20.7.14

The I Live In The City I Was Born In Blues



BY LAURA JANE/ ILLUSTRATION BY JEN

Hi. I was born on Dundas Street in the city of Toronto when I was zero years old and lived in a town forty-five minutes outside of the city for the first eighteen years of my life. I came back to Toronto six years ago and have lived here all the way up until today. I am moving to London, England in about five hours. Here is the story of the past six years of my life.  

I moved back home the summer I turned twenty-three. A couple months earlier my boyfriend and I had broken up in Montreal. We went to go see a movie about nothing called Last Night At Marienbad. I didn’t like it because it was boring and I knew I was supposed to pretend I was too smart to think it was boring which made me want to make an even bigger deal out of how boring I thought it was. My boyfriend loved it because he loved everything I thought was boring and I hated everything that he loved. If we were two overlapping circles the ellipse between us would only have been big enough to hold: Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles, a couple Faust albums, Thai food, Ulysses and- kind of- each other. A few years later I asked him if we could collaborate on a blog post about the night of our break-up and call it Last Night Of Our Relationship At Marienbad and he said no because it hit too close to home. But now a thousand years have passed and he’s thirty and I may as well be. He’s marrying a girl in New York City and I’m moving to England in a week and I can say whatever the hell I want. I thought I already could but I didn’t realize how much I actually could. There’s always another level of truth sitting around and waiting for you to move to another country.
        I was sick that summer. Not as sick as I had been, and not as sick as I would be, but when I look back on the diaries I kept of everything I ate then I’m horrified. A lot of garlic salt, fruit salad, and steamed broccoli.
        I was staying at my parents’ house in a suburb forty minutes west of the city. They were in the process of splitting up and I told people that I was only staying in Oakville to help them sell the house but I’m pretty sure that the entire five months I lived there I didn’t life one single finger to help them once. I just sat around and freaked out about what I was going to do with my life and in the evenings made them drive me to Whole Foods. I’d take the commuter train into Toronto on weekday mornings and walk up to Kensington Market, to Urban Herbivore, where I’d buy a sweet potato date muffin and walk it over to the Tibet CafĂ© where I’d order a strawberry-pineapple smoothie and eat them together while doing a crossword. When I was sick I could only eat if I was doing a crossword at the same time.
        In August I got a job downtown, at a store called Lavish & Squalor, which does not make any sense. It should be either Lavishness & Squalor or Lavish & Squalid. I haven’t been in there since the day I quit five and a half years ago. They sold Cheap Monday jeans and all my co-workers made a big deal out of how skinny I was. Most of the women who worked there were older than me and they all made a point of telling me “I used to be a twig like you”— a twig, like, “You are literally nothing more than a small branch. A piece of a tree that fell off it.” I hoped it meant that they used to have eating disorders but then grew up and got over them. But I knew in my heart that they’d never been as skinny as I was. They only meant to say that they were once skinnier than they were now, and lying to the anorexic girl about their past levels of skinniness aligned them with me and my body and somehow made them feel skinnier to themselves in the present. No one who was ever as skinny as I was then would ever say “I used to be a twig like you” to a girl as skinny as I was then.
         I moved in with two of my co-workers. Let’s not get too deep into this. One of them stole a thousand dollars cash out of my file cabinet and I didn’t pretend it didn’t happen so he turned on me. He put his hand on my leg and told me to calm down and that was it- the only appropriate response to “Calm down” is “I will not calm down!” or, in extreme cases, “I will never calm down.” He and his friends left signs around the house calling me an anorexic bitch or occasionally a [sic] “bulemic” bitch. The thief wiped his ass with my towel. I dried my hair with it and smelled his shit and looked at it and gagged and then washed my hair again and dried it with a different towel. What else can you do?
        I drank a lot. I ate very little. My eating disorder was my eating disorder, as tiny and specific as an advent calendar chocolate, belonging to that day and the way that that day was my day. And it was as big as the world. It was bigger than my whole world. It was an evil little aura surrounding every moment of every day, a tiny black halo hanging over every letter of every word like an accent grave or aigou or an umlaut. Every day was defined by a hunger that felt like a hundred thousand stomach crunches layered on top of one another and the only way to get through it was by drinking a bottle of wine per night to distract myself. My face went puffy from all the drinking. I’d fondle my ribcage and found it more amazingly there than ever but I’d press my finger into my fat face two seconds later and it was even fatter than it was when I was fat although I never was. I quit drinking for a couple weeks and then went back to drinking again. A bottle of Diet Coke exploded in my purse and broke my phone. I broke the lease on my apartment. I bought a new phone.


15.7.14

Everything We Love About Ultraviolence


Our special guest columnist today is David Brothers, who co-writes the amazing blog 4thletter! and who has the distinction of probably being the #1 most-beloved-by-Strawberry Fields Whatever individual on all of the Internet/planet. Apparently David was partly inspired to start listening to Lana Del Rey after reading a silly post I wrote about sea anemones last year, so I thought it would be cool to rope him into talking about everything we love about Ultraviolence here, at great length. What follows is our Lana convo, with thoughts on funeral soundtracks, Memphis hip-hop, romance novels, role-playing, weird jogging, and unabashed lameness. You can also find David at I Am David Brothers Dot Com, as well as on Twitter. -Liz

i. HER BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY

DAVID: My first reaction, when I sat down to think about Ultraviolence, was that it's an album with a lot of songs about love that are delivered in an unromantic way, sometimes deeply so. It's just a feeling right now, one I'm still trying to suss out, but it's real fascinating to me. I'm used to the standard romantic mode for love songs, where you build up your buttercup because you love them so much. The relationships she sings about are in the past tense or sound more like a power struggle than a partnership.
       I think that's part of what makes the album feel as dark as it does, the way so many of her lovers or relationships are painful or beneath her or gone. I felt like a lot of the songs on Born to Die upended the usual love song format, throwing a knowing slow wink and sly smile into the proceedings and giving the songs a little extra fat to chew on. This album takes it a step further, making me feel like Del Rey isn't above romance, exactly, but she's definitely over it.



LIZ: That's really funny and cool to me, because in my mind Ultraviolence is super-romantic. I think so much of why I love Lana Del Rey, and Ultraviolence especially, is she lets me access this teenaged part of myself that's obsessed by semi-trashy love stories with an almost-tragic bent to them. In particular I'm thinking of this Alice Hoffman novel from 1977 that I loved when I was 14 - it's called Property Of and it's about a girl who falls in love with a drag-racing junkie and ends up strung out too; I read it so many times as a kid that the cover fell off. Reading the opening paragraph of this New York Times review of that book (about how Alice Hoffman "views life as if through the jagged prisms of a broken whisky bottle or a haze of heroin" and how "[a]lthough much of her material is familiar - the corner candy store, warring teenage gangs, leather jackets, young love in customized cars, dope and disaster - she brings a fierce personal intensity to it"), it's like the critic could be talking about Lana Del Rey.
      One thing I appreciate about LDR is how her songs are like semi-trashy/almost-tragic romance novels in song form, and most of that appreciation's got to do with my wanting kids today to get their imaginations fed in a way that's dark and fucked-up but ultimately gunning for some sort of transcendence. I mean I know that the youth of today have their dystopian YA books and their vampire shows, but that kind of reality-bending seems so constrictive. The danger and desperation in those stories is all so tense, but there is nothing tense about Ultraviolence. Lana Del Rey's un-tense enough to the point of being asleep, because everything is all a dream. She's singing about all these bad men and even though there's some uncomfortable-making shit going on, experiencing herself through bad men is her way of trying on different selves. There's so much possibility in her romanticism.
       And I know that Lana said she thinks feminism is boring, but when she whisper-sings about stealing the guy's gun and bible in the second chorus of "Cruel World," it gives me goosebumps. It reminds of that thing Mallory Ortberg said, about how real feminism is robbing men blind after sex.

10.7.14

My Trip To The Zoo, by Laura Jane




BY LAURA JANE/ PICTURES BY LAURA JANE & HER FRIEND ERIN


On Monday, I went to the zoo! I am moving to London in nine days so I am cramming these last few weeks of Toronto life very full with fun and adventure and beer and butter and cream. And wine! And the entire animal kingdom. 

I went to the Zoo with Erin and Matt King. Bear with me. I am still in the process of experimenting with my spin on Zoo vs. zoo. I was really pleased to discover that admission to the zoo wasn't $80, which I for some/no reason thought it was. Under The Sea and Hakuna Matata were playing on loudspeakers when we arrived, which was particularly cool because I'll Be There For You by the Rembrandts had been playing on the 90's XM station in Erin's car and Friends and The Lion King are both major players in the history of Erin and I's friendship. Thanks to the Universe for going that extra mile to help us celebrate. (PS: I feel like Erin would want me to tell you that she only has XM for a 3 month trial and is not the kind of person who would actually pay for XM radio.)


The first animal we saw at the zoo was the Weird Pig. I posted him to Instagram and everyone got really into the #weirdpig hashtag. It's just got a certain je ne sais quoi. I like saying WeirdPig with a heavy emphasis on the "Weird." WEIRDpig. Weirdpig. 

Weirdpig was a girl. I know because I googled the name of the animal she is, babirusa, and it turns out that boy Babirusas have four tusks in the middle of their faces. I don't have time for that. 

Babirusa means "pig" and "deer" in Indonesian. It means deer-hog. Weirdpig is such a beautiful deerhog. I know it's kind of a bad choice, but Weirdpig was the number one animal I related to most in the entire zoo. I felt deeply emotionally connected to Weirdpig and her beautiful sleek grey body. She had a really cute curli-cue tail. She was fairly entertaining, wandering around elegantly, which was a lot better than SOME animals *cough, cough* SLEEPINGWHITE LIONS *cough, cough* SLEEPING CHEETAHS WHO WERE BASICALLY INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM PILES OF MULCH etc. If I ever had a daughter, I would want it to be WeirdPig.



I really respected the zoo's excessive dependence on the word "pavilion." Everything at the zoo is a "pavilion." Pavilion this, pavilion that. I wish more things in life were pavilions. I'm going to start calling my apartment a pavilion. I'll be like "Do you want to come over to my pavilion?" and people will be like "Oh, wow, cool, yeah!" and then they'll see it and be like "Um, isn't this just an apartment?" and then I'll be like "Nope! Totally a pavilion." Boy am I ever sneaky or what. 

Anyway, here's a cool picture from the Indo-Malayan pavilion. It's of a tapir that we nicknamed Diaper Pig, or #diaperpig. See that giant white high-waisted diaper the tapir is wearing? That's the tapir's skin. Sucks, huh? Yeah.


After Diaper Pig, we looked at a rhino and then moved on to another pavilion. Erin and I bought Diet Cokes and Matt bought an iced tea. We saw a chimpanzee eat carrot chunks out of an empty plastic container of cat litter (we thought the zoo could have done a little better than that. A nice green zoo-branded bucket would have been fine) and watched a white-handed gibbon struggle to get the lid off an empty soda bottle (again- the zoo are cheap) filled with fruit. We stood outside of his habitat exaggeratedly unscrewing the lids off our soda bottles trying to lead him in the right direction but he gave up and sent his bottle floating down the river. 

Soon we came across this little gang of ring-tailed lemurs havin' a cud. Ring-tailed lemurs were the Animal of the Day that day. Animal of the Day is some stupid promotion the zoo made up to unfairly pit all the zoo inhabitants against each other. There's a Pixar movie being made about it as we speak. "Do you think the zoo made ring-tailed lemurs the animal of the day because today is Ringo Starr's birthday?" I asked the Universe. No reply. 



Here's the baby gorilla, Nneka, and her mother, Ngozi I think. Obviously we were really fucking close to them and it was adorable and amazing and we loved Nneka and it was the highlight of all of our lives and now we will never be able to go back to the way we were before we saw a baby gorilla up close. Sorry about the "NSFW" element of Ngozi's droopy nipple but now that I think about it, actually, get over it. If you can't handle a mama gorilla's droopy nipple, maybe this is not the blog for you. 

8.7.14

All The Songs We Loved In June


BY LIZ & LJ/ ILLUSTRATION BY JEN

Paul Simon, "The Boy In The Bubble" (LJ)




Every year, the week before my birthday, there is a festival on College Street called Taste of Little Italy. College Street is barricaded on either end of about fifteen blocks. They put up carnival rides and those types of games where you throw a ring around a doe-eyed plastic frog to win a stuffed animal of a Pokemon and there are a lot of carts selling all the different countries' interpretations of meat on a stick. The air is full of smoke that smells like the meat. For a street festival named Taste of Little Italy, it has only a very small focus on the actual country of Italy.

The day before I left for New York, I had to walk to the drugstore to buy a tube of superglue and- for better or for worse- forgot that Taste of Little Italy was on. I was listening to Graceland on headphones- no new music really found or grabbed me last month; it was a nice homey time for focusing on reliable old favs. I was born in 1985 so obviously dancing to Graceland in my living room was a magical and significant part of my childhood. I feel like recently a lot of people born in the eighties have decided to throw in the towel and accept Graceland back into their lives and hearts like the rattiest and softest old t-shirt this collective band of nostalgic twenty-nine year olds has ever known. 

The drugstore closest to the eastern barricade was closed for no reason and at first I was pissed off but then decided it would probably be a cool experience to start Graceland over from the beginning and walk through the festival to the next-closest drugstore while watching people eat funnel cake and interact with bouncy castles and reach some sort of conclusion as to whether everything was horrible or not. Clearly every song on Graceland is fucking brilliant but when I say "listen to Graceland" I usually mean "Listen to Boy in the Bubble three times and then listen to I Know What I Know twice and then listen to Boy in the Bubble another couple of times and then listen to Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes and then go back to I Know What I Know and then listen to the whole album all the way through." To give credit where credit is due, Graceland the song is pretty beautiful too, but I always find the line about the girl in New York City who calls herself the human trampoline a little grimace-inducing. And I don't understand how he arrives at the conclusion that her calling herself that means he and his son are bouncing into Graceland. Sometimes you just have to accept that some of Paul Simon's "I'm a forty-two year old man" logic will be lost on you. 

If the opportunity to walk through a street festival or carnival-type environment while listening to The Boy in the Bubble ever presents itself to you, I urge you to take it. "Paul Simon is really tolerant of the human condition," is the thought it made me think. It made me feel like Paul Simon and I were a little team together, on a sort of Ghost of Christmas Past-style expedition. The point was for me to walk through an event populated primarily by normies and basics while thinking the least amount of hateful and negative thoughts possible. I feel like Paul Simon believes that to be a great artist you have to see the beauty in everything which I neither do or wish I did. But it's a nice take to have on walking from one drugstore to another. 


"BEST OF FRIENDS," Palma Violets (Liz)

"Best of Friends" by Palma Violets is a very mean and sweet song, but mostly sweet, I think. The lyrics at the chorus go "I wanna be your best friend/I don't want you to be my girl," which is a story I'd like to see made into a novel or a movie. In fact: if books had opening credits, I'd want "Best of Friends" to play during the opening credits to my book (although in the movie version of my book, the opening-credits song is totally "Pretty Persuasion" by R.E.M.). Anyway: the reason I'm linking to SoundCloud here is that the version of Palma Violets presented in the "Best of Friends" video is wildly incongruent to my own vision of the band. In my mind, they all should look like this picture of Jim Reid, which is how I want you to see them when you listen to the song - "scampish but soulful," I suppose is what I mean:




"WOULD YOU FIGHT FOR MY LOVE?", Jack White (Liz)


I guess at some point in the past few years everyone decided to turn against Jack White for being a megalomaniacal drag, but whatevs: I think it's great that he's so aggressively and flamboyantly his big weird curmudgeonly self. I bought Lazaretto the day it came out, and I only love two songs on it (this one, and "I Think I Found the Culprit") - but I love them enough that they're absolutely worth the $10.99, or even more. I love "Would You Fight for My Love?" partly because it sounds like a haunted house in some black-and-white movie from the '30s that Jack White would probably make a big annoying deal about loving; it's so deep how he sings the word "ghost" and then the background singers actually turn into ghosts. Also I think it's fun how Jack's always yelling at women for failing to love him as immoderately as he expects them to. His commitment to his own macho bullshit impresses me.

P.S. Reading all those Lazaretto-related think pieces (especially this one), I wonder whether Jack White is really as obsessed with Meg White as music journalists are always saying he is. I guess I hope he is, because it's romantic. Last month Filter ran this thing where Jack shared a few of his Polaroids and wrote paragraphs about them, and I loved the Meg picture/paragraph so much that I'm just going to include the whole thing here:

3.7.14

"The Names Of All The Flowers," by Laura Jane Faulds


(ABOVE: Covent Garden Study: Final Maquette for the Third Movement, by Helen Frankenthaler)

Hi guys! This is Laura Jane, coming at you live from sitting in my bed cross-legged and wearing pyjamas. I recently woke up to the extremely cool surprise of finding out that a short story I wrote, "The Names Of All The Flowers," is up today on one of Strawberry Fields Whatever's best-blog-friends, Ohio Edit

HERE is the story itself. 

I am so happy this story exists and is out in the world living and breathing in its new home. Like most of my stories, it's about my homegirl Samantha Silver, nothing too exciting, waking up in the morning and living a day and procrastinating cleaning her bathroom and walking to the drugstore and drinking wine. It's about broken phone screens, a cat falling off a roof, and Denny Wilson's death.

I like to write because I like to say what happened. My writing is a celebration of how boring it is to be alive.

27.6.14

Thing of the Week: Binge-Drinking Adorably, Summertime Foods

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: A Very Special Night Spent Binge-Drinking Adorably


I was in New York last week, which is where the story of my Very Cute Night Of Excessive Drinking takes place. In Brooklyn, to be exact. The evening got off to a life-changing start with me celeb-spotting Penn Badgley AKA Dan Humphrey walking down Bedford Avenue while listening to Get Ur Freak On on headphones. I mean, I was listening to Get Ur Freak On. Dan Humphrey either was or wasn't, but most likely wasn't.

It was an obvious excellent omen. I kind of wanted to tell Penn Badgley that I named my old iPhone after his old Gossip Girl character Dan Humphrey but then didn't because a) that's something I would never do and b) Penn was doing a really solid, earnest job of trying to blend into the Williamsburg population with his ochre tank top and short on the sides, long on top curly mop and I didn't want to ruin it for him. You could tell he really got off on coming off like your average run-of-the-mill Williamsburg guy. 


  


I walked from Williamsburg to Greenpoint and decided that if I lived in New York City I'd live in Greenpoint. It is clean and there are a lot of trees and I feel like most of the buildings and houses are, if painted, a soft pale yellow. 

I met Jen May at a beautiful Balinese restaurant called Selamat Pagi, which you may remember from the part of our most recent instalment of the Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet where Jen May eats at Selamat Pagi and employs the wonderful phrasing "shmoe boyfs." I was obsessed with being at Selamat Pagi from the very first second I sat down. We sat outside at a little table surrounded by a lot of greenery. It had a dreamy woodland feel to it that I got the impression Marc Bolan would have enjoyed. We saw a baby Boston terrier and a weird pug that was either pregnant or bloated and a couple of weird Gremlin-y terriers that accosted the Boston but the puppy held its own. We ate the beautiful fluoro salad seen above and I only got a tiny bit of the turmeric-y sauce on my shirt. Conveniently for me, I keep a Tide-to-go pen on my person at all times. I know who I am. 



We also shared a side of coconut kale which was really delicious but less physically beautiful than the other food. And for my main I had the fish curry seen above which is my new answer to the question "What would you eat if you could only eat one thing for the entire rest of your life?" There were chunks of sweet potato in it. You probably wouldn't have guessed that about it but it's true.

One thing I found really endearing about the drinks menu at Selamat Pagi was that a good 40% of it was devoted to bottled cider. I recently had a cool life hack-y revelation about cider which is that drinking cider is basically the same as drinking really, really, really cheap champagne. If champagne were ever $6, it would taste like cider, but it never is, so cider is all you've got. Take that information and run with it, myutes.  


I drank two bottles of this German cider with dinner. The label was clearly designed by someone under the age of thirty-five with a strong background in graphic design, which happens less in Toronto than it does in Brooklyn and therefore is somewhat cool to me, and I loved that they gave it to me not only with a glass of ice but also with a straw. The other night I was drinking cider at my birthday party and stole the straw out of Anabela's Diet Coke to replicate the experience but then when they cleared that glass away I was too shy to ask for another. I decided over the course of writing this sentence that I'm always going to ask for a straw with my cider from now on, and if anyone thinks I'm tacky and calls me on it I'll be like, "Oh hey guess what judgemeister, as it turns out I'm a sommelier," since before I know it I will be.

After saying bye to Jen May it started raining like crazy so I bought a $3 umbrella at a corner store from a guy who liked my Coke shirt because usually Coca-Cola things are red but this time it was black. That was the reason he gave me. I walked to a place called Pinkerton wine bar that I'd walked past earlier and went back to because it looked chill and had a Hungarian white on its wine list and I'd never had a wine from Hungary before. The magazine describes Pinkerton wine bar as "look[ing] like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. If the Kinks started playing, I would fully expect Owen Wilson to walk into the bar in slow motion," which is basically the best thing that could ever happen to anyone anywhere, so stop being too cool for everything, everyone. The wine was called a Furmint and it tasted like the fruity candy that is called Rockets in Canada and Smarties in America only with a stoner big sister edge to it. Lexy came and met me and we did what any two humans in their right mind would do: split a bottle of Cava. Sometimes I feel like I could just consistently be drinking sparkling wine for the entire rest of my life, like, literally never stopping, and nothing bad would ever happen to me. I'd be PDF. That's my new thing I just invented. Perfect Drunk Forever.


The night is only getting started! We finished our Cava and then walked over to a really gorgeous cocktail bar called Hotel Delmano. Lexy was worried that I might think it was douchey but I did not. I worry that people who live in New York might have a skewed perception of things. I feel like it's a big part of the culture there for people to not think good things are good, or to worry that things that are good might not actually be good. A sentence I said several times over the course of my visit was "We're staying at North Six and Bedford, but we're not from here, so we don't think it's lame." 

In conclusion, I loved Hotel Delmano. No: I loved Hotel Delmano! WIth the italics, with the exclamation point. The server told us that they were having a special on $14 TIkis. When I told that to my boyfriend, he was like "$14 is not a special," which is certainly a point worth contemplating. But the point of the TIkis was that the mixologist bartender just mixed you up whatever he damned hell felt like, and then presented it to you in a Tiki glass, a service that a bar could realistically charge $16-$20 for. I made Lexy order the Tiki special because I was really gung-ho about drinking a Daisy Glaze. 

The Tiki tasted good but we thought it was weird and annoying how they didn't tell us any information about what was in it. I realize that the bartender was busy and the server was busy and they had better things to do than tell us very slowly and methodically that the drink contained so-and-so rum and so-and-so infused bitters and a dash of blah-di-blah syrup with some this-and-that liqueur and, like, some herb, but they could have at least been like "Here's your Tiki with pineapple, rum and basil," instead of just being like "Nothing/Silence," and leaving us alone with the mystery of what was in Lexy's TIki drink to carry around with us for the entire rest of our lives. It tasted sort of "tea-y."  


I had a Daisy Glaze. Here is my Daisy Glaze. Fuck it. I'm just going to put it out there and say it- when you know, you know. It was the best cocktail I ever had. It was like kissing a guy who isn't going to fuck you over. 

I ordered the Daisy Glaze because Daisy Glaze is my favorite Big Star song, one of my favorite anybody songs and the words Daisy Glaze are so perfect together I can't stand it AND also the ingredients in the cocktail sounded good to me anyway. I probs would have ordered a Daisy Glaze even if it sounded only meh but it was: rye, absinthe, chamomile IPA syrup, amaro montenegro, shaken and served over crushed ice. That combination of cocktail ingredients would have appealed to me even if the cocktail was named Working At The Gap or Being A Giant Phony or something else I really obviously hate. I drank two of them because I couldn't bear to only drink one and then have it be over forever. The Daisy Glaze was on the specials menu and I'll never have it again as long as I live. For her second drink Lexy had a cocktail called the Fogerty which was: bourbon, islay scotch, sage syrup, angostura bitters, stirred and served on the rocks. If a magical witch from a fairy tale came and turned us both into cocktails, I'd be a Daisy Glaze and Lexy would be a Fogerty. They were truly our exact selves.

After our cocktails were tragically over we walked to the Radegast biergarten. We ordered a bottle of this crazy French cider which came in a plain brown bottle printed with a very bare-bones label, just a bunch of orange text in a serif font on white plain paper that these crazy French cider-makers had obviously just printed out of a twenty-year-old printer at their scratchy old cider plantation or whatever. I mean to say, it was legit. The cider tasted like black olives and the concept of fermentation. Mark met up with us and I read Lexy's Tarot cards. Lexy and I told each other we loved each other and we said goodbye. I can't remember anything else. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Some Summertime Foods

In lieu of a proper "Thing of the Week" entry, here is a list of extraordinary foods I've eaten lately:

i. The grilled peanut butter/honey/bacon sandwich at Nick's party two Sundays ago. I first learned of the existence of grilled peanut butter/honey/bacon sandwiches when Nick asked me, "Hey Liz, if I made a grilled peanut butter/honey/bacon sandwich, would you have some?" And I was like, "I DON'T KNOW, NICK-- IS THE POPE CATHOLIC???!!!" (Not really - please don't think I talk like that.) The sandwich was melty and dreamy-creamy and salty-bacon-y and crispy and gooey and everything you could've ever wanted after standing around a green backyard and drinking wines and beers all day. At Nick's party we also had some gorgeous Momofuku layer cake that one of Nick's friends made from scratch, many kinds of cheese, grilled oysters, grilled corn, lavender lemonade, white-wine sangria, and other things I'm forgetting. Here's a nice picture of the cake and some cheese:


ii. Hot cornbread with lavender/violet butter. We had this at some restaurant next to Largo that's so unremarkable, it's not even worth trying to Google my way into figuring out what the name was. But the hot cornbread + lavender/violet butter was heaven. Weirdly (but maybe not weirdly?), the lavender/violet butter was listed as its own separate item on the menu, with no indication as to how to use it. So when the waiter came by to take our order I asked him, "What happens with the lavender/violet butter? Like what are we supposed to do with it I mean?" (There: that's a way more accurate representation of what I talk like.) And he laughed at me and said "Cornbread!", and I ordered some cornbread and it was so steamy-hot - piping, even. The butter melted all dreamily and I don't really even remember the taste all that vividly, but as an overall sensory experience: A+++++

iii. The Pash. "The Pash" is a drink at the Roger Room, where we went between the unremarkable lavender cornbread restaurant and Largo (where, by the way, we saw Kristen Schaal who was boring, Maria Bamford who was mostly amazing, and Busdriver who is better than everyone). The Pash = passionfruit juice and champagne and aperol, which is some kind of rhubarb liqueur or something. It was very frothy and cold and tasted vaguely like mauna lai, that cloudy-pink Ocean Spray juice we used to always drink on Cape Cod when I was little. Anyway here's a food-related Busdriver video I'm into, called "Barbs Over Breakfast Scones": 



iv. The homemade raspberry pop tart I ate on Wednesday. It was from Romancing the Bean in Burbank, which I never not misread as "Romancing the Bear" and then get sad/annoyed that the cafe's not really called "Romancing the Bear," since that's a pretty cool/insane name for a coffee place. Romancing the Bear has good iced coffee and you can get it with ice cubes made of more coffee, but I advise against that. I like when real/non-coffee ice cubes melt into your iced coffee and water it down and it's not delicious, but it's just the natural order of things. I don't want some "second iced-coffee surprise" happening at the bottom of the cup when the real iced coffee's gone. Let iced coffee be.

v. Beer and strawberries. Last Friday afternoon I met with some cool ladies and we gave each other notes on things we're writing, and instead of going back to work after that I went to Farmers Market and bought myself a pint of Sam Adams Summer Ale, a pint of strawberries, and a copy of the July issue of Vanity Fair. Then I sat at a table near the bar and drank my beer and ate my strawberries and read the Vanity Fair article that's an excerpt from the memoir by the woman who ran the secret poker game at the Viper Room in the mid-2000s. My favorite part of that article was it confirmed that Ben Affleck is a cool, wonderful, no-bullshit human being. Love that guy. I retroactively drank my Sam Adams in tribute to him, then later on I got a banana ice cream.

vi. A ice cream cone filled with brownie and ice cream. On Saturday my friends had a summer solstice party in a park on a big hill (Barnsdall Art Park, it's called), with many puppies and a strawberry pinata. I brought strawberries and mangos and a bottle of pinot grigio, and ate lots of strawberries and mango, and then a nice person came over and gave me a wafer ice cream cone with some way-underbaked brownie packed into the bottom. I scooped some vanilla ice cream on top of the brownie and ate it all and felt very lucky to know such sweethearted geniuses. Here's the pinata:


vii. First Scoops of the season. Last night I met Sarah at Hermosillo and got a glass of rose and a plate of avocado toast, and then we went to a reading at Pop-Hop and then I left the reading and went to Scoops and got a cone that was Banana Butterscotch Brownie + Maple Cap'n Crunch. BTW this paragraph is partly me fact-checking an Instagram I posted last night, which identified the cone as Maple Cap'n Crunch + Cinnamon Roasted Sesame. I have no idea why I thought that. I regret the error.


viii. A banana at Chateau Marmont and a pina colada on Sunset Strip. On Sunday afternoon I went to Chateau Marmont to interview this guy I really want to tell you about but I don't think I'm allowed. He was so cool, and when his beautiful record comes out you're gonna be like whaaaaat OH MY GOD, I swear. His suite was really beautiful too and had flowers everywhere and a piano and smelled like roses burning. After the interview I went down to the valet and ate a banana while waiting for my car, and then I got my car and went over to this really pretty restaurant called Eveleigh and had a pina colada and read an article about Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in Rolling Stone. I pretended I was one of the people reading Rolling Stone in "California" by Joni Mitchell, and I drank my pina colada in like ten seconds because it was so pineappley and icy and perfect. The cherries on top were really fat and heavy. Plump, to be exact. I love a plump cherry. I like L.A. summer.

24.6.14

Everything You Learned When You Were 28


BY LAURA JANE/ ILLUSTRATION BY JEN

Hi guys! Today (June 24th, 2014) is my 29th birthday. Last year around this time I wrote a thing called "Some Lessons I Have Learned" about everything I learned while I was 27 and I wanted to do the same thing this year because well why the heck not. For my 28th year I wrote it as a letter to myself because I wanted to give myself a nice birthday present. Usually I buy myself a massage at a fancy spa for my birthday but this year my life is pretty low-stress so I didn't think the massage was applicable. It's a letter to my future self and also my today self at the same time. And also to you. 

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When you were twenty-eight you learned that when you’re an asshole to your boyfriend for no reason, when you don’t slam but very firmly shut the bedroom door and you brush your teeth and take off your eye makeup and look at your drunkass eyes in the bathroom mirror while loosely considering how you’ve been an asshole for no reason, and you walk back into the bedroom where you have vaguely planned on vaguely apologizing, he will be gone. You will be by yourself in the room.
        You’ll call his phone, which he will have turned off. He’s in no mood to deal with any more of your “asshole for no reason” energy, which is reasonable. But he’s drunk, which is scary. He could pass out drunk in the middle of a road and a truck could run him over. So you decide to go save him. You wander around the neighbourhood in a trenchcoat over your pyjamas and for some weird reason decide to call your father. It’s like two in the morning. You end up forgetting most of what you told him.
        He’s nowhere. You cry a lot. You make some more phone calls you forget about. You write him a series of text messages in which you forget to apologize, which will become a cool fight sub-issue once he reappears via text the next morning.
        You take a cab to his apartment. You cry in the cab. The driver is concerned for your well-being. Outside of his apartment you slam on his door and call his phone and write him text messages saying i'm outside and you holler his name and scream I'm sorry and then give up and get back in a cab and take a cab back to your apartment. You cry in the cab. The driver is concerned for your well-being.
        You sleep like shit, obviously. You wake up when the sun does and for a second you’re cool but then the truth of it falls down your body like a shudder or an ache from your brain to your toes. The truth of it falls through you like a beer keg dropped off the top of a skyscraper. You fall back to crappy sleep and when you wake up properly you’re convinced that he’s dead. You call your mom and then the police to ask them if they came across any dead blond guys last night. They want to turn your night into a domestic disturbance investigation but you somehow talk your way out of it. Your boyfriend texts you back. He hates you. You make popcorn. You send him boring and pathetic texts that say things you’d never say like please don’t break up with me and I need to hear you say you love me. Your eyes are puffy from all the crying and you think of the sentence you wrote five years ago about your eyes going puffy from a different round of all the crying: “I looked the alien Mac from the movie Mac And Me, only way less adorable”— despite everything, you take a moment to give yourself credit where credit is due. You will always be very proud of that sentence.
        You go to Urban Outfitters for no reason. People look at you weird because your eyes are gross. When you get home you eat the rest of the popcorn and write your boyfriend a 1500 word epic about You could say any old thing to the server you want and all I would do is love you. I love looking across a table and seeing your perfect smiling face and then sit around counting down the seconds until midnight, when you’ll send it to him— he told you during “mean text message era” not to text or call him for the rest of the day.
        By six PM he cracks and comes home. His face looks like all the following words at once: ghostly, ashen, sullen, sunk-in, chiseled, hollow, sallow, older, shadowy, jaundiced, waxy, gaunt. You fall into him like he is your soldier husband who has just returned home from war. You fall into him like you thought he was dead for fifty years and now you are old and your life was a wash but he’s back and it’s better than nothing. You quietly sit on the couch while he reads the epic. He likes the epic. It’s warm out and for dinner you drink lemony beer and mash bone marrow into a fish cake. When you were twenty-eight you figured out: if you don’t behave like an asshole for no reason, you can go straight to mashing the bone marrow into the fish cake. It’s only the marrow and the fish cake. The rest is so boring it gets lost to time.
        When you were twenty-eight you learned how to read Tarot cards and a lot about drinking wine. When you were twenty-eight you were the Queen of Swords and the Five of Swords and the Seven of Swords and the Nine of Wands and the Eight of Cups. You learned Furmint and Sancerre and Gewurtztraminer. You learned you liked pork carnitas and miniature whippets, which are sometimes called “miniwhips”- you learned that too. You learned the phrase “As the crow flies,” which means “in a straight line.” You learned that it is very easy to roast cauliflower in a toaster oven.