• sara reads the feed

    Ch-ch-ch-caregiving, watching the Arcade, and mocktail policing

    I find myself contemplating what life is going to look like in the next couple decades, on a really practical level. Political stuff right now is dreadful. It’s going to have far-reaching impacts that hit the marginalized the hardest, I’m sure. How will it hit me? What should I be doing to prepare? What’s my day-to-day life going to look like if things go Worst Case Scenario?

    I couldn’t have imagined life as it is now a decade ago; the pandemic shifted things profoundly in unexpected ways. I suspect this is another situation where there’s just no telling what’s going to happen. There will be big changes, and I don’t know what they are yet.

    Living in uncertainty about the future sucks, but it’s also pretty normal. Some people are always dealing with this. A lot of people deal with this sometimes. Most of us are feeling it right now in particular. There isn’t really a way to prepare for unknowns, but we can focus on where we are – this month, this week, this day, this hour, this moment.

    I keep thinking “I’m along for the ride” as a reminder that I’m already doing what I can and the rest is up to future history.

    Certainly on a personal level, my life will be QUITE different in a decade, if only because I will have children who are 23 and 19 years old respectively.


    My summer has been very little productivity (namely writing and editing) because I’m absorbed in caring for my kiddo on summer break. I’ve also shifted my sleep schedule ahead so I can be awake later and do some Family Time for those who aren’t early risers. I’m just terribly discombobulated, is what I’m saying. Hence it is appropriate timing that Psyche posted an article about caregiving.

    It’s not entirely a useful article for me, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that these things are challenging to people in general.


    Andy Samberg talks about how he burned out of SNL after a while on Variety. It’s illuminating about the schedule that performers endured in his era.

    I sense that things have changed in the last few years because of this being a problem. For a while we had a bigger cast; older cast members hung around longer, but sketches were more spread out – I think to make sure everyone was getting some time off. It also feels like they’re taking longer, more frequent breaks. It’s a difficult format.


    On August 1st, ad-free Vampire Survivors will arrive on Apple Arcade. (Engadget)

    The game is perfect for mobile play, but I haven’t been keen on the mobile app style. This will probably get me back into it.

    Ars Technica notes that Apple Arcade is mostly rereleasing old games. I am fine with this, for the record. I want my good ol’ games without ads and microtransactions.


    Whether or not under-21s should be able to buy mocktails (NPR) is an interesting question I wouldn’t have thought to ask.

    My initial response is, why not? There’s no alcohol in them.

    They’re worried about normalizing drinking and encouraging drinking roleplay among younger people. I think I grew up drinking Shirley Temples because they seemed ~fancy~ and it was generally benign, relative to the overwhelming drinking culture in general. You know? There’s so much merchandise, media, events, etc built up around drinking. Making servers card for mocktails seems silly.

    On the other hand, we don’t really do candy cigarettes anymore. There’s a precedent for limiting youth access to simulacra of illegal substances.

    But again: no alcohol.


    Adding the modern concept of AI to everything means Google and Microsoft are bigger contributors to climate change (Quartz). Google’s emissions have increased by 48% since 2019; Microsoft’s have increased 31% since 2020. It seems reducing energy usage has been sidelined for profit. Who’s shocked?

    In California alone, climate change has killed at least 460 people and cost $7.7 billion (also Quartz) in the last decade.

    California wildfires have also burned 5x the amount of area as usual this year. (The Guardian)

  • sara reads the feed

    Salad Fingers high school reunion, brick your kicks, and disrespecting God’s favorite fungi

    It’s been twenty years since the advent of Salad Fingers, and a new episode doesn’t feel the same. It’s not bad or anything. (YouTube) It just got me reflecting on how the different experience of the twenty-years-ago internet changed how it felt to experience Salad Fingers.

    Back then, we didn’t have high-speed internet. It still went “wheeee bzzzz badongy dongy dong grrrr” when you got online. If you wanted to watch a Flash video — which Salad Fingers was, back then — you had to be terribly patient. I seem to recall download rates at 5mb/minute, which is boggling nowadays.

    Often we’d wait for some mb to download, then watch a few seconds or a minute of the video before it stuck again. That meant having loads of time to ruminate on what strangeness we were seeing. It drew out the experience in an excruciating way. This was also before internet horror took off as it is now (influenced in large part by Salad Fingers!), so the liminal spaces and chaotic Millennial randomness of it was still unfamiliar territory, and you didn’t really know what was going to happen next.

    You still don’t know what’s going to happen, but it happens quickly, and you don’t have to devote your attention to it for any length of time. You don’t get immersed in those empty planes and hungry groans.

    The episode didn’t do much to me except make me reflective and nostalgic, which is eerie in its way.


    Having all our belongings dependent on apps means that we have a lot of real life objects rendered useless because their ephemeral software on our phones is abandoned by companies. You really, really can’t just use a thing you got until it breaks anymore.

    Two recent examples from Ars Technica: Amazon’s bricking its weird expensive security robot. And also, those self-lacing Nike sneakers? Bricked.


    On NPR, a former astronaut insists that the astronauts stranded by Starliner are not abandoned, which is indeed what I’ve been hearing. More detail somehow makes it sound more suspect. They want to be able to certify Starliner for regular use despite its malfunctions, is what they say. They won’t go home until they’re certified. I don’t really understand why they’re eligible for certification *at all* if it’s to the point that they’re stuck on the ISS for a while because the vessel malfunctioned. It really feels like they’re stuck because they want to make sure it’s safe to bring the astronauts home. But my feelings really don’t mean anything, I guess.


    I think we’re all well past The Avengers movie at this point (and MCU at large), but it’s cool to hear that they’ve done a Lakota dub with the original cast. (Reactor Mag) The actors worked with Lakota-speaking coaches to get it right.

    Keeping languages alive with popular media is cool no matter how ya slice it. Sixty two Lakota-Dakota speakers got some of that Disney money for the project.


    I’ve heard people saying “plants are the new pets, pets are the new kids,” so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that 1/3 of Millennials would take a pay cut to spend more time with their pets. (Quartz) I bet a good chunk of the other 2/3 just can’t afford a pay cut.

    As I amble through my thirties, I understand the drive. Our pets are ephemeral, beautiful things. When you’re young, knowing you’ll have a dog for 8-12 years sounds good, but then 8-12 years pass and it was never enough. Cats can live to be 20, but they usually don’t. Who wants to be at work, making capital for other people, when you’ve got something so lovely at home? Plus, our kitty- and doggy-friends are just happier when we’re home, period.

    When you understand pets are family, it really doesn’t sound weird to say that people want more time with their families.


    Record-breaking heat in the United States is taking lives. Four folks in Oregon have died (The Guardian) and a motorcyclist died in Death Valley (also the Guardian). These two articles popped out at me, but I doubt these are the only losses we’re experiencing from the heat.

    It’s sad news. I’ve been thinking a lot about how climate change news has changed a lot over the last couple decades, and how they used to make it sound like we’d just hit a wall and the planet would turn into cinder or whatever. Nowadays it’s like, “Yep, the climate is more extreme, and we’re in the process of watching it take lives.”


    Someone died, and many more have been sickened, after eating magic mushroom candy bars. (Ars Technica) The mushrooms themselves are about as safe as any. But it was earlier this year that people got extremely sick (with two deaths) from eating another safe mushroom, morels. To quote myself:

    Some of the symptoms sound like what happens when you just eat raw mushrooms. The chitin isn’t digestible by humans. Simply eating raw mushies in volume can cause diarrhea and vomiting like that. But that doesn’t sound like the only factor at hand here. They’re having a hard time figuring out exactly what happened.

    Obviously psilocybin and morels aren’t the same thing, but I’m struck by the way that we’re eating these things en masse and the consequences that follow. I feel like humans aren’t taking fungus as seriously as we should? I don’t know the doses involved, but generally speaking, neither of these mushrooms are meant to be bountiful all year round and easily consumed whenever you want. Hallucinogenic mushrooms aren’t candy. Morels are seasonal. I don’t think anyone can safely eat loads of uncooked mushrooms, and even cooked mushrooms should mostly be a small-quantity thing, no matter how delicious.

    Consuming with respect won’t necessarily spare you unpleasant side effects, but…you really gotta consume with respect. I feel like that’s missing from the dialogue here.


    Tom Cruise and Doug Liman still discuss making an Edge of Tomorrow sequel. (Variety) It’s a really good movie. I don’t feel a need for a sequel, personally, but I’d absolutely watch the heck out of it. For all his faults and horribleness, Cruise has good taste in sci-fi projects.


    Ozempic et al have been previously linked to severe gastric problems. It has also recently been linked to sudden blindness. (Quartz) The condition is nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).

    The study’s researchers analyzed medical recorders over the past six years from over 16,000 patients in the Boston area.

    Of those patients, 710 where diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with 194 being prescribed semaglutide. Of the patients in this cohort that were given semaglutide 17 ended up developing NAION. For comparison, there were only six cases of NAION among the patients who were not prescribed semaglutide. This translated to a slightly over 4% higher risk of diabetic patients taking semaglutide developing NAION.

    The risk was even higher for obese patients. In separate cohort of 979 patients with obesity, 361 were prescribed semaglutide. There were 20 patients in this cohort that were given semaglutide and developed NAION. And only 3 patients who were not prescribed semaglutide developed NAION. This indicated a 7.6% higher risk for semaglutide patients.

    They haven’t determined causality yet.

    This magic drug has spread quickly. They’re projecting that 9% of the population may be taking it by 2035. (Quartz) I worry about how it’s going to impact a population that is taking it so much. Democrats want prices cut so more people can have it. (Quartz) Novo Nordisk is investing $4bn into meeting American demand. (The Guardian) It’s not going anywhere, but are we really sure it’s safe?

  • sara reads the feed

    Watching TV with sibling, new perspective on a movie, and nostalgia laptop

    I’m delighted to report I’ve ruined Sibling’s life by drawing them into The Boys, an Edgy McEdge show about Bad Superheroes and contemporary American politics. We’re only on the beginning of season 2 together, but they’ve also been sitting in while I watch season 4 week by week, which is weird. It’s so weird going back and forth!

    This week’s episode has some material that could be seen as especially dark, since one character just lost a parent and then gets [spoiler’d]. I was wondering how that tone was supposed to be read. I thought it was funny until the character’s breakdown at the end. Welp, I guess the darkest part is that the showrunners think it’s supposed to be funny too.


    I loved this Bright Wall, Dark Room post about Furiosa. I liked the movie but had mixed feelings about the amount of detail it added to a character journey where I felt detail wasn’t necessary. The point they make is this: “Furiosa exists to show us how a drive for revenge can turn into a drive for redemption.” That really made something click for me.

    I’m looking forward to watching it again.


    The American president has been cracking down on border crossings, ostensibly to appease the right wing who hates him. He’s been successful. (WaPo) You know who still hates him? The right wing.

    Engaging in their cruelty to make them happy is never going to work. It’s intensely frustrating to watch Democratic presidents try this again and again.

    One good move is that Biden did pardon military veterans convicted for being gay. (Digby’s Hullaballoo)


    I thought I’d never be That Guy who wallows in nostalgia, but I really do miss old computers so, so much. Apparently I’m not the only one. If you have “$200-ish” you can have a new laptop with a 386 and Windows 3.1 (Ars Technica)


    Sometimes the justice system gets it right. In California, a man who tried to kill his family is going to therapy instead of jail. (The Guardian) This is one of those knee-jerk issues where it’s tempting to say “send him straight to hell,” but I want to believe compassion is truly the better route. I hope the family (who survived) is going to find a way through this trauma too. I don’t think imprisoning the man would help anyone.

    But usually, the justice system isn’t right, and it does things like imprisoning a man for four months because he was carrying a Zelda sword around. (WaPo) This one is in the UK, where there have been spates of knife killings recently. I can get why people would be spooked. It nonetheless seems ridiculous to go so far on such a case. Take the tiny sword away and send him home, maybe? I think it was only “sharply pointed” and not actually sharpened.

    Amusing to see The Guardian reporting on the US justice system and WaPo reporting on the UK justice system, btw.


    I wondered why the AQI has been so bad in the Reno area lately. It might be thanks to the Thompson Fire in Northern California, which has displaced 16,000 people. (NPR)

  • sara reads the feed

    I finished a book, and also adorable bacteria/dogs

    I finished the rough draft of Insomniac Cafe! That’s my horror-satire novel that I currently describe as, “A surrealist horror take on Friends in the Backrooms, where six heroes must survive school run by giant cockroaches to become Successful Adults.” My sibling and husband read it and the reactions were exactly what I expected (in a good way).

    Will anyone who doesn’t know me — or know a particular era of sitcoms the way I do — get as much out of a book akin to Grady Hendrix dropping acid to write The Jungle? I don’t know. My agent might laugh me out of her inbox. I’m going to start editing next week, so we’ll see!

    In the meantime I’m still going to the gym every other day. I mostly stuck to weight and cable machines for the first couple weeks to get my body awake again, but I’ve been in a squat rack again this week. Basically just all naked barbell stuff. I’m focusing on form. I lost some of my mobility (but not too much) when I didn’t do focused exercise for a couple years, so I gotta take it slow.

    With my rough draft finished and my rewatch of Friends complete, I’m a little bit adrift, honestly! Good thing it’s summer break and I have my kids to keep me busy.


    Heat domes are becoming more common in America, but FEMA hasn’t responded to them like a disaster yet. (NPR) Some folks want that to change.

    “Hurricanes are terrible. Earthquakes are terrible. But actually, heat is the number one killer now of the climate emergency of any weather-related event,” says Jean Su, director of the Energy Justice Program at the Center for Biological Diversity and a leader of the new petition.

    Climate change has intensified the risks of heat and wildfire smoke turning what was once a manageable seasonal problem increasingly dangerous and deadly, Su says. Last year, at least 2,200 people died from heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though experts say that number is almost certainly a vast underestimate.

    “If we’re actually looking at where FEMA can actually make the biggest difference, it would be targeting and focusing major disaster funding on actual health impacts and lives of extreme heat and wildfire smoke,” says Su.


    On the bright side, Quartz reports that solar power is now bigger than oil. This is a global evaluation though. America is still quite oil-dependent, and other countries like China are using this as an opportunity to speed ahead.


    A former CDC official thinks bird flu might be our next pandemic. (Quartz)

    But an NPR health correspondent maintains that it’s mostly a threat to dairy workers.

    NPR also has an article about how Thailand beat avian flu twenty years ago.

    The movement of live poultry — to market, for example — was severely restricted. Farm hygiene was dramatically improved. A nationwide surveillance system was launched, including a network of village health volunteers who reported sick birds.

    Perhaps the biggest and most lasting change, Auewarakul says, is that this outbreak abruptly accelerated the transition from backyard chicken farmers to large-scale industrialized poultry farms. He says this was a big cultural transition since chickens had been part of everyday life for many Thai families. […]

    The shift to these industrialized farms has not fully eliminated avian flu in chickens, but the disease has been largely contained. With ongoing monitoring, cases are often identified early and dealt with before the virus can gain a foothold.

    America’s a very different situation, especially since our bird flu is in dairy herds. And unfortunately some people on the political right are stubbornly drinking raw milk anyway. (Digby’s Hullaballoo)


    Here’s a fun Ars Technica article about bacteria fighting other bacteria using phages.

    Viruses that attack bacteria, termed “phages” (short for bacteriophage), were first identified by their ability to create bare patches on the surface of culture plates that were otherwise covered by a lawn of bacteria. After playing critical roles in the early development of molecular biology, a number of phages have been developed as potential therapies to be used when antibiotic resistance limits the effectiveness of traditional medicines.

    But we’re relative latecomers in terms of turning phages into tools. Researchers have described a number of cases where bacteria have maintained pieces of disabled viruses in their genomes and converted them into weapons that can be used to kill other bacteria that might otherwise compete for resources. […]

    Many phages have a stereotypical structure: a large “head” that contains their genetic material, perched on top of a stalk that ends in a set of “legs” that help latch on to their bacterial victims. Once the legs make contact, a stalk contracts, an action that helps transfer the virus’ genome into the bacterial cell.  […] These are former phages that have been domesticated by bacteria so they can be used to harm the bacteria’s potential competition.

    Now I’m imagining bacteria hurling little virus spears at other bacteria. It’s kinda cute?


    Even more fun is Kevin, the world’s tallest dog. (Smithsonian Mag) Apparently he’s a giant scaredy-cat.

    “Kevin is the epitome of [a] gentle giant,” says Tracy in Guinness’ statement. “In fact, he is scared of most things.”

    Some everyday objects—such as vacuum cleaners—seem to frighten Kevin. Recording the Great Dane’s height for the record proved difficult because he was scared of the measuring tape.

    Scared! Of! The! Measuring! Tape!

  • sara reads the feed

    Bridgerton season 3, cleaning doom piles/Doom mod weapons, and short link commentary

    I watched the new episodes of Bridgerton season 3 (which dropped today I think?) and I liked them well enough. I was a little disappointed that it was mostly non-romantic drama, but Bridgerton kinda does that. The ways that Pen and Colin made each other develop as humans felt especially background compared to Lady Whistledown drama this time. I’m sure that’s part of the point — Whistledown representing a woman’s agency outside of Men, thus making Penelope herself a more prominent feature than her romance — but I really like a hooky love story. This wasn’t it for me. It was still a pleasant watch, though.

    The episode drop was enough to keep me from writing the last chapter of Insomniac Cafe today (although there’s still a couple hours before bedtime, so who knows?). I also didn’t watch any Friends. So obviously it was good enough.

    And I got out of the house with my family, which is what matters the most. My kids will be whizzing around with family this weekend. I’ll have time to finish my book, if the writing gods deem me worthy.


    This video by Midwest Magic Cleaning is a bit long (YouTube), but it’s about the way ADHD brains organize, and decluttering with respect for the neurospicy folks’s natural methods.

    My house is kind of a rolling disaster so I’ve been kinda looking at more cleaning/organizing videos lately for ideas.


    I mentioned the upcoming Doom game in my last post. One of the highlights from that trailer is the saw shield, which takes the toothy chainsaw weapon from earlier games and puts it around the rim of a shield. That might be where it won me over — crossing the line from “this is stupid” to “omg this is so stupid lmao.”

    Someone has already modded it into classic Doom. What a saint. (Engadget)


    In my ongoing not-series of posts that point out humans aren’t the only intelligence on the planet, Ars Technica has a post suggesting elephants may refer to each other by name.


    Watchmen is one of my all-time favorite comics (said a lot of people). A trailer for an animated adaptation of Watchmen by Warner Bros. has been released on TSFKA Twitter.

    Honestly? Not impressed. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by all the great animation lately, like Scavenger’s Reign and X-Men ’97, but my first look at this gives me an impression of lifelessness. It feels more like the time they lightly animated comic book panels than its own proper serious animation project, you know?


    Someone in Mexico died of H5N2 bird flu virus. (Smithsonian Mag)

    Meanwhile, H7N3 is continuing to spread in Australia. (The Guardian) This point is kind of buried among other news, so here’s the relevant paragraph:

    And bird flu has been found at a sixth farm in Victoria. Agriculture Victoria said last night the case of Avian influenza (H7N3) was confirmed at a property in the Golden Plains shire, 200km south-west of Melbourne. More coming up.

    These are not the same strains of bird flu, and health officials continue to assert the risk to the general public is low.


    Digby’s Hullaballoo notes that crime has dropped, despite what fear mongering says.

    To editorialize on their post — fear is a tool of fascism. They don’t care about reality or statistics. It’s just about control.


    Late Night with Seth Meyers is well loved by the industry, but I’ve never gotten the impression it’s as popular as its peers, and late night shows are generally not at their peak.

    Budget cuts are taking away the band on Late Night. (Variety) I’m not surprised, but it’s a shame. Seth has long used his band as a way to feature guest drummers. Of all the musicians who get attention, it’s not usually drummers, who sit at the back of bands. It’s a genuine shame to lose this.

  • sara reads the feed

    Bad decisions on purpose, narcissism, and Apple’s AI

    I think I can’t finish Insomniac Cafe right now because I’m missing a critical element. Of course I am also busy and distracted, but I’m also mulling the book kinda constantly, and I’m thinking about a couple things that I’m missing. I don’t know where to fit them. The end is going to fall apart if I do the order I think I need to do.

    That’s so vague, sorry. I’m just trying to solve a Rubik’s cube right now. I’m getting close, but there’s still a few spots all fudged up.

    Also: I tried to pierce my own ear, and I was successful! In the sense that I got a needle through the ear. But then I couldn’t get the earring in. Predictable, I guess. I do visit a professional piercer I love, and I understand all the risks of self-piercing, but at this point it’s kind of a fetish for me and I’d prefer to do the simpler ones on my own. Yanno? Self-mutilating for fun and profit Fun?

    Anyway, I think I need higher-gauge needles. I’m gonna work it out and punch a few more holes in my body. I’m trying to be as sterile as I can without an autoclave. Hopefully I’m not back in a few weeks/months with a “whoops, I did a stupid and now I have a nasty infection” post, but I am prepared to eat crow if crow must be eaten.


    Business Insider calls out gentle parenting, which is a new an innovative criticism I’ve never seen before (other than a million billion times). They point the finger at gentle parents for driving teachers out of school (rather than being underfunded and over-worked), poor mental health for kids (rather than living through the mass death event of a pandemic), and generally bad behavior (rather than having numerous Adverse Childhood Experiences related to the world/communities around them – or simply the fact that kids are developmentally uncooked and getting up to trouble to some degree is normal).

    I have no idea why critics think gentle parenting is parenting without boundaries. We don’t allow bad behavior either: we draw lines around safety and consent and agency.

    The main idea of gentler parenting practices is that your kids are full human beings deserving of agency. Adults don’t like being yelled at, ordered around, or derided, and neither do kids. Your kids need to have safe and healthy habits but they don’t have to respond to authority for the sake of authority. That said, you still have a parental responsibility to them, and you can’t let the monkeys run the zoo.

    The article talks about how “time intensive” gentle parenting is, and I just can’t imagine a kind of parenting that isn’t. You have kids so you can spend time with them. Don’t you? Even if you didn’t intend to have them, life throws lots of curveballs, and there’s just no avoiding the fact that small humans need help. Why are you complaining about the fact your kids need guidance and attention?

    I spend time with my kids because I like them a lot. I treat them like full humans because they are. They aren’t always the easiest people for adults who think kids should sit down and shut up, but I don’t think they’re meant to be. They’re kind, intelligent, undercooked people who just need guidance, and to be mostly left to their own devices otherwise.

    Harsh, authoritarian parenting that doesn’t recognize the wholeness of a kid’s humanity is a great way to have no relationship with your adult children.

    While the dynamics between parents and children are generally a private matter, their implications are not. When a child’s immediate desires become the lens through which they’re expected to treat others, and vice versa, that framework becomes everybody’s business. When gentle parenting goes wrong, everyone takes note.

    Parents who claim adherence to any method can experience this. Kids aren’t bad because their parents care about their feelings, trust me.



    I found this Psyche article on narcissism really interesting. My main takeaway is that narcissism can be “cured.” It’s not like some forms of depression, where it seems to be hard-wired — an ongoing disability that needs to be tended. Rather than a neurotype, narcissism is a pattern of behaviors, misaligned values, and poor coping mechanisms that can be repaired.

    Good luck getting certain narcissists into therapy though.


    We’ve got more details on Apple’s inclusion of AI. (Quartz) It sounds better than I expected? They’re enabling ChatGPT integration, but you can skip that too. They’re doing a model of on-device AI that uses your own information. So, you know, basically what they already do, but with a more complicated algorithm. You’ll need a more advanced device to do it because it’s not leaving your phone. They talk about privacy more than I feared, which is good.

    I hate how we’re labeling everything AI right now because not everything AI is created equal. We need to functionally distinguish between the AI that is content-stealing and rights-destroying and what is simply a continuation of the same algorithmic whatsis we’ve been working on for now.

    I just upgraded my phone and will probably be using it until 2028 or so. I’ll have lots of time to see how this unfolds before I decide if I’m exiting the Apple ecosystem or not. Right now, it’s not an immediate escape plan.

    Here’s a full list of the things Apple announced this year. (Engadget)


    Alas: the virgin mother stingray doesn’t seem to be pregnant anymore. The poor lass is sick. (Smithsonian Mag) A rare reproductive disease has caused miscarriage. That’s not the news anyone wanted.


    The Film Stage has a list of the twenty best films of 2024 so far. I mostly watch mainstream movies, and my new movie watching has been lacking this year. It looks like a solid list though. Quite a few of these, I do hope to catch — especially I Saw the TV Glow.


    You in the mood for a Practical Magic sequel? (Variety) It’s a multigenerational story about a family of witches, so there’s ample room for it. This is one of those things where I’m going to have to wait and see how it’s executed before drawing conclusions.


    How novel! IKEA is testing out things like giving employees money and benefits to keep them at work. (Quartz) Weird! Revolutionary!

  • sara reads the feed

    A stupid new DOOM game, Ancient Egyptian brain cancer, and getting up to other stuff

    I’m an excessively simple person with limited bandwidth. For as long as I can remember, I’ll have one big interest at a time, and that’s it. Maybe one big interest and one supplementary one.

    It can change from day to day, but I tend to go on days-long benders of interest, so I’ll block out whole “past interests” for weeks at a time.

    Egregious is one of those interests, and I mostly work on it when I’m in a worky-thinky mood but I’m not deeply into another thinky project. It might coexist with crochet or drawing, but usually not writing a book.

    Writing a book is where I am now. I’m still trying to finish Insomniac Cafe. But truthfully, I haven’t been working on that a lot either: it’s the highest thinky priority, but access to time and bandwidth for anything thinky is extremely limited right now.

    It’s the end of the school year for Little, for one thing. My spouse has been working a lot so I’ve been primary parenting on some days. With the onset of summer, that’s going to be a lot of my attention, and there’s no two ways around it. But I’m also back in the gym a little bit. Gym takes a deceptive amount of time because I also have to focus on getting enough protein for muscle synthesis, transporting myself to/from the gym (I hate driving), showering, outfitting, the actual workouts, etc.

    Games have also been gobbling my time. We won’t talk about how much Red Dead Redemption 2 and Bitlife I’ve been playing.

    Point is, Egregious remains eternally in the queue of Things I’ll Get Around to Doing, but it’s pretty far down the list at the moment. I’m not gone. I’m just not always here. Even though it’s been a while, I’m not catching up on links in this post; I’m on my way outside the house, so here’s just a few observations.


    They’ve announced a new DOOM game for 2025 that looks incredibly ridiculous. (Engadget) I started out scoffing and then I started laughing and I don’t know! Maybe it’s just ridiculous enough. I’m a ridiculous person. If it’s as stupid as it looks (it looks REALLY stupid), then I might actually like it.


    Kenan and Bowen from SNL did a thing in Variety where they discussed SNL’s various controversies, in part. The impression I got from it was the guys saying, “Please leave us out of this conversation.” There’s a lot of Matrix dodging actual answers to anything.

    I mean, when SNL has been so dominantly white over the years, is it really fair to ask a Black cast member and the gay Asian cast member to take the burden of responding to the stuff notorious shark Lorne Michaels allows? SNL is the McDonald’s of New York comedy. The pockets are deep, and it’s been less common for nonwhite and not-straight to dip into those pockets. Shouldn’t they get to do their jobs and collect their paychecks, if anyone does?


    NPR reports on how *utterly baffling* it is that chronic absenteeism has skyrocketed in public schools. You mean schools where we pack thirty children into rooms without any sort of disease mitigation issues in an era of heightened sickness and ongoing pandemic? Weird!


    I’m always struck by how modern humans (or Americans, at least) think that we’re so much better or different than past humans, and how seldom that seems to be true. In many ways, we’ve just been incrementally refining things that other humans have been up to for a very, very long time. This thought today provoked by Ancient Egypt attempting surgery for brain cancer. (Ars Technica) Here’s another article on the same subject from Quartz.


    I’ve been working on a bit of a compost pile and following around conversations online about them. One frequent complaint is how much plastic finds its way into compost — especially produce stickers. So it definitely caught my eye that Tesco is looking at laser tattooing avocados instead of stickering them. (The Guardian)

    I’m also on this cultural wavelength: killing lawns in favor of more environmentally friendly options. (NPR) I’m killing off my backyard right now. The plan is to put something like clover in its place next year.


    Al Jazeera English has a video about some younger folks ditching smart phones and general connectivity. This has been on my mind a lot because I’m probably leaving the Apple ecosystem after one last phone upgrade. This piece is a lot about reclaiming time — no longer falling into dopamine holes.

    For me, it’s the general disrespect and way my data is being used. I don’t like the direction of AI-powered phones (Quartz), and it seems like they just expect folks to swallow it. The alternative is to opt out. I’ve spent literally my entire Millennial life on devices since home computers were even available. It’s wild to feel so sick of it. But here we are.