THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #241

LOVE:
Dark Chocolate Reese’s Thins:

Growing up, I thought peanut butter was fairly gross. I liked it spread on a cracker, but that was literally it. I remember two things very vividly from preschool, but one haunting experience that lingers with me, is peanut butter spread on a piece of celery. That was absolutely traumatizing. I was teased by adults and my peers for my adamant disdain of this nibble. I still hold with this, dear reader, and nothing is ever going to change my mind when it comes to celery. That food is an absolute waste. There is no purpose in it. It tastes awful, it’s got the worst texture, and the sound that it makes is just horrifying. No thanks, but I’m not writing about the worst vegetable that was ever cultivated in the history of humanity, I’m writing about candy. For the longest time, I thought Reese’s were bizarre and pointless. I couldn’t understand why anybody would want to snack on a glob of peanut butter and milk chocolate. I couldn’t understand generally why anybody would choose to eat milk chocolate when dark chocolate exists. Even more perplexing was the popularity of white chocolate. It isn’t even really chocolate. It tastes like plastic and celery might be more palatable sometimes. Lol I’m lying to myself. When I was at Walmart the other day, wasting some time, I came across a new product called Reese’s Thins. They were like half the size of a regular, but they were enrobbed in dark chocolate. I was intrigued. I grabbed it. I tried one. I devoured the bag. I’m on my third bag now. That treat satisfies me completely. What a delight!

IKEA Smart Lights:

I have no idea why I resisted the advent of smart homes for so long. It probably has something do with that Disney Channel movie where the robotic appliances became sentient and hold a family hostage within their own home. Disney has occasionally been wildly dark. I mean, have you ever seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Talk about traumatizing. When I was at IKEA the last time, I decided that I needed to spend significant time in the lighting department. I didn’t do this because I necessarily needed new lights, I simply needed to annoy Jessica. For some reason, she thinks I have an unhealthy fixation with lightbulbs. It seems like I go through them pretty fast, and for a while I did, because I think the fixture in my office is haunted. Then I just stopped using the light. Anyway…because I wanted to spend some time amongst the lamps and watch her reaction, I decided that I needed to fully automate the upper level of my home. This interest soon became a fixation and now it’s a full-blown obsession. I’ve even had to order more online so that I could install them everywhere. Y’all…it’s wild. I’m living my best life. There are three fixtures that don’t fit the smart lights and they offend me. Like it causes me physical pain to have to flip a switch or pull a string. Isn’t that silly? All of the other ones, I can tell my Apple Watch or Alexa to turn on the lights, and then it just happens. It is insane. The setup was stupidly easy, the IKEA app is decent, and I quickly discovered something that has changed my life. When my rooms were wired in the late eighties, for some reason, they decided that every room should be a pull switch instead of a light switch. This is absurd and I’ve spent considerable time, money, and frustration getting them adapted with conduit wiring. Now, though, all I have to do is screw in a smart light. My life has been changed. I now get to shout at my lights like they’re servants and I’m an obscenely wealthy oil baron. At other times, when they don’t respond properly, I take a savage pleasure in glaring and muttering, “So unprofessional…” Go get these lights, dear readers, they are the FUTURE!

The Play That Goes Wrong:

I love the theater. In another life, in a life where I could sing, I would thoroughly enjoy being in a musical. I’d love to belt out a showtune for no reason for the delight of my audience. But I’m not vocally gifted, reader. I can hold a tune whilst I warble, but it’s hardly the stuff required for Broadway. That’s all right, I suppose, I’ll get around to it when I’m reincarnated. I firmly believe in reincarnation. I’ll probably come back as a spider, though, since I’ve spent so much time in my life destroying them. I say all this to say, when I read that The Play That Goes Wrong was coming to Des Moines, I had to be sure to be there. I saw the show when it was in New York City on the same night that Martha Stewart was a few theaters away attending Sunset Boulevard, the night after I was at that performance. Can you believe? Can you even imagine my outrage? The play was a hoot and a half. I laughed for hours from my hysterically bad seats. I literally had the ones furthest from the stage, but I had an unobstructed view, and that suited me just fine. The premise of the show is that a crappy English theater troupe is mistakenly booked at a nice theater to put on a show that the hiring agent thought was something else. That’s the background, but it’s hardly the point. The rest of the show is all about every single element that goes wrong during the performance and the perseverance of the actors who are risking their lives to entertain the audience. The stage falls apart, the actors are knocked out, the electricity sparks, lines are forgotten, and on and on. It’s a delight and I was so excited that it was coming to Des Moines so that I could take Jessica and Alison. Weirdly, there are many elements of the production that are similar to an insane one-act play that Alison and I wrote in high school called In England! We did it mainly because we wanted to see what we could get away with. And somehow, our little group got the highest score possible even though we literally had abominable Southern accents, a possession by Beelzebub, and jazzercising. I mean…honestly, it was a hoot. The Play That Goes Wrong has many of these elements and that added to our cackling. We screamed with laughter and then screeched some more when we began to connect with the actors on social media. That was wild. I was talking to one actor on Instagram. Alison was talking to another on Facebook Messenger. In the end, we were invited to meet the cast and made complete asses of ourselves.

What else did you expect, though? If you ever get a chance to see this show, I urge you, no I implore you, GO!

Dora and the Lost City of Gold:

In my life, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entire episode of Dora the Explorer. It wasn’t relevant to my upbringing. I enjoyed the idea of a bilingual adventuress, though, and one of my high school friends was the spitting image of Dora, and that was delightful. Still, even without much knowledge of the show, when the trailer was released for Dora and the Lost City of Gold, I was all in. It looked incredible. Endless laughs, Spanish, and adventure! Jessica and I finally had the chance to see the movie last night in Perry, and it was a nonstop bop. Reader, I am serious with you right now. Dora is the movie of the year! I’ll give you an outline of the basic premise. Dora is the daughter of two adventurers who go on quests for knowledge. Because of their particular passion for Mesoamerican history, Dora has spent her life growing up in the Amazon with monkeys and plants for friends rather than other people. Her cousin, Diego, visited her once, but he has grown up in the United States. When Dora’s parents go on a dangerous expedition, they decide it will be best for Dora to go stay in the United States with family for awhile. This is equivalent of a death sentence for our heroine. She is not familiar with the culture of LA, she knows about poisonous frogs! This sets up jokes that could be cheap, but were done with incredibly highbrow humor. Instead of making fun of Dora, which happens, she determines that she is studying the customs of the indigenous people. When discussing her parent’s career, it is made clear that they are not treasure hunters and there is an entire monologue about proper archaeological excavations that made my heart leap into my throat. You never hear anything like that ANYWHERE. Not even in movies that are explicitly about archaeology. Indiana Jones would NEVER. He, and I’m not going to go off of on a tirade, is the worst representation of archaeology ever created. He is a misogynistic pig who cares more for treasure than knowledge. It’s a shame that so many young people’s first impression of archaeology is from that horrible creation. But I’m talking about Dora the Explorer lolz… Dora gets kidnapped, and though it is never fully explained, it didn’t matter. The film is such fun and so funny and I would go see it again in a heartbeat. You should all RUN to your local cinema. It was incredible. Give Dora and the Lost City of Gold all of the Academy Awards and then demand a sequel. And a prequel. And a Netflix spin-off. Demand them all because we need more Dora.

Caucus Season:

Ever since the 2016 election, I’ve become a political junkie. I spend at least an hour a day watching political commentary and reading about current events. I am not being facetious, reader, but I think I’m probably more on top of things than the current president of the United States. And I’m not being facetious in the slightest because a sentient piece of moss is more capable than that moron who occupies the White House. I think it’s probably clear that I skew towards liberalism. That surely didn’t shock you at all. And if it did, you’re likely a new reader, and to you I extend the heartiest of hellos. Anyway, Iowa is a very interesting place to be once in awhile, though you may have heard me argue otherwise at times. Every four years, we have the first caucus in the nation, and because this is tremendously important, we have candidates literally spilling out of every surface. I’ve come upon Joe Biden twice now and had a great chat with him about the current state of Multiple Sclerosis research. I talked briefly with Elizabeth Warren, and she was just absolutely lovely. And just the other night, I was leaving a local spot when I noticed a woman in a glorious blue pantsuit striding in. It was none other than Tulsi Gabbard, who doesn’t have the slightest chance of being the Democratic nominee in 2020. The number of people running for the position is absurd and I think it’s somewhat detrimental to the party, but I’m not the head of the DNC, so whatevs. A friend and I got a picture with her and I got to check another candidate off of my Democratic Presidential Nominee Bingo Card. That’s not an actual thing that I have, but I really think it should be. In Iowa, you never know just who you’re going to meet. I wonder who I might literally bump into next?

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