Category Archives: Media

Media Favorites

I was in the mood to make lists, for some reason. I stuck to only three of each thing, as to not get overwhelming.

Authors
Mary Roach (everything)
Alex Bellos (math books only)
Bill Bryson (history and science books only)

Podcasts
Lore
Sawbones
History is Gay

Classical (or Related) Pieces
Cello Fury – “Nightfall”
Max Richter – “On the Nature of Daylight”
Mozart – Requiem (especially “Dies Irae”)
Bonus entry: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is terribly overplayed, but I have a soft spot for it, especially the second movement of “Summer”

Albums
The Cure – Disintegration
Covenant – Northern Lights
REM – Green

Currently on Heavy Rotation
VNV Nation – “Sentinel”
Nicki Minaj – “Good Form”
Boy Harsher – “Pain”

Female Singers (because I mostly listen to male voices; I’m a sucker for baritones)
Peggy Lee
Florence & the Machine (first two albums only)
Siouxsie Sioux (especially Peepshow)

Movies (I rarely watch them, but hey)
Moon
The Princess Bride
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover
Bonus entry: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, because when I was a kid I desperately wanted to be Maleficent, and no I haven’t seen the live-action films)

Musicals
My Fair Lady
Sweeney Todd
The Book of Mormon (which I saw live with the Broadway cast and it was amazing)

That’s it. Tell me your faves! I’m in the mood for nonfiction books and music. (I’ll warn you now that telling me to watch a movie is like telling my cat to write a novel. Ain’t gonna happen.)

Where to start?

I’m going to talk about things other than COVID-19. Because I think we’re all stressed about that lately.

My biggest stressor at the moment is related, admittedly. My city government decided optical stores are non-essential, and I’m trapped with the wrong glasses prescription for the time being. I had gotten progressive lenses for the first time, and they don’t work for me. I ordered single-vision lenses to replace them… and the store got closed indefinitely. So I’m suffering horrible headaches while I wait for either them to reopen, or for Zenni to send the emergency order I placed as soon as I found out the local store was closed. I don’t even know if the mail will still be coming in two weeks, which is the earliest the Zenni glasses will be here.

Small in the scheme of things, I know, but constant headaches and an inability to read books really suck. Especially when I normally would be devouring books as escapism right now. Eyesight being considered non-essential is ableist as fuck, for the record. Screw you, city government.

Let’s talk about something happy.

My mom retired at the end of August 2019, and since then she’s been relaxing a lot. Which is cool and awesome — she deserves it after 32 years of working for the same employer — but we’re roommates, and she’s home a lot. Which isn’t a problem at all, except that I feel really self-conscious playing my cello around her. Silly of me, I know, but when I’m playing non-musical technique stuff like etudes and scales, I feel I must be driving her crazy. (Cellos are loud, folks; she can hear me even in another room.) So I stopped playing.

Today I was feeling a bit better, thanks to Tylenol (I don’t take it often, because I have enough liver damage already — not from alcohol either), and I’ve been wanting desperately to play my cello since I saw Cello Fury live in February. (They’re my fave cello band. Check them out if you dig original rock compositions.) They were fantastic, and they played “Nightfall” — my fave song by them — and I finally figured out what key it’s in thanks to watching their hands during the performance. And I got to meet them and get their autographs and it was amazing.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to play, and my cello teacher Luna and I are Facebook friends so I know she’s doing lessons over Skype right now. I contacted her and asked if I could start taking them with her again. I had stopped in, uh, August 2016 (ouch) for financial reasons (read: major dental work that I just finally paid off two months ago), but she’s happy to take me back and I’m excited. I told Mom she can just wear headphones while I play!

I asked Luna if there was anything I could work on while I waited for my first lesson (Tuesday the 7th). She recommended a couple of things, so I practiced some tonight. Not too long, my bowing wrist got cranky from disuse, but it was fun and it felt so nice to play again. Everything I did was bowing. Didn’t even get around to fingering. Just bowing open strings with the whole bow, for like 10-15 minutes. One of the things she gave me to practice was Bach’s “Minuet in C” from Suzuki Book One, a piece I’d played back when I was doing lessons before, but my wrist gave up before I got that far.

(I did look up bow holds after, and figured out that I’d misremembered it slightly. Probably explains the angry wrist — my thumb was slightly off so I had the bow tilted weird.)

I want to get back to where I was, playing Irish music. Jigs are awesome. An acquaintance obsessed with Viking stuff and I were talking, and I realized Nordic folk tunes were a thing, and now she’s after me to learn some. I told her to give me a few months. I haven’t played in seven months, and before that I wasn’t all that great anyway!

Let’s see, what else is up… I’ve been writing a good bit of code, in hopes of picking up some programming work. (Anyone need a Python developer?) I wrote a couple of Discord bots in JavaScript before the eye strain got bad, too. (I have a third one I’m beta-testing, but it needs work and my head hurts too much normally.)

I haven’t been knitting/weaving/spinning. Requires working eyes. But I have projects in progress I really want to complete.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I recently got hooked on Ologies, which is mostly science, and Word of Mouth, a weird BBC language show (episodes topics include the words we use for numbers; how brand names are developed; words that aren’t words like humming… it’s strange and wonderful).

That’s about it, really. Lots of laying about in a dark room. But I’m luckier than some, right now. So I’m focusing on that.

Damn. It’s really hard to not talk about COVID, isn’t it?