"Miss O'Dell" by George Harrison Is My Favorite Song EVER


I have recently reached the conclusion that "Miss O'Dell" by George Harrison is my favorite song. I don't know if it'll be my favorite song forever, but I do hope that I never get so old I stop caring what my favorite song is. One thing I think that's very important in life is to always have favorites of things. Make sure that you are always super up on what is your favorite color, ice cream flavor, month, day of the week, animal, brand of bottled water, and literally every other single thing.

I like "Miss O'Dell," first and foremost, because it sounds good. It's got a lot of clicky, wooden percussion happening. In a shadow life I am a percussion player. At some point in my life I'd like to stand on a stage, or maybe in a room, and on that stage or table in the room would be every single percussion instrument. And then I'd play them all. 

The lyrics in "Miss O'Dell" are the perfect blend of positive and negative that all chill art should be. I guess it's important to me that art is "chill." Maybe not all art, but definitely my art. I just don't understand why you would waste your God-given gift of being an artist on being aggro but sometimes you can overwhelmingly feel people's aggro energy dispersing from their art and it's just, like, "Really? This is what you did with your life?" That's how I feel about Kim Gordon's art, for instance. And also John Grisham. Sorry. That's just my opinion. 

"Miss O'Dell" is the chillest art ever. Every lyric starts out a bit sour and critical but then falls apart into chillness. Sometimes he doesn't even get through the lyrics. He just starts laughing. It really makes you think about how much nicer it is to hear the sound of a person laughing that it does to hear a solo played by a technically-skilled guitar player. 

George Harrison wrote "Miss O'Dell" in LA. George Harrison wrote really great LA songs. I feel like LA did something really special for George Harrison, creativity-wise. 

It seems a little trite and boring-sounding to tear into every single lyric of this song and explain why it means something to me about myself. The general deal is that George Harrison doesn't have a lot of opinions about all the things that his peers have a lot of opinions about, and he is mostly chill about it. Sometimes bored. Mostly, he wants to call a girl. At the end he says the words Fill the fillmore in a glottal C&W impersonation and his Liverpool accent sounds very weird and also like a Pound Puppy and it's just about my favorite thing. He also says "pushing, shoving, ringing" in a very slow way that also sounds amazing. And then nothing else happens but he's in a fun mood and he wants a girl to call him, because duh. Someone you vaguely have a crush on calling you on the telephone when you're bored is one of the best case scenario things that could ever happen. Never forget about telephones, boys.


Thing of the Week: Chris Cosentino, Jack White & A Donut & Bobby from 'Twin Peaks,' Witchy Gifts

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Chef Chris Cosentino

Earlier this week I got sick, which was not my Thing of the Week. As a matter of fact it was the opposite- my “non-Thing of the Week,” if you will. It was boring and I hated it. I lay on my couch for two days straight, to a point where when I went to go sleep in my bed at night I had weird shooting pains through my lower back because my spine had creepily molded itself to the shape of my couch. Anyway, the best part of being sick was that it enabled me to watch an entire season of Top Chef: Masters in a day. I wish I could watch an entire season of Top Chef: Masters every day. I wish that Bravo produced 365 seasons of Top Chef: Masters per year. Top Chef: Masters is a wonderful show; it’s the same as regular Top Chef only with more famous and accomplished chefs, cooler judges, and Curtis Stone instead of Padma Lakshmi. One of the cheftestants (yeah I went there) was Chris Cosentino, my new favorite person in the world. Spoiler alert: Chris Cosentino wins Top Chef: Masters. Sorry to spoil it for you. But it’s okay- I knew Chris Cosentino won Season 4 of Top Chef: Masters before I watched any of Top Chef: Masters because he was a guest judge on regular Top Chef a few episodes ago and they told us that he won Top Chef: Masters, and it didn’t spoil it for me at all. It just allowed me feel even more invested in Chris Cosentino’s meteoric rise to the top than I already would have.

Anyway, I fucking love Chris Cosentino. He is the best human being. I agree with every single thing he ever says and does. First things first: he has dimples. They give him an air of affability that I feel, I guess you could say, enslaved by. He has a stupid goatee, but I forgive it so hard because it’s balanced out by cool glasses, and he’s kinda old so probably doesn’t know any better because he came of age in the 1990s when goatees were actually cool and can never shake his aesthetic attachment to goatees. They show about ten billion pictures of young Chris Cosentino as a hoodlum with bleached hair per episode. He looks like a JNCO-wearer I would have had a crush on in high school. In high school he was voted Most Likely To Go To Prison but then he got a job as a busboy at IHOP and fell in love with cooking and turned his life around. True story. There’s a big chunk of episodes where Chris and Art Smith, Oprah’s annoying personal chef who recently lost 120 pounds and never shuts up about it and always cooks biscuits, have a little feud, and Art says “He’s a really aggressive kid.” I like that. I like aggressive kids. Then Art nicknames him “El Toro,” which makes me wonder if Chris Cosentino is a Taurus, which I hope he’s not. I want him to be a Cancer, like me. Earlier this week I @ messaged Chris Cosentino asking him his zodiac sign and he never replied to it. Dick move, Chris Cosentino. I’m not creepy.

On the penultimate episode of Top Chef: Masters, the cheftestants have to mentor two high school kids and help them cook a meal and Chris Cosentino’s relationship with the kids was really touching. He kept crying- total Cancer behavior. They made pork with hazelnuts, apples, and fennel because organic pigs are fed hazelnuts, apples and fennel, and he was really passionate about teaching these kids a “circle of life” lesson and I got so into it. Plus I think it’s super cute that pigs eat hazelnuts. Then on the finale he cried about how much he loves his wife like every five minutes and had to make a meal that was a love letter and he made beef heart tartare and he was like “It’s my heart on a plate for my wife,” so how’s that for the sweetheart/badass dichotomy in serious action? I now follow Chris Cosentino on Twitter and Instagram and check his Instagram constantly because he’s always posting beautiful pictures of his beautiful food. I am obsessed with wanting to eat at his restaurant Incanto. He is a genius artist. I like how his Twitter and Intagram handles are both “offalchris” because he cares so much about eating offals. What an amazing weirdo! 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Jack White & A Coconut Donut & Bobby from Twin Peaks

I've watched this video 47 times this week -- it's from Under Great White Northern Lights, the part I mentioned in my White Stripes thing, the part where Jack yells at Meg for being quiet and then says quiet people got no reason to live: 

I'm jealous of Meg White. I wish I had a tall hotshot genius who'd follow me everywhere and yell at me all the time.

My other thing is the coconut passionfruit donut I got last Saturday at Fonuts. It's not nearly as wonderful as the campfire scone I got two Sundays ago at Short Cake (a smores scone, that is: chocolate + graham cracker scone with melted/nearly burnt marshmallow smothered across the top), but it was way dense and gooey and heaven nonetheless. And speaking of donuts, last night some people and I watched the first two episodes of Twin Peaks and I hadn't seen Twin Peaks since college (not counting the time I rewatched the pilot a few years ago when I was still living alone and then Bob came on and I spent most of the night lying awake waiting and waiting for Bob to murder me) and I'm so impressed by how good it looks and also by how Kyle MacLachlan is about 12-years-old. And I love Dana Ashbrook. Why didn't Dana Ashbrook become a big huge star? Look at him!

Jenn and I were also talking about how Leo's actually kind of weirdly hot. He looks like Gwen Stefani's husband, said Jenn. That is so true!


On Monday my friend Tara sent me a link to these absolutely stunning tarot cards she was given as a gift. They are amazing. I became completely obsessed by them. I looked up images of Bea Nettles collage/photo work for 2 hours. I bought the deck. I needed them. I feel like they are my soul in photographic tarot card form. I also bought the $5 book of Bea's work because it was $5 and I am in love. These will be my first tarot cards. I feel like my already obsessive relationship with them will give me extra good vibes for reading them. I look forward to pulling a tarot card of the day and being like, "whoa, this is so beautiful" even if the card is kind of bummer news. 

THEN on Wednesday I received a gift from Regina, who historically gives the best gifts of all time. It was, OF COURSE, a framed photo of the image of Sarah's mom from The Craft (of Favorite Witches post fame). Also there are daisies glued all around the frame. I mean, really.


A Belated Celebration Of The Weird & Beautiful Romance That Is Jack White & Meg White


Last weekend while watching the White Stripes documentary Under Great White Northern Lights for the first time in three years, I had three very important revelations:


She's the quietest girl in the world and I think that's wonderful. She's so soft-spoken that in Under Great White Northern Lights, almost everything she says is subtitled.

The thing about being exceptionally quiet is people often give you shit about it -- I guess because it makes them uncomfortable? It's easy to feel bad about being quiet, but Meg White makes me feel really good about being quiet. She just seems serene and strange in a lovely sort of way, like she's got a lot happening in her head and some of it's sad but she's mostly all right. There's a part in Under Great White Northern Lights when Jack starts yelling at Meg for being quiet; he says something about how "quiet people got no reason to live." But I think Jack White knows better than almost anyone that there's a place in this world for smiling hyper-introverts and for cantankerous loudmouth hotshots. 

Speaking of smiling, I love how Meg smiles all the time. There are so many shots in the movie where she's just quietly smiling at Jack:

And her hair's always in her face, like this:

Meg White's hair is full of secrets. If I played drums, I'd want to play drums just like her.


I don't love his new record, and I don't understand why he looks like a clown now, but White Stripes Jack White is one of my 25 most fave rock stars in the history of the world. I love that he took Meg's name when they got married; I love when he does this. A few years ago I started writing an essay titled "Why I'm Giving Up Devendra Banhart and Reclaiming Jack White As My Spirit Guide" and it was all about how I value and feel intensely supported by Jack White's serviceable crankiness. I never finished it, but I absolutely still claim Jack as my "crankiness spirit guide."

About a half-hour into Under Great White Northern Lights Jack tells the interviewer: "Once you have a moment where something beautiful happens, if you go back and try to repeat it the chances of it being beautiful again are almost zero."

And I've seriously thought about that sentence/concept almost every single day since the first time I saw the movie. So I love Jack White for saying it.

And the other night I got stuck in a situation that was boring and deeply unsexy and the complete opposite of everything I long for in life, and to keep myself from scratching my eyes out I had a nice long think about Jack White and his cool and imaginative take on divorce. Not so much the divorce party thing, though that's pretty fun, but just the fact that he and his ex-wife started a band and played together for 14 years and it was great. If I were Rob Brezsny or whatever I'd probably say something like, "I see the coming week as a time for you to adopt a similarly offbeat and joyful approach to emotionally toilsome matters, dear Capricorn." And it'd be really good advice -- not just for Capricorns in the coming week, but for everyone, for life.


I'm Really Into Louis le Brocquy Right Now

Louis le Brocquy is a painter who I found out about on the Internet five days ago and have quickly fallen in love with. This may come as a huge shock to you, so fasten your seatbelts (I initially wrote that as "hang on to your seatbelts," and sat here staring dumbly at the computer screen trying to figure out why that was wrong for a heartbreakingly long time)- Louis le Brocquy is not from France. He's from Dublin, just like everybody good (I mostly mean James Joyce). What's more, he is a Scorpio, but not even just a normal Scorpio- he's a Scorpio with the same birthday as JEN MAY (!!!). My other favorite painter, Alex Katz, has the same birthday as my mom. So maybe astrology is real after all. 

Mr. le Brocquy started out painting normal Lucian Freud-y looking portraits of young people that I find very beautiful. He then progressed into a really weird and cool phase in the 1940s where he started painting sort of vaguely-Cubist Roald Dahl-book-cover-looking illustrations of cartoony-looking people and many babies he called Tinkers. Eventually he became old and amazing and painted these crazy Portrait Heads, which are so detailed and complex I can barely even begin to wrap my head around figuring out whether I like them or not. The James Joyce and Samuel Beckett Portrait Heads are way down at the bottom of this post. 

Anyway, here is the Laura Jane Louis le Brocquy retrospective of all my "fav shit" (I'm a philistine) by him. Enjoy! 

Girl in Grey, 1939


Thing of the Week: Living In the Material World, Trampolining to "Alex Chilton", The Bathroom at the 40/40 Club

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Living In the Material World by George Harrison

I listened to Living In the Material World by George Harrison for the first time a couple Sundays ago. I got a massage that day, and appreciated the irony of my using the money I make at a job that hurts my body to help soothe the body my job hurts. Later I bought a $200 dress at Anthropologie and then had a fucking meltdown about it. A chill meltdown, though. I was pretty grossed out by myself for spending that much cash on adorning my corporeal stupid self. I thought I'd be better than that, by now, and I was bummed to figure out that I wasn't. I sulked down the street wishing I'd never have to look at another building again and then started bumming even harder upon understanding that I'm not going to run away to India, like, tomorrow. I couldn't understand how I could see things so clearly but at the same time not see them at all. I couldn't understand why I couldn't get the pointless part of my ego that wants me to write books and move to London to go away. It was very distressing for me. But then I stopped into a used bookstore and bought myself a beautiful book about Hinduism. It cost a meagre $5.24, so there's a cool lesson in the true valuelessness of money for you. Holding it made me feel lighter and warmer. I opened it up to any page and read the first sentence, and that's the story of how I found my mantra. 

Before I went out that night I downloaded Living In the Material World because I was legitimately hoping it could provide me with some tips on living in the material world. I feel like I have not changed at all but the entire world has changed. I feel like when I look through my eyes I am looking out at an entirely different thing. 

"Don't Let Me Wait Too Long" was the first song on Living In the Material World I fell in love with. I will never, ever forget what it felt like to walk down my street on a chilly January Sunday and hear that song for the first time. It's so rare that you love a song to the full extent of your loving it from the very first time you hear it. It sounds like the Beach Boys and the Ronettes at the same time, if they were George Harrison. George Harrison in falsetto! And a smashy drum thing. At first I assumed it was one of those George Harrison songs that you think is about a girl but really it's about God, but this one's really about a girl. Only you know how to lay it down like it came from above, he sings, which I think is so beautiful. 

In the George Harrison documentary there's some really good footage where George is asking Ravi Shankar about how best to love God, or communicate with God, or demonstrate that God exists, and Ravi's talking about how he only really knows how to do it with music, how it's just so much easier that way, and I totally feel that. Words are too straight-laced to even begin to define the abstract God-concept that I am presently (and hopefully eternally) in love with. Music knows how to get at the light behind the air and sing it. Instruments are vessels for that energy. Words can't do it. They just can't. Unless people know exactly what you're talking about, their hear you as an insane person when you're saying it. But it's okay. People can think I'm going cuckoo if they want. 

The "Try Some Buy Some" vocals sound like a baby hound dog howling, and the music sounds like calligraphy. When he sings I opened my eyes and I saw you and the swirls start, gold on eggshell, it's not just normal Phil Spector ostentatiousness. I've cried at those notes a hundred times already. He caught some God in them. It's magic. 

I found "Living In the Material World," the title track, to be most enlightening. The one with the best advice. It made me understand that living in the material world is hard for everyone, not just me. Everyone who sees through it, I mean. I guess I kind of just assumed that I'm crappy at being at one with the Absolute and George Harrison was really good at it, but now it seems so obvious that the whole challenge of spiritual actualization is how difficult the material world tries to make it for you. It's the challenge. It's why it's challenging at all. The words to this song are all about feeling lost and confused in the middle of a creepy expanse but trying to stay clear-headed about it; I think I'm fated for the material world/ Get frustrated in the material world says it better than anything. He talks about feeling worn-out by the material world (sing it, sister), but then right away remembers that he met all his friends here in the material world- that's the exact sort of friction that it sometimes feels impossible to rationalize.  I guess it's sort of comforting to know that I might never be able to. 

And I love what a rocker it is, what a toe-tapper, a rollicking toe-tapper- it's so badass how he unapologetically writes lyrics like I hope to get out of this place/ by the Lord Sri Krishna's grace, like "Oh do the words Lord Sri Krishna make you uncomfortable? That's TOO BAD!" and then there's a little Sri Krishna whistle interlude sound effect and it snaps into My salvation from the material world, you want to punch the air, it's such an accurate context for understanding those words and how exciting they are. If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that rock and roll is God's music. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Jumping on a Trampoline to "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements

My parents got me a trampoline for Christmas and I love it. It's one of those one-person trampolines and my favorite thing right now is to set it up in the side yard by the juniper tree and jump and jump and jump while "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements plays on repeat. "Alex Chilton" is so brilliant for jumping up and down forever; I can't think of a better song about being a joyful fuck-up who loves beautiful music. And I don't know of any universe where children by the million sing for Alex Chilton, but I'm totally into it. Alex Chilton is my birthday twin and such a dream:

I'm also obsessed with this video of The Replacements playing "Kiss Me On The Bus" on Saturday Night Live in 1986. It got them banned from SNL for being drunk and sloppy but I don't know, I think it's perfect. I think they're so perfect.

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: The Bathroom at the 40/40 Club

I went to the 40/40 Club on Wednesday. I've wanted to go for years because I love Jay-Z and he is a huge inspiration to me. I've never gone before I guess because I'm not a huge going out person - to like, really fancy sports bars anyway. It's a really fancy sports bar. Tom had gotten a coupon thing for it in the summer for a serious deal. It's expiring next week so, we went. I spent the day thinking about how we would 100% definitely meet Jay-Z and I would tell him how much the phrase "Can I Live?" means to me and did he have any idea how much feminist art he's inspired?! I'd tell him about how Megan even has "pueduo vivir" tattooed on her feet! I'd also somehow bring up pictures of the gigantic Can I Live? banner Megan and I made. He'd love it. We'd take instragram pix and become BFF. Weirdly, that did not happen! The 40/40 lay out is kinda weird for hanging with pals - you're all in a row on this couch thing that's bleachers also so it's hard to chat. The music they were playing was strange. Green Day, Incubus (?!), Next - Too Close. I went to the bathroom, mostly to check out the bathroom. I needed to whiz en la same toilette as Beyonce maybe. To get there you enter this terrifying nearly pitch black corridor that has tons of doors in it. I opened a door and it was this giant steel thing that took a minute for me to register it as a urinal. I thought it was like, a boiler. That was scary. Ok, next door. A tiny bathroom. It's all black tiles besides the toilet and the sink. The lighting is fabulous. I don't think I've ever looked as good as I looked in the mirror of the bathroom at the 40/40 club. I tried to take an upclose selfie in the mirror but it came out completely blurry. I think they somehow make you soft focus. I don't know. Can you even imagine how beautiful Beyonce looks in there? In real like I look like Willem Dafoe (not complaining, love him) in the 40/40 mirror I looked like Isabella Rossellini.  


The Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet: Everything We Ate For An Entire Week (Winter Edition!)


(To revisit the CLASSIC Summer Edition, click here)

Monday, January 7th

LJ: I woke up at 11 and ate my normal breakfast of a cup of coffee and a bowl of Quaker Harvest Crunch with cottage cheese and honey. Fat-free cottage cheese, may I add. To accentuate my lameness. I ate Quaker Harvest Crunch for the first time in September, and it changed my life. I used to never eat Quaker Harvest Crunch, and now I eat Quaker Harvest Crunch every day. I LOVE IT. I found out about it because Erin’s stepdad buys it in bulk at Costco and then gives her more boxes than she can handle; I was at her house and she asked me if I wanted a box of cereal and I said, “Obviously.” The thing is, I didn’t know it was Quaker Harvest Crunch, because the Costco packaging is just a plain white box. It looks like jail food. But somewhere on the box it said Quaker Harvest Crunch in tiny pale letters and I Googled it and I was like “Ohhhhh whoa it’s that cereal?” Because obviously I have seen Quaker Harvest Crunch a million times in my life. It’s just so non-excitingly branded and shitty-looking. I wish I could rebrand Quaker Harvest Crunch and put a picture of my face on the box. 

I work nights at a restaurant, six days a week. It’s been really challenging to figure out how to feed myself properly when I work through the hours typically reserved for dinner-eating. I get into eating grooves and then start to get annoyed with them and switch it up. Lately I’ve gotten myself into the habit of riding off my Quaker Harvest Crunch bowl through most of the day and eating my dinner-type meal right before work. Usually around 4:30 or so. It’s probably a stupid way to eat but so is subsisting solely on trail mix, my second most popular eating groove.

At 3:24 PM I had a cup of tea: Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder, my fav since I was 21. I was looking at the box as the water boiled. There’s a picture of a buffalo on the box, and smoke is coming out of his nose. In the sky behind him (or her!) the clouds are shaped like a herd of buffalo. It’s very weird.

I went to Aroma for “dinner.” I take myself out to eat a lot. I love eating alone in restaurants, and right now I’m on an “eating alone in restaurants” bender. I like and hate Aroma. The ambiance is bad. I hate what happens to floors in winter, and theirs is particularly mucky. So many puddles with little icebergs of brown slush in them. They ask you for your name and then when your food is ready they announce your name through a microphone. The smarmy asshole teenager in line before me gave his name as “Barack Obama” so that the poor Aroma employee would have to say “Barack Obama” into the microphone. It was so fucking funny. Just kidding. It was stupid and I hated everyone who laughed at it. I really wanted cold food. In the winter you never eat cold food, always warm food. I had an Aroma Special, which is greens with chopped up cucumber, tomato and onion, black olives, feta cheese, and a hard-boiled egg. It’s quite a salad! It came with bread. I ate some of the bread but not all of it. But most of it! I ate the hell out of that salad. I kept thinking that, as I was eating it- “I’m eating the hell out of this salad.” And I thought about how it was one of the number one times I’ve ever eaten fastest in a restaurant. Crazily fastest. And sloppiest! Cucumber everywhere. I was ravenous.

I also had an Americano. I love Aroma Americanos so much- I didn’t need one, but I had to get one. I couldn’t drink it all. I was overcaffeinated. The coffee at Aroma comes with a square of chocolate. I ate the chocolate.

I got to work and my manager was like “Oh, I guess you didn’t get my texts.” Clearly I hadn’t, because the texts said “Your shift is cancelled. Don’t come to work.” I called my friend Sadie (Sadie isn’t her real name. I am protecting her identity) and we decided that I was going to go over to her apartment, where we would smoke some pot. I was like “Do you want me to bring over some food from my restaurant?” and then it was like DUH YEAH OBVIOUSLY so I got an order of guac (it was free; my life is amazing) and then packed us up a giant bag of totopos and some salsa Mexicana. “Totopos” means “tortilla chips.” We make them in-house. There are giant bins of them in the kitchen, and it’s really hard not to constantly be eating them every single second of my life. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to stop eating totopos. I told that to my sous-chef and he laughed at me because it’s impossible to stop eating totopos.

Sadie and I got high and ate a ton of chips and guac. It was definitely more chips and guac than my body needed. I wasn’t eating them out of hunger; I was eating them out of stonedness and love for them. I love that. I love classic stoner behavior.

JEN: I had a bloody nose this morning. I realize that’s maybe a gross way to start a blog about what I ate for a week but it totally threw me off. I really wanted to make toast. I did not have time. Instead, I got an americano with soy milk from Oren’s and a sad granola thing. It’s not even a bar, really. It’s a square. It’s a Baked Whole Food Bar by Earnest Eats. It’s vegan. Almond trail mix “flavor”. I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’ve eaten these for breakfast the last month or so. They aren’t even that good! They are fine.

I hate having to buy lunch at work. Today I had to buy lunch at work. I went to Le Pain Quotidien. There’s always something I can eat there at least and it’s French or whatever so it’s my default lunch spot. I ended up getting an avocado chickpea tartine which is essentially a psychotic amount of bread smeared with avocado, topped with a couple of chickpeas, cucumbers, radishes and there were a few sprouts. They give you a lemon to squeeze on it. I drink some kukicha tea while eating this in front of my computer and googling “modern cat tree” “designer cat furniture”.

I ate a few handfuls of raisin bran before making dinner. I don’t really like cereal and this is an off brand raisin bran with incredibly pixelated printing so this is a low point for me.

For dinner I made this “holiday pappardelle” I bought at the farmer’s market before Christmas. I meant to give it to my dad’s girlfriend because this pasta is seriously so good but I forgot about it. It’s whole wheat and colored with beets and spinach, so it’s also beautiful. I made a mega garlicy red chili pepper flake oil that I dumped on top of the pasta, pea shoots & steamed broccoli rabe & kale. I also had a pathetic little non-salad of just lettuce because I bought lettuce at the grocery store for some unknown reason on New Years Eve. I topped it with some nutritional yeast, pepper & parsley like any respectable vegan would. I was exhausted this night. Part of me wanted to stay up and eat popcorn and make satanic imagery but another part of me wanted to lay on the couch. I ended up on the couch drinking ginger tea with lemon and reading the Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson, which I am super into. 


Thing of the Week: Banana Pancakes and Rock & Roll Cookie Jars, The Art of Cruelty

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: All These Good Pictures

I can't think of one "thing" for this week, so here's just a bunch of good pictures I took over the last seven days:

1. On Friday I accidentally went to Little Ethiopia and found this bonkers cookie jar in a thriftstore. Once upon a time, LJ emailed me to tell me that my Rolling Stones spirit song is "Get Off Of My Cloud," which I wholly agree with, but in some ways I feel equally represented by "Get Off My Cookie" by the Rolling Pins:

2. Speaking of food, here's the banana cinnamon pancake I made for dinner Sunday night. I think it looks like a tiger:

3. On Saturday night I went to a party in Laurel Canyon and Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen and some bunnies were there. Good crowd!

4. And here's my cat working on her novel:

5. And here's a picture of a sad thing that happened to me on Tuesday night. BTW, my desktop image is a still from that beautiful Courtney Love animated short, which I've rewatched a few times lately and it's so energizing for me.

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: The Art of Cruelty

I started reading The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning by Maggie Nelson this week. I am so into it. Maggie Nelson's exploration of violence and cruelty in art/cinema/whatevs and it's implications for viewers, the artists and the world is more or less exactly what I want to be reading right now.  I've been kind of obsessed by these ideas for a while and after falling in love with David Lynch and his violent films I've been thinking about it even more. Previously I only accepted specific types of violence. I loved Yoko Ono's Cut Piece but didn't want to see Anti Christ, you know? I started opening up my mind to include space for unpleasant images. I felt weird about it, but totally interested. The other day on the subway I got to the first mention of David Lynch in the book (Blue Velvet, naturally). I got so excited I almost passed out. Am I pervert? I recently read Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others hoping for her to resolve all of these thoughts for me. She didn't. There aren't answers here either (or ever?) but I'm majorly enjoying the meditation on it all.

Additionally this week I'm really into: Buddhism, ballet & Larry David.


Highlights From the George Book

Do you have the George book? You know which book I mean. The one where George Harrison's face is emerging from a pool of water. It goes along with the George movie, Living in the Material World, which is inexplicably directed by Martin Scorcese. Don't you think it's extremely weird that Martin Scorcese made a documentary about George Harrison? Nobody saw that one coming. Cheers to Martin Scorcese for pushing himself outside of his comfort zone.

I have the George book. I also have the DVD of the George movie. On the cover it says A MARTIN SCORCESE PICTURE, which is so stupidly pretentious. Take yourself a little less seriously, dude. Just call it a movie like the rest of us and move the hell on. 

Anyway, I'm talking a lot more about Martin Scorcese than I intended to. I had no idea I was going to talk about Martin Scorcese at all. I just Googled him to find out his Zodiac sign. It's Scorpio. I also learned that I have been spelling "Scorsese" wrong this whole time. But I am going to leave in my misspelled previous Scorseses so you can feel more like we're on a journey together.

Anyway, Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian-American identity, Roman-Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, modern crime, and violence. Hahaha just kidding! I don't care. George Harrison! I love George Harrison. The point of this post is that I took a zillion pictures of my favorite parts of the George book, so that all the people out there who don't have the George book can see them. There are seriously so fucking many pictures of George Harrison in this post. I did not restrain myself. Let's do this. (PS this post is by LJ in case that isn't completely obvious)

Saying that this picture is the coolest Eric Clapton ever looked kind of misrepresents my relationship with Eric Clapton's coolness. It implies that I think Eric Clapton has looked cool other times. I don't. This is the only time Eric Clapton ever looked cool. 

But he looks very cool! That ninety-pound fur jacket draped across his arm like it ain't no thang... And it's a flattering picture of his slackjaw. His weak chin. You know how it is.

George, on the other hand, always looks cool, but he does look particularly cool here. Don't forget to notice his cardigan! This was a good day for both of them. I wonder if they told each other that. 

He looks hot here but I'm having some trouble with the vest. It's not really a normal length, is it? I mean who am I to say what is or isn't normal. But this vest probably isn't. 

First of all, vests. Who needs 'em? Nobody! Literally nobody. They are functionless, and don't look cool. The only people who are ever allowed to be caught dead in a vest, in my opinion, are the cast of Friends from Season 1. I'm serious! In every single scene of every single episode from Season 1 of the TV show Friends, at least 2 of the Friends are wearing vests. I'm into it! It gives me something to think about. I thought about vests for a really long time the other day. I was wondering if I'd have worn a vest, if I were my age now in 1994. Maybe? Probably? George Harrison's vest looks like something Monica Gellar would wear.


'Everybody Loves Our Town' is the 'Please Kill Me' of Grunge, So Much Filthy Gossip


I was sick on my birthday this year; it was a drag. But in the afternoon I had a really great lunch at the Chinese buffet and drank like five pots of tea plus a mai tai that made me feel like someone had removed my head in a nice/pleasing way, and I got this rad fortune in my fortune cookie. I also got a copy of Everybody Loves Our Town, from my bestie, and it's my favorite book right now. It's an "oral history of grunge" and at first I thought it was just a bunch of stuff scrounged up from old interviews but no, it's all new shit and everyone's in there, everyone who's still alive at least. It's juicy and filthy and there's some really ace trash-talking from Courtney Love, who should get asked to contribute to every oral history ever compiled: I just love to watch her talk. Some Courtney gems:

"Dave performed a really great service for Kurt. He made him make hot dogs and get over chicks that were pounding on pots and pans singing about their vaginas. 'We're going to a strip club, motherfucker!' That's good. I don't know if that's in the history books. They didn't have a lot of money for strip clubs, but Dave was very much a heterosexual red-blooded young man who did not understand why Kurt was mooning over some pudgy girl."

"Marc [Jacobs] sent me and Kurt his Perry Ellis grunge collection. Do you know what we did with it? We burned it. We were punkers -- we didn't like that kind of thing."

"The one time I saw Kurt happy with his job was when we went to Rio. We had a bodyguard, we stayed at a four-star hotel. He hung out with Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains. He blew a line, which is like really tacky, but when in fuckin' Buenos Aires, blow a line. I was like, 'Let's have a threesome with a model!' And he was like, 'Really?' I'm like, 'Yeah!' Did we? I'm not gonna tell you. No, I do not do sex stuff; that's not my jam, and it never has been. But my point was that he had fun mingling with his people." 

"I read recently, Kim Gordon -- and she was just trying to fucking get me, so I ignored it -- Kim Gordon going in the NME, 'Yeah, Buzz [the dude from the Melvins] has some theories on Kurt's death dah dah dah that I agree with.' It's like, Kim, I can't wait to see you at the Marc Jacobs store. I'm gonna stick my boot so far up your withered ass! Jesus Christ."


Nicki Minaj Is The Only Good Part Of 'This Is 40'


I saw This Is 40 the day before my birthday and mostly hated it. I watch movies for lots of reasons, like for hot drama and romance and sexiness and magic, for tragedies and adventures both great and tiny. I don't watch movies to see a couple of lame assholes bitching at each other about boring shit I don't give a fuck about, and I'm genuinely confused as to why Judd Apatow would expect me to. There were some things in This Is 40 that I appreciated, like Paul Rudd eating cupcakes out of the trash, but for the most part I did not love Pete and Debbie, especially Debbie. Debbie talks like a self-help book; she says things like "We're going to choose joy," but then she's even more of a killjoy than Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up. Before the first minute of the movie's even up she's already thrown a temper tantrum about her husband experimentally taking a Viagra and it's like "Whoa, honey, it's all right, calm down." EVERYBODY PLEASE JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN.

Also I thought it was kind of a drag that the one female character who seems to live free and have fun turns out to be a sex worker. Really, the only woman I semi-related to in This Is 40 was Lena Dunham, who has quirky hair and knows about music and is good at her job. So I guess that was an interesting surprise: I'd never related to Lena Dunham before.

There were a few moments in the movie I enjoyed, apart from the cupcake trash. My favorite part was when Paul Rudd is eating cheeseburgers in the car and singing "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with his mouth full - partly because I love cheeseburgers and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," but mostly because I love movie scenes where good-looking men talk with their mouth full (see also the part in Moneyball when Brad Pitt eats a Twinkie in two bites and then says something to Jonah Hill, plus the part in Blow when Johnny Depp says "Layaway!" while chewing a piece of steak). 

My second and third favorite parts were when you can hear "I Will Dare" by the Replacements and "Little Guitars" by Van Halen in the background at Paul Rudd's office, because hearing those songs reminded me that there is beauty and hotness in the world.

And my fourth favorite part was the scene when the fam's all hanging out in either Sadie or Charlotte's bedroom and Paul Rudd tries to get them to like Alice In Chains (which is so dumb 'cause WHY WOULD YOU EVER WANT YOUR BABIES TO LOVE ALICE IN CHAINS; that shit is dark), and then the girls put on "Roman's Revenge" by Nicki Minaj and make scary faces when Nicki growls like a lion/dungeon dragon. It's girls having fun and it's funny and they're cute and I love them all, just for that moment. Since watching that scene I've listened to "Roman's Revenge" about a zillion times, and on new year's eve day I found this really cool spot up in Laurel Canyon where you can see all the way to the ocean and listened to "Roman's Revenge" and drank a kombucha and ate an apple and a Turkish delight and felt very peaceful and stoked about 2013. It's a really great song for feeling unstoppable and seeing the whole world in pink.

My fifth favorite part of This Is 40 was when it was over and my brother and sister and I went to dinner at Wild Willy's and I got a burger called The Showdown, which had chipotle mayo and grilled onions and cheddar cheese, plus sweet potato fries and a lime rickey and a pickle from the big pickle barrel. It was snowing out and we sat by the window, with a really pretty view of snow falling on the train tracks. My cheeseburger and lime rickey and everything were so good; it was so nice to be back in the real world again.


Thing of the Week: Purging Negativity & The Ultimate Reality

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Purging Negativity 

You know that scene in Jennifer's Body when Jennifer comes into Needy's house and she looks totally fucked up and is covered in blood and vomits this disgusting thick black mess all over the floor? I think that is the perfect illustration of purging negativity. Getting all of the horrible things you've been holding in you and barfing them on a kitchen floor. I'm really into the idea of releasing negativity to enter the new year. I had a shitty 2012, kind of in general but especially right at the end. I don't really want to bring it with me into 2013. I'm barfing it on the floor. On January 2nd I dyed my hair from platinum blonde to basically black brunette. I needed a visual restart. It all happened. It's on the kitchen floor and now I'm moving forward with a new hair color.

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: The Primordial Unity of the Individual Soul with the Plentitude of Being That Is the Absolute

When people ask me what I write about, I tell them "I write about Eastern spirituality themes, but in a really dumb way. From, like, a stonery rich white girl perspective." I am obsessed with George Harrison and the Beatles in Rishikesh and Ravi Shankar and JD Salinger short stories and Siddhartha. I have a shrine in my bedroom and when people say dumb shit I condescendingly sigh "It's all just samsara." I've understood that it's all just samsara for a while now, but have refused to let myself to see the other side of the "It's all just samsara" coin. It's easy to embrace "the meaninglessness of everything," using the word "everything" to mean cars and bars and people and jobs and all that, but that's so not what "everything" is! What I was saying is everything is actually "nothing." The meaninglessness of nothing. 

Eastern spirituality is a big part of who I am, but up until now, it's something that I have only allowed myself to engage with on a very surfacey level. I have been begging myself to embrace these concepts since I was a little kid and told my classmates I was a Zen Buddhist because I'd read The Tao of Pooh. I really thought I was one! It's been easy and cool for me to walk around scowling and writing stories about people realizing water is more important than phones and listening to "Within You Without You" but living it, really living it, is a whole nother ball game. 

I guess I was always afraid of really going for it because I was afraid of things being as beautiful as they really are. I was afraid of believing in God or at least a God-style concept. I was afraid of not being afraid of dying. 

For a moment during the very early morning of January 1st something clicked in my brain and I saw and fully understood that God is everything and within me. I am everything and so is everything. It was the most beautiful and exciting moment I have ever lived. When I woke up on the afternoon of January 1st I remembered what that moment felt like and started crying because I was so happy. I want to devote so much of my life to getting myself back to that feeling. At first I felt really overwhelmed by how best to do it and needed a direction so I Googled "what religion was Ravi Shankar" (Hindu) and then researched Hinduism all day. When I read the sentence that is the title of this thing and learned about Atman and Brahman I started crying again because it was describing what I'd felt, which meant that it's a thing for sure! Other people have known it. Some people live their entire lives without seeing it. I want to see it and live it and breathe it and be it. 

I have started meditating on the Hare Krishna mantra. I've tried meditating before and it's always been impossible but this time it's coming really easy. For a short amount of time yesterday I went into a trance and my lips were saying the words but I wasn't thinking them. I am so amazed that that happened to me. 

Last night at work it was snowing fat cute flakes out and I was watching them through the window and I understood it again. 

I don't know where I am going to go with this or how it is going to answer itself but I know that it will. I feel a little silly writing about it when it's still in such a baby phase but I try to be very honest about Thing of the Weeks. And I just can't pretend the best thing that happened to me was drinking a tequila sour or finding a Gitano purse at Value Village the week I gained comprehension of the ultimate reality.