Tag Archives: mike tomlin


I am reading a book that I really like right now. Well, actually, I love it. And I love is so much I want to marry it. It’s been a long time since that’s happened—I had forgotten what it’s like to want to run away for the weekend to a B&B with a stack of paper. It feels good.

The book I have fallen for is Jennifer Egan “A Visit From the Good Squad.” You may have heard of it. (Other people besides me seem to really like it, like anyone who wrote a Top Ten Books of the year list for 2010, and also, ahem, those people who give out the Pulitzer Prize.) I’m not much of a reviewer, because I have too much A.D.D. and I’m bad at describing things, but here goes: READ THIS BOOK NOW. IT’S COOL AND “MODERN” AND HAS CRAZY CHAPTERS. IT MAKES YOU CRY AND LAUGH AND WISH YOU HAD JENNIFER EGAN’S MIND. THIS MEANS THROW YOUR CELL PHONE OUT THE WINDOW AND GO BUY IT. EVERYBODY DANCE NOW.

My love affair with Goon Squad started in the airport in Boston, as I was on my way to a vacation in Pittsburgh. (I’m into exploring oxymorons.) I was perusing the magazines and doing my usual “pretend-I’m-not-going-to-buy-anything” song and dance at Hudson News, when I came across Egan’s book. I had been aware of it for awhile. The first time I had seen it, a year ago, I was by myself in a pretty much empty library in Williamstown, MA, checking out the new releases and being cool. Back then, the title of the book had caught my eye—goon is a fantastic word—but the guitar on the jacket design sort of scared me, and when I picked it up and read the intro blurb, I had thought, “music industry…meh…” and then walked away. (I am not a cool music person. Cool music people intimidate me. Books by those types of people intimidate me. I basically listen to Bruce, Fiona Apple when feeling emo, and a dash of the horrible rap music I liked in college if I need energy to do something strenuous, like organize my toiletries. It’s all very weak.)

But this time, something was different. As I stood there debating whether to buy VOGUE or to save my money, I was overcome by a desire to do neither. I wanted to spend money yes, but what I really wanted was a book, and I wanted a good one. And this time Goon’s new soft-cover design—as well as all of those “I have won awards!” blurbs—was enough to make me take the plunge. (I was also sick of trying to make myself read non-fiction books about war. I really need to just give up on that. Why can’t I give up on that? John Keegan haunts my dreams.) Twenty minutes into the plane ride, I was feverishly turning pages and eating peanuts and feeling that strange pang you get in your heart when you realize you’ve fallen hard for a book. (Other people get that, right?…) I was in love.

But things had to cool off in Pittsburgh. I only read about a chapter a night when I was there, as I was on vacation with MikeTomlin and her family, and didn’t really want to be recalled as the anti-social girl who seems eerily similar to Todd from Wedding Crashers, angry that she can’t be left alone with her book. (In elementary school I used to read under the table all day.) When we got back to Boston though, I was all in. And again, perhaps I sound insane, but I am, and it was just so nice to have Egan’s book as company all week. I felt something like actual gratitude whenever I would realize it was in my bag to read on the way home from work (the T suddenly turning into a lovely place), or relief knowing that I could start out my day with some coffee and a lovely ten minute excursion into her world. It was a week of Goon quickies, left and right.

So yeah, books are awesome. And Jennifer Egan is pretty amazing. (Chick can spin a yaaan for reals—that power-point chapter is mindblowing.) I really do believe that fiction, or any writing for that matter, is such a strange and special art. I mean, I love movies, and I love going to see plays, and I love improv, but books…—well, reading them—it’s so personal, isn’t it, and such a mysterious experience? I love that. And you can read the book, and we can both love it and know it, but we’ll have seen and experienced completely different things—we’ll know characters with different faces and voices and smells in our head, and we’ll see different cities and different skies and different safaris in Africa, and all because of this one lady telling us a story she has in her head, and from reading it we actually feel changed a little bit, and for the better. Have I freaked you out enough? It’s called too much whiskey prior to typing….

But I mean, hey—it’s the little things in life sometimes.

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To get up at 5 a.m. and watch, or to not get up at 5 a.m. and watch: that is the question.

William Shakespeare really said it best, didn’t he? Uh, the confusion and torment in my life right now because of frickin’ Kate Middleton! But really, what is a gal with mild interest in the royal wedding and a UGE gigantic hair-crush on the future Queen of England to do?! Sure, I like a good romance and all, and parades are fun, but I also really (really) like sleeping. Would it have killed Kate and Wills to have tied the knot a few hours later and helped some American sistas out? Not that I have any idea what I’m talking about, but FOR REAL who gets married at 11am? Old people? I hate the morning—dark circles, puffy faces, morning head fog. I mean, thanks, but no thanks. I’m getting married at 8 o’clock at night, after I wake up from a nap. People in England will just have to stay up late if they want to watch.

I really haven’t been planning on getting up to watch. At all. I figured buying a thick stack of magazines commemorating the event—and a pint of strawberry Haagan-Daz—would do the trick, preferably after getting a Kate-like classy pink pedicure and then settling onto a sun-warmed couch to flip pages and daydream. But last night my boyfriend was eating a hot pastrami sub and watching SportsCenter and very casually was like, “you’re getting up for the royal wedding, right?” and I was like, “no…I think PEOPLE magazine in a few days will suffice” and he seemed sincerely disappointed at my lack of enthusiasm. It was like he was under the impression that I would not only be arising for the damn thing, but I’d be doing it in full-out, pretend-I’m-actually-there costume (clearly a fitted pastel summer suit and a fabulous hat), while eating crumpets and slamming back Earl Grey teas and probably weeping throughout. (Also, my boyfriend totally has a crush on Prince William.)  AND THEN JUST NOW MikeTomlin emailed me asking if we were getting up to watch it tomorrow morning! I mean, if a Steelers fan is getting up when it’s still dark out to witness this explosion of love and beauty and “but is she too thin?” (it is still dark outside at 5 a.m., right?) I may have to give in and join her…

Uh, royal wedding peer-pressure: doesn’t come around too often, but when it does, it’s the worst!


PS; I’m totally going to stand out in the rain when I’m fifty and Wills and Kate are finally visiting Boston and I will swat away toddlers to hand Kate some flowers and tell her I watched her get married on my laptop in my pjs. And yes, I will probably cry.

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Holy Home-made Oreo.

Last night, I went to a see a musical at The Boston Conservatory called “Baby.” (Free shows in Boston performed by really talented people: hidden gem alert!!) My co-worker, Ansley, is a student there, and she was one of the leads in “Baby.” And, surprise, she was totally fantastic, as was the whole cast. (Ansley has a Disney princess voice, and really blue eyes, and I may now have to ask her to sing me to sleep doing all the “Little Mermaid” songs one night.) However, shockingly enough, the show titled “Baby” was about having babies—or trying and not being able to: GAH—and it was REALLY TERRIFYING AT TIMES. (It’s one thing to see a “deep” play that freaks you out about this stuff, or just something really scary and depressing in general,but when people are singing and dancing and snapping in your face about it, you’re like woah woah woah whatever happened to taking a load off at night and seeing something totally mindless like “Macbeth”?) And yet, the show was great, and everything worked out perfectly in the end. (Duh.) I definitely look forward to seeing more shows at BoCo, and encourage you to venture on over there as well.

AND THEN, the night got even better. When I got home from the theatuh with OptimistFreak, my other roommate Mike Tomlin (seen below)

had left the following note on our kitchen-counter: “Left over from my co-workers baby shower: home-made Oreos from Flour bakery.”

(They’re so beautiful, right?)

We had to eat them right away, even with our coats still on. And it was pretty life-changing, I’m not going to lie. Yes, I know everyone and their mother already knows that Joanne Chang is the cat’s pajamas and puts crack in all her baked-goods and FLOUR is the greatest place on earth and she makes all Bostonians super proud with her national success, but somehow I had yet to ever taste any of her food…And OH MY GOD those oreos were the greatest things I’ve ever had. (EVER—I was practically crying in a ball on my kitchen floor as I swallowed my last bite.) I can not wait to go to FLOUR soon. (Meaning today.) (But to which location?? And what should I wear???). I will battle off the heathen crowds banging at the door, eat a gourmet sandwich and a pile of cookies, and make like everyone else in the world as I take iPhone pictures of everything in site. Sounds glorious, right?

(I am so thankful Mike Tomlin is a good sharer, and also that her co-worker got pregnant and had a shower. Yay for “Baby” and babies!)

Happy Tuesday


(Photo of life-changing oreos from penandfork.com)


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Boston: so french right now.

Holy cultural alert: I went to a concert last night with my roommates. (My roommates are amazing, and one is blonde, and one is brunette, and one is a bit shorter, and one is a bit taller, and they will henceforth be known as Mike Tomlin and OptimistFreak on le blog, seeing that the blonde is from Pittsburgh and a die-hard Steelers fan (go figure), and the later is, well, a bundle of happy energy, and a make-me-want-to-not-be-not-a-morning-person, and overall just a mind-blower of seeing the bright side—so, a freak in a good way.)

(Also, the concert wasn’t last night, it was last week, but I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to edit this post, and it sounds better in the intro to say I went last night. Saaaaarry!)

We went to a Yann Tiersen concert. Yann is French. Heard of him? I hadn’t either, until the mother of the family I used to sit for introduced me to his music a few years ago. (It’s good music to have toddlers crawl over your legs to.) Tiersen composed the Amelie soundtrack, which is a spectacular album, a-bring-this-with-you-to-a-deserted-island-if-you-only-have-one-musical-score-to-bring-with-you-sort-of-masterpiece, and I suggest you stop reading this post and head to itunes NOW and buy it, because the music on that soundtrack covers the whole spectrum of human emotion somehow, and it’s glorious and special; there are happy songs and sad songs and strange songs and clown songs and love songs and alone songs….This track below is probably the most popular song from the album, and the most beautiful; it’s truly so gorgeous that I don’t have words, other than the fact that human beings can make this stuff blows me mind! Uh, piano music slays me. This song is like a sad, beautiful picnic. It is, specifically, a sepia-toned old home video of me and James McAvoy at a picnic, or by the ocean, and I am being played by Keira Knightley.

It’s amazing, right? Again and again and again. And then there’s stuff like the track below, which is a great ditty to put a purple wig and over-alls on to, and bake some cupcakes, and clean your room:

Back to Boston. The concert was at the Royale, on Tremont Street. Have you been there? I had not. I’m not very cool. But the place was vwunderful. Sadly, I did not get a good photo of the venue, so googleimages will have to suffice.

(Well, this is the lobby. I didn’t like any pictures of the inside of the venue that google was offering me.)

The space is beautiful and intimate. Good sound quality. Stand, or sit on some couches. And the bartender was nice. Yann was great; he and his band are hard to categorize: melancholy, at-times-heavy-metal, violin master, drum master, poetic, very French, always trippy, occasionally pop? Yeah, I don’t know either, but I suggest listening to some of his album Dust Road as well. Different than Amelie, for sure. Mike Tomlin took some pics of the concert, so here is one below. I am excited to go back to another show at Royale. It’s a real Boston gem fo sho!


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