Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stone Soup in its new location

Stone Soup's old location. A month or so ago, they moved down the street to Marco Polo's old joint. Much to the joy of Foster, meat lasagna is not on the menu at this time.

On Friday I hit up Stone Soup with some coworkers to check out their new location. As you may recall, they moved a month or so ago from their corner store to the old Marco Polo's restaurant, across the street from IHS. I haven't been there yet, but the stars aligned on Friday to let me take some time.

Right now, I'm a little mixed.

Stone Soup will obviously thrive in this location. The restaurant is huge and has lots of parking, and now they serve alcohol in the restaurant. I think once school is out, kids will love to come here for sandwiches.

Inside, I felt that the restaurant was struggling between Stone Soup aesthetics and Marco Polo aesthetics. Then again, it's only been a month, so they may still be trying to get rid of the old and bring in the new. The chalk boards are slowly making their way in, though, which is promising.

Stone Soup now has the capabilities to fry things, which they seem to be capitalizing on, with french fries now available with each sandwich and several specials of the fried seafood variety. I got fries, and they were tasty, but I think I might go back to potato salad next time I go there, to kick it old school.
Now here are my two issues with the new location. One, there were three soups on this Friday: chili, chicken noodle, and chowder. At the old location, there were many more than that on a regular basis. Also, it was only noon. My argument with this is THE NAME OF YOUR RESTAURANT IS STONE SOUP. It's not Stone Sandwich, it's Stone SOUP. Have some freaking soup varieties. I went with the hopes of having soup, since my seasonal allergies have been driving me nuts, but no dice. I hope the next time I go back there's a better variety.

The second is just a general complaint. It's still cash only, from all I see. Cash only in this day and age is annoying, and should be limited to Great Scott. You can afford the charges to run a credit card machine. I'd go to your restaurant more if you took a debit card. Just a pain.

So I think it's worth a visit, but I get the impression they're still working out some kinks. I'll be interested to see how the restaurant develops and changes in this new location in the summer. I have a feeling business will boom.

Also, when looking for photos, it made me hungry for Ipswich Clam Box. Mmmm

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hot Pants for... moving?

So it's becoming more and more evident that all the signs are leading towards me moving. My roommate wants to leave Salem, and my roommate leads are falling apart. I don't want to try and find a new roommate and I can't afford to live on my own... so it's time to move!

It's been almost two years in this place, which is a lot, so I feel I've spent a decent amount of time here. Probably will still live in Salem, and hoping to move closer to the city and further away from... well, from the outskirts near Lynn. I'm sure many posts will discuss the trials and tribulations of finding new digs this summer.

The one thing I'm worried about is moving my garden, since it's pretty big. So hoping to find places with a porch or lots of sunlight.

Get ready for the latest adventures!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Christopher's Table has breakfast now!

Oh hey, delicious food and pastry! Why don't we hang out some time... as in all the time... as in I'm going to eat you right about now.

Ever since they opened up in Ipswich, I've been a fan of Christopher's Kitchen, a specialty food shop that has great chicken salad and quiche on hand. Their baked mac and cheese also isn't too shabby. Nice waitstaff and a sunny location.

Well, I heard through the grapevine that they were now opened for breakfast. I found this ballsy, since Zumi's is down the street from CK and has won over the hearts of Ipswich on a whole. But no town should be a one-horse town, so I also applaud them for getting into it. This morning, thanks to a bad case of seasonal allergies which made me cranky and unable to breath or smell for a few days, I decided to stop in and grab a pastry.

At about 8am, the selection was limited, but I was notified that the bank stopped by just before me. They're trying to get the word out about their pastries to increase traffic at breakfast and lunch. I had a peach amaretto turnover. I must say, very sweet and refreshing. Their muffins looked like they could be good, but I'm the proud owner of a muffin bible now, so I've been holding off on ordering muffins lately. Why buy a muffin when you can make it from your bible?

So if you're in the North Shore, I'd recommend stopping by Christopher's Kitchen for a quick breakfast. All made on site and not a bad way to start your morning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My most interesting neighbor to date?

In my almost two years living in my current apartment, I've had several neighbors, both in my actual apartment and on the first floor. I've had two roommates (apparently living with your boyfriend is much cooler than living with me) and the first floor apartment has had three.

During this entire time, a married couple and their two sons have lived on the second floor, and while they're great, they're kind of not important to this story... so we won't go into them much.

The first few months, there was a cute family of four, but then they realized a small two bedroom apartment was no place for two kids, two parents, and a mother-in-law. So off they moved.

Then an awesome couple moved in. They were great. When my car got stuck in the snow, they'd push me out. They'd always say hello. Their parties were chill and didn't take up my parking spots in the driveway. In every way, they were sweet, kind people. Then they got sick of paying a lot of money to live in Massachusetts and with all the snow, so they moved to the south. Boo.

Then last month, my new neighbors moved in. I have seen them twice. The first time, I was coming home, and the man's mom was sweeping the front steps, and he panicked that he couldn't find her. As if I lived in a shit hole like Lynn, where if your mom went missing, she was probably kidnapped by gangs and sold for drugs. But this is a quiet neighborhood in Salem, and that's just not how we roll.

A few weeks later, I had just come back from a run and was bringing my recycling bin upstairs, and used it to prop the door open so I could grab my mail. The woman on the first floor flew out in a panic that I had fallen down the stairs and needed saving. I thanked her a few times, and assured her that I was only getting my mail. So up to this point, my thoughts were that they were panicky, probably from a rougher neighborhood, and thought their mom would wander off to Lynn. So moderately interesting, but nothing to write home about.

Until I drove home one day and saw the woman's car in the driveway, which advertises what she does.

She hosts erotic parties for women.

I noticed an ad on her car that discussed bringing the romance back to your life, and the hottest parties in town, and this peaked my interest. So I wrote down her website and took a gander. Not at all what I expected my first floor neighbor to do for a job. She sells and consults women who want to throw erotic parties. The woman who thought I fell down a flight of stairs could pick me up and then sell me whips, and lingerie, and toys. This all explains the big sign she put for UPS on her mailbox as well.

Marla has now become the neighbor to casually observe, it seems. I mean, do what you love, but I never in a million years thought "I bet my neighbors sell kinky shit". But oh they do.

Also, maybe I can get you a deal. You can tell her "I'm friends with the girl on the top floor".

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saturday during the Day: Amanda graduates from UNH

To begin my long weekend, I trekked to NH to see my cousin Amanda graduate from UNH. I was really excited to go, since I don't usually see my cousins on that side of the family. They're both great great people, and I wish I could see more of them. Bob is a nurse in Manchester and works crazy hours, and Amanda is off to work on an organic farm in Vermont all summer... so crazy hours and several states away. Really great to see them, and I got their numbers so I can hopefully be a better cousin and keep more in touch.

Oh, and we ate tons of food. Mmmm

Some cousin pictures:

Me and Bob, my only older cousin.

Me, Bob, and Amanda with lots of flowers. I didn't get the memo to take off my glasses.

The cousins at dinner.

328 miles

I drove 328 miles this weekend. Two states, $3 in tolls, lots of beer and seafood and meat consumed, and lots of time with CDs, the radio, and my iPod.

More coming soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why we have today off

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why hello, Summer.

Memorial Day weekend, while a few days to reflect and thank those that have lost their lives in service for our country, is also the beginning of Summer. I've been very busy over the last few days, and have a post about all the miles I've put on my car and all the things I'll be doing, but I wanted to take a moment and say I knew it was summertime because I got my first Raspberry Lime Rickey of the season on Friday.

And it was oh so tasty and delicious and refreshing.

That is all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I realized I waxed poetic about Eurovision a week or so back, but never shared the results. It seems the winner was Norway. It's an interesting enough song, I guess, though a little vanilla/lacking spine/River Dance. Tim hates it, and I think Erin was neutral. Thoughts?

And again, since I love this cover of this song by The Arcade Fire, Poupee de Cire live.

Am I being too hard on Norway, and is it actually a really good song, or is my neutrality justified?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An open letter to The Shins

May 20, 2009: one of my best days ever.

Dear The Shins,

I want to thank you for putting on one of the best concerts I've ever attended. You made May 20, 2009 go down in my books as one of my best days I've ever had. You also made a 25-year-old girl cry a few times in sheer joy at how great a concert she was watching. And my fellow concert-goers -- Crystal, Matt, and Dan -- agree with me.

The Orpheum was a great venue for this. Classic architecture with splashes of hipness, and it while they seat a lot of people, there was also a sense of intimacy. My seats were also the best I've had in this venue, since I was in the middle of the middle section. Perfect view to see all your lovely faces and playing.

The set was simple but packed a punch. Strips of backdrop gave a retro feel (very Ed Sullivan, perhaps?) and made interesting stage pictures. The theatre nerd in me was wigging out.

You opened with my #1 Shins song, Australia. What a great way to start the show. Then within the first five or so songs, you also sang Phantom Limb, Red Rabbits, Saint Simon, and Baby Boomerang. THOSE ARE ALL MY TOP SONGS! You could have stopped there, and I would have been happy. I was already welling up with the happy goodtimes I was feeling.

But oh no, you continued.

You also sang other great songs from all your albums, AND you did three amazing covers. The Beach Boys, Neil Young, and THE BETA BAND. THE FREAKING BETA BAND??? That's when I officially lost my shit. As did most of the audience. Because it was FUCKING AMAZING.

You ended the set with Sleeping Lessons, which was beautiful and haunting per usual. Then the audience lost their minds and basically demanded an encore. We were on our feet screaming. Then you came back out and played a few more songs, and ended with New Slang AND having the audience do the "ooos". It was amazing.

Everyone I saw was just glowing and basking in the warmth and joy from that show. It was that great. Also, this was an extremely attractive audience. All the happy little hipsters were insanely attractive, so it was nice eye candy for yours truly. :-)

So in closing, you rock. You really do. Thanks for an amazing concert experience that I will be remembering and loving for years to come. You made my Wednesday night and my May 2009.


And just for your enjoyment, here's a video I found of that Beta Band cover. Love it as I have. Because it is FREAKING AMAZING:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A bowling trophy for Laundry?

I received this comic in my email on Sunday. And as I recently joined a bowling club, it seemed fitting and cute.

Oh Charlie Braun and Blogger Laundry...

Today's the Day!

I see The Shins!

Full report tomorrow.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Star Trekking

Silence, Earthling! My name is Darth Vader. I'm an extra-terrestrial from the planet Vulcan. ~Mary McFly

Yesterday I went with a group of friends to see Star Trek at the IMAX. I'm definitely not a trekkie, as I only have a general understanding of the series, but I really enjoyed this movie. JJ Abrams made a fun and cool movie for both the Trekkie and non-Trekkie. If you were a serious Star Trek fan, there were plenty of references and points to keep you happy, and if you were not a Star Trek fan, the movie was good enough and entertaining enough that you were satisfied.

As someone who gets nervous during fight scenes or explosions that people will die, I was glad I had enough knowledge of the series to know that in certain scenes, people wouldn't die. When Sulu and Kirk are on the drill, I could enjoy it, knowing they both had to survive so Kirk and Sulu could go on to be on the Enterprise together. And you could tell that the producers were hoping to keep JJ at the helm and revitalize this series for future installments.

White I'm more of a Spock girl, you have to admit. This is a whole photo of sexy going on here.

But let me discuss another plot point... mainly, insanely attractive dudes. My friend Meg, one of the people in my movie party, commented that she had a bit of a thing for Kirk afterwards. I have to agree that he was rather fetching, but for me... there was something about Spock that warmed my heart.

I really like how JJ played Kirk and Spock off of one another. They were clearly the Ying to their Yang. Where Kirk flies off the handle and is a man of action, Spock is reserved and thinking through every twist and turn. Spock goes through protocol and thought, while Kirk uses his heart and instincts to make decisions. The two actors played these roles very well, and had me not even missing Shatner and Nimoy. (fortunately, Nimoy makes a cameo as old Spock, which was extremely cool...Shatner is not in the movie, and is off being crazy elsewhere, which was for the best)

I think, while I can appreciate the insanely attractiveness of Kirk, and his ability to be the braun and hot-headed but decisive captain and leader, there's something about the cool, albeit aloof, intellect and logic of Spock that I find sexy. He's very smart, and he knows it.

One thing I like that Abrams did with the series is that he had the Vulcans not be unfeeling, but that they feel emotions so strongly that it affects their logic and judgement, so they must shut it off in order to not compromise that part of them. It's not that Spock has no feelings... he has more feelings that he could ever show and emote, but in order to keep that cool Vulcan head and logic, he must shut them off, per se.

I highly recommend checking this movie out. Even if you're just a Lost fan, that's enough for you to check it out, since it definitely has notes of that "what the fuck is going on here with this plot" going on. And it's a fun movie. Nothing too hard on the brain. Just lots of fun.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we did see one guy in a costume.

A taste of the garden

These are all about a week old, and the garden has grown SIGNIFICANTLY in a week's time. The beans are out of control now. But you'll see soon.

Swiss Chard.



More coming soon!

Everybody's working for the Weekend

Live free or die, biddies.

This weekend has been very busy, so much so that I was glad I spent a good chunk of yesterday morning just relaxing and knitting on my porch while looking at my garden. Speaking of which, I hope to post updated photos of said garden, since they're growing like crazy. In fact, I might just post photos next as a taste of things to come, though I have more updated photos of the garden on my camera. And the newest member of my garden, a sweet banana pepper plant. An experiment in peppers, and could add to the someday salads I'll be having from my lettuce and beans.

Yesterday I went to the movies with several good college friends, but as that movie was Star Trek, it will be getting its own post. But in brief, it's a lot of fun in a movie, and you don't need to be a Trekkie to like it. And costumer count: sadly, just 1, and it was half-assed. I think we missed lots of costumes last weekend.

In about 30 minutes or so, I'll be heading Northbound to see my good pals, Alissa and Brendan, and their daughter Eliza. You may recall mention of knitted hats and babies earlier in the year, and that is the baby who sports them all.

I'm sure there'll be many good stories from NH, and there'll be a post on Star Trek and JJ and Spock when I get home.

Until then!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blindness (film) is a mixed bag... but a blog about a man going blind is not

After a good run and some light gardening, I watched the movie Blindness. This is the one starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, where there's this epidemic where everyone goes blind except Julianne Moore, and the breakdown in society this creates. Out of fear, all the blind people are quarantined in what looks like a ghetto or camp of some kind, and a new society is created within this state of panic, lack of supplies and food, and fear. Moore's character ends up becoming their angel and salvation, and in the end saves a select few from the hell of their ghetto. In the end, people start becoming unblind.

So I can see what they were trying to do with the movie, but I felt very mixed about it. It could have been edited down a few minutes (maybe 15-20?) and some of the symbolism was a little to heavy-handed. "Julianne Moore is our savior and an angel... she's all in white and pale and even her hair is blonde! Yay!"

Blindness also went on to symbolize that without sight, or society breaks down, and that we need to see the differences between us and our surroundings in order to function. Lack of sight makes us all animals, thieves, whores, and generally terrible people. I found this to be a bit insulting, or at least trying to invoke drama.

I guess I wouldn't recommend downloading it from Comcast for $5 like I did, but maybe if it was anywhere from free-$3, that'd be fine. An interesting view, but at the end I didn't feel like I had been moved or really brought to thought.

Photo courtesy of the blog Bye Sight! Please don't sue me or be mad at me.

But what DOES make me think and is an interesting read is the blog Bye Sight!, which is written by a TBTL reader named Gerald, which chronicles his loss of vision. I heard him interviewed on TBTL (I'm a Time Bandit, so I don't know when this interview actually happened. I think maybe April 24 or so?) about his experiences with going blind, and it was fascinating. I wish the whole show were just him talking about his life. I've listened to it twice already, because I felt like I wanted to soak in more of it. Even if you're not a fan of the show, go listen to it because it's that good.

After the interview, I went to his blog and read all of it. I kid you not. I sat there one Saturday and spent about half an hour or so reading his blog. The passages about ordering a cane and coming to grips with having a cane are fascinating. Articles and information about studies on blindness are also a good read. He also has a very dry and smart sense of humor about the whole thing, which I think is incredible. Parts are serious, but then there's a whole episode about debunking myths, which had me laughing very hard. I only wish that movie was as interesting as this blog was, then I wouldn't feel like I might have wasted $5 downloading it from Comcast.

Also, about the photo above, which I got from the blog. That little circle inside the square? That is what Gerald sees right now. That's it. Imagine over the last 15 years going from full sight to that little circle. But he seems to be handling it with grace. I truly don't think if I were going blind I would be, but perhaps over time, I'd get to the point where Gerald is.

So in review: Blindness (film) = eh, okay. Bye Sight! (blog) = really good.

Computer Fail

Fucking commands... and fucking lack of colors other than green!

This morning at work, a virus was going around in the form of e-cards. If you opened a zip attachment, your computer would essentially become a brick. I received a few of these, but figured it was bad news since it was from "a friend" and had kittens in it. And while I love kittens, especially warring ones, I did not love these kittens, and deleted them immediately.

I was telling Brian about this, and how I am 99.9% sure several people in my company WILL open this virus. They will think this:

Employee: Aww, a friend sent me an e-card! I love kittens!

Whereas I thought...

Me: There's no name attached to this, it sounds vague, and I have no friends. Deleted!
Computer Virus: Blast!

Brian then agreed with me, also working in the field of customers and technology. He then said if you were dumb enough to open this card, you should be punished by not getting a computer for a day and having to fend for yourself. We then decided that maybe a better course of action would be making you use outdated Operating Systems. Or Linux.

Which brings me to the DOS.

As in MS DOS.

I've had several run-ins with this system. A few programs and departments in my company still use DOS, and a friend of mine who works in media lamented that he must also use DOS on a regular basis for programming reasons. But that's not my main story.

Back in the day, my paternal Grandfather (Pepere) told me as a little kid that he thought MS DOS was the future, and that "Windows was just a phase". This was about 1993, and he did not see the writing on the wall. So he told me to study and love The DOS, because someday we'll all be using it every day again. Needless to say, he was old at this time. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1998, and did not get to see... that he might have been a smidge wrong.

I told Brian this story, and he laughed because he could picture me at age 9 trying to tell this old guy that The DOS was not the wave of the future, that Windows was. I also laughed, because I know that I was somewhat precocious as a kid and probably did just that.

So somewhere right now, I hope my coworkers who were dumb enough to open these computer viruses must use The DOS, and that my grandfather is laughing at all of this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Grammy Flory would be proud.

I've joined a bowling club.

I'm using the phrase "club" lightly. My friend Dave invited me via FB to join a group he was starting to get local bowlers and fans/members of the local music scene together to bowl. I have to say, as I'm only an average bowler and am certainly not in any local bands or on the radio (merely a blogger of the shows I attend and the songs I hear), I was surprised. But never one to not want to bowl, you bet your ass I signed up.

Monday night was our first get together. Very spur of the moment, and only about 10 or so people could make it, but an amazing blast. We rolled three strings, and I got to meet some very nice people. Oh, and drink. Can't forget that.

I also have a new bowling name, which is "Know Bowler". I'd love for it to slowly become "Know ThyBowler" if it can happen, but we'll see.

I definitely could improve my game. Other than a terrible second string, I was bowling barely over 100, which is okay... but I could improve. So may this will serve as a way for me to improve my scores as well.

Not sure how often we'll meet. I think it'll be a low key sort of thing, and see who actually makes it each week. I'm also looking forward to meeting more people in the local music scene, since they all seem extremely nice and chill, at least from my experiences. I'm sure there are douchers out there... but they just don't seem to roll with this crowd. And yes, every pun intended.


Nothing says "good times" like a "continent-wide song contest"....

I saw on Twitter one of the trends they're following is Eurovision. Eurovision starts today in Russia!

For those who don't know, Erin introduced me to the insanity that is Eurovision. Her and Tim, that is. So every year the countries of Europe writes each a pop song, and the people of Europe vote on the best songs. I don't know which rounds are voted on by people, and which ones are voted on by a jury. Hard to tell.

One of the draws of prior songs I've listened to is that the songs tend to be extremely cheesy, poppy, and somewhat dated, compared to other country's standards of pop songs. Like they could be from the mid to late-90s. I'm thinking also because there are some stringent rules and, much like American Idol, it's for a wide audience so they tend to trying to apeal to a mass audience and not to a subset, like an Indie Rock group for example. Sigor Ros, while widely popular, would probably not compete in Eurovision, because they may not appeal to all of Europe, since their music is for such a specific taste and audience. But I digress, and probably invoke the ire of all of Iceland.

The performances also rely heavily on light displays, crazy costumes and characters, and other bells and whistles like that. Look up any of the prior years of Eurovision on Youtube, and you'll see what I'm talking about. My examples below are good for that as well.

Several popular bands or performers have competed in prior years and gone onto win. I'm thinking of France Gall with Poupee de Cire in teh 60's, ABBA with Waterloo in the 70's, and Celine Dion with some song I can't think of for Switzerland in the 80's. The artists don't have to be from that country, but I think the country's committee picks them. Especially since Celine won for Switzerland, and she's Canadian.

I looked up Day 1 of the Semi Finals, and I was happy to see Armenia made it! My stepdad is of Armenian descent, so it's always great to see them do well.

I'll have to update Erin that Eurovision is going on right now. She'll appreciate the crap.

Here's the Armenian song, so you can see what to expect or not. Also note that it doesn't have to be in the language of the country it seems, as this is in English:

And here's Celine Dion going onto win Eurovision in 1988 for Switzerland. This is, for better or worse, her "big break". I also like the tutu look she has going on. And the bad perm:

Here's France Gall singing Poupee de Cire in the 60's, which also went on to win. In a prior post, I posted Arcade Fire's kick ass cover of this song. She looks cute as a button and manages to keep it classy:

And finally, ABBA singing Waterloo in the 70's. And as they are want to do, they glam it up with their look. A lot:

So yeah, lots of cheese, but pretty entertaining for that reason alone.

Can't Get Enough of that Wonderful Duff

This past weekend, my very good friend Tim came up north from Virginia to wine and dine with friends and family. I think it's best to have a play-by-play of what foods we ate and what alcohol we consumed.

--On Friday, we got Brazilian BBQ in Woburn. It was delicious. Then again, what isn't great about swords of meat being brought over to your plate and them slicing off as much meat as you can handle? Exactly. Nothing. We also had rum-based drinks with lots of lime. Like a sweeter and less minty mojito.
--We then went to Richardson's at Jordan's to get ice cream. I got Heath Bar, my kryptonite.
--Tim also got jelly beans, which we ate later at his house as a part of "jelly bean roulette".
--We then went to Tim's house and drank Carlo Rossi jug wine around a fire bit and played Jelly Bean Roulette. This is where you have to guess what flavor a bean is. Mine had an added twist of trying to avoid the pineapple beans so I wouldn't die. Erin helped me with that. There were also jalepeno beans which tasted terribly, but I avoided them.

--Saturday during the day, I went to the NH Sheep and Wool festival, but that's a story for another post, since it was busy. But since this is about food, there I ate a pepper burger, a frappe, and some jerky. Continuing the terrible food string for the weekend.
--When I got back, Tim texted me to say eat Tappas with him in Woburn. So off I went. So we had lots of tappas, several mojitos, and then fish tacos.
--Then back to Tim's house to drink more Carlo Rossi, but because it was rainy we stuck inside.

--Sunday I woke up and felt like I was going to explode, both of food and hangover. Oof.

Is it a surprise to anyone I ran 2.5 miles yesterday to try and work off that much food??

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

A big ol' happy Mother's Day to my Mom, Linda. She's the best mom out there, and I love her so much. Will be spending the day with her, and a cast of characters from the extended family.

Here's Shana, Mum, and Me on the boat together last October.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sonic Watch: Dianne and Danielle are on board and planning a trip with me

I'll have lots of you with lots of fries and a shake, please. Mmmm

I hung out with Dianne and Danielle last night, along with Erin and Brian per usual, and the subject of Sonic came up. If there's one thing me and The Twins love... it's fast food and burgers and fries. We are ladies of simple taste.

We discussed locations, excitement, burgers, fries, shakes, excitement, Rt. 1 as a whole, excitement, other fast food joints we wished were in town, and excitement.

I have a feeling it'll be a mad house when it first opens, so it might be tough getting there, but it will be worth it. And delicious. I might ask my boss if we can have a team field trip for some of the food.

Here's a menu I found online:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Manny being Manny... and dumb

I'm pretty sure every member of Red Sox nation is feeling large amounts of schadenfreude for this bit-o-news. I can't say I'm particularly surprised by the latest news on Manny. I'd check out the Mass Hysteria blog later on today for some good opinions on it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fleecing Larrys on his 21st

Today is a pretty awesome birthday shout out. Yes, my little brother Sam, aka Sam Bam to some and my cell phone, is turning 21. As of 5:15pm, his liver had not shut down, which is a good sign. I think him having class until later today helped keep that in tact.

So Sam is, in short, awesome. And has a sometimes ridiculous life. This is both good ridiculous and bad ridiculous. Here are some highlights:

--He is the person my blog is named after.
--He swears more than any trucker or sailor you know.
--He's accomplished a lot in his life in a short 21 years.
--He's almost fought a homeless man in an alley Tired and Emotional, as well as getting kicked out of the Middle East Nightclub.
--He made his own Halloween costume by taking a sharpie on a Hanes shirt and drawing the Superman logo on it.
--He can fall asleep anywhere in any position.
--He loves singing.
--He's one of the few people in the world who actually hates Tom Hanks.
--He owns more shirts than I do.
--He's awesome, and I'll take 6 hours out of my life any weekend to drive him back to college.
--He sends me funny texts about how I'm a ho bag in India.

I could continue, but I feel that this is also me just going on and on about how awesome my brother is. Wait, I lie. That's exactly what this post is. But he's worth it.

So a big happy birthday to my little brother and much love from your older sister.

I'm on a boat, and looking a little bit like Heat Miser.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You, you with the banjo, can you help me? I seem to have lost my sense of direction!

My friend Dan (good college pal/Yakov in a brilliant interpretation of the maids in The Seagull) notified me this morning that Dom Deluise passed away today at the age of 75. So a shout out to Dan for being my cub reporter and giving me the word on the street.

I was saddened by this, but mainly that feeling of "aw, Dom?!", as well as surprise that he had passed away. I guess he's in that category of "people you never expect to hear passing away" for me.

I then looked him up on IMDB to see what movies he had been in, when I realized that he was in pretty much all the movies I watched as a kid: The Muppet Movie, The Secret of the NIMH, An American Tale, and the Mel Brooks canon. If he were in Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, he'd round out my movie list at age 5.

He had a certain zaniness that fit well with the Muppets and Mel Brooks. He was willing to be madcap and go for the cheap joke, and fully embrace that kind of comedy. And I think his voiceover talents were in a similar vein. He was the easily confused, often thwarted sidekicks. If you've ever seen him as Bernie the Agent in The Muppet Movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.

In closing, here's a scene from his appearance on The Muppet Show. I like how he's fighting the battle with Space Muppets, and losing, and being okay with being wrapped up in it.

So adorable it's not even funny

So my friend Erin* (the bizarro twin, roommate Richard Burton to my Elizabeth Taylor, what have you) has an older sister, who recently had twins. Cuteness and happiness on that! She had a boy and a girl and a boy, and I'm making them some hats. I found a very cute Hello Kitty hat pattern, and decided that a Chococat hat would be a nice companion.

But while doing some Sanrio research I found a list of the characters, and there is one named... of all things, Landry. I thought this was neat and looked it up. It turns out it's a racoon and pretty cute. Here he is:

Cute, and I might make a hat of him down the road, but for this I thought Chococat would be better. Two cat hats, right? I'll be ordering the yarn today, so when I start working on them I'll post all sorts of pictures of my creations.

*Loyal readers may also remember Erin as the owner of The Pie Hat. While it would make sense to make hats to match their Aunt Erin... no. That f-ing hat killed my hands and took forever, and so no. They're getting Anime cats instead.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Word is spreading fast

I may need to have a new tag called "Sonic Watch"...

Apparently my reputation of "likes good food but sometimes has lapses into obscure fast food joints" precedes me. I often tweet with Boston Globe writer Chris Forsberg about a Worcester Mexican fast food staple, Moe's. Many of my friends and I in college were huge fans of Moe's, and would often take trips there to get our drink and nachos on.

While tweeting about the Bruins game, I asked him if another tweeter who is seeing a show in Worcester was becoming a Woo Town hero, and this is our exchange:

forsberg_chris@lanj - more importantly, did you mention there's a Sonic coming to Massachusetts? because this will make my year.
lanj@forsberg_chris, I found out Thursday, and I'm not embarrassed to say it made my day. It's going to be in Peabody on rt. 1.
forsberg_chris@lanj at spring training, i went for a sonic blast. they were out but said they had buy 1-get 1 shakes. i drank 2 shakes. now my ass shakes.
lanj@forsberg_chris, Very jealous, minus the ass shaking. Had some last Jan in Nashville, and it was great. They start building in June.

Can you tell that I'm excited?

Drinking a lot of hatorade... over a bridge

When I was last home, my mom mentioned to me about how one of our neighbors had brought a lot of hate and nasty letters to the paper onto herself... but writing a letter about the bridge construction.

To catch up readers who may not know what this is about, here's a quick overview. There's one big bridge that leads the island of Gloucester/Rockport to the highway. This is how most people get in and out of Gloucester. For several months now, there has been construction on this bridge and it is now one lane, one lane out. For commuters, it's been a bitch. I haven't done this often, but the few times I've driven to work from my parents' house, it's taken me forever and I've been pissy after the drive.

Sometimes, people will wait until the last minute to merge, which is annoying and a little silly, but not terrible. Well, apparently this is awful to my parents' neighbor, so much so that she wrote this letter:

March 13
To the editor:

I am writing to express an almost scientific curiosity about what is going through people's minds, when they zoom up the travel lane while the rest of us are obediently queuing up single file for what seems like miles, while we wait to cross the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge.

Not only are these drivers whizzing by us without any concern for apparent protocol, but the long single line of cars is further delayed as they then enter the line, way up at the front, before the bridge itself.

I would love to do a study on this, and interview people.

Do you think we are all lining up because we are stupid, or blind, and don't understand that the travel lane on the right is actually open? Do you believe that you should whiz by, just because you can? Are you sick or having a baby? Do you cheat at school or work to get ahead? Do you understand what you are doing, or are you oblivious?

I hope that some of you read this and at least feel guilty.

It sounds pompous, but a society does not hold together when everyone is out for him or herself, and this is evident even in apparently trivial matters like waiting in line to cross a bridge.

I'm pretty sure there were better ways she could have spent her afternoon, or however long it took her to write this letter, and the argument is kind of stupid. And do you really think that if someone tries to cut ahead of you in traffic, that society will crumble? I hope not.

Well, then I scrolled down and read some of the FIFTY comments this created. This may not seem like a lot... but this is a small town paper, so it's noteworthy. Here are some highlights:

"...Have you seen the back-up traffic on both sides of Washington Street? This is a no-brainer issue and really doesn't warrant the ink in the GDT...sorry.. :-)"

"The lane on the right IS ACTUALLY OPEN! The purpose of the merge is exactly that: MERGE! That means each lane alternates allowing one car in to form the single line. The reason so many drivers clog one lane is they are certain that nobody will let them in when it's thier turn. How sad is that?"

"Why nothing amazing at all. She's just the kind of woman, head held high in self-satisfaction, who stops to let some fool back out onto a state highway, thereby tying up 15 cars behind her unexpectedly, using up brakes linings and light filaments (causing cancers at a distance) . . . but she's _happy_! Let's be happy for her."
(blogger's note: this is a very accurate description of her, I am sure)

"[name], Stop clogging up the rotary & learn how to drive: use both lanes, then merge at the barrier/cones, alternating back & forth like a zipper. Smarten up!"

Then a few days later, this letter was published:

March 17
To the editor:

Rockport's [name] (Letter, the Times, March 13) bemoans drivers using the travel lane on the approach to the merge cones on the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge, calling them oblivious, cheats, and other such names. How ill-mannered.

Her position is ridiculous. While so many drivers frustratingly line up in the left or passing lane on the bridge approach, the resultant tie-up stretches back much further than necessary, into the rotary and beyond, making life hell for anybody trying to drive through the rotary.

It is absurd for drivers to create the merge a quarter or half-mile before it is necessary. If the road is open, it should be used. The merge should occur where indicated by traffic cones and, quite recently, by the trooper directing traffic to do so at the same position in the road. If the State Police intended for us all to merge right down by the rotary, that's where the cones would be.

This faux display of "good manners," or "apparent protocol" as [name] decrees it, makes a difficult traffic scenario even worse than it need be.

Coming from Lanesville as regular commuters up the line, my wife and I approach the rotary from Washington Street, taking the right lane and turn up the driving/right lane. We drive sensibly toward the cones, where we then signal to merge left.

Drivers in that lane who know Massachusetts Rules of the Road allow us and other drivers to safely merge in turn and we all move forward as one. The only problems are caused by the "you're not getting in front of me because I've been waiting" crowd, who defy our state's rules by either not allowing the merging, or who even veer right in front of drivers to prevent safe and legal passage up the travel lane.

No, [name], I am neither a "cheat" nor am I "zooming" anywhere, and I certainly don't feel guilty.

I simply know and follow the rules of the road. I suggest others read them and do the same for the benefit of all of us. That is how a society holds together.

The author of this letter was Hugo Burnham. Yes, as in the drummer for The Gang of Four, who lives in Gloucester and spends lots of time being awesome. I love his response, as it speaks volumes more sense than Pam and uses humor. I was very happy to read that he responded to her ridiculousness. I found another letter about [name]'s original one, telling her her argument was pointless and gave off a holier than thou personality that no one appreciates.

AND THEN it gets better!

A month letter, another letter was submitted attacking [name]'s letter and asking if she still feels Gloucester drivers who are following traffic laws are lacking in moral fiber. It's biting and delicious:

April 23
To the editor:
It has been one month since [name] made nasty accusations towards all those so-called cheaters who whisk by everyone in the travel lane only to merge where the sign says to. I was not going to respond, but I am a cheater and I, like so many others, are wondering just how [name] feels now. She accused those who use the travel lane to be a person of low integrity, a cheater, one who cheats at work and school and should feel guilty for their actions. I welcome a study on my character. I enter the rotary from the hospital side. It is impossible for me to get in line at the beginning and, furthermore, lining up one car behind the other in the passing lane makes nothing but a major traffic jam into the rotary and far beyond. To get in line, I would have to go up to Blackburn Rotary. Not only that but to stop at the rotary and try to enter that one lane creates a traffic jam long beyond the hospital. To me and many others it made no sense to be sitting in traffic because people were merging long before they had to. If you notice, traffic has greatly improved at the rotary since they have specifically put on the sign "Use two lanes." Makes sense to me. How do you feel about that [name]? Now who feels guilty?

Unfortunately, knowing [name], all these people lashing out against her haughtiness and wasted anger has probably only fueled her fire, as she is one of those locals who has nothing better to do with her life than to judge from her high horse and try to spread her ideas on how a town should be run behind the passive aggressive veil of the "To the Editor" column in the GDT.

Oh hometown, you entertain so...

I can't stress this enough... THERE IS A SONIC COMING TO MASSACHUSETTS

Yes, can I get everything pictured to go, along with a malt shake? K thanks bye.

This may surprise some readers, since I tend to promote healthy eating and exploring the unique restaurants in your community, but this makes me excited. I think because it's so foreign to my area, and yet so tasty and almost a guilty pleasure. Some fellow bloggers have also seen this news story and have blogged about it, and I'm finally getting around to it.

There is a Sonic coming to Massachusetts.

I was out with some friends Thursday night, and my friend Annette told me in passing that Sonic was coming to Peabody. I kind of flipped out, then texted Erin immediately. She responded "c'est une miracle!" and managed to spread the word via gchat, facebook, and now the blog.

I've been curious about Sonic for years, since TBS has been playing ads for this fast food chain on their station. This makes sense, since TBS is based out of Atlanta, but doesn't help me out, since I don't live in the South. As great as that Sweetheart Sundae looks... I can't run out to my car and get there.

Last year when visiting Michelle and Michnya in Nashville, we passed one and I begged her to take me to one, so I could say I've experienced it. It was pretty awesome. Sooo delicious. I think I just had a shake and fries, but it was enough.

I like how all-encompassing it is, and that it's a taste of something different. The idea of having to go to Rt. 1 for this is a bitch (North Shore people will understand where I'm coming from on this one) but will be worth it. I'm also sure that it will be packed for awhile, since there are plenty of people like me who have been waiting for this day since high school, but when I do get there, it'll be worth it.

All I need now is a White Castle, an In-and-Out Burger, and (most of all) a Tim Horton's in the area, and my guilty pleasure fast food life will be complete.

Here's a map I found online of the core markets and developing markets of Sonic. Add lil ol' Mass to the map and color it blue!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"That is well said," replied Candide, "but we must cultivate our garden"

Happy Birthday to me and my garden. Here are the seed packets and plants that will be the beginnings of gardening awesomeness.

After the successes of last summer's porch garden, I decided I would have another porch garden for Summer '09. Last year I grew some herbs and flowers, and I lived off of pesto for months. It was great.

This year I am kicking it up a notch. For my birthday, my parents and Boat Sister Shana gave me some plants and seeds to begin my garden. I was thrilled. Last weekend when it was warm out, I planted my garden on the porch. It's twice as large as last year's!

The up front costs of the garden can be a bit surprising, since you need to buy lots of soil and, in my case, more planters, but the amount of herbs and enjoyment and food and greatness more than pays for this garden. And I feel like I'm doing good things for the environment and it's a great little hobby to have all summer. This year I'll be growing:

--Swiss Chard (and that's me holding the seeds)
--Two kinds of beans
--A variety of flowers

Here's a photo of the garden so far and its humble beginnings. Yep, right now it's just a lot of dirt and planters as well as a rosemary plant and a lettuce plant, but it'll start growing soon, I'm sure. I'll be posting photos of the garden all summer, as well as the food I'm making with it. Get pumped. It's going to be a tasty summer.