Friday Q&A: Furloughs, food, Creed, FTW

Here we go:

Hemal, you’re asking the wrong guy. I typed out a bunch of things that might prove helpful for relaxation, starting with putting your phone away and going for a long walk without it. Then I realized that I wouldn’t actually find that relaxing at all! What if something happens that I want to know about while I’m without my phone!? What if someone’s trying to text me? What if the president says another dumb thing, and I don’t find out about it until the end of my whole walk?

I’ve been prone to bouts of insomnia since I was a kid, but in adulthood I’ve mostly found I can keep it under wraps with a steady bedtime routine. Over the past few weeks, I’ve slept less and slept worse than I have at any point since college, and I don’t have anything else to do. This is hardly the worst aspect of this crisis, but it’s an awful irony that it should be impossible to relax at a time when there’s so little else to do.

Yesterday I had a busy day, which I finished by drinking three servings of whiskey during the course of online baseball trivia. I figured I would be out cold when I hit the bed. Fitbit says I got just over three hours’ worth of sleep. Only once in the last week have I gotten more than five hours. I’m too bored to relax.

I love Thai food, and a bunch of times I’ve got it in my head to make my own Thai food. Then I haul myself down to Chinatown to buy kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass, come back uptown and spend the bulk of a day making some style of curry. Then I eat it and I’m proud that it’s almost as good as what I could get from the Thai place down the block in 20 minutes.

My cooking repertoire is pretty limited. I think I’m good at cooking the things I know how to cook — grilled and smoked meats, basically — and I know that I am objectively excellent at piling those things atop bread to make sandwiches. I can improvise off recipes pretty well (and I maintain that cooking is a lot like playing jazz), but I rarely attempt anything too involved.

The answer to your question is almost certainly fried chicken. I’ve tried to make fried chicken so many times in so many different ways, and I almost always screw it up in one way or another. Then my home reeks of oil for a week.

Because people, by and large, have bad taste. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and two different Eagles records sold more copies than the most popular Beatles album.

I am honestly less shocked by Creed’s success than I am by the notion that Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best-selling albums of all time. That more than 40 million people have purchased it might be the single best endorsement for humanity. One might make the same case for Thriller, but Thriller seems so much more accessible that its commercial success feels easier to understand.

I recommend, first and foremost, that you get yourself to that Taco Bell. What to order there? Well, friend, that depends on how near the Taco Bell is to you.

If, say, the Taco Bell is on the first floor of your walk-up apartment building, then feel free to pick from everything on the menu, because you’re going to be able to get it home while it’s still good. But since making use of the Taco Bell dining room is probably not an option right now, I’d advise against ordering crunchy tacos if you need to travel for more than 10 minutes or so before you’re going to eat them.

The main key to Taco Bell ordering is not to stress too much. The menu might seem overwhelming, but only because Taco Bell has come up with a thousand configurations of the same eight things. I strongly recommend getting Taco Bell items with ground beef as the protein, and if you do that, the range between the worst Taco Bell thing and the best one is shockingly narrow.

Now and always — but especially now — you should order with the Taco Bell app. The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is a great option for pretty much any situation, but my current go-to and single favorite Taco Bell thing involves some customization. In the app, start with the (excellent as-is) Beefy Nacho Loaded Griller, which you can find in the “Burritos” section. Click “customize,” opt for extra seasoned beef, then, in the “sauces” area, choose one of Chipotle Sauce, Creamy Jalapeno Sauce, and Spicy Ranch — it really just doesn’t matter which. If you’re feeling especially frisky, add jalapenos as well.


Hardcore Ted fans might know that I usually work on something until I hate it, then get frustrated and hit publish just to be done with it. This isn’t fishing for compliments, either, it’s just, I think, part of my process or something. It’s extremely rare for me to be fully happy with something I’ve written. Time sometimes softens my distaste for it, and I’ll often enjoy certain elements of things I wrote, but when I go back to them, I always find some details that I dislike.

The tiny coffee thing Chris alludes to might in fact be my favorite, just because the experience of having the entire city of Miami yell at me about coffee stands as one of the funniest and silliest things that has ever happened to me, and I was legitimately underwhelmed by the legendary strength of that coffee. I also feel very strongly about the internet’s propensity for rewarding posers, and I think I did a good job examining it in that post.

I liked this thing I wrote about my brother and Mariano Rivera when I wrote it. Now I regret having done it. It’s complicated, and none of the people who were in charge when I wrote that were still in charge by the end. Bottom line is, I feel like a fool and a sucker for having given that much of my soul to a company that ultimately showed it didn’t deserve any bit of it, and I think I’d still be working there if I’d known enough to just write baseball hot takes and cash paychecks.

1 thought on “Friday Q&A: Furloughs, food, Creed, FTW

  1. “Over the past few weeks, I’ve slept less and slept worse than I have since at any point since college, and I don’t have anything else to do.”


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