THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #153

LOVE:
Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 2:

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I still remember the very first episode of Drag Race that I ever watched. It was season two. I was in our second house that we had for awhile across the street. Sitting in the whitewashed lounge, I converted the room into a greenhouse and filled every space up with flats for starting plants. Almost all of them died when they were transplanted because of a freak storm that snapped all their little stems like so many spines. It was devastating because I put in an incredible number of hours into those little tomatoes and flowers. I still get pretty emotional about it… Anyway, as I thinned basil seedlings, I watched illegally downloaded episodes of Drag Race on my laptop, and I was immediately swept away and madly in love. There was nothing greater than these characters who came together, cut each other to ribbons with only words, blossomed into magnificent creations, and espoused more love than I’d ever before witnessed. To see Ru come out each night in her gown and reign over her girls was magnificent. I’ve been hooked ever since. Now, it’s the ninth season and the contestants are all past contestants back for revenge. I know them all, so it’s amazing to leap right into the contest with the best of the very best. Detox is queenly, Katya is a legend, and Alyssa is fabulous. I don’t really care who wins or loses as long as it isn’t Phi Phi. I’m not going to explain those last two sentences because if you don’t watch the show that will mean literally nothing to you, and it would take far too long to elaborate. So, just watch the show, reader. It is a true celebration of all that is good in this cruel world.

Zoolander 2:

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I didn’t think I’d ever watch Zoolander 2. I told myself that it would never live up to the idiotic legacy of the first one, so I never bothered to go to theaters. In a moment of weakness, I must have added it to my Netflix queue because it showed up one day this spring. I opened the red envelope and stared aghast at the fact that I had convinced myself to watch something I had sworn off. I blamed this on those delicious gin martinis I was making every night to cope with stress of work, school, and incurable neurological disorder. I wasn’t ready to give into drunken me, so the DVD sat on my coffee table for several months. In the meantime, I went all over Europe and up and down the Nile. When I got home, I decided to get the experience done and out of the way. I popped popcorn. I put the disc in. I frowned at the television knowing I was in for ninety minutes of poorly executed and sad comedy. But then I couldn’t stop laughing. Reader, it was literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen…and I loved it. There were so many references to the original film that it was like catching up with a dear old friend. The gags were offensive and hilarious. Anna Wintour was a member of an evil secret fashion society. Mugatu spent a fortune fattening up Zoolander’s son like a sacrificial animal. Kristen Wiig was there with an insane accent. The plot was flimsy as hell. It was fabulous! Few people believe me when I tell them it was good. I understand. I was like them. I was too determined that the film shouldn’t exist to give it a chance. I’m so glad martini Ben took that chance. Rent it at once, reader. Revel in fashion jokes and immaturity. Life is too short. I guess. That’s what people say anyway. It seems to be taking its sweet time for me.

Nespresso-Compatible Mixpresso Pods:

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Since 2011, I’ve been a ho for knockoff Nespresso pods. I have absolutely nothing against the official product. I think they’re fabulous, delicious, and reliable. But, if there’s a bargain to be had, I want it. When you’re in Paris, you can pop down to any grocery store and pick up a box of pods for 1/2 to 1/3 cheaper than what you’d paid for the fancy and horrible Nespresso shop on the Champs Élysées. So, I do. I stock up. When I come home from my annual trip to my favorite city, I stuff my bag full of pods. I don’t know what security thinks about me when I’m flying back through. Customs never seems to care about the hundreds of euros worth of espresso I have on me. And it’s great fun to have saved so much money. Two years ago, I ran out of my illicit goods and had no way to replace the pods since the manufacture and selling of them was illegal in America. I was beyond frustrated. But then, slowly, I noticed the occasional box would pop up on Amazon. I’d buy it quickly before it vanished. And vanish it would. I’m sure Nespresso was on the hunt for these counterfeit pods. But now, in 2016, you can buy them on Amazon without any worries! It’s a blessed thing, but it’s a pain in my ass because I don’t know if any of them are going to be any good. I think I have bought every formula and variety online. And, to be honest, most of them are totally shit. The pressure sucks or the flavor blows or the pods are pieces of garbage. FINALLY, though, just as I was about to give up all hope of ever having reasonably priced espresso at work — I was literally looking at semi-automatic machines as an alternative — I came across Mixpresso. I’d somehow missed them or they’re new or whatever. I didn’t expect much. But, reader, those little espresso pods are fabulous. I’m in heaven. I bought the variety called Ricco, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for since I stuffed 300 pods into my carry on. I’m feeling blessed.

MEH:
American Horror Story Premiere:

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Well, it’s only been one episode, but it doesn’t appear that Ryan Murphy stole the entire premise of the show from one of my unpublished novel drafts like he did fourteen other times. I’m sure he will again. And honestly, I’m a little offended. It’s like when your stalker finds new prey. After seeing the episode, I don’t feel too bothered by Ryan’s withdrawal from my life. It wasn’t thrilling. The premise of the new series is still a mystery after the premiere. It was called My Roanoke Nightmare and was done in the style of one of those spooky scary reality series like Paranormal Witness. I liked that aspect of it. It was like a show within a show. And while I enjoyed the characters, for the most part, how the show was set up, and the architecture of the house, everything about the first hour felt flat. I didn’t find myself engaged, or frightened, or even caring much for the future of the cast. I just wanted to see Lady Gaga. But we only saw Sarah Paulson and a few other regulars and, in a delightful surprise, Cuba Gooding Jr. But where was my Gaga? I wanted to say, “Yassss Gaga you look so good,” every time she popped up on screen, but that simple pleasure was denied me. At least my sister and I got to make jokes about that one time that Sarah Paulson knew we were looking at her and we knew she was looking at us and she knew that we knew that we were all watching each other. You know that story, right? I’ll continue watching because I’m a ho for this show, and I must give them credit for something that doesn’t seem completely stupid. The past few seasons have just been a thrown-together assemblage of anything creepy without caring too much for plot development or a comprehensible storyline. This year, I think they might let it blossom. But then again, it’s American Horror Story, so probably not.

HATE:
Cuba Confusion:

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Now that my Thanksgiving Break is planned, and I’m off to my beloved California, and all of that is settled, my mind has moved to Spring and Summer Breaks. I live for my breaks, you know? I have wanted to visit Cuba for years. I’ve wanted to step off the boat or plane in Havana ever since that episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy met Ricky and fell in love. Over the ensuing decades, I’ve seen more and more of what Cuba looks like, and I’m veritably obsessed with getting there. Finally it seems more possible. The Kardashians went, why can’t I? Just this month, a direct flight launched from Miami to Santa Clara. It’s not all that expensive, it’s just challenging to figure out the legalities of the trip. This is the part that is irritating me. There are twelve different reasons for legal entry into the country, but tourism isn’t valid. So, I’m currently figuring out which of the entry reasons will work for me. You can go for religious reasons, and I am a reverend, so that might do the trick. You can go to “support the Cuban people,” but I really can’t figure out what this means. Nobody online seems sure. Does that mean I just go and buy some stuff? If so, I’m down for that. And entry is allowed, I believe, for journalistic purposes. I have been running this blog for nearly a decade…good god…and I have a decently broad readership because of my travels, so this might be my entrance. I need to research more, and I need to find somebody who knows more than me. It’s a lot of information to collect. I need to know about visas, and currencies, and hotels, and how to get to Havana from Santa Clara, and all that nonsense. But I don’t, so I’ll have to figure this one out the way I figured out Egypt. But at least I can say more than three words in the native language. I can only, “Yes,” “No,” and “Thank you,” in Arabic. My awful Spanish is much better. So, if the Cuban government would like to sponsor a trip for me or help me out, let me know. Gracias!

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