March 15, 2014

Things I've Been Loving, Lately

I'm kind of over the whole monthly favorites thing. It's not for me. Some months I don't love anything and I don't want to fake it for you guys. That's not the kind of relationship I want us to have. I'm just going to do these kinds of posts as I feel the urge instead of on some kind of timeline. That's no way to live life. Let's not put labels on things.

Bob's Burgers
Honestly, I didn't get the hype for this show at first. I thought it was kind of meh and hearing H. Jon Benjamin's voice as a character who wasn't Archer was just off putting. I felt really Christian Bale "IT'S FUCKING DISTRACTING!" about it. Now, I'm kind of worried about starting Archer Vice because I'm afraid I'm going to be hearing Bob Belcher the whole time. I regularly laugh out loud at this show and love it extra because it's set in Jersey. A friend of mine tweeted nothing but "Jimmy Jr" with a little heart emoji the other week and I laughed out loud at that, too. This show also gets major points from me for being set in Jersey and only showcasing stereotypes that are actually true, like Linda Belcher's accent. She sounds like any one of my boyfriend's relatives. Take your pick.

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
 I haven't been so immersed in a book in such a long time. I was in the middle of another biography by the same author about Catherine the Great which I've cast aside in favor of this one. I figure this is an easy sell for girls my age because Anatasia Romanov is a go to historical obsession for my generation, second to only the Titanic. I was pretty burnt out on the Titanic by about 2001 but people are still posting about the anniversary every damn year like their mom died on the ship. Give it a rest. I'm still pretty into the end of the Romanov dynasty, though. Hello, look at what I named this blog. I actually named it that because I'm just a slavophile in general, as well as an HBIC.

Anyway, this book is about Nicolas II, the last emperor aka tsar of imperial Russia and his wife, Alexandra, the last empress aka tsarina. It's kind of a touching love story that's morbidly funny because their love and family drama was pretty much responsible for driving Russia as it existed in that time into the ground. "Nicolas II was laughably incompetent, like, to the point where he probably altered the course of world history just because he was a joke of an emperor" was pretty much the thesis of one of my most important high school papers. (I wrote it the night before it was due. I'm responsible, don't worry about it.) He seemed like a pretty nice dude but god damn, what a screw up. I almost feel bad for these people - I'm at the point in the book where Alexandra is the same age as me except she's married with two kids, moved to Russia from Germany where she lived her entire life, is struggling to learn Russian, dealing with the fact that everyone pretty much hates her and is empress of all of imperial Russia which encompasses even more people and square footage than it does today. That's messed up. The married with kids would be too heavy for me right now. I don't know if I could deal with all that in exchange for a lot of emeralds and Fabrege eggs.

Russian history is kind of a touchy subject for me as a Ukrainian American because it's both my history and not my history at the same time. Like, the opening ceremony of the current Olympics that supposedly described all of Russian history? I'm not going to get started on that. I'm not even going to put a toe into what's going on in the world right now with Russia and Ukraine because I won't be able to stop. I drove by the Russian embassy today and was cursing up a storm about it and that's all I'll say. But, you know, the cultural and actual genocide inflicted on my ancestors ASIDE, Russian history is really fascinating and varied subject. The Romanov's were just like a little bubble of old fashioned opulence in a time when the rest of the world was modernizing or had already done so. You get 20th century politics but also a lot of mentions of Cartier tiaras. This author also writes books that are really easy reads. You feel like you can relate to everything and his style isn't dry or pretentious at all like some history books can be.

I've made a smoothie literally every single day for the past month. It's the highlight of my day. I'm not even following any kind of recipe - I just have a big bag of frozen berries from Costco and I dump some measuring cupfulls into the blender with juice and honey. I'm sure it's not even good from a culinary standpoint or even healthy for me. I asked for the blender for Christmas and I'm pretty sure my boyfriend was kind of annoyed that I was adding another appliance to our cramped kitchen and thought I'd never use it. Well, joke's on him because I use it literally every single day. I'm driving us into financial ruin with these frozen berries because they're like $8 a bag but I'm addicted and can't stop. I crave these makeshift smoothies. One day I'm going to be rich and be able to expand my smoothie making recipes with all kinds of fresh fruits. Also, I'm going to get tequila and margarita mix for this blender. Not when I'm rich, that's going to happen like, next week.

Lana Del Rey's "Once Upon a Dream" Cover for Disney's Malificent
I knew I was going to like this song before it even came out. A Disney cover by Lana Del Rey. I was done for before I even heard it. Fucking Lana Del Rey. I'm held prisoner by the songs she releases. I get obsessed and listen to literally nothing else for a solid week or more. First it was National Anthem in the summer of 2012, which I am still obsessed with to this moment. The Americana of the music video just slayed me.

The whole Lisa Marie Presley/Jackie crossover look with the addition of her tacky acrylic nails on top of the Kennedy compound theme was speaking to me, directly. Look at that gif!! The big hair, the over the top bracelet, the nonchalance of the way she's puffing on that cigarette. That music video destroyed me. Then it was her Blue Velvet cover. Then that unreleased Black Beauty song that another musician got really pissed about. I want to not like her but I love the moodiness of her music. It sounds like what I imagine taking benzos with wine feels like. I play right into her pretentious image. I can't help it. I've been listening to her cover of Once Upon a Dream on a loop and I'm humming it like I'm in my own little Disney princess world. The whole thing has such a sinister, haunting quality, as if it's not a Disney song but a song describing some nutcase who runs down other women with her car because she feels their boyfriend is secretly in love with her. It sounds like it should be played at Sleeping Beauty's funeral and I love it.

Semi related, but probably my one guilty pleasure in life is how into Disney I am. I cringe whenever I hear about weddings or honeymoons taking place at Walt Disney World but, honestly, my fan level is about two clicks below that. I don't even believe in having guilty pleasures and I still feel guilty. Loving Disney so much feels so arrested development-y to me but here I am.

If you're like me, or better yet, not living in a constant state of shame with yourself, you'll probably love Sorcerer's Radio. It's a free radio station that streams music from Walt Disney World. They play everything from lobby music from the hotels to live Fantasmic! showings to songs from World Showcase pavilions. At its best, it's a very good easy listening station to leave on as mindless background noise while you clean or work. I'm lying, at the very best you're listening to the recordings of the fireworks show and getting choked up while cleaning your closet because dreams really ARE wishes that your heart makes. I feel like a major asshole listening to it because just how far does the Disney corporate machine extend, you know? Like, now I'm listening to their background noise while I dust? That's too far. But, I tell myself that they specifically engineered (or, Imagineared) this music to be soothing and unintrusive and you get what you pay for. It works.

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