#Weeknotes S02 E28

In between the horror of skyrocketing COVID-19 cases, racists being racists particularly against international graduate students this week, and sketchily pardoned political operatives in my social media feeds, it’s been noted that this is the weekend Readercon would be taking place. It’s been at least 5 or 6 years since I made it out there last. Not on purpose; just the way life has worked out. I’ve either had work stuff going on, or my schedule and finances made it easier to go to 4th Street Fantasy. So, why am I so wistful? Besides being one of the first cons I ever attended regularly, choosing not to go always feels different than when you don’t have a choice, right?

Felt the same about Dragon*Con, too, but at least it’s going virtual like a lot of other cons have this year.

In the meantime though, we’re all just muddling through as best we can especially if you’re not the kind of a-hole who’ll insist on going to Disney World like it ain’t no thing. Hard to blame them if Disney’s playing along, though.

Actually I take that back. It’s very easy for me to blame people regardless of what Disney is doing.

I, on the other hand, have only left the house this week to resume the process of getting a crown for my teefs and get batteries for the CO detectors. Because, adulting.

So, what’ve I been up to besides the dayjob?


I actually did follow along and produce a little ‘zine, though like I said, it’ll never see the light of day. Now, I just need to figure out how I’m going to put this knowledge to use. This also reminds me that I need to pull up Malaka Gharib’s I WAS THEIR AMERICAN DREAM from the depths of my TBR queue.

I’ve read and binge-watched some things; even wrote about it a bit. I really have to do more reviews. I still have the last two episodes of the first season of Jordan Peele’s TWILIGHT ZONE to do. It’s been a slog, trying to rebuild a sense of… well… life and art and the appreciation thereof during this time of coronvavirus. Like an apartment complex rebuilding after a fire.

Anyway, stay safe, wear masks, don’t go out there unless you have to. And if you’re going to ignore all that, at least don’t get filmed coughing on people and acting a fool, and then complain about the social consequences. Just don’t forget, I love you, wall!

#Weeknotes S02 E27

Halfway through 2020 and all I have to show for it is having gotten one year older. Which is better than the alternative. I have to admit though, turning 47 feels a little weirder than I expected it to be, even with all the stuff going on in the world.

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BIRTHDAY PREZZIES!!!

A post shared by Don Pizarro (@donfoolery) on

A geek might have to grow up, but there’s no reason one can’t stay geeky.

Self-care has been the theme of the week. I’ve ventured out into the plaguelands (masked and following all precautions of course) and had various people reset my back. I coincidentally rescheduled a therapy appointment right on my birthday which was, let’s just say, an experience.

As usual, I showed up late to the party on GENTEFIED. Probably the best of all the great shows I’ve seen recently.

That about wraps it up I think. Maybe some more after I clean out my head a little more.

IN THE WILD
I guess I’m not the only one cleaning things out…

#Weeknotes S02 E26

Huh, and there it is, my wit’s end
They brought me out my mind
You know I’m caught beside myself
Pissed off and shit outta luck
–Anderson .Paak, “Yada Yada”

On one hand I should be celebrating. I don’t think I’ve ever posted 26 weeks in a row on any blog I’ve ever maintained. It’s a personal milestone, really — not necessarily about the blogging, but rather proof to myself that I can maintain a weekly discipline of something not dayjob-related, and stick with it while accepting inevitably varying levels of quality.

On the other hand, what a fucking week it’s been in the SFF world…


It looks like a lot of folks — me included — got snagged, like it or not, somewhere in this event horizon of…

  1. Believing all victims enough to take their claims seriously and not dismissing them out of hand, taking a position, and using their platform to support it.
  2. Acknowledging power differentials and that sometimes people in power claim victimization as a reversal tactic.
  3. And yet — see point #1
  4. And for good measure, throwing in a dash of knowing got’damned well that this sort of event horizon looks a fucking hell of a lot different when POC are involved.
  5. To say nothing if you’re one of the “lucky” ones who have literally been at in the same room/same con/same table/same workshop as some of these folks…

I’m only today back in a mental space where I can discuss other equally important stuff (pandemic and the accompanying fascist neo-reactionary wave, anyone?) and some random stuff on the social medias, but this latest round still burns a hole in my mind, leaving me caught beside myself, pissed off, and shit outta luck.

So I think this is all I’ve got this week, aside from a pic of my smol furry daughter Mazikeen looking exactly how I feel.

#Weeknotes S02 E25

Not a particularly cheery one this week, folks.

This is the weekend I would’ve spent at 4th Street Fantasy had it not been rightly cancelled. I took the time off work like I always do, and thought about giving it back, but decided fuck it..

It’s four days later and I don’t feel all that better than I did on Thursday.

Maybe it’s because the world’s gone to pieces and maybe it’s because more rot has been exposed in two industries I love. Maybe my meds are off, or maybe I just spent too much time doomscrolling on social media. Certainly, it can’t be because I’m “working too hard” at dayjob stuff; or, maybe it is, who can say?

Either way, I do feel this is one of those days when I’m just going to feel how I’m going to feel, even though I can objectively point to positives. The world might be on fire, but at least the Supreme Court made a couple of good decisions. It’s better I know whose art I should not spend any more time and money on because they had to go around serially abusing people and giving out bullshit apologies.

My meds are fine, at least by every indicator discussed at my annual physical a couple of weeks ago. No, I’m not working too hard, but I am working hard and have been.

I’ve been reading, too. A ton of micro-memoir and microfiction pieces. I continue to be amazed by Osama Alomar’s work. I swear, some of the pieces I read this week are positively prophetic.

Two pieces in particular stunned me: A story called “Whoever Is Happy” which I felt called me out in a big way, which was immediately followed by “Wolves and Sheep,” in which I think of Alomar doesn’t sympathize with what I felt called out over, he at least understands. You’ll just have to read them, if you can get your hands on THE TEETH OF THE COMB & OTHER STORIES.

We have TikTokers and K-Pop stans doing the Lord’s work while I watch the painfully slow but sure change of things going in the right direction — I guess I wouldn’t know about most of it if I hadn’t been doomscrolling. So no, it’s not all bad. Mostly bad yes, but not all bad. I’ve got my people, I’ve got my cats, I’m in okay shape. And while my favorite Tuesday night pseudo-scientific/pseudo-historical reality TV shows are on hiatus, I guess I’ll have more time to whittle at my TBR list and maybe give some more thought as to why I don’t feel as focused as I should be.

Like Asher and my Filson, I guess I’ll chew on it for awhile longer.

#Weeknotes S02 E24

Back on my bullshit. At least, a little bit. This past week, I just refused to let the details of my life slip by. But I did it the only way I can manage right now: Twitter. Maybe it’s cheating; I don’t much care.

1
Luckily I managed a bit of writing and quite a bit of reading this week. I’ll talk about that in a bit. Otherwise, this might’ve gotten to me even more than it did.
https://twitter.com/DonP/status/1271529518814113797?s=20

2
Granted, I am starting to make trips out for routine medical issues now that places have opened up. Still though, the pictures of crowds at bars and restaurants don’t freak me out nearly as much as the blissful ignorance on people’s faces. Which made me ask myself…

3
The scope creep continues!

The mixer just wasn’t enough for me, so I ordered a ring light which I know is the right thing to do if I want the quality of my dayjob video calls to improve. But why? Why do I want to improve when so many other people — and this is NOT a criticism — seem happy with what they have? When it ultimately doesn’t affect the quality of my work, just the quality of my presentation? Eh, why not?

4
It’s been a binging week…

  • Binge Watching: #BLACKAF — fuck this is a good show!
  • Binge Reading Beth Ann Fennelly’s micro memoir collection HEATING & COOLING
  • Also, David Lehman’s ONE HUNDRED AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
  • Also, Osama Alomar’s THE TEETH OF THE COMB & OTHER STORIES

I’ve decided microfiction/micrononfiction is all my brain can make literary space for right now. And it’s where my writing’s been for the past couple of weeks.

5

+++

That’s about it for this week. That actually felt like a lot of work given my quarantine/world-on-fire fugue I’m in (that most people I know are in). I might fall off the wagon for next week but you know what — fuck it. Props to my therapist for that one! So until next time, kids…

  • Black Lives Matter.
  • Stay home, or at least wear a fucking mask.

#Weeknotes S02 E23

Feels like the US has stopped pretending, right? Naked police brutality, unmarked brute squads positioned at the seat of the government, attacking journalists, knocking down old people, macing kids. And if the unmarked brute squads weren’t enough, we’ve got folks breaking out compound bows, swords, busting Captain America moves with their round riot shields, semis plowing into people… who can even keep up with it anymore? It’s like this is the world now, 1918, 1968, 2020 all rolled up into one.

George Takei said it best…

I find myself checking out now and again, especially when it was clear I was mostly doomscrolling when I wasn’t working or sleeping. Good for self care, but not good for trying to keep a handle on what I do week to week. But last Sunday was the wrong time to be posting about the little bit of writing I did, the stuff I read, etc, if I even had the presence of mind to track it in the first place. Barely feels appropriate to do now, so let’s get back to what’s important:

Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.

#Weeknotes S02 E21

It doesn’t really feel like a long holiday weekend. Now, I’ve never been really big on “celebrating” long holiday weekends beyond reveling in the bliss of having an extra day off work. But in this work-from-home pandemic world, even the stress of the nine-to-five has transformed, at least for me. When the line between work and not-work gets blurred during business hours (e.g. this is the time of year when I’d be streaming Roland Garros between meetings at my desk which I wouldn’t have to do if it were still on), what exactly does “a day off” mean these days?

Still, some of the novelty of the novel coronavirus has faded. It’s probably overstating it to say I’ve “adjusted,” but I’m definitely further along the process than I was. Now, what that process is exactly or where it’s going? Hell if I know. But I know what “further along” looks like: catching up on stuff outside of work. Getting bits of reading done… trouble is, I didn’t really bother tracking on what I’ve read this week. But the point is, I’m doing it and that’s a good sign.

Getting my TV in, too. I just finished Season 3 of THE EXPANSE and Season 4 of KIM’S CONVENIENCE (with Mr. Mehta’s approval). And I promise I’ll wrap up my 2019 TWILIGHT ZONE reviews before Season 2 starts up. Maybe.

Okay, Chrisjen, I’m getting to it!

MISSING WHAT’S MISSING
It’s not just Grand Slam tennis tournaments that have to adjust. In lieu of the sci-fi/fantasy cons that would ordinarily be starting up in meatspace about now, there are a bunch of online versions this weekend. I kind of slept on registering and attending; they just slipped by me. To be honest though, I couldn’t see spending even more time in front of Zoom than I do during an average work week these days, awesome audio setup aside. I’ll probably look into the “podcast edition” of 4th Street Fantasy where I was headed in June, since I already took the time off work. Particularly, for the panel “This Is Fine: Making Art While the World Burns.”

I’m trying not to fixate — at least, not as much these days — on how hard it is to do things while the world burns. All things considered, me and mine are getting by so much better than a lot of folks. But it’s okay to take a moment and miss what’s missing. Maybe I need to do more of that this week.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
COVID-19 epidemiology, in terms geeks like me understand…

https://twitter.com/DonP/status/1263456274076794884?s=20

Wash your hands, wear a mask, have a safe and non-infectious Memorial Day Weekend!

#Weeknotes S02 E20

Wow, twenty of these. Twenty weekly posts in a row. That’s a pretty solid blogging record for me, even if you discount the occasional post I’ve done in between Weeknotes posts. Clearly, gone are the days when I start a year with “I’m gonna blog more” and quit after two or three posts until June.

Unfortunately the fog of coronavirus brain has really hit me bad this weekend. Not like the week was uneventful. I mean, just yesterday I got a better-than-expected quarantine haircut, because I still have to appear in professional Zoom meetings on a daily basis — the audio for which sounds really good now that I’ve tweaked my mixer settings. Watched some good TV (season 4 of KIM’S CONVENIENCE) and some bad TV (THE LOST GOLD OF WORLD WAR II and THE CURSE OF SKINWALKER RANCH). Read some things. Dug up some old tutorials about recording and editing audio. Other stuff, too — the week’s details are just, well, foggy. So I’ll come back next week, how about that?

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

#Weeknotes S02 E19

A REDISCOVERY OF SOUND
If you’re following me on Twitter, you’re probably sick of pictures of the new mixer setup. But I just had to show off this hack (cramming the mixer on a book stand so it stands up) that allows me to reclaim some desktop real estate.

I finally have it set up right so that the audio for my Zoom calls really is good. But I discovered an unintended benefit this week — pumping music from my laptop through the mixer and into a set of monitor headphones cranked up to an unwise volume actually took me back in time.

See, in the days before iPods or other devices connected to Bluetooth speakers, decent portable music depended on how big a boombox your arms could handle and how many tapes or CDs you were willing to cart around. The sound was as good as you could get (depending how much money you were willing you shelled out), but it was never as good as plugging into an actual stereo system. You know — those huge components connected to a turntable that your older relatives (or young, obnoxious hipster friends with turntables) have that play music when put together.

I spent a lot of time in my ‘tween and teen years with a set of headphones plugged into my dad’s stereo. For me, the joy wasn’t just in the so-called HiFi audio quality. It was hearing things you never heard on the radio — the things that used to creep into studio recordings that could make a studio performance real like chatter or odd reverbs. It was hearing every single instrument part being played. Studio chatter in between and sometimes underneath certain tracks. It really was a world I would regularly get lost in.

I’d gotten used to listening to “good enough” audio over the decades, same as everyone else. I’d basically quit bothering tweaking audio levels on the computers I’ve owned; maybe I could’ve been doing this all along. But stumbling back into the joys of audio — where even the shitty 192 kbps .mp3s I’ve accumulated but never re-ripped over the years sound good — actually put me back in touch with something deeper this week that I’d forgotten about.

FEEDING MY EARS
The latest episode of KCRW’s UNFICTIONAL breaks my heart.

When Fedelina Lugasan moved to the U.S. from the Philippines for work, she was comforted by the fact that she’d start her new life with a family she trusted. But her life and job were not what they told her it would be, and she was cut off from family back home. When an opportunity presented itself, she took her freedom into her own hands.

There, but for the lucky circumstances of me and my family, go I. Not that my mother ever experienced this, but Nanay’s voice in this piece (Lugasan and the woman doing the transalation) reminds me of Mom. And not just because this is the story of an older Filipina, but because the horrors in this story check off a lot of the boogeyman scenario boxes that my parents put into my head as a young kid about how Filipinos could be treated if we stepped out of line, but for the occasional intervention of other Filipinos, which justifies the “us vs. them” mentality that immigrants with the barest measure of privilege sometimes have.

On the brighter side, though, here’s a 10-minute discussion with a friend-slash-my favorite writer ever, M. Rickert, on THE COODE STREET PODCAST.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
For any of you out there thinking about applying to Viable Paradise

There was more to my week, but not much more. So I’m gonna wrap it up and knock some more things off my to do lists. Stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t let anyone tell you not to wear a mask!