Saturday, January 1, 2022

Venturing into 2022

Today is the first day of the new year.  2022 sounds so futuristic for this guy who was born in the 1960s.  

After 2020, I was cautiously optimistic that 2021 would ultimately bring a return to "normal" life -- or whatever we would now call normal in the wake of COVID.

With the brutal year of stops and starts in 2021, I'm having trepidations for the new year.  I'm resigned to the fact that COVID will likely be here to stay.  But with the expansion of vaccines and drugs to treat it, it won't be the threat to life it originally was.  And maybe -- just maybe -- we'll learn to live with it the way we live with the flu and other viruses that seem to show up year after year.

I believe in science and I have faith in the drugs that have been offered so far.  I'm also happy to get a booster shot every 6 months if that's what's required to return to some form of normalcy.

I think it is the uncertainty that has so many people filled with anxiety.  Should I make plans to see friends?  Should I plan a vacation?  Should I eat meals indoors with others?  I'm not even asking about wearing a mask.  I'm going to wear one for now on.  No questions asked.  And I'm not going to stop until I'm feeling really confident about not wearing one.

I guess I will approach 2022 with hope.  I'm not going to go as far as optimism but I think hope is the best we can hope for right now.  

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!  Hoping for a healthy year for all of us.


Friday, December 31, 2021

Dipping Into The New Year


Happy New Year’s Eve! For a Covid-safe New Year’s my family is staying home tonight, but we decided to make it special, so we’re throwing ourselves a dip party. If you haven’t heard of it, basically it’s a trendy idea where everyone who comes to a party (or in our case, just us) brings a different kind of dip and stuff to dip it in, and then the whole party is just fondue style-eating. Personally, I love dips and think they’re incredibly versatile, so I thought this was such a fun idea for us. We’re making things like Taco dip, hummus, guac, spinach & artichoke dip, and then for dessert we’ve got dipping chocolate and I’m making vegan caramel dip. I love the idea because in a normal party setting, people can bring their favorite dips, potluck-style, and it can take you out of your comfort zone of normal stuff you’d make.

I was talking to my mom about this idea, and we were talking about other food theme parties that would be fun. One of my ideas was a soup party. I would like to eat my whole meal through a straw (kidding). But in all seriousness, I think soup is a seriously underrated food group, and there are so many different kinds of soup and they’re all so good. No one every claims that “French onion soup” or whatever is their favorite food, but soup always slaps when you order it. As long as you own enough bowls, it would be such a fun party.

My mom’s idea was to have a crostini/bruschetta party, mostly because she has a thousand delicious-looking crostini recipes saved in her recipe binders, and she struggles to find opportunities to use them. So this party theme would give her an excuse to break those out. Plus, who doesn’t love “stuff on bread”? And, it can also be dessert-ified, which only adds to the theme.

Hopefully in the new year, we’ll be lucky enough to be able to have many safe parties, and then we can break out all the fun themes. But for now, we’ll be dipping tonight and cheers-ing at midnight. Hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Science Non-Fiction

Whenever I get pessimistic about climate change I always try to frame it in my head that we’ll just be living in a future sci fiction movie dystopia and I really like science fiction movies. 

Because climate change is just real science fiction. 

Science nonfiction. 

Which is just another way of saying that something is real. 

I would have preferred more of a Star Trek future, but it looks like we might be heading more in the direction of Mad Max. Would’ve been nice to have a future where a diverse group of people in monochrome uniforms explore space but we might have to settle for racing in the desert while playing heavy metal and looking for water. 

The worst part of the Mad Max future is the heavy metal, isn’t it? I think car races are cool, I’m not crazy about water, but heavy metal sucks.


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Correct Is Refreshing

I preface this post with the understanding that most places are short-handed these days.  From restaurants to stores to just about anything you can think of, everyone has "Help Wanted" signs posted and they are looking for people.  OK.  I get that and I appreciate that everyone is understaffed.

However, it really seems that service standards have declined dramatically over the past few years.  Maybe it is just me but it is rare for us to place a food order by phone without something being missing when it gets delivered.  It has gotten to the point where our preference is to place orders online so that we can at least feel confident that we wrote down exactly what we wanted in the first place.  If it goes wrong from there, at least we know we did what we could to cut out one level where things could break down.

It has made me so conditioned to expect things to be wrong that when things are done correctly, it is surprising and refreshing.  Good service stands out these days because it is so rare.  And when we do experience, I now go out of my way to make sure that a manager or customer service person knows that we had a good experience and that it was so appreciated.

I know this is first world problems.  Just reeling from a week of bad customer service experiences.


Julie And The Phantoms

            Hi folks! Sorry I’m a day late- I was applying for summer jobs last night. However, going to write about what’s on my mind today, which is on my mind almost every day.

Julie and the Phantoms is a show on Netflix that was originally made for children, so why do I, as a 20 year old care about it? It was created by Kenny Ortega, who is iconic, and tells the story of a teenage girl who ends up meeting the members of a teen ghost band from the 90s, who help the girl reconnect with music after the loss of her mother. 

The premise sounds ridiculous, and there are certainly some silly moments that are just for kids to laugh at, but this show means a lot to me. Not only does it have great POC, LGBTQ+, and mental illness representation, but every actor in the show plays their own musical instruments, and the result is an absolutely BANGIN soundtrack. I was in the top 0.5% of listeners for them on Spotify this year, and they were also my top artist last year, despite the show only having come out in September of 2020.

Since the show has come out, it has gained a very large following online of fans my age, younger, and older. It has won Emmys and other awards, and is beloved by many. However, after waiting over a year with no news, it was announced about a week ago that the show was not being renewed for season 2, which is just garbage. Now, fans are rallying around platforms like Hulu or Disney+ to try to pick up the show, including myself. Going to attach a petition link so that anyone who wants to help can.

This show has made me laugh, cry, and sing more than any other, and I am hoping beyond hope that it will be saved. Thanks to anyone willing to help, and I wish you a wonderful Wednesday!

             Here's the link.  You know what to do.

Thanks in advance.  


Monday, December 27, 2021

Cultural Appropriation

I finally had my much delayed college graduation ceremony this past fall, which was good. I got some closure. I went to school upstate so I spent a few years driving throughout New York and when I’m going through these rural areas I keep seeing Confederate flags on people’s lawns. And I don’t get it.

Because the one argument people have for flying confederate flags is that they want to honor a piece of their heritage. But if you’re from New York? That’s not your heritage. Your ancestors were Yankees, baby. Your ancestors fought for the winning and morally superior side and you’re flying the losing flag. Like an idiot. I don’t think southerners would be very pleased with you flying their flag. That’s not your heritage, that’s cultural appropriation. Conservative southerners do not like your cultural appropriation.



Sunday, December 26, 2021

Christmas Strategy

When buying Christmas gifts for people, what's your strategy?  Everybody has one.  Even if you think you don't, you really do.

Here are some common strategies:

What does this person need?  To some people, there is no higher satisfaction when giving a gift than to have the giftee say, "That was exactly what I needed."  The gift giver took notes months in advance of Christmas whenever they were with the giftee.  Need new pot holders in the kitchen.  Wished they had a throw pillow for their favorite chair.  Broke the handle on their favorite coffee mug.  These gifters pay attention to the details and always have a keen eye out for the perfect gift.

What does this person like?  These gifters know their giftees well and can identify their favorite things.  Big fan of trashy romance novels?  Likes loud Christmas sweaters?  Collects bulldog figurines?  Knowing and identifying these likes assure you'll buy a gift that is a hit.

What would this person never get for themselves?  Some people intentionally pick things that their giftees would never think to buy for themselves.  Skydiving lessons?  A set of rollerblades?  Some snazzy pink suspenders?  Sounds perfect.

What's on sale?  Buy a bunch of stuff that is on sale or looks cute -- some candles, some Blu-rays, a picture frame, some books, a nifty calendar.  Then look at your list of people you need gifts for and match column A to column B.  Got Aunt Marge a candle last year?  Looks like she's getting the calendar this year.  Make sure all of your boxes get checked.

Which category do you fall in?