1. It’s actually autumn here in Baja Canada, by both the calendar and the weather. I’m good with that. Summer only gets romanticized because for the first two decades of most Americans’ lives it’s the one part of the year when they have unstructured time to spend how they like, but the weather itself is miserable. Bring on the crisp nights and the cool breezes and the grey skies, I say.
2. We went up to see Lauren and Maxim last night, dropping off Maxim’s bookcase on the way and then finding a nice dinner right by campus. I’d never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before. There’s a salad bar full of lovely stuff that you can help yourself to at any time, and then there’s meat that they bring around, and that’s pretty much the set up. There is no menu. You just sit there with a large piece of wood on the table that has one end painted red and the other end painted green and if you turn it so the green end is up someone comes by with a skewer full of tasties – steak, pork, chicken, and in one case grilled pineapple – and slices some off for you and if you don’t do anything after that more people come by with more skewers. Eventually you turn the wooden thing over to red and they stop coming for a while. And then the cycle repeats. It was a very nice experience, yes indeed, though I suspect not one I will repeat frequently.
3. Tonight we will go over to a fundraiser dinner at the local historical society where Oliver is working, and I suspect I will be there with some of the kind of community leaders that I don’t get to see in person very often even if this is a fairly small town. Look at me, ‘obnobbin’ wi’ the upper crust! Well, it’s for a good cause, and somebody has to paper the house.
4. While I’m on the subject of food, I was very happy to notice last week that my local grocery store here in southern Wisconsin carries chinotto! It’s right there in the weird soda aisle, waiting for me to place my greedy paws on a four-pack and toss it into my cart! That store carries almost everything. Life is good.
5. I’m nearly completed the project I was supposed to have completed on August 31 and it will be an entirely frabjous day when that happens. I may celebrate irresponsibly if I can remember how to do that. At least I’ll sleep better, which at this point of my life is a celebration in itself.
6. My life is a constant whiplash between the fact that my everyday experiences are perfectly fine and yet the broader culture and society in which I live seems to have landed squarely in The Worst Possible Timeline. I have a lovely family, good friends, a job that I generally like with colleagues I enjoy talking with, a house full of books and tea, and at least at present no major health issues that I am aware of, and yet the prelude to WWIII is happening in Ukraine, the planet is melting down, and unapologetic Fascists have taken over one of the only two major political parties this country has and 46% of Americans are perfectly fine with that as we barrel toward what may well be the one of the last free elections in American history. Truly these are interesting times.
7. We are all held hostage by the delusions of madmen.
8a. So there is a story about a mermaid who can sing and dance, one where she and the other main characters break out into song at just the strangest times, accompanied by full, unseen orchestras. You might have seen it. Her best friends are a crab with a Jamaican accent, a flounder, and a seagull with bad hair whose main function in the story seems to be giving the mermaid incorrect names for flatware. The mermaid falls in love with a human prince who happens to be drowning nearby, and then a giant evil octopus swaps out her voice for a pair of legs so she can pursue him romantically. The octopus eventually turns into an eldritch god and is stabbed to death by a boat, after which the mermaid marries the prince. And the thing about all of this that strikes some people as being unrealistic is that … the mermaid … is … black? Really? Are those people receiving the psychiatric care they so desperately need?
8b. Seen online: “The sort of people who will forcibly load people they hate onto airplanes are also the sort of people who will load them into boxcars.”
9. It’s a strange and lovely thing to see adults that you knew when they were very young children all grown up now and interesting to talk with on top of everything. This whole getting older thing does have some advantages after all.
10. It’s Great British Bake-Off season again. It’s nice to watch a show where people genuinely seem to like each other and help each other out, where the stakes are fairly low and there really aren’t any villains. I haven’t quite figured out a favorite among the candidates yet – so far Janusz and Maxy are in the running, but we’ll see how it goes. That will come in time I suppose. Right now the main issue I have is that they broadcast the shows on Tuesdays in the UK but not until Fridays in the US, so for several days I just have to avoid my Instagram account – a good 15% of which is devoted to former Bake-Off contestants – so I don’t get spoilers. On the one hand, yay Bake-Off ! And it’s not such a bad thing to skip social media. On the other hand, Instagram is my primary source of funny memes and we all need funny in these parlous times. It’s a trade.