Yesterday I thought of doing something and instead I took a walk, met up with friends for a coffee, bought some things I’d need to cook and came home. I had a scotch with a friend on the sidewalk in front of the house. Then I had another one on the back deck (by myself). Then I thought about starting to cook.
The scotch is a single malt made under the imprimatur of The Scorpions. Yes. The Rock You Like A Hurricane guys. German pop-metal dudes. It is distilled by Swedes. My friend bought me the bottle because he hasn’t been able to find the bottle he wants to buy me, for my birthday (which was in December) and the lack of a present was hanging over him like a malted cloud and so he panic-bought me a scotch made by The Scorpions. It’s a fine scotch, with a sweet hint of the cherry cask in which it aged (a nod to Germany, I suppose), but other than the sweetness, there’s not much to it. The thing gets the job done.
For dinner, I made some brown Basmati rice and added sauted onion and garlic and tiny heads of broccoli. Some crushed chilis. I burned off some white wine. To the rice I’d added some leaves of bok choy and I let them steam as the rice cooked. I fired up the grill. I marinated some chicken thighs in olive oil and lemon juice and fresh oregano and garlic. Salt and pepper. I cut up some peppers and zucchini and placed them in a large bowl and added some oil and garlic and thyme. Salt and pepper. Threw it all on the grill.
Dinner was fine. Good even. Cooking has been the one great positive of this whole stay-at-home plague thing. And it is the one time of day the family sits in the same place, if for a little while. I’m both surprised and overjoyed that we manage to eat together almost every evening and have done so for the past year. My son is 21 so this feels like we’re in bonus time.
These are the days. I write, sometimes, but not often enough. Same goes for reading. Both require a level of concentration I’m not sure I have now. At least I haven’t for a good month. I think about the future. The very near future. Not tomorrow, but next month. Three months. Short-term thinking. Long-term thinking feels foreign. So when I say I think about the future, I may be lying. I’m just not sure. I watch sports on TV. I watch movies. But even there, if a movie is too long, I hesitate (and having said that we have watched Sound of Metal, Nomadland, and Promising Young Woman in the past few weeks and I strongly recommend all three). The idea of committing time to things now, to anything, feels hard. A year ago, I was buying puzzles. I was also writing, a lot. The result of the writing, at least, is in my agent’s hands. My wife did all the puzzles. I never really liked them.
I tried to get into Clubhouse recently. I can see the appeal of it, and obviously many people do, but I’m on the fence. I was a late adopter to podcasts and even now I’m not sure sure I can sustain my interest in a single podcast for a long time. I took to them because I’m developing tinnitus (this could be age or something more basic but I’m not going to see the doctor until the Covid numbers come down — I told my doctor about it during our last call and she said, essentially, what do you want me to do?) and instead of listening to music on my walks I started listening to podcasts.
Clubhouse is for people who like to talk, or for people who like to listen to other people talk. The numbers are relatively small (though it’s in the millions), still, because it’s only available on iPhone. A lot of the talk on Clubhouse is about Clubhouse. I can see Clubhouse becoming the CrossFit of social, if you know what I mean. There’s a lot of money talk on the app. NFT talk. The Hustle is strong on Clubhouse and most early-adopters seem quite accomplished in their chosen field. A lot of those fields are being rich, or being good at marketing, or C-suite types, or, again, all of the above, which feels like a road lined with NFTs. (I have thoughts about NFTs but this is a good place to start thinking about them: are they just a kind of joke that got out of hand?) The buzz on Clubhouse is enormous and all the other social channels are either copying it or trying to buy it. I can see the influence of the app exploding. But…
Maybe I haven’t found my community there yet. Or maybe I don’t like people in general enough for the site. Or perhaps I’m not ready to engage with so many people. With so many… strangers. Clubhouse honestly feels like those party lines from the 70s. I haven’t enjoyed speaking on the phone for decades. I hate the phone. My calls tend to be curt.
When I was a teenager, I could spend hours on the phone and often did. Then I grew out of it. Then I started writing letters to friends. And then I started writing. I kept journals. I guess I haven’t stopped. I was an early adopter of Twitter. It was writing and it was short! And it was a sweet, funny place. Then it stopped being sweet or funny or short. Every time I’m on Twitter feels like an invitation to doomscroll….
I text. I use emojis! My bitmoji is cute.
I was vaccinated last week and other than a sore arm I feel fine. My second appointment is in a few months. To see the Americans rush ahead on vaccination is hardly a surprise — Americans make things (still, despite all that has been ceded to China), dream big, and they are great at logistics. So they have rushed ahead of Canada (we cut down trees and take minerals and other resources out of the ground and then ship that raw material out to be manufactured by the Americans and the Chinese) but I suspect, at some point, we will catch up, and then surpass the Americans once again, because there are more politics involved in getting jabbed in the US (I think less than 65% say they will seek out the vaccine; the number in Canada is above 80%, according to Leger) and more Canadians will end up with the jab. I get the feeling that many Americans have already forgotten about the sheer number of their compatriots who have died, and how odd it remains that so many of them were allowed to. Canadians have always been a safer people than Americans (Americans promise “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and Canadians promise “peace, order and good government” — we’re like the quiet suburb to the north of FunkyTown) and sometimes we pay for it. But not in, you know, staying alive. We’re pretty good at that for the most part (as long as you weren’t in a managed care facility in Ontario or Quebec the past year). The culture of death, and its general acceptance, is just more prevalent south of the border, for many reasons. It’s one of the primary differences between the two nations.
Things that are cool:
/ Lost whales
/ This proposed video game…that will use NFTs. I think. (Whatever, the story is incredibly compelling).
/ Making rocks out of the carbon in the air and saving the world.
/ Moving (evolving?) beyond capitalism… and saving the world by 2030.
/ So NFTs are not going to save the world. They are energy intensive (and environmentally destructive) because they rely on crypto. So, no, I won’t be selling my tweets.
/ I’m wearing sweatpants as I write this. You are probably wearing some as you read this. Fashion has gone to shit. (Full disclosure: I am starting to eye some throwback Adidas track suits rather covetously).
/ The plague has revealed our true animal nature.
/ Germans have created some amazingly funky long words during the plague, as is their wont.
/ Ecocide is a thing and its going to become more and more of a thing.
/ A river in northern Quebec is granted personhood.