Tuesday, September 22 2020

old emails, sunset sauce, and the batman voice



banners/2020 09 22

Dear Journal,

Halo, goede mensen. Hello, good people. Good morning, and happy Tuesday. I hope this morning, everyone is being kind to you, and your coffee flows fresh and abundantly. We've got a busy day ahead of us, but that can wait. It's journal time. Pull up a comfortable chair, grab a cup of coffee, and prepare to read some words.

Around the house, my favorite greeting to use is It's good to see me. This phrase came out of a long ago era where Rodney was learning to talk. In the mornings while getting him out of his room, I would say "Good morning, it's good to see you!" Not knowing how to reciprocate, Rodney would just sleepily rub his eyes and reply yeah... good to see me. Good to see me.

Good to see me! I have some good news. Yesterday the good ol' Wheaton College student IT department responded to my aimless email asking to reset my student email password. Thanks to their heroics, I regained access to my old disorganized inbox and along with taking a short trip down memory lane, I also recovered my HNGR on the Moon paper.

"Did you find anything else good in there?" asked Marissa.

"Not really," I replied. "Mostly just me emailing papers to myself so I could print them in the chem lab. But there were a few gems lying in the rough."

I recovered a very dignified email from one of my chemistry professors scolding us for almost destroying a high performance liquid chromatography machine, or HPLC for short. Our professor explained to us that inside the machine was something like 100 yards of micron grade pressurized metal pipe. While we used the machine, it was imperative that we kept the tank filled with the ultra pure solvent as to not allow any air bubbles to get trapped in the intricate tubing. Well, between the three groups that used the machine over the weekend, nobody bothered to refill it, and I can only imagine how angry he must have been coming into the lab one early morning hearing a loud slurping noise out of the expensive, bone dry HPLC machine.

I had another humbling email exchange with my literature professor. The subject line just read "Sorry...". I had taken my laptop to class under the guise of taking notes, but had it confiscated because it became a distraction. Knowing me, the fact that I was not paying attention and actually furiously working on a new shell program was probably painfully obvious.

"This is great though," I told Marissa. "From this inbox alone, I'll probably be able to recover most of the school work that I lost. It will just take some time to comb through."

Sip. It was a good day yesterday. As the work day began, I had a hard time harnessing my focus, but I figured out how to leverage even my flighty mood as an advantage. I took the first portion of the day just bouncing around, finding chores and odd jobs to work on from our support queue.

I feel lucky. There's a lot of variety in my job, and I never have trouble finding something to do that also fits my mood. Do I feel like being introverted for a while? I can shut off slack and write a long technical document. Do I feel like helping someone fix something? I can just hang around in our team's support channel - there's usually at least one bug or request waiting.

For lunch, we had a decadent spread of leftovers. It was like a triumphant victory march through all the meals that we had eaten over the weekend. Leftover paella. Pork tenderloin with cream sauce. Nachos and guacamole. I didn't even get a chance to heat up the garlic mashed potatoes from the night before - everyone around the table was already stuffed.

The good filling lunch got my head right, and I found the motivation to dig into some more meaningful work. At quitting time, I locked my laptop and headed downstairs to start on dinner.

Yesterday's recipe was crispy ham in "sunset sauce". But to make it more Rodney friendly, I jokingly referred to it all day as dirty sauce - another gem that fell out of Rodney's pre-language brain.

In this recipe, "sunset sauce" was just a bechamel cream with a splash of marinara sauce. The sauce would be poured over a wide casserole dish, covering up rolled up pieces of ham and topped with cheese before baking in the oven.

Our grocery store was short of ham, so I had to break into my emergency pack of prosciutto. The thin, translucent strips of cured meat made for adorable little rolls, but it covered a hilariously small portion of the casserole dish. I padded things with a few strips of bacon as well.

In the oven, the sauce and the cheese melt together and start to crisp around the outside. But the really pretty part of the dish is the pieces of ham peeking out of the sauce, which also get crispy. We scooped it out of the piping hot dish onto some buttered pasta.

"What is this?" asked Rodney.

"It's dirty sauce," I replied. Rodney wrinkled his nose and laughed.

Normally on Monday, Rodney and I do a piano lesson. But having already promised we'd all watch the new Dude Perfect video, we agreed to play hooky and punt the lesson for another time.

"You still remember everything, right?" I asked.

"Yeah!" Rodney nodded, launching into a recitation. "Do-re-mi-frish-bish-flish... SO!" Close enough.

After putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I grabbed some beers and made our way to the couch to start another movie.

"I think I'm going to pick The Dark Knight," said Marissa. "Isn't that still like a ten-out-of-ten on IMDB?"

"I think it's come down since," I replied. "That's a funny movie, because of all the people I talk to, it seems like you either think it's the perfect movie, or the most over hyped piece of trash in all of cinema history. Never in between."

"I remember liking it," said Marissa.

"I liked it to," I replied. "I mean, except for the weird voice he does."

"What," said Marissa. "You mean... the Batman voice?"

"Batman's voice isn't supposed to be different. He's already wearing a mask, why would he need to cover up his voice?" I protested. "WHERE'S THA JOOOOKERRRRR," I growled.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day today.