Last week I found myself at 5pm, in a very hot house with a very heavy, stupid box, assembling a cat tree. I realized (as I unscrewed sisal-wrapped column from a carpeted piece of plywood for probably the fifth time, sweat dripping into my eyes) that this is the closest I’m likely to come to the sitcom experience of assembling a kid’s bike on Christmas Eve, unless some long-held opinions change pretty dramatically in the next few years. As I realized that attempt number six was still incorrect, I decided that that’s probably fine.
I got there eventually, badly-diagrammed instructions be damned, and now have a five foot tall carpet and rope monstrosity in the corner of my living room. My cat had another one, several years ago, but it was lost in one cross-country move or another. I hadn’t replaced it because cat trees look uniformly ugly as hell and my house only has four rooms in it; I’d prefer not to have 25% contain something that is both large and hideous.
But it’s quarantine, and it’s hot, and the cat has started sleeping directly on top of my face and trying to tear up the couch. So I caved. I selected the one I did from Chewy’s collection for the twin reasons of “it was in stock” and “it came in grey,” which is at least a slight improvement on the institutional beige that most are sold in. Small wins.
Though I can’t see I recommend setting up a giant, stupid piece of furniture when the house is so hot you’re sweating sitting still, I will say that the cat has lost his entire mind in joy at the thing. He’s even taking to sleeping in it part of the time, which has reduced my worry that I’ll suffocate to death because of my idiot childe. It is fun to watch his hindbrain compel him to climb into the very top of it and sleep in the little dish, feet dangling off into space. It’s reduced the amount of climbing into my lap and screaming that he does when I’m at work.
Most of my quarantine purchases have either been consumables or disappointing, but I will say that this one has been a success.
Shit to read
Rob Delaney writing about his vasectomy is a delight, as one might imagine.
A gut-punch of a piece on our current trauma.
I thought this look at how a algorithms force viewers into extremes was good, though I think it’s funny that his end example (porn as bad sex ed) is a conversation that has been going on for a long time in spaces where he isn’t, in the same way that algorithmic bias has been a talking point where his friends haven’t seen it.
This made me cry for the reasons one might expect.
I loved this look at what “technical” knowledge acquisition actually is (though I think the author perhaps minimizes the impact of gatekeepers). Flinging myself at problems and solving them in stupid, inefficient ways is the first step to solving them in less-stupid, more-efficient ways and it’s the only reason I know anything at my job. You’re bad at it until you’re not.
This made me want to crawl inside my own skin in reflexive shame.
This isn’t an individual choice thing so much as “our society is structured in a way that’s hostile to children and their caregivers” thing but yeah no this pandemic has affirmed my desire to not have kids.
I finally put Conflict Is Not Abuse back on my library hold list.
CW sexual assault but white evangelical purity culture is an unmitigated evil.
Fuck mental health startups.
Shit to eat
Find some short-grain rice in your pantry.
Put it in a sieve and rinse it until it’s, y’know, rinsed.
How much? Some, I don’t know. A cup?
Dump it into the pot. Fill the pot with water up to your first knuckle.
Worry that you will fuck this up as you have every other time you’ve made rice, despite being an otherwise competent cook.
Pop that shit on medium and wait. It will take longer than you think. It’s fine.
Eventually, the water will be at the rice level and the rice will be pockmarked. It will not cover the rice. You will make sure of this with SEVERAL google searches of the method.
Once you’re there, turn it down to low and put a lid on. Wait 15 minutes.
Kill the heat, and leave it covered for five minutes.
If you are not, like me, a dumbass, then fluff it, dump it in a bowl, and put it in the fridge. If you are me, don’t do that, and just acknowledge you’ll burn your hands.
Either way, chop up some cucumbers, cube some cream cheese, slice up some avocados, and flake some smoked salmon.
Take the rice out of the fridge if you’re smart, and put it in a bowl if you’re dumb, and add a few tablespoons of rice vinegar and a teaspoon or so of sugar and some salt. Taste until it’s pleasantly vinegary.
Once that’s sorted, grab some nori.
I guess step 0 is buy some nori if you don’t have some left in your pantry from like two years ago.
Grab a sheet! Scoop some rice up with your hands (cover them with vinegar water if you think about it) and spread it on about 2/3 of the nori sheet.
Halfway down the rice, put a line of filling. Use your heart to guide you on which of the above ingredients you want to pair with which others, but there are no wrong calls here. If you don’t have those, do tuna and mayo, or an omelette, or whatever. It’s all tasty.
When you’re done with that, roll it up. You can buy the bamboo mat, but I’ve generally found it to be easy enough to freehand. At the end, cover the nori with a little vinegar water to help seal it. Press everything into its little log.
Repeat this until you run out of fillings or nori or rice.
Grab the sharpest serrated knife you own (doing this with a dull knife makes it horrible) and carefully cut each log into an inch-and-a-half-ish wide piece of sushi.
Eat on your couch with some soy sauce and your hands, because fuck it.
Shit to watch
Oh this made me just cry.
Shit to buy
I mean, nori if you don’t have it. Gotta be prepared.