Two Weeks in the Life: March 12, 2023

Greetings, friends and enemies. Happy daylight saving time to all who celebrate. I do not celebrate the transition to DST, but I am forced to observe it. It’s good that we come together as a society twice a year to remind ourselves that time isn’t real. I have made it a tradition to schedule a day off work on the Monday right after the time change. It gives me an extra day to ease into the new time and I get to avoid everyone being a grouch at work. This is why this post is coming to you on a Monday instead of following my traditional schedule of writing on the weekend.

The main thing that has been on my mind the last couple of weeks is that my knee is bothering me and it’s stressing me out. For the last couple months, I’ve been having problems doing any one-legged exercises because my knee feels like it maybe won’t bend or like there would be a problem if it did. I recognize that this sounds bad, but apparently I’m a king of compartmentalization because I was thinking it would go away if I iced my knee or took a day off. It has not gone away and it is, in fact, making really gnarly grinding sounds, to the point that Kirk told me I need to go to the doctor immediately when I made him listen to it. I’m stressed about it because both my mom and sister have had knee surgery, so I feel like my time is up. I’m going to the doctor this week and I’m really hoping he actually does something about it. Please make whatever offerings to your powers of choice on my behalf because I need to get back to my regularly scheduled running around.


Books and Other Words

In the last couple of weeks I read The Citadel of Weeping Pearls by Aliette de Bodard and Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor. I liked both but I wasn’t fully enamored of either book—and that’s okay! I don’t have to be obsessed with every single book I read. However, what I did like about these books is they are speculative fiction from perspectives we don’t get as often in English. The Citadel of Weeping Pearls is about a civilization of space-faring Vietnamese people and Remote Control is a work of African futurism. I think they were both pretty cool and I definitely want to check out some more of Aliette de Bodard’s works because this is the first I’ve read from her.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Consultants Gone Wild via Slate. This article asks why it’s so difficult and expensive to build public transit in America. The answer: consultants. I thought this was interesting particularly because I am, technically, a government consultant. I work for a company on a government contract. I have wondered a lot about this current system where the government does very little on its own and hires out companies that specialize in project management whatever other skills the project calls for.
  • Can everyone kindly shut the fuck up about AI via Both are True. Please. I am so tired of hearing about AI (and Kirk is so into AI right now please save me [he doesn’t read the blog lol]).
  • The AI hype bubble is the new crypto hype bubble via Pluralist. Did I just say please shut up about IT and then link to another AI article? I sure fucking did. However, “ChatGPT is best understood as a sophisticated form of autocomplete – not our new robot overlord,” and “If autocomplete says stupid, wrong things with total confidence, that’s because “AI” is becoming more human, because humans also say stupid, wrong things with total confidence,” so I think this one is worth reading.
  • The dirty little secret of credit card rewards programs via The New York Times (gift link!). I guess on some level I knew that my airline miles and whatever were coming from people who, unlike me, were not paying their credit card bills on time. It feels icky that we’re basically removing money from poor people to middle class people who can reliably pay their bills. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this information.
  • The equaliser: Haraldur Þorleifsson on power, misinformation, and leveling the playing field via the Rekjavík Grapevine. This Haraldur Þorleifsson is a real mensch. He’s in the news this week thanks to Elon Musk being a public asshole to him (I’m not going to link to this internet drama but it’s very easy to find [and since I’ve been reading some history lately I am now imagining historians reading this like “what drama?” and “no, it’s NOT easy to find.” Apologies to any future digital archeologists who may uncover this blog.]). However, Haraldur is cool as hell. After selling his company to twitter, he stayed on as an employee so he could get a huge salary and pay taxes in Iceland, where one guy paying huge taxes makes a huge difference. He’s done a bunch of projects for the public good. We need more Haraldurs (Haraldar I guess would be the plural) in the world.

TV and Music

Kirk and I have lately been watching Star Trek the Animated Series because neither of us had seen it before. This is an absolutely bananas Star Trek cartoon from the 70s with the original cast as voice actors. The animation is bad. The storylines are bonkers. In one episode, Captain Kirk gets in a magic battle with Puritans to defend the honor of Satan. I mean, who could have seen that coming? I was also delighted to see the source material for one of my favorite Swear Trek gifs. I almost spit out my drink when it showed up.

Last night I watched Death Becomes Her, which is a very camp film from the 90s featuring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. I admittedly almost turned it off in the first half because it starts out as two women fighting over a man and there’s also a pretty gross scene showing Hawn’s character being completely wrteched, in a fat suit, living in a cat-filled apartment (side bar: this Lindy West article on The Whale and how fatness is depicted is worth reading). I mean, it was the 90s so it’s not like I expect better, exactly, I just didn’t see it coming and it was off putting. However, once the movie gets going, it is entertaining and funny and farcical. So, I liked that aspect.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Knitting and Crafts

I’ve been lacking knitting mojo for the last few months. I’ve been working very slowly (or rather, in fits and starts) on this top, which will be cool and summery once I finish it. I messed up the neck of it because I was looking at the count for the wrong size and had to rip out a whole bunch However, I’ve fixed it now and have nearly finished the front side. I am, however, feeling very inspired by this beautiful pattern that appeared on my tumblr dash (thank you, users of tumblr). I bought the pattern and I have some yarn from Iceland that I think will work well. We’ll see if I get around to knitting it anytime in the next year.

Kitchen Witchery

I guess I’ve been baking a lot lately. I have to get it in now before the weather changes and I don’t even want to look at the oven. I made this good but extremely dense coconut cake a couple weeks ago. I also tried out this carrot tart recipe to serve with a lentil and cauliflower soup. I mostly made it to use up some leftover ricotta, but now I have an extra puff pastry. I suppose I’ll have to make another tart. I also tried a couple of pie recipes from the Sister Pie cookbook, which I’ve had for a little while but hadn’t tried yet. We really liked the maple pie. It was a little bit like a pecan pie sans pecans. I also made a chocolate and coconut pie, which I thought was pretty good—it’s kind of like a brownie in a pie shell—but Kirk was meh on. I probably won’t make it again because, like, why not just make a brownie and save a step?

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. We’ve recently started putting on cat TV for Fritz. Most days around noon, he starts going nuts. Unfortunately, most days at that time, we are trying to work. So, I tried putting on some youtube videos for cats. He does seem to like it but it doesn’t hold his interest for that long. However, it’s enough to break whatever cycle of chaos he’s in and redirect his energy. We started with putting it on the TV, but he wanted to attack the critters and we’re not keen on him punching the TV. I’ve since been putting his shows on a tablet I have but don’t much use anymore. Fritz is officially an ipad baby.