August 31, 2018

Summer cold

It took until the last day of August, but I have finally succumbed to the dreaded summer cold.

There’s something dispiriting about getting a cold when the sun is shining, the days are still long (but getting shorter), and everyone is still delighting in being outdoors in the heat. My heart tells me I should be gallivanting in a park, or reading by the riverside, or swimming in the backyard pool; my body (especially this headache, sore throat, and fever) reminds me that I should rest, drink lots of fluids, and recuperate. It is an unfair conflict: the aching body always wins.

Being sick on the last day of August is, however, and excellent moment for reflection upon the summer. (Of course, there is still about a month left in the summer; I am in no rush and have no haste to chase it away, and will relish the rest of it once I am well again.)

Having a quiet, restful Labor Day weekend means that I can remind myself of all the adventures I have had in the past three months, and all the delight I have received from the season. Over the next few days, as I drink lots of water and take lots of Advil and laze about on the couch (or, perhaps, on the Muskoka chairs outside on the patio), I will be thankful for everything the season has given me so far, and feel deep gratitude for a lasting warmth—in temperature, and in spirit—that I will carry with me into the autumn.

For now, I’m off to make some tea for this aching throat.

In case you missed it:

  • Here are a few recommendations on what to do if you ever find yourself on Vancouver Island or any of the southern Gulf Islands.
  • The leavers, and the left behind: What happens when your parent leaves, without explanation or even saying goodbye, and you’re left to piece together the answers to questions you never should have been faced to have?
  • Home Fire: What does it mean to share the name, the blood of someone whom you disavow, discredit? What does it mean to want to distance yourself from the generations who were supposed to know better, but obviously didn’t?

A few things to read and explore:

An obvious fact that needs to be repeated: our cities would look much different if we had more diverse city planners.

Lately I’ve found myself imagining what the world might look like if the people who designed it — politicians, planners, developers and architects — were more diverse. I don’t believe that men and women design differently, or that poverty and ethnicity inform architecture, but lived experience is a great teacher. The regeneration projects of the past decade are more about planters and cappuccinos than access to free drinking water, public toilets, cheap groceries and a post office. They appear to solve only the first-world problems of the monocultural illuminati who created them.

Something I’ve never really thought about before: has the rise of the chronological stream” made the web a worse place?

The chronological stream was so easy and rewarding to browse - let’s see what’s new…” that it won. But it shouldn’t have won as much as it has. There should be room for more static sites, sites organised by connections and links, not just by dates.

The big reason I switched to Castro as my podcast app is because it makes it easier to pick and choose episodes to listen to, rather than listening to every episode posted in a stream. This idea of subscribing to a lot of shows, and then being picky about what I choose to engage with, is exactly how I’ve always approached my podcast-listening.

Treat each show like a section of the library, where you only check out things every so often, only when it is right what you need at the moment. Nobody feels compelled to go down the line and finish every book on a shelf. There is no need to feel loyalty to the entire feed of any one show.

I heartily endorse and look forward to the shift towards better non-alcoholic drinks, and will happy pay the price for a carefully-crafted mocktail.

If you’re a fan of horror writing, this humorous thread of horror fiction writers pitching new stories will be your favourite thing on the internet all week.

As a kid, I often went to school with lunches that featured curried okra, pan-fried tilapia on rice, ugali na maharage, and barazi and mandazi. It took me a long time to be proud of my food and heritage. This piece on the ethnic food we were embarrassed to eat in school is a fun reminiscence.

There has been so much written about Aretha Franklin since she passed a few weeks ago. Here are a few that really resonated with me:

By now you’ve already seen the amazing video of Beto O’Rourke talking about how the NFL player protests are patriotic and essentially American. If you want to learn more about O’Rourke and his story—and how he’s getting closer and closer to beating Ted Cruz in Texas—this Buzzfeed profile provides excellent insight and context.

I will watch this video—photos of the moon, taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, set to Debussy’s Clair de Lune—whenever I need to find a few moments of zen.

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