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Here’s where the story ends (for now)

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Another souvenir of a terrible year.

Toronto Raptors v Utah Jazz
Merci beaucoup, mon ami.
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Last night the NBA suspended it’s season, as Rudy Gobert (after acting like an utter jackass about COVID19) was diagnosed with COVID19. An NBA player coming down with the virus quashed putative plans of playing games in empty arenas, as once you have a positive case, the players aren’t competing in safety anymore.

Today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA would re-assess the suspension situation in 30 days. Those advocating for an NBA that starts later and goes well into the summer may get their wish. (I would infinitely prefer NBA Vegas Summer League to pre-season football in August, for what that’s worth.)

Our common goodwill can apparently no longer be assumed in public discourse, such is the low point we have reached as a nation. So, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way.

Human lives are more important than the amusement and distraction of basketball. They’re more important than the money lost. The situation around the world is grave. Diseases are no respecters of persons; anyone can be struck ill. When considering sports, where young athletes are highly unlikely to die of COVID19 based on what we know, those self-same resilient young people could be the vector that brings death to someone: a grandparent, a fan, someone who is immunocompromised, etc.

This is a blog covering the Houston Rockets. We are not COVID19 experts, nor are we a reputable news source when it comes to the same. We are not a space for political discussion, though like diseases and invasive species, everything gets into everything and it can’t be helped on occasion. (This thread won’t be that occasion.)

We are Rockets fans, and we’re sad that we’re not going to see them play basketball for a month at least. Of course we’re all more upset about the terrible events unfolding around the world. Few would say no to the pleasant distraction, the lustrous dream, of NBA basketball right now. I could certainly use it, but that won’t be happening for a while.

No one, least of all me, is making light of it all. Yet, a bit of gallows humor, of laughing at fate, even straight up silliness, never hurts, and it might even help. (Also, James Harden? Go and rest.)

What might replace the NBA, and Rockets basketball for us right now?

A Fake NBA2K League

That’s right. We can sim the season, with the appropriate games on the appropriate dates. I’d leave it to someone who owns the current iteration of the game to do this. I’d expect them to set the “reality” settings as high as possible, and sim a game of NBA game length. But if you wanted to, say, play Isaiah Hartenstein, and a 12 man rotation, who am I to say no?

If someone DOES sim the season this way, perhaps we at TDS might recap the games, in a spirit of fun. I’ve already done a recap with nothing but a boxscore, so I’m ready.

A Cooking Club

You read that right. If we’re all going to be self-isolating (at long last! my nation asks me to do something I’m truly good at!), then it’s pretty likely we will be doing a lot of cooking at home. I hope you didn’t buy a bunch of Road Warrior Supplies (particularly canned dog food, unless it’s for your dog). I hope you’ve bought long shelf life items you actually like to eat, with some variety to them, so you can work your way through over time, no matter what unfolds.

So I present one of my theories of cooking! Imagine an X-Y Cartesian grid. On the X axis is “Expense/Rarity of Ingredients”. On the Y axis is “Technique/Effort Required”.

So on the upper right (High Ingredient/High Technique) from the origin is something like Beef Wellington. The dish is essentially a tenderloin of beef inside a pastry crust. It’s difficult to get it perfect (rare beef inside, crisp golden pastry outside), and you’ve ruined a most expensive cut of beef if isn’t perfect. Perhaps you have laid in some very fine ingredients for your self-isolation, and will be attempting Beef Wellington?

On the lower left is “Low Ingredient/Low Technique”. Here is where Kraft MacNCheese, instant ramen, toast (unless you made the bread), hot pockets, hot dogs, and pancakes reside. Not all the food here is bad! I love a good pancake (but I love a proper Belgian waffle more). This is where most people want to be for their “disaster cuisine”. I’m not sure why they want to be here, unless they think they’ll be sick, and need to make something easily? You definitely need some of this food around for a disaster, but maybe not JUST this kind of thing?

On the upper left you’ll find something with a rare, naturally delicious and expensive ingredient that needs little to no preparation to be at its best. Seared ahi tuna, caviar, lightly grilled abalone, butter broiled steak, truffle shavings are the sorts of things you find in the top left corner. (If this is how you plan to spend you self-isolation, first, congratulations! Second, I have some lovely Oregon pinot noir I could recommend.)

Finally we come to the heart of the world’s best “country” or “rustic” cooking, Low Ingredient, High Technique. Here you will find perfect fresh pasta, homemade corn tortillas, cassoulet, mole, bisteeya, souffles, potatoes Dauphinois, coq au vin, pho, macarons, Texas BBQ brisket, and many (many) more of the world’s favorite dishes. (Apologies if I left out your favorite food, or national food! I’ve only listed things here I’ve actually made, or at least tried to make.) The ingredients are not terribly rare or expensive, but doing it right requires skill and work.

This is where I suggest our Self Isolated Cooking Club might reside.

A Book/Movie/TV Club or Book/Movie/TV Recommendations

This is pretty self-explanatory. If there’s interest in this, we can set up pages to discuss a particular book, or just pages for recommendations for deep dives into a genre, reading or watching a series, or exploring new interests. With digital access to so many books, movies and TV series it’s a good way to pass the time, and the crew here probably has some good recommendations.

Online Games

This could be a TDS NBA 2k league, or people finding one another (rather than racist adolescents) in various online games, or even (gasp) an RPG run on something like Roll20.

The Point of This?

The point of this is that isolation and possible illness are a bad combination. People here may be stroppy about the NBA, but I have a feeling they’ll be kind to someone feeling overwhelmed. It’s easy to feel the world is collapsing (like the stock market) and that nothing will go right again. It will. Bad times end.

In the meantime, don’t be a stranger. Don’t fall down a well of despair. There are people out there in the same boat, and a burden shared is a burden reduced by some increment*.

(*I won’t say halved because that’s not analytically justified with present data.)

I hoped 2020 would be better than 2019. There’s still time.

Poll

What’s your top pick?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Cooking Class
    (6 votes)
  • 20%
    Book/Movie/TV Club
    (25 votes)
  • 23%
    Gaming
    (29 votes)
  • 10%
    Despair
    (13 votes)
  • 32%
    I’ll stick with making fun of Dallas. That’s all I need.
    (40 votes)
  • 9%
    NBA 2K League.
    (12 votes)
125 votes total Vote Now

FAIR WARNING

This is meant to be a thread of diversion and (hopefully) camaraderie. So while I myself have (strong) opinions on political and other aspects of the COVID19 pandemic and epiphenomenon, discussions of that sort will be shut down here.