Please enjoy this call informing me that the government wants to give me free money, okay? Right?
My mom is a trooper. She got done with chemo for Hodgkins Disease for the SECOND time only to fall and break her hip. She’s now sequestered to a couch. It’s the worst. On top of that she’s taking a LOT of opiates and they make her really loopy. She’s super bored. She really hates relying on other people and not being able to go outside (she is my mom after all). I don’t really know how to make this better other than to have my friends send her notes and postcards. All you’d have to do is send a postcard or card that says you’re a friend of mine and you hope she gets better soon. In fact YOU don’t even have to send and stamp a letter–you can do it online and sites will do it for you. I suggest:
If you are interested in helping out by sending her a card, send me an email or comment here and I’ll send you her address. I really appreciate it!
Top Ten Artists Listened to in 2012
- The Long Winters (16)
- Weezer (9)
- R. Kelly (35)
- Jonathan Coulton (8)
- The Mountain Goats (54)
- The Magnetic Fields (2)
- Dwight Yoakam (13)
- Wilco (6)
- The Velvet Underground (17)
- The Misfits (39)
Bands in bold are bands I only really got into this year. Bands in italic are bands that I saw in concert this year. The number following each band is where they fall in my overall number of listens, which is based on keeping the metadata for everything (roughly) I have listened to since 2005.
Top Ten Songs of 2012
- Weezer–Across the Sea (15)
- Weezer–Tired of Sex (4)
- The Long Winters–Ultimatum (56)
- The Long Winters–Fire Island, AK (56)
- Misfits–Skulls (56)
- The Long Winters–Seven (71)
- Weezer–El Scorcho (15)
- Weezer–Why Bother (39)
and a four way tie for ninth place: Weezer–Falling for You (48), The Long Winters–Pushover (118), The Long Winters–Rich Wife (118), The Long Winters–Sky is Open (118).
I really hated Spotify at first and I still have intense data quality issues with it, but it’s my daily music source these days.
This list compiled while listening to Exodus’ Exhibit B: The Human Condition.
I read 50 books this year–20 more than last year. Go me!
26 non-fiction/52% (18 last year/-8% last year)
24 fiction/48% (12 last year/+8% from last year)
1 audio/2% (6 last year/-18% from last year)
11 digital/22% (22 last year/-51%)
38 paper/76% (8 last year/+49% change)
Biggest surprise: How much paper I read this year! And I got way back into comics. Looking at everything I read this year I pretty much liked everything–read a lot of great things. Once again, a longer commute (and more comic books) have helped me out with more books read.
Biggest letdown: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
- Chew: A great comic which has everything I love: gritty police drama, food politics, weird supernatural aspects, humor. Great.
- Ready Player One: I knew it would be great and it still exceeded my expectations.
- Escape From Camp 14: I read a lot of things about North Korea and this was the most heart wrenching.
Most Overrated: Bone. Who likes this?
Books I could not finish this year:
- Crisis on Infinite Earths: Holy man, what’s going on in this book?
- Moonwalking with Einstein: I couldn’t get over the attitude of the writer. Seriously I was listening to the audiobook in Turkey when no one spoke English and I STILL had to stop listening.
I most recommend: Chew, Ready Player One, Team Rodent.
Book tech: I still love my ereader. I have noticed ebook formatting becoming more important. Still can’t get into comics on e-devices.
Book Wish(es) for 2k12: I’m getting rid of this because it’s the same every year.
Apparently this never got posted last year…..
I read 30 books this year–3 less than last year.
18 non-fiction/60% (19 last year/-13% last year)
12 fiction/40% (9 last year/+13% from last year)
6 audio/20% (4 last year/+8% from last year)
22 digital/73% (10 last year/+40%)
8 paper/27% (19 last year/-31% change)
I didn’t count the intense travel research I’ve been doing for my upcoming trip, so I feel pretty cool with that number.
Biggest letdown: I Was Told They’d Be Cake–I have no idea why people like this book.
- Bearded Women Stories–I love circus freaks, and this book was super thought provoking
- Fifth Avenue, 5AM–an in depth love letter to Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- Plastic, A Toxic Love Story–We use it every day, so knowing more about the history and technology was great and it’s changed the way I use plastic.
Most Overrated: The book True Blood is based on.
Books I could not finish this year: I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive (Because Mary took the book back with her after our vacation), Travel As a Political Act, which I should finish soon, and Human Transit, which I should also finish soon.
I most recommend: Bearded Women Stories and Plastic: A Toxic Love Story.
Book tech: I now find reading paper books a total pain. I like that more people are adopting ereaders all of the time, and that kindle now has library lending. Amazon’s increasing hostility over ereader format compatibility is concerning.
Book Wish(es) for 2k11: Exact same things as last year:
- Less crazy DRMs on ebooks I check out from Overdrive; (same as last year)
- A more universal book wishlist export standard (so every time a new book website comes out, I don’t have to put all 658 books on the new list manually. Seriously people, Amazon is the standard. Find a way to import it. (same as last year)
- Downloadable library materials more integrated with other materials & more browsable.
“I’ve got a number of irrational fears
That I’d like to share with you” –Weezer, “Falling For You”
My primary care physician likes to tell me how interesting a patient I am. I am a generally fairly healthy person, but I have had a fair number of sports injuries over the last year, and if I get injured or ill, it’s generally some weird condition she hasn’t heard of since doctorin’ school.
Anyone familiar with the internet for a few minutes has looked up their weird assortment of symptoms and decided they have a tumor of the pineal gland. However, I have had assortments of symptoms that I never even thought of as symptoms, only to one day read of a weird condition and think, “oh man, not everyone feels that way!? I just thought that was normal!” I am a total syndrome hipster–you’ve probably never heard of my syndromes. They are as follows:
Stendhal Syndrome The first time I went to the Art Institute in Chicago was in high school. I remember breaking off from the group and sitting in front of El Greco’s Assumption of the Virgin. Generally this is exactly the kind of art I do not like. I mean, I get that it’s beautiful and such, but it generally doesn’t do much for me. I’m also not religious, but hooboy have I had hours of training on religious art–I went to 14 years of Catholic school. I believe I had an entire class period on this painting alone. I sat down because there was a bench, not because of this painting in specific, but because I was feeling dizzy, nauseous, and near fainting. I never feel this way. I never vomit, pretty much.
I’ve been to lots of art museums over the years and whenever I really like some art, I feel this way. I have felt this way in non-art museums, and generally even when seeing cool natural things. Lately it also includes random weeping! In college I was in a class where The Red & The Black by Stendhal was required reading. And that’s when I learned that this is actually a (psychosomatic) condition people tend to get. It’s generally unpleasant and sometimes embarrassing. Yes, I have wept openly at the Library of Congress. It’s something I have to build into tourist experiences now.
L’appel du Vide/Call of the void This is an urge, when in a high place, to jump off. Growing up in Chicago, I was not faced with many high places. It’s flat. We do have a very tall building but I don’t get the call of the void when indoors. I only get it in what I call “unsecured heights.” If there’s even a rail, I have no impetus to throw myself over. But a trail? Yes. The Grand Canyon? Hooboy yes. I have rappelled off of a 28 story building and thrown myself (and someone else) out of a perfectly good airplane in order to attempt to get more comfortable with this. Sort of helped. I am even freaked out if there’s intense traffic with no guardrail–I want to throw myself into it. The el tracks? They are very compelling.
Let me clarify that I have no urge to die. I am a clumsy person so I try to avoid being near these places in general because I trip and fall a lot. So I think this fear is actually totally rational and keeps me from these places. If I could throw myself (safely) off of a building every week, I would do so with glee. When I rappelled, I was told I went way too fast and they physically stopped me several times. MUST GO FAST TOWARD GROUND!
When I skydived, it was the least frightening thing ever. It was more exactly what I want to do whenever I am high up. The jumping out wasn’t frightening–it’s the having to make myself not jump all the time that’s frightening. In fact I jumped out of the airplane too soon–before my instructor told me. It was fine but he thought this was hilarious, especially after hearing I was a librarian and totally thinking I would wuss out. He commented on how extremely calm I was. WELL OF COURSE MAN!
I may also have Freiberg’s Syndrome/Infarction/Disease, something that only affects one metatarsal and is common in gymnasts under 20 (I am neither of those things). And I have a weird genetic anemia which kills my red blood cells and would kill my children if I had a Mediterranean babydaddy. On the bright side, it makes it really hard for me to get malaria! Yippee!
Do you think this is why I was such a big fan of House, M.D.?
Just a quick speaking update. I’ll be speaking at:
10/9/12 at The Hungry Brain in Chicago on R. Kelly
10/17/12 at Taxonomy Boot Camp in Washington DC
I am moving apartments. I am actually pretty much done with packing a few days early, but it’s still stressful and there’s a lot of mess in the apt I can’t really clean up until all the furniture leaves.
I’ve lived in this apartment for almost four years, which is the longest I have lived in any one domicile since I was 15. I am used to moving every year or so, often across the country, meaning I have been very buddhist about belongings–used to throwing them out every year or so, not getting attached. Staying in one apartment for so long meant a LOT of stuff being thrown out. A LOT. With that and the inheriting of all of one side of my family’s worldly possessions, I am super overwhelmed by STUFF at the moment. I hate stuff! I’ve never been a person who needed to collect objects, but then I’ve never really had objects worth keeping for the most part. Do I need 3 sets of family china? I’d say no, but would me 20 years from now regret parting with them? I have no idea. Future Jenny, answer me!
But the irony is, in the process of throwing all this stuff out, I have an ongoing list of stuff I need to buy when I finally get out of here. I need new glasses, and another sodastream bottle, a swim metronome, a jawbone up, and a clarisonic.
While I think most of my friends would laugh at the idea that I spend frivolously and buy too much stuff, I still feel like we all wrestle individually with what is a necessity and what is not. When you’re on day 10 of packing your house nothing seems like a necessity–except for the stuff you’re unwilling to pack yet. In my house this is: the electric kettle, beer (it’s hot out and the weather would ruin it!) cleansers, reading material, my computer & router, and tea. In fact, I packed too many of my clothes and have to do laundry in order to be able to wear anything.
While I could live a life with only these few things, clearly some things make my life easier/happier. How do you make the decision though if it’s something you’ll be throwing out a few years from now? And does throwing it out a few years from now mean it wasn’t worth it? And if you throw it out a few years from now, will you regret it a few years after that?
I’d love your rules of thumb. In the meantime I will go watch some Hoarders and then throw out a lot more stuff.
So here are the most interesting search terms people have used to get here, lately. I’ll try to answer any questions:
1. joey rourke
2. manhattan mall
it’s terrible, don’t go.
5. mormon movies online
I suggest netflix.
6. “appreciate cereal” “r kelly”
both? I can’t help.
9.”her whoring legs”
14.dads home big cock
15.daniel pinkwater conspiracy
I love Daniel Pinkwater! I’m unaware of a conspiracy.
17.does rite aid sell safety pins
do you really need to google this? yes. they have them.
18.does zupan’s take ebt
Yes. Or at least they did 8 years ago.
19.dress up like an og female gangster
I don’t think OG female gangsters are a thing.
20.duane reade safety pins
All drugstores have safety pins. Just go there!
37.mickey and joey rourke
Seriously I do not understand all the fuss about the Rourke boys
40.my dad sleeping nude
Don’t google this. Just buy your dad some pajama pants.
54.the opal man spring green wi complaint
I have no complaints. He seems cool.
not the only clown reference by far, but the most amusing.
Are we friends on a social network? Probably. Do you like surprises and/or free things? Then you should do a few things:
- Have a public wishlist somewhere. Amazon? Pinterest? Goodreads? Etsy? I don’t care where. I’ll find it, believe me. Keep it up to date, yo! (Side point: doing this makes it really easy in December when someone asks you what you want for xmas. You just send em a link.)
- Have your address somewhere on the internet. Now I know everyone has different privacy concerns. I am not asking you to just publish it anywhere. But hey, facebook has privacy settings so you could put it there and only expose it to your real friends.
- Be thankful.
What’s in it for you? Well that second one means I won’t txt you every single time I have to go to your house because I don’t remember your exact address. Combined with the first, it probably means you’ll get presents. If I have to ask for your address, it will no longer be a surprise, which is no fun. If you don’t have a wishlist, I might find it too hard to know what you’ll want. If you get something from me and don’t send an email to even say you received it, I might get cranky and rethink sending you presents out of the goodness of my heart.
I love sending people presents, especially when it’s NOT a holiday or their birthday, but rather when I find something I think they’ll like or they are having a sucky time. I know I much prefer random presents. So follow my three step plan and you’ll get presents!
And yes, this means someone out there is getting a present because s/he follows rules.
At my old job I had to categorize weather advisories as part of my job. Or rather, weather advisories would pop up in lots of category you wouldn’t expect them to, and I had to reign them in. As a result I read a few weather advisories, something I had never done before. I mean generally the titles are something like, “tornado warning in effect.” You don’t have to read farther than that.
But I REALLY suggest you do. They are well written, even flowery. The fact that they are frequently in all caps is some weird annoying technological holdover which makes them visually hard to read, but press on.
I am currently in Chicago, which is having a heatwave. The warning I read today told me, “current indications are the heat wave will be rather unrelenting.” Can something BE rather unrelenting? Basically the weird detail and phrasing in these alerts are amazing, and I encourage you to read them. I am pretty sure meteorologists assume no one else reads them and so it’s fair game for wackyness.
I am on a new podcast which I’ll be discussing here in the coming weeks. However if there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to hear me talk about, let me know! We generally will be discussing technology, selling out, and culture (especially music). But we’re open to topics.
I have had some sort of flu/food poisoning thing for 4 days. It has resulted in me eating white bread and soup and mostly gatorade for 4 days. I am starving but when I try to eat other things, my body disagrees.
So I went to the store to get some supplies of things I can eat. But I basically returned with nothing I could eat. It’s worse than being a giant stoner. My bag includes:
- An instant 4-pack of velveeta mac n cheese
- 1 bag chocolate donettes
- 1 pack of baloney
- 1 bag of rolos
Why do I become a character from Raising Arizona when ill?
I have a lot of friends all over this and many other countries. I like to visit people, and I’d really love to get to all 50 of these United States. Often people think the place they live is kind of lame and won’t extend an invitation. Some of you reading this blog don’t know me personally all that well, so it may not have occurred to you to offer me your couch. Well, never underestimate how little I have to know you to sleep on YOUR COUCH!
One note–I am pretty allergic to all non-human animals. Many of my friends are the types to have pets. When I ask if you have a pet-free area, I don’t mean “can you put your pets in one room when I visit.” I mean “Do you have at least one room where pets never ever are allowed in that I could sleep in.” I know this is nitpicky, but it’s really the difference between me enjoying hanging out with you and dying in your house. Which would be awkward for all of us!
If you saw me at SXSW you’re welcome to view Slides from Juggalos: Rabid Branding, A Case Study here. If you have questions you’re welcome to contact me here, via twitter (jennybento) or via gmail at jennybento. Some of my slides from a few other talks are there. If you are interested in hearing me talk about pop culture, branding, social media, metadata, taxonomies, user experience or some combo of all of them, please contact me
Thanks for coming, and don’t forget to rate the panel!
I’ll be flying to Austin tomorrow for SxSW Interactive. I believe this is my fifth time (with some years off), and my second time speaking. I won’t be speaking about my day job topic of metadata, but instead my night job topic–JUGGALOS! So if you’ll be in Austin, come to Juggalos: Rabid Branding, A Case Study on Tuesday March 13 at 11AM in the Convention Center Ballroom B. I am only up against, oh Mark Mothersbaugh and Andrew WK in the same time slot.
Slides will be up later, and if you’re in Austin, give me a holler! My main plans are eating tacos and eating margaritas.
Frankly, after a few months into the year I didn’t even look at these. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again this year. Lots of people say making goals public holds you accountable, and I am sure that’s true if you care at all what other people think about you.
Meet with a financial planner.–I have an appt. Switch to a non-evil/Trevor approved bank–done
- Develop bedtime routine.–nope
- Eat breakfast at home most days.–achieved on and off
Take a class to learn a new thing.-done times a bunch
- Hire a housecleaner.–nope
- Process all dad stuff–nope
See a psychiatrist–did this briefly. it helped but wasn’t for me. Regular cardio–like everyday!
- Limit online time at home.–on & off
Redesign/fix/update blog infrastructure.–done! right under the wire here! Floss regularly.–on & off. my very persnickety hygenist is happy.
A little over half? I’ll take that.
I’ve had this blog for a little over five years, and it’s had the same facade the entire time. Until today. High time, I say. So enjoy the new look and excuse any technical difficulties I have along the way. All comments are encouraged.
—I’m cleaning up the site a bit and some old posts have to be republished. Enjoy this post from April 6, 2009—
Here are some recently consumed items that I find awesome.
Robertson Winery Gewurtzstraminer 2008 I love Gewurtz. I only buy Gewurtz, sparkling wines, Rieslings, and dessert wines. This is the shit. Very sweet and refreshing. I got it at Cost Plus.
Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins I tried these a while ago at the TImes Square Duane Reade and could never find them again. Sometimes I would crave them but I never saw them anywhere else. Whole Foods has them! Oh joy of joys! They are overpriced but extremely delicious with chevre.
Fancy Ice Creams + Matt’s Cookie Sandwiches It’s a global world but some awesome things don’t cross state lines. One of these things is Matt’s Cookies. They are basically the only store bought cookie that tastes like a real person made them. And that person may be Jesus. They are chewy and awesome. If you put ice cream between them it is amazing.*
The Chagall Mural(s) I am not going to lie. I mourn the loss of the Chrysler Building. But I work right by the Chagall Mural and it’s pretty great. It’s very, very different in every way from the Chrysler Building, and that’s metaphorically helpful. Things don’t have to be the same to both be awesome, a lesson everyone needs all the time.
Buster Buster is a very accurate and excellently designed application for the iPhone which tells you when your Chicago bus is coming. It enables laziness and I love it. It’s not yet available for full release but it will be here.
RuPaul’s Drag Race This is an amazing show. You can watch it online. And you will love it. It is fierce.
What else should I be checking out?
*Here’s a bizarre fact I learned when Googling “Matt’s Cookies.” I am on the first page of hits for Matt’s Cookies. I wonder if now I will be twice? Will that officially make me the world’s biggest fan of Matt’s Cookies?
—I’m cleaning up the site a bit and some old posts have to be republished. Enjoy this post from July 4, 2009—
Happy Nationalist holiday! Don’t get me wrong I like America a lot, but I feel our nationalist propaganda is weak. The communists regularly rout us in awesome/entertaining displays of patriotism.
I’ll be spending this 4th watching baseball like a good American. Last year I went on a ferry ride by the Statue of Liberty. The year before I was in Nashville and saw Dolly Parton! Yay America! The year before that, I think I went to Pennsylvania for the first time? To a pig roast? It’s all so hazy. One year I went to the 2nd biggest rodeo in Oregon (which is fairly impressive, I must say). But I do like doing capital-A American things on Independence Day. It’s kind of hard when you live in blue states though. Again, red states are way better at nationalist propaganda.
But in honor of this Independence Day, I give you one of the funniest things ever on the subject–Red State Update’s Independence Day video,
I love figuring out what to get people for holidays but I almost never know how to answer the question, “what do you want for Christmas?” So year round, I keep track of my favorite things. If you need to get someone an interesting gift, let me suggest my lists:
Delicious: Buy Me
In terms of things I have used this year that I have loved and would suggest you purchase:
CapCap-also by HumanGear. If you use Nalgenes frequently, these are great and totally make me drink more water.
GSI DukJug-It’s a water bottle that resists odor, has an awesome sippy cup lid, and has a built in area for holding duct tape. Okay I’ve never used that function, but I love this container and I recently called the company for a replacement sippycup lid, and the people who work they were really great to me.
Lands’ End Tugless Tank-I swim several times a week and this is the best suit I have found for actual swimming if you have boobs. It’s usually on sale too! Full disclosure: Lands’ End is affiliated with my employer, but that really doesn’t make a difference for me.
Isotoner SmarTouch Gloves-had them last year and loved them. Bought an extra pair this year.
Trader Joe’s Frozen Ahi Tuna Chunks-A major component of my diet. Because they are frozen I can sear them on the outside while keeping them raw inside. Amazing.
Traverse Bay Dried Cherries-Good price, delicious.
Timbuk2 Slacker Backpack-In general I am a big fan of all Timbuk2 Backpacks. For messenger bags I have always been more of a Chrome person. If you want a well thought out backpack that doesn’t make you look like you’re in high school, I highly suggest Timbuk2. Now I think all of their backpacks come with a bottle opener built in. No matter how much I abuse this bag, it looks brand new. I get compliments on it all the time, especially at business events, where I feel like a kid wearing a backpack, usually. I think this bag has been superseded by the Swig.
Online Glasses-this was the first year I convinced a lot of people to buy glasses online, and once you have, you never think about buying them in a store again. I’ve ordered from a lot of places, but for my money Coastal Contacts and Zenni Optical remain my favorites. Both have great coupons & deals if you sign up for their mailing list. Both have very large selections and a lot of new styles all the time, which is what I am always looking for. Both have a really great left hand navigation filtration system. I know a lot of people who started with Warby Parker, but to my mind they have an extremely narrow selection. They seem kind of overpriced, and mainly aimed at people who need to try on the glasses before pulling the trigger. I can see why you might need this the first time you purchase glasses online, but for people who’ve done it before it seems unnecessary. Most of their glasses are all in the same style and in very traditional colors, which is just not at all what I am looking for.
What I’d love but haven’t found:
A sports bra that limited bouncing without me having to wear 2 sports bras
A travel backpack for my upcoming trip to Turkey,
An arch supportive casual black oxford shoe for women
More pink sneakers, particularly neon pink & orange or neon pink & black.
Shoe organization shelves
A Jewelry box that isn’t wood but is more modernist looking.
Makeup organization (actually a Pink Box)
Two years ago I came home from a trip to San Francisco. I remember breaking down repeatedly on that trip because I was so crazy stressed out with totally not knowing what to do about my dad’s health situation, which was mostly a mystery to me. I came home on my dad’s birthday. I bought him a card at the airport. And I never got to give it to him, because when I walked in the door from the airport, he demanded we go to the emergency room at a far hospital instead of him going to his usual doctors appointments. I was not on board with this plan, but like most things, if a Benevento has a plan, you’re best served by getting out of the way. Because we are big, and loud, and stubborn, and will argue with you until you relent. I’ll assume it’s genetic.
So I said fine, and started basically 2 months of being in and out hospitals w/my dad.
I generally hate card giving, especially to my parents. My parents are not traditional types and all those parent card sort of don’t fit them. So I always dread looking for a card for my family members at the store. I think cards are dumb because you should just tell people what you think instead of writing it down and handing it to someone. And the card I purchased was blank. And it still is. And in retrospect, I really regret not arguing with my dad to stop and let me give him his birthday card.
And so, against my nature, I am hoping not to force my way all the time. Because maybe someone’s waiting to give me the last birthday card and instead of receiving it, I am making them follow my shitty plan.
Happy 80th birthday, dad.
Historically I have an iffy time with dairy. I have always hated milk. As a kid I wouldn’t eat whipped cream or puddings or most ice cream because they grossed me out. The colloidal fat nature of dairy gives me the heebie jeebies. I lived with a vegan after college for several years based on this mutual hatred of milk despite being the biggest meat eater I know. I do love cheese but I grew up in a household where cheese was not allowed in the door.* So other than eating meat three times a day, I pretty much grew up vegan.
Nowadays, I am better. I love whipped cream, and rice pudding is one of my favorite desserts. I also love cheese. I enjoy (nay, require!) milk in a tea or coffee. But the idea of drinking a glass of milk still makes me wretch.
Except for this! It’s like chocolate milk with espresso in it! And you can put the can in the freezer and then it gets all coffee snow icy. It’s like a dollar at the CVS and I cannot get enough of it. I rationalize that it is pretty much the only way I get dairy and my bones will shatter if I don’t drink it.
There is a Digital Asset Management Conference in Chicago this year and it turns out I am speaking at it. If you are going, please use the coupon code JENNYB to get $100 off conference fees. I am overjoyed that my name is now a coupon code. Also, what sort of dorky blog is this that you get coupons on conferences?
If you do any DAM, I’d love to know what you’re interested in hearing about regarding taxonomies or controlled metadata.
Hello good people who subscribe to my much neglected blog.
do you want to hear me talk about juggalos & branding? or are you just a nice person?
if so, then kindly vote for my sxsw panel! You have to sign in or sign up but they won’t spam you and I will greatly appreciate it.