All The Best Songs I've Eaten This October


I don't really believe in "mindful eating," that thing of eating quietly and contemplatively and with total focus on the act of nourishment or whatever. I think it's better and smarter to intensify the goodness of an eating experience with music that makes your head feel full of lovely things. So these are five new-ish songs I was obsessed with this month, along with some food that tasted extra-wonderful while listening to them. I'm really excited to eat November. 


I feel confident that most people reading this will love the hell out of Courtney Barnett: her vibe strikes me as very Strawberry Fields Whatever-y, it's dreamy and lazy and a little bit kooky but in an entirely chill and heartfelt way. "Avant Gardener" is my favorite track on her EP How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose and it's the best song I've heard about asthma attacks since "Asthma Attack" by the Fiery Furnaces - except I like it way better than "Asthma Attack." Courtney just has a cool way of swirling all these different feelings together, and I can't think of any other song in the world that's such a perfect balance of melancholy and funny. Toward the end of the song there's a lyric that goes "I was never good at smoking bongs..." and she sounds so genuinely wistful and you can really hear her singing the ellipses. She also does lots of weird things with words - she turns "emphysema" into a verb and rhymes "anaphylactic" with "super-hypocondriactic" and at one point lists off all these vegetables, including radishes. Radish is a beautiful word and a beautiful food; I like how its coloring's all cheery and pretty but then it kind of bites you in the mouth as you're eating it.

I guess "Avant Gardener" should be radishes, like watermelon radishes or maybe radish pie, but right now I'd rather make it these sunshine raspberries I bought on Monday at Super King. They look like some boozy drink you'd get in a halfway decent Chinese restaurant, pink and hazy-yellow like if golden raspberries and regular raspberries had some nice little babies. You should buy How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose and buy a pint of sunshine raspberries and eat the whole thing and listen to the whole thing, lying on the floor, not doing anything else.


In my neighborhood there's an adorable little grocery store called Cookbook and they sell these dates called Bahrain dates, which I suppose means they come from Bahrain. Bahrain dates taste like they soaked in honey for about a hundred years, but really there's no honey: they're just that soft and gooey and golden-y on their own.

Minor Alps is a new band with Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws from Nada Surf and there's nothing gooey about them but they're definitely golden and soft. "Soft" like "tender" and "quiet" - like soft rock! Seriously. It's soft rock that's deep and powerful, and sometimes devastating, which is an adjective I can never not use when writing about music by Juliana Hatfield. The "honey" part is that the melodies and guitar are sweet and glistening, but it's also about how honey can be medicine (it makes coughs go away and helps cuts get better faster). Minor Alps is less medicinal and more elixir-like, and they can cure headaches and irritability and make you feel warmer and a little lighter and brighter.

"Buried Plans" is the first song on Get There and the vocals in the last 40 seconds are like angels and skies and make me excited about going to church on Christmas Eve. I don't know whether that's a fucked-up thing to say or not.


One time I was listening to "Mary Magdalene in the Great Sky" on the swingset by Santa Monica Pier and the next day I had a bruise on my left arm from leaning into the chain and it looked pretty cool. "Mary Magdalene in the Great Sky" feels like swinging on a swing on the beach at nighttime more than it feels like a lavender honey nougat bar but, I don't know, "lavender honey nougat bar" just seems like one of the most quintessentially Tanya Donelly-y things you could possibly ever eat: it's sweet and lovely and kind of weird, and it's delicate but it sinks into your teeth and then just stays there.


The Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet: Laura Jane In London


Two weeks ago I went on a solo vacay to London! I didn't do a ton of soul-searching, and I mean that as a compliment. I spent a lot of money, and did a lot of writing while drinking. It was heavenly. And now here is the sort of intense journal I kept of everything I ate and drank while I was there:

October 9th, 2013 

The first thing I “ate” in London was an iced Americano from the Gatwick airport Costa. If you've ever been to England, you know what Costa is- they're everywhere. They asked me if I wanted milk in it and I said no but then when they gave it to me it seemed like the entire thing was made of milk. It was very, very foamy. I guess Americano means a different thing here.

I was going to take a taxi straight to my hotel but a very kind elderly gentleman wearing a topaz ring told me it would cost ninety-seven pounds and that I should take a train to Victoria Station and catch a taxi from there instead. I was like “He loves me! He’s the sweetest person ever! What a good omen from London!” but now I am writing these sentences while sitting on that very train, and it seems like maybe it’s just a really obvious thing that everyone knows you’re supposed to do, and it was just sad to him that I'd missed the memo.

At the airport I thought about buying a little meat pie but ultimately decided that wasting a meal in London on eating at the airport would be a very lame thing to do.

The train ride really delivered. There were a couple vistas of the countryside, some hills, a couple cows, scratchy little Paul songs of houses made of brick- it all looked exactly how I needed it to look. I saw a lumpy old man gardening and my knees were aching and I was delirious—half-exhausted, half-jacked on my weird coffee-foam, and also starving— but I was warm inside, and thought of the slogan written on the back of the bottle of my favorite cheap champagne brand: You have made the perfect choice. 

I ate a sandwich at the Pret A Manger in Victoria Station, which was maybe stupider than eating a meat pie at the airport, conceptually stupider. But it was actually a pretty special sandwich: “mature cheddar and pickles.” There was an onion jam, or something that was like an onion jam, involved. It was definitely the number one time in my entire life I’ve needed to pee most while eating.

After eating and peeing I decided to be the coolest person in the world and not take a cab to my hotel. I decided to get myself there by foot and Underground, which I did: confidently, successfully, and carrying along a heavy rolly suitcase. Everyone in the entire world was extremely proud of me. I should be receiving my medal soon.

I got off the tube at Bayswater and hung out at a Starbucks for a bit. I remembered that exact Starbucks from the time my boyfriend and I looked up my hotel on Google Street View and I was like, “Oh cool! And there’s even a Starbucks!”- as if there possibly wouldn’t be. I drank a normal iced Americano and wrote my loved ones some emails to let them know that I didn't die in a plane crash.And then I walked to Boots, where I remembered that British Diet Cherry Coke is the best thing in the world. Now I am drinking it in my hotel lobby, waiting for my room to become available.

Now it’s almost five hours later, and I’m drinking a mini-bottle of Harrods-brand champagne in my hotel room. I was at Harrods several hours ago, and all I did was look at the food- if I wanted to look at handbags I can’t afford, I would have gone to New York City. #boom

I went to the bakery/Dean & DeLuca-y part of Harrods- there were tons of petit-fours and also sushi rolls that looked like petit-fours and brioche stuffed with berries and custard and pretzels stuffed with asiago cheese and some pretty good-lookin’ Iberico ham, but I had to pee so bad that it overruled my hunger that time— a big theme of my day was “hunger vs. peeing.” The washroom was in the wine cellar section and I thought it might be chill to drink a glass of wine in the Harrods wine bar- it was kind of insane to me, at that point, that it was almost 3 PM London time and I still hadn’t had a drink- but I was too preoccupied by my needing a baked good. I rode the escalator back up to the bakery and noticed these doughnuts that were frosted with RED GLITTER FROSTING. 


Jeff Goldblum Turns 61 Today! Here Are 61 Reasons Why We Are Eternally In Love With Him


1. So tall
2. Crazy eyes
3. Flailing hands and arms at all time
4. eyebrow raise extension of crazy eyes
5. his current haircut
6. his current style
7. his brief marriage to Geena Davis
8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
9. The Fly, even when he’s so gross
10. Majestic Perviness
13.  as a child he would write "Please God, let me be an actor" in the steam on the shower door every time he showered and then he'd erase it.
14. OMG, Jeff, as a child.
15. Long Legs
16. His way of speaking.
17. The little robe he wears in The Big Chill
18. the glasses he wears in The Big Chill 
19. Plays piano
20. Seems to work his piano playing into anything he can
21. including the failed-sitcom pilot thing that Sarah Silverman just shared with the world this morning, and it's delightful and why can't it be a real show, with Jeff playing piano and singing in every episode?
22. His weirdly dyed hair on Law & Order Criminal Intent
24. Way he moves his fingers when talking/thinking
27. excellent head shot
28. duh
29. Laura Dern water-drop-on-hand scene in Jurassic Park
30. Laura Dern & Jeff Goldblum dated IRL!!!!!
31. "I forgot my mantra"
32. when he adorbs-ly played Bob's long-lost brother on SESAME STREET
34. basically the most beautiful man who's ever existed

36. when I saw his jazz band at Rockwell in the spring and he brought up all these hot women to sing with him and insanely flirted with each of them, including a woman named Ariel, to whom he was all "Ah Ariel, The Little Mermaid, I wanna be part of your world oooh mmmmm, yes..."
37. also at Rockwell he kept scat-singing but not even remotely in time to the music
38. also at some point he sang the Family Ties theme but didn't really know the words
41. aww Jeff and the Wilson Brothers, total dream trio
42. speaking of Wes Anderson: Jeff in the new Wes Anderson! 
43. his facial hair in the new Wes Anderson, WHATTTTTTTT IS HAPPENING
44. oh my god the comedy gold of Jeff on Conan O'Brien's "Secrets" thing
45. has own action figure
47. wears his sunglasses at night which I know from that time I saw him at a party and ran away and died because he was too beautiful
49. Look at those shoes! So whimsical and fly
50. Jeff on "7 Minutes in Heaven"!
51. especially the part in "7 Minutes in Heaven" when he pretends to be seductively ordering a meal at Wendy's (it's at the 3:20 mark)
52. I bet that's exactly how Jeff orders his meals at Wendy's
53. Jeff's suit in this beautiful photo that David Brothers so kindly alerted us to
56. looks way cool wearing a cravat

61. the part when Jen met Jeff and he mimed eating snacks and also everything else about Jeff Goldblum, the most perfect man in the world forever and ever and ever


Thing of the Week: The Decadence, Richard Hell & Harissa Toast, Salem, MA


Last week, I went to London. London, England! The greatest place in the world, or rather, the place in the world that is most like how I need for things to be. I had a lot of "excellent adventures" while I was on my trip (I put "excellent adventures" in quotes to clarify that do I mean it in a Bill & Ted's way), but I've got some more involved writing about my London trip coming up on SFW soon, so I'm not going to blow my blogging-about-my-London-trip load now. I am purposely writing this blog post in a laundromat to prevent myself from getting too London-digressy. 

I went to Harrods on my first day in London. I was deliriously exhausted. Harrods is a good place to go when you're deliriously exhausted: it's both visually-stimulating and warm. It feels like you're hanging out in the grown-up version of Santa's Workshop the way you imagined it as a kid.

I mostly hung out in the food section, where I bought the Harrods-brand version of both my favorite foods: champagne and strawberry jam. I didn't get to taste the strawberry jam until I got home last Sunday. I was totally ready to have it be mostly average but still pretend that it was the best strawberry jam I've ever tasted because I wanted it to be. But as it turned out, it really was the best strawberry jam I've ever tasted! This morning I ate it on an English muffin with dark chocolate almond butter, and then I died. I instinctively died. My brain was like, "Well, I guess that was the point!" and then it shut off. Bye, guys. 

The other thing I got at Harrods was a copy of the Harrods Christmas catalogue, which was free. It's the fanciest free thing I've ever had. It's called "Hampers & Gifts 2013," and it showcases all the different hampers (I guess "hamper" is British for "very intense gift basket") Harrods offers in descending order by price. The hampers all have cool names like "The Opulence," "The Grosvenor," "The Harrodian," and "The Decadence." The Decadence is the most expensive Christmas-hamper in the catalogue. It costs twenty thousand pounds

Here is what The Decadence is made up of: one bottle of cognac, one bottle of 30-year-old single malt Scotch, two bottles of champagne, twenty-one bottles of wine, a "top tier tea gift box," some coffee (boring), 8 kg of iberico ham, five other types of fancy cured meats, chorizo, four types of cheese, in addition to another cheese offering named "cheese selection," smoked salmon, duck foie gras with truffle, goose foie gras with truffle, beluga caviar, oscietra caviar, a seasonal fruit selection (boring), a Christmas cake, a Christmas pudding (in a ceramic bowl), marmalade made with gold leaf, some olive oil, 30-year-old balsamic vinegar, a selection of mince pies, three types of biscuits (one is "dark chocolate and violet-coated), two types of jam, brandy butter, honey with lavender blossom, another kind of honey, three types of crackers, blackberry balsamic vinegar, mustard, chutney, a selection of chocolate mints, cocoa-dusted almonds, Christmas crackers, a cheese slate, cheese board, a cheese knife set, a glass dome, and (last but not least) a ham knife. 

Don't you wish you had a Decadence? Who do you think buys the Decadence? The only people I can think of that I am certain buy the Decadence are the Royal Family and Richard Branson. And I suspect that Sting, Mick Jagger, and/or Sir Anthony Hopkins may have bought a Decadence or two in their time. But Paul McCartney has never bought a Decadence, because of the foie. 

Finding out that The Decadence exists has greatly enriched the arena of my life dedicated to fantasizing about extreme wealth. I'd really like to get myself to a place where in about ten years or so I can buy my boyfriend a Decadence for Christmas, but not even as his main Christmas present. It would be more like, "Oh, should we buy a couple of Decadences this year?" "Yeah, sure, they're always nice to have around." And then I'll remember what it felt like to be myself right now, just some poor little sucker writing a blog post about gold leaf marmalade, and I'll glance around the room, taking in the gilt and splendor of all my worldly possessions and wonder if maybe if things were better back when I was young and hungry, full of hopes and dreams. And then the Ghost of Christmas Past arrives, and says something about money being a cruel mistress. Gosh. It's gonna be a real doozy, this life of mine. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Harissa Toast & Richard Hell

On Monday my friends and I went to half-off-oyster night at Hungry Cat in Hollywood. The joke of the evening was "Hey guys remember when we went to half-off-oyster night and ended up spending about eight million dollars?" (Amirah made this joke), due to the fact that we all ate and drank our faces off for hours. My first drink was a greyhound, which came with a svelte piece of candied grapefruit that was like some super-glamorous version of the candied grapefruit at the Sweet Factory at Glendale Galleria. We ordered many oysters and they were exciting and overwhelming in exactly the way you want oysters to be, but my favorite part of that was the shiny-jagged shells all piled up on the plate afterward: having a course end with a tiny mountain of empty seashells makes me feel like some sort of sea-folk royalty, like if Ariel liked to really hog out every now and then - which she probably doesn't, but oh well.
        For dinner I drank a thing of red wine and ate a giant bowl of lamb sausage, clams, garbanzo beans, and charred broccoli, all topped off by two pieces of toast just drowned in harissa aioli. We were sitting outside (at a table behind Dita Von Teese!) and it was dark and I couldn't see a damn thing, so every time I dug my fork into the bowl I had no idea what I'd end up pulling out. It was a cool game, and the lamb was smoky and wonderful, but the toast...OH MY GOD THE TOAST. That harissa aioli was a revelation, like Sydney Fife says about Peter Klaven's sun-dried tomato aioli in I Love You, Man - only there's no way the sun-dried tomato aioli was even one-zillionth as revelatory as my harissa aioli, and not just because sun-dried tomatoes are bullshit. My harissa aioli was creamy-rich but zingy and fiery and wildly garlicky, and the toast was just perf, all crusty and crackly but spongy and so good at soaking up the harissa-aioli perfection. It's kind of insane how much of the sauce they ladled on there - whoever prepped that dish is a generous angel. The dish, by the name, was named Lamb & Clams, which is pretty cute. My supper was poetry and piggy heaven.
        The only thing I love more than harissa toast right now is Richard Hell, whose autobiography I finished on Wednesday and it's a fine read. Also on Wednesday I watched the movie Smithereens, which stars Richard Hell, the My So-Called Life English teacher/yearbook-committee advisor with the depressing bra strap, and Chris Noth, who plays a teenage prostitute with too much eye makeup. Richard Hell plays this caddish punk-singer guy whose apartment walls are plastered with pictures of himself and who is often singing Richard Hell songs under his breath. We're not supposed to like him but I loved him, because Richard Hell has bright, rascally eyes and a cool, easy grace to the way he talks and the way he moves around. There's one part where he's hanging out with a girl in a bar and she gets up from the table and he shakes some of his Budweiser out of the bottle and into his palms and then uses it to style his hair. I really hope that move was improvised on Richard Hell's part, and I'm sure it was. Richard Hell is an elegant genius; I'd share my harissa toast with him anytime.


I made my annual sojourn to Salem, MA this week with fellow Scorpios Joan & Caitlin. Regina is currently living in a cabin in the middle of Canada so she couldn't make it. We all love Salem with our entire souls. I think maybe it casts a spell on us. We're really totally obsessed by it.

Something you will learn in Salem is that all houses should be purple or black.

You'll also learn that Hag Stones are things that exist and that your can call your nightmares Night Hags! This name change makes me feel infinitely better about that night hag I had a few months ago where I felt like I needed to cut off my own feet.

I thought I would buy a crystal ball on this trip but they're kind of overpriced. I took this picture and bought a book called Meditation & Astrology, a pink salt candle holder, incense matches, incense, candles, crystals, a moon phase calendar, a map of Salem and a Salem mug instead.

We ate this perfect meal of a delicious split pea soup Caitlin loves with drizzled za-taar oil, a salad, and super thinly sliced roasted turnips and pumpkin beers. Clearly the 3 beautiful candles represent our friendship and our undying love of Salem. 


43 Things We Love About Mary Timony, In Celebration of Mary Timony's 43rd Birthday


1. She makes music that is exactly what I want to hear always at all times.

2. She's a witch magician musician whose songs are spells.

3. She's a Libra.

4. She's got a new band called Ex Hex and their song "Hot/Cold" is a beauty, with serious "Sweet Jane" vibes.

5. One time in Boston in like 2002 she gave me this shirt that she made, because I was nice to her at one of her shows.

6. Another time in Boston in like 2002 or something, Laura Fisher and Marla and Marissa and I went to a thing at the Coolidge Corner Theater where they were showing little puppet-animated movies by Ladislaw Starewicz and Mary Timony did a live score for all of them. It was so neat and fun and the part I remember most vividly is there was a scene where a beautiful girl-puppet went to a ball with a bunch of monster-puppets, and Mary switched the score from her weird Timony-y music to a sample of "You Dropped a Bomb On Me" by the Gap Band. Now every time I hear that song I think of Mary Timony and puppets, and it delights me.

7. Her mind. Her GENIUS MIND.

8. Her hands/fingers working guitar magic

9. She's perfect at doing that Pete Townshend windmill thing when she plays guitar. For some reason there are zero Internet pictures of this happening, but she does it, I swear. I've seen her do it a zillion times.

10. When I saw her play shows after The Golden Dove came out, she used to always do this awesome choreographed dance thing at the end of "Dr. Cat." I can't find any videos of "Dr. Cat" live, because the Internet is apparently mostly useless. But it's always good to watch the "Dr. Cat" video and enjoy the dance routine at the end of that. I like how she's giving a lecture at the beginning, and I like her pajamas and how she sort of looks like Nancy Botwin.

11. The way she hops out of the frame after the first chorus in the video for "Electric Band" is both whimsical and divine. Plus I like how she's superlazy at baseball. FYI, "Electric Band" is directed by the same women who directed Mary in the video for "Peace of Mind" by Mikal Cronin, which I'm still crying over a little.

12. Speaking of "Electric Band," did you know that Mary Timony can make it rain...in your mind? True.

(image courtesy of Laura Fisher)


Thing of the Week: Mary Timony, Video Star; Water

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Mary Timony, Video Star

Have you seen the video for "Peace of Mind" by Mikal Cronin? It stars Mary Timony and is beautiful and heartbreaking, but also heart-mending. I watched it when it premiered the other morning and was like, "Ooh, Mary Timony! Mary Timony being a maid, in a motel somewhere in Portland. Mary Timony in a baby-blue maid's uniform being soulful and sad, and then there's also peppermint candies and swimming, and a cool powerful necklace." It seemed predictably lovely and not all that extraordinary, and I loved it but didn't care that much. But then I watched it a second time a little later in the day and it hit me in a different way and I got teary-eyed and loved it a lot, a lot. 

There are so many perfect details. Like, Sprite is a really good choice for a depression soft drink. And of course she would be eating that terrible burrito for lunch. And I love Mary's post-swim shrug, and her hair and her slip, and I love that she cleans up her temper-tantrum mess before she leaves - responsibility is my jam and so punk-rock. And I want that locket, but I also want her to have it. And I don't know anything about Mikal Cronin but that song has really creeped in and this morning I woke up with it in my head: nice achy-hopeful melody, such dreamy violin.

The little girl is so great too. She really got to me. Someone should make a whole movie or novel or story about her and what she's doing in that motel room all alone.

BTW, there's this short film from 2000 that Mary Timony stars in and it's also perfect and wonderful. Mary plays a soulful and sad singer/guitar player who works in a copy shop and loves karaoke, and there's a really adorable scene involving donuts. It's called Dream Machine and you can watch it here.


1. That's the wikipedia image for water. It's one of my favorite images.
2. I've been sick most of this week, and thus drinking lots of water. And tea. I love water, I drink it all the time like a human should, but whenever I'm sick and I really have to I find it hard to do. Hydrating is fundamental.
3. I started reading Rachel Carson's The Sea Around Us this week, which is so beautiful. I started crying reading about the creation of the moon and the ocean. Water, the moon, Mars are all so emotional for me.
4. I started spraying magnesium oil on my legs sometimes in hopes that it helps me sleep better. Magnesium is found in the ocean. Apparently most of us are deficient in it. Somehow, magnesium helps you sleep. I don't know if it works for me.
5. Maybe the first being to walk around on land was a sea-scorpion type deal. A scorpion crab guy, who went between the sea and the land.  When I was reading about this possible sea scorpion I felt so proud to be a water sign.
6. We are all water, duh.