Three chords, one hit wonders, and other disagreements

Ben Folds Five's Whatever and Ever Amen

Thoughts on music from a recovering pretentious snob: three chords are enough, one hit wonders usually aren’t, and musical taste as a romantic deal-breaker. Continue reading

Solar Pomodoro watch

A Casio Tough Solar Watch
A nice detail: timer mode shows the time of day in a little bar at the bottom of the face.

I always used to wish my digital watches had a Pomodoro timer function. I even considered writing to Timex at one point to request this, but I’m a lazy bag of social anxiety, so that didn’t happen.

My new Casio watch has an awesome, unadvertised Pomodoro function that lets you stack and repeat multiple timers. I bought this only because the metal band of my old watch gave me massive patches of red itchy bumps, and apparently I would rather exacerbate them than go without a watch for a few days. This one was $20 and solar-powered, and I was surprised to stumble on a feature I’d wanted in a watch for so long.

Subdued Swiss party music

Back in 2001, my uncle gave me an early mp3 player that came with his computer. It held four songs, although I eventually upgraded it to ten or twelve. Even now, I would be fine with a device that could only store a handful of songs because I tend to listen to the same song on obsessive, brain-numbing repeat for forty-five minutes at a time.

Today, this is that song.

Summer hats for people who hate summer

If you didn’t think it was possible for a month to physically assault you, I’d like to introduce you to July. Yeah. It’s hot.

And before we even made it to summer, I’d already had three sunburns on my neck. Sunhats aren’t my style, but one was obviously called for. After way too much searching on Amazon, I found one that makes me look like the silent ghost of a murdered widow. Or at least like a witch who has been reluctantly dragged on a beach outing.

But the sun is already setting earlier each day. Halloween is coming.

Reading… Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit

When does reading more books cease to to have any benefit and turn into consumption for its own sake? The other night, while trying to get through even half an episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, my partner and I instead discussed this and how some books are better suited to slow reading.

Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit is such a book. It’s dense with history and beautifully written, with plenty of lines worth lingering over, and really thinking about. I started reading this book a couple years ago, before I got past my underlining phobia, and I knew it would be worth revisiting, pencil in hand.

I’m looking forward to the later chapters, which go into city design and feminism, but between reading seven other books and deliberately going through this one slowly, it’s probably going to take months.

Researching… spy psychology

The internet contains about a billion articles on the morning routines of CEOs, boring stuff that starts with waking at 4:30 to work out. But what about the morning routines of spies? What do those look like? Wake up at 4:30 to go to the gym, then LIE ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU ARE FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.

I searched for the morning routines of spies partly on a whim, and partly because such information would be directly useful in my research for Stars Fall Out. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t find much.

Instead, I ending up reading about the field of spy psychology. I’m a few articles into this research, and so far am incredibly disappointed that no one has used the term “spychology.”

The Little Passive Mermaid Lady: Why Ariel is Actually Terrible

In Part Two, The Little Mermaid’s Ariel relinquishes her badassery and delivers on the promise of feminist nightmare I had been expecting. Continue reading

Blue index cards

I accidentally bought a package of unruled blue index cards and then found a template online to print lines on them.

I wish I could say that it’s cheaper to do it yourself and that the quality is better. Not so much. But at least I have index cards to write my main character’s scenes on.

Finished writing Little Mermaid Part Two

I just scheduled Part Two of my series on The Little Mermaid. At first, I resisted the idea of writing a two-part series on this movie when I’m not that into Disney as a whole. But now that it’s finished, I think this was appropriate. This movie loomed huge in my childhood. I can’t count how many times I drew grotesquely proportioned pictures of Ariel’s red hair, purple shell bra, and green fins. It’s revealing to delve into obsessions, even (or especially?) ones from long ago. Now that I’ve written both parts, I can see how Ariel’s character in the beginning of the movie influenced me profoundly. Even now, I want to go trespassing somewhere and disrespect authority more.

I’m not interested in the texture of a rock, but in its shadow.

–Ellsworth Kelly

This resonated with my mostly because of my main character in Stars Fall Out, a failed printmaker whose tendency to see the light and shadow in everything ends up revealing something important about a newly-engineered magic.