15 Things That Will Turn 30 in 2015


1985 was a great year.

It's also the oldest year I can still remember. (Don't do the math, it'll only hurt your head.) But little did my kindergartener self know what wonderful things were being birthed into the world back then.

What pop cultural goodies are celebrating three decades of greatness this year? Let's take a look...

1. The Golden Girls - Thank you for being a timeless piece of sitcom glory.

2. The Breakfast Club - To this day I have yet to try a Corn-Pops-and-Pixy-Stix sandwich on white bread.


3. Back to the Future - Great, now I have that Huey Lewis and the News song stuck in my head.

4. The compact disc - Sadly, I didn't own my first CD player until 1993.

5. Clue (the movie) - I can recite every line of dialogue, and I've attended several midnight screenings of this film. In unrelated news, I'm still single.

6. "We Are The World" - Still waiting on that "brighter day," fellas.


7. Microsoft Windows - Version 1.0 had a hard disk of 512 KB, two double-sided floppy disk drives, and a graphics adapter card.

8. Tommy Hilfiger - As if white people needed another excuse to buy overpriced jeans.

9. Thundercats - Is it me, or did a lot of 80s cartoons feature scantily clad and extremely muscular protagonists?

10. Teen Wolf - In which Michael J. Fox could've used a DeLorean to help him solve some hairy problems. Yes, children, this is what life was like before Tyler Posey and his homoerotic shenanigans on MTV.

11. The Goonies - "It's our time, down here."

12. VH1 - MTV's younger sister with an old soul who later developed a penchant for imitating sassy black women.

13. Whitney Houston's debut album - "How Will I Know" if this collection of pop perfection will still shine bright 30 years later? Just press play.

14. The Moldavian Massacre season finale on Dynasty - A lot of shoulder pads and sequins sacrificed themselves for the making of this May sweeps stunt.


15. The first dotcom/Internet domain - Unfortunately I have no idea which one it is.

@TheFirstEcho


TWENTY15: Sounds of a New Year


New year. New music. New playlist.

The following tunes are helping me kick off what I hope is a fantastic 2015. Can it top 2014? Who knows? All I know for sure is that I'll have some great tunes to keep me company through it all. (Translation: for the upcoming Golden Globes weekend and a trip to Vegas later this month.)

Sample the goods here:


@TheFirstEcho


An Open Letter to Trader Joe's Cookie Butter


Dear Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter,

You may not remember this, but we met sometime during the fall of 2012. You were sitting on a shelf in the snack aisle of the store, looking all cute in your unassuming, modestly sized jar. I was pushing a shopping cart full of my usual grocery fare – once again on an empty stomach. (You can imagine the poor decisions I’ve made while hungry for a hearty meal.) The guy at the sampling station told me you were available, and I couldn’t help but notice that others were checking you out, especially after getting a taste of what you had to offer. Mr. Sampling Station had spread you on an apple slice for me, and I knew this was the beginning of something special. My taste buds were telling me this was a match made in food heaven, but my brain was telling me I was embarking on a dangerous journey down a path of self-destruction.

I bought you right there and then. A spoonful of you, and all was right with the world. You brought the warm fuzzies. You comforted me in ways I hadn’t experienced in a long time. You were there when I came home from a grueling day at work. You were there when I was too tired to get up from the couch on a Saturday night. (I couldn’t help it if I had been fully committed to that Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon on cable.) I didn’t care if you were “smooth” or “crunchy.” I loved you for all of your characteristics.

I went through your first jar within a few days.

Then I introduced you to my friends. I told them that they had to meet you. I wanted them to know about how well you treated me, what you meant to me. It seemed as if I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without cookie butter. How did I get through my days without cookie butter before cookie butter? I wasn’t ashamed to declare my love, to shout from rooftops that I was in a relationship with a delicious and highly addictive processed spread.

Now this is just cruel.
I wanted to introduce you first and foremost to my friend Kaila. I knew she would love you the way I loved you. At first, she was suspicious when I gave her a spoon to try you out. But as soon as she closed her eyes and moaned, I knew she had instantly fallen in love.

“Fuck you. Why did you do that? What have you done to me? Now I have to get my own jar,” she told me after eating two more scoops of your smooth, buttery goodness.

See? That was just her way of expressing how thankful she was for me bringing you into her life. It was only a matter of time before I introduced you to my other friends, family, and coworkers.

But then, things started to change. I started to rely on you more than I wanted. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. My mind was consumed by the thought of consuming you. Luckily I’m self-aware enough to recognize the first signs of an obsession, and I knew I had to take some action.

I tried to keep my distance, but it only led me down a similarly disastrous road. When I attempted to avoid the problem, I turned to other butters. There was that organic almond butter I met at the farmers market last summer. It was fun while it lasted, but the truth is, almond butter isn’t as affordable as you, Cookie Butter. And that “business trip” I took to Peru? I had met a nice hazelnut chocolate spread that accompanied me on my excursion throughout the Sacred Valley. My tour guide had made the introductions, and it was just a fling. Please believe me when I tell you how guilty I felt while in the company of these other butters. The whole time I kept thinking, No one else deserves my spoon like Cookie Butter does.

But you might as well be a tool of the Devil himself. (My friends’ words, not mine – I swear.) Not only have you corrupted the nutritional content of food that’s supposed to be healthy for me (celery sticks, apple slices, multigrain wheat bread), you’ve corrupted my eating habits.

In no way am I placing all of the blame on you in this abusive relationship. It was a two-way street, for sure. I should have known that this is where we would end up. And that’s why I’m finally doing something about it. I can’t let this insanity carry on any longer. It’s not fair to both of us.

That said, I think it’s time for us to take a break.

I’ll still visit you in the aisles of my local Trader Joe’s stores. And maybe, every once in a while, I’ll bring one of your jars home with me for old time’s sake. But I can’t promise anything else beyond that. I have to take some precautions and practice what many health and nutrition gurus call restraint.

Trust me, Cookie Butter, this is for the best.

I have no doubt that you will find many other meaningful relationships. I’m sure you will find a cozy home in someone else’s cupboard. Maybe a lonely housewife who needs to distract herself from sex fantasies involving her Brazilian Pilates instructor. Or a potbellied security guard who needs some companionship during those late night shifts. I just hope that whoever is lucky enough to find you appreciates your deliciousness and comforting qualities. You deserve to be tasted by everyone.

Here’s to a long life full of happiness and joy.

Here’s to us.

Love always,
H.

@TheFirstEcho


Screw Resolutions (Again): 15 Things To Do In 2015


If I was able to accomplish 11 out of the 14 things I had planned to do this year, then I have high hopes for 2015. Hence why I've decided to put out another to-do list for the upcoming new year...

1. Whenever people tell me they love a "new" song by an artist, I shall refrain from saying (with snark), "Oh, that song I was listening to 4 months ago?"

2. Visit the Magic Castle.

3. After developing an obsession with Tatsu on Melrose, make sure to consume ramen in moderation.

4. Sign a publishing contract/get a book deal.

5. Take advantage of the recipe book that came with my Magic Bullet. (a gift from Maury Povich - long story...well, not really.)

6. Finish reading Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

7. Send more cards or old-fashioned letters to people in the mail.

8. Go to Hawaii. Or Portland. (Unfortunately, I need to use my vacation days wisely in 2015.)

9. Try Fireball. Just once.

10. Write a letter to myself at age of 18 when I turn 35 at the end of March.

11. Feel free to feel vulnerable.

12. Date more.

13. Get nominated for an Emmy. (Ha, that's for sure. Could this just be filler?)

14. Kick ass.

15. Shorten this list for 2016.

Happy New Year, y'all.

@TheFirstEcho


2014 in 4 Minutes


Vox put together a nice little montage that's just as long as "Auld Lang Syne," so while you're reflecting on your own year on December 31 (and looking for someone to kiss at midnight), give this a play:

@TheFirstEcho


#TBT: That Time Katy Perry Covered Sam Sparro's "Black and Gold"


So, this really happened?

My favorite song of 2008, "Black and Gold," was apparently given the acoustic treatment one year later by a pre-Teenage Dream Katy Perry. Before any Sam Sparro purists scream "WTF?" know that this came from her Australian tour EP in 2009. And know that Adele also covered the awesomely mesmerizing pop number.


For those not familiar with the original track, here's a refresher:


@TheFirstEcho