Hay hi there.
So it’s been pretty quiet because I haven’t felt like writing or updating or thinking my thoughts here. Also I’ve been busy working and looking for a place to live and trying to have some semblance of a social life which is, believe it or not, pretty exhausting. All day I talk to people at work and now I’m supposed to…talk to more people after work?
I think you know how this makes me feel.
Today I’m just going to update you using my favorite medium (A LIST!) because all the pieces I have in queue are going to stay that way because they’re all basically one giant idea web which is kind of what I imagine the inside of my brain looks like right now. The extended playlist project might be something I pick back up later this year, but right now maintaining that just isn’t something that interests me right now.
Before the udpate, I want to throw some wisdom on you, not exactly the most original wisdom. And it’s not even mine. I stole it. Sometimes when that unoriginal stuff circles back to you at a different point in your life, you’re like oh yeah, this makes sense, I love this and it’s going to change my life. Ok maybe not that dramatic, but perspective is this amazing thing that helps you look at life and refocus in a really clear and concise way. It’s like getting glasses and turning that multi-colored blob into a stoplight. I’m not saying that’s happened to me. But maybe it has. Suddenly your direction makes a little more sense. Your progress feels like progress. Your failures aren’t just failures, they’re lessons. You have more confidence about decisions, whether or not to move forward, or maybe just be patient and wait or proceed with caution.
I read this article about Carrie Brownstein, 1/2 of the powerhouse behind Portlandia, a show that I’ve been told I would love by many people. I have access to Netflix and IFC, so really have no reason for not watching it other than the sheer laziness that comes with adding a new show to my circuit. It’s a nice little profile on what drives her, how she got started, and how she maintains her creative edge.
The article was great, but her closing quote was worth the entire read:
“I want to be present in everything I do…That’s the only limitation I set for myself.”
Whoa. Being present is a limitation? When you think about it in the context of our smartphone culture, it absolutely is a limitation. But not in the way that we traditionally think of what limits mean.
Being in the present has been so hard for me lately, primarily because my phone has become an extra appendage that I cannot be without at any time during the day. It’s the last thing I look at before I go to sleep (mostly because of this missing Malaysian plane business) and the first thing I look when I wake up (again, mostly because I need to know what happened to this fucking plane). During the day, I use it to check e-mail, build my schedule with two different calendars, text my friends funny links I found on Buzzfeed, talk to my mom on FaceTime (who are we kidding, talk to my dogs), Google my burning questions (i.e. where to by strike-anywhere matches-if you know, do tell, I need some), house hunt, unsubscribe from newsletters that I did not subscribe to, and a litany of other things that make it seem like it’s impossible to disconnect from this four ounce metal block that dictates so much of my life.
My mind is never off and my task list and notes section in my phone are concrete proof of that. I don’t know how to reign it in. I once read an advice article in which the author suggested that we shouldn’t set tasks to do when we get home from work; that we should just go home and be. I read that and thought, I wish life was just that simple (bitch).
I wish that I could just remember to mail that thank-you card without an alert. Or that I could fold that pile of laundry that I hid from myself because I was tired of looking at it without having to set a calendar appointment.
The thing is, it can be that simple.
Carrie Brownstein put it in perspective for me: being in the moment is a limitation because it is a choice. It’s a matter of carving out what those true priorities are and letting that other stuff fall away so that I can be in the moment. We’re kind of subscribed to the idea that a limitation is a negative experience when really it can make way for something new or better. Whether it’s giving my full and complete, phone-free attention at dinner with friends or just stopping to look at a sunset without showing everyone on Facebook, I can choose to capitalize on time that I can never get back. I don’t think I think about this enough with the gravity that it deserves: by choosing to be tethered to my phone, I choose to limit myself in another way by letting that time go, letting those moments get away. So instead of trying to capture a moment on my phone or not just letting that calendar notice go unchecked, why not just be present and let it be what it is: a moment, that deserves my attention.
It seems like a ridiculous goal to set for myself to just be in the moment. It’s like someone telling me to just “live your life!” (PS-I hate when people say that in a non-ironic context.) But when I have to think hard about the last time I just really let myself be, it doesn’t seem like such a ridiculous goal.
Now time for some fun stuff that falls into the category of non-wisdom and things I’m crushing on right now.
Watching: Based on my Twitter account, you’d think I watch nothing more than CNN to see where the hell that Malaysian plane disappeared to. In between refreshing multiple news sites and coming home to yell at Anderson Cooper, I have been keeping up with my regular TV diet, and have been really feeling the broads of Broad City. And not just because Ilana makes my same “hey boy come over here” face.
Disclaimer: as all shows are, this show isn’t for everyone. The scenarios are ridiculous and the humor is straight up crass and either you get it and love it or you don’t. It’s like a hybrid of Girls and Workaholics, channeling the experiences of millenials in a way that makes millenials feel better about themselves. No one’s going to fuck up like Abbi and Ilana are going to fuck up. What makes the show so great is that these two provide a rarely seen facet of female relationships on TV: a solid friendship based on loyalty. That is the basis of the show.They are the best of friends, loyal to each other in the most intense and obscene ways without undermining each other in ways in the ways that you’re used to seeing women interact on TV. While the scenarios may not mirror real life (really, one episode Ilana breaks her veneer on a jawbreaker in a candy store shortly after smoking a lot of pot-who does that?), the friendship does mirror those good friendships that should be celebrated and I love that.
Real friends have seen you at your worst. And for Abbi and Ilana that happens a lot.
PS-The season finale airs on Wednesday and Amy Poehler (also a producer of the show) is making a cameo.
Wearing: Nothing of significance. Really. No new makeup. No new shoes. No new clothes. My physical appearance is pretty D-list right now.
Reading: I’m well on my way to my eleven book goal this year, and had I not driven myself into the literary ditch that is Beautiful Ruins, I would probably be well over halfway to my goal. This isn’t a terrible book. But it’s not a great book either. And it’s a perfect example of why I gave up on fiction a couple of years ago. With the exception of Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, I’ve not read a solid work of fiction in about five or six years. Beautiful Ruins has its moments of clarity and greatness with lines of beautiful prose that make me want to keep reading. And then I keep reading and I’m sorry that I did. Like so many works of fiction, it feels like it’s trying too hard. At what, I’m not sure. It’s just trying too hard with too many characters and too many stories.
Hearing: I stopped by a local record store, Stinkweeds, last weekend and picked up Phantogram’s EP Nightlife on vinyl as well as the CHVRCHES album, The Bones of What You Believe. One half of the duo of Phantogram is a beautiful starfish named Sarah Barthels whose coif is a perfect testament to obsessive hair care. Honestly do you know anyone who pulls off straight-across-the-forehead bangs better? YOU DON’T. (Fun fact: her boyfriend is Shaun White if you need something for useless trivia night.) Both albums are beautiful and amazing and should be listened to immediately. In the meantime, watch Phantogram’s Don’t Move video and try not to be impressed by Sarah’s Pantene Pro-V greatness.
Eating: I made this sauteed cauliflower with bagna cauda the other day and it was kind of amazing. I made it with purple cauliflower because I found it at Whole Foods and it was like “hi take me.”
The recipe is from Food and Wine via Nancy Silverton’s Chi Spacca which is on my restaurant to-do list along with Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza. Nancy, brings her A game to the restaurant business so obviously I want to know her life.
Ok well drop your life updates in the comments. K thx bye!