November 6, 2009

The Weeklies #108

The Weekly Coffee. Know what surprisingly doesn't suck? Starbuck's new instant coffee, Via. I bought it out of curiosity and was actually pretty impressed. It's not the best coffee ever but it ain't bad.

The Weekly Time Waster. Water Werks.

The Weekly iPhone App. Unblock Me (iTunes link). It's seriously addictive and you will, I guarantee, lose hours of your week trying to solve the puzzles and get to the next level. I'm on level 70 and have yet to get bored. While the app itself is only 99 cents, there's a free version if you want to give it a shot without forking out any cash.

The Weekly Read. A while back, a few of you recommended Josh Bazell's Beat The Reaper. I finally got around to checking it out and damn, why did I wait so long? The book starts off as a gonzo, madcap, funny story about a doctor who may or may not have been a mob hit man (we learn the truth as the story progresses). It's rife with quips and one-liners and footnotes explaining some of the medical terminology which aren't nearly as boring as that might sound. So, for a while I was thinking that I had the book figured out, that this was how it was going to play out for the next three hundred pages. But I was pleasantly wrong. Because, between all the humor, the occasional vulgarity, the bizarre violence, there's a story about the importance of family and ethnic identity that Bazell so subtly weaves. It is a silly story, but it's not just a silly story. There's much more to it than that.

The Weekly Music. I spent the better part of a year raving about Say Anything's debut Say Anything Is A Real Boy because it was brilliant, and raw and exciting and totally original. When their second - In Defense of the Genre - came out, it was a let down though I realize now that maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance. I was cautiously optimistic when their latest, the self-titled Say Anything, hit the streets this Monday. Though we still have a month and change of the year left, I think it's safe to say that the album is one of the best releases of 2009. Say Anything is slightly more polished than their debut, but almost equally raw, emotionally charged, self-conscious and self-deprecating. This band is completely original and unafraid to try anything. Singer Max Bemis pours absolutely everything he has into the lyrics and their delivery. You can literally feel how heartfelt these songs are, how angry at times, how frustrated. Moreover, the album is smart. Bemis and company don't shy away from using big words, describing emotions, throwing in odd beats and pianos and strings, making oddball pop culture references to Dr. Seuss, Bjork and Debra Messing. Say Anything (the band and the album) is so wonderfully unafraid to be original, to be vulnerable, to be angry and sad and honest that you can't help but absolutely adore them. This is what music is - or should be - all about.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. So, let me see if I've got this straight. Carrie Prejean was Miss California 2009 until she became the first runner up in the prestigious Miss USA pageant. That title - such as it is - was eventually taken from her when the inevitable nude photos surfaced. Prejean then sued just about everyone. And the Miss California people counter-sued. To get their boobs back. Or rather, Prejean's boobs. See, the Miss California people had paid for them. Then, this week, everyone walked away with their own money but not each other's when Prejean was confronted by her very own sex tape. Shocker. Didn't see that coming.

The Weekly Hypothetical. The fact that the blueberry muffin I just ate tasted kinda like meat can't be a good thing, right?

Posted by Chris at November 6, 2009 6:25 AM

I think Via tastes like gasoline, or something. It is horrid.

Posted by: jodifur at November 6, 2009 7:09 AM

Meat flavored blueberry muffins....ummmm rats?

Posted by: Dee at November 6, 2009 7:28 AM

Gross! If you guys are ever in New Hampshire I will make you my home made wild blueberry muffins from our own berries. Now those taste totally awesome!

Posted by: Maribeth at November 6, 2009 8:10 AM

I think you got some better Via packets than I did..after tasting it I was wondering what I had ever done to Starbucks!
I don't even want to contemplate the meat muffin.

Posted by: Diane at November 6, 2009 9:13 AM


You just reminded me i want to go upstairs and get a chocolate muffin.

im still asleep.

Posted by: jessica at November 6, 2009 9:36 AM

I'm trying to imagine what one could do wrong in a blueberry muffin recipe to give it meat flavor. I haven't come up with anything yet.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 6, 2009 10:15 AM

You know, my fiance and I were on a road trip about a month ago, and we stopped in a local Starbucks. They had us do some sort of blind taste test, not telling us what anything was. They asked us if we could tell any difference between the two.

Neither of us could, and Patrick is a total coffee junkie. One was VIA and the other was the standard brew.

It was kind of funny. Once we knew, we could taste that SLIGHT difference, but it was negligible.

Either way, I get their foofy lattes, so it doesn't matter to me.

Posted by: Liz @ The Klutzy Kitchen at November 6, 2009 11:20 AM

You just made my day with that Say Anything album. I had no idea their new album was out this my hubby and I have something to listen to this weekend! I am downloading it off Amazon as I type!!!!!

Posted by: Jen at November 6, 2009 11:21 AM

You didn't see that one coming? hmmmm... I must be much, much more cynical than you. ;)

Posted by: Becky at November 6, 2009 2:22 PM

Hi. I haven't been commenting as much, lately but reallly you must be being sarcastiv as all get out in reference to the beauty (dumbass girls) pageant.

Posted by: debb at November 6, 2009 2:43 PM

so I just went to Itunes to listen to "Say Anything" and clicked on the first song listed...and the guy's singing "She touched herself, she touched herself. I called her on the phone and she touched herself".


Posted by: Kristy at November 6, 2009 4:16 PM

p.s. I met Josh Bazell at on October 24th. He was fucking fantastic. I got my picture with him but then didn't write a blog post...been so busy. When I do I'll be sure to share with you. Suffice it to say...he blew me away. He was awesome to talk to and he said the word "FUCK" several times in a rather uppity climate. Gotta love that. When asked how he found the time to write that book while a resident doctor himself..he said "Oh easy, I don't watch TV".

I had not read his book prior to meeting him. Now I have two copies...the one he signed and the one I tore through reading.

Posted by: Kristy at November 6, 2009 4:27 PM

If it was a blueberry-flavored meat, I think you're fine. If, however, the meat tasted like bananas, you may want to see a doctor.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at November 6, 2009 4:54 PM

I was literally JUST listening to ...Is A Real Boy in the car today. I'm pretty sure these words came out of my mouth: "This is my favorite song. No, wait, this is my favorite... I haven't listened to Say Anything in so long. They make me happy."

And I wholly agree with the let down of In Defense. It just wasn't as good. I can't wait to listen to this record!

Posted by: Jennifer Berthiaume at November 6, 2009 6:21 PM

OK, since my comment earlier, I have listened to the new CD and then I had to go and pull out their really early stuff (on the "Baseball" and "Menorah/Majora" albums). It is so different, but still really good. I agree, I was pretty bummed by the In Defense of the Genre CD, but they have redeemed themselves.

Have I ever told you how freakin' spectacular they are live?

Posted by: Jen at November 6, 2009 7:30 PM

No... definitely not a good thing.
I'm still not sure what you like bookwise, but one of the oddest books I've read (odd in a good way) was called Crooked Little Vein...

Somehow it reminds of this book you're recommending.

Posted by: Nat at November 6, 2009 8:25 PM

Could it depend what kind of meat? Or who made the muffin? Maybe not.

My Weekly Brush With Blogosphere Fame: Andrew Sullivan totally re-printed an email I sent him in The Daily Dish. About healthcare costs, and you know, life with a single-payer system.
There was much girlish squealing.

Posted by: Jo MacD at November 6, 2009 11:13 PM

Ugh. I was with you until you praised Say Anything. That band is my douchecock of an ex-boyfriend's favorite band, so it puts a bad taste in my mouth to think about them :(

Posted by: Stephanie at November 7, 2009 7:23 AM

Perhaps made with lard. How old school!

Posted by: Poppy at November 7, 2009 10:12 AM

Glad to know my idea was put into good use. :)

Posted by: alektra at November 8, 2009 2:42 PM

am loving unblock me!! it's only the second app i've ever bought and wow, so worth it! lots of good fun -- my 7 year old enjoys it too! :)

Posted by: afc at November 9, 2009 4:57 PM

I am not addicted to Unblock Me. I may need rehab. I blame you, sir.

Posted by: Rachel at November 12, 2009 11:58 AM

I am not addicted to Unblock Me. I may need rehab. I blame you, sir.

Posted by: Rachel at November 12, 2009 11:59 AM