It’s been over a year since I did one of these and figured it was about time I brought this feature back to the blog.
Kurt Vonnegut, being Kurt Vonnegut, has this great line – “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”
This week, I’ve been sitting on my patio.
Just sitting quietly with sunshine warming my bare legs, a cold drink and a book.
I don’t think I’ve felt this peaceful in months…and if that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
It’s been way too long since I did one of these, so that being the case:
1. Yelp. Dana has been a Yelper (Yelpist? Yelparian? Yelpistador?) for a while now and I finally joined the website myself. Why? Because I’m remarkably opinionated when it comes to food and if I have a good meal somewhere, I want people to know about it. If you’re looking to grab a bite in Philly or the surrounding suburbs, check out my account here.
2. The West Wing. I’ve started watching the first season and four things have happened:
A) It has reignited my crush on Bradley Whitford. He was ‘so cool’ in Adventures in Babysitting and he just kicks ass on The West Wing. He’s the guy you want in your corner — loyal, fiercely intelligent and passionate above all else. Also, really, really attractive. Really.
B) I’ve realized that Rob Lowe has never not been incredibly good-looking.
C) Watching the show fills me with this impossible sense of idealism that comes crashing back to earth when I realize that the show is a highly romanticized version of real life and that life on The Hill is probably nothing like that. You know what, though? I would love to see the Bartlet administration take on the Tea Party.
D) The loyalty of Sorkin’s characters never fails to move me. When Leo, Toby, Josh, Sam and CJ say they serve at the pleasure of the president, they mean it. They believe in what they do and would walk through fire for one another. They seem like genuinely decent people and honestly, you don’t see a lot of that on television.
3. New York City. I’m sitting here looking at a picture of Augs and myself on the Brooklyn Bridge and man, do I love that place. New York City is the big, thumpin’ heart of this country. I can’t fathom a more American place — so many different kinds of people living together relatively harmoniously. History, art, theater, architecture, music, food and above all, hope. If you can make it there, you can make it (bump-bump) anywhere. I ♥ NYC.
4. Oyster crackers. Not those poxy Communion-wafer thin kind, but those gnarly knuckle-sized knobs found at your better seafood joints. LOVE them. Why aren’t they more prevalent? They should be.
1. Swapping Mean Girls quotes via email (“She doesn’t even go here!”). They make my day.
2. YA Fic Lit Book Club also known as The Best Idea My Sister Has Ever Had. You know what’s better than being an eight-year-old and reading The Baby-Sitters Club books? Being a snarky twentysomething, filled with piss and vinegar and reading The Baby-Sitters Club books. Also, Karen Brewer is still worse than Satan.
3. Cholula Chipotle sauce. If you love food, this should live in your fridge.
4. Film criticism. Augs and I watched Alien 3 last month and discussed the film’s religious undertones. It made me miss the film classes I took in college and I’ve decided that if I’m ever in possession of an absurd amount of money, I’m going back to school and getting a doctorate in cinema studies.
5. Chevre. It’s soft, comforting, tangy and I’m almost ashamed of how much I can eat in one sitting. Almost.
1. The following music — Defying Gravity from Wicked, Seasons of Love from Rent, pretty much everything from Once More With Feeling and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Goodbye To You by Michelle Branch, anything by Van Morrison, Wicked Game by Chris Isaak and Third Eye Blind’s first album.
2. Dana and Steve visiting at the end of October. We’re celebrating fall — seasonal food, pumpkin beer and lattes, a haunted hayride and zombie movies. I can’t wait.
3. The hummus platter at Iron Hill Brewery. Actually, hummus in general. And fattoush. And pita. And falafel. Hell, all Middle Eastern cuisine is glorious and there should be more of it in everyone’s lives.
4. Feeling the warmth of the sun after spending eight and a half hours in an office that could double as a meat locker.
1. Pandora. Particularly the Bobby Darin station and the 90s station. Is 90s nostalgia pathetic? It’s been hitting me in a big way recently — I want to read Sassy magazine, wear plaid and watch countless hours of My So-Called Life and Party of Five.
2. When people say, ‘take care.’ Yes, you could write it off as a platitude, but it’s sweet.
3. Joseph Gordon Levitt’s blog. He’s pretty brilliant.
4. Dance ‘Til Dawn. Also known as the greatest 80s television movie in existence. The all-star cast makes the movie — Christina Applegate, Matthew Perry, Tracey Gold, Kelsey Grammar, Edie McGlurg, Alissa Milano, Tempestt Bledsoe and Alan Thicke — and even though the plot is waif-thin (it’s prom night at Herbert Hoover High. Let’s follow around these teens and see what kind of wacky hijinks they get up to!), it’s still a great way to spend a rainy weekend afternoon.
5. Personal emails. Not a Facebook comment or a stupid email forward but a quick note from someone you love.
6. Dinner on the roof deck at Mas Cantina. I highly recommend the grilled veggie tacos. You can never go wrong with roasted corn, avocado and lots of Oaxaca cheese. Especially if you’re munching on them while sipping margaritas.
7. Loveline. I was all about this show in the early part of the decade. For those not in the know, it was a syndicated radio show hosted by Dr. Drew (before he became a raging bag of dicks) and Adam Carolla. The callers were usually idiots but that was part of the show’s charm. Nuggets of useful information would get imbedded into your brain while you were laughing at the phone sex operator who didn’t know what the Holocaust was. I usually listen to episodes while I’m on the treadmill. It makes cardio way less tedious and seriously — when was the last time you laughed out loud while working out? As Adam Carolla would say, “Good times, baby doll. Good times.”
1. Thirteen by Big Star. It’s one of those amazing songs that you want stuck in your head.
2. J. Jonah Jameson is on Twitter. And if you don’t know who that is, you and I probably can’t be friends.
3. Caprese salad. It takes ten minutes to make, all the ingredients can be found in my kitchen and it tastes like summer.
4. Wedge heels.
5. From Me To You – This blog makes me want to visit NYC and Texas so, so badly. Also, check out her Dinner and a Movie section. It’ll make your heart (and your stomach) happy.
1. Getting my green card renewed! Thanks, USCIS!
2. The fact that my hair looks fabulous in aforementioned green card picture. I think I had just gotten my highlights, so I look blonde and kickass….as opposed to now, when my hair is like, sixteen different shades of brown and blonde.
3. Seeing a spider while taking a shower, being essentially paralyzed with fear (because one false move and I’ll wipe out in the tub), screaming for Augs and having him show up, coffee mug in hand to rescue the little sucker and give him a better life outside. I love that man.
4. They Draw and Cook. Gastronomy has never been so cute.
5. Dramarama. Probably the most underrated band ever. They should have been huge and for some utterly inexplicable reason, weren’t. It’s great power pop that makes you feel like the star of your own 80s movie montage. Start with Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You) and work your way out from there. I highly recommend Work For Food, Some Crazy Dame and Everybody Dies.
6. This made me happy. Also, who else has a last.fm account?
1. Greatshowdowns.com — Adorable pop-culture artwork. I really like the scenes from The Goonies and Teen Wolf.
2. Making cornbread from scratch. I’m not a baker. Actually, I’m barely a cook but I discovered this relatively simple recipe for cornbread, threw it together and not only did it work, but it turned out great! Next mission — gnocchi. I predict this ending badly.
3. The fact that Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver (Jacob and the Man in Black, respectively) both appear on Supernatural as Lucifer and War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I’ve gotten into Supernatural in a big way lately — I watched the first four seasons on DVD and now, am watching the fifth season via Chinese Youtube/other janky sites of dubious legality which I’m sure will infect my computer with the digital version of the Hanta Virus. BUT, it is worth it because the show rocks. You should check it out (but, not via Chinese YouTube. Seriously. No bueno, dudes).
4. Discovering new veggie burgers. A few years ago, the lowly veggie burger was pretty much an afterthought on most menus. They were usually hockey puck-esque frozen Boca Burger patties thrown on the grilled and then, served with some wilting lettuce and a bland tomato slice, but now? Chefs have discovered that veggie burgers can be delicious! And can be served with so much more than generic toppings! Top Chef Producers — this should totally be a challenge. A delicious, 100% meat-less burger with bonus points awarded if the chef doesn’t resort to using portabello mushrooms.
1. My neighborhood. Not only is my apartment incredibly spacious and cozy, but it’s quiet, features awesome amenities like a pool and gym and is in walking distance of both a sandwich/pizza place and a CVS — the latter came remarkably helpful when Augs and I trekked out into the snow to purchase snow shovels to dig out our cars.
2. Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You) by Dramarama. It’s one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and by the fifth or sixth iteration, you realize just how damn great it is and kick yourself for not writing it first.
3. Really good multigrain toast and coffee. This might be just be my new favorite breakfast.
4. I asked my niece Avery if she liked orange juice and she replied by stating, “Orange juice makes me pee-pee!” Best response to a question ever.
1. Leftover gnocchi. A month or so ago, we went out to dinner with friends and I ordered gnocchi with pesto. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but certainly wasn’t the worst either. Not wanting to waste food, I brought the rest (a little over half the portion) home. The next morning, I dumped the gnocchi into a sizzling pan for about seven minutes and the result was amazing. Crispy, garlicky and slightly charred and smoky. Loved it! I could have eaten barrels of the stuff. So, I’m now on a mission to make gnocchi from scratch. Hopefully, it turns out well.
2. Design*Sponge. This site makes me believe that I can have a pretty home one day. And with any luck, that will be a sunny Craftsman style home in Los Angeles with wood floors, a big kitchen and a lemon tree in the backyard.
3. New music. And that includes music that’s new to me — Van Morrison, G.Love and Dashboard Confessional songs I’ve never heard before, Spanish guitar melodies, west coast jazz. It’s all beautiful.
4. Cocktail rings. Even though they look absurd on my child-like hands, I’m a fan.
5. Clementines. I think I ate an entire box of them when I was at my mom’s house.
6. The way Sports Guy Bill Simmons says “Gnyeahhhh….” on The B.S. Report. It’s kinda nasal and undoubtedly weird, but I dig it.