Junk food, football, hickeys or writing

It seems like a lot of what I’ve written lately is about food.

It’s dangerous when I go to Trader Joe’s. That place is my Holy Grail of Junk Food: I always get suckered into impulse buying different snacks to ‘research’. They usually disappoint, not because they’re very bad, but because the description is so enticing, the copy writing is so good it gives me very high expectations. Joe has sensibly given up on buying anything but sesame crackers at Trader Joe’s.

The only snacks I repeatedly buy are the pistachio toffee, the chocolate covered orange gel batons, and the thin butter almond cookies. The latter, believe it or not, have less calories or fat than the waffle cookies.

Today, I try the dark chocolate cherries (too little cherry), Thai lime chili nuts (overly limey), and sesame-sugar almonds (Product of Thailand! Since when did almonds grow in Thailand?) The other week, Truc had me try some freeze dried rambutan and mangosteen from TJ. It was weird. Well, if you’ve never had fresh mangosteen before, you’ll be blissfully ignorant of what you’re missing.

Champions League
I’m keeping abreast of the Milan – Manchester United semi final for Champions League through the live play-by-play on-line. I was supposed to go watch it with a friend of mine, now I’m wishing I had. Milan (AC) Michelle and I have been on this mini-quest to find a good soccer bar, a carry over from last summer’s World Cup. We may have found something close in Panta Rei, which occupies the space of the late, lamented Castelucci in North Beach.

So it looks like it’ll be Liverpool vs. Milan in the final. I don’t know whom I’d root for. Back in the day when I was in pigtails (not really) and a schoolgirl’s uniform (purple gingham, really), when Ian Rush was one of their star players, I was a Liverpool fan. Now they seem to be more of an underdog to Man. U or Chelsea.

Hickey responses:
I had emailed my hickey question and gotten some responses, which are worth sharing here.

“Hickeys can be a mark of territory for insecure boys and girls, like a temporary tattoo. But they do feel good too, right near the clavicle, on the lower portion of the neck… I can say that I’ve tried to make simple pictures or letters with my hickeys on my high school bf.”

“They’re called curry chicken in Cantonese.” (!$@# Trust the Cantonese to apply a food term to everything. When you get fired from a job, it’s called ‘stir-frying squid!’)

“In Japan my mom says they are called love bites.”

“There’s probably a variety of reasons for giving hickeys. being playful while lovemaking/ making out, knowing that the mark can cause embarassment. slight thrill knowing that you’ve got visible marks on your body from a loved one. doing it to make sure people know that the person with a hickey is taken. accident? love nibble turned into a love bite during the throes of passion?

i would think love-bites are universal, but have different slang for it in each language. hickey being an american term, apparently. i’ve generally had the impression that hickeys are given out as a form of affection, unless you’re the mean sort and are trying to cause embrassament with it. so, either mean people, or playful people, give out hickeys.

self-induced hickeys don’t count. i’ve seen hickey’s on others, though, and they were of the playful sort.” (Self-induced hickeys?)

“I have no idea what a hickey is… but I am sure acupuncture can treat that too.” (From a newly minted practioner of traditional Chinese medicine)

“I don’t know what that is; never had one & never curious about one. None of my friends had ever mentioned of one…so sorry, can’t help you here!”

“I have accidentally given people hickies but not on purpose. Not sure what social purpose they serve. Perhaps it is a self-serving act such as scratching someone during sex to prove how passionate you are? Suggest you try kinsey report…”

“As to hickeys, having taught in high school, I think in American schools, it’s a badge to some degree for some kids, just like smoking, drinking, driving fast, bands and music, bragging about sex, etc. are for some kids. And then some kids talk without ever doing anything. They will tell you “How Rad” a party was — but in reality, you learn that they weren’t there. There are whole groups of other kids, who find other outlets to amuse themselves. For example, there are kids that are into “theater” and are in all types of plays and events – not just their own high school, and they form their own little group.”

“I would agree that the only people who purposefully give hickeys are probably Aerican teenagers, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this phenomenon also exists in other cultures where such things aren’t completely taboo. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of hickeys in Latin America, but then again, I was never there as a teenager.

My sense is that once one gets over adolescence, hickeys seem more embarassing than novel. One of my Foreign Service friends, who had been separated from her husband for several months, suddenly started wearing a scarf once he arrived in town, depite the 65 degree weather. In myexperience, hickeys among adults are typically accidental,
and they generally get hidden behind a turtleneck, scarf, or other tell-tale, unstylish piece of clothing. Since a hickey is nothing more than a bruise of sorts, I can only conclude that some people don’t know the strength of their own lips.”

I can only conclude that I was very naive to think that the practice was unknown in foreign countries!

On being a writer
I remembered how irritated I used to get in my hitch-hiking days when drivers kept asking me questions. Where are you going? . . . What’s your job? . . . Are you married?
‘I’m sorry,’ I said. It’s none of my business what you do. The trouble is, I’m a writer, and most writers are terrible nosey parkers.
– Roald Dahl, “The Hitch-hiker”

I am a wannabe writer. I have some qualities that characterize good writers, like being insufferably curious about things. And reading a lot. To be a good writer, you have to read a lot.

On the other hand, I’m a bad writer, because I tend to be too shy about talking to and asking people about things. I envy effortlessly and fearlessly chatty people. Worse, and this is the kiss of death, I have no discipline or stamina about sitting down and writing. It’s all too easy to distract myself surfing the net, munching in Trader Joe snacks, and, oh, writing my blog.

I was talking to a colleague last week, when I discovered she was also a writer . . . of horror stories. (Like I said, I don’t talk to people enough.) We both share the frustration of never having been published.

In my salad days, I kept setting a goal of getting published by the time I turned 30, or my grandfather’s centenary. Now that I’m a hat-trick from 40, I’ve decided on the Buddhist approach. I’ve let go of my goal to be published, because sometimes when you set something free, it will float back to you of its own accord. Desire is the source of suffering.

Pragmatically, I’ve decided that the main reason why I wanted to get published was third party validation of my talents as a writer. Which is a stupid reason to want to get published (especially when it’s so easy today to be self-published!). So I’m lowering the bar: whatever I write will be for the sheer joy of my writing it, and the sheer pleasure of my friends reading it. If I make no money, gain no fame, so be it.

8 thoughts on “Junk food, football, hickeys or writing

  1. Liverpool: perhaps you need to read up on Steven Gerrard, probably the best English midfielder today; his lionhearted heroics during the Champions League Final 2 years ago against the very same team they’ll face in a fortnight was simply amazing… well for a Liverpool fan like me anyway.

  2. i have found much of the food at TraderJoes to be mediocre, but cheap. Not sure why everyone goes ga-ga over TraderJoes. It’s cheap, and sometimes you get decent food. And you figure out which items are good and which items are not, but you would think people get tired of the same items after while. Maybe people just like it ’cause its cheap?

    Not sure if TraderJoes gives out hickies; sorry – maybe Steven Gerrard does…

  3. “I was talking to a colleague last week, when I discovered she was also a writer ”

    everyone is a writer: it’s the stereotypical middle-class American Dream.

    except for yellowtrash like me – Ima reader, and a great one at that. My favorite books are heavy and waterproof to allow smashing of ants escaping from submerged artichokes!!! Bwaa-ha-ha-ha…

  4. one of the most amazing deals, not just in Trader Joe’s but in the whole universe, are the 99 cent bags of dry-roasted and salted edamame. at least in dc and san diego, they are covertly hidden on the bottom shelf in the nut section. apart from negra modelo beer, the edamame are probably the consumable I will miss most from the U.S. while abroad 🙂

  5. Pingback: Malcolm Gladwell « Fishface

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