Derik Badman's Journal

2020-03-22 08:50

The first day of spring, and it looks like it will be a beautiful day so far. People will be chomping at the bit to be outside and socializing, at least those people who are actually following guidelines and staying in and practicing social distancing. I probably should have taken a walk while it was still early, but I slept in a bit and then made myself some nice breakfast (mushroom, tomato, and cheese open faced omelet).

Actually had a good day yesterday. Milk Street is offering some of their online classess free through the end of April, so I did one on basic knife skills (I do okay with that stuff, but have never really learned anything). I enjoyed it, kind of like a cooking show but with more detail and explanation and accompanying text and recipes. Also started one on "Kitchen Improv" which seems like it would be useful just for learning some new techniques and thinking about how to combine different foods, flavors, and textures. I'm very much a follow the recipe cook, even for dishes I've made dozens of times, I still always have a recipe up on my phone to refer to.

Spend a lot of the day just reading, first a bunch of things online that have accumulated in my Feedly saved items folder and then finishing up the second of Gene Wolfe's Latro book, Soldier of Arete. That one gets a little crazy at the end, with a few large gaps of narrative, that puts the last section of the book into a weird estrangement. Since Latro forgets everything from day-to-day, when he doesn't write down the events and days pass then he becomes even more disconnected from who people are and what events have happened, causing his resumed narration to be even more obscure. Characters that have been present throughout the book are mentioned but nameless (and sometimes it takes a bit to figure out who is who), motivations and interpretations of motivations become confused, and a certain amount of cause and effect is lost (we see effects without causes). I definitely feel like even on this second read, I didn't totally follow all that was going on, or the significance of it. Feel like I could use a good summarization to help clarify a few things. Still, despite that, a really enjoyable read. There is a third novel, that Wolfe wrote much later than the first two, which creates newfound interpretation problems as it moves the action to Egypt thus mostly unmooring the narrative from all the places, characters, and deities that one has learned to identify in the first two. I won't be jumping right into that for a reread just yet.

Played a game of Scategories last night over Hangouts, not a bad game to play that way, as all you really have to share visually is the card with the list of categories (even easier if people had their own box of the game). I was texting with my brother and suggested we set up some kind of online meetup, which is kind of ironic, because even before all this social distancing he lives in another state and we don't see each other much to begin with. We could have done something like that at any time, but somehow now it seems more... viable? Important?