Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hot Pants for moving... again!

Will this house fit on the back of a Uhaul? Probably not.

Loyal readers will read this title and think "didn't she just do this and whine about how many sticks of deodorant she had?" and you would be correct. But nonetheless, I am moving again. Still in Salem, but a nicer, bigger, 100% less rat apartment with Ricky. AND with a porch. So possibly another basil plant is in my future. Posting has been scarce because I've been busy coordinating logistics for this, packing, and on top of this planning my best friend's bridal shower for next weekend. So expect in July more posts about Greenland, this Polish Cafe opening near Gulu Gulu, the Farmer's Market, and all that good stuff.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Podcast Round Up for Summer 2010

My job has hit the quiet period for the summer. Less students walking around, less Commencement planning, and lots of quiet afternoons updating schedules and documentation. So what does this mean? Listening to podcasts to pass the time.

Here's a round up of some Podcasts I've been listening to and my reviews of them:

The Sporkful
Mark and Dan of the now defunct Bryant Park Project are now discussing all things food on a clever but highly edited 15-minute weekly podcast. They say it's not for foodies, it's for eaters, and this is true. Instead of discussing the finer details of high-end foods like pate or canapes, they've discussed the following:
--how to prepare a baked potato
--the best kinds of peanut butter sandwiches
--popcorn etiquette
--how best to handle a buffet
The guest star list has been impressive for those NPR-philes out there, including Marc Maron, Win Rosenfeld, and Mike Pesca. It took a bit to get used to the polished tone of it, but I like how Mark and Dan will debate intensely the best ways to eat. 15 mintues is also the perfect length of time for this type of podcast. It's an "amuse bouche" if you will. (sorry for the food pun)

Uhh Yeah Dude
I'm pretty late to the party... about 4 years late... but Ricky suggested I check out this podcast. Seth and Jonathan -- who call themselves American Americans -- spend an hour discussing crazy newstories, celebrities, craigslist, Gertrude Baines, Whole Foods, Jonathan's crazy upbringing (his dad is John "Night Court" Larroquette), and so on. It's not like other podcasts I've enjoyed in the past, mainly because it's set up like a stream of conscious conversation and not like a radio program. The tone took some getting used to, as did the liberal use of the F word, but I will admit. Their observations are dead on and hilarious. It's a nice podcast to listen to when driving home from work, as it's usually the length of my T ride and train. I have embarrassed myself a few times walking to work, though, bursting out laughing.

Jordan Jesse, Go!
Many Tens love this podcast, and I've heard them interviewed on TBTL, so I thought I'd check it out. Jesse Thorn also has connections to NPR/PRI, so I thought why not. I will admit, I was cautious going into it, because Jesse's vibe drives me crazy from TBTL spots. He seems smug, self flattering, and fancies himself the smartest and funniest person in the room. But Ricky and I both decided to check out an interview JJGO did on their show with Seth and Jonathan of Uhh Yeah Dude. And... I made it about 30 minutes into a 90-minute podcast. About 28 of those minutes was Jesse talking over the guests and trying to out-smarm and out-joke Jonathan. I think I may listen to this podcast again and get a percentage of how much the GUESTS actually spoke.

To try and give them a second chance, I listened to them interview Sarah Vowell, seeing maybe if the guest had some more wattage if they'd behave better. They were slightly more behaved, mainly because Sarah was able to wrestle control and focus away from awful awful Jesse Thorn. But it really should be named "Jordan Jesse, Go... download something other than our terrible podcast".

So in conclusion:
1. Sporkful is decent.
2. Uhh Yeah Dude is funny but raunchy
3. Jordan Jesse, Go! sucks hard and if given the chance to throw things at their faces, I would.
4. Seatbelts

Friday, June 4, 2010

The National at HOB

I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders.

Last night, Ricky and I went to see The National at The House of Blues, with opening act Antlers. Ricky had given me tickets for my birthday. I was quite pumped, as I'm a fan of the band, but also slightly nervous that it'd be a solemn night of sad songs that'd make me want to drink red wine and cry.

Fortunately, I was 100% wrong.

I won't say much about Antlers. They were alright, and packed a huge punch for a shoe gazey trio, but none of their songs were particular stand out. They were what you hope for in an opening act: pretty, a good lead-in, and not too noteworthy.

By the time 9:30 rolled around, HOB was packed with a good mix of people. A lot of thirtysomethings with their girlfriends, a lot of guys in plaid shirts, and even two kids who couldn't have been older than sophomores in college who wore Tokyo Police Club shirts. A varied but respectful and enthusiastic crowd.

The National played primarily from Boxer, as well as some deep cuts. Opening with two tracks from Boxer, the second being Mistaken for Strangers, the crowd was on their side and revved up. The band also punched a lot more energy and showmanship into these and all songs, which was great. Frontman Matt Berninger wafted between introspective singing and jumping all over the stage... and even into the audience on a few occasions. Very little band banter between songs, but that was okay.

The horns and violinist were punched up, and they added layers that you maybe miss when listening onto the CD's. Ricky and I both agreed that they were the unsung heroes of the band and the concert as a whole.

I think two highlights for me were Mr. November and Cherry Tree. Mr. November, which from everything I've seen and heard turns into Matt and band shouting their energy and emotional into the song, was near the end of the night. Matt ended up surfing through the crowd to the sound booth and back. He seemed to be enjoying the set and the crowd most here.

Cherry Tree was a song I wasn't as familiar with, but I love the haunting minor keys and strings, as well as the muffled chorus of "loose lips sink ships". The band joked about this chorus and said they were just mumbling the whole time, and that they weren't actually saying words. It was well performed.

At one point Matt said "respect the sadness", which I think summed up the show as a whole. They know that their songs are a little more somber than other bands, and they embrace it, but they also know they need to punch it up for performances. It definitely had a different vibe from listening only to the albums, and I'd recommend checking them out when they circle back into town, whenever that is.

Here are the two songs I mentioned:
Mr. November

Cherry Tree

I enjoy a tasty holiday

Any holiday where I get free food is a-okay in my book.

Readers of the blog High Heels Short Skirt were tipped off this morning that today is National Doughnut Day and that Dunkin Donuts is giving out free doughnuts with every drink purchased. The internet tells me that Krispy Kreme is also celebrating this holiday, for my parts of New England that aren't Massachusetts, Midwest, and Canadian brethren. The internet also tells me that the king of doughnuts -- Tim Hortons -- is also celebrating this.

First off, I had no idea there was a National Doughnut Day, but that is awesome and I fully support this holiday. Second off, obviously I was going to celebrate it.

I went to my local Dunkin Donuts (residents: the sketchy 24-hour one across the street from the post office) and got an iced French Vanilla with cream and sugar and a Spring Fling. The Spring Fling is essentially a party on a doughnut. Airy cake, strawberry frosting (my feelings on this frosting ebb and flow like the tide, right now we're cool), and sprinkles. It is a party. A delicious doughnut party.

Here is said iced coffee and said doughnut enjoying some sun in downtown Salem on Front Street before being consumed.

Three cheers for National Doughnut Day!!

Coming in 3's...

1. Gary Coleman

2. Dennis Hopper

3. Rue McClanahan