Tag Archives: Beverly Hills

Falling off the wagon. A dismal failure speaks out.

Yesterday was my eighth day on the 100% raw food diet, and all was going well. I was extremely proud of myself, things were moving along briskly. Suddenly, one hundred days didn’t seem like all that big of a mountain to climb, to be honest. I mean, it’s three months without eating anything cooked – big deal. Psychologically, I was more than up to it.

But then yesterday it all went south. I lapsed. I knowingly and willingly ate a bowl of potato and leek soup. And now I’m riddled with shame (as should the chef be who made it; it was horrible).

As a result, today feels like day one again and I’m a bit upset.

When I subjected myself to the two-week Master Cleanser in January (see movie: Fast and Very Loose), the side-effects were almost instantaneous – lethargy, weakness, zits, wooziness, vomiting, and so on. But the raw food conversion isn’t like that. It doesn’t act as quickly. Rather, it creeps up on you, leaving you not exactly sure whether the bad things you’re feeling are just your body rejoicing at being fed food it can actually digest and thrive on for once – vegetables, nuts, fruits, seeds, sprouts – or whether you’re seriously sickening for something.

The aches and pains, for instance, are pretty constant, they just keep moving around, the way they do when you have flu coming on. And napping is a problem, in the sense that you’ll sit down in a comfy chair and immediately fall unconscious for an hour – something I never do. It’s like suffering from mild narcolepsy and could be dangerous. To combat it, I’ve taken to standing around vacantly a lot.

Then there’s the phlegm. Oh, and of course you’re running to the bathroom three or four times a day, generating more flying debris than Mount St. Helens.

But I’ve elected to see all this as a positive. A sign that things are about to get better (“better” in this context would be that I poop something the size of a hillside only twice a day, for instance). So while friends have been sitting around me digging into steaks and salmon and ice cream and stuffed zucchini (sometimes on the same plate – pigs!), I’ve remained stoic and strong, jauntily picking at my salad and making “Mmmmm, I don’t think I could ever get enough of this stuff, quite honestly” noises, trying to sound like I mean it.

For eight days.

Then yesterday it all went wrong.

Every month I have a consultation with a life coach. You don’t need to be told any more than this. Other than perhaps to know that my life and career stalled roughly three years ago, and paying to see a life coach has done very little to change that. But you know how it is; you become attached to people, and as we’ve slowly become friends over time so the appointment has become a fixture that I find hard to miss. Therefore I have life coaching even when I don’t need it, which is to say every four weeks. That’s when the two of us meet for lunch at her hotel in Beverly Hills and discuss what I laughingly call “my future”.

Well, yesterday, I arrived forty minutes early, and the waiter brought a menu.

Naturally, I began frisking it for something that a strict raw food vegan could eat, and was shocked to find that there was nothing. Nothing at all. Even the vegetarian dishes were cooked. Which was a double disappointment because I was so hungry. Another side-effect of being on this diet.

So that was it. Faced with eating nothing or lapsing, I lapsed. I ordered a hot soup, with the rationale in my head that it was no worse than having a hot beverage – cuz that’s all soup is, a beverage that won’t fit in a cup, right?

But I knew, my stomach knew, and my conscience knew, that this was no beverage. It was scrumptiously tasty, and packed with cream and chicken stock and god knows what else – stuff I shouldn’t be eating. Plus it was cooked. So any enzymes that might have survived when it was pasteurized at the factory and shipped out, were surely dead by now, meaning there was no nutritional value in it at all.

Yet I ate it. Actually, I didn’t just “eat” it, I shoveled it in. Gorged on it. Almost vacuumed it out of the bowl and into my mouth like a starving orphan. And when it was gone and I felt sick with remorse – natch – I sat staring in despair at the bowl as if I’d just taken a draft of poison to kill myself then had second thoughts.

Worse, I now had to cover my tracks, the way bent accountants do. I had the waiter whisk it away before my life coach arrived, so that I could brag loftily about my 100 days of eating nothing but 100% raw food without embroidering the story with unnecessary details, such as the fact that the whole thing was a sham and I’d folded at the first sign of temptation.

So what can I tell you? I fell off the wagon for a day.

After the life-coaching session (my future is just as bleak as always, it turns out), I came home, ate a salad – “Yum, what’s better than this? Nothing.” – didn’t tell my partner what had happened, and continued as if all was well. But it wasn’t well. It’s like stealing a cookie when you’re a kid: nobody knows it, but that doesn’t matter – you know it, and that’s enough to stir the gods of karma into action.

This morning, I was feeling gloomy enough to consider turning myself into the raw police, only I have a day packed with broadcasting things to muscle through, and that might be counterproductive.

The reason for not lapsing is in all the books, and it’s no different to why an alcoholic shouldn’t lapse. One drink and you start the cycle all over again, that’s all. Well, the same goes for food. Have one hot meal and, by golly, you want another one right away. Which is precisely how I feel as I sit here.

Indeed, if it weren’t for this massive – huge, enormous – barrier of shame  standing between me and a bacon sandwich right now, I’d quit this thing, be a guy who very proudly goes around telling  people that he survived the eight-day 100% Raw Food Challenge, and leave it at that.

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Goodbye, brain-paralyzing garbage, we’ll miss you.

I read over the weekend that the upcoming season of the worst and possibly fakest reality show ever, The Hills, will be the last.

It’s okay, you can stop cheering now.

Not that I tune in to The Hills myself or anything. I can’t, unfortunately – I made a deal with MTV: “You continue to make this absurd, atrocious, vacuous rubbish, and market it under the guise of quality entertainment, and I won’t watch it.”

We’ve both stuck to our side of the bargain so far and it’s worked pretty well.

So, while “the kids” in America have remained oddly involved for five seasons with the flatlining intellectual world of Lauren Conrad and her fashion friends at Teen Vogue in Los Angeles, California, I’ve had to find other things to do. As a result, my life putters ahead quite adequately without  understanding to any great degree who Lauren and Heidi and Lo and Audrina and Spencer are, or what their lives are about, or why anyone would think it a good idea to give such apparently hollow shells a TV series in the first place.

Then I got the good news – I’m going to be spared the effort of ever finding out. The fifth season will be the last. Ratings are not as good as they were – fans are becoming less fannier and tuning out; Lauren, the lynchpin of the whole thing, is leaving the show; and the producers are pulling the plug.

Of course, there’ll always be an audience for bland nonsense like this, and something else just as bad will leap up soon to take its place, I’m sure. Cuz here’s the truth. Due to:

a) an underfunded school system that emphasizes individuality and being the best you can be, but without specifying what at; and which lets pupils emerge at the end claiming to have an education, even though they can’t spell or talk coherently or add up numbers or point to Europe on a map; and

b) a society morally and intellectually on the ropes, where too many kids believe that, if the whole studying thing doesn’t work out, they can always become rappers or TV stars…

a large part of today’s youth audience remains hardcore dim. They’ll happily sit for hours in front of the television watching tanned morons stare blankly at each other as they struggle to form complete sentences, then they’ll go out and, like the robots they are, mechanically buy without question all the products and silly fads and services that greedy networks promote in the commercial breaks, knowing their audience is not smart enough to figure out that they’re being manipulated.

Actually, I had the privilege of eavesdropping on a group of teens in Starbucks yesterday. Drawing inspiration from The Hills, no doubt, their conversation was a series of blank thoughts and long gaps connected with ten million combinations of ‘totally’ and ‘like’ and “so I go, ‘you’re kidding me’ and he goes ‘no’ and I go ‘what the hell? I mean, dude, come on, like, chill, alright?’ Y’know what I’m saying?”

And the other kids nodded. They knew exactly what he was saying. Because he was saying nothing. Which was about all they could handle.

Indeed, the only reason I feel comfortable telling you all of this is because I happen to know that none of the people we’re talking about has the mental capacity to read this far down the page. I guarantee they checked out after the headline.

“Like, wow. Seven of those word-things at one time is, like, totally enough, thank you.”

The reason I’m so cheered by the end of The Hills, though, is because it gives me hope. The world is in flux right now. Everything’s changing. Our very expectations about life and how to earn a living and what a secure financial future might mean are going through  a tumble-dryer of transformation. This, believe it or not, is good news.

Now that the economy’s down the toilet, I suspect we’re reaching the end of a cultural era too.

With any luck, it signals the demise of witless “reality” shows shot in Hollywood mansions, promoting the Beverly Hills lifestyle of celebrity and fame and glamour as aspirational, when in truth it’s  just an invention of TV and the movies. If you don’t believe me, go there. In the real Beverly Hills right now, people are hurting. The recession is biting hard. Businesses are struggling. Restaurants are failing. Life savings have been lost. Glamour and fame and celebrity are taking second place in a lot of cases to strategies for everyday survival and not losing their house and how to pay for college fees.  

Now, that’s the Hills they should be making reality shows about, because in the years ahead, it’s the only one that’s going to make any sense. A new era is coming, one in which the dim children of America are going to wish they’d spent less time watching frothy, mind-numbing confectionery about frothy, mind-already-numb people on TV, and actually studied and learned to speak and done something useful with their young lives when they had the chance. Karma has a reputation to maintain. She’s known to be a diva bitch. And the youth of this country is about to find out how much of a diva bitch that is.

Finally, in the spirit of Friday’s blog, which generated massive amounts of traffic and even made it on to the website of Time magazine, may I just say Rachel Bilson, Hugh Laurie, Jim Cramer, Homer Simpson,  and Jon Stewart?

Thank you.

The Hills gets no magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say NO.  And good riddance.

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