Summer 2016 TV Diary

The fall television season is fast approaching, so I thought I would take a minute to catch you up on what I’ve been watching this summer. TV never sleeps anymore so it turns out that it was quite a bit. Most of these shows are things that either ran on actual TV this summer or dropped on Netflix, but there’s a few older shows that I binge watched that I’m including too.

Orange is the New Black

I’ve enjoyed Orange is the New Black since it debuted on Netflix. The third season fell a little flat, but I felt like it was back to its true form this past season. The story around the increased prison population and the new company running the prison changed up the storylines and gave the show a new focus. They even managed to make you feel sorry for Piper by the end of the season despite her being completely insufferable for most of it. I’m not sure I really liked how the season ended, but we’ll see where they take it in season five.

Last Chance U

Last Chance U is a six episode documentary following a season of the East Mississippi Community College Lions football team. EMCC is a junior college located in the small town of Scooba, Mississippi, but it has apparently become quite the JuCo football team by recruiting students who weren’t immediately eligible to play regular college football because of poor grades or who were suspended from their teams for grades or behavior and are trying to work their way back to an NCAA team. I had no idea junior college football was even a thing before watching this, but apparently like all other football it has become quite the business.

I don’t actually care that much about football, but just like with Friday Night Lights it doesn’t really matter. Of course you’re going to see some football played, but it’s really the story of the players, the team, their coach, and their academic advisor who will definitely remind you of Tami Taylor. The whole thing is kind of like real life Friday Night Lights. If like me you loved FNL, I highly recommend giving six hours of your time to this show.

Stranger Things

Like every other breathing human on this planet I too fell in love with the Netflix show Stranger Things this summer. In case you somehow have yet to hear about this show, it’s set in 1983 and follows the adventures of a group of three boys and the mysterious girl they meet up with after one of their friends goes missing. Wynona Ryder plays the missing boy’s mother who has her own parallel storyline with the sheriff. There is definitely something sinister going on in their town and they’re all trying to figure out what it is. It is very reminiscent of a lot iconic 80s films like Stand By Me and ET among others. At only eight episodes it’s a perfect little chunk of TV to enjoy.

Mr. Robot

I very much enjoyed the first season of Mr. Robot last year, but probably we’re probably about halfway through this season and hell if I could tell you anything that’s going on. I’ve pretty much tuned out and am not paying attention to it anymore even though I’m sitting in the room when my husband watches it. I don’t have much more to say than that because well I’m not really watching it anymore. Sorry Mr. Robot, it’s not me, it’s you.


I had so many high hopes for this show because as you know I love music and this show follows a group of roadies and was created by Cameron Crowe. I am a long time lover of Cameron Crowe movies. Say Anything is still one of my favorites. Of course had I really thought about the last time Cameron Crowe made something that was actually decent and not just saved for me by the way he used music in it, I probably would have been more leary of this show. It is not a good show, but once again the music saved it. It’s even better in this because every episode in addition to the great soundtrack had a performance by a musical act including Lucius, The Head and the Heart, and Lindsay Buckingham. That part of the show was pure delight and was what kept me watching every week. The actual characters and plot the show, not so much. It doesn’t sound like Showtime is very bullish about renewing this and the season ended with what felt like a finale, so I’m okay if this was a one and done project.

The Get Down

The Get Down was the third of the three music related TV shows I was looking forward to premiering this year with Roadies and the even worse Vinyl. I didn’t even make it past the second episode of Vinyl it was so terrible. As I just indicated Roadies also fell mostly flat for me as an actual tv show, so I was hoping against hope that The Get Down would finally be one that I would like. It’s a Netflix show created by Baz Luhrmann about the advent of hip hop in the 1970s. The essentially movie length premiere episode was actually helmed by Baz Luhrmann with the rest of the episodes just created with his input. The premiere felt very Baz Luhrmanny for good and ill and then it calmed itself down a little after that though there were still many scenes throughout that had that grandiosity of scene that Luhrmann brings to his projects. It was amusing to see how tv critics were split on whether they preferred the premiere to the remaining episodes or vice versa.

What dropped on Netflix this summer was actually just the first half of the first season. There will be another 6 episodes to come later. This show is definitely not perfect, but it is by far the best of the three shows I mentioned and I’m definitely invested in seeing where it goes.

The Night Of

The Night Of is a long shelved project at HBO. It’s been in the works so long that James Gandolfini was attached to it. I don’t know why they finally decided to finish it up and trot it out this summer, but they did. I very much enjoyed the first episode and then sort of lost interest in it along the way. It had its moments, but I never felt like it lived up to what it had set up. The show revolves around Naz, a twenty-something boy who takes his father’s cab without permission to drive to a party, accidentally winds up picking up a fare in the form of a sort of manic pixie dream girl, does a lot of drugs with her, and then discovers her dead from 22 stab wounds when he wakes up from his drugged stupor. He winds up arrested for the crime, and the rest of the series follows him in the prison system and going through the trial process. His ambulance chaser of a lawyer is also a main character in the series and you see a lot about his life as well including a lot more about eczema than you probably ever wanted to see. If you think you’d be interested in a long form crime procedural you would probably enjoy this show.


Marcella is a British crime show starring Anna Friel as the titular Marcella available on Netflix. At the beginning of the series it is obvious that Marcella has had some sort of breakdown that has caused her to leave her job with the police until a crime that is eerily reminiscent of cases she was working on occurs. The new case causes her to return to job, but the stresses of the case and her deteriorating home life may mean that she might be more involved in what’s happening than she realized. This was another decent sort of short crime story.

Game Show Reboots

This summer ABC has been airing reboots of Celebrity Family Feud, $100,000 Pyramid, and Match Game on Sunday nights. I don’t care about Family Feud that much and only ever watched one episode of that show, which reminded me that I didn’t need to keep watching it. I have been enjoying $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game though.

The original Pyramid shows hosted by Dick Clark are some of my all time favorite game shows. This version is better than some of the other reboots of the show, but it’s not as good. Michael Strahan is definitely no Dick Clark, although I do think he got better as the season went on. Mostly the problem with the show was the celebrities they had on. They were mostly terrible at playing the game. I’m like do they not vet these people at all to see if they can even manage to play the game halfway well. In pretty much every episode aside from the one with Yvette Nicole Brown and Zacharcy Levi at least one if not both of the celebrities were terrible. The show would have been much better if they had found some people who could actually play.

The Match Game reboot did mostly better on the celebrities, but it was the game itself that had some shortcomings. Alec Baldwin does a good job as the host and the rotating panel of celebrity contestants has mostly worked for me with some weeks being a bit better than others. The main issue is the questions. They written in such a way that either it’s almost impossible for the contestant and celebrities to get matching answers or one of the questions in the round is almost a gimme for matches and it makes it really unbalanced between the two contestants and guarantees one is going to win over the other. If they get some better question writers this would be an excellent reboot of this game show.

OJ: Made in America

If you had told me  at the beginning of the year that I was going to spend so much time this year watching stuff about the OJ Simpson case I probably wouldn’t have believed you. After watching The People vs. OJ Simpson dramatized version of the OJ Simpson case you wouldn’t think I needed to watch a 5 part documentary about OJ Simpson, but you would be wrong. Had all the reviews of this not told me it was excellent and a nice complement to The People vs. OJ Simpson, I would not have watched it. It was indeed an excellent documentary that traced OJ’s entire life and placed it in the context of the world around him and the times he was living in.

The Fosters

I can’t keep track of what season The Fosters is on because it’s one of those ABC Family, I mean Freeform, shows that splits into summer and winter half seasons. I never know when a new actual season is starting. The show is about Stef and Lena who are raising Stef’s biological son plus their four other teenage foster/adopted children. The show is definitely not as good as it used to be and has sort of run out realistic story ideas so everything is becoming more outlandish, but there are still one or two episodes every season that are so good that I’m still watching.

The Jim Gaffigan Show

The Jim Gaffigan show was a somewhat autobiographical sitcom about Jim Gaffigan’s life living in a small New York apartment with his wife and five small kids as he pursues a career as a stand up comic. It was a pretty amusing show, but this season will be its last. Jim and his wife Jeannie who is the co-creator announced that they are walking away from the show because it was taking too much time away from their kids. I have no doubt they’ll be creating something else excellent in the future.

Halt and Catch Fire

I’m sort of getting a two-fer with Halt and Catch Fire because I spent the first part of the summer binge watching the first two seasons of this show and now the third season has just started. I did watch the first few episodes of this show when it first started but quickly bailed on it even though my husband kept watching. After the second season started I kept hearing critics say that it was a huge turnaround and that the show was vastly improved. I finally decided to give it another try this summer and catch up before the third season started. It was much better in season two and I’m enjoying season three so far as well. It’s about the early days of personal computers  and the internet in the 80s. Now that the story is more focused on the female leads rather than one of the anti-hero male leads it’s much better.

The Fall

My husband and I had watched one episode of The Fall years ago but for some reason never finished it. After really enjoying Archie Panjabi in The Good Wife and realizing she was in this, I decided to go back to it. Her part is fairly minor as the medical examiner. The show really focuses on Gillian Anderson as an outside investigator who is connecting a series of murders and stepping on toes of the local police as she attempts to find who is killing the women. Jamie Dornan plays the killer who you also follow as he completes his crimes while also living a mundane life as a family man. I enjoyed it and it wasn’t a huge time investment. It was nice to watch some short form shows this summer instead of investing in another 6 or 7 season series.

Aberdeen IronBirds Game

Sunday night we headed out to an Aberdeen IronBirds baseball game. The IronBirds are a Short Season A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. They are owned by former Oriole Cal Ripken hence their name being a combination of Ripken’s nickname The Iron Man along with birds for the Orioles.

I’ve been to other minor league team games before, but this was my first IronBirds game. My other minor league games have been in places where there isn’t a major league team. We live within a couple of miles of Camden Yards, so there’s no need to trek all the way out to the northern reaches of Maryland to watch a minor league team play. One of our friends got a group of people together to go up on Sunday though because they have a crab deck at Ripken Stadium where you can order crabs and sit out at picnic tables and eat them during the game. It’s all very Maryland. I figured it would be a good time to check out the IronBirds and spend some time with friends.

It turned out to be a really nice night for a baseball game. Perfect summer weather in my opinion. So even though I didn’t wind up eating crabs, it was still a fun outing. It was also dollar hot dog night, so by the time people decided to move to the crab deck I had already eaten a hot dog and fries and decided I wasn’t going to bother with crabs. Other people seemed to enjoy them though.

In addition to dollar hot dog night it was also Halloween in August, so all of the people working there were in costumes as were a lot of people in the crowd. I was actually surprised how many people actually showed up in costume. Good for them for getting into the spirit of things. That’s the thing about minor league baseball, everything seems just slightly goofier, but in a good way. There’s lots more stuff they do to try and keep the crowd entertained. It’s all very low budget, but I find it endearing.

The baseball itself was not great. There’s a reason these guys aren’t playing in the big leagues. The game went into extra innings. I gave them one more inning to win before we left. Based on how the last few innings had gone I had a feeling it was going to be awhile before anyone scored and broke the tie. I was right.We had driven the 45 minutes home before the game was over. Our friends that stayed said it went into the 13th inning and they were there for a good hour after we left.

It was a fun night and it’s a completely different experience than going to an O’s game, but I would probably need a pretty good reason to trek up there again for a game. We spent just as much money on tickets for the IronBirds as for an O’s game. Granted that’s comparing fourth row seats at Ripken Stadium to upper deck seats at Camden Yards, but it’s still comparing what we would actually pay to see a game at each place. Plus you can bring in food and drink to Camden Yards, which you can’t at Ripken Stadium. I guess at least the hot dogs at Ripken Stadium were better. I don’t like the ones they have at Camden Yards. Aberdeen is a little far to drive just for a hot dog though. Probably if I want to see a baseball game in the future I’ll stick with the Orioles, but I’m glad I got to check out the IronBirds after so many years of driving past their stadium on 95.


Bonnie Raitt at Pier Six Pavilion

My first real memory of being conscious of the fact that Bonnie Raitt was a singer who exists in the world was back in middle school when the song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was inescapable. I wasn’t particularly fond of the song then. Being all of 13 years old it really didn’t speak to me at the time. It has grown on me over the years, but it’s still not one of my favorite Bonnie Raitt songs. I do know some older Bonnie Raitt songs that either seeped into my world after they came out or which I knew, but as a child never really connected with Bonnie Raitt. Essentially what I’m saying is that Bonnie Raitt first came into my life at a time when I wasn’t really ready to embrace her, but as I’ve gotten older and wiser I’ve fallen in love with her music.

Thus at this late date in her musical career I finally saw Bonnie Raitt live on Wednesday night. I admit that I probably wouldn’t have made a great effort to go see her. She’s also playing at Wolf Trap this week, which as you know is one of my favorite venues but it’s a trek to get to and I don’t know that I would have decided to make it for her. However she was playing at Pier Six Pavilion which is very close to my house in Baltimore and is a nice little venue right on the harbor, so I decided it was definitely a show I should go to.

I’m glad I did because it was a great concert. Sometimes you see people who have been performing for a long time and think I definitely missed out on seeing them in their prime. Bonnie Raitt is the opposite of that in that I thought wow she’s a veteran performer and it shows. She still commands the stage and plays a mean guitar.

She played a really good mix of songs stretching from her decidedly blues songs from the 70s to the more pop rock and country influenced music of the 90s, up to her recent albums that have more an Americana feel. They all blend together and overlap, but I at least feel that’s the way her music has sort of evolved over the decades. She included a number of covers and did a lot of talking to the audience between songs, both of which you know I really like in a concert. She is a fantastic performer and really shows why she is part of musical history.

In addition to the great performance it was just a perfect night to be at an outdoor concert. The view was beautiful and there was a nice breeze coming off the water. It really was a perfect summer night and reminds me why I love this time of year so much. There’s nothing like sitting outside on a beautiful summer night listening to live music under the stars.


Dawes at The Sound Garden

Yesterday I got to see Dawes play a short set at The Sound Garden, which is a record store in Baltimore. They are doing as short tour playing some record stores promoting their forthcoming album, We’re All Gonna Die, due out on September 16. If you pre-ordered a copy of the album from Sound Garden you got a wristband to see the performance.

It was serendipitous that I even found out about it. I don’t go to Sound Garden all that often, so I didn’t see any in-store promotions they were doing for it. In fact wandering around Fells Point this week I was astonished at how much had changed since I last spent any time down there. I need to get out of Hampden more often. Anyway, I saw a tweet from WRNR, which is a radio station in Annapolis saying listen to win tickets to some private event they were hosting with Dawes. Seeing that made me think Dawes must be doing something in Maryland because it seemed doubtful that they were coming just for a radio event. I was surprised since they had just opened for Brandi Carlile and Old Crow Medicine Show at Merriweather in July, sadly while I was away at the Newport Folk Festival, so I wasn’t expecting them to be back in these parts any time soon. I decided to check their tour page though and see what was up. That’s where I stumbled upon the information about this show. I of course pre-ordered my CD, so I could go.

Obviously it was a very intimate show given that it was taking place in a record store. I managed to get pretty close, which I was happy about because had I been in the back I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to see anything between the racks and tall people. They played for about a half hour. I wish it was longer, but it was about what I was expecting for a “free” show in a record store. They played a nice mix of stuff from the new album and older stuff. I’ll definitely be looking forward to hopefully getting to see them play more of the new stuff when they start really touring to support the album.

After the performance they stuck around to do a signing. There were some promotional posters they were giving out that you could have signed seeing as how there wasn’t actually an album to sign yet. I was amused when I heard the guy in line front of me tell them that he had seen them play at Bonnaroo and then heard the guy behind me scoff and say Bonnaroo? I saw them at Newport. That made me laugh because yeah my feelings exactly guy.

It was a fun little break for my Tuesday night. There’s always something special about getting to see one of your favorite bands in a non-standard venue, and this was definitely that.

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Songs I Love: SOS (Overboard) by Joseph

Joseph is a band made up of three sisters Natalie, Allison, and Meegan Closner. The band is named after their grandfather Jo who hailed from a town called Joseph. They are set to release their second album, I’m Alone, No You’re Not, this Friday. Their first album was self-released and I don’t think I ever heard anything from it. They are now signed with ATO Records.

I’ve been enjoying “White Flag”, which is the first single off the album and a song that has gotten quite a bit of air play on non-commercial radio over the past few months. NPR Music has the full album up this week as part of their First Listen series, and while I still love “White Flag”, I fell completely in love with SOS (Overboard). The whole album is fantastic, and I can’t wait to make it mine but this song is the one that I’m over the moon about.

Code Switch Podcast

As I’ve said in this space before, I need another podcast like I need a hole in my head. I already can’t keep up with what I’m already listening to. NPR really needs to stop putting out podcasts that I really want to listen to. Even though I’m already way over my listening capacity I couldn’t help but add NPR’s Code Switch podcast into my rotation. It even has the honor of being something I generally listen to on the day that it comes out.

The podcast which is about race and identity is hosted by a rotating cast of people from NPR’s Code Switch team. They all bring a unique perspective based on their own race and experiences. There are often interviews with other people that are part of the podcast as well.

They of course have episodes on what anyone would probably identify as the biggest race issues facing our nation today like police shootings and Black Lives Matter, but they also look at a variety of topics relevant to how race affects people’s every day lives such as the most recent one where they explored having a name that is commonly mispronounced. There have also been episodes about race in relation to pop culture talking about the recent OJ documentary and another episode on feelings about representation on TV shows. One of favorite episodes so far has been one in which they talked to journalists of color on the idea of being objective especially in the face of covering some very recently racially charged stories like police shootings and the Donald Trump campaign.

It’s a great podcast and I would highly encourage everyone to listen to it. No matter what your race and background there is always something to be learned about others who share different experiences from you. New episodes drop on Wednesdays. Check it out.

Escape Room Fun

I’ve been curious about these Escape Rooms since I first heard of them a year or so ago. Yesterday I finally got to find out what it was all about when a group of friends and I went for someone’s birthday yesterday. If you’re not familiar with the Escape Room concept, there is basically some sort of themed room that usually up to 10 people get “locked” into and have an hour to figure out how to get out. There are lots of locks in the room and you have to use clues you find behind the locks in order to unlock the final key to get out of the room. Basically it’s a race against the clock to win the game and escape.

I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect, but I was excited to try it out. These things seem to be popping up all over the place these days, but the one we went to was called Escape This Live in Catonsville. They have three different rooms there. We did the easiest one they have called Queen Anne’s Revenge and it was a pirate themed room. Even though it’s the easiest one there, it was still rated moderate difficulty and we were told that only 24% of people who do it make it out within the hour.

The first thing I found out was that they don’t really lock you in the room, at least at this one so no worries for the claustrophobic.  You could technically get out whenever you want. There were two doors. The main door that you enter the room through is left unlocked the whole time. There was a second locked door that was the one you needed find the key for and open in order to win.

There was a short 1 minute video intro with a sort of starting clue and then the timer started. Again I don’t know if this is typical of how all of these places work, but at least at this one you were left with a walkie talkie and could contact the people who work there to get up to 3 clues throughout the hour. They obviously had cameras in the room watching us because every time we asked for a clue one would pop up on the video screen related to the puzzle we were obviously working on at the time, so they could obviously see what we were doing while we were in there.

We did actually manage to make it out with only 1:34 left on the clock. It was really harrowing there at the end. We still had three locks left with less than 5 minutes and had been working on one for at least ten minutes. Once we got that one finally open we got the other two lickety split and got the door open just in time. It made the end really exciting. It was fun no matter what, but I’m glad we managed to get out. It would have been disappointing to get so close and fail.

It would be interesting to try another one now that I’m familiar with the concept to see if I would be any better at it knowing some of the way things were set up in this one. Also having done it, I do think it’s probably the most fun with a large group of your own friends so that you buy out the room. I feel like there could be a weird dynamic trying to do it with people you don’t already know. I would definitely do it again.

eShakti Dresses

It’s summer dress season, which means I’ve been wearing all the cute dresses I’ve bought from eShakti. As such I’ve thought about writing a post on them multiple times this summer, but because of the state of the world every time I thought about it something would happen that would make writing about dresses seem too trivial. Earlier this week I was having a Twitter conversation with some friends about eShakti dresses which revived my thought about writing this post.

First of all eShakti has some awesomely cute dress designs. I always get compliments on the dresses I own from there whenever I wear them. That’s not really what makes them so great through. I get plenty of compliments on other dresses I have that I’ve bought elsewhere, but despite their cuteness none of those dresses are as great as my eShakti dresses.

There are several things that set eShakti dresses apart. First they are all custom made so you can order the dresses with alterations than just the normal style displayed on the page. Some alterations are free and others cost a little bit extra money. Granted I’ve never actually opted for any of these alterations, but I appreciate the fact that they exist and are something I could choose if I wanted.

What’s really great though are the things that just come standard in most of the dresses. Aside from a few styles where they just really wouldn’t work it is standard for eShakti dresses to come with pockets in them. Pockets in dresses are, to go back to the early 00s for a second, the bomb. I love dresses with pockets in them and curse all the dresses, skirts, and pants for that matter that come pocketless. Second all their sleeveless dresses come with snap hooks for putting your bra strap in to keep them from slipping out from under the dress strap. It’s so nice not to have to worry about having to constantly be shoving your bra strap back up. It’s such a nice little touch and just seems so thoughtful about how woman actually wear clothes.

I’m not going to lie and say that eShakti dresses are cheap because they surely are not. You do have to shell out some money for them, although you can get some sales that will make it less painful. However I think they are totally worth it. Plus the price keeps me in check. If they were cheaper I’d probably own way more of them.

Hudson River Valley Weekend

This past weekend I went up to the Hudson River Valley to visit one of my friends from college. She moved up there about a year ago to teach at West Point. It’s not as nice as the couple years she was living near me in Maryland while in grad school, but definitely better than when she was in Georgia or Washington State. I can at least make it to New York for a weekend visit fairly easily.

I took a half day off work on Friday and drove up there arriving around 5. After I got up there we drove over to West Point and Kristen gave me a quick tour of the campus. It’s incredibly beautiful, and she confirmed that the views from her office are amazing. I’m still trying to wrap my head a little around the fact that the Hudson River Valley is so close to New York City. It seems like it’s in another world.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in one of the towns around there. I’m not sure exactly where we were at that point. We ended the night watching commercials with a little bit of Olympic opening ceremonies mixed in. Seriously NBC that was complete garbage.

Saturday we headed to Olana, which is the house built by Frederick Church. If you’re not familiar with him, he was the most famous of the painters from the Hudson River Valley School. Based on what our tour guide told us he seemed like quite the interesting man. The fact that he made enough money as an artist to build this incredible house sort of speaks for itself. The house has lots of Persian influences, but he really pulled design elements from all over. The house is built on the top of this hill overlooking the Hudson River. It’s an incredible view. The house itself is gorgeous too. If you’re ever in the area I would highly recommend checking it out.

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View from Olana
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View from Frederick Church’s studio in Olana. That decoration in the window is actually black paper that he cut and was then placed between a pane of amber glass and a pane of clear glass. It’s pretty impressive.

We drove into Hudson for lunch and wound up at a French place called La Perche for lunch. Everything on the menu sounded amazing and I went back and forth trying to decide what I wanted, but we eventually both wound up with the burger. Sadly it did not leave room for one of the yummy looking pastries for dessert.

Our next stop was Hyde Park and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Library and Museum. The grounds hold both the house he lived in for pretty much his whole life as well as the library and museum. We knew that based on the time we were arriving we were most likely only going to be able to do one or the other. Luckily we didn’t actually have to decide because all the house tours were sold out for the rest of the day. I think the museum would have been my first choice anyway, so I wasn’t really disappointed. We got to walk around the grounds and see the outside of the house and his gravesite anyway. I don’t think I learned that much more than I already knew about FDR, but I enjoyed the museum nonetheless. I didn’t like it quite as much as LBJ’s, which is the only other presidential library I’ve been too. I’m still very glad we went though.

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FDR’s house
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Side of FDR’s house
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Grave of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt
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FDR Presidential Library and Museum

On our way into Hyde Park we drove past a Dairy Queen. I love me some Dairy Queen, but there really aren’t any around Baltimore. The only ones around here are inside mall food courts and they’re not exactly convenient to where I live, so I pretty much never eat it. We both commented on it on the way in, so decided it was mandatory to stop and get some ice cream on the way out. Of course eating ice cream at 5:30 didn’t make us very hungry for dinner. Kristen wound up cooking us some fish, risotto, and green beans that we ate close to 9 in the middle of watching some more Olympics.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at a place called Fiddlestix. I somehow refrained from ordering the Heath Bar waffles or the Oreo french toast. I still kind of regret it, though not as much as I probably would have regretted it if I had actually eaten them. I wound up with fruit salad and regular french toast.

Kristen suggested several options for activities for the morning before I headed back to Baltimore. I decided against the official West Point tour. Although I would like to do it at some point, much of the tour is actually on a bus. I’m glad I looked up info about it and found that out because it is actually what made me decide against it. Since I was going to be spending most of the rest of the day in the car I wanted to do something a little more active. I also decided against going to Washington Irving’s house, which is also something I’d be interested in the future, because it had time entry. I didn’t feel like being beholden to a schedule. So my final decision was to go walk around in Bear Mountain State Park. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs through the park, though we didn’t really walk any of it. There’s a little zoo of injured animals that they rehabilitate. We walked around that and then down a little trail down to the river. It was a nice little park, and I’m happy I got in some exercise before getting back in the car. I headed straight from the park back to Baltimore.

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View of the Hudson River from Bear Mountain State Park
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View of the Hudson River from Bear Mountain State Park

It was a great weekend. It was wonderful to catch up with Kristen and see where she’s living and working now. I also enjoyed exploring around the Hudson River Valley area. It’s somewhere I’ve never been before. It’s incredibly beautiful and extremely different than the city life I live. I’m not sure it’s somewhere I’d want to live myself, but I very much enjoyed visiting there.

Garbage at Rams Head Live

It took me 20 years to see Garbage live, but then I managed to see them twice in one year. After I saw them play at the 9:30 Club in DC last fall I knew if I got the opportunity I would definitely see them again, so I jumped on tickets as soon as I saw they were going to be playing in Baltimore at Rams Head Live. Of course by the time the concert rolled around months later my desire to go at that exact moment was not great. The show was on a Sunday night and as an introvert I tend to not want to do things on Sunday nights because it’s my time to get mentally ready for the forthcoming work week. Plus I wasn’t going to the show with anyone. I don’t mind going to Rams Head alone, but it means I don’t have that extra bit of motivation from someone else to go. Of course I had already paid for the ticket and didn’t have a real reason not to go. Plus I knew once I got there I would have a good time. So I went and of course was glad I did.

I was a little afraid once I got down there that the show as actually not going to happen thanks to a power outage. I wasn’t that surprised when I got the venue and they said they had no power because I tried to park in a parking garage near there and couldn’t get in because there was no power to the ticket machine or gates. Getting back out of the garage and finding somewhere else to park was a bit tricky since the entrance is up a long, steep, curvy ramp. I finally got someone who works there to move some pylons for me so I could get into one of the exit lanes and didn’t have to back all the way down.

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Staring a darkened stage during the power outage.

I don’t know how long the power was actually out for, but it came back on about 20 minutes after I got there. They just wound up cutting the opening band’s set pretty much in half with Garbage still taking the stage at 9:15. It’s a little too bad about the opening, Kristin Kontrol, because I was actually quite enjoying them. Though I did spend their whole set trying to figure out if their lead singer was actually only wearing a large windbreaker over pantyhose, which is what it looked like. I hadn’t really listened to any of their music prior to the show, but I had seen that the lead singer used to be in the Dum Dum Girls, whose music I enjoyed. I also really liked Kristin Kontrol too. Like Torres at the 9:30 Club show last fall, I thought Kristin Kontrol was a perfect opening act for Garbage. Their musical stylings though not the same are very complementary and both bands are fronted by some very dynamic female vocalists. I would definitely go see them again all on their own.

I’m glad the show went on because Garbage of course was excellent again. According to Shirley Manson in 21 years of touring this is the first time they’ve ever had a power failure at a show. So yay for firsts I guess. I still am in complete love with Shirley Manson, which was made even greater by her saying the first time she had ever heard of Baltimore was from reading an Anne Tyler novel and also talking about Baltimore in relation to Edgar Allen Poe. Literary references, be still my beating heart. She is just so much fun to watch on stage too. Their normal drummer, Butch Vig, apparently has to sit this tour out due to some sinus infection he can’t shake, but the person filling in for him whose name is escaping me did a good job.

When I saw them last fall they were doing a special tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first album, which of course contains all the songs I really want to hear them play. I wasn’t sure how this show was going to be compared to that one since they have a new album out. I thought I might not get to hear all of my favorite songs in favor of them playing more of their new music. While they did obviously play some stuff off the new album, they also still got to all the hits I wanted to hear which made me happy. By the time the encore rolled around the only song I wanted to hear that they hadn’t played yet was “#1 Crush”. It was the song they ended their set with last time, so I figured there was a pretty good chance I was going to get it in the encore, and I did so I left a very happy girl.

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Staring a darkened stage during the power outage.