1. My new snacking obsession: Popchips. I work in the same building as a Duane Reade (not to be all “New York! You don’t live here,” but if you’re not familiar with the city, DR is a chain of drug stores of which we have approximately 5 billion and the rest of the country has zero, don’t ask me why), so my coworkers and I go there a lot for snacks and drinks and stuff. A couple of weeks ago I discovered Popchips, which claim to be healthier for you because they’re not fried, but also they’re not baked, they’re “popped.” In their words: “We take the finest ingredients, like wholesome potatoes, apply heat and pressure, and pop! It’s a chip.” Sciencey! Anyway, they really are delicious, probably because they do not skimp on the flavor. My favorites are the sea salt and vinegar and the barbecue flavors, but I suspect I’d also love that parmesan garlic flavor if they would carry it at my Duane Reade adjkflsa;dsjfkd! Apparently you can also get them at normal stores like Safeway and Whole Foods and Target, but don’t hold me to that.

2. Even though it’s not supposed to officially drop until March 24 (at least, according to Amazon), those of us who are paying attention know that you can download The Hazards of Love, the new album from The Decemberists, early on iTunes. I’ve been in love with The Decemberists for a few years now–if you go listen to the All Unquiet Things playlist, you’ll see “The Perfect Crime #2” (there’s no “The Perfect Crime #1,” because that’s the kind of band this is) is one of the central tunes. The Hazards of Love is a concept album; it tells a specific story and is designed to be listened to from start to finish. The Hazards of Love is a fairy tale about a young maiden named Margaret and her shape-shifting lover, William, the son of a jealous queen. Margaret is kidnapped by a wicked rake (“The Rake’s Song” is probably my favorite on the album because of its phantasmagoric creepiness) and William rescues her, but the in the end they both drown crossing a river to escape. Spoiler! Anyway, the album is great. Other favorites of mine are “Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga*),” “The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid,” “The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing,” and “The Hazards of Love 3: Revenge!” which manages to be even creepier than “The Rake’s Song”! The Hazards of Love sort of reminds me of The Magic Flute.

3. Those of you who read my blog know that Big Love is probably my favorite show on television right now except Gossip Girl (!! Blair’s downward spiral), but it looks like this upcoming Sunday’s episode will be its last for this season. And what a season it was, folks! Betrayal, subterfuge, “infidelity” (I’m not quite sure you can cheat on a man who’s got two other wives, but there you go), road trips, secret out-of-wedlock babies, loss, love, agony, murder, excommunication, jealousy! Best season of Big Love ever. Dramz galore. I’m already missing it, but it has kick-started my fascination with the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m in the middle of watching that four-hour Frontline special on the Mormons, and I’m reading The 19th Wife–flying through it, in fact. Both pretty interesting so far.

4. I’m doing pretty okay in my March Madness bracket, although no thanks to Clemson (way to lose to Michigan, guys!) or Illinois (heartbreakers–I had faith and you let me down). My strategy is this: I always pick the highest seeded team except when I have an emotional attachment to the school (sometimes these are tenuous at best) or when it’s an 8/9 matchup (like BYU/Texas A&M), when I just mentally flip a coin.  It works fairly well–I’m never 100%, and sometimes it totally backfires, but it’s generally pretty accurate. Right now I have Connecticut (??) and North Carolina in the finals with North Carolina to win. We’ll see. I prefer football.

5. When I woke up this morning it was snowing. UNACCEPTABLE. This is not the tundra.

*For all intents and purposes, a forest. I had to look it up.

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