Bah. After about 15 minutes of staring around the room, desperately trying to come up with a fresh idea for an editorial, I've decided to alter the formula a bit and rant – kinda randomly – on a few different subjects. Forgive me, but with weekly editorials and Week in Reviews for nearly three years, I can't come up with new topics all the time. πŸ˜‰

What you buy at Stop & Shop…that ain't cookies

Both of my parents are fantastic cooks and of course, they're seriously miffed that I can barely toast bread. But this means I'm typically privy to decent food and the one thing that drives me nuts is when people buy those giant plastic containers of "cookies" at the grocery store. I place "cookies" in quotation marks because I'm not sure what they even are . They taste like cardboard. Cardboard with old shortening. Those of you who have tasted good cookies, with good homemade and organic ingredients know just how awesome a cookie can be .

And while I'm on the subject of food, the next time someone tries to tell me there's no difference between gourmet food at a decent restaurant and a chain like freakin' Applebees or some sh** (except price), they're gonna get swatted . It's not my fault you can't even taste the massively over-processed crap they're calling food these days, but if you honestly believe people are dumb enough to pay more money for the "same" food, you're too stupid to chew that horrid food.

Don't mean to be a food snob. I eat some junk here and there, too. But don't tell me there isn't a difference .

Relationships. … …… 'no comment'

I just don't know what to say. I have three friends who are either married or engaged and I'm relatively certain these friends should be happy. And maybe they are. But I've known these people for many, many years and these days, they just seem…well, not themselves. I don't want to say they're unhappy; that would be inaccurate, they just seem more…distant, I guess. They seem to have a mist over their eyes of some kind; they smile and laugh less; they're constantly tired and not anywhere near as willing to try something new. In short, it's like they went to bed 30 and woke up 50. And I find this very, very unsettling because while I have no interest in having kids myself, I am not against the family; in fact, I think it's crucial in a civilized society. And as far as marriage goes, I don't have anything against that, either (despite the fact that it's not exactly a logical theory).

The point I'm trying to make is this: as sad as it may seem, I don't see a lot of incentive right now to do the marriage (or kid) thing. My friends are getting more and more out of shape, they have less money than they've ever had (and some make more than me), they're a lot less cheerful than they used to be, and me…well, I come and go as I please…I drive an 07 M35x…I've got a little money stashed away…I do what I want, when I want. Now, there are many who will say this can't compare to love and family and what have you, and I do believe you…but my eyes are telling me otherwise. It's a little depressing.

I just may want a PhD in classic literature

You know, if this whole gaming journalism doesn't last me a lifetime, I might want to go back to school and get an advanced degree of some kind in classic literature. I have a Bachelors in Psychology (fat lot of good that did me, but whatever) and I've cultivated a very intense love of the classics over the past four or five years. My favorites include George Eliot's "Middlemarch," Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain," Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude," Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights," Wilkie Collins' "The Woman in White," and I just know the book I'm currently reading, Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," will become another one of my favorites. I have always been in awe of literary mastery; this level of brilliance just amazes me. "The Magic Mountain" may be the single most impressive piece of literature I've ever read and I've concluded that Mann must've been a legitimate genius. I just love reading such things, even when I know most won't touch such dense content with a 10-foot pole.

Anyway, I could go off on a long rant about how I honestly believe that the less we read, the further we fall as a society (laugh all you want), but I won't. Let's just say that I often believe I was born about 150 years too late. I think I would've done very well in the Victorian era. πŸ˜‰

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Hezzron
Hezzron
11 years ago

Wow….what are you drinking tonight?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I don't drink. πŸ˜‰

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

that would be absinthe

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

HA.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Drinking's overrated

Sure I'd let the babes drink, but why should I lol?

way overrated, you don't need drinks to have fun πŸ˜‰

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

Ugh, I HATE alcohol! Awesome to know that one of my virtual icons dislikes it too! I have an ex that bloated BAD when she started drinking…

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

What the hell??? You guys don't drink? I'm not talking about the getting plastered every friday crap, but what the heck do you drink when you're eating pizza or chicken wings or doritos? You trying to tell me you don't have a beer with that?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

That's exactly what I'm telling you. I drink water, mostly.

All alcohol is vile, IMO.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Alcohol is a vile concoction, in all sorts, but its true I rather enjoy the ritual with absinthe though. Typically I drink whiskey and I wouldn't recommended it. But ya know… it kinda comes with being a writer. I wish I had Ben's willpower.

www
www
11 years ago

Bottled water for the win! But I may drink sometimes but nothing comes close to water.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

World: Heh, it's not willpower. I genuinely hate the taste of all alcohol.

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Just … wow

mackid1993
mackid1993
11 years ago

i love bottled water, and coke zero. ben you should do more of these "personal" editorials. they are very fun to read. πŸ™‚

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

I've asked before and I'll ask again, Who the heck are these friends of yours? As a married person I do like playing mind games on the single folk, but your friends are just taking it too far.

Karosso
Karosso
11 years ago

OK now, you got me into trouble there!
Going to B&N and getting myself a copy of "The Magic Mountain" tomorrow πŸ™‚
I did read Marques but it was "Love in the Time of Cholera" and I had to go and read it again right after I finished. Too bad none of my friend has any appreciation for the classics… I'm the guy who always push friends to read more and I got some good results… My ex-girlfriend who is Chinese and would not read anything in English is now addicted to books thanks to a B&N card and a couple hundred dollars in gift cards.
Tell me about real food, my mother can cook some Brazilian food that taste 10 times better than most restaurants and I'm not the only one who thinks so πŸ™‚
The only two things that I can prepare are Brazilian Soup and Banana cake and they taste great but anything else is just ok πŸ™
I'm dog-sitting for my boss this weekend and its hard enough with a pet, can't even imagine having to take care of a child…
Hey Ben do you like Dumas?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Just a warning about Magic Mountain. It is extremely dense and, while not necessarily difficult to read, is loaded with theories of genius that are tough to comprehend. It's also long. πŸ˜‰

But you might like it. I liked Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez is fantastic) but I do prefer One Hundred Years of Solitude.

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
11 years ago

I wish I could get into books like this, but I just never had an interest in the classics. I like to read about War and American History. I'm reading Flyboys now, and I'm not sure I like the authors attitude but it's interesting none the less.

Karosso
Karosso
11 years ago

Thanks about the warning but I been reading series of books that are about 1000 pages each and about 8 in a series so that won't scare me at all. Also I love reading classics in old English and with language still representative of the time in which the work was created.
I just downloaded "Anna Karenina" into my iPhone for free. Most of the classics that are over 35 years old can be had for free, what a great time to be a fan of the classics πŸ™‚

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Oh, it's not the length. That's not what makes it challenging. Trust me. πŸ™‚

Karosso
Karosso
11 years ago

Stop teasing me Ben the more you try it the more I think I'm gonna love this book πŸ™‚

Sir Shak
Sir Shak
11 years ago

I can't say I agree with the home cooked stuff Ben because the food at my home sucks . That's why I eat atleast one meal outside everyday .

Banky A
Banky A
11 years ago

I know what you're thinkin'.. MacDonalds. Ohhh yeah that's right my man.

Sir Shak
Sir Shak
11 years ago

Mcdonald's isn't my kind of place . I only consider it when it's too late in the night or too early in the morning for most other restaurants to be open .

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
11 years ago

I hate Applebee's and Outback, mainly because everything is drenched in salt. I ate at Applebee's twice, the first time they left paper on the cheese on my burger and the second time I got the runs from some quesadillas. Local restaurants is where it's at. There are really great Greek, Lebanese, Italian and Bosnian restaurants within 10 minutes of where I live, and they are all locally owned.

I can only make a few things. I learned how to make Hummus, Kibbi, Falafel, and Tabouli from my grandmother and I could live off of it. Obviously, I'm lebanese, lol.

Also, there are a few things here that I can't find anywhere else. Anybody here ever heard of Tomato Pie, Utica Greens, Chicken Riggies or Half Moons? Just recently I found out what a garbage plate was when I went to Rochester, NY. What are some local delicacies from your area?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

See, that's the problem. I don't have any "local delicacies." All I've got are chains. I'm so BORED.

I have to drive at least a half-hour to get anywhere near good; independent restaurants with extraordinary food. It's not too far, but it's not like that stuff is right down the road.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/9/2009 11:22:52 PM

TGG
TGG
11 years ago

See what ya' mean. I live in a pretty small town so local restaurants are all over the place. I don't buy cookies, never tried the store ones, however I do have the same attitude towards "pancakes" and anything not made by scratch that easily could. Homemade cooking is just too awesome, barely anything else is comparable. Yummmmm….

P.S: Anna Karenina is pretty good, try reading Resurrection or The Kingdom of God is Within You, both are by Tolstoy and both are really good.

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
11 years ago

Wow I think I'd go nuts if I didn't have good places to eat close by. That's one of the best things about living in Central NY, the food.

Hey, if you're ever driving down I90 in New York, I'll tell you where to stop. I know some really good places to eat, anywhere between Exit 31 and Exit 45, lol. I'm a huge fan of Dinosaurs in Syracuse, I'm sure some people here have heard of it.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Nice editorial.

In brief, you are most correct about food and cookies. The slop we call food today is too cheap. Cheap food has a price you know, and it's a price that most would be unwilling to pay if they knew the truth.

Not sure about marriage aging you like that, personally I think I've been far more adventurous since marrying.

As for reading. I am in complete agreement, the less reading we do, the further we fall as a society. IIRC there is a correlation between the reading age of people and their intellect. I don't think I need to spell it out, I think that it's clear what happens when people read less…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Thumbs down for this comment? Wow, there must be a lot of knuckle dragging book burners out these days, how can you get voted down for pointing out that people who read less are on average less intelligent, and this has a negative effect on society?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I agree. But there are some banned trollers who still lurk around giving people thumbs downs for no apparent reason.

Just ignore it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

A bad writer writes more than he reads.

ArnoldK PSXE
ArnoldK PSXE
11 years ago

Hahaha, chalk me up as shit then. :p Well, okay, maybe not. I've read more than my fair share of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (among many others). But where as my girlfriend enjoys taking out a few books and reading through them all in a matter of two weeks, I'd rather sit on the internet and read the news all day, be it world, tech., automotive, or gaming.

I don't read books these days anymore. But I sure do read online, quite a bit. Dunno' what that makes me.

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
11 years ago

I read online too. News mostly, and some Creepypasta here and there.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Reading is reading (for the most part).

So long as you do it, your mind remains sharp and active. I believe those who don't read on a frequent basis are less sharp, less responsive, less quick mentally and overall.

You don't have to read the classics. Reading the news and other articles is still reading.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

I'm just like Arnold, I can't STAND books.

The boredom of reading books is unbearable.
Online is the new form of reading. Sure there are those with horrible grammar: w00t, l33t, omg, etc.

But then there are journalistic sites/wikis etc. which are very informative.

If anything, on the net you're learning proper sentence structures as well as practicing them. Something you can't do with books.

That said, I've always gotten As and Bs in those English, Science, History courses so it just proves books are unnecessary.

I don't mind articles though.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

@ Arnold…

πŸ™‚ I nearly fell outta my seat! Thanks for the laugh!!!

I guess I'm a bit the same. The world condition nowadays has me reading the news…F-the tv (FoxNews), that is reserved for escapism (gaming). I really don't know why I still have cable…Xplay??? That's with them being all over M$ sack.


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 10/10/2009 1:04:09 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Yeah I never meant a person needs to tackle the tough stuff to stay sharp behind the keyboard, anything will do in my opinion. Keeps you open to new angles.

www
www
11 years ago

Yep! I agree with all you, I much rather prefer reading online than holding a book.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Ben, I gotta say, I have a friend who's 23 and he's all like "you gotta think 'bout marriage, man." I'm like "hell no!" lol.

Seriously, you have to enjoy life to its fullest BEFORE you get married/have kids.

Don't worry 'bout it man. Just get married when you think it's time

Heck, you don't even NEED to get married at all.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Yeah, well…tell that to my parents. πŸ˜‰

www
www
11 years ago

Yes I gotta admit that too. I see the whole marriage thing as a scary and daunting task. But society has made it so the norm that running away from it makes it seem impossible.
Who ever invented Wedding??????

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Actually, the norm is now NOT to get married.

www
www
11 years ago

Really Ben? But it still seems married couples are dominating.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

@ Ben

I just downed a frozen pizza and tea, that I managed to over-brew(gross). My parents are the sam way. I really am a disgrace of food since my mom is touted as the family chef. I would die if it weren't for frozen foods and ramen.

I can't wait to get back home (this Christmas!!!). I can't wait for some proper Tex-Mex food!

***Mexican & Tex-Mex are worlds apart (one is a gamble with ecoli)***

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

Mexican > Tex-Mex, always. πŸ˜‰

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

Eh, I guess I'm really talking about San Antonio…

I've had my fair share of Tex Mex (Houston, Austin not so much Dallas). Used to travel a lot for work then. San Antonio is without a doubt the best Tex Mex.


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 10/10/2009 3:31:29 AM

newchef
newchef
11 years ago

off-topic- i just saw the new uncharted commercial and it was pretty good

Kangasfwa
Kangasfwa
11 years ago

I work for a small restaurant chain (www.marketplacegrill.com) and at a training seminar a couple months back the founders talked about food quality. They talked about the benefits to having an outside company make certain things and all the work that goes into quality control to ensure our signature flavors. They also talked about companies who reduce the price of finished meals (plated entrees). The bigger chains will literally go to these people and say, 'our meals cost X amount, make it cost half that.' We're honestly proud that we don't do that, despite the expenses involved.

King_Krollen
King_Krollen
11 years ago

There's a local place in my home town named Stuffy's. It's mostly a breakfast place but they are opened all day if I remember right (haven't been 'back home' in about 6 years). But they have this dish called 'Stuff'. It has all kinds of things in it hamburger, eggs, green peppers, potatoes, and other things I can't remember. But it comes in two sizes Large and Small… The large size comes heaped on a medium(?) pizza platter. As for cookies… home-made is by far the best, but I have to say that I love me some Double Stuff Oreos from time to time.

As for reading. I do like to read. The classiest I get though is Tolkien, and even his writing bugs me. I read Bram Stoker's Dracula not to long ago. I did like it, but it was a chore to read. My comfort zone is Clive Cussler and Dean Koontz.

As for the marriage and kids thing? Three words: COUNT ME OUT!!!


Last edited by King_Krollen on 10/10/2009 2:29:26 AM

mike rlz
mike rlz
11 years ago

hey ben, 100 years of solitude is one of my favorite books. actually picked it up after listening to 'the sad waltzes of pietro crespi' by Owen. great read and great musician πŸ˜‰