The nostalgia of chain restaurants

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I’m not afraid to say it: I enjoy the occasional trip to a chain restaurant. The guarantee that the food will be mediocre and really salty is sort of enchanting. Like a fairy calling your name from the suburban woods, telling you to come home because Grandpa’s sick and your colon hasn’t been blasted by shoddy food in a while.

Growing up in the Midwest, I took a lot of road trips. A move from Kansas to Minnesota when I was 10 meant that we were haulin’ it every summer and holiday to go home to Kansas to see friends and family.

When you’re in the car for 8-10 hours in one day with your nuclear family, staring at majestic corn fields, smelling luscious dad farts and spitefully snacking on the healthy nut mix your loving mom packed while suppressing a Preteen cry for Cheetos, there’s no room for debate about which quaint Midwest country restaurant you and yours will dine at during your trip. You need dependable food and a familiar menu before anyone has a hunger meltdown in your prestigious Dodge Caravan.

As was normal on many road trips down I-35, my parents awoke me from the third nap of the day at 12:30pm, which meant it was time to start hunting for the highway “FOOD” signs.

The way it worked was if you’ve never heard of the restaurant before, we’re not going there. Oh, no commercial on national television? In your dreams, Shane’s Rib Shack. Take a hike, Grandma’s Kitchen. Nice try, Lou’s Food Emporium. 

Back in 1998 when I was 10, there was no internet in your hand and on-the-go. Taking a risk on a lesser known restaurant was not something any travel fatigued family wanted to do. Stopping to eat takes up valuable road time and you mustn’t take chances on unknown places. What if their decaf coffee is terrible, sending mother into a tailspin worse than you letting your Gigapet starve to death? What if they don’t have chicken strips? You simply can’t take risks like that when you’re travelling with anyone. The fallout would be unbearable in such close farting quarters.

Luckily, all the Chili’s, Applebees and Pizza Huts were conveniently located next to the highway so we only had to argue over which chain to eat at, significantly lowering the number of “I’M NOT EATING THERE!!!” screams from my preteen big mouth.

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The dependable chain restaurant food was just that: dependable. The chicken strips were gorgeous, the Heinz ketchup was perfectly room temperature, and the Pepsi on tap was always a disappointment. It was heaven. Plus, where else are you gonna get a plate with cheeseburgers, criminally delicious SOUTHWEST ROLLS, and the mythically “loaded” potato skin boats all in one place? It’s the definition of heaven on a plate. The menu at any one of these fine chain restaurants is the definition of mediocre innovation–but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.

Now that I’m older and live in a big city, of course I have better taste, I’m not a total jerk. But once in a while, something greater than me pulls my body out to the suburbs like an alien magnate, where I find myself alone and uncontrollably smiling inside of a Chili’s. Yes Amanda, I AM just a party of one. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of being young, or maybe it’s because you can’t get good chicken strips at nice restaurants. Whatever the case, chain restaurants will without a doubt always hold a beautiful mini-chimichanga space in my heart.

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Fashion: Favorite Comme des Garçons outfit

Comme des Garcons, Ready to Wear, Paris, Fall Winter, 2012,

 

This is the best outfit I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I want to wear it, plus the wig, and eat candy while running through the city. My fingers will be sticky, my face will be stained with corn syrup and my heart will be full.

5 WORST things about summer

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“Summer is great” they say. “We can go to the beach” they say. “Shorts are fun” nobody they say. Sure, summer has its beautiful moments when you’re finally breaking free from winter’s weakening death grip around your pale, chubby neck. But now that we’re in the thick of it, I’ve got some griping to do because I’m charming like that. Holla atcha winter baby. Here are the 5 worst things about summer.

1. NIGHT SWEATS suck

So your winter cuddle and Netflix partner didn’t get fucked off the second your seasonal depression subsided. How great 4 U. But what are you supposed to do in the summer when laying in bed next to each other is about as appealing as sitting next to a bonfire at noon with a humidifier in the dead heat of July? It’s horrible. All you wanna do is snuggle up to your person of choice, but your A/C bill is more than your paycheck and maybe you don’t really need love anyways.

2. Bugs are fucking lame

Seriously. Yeah yeah yeah, the ecosystem, squirrels need to eat, something needs to look gross on my windshield so the powerful gas station squeegee lobby can control the weather with their billions. I get it. Bugs are still the most annoying thing on planet earth.

3. Hot Dogs are weird

‘Nuff said.

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4. TV reruns are killing me

I know you’re supposed to be outside or whatever in the summer, and maybe it’s some government conspiracy with Hollyweird to get the kind folk of the nation into the outdoors for vitamin D and fresh air. I say whatever. These reruns of Ellen on tv all the time are sending me into an existential crisis. You can find me in the club / drowning in the screams of middle aged women at a live taping of Ellen.

5. Summer clothes are ugly

the powerful dumb hat lobby is stronger than u think
the powerful dumb hat lobby is stronger than u know

It’s like the fashion world takes a vacation in January to screw you over for decent summer style. Maybe nobody cares what they look like in the summer because you’re sweaty and frizzy anyways. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE crop tops. But the cold months definitely have a leg up on better clothing choices. RE: LAYERS. LEGGINGS. FUR COATS. Hats that don’t make everyone around you wish they had a stabbing knife for hat murder.

Honorable mention: Calvin Harris’ “Summer”

Pander-y bore tunes made for bros and basics. PUKE

 

7 Questions in Heaven with Vacation Dad

7 Questions Vacation Dad

I first heard of Vacation Dad through a friend named Elliot (who plays in killer MPLS band Dial-Up). I was immediately blown away by the imagery of the name Vacation Dad: the zinc nose sunblock, the sunglasses with the string hanging around his neck, the Hawaiian shirts that smell vaguely of old cologne and corn dogs. I have probably thought about the name “Vacation Dad” 2 or 3 times a year for the past 3 years, yet I’ve never managed to get on top of my local show shit together enough to make a performance of this elusive name genius. 2014 goals: get a real job, clean the basement, see Vacation Dad live. Until then, feast on the Vacation Dad interview that had me fangirling.

1. Your name is so brilliant. How did you come up with Vacation Dad?

mmmmm its kinda hard to pin down.  i first heard the term when my friend pat told me to stop being such a vacation dad.  i think i had told him to put on some sunscreen.  but the project started when i was laid off and just hanging out in my bathrobe and recording when i wasn’t on tour.  so i kind of became this ridiculous, slightly embarrassing but mostly fun party animal.  vacation dad seemed to fit pretty good.

2. If your music could be described as an animal, which animal would it be and why?

it’d be probably be some kind of psychedelic snake that flies.  can’t say why, thats just what came to mind.

3. What projects are you working on right now?

well, i run MJ MJ Records and am a main organizer of FMLY FEST MPLS so right now i don’t have much time for VD.  but i swear to god i’m going to finish something soon as i can (its been like a year and a half since i released anything).  i’m working on a concept album called “AFTERLIFE”.  it’s a funky odyssey of sorts – a psychedelic journey that takes you from your death through the afterlife and eventually into the heavenly bliss of absolute nothingness. its also going to be a fully interactive video game.

4. Who would you rather have play “Dad” in the family comedy feature film “Vacation Dad”: John Candy or Dan Aykroyd?

dan akroyd for sure.  honestly i never thought john candy was all that funny, he just tends to be in funny movies.  like a better version of david spade.

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5. How does a song come to you?

usually starts with a beat, then a groove, then the hook.  i dont fuck with words.

6. What is one international city you’re dying to play a live show in?

i’d really like to go back to nicosia, cyprus.  i played there a couple years ago and it was just the best fucking thing.  kinda want to tour hawaii too.  or anything tropical, i’m not picky.

7. What’s next for Vacation Dad?

i’ve got a show coming up at 7th street with hundred waters, fort wilson riot and har-di-har (which is a fucking insane-o bill) otherwise just trying to get FMLY Fest together, then hunkering down to finish AFTERLIFE.  probs not gonna go on tour again till i finish it.
LIKE VACATION DAD ON FACEBOOK 
DOWNLOAD VACATION DAD MUSIC HERE

Collaborating with a 4-year Old

A mother’s collaborative art project with her 4 year old daughter that is so fucking awesome.

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One day, while my daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, I decided to risk pulling out a new sketchbook I had special ordered.  It had dark paper, and was perfect for adding highlights to.  I had only drawn a little in it, and was anxious to try it again, but knowing our daughter’s love of art supplies, it meant that if I wasn’t sly enough, I might have to share.  (Note:  I’m all about kid’s crafts, but when it comes to my own art projects, I don’t like to share.)  Since she was engrossed in her own project, I thought I might be able to pull it off.

Ahhh, I should’ve known better.  No longer had I drawn my first face (I love drawing from old black & white movie stills) had she swooped over to me with an intense look.  “OOOH!  Is that a NEW…

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Dating: No ifs, ands, or buds

YUP. Image via sheknows.com

You know when you’re flirting with someone, and you’re pretty sure it’s going well? Or when someone is flirting with you, and you can tell they think it’s going well even though you’re like “aw hell nah”? It’s a relatable feeling around the globe. But one thing that is never, EVER acceptable during this human mating ritual that is flirting, is calling someone bud.

Hear me out. I had an ex once, who, after we broke up, started calling me bud. What am I, the dirty kid across the street that drinks all your milk and eats all your snacks after a rousing game of Mario Kart? I don’t fucking think so.

He called her bud. Then they did a bunch of meth. Do you want that for your life? fark.com

Or, like today, when my roommate came home and told me quite an unfortunate story of a grad student attempting to flirt with her by calling her bud. Since when is calling someone bud a good idea? Really. Newsflash for the Boys in Crisis of America: if you want to get laid, do not ever call a girl bud. There is nothing sexy, exciting, or “I bet he has a full time job and a great dick” about the use of the word bud. 

Here are some tips for when to use the word bud:

  1. If you’ve ever orgasmed inside/on someone, do not call them bud.
  2. If you ever plan on orgasming inside/on someone, do not call them bud.
  3. Even if you are pretty sure it won’t work out, but something about the American dream has forced you to believe in attaining the impossible, do not call her bud.
  4. “Hey girl, you wanna smoke this bud?” Okay, this is fine.

See, it’s really not that hard: if you wanna get laid, offer her marijuana and for the love of god, do not call her bud. SEACREST OUT.

 

thingsididntlearnincollege

A few nights ago, I woke up to the sensation of a mysterious furry critter running down my leg. Texas may be overrun by

mutant insects and rodents, but this (fortunately?) was a first for me.

Not so fortunately, all of my roommates grew up in the deep wilderness of places like Siberia and Alaska (who knows really?) So, no one found this concerning except for me.

Being a modern woman, I reacted by first cowering in fear for several hours but THEN I took matters into my own hands!

Admittedly, it took me a while to get around to it (I’m a little slow, ok!?) But after several sleepless nights, mice-themed nightmares and finding a rogue baby opossum under my dresser (yes, really!), I came home to a mouse darting toward the safety of my closet.

Naturally, I called my step-dad and begged him to somehow do something from two…

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