A Visit from the Twins

While it will be a couple months before I get the chance to see my newest niece, this weekend I got to see my niece and nephew from my husband’s side of the family. His sister Christine, her husband Bernie, and their 15 month old twins came down to Baltimore to visit this past weekend. It’s nice that they live in NYC, which is about 3.5 hours from us so we get to see them more often. Plus going to see the twins gives me a good excuse to do one of my other favorite things, see a Broadway show.

This time obviously they came to us. This is the first time they’ve been to visit us since they were about 6 months old, which means last time they were here they weren’t mobile. If you ever want to find out how non-baby proof your house is invite  some 15 month olds over. They are certainly busy little bees into everything. Their parents definitely get my respect for keeping up with them all the time.

Lily enjoys playing with the clown hat.

Ryan liked playing with a can of tennis balls.

And they both liked petting Scout and Charlotte. Scout is the only one who tolerated it though. Charlotte, who is much more skittish spent the entire weekend hiding just on the other side of the basement door from them. They kept staring through the cat door we have in the basement door to look at her. She would poke her head out every once in awhile, see their hands grabbing at her and run back down.

Welcome to My Newest Niece

My sister gave birth to my newest niece, Jaclyn Grace, last night. Last I heard mom and baby were doing well. Unfortunately my sister rudely lives all the way across the country from me in Arizona, so I won’t get out to meet the newest addition to my family until the end of June. Welcome to the world Jaclyn Grace, I can’t wait to meet you.

Well-Executed TV Long Triangles

I love a really well written love triangle between characters on a TV show. I’m not talking about shows where the lead characters have an ongoing will-they or won’t-they relationship and the writers throw in some other character for a short arc to keep them apart for a little while longer. Those can be fun too at times, but are often written in such a way that you know that the interfering characters won’t be sticking around or are written in such a way that the audience never gets to know them so of course would never root for them.

What I’m talking about is a real love triangle featuring 3 characters that are a significant part of the show, characters that are so well known that fans take sides and vehemently root for whichever couple they want to be together. Or sometimes the triangle is so well written that fans don’t even know who to root for or change their mind. These sorts of love triangles tend to pop up on your more soapy, often geared towards teenagers shows, but I’m not afraid to admit that love triangles are one of the things I like best about TV.

Here’s some of the shows I can think of that had really well executed love triangles, at least for awhile, with the couple I was rooting for in parentheses. Sometimes these things fall apart because the writers are too afraid to eventually commit to one of the relationships. On the other hand sometimes the love triangle may be played out well but end with the couple you weren’t rooting for, which can also suck. Nevertheless they are fun to watch in the making.

  • Battlestar Galactica — Apollo/Starbuck/Anders (Team Apollo)
  • Beverly Hills 90210 — Brenda/Dylan/Kelly (Team Kelly)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Angel/Buffy/Spike (Team Spike)
  • Dawson’s Creek — Dawson/Joey/Pacey (Team Pacey)
  • Gilmore Girls — Christopher/Lorelei/Luke (Team Luke) incidentally this is one instance I can think of that for a time I was actually rooting for the character you knew was never going to last in the storyline with Jason Stiles (that is until they turned him into a tool at the end of his arc)
  • Lost — Jack/Kate/Sawyer (Team Jack)
  • Veronica Mars — Duncan/Veronica/Logan (Team Logan)

And finally my current favorite TV love triangle, which inspired this post (yes I do have the television viewing habits of a 12 year old girl).

  • Vampire Diaries Damon/Elena/Stefan (Team Damon)

This is a love triangle between brother Stefan and Damon and Stefan’s (currently) ex-girlfriend. There’s a lot more to the story, but from day one of the show this triangle has been set up and it is delicious. I am totally rooting for Elena and Damon to be together, but sadly know that ultimately the show is set up for Stefan and Elena to be the relationship that endures. We have however finally hit the point where the Elena/Damon side of the triangle is being explored in full and I will enjoy it for as long as I can. Take a look at this steamy scene from last week’s episode and you’ll see why.


What are some of your favorite TV love triangles?

Neil Diamond

Most of the music I talk about here tends to be new music, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love older (sometimes much older) music as well. Tonight on the way home from a barbecue at a friends house I heard Cracklin’ Rosie by Neil Diamond on the radio. This isn’t one of my favorite Neil Diamond songs, but it made me think about writing a post about him.

I grew up listening to Neil Diamond as my parents are fans. Neil Diamond was my first concert. I also dragged my husband to see him in concert at the Verizon Center in DC a few years ago. I’m obviously not the only one who has some good childhood memories of listening to Neil Diamond because there were a surprising number of people there my age and even younger, which surprised me. I think Neil Diamond is a little bit like musical comfort food. He obviously somehow strikes a chord with younger people that other acts in his same era don’t as the crowds at both the James Taylor and Hall & Oates concerts that I went to in the past few years were almost entirely made up of people my parents age, which was not the case for Neil Diamond.

My favorite Neil Diamond song has always been America. My sister and I even choreographed some silly dance to it when we were little kids. It was also always prominently featured at the end of the laser light show at Stone Mountain in Georgia, near where we lived when I was a child. We always went to the laser show every summer until we moved away, and I loved the scene they set to that song. While back in Georgia for a wedding a few years ago my family went to the laser show. It happened to be the 25th anniversary of the laser show and so they were showing some of the favorite scenes from over the past 25 years, which worked out great for me because I got to be all nostalgic watching the scenes from my childhood including the one set to this song.

The Some Amount of Money Pyramid

In honor of Dick Clark upon his death, today I’m going to talk about my favorite game show, which is  The $10,000/ $25,000/ $100,000 Pyramid. I’m not sure what it exactly it is about this show that I like so much. I really love Jeopardy as well, and most of that is being able to play along and see how many of the answers (or questions rather) that I know. You can’t actually do that with Pyramid though because the answers are always on the screen. Whatever it is it definitely partly has to do with Dick Clark because I didn’t enjoy the reboot just called Pyramid and hosted by Donny Osmond nearly as much as the original. I still enjoy watching the original Pyramid reruns. Getting to watch that show again was what made me so excited when the Game Show Network came into existence. I ran across a marathon of the original Pyramid on the Game Show Network a couple weeks ago and was super happy. I don’t remember what we had planned for that night, but something forced me to go out instead of vegetating on my couch and watching the show. So I recorded it instead and spent the next afternoon watching some of my beloved Pyramid.

Enjoy this, the final episode of Dick Clark hosting the Pyramid.

Of Monsters and Men and Lay Low at the Fillmore for Free

Last night I went to see Of Monsters and Men play a free show at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD. Apparently Silver Spring has something called “A Taste of Iceland”, which this show was part of. As you might guess Of Monsters and Men are from Iceland is their opening act, Lay Low. My friend Lindsey alerted me to this concert. I met her last summer, and she’s awesome because we both share the same taste in music and love going to see it played live. Previously I had friends who either liked the music I liked but weren’t interested in going to concerts or friends who liked concerts but were not familiar with the bands I like so they never wanted to go see them with me.

I was unsure going in if we were even going to get into the concert. We wouldn’t know until we got down there, and given that the rest of the shows on their tour that you actually had to pay for sold out in a matter of minutes I figured lots of people were going to be trying to get in. For some reason they had you print free tickets online, but also stated that the tickets did not guarantee entry, which was on a first come first serve basis. The tickets were entirely pointless as no one very looked at them at all. We got down there about 30 minutes before the doors opened and got into line which was already around the block from the entrance. Happily right after getting in line they handed us wristbands and told us that guaranteed us entry so we didn’t even have to stand there and wonder, which was great. We even got fairly close to the front of the room and didn’t have any super tall people in front of us so I actually could see which is rare for me at standing room only concerts.

Unfortunately my magnet for the most annoying people at concerts was in full effect. Seriously, if you want to find the most obnoxiously drunk people who have no consideration for the people around them come find me. They’ll be right next to me. We had some stupid drunk guy and his girlfriend who were jumping all around and spinning each other and all kinds of ridiculous stuff that there was no room for. Even worse was the fact that during the set change they were literally making out on top of one of the other people I was there with. They were leaning up against her back as if she was a wall and totally going at it. Not cool at all. There was also a girl who passed out right in front of us during the set change, who was completely unrelated to them. She was obviously trying to get out of the crowd, but didn’t make it before she passed out and then the guy she was with kind of dragged her out. But this is a blog about happy things, so we shall leave the drunken idiots behind and move on to much happier things like the amazing music.

I had never heard of the opening act, Lay Low, before last night but really liked her/them. From what I could gather Lay Low is actually the stage name for singer Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir who sometimes plays with a band backing her and sometimes not. Last night the band was with her, but I have no idea if the band has a name or not. The sang in both English and Icelandic so that was kind of fun. By and By was one of the songs they played last night that I really liked.

I was much more familiar with Of Monsters and Men whose song “Little Talks” I have been in love with for months and blogged about back in November. I also bought their first album, when it came out a few weeks ago and it’s great. According to all the press I’ve seen there are 6 people in the band, but there were actually 7 people on stage last night so I don’t know what was up with that. They were lots of fun and into the crowd, which I always appreciate at concerts. Also, this has nothing to do with anything really but the lead female singer totally reminded me of Edie Brickell circa the 1980s because of the way she wore her hair and the hat she was wearing. The resemblance stops there, but I kept thinking that the whole concert so felt that I should share. They’ll be playing The Newport Folk Festival this summer, and I look forward to seeing them again there.

If you’re familiar with anything by Of Monsters and Men I’m sure it’s “Little Talks”, but since I’ve already included that in my blog previously I’m going to link to “Mountain Sound”, which they had us do a kind of sing along with last night.

As a bonus I’m also including this compilation someone made of all the times they say the world La on their album, which is kind of awesome and funny because there are a lot. You don’t really realize how often they do it because it works really well with their music, but I overheard someone talking about this on the way to our car last night and looked it up. Here it is in all it’s glory all 7 minutes of las.


Deep Down in My Soul

For some reason I wrote this post about 2 weeks ago and then left it sitting in my drafts. Today I’m setting it free.

Recently it seems like there has been a lot of music harkening back to the sounds of 60’s and 70’s soul, which I have very much been digging. Here’s just a few songs that I’ve really been enjoying lately that have that soul sound.

First up “I Found You” by Alabama Shakes. I’ll be seeing them play at the Newport Folk Festival in July, which I am really looking forward to.

Alabama Shakes “I Found You”

Next up “The Walk” by Mayer Hawthorne. Based on his music you would never guess that Mayer Hawthorne is a white hipster looking guy. He grew up in Michigan though, so I guess the history of Motown there influenced his musical stylings.

Finally, there’s “Look the Other Way” by Justin Townes Earle, which probably doesn’t qualify as soul music quite as much as the previous two songs, but it still has enough soul undertones that I tend to think of it as such when I hear it.

Justin Townes Earle “Look the Other Way”

Food Truck Gathering

In the past couple years food trucks have become a really big thing in Baltimore. During the warmer months they have started having food truck gatherings once a month on Friday night. Last night was the first official one for the season. Though there was a much smaller one held last month as a fundraiser for the SPCA around the corner from our house. They’ve held what they call The Gathering at several places around the city, but I think last night’s location at the Baltimore Museum of Industry was by far the best. There was plenty of space for all the trucks and people, which has not always been the case. It’s also right on the water so the view is really great. It would be nice if they did it there again when the weather is slightly warmer, but I’m suspecting that might not happen during prime wedding season because they hold lots of weddings in that location.

The key to The Gathering is definitely arriving soon after it starts though, otherwise you will be standing in line forever waiting to get your food. Paul and I got down there about 30 minutes after it started and got our food fairly quickly, but other friends who got down there later wound up waiting almost an hour. Whenever we go to the food trucks I try to get food from one that I haven’t eaten at before. Last night we wound up at the Miss Shirley’s truck. We both got grilled cheese sandwiches that were made with white cheddar on sourdough with fried green tomatoes in the middle and an order of sweet potato fries. I also got a salty caramel cupcake from the Iced Gems truck for dessert. Yum!

Memphis: The Musical

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but my husband and I have season tickets to the touring Broadway shows at the Hippodrome in Baltimore. Last night we saw Memphis. It was by far (at least in my opinion) the best show we’ve seen this season (my husband liked The Addams Family more) and one of the better shows I’ve seen in the past few years.

It won a number of Tonys in 2010 including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. The story takes place in 1950s Memphis during the birth of Rock and Roll. Huey Calhoun is a poor, kind of odd white boy who loves the rhythm and blues he hears at black clubs on Beale Street. He becomes enthralled with Felicia, a night club singer and vows that he’s going to get her music played on the radio. It’s a promise he is eventually able to keep, but Memphis isn’t necessarily ready to embrace black culture fully or a mixed race relationship between Huey and Felicia.

It’s a really moving story touching on a lot of painful topics, while also being written with a lot humor. Memphis definitely has one of the better books I’ve seen in a Broadway musical in a long time. I really enjoyed the music as well. The songs do a really good job of both feeling like they belong in and were written for a musical while also having the feel of 1950s rock and roll. I’m kind of over musicals that just try to shoe horn already existing songs into a musical (see Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages, etc.). I actually enjoyed all those shows, but they don’t have the same feel to me as musicals with original music.

The performers in this touring cast were really amazing as well. They had some really powerful voices, and some of the songs required some amazing feats of voice which they pulled off with aplomb. If you get a chance I would highly recommend seeing it. The show is playing in Baltimore through Sunday. If you don’t live in Baltimore look out for the tour coming to a city near you or go see it on Broadway where it is still running.

Now enjoy the song “Someday”, which is Felicia’s first radio hit and one of the songs I really liked from the musical.