CAN I GET A AMEN UP IN HERE?Via The Shade Of It All
(Yes, there are probably spoilers in here.)
I was pretty excited about seeing The Avengers. I didn’t go to a midnight screening, but I did go RIGHT after work on the Friday of opening weekend with my friend Lane. I’d sort of purposely kept away from all the press about it because I just want to watch the goddamn movie and leave me alone, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Cobie Smulders, from the new “Friends” / sitcom I zone out to at night, “How I Met Your Mother.”
Hey! Great! I like her! I’m always down for women kicking ass in any movies, really! I even like the S.H.I.E.L.D. outfit! Sure, it’s a… onesie, with belt loops, which… seems a little bit ‘90’s for this reboot, but it’s kind of sporty and— WAIT.
Sometimes I read the Vows section of the New York Times to remind myself that I actually do have half a chance of finding someone who can complete my douchebaggery, possibly without ever even having to look abroad. Also, it freaks me out that people my age (perpetually 29) think they’re mature enough to be committing to anything for life. My last boyfriend had almost as many ex-girlfriends as Star Wars action figures (or vice versa, I’m not really sure). I have the same fear of ending up alone as any woman featured in a classic (read: terrible) romantic comedy, but these really do make me feel better in that I CANNOT BRING CHILDREN INTO A WORLD WHERE THIS IS TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN THE NEWSPAPER OF RECORD.
Obviously, the goods on display at this sidewalk haterade stand indicate that I’m all kinds of jealous because I want to be in the Vows section myself. Yeah, I do. I am planning ALL KINDS of ridiculous one-upping shit at my wedding, including an animal procession to include a tiger, elephant and camel (whatever, St. John the Divine does it every year. F*ck a flower girl!) and maybe an air show. I’ll hold a contest for ideas when the time is right.
This weekend’s couples were actually kind of boring. (There’s really only one king of the Vows stories that makes me see red in the style of Bluto and shows everything wrong with America, and I’m saving it for another post.) But despite the lack of anything super-juicy into which I can sink my fangs of derision, let’s start it off, shall we?
It’s fucking awesome.
Via Emily Heller
I Resolve to DANCE! (by Emily Heller)
I’ll post this today and probably again soon because I LOVE IT. Here is the fun dance video that my brother and I made! Amazing body movement by:
Words and singing and flailing by me.
Katie Compa by Jon Casey
Full disclosure: Jon is a quite good caricaturist. I just happened to be blonde at the time. Having a bad set too apparently but at least I get a free pineapple!Via Courting Comedy
You know what they say: “When in Rome…. eat all the pasta!” No, no, I’m pretty sure that’s it. Don’t correct me.
Since I was in Amsterdam, I decided I was gonna do that. Not with pasta, with the other thing. I will tell you, the sight of a woman showing up alone to a coffeeshop was met with a range of reactions. Mostly impressed (I got an undisclosed number of head nods), quizzical (“You sure?” Yes, I’m sure. My euros are good. Hand it over) and just plain bored, which obviously I respect the most. And, um, that’s it, because I definitely only went to three coffeeshops.
I was in town for a week, minus Queen’s Day recovery time, and I spent a lot of time at museums (because I was alone and just out of a coffeeshop, and they’re relatively safe places). (I also did not consume marijuana outside the safety of coffeeshops because, naturally, my Locked Up: Abroad phobia kicked into high gear while here.)
If you ever go to Amsterdam, whether or not you plan to go to coffeeshops, get the IAmsterdam card. It is fantastic. You can get it for 1, 2 or 3 days, it gets you an unlimited tram card (which is worth it right there), a slew of discounts at places you were going to go anyway, and free entry into most of the city’s museums. AND you can cut the line at the Van Gogh! It’s the American way.
So, coffeeshops and museums. Coffeeshops… and museums… Museums and coffeeshops! (Really though, I will say it beats the “just museums” I was dealing with in Ireland.)*
For the most part, all of the Alpini we saw were very unobtrusive and mostly focused on drinking with their Alpini buddies, which I absolutely hold in high regard. HOWEVER.
My last night in Turin, my friend Gianna, her boyfriend Enzo and I went to dinner, drank a shit-tonne (metric) of wine and food and still had room for dessert. Meanwhile, there was a table next to us with ten people (four were terribly behaved Italian children, which is apparently the accepted norm. Did you know Italian kids just up and pee in the street if they feel like it? Their parents tell them to do it. It’s totally fine with everyone. NO IT ISN’T), and one of the adults had a birthday.
To celebrate, they had a huge rectangular tart, and they ate about a quarter of it and then left, leaving THREE QUARTERS of a CAKE on the table rather than be gauche and take it home. I can abide witnessing many heartless things, but abandoned cake will set off the Tiger Mother. So, I start to have a panic attack, but in the next moment the table of eight Alpini on the other side of us step in to rescue the cake. And naturally, because they are gentlemen soldiers, they want to know if we want some of the cake.
When I landed in Turin, Italy I saw two amusing things.
1. A nun.
2. A gentleman at bag claim wearing a Swiss Alps-looking hat with a giant feather sticking out of it.
I looked at this guy’s hat like, “Ha! I wonder what that is! I’ve never seen anything like it before! I bet I won’t see another one for quite a while, too!” And I took a picture for my files.
I’m amused by headwear, I guess.
Then I went out to meet my friends Gianna and Enzo, who informed me that no, actually, the guy I saw was one of 85,000 (THOUSAND!) past and present members of the Alpini (the elite mountain unit of the Italian army - rowr!) descending for the weekend upon Turin for their annual reunion. I really needn’t have wasted energy snapping a photo of that one hat. They were EVERYWHERE.
I arrived in Amsterdam the night before Queen’s Day. (The queen’s birthday party— her actual birthday is in February, but have you ever been to Amsterdam in February? I don’t recommend. This is much better.)
You’re supposed to go out and rage the night before, too, but I went to a barbecue at a friend’s house and ate an undisclosed amount of meat and went into a mild coma. I had a partner in crime— a girl a solid 30-40 pounds lighter than me, who decisively won the eating contest she didn’t know we were having.
Step 1: Brunch.
I am drooling over the picture.
It’s important to lay down a strong foundation for a day of drinking beer, because really, you’re just consuming mass quantities of yeast excrement, which you’ve somehow over the years come to find is delicious. (I’m no exception.) My friend Sanna-Maaria is Finnish, but damn, she makes a mean chilaquiles. I had seconds (obviously, because I always have seconds). Base achieved.
We also had Queen’s Cake. I said, “what’s that?” and was told, “It’s a hard thing, some cream, and another hard thing.” I said, “Oh, I totally get it, I lived in San Franc— oh, you mean literally.”
BAM. Exactly as advertised!
Step 2: Drinking games.
If you try and head out too early, you end up passed out face down in a corner someplace and/or calling an ex-boyfriend and saying something you don’t remember (which on the plus side means you can’t technically regret it either, right? Right!) and incurring exorbitant international roaming charges, if you aren’t lucky enough to have that option removed.
Anyway, this is a Finnish game called “I-ha-haa!” which means “Tiny Jenga on a donkey!” Whoever knocks the sticks off the donkey’s back must drink. It gets pretty suspenseful, actually.
Then we played Celebrity, which I officially brought to the Netherlands. I’m sure I’ll be added to the Wikipedia entry shortly. Girls vs. Boys & Katie. I think it was a tie in the end, even though we were leading, because one of our team was such a SLOW UNFOLDER OF PAPER that I had to weigh my options between day drinking and going to Dutch prison for murder (bonus TV credit: Locked Up Abroad!). I flipped a coin.
Step 3: Get your orange on.
Amsterdam on Queen’s day is a sea of orange. I personally don’t look my best in orange and do not own one piece of orange clothing despite living in San Francisco for a World Series win, so I had to specially buy an orange shirt. I picked a 2010 World Cup t-shirt because Wesley Sneijder. If I can’t wear him, I’ll settle for the shirt. And I got a free inflatable hat from the Statsloterij.
Okay, maybe I do look good in orange. [hair toss]
Step 4: Leave the house.
We made it outside (harder than it sounds— we were on the second floor and Dutch stairs are a DEATH TRAP). Plus we all had to make sure to use the restroom first. I was told that “before the end of the day, you’ll be peeing into a canal.” It definitely almost came to that.
We proceeded to a canal bridge to hang out in the sun. We were there hanging out for a few hours, which (naturally) precipitated some trips to the bathroom at €0.50 a pop, which (of course) was located at a gay bar called (obviously) Mankind. I was right at home.
Men of Mankind Just your standard gay bar
Step 5: Get on a boat.
Yeah, I’m on a boat™. I know.
I don’t know.
We hooked up with a friend of a friend with a boat. It was so awesome. Except for the lack of bathrooms. This was the closest I came to peeing in the canal until we had a pee/additional beer purchasing break. Of course, the guys pee into canals as a matter of course, which is just annoying. We did motor past one girl with her backside hanging off the back of a boat— I applaud her resourcefulness. At our pee break (€1! What a ripoff) we had several guys try to pull rank on the bathroom line to go straight into the men’s room, like, I DON’T FUCKING THINK SO, dude, either get in line or go pee in the canal and leave the toilets to the pros.
After we got off the boat, we went out for kebab pizza (I didn’t invent it, and I didn’t quite believe it was real, but I did skarf it), and then met up with with my other friends at a bar to be exhausted together with additional beer. Mission accomplished!
Step 6: Make it safely home.
Queen’s day, for a day of everyone in a city of 780,000 people plus visitors getting shitfaced and riding boats & bikes all over the place, is incredibly civilized. I didn’t see one fight, and there were very few cops. And my friends on the other side of town saw a human fruit machine. AMSTERDAMMERS ARE ADORABLE. AND, they started cleaning up at midnight that night and by noon the next day everything was pretty much clean again, and Amsterdam is really clean (also: no homeless people. Like, ZERO). Suck it, O’Reilly.
Even though I was staying out of the city center, there were still prostitutes on my way home. There’s nothing more awkward than trying to convey one’s nonjudgment and open-mindedness to a prostitute via eye contact through a lit-up red window, but it’s never stopped me trying. I don’t know why we aren’t BFFs yet.
I had to take this from across the canal because you get beaten if you try and take them up close. Which I totally agree with. Sorry, skeevy dudes!
I loved Dublin, which is good, because I went twice. I got a room online at a stranger’s house (edgy!) and, as this was immediately following the INCIDENT, I had a lot of alone time with myself.
I’m only 1/4 Irish, but I totally blend. I walked around for two full days like, “Wow! Everyone’s so good-looking!” (Keep in mind I had just come from England.)
I’m just saying. (Hi Crouchie!)
After the fifth time I swore I saw my uncle, I realized that everyone just looked like me. Irish genes are strong. So is vanity.
Sidebar: My great-grandmother Bridget came over from Ireland, and when she got to the U.S., she changed her name. From Bridget, to Bertha. Yes, I got that right. It isn’t vice versa. She CHANGED her name TO Bertha. I don’t think I’ve heard that name outside of a prison joke in my entire life. Wait, okay, one other time.
I went to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. I really needed a drink after the Gaol, and I’ve never done the Guinness tourist thing. The last time I came to Ireland I wasn’t old enough to drink. (Well, I was old enough in Ireland, but it was a school-sponsored trip, and they took great pains to forbid us from drinking, because the year before a couple of people got alcohol poisoning and/or lost their virginity in Italy & Greece. Catholic school: Totally worth the investment in your daughter’s chastity. Nope!)
Spoiler alert: We drank anyway. Sorry, Mrs. Boyd! (Sorry, Mom.)
…It was kinda lame. They lost me when they told us we were standing inside an eight-story Guinness pint glass (Dudes. If we’re standing in it, it’s empty. Snooze!). There’s not even a tour, just videos of some dude who works at Guinness, and he gets to go to the actual brewery and we just stand around watching him, Qui-Gon Jinn hologram-style, and walking past some brewery items that are pretty much labeled “this is what it WOULD look like if…” Bo-ring. I ended up getting a coffee at the second-floor coffee bar (?!) and sitting around for an hour. Disappointment was compounded by the following:
In Dublin you can find many places using only the street name, because they change them every block or two. Also, there is no real system for when street signs are available. So make sure you bring a map that gets those names right, in order, without skipping any. Or a phone with GPS (don’t bring it up). Or a compass. Or a rudimentary sense of direction and an ability to stay calm in a crisis. Whatever works for you. Because if you don’t, you’ll get lost, even if you’re looking for a prison.
Wait, who gets LOST looking for a PRISON? Thanks for asking! That’s me, and this one is practically visible from space. After I switched maps (paper ones, like a time traveler!) and discovered that the street I was on DOES exist, I finally found Kilmainham Gaol (jail), and it was awesome.
You may remember it from such films as In the Name of the
Father, Michael Collins, and that one U2 video. Apparently
they have concerts in here a lot because the Panopticon setup
makes for awesome acoustics.
(Please excuse the squee that will ring in your ears throughout this post. I get like this sometimes.)
This is me at Pemberley!
It is a FINE prospect, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
Yes. (Also, best face of the entire miniseries.)
Pemberley is about 35 minutes by train from Manchester. It was almost worth an iPhone to go! (It was not, actually.) (Bonus: I got to tell the cops that I wouldn’t be around that day because I was going to “Dahhhhhbyshire,” which is how the English say Derbyshire. I don’t know either. “Berkeley” is also “Bahhhkley.” They’re so weird.)
It’s not actually called Pemberley— it’s Lyme Park. But this is the only time you’ll hear me call it that. Only the outside of the house was in Pride & Prejudice, which I’m glad I found out in advance, because I would’ve been pissed. But I got my photo, and did the tour of the house anyway, since we were there.