Category Archives: blast from the past

Penny & Me & A Bunch of Fansons (a post by Anna)

YALL. I WENT TO HANSON’s 21ST ANNIVERSARY PARTY!!!! This concert kicked off the release of their new Anthem album and world tour. Taylor sang. Isaac sang. Zac sang. It was all so beautiful.

Hanson, all grown up.

That’s right folks: Hanson (the band) turned 21!

My friend Erica is a true NYC Fanson, and I respect her so much for it. When we met up at Irving Plaza, I quickly realized that everyone at this concert was originally from NYC and knew each other only from having attended other Hanson concerts. I was in heaven.

Long-term fans + me.

Lifelong Fansons + me

Here are things I found to be awesome, listed in no particular order:
  1. There was a search for MmmHops, which ended unsuccessfully.
  2. They sold Hansonopoly.

    A homemade game I once saw on this Fanson's blog:

    What a sweet homemade board game from

  3. All of my new friends have been Hanson fans since roughly age 13. They admitted to having mid-1990s photos of themselves in Hanson t-shirts at Hanson concerts.
  4. I saw someone order a beer, for the sole purpose of taking a photo while holding a beer at a Hanson concert.
  5. People were doing impressions of Isaac, and I heard this phrase more than once: “Ugh, another Isaac guitar solo?! Here we go again…”
  6. There was a musician on stage that had Weird Al hair.
  7. After the concert, a Mister Softee ice cream truck was parked at the exit, and there were people camping out for the following night’s concert. (Yes, Hanson had two concerts in a row.)

    Crazy Fansons, camping out

    Crazy Fansons, camping out

I’ll leave you with a snippet of the obligatory 21st song on their set list:

Hanson’s coming back at the beginning of September, so let me know if you want to join us this time around!


The Decline of Life on Mars (a post by Anna)

I love themed restaurants. Before moving to New York City, the highlight of my visits was always an outer spaced themed restaurant called Mars 2112. Located in Times Square, this place took you to the planet Mars in the year 2112 (the year NASA predicted colonization to begin). Outer space focused stuff gets me in a frenzy, which is why Mars 2112 remains my favorite themed restaurant of all time.

Lee and I went to Mars a couple times, and it was out of this world. The place is so overwhelming that we mostly forgot to take photos. For some strange reason when we went in 2008 with Chris, we only brought curiosity and a disposable camera with us. (I really have no idea why we even had a disposable camera in 2008, but I managed to find the cd of photos for this blog post!)

Life on Mars, December 2008

Life on Mars, December 2008

To get into Mars 2112, a five-minute simulated flying saucer ride on a “transporter” at the entrance takes you to a mining colony of the Red Planet. Once you entered The Empress Grotto (main dining room), the floors, ceilings, and walls turned cavernous and dark red, just as I imagine the surface of Mars. Martian waiters! Craters! Space-themed food! An outer space arcade! Mars 2112 was my jam.

With our martian waiter, December 2008

With our martian waiter, December 2008

When I found out I was moving to NYC for grad school, I told everyone I knew how excited I was to go to Mars 2112 all the time. I lured people to visit, saying I would take them to my favorite restaurant in the world. I had a plan to have every happy hour at Mars 2112.

You can imagine my devastation when I found out Mars 2112 went out of business in January 2012.

I was not exaggerating about how great this place was!

I was not exaggerating about how great this place was!

The restaurant’s story lives on in my memory as the best design concept restaurant I have ever visited.

[If you ever have questions about Mars 2112, I did a research project on it for my design history class this semester. I’m kind of an expert on it.]

Lee’s Unpublished Entries, Vol. 3 (a post by Lee)

Y’all, praise be. I think I have finally uncovered my very last extant journal. I wrote in this particular notebook rather sporadically, detailing my last year of middle school until just past my first semester of high school. It is, as one can easily imagine, horrifying. Enjoy, dear readership.

At the pool hall today, I met 2 interesting 7 year-olds: Matt and Neil. They threatened to kill me in five different ways (they take karate). Matt looked like the actor Shawn Ashmore, who has never threatened to harm me in any way.


In lunch today, Walter sat at our table, with his Nutrageous bar. I don’t know anyone who loves Nutrageous like W does. He’s nutrageous. I think I’m getting taller., I guess!

Okay, so I haven’t written in a super-long time. So much has happened! A few months ago, for example, I got my period. It was intimidating.

[All of my favorite lyrics from Blink-182’s recently released album are written out. Turns out I had a lot of favorite lyrics. This actually takes up the majority of the notebook and all of the i’s and j’s in the lyrical selections from “First Date” are dotted with hearts. Some of the hearts have arrows through them. I am burning these pages later today, and we are never to discuss them again.]

The other night, I babysat T. His bedtime story is THE ENTIRE PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS. If he doesn’t grow up to be a scientist, he at least better make it on to
Jeopardy. Oh, today I thought about starting a band made entirely of identical twins and calling it “Double Vision.”

Deep Thoughts: If I had money, I’d spend it on getting rid of coal and oil factories. Solar power is the future! And I wish that everyone, you know, loved everyone.

[The worst poem ever written in the history of mankind is on this page. I can’t bring myself to type it in its entirety, but it includes the choice couplet “It takes a while for a heart to mend / But that’s exactly what it does in the end.” Oh, 13 year-old Lee and her complex feelings.]

I got picked on today by a sophomore. Oh, well! It’s like they say: Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. I’m not sure that makes sense there, but neither did [bully’s name redacted]’s insult. LOL. (LOL means laughing out loud.)

And that’s all she wrote, folks! Or, at least, enough of what she wrote. She was a total weirdo.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (a post by Anna)

A few years ago, my name was printed in a magazine’s Q&A section next to the frequently asked question “How do I grind my own beef?” This type of accomplishment is apparently cyclical because it happened again in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle!!

That “A” is for Anna!

You see, I’ve always been obsessed with snail mail. When I was young, I was really into pen pals. Prior to the internet, I found a pen pal program in American Girl magazine and had a heyday. I daresay I had 15 pen pals at once, all from different geographic regions. We would exchange school photos, and I’d tell extremely interesting stories about things like going to the State Fair with 4-H and creating a bowling alley in my attic. If I thought one pen pal was particularly cool, I’d pull out the big guns: Lisa Frank or Keroppi stationary. My signature move was the matryoshka doll effect; using 10 different-sized envelopes, I put a letter within a letter within a letter etc. My creativity knew no bounds.

When I started college, I spent the first four months wondering why classmate Samantha-from-Ohio seemed so familiar. I finally realized she was my former pen pal, and even dug up some of her letters back at home (like any normal packrat). 4th grade Samantha-from-Ohio was a gem.

Despite maturing ageing, I’ve kept up my letter writing hobby, mostly through holiday and birthday cards. And since my New Year’s resolution in January, I’ve been writing one letter each week. My grandma is the most frequent recipient.

I may have moved away from Houston, but my presence has lingered! A couple weeks ago, I was interviewed for an article on the lost art of letter writing. Brace yourself for my overuse of the word “important,” and read my Sunday Chron debut online here!!

Lee’s Unpublished Entries, Vol. 2 (a post by Lee)

As I was digging through my closet at my parents’ house a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this gem of a notebook:

Turns out, it was the journal I used after this one. Let’s delve into the life and times of 8th grade Lee!

[A straw is taped to the page, with the words “My straw saxophone” written next to it.]

I went to my first school dance today. I went partly because my friends wanted me to, and partly because
[boy on whom I had a painful and unrequited crush, and whose ever-evolving hairstyle I describe throughout my entries in vivid and horrifying detail] is going. I saw [crush] but didn’t dance with him. I swing-danced with Alex. I just generally became way overheated. I fell attempting the electric slide. I’m nervous because we’re going to have sex ed in health class soon, and someone told me it’s x-rated. I hope it’s not too shagadellic. I must be turning teenager. Dude, I’ve run out of things to talk about. J’adore [crush’s French class name].

I’M AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN. Also, I don’t like small, cramped spaces.

I got my Halloween costume today. I’m going to be a lawn gnome. I wanted to be a Teletubby, but I’m bein’ a gnome. I’m good. Oh! Today was Picture Day.
[Crush] didn’t spike his hair for his picture; I was very upset.

In activity, Ashley cut my hair. She was like, “Can I cut your hair?” and, silly me, thinking it was a joke, said okay. She then snipped a lock real fast and taped it to her binder.

[Only the word “sassy” in huge bubble letters.]

I’m worried Remy is tone-deaf.

I really struggle with spelling the word “broccoli.” I played The Sims for the first time today. You can marry anyone in that game! So I married Patrick Swayze. Duh. We adore each other. We adopted a daughter, but she got taken away from us by Child Protective Services. Oops! Also, someone told me today I’d be a bad competitive swimmer. DISS! But actually I agree.

[I wrote out the lyrics to “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys in both English and poorly-translated French.]

I should write a song about my emotions. I have so very many of them.

I hope I never have to pierce my lip. That would dampen my spirits.

Kirsten Dunst is a good actress.

And on that note, I think I’ve had enough nostalgia for one day. Oh, 13 year-old Lee. You were just so very weird.

All Good Days End with Dream Phone (a post by Anna)

When friends visit Houston, we sometimes pretend we are extremely classy. Lee’s pen pal Alix was in town last weekend, so a trip to the Houston Polo Club was in order. We brought out our inner southern belles by suiting up in sun dresses and hats, hoping to give off an air of high society. Based on our last experience at the polo club, we were dressed for success.

Now try to imagine the surprise when, en route, our friend Meredith called to say The Sport of Kings had been canceled due to the prior week’s flooding.

So much for ponies and chukkers and stomping divots.

But when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Considering our attire, we briefly brainstormed upper-class activities. We are also extremely cheap frugal, so our choice needed to be practically free. Which is why we decided on croquet.

I've heard this is how people go shopping in Dallas.

Once arriving at our humble abode of mismatched furniture hand-me-downs, we made mint juleps and snacks from supplies found living in our fridge.

Lee is a very hands-on helper.

I tried to quickly rectify the porch-chairs-covered-in-pollen situation so that we could leisurely drink from from aged tea cups and reap the benefits of Alix’s impromptu culinary creation, rum cake!

Here we are having a blast.

The afternoon progressed to include a lovely game of croquet in our park. Due to our croquet inexperience, the wickets were arranged in terrible positions that unexpectedly required impossible uphill putting and constant changes in grass texture. If nothing else, this magnified the challenge of the match.

Lee demonstrates perfect form with her mallet.

Acknowledging the fact that the only type of games in which I excel are board games, I trailed behind my opponents who continually made impressive comebacks to lead one another. I spent most of the experience fair-weather-fanning the current leader and tapping my poor little croquet ball far behind the rest.

The Serious Competitors

Unrelated to our upper-class evening theme, we ended the night with a blast from the past. Dream Phone is compulsory to a successful evening.

He looks good in whatever he wears.

Lee’s Unpublished Entries, Vol. 1 (a post by Lee)

When I was home for Easter this year, I discovered an old journal in my closet. It’s sometimes fun but mostly incredibly painful to scour through old journal entries and see what mundanity I felt compelled to document. I browsed through this particular notebook and decided I’d share some of my least most poignant preadolescent insights in all their unedited splendor.

My camp is leaving for Costa Rica today. When we go to the rain forest, I think it’d be cool to see monkeys and sloths. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a good picture of a monkey. If I’m even luckier, Mom will let me enlarge the photo and frame it in my room.

We are in Tellahorsa, which apparently is actually spelled Tilajari. We rafted down the river, and I saw tons of sloths and howler monkeys! My life is complete! Right now I’m watching “Road House” on TBS, because it stars Patrick Swayze! Hurrah! We’re gonna have a really big day tomorrow, so I’m gonna stop writing now.

I read “A Child Called It” by Dave Pelzer today. That was a bad idea.

We returned home to New Jersey today. I found some feathers.

At Kelly’s today, I made up a dance. It’s called “The Hot Tub Cha-Cha.” Everyone was impressed. [Ed.: False.] I am glad and sad camp’s over. It’s hard to have two emotions at once, since they’re so opposite one another.

Steph gave me good advice today. She’s my Ann Landers!

I never want to forget that French trip last year where we saw Carson Daly (host of TRL), Travis Barker (drummer from Blink 182), and Tyrese (I think he’s a singer). I’m playing Dogz right now and creating an Adoption Kit. Mental note: Find out who Johnny Depp is. Philippe had Elliot over today, who’s this awesome short kid. Mom told me not to see Space Cowboys because there are too many famous people in it, and that means it’s a bad movie. I can’t work tapes on my boom box. It’s very confusing. Adam Sandler reminds me of Mr. M (in case I read this when I’m elderly – Mr. M was 7th grade science teacher). [Ed.: In case I read this blog post when I’m elderly – Mr. M was nothing like Adam Sandler.]

Bon Jovi’s song “It’s My Life” is pretty good. I want to get his CD. It’s almost school time so we went to Staples for school supplies. I got a cool binder and cool pencils. Here’s a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio:

[No text, just two more pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio.]

I’m interpersonal.

I had a dream last night where I brushed my teeth. Philippe was running really fast down the hall today, and I stuck my foot out, and he flew. I’m calling him Superman now. He’s sitting in my room working on a drawing of a truck. I wish they’d let us carry our backpacks in the hallway at school. I think rules like this is what my Civics teacher Mrs. H meant when she defined totalitarianism.

Amy, Stephanie, and I saw 9 Days today. We were in the front row. We all got to slap the hot guy’s hand! They signed my Jets hat. Remy called me “a lucky loser.” Sassy!

Jenna was kicked off of Survivor today. Rudy had immunity. I haven’t heard from my pen pal Anze in a long time. Kenzie’s cat Skitters may die today or sometime soon. 😦

Simon’s aunt’s brother, Josh, used to work for MTV, and he met MANDY MOORE! So cool. Who is Robert Iler?