Back in 2012 or so I started watching a goofy YouTube show called Roadkill, about two guys who would drive somewhere remote to find a junky car, fix it up, do some burnouts, and drive it somewhere else. It was pretty popular, and eventually the two hosts—who then were both editors of Hot Rod magazine—quit their jobs and hosted Roadkill full time. A couple of years ago it was put behind a paywall at MotorTrend, and I missed the show.
Last week, deep in Week 3 of working from home, I was actually on the “buy” screen for a year’s worth of MotorTrend On Demand, but for some reason I never pushed the button.
This afternoon, I got an email from Hagerty announcing they were giving us members a free year of MotorTrend On Demand as part of our membership. I’m looking at several days at my desk making edits to WRI’s Annual Report, so this gift could not have come at a better time. Bravo, Hagerty, you just made my quarantine 100% more bearable.
The installation folks showed up on Friday morning and put in two counters in the bathroom that match the seat and ledge in the shower, and it looks fantastic so far. We chose white round undermount bowls for the sinks, and due to some scheduling mixups we didn’t have the faucets purchased, so we’re looking at those and they’ll come back out next week to drill the holes. Then it should be a not-so-simple matter of setting up the drains (I’m not looking forward to that bit of under-counter gymnastics) and hooking up the water supply, and we’ll be able to use everything in there.
Finley and I took a drive into Baltimore to hit the MICA Bookstore for some art supplies in the afternoon. She was making linoleum cuts in art class at at school and decided she wanted to make a T-shirt design of her own, so we needed to find clean linoleum to work with. I figured I’d look and see what kind of scratchboard supplies they still carried, as it’s been forever since I’ve picked up the pen and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I miss it, and whether I could get similar results from an iPad Pro. The store is in a building directly across the street from my first Baltimore apartment, and I told Finley that my roommate and I used to throw frisbee in the parking lot (and under passing buses on Mt. Royal Avenue) out in front of it.
We found her supplies quickly and then split up to check out the rest of the store. I found scratchboard in the back, manufactured by a different company (I used to use Essdee exclusively, this is made by Ampersand), picked up some new nibs, and then found Finn a pin in the student goods section. Then I took her on a quick tour of the neighborhood and showed her some of my old apartments.
At home we set up a craft work area at the dining room table and she worked on her design for the rest of the afternoon while I tested out the scratchboard. I wasn’t going to overthink things so I just transferred a picture of the truck and started working with it, and found that I really like it. It has a good feel—the last few sheets of Essdee I used had a harder surface, harder to work with, and didn’t make clean marks. This cut cleanly and felt good under the nib, and after a lot of initial hesitation (oh, I remember that feeling clearly) I started to work out what I was doing and lost myself in the image. We broke for dinner after a test print of her design, and when we were done I pulled out my silkscreen inks and we printed her design on a blank shirt, then ran off several Scout shirts for Brian. (Linda, I still owe you several shirts).
I sold my old compressor on Saturday afternoon, and made back 75% of the money I spent on the new one. While we were out for some supplies in the morning I picked up fittings, hose, and a water filter, and installed them while I was waiting for the guy to show up. It’s going to take some serious reorganization, but when I’m done I think the garage will be much easier to use.
I’ve been on a Stephen King binge for the last two weeks after watching It: Chapter Two, which involved reading the book over again and listening to a companion podcast that discusses the book by section. It was one of his books I enjoyed the most, and it’s been decades since I read it last. There’s so much I appreciate about his style of storytelling, and apart from the problematic section toward the end, the story is as good as I remember. Listening to the podcast was a fun way to dive deeper and think about stuff I hadn’t considered when I was reading it (the perfect introvert’s book club, really).
The movie was better than the reviews would have made us believe; I don’t know who was complaining about the length or the lack of scares, but I could have stood for another half hour (or honestly, if they’d blown this out to a 6- or 8-episode Netflix series, which would have captured all of the detail better). The casting was spot-on, except, I think, for James MacAvoy, who I like, but wasn’t Bill Denbrough in my mind.
I’m writing this at the dining room table in my pajamas on Friday morning, after a breakfast of pumpkin pie and coffee. Breakfast of Champions!
(Spoiler alert: if you don’t see a bunch of redacted text below, force-reload your browser to update the CSS. Hover over the text if you dare.)
- Christmas was great! A little understated this year, because we made our major Christmas purchase earlier in the month—more on that when it happens—but fun and full of cheer. Finn got her first MP3 player: not an iPod, to her dismay, but something just as good (and cheaper) if/when she loses it, preloaded with music she requested.
- We hosted Jen’s family here for Christmas dinner that afternoon, and it was great to see everyone under the same roof. I was able to navigate the new head unit to provide Christmas music into the living room, and we had a blazing fire going all night. Hazel was super-chill with the little kids, to our relief. We all ate way too much good food and topped it off with excellent dessert. I think we were all in bed by 10PM.
- My cold has still not lifted. I’ve been swilling cough medicine by the gallon since last week, and because my immune system is still compromised it’s taking much longer than normal to fight this thing off. I don’t have a fever, and I’ve been able to get up and move around OK the whole time, but I’m tired of coughing and blowing my nose. I may be visiting the urgent care clinic today.
- Thursday was a relaxed, sit on the couch and fart around kind of day. We did eventually get up and join the Geblers across the street at the playground, and then walked up to a neighborhood cafe for some lunch. Hazel was happy to get a good walk in, and it felt great to be out in the warm weather. We left at about 3:30 because we had Rise of Skywalker matinee tickets, so we loaded our pockets with Christmas candy and settled into our seats. The verdict: I agree with a lot of the criticism I’ve read since we saw it—there’s way too much retconning away from Last Jedi in this script, some of the characters introduced in that movie got completely sidelined, and it introduces—and then forgets—a gigantic number of plot holes and questions. The first 20 minutes felt like a speed run through a department store, and the big set pieces could have used another few minutes to breathe and let us feel the stakes. I feel like Abrams did a better job on the first movie; this was good but pales in comparison to the best movies in the series.
I forget how much I love this fucked-up movie.