Let’s Talk About … Tom Hiddleston as James Bond

with Elizabeth

I have used snippets of my Messenger conversations with Elizabeth twice now on my blog.  I am convinced that we are hilarious, pathetic, and witty, which are three of the things most necessary to creating a blog series.  Presented occasionally:  “Let’s Talk About…” with Elizabeth! 

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Elizabeth:  A reporter in DC is interviewing Tom Hiddleston on TV right now and it is not me.  Life is unfair.

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Tricia:  Whoa, there’s so much going on here!  First, obviously, how dare he dance with and/or touch anyone but you or me!?  But also, is he going to be the next James Bond???  I don’t know how I feel about that!
Elizabeth:  Yeah, there are rumors, apparently, but I’m not necessarily down with that.  Mostly because I want him to do comedy, but also because I’m not a huge James Bond fan.
Tricia:  The role just seems like everything he is not.  Whether he’s playing villains or heroes, he’s always very emotional, and that’s why I love him.  James Bond is always emotionless.
Elizabeth:  And a misogynist.  You can’t redeem Bond.
Tricia:  Unless he REMAKES James Bond. 

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Elizabeth:  Remember all the furor over “blond Bond” Daniel Craig?
I’m so glad we’ve moved into an era of acceptance where Bond can be a blond chiseled and sexy white guy instead of a brunette chiseled and sexy white guy.
Tricia:  I see your sarcasm, but I really liked Daniel Craig’s Bond.  HOWEVER, I feel it is important to say that although I want Tom Hiddleston to be in everything, I actually think Idris Elba is the best Bond choice.  We need some racial diversity while maintaining the Bulky Man Box aesthetic.
Elizabeth:  Idris Elba!   Continue reading

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The Story of a Friendship: Elizabeth and Tricia

One of my best friends in college was Stephanie.  For a while, I spent the night every Thursday at her dorm, which meant I got to know her roommates pretty well.  One of those roommates was Elizabeth Waibel.  She was one of the coolest people I knew, and I assumed she thought I was mostly an idiot.  Well, if she did, joke’s on her, because it has been six years and now we are really good friends!

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2009

I don’t really know how we shifted from real life acquaintances to frequent Facebook conversationalists, but our mutual introversion definitely helps.  She is intelligent and snarky, which are two of my favorite qualities in a person.  She often posts culturally relevant statuses that challenge people to think more deeply, and she tags me in articles about feminism.  Internet besties!   Continue reading

D.C. for Book Lovers (Guest Post)

Elizabeth Waibel works in communications in the D.C. area. Her laptop has been broken for months, so she gets a lot of reading done. She once did an internship located mostly in the basement of the Folger library.

Washington, D.C., may be better known for Supreme Court briefs than its literary hangouts, but the District is also home to many universities, flourishing independent bookstores, and the largest library in the world. Julia Child lived in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, both before and after a stint in France that inspired her work on the revolutionary cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Its museums and archives are home to the founding documents of America and some of its most iconic movie memorabilia.

DSC00755When Tricia visited me in the D.C. suburbs in 2013, short on time, we decided on a literary theme to narrow down our options of places to visit and to indulge our mutual love of books. Whenever we had trouble deciding what to do, we picked the activity that involved the most books — problem solved. As an indecisive person, I loved delegating decisions to a pre-determined theme, and I also loved having an excuse to watch a Shakespeare episode of “Doctor Who” when we got tired of exploring.

Here, in no particular order, are a few of the places we visited, plus a few I’ve discovered since then.  Continue reading

Oishii! Japanese Food for the Sushi Averse (Guest Post)

Elizabeth Waibel is a friend from college who became even closer after we graduated.  We share a love of literary analysis, snarky humor, and now, the country and culture of Japan.  She currently works as a journalist for The Gazette in Maryland.

I did not particularly want to go to Japan. My limited experience in sushi restaurants that smelled like seaweed did not earn it the same place on my travel priorities list as those countries famous for crisp baguettes or cappuccino, and I have never been a fan of rice.

“They eat tepid fish!” I complained to my sister in between looking for plane tickets, which were unjustly more expensive to Japan than to places known for pasta and cheese.

My best friend has lived in Japan since 2011. For about a year, ever since I realized she wasn’t coming back, I had been promising to visit. So, prodded by the thought that few are so lucky to have a friend in such an interesting place and reassured by the thought that, if necessary, I could live off tempura (breaded and deep-fried shrimp or vegetables) for a week, I brushed up my chopsticks skills and booked a knee-numbing flight to Tokyo.

In retrospect, it was horribly unfair to judge an entire country on which of its dishes had happened to make their way to suburban America. There is so much more to Japanese food than sushi, and I could have happily spent at least two more weeks exploring the flavors and ingredients of a cuisine almost entirely new to me.

So, whether you are planning a trip to Japan or are tired of faking a fish allergy to avoid sushi restaurants with friends, here area few Japanese food recommendations that do not involve raw fish:

1. Tonkatsu – A breaded and fried slice of pork often served with rice, cabbage, and a delicious sauce that (to this American) tastes similar to teriyaki. Recommended for fans of cornflake chicken or schnitzel.

2. Ramen – This is NOT the same as the 20-cent instant noodles you ate in your dorm room, although you can buy things like that in Japan too. One of my favorite things I ate in Japan, ramen is a soup of wheat noodles in a savory broth topped with things like pork, bean sprouts, onions, and a boiled egg. It was oishii (delicious)!

3. Okonomiyaki – Cabbage is mixed with a simple, smoky-flavored egg and flour batter and fried into a thick, savory pancake. Then, it is brushed with a sweet and smoky sauce and topped with bits of dried, smoked fish that seem to be Japan’s answer to bacon bits. Okonomiyaki often has other ingredients mixed in, such as shrimp and noodles. Some restaurants in Tokyo also serve monjayaki, which resembles a goopy stir-fry and tastes like a comfort-food casserole. I recommend trying the kind with cheese.

4. Kakigori – This is basically a gourmet sno-cone. Kakigori is shaved ice that can be topped with strawberry (ichigo) syrup and condensed milk or, for those seeking more uniquely Japanese flavors, green tea syrup, red beans and mochi (rice paste). Ichigo kakigori with milk served with hojicha (green tea whose leaves have been smoked) might have been the best thing I ate in Japan.

If you ever do make it to Japan, be sure to get food at one of the many conbinis, or convenience stores. Food at the 7-Eleven in Japan is wildly better than food at the 7-Eleven in America. You can get a wide selection of refrigerated lunches, drinks and fun snacks. I also recommend visiting a place that sells sushi (preferably the cooked kind) on conveyor belts that run past all the tables, delivering a steady line of food. This is the future of dining.

So yes, there is more to Japanese food than sashimi, and it is possible to visit there for a week or more without eating tepid fish. Enjoy!

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Me (right) and my friend enjoying iced coffee from a cobini on the shinkansen, or bullet train.

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The culinary genius behind my first Japanese ramen experience.

Keep up with Elizabeth via her Twitter account, @lizwaibel.  I suggest you also look into Ishinomaki Christian Center if you’d like to donate to an organization that supports community rebuilding efforts after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.