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dire

When the light goes through and turns the leaves translucent. Bright chlorophyll.

When the light goes through and turns the leaves translucent. Bright chlorophyll.

I’d call these dragonflowers, but they’re not snapdragons and I have no idea. Long necks and wild hearts.

I’d call these dragonflowers, but they’re not snapdragons and I have no idea. Long necks and wild hearts.

Perfect weather today.

Perfect weather today.

Boy finds out magic is real; boy goes to school for magicians; shit happens. I want to talk about so much but I don’t want to spoil anything. The prose is lyrical and the plot is fast-paced. Each one feels different, but all are darkly funny and compelling and fascinating.
Comparisons to Harry Potter and Narnia will be made (and can’t be helped, especially when the books are so meta), but these are pretty different. “FULLY IMMERSIVE” is probably the micro-blurb I’d write, ha. There were so many moments where I was just clawing to get to the next page, to find how the puzzle pieces all fit and locked together.
Just really excellent storytelling.
P.S. Interesting analysis here with links to feminist critiques. Also: I did find it SO WHITE at times, which may be purposeful but also feels like “it’s mocking the thing but it also IS the thing.”

Boy finds out magic is real; boy goes to school for magicians; shit happens. I want to talk about so much but I don’t want to spoil anything. The prose is lyrical and the plot is fast-paced. Each one feels different, but all are darkly funny and compelling and fascinating.

Comparisons to Harry Potter and Narnia will be made (and can’t be helped, especially when the books are so meta), but these are pretty different. “FULLY IMMERSIVE” is probably the micro-blurb I’d write, ha. There were so many moments where I was just clawing to get to the next page, to find how the puzzle pieces all fit and locked together.

Just really excellent storytelling.

P.S. Interesting analysis here with links to feminist critiques. Also: I did find it SO WHITE at times, which may be purposeful but also feels like “it’s mocking the thing but it also IS the thing.”

Every weekday morning, I run across campus and through the neighborhoods. It’s weird not to be a student or a teacher or to belong anywhere in the school. Everything changes and nothing does. Sidewalks are shattered and patched with temporary asphalt; new students flow through the grass; crushed berries litter the paths.

When you do the same thing over and over, you start to see patterns. I’m not very adventurous, or fast, so for a while I wound up the same street every time, until I realized that the elementary school was too close and I was always going to have to dodge clusters of parents with small children on tricycles. The next day, I switched to the park: a string of dogwalkers, joggers, people on their way to school. I switched to another street. I awkwardly swung past an old man walking out of his house.

The next day, the same man, walking out at the same time. I cut across the street to avoid him. I didn’t want to make it a habit, to be predictable. It felt weirdly Truman Show-ish. All these people in their patterns, doing the same loops. It becomes harder to remember things when you fall into the same routine, or that’s what they say. Why this summer feels short, even though it’s no shorter than the summer before, or the one before that. Routine. Sometimes I forget where I parked my car at work because I’ve parked so many times in the same garage; I go to the wrong floor, I walk all the way to the end, and for a second I think my car is gone, until I realize it was never there, at least not that day. My brain just referred to the wrong fragment of memory, the wrong card in the index.

We are forever on a quest for great dim sum. On this particular day, it was just okay. The char siu bao tasted vaguely of freezer burn, the siu mai was bland, the dumpling skins tore. Some of it was actually good: the lo mai gai, for instance. Sticky rice with Chinese sausage, mushrooms, plus other tasty things, steamed in a lotus leaf.

We are forever on a quest for great dim sum. On this particular day, it was just okay. The char siu bao tasted vaguely of freezer burn, the siu mai was bland, the dumpling skins tore. Some of it was actually good: the lo mai gai, for instance. Sticky rice with Chinese sausage, mushrooms, plus other tasty things, steamed in a lotus leaf.

Dream view.

Dream view.

I don’t want summer to be over.

I don’t want summer to be over.

No, it’s a race thing. Some white dude lured firefighters and other rescue personnel into a fucking trap with a fake 911 call and opened fire on them and was still taken in alive. In motherfucking TEXAS. The most highly armed state in the union.

This is a “US cops will do whatever they can to execute black people for the crime of being black” thing.

elizardbits

This is not new. This has been going on forever, every single day, perpetuated by people in power, by people with money, by people who say “it’s not a race thing.”

What you can do for Ferguson: here and here.

Fresh herb and tomato couscous. Dark chocolate ice cream.

The original recipe is for farro, but I used pearl couscous instead: Toast 2 cups of couscous with a pat of butter until evenly browned (or as close as you can get it). Reserve the couscous when you put everything together. Use 1 1/2 cups of water instead of 2, add a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon (or use chicken stock instead of water), a bunch of garlic powder, dried oregano instead of fresh. Add the couscous when you’ve simmered everything for 20 minutes and simmer it for another 10.

I used Jeni’s dark chocolate ice cream recipe but I have never made ice cream before and I’m not sure if I did everything correctly (?!?!), but it’s mostly a lot of measuring, whisking, boiling, and more measuring. Now we must wait for it to cool.

P.S. This is the best chocolate chip cookie. (▰˘◡˘▰)

Confession: I don’t like to toe the thick row of seaweed, to cross the levels of sand studded with tiny sharp shells and rocks, to manage the vague panicky fear of sharks and jellyfish and who-knows-what-else and freaking out just slightly when I think I see a blurry underwater something that always turns out to be a scratch on my sunglasses, saltwater stinging my eyes and my sinuses for what seems like forever, the stickiness of sand when you’ve just climbed out of the water, the buried cigarette stubs. What I like: the infinite horizon, the gradient from shore to surf, the lull of calm waves, the vast cloudscapes, the bright spots of color from unfurled umbrellas. On a perfect day, the water like a warm embrace, the feeling of just being in the water; everything else becomes secondary, people like scattered dots in the distance. You are floating and breathing and taking in light.





Is it incredible that I barely took any pictures this vacation? I hate lugging my DSLR around, then panicking that it’ll get stolen or damaged even in its presumably weatherproof bag, so I didn’t take it and it was kinda freeing, actually, except now I just have these and I can’t show you more than that. I did, once, try to get a picture on a run, but I put my phone in a Ziploc bag and forgot to take it out because it was too bright outside to see anything on the screen, it was impossible, so I squinted and tried to guess.





THE CUTEST DOG!

Ina Garten’s chocolate cake. The secret is fresh coffee, which deepens the chocolate and gives it a rich, luscious complexity. PLUS lots of butter and sugar.

Not pictured, basically a week-long feast: toast spread with premium butter (the velvety kind), grapefruit cocktails, sushi sushi sushi (buttery-soft to chewy-springy), crispy duck, crab fried rice, vegetables roasted to an unbelievable degree (caramelized to melting). And much much more. I am so thankful to the best hosts for everything, who really know their way around the glories of food.

"I FEEL REALLY ALIVE," I remember saying, which is maybe a stupid thing to say, but there were so many surprising and sublime flavors. I’ve read and watched so many things about chefs doing all these weird and crazy dishes and techniques, but it’s something else to taste a combination that’s new, that you can’t quite understand or deconstruct, except that you know it’s really, really good.





Goodbye, 26. Hello, 27.

I have spent way too much time on this game. Like, I haven’t spent $494.04 on it, but I have whittled away hours of my free time to gather little blue stars and bundles of cash. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is an amazing simulacrum of real life because it’s hard to earn as much money as you need to succeed, and you’re rewarded for spending more and more money. You can move through the game for “free,” but at a glacial pace, because you deplete energy a billion times faster than you can recharge it. Or you can spend real $$$ and just glide through the game on your BRILLIANT MOUNTAINS OF MONEY AND SHINY K STARS. It’s fucking genius because it combines scarcity with clever and addictive consumerism: dressing up your avatar, applying different lipstick colors, switching hairstyles with a flick of your finger. The copywriting is fantastic — it’s witty and concise and instantly understandable, and makes you love/hate the characters you encounter.
At this point, “I” am still a D-List celebrity, but I’m wondering what the hell is the endpoint to this game, besides hitting #1. To gain enough currency to buy everything the game has to offer? To maintain the #1 spot as long as possible? To furnish my residence with every luxury good? Is it even possible to own everything w/o cheating or spending a fuckton of money?
Because the game is, at first, addicting because it’s like a different Second Life thing and it’s SO MUCH FUN playing around with customization, because you’re not “spending” any “real” money. Then you realize that you’re not spending enough fake money; the photographer’s tone is skeptical, your date thinks you basically look like crap, because you’re not wearing a new outfit, because the game knows you’re being Scroogey and trying to trick it by trying a different combo of the clothes you already own. So you work a half-shift or a full shift at the clothing store, which basically means you’re checking your phone/tablet every five to thirty minutes to see if you’ve recharged enough energy to earn more money to buy the new clothes to go on a date or to do some MORE work so you can level up and earn MORE $$/stars to buy some MORE shit and REPEAT THE PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN. And then, you’re like, WHAT AM I DOING??? Not to mention that each assignment or task or date or whatever allows you a certain amount of time to complete the task (AKA regenerate enough energy to do so), and if you forget to complete it and the timeframe passes, you lose fans, so you better PAY ATTENTION. The game nurtures a low-level anxiety in you.
So, back to the STUFF you can buy. I originally took these screenshots because the tiered pricing continues to baffle me. There seems to be a general order to it: the higher the level, the more expensive/incredibly detailed the items. But sometimes it just appears arbitrary. Like, why is the pink button-up shirt 15 K Stars vs. the other colors, which are $225? Why are there $2000 dresses right next to $300 ones? Is it to confuse us into spending more, à la Forever21, by the overwhelming mass of choices? Why is there a weird lack of shorts and short skirts? Why are there like 30 pairs of skinny jeans, but no yoga leggings?
I think a real selling point is just how quickly you can change your appearance for free. Things that are impossible right now, the ease of which reminds me of how Tyra Banks envisions the future: the color of your skin, your eyes (OK, contacts, but point me to the person who owns eight different colors), hair texture and length, the color of your hair (which also changes the color of your eyebrows!), the SHAPE OF YOUR EYES, FACE, MOUTH, AND NOSE. You can look like ANYTHING… well, within the spectrum that the game provides. Sometimes I wish the eyeshadows applied more, well, transparently. Why can’t I choose shimmery eyeshadow, instead of matte? (HEAVY BREATHING.)
Anyway, I will probably continue to play, and the game will continue to make yacht-loads of money, and I will ponder more petty questions, and maybe earn enough to adopt that freaking cat.

I have spent way too much time on this game. Like, I haven’t spent $494.04 on it, but I have whittled away hours of my free time to gather little blue stars and bundles of cash. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is an amazing simulacrum of real life because it’s hard to earn as much money as you need to succeed, and you’re rewarded for spending more and more money. You can move through the game for “free,” but at a glacial pace, because you deplete energy a billion times faster than you can recharge it. Or you can spend real $$$ and just glide through the game on your BRILLIANT MOUNTAINS OF MONEY AND SHINY K STARS. It’s fucking genius because it combines scarcity with clever and addictive consumerism: dressing up your avatar, applying different lipstick colors, switching hairstyles with a flick of your finger. The copywriting is fantastic — it’s witty and concise and instantly understandable, and makes you love/hate the characters you encounter.

At this point, “I” am still a D-List celebrity, but I’m wondering what the hell is the endpoint to this game, besides hitting #1. To gain enough currency to buy everything the game has to offer? To maintain the #1 spot as long as possible? To furnish my residence with every luxury good? Is it even possible to own everything w/o cheating or spending a fuckton of money?

Because the game is, at first, addicting because it’s like a different Second Life thing and it’s SO MUCH FUN playing around with customization, because you’re not “spending” any “real” money. Then you realize that you’re not spending enough fake money; the photographer’s tone is skeptical, your date thinks you basically look like crap, because you’re not wearing a new outfit, because the game knows you’re being Scroogey and trying to trick it by trying a different combo of the clothes you already own. So you work a half-shift or a full shift at the clothing store, which basically means you’re checking your phone/tablet every five to thirty minutes to see if you’ve recharged enough energy to earn more money to buy the new clothes to go on a date or to do some MORE work so you can level up and earn MORE $$/stars to buy some MORE shit and REPEAT THE PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN. And then, you’re like, WHAT AM I DOING??? Not to mention that each assignment or task or date or whatever allows you a certain amount of time to complete the task (AKA regenerate enough energy to do so), and if you forget to complete it and the timeframe passes, you lose fans, so you better PAY ATTENTION. The game nurtures a low-level anxiety in you.

So, back to the STUFF you can buy. I originally took these screenshots because the tiered pricing continues to baffle me. There seems to be a general order to it: the higher the level, the more expensive/incredibly detailed the items. But sometimes it just appears arbitrary. Like, why is the pink button-up shirt 15 K Stars vs. the other colors, which are $225? Why are there $2000 dresses right next to $300 ones? Is it to confuse us into spending more, à la Forever21, by the overwhelming mass of choices? Why is there a weird lack of shorts and short skirts? Why are there like 30 pairs of skinny jeans, but no yoga leggings?

I think a real selling point is just how quickly you can change your appearance for free. Things that are impossible right now, the ease of which reminds me of how Tyra Banks envisions the future: the color of your skin, your eyes (OK, contacts, but point me to the person who owns eight different colors), hair texture and length, the color of your hair (which also changes the color of your eyebrows!), the SHAPE OF YOUR EYES, FACE, MOUTH, AND NOSE. You can look like ANYTHING… well, within the spectrum that the game provides. Sometimes I wish the eyeshadows applied more, well, transparently. Why can’t I choose shimmery eyeshadow, instead of matte? (HEAVY BREATHING.)

Anyway, I will probably continue to play, and the game will continue to make yacht-loads of money, and I will ponder more petty questions, and maybe earn enough to adopt that freaking cat.

fatmanatee:

lydiaamartin:



dirk diamonds is gonna eat dinner alone

omg I experienced several variations of this because I didn’t spend enough on expensive clothes
one was something like "I thought I couldn’t feel worse tonight, and then I saw your outfit."
why can’t there be an option for “throw drink at his face”

fatmanatee:

lydiaamartin:

dirk diamonds is gonna eat dinner alone

omg I experienced several variations of this because I didn’t spend enough on expensive clothes

one was something like "I thought I couldn’t feel worse tonight, and then I saw your outfit."

why can’t there be an option for “throw drink at his face”

How fragile the body is: I don’t realize I have a paper cut until my finger stings and there is a sudden glut of blood. I don’t realize I have food poisoning until hours after I eat and I am woozy with nausea. When the plane descends, there is such a sharp pain in the back of my teeth, under my eyes, that I think I am going to die. I don’t realize it’s a sinus infection until the dentist tells me my teeth are fine, that sometimes, this happens. My legs get studded with so many mosquito bites and I can’t stop scratching; the itchiness is a kind of pain, and it feels so good to scratch, even though it’s making it much, much worse, that in fact, I am only hurting myself, over and over again. 

We walk in the parking lot and my mom says, “Look, that palm tree got a haircut,” and I tip my head up and look and can’t find the tree and forget to pay attention to my feet and I realize I’ve tripped over a concrete slab, one of those innocuous wheel stops at the head of every parking space, and it’s too late to do anything and there is nothing to grab to reverse the momentum, I can only pitch forward, fall flat. On my palms and my knees. She screams when she sees me face-down on the asphalt. It’s not that bad; my knee is skinned and tiny pieces of gravel have torn my palms, and my mother directs us to march back to the supermarket and wash and slather on ointment and band-aids. I feel like the most stupid person alive. I am three years old again. My mom hooks her arm through mine when we walk outside, just in case, and I say, “Oh my God,” but it did happen, after all. Over the next couple weeks, I replace the band-aid, over and over again. I try airing it out, leaving the band-aid off, but whenever I bend my knees, the wound reopens. I become well-acquainted with the bandages aisle, the strong strips and the flexible fabric and the antibiotic pads. One day, finally, it’s completely healed: a strange, pale patch of skin.