Stuff I Like Today

Documentary Now!  One of the zillion television shows I’ve wanted to watch. I finally got started last week, since we saw Fred Armisen’s show the other night (more on that later). Documentaries rule. Parodies rule. A series consisting of documentary parodies = genius. Great cast & expertly executed, regardless if it’s Bill Hader & Armisen taking the main roles, or if it’s the current star studded lineup. Favorites currently are “Sandy Passage”, “Gentle and Soft”, “Final Transmission”, and “Batshit Valley”. Have some champagne filled coconuts:

Grant, by Ron Chernow From the guy who brought you the book that inspired the musical Hamilton! Yep, our favorite Pulitzer winning author is back with another biography, and this time it’s Civil War general/Don Henley look alike Ulysses S. Grant!  I’m not very far into the book, but so far it is a gripping tale of a very smart, awkward, prone to drinking man who is a surprisingly good military leader. Who also is really really bummed that he can’t be with his beloved lady Julia, because he keeps getting sent to far off places. And working with many fellows who’ll end up his enemies. I’m really enjoying this biography, because most knowledge I have of Grant was during the Civil War and told to me in Shelby Foote’s voice. I know close to nothing about his later days as a President.

John Mulaney This man is a comedy treasure. He hosted SNL last night, he’s been doing shows with sometimes-troubled Pete Davidson, appears on the aforementioned Documentary Now!, loves his wife and his dog, Petunia, and is a pleasure to have in the pop culture universe. Feast your eyes upon Bodega Bathroom:

I’m still on that Lady Gaga stanning. Nope, I can’t get over the fact that Gaga won an Oscar last weekend, and THAT SHALLOW PERFORMANCE. I watch it to remind me that I am a human being with stupid feelings.

Also, feel free to do your dishes or laundry, or get in your car and have fun with this playlist I made:

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Press Coverage For The Mysterious Photos

Back on Christmas, I posted this blog about some mysterious pictures that showed up at my mom’s house the day before. It was very odd, and it felt like something that needed resolution ASAP. You see, my family (meaning me and my parents) moved to Virginia back in 1983, thanks to the Navy. Everyone in my immediate family hails from the great state of Massachusetts. My paternal grandparents, uncle, and great grandmother moved down here in the late 1980s and stayed for a while, but all of them have passed away apart from my grandmother (who moved back to MA). They wouldn’t possess any old photos belonging to my mother’s father anyway. SO WHAT THE HELL?! If someone discovered my mom through the ancestry websites she’s been frequenting, why the heck wouldn’t they contact her directly? Or leave a hastily scribbled note along with the photos? Why wouldn’t this person want to connect with her? Why did they go through the trouble of delivering them personally instead of mailing them? Were they worried they’d be rejected or shunned? Was it done on behalf of another person? Ugh, there are  a ton of questions that left unanswered, will haunt my mom (and me to a degree, since some rando knows where she lives and creeped these photos while she was at MY house).

My mom contacted the Virginian Pilot, our local newspaper, and it was covered on the front page.

I tweeted the Pilot article to some of my favorite journalists on our local television stations, and the very sweet Tom Schaad picked it up and did a story for WAVY 10:

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Check it out here.

I honestly just want some closure on this whole issue. We’re a really chill family who wouldn’t mind some new relatives here in Virginia Beach. My mom and dad are retired, and could use some excitement. A newfound family member/friend would be welcome! No shame or judgement here! Personally I am totally down for it. Even if it wasn’t a direct sharer of DNA who sneaked the pictures between the door knob & deadbolt at my beloved parents’ home, I want the TEA! Spill it, stranger! Whatever the backstory is, us Dressers are okay with it.

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Happy Birthday, War

 

U2’s third studio album, War, was released on this day in 1983. It was the start of international path to being the BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD. It took the #1 spot on the UK charts from Michael Jackson’s Thriller! How bonkers is that? Songs from this album gave me my first exposure to the band, although, I must admit: I wasn’t impressed. My nine year old MTV addicted self much preferred Michael Jackson videos to four depressed looking dudes singing in the snow and awkwardly riding horses.

Fortunately, my music taste broadened a few years later and I realized this band would be MY band.

War is a pretty raucous record, which is apt considering the title and theme. The singles  absolute classics (“New Year’s Day”, “Two Hearts Beat As One”, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”), but my favorite track is “Like A Song”.

This track not only features some beautifully raw vocals from Bono, but it ROCKS. And the lyrics are applicable……

And we love to wear a badge, a uniform,
And we love to fly a flag.
But I won’t let others live in hell,
As we divide against each other,
And we fight amongst ourselves.

 

A Magical Visit to New York City

We stayed at The Wellington Hotel again. 10 years ago, we booked a room there; don’t remember why exactly. I assume there was a good deal, and it’s located near all the cool stuff. After that trip, we discovered Borat stayed there in his movie. Nice!

We saw no reason to try another hotel on this trip, since it’s very much what I love about staying in the city: Confined spaces, cramped in a tall building. The shower almost boiled me alive, our Saturday night neighbors were partying hard, and I swear there was a rat colony building Barad-dur in our heater. What I mean to say is it was wonderful.

Our first meal happened on our way to “Middle-earth”. Fortunately, it was right next to Rockefeller Center, my favorite NYC locale. Always nice to gaze upon the source of all that NBC/SNL history.

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The restaurant in question was By Chloe. And holy moly, it was MOBBED. So unusual for us non-big city vegans to experience! We both got the Pesto Meatball sandwich and split some french fries. If we weren’t planning on a big fancy dinner later, we would have pigged out more here (their menu is chock full of tasty looking treats!), but our choice was delicious. The mix of veggies/mushrooms in the meatballs was perfect, and the condiments had heavenly flavor.

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We managed to snag a table in the packed dining area and enjoyed people watching as we nommed. Bliss. I hope we go back soon because I need to try their brunch menu.

Time to start our expected journey to the Morgan Library and Museum! I was delirious with excitement to see the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibit. To be in the same room as The Professor’s massive collection of poems, maps, photos, artwork, doodles, and memorabilia – I wanted to move in there.

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Tolkien’s hand drawn maps were so precise and detailed. Marvelous. His handwriting was too perfect to believe, no matter which language he was writing in. There were intricate shapes and symbols drawn on top of newspapers he was reading at the time. Stunning to look upon. Honestly, words fail to communicate what it felt like seeing such an assemblage of genius. If you appreciate J.R.R. Tolkien’s material like I do, be sure to check this out.

Dinner time! There were so many vegan places we wanted to experience in New York, but we decided to make Blossom our fancy meal destination. It’s in a cute townhouse, with a cozy atmosphere. The diners on both sides of us were very friendly; we ended up admiring and influencing each other’s meal choices! Our first course was the Chef’s Tasting Plate. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Quinoa sushi, deviled tofu (I didn’t know you could devil tofu! Brilliant!), fig bruschetta, seitan empanadas, and seaweed caviar canapes. Everything tasted so magical, I wanted to devour it quickly, but I made sure to take my time and savor the tastes.

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The nice woman to my right had the lasagna for an entreè so that’s what I had too, as it looked gorgeous. It didn’t disappoint. It’s intriguing how us humans (it also helps if you’re a gourmet chef) can create scrumptious dishes without a bit of animal flesh.

The next day was Cursed Child day! First time seeing a show ON BROADWAY! And it’s HARRY POTTER! I was filled with excitement for sure. We had some time to kill before heading to the theater, so we took a stroll around Central Park. There were SO MANY GOOD DOGGOS, most of them wearing snazzy coats. Because it was FREEZING. Well, to us anyway, due to not bringing the warmest of winter clothing. No doggos were photographed, but here are some pics of us and other things (mostly Strawberry Fields).

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We looked for the famous mandarin duck but it was nowhere to be found. *sad face*

Our next quest was FOOD. Sadly the restaurant we walked to was closed, but I did come across a hair salon named in my honor. I’m grateful, but please don’t ask me to do your hair.

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We ended up at Peacefood Cafe, which couldn’t have been more LOVELY. A nice and warm orange apple cider made all chilly perception vanish. I wolfed down the tofu scramble (best I’ve ever had no lie), greens, and potatoes. We also ordered some baked goods to snack on later. Fantastic.

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Feeling full and toasty back at the hotel, it was time to get fancy for Potter. Dress courtesy of Redbubble:

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It would have been silly to take a cab to the theater since it was a 15 minute walk, so yep, back out into the cold for us. My giddiness canceled out the wind chill, however. That and the Times Square sights (Fake Elmos and all – even the Naked Cowboy was doing his thing STILL). Oh snap, there’s the Lyric!

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Because the play itself is so special, I’m not going to say much about it. The only thing that does it justice is the experience, so GO. The story, music, acting, effects, choreography, production, costumes…. Just overwhelmingly breathtaking. So there’s that. I will share some stuff unrelated to the play that made the day so fun. First, we got to pose for photos with our house flags. Slytherin, represent! Oh, and Ravenclaw too.

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There was an usher who had the only job of herding ladies into a single file line for the bathroom during intermissions. He was both militant and fabulous. “Are you with someone? They need to be either in front of you or behind you.” Priceless.

I had a “frozè” in a Cursed Child souvenir cup. That’s frozen rosè, people. A wine slurpee. What a world.

What a world, indeed. But to be more precise, what a city. New York, you are so fantastical and magical on your own, but you’re so adept at surrounding me with the fictional environments I adore so much. I went to Middle-earth and Hogwarts along with Manhattan and Queens, and cherished every single second of it.

Quick Book Review: Stephen King’s Revival

“We came from a mystery and it’s to a mystery we go Maybe there’s something there, but I’m betting it’s not God as any church understands Him. Look at the babble of conflicting beliefs and you’ll know that. They cancel each other out and leave nothing. If you want truth, a power greater than yourselves, look to the lightning – a billion volts in each strike, and a hundred thousand amperes of current, and temperatures of fifty thousand degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a higher power in that, I grant you. But here in this building? No. Believe what you want, but I tell you this: behind Saint Paul’s darkened glass, there is nothing but a lie.”

The above quote says a lot about this novel. As a Constant Reader of Mr. King, I went into this one blind (only because I put off reading it for years and forgot the plot by the time I finally started it). I thought the little boy, Jamie, would be one of King’s “gifted kids” and Jacobs, the minister Jamie befriends, would be some kind of monster. Well, I wasn’t 100% wrong.

We see Jamie grow up to be a drug addicted musician who reunites with Jacobs at a very vulnerable moment that cements a forever connection between them. And boy does it get creepy after that. No spoilers from me, but believe me, this book’s climax is DARK AND EXTRA EVIL. Totally worth the slow build up. Kudos to Uncle Steve for yet another story with emotion and heart that will also scare the hell out of you.

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The Case Of The Mysterious Photographs

Last night (Christmas Eve), someone left these three pictures of my grandfather (Emile Cormier), taken during WWII when he was stationed on the USS Gratia in Philippines, wrapped around my parents’ doorknob while they were hanging out at my house. My mom recognized one of the pictures. I need to know who left these pictures and why. This is weird. The only thing I can think of is since Mom’s been on an Ancestry/23 & Me kick, maybe someone tracked her down from there? WHAT IS THE DEAL? Who does that?!

 

 

Breaking Down That Top Ten Albums Meme Part 2

Back in May, my friend Jennie tagged me in a Facebook meme. It went like this:

“I was nominated by So & So:
Day whatever of 10. In no particular order- your 10 all time favorite albums which really made an impact and are still in your rotation, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same. Today I nominate So & So.”

Check out Part 1 if you feel like it; not needed, but go for it.

So yikes, the next album I’m picking is a doozy: Revolver by The Beatles.

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Oy, how do you write about the freaking BEATLES? It’s all been written, photographed, opined, screamed at, etc. etc. etc. *holds nose and dives in*

Released August 5th, 1966. Right after Rubber Soul, right before Sgt. Pepper. The guys had enough of touring, and discovered the studio was a playground for creativity (of course George Martin and some acid helped, right?). The greatest band in the world was evolving into…. Ummm…. the SUPER GREATEST BEST GENIUS ROCK AND ROLL BAND IN THE WORLD.? Seriously, it’s very difficult to put into words how much I love them. ANYWAY.  Why did I pick Revolver? It only features one of my favorite songs of theirs (Tomorrow Never Knows, although Rain was recorded during these sessions). I guess for two reasons: 1. It’s a lovely collection of songs that reflect each member in an individual way, songwriting wise; a pretty decent premonition of things to come. 2. I have been fortunate to experience four of the 14 songs live!

It’s weird to say this, but I’ve seen Paul McCartney twice. Once as a 16 year old in Washington, D.C., and again a few years ago in Charlottesville, VA. At both concerts, he performed Got To Get You Into My Life and Eleanor Rigby (GOOSE BUMPS), and bonus Good Day Sunshine in 1990.

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Last year I was fortunate enough to see Richard Starkey himself, in Norfolk, VA. His All Starr Band was so fun; members of Toto, Mr. Mister, Todd Rundgren, among other awesome dudes. Naturally, Ringo performed Yellow Submarine, which was quite incredible. He may have pointed me out in the crowd and said something like “hello lady in red” that night too, but hey, no big deal. 23435196_155749355170327_9045370847788195341_n

Above, me, my dude, and my cute mom (who saw The Beatles in Boston Garden, in 1964) prior to Ringo shouting me out.

I consider myself EXTREMELY LUCKY to have seen two of the Beatles. Paul & Ringo are in their 70s, for shit’s sake, and they are still able to express the beauty and happiness their songs have given the world for the past (I’m not saying how many) years. I miss John and George desperately. Part of me is grateful they’re not around to witness the awful things happening in the world today, but a selfish part of me wishes they were here, since they’d obviously be making great music and helping us all cope.

 

What are your favorite Beatles albums/songs/members/movies/eras/solo stuff/WHATEVER? Comment away! I’d love to find out your Beatle faves!

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