Things I Loved/Hated This Week #34

LOVE:

Piano Songs I Can Actually Play:

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For some reason, people think that I am musical. Yes, I was the best clarinetist at Perry Schools for six years and yes I took piano lessons for longer than that and yes I took all the music classes available and even insisted on having more, but I am not very talented at music. I’m much more talented in convincing people that I’m talented. It’s a gift. Very few people saw through my charade, so I’m rather proud. I always wanted to be good at the piano, but I never had the inclination. I enjoy playing piano, but I don’t enjoy lessons. I don’t like lessons on anything! I loathe being taught. I like learning all by my lonesome. That’s how I’m most successful I’ve discovered. But, I took lessons for a good long time, faking my way through it for over half a decade. My piano teacher always, I think, thought highly of my abilities even though I rarely gave her reason to believe in them. Good of her. I just was never into it. I didn’t want to learn theories. I don’t care about knowing how to transpose music from one key to one with seventeen flats. That’s not real, I’m not that musically illiterate. The most is seven. #boom! I didn’t want to memorize scales and I didn’t want to play Bach. I wanted to play popular music and that’s it. So, I didn’t really put much effort into my piano education. Sad, that. I recently rediscovered my interest in it, though, when I was rummaging around some old sheet music in an antique store. See, I listen to music from yesteryear just as much, if not more, than current popular music. I’m well-versed in popular music, so when I saw old songs that I loved for piano, I bought them. I stockpiled them. Recently, I decided to actually learn how to play the songs in case I am ever asked to tickle the ivories at one of those elegant cocktail parties nobody hosts anymore. As I said in a prior post, LET’S BRING COCKTAIL PARTIES BACK! I have chosen three to learn so far and I think I’m doing a rather excellent job. Oddly, though, I can’t play happy songs, I have a melancholy soul, it seems, so the sad songs are the ones I do best at. Right now I’m learning: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “I’ll Never Stop Loving You,” and “Miss Otis Regrets.” If you don’t know any of those, shame on you. Maybe I’ll even memorize these ones eventually, Jidjii would be so proud.

Wireless Charger For Cell Phone:

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This is only theoretically in my love category for this week, but I’m so charmed by the idea that I can’t help but be passionately enamored over it. I have long loved the idea of wireless energy. No need for cables or chargers or batteries or any of that nonsense — electrical particles would simply be in the air and technological devices that had need of power would simply pick them up the way phones can connect to a cellular network or computers connect to a wireless router. It makes perfect sense and is absolutely genius and it works. It’s been demonstrated several times in my memory and each time I’ve been gobsmacked at the potential usefulness of this technology. For reasons I don’t understand, but surely have something to do with corporate greed, this isn’t yet a commonly used technology, but I’m sure it will be soon. Just imagine never having to charge your laptop! I’m weeping at the thought. The one I use now can allegedly get up to seven hours of life on a single charge — but I’ve never gotten past five, but that’s still better than any computer I’ve ever used. The new MacBook Airs that Apple released yesterday have a twelve hour battery. I broke down sobbing at that point. Can you imagine something so wondrous? I can’t! But back to wireless electricity. Allegedly the cell phone that I have right now is capable of this, there are two little brass sockets next to the battery where you install an adaptor. Then, you lay the phone on its charging pad and the electricity flows from the pad into the phone. It’s not quite the wireless charging of my dreams because it still has to be charged and has to be charged on the pad, but it’s a start. Theoretically, I’ll never have to plug my cell phone into a wall outlet ever again after this device arrives later this week/early next week. I’m excited and wary and thrilled and dubious. It all sounds like witchcraft! [UPDATE: The charger arrived today and it works as described. Two came! I think it was an accident, but whatever!]

Long Walks:

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I’m sure that you all recall my burning contempt for exercise. Yes? I just hate it. No fun at all. All that unnecessary movement and pain, but more than that, the unending boredom. It is sooooooo boring to exercise. You can’t check your Twitter while you’re doing pushups and when you get running too fast, you suddenly find yourself unable to keep up with your Beyoncé concert and have to resort to fantastic lipsynching — but you feel like you’re cheating on your good friend, Bey. I know that I’m not alone. I have started doing an exercise that I have always loved: long walks. They are brilliant. I know they work great for keeping you in shape for a multitude of reasons. Whenever I live in big cities, I immediately start losing weight even though I eat a ton of food and consume an unreasonable amount of pastries. Why, I wondered, one day, but then realized that it’s because I walk everywhere. I can power walk from one side of Paris to the next. When I can’t sleep, I’m power walking all through the Marais and the islands and Bastille. It’s good fun to walk. Everybody knows how to walk. You don’t even have to power walk — just walk! So, over the past few days I’ve been catching up on my podcasts (currently the Paranormal Podcast, which I love — check it out) and walking six miles. I’m going to go for eight today right after I finish eating. You got to power your walks, you know! I also read that walking is a great ab exercise because your legs are connected to them or something? I didn’t really follow along. So, the benefits are plenty: fitness, abs, thinking time/podcast time, tanning time. Go for a walk, reader!

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tarts:

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Right after I suffered demoralizing racism and all sorts of other -isms on the the L Train in Chicago whilst trying to understand how the peasantry lives, I hurried back downtown to be amongst the rich and fashionable. Hunger had gripped me after this experience, so I gratefully found a table at the Ralph Lauren Restaurant. You’ve already heard me rhapsodize on and on about this place, so I’m sure I needn’t go on too much. They had the most incredible food. I will forever remember their goat cheese and onion tart. Heaven. It was absolutely heaven! Last night, in the mood to recreate that experience, I picked a salad out of the garden and whipped up a tart. I always have tart dough on hand, and that’s a convenience I’d recommend you all start doing. Mine is a sweet dough, though, so I should probably have a plain dough, too. No matter, it worked out marvelously. I slowly cooked down some onions in butter and oil with a sprig of thyme out of the garden — the herbs are doing magnificently this year! — spread some warm goat cheese in the bottom of my tart shell, put the onion on top, and then I gorged. Oh reader, it was wonderful. It was divine. It was perfect. I’m going to make another one for dinner and have a slice of mint-chocolate tart for dessert. You can never have enough tarts.

Golden Sisters:

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I’ve spoken a lot about reality television and you know how much I love it and why I love it. (Refresher: reality television is nothing but enhanced reality that does not exist and I want to live in imagination.) I’ve told you all about my favorite reality shows — and there have been plenty. Honey Boo Boo is coming back this July and I hear there’s an episode where she and Mama June go to the ocean for the first time. Already stockpiling tissues for that episode. There is nothing better than the ocean, peasants; travel, see the world. But back to Golden Sisters. When I first heard of it, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was going to be a rip-off of the Golden Girls, but then the beginnings of an episode taped at the end of Life With La Toya (sweet Jesus, my dear readers, you MUST watch that one, too!) and from the moment I saw those three old women, I was hooked. I was more than hooked. I became obsessed. When I’m old, I want to be just like them! Mary, Teresa, and Josie became famous after they taped themselves talking about the Kim Kardashian sex tape while they watched it. Genius. I want to be Terry! She’s my absolute favorite. Her sisters are always calling her fat, but she doesn’t give a crap. She goes to the buffets in Vegas and fills up plastic bags full of food. She has the most amazing 1930s hairstyle. She’s an agent who represents Shia LaBeouf. She’s hilarious. I LOVE HER. The show is genius. It’s on OWN, which has finally come into its…wait for it…oh it’s good…I’m proud of this one…it’s finally come into its OWN! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, laughter! The show follows the sisters around as they carry on with their life — at the talent agency, at the salon, at home, at a vineyard, at Vegas. Each episode is a total delight. It’s the best thing on television. If you aren’t watching, you’re a complete and total fool. Here are some quotes because I love you:

“Eating and making money at the same time? Yes please.”

“My family has a bad history with buffets.”

“I’ve never represented a porn star before, but I’m open to it, if she’s talented. I mean with her acting.”

“That’s Greek…that’s what the Greeks do.”

“Terry stop it! I’m been gambling since I was 15.”

“She’s crazy!”

These are all funnier if you watch the show, mind you, which as I said, you need to start doing. It’s on every Wednesday. Go!

HATE:

Waiting for iOS 7:

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I didn’t plan to sit at my elegant table for a few hours this morning watching the live stream of the Apple announcements. I try to ignore them each time because they suck me in, but Apple won again. I love Apple. I won’t use anything else. I don’t even know how to use Windows computers anymore. At work, when the kids have questions about how to do something on their computers (or the laptops they’re all getting next year, Krishna save us!), I give a Parisian shrug and shuffle dramatically away. I’m incredibly helpful. I can’t help it,though, I’m an Apple person. So, this morning, I sat and drooled at all the new information about iOS 7. The new features are fun and stuff, but that’s not as important as how pretty it is. It’s freaking gorgeous! I cannot wait to download it onto my iPad. How long must I wait, though? Bear with…bear with…bear with…I have to wait until the fall! I’m not amused. I’m finally (FINALLY) getting an iPhone this fall, so I suppose my patience will be tested in ways I’ve never before experienced. Well, I suppose I’d better go for my eight-mile walk and get my mind off the injustices of life.

My Absolutely Dreadful Writing Of Years Past:

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Ever since I bought my new laptop, I have been transitioning myself off of the old one. This was fairly simple to do aside from the veritable mountain of pictures I have taken over the past years and my old blog. It used to be hosted on an Apple service that they got rid of — one of the few things that Apple has ever done to annoy me. But, now, I’m awfully glad that they did. It forced me to redo my blog with a new system and I started using WordPress, which is what you see now, and I’m madly in love with it. It feels more like my own website than any I’ve ever had in the past. I can customize it however I’d like and should I ever get tired of this perfect (to me, at least) theme, I can easily change it. It just works nicely, so I must thank Apple for suddenly removing my old website from the Internet. All the data was still on my old computer, though, and I decided to slowly copy and paste all my old pictures and posts onto this website and I’m very nearly done! Only a day or two more and then I can delete the old files and say “Auf Wiedersehen!” But, then, to my horror, I recalled that I had yet another blog before that one — my very first blog — when I went to Europe for the very first time in 2007. So, I’ll be transitioning those posts over as well, loathe though I am to do so. Why am I so annoyed with this transition? Well, my dear reader, it forces me to reread all my terrible writings of the past. They were dreadful. My writing was simple and dull and full of errors I would not dream of making today. I have learned so much about good writing from my novel, Terrible Miss Margo. (I do hope that you’ll be able to buy that in the years to come. I’m hard at work on making that a possibility.) So, when I look back on my old prose with the perspective of a much more talented writer, it pains me to read them. They were awful, so if you’ve been reading for the past six years (I’m ancient…), I applaud you and would award you a gold star if I could. Besides the awful writing, I’ve had to see pictures of myself from back when I didn’t know anything about fashion. I was fat, reader! I was more than fat, I’m sure that I was obese. I had forgotten all about that. I mean, I remember that I was fat, but I had forgotten what I looked like and how disgusting I felt and how unattractive I was and how much meat I ate. I read and look at these posts and wonder who that overweight moron was who sat in a stunning apartment in Paris and let the world go by while he moaned and groaned and ate cheese ravioli and did nothing all day. I didn’t socialize. I rarely went exploring. I didn’t attempt to better myself. I just sat around in a funk. I’m not that person anymore, thank Buddha. Maybe I’m still not the most social person, but I’m thin and gorgeous and vegetarian and spontaneous and willing to communicate with people. I’ve completely changed from that person I was and for that I’m immensely grateful. So, I suppose it might have been a good learning experience to transition all these blogs, but even so, I can’t wait until I’ve finished doing it so that I can forget about them and go back to the false memories I have that are much chicer than reality.

My Mail Carrier:

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I hate my mail carrier. I always have. We’ve had like three and I have disliked all of them. I don’t remember any more than two, so we might just have had two. The first one was old and grizzled. Good word that, grizzled. Let’s say it together…one…two…three…GRIZZLED! What fun we have! He would ask questions about neighbors and about your life and it was just uncomfortable and rather unprofessional. He seemed kind of like a child molester, but that was probably just the beard. He finally retired, thank you, Allah! But, the new one is even worse! I haven’t met them yet in person, just over the phone, and he is a complete idiot. He has messed up our mail delivery at least three or four times this year. We will get the neighbor’s mail or mail that goes places nowhere near the house. Other neighbors will drive our mail up hoping that their mail will be at our place. Sometimes it is, other times not. It’s awfully annoying. So the other day I bought a grab bag of underwear from my favorite underwear company, Andrew Christian, (email me, yes I will model for you!) and eagerly tracked the package from Los Angeles to my house. When it said delivered, I went to the mailbox to fetch it, but it wasn’t there. Annoyed, I assumed it was just a technical glitch and waited for the next day, but it still hadn’t arrived, so I had to call the post office to inform them of the issue. Then the mail carrier called and told me that he had put it by one of my doors (I only have one door where mail would be delivered). He was very confused and I don’t think he believed me, which annoyed me. Then the neighbors drove up and delivered my mail. Thanks, neighbors! I had to then call the post office to let them know how incompetent their mail carrier was. I hope he gets fired and they rehire the child molester look alike. At least he never screwed up my mail.

Email on my Cell Phone:

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I try and try to like my phone, but I constantly fail. It’s through no fault of my own; the phone forces me to loathe it. I cannot honestly understand why Android phones have found a place in the marketplace, I have had three now and all of them have been nothing but trouble. Amusingly enough, the one I currently use is the least problematic of the three. It at least does a few things. My plan is at US Cellular, a good enough company that is foolish enough to not have the iPhone. They’ve resisted since 2007. I just can’t understand why. The fools have finally given in and later on this year they are finally getting them and I’m going to be one of those people lining up for a couple days ahead of time to make sure I get mine. It’ll probably be the happiest day of my life. In all my future successes and joyous moments, I’ve no doubt that this day will forever rank among the best. I just love Apple so! Instead, I’m stuck with the Samsung Galaxy SIII. It’s alright, really it is, except for one thing: no matter what I do, no matter what setting I use, no matter which app I choose, the damned thing refuses to give me my email. Nothing can fix this, and believe you me, I have tried and tried. I spent an hour yesterday downloading new mail apps and trying to make my messages come through, but to no avail. I’ve given up on using the machine to do anything but text with anyway. It will only connect to the Internet when it’s in the mood to, and that’s never when I need it. I will have a full 4G signal and it will tell me that it’s having trouble connecting. I take exceptional issue with this. I hope the iPhone doesn’t end up being a terrible disappointment. I won’t recover. Still, though, whatever it can do will be infinitely better than this crap I’ve got now. I try to love it, I do try, but I just can’t. Le sigh…

Films Over One Hour and Forty Minutes: 

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I adore cinema. I do. I really do, but it drives me out of my mind! You remember last year’s absolutely ridiculous resolution to watch a movie every single day? How could you forget? It was beyond stupid. I can’t believe I finished it. I’m awfully proud of myself. I saw lots of great movies, but I saw giant piles of steaming shit. SO MANY BAD FILMS! You would not believe how rarely a good film comes along. It’s next to never. Over the course of the year, I saw twenty that were excellent and maybe ten or fifteen more that were palatable. Rice cakes are palatable, but you don’t want to eat them all the time. Films are the same way. I felt like the screener at a literary agency wanting to scream, “NEXT!” at the screen and move on, but I forced myself to sit through them. I rarely watch movies now and it is wonderful. I’m very selective with what I watch. If it’s not good, I immediately turn it off and send it back to Netflix or delete it from the DVR. I don’t have time to waste. Anyway, I started watching Les Miserables the other day and I’m having a hard time with it. It’s just too damn long. I have a great willingness to appreciate art and beauty, but I am finding the film to be tedious. It’s two hours and forty minutes long! That’s enough time to drive to town, have dinner, do a bit of shopping, and come home. You could drive three-quarters of the way to Minneapolis. You could clean your house four times over. You could read half of a book. You could take a nap. You could have a complete affair. You could do research. You could create a masterpiece. You could get an entire new hairstyle. You could write a dozen letters. You could catch up on Golden Sisters. You could outline a novel. You could write the whole of a short story and edit a bit. You could plant an entire garden. You could go for a long bicycle ride. Or you could sit on your ass for nearly three hours and listen to Russell Crowe sing at you. I refuse to see it in one sitting. I’m going to cut it up into half hour segments. It’s the only way I’ll manage. When I finally break into Hollywood as Sylvia Browne told me I would (that’s true, mind you!), I will make sure all the films I produce/direct/write will clock in under an hour and forty minutes (never over two!). People don’t have to spend their lives in a theater or on their couch, they need to be amused and entertained and then carry on. Are you with me? I can’t be the only on who feels this way.

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