ZOOPS Cafe: A Friends' Place

Double Cheeser
Macaroni Puzzlers
Phantom of the Slopra

Flap Attacks
Jo-Jo Puffs
Sme Flakes
Eggs Gibraltar
Bacon Blades

Ketchup Pop-offs
Lice Cakes
Pep-pep's Pepper Poppers

Canadian Turnover
My Bloody Blueberry Pie
Brownie Bubbles
Caramelized Glazers

Chef's Specials
Cambridge Noodler
Skipper Bits

Hungry Hungry Pickles
Potato Blackouts
Uncle Tom's French Fries
Salted Tony
Cat Butter (.75 extra on all dishes)

Jeremy Juice
Freight Shake (chocolate, vanilla, or boysenberry)
Admiral's Coffee (with cat butter creamers)
Diet Boke

Kid's Menu
Chicken Dingers
Pizza Sticklers
Tiny Tim's Taco Nibblers
Bugle Blasters (with an herb cat butter spread)

Soup and Salad
Zoop Soup (our secret family recipe)
Cream of Crop Soup
Shep Salad
Burnt Cheese Salad


Epic Lexicon: The Top 7 Words of 2009

Rejoice, Epic Mailians; 2009 has been a good year. By what metric, you ask? Obviously, we should judge the success of years by the amount of nonsensical references and catchphrases they produce. "But my grandmother died/my car broke down/I failed out of clown college!" Shut your turkey hole, Whiney Tim, it IS a good year because now you have some funny words. Even though they all originated as incredibly arbitrary inside references, I expect these words to pass into the Mailian vernacular. From the mess to the masses.
The Top 7 Words of 2009

7. Surprise Hotel
Astute readers will recognize this phrase from OKAYYYYGUYS's Top 25 Tracks of 2009 list, as it's the title of an excellent Fool's Gold track. Since discovering the song, OKAYYYYGUYS and I have been obsessing over the concept of a surprise hotel, and considering the ways in which someone might conceivably "surprise hoteled." As a catchphrase, though, it only involves yelling "SURPRISE, IT'S A _____" (insert relevant word).
"Dr. Eble, my tooth has really been hurting recently. What's the problem?"

Not to be mistaken with it's generic cousin, "oops," OOPS must be uttered with a guttural, flamboyant emphasis, preferably accompanied by skyward-facing palms, and following some sort of faux pas or slip up. In the rare instance that OOPS doesn't absolve you of your transgression, it at least gives everyone a good chuckle.

"Dude, did you hook up with my girlfriend?"

5. DURKL ©
Yes, that's right, it's everyone's favorite up and coming clothing brand, stitched together right here in Washington, D.C. The clothing itself would be entirely forgettable nu-party-glo-bro wear if DURKL wasn't such a memorably ugly name. As such, DURKL is used in a wider context as a general mark of disdain -- hilarious word, hilarious connotations, a giant ball of irony.
"Wait, do you know this DJ?"
"Yeah, it's DURKL."

4. Brochan
Since we already have a plethora of ways to call one another bro, I remain a firm skeptic when faced with new attempts to crack the genre. But a tip of the hat to my friend Salar who introduced me to my new favorite -- Brochan. There's not any deeper meaning, no abbreviation, no back story that I can establish. Just a simple word, on a simple mission. To address a bro, and to be awesome.
"What are you cooking up, brochan?"

3. Hackbox (+ Additional Uses of -box Suffix)
Despite its many flaws, you certainly get to meet interesting people on Xbox Live. And OKKAAAYYYGUYS and I met one such person this year during an intense Call of Duty match. He was good -- almost too good, to the point that we suspected him of cheating. And then we saw his name: xxHACKBOXxx, in all of its glory. From this point on, hackboxing became synonymous with cheating, hacking, or manipulating a person, thing, or situation. Though hacking has distinctly digital origins, hackboxing can apply to any object. For example, if you get locked out of your house but use a credit card to get in the backdoor, one might say you "hackboxed" it. The -box suffix can also be attached to any other word to add emphasis without actually saying anything of substance (e.g. mackbox, Keatsbox, computerbox, Davebox, etc...).
Bonus points for my ability to convince a stranger in New York to use the word correctly without explanation:
[Having propped a door open with a sweater] "Oh hey guys, after you go in there, can you just hackbox the door with that sweater? I hackboxed it so that we could get back in."
The bro gave me a brief, puzzled look, until he replied timidly, "Oh, yeah, I'll hackbox it."

2. hoooooOOOOOOhhhOOOOohhh
I realize that it's just about impossible to convey the correct tone through text, but I did my best. This particular "ho" (shortened for ease of typing) is differentiated from a standard greeting "ho" by its higher pitched tones, a longer sustain, and heightened wavering, combining to produce an almost ghost-like howl. This word is useful as a humorous greeting, or as a way to fill silence in an awkward or unfortunate moment (similar to the alternate use of "hey guys", e.g. "Sometimes I just get so frustrated that I want to strangle my mom's cat." "Hey guyssss.....").
::Ring, Ring::

1. Zoop (+ Derivatives)
I present to you the most important word of the year: zoop. I realize that it doesn't look like much, but it holds this spot for a number of reasons -- elegance, utility, and infectiousness, among others. Zoop's primary meaning is "to go, usually in a speedy manner." For example, "Hey, I think we're going to zoop over to the store." Zoop can also mean "to take." "Would you mind if I zooped some of that lasagna?" Zoop can also mean "have sexual intercourse with." "You've been dating Tandice for a while, have you zooped her yet?" But these uses are merely scratching the surface; zoop's true strength lies in its sheer utility and ease of comprehension. You can replace just about any verb with zoop, and even the most untrained ear will be able to pick up its meaning through contextual clues.

Zoop has also spawned a set of derivative words:

Unlike zoop, which has a plethora of meanings, each of these words merely replaces its sans-z counterpart, though in a stylish manner. Something about that extra Z just flings these words across your tongue -- faster, sleeker, futuristic. Laugh if you must, but once you begin to use them, it gets under your skin, and it won't be long until you find yourself uttering "Zyup" inadvertently in a board meeting.

I believe we have a visceral connection with zoop, as if we were born to say it, but have yet to fulfill our destiny on a mass scale. I've seen the light. We've seen the light. It's time to zoop into a new year. It's been a long December, and there's reason to believe that this year will zoop the shit out of the last.



See what I did there? What follows is a list of the top 10 most entertaining lists published this year!

10. Videogum.com: The Best Viral Videos of 2009. You could've put yourself in a coma machine and this is all you would need to understand the internet in 2009. Very essential.

9. Buzzfeed.com: The 50 Funniest Headlines of 2009. For the cranky old Jay Leno set.

8. This guys knows how to party -- and now you will too!

7. Stereogum.com: 69 Most Anticipated Albums of 2010. Ok, this is mostly just confusing indie hype gobbledigook. But damn if I'm not excited for that Yeasayer album.

6. Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the 2000's. If you are one of the following people, you did pretty well this decade: Kanye West, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jay-Z, Thom Yorke/Jonny Greenwood, Jack/Meg White.

5. Yepyep: Best Keyboard Cat Videos of 2009. Play me off.

4. NYTimes 10 Best Books of 2009. I may not have read any of these books, but this article is good stuff. Erudition people! It's the way of the future.

3. Gizmodo.com: 40 Gadgets Changed Irrevocably by One Letter. Sometimes all a pun needs is some clever photoshopping and you transform low comedy to high. Or something like that.

2. Boston Globe's Big Picture. The quality of print journalism in this country may be going down the crapper, but photojournalism's still got it!

1. Pitchfork.com P2K Decade in Music. OK, OK, I know, Pitchfork is played out, blah blah, typical passe indie fad, whatever. I don't care if it is. This was one of, if not the most entertaining thing I read on the internet this year. P4k's album reviews are still the best written, if not the most helpful (and lord knows with so much good music out there, we need a lot help). They may jump the shark sooner rather than later, but for my money the good people at this publication did a better job curating the decade in music than any other. And besides, this list is the 2009 ultimate argument starter in my book. I love talking about this stuff, even if I disagree with it heartily. I even wrote a lengthy blog post somewhere else about my choice (sorry, shameless plug). Let's face it, if we are capping off our evening with a sixer of PBR and an argument about Radiohead vs. Daft Punk, this is a good evening and damned if we didn't wish that all evenings ended this way.



As promised, here is the first in (I hope) many end-of-year lists.  This list of killer tracks is certainly not intended to be comprehensive.  In fact, it's more a list of the best in two or three relatively minor genres that I know are somewhat distasteful to more than one of my fellow Epic Mailers.  But in any case, this stuff is sweet, even if it makes me look, somewhat surprisingly, like a total pothead.

25.  Black Lips - Starting Over
24.  Box Elders - Stay
23. Weed Diamond - Let's Burn One Down
22. Vega - Well Known Pleasures
21.  Julian Casablancas - 11th Dimension
20. The Mantles - Don't Lie
19. Holiday Shores - Phones Don't Feud
18. Lovvers - OCD Go Go Girls
17. The Drums - I Felt Stupid
16. Fool's Gold - Surprise Hotel
15. No Age - Losing Feeling
14. Pearl Harbor - Luv Goon
13. Memory Cassette - Asleep at a Party
12. Real Estate - Fake Blues
11. Toro Y Moi - Talamak
10. Surfer Blood - Swim
9. Wild Nothing - Summer Holiday
8. Washed Out - Feel It All Around
7. Tim & Jean - Come Around
6. Small Black - Despicable Dogs
5. Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher than the Stars

Just when this band began driving me absolutely nuts by writing the same exact variation on MBV's "Paint a Rainbow" for the 47th time, they hit you with the synth attack.  Now that the early 90's Creation well has run dry, they've decided to get all Sarah Records, which has to be sufficient for another full length.  I hope Teenbeat is next.

4. Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

LAID. BACK.  This guy has been cranking out some of the smoothest song titles all year ("Terminally Chill"?!??), and I'm not sure any song all year has me so torn between a compulsion to dance and an urge to recline massively in some kind of sweet hammock setup.  

3. Best Coast - Sun Was High (So Was I)

What does marijuana sound like?  Apparently, it sounds like a girl who sounds like a dude singing into one of those Fisher Price tape recorders.  Which I apparently like.  A lot.

2. Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire

What sealed this for me was some broheim turning to me at a Japandroids show in Williamsburg and actually fist bumping me when this song began.  A tremendous display of  noble virility ensued, which I will not soon forget (fist pumping, yeaaAAAaaAAA singalongs, OH YEAH OH YEAH singalongs, OHHHHHH singalongs).  Actually, any song that can cram all those variations of primal screaming into just over 5 minutes deserves #2, easily.

1. Beach Fossils - Vacation

If you've spent any time with me this year, I'm sure I've forced this song down your throat at least 25 times.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard a song and thought "turn up the tremelo on those vocals, dude."  Finally, someone heard my desperate pleas.  Beach Fossils also heard the desperate pleas of my friends when he played this song 3 TIMES at a Cameo Gallery show.  Favorite song of the year, favorite show of the year, favorite vocal effect maybe ever.


Kiss On My List

In a truly last-ditch effort to revive some sort of collegial interest in this blog, I'm writing to urge everyone to submit two things:

1. A pop culture list of SOME KIND. That is to say, "Top 10 Singles," "Top 10 Films," "Top 20 Albums," "Top 10 TV Shows," etc. are all perfectly acceptable. Most of us are culture junkies, or at least recreational users, so it's time to share the expertise, in the spirit of Christmas!

2. THE EPIC 10. This was probably my favorite aspect of the blog that once was "Epic Mail," and I'd love to do it again (mostly because several entries of mine will likely infuriate Quilliam, much to my delight).

Anyway, I implore you all to consider my requests. You don't, after all, want to be left with only my own "Epic 10" and something like "Top 20 Songs of 2009 in Which You Can't Tell Whether a Certain Sound is Vocals, Guitar, or Simply Tape Hiss."

Epically mailingly yours,


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