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Sun, 03 Jul 2022 20:51:21 +0000
My World’s On Fire, How ‘Bout Yours?

I keep thinking I need to post, and then I don’t have anything to post about, and then suddenly I have everything to post about, and I have no idea how to articulate any of my thoughts on any of it.

I’m super behind on everything in life right now, from emails and photos and housework and personal projects to the day job and even this journal. And the world continues to sink deeper and deeper into despair every day, which doesn’t exactly give me any motivation to start making progress on any of it.

I guess instead (and in an attempt to make progress at least on the journal part) I’ll just say we did a cabin trip last week to the Adirondacks with friends, which marks the most serious indoor activity with others since the pandemic started (and, other than my mom visiting a few months ago, the first time indoors with others for longer than about a day). Five of us found a rather nice (and very well-equipped) cabin by a lake that made both an excellent home base for hiking/kayaking/outdoor activities, as well as a place for me and Mark to not do those things and instead spend our days playing board games. Assisted by nightly COVID testing, all of us seem to have gotten out of it without getting sick, so I continue my streak of avoiding getting COVID, even as more and more friends and coworkers are falling around me.




Given the way things continue to go, I’ve been having the nagging thought since then that that week might be the last time for the foreseeable future that I’m truly happy. And I really don’t know what to do about that.

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Wed, 23 Mar 2022 14:42:40 +0000
Meal Kit Updates, Games, Pandemic, and Thou (or really Moi)

We’ve been getting a meal kit every week or two for quite a few months now (since before my summary of meal kit experiences post), and now that the novelty factor has worn off a bit, and I’ve gotten at least three boxes from each of Dinnerly, EveryPlate, Martha Stewart, and Hello Fresh, I think it’s time for a small update.

First and foremost: The lack of in-box recipe cards from Dinnerly has proven to be somewhat of a pain. It’s remedied by printing them ourselves, but it’s still an extra step that involves copying files to the computer hooked up to the printer. I’ve also encountered a couple recipes from Dinnerly now that seemed extremely poorly thought through, including a lentil-based meatless loaf that was the first meal kit meal I had to throw out. So I think a bit of the “this is the cheapest of all the meal kits” has really started to show.

Along those lines, the second cheapest, EveryPlate, has not suffered from the “bad recipe” problem, but instead has fallen victim to the “these are not interesting recipes” problem. There’re been many weeks now where I’ve looked through the recipe selections and nothing stands out to me as something I want to make and eat. There’s only so many times you can toss potatoes in olive oil and bake them, or so many ways to chop onions/garlic and cook with orzo/rice, or so many times you can season a chicken breast and pan fry it.

On the other hand, I’ve grown increasingly fond of Martha Stewart and Hello Fresh, despite their higher prices. One thing I’ve found from having had 6 different meal kit company subscriptions over the past 5 months is that many of them will send you “come back and try us again” savings, so I’ve been cycling through these to never pay full price for any box. From that standpoint, Martha Stewart and Hello Fresh have been significantly more worthwhile.

Of the two, I would call Martha Stewart’s meals more unusual (but slightly more expensive) while Hello Fresh’s are a little more straightforward while remaining interesting.

So I think, given discounts exist, I’d probably recommend Martha Stewart or Hello Fresh the most, even though I still think these kits are not worthwhile at full price. We’ve generally settled on each “for four people” kit making 3 servings for the two of us, although some of those (for example the plum/ginger pork below) require a supplemental second dinner afterward.

In entertainment-y life, my new gaming laptop kicked off some semi-regular video gaming nights thanks to Austin. We worked our way through a few games like Biped, Escape Room Simulator, and Moving Out. We also got into a couple more open-ended games in Unrailed, Risk of Rain 2, and Don’t Starve Together. The latter, in particular, has been nice because I’ve managed to get Ben and Steve and Seth involved as well. I think I’m finding that my video gaming life is really driven by a desire for social activity over anything else, which is perhaps unsurprising given the pandemic.

Along those same lines, however, I’ve grown strangely sick of trying to wrangle people for activities, which in many cases have meant they just… don’t happen. The Among Us groups I was running last year fizzled out because people stopped attending after RSVPing or expressing interest, making larger games difficult. General non-Thursday (virtual) board gaming has fizzled out because people generally don’t seem to be interested. I think maybe this is the pandemic again just lowering my threshhold for dealing with “less than super straightforward” stuff in my life… normally I’d love arranging events. I just haven’t felt it for the past many months.

That leaves just the regularly-scheduled recurring stuff: Thursday virtual board games, Sunday night Jackbox, and monthly virtual get-togethers. At least those are nice to have.


Speaking of the pandemic and my life… I think the best way to describe my mental state at the moment is “I’m tired”. I’m tired of feeling like I’m the only person taking the risk of disease seriously still, with everyone else going maskless everywhere and filling gyms and attending conventions and taking international vacations. I’m tired of variant after variant because people can’t do their part when needed to lower transmissibility. I’m tired of trying to figure out where my “acceptable” risk levels are because the world’s continuing on without me whether I like it or not even though I’m terrified of getting sick due to my increased health risk and the prospect of long covid.

It’s honestly hard to see anything positive in the future at the moment, either politically (hooray the far left is going to make us lose congress again this year and set us back another couple decades!), ecologically (hooray climate change is accelerating and we’re all going to burn and/or drown and/or starve!), societally (hooray divisions between people have never been greater such that even a pandemic couldn’t bring us together!), socially (hooray I still feel weird seeing people for non-outdoor/non-virtual activities because the pandemic is a thing!), professionally (hooray I feel stuck in a rut and burnt out work-wise and don’t know what to do about it!), or creatively (hooray I haven’t really been interested in photography or card game design in years now!).

At least my personal/romantic life continues positively. It often feels like it’s the only thing that is, these days.

I just wish I could find things to do in the rest of my life that make me feel even a tenth as fulfilled as and that I care about even a tenth as much as that. Maybe that means “I’m apathetic” is a better descriptor than “I’m tired”. Maybe I’m both.

Maybe hanging all your happiness on one other person is a terrible idea, and ultimately fairly unfair to them.

Maybe I just don’t have the energy to care, these days.

So life goes, I suppose.

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Sun, 02 Jan 2022 15:27:51 +0000
Life and the Universe and Everything

Well, it’s 2022. That means that my photo journal and photo stats pages have been updated.

It’s been an odd year, with a summer of “things are starting to get normal again” promptly followed by a return to the usual pandemic mess, but with a few small changes: we’re allowing ourselves grocery store trips again, and trips to see the niblings and in-laws are facilitated by at-home COVID tests (and both being triple-vaxxed).


The end of the year was also marked by some new electronics, that are rare enough that they’re noteworthy. I bought a new laptop from Dell as a pre-Black Friday special for use when I eventually return to business travel (because our work laptops are now so locked down that we can’t run anything on them but work stuff) and was forced to buy a new phone because T-Mobile is phasing out 2G and my old flip phone would soon stop working. Both of these purchases are interesting for very different reasons.

As far as the laptop goes, I intentionally picked the slowest shipping possible (even though I qualified for free 2-day shipping) so it wouldn’t arrive while we were traveling for Thanksgiving. (I generally try not to buy things before we’ll be traveling, but in this case, the deal was limited in its time window.) And of course Dell promptly shipped the laptop the same day and it arrived exactly while we were gone, AND it didn’t require signature confirmation (for an $800 laptop!). I had to have a friend retrieve it for us.

I really wish that companies would have options for “don’t deliver before this date” delivery options, especially around holidays. This happened a few years back with my camera order for Black Friday as well, but Amazon support was much more helpful (mostly because they were actually working over the holidays and were able to tell the FedEx to hold off delivery for a few days… no such ability with Dell, who shipped the laptop late in the day and then had no support the next few days because of the holidays).

The phone was interesting mostly because I just wanted another flip phone… but the cheapest option they had was $126. The moto g pure was available for $186, and I figured the extra $60 was worth it just so I could have the camera and not have to carry my work iPhone around for photos all the time. So… I now have an Android phone, and it has been an adventure because its UI (and the entire OS’ general philosophy) is so different from Apple’s. I don’t think I like Android, but I’ll deal with it because, hey, $60 camera. :)

(It’s also interesting because the phone plan I’m on is so old it doesn’t have data, so I now have a smartphone with no data. But that’s really not much different than the iPod touch I used to carry around with me anyway, so that’s fine.)

Otherwise, that’s really been it? Here’s hoping that 2022 actually starts to represent a return to normalcy.

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