La Reina del Sur 2:
SHE’S BACK! I am going to try really hard not to write a million words, but let me assure you, beloved reader, that is not going to be easy for me. Yesterday was an immensely important day for me. It gave meaning to my life again. As I wrote last week, I’ve been in a blue mood, but now I have something to look forward every night at 9pm, and that wondrous something is the return of LA REINA DEL SUR. Surely you remember me going on about this telenovela at length in about a hundred other posts, but this one is something new. She’s back. And I have irritated my sister to the end of her limit by constantly talking about Kate del Castillo and Teresa Mendoza and Spain and drug trafficking and absolutely every single element of La Reina del Sur. I am so happy that one moody day I started watching Kate del Castillo on Netflix. It changed my life for the better — and that is not exactly an extreme exaggeration. Watching her star in several telenovelas taught me more Spanish than I ever thought possible. Like, honestly, half of my Spanish vocabulary is thanks to her. And the culmination of my joy was last night when, after eight years, the show came back on the air. I was worried for awhile because for some idiotic reason, my DirecTV Now subscription doesn’t come with Telemundo. But the geniuses at NBC are airing it at the same time as Telemundo. Still, until I clicked play and watched the video begin, I wasn’t sure it was going to work, and the second it began, I was lost once again in the thrilling world of La Reina del Sur. When we last left her, Teresa was in the witness protection program, pregnant, and no longer the most powerful drug trafficker in the south of Spain. She was ready to retire and enjoy life, and for nearly nine years, she lived an idyllic life in Tuscany, raising her daughter, Sofia, in a villa. It was all great. And the house is too gorgeous. Exactly my style. Guys, she was making jam for a living! Her daughter was a bright, clever, athletic girl who brought Teresa immense joy. She was still worried about all the enemies that she had made in her past life as a narco, but under the alias Maria Dantes, she was somewhat safer. Well then everything changes! That goddamn Batman is back, too, and he kidnaps Sofía. And well, Teresa snaps. She goes into full-blown revenge mode, and it is a thing that is glorious to watch. She storms down into a hidden armory, loads up on weapons, cash, and false passports, and takes a private jet to Mexico to come face-to-face with the man behind her plight. Once again it is the oily cartel boss/politician Don Epifanio Vargas. Nearly a decade ago, she put him in prison, but now he’s back and running for president, and he want Teresa to destroy his enemies. If she does, he will release Sofía and leave them in peace. Of course nobody can be trusted, and this sets the plot in motion. We go all over the place with cinematic quality visuals. Old characters come back, new enemies emerge, and most delightfully, a considerable portion of the third episode takes place in Mexico City, so you can almost imagine my insanely frequent screeches of delight. There are fifty-seven more episodes. I’m so happy.
“Schitt’s Creek” Season Five:
Television is going through a golden era; it’s been going through a golden era for years now, if I’m honest. My favorite show — and I must mention that I mean my favorite English show, because absolutely nothing compares with the joy that La Reina del Sur brings me…it completes me as a human being, but I already talked about that extensively — is a Canadian comedy known as Schitt’s Creek. Like all obnoxious people, I was on the bandwagon long before it became a popular comedy. So I still get a little uppity when I hear people praise it extensively who just started watching. That’s wrong of me, but I’m a flawed human sometimes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ If you haven’t seen the show, I won’t judge you too harshly, just take care of this grave error in judgement and get on Netflix immediately. I’ll wait…did you watch all four seasons? I assume you have. How could you not get addicted to the perfectly gentle comedy? Well, let me assure you that the fifth season is probably some of the finest English television since Will & Grace or I Love Lucy. It’s feel good comedy at its finest, and it’s something that I didn’t realize how much I needed. It’s time for spoilers, so if that’s something that perturbs you, scroll to my next very important installment about air fryers. So the last season has three flawless moments and there may be videos, so gird your loins. One of the most important things is the matriarch, Moira, as she returns to the screen where she belongs. She stars in a low-budget horror movie about anthropomorphized crows in Serbia, and for whatever reason, it is some of the finest acting Ive ever seen.
Secondly, Alexis, the spoiled socialite daughter with the heart of gold, reminisces on her short lived career as a reality star. The show wisely released the single from this episode called “A Little Bit Alexis,” and it’s everything.
She’s expensive sushi! She’s a cute huge yacht! She’s a naughty elf! Everybody has a pool boy; everybody’s got a vault. Just listen. But most preciously, at the season’s end, David’s perfect boyfriend Patrick proposes to him on a gorgeous hilltop with cheese and champagne and it’s heartwarming and life affirming and everything that I ever hoped for David’s character. He has made such a transformation as the seasons go by, and it’s fantastic to see him happy and all of these wonderful moments. It’s such a joyful show. You’ll love it.
I don’t like to be wrong. I’ll admit it when I am, but I don’t enjoy the feeling. I used to be really into kitchen gadgets and wanted the latest and greatest of everything, but as I’ve aged, I’ve come to enjoy simplicity. To be a good cook you don’t need a sous-vide stick or an herb mill or special whisks. No, you just need good cookware, a very good knife, and a cutting board. You can do it all with that. So, because this is my mindset, I don’t think about all the gadgets that are out there. I haven’t succumbed to a Pizza Pizzazz or an Instant Pot. I don’t think I really need them to cook. The only machine that I have is a rice cooker at work for my lunches. I love a good rice cooker, but if I didn’t have it for lunch most days, I surely wouldn’t own one. And this leads me to air fryers. I don’t ever deep fry anything, so I didn’t understand why this is something I would ever use. I couldn’t understand why they were so popular and why everybody was raving about them. Just toss your fries in the oven, am I right? But then my friend Angie had hers at work for a demo, and she let me borrow it to experiment for a while. I decided that I would make some vegetables and a fish dish, but it took me some time to get around to doing it. I didn’t expect it to do much of anything and I didn’t want to waste my ten dollar piece of salmon. But one night, it was late, and I was hungry, and the machine supposedly works super fast, so I sprayed the salmon with olive oil, covered it in herbs, and placed it in the machine. You just hit a couple buttons and it gets to work. There’s no preheating necessary, and seven minutes later, a beep comes on and you open the machine. I didn’t expect much of anything, reader, but what I found has left me rethinking nearly all of my life choices. Inside the basket was a gorgeously cooked piece of salmon. The skin was gorgeously crisp and the interior was perfectly tender and moist. I have never made a better fish at home. It was absurd. The asparagus came out DIVINE. Honestly, everything I’ve put in there has been unreasonably good. And so I’m on the market for one. I’m eyeing a couple models, and I so hope that I get one soon because I have borrowed this one for way too long…
Sesame Seed Rice Chips at ALDI:
One of my favorite snacks in all this whole world is rice chips. There was a company called RiceWorks that made these absurdly addicting chips out of rice flour. I could easily eat an entire bag in one sitting without guilt. Then, one bleak day, they disappeared. I couldn’t find them anymore at the grocery store. Honestly, it broke me as a person. I ate them all the damn time. And every time I go to the shops, I look in vain without finding them. Instead, I inevitably wind up with delicious black pepper kettle chips which are assuredly less healthy. But they’re so good. I can eat a bag of them in one sitting too with no trouble! I’ve been relying on Hello Fresh for my meals lately, so I’ve been trying to avoid grocery stores because inevitably I buy a million things I have no need for. But last Friday I went shopping with another ALDI aficionado…and I found things I can no longer live without. First, they now sell these addicting Parmesan crisps that I devoured in a single weekend, but that’s not the main thing I want to tell you. In the gluten-free section of ALDI, they sell a variety of nasty looking things. There are these horrible looking bars that I can’t get out of my head. More importantly, they sell something called black sesame chips. I was intrigued because they looked vaguely like the rice chips I worship. I decided to buy a bag, and reader, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my nearly thirty spins around the sun. They taste almost identical to my beloved rice chips. The flavor profile is like 95% right and that’s close enough to make me crave them in the absolute worst way. I’m thinking of going out of the way to drive to ALDI tomorrow just to buy a dozen bags. There’s a good chance that I will. I mean, honestly, why not. They’re so good. I’m obsessed. And more than that. I am blessed.
“Homecoming” by Beyoncé:
If there’s anything I love, it’s Beyoncé. She can absolutely do no wrong in my eyes. She could punch me in the face and I’d tell her thank you and have the bruise tattooed permanently on my face. I would then tell absolutely everybody about the day that Beyoncé punched me. And people would get sick to death of me telling them about it, but would that ever stop me? No. You knew that already. Queen Bey knows a think or two about music and a thing or ten about surprise releases. So, reader, imagine the unholy sound I made when I received a push notification from Apple Music saying there was a new Beyoncé album. It was a frightening sound, and I was asked if I was all right. I wasn’t. I couldn’t wait for he workday to be done so I could go put my AirPods in and listen to whatever triumph she had created. Reader, I was gobsmacked and blown away and blessed and never happier. I was this:
Truly, what can’t the woman do? But what didn’t sink in until later was that the entire thing was a live album from a video she just dropped on Netflix! Can you believe? What isn’t on Netflix? I made Jose promise not to watch it until we could watch it together, and finally, we had the chance. It took us six hours to watch it because, in a truly unbearable homosexual fashion, we had to rewind every few seconds repeatedly to see every iconic move Beyoncé made. It was absolutely everything. Her dancers wore leotards printed with the golden death mask of Tutankhamen. I screeched. She did all of her best songs — which is every song she’s ever sang obvi. “Freedom,” my personal anthem was one of the first songs in the concert and I was VIBING. Solange was there doing the scissor leg dance and it was iconic. But the greatest moment was the Destiny’s Child reunion. The singing was fine and it was good, but there was such delicious and obvious shade directed at Michelle that I couldn’t stand it. I honestly think we rewatched that little segment over and over for an hour. It got better with each viewing. I still think about it and laugh to myself. I’ve been to two different Beyoncé concerts, but I’ve never had good seats, but that never got in the way of me having a GOOD time, it was utterly fabulous to see her up close and watch the intricacy of the performance. Thank Beysus that this concert is available to stream until the end of the world. And speaking of girls…who run the world?