When I was thinking about what I wanted to write this weekend, I had some ideas about novelty and how the pandemic has made novelty a difficult proposition. Of course, then Viola died and that has provided me with a horrible type of novelty that no one asked for. I’m writing this on Sunday night, past when I normally quit the computer to go to bed. When I was retiring for the night, I used to call Viola and she would race past me down the hall the hang out in the bedroom with me. She was always next to me when I was reading in bed. Normally I love getting in bed at the end of the day but now I’m only dreading it.
I thought about not writing a blog this week, but I didn’t write last week and I have some things I want to share/not forget about. It might be a little jumbled but this website is free.
Here are some things I’ve recently read or bought.
Books and Other Words
Essa Hansen’s Nophek Gloss is another book in one of my favorite motifs: found family. It’s a space opera, there’s a crew of misfit privateers, and people trying to work through their trauma. I liked the story in general, but one thing I thought it was particularly effective at was its portrayal of PTSD. So this is a good book for sci-fi fans and for people who like to see complicated characters dealing with their shit.
Lauren Beukes’ Afterland was really good. It’s set in the present day United States, but a terrible virus has killed almost all men. The novel rotates points of view between Cole, her son (Miles) and her sister (Billie). Miles survives the plague only to be scooped up by the government’s research apparatus. Cole just wants to get her son out and travel home to South Africa. What follows is a wild road trip novel of family drama. There’s even a cult! What’s not to love?
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Is it a resolution or is it capitalism via Culture Study. A little late but it’s still January. I do enjoy using the new year as a time to reflect, but I can’t ignore that most “resolutions” are pretty consumer-driven. Just buy this to improve your life! Be more productive! Lose weight!
- Who taught women that they should only eat 1,200 calories a day? via Buzzfeed. Oof. Who among us hasn’t tried limiting our calories to 1,200 per day? This is a great choice if you want to literally starve yourself. Why do women feel we should to this?
- The $3,000-a-month toilet for the Ivanka Trump/Jared Kushner Secret Service detail via the Washington Post. Just when you thought you knew how low the Trump-Kushners were, they reach a new nadir in shittiness.
- Get in losers, we’re singing sea shanties via The Cut. If you have yet to hear about the current internet trend of singing sea shanties (and space shanties!), you’re welcome.
- Meet the ASL interpreter who turns into a ‘hype man’ at D.C. protests via NPR. I heard about this guy on twitter and was amazed with how cool his ASL interpreting looked.
Something I’ve wanted to try baking for a while is bagels and I finally bought the ingredients I need. I looked into it last year, but this was during the rush on baking supplies when everyone was suddenly a baker. The thing I really needed was malt powder, but the high-gluten flour helps. The everything bagel topping is an added bonus. I’m hoping try this out next weekend.
Making Things and Doing stuff
I am finally registered to take the DELE C1 exam! It’s November 13th in Seattle, which was the closest option for the testing date I wanted (I could have done Los Angeles in May but I am not that optimistic about the pandemic). I’ve been thinking about taking this test to validate my Spanish skills for years, but now I’m finally going to do it.
I’m trying to bring a little more excitement to my at-home pandemic experience so I’m making some new things in the kitchen. First, I’m tackling some new baking techniques. I made croissants a couple of weeks ago. It was fun and they came out amazing! It was my first time laminating dough, but it didn’t seem too complicated. It just required patience.
Second I am taking “trips” in the kitchen. On Friday, I went to Egypt with two recipes from Feast of the Islamic World: koshari and a semolina cake. I spent the day cooking and grooving to Egyptian music. It’s not the same as actually going somewhere, sure, but it was something fun and it broke up my routine. I shared the whole process on my instagram and took suggestions for where we should “go” next time. Popular suggestions include Cuba and Morocco, so that may be coming soon.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.