Sunday, December 26, 2010

There Are So Many Cake Shows

Jack: Lemon, that’s the smartest thing you’ve ever said.
Lemon: Really? What about 3 years ago when I said there should be more TV shows about cake?

This was the conversation I just watched on On-Demand “30 Rock”. I started clapping. Hey America, why are there so many shows about cake now? I admit they are hypnotically fascinating, but still, it's absurd how many hours of American television are devoted to baking and assembling elaborate cakes. In the three weeks since I’ve been back, I’ve learned that straws inserted into lower cake tiers are used for weight displacement whereas dowels are used to hold cakes in place. A Comcast guide search reveals the following shows: Ace of Cakes, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Cake Boss, Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, (many many episodes of) Food Network Challenge, and Ultimate Cake Off. I’m overwhelmed.

It’s a weird overwhelmed though. I don’t feel hit over the head; I don’t feel the weight of cake shows crashing down on me. It’s a more subconscious phenomenon where, for example, yesterday I watched hours of cake shows for no other reason other than my brain seems extra susceptible to bizarre meaningless American television programming. My brain has spent the last 2 years taking it slow, and now even a lukewarmly stimulating TV show is enough to captivate my brain for hours.

But it’s not just TV. Christmas shopping was insanely difficult this year. Browsing the shelves at Borders one night last week, I walked around the store for an hour and a half. It was a strange feeling though, because even though it physically felt like boredom-fueled aimless wandering, I wasn’t bored at all; in fact, I was enthralled. It was as though something caught my eye, and then I was distracted by a shiny object, and then another shiny object would catch my eye, and then another and another. After shopping for a while, I ran into some friends of mine. I told them quite earnestly, “This store is so big!” They found this hysterical.

People keep asking me about how I’ve been dealing with the cold. But the truth is the cold isn’t all that big of a factor—it’s been freezing, but it’s such an easy thing to remedy, I haven’t minded it too much. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes into play, and the things at the bottom of the pyramid, while most pertinent, have been the easiest to resolve. It’s the more ethereal, more subconscious stuff near the top that’s been most difficult to address. I can get myself a sweatshirt or a blanket to deal with the cold, but it’s difficult to even realize how overstimulated I’ve been, let alone try to alleviate the issue.

So I’ve mostly been taking life slow, trying not to overwhelm my brain with unnecessary thought processes. I’ve been enormously unproductive since I got home. Blogging has been out of the question. Sorry about that, but it was a low priority anyway, and assembling 500 words of coherent thought was out of the question.

But now things are settling down a little, and maybe life is getting back on track. I could elaborate, but there’s a cake show on TLC right now, and my attention’s divided.

I hope you’re well. Pictures soon.


Amanda said...

I'm watching a cake show on TLC as I read this.

samoabob said...

I COS'd from Samoa right before Christmas too (a few decades ago). My most vivid memories of my first days back are of shopping. I went to K-Mart to buy jeans and was so overwhelmed by how many there were to pick from that I simply couldn't buy any and left empty handed. And whenever I went to the grocery store with my mom, I drove her crazy with all my comments of "I can't believe how cheap peanut butter is!" or "Oranges!!" For better or worse, you'll become Mr. American Consumer again in no time.

Jordan said...

Ahhh, Matt we've missed you! :D Lol was hoping to read a more substantial update but we'll take what we can get... More importantly, how's Scout settling in?

Barb Carusillo said...

I almost didn't check...figured I would see Dec 8th up there at the top again, but no! Something new! Glad to see your brain is percolating again, even if a bit over stimulated as you say. Hey, I watched the Cake boss yesterday too, and couldn't believe how it pulled you in.

Jane said...

What fun to see your update today. I believe there is a Cupcake Wars show too.

Ako Si Nikki said...

hello there.. been reading your blogs, and i find it really comforting. wanted to email you but i cant get through your email. whenever i read your blog, i find so much happiness. maybe because i admire what you do. or maybe because i have sadness in my heart now. and reading stories of others is just a way to lighten up my day.. anyway, just dropping by to say happy new year.

wishing you and your family well.

Anonymous said...

Talofa Matt!
Ua mai oe?
If you can remember back in October, a tall woman in a black & white long skirt, yelling loudly "Hey Matt" as you were crossing the street in downtown Apia, and shouting as you looked puzzled, "I read your blog, just saying Hi" or something like that, that would have been Me visiting home (Samoa & American Samoa).
I'm in the States and if you need someone to talk to about "home", I'm here to lend an ear, E masani. Found your blog after the tsunami and enjoyed reading your adventures and adjustments. You write well.
Take care, Fanua
(who will make it back home permanently one day soon, Samoa moni)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I was surprised when identified you immediately as I was lost looking for the new market, you look exactly like your pictures.

Tofa soifua, Fanua

Unknown said...

Funny thing, I today I just saw an article on an American News paper. Government telling public to eat less and more nutritious, thy mentioned foot long something with a whole lot of calorie based stuff served at restaurants. And now I read your piece. Seems business dos not share those sentiments perhaps? I'm not in your shoes but I can't imagine watching a whole show of that, reality shows seem to be my patience' undoing.