Houston, we have a problem

A rambling COVID dispatch.

Houston, we have a problem

I don't care how you got here, to this dusty way station on the information super highway, but thanks for stopping by. I hope you and yours are well, all things considered. I'd explain what you're in for should you press on, but I'm not sure where this is one headed. The really successful blogs maintain a disciplined focus on a topic or niche. This isn't a successful or disciplined blog.

I have a bunch of chicken-scratch (note to me - look up that expression, make sure it's not some awful derivative) scribblings in a notebook for tonight's cobbled together post. I wrote them in the dark. Now I feel like I'm trying to decipher Martian text messages. Speaking of Martians, have you seen the To Serve Man Twilight Zone episode?

I did have a primary topic. I intended to write about my acknowledgement that I'd reached a COVID-era culinary low. Before I get into that, I should point out that everything I am about to write could be replaced with I ate today, and I'm grateful.

What are the foods that immediately remind you of 10-year old you? There's a part of me that hates bringing this up because I know my mom wanted to explore more culinary creations, but I was such a bratty asshole. When you're tired from doing a million other things, the last thing you want to do is experiment with a pesto sauce you'd read about and have your son demand a hamburger.

She outsmarted me, though, and I would still take those tuna casseroles (I even hated fish!), Old El Paso ground beef tacos, hamburgers, and spaghetti (especially if accompanied by tin foiled garlic bread) over just about anything I can get in a restaurant.

About a month ago I was craving those old school tacos. I bought some Organics hard shell tacos, Light Life crumbles, and all the fixins. Didn't happen. I hit a dry patch in the cupboards and hastily, half-assedly fired up the plant-based crumbles in another dish that was not good. I don't blame Light Life. That one was on me.

Last night I was out for a walk and a few friends Face Timed me from a cabin in Idaho. Man I wanted to be in that cabin in Idaho. Rough start to the call - the four of us have a combined 6 Face Times under our belts. I asked what they'd had for dinner. Anjali whipped up old school tacos before we really knew much about tacos tacos. The ones I'd been craving. Hard shells, ground beef, taco seasoning from a package, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. I was even more jealous of their cabin.

I had to have those tacos. Tonight I went to the QFC and got the time-traveling ingredients. Old El Paso shells, Beyond Meat ground whatever, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes. I also got some Secret Aardvark habanero hot sauce, but I'm on the fence about that. It feels a bit like straying from the classic ingredients. I should have searched out some Pace Picante Sauce. I skipped the jalapenos for the same reason. Man I love jalapenos.

I got home and was too lazy to do it. Instead I fired up some Heinz baked beans, added some habanero sauce, and heated a tortilla. My first thought was man this is pathetic. But you know what? I loved it. Simple tastes. I'll take beans in a tortilla any day of the week. (With the understanding that we're all grateful for the food we have, let me know if you have any quarantine culinary lows. That FFS moment of my COVID-fogged brain can't face the dishes, I'm throwing mustard on some bread and calling it a win.)

Before I move on to the next exhilarating topic, let's talk design. You know how a lot of the jars and bottles have that layer under the lid you have to peel off? Most are designed such that you long for the relative simplicity of an Ikea assembly. Not the Secret Aardvark - that protective layer peels right off.

I used to have an encyclopedic movie knowledge. Getting older, and that's fading. Trying to remember particular scenes often has me going to YouTube to refresh my memory (It's a trap!). Tonight I was trying to remember 3 scenes from 3 movies. The Bullock-Clooney opener for Gravity, a Gabriel Byrne and John Turturro scene in Miller's Crossing, and a Malkovich scene in Burn After Reading. I know that age contributes to memory loss, but I also think the YouTube Crutch has a negative effect. Time to remove another internet saboteur. A possible exception. I think if you actually pay for YouTube you can remove Google's insidious genius that lures you in to time wasted.

I was sad to hear of Justin Townes Earle's passing. I don't know his music, but I know he's connected to Townes Van Zandt (by way of Steve Earle). Troubled souls. Ain't we all.

My neighborhood has been very quiet at night recently. The temperatures are dropping, and it gets dark earlier (hamdu lillah). It's quiet enough to hear the conversations of people walking by, sometimes even both sides of their Face Time chats. Tonight I heard an angry voice saying, "If we all could have just stayed in our fucking apartments in March..."