All due respect

Hello, yes, I’m 32 years old and have finally watched The Sopranos, one of the greatest television programs of all time!

I seem to recall Alex and I floated the idea early on during the pandemic, in a “the world’s on fire, let’s do something crazy” sort of way. Organized crime shows are not my jam, but I was aware that The Sopranos is consistently recommended for fans of Mad Men (ūüôčūüŹĽ‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ) or anyone who loves a good antihero, so figured it was worth a go. And it was a good excuse for Alex to get in touch with his Italian-American roots. So after almost a year of saying we’d do it, we finally took the dive.

Screencap by @oocsopranos, from this article (which I thoroughly enjoyed)

As you might imagine, I hated the violence but loved the mundane drama, mafioso home life, and family tree of complicated, layered characters. Watching one or two episodes a night became our ritual, and we slowly let the show seep into the rest of our lives. The therapy scenes inspired me to start writing in my dream journal again. We made so much pasta and fazool. Our spectacularly botched renditions of “Con Te Partiro” echoed through the house. It was great.

But also, six years’ worth of fictional mafia tension is exhausting. Not gonna lie, I was relieved when it was over. By the end, everything on the show was spiraling into bleakness, and I was ready to just go on YouTube and watch all the fan vids (because I think I enjoy that more than watching any actual show??). We finally finished the series last week, and now I’m debating whether or not I should listen to the Talking Sopranos podcast (2+ hours for each episode, that’s even more of an investment!).

Anyway, 4 dollars a pound here’s a bunch of YouTube links, thinly veiled in a list I’ll call Nikki’s Favorite Things About The Sopranos:

  • Surreal (but not overdone) dream sequences. There’s some really great dream logic/dialogue (“Where were you? We were about to call the hospitals.”) and also an extended coma scene that was probably my favorite part of the whole series, but I won’t post any clips from that because I don’t want to spoil anything.
  • The gabagool. I’ll never eat it because “it’s all fat and nitrates”, but it’s absolutely the greatest Italian word to throw around. Alex got it on a sandwich recently in honor of the show (his review: “I’m not sure I like it.”).
  • Early 2000s ephemera. Ahh, to relive the ubiquity of AOL trial CDs and Nokia phones and Big Mouth Billy Bass.
  • Silvio Dante. I’m sure Sil being my fave had at least a tiny bit to do with a mafia man being played very convincingly by Steven Van Zandt, guitarist for the E Street Band. Mostly I just loved that Sil looks like such a caricature, yet he’s possibly the least over-the-top in terms of personality: a level-headed mediator and trusted confidant (unless you’re trying to sweep cheese from under his feet).
  • Nice-guy Finn being a Padres fan. What a fun surprise for Padres fans! (Although I know it’s because the writers needed to pick a historically bad team. ūüė≠) When we first watched this scene and Vito goes “the Pads haven’t had a team in 20 years” (the year being 2004) I blurted at the screen “EYYY WHAT ABOUT ’98” right as Finn was saying the same thing. Maybe the most relatable character in the whole show.
  • The ohs and hos.
  • Sunday dinners. Scenes at the Soprano house are my favorites. I’d watch an entire series of Carmela Soprano doing housework and yelling at Tony. This is still my favorite 45 seconds of the show:

While I’m at it, I wanted to do a little amendment to my earlier Life During Quarantine list (seeing as quarantine life may actually be ending soon?!). Here’s an abridged version of Notable Things I’ve Consumed Since Last Time:

  • LODGE 49. Equal parts inspiring and depressing, with a good dollop of anti-capitalism thrown in. And SoCal scenery! A highly underrated show, IMO.
  • DERRY GIRLS. The 2 seasons of Derry Girls were just a delight. Beyond the spastic dialogue and teen humor, it was quite educational. Between this, The Crown, and Downton Abbey, I’ve really learned a lot about English-Irish tensions. Speaking of which….
  • DOWNTON ABBEY. I really wasn’t into watching this when it first came out, but golly it was an easy binge. It also has the distinction of being the show that occupied our lives after moving into our house(!), so I think I’ll always have fond memories of watching it in our unfinished den while sitting on camping chairs and eating takeout.
  • SKETCHY, Tune-Yards. The latest Tune-Yards slaps! So grateful to have new music and video content from Merrill and Nate. I’m a bit obsessed with the video for “nowhere, man”.
  • UNCANNY VALLEY, Anna Weiner. Seemed like a must-read for anyone adjacent to the SF tech industry in the early-to-mid-2010s. And it’s a fun little game of Guess the Proper Nouns. There wasn’t really anything new to me here, and towards the end it got a little tired, but it was a good reminder to always keep a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to tech.
  • BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS: MY LIFE INSIDE ROCK AND OUT, Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield. This was research for another piece I wrote for The San Franciscan, but even if it wasn’t, it’s still right up my alley. Bill Graham’s early life was remarkable: he was orphaned and escaped Nazi Germany by way of France and a ship to New York. Then he made a home in San Francisco and became the biggest promoter in rock. You go, Bill.
  • MOBY DICK, Herman Melville (in progress). Our friend Eugene started a virtual book club, or perhaps I should say Moby Dick book club since I’m not sure if any other books are planned after this. I’ve never read MD before, but have to say it’s been a lot more entertaining than I was expecting. Haven’t yet gotten to the extended interlude about whaling, but oddly looking forward to it.

To end, the latest new names for Coop:

Counting down the days until April 15…

Life During Quarantine

A while back, out of nowhere, I got the urge to fill out one of those surveys like the ones that used to circulate in my Hotmail and Myspace inboxes back in middle school: you know, the 100-line long questionnaires with annoying font colors and *~*wRiTiNg LiKe ThIs*~*.

Mostly I wanted to have something to fill out because it’d be an interesting snapshot of Life During Quarantine. But that was back in spring when everything still felt new and weird, and by now (apocalyptic skies aside), I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve settled into the pandemic lifestyle. No fewer than 15 masks hang by our front door. Running essential errands or going on walks are pretty much the only reasons we go out. Seeing people hug on TV shows makes me uncomfortable. I’d say we’re in it for the long haul.

My personal journal (the one not on the Internet) used to be where I wrote about vacations and get-togethers; now it’s where I document the Netflix shows we’ve gone through and new recipes we’ve tried. I figured I’d pull out some of those mundane details and compile them here in a non-comprehensive list: newish and relevant movies, shows, albums, books, and other random things Alex and I have consumed since March of this year. Use it as a list of recommendations if you want, but mostly it’s just here to serve the same purpose as those middle school surveys: as a time capsule.

Movies

  • THE VAST OF NIGHT. Quirky low-budget Amazon Prime movie with surprising shifts in pace and a couple of genuinely chilling scenes. The setting is in a small New Mexico town in the atomic age, which gave me real The Return Part 8 vibes (not a bad thing).
  • DA 5 BLOODS. Hard to finish, but worth it. Chadwick Boseman plays a central role even though you only see him for about 20 minutes total.
  • STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. Watched this one as part of a virtual movie night hosted by our favorite neighborhood theater, the Balboa. A thoroughly enjoyable Hitchcock film with an insane climax. (The experience of watching with a chat room full of people‚ÄĒand everyone pressing play at the same time‚ÄĒhad a very 2000s feel to it.)
  • MOONLIGHT. I regret that I didn’t see this when it first came out. It’s everything I love in a movie: the slow unfolding of a character arc, extremely aware of its setting, sad and beautiful all at once.
  • THE CONVERSATION. Paranoia in 1970s San Francisco? Say no more!
  • SHIRLEY. I just love that this movie exists. Plus, Elisabeth Moss as Shirley Jackson is a mood.

Documentaries and docuseries

  • THE BOOKSELLERS. A documentary about antiquarian booksellers, how very up our alley.
  • THE LAST DANCE. I don’t like sports and I don’t like drama, but somehow loved this docuseries about the 1990s Chicago Bulls?? A+ editing and interviews. And Alex got to relive the height of his basketball card-collecting years by naming every player who appeared on the screen and their team.
  • 13TH. An essential watch and another one I wish I’d seen sooner. Can’t recommend highly enough.
  • TAKE THIS HAMMER (DIRECTOR’S CUT). This was my proper introduction to James Baldwin, which I’m very grateful for. It’s also an important glimpse into San Francisco’s history with race. (Warning: it’s not pretty.)
  • A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. I need to read this book!!!
  • REMASTERED: THE TWO KILLINGS OF SAM COOKE. I na√Įvely didn’t know any of the history behind Sam Cooke and his music. A fascinating and depressing story.

TV shows and limited series

  • DARK. Just a great mind-bending, post-apocalyptic German show to watch in 2020.¬†
  • GODLESS. A quick little miniseries featuring an intimidating Jeff Daniels, a bunch of badass women, and some excellent western scenery.
  • WATCHMEN. Perhaps the most relevant thing in this whole post, and also one of my favorites even though I was hesitant at first to watch it. (It helped that Alex could explain the nuances of the DC universe to me while we watched, but that’s not necessary to enjoy it!!)
  • RUSSIAN DOLL. V easy to binge. Relatable in the sense that every day lately feels the same.
  • MANIAC. Weird/spooky/good.
  • THE X-FILES. We’re currently on Season 6 (a very alien-heavy season so far) and it’s been a ride. Not gonna lie, I’m mostly in it for the fandom, and so I can watch supercuts on YouTube without spoilers.

Books

  • TRICK MIRROR, Jia Tolentino. A collection of essays that hit hard.
  • THE OX, Chris Rees. a.k.a. John Entwistle’s authorized biography. Nothing too groundbreaking, but some good stories to be told.
  • THE MADDADDAM TRILOGY, Margaret Atwood. I would highly recommend reading this in 2020.
  • THE VANISHING HALF, Brit Bennett. A character-driven story set in some of my favorite places.
  • THE FIRE NEXT TIME, James Baldwin. An important read. Baldwin discusses ugly topics more eloquently than anyone I’ve ever read.
  • LITTLE WEIRDS, Jenny Slate. An apt title, and the kind of book you can read in bite-sized pieces. Depending on my mood during each chapter, I either loved or hated it.

Albums

  • SONGS FOR PIERRE CHUVIN, the Mountain Goats. I feel like I’m not a real Mountain Goats fan because I’m not as into the early stuff, but this came out at just the right time (April 2020) and the return to lo-fi was so befitting while we all stayed cooped up in our homes.
  • FETCH THE BOLT CUTTERS, Fiona Apple. Sonically transcendent.
  • WOMEN IN MUSIC, PT. III, HAIM. Every track is just so good. Snippets of Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow, Ace of Base, and Uncle Kracker(?!). Fun fact: When it comes to Famous People of Our Generation, I’m one degree of separation away from Este Haim, who was in my classes/Bachelor’s program/graduating class at UCLA.
  • SET MY HEART ON FIRE IMMEDIATELY, Perfume Genius. So dreamy. Will probably always remind me of cooking dinner with Alex and Coop (who likes to sit on the fridge supervising us), one and a half glasses of wine in, thinking about how even though everything else in the world was a disaster, our tiny little family couldn’t be happier.

I’ve been lowkey making a pandemic playlist on Spotify, which you can find here. It’s mostly stuff that has come out since March, but also includes some older songs by artists we’ve lost since then, and some others that for whatever reason remind me of these strange times.

Recipes

  • Red pepper, potato, and peanut sabzi. Bon Appetit may be cancelled, but I’ll be forever grateful to the Test Kitchen squad for introducing us to some great recipes. This one from Priya is SO GOOD.
  • Sourdough crackers and sourdough biscuits. Thanks, King Arthur Flour! And thanks to my coworker Alysia for sharing some of her sourdough starter with me at the beginning of all this.
  • Homemade spaghetti and sauce from the excellent Pasta Grannies book. Our ultimate comfort food.
  • Char siu chicken banh mi. Ever since we learned we could pickle food, the idea of making our own banh mi has been so enticing. This was so fun to make (and eat)!
  • Turkish couscous. A refreshing dish made during the heatwave in early September.
  • Soyrizo burritos. I’ve eaten…..too many of these to count. Basically just involves cooking up some soyrizo with egg and potato, sometimes adding rice and beans, and making a burrito out of it.¬†

aaaand just for fun…

New names we’ve developed for Coop

The nicknames have evolved so much that it’s impossible to try and explain them.

  • Samba
  • Cross Finster
  • Crossover
  • Combination Lock
  • Congo
  • Joost

As a bonus, here’s a snapshot of the view from my desk at 9am on September 9, 2020, the day that San Francisco skies were on fire:

A Twin Peaks Pilgrimage, in photos

Happy one year anniversary of Twin Peaks returning to TV!

I guess it’s appropriate‚ÄĒbut also completely coincidental‚ÄĒthat last week Alex and I rented a car in Seattle, hopped on I-90 east toward Snoqualmie, and went on a day-long expedition to visit a bunch of Twin Peaks filming locations. (Alex had been in town for a work conference; I was just along for the ride.)

I took an abundance of pictures on my phone, so figured I’d put them here and try to match them up with stills from the show, because that’s what normal people do, right? As a side note: the original series takes place in February-March, so everything’s all barren trees and snowy mountains and trench coats…in contrast, we visited on one of the most beautiful days of the year: super blue skies, 75 degree weather, and abundant sunshine. So here for your viewing pleasure is David Lynch’s dark/moody Twin Peaks compared with our bright/sunny Twin Peaks.


First up was the welcome sign (or at least, the site of it‚ÄĒapparently there was a sign, but it got stolen¬†ūüėĘ).¬†This view actually faces away from the town, so you’d actually be driving into the mountains if you kept going.

Right down the road was Ronette’s bridge (the railroad tracks were added by Lynch & Co.). This bridge goes right over the Snoqualmie River and is a surprisingly beautiful place to take a walk, if you’re not Ronette Pulaski.

Another short distance away was the Sheriff’s Department building. In real life it’s a rally racing school called DirtFish. Ran into several other Peakies here (it was pretty easy to tell who was there for racing and who wasn’t).

We also went inside!

They must get this a lot, but the staff was totally cool with us taking photos. I know nothing about rally racing, but there was some pretty neat gear‚ÄĒand old cars‚ÄĒinside the building. Someone also decided to cater to the Twin Peaks crowd by parking this decorated Ford Bronco outside:

It’s weird how your mind fills in the landscape around all these fictional places. Case in point: for some reason I always imagined the Packard Sawmill at the edge of a forest bordering some water, when in real life it’s right down the street from the rally racing school parking lot, in the middle of a big field. Its real name is the Weyerhaeuser Mill, and it’s been out of service for 15 years:

By far the most touristy spot (for reasons other than Twin Peaks) was Snoqualmie Falls. It was a pretty impressive sight, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time because I was very concerned with finding a bathroom (#girlproblems). The falls are featured in the opening credits of the show and any time you see an exterior shot of the Great Northern Hotel, which is actually Salish Lodge and Spa:

The interior of the Great Northern wasn’t shot at Salish Lodge though; you have to go across the bay (sound?) to Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo to see all the painted wood walls and giant fireplaces. Sadly we didn’t make it to Kiana Lodge but I really want to go there someday and dance in Ben Horne’s office.

After the falls we made a quick stop at the Roadhouse, located just north in the town of Fall City:

Then we looped back down to go to Twede’s (a.k.a. the Double R Diner) for lunch, obvi:

My favorite part of lunch was watching a group of people who were clearly fans of the show try to contain their excitement as they walked into the diner, because I’d done the exact same thing. It’s so hard not to squee when you feel like you’re stepping into the Double R!

The place definitely caters to Peakies (I feel like an unassuming patron would be confused at why half of the signs inside advertise a diner of a different name). But that aside, it’s just your average small-town diner playing country music from the radio. We were there at 12:30pm and I’m pretty sure the number of employees outnumbered the patrons.

For the record, I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, lemonade, and a slice of cherry pie. Alex ordered a BLT and coffee. I messed up the pie order by getting whipped cream, so it wasn’t very photo-worthy. We’ll just have to go again someday….

I tried to find a scene that takes place at the same table we sat at (the center booth on the left side), but most important conversations seem to take place closer to the back of the diner.¬†Here’s one though!, featuring everyone’s favorite giggling waitress.

Last on our itinerary was the infamous Palmer house. Although all of the above filming locations are within a few minutes from each other, the house is about an hour north, in Everett. That gave us plenty of time to listen to the Twin Peaks soundtrack, which I would highly recommend if you take a similar journey. It sets the mood perfectly, and gets you nice and psyched up for the moment you drive up to this place:

We parked across the street and were surprised to see that the front door was wide open. I’d read that the current owner of the house (who also made a pretty important cameo in the show *SPOILERS*) sometimes lets fans come inside, so after much debate, we finally decided we would peek in and see if anyone was home. Turns out the owner was home, but it was her daughter who came to the door, and told us her mom was on the phone and “it wasn’t really a good time.” She was super apologetic and nice, and told us we were welcome to take pictures outside. That was already way more than I was expecting, so we took our photos and went on our way.

From there we drove back to our Seattle Airbnb (which happened to be a haunted saloon and former brothel; a story for another post, maybe) and celebrated our successful day with fine craft beer from Fremont Brewing, an excellent dinner at Damn the Weather, and a few rounds of the Great Seattle Wheel at dusk. Now that I’m thinking back on it, it was a pretty perfect day, Diane.


In short, I’d highly recommend this excursion to anyone who’s a fan of the show. I wasn’t really expecting anything more than a fun photo op, but as it turns out, Dale Cooper’s fascination with this little corner of the Pacific Northwest was totally warranted. I had just as much fun exploring downtown¬†Snoqualmie and all of its history as I did crossing off the pre-determined destinations on our map, which I’ll also include here¬†for anyone interested (and for future reference, since I 100% expect to go back one day): Twin Peaks Filming Locations Map

To me, the world of Twin Peaks is about 90% of what makes the show so special. In the first two seasons, whenever the characters got unbearable or the story took a turn for the worse (I’m looking at you, Annie Blackburn), I could still revel in the magic of that little town in all its mysterious, scenic glory. And in Season 3, even though much of the action took place in other locations, every return to Twin Peaks felt oddly and wonderfully familiar.

I’ll leave you with this fan-made video of Dale Cooper’s first appearance in the show, intercut with some of Twin Peaks’ most iconic settings. A+ editing, one big thumbs up:

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl

So, I’ve been really into The Crown lately…probably because it’s a welcome distraction from the hot mess that is the United States right now. Also I like looking at fancy interiors and rooms with impossibly high ceilings.

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Previously, the only knowledge I had about the royal family was from many years of watching Beatles footage. There’s actually quite a bit of relevant material. First there was the Royal Variety show in 1963, where the Beatles played for the Queen Mother and John got cheeky:

Then there were multiple instances of the Beatles meeting Princess Margaret (“Priceless Margarine” in John’s words). Fun fact: she and Lord Snowdon both attended the premieres for A Hard Day’s Night and Help! (spoiler alert: the Princess doesn’t marry Peter Townsend).

Beatles-Princess-Margaret

And of course the MBE debacle, in which the Queen made the boys members of the British Empire, fans stormed Buckingham Palace, a bunch of people got mad, and the Beatles just got super high and gave a somewhat incomprehensible interview about it:

Fast forward to the 90s and you have Paul and George Martin being knighted by the Queen herself. And, a gazillion years later, Ringo’s finally a knight too!

Anyway, it’s been fun learning more about the monarchy and all its drama by way of a Netflix original series. Compared to American scandal, it’s all very dignified drama. Also, I’ve learned that I kind of have a crush on King George VI and I’m cool with that.

To end, here’s an adorable picture of Paul and the Queen:

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(Bonus picture РI find this one even more adorbs.)

What story are we watching?

You know that feeling after waking up from a strange dream…those few seconds of disoriented, uneasy confusion? Having to parse reality from your mind’s own creations? Welp, the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return has managed to pinpoint that feeling and make it last indefinitely.

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Man…David Lynch and Mark Frost really made me think we were getting a neatly packaged resolution with Parts 16 and 17, then just shattered everything to pieces with Part 18. I still have no idea what to think, and my new favorite pastime is reading all the speculation in the Twin Peaks subreddit. (I think it’s safe to say that there’s enough material to fuel discussions for at least the next 25 years.)

Since I don’t ever post on Reddit except when one of my favorite people is doing an AMA, I’m going to dump all my thoughts/half-baked theories here instead (it’s about time I got use out of this blog).

BEWARE! Lots of spoilers and rambling ahead.

Continue reading “What story are we watching?”

Confessions about Twin Peaks

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(Minimal spoilers ahead.)

‚Äʬ†Prior to actually watching¬†the show, I thought Twin Peaks was a crime drama that took place in San Francisco. I’d also never seen any of David Lynch’s work. That is to say,¬†my background knowledge was pretty nonexistent.

‚ÄĘ It wasn’t a person who convinced me to finally watch the show, it was Netflix.

‚Äʬ†I haaaaated¬†the first episode. Maybe it was¬†because¬†I didn’t understand that it was supposed to be a soap opera (a¬†very¬†bizarre one, but a soap nonetheless).¬†Although,¬†I’m pretty sure if I were to watch the pilot again, I’d still think the acting was overdone and the characters completely unbearable.

‚ÄĘ I continued to hate¬†pretty much every character throughout Season One.¬†Yet I couldn’t. stop. watching. Kind of like the current presidential election. ūüė¨

‚ÄĘ The only character I liked right off the bat was Albert Rosenfield.

‚ÄĘ After Leland Palmer “recovered” from his sorrows, I remember thinking, “Oh hey,¬†he’s not so bad now.” I even¬†thought he was suddenly attractive with his new white hair, in a silver fox sort of way.

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I deeply regret those thoughts.

‚ÄĘ Certain episodes freaked¬†me out so much¬†that I made Alex sit in the bathroom while I showered at night, so I wouldn’t be alone.

‚ÄĘ Characters I initially couldn’t stand but ended up really liking: Audrey, Bobby, Andy, Ben Horne. I was even rooting for Leo at the end, which is a real¬†strange thing to say.

‚ÄĘ I think I was supposed to feel bad for Harold Smith but, I didn‚Äôt.

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you sir, are a creeper

‚ÄĘ The addition of Annie very nearly ruined the show for me.

‚ÄĘ I¬†couldn’t wait to finish the last few episodes because I wanted to go on Tumblr and see what the fandom was like. (Also, a¬†Tumblr search for “Dale Cooper,”¬†much to my bewilderment, resulted in a¬†screen full of NSFW pictures because apparently our favorite FBI agent shares a name with a gay porn star.)

‚Äʬ†I have shamelessly adopted Special Agent Dale Cooper’s overuse of the thumbs up, both in real life and emoji form. (I mean, Kyle MacLachlan does it, too.)

‚ÄĘ I’ve gone to Amoeba probably ten times in the past month in an attempt to¬†find the vinyl reissue of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Last night I finally gave in and ordered it online.

‚ÄĘ Things that Twin Peaks made me afraid of:¬†chess, owls, spindly trees, mirrors, brushing my teeth.

‚Äʬ†Things that Twin Peaks made me appreciate: the Pacific Northwest, diners, Civil War re-enactments, creepy synth music, Kyle MacLachlan.

‚ÄĘ Sadly, I’ll never truly be able to relate to this fictional town’s¬†love of coffee, but the pie I can definitely get down with.

August was beautiful and so are you

The title of this post came from¬†a dream I had last night. Except in the dream I kept trying to write out the phrase and couldn’t spell for the life of me, so actually¬†more like a nightmare?


Some noteworthy things from last month:

ED RUSCHA AND THE GREAT AMERICAN WEST. We went to see this exhibition at the DeYoung and I could’ve stayed there for hours. It’s like walking through a¬†museum display¬†of True Stories:¬†images of gas stations, parking lots, billboards, and flat western landscapes, accompanied¬†by quirky titles and phrases.

Ed-Ruscha-SI-1

Maybe it was because I spent 5 years¬†in LA (where Ruscha has lived most of his life) and grew up taking roadtrips through the Southwest that this exhibition was especially fascinating¬†to me. In any case,¬†I highly recommend checking¬†out Ruscha’s works if your aesthetic is anything close to mine.

WRONG WAY UP.¬†Been slowly delving into Eno’s discography¬†through his collaborations with other people, and this one‚ÄĒmade with John Cale in¬†1990‚ÄĒis absolutely wonderful.¬†Listen here.

STRANGER THINGS. Man, supernatural 80s throwbacks featuring kids on bikes are so hot right now (see: Super 8, Paper Girls). But seriously, what a fantastic show. Also, the original soundtrack is really, really cool.

TWIN PEAKS.¬†Previously, I’d never really been interested in watching Twin Peaks (too creepy? too weird? too dark?), but apparently it’s a natural progression after Stranger Things, or at least Netflix thought so. At this point we’re¬†halfway through, and I find myself weirdly¬†captivated despite totally hating it at first. We just finished¬†the first episode of Season Two and it’s some of the best television I’ve ever watched. I love the bizarre, surreal scenes (and hate the melodramatic soap opera stuff,¬†as self-aware as it¬†may be).¬†I hear Season Two is pretty hit or miss, so we’ll see what happens from here.

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In other news, it’s finally starting to get warm(er) in San Francisco and we are going to the Roots Picnic in less than a month! LILYAIG.

How else I spent November

Hello darkness my old friend December. I’m back and happy to report that I finished NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row! And this time around, I wasn’t sick of my story by the end of the month, yay! So I’m actually going to keep working on it, which is a good feeling.

Besides novel-writing, I did do a couple of other things in November, which I’ve deemed appropriate enough for this blog:

Obsessing over¬†Mad Men.¬†Disclaimer: I’m very reluctant to commit to TV¬†shows…In fact I’m pretty sure the only shows I’ve ever watched in their entirety¬†are Arrested Development, Star Trek TOS, Seinfeld, and the Monkees. All these “Golden Age of Television” shows that people keep talking about? No interest. Even with multiple people telling me how much I’d love Mad Men, I still resisted, until a few months ago¬†when¬†I was bored and watched the first episode on a whim. And, as expected, I immediately became obsessed with the period details¬†(the 60s are my spirit decade, after all)¬†and¬†the strange,¬†fascinating,¬†hot¬†mess that is Don Draper.

The cast and writers of this show are great.¬†I appreciate the fact¬†that one episode can be simultaneously delightful¬†and devastating¬†(S04E07 and S05E12, I’m looking at you), and that I still can’t decide whether to love or hate Don. Yes, I¬†understand the hype now.¬†With about¬†one and a half seasons left, I’ll probably be¬†bingeing extra hard.

mm9

____________

Watching The Beatles 1+ Deluxe DVD/Blu-ray. The day this came out, I called every record+DVD store in SF asking if it was in stock (it wasn’t). I spent an entire weekend trying to find it, until finally the Barnes & Noble in San Bruno saved the day.¬†I’m usually not a fan of compilation albums, but 1 has a special place in my heart, because it was the¬†CD that introduced me to the Beatles’ music. (And to be fair, it’s actually a really worthwhile collection of Beatles hits, many of which don’t appear on any of their albums.)¬†This new reissue of 1 is especially exciting to me because it includes videos for all of the songs (plus a bonus DVD!) in really freaking high def. For example,

Among the silliness of the Beatles trying to maneuver their horses through an alleyway¬†and randomly flipping a table, I think the¬†shots of John walking down the street¬†are beautifully poignant. It seems like¬†they were well aware that their music and image had changed pretty dramatically after they stopped touring, and this was their way of presenting the “new” Beatles to the world.¬†This article captures it perfectly.

Bonus: the Beatles sitting on the ground eating sandwiches, which is the real kind of footage I’m interested in.

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Reading Season of the Witch. Oh wow, this is an incredible book about San Francisco. I originally checked it out from the library because I was interested in learning more about the city during the time that my parents lived there (it focuses on the late 60s, 70s, and early 80s). But it turned into a sort of holy bible for my NaNoWriMo story, which basically takes place within one block of San Francisco over the course of 100 years.seasonofthewitch

For being so gritty and dark (see: the Zebra murders, the Zodiac, the Peoples Temple, the SLA, Dan White), Season of the Witch was weirdly enlightening. I love learning the history of places, and in this case, learning about¬†the people who helped shape San Francisco¬†in the past half a century. Although the city has physically changed over the years and will continue to change, I think the heart and soul of San Francisco has stayed intact. It’s¬†a place of ambition, eccentricity, and¬†unrest. If there’s one thing I learned from reading this book, it’s that there will always be things worth fighting for in this city, and that’s what I love about living here.

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For December, I’m predicting: lots of Mad Men feels, rain, novel-revising, and a new hair-do??!

TOS: End of Series Reflections

So, after a post-Thanksgiving mini-marathon (and 6 months of prior watching), we’ve finally reached the end of The Original Series. It was a great stretch too: the last few episodes include Spock playing the piano, Spock playing the lute with a bunch of space hippies, Abraham Lincoln beaming aboard, and a villain that looks like a pile of lasagna. Classic TOS.

While part of me is super pumped for the 70s/80s movies (KHAAAAAAAN!) and The Next Generation, the other part is sad that I’ll never again be able to watch a TOS episode for the first time and marvel at its campiness or wonder if Kirk will make out with yet another girl (it’s pretty much guaranteed). Despite the silliness, there are certain episodes that really stuck with me, and thanks to Netflix I can pretty much watch them anytime I want, so I guess I can’t be too upset.

Some overall favorite episodes from Seasons 2-3:
Amok Time. Involves a pretty epic Kirk/Spock fight scene on the Planet Vulcan, enough said.
Elaan of Troyius. Klingons, dilithium crystals, knife-throwing, makeout sessions, and SO MUCH SASS (yes, I just retweeted myself in a blog post).
Assignment: Earth. They introduced some cool new characters in this one, but it’s unfortunately the only time we ever see them.
I, Mudd. The crew members of the Enterprise are surprisingly good at acting, at least when it comes to outsmarting androids.
The Trouble With Tribbles. I mean, come on.
For the World Is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky. Just so much Bones love in this episode.

Speaking of Bones love, I had the video below saved in my YouTube playlist, and after watching it again recently, realized how much more subtle (and awesome) the writing was in the first season. I feel like by the 2nd and 3rd seasons, the characters had all become a little exaggerated, especially Bones (i.e. The Grumpy Doctor Who Will Argue With Spock At Any Chance). But in the first season, the writers seem to have been more interested in character development/background, which is totes obvi in these little interactions between Kirk and McCoy. Ahhh I love it.

(Shirtless Kirk and random spinning cube are just added bonuses:)

To end with, a few more additions to the TOS Drinking Game…

One drink:
-Someone is wearing something that could be a winter drumline uniform
-The crew beams down to a planet that is supposedly uninhabited (but is inhabited by several life forms which happen to be villains)
-Bones is extremely grumpy
-There is a countdown (“how much time do we have before collision?” “precisely 8 minutes 37 seconds”)
-Kirk wears the green v-neck
-Something hits the Enterprise and everyone on the bridge falls over
-Bones & Spock argue
-Kirk is amused by Bones & Spock arguing
-“He’s dead, Jim”

Two drinks:
-Scotty saves the ship
-Spock falls in love
-Kirk punches/kicks/chops someone without warning

Chug:
-The series ends :(

Stay tuned for the movie marathoning. It’s going to be awesome.