Greg Pak: Three Good Things

Many years ago, in the wake of 9/11, I set up a website called Three Good Things where I’d periodically post lists of, yes, three good things. So here I am back at it, counting my blessings. Feels good!

Three Good Things: Jook, FEELING GOOD, and blogging

Been a while since I posted three good things. Today felt like a good day to exercise that muscle again. So here we go:

Jook, a.k.a Korean rice porridge

ONE: Jook.

One of the easiest and most comforting meals I know how to make is jook, a.k.a. Korean rice porridge. The only ingredients are chicken, water, garlic, rice, salt, and whatever garnish you feel like adding. So simple, but it always makes me feel about three times better. I’m making some even as we speak, and just the smell is already shifting my world in the right direction.

Feeling Good by David Burns

TWO: Feeling Good by Dr. David D. Burns.

October 10 is World Mental Heath Day. So here’s a plug for Feeling Good, an incredibly practical introduction to cognitive behavioral therapy, which has absolutely helped me feel good from time to time. The book was originally written in 1980, so the social context of some of the scenarios may feel a bit dated. But I’ve found it to be hugely helpful and I’m deeply grateful for it.

Full disclosure: the link above will take you to a page – if you buy the book there, I’ll get a small affiliate fee.

TWO: Blogging.

I spent more time today than I care to admit fiddling with this site to update the way menus and navigation work, and it’s reminded me all over again about how much I value having an actual independent personal website in these days of ephemeral (and often destructive) social media. I’ll probably write about this in more detail later, but posting on a blog feels a bit like shooting analog film to me these days — a conscious, deliberate way of slowing down to appreciate the process of creation and maybe make something lovely. Feels good!


Three Good Things: public domain natural history art, the FlipBlade, and a secret new project

Hard week in a hard month, huh? Taking the time to remind myself of good things. Here are three for today:

ONE: The Biodiversity Heritage Library!

This week I did a search for some public domain natural history art and found a mind-boggling collection called the Biodiversity Heritage Library. You can read about the project here and view the collections on Flickr here. Album after album of stunning, gorgeous, historically fascinating images. (NOTE: not every single image in the archive is public domain – be sure to check the details before using ’em!)

Snapping turtle art from North American Herpetology by John Edwards Holbrook, from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

TWO: The Belkin FlipBlade!

Around ten or twelve years ago, I bought a small, sleek iPad stand called the Belkin FlipBlade, and it’s still one of my favorite accessories of all time. I love the simplicity of the design and the slow, smooth way the spring-powered blade opens out from the base. Quietly and tremendously satisfying. They don’t make ’em any more, but they pop up from time to time on resale sites. Yes, it’s a tiny thing, but that’s what Three Good Things is all about. Feel lucky to have one!

THREE: Secret new project!

I’ve spent a good chunk of the week immersed in book design for a new secret project, and it’s been a huge creative rush. Not to jinx it, but I’m realizing I’ve accumulated enough Photoshop skills and design sense over the years to bring together the disparate elements of this project with the subtlety and detail they deserve. And I’ve got the collaborators asking me the right questions to push it over the top. Hugely grateful. Tiny tease below – more soon!

Three Good Things: Brand New Day, Sagat story, chicken salad

Another hard day with plenty of terrible things to mull over and deal with. But here’s three good things…

  1. Luther Vandross’s “Brand New Day/Everybody Rejoice” always makes me feel better. I first encountered it in THE WIZ. Here’s the original version.
  2. The story about Bob Sagat that begins with this tweet is just beautiful and hilarious and a real tribute to making the most of every moment. I’ve been getting tons of comfort from the Sinatra song “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die” recently, and everyone in that story seems to have really lived with that glorious energy.
  3. Remember that roast chicken I talked about the other day? I made chicken salad out of the leftovers, and it was absolutely glorious. Liked it even more than the original meal. Just some chopped chicken, a little light mayo, diced celery, and some sea salt. But wow. It’s the little things, friends, day after day.

Three Good Things

Many years ago, in the wake of 9/11, I set up a website called Three Good Things where, shockingly enough, I’d periodically post lists of three good things.

This year is off to a harrowing enough start that it feels like a good emotional and spiritual exercise to revive Three Good Things. So here we go!

  1. Homemade chicken broth. Made some tonight from the bones of a roasted chicken that I’d seasoned with garlic, onion, shallots, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. The broth is absolutely incredible – the smoked paprika put it over the top. Not sure what I’m gonna use it for yet, but it’s already worth it for the five sips I took as it simmered.
  2. The vaccines and boosters. Yes, everything is terrible. But things would be exponentially worse without the vaccines, which decrease the chances of getting infected and, probably even more critically, vastly decrease the severity of the disease if you do get infected. Please get vaxxed, friends. And if you’re vaxxed, get boosted. I want us all to survive and thrive.
  3. The “I fucking love fingerling potatoes!” line in DON’T LOOK UP. Ridiculous and funny and deeply moving in context all at once. My favorite moment in the movie.

The return of Three Good Things

For a few years after 9/11, I periodically posted little lists of good things, some big, some very small, just because. Now seems like a good time to bring back the tradition. So here are today’s Three Good Things:

  1. Fuji apples.
  2. The constant flow of free and discounted digital comics at Comixology. Seriously, if you have even a passing interest in comics, follow them on Twitter and check out the goods.
  3. Learning the names of trees. Something I always wanted to do and only recently started to do. (That’s a leaf from a silver maple, by the way. Pretty, huh?)