THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #229

LOVE:

“From Vienna with Love” by Conchita Wurst:

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Do you watch Eurovision every year? If you don’t, you are a fool and you are absolutely wasting your life. One of the greatest victors of the greatest television spectacle of all time is Conchita Wurst. She’s a bearded lady with the voice of an angel. She sassily roasted Russia, who was in the news during her victory. It wasn’t the election meddling that led to my beloved Hillary losing the presidential election that she actually won — no this was back when they were up to their nasty tricks trying to make the lives of LGBT individuals misery. Back then there was a serious worry of human rights violations in Chechnya.

Simpler times. Isn’t it awful that those were simpler times? Ugh, I have more to say about the state of the world later on in this post. But this has absolutely nothing to do with politics, it has to do with my divine Conchita. I about saw her in London a few years ago when she was performing at Gay Pride, but then Jessica and I tickets to go see Dolly Parton that night, and Jessica likes to be at concerts and movies at least three days early. She’s silly that way. Dolly was the embodiment of divinity, but I did regret not seeing Miss Wurst. Oh well, I’m sure it will happen eventually. But that has nothing to do with the post, it has everything to do with her sumptuous new album, “From Vienna With Love,” which I have not been able to stop playing on repeat. It’s not pop music by any means, she sings with a famous symphony and it is utterly sumptuous. The greatest song of them all is not Conchita’s infamous Eurovision winner, it’s a fabulous song sung in German from the 40s, “Für Mich Soll’s Rote Rosen Regnen.”

It is insanely pretty, I have it set as my first alarm, and I really don’t dread hitting snooze for the first time each morning. I feel a bit like a less cheery Doris Day as I smirk and slap snooze and then sleep for another hour. It’s great, and the way Conchita sings is so well enunciated that I feel like I can actually understood spoken German for the very first time. It’s wonderful. Go get the album now. Support my beloved Conchita. 

Hello Fresh:

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I know that this is something I’ve written about before, maybe twice, I don’t know anymore, but I am just so enamored of Hello Fresh. This post was inspired by how irritated I became recently. Ever so often they will send me things that don’t interest me at all, like this hideous cucumber salad. I don’t even get the box if it comes with cucumbers anymore. There is simply no food more hideous in the whole world than cucumbers. And don’t come for me about this, I have tried and tried to like cucumbers, I keep trying them when they show up, and no matter how they’re prepared, they are absolutely vile. In Egypt and Mexico, the damn things are everywhere, can’t escape that hideous cucumber flavor. I didn’t intend to write a rant on the stupidest fruit under the sun, but those nasty things fill me with an absolute rage. Anyway, last week, I was not at all intrigued by a stir-fry dish created by Lauren Conrad as a special meal. Who knew Lauren Conrad was still a thing? I cackled with annoyance reading her little bio, “My favorite food right now is whatever’s homemade.” I mean, really. Come off it. People who elevate cooking to a lifestyle are beyond me. I love to eat, I went to pastry school, I am addicted to food, but I don’t have an orgasmic response to grinding fresh pepper the way so many television chefs do. With a sigh, I started prepping the ingredients, growing more dubious with every strange ingredient: cauliflower (the dullest vegetable on the planet), unsalted peanuts (why no salt, Lauren?), and a can of chunked pineapple. Those could not go together, right? But I followed all of the instructions, and it came together easily, and it looked edible. But the idea of crunching bell peppers, cauliflower, pineapple, and peanuts together felt wrong. It turns out that I was the one who was wrong. That shit was delicious. Hello Fresh is overpriced, but reader, it is absolutely worth it. If I didn’t have that box show up every week, I know that my palate would be much less diverse at home. I would never cook cauliflower at home. I wouldn’t buy cauliflower. I wouldn’t associate myself with cauliflower. And I certainly would never have cooked so many poblano peppers if I didn’t’ subscribe. It’s so worth it. Get your box ASAP! OH. Their avocados are shit. That’s the only problem. They’re never ripe, and they NEVER get ripe. It’s odd.

Sunbelt Bakery Granola Bars:

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I have long considered granola bars to be a shameful culinary aberration. I have laughingly referred to them as honey soaked oat jerky, though I seem to be the only one who finds that description hilarious. I have lived nearly three decades not desiring granola, not wanting to eat a processed stick of nuts and chocolate and grains for a meal supplement or to satisfy a craving. I know that I wrote about this in another of my blog series, but these things are continuing to revolutionize my existence. Ever since the first chocolate chunk granola bar came into my life, I haven’t been able to stop eating them. I buy them all the damn time. But I have learned something very important, which is this, all granola bars are absolute shit aside from Sunbelt Bakery granola bars. Before I had my hearing aid surgery — remember the one where they drilled into my skull and inserted a titanium screw? — I stocked up on easy to prepare meals. I wasn’t sure if I’d be fine or on my deathbed, turns out a bit of both, but that’s in the past now. I bought a couple varieties of granola bars and they were all absolutely disgusting. I couldn’t finish them. These were the examples of the oat jerky that I have long been referring to. This isn’t true for granola bars made by Sunbelt Bakery, though. Those things are LITTY. I would marry those granola bars. I eat way too many of them. The best one is the double chocolate chunk, but right now I have a box of peanut butter ones that are rocking my existence. They are so good. I’m never going to live life again without constant access to granola bars. I’m off to grab another one. I don’t know who I am anymore. 

HATE:

State of Global Unrest:

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I’m not going to go on with this one for too long, because if you have been exposed to the media for any amount of time, you know how disheartening it is. This morning I was reading an interview with Bill and Melinda Gates in National Geographic, and they were going on about why there is reason for hope in the world and how things aren’t quite as bad as they seem. I would agree wholeheartedly with this, I am forever an optimist, I’ve rarely encountered a situation where I can’t find a valid silver lining. Still, it’s hard to deny that the world is unpleasant. I think the Gates’ are right, but I think that their vast wealth provides them the opportunity to be a bit more hopeful. I’m not exactly destitute, but I am by no means wealthy. I don’t, but I need to consider every dollar, money is ever-present in my thoughts, money dominates my existence whether I like it or not. Bill Gates has the money to focus on his philanthropy, all I get to focus on is work and school and making ends meet. Of course he has room for hope, and even though I have hope, I don’t feel quite so open hearted. I’m sick and tired of politics, even though I refuse to ignore them and be uninformed. I believe that it is my civic duty and personal responsibility to learn about current events and make my vote count. Nothing infuriates me more than people who willingly abdicate themselves from the world and then vote on what they feel. That’s how we got so deep into this bitter mess. I promise not to blabber on too much more. I attended an assembly yesterday for Veteran’s Day, and it really made me think about the struggles that previous generations have gone through. So many people were killed or had their lives irrevocably changed for the worse. I worry that it will happen to us. It’s only a matter of time. History is cyclical no matter how hard we try, and not enough people are trying right now. History is approaching a dangerous nationalistic/fascist loop. There is literally a fascist leader in South America. The United States president isn’t all that far from being a dictator. Like seriously. Far right radical groups are organizing and marching all over the world, worryingly in Germany. Italians elected the far right. Britain is leaving the European Union. France’s political world is teetering on a dangerous edge. It seems inevitable that we will return to global conflict sooner than later. I really didn’t think it would ever happen, but the Trump presidency has changed everything. The impossible is now normal. Major political stories that would take over the news for MONTHS are now jokes mentioned in passing before getting onto ever more egregious nonsense. I’m so tired. It’s about time for me to plan an escape to a monastery again. 

Broken Dishwasher:

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I don’t really know what happened, but I have rarely been so unhappy. About a month ago, on one of the last really nice days before the weather changed to a constant state of frozen, I was in a cleaning frenzy. The house was sparkling, the laundry was flying through my machines, dishes were churning in the washer, a new load quickly filling up when the clean dishes were dry. Everything was great. I even brushed my cat and my own hair. We were all, united, on cloud nine. It was so nice outside, though, that I knew I would regret not going for a walk for the rest of my natural life. With that in mind, I laced up my loathed tennis shoes, started a workout on my Apple Watch, and hurled myself out into the balmy sun. It was joyous. I sang Cher’s cover of “Waterloo” for two hours as I stomped for six miles through the countryside, the sun finally sinking into the horizon as I made it back home.

I tidied myself up a bit and then went to load the final dishes. I thought it was odd that the power button was still recessed, but I didn’t think much of it. The dishes were clean, so I put them away and got ready for the last load. I plugged it in. I pushed the button. And nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. I laughed nervously to myself for a moment before total panic set in. Like this:

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I unplugged it and left it for a day hoping that it would reset itself somehow. It didn’t. This had worked in the past during the only other moment of failure, but now there was no hope. I watched endless videos online and even ordered an electrical tester. I finally diagnosed it with a broken power switch, but as much love as I have for electrical work, this was beyond me. I had to do my dishes by hand for an entire month, reader, and if you know me at all, you know this nearly killed me. I have rhapsodized proudly over my dishwasher since the moment it appeared in my life. Now I was ruined. I has half a man. I was living an absolute lie. I finally arranged for somebody to come out. He’s working on it right now. He didn’t seem too distraught, so I have hope. I will update you with good or bad news as soon as I have it. Let’s all come together and send thoughts and prayers to my dishwasher and to the man who is working on it. PLEASE. UPDATE: Whatever it can’t be fixed. I just ordered a new one. It’ll be here Monday. Thank all the gods for credit cards. UPDATE: The new one is here and it is BOMB.

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