I love the Internet

The One with the Unfriending

June 4, 2020
unfriended, in the Friends television show font
So no one told you life was gonna be this way?

We’ve known each other for a long time but we’re from an era where when you lost touch, you truly lost touch. Because of that I was initially delighted to get back in touch via social media. And for years it was fine. You were always a meme sharer, but they were harmless and funny.

I don’t know if it was Donald Trump’s cult of personality or that new church you started attending but hoo boy. You kept communicating primarily by meme but the memes turned dark. Fear of immigrants, fear of oppression toward Christians in the US, fear of guns being taken away. MAGA all day long. Sniffs of derision toward younger people, veiled cracks at minorities, and even those messed up reminiscences of when it was socially acceptable to beat kids. But like everyone else who posts that, you’re too chickenshit to say point-blank whether or not you hit your own kids because you know it’s wrong.

You preach that people need to learn to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, but you attempted to crowdfund for an expense that, if you were as pulled together as you expect everyone else to be, you should have had handled because you’re a goddamn adult. You complained bitterly yet vaguely about unfair treatment of you and of your family by OTHERS. And OTHERS were always, always wrong.

The memes and opinions kept coming all day long. And every third or fourth post would be about how we should all accept that everyone has their own opinion and should shut up and still be friends anyway NO MATTER WHAT.

I have friends with differing opinions. But honestly, if they texted/emailed/posted/called me/visited and spouted their opinions over and over every 3 hours and then at least once a day say that I should shut up and listen anyway, I don’t think we’d be friends any longer.

I handle differing opinions well, and I’m probably better behaved than I should be, mostly because of the voice that tells me not to upset people or disagree out loud or cause problems. I have many people in my life whom I disagree with on issues. But none of them are systematically obnoxious about it every single day. By nature, I’m very slow to “cancel.” So I unfollowed your posts instead.

I checked in on you the other day because I wanted to be sure you and your family were fine in this pandemic hot mess that we’re in. And your wall was covered in Covid conspiracy theory shit. How you won’t wear a mask because you’re not afraid and that God has you covered. The government is taking away your freedom by asking you to protect others. The vaccines are going to be bad and damage people. It’s Bill Gates’s fault. The government is trying to break churches by banning services during Covid.

I typed, “THIS government? Trying to destroy churches and businesses? THIS one. This government?! And because you are the most CHRISTIAN of CHRISTIANS you should have already known that the man Himself said, ‘For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.’ Matthew 18:20. I was raised Catholic and even *I* know Jesus said it because it’s in red. (Memester), you’d have crumbled during the times when Christians had to hide to worship.”

But I didn’t post at all. You’re just too far gone. Instead, I quietly unfriended.

And given the grievous state of the nation right now, a nation on fire because a White police officer in Minnesota knelt on a restrained Black man’s neck until he died WHILE ON CAMERA, I’m reallllly glad we’re done. I’m sure you’re righteously posting ALL DAY NOW from your sofa about All Lives and the Cop Flag and how you’re glad you moved out of our shithole liberal state and congratulating the president for exemplifying leadership by turning the White House lights out and hiding in a bunker.

All the while you’re hiding too. Not only from the truth, but from anybody who doesn’t think exactly like you. And I am fucking done with people who demand I listen to them while simultaneously refusing to listen to not only me but to anybody else.

By the way, that’s my opinion, so you should just deal with it.


Black Lives Matter

June 1, 2020

I can’t write anything about the state of racial affairs in the USA right now that hasn’t been written better by many other people. I’m not a paragon of enlightenment or a scholar on civil rights history. I’ve moved through life with some challenges here and there, but none of those challenges were because of my whiteness. Once I left my teenage years, I was never followed in stores by “undercover” security. People don’t pull their kids closer or hug their purses tighter when I walk by. Nobody asks me where I’m “really” from. I’m never afraid that a police officer is going to get rough with me if I’m pulled over. I cannot fathom the continuing struggles of those who face those very real, very threatening challenges every single day.

Here are a few things I do know:

I do not believe the death penalty is moral. Murder is murder, and we shouldn’t do it. So since I don’t believe that the death penalty is a moral punishment for first degree murder, I damn well also believe that people shouldn’t be killed for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill or maybe being a thief but not really just a jogger or allegedly selling loose cigarettes or playing with a toy gun or reaching for paperwork after being pulled over because you may have looked like a robber or sitting in your own apartment or any of these eighth-ass* reasons that Black men and women are being systemically murdered by police. Changes need to be made to how policing is done in America. I do not know how to do that.

I know that I am wrong about a brand new thing. For years I deluded myself in thinking that racism and being racist is a relic of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations. And then I see that Officer Derek Chauvin, aka the man who knelt on George Floyd’s neck until after he died of having his neck knelt upon is “only” 44 years old. (Hate ages you.) How do you get to grow up in the 70s/80s/90s and be racist? Didn’t you watch Sesame Street or Good Times or The Jeffersons or The Cosby Show or In Living Color or Reading Rainbow or geez, even Bryant freaking Gumbel and see that Black and African-American people are … people?

I do know that the Internet is a gift as well as a big bloody curse. This lovely device that lets you shop and plan trips and shop and watch old movies and shop also contains search engines that allow you to research history. And to find people who don’t look like you or live where you live so that you can see that we are all people with our own uniquenesses. If your Insta feed or Twitter list is comprised of people who look and think like you (or all look and think like each other), how can you expect to grow as a person?

I am saddened and sickened by not only the continued oppression of Black and African-American people here in the US but the response from White people that Blue Lives Matter or All Lives Matter and “I’m all about peaceful protesting BUT.” Oh the buts. So many buts. I’m tired of buts.

One of my Facebook friend’s friends posted a Dr. King meme, as white people are wont to do when feeling uncomfortable about protests. It’s his picture and says “Looted Nothing. Burned Nothing. Attacked No One. Changed the World.” My comment was, “that last line should have said Was Murdered Anyway.” Because if you read up on history (see the Internet, gift and bloody curse, Russell 2020.06.01) you’d see that there was a TON of violence that happened.

What am I doing? I’m reading and donating. I’m checking in on my Black friends to make sure they’re okay. I’m eating a lot of Doritos and leaking some tears and still writing postcards to voters.

Anyway, I’m out of words. I’m literally just gesturing with my hands right now. I leave you with this comic by Kris Straub, original found here.

* not even half-ass or quarter-ass


Sourdough Bread!

May 22, 2020

I have always loved sourdough bread. And while I’m a decent baker, making my own sourdough was never within reach. Sourdough differs from regular bread because it doesn’t use conventional yeast. Instead, you grow your own yeast within your own bread starter. Water + flour + warmth = a yeasty concoction that helps (your bread) hang on. You dump a little flour/water in there to feed it and boom…starter. Easy, right?

Not for me. I tried four times in the past to grow my own starter and never made it past day 5. I even resolved in 2018 to conquer sourdough. I have a banneton (bread proofing basket) and a bread lame (for scoring the dough to try and control where it splits) but never could get the dough going to use my sweet tools.

Finally, magic struck for me a few weeks ago. This is my starter!

sourdough starter in a jar

She lives in a pickle jar in my (turned off) oven when I’m actively feeding her, and in my refrigerator when I’m not. I didn’t follow a recipe to make her, mostly because most starter recipe online call for cups of flour at a time and that’s pretty wasteful to me. I started with 25g of wheat flour and 25g of water. Put it in a jar, put the lid on but don’t tighten it, put a rubber band around the jar to mark the height, and leave it alone in a warm spot. The next day, dump out half, add 25g flour (I switched to white) and 25g water, repeat. Repeat the next day. It should be rising to twice its height and then sinking back down before the next feeding. Three or four days into it, start feeding it 12 hours apart. Ish. I switched to 50g each of flour and water in the days before I was planning on baking a recipe that required 100g of starter. I wing it, which I think is why it worked.

The bread recipe I use is from Homestead and Chill, a favorite gardening blog of mine. It makes only one loaf, which is great because there are only 2 of us.


sourdough loaf
The floury lines are from proofing it in the flour-lined basket overnight. I tried to create a Pac-man shape, but the bread split across the other side.

And because I thought I couldn’t repeat it, LOOK AT THE SECOND ONE!

another sourdough loaf
This one I scored deeply down the middle, and lightly on the sides.

It tastes amazing. Not San Francisco worthy, but definitely Kim’s Kitchen worthy.

When you’re done with the starter, put her in the fridge and feed her once a week. A few days before you plan on baking again, take her out, get her to room temp, and feed her at least twice before baking. Don’t ever use your full amount to bake, or else you’ll have to start over.

sourdough bread cut in half.
This is called a ‘crumb shot’ and you might think I am lying about this but it’s 100% true.

It’s the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. NJ beaches are open but I’m going to stay home for a while, thank you very much. I’m going to let everyone else test the waters first and see if our New Jersey COVID cases pop in 2 weeks. It’s also pouring rain which is why I’m inside blogging about sourdough victories instead of sitting outside. Tomorrow we should be attending Collingswood Mayfair, which has tentatively been rescheduled to September 26.

But I have a cozy home and good health and a full belly so I won’t complain. TNP closed at 1pm today for the long weekend and we had takeout for lunch from Iron Hill Brewery. I added a growler of their De La Sol beer to try this weekend. My favorite Instagram Dance Party will be coming live at 5pm. And tonight is online movie night with our friends.

MOST importantly, today marks the 13th anniversary (ish) of when WM drove out from Michigan to live in our Dee-luxe Apartment in the Sky. It was also the Friday before Memorial Day. He took a hell of a chance on this broken lady and I am ever thankful.

Look at where we are, look at where we started…