bidness idea

I would never open a restaurant, but if I did, this would be the concept:

Never ending cereal bowls. 

I'd serve everything from Post and General Mills to healthier, high end granolas and muesli. All kinds of milk, too. Oat, almond, etc. And of course all the cow's milk would be A2/A2.

Diners could either customize their own bowls a la carte or order from a selection of creations with clever names (similar to Cold Stone Creamery).

Find a tiny little spot in Hollywood, somewhere around Cahuenga, something with five tables max. Open only Thursday through Saturday, 10pm to 4am. Write your name on the clipboard and we'll call you when a table opens up. I've seen how packed every shitty little pizza-by-the-slice place on the boulevard is, every weekend. Endless cereal bowls would crush with that crowd. 

And there'd need to be a gimmick to the table setup. Something that echoes the feel of a shabu shabu / kbbq / fondue place. Something that makes it special and fun and interactive. And Instagrammable. Maybe the milk comes out of taps.

Fuck it, just call it Bowl. Logo is an empty dish with a spoon in it, couple drops of milk. Done.

---

This post brought to you by the three bowls of Love Crunch Granola I just inhaled within five minutes. 

the elephant on my keyboard

Hello from the first sentence of one of the weirdest and saddest posts I will ever write - a post that for some of you may very well be the last of mine you'll ever read. I write it despite knowing that might be the case, because I know of no other way to move forward truthfully and genuinely, until I've written it.

I've been quiet lately because of this unwritten post, which stands in the way of everything else I'll ever have to say. Because I haven't known how to approach it, or if I even should. What I haven't said has been all-consuming for weeks, like an elephant sitting on my keyboard who won't clear off until I have given him the time and attention he demands. 

Fuck. Here goes.

So, a content warning. This post - as will be all subsequent Elliequent posts - is written from the perspective (the belief) that the climate crisis is in fact so bad, that humans have much, much less time left than people want to 1) admit 2) talk about. And by people I mean everyone from scientists to the media to everyday people like you and I. 

And when I say much, much less time, I mean a couple of decades. 

I think we have a couple of decades left before societal collapse. At most. 

Please read that again, so you can decide whether you want to keep following a blog that operates from that point of view. Think through the implications of what that will mean, for this space. It means I will be writing under the assumption that within twenty years, society will completely break down due to some combination of crises in the environment (deadly warming leading to mass migration, crop failure and famine in an untenably overpopulated world) and the economy (wars over dwindling resources and a permanent abandonment of a regulated banking system). 

If you think I'm crazy and want to bug off now, godspeed. If you think there's a possibility I could be right, but that makes you too uncomfortable/sad to want to hang around me anymore, godspeed.

If you're still here: deep breath.

So. How did I get here? I got here by stepping from stone to stone, waiting until I felt my footing sure underneath me (i.e., did I understand what I was reading? did I believe it? what follows from this, if it's true?) before taking the next step. Specifically:

News of the IPCC report led me to obsessively following the climate and weather experts on Twitter who are frantically urging the implementation of renewable energy, and promising that with enough fast, bold action we can turn this thing around. (Sort of.) Really digging into those conversations, replies, links, and articles led me to picking up clues and hints about another, less vocal (read: less well-platformed) subset of experts who aren't so optimistic. Which led me off of Twitter and into their arena which, to my naive shock, is vast and long-established. It turns out that there is a group of scientists who've been saying, "Yeah bro, the jig is up" for much longer than I realized.

I read and I watched and I listened and I learned. I learned about overshoot and the paradox of cooling aerosols, and how if fossil fuels were shut down immediately today, we'd be in a worse spot because of the loss of those aerosols. I learned about albedo and the warming feedback loop that now cannot be corrected because of how much ice has disappeared. I learned what will happen when the methane pouring out of the melting permafrost, which is a much bigger problem even than CO2, is fully released. I learned about the ocean currents which are showing warning signs of collapse and what that will mean for every part of the world when they do give out. I learned the truth about renewable energy, which is a myth, because all forms of it still require non-renewables. I learned exactly how many people come onto this planet every day, which is a terrifying fucking number no one talks about, because babies are cute and hashtag biological imperative. And I started to connect the dots between these ineluctable outcomes and what people will do when they arrive. Namely, they will run out of food, water, money, and options. And it will be really fucking bad. 

In my travels to these horrifying places, I started to understand why the voices that are clearly, coolly, and compassionately saying "It's too late" get no amplification, no traction, and no respect. There is no money to be made in doomerism. Climatologists are human like the rest of us, and they better than anyone know what's coming down the pipeline. If they can cram in another couple of books, or a lecture series, or a consultation tour - whatever makes the dollars - that's that much more security for them when the shit hits the fan. Everyone is desperate to hear (and buy) solutions. World leaders and power companies will do anything to make it seem like they are trying to fix the problem. Everyday people want to believe the problem can be fixed.

Absolutely no one wants to hear that we are already toast, and while yes, we should continue to mitigate by implementing ameliorating solutions to improve as best we can the time we have remaining, we can all just stop pretending that this is a long game anymore. It's not.

Deep breath.

I don't expect anyone to be in the same place as me. I have not and will not bring this up to any of my friends. I cannot risk alienating them, because I need them now more than ever. But I won't be able to contain all that I feel about all of this. Believing that the world I know will be effectively destroyed before I can even grow old (well, really old) changes everything. 

It changes everything

And I will need to talk about those changes, because holy fuck. What do you do when the clock starts ticking down, right in front of your face? How do you adapt to that knowledge? How does it affect your plans, choices, and beliefs about how to exist in a world on a timer? 

What do you spend your time and attention on, from this point forward? 

On the off chance that even a single one of you is anywhere near where I am, I will share two resources. Just two. Because I am certainly not going to footnote this fucking post with all my research in an attempt to sway the more optimistic of you over to this, the utterly depressing side of the yard. I think this is a deeply personal journey everyone needs to make for themselves. But if deep down you too have been feeling a relentless tugging at your soul, and the narrative you're being pitched just isn't adding up for you, and you're looking to understand why, here are two places to start:

1. Catherine Ingram's essay Facing Extinction (audio version here). I have listened to it three times now, and it is pure oxygen: eloquent, warm, thoughtful and compelling. She tempers unflinching facts with a life-affirming perspective on how to metabolize those facts. Hers strikes me as exactly the kind of pure, gentle wisdom called for in a time like this. In fact I emailed her to say as much (and she replied immediately). Would that I had the funds to attend one of her retreats. I'd probably ask her to adopt me. 

2. This compendium of literally everything related to climate disaster, societal collapse, and the apocalypse. Yes it's a goofily titled, dated blogspot blog clearly written by an academic, and not as slick or engaging as what you'll find in the apocaloptimists' camp. But it's absolutely definitive. Studies, lectures, lexicon, literature, film, and links, links, and more links to the experts (and their findings) who've been warning the world since the middle of last century. 

So there you go. You got through it. I got through it. I confessed my terrible dark secret. I unburdened myself of the burdensome belief that this beautiful world is expiring much faster than most everyone is admitting or aware. Then again, what did we expect?

the one who would not budge

"You can't stop here," they said, when they found me planted cross-legged on the road. I looked up.

"Why not? There's plenty of room to pass around me."

"It's a No Standing Zone."

"I'm not standing. I'm sitting."

The officers shifted uncomfortably, glanced at one another. "Listen," said the first, whose name badge read APATHY, "We know you've been here a while already. It's time to move on."

"Well, I can't. I've tried."

The other, whose badge read SYMPATHY, knelt down. "Do you want us to call someone for you?"

"Like who?"

"Like a friend."

I brought my knees up to my chest and wrapped the flannel I was wearing tight around me. I pulled the sleeves down over my hands, disappearing as much of myself as I could in the brown and green plaid. It was an invisibility cloak that hid exactly nothing from no one. 

"Everyone knows everything already," I said softly. 

"Look here," started Apathy, "you can't just---" But his partner held up a hand and shook his head, and they left.

The next night they returned to find me in the exact same spot. "We brought you something." Sympathy held a weathered envelope with an AirMail stamp. He buzzed with excitement as he handed to me.

"What's this?" I asked, accepting it with little interest.

Apathy glared. "Just open it."

Inside the envelope was a four hundred and forty-eight word apology, from someone six thousand miles away, whom I hadn't thought about once in two years.

I read it, then read it again. "What am I supposed to do with this?"

"We thought you'd be pleased." Sympathy was disappointed. 

I handed the letter back. "Would you please go? I'd like to be alone."

"This is unhealthy," declared Apathy. "Pathetic, really."

"I am aware," I replied.

"What are you going to do, just stay here forever?" 

I took a deep breath and looked from Sympathy to Apathy and back again. "Have you never read any of the Romantics?" 

"You mean like the stuff with Fabio on the cover?"

I blinked. "No. No I do not mean like the stuff with Fabio on the cover." I took another deep breath. "Gentlemen, I appreciate your concern. I do. But right now I am like a character in a Bronte novel. Unrequited, long-suffering, noble if unrewarded devotion - all that. I see no reason to move on from where I am until I'm ready, and frankly, I think there's worse, less beautiful stances I could take up in this life.

Sympathy's face softened. Apathy's brow furrowed.

With my thumb I traced circles around the button at the bottom of my shirt. "I'm choosing this," I said, as if to the button. "I might stop choosing it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. But right now, here, exactly where I am is exactly the only place I can be."

I pulled a matchbox from my pocket, struck a light on the nearest memory that sparked. "Now if you don't mind, I have a candle to burn."

As they walked away, conferring in low tones about the one who would not budge, the setting sun blurred them into silhouettes. I couldn't tell without squinting who was who, because the road I wasn't ready to move down very quickly disappeared into a future I wasn't ready to see.

chirp

You came to me this week hidden in the secrets of others. They have no idea that in them, I only ever see you. I see you in their desires, their curiosities, their apologies.

I only ever see you, still. 

I gave in, I laid back, I closed my eyes. I swallowed the burning, selfish desire to reach out and interrupt your journey. The ache is a kind of faith. I have to believe you were there with me, and that you just don't know how to get back. 

It's been almost two years since we went to the canyon. The swing. The spilled wine. The drum. I'm here now, you said. 

Were you? 

I hear you in songs you'd probably hate, in things you'd never say even if you felt them like blood in your bones. 

It's a kind of faith.

let's see how many variations of "dense" I can get into one post

content warning: boobs, end times

---

My boobs are fine, you can all exhale. I got the nice little secret coded message from my doctor on the super secure, unnecessarily well-protected Cedars Sinai app a week after the screening. Your mammogram was normal, see you next year, have fun with your healthy tits - at least until everything is canceled again, lol! (I may have read into it a little.)

Then I got an official, follow up letter in my mailbox with further details saying, among other things, that my breasts are "dense" - but that I don't need to worry about it. I was like Uh okay well you spelled 'perfect' wrong but as long as I don't need to worry.

I didn't at all expect a bad result, but I took the good news as a mandate to take better care of myself, just in case I've been lucky so far. Stocked up on vegetables and fruit, cooked off a bunch of couscous, lentils, quinoa, and barley. I am in my Bowl Phase, because I cannot with salads anymore. I just cannot. Either the pieces of lettuce/spinach/kale are so big I feel like I'm folding a fucking bed sheet with my fork, or they're nice and choppy-chopped, but then the density of the green is too much (too bitter), and requires more dressing than is rational.

Also, I was this week years old when I discovered a splash of lime juice and some mint can transform even the most basic fruit. I am furious to arrive so late to the mint-lime party, but I'm here now, and I am going to rage. 

---

Past couple weeks of work have been off-the-charts challenging and stressful, but my boss, my boss's boss, and even my former boss are all on it and/or checking in with me until it is resolved. I feel very well supported and very much appreciated, and that gratitude is fueling my forbearance. 

---

At this point I'm keeping my festival plans, in spite of the Delta variant. The two fests to which I have tickets don't get that packed, even in non-pandemic years. Lots of space, outdoors, and I'm always at the far edge of things where the crowd breaks up anyway. The Prydz show that's coming up in a couple of weekends has me a lot more squeamish. That one will be much denser, and I might chicken out and sell my ticket last minute. Dunno.

---

And now that I've tiptoed around it for as long as possible, let's finally acknowledge the elephant in the room, which is the latest IPCC report. What's that? The elephant is only in my room? You're all able to continue functioning normally and think about, literally, anything else? Cool. What's that like?

If you don't already follow me on Twitter, now is definitely not the time to start. My retweets and likes are The Doom and Gloom Channel, despite the exhortations of the more optimistic climate scientists I follow (I am pretty sure they are all faking that optimism, because what else can you do?)

It's all fucking with my head terribly. I have always been darkly drawn to apocalyptic scenarios in film and literature. Stories where everyone loses, where there is an equalization of power and suffering, New Zealand bunkers and offshore funds notwithstanding, fascinate me a little too much. 

It's why when the rich and famous started coming down with Covid, I was like Huh. Would you look at that. Money doesn't always equal safety. 

It's why when my friends and I talk about where we want to end our years, old and grey, I am the one pretend-casually floating the idea of us all going in on some land together, somewhere off the grid, where the water wars won't reach us. 

It's why when everyone else is rallying together, outraged, to demand change - I am over here just kind of frozen in an involution of existential wonder. Because suddenly, seemingly random life choices don't feel so random anymore. Hell, the seemingly random data point that is my age doesn't feel so random anymore. 

I didn't decide not to have kids because I knew climate collapse was coming. I didn't decide not to have kids at all. I just didn't, but then eventually I realized how absolutely much I do not want them, and how easily I could have ended up having them, had things played out differently. 

I didn't opt out of getting a car this past fifteen years out of concern for the environment. It just got easier and easier to go without one, until I realized I absolutely loved the freedom from the cost and the trouble of it. Until I realized everyone looking at me pityingly for riding the bus/train has it exactly backwards. Public transportation is a luxury. It's free time. It's negative stress. I can sit there and gaze out the window and listen to music and day dream, or text friends, or learn words, or whatever I want. I am being chauffeured around for free, on a pretty timely schedule, without ever having to rush, or deal with the frustration of drivers, parking spots, parking tickets etc etc. And the only cost to me is social cachet? LOL I'll take it.

I didn't stop traveling internationally to cut down on my carbon footprint. I stopped traveling because my interests shifted, because I got to know myself better (travel exhausts me) and because I could already check so many countries off my list. France, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Spain, Greece, Thailand, Australia, The South Pacific, Israel, Jordan, England, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina. I mean, what do I have to complain about? I've seen more of the world than most people ever will. I did it young, when I had the energy and spirit for it. And I did it long before the distraction and pressure of Instagram. 

I didn't choose to work for a company that has its own regenerative farm in Northern California because I am so eco-conscious. It just happened. 

And I certainly had no say about being born in 1975. I can do nothing to change the fact that, quite possibly, mine will be the last generation to experience things I will not even name, because it is too bleak to call them out. 

All of this just happened how it happened. But here I am, and my mind is blown. 

My mind is blown that 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming is most likely going to kick in right around the time all I'm gonna wanna do is watch Matlock and nap anyway. My mind is blown at how good my timing is, in a terrible, terrible thing. 

My mind is blown at how my clear my conscience is, by no virtuous actions of my own. That is not moralizing. That is wonderment. I am a non-reproducing, car-free, non-internationally traveling individual who works for one of the good guys, environmentally speaking. I'm no statistician, but methinks if you scaled up my (non)choices even half a percentage point in a population of 8 billion, we might not be in this fucking predicament. 

Yes, fossil fuels. Yes, yes, yes. They are the real culprit. I know that of course. Nevertheless, all these ostensibly stochastic elements of my life are like puzzle pieces that I am fitting together to make a picture I can't stop staring at. There's either no meaning in it, or all the meaning in it, I don't know which. 

It isn't easy to make the end of the world about oneself, but if anyone could...

Fair warning: there will probably be more of that. Dark humor. End of the world jokes. Because I am me, and because that's how I cope. But also - and this is a whole other, massive thing to consider - my being childfree means this hits entirely different. At least, I assume it does? I don't know because I'm not a parent, but I imagine everything I feel in sympathy for generations after mine is a walk in the park compared to what parents are feeling right now. 

It is a horror cherry on top of a heartbreak cake to realize that climate change - and the irrevocable damage we've done to our planet - is going to hit everyone on a sliding scale, according to age. The older you are, the less you will be affected by it. And the less you will be affected by it, the more easily you can accept it. 

That is not apathy. You can accept that some things are irreversible and still act to prevent other, even worse scenarios. You can accept what the scientists say will happen, even in the best of cases, and still be outraged on behalf of humans younger than yourself - and those yet to be born. And I am outraged, in a quietly dazed way. I am in heartbroken disbelief that years after being shamed out of using aerosol hairspray because the ozone layer had a hole in it, we didn't do much more than set up recycling bins and make some documentaries. We should have been chaining ourselves to the doors of every petroleum and coal company in existence, every fucking day, until they stopped. To the doors of our politicians' offices. It's apparently what we have to do now

I don't know that I'm going to have time to do that, to be honest. I'm going to be pretty busy rolling my acorns into the biggest pile I can, for the winters ahead. Ain't no one else gonna be rolling them for me. But I will not be making things worse, that I swear. I will continue to tread lightly, with my TAP card in one hand, and maybe a dog leash in the other.

light to dark

I went to a show over the weekend, and it's very important to me that you know an adorable 20something named Julie who wanted to be my Insta buddy thinks I'm a good dancer:

It's marginally less important that you know I don't actually shuffle. What I do requires vastly less skill and coordination, and is basically a very fast stompy kicky dance that looks impressive only because I can move quickly and hit on the beat. And when the break is long enough and I can feel where the song is going, I can fold in fancier moves like twisty kicks and spins that look a lot harder than they are. It's all a massive con, shuffling is much harder, but no lie - I do look pretty cool when I'm on it. 

All this to say I had a fucking blast. I went for Morgin Madison, planned to bounce after his set, but No Mana was the surprise that kept on suprising, so I stayed much later than was responsible for a school night. Rest of the work week was brutal, as I never caught up on sleep.

Worth it. 

---

Work is a challenge at the moment, as my no-longer-new chef and I are butting heads in a very problematical way. It reached the point of us needing to have a Sit Down with my boss and my boss's boss. Reason I'm telling you this is the highlight of the meeting, which was something my boss's boss said about me...

In an effort to compliment my chef in the spirt of Let's work together by playing off one another's strengths! Yay, us! I was talking up her skills in the kitchen. And bless her, in an effort to give the same back to me, she very haltingly replied, "Ellie...is...very good on the computer." L O fucking L.

The best part about this: she wasn't trying to throw shade or act like I have no skills. She actually, truly, thinks I have none. Five years with my company, managing two stores and thirty employees, and she thinks I'm a good typist. Maybe. To excuse her, you have to understand: professional chefs have no use for anyone who can't cook. And I can't, much. I am however, insanely hardworking, conscientious, organized, considerate, cool under pressure, supportive to my team, and responsible. 

But this person is so religiously focused on what her role is that in the past four months she's barely noticed a thing I do. Just oblivious to exactly how much behind the scenes administrative work, organization, and time management it takes to run two restaurants. And I can't hold her against herself; it's one of my rules.

Anyway. When she said this, I just sort of sat there smiling, amused, because I know my worth - and I know my bosses do, too. And sure enough, my boss's boss - the number two in the company - immediately came out from my corner. Talked about how multiple times I have turned entire stores over in terms of staffing, and brought in "literally the nicest people in the company." Talked about the gift I have for finding and keeping the right people. Talked about how "people want to work hard for Ellie." (Didn't talk about my gorgeous spreadsheets, because he doesn't see them very often. But rest assured, my spreadsheets are gorgeous.)

None of this matters to her, of course. But it matters to me.

---

Been a rough go lately. Crying at the drop of a mask. 

Cried at the picture of the dead salmon in the river in Northern California, cooked by the heat. 

Cried at the picture of the dead baby flamingos in Turkey, killed by drought. 

Cried when a beloved regular customer we've been serving for months came in with her newborn baby. Saw her sitting on the patio with family, rushed out to congratulate her and meet the little one. She reached into the bassinet and pulled the blanket back to reveal a tiny, perfect little girl whose name I already knew. "You've been feeding her for nine months," the woman said, smiling at me. The group laughed, but tears sprang to my eyes. Babies do nothing for me. But pre-apocalyptic babies born during pandemics who could conceivably never see flamingoes in the wild or taste wild caught salmon -- or who might, if the world gets its shit together, and are therefore an incredible symbol of hope and optimism? That's a different story.

And if this is dark to read, imagine what it's like to feel. 

So why am I extra-extra emotional right now? 

1. Delta variant + piece of shit anti-vaxxers. Die in a (California wild)fire, you selfish fucks.

2. My financial goals are both tantalizingly within reach and seemingly years off. Discouraged at how long things are taking.

3. Relapsing on some things I thought I'd moved past. 

4. But mainly, how very alone I feel, save for a few dozen climatologists on Twitter, in knowing that shit is going south a lot faster than people realize or want to admit to themselves.

Some days you soar through. Some nights you dance through. And sometimes, just surviving your own thoughts is an accomplishment worth being proud of.

and now you know what my bewbs look like

Just got home from getting my first mammogram, which was nothing like what I expected. I don't know where I got the dreadful vision that's been playing in my head for months, involving some ancient, steel torture device that was going to smash my tits together then make loud, scary, shuttering noises for ten minutes while I kept my arms raised above my head in surrender to my own mortality.

No steel; the piece that touches your breast is plastic, and flexible. No raising your arms above your head; you hang one down and wrap the other around the machine, depending on the image being taken. There's even a handle if you want. (I did not hold the handle. Holding the handle made it feel like I was in a sports car, and I did not want the tech to see how quickly she could go from zero to sixty.)

And it's one boob at a time. What the fuck. That's so easy. I don't know why, but the instant I realized that, all of my fear and anxiety melted away. 

Didn't stop me from deadass interviewing the technician, however, like I was the new Cedars Sinai hiring director. 

"What's your name?"

"Lupe, it's really nice to meet you. How long have you been doing this?"

"Cool, cool. So like, how many of these do you do a day?"

"This form here refers to 'some discomfort'. Can you tell me more about that? Are we talking during or after or both."

"And this bit about ruptures. Can you expand on that? How many times has that happened?"

"Never on your watch, you say? Lupe, I'm really glad you're working today." 

"This machine looks pretty new. Is it?"

"How much do you think this thing costs? Are we talking hundreds of thousands or a cool mil?"

"Yeah I'm definitely nervous, but I mean. Cedars Sinai. Doesn't get more cutting edge than here, right? Lupe? Right?"

We did stop twice because I got a little dizzy, but that's just because all I'd eaten all day was a Red Bull, because self care is my jam.

And now just for fun, just for body positivity and all that, here is the single solitary photo of my naked breasts in existence, because believe it or not, I literally never take topless photos. But for whatever reason, I took this one just before leaving K-town last year. In fact if you look carefully you can see at least three teenage roaches jerking off to me in the background:

y the hat tho??

Who knows. In a week when I get my results, they could say Sorry, lady. There's something rotten in them thar hills, so I'mma enjoy them for now, just in case. 

namesake

I hired a kid who shares your name. 

I almost didn't. "What's his name?" I asked the friend who referred him. He told me and I groaned. No. But he's down to earth, and earnest. He has a good sense of humor. He's been a good find. 

It was weird at first, to say. To write on the schedule, and so forth. 

But it's been four months. And now when I see that particular arrangement of letters, I think of him, and I see his face in my mind. And when he texts, there's no question who it is.

It's like he took a thing from you, slipped it behind his back, worked some magic, and handed it over to me, a different thing. And I can hold it, and it doesn't hurt. 

I'm lucky in the weirdest ways.

tommy baynen: elderflower


Virtually undiscovered gorgeousness from an emerging artist. So much beautiful music everywhere lately. 

just one perfect song

 Hi hello, the new Ben Bohmer track is so jaw-droppingly beautiful it requires its own post.


Happy Friday.