Once I was having a conversation with SFMD and her comment to me was that I was obsessing. A statement which stopped me in my tracks. Me? Obsessive? Huh... I was extremely pleased to hear this. Relieved, even. Me with the capacity to pick up and drop hobbies. Me with the history of serial monogamy. Me with the attention span of a gnat. I still have some capacity to fixate. Albeit for short periods of time.
So here being with a little time on my hands I watch where my head wanders.
A lot of the things that I did to kill time and avoid work while a grad student I have been blocking on, as if I am trying to get distance from the associations of that stretch. (But hopefully not forever.)
For now I fixate on
Mostly I am spending too much time loitering in grocery stores. There are five different chains in town. And actually the same chain will offer drastically different fare in different neighborhoods. (I am back to my old tricks on this one.) I am getting ready to branch out to ethnic grocers, the chinese bakery, seafood marts, and hopefully some farmer's markets before winter hits.
I am madly in love with America's Test Kitchen. I obsess over the question of who makes the yummiest peanut butter and which brand of bottled water tastes the best. Cook's Illustrated has a great food science angle to it that I love. And I have a crush on Chris Kimball, I think he's dreamy.
I consider people who cook to be divided into two sorts: those who read (recipe followers) and those who improvise. I am a reader. I am envious of improvisers. My currently packed up kitchen is a boulevard of broken culinary dreams. All those special cooking utensils: the springform cake pan (used twice) the asparagus peeler, several really lousy garlic presses, the ceramic ginger grater. All those spices bought and used in a once prepared dish.
For a time I kept a recipe lab book in which I wrote out recipes that I tried and took notes of the outcome and the things that I would change next time. Sometimes I searched down 3-10 different recipes for the same dish and wrote out some hybrid of them and then tried to gauge the result. And I kinda wish I had it right now. Along with my big mixing bowl, pie plates, rubber spatulas, and kosher salt.
The sad caveat to this is that I am a mediocre cook. Most of the time I feel there is something missing from the food that I cook. Probably salt, corn syrup, shallots, and beef tallow.
Computer games are an on again off again struggle. I went through boughts with tetris, hextris, welltris, xtank, nethack, king's quest. I went through boughts with the first version of Civilization, klondike solitaire, spider solitaire, other versions of solitaire, Myst. I even went through a third of The Legend of Zelda The Ocarina of Time. Love House of the Dead. I bought Riven and swore I would not play it until after I passed my Prelim. I still have the game, unplayed.
Well, it's on again, Baby. I goofed around a little with Flatout. In gameland, I am a terrible driver. But I can crash for money with the best of them. And I am wittling away time playing those terrible time wasting games on Myspace. I like the one with the monkey and the barrels of fruit.
So I haven't gotten around to reading that list of the 100 most important books of our century or reading the great thinkers of history. Yet.