False Summer

It takes only a moment,
The space between whispers of wind
On a scorching September day
As the sun roasts pavement
Two feet from where shadow shelters
A wilting garden unaware
Of how little time it has left,
And the past mixes with the present.
Fingers tracing rows and lines,
Too large now to intertwine
With the holes left in the table
Made of rubber-coated steel,
But still looking for something to hold.

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Some More Pandemic Reflections For You, On This Second Winter Holiday Season

There are few things as dreadful in modern life as going to the grocery store during peak shopping hours. As someone who has taken great efforts to practice safety in this pandemic life we’re all living, I have done my best to ensure that I will not be crowded or around too many people when I must leave the house. As rules and prohibitions have loosened despite the resurgence of illness thanks to the Omnicron variant, I have begun feeling even more anxious about meeting the demands my life as a responsible adult are making of me. Especially now, amidst the holidays and the last-minute shoppers who seem determined to ignore all sense and precaution as they valiantly venture forth to acquire whatever last minute necessities they overlooked.

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Breaking Old Holiday Habits

As this post goes up, I will be in the middle of my winter holiday vacation. My (currently in-progress) celebration of Candlenights will have ended, I will have observed Christmas, and I will be gearing up for a visit from the two biological family members I am still on speaking and visiting terms with. I will be eyeing the approach of New Year’s Eve with some skepticism, not sure if whatever I wind up doing to mark the end of 2021 will be celebrating a new year, celebrating the end of this year, fortifying myself against whatever is coming in 2022 (given, you know, that things have pretty much just gotten steadily worse since 2016), or maybe all three at the same time. Or maybe just the last two, since I’m not sure I can bring myself to hope that 2022 will be better.

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The Power of Infrastructure!

One of the things I enjoy most about Valheim is the simple truth that infrastructure is the key to the development of society. It might be a wild thing to say about a video game marketed as a viking-esque survival game with combat and a space program, but it’s a simple truth about any world that has location-specific resources. Infrastructure exists on some level in most survival and collection games, but it is usually fairly basic or a natural part of exploration. For instance, most infrastructure in a game like Minecraft is limited to base building, marking places you’ve explored, and creating access points to resource nodes. While a lot of this changes around in larger scale multiplayer scenarios, valheim is so far the only survival game I’ve ever played where creating infrastructure is not required but is incredibly beneficial.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Amount Of Murder

I’ve begun playing Witcher 3 and, despite knowing quite a bit about the series and the general premise of the games, I was not prepared for just how horrific most of the monsters would look. I don’t think they’re unduly horrible, since most of them seem to be made of the ordinary curses of a dark fantasy world or the rampant death that seems to infest the world of the game, but I really wasn’t expecting the horrible gaping maw of a noonwraith to appear before me so early in the game. A game I play primarily at night, I might add.

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I Need To Vent A Bit

Every so often, I have a day where I just hit my limits. All of them. Just, every single limit I have gets struck throughout the day and I wind up overwrought, exhausted, and out of sorts. Today was one such day. I had therapy, an incredibly busy work day, and lots of pressure at work that used up every ounce of mental capacity and energy I had. Since I was working from home, I pushed myself on my pre-work exercise routine until I couldn’t safely push myself further. That exhaustion was compounded by not sleeping well last night (and most of this week), having to deal with moving curtains/covering my final window with plastic wrap, AND the ridiculous shift in weather and temperature that has all my joints aching like huge temperature and pressure shifts always do (and the storm hasn’t even started! Not to mention the huge temperature and pressure change to come once this storm passes).

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All This To Say I Just Want To Talk About Stories

There is nothing I love more than talking about stories and storytelling with people. A mix of literary criticism, careful analysis, delighted comparison, and rampant speculation, nothing gets me as fired up, recharged, and happy as a long talk about beloved stories with someone who shares my enthusiasm. It is something that has been in short supply lately, given my isolation and what feels like the rising toxicity of the internet. Most of my friends who enjoy stories don’t really care for the level of analysis and discussion I would like, and the few places I have access to this online, there’s a degree of rabidity that makes me uncomfortable to engage with others past a surface level.

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Stealing Zoo Terminology To Talk About Pandemic Isolation

One of my favorite things about having friends in various industries is that most of them introduce new terms and ideas to me that have very specific meanings in their industry. One of my friends is a chef, so I’ve learned a lot of super specific words related to food preparation and the various utensils found in a kitchen. Another friend is zookeeper, so I’ve learned a great deal of terms from that industry and how they’re used for specific purposes. Like “enrichment.” In the context of zookeeping, it is the stuff zookeepers provide for the animals to ensure they live interesting, varied lives so that the animals can stay intellectually and physically stimulated. It has been a wonderful word to have over the past 1.75 years of the pandemic, since it has helped draw my attention to the shortfalls of my life that need to be addressed.

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