I have this feeling lately like I’m the one being crazy for worrying about coronavirus. Despite the State of California now requiring people to wear a mask in public (link is a PDF), new research suggesting that people with type A blood are at greater risk for problems related to coronavirus, and the nearly 120,000 deaths (that we know of) from the virus, a lot of people are acting like things are totally fine. Kirk and I went to pick up some ice cream last night and saw plenty of people out and about, maskless, eating at restaurants and generally going on with normal life. I know I write often about feeling a dissonance between my life and what’s happening in the wider world and here we are again. It almost makes me feel like I’m wrong, like I’m making it a big deal when it isn’t, but I know that’s not true. If anything, I have become more wary of coronavirus now that I’ve learned more about it. So many people seem ready to believe that it’s over, but I question whether we will ever return to “normal.”
Here are some things I read, watched, or bought recently.
I’ve been reading a lot, especially because I put a ton of holds on library ebooks and now they’re all coming in around the same time.
On the recommendation of my friend Abby, I read The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, which is a take on the story of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde except he’s dead and now we’re following his daughter’s adventures. The book focuses on the daughters of men in science fiction classics and how their fathers’ actions have affected their lives. That explanation makes it sound heavy, but it’s there is adventure and sisterhood and a good bit of fun. I’m already halfway through the next book in the series.
In non-fiction, I read Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. This sounds like a self-help book, and in a way it is, but I have never before read a self-help book that acknowledges that patriarchy is part of our problems and we can’t just go on a juice cleanse to get rid of it. The book was insightful and practical, and also made me very emotional at times. It starts with the idea that, when we feel stress, we need to do something physical to signal to our bodies that the stress has come to an end so we can “complete the stress cycle.” But most of our daily stress involves abstract bullshit instead of fighting predators, so instead you get stuck with a bunch of stupid emotions. This book explains how you can deal with that stress, and lots of other great stuff too. I highly recommend that every woman read this book. You will laugh, cry, and learn things.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Psychopathic traits linked to non-compliance with social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic via PsyPost. Obvi.
- Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop via Medium. I am certainly not the first to share this, but I think it’s important so I’ll share it again. A former cop talks about the mindset in the police force and why reform is not a viable answer.
- 2012 is bullshit; 2020 is when we’ll really be in trouble via Vice. This article is from 2012(!). Remember when people were wound up because we thought the world would end in 2012? Simpler times. The article is an interview with a scientist who studies “population biology” and predicted that 2020 was when shit would really fall apart. We were warned.
I’ve been watching a lot of TV and knitting lately. After the latest season of Drag Race ended, I decided I would watch all the seasons in reverse order. I’m currently about halfway through season 10. Thank god for this show.
We watched a couple of movies recently too. In my ongoing effort to watch all the Star Trek, we watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which was ridiculous and entertaining. In this film, Kirk et. al. have to go back in time to pick up a now-extinct whale to get some alien force to stop turning Earth into pure ocean. We also watched the movie Passengers, which was entertaining if very cliched. A bunch of people are in some kind of hibernation while their space ship makes a 120-year journey to a new planet. In a freak accident, Chris Pratt wakes up 90 years too early, then makes the morally shitty decision to wake up a hot female passenger. I would not have enjoyed this in a movie theater, but I did enjoy it at home, where I could shout at the movie in peace.
Did you catch the campaign to get people buying books by black authors? It officially ended yesterday, but I’m sure no one would be upset if you bought some afterwards. I ordered a handful of ebooks because I need to slow my paper-book roll or I’m going to run out of shelf space.
Making Things and Doing Stuff
I finished a sock! Of course, now I have to do it all over again, but at least the second sock always goes a little quicker because now I know what I’m doing. I’m quite happy with how it turned out. I like the pattern, and I like the yellow accent with this variegated blue yarn.
I figured I’d share a garden update since we now have some visible green beans! They are small, but they do exist, so we’re doing better than last year in that regard. I also wanted to show what it looks like when a leek starts to flower. I never picked them because I thought they would get bigger (I was wrong). They formed little bulbs at the top of the leaves and those explode into something that looks like a thistle or a dandelion. Either way, the process looks like a weird alien creature and it kind of freaks me out, so you must all share my discomfort.
I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking about dance and I did follow up on that idea! This week I did my first lesson with Galaxy Dance Arts, which is here in Elk Grove. They have an adult beginner ballet class that I signed up for and I took my first class (online) on Wednesday. It was fun but a little tricky to keep up with all the feet positions because it’s a little hard to see on the computer screen. The instructor said I looked pretty good and it didn’t look like I’d never done it before. I guess all that roller derby prepared me for ballet. Who knew?
I am still plugging away at my Spanish but I have finally gotten to a point where I feel I can focus enough to add Icelandic back into my rotation. To get back in the game, I’ve been doing my flashcards and I downloaded the audio book of Harry Potter og Viskusteinninn (Harry Potter and the Philosoper’s Stone) from the library just to get used to the sound of it again. I’m really only getting like one word in eight, but it’s helping me remember some of the structures of the language so that’s a good thing. I’m not really listening to it with the expectation that I’ll understand it.
It’s been hot and I’ve been lethargic so I’ve keep my kitchen adventures to a minimum lately. I did make a pretty tasty chocolate chip muffin recently, which was nice. I tried making another batch of crackers, but the dough was too sticky to roll out, so I cut it into chunks an baked it. The result was something a bit like a breadstick—the texture reminded me a lot of crazy bread. Perhaps an avenue for future experiements. Yesterday I made a simple loaf of bread. I’ve done this recipe before, but I usually let it be a free-form ball instead of a loaf. I have to say that I kind of like the loaf.
In other bread news, I decided to break up with my sourdough starter. It’s too hot to think about making bread all the time, and Kirk can’t have sourdough without getting severe heart burn. Plus, I gave in and bought a one-pound bag of yeast from Amazon. I may return to sourdough baking one day, but right now it feels like too much to think about.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Huey has been all up in my desk lately. Viola has decided that she owns my chair. They’ve effectively exiled me from my spot.