Tag Archives: Edgar Allen Poe

Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Three Point Five

This isn’t a REAL “adventures in Baltimore” post. It’s more of a continuation of yesterday’s post, which just got too crazy long. Plus I got really tired. I have to get normal amounts of sleep one of these days, yo. I’m in a weird walking-through-mud not-enough-sleep-space lately. That does not make for a cheery Amy.

OK! So if you’ll remember back to yesterday, we went to the zoo, then came home to see how A. did in his race. How did he do? JUST AS WELL AS HE WANTED TO, YAY! Also, he got a crazy sunburn. The best part of his sunburn was that he was wearing a biking outfit? They probably have a name, I don’t know what it is. You know, the spandex one-piece biking suit, like they wear in the Tour de France? And so where the suit was and his arms and legs came out was a VERY CRISP LINE where the sunburn started because those suits are tight. I fretted at him that he needed to wear sunscreen from now on. I think he ignored me. WEAR SUNSCREEN FROM NOW ON, A.!!! Look, I found this for you. It’s a spray, it dries DRY, not STICKY, so all the road-dirt will not get all over you, and please use it from now on because I like you very much and sunburns are scary.

See? Neutrogena is the good stuff! GET SOME OF THIS PLEASE!

See? Neutrogena is the good stuff! GET SOME OF THIS PLEASE!

So when we got home, A. was there, and A. was on Baby CeeVee duty for the evening, and R. and I got all ready for our NEXT adventure, which was…

DINNER AND A SHOW!

R.’s friend S. met us at the house for our adventure. I did not change my clothes. R. and S. looked ADORABLE so probably I should have but I didn’t bring anything stylish so I told them I could be their country cousin who’d never been to the big city before. Also, S. had the cat-eye glasses that I covet, and also the most adorable stylish shoes and tights. I was kind of impressed with S.’s sense of style, yo. Want to know the secret of my sense of style? It is A., what is clean? and B., will these shoes be comfortable if I’m walking long distances? That’s it. That’s the entirety of it. Oh, also I like necklaces. That’s all. Fin.

So first, we went to a teeny-tiny tavern for dinner. What was it called? Well, it was Baltimore…and who do they love in Baltimore? Edgar Allen Poe…and so it was called…

The Annabel Lee Tavern!

I didn’t take photos at ALL that night. I’m totally ganking all of these from the internet. Sorry, world.

It was so perfect, this place. I was crazy in love.

Look how pretty! The walls were all this mauvey color, and it was all mismatched furniture and Poe quotes and candles and Poe-paintings and it was totally moody and amazing. Seriously, THIS is how you do a themed restaurant. I hope it makes all the money and stays open for years to come.

R. knew I am attempting to have The Year of Trying New Foods so with that in mind, we decided to have three appetizers and share them, rather than three meals, so we had:

  • Baked Brie en Cruet! This was brie in pastry with what seemed to be jam on it but the menu says it’s brown sugar and pecans. This was ok, but you’d think with all of these things, it would be AMAZING, right? I wasn’t sold on this. But I’m not a huge Brie fan (is Brie a capitalized thing? It looks weird if I don’t capitalize it) so that might be why I didn’t love it. It wasn’t BAD, it just wasn’t AMAZING.
  • Crab Dip Flatbread Pizza! R. said I couldn’t leave Baltimore without having SOMETHING with crab it in. This was good, but again, not amazing. I think it needed more crab. I’m very crab-oriented. I could eat crab, with crab topping, on a bed of crab, garnished with a little crab, and be happy, you see. But, again, I liked it.
  • Duck Fat Fries with Herbs de Provence! O.M.G., you guys. OH. EMM. GEE. WHY DIDN’T YOU PEOPLE TELL ME ABOUT SUCH A THING BEFORE NOW? OK, here’s the thing. I don’t like fries much. I could live the rest of my life without eating fries again and I wouldn’t miss them much. I know, a lot of you are gasping right now; fries are a thing that some people crave. Like pasta. I could live forever without pasta and would be a little sad, but ok. (Now, take away chocolate, or bread, and we’d have a fight, yo.) But THESE fries? They were perfectly crispy. The seasoning was salty and herby and just right. And I don’t know if the magic was in the duck fat, or what was going on there, but seriously, I wanted to put my face in the dish and just start chomping. I don’t know that I’ve had an appetizer EVER that has been this good. So, yes. Instead of crab, the thing I discovered that I am in love with while in Baltimore (other than, well, Baltimore, and Baby CeeVee) is DUCK FAT FRIES WITH HERBS DE PROVENCE FROM THE ANNABEL LEE TAVERN.
This is not them, but close. If you are not a vegetarian-type, get yourself some of these, yo.

This is not them, but close. If you are not a vegetarian-type, get yourself some of these, yo.

Next, it was off to the theater!

The theater area was GORGEOUS. It was totally a mini-Broadway. I was muy impressed. Our theater was called The Hippodrome.

SO PRETTY!

SO PRETTY!

It’s an old-timey theater. It looks a little like our Proctors here, maybe a little smaller. I am a sucker for a pretty theater.

Pretty inside, right? S. said it was like being on the Titanic. I liked that.

Pretty inside, right? S. said it was like being on the Titanic. I liked that.

Now, what do you think we saw at this theater? (Mom? Dad? If you are reading this, because I know you’ve been following adventures in Baltimore, you should stop now. Well, Dad, you can stay. Mom, please read something else. Maybe a nice book about kittens. Or the Bible. Dad, you know I’m vulgar. And it alternately makes you laugh and/or shake your head. So you can stick around, I suppose.)

Well, I don’t know if you remember, but last year around this time, I posted a review of what is possibly one of the worst books I’ve ever read. It remains one of my most-read posts. People apparently love reading about terrible books and me ripping them to pieces in a snarky way. Also, do you know what else people love? Bad porn.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen; we went to see…

YES WE DID!

Listen, this was a big theater. I should have been more worried when I realized it was completely full. Mostly of giggling women. Wearing inappropriate clothing like hooker-shoes and very low-cut tops. Here or there was a man, but the men did NOT look excited to be there. No they did not.

So we got to our seats, but not without trials and tribulations. Apparently the ushers were not sure where the seats were. Even when we showed them our tickets. (Well, I should say “ticket”. Or even “piece of paper,” because when R. went to the will-call window, apparently they were out of tickets so they gave her a piece of paper with our seats written on it.) One man told us to go to one door and another man sent us further on and a woman told us we were in the wrong place and SIGHINGLY led us over to OTHER seats. Sorry we’re bothering you, ushers! Whose job is to ush!

So. The show.

Well, in good news, it was a parody, which I didn’t know going into it. I was picturing that it was going to be actually a serious theatrical version of the worst book EVERRRR.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell: three book-club ladies, two married, one sad-sack whose husband just left her (everyone keeps saying “Oh, CAROL”) read 50 Shades of Grey as their monthly pick. They then daydream about certain scenes, and actors playing the characters come out. Oh, also they talk about sex and masturbation a lot. And fisting. There’s a lot of talk of fisting.

The actor playing Christian Grey was a short, overweight Asian man, which was supposed to be super-funny, especially when he came out and the actress playing Ana was all “HE WAS SO TALL AND HOT AND DREAMY!” There were songs like “I Don’t Make Love” (with lines like, “I don’t make love, I fuck”) and “There’s a Hole Inside of Me” (this song was FILLED with euphemism) and “Red Room of Pain” (this one had lots of props, like whips and dildos.)

The audience LOVED this show. I don’t know that I’ve heard laughter like that in ever. There was one guy who may or may not have been drunk who was loudly heckling. The actors had nice voices. And they were acting, and not badly. There were some dancers. Who danced well. No one got naked, and the dreaded tampon scene wasn’t represented (whoo) but there was some down-center doggy-style action, and some disturbingly animalistic cunnilingus which made me feel terrible for both of the actors involved.

I’m a terrible theater snob, you guys. I think it’s gotten to the point I can’t enjoy something like this. I know. I KNOW. I’m one of those snooty assholes who says things like “stage picture” and “believability of character” and such. I don’t know if it’s the show, or if it’s the book the show’s based on and my hatred of it, or the fact that the theater was FULL, and would the theater have been full for something like A Streetcar Named Desire or Fat Pig or A Midsummer Night’s Dream? My guess is no. No, it would not be. And should I just be glad that people are SEEING theater, or should I be upset that this is all the theater some people see? And should I be upset that this kind of thing tours, but good shows close all the time because they don’t have audiences?

And this is what I thought about for an hour and a half, while the actors mimed oral sex and put dog-collars on each other and talked about giving up all of your personal freedom to someone just for some really rough sex.

Is it a good or a bad thing that being a theater snob seems to have taken away my ability to enjoy something stupid for a couple of hours? Or HAS it taken that away? Was it just that I hated the book so I couldn’t force my brain to like the show? The whole audience was really digging it, yo. I was the only sourpuss.

R. and S. enjoyed it, though. And the theater was REALLY pretty. Also there was popcorn for sale, so I totally bought some and ate it while I was watching the show. You could also buy alcohol. I think they wanted you to be drunk to watch it. Although R. said the wine was terrible, and also it was like $9 for about 4 ounces. Not a good deal at all.

Here, I found you this so you don’t think I’m making this all up.

Then we went home and played CSI. Why was the dining room chair in the computer area? Why were there two water bottles on the stove? Why was there a half-eaten piece of pizza on the counter? We thought maybe A. and Baby CeeVee had been kidnapped by ne’er-do-wells, but no. They were asleep. It was just a very long night and A. got tired because he’d been racing in the sun all day long.

OH, also, I totally ALSO got a sunburn, even though I put on all the sunscreen. Guess where? The stupidest place ever. THE PART IN MY HAIR. Who would think to put sunscreen in their HAIR? Not me! And now my head hurts there. Nice. I’m going to be the first person to die from skin cancer of the scalp.

Off to bed, chicks and chicklettes. One more of these, but you might not get it until…um…Sunday? Monday? Big week coming up. Three plays to see! Dinner with friend N.! Work all day tomorrow and Saturday! A review to write! Hanging with The Nephew! Auditions for the next show at my theater! SO SO BUSY!!!

Until then, remember: duck fat fries, good. Anything 50 Shades of Grey related: no. Not good. Not at all.


Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part One

I’m home! A long, long, loooong day of trains and I got home safely late in the afternoon and now am safely ensconced on the couch with a heavily purring cat beside me, who I’m fairly sure thought I was dead. He had MANY meows when I walked in. And they were strange meows. Mrrrrow? Preeeeeow? Mrrrp? I think he was voicing his displeasure that I was gone. He’s not good at separation. He seems quite pleased now that all is well in Dumbcat-land. MOM IS HOME! SHE IS NOT DEAD!

So, let’s talk about the trip! I know, I was supposed to tweet more. Here’s the thing: I know some people can tweet and Facebook and such while they are having adventures, but I am not good at that. I feel that if you are on vacation, especially if you are visiting people you haven’t seen in a while, you should try to experience what you are doing and spend time with those people, and not have your face buried in your phone, you know? I know. This makes me out of touch and very much an old person. I don’t regret the decision, however.

So I went to Baltimore to visit friend R., her husband A., and their most wonderful baby CeeVee. R. and I have been friends for – are you ready for this? – TWENTY-ONE YEARS. I know! That is kind of insane! We met when we were seventeen at orientation for our part-time job freshman year, and worked together at that job for a few years, and then became roommates when we moved off-campus, and spent a semester abroad together, and moved across the country together. We have history. It is nice to know someone this long, you know? R. has known me through a lot of iterations of Amy. Naive Amy and happy Amy and sad Amy and depressed Amy and crabby Amy and jubilant Amy. And she’s still my friend! All these years later! That’s impressive, and she should probably get an award. You have to love someone who’s stood by you that long.

I have met A. once, briefly, but had not yet met Baby CeeVee, but had seen many photos and was very much looking forward to meeting her. She is just the most beautiful kiddo. Also, as mentioned, when you’ve known someone for 21 years, and they have a baby, well, you want to meet that baby. You want to meet that baby very much.

So I took two trains Thursday morning to Baltimore. The first was from here to Penn Station in New York and left VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING. Luckily, this meant no one was on the train and I had a seat all to myself. Then there was a little layover at Penn Station, but not long enough to jaunt in my favorite city in all the land, and then it was on to Baltimore! That train was VERY crowded, and I had to squish next to a lady that kept falling asleep and every time we went around a corner, the things on her seat-desky thing kept falling onto me. Annoying.

This pigeon was just cruising around the Amtrak waiting area in New York City. A very funny woman with much attitude said, "What's that bird doin' here? There ain't supposed to be no birds all up in here" and I laughed and laughed to myself.

This pigeon was just cruising around the Amtrak waiting area in New York City. A very funny woman with much attitude said, “What’s that bird doin’ here? There ain’t supposed to be no birds all up in here” and I laughed and laughed to myself.

But, no matter! ON TO BALTIMORE!

Outside of the train station in Baltimore, there is this statue, and it is gigantic:

It is called Man/Woman and from some angles it is a lady-statue and from some a man-statue and I decided that was a very good welcome to Baltimore because it was artsy and kind of fun in a weird wacky way, and if there’s anything I like, it’s wackiness.

R. picked me up and first, we went to a very fun café for lunch which had all the velvet Jesuses and R. said, “I thought you would like that!” and I DID. She knows me well. Next door to the café was this:

This is Café Hon, and apparently it was on Kitchen Nightmares and also has a huge flamingo because Baltimore is John Waters’ town and he is all about flamingos. Sometimes, people in Baltimore just see him walking down the street. Just walking! How exciting is THAT, I ask you? The answer is, the MOST.

Next, we decided to check out some HISTORY.

We were originally planning on going to the Poe house, but the Poe house was closed due to funding issues. Now, a thing I like very much about Baltimore (one of many things) is that they are very much into Poe, and celebrate him a great deal. Even their football team is called the Baltimore Ravens. After an author! I don’t even care what you think about the team itself, I find it very cool that they named it after a poem. There are also raven things all over town. This is a town that appreciates authors and poetry, you guys. How could I not love such a town?

Things I learned about Baltimore while we were driving to our next destination:

  • There are a billion beautiful old buildings. This city loves history and old things. You KNOW I love history and old things! I seriously was looking around with my mouth hanging open every time we drove anywhere the entire time I was there. Old churches! Old buildings! Old factories repurposed as office buildings! So much history it made my whole head swim!
  • There are a lot of people living there. The internets tells me that about 621,000 people live there. In comparison, Albany has about 98,000 people, and when I first moved to this area, I was AMAZED at all these people. Also, they are VERY AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS. R. and A. are ALSO very aggressive drivers. But, not in a scary way? Like, in an authoritative way. I think you have to be, or you will be killed. I was super-impressed. And, if you live there, you have to learn how to parallel park like a BOSS. I could never live in Baltimore because I have only parallel parked once in my life and I was TERRIBLE at it and it took me like three or four tries and I had plenty of time because no cars were coming, but in Baltimore, these people are all ZIP ZIP ZOOP! and they are in a spot that looks smaller than their cars. I was in awe of their parallel parking skillz, yo.
  • Some of the roads are very narrow and only hold one car, so if you meet a car coming at you, you have to pull over to let the car go. This seems ill-planned, Baltimore! And sometimes, even though it is not their turn, the other driver refuses to be the one that pulls over, so you have to, otherwise you would be playing chicken for like HOURS.

Then we got to our next destination, which was…

The Westminster Hall and burial ground!

What do you think might be here, I wonder? (Also, isn’t this a pretty old church? Seriously, if you love old churches but don’t have the time, money, or inclination to go to Europe, head on over to Baltimore. There’s one of these gorgeous churches on every single corner, almost. Almost every turn I’d be all, “YOU GUYS LOOK ANOTHER PRETTY CHURCH!”)

Well, here’s why people come to Westminster Hall and burial ground…

Poe’s GRAVE, you guys!!!

It’s very impressive and fancy and people come to visit this from all over the world. There were flowers all around it that people had left. That made me happy, because I love that writers live on far beyond when they’ve died. I’m a huge Poe fan. His work is utter brilliance to me, and I can’t believe it was written as long ago as it was, and it breaks my heart he died alone as if he was no one, not an amazing man with all these stories in his head. Who knows what else he might have written?

The cemetery was filled with old-timey wonder. I took many photos. Want to see? Sure you do!

This was the view into the cemetery. Isn’t it so pretty and moody? I bet it’s also very pretty at night.

R. told me that this was the place rich people wanted to be buried, because back in the day, there was a lot of grave robbing, and this was a very safe cemetery. There was a dental school right around the corner, and dental students used to steal heads to work on the teeth. EW HEE HEE AND YUCKO!

This was the street sign outside the cemetery for the Poe House. I was sad there was no Poe House on this trip, but listen, I loved Baltimore so much, I totally want to go back. Maybe it will be open next time!

This is me being cheerfully pensive next to Poe’s grave. I think he would have liked that. I feel Poe and I would have been the best of friends. He would have been all emo and I would have been all, “Argh, POE, cut that shit OUT, dude, look at your beautiful CITY! Let’s go down to the bay and look at boats. How can you be all ‘Masque of the Red Death’ while looking at BOATS?” and then we would have had none of Poe’s darker works but we might have had things like “The Shiny Bay of Amontillado” or something and that would have been nice.

There were a lot of these educational things around the cemetery. I like these things because sometimes they are unintentionally wacky. Like this one, which you can embiggen if you click. First, her last name was “Peachy,” which is funny. She married a guy, and “less than a year later she was dead.” Whoa, I’m pretty sure he murdered her. Then in italics, it says she was her husband’s “consort” and not his wife (MAYBE A WHORE!), and says “the enviable qualities of this interesting female” which makes me think they had nothing nice to say about her and those are euphemisms for “that Fanny Peachy, what a bitch whose husband murdered her.”

Then under that, it says that they used to call women “consorts” when they died before their husbands, and if their husbands died first, they were called “relicts.” Neither of these seem like nice things to say about someone.

R. and I laughed and laughed about this sign and made up many stories about Fanny Peachy and her murderous husband.

This is very specific about her time of death and also “long and painful illness” seems like a lie. She didn’t marry her husband while in the throes of this illness, so I’m still banking on murder. Also, look at the raven in the corner of the sign! Aw, love that!

I liked this because it looked like someone’s yard at Halloween, but it was really people’s gravestones.

This sign tells you what death terms mean, like “tomb” and “casket” and I find it the most morbid and therefore the most awesome.

This is, I was quite sure, a vampire tomb. But really it ended up being just where rich people are buried so those dental students don’t steal their heads to work on their teeth post-mortem, because it could be locked against grave-robbing students. I was still on the lookout for Eric from True Blood, though. Just in case.

When R. and I saw this we decided it was probably a table where virgins were sacrificed because it looks like where Aslan was sacrificed in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. There was no informative sign on it telling us otherwise, so we decided to go with that. Also I think my finger is a little in this shot. Sorry. I’m not the best photo-taker.

DOUBLE VAMPIRE TOMBS!!! Very romantic. Probably these are for Spike and Dru.

This cone was just hangin’ on out in the middle of the cemetery, so I decided it was my future tombstone. VERY classy. Just like me.

Next we saw this…

Another virgin sacrifice table! Only all bent! There was a sign next to it that said this was on Ripley’s Believe it or Not because it shouldn’t be able to stay up like this but it DOES. I know. IT IS HAUNTED!

I of course told R. she had to pose next to the creepy sacrifice table in a fun way. She obliged.

This is R. pretending to sacrifice an invisible virgin with an invisible knife. When we told A. that night that we’d taken this picture, he was incredulous. “You have to understand what taking pictures with Amy entails,” R. said. “There are antics.”

I totally obtained R.’s permission to put her on the blog. She did not care. She’s cool like that.

Also, we found out after we took the photo that these are NOT virgin sacrifice tables, but actually gravestones. We found this odd, because no one’s name was written anywhere on the table. So we think that’s a lie, and they are of course virgin sacrifice tables.

This is Poe’s FIRST gravesite, and where he was buried when he was just a schmo who died under mysterious and sad circumstances. Also, that’s totally my birthday he died, by the way. I KNOW WE ARE MEANT TO BE BFFs!!! Then they moved him over to the fancy monument gravesite. Poor Poe. I want to give him a hug and a cookie.

Then it was time to leave because it was time to meet A. and Baby CeeVee!

R. and A. live in the COOLEST HOUSE, you guys! I have never seen houses like this before. They are called row houses, and they’re like houses in New York City (or even downtown Albany) but with no alleys between them. So they look like this:

…except a little nicer and more residential, with porches with plants and things. Kind of like the houses on Sesame Street. They have a TON of character. R. and A. like them, but say there are downsides, like you can hear the neighbors, and if you come home late sometimes there’s a lack of parking. But the house is old, and very cool, and has wood floors, and A. is very handy so has fixed a whole bunch of things up, and it was just beautiful inside. There were two main floors, and then a full basement with a guest room in it! And I was the guest! YAY ME!

A. and Baby CeeVee came home not long after, and it was my first time meeting Baby CeeVee! And seeing A. again after a very long time! And after a moment of shyness, Baby CeeVee and I made fast friends!

I took photos of Baby CeeVee later, and this is attempting to go in order, so you’ll just have to wait a little for those.

Then all the waking up at 3am and traveling and sightseeing and such caught up with me, so I went to bed somewhat early. Because there were many more adventures forthcoming! AND I TOOK PHOTOS OF ALL OF THEM! Sometimes with me making wacky faces!

Stay tuned, bloggonians! Many more adventures await! I will do my best to do all the posting this week, but might be a little delayed – this week I have (and I am not even kidding) three plays, one review to write, one dinner with a friend, one lecture (I AM SEEING STEPHEN SONDHEIM IN PERSON Z!O!M!G!!!), household scintillating things like laundry and grocery shopping, multiple book reviews to write, and trips to the salon and the library. Also work. I KNOW! I couldn’t have more going on if I tried. I will do my best to tell you about Baltimore in a timely manner, though!

HAPPY TUESDAY EVERYONE! Also, as I came back into town, I realized that spring had sprung while I was gone, and everything is so beautiful and green! I missed you, Albany. Baltimore was amazing, but I love my home so much and missed it, too. I’m lucky like that.


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