Hello, friends and enemies. Last night I got a little enrichment time outside of the enclosure and went to see a play with Kirk and Abby. We saw The Play that Goes Wrong, which is totally hilarious. I love the actors at B Street Theater because they are so great at physical comedy. I mean, they are also good actors but they way they put their whole bodies into the performance just kills me. Go see it! It will be playing for a few more weeks.
I’m really enjoying becoming a person who goes to the theater now that I have the disposable income and presence of mind to do so. It’s nice to get out of the house and take in some arts. I feel like I have some deeper thoughts on this subject but they haven’t fully coalesced yet. Something about how you can always go back to things that interest you (I was a bit of a theater kid in high school), the fun of having a reason to get dressed up and go places, and enjoying the arts in a public setting. I’ll probably come back to this subject in the future.
Books and Other Words
Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
- The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon. This book is a high-concept science fiction that didn’t quite come together for me. I thought it was a cool idea, but it was honestly very difficult to keep up with all the terms and ideas the author introduced without a whole lot of explanation into the world. I wanted to like it, and I did on certain levels, but I think it needed a stronger editor.
- Translation State by Ann Leckie. I loved this entry into Leckie’s Imperial Radch universe. It’s not really a sequel to her Ancillary trilogy, but it inhabits the same space. I think Leckie is brilliant at creating worlds and exploring what it means to be human through science fiction. One of my very early posts on this blog is actually about her book Ancillary Justice. I always say I’m not really a writer but looking at something I wrote almost ten years ago is making me cringe, so I guess I am a writer by at least some metrics (achievement unlocked: be embarrassed by past work). This was no I’ll be famous one day but for now I’m stuck in second grade with a bunch of morons.
- Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. I enjoyed this novel a lot too. I thought it was a compelling tale and I’m looking forward to the second book. I don’t have any big thoughts about it, but it was good!
- Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives by Amelia Possanza. I’m getting on queer history kick in my reading lately. Lesbian Love Story is a work of creative non-fiction work that profiles seven historical lesbians (although some of them may have never used that word for themselves) interwoven with vignettes from the author’s own life as she works to understand her queerness and what it is to be a lesbian. Possanza does an excellent job of making these women real using a combination of archival text and a little creativity to show what their lives might have been like. Highly recommended!
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- California COVID surge confirmed by 4% Walgreens positivity rate via The San Francisco Chronicle. Covid is on the rise so please be safe out there! An updated covid vaccine is supposed to come out in late September along with the flu shot.
- You either see everyone as a human being or you don’t via Current Affairs. Texas has put buoys in the Rio Grande to keep migrants out. The buoys have saws on them to injure anyone who tries to pass. This is unconscionable. Even if you think we shouldn’t accept immigrants, do you think they deserve to be ripped apart? Awful.
- For many home-schoolers, parents are no longer doing the teaching via The Washington Post. This article got me riled up. There are many reasons that public school is difficult and lots of good reasons to homeschool, but the fact that adults can just set up a “school” like an AirBNB for other people’s kids and that these “teachers” have no interest in learning about education or actually giving feedback on student work pisses me off. School already exists! It’s not perfect but there’s a whole system in place to give kids education! There is a system of screening the adults to keep the kids safe! Anyone beating the “school choice” drum is sounding the dog whistle for defunding public education. That’s all this shit is. School is also not a “product,” and anyone telling you it is should be suspect. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking hated teaching in public school, but at least I wanted to do a good job and tried. The woman in this article says “that she has no interested in formal training. ‘I could take an exam and say, “I’m a teacher.” I don’t feel there’s really any benefit in doing that.'” YOU DON’T? Why are people sending their children to this woman. Everyone in this article needs to get a grip.
- How to uphold the status quo: The problem with small town witch romances via Tor.com. In more lighthearted internet discourse, I found this article about witchy romance stories interesting. The author here is inviting us to stop and think about the power structures that might be represented in these stories, if glossed over for the sake of “coziness.”
- Use my new slang in meetings and score accordingly via McSweeney’s. For some levity, get down to goat treats and summer coats in your next meeting using these wonderful new pieces of corporate jargon. Get coned up, idiots.
TV and Music
I watched both season one and season two of Somebody Somewhere over the last two weeks and now I’m sad that there isn’t more. This show is great. We’ve got found family, returning to a hometown and having a lot of feelings about it, and being a well-rounded person with friends and hobbies in your forties. I don’t know how to describe this show. There’s vulnerability and joy. It’s good.
I came across this really cool music website on Tumblr this week. You can select a country and a decade and hear music from there and then. It’s called Radioooo! Go discover some new music before someone forces them to take it down.
This might be TMI (too much information) for some of you. If you don’t want to hear about a weird body problem, just skip to the next heading. I want to write about it though because I had never heard of this ailment and because women’s health is often treated as a taboo subject. Okay last chance to stop reading this paragraph … I found out from my gynecologist (here I will spare the details) that I am presently afflicted with something called vulvodynia. It’s pain around the vulva. I’ve read up on it and learned that we don’t know what causes it and we don’t really know how to fix it. Women’s health, am I right? My doctor’s prescription was to take hot baths and massage the area, which sounded very funny but has actually not been as fun as it sounds. You know, because of the pain. What sucks about this is I saw the gyno because I was having pain at certain times, but once I started trying to massage out the tension and identified this specific flavor of pain, I realized I’m actually feeling it often but I had been misinterpreting it as cramps or gut problems or just general discomfort. Apparently, it was my vulva! Neat! (not really!). So, this sucks on its own but the last couple of years have just been a cavalcade of ailments. It needs to stop. I’m not going to have any health body parts left at this rate. I am once again posting this hamster who is at her limit to express my feelings. No more body problems! Whoever is running this simulation needs to give me a fucking break. End program!
In better news, the weather hasn’t been horrible every day so I’ve been able to make some food. Although I’ve been a little hit and miss when it comes to motivation/my brain being cooperative about doing the tasks of daily life. I made some really tasty pizza beans, roughly based on this Smitten Kitchen recipe to eat for lunch last week. I knew Kirk wasn’t going to like these, so I just made them for myself, which is something you’re always allowed to do. I also tried a soup recipe in the instant pot. It’s a Persian barley-lentil soup from the Milk Street Fast and Slow cookbook, which I have checked out from the library. The instant pot is really saving my ass in this hot weather, I have to admit. I also made another rice krispie treat variation, because I had cereal left over and why not. I mixed in some cinnamon bits and topped it with cinnamon sugar. Recommended!
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. I must again apologize to Huey fans, but Fritz is simply too photogenic. He keeps posing. He knows where the light is. What am I supposed to do?