I Feel Seen!

Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive

Admitting that a highly contagious, deadly pandemic had done little to stoke his creativity, local man Michael Ayers confided to reporters Wednesday that he wasn’t sure why he had imagined the most stressful situation he had ever experienced would be the thing that finally made him more productive.

“Despite my high hopes, the most devastating crisis of my life hasn’t turned out to be the catalyst I needed to meet all of my long-held personal goals,” said Ayers, who added that he had no idea what he was thinking when he told himself that being furloughed from his job and enduring a sustained period of emotional isolation would be just what he needed to start eating better, acquaint himself with world cinema, and get a jumpstart on the novel he had always wanted write.

“For some reason I took a look at an economic catastrophe that may soon rival the Great Depression and said, ‘Oh great, now I’ll have the energy and the space I need to focus on my creative side.’ But I guess living with ever-present, crushing uncertainty and the knowledge that people all around me are dying wasn’t the stimulus I needed after all.” At press time, Ayers had reportedly decided that, going forward, he would instead focus all his time and attention on feeling guilty about his lack of productivity.

Thank you, The Onion. I needed to read that.

Making Salmon and Mistakes

I’ve decided I’m going to start using every day in the quarantine as an opportunity to learn something. Not in a “Hey, I taught myself Korean!” kind of way but more like “Oh, so THAT is what makes me completely worthless. Good to know”.

For example, I’m finding that I have the most energy in the morning but only once I get moving. If I use that energy to do my morning routing as if I were getting ready for work, the momentum carries me to my next task.

If the timing is right, I can then sit out on my patio while it’s still cool enough and write my journals and get some fresh air. If I wait too long, it gets too warm. Plus, the later in the morning, the noisier the apartment complex. (Between Clompy McClomperton next door and the remodeling of a downstairs unit, it’s the opposite of serene.)

If I eat too big of breakfast, I immediately grind to a halt. Otherwise, I grind to a halt mid-afternoon, around the time my wife wakes up. Good to know. (I may just have to start incorporating siestas into my daily routine. ¡Ay, Dios mío!)

Anyway, I decided I would grill plank salmon for us for dinner tonight. The first time I did it last May, the planks caught on fire but the meal turned out surprisingly good. See?

Plank Salmon
Yeah, I planned it that way.

I tried it again about a month ago and did everything by the book. It took 3 times longer to cook, tasted OK and left the planks in good enough condition to be reused.

So, tonight, I reused them. I soaked the planks. Prepped the grill. Planned the timing of the sides. Put the wet planks on the grill to preheat. Eventually, I went out with the seasoned salmon and, when I opened the grill lid, both the planks had caught fire. (Don’t preheat the planks with the lid down. Good to know.) They were only slightly burning but, no matter what I did, it only made the flames grow.

“Welp, I don’t have time to soak another set of planks and these are already burning and they actually smell pretty good. And the grill is heated. Smoked salmon it is!” So, I moved the flaming wreckage to one side of the grill, put the salmon on the other and then closed the lids. Fingers crossed.

Just about the time I had finished the sides, I pulled the salmon off the grill. And they were, by far, the best salmon I’ve ever made. Crisp skin, smokey flavor, flaky meat and the perfect temperature. Now, I don’t know if I could ever recreate what I did tonight but, at a time when I’m so hard on myself for not doing everything right or handling things perfectly, it’s nice to be reminded that I can wing it and totally mess everything up and still have it turn out better than I could have hoped for.

Good to know.

I Tried. I Gave Up.

My coffee maker stopped working yesterday.

I woke this morning, stepped in cat puke on my walk to the kitchen and then discovered that we’d failed to put the leftovers from last night’s meal into the fridge after it had cooled. Total loss.

I immediately wrote the day off, fed the cats and went back to bed.

Anyway, the title of this post is a lyric from a Nine Inch Nails’ song that’s been running through my head lately. Here’s the video:

Interesting fact: this was filmed in Sharon Tate’s old house which Trent was renting at the time. Also, look at baby Marilyn Manson!

More Like “Whereville”

While I was waiting for what ultimately would be “as good as we could have hoped for” news from work today, I discovered that Universal had torn down the set for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (via /Film)

A real-life Grinch may have arrived early to Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. The Whoville set from the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas has apparently disappeared from the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, according to helicopter footage recently taken of the film studio and theme park.

I took a screenshot from the helicopter footage in the article and compared it with the satellite view on Google Maps.

Yep, gone.

I got some of my best performing opportunities because of the Grinch movie. In fact, my first SAG commercial was shot on that very set. I’m sad to see that it’s gone.

The In-Between Time

Citizen Eco-Drive Junction

I bought the above Citizen wrist-watch when I was living in Japan. I found it simple and classy and I loved that it showed the day of the week in English and Kanji. I didn’t wear it a lot at first but, for the last few years, thanks to where I work and a newfound love of all things analog, I’ve been wearing it nearly every day.

Until, of course, recently. Once COVID-19 made pants, basic hygiene and the tracking of time optional, a watch seemed rather pointless.

Anyway, I picked it up the other day and I noticed that the second hand was acting peculiar. It would twitch and stall, moving along in little 2-second jumps. Technically it was still working but it seemed to be winding down. And, because it was running slower than usual, it had fallen behind and was getting the date wrong.

Turn out that, because my watch is powered by light and hadn’t seen any for a few weeks, it had switched to a “low charge state mode”. I just needed to leave it in the sun for a few hours to recharge it. After that, once I reset the time and date, it worked great.

My job shut it’s doors to the public back in mid-March. At the time, they made the remarkable decision to continue paying employees for what they would have worked. So, for the past few weeks, technically, I’ve been “working” but it feels like things are winding down. I’ve been acting peculiar. I twitch and stall. I’m running slower than usual, falling behind and I keep getting the date wrong.

Today is the last day of that payment agreement. It’s been announced how work is going to handle other departments but, because my wife and I are both union performers, our fates are still up in the air. A few hours ago, we finally got an email from our union rep saying that an agreement had been made on our behalf and we’ll find out the terms… tomorrow.

When I got that news, I officially entered my “low charge state mode”. I gave up on the night, showered and will be in bed before 9. I hope there’s good news for my wife and me tomorrow but, right now, I feel like I’m caught in the middle of one of those odd 2-second jumps.


The New Level 3

About a year ago, I bought a Five-Minute Journal to help me find a bit more gratitude in my life.

Finally got around to starting it this morning and, in the introduction, I was struck by the middle paragraph:

I can only hope that, once they survive their second once-in-a-lifetime financial crisis AND a global pandemic, the twenty-somethings out there can finally get back to their mobile-phone games. They’ll have earned it.

Amazing how an, arguably, contemporary book can already feel like such a relic.

[The above aside, it’s a good journal!]