THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #218

LOVE:

Eurovision 2018 – Lisbon:

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First things first, I’m dying to go to Portugal. It looks stunning. I’m hoping to fly into Lisbon the next time I go to Europe and spend a few days exploring the beautiful streets. Research and my instincts tell me that this is going to be one of the hottest travel destinations in upcoming years. The food and the sea and the language I can’t figure out all sound fabulous!  But more important than travel planning, which is truly a tremendous statement coming from me, EUROVISION! You know what it is, right? It’s the most glorious day of the year! European nations come together to put on what is basically American Idol meets RuPaul’s Drag Race on an acid trip. It’s been going on for decades, and the original intent was that the nations of Europe could battle each other through song rather than war fare. Isn’t that delightful? It doesn’t seem like it’s something that could be real in this horrible world. And if you aren’t watching by now, you don’t have an excuse. It streams on Logo live! The whole world gets to watch together! I never could have dreamed of this convenience. I was thriving! Ever since Jessica and I started watching, there have been some real crappy years that are devoid of insanity. When we watch Eurovision, we don’t want a ballad, we want dwarves on unicycles, hard metal Vikings, explosions, sequins, fire! The more insane the better, and I am thrilled because this year finally amped up the insanity. Let’s watch some of my favorites, first off a vampire youth from the Ukraine:

And then a minimalist pop song which is hella catchy but is about a baby born at sea to a refugee mother:

Norway brought Alexander Rybak back (see what I did there?) to play an invisible violin:

The contestant from Israel clicked like a chicken and delivered a delightful feminist anthem:

The Swede’s had a man who was a SNACK singing about dancing and I can’t stop listening: 

The Czech’s had another babe:

The Netherlands had a full on country song which was too marvelous and has honestly become a favorite:

And Ireland had a gorgeous gay ballad that was so sweet and sad:

It was all so much fun. Better than it’s been in years. It felt like Europe and the rest of the world were tired of the bleakness we have all around so they were there for fun. AND THEY SERVED FUN! Loved every second, the hours flew by in what felt like minutes. We’re off to Israel next year!

Table 128:

Remarkable. That’s what I kept saying throughout my meal at Table 128 the other day. Off topic, but going deaf has been great for my gastronomic horizons. After I get steroids shot directly though my eardrum and the world stops spinning and I stop feeling nauseous and I’m able to stand up without wanting to pass out, I treat myself to a nice meal. I feel that’s well deserved after having a hypodermic needle shoved into my skull. I really don’t recommend going deaf. I also suggest going to the doctor the second you feel ill even if everybody around you starts accusing you of being a hypochondriac. It’s better to be accused of that than get irreversibly unhealthy. Take my burden as your inspiration. After my appointment yesterday, I thought I would try out another restaurant that has been on my list for ages, Table 128. I’ve known of it for years, but I never went in. I have a vague memory of buying a lackluster éclair there once when it had a more French flair, but I think it’s under new operation. None of that’s really very important for you to know, but I specifically recall looking remarkably more handsome than usual that day. Anyway, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the ambiance of the place, it looks like any nice restaurant in the world. It didn’t have the big city vibe of Trostel’s Dish, but that’s not bad by any means. I decided that I’m only going to be a pescatarian when I go out for a meal. I don’t want to buy fish to cook at home. No thanks. But if a chef is willing, I’m all for it. I ordered a salmon dish and a glass of wine that costs much more than my entire box of ALDI wine. On days where I suffer, I treat myself. Not a great idea for my wallet, not by any stretch of the imagination, but there will always be bills. The service was somewhat slow, but the staff was all lovely, and my meal was worth a wait that would have lasted a year. Reader, I honestly have not had such an exceptional meal in years. It’s easily one of the best things that have ever been in my mouth…make your own jokes. The salmon was almost creamy. I have never had such a well cooked piece of fish in my life and I regretted not being a pescatarian all these years. The salmon was served atop some couscous with perfectly cooked snap peas, charred cabbage, and then deep fried leeks. This was all served atop a sauce that looked black and reminded me of mole, but it wasn’t. I took one bite and I lost my mind. Reader. IT was REMARKABLE. Everything was perfectly cooked and the presentation was divine. Foolishly, I forgot to take a picture. I’ve been thinking about this dish ever since. And to add to the pleasure, they bring you out a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies with your bill that are remarkably good and so salty. I will go back a million times. The only downside is that I worry I’ll never find a better meal in my life in all my travels. I never once thought I’d find it in Des Moines. Good lord. 

The Book of Joan” by Melissa Rivers:

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If you have read this website for any length of time, you’re surely familiar with the intense love I have for Joan Rivers. She is all things to me. I envisioned her as a friend and a grandmother and a guardian angel. When she died, I wrote a requiem for her that was really all about me and what she meant to me. She was the very first person that I ever told I was gay — even though half the planet surely knew already — and receiving an autographed photograph from her was a highlight of my young adult life. It hangs on my wall today in a place of pride. She is the funniest person and she was truly a star and I have never gotten over her death. One of the happiest nights of my life was spent in the Amtrak café car with several gin and tonics whilst chugging along through the tundra of northern New York. I watched probably ten episodes of her podcast and cackled myself silly until it was the small hours of the morning. After her death, which honestly still chokes me up, I bought a copy of her daughter’s memoirs, but I never felt it was time to read it. It has sat on my coffee table ever since next to a miniature royal crown and one of a dozen candles that I’ve burnt through. I finally decided the time was appropriate, and I have veritably been tearing through the pages. Melissa is not Joan, but she is so clearly Joan’s daughter. It has been a joy to read about Melissa’s life growing up and the things that she thought were normal that were truly extraordinarily strange. Wouldn’t it have been grand to grow up backstage in Vegas or touring the nation? I think so. I think everything different is great, though, it’s one of my greater flaws. The book was a complete and total treat and I’m so sad that I already finished it. Highly recommended. And you can absolutely never go wrong with a good Helen Keller joke, “Melissa, Helen Keller once said, ‘Life is a great adventure, or it’s nothing.’ …of course, she said it to a coffee table, but still, you get the point.” God I miss that woman so much!

Co-Washing:

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I love experimenting with my hair. Especially at times like this when it is in a horrible phase. I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with my locks, it has never quite looked as strange as it does right now. The strands of hair are incredibly wavy — much more than ever — and they whirl themselves around in a pattern I’ve never before noticed. I can’t stand it. No amount of product has helped. If anything, it looks the same but squashed down by hair clay. The other night I realized I was out of shampoo, and my brain flashed back to an article I had recently skimmed about co-washing. This is when you wash your hair with a generous dollop of conditioner instead of shampoo. Shampoo can be a bit harsh on the strands of your hair, so by massaging it with conditioner instead, you clean it, add moisture, and give your scalp a good massage. I was sure it wouldn’t do anything, but two weeks later, I swear by co-washing. It makes my hair manageable and gorgeous and gives it reasonable volume. Instead of being wild, it’s fairly well sculpted. For a person that barely gives themselves any time in the morning to put on clothing let alone do their hair, this is a godsend. I can just tousle my hair with my fingers and then spritz it with hairspray and head out the door. This is revolutionary. I might never need to use normal shampoo again! I did buy a clarifying shampoo to use once or twice a month depending on how well your hair is coping with so much moisturizer. This worked too well, so today my hair looks shitty, so I will only be clarifying my hair on the weekends when nobody sees me. Get yourself to the pet section at Walmart and buy a big bottle of Mane ‘n Tail Conditioner meant for horses. It’s the best.

MEH:

Chromebook:

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I tried so hard to like the Chromebook I bought myself, but I’m such a snob. I can’t help it. It’s just who I am at my core. I have been long spoiled by using Apple products exclusively. Like I have said innumerable times in the past, you certainly get what you pay for when it comes to technology. I’m a ho for a bargain any other time, but I will not sacrifice when it comes to technology. I have had my beloved MacBook Pro for nearly five years and it is still going strong. I need to get it a bigger hard drive at some point, but that’s one of the only complaints I’ve got. That’s remarkable for a product as old as it is. The only other issue I have with it is the battery isn’t as great as it once was. I take five hour long college classes and I frequently take lengthy flights, and the battery just doesn’t hold up the way I want it to. So I decided I would try out one of those Chromebook things for when I’m on the go. I found one for a couple hundred dollars that had really good reviews and a battery that lasted half a day. I didn’t need anything that was a supercomputer. I just wanted something that would allow me to access my iCloud account online so that I could keep up with my writing and my blogging. I was fairly ecstatic at first, but it was just the love of new things that convinced me I liked it. After a couple days of tinkering with it, I realized I just was not satisfied. It was slower than I realized computers could still be. If I had a few tabs open, it nearly ground to a halt, and when I typed, there was a noticeable and aggravating lag. It was just not right for me, so I am returning it and using the money to maybe replace the battery on my laptop. I think that will be money much better spent, even though I am veritably lusting over those gorgeous golden MacBooks. I think it’ll have to be one of my next splurges when I save up some money. I just can’t fault Apple for anything. It’s worth it to have a bill to have a good computer. Chromebooks just aren’t worth my stress, though they’re surely good for others.

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