1. I just finished a work project that had been hanging over me for two months. It's not like it took that long to do the work, just that it was hard to face doing it. It's a detailed critique of a paper whose author had taken extremely ill to my temerity in giving initial reports of errors and unclear material. What reaction I get to the full report will determine what happens next.
I got lots done in the interim, but it was all small or extremely time-bound projects. Bigger jobs I should have gotten started on, I thought, "No, I have to get this done first." Didn't help.
2. Took All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders to read on the way to a concert last night. (More on the concert later.) I'd also seen somebody reading it at last weekend's brass quintet concert. It took me until the end of the YA section at the beginning to figure out what other author that section was strongly reminding me of. Not at all Cory Doctorow or Jo Walton, Anders' stated inspirations for that part (and I've read the relevant books by both). Look: juvenile characters, trying to run their lives around their oblivious parents. Extremely ordinary mundane opening setting and situation, and then Really Weird Stuff starts happening which the characters have to deal with without freaking out. A subtle but pervasive wacky goofiness underneath. And all told in a plain, clear, almost over-simple language. Who is this like? (Doctorow is more didactic than this, Walton more elusive.) The author I'm thinking of is very American, whom Brits may not know, but I think most of my American readers will have read this person. Clue: has a cult following. Can you guess?
3. And while up in the City, dinner at a Nicaraguan restaurant. Why not? I never had before. Liked me them Nicaraguan tamales, which have rice in the light masa mix, and a big hunk of pork inside, plus olives and sliced tomatoes. It occurs to me that, of however many countries there are in Latin America and the Caribbean (at least 40, counting the more important island colonies), I've now eaten in restaurants representing only ten of them. I should collect some more - easy to do in the City - despite many of the countries being tropical, which means a fondness for plantains and yucca, which I don't like.
4. What I most miss from my old XP computer is the solitaire game. I hate the newer versions, which have ugly designs and which, when you pick up a card from the tableau, automatically turn over the face-down card beneath it. I hate that. I don't want computers that play the game for me. If they do, why am I there at all? All I want the computer to do for me is shuffle, which with physical cards I am incapable of. (One of many sporting tasks I can't do. I can hit a golf ball, a volleyball, or a bowling pin: that's about it. At tennis, ping-pong, or softball I am beyond hopeless.)
Anyway, there's lots of instructions online for getting the good solitaire on a newer computer, but they all start with porting it from your old XP, and I no longer have my old XP. But, aha! I finally found the right game downloadable online. It's here. It's not perfect - if you make it full screen, the cards don't get larger, just further apart - but it's what I want.
5. Astonishing analysis - by William Saletan, who does politico-cultural analysis as well as anyone - of how moral conservatives can bring themselves to defend Trump. It's easy. You just abandon every moral principle you've ever advocated, and turn it all upside down.
6. The moving story of a cartoonist who lost his home in the Santa Rosa fires, told in his chosen medium.