Five things I’m into right now…
I got this fun idea from Nina Badzin. I hope she doesn’t mind if I take this topic and add my own two cents (or five as in this case).
1. Downton Abbey. Like Nina, I’m completely on the bandwagon for this Masterpiece Classic. Everywhere I go people are talking about it. My co-workers, my hairdresser, the dude on the subway with his sideways baseball cap (come on, buddy).What? You haven’t seen it? Start with season 1 because the plot builds. Pop some popcorn and find a comfy chair because you’ll be hooked. All episodes are online at PBS.org.
So go watch already. Then after you’ve met Mr. Pamuk, let’s talk!
2. Stuff You Missed in History Class. Whenever I take Reggie for a long walk, I listen to one of these 20 minute podcasts. Each episode tackles a different topic from Al Capone to the origins of the Christmas tree. If only my college history TA had made his lectures this interesting instead of showing us videos so he could nap while trying to get over a raging hangover. But that’s another post.
The podcasts are hosted by How Stuff Works.com, so if you don’t groove on history, they have other series: Stuff of Genius (inventions), Stuff Your Mom Never Told You (differences between the sexes), TechStuff (gadgets), How to Stuff (steps for everything from how to repair a toilet to how to create your own podcast).
3. Van Gogh. Speaking of the history podcasts, I just listened to a great episode about Van Gogh. It interested me for a few reasons:
(1) I’m interested to learn how it seemed he was able to channel his mental illness to creativity. (He had produced some 1,400 paintings and sketches and had only sold one in his lifetime.)
(2) I’m curious as to some of the incidents we accept as fact about Van Gogh may not be true. For example, he may not have cut off his own ear in the midst of a seizure. All signs point to fellow painter, anger-crazed Gauguin, having done it in a joke-turned-compeition gone wrong. Also a book was published last year which posits that Van Gogh did not kill himself in the wheat fields near Arles, but that some local kids were messing around and the gun accidentally went off. (It took him two days to die from his wounds.)
(3) I’m hoping to go to the Van Gogh museum when I am in Amsterdam this spring. So I’ll have to learn how to pronounce Van Gogh the proper way like I have a lot of phlegm in the back of my throat. Van Gochkshs. Okay, that was uncalled for. I’m feeling a bit irreverent this morning.
4. Pret A Manger. When MTV moves some of their divisions into your office building, the neighborhood starts looking up. Before, we had one greasy spoon diner and one buffet place where the sneeze guard left you feeling queasy. Now, it seems retailers and restauranteurs don’t want to miss out on the Lady Gaga quotient. (She caused a near-riot of groupies when she was in the building last summer.) We have food trucks galore parking on the block at lunchtime, a Starbucks, a drugstore and Pret A Manger.
Pret has locations around the world, but I think they’re only in a few cities in the US right now. The food is good and the workers are…wait for it…nice. They smile. They look like they are happy to be there. They ask you how you’re doing. They listen to your answer. This may be no big deal for you folks who live in kinder, gentler places. (I envy you.) But here sometimes people ring up your purchases as if they are out for revenge or something. Once I had a cashier walk away from the register because I was taking too long to get change out of my wallet. She never came back. Another time I pointed out that a cashier had rung up $8.99 for an item instead of $3.99. She acknowledged the mistake and then yelled at me.
I have actually left money in the tip jar for the folks at Pret. I *heart* you, Pret.
5. Liga Masiva. Some people have suggested that I am addicted to coffee. Just because I start twitching and get headaches if I skip my morning cup, doesn’t mean I can’t stop any ol’ time I want. Not that I’m going to, but if I wanted to I could. But I don’t want to. Get off my back.
Anyway. Liga Masiva acts as an online farmers’ market. They connect organic growers in the Dominican Republic directly with
addicts coffee drinkers like me. They facilitate bringing the beans to market in a responsible way so that the growers get a fair wage. Then some folks from the nabe, Brooklyn Roasting Company, roast the beans to order. They pack ’em up and ship ’em to you within hours. It’s a wonderful business model and a delicious cup of coffee.
What are some things you’re into these days?
Have a great weekend, everyone!