Things I Loved / Hated This Week #40

LOVE:

“The Last Time I Saw Paris”:

The first time I heard this song, it was one o’clock in the morning and I was walking down Melrose in West Hollywood to a FedEx shop. I had a collection of Eartha Kitt music on Spotify that was completely new to me. This was thrilling, of course, for there is nobody quite as divine as Miss Eartha. When the song came on, I was enchanted at once. It was the perfect melody that recalled my beloved Paris. I got all misty eyed and I laughed and I smiled and I was a sentimental fool. “I dodged the same old taxi cabs, that I had dodged before; the chorus of their squeaky horns was music to my ears.” Then, the ending. “No matter how they change her, I’ll remember her that way.” Well, reader, I kind of broke down emotionally. Eartha’s voice and the feeling and the situation of disliking Hollywood so all combined to make me deliriously happy and morose. I love Paris so much and I want to be there all the time. I listen to this song every day.

Dame Edna Lazarus, Zombie Princess:

Edna does not respect my nap time.

A post shared by Benjamin Phillips (@bdphillips) on

I recently learned that people in the countryside don’t always have exotic animal restrictions. I nearly passed out. You know one of my life dreams is to have a big cat, yes? I’d do everything for it. I’m now rethinking ever moving into the city to lose this opportunity to finally have my tiger, Budapest. What fun we’ll have! In the meantime, though, until I can afford such a wonderful pet, I’ll remain content with the big cat’s equally wonderful smaller version — the house cat! Cats are my very favorite animal and I don’t think there’s ever too many. If I could afford to, I would take in every unwanted cat and raise them and love them and give all my time to them. I would be endlessly happy. There is no greater creature than a cat. People who don’t agree are stupid. Are you stupid, reader? I have my Tiger and Clea, both of whom I’d die for, but I always have it in the back of my mind that they are sadly mortal creatures. Neither of them are on death’s door, thank Allah, but they will be in time. I will probably kill myself when they die. There won’t be a reason to breathe or eat or live. I don’t really want to die, though, so I need to avoid that void. The other day, I found the most charming kitten alone in a weed patch — there are too many of those on the farm. I immediately named her Edna and decided she was my soulmate. I don’t know why I felt this way, we have hundreds of kittens, it seems over the year that vanish and die and grow old or live forever like Penny, who is surely fifteen years old by now. But Edna was different. Precious. Sweet and grey and white and with the most piercing blue eyes. I fell for her at once. She had to go back outside, though, of course. AND THEN SHE DIED! It was over a hundred degrees and she had been taking a nap under the tin cellar door. Buddha only knows how warm it got in there. She baked herself to death, guys. I was inconsolable for days, but tried to get over it, sadly only a handful of kittens from each season are lucky enough to make it to adulthood, what with cars and illnesses and the chupacabras that linger — they’re real. A few days ago, I was outside eating breakfast on my little boardwalk when Edna walked up to me. I screamed! She wasn’t dead. She was reborn or a zombie or resuscitated. I don’t understand! I can only assume that she had suffered some kind of exceptional heatstroke and seemed dead. She must have come to later where we put her sad little body and said, “What the hell?” I wept a bit. She was so beautiful and so kind and I took her in my arms and told her that she never had to worry about accidentally dying again. I would take care of her. I’ve put her upstairs until she can get her shots. I don’t care what it costs, I owe Edna more than most cats, after I pronounced her dead. Oh my sweet Krishna guys, she was in my Reverend Benjamin post last week — do I have the power to wake the dead? Just thought up this week’s sermon. So, back to Edna. I christened her fully: Dame Edna Lazarus, Zombie Princess. Something simple, you know? She’s the sweetest thing in the world and loves to bounce all over and lick your fingers and purrs louder than a plane roars. I love her. I can’t wait to see how fluffy and sweet and naughty and gorgeous she turns out to be — I might even do cat shows! Also, it turns out she’s a boy. Oh well.

“I was sat”:

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British slang is great fun, as we all know. I have loads of favorite expressions, but one of my very favorites is this. Instead of saying “I’m sitting here,” or “she was sitting in front of me,” they say “I’m sat here,” and “she was sat in front of me.” I don’t known why this delights me so much, but I’m starting to use it in my everyday language. I already speak oddly enough. I think it’s because I speak too many languages. My mind is a confusion of different grammar and construction rules and phrases of foreign languages. Though I’m delighted to have learned French, it has ruined my ability to speak English properly. I slur my words a bit more and sometimes put them in the wrong order. Then, I have this weird accent that has developed from years of being American but watching mainly British programming. I don’t say so many words like you people do. Tissue, brochure, aluminum, and more.

Ratatouille:

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Traditional French food is sadly very heavy on the meat and so there are many dishes that I no longer eat or can imagine finding palatable even if I was a carnivore — pressed duck? No thank you. I still get to eat a variation of boeuf bourguignon when I make it with portobello mushrooms, which is honestly, a thousand times better than with chopped up dead cows. Google yourself a recipe for dinner tonight. It’s fantastic. There are a few vegetarian French classics, though, and one of my favorites meals of all is ratatouille. It can be prepared in multiple ways — like a thick stew, gorgeously sliced and arranged, or a combination of the two. The one I make is more of a stew since I don’t often have the patience to layer hundreds of thin slice of eggplant, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Though, I suppose, sometime I will. None of these vegetables is exactly thrilling on its own, but when brought together and slowly cooked down, they transform into something spiritual. Truly, it’s a vegetarian miracle. I made some the other night and the leftovers just keep getting better. Some people serve it over rice or pasta, but I like it spread over a piece of good toasted bread. The trick, though, to elevating this dish, is to spread that toast with goat cheese. You’ll pass out! Aside from the goat cheese, it’s a totally vegan dish, so if you’re of that persuasion, and congratulations if you are, I’m not there, yet, leave that out. There is one tragedy involved with my ratatouille of two nights ago: I used the last of my herbs that I bought in the tiny, mountainous village of Eze, picturesquely located high above the deep turquoise Mediterranean. If I ever had a reason to go back, it’s for more herbs. The ones you can buy here just aren’t that good. Only buy your herbs at charming Provençal spice markets, peasants.

Anne Rice’s Writing:

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Anne Rice is easily one of my favorite authors ever. The way she crafts a story and the elegant language she uses is perfect. Of all the authors I’ve ever read, her novels are the ones that inspire me the most in my own writing. Her prose is unrelentingly romantic and heavily descriptive and that is something I love so much. Too many writers these day seem to annoyingly believe that they are Hemingway and that the less they write, the more terse and sparse their phrases are, the better they’ve been crafted, which is a bunch of crap. I’m a firm believer that there is nothing more wonderful than lyrical sentences dripping with descriptors. My own writing is that way, so is Anne’s. She is a literary goddess! I love everything she writes, no matter the subject material; she has a way of totally engrossing you in a story. Yesterday, I was reading Blackwood Farm, and I could not put it away, could not pull myself from the story — it’s about a gorgeous mansion in a swamp with vampires and murder and beautiful people and I love every sentence. Read everything Anne Rice has ever written.

HATE:

Abbreviations:

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Aside from our school’s inexplicable decision to end cursive instruction, something I’ll never get over, the greatest threat to our language today is abbreviations. I loathe them. I can’t stand them. When we speak, I don’t care, have all the gonnas and wannas that you crave, but not in writing! Never written down. If I see “cuz” or “bein” or anything like that, or god forbid “u,” I feel like killing the person to save the world from their linguistic perversions that are polluting our society. It’s maddening. We have a perfectly fine language with nonsense spellings and rules — use it! On Twitter, I can almost understand, the space is limited, but anywhere else it is not forgivable. You wouldn’t believe the things that I’ve seen on Facebook, even from educated people. Now, I know that I didn’t dash off to college and instead went to pastry school, so if I can grasp the mechanics of English, I expect them to do the same. Perhaps I’m just an old-fashioned bitch, and if I am, and I hope that I am, I’m not apologetic about it. Write properly, you vermin.

Having Ambition:

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If there is one thing I could change about myself mentally, it would be to tone down my ambitions. They make life miserable sometimes. I know quite a few people who are content to have a job and a bit of a social life. I can’t fathom it. Each day I wonder how much more divine life would be if I were somewhere else with other people doing something different. I like my job and people in my life and my home and all, but I get an overwhelming urge to make sure that this isn’t it. I know I’m only twenty-four, but I’ll be lucky to make it to a hundred, let’s be honest. I don’t ever want to regret my existence. And even if I die without anybody remembering me, I still want to have accomplished something. This blog, wonderfully, will live on in perpetuity, I’m sure. Nothing on the Internet ever goes away. I love that. Hundreds of years from now, some form of my writing will live on for my potential offspring and biographers. It won’t be like the creaky journals we have now of our grandparents in their tiny, hard to read scrawl. I’m off topic. I sometimes wish that I could just be happy with life as it is given to me, but I can’t and I never will. I crave the exceptional and unique. There is nothing that fills the void but seeking it out.

Rapid Evenings:

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I know that there is scientific evidence that time is not going at a constant speed. Sometimes it goes by slower and other times faster, but not noticeably. I’m not so sure, though, because last night time went by in two minutes. I went for a walk that normally lasts an hour and it took an hour and half for some reason. My usual tasks seemed to go on and on and on even though I was doing them at the same pace as always. It was awful. I didn’t have an over abundance of things to do and yet I got hardly anything done. I hope that this evening isn’t like that because I need to finish painting the trim in my bedroom. My Chateau Marmont bedroom renovation is taking ages! It should be done by this weekend, though! I can’t wait to luxuriate.

Kitten Claws:

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Edna has just discovered her claws. It’s horrifying. They never go back into her sweet little paw, they’re always hanging out like devilish little knives. She sees me and her eyes seem to say, “OH MY GOD, BEN, YOU’RE BACK! LET’S PLAY SOME MORE! IM GOING TO CLIMB UP YOUR LEG BECAUSE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!” This results in me screaming quite loudly in pain. I’m not used to cats with claws, all of mine are declawed, and I will have her little claws taken care of when I can. I know that there are loads of people that have an issue with this, and I can well understand, but my Edna is never going to go back outside. She’s going to have a life of luxury in well appointed and elegant rooms. She’ll never have to suffer the wild. The greatest danger to her is taking too many naps. My arm is in tatters right now from her affectionate paws. I hurt.

Painting Trim:

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Yesterday, I finally finished touching up the white paint that I painted my bedroom trim. When I first painted it a few years ago, I intended to leave the trim white, but I was inexperienced with painting and I got too many spots of paint on the trim, so I just painted everything in the room the same color. It was not the most elegant solution, but it worked. Now that I’m an old pro with a paintbrush, I easily redid the trim with white and it really pops against the Sharkey Grey walls — my favorite color for walls. Unfortunately, this relatively easy task was muddled because the walls in that old room are not flush. The house was built in the 1800s and has the obvious issues that come along with that. There were gaps between the wall and trim, so I filled that in with caulk (GIGGLE!), which was a fine solution for the most part, but in some areas, the gap was so massive that it looks a bit sloppy. The paint has masked the horror a bit, but it still is driving me a bit mental. I can’t wait to get everything done. My goal is this weekend, or next at the latest. It’ll probably be next, I didn’t have a lot of time to work up there this week.

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