Two Weeks in the Life: March 31, 2024

Hello, friends and enemies. I’ve spent this week autistically hyperfocused on Wikipedia. I’ve been having a lot of fun picking out articles to translate and contributing to everyone’s favorite free online encyclopedia. I finished going over a translation with Ana, my Spanish teacher, and published that. I joined the translation of the week group and translated (without editorial supervision) this week’s topic into Spanish too. I also translated an article from Spanish to English. People can tag Wikipedia articles to say “There’s more information about this subject in [language], can someone please translate this?” so I can paw through the list and pick out what looks interesting. There is a whole lot to choose from. I feel like I could do this instead of my job all day and feel completely fulfilled and at peace. Alas, Wikipedia does not pay the bills. However, it did let me know that I’ve made 100 edits to the English Wikipedia, so I feel like a big deal.

a screenshot of my wikipedia notifications that says "You just made your hundredth edit; thank you very much!"
100 Wikipedia edits

I’m been loitering around the Icelandic Wikipedia too although I haven’t done anything with it yet. In my Icelandic classes, we just finished working through the A Course in Modern Icelandic textbook and then discussed what I want to do next. One of my ideas is to translate some of the Icelandic Wikipedia articles into English (yes, there is a tag for that too) and review my translations in class. I’m at a point with learning the language where I need to expose myself to more and more of it to start getting a feel for things, so we have agreed that this is a good direction.

Books and Other Words

a screenshot from storygraph showing that my current reading streak is at 105 days. There is a graph showing how many pages I read each day in March, with the highest approaching 200 and the lowest with just a few pages
105-day reading streak

Speaking of reaching 100-something milestones, I’ve been tracking my reading every day on the StoryGraph app because one of my goals this year is to read every day. I’m on a 105-day reading streak at the moment, even if some days I only read a few pages. You may be thinking that we are not yet 105 days into 2024 and that is true, but I started tracking my reading streak in mid-December to see how I felt about it. I wasn’t sure if it would be more stressful than interesting to track my reading every day, but I’m into it so far. It’s been good for days when I’m tired and just want to stare into the void of my phone before bed because I’m like, no I gotta get a page or two in. Once I start reading, I’d rather be doing that than scrolling instagram, so this has been a good way to motivate me to get off my phone.

I’ve only finished one book in the last two weeks: Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It is a space opera that takes place in a future where humans have spread out to many planets thanks to the skills of “intermediaries” who can navigate unspace with their special mind powers, but horrible aliens called the Architects have destroyed the earth, ripping it open and exposing the planet’s core to space. As I have come to expect from Tchaikovsky (I shared a few thoughts about one of his other books in a past post), he has created lots of wild alien species for us to enjoy, including capatalistic crab aliens that rent out shell space for advertising. I liked the story and I enjoyed the rag-tag band of characters inhabiting the main character’s ship. Because of course we got a found family in space situation here! One of my favorite tropes! I’m very curious about what happens in the next books. I’m waiting impatiently for my library holds to turn up.

cover for Shards of Earth shown on kobo ereader. Fritz the cat is in the background looking unimpressed
Shards of Earth (feat. Fritz)

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Facebook’s Shrimp Jesus, explained via 404 Media. So, facebook’s algorithm seems to be prioritizing any type of AI image, which notably included “shrimp jesus” making the rounds recently. Most of these big facebook pages are just using random AI image junk to get attention and then directing people to random websites to buy things. So, yeah, that’s all fairly troubling to me, especially considering Facebook has also deprioritized news (presumably related to some countries passing laws that social media companies like facebook would need to pay news publishers, so facebook just turned off news entirely in those places). Facebook is a cesspool but we’re kind of stuck with it for lack of better infrastructure.
  • The 2024 World Happiness Report dropped and, uh, Israel being ranked the fifth happiest country is really suspicious. Did they … did they talk to any Palestinians? 👀
  • A view source web via The HTML Review. HTML Review is an internet magazine, for lack of a more expansive word, combining writing and programming. This article muses on what it would be like if viewing the source code of webpage—something available to us all on the internet (just right click then select view page source in your browser)—was more visible to us. From the article: “I often wonder what would happen if the ability to view source was made to be more present in the browsing experience—a gesture, or invitation, to see what and how a site is composed. What if the structure of an HTML file spoke further to the content being rendered? If an element had an inner voice, what would it say? Can this history and context be expressed in the way we interact with and learn from view source?”
  • Vancouver’s new mega-development is big, ambitious and undeniably Indigenous via Maclean’s. I think it’s very cool to see what an Indigenous approach to urban design looks like.

Corporeal Form

I did finally meet with an allergy doctor after hassling my primary care for a referral, as I discussed last time. The allergy doctor was very nice but noted that I actually had a blood test for allergies a few years ago, which I had completely forgotten about (also: why did my primary care not mention that. Did she … not look at my chart??), that showed I didn’t have any major allergies. However, I do have to take allergy medication every day to prevent my ears from getting totally plugged up. I went to the doctor about this some years ago because I couldn’t fucking hear anything and was getting mad about it. The audiologist said she couldn’t identify any problems, so she referred me to an ear/nose/throat doctor. He had me taking multiple sprays of allergy medication and saline to the nose every day and, eventually, my hearing did clear up. If I don’t take an allergy pill and a spray daily, I get all gunked up and it sucks. So there is some kind of disconnect between what the test shows and what my actual daily experience is telling me. In any case, the allergy doctor said that he doesn’t think I have oral allergy syndrome because I wouldn’t be having stomach issues (although, about 10 percent of people with OAS experience nausea or stomach upset). He also said that allergy tests have a lot of false positives, so taking a test might not be helpful anyway. He suggested that I might have IBS and that I eat whatever food I think is making me sick and see what happens. I told him I am trying to figure out what’s wrong with me without running experiments on my body and I was informed that’s kinda just how things work. I’m a little annoyed by the IBS suggestion—though I do not deny that my bowels are irritable—because I think doctors say “oh maybe it’s IBS” when they have no idea what’s going on. For now I am avoiding fruit, but I have still been having some gut troubles of unknown origin this week so, you know, we have fun. I’m getting to the point that I have actually been stressed about eating and putting off meals because I don’t want to feel bad, which is not great because we all must eat to live. So, uh, I am open to suggestions because I don’t know where to go from here.

Doing Stuff

Ticket for Sacramento Ballet Visions 2024 with the stage curtain closed in the background
Visions 2024

We went to see the Sacramento Ballet last Saturday. This was one of their collections of shorter, contemporary works. I enjoy these because I like seeing how dance can tell different kinds of stories and I think the pared down look (compared to, say, the Nutcracker) gives them a lot of freedom to do interesting things. That said, this wasn’t my favorite program of the ones we’ve seen so far. It was still really good but it just didn’t hook me as much as some of the other pieces they have done. Could it be because most of the costumes seemed to include what I can only describe as basic-ass, Fruit of the Loom undies? Perhaps. I’m sure they were trying to say something profound by wearing plain chonies but I don’t know what.

On the topic of ballet, I am still going to class and rehabbing my ankle, which is getting better but is not yet recovered. I’ve been going to the pre-pointe class but I still hadn’t gotten a pair of demi-pointe shoes (a type of shoe that’s not as hard as a pointe shoe that you can use to build up to pointe) because of my apparently much-too-wide feet. I went back to the shoe store to try again and ended up with a pair of full-on pointe shoes since I guess there are no demis in my size. I can’t use them yet because of my ankle, but I do have them so that’s something. I’m looking forward to my ankle getting better and being able to try it out.

Kitchen Witchery

I haven’t cooked anything new or of particular interest in the last couple weeks except for these cookies. They’re peanut butter and oatmeal. I did deviate from the recipe to add chocolate chips because that’s simply who I am as a person.

Cookies cooling on a wire rack
oatmeal peanut butter cookies

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.