Xmas 2017

This kid really cracks me up. Somebody gave him a farm set with a bunch of little plastic animals and he crowed like a rooster for approximately 15 minutes.

My best things: 2017

A working list...

The best thing I did for myself in 2017 was cut off all my hair. It made me 1,000 years younger and lighter and happier. I recommend it to anyone with a head.

The best things I read in 2017: Lincoln in the Bardo and This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. I didn't read many books this year, which I regret, but these are difficult times and in difficult times I crave a steady brain-numbing diet of The Big Bang Theory. Sorry man. I know it's the flamin' hot Cheetos of network TV.

The best thing I watched in 2017: The Leftovers. Also The Big Sick. Both are warm and generous and funny and sad and smart as hell. Other best things, on Netflix (thumbs up Netflix): Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes.

The best thing I consumed in 2017: afternoon tea service at Janam Tea, which is a cozy, slightly fussy little spot tucked away above a burger joint on the Lower East Side and which at night becomes a speakeasy. I swallowed 65 finger foods and a billion pots of tea in two hours but still I wanted more.

The best thing I replaced in 2017: my microwave. Now I can eat Amy's cheddar cheese burritos at least 10 times a week, the way the lord intended.

The best thing I dropped on the bathroom floor in 2017: a whole bottle of Chanel COCO. Very expensive accidental room fragrance and an exercise not likely to be repeated.

The best twitter account I followed in 2017: it's a tie between We Rate Dogs and  Cute Emergency (both oldies but still goodies). When in doubt, go to the dogs.

The best tweet I faved in 2017 was this one. A close second was this one from Kevin Biegel, a TV producer who keeps a life-sized cutout of Dame Judi Dench in his stairwell, known (naturally) as the Stairwell Dench.

The best Instagram account I followed in 2017: Westiegram (see above re the dogs). + my favorite New York City account ++ my favorite Chicago account

The best thing I bought from Amazon in 2017 was without a doubt this Hypoallergenic Pillow – ADJUSTABLE THICKNESS Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow - Kool-Flow Micro-Vented Bamboo Cover, Dust Mite Resistant & Machine Washable - Premium Quality - MADE IN USA - QUEEN — which is to say "a pillow." It saved my life. (I also did a tally on all my Amazon purchases for the year and let's just say I finally figured out where all my money goes.)

The best thing I realized in 2017 was that I don't have to care about everything. Last week I listened to a Too Embarrassed to Ask podcast on teens & fake news and the hosts kept asking this kid why he's not freaking out about the state of the world and finally he said "My English paper is more important than collusion." And I thought, yes. It is. Just as the fate of the world does not rest upon my public participation in every moral or social outrage or idiotic miscarriage of justice. It's not lost on me that every new day reveals a new horror, but I can no longer operate at a level of anxiety that dials every single emotion up to 100. Not if I expect to see 2018.

The waiting room

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Everything about this photo is comforting and aspirational to me in a lazy, Kinfolk, autumnal kind of way. I recently made it my desktop wallpaper so now I spend a lot of time dreaming of a November day when I can sit at a big wooden table in a real kitchen, enjoying a cup of joe and a light snack with my dog. In between drinks and snacks we'll drive around looking at leaves for hours and parallel park anywhere we want, just because we can. Jesus Christ won't that be something.

It's been cool here at the end of August, free of humidity and in the mid-70s for a long, blessed string of days. It felt like autumn coming early, and don't think I didn't notice or wasn't grateful. As I've stated many times before, summer is the price we pay for fall. That in and of itself makes it worthwhile, if egregiously goddamn costly.

Here's Robinson Meyer at Medium on waiting for the seasons:

When I first learned of meteorological spring, I found it disappointing. I want to wait past March 1. Of course it is a little springy now, I felt, but I wanted the glory in waiting for a later holiday. The word patience, which is what I wanted to practice, and what I am performing the practice of now, descends from Latin’s patior, pati — to suffer, to endure, to submit. It is to admit your existence as being under the thumb of times. For me, that’s what living on a planet with seasons feels like.

IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: I performed a reverse image search for the provenance of this photo from my point of origin (actual Cup of Jo) but came up empty. Admittedly, five seconds of effort is where my interest in this enterprise came to a close, but I'm only one impatient person. I can't solve all the world's problems.

For the record

Well that's over. I'm back from my self-imposed blog exile, this vacation without a vacation, this trip that went nowhere. It was a very long month. Both good and bad. Lazy and fruitful. Boring, to be honest. But many things are boring. Nothing wrong with boring (says a boring person).

I deleted my Facebook account and my Flickr account and my Yahoo account—years & decades of detritus, gone with a click. I did not withdraw from society, but I did pull in and away. I had a mid-month existential meltdown thanks to some allergy medication, so I dropped that medication cold turkey, STAT. Pay attention to what affects your mind and your moods, is what I'm saying. Sometimes it's the weather, or the state of the world, and sometimes it's Claritin D. The state of the world didn't help, though.

I thought about deleting this site, but I love the idea of blogs too much to give it up, so I'll start over instead. What a glorious gift, starting over! I think about this New Yorker piece on Snapchat by Matt Buchanan all the time, and in particular the last line of this paragraph:

Snapchat highlights the power of deletion in resisting the gentle totalitarianism of endless sharing. Deletion pokes holes in these records; it is a destabilizing force that calls into question their authority, particularly as complete documentation of a person’s online identity, which Facebook and Twitter increasingly purport to be. It is the only way to be selective, to make choices, when everything is shared. I delete tweets frequently from Twitter, for instance. (I have jokingly called it “snaptweeting.”) There is a general expectation that a tweet will stick around, particularly if it is somehow embedded in the greater Twitter infrastructure, for example when somebody favorites or retweets it. Its disappearance shortly thereafter breaks the system in a tiny way, generating a hairline crack in that model of who I am.

Just because the internet lets you hang your proverbial panties out on the line forever doesn't mean you should. It's important, I think, to lose yourself once in a while, yet nearly impossible to leave old habits behind when they follow you everywhere you go. It's important to remember that nothing is settled or static, not really: such is the secret salve of daily existence.

+ see also: "Hoarding anything is just an opportunity to feel more regret, more times."

And here's a gratuitous appreciation of blogging from Kelly Conaboy at The Hairpin, which I second & third to infinity:

I don’t know how we’re going to continue like this if we all have to be online all day every day. We need good things to read. We need them steadily, from people whose voices we enjoy. Short things. Commentary about a topic the writer has a greater interest in than you do. Something funny. Something very stupid. Not some big, long, boring thing, just a little thing that you read and enjoy.

Or, in the words of my patron saint, Nora Ephron, "You just might want to say hello. I’m here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this?"

Yes and yes. Although this particular post may have been big, long, and boring, I promise from this day forth to bring you short, steady, very stupid things, straight from my heart to your brains, and to continually ask "did you see this?" just because I like asking.

I hope you read and enjoy.