Taking Photos

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I should take photos of my life – snapshots of my adventures as I pass through them. It is certainly easy enough. There is a camera on my phone and one built into my computer. I even purchased a digital camera several years back. All of it is right there. But it is all worthless to me. I don’t care to be instantly reminiscent of my happenings. I would rather live in the moment, instead of behind the lenses. It all feels removed enough as it is.

The world is already over documented. I can go to Flickr and find a better shot than I could ever take of everyplace I have ever been. What about snapshots of friends and family? Well, with Facebook I don’t even need to try anymore. Everything is already there and tagged. And at that, I am both contented and frustrated, because I hate looking back at my past. Perhaps this is painfully selfish. Maybe I’ll regret it years from now. Oh well. What good does it do to see that at one point I smiled, and at another I laughed?

Or maybe I don’t photograph well.

Jeff

Birthdays

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Today is my birthday. Yes, thanks for posting on my Facebook wall. Some people call it a milestone, an accomplishment. Do they have such little faith in me? Do they find my life so dangerous? Or did they think I’d off myself by now?

It’s not an issue of age. I look forward to getting older. There is so much ahead: career advancement, falling in love, developing deeper friendships—infinite adventures. There are a whole bunch of places I haven’t been and a long list of books I haven’t read. The future is the most exciting part. My laugh lines will speak for themselves.

Throwing parties in New York is stressful. I can’t expect my friends to pay for dinner, drinks, and dancing (like I so often get dragged into). I can’t front the bill, either. And this Manhattan shoebox apartment can’t fit the crowds my Chicago loft did. I’m left without a celebration venue. I don’t like birthday cake either—too wary of calories and candles (though I endorse a strong birthday cocktail). I think it’s a birthday faux pas not to eat your own cake.

Sometimes I miss my elementary school days, when all you needed was ice cream cake, silly string, and a roller rink to throw a rockin’ party.

Actually, that sounds pretty awesome right now. (As long as they serve beer.)

Andrea

Organic Peanut Butter

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After years of eating out every meal I have finally reached the point where I am starting to make my own lunches. First on my list  was the ever venerable and delicious PB and J. Working across the street from a Whole Foods and not wanting to seem callow around the office, I instinctively did the adult thing and purchased the fanciest, most organic peanut butter I could find. What a mistake. The spread was barely palatable. Thinking I just choose the wrong brand, I went back the next week and picked an equally precocious jar of organic peanut butter. Even worse. As far as I can tell, organic equals bland and disgusting when it comes to spreads.

After some considerable research (ok, Wikipedia) the only discernible difference between organic peanut butter and normal peanut butter, beyond the drop-off in taste and increase in price, is that the organic variety is grown without the use of any pesticides. And although this sounds lovely, I am not sure I want peanuts that weren’t protected from pests. That doesn’t sound good. I can’t imagine that the normal peanut farmers are just pissing away money on needless chemicals, so their must be some reason.

So, how exactly are the organic producers protecting their crops? Do they have teams of quasi-enslaved peasants on their plantations keeping the pests off by hand? Because if so, that so sounds like the enlightened and humanistic approach to the problem, as opposed to the myopic and backwards approach of employing science and decades of research to safeguard crops with carefully tested chemicals. And aren’t chemicals derived from organic compounds? Would everyone be happy if someone started producing “organic” pesticides?

And all of this wouldn’t matter, if only the more expensive and “environmentally friendly” peanut butter tasted better. But it doesn’t. So I quit this charade of acting like an adult in the kitchen. And I am though pretending to give a damn about soil integrity half way around the world. I’m coming back to you Jiffy. Perhaps the missing ingredients in organic peanut butter were your tasty Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, semi-hydrated…

Jeff

Fancy Cocktails

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I’m a fairly simple girl. It doesn’t take a lot of bells and whistles to make me happy. Which is why when I see my female comrades (and certain male friends too) order some fancy cocktail nonsense, I can’t help but cringe in despair.

I like some fruity drinks. A mojito in summer. A margarita on the beach. But you’re not impressing anyone with your four-fruit colada. As a rule, drinks should be made with as few ingredients as possible. Why must you overcomplicate a boozy night on the town? If you want something sweet, order the cake, not the chocolate ravage. It will take the bartender ten seconds to pull a pint or pour my scotch. You’re backing up the line and wasting everyone’s time with your super deluxe “martini.”

A martini should be made one way: with gin.

Or maybe I just break too many long-stemmed glasses.

Andrea

Swimming

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I should but don’t like swimming. I do not care that it is good exercise and easier on the joints. I do not find it fun, nor do I not find it relaxing. It is unnerving and tiring. Swimming is not a sport. It’s avoiding death.

When you fail at running, you fall, scrape your knees, and bleed a little. When you fail at swimming, you sink, have your lungs fill with water, and die. With my tendency to do most activities slightly snockered, I think it’s best that I avoid the pool. Any form of recreation where the downside is accidental death is not for me.

And what is up with all the hoopla that surrounds swimming events at the Olympics? It’s a bunch of men with not enough swimwear on, and a bunch of women with too much swimwear on. On top of the questionable aesthetics, they don’t even go fast. Next time you watch a swim meet, focus on the judges that *walk* alongside the edge of pool. With a measured gait, and in chinos and blue blazers, they match pace with the *fastest* swimmers in the world. What a lame event. D-bags in cruise-ship apparel keep up without breaking stride.

The most absurd of all swimming related activities are the polar bear clubs, where men prove how manly (and by extension hairy) they are by donning Speedos and jumping in freezing water and having their balls shrivel. I’d love to go back in time and explain these events to the passengers on the deck of the Titanic as it slowly sank. I bet they would take real solace in knowing that their soon to be deaths would become a yuppie pastime within the century.

Or maybe I don’t look good in a swimsuit.

Jeff

The Middle Class

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I should like the middle class, right? What have they ever done to offend? They work hard and pay their bills (unless it’s their mortgage). They’re content and pleasant. And yet I can’t really stomach the vast lot them – they bore me to no end. If I want good conversation, I head to a dive bar or the University Club, and not the bar at Chili’s.

The way I see it, life exists at the ends. Feast or famine, binge or purge: beauty through conflict. And then there is the middle class, whish is just sort of there, entirely blasé and uninspired. They have few real struggles, and as a result, limited aspirations. Entirely safe, they have nothing to drive them, content to vicariously live through others.

But creativity demands distention and contraction; requires extremes and the internecine quirks of those with too much or not enough. The tragedy is that there are many things that are so destructive (and by extension inspiring) that only the very rich or the very poor can afford to indulge them. The middle classes have just enough to lose to convince themselves to live completely dull lives. Is it any wonder that they are shrinking: they are dying from boredom.

Jeff

Valentine’s Day

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Hating on Valentine’s Day is not uncommon. I too am one who rants against the overly commercialized holiday. But my rants aren’t about Hallmark cards or sappy ads or forced displays of affection. Truthfully, I support any opportunity to express love. This tirade isn’t about how I feel left out. I don’t even know if I want a boyfriend. (Though it would be nice to have someone around to change the light bulbs and take out the trash.)

Valentine’s Day is a bullshit holiday, because no one knows what to do with me. I don’t eat chocolate. Roses are tired and die too quickly. (I can barely take care of myself, let alone flowers.) Once, a boy took me to an expensive French restaurant although he should know I am uncomfortable eating around other people. Then there are too many “happy” couples crowding my favorite Lower East Side brunch spots. There isn’t even a bar seat where I can drink my Saturday morning mimosa(s).

The best Valentine I ever got was a simple text message a few years ago: “I wish we were avoiding this holiday together.” I was cooking dinner for my boyfriend and responded later: “So do I.”

Whoops.

Andrea