Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My current fascination: juggalos

Remember the band Insane Clown Posse? Maybe not...all I knew of them is that they were some sort of novelty rap group from several years ago, and they wore clown make-up. Little did I know that they apparently have a large and devoted cult following of fans who refer to themselves as Juggalos. And they all get together once a year for a festival known as The Gathering. And this year's festival is advertised with perhaps the most absurd infomercial I've ever seen. It's about 15 minutes long, but well-worth it for a fascinating look into the juggalo subculture. I mean, in addition to a lot of angry dudes in clown make-up, there's also wrestling, helicopter rides, all you can eat cheeseburgers, and seminars. Who knew? And Ice Cube is participating in this thing? Pauly Shore? It just gets weirder and weirder, but I did enjoy the unintentionally hilarious voiceover and graphics.

In case you share my newfound obsession with juggalo life, here's an article from Vice magazine: In the Land of the Juggalos.

Oh...links NSFW, depending on where you work, I guess.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Song Is Better Than Your Song

In addition to duets and "explosion songs," I'm also a fan of quality whistling, like Axl Rose in Patience.

Today's song contains one of the best whistling ditties of all time:

(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay, by Otis Redding. The song was recorded only three days before Otis died in a plane crash at the age of 26.

And now, a trivia question:

What immensely popular movie released in 1987 featured two songs by Otis Redding, but neither one was on the best-selling soundtrack? (No Googling, you cheaters!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009


1. Over on Beer Crusade, after considerable prodding, one of the more daring reviewers tried Bud Chelada, which is Bud Light mixed with Clamato, a tomato and clam juice blend. Yes, that's clam juice and tomato juice. In your beer. Not suprisingly, it received the lowest rating possible.

2. The 9 Stupidest Products of All Time. Um, that electric face mask is the stuff of nightmares. (thanks, Court!)

3. GQ Regrets. A slideshow with some of the more unfortunate examples of men's fashion from decades past. (via MJ)

4. Here's a video of an atypical wedding entrance- who doesn't love a goofy dance routine? I especially liked the groom's entrance around the three minute mark. (via MetaFilter) Personally, I've always wanted to hear someone yell "Get a room!" during the solemn and romantic moment when the groom kisses the bride.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spinach pie, my oh my

Now that I've settled into my new digs, I've been on a cooking kick as of late. I decided to try this spinach pie recipe from the barefoot contessa, and I was highly pleased with the results. It was easy to make (um, except I forgot to thaw the frozen spinach and phyllo dough in advance) and tasted like a traditional Greek spanakopita, only spinachier*. I really liked it and would definitely make it again- it would be a great dish to bring to a party as well, because it's easy to transport and can be served at room temperature.

* not an actual word.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Movie reviews

1. I finally saw The Hangover, the surprise comedy hit of the summer. And oh how I laughed. Four guys head to Vegas for a bachelor party, and when they wake up, one of them is missing and the other three don't remember a thing, so they're faced with the task of figuring out what they did the night before and finding their friend, who just so happens to be the groom. Oh, and there's a tiger and a baby in their hotel suite. The morning footage is spot on- they all look like a blistering hangover feels. Yes, it's ridiculous, but also really entertaining- I think the actors and the writers deserve credit for creating three characters who are realistic and likable in their own way: the handsome, charismatic Phil (Bradley Cooper), the misfit weirdo brother of the bride, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and the uptight dentist Stu, played by Ed Helms whom you might recognize as Andy from The Office. They were all great but it was the Alan character who killed me with the funny.

2. I also watched I Am Legend, starring Will Smith as Robert Neville, an Army virologist who one of the only survivors of a mutated virus that turned almost everyone else into violent, zombie-like creatures. For some reason, I always enjoy these end-of-days type films and books, like The Stand, The Road, and 28 Days Later. The biggest flaw to I Am Legend is that it's very similar to 28 Days Later but not nearly as good. The scenes of Will Smith roaming through a depopulated New York City with only his dog and some mannequins to keep him company were poignant, and I did like the sciency stuff, but I felt like the movie lacked a certain depth- plot points that could have been interesting (the creatures starting to evolve, the survivor colony, etc.) were alluded to but never developed. I gotta say, though, in terms of choosing a pet, if the category is "what type of animal would make the best companion following an apocalyptic event" then definitely go with a dog. Will Smith gave a fine performance, but it was the German shepherd Samantha who stole the show. Another plus to I Am Legend is that it is very fast-paced and clocks in at a concise 101 minutes (with The Godfather serving as a notable exception.) If you're only going to see one pseudo-zombie post-apocalyptic flick, definitely make it 28 Days Later, but if you like that sort of genre, I Am Legend is a decent choice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DCoE Field Trip: Revere Beach

On Saturday, I decided to take a little trip to Revere Beach with Vibhu (who also participated in the last DCoE field trip) and some other friends. Believe it or not, in all my years as a Bostonian, I had never taken the blue line adventure to Revere Beach before. This weekend, the annual sand castle competition was going on, so that and a sunny day were all the motivation I needed. We stepped out at the Revere Beach T stop and crossed the street, and wow, it was like stumbling on to a little piece of the Jersey shore, right here in Massachusetts. Fried dough stands and jean shorts at every turn.
The sand castles were really cool, but there were far fewer than I had imagined- only about ten in total, so that was a little disappointing. I had also assumed that they would have some sort of nautical theme, you know, dolphins, mermaids, Poseidon, and the like, but most of them gave off a goth creepy vibe instead, with gargoyles and similar creatures. My two favorites:

After the sand castles, we trekked down the beach for a while to people watch and sample some of the traditional cuisine: slushies, pizza, ice cream, lemonade, and iced coffee. Oh, Bianchi's pizza place is hiring- but NO Pan Makers, so you can take your deep dish nonsense somewhere else. We then found our way to a bar called Boulevard, a total townie joint, with classic rock blaring, $1.50 Bud Light drafts, and a Photohunt game in the corner. Fortunately, the staff was friendly and the patrons didn't seem interested in beating us up. Boulevard earned bonus points for providing frosted glass mugs for our pitcher of beer as well as the complementary cheese doodles on our table. Bar snacks, how I love thee.
Overall, the trip to Revere Beach made for a great afternoon. It's easy to get there on the T, the beach itself is huge and well-maintained, and the people watching possibilities are second to none. I can't even begin to describe some of the spectacular outfits, hairstyles, and tattoos we observed. And I'd definitely make a second trip back to Boulevard.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My song is better than your song

Last night, I attended a goodbye party for my friend Justin, who accepted a job working in public health in Liberia (!) with this organization. So, Ern and I donned our finest African attire* and headed out to the bar, because if you can't wear a dashiki to an occasion like that, when can you? At some point during the night, it came up that Justin and I have the same favorite song.

So here it is, the greatest song ever written, the song that made me a music fan for life.

Tangled Up in Blue, by Bob Dylan.

The shirt I'm wearing? I found it in my grandmother's house.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weeknight dinner

Food: Chicken scaloppine with lemon, capers, and tomatoes

Drink: The Little Penguin pinot grigio

Book: Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann. It's our latest book club selection and a perfect summer read. A total beach novel about three beautfiul girls working in the entertainment industry and navigating through the showbiz scene, but because it was written in the 1960s and set in the 1940s I can call it a modern classic.

Sometimes, staying in for the Summer of No isn't so bad. Oh, and I scheduled my thesis defense. If all goes according to plan, come September 29th, I will be done with graduate school. Thank fucking Christ.

p.s. How's this for a headline? Nose hair trimmer briefly halts mail service.

p.p.s. I feel like this post is weak sauce compared to the Todd Rundgren extravaganza.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hello, it's Todd Rundgren

Over the weekend, I watched Duets, the 2000 karaoke movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis (who is surprisingly hot, in a sleazy kind of way). It was definitely not what I'd call a good movie- bad writing, bad acting, and the characters were too contrived- but it was entertaining, especially because everyone in the cast did their own singing. Paul Giammati sang the old 70s ballad "Hello, it's me."

By pure coincidence, this weekend, my friend Briana emailed a youtube link of Hello,it's me to me, my sister, and my BIL with the following description: "Did you ever wonder who sang this song? Well, it's this guy. Apparently, he's part owl."

Needless to say, after watching the video, we became intrigued by this mysterious Todd Rundgren character. Some fun facts:

- He is also the musical mastermind behind the sports arena favorite, Bang the Drum all Day. (right click to download)

- From Wikipedia: On the 30 Rock episode "The C Word," Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon is telling producer Pete and writer Frank about the obscenity Lutz called her, stating, "He called me the worst name ever. I'm not gonna repeat it. That's how much I hate it." Then after multiple guesses by the two, she says, "No! It's the one that rhymes with the name of your favorite Todd Rundgren album," referring to Runt, but Frank replies, "It rhymes with Hermit of Mink Hollow?" As an additional bit of trivia, Fey and Rundgren both attended the same suburban Philadelphia high school.

and lastly, "On September 6, 2009, in Akron, OH, Todd Rundgren is scheduled to perform the entire A Wizard, A True Star album live for the first time in his career."
Road trip, anyone?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wilco (the Concert)

Last night, Carolina and I went to the Wilco concert at Lelachuer Stadium, a minor league baseball park in Lowell. We saw Wilco last summer at Tanglewood, so apparently we're very good at seeing them in venues far outside of Boston. As always, they put on a great show, performing several tracks from their new release Wilco (the Album) as well as perennial fan favorites like "Handshale Drugs" and "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart." The band's popularity seems to have steadily increased despite the fact that their songs get very little commercial radio play. Wilco has few casual fans- people who like Wilco really like Wilco, and everyone at a Wilco concert is quite happy to be there. The band appears to feed off of fans' energy during live shows, and Jeff Tweedy looks content and comfortable on stage, whether he's singing, playing one of his many guitars (I swear he used a different one for every song) or casually bantering with the crowd. The show came to an abrupt end when a huge rainstorm rolled in right after 10PM. Fortunately, the Wilco fans had already had the pleasure of listening to a couple of hours of good music. Unfortunately, I didn't run away with Jeff Tweedy and drove home soaking wet in a minivan. Oh, but I did get my hair highlighted last week, so if you notice me looking extra dumb in the picture, that's why.

And here's the Globe review of the show, in care you're interested.

We also ran into bloggers Ryan and Sean from Ryan's Smashing Life- check out their review with some great photos here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My song is better than your song

Tomorrow night, I'm going to a Wilco concert at a minor league baseball stadium in Lowell. They're one of my favorite bands, and I like frontman Jeff Tweedy's solo material just as much, if not more, than Wilco's songs. I don't know if it's the voice, the lyrics, the guitar, or what, but I just find him utterly irresistible. Here's a great version of Jeff Tweedy and former bandmate Jay Bennett (who died earlier this year) performing the New Madrid, a song from Tweedy's pre-Wilco days.

New Madrid- Tweedy & Bennett

If you never hear from me again, it's because I ran away with Jeff Tweedy and we're very happy together.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


In case you're looking for something to read:

1. Okay, over on Basketbawful (my favorite basketball blog), the author has started publishing a short series chronicling his first semester of college, during which his randomly-assigned roommate turned out to be 7-foot European player on the D1 school's basketball team. The tales are absolutely amazing and both highly entertaining and well-written. A warning: the roommate is basically representative of the dark side of college athletics- he's a vile, spoiled giant who treats people (especially the girls he sleeps with) like dirt and gets away with it. But if you can stomach that aspect of the stories, they're fantastic. It's like a soap opera for men. I've sent the link to a few friends who are college basketball fans and we're all addicted.

2. As a former resident of Central America, I've been following the news from Honduras fairly closely. In case you're interested, this article from Slate is concise, informative, and does a good job of illustrating the complexity of the situation. At first I was like "military coup bad!" but then I found out that the deposed President was in the process of illegally attempting to modify the constitution in order to remain in power.

3. Obituaries are generally not described as delightful, but a woman in Ohio wrote her own, and it's wonderful. It makes me wish I had known her. My favorite line is the one in which she describes her son as "a sterling citizen who rose above his murky childhood with a scandalous mother."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Things I Found At My Grandmother's House

Those of you who have been following along at DCoE (or talk to me in real life, heaven forbid) know that I just moved into my grandmother's house. Although I will be here for a few months, it feels temporary, as if I were housesitting and not actually living here. The house is like a time capsule- it's exactly the same as when I used to sleep over when I was a little kid. Same oriental rugs, same wallpaper, same lamps. I'd venture that most of the contents of the house come from the 1940s and 1950s. Like most people who lived through the Great Depression, my grandparents were notorious hoarders. They saved wrapping paper and ribbons. They stockpiled sugar packets. They cleaned out hotel bathrooms. And all of these items are still squirrelled away at the house. In my initial explorations, I've discovered some unusual gems. For example:

1. Q: What's in this really old looking hot water bottle box?
A: A really old hot water bottle.

2. When my cousin Myles and Nicole were over, we decided to open an old cedar chest. And we found... a mink stole. (Don't tell PETA) Made of whole minks. Like with heads and legs and tails and glued-on googly eyes. They really need to be modeled to get the full effect. Creepy or high fashion? You decide. (This question is generationally biased.)

3. Lastly, tonight I opened a medicine cabinet and found a bottle of cough syrup prescribed for my sister Kerry. In 1978.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Part 2: Murder at the Polo Grounds

So, after spending a lovely afternoon watching polo, what did we do next? Stage a photo series of preppy murder scenes, obviously. First, we murdered each other. Next, we murdered a table of strangers. And last but not least, we murdered polo players. And if Ralph Lauren decides to go with a similar theme for his next line of advertisements, remember that you saw it here first.

Weekend Report: Part 1

Okay, here's a real post for once instead of a link and a song. I spent the weekend celebrating America's 233 birthday with friends in Newport, RI. Great company, great weather, great seafood, great drinks (and whooo boy, a lot of them) and great entertainment. The pinnacle of the weekend was a trip to the Newport Polo Club to watch a USA vs. Hungary polo match. In polo-themed outfits. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (well, minus the prostitution bit). We tailgated, we watched the horses, we stomped divots, we befriended the Hungarian national polo team, and we looked divine.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Polo Murders, a photo series.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Happy 4th of July! (one day early)

Hey all, I'm headed down to Newport to celebrate the birthday of our great nation, so here's a picture of a flag cake and the latest My Song Is Better Than Your Song addition:

American Music, the Violent Femmes

Have a great holiday weekend, everybody!

And don't even get me started on this gd weather.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Farewell to Southie

After a tumultuous past few days, I've finally moved out of South Boston and into my mew apartment, a.k.a. my grandmother's house in Waltham. Oh snap. Now I have a parlour. Friday night, Ern and I threw one last party to celebrate the end of an era- an Irish wake. We had a great time, but unfortunately I was too busy attempting to perform the zombie Thriller dance and spilling drinks on the guests to take many pictures. A lot of the old guard stopped in for one last hurrah, and I must say that we gave the old apartment a worthy sendoff. Despite the mouse problem and the crumbling windows, I'm going to miss the old digs. Well, not the apartment itself, but the location- right in the heart of Southie. Close to the the city, close to the beach, close to the lab. I lived there for six years and really loved it. Oh Southie, land of triple deckers and double parking, Irish pubs, teenage hoodlums, and noisy buses, you've got your own special brand of charm.