Monday, August 14, 2017

Recipe: Banana Peanut Butter Bread

Lately I've been buying bananas as usual, but since it's summertime, I end up getting berries and other fruits, too. Since the others are more seasonal, I end up neglecting the bananas, which end up over-ripening. So I do with them what anyone else would do: make banana bread. But I didn't want to make the some ol' banana bread, so I wondered if I could make peanut butter banana bread. And yes, you can.

I found this recipe on All Recipes, and it is delicious! (The batter is very yummy, too, if you're not too afraid of the salmonella risk. I have a strong immune system, so I just go for it!).

  •         ½ cup butter softened
  •         1 cup white sugar
  •          2 eggs
  •          ½ cup peanut butter
  •         2 bananas, mashed
  •         2 cups all-purpose flour
  •         1 teaspoon baking soda
  •         ½ cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs; beat well. Stir in peanut butter, bananas, flour and baking soda until blended. Fold in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees F for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool. 
I didn't add walnuts (since a lot of people don't like nuts in desserts), but I added chocolate chips instead. And I cooked my loaf for an extra 5 minutes. I may have overbaked it a little bit, but I really wasn't sure if it was cooked all the way through, so I left it in the oven for a little longer. I think it turned out very well!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Movie Review: Atomic Blonde [SPOILERS]

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I wanted to see Atomic Blonde because I thought it would be an awesome female spy kick-ass movie like Angelina Jolie's Salt. It kind of was...but it kind of wasn't. Rather than feeling empowered, I felt like I couldn't decide whether she was the hero or the victim. I couldn't even tell you if she was a good guy or a bad guy throughout the movie (the same goes for most of the characters, actually). It's just that, during half the movie, you have to see Charlize Theron look like this:

The film focuses on the violence between the east and west before the Berlin Wall fell. There are tons of fight scenes, each of which includes several cringe-worthy moments (such as crotch kicks and using keys, a skateboard, and a cork screw as weapons). Spies from the CIA, KGB, and MI6 are all trying to get their hands on a watch that contains information about agents from around the world (mostly bad things about them, and they don't want that information to get out there). These spies are fighting and killing each other left and right, and backstabbing even their own fellow teammates (actual knives in backs). Here are some snippets:

The only "happy" scene in the movie was a gratuitous lesbian sex scene, which normally I'd think was hot, especially with Theron, but I was too disturbed at that point to enjoy it.

My favorite part of the movie was the 80's soundtrack. I'd suggest listening to that instead of watching this disconcerting and troublesome film. You can hear the whole thing here.

*All GIFs from

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Concert: Garbage and Blondie at Wolf Trap

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My dad and I first discovered Garbage in 2004 at the HFStival (which is no longer), although I realize they had a successful career long before that. We became immediate fans, and now whenever they are in the area, we go to see them. In 2015 we saw them at the 9:30 Club, and last year they performed at the Lincoln Theatre. I'm also pretty sure we saw them at the Fillmore in Silver Spring in 2013, though for some reason I didn't write a blog post about it!

Last week, my dad and I saw them at Wolf Trap, the only performing arts National Park (I believe). I love this venue because it has a lawn where you can enjoy a picnic while watching the show. Unfortunately, it happened to rain the day we went! It was raining before the show, then stopped as soon as the entry gates opened; the rain held off while we ate our dinner. But then once the music started, the rain picked up again. And this wasn't just sprinkles: this was a real thunderstorm! At one point we had our tarp over our heads to act as a canopy, but either way we ended up soaked. If we didn't love Garbage so much, we probably would have left. But they are worth it!

Deap Vally opened the show, and this girl-band duo is awesome! I thought they were a really good choice to start off this concert. I didn't recognize their name or any of their songs, but I wish them luck in becoming the next [mini] Go-Go's! Here are some of their songs:


Smile More

Baby I Call Hell

Royal Jelly



Walk of Shame


Little Baby Beauty Queen

I actually wasn't sure who was listed as the headliner for this show. I knew Blondie had been around longer, but Debbie Harry is getting old, so I thought maybe she was the opener. My dad was sure Garbage was the main act, but I guess Blondie is still more famous!

Even at 50, Shirley can still rock it! Image found here
Garbage ended up playing a lot of songs from their newest album, Strange Little Birds. I bought this album last year, but I have to admit that it's not my favorite. The program notes describe it as having the theme of darkness, which is true. It's a little morose; only a handful of songs have a great energy that sticks with you (including Magnetized, which they didn't perform). My dad made the good point that if they had played that music when we first saw them, we probably wouldn't have become fans. Here are some of the songs they played from their newest album:


Even Though Our Love is Doomed


 Here are some of their older songs that they played which I like:

Sex is Not the Enemy

Push It

I'm Only Happy When It Rains

I Think I'm Paranoid

Stupid Girl

The World is Not Enough (Bond movie song)

Bleed Like Me (the title track of my favorite Garbage album)

Image found here
Blondie's show, as the headliner, had videos play in the background for their performance. I understand that videos can be effective during concerts (like when they played old videos of the drummer playing while he was playing a solo live), but sometimes I think they are a bit gimmicky, distracting you from the music (Let's face it: Debbie Harry doesn't sound like she used to). But she did have great energy, and she did take a moment to talk about saving bees (an important ecological issue), so I did appreciate that (along with her cape that read "Stop Fucking the Planet").

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I didn't realize how many Blondie songs I knew! You'll recognize these for sure:

Call Me

One Way or Another (which always makes me think of Coyote Ugly)

The Tide is High

Heart of Glass

The music at this concert was great. It was too bad the weather was lousy. But I'm glad we stuck it out!

Click here for another review of the concert (including the full set list).