Once again, I return unable or unwilling to write a blog post about one thing, so you get a blog post about several things. Please to enjoy, and feel free to say ‘hi’ in the comments below, let us all know how you’re doing, what you’re up to, if your brain has turned to trash bag juice and started to leak out your ears.
Fuck April Fool’s Day. Is it Fool’s? Fools’? Fools? Whatever, fuck it, it’s awful. It was awful before this year, and now, with us soaking in a pandemic, it’s extra awful. It is a refuge for mediocre pranks performed by people who think they’re funny and brands who are trying to mandate humor as a corporate strategy. It works sometimes, in the hands of a master — someone who doesn’t mock you, or trick you, but makes you laugh in a way that is unexpected, but those people are few and far between, and this year is definitely not a year to try out your HAR HAR I GOT THE RONA joke, Dave. That said, funny is still good, so sure, try to be funny. Share jokes, great. Share a favorite comedian or comedy routine. Just don’t try to “pull one over” on your fellow human beings. We’re fucking fragile over here, Dave. Don’t make us break quarantine to come hit you with a chair.
So, my emotions have stabilized somewhat. Last week, I was on a cocaine roller coaster of feelings, just dipping and diving between the feels, from anger to sadness to panic to weird giddy boilovers. That has stabilized in a way that is both comforting and creepy? I’ve entered into what feels like a sensory deprivation tank. It’s not precisely emotionless, but it is a soft, unfettered place. It is dark and vaguely peaceful while also being mentally moist and… I don’t want to say uncomfortable, but unnerving? Unnerving. That’s the word. But at least Jack Black’s on Tik-Tok.
I’ve tried to up my cooking game. We’re not at the point where I’m trying to do an episode of Chopped or anything (“In your basket are: four ramen flavor packets, a case of Slim Jims, a bag of yellow Skittles, and the last two-ply toilet paper roll in the house. Get cooking!”), but I definitely am feeling more creative. I was watching the Netflix show Chef, which is very good, and I loved that Roy Choi was all about how he doesn’t really make recipes — he just figures out what he has on hand and kinda feels his way through making a meal, knowing what tastes good together, what a dish needs, and so forth. Anyway. Whatever. I did a pork shoulder last night for tacos that was pretty fucking great — 3 lb. shoulder in a pot, homemade chicken stock halfway up the roast, lotta garlic and chili powder and cumin and some Mexican oregano and then a splash of pineapple juice, plus some Seed Ranch umami sauce. Salt, pepper, obvs. Three hours on 275, last hour on 325 with the lid off, just melt in your mouth. Popped it into tacos with some quick-pickled onions. Side dish: black beans with frozen spinach, again some more pineapple juice, garlic, chipotle-in-adobo, salt, pepper, more chili powder and cumin, cooked that for like an hour on low. Really came together. Lime juice splash on everything before eating.
Hot sauces, by the way, can’t be about burning your mouth (and later, your ass) shut. I don’t understand the need to try the hottest fuckin’ hell-sauce. I mean, I get it from a dare standpoint, but my dinners aren’t meant to be dares. I need flavor with that heat. Our current spate of regular-use hot sauces are: Cholula green pepper sauce, Seed Ranch smoked jalapeno, Aardvark Habanero, and of course, motherfucking Gochujang. You want a religious experience, make some mac-and-cheese and then before serving, just splatter it with Gochujang. Hnnngh. What are your go-to hot sauces?
We have VR. Oculus Quest. Hesitant to ever buy into anything Facebook owns, but we got one for Christmas and it ended up being a very good LOCKDOWN item. It’s not a real escape, but it kinda feels like one? GHOST GIANT is a beautiful game, and that’s one of the things about VR — I haven’t found many good “games” yet, in the sense that they are truly game-interesting, but I’ve found a lot of beautiful, artistic experiences. Which ain’t nothing in this day and age. SUPERHOT VR is fucking great, though. I wish it was twice as long as it was.
I want to watch the new Birds of Prey movie. But it’s an R-rated movie and I live in a house with a child who is home all day and I have no time in front of a television that is not family-friendly oh god I just want to watch a movie where they say bad words and shoot people and maybe there are boobs, I dunno. The 8-year-old can watch R-rated movies now, right? Sigh.
We’ve been watching Indiana Jones movies, though. Went through Last Crusade first, which I thought was the most… I dunno, kid-appropriate. Then Raiders. (Kid looked away during the infamous NAZI FACE-MELTING scene.) Skipped Temple of Doom so far because… I mean, first, it’s got a lot of ick-factor, from hearts out to monkey brains and shit. But also, it’s problematic as fuck, and that’s a movie that needs to come with some conversations. So we went to Crystal Skull, and are about 2/3rds through it. It’s both simultaneously better than and worse than I remember. Every good scene is immediately counter-balanced by some campy pulp that plays against the rest of the tone — and that’s the thing, tonally this thing is a pinball. All over the map. And CGI has made it feel small and cheap-looking in places. When it leans into real locations, it plays beautifully under Kaminski’s eye, but otherwise everything feels somehow lessened, like the grandeur and adventure is now video-gamey. But a dude does get disassembled by ants, so that’s not nothing.
Here is where I’m at, by the way. I did Skype a Scientist yesterday, except I’m not a scientist but that’s okay. Video here. Today I live chat with Gary Whitta, and tonight I record a Q&A with author Rob Hart. Friday is a Reddit Fantasy panel about the end of the world, and next week is a Reddit AMA with me. Saturday I’m Instagramming with Victoria Schwab. Links as I have ’em! Also, a reminder that most indie bookstores are open and delivering, so if you’re ever so inclined to check out my books, that’s a good way to help keep indie stores in business.
And that’s all from me.
Here’s a flower.