New(ish) Music Friday: Shame, Shame, Shame by Lake Street Dive

I still don’t really have any brand new music to talk about with the year having just started and all, but I wanted to get things off on the right foot and still have a post the first Friday in 2019. Last night I saw Lake Street Dive in concert and won’t have time to put together a full post about that until some time this weekend, so I thought I would choose one of the songs off their newest album to talk about as sort of a sneak preview of my concert post.

I listen to about 90% of my music while I’m working which means it’s generally in the background and I can’t pay attention to the lyrics. Even when I am in a place where I can be more attentive I still don’t often fully pick up on lyrics because I am a visual and not an auditory learner and I just have a hard time processing them. This is why when I used to have time and also actually had physical CDs that came with lyric booklets and liner notes I would sit down with the new music I acquired and listen to it while looking at the lyrics. I will occasionally pull up lyrics to a song online to listen along, but I definitely do that for a small fraction of the music I listen to.

Anyway, I’ve heard “Shame, Shame, Shame” off of Lake Street Dive’s new album Free Yourself Up any number of times and never parsed what the song was about. At the concert last night Rachel Price intro’ed the song by saying it’s about what happens when things are happening the world that horrify you but that you feel powerless to stop. I identify with that. I felt kind of dumb once I started listening to the lyrics as she was singing last night because it was then very obvious what (and who) it’s about. Now I like it even more.

My Most Memorable Pop Culture of 2018

Once again it’s time for my annual post on the pop culture that was most memorable to me over the past year. It doesn’t have to be something created in 2018. It just has to be something I consumed over the past year. And as always I emphasize that these are the things that meant the most to me, not necessarily the things that I think are the best thing made in any given category.

Movie I Saw in a Theatre

I actually went to the movies quite a bit this past year and saw some really good movies. I appreciated that there were a couple of romantic comedies in the actual theater and not just Netflix. I really enjoyed Love, Simon and that scene at the end of Crazy Rich Asians when he gets on the plane with the ring still makes me smile when I think about it. I’m always hoping for more romantic comedies to grace the screen. There was also A Star is Born, which was not really a rom-com, but did have elements of romance. Hopefully these movies will be the harbinger for more.

As for superhero films, the one I enjoyed the most this year actually goes to the late entry of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. I only went to this one because my husband wanted to go, but I wound up really loving it. It’s funny and smart and beautifully animated in the fashion of actual comic books. It was fantastic.

I think two of the best movies I saw this year though were documentaries. I was very much looking forward to the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor because I liked Mr. Rogers as a kid and I loved the creators’ previous documentary 20 Feet From Stardom. It did not disappoint. It felt so lovely during a time when the world seems so terrible. I also really enjoyed Charm City, which is a documentary about Baltimore. It touched all my feelings. I laughed. I cried. My heart broke for this city that has such great potential, but can’t get out from under hundreds of years of racial discrimination that have left it in the terrible state it’s in today.

Movie I Watched at Home

I think almost every other year I’ve written one of these posts I’ve said something about not watching many movies at home or not remembering them. This year I actually kept a list so that I had something to refer to. It does make me wonder if I’ve watched more movies in the past than I thought, but just didn’t remember them because I actually watched quite a few over the course of this year.

Again a documentary was one of my favorites. RBG, which is about Ruth Bader Ginsberg was fantastic. I don’t care what your politics are and whether you agree with her judicial decisions or not. This film shows what an incredible woman she is and how much she has accomplished.

Also in continuing my late entries with animated superhero movies, we recently watched Teen Titans Go to the Movies and it was a delight. I’ve never watched the cartoon, so I don’t have any reference point to compare it to but this movie was really funny and had a lot of references aimed at 80s kids of which I am one that hit me right in the sweet spot.

Probably the best movie I saw though was Paddington 2. I kept hearing people talk about this movie last year and how great it was. I remained super skeptical about why everyone was so gaga over a kids’ movie. They really were not wrong though. It was such a sweet and wonderful movie.

Fiction Book

Usually I have no problem narrowing my book categories down to one choice, but I apparently read a lot of really great books this. I was just looking through my ratings on Goodreads and there were a number of things I gave 5 stars to and I don’t know how to choose between them, so I’m going to list everything I gave the top rating to, and link to my full reviews on book review blog.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Ohio by Stephen Markley

In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills by Jennifer Haupt

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Non-Fiction Book

Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men by Alexandra Robbins

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry that Shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll by Ian S. Port

An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz

My Own Devices: Essays from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love by Dessa

Educated by Tara Westover

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans

Coming of Age in the Other America by Stephanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lambert, and Kathryn Edin

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

TV Show

There is 100% only one tv show that deserves to go in this category for me in 2018 even though it started long before this year and that’s Grey’s Anatomy. I started binge watching this show for the first time back in mid-August and four short months later I was caught up on all 14 and half seasons. I haven’t been that obsessed with watching a show in a long time. I feel like good character driven shows are few and far between these days. Grey’s certainly isn’t what it was in the beginning, but I’m still enjoying it enough now that I’m caught up to real time that I will probably see it through to its end.

There were a number of other shows that I enjoyed watching this year though. Staying on the Sandra Oh train, Killing Eve is a fantastic show starring Oh as a detective caught in a cat and mouse game with a female assassin played by Jamie Comer. It’s smart, funny, dramatic, and very intense. The second season is getting ready to start in January, so if you haven’t watched the first season yet I highly recommend doing so and then getting on board when the second season starts.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Cobra Kai, which is the YouTube sequel to the movie The Karate Kid. This show was way better than it had any right to be. I love the movie and this show was a great follow-up to it.

There were a couple of other shows that I really liked this year. Netflix’s Atypical is a great family drama about a teenage kid with autism and the impact that has had on his family. I don’t feel like I ever hear anyone talk about this show, but everyone should really watch it because it’s very good. I’m happy there is going to be a third season because I was worried Netflix was going to cancel it since I don’t think it’s very highly rated.

Life Sentence was a great goofy little show on the CW that got canceled after one season about a girl who marries a guy she just met when she thinks she’s about to die from cancer but then finds out she is going to live. Now she and her family have to learn how to live with her being healthy rather than on the brink of death as she was for most of her life. It’s the kind of show that I wish there was more of on tv, but alas apparently I’m the only once since no one watched this one.

Pose, Ryan Murphy’s show about drag queens in the 1980s was also a really great show that I thoroughly enjoyed and am looking forward to more of. So far it hasn’t fallen prey to all the foibles that seem to eventually plague Ryan Murphy shows. Hopefully that will stay true in future seasons.

TV Episode

The final season of The Americans was not perfect by a long shot. I mean what was the deal with the whole Mischa storyline? Why bother bringing in Phillip’s long lost son if he was never even going to know that Mischa was around? The final episode of the show was great though. That scene with train pulling away and Phillip and Elizabeth seeing Paige standing on the platform set to U2’s “With or Without You” was just perfect. I always like it when a show manages to stick the landing and The Americans certainly did.


2018 was a banner year for new music. There are any number of albums that could be slotted in here that I think would earn this spot. Dawes, Amanda Shires, and Florence + the Machine put out great new albums. Natalie Prass’s debut album was wonderful. I adored Leon Bridges’ latest album and will always have fond memories of bopping around a used book store in Richmond listening to it. But there is no way that this category could go to anything other than Brandi Carlile’s by the way I forgive you.

It is by far the album I’ve spent the most time with this year. That of course is in part because it came out in January, which meant I had the whole year to live with it but that’s not really what I mean. I have definitely listened to it more than any other album not to mention seeing Brandi in concert 5 times over the course of the year. She played the entire album at 4 out of 5 of the shows.

I’m so happy for the well-deserved success that this album has garnered for Brandi and her fellow bandmates Phil and Tim Hanseroth. It showed up on pretty much every music best of list for 2018 that I saw. The album and songs from it have also been nominated for 6 Grammy’s including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. I’m guessing it won’t actually win any of them, but it totally should because in my opinion it really is the best album of the year.


For a long time I thought Hozier’s song “Nina Cried Power” featuring Mavis Staples would be my song of the year. It’s a beautiful, powerful song that certainly speaks to me right now.

But then it got bumped out the top spot by Maggie Rogers’ “Light On” I adore this song so much. She wrote it in response to the quick rise to fame she had after a video of Pharrell reacting to her song “Alaska” went viral. She talks about how of course everyone thinks she should be so happy with all her success, but of course there are a lot of not so great things that come along with that. She has such a great voice and I love the beat and music of this song. It’s by far the song that has brought me the most joy this year.


If you gave me a list of the concerts I was going to go to in 2018 on paper I would have said hands down my favorite show of the year was going to be Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell co-headlining a show in Canandaigua, New York. If it was just based on the Brandi half of the concert it probably would have been. I saw her five times this year and this is the one show where the set list departed greatly from the others. It was just her and the twins up there acoustic and it was wonderful. Unfortunately I don’t know what was up with the sound mix during Jason Isbell’s set, but it was too loud and the rhythm was drowning out everything else. That put this concert out of the running as my favorite.

It’s hard to pick a favorite show of there because there were a lot of concerts I really enjoyed. The Lone Bellow at The Barns at Wolf Trap was definitely a highlight. It was the best I’ve seen them play in a long time. I also adored seeing Sugarland at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I missed them a lot during their hiatus and it was great to have them back. I do ultimately have to go with one of the Brandi Carlile shows for this category though. I saw her two nights at the Beacon Theatre in New York at the beginning of her tour. I had always heard that the Beacon was a wonderful place to see a show, but this was the first time I had ever gone to anything there. It really is a fantastic venue. I also had first row center seats for that show. Brandi is always such a dynamic performer and it was great to be so close and surrounded by other super fans.

Broadway Theatre Production

Boys in the Band was probably not my favorite show that I saw on Broadway this year, although I really liked it, but it was absolutely my favorite Broadway experience of the year. The revival of this show starred a ton of really great actors including Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, and most importantly Matt Bomer. Matt Bomer has long been a tv crush of mine and my friends Jenny and Sarah so as soon as we heard he was going to be in this play we made plans to go up to NYC together to see it. Matt Bomer spends a lot of time practically naked during the first half of this show. It was worth seeing just for that. We also got to get autographs and pictures with him at the stage door after the show. Definitely my Broadway highlight of the year.



Baltimore Theatre Production

I’m torn about which show to put in this category. I loved Skeleton Crew from Center Stage’s 2017-2018, which focused the closing of an auto plant in Detroit. The most recent show from this season, A Wonder in My Soul was also wonderful. It was rewritten to focus on Baltimore instead of Chicago and is about racism, the dying of a neighborhood, gentrification, and family. It was poignant, funny, sad, and very moving. I also have to give a shout out to Sweat at the Everyman Theatre. I had wanted to see this play when it was on Broadway, but I could never arrange to get up to New York when it was playing. I think Everyman did a fine job with their production and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything seeing them perform it rather than the Broadway cast.


I still listen to more podcasts than I actually have time to listen to even after dropping a few. This year like last year though my favorite podcast is still Make Me Smart with Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood of Marketplace. It is still the one podcast I prioritize above all others in my feed. I love their dynamic, and I always do feel smart after listening to it. I learn so much about economics and technology and how they relate to my life and have so much fun while doing it.

I also really enjoyed The Impact put out by Vox. It’s hosted by Sarah Kliff and focuses on the impact laws and policies have on our every day lives. They’ve had two seasons so far. The most recent one from this year focused on specific interesting local policies being tried in various states and cities that their listeners alerted them to. One of the episodes was about a Baltimore program whereby people from certain low-income neighborhoods who are eligible for public housing can request it outside the city. It was something I’m already familiar with, but it was interesting to listen to the episode and think about how while it may be a good policy in helping individual people what about the city and the people left behind if all the people with the most resources and motivation leave?

Podcast Episode

Of course one of my favorite podcast episodes from the year would be from Make Me Smart and involved an interview with Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress. That episode was pretty much right up my alley.

I also really enjoyed the episode of Mark and Sarah Talk About Songs in which they ranked the songs on the Footloose soundtrack. Every 10 episodes they do an album ranking, and I had suggested to them that they should rank this soundtrack. I don’t know if my recommendation was the reason they did it, but I was happy they did regardless. I adore the movie Footloose. I may possibly have seen it more times than any other movie in my life. It’s at least in the running. I equally love the soundtrack. It brought me great joy to listen to them talk about it and rank the songs even if they didn’t necessarily rank them in the order I would have put them.

Valerie June with the BSO

As I have mentioned previously the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been doing a series of concerts called BSO Pulse where they collaborate with an indie rock artist. They are now in their third season. This was the third of the four concerts, but the first one I have made it to this year.

As usual they start off with the BSO playing a classical piece. This time it was Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence for string orchestra. It was an excellent piece, and I very much enjoyed it.

Valerie June is a very interesting person. I don’t even really know how to describe her. She’s definitely living in her own little world. She seems like one of those dreamers that just sort of floats through life. She’s from outside Memphis originally and has a deep accent that gives her voice a fascinating quality. She is a wonderful story teller, which she did a lot of between songs. I always love that in a concert. Wikipedia describes her music as a mixture of folk, blues, gospel, soul, country, Appalachian and bluegrass, which seems about right.

She is definitely one of those artists whose music is not easy, but sometimes putting a little work into listening to music pays off. She was not someone who I liked that much when I first heard her, but the more I have listened the more I’ve connected with it. I do get that she’s not for everyone though, and I don’t judge anyone who don’t care for it.

As always the final three songs were a collaboration between the BSO and the artist. For the other concerts I’ve been to in the series Nicholas Hersh, Associate Conductor, has written the arrangements for whatever songs the BSO is going to be playing with the artist. For whatever reason these were written by someone else. I don’t know if whoever wrote the arrangements for Valerie June is someone whose work I like better or Valerie June’s music is just especially great backed by a symphony, but this was probably my favorite collaboration that I’ve seen so far.

I know they had a three year grant for this series, which should end this year. I am hopeful that they’ll continue doing these concerts even after the grant ends because I love these concerts.

March in New York

My husband had to go to New York for work this week, so I decided to go up with him for a couple of days to take advantage of the free hotel room and use up some vacation time. We headed up to New York on Monday morning and get in around lunch time. Normally when I’m in New York I’m staying in Mid-town or the Upper West Side, but this time we were staying near my husband’s office in lower Manhattan. It’s an area of the city I’m not very familiar with and it made me feel all discombobulated. Having a GPS was only so useful as every time I came out of a subway I wasn’t sure which way to walk and I chose wrong literally every time. Also the my GPS kept losing signal with the tall close together buildings. Wayfinding when I’m not a grid is not my strong suit.

Since I don’t spend much time in that part of the city I had wanted to do something down there, but unfortunately most of the museums on that side of Manhattan are small and closed on Mondays. My husband thought he could get a me free ticket to the 9/11 Museum, but it turns out that is one thing he can get into free but only for him and not a guest. I decided if I had to pay I didn’t care that much to go. It’s not something I feel like I need to relive.

So I decided to head to one of the larger museums on the Upper East Side. I was debating between the Guggenheim and the Cooper Hewitt. I essentially settled on the Cooper Hewitt because it was cheaper. I think I chose wrong. I didn’t love it. It’s a design museum, which could have been cool but I just didn’t feel like there was much there there. It’s a small museum with only 3 small floors, but one of them was closed while they set up a new exhibition so it was even smaller for me. It didn’t kill nearly as much time as I was planning on, but it didn’t leave me enough time before dinner to do much else. I wound up just sitting in a coffee shop and reading for an hour and a half.

I was excited for dinner because I have literally been dreaming about onion straw type onion rings. I was thinking about getting them at restaurants as a kid and how I miss seeing them on restaurant menus, so I was excited to see they were a choice at this restaurant. Too bad it turns out the restaurant was only trolling me as when I asked if I could substitute them as a side for a burger they told me they didn’t carry them any more even though they were still on the menu. The food was good, but I’m still disappointed.

The real reason I went up was to see Once on This Island. It’s a show I had never heard of until recently. One of the podcasts I listen to always ends with the guest playing a game of MASH with more adult categories than the ones you used as a kid where you predicted how many kids you would have and what kind of car you would drive and stuff like that. In this particular episode one of the questions was about musicals the guest would want to star in and she said Once on This Island. Literally the same week they announced the revival that is currently happening at Circle in the Square. It seemed like such serendipity it made me want to see it. I would have seen it last time I was up in New York instead of SpongeBob SquarePants if the show was not dark on Thursdays instead of the more normal Mondays. That meant I got to see it this Monday though.

The story takes place on an unnamed island, though I think it’s supposed to be modeled after Haiti, where a peasant girl saves the life of a grande hommes and falls in love with him and prays to the gods to save his life and allow their love. I have some quibbles with the plot which I assume is how the show was originally written, but I have nothing bad to say about the staging or the music. The songs were beautiful and joyous. The acting was fantastic. The production was fantastic, creative, and clever. It’s one of those shows that if it tours it’s not going to be the same. It is a really great show and something I would recommend seeing if you’re in New York during its run.

After the show we headed back to our hotel room where we discovered that the thermostat in our room was not working and it was much warmer than we would have wanted to sleep in. They couldn’t fix it, so we asked to move rooms. They were booked up for the night in the part of the hotel we were in, but the managed to switch us over into the adjoining suites part of the hotel. It didn’t matter much to me since I was only there for a night, but it will be a nice bonus for my husband for the rest of his stay in the city.

Tuesday morning I went on walkabout to find a good New York City bagel. I think New York style pizza is garbage and I don’t know who hurt all these people that think that reheated piles of grease are the be all and end all of pizza, but I will agree that there is nothing like a New York City bagel. After that I headed over to Brooklyn to the New York Transit Museum. It was my first time in Brooklyn. I’m slowly leaving Manhattan and getting to all 5 boroughs. Now I just need to hit up Staten Island and the Bronx.

I really enjoyed the Transit museum. It really is astounding how they built the subway system. It’s a marvel and something we just take for granted now. There was a cool exhibit about talked about how the transit system and transit workers dealt with disasters such as 9/11, the 2003 blackout, blizzards, and hurricanes. The lower level of the museum, which is built in a decommissioned subway station is nothing but old subway cars lined up on the tracks. It was really cool to see how they changed over the years. If you’re looking for something to do in the New York area, I would definitely recommend this museum.

And that was all for this particular trip to New York. I have two more coming up in the next month so there will be more to share soon.



Fall TV Diary 2016 (New Shows Edition)

I feel like I’m a little farther behind in posting my fall TV reviews than I have been in the past, but with our trip to London and then just a crazy busy schedule since we’ve been back, I’d gotten behind in watching tv and then also didn’t really have time to write about it either. But at long last for the two of you who care, here’s what I think about the new shows I’ve been trying out this fall.



This new show on HBO stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church as a couple that is getting divorced. We’ve watched the first two episodes so far, but I’m not sure I’m going to stick with it. So far the characters seem sort of ridiculous and unrealistic, and I’m not sure especially with everything going on in the real world if I’m in the mood to watch people be horrible to each other every week.


I gather this show is based on a web series created by Issa Rae, which I never watched. So far I’ve only seen the pilot episode of the HBO series. I gather it’s supposed to be about relationships, but I don’t have a real good handle on the show yet having only seen one episode. It seems like it could be promising and critics who have seen more than I have seem to enjoy it so I’m going to keep watching for awhile.


I really have no idea what I think about Westworld at this point. I was busy doing other stuff while I was watching the pilot and thus realized I wasn’t paying close enough attention to know what was really going on. The second time we had just gotten back to London and I was still still dealing with jet leg and fell asleep shortly into the episode. I haven’t seen anything beyond those two yet. I’m not sure this show is really my thing, but our TV schedule is so oddly light this fall, that I’ll probably keep watching with my husband as long as he’s interested in it.



I wasn’t initially planning on watching this show, but I saw a couple of good reviews of it before the new tv season started and figured I would give it a shot. I’m glad I did because I’ve enjoyed it so far. Abigail Spencer stars as a historian who is recruited to join a team of people with a time machine who are being sent back in time to stop someone else who has stolen the only other existing time machine. He appears to be trying to change history by messing up historical events and they are trying to keep him from screwing up the world. So far they’ve dealt with the Hindenburg crash and Lincoln’s assassination. Even though the historic events are still happening with their intervention they are changing history in small ways, which so far has mostly been played out with differences in Abigail Spencer’s character’s life. Her mom is no longer dying, her sister never existed, and she has a fiance she doesn’t know.


All the reviews I saw of this show indicated that it was terrible, but I decided I wanted to give it a try because I like Hayley Atwell and am still sad that Agent Carter was canceled. This show was terrible as all the reviews warned me and I won’t be watching anymore. Hopefully it will see a quick cancelation and Hayley Atwell can get involved in something more worthy of her.


No Tomorrow

No Tomorrow is a sort of romantic comedy in which a woman finds herself falling for a guy who thinks the world is going to be struck by a meteor and end within a year. He has a sort of bucket list of crazy things he’s working through before the end of the world. At first she gets caught up in the excitement, but now is starting to wonder if he’s just really crazy. I enjoy it whenever I’m watching it, but for some reason I’m not super attached to it. I kept forgetting it was even a show until I would see it on our DVR, and I gather that the ratings for it are terrible and I don’t find myself worried that it might be canceled. I guess I’ll just enjoy it for however long it’s on when I remember to watch it.

This is Us

Everyone has been saying This is Us is the new Parenthood or at least that it will fill the Parenthood shaped hole in your heart. I definitely don’t have the same love for it that I have for Parenthood though. I get the comparison since it’s a sprawling family story with the extra added twist that one of the four family stories is actually the story of the parents of the people in present day back when they were kids. I don’t seem to have developed the love for this show that a lot of other people have at this point, but I’m hoping I’ll get more invested in the characters. I definitely plan to keep watching because I’m starved for this kind of character driven family story that is rare on tv these days.



One would not think that a show about a teenager with cerebral palsy and his family would be good fodder for a sit-com, but this show starring Minnie Driver as a mom fighting for the rights of her child and dragging the rest of the family along with her is excellent. It’s smart and funny and I’ve really been enjoying it so far.


Atlanta is the excellent show from the mind of Donald Glover, who also stars in it as a sort of lazy main character Earn who has somewhat stumbled into managing is friend’s fledging rap career after one of his songs takes off in Atlanta. Earn also has a daughter who he obviously loves and tries to take care of in a sort of inept way while being in a somewhat on and off relationship with her mother. The show is pretty much whatever it wants to be. The episodes change focus and styling from episode to episode with some being more typical tv episodes and others being rather high concept pieces. It’s extremely clever humor and often very visual. You have to pay close attention to what’s happening on the screen if you really want to get the jokes.

Queen Sugar

Moreso than This is Us, Queen Sugar has been a Parenthood replacement for me. In case you’ve never heard of this show and are wondering what it is, it’s actually on the OWN Network and was something produced by Oprah. It’s based on a book by the same name, though having read it I can tell you it’s only very loosely based on the book. Three siblings are brought back together in Louisiana after the death of their father. The brother has recently been paroled and has returned home to get his son back and set up a life for himself. The eldest sister returns to her childhood home with her teenage son in the midst of a sex scandel surrounding her famous basketball playing husband, and the other sister has been in the town for the long haul and does not look kindly on her siblings returning and trying to take charge. They decide to try and save their father’s sugar cane farm, but none of them really know what they’re going and they are fighting against some long odds.


Based on the film by the same name, which I never saw Peyton List plays a woman who has somehow discovered that she can talk to her father who was killed 20 years prior via a ham radio. She warns him of his death in order to stop it, but in doing so she changes the present such that her mother is now dead and her whole life is different. She can remember both pasts and is now trying to work with her father in the past to change things so that everything turns out okay for everyone. It’s an ok show so far. I’m not sure I think they can pull this story off in any meaningful way for multiple seasons, but it’s decent for now.


The Good Place

The Good Place stars Kristen Bell as a woman who was a horrible person on earth, but who accidentally gets sent to “The Good Place” instead of the “Bad Place”. Ted Danson stars as the architect of their neighborhood in the Good Place who thinks that it’s his fault that everything is going awry even though it appears that it’s Kristen Bell’s presence that is causing the issues. I gather that it’s designed to only be 13 episodes per season instead of the typical 22, so it’s already halfway through it’s run for this season. I’m not head over the heals in love with it, but I love Kristen Bell and Ted Danson as well as the other stuff from the creators of the show, so I’m giving it plenty of time to develop into something I love.


Pitch is about the first female pitcher in major league baseball. So far I think it’s trying to make too much of a statement as well as giving it’s characters some annoying back stories, but I’m hoping it will eventually settle into something a bit more realistic and less moral of the week type stories. I haven’t seen the ratings for it, but I gather based on one of my podcasts that they’re not great, so I’m not sure it will get the chance. We’ll see.



London Trip Part 2

We took a red eye flight on Wednesday night through Toronto and arrived in London early on Thursday morning. After making the trek from Heathrow to our hotel and dropping off our stuff we set out in the city. As I mentioned in my previous post I studied abroad in London, so I wanted to go back and check out my old neighborhood. I lived in Camden, which is in north London and is home to the Camden Lock Market and Stables Market, two adjoining markets with tons of people selling things, food stalls, and all kinds of interesting stuff in a labyrinthine setting. I kind of forgot how cool it is until we went again.

Camden Lock
Camden Lock Market
Regent’s Canal

Speaking of forgetting, my memory is apparently terrible. To even walk by my old house I had to use Google maps to semi-recreate through muscle memory my walk from the Chalk Farm Tube station in order to figure out what the street name was. Pretty much the tale of the entire trip was me not remembering things or vaguely remembering things. Apparently I shouldn’t wait another 18 years to go back again.

After we grabbed food and walked around in Camden market we walked along the canal and then up to Primrose Hill. You can get a really good view of the city from up there. It’s amazing how much has been built up since I was last there. The city is being taken over by glass skyscrapers everywhere with lots more coming if the number of cranes you can see are any indication.

View of London from Primrose Hill
Terrible selfie on Primrose Hill

From Primrose Hill we walked over to my old house so I could see it and take a picture. It hadn’t changed any, but the house across the street where Noel Gallagher from Oasis used to live when I was there is now owned by someone else. That means the white gate walls are no longer covered in Sharpied graffiti notes from his fans and there’s no longer an almost constant contingent of people standing out front hoping to talk to him and get his autograph. I never had any interaction with him and based on stories from the time he doesn’t sound like a stellar human being, but I also appreciated that if he was home and a fans waited outside long enough he pretty much always came down and signed something for them.

The street where I used to live in London
My old Tube stop 
The house I lived in in London. My room was the window on the middle left.
The house across the street from where I lived where Noel Gallagher from Oasis lived back in 1998.

I can’t remember the name of the pub that we used to go to at the end of street, and my memory of it’s location seems off from what is there now, but I’m guessing the giant brewery/beer hall that now sits on the corner at the end of the street was built on top of that pub. Certainly what’s there now was not there 18 years ago. My memory isn’t that bad.

Although I’ve already forgotten why we wound up at Westminster Abbey after we left Camden. I had suggested going a little farther north to Hampstead Heath and going to the Kenwood House, but my husband feeling the jet lag didn’t want to get farther away from our hotel. Once we were back around Westminster we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. My husband had never been to Westminster Abbey, so I suggested that. However, I’ve been to Westminster Abbey at least four times and he decided he didn’t care enough about it to pay £20 to go in.

In effort to find some store he thought he had seen saw coming out of the Tube station we happened upon the ticket line for visiting Parliament, which is not actually near the entrance at all. Thinking about it I thought that as many times as I’d been to London I couldn’t remember actually ever doing a tour in Parliament though I had obviously seen the outside many times. I was indeed correct on that as I knew I had definitely never done it before once we got inside. It was an interesting tour and I’m glad I finally did it.

The Elizabeth Tower with Big Ben inside and the stupidly overpriced London Eye in the background, which I will never pay to go on
St. Stephen’s Hall inside of Parliament. One of the few rooms you are allowed to take photos in.
The only other place inside of Parliament where photos are allowed

At that point we were running on fumes so we headed back to our hotel to figure out dinner. We found a well-rated Sichuan restaurant called Ma La Sichaun, a few blocks from us and went there. It was quite tasty and the food came out insanely fast. It took us forever to get the check after that so we still didn’t get out of there very quickly. After that we were pretty much toast after the red eye flight and going all day.

Of course we went to bed and then I woke up 3 hours later at what would have been 7 pm at home. My body was like that was a nice nap, but why are you trying to sleep at 7? I got up and read for a few hours and was then able to fall back asleep. All in all, I wasn’t nearly as miserable with jet leg as I anticipated. I was really happy about that. Stay tuned for more posts on the rest of my trip.

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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