So Many Beautiful Pictures of Strawberry Fields Whatever's First Annual Martha's Vineyard Vacation

Last Wednesday Strawberry Fields Whatever went on vacation together, on the island of Martha's Vineyard. We stayed till Friday morning and squeezed so much fun and beauty and whimsy and food into those 40 or whatever hours. Here are lots of pictures from our perfect vacay.

LIZ: Here's me and LJ on the bus from Boston! LJ's the one on the left, in case you somehow don't know us. The bus was totally the worst part of everything, but still we are so radiant and bright-eyed.

LJ: I like this photo because I'm an "angelic goof" in it. Liz is sly. 

LIZ: And here's LJ on the ferry, being Nan Rupert. You'll learn more about Nan Rupert in like two and a half minutes.

LJ: As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm very into my Nan pic. I look so "tra-la-la" and droll, and it's magic how my plastic cup of beer has somehow turned itself into a deep rouge strawberry daiquiri! However, the photo (below) of me looking SO HAPPY while Liz is sly (again! Liz was so slyyyyyy en route to Martha's Vineyard) and George Harrison-y in the background is definitely my fav pic from our ferry ride, because my face looks as happy as I truly was. Our ferry was named "Island Home," by the way, which is lovely, and should be the name of a Kinks song, from 1966. 

I REALLY fucking loved the ferry. I remember thinking, on the ferry, that "it seems right now like" being on that ferry was one of the greatest and most important things that had ever happened to me. It was almost sad to look forward and imagine all the other great and important things that were about to happen to me on Martha's Vineyard, over the course of the next couple of days- I was a little bit worried that I'd forget all about the ferry. 

But I wouldn't! I never did. The ferry was one of my favorite parts of all Martha's Vineyard, and one of my favorite moments of the whole ferry was when Liz and I were both looking out at the light against the waves of the water, we were silent, and I thought how nice it was to get to spend my time with someone who also just wanted to look out at the waves and be silent, and neither of us had to to explain about it, or apologize, or try to compete over who loved the waves the most or how or why we loved them. So here are those two perfect wave-watchers: 

LIZ: And then we got to the island and met up with Jen! Look how cute she is, with her wine and banana. This photo was taken on the back porch, with a stunning view of the tennis courts at our lovely Martha's Vineyard Resort.

LJ: I agree that Jen is extremely cute. 

LIZ: Oh my god our hotel room was so great. It was like an entire mini-house, with a kitchen and living room and a gigantic bedroom downstairs and another bedroom in a little loft/attic space that you accessed by climbing a spiral staircase. That was my bedroom and I miss it so much. I made this photo the wallpaper on my iPhone home screen and now I just stare at all the time and dream of being back in that bed.

LJ: Jen and I were Martha's Vineyard roommates because we are both insomniacs who need to pee a million times before we fall asleep or else we'll have worse insomnia over not having easy access to a toilet. We slept in a king-size bed that was very comfortable and great but also excessively huge. Oh rich people and their crazy needs! There is no reason for any bed to ever be that big.

LIZ: Our first island dinner was at the Lookout Tavern, where we sat outside at a picnic table. Jen got hearts-of-palm salad and fries, LJ and I split a lobster roll and fried clam strips. For drinks Jen and I had margaritas and LJ had something called Catcher in the Rye, which I think involved bourbon? Maybe she'll explain. After dinner we had beers at the bar of a restaurant called Nancy's, then went back to the room and dished and gabbed.

LJ: Sure! I'd love to talk about my Catcher in the Rye, the most ideally-suited to me drink I've ever drunk, right down to its JD Salinger-themed name. It was: Bulleit bourbon, ginger ale, soda water, lots of ice, and lemon and lime. I like how I am eyeing those clam strips fucking lecherously. 

LIZ: So one of the most important things we did on Martha's Vineyard was conceptualize a feature film, which happened during our Wednesday-night gab sesh. The movie's titled Blurred Lines 1: it's written by Laura Jane Faulds, Elizabeth Barker, and Jen May, and directed by Wes Anderson. Set at a tiki party on Martha's Vineyard in the early 1960s, Blurred Lines 1 stars Laura Jane Faulds as Nan Rupert, Elizabeth Barker as Tippi Taylor, Jen May as Kit Jones, plus the entire cast of Mad Men as the tiki-party guests. Here are our preliminary notes on the characters/plot:


The Blake Babies Are So Beautiful, It Hurts To Look At Them


Today Blake Babies are my favorite band and my favorite song is "Out There," from the album Sunburn. I've watched the video for "Out There" about 30 times in the past week and it's hurt me every time, but it also makes me stupidly happy and giddy. It's like a video you'd make if someone let you make a video when you were in seventh grade: there's low-grade gymnastics, some dippy choreography, bubble-blowing, making out, the eating of flowers and of crayons, everyone in the Blake Babies cutting off her or his hair. It's a very preteen idea of arty, but it's so elegantly realized and makes me think that you should never forget all the weird shit you wanted to make when you were 11, 12, 13; you should return to it and use your grown-up brain and resources to make it as good and genius and gorgeous as possible.

Blake Babies were based in Boston, and I grew up in Massachusetts, and I've decided it means something that we come from the same place. They got together in 1986, when I was eight. When I was eight the most exciting thing in the world was helping my older cousins out with their Sunday-morning paper route: waking up when it was still dark out, delivering all the papers, and then taking our tip money and buying tons of candy at the gas station. It's so mind-blowing to me that while I was eating Swedish fish and Reese's cups for breakfast on the disgusting ground of a gas-station parking lot, the Blake Babies were existing an hour's drive away and making songs together, songs like "Wipe It Up" and "Better'n You." They were kids then too, still teenagers, but thinking of Blake Babies in that context makes them seem so glamorous and dreamy in their olderness. I mean seriously - LOOK HOW DREAMY THEY ARE:

Because I'm a goofball and a romantic, one of the most glamorous and dreamy things about the "Out There" video is the recurring theme of Juliana all alone vs. John and Freda together and in love. It's so sweet when John kisses the top of Freda's head when they're waltzing together, and I adore his eyelashes/lovey-dovey eyes in this little moving picture our buddy made here


Excellent, Average, & Terrible Things I've Recently Eaten: The Izakaya on College Street with Carly

Hi! Welcome to "Excellent, Average & Terrible Things I've Recently Eaten," my cool new column on sfwhatevs where I write about excellent, average & terrible food I've recently eaten. I came up with this idea one night when I was walking around drunk listening to Bob Dylan on headphones and trying to figure out what would be the most honest possible context to frame where I'm at as a writer and human right now. I've spent a lot of time over the course of the past year wondering why I write, really- I guess I just wanted to make sure it wasn't pure ego. 

I write because I think the world is magic. Like Marc Bolan said: "I think I am a child. Everything blows my mind." It seems like lately, when I'm writing about eating, I can connect with that the hardest. Eating is like stars and dirt; it's just there. I usually do it with people I love in places that don't look like offices. It helps me see what my life is now and it makes me remember how it used to be. Eating is funny and sexy and dull. 

I used to write about music because music helped me write the truth but times have changed. I am twenty-eight years old and this is how I will love writing the chill and beautiful words I know I am here to write.


Carly texted me to say, “I feel like you’d be a fun person to go to an Izakaya with,” which was a cool and on-point compliment. That week of my life was rife with cool compliments- a few days later, my head chef told me “You are strong and powerful”- he’s from Mexico, so the y in the “you” is a j in this case. A few days after that, I surprised him in the kitchen with a limeade and he told me, “Laura- jou are the best one in town!”
        I forget the name of the Izakaya we went to. My Internet is down so I can’t check it. I am so angry about my Internet being down. The guy who moved into my old bedroom has one of those AirPort things that plug into the wall and it breaks down every five seconds and it’s connected to my old modem in my old room, and it’s so frustrating that he’s just in there Internetting his little heart out on my fucking dollar (maybe the word “my” should always be italicized, I’m thinking, in an “I Me Mine” kind of way) while I’m (I’m) writing a blog post in a Microsoft Word document in the next room over.
        The Izakaya Carly and I went to was on College Street. It is very big and looks like somebody, or a few somebodies- three guys wearing suits- pumped a lot of money into it. There are a lot of frills. I remember walls made of cork, or maybe barrels- whatever material barrels are made of- and a great deal of funky lamps. So many funky lamps. And mirrors! Hallways lined with funky lamps and funky mirrors arranged in checkerboard patterns. Black leather easy chairs and white latticed screens, like those accordion screens old-timey starlets or Dick Whitman’s childhood memories of whores used to change behind, mirrored ceilings and mirrored walls and mirrored barrels and mirrored funky lamps.
        Mirrored funky lamps. I wrote those words, just now.
        Carly and I sat on the sidewalk patio. (Real Life Update: I just wrote my roommate a sassy Facebook message about the Internet and switched from tequila to gin: gin and Campari in an iceless glassful of lemon Perrier, human history’s most pathetic Negroni.) I remember drinking weird Izakaya margaritas, which must have involved egg whites. I was thinking, “There are obviously egg whites involved in these margaritas,” but I didn’t say anything, because egg whites in your margarita just seem like they could maybe be a buzzkill. You just want some lime juice, and then you get eggs. Carly was presented with a margarita that was nearly one-third egg white head. She didn’t mind. We also had some other cocktail, with yuzu. Mine tasted like mild grape water. And I had a mojito, possibly.


Liz & LJ's Biggest Crushes from Season 6 of 'Mad Men'



This spot was supposed to be Bob Benson's, but then Bob Benson had to go and RUIN EVERYTHING for EVERYONE by being a maybe-accomplice in this sketcho-boyfriend's- creepy-Pete-Campbell's-mom-getting-murdered-on-a-yacht can of worms we've recently opened up, although SHOUT-OUT TO HOW COOL THIS OUTFIT IS & ALSO I FIND IT VERY ENDEARING WHEN HE LISTENS TO SELF-HELP RECORDS IN HIS OFFICE: 

I've always had a soft spot for Glen. I recently re-watched the ep from Season 1 where cool 9-year-old Glen walks in on Betty Draper peeing and then asks for a lock of her hair, and I was like "Damn, some people are just born cool"- James Dean, Keith Richards, and Glen. 

Glen is one of those characters where every time he comes onscreen I get really pumped to catch up with where his creepiness levels are at and how his burgeoning sexuality is treating him and so on and so forth. He certainly delivered in Season 5, when he rocked a teen-stache and wore that chill parka to the Museum of Natural History on the day Sally first got her period. I like how Glen is always a little bit distant, disconnected from the world around him. He's an only child's only child. 

But Season 6 Glen totally brought it home. I love what a neat surprise he always is- just when you think you're never gonna see Glen again, Glen reappears to remind you that he is AWESOME, all uber-politicized in his bangin' peacenik jacket. He loves a good jacket, that Glen. 

I bet Glen's a Bob Dylan fan, and I bet his favorite song on the White Album is "Yer Blues," and I bet he thinks it's so cool when John Lennon shouts out "Dylan's Mr. Jones." I imagine Glen thinks very little of anyone who doesn't catch that reference. What do you think happens to Glen? Like, in the future? I was thinking it about Glen's final outcome on the subway today, and it made me very nervous. I was scared that Glen might die. But Glen probably doesn't die! I am looking at his Wiki and he was born the same year as my mom. It's nice to think of Glen being my mom's age, just being some chill twenty-something writer's cool old hippie dad somewhere. I feel like he probably ended up working for Apple computers. (LJ)


Really Michael Ginsberg should have gone here, but then he went and grew that fucking mustache and I just can't. (I really hope he's lost his virginity by now, though - that kid's a firecracker.) And I actually don't have it that bad for Stan, but I'm impressed by his evolution from skeevy, pompous tormentor of Peggy to chill, handsomely bearded Peggy-ally who's also dude enough to go ahead and plant one on her when he's feeling it. Plus it was so hot when they were all on speed and Stan volunteered to do the William Tell thing and got the X-Acto knife stuck in his arm. Look at that tie! It's great enough on its own, but that 1960s-frat-boy move of wrapping a necktie around your forehead always undoes me. Apart from stuff about the Beatles, the only reason I would've liked to have been alive in the '60s is so I could've dated a guy in a frat-rock band. (Liz)


Three summers ago I was hanging out with my friend Jackadory on a patio at a bar called Sweaty Betty's here in Toronto, and there was a very adorable busser working. He looked like Kenny Cosgrove, and he was wearing a Wu-Tang t-shirt. You know, just a plain black t-shirt with a Wu-Tang logo on it. I nicknamed him "Kenny Cosgrove in a Wu-Tang t-shirt," and became obsessed with him in my head, and then Jackadory and I went back to Sweaty Betty's a few weeks later and I got her to inquire about his schedule for me, which was a really bro move of her, but then I got this really bad eye infection that haunted my life for almost half a year and I couldn't go out to bars for awhile, and then when my eye was all healed up and I could leave my house again, Kenny Cosgrove in a Wu-Tang t-shirt  didn't seem to work at Sweaty Betty's anymore! Then I got over it, because what more could I really do? 

So that's a big part of my loving Ken Cosgrove thing, imagining him as a present-day version of himself wearing a Wu-Tang t-shirt. 2013 Ken Cosgrove would also wear a wide-brimmed baseball cap and a slim-fitting pale pink button-up with khakis rolled up to mid-calf-length and boat shoes, and a Wu-Tang t-shirt on his days off. His co-workers and young women in line at Starbucks would probably tell him he reminded them of Macklemore, or think he was like Macklemore, and he'd know a lot about viral marketing and social media. He'd like Odd Future and the TV show Workaholics, and he'd have a Bodum, and a really hot girlfriend, and a really nice phone. You wouldn't want to like his Instagram but it would genuinely be amazing and you'd just have to hand it to him. He'd be weirdly good at photography and often hilarious. You'd just have to give him that.

REMEMBER WHEN HE TAP-DANCED? That was pretty much the best thing that ever happened. Life was so sad, for awhile there, when Kenny Cosgrove wasn't on Mad Men anymore. I feel like now that's back, I kind of take it for granted, like it's no longer possible that he'll just be ripped out of my hands and taken away, but that's a foolish way to live one's life. Who knows what kind of crazy shit Ken Cosgrove's going to get up next??? Is he going to be blind??? I am very confused as to the severity of his eye injury. I initially thought that his eyeball had literally been blasted out of his face, but it seems like nope, it's sort of minor, and now he wears an eyepatch! Which is a cool improvement for anybody. I would prefer for any given human to be wearing an eyepatch. (LJ)


A fun thing about my life is that sometimes men who are into me tell me I remind them of Peggy Olson - it's this thing you can only notice if you've got a crush on me. One night two autumns ago I saw Don Draper and Peggy Olson on a friend date at a bar in my neighborhood, and at one point Elisabeth Moss and I walked past each other and locked eyes, and she held her gaze longer than the standard famous-person-on-normal-person gaze-holding time. It would've been cute if I'd turned it into The Parent Trap and stopped her and asked, "Excuse me, have you noticed? We look like each other." But of course I didn't say anything, I just smiled and tried to radiate as much as warmth and adoration in her direction as I possibly could.

ANYWAY MY POINT IS: I used to love this guy who resembles Pete Campbell just as much as I resemble Peggy Olson. The two traits that guy and Pete Campbell have most in common are: (1) skin tone that very closely matches their hair color (2) a voice that seems more suited to a 14-year-old than a grown man. Sometimes when Pete and Peggy are together and sharing some weird hot moment, I'm like "Oh hey - it's us," and my heart flutters a little. There hadn't been any killer Pete-Peggy moments in a while, but that scene with the two of them and Teddy Chaough getting drunk in the restaurant more than made up for lost time. The sexual tension had this easy, ebullient kind of vibe, and I was way into the stray lock of hair sweeping down over Pete's sweaty forehead. All day the next day I had the words "PETE CAMPBELL'S SEX FORELOCK" stuck in my head, and that was pretty fun.

Pete was kinda gross this season. I mean Pete Campbell's always kind of gross, and smarmy and twerpish and infuriating, but I basically love him forever. I love his affinity for exclamation: "A thing like that!" "Hell's bells, Trudy!" "You have your fingers in your ears? It's a Chip-and-Dip!" I love in the first season when he's newly married and Trudy calls him at work to ask what he wants for dinner, and he thinks for a nice dreamy moment, and then tells her, proudly: "Rib eye, in the pan, with butter. Ice cream." I love his hunting fantasy, and I love how Peggy gets turned on by it and needs to eat a ham sandwich and the biggest cherry danish afterward. I thought it was fun when he threw the roast chicken off the balcony. I like it when he wears his pajamas and I like it when he wears a sport coat. I didn't like it when he fell down the stairs. Despite all the shit he brings upon everybody else, it truly upsets me to see Pete Campbell suffer any indignity.


Of Lemonade Donuts & Lemonade Nails

Tonight I'm going home to Massachusetts for two weeks. Here are things I want do while I'm there:

1. Eat all the ice cream in New England. I'm not one of those bores who likes to whine about how "there are no seasons in Los Angeles," but I'll allow that there's something special about eating ice cream in Massachusetts that just can't happen in L.A. In winter it feels dreamy and reckless, and in summer it's "good as second childhood," to steal a line from Angela Carter. I want to go to Christina's in Cambridge, which is right down the street from my second Boston apartment, and get a cone of Banana Cinnamon or Coconut Butterfinger or Burnt Sugar. And then I want to go to the Scoopdeck in Maine and get a cone of either Graham Central Station ("graham cracker flavored ice cream w/ a graham cracker variegate & chocolate covered crisp candy") or of Twinkicake ("golden cake ice cream w/ marshmallow & cake pieces"). I also want to go to any halfway decent ice cream place in all of New England, and get a root beer float in a curvy Coca Cola glass:

And I want to go to Dairy Queen too - not so much for the ice cream, but for the ride out to the Dairy Queen. The nearest one to my family's house is ten miles out on Route 56, which is really creepy at night. You get to this one part and there's a big open field on either side and there's no streetlights, no anything, just the sky. One time I was riding out there with a boy and he told me to kill the headlights and I did and the whole world went black and I screamed and flicked the lights back on right away. It was scary and sweet.
      I also remember the Dairy Queen parking lot as being dusty in a cool, romantic, Neil Young-y sort of way. Neil Young dust is the opposite of pixie dust, but still total magic.

2. Buy a pair of shoes at the Army Barracks on Martha's Vineyard. LJ and Jen and I are going to Martha's Vineyard together next week! It's so exciting. We've never all been in the same room before - Jen and I have never even met. I haven't been to Martha's Vineyard in a few years, but when I was a teenager one of my favorite things to do on the island was shop at the army/navy store on Circuit Ave. In ninth grade I bought a pair of used combat boots there. If I were still in ninth grade and kind of a hippie, maybe I'd do this with those boots:

But I'm actually way older than ninth grade and what I really want is a pair of lowtop white Converse All-Stars. I've got some idea that they'll make me look more like George Harrison.

3. Go to the drive-in. I saw Point Break at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Fourth of July Eve and obviously that was awesome, but outdoor movies could never really stack up against the drive-in: drinking wine and eating hummus on a blanket is just not even half as cool as being five-years-old and putting on your pajamas and getting in the car and going out for a night of candy and soda and a good double-feature. The movie plays out of the radio! That's so wild. One of the movies I most vividly remember going to see at the drive-in is Flashdance, so it's neat that I found this photo:


Thing of the Week: Juliana Hatfield & Feelings, Daily Tarot Cards

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Juliana Hatfield & Feelings

My friend Laura Fisher wrote
this beautiful and brilliant essay about Juliana Hatfield's album Hey Babe, and it was published by The New Inquiry last week. It's called "Minor Feelings" and asks the question Why do we canonize female anger, and not female confusion or longing?, which is the best question that's been asked in my life in a long time.  Here is one of my favorite paragraphs:

When you say that you "relate to" a song, generally that means it conjures a flash of self-recognition, essentially backward-looking (I have been there and felt this!). The song's prescience about you feels uncanny, even magical. But connecting to music can also involve a much stranger model of cathexis. I had felt awkward and alone, for sure - nothing too serious - but as I fell into the habit of listening to Juliana Hatfield day-in and day-out, I began to think about her songs not so much as a reflection of things I had felt or experienced already but as a script for the kind of person I might yet become. Hatfield's songs weren't aspirational in any obvious way. They were all about feeling shy, rejected, obsessive, silent, ugly, and powerless. They were a permission slip to grow up ambivalent, inward, messy. Still, it was a conscious decision to anoint Hey Babe the sonic bible of my coming of age.

And all of the rest of the paragraphs are amazing and head-changing too, and you should really just read the essay over and over, or at least three times. I wish it were a book, but I'm also thrilled with whatever I can get, when it comes to beautiful and brilliant writing about Juliana Hatfield. And it's so strange to me, Laura's point about how Hey Babe is sort of a forgotten album, because Juliana Hatfield's probably means even more to me now than it did when I was a kid and Hey Babe was shiny and new. I feel like I'm still discovering her and unraveling why she's such a genius songwriter, and then figuring out how I can rip off her genius in my own writing. Hey Babe is not my favorite Juliana album (it's Only Everything!), but "Nirvana" is just my world:

Right now I'm also going through a major Blake Babies thing, about a million years too late. When I was a teenager I heard their cover of "Temptation Eyes" by the Grass Roots on the radio very late at night, and then I bought Innocence & Experience at the Newbury Comics in Harvard Square, and quickly fell into the habit of playing the hell out of "Temptation Eyes" whenever I got into a weird love thing with someone impossible. But I'd never seen the "Temptation Eyes" video till about a month ago, and oh my god it's so heavy and dopey and artsy and wonderful. All of the Blake Babies in their underwear! Juliana shouting in French and playing that game where you plunge the knife between your splayed fingers and hope you don't stab yourself. Evan Dando yawning a lot and being objectified. Freda Love and John Strohm playing that game where you put your hands on top of the other person's hands and hope they don't slap you. One time in college John Strohm gave me a handful of cashews and almonds on a street corner In Rhode Island. It would have been cool to be a grownup when it was still 1990.

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Daily Tarot Cards

I started pulling daily Tarot Cards on Wednesday. I was going to see Weed Hounds play in McCarren Park but I had a few minutes before I needed to leave so I thought, Oh, maybe I should pull a daily tarot card? (Is it called Pulling?!) I bought Bea Nettles' beautiful Tarot Card deck in the winter but honestly I have barely touched them. I picked the 4 of Swords. It said I needed to rest which was true. I had just spent 4 days in a house in Rhode Island with 11 adult humans and 1 toddler human and 1 baby human. All of these humans I love dearly but I desperately needed an Introvert Reboot. I decided I'd leave after the hounds and just come home and rest. I didn't do that. I hung out. I had a beer. I had a vegan empanada. Then I had chips and guac and tacos and a marg. I didn't come home very late but I also did not rest at all. 

On Thursday I pulled the 3 of cups which was all about Friendship. Oh, good! I totally hung out with my friends instead of resting the night before because I actually also needed the joy of these pals. This one is also about helping friends. I'm not sure if I really helped anyone yesterday but I do try to be as helpful as I can to buddies in general. After work I went and got a facial (REST!) and I think I feel asleep during it. I came home and made pesto. I did not do anything else. I rested. 

This morning I pulled the 10 of cups which is about peace & joy & family. So, we'll see. 


Every Song I Love: "Cool It Down" by the Velvet Underground


I heard "Cool It Down" by the Velvet Underground for the first time on a Friday afternoon in the spring, standing at a sink in a bathroom in a restaurant, wearing blue eyeshadow, excited about a guy. The restaurant has marble tables and sells artisanal marshmallows and elaborately frosted moon pies, the eyeshadow's called Painkiller and sparkles in the sun. I took some pictures of my eyelids and listened to the song, which felt perfectly matched to my makeup and my mood: it was jubilant, which is a weird word and slightly embarrassing to type or say out loud. But I can't stop myself from thinking that word when I think of "Cool It Down" - it's just very much jubilant song, at least in the context of the Velvet Underground:

Now it's a few months later and I've listened to "Cool It Down" at least a few hundred times, but it still sounds so new to me. Here are some of the things I love most about it:

-how the vocals kick in right in the first second: no time to waste for old Lou! And I love how the vocals are layered or "overdubbed," or whatever the hell that's called. It's like Lou's singing with himself, which I think is sort of sweet of him. This is the first time it's ever occurred to me that Lou Reed might be described as "sweet."

-the line about Lou looking for Miss Linda Lee. "Miss Linda Lee" is a cool rock name; I picture her in hot white boots and wild eyes and a beautiful bouffant. I have no idea what Miss Linda Lee looks like to Lou, and I really don't care. "What Lou Reed looks for in a woman" is of little to no interest to me.

-the part when Lou spells the word love. He sings it like love is spelled "W-L-O-V-E," which is confusing and fun and kind of fucks with the whole Sesame Street vibe of using song lyrics for spelling practice. (Not that I'm not 110 percent into that whole Sesame Street vibe - I  wish more songs reminded me of Sesame Street. Songs with counting are so killer, too; I'd be very into more songs with a "Ladybugs' Picnic" kind of feel.)

-the part when Lou sings "Somebody's got the time-time," at the start of the second verse. Lou loves saying "time-time": he says it in "Sister Ray" too, and it's somehow both tough and whimsical. The complete lyrics to that part go:

Somebody's got the time-time
Somebody's got the right
All of the other people
Trying to use up the night

- and right now those are my favorite lyrics in the whole song/world. They make me think of this great point that Molly Lambert made about the Mad Men episode where Sally visits boarding school and that awful Rolo tries to put the moves on her. Molly wrote:

Sally should trust her own feelings, even if it means not fitting in with the teens all around her, who are so eager to have tried everything. She doesn't want new experiences just to have had them. She wants them to mean something too.

I felt really understood, reading those sentences, and I feel really understood when Lou Reed is judgy about the night-user-uppers. Being careless and thoughtless about what you do with your nights probably just kills your soul. I want romance and adventure for Sally Draper, and everyone else who's cool and into shit being meaningful, and I guess that includes Lou Reed.

I mean, say what you will about Lou Reed, but the dude's definitely way into "meaning."


Emily & I Ate At Hoof Raw Bar & It Was Pretty Awesome


Here is a photograph of Emily and I! It’s doing an amazing job of illustrating our relationship dynamic. Emily’s so “wild”! She really is. Usually, in relationships, I’m the “wild” one, but that just goes to show you how truly wild Emily is. I am comparatively innocent. I feel like if Emily and I were two of the Beatles, we’d be Ringo and George in 1975. She’d be Ringo on a bender in LA, and I’d be George in England gardening.

Emily and I work together. I am Emily’s boss, to be exact, which is very cool for Emily. Last night, Emily and I talked on the phone until 3 AM- she was drinking wine at her apartment; I was drinking bourbon at mine- and we decided that we are “girl code best friends.” Emily’s fiance was sleeping on the couch next to her, and she kept poking him awake and asking “Do you know what girl code best friends are? What are girl code best friends? What does girl code best friends mean?”- it was very funny for me. Obviously, her fiance didn’t know what girl code best friends are. No man can. 

I just wanted to take a second to shout out a couple of other cool moments from Emily and I’s friendship. We first fell in love last October, when we were standing behind a bar lining baskets with napkins and filling them with tortilla chips, and then we started saying “Basket. Basket. This is a basket. I’m touching a basket,” and thinking about how weirdly big of a part of lives baskets are, working at a Mexican restaurant, and then the word basket/concept of a basket became very funny to us, we were crying and laughing and saying “basket” over and over again- so that’s how it all began. With baskets.

A few weeks ago, after Father's Day dinner service, we ordered two desserts and ate them out of take-out containers in the kitchen; I’m not going to get too deep into it but it was definitely one of those moments where I stepped outside of myself and looked in on the situation and thought “This is why I write.” One day, I’m confident, I will write about that desserts-eating incident exuberantly and in great detail. Later that night, Emily rapped a medley of Will Smith songs- “Gettin Jiggy Wit It,” “Just The Two Of Us,” and “Miami.” Maybe I’ll write about that too, and win myself a fucking Booker Prize. 

Last Thursday, Emily and I went out for dinner at the Hoof Raw Bar. Have you ever heard of the Black Hoof? Probably not, if you’re not from Toronto, which you’re probably not. Well, it’s a restaurant. I don’t know. It’s very cool, and serves you all the nasty-sounding bits of the animal that imagining yourself eating make you feel like barfing, only in this case they’re some of the best things you’ve ever eaten, I think- I have no idea. We didn’t go there. We went to the Hoof Raw Bar, the Black Hoof’s sister restaurant across the street, which is the same general vibe and concept only with seafood, and brunch. We chose Raw Bar over regular Black Hoof mostly because Emily wanted us to drink tomato cocktails, and I am 1975 George Harrison- happy to drink a tomato cocktail, eager to chill and please.

Emily picked me up in her car and we parked in front of some ugly condos on Manning Avenue which looked like they were made of mahogany Tetris pieces. We walked to Raw Bar and ordered two tomato cocktails- we both had the English: “horseradish, gin, hot saue, worcestershire, curry, lime, tomato.” To be honest I wasn’t initially that jazzed on the concept of drinking tomato cocktails exclusively, I was just kind of “along for the ride,” but the English sure showed me who's boss: it is. It was like the Bloody Mary equivalent of the exact moment when you’ve just finished snorting a line of cocaine and you look out at the world in front of you and it’s exactly the same as it always was only sharper and harsher and you’re fucking psychotic and everything about this analogy’s pretty lame but also spot on the money and honestly what do I fucking care if anybody else ever does cocaine or not or decides to try cocaine because I wrote that sentence. If anything, try the English. The rim around the side was curry powder and I just wanted it to keep regenerating itself. The horseradish was very pronounced. I sort of relate to horseradish, on a conceptual level. I believe that I am "like" horseradish. 

The first dish we tried was a shrimp ceviche. I feel like it would be a cute thing to eat on a date. I feel like girls must look really lovable eating it. The person who invented the dish probably wanted it to be “playful” and “elegant.” It had some sort of jelly on the bottom of the dish that I remember liking but really it took us about two seconds to eat the whole thing so I didn’t have a ton of time to form any huge or meaningful opinions about it. I guess it was playful and elegant. It was hard to get all the components of the dish into one bite at the same time so a lot of my bites were like “This is a jalapeno” or “This is a piece of grapefruit.” I wish I could eat about fifteen times the amount of the portion mashed up in a big bowl with a side of the taro chips. I’d give it a rave review.


10 Life Lessons Learned From Fiona Apple's 'Idler Wheel...'


The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do by Fiona Apple came out at the end of June 2012. These are ten things it's helped teach me over the last year:  

i. Anxiety-free sleeplessness is the province of the adolescent and/or extraordinary. There's a good chance you've read all the interviews where Fiona Apple talks about how she doesn't sleep. Why doesn't she get a prescription for some goddamn sleeping pills, I wondered after like the third article, but I mostly get it: I'm weird about sleeping pills too. I have insomnia and my brain just bashes right through that Tylenol PM shit but I'm scared of the real stuff, Ambien or whatever. I'm a big baby about pills, medications, drugs in general.
        I think Fiona Apple's insomnia sounds pretty romantic, though. I like how she gets up and walks around in the night, I like that thing about her walking around Manhattan at five in the morning in the New York feature. I have sleep-maintenance insomnia (the kind where you fall asleep fairly easily but have a hard time staying asleep), and when I wake up I usually just lie there and wait for sleep to come back. And unless there's something exceptionally cool and wonderful going on in my life at the moment, that waiting is usually taken up by the worst and most anxiety-producing thoughts I can dredge up, which I understand to be typical of insomniacs. There is really nothing romantic about it for me.
       When I was a teenager I loved waking up in the middle of the night. I'd listen to CDs and make up stories in my head and never had much to worry about, since I was a child. It doesn't seem likely that insomnia will ever be lovely like that again, but I'm hopeful that it could become something a lot less lousy than what it is now. I have some idea that the more extraordinary your life is, the less awful your insomnia feels, because there's more freedom to how you live your days and thus less pressure to find your way back to sleep. That might be total nonsense, but two nights ago I had insomnia and after an hour of watching the ceiling I decided to get up out of bed, hang out on the porch for a bit, read a little, write some things down. It wasn't ideal but it wasn't terrible, and after another hour I fell back asleep, and slept for hours and hours, and woke up feeling good.
       At the moment my only other solution is to feel smug about my insomnia, and take some weird pride in the fact that sometimes I sleep like hell. Most of my favorite people are insomniacs and I'm happy to align myself with them. And I'm curious as to whether there are people who actually enjoy their insomnia, who feel like they get something good out of it. I want to start collecting people's "beneficent insomnia" stories and put them together in a tiny book, like a storybook, to keep beside your bed and read in the middle of the night.

ii. Jack White sings the song of my stupid/amazing heart. Before The Idler Wheel and Blunderbuss came out, I was thinking of writing something about whom I'd rather claim as the voice of my generation: Jack White, or Fiona Apple. I never wrote that post, partly due to the fact that "voices of generations" aren't things I actually believe to exist, and mostly because Blunderbuss didn't connect with me on too deep a level. But I do love the song "Love Interruption," and relate much more to it than I do to "Daredevil" from The Idler Wheel. I lean more toward the "Love Interruption" side of things, of going back and forth between wanting love to ruin me and deeply, compulsively, prohibitively fearing being ruined by love: 

        When Fiona sings "Don't let me ruin me" in "Daredevil," it worries me about as much as that halfway decent Pink song from the early 2000s - which is to say: it doesn't worry me very much at all. I'm pretty aces at self-preservation, and lines like "I don't feel anything until I smash it up" don't hit me too hard. I always catch a thrill from the bridge, though - the "GIMME, GIMME, GIMME what you got in your mind in the middle of the night" part, the way she shouts it like some endearingly psychotic kindergartener. It's such a good line to turn up loud and let smack against your chest and shake your heart, to really feel it and think how that's your truest self singing, even if it freaks you out a little bit. There's a bravery to that sentiment that's missing in Jack White's song, and I like to siphon off Fiona's courage there, for just those eight perfect seconds.

iii. "Gross" and "tender" can happen together. I think "Valentine" might belong to Adam from Girls forever for me. Adam is my favorite Girl, or at least he's tied with Jessa. The only time I ever "talk to the TV" is when something bad happens to him: like when Ray called him stupid when they went to Staten Island, I yelled at Adam to punch Ray in the face. And in the scene when Hannah's watching from outside the bar and Adam starts drinking again I went "Nooooooooo..." in a dumb weepy voice that was completely real, and the fact that "Valentine" was playing intensified my heartbreak in the best way.
       The whole thing of Adam dating that hot boring girl last season killed me a little. He was trying so hard to be a normal guy - but he can't be normal, because "you can't function as someone besides you are." Adam is right to self-identify as a creep, and even though I'm never quite sure whether or not I'm glad that Girls exists, I do appreciate the uniqueness of being repeatedly grossed out by a character but then rooting for him anyway. 
        My favorite Adam moment is his AA rant about Hannah not knowing how to use soap. I love that he calls Hannah "kid"; in some ways I feel like "kid" is the ideal pet name, although of course it depends on the source. Adam listens to No Age. He stole a dog. He doesn't like wearing shirts, and he's maybe dangerous. Adam is the tulip in the cup, the idea of which grosses me out all over again, but there's a tenderness to that gross-out. Sometimes "gross" and "tender" can happen together, like with little kids and real-life love. I admire and am in awe of people who aren't afraid of coming off ugly.

*That's a line from a sweet song by another person whose lyrics I often like to appropriate

iv. Tragic beauty is totally sustainable. "Jonathan" is my favorite song on The Idler Wheel right now. The line I love most is "You're like the captain of a capsized ship/But I like watching you live." That line excites me because there's so much possibility in it, whereas much of the rest of the album speaks to what's impossible. I also love how Fiona growls the italicized part of that lyric, and I wholly relate to her growling. There are certain men I like watching live too.
       Sometime last year my writing teacher asked me why I don't kill off this boy in my book - he's all hot and reckless and a little bit crazy, and killing him wouldn't be all that out of line. But I would never kill Jack: I want to watch him get older and older and fuck up more and more - but to also not fuck up sometimes, to sometimes be okay and sometimes be more wonderful than anyone else in the world, to have these tiny moments where he's beautiful as ever. I think it's interesting when sweetness and beauty and maybe even purity sustain or re-emerge when you think they've been beaten out of the person a long, long time ago. And maybe they were beaten out, but maybe they can come back? Shit just comes back to life sometimes, I really do think that. I mean, of course I'm fascinated by Kurt Cobain and bunches of other beautiful geniuses who self-destructed, but I'm one thousand percent more interested in the ones who stayed alive. I will always be a crazy believer in those kinds of boys. I used to worry it was juvenile, but now I think it's divine.