Tuesday, June 16 2020

clown fish, imitation crab, and shots at avatar

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Tuesday, from my computer screen to yours. How are you feeling today?

I'm running a bit behind this morning. Weirdly, I overslept by only about twenty minutes today, so I'm waking up in the worst of both worlds. Not only to I have the sensation that I'm trying to catch up with my day, but I also don't really notice the extra sleep, as it just amounted to a power nap. Next time, I'll be sure to oversleep by a few hours just to make the mistake count.

But I'm here now, right where I'm supposed to be - writing at the keyboard, drinking a fresh cup of coffee. The dogs have been fed and relieved, and Krang is downstairs in his jar chewing on a fresh 113 g scoop of wheat flour. The morning routine prevails.

Sip. It feels good to be drinking Rockford's Fire Department Coffee again. We took a little break from our usual brew to work through a big bag of Starbucks House blend that my parents treated us to. And kind of like coming home from a long vacation, you simultaneously enjoy the variety as well as the return to the usual.

Would you like to hear some exciting fish tank news? Yesterday, we woke up two what looked like two blood fire shrimp hanging out in the tank - one of them a fresh, vibrant Bruno, and the other a ghostly pale molt.

"I think Bruno molted," said Marissa. "Ugh, I think I could puke."

"Oh cool," I said shuffling over to the tank in my bathrobe. "You know I read on reddit that if you leave the molt in the tank, he'll eventually just eat it."

"We're not doing that," protested Marissa.

"Oh c'mon," I persisted. "It's his first molt. It's kind of... significant, right? Bruno became a man last night."

"He has twenty-four hours," said Marissa narrowing her eyes at me. "Then I throw it away!"

To be honest, Bruno shedding his exoskeleton was hardly the big fish news yesterday. We also made the trip to the clown fish depot and picked up Ibb and Obb. We named them after a silly little video game Marissa and I played when Rodney was first born. Ibb and Obb are doing just fine. After completing the acclimation out of their plastic bag, I think they appreciate all the new extra space with only one loner of a shrimp roommate to deal with.

And speaking of which - geez, Bruno. You picked a terrible day to pull this gross exoskeleton stunt of yours. Are you trying to freak out the clown fish?

In the afternoon, I finally got around to making a recording of myself reading the Dutch short story De Noordenwind. For someone who was starting to think they were getting good at Dutch, hearing your own isolated audio is a helpful, albeit crushing reality to face. Every imperfection seemed to leap into my headphones - the stuttering, the weak vocal chords, the r's that don't quite bounce, and the dipthongs that don't quite hold their shape. On one hand, I feel proud of how far I've come in a year, but I'm also grateful for the reality check. Learning a new language takes some serious time, and if only a year of Duolingo was all it took be ready to chat up a none-the-wiser native speaker, wouldn't more people be doing this?

If you're curious to hear where I'm at, or you're just in the mood for a shoddy bedtime story, help yourself to my recording.

Yesterday, for dinner, I made crab mac and cheese. Marissa teased me that I seem to make seafood whenever we add a fish to our tank, and so far that holds true.

"I just bought imitation crab," I said before we started eating. "I was excited about trying it with lobster, and I knew lobster was expensive, but I didn't know it was that expensive."

"How much was it?" Marissa laughed.

"They only had one giant lobster tail in the freezer at Hy-Vee, and it was $37 dollars," I replied. Marissa practically did a spit take.

"Compare that to the imitation crab, which was a cool five bucks for this whole pack," I laughed.

And even for just being a type of mac and cheese, the recipe was kind of involved. It started with a wasabi and butter roux, milk, fresh nutmeg, paprika, and finally a whole bunch of freshly grated white cheddar. The fondue was tossed in a casserole dish with imitation crab meat seasoned with old bay, and finally topped with buttered parmesan bread crumbs before being smothered in heat under the broiler.

"What - you didn't like the crab?" I said sharply. Marissa had a little mound of cheesy crab meat scooted to the side of her plate.

"No! I like it," said Marissa defending herself. "I just ran out of noodles to go with it." Rodney too had a little mound of imitation crab meat scooted to the side of his cleaned plate.

"Oh, you and your 'ratios'," I said with a wave. "You two are a couple of weirdos if you won't eat imitation crab covered in cheese."

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I cleaned up the house, then moved further along with this week's movie pick: Avatar. And with two hundred words remaining in this post, I think I'll just spend them on taking shots at the movie Avatar.

First off, you would have to conclude that the money spent on perfecting the CGI in avatar was a waste. Watching the movie on a new living room TV in 2020, the visuals were about as impressive as they are in A Bug's Life.

"Seriously," I heckled. "This scene right here - with all of them running across the tree branches, could be right out of A Bug's Life. And how big was the budget for that movie?"

Marissa laughed. "You have a point. Now I feel like I'm watching A Bug's Life."

And you should have heard us heckling in the scene where rugged American marine Jake Sully locks eyes with a dragon, wrestles it to the ground, and forcibly connects their love braids together.

"Nah, you're reading into that," protested Marissa. "That's not creepy."

"Look," I explained. "The line about how you know a dragon chooses you when it tries to kill you, especially in the context of soul bonding... it's a little too close to no means no territory."

And wouldn't you know it? The very next scene was a love scene between Jake Sully and the native. With an explicit call back to the dragon scene. She must also choose me, said Jake Sully.

"I told you it was a metaphor," I said smugly. "James Cameron should be glad he got this movie out before #MeToo, or he would have been in some hot water for the insinuations here."

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by.