Here's some stuff I am enjoying right now.
- Salads. Man, until recently, I was not such a big fan of salad. And if I haven't had a large meal in a day yet, I will still sort of look at the salad and say "That's nice, where is my tofu or seitan." But getting fresh vegetables, finding accessories you actually like, picking a good dressing? These things make salad better. Also I think Krinn just has a magic touch or something, because it doesn't turn out that good when I make it. (Except that one I made in a wrap a couple of weeks ago. That was pretty astounding. I think I just got lucky, though.)
- Camper Van Beethoven's New Roman Times. This comes to me by way of circuit_four via Rik, I'm pretty sure, and while Pitchfork thought it was kind of heavy-handed I don't agree with them for the most part. (Ok maybe the Might Makes Right track is a bit too heavy-handed.) It's really musically interesting in places (I would like to find more of what they call "math rock") and there's more subtlety to it than is apparent at first listen, both lyrically and musically. The main beef I have with is is that it's really best appreciated having Rik or someone else who really knows the album in the car with you on like hour 20 of a road trip explaining all of the references and the coherent story behind everything, and you're listening to everything he says and really taking it in because what else are you going to do as you drive through a town named Yellow in freaking Texas? And by the end you are like "Oh man all of this is so clever" but if someone had just handed you the album you would be like "What in the hells are they talking about why is the Unabomber working for Texas what what what." So this is a cautious recommendation, unless you like concept albums or can make Rik explain it to you, in which case oh my god go check this out right now. (They're playing in Arizona on the 13th. I am somewhat tempted.)
- Jennifer Chung's debut novel Terroryaki!. Full disclosure: The author is a good friend of mine. This novel was the winner of last year's Three-Day Novel Contest, which by the way starts tomorrow if any of you have more free time than me. There are moments where you can tell that the first draft was written in three days, but despite this and even in part because of this it is a hilarious read, and an absolutely wonderful airplane antidote to spending hours and hours reading Marx and Marxists. It's fluffy, sure, but if it's a fluff sandwich, it's made with real bread, not the bleached-out stuff that rips all over when you try to sink your teeth in it. The main characters feel like real people, and make real decisions, and I found myself rooting for them and hoping for good things to happen to them, rather than for everyone's life to descend back into the misery that is the stuff of post/modern existence. And then, because it was fluff and not, like, Dubliners, everyone wasn't miserable at the end! And I smiled a lot and was energized to go read more Marxists! (Wendy Brown's States of Injury, while I don't agree with everything she says? Actually really good.) So if you're into that sort of thing, check it out. (Especially if you know Jen --- the characters very much aren't her but sometimes you can hear her voice coming through and it's awesome.)
- pkmncollectors . I know, I know, this is a terrible habit --- and it is. But not only is pkmncollectors a great place to get playable cards at lower than market price, but it's a really friendly community and I've enjoyed all of my interactions with folks there. I... may start collecting Shaymins, and not (just) the cards. They're so cute! And someone was selling a mini-collection I could start from at absolutely super cheap! And... oh dear. Yeah. The community's really great, though, and I enjoy helping people there with card pricing the same way I enjoy helping people make fair trades at league.
- Biking! Sure, it's 110F out or something, but you know what? I don't care. Tucson is an awesome town to bike in, and biking is awesome. I'm usually out three or four times a week --- as it cools down a little more and I get back in shape I will do some longer rides, too. Have I mentioned here yet that like half the roads in Tucson have bike lanes and don't have parking to the right of the bike lane? I am going to be so horribly spoiled when I move somewhere else. I mean sure I've seen a couple of nutty drivers but even biking on the roads people said were "super crowded and dangerous" feels lackadaisical compared to Boston or Bloomington. (Which everyone said was such a great bike town, and I guess it sort of was, but it wasn't really a bike commuting town so much as a bike racing town, which is less my thing. I don't want to go 100 miles or go ultra-stupid-fast around a track. I want to get to work without having to burn fossil fuels or sit on a bus full of strangers. Bonus points if I get exercise.)
- Seattle. It's kind of too cold there (I only say this because I am acclimating to a desert) but beyond that it has good transit, it's a vegan paradise, it has Rik, it has a number of other friends, many of whom I think would be closer friends if I lived there... It's a place I feel like I could live. And might, when I'm done with graduate school. I would complain about the hills all the time because some of them are unpleasant just to walk up and I can't imagine they would be comfortable on a bike, and things are kind of spread out and I would have to do a lot of bike-bus chaining rather than being a five mile ride from everything like in Boston or at least a ten mile mostly flat ride from everything like here... but man the stuff would be worth going to, and I would already have something like one and a half or two social groups to spend time with on day one, and at least there's not much snow. Although if I lived in Seattle, where would I fly to when I wanted to go have fun for a weekend?