festival, which was some big food and music festival. I wanted to go, I really did. But not as much as I wanted to give my cat belly rubs. Then it turned out all the food was from Chipotle (not that I don’t love Chipotle, but…eh) and all the bands were bands that I really didn’t know a lot of, and even if it was in fact free, I was in the middle of Nell Freudenberger’s latest.

For some reason the name Grouplove has always super-duper creeped me out. It’s possibly my least favorite band name ever. I feel like I might have spent their whole set wincing. But I love “Tongue-Tied” and it’s stuck in my head A LOT.

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You otter know

Actually, my days have been devoid of otters, but not for lack of trying.

A tribute to my waning days of freedom:

A song that’s been stuck in my head since the cat video film fest. And one that accurately describes my relationship with Ignatius, who has not yet made me rich.

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I went to Duluth. Lake Superior is very big. And has a lighthouse. And it’s cold, even in August.

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I also went to the zoo in Duluth. Here are some goats standing on things. I like goats.

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And a Twins game! I drank whiskey there and started yelling creative (I think) things about the players’ mothers when the Twins fucked up a 5-0 lead. Useless. A good reminder of why I’m philosophically opposed to professional sports.

 

 

iTu(n)esday

Oh nooooo.

I’m back at work. It’s opening week. As ever, things have gone from “This is gonna be a great year!” to: “Sweet Jesus what a clusterfuck.” 

Cross your fingers for me, kiddies.

It’s been a busy week, but more on that later. (Spoiler alert: I saw a mini horse that did not seem to be named Lil’ Sebastian.) Last night my man friend and I went to see another movie in the park, except we didn’t stick around for the movie, and it wasn’t in the park. Musical guest: the Handsome Family. I knew nothing about them except that they did the theme song to “True Detective,” but since I don’t have a TV that was a pretty moot point.

They dressed more like professors than any band I’ve ever seen, with the possible exception of the Decemberists. Also, for a band who writes fucking depressing songs (“As the rope of death strangles you…” began one [I paraphrase]) they are really, really funny.

This one was my favorite–a song you could argue (speciously) was scientific; how appropriate! A live performance, because wouldn’t you know it, this band doesn’t do music videos.

iTu(n)esday (or, Sweet Home Chicago)

I hate showers. Baby showers and bridal showers. Really, any shower that takes place outside the confines of a bathroom.

But I love my friends, a lot. And I love Chicago. Maybe in equal amounts. So I trekked to Chicago over the weekend for a baby shower. Via Greyhound, because that’s how important this lady is to me. Last time I went to Chicago, I was just getting over a nasty stomach bug, and didn’t feel well, and she said she was getting over a bad hangover, and we walked around Logan Square looking for a) brunch, and b) a brunch that would be palatable to each of us. (We consumed a lot of pita bread that weekend.) That hangover turned out to be a little boy.

I sat through the shower–which honestly was better than I was expecting; it was nice to catch up with people I knew–but it got better afterwards.

DSCN0481I stayed at the parents’-to-be house (where do I put the apostrophe in that?) and there were mojitos, with mint from their garden! (Not for her, of course.) Mojitos are a tradition for us.

DSCN0483My honorary niece, Ziggy. She’s full of smiles and kisses and tail-wagging. (Don’t tell her, but I love her brother Bandit just a liiiiiittle bit more, because he thinks he’s a cat.)

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And this is just a little something I like to call the greatest city in America.

Greyhound actually really held it together this trip, I have to say. And on the way back I sat next to a lawyer–possibly the only man in history who’s ever worn a suit on the Greyhound–and we talked about public transportation development and the politics of gentrification in Minneapolis. He was my parents’ age, and had a vague Woody Allen look about him, but I totally got a brain crush on him.

Riding a long-distance bus makes me feel like a character in Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.” There were a lot of songs I’ve been into this week, but I haven’t stopped singing this one to myself for three days.

There might be a video; I’m not sure. But why dig when you know there’s an as-good-as-the-original cover by Bowie from the 9/11 concert?

5 reasons…

…to eat in the East Village next time you’re in New York.

I’m an East Village girl. I’d shell out to stay there (and by NYC standards, it’s not at all shelling out to stay at my hotel of choice) even with my best friend’s amazing cheap hotel work perks if it meant we’d have to stay in Times Square or something.
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Even though Times Square is kinda cool to look at

Disclaimer: I don’t take pictures of my food when I go to restaurants because people who take pictures of their food when they go to restaurants look like dicks.

1. I met up with my British friend E in NYC. She arrived in the morning and hung out with a mutual friend of ours; I arrived at night. I said if my stuff was at the hotel when she got back, and I wasn’t, I’d be at Veselka. And I was there within the hour. If my dreams ever made sense and were actually related to my life, I would dream of the borscht. When I think of my favorite colors, one of them is “Veselka borscht pink.”

2. I cannot fathom why in America we eat things like bourbon chicken in Chinese restaurants, and there are no rou jia mou or lamb noodles to be found. American Chinese restaurants legitimately make me angry sometimes. Xi’an Famous Foods has absolutely the best Chinese food I’ve ever had in America, the “It tastes like China!” kind.

3. If you go to Momofuku Milk Bar at 11 AM and order a bagel bomb, your accompanying crack pie milkshake can become a legitimate breakfast.

4. My favorite memory of my 2011 NYC trip is evenings on the patio at Khyber Pass with a glass of sangria and a mango hookah. (This was the site of the legendary “Mark Mothersbaugh is a pussy” story.) No hookah this time, but the sangria is as good as I remember, and the meatless badenjan bouranee is amazing.

5. Yelp informs me that Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger is actually in Greenwich Village, but I can walk there from the St. Mark’s so it counts. I’ve never had soup there. But the burgers are really good, and if you get up in the middle of the night and think, “I’d love the most epic banana split the world has ever seen,” Cozy is on it.

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Also clearly not the East Village, but where else am I going to put this?

iTu(n)esday

Holla! I did it right this time.

I can’t believe it was already two weeks ago that I left for NYC. I love it more every time I’m there. Look how pretty!

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I was investigating the outside of Grand Central Station and walked halfway up the block and literally gasped at the view of the Chrysler Building

Because it turns out that I’m actually pretty awesome at navigating the subways…


Clearly not the official video because that doesn’t exist, but this is super cute.

There’s more to life than books…

The fact that I cannot get my shit together enough to write in a blog once a week doesn’t bode well for my future as a professional blogger who doesn’t ever have to get dressed or leave her apartment.

Writing about my week in New York City will come (or so I intend) but here’s what I read in July.

The Forever War is a little outdated (circa 2008) but it’s an embedded journalist’s account of war in Iraq. The most moving part is when a soldier is killed essentially because of him.

I’ve never seen much of “Little House on the Prairie,” but Confessions of a Prairie Bitchwas a really fun, quick read by the villain of the show, who went through Some Shit.

This year one of the best novels I read was “In the Time of the Butterflies,” and In the Name of Salome, by the same author, was almost as good. Julia Alvarez’s books weirdly make me want badly to go to the Dominican Republic, even though they’re always about the horrifying oppression the country has faced. This one is oppression + poetry + identity politics.

Sometimes I read books, and then like them, for reasons I can’t fully understand. Ipso facto: Driving with the Devil, which is about, of all things, NASCAR. (The titular promise of moonshine made me do it.)

This is the summer I Learned to Stop Worrying and Like Teddy Roosevelt, At Least Kind Of. This is based heavily on The Roosevelts: An American Saga, which skews very heavily toward the TR side of things and left FDR looking like kind of a dick. I still think TR is a warmonger, but this made me temper my criticism a bit.

Oh, Jonathan Kozol. I firmly believe that I will love everything he ever writes. I just as firmly believe that America would be a better, more empathetic country if everyone read just one of his books.Amazing Grace would be a good starting point.

Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Pageis great if you want to know about the guitars he plays. It’s a little less helpful if your biggest Led Zeppelin wondering is, “Did you guys really make groupies have sex with fish???” It’s probably worth a read if you have even the slightest interest in rock and/or roll at any rate.

I feel like a lot of books about immigrants in London have kind of a similar tone (the Zadie Smith kind.) To be clear, I like Zadie Smith and have read all of her books, but Brick Lane felt a lot more satisfying, probably because Monica Ali can give a good ending to a book.

Chronicles, Volume 1 Fuck yeah Bob Dylan. This had a similar feel to “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, the I-want-to-time-travel-back-to-NYC-40-years-ago feel. The thing that is interesting and most Dylan-esque about this books is that he spends probably 50 pages talking about the recording of an album I’ve never heard of (“Oh Mercy”) but not once–literally NOT EVEN ONE TIME–are the words “Like a Rolling Stone” mentioned. God bless that man.

The best pieces in Everybody Was Kung-Fu Dancing, a great title by the even-greater named Chet Flippo, were about John Lennon. If you think of John Lennon as a lovable dick, as I do, they won’t change your mind, but you’ll think it even more and have evidence that can support either side of the ongoing Beatles vs. Stones debate you have with your boyfriend. (Wait, what?)

Stuntman! Silly in a good way. The kind of book you’d expect from a man who professionally fell off horses and jumped off buildings and lived with Burt Reynolds. One that probably actually warrants an exclamation point in the title.