One of the shitty things about pandemic life is that every malady seems to augur impending doom. Kirk has had a bit of a cough, which we are both highly suspicious of. Yesterday, I woke up so dizzy that I couldn’t get out of bed at all. The worst of it passed after sleeping more but, despite having vertigo, it was the most profound dizziness I’ve experienced. Of course, my first act was to search “coronavirus vertigo” online because I guess I hate myself. I don’t have a fever or any other symptoms but … is it coronavirus? Who the fuck knows. Fortunately, I’m feeling better today but we’re being very cautious and not going out at all right now, lest we accidentally spread plague.
These are some things I read, watched, or bought recently.
I’ve noticed I’m reading quite a lot of science fiction set in the future where humans are a space-faring people. It’s not all I’m reading, but there is definitely a trend here. I would rather think about a time when the human race isn’t trying to murder itself through stupidity and when we’ve become a better species. We sure as hell aren’t there today.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers is the second book the series that starts with A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. At first I was disappointed because I wanted to follow the characters from the first book, but this book follows two characters who you meet briefly in the first book. However, my disappointment soon vanished because this is a great book in its own right. It deals with what it means to be human in a really thoughtful way through the lens of artificially intelligent beings and genetically engineered people. I loved it so much that I read it in a day.
Goldilocks by Laura Lam deals with a nearish-future in which humans have made the planet pretty much uninhabitable, patriarchy is taking hold, and everyone but the rich are god damn miserable. The book focuses on the all-woman crew that steals a spaceship and heads for an extra-solar planet where they can start a new civilization. The story tracks the space journey alternating with chapters about the protagonist’s backstory. I don’t really know how to describe the story without giving too much away, so I will simply say that I thought it was a good read.
The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss is the third and last installment in The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club trilogy. This book wraps up this fun, metafictional series with an adventure for kitchen girl/mesmerist Alice, who isn’t quite sure how she feels about all this adventure stuff yet. Hooray for escapism.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Women’s roller derby has a plan for covid, and it kicks ass via Wired. It’s cool to see derby getting some press in the wider world. We really do have the best return-to-play plan of any sport, even if it means we have to wait a little longer to get back in the game.
- Hate mowing your lawn? Good! Don’t do it! via The Nib. A comic explaining why lawns are useless and stupid.
- Even mild coronavirus cases can cause lasting cardiovascular damage, study shows via The Week. Great. I’m never leaving my house again, thanks.
- How to know you’re not insane (And how a Cards Against Humanity staff writer was fired) via Medium. I thought this story was really interesting (in a “sad and racist” kind of way). It deals with the difficulty of navigating capitalism while black, and the immense power bosses can hold over us.
Kirk and I watched the first (and currently only) season of Upload on Amazon Prime. I didn’t like the first episode much but the show gathered speed pretty quickly after that and I found it pretty funny. This is a crazy version of America where people upload their consciousness to the internet when they die. But because America is a capitalist hellscape, the rich get super lush digital environments with unlimited data and the poor are limited to pay-as-you-go versions. I guess I’m saying it’s a humorous exploration into wealth inequality. Neat!
I also watched Netflix’s new movie Eurovision: Fire Saga. I’m only passingly familiar with Eurovision’s cheesy earnestness, but I really loved this movie. Is that just because the main characters are from Iceland? Maybe. It was light-hearted and campy, the songs have been stuck in my head all week, and I even understood some of the little Icelandic they spoke in the film. What more could I want?
After being irritated about not finding the beans I want at the grocery store, I decided to go all in and order a bunch of beans from Rancho Gordo, which sells beans that are honestly really good. So now I am well stocked on beans and ready for the next round of the apocalypse.
Making Things and Doing Stuff
I am excited that the library is open again! My Friday library rides are something I really look forward to. Sacramento is doing a contactless book pickup services, where you schedule a window to pick up your materials and they leave them in a bag in front of the library. I like the secret agent vibe of picking up my library book in a manila envelope and I’ve enjoyed being on my bike again.
I can feel my summer doldrums ™ coming on and I’m planning accordingly this year. I am going to take a bit of a break from Spanish for August because it’s hot and I won’t want to do anything anyway. I’m hoping to take a little rest and be reinvigorated to prepare for the DELE exam, which I can hopefully take in November (‘Rona willing).
Knitting and Crafts
I finished some projects, which is always a pleasure! The socks I’d been working on are now done and being set aside for Christmas gifts (spoilers!). I like how the cable pattern and color look together. The pattern is Helix on ravelry.
My good friend Mandy requested a blanket upgrade. I made a baby blanket for her last year and I was informed we would need one in a larger size. Who am I to deny my honorary niece a new blanket? I asked Kirk to model it for me and I got this gem of a photo.
I’m still enjoying my dance class and today my ballet teacher told me that I have nice calves. I felt quite pleased about it. Between dance and jumping rope as my main exercise, I tweaked my calf muscle a couple of weeks ago, which was unpleasant. A stern reminder that I need to be better about regular stretching (a long-term dream of mine). I have yet to resume jumping rope, but I’ve been able to dance okay after a round of treatments with the heating pad.
I’ve kept my kitchen experimentation a little more limited lately because I can only eat so much and I don’t want to be hot. I made stuffed shells for dinner recently to celebrate finally finding pasta shells at the grocery store. I also tried my hand at succotash, which consists of beans, corn, an bacon. Kirk was sure he was going to hate it because it contains lima beans, but he actually liked it and said I should make it again. Another victory for me.
In pursuit of developing some baker’s patience and making beautiful as well as tasty food, I made flower poğaça rolls, which are soft rolls artfully wrapped around a little pile of feta and herbs. They were delicious and quite attractive if I do say so.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.