My Fair Lazy, Culturing Up, and Six Months Of Lovely Accidents

So, a lot of people are writing, “it’s halfway through the year, here’s a check in posts.” I wasn’t planning one, but last night I has a realization that made me very happy.

A few years ago my favorite non fiction writer Jen Lancaster, wrote a book called, My Fair Lazy that was about a year long project to expand her horizons and get a bit more cultured. The project included exploring fine dining, attending theatrical performances and reading “important” books.

Y’all, between The Epics Project and The Best Theatrical Year of My Life, this sort of happened to me by accident, I realized as Aless and I picked up our champagne at the second intermission of ABT’s production of Don Quixote. (Partially, realizing that this wasn’t a terribly unusual outing for us anymore. We’ve come a long way since those $5 margaritas on 34th Street!)

Here are the cultural milestones I’ve had this year:

  • Read: War And Peace, Ulysses, Middlemarch, Don Quixote, Dune, David Copperfield, The Alchemist and Lincoln In The Bardo. As well as several other books that are probably not as culturally important but I have enjoyed quite a bit. That I’m reading a lot again is good. It means I can read things that are important and literary and the crap that I’d been consuming for the past few years. And I’ve got six more of the biggies (and a few smallies I’ve been putting off) before I’m through that project.
  • Watched: I’m still not good at watching things that are good for me. I’ll hit an occasional indie film or documentary, but for the most part, what I’m watching is still junk food. Often very well crafted junk food, like those sundaes from Serendipity or whatever, but still, empty calories
  • Attended: BEST THEATRICAL YEAR OF MY LIFE! It’s amazing how no longer participating in theater has made seeing theater feel essential to me. The Children, Children Of A Lesser God, Once On This Island, My Fair Lady, Angels In America, La Boheme and Don Quixote. I’ve still got a revisit to Hamilton and Springsteen On Broadway coming up and likely a few more.
  • Food: Most of my food exploration has come from cooking rather than eating out and my skills are still basic but improving. I can make Chicken Korma, which is exciting (Though I’m still tweaking my spice mix. It comes out a little too sweet for me every time…)

So that’s my culture year so far. It’s been good.

What Is It?

Lisette and Olivia have a talk, and Lisette gets a visitor.

The Marina Chronicle

That night I sat on my bed as Olivia combed out and braided my hair.

“The beef was good,” she said. I nodded. “Did you have a nice morning?”

“I think so,” I said, eyeing the violets now sitting on my vanity. She nodded. “The Dumanis train is in town.”

“Ah,” she said, “I imagine that diverted Tristan.” I twisted and looked at her. “Andrea or Brie?”

“Charlotte, Andrea’s daughter,” I said, “you know them?” I asked. She laughed.

“I was supposed to bring Charlotte out at court, if you can believe it,” she said, “of course things changed.” I nodded. “I would have asked about Trey but I know he’d never come here.”

“Anyway, then we went to the inn, and Tristan and William behaved very oddly,” I sighed as she turned my head back to continue braiding.

“I’d imagine they would,” she said, “William’s no fool, he can…

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Somewhere There Is An Eight Year Old Girl, Dreaming Of Being A Criminal

Ocean's 8

Hey all! I’m gonna do my best to get caught up on movie season in the next week! (Incredibles 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor coming soon!)

There are few movies that I love the way that I love Stephen Sodeberg’s remake of Ocean’s 11. It’s such a perfect movie, slick and funny, and sexy. So I had mixed expectations walking into Ocean’s 8, which I wanted to love but that I had heard was only OK.

Anyone who thought this movie was only OK clearly does not like heist movies. It’s a delight, taking as much from The Sting as it does from it’s predicessors. The performances are all amazing, and while everyone is rightly talking about Anne Hathaway, more people should be talking about Helena Bonham Carter who is fabulous and hilarious is in this movie.

But I loved all of them, Sandra Bullock has some very fun moments (when she literally practices a speech in a mirror, a wonderful callback to Clooney and Pitt I burst out giggling.) Cate Blanchett is so sexy I almost fainted, until I saw Rhianna in that red dress (HOOOLLLLYYY CRAP!) Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina and delightful and Sarah Paulson is very good. (I liked the concept of her character, a housewife who gets her kicks from fencing stuff that “fell off a truck” more than Paulson’s performance…which again, fine.) A few key cameos from the original 11, although it’s very clear that Danny faked his death, you guys…like SUPER clear.

My July Camp NaNoWriMo project is a heist. (I’m not gonna get to into it here.) So I’m diving into this genre at the moment. (It’s such a good one, that I love so much.)


  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Avengers: Infinity War (Weird how low this is ranking)


Operation Finale: Sad movie about the Nuremberg trials…but also Oscar Isaac…soooo

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: ARE CHER AND ANDY GARCIA GOING TO BONE IN THIS MOVIE? Also Cher singing “Fernando.” *DIES* Also, where’s Donna? Also, this movie is required to be seen in Dine In, and not alone, because I must be drunk and mocking it at all times.

Widows: More Lady Heists!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald: OK, let’s make something clear…THE TRAILERS give Rowling an in to make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit. “I cannot confront Grindelwald…he and I have a past, we were in love and I’m not strong enough.” IT’S RIGHT THERE JO! GET IT TOGETHER! Otherwise, looks super dope.

The Nutcracker: The Secret Of The Four Realms: I’m actually really stoked for this? Like in a very odd way. I kind of love that Disney has just accepted “Tim Burton and Baz Luhrman had a baby and it was a fairytale nightmare-scape” as a filmmaking aesthetic. The movies aren’t always great. (Or ever? Beauty And The Beast and Cinderella were pretty good. I know other people like Maleficent…the Alice movies are awful) But they’re cool to look at. And I like Kiera Knightly

A Simple Favor: In which Anna Kendrick continues to live out all our dreams, this time by killing Blake Lively because of her perfect life, maybe? (Also that this isn’t Leighton Meister seems like a mistake in the casting department, but I love Anna too. Get the girl back to her creepy stalker roots.)

A Star Is Born: Unless this movies completely poops the bed, and Gaga whiffs “The Man Who Got Away” (HIGHLY UNLIKELY) it’s gonna be favorite of the year, I bet.

Remake The Last Jedi: Wait what?

These people now exist.

It’s hilarious.

And unless their remake is just one hour of Finn and Poe saying, “No you hang up first” and smooching, and then the Rey and Kylo storyline EXACTLY AS PREVIOUSLY PRESENTED  I am deeply uninterested.

But seriously, this is hilarious.

You can read my thoughts on how I can’t really relate to Star Wars fandom anymore from two weeks ago. And what’s even stranger is a few days ago, I mentioned to Crystan something about it and she said, “it seems like a weird fandom to be in.”

And my reply was simply, “it really, really is.” Because, no one hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans. And they think they’re this weird minority for “loving” (their form of love is to talk about everything wrong with it) it when like most people that have seen Star Wars really, really like it.

It’s not a niche interest.

Like at all.

It basically is the mainstream.

It’s the french fry of geekdom. Some people really love it, and take it seriously, some people care less but aren’t going to turn it down when served to them.

UGh, I could continue ranting but I won’t.

This is hilarious. If it was created as a joke, hats off, because we’re all laughing.

If it wasn’t, I hope you understand that the whole world is laughing at you.

May the force be with you.

36 Books In 2018 #30: Rich People Problems By Kevin Kwan

Goodamn do I love this series,  you guys. I hope  the movie makes a trillion dollars so that we get  the sequels.

Set five years after the first book, this time Nick and Rachel have to deal with hid family’s bonkers money issues yet again, this time on the grand scale of everyone being summoned home to Singapore as his grandmother is dying. Meanwhile, Kitty has married Jack Bing, and is on a mission to beat Collette at social climbing (Collette has married into the actual British aristocracy and is you know, a ruthless sociopath, so it’s not easy!) and Astrid and Charlie must navigate their psychotic exes trying to sabotage their chance at happiness together.

There’s family intrigue, ridiculous fashion name dropping, shopping sprees, and hilariously unsubtle conversations about Rachel’s fertility. And it’s all amazing.

Seriously, picking up this series has been such a gift. They’ve been pure joy and escapism and I’m so happy to love them. And last week, when I joked that I hope it ended in a dance party, I grinned as I finished it up yesterday to discover that it does in fact end in a dance party. 

Seriously, I love these books. Everybody read them. And see the movie in about a month so that they make the other two.

Up next is God Emperor Of Dune. I’m also finishing up Battlestar Galactica so I’m just gonna be buried in deep thoughtful sci fi filled with wackadoo religious allegory. HOORAY! (Which I have discovered, is a genre I like quite a bit…)

The Book Thief and The Value Of Light In The Darkness

Guys, I’m not gonna sugar coat it.

Things kind of suck out there right now. Just all over. Shit’s terrible. On a big scary level.

And I was thinking about this yesterday, as a couple of personal setbacks pushed me into a pretty dire state of mind, I had a major, “am I allowed to be happy about something so small as, Incredibles 2 apparently being awesome or the incredible Yankee game that I’m watching?”

And then I remembered The Book Thief and I smiled.

The Book Thief, more so, really embodies the idea that life, in all it’s little joys and weirdness, is worth living, even in the darkest of times.

Seriously, I’m not saying the book is cheery by any means, it’s literally narrated by Death and deals with early days of the Nazis in Germany and the Holocaust in brutal fashion. It’s super dark. But it’s also beautiful. It tells the story of a young orphan girl named Leisel, who is adopted by an older childless couple, (V Anne Of Green Gables) and her new father’s love of reading stories to her. The title comes from her habit of stealing books off the bonfire piles in the town square.

They also happen to be hiding a young Jewish man in their basement.

Anyway, the thing that’s interesting about the book is that it’s about life, and Leisel, and her parents are living their lives in this horror show, but they’re living. There are small triumphs and sunny days, and joyful stories and deep deep love.

It’s a wonderful book and I’m really glad I thought of it while I sat at my desk and tried not cry yesterday. (Seriously, folks it was a shitty day…) Because we should all keep up the good fight, in big and small ways, but it’s also OK to dance while the music is playing and get lost in a fairytale.

And I think I needed to remember that. So, you know, just sending light and love out. Wishing you all the best. Keep fighting, even if all you can do is steal books off bonfires and declare Jesse Owens your hero.

Market Day

Hey everyone! Remember William? Of course you do.

The Marina Chronicle

I woke up in the morning and got dressed quickly, also grabbing a basket and a small pouch of coins. Most of the farmers and town shopkeepers bill us, but if any merchant carravans are passing it will be nice to be able to at least consider buying something.

I walked out the front door and saw Tristan jog up. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. I swallowed, trying not to stare.

I am not in love with him.

But I would also not be opposed to him just never wearing his shirt again. Because this is very nice. Can I make a law about that?

From here on out all guardsmen are forbidden from wearing shirts in her majesty’s presence. That could do the trick. Or I suppose that’s like when I used to order Aaron to give me his desert and he told me that he didn’t have to…

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Fangirl Concert Series: Flogging Molly & Dropkick Murphy’s at The Stone Pony

I’m seeing a bunch of concerts this summer so I figured that I’d talk about them a little bit, y’all up for it?

Anyway, my summer concert scheduled kicked off with seeing the two most famous Celtic Punk bands in existence. (As these things go, I know it’s a niche genre.) Also, the show was at The Stone Pony, (Well, their outdoor summer stage…not the club itself…) which if you know a lot about Rock history, you’ve probably heard of. (As a primer, it’s the small club in Asbury Park, NJ where Springsteen first assembled The E Street Band.)

I was excited for this show, I’ve been a fan of both Flogging Molly and Dropkick for a while, and hadn’t seen either of them live. This was mostly out of fear, if I’m honest. I like a lot of punk music, but a lot of the crowd action freaks me out. I hate moshing and crowd surfing, so if a venue isn’t big enough that I can hang back, I tend to skip it.

Dropkick’s shows in particular, are notorious for their heavy violent pits, because you know, drunk Irish dudes and angry music.

Anyway. I drove down to Asbury on Sunday, worked my way into the summer stage area (gorgeous, really well laid out.) picked up a Coorrs Lite (Only $6! AT A CONCERT VENUE IN THE TRI STATE AREA! I was floored!) and prepared for the Shenanigans.

Shenanigans were had, friends were made, dancing occurred. I preferred Flogging Molly’s set. I’ve always preferred them though, being more of a Ramones type punk than a Sex Pistols one, and thus I place more emphasis on general songcraft than loud emotion. (There are merits to both) But man, when both bands came out and closed the show with “Shipping Out To Boston” it was such a joyous explosion of musical joy that Dropkick may have won the day. (If this were a competition.) Also enjoyable? Flogging Molly congratulating the Mexican World Cup team on their win, and dedicating their song about parenthood to the separated families at the border, to the general uncomfortable rumblings of their audience. (I had found a lovely group of queer ladies by then, and we all WOOOED and clapped, but it was quiet when they said it.) (Also, I was not like, blown away that discussion on ICE activity brought on uncomfortable grumbling from this audience rather than wild applause, but I’m glad it was brought up.) (For the record, I am staunchly AGAINST ripping children away from their parents and putting them in cages and warehouses.) (I have already called my reps about it and so should you. ALSO VOTE IN NOVEMBER!)

Discussion of human atrocities aside, I also just liked their vibe more. Flogging Molly plays like a prototypical rock and roll group, letting the music largely speak for itself, which I think suited the laid back beachy vibe of the venue. Dropkick puts on a heavier show, which was also fun, but way less my scene for this kind of thing.

I’m glad I went and I’ve broken another “single girl” barrier, by going by myself. More solo concerts to come, I’m sure!

The next concert (that I know of, unless something comes up) is Taylor Swift at MetLife Stadium on July 20.

So…that’ll be different than this…almost entirely.


36 Books In 2018 & The Epics Project #6: #29 Ulysses By James Joyce

Music, literature, Ireland, Dublin, Paris, friendship, woman, prostitution, diet, the influence of gaslight or the light of arc and glow-lamps or the growth or adjoining paraheliotropic trees, exposed corporation emergency dustbuckets, the Roman catholic church, ecclesiastical celibacy, the Irish nation, Jesuit education, careers, the study of  medicine, the past day, the maleficent influence of presabbath, Stephen’s collapse

This quote is as close to talking about what Ulysses by James Joyce is about as I feel qualified to make.

That is to say, that in the past two weeks while I read the book, I couldn’t really make heads or tails of it as a whole, but I learned long ago that understanding the whole is not really how to go about reading Joyce. It’s about absorbing the moments. And about understanding that he’s trying to confuse you, so just live in that confusion.

Joyce’s whole deal is about finding the sublime in the mundane. Elevating the experience of the average person to that of epic tales about gods and heroes.

It’s lofty lofty shit which is why when it goes over my head, I try not to let it frustrate me. I know at the very least, that Ulysses is about Ireland, and anti-semitism, and sex. I got that much. So, you know there’s that.

Reading this book and (War And Peace) was kind of the impetus of this project, so I’m glad that I finally got through it, but oh god, was it rough, and I just need to exhale and be thrilled that this one’s done.

I read Ulysses you guys, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Maybe someday I’ll read it with guidance and understand more of it. Maybe I’ll never touch it again. I don’t know, for now, I’m going exhale, and been grateful for having read it.

Next up, I get to indulge in Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan, (HOW WILL THIS SAGA END? I hope in a dance party.) And the next epic is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace…I’ve scaled up now. We’ll see how it goes.

And That’s Just Fabulous

A few weeks ago it was the 20th anniversary of Sex And The City, and reading a bunch of retrospectives on the show had me put my latest nerd homework assignment (Battle Star Galactica! So Say We All!) on hold to watch the show again.

It’s one of those shows I like watching every few years, and I really really love it. I get new stuff from it every time.

This time the watch coincided with a bit of blitz I’ve had trying to date so that was fun. But as usual, I paid less attention to the boyfriends and husbands. (TEAM BERGER!) It’s all about the girls. (And New York City, really, the fifth lady…) Their relationships with each other.

The main love story at the center, structured as such is between Carrie and Miranda and it’s goddamned fascinating. Except for season 1, which, like most HBO shows I regard as a pilot, a way of feeling out if this thing works, the focus is squarely on these two as they grown. Before I’ve noted what’s interesting about SATC is that it’s about the death of cynicism and allowing yourself to be open to love and life.

And I still think that. Even Charlotte, the avatar of true love, doesn’t really understand any of that until she breaks out of her rigid rules. This is a show about opening up. It’s also hilarious, timely and I cannot stress this enough, is about four women where male characters are basically an afterthought.

But I’ve explored all of this before and this time, I was happy to just settle in and watch. Seriously. It was really nice.