Sunday, October 4 2020

my nas, football, and strange food combinations

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Dear Journal,

Happy Sunday, everyone. How is everyone's weekend going? The scene is pretty mellow around our house today. We planned on watching the Bears game at noon today, but the NFL postboned the game to later this afternoon because of some troubling COVID developments on other teams. As a result, we suddenly inherited a lot of extra time in the middle of the day that we didn't plan for, and after finishing breakfast and lunch, watching church, and cleaning the kitchen, we had no choice but to just hang around the house and do our own thing.

Marissa ran some errands. Rodney played quietly in his room. I continued to kick the tires and aimlessly piddle around with my fancy new Synology box. For the non-nerds reading, my "Synology" box is that little white computer I bought for my server rack.

After going through all the trouble through building a file server from scratch, this new synology box was embarassingly simple. No formatting disks or downloading images. No dragging tangled HDMI cabled out of my closet and borrowing a computer monitor from somewhere else in the house. I finished assembly at the kitchen table, and after only plugging it into the wall, it was ready to go.

I couldn't have timed the upgrade any better if I tried. While scripting out the slow and gradual migration process, I noticed that one of the hard drives in my old box failed, and the whole library was limping by in a degraded state. No data lost, thankfully. But it made me that much more grateful to get starting migrating the data to better, safer hardware.

And if you thought the synology box looked cool in the pictures, you should see how it looks in the dark. With the bedroom lights off, it makes for a serious light show - small flickering, blue dots, a green light for the status, and a deep orange colored glowing power button.

"Oh, there are even some settings that will let me turn it off, or just turn it off at night, if you want," I said to Marissa, fixated on my computer screen. "Do the lights bother you?"

"That corner of our room has had blinking stuff for so long, we're well past the point of it bothering me," she laughed.

I have some big upgrades planned. After the data migration completes, I'll gleefully retire the cheap stack of unsighly USB drives that powers the old system, then I'll set my sights on cleaning up the raspberry pi farm. My pi farm was one of those ideas that looked good on paper, but when planning out the shelf I didn't account for how much space the ethernet cables and power cables would take up, and that just about cancelled out the cool factor.

Sip. We had a wonderful weekend. On Friday, it got too cold to walk to the biergarten, so we instead opted for a much shorter, chillier walk across the street to the Malthouse. After setting down our things, I walked back across the street with Rodney to grab a blanket from our house. Becky, one of our favorite bartenders, came outside to greet us at a cautious distance.

"WELL HELLO THERE!" she said to Miles, her eyes widening. Miles cooed and giggled.

"I think he likes your voice, Becky," said Marissa. "He says he doesn't recognize that one."


Keeping an eye on her bar, Becky hung outside with us for a few minutes. We chatted about Madison, kids, and quarantine.

"We were just talking about how nobody gets to see our baby," said Marissa. "We're actually kind of craving the attention."

"Well, if you ask me, I think these covid babies are going to turn out OK," said Becky. "The family huddled together at home, just eating good food and staying warm. That's how we're supposed to raise kids, I think."

We ordered a pizza, and by the time it arrived we were starting to think of heading home for the evening. Split between eating quickly before leaving and waiting until we got home, we just decided to eat it on the walk over. After handing me his pizza crust and brushing the crumbs off his hands, Rodney ran ahead of our pack.

On Saturday morning, I made breakfast, cooking what we started to refer to as Dutch Huevos Rancheros. Bacon, onions, black beans, a diced tomato, and by the time I realized we didn't have any tortillas in the house, I was already in too deep.

"So I just fried some puff pastry," I laughed. "That's kind of our functional tortilla in this situation."

"I think you might be onto something," said Marissa.

My parents also visisted on Saturday. We had a brief, cozy visit on our back deck, and they left glad tidings of frozen smoked pork and, courtesy of my sister and her husband, a bottle of aged, spicy tequila.

We've been getting lots of mileage out of the smoked pork from my dad. Last night, I braised it in chicken stock and soy sauce. This afternoon, with Rodney's help, I heated it up in apple cider vinegar and the rest of a bottle of barbecue sauce.

There's not much else left on the agenda for this weekend. Our project board is in good shape. We've got a long afternoon football game to enjoy. Later this evening, I'm going to see if I can scrape together enough food to make a respectable batch of chicken and wild rice soup. For starters, we don't even have wild rice - so things will get ineresting.

I think if this weekend had a theme, it would have to be strange food combinations. Somehow, with our fridge still full, we've completely depleted our most reliable ingredients, and we've had to kind of wing things a bit. Asian braised smoked pork. Dutch Huevos Rancheros. I suppose it keeps things interesting.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you're eating well, and taking the rest of the weekend to relax. See you all tomorrow.