THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #230

LOVE:

Cormoran Strike Book Series:

The Harry Potter series gives me something akin to PTSD. I loved those damn books so much. I tore through them as soon as I discovered them right before the cultural explosion when Harry Potter was everywhere and everything. I waited in midnight lines to get the first edition of the last three books. I was interviewed for the local news. I wrote fan fiction. I even somehow managed to get a copy of the final book in a blurry PDF a couple of weeks before the actual release. I was all about Harry Potter. I loved the storytelling, the intricacies of the plot, the fleshed put characters. All of it. I loved it. And then those godawful movies started being released. They were unable to capture the same charm and depth of the books, even though they were very entertaining. I would never deny that they have value as films, but in comparison to the source material, they are hella lame. And if that’s all the further the nonsense spread, I’d be okay. But it wasn’t. Harry Potter became an empire. Soon there were websites, podcasts, stage productions, theme parks, so many cheap souvenirs, and endless repackaging of the films and books. It became just too much for me. At first I could handle J.K. Rowling going on Twitter and bending over backwards for millennials — a group I identify with — to make sure that she proved Hogwarts was a liberal LGBTQIA+ wonderland, when it clearly was nothing of the sort. It was just a magical boarding school. She began to really irk me, but I lost it when that stage play, The Cursed Child, was released. I bought an ebook copy to read while I was traveling, and I think I scared away everybody in the Cairo airport as I scowled through the preposterous and poorly written play. It was idiotic. It was worse than fan fiction. Amazon even let me return the ebook when I sent a long letter about how it was overpriced garbage. I’m not sure if that’s normal. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ And that’s when my love for Harry Potter died, in a coffee shop in Cairo. I just couldn’t deal. Still, I felt some kind of lasting affection, so I got a copy of her new detective series. Remember when J.K was being ridiculous and using a pen name? Long story short, I really liked the books. More than I ever expected. The Cormoran Strike series is all about a gruff, one-legged, poor detective who is the son of a rock star he barely knows. Over the course of the books, he and his assistant/eventful love interest, Robin, unearth clues into dark and grisly crimes. They’re actually delightful and easy to read and fun to tear through. I’m reading the latest release right now and doing my best not to read the entire thing in one sitting. So, forget about Harry Potter. Read something new. 

Martha Roasting Uber:

This isn’t quite as tangible as most of the things I write about on this blog. It’s all about what I believe to be the most iconic Instagram post of all time. Last night as I was procrastinating, I scrolled through Instagram looking for something to amuse me. Well, I certainly found it. Martha Stewart, my beloved role mode, decided that she would take her first Uber ride, a journey that she found so distasteful and unsatisfying that she decided she needed to make a multi-image post to express her disgust. I was LIVING. Now, I love Uber; I think they are a revolutionary company, but they have their issues. The Ubers in Mexico City are reliably dreamy. They arrive promptly, they’re unbelievably cheap, and the drivers are always good. I have never had a bad experience with a Mexican Uber. The same cannot be said for Ubers in the United States. LA is always decent, but Ubers in Chicago and New York City are nightmares. They oftentimes cancel, wait for you in places that make no sense, arrive on the wrong side of a busy road — am I supposed to just run across Fifth Avenue? — and the drivers are routinely weird. There are many wonderful drivers and cars, but there are enough duds that it makes me wary of loading the app. Martha, unfortunately, had the worst. She wrote, and this is where I died, “My very first Uber! I ordered the most expensive version…” and then it stood her up! Can you imagine being an Uber driver and having Martha Stewart pop up on the app, confirming her, and then bailing? I’m in shock that anybody would abandon a customer let alone a customer as important as Queen Martha! Well, Martha wasn’t about to let one failed encounter ruin her new adventure with Uber, so she requested another one. This one, to her delight, arrived, but to her dismay, was absolutely filthy. I’ve never been in such an unkempt Uber before in my life, so I was devastated for her. It was filled with detritus, the car was crumbling, and the encounter was just utterly unsatisfactory. I cackled scrolling through her pictures, just the thought of Martha getting an Uber was enough to fuel me for a while. So funny. And then, when I went back to look at it and cackle some more, I found, to my extreme delight, that she had deleted the post. But thanks to the Internet, nothing really ever goes away. Oh how I laughed! It’s a good thing

New Dishwasher:

Y’all, I am madly and desperately in love. You surely remember me blabbering on about my broken dishwasher last week that couldn’t be repaired. I just paid a one hundred dollar bill for a guy to take ten minutes to look at my dishwasher and tell me there was no way to repair it. I don’t believe him. People in Mexico and Egypt are fixing things all the damn time. Nothing is impossible. Where I stay in Mexico City is right next to a shop that takes old computers and parts apart and then uses them to repair stuff. We just don’t like to fix shit here. Were a culture based on garbage. I’ll get off my rant. The repairman warned me off of getting a “generic” dishwasher, which was my first warning sign about him. My dishwasher wasn’t generic by any means. I was so annoyed that I just tossed it outside — a feat of strength that you all need to be impressed by — and hurried onto Amazon to look at dishwashers. I ended up buying the latest model of the exact same one that I had to begin with. I wasn’t at all wary of making such a purchase, as the other one had done me a world of good for the three years I had it. And if I had to pay a little over one hundred dollars a year to have a machine wash my dishes, that’s a hundred dollars very well spent. It came two days later and was waiting on my front step when I got home from work. I even bought some extended warranty online so that it would be completely covered for three more years. That was certainly a relief. Now if it happens again, they’ll just send me another one. Blessed. I rolled the new one into the spot recently vacated by the earlier dishwasher and hooked it up. READER! It’s even better than the first one. I am so obsessed with my little dishwasher on wheels. EVERYTHING SHINES. EVERYTHING GLISTENS. EVERYTHING IS SO CLEAN. I will not be without a dishwasher. Being without one is a hate crime, and if you elect me as your president — and I surely have more experience than the current one who actually is president…I won’t get started, just make your own jokes about a bloated Cheeto with the temperament of a spoiled three-year-old — I will work to pass bipartisan legislation that will provide money for families to purchase a dishwasher. This will inevitably bring about world peace. Go get your dishwasher life, guys! I find such joy in loading and unloading it, smiling like a manic Martha Stewart at my wineglasses. They’re so shiny and spot free that they could blind you. It’s wonderful!

Poached Fish:

I feel quite guilty for being so behind on my posts from Mexico City, but if you’re a loyal reader of this pointless website, you know my many reasons. I’ll get it updated eventually, even though it might take me the better part of a year. Procrastination is my gift. Anyway, when I was down in Mexico City, I basically moved in, and one of the dishes I made myself at least once a week towards the end was a poached fish in a spicy tomato sauce. Many people still think of me as a vegetarian, which is understandable since I have been for so long. I have no interest in eating red meat, even though I did eat turkey out of desperate depression during Thanksgiving. I’m very much a pescatarian these days, though I should eat better fish than Filet o’Fish at McDonald’s. That’s probably not even real fish. Probably krill or something. The fish that I made was wonderful in Mexico. You gently simmer garlic and tomatoes together, letting the tomatoes break down into a rich liquid that fish like sole, tilapia, haddock, or cod is poached in for a few minutes. It’s effortlessly tender and overwhelmingly delicious. It was absolutely divine, and I made so many alterations to the dish that I think it’s justifiably my own now. So, dear and beloved reader, please make the following dish. Like most homemade dishes that are made through experimentation, I haven’t really made a lot of measurements. Here are just a few basic instructions. In a large skillet, heat a large amount of olive oil until it shines — just enough olive oil to make you feel guilty but not enough to make you regret cooking — then toss in a thinly sliced onion. Let this cook until softened and slightly caramelized, then toss in a bunch of garlic, about three cloves. Slice, mince, or smash it. Doesn’t matter. Cook until fragrant and then dump a large can of peeled tomatoes in. Break these up until they’re bite size. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste), and a pinch of saffron. Simmer for a spell, then add four filets of fish. Cover and let cook for five to ten minutes, until they flake. Serve over a bed of wild rice and douse with the poaching liquid. It is the most heavenly and restorative dish I have made in ages. Saffron took ages to find, though, here in the States, which is absurd. I found it at Walmart in Mexico City. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Broccolini:

I am a ho for broccoli. It is, without a doubt, my favorite vegetable in all the world. If we ever develop the technology to go back in time, you will find nobody more shocked than a teenage me when told he will eventually come to prefer broccoli over all other foods. Back then I was surviving off of a diet of chicken breasts, Cheerios, and popcorn. So much popcorn. My body is like ninety percent popcorn. But that has nothing to do with anything. I eat broccoli like three times a week, if not every single day, so I know all about the broccolis. I love me that romanesco stuff, but I never find it anywhere, so I just eat normal broccoli, but that all changed this week, dear reader. I went to Whole Foods and I was browsing, looking for something to make my life worth living, and in the produce section, I came across a package of broccolini. It looked intriguing, so I tossed it in my basket and roasted it in the oven the next night. Broccolini is basically the lovechild of regular broccoli and asparagus, like it’s a long spear of broccoli. I don’t understand what it is fully or if it’s even really related to broccoli, but I’m now absolutely obsessed with it. I want to have broccolini for every single meal. I want to be stuffing my face with it right now. For a person who eats so much broccoli, why am I so fat? Like I’m not obese, but I’ve gained forty pounds in two years that I can’t get rid of. Then again, I’m not trying very hard. I counted calories today and I am ready for the grave. I’m over it. I’m over all of this. Just get me plastic surgery and a new wardrobe, please. But I’m rambling on. Turns out there isn’t really a lot to say about the divine vegetable that is known as BROCOLINI. I think I have to stick around Iowa this summer, something I haven’t done in years, so maybe I will try to put some in the garden so that I can ignore it and forget about it and then wonder why I can’t grow anything. I can, actually, I just hate going outside in Iowa in the summer because it’s a million degrees with a million percent humidity and there are a million bugs per square inch. It’s a nightmare. That’s one of the more significant reasons that I travel! Oh well, go eat broccolini.

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