move over, boo and floppy bear. there are two new adorable animals in town: TWIN RED PANDA CUBS! apparently one is 2 kewl so there are only pictures of the attention-seeking brother. he's pretty much the kim kardashian of the red panda world.
i have some questions:
1) what are their names?
2) wtf is a red panda?
3) where and how can i obtain one?
4) are regular pandas pissed because red pandas have infinitely more swag?
was originally going to do a rundown of my favorite movie scenes of all time, but realized that a good number of them involved music, so here goes. super honorable mention goes to the outstanding "faith"/dinner theatre scene from rules of attraction, but it's a little ... um, colorful for both this blog and a sunday morning. 1. wayne's world: "bohemian rhapsody"
i nearly forgot about this incredible moment in cinematic history until panic! at the disco performed a (surprisingly good!) cover of the queen classic at the concert i went to last weekend. brilliant from beginning to end.
2. sister act 2: "joyful, joyful"
SA2 is one of the few sequels that is actually better than the original. with great one liners like "go with god, crispy" and "yo' mama so fat, she sat on a rainbow and skittles popped out," and this uplifting performance of a hip-hop hymn remix that features pre-crazy lauryn hill and that dude from city high, it makes me so happy. AND THE CLOTHES. you down with G-O-D?
3. pretty in pink: "try a little tenderness"
ah, the good ol' days. before jon cryer headed down the dark path that was two and a half men. i don't think i'm the only one who's still a little pissed that molly ringwald picked the rich d-bag over duckie after he serenaded her like this. insane.
4. can't hardly wait: "paradise city"
unquestionably one of my favorite movies of all time. in this scene, the class geek gets some liquid courage and suddenly becomes the most popular dude around with this karaoke performance. the "this is the greatest night of my life!" kills me. 5. school of rock: battle of the bands
basically a rehash of the sister act 2 thing, but i'm a sucker for this stuff. the best part is that the top hat guitarist kid with the killer solo is actually a musical prodigy, not an actor, so it's legit. what am i doing with my life?!
after living in new england for almost two decades, i finally made my way to martha's vineyard on sunday with one of my best friends, sue, who had never been either. let me say up front that i now understand why everyone recommends that you take at least a weekend -- or a full week -- to explore the island, but i want to assure you that you can absolutely have a fun day trip if you pace yourself and plan ahead. sure, we drove 1.5 hours to a parking lot that was full, missed the 9:30 ferry, got lost on the nine-mile drive to the other parking lot, had to take a 25-minute shuttle to the ferry terminal, and barely made the 10:45 ferry. BUT STILL WORTH IT because we had a great day in MV.
the ferry was a thing and it was actually kind of fun once we boarded it. there was wifi (good), annoying children (bad), a snack bar (good) and singing teenagers (bad). mixed bag, but it allows you to relax before beginning your adventure. pro tip: don't follow the people down the stairwell before the ship is docking, because they're not getting ready to disembark ... they're getting into the cars they drove onto the ferry. this mistake did help us come up with our hashtag for the day, though: #dontmindus. on our return trip, we had a nice man take a picture of us.
we were a little miffed at the extensive travel hassles we had faced, so i utilized the free wifi on the ferry to find us the best goddamn lobster roll in vineyard haven, and it led us to the net result. it's a no-frills seafood market and takeout spot with a few picnic tables outside, but i'm pretty sure it was the best lobster roll i've ever had. barely any mayo -- score. some onions, lettuce, and tomato. and soooo meaty!
after being deceived again by an MV transit staff member, we ended up in edgartown instead of oak bluffs and it started to rain. like a cape cod mirage, we stumbled upon this place called the seafood shanty that boasted a rooftop bar.
as we ascended the stairs, we spotted bartenders wearing "sunday funday" shirts and two empty bar seats that backed up to the outdoor deck. as we sat down, we noticed that two fellows with perfect tans and vineyard vines attire were occupying some seats nearby. they basically could have been dawson's creek extras. i drank something with sweet tea vodka called a shan-tea, sue got a margarita, and we proceeded to chat with each other and make intense eye contact with our new friends but never actually talk to them, natch. we decided to press on when the weather cleared up, and when we realized we were exhibiting symptoms that chris d'elia describes in his "drunk girls" bit. i can't wait to go back.
our last (and my favorite) stop was oak bluffs. this town definitely felt the most "resort"-like to me, and there were a ton of cute shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, including the oldest carousel in america! which was actually kind of sad-looking. but still.
anyways, we grabbed some ice cream from mad martha's, and set off to explore the famous gingerbread cottages.
not going to lie, the whole 'hood felt a liiiiittle cultlike, but i was still obsessed because the houses were so amazing. and people were making use of them, too! we saw several people on their porches reading, playing guitar, and just hangin' out. also, this dog:
i really wanted to find one particular house that i had read about last year on one of my favorite blogs, strawberry fields whatever. and i did! this house was just so ridiculous and sweet and acid trippy and strawberry shortcake, and just the house i'd choose if i were to inherit a gingerbread cottage. obviously i had to get a picture in front of it (filtered to shit for that '70s virgin suicides effect).
after our little cottage walking tour, i bought a cottage magnet at one of the cheesy gift stores so i'll never forget them. we decided to stop for one final drink at this beachy spot called the sand bar that was completely dead and was playing reggae. the hippie-lookin' bartender chick carded us and said, in a low, dull voice, "you're both geminis." i was immediately so into this place. "are you a gemini?" i asked. "no, i'm a sag. but all my friends are gems," she replied, setting our seadog sunfishes in front of us and promptly disappearing. magical.
we hopped on the ferry and decided to grab some dinner back on the mainland at a place that overlooks the woods hole terminal, quicks hole. we ate at the "bar," which really just looks into the open kitchen, so it was fantastic and kinda fascinating. almost like hell's kitchen but with much less yelling. the perfect end to a vineyard day trip.
in the past week, i've rediscovered broad city and remembered how amazing it is. before comedy central picked up these hilarious ladies for a half-hour show, they had their own web series which was equally funny, and i see a little bit of myself in both of them. also love their back-and-forth banter. it's almost like a vulgar laverne & shirley or gilmore girls. if you don't know, now ya know. oh, and hannibal buress stars as ilana's kinda-sorta-boyfriend/hookup, who's also a dentist. what's not to love?
you may have seen this amazing fake rap video scene, but this is another favorite. the way ilana says "and she died? but she, like, died doing it," KILLS ME. a little inappropriate, but ... so what, who cares?
in general, i've been really into t-shirts that say things lately. and when i saw some dude wearing this at governors ball a few weeks ago, it really just spoke to me. basically because it really encapsulates my personality in a nutshell. er, t-shirt.
...the joke is that it's a picture of hanson, guys!
2. joe machi on "last comic standing"
kind of weird, incredibly hilarious. bit starts at 1:24.
well, sort of. my mom has the best potato salad recipe of all time, and i can't seem to find it anywhere on the internet. also, i'm way too lazy to type up the recipe. but this one is VERY close. just put in less mayo and throw in some pickle relish. i've been known to eat this for a meal, it's that good.
mr. songz is totally the underrated king of the summer jam (have you forgotten about "say aah" or "bottoms up"?) and my summer spotify playlist is slowly being taken over by his new album, trigga. there's the sexy singles "foreign" and "na na" -- let's just ignore that it's a total fugees rip-off -- and my favorite raunchy deep cut/current solo dance party number "touchin', lovin'," which features the one and only nicki minaj. perfect carefree R&B for cruising with the windows down.
5. speakeasy-style bars
i know that this trend is kind of old news now, but whenever i discover a new "secret" spot, it makes me ridiculously happy. saloon in somerville has been one of my favorite local hangouts for a while now, but last week i made my first visit to backbar in nearby union square. much like my first visit to saloon, it took me a solid five minutes to find the entrance, as it was down an alley and looked like a restaurant service entrance. after you go down a long, dark, creepy hallway, you finally arrive in a bright, open, funky space. the friendly bartender set some spicy caramel popcorn down on the table and gave me some pointers after he discovered that i was a backbar virgin. my whiskey sour (called "choke up!" here because it's cool like that) was delicious, and the staff was so unpretentious and nice. shh, don't tell anyone i told you how to get in!
BONJOUR! imagine me saying that in my most perfect french accent, because in reality i probably sound more like brad pitt saying "BAWNGEEORNO" in inglorious bastards. i spent a long weekend in quebec city with my family and, all in in all, it's a pretty magical place.
our hotel, l'hotel du vieux quebec, was super cute, perfectly located, and just generally fantastic. it's a family-owned boutique hotel, and has a cozy, charming vibe. the staff was extremely accommodating throughout our stay, and the room was comfy and spacious.
but it was extra touches like the the freakin' picnic basket breakfast placed on our door each morning --with pastries, fruit, yogurt, and OJ -- that took things above and beyond. you'd best believe i ate all the croissants every morning. there was also a nespresso machine and i became kind of addicted.
we watched the changing of the guard and took a tour of the citadelle, which was cool. the highlight for me, though, was the "official" goat named betsy who gave absolutely no fucks. like, i swear "fancy" by iggy azalea should have played every time she started walking (trotting?). observe:
speaking of animals, i ate bison cheek at this sweet little bistro, chez boulay. not kidding when i say it's in my top 10 meals of all time. it tasted like short rib, and was braised in red currant vinegar. along with the accompanying celery root, carrots, mushrooms, and onions, it was out of control awesome.
also ate poutine, and i swear that nothing has ever felt more right:
the city itself didn't necessarily feel all that much like europe to me, though i could see why people would say that. between the french-canadian locals and international tourists, it had a totally funky, eclectic vibe. i dug it, and i'm now entertaining fantasies of being a cool french-canadian hipster that doesn't know french and just wanders the streets. sorry, "rues". whatever.
perhaps the most popular attraction in the city is the chateau frontenac hotel. believe it or not, it's the most-photographed hotel in the world! i've now taken at least 20 of those photographs.
rue st. jean is one of the main thoroughfares in QC and is lined with shops, bars, and bistros. at night and on weekend days, the street is blocked off to cars, and pedestrians take over. as you can probably imagine, the people-watching is phenomenal. i saw someone dressed as beetlejuice and a group of punk teens dressed as lord of the rings characters. normal.
another great spot to sit and watch the world go by is the dufferin terrace, a boardwalk that runs in front of the chateau frontenac. there was a singer there, trudging through god-awful covers of downer tunes like sarah mclachlan's "angel," but eh. it was a gorgeous day and i was on vacation!
we also saw a street performer here who did a hand-balancing act. when he did a quick poll of the audience to see how many of us fools weren't french-speakers, he decided to translate the whole show. at one point, he purposely messed something up, and a few of us laughed. his response: "why you laughing? it's not funny. where you from, US?" pretty much.
however, i was very pleased at how sweet and friendly the locals were, as quebec tends to have an, um, reputation for not being so kind to americans. i was amazed at how many began speaking to us in english BEFORE we even said anything, though! how did they know?
and while we're on the topic of cultural differences, the tinder conversations i had were all quite amusing (context: my tagline is "all sizzle. all steak.").
also, fun fact: KFC is PFK up in quebec, and i don't think anyone was as amused by this as i was.
my favorite neighborhood was the quartier petit champlain, in the lower town. it's quaint and vibrant, with brightly-colored buildings and street-lamps. we stumbled into a restaurant in this neighborhood for dinner on our final night, bistro sous le fort, and it had a wonderful atmosphere and equally amazing food!
on the way home, the U.S. customs agent jokingly called me a "miscreant" and asked me if i brought back any canadian boyfriends. i said "i wish" and he chuckled. now i HAVE to go back, right?
it was another whirlwind weekend in new york, but i suppose i was due since it had been over eight months since my last visit!
stuff that happened:
on friday, i met up with one of my oldest friends and we enjoyed margaritas al fresco with some of his roommates before hoofing it over to a greek festival where we stuffed our faces. we pressed on to a dimly-lit dive bar before i decided that i needed dessert. my wish was granted in the form of nutella bread pudding at a neighboring restaurant.
saturday was governors ball with gleni and her boyfriend -- arguably the reason for my entire visit. all my pictures are here, but some highlights ...
-gleni had a harry styles water bottle that brought joy to everyone who saw it (or at least, me)
-FLOWER CROWNS ERRWHERE. we decided it was "the mark of the basic bitch." is that mean?
-we juuuust missed the awesomely named and just awesomely awesome diarrhea planet due to the dumb shuttle. but PAPA, the first band we did see, nearly made up for that with a song entitled "let's make you pregnant." and it's actually good!
-lots of people wearing stuff with pineapple print. no idea
-singing along with the crowd during fitz and the tantrums' "out of my league" = music festival greatness
-eating a red velvet ice cream sandwich with cream cheese ice cream in the middle
-people carrying around huge cutouts of arnold schwarzenegger and jeff goldblum, presumably for fun
-talking about skrillex the entire day even though we didn't care about him or have any intention of seeing him
-tinder matching with a guy named bone
-THE STROKES, obviously. i had seen them back in '06, also in NYC, and it remains in my top 3 concert experiences. they haven't toured in some time, and their new album is terrrrrrible, but they totally delivered and it was incredible. they opened with my all-time favorite song of theirs, "barely legal." nick valensi was still rocking his beautiful jesus hair and is still all guitar god-esque. julian, who was wearing a hawaiian shirt and looked like a bloated dad, is apparently back on the sauce because nothing he said made any sense and it was fantastic. gems included "ATTACK!", "stay cooooool," and -- in a wasted-valley-girl voice -- "thankyouguyssomuuuuch" and "yoloooo." during "hard to explain," i giddily screamed "this is the sound of my youth!" to no one in particular. because it really is.
-witnessing a guy, who was standing next to us during spoon's set, pick up a deflated beach ball and PUT HIS MOUTH ON IT TO RE-INFLATE IT. i'm still grossed out for him.
-laying on a blanket far away from the stage and listening to jack white shred the night away
after gov ball, i got a miraculous second wind and there were more margaritas (and tacos) at some place in williamsburg, followed by another dive bar where we met up with some of gleni's friends and discussed a true catfish story for almost three hours. i have absolutely no idea how i made it 'til 3am, but it was all quite exciting.
on sunday, brunch with my friend jeff at the grey dog in chelsea was the perfect end to a great weekend. i swear to god this place must have been the inspiration for that central perk place from friends. loved it. and its french toast!
...speaking of catfish, the unlikely theme song of the whole weekend was from another band that i missed at gov ball, catfish and the bottlemen. terrible name, but i happened to hear this song last week and i've been hooked ever since. enjoy!