This will be my last LOVE/HATE posting until probably September. As you surely know, because I talk about it nonstop, I’ll be in Paris next week! Yes, I will be back with my baguettes and museums and little streets and frozen Picard dishes. I can’t wait. I never feel more like myself or more at peace with the world than when I’m in Paris. So, you’ll have those posts to read. Fret not, dear readers.

Here we go.


Pedometer App Synching With Watch:


I have become — well, I’ve been for quite some time — obsessed with tracking how many steps I take each day. Days like the one in orange bring me great shame. I’m particularly pleased with myself when I get into the 20,000 range. I didn’t think I would ever become that kind of person, but ever since the iPhone started tracking this statistic, it took over my life. I can’t really explain why it is, but I have gotten into serious competitions over step tracking. It’s endlessly stupid, but I can’t stop. You should have seen the abysmal steps I was counting when I was in the throes of a great depression last month when I was contemplating life as a multiple sclerosis victim. I’m much better now, thankfully. Anyway, to keep track of steps you had to always have your phone on you. I never had a FitBit, you see, because they’re hideous. I did have an Apple Watch, however, because they’re gorgeous. It was so stupid at first because the steps that are tracked on the Apple Watch didn’t sync with the pedometer app on my phone. So, I still had to carry the giant golden iPhone around with me everywhere. Finally, and I do mean finally, the watch app and the phone app sync now, so I can go about my business without being weighed down by the phone and every move I make is still being recorded. If you don’t own a fitness tracker, you probably won’t understand why this thrills me to my very core. If you do, you’re probably pissing yourself with the glee I felt. I am blessed.

Reminders App:


I never meant for this week’s installment to be a kind of app review, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. This app, which is built into all Apple products, has started to change my life. I use the digital world for almost everything. I write, I read, I research, and I travel the world via satellite imagery all from the comfort of my bed on my laptop. It’s brilliant. However, I still make myself paper to-do lists. When I’m at work, I have a very detailed itinerary of everything I need to accomplish when I get home. I even write down a reminder to brush my teeth, just so that I have something to cross off. And, I can be quite absentminded, so it’s good to have a reminder. Now that I’m on summer vacation, I’m every bit as dedicated to my goals as before, but I haven’t gotten around to printing off a weekly schedule. It would take literally one minute of effort to walk to the printer, but I just can’t be bothered, you know? Not when I have books to read, hieroglyphs to decipher, walks to go on, a speedo tan to develop… So, I tried the Reminders app on my phone, and I have fallen head over heels. It’s the simplest thing in the world to organize and create lists. But that’s not what makes me love it. I am obsessed with telling Siri to make additions to my list for me. I will say things like, “Remind me every day to take my medication at 9 am.” And then, every day I get an alert. Beyond that, I am dazzled by its ability to remind me things at a certain location. The other day I told Siri, “Remind me to give Jessica the Miranda Hart book when I get home.” I walked in the door, and the iPhone reminded me. It literally sent a reminder to my Apple Watch, and with a gentle buzz, I remembered something I surely would have forgotten. It’s not a huge thing, of course, but it’s those little wonders that make life so much better. It’s very satisfying.

Absolutely Fabulous Movie:


I have, I don’t think, ever been more excited for a movie in my life. In just two short weeks — less than that, I think — I will be in a movie theater in Brighton, England, watching Eddie and Patsy on the big screen. I’m getting misty eyed, reader. Those characters have made a tremendous impact on my life. Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic. Each day I live, I become more the lovechild of Edina Monsoon and Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone. They are my spirit animals, my queens, my inspirations, the loves of my life.

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They are awful people, of course. But that is what makes them so wonderful. They don’t give a shit about anybody but themselves, but in the most endearing way. I think what appeals to me the most, aside from Patsy’s hair that someday I will have as my own style, is the great love Patsy and Eddie have for each other. They’re grotesque and wicked, but they adore each other and have so much fun. They aren’t bothered to be serious all the time. I have no issue being serious, but I am a great believer in ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and having a good time. Seeing them up on the big screen is going to be magical. I don’t care if the movie is total shit, I’m going back fourteen times.

But Absolutely Fabulous truly did change my life. I still vividly recall the first time I watched the episode “Door Handle” on a Laserdisc that I found in a dusty pile at a used book store. In the episode, Eddie needs to redo her kitchen, but is struggling to come up with inspiration. Suddenly, she remembers a door handle that she loved and would be perfect for the kitchen. It’s in New York. So, Patsy and Eddie hop on the Concorde on a whim and fly halfway across the world to take a picture of a door knob in a hotel. Later in the episode, the two of them walk past a tattoo and piercing shop. Eddie contemplates getting a piercing and Patsy says the line that I will someday have tattooed on my arm, “If you don’t do it, you won’t have done it.” That is a complete summary of who I am as a person.


End of “Penny Dreadful”:


This was a remarkable show. Such a powerfully good program. You don’t come across writing and acting like that often. Sure, there are masterful episodes of television every week, but I have never come across a collective oeuvre that was quite so powerful as Penny Dreadful. When it started, I hardly thought it could be real. It shouldn’t work, there’s no reason for it to work, but it did. Brilliantly, too. It is, no less, a classic horror film that was told over three years, and I will treasure its impact on me until the end of days. (Which seem soon, lolz!) All of the classic monsters were there, reimagined intelligently to create a kind of alternate universe where they could roam about at ease. Dracula, the Wolf Man, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monsters, Satan himself, and any number of other references to Victoriana were smashed together with other bits of culture and history of that time. It was all about holding off the apocalypse, and wearing delightful fashions whilst doing it. Honestly, I’m glad this show existed just for the look of it. The aesthetic of Penny Dreadful was intoxicating. But now, unexpectedly, it’s over. There was no announcement until the very last episode aired that it was to be the last episode ever aired. I shall miss it terribly.

Overwhelming Sense of Dread:


Last night, my sister and I went out to dinner, and after slurping down my own body weight in hibiscus lemonade from the Cheesecake Factory, we got to talking about the state of the world. She will freely admit that she doesn’t understand politics or the background of issues enough to form any real opinion, but to her credit, she has a strong instinctual knowledge of what is good and what is bad. For example, when Donald Trump became the Republican candidate, she said, “This is bad. I don’t know why but it is.” And then tonight, when the EU Referendum votes came in to show that Britain decided to leave the European Union, that hit us hard. It feels almost like the world is ending. Everything has become awful. The world goes through these cycles, of course, of misery and compounding sadness, but it’s awful to live through it. “I feel like they’re going to write about us in history books as a bad time,” my sister said, after we were freaked out by a person lurking on the side of the road. I think she’s right, and I don’t want to think about what history will say. We’ve allowed society to become xenophobic, hateful, and proudly ignorant. We allow people to own assault rifles, charge extreme amounts of money for education, and receive pittances for the work we do. We care little for others, we refuse to debate, we scream vitriol at anybody who opposes our views. (I use we in a general sense. I’m glad to see that people of my generation are desperate to build a more cooperative and peaceful world, but we aren’t able to do that yet.) Huge messes are being made right now out of thoughtless passions. I am beyond disgusted by what happened in Britain. I can hardly believe it. It was always my dream, reader, and it still is, to get a job at the British Museum in the wings of the Egypt department. I was going to marry a charming Frenchman, get my EU citizenship, get a degree from either University College London or the École du Louvre and happily spend my days amongst ancient ruins. Now I’ll have to marry a charming Englishman. Not a big difference, granted, but I’m just frustrated. It’s a shining example of what happens when people don’t get along. The consequences, I fear, will be dire. Think of dominos. Europe needs to remain stable. Ugh. Terrorism, conservative politics, racism, murder, and repression should not be at the forefront of my thoughts or the world news. I should be able to go on vacation without people saying, “Are you sure? It’s not safe.” I should be able to go to work or the mall or a movie without getting slaughters by a machine gun. I should be able to afford to live a comfortable life. I should be guaranteed affordable medication when I am ill. I should be able to live. Instead, paranoia is taking over. It’s like a fog rolling in. Dense. I’m scared and I’m tired. “So we’re at war,” a Trump supporter told me the other day after Hillary Clinton guaranteed the nomination, a look of glee on his face. (He’s in my family.) His attitude broke my heart, reader. “We aren’t at war,” I growled, “that attitude is what made this mess.” He didn’t get it. They don’t get it, none of them do. Everything is black or white. There’s no room for grey in their world. I have many concerns. Something awful is brewing.

2 responses to “THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #150

  1. Hi Ben,
    Was it one of your previous posts that mentioned that you also have an app that reminds you to drink water? I was thinking that I really need that reminder 🙂
    As always I love to read your weekly posts, so you will know that I’ll miss you while your gone LOL. Have a wonderful vacation! and I’ll be anxious for your review of your experiences!
    Never heard of “Absolutely Fabulous” so I’ll have to check it out!
    And as for your last thought on having an overwhelming sense of dread…very unfortunate but I believe you are right, we live in very unsteady times. I always try to hope for the best and will just try to carry on as always but there is a feeling of uncertainty in the world and so much ugliness!
    Take care, stay safe and never forget “If you don’t do it, you won’t have done it.”

    • I’m so excited to be off! I’m sure I’ll have many posts while I’m away, so I won’t be too disconnected. Hope you love “Ab Fab.” It’s vicious, but marvelous!

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