Pickle Quarantine

What a year, am I right?

I've avoided writing a more "journal"-type post because there's both too much to say and somehow not enough all at the same time. This is a tough time to be a human, and I've been incredibly lucky in many regards: I can stay busy, I have a living situation that makes quarantining easy and tolerable, and while I wish the produce at my local grocery had better produce, it's nice to live in a very walkable and accessible neighborhood. Even though "nowtimes" are fundamentally different from the "beforetimes," the speed at which things become routine--if not normal--is almost disturbing. Delightfully, though, I've felt like I'm still getting things done. In no particular order:

  • As the title of the post suggests I have firmly entered the home pickling phase of quarantine, and have begun fermenting rather a lot of cauliflower, with additional vegetables to follow. Frankly I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier: I love pickles and it's really hard to get compelling pickles for things that aren't cucumbers. My first batch is cauliflower, and I'm also excited to do things like: baby okra, cabbage, greenbeans, and maybe some of my favorite root vegetables (shallots, raddishes, horseradish, jerusalem artichokes, etc.) Details forcoming, perhaps.
  • I've begun cooking more often. My go to, is to make a pot of chicken stock, and then figure out things to use the stock to cook. I've done some nice proto-beef stew things, and have made some pretty great lentil dishes. Nothing fancy or complex. I'm also delightfully, getting to a point where I can produce a meal that consists of more than one flavor profile, which is nice.
  • I've written enough common lisp that writing little bits of software in CL seem doable. It's still a bit harder to get into bigger projects, and I have a lot to learn still, but I've crossed a line, and it's nice to have an additional skill.
  • I replaced the video card in my home desktop, and I feel like I have a totally new computer! It's amazing. I got this computer in 2013, and have mostly been using laptops for the past few years. Before quarantine, I was even planning to de-accession it, but I've been using it a lot more and the new video card really changes things. Since I don't do a lot of graphics things and my computer use is not particularly performance intensive, I forget how much having an underpowered GPU can really impact perceptions: I was suffering through a lot of rendering-hangs and glitches that just don't happen any more.
  • I've been writing blog posts more, and am working on a plan to have something that resembles a publication schedule. I wrote professionally for so long, that writing for fun never seemed like a viable way to spend time, but as time goes on, it's clear that I really want to be able to experiment with ideas and reflect on things in a more regular way, and continuing to write posts here seems like a good way to do that. My lisp-related posts are now appearing on Planet Lisp, and I'm interested in expanding my reach... slightly.
  • I completed a sort of long term project to modernize the way that I use and configure emacs: I got all of the hardcoded weirdness undercontrol, I started using use-package, and I got lsp-mode to work, and I fixed a number of hilarious little bugs in how my config worked. The end result, is I get to use the editor I want in the way that I want, and it all starts up on my (old) computers in well under 2 seconds, not that I start up all that often. I expect I'll write a bit more on this soon.
  • Since quarantine started I've gone through an entire complete box of Chemex filters (plus the tail end of a box, and I'm a few pots into the next box.) I started drinking coffee during the summer of 2015, and have primarily consumed coffee produced by other people (i.e. at work) in that time. While I've definitely gone through a few boxes of Chemex filters over the years, my new rate is noticeable. But quarantine means making your own coffee, and apparently I've made a lot of coffee. It feels like a milestone.
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