This Week in Links: January 20-January 26

Wow… this was a very slow Week in Links. Could have probably extended it to another fortnight but… nah.

So that gives me liberty to throw back to a link I ended up shelving last week because the post was already so long:

scoby craigslistExcept– boom— it’s not even actually a link anymore because for whatever reason the post ended up being deleted :(. Maybe they think I was hawking an illegal substance? (brb… making sure it’s legal to make your own kombucha in this POLICE STATE. […tell me you all know I’m joking?]). But no matter, because I was still successful in spreading the progeny of Claire and Collette’s “Thomas”-in-Thailand (someone did ask if mine had a name, girls!) to three– nay, four!– lucky individuals in the Charlottesville area. Soon we’ll have a veritable army of kombucha brewers ’round here.

So onto the slim-pickings of the links by which I was actually entertained this week:

When a friend was telling me about roommate problems, I suggested she write a passive-aggressive (thanks to cheerleading I will never misspell that word) note to him. Then I remembered there was a site about that that I hadn’t been to in years and decided it was high time I got reacquainted. I was almost immediately rewarded with this:

passive aggressive note to mom

though you’ll frequently hear me saying i’m not sure i want kids, if i do decide to go ahead and procreate one of these days, i’ll be pretty disappointed if, at some point in his or her childhood, i don’t receive an almost verbatim version of this note.

At some point I came across this article on HuffPost, about what some of our favorite celebrities were doing before (or in addition to) making it big:

did you know about this emilie? after you were just reminding me about your lifelong dream to play the banjo.

did you know about this emilie? after you were just reminding me about your lifelong dream to play the banjo.

I’ve seen a few variations of this floating around the ‘book and while, admittedly, I probably will never do any of them, these “Life Hacks” (as I guess the kids are calling them these days) are good and creative ideas. That frequently employ recycling?

this one's actually maybe made for me right now because i've re-entered a fifth-grade-esque phase of nail polish compulsion.

this one’s actually maybe made for me right now because i’ve re-entered a fifth-grade-esque phase of nail polish compulsion.

Oh, and thanks to some highly coveted connections I have with the 2009 Trustees Board, I landed myself a spot in our Class of 2009 Winter E-news Alumni Profiles section. Celebrity status (though not quite as good as that one time I was in the Chinese newspaper…).

angela calonder winter alumni profile

And that’s really all I  got this week, darlings! Though it’s not like me to leave a post sitting at 381 words so I guess I could quickly include some of the music/other entertainment that’s gotten me by this week:

[Haha… just started gushing and gushing about “Icky Thump” to the point that it’s going to get its own post.]

I really enjoyed watching Jay-Z’s 2001 performance on MTV’S Unplugged (though I swear, if I have to hear/read one more person bitch about how there’s no more music on MTV… we get it, it’s defying its own acronym at this point, reality shows are annoying and pedestrian, you’re very very upset. But guess what, there are roughly a billion other places to listen to and watch music these days. And no one cares. To quote my eighth grade History teacher, ‘The horse is dead!’). I certainly think of hip-hop as something that could be difficult to, er, unplug, but I guess with the Roots behind you anything is possible. Mary J Blige also makes an appearance at the end, which was a nice addition. I’ve been feeling kind of sad that I was so hellbent on choosing between the likes of Blink-182 and Eminem (in my school it was very gauche to be into both punk rock and rap) back in middle school rather than just embracing everything. I missed out on so much for so long!

A couple of searches and subsequent clicks (found out Gwyneth Paltrow sang back-up for “Song Cry” at a Jay-Z performance in London a few years back, attempted to find a video of this) landed me at a video of Gwyneth Paltrow rapping “Gangsta Gangsta”? Which I found endearing because I too have dabbled in the lucrative industry of white-woman-rap. (Not gonna link to it though haha.)

celeb gossip blogs really want us to hate her but i just… can’t.

But more importantly, I discovered the wonder of listening to standup comedy in the office. It makes the hours fly and keeps your spirits up all day. You might emit an embarrassing chuckle or two, but I’ve decided it was worth it. Notable sets for me this week were Margaret Cho (thanks Chris Kelly, you created this monster), Craig Ferguson (wasn’t at all sure what to expect here but I was pretty entertained the whole time), Louis CK (been watching so much Parks and Rec lately it seemed a shame not to. Also that links to a bloopers reel that you should probably click right now.), Robin Williams (always a classic, and, notably, back in 1986 Qaddafi, gun control, and Clint Eastwood were still the buzzwords), and Mitch Hedburg (also, essentially, a bloopers reel).

And most importantly is that my friend Kyle turned me onto the Bird and the Bee, and specifically their Hall and Oates tribute album.

And then he told me about Live from Daryl’s House, specifically that time Chromeo showed up:

And just to close the subject, two of my favorite pieces of Hall and Oates-related literature: It’s been “A Night”  and Three Exciting Pieces of News from 2birds1blog.

One year ago: Penang, Again (Part Three)
Two years ago: Darjeeling; Leaving Kolkata
Three years ago: Assorted Updates

Charlottesville Restaurant Week

I’ve been well-fed these past few days, friends. The semi-annual Restaurant Week is upon us, and I found occasion to go not once, but twice. Restaurant Week, for those of you who are unaware, is a magical time of the year when some of our best restaurants offer a prix fixe menu from which patrons choose an appetizer, entreé, and dessert for the reasonable price of $29 a head ($36, for a few restaurants). It’s a great way to get to try some new things (for some, at places whose price tags might otherwise be daunting) around town.

On Tuesday, to round out Nate’s birthday celebrations, Ryan and I took him to Bang!.

(click to view menu)

(click photo to view menu, though it may differ slightly)

Of course, as it was a birthday celebration– a twenty-first birthday celebration, at that– a bottle of wine was in order. We went for what we all, with our so-highly-refined palates, determined to be a very nice, smooth California Cabernet Sauvignon: Leese Fitch 2010.

wine and lantern

(Oh and please excuse the awful coloring in all the pictures… not much I could do!)

For our appetizers, Ryan got my favorite thing to get on a normal night at Bang!: the chickpea spring rolls with curry sauce (whose carrot garnish is as delicious as any other part of the meal. In a good way.). Nate went for the tuna sashimi and mango spoons; I tried the sweet potato and soy samosa with yogurt sauce. My dish was worth getting for the yogurt sauce alone, not to mention the perfectly crispy pastry it accompanied. And Nate’s spoons were licked clean nearly as soon as they were set down, so I think that serves as a testament that we were all off to a good start.

(chick pea spring rolls on the left, samosa in center, tuna/mango spoons to the right)

(chick pea spring rolls on the left, samosa in center, tuna/mango spoons to the right)

cute plate

empty spoons

For our entreés: Ryan went for the bacon wrapped “pork mignon” with crispy kale and sweet potatoes; Nate had the sixty second sirloin with wasabi mashed potatoes, sweet onions, and button mushrooms; and I had to try the sesame seared tuna with seaweed and cucumber salad, coconut rice, and wasabi  cream (if only because I like alliteration so much). Though I didn’t have anything from the boys except a few of Nate’s mushrooms, it was agreed between them that Ryan’s meat was the best, followed by mine, with Nate’s being ‘good, just not as good as that.’ I loved my refreshing cucumber and seaweed salad, and Ryan felt the same about my coconut rice, but I found the rice a bit sweet and rich to be a part of the main course. I was also just  getting a bit full by this point, I admit. In fact we all were, but most happily.

pork mignon

ryan’s bacon-wrapped ‘pork mignon’

nate's sixty second sirloin

nate’s sixty second sirloin

my sesame seared tuna

my sesame seared tuna

I was the one to be “out-ordered” (as we’ve so fondly taken to calling it) during dessert, however. I’d rank Ryan’s choice– the spiced chai cheesecake with ginger whipped cream— the best for sure. Nate’s banana fritters with vanilla bean ice cream were also very good, and reminded me a lot of Thailand actually. I had the coconut panna cotta, which was good and also reminded me of Thailand, but didn’t seem nearly as luxurious as the boys’ choices.

"well when you just order a glass of milk, you can't expect it to be as good as the real desserts."

“well when you just order a glass of milk, you can’t expect it to be as good as the real desserts.”

my family is so weird.

my family is so weird.

It ended up being a most excellent evening with my wee siblings.

And the madness wasn’t even over! Last night I had a mini Siips (*kisses finger, points to sky*) reunion with Phil and Kate at Orzo. I see Phil probably more than I really want to (kidding!) but it had been a long while since either of us had seen Kate so it became a fantastic little catch-up session/opportunity to saturate a few hours with usage of the word “gauche”. And by “little” I mean we were definitely the last table to leave, with all the waitstaff tapping their feet behind the bar, casting us irksome glances (kidding again… kind of ).

(click to see menu, though it may differ slightly)

(click photo to see menu, though it may differ slightly)

On the online menu you might notice there’s a scallop appetizer listed that Phil and I both had our eye on, but which ended up not actually being on the menu for that evening. No matter; we all ended up being more than satisfied with our choices of the roasted pumpkin salad, dates, pumpkin seeds, and roasted walnut brown butter (Kate), 18 month aged prosciutto di parma bruschetta, fresh mozzarella, and basil oil (Phil), and saganaki: crispy halloumi, pomegranate, persimmon, apple, hazelnut crema, and crushed pistachios (by process of elimination, me. Also… read: fried cheese).

oh yeah, can't forget they start your meal with complimentary hummus. BONUS!

oh yeah, can’t forget they start your meal with complimentary hummus. BONUS!

i repeat: fried cheese

i repeat: fried cheese

kate's pumpkin salad

kate’s pumpkin salad

phil's very fancy bruschetta. nothing gauche about it.

phil’s very fancy bruschetta. nothing gauche about it.

Moving on! At this point we were probably about three-quarters of the way through a tempranillo whose name I can’t remember, and which we allowed the waiter to talk us into after Phil emitted an enthusiastic, “Sounds boring!” after being told about the wine special. (Tres gauche.) No harm, no foul, though, as it was a pretty enjoyable bottle. Our entreé selections: organic Faroe Island salmon, fall vegetables, basil-garlic pistou, potatoes, and nicoise olives (Kate), cast iron seared bronzini, spicy calamari, chorizo butter, and local chicory (Phil), and the linguini and clams, pancetta, parsley, white wine, and garlic butter (again, by process of elimination, me. Also see that ‘pancetta’? Yeah. Me neither.)

the sauce on this was to die for.

the sauce on this was to die for.

i don't know... what's a bronzini with you?

i don’t know… what’s a bronzini with you?

oh right. pancetta, like the thickest fattiest bacon imaginable. riddling the dish of someone who's been known to talk about how intelligent and monogamous pigs are. oh well, sending it back would have been very gauche. they were easy to pick out, undoubtedly lent guilty-pleasure-worthy flavor to the dish, and were a bonus for phil to eat. win win win?

oh right. pancetta, like the thickest fattiest bacon imaginable. riddling the dish of someone who’s been known to talk about how intelligent and monogamous pigs are. oh well, sending it back would have been very gauche. they were easy to pick out, undoubtedly lent guilty-pleasure-worthy flavor to the dish, and were a bonus for phil to eat. win win win?

(oh yeah, when the tempranillo went from three-quarters finished to four-quarters finished, we re-upped with the gran familia rioja: an old favorite from siips.) also-- shells not in the shell bowl! gauche!

(oh yeah, when the tempranillo went from three-quarters finished to four-quarters finished, we re-upped with the gran familia rioja: an old favorite from siips.) also– shells not in the shell bowl! gauche!

The idea of dessert at this point was a bit torturous. I was very precariously on the edge of becoming uncomfortably full. Kate was bringing her classic tiramisu back home to her dad/babysitter, but Phil and I were forced to actually indulge in our desserts (the horror!). I got the semi-sweet chocolate pot de créme (much more fun to say without a French accent, as it turns out) and Phil named his brown butter panna cotta the best panna cotta he’d ever had (a bit of a change from my coconut panna cotta at Bang! the night before).

pot de créme

pot de créme

best panna cotta on the planet

best panna cotta on the planet

a very welcome gift, i'm sure

a very welcome gift, i’m sure

And then there was a really beautiful snow as we were leaving. What more could you ask for?ollie snowOne year ago: Penang, Again (Part One)
Two years ago: October 26-27: Arrival in Kolkata

In My G4 Over Da Sea (and Baby Bro’s 21st)

Whoa. You’ve done it again, Ben Holmes. I was out for my littlest brother’s 21st birthday last night, so you’ll forgive me not remembering opening the email when you sent it, but it was a nice little present to wake up to this morning, on my couch, with my feet perched comfortably on top of Ollie’s sleeping form.

Everyone, please enjoy this excellent version of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” remixed under the moniker Neutral Bling Hotel and retitled “In My G4 Over Da Sea.” Very good production and a brilliant choice of songs to mash-up. “Jesus Walks” with “King of Carrot Flowers Pts 2 & 3“? As Jeff Mangum croons, “I love you Jesus Christ!”?! Come on, people. It’s almost too perfect. By the end of the third track you’re wondering what these songs sounded like without a bit of bass and a sick flow over top. (Or, conversely, by the tenth track, what “Ice Cream Paint Job” sounded like without bagpipes. Okay confession, I’ve never heard that song before, thus really don’t know what it sounds like sans bagpipes.)

in my g4 over da sea

And since I mentioned the birthday party (at Nate’s apartment and the Biltmore):

mustache flaskme and nate

adam and matt

with my wingmen for the evening

with ryan and nate

birthday shots!

birthday shots!

even ollie gave him a card

even ollie gave him a card

So yayyy Nate’s 21, hip hip hooray!

One year ago: Nam Tuum!

This Week in Links: January 12-19

Our themes this week are conspiracies, pop stars, and (surprise) animals.

Some of you may remember me discussing at some point or another a bit of stress I may have undergone when first arriving in Thailand on account of all the conspiracy-theory talk circulating amongst my friends. And Lupe Fiasco. “Nine-eleven, Building Seven, did they really pull it?!Planes were dowsing the planet with toxic aluminum and barium on the daily, Princess Di was assassinated, and we didn’t land on the moon. It just really had me feeling like this. (Okay, sorry Emilie, I promise not to start using gifs to illustrate everything, that is truly your realm.)

Of course I’m exaggerating, but it’s funny now to look back on because I do find the whole business a bit fascinating. Though have zero desire to spend any more time blogging about it. Or… about those conspiracies, anyway.

Because the fascination doesn’t stop there, people. Everything we hold near and dear in pop culture, it would seem, is potentially involved in some sort of twisted scheme. I first decided to do some investigating after looking for the full Watch the Throne album on YouTube because I was just dying, for whatever reason, to hear Jay say, “Do you know who I am, Clarice?” in “Murder to Excellence.” (Coincidentally this was the morning after Jodie Foster delivered her allegedly powerful Golden Globes speech, of which I was oblivious at this point.) Couldn’t find the full album; instead found the show they did in London for the Watch the Throne tour (in which they didn’t actually perform “Murder to Excellence,” but who’s counting?). Which brings me to how I started thinking about celebrity conspiracies: in the comments there were all kinds of Illuminati references (including one simply stating, “illuminati muppets,” which hit me hard, because the only thing I hate being called more than a sheep[le] is a muppet. But it was unclear to whom the comment was really directed so I was able to let it slide). And I realized it wasn’t the first time I’d seen the Illuminati mentioned in connection to some of our most beloved superstars, and so decided to find out more.

Now, I’ve read The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons so I like to think I know as much about the Illuminati as the next guy– that is to say, almost nothing. However, a quick, “what does jay-z have to do with the illuminati?” search yielded many results. I liked this one from Slate a lot, and with a title like, “Is Lady Gaga a Satanist Illuminati Slave?” who could blame me? But the graphic for this Gawker article was too good to pass up:

i mean, if nothing else this is definitely making me want to be a part of the illuminati. shoot... is that the intention? are they in my head already?

i mean, if nothing else this is definitely making me want to be a part of the illuminati. shoot… is that the intention? are they in my head already?

It offers two comprehensive “guides” (“The Believer’s Guide” and “The Skeptic’s Guide,” both informative and, in good Gawker-style, hilarious), and gets you kind of hoping that Blue Ivy Carter really is in charge of the world, because an infant occupying the captain’s chair is about the only acceptable explanation for things being so messed up.

Perhaps you recall the 15 Insane Fan Theories… list from Buzzfeed I posted on my first installment of This Week in LinksAladdin‘s set in the future, Tarantino has created a similar but alternate universe, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off all takes place in Cameron’s head? Well Emilie’s directed me to a character-oriented list in the same vein:

literary characters conspiracy flavorwire

it’s like… 95% homosexuality (honestly i’m surprised bert and ernie and tinky-winky didn’t make the list…) but still worth a read, as that’s an entirely hyperbolic figure.

And for old times’ sake, here are links to two of my favorite conspiracy theories from back in the day: Hollywood begins mass brainwashing campaign to get people ready for the next bioengineered virus release (via and THE MOON: A Propaganda Hoax (via The Mad Revisionist). (The latter isn’t claiming that we didn’t go to the moon– it posits instead that our dear little satellite doesn’t even exist. Though in a world of limitless possibilities…)

On the topic of commentary in virtual forums, here’s that update I know you’ve all been longing for of any stirrings we created with out Lil Wayne reference in the Tupac Deposition video:

tupac deposition comments

esfelon makes a compelling argument, i’m just still trying to figure out what an ‘intelegentan’ is.

And my friend Kyle sent me this gem on the basis that he ‘knew I liked reading comments.’ Am I that transparent?? But yeah. Good call, Kyle.

awesome, feminist-insensitive comments on the 'bic for her' pen available on

awesome, feminist-insensitive comments on the ‘bic for her’ pen available on

I’ll do a little soul-baring right now (if Jodie can do it so can I!) and admit that 25 is a weird age to be newly single… since returning home from Thailand I’ve attended two weddings (one of which was my younger cousin’s) and borne witness to countless engagements and marriages thanks to the voyeuristic magic of Facebook (sorry, I don’t mean to sound disparaging of your bliss… heartfelt congratulations to all you litte lovebirds!). However, the old adage that “misery loves company” has rung true, and in Kathy’s and my case the silver lining has been that it would seem that nothing brings old friends together like simultaneous breakups. During her stay we spent countless contemplative hours going through the full spectrum of feeling like of course we’d end up happy to being fatalistically certain we’d end up alone (the phrase ‘cats eating my face’ got thrown around a bit) at least twice a day week, as well as watching Downton Abbey wondering where our respective Cousin Matthews were. She also hooked me up with these bits of literature on the subject of love in our weird and trying ‘modern’ age. They present a bit of a spectrum themselves.

item 1: a nytimes article in which men are DEFINITELY the bad guys. arg! men! chauvinism! glass ceiling! hook-up culture!

item 1: a nytimes article in which men are DEFINITELY the bad guys. arg! men! chauvinism! glass ceiling! hook-up culture!

(My boy “Antoine Vanderbilt” coincidentally also addresses this article in his latest “Dear Antoine” installment, in which ‘Laura from DC’ wonders when is the most appropriate time to put out.)

in this one, from the atlantic, online dating is to blame for millenials’ inability to foster successful relationships– it’s so easy to find someone new ‘we’ don’t put in the time or attention necessary to keep the ones we have. an interesting hypothesis, anyway.

finally, a beacon of hope. a relationship succeeds because of undying effort on the part of a real-life prince charming. but is this still giving men too much agency/responsibility?! i’m waiting for the article about the relationship that succeeded because of undying effort on the part of a real-life princess charming.

Anyway, that was a bit of a divergence from the aforementioned themes, let’s reel it back in with another one about pop stars… Specifically two surprisingly similar individuals: Kurt Cobain and Justin Bieber.

this makes ollie a lot like both of them.

this makes ollie a lot like both of them.

(As long as we’re talking about commentary, let’s just say there are a handful of Kurt Cobain fans that do not appreciate this article one little bit. But I think lil Biebs is great? Just see for yourself!)

baby, señorita, mon chérie…

And moving onto animals (yayyy!).

more buzzfeed... i can't help it. the way the official takes the dog off the field is the same way i take ollie to my room to crate him. all limbs sticking exactly straight out.

more buzzfeed… i can’t help it. the way the official takes the dog off the field is the same way i take ollie to my room to crate him. all limbs sticking exactly straight out.

because the only thing better than a donkey in a well is a comically large one.

because the only thing better than a donkey in a well is a comically large one.

this is a work-find... looking through the church's website and was struck by this headline, and subsequently by the heartwarming story that accompanied it.

this is a work-find… looking through the church’s website i was struck by this headline, and subsequently by the heartwarming story that accompanied it.

another work-find...

another work-find…

I mean, it’s no Godbaby but… what is, really?

And, also because I can’t help it, a couple nerdy ones to round out the post and re-express my love of All Things Language.

do words really mean anything

i almost got lost in all the linked articles to this one... this stuff is seriously so intriguing to me.

i almost got lost in all the linked articles to this one… this stuff is seriously so intriguing to me.

And… if comparing Justin Bieber to Kurt Cobain is such a sin in the musical world I don’t want to know what kind of offense it will be for him to share “Song of the Day” status with Janis Joplin but… I heard on the radio that yesterday would have been the Queen of Rock’s 70th birthday so I reckon it’d be a greater offense to not give her the last word:

i’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday… to be holdin bobby’s body next to mine.

(Ugh it was so hard not to go with “Mercedes Benz,” but Bobby McGee will always occupy a special place in my heart.)

Two years ago: October 24-25: The Final Leg

Humpback Rock and Django

ollie on couch

I’m excited for this post because it’s finally a Thailand-esque one about, “Hey, I did this fun thing!” rather than, “Hey, I watched this great YouTube video!”

When my friend Kathy decided to come stay with me (and Caleb, technically) for two weeks between terms at Columbia Law, one of her conditions was that we hike Humpback Rock— a vantage point just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway (the equally beautiful, cheaper [read: free-er] version of Skyline Drive) not half an hour from Charlottesville. It’s a popular, relatively short, little trail that gets frequented as the weather warms up, and though both of us have our outdoorsy streaks, neither of us had ever been during undergrad.

Lucky for us temperatures reached unseasonable 70-degree heights this past weekend, and Sunday proved to be a most opportune day to hit the mountain. Even the Snug Pup got to come.

(We used the directions at the end of this blog post to get there and they served us just fine. An easy path off 64.)

humpback tree

woods into the woods overlooklooking out

friends on a mountain

friends on a mountain

only cuz ollie looks cuter here :)

again, only cuz ollie looks cuter here 🙂

he wants to go to there

he wants to go to there

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

observing his empire king olliesundown on the blue ridge

with an orb coming out of his head

with an orb coming out of his head

a portion of this will be my... fourth album cover.

a portion of this will be my… fourth album cover.

uni-brow-y? (me, not k)

uni-brow-y? (me, not k)


haha... this is such a weirdly proportionate picture

haha… this is such a weirdly disproportionate picture

colorful sunset

ollie and me

awkward family photo

awkward family photo

couple couple and sundown leaving the rocks sundown road and sunset

Then we met up with Phil that evening and went and saw Django Unchained.

Of course it’s a bit trite to say, but I do consider myself a Tarantino fan. Yes his films are vulgar and violent and yada yada yada but they’re also clever and funny and wonderfully stylized with the most memorable of characters and dialogue, generally with a relatively kick-ass soundtrack to boot. This was no different. It was simultaneously a hilarious (emphasis on hilarious. I was not expecting to be giggling the whole time, but I really was.) parody of and reverent homage to old Westerns (making use of quick zooms-in-and-out, “cowboy music,” and saloon-font titles for effect) that follows the plot of a German folk-tale set in the antebellum South… No one but ol’ Quentin could have come up with something like this (presumably over drinks one night after Christoph Waltz told him the story of Brunhilde in passing), but I’m so glad he did.

(On a somewhat-related note I came across this list of the 50 most controversial movies of all time in search of the title of DW Griffith’s 1915 “masterpiece,” The Birth of a Nation, which was eluding me in the moment. I was having memories of having learnt about it in one of my film history classes; how it was such a paragon, strictly cinematically speaking, in its day but unfortunately took the form of a heinously racist pro-Klan propaganda vehicle. Both films show slaves in a position to, how you say?, start some shit… But whereas Klan members are the heroes of Birth of a Nation, in Django one of the outright funniest scenes makes the most delightful mockery out of the white-sheeted vigilantes. Anyway, there are lots of interesting-looking films on that list so check it out!)

Oh yeah and maybe you’ve heard… Ollie’s antics have continued:

after eating the dictionary he's been confined to my room, where i thought i'd more or less dog-proofed everything. except i guess my most recent journal-- which i started on the plane leaving thailand-- was too close to the edge of my table. excellent, snugs. excellent.

after eating the dictionary he’s been confined to my room, where i thought i’d more or less dog-proofed everything. except i guess my most recent journal– which i started on the plane leaving thailand– was too close to the edge of my table. excellent, snugs. excellent.

I was sad and upset but of course knew I was also to blame, and realized I could maybe just maybe even patch it back up. Things were on the up and up almost immediately: the convenience store was out of tape but the guy behind the counter gave me the last of their tape-roll, saying they had more. Be still my heart.

Aaaaand, voila:

snugs and journal

such luck, the journal came with a separate elastic band that ollie managed not to destroy. it’s like it was meant to be!

Two years ago: October 22-23: Lobuche-Phunki Thanka-Namche
Three years ago: ANYTHING But My Google…

This Fortnight in Links

Because I never miss an opportunity to use the word “fortnight”?

And also I was too busy editing video last Saturday to follow through with my “important” “weekly” installment. Anyway, here’s fun stuff I’ve come across on the web this fortnight.

It wasn’t a disappointing fortnight at work, that’s for sure. I worked on accounts for all kinds of animal charities, which always delights me to no end. I asked my boss if it would be possible for me to work specifically on accounts concerning animals and she said they’d create a new position for me. I’m waiting on further information.

As always all photos link to their respective pages.

every company's 'people' page should have mandatory pet presence

every company’s ‘people’ page should have mandatory pet presence

This page prompted my friend to make a remark about how he wishes he could have a donkey in his photo for his work ID. Which made coming across this one a few days later just that much more gratifying:

couldn't believe my eyes

couldn’t believe my eyes

Actually now that I think about it, it was actually a brilliant fortnight for donkeys at work, because my co-worker also sent me this little motivational gem:

it'll bring tears to your eyes

you get only this teaser line. you know you want to know the rest of the story. it’ll bring tears to your eyes, this.

Though I’ve only been on the job for a month (two fortnights, if you will), I’ve already learned that in an office even the most mundane things become entertaining or noteworthy. Such as the fact that I came across an Annual Report in Comic Sans font, which warranted a big face-palm. And inspired me to revisit the archives of a friend’s Facebook page to track down this hilarious (if a bit vulgar) monologue, issued by Mr. Comic Sans himself. I think we’ve all been underestimating this font, world.

mcsweeneys comic sans

I also learned that McSweeney’s was started by Dave Eggers, which is exciting to me because What is the What? was one hell of a book and I’ve been meaning to patronize more of his projects.

I wasn’t actually able to find the Comic Sans article and had to resort to actually establishing communication with said friend in order to find it, but all was not for naught; my efforts were rewarded by this:

"tales from the international spy and advertising agency." i don't think i could think of a marriage that would make me happier than that of 'mad men' and 'archer.' this tumblr is pure gold, guys.

“tales from the international spy and advertising agency.” i don’t think i could think of a marriage that would make me happier than that of ‘mad men’ and ‘archer.’ this tumblr is pure gold, guys.

Facebook also hooked me up with this fascinating piece about people’s post-Sandy dreams, on the page of an old friend whose dream was actually used in the article (she’s the one who “found herself floating on top of a Tyrian purple lagoon: ‘none other but the imaginary “Broadway Canal.””)

harper's sandy and the sandman

And in that article was a link to this… amazing site: You just… post a brief explanation of your dream, and you can see if people are having similar dreams to you. I haven’t tried it yet because I think it’s going to really freak me out, but I’m working my way up to it mentally. I’ll get back to you.

What else, what else? Oh right, so when driving back from NYC on New Year’s Day, Kathy’s friend (and our gracious chauffer) had us listen to Lil Wayne’s deposition and… I mean, just watch. It’s well worth the six minutes of your life.

So it was hilarious enough that we felt we needed to share it at our gathering last Saturday night, and everyone loved it so much that we decided to move onto the next logical thing: Tupac’s deposition. Whereas Mr. Carter went in there blazed out of his mind and proceeded to bring the lolz by avoiding and/or repeating every question asked of him (and then threatening the lawyer who was questioning him), Tupac sat there and, to quote the top comment, “They expected an illiterate dope to come in and self-incriminate himself with broken English and thug logic but instead they got an intelligent human being who was able to defend his music as artistic expression…”

In other words, not very funny. As we felt the need to inform them:

it hasn't generated any activity yet.

it hasn’t generated any activity yet.

(In fact, I made a point of going to Copyright School on YouTube after NBC really pushed the law on me after uploading that video of Jenna Maroney and Paul L’astnamé singing “O Holy Night” on 30 Rock for my Christmas post on account of that comment. I wasn’t able to leave comments until I went and promised not to use any more copyrighted material :(. I thought I had it all figured out, that getting-around-copyright-ish business!)

Oh yeah, and then a co-worker showed me this which… kind of is beyond what I’m capable of describing to you. Like… Lil Wayne fan-fiction or something, but I don’t think it’s meant to be understood as such. Are you under the spell of the demon to whom Lil Wayne sold his soul in order to assure the success of Young Money?

lil wayne's secret’s_Secret

If you’re in the mood to do some reading about the debt bias, I really liked this post that was Freshly Pressed a while back:

he calls it 'econ for poets' haha... even i could understand it!

he calls it ‘econ for poets’ haha… even i could understand it!

If you’re feeling nerdy in that kind of language-exploration kind of way that I know affects so many, you may find this of interest:

bbc english

favorite part: “Hinglish is a blend of Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English and is so widespread that it’s even being taught to British diplomats… In Hinglish, a co-brother is a brother-in-law; eve-teasing means sexual harassment; an emergency crew responding to a crisis might be described as ‘airdashing’, and somewhat confusing to football fans, a ‘stadium’ refers to a bald man with a fringe of hair. There’s even a new concept of time – “pre-pone”, the opposite of postpone, meaning “to bring something forward”.”

Kathy sent me this article that I really had to drag myself away from after reading the first page at work, and I’ll admit to not actually getting around to reading the rest of it. But I found it to be wonderfully written and it stirred up nice memories of my wandering past. Do check it out.

twenty somethings new yorker

Big news for board games: (Thanks Emilie.)

they best leave that shoe alone...

they best leave that shoe alone…

Another co-worker wants to spring a few of us from work for however long a Rickshaw Run takes and I’ve offered to assist his friend make a movie about it. If everyone just wanted to start sending out positive intention that this becomes a reality, I’d appreciate it.

i dream of it

i dream of it

Oh another work discovery: a gallery of awesome wildlife shots, most notably this fox, naturally because it reminds me of Ollie, my Thai Domestic Goat Fox.

ollie's mouth isn't quite that big.

ollie’s mouth isn’t quite that big.

I feel the need to include this because I think it’s memorable and important. He’s not making any gun control argument you haven’t heard already, but he’s doing it in a way only Jon Stewart can… Well done, sir.

i couldn't find a still where he WASN'T making a ridiculous face

i couldn’t find a still where he WASN’T making a ridiculous face

And because this La Roux playlist made my morning yesterday I’ll throw it in too. The opening track is my new jam:

One year ago: Lemony Herbed Potato Salad (I need to make this again! I used to love that ish.)
Two years ago: October 21: The Apex!
Three years ago: Laura’s Trip to Beijing

“The People’s Key” and “Seven”

So despite appearances I really didn’t expect this to turn into a forum to just share every YouTube video I’ve ever enjoyed or watched in an effort to find new music at work. (Okay yeah, I mean, I knew there would be a bit of that.) And I do hope to do some more… crafty and cooking and whatever stuff also. But I just keep having these magical musical moments and today was no exception.

For some reason (perhaps because on my parents’ and aunt’s recommendation I’m reading Cutting for Stone, which takes place in Ethiopia and makes many references to Haile Selaisse) I had Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key album, which has a track of which that former-Ethiopian-king-and-unknowing-messiah-of-Rastafarianism is namesake, in my head as I set off to work this morning. Once again, YouTube failed to fail me, as it set me up with this:

Being a little slow, as I sometimes am, I had to read the 2nd Top Comment to realize we were in fact in Conor Oberst’s living room. This… got me probably way more excited off the bat then I needed to be. Oh, and then what’s that? At 0:16 not only does my #1-All-Time-Celebrity-Crush-For-Forever walk in, but he’s accompanied by a dog. A dog that looks just like Ollie.

gratuitous screen shot? sure. but it contains three of my favorite things of all time: conor oberst, a dog that looks like ollie (though as ryan says, ‘that dog is way calmer than ollie.’), and a globe.

Apparently the dog’s name is “Shatzi” (an adulturation of the German word for “treasure,” I presume), and I think she and Ollie are probably soul-mates.

And then the music starts. Well, first the funny little monologue by Oberst’s friend Danny Brewer, and then the music that, as always, just gets me so good. I’m gonna go ahead and get real with you guys for a second and remind you that Bright Eyes has been a huge part of my life since I was 16. I had all the (now-almost-laughable) angsty, emotional, depressing stuff for when I was in one of the (now-definitely-laughable) most angsty, emotional, and “depressing” phases of my life. And then an incredible thing happened… I graduated high school and the double-album phenomenon Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning were released and you know what? I felt like Conor Oberst and I were growing up together (I mean, he’s got a few years on me, but his music, you know?). The lyrics, his voice, and the general sound of the music showed definite maturation, and I felt like I was making a similar transition. It wasn’t so much I’m still not sure if there’s a better place I could be heading towards where the selfishly sick and self-absorbed are welcome,” as I know debris, it covers everything, but still I am in love with this life.” And the trend just continued with the Four Winds EP and Cassadaga.

Then on his birthday, February 15, 2011 (as anyone who’d been singing February 15 [Happy Birthday to Me]” with such conviction and dedication since she was 18 should know), the (allegedly) last Bright Eyes album ever was released: The People’s Key. And you know what? It was good. It was the next logical step, for me anyways, in the Bright Eyes progression, and Oberst’s poetry shines more vividly and awe-strikingly (sorry, I needed to use that word) than ever. Okay I feel like this is getting out of hand so I’ll fade myself out, but I don’t expect you’ll be disappointed if you were to just let that ol’ video run its course. Oh, and also at 31:00 he brings things up to the camera and that was cute to me? Nebraskans for Peace named him “Peacemaker of the Year” one time? I promise I got work done today at work? Okay… Angela’s crazy and a bit obsessive… moving on.

Oh speaking of Ollie, he got in trouble today:

(thanks to kathy for the picture)

I’ve decided he was really spoiled by his Christmas toys in that they reminded him how fun it is to chew things. Because he decided rather than the reindeer, normal deer, or monkey he has to sink his stupid jaws into til the cows come home, he’d prefer Caleb’s 40-year-old Compact Zulu Dictionary.


Lord knows I feel terrible but Caleb’s being a good sport. In my head Ollie knew that Zulu was a South African language and it reminded him of his dad so he just wanted to… eat the book? Out of love? But apparently he didn’t like it because later Kathy told me he threw up everywhere. Ohhh Ollie… you’re lucky you’re mad cute.

So then I discovered Seven by Fever Ray.

This was unprecedented, friends. I listened to this entire album four times in a row. I’ll be the first to say it: Karin Dreijer Andersson seems like a total weirdo. And her music’s totally weird as well. But in an immensely interesting and inescapable way. I couldn’t get enough (appropriate, as the opening lyrics of the album are, “this will never end cuz I want more. More, give me more, give me more.”).

The ex-fiancée of my ex-roommate (another Conor fan, holler!) introduced me to the Knife years ago and “Pass This On” worked its way quickly into the deepest depths of my heart (and then I teased my brother that that’s what his frat parties must be like, but I really wanted it to be true) when I was studying in Rome. As I was listening to the album today I kept thinking, “Surely I should have known about this incredible side project by now…” Finally, “Keep the Streets Empty for Me” rolled around and I realized I had, from Red Riding Hood (a movie by which I was really pleasantly surprised). I’d made the mental note to look them up and never did, but life works out sometimes, you know?

So now that I’ve surely convinced y’all that I belong with Karin Andersson in the realms of weirdom I guess I’ll sign off to watch some Downton Abbey with Kathy (I caaaaaved!). Oh, and in case you were wondering how everything turned out with Ollie v. Caleb…

proportions are totally whack in this picture but the moral of the story is they frennz.

proportions are totally whack and caleb looks inexplicably forlorn in this picture but the moral of the story is they frennz.

Mutual Favorites

It doesn’t take much to get me excited in general, but this is particularly true concerning music. And it’s particularly particularly true when I discover kindreds on the favorites front, as happened not once but twice this weekend.

i think i know the real reason mario came to visit...

i think i know the real reason mario came to visit…

My very good friend Mario– one of the first people I met roaming the halls of Stonewall Jackson High School, in all his green-haired glory, when I moved to Virginia over 10 years ago– is (re)-relocating to LA next week and I’d made him promise to come see me in C-ville before that happened. My old college roommate, Kathy, also happens to be staying with me in town for two weeks before heading back to law school in NYC, so it became a delightful weekend of worlds colliding, especially when an old co-worker Phil met us for dinner at the Local. (Mac-n-cheese app, they all got burgers, I got an interesting but really delicious half-squash filled with quinoa, cranberries, and goat cheese? We were all fat and happy by the end of it?)

And then it was sleeting. So rather than introduce Mario to the happening downtown bar scene, we had our friends Adam and Matt join us at mine for wine and “games,” though we were too distracted by YouTube to ever actually play games. (In other words, the night was a failure.) But that’s when the magic happened, and that’s what brings you today’s Song(s) of the Day.

I’d just been listening to this fun 2008 Radiohead live-set at work and gushing to a friend via G-chat about my adoration of one of the listings. It’s got this forceful, jolting, driving synth throughout, it’s about a degenerative rabbit disease… in general I know it doesn’t tend to top listeners’ Radiohead faves lists but I’ve always just found myself marveled by it. And then, as requests were being made that night for Next-Up on the evening’s play list, what does Phil request but his favorite RH song: “Myxamotosis.” Yorke on the track: “To me, that’s part of what ‘Myxomatosis’ is about – it’s about wishing that all the people who tell you that you’re crazy were actually right. That would make life so much easier.” (That’s actually a really sweet read if you have the time…)

no one likes a smart ass, but we all like stars… that wasn’t my intention; i did it for a reason.

Though we all (or at least Phil and I) had quite a moment with the tune, it’s perhaps needless to say that the mood needed lightening afterwards. Adam requested some Avett Brothers, and then specifically “Murder in the City,” and I’m sure you can only picture the reaction of a girl who’s had a few glasses of wine discovering for the second time in an hour that she had a Mutual Favorite with a friend. “No wayyyyyy! This is toooo weiiiiiiird!” It was probably rather obnoxious but then we all got lost in Scott Avett’s dreamy vocals and all was (hopefully) forgiven. A beautiful and poignant song about family that resonates with me especially since getting my dad and uncle an Avett Brothers CD for Christmas a few years back, and since my brother has taken to covering their tracks on ukulele. (Cute and thoughtful blog post about the band/song.)

always remember: there is nothing worth sharing like the love that lets us share our name.

Okay that was going to be it for the day but in order to honor Mario, and to further honor what was a really great evening in general, I’ve decided to include variations of one of his favorite tracks. I’ll let you decide to which he’s more partial…

if money smell bad then this n**** biggie stinkin’!

hahaha... gratuitous puppy shot. it's ollie's blog after all, you know...

hahaha… gratuitous puppy shot. it’s ollie’s blog after all, you know…

One year ago: New Year’s Party at School
Two years ago: October 20: Dingboche-Lobuche
Three years ago: Christmas Eve in Suzhou

This Year Brought To You By:

This Calvin Harris playlist:

And this Ginger Beer:

Reed's Extra Ginger Beer

† Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer

Admittedly, I was inspired by all the dance party shenanigans brought on by “Beauty and the Beat” this New Year’s Weekend when I went in search of a work playlist today. However, I only succeeded in finding it in a “Best of Justin Bieber” playlist that I just wasn’t sure I could commit to. My Bieber fever is too mild to have me listening to 100 of his tracks in a row.

A 49-track Calvin Harris playlist, in contrast, seemed like just the ticket and it did not disappoint. A friend turned me onto his 2009 album Ready for the Weekend back in China. The 80s-reminiscent, dancy-electronic style was one I wasn’t very familiar with or sure of at the time, but I found that album pleasantly palatable. Then… one computer and two harddrives later Calvin Harris was no longer in my iTunes or on my mind until that tiny little track he did with Rihanna.

There are so many things I love about this playlist, not least of which that it led to my discovery that he released a new album (18 Months) this past October that I’m really keen to check out, especially now that I’ve heard a few of its fun and catchy tracks. I particularly loved “Bounce,” which features the mastermind behind “Bossy,” Kelis herself; and “Sweet Nothing,” which features one of my biggest music crushes of the year, Florence Welch. “Here 2 China” and “Drinking From the Bottle” showcase some choice British rap, which I always find entertaining to listen to (they can rhyme different words than American rappers can!). The latter made me think of the scene from Love Actually where the American girls are being charmed by Colin’s accent as they prompt him to say different words.

Of course, there were some cherished throwbacks with their quirky videos like “Acceptable in the 80s” and “The Girls.” There was also a fun live performance and a really well-done Jamiroquai cover. Yeah. I was having a good day in the office. (I imagine it would also be a good running playlist.)

Oh, and why the Ginger Beer? Cuz I’m on a fancy Ginger-Beer/Ale kick, that’s why. And I’m really digging this allegedly Jamaican-style beverage made with a touch of pineapple juice. My year is off to a good start. (Also New Year’s Weekend in New York was superb, but we’ll get into that later.)

One year ago: Bring on Song Ha Ha Ha– What’s Sure to Be a Very Funny Year!
Three years ago: The Year of the Tiger