Tuesday, December 10 2019

sick days, refunds, homemade marinara, and video editing

1131 words

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Hope you’re all staying warm out there. According to weather.com, it’s going to be pretty cold today, so if that’s true for you, make sure you bundle up. This morning, I’ve got a nice hot cup of coffee on the table, and the rest of my family is comfortably sleeping upstairs.

I’m glad that Rodney finally got some sleep. Yesterday when I got home from work, he woke up from his nap looking pretty terrible. Marissa said that all he had for lunch was some water and a couple of paw patrol fruit snacks. His fever spiked a few more times in the evening. Poor guy.

Lucky for him, he doesn’t have any plans anyway. Being sick sucks, but remember that dreadful feeling of having to catch up on homework when you took a sick day in school? That was always the worst. Somehow you’d end up doing twice the amount of work you normally do, and to ensure you’re not absolutely buried in homework the next day, of course you have to get a jump on it when you’re still feeling sick, but well enough to work on something. I’m happy that Rodney had nothing to worry about. Last night, after politely excusing himself from dinner, we let him settle in on the couch under a blanket and zone out to some Blippi.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I got lots of work done. Contrary to what I was thinking yesterday morning in my sleepy Monday delirium, I am not on ticket duty, so I have a whole extra week before I need to turn on that part of my brain. And after ticket duty, I have a whole week off for Christmas. That worked out pretty well. Working extra hard, then not working at all is an great pairing, isn’t it?

I spent most of the day coding, taking breaks to catch up on emails and clean up some stuff on my laptop. I’m still on the fence about asking IT for a new laptop. Every time it starts acting a little wonky, a simple reboot seems to set things straight again, and waiting for my computer to reboot is a great time to get a cup of coffee.

I’m pretty sure there is something ingrained in my head that keeps me from returns, refunds, and exchanges. I’ll almost always instead find work-arounds, or convince myself that I didn’t really need the thing to begin with. One of the silliest examples of this trait is when I bought a skateboarding helmet from target about three years ago. I just needed a helmet so I could ride to work in the mornings, so while at Target, I snagged a pretty simple black adult helmet. Shortly after buying it and walking back to the car, I realized that the buckle was missing. A normal person would have turned around and gotten a refund, right? Not me. Instead, I tied a shoe lace between the straps where the buckle should have been. “This is fine,” I thought. “I can just untie the shoelace when I want to take the buckle off.” I must have used that helmet for half a year. In an effort to save me from embarrassment, my wife even retied the shoelace, and trimmed the excess so it wouldn’t hang down off my chin like a strange feathery goatee. So there’s the helmet story - a great example of my weird tendency to refuse giving up on something I own, no matter how silly the workaround. And it’s probably the reason I’ve convinced myself my four year old work laptop is just fine.

After work, leaving Rod to get some much needed sleep, I snuck away to Hy-Vee by myself to pick up spaghetti, some pork, and materials to make pasta sauce. But while standing in the aisle from which I normally buy marinara, I had a strange impulse to make it from scratch. Maybe I was feeling brave, or more likely I no longer wanted to choose between cheap premade marinara and the expensive yuppie marinara from the authentic food aisle at Hy-Vee. So instead, I grabbed a can of peeled tomatoes and an extra head of garlic.

I made the marinara a lot like my pizza sauce. Just some grated garlic, olive oil, and a bunch of oregano. In hindsight, I forgot to add the tomato paste - that probably would have made it even better. From there, I blended the can of tomatoes and added them to the mixture, and let it all gently simmer for about twenty minutes. After a pad of butter, you’d think it was a can of premade marinara after all. And the cheapness cortex of my brain lit up with endorfins at the prospect of saving four dollars.

Continuing the theme of dinner experimentation, I also gave my broiler another whirl, this time with some pork, lemon & cheese meatballs. It worked beautifully, searing the meat and giving them a nice crispy edge, but it would have been even better if I used tinfoil instead of my silicon mat. It also would have saved me a lot of time, as I had to scrub the meatball grease out of it after dinner.

Marissa and I ate pasta while Rod relaxed on the couch. We tried to get him to eat some plain noodles with cheese, but he wasn’t feeling it. We took him upstairs to give him a bath, which made him feel a lot better. Shortly after, we put Rodney to bed.

For the rest of the night, my plan was to catch up on chores, then edit a video for Marissa. She was even kind enough to take out the garbage and wipe down the table so I’d have more time in the video lab. This was the first footage taken with her new camera, and we were both eager to see the results. However, I didn’t anticipate how the larger raw videos would slow down the editing process. Usually, I speed up the videos, then use the mouse-over scrubbing to trim off the dead footage before adding music, but the videos were so large, rich, and detailed, that my software choked trying to preview the changes and decode everything on the fly. I think what I’ll have to do instead is run the raw footage through a script that will programatically speed them up to make them more tenable in the editor.

So that’s what I got today. It’s Tuesday, I’ve got leftover pasta and three meatballs packed in my backpack, and I’m ready to brave the cold and trot over to the bus stop. Wherever you are, and whatever you’re up to today, I hope you have a wonderful day today.