Monthly Archives: December 2009

What I really think about bread (and “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”).

Bread? Yes, bread!

With the aid of some gifts from my mother–rubber spatula, turner, tongs, cast iron pan, etc., and most importantly a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois–I have become a bread maker!

Let me tell you right off the bat, I am a carbohydrate junkie. I love ALL food, but I live for pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread (oh, and cheeeeese). My mouth waters at just the mention! I know this is not the most healthy obsession, by any means, and I am truly regretful that I can’t get excited about something better for me (brussel sprouts? broccoli? water? air?).

But at least now I can easily (and economically) feed my habit. And, because I am ridiculously proud of myself, I am going to share my first solo bread accomplishment, and is it ever beautiful!

Look at that! My first loaf, all on my own, and it is gorgeous! Not burnt, or misshapen, or dry, or doughy, but nearly perfect!

And this book has got many recipes, from flatbread and pizza to naan and herb loaves or sticky buns or challah bread or pastries, and so easy, and so accessible! If you are at all interested in making any of these things (or saving money!) get this book!

All right, I’d better cut this off before I look like a total dork and get too excited (and maybe I already have).

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What I really think about unemployment.

Ooh, no, I hope you aren’t expecting me to write some great social or political or economical commentary, cause I’m really just here to bitch about how much it blows to be unemployed.

Granted, I’m sort of sitting around, crossing my fingers that my second interview with Whole Foods Market will go marvelously, and they’ll be throwing job offers at me, practically begging me to work for them. And soon I will be stocking and pulling and sampling organic produce to boot, and making money!

It doesn’t seem like so long ago that I was a content, unemployed, college drop-out. Smoking like a chimney, and cashing in all of my childhood bonds before they had matured to keep me in green and cigarettes and snack foods, busing it from place to place, doing odd jobs here and there, and living carefree. Now (though you wouldn’t know it from my shocking lack of motivation) not having a job stresses me out.

God I miss being a true stoner. Or maybe the extreme paranoia just means that I actually am?

No matter which way you slice it, I need a job.

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What I really think about writer’s block.

Fuuuuuck.

So blocked. So blocked I can’t even write a blog. And this blog is supposed to be block therapy. A little treatment to get me out of my current state of… nothingness. So blocked that I can’t think of anything I want to write a blog about except how blocked I am.

Great.

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What I really think about the wind.

Hey, wind, you’re an asshole. Quit making it so fucking cold, and quit pushing my car every which way while I’m trying to get from point A to point B safely.

And please, if you wouldn’t litter the road and sidewalk with all of those branches, and it would also be polite if you’d refrain from knocking the porch swing off the porch and into the fence–I think it irritates the neighbors, and that thing is heavy, you bastard.

I won’t even get into the mess you made when I was wearing that little dress the other day, let’s just call that one an accident.

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What I really think about relationships.

Ahhh another lazy, jobless day. I rolled out of bed just after one in the afternoon (this is acceptable if you went to be at 5 AM, right? RIGHT?) toasted myself a piece of bread, brewed a cup of tea (Earl Grey with vanilla and milk–YUM), and sat down with my best friend/one of my five roommates to watch Sex and the City, a lovely, easy TV on DVD catch-all.

And I have to say, as I’m sitting down here to write about relationships, an ongoing narrative is happening in my head–I can hear my own voice saying these words as I type them–and I feel like Carrie fucking Bradshaw herself. I’m not sure it’s all that it’s cracked up to be, but if I could live in her cute little apartment in New York with her great job, and channel all my funds not into Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo, but into red wine and herb, this would be close to my dream life! Aside from her string of failed relationships and the fact that I really enjoy my drafty old Portland home, that is.

But! that is not what I intended to blog about. As I sit watching Sex and the City (alongside the rest of the collection seemingly endless TV on DVD that I have been consuming lately) I realize that this show is almost exclusively about relationships. And, come to think about it, relationships seem to be the central theme of almost every (popular) television show and movie. The characters are obsessed! It is all they think and talk about–what is wrong in their relationship or how they can get into one or who they’re pursuing or how they long to find someone. The happiness of their entire existence hinges on this one aspect of their life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not  at all single, and I’m happy about that, but for all of the right reasons. NOT because I don’t want to be alone, but because I was self-aware and in tune enough to know it was right, and to be right on my own before jumping into anything. And while I am lucky enough to be in a happy and loving relationship with a beautiful girl, I like to think that my life does not center itself around it. And before I knew my love, I didn’t spend all of my time thinking about girls and how to get one and how lonely I was and blah blah blah. I was happy by myself, and therefore knew that I could be in a relationship, and be able to be happy with someone else–truly appreciate them and love them, because I want to.

Anyway, this trend is really pretty saddening, to me. To think that our culture is promoting codependency. Ugh. I wish everyone could logically come to the same conclusion as me–that relationships are not a necessity of life, and that you CAN be happy without them, easily. You can be happy in yourself, in your head, your hobbies, your passion, your other important and lasting relationships and realize that romance is not something that life is obligated to give to you, but a privilege, a reward if you will.

I highly recommend, in fact, I encourage you to explore YOURSELF! Think about your wants, and your needs, be a little selfish, and invest some time in something just for yourself, that has nothing to do with finding a mate. Just because popular opinion has told you to find a mate (quickly before you get old and ugly and no one wants you!) and reproduce (get on it, before your body can’t anymore!) does not mean that this will make you happy. Just keep that in mind, the next time you sacrifice a part of yourself for “love” or obsess over a crush or get down on yourself for being unattractive and clingy and dull and decide to just go eat worms.

But, that’s just my opinion, sorry if I sound like your mother.

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What I really think about Farmville: Days 3 and 4.

So very, very many things have happened in the past few days on my farm, I highly doubt that I could incorporate them all into this blog which (tragically) will be my final Farmville entry.

Since last blogging, I have moved up… to a Nimble Farmer, and a Saavy Farmer, and on, but those are the only titles I remember… Level 8! And look at the progress:

As you can see (by devoting far too much time to Farmville) my farm has greatly expanded since the last picture I posted, perhaps almost too much. Since I have advanced so far, I have collected a surplus of coins to spend on crops, buildings, trees, animals, etc. And since I have moved up, I have unlocked and gained access to so many more items at market. Currently, my farm is growing rice, wheat, artichokes, soybeans, daffodils, poinsettias, raspberries, plums, cherries, lemons, apples, squash, eggplant, and I could go on! I have also collected several chickens and sheep, and calfs, a reindeer (don’t ask me what this will harvest, I have no idea, but I’m sort of hoping Christmas lights or gifts pop out it’s ass), a goat, and a duck!

I have also gained about eight neighbors, out of friends who also play Farmville, learned how to give them gifts and fertilize their crops (that’s why some of my little plants are so sparkly!), and to help them shoo harmful animals from their farms.

But, alas, my friends, it is time for Farmville to come to an end, I can already see the adverse effects of it. In just two days I started to semi-plan  my schedule around my crops, so that I might get to them after they harvested but before they withered away. I started spending more and more time on the farm, gifting and requesting and fertilizing and planting and on and on in hopes of gaining more for myself. But once my animals and trees harvested, they started over, and once my plants were harvested, I had to plow them and plant more and wait again for them to harvest, so that I could use the coins I earned to buy more crops. And every-so-often the a screen would pop up, prompting me to purchase more coins and cash at a discounted rate, a special offer, in the next ten minutes (yes, like an informercial) or, perhaps, it was just there to remind me that everything, in the end, is to make a profit. And then what? I buy coins and buy crops and maybe a barn, and more animals, and sit around and wait for them to harvest, and then do it all again–a neverending cycle of buying and planting and harvesting and selling and on and on. It’s sad, and in the end, not really worth all of the things I’m not getting out of it.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

MINIATURE CAPITALISM! In Farmville! Like the oh-so wise Metric once said, “Buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car.” And it rings true, even in Farmville.

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What I really think about Farmville: Day 2.

First I have to admit that I logged back onto Farmville for a little while yesterday, after posting that first blog. I was bored!

There wasn’t too much action–I adopted a baby calf from a neighboring farm, and turned around and sold it for 125 coins! What a deal! Then, I harvested a few fully grown plants, checked my seedlings (which seem to be developing nicely), plowed a few plots, and planted more strawberries, eggplant, and wheat. In other news (!) I purchased a water trough for my nonexistent animals!

And tah-dah! Amateur Farmer status!

But, today I logged onto to Farmville around 4 in the afternoon and was magically (and for no reason!) awarded a bunch of medals and shit (I’m not sure what, I just clicked through them).  Plus! some of my neighbors decided to help me out and fertilize some of my plants, which meant that they were ready for harvest, and I also got a bunch of coins! I had almost 2,000 (and when I left yesterday I had 38).

So, needless to say, today I decided to work AND shop.

Today’s bad news, however, comes in the form of two withered strawberry plants. Little did I know (but found out from my friend Casey upon seeing the brown plants) that my plants will wither if they aren’t harvested within about an hour of being ready. HOW DO YOU NORMAL PEOPLE AND COLLEGE STUDENTS KEEP UP WITH THIS? Does no one have a job, or a life? I mean, I certainly don’t have the former, but I do have the latter, and I still had withered plants!

I harvested all of the fully grown plants (pretty much strawberries and soybeans), and re-plowed the land where they had been growing. After that I took my coins to the market and purchased and planted some more crops: eggplant, strawberries, squash, and more soybeans.

But I still had almost 1,500 coins left after that, so I decided to plant some trees: one apple tree, and one cherry tree. They should be harvested in a few days, I’m curious to see if they pay off (quite expensive!). I’m not sure if the crop they grow are just worth more to sell, or if the trees will continue to flower and harvest after the first round. I guess we’ll see…

In other news, I started to put in a fence (also very expensive!) but I figure I might need it if I ever get any animals, and I plowed some new land and planted some more crops. Also, my wheat plants are growing into something, and finally don’t just look like seedlings, and I just got some yellow ribbon and another 1,000 coins for no reason!

I also found out that I can make my little slave farmer look just like me, and then boss it around! Or I could make it look like anyone, and put it to work plowing and planting and harvesting and building! Disappointingly (and much unlike the Mii on the Wii at my parents’ house) this little farmer looks nothing like me.

Me on my farm:

Hopefully tomorrow will be just as rich, and a little less dull.

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What I really think about Farmville: Day 1.

After hearing, day after day, of my Facebook friends’s adventures in Farmville, I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

I sat down in front of my computer, comfortably stationary with my little sandwich bag, lighter, pipe, and my computer (what I figured to be the essentials for the full experience.)

I typed “Farmville” into the search bar, and was taken to the search results, and from there I (with some embarrassment and a mental note to remove it from my newsfeed later) added the application. Right off the bat, I became much too aware of the obnoxious background music, and was forced to mute the sound on my computer.

That done, I chose my gender (female, for anyone who wondered.)

Straight away I was taken to my plot of land, and immediately harvested eggplant and strawberries for coins, and then proceeded to plant a new crop: soybeans (which appearred to be the only seed I could afford–but who knows, I really haven’t grasped this thing yet.)

As it turns out, I was supposed to start off by plowing a few new plots, not planting, but, no real harm done, just a little bit of confusion.

With those tasks completed, it seemed I was done for the day. My computer told me to come back tomorrow to harvest the seeds I had just planted.

How do people spend hours playing this game? Mine practically told me to leave.

But I did decide to stick around and check things out further… It seems I was able to continue on, and buy lots of things for my farm: trees, seeds, animals, vehicles, etc. Anyway, I went to market to look around, perhaps find something to spend my 228 coins/$5 on. Strawberries were cheap and harvest quickly, so I bought some of those and planted them, and then plowed some more land. This time however, I watched the rest of the screen while plowing, and realized that almost every time I click my mouse, I lose coins! It costs to buy seeds, and plant them, and plow the land, and then I guess you harvest them, and get more coins.

Magically! I plowed and planted three plots worth of eggplant (which I consequently discovered is a fruit! I guess you are good for something, Farmville.)

By the time that was done, I was magically a level two farmer! WOW! A Kinderfarmer! A dream I never knew I had, come true!

May I interject with–goddamn this application is sloooowwww.

Now nearly out of money, I decided to try to ask some people to be my neighbors. Then I found out that getting neighbors requires you to send out little neighbor requests, like those annoying ones all of your friends send you for their Mob or Zombie Army or weird group that sit up on the top right of your Facebook page, waiting to be confirmed or ignored. You don’t want to be have a Zombie Army or join an X-Files fan group, but you sure as hell don’t want to hit the ignore button (how rude!) So you leave it up there for weeks until it really start to bother you, and finally (looking around to make sure no one is watching, a guilty lump in your stomach) hit the ignore button. Anyway, I swallowed my pride and sent a handful, maybe a dozen, requests out to my very closest friends and a few family members, and decided to call it quits for the day.

At the end of day one, what I have to say about Farmville is this: it’s just a much less awesome version of Roller Coaster Tycoon–which might still be good for a few cheap thrills, but would probably now pale in comparison to how fun it was when I was 12.

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What I really think about you, hipster.

This is a heavy topic to start in on, and will likely take me several drafts (and maybe days) to complete.

But, dear hipster, YOU SUCK!

Oh my God, you ruin everything! All right, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you make a mockery out of so many things that I hold near and dear to my heart!

Your “stylish” clothes, your stupid swagger, that pack of cigarettes fashionably poking out of the breast pocket of anything you wear–I hate them all. I hate your boots, and your intentionally messy, asymmetrical hair, and the way you try to look so fancy, or completely unkempt, or both at the same time.

I hate your money.

More than anything, I hate that you take a million things that are actually cool, and make them “cool.” You’re ruining so many good beers for me, and no I don’t want to rent a film–a movie is just fine. I hate that you “like” the music that I so passionately love.

And I really hate your faux-intellectualism. Fuck off–you are not smart, you are just repeating some clever opinion you heard from someone else, and not giving them credit. And the way you keep trying to use “big” words like you know what they mean, but you don’t. Just because when you say them aloud they sound like they mean what you want to say, doesn’t mean that they do, and it’s even worse when you’re just making them up entirely. Please don’t call yourself a writer, don’t call yourself an artist, until you do something truly original and even vaguely creative. And get a dictionary, please.

To you, hipster, nothing is real, nothing sincere, nothing genuine. You are a prototype of what you think you should be. You are a fad. In six months, or two years, or however long it takes, you’ll catch on to a new trend and leave my pleasant little lifestyle alone, leave the real people to it.

Did I take that too far? I think I might be bitter.

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What I really think about 2:11 A.M.

It’s a little dull, and too quiet.

And I’ve become like one of those anti-drug commercials where the girl is flattened into the couch and her dog is looking at her, disappointed and lonely.

That’s livin’! : D

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