Friday 5: Teal This Record

I didn’t realize that “Africa” had become a thing again in the year of our Lord 2019. Along with Weezer and Weird Al? Time is meaningless anymore.

Where in Africa would you like to visit?

There are lots of places, really. Soudha is in Singapore for university right now, if memory serves, but her travel logs series on Of Stacks and Cups really made me want to visit Mauritius. One of my teacher friends and former coworkers studied in Ghana for a semester when she was in university and made it sound like a lovely place to visit. Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt are also on my “someday” travel list.

 

If you ruled the world, what would you forbid people to talk about in the company of strangers?

Nothing, actually. Even the most banal smalltalk has its purpose.

In what way do you tolerate (or enjoy) being used?

I can’t think of any. Moving on!

When did you recently have an a-ha moment?

About something or other at work, I’m sure. I feel like I have at least one every day.

What’s something you know about turtles?

Nothing that the average person doesn’t already know. I’m not terribly knowledgeable about these little guys.

Friday 5: Movement

A man performing a skateboard trick in front of orange graffiti on a wall. His face is obscured by a red baseball cap and he's partially reflected in the puddle under him.
Photo by Rob Potter on Unsplash

What’s a song that recently moved you?

I still cry at “Rhapsody in Blue.” Every damn time.

What’s a song that recently moved you — right out the door?

Not a song as such, but a request.

When I lived in Korea, I used to go on long, late-night walks with another teacher friend of mine. By this time the pedestrian mall and downtown (“downtown”) Uijeongbu had been fully refurbished, with bits of greenery and benches and sculptures. It soon attracted any number of buskers, and in the warmer months our walks included stopping to take in a few songs.

One time we passed such a performance in front of an audience including a few drunk white men who were already on their way to behaving badly. We lingered, unsure if we could enjoy the music over the poor behavior.

“If one of them requests ‘Freebird,’ I’m going to lose my shit,” I mentioned to my walking companion, quietly and out of earshot of said potential troublemakers.

“What? Why?”

And as if on cue, one of them slurred “FREEBIRD!” and I had to feign a coughing fit to cover a scream of frustration. I nodded to my friend, who was still confused, and we kept walking while I explained the pointless tradition of requesting “Freebird” at concerts, regardless of artist or genre.

What kinds of dance performances interest you?

Not many, I’ll admit. I don’t have much interest in watching anything except tap or swing. I’ve watched to many Hollywood movie musicals, I guess.

What’s a good song with the word move (or some form of it) in the title?

I will never not post a Janis Joplin song if I have the opportunity to do so.

How do you feel about prunes?

I’ve never had them. But since I like raisins, I’d probably like prunes.

GoodReads Challenges

Screencap of a 2019 GoodReads challenge. One book behind, zero books read out of forty-eight.
So it begins.

I recognize that I should probably hate GoodReads. I’ll be the first to admit that its overbusy, hyperactive layout and tools are Not For Me. I don’t care what my friends are reading (sorry, y’all!) and I don’t need to see a constantly updated list of their ratings and reviews. I also don’t care about what the GoodReads/Amazon algorithms think I should read next, or what crappy and undeserving book has been voted the GoodReads Readers’ Choice. I care about keeping track of books I want to read (so easy to just send someone a link to my “to read” shelf!), keeping track of the books I have read, and motivating myself to actually get reading done—trying to keep pace with my GoodReads goal and the little thermometer on the homepage is the best way I’ve found to light a fire under my ass to actually finish books. I’ve been successful in all of them since I started officially keeping track, and I recall even using GoodReads to keep track of my annual book count as far back as 2009.

Which is why I’m posting about how it’s January 14 and I’m officially one book behind because I haven’t finished a single book out of the four I’m reading all at once.  To be fair, one of them is Ulysses, another is L’étranger in the original French, and the third is a Swedish textbook. The fourth is Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows, a book that’s been in my library since it was initially published but I seem really resistant to actually reading. Maybe I should grind that one out first, just to get something done.

Friday 5: My Dreams, They Aren’t as Empty / As My Conscience Seems to Be

person using computer on brown wooden table
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

What’s got you behind the 8-ball?

Nothing in particular, but I’m posting this at around 11 PM and I’m struggling to think of anything I actually accomplished today. I don’t like days where I don’t get anything done—or more specifically, where I look back and I can’t really account for all of my time. It makes me feel like I’ve wasted my day.

Who would you like to see a VH-1-Behind-the-Music-style documentary about?

No one, actually. At this point we live in an age where if I want to know all the dirt on someone, there’s probably a tell-all biography or two I can pick up.

What are you likely to find behind your sofa?

Dust bunnies and the occasional sock.

What’s something you’d like to put behind you this year?

A couple of health issues and some less-than-beneficial relationships.

What’s something you don’t want to eat if there’s no ketchup?

Nothing, because ketchup is a foul, unholy creation that belongs nowhere near food.

My Year in Books, 2018

This year was a weird year in books for me. It was the first year in almost a decade where I didn’t have a checklist of books I wanted to finish, so I was more adrift in my reading habits than usual. However, book clubs and the DipTrans recommended reading list provided some much needed structure, and they contributed a lot to my reading this year, in particular the Austin Feminist Sci-Fi Book Club.

I also want to document my favorite books of 2018, but this little widget is provides some interesting extraneous data not covered by a simple list of 5-star books. Not pictured in the screenshot above is my average rating for the year: 3.3. As it should be, statistically speaking.

Tiny Moments of Joy: Mozart’s Requiem

Seven months after dropping in on a few minutes of a concert at Storkyrka during Kulturnatt, I went pack for a whole, proper concert: Mozart’s Requiem.

Mozart’s Requiem is one of my workhorse pieces to have on while I work, so I know it very well. That makes it the ideal concert piece for me. Unfortunately the only seats that were left were “low visibility” seats so I spent most of the concert with a pillar blocking my field of vision, but that doesn’t stop the music, so what does it matter?

The way things are going, I guess this is shaping up to be a music blog? There are worse fates for a blog to suffer, I suppose.

Friday 5: Over Under Sideways Down

A portion of Gyeongbukgung palace reflected in the water on a sunny autumn day.

What are you so over?

Our collective disdain for things we (rightly or wrongly) associate with young women: selfies, pumpkin spice, duck face, vocal fry…

 

What’s something you’ve got under wraps?

If I told you, it wouldn’t be under wraps any more!

 

What does it take to get you sideways, and what’s your preferred method?

There’s a Dave Barry joke about how it’s a universal truth that everyone, regardless of race, religion, sex, or age, believes that they’re an above-average driver. I’d suggest that it’s the same with alcohol tolerance. That said, my experience seems to indicate I’m more or less justified in said belief about myself. So if I’m going to get sauced (which doesn’t happen too often now that I’m a professional adult and such), I head straight for the Long Island iced teas.

 

What’s coming down the pike?

Work, mostly. New-job work and some potential favors-for-friends work.

 

What’s the last thing you read directions for?

I went to Oriental Supermarket with my sambo the other week to pick up yujacha in advance of winter. No yujacha to be found, but I found some “make at home” ddeokbokki sauce and the appropriate ddeok and followed the cooking instructions to the T.

Worth it.

Friday 5: “Nine times?” “Nine times!”

If you were to play hooky on your next regular work day with no negative consequences, and if you could only spend the day by yourself, what out-of-the-house fun activities would you pursue?

Honestly? I think I’d park myself at a bar that opened at lunch, order some snacks and a stor stark, and catch up on reading while WhatsApping absent friends. Maybe go to one of the many, many museums in Stockholm that I haven’t been to yet.

 

In the same situation, what stay-home fun activities would you pursue?

Same as above, but change out the stor stark for a whisky.

 

If you played hooky specifically because someone else needed the time off, who in your life would be your accomplice and what would be first on the agenda?

This is a tough one because anyone in my life who needs the time off is on another continent. The first item on the agenda, though, would be a quality fika of some variety or another. Start the day off with caffeine, sugar, and good conversation!

 

When did you last visit a museum, and what item on exhibit impressed you?

I visited the Army Museum and the Nobel Museum during Kulturnatt earlier this year. No particular item really had the same effect on me that “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” has on Cameron, but I appreciated the Army Museum’s exhibit on wartime literature. (I also took the moment in the Nobel Museum to complain about Kazuo Ishiguru and Never Let Me Go but that’s my own private beef.)

If I’m allowed to go back to much earlier museum visits, one of my favorite pieces is “Love and Friendship (The Sacrifice of the Arrows of Love on the Altar of Friendship),” in my beloved Philadelphia Art Museum.

I think it outclasses any other work of art anyone’s ever attempted to make to grapple with unrequited romantic feelings for a close friend.

The other is one from the Art Institute of Chicago (the same museum Ferris, Sloane, and Cameron visit in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, weirdly enough).  “Into the World Came a Soul Called Ida.”

A dark, dreamy oil painting of an aging woman in her boudoir, looking into a handheld mirror and powdering her face.

What’s something you’ve recently gotten away with?

When the green lines went down from a power outage back in September, I didn’t bother blipping my card on the (very, very full) bus ride home. To be fair, since I have a monthly card, that’s not really “getting away” with anything; it’s not like I saved a fare or any money!