Week 501-502

Not much to update. We survived the inauguration.

In lieu of anything interesting to say, here's a special little treat for those week notes readers: a very painful, slow, video of me playing Sea of Theives' Becalmed on concertina. To watch it back is how I imagine it feels to watch a sheep in a nativity play forget their lines.

Partially recording it so the historians have interesting material for when I'm hailed as the greatest concertina player of all time.

Watch video on Youtube

If your feed-reader skipped the video (and fall-back link) above, like mine did, you'll have to actually and visit the website like a peasant (or click this link). Sorry.

If you're here, on an independent website, directly, in 2021: Hello, weirdo!

Week 500

It's 2021 and my 500th week living in the wonderful US of A, and this week we had an attempted coup! What more could I ask for to celebrate this wonderful round number.

The week was somewhat of a write-off. Who can do anything productive when there are lunatics threatening the consitutional electoral process with violence? Alex and I declared Wednesday a Snow Coup Day and stayed glued to the live feed, and then stayed up late to see the electoral vote count get finalised.

Other than that basic threat to democracy, I don't have much else to report.

Replied to a couple of work emails, but not a lot else on the capitalism side of things. I never really talk about my jobs, because it's always felt too personal. So much about "doing the work" is the relationships that get built with the people you're working with (or for) that it doesn't seem quite correct to talk about it publicly. I might try and talk more abstractly about the things I'm learning and seeing more in future though, because it is a big part of what I'm doing in any given week. I'm a bit of a fan of the way that Tom code-names projects, so maybe I'll borrow that idea.

I'm very slowly working on learning Twinkle Twinkle on the concertina. I mostly don't understand how my two hands will ever learn to push different buttons at different intervals, but I'm assured it's just practice and they'll get it eventually. I'm trying to keep in mind that I can touch type, and this is largely the same skillset. Just a new layout and cadence, right?

Week 498 / 2020

As many people have pointed out, January 1st won't see things suddenly be much better, but I am glad to see the back of 2020.

The election back in November was a huge relief, although I continue to be stunned that MIL truly and deeply believes the election was fraudulent and it's all a cunning ploy to lead the US into communism.

I'm excited about the vaccine news - I know it'll be a long time until I'm in a group that will get it, but it's the first glimmer of hope that I might get to come home sometime in 2021. I haven't seen my family for 18 months, now.

Because I'm homesick, we had a "British" Christmas dinner this year. A non-animal protein for me, chicken for Alex, then roasted carrots, parsnips, cabbage, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Sticky-toffee pudding and custard for dessert.

Alex hadn't had Yorkshire pudding before? He put BUTTER on his like it was bread? He doesn't like gravy? You can marry a person, be stuck in a house with them 24/7 in a pandemic for a year, and still not really understand them.

We didn't do Christmas presents. We sort of stopped that in our second year. We do tend to buy for ourselves something frivilous that one doesn't really need, instead; I bought myself a Hayden duet concertina.

I can play London Bridge and the first part of Becalmed (from the Sea of Thieves game soundtrack). I'm mostly interested in dirges.

The most fun I've been having is still co-op online games with the Dusties. We recently started playing Red Dead Online, which is free if you have RDR2 (or $5 standalone), and although it's obviously meant to entice you to buy the "gold" for upgrades, we play the free content to the max.

The best bit, though, and the part that's had me laughing so hard my chest hurts is when we get bored of running missions and devolve into what we call "purge time", turn on friendly-fire and just go to town. "Dynamite only" rounds or knife-fights. If that was all the game was, I think we'd still enjoy it.

Read Dead Online avatars
Part of the RDO crew

I hyped myself up for Cyberpunk 2077 and it was so incredibly disappointing. I got it for PC, and my gaming laptop is basically brand-new, so it looked fantastic. Unfornately, it's an incredibly shallow game, more akin to Deus Ex than Witcher 3 (the latter is what I had been expecting). I asked for a refund (I bought direct from GOG) but I'm still waiting.

I finished my GoodReads reading challenge, but sort of feel like I cheated by getting in quite a few short stories.

2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Frances has completed their goal of reading 30 books in 2020!
30 of 30 (100%)
view books

Our car broke, which means we couldn't go on an intended hike today - a very American problem - but also the reason I thought to sit down and do a week note.

Week 484

Matt in mask in orange
Snapped this picture the day Matt & Dana met me for a walk, at lunchtime, the day the sun got blotted out.
The spaceship house
Spaceship house
Kite, La Selva Beach
Almost finished this oil painting
Scrub jay painting, work in progress
Freestyle ikebana

Week 474

It's extra appealing right now to want to log anything when it feels like I'm doing absoluely nothing.

I think that's all the new logging I'm doing. I made two swarm checkins this month! A real busy one. What a whirlwind.

We've been very cautiously trying some socialising with Matt and Dana, who we consider our "bubble family" since we we've sort of been in each others' space since the pandemic started (literally since the shared airbnb in Kyoto in February) and we had them over for backyard lunch a couple weekends ago. I think they're the first people to be in the house since Jake stayed in January, well before lockdown.

I stopped drinking at the start of lockdown and have been getting into non-alcoholic IPAs. There's a trend right now, I think partially because nerds my age have realised their bodies can't keep up with craft beers anymore, of "good" breweries making low-to-no-alcohol beers that taste interesting! I've had some from Athletic Brewing Co., Mikkeler and Hairless Dog. All good fun.

Progress updates on end-of-the-world hobbies:

I've also started oil painting again!

Just a close-up of a work-in-progress
Scrub jay painting, work in progress

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