15 things Charlie consumed last week
Chunk is here
This July, I’m having guest writers contribute their own 15 things lists every Friday. First you got Avi’s, then Mallory’s. Today’s list arrives via my friend and comedian Charlie Bardey. I feel the need to specifically call your attention to Charlie’s Twitter, which is so consistently funny and not annoying that he actually deserves how often he goes viral. He also does standup shows around Brooklyn which I’ve attended and loved. When Charlie and I first met and I found out he read Maybe Baby, I was so excited. He’s a particularly active 15 things reader/replier so I knew he’d be the perfect guest.
This is a July special. To access my weekly 15 things lists the rest of the year, become a paying subscriber.
It is the honor of a lifetime to be writing Haley’s 15 Things this week. I’ve loved this series for a long time, and to be honest, the stakes feel high. It’s rare to get to articulate yourself to so large an audience, so I felt driven to make each individual item here perfectly emblematic of an ideal version of myself. This is obviously impossible; I guess you can never be perfectly and fully known. That's the bad news. The good news is that I ate a lot of treats this week!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!
1. Fried rice and stewed beef from Abdullah Sweets and Restaurant in Little Bangladesh/Kensington, after my nearby doctor’s appointment. Having waited two hours for the doctor and having had a lot of blood drawn (no medical reason, just for fun), I was very hungry, and the meal was perfect. I don’t go out to dinner very much because of how expensive it is, but having an incredible and indulgent lunch for cheap is seriously what New York is all about.
(My favorite lunch treat in New York City is the onigiri from Harper's Bread Co. in Chinatown, just off the Grand Street B/D stop. I didn't go there this week but wanted to tell you about it anyway.)
2. This TikTok.
3. A 25-cent box of Mike and Ike’s, orange flavor. A lot of people don’t know you can buy 25-cent boxes of Mike and Ike’s. They come in amazing, satisfyingly proportioned cardboard boxes and you can buy four for a dollar. You can get a bunch and distribute them as sort of a fun party trick, Bodega-Santa style.
4. The song “Roster,” by Jazmine Sullivan, which inspired me to revisit my all-time favorite vocal performance: Sullivan, age 11 (!!!!) performing “Home” from The Wiz. Not to be all America’s Got Talent about it, but there’s nothing more compelling to me than a wunderkind. The riffing! The technical precision! I feel lucky to witness it.
5. “Fidelity Angst,” by Mack Hagood from Real Life Magazine, about the asymptotic (not asymptomatic) quest for perfect audio quality. Asymptotic projects—i.e. those where additional effort may help you approach perfection, without ever reaching it, like improving audio quality, or cleaning your house, or career ambition—are pretty much engineered to make me go insane, and the only way I know to avoid that is to reframe the pursuit of perfection as a pleasure in itself.
6. One of those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars, inspired by this meme. They really are that good. I remember loving these as a kid and being completely overwhelmed by how pleasurable eating them was—so much pleasure that I felt I couldn’t even truly understand it, or receive it in time before it was finished. Eating it now I experience like 30% of that feeling, which is honestly still pretty good.
7. My friend Milo’s Chrome Extension, Delayed Gratification, which I use truly whenever I have to get anything done. The genius of it is that it delays your access to websites, so it prevents absent-minded tabbing to Twitter, but doesn’t fully block them, as I do need a distraction sometimes. A harm-reduction model, of sorts.
8. The Thief’s Journal, Jean Genet’s auto-fictional account of his years as a destitute and homosexual thief in Europe in the 1930’s. Lyrically compelling AND super hot. This guy is seriously horny, which you have to respect. This was written in a time before the advent of “gay” as a homosexual catch-all, so you also get a cool taxonomy of the various manifestations of homosexuality—fairies, queers, trade, and other indefinite homoeroticisms.
9. A bunch of air conditioning, unfortunately, which reminded me of this article from The New Yorker about the environmental destructiveness of refrigeration. I actually am European in the sense that I believe Americans rely too much on their ACs, and I often prefer a box fan, but this week I gave in and slept with it on overnight. I was struck by this idea from the piece about the paradox of efficiency: “Making useful technologies more efficient makes them cheaper, and as they become cheaper we use them more and find more uses for them, just as adding lanes to congested highways makes driving more attractive, not less.”
10. These crazy photos of my cactus, which bloomed this week. I know that many of you are going to say that it looks like a butthole, but I actually need you to push past that for a second and try to appreciate that it actually looks insane and weird in other ways as well.
11. The southbound B48 bus from Williamsburg to Crown Heights, which took 16 minutes and cost $2.75. There’s nothing in my life I resent more than paying for a stupid $21 dollar Uber to travel two miles. New York City buses are often maligned for their inconsistency, which is fair, but if you know to be checking the MTA app within 30 minutes of when you want to leave, buses can be magic.
12. 1 plain slice of pizza, from Gino’s in Prospect Heights, eaten while walking. I’m from New York and nothing makes me feel truer in that identity than hurriedly eating something while running late to an engagement (in this case, my friend Rachel’s show at Union Hall). It makes me feel like Sarah Jessica Parker in I Don’t Know How She Does It, a film I saw the trailer for in 2011, which still remains my platonic ideal of “Harried New Yorker.”
13. Blue, by Joni Mitchell, on my new record player, which I was inspired to buy partially by the removal of Joni Mitchell’s catalog from Spotify, and partially by this very newsletter, wherein Haley herself evangelized her record player. Everything she said about it is true: It changes the way you listen to music, encouraging active and deliberate listening. May I also say something obvious? Blue is so good it’s unbelievable. Joni was right: The bed IS too big!!!!! The frying pan IS too wide!!!!!!!!!!
14. The mute button on Instagram and Twitter, one million times, as usual. Let me take a second to evangelize: muting people is amazing. People complain about how Instagram is horrible, how Twitter is a “hellsite,” and while I’m sympathetic, your timeline is your own creation! If someone you’re socially obligated to follow posts content that makes you consistently upset, it is totally fine to mute them! It doesn’t have to be righteous. Muting someone is neither an indictment nor a value judgment. I have muted plenty of people whom I actually like interpersonally, but whose creative successes, or pictures from their Fire Island vacations, or online political articulations only make me feel envious or frustrated or angry. Mute them and be free <3. I’ve now muted enough people that my timeline is now full of beautifully inane viral Tweets, promoted to me via Twitter algorithm.
They are just so true. Like potatoes are really good! I'm glad she spoke up.
15. Rooftop sunset beer with Anand. If you're thinking these photos are serving "rooftop sunset beer," you're absolutely right.
Rec of the week: Breakfast ideas and furthermore speedos
Please god I need a new breakfast idea. Something easy enough to assemble, not too sweet? Does anyone have a savory granola recipe they like? Something. Please, I need deliverance from Egg and Toast.
I recently had the idea to buy a new speedo (or "men's swim brief," in non-branded terminology) but all the options I saw were literally $80. Does anyone have any recommendations for a Men's Swim Brief that is actually less than that?
Well that was my week in consumption! I hope you can take this as an opportunity to change your consumptive habits to be more like mine :)
Thanks for reading <3