Never forget that none of this is real

Never forget that none of this is real.

None of the pictures, none of the comments, none of the likes.

They’re all pixels on a computer, or on a phone, which is like a mini computer.

Anxiously checking your phone when you’re out with people because you haven’t checked Facebook in a while.  Saying you’re going to delete Facebook because you don’t like what it does to your brain – even though you can’t say exactly what it is that it’s doing to your brain.

But none of this is real.

Bill Murray went without a phone for six weeks, I read recently.  He said it was refreshing.  He said people were always accommodating to him, and if he needed to make a call, he always asked to borrow a phone, and everyone was always gracious enough to let him.

“Well, I’m not Bill Murray,” you might say.  “What if my family needs me?”

“Where is your family?” I would ask.  “They’re probably in your house with you, if I had to guess.  Are you talking about your elderly parents, who don’t text and don’t Facebook?  Or if you’re at work, I bet work has a landline, doesn’t it?”

How DID people get by before their little computers?

It can be a passive-aggressive way of pretending that the people you’re with aren’t interesting enough.  It can be a place to hide if you aren’t sure what to say.

It can be validating.  It can be empowering.  It can make you feel connected.

But it can also be a distraction from your life.  A distraction from the pain, boredom, uncomfortable moments we have to face.

Jack White doesn’t let his kids play with anything electronic, I heard him say on one of the late-night talk shows.  Their toys have to be solid, real things, like puzzles and Lincoln Logs.  I am sure they suck at Mario Kart, but hey, when a supergenius is raising you, I guess those are the breaks.

It is nice to know what your friends from college are doing.  If not for Facebook, I wouldn’t know when someone got engaged or divorced, or what have you.  Unless and until I got that Save the Date! in the mail, of course.  Yes, the U.S. Postal Service still services most of the country, at my last count.

And yes, I realize the irony of posting this on the Internet, where you are no doubt reading it on your tiny computer in your hand, or over coffee at work.  Maybe, just maybe, you should turn your phone off and throw yourself into something.  Anything – cooking, hiking, running, backgammon, learning Mandarin.  Anything at all that isn’t validated by the rest of the world’s perception.  Because that will never fill you up, no matter how many likes you get.

Turn your phone off and throw yourself into something.  Anything – cooking, hiking, running, backgammon, learning Mandarin.  Anything at all that isn’t validated by the rest of the world’s perception.  Because that will never fill you up, no matter how many likes you get.

The Macaron Girl

The day was shaping up to be super shitty, so I decided a trip to the bakery was in order.  Baked goods = momentary relief from the abject sadness about my life choices that have put me in this position wherein a day can go this badly.

I’m sure Jessica Biel never has a day like this one.  I mean, she hits the gym a lot.  You can tell.  And that means she probably manages her stress well because exercise regulates that type of thing.

Plus, she has money, but not like Warren Buffet money where your money is your job.  Just enough money that if she wants to go to New Zealand and see Hobbiton, well by god, she’s going to have a car full of Hobbits showing her around Bag End this weekend.

That sounds kind of weird.

Anyway, so baked goods.

The bakery sells cupcakes and fudge and what have you, but their crowning achievement is the macaron.  The French macaron.  I don’t ever see anyone ever buying them besides me.  And I only buy them like 3 times a year.  Maybe I should start buying them more.  Maybe I am the only reason they still make them, and I’m not supporting them financially– or emotionally– in their decision to continue with the macaron production.

They probably call me “The Macaron Girl” because that’s all I ever buy, and I mysteriously float in at random intervals, purchase some fluffy macs, and then float back out.  I’m usually wearing a scarf or tights.  There is always a chill in the air.  I definitely need to remember to pull out my red knitted cap soon, the one that looks almost like a beret.  They probably think I’m FROM France.  If they had to guess.  And that I don’t want to speak to them in French because that would be patronizing, as they certainly don’t speak the language of love.  They didn’t train in a chateaux in France (even though I’m sure they think I grew up in one).

*not my macaron display, but definitely a macaron display*
*not my macaron display, but definitely a macaron display*

So now I feel a little bit better than Jessica Biel because I bet she doesn’t eat macarons.  No one calls her “The Macaron Girl” in awed whispers.  She’s not from France (or even pretend France), and her body is too nice to eat sweets like that.

So I win this round, Jessica Biel.

Your move.

Harry Potter and the Apple of My Molars

I visited Harry Potter World last week.  Actually, I know it’s not called Harry Potter World, but I’m 29 now, so I’m too old to be bothered with remembering the real name of the subsection of the Universal Studios park dedicated to the Boy Who Lived.

But because my visit to the park was too fun to put into one post, I’m going to break it down for you.  Today’s post is about Harry and the Apple of My Molars.  Yes, I’m talking about Honeydukes, which of course is in no way sells health food such as apples, but candy is the “apple of my eye” and …. (pfft shrrrmp, something something) — I have a sweet tooth.  So that’s what you get.  Whatever.  Logic is not necessary in blog post titles.  Don’t act like it is.

So anyway.  Honeydukes is basically the Willy Wonka retail outlet of the Wizarding World.  And by that, I mean it has some uh-maze-ing noms.

The turquoise really makes the jars pop
The turquoise really makes the jars pop

 

I've always wanted a pink princess spiral staircase to nowhere
I’ve always wanted a pink princess spiral staircase to nowhere
The storefront
The storefront, which is art in itself.

If you’ve never had Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, I highly recommend them as an experience.  I first had them over a decade ago when my husband and I started dating.  [Wow, that really makes me sound old, but I swear I’m not even eligible for social security yet.]  They give you a picture list of the types of beans, much like the Jelly Belly Beans, sort of like a National Audubon Society for jelly beans.  I readily ate them all, even the booger, dirt, and grass (I’m pretty sure I have never had a vomit-flavored one– despite the listing on the bean inventory), and none of them taste that bad.  Except for the pepper.  They really get ya on the black pepper.  Beware!

Bertie gets his own window
Bertie gets his own window
They clearly don't even care about presentation.  *eyeroll*
They clearly don’t even care about presentation. *eyeroll*
I'm sure there's at least one vomit-flavored bean in every box -- they are huge
I’m sure there’s at least one vomit-flavored bean in every box — they are huge
They also have the classic chocolate frogs, complete with a card inside
They also have the classic chocolate frogs, complete with a card inside

And they have a few of the less-common candies as well.  Things that are not as sugarcoated as the Every Flavour Beans and chocolate frogs:

Jumping Snakes.   Something tells me they're not joking.
Jumping Snakes. Something tells me they’re not joking.  Notice my lovely hand model.
U-No-Poo.  Um.  Yep.  That's what you think it is.  Like Immodium candy.
U-No-Poo. Um. Yep. That’s what you think it is. Like Imodium candy.
Treacle
Fizzing Whizzbies.  Always a favorite in the books.
Exploding Bon Bons.  Guaranteed to cause  Monty Python-type explosion in the comfort of your home.
Exploding Bon Bons. Guaranteed to cause Monty Python-type explosion in the comfort of your home.

You don’t have to change out your money at Honeydukes (they graciously take American dollars), but it might be something cool to think about in the future.  Are you listening, Universal?

Sickles Only.
Sickles Only.

The cashier at Honeydukes asked us about our day, and we started chatting.  She said that one of the strangest reactions she had ever seen in the store happened the week prior, when a teenager opened her chocolate frog and started crying.  (Out of fear?  Sadness?  Lactose intolerance?  Supreme happiness?)  Supreme happiness it was.  I feel ya, random teenager.  Life is rough.  Honeydukes makes everything a little better.

 

Beware the Ides of March (A Photostory)

You’ll have to forgive me that the title has nothing much to do with this post.  I only get to say, “Beware the Ides of March!” once a year, and as a Latin geek, this is a huge deal to me.

You’ll also have to excuse the non-linear nature of tonight’s post — it’s basically my Instagram roundup/favorite things of the week post.  (i.e. I have some pictures from the past week, and I want to share them.)

First of all, did you know they have Harry Potter stamps at the Post Office?!

I had to buy two books!
I had to buy two books!

Seriously, my week was practically made at that point.  I didn’t have to go on.  But yet, I did.  I made my way to Fish’s Eddy homewares in NYC.  Apparently, it’s kind of a big deal.  I had no idea, but the outside looked great, so I thought I would check out the inside.  Look at this gem:

<3 <3 <3
❤ ❤ ❤

I really need some gay weddings to attend, because I really want to have an excuse to buy these.  Get with the program, West Virginia!  I thought this shot was a little too perfect to pass up:

Rainbows and unicorns
Rainbows and unicorns

I loved the color in the window on the way to dinner.  Couldn’t walk by it.  I also couldn’t walk by this without talking a shot:

This was just like the Pick Up Stix game
This was just like the Pick Up Stix game

My sole souvenir from the trip was from the Fish’s Eddy:

This was my souvenir from the trip: from the Fish's Eddy
Rest in Grease

And then I made a Peep Diorama for the American Bar Association contest.  Yes, these are cannibalistic Peeps:

And then I made a Peep Diorama for the American Bar Association contest.  R v. Dudley and Stephens
R v. Dudley and Stephens

It’s a pretty interesting story about 4 sailors who are shipwrecked, have to fight off sharks in their flimsy lifeboat, and end up eating one of their party to keep from starving in the coming days.  (Sacrifice one so that the others can live!)  But then they are rescued and charged with murder.  (Uh-oh!)

So that’s my week in a nutshell.  What about yours?  Have any fun photos to share?  I’m new to Instagram (yes, I know I’m just joining 2011), but I’m looking for beautimous and/or interesting accounts to follow!

The Interstellar Donut Shop and the Polar Vortex

It’s funny the things you think about when you’re young — things that don’t even catch your eye as you get older.  Until one day they do, and you remember how enamored you were with that one thing so many years ago.  

I was driving home tonight, and despite the polar vortex, the sky was very clear.  It was so blue.  I could see a small, solitary light in the sky.  From the distance, it was hard to tell if it was moving at all, so it might have been a star, or a plane — or an interstellar donut shop (which would definitely have a logo with a bright pink glazed donut, complete with sprinkles).  Under the lights of the city, it’s hard to see much in the sky at all.  But where I grew up, there were stars for miles.  All you could see were stars.  There were no lights to drown them out.  

So in the days of yore, when I would see a plane flying overhead, I would always wonder what it could be — and wonder if it really was a plane, or a UFO carrying aliens from Mars, or maybe it was a shooting star (because those were always on TV and I never saw one to know how fast it would shoot)… And until today I kind of forgot those were the things I would think about… 

Now other things occupy our minds, like weekend plans, work, our families, the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  Are any of those as important as the interstellar baked goods?  Probably, but maybe not — maybe for a minute we need that small moment of wonder, especially in the bleak, banal moments of the January commute.  

*** 

This is what it looked like near my house today for the rest of you outside the Vortex:

Image

 

Image

Pretty beautiful, and pretty frigid — I had negative digits on my car thermometer for the first time ever.

My pipes actually froze under my house, so I was under it with a hair dryer thawing them out (kudos to Vidal Sassoon), which resulted in a valve burst and subsequent replacement.  Adventures in homeownership!

Image

I was pretty dirty,  but it was surprisingly warm under the house.  Not something I want to repeat anytime soon, though!

 

So I’m ready for the summer thaw– the polar bears can keep their Vortex.  

How cold was it where you were today?  Any harrowing moments of near frostbite?