Weeknotes 5 – 2019-05-20

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.
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May 20, 2019

My garden, y’all. It’s just such a source of happiness for me. It’s so green and my echinacea and coreopsis and my roses and hydrangeas are getting ready to bloom and it’s so exciting.

Less exciting is my damn neighbor. While my spouse was dealing with some weeding in the backyard, she came over to yell at him about our lawn mowing guys blowing dust and debris (presumably lawn clippings) into her yard and seriously, she is complaining about dust. She asked that we request they not do that and my response was, “Just as soon as she stops blowing leaves into our yard every autumn,” by which I mean never. There was also something about “black shredded paper” that I don’t even understand because we don’t have persistent litter in our yard and when there is litter, I pick it up.

She also Monsanto’d a bunch of weeds in her rock beds today and put a child–presumably one of her grandchildren–to work pulling out their desiccated corpses with only nitrile gloves for protection. Her annuals look nice, though.

Also! I will be at Balticon this coming weekend! I’ll be there Friday afternoon through roughly noon on Monday. My plan is to take it easy and mostly chill in the bar area and I would LOVE to catch up with people.

Reading/Watching/Listening

I finally finally finally finished Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human. It was pedantic, polemic, and patronizing. It was poorly written and poorly argued.  There are good ideas in it, but it’s like being lectured at by your cranky uncle when you make an offhand complaint about algebra being useless when you’re 12 years old (true story). I think Rushkoff believes he’s organizing the peasants to storm the castle, but the thing is thins: anyone who’s bought the book is already on board with his central thesis. Less lecturing, more action. And more awareness that not everyone is a white dude.

In the same vein, I’ve started reading Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy and while it covers much of the same ground as the Rushkoff, it does it in a way that acknowledges the existence of privilege and varying sizes of the margin available to people. It also feels more grounded–both in the way that Odell uses examples from her home, the SF Bay Area, but also in her connection to other the people carving out what she calls a “third space” in years past. I am still waiting for her to mention that Thoreau’s mom did his laundry and fed him, though. But overall, I’m finding Odell’s approach much more resonant.

Still working on Searching for Sunday, although I’ve taken a brief break to read The Billionaire’s Convenient Bride based on Sunita’s review over on GoodReads. I’m also starting to think I may need to venture into the novels of Betty Neels; I’m finding a lot of comfort in trope-y romances lately.

And I’m still plugging away at Astounding and continue to be astounded by the general douchebaggery of Heinlein and Hubbard and the gee-whiz keenness of Asimov. And appalled by the fact that Campbell’s hard-on for “scientific accuracy” in SF is still something that white dudes prattle on about at conventions. It’s an absorbing read, for sure.

I have such a pile of physical books to read–mostly non-fiction. I’m really resentful of how much of my time the Rushkoff book took to read; I have another book by a white dude in the stack that I’ve been slowly picking at since like January and come one, white dudes, step up your game with the non-fiction already.

Work

Spin is 12 days away. We cannot authorize any projects right now because Finance hasn’t done what they need to do (which they were supposed to do by last Wednesday). I have fallen into the PowerPoint abyss and I may never emerge (you try creating a job aid for an unnecessarily complex tool in fewer than ten pages, I dare you). I’ve been making a lot of tongue in cheek references to the five stages of grief and they’re becoming less tongue in cheek the closer we get to spin. I was in acceptance, but I’ve regressed to bargaining with moments of anger.

Medical

Big week this week: regular three month check in with my psychiatrist and an intake appointment with my hematologist. And I’m getting yet another paracentesis this afternoon; I’m betting on at least 4L of fluid, if not closer to 5L, considering how protuberant my hernia has become (yet another thing I’m going to have to get fixed). I’ve been feeling pretty good most of the time, which has been lovely and which has further cemented my belief that if I can get this fluid situation dealt with I’d be much closer to feeling normal (and maybe able to exercise).

Productivity

The big rocks/top three strategy is working well at work–at this point it’s basically one big rock surrounded by a bunch of pebbles as they come up. Still kind of flailing around at home–I am finding that I don’t want to take the planner out of my purse when I get home–so I need to figure out what to do there. Mainly, things are holding together and we are getting things done that need to be done.

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3 Comments

  1. Andrew

    I spotted you at Balticon a couple of times, but since I’m just a guy who comments once in a while (and had a one minute conversation with you at a Balticon a few years back) I didn’t want to interrupt just to say hi. Happy to see that you’re well enough to travel these days.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      Oh gosh, I wish you had! Please do next time.

  2. Andrew

    Will do.

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