Things I Loved/Hated This Week #30




I tried to think of a way to introduce this post without using an annoyingly common phrase such as “spontaneity is the spice of life.” Alas and alack (nobody says that anymore), I could think of nothing else and so I’ll beg with — spontaneity is the spice of life! I hate getting into tedious doldrums. It happens to me all the time. With work and a regular routine, it’s difficult for this not to happen, so I constantly look for ways to do something new. I don’t drive — won’t drive — so it makes it a bit difficult for me to jaunt off on an adventure, which could simply be a trip to the Whole Foods salad bar — oh Allah, what I wouldn’t give to have some salad right now! I was soaking in the tub the other night, listening to an Egyptian radio station on my iPad and marveling at the Internet. You can do so many things that were once  impossible and you can do them with such ease. In a few clicks, I can go on a virtual tour of New York and listen to a live stream of a French radio station while I download an episode of Joan Rivers’ delightful podcast, In Bed With Joan (more on that later). Inspired by the middle Eastern music, I thought longingly of Egypt and lamented the fact that there is nowhere in Des Moines or elsewhere that would inspire me with ancient Egyptian artifacts. We used to have a shop called Egyptian Treasures that would sell reproduction scrolls and ushabti figurines and incense. It was like going to a souk — kind of, but not really. I just like saying souk. Let’s say it together:  SOUK! Such fun! That shop closed and relocated to one of the malls, but it closed again and was supposed to be reopening as an independent shop, but I have heard nothing about it. Maybe Donald (the charming proprietor) gave it up? Wouldn’t blame him, but where am I going to buy my ushabtis? Faux Egyptian relics don’t really seem to be that big of a draw here. So, as I continued to soak, my mind wandered to Chicago and the Oriental Institute. It houses a well-respected museum of Egyptian antiquities and other things from surrounding empires of the ancient world. It would be nice to go there, I mused, but gave that thought up quickly. Going to Chicago would be too expensive, and besides, who would go with me? The next afternoon, while finishing off some Victoria Sponges for the coffee shop, it hit me that I could take the MegaBus and I could go by myself. I’m a grown up, guys. I just realized it. So, I bought a ticket and I’m going to spend the day in Chicago. Holla, spontaneity! I’m going to go shopping and eat and maybe go to afternoon tea and stroll along the beach and dress nice and have a great time. Hurry up, weekend!



When you love doing something, the sad fact of the matter is that you will eventually find it loathsome. I adore baking but for some time, I’ve found that finding the desire and the will to do it has been lacking in me. Not sure why this is, but the very thought of making a cake was enough to make me fall into a protective nap on the couch. That’s an odd thing I do. When I’m faced with something I’d rather not deal with, I simply fall asleep. Not always the most convenient solution, but it has its perks, I suppose. I discovered that the reason I have been disinterested in cookery is that I am an awful procrastinator. My motto is:  always put off until tomorrow (or the next day) what you can do today. So what if you don’t get everything done? As long as you dress well, aren’t fat, can make polite conversation, and have a bit of money — nothing else is really worth worrying over. On Sunday, I had a baking order and I was grumpy about it, but I decided to go over in the mid-afternoon and I had the nicest time baking Victoria Sponges and macarons. Perhaps it was because everything went divinely or it was a sunny day or I was just in the mood, but I haven’t had such a nice time in a good long while. I must remember to get my baking out of the way first thing on days I have an order, then carry on with the rest of the boring, repetitious items on my to do list. I swear to Allah, I am sick to death of doing a bit of editing every day. I effing hate editing, but that can’t be helped — everybody loathes it and it comes inevitably with the territory of being an aspiring writer. But, baking is fun. I need to remember that!

New MacBook Pro:


[Tom Daley and I both have MacBook Pros — mine’s newer — but I still think this means that we’re soulmates. ]

I held off buying a new MacBook for a long time. It wasn’t all that hard to do as the one I’ve had since I graduated has worked just fine for ages. Not too many worries, I never filled the hard drive and it worked decently. But over time, little annoyances crept up: the scratch, the missing grip, the lag in response time, the nonfunctional disc drive. And so, after seeing the new anorexic MacBook Pros with retina screens, I knew I had to have one. So, I charged it and fell passionately in love yesterday afternoon when it arrived on my doorstep. I ordered a refurbished one because it was cheaper than my educator discount and had a decent hard drive — still half the size of my current computer, and that’s my only concern. Other than that, I am madly in love. I’m obsessed, you could say. The battery life is much better than the half hour I managed on the other one. Apple claims that you can get seven hours, but I have my doubts about this. The screen is absolutely gorgeous — it’s so much clearer than you can imagine and makes such a difference. It also makes websites and application that aren’t HD very annoying. I’m looking at you Facebook and Spotify. The speakers are unreal — it’s like surround sound and it freaked me out when I heard them the first time. All in all, I’m in awe over that pricy little computer and I can’t wait to use it for years to come! I can’t wait to get home and transfer the rest of my files over and sell the old one. Ciao!

Detox on Drag Race Finale:


Did you all hear the exciting news about Jinkx Monsoon winning this season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race? I nearly wept. It was so deserved. Alaska deserved it, too, but there is something amazingly transformative about Jinkx. Roxxxy was also in the final three, but it was evident that she was not up to the caliber of the other queens. As if to reinforce this point, at the reunion Detox showed up looking fiercer than all of them. Decked out as an old Hollywood bombshell, she outshone all the other queens. I was in awe. She was done totally in greyscale, which is something I have never seen before and constantly want to see now. I want to dress in greyscale all the time. But it was more than her clothes — even her makeup was in grey! I wept with the glamour of it all. It could have been so gaudy, but the end result was such perfection that you wondered if your television was playing tricks on you or if the color settings had been fiddled with. It was beautiful. I want to dress like this for Halloween. Look at these pictures and admire them.

Finale, Reunion & Coronation Taping Of Logo TV's "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 5 - Arrivals



In Bed With Joan:

You all know how I absolutely adore Joan, right? I consider us close friends because I’ve seen her with my own eyes and because she has sent me an autographed picture. Even though I haven’t a clue what her little note says to me, I cherish it and it is one of the prides of my celebrity autograph wall — soon to spread to a second wall! I recently received a Bette Davis signature so beautiful that it makes me a bit weepy. I still need to buy a frame for that one and hang it up. Now I have: Joan Rivers, Joan Crawford, Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Anne Rice, Joan Fontaine, and Bette Davis. I need to procure some more from living legends: please respond to me, Olivia de Havilland, I worship you! Anyway, I love Miss Rivers and consider her one of my comedy icons. Her book, I Hate Everyone…Starting With Myself was the inspiration that started this blog series. She has a new podcast that comes out every week that is filmed in her daughters guest bedroom. It’s ridiculous and lots of fun. On television and in print, she cannot be as wild as she desires, but on the Internet she can say whatever she damn well pleases and does. I have loved watching each of the episodes. They are funny, of course, but she also asks very interesting questions about the craft of comedy and why comedians are they way they are. Actors and singers and other celebrities pop up, too, like Kelly Osbourne, and though these people are not comedians in the traditional sense, it’s hard not to be hilarious around Joan. I adore her. I wish I were famous enough to be on her show, it would probably be the highlight of my life. Call me, I’ll pay my own expenses!


Viva Forever Closing:


It is absolutely devastating to me that the Jennifer Saunders-penned-Spice Girls-inspired-musical was declared a flop and that it is coming to a close at the end of next month. I have long planned on going to see it because if there are two things I’m passionate about it’s Jennifer Saunders and the Spice Girls. Victoria Beckham is one of my spirit animals, after all. I know that it is supposed to be horrible, but that wouldn’t matter to me. I was hoping I could go in November, when I was in London, but the premiere was a week after I left. Hashtag sadface. I assumed it would run for a little while — long enough for me to catch it later, maybe when I fly into London to fly to Cairo over Christmas, or something like that, but it’s not meant to be. I’m gutted, really — see, I’ve gone all British. How are you? [Holla at the French & Saunders reference!] After the news of the show’s demise reached my well-formed ears, I immediately ran to Expedia to book a ticket to London, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $1200 for what would amount to a weekend trip. I won’t ever forgive myself for not going, it will live in my memory as a regret for the rest of my days, but what can I do? I can only go so many places per year and my schedule is full and budget way over. Let’s weep into our cocktails. You did make yourself a cocktail didn’t you, dear reader?

Traditional Books:


I love books. I adore them. I like looking at them, but I have gotten to the point where I don’t actually like reading them. I love eBooks. I am a total convert. If I’m going to read a book, I want to read it on my iPad, I don’t want to drag it around with me. I’m reading an excellent book called Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief right now and I’m exhausted from lugging it from class to class in addition to the other things I need with me for work. Yesterday, a tragedy befell me when I read the final installment of the Amelia Peabody series. I wept as she said, “Let’s go home…to Egypt.” Oh no, I’m tearing up again. I thought that there would be other eBooks by Elizabeth Peters available, but sadly no, so I’m lost. I don’t want to be done. I want there to be hundreds of thousands of Amelia stories. Those wonderful stories have reignited the flaming passion I have for Egyptology that has always been within me. I don’t know what I’m going to do without them. I guess I’ll go back to reading one of my other favorite authors:  Anne Rice. I have most of her books downloaded on my iPad already, so I already have them with me and don’t have to lug a giant tome along with me. You know, I love eBooks so much that I won’t really mind all that much if my future publications are exclusively digital. I know!

Afternoon Tea Kerfuffle:


When I went to London last November, I had the nicest time going by myself to the Petrie  Museum of Egyptian Archaeology followed by tea at the Montague. I dressed to the nines and had a great time, even if my sister was being a classless bitch of amazing proportions. Speaking of that phrase, dressed to the nines, do you know why we say that? A friend once told me that it’s because there are about nine yards of fabric in a suit. I don’t know if this is true, but needless to say, my mind was blown. When I go to Chicago this weekend, I’m going to visit the Oriental Institute and love wandering around the Egyptological exhibits. There’s a giant statue of King Tutankhamun! Cannot wait. I thought it would be nice to repeat my London excursion by going to an afternoon tea at one of the fine restaurants. So, I found the best place — The Drake, where the Queen herself had taken tea in the 50s — and called to place a reservation. They basically laughed me off the phone, charmingly of course, they’re a classy hotel. The place is booked up. They wouldn’t even put me on a waiting list because it was already a mile long. Impressed by the popularity, I decided that I’ll have to go to Chicago again sometime to experience this. Then, I called the Plaza, the Ritz, the Four Seasons, and the Peninsula only to find that they’re all booked! The Peninsula was good enough to put me on a waiting list, so if somebody cancels, they’ll give me a call. I have never been so thwarted in my life! I always get what I want one way or the other and I am not happy accepting defeat. The Ritz was kind enough to remind me that it was Mother’s Day weekend. Shit, I thought, I’m not going to get anywhere. So, if I don’t have tea it won’t be the end of the world, but I need to make some luncheon and dinner reservations tonight so that I’ll have someplace to eat. I need at least one fancy expensive meal. It’s what brings me joy. I love food! I love dressing up! I love being fancy. Let’s hope it works out or I can schmooze my way into a reservation.

iTunes Match Mess:


When I first heard about iTunes Match, I wasn’t convinced — much as it happens with a good many Apple products. I’m a devoted worshiper of their technology, but even I am oftentimes skeptical of their new announcements. I wasn’t a fan of the iPad the first time I saw it, but after using one and buying one the first day they were available, I fell madly in love. I have learned that even if a product seems unnecessary or bizarre, it only seems so because it is ahead of its time. All competitors are poor imitation, like that Surface tablet — have you ever seen one in the wild? Me neither. Why wouldn’t you buy into a beautiful and well-groomed world like Apple provides? I’m getting off track. Back to iTunes Match. Didn’t think I’d ever need it. But then I got to thinking. I bought a new laptop that has about half the storage of my old one, which is a problem, but I could not bring myself to spend even more money on a bigger hard drive. I have a lot of music — a ridiculous amount really, that I need to start getting rid of. I don’t listen to it all. There’s no need to have it all cluttering up my iTunes. So, I didn’t want to store all of these files on my new computer and fill it up from day one. I subscribed to iTunes Match and watched in horror as seventy-five percent of my library said it was in eligible. “Quoi?” I shouted exasperatedly, things like this always happen. It turns out that years ago, in one of my many attempts to save some disk space, I formatted my library to a high quality but low sized file. Great at the time, but iTunes Match is very specific about the type of files they upload. They have to be a certain bit rate. So, in order to get them onto iTunes Match, I have had to once again reformat the music and then let it upload to the cloud. It is taking forever, but it is working wonders. The cloud is where the future is, people! Now, if only they would have something for pictures. I have so many pictures that I need to save someplace. Le sigh…I’ll figure it out.

Old Blog Conversion:


I absolutely adore my website right now. It rarely fights me and I don’t have to deal with the annoying program I used to. I loved iWeb, but it really was a doomed system. Slow, difficult, and full of formatting problems. On WordPress, I don’t have any of these problems and blogging has become a breeze. I couldn’t be happier. But in the interest of self preservation — and to make my future memoir research simpler — I am slowly (and I mean slowly) posting old blogs from my old site to my new, much cleaner, much more attractive site. I’m a proficient procrastinator, so this process is difficult for me. I get distracted when I read my posts and then I get inspired to look something up and then before I know it, I’m having the library order books for me while listening to an obscure vocalist from South America. You don’t know how many times this has happened to me. I have about one hundred more posts, most of them dealing with my time at pastry school in Paris, so it will be fun to go back through those memories. I do miss Paris awfully. I should just move there. That’s where I am happy and am truly myself — that’s a fact, reader, when I’m in Paris, I can barely recognize myself for the joy that radiates out of me. I need to finish the conversion soon since the files are all saved on my old computer that I’m going to sell in the next few weeks. Such sad parting, but it is nothing compared to my new MacBook Pro!

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