THINGS I LOVED / HATED THIS WEEK #78

LOVE:
Ariana Grande:

 

When Jessica and I were in Paris, we got a little obsessed with making fun of Ariana Grande. Her star was just beginning its climb and we were some of the original members of her fan club. Well, a fan club of gigglers. How could we not laugh hysterically every time we saw her video or sang along to the jam of the summer, “Problem”? The way she underacts as she lip-syncs is truly legendary. But, something odd happened, something that often happens when we parody somebody — we fell in love with her. I’m kind of a superfan of her album and I regularly sing the entire thing as I’m on one of my lengthy walks through the countryside. The neighbors love me. The music is such fun and that’s my favorite kind of music. I want to dance and I want to weep and I want Harry Styles to write me a soulful love ballad like he did for our dear Adriana. She’s a great singer and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from her.

Bob Brier:

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Y’all know how much I adore archaeology and Egypt. I do something involving Egypt   every day, so it is very strange to me that I knew nothing of Bob Brier. He is a very well-known Egyptologist who has written many books and hosted many documentaries. I’ve seen several of them, but I never knew who he was. A few weeks back, I came across this lecture series on Audible and decided to download that for my free trial. There are dozens of lectures and the total running time is well over a day. It was free, too, with the trial, which seems illegal. It’s mine now, though! I’ve been listening to a lecture as I tan each day, but now that the rain is constantly pouring, I’ve been listening on the treadmill instead. I’m crazy about these talks. They’re informative and engaging and even though I rarely learn anything new, it’s still great fun to hear somebody enthusiastically discussing my favorite topic. I did learn a great deal about the pharaoh named Sneferu, though, which has been delightful. The way that Bob discusses ancient Egypt makes it come alive and has really opened my eyes about what an Egyptologist can be. So often, you think of them in dusty offices or museums or tracing hieroglyphs off a crumbling temple wall. They’re very removed from the rest of the world. Bob isn’t, though, he teaches and works with mummies and writes and manages to make the ancient world come alive for us. That’s what I’ve been trying to do all along and what I want to do someday. I love history and I want to share that interest with others. So many of the kids that I work with are disinterested in the past, and I’ve never had them tell me that it is their favorite subject. It’s very difficult to make connections and parallels with the modern world for them. But, Bob manages to do that with apparent ease. I’m jealous of him. His writing is just as good as his lectures and I absolutely devoured his most recent release, Egyptomania, which is about revivals of interest in ancient Egypt. I am obsessed now with collecting Egyptian themed sheet music from the last century and some fine china that was created by Wedgwood. If you have even a passing interest in Egypt, I recommend picking up one of his books, watching a documentary on YouTube, or even buying his lectures. He’s absolutely fabulous.

Greenback Cocktail:

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In another life, I think I would have been a high class bartender in a classy transatlantic cruise ship. The drinks would be very expensive and I would receive enormous tips because of my charm and how well I shake a cocktail mixer. I have great fun trying out new drinks and I have a particular fondness for classic ones. I recently found out about a drink called the Greenback and I’ve tried a few variations on it before settling on my favorite. Here’s the recipe. In a cocktail shaker, mix the juice of one small lemon (around an ounce), one ounce of creme de menthe, and two ounces gin. Shake, strain over ice, and sip elegantly. It’s a refreshing drink, excellent to take out to your chaise lounge whilst your tan. Make one today.

Dehydrated Refried Beans:

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This might sound strange and unlike myself, but I have a bit of an obsession with refried beans. I think they’re amazingly delicious and I find myself oftentimes having them for dinner. Beans and chips and a smile. I’ve gone to Mexican restaurants before and just ordered rice and beans…and a margarita, of course. Last week, my father brought me this huge bag of dehydrated beans. I wasn’t going to eat them. I glared at the bag for a little while and then shoved it in a drawer. I wasn’t going to be eating that! A bag of beans…please. One night, overwhelmed with laziness, I decided to try some and my life was forever changed. I won’t say that they tasted as good as the kind you get in a restaurant, but they were more than acceptable. I’ve gone crazy about them and often decide to forgo other healthier options for my beloved beans. I had them last night. I’ll probably have them again tonight. I’m going to gorge until that bag is gone and then weep when I have no more.

My CHIP CARD!:

Finally — a chip card! This is an important day in my life.

A post shared by Benjamin Phillips (@bdphillips) on

Oh reader, I’m sure this is some kind of irony, but I finally got a chip card. I’ve written letters and I’ve made threats and I’ve demanded one from every credit card company that I am a member of. None of them have yielded to my excessive pressure. So, imagine my delighted outrage when I opened up an envelope from Walmart the other day and found a new credit card with a chip. I screamed. I was deliriously happy, of course, but I was also hella pissed that I had to wait for WALMART, of all places, to get what I wanted. I never use that Walmart card anyway, so it’s of no use to me. But, imagine if I had had it before venturing off to Europe where I was routinely denied service because my card was not to their standard? What a happier time I would have had. I need to go to England or France for the weekend just so that I can break it in. I would rent bikes and buy pizzas and have a grand old time. I love my chip card. I just wish I had a chip in all my cards.

HATE:

Constant Exhaustion:

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I think I have that chronic fatigue disease. I’m always tired. This only seems to affect me when I’m working. Whenever I get home, I feel like going straight to bed and I oftentimes do. I literally can’t make myself do anything at all. The thought of walking or cleaning or reading a book can sometimes be too much for me. I don’t really understand this phenomenon since I get a reasonable amount of sleep. I need energy pills. Do such things exist? We used to pop caffeine pills in high school, but that was just for fun, nothing seemed to happen. I drink loads of coffee and tea, but I’m fairly sure I’m immune to caffeine. It does absolutely nothing to me. This summer when I was at the fair, I was given a dozen bottles of Five Hour Energy and I pounded them down, but there were no results. I was so disappointed. Why didn’t I die? Are there caffeine alternatives for people like me? I need something. What I need is Vicodin, but that’s a story for a different place.

Waiting For My Hair To Grow:

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Last year I made a very foolish decision that I regret every day. I became so obsessed with getting purple hair that I decided to dye my luxuriously long locks one night with a home dye kit. It came out very dark and I looked like I had black hair instead of violet. I was terrible upset because I’m awfully pretty, but I didn’t let it get to me. I just had the whole mess cut off into a delightful undercut. I removed the color and had a new, and very strange, hay colored head of hair. That mess is finally gone and I’ve actively resumed my goal of growing my hair out long enough to have a man bun. Oh, I love a man bun! They were all over Europe. I saw them on every London street and Paris avenue. I saw them walking down Fifth Avenue in New York. I saw them while dining in Chicago. I saw them all over. I lusted over them. I craved them. I need one on my own head. And so, I have to wait and I’m a man with no patience. I can get a very tiny ponytail atop my head, but I don’t have a luxurious man bun, yet. It is a matter of time. You will all weep when you see it.

The 100-Foot Journey:

I had every intention of loving this movie. How could it possibly go wrong? It had all my favorite things:  France, food, Indian accents, and Helen Mirren butchering the French language! Unfortunately for me and for the film, the writers and directors took themselves far too seriously. I think that’s an unforgivable sin; you must always be a bit irreverent. The film is absolutely beautiful and the little French village is the stuff of dreams. (I want to go there and retire; I’m so ready for retirement, reader.) Unfortunately, the plot isn’t quite so beautiful. It doesn’t seem to know where it’s going and there are a few too many characters that don’t seem developed at all. In addition to this mess, there are about three plots in the picture. If they had cut out the third act or edited it or used it as a sequel, it’d be forgivable to have the main character, Hassan (coincidentally the name of my chauffeur in Luxor, Egypt), completely abandon his family and move to beautiful Paris. It’s a waste of film time that could better be used resolving emotional issues from back in the village. In addition to this crappy editing, which is really what’s at fault; the writers needed to have a workshop on how real people talk. It’s the most idiotic rambling crap talking about the dewy beauty of vegetables or taking five minutes to detail the flavor of an urchin. I love food, reader. I moved to Paris and went to Le Cordon Bleu; my life is basically another iteration of Julie & Julia, but as a writer and a person who likes to think he’s far from irritating, I cannot stand pretentious talk about food. It is just food, after all, not manna from heaven, not a nectar of the gods. It’s a tomato. Sure, it’s good with some local burrata, but it’s not life changing. I wish people would calm down. In the end, the film was enjoyable once you began looking at it as a parody of itself. It’s way too self-aggrandizing for me.

Beet Chips:

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I love beets. They’re one of my very favorite things. If I could, and I can, so I should, I would eat a beet salad for lunch every day. There’s nothing better than beets with goat cheese and arugula. I love arugula so much. This post has nothing to do with salad, though, which is awfully tragic. It’s all about these terrible chips that I got the other day. How could fried slices of beet be bad? I want to know how! Somehow, though, they’re absolutely dreadful. They aren’t very crisp and they don’t taste of beets at all. They just taste of oil. It’s devastating. I wanted to love them so much. This is just another example of the constant crushing disappointment of my life. Le grand sigh…

Waiting for New iPhone & WATCH!:

tumblr_nblojnkxU61ql5yr7o1_500 tumblr_nblojnkxU61ql5yr7o2_500[Actual footage of me looking at my newly disgusting golden iPhone 5S with fingerprint scanner that I adored last week.]

The first half of September is always a miserable time for me. It’s been a yearly ritual since 2007. I watch Apple’s announcements with all my rapt attention and suddenly hate the devices that I loved minutes before. Imagine my loathing of the iPhone 5S that I was reading the developments on the iPhone 6 Plus! Of course I love my golden iPhone with fingerprint scanner still, but it no longer has the elite status that I had lorded over the peasants for the past year. It’s not time for me to upgrade my phone, yet, and I have more important things to spend my money on for the time being, but I hate not getting that phone next week. It’s completely unnecessary, of course, but it is so beautiful with it’s big screen and fancy camera and sleek build. Look at it:

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Oh, I’m in misery. My hatred for the world fully consumed me at the announcement of their new watch. I don’t even know why I want it or how it will fit into my life, but it’s clearly a product for the future and I will get one. It’s kind of odd looking, but there is a lovely golden one and some neat watch straps, so I’ll be saving my pennies. Texting from my wrist will be kind of fun, I suppose, but I need to try this one for awhile. I wasn’t sure why I needed an iPad when I bought one the day it was released, but I came to rely on it. I love it so. I’ll love that damn watch, too.

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