Sunday, December 22 2019

mixtapes, errands, roasted chicken, and splinter cell

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! It's a wonderful day, isn't it? It's only Sunday and I've had so much sleep, I barely feel the need to drink any coffee today. I still will drink coffee, because going without coffee in the morning would be absolutely crazy. Speaking of coffee, the Moccamaster is still absolutely killing it. I think we found our coffee maker for life. The smaller pot was a little strange to get used to (it's only 10 cups as opposed to the usual 12), but conversely it magically takes about five minutes to brew a new pot. I don't know how it heats up the water so quickly, but it's a joy to watch.

And my metal filter finally arrived in the mail - it fits much better than the flat paper ones I was using. Unbeknownst to us, the package had been sitting in front of our side door for a month, and while stepping out to drop off some cookies with our neighbors, Marissa stumbled across it. I guess we need to check that door for mail occasionally.

Yesterday was a pretty great day too. We all slept in and got a late start, then Marissa took Rodney out running some errands, leaving me at home with the dogs to work on my mixtape. I worked on it pretty much the whole day, ordering and editing tracks, arriving at just shy of 160MB of music. I didn't do any writing, but now I'm on the fence about it. I might instead put time into just making a cool CD cover and burning more copies. I think the mix turned out pretty good this year. I gave it a test run while I showered and got dressed, and it has got good momentum and decent variety.

After Marissa returned home with Rodney, we all jumped in the car again and went to Hy-Vee to pick up dinner. I decided to make Chef John's Greek lemon garlic roasted chicken & potatoes, which has been camping out in my favorites for a while. We picked up some drumsticks and thighs, russet potatoes, kale, and salad dressing. By the time we got home, it was already 6:30, so I decided to serve the kale salad first, which had sliced apples, grapefruit, a raspberry dressing, and just a whole hecking ton of roasted sunflower seeds. While we munched on salad and some bread, I roasted the potatoes and chicken in the oven, tossed in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices, and basted in some chicken broth. It turned out really good, and I think it will definitely be returning as a weeknight recipe.

We put Rodney to bed, then Marissa and I spent the rest of the night hanging out. I decided to play some video games, and being in the mood for some nostalgia, I spun up Splinter Cell: Conviction, which was a game released in 2010 that I was deeply obsessed with in college. The game really holds up. As I started the first level, all the muscle memory ingrained in my fingers from hours of playing that game returned, and to my delight I expertly zipped through the first four levels. Marissa came downstairs and joined me on the couch.

"So bring me up to speed here, what's this game about?" Marissa asked. I took a minute to gather my thoughts while absentmindedly choking out a guard in the shadows. "Well Sam Fischer is like this government agent special ops dude," I said. "And he thought his daughter died, but it turns out it was a set-up. And it wasn't even his daughter, and she might be alive. And the lady talking in my headset is Anna Grimmsdotter, and she's working as a mole for my old agency which is now run by this bad dude named Tom Reid…", my voice trailed off as I struggled to unpack the rest of the plot. "You know what," I said interrupted myself. "It's not really the kind of game where you need to understand the plot to enjoy it." Marissa nodded, undoubtedly relieved that she could check out from my meandering recap. As Sam, I was sneaking around a little carnival in front of the Washington Monument. Some dudes sent to take me out evacuated the carnival under the premise of a gas leak, and were now stalking the labyrinth of rides and attractions looking for Sam. We chuckled listening to the background dialog that would get louder as I approached an unsuspecting baddie. "Guys, we wanted to get the jump on Sam, but I think the opposite is true." In all my years of playing this game, I don't think even I've ever heard that line. And it sounded very out of place.

Just before shutting off the game, I abandoned stealth and ran into broad daylight and attracted a furry of machine gun fire. I wanted to see how long I could last. After running in awkward figure eights beneath a spotlight amidst frantic shouting and machine gun fire, Sam Fischer finally slumped to the ground. An EMP grenade I threw just before dying exploding, which looked especially cinematic. I turned off the game, and Marissa and I used the last hour of the night to enjoy some popcorn and watch a movie.

Today, the plan is to go to church (which is quickly approaching, at the time of writing this we have about forty minutes before we need to jump in the car). After church, we're going to go to the grocery store, which is going to take some thought, since between traveling and holidays, we'll need to get enough food in our house to last us through Christmas. Sometime in the afternoon, my good buddy from college Grant is going to stop by on his way up to Wausau, so we're looking forward to hanging out with him, and maybe even making him a snack to get him through the last leg of his drive. Lastly, it's game day. The Bears are playing tonight at seven, and for the first time in a while, all three of us will be home to watch it together. It might not be the most meaningful game of the season, but watching football together is fun on its own merit.

That's what I got today. Whatever you get up to, I hope you have a relaxing, yet productive weekend. Bear down!