Weekly rundown 2/12

I taught a library instruction course this week on scholarly vs. popular article sources and it went well. Also, I got to text Mallory Ortberg and she was kind; the experience left me with a lot of residual adrenaline.

What I’ve been reading

  • Who killed the Sheridans? on NYT. The ending to this is poignant because they’re right—it’s interesting to read about all the clues in a conveniently summarized, dramatic little digest, but having it happen in real life and be something you can’t just shut off, that I can’t even comprehend.
  • This 155-year-old mouse trap in a museum collection that’s still doing its job is an excellent story. I do love when libraries and special collections go viral, but mostly it’s just tempting to accession one of these bad boys into one’s own collection for… reasons.
  • I neglected to mention that I spent last Friday utterly enthralled by this Buzzfeed article about a suburban mom who blogs as a low-key prepper. Like, sociological obsession. I was so consumed with reading about this whole subculture that I checked out her book from the library. It’s like Hints from Heloise got mashed together with The Road. There’s a section on how to invest in gold, complete with slick cartoon illustrations of a savvy mom happily stocking up on food and water. It is good to be prepared, yes; it is weird to believe that society is going to collapse from an EMP attack. By the way, the one tip I have managed to glean from all this research is that airplane-size bottles of liquor are good for bartering.
  • Did you know that the Parents Television Council still exists? Or that they have thousands of VHS tapes taking up space on this planet so that they can catalog every bad thing that has happened on TV? Or that one of the analysts, a grown man, stuttered over having to say the word “shit” in front of a reporter?
  • I am making progress with The Raven Boys for book club. Maggie Stiefvater’s obsession with cars has never been more apparent, and I am including The Scorpio Races, because that takes place in the past and doesn’t seem quite as much like a very subtle series of car product placements.
  • I have neither written nor edited a single damn thing lately, for hilarious and yet mysterious and yet tragic reasons I will detail below.

What I’ve been listening to

  • My Party, Plastilina Mosh (ESSSHHH-TEEEEE)
  • Gyp the Cat, Bobby Darrin
  • Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock), The Beach Boys (nothing will ever convince me that an album could be greater than SMiLE, nothing—if I stole a time machine, my one trip would be to deliver to 1967 Brian Wilson the modern equipment necessary to finish his dream album)
  • Vege-tables, The Beach Boys (if you ignored me on that previous point, do yourself a favor and listen to them giggle in harmony while Paul McCartney crunches on celery as percussion.)

What I’ve been watching

  • Gravity Falls is ending on Monday. Our doom is assured.
  • Hey, which is your favorite episode of the X-Files where Skinner has insane on-screen sex with a prostitute and then gets accused of murdering her in his sleep? Mine is “Avatar”.

Adventures in Horticulture

  • Orchid Society this weekend! I bought a massive post-bloom phal for $5 off a clearance table, and it was pure victory.
  • I also got a Fittonia to put on the darker part of my desk next to the Silver Hydrangea.
  • The string of pearls is putting out so many babies, apparently the dry hellscape that is 26% relative humidity in a digital archivist’s office is the environment for succulents.

I had a tarot reading

  • As part of this tarot study course I’m doing, one of the exercises is to get a professional reading done. There are online networks of readers who will do a three-card reading for free. So I asked how to go about finishing a recent project (novel), and here is what the response was:
    • Card one, representing the past: A reversed card indicating a previous egoism or misalignment of values related to a relationship associated with the project.
    • Card two, representing the present: Queen of Wands, indicating me personally. This court card signifies someone who is reliable and gets things done.
    • Card three, representing the direction that energies surrounding this project will soon take: Ten of Swords, one of the worst possible cards to turn over, representing ruination and defeat.
  • It was an interesting experience, and I am selectively choosing to be flattered by appearing in a court card and to believe that the final card indicates only what is possible if I continue on the current path (ie, watching the X-Files and playing Neko Atsume instead of doing something fulfilling like figuring out plot structure).


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