Directioners, I’m Giving You 5 Days

Are you a person over the age of 21, or a teen who isn’t into One Direction? Come on over. The internet is getting scary, and you’re in a safe place.
 
I’m much, much too old to actively dislike One Direction. I’ve heard probably three or four of their songs on the radio, and I could name three of the boys by first name without looking it up.
 
Well, two of them. Because this week, Zayn left the group, and now big chunks of the internet are going nutso.
 
Okay, adults and teens who aren’t into One Direction, I’m still talking to you. We need to give these kids five or so days to sort out their feelings. You hear that, Directioners? You have the better part of a week to deal with this.
 
Here’s my thinking. I was never the boy band type, but I know what it’s like to really love a pop culture phenomenon. I cried during the Friends finale, and I still miss Parks and Recreation. If a celebrity has a baby, I probably know what that baby’s name is. I can still tell you what day Bennifer was supposed to get married (I remember because it was my birthday, but still). So while I can’t directly relate to posting tear-streaked selfies because Zayn isn’t in the band anymore, I do get where these kids are coming from.
 
This is why we have to let the One Direction fangirls make a fuss now, as long as they don’t drag it on forever. It’s easy to laugh at teenagers for caring so much about things that don’t really matter. But how many times have you gotten upset or cried about ridiculous things? Probably quite a few, if you’re being honest.
 
Also, I bet if you talked to the kids that are sick and pale with grief over this, most of them do have other things going on in their lives. I’m sure plenty of these girls have to study for an Advanced Placement Chemistry tests, volunteer at their church’s day care, and worry about their sick grandfather. It’s easy – too easy – as an adult to look back at the time when you didn’t have bills to pay and a career to build, and get angry at your former self for not appreciating how good you had it. But then think harder. I was in an all-honors and AP schedule, was always participating in some sort of school activity, had to meet my school’s volunteer hour requirement, and worked a part-time job on top of it. I may not have had as many financial responsibilities, but I still felt like I was busy and stressed. Not to mention, at any given time a teenager could be having problems with their friends or family; it’s not like having no or few financial worries means having no worries at all.
 
So if these kids distract themselves by getting really, really into a boy band, why make fun of them for it? I know plenty of grown men who are crazy obsessed with a football or baseball team. There are comedy nerds who can break down the style of every stand up on the circuit. Even on this blog, we’ve received (and deleted) a few comments saying “why are you writing about this? Aren’t there real problems in the world? Don’t you have anything better to do?” Listen. If you can’t take a half hour out of your day to watch a stupid tv show, obsess over a boy band, or write a blog post, that’s probably pretty rough. I just don’t think there are that many people who take every single free moment they have and use it for the betterment of the world. It would drive you crazy and leave you dull and joyless. I mean. Even the people writing those sassy comments are taking ten minutes to find a post on Google, read it, hate it, and comment on it.
 
Something these kids really love is changing, and they’re sad, and I’m not going to make fun of them for it. But I stand firm on the five day thing. You can think about it and get a bit bummed beyond that, but in terms of public outpouring of grief, I’m not going to give you a full shiva period. If you’re still crying in your school hallway by the end of next week or posting heartfelt collages six times a day, I’m going to assume that you’re projecting your feelings about your parents’ divorce onto One Direction, and kids, you should probably deal with that before it deals with you. Go ahead and make a great big noisy fuss right now; it’s fine. But get back on track within a week. I know everyone thinks you’re just some dumb kid who only cares about this stupid band, but that’s not why I think you need to let it out then pull it together. It’s because I know that you care about other things, too; that you have tests to study for, work to do, and a life full of thousands of horrible and wonderful things other than this one band.

Can We Not With April Fool’s Day

As a kid I looked forward to April Fool’s Day solely as a result of Nickelodeon magazine. If you’re a 90s kid, you remember this publication. It was constantly advertised on Nick and filled with comics, interviews with celebs, general silliness and pranks. There were tips on how to prank and actual pranks you could cut out and use for everyday life.

Looking back on it, I don’t think I actually had a passion for pranks, I just thought Nickelodeon magazine was so cool that I would do whatever was in it. Ah, my constant desire to my liked as a child. Anyways, I would attempt to pull those pranks, mainly on my Filipino parents who probably could care less slash didn’t know what was going on, so it was completely lost on them. Maybe the lack of reciprocation is also a reason why I just don’t care for it now.

Flash forward to present day, and I find April Fool’s Day not only annoying but exhausting and actually effecting my life in a way I abhor. It’s exactly one week away from today and I’m already over it. Why? I’ll tell you why, kids. Gather round and listen to grandma tell you why this “holiday” is pure nonsense.

Unfunny People Think They’re Funny

Look, I fancy myself a fairly funny person. I love watching comedy, I love learning about the process of making comedies, I’m a big ol’ comedy nerd. I appreciate a good laugh. But when it comes round to April 1st, naturally unfunny people come out of the depths of Last Comic Standing hell to attempt to do a prank or make a joke that they’ll be able to get away with that they wouldn’t be able to the rest of the year. April Fool’s Day is like forcing people to laugh at whatever dumb thing you’ve planned, simply because you’re allowed to be an ass one day of the year.

Jokes That Go Awry Can Make People Feel Like Shit

There’s a segment on Ryan Seacrest’s L.A. radio morning show called Ryan’s Roses, that isn’t exactly a prank per se, but it’s basically designed to catch a cheating partner. A person who thinks their significant other may be cheating on them enlists the help of Ryan and his morning crew. They have someone on the staff call the alleged cheater, telling them they’re from a florist and they’ve won a free dozen roses to send to anyone. When asked whose name should be put on the card, the alleged cheater either A) gives their real S.O.’s name or B) gives a third party name, thus proving them to be a cheater, and then the original person gets on the line and all hell breaks loose. It gets heated and embarrassing and I can’t even listen to it. There is nothing worse than witnessing something go awry when real feelings are involved. There’s been a horrible history of April Fool’s Day pranks gone wrong, and you can’t help but hang you head in shame and embarrassment for them, unless it’s just pure anger. Like the time an employee at a Virginia college texted her daughter saying there was a shooting on campus, and the daughter immediately called 911 – police swarmed the school and now said woman is facing charges. Or maybe the time a woman in Tennessee called her sister saying she killed her husband and she needs to help her dump the body – and the sister turned prankster sister into the cops. People are dumb.

There Will Always Be a RickRoll

I remember being at my internship senior year of college and sitting at the computer and being told I needed to go to YouTube and click on any video. I clicked a random link. I was all, “WTF”. I laughed, I think. Do y’all remember what happened? Of course you do, because unless you’ve been living under a rock, that meme won’t die. The bait and switch of Rick Astley was funny for a minute in 2008 – not so much now.

Radio DJs Always AssBuckets

Is there some kind of clause in radio DJs’ contracts that state they must perform some elaborate, ridiculous, horrible prank on April Fool’s Day? I feel like they’re usually the perpetrators and egging listeners on to play pranks on their friends and loved ones. This morning show crew even has a hand list of “last-minute pranks”, which include putting tape over the laser at the bottom of a computer mouse and mixing Skittles, M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces in a bowl. What kind of fuckery… And then there’s the category of pure idiocy when well-known Boston shock jocks Opie and Anthony told their listeners in 1998 that beloved Mayor Tom Menino had died in a car crash. Unfortunately, Tommy Menino was on a flight at the time and couldn’t be reached, leading to even more panic. Opie and Anthony were eventually fired. (RIP Tommy Menino frreal.)

There Will Always Be A Story You Think Could Be True

Number one reason I hate April Fool’s Day. Since I work in entertainment news, I have to be vigilant of fake stories beginning… like, today. And when it comes to April 1st, I have to constantly double check and make sure it’s not some elaborate joke ‘N Sync is pulling and they’re not actually coming back together for a new album and world tour. But some of the fake stories put out there are actually believable and it’s frustrating to find out when it’s not. For instance, if it was announced that Abe Vigoda died on April 1st, I would actually believe that, because he’s old. Skip to two hours later and Abe is confirming he’s alive on Twitter. IT’S JUST ANNOYING AND NOT FUNNY AND EVERYONE JUST STOP PLEASE, FOR MY SANITY.

MTV’s Spring Break: Expectations Vs. Reality

First things first: before you ask “but Molly, isn’t Spring Break just a trash-cation for college-aged garbage people?” Yes. Yes it is. I should know – I used to be a college-aged garbage person.

But before I was a college-aged garbage person, I was an impressionable tween learning about my world through MTV. I have no idea if MTV is still considered cool or relevant to today’s teenagers. I just know that when I was 12, MTV was “all that.” My parents didn’t love it, but I was like “guys, they’re marketing to ME! Now, can you please buy me some Clean & Clear and a Seventeen Magazine subscription? I’m told I want both.”

Late 90s, early 2000s MTV is where I learned about the American rite of passage known as Spring Break. This, coupled with watching P.C.U. on cable, formed my basis of what college was like in the 1990s. Imagine my surprise during my 2008 trip to Panama City Beach, when I learned that Spring Break is nothing like I was led to believe.

Expectation: When you go on Spring Break MTV will be there, filming everything.

Reality: A tenth-level MTV affiliate, like MTV-Z or MTV-X, will be there. But creepy old men will also be there filming everything. Yeah, the internet gets pretty weird in the 2000s.

Expectation: You won’t just dance to awesome party jams, you’ll BE the awesome party jams on Say What Karaoke. By the way, Say What Karaoke is where I learned the lyrics to “Too Close” when I was just old enough to know what it meant.

Reality: Say What Karaoke goes the way of the dinosaur by the time you’re in college. However, your first night in Panama you will find a seedy karaoke dive bar with cheap drinks, and you’ll go there every night. The troll-looking bouncer becomes obsessed with one of your friends and for some reason, you find this not just okay but hilarious. But seriously, college kids: if it still exists, you should go to the cheap karaoke bar in Panama. It’s a blast. It’s just not Say What Karaoke-level glamorous.

Expectation: You will spend the weekend in the sand and sun, surrounded at all times by a crowd of fun-loving drunk college kids.

Reality: No, that’s all true. But all of those things are awful.

Expectation: You’ll make friends with college kids from around the nation and maybe the world!

Reality: Here is a rundown of “friends” we made on spring break:

  •  The kids from Ohio who taught us all the OH-IO cheer. Actually, they were cool but it only goes downhill from here.
  • That troll-looking Karaoke Bar guy.
  • These guys we met the first night at the karaoke bar after a 24-hour sleepless bus ride. They were from the South and took us to a diner for grits. Then they took us to see the high-rise the one kid’s dad owned; they were staying in the penthouse. Then they were like oops, that driver we said would take you home just left and it’s 5am, guess you all have to stay! TL;DR I got kidnapped.
  • The girls from our college’s most vicious sorority, whose room was next to ours. When my friend accidentally went into their room and fell asleep like Drunk Goldilocks, she woke up to one of the girls saying “If I were you, I would kill myself.” My friend responded “If I were you, I wouldn’t be such a bitch.”
  • The Christians in a white van who offer free rides to people.
  • The DJ who was from the same super-tiny town as my friend, which gave us a pass to request See You Again by Miley Cyrus more times than was even okay in 2008.

Expectation: You’ll probably run into Jesse Camp!

Reality:  Nah. You’ll run into a lot of people talking like Jesse Camp. That’s because they’re all wasted. The one that stands out in my mind is a girl in our hotel lobby raving about the Baconator she just bought. I congratulated her without any irony, because she was really proud of that Baconator.

Expectation: You will observe and take part in all kinds of wacky contests and win fabulous prizes!

Reality: The contests all involve things like mud and jello, and the grand prize is an extra-large giveaway t-shirt that for some reason people will go apeshit for.

Expectation: College spring break is the best you’ll ever look in your life, just like those girls on Fashionably Loud.

Reality: Let me break it down for you:

After an hour of pre-trip bathing suit shopping, my friends and I were so miserable that we decided we must have low blood sugar. We bought some Auntie Anne’s pretzels, signed up for department store credit cards that we should NOT have signed up for in order to get a 20% discount, then wore our bathing suits occasionally at our house to get used to them. This is probably not an advisable bikini-body plan.

I was also day-glo pale the whole time, because even in Florida, even on Spring Break, I’m still a freckly redhead. And I had giant bags under my eyes because bars closed at 4 A.M. and the free band on the beach started playing at 8 A.M.

Finally, the week before Spring Break I decided I wanted my hair to be more manageable. Do you see where this is going? I went to the bargain salon chain in our small college town for something between chin and shoulder length. This was the second of three times in my life when “between chin and shoulder length” ended up being ear length. I don’t know if it’s my hair type or if all of these hairdressers went to some weird anatomy class where your ear is located somewhere after your face. Then I had to go back the next day and get it cut even shorter because the right side was two inches shorter than the left.

Anyway, I looked sort of appealing, in the same way Dorothy Hamill did and also with the same haircut. It was the haircut every mother hopes her daughter will get right before Spring Break.

So yeah. I did not, in fact, belong on Fashionably Loud, even from far away in one of the crowd scenes.

Expectation:  You will be so pumped for SPRING BREAK! that you’ll have energy for days.

Reality: After a full day on a bus, which kicked off with you scurrying down a gully on a bathroom stop to get shots at an Applebee’s, you will still be shouting “SPRING BREAK!” That’s because you’ll have energy drinks for days. Energy DRINKS. One of my friend had a bunch of Red Bulls then totally tweaked out. He called us in a sweaty panic because his wallet was missing. His wallet was in his bed.

Expectation: One of the hottest bands of the 90s will play for free!

Reality: One of the hottest bands of the 90s WILL play for free. At 8 in the freaking morning. In 2008.

Expectation: You’ll have a crazy week full of wacky stories that you and your friends will laugh about for years to come.

Reality: That’s completely true. But you’re sort of laughing at yourself instead of with yourself, if that makes sense.

 

‘Ello Gunvor! Getting To Know James Corden

Tonight, British import James Corden is taking over hosting duties at The Late Late Show – aptly titled – With James Corden. As he joins the ranks of fellow late night hosts Letterman, Fallon, Kimmel, and Meyers, he doesn’t exactly have the same popularity as said comedians. He’s a Brit who you “probably know from that thing” (Into the Woods, Begin Again), more on the ranks of Freddie Highmore and less like Daniel Radcliffe.

I personally was excited to hear of the news James was taking over because I had been a casual fan of his for years, so I’m glad he’s finally going to make a name for himself in America. Before he makes his debut tonight, here are six things to know about him that will hopefully make you love him as much as I, and a bunch of Brits do.

He is a Tony Award Winner Who Loves His Wife

In 2011, James starred in One Man, Two Guvnors, a one-man show about a guy who becomes employed by two men (see the amazingness here). The success in London led him to transfer the show to Broadway, and in 2012, the production received critical acclaim and allll the awards. This includes James’ first Tony, for Best Actor in a Play. He was up against household names like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Frank Langella and John Lithgow for the prize, but even with that feat, the best moment is his speech in which he thanks his then-girlfriend for being by his side through everything. I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

He Cut Off Adele During Her Acceptance Speech

In 2011, James hosted the BRIT Awards, which is the British equivalent to the Grammys. Of course, this was during the time when Adele wasn’t in hiding and was winning all the awards, and she went up to the podium to accept her British Album of the Year prize. It being the last award of the night, producers were yelling in James’ ear piece to cut her off so they could have one last performance and end the show on time. But of course, that would mean interrupting ADELE. He hated that he had to do it, and when he did, she was not pleased and the crowed booed, she gave the middle finger and fans were outraged. James later said that although there was a bunch of shouting, in the end, it’s just an awards show and Adele was super understanding.

He had a Number One Song in the UK

Not only is he a Tony winner, but he’s also a best-selling recording artist. Okay, well he recorded a song that made it to number one. You know how countries participating in the World Cup make songs to pump up the nation and its players? James Corden and British rapper Dizzee Rascal collaborated for Shout, a song that samples Tears for Fears’ Shout and Blackstreet’s No Diggity. It debuted at the top spot in 2010, but it didn’t exactly help England win the top prize.

 He Was Given A Fancy Title By The Queen

Just this past year, James was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (or OBE, for short) for his services to drama and his charity work. I’m still not really sure what this means, but according to Wikipedia, he is “the most junior and most populous order of chivalry in the British and other Commonwealth honours systems.” Okay. Whatever it is, I think he met the Queen.

He’s Friends With One Direction

This may seem like an odd friendship, but when you think about it, it’s really not. I mean, they’re both British (Irish) and all Brit celebs are friends with each other, right? No you stupid American. However, in this case it’s true. James’ longtime BFF Ben Winston (who is now the executive producer on The Late Late Show) has done multiple projects with One Direction, including The X Factor and directing a bunch of their videos. The boys have already helped him promote the new show, and one time, James even gave Niall a tattoo of his face on his bum.

He Used To Be in a “Boy Band”

Boy band is a super loose term in this case, as James and his mates were more like 2Gether than 1D. As he explains in the clip above, he starred in a British show called Boyz Unlimited in 1999, the height of the boy band era. It was a comedy about a boy band and their attempts at fame, but it was art imitating life as he really thought he could make it big as a teen idol. He was in a band called Full Frontal as well as one called Insatiable, that had a “song” titled “Girl Are You Ready”. James’ boy band dreams came true when he sang and performed with Take That (Back for Good? Robbie Williams?) star Gary Barlow during one of his solo shows. Gary sang Take That hit Pray, and James came out and not only sang the shizz out of it, he danced his bum off too.

ICYMI: Venti Half-Caf Over Ice With A Shot Of Diversity

Not sure if that order even makes sense, but I do know what makes not a lot of sense is Starbucks’ recent campaign for diversity.

Uncomfortable Discussions To Have With Your Starbucks Barista

At Starbucks – as in life – everyone has an objective. The customer wants some damn caffeine. The barista wants to do their job, then get paid. And the Starbucks corporation wants to start a racial dialogue. All in a morning’s coffee run, eh?

Starbucks is facing a lot of crinkled brows and quizzical expressions – basically, everyone is looking at them with Jaden Smith Face – because of their new initiative, #RaceTogether. A barista has the option of writing Race Together on your coffee cup (in Starbucks tradition, probably spelled wrong). That can start a conversation about race between the barista who just wants to do their job, and a person who presumably hasn’t had coffee yet. Sounds awesome. If it seems familiar, that’s because this was also the plot to an ill-received country song that we live-blogged a few years ago.

But listen. I don’t want to go to Starbucks knowing that I’m going to face an uncomfortable discussion about race with a side of Grande Americano with skim. I want to go to Starbucks not knowing what kind of uncomfortable discussion I’m going to have. Starbucks making me discuss racism with a stranger sounds an awful lot like classroom group work, something I hated my entire educational career, but fine. While we’re at it, let’s talk about everything that’s taboo in polite company.

Here are some conversation starters to get the discussions rolling with your favorite barista or customer:

Money
  • Wow. Venti? How much do you make?
  • On your way to work? Cool. How much do you make?
  • Gold card? How much do you make?
  • How do you feel about poor people?
  • POOR PEOPLE. Am I right?
Relationships
  • Didn’t you always used to come in with that one guy? What happened?

Despite the weirdness Starbucks is going through right now, let’s be real – we still love coffee too much to totally give up on awk questions with our fave baristas (shout out to my boy Alan).

Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

It’s National Coffee Day! Normally I skip over these made-up-sounding holidays, but when I think about things that really make a difference in my day-to-day life, coffee is at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I had to go to a lake house with a janky coffee maker (my life is hard!) and waiting 15 minutes and jostling the machine to get the coffee to brew was the worst thing ever – particularly because, cruel fate, I had to do that before I’d had coffee. Not to mention the few times I’ve started my Keurig without a cup under it – again, a harmful byproduct of having to make coffee before you’ve had coffee.

That’s why, although teachers and administrative professionals and dental hygienists all deserve their respective fake holidays, people who make us coffee so we don’t have to are the real heroes. They’re the ones who keep our streets safe (because they make coffee for police officers), our population healthy (because they make coffee for doctors), and bring joy and laughter to our world (by making coffee for comedians or, if you’re into that, clowns). And how about the baristas who keep our favorite TV characters going? Today, I raise my mug to them:

Gunther, Friends

Gunther – full name Gunther Centralperk? – is a barista with “hair as bright as the sun” who did not father Rachel’s child (“that hair on a baby?”). He was full of hope – an aspiring actor who once appeared on All My Children, chronically enamored with Rachel, and ever expectant that he’d be let into the Friends clique. Ah, Gunther. You may not have been part of the primary crew, but you did something even more important: provided laughter, coffee, and – briefly – employment to the people we really cared about. Fun fact: James Michael Tyler was a real barista who earned his role, in part, due to his ability to operate an espresso machine.

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

At Luke’s diner, coffee was made with love – years and years of unrequited love – and served with a little bit of judgment. But as much as Luke scoffed at the Lorelais caffeine habit, he knew that it was important and was always ready with a mug of coffee and a tousled baseball cap. October 1, guys. We’re almost there.

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

Sure, Monk’s Cafe was a full service restaurant – I mean, any restaurant that doesn’t serve a Big Salad can get out – but let’s not forget that the characters frequently referred to it as a “coffee shop,” so we all know what the main attraction was (other than the Big Salad). Larry (Lawrence Mandley) was the owner, but we can’t forget the supporting players who brought coffee to New York’s finest: checkout lady Ruthie Cohen and weird temporary owner, Mr. Vilaski.

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I don’t think there’s a good way to explain The Waitress’s storyline on It’s Always Sunny if you’re not already familiar with the tone of the show. Just know that she’s a career waitress – after a Starbucks opens across from her cafe, she also gets a job working at a Ruby Tuesday-esque chain restaurant.

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes, you just want to go where nobody cares at all what your name is, they just sort of gruffly serve you black coffee and pie.

Kit (and the full cast of Cafe Nervosa employees), Frasier

Frasier, more than any show, reminds me of the aspirations of the 90s. I watched this and – when I understood what was going on – felt like some day I, too, could order cappuccinos, own a laptop, and have my hair cut into The Rachel. Cafe Nervosa was really serving up that dream. The cafe was a Seattle coffee shop during that magical age when Starbucks still felt sort of special, and all of the employees – mostly randoms, but also Frasier’s one-time girlfriend Kit – kept our favorite tv psychiatrist well-caffeinated in true 90s style.

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

A teen can’t just run away from/towards A all the time – she’s got to make money, too. This has worked well for plot devices like having Emily working at Jenna’s party, because what high schooler didn’t want to have her birthday party at a coffee shop? Although, doesn’t working as a barista seem like more of a Spencer thing? It’s only a matter of time before someone serves up a latte with a cursive A squiggled into the foam.

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

If there’s any job that’s cuter than working in a cozy little diner, it’s working at a cozy little diner… in small-town Maine … in a village populated entirely with fairy tale characters … and also you are Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously, though, everything here looks amazing, and Ruby is the perfect coffee shop worker/ waitress who always remembers everyone’s orders (cinnamon hot chocolate, amIright?) and is super nice, even though she looks sort of scary because they dress her like she bought the Hot Waitress Halloween costume from Spencer’s Gifts.

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

I think everyone’s been to that coffee shop that has so many rules for how to order (which Italian word meaning “large” is the large, again?) or how to behave (no laptops??) that you feel like someone must be playing a trick on you. But no, some baristas just take their work that seriously. This Coffee Shop Manifesto penned by the baristas of Portland is one of those “funny because it’s true” TV moments.

Saturday Spotlight: You Used To Be Cool

Cool has a short life span. What’s awesome one year is so out the next. If you tell me you haven’t googled something like “are flowered jeans still okay” – or at least thought it – you’re either lying, or much have a better innate sense of cool than I do. We explored that a bit this week:

  • Main thing that used to be cool? The weather! But spring is here and … who am I kidding, it’s still like 25 degrees. But soon we’ll all be able to say that it USED to be cool. Until then, enjoy this spring playlist that’s sort of all over the place because we forgot to decide what we meant by “beat the winter blahs.” Except that we were both pretty sure it included showtunes and 90s pop jams.
  • GLEE. Glee used to be cool. We both watched the first few seasons faithfully, but our interest waned. The finale aired last night, and it reminded us of better times, back when there were awesome mashups and great dance numbers every week.
  • Do you remember when you were a little kid and Starbucks was just the coolest thing you had ever heard of? Then it just became a functional chain place where you went to get your pre-work coffee. And THEN it became the place a barista would talk at you about race. We miss the old days, but couldn’t help but add a few uncomfy Starbucks conversation starters of our own.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest reminder that we, too, used to be cool. Maybe not. But we did used to be people who would drink casually during the daytime. Honestly, can’t say we miss it. Still, you might relate to this drinking chronology, from suburban mom drinks to cheap beer to “can I just have a glass of wine then go to bed at a reasonable time?”
  • Some of the things that used to be cool are downright baffling. For instance, ducks in bonnets. Yes, really. Also, geese in aprons. The 90s were weird.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and remember: whatever it is that you find super-cool right now, it’s already well on its way to “used to be cool” territory.

Playlist of the Month: Beat the Winter Blahs

After months of snow and cold, are you struggling to shake a case of the winter blahs? Well, consider the blahs beaten – today is the first day of Spring! In honor of the change of seasons, we decided to create a playlist for sunny days and warmer temperatures.

Okay, that isn’t entirely true. During our blog planning meeting – months ago, might I add – we never really came up with a playlist theme for March. We came up with a date – the first day of Spring – and I guess must have slapped “beat the winter blahs” down as a title, but neither of us can remember why. Seriously. We have no clue what we meant by it. Like, why did we put “winter” in the title, when winter is officially over? But that’s our playlist title and we’re sticking to it, so, um… here are ten songs. Happy spring?

{Enjoy the whole playlist on Spotify!}

Molly’s Picks

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Theme Song

In case you’re late to the game, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is pure, tv sunshine. And by the time you’re three episodes in, you will not be able to get the theme song – a play on those autotune-remixed news reports – out of your head. Besides, after emerging from months of brutal winter, doesn’t it almost feel like the Greek Chorus should be proclaiming “they alive, dammit! It’s a miracle?”

All Star – the Kidz Bop Kidz

Remember in the late 90s and early 2000s, every time a commercial or movie trailer wanted to evoke “summertime fun” they’d use the song All Star by Smashmouth? It is like the musical version of a waterpark ad. So here, here it is. And to make it even worse, I’m giving you the Kidz Bop version, because why the hell not. [Feel free to substitute Sugar Ray’s I Just Wanna Fly. It’s the same thing.]

Springtime For Hitler – The Producers

It says Spring. What else do you people want?

Rockin’ Robin – Bobby Day

Spring. Robins. Yes? Yes. This is what happens when we choose nebulous playlist themes. Tweet tweet tweet, y’all.

Sunshine Day by The Brady Bunch Kids

Okay, in our modern age warm-weather songs are all like “it’s so warm, I need to take off all of my clothes. Let’s rhyme party with Bacardi, etc.” But in the early 70s, when the temps started heating up, people were all “groovy, let’s listen to some children sing about taking a walk.” On second thought, that’s probably less because it was a more innocent time and more because people used the scary kinds of drugs that will break your brain.

Traci’s Picks

Steal My Sunshine by Len

Fun fact: Len is Canadian. And I thought that was cool. 90% sure I loved this song so much in 1999 that I bought the CD single. What happened to Len, BTW? Just one peppy spring/summer single and they’re gone? Or did they become famous in Canada?

I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen

Whatever. I like this song. It makes me happy and also, Tom Hanks.

Drip Drop by Yazz and Serayah McNeill (from the Empire soundtrack)

GUYS EMPIRE THO. DRIP DROP LIKE SPRINGTIME SHOWERS, BUT ALSO, HAKEEM. (#TeamJamal. #TeamCookie. #TeamPORSHA)

Beautiful Day by U2

Let U2 tell you what kind of day it is. They already control your iTunes purchases.

Totally Fucked from Spring Awakening

Because, spring. Also baby Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff. Gosh, I love this musical. Not exactly a happy springtime show, but at least this song is upbeat!

Remember When Glee Wasn’t That Bad?

After hundreds of musical numbers, endless hookups between characters and dozens of Slushees wasted, Glee ends its six-season run on Friday. What’s that? You didn’t realize Glee was still on? Or that it’s been six seasons? Or that it’s managed to stay on this long? Yeah, you’re not the only one.

Back when Ryan Murphy’s campy musical comedy made its debut in 2009, it became the hottest show on TV. They earned numerous awards (including a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series, had best-selling albums, a successful concert tour, a series of young adult books and even a reality competition show to be on Glee.

And then it jumped the shark. And then it jumped the shark again. And then it did a semi-serious episode about school shootings. And then Cory Monteith tragically died and it was never the same again. But through all this, for some reason I’ve managed to stick with it. I would consider myself a high-functioning Gleek circa season 1 and 2, even going to said concert tour and meeting some of the cast during a CD signing. But as the show wavered, so did my dedication as a fan, and I put Glee somewhere in the middle to low end of my TV priority list.

As the show comes to an end, the writers are obviously (and rightfully so) trying to tie everything up in a nice bow and have things come full circle, while still creating a hopeful future for its characters. The show is called Glee, after all. As the glee club takes its final bow, I have been reminded that the show was actually really good at times, and I think that’s the legacy any series wants to leave, no matter how horrible it got towards the end. If a show’s good, it’s good, and how about we remember just how good those times were, shall we?

Halo/Walking on Sunshine

{Season 1, Episode 6}

Early on, Glee was known for taking hit songs and putting them together in “mashups”, which obviously isn’t a new idea, but the show brought the practice back into mainstream pop culture. Not only did they do that, but they did it well, and this was just the first of many. *This is also the ep where all the Glee club members are high on some nasal decongestant drug, which explains why they’re acting insane. See, it used to be hilar!

Jump

{Season 1, Episode 12}

I remember watching this thinking A) That looks like so much fun B) This is actually airing on network TV right now. Glee helped usher in musicals into the small screen, and this definitely helped it become as huge as it did.

Since U Been Gone

{Season 1, Episode 13}

In an effort to pay tribute to their teach Mr. Shue, the New Directions put together this number, and for eagle-eyed Gleeks, you’ll remember that choreo from all the numbers they had done up until that point were put into this performance, and I still see the image of Will running through the hall to confess his love to Emma burned in my memory.

Dream On

{Season 1, Episode 19}

Neil Patrick Harris won an Emmy for this guest starring role. I think that speaks for itself.

Faithfully

{Season 1, Episode 22}

Both Cory and Lea name this song their favorite from all the numbers they’ve done on the show, and it’s clear why.

Teenage Dream

{Season 2, Episode 6}

Remember when we didn’t know who Darren Criss was unless you saw him in the Harry Potter musical on the YouTube? Well this number marked the time he changed our lives forever.

Marry You

{Season 2, Episode 8}

Basically any scene between Finn and Rachel that give me romantical feels makes me cry because Cory’s gone, and this is a particularly sweet scene right before his mom marries Kurt’s dad.

Valerie

{Season 2, Episode 9}

I find myself saying ‘Santana is the only reason I’m still watching this show’, because she’s got a great voice but also her sass meter is off the charts, and she’s often the only one who can spit some realness into Lima, Ohio.

Last Christmas

{Season 2, Episode 10}

Yeah. Finn and Rachel forever.

Thriller/Heads Will Roll

{Season 2, Episode 11}

This was from the episode that aired right after the Super Bowl, and as customary for any network show that airs after the most-watched show of the year, the episode needs to pull out all the stops to keep people watching. This was a little weird because, zombies, but also great because it’s Michael Jackson AND it’s a mashup, which we know, Glee does so well.

Dreams

{Season 2, Episode 19}

Ah April Rhodes/Kristin Chenoweth. My favorite alcoholic on the show. Because of its popularity, Glee had the opportunity to perform songs out of sacred songbooks, including this episode, which was dedicated to Fleetwood Mac, and I’m glad this song was put in the hands of Cheno and Matt Morrison, a couple that will not fuck it up.

Let Me Love You

{Season 3, Episode 13}

I have said from the beginning that Artie/Kevin McHale is one of the best male singers on the show. It’s probably because I have a thing for R&B sounding voices, but I always hoped he would get more solos.

How Will I Know

{Season 3, Episode 17}

Because Glee is the show you watch to see it tackle hard-hitting issues and current events, they dedicated a whole ep to Whitney Houston following her death. They opened the show with this number, an acappella version of one of my personal favorite Whitney songs. It set the right tone for the rest of the show, and also proved bigger is not always better when it comes to musical numbers.

Don’t Stop Believin’

{Season 5, Episode 13}

File under: one of the times Glee could have ended but didn’t. This was from the 100th episode that aired last year, when a bunch of old Glee club members came back to pay tribute to Mr. Shue. And in full Full Circle moment, they sang the last song from the Pilot, and one of the show’s most well-known numbers, Don’t Stop Believin’. The original had Cory singing opposite Lea, but obviously the rest filled in, and as they all surround each other on that stage, I couldn’t help but tear up – and think it would’ve been a satisfying ending to the series.

Uncomfortable Discussions To Have With Your Starbucks Barista

At Starbucks – as in life – everyone has an objective. The customer wants some damn caffeine. The barista wants to do their job, then get paid. And the Starbucks corporation wants to start a racial dialogue. All in a morning’s coffee run, eh?

Starbucks is facing a lot of crinkled brows and quizzical expressions – basically, everyone is looking at them with Jaden Smith Face – because of their new initiative, #RaceTogether. A barista has the option of writing Race Together on your coffee cup (in Starbucks tradition, probably spelled wrong). That can start a conversation about race between the barista who just wants to do their job, and a person who presumably hasn’t had coffee yet. Sounds awesome. If it seems familiar, that’s because this was also the plot to an ill-received country song that we live-blogged a few years ago.

But listen. I don’t want to go to Starbucks knowing that I’m going to face an uncomfortable discussion about race with a side of Grande Americano with skim. I want to go to Starbucks not knowing what kind of uncomfortable discussion I’m going to have. Starbucks making me discuss racism with a stranger sounds an awful lot like classroom group work, something I hated my entire educational career, but fine. While we’re at it, let’s talk about everything that’s taboo in polite company.

Here are some conversation starters to get the discussions rolling with your favorite barista or customer:

Money
  • Wow. Venti? How much do you make?
  • On your way to work? Cool. How much do you make?
  • Gold card? How much do you make?
  • How do you feel about poor people?
  • POOR PEOPLE. Am I right?
Gentrification
  • You know, this Starbucks used to be a family-owned barber shop. Which reminds me, how do you feel about your role in gentrifying a once-vibrant, diverse community?
Politics
  • Anything. Literally anything political, pre-coffee, ever.
Religion
  • Decaf macchiato. Do you want whip on that?  Also, is it decaf because you’re Mormon?
  • Yes, I believe the salted caramel sweet square is Kosher. And I’m interested in your thoughts on Israel.
  • So, here we both are, at Starbucks, 10 AM on a Sunday. What do you suppose this says about the rapid decline in millenials who would self-identify as Christian?
Mortality
  • Sporting a few more greys there, Ralph! Hey, Ralph. Do you ever think about how one day – not very far away, in the scheme of things – you’ll be dead?
  • Yeah, we have a lot more customers now that the Starbucks on Maple and Elm closed. Well, you know what they say: all things come to an end and eventually every thing we are and everything we have will become part of the past, right?
  • Do you ever just lie in bed at night and thing “man. Someday I’m going to die?”
Disability and Illness
  • Some people are in wheelchairs. Let’s talk about it!
  • You’re in a wheelchair. Let’s talk about it!
  • I’m in a wheelchair. Let’s talk about it!
  • I see you reading the drink menu. How would this experience be different if you had dyslexia?
  • I see you reading the drink menu. How would this experience be different if you were blind?
  • Hi, buddy. Walked right up to the counter, didn’t you? What if you couldn’t? [Insert :mind blown: hand gesture here]
  • I have lupus. Here’s your macchiato!
Obesity
  • Two out of three Americans are overweight or obese. What’s it like to be another statistic?
  • This conversation:
  • One vanilla latte! Also, has anyone told you that you have a really pretty face?
  • Great outfit! Did you have to buy it at a special store, or can you still go to regular stores?
Relationships
  • Didn’t you always used to come in with that one guy? What happened?
Parenting
  • Aww, what a cute baby! Hey, do you go through every day wondering if you’re somehow failing him?
  • An organic apple juice for the little guy! No problem! By the way, do you struggle with bringing a child into such a violent and tumultuous world?
  • Cranberry bliss bar, coming right up. You know, this purchase is just part of the $200,000 it takes to raise a child to age 18, on average. Knowing this, would you have even had children?

Evolution of Drinking, As Told By A Lame Adult

It is St. Patrick’s Day. Despite the fact I grew up around a lot of Irish folks at school (see: Molly, our school’s mascot “Lil’ Irish”), and have seen traditional Irish dancing more times than you would think, I’m still not a big celebrator of the biggest drinking day of the year. And that’s probably why. I probably drink alcohol a little less than what is considered average for a human. Water is usually my drink of choice when I go out (unless I’m feelin like a big spender) and I’ve never really come home and wound down with an alcoholic bev (unless I’m under some maj stress).

So on this St. Patrick’s Day, I urge you lovely readers to celebrate responsibly, and also judge my drinking habits through the years. My evolution of drinking is what some consider lame and embarrassing, but whatever. I’ll sip my iced coffee and y’all drink your Guinness and we’ll be straight. Slainte!

High School

Drink of Choice: Smirnoff Ice

I’m basing this next fact off of high school romcoms like Can’t Hardly Wait and American Pie, but I was a late bloomer when it came to drinking. I didn’t enjoy the sweet taste of alcohol and being drunk until the summer before senior year. I clearly remember being at our friend’s cottage and getting “shitfaced” on Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Now, I’d have to throw back at least 10 of those to even feel buzzed, but apparently back then, it out took a few to rap and dance around a kitchen wearing a paper crown.

Freshman Year of College

Bud Light

I feel like it’s important I note that in high school, I swore off beer for some reason. I don’t remember what I had against it, but I remember that my friends knew I didn’t drink beer. By the time I got to college, that’s all they had at parties (the total of like 5 I attended freshman year). So I really had no choice. I stuck with the easy one, though. Also, there was a  time I went to some party and a frat dude started pouring me and my friend Jack and Cokes, but I don’t drink soda (I’m a winner), and he had already poured like a 1/4 cup (?) of Jack in the cup so he just handed me the Jack sans Coke. Poor decisions.

Sophomore Year of College

Screwdrivers

My good friend had taken bartending classes around this time, and instead of making her make me a fancy drink, I made her make me screwdrivers because orange juice was easily available at the school’s convenience store in our building. She also made a lot of Sex of the Beaches for me. I lived on the edge.

Junior Year of College

Midori Sour

I tried to up my game a bit and I thought I was being classy by ordering Midori Sours, which my fried described as Ecto Coolers. Because they’re bright neon green and taste like juice. So classy, I know. It’s weird I didn’t have more friends.

Somewhere In Between All This

Shots Shots Shots Shots Shots

I later got sick (not literally) of drinking so many drinks just to get drunk, it was like an annoying task for me. So my new theory was to just take shots and nix the cocktails and beers all together. What an idiot.

Senior Year of College

Long Island Iced Tea

Apparently it took 22 years for me to figure out the power and kick Long Islands have, and it was exactly what I wanted. A lot of alcohol in a compact drink, enough to make me only kind of remember what had happened last night. It was my go to at my favorite Boston bar (RIP Sweetwater) and my best/worst friend during Senior Week. Woof.

Post-Grad, Year One

Stella Artois/Blue Moon

I decided to get rid of the Long Islands (after Senior Week) and chose classier (again, is it tho?) beers like Stella Artois and Blue Moon. I needed them to be ice cold and on draft, and only a few were needed to do the trick.

Post-Grad, Year Two

Wine

I was invited to the Wine Expo by my two Wino friends who volunteered at the event and had free tickets. We basically went around and sampled dozens of wines from around the world and snacked on free samps, and it was magical.

Post-Grad, Year Who Da Fuq Knows

Margaritas

I don’t know if it’s because I moved to California, but just like avocados, I discovered a new love for margaritas that I never really had before. Regular on the rocks is my jam, but I won’t say no to a good strawberry or mango or whatever flavor my fave Mexican restaurant is peddling that day.

Am I Still Considered a Youth

More Wine

As you might be able to tell, we’ve ventured into current times. Over the past year or so, I’ve opted to get a nice glass of wine at a bar or restaurant in lieu of a fancy drink, but, again, that also could be triggered by the fact cocktails can be expensive, yo.

I’m Going Home Before Midnight

Water

God, I just love water so much. A nice ice cold glass with some fresh lemon? I could get buzzed just thinking about it.