THINGS I LOVED / HATED THIS WEEK #69 [HAHAHA 69 HAHAHA]

LOVE:

Uber:

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I’ve been hearing a lot about Uber lately on the Twitter, mainly because my dear Tyler Oakley has been lauding their services. I wondered why he was gushing about a private taxi, but I was intrigued, so I downloaded the Uber app for my trip to Los Angeles. Reader, this was the best thing I’ve ever done! If I had known about Uber last year when I was there, I think perhaps I would have enjoyed the city more. It’s like having a car, but not having to drive. Los Angeles is all about driving and I hate driving. I do like being treated like a celebrity, which is part of the Uber experience. Anyway, instead of taking the bus, riding in a creepy and empty Metro train, catching a cab, or walking, you simply get out your phone and request an Uber. It arrives a few minutes later at your feet and quickly whisks you away to your destination. The fares are cheaper than traditional taxis. The cars are discreet and clean and oftentimes very nice. It’s the greatest service in the world. The drivers are kindly, helpful, and regularly attractive. You never have to exchange cash or credit cards — the transaction is taken care of entirely through the app. This, more than anything else, is what makes me adore Uber. It’s the future of city transportation.

Discover Card Customer Service:

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I have a love/hate relationship with my Discover Card. Of the different credit cards I have, it’s easily my favorite. It has a beautiful app, the website is designed well, I love the reward program, and I appreciate being able to change the look of my card at a whim. Even though I adore it, I become easily frustrated when it isn’t accepted. This happens more frequently than I want it to. I don’t understand the reasons, surely it’s something economical, but it’s so frustrating when I have to use a different card that I don’t want to use. It happens at coffee shops and restaurants and online shops and it drives me insane. I still grow angry at the remembrance of having to use a different card to pay for my custom suit. Irksome as all that is, I must commend their customer service. My credit card was compromised right after my trip to Hollywood, not sure how, but somebody charged their cable bill with my card — the fools! I contacted them and they immediately righted the situation. My account was transferred to a new number and a new card was issued to me. They didn’t treat me like a lying criminal or a poor victim, and I appreciated that. I was so happy that the charges were immediately dropped and I was free to go on with my life without the burden of somebody else’s debt. I love credit cards.

Prince George Meme:

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I love the Internet. I especially love memes. Everybody loves memes and everybody loves the Internet, though. How could you not adore such a delightful thing? The meme that we prefer says a lot about us, though. I’ve never that baby with the raised fist. I do love all the cats, though, especially my sadly departed Colonel Meow. He was perfection. There are still other cats to ogle online, though, but nobody had the pizzazz and sass of the Colonel. There’s a new meme all over the Tumblr now and I’m just obsessed with it. It’s all about our Prince George. Superimposed over images of the little prince are captions. I can’t do them justice without a few pictures. Enjoy your newest obsession:

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“My Paris Kitchen” by David Lebovitz:

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I don’t remember how I first came across David Lebovitz’s website, but from the very moment I started to read his articles, it became one of my favorites, and I check it every single day. He’s an American baker who packed up and moved to France where, still a decade later, he is writing about how he is adapting to this new life of his in Paris. His recipes are always excellent and always turn out, which is something rather remarkable in this era. Everybody has a food blog, it seems, but so many of them are pretty pictures with absolutely awful recipes. I would recommend any of the recipes on David’s website. He’s also funny and responsive on Twitter, and we’ve communicated several times, which is always a thrill. He liked my madeleines! Recently, he released a new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen. It is honestly one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever seen. The photographs are stunning, the recipes are varied, and the book is interspersed with really nice vignettes and stories of Paris. I’m reading it like a novel and there are already sticky notes filling the thing up reminding myself of all the recipes I want to try. Merveilleux are coming up soon and then disappearing into my mouth. Get a copy of this excellent book, readers!

Cocoa Powder Brownie Recipe:

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I rarely cook things out of a box, well, I suppose there are a few exceptions — those amazing frozen Indian meals you get at Trader Joe’s are one. I also won’t turn down anything Ghirardelli makes. But, I’ve never understood why people make cake with a box mix when it’s so simple. I kind of understood when it came to brownies, though I never do it, since you have to melt chocolate, which has always annoyed me. I don’t know why, really, it just seems tedious. Ina Garten doesn’t care for it either. We’re soulmates. Last night I was about ready to lose my mind. I needed chocolate or I was going to do something drastic. I ransacked my cupboards, but I only had really old chocolate covered espresso beans and cocoa powder. I threw the beans out, but I knew I could do something with the cocoa powder. I looked up recipes online and finally found one that intrigued me here. I baked it in a foil lined pan, which I never do, and hoped for the best. The foil stuck. That annoyed me to no end, so I shoved the whole thing in the refrigerator for an hour. I’ve never done that either, but I will do nothing else in the future. It made the brownies denser and the foil peeled right off. They also cut beautifully once they were chilled. They looked lovely and all, but did they taste lovely? Yes, reader, yes they did. These might be my favorite brownies ever. I’ll never go back to my old melted chocolate recipe. I am changed.

HATE:

Craig Ferguson Leaving Late Night:

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I’m still having issues processing Craig Ferguson’s announcement that he’s leaving his late night show. I don’t know what to think and I hardly know what to feel. I will admit that I haven’t been watching it regularly the past few months — with my seasonal depression and all that, I’ve found myself in bed ever earlier without time to enjoy the television. I still remember the first time I watched his show. I think I was still in high school…maybe I’d just graduated? I don’t recall now, but I know that what I witnessed was the most ridiculous and funny thing I’d ever seen in my life. There were nights when I was squealing with laughter, but now I don’t have the vaguest ideas of what the jokes were about. Every episode was deeply irreverent and was just the kind of comedy I like. Then, there were robot skeletons, crazy songs, dancing horses, harmonicas, kittens with laser eyes, dancing, and general madness. When I went to Hollywood last year, I was lucky enough to attend two tapings of the show and I had the best time. It was just so much fun. I don’t think that television will ever be the same after December when the show finishes. I worry about the replacement, of course, since I think there is only one person on the face of the earth that could perfectly replace Craig and keep the show interesting and fun — AMY SEDARIS. You know that she’d be perfection. If you’ve never watched The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, I highly recommend you start watching now. It’s legendary.

Continually Delayed Warm Weather:

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With the arrival of spring, my seasonal depression fled as if it had never existed. I was thrilled about this. I had an appointment set up with a mental health professional that I cancelled because I was feeling so much better. This, I have come to realize, was a foolish thing to do. For the past week, it’s been raining nonstop. I haven’t seen the sun in ages. And, surprise surprise, I’m miserable again. I sleep. I don’t accomplish anything. I eat everything. I can’t be bothered to be productive whatsoever. My already legendary procrastination has reached new levels. All the sunshine I absorbed in California is long gone now. This weekend is supposed to be nicer, so I hope my mood changes and I can get back to myself. I just want to work in the garden and tidy the grounds and prepare some new landscaping for this year. Last year I was already bringing in three-foot tall irises from the garden. This year, they’ve barely poked through the soil. Now, I’m stuck inside, usually unconscious in an extended nap. I really need to find a place to live where it’s always summer and never rains…oh wait…that’s LA. Should I move to LA? They do have Uber and the Veggie Grill.

Posthumous Michael Jackson Albums:

Last night, Justin Timberlake tweeted something about a new song. I don’t mind Justin’s work, so I brought it up and found that it was a song from the upcoming Michael Jackson album. This kind of thing has never bothered me before, but I as actually very disturbed by this one. Michael Jackson was a known perfectionist. If these songs hadn’t been released in his life, I’m not sure we should be releasing them as new albums that have been tweaked and modified by new producers and turned into duets with artists that were never a part of his intention. It creeps me out considerably. I don’t think that we should let the music sit around and rot either, and I’m all for sharing it, but I think that it should be shared in its original form — rough and interesting to show what Michael was thinking of. The song with Justin is fine, truly it was, but it just did not feel authentic at all and I don’t know what to think about this new album on its way out. I’m sure I’ll give it a listen, but I can’t consider these part of his collective oeuvre.

The Art Deco Dishes I Didn’t Buy In Europe:

meakin_marigold[These aren’t the dishes; these don’t even do them justice.]

For the most part, I’m very smart with my money. I have debt, but it’s no obscene amount. That statement is sure to change soon since I’ve decided I had better do something about education before I’m too old for it to matter. Why is higher education so unreasonably expensive? I don’t know if its worth all those hundreds of thousands of dollars when there are very few jobs available. And then, when jobs are available, they don’t really pay all that well. Is it a wise investment? These things are the ones that keep me bothered during the day. But, the ones that keep me awake some nights are the little things I regret not buying. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about these gorgeous hexagonal Art Deco dessert plates that I fell in love with on Portobello Road. Street of the ages, where anything is sold! See what I did there? If not, you need an education — get ready!

I can hardly recall what they looked like now, but they had the loveliest pattern on them and cost ten pounds apiece. There were three and for some reason, some horrible reason that I can’t understand, I found this to be exorbitant. I let them go. I wake up in a cold sweat with memories of the tarts I could eat off those plates. To make it worse, there was a shop on the Rue Saint-Paul in Paris called Les Neiges d’Anton, which was an antique shop that seemed to be closed all the time. In the dusty window display was a collection of dishes that looked wonderfully similar to those London dishes. I was too timid to go in to ask the price. My French is good, but I’m always so worried I’ll look like a fool. And, so, I don’t have any lovely hexagonal plates with an Art Deco pattern. I need to remedy that.

Difficulties of Publishing a Paperback Novella:

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Any idiot that was to self-publish a book can do so in a few hours — I’ve done it. If I can do it, so can you. I wouldn’t self-publish just anything, though, I wouldn’t do it with the novels I write until I’m sure they aren’t ever getting published traditionally. But, when a novella falls out of my brain, I know that there is no better way of getting it into the hands of my readers than to take care of it all myself. I had an excellent time formatting and designing Haskell & Eudora which is for sale right now on the Amazon Kindle shop. I know that lots of people, though, don’t like to read on their phones or tablets or ebooks, so I decided last week to self-publish a slim paperback version. I didn’t realize that this was going to be a Herculean task, though. If I had a novel length version of something to print, it would be on your shelf right now. Instead, I have a novella, and to have it printed is expensive. I don’t want to charge a lot of money for something that will only provide a few hours of entertainment. I want to save that for the novel length versions. I have the cover all designed and I think it would be a charming thing to have. Sadly, I’m going to have to do more research into getting this project completed. Hopefully, I’ll be able to sell copies through Amazon like I do with the digital versions. If not, I hope you won’t mind buying a copy through whatever service I end up with. Being a writer is such hard work when you have to be a publisher and a marketer, too. Le sigh…

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