Somehow, nothing noteworthy happened this week (maybe that's not a bad thing in 2020). Instead, here are some longer-term things I've been thinking about and doing:
I've been doing a lot less baking recently. Since it's been so hot, the idea of heating up my living space even more with an oven is rather unappealing. I've still made banana bread a couple times and a quiche or two, but I've otherwise been taking a break. It's ice cream season, anyways. 🍦🍨
Cooking in the summer is a lot of fun though, with so much great produce being in season. We've been hauling in tons of fresh herbs, tomatoes, leafy greens, and stone fruit. Washington's summer always brings an abundance of cherries and peaches. So, I've been making gazpacho, salads, and falafel as well as grilling copious amounts of vegetables. It's unlikely that we'll be able to travel this year, so I've been trying to inject some novelty in my life by way of food. So far, it's been successful!
I got this idea (or at least, the mindset for it) from a tweet from Simon Willison:
We do our weekly shop in a different international supermarket every week. It makes cooking SO much more interesting, and compensates a tiny bit for the fact that we can't travel to interesting places and try interesting food there.— Simon Willison (@simonw) August 3, 2020
We've been limiting the number of times we go grocery shopping, so I haven't been able to implement the “international supermarket as novelty” idea, but we have been getting a weekly CSA box that has provided us with some exotic ingredients to cook with.
- How to Be an Antiracist (Ibram X. Kendi) was as good as everyone says it is. Of course, no book can completely cover all the issues surrounding race in the US, but this book laid out a great framework for thinking about racism in the 21st century. I especially liked Kendi's reclamation of “racist” as a descriptive term. Calling an action “racist” is not a slander against the person, it is a description of how their action was unjustly prejudiced along some axis of race. This does not let anyone off the hook for hurtful actions, but allows a more frank discussion.
- Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) was pretty awful. I think I completely missed what this book was trying to do, because I really disliked all of it. I chose to read Heart of Darkness because some other English classes in my high school had read it (but my teacher chose for us to read something else). I'm quite glad I didn't have to spend much time reflecting on this plot.
- Caliban's War (James S.A. Corey) was a great followup to Leviathan Awakes. Both books are part of Corey's “The Expanse” series, which has a TV adaptation of the same name. Corey does a lot of great world building in both books, which continues to pay off. While I think Leviathan Awakes was a better self-contained story, Caliban's War sets up the third book really well, and I'm excited to continue with the series.
Minor Blog Design Update
I changed the way that tags are displayed and added a “Related Posts” footer to each post on this blog. Right now, the suggestions are generated by Hugo's related content feature, but I'm thinking of adding a way to override it if I want to link to specific posts.
I've also slowly been making some minor design changes, like the way that
elements are displayed. Now they're “dashed” and a bit thicker. I'm still a
relative novice when it comes to CSS, so this has been a fun bike shed.
- “We Quit Our Jobs to Build a Cabin — Everything Went Wrong” - Wow, this was an entertaining read. I'm not sure what the takeaway is, because although they admit “everything went wrong”, they're going on to build more cabins? In any event, there's something powerful about stories like these, and the sense of satisfaction one gets from building something with one's own hands.
- Reasons for COVID-19 Optimism on T-Cells and Herd Immunity - A cautiously optimistic article about the possibility of lower-threshold herd immunity, due to preexisting partial immunity given by exposure to viruses like the common cold.