- An incline in mercury levels have a seemingly proportional relationship with alcoholic beverage purchases; lineups outside both LCBO and The Beer Store were witnessed on a scorching Friday afternoon.
- Driver impatience - in addition to general recklessness - were frequent sightings amidst the climate change as well.
- Perhaps the greatest source of "culture shock", should I be able to depict it as so, was the utter absence of a helping hand in a public environment. Having queued for my turn at the empty can return entrance and suddenly experienced a tumble of empty beer cans, I was almost appalled that not a single member of the lineup came to my assistance. However, the realization dawned upon me nearly immediately: COVID-19 is centred about contact surfaces, after all.
Entering the tenth (!!) week of quarantine, the GTA has been met with an extraordinary heat wave. Needless to say, many have tossed social distancing policies through the window at the arrival of such balmy conditions.
I've more or less maintained my regular schedule of work and chores, and have taken the liberty of remaining in the air-conditioned indoors for my overall wellbeing. Humidity is, honestly, not my closest friend.
Re-entering my life are runny soft-boiled eggs, which previously emerged overdone without reasonable explanation. Other ingested items include: DELISSIO Deluxe with a spongy crust, a Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refresher from Starbucks, and more Chocolate Chip Cookies - baked at 25 degrees Fahrenheit higher for extra crunch.
Things I learned during Corona (Rev 4):
Reviewing my creations of the week, the standout item is undoubtedly my Matcha Shokupan. Adapted from Bake For Happy Kids with the inclusion of matcha powder and dried berries, the result was delicate and stringy, though far too moist for sandwich bread usages.
Along the way was an error on my part, even though the root cause is undetermined as of yet.
Whether spring is finally here to stay remains a mystery. Between the flurries, heavy showers, and odd bursts of UV rays, it's difficult to predict precisely the climate that Mother Nature has in store for us next.
Victoria Day long weekend was off to a swell start with summery temperatures, rendering it the ideal time for trail exploring - while maintaining physical distance requirements, of course. And for those that relish in A/C-prevalent environments or find barbecue grills foreign (me), oven baked hot dogs and orange-Ribena bubbles are the way to go.
Weekend morning rituals revolve about live airings of 화양연화, alternatively known as "When My Love Blooms". Following suit was the preparation of hot dog complements: Egg Salad with sweet corn kernels (and wasabi!) and a Pickled Cucumber-Onion Mix.
Rotini and SPAM were then quickly coated in tomato sauce to yield a fast food-appropriate ally. Neither canned meat (if we can address it as so) nor jarred condiments made many appearances prior to the arrival of COVID-19, however one can only chop so much and cook so much with one dominant hand and one dominant wrist.
Sautéed button mushrooms would have been a pleasant addition to the mix, though speed was the name of the game this time.
Monday comebacks, with the exception of GOT7's, prove tricky acts to support. The influx of emails, paired with abrupt realization of imminent meetings, tend to prevail over 8 AM live showcases. My roster of Not By The Moon promotions remain unresolved, while indulgence in ASTRO's Knock activities are slowly but surely underway.
Prior to the release of third instalment in The Book of Us, DAY6 announced a hiatus from promotions due to health and anxiety issues. The situation was unforeseen, especially given that the news had circulated within 24 hours of the drop of "The Demon".
Five days of on-and-off screenwork later, I finally had the opportunity to familiarize myself with Zombie.
It was dark.
Dark red makeup with bluish undertones to replicate bruised flesh.
Dark and tiny was the ̶s̶e̶t̶ room, seemingly teeming with torturous tension.
Dark was the aura emitted from the hallucination-like post-production effects.
But darkest of all were the lyrics to the song - radiating one's deepest, dreariest deliberations towards living, or the mere thought of not.
Zombie depicted emptiness in the eeriest way thinkable, as if the world no longer held happiness.
"Though I want to just dream on. / 꿈꾸도 싶어도"
"Tomorrow will be no different. / 내일도 다를 것 없이"
"Give me back my tears, they’ve run dry. / 마른 내 눈물을 돌려줘"
"I live counting the time 'til I close my eyes. / 그저 잠에 들기만을 기다리며 살아"
Precision of the mind is not interchangeable with precision of the body.
I've never had issues with numbers or simple plug-and-chug formulae, and am proud to declare that even differential equations made sense at one point. Physical dexterity, however, is a different beast altogether.
Dainty decorations and steady handiworks are regular endeavours of orangecane and other like-minded artfolk, whose acquired aptitudes prove handy in situations demanding patience and painstaking meticulousness.
I won't hesitate to admit that I missed the cake preorder dates for Mother's Day. Although, I also didn't hesitate to offer an alternate in the form of a request fulfillment. "A buttercream cake - with loads of cream and plush portions of sponge" was the presented challenge.
"Ideally coffee-flavoured" was my last instruction notice.
Consulting the "divine ruler of the kitchen" - orangecane's words, not mine - I proceeded to assemble my baking pans for a tri-layer treat. It was, undoubtedly, my most extravagant undertaking since the ultra-dense, six-layer potluck tower four months prior.
The 1-2-3-4 cake was simple enough, especially after I had taken the liberty of converting to metric units (for the sanity of my digit-dominant brain). My sole deviation from the formula was a generous sprinkling of Maxwell House, because "too much coffee" is not a statement to rear its head in my household.
Cakes cooling and dinner prep completed, I began whipping up the frosting - in the most literal sense possible.
Buttercream would have proved pipeable, for those looking to decorate dramatically. But butter is rare to come by these days. And there was enough butter in the cakes.
Two months into the stay-at-home regime and I've still yet to feel a longing for social activities. Again, haircuts and badminton would be great; weekly dance drills and the occasional Rec Room visit for coordination honing wouldn't be unwelcome either. While levelling up on the scale and experiencing torturous tingles from excessive muscle strain, I've simultaneously lost a substantial portion of hand-eye awareness. Though, as much as COVID-19 is an enabler of these unfavourable outcomes, alternatives are not out of sight. Humans are dynamic after all.
The weekend marked the last of my 8 AM grocery runs for the subsequent eight-ish weeks, concluding at my all-time fave of Sikgaek. If any, the virus has proved its greatest worth in enabling purchases of makgeolli at a consumer level; the sole prerequisite of the exchange was commitment in an accompanying food item. Yangnyum Chicken was the clear choice.
After hauling back some 4.4 L of kimchi, Wedding Cake Edition Honey Butter Chips, and some costly assorted rolls later - if only we had H Mart prices here, but I digress - I set out to craft yet another round of bread.
I opted for sandwich bread as opposed to sweet, pull-apart rolls with the aspiration of extending the batch's lifespan. The loaves were fluffy and delicate - just as advertised. My consumption preference was to toast and adorn with margarine or jam, however my lack of loaf pans also rendered them appropriate for garlic bread-making.
Hence, I set out with vigour, attempting the standout starters of the bygone Spaghetei. Parsley, minced garlic, and a thorough brushing of maple syrup landed me close to the 2016 memory, but, alas, my toppings had been too coarse for proper penetration.
Cravings for a chocolatey, cakey concoction were only amplified with launch of Alvin's mini series. I turned to the mentioned eggless mug cake for an oven-less single serving.
Results were subpar and chunks of flour were frequent - I'd recommend this UK-based alternative for tips and tricks. The supposedly speedy solution wasn't all that speedy either, so I resorted to proper execution - with a proper oven, with proper metric units.
Adapting the infamous zucchini pièce de résistance of many "healthy" baking blogs for the more pantry-friendly resource of sweet corn kernels yielded fifteen rounds of moist, chewy muffins that were tasty on their own, but even better with a side of cream cheese frosting. And yes, this contradicts the heart-healthy intentions of the origin recipe, though the aim had always resided with satisfying cravings within given limits. These days, we speak of limits on grocery store flour and sugar inventory.
Boredom is a state to which I cannot relate.
The thought of being idle is appalling.
The thought of being unproductive is repulsive in every aspect.
The thought of being lethargic and proceeding about without purpose does not entice me.
So while there are those that have been involuntarily bound to their homes without much work, the same simply cannot be stated for the remainder of society. At one end of the gamut are unconstrained souls, leisurely spending their days browsing Netflix while inverted on their sofa, and at the other are front-liners and employees working remotely in essential services.
With that said, being unduly occupied still overrules the inactive lifestyles led by many during this quarantine period. We're growing accustomed to the work-from-home procedures, inclusive of its around-the-clock responsibilities.
Things I learned during Corona (Rev 3):
Amongst my endless endeavours in the kitchen this week are the following:
1. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (thanks SKU!)
Who Am I?
I'm the one that talks fashion and K-Pop randoms behind Quirky Aesthetics, the one who contributes honest opinions about commercial beauty items on Review Junkie, the one that obsessively shares photos of food on Pinterest, the one that loves her DSLR more than her own being and the one that wants to work in the transportation sector for a living.