Hello, friends and enemies. We are going through another round of house drama here. We had ants appear in the kitchen, which seems to happen every six months. Fortunately, we dispatched them quickly. Kirk puts some kind of poison near where they enter the house and I disrupt their chemical trail with Windex. It’s a good system. Worse than an ant visitation, we now have water seeping out from under the wall of our shower, which I find frankly offensive considering we had the shower remodeled just four years ago. Keen readers may remember that this drama was well documented. It seems that the drain and its weep holes (fun new vocabulary for us all) were not installed properly. When the water hits the drain, it travels between the floor tile and the liner to the edge of the shower, where it seeps out. We may have to have the floor and 18 inches of wall tile ripped out to repair the floor, which we are not at all pleased about (to reiterate: a vehement ANTI-RECOMMENDATION to Solid Construction in Sacramento). Finally my expensive desk chair broke. This is distressing for a few reasons, not the least of which was me being like “great, I’m fat and can’t have anything nice.” The good news is my chair has a 12-year warranty and the company is going to fix it. The bad news is I had to wait for them to ship me a box so I could send them the chair. Now I am waiting for the chair to return to me in a usable state. Because I am too old for sitting in shitty dining room chairs at my desk, my back has been hurting. I bought a less expensive chair as an intermediate measure. I didn’t really want to buy another chair, but it is useful for me since I usually drag my chair from my main desk to my office every day, which is kinda silly but I don’t know. It makes sense to me. This is too much house drama!
In better house news, we got fiber internet! Our old internet provider, Comcast, had been dicking us around for months. Our internet connection was dropping out around 9:30 every morning, which is a problem for many reasons, not the least of which that we both work from home. Comcast tried to tell us that our router was to blame, which makes no sense. Getting fiber became quite a saga because one of the groups that was supposed to come put little flags on the ground to identify their line didn’t do it and we had to reschedule the install. Then, installation day came and the workers were here for five minutes before telling us the line from our house to the main fiber line was blocked. Someone had to come out and unblocked it. Eventually—finally—we got the new internet installed. The tech who came also told us that, rumor has it, Comcast has is running a nearby casino on the residential internet line, which could explain our internet problems. Assholes! In any case, I am happy to report we’ve had zero issues since switching to fiber.
Books and Other Words
I decided I wanted to read about the Zapatistas so I looked into what the library had to offer. That’s how I ended up reading Land and Freedom: The MST, the Zapatistas and Peasant Alternatives to Neoliberalism by Leandro Vergara-Camus. This book compares and contrasts two movements that are pushing for their own form of autonomy and control over their labor: the EZLN (aka the Zapatistas) in Chiapas, Mexico and the MST (the Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil. Vergara-Camus gives us a little background about these movements, then talks about their form of self-governance, goals, and relationship to the state. I don’t recommend this as an introduction to this subject. It’s clearly an academic work written for other people in the field; don’t get into this if you’re not ready for phrases like “post-structuralism” or “Gramscian approach.” Still, I liked the book. I find it fascinating to see the way groups of people band together to demand a better life on their own terms.
Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson had me texting my friends in the first 20 pages to say “You can’t tell me this protagonist isn’t autistic!” Something about the character’s specific brand of detachment from everything—much more than a regular teenager—spoke to me. The story takes place in a middle-of-nowhere town in Tennessee in the 90s. The protagonist, Frankie, and her new friend, a boy who is living in town for the summer, make a piece of art, photocopy it, and anonymously post it all over town. Everyone loses their damn minds as the town goes full Satanic panic about it. I really liked the book. I totally relate to getting totally fixated on something and never wanting to shut up about it.
I don’t usually write about books that I don’t finish, but I am trying something new today. Telling the Bees and Other Customs: The Folklore of Rural Crafts by Mark Norman seemed like the kind of book I would like. Yes, I do want to hear about traditional crafts (sure, we’re calling it “crafts,” but this includes things like, weaving and knitting. The stuff that keeps everyone clothed and alive and some of the main media for women’s art through history) and their associated myths. Unfortunately, this book was totally boring! I gave up around 40 pages in. This is more of a litany of various peoples and their weaving goddess(es) than anything. Where is the analysis? Moreover, where is the drama? Treating this as a dry subject does it a disservice. I will simply have to get a Ph.D. and write my own book instead (I’m JOKING. I do not want to go back to grad school. You’d have to pay me. Plus, how am I supposed to pick just one subject?).
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Dianne Feinstein, the first woman to represent California in the Senate, dies at 90 via Los Angeles Times. I’m not saying I’m glad she’s dead, but nothing about having a 90-year-old senator makes sense. Part of being good at what you do is knowing when to pass things off to the next generation.
- Something joyful that may strengthen your will to live: pig races on the League of Pigs YouTube channel. Kirk sent me this and I feel it needs to be shared!
- Anyway, it’s decorative gourd season, mother fuckers! This article cracks me up every time.
Abby invited me to go with her to see Aparna Nancherla in San Francisco. I didn’t know anything about her, but I trust Abby’s comedy judgment so I agreed. She was so funny! She talks a lot about anxiety and depression (notoriously hilarious subjects), but I was laughing like a maniac the whole time.
I have entered my Wikipedia era. I think I mentioned previously that I had been translating some Wikipedia articles from Spanish to English. I took a break for a while but I’ve gotten back into it. I recently translated the article on bedtime procrastination from English to Spanish. It’s of course trickier translating into not my native language, but Ana (my teacher) helped me smooth it out. Now, here it is on Wikipedia! I feel so fancy! Maybe one day translating could be my job, but for now it’s cool to just do it for fun.
I’ve been enjoying making a few treats lately. I tried out an oatmeal sandwich cookie with a brown sugar frosting from Stuffed: The Sandwich Cookie Book, which I borrowed from the library. They were really good! I had to return the book but I saved the recipe. I have completed my recent run of making rice krispie treats with an all-chocolate version studded with mini M&Ms. Kirk said it was too chocolatey for him, but I liked it. I also enjoyed this very simple recipe for gnocchi with peas and sausage. I added more seasoning though because NYT is downright miserly. Put some red pepper flakes in! Live a little! Finally, I made the Smitten Kitchen pumpkin bread because it is fall now and I think pumpkin treats are delicious. I tossed some pearl sugar on top, which seemed like a good idea, but all the sugar escaped when I tipped the bread out of the pan. Alas. It made for a good photo though!
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.