It’s slightly ironic that the past two weekends—arguably the nicest, weather-wise, the entire time I’ve lived here—I’ve been out of town, considering my past personal dredges of Seasonal Affective Disorder that begged for 78 degree days. But it was worth it, because I got to stuff the above creation into my face (a salted caramel hot chocolate cream puff… heavens to Betsy) and gaze upon the Washington Monument in a 10-mimosas-deep state of mind.
You can find the link to the Bonnaroo rundown in the post below (or on munchies.vice.com ). One thing I didn’t adequately elaborate on was the absolutely fantastic burger made for me by Jeremiah Bullfrog, aka Rick Ross’s personal chef. I’ve only had one other “real-meat” burger in the past 11 years, so it’s true that I may be biased (and I’m not planning on having any more in the near future.) But lord, this thing… if anything was worth betrayal of my personal ethics… A salty, juicy handheld from heaven, I’ll tell ya. One every six years is okay, right?
As for DC, here’s a rundown:
Took Amtrak for the first time in my life. Everyone told me that I would love it—I’m partial to old-world modes of transportation—and they weren’t wrong. Penn Station is not romantic, make no mistake, but the long and sunset-backdropped weave through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland was spectacular.
Stayed with Ms. Shaelyn Dawson, one of my literal best-friends-forever (since we were 14 and counting) and went on a worthy rampage around the city. Started Saturday with a bottomless brunch of about 10 million Mexican breakfast tapas and google-plex mimosas, ran around the touristy stuff in a heightened state (the Jefferson Memorial, the Potomac, the Washington Monument from a safe distance to avoid the grumpy families and tour groups of teenagers), followed by a cartwheels contest on its accompanying lawn.
Regained composure and watched the World Cup at this nookish bar tucked on the second floor of an apartment building called Ivy & Coney, which felt like a moderately dilapidated Victorian living room with ice-cold beer. Fantastic. After a nap and some time with Shaelyn’s ridiculously photogenic miniature Australian Shepherds, it was off to Show Time to eat pizza and listen to all of the Shangri-Las and Smoky Robinson songs I could manage from the free jukebox before pissing off fellow patrons. Unnamed members of our parties vomited from the building extravagance of the day and I almost tried a potion made from “every leftover bottle of weird promotional liquor that we get sent, mixed together” but thought better of it.
Walking to my friend Brett’s house later on, we were apprehended via shouts from an upstairs window by some artists partying in a loft who saw us walking by. They invited us in and we passed through a ground-floor studio of impressive neon sculptures and plaster busts and up into a high-ceilinged converted firehouse, where a gaggle of creative types were playing pool and dancing to Pusha T. They equipped us with beers and brought us up to the roof, but eventually we departed to hit a different roof (that of my much-missed friend from college, Brett).
Maybe I just had no idea that DC was such a friendly place? Admittedly I had stereotyped it as a collared-shirt kind of town where no one schmoozes unless they have something to gain from it (politically or career-wise), but this conception was totally shattered. Maybe it’s no longer the land of Dischord, but it’s pretty cool.
Trains, planes, and automobiles seem to be the theme of my summer. And that’s more than fine with me. Take me to a Ruby Tuesday’s in rural Tennessee or a fjord in Iceland. I’ll take it all.
Even though I haven’t actually had one of their “real” burgers in 11 years, they’ve still got a special spot in my California heart. Check out the rundown at the link above on Munchies.
I also infiltrated the online world of adult picky eaters for VICE/Munchies, and it was thought-provoking in ways I didn’t discuss in the piece. The thing is, even as a food writer who is almost completely fearless in terms of flavors and cuisines, I related to a group of people who only eat French fries. But not for the reasons you might think.
What resonated with me was the convergence of their individual and highly personal quests to find kindred spirits in an unmanageably large, and largely “normal,” sea of humans. There are certain things we can deduce about others are first sight; their level of objective and subjective attractiveness, their sense of individuality, their sartorial choices. But the stuff inside isn’t so obvious. On the subway, we’re crammed into the tiniest, most intimate confines with other humans whose thoughts are a complete mystery to us. And for people who feel like they don’t fit in—for whatever reason—sometimes you need more.
Over the years, I’ve taken a lot of solace in the internet’s music communities; blogs, band message boards, file sharing groups. Even as a fairly extroverted person, I still find something comforting in reading the words of others, hearing their experiences and struggles and the fodder that they don’t say out loud. What I’m writing right now I might not say aloud. It’s just different to keep things in the written word. Safer.
But I realize that this is a double-edged sword, because these peeks into each other’s minds only go so far. They’re no replacement for sitting at a diner at 2am with your best friend in the world, or exchanging a knowing glance across a room.
And I’m not talking about social media; that’s something else. That’s a platform, a janky soapbox. I’m talking about the opposite; the corner booth, the quieter outskirts of this strange, sticky hub that we’re all using for ten thousand different things every day. I’m talking about the seven other people in the world who want to talk about your favorite Claymation rendition of The Little Prince from 1979. More than that, I’m talking about not being alone. Somehow, Facebook and Twitter and Instagram can make us feel left out. But for shy record enthusiasts and Picky Eating Adults, there’s somewhere to go where everybody knows your name.
Pardon my inexcusable lapses in updating. Now that I’m not entrenched in a snow fortress, desperately attempting to thaw by consuming only hot toddies and ramen, I’ve been (thankfully) spending less idle laptop time.
I have three new stories up on VICE from the past week or two:
If you had told me when I was 15 years old that I would be casually chatting on the phone with the guy who made Dude Ranch, Bleed American, and everything else I viewed holy as am emotional, “alternative” adolescent with a penchant for drum fills, I would have just about died oh my gawd. Let alone that the same dude was the drummer of Drive Like Jehu, a post-hardcore band that is oft-lauded as “seminal” amongst us “-core” miscreants. But even as a 27-year-old, I definitely felt a massive rush of nerdy satisfaction from hearing Mark Trombino casually mention, in his own voice, that he produced those albums. Anyways, now he makes awesome donuts and I interviewed him primarily about that.
For this sucker, I dug deep into the academia of marijuana brownie history to get to the root of how little old ladies became the prominent icons of weed treat ‘lore, starting with Alice B. Toklas and finishing with San Francisco’s own folk hero Brownie Mary.
This one was a little old thing called an assignment, though no complaints other than that body odor issues will now be forever Google-associated with my name. And now even worse since I just typed that out on my own blog. But anyways, broccoli and garlic and meat might be making you stink, but you should probably keep eating broccoli and garlic and stop eating red meat because obviously and now even the UN says so.
Thanks for reading and I’ll have more to say soon than just links, links, and more links. My brain is crowded. Honest.