3 things for today

1. 3 things feels achievable.

2. Is it, though? Are they? Not 100% sure of the grammar on that one, but the point remains: sometimes I wonder.

3. I’m making a cake soon, because I decided I want to make a cake, not because I particularly care about cake. I forgot to read all the rules earlier so I need to wait while two more sticks of butter come to room temperature before I can start, which seems insane but isn’t, I suppose. Most things have logic. (This thing has 3-1/2 sticks of butter.) I considered googling ways to bring whole sticks of butter to room temperature IN A FLASH but that seemed antipodal to the ethos of the project. I didn’t buy a cake mix, or frosting, I have to beat the whole goddamn thing together myself and then see what happens, and I’m sure as shit not going to blow all that up by cheating with butter. I’ll fax a picture if it all comes out alright. Let’s all bow our heads and pray for me during this, our most perilous hour.

3.1 I was going to make this cake last weekend but thinking you own a hand mixer and actually owning a hand mixer are two vastly different things. 

4. The new Eric Clapton Christmas album is really lovely. I didn’t care much for it at first, but I tacked it on to the end of my five-hour long 🎄 playlist and hoped for the best. Once you’ve reached the fourth hour of Christmas music your mind starts to wander a little, I’ll admit. But this album is very low-key and amiable. A fine companion on a Sunday afternoon: that’s the best thing I could say about any person or any music. Lots of people and entertainments can be Friday-night-cool or Saturday-wild-and-exciting but who do you want to spend a Sunday afternoon with? That’s a good test for you to think about in your spare time.

I also like that Christmas music—which I start listening to on November 1 and will not give up until January 2—can still be new to me. That promises something, doesn’t it? That people keep making cakes, and new music, for no reason at all? Or just to make somebody like me, a chucklehead, happy?

There's nothing to be embarrassed about

Now that I’ve remembered how to blog, I have many things to say. Sorry! That’s the price you pay for millions of dollars worth of free typing.

1. I spent all 5+ hours of holiday travel to & fro the great cheese state of WI listening to the Blank Check podcast series on the films of Nancy Meyers. Lord do I love Nancy Meyers and her films. In one of the episodes one of the cohosts says something about Nancy Meyers being a sound machine setting, and I hollered THAT IS A BRILLIANT OBSERVATION aloud to myself in the car. David Sims (I think it was Sims) also called Nancy Meyers movies “white wine movies,” which seemed equally fitting (or maybe it’s “whine”), although during the Something’s Gotta Give episode I did have to correct them on a few key points; e.g., in the heart attack scene as she’s about to perform CPR on Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton says “You fucking guy,” not “You fucking man.” To be fair, I have seen this movie 8,000 times.

2. Last night I watched both of those Paddington movies, which are truly sublime. I was a little stunned, frankly, since I thought my heart had turned to stone. No such luck! Let’s give Hugh Grant a thousand Oscars and be done with it.

3. I also made pizza from scratch last night, including the dough, and I counted it as a real victory even though it was vaguely terrible. I’m determined to achieve this from-scratch pizza goal without purchasing any new kitchen equipment, which means using a sheet pan instead of a pizza steel and making the laziest dough possible. It’ll never be great but don’t worry, I have no intention of serving it to others. Unless they like eating flour.

4. On Thanksgiving day ABC showed a General Hospital episode from 2000 as part of its current “Best of Sonny & Carly” series, which I care zero about, but it did feature a large Quartermaine contingent, so I was pleased as punch to once again have the chance to sit on my parents’ sofa watching this soap opera alone while everyone else watched football in a different room. Alan Quartermaine alive again for Thanksgiving! Welcome to my childhood. Embrace small joys in all their unexpected forms, etc.

5. I’m also thankful for YouTube, obviously, and fanmade montage vids set to amazing musical choices. Enjoy the many fights, hugs & hairstyles:

In 2019 I’m going to start a weekly Quartermaine newsletter just so I can send it to myself. It will unfold at the same rate as an actual storyline on the show, so I expect to wrap it up in the year 2049.

6. Your weekly Bruce: film’s a-comin’! Look at him rolling out of that SUV just like QE2.

7. All my tests came back: time for some Vitamin D, stat.

It feels deeply personal

One unpopular opinion I hold is that everybody should have a blog, where they just check in a couple of times a week. They/you don’t need to have much of anything to say, just raise a hand and say hi. Here’s what time I woke up this morning, here’s what I had for breakfast, here’s what I thought about when I brushed my teeth. Is it raining where you are? I’d like to know.

I’m not going to lie to you—many people wouldn’t care, probably most, but I would. I’m interested in the routine habits of others, and their observations on their moods or surroundings. I was very fond of these daily weather reviews of New York City that used to run in the Awl, for example. Somebody could do that. Or take a photo of their/your coffee cup every morning, I would like that, too. It could be the exact same cup in the exact same location day after day, it wouldn’t matter. There would be glimpses of life happening around it, detritus caught in the frame or the quality or slant of the light shifting as the year went on, etc., little unspoken hints passing by. The mysteries inside of details. I would like that very much.

Another unpopular opinion I hold is that the end of daylight savings time makes me really, really happy. I don’t know anybody else in the world who enjoys it and I get anxious every year when there’s a concerted pitch in the news to dump it, so I will hold on to this joy while I can. The world is quieter. Less insistent, less grabby. More internal. It’s dark out there, so you need to go slowly and lightly. Take care. Is that such a bad thing? For a little while?

Be the kind of person

I’m looking for new things to get excited about. Last week I thought maybe it would be bread, but I took a bread-making class at Sur la Table yesterday morning and realized no, that wasn’t it. Bread isn’t the answer, and anyway bread hasn’t been missing from my life. I’d eat bread 24/7 if I could, I just feel no burning need to make it a goal.

So. What other things are people excited about, if not bread?


1. Go read this story, please. It is so weird and magical and good, so measured but hopeful. Especially now. Especially today.

2. I watched Mamma Mia 2 last night, followed by the many special features and then the director’s commentary. It took up approximately 1/3 of my day. One of the special features was an interview with the leading ladies of the film, and at the end the interviewer asked them all to name the most important thing they had learned from their mothers. Cher said, “If it doesn’t matter in five years, it doesn’t matter,” and Christine Baranski said, “Don’t give it away cheap.” I couldn’t have been happier with both of them for having such wise mothers and for learning such valuable lessons. If I die watching Mamma Mia 2 you can be sure it was a good & happy life.

3. Cooking is still a goal, because I finished Salt Fat Acid Heat last week and want to be Samin Nosrat when I grow up. The “heat” episode where she makes rice with her bossy mother was delightful. At one point she’s explaining her cooking philosophy to the camera and her mom wanders through the shot in the background, and both Samin and the director just laugh and keep going. That’s my kind of food show.

4. And garlic! I’m pretty excited about garlic.