Things I Loved / Hated This Week #46

LOVE:

archive.org

The Uninvited-seance

I’m fast developing an obsession with this website. It’s a remarkable treasure trove of material. You can find so many old gems if you dig a little. It’s an archive, obviously, of media from the past. You can download old radio shows, which I love. I haven’t heard The Bickersons in years and was beyond thrilled when I found that you could download a number of episodes. Even more amazing to me was that you can download out-of-copyright films. Last night, I downloaded a copy of The Uninvited, a wonderful film that some credit with beginning the ghost story genre as it was one of the first to tackle the paranormal as a serious matter. I was completely charmed with it. A quality story and well done. Besides that, the set design was extraordinary. It’s really helping to inspire my woodland chateau that I want to build in my forest someday. (Do you have a private forest, reader?) To top off the wonder of this, I figured out that you can stick these downloaded films onto a USB drive and pop it right into my BluRay disk player. What a wonderful world we live in today! Go to archive.com, reader, and download to your heart’s content.

Tofu:

tofu-catagory

I don’t know why everybody’s always so down on tofu. Tofu is amazing. I guess it may have ill health effects, but what doesn’t? Can’t be any worse than slaughtering a cow and feasting on its bloody flesh like a primitive, can it? I don’t think so. When I first became a vegetarian, I tended to live off meat substitutes for a while, which can be important for some people; it was for me. I finally transitioned away from them and rarely use them today. I still like this ground beef substitute that I get once in a while. It’s so yummy. I used to make walking tacos with it, but now I just use lentils. Lentils are everything. Anyway, back to tofu. It’s delicious and so versatile. I like it marinated and broiled. I like it cubed and fried. I like it sliced into steak-like things. I like it all the ways. The other day, I had some sesame tofu from Whole Foods that’s rather remarkable. I like it cooked. I like it raw. I just really like sesame. I broiled a few slices and put it with some spinach pasta. Delicious. I recommend tofu.

Relaxing:

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[This is me relaxing by the private and exclusive pool at celebrity hotspot, the famed Chateau Marmont. Have you spent a night at the Chateau Marmont, reader? No? Sad.]

I’m sure I’ve told you in some post or another about my goal to turn my home into a vacation home. I’ll just brief you:  I want my house to be clutter free and as lovely and relaxing as a vacation rental. I always love going to them with their cheap dinnerware and garish floral bedspreads. My home will be a bit more high end obviously. I’m doing a fairly good job with my lounge and my bedroom, which I call the Suite. When I’m in them, I don’t really want to go out. I could stay in them all day long. Last weekend, I did, and it was beyond marvelous. It was really like a vacation at home, which is something I’ve never had before. The kitchen is getting finished up — I just need to get rid of bunches of plates and cups and bowls that I hate and never use. I’ve done this once before, but I need to do it again. Anyway, relaxing is amazing. I need to do it all the time. It’s good for a person.

Gâteau Le Week-End:

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I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I don’t want to go trolling through my archives looking for mention of this cake. So, let’s do it again! When I was a student in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu (Have you ever been a student at a famed French school, reader?), one of the first things that Chef Cotte, a strange man who moonlit as a DJ, prepared for us was this cake. “Lemon in a cake?!?” I exclaimed in disgust, no thank you! I was not an adventurous eater back in those halcyon days. I was fat and dull. Barely had a fashion sense. I recall that I once wear a hoodie from the GAP to go shopping. I disgust myself. Still, they were halcyon days. Good word that, halcyon. Let’s say it together, shall we? One…two…three…HALCYON! Oh how I wish I could go back now in my slender, fashionable body. So, I didn’t partake of the cake. A year or so ago in Paris, Jessica and I went to a bakery that allegedly sold one of the finest croissants in the city. It was good, but I’m still partial to my Miss Manon. There is no finer bakery in the city — Pierre Hermé is exempt, of course, since I consider that a church of pastry. (I’m a reverend, you know? Maybe that can be my chosen church?) Anyway, at this bakery, there was a week-end cake and it looked divine. I’d never seen something more tasty. I didn’t buy one, though. When I came home to America, I started to make them, and sweet Allah! They’re so wonderful. Poundcake with a thick lemon glaze. Heavenly. I’ve eaten half the cake already by myself. I’m going to eat the entire thing without shame. Oh, this last one I made, I substituted some of the butter for olive oil and that was a great idea — you can subtly taste the oil and it makes the crumb of the cake even richer.

Latest Pages Update on iOS:

gallery_simple_toolbar_2x[Please note my enthusiasm.]

Last night when I went to bed, all my devices were downloading the latest updates. My laptop was downloading the new OSX, which I’m excited for — mainly for the new Maps app — and my iPad was updating all the iWork and iLife apps. I was excited for this because Pages has been driving me insane, it hasn’t been working properly and I ain’t got time for that. When I got up this morning, it was a bit like Christmas, so many new shiny things to look at! I opened up Pages first thing and actually began to weep. I wept, reader. I’ve always thought of it as one of the best word processors, only beaten by the desktop version, but now for the first time it makes sense! Sorry, Steve Jobs. The most important part, the singular triumph of this update is that there is now a tab key. THERE’S A TAB KEY, READER! Rejoicing was heard throughout the land. I’m considering writing a thank you note to Cupertino. It’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my iPad. When I’m working on a novel or short story or whatever, I can indent like always without going through ridiculous menus. I’m so happy. I’m crying again.

HATE:

Clutter:

clutter

[This is an image from Google, thank ALLAH!]

I’ve recently been gifted with the remaining rooms on the upper level of my house, which is utterly thrilling. Annoyingly, though, these rooms are literally filled to the brim with junk. I don’t understand how my parents lived that way. Everybody loves neatness and order, I’m not saying that they loved their messes, I just think they were unable to de-hoard themselves. I think hoarding is worse than cancer. No offense. It’s absolutely ridiculous what I’m going to have to go through. Yesterday, I began to work on clearing out the first room, and yet it seems I’ve made no dent, like I haven’t scratched the surface, in fact, it looks worse than ever. The floor is carpeted in pink, the walls are a hideous green, and the ceiling is covered in yellowed popcorn texture. I want to vomit. It’s probably going to take me a month, minimum, to get the room to the point where I’m not absolutely repulsed by it. In the meantime, though, I need to clear out some space for my treadmill. I got it out of storage the other day, it’s finally getting too cold to go on my afternoon walks, I want to die. Winter is here and I couldn’t be less enthused. It might snow on Tuesday, but I refuse to listen to that nonsense.

My Laziness:

I love nearly everything about myself. The only things I really take issue with is the bit of fat I can’t get rid of — where are my abs? — and my propensity for laziness. It’s utterly ridiculous the way that I can do nothing and not realize it. This is different from relaxation, mind you, relaxation is a chosen state of mind. I’m always amazed at how quickly I can actually accomplish things when I do them. Procrastination takes more determined effort than actually doing a task. Remarkable, truly. My treadmill is sitting on its side in my upstairs middle room (I have no idea what it’s called. It’s never had a purpose. Just a catch all room, really. I’m wanting to turn it into more of a cozy sitting room with a fireplace and a painting of a stormy sea and a little cocktail bar, but that’s for later, in the depths of winter.) I’ve had it on my schedule to do since Monday, but I’m still not getting around to it. I just can’t be bothered. Tonight’s the night, though, I can feel it in me waters! (Holla at the Kath & Kim reference!) Do you want to hear another instance of my remarkable laziness? Of course you do. I woke up today at 3:30 in the morning, determined to do a bit of something. I thought yoga maybe and a bit of reading. Well, that did not happen, reader! I said aloud to my kitten, “Great idea, Little Eddie (or Ed, Edna, Edwina, Edina, or Dame Edna, depending on my mood, I’m really into Little Eddie right now), we should take a nap!” And so I got up at 6:50. But, you’ll be so proud of me, I had enough time this morning to eat a piece of cake. Maybe that’s why I don’t have abs?

Seasonal Affective Disorder:

seasonal-affective-disorder-2

I talk about this regularly and even devoted this week’s Reverend posting to this subject, but I hate it so very much that I feel obligated to carry on and write some here. Even though I’m lazy, I’m still a rather productive person. Each day I churn out some writing and some exercise and often some household chores, though I’m still loathe to do the dishes. But now, I can’t. I can’t make myself do anything. All that I can do is: eat, eat more, watch television, read a bit, type a bit, and sleep. My naps last for hours. It’s so sad.

slide010[Sweet Jesus, I’m going to gain weight, too? Does my sorrow never end?]

Since Monday, all I’ve done is sit in my excellently decorated and tastefully appointed lounge. I’ve worked a bit on my novel and stories and blogs, and I’ve read a lot, and I’ve eaten a ridiculous sum of cake. I don’t even eat solid meals, just cake. I freaking love cake. But it’s not my fault, guys. It’s the weather’s fault. There’s no sunshine, just constant gloom — and not the lovely gloomy days like in the English summer. When I don’t get sun, I am just pathetic. I don’t want to be this way. I want to have enough energy to fold my clothes, but I don’t. When I get home tonight, I’m really hoping I can get my treadmill put up. I have a vain hope that if I’m doing a bit of exercise, somehow that will revitalize me. I have doubt. Yet, I have hope.

The Lair of the White Worm:

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I’ve often thought that if I could be one of those experts they consult on History Channel documentaries, I’d either like to be an expert on ancient Egyptian religious practices or an expert on Gothic Victorian literature. Both of them are great loves of my life. There’s nothing better than a creepy English novel. When I read Dracula for the first time in high school, I tore through it, loving the atmosphere and the way the characters spoke. I even loved the way that the story was built, with each chapter being a different document that helped to further the plot. So, because I loved Bram Stoker’s masterpiece so much, I downloaded all of his other work at this charming website that makes high quality ebooks of out-of-print and out-of-copyright work, www.manybooks.net. Fill your iPads up with free books! I’ve been doing a lot of research on short stories currently since I’m writing one — it’s getting kind of long, though, are there limits on short stories? This wasn’t exactly a short story, but it was a quick read, so I included it. God, it was awful. It began so promisingly with interesting and engaging characters, but then all of a sudden, one of the characters is a giant snake and another is sending ancient Egyptian figurines up the string of a kite and another is trying to open up some impermeable chest. The point of view changed constantly which made the plot so very difficult to follow. I was glad when I finished reading it yesterday. There’s a movie version, so I’ll put that on my Netflix queue to see if it’s any more engaging when acted out. But, it’ll be an 80s film from England, and I’ve never been a fan of that time of movie making. English horror is so decidedly blah. Skip this novel, reader.

Incomprehension of Credit:

A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884

One of my more recent goals is to understand how credit cards work. I have two of them, which I use regularly and pay off religiously, but that doesn’t exactly give knowledge. I’m always reading about people who book travel with their credit card points or who can use airport lounges because of their card. This baffles me. So, I started reading and doing research, but that only further confused me. Most of these people pay an annual fee for a card — which I didn’t even know was a thing. Seems peculiar to pay a company to be able to spend money, but I guess there are benefits that are worth the price. The airport lounge honestly would be worth it for me! I don’t care how pathetic the chamber would be, I’d love sitting there feeling elegant and secluded away from the riffraff and peasantry. I remember last year when I went to Florida, I paid like ten dollars for priority boarding. Well worth it! I loved sauntering in front of all those losers as I took my seat first. I was already sipping a margarita by the time they all got on. That was class. But back to credit cards. I was tired of my Discover card not working on the European websites I shop on — I don’t understand why they aren’t more accepted, I’ve even had places that wouldn’t take it here in America — so I applied for a new one, one of those wonderful ones with microchips in it. I think I told you about this last week or the week before, but remember how those bastards denied me? Harrumph! So, in a rage, I went on the Discover Card website and decided to change the picture on my card. No more beach, now I have a classy Seurat painting, Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte. Am I not the classiest bitch you know? Curious though about why I was denied, I investigated my credit report, which was good, and my credit score, which was also good. So, I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me. I need books and podcast to explain. Suggestions?

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