This has been a slightly odd week for me because I haven’t been wanting to go to sleep. I’m normally very dedicated to my sleep routine, to the point that I am ready to fall asleep out of habit around the same time most nights. However, the last few nights I just don’t want to get in bed. It’s not that I’m frittering away my night hours on twitter’s infinite scroll (though I’m not above it), but I want to actually be awake and doing things at night, which is rare. I don’t know what to attribute this too. Perhaps subconsciously railing against routine (and mostly against waking up to work in the morning)? having a higher-than-normal amount of energy? new-year mania? I’m not troubled by it, mostly confused and curious to see if it persists.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
This week I finished reading The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War by Craig Whitlock. Whew. I knew on a certain level that the war in Afghanistan was a huge, expensive shit-show but this book comes in with the receipts. At essentially no point in time did the U.S. government know what they wanted to accomplish or how they could accomplish it. They tried throwing money at problems and were surprised when that didn’t pay off. It’s embarrassing that this country thinks it can roll in to a whole other nation, learn nothing about the culture, then try to build society in its own image—to say nothing of the harm the U.S. has done to the Afghan people.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Long COVID could become Finland’s largest chronic disease, warns minister via Reuters. From the article, “a Finnish expert panel’s summary of more than 4,000 international studies … showed one in two adults and around 2% of children may experience prolonged symptoms connected to COVID-19.” So, that’s fucking terrifying. Whenever I’m tempted to develop a more cavalier attitude about covid after two years of this pandemic, I think about long covid and reconsider.
- Millennials didn’t kill the economy. The economy killed Millennials. via The Atlantic. I saw this headline on instagram and went in search of the full article. I was not disappointed. It was published in 2018, but it’s still highly relevant. From the article, “Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history to date. They bought into a social contract that said: Everything will work out, if first you go to college. But as the cost of college increased, millions of young people took on student loans to complete their degree … And what has all that debt gotten them? ‘Lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth,’ according to the Federal Reserve paper’s conclusion.”
TV and Music
Kirk and I had been catching up on Doctor Who. He convinced me we should try again after I got mad and quit sometime around season eight. I really hated Clara (I still kind of hate her), but I like the show overall so we watched a few seasons. I was also looking forward to the newest seasons where a woman plays the Doctor. Unfortunately, we had to stop watching again because it got so bad. We didn’t even last three episodes into the new Doctor’s first season because the writing was terrible. There’s an episode called Rosa, which had us cringing before we started because the synopsis said that the Doctor and friends go to Selma, Alabama and—you guessed it—encounter Rosa Parks. This was so cringe-worthy that we had to stop. I don’t need to see the Doctor telling Rosa Parks that she’s “such a big fan.” So, we’re done with Doctor Who again for now. Maybe in a few years, we’ll forget the pain again.
I watched another movie this week! I hope everyone is proud. I watched Witches of Eastwick, which I picked because 1) witches and 2) Cher. It was overall entertaining, if a little weird and gross at times, but being weird and gross (in the form of Jack Nicholson’s character) is kind of the point. I’m thinking I’m going to keep with a theme and watch another Cher movie next; I have Burlesque and Moonstruck in my queue.
I said I planned to send slow mail this year, so I ordered some festive stamps to make the process more entertaining. I ordered some t-rex stamps (among others) because I am an eight-year-old at heart. I also wrote two letters this week to make good on my letter-writing plans. I’ve decided that, if I actually get into a habit of letter writing, I want to get a seal and seal my letters with wax to be pointlessly fancy.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
Over the last month or so of lessons, I’ve been reading through a short story with my Icelandic teacher. It was very slow going because it was just a regular story written for people who already speak Icelandic, not people learning, and there were a lot of words and phrases I didn’t know. It made me realize that I’ve reached the hard part of learning Icelandic. I’ve got a good foundation from textbooks, but a lot of learning materials are now pretty easy to read. Anything made for native speakers is really hard. Now I have to do the brute-force work of reading and looking words up until it starts to come together. I haven’t been studying a lot lately and I think it’s because I’ve been putting off this hard stuff without realizing it. I’m hoping figuring this out will help me decided what to work on next.
Knitting and Crafts
I’ve been working on and off for a while on the Elín sock and I finally finished the first one on Friday. However, I had a little misunderstanding with the pattern (let’s not assign blame) and ended up with a heel that comes to a goofy little point. Were it the toe, I would probably laugh it off and go with it. But the heel, the part that goes under my foot? No. I’m not sure if I’m going to pull the heel out and try again or call it an art piece and be done with it. If I do make adjustments, it will be later on. I think I’m going to start knitting something entirely different for now.
My in-laws keep sending Kirk home with random food items (parents, am I right?), which recently included two packets of soba noodles. I had not cooked with soba before, but I found this recipe, spicy peanut soba noodles with green beans, and gave it a try. It was delicious! It also, but pure chance, to be very similar to a recipe Kirk had been trying to get from his mom. He said his mom used to make these really good peanut noodles but he couldn’t get the recipe from her. As I was cooking this, he came into the kitchen and said it smelled just like the peanut noodles he remembered. Then, even better, it tasted like his mom’s recipe. So, this week I am happy to report that we have solved the mystery of the peanut noodle.
I must also report that I made a batch of blondies in which I mixed the crumbly bits of some coconut macaroons that refused to hold their shape, plus some chocolate and almond and the result was delicious. There is, however, no photographic evidence.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.