Fighting Atrophy

In “The Breakfast Club” Ally Sheedy has that famous line about how “when you grow up, your heart dies.” For a long time I worried that because rock & roll has become super boring in the past fiveish years that my heart, had in fact, died. Then I stumbled upon things like Wild Flag or Passion Pit or (this week at least) the Prissy Clerks and I’m all “it’s not me, it’s rock & roll.”

Boring. I’m sure you’ve read me whining about this before.

So instead of worrying about my heart dying, I’ve been more concerned about my brain atrophying, or to be more specific my taste calcifying. Sometimes I feel so caged in by my own taste that I cease to be amazed by things. It’s as though my pop culture filtering system is too efficient and maybe I’m missing out on stuff that might be good because I’m being too snobby and entrenched in my own cult of personality.
I firmly believe the Internet allows us to build silos of personality where our choices and tastes are continually reinforced by the likeminded people and media we surround ourselves with. And I love the crap out of everything I let in my silo, but Silo, you are bringing me down.

Which is why I have challenged myself to do things that I don’t think of as things I enjoy and try to either enjoy them or really figure out why I do not enjoy them.

This weekend I baked. I hate baking. Baking is chemistry and precision and patience. I do not enjoy any of these things, and at about 2:30 on Sunday after my fourth attempt to make caramel sauce (which is literally boiling sugar and adding butter and cream) I threatened to burn my own kitchen down.

But I tried. I will try again. Because even though I hate baking, I want to find a dessert that I can make that will be like my thing. Kind of the way soup and potato salad have become my thing. I like having things and if I had a go-to delicious dessert that didn’t involve adding water, egg, and oil to a box of Ghirardelli brownies, I’d be ready for my Queen of the World crown.

And it is in the spirit of pushing myself out of my comfort zones that I have a copy of The Hobbit in my possession. It’s also why I just finished a shitty book on my iPad. I finished a book I didn’t like in a format I don’t enjoy reading. And now I feel all smug about it.

Yeah, this sounds like the worst plan for personal growth ever. I know. But, if I uncover a single buffy-like thing in all the stuff I’ve dismissed it’ll be totally worth it.


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  1. Matthew Baiocchi 22.Jan.13 at 10:50 am

    “The Hobbit?” E-books? Baking? – holy toledo!

    ” if I had a go-to delicious dessert that didnt involve adding water, egg, and oil to a box of Ghirardelli brownies” – you know, they have brownies that you just throw in the oven without the eggs, water and oil these days….just sayin’. 🙂

    good on ya for all the self-evaluation and comfort zone pushing. i might just try to reread “The Hobbit,” too. although I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through all the poetry and singing…might just skim that.

  2. Jodi 22.Jan.13 at 11:07 am

    But are those ‘throw in the oven’ brownies as delicious as the Ghiardellis? I doubt it. They are some damn good brownies and worth every penny of the $1.49 price tag.

    Also, I don’t remember why I hated The Hobbit only that I totally did.

  3. Suzy 23.Jan.13 at 10:54 am

    I also hate baking, so my go to dessert is cheesecake. Sometimes I even get creative and make other toppings, but basic NY Style is my general contribution. It is delicious.

    I love the Hobbit and used to re-read it annually when I was a teenager, but haven’t read it now for years. Maybe I should try it again and see if my opinion has changed. I may have to wait a bit since I already gave three hours of my life this month to watch the movie.

    1. Jodi 23.Jan.13 at 11:14 am

      I find that often my general nostalgia for the time I fell in love with a book/song/record overpowers my ability to think critically about it. I’d be curious to see how your re-read goes.

  4. LeAnn 19.Feb.13 at 3:32 pm

    Did we get an update yet on whether or not The Hobbit is your thing? It’s not my thing, although I like The Hobbit better than Lord of the Rings, so I’m really curious if it’s your thing.

    I still haven’t seen The Hobbit movie, but the Lord of the Rings movies were better for me than the books. That doesn’t happen often.

    1. Jodi 19.Feb.13 at 4:34 pm

      No. The book is still sitting delicately on my end table right on top of Thomas Maltman’s Little Wolves, both of them unread.


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