Good morning! This week was truly tough for me. It almost ended in hospitalization (what a great way to miss family Easter that would have been). Oh yeah, it’s Easter, so enjoy that if Christianity is something you do. I’ll just be buying discount candy tomorrow.
Donate to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. Sure, there are a few great options for 2020 but Warren has been out here in these streets putting out progressive policy and being an unequivocal badass every damn day. A donation to her is a small way of saying that policy matters. Lol, remember how, 4 years ago, every bro said that they’d totally vote for a progressive like Warren, just not Hillary? They lied (duh) and it’s gonna be a long fight.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I go back and forth about alcohol, but this is a fun little list if you want to impress at your next dinner party.
And last but certainly not least, I was heartbroken to learn about the Notre Dame fire this week. I was so fortunate to be able to see it last summer, even if I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time admiring it as I may have liked. It’s breathtaking, living history, and I’m so glad to know that much of the art, artifacts, and relics were saved.
This piece about who should win the game of thrones. Especially this section, by Katie Rife:
Yes, Daenerys Targaryen is the neoliberal of the A Song Of Ice And Fire universe, a charismatic but mostly policy-free figure who preaches peace and practices war. More specifically, she’s the Hillary Clinton of ASOIAF, riding her previous accomplishments on a wave of perceived inevitability into Westeros to claim the title she sees as rightfully hers. But you know what? Let her have it. Underneath her grand rhetoric about breaking chains and adopting entire populations, Daenerys is a practical leader, one who sees the virtue in surrounding herself with people who know what they’re talking about. She’s not one for feminine niceties, but what good will flattery do up against the likes of Cersei Lannister, let alone the Night King and his undead horde? She’s got advisors for that—like Tyrion Lannister, who makes a better Hand than he would a king, and would probably tell you as much if you asked him. Whether her promises of a lasting peace after all her enemies have been destroyed are real, well—that remains to be seen. But wouldn’t Jon Snow make a handsome king? Maybe he could take up baking cookies.
Just found out about this and I couldn’t be more excited!
I’m dreading having to do my laundry today (the worst chore), but this banger from Shakira’s 2001 album Laundry Service should help! This whole album is just about having small boobs, btw. Representation matters.
I’m going to see Phoebe Robinson at The Wilbur on her “Sorry, Harriet Tubman” tour and I’m stoked! Never seen her live!
I chopped all of my hair off, and I hate it, but the ends were like a bottle brush and it needed to be done. I’ll be obsessively searching Pinterest for growth tips. I’m going to try this—I’ll report back if I think it’s working!
Not to be a total downer, but you can text the Samaritans. You’re NEVER alone.
*Spoilers abound, but bear in mind I’m only on season 5.
I wanted to be too cool for Game of Thrones. I envisioned Game of Thrones the way I envisioned Dungeons & Dragons—sweaty nerds circle-jerking to a DVD of the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring. It even has some of the same dudes*! And besides, some of the media that I relate to (like the incomparable Sutton Foster-led Younger), openly mocks it, its hypersexualization of women, its rape fetish. I’m not out in these streets trying to watch dozens of rapes, gleefully and exploitatively filmed.
I was nineteen when Game of Thrones began its eight-season run on HBO, and at the time, becoming deeply invested in a fantasy series was fairly low on my list of priorities**. When GoT first came out, it seemed beautiful, but boring. There’s no denying that the sweeping shots of Northern Ireland, et al are stunning—the series is beautifully filmed, elegant. But I barely remembered who half of the characters in Harry Potter were (Slughorn? Is that a guy?); there was only so much room in my brain. Plus, as the series progressed, the common refrain was, “Don’t get attached to any of the characters! Everyone dies!” Everyone bloody dies? So you’re going to kill off the hot dad, Ned, his hot son, Robb, his hot son, Jon (everyone on this show is very hot, fwiw) and expect me to take that lying down? No!
Eventually, I caved and watched the first season, maybe a year or two late. I liked it fine, but it was a distracted viewing—I’d put it on in the background as I sketched, or fiddled with a guitar. When I started season two, it didn’t grab me, and I abandoned the pursuit. Sure, that scene where Daenerys doms Jason Momoa was ferociously sexy, but I mean, the show kills Khal Drogo immediately, so what was my incentive to keep watching?***
Soon, my knowledge of GoT came purely from Tumblr and Twitter—screengrabs of Joffrey’s bloated, purple face, OMG reactions to the Red Wedding. I thought, with all these spoilers, I already know what happens. No need to devote tens of hours of my life to this, a thing that seemingly everyone likes. How mainstream.
Fast forward several years—for me, a move, two degrees, a marriage, a few garbage jobs and one good one—I’m in a very different place in my life. For years, my husband and I have kept a running list of TV shows we’ve watched together, are watching, and plan to watch. Game of Thrones has been sitting atop it, since its inception. We’ve made it through countless series, but, due to my predilections and my title of Foremost Comedy Scholar in the Greater Boston Area, alarmingly few have been dramas. Six Feet Under, Dexter (because Michael C. Hall is *bites lip and closes eyes*), Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, Twin Peaks (we are…white). That’s in nearly 6 years, at a rate of at least an episode every day. Every time we finished a series, my husband would timidly ask, “Game of Thrones next?” And one day in March 2019, I finally said, “You know what? Sure.”
And I kept my promise! I figured it was this or he’d force me to sit through a movie^,so I’d better strap in for the ride. We’ve watched nearly 5 full seasons in *checks watch* three weeks? We’re clocking about 2 hours of Thrones time a day. I have always been very comfortable admitting when I’m wrong, and boy was I wrong about GoT. As of this writing, we’re almost through season five, and every episode has me yearning for more.
It is hard, though, watching human beings get torn to pieces by zombies and watching characters you’ve grown to love being sexually abused. Watching a little girl get burned alive. This is not a light-hearted show! But it’s thought-provoking, beyond such thoughts as, “If an American wrote these books, and two Americans adapted the series for television, then why is everyone on the show British except Dinklage++?” I think it provides a stunning (and deeply negative!) commentary on religion, particularly the separation of church and state (turns out—it’s important!). Moreover, in an era where the political circus distracts us from far more pressing issues (the Flint water crisis isn’t exactly the same as an undead army bent on world domination, but it’s still fucking important), it’s a mirror, as all good art should be. Even the worst part of this series, the aforementioned “gleeful” depictions of rape, the incessant violence and cruelty, serve as barometer of just how much we want to see; they expose the inherent (dangerous?) voyeurism of American media culture.
Ultimately, I’m as much of a voyeur as anyone else, and I love the show. I might even go so far as to avoid eighth season spoilers when it premieres on Sunday. I’m glad that my husband gently nudged me in the Thrones direction. And, as much as I love Daenerys, Sansa better win the Game.
Okay, so I do have some grievances:
The entire Greyjoy family, and I guess, by extension, the Boltons. Cancel it. Reshoot the series without them. Labored, boring nonsense. Sorry, Alfie+.
Real casual attitudes about incest.
Not enough dark-haired women. Representation matters!
Stop showing me battles! The best part of the show was that we saw the aftermath of fighting, not the fighting itself! I don’t want to waste twenty precious minutes of screen time watching skeletons kill people. I want to see the strategical conversation between Jon Snow and Tormund! You know nothing, David Benioff & DB Weiss!
Arya’s whole journey is boring. I truly don’t understand why people like her. Maisie Williams is iconic, don’t get me wrong, but this whole Faceless Man shit better get interesting soon, or, honey, I’m cancelling Braavos.
*Sean Bean is zaddy.
**Admittedly, I did get into Doctor Who shortly thereafter, but you can’t choose who you love, man.
***I made an honest effort to read the books, since I’ve always been a book-first bitch, but I found the writing intolerable. It’s been a minute now, I’m going to give them another try. I mean, I read The Hunger Games series with zero irony—I’m hardly a literary scholar, despite what my literal Master’s degree in literature would have you believe.
^I hate the medium! 2 hours is simultaneously too long and too short a time for a story to be told! Everything should be in a serialized format, television is better than movies, redo movies as miniseries.
++I’ve been playing a game called Guess The Accent with all of the actors to see if I can tell where exactly they’re from. I’m, no brags, amazing at it, although I never would have guessed that Varys is from Northern Ireland. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Northern Irish accents, but they’re…specific! The Scots are pretty easy to pick out, the real treat is pinpointing exactly where in England most of the cast is from (Emilia Clarke is from Oxford, holla). Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Scandinavian accent is, well, hot, and Peter Dinklage, clearly, is from New Jersey. Sidebar: I always knew Dinklage was a fine actor, but I didn’t know he was THE FINEST ACTOR OF OUR TIME. His British accent is so truly awful, and yet it doesn’t matter because he acts his face off in every scene. Tyrion is, in my opinion, by far the best character on the show. I’m borderline upset that my brain hasn’t started cranking out Tyrion Lannister sex dreams. No wonder he has top billing—he’s a goddamn revelation and I think if I’d known just how central he becomes, I’d have stanned this show much, much sooner.
It is becoming increasingly apparently that my foremost skill in life is starting these posts prior to Sunday, forgetting about them, and then on the following Saturday, cobbling together an end so that I can schedule them to come out when they’re supposed to. I’m really consistent! I think I can officially stop wondering why no one in their right mind would pay me to write.
This week’s round-up is very on brand for me—media-heavy and a bit too late to be relevant. But I mean, if you’d only just given yourself the gift of listening to Demi Adejuyigbe talk about pop songs for an hour and a half at a time, you’d probably brag about it too.
I just read Shrillbecause I watched Shrill and Lindy and Aidy are perfect and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
I joined Bumble BFF and I have no regrets. I felt like a complete loser about it but we all deserve a rich social life that shouldn’t have to die just because we move or graduate.
I really tried with Pen15, but I can’t get into it. It’s too authentic. The writing and acting are so convincingly tween. If you’re into nostalgia (the girls on the show are almost the exact age I was back in the early ’00s), you’ll love it. 12-year-olds just make me cringe. Note: I will still probably watch the entire series.
A Quiet Place is on Hulu now and I might have to break my no-horror-movies-ever rule to watch it.
WERS (the local cool radio station, from Emerson College) keeps advertising a music festival in Reykjavik and it’s making me want to visit Iceland so bad! It’s such a stunningly gorgeous country, and it will be a great way to kick off seeing Scandinavia!
I finally started listening to Punch Up The Jam and it’s my new favorite podcast. I highly recommend starting with the “Wannabe” episode. This week is Shania Twain!
I’ve been MIA for a minute, for which I apologize profusely. I’m going to try to get back into the swing of writing, but ask any writer—it’s the hardest thing on earth.
My husband and I went to Syracuse last weekend to see a Bowie tribute show, which is exciting—Syracuse is a really cool city! Every time we visit, we hit up my favorite restaurant, Strong Hearts Café, which is totally vegan! The best part is that they have a huge menu of different vegan milkshakes which are soooo delicious. I mean, it’s always exciting to see our Syracuse friends, but Strong Hearts, tho.
My No-Spend Year is still going strong! The No-Spend has been such an amazing, eye-opening experience. I am so much happier than I was when I was spending frivolously, and I appreciate the things that I do buy so much more. I’ve managed to knock out over $2,000 in debt in less than a month! I honestly don’t even know how that’s even possible since that’s more than I bring home in income! It’s amazing how resourceful you can be when you’re on a mission.
Okay, without further ado, here’s the week in Chelsea:
After years and years I finally caved and started watching Game of Thrones with my husband, and I regret to inform you that I love it. I know enough about the series to not get attached to most of the characters, so I feel very prepared to take it on. We’re at the start of season three. I do have some issues with the show (they’re way too exploitative and gleeful about rape, for instance), but it is indeed very entertaining television.
I started the Neapolitan novels! I borrowed My Brilliant Friend while I was in Florida last month and I loved it! I bought the second one on Kindle because I couldn’t wait, but I’m going to check my local library for the other two.
Barry on HBO is back March 31! This is seriously the best new show I’ve seen in years. Bill Hader is truly one of our finest actors. If you haven’t watched it, steal someone’s hbogo password and get on it!
I watched The Feels on Netflix this weekend, and while it’s very poorly rated, it also stars Constance Wu as a lesbian so how could I not have watched it?
I want to watch Leaving Neverland but I’m also afraid that if I do I’ll never sleep at night? I remember, as a kid, when all the Michael Jackson allegations were going on, I found it so completely distressing and disgusting. So many abusers are protected from consequences by their fame or money and it’s a disgrace. Anyone who’d jump to Michael Jackson’s defense can moonwalk the fuck out of here.
This nursery tour is everything. I feel like my whole life has just become a countdown clock to having a baby of my own!
Another week in the books! Enjoy this week’s faves!
Sex Education on Netflix is the most wonderfully charming show. I can’t stop watching! The young actors are absolutely brilliant and the cast is insanely diverse. One wonderful thing about the show is that it is completely inclusive of LGBT sexuality and relationships, which gets nearly as much representation as straight ones. A perfect, perfect show.
I wrote a post a while ago about *feminine products* and trying a menstrual cup and never posted an update! I’ve been using exclusively a cup for a few months now and I’m obsessed. I’ll never go back to tampons and pads! I still keep some on hand for emergencies, but I’m a cup girl for life. The cup I use is not available anymore (it’s Hesta Organic), but I’m interested in trying other brands, like Lunette.
Not to be a dorky dad, but I just checked my credit report on creditkarma and you should too. It’s super important to be aware of your financial health!
This Twitter thread about a college professor assigning his students to make memes is solid gold.
One of you has to buy this because I’m on the Spending Fast and can’t. IT’S PERFECT.
I’m thinking of trying to do Whole30. Have you ever tried it? My best friend did and loved it—and she looks freaking fabulous to boot.
Think I’m gonna get right down to business today, guys! Here’s my week in a nutshell:
I’m actually doing it, fam! I’m doing the Spending Fast. We’re shooting for a year, but it’s based on need. If I can pay my consumer debt down faster (I have a couple of ways I could do this, but they’re both pending/not guaranteed), we might not need to keep going until 2020, but honestly, the experience has been so empowering that I don’t think I’ll want to stop! I’m rereading Anna’s book, and Katy Goodman’s Insta stories have been super inspiring (she has a No Buy highlight). Just with little tweaks, my grocery bill has started to come down, I’m using cash for purchases, and we cancelled cable (finally!). Student loans go into repayment next month, so things will be really tight—I’m working on starting a side hustle job (more on that later). It feels so good to rid yourself of all the stuff in your life that’s weighing you down! P.S. Anna’s book (Kindle version) is on sale for $1.99 right now, so snatch it up!
Catastrophe series 4 is streaming on Amazon starting March 15th and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s one of my favorite pieces of media ever made. Sharon and Rob are geniuses beyond measure. I think I’m going to cancel my Amazon Prime subscription after I watch it, which is kind of a big step for me! I’ll have to buy the season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel next year, but a one-time $12-ish purchase is better than $49-$99 a year to support a company that sucks!
Since I’m not spending money right now, I’ve been bringing my own lunch to work every day. Sometimes, that means the Trader Joe’s microwave meals that we still have from before the No-Buy, but mostly it’s meant leftovers and jar salads. I stan a jar salad. They are my favorite thing on the planet. People at work think I’m nuts rolling up to the breakroom with a quart Mason jar of lettuce but they don’t even know. You can put literally anything in a jar salad. My last one was champagne-pear salad dressing, snow peas, beet sauerkraut, mixed greens, and vegan cashew parm. Delicious!
I’m psyched to make this soup recipe. I make a mean tomato basil, but subbing cashews in for cream is genius! My belief about food is that, if you can make it vegan with little to no effort, do that shit.
I started using the iBotta app, which gives you cash back for buying certain items and submitting your receipts. It’s like coupons, but 2019. I think apps like this can be a slippery slope and convince people to buy products they don’t need, but I go through and find only things that are already on my grocery list, and choose the most cost effective brand. For instance, there was a $1 back bonus on Health-Ade Kombucha, which made it, effectively, cheaper than even the store brand. I’ve made $13 so far, off of only 2 shopping trips.
Saved the best for last: RUSSIAN DOLL. RUSSIAN DOLLLLLL! You’ve gotta watch this show. Drop what you’re doing and immediately log in to Netflix. It’s only February but this is definitely the best show of the year. Natasha Lyonne is breathtaking. We just finished last night and I am already yearning for a new season. A perfect, perfect show.