From A to D. One is definitely not like the other.

There’s this (new to me) band from Chile, called Astro.  They just released their record Astro in the U.S. at the end of August.  I like ’em a whole lot.  Check out the video for the lead track, “Ciervos.”

Watching this reminded me of another video, “The Broken Ones” by Dia Frampton.  Like maybe the directors used the same camera?  Or maybe it’s just the sort of lost boys thing?

Do you remember Dia?  She did that kickass renditon of Kanye’s “Heartless” (which might just be better than Kanye’s original the least of the reasons being she isn’t autotuned) on the 1st season of The Voice, which incidentally just started its 3rd season, and is it just me, or does Cee Lo get lechier? lecherier? with every season?

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London v. Beijing

The opening ceremony is tomorrow, and I’ve heard there are livestock involved in the program.  I’m not sure if London can match Beijing’s opening ceremony from 4 years ago, which I just recently rewatched in its entirety and you can too.  Watch the first hour and then the last half hour and skip the middle.  Let’s meet back here to discuss if London wins the gold.

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Gnarls in Charge

A few months ago, First Mate started talking about Live From Daryl’s House and how awesome it is.  I don’t know what rock I’ve been under, but that was the first I’d heard of the show, even though it’s been on for years apparently.  But who doesn’t love Hall & Oates?  So I checked it out.  It’s this really well produced, high quality web show where Daryl Hall asks other musicians come over to his house in upstate New York and ride bikes together.  Just kidding about the bikes, but it would be really cool if they did.  Daryl Hall has a sweet music studio set up in a barn and they play some Hall & Oates stuff, some of the guest musician’s stuff, they eat together and chat, and there’s even a cooking segment.  The first episode we watched was the Cee Lo Episode. It’s freakin’ fantastic and I can’t wait to watch more.

It got me thinking though, about Gnarls Barkley and how great Danger Mouse and Cee Lo are both together and separately.

Gnarls Barkley – “Smiley Faces” from St. Elsewhere

Danger Mouse – “Encore” from The Grey Album

Cee Lo Green – “It’s OK” from The Lady Killer (sorry about the ad)

And just for a little extra fun, some pre-Gnarls Barkley:

Danger Doom – “A.T.H.F.”

Goodie Mob – “Soul Food”

I hear that both Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob are supposed to be releasing albums this year.  Can’t wait.

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Hi there, CURL blog.

It’s been a while, eh?  We’ve slowed down on the curling over here at Curl Nation.  We intend to get back to it ASAP.

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Curl Nation is in NYC to celebrate a birthday.

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It seems like all the hulaballo in the movie world right now is about The Hunger Games.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan.  I read all the books, I did buy advance tickets to see it on opening weekend with friends, and even reread book one before the movie as a refresher.  And I’ve spent my fair share of talking about it with everyone and anyone, including strangers.  And I don’t even like talking to strangers.

But my current favorite movie doesn’t even have a plot.  It is in 3D though!  And it’s about . . . dance!  Yes, that’s right, a movie screened in 3D about dance.  Sparklepants liked it so much that he went to see it twice in the span of of 3 days.  I can definitely say I’ve never seen anything like it.  It’s genius.

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Collins Family Reunion

All a collins is, is a couple shots of booze with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a little simple syrup or castor sugar, topped off with soda water, and garnished with some fruit, traditionally an orange wheel and a maraschino cherry.  The recipe is a classic combination that goes well with almost any kind of booze.  It’s also the only drink that somehow was able to get a glass named after itself.

I usually think of the Collins with traditional base spirits, you know gin, vodka, whisky, etc.  But last weekend, I had an Angostura Collins at my new favorite bar.  It’s with a full 1.5 ounces of Angostura!  I was afraid it would be way too bitter (since it’s made with Angostura bitters after all), but it wasn’t.  It was a revelation.  So delicious.  I haven’t recreated it at home, and actually, I may leave that one to the experts since I have plenty to keep me occupied in the meantime.

Curl Nation’s Collins Guide

Tom Collins.  Tom is the first born of the family.  I can see why Tom is soooooo popular.  Exceedingly refreshing.

Ivan Collins.  If you just don’t like gin, substituting vodka provides the same refreshing sentiment.  But if you do like gin, the vodka-based collins is just going to taste a bit bland in comparison.

Michael Collins.  Ah, Bushmill’s.  Sparklepants said it feels like skipping school.  Personally, it makes me want to incite a revolution.  Right after I have a couple more.

The original Michael Collins

Liam Neeson

Speaking of revolutions, I decided to have a look at Michael Collins.  The problem with Hollywood is that I was a little surprised to find that Michael Collins doesn’t actually look exactly like Liam Neeson.  Or is it the other way around?  Has Liam Neeson always had such a big forehead?

John, Jim, Sean Collins aka Whiskey, Bourbon, and Scotch.  I tried them all.  And then for the sake of science, I tasted them again.  Confession:  at this point, I couldn’t really tell which was which, but I found them thoroughly enjoyable.  I would also think that any and all would be perfect as a cure for that summertime cold when you just can’t bear anything to drink anything without ice but want the restorative powers of a hot toddy.

Juan, Ron, & Pelé Collins.  Out of these 3 cousins, Pelé is my favorite.  And not just because I’m a soccer fan; cachaça just lends itself particularly well to the Collins.  Probably because the Pelé Collins is what amounts to essentially a smooth fizzy lemony variation on the caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink.  And if one drink can be claimed by 194 million people, it’s a winner.  The Ron Collins, made with rum is similar, and is a agreeable substitute if you’ve depleted your cachaça supply.  Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.  Juan Collins made with tequila tastes kind of like a fizzy watered down margarita.

Brandi, Jacques, & Jack Collins.  People usually spell Brandi Collins with a “y” but I have a childhood friend named Brandi and so there you have it.  I have a picture of the 2 of us, we are maybe 6 or 7 and we’re kneeling in front of a bed of daffodils each holding a bright yellow fully bloomed daffodil in front of our chests.  I love that picture.  As you would guess, Brandi Collins is made with Brandy, Jacques Collins made with Cognac and Jack Collins made with Applejack.  Honestly, the cognac gets lost and you might as well not waste expensive cognac in a drink where fairly inexpensive brandy is just fine.

Kim Collins and Domo-kun Collins.  With soju and sake respectively. I prefer the soju as straight shots and the sake is a little weird this way.  But Domo-kun is so cute!

Phil Collins.  Needs no introduction.

Go ahead and sing-a-long.  You know you want to.

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Curl Well and Prosper

Happy Lunar New Year!

After an unstable Year of the Rabbit, we can look forward a year of positive change.

May you have an auspicious Year of the Water Dragon!

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We don’t have a lot of traditions here at Curl Nation.  The only tradition we seem to be good at is the daily cocktail tradition, but that is perhaps less of a tradition and more of a lifestyle.

Anyway, there is one thing that has become a tradition in my life, and that is what I eat on the morning of December 25:  blueberry buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, bacon, sausage, eggs, and orange juice.

I know that for a lot of people, this day is some sort of holiday celebrating the birth of some dude, but for me, it’s the anniversary of the day I first arrived in the United States.  I’m maybe one of the least sentimental people I know, and yet, I have this same breakfast on this same day every single year.

When I was a kid, I would wake up to the smell of bacon cooking and walk into the kitchen rubbing sleep boogers from my eyes to see my dad flipping pancakes on a big electric griddle.  The blueberries were always ones we had hand-picked ourselves over the summer, and the maple syrup was always local – either from a neighbor’s farm, or even a few times, syrup my dad had made himself from sap he had collected the previous spring.  The elderly Finnish couple who lived across the street who were like my grandparents would come over and bring sausage.  I’d pick out the pancakes with the most blueberries to put on my plate and my mom would try to persuade me to eat some eggs and I would try to persuade her to let me eat more sausage instead.  Although we often had pancakes on Saturdays when I was growing up, this breakfast, this particular breakfast on the 25th, which was always the same and actually quite ordinary, was the most special and cherished breakfast of the year.  No one ever suggested that we have something different, and even when my dad went through a prolonged experimentation phase with his pancakes (let me tell you that English green pea pancakes are kind of gross), even then he didn’t deviate from the standard menu.

These days, the pancakes aren’t exactly the same as the ones my dad used to make.  Sparklepants adds a bit of lemon zest to the pancake batter and whips the egg whites, and I might have some champagne in my orange juice, but essentially it’s still the same, often including maple syrup from my hometown.

It’s still my favorite and most cherished breakfast of the year.


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Warm Muffins for Cold Mornings

Sparklepants and I recently came back from Curl Nation Tropical Outpost #2 aka Hawaii.  It was warm and lovely there, with snorkeling and swimming in saltwater pools heated by the volcano and tennis playing and sea turtles and poke and general Hawaii goodness.  We are sad that TO#2 will be shutting down indefinitely since the folks there are moving to the Big Apple, but we’re looking forward to testing out the curl-worthiness of NYC.

As you can imagine, getting off the plane in 28 degree weather was a bit of a shock.  Good thing we’re soon headed for a visit with First Mate who is holding down Tropical Outpost #1.  And these little (actually quite large) muffins are the perfect thing to warm up our insides while evoking a bit of anticipation for our impending trip to the birthplace of maize.

Blueberry Corn Muffins

Makes 6 Large Muffins.


1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
½ cup butter, melted and cooled (or oil or combination)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an oversize 6-muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a 2-cup liquid measure, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter.
  5. Fold buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients until just mixed.
  6. Fold in blueberries.
  7. Fill each liner ¾ full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with demerara sugar.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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