Things I Loved/Hated This Week #9


Ikea Strosa Set


I love plates and bowls and chargers and soup tureens and cups and tiny appetizer plates, but I also hate clutter. This is inconvenient as I have a massive collection of these items. I don’t use them all that often, though, they are more something that I just like having. I have the strange fancy that someday I will put together a cookbook and I think that these plates will make lovely presentations for the photography. I’m out of space, though, so I have put my china collection into storage. In the main cupboards, there is still an irritating collection of flotsam and jetsam that is never used by anybody, so I have decided to purchase two or three new place settings and use only them. The cupboards will be so organized. I can’t wait! The first setting that I found is the Strosa from IKEA. They are simple and beautiful and pale aqua–they match one of my kitchen accent colors brilliantly. I especially like the bowls since they aren’t a traditional shape, they have a unique look that I admire very much. Maybe I will just buy a few more place settings of these instead of having a variety. They’re so lovely.

Arrested Development

For some strange reason, Netflix works at work, which enables me to catch up on my shows during lunch. I don’t know why this is allowed. Pictures don’t load on most websites and we can’t look at Twitter because it contains, I’m not kidding, “Prohibited Friendship Content.” I die laughing each time. We also can’t read news stories about same-sex marriage victories because they contain the word “gay.” God forbid! I’m pissed about that. But I’m not pissed that I can watch Arrested Development over lunch. I have known about the show forever, but never knew what it was about, and never seen a bit of it. I have been missing out! This is hilarious and it’s all on Netflix! Lucille Bluth is my spirit animal and I want Lindsay’s slut shirt. I’m really quite delighted that I have so much to catch up on. I wish I could watch it on the plane home from Europe. I’d drive everybody mad! Also, Liza Minelli is a frequent guest star and that is freaking amazing.


Nobody writes with their hands anymore, and I think that’s awfully sad. I’m all for technology and I use it every day. I’m typing this now, but there is something wonderful about seeing the way a person writes. For years and years and years, I simply printed, but then for some reason I can’t remember, I retaught myself cursive and have been using it ever since. I have a strange looking style, bits and pieces of it are vaguely reminiscent of my grandmother’s. She has some of the prettiest handwriting I’ve seen. I have a sizable collection of letters and postcards from France in the fifties and I’m obsessed with the way their cursive looks. It’s so foreign–it took me forever to decode it, but now I can read it alright. I don’t understand why we don’t use cursive much anymore. It isn’t even taught in the school district where I work and I think it’s sad. I understand that it is an archaic bit of schooling, but I think it’s a nice skill to have, like how to stitch a button hole or build a frame. A majority of the kids at work have horrible penmanship and can’t understand the things they’ve written–which defeats the purpose of having it written down. Also, I think better when I write with a pencil or a pen. When I was working on my novel Terrible Miss Margo, I tried to type it, but all I did was sit there. When I got a pen and some paper out and began scribbling and scratching away and never stopped. Anyway, write in cursive.

Chanel Pour Monsieur

I’ve been in Paris for the last week, which is why this post has been delayed and is longer than usual. While I was there, I took myself to the original Chanel boutique on the Rue Cambon and had a marvelous time being treated like a wealthy socialite, admiring the fashion, watching the simpering assistants, touring restricted areas, and smelling all the fragrances. Since Chanel is a women’s fashion house, I decided to buy myself some men’s cologne, which is the only real men’s item they seem to sell. I’ve never had a fragrance of my own. I’ll occasionally wear a scent by Lacroix, but that is only so that I can say, “Lacroix, sweetie darling!” if anybody asks me. Nobody ever does.

So, while there, I chose the fragrance called Chanel Pour Monsieur, their first fragrance for men and allegedly based on the same profile as the famous No. 5. It does have a similarity, but I don’t think they’re very close. It is lovely though. I like to smell myself. So, when I’m sitting here at work in the cold in the middle of Iowa, I catch a whiff of Chanel and am transported back to my real home: Paris.

“I Would” by One Direction


I didn’t plan on being a fan, but I could not help myself. Who could resist those handsome young men and their catchy lyrics and fantastic hairstyles? Nobody can. When I was in London last week, I was shocked and appalled and ill at ease that One Direction didn’t seem to be a big deal there and I couldn’t find them anywhere. Everybody was listening to Olly Murs, who has charms, I’ll admit, but doesn’t have Zayn’s excellent hair (minus the odd blonde streak). So, on the Eurostar, I rebelled and listened to their new album. What a delight. My favorite song is “I Would” and I can’t stop humming it, whistling it, and singing it. Everybody is just jealous. Listen now and sing along.

Top Model Casting

You all remember how I want to be a model and how much I adore America’s Next Top Model, right? Well, I applied. There was a massive application that I had to fill out and I had to take pictures and make a short video. It was quite detailed, more in depth than I had expected (they wondered if I had any experiences at nude beaches amongst other things), and very personal. But, I got it all together and shipped off to California. I didn’t expect to hear anything for a while, I’m sure there were hundreds of applications that they would have to sort through. Amazingly, the next day, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. Warily, I answered and heard the following: “Is this Benjamin?” Yes, I said, hoping the telemarketer would soon be away. Then she said, “This is Molly from America’s Next Top Model.” I sat there gasping for breath like a fish out of water. They loved my pictures. They loved them. I’m dying. They invited me to an invitation only interview, but since I lived far from them, they’re letting me send in another more detailed video. I mailed that one off today. Am I really going to be on top? Ermahgerd!!!!

Kathy Griffin

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Kathy and her brand of comedy. She’s not a traditional comedienne, by any means, she doesn’t write jokes, really, she just tells embellished stories that are amazing. She parodies and lampoons Hollywood and they love/hate her for it. She seems like the kind of lady that even though she’s a successful star in her own right, she doesn’t believe it herself and so we can have a gabfest about the latest thing Lindsay did. Last night she was in Ames and I was so happy to finally be able to see her. She was even funnier than I thought she would be. We discussed Justin and Oprah and Demi and the other Demi and Lindsay and Britney and Cher. Oh, Cher! The Cher bits were my very favorite. I love her impersonation of Cher’s inimitable voice. I can’t think of anything more marvelous than spending a day with Kathy and Cher at her mansion in Malibu. If you aren’t familiar with Kathy (and shame on you) look up her standup on YouTube and watch her talk show when it comes back on Bravo in January.


Missing culture fair

I really couldn’t be more thrilled to leave for Europe this Friday. This post will probably be delayed because of that, but whatever, I’m sure you are all more patient than I will ever be. I’m not at all patient and I don’t like waiting. And as happy as I am to be catwalking (that’s going to be a verb now, okay?) through the streets of London and Paris, I am upset to be missing the Culture Fair. The seventh graders that I work with have spent the past few weeks researching different countries throughout the world and their languages and foods. And if you know me, you know how much I love languages and foods. I love eating and I love learning how to order food in foreign languages. I also love travel and culture and everything foreign–so, I love everything about the Culture Fair. But, I won’t be able to attend and I’m rather upset, maybe there will be a freak blizzard and it will be delayed until I get back? I hope not. Snow is worse than having me miss the Culture Fair.

Too Much Soup

This isn’t really a hate, more of a complaint. I love soup. It’s basically my favorite food. I consider it a food group. I eat as much of it as I can. I want to open a soup restaurant featuring soup, soup, soup, soup, and bread. Also, lovely desserts. I make fabulous potato soup, tomato-basil soup, minestrone soup, and French onion soup. I love them all, but French onion soup isn’t a soup that I want a lot of or want every day. In my refrigerator, I have eight cups of delicious French onion soup, but I’m sick to death of it already. I think I’ll freeze it when I get home and save it for another day. I’d say snowy day, but the thought of a snowy day makes me want to kill myself.

Not being Ryan Murphy’s friend

Many things in my life are inexplicable: why don’t I have a modeling contract, why I wasn’t born a prince, why don’t I live on the beach, why I don’t have abs? But not being Ryan Murphy’s friend/creative partner is baffling to me. I think we share the same brain, either that or he is mining my brain for ideas. It is very odd to me to see the many similarities between my own interests and projects and American Horror Story. I wrote the book before the show, so I’m guessing it was somehow stolen from my hard drive and then incorporated into the show. I mean: insane asylum, religious overtones, crazy Southern belles, bloody and overdone murders, tragic endings, and beautiful old brick buildings. When the book is finally published, maybe he will see that we should have been collaborating a long time ago and we will work on the next season together. I mean, the man put Anne Frank in the last episode. Anne Frank! That’s a stroke of genius I would normally only imagine myself doing. Years ago I outlined a musical called Anne Frankenstein. It’d be amazing. I hate that we aren’t friends.

Underdone Rice

There is nothing more horrible than digging into a big bowl of rice, fresh out of the rice cooker, to find the grains only halfway done and hard. I think my rice cooker is on the fritz. I don’t know what that expression means and that bothers me. My espresso machine is also in the fritz. That bothers me something fierce. Anyway, I hope today’s rice turns out nicer because I hate getting chunks off uncooked rice stuck in my teeth. If not, I may have to go shopping. Will Santa bring me a nice rice cooker this year?

iOS Messages Not Sending

I love Apple and adore everything they do. I might not buy every single one of their products, but I do lust for them and would be very happy to have them. Currently I’m ogling the new iMac. It’s so beautiful. But, for as much as I love this wonderful company, they do sometimes infuriate me. For instance, the disc reader sucks on my laptop. I put in a CD or a DVD and it spins it around a few times before spitting it back out at me. Rude. My newest annoyance is with their Messages program. When it works, it’s fabulous, but when it doesn’t, I fume. Yesterday, I sent a message that wasn’t delivered for four hours. Four hours! Ain’t nobody got time for that. Hold on…oh my sweet God. I’ve just discovered the greatest website. Wait for it:31121200

Finally it went through and the world continued to revolve, but at that time, I was the pissiest boy on Earth.

Jet lag

In all my travels around the world, I have never ever had jet lag. I just go. I’ve never had to readjust my internal clock. I’ve woken when needed and slept when needed. I’m guessing this is because my sleeping is a mess anyway. I don’t get nearly enough. Five or six hours if I’m lucky per night plus the occasional nap. And the hasn’t been often lately, life has been hectic. Last week I was in Europe having a marvelous time, totally adjusted to the local time, but when I returned home, for the very first time, it hit me. I was exhausted all the time. I felt like I was continually about to nod off. I longed for my bed and my couches. When I got home from work on Tuesday, I went straight to bed and didn’t wake up for fourteen hours. I’m getting over it now, but now when it’s late, I’m even more tired than normal. Last night’s very late video making did not help. But, when I’m a top model, it’ll all be worth it.

Nervous Exhaustion

My body has unique solution to unusual events. If I’m overexcited or angry or sad or scared or nervous, I’ll just shut down. I go right to sleep. I guess my brain does not like to process what I might be going through. So on Wednesday, after I received my Top Model phone call and got all my exploding energy out, I started getting drowsy. I knew what it was, but I had to stop it. I had to tape more videos! I was quite lethargic. It was dreadful. I need to find a solution for this.


It’s 20-freaking-12, why are we still using DVDs? Why isn’t everything digital? What purpose is there in a DVD? I think if you were to want a physical media of some sort, the most logical thing would be a flash drive. High quality content and instantaneous connection. DVDs are so passé. Have you tried burning a DVD lately? It’s maddeningly old school. I love the last, but I love the advancement of technology. I had to edit my audition tape and then try to remember how to put it on disc. The first two times failed. That always happens to me. I hate discs. I applaud Apple for removing them from her computers. There is almost no need for them.

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