LA is a great place to circle the drain of middle age, actually
also: DAN FROM BAKE OFF? that's a husband is what that is!
exhibit A: everyone drives everywhere, all the time. i had to be in los angeles for work a couple weeks ago and i think i cracked the code to having a good time there, even though i have yet to have a bad one. i’m an LA girly, sorry! anyway my week was extra good because 1 i stayed in burbank and 2 i rented a car.
i have not talked much about trying to manage my obsessive compulsive disorder (it’s not managed in the least bit, who am i kidding) but one of the worst ways it terrorizes me is its manifestation in my intense need to control (or to be able to predict) any circumstance i might find myself in. and i don’t mean “i need to be the boss of this meeting,” i mean “i’m just gonna go ahead and sit in this idling ford edge for twenty minutes studying the route my phone has mapped for me until i feel confident i won’t encounter a single upsetting surprise on my way to this nondescript office building i’ve already been to nineteen times.” all of my planning routines stem from my obsession with trying not to embarrass myself in front of another person (or a dog, or a tree, or an inanimate object) or be caught with my pants down, and being in any social situation where i’m at the mercy of another person makes me want to scratch my skin off down to the bone.
when my father, james homeboxoffice the third, scheduled my trip to los angeles he very thoughtfully arranged for a car service to pick me up at LAX and deliver me safely to the hotel they picked out with a room i couldn’t choose paid for by a corporate card i did not have access to. that is very nice thing for someone to do for a deeply unwell person!! BUT, it’s fucking stressful:
there’s a guy (usually a guy!!) who knows where i am and where i need to go and how to reach me by phone (even though i don’t know a single thing about him, not even his name or general physical description), and he is gonna be standing impatiently near baggage claim wearing a fucking tuxedo and holding a placard with my name on it as people dazed from their expulsion back into the glare of the real world stare at him, wondering if someone exciting and important might be coming to meet him (emphatically no, i am boring and regular). meanwhile, while he’s standing there for many minutes wondering if i got tackled by homeland security or something, i’m sitting on a toilet fourteen miles away next to gate 278 (where do you have to be flying into or out of to get a good gate???) with my shirt off, trying to dry my menopause sweat with cheap, disintegrating toilet paper and also shit.
when finally i get to baggage claim, wheezing and still slick with perspiration after having walked across an entire airport with a backpack full of airport books i did not and will never read, he’s still at baggage claim (except pissed now) and as soon as we make eye contact i try to do a desperate “please sir, put that fake ipad with my misspelled name on it down, yes it is i, THEE sematha irving” hand wave so people will stop looking. i can’t deal with being looked at for too many seconds! it’s unnerving!!! then i gotta stand there with somebody’s dad silently panicking while trying to think of how to tell him he doesn’t have to stand here waiting for my giant suitcase full of depends, as a matter of fact it would do us both a favor if he would just go grab the car and just scoop me outside wherever the lyfts go.
i’m sure you can already guess that they will not do that so i’ll just fast forward to the part of the voyage where he is mad at me for interrupting the highlights of his recent vacation to greece (complete with an over-the-seat slideshow on his phone) to ask if he can crank the air up because i swear to god i am about to wring my shirt out into my mouth because it feels like i’m on fire. luckily the next morning i rented my very own ride that i could sit in blissfully alone and whose movements i was the boss of and i made that car colder than a morgue and it was perfect.
some shit i been watching
-thank you god for the return of the great british baking show!!!! you don’t need me to explain to you why a show about processed sugar with no yelling appeals to me but rest assured it really does. i cry when their chocolate collars melt! i cry at the handshakes!! i cry when they call their mums to say they got star baker!!! now saku is who we were rooting for in this house, BUT: if i could wake up one (very late) morning and pad groggily to the kitchen in search of a freshly-baked flaky something to find dan’s thick rugby thighs making me some kind of pastry item??? i could die happy. yes, i have had bakeoff spouses in the past (chigs, janusz, ruby, antony, steven, benjamina, selasi, other ruby, briony, rav, liam, PAUL FUCKING HOLLYWOOD) but dan is so hot, so solid, so kind, so charming, and also just so hot and nice that he might just eclipse them all. i texted my friend john, who is so disgusting i had to redact him for fear of getting both of us kicked off the internet, and of course he feels the same way because we are hopeless romantics ie pathetic losers. anyway this season is a delight, and also i am smitten with alison because she is simply the best.
-BIG NOON SATURDAY
-rhom, rhobh, rhslc, rhop just keep piling them on i have an insatiable appetite for plastic-cheeked soccer moms with expensive weaves, they can’t make new episodes fast enough, they should have a franchise in every city in america, i simply cannot get enough!!
-reality brother, let me tell you: i don’t think i took a breath the entire time i was watching this movie. it’s so tight and tense it set my teeth on fire and i have never been as riveted watching a movie, ever.
-the other two CHOKELAUGHING every! single!! episode!!!
-this hasan minhaj video
-wrestlers on netflix
-the comic who just hosted snl is so funny (“she’s rude” took me OUT) and this bit on ordering coffee is so me i feel like i wrote it also i watched his most recent ~comedy concert~ on amazon and it’s very hilarious and oh by the way i am your dad
-who he play for?
-on the redeye home i watched chevalier
-survivor! although…………….in case jeff probst is reading this: can we get some regular ass old people back on the show, please? every contestant now is like “i’ve been studying survivor since the day i crawled out of the womb, i’ve seen every episode nine times, i wrote my thesis on the show and have a phd in survivorology, i’ve built an exact replica (to scale!) of every immunity challenge ever created in my backyard, i memorized every statistic and percentage and even came up with this handy chart to compare winning strategies to improve my game” and i’m sorry to have an opinion about this (i really am, it’s humiliating) but it makes the show less fun when everyone is young and in shape and knows the dna sequencing of everyone who’s ever been on it. bring back the olds!!!!!!!!!
exhibit B: everyone is so nice and also you can just look like whatever. i know it sounds fake but for real, unless you are a young woman (sorry to y’all) you can just look like absolute dogshit all the time and people will be nice to you anyway because you never know who might be a producer. it’s great!
a special cooking segment it’s finally “turn the oven on without immediately melting into the floor” season so here’s a few food things that are good:
-how to easily cook fish without messing it up
-the ladies behind the modern proper continue to put out the best recipes on the internet, i am obsessed with them, here is a link to their forty (yes, forty!!) best thanksgiving sides (i need these creamed brussels sprouts immediately)
some shit i been reading
-my pal lindsay hunter’s incredible new book that the washington post called “the ‘gone girl’-style thriller you’ve been waiting for” and you KNOW how i feel about amy elliott dunne so TRUST ME this book rips
-anxiously anticipating cracking open my queen barbra streisand’s memoir, which i will read while sitting at the dining room table i guess? because it is approximately one thousand pages long???
-i just started candelaria by melissa lozada-oliva who is, first of all, so smart and so funny but is also the cutiest cutie and has a delightful instagram.
-david marchese referred to me as the “poet laureate of peevishness” (definition: cross, querulous, or fretful, as from vexation or discontent) and i know that might not sound like a love letter to your typical unhinged grouch but that might be the best valentine i have ever received and now i am in love with him and now make it a point to read everything he ever writes (we are in love)
-my doll catherine newman has a newsletter launching in a couple days called crone sandwich (what a great name, just fantastic) that, according to her, is about “the 50-something stuff: menopause, semi-grown kids, aging parents, empty-nesting, food, colonoscopies, vaginal estrogen, fun stuff, weed, sex, friendship, writing, insomnia, occasional crafts, dinner, books, rage, grief, autoimmune illness, mindful drinking, holidays, marriage—alllll the stuff.” she is a gorgeous writer (read her books!!) and i’m interested in all that stuff plus whatever else she might say so i technically haven’t read it yet but i am a paying subscriber!!!!
exhibit C: no matter what your variety of disordered eating, LA is more than happy to accommodate you. it’s the easiest place on earth to eat in a way that feels health-adjacent. like there’s lots of fruits and vegetables and no one will blink when you list 17 super-specific ~allergies~ as you’re placing your order. i had to work the whole fucking time but i did manage to scrounge up a few good meals:
-this fast casual fish place (shut up)
-antonia from top chef’s restaurant
-my favorite restaurant in all of LA
some shit i been looking at
-my brother matthew cassel, whom i have known since 1999 when i was his shift manager at great harvest, is a freelance journalist who has lived in the mediterranean for years and has done amazing work. we live in hell and it’s hard to know what news to trust but i try to read everything he posts on instagram, he’s the realest!!
-why your team sucks on defector
-this christmas holly printed blanket i absolutely don’t need (should i buy it anyway?)
-machete perfect huggies in ¾ silver
-alison roman’s wedding on vogue dot com
-shaderoom comments (i love 2 laff)
-i’m fully obsessedddddd with kellie’s home decor youtube channel despite having zero interest in aesthetics, a word whose definition i do not know
-apartment therapy house tours
-my beloved nephew travis is having a baby this spring so i am looking at so much adorable baby shit, probably too much, possibly the most stuff anyone who has never and will never produce her own drooling children has ever fucking so much as glanced at, but let me tell you: i love travvy and he is such a great dude and i’m so proud of him plus his wife is the cutest and also i absolutely DO NOT BELIEVE that their baby will love me the most if i don’t shower it with as many gifts as possible, and there’s no time like “before s/he has a fully-formed brain” to get started on the wooing process. (it has worked for me in the past, with several smooth-brained adult males, for at least a while? so i feel like a baby should be no problem!)
exhibit D: lots of strip malls!!! because nothing makes me feel better than a row of places i don’t need to go to with open parking spots for my rental car right in front of them. why yes i do want to get a full-sized pumpkin at vons then get a haircut at fantastic sams then some thai food at lotus and light and a cigar from eddie’s tobacco and wash that down with some panda express teriyaki chicken then give blood at the red cross followed by a giant starbucks , thank you!!!!!!!
some shit i been listening to
-a whole lot of afrobeats !!
-fucking nytimes popcast? i don’t even know half the shit they be talking about half the time, BUT: listening to them makes me feel cool
-i’ve been obsessively listening to the song these chains by mid-air thief off and on for months! i have no idea what it’s about because they’re singing in korean but it’s so so beautiful, like two minutes in it builds and goes crazy and is
-this cozy fall playlist i made last year and spruced up for 2023
-“what would pluto do?” by drake (not kidding, we had a work dinner in beverly hills and this was the perfect soundtrack as i cruised timidly past all those manicured lawns in my SENSIBLE FORD)
-this gorgeous lil yachty song on repeat (i loOOoOoOooOove those wavy vocals)
-how i know anything about anything, in terms of popular culture: who weekly’s patreon/the read DUH/my babes on vibe check/higher learning/commotion (elamin abdelmahmoud is a gift to this wretched world, know him!!!!!!!)
-this lovely song by eric roberson that sounds like it should be on sesame street
-NEW HOOD INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (these dudes are straight up geniuses)
-the stephen a smith show/the bill simmons podcast/
-chris stapleton’s new record GODDAMN THIS DUDE CAN SING!! this year i’ve been trying to do a thing where if an artist releases a full record i listen to the record all the way through, and i’ve done that but i also couldn’t resist playing a couple absolute banger slow jams on repeat, namely “the fire” and “loving you on my mind”
-the official priscilla playlist
-diss and tell “feuds between celebrities captivate us like nothing else. why are there so many fights that play out for everyone to watch? and why do we have such a hard time looking away?” i started listening to this because i am a devoted listener of scamfluencers (yes, i pay six dollars a month for the bonus content! when i say i’m a fan of things i fucking mean i am a FAN!!) and they talked about it, and i’m tempted to intellectualize this (no i’m not, i’m dumb as shit) but it’s just low stakes fun gossip (but, like, you know, with journalism?) about shit like why joan rivers and johnny carson hated each other and what happened between vin diesel and the rock. also, this is not sponsored, i am literally paying money to give free publicity to these people, remind me to never start a business, it will fail within a week.
speaking of, audible thinks my newest audiobook (honked by me) is one of the best comedy listens of this year and that is sweet (and true). take good care of yourself! love you, bye!!!!