Whatnots this week:

wow no bra strap for once

Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Highland is jam-packed with sightseers, chintzy souvenirs stalls, vape/hookah/head/stripper shops, and hawkers trying to hustle tourists into celebrity bus tours. Kind of awful, in other words. The side streets in that area, however, hold many treasures. This week we found STOUT, an airy and unpretentious little gastropub on Cahuenga. I'm not a beer drinker so I'm pleased as pickles that cider is The New Thing and STOUT serves a great one: Pitchfork Sonoma Cider. Great, that is, if you like sweet. (I like sweet.)

There's a whole 'nother floor below, too!

Everything I just said about the strip is true. However. There is a place. It is called Iguana Clothing. It is right smack on Hollywood, near Vine. It's one of those vintage-and-costume shops I'd sort of written off, because I don't need a poodle skirt or an Elvira wig (yet). But oh my, was I ever hasty in my judgment. I finally took the time to check it out thoroughly and it is fantastic. $25 cashmere sweaters in every color of the rainbow. Turtlenecks, v-necks, cardigans, you name it. Ponchos and fair isles at a fraction of what you'd pay for them at Free People. Thermals and graphic tees, cords, flannels. Please don't tell anyone about it.

Doesn't take his eyes off of Terence the whole time.

On Thursdays, Grand Central Market stays open late ('til 9), which means two things: 1) Chaucer gets to lick the McConnell's Black Coffee Chip ice cream from my fingertips after I've finished my double scoop, and 2) I get to poke Terence in the ribs and say "There he is!" whenever we see Mark Peel working late at Bombo. (Top Chef Masters fans, lemme hear you say PEA PUREE.)

I call them "Oxygen-Deprived Swallows" and "Fleur d'Infected Nipple", respectively

Colorfy is a ridiculously addictive coloring app, and my new favorite way to unplug. Pop in the headphones, crank some Tycho, snuggle into the ol' armchair, and play with a virtual box of crayons.  It's marketed as "the coloring book for adults" but since when do age guidelines mean anything?

You will thank me. (It's ok if you don't thank me.)

I'll keep this simple: What We Do In The Shadows is the funniest movie I have seen in years. Don't look up who's in it, don't watch the trailer to see what it's about. Just go rent it on iTunes. Immediately. We were DEAD. Dead on the floor I tell you. (We really do watch movies on the floor. Chaucer's idea.)

When we close the doors our pants totally make out in the dark. 

Did a closet purge and reorganize. Feelin' pretty good about it. Feelin' pretty adult. What's that? Do I really need to hang up my cutoffs? WHATEVER LEAVE ME ALONE GO ASK TERENCE IF HE HAS ENOUGH WHITE BUTTON DOWNS

The first chapter of Sam Harris's Waking Up is on SoundCloud, and if the video I shared a couple weeks ago resonated with you, I think you'd enjoy it. It's about the endless whatnextwhatnextwhatnext game of life and how to stop it, if only for a few moments at a time.

Listening to it was something of, well, a wakeup call for me. I realized I spend nearly every waking minute worried about what I need to do in the next minute, or the next. Forever obsessing about the future, even if it's some small thing like trying to remember what I need from the store. Harris's solution to this low-level misery is meditation, which for all of my life has seemed like something foreign and borderline religious. Weird and new-agey. Not for me.

Then I started doing drugs, and came to see the advantages in altering my consciousness, even briefly. But of course I can't do drugs every day. Though I sure would love to feel really good every day. So I'm finally opening up to the idea of meditation.

I have a hard time with it, though. Staying perfectly still, concentrating on my breathing and doing. absolutely. nothing. else. I can, however, practice being more present - connecting to my senses. Slowing down to notice my surroundings, find enjoyment in them. That's easy. Where am I in this moment? What makes this place special? How does the breeze feel on my shoulders, or Chaucer's fur against my cheek? What can I see and smell and hear that is interesting or just quietly beautiful? From there, a sort of detached gratitude floats up to fill the space where anxiety was. How amazing and fortunate is it to be here, alive and healthy, safe and loved? Of all the planets in all the galaxies, I get to experience this one. Oxygen. Oceans. Love and pain and growth.

I know, I know. Super goofy. But it's a wonderfully relaxing and happifying exercise. And along these lines, I've got a post percolating about the ways in which I'm 100% convinced using LSD has improved my mental health. Yeah.