Two Weeks in the Life: January 29, 2023

Hello, friends and enemies. Welcome back to my blog.


Books and Other Words

Here’s what I’ve been reading in the last two weeks:

  • The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket by Benjamin Lorr. This is just a little existential dread/supply chain reading. The ease and seamlessness of grocery shopping is, of course, eliding a lot of sketchy shit.
  • Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore. I bought this book based on the title alone but it, unfortunately, did not live up to my expectations. Linguistics? Magic? It sounds perfect, I know. However, the book is framed around a videogame called Sparkle Dungeon, which to be fair, sounds like a really fun game. I think video games are great but it turns out that I am not at all interested in reading about them. The action takes place in the real world, the realm of Sparkle Dungeon, and a metaphysical place called the “logosphere.” It’s pretty wacky and out of control. This book is a cool idea, but ultimately not for me.
  • Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell. This book really was right up my alley. It’s a look at cults and other cult-adjacent groups (like MLMs or crossfit) and how they use language to disarm people and keep their members. It was interesting and a good read.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Tiktok’s enshittification via Pluralistic. This is an excellent explanation of the pattern of how internet platforms become shitty. If you’ve asked yourself why the internet sucks now, this is your answer.
  • FDA proposes switching to annual coronavirus vaccine, mimicking flu model via The Washington Post (link is a “gift” article; you should be able to read for free). The title here is pretty descriptive. The gist is that the FDA would promote an annual vaccine based on whichever covid variant is ascendant and we would get the vaccine in the fall like with flu shots.
  • Against copyediting: Is it time to abolish the department of corrections? via Literary Hub. First, I am obviously not against copyediting because, you know, it’s my livelihood. Second, I don’t think the author is against it either. Finally, this bit spoke to me, “Copyediting shares with poetry a romantic attention to detail, to the punctuation mark and the ordering of words. To treat someone else’s language with that fine a degree of attention can be an act of love.”
  • If I can’t fuck the M&M spokescandies, what do I have to live for? via Jezebel. Good question! I do not understand why people are mad or why they are pretending to be mad about the sex appeal of candy mascots, but I guess I’m not going to kink shame.

TV and Music

I’ve gotten caught up with everyone and watched both seasons of The White Lotus. First, I must say that I genuinely love the theme song. It’s a real banger for reasons that I will probably never be able to comprehend. This show had me captivated by the spectacle of rich people being obnoxious. I had heard a lot about how it has good gay representation, but somewhere during season two I was like, wait a minute, do all these gay characters hate themselves? Also, the gays are all villains. It’s giving “I support women’s rights but also women’s wrongs” (and I wish I could find the original tweet [I think?] for that statement), but for gay people. Finally, Aubrey Plaza is in season two. She and I are about the same age and something about seeing her being a full-on adult and looking grown up has made me feel my age in a way that nothing else has. I’m not sure how all this information stacks up if you’re looking for a review, but these are my thoughts about it.

Making Things and Doing stuff


I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking about translating some wikipedia articles. I would like to thank my past self for bookmarking the list of articles needing translation from Spanish because I actually started translating! And it’s fun! Contributing to wikipedia is something I’ve wanted to do for a while but it seems daunting because there’s already so much there and I didn’t know how to find a niche. This is perfect for me though because I can fill in English articles with existing information from the Spanish. So far, I have mostly translated articles about random small towns in Spanish-speaking countries (there are a lot of articles in this genre). Though today I happened onto an entry in the “to be translated” list for a drag queen from Spain. I was finally able to put my powerful knowledge of RuPaul’s Drag Race to use for the greater good.

One of the random small town articles led to my very first bout of wikipedia editing drama. I translated an article about this town and, within maybe a minute of publishing the changes, a veteran wikipedia editor reverted the article and removed my work because it didn’t have any citations. I told her that the original Spanish didn’t have any citations either. She basically said “I don’t know how they do it in Spanish wikipedia, but you have to have citations here.” So, now I’m not translating anything if it doesn’t have citations.

Kitchen Witchery

a square cake covered in pieces of pecan and white chocolate chips
pecan and white chocolate snacking cake

I’ve gotten back to some easier baking lately and this week that included a cake from Snacking Cakes. This is the pecan and white chocolate cake and it was quite tasty.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.