Happy Rex Manning Day, everyone!
I was supposed to be in Washington DC right now. I had the hotel and airfare booked. I was going to work from DC for the week, and hang out in various neighborhoods to see what the food options were like, and maybe go to a concert midweek. I was going to look at apartments, hang out with friends a little, and maybe even see my cousin.
I was hoping to see the cherry blossoms while I was there. Of course, the cherry blossoms hit peak bloom about two weeks earlier than normal, so that was a wash. And then there was a pandemic, and everything got cancelled. Everything was pushed off and postponed and scrubbed away.
I wanted to talk about how all my canceled plans have me feeling adrift in this post. I wanted to relate it to the Kübler-Ross stages of grief, but every time I tried to write it that way, it just felt forced. Contrived. Besides, Homer did it better anyway.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. People close to me have lost family members to Covid-19. Others have lost their jobs as entertainment industry jobs shut down. I know that I’m incredibly fortunate to have employment that is unaffected by the pandemic, but I wrestle with these two notions:
Having all my concerts and trips be washed away like a sandcastle at high tide is incredibly depressing. I am incredibly bummed that all my plans have dissolved as concert venues close and travel becomes unsafe- but I simultaneously feel guilty about feeling bummed, because other people are facing harder losses. I’m sad about the stuff I don’t get to do, and I also feel terrible about being sad for the stuff I don’t get to do.
But enough of this navel-gazing- let’s talk about what I’ve been up to in order to pass the boundless time!
Firstly, an update on the data loss I wrote about in the previous post: I received the new NAS hardware at the end of last week, slapped the original drives into the new enclosure, powered it up, and… miracles occurred. Everything was still there.
I did some reconfiguration on the new hardware, ran a disk check, and started some proactive replacement of the older, smaller hard drives. I couldn’t have asked for a happier ending on what could have been a data-loss tragedy.
Secondly, I cut my own hair last week. Yes, really.
I have no idea when the hair places will reopen, and I was starting to feel desperate and fluffy. I discovered that one of the electric clipper thingies in my cabinet had a plastic spacer to keep it from being full buzz cut, and I set about trying to make myself look a little less like a Q-tip.
Luckily for me, my hair is pretty simple. I keep it short to begin with, so clippering out the sides did most of the work in making me look less fluffy. I tried to use the fingers-and-scissors thing that hair stylists do on the top of my head, and all I really succeeded in doing was scraping up my knuckles.
I can’t see the back, so I know it’s kind of a disaster. I suppose I could set up a complicated series of mirrors to retry the back, but I’m not quite that ambitious.
All in all, this could have come out so much worse.
Lastly, I tried a thing that I saw on BookFace, because it looked interesting, and I’m here to share my results with you all.
I started with a box of cornbread mix, some beef franks, and a muffin pan that had me wandering around the house singing, “Do you know the muffin pan? The muffin pan? The muffin pan!”
I used a box of “instant” cornbread mix. This is pretty simple stuff; it just needs eggs, milk, and butter.
My chosen meat was Hebrew National beef franks. There are several good options for the hot-dog part of these, but I’ve consistently enjoyed the flavor of Hebrew National.
Step one is to mix the eggs and butter. For what may be the first time ever, I have managed to melt butter in the microwave without a) having it spatter all over everything requiring a massive microwave cleaning, or b) breaking a glass because I misjudged how long to heat it.
I just want to take a moment to address the fact that my eggs and butter combined in some sort of mystical foodie sorcery to pretend they were an avocado.
And now I wonder if I could have managed to add avocado to this recipe…
The recipe called for milk, but I don’t keep actual milk around, so soy milk had to do. It worked fine though.
Pay no attention to the Pasta Boat in the background of this photo. It is NOT my most prized kitchen plastic. Shut up!
It was at this point in the cooking process that I remembered that landscape photos look better on the web than portrait photos do. OOPS!
It only took a few minutes of hand whisking to get the mixture ready to go. I don’t have a hand whisk. This is an electric mixer whisk attachment that I was just using by hand, because I am fancy.
A little PAM sprayed into the muffin pan (the muffin pan, the muffin pan) kept the mixture from sticking to the metal during cooking. They just popped right out after.
Based on the advice of a friend, I tried two hot dog delivery methods: upright and chopped.
During the cooking process, the upright ones did not stay upright. I don’t know if this is a failing of my dough or just gravity at work. Maybe I wasn’t chopping them at appropriate right angles.
The clear winner was the chopped hot dog muffins, because they delivered considerably more hot dog with every bite. All in all, I would call this entire experiment a delicious, delicious success.
What have you been doing to keep busy in quarantine?