Yesterday I finally got a Slurpee (pina coloada flavor, obviously). I was hot on my way home from ballet class and stopped at 7-11 to get one. There were many times last summer when I wanted a slurpee, but it didn’t feel like a great idea given the state of the pandemic. The pandemic isn’t really over but things are safer than they have been. California says you don’t have to wear a mask in most indoor places now, but it feels weird to let one’s guard down just like that. I’m not feeling normal yet (and perhaps never will), but getting a Slurpee was a good step in the right direction for me.
I hate complaining about the heat because it’s so boring, but: is it fucking hot enough? Two 110-degree days in a row is a bad time. Yes, I have a functioning air conditioning and I passed the day inside, but it’s still hot. You still feel it inside, and cooking is out of the question. It’s not as hot today (at the time of this writing: 101 F), but I’m still extremely over it. It’s June and I’m already annoyed. Let’s get summer over with. Or at least let’s get more slurpees.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
If I skip a week of blogging, it’s hard to write in much detail about the books I read, both because it’s been a little longer since I finished the books and because I have more books to talk about so I don’t want to write as much for each one. But here we are:
- Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong. I loved this memoir/essay collection about the experience of being Asian American and not being willing to center white feelings in one’s writing anymore. It’s an excellent exploration of the author’s life and her thoughts on art and culture.
- The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun. This is a novel translated from Korean about a woman who works in a travel agency that runs programs for tourists to visit areas where there have been disasters. It’s all fun and games until the protagonist goes on a trip herself and gets sucked into a man-made disaster. There’s a lot of commentary one could make about capitalism and how a lot of tourism is exploitative, but I am not going to be the one to do it today.
- Deathless by Catherynne Valente. I hate that the version I have of this has such a plain cover because the actual cover is very cool. This is a novel based on Russian folklore about Koschei the Deathless and about what happens when the damsel in distress isn’t really in distress but tries to subvert the story to her own ends. This is also a really interesting work because it combines fantasy with historical fiction. Valente sets the myth during the Russian Revolution, which gives us a new twist on the tale.
TV and Music
Kirk and I finally got around to watching Wandavision this week. A lot of people raved about it, but I thought it was just okay (spoilers ahead!). I liked the kitschiness of the episodes set in different areas of TV. However, the ending was a little lackluster. The show doesn’t paint Wanda as a villain but she’s definitely a villain! You don’t mentally subjugate an entire town with your sorcery and get to keep the “hero” title. I thought it was ridiculous that a white woman gets to be like “whoops, I magically ruined hundreds of lives because I was sad” and have zero consequences. The protagonist we need is Agnes, whose story is undoubtedly more interesting than Wanda’s.
I finally started (and finished) watching Legendary, which is some truly great television. I love the vogueing and the performances. It’s really cool to see the concepts all the houses come up with and I like that they get production support with the costumes and extra choreography coaching from professionals. It makes the show so much stronger and levels the playing field (if only Drag Race would take notes). If you like dance and drama and drag, this is a great show to watch.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
I finished Los desesperados by Joselo Rangel, a novel about a Mexican rock and roll band. This was fun to read because it’s a different subject than most novels and it introduced me to a lot of music-related words and some more informal vocabulary.
I’m now three weeks into working with my new Icelandic teacher and I’m not sure it’s working out. It’s good in that having a teacher again has got me more motivated to review and learn on my own time, but I don’t think she’s using class time well. We barely work on Icelandic. My theory is she’s not sure what to use to teach me or how to direct our time. It’s frustrating and feels difficult (read: rude) to bring up, even though I’m the one paying for it.
I’m glad a lot of people were able to watch my dance performance last weekend. It was nice to have to much support. It felt a little silly to watch though, which is odd because I don’t often get self-conscious about these kinds of things. Both performances felt much cooler and dramatic while I was doing them than when I watched them. I think part of that is inexperience (I have to remind myself it’s only been a year!), but maybe performing in face masks didn’t help. You lose a lot of the expressiveness with that. My dance studio took the last two weeks off but we’ve started classes again and I’m excited to keep learning more and improving.
Last weekend I had fun making pasta by hand for the first time! I made lasagna because a few wide noodles are easier to make than a bunch of tiny ones. I followed the noodle and lasagna recipes from How to Cook Everything and the results were delicious. I am also excited to report that I’ve finally started customizing some bread based on my own instincts instead of recipes. For this loaf, I started with a basic french bread recipe, rolled it up like a cinnamon bun but with parsley and parmesan, then cut it in half to twist it up. The results were pretty and tasty. I’m hoping to start playing around like this more with my baking.
As always, I have been baking. I made an Indian puffy bread (from Classic Indian Cooking) to accompany some lentils last week. This is a recipe where you cook the bread in a skillet , then toss it directly onto the burner to puff up before brushing it with melted ghee. I was a little afraid of putting the bread over a direct flame, but it was, of course, fine. Yesterday I made coconut cupcakes with a meringue topping to accompany tonight’s dinner (recipe from the Latin Grilling cookbook). I’d never made swiss meringue before, but it came out really good. The cupcakes are really tasty overall, if a little raggedy-looking.
I know everyone is really here for the kitten updates. Fritz is settling in well—he already acts like he owns the place. Huey is not loving it but she’s starting to adjust. I think Fritz really wants to play with her, but when he runs up to her, Huey often hisses and flees. Huey is now able to hang out sort of nearby him without growling, so that’s progress.
Fritz is not accepting any boundaries on his new domain. Since Huey hasn’t asserted many herself, we are, for example, not letting Fritz in bed when Huey is there. This led to a spree of bad behavior including peeing on the bed twice. Fritz remains under probation and has to be put in a separate room at night until we are sure he can act right. However, he is extremely cute.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.