Adam Kuban is a one-time foodblogger turned aspiring pizzeria owner — see Margot’s Pizza. He is the founder of Slice (RIP, 2003–2014) and A Hamburger Today and founding editor of Serious Eats. He enjoys photography, urban hiking, and naps. These are his good things.
Good things to read.
A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope. “Star Wars” is part of the fabric of American culture and it’s never long (at least in my world) before it comes up in conversation with friends or coworkers. I always end up referring them to this brilliant piece of revisionist Star Wars history that reinterprets the plots of Episodes 4, 5, and 6 in light of what happens in 1, 2, and 3. For instance, Chewbacca is actually a top rebel spy and the original owner of the Millennium Falcon who only uses Han Solo as front man for various intelligence-gathering missions. I end up rereading this at least once or twice a year.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. This post-apocalytpic sci-fi novel still haunts me months after reading it because almost everything about it seems all too possible. And, really, we seem to be heading toward much of what’s depicted in it — epic income inequality, severe climate change, rampaging epidemics.
“It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers” by Colin Nissan – – You’ve probably already read it, but I like to click over to this classic McSweeney’s post in the weeks before Thanksgiving. “I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal.”
Good things to watch.
Can’t Tell Me Nothing by Kanye West, feat. Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham. A delightfully bizarre alternate video for this Kanye song, it’s set on Galifianakis’s North Carolina farm, where he and singer-songwriter Will Oldham cruise tractors like they’re lowriders, menacingly throw around hay bales, and employ a contingent of clog dancers lovingly filmed in slo-mo. I watch this every couple months and it never fails to put me in a good mood.
The Beaver Trilogy. I’m kind of an Old, so I had the distinct pleasure of watching the cult classic Beaver Trilogy in the late ’90s the way it was meant to be watched — on VHS from a who-knows-how-many-generations copy. It’s basically the same story told three times. The first is original documentary footage that director Trent Harris lucked upon in the parking lot of the local Utah TV station he worked at. While testing out a video camera in the parking lot, he met “Groovin’ Gary,” a unique character with a penchant for imitations and an obsession with Olivia Newton John. Gary’s story goes in an unexpected direction from there. The following two installments of the trilogy are dramatic re-enactments of the original story, starring pre–Fast Times Sean Penn and Crispin Glover, respectively.
In the Mood for Love. This movie remains one of my favorites years after first seeing it in the theater. Lush visuals, costumes, and sets and a pitch-perfect soundtrack. Watching it is like a full immersion in 1960s Hong Kong.
Good things to use.
Bemis Easy-Clean & Change™ Whisper-Close® Toilet Seat. I’m reminded of how much other toilet seats suck whenever I use someone else’s bathroom that doesn’t have one of these. You get so used to simply tapping the open lid and having it slowly close in a controlled, silent manner that you end up trying it in restaurants, in friends’ homes — and BAM! The cherry on top is the “Easy-Clean & Change” hinges, which allow you to “snap” the entire seat on and off. The only better toilet seat would have to be those heated Japanese bidet seats.
Bar Keepers Friend. This stuff is a miracle for getting crap off your pots and pans. If you cook in pans that are not non-stick, you need this stuff.
Zojirushi SM-KHE-48 Stainless Mug. While called a “mug,” it’s more of a thermos, but whatever you call it, it is AMAZING at keeping liquids hot or cold for HOURS. I fill mine with coffee in the morning at my neighborhood bagel shop, and it’s still too hot to drink by the time I get to work 40 minutes later. Heck, sometimes I forget about it until packing my bag for home, and the coffee is STILL HOT 8+ hours later. That’s not to mention that it has never once spilled or leaked in may bag. This is THE travel “mug” to get.
Connect with Adam on Twitter, @AdamKuban.