I wrote this last summer at Food Riot, and man, I’m feeling it today.
The first weeks of summer are pure bliss, all spiked lemonade and sun-kissed shoulders, cool salads and smoke rising off the grill. I go to bed at night with fingers smelling of chopped garlic and basil from the garden, my summer perfume, it never quite washes off. Bottles of olive oil and champagne vinegar stand like sentries on the counter, awaiting the next call to action: for panzanella, for marinade, for drizzling over crusty bread that I’ll serve with cheese and grapes when it’s too hot to even think about cooking.
I walk barefoot to pick tomatoes in the back yard, lingering to enjoy the lush grass between my toes as I breathe deeply and consider the necessity of a short nap before the long evening hours. The supply of vinho verde–dry as a bone and chilled to perfection–is endless, and my thirst bottomless. I want one more glass, one more hour out of doors, one more chapter read on the chaise under the tree, the hound snoring gently on the patio beside me. I want for nothing more.
And then the dog days arrive, and all I want is everything I can’t have.
I wake in the dark, delicious cool of the bedroom and allow myself to believe, however briefly, that it will be equally comfortable outside. I dream of crisp air and clear blue skies, the first hint of cold on the wind, the transition back to hot coffee in the mornings. I fantasize about hours spent slicing onions, of piling potatoes and carrots and whole cloves of garlic into a roasting pan, of chickens stuffed with lemons and thyme and rubbed with more butter than a modern woman is supposed to want.
My soul longs for slow-cooked country ribs hanging out in the crockpot, for soups and chilis that simmer all the livelong day and fill the house with the aroma of comfort. I pine for meatloaf, for fresh cornbread dripping in honey butter, for all things rich and smoky, savory and filling. I crave nights curled up with a favorite blanket and two fingers of Scotch, lazy Sundays filled with turning leaves and cozy sweaters and cider mulling on the stove.
I stand in the kitchen with my husband, watching him drizzle balsamic over a fresh batch of bruschetta, our skin scented with sunscreen and sweat, and I know I should love it. The days are already getting shorter and the darkness coming earlier, the Earth’s gentle reminders that this too shall pass and will take with it the tastes of summer. But I can’t help it. I want what I can’t have.
I take a bite, and while olive oil and tomato juice run down my chin, I conjure casseroles and big red wines and a local restaurant’s heavenly baked gouda dip. I take a swig of shandy, glance lovingly at the long-neglected stock pots that patiently await their season, crank up the air conditioning, and tell myself: soon. Soon.
Data. Sexism. Data about sexism. Maddening but important.
I love a good life hack. Who can resist a quick trick that promises to make your daily life just a little bit easier? The trouble, though, is that so many life hacks sound cool, and so few are actually useful in the better-than-doing-it-the-old-fashioned-way sense. Here are 3 I’ve been using consistently for at least a year.
1) Drink a glass of water first thing every morning while your coffee brews. You’ll start the day off hydrated, and you’ll be less likely to get the caffeine jitters.
2) Clean eyeglasses with hot water and dish soap, using a clean white t-shirt to dry them.
3) Wrap earbuds using the “hook-em horns” method to prevent tangling. (http://lifehacker.com/152499/keep-headphone-wires-from-getting-tangled)
Your favorite make-life-easier tricks?
This isn’t about Facebook per se—maybe it will do a good job, maybe not—but the fact that algorithmic filtering, as a layer, controls what you see on the Internet. Net neutrality (or lack thereof) will be yet another layer determining this. This will come on top of existing inequalities in attention, coverage and control.
Twitter was also affected by algorithmic filtering. “Ferguson” did not trend in the US on Twitter but it did trend locally. [I’ve since learned from @gilgul that that it *briefly* trended but mostly trended at localities.] So, there were fewer chances for people not already following the news to see it on their “trending” bar. Why? Almost certainly because there was already national, simmering discussion for many days and Twitter’s trending algorithm (said to be based on a method called “term frequency inverse document frequency”) rewards spikes… So, as people in localities who had not been talking a lot about Ferguson started to mention it, it trended there though the national build-up in the last five days penalized Ferguson.
Algorithms have consequences.