Friday, August 13, 2010

It's not a movie, it's a lifestyle

Eat Pray Love is just about the last movie I want to see. I passed on the book because it just had the smell of one of those “life could be beautiful” books that forgets to mention that the simple things in life are so easy to enjoy . . . when you have tons of money. And the whole movie tie-in raft of marketing that hit, what? About 3 months ago? Offering my very own Julia Roberts-inspired Balinese jewelry box just kind of made me gag a little. Evidently the real title is Eat Pray Love Shop. I was turned off before I even got a look at the flick.

The other thing is that I’m kind of over the whole wish fulfillment/aspirational thing right now. I’m just not buying the concept that lifestyle equals destiny. If I buy this handbag, act like I’ve got all the money and time in the world and dream big – it’s just going to happen. No thank you. And I'm really starting to suspect that the whole thing was really just to sell me that handbag. I don't need another handbag, or even the fabulous life that is sure to go with it. I’m having all I can deal with just being here, now, living my bag lunch and public transit kind of life. Anything that doesn’t fit with that reality is just noise.

And that’s just it. That kind of thing will never be my real life, and I just don’t have the brain capacity to add in something that’s not going to happen. Much as I wouldn’t be Angelina Jolie in a spy flick (I’d be the woman who gets shot by a stray bullet in the opening sequence, stupidly trying to cross a street while action heroes are trying to get their Matrix on), I would also not be Julia Roberts in a RomCom. Even if I magically came across a free, year-long world tour, I would not be pounced upon by gorgeous men every time I showed my passport at customs. I wouldn’t be hit on by Javier Bardem in v-neck cashmere. I’d be hit on by Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men (not the sociopathic murderer part; the bad haircut and monotone voice part). If I’m lucky. Mostly, I’d just spend most of my time in exotic locales talking to middle aged couples from England or Germany who are looking for the best place to eat for cheap.

I’m not Julia Roberts. I’m never going to be. And I really wish they’d stop acting like I want to be Julia Roberts. I’m fine just like I am. And that’s not to say that I don’t want to watch escapist movies any more. I just don’t want to see a main character that some studio exec thinks is my dream self. After they’ve been constructed into perfect people with perfect lives, they end up being pretty damn smug for someone so damn boring. Just make an interesting movie about an interesting person, flaws, bumps, emotional bruises and all. I don’t have to want to be the heroine. I just want to have to spend a couple of hours seeing their life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SUPER BUG - Aaaaaagggghhhhh!!!!!

Honestly. I’m starting to really want to buy a ticket to somewhere in Asia and go investigate this Anderson Cooper style. I’d buy some awesome busted out, but still somehow expensive looking action/journalist shirts (how the hell does Cooper manage that one?), catch the red eye to Mumbai, or Singapore, or Hong Kong (some place sweaty; sweaty says "serious reporter" and people will take me seriously), get off the plane and walk up to people and ask, “What are you people doing? What’s with the super viruses? Is there some sort of Chinese Dr. Horrible working over time in a lab making up ugly bugs?” Guys, we do not need these things. And the raunchy ones all seem to come out of Asia. With the amount of hand sanitizer dependence in the US, you’d think we’d be birthing the killer bugs. But most of the time, it's sloping out of somewhere in Asia.

Whatever it is, cut it out. Wash your hands more. Or less. Or quit kissing chickens. Whatever. I don’t care. I’m just not in the mood for another flu scare. Not. In. The. Mood. Step away from the bunsen burner, Doc Horrible. I just have no panic left for whatever it is you're cooking up. And I'm just flat out over the hand sanitizer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You know what? The next beer's on me.

Has there been actual footage of this meltdown that’s come out yet? I think the passengers on that plane should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for being asleep on the job. People want to seeeeee this kind of shiz.

A lot of the focus I’ve seen has been about this being a air travel related meltdown. My take is that it’s a straight up customer service related job meltdown. I worked public facing service jobs in one way or another for 15 years. And I can tell you, there were many a Christmas that I wanted to cuss out the 25th customer who handed me 8 pairs of inside out, balled up pants with a smirk on their face, slap a Christmas tree topper on my head and run through the store screaming “Viva la revolucion!” while high fiving my fellow employees on my way out the door. I been there, my friend.

Not that every customer out there is a nasty customer, so to speak. But there are those people out there who were schoolyard bullies once upon a time, and never quite grew out of the need push other people around. And they head straight towards customer service workers who not only won’t fight back, really for the most part can’t fight back. Really, customer service is cleaning up other people’s messes. 8 hours a day. If there weren’t messes, then you wouldn’t be needed. You get paid for it. But usually barely enough to cover the wear and tear on your nerves that just the normal amount of crap. When you get one of those bullies, it’s pretty much above and beyond the call of duty. And some days, they all turn up at once.

And for some reason, discount situations, like Jet Blue or the Ross store I worked at in college, just seem to ratchet up the freak factor. If you’re paying Neiman Marcus prices, you can expect people to put up with your lousy attitude. But when Rhonda Rotten shows up at the discount store on a busy Saturday with her five kids that she turns loose in the purse department, tries on everything in the store, asks if she (and 3 of the kids; where are the other 2?) can use the employee water fountain, and can you call every store in town to see if they have this blue pair of size 6 pants in a purple size 8, and then asks for a 20% discount on white blouse that has make up stains that just happen to match her foundation, because, and I quote, “Isn’t the customer always right?” . . . there’s this sense of roiling, smoldering, electrifying customer service flameout. You only wish there was a drinks cart to grab a beer can that will match that Christmas tree ornament you are getting ready to slap on your head, because you feel that flameout victory lap coming on.

But really. You just swallow it. Try to calm down. Try not to take it personally. You only have to make it another 2 hours. You have this little light of customer service that you’re there to share with all those people needing help. You just have to hope that you’re able to make it through the day without that light burning into a complete flameout.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A little green, a little gold

So here they are - coconut/avocado ice cream and sweet corn ice cream. The others at dinner liked the sweet corn ice cream more than I did. They seemed to think it was kind of like a frozen cookie dough. I was a bigger fan of the avocado. It had a much smoother texture and was very lightly sweet. I really didn't follow the recipe I found at all, so I'm going to call this my recipe, and share it:

Coconut/Avocado Ice Cream
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 3 avocados cubed
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup sugar (can be doubled if you prefer sweeter)
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Chill for 2 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.

Okay. That's not much of a recipe. But it's a super simple, super premium tasting ice cream. I used a variety of coconut milk called So Delicious that was in the refrigerator case with the soy milks. But there are shelf versions that would probably work. If you have a need for homemade ice cream and want to try something "different", it's kind of a hoot.

TIME: Quotes of the Day