Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Who Says it’s “Good”?

I always consider the source when someone tells me something is “good” because all opinions are not created equal; some people’s opinions I value more than others. Everyone has different standards of what they think is acceptable, and some of us have higher standards than others. For some, “good” means anything that didn’t totally suck, while for others, “good” means it was superior than average. I prefer the latter version of “good” because everything can’t be “good”; it then skews what “good” actually means into “doesn’t blow”.

There are some people whose opinions I generally trust, while there are others whose opinions I may not weigh as heavily in most areas, but they may have a specific niche that I do give extra weight to because they’re more knowledgeable or discerning in that particular area. Perhaps they’re from another country so they know what that type of food is supposed to taste like, or their preference in books is not unlike my own so if they recommend something I may actually read it.

It all comes down to the person themselves and getting a sense of what they like and how that relates to what you like. Because when we believe someone’s opinion of what is “good”, it often stems from the fact that we’re likely to share that same opinion.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

But I Can’t Escape My Inner Self

I recently had Chinese take out and with it came the expected dessert: the fortune cookie. Who doesn’t love a fortune cookie? It’s a slightly sweet and light tasting cookie (which is nice since eating most Chinese food in the U.S. tends to be a heavy experience). I enjoy eating fortune cookies—they’re fun to eat. I crack mine open, eat my cookie and then read my fortune in great (okay, mild) anticipation.

And while I know fortune cookies don’t actually give accurate fortunes, somehow I still enjoy reading them. The fortunes given are generally vague, like “You will come into some money soon” or “You will meet someone interesting”, something that isn’t very personal and can work on a large or small scale.

However, the fortune I got was: “Stay close to your inner self. You will benefit in many ways”. It took me to a second to process this random message; I’m guessing this is supposed to be in the realm of  “Be true to yourself”—but in a much more awkward way. Because while I could ignore my inner self, I can’t exactly not be close to it; my inner self is inside of me, so no matter where I go, it’ll be there.

I then opened a second fortune cookie and the fortune I got was: “A movie would be a great way to relax this weekend”. [Pause.] Um, that’s not a fortune, that’s advice—and it’s not even creative advice. The fortunes I got were kind of disappointing and it made me wonder who writes these things, because it didn’t seem like a lot of thought was put into these “fortunes”. I guess I don’t need a fortune cookie to tell me that I will likely be disappointed with the “fortune” I get from my next fortune cookie.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Ultimate Fast Food: Leftovers

As a child, I never fully appreciated the awesomeness of leftovers. In fact, I didn’t really appreciate them at all. I didn’t want the same meal two days in a row. I wanted something new. Something different. The food just didn’t seem to taste the same the next day (which in my defense is true with some foods if you don’t reheat them properly. You can’t put something that was fried and crispy in the microwave and expect it to turn out crispy—it doesn’t happen, you have to use an oven instead).

Even the word “leftovers” sounds unappealing, like it got rejected from the rest of the food. It’s strange; you could make a wonderful pot roast one night, and then the next day it’s been transformed into “leftovers”. There should be a better word for “leftovers” then “leftovers”, because ”leftovers” is a word that hardly whets the appetite.

Older and wiser, I understand how fantastic leftovers are because it takes practically no time and effort to heat up. It’s an instant meal—it’s like a frozen dinner without it actually being a frozen dinner. When I cook, I like making too much so that I’ll have leftovers, because cooking can be time-consuming and there are times when it just seems like too much effort to chop anything and combine ingredients and cook it on a stove. So I have a great appreciation for leftovers—especially when I’m hungry and want to eat something immediately.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Frumpy or Cool

For me, thrift shops have a lot of highs and lows; the high being able to find something awesome for a lower price, and the low being the amount of ugliness you might have to sift through to find those great finds. It can be a time-consuming and there’s definitely more effort involved.

Sometimes when I’m thrift shopping I’ll pull something out and take a long look at it and wonder, “Is this frumpy or cool?” At times it can seem like a fine line because half of what makes something look good is how you put it all together. And thrift shops are often just selling pieces and not an actual look, so you have to imagine how this piece would fit into your wardrobe. How would you wear it? There’s often an overwhelming range of brands and eras of clothing to choose from at thrift shops, that it forces you to think more about the piece itself and whether or not it looks dated to you.

It’s really exciting when you find something that you love because you couldn’t have predicted that you would ever find that particular item—because you never know what you’ll find at a thrift shop. And while department stores are good for the predictability of the style of clothing they sell, as well as finding something that follows the current trends, sometimes it’s nice to be surprised. And thrift shops have that variety and randomness that feels more unique than buying something that’s currently being sold new at a clothing store.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fallen on Deaf (and Nonexistent) Ears

When people irritate me, I can generally brush it aside; I may show my displeasure to a degree, but it’s a fairly reserved displeasure—a slight grimace, a furrowed brow or perhaps a slightly sharp comment. It’s never at the reality TV show level where there’s unimaginative name-calling, outrageous accusations and physical brawling. [Pause.] However, when I get irritated at inanimate objects, suddenly it’s an entirely different story.

I don’t think I’m alone with my frustration of inanimate objects. Really, anything could set me off, although anything technological has a better shot of pissing me off—like my computer. I love my computer when everything is going smoothly, but if (and when) something goes awry, suddenly I’m cussing up a storm. I know very well that my computer can’t hear me, and my throwing verbal slams at it doesn’t help one bit, but my inability to magically fix the situation angers me and that anger doesn’t want to be bottled up inside, so it explodes in expletives. And while my swearing doesn’t solve anything per se, eventually I get tired enough to calm down to the point where I can deal with the problem with a clearer (and less pissed off) mindset.  

I think the problem I have with inanimate objects is that they often lack the ability to actually help you understand the problem. You just get some cryptic message that something’s wrong and then you have to decipher what that actually means (through a manual or by searching the internet for answers); that inability to know what the issue is, is often more frustrating than the actual problem itself. And as a result, being in that black hole of uncertainty inevitably brings out the verbally worst in me. [Sigh.]

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I’m Bored. Let’s Eat.

Eating tasty food is one of the most satisfying parts of any day. Some days I can’t wait to eat and I eagerly await my stomach to growl at me so I can fill it with delicious food. However when I’m busy working on something, sometimes it’s easy to forget to eat. If I’m in the middle of a project and really focused on it, then somehow eating becomes an afterthought—almost an annoyance. I don’t want to eat because then I have to stop what I’m doing and take a ten minute break to wolf down sustenance so I can continue on (and it seems like such a hassle). [Sigh.]

On the flip side, I may want to eat if I’m bored. I want to nibble, nosh, munch and taste something tasty. I know I’m not actually hungry, but I feel like eating something. I think this wanting to eat for the sake of eating is most apparent when watching TV (because who doesn’t want a little snack while watching TV?). Somehow popcorn seems to make just about any TV show a bit more palatable to watch.

Sometimes I’ll catch myself and realize that my hands just want to be busy, so instead of eating I ought to do something with my hands (e.g. knitting, drawing, crafting, etc.), which is infinitely better for my already full stomach. It’s excessively easy to mindlessly snack, so I just need to distract my hands so I don’t end up eating something I don’t really need.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Short and Not So Sweet

Language isn’t a static thing; it morphs and changes as time goes on. The usage and popularity of words can shift often due to pop culture, technology and current events. Every generation speaks a bit differently than the former one, and the way the language changes can often be a mixed bag.

One aspect of language I’m not a fan of is the shortening of words, which seems to be more prevalent than ever. It’s not a new concept; people often want to make things easier and faster to say (“froyo” springs to mind). But likely with the advent of texting, abbreviating words has become even more commonplace, and then that shortening mentality easily turns into verbalization. I cringe when I hear someone shorten a word that doesn’t need shortening. I mean how lazy do people have to be change a two-syllable word to one syllable?

Words are useful. Words are fun. Words can create visual pictures. Words can transport you and make you think and feel and experience something. Words can say a lot. And while shortened words may have the “same” meaning as their unshortened counterparts, the impression they leave to me is an incomplete word. They just sound terrible to me, like they got amputated with a dull knife. And every fiber of my being just wants to finish that tortured fragmented word because they just make me so sad. [Pause.] Maybe it’s time I just buy myself a rocking chair and sit on a porch and complain about how my hip acts up when there’s a cold snap. [Sigh.]