THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #144

LOVE:

New Rice Cooker:

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For ten months of the year for the past six years, I have eaten nothing but brown rice for lunch. It’s not the most thrilling meal, but it’s satisfying and it fills me up. I like rice. Besides, I feel like eating brown rice is making me healthier, even though I do doubt that very much. For all this time, I have been using the same rice cooker I bought like a decade ago at Walmart in Boone. That Walmart doesn’t even exist anymore. It’s never once failed me, which is pretty remarkable for a generic brand product that cost all of $14. It’s still going strong, but I was sick to death of it. Every time I looked at it, I felt ashamed because there were more beautiful rice cookers in the world to be had and to display in my little kitchenette at work next to my Nespresso machine. So, I took to the Internet to research and ponder. It took months, reader, to skim through reviews of very expensive rice cookers. I learned the pros and cons of every make available. It was a daily obsession. Whenever a new model came on the market, I gasped and immediately read everything about it. Inevitably, I kept coming back to a reasonably priced rice cooker from the very well respected Tiger company. It had exceedingly good reviews, the price was right, and so, I finally ordered it. A few days later it was on my doorstep, and reader, let me tell you, it is a thing of rapturous beauty. This rice cooker is sleek and elegant — unlike that potbellied monstrosity that had faithfully made my lunch for so long. It has different buttons and settings and even an option to steam food as it cooks. This really is the future! The brown rice comes out absolutely perfect and I simply could not be more pleased. I boiled some rice at home a few days after getting the new machine and I was so appalled by the quality that I will most likely get a machine for the house, too. Life is too damn short to eat shitty rice, reader.

Coke Life:

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The only reason that I ever opened a can of Diet Coke was because Karl Lagerfeld once claimed that it is the only thing he drinks. Diet Coke is the water of fashion elite, and I consider myself one in the making, so I decided to only drink that wonderful liquid. This is peculiar because I absolutely loathed carbonation as I grew up. I’d have none of that shit. No thank you, give me juice. However, in an attempt to emulate Karl, I guzzled Coke and only cleaned my hair with dry shampoo. Recently, I have become more concerned with chemicals going into my body and their effects. Sadly, I decided to give up Diet Coke. I had to drink water and coffee and sadness. I mean, I like water and I love coffee, but I love Diet Coke. It’s bitter and acidic and felt like it was elegance in a can. Kind of like champagne you could drink at work. I miss it. I wasn’t about to drink regular Coke, since that is full of calories and I don’t want to be fat! Not again… So, I did a bit of research and discovered that there is another Coke product that available called Coke Life. It’s reduced calorie, sweetened with Stevia, and has no aspartame. Sighing at the death of my old life, I opened a bottle — for I can only find it in bottles — I took a sip. It was good. Sweeter. I didn’t hate it. It’s no Diet Coke, but it’s not as full of chemicals as that beloved nectar of the fashion gods. Hopefully Coke Life gets cooler at Paris Fashion Week or something so that I can feel as elegant as Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld again. In the meantime, I shall sip my Coke Life and reminisce on the good old days.

Insurance:

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I was a huge supporter of what has come to be known as Obamacare since it was nothing but a twinkle in the eyes of liberal dreamers. I did tons of research on healthcare systems around the world, argued endlessly with anybody that would dare talk to me, and wept a little bit when it became law. I even have a certificate signed by the president. Equal access to basic healthcare is an important and necessary thing in the world. We all can’t afford to be sick. And getting sick happens. If I didn’t have insurance, I don’t think I would be sane still. As I’ll detail later in this post, without getting too deep into the grisly as-yet undiagnosed details, I’ve been to a lineup of doctors trying to fix what ails me. So far, I have spent all of $45 to spend hours with doctors, to have innumerable tests, and to have my concerns cared for. That’s nothing short of miraculous and it nearly makes me weep in appreciation. Not only is going to the doctor affordable, but the benefits at work let me take time off to be ill without risk of losing my job or losing my pay. Before developing whatever the hell it is that I developed, I never realized just how generous my benefits are or how lucky I am to have them. Bless President Obama and bless insurance.

HATE:

Indian Delight Restaurant:

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I have been craving Indian food for weeks. There are a number of excellent restaurants in Des Moines, but I don’t see that part of the world as much as Ames. (I do now that I’m becoming a regular at hospitals, clinics, and radiologists around the city.) I was sure that there would be some kind of Indian there in town; it’s a college town after all. I was correct and there are two restaurants. The first one was totally closed, a bummer since they had an excellent website and the menu looked fantastic. Jessica and I drove to Indian Delight instead, the only other alternative I could find in town, but we should have never gone in the parking lot. There was nobody there. I knew it was a bad sign, but I craved that Indian food so much. So we went in. The staff was milling around, not working, and looked truly stunned to see us come inside. “We’ve been waiting for you,” the waiter told us, which really should have set off a warning. We were led to the table the least likely to collapse. There was no music. There were no other diners. It was silent as a grave. Finally our orders were taken and Jessica and I sat in alarm as we listened to the cook express genuine surprise that we had come in at all. The food was served — small portions of limited quality — and I swear to god the cook said, “Is he really still eating it?” The food was not good. The naan tasted as if it had been soaked for hours in stale oil. The prices were outrageous. The ambiance was alarming. And the staff was peculiar. I would not go back. I felt nauseous and wanted good Indian food even more than before.

Lumbar Puncture:

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I am still shivering in terror of what I went through earlier in the week. It seems that the symptoms I’ve jokingly complained about for ages are symptomatic of something way more serious than I ever seriously considered. It’s dumb. So, I have gone to chiropractors, eye doctors, general practitioners, radiologists, and finally a neurologist all in the course of six days. It’s not looking great, but I don’t have a brain tumor. That was a worrying couple of days, reader, let me tell you. Nothing changes your perspective on life quite like a brain tumor scare. I was so out of my mind that I now have a hamster for some reason. I’m glad I don’t have a tumor. That would have been very upsetting to have my skull sliced open, my hair cut off, and my insides exposed. I shiver at the thought. What I probably have isn’t nearly as temporary as a brain tumor, and it almost surely won’t kill me, but oh my sweet God, why? So, I had to have a lumbar puncture, more commonly known as a spinal tap, to look at my cerebrospinal fluid. It was worse than I thought it would be. I mean, it wasn’t like childbirth or a broken arm, but there is something deeply unsettling about being curled up in the fetal position, in your underwear, while a doctor sticks a needle into your spinal column. It didn’t really hurt, but I don’t have the proper word to describe what I felt. That’s a peculiar thing, too, with my great love of vocabulary. It felt like localized terror. I really don’t recommend it. I hope that I never have to do it again. If I do, I hope they put me under. In the end, I did see the fluid. Perfectly clear…but God that was awful.

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