When I started writing my “Favorite Good Things” blog, I intended to finish it up rather quickly, but lately I have been too busy rolling croissants, nursing a sore back, and using more hot glue than a drag queen lip synching for her life to do so. (If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you’ve already heard that joke, but it’s too good to pass up again.) Anyway, anyway, anyway, I hope you enjoyed the first installment of my “Favorite Good Things” and were intrigued enough by some of my suggestions that you bought them. Today’s installment features many things that don’t cost a penny, or are nearly free. So, here we go!
Ziploc Twist ‘N Lock
$7 | Your Local Grocery Store
I absolutely despise plastic containers for storing food. They kill the Earth, most are made with crap plastic, they all end up tasting like onions, and they look horrible in a cupboard. But, these ones are different. To be honest, they still kill the earth, absorb flavors, and I don’t have a clue what kind of plastic they are made of, but they look fantastic and store beautifully. They are made of very strong plastic and I love them. They remind me of what Bell jars would look like if they were made of plastic. Come to think of it, I’d rather store all my food in glass and porcelain, but in these modern times, that isn’t the most economical or reasonable solution, so these are a great solution. Plus, homemade gelato looks fantastic in them!
Sensitive Plant [Mimosa Pudica]
$3 – $5 | www.amazon.com or your local garden center
Over the last few years, I have gone crazy for plants. I love to garden — well, I love to plant gardens and buy seeds, but I absolutely hate to weed them, and a portion of my garden always turns into a tangled mess of grass and dandelion roots. But, I still love the idea of it and every year I intend to do better, and I will do it this year, damn it! I bought these seeds on a whim at Earl May last year and they were amazing! The Sensitive Plant is a carnivorous plant, at least they claim it is — I don’t see how, but it does react to touch or motion like a venus fly trap. When you lightly touch the leaves or shake the branches, the leaves close themselves up and then you squeal because it is adorable. It does die for no apparent reason every so often, but for the time it is alive, you’ll love it.
Radio Lingua Podcasts
$0 | Search “Radio Lingua” on iTunes
I love learning languages. It doesn’t matter what language it is, I want to be able to say: hello, goodbye, thank you, please, and bitch. Radio Lingua podcasts don’t teach you how to say bitch, but they teach you the rest of them and a lot more. My favorite programs are My Daily Phrase German, My Daily Phrase Italian, and Coffee Break Spanish. They are very informative and in depth and make me feel smug in my lingual knowledge. They also have little minute-long podcasts about a crapload (I’m not sure why crapload isn’t a word, yet. It keeps giving me red squiggly lines. I’m going to have to start campaigning the Oxford Dictionary or whatever it is that you do. I also want sobtastic to be a word.) of languages that is a lot of fun. Anyway, if you have even the vaguest interest in learning a new language, I would whole-heartedly recommend this podcast. Download the French one and then you can talk to me!
Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted Microwave Popcorn
$3 | Your local grocery store
I believe that I have eaten more popcorn than anybody else alive or that has ever lived. In my youth, I ate it several times every day. I ate it and ate it and ate it, and then I stopped because I grew sick of it. All the grease and butter and salt and it just makes me gag to think about it. Have you ever looked at your fingers after eating a bag of Act II Movie Theater Butter? Nasty, isn’t it? I came upon this box about two years ago and it was like taking a bite of Buddha. It blew me away and still does every time I pop a bag, which admittedly, is much less often than I used to, as each bag is a little over four hundred calories. It is perfectly salty and wonderfully buttery and you will adore it. Buy it!
$0 | www.manybooks.net
I have been eager for the ebook revolution since I heard the first rumors of it years ago and was skeptical about it when I saw the first few examples. It was lame, reading on a computer — whatever. Then the first Sony Reader came out and the Kindle and then finally the iPad. I have all of these, and they have revolutionized the way I read. I love to read, I read every day, at least one book a week, if not more. And more and more often, I am reading on my iPad or Kindle and I love it. I don’t miss paper books and the ecological mess they imply, and I don’t miss the weight of the heavy tomes I read. I mean, have you seen The Autobiography of Mark Twain? I would break my wrist reading that on the treadmill! Anyway, when I’m in the mood for a classic or a free book, I go to www.manybooks.net. They have beautifully formatted ebooks that are absolutely free and will work perfectly on most any electronic book device, even on your computer if you choose. If you’re looking for something to read, I highly recommend The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie or Three Men and a Maid by Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (Great name isn’t it?)
$139 | www.amazon.com or Target
As you read in the previous “Favorite Thing”, I’m a big fan of the ebook. I was intrigued, but not impressed when the first Kindle came out. It was hideous and looked like it was built in the late 1980s, but it was 2007 and that is lame. The concept won me over, and when the second generation came out I was immediately drooling over it. There is a new generation now which comes in black and is absolutely gorgeous, but I have the second generation, and I love it. It is thin and light and wonderfully white and has so many books to choose from it is just ridiculous. You can read anything! The ebook store isn’t the same as it once was, when all the books cost $9.99, but even now they rarely top $11.99, and that doesn’t offend me too much. I love everything about it, except for the fonts. I’m a font freak and it drives me crazy that I can’t change the font, it is always this awkward derivative of Bookman Old Style. This is only irritating for the first few moments, but it is still annoying. On the iPad, you can select from five or more fonts, which, when I discovered it, made me wet myself. If you are trying to decide between a Kindle and an iPad, stop bothering and buy them both. You need them both.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
$0 | 11:35pm on CBS
Nothing is more important to me than laughing and general levity. I only take what I want to take seriously and make a joke of the rest. If you’re in the mood for a joke about string theory, the Royal Family, or male genitalia — or singing puppets that curse at the same time, this is the show for you. I have no idea how to describe it to you, but I don’t have to, as you can just go and watch it or set your DVR. Tonight if you can. You will be thanking me later.
$10 (or a lot more) | Your local gourmet grocery store or www.williams-sonoma.com
If feta cheese is the prince of cheeses, than this is the unquestioned emperor. If you have never tried it, you won’t know the joy of this delicious treat, but you must. It is delicious in everything or just eaten on its own as a little appetizer. I could sit and eat an entire one-hundred pound wheel. I would pay hundreds of dollars to sleep in a bed of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. I would consider killing a deserving person for a wheel of parmigiano reggiano. It’s that good, it’s salty and filled with little crystally bits and is just damned good. Buy it! Then make yourself a good batch of Pasta al Burro (the authentic kind of alfredo — no cream!). You will have died and gone to heaven, and when I finally die and meet you there, I expect your thanks for recommending this to you.
Andrew Christian Almost Naked Brief
$19 | www.andrewchristian.com
Get rid of your Fruit of the Looms and Hanes boxer briefs and get yourself a pair of these. What is the point of a boxer brief anyway? It does what a brief does, and then it covers your legs up? They make no sense and they aren’t comfortable! And then, who the hell came up with boxers? Why bother? There is no support and you’re just flopping about in them. Boxers baffle me. The only underwear that makes sense is a classy brief, and these are classy. If you are a gentleman, you will thank me for this. I won’t go into details as this is a family friendly blog, but this is the greatest underwear you will ever own. They fit perfectly and…everything fits perfectly in them, better than perfect–and that is a definite good thing.