Thing of the Week: Tacos, Walnut Popsicles, Celebs


(beautiful taco picture by Teri)

My summer, weirdly, was tacos. Today is the last day of summer (Summer, in my opinion, begins on June 1st and ends on August 31st), and when I reflect back upon this summer of my life, I'll think "Oh, that was the summer when everything was tacos all the time," and I'll be  right. This summer was the summer when everything was tacos all the time. 

There were tacos this week because duh. If my week this week happened to be a part of this summer then there were tacos involved. There were tacos every week of this summer. 

La Carnita opened up at the end of my street at the beginning of summer and everyone talked about it and I didn't care about it but then I ate there and I cared about it. I ate there with Teri and it was a part of Teri's summer too. She blogged about it. I blogged about it. Everyone blogged about it. In the middle of summer I ate tacos at Grand Electric to see if it was as good as La Carnita and it wasn't. I never blogged about it, because what's the point of blogging about shitty tacos. I'm the kind of person who would basically eat anything in the entire world ever if it were on a plate in front of me and I couldn't even be bothered to finish eating two out of my three Grand Electric tacos. 

After I ate my dumb Grand Electric tacos I went back to La Carnita with Laura so I could taste good tacos again and in the middle of my meal I missed a phone call from a different Mexican restaurant asking if I could come in for an interview so I called them back but they didn't answer so I called them again the next day and then they didn't answer again and I went to the gym and when I came home from the gym they'd called me back, because that's how it works. If you ever want anyone to call you back, just go to the gym. The next day it rained and I had a job interview and later I drank a Corona at a shitty tavern alone when it was the Olympics. I watched the Olympics on a bar TV screen and I thought of London not Mexico because this summer, in addition to being the tacos summer, was the London Olympics summer. It seemed like it was a sign, the Olympics being in London, but I don't know if it was a sign or not yet. I hope it was. 

Three days later I got a job at the Mexican restaurant and on my first day there the sous-chef asked me "Are you always this quiet?" and in my head I saw that I could either tell the truth and say no or lie and say yeah. I lied and said yeah, and then I became quiet at my job. It's amazing. I never have to say anything or care anything about any of the things I said, because I never said them. Now summer is over and I'm quiet and "free tacos" are a thing that happens to me. I want to write a thousand novels about the most beautiful tacos I ate all summer but instead I'll squirrel those words away for later because it's fall and now I'm quiet. That sentence seriously in no way referred to oral sex. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Walnut Popsicles 

The other night I bought Michoacana walnut, coconut, and strawberry popsicles at Super King, which is this grocery store in Glendale where the produce is wicked cheap and they sell dried hibiscus (which tastes like Fruit Roll Ups) and all the shoppers are weirdly aggressive are apparently have zero issues with just ramming your body with their grocery carts when you're standing between them and the bushel of dinosaur plums.

The walnut popsicles are so good! Usually I think popsicles are bullshit: I'm an ice cream girl, I like my frozen treats milky-rich. The walnut  popsicles are so milky-rich, and I agree with the packaging when it tells us "OH! They are just so cute!" Those Bandi ice cream sandwiches are just so cute too but I didn't buy them, I just wanted to show you that adorbs little snowman and his jaunty hat and broom. SUMMER WILL NEVER DIE.


Since Saturday I’ve been sick with this incredibly annoying cold. I’ve spent the entire week blowing my nose, drinking tea, sneezing, hocking something up, drinking water, working anyway, not sleeping, and touching my face to feel sinus pressure.  Amidst all of this I have looked to celebrities to provide me with moments of relief and joy. On Tuesday I smiled at Brooke Sheilds while I was sitting with bleach on my head. Later that night I took a photo of Jeff Goldblum with a bagel from the opening credits of the season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent he stars in. I couldn’t deal with holding the 1,000 pound Vogue in a position so I could read it but I did look at the GaGa photos. I watched Madonna: Truth or Dare and wanted more of her & Sandra Bernhard hanging out but I took what I could get. That Woody Allen documentary IS really good! Diane Keaton is so fantastic! I really loved that she makes Woody laugh more than anyone.  I’m looking forward to watching part 2 and seeing how they handle the dirt. I wish I was also reading a celeb memoir to round this out, but I’m not. I’m reading The Group, like Betty Draper.




I abandoned the plan, guys. I abandoned the plan this week.


I lived with anorexia for three years of my life, and it SUCKED. Not for one single second of those three years did it ever stop SUCKING, and I'll never stop writing about what those three years felt like because I'll never stop being blown away by how insane it is that I once did that to myself. And I'll never stop writing about those three years because I'll never stop writing my life down, because every time something in my life starts feeling terrible, I realize that the terrible comes from its reminding me of those three awful years. And deciphering that connection is how I've come to know it's time to stop doing whatever it is I'm doing, and this week, my plan became that. I always will have been the person who did that to myself, and that impulse to obsessively lord over my own actions, to restrain and restrict so I suffer- that's my shit. It'll always come back up. And I'm realizing as I get older that it'll never go away, that the best I can do is get better and better at noticing it really fast. 


STONED MOVIE REVIEWS: The Lion King!!!!!!1


My friend Erin and I like getting stoned and watching movies together. We're really good at it.

"Stoned Movie Reviews" is our column where we tape-record ourselves getting high and and watching a movie and then I share our night's finest moments with the world because it is important that we use this incredibly refined skill of ours to benefit the greater good. Our inaugural stoned movie review was of Good Will Hunting and I highly recommend you read it not only because it's killer but also because we spent a LOT of watching The Lion King relating The Lion King to Good Will Hunting and this week's SMR will be way less fun to read if you don't know who "Lambeau" is

(ABOVE: Erin & I traversing the savannah (that's a metaphor!!!)- I'm the baby because I'm younger)


LJ: How old were you- what was your life like- when The Lion King came out? Like, too old? 
ERIN: What was my life like? Is that what you asked me?
LJ: Well, mostly I just want to know how old you were.
E: Yeah, I was too old for it. 1994. I was way too old. 
LJ: You were eighteen?
E: No, sixteen.
LJ: That’s when our age difference really reveals itself.
E: You were nine?
LJ: Nine.
E: Holy shit!
LJ: But it was so… I feel really grateful. I was the perfect age. 
E: Yeah! No, I would too. But I do enjoy The Lion King, like, sixteen… you can still get into it. 
LJ: The Lion King was an event
E: It crossed boundaries.
LJ: The whole world loved that movie! The whole world came together, to love The Lion King.
E: Yeah! Like, back when Disney movies mattered.
LJ: I feel like The Lion King was the climax, or like... the beginning of the end. Of Disney’s relevance. And I was, like, nine, and I remember, it was so exciting and cool! And then the next one came out and it was shitty Pocahontas and I… expected such great things of it. And it was such a let-down. And then it just fell apart, Disney. Actually, I kind of liked The Hunchback of Notre Dame- 
E: I’ve never seen it. 
LJ: You were much too old. 
E: Much too old.
LJ: You were in college. You were, like, smokin’ a doobie, drinkin’ Jello shots-
E: Watching Hunchback of Notre Dame! I would have! I would’ve done that, if somebody had suggested it. 
LJ: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, that’s exactly what you’re doing right now.
E: It’s who I am.


8 Things I Want Really Bad Right Now

1. I want someone to tune my guitar and I want to be at least three times better at guitar so I can play "Opinion" by Kurt Cobain whenever I'm feeling angsty and restless. The last person to tune my guitar was the heavy metal drummer of my "Jigsaw Puzzle" story, and that was in 2003. I want to play "Opinion" by Kurt Cobain while wearing my fake-leopard-fur coat and white sunglasses like Kurt. 

2. I want the Marijuana perfume from Rich Hippie. Sometimes I have these moments where I'm like "Just do it, just get it, treat yo self." And then I go through the whole Rich Hippie checkout process and get to the shipping part and the cheapest shipping option is $35, i.e. the same cost of the perfume itself, and I just can't go through with it. I want to wear marijuana perfume and coconut oil at the same time and listen to John Frusciante's cover of "Moist Vagina" by Nirvana, the part where he screams "MARIJUANAAAAAAAAAAA" over and over. It's from the era when John was mostly dead, but it makes me feel so alive.

3. Courtney's dress and lipstick:

4. "Just What I Needed" by The Cars came on the radio this morning and the line that goes "It doesn't matter where you've been as long as it was deep" really struck me. That's such a chill and enlightened and generous sentiment; it's so romantic. And I love that he expects her to have been deep places -- I think it's important to have high expectations of whomever we're letting into our lives. The point I'm getting at is: I kinda wanna date a "Ric Ocasek guy," a guy who's Ric Ocasek-esque.

5. Basically I just want life to be exactly like "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." I want to be Jerry Seinfeld so I can eat pancakes with Larry David and sandwiches with Alec Baldwin and we can joyfully shit-talk each other and come to cool realizations like Jerry Seinfeld's point about how a dining companion's choice of food affects the mood of the meal. I've watched "Larry Eats A Pancake" about a million times in the past couple weeks; I generally play it while doing my makeup/straightening my hair and it's so stress-reducing and weirdly heartwarming: I love how you can really feel the affection they've got for each other. Also I relate so intensely when Larry says the thing about "I can't believe this is how people live" after eating the pancake. And the spit-take is exquisite, it gets me every time.

6. Chevy Chase in 1975. I mean, really:

7. I want there to be a magic tunnel between Los Angeles and New York City, a tunnel that makes it so it only takes like three seconds to travel back and forth between the two. I don't much adore the city itself, and whenever I'm there I'm always doing things like getting on the subway wrong and riding a really long time before I realize I'm going in the opposite direction I'd intended, but I love my New York people so immensely and I want to see them all the time. Also I want easier access to the coconut pancakes at Purity Diner.

8. This Emily Miranda bracelet:

xo Liz


Thing of the Week: My Darjeeling Limited Tote Bag, Looking Like Mick Jagger, Making Dinner & Listening to David Rakoff Tell Stories

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: My New Darjeeling Limited Tote Bag 

One morning at the beginning of July, around the time Liz & I posted our Darjeeling Limited post, I woke up at 5:30 AM, because at the beginning of July my job sucked and my life sucked. I was deliriously eating cereal and looking at Clash totes on eBay but none of them were cool. "I wonder if there's such a thing as a Darjeeling Limited tote bag?" I wondered, so I Googled "darjeeling limited tote bag," found this Etsy shop, and impulse-bought the tote seen above. I didn't get in the mail until yesterday, the same day that Liz blogged about Wes Anderson- how cosmic! So now I have a Darjeeling Limited tote bag, and I'm super-into it. I never thought I'd own a purse with a picture of Owen Wilson's face on it. 

PS: In other Wes Anderson-related news from yesterday, last night I was on the phone with my dad and I asked him how the Kinks were perceived in the sixties and early-seventies, because that's something I'm confused about. "Were they part of the popular discourse?" I asked him, "Was 'Waterloo Sunset,' like, on the radio?"

"They were more of a cult thing," said my dad, "I remember I took a music appreciation class, and there was one guy in it who really liked the Kinks. I didn't care about the Kinks; I was only listening to early music at the time. They were definitely hipper to like than the Beatles, but... there was more esoteric stuff out there." I asked him if they were like Weezer, and he said they were cooler than Weezer, which is good news. I feel really guilty about comparing the Kinks to Weezer, but I meant Pinkterton-era Weezer, at least. My dad then suggested they might be comparable to REM in the late-eighties, only a little bit weirder. "Were like they Sonic Youth? Only less experimental?" I asked. My dad said "Maybe." Then I was like "Wait- were they like Wes Anderson movies?" and my Dad said "YES." and that settled it. The Kinks were the late-sixties equivalent of Wes Anderson movies. Face to Face is Rushmore, Village Green is The Royal Tenenbaums, and Lola Versus Powerman is The Darjeeling Limited- obvs. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Looking Exactly Like Mick Jagger

See, aren't we just the same? Totally separated at birth. I got my shirt at this Etsy shop and the first time I wore it was at a birthday party in Laurel Canyon where I swung on a swing while drinking pink wine. And speaking of me and Mick Jagger, today's one of the last days my story's going to be the top story on Storychord, so you should definitely go read that and ask yourself the very important question Does Mick Jagger have a soul? 

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Making Dinner & Listening to David Rakoff Tell Stories

On Tuesday I had to do laundry. A LOT of laundry. It was shitty. After I finished I came home and made dinner while listening to The This American Life episode “Our Friend David”, compiling stories from David Rakoff.  When David Rakoff passed away a few weeks ago I was really upset. I don’t actually know him at all, he was not a friend obviously, but I loved him. I deeply relate to his whole pessimist/ so moved by art and beauty/being hilarious/in love with New York thing.  The day I found out he died I spent a lot of the day staring at this gorgeous panoramic view of Mars and thinking about Mars and other planets and death. It was all very emotional. I was also at my desk in a basement with gross lighting.
            Listening to his stories while making dinner and drinking vinho verde felt really right.  He was serious about food. I am too. He talked in one of the stories about having these quick moments where you can feel what the rest of your life is going to be like and I feel like I feel those sometimes with wine and cooking. And on certain fall evenings when it’s dark outside but it’s warm inside and you see a reflection of a lamp in the window. 
            I made pasta with a huge amount of orange cherry tomatoes and yellow plum tomatoes and capers and garlic and shallots. It was really good.


FOXYGEN IS SO GOOD! (Plus: 5 Bands That Wes Anderson Made Me Love More Than I Ever Did Before)


There's a new band called Foxygen and I love them a lot. They're little babies (22) and their songs are scrappy and sweet and not of this century and I bet they're going to sound really good in the fall. Yesterday I bought their EP Take The Kids Off Broadway and read the entire feed of a Twitter account called Ghost Facts (sample Tweet: "The ghost is the closest currently-existing evolutionary relative of the snowman") and thought how satisfying it will be to listen to Foxygen and read Ghost Facts in about a month and a half, when the air's a little blustery and it makes sense to drink pumpkin coffee and eat your apples with candy corn.

You can listen to Take The Kids Off Broadway here. Here's a song called "Waitin' 4 U":

One thing to note about Foxygen is their bio says they're the "raw, de-Wes Andersonization of The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Velvets, Bowie, etc. that a whole mess of young people desperately need." That's a compelling point to make in a bio, and I absolutely see what the bio-writer's driving at -- but in the end, the goo-goo-eyed optimist in me rejects the notion that kids today think of The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, and David Bowie as "those dudes with the songs in Wes Anderson movies." Also, and more importantly, the way Wes Anderson uses music in his movies tends to intensify my love for the band/artist at hand, which is kind of wonderful. He elevates every song, and I cherish him for that. Here's a few nice examples:

1. THE ROLLING STONES. I started obsessively loving The Rolling Stones when I was 24. If you made a little pie chart of all the factors that contributed to the onset of that obsession, about 33 percent would be taken up by my parents (and, in particular, the time my dad and I were in the car and I was like seven-years-old and he said to me, "A lot of people think the greatest song of all time is 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin. But it's not. It's 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' by The Rolling Stones"), 37 percent would go to having recently broken up with a really great guy and feeling totally all right about it, 29 percent would have to do with just being a person who loves rock-and-roll music in general, and the remaining 1 percent would belong to Wes Anderson. The first Rolling Stones record I bought was Aftermath, which has the song "I Am Waiting," which is in the movie Rushmore. "I didn't know The Rolling Stones sounded like this sometimes," I thought the first time I saw Rushmore. Wes Anderson is exceptionally good at helping you uncover little hidden things like that.

2. THE WHO. In high school there was a thing with a boy who loved The Who. On our first "real date" we went to see our friend's band play and in the car on the way there we listened to Live At Leeds, which had just come out on CD. It's generally not all that sexy to be deeply passionate about The Who, The Who just aren't a very sexy band, but I thought it was exciting that this boy chainsmoked and played guitar and was a whole year older than me and kind of a stoner. Now when I listen to "A Quick One, While He's Away" I always play the Live At Leeds version and think of that car ride and of Max Fisher walking out of the elevator, lugging his beekeepers box, pulling his gum from his mouth and sticking it to the wall. I just watched that part all over again and it totally gave me the chills. 




I am quitting smoking by incrementally reducing the amount of cigarettes I smoke per day and documenting my weekly progress on this blog. 


Week 3 (August 15th- August 21st, 2012)- 11 cigs per day 
Week 4 (August 22nd- August 28th, 2012)- 9 cigs per day 
Week 5 (August 29th- September 4th, 2012)- 7 cigs per day 
Week 6 (September 5th- September 11th, 2012) 6 cigs per day 
Week 7 (September 12th- September 18th, 2012) 5 cigs per day
Week 8 (September 19th- September 25th, 2012) 3 cigs per day 
“Week” 9: (September 26th, 2012- September 30th, 2012) 2 cigs per day (This week lasts 5 days because months are strange lengths)
“Week” 10: (FOREVER!!! THE ETERNAL MONTH!!!) 0 cigs per day! 

Week 1's entry features a lengthy preamble explaining exactly why I'm quitting smoking so click away if you missed it the first time around, and Week 2 is also a good read. As follows is the tale of Week 3.

Day 15 (August 15th, 2012)

I was scared to wake up in the morning and have it be 11 cigs but then I remembered I have a job now so everything is fine. I smoked 4 cigarettes during the day leading up to work, and stood next to a guy with 3 prison tears on the subway. We're allowed to run outside for a smoke during work if it's slow but I made a rule for myself that I'm never ever going to do that. I may as well just cut it out of the equation. The chef went outside to smoke twice and both times she came back in I could smell her smoke smell as if I were a non-smoker and it grossed me out. I can't believe I smell like that. I can't believe I've ever bothered spending any money on expensive perfume when it's so obvious all I smell like is an ashtray that got rained on. This sentence I am writing is an open apology to everyone who's ever had to stand next to me in an elevator. 

When I got off work I sat on the stoop outside the travel agency and smoked a cigarette and it was very refreshing. When I got off the train it was nearly eleven and I still had six cigarettes left so I smoked one walking home even though I didn't really need or want it. I got home and checked the Internet and watched an episode of LOST and smoked a cigarette and went to bed. I smoked 7 cigarettes that day, the least amount of cigarettes I've ever smoked in a day since I was a toddler! 

I went to bed and had the craziest insomnia. I lay up fretting until 3 AM. What's funny is that I never once considered going outside to smoke a cigarette. I sat in bed eating dried pineapple chunks out of the palm of my hand and making up stories about what Ray Davies would tell me if I asked him what John Lennon was like. I wonder if I would have fallen asleep easier if I'd smoked but I never want to think about it again or else I may start rationing myself an in-case-of-insomnia cigarette and that sounds like major defeatist-attitude behavior. I'm not looking forward to the next night I have crazy-insomnia and start freaking out about whether I should waste one of my tomorrow's cigarettes on soothing my nerves or not. Now that I've put the idea into my head and all.  


So How Are YOU Going To Celebrate Joe Strummer's Birthday?

Today is Joe Strummer's sixtieth birthday. I wish Joe Strummer were alive so he could have refused to play London Calling at the stupid Olympics and said something smart and awesome about it. I wish Joe Strummer were alive for a number of other reasons. 

I am going to celebrate Joe Strummer's birthday by rolling my eyes at a cop if I see one. I'm going to listen to Clash City Rockers a hundred times and think about how grateful I am that Joe Strummer wrote the sentence "I wanna liquify everybody gone dry" in addition to the great many other extraordinary sentences Joe Strummer wrote that changed my life forever. I have the day off today, which is appropriate. I don't think that any human should ever have to go to work on Joe Strummer's birthday. I'm going to book Joe Strummer's birthday off work every day for the rest of my life. 

If you can't think of anything to do on Joe Strummer's birthday that properly honors his legacy, here are some stories I wrote about some songs Joe wrote that you could read: Janie Jones, Cheat, Rudie Can't Fail, Lose This Skin, and Straight To Hell. And if you're not in the mood to read, all I ask is that you take maybe five minutes out of your day to think very hard about life and death. I think it would make Joe Strummer very happy, if we all could just do that. 


Pictures Of My Life, August 16 - August 20 (by Liz)

I'm in Massachusetts and last Thursday I took the bus down to New York City to see lots of people I love, including our friend Laura Fisher, who hosted a gorgeous party on the stoop of her building in Brooklyn. There was pink wine and Twizzlers and so much cheese and I brought chocolate-covered ancho/chipotle tortilla chips I got from Vosges, and we ordered Thai food and drank some beer and decided we're all going to be a sitcom in which most of the dialogue consists of our buddy Katie saying her catch phrase ("Ya get whatcha pay for!") over and over and over again. Here is me and Laura being cute -- look how lustrous her hair is! Look how it catches the light.

In preparation for Laura hangtime I watched some weird interview with Mary Timony from like 1997, which I'll tell you about later, and screencapped the hell out of the video for "Honeycomb." I like this filmstill and totally relate to it:

Due to magical traffic and other terrible things, my trip back to Massachusetts on Friday took about eight hours instead of four hours, and I hadn't slept much and I got motion sickness and generally felt like I was dying. I tried to pacify myself by pretending I was swimming in a freshwater pool and/or eating chicken pho, which was intermittently effective. I also attempted the crossword from the fashion issue of New York, but only got this far:

And then I read the article about Jane Pratt and re-confirmed that my "emotional age" is 25 (i.e., the age at which I moved to Los Angeles) and learned who Cat Marnell is, which set off this whole thing of Cat Marnell popping up everywhere in my life. I've got mixed feelings, but I will say I think it's cool that she's very passionate about the sky being pretty.


The Most Fantastically Ridiculous Text Message Conversation I've Ever Had The Misfortune of Participating In


When I worked at Starbucks this guy named Ben would come in really early on Saturday mornings and flirt with me aggressively. One morning I asked him his name because it was my fucking job to write people's names on their cups but I don't think he understood that that was a thing about Starbucks. I think he thought I genuinely wanted to know. He asked me my name too, and then every time he came in forever he'd say my name so many more times than was necessary and quiz me on whether I remembered his name or not. I kept forgetting it and told him I'm bad with names, which is not true of me. I'm amazing with names, I just had no reason to remember his, because he meant nothing to me. He said, "I'm bad with names too, unless I have a reason to remember them" and then raised one eyebrow suggestively like a regular James fucking Bond. It was gross but he was pretty old so I thought he might be rich and therefore half-heartedly flirted back. Also when it's 7:30 on a Saturday morning and you're working at a Starbucks you definitely 100% want to kill yourself so an average-looking man who annoys you being flirtatious is pretty much the best thing you've got going. He had this weird in-joke he made up with me where he'd ask for whipping cream to put in his coffee and then say, "It's your fault, Laura! You got me addicted to this stuff!" and I imagined myself saying "What the fuck? How the fuck is this my fault, Ben? I never once in my life said anything about whipping cream to you ever. You just came in one day and asked me for it and I gave it to you because that's my job and now you're acting like I've got you 'hooked' and am to some degree invested in your putting whipping cream in your coffee when I am not and you're not cute. This doesn't have anything to do with me."


The SFW Survey: Which Song Do You Most Closely Associate With The First Time You Fell In Love?

Here's our new thing: we're asking everyone in the world to answer song-related questions for us so that we can share your responses on Strawberry Fields Whatever and then all get to know each other so much better. Our next question is "Which song never fails to make you cry?" If you'd like to answer, please email your response here (letitbebeautiful at yahoo dot com), sometime before September 1st. Unfortunately, we will not be able to publish every submission we receive. (Our most sincere apologies go out to everyone who submitted to this week's round under the impression that all responses would be featured on SFW. We were overwhelmed with submissions and have decided to cap off all SFW Survey entries at 25 writers in the name of not crashing our blog. We loved reading all the words you wrote us and hope you will submit again.)


The November I was nineteen a boy mailed me a mix CD which came in a case he'd made out of corrugated cardboard. I'd never kissed him, and I'd only met him once, but I anticipated loving him and I was right about that. I would love him. 

I had a different boyfriend when I first met him, a Hungarian skateboarder with slammin' inguinal ligaments; I hated him. He called me seventeen times in a row while I was stoned and playing Monopoly with my roommates. I finally picked up, broke up with him, he threatened to kill himself, I didn't believe him, hung up, nobody died, he's definitely still alive, and I went back to playing Monopoly. Once we bought a cake shaped like a football and when he grinned up at me his teeth were blue from the icing and that was when I knew I hated him. Learn to eat your cake like a proper fucking grown-up. 

I broke up with Blue Teeth for Corrugated Cardboard. Blue Teeth had painted me a painting and I threw it out my window. It snowed all winter and when I found the canvas in the springtime all the paint had washed off. Corrugated Cardboard took me out to see The Life Aquatic on Boxing Day and our knees touched, it was a magnificent two-and-a-half hours of knee-touch. I remember nothing of that movie; I was paying too much attention to his knee. We kissed for the first time three weeks later on his patio with a red felt blanket draped round our shoulders like a cape. We stayed together for three and a half years. That same red blanket was lying on the couch the night we broke up.

I lived in New York and he lived a nine hour drive or a twelve hour bus ride or a two hour flight away from me. When you're nineteen you are stupid and believe that loving a boy who lives kind of faraway is the most tragically unfair circumstance that any human being has ever encountered ever. It's grey out and you're wearing a white sweater and you'll allow yourself to believe that this is the worst it will ever get, and you'll be wrong about that. The only time I ever fell in love and I spent the whole thing sobbing. 

"Chariots Of Silk" by Tyrannosaurus Rex was the second song on my mix CD and that November it was my only song. It's the saddest-sounding song that isn't sad- it plays like an elegy, but it's about moose and frogs (who aren't dying). I never once stopped to think that maybe it wasn't sad. I was sad so I wanted it to be sad too. I only bothered to look up the lyrics for the first time last February, when I realized Marc Bolan is my brother. The words go Stone jars stacked with stars on her shoulders/ Hunters of pity she slew and those words are so perfectly, exactly what I'd love for all lyrics to go like, those lyrics are so me to me. 

Me to me enough to sever their association with a period of my life that I resent myself for squandering. Youth wasn't wasted on me but love was. 

-Laura Jane

Electric Honey by Luscious Jackson came out the same week I met the second boy I ever fell in love with. We worked together at a big-deal alternative newsweekly in Boston -- it was my first job after college and I was the receptionist and he was a graphic designer; let's call him Jason. On lunch break I'd go to the convenience store/deli across the street with the other receptionists and we'd eat sandwiches and they'd chainsmoke Marlboro Lights and we'd gossip about all the boys in the office. The rest of the day, I was stuck at the front desk and sometimes J would bring me presents, like paper bags full of Skittles and Starburst and Sour Patch Kids. On Fridays after work we'd drink beer at the bar downstairs. It was the middle of summer and Fenway Park was next door and the streets were full of yelling boys but my boy was very quiet, and smarter than everyone, and funnier than everyone, the best kind of goofball-funny, and he was tall and kind with the softest skin and the nicest shoulders I've ever known.

By the end of summer we were an item and our third "real date" is the one I remember most vividly. It was a Friday and after work we walked down to Newbury Street and walked around for a while, then went out for Thai food and beer and Thai iced tea. After dinner we took the train to Little Italy and bought a box of cannolis and went down to the water and ate the cannolis and kissed a lot. We took a cab home and kissed in the cab and then kissed at his house, to Electric Honey by Luscious Jackson.

I only ever listen to four songs from that album now, but each of those four is so beloved by me, especially "Devotion." It's midtempo and lazy and shimmery and sweet, with lyrics about skies and rockets and shared understanding. There's also repeated lyric where Jill sings about being an "underwater fraulein," which make no sense but still means a lot, because the mood is so right: it's sweet and bighearted and hopeful and grateful, sexy in an chill and easy sort of way -- like it's got nothing to prove. All through the song there's this cool and almost-dopey sense of surrender and I guess that's why I'll treasure it forever. We had a really good two years.


Sleater-Kinney - "Leave You Behind"





I am quitting smoking by incrementally reducing the amount of cigarettes I smoke per day and documenting my weekly progress on this blog. 


Week 2 (August 8th- August 14th, 2012)- 13 cigs per day 
Week 3 (August 15th- August 21st, 2012)- 11 cigs per day 
Week 4 (August 22nd- August 28th, 2012)- 9 cigs per day 
Week 5 (August 29th- September 4th, 2012)- 7 cigs per day 
Week 6 (September 5th- September 11th, 2012) 6 cigs per day 
Week 7 (September 12th- September 18th, 2012) 5 cigs per day
Week 8 (September 19th- September 25th, 2012) 3 cigs per day 
“Week” 9: (September 26th, 2012- September 30th, 2012) 2 cigs per day (This week lasts 5 days because months are strange lengths)
“Week” 10: (FOREVER!!! THE ETERNAL MONTH!!!) 0 cigs per day! 

Week 1's entry features a lengthy preamble explaining exactly why I'm quitting smoking so click away if you missed it the first time around. As follows is the tale of Week 2.

Day 8 (August 8th, 2012)

13 sounded so much harder than 15 and I was right, it was hard, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t that much less hard. It was maybe 3% less hard than I’d expected. 

I smoked 2 cigarettes in the morning and had therapy in the afternoon. I challenged myself by only bringing 1 cigarette on my journey. I smoked half of it before therapy and half of it after. I walked all the way there, and all the way back. I bought a Mocha Coconut Frappuccino Light and the chick forgot to put the mocha in and then was a giant bitch to me when I asked her to make it again. That’s irrelevent, but seriously, what a shitty person & barista that girl is.

I didn’t walk straight home. I went for a serious wander and by the time I wandered back to my neighbourhood I wanted to fucking DIE. The air felt like living inside a blister and my shoes were eating up my feet. I really overestimated my own ability to not smoke for three hours. I was fiending. I was foaming at the mouth. Fiending for a smoke- for everybody’s who’s never experienced it- is one of those things like being hungry or tired or sexually frustrated only with more of an emphasis on feeling like your whole body is made of violin strings tuned too tight. I’ve never fiended that hard. It felt worse than all the times I’ve flown across the ocean because I used to bring Nicorette on plane trips and also this was self-imposed and I didn’t get the payoff of landing in London to justify the hellishness. The cigarette I smoked when I got home was one of the best cigarettes I’ve ever smoked in my life. It was like being found.

I came upstairs and had a mini-emotional breakdown about quitting smoking but then I bucked up like the buckaroo I am and the rest of the day was fine. I made it through two hours of a beer on a patio AND a meal of Mexican food with only 1.5 cigarettes! Two weeks ago that would have taken me at least 6. At the end of the night Erin and I were chilling on my front lawn and I realized I had so many cigarettes left over so I had a nice little binge of 3 in an hour and a half. By the time I was getting myself ready for bed I realized I’d only smoked 11. So instead of 1 pre-bed cigarette I smoked 2 in a row. Probably counter-productive but it’s only going to get harder and harder so I’ll take what I can get. If I’m allowed to smoke 13 I’m fucking smoking 13. Goodnight.