In recent months, I’ve become a big fan of the video game video content coming out of Polygon, which makes for a perfect end-of-day wind-down by putting personality and humor ahead of technical details and commentary. (It doesn’t hurt that two of my favorite podcasters, My Brother, My Brother, And Me’s Justin and Griffin McElroy, are front and center in the site’s video push.) My latest addiction is Awful Squad, which chronicles the site’s staff as they attempt to carve out some measure of moral victory in the brutal multiplayer shooter PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The Battle Royale-esque PUBG is already prime stream-food, with its ratcheting tension and paranoid gameplay, but it’s all the better as played by a quartet of funny folks who spend more time shooting each other and arguing over dusters than actually playing the game. Of special note for their contributions to the chaos: Video producer Simone De Rochefort, who serves as the squad’s gleefully murderous mission control/dictator, and Russ Frushtick, the team’s perennial whipping boy, and his ongoing efforts to parachute anywhere close to everybody else in each session’s chaotic aerial scrum. Gunfire and bickering have never made for such a relaxing end to my day.
I work from home most of the time, which means I’m constantly trying to find ways to do that more comfortably. I have this gorgeous, antique vanity I turned into a desk (which, yes, has an old, powder-blue Smith Corona electric typewriter on it, because I am a cliché), which I promptly slid into the office nook that’s also my library. But a sedentary lifestyle will kill you, so I had to figure out how to get the job done while standing. I looked at several types of standing desks—both standalone and table ones—and the costs were prohibitive, to say the least. Then, on a fateful trip to Ikea, I stumbled upon the perfect, economical solution: a wall-mounted folding table. Or, as it’s known to the Swedes (who like cheap, infuriating furniture), the Bjursta. It’s attractive and unobtrusive; I installed it the same day I brought it home. Now to make more frequent use of the standing desk provided by my employer.
Ikea has become shorthand for cheap, sleek, and dependable—a good starter version of whatever they’re selling. That company ethos extends to its line of cookbooks. Ikea offers a rotating selection of books for sale, and its website doesn’t list them all. But a recent visit yielded several good buys. My favorite is Our Food—Naturally!, with 101 Scandinavia-rooted recipes, including a novel section that takes 17 dishes and provides three leftovers ideas for each. I picked up this 256-page book on sale for $5.99. Likewise, I bought From Cold Waters: Salmon, Herring, Shrimps And Seaweed—a gorgeously produced hardcover tome of Swedish seafood ideas—for $9.99. Because Ikea’s books are printed in-house and not for sale in retail bookstores (no ISBN codes), their cookbooks are a relative steal, with dishes that range from unfussy (elderberry tea toddy) to impressive (how to cure your own gravlax at home).