Crows, Zoey Ashe, and other Novels

I’ve been making friends with the crows at work. This week, one of them did the clicky rattle call at me. I think it might be a friendly sound? I think most of their communication is body language, but it’s cool when they vocalize at me.

I just finished the second in Jason “David Wong” Pargin’s Zoey Ashe series. I put off reading it because of the title, Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick. It’s embarrassing to even talk about the book thanks to the title. I’m just going to call it Zoey Ashe 2. I aksi made a video review about it. It’s my second Sci-Fi and Mixology video.

Something in Zoey Ashe 2 stood out to me: Zoey is serious about the responsibility that comes with wealth. She inherited a huge fortune in Book 1. At one point in Book 2, Zoey gets her people to fix a squeak in her air conditioning system. It costs twenty-six thousand dollars. She freaks out. She knows that, before she was rich, that much money would have changed her life. And she just spent it to fix a squeak. And the money didn’t come from reputable businesses, either. Twenty six thousand dollars represents a few percent profit on a lot of human misery. She is struggling to come up with something to do about it.

At the same time, when she wants to give her money away, her associate says: “What does that even mean? You’re still picturing your wealth like it’s a pile of gold coins in your vault. It’s not. It’s a machine. You pay five thousand employees just to run your rental properties. Cleaners, maintenance, security. So, you want to close it all down, fire all of them?”

There are no easy answers in the Zoeyverse. It’s similar in some ways to Ready Player One (semi-dystopian future, lives built around online performance, sudden acquisition of vast wealth). But I think it’s a more interesting book.

I also started Gardens of the Moon, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1. It’s great so far.

I just found out that the second in the Scholomanse series, The Last Graduate, came out when I wasn’t paying attention! I thought I had another year to wait. I’m very excited! I think I’ll start that now and finish the Malazan book after.

Things I’ve Been Reading:

Stop Telling Me Humanity Is Doomed – Jason Pargin’s Newsletter – I relate hard to the “build an off grid cabin and be a hermit” fantasy. But this article is correct: that’s not actually a useful way to engage with the world.

What Is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination? – WebMD Procrastinate going to bed to have some time to read and do things I like? Didn’t know that there was a name for this.

Crow Vocalizations Part II: Q&A  – What does the rattle/clicky sound mean?

Meet Tucker Carlson. The most dangerous journalist in the world – The New European  – I got mistakenly added to an email group a few months ago. That happens when you have a common name. I get Phyllis Allen’s email pretty frequently. Anyway, they all were fawning over Tee-Karl’s mouth-breathing idiocy. It’s enough to make someone want to spit.

Wolf Reintroduction Changes Yellowstone Ecosystem – This is cool, though it’s more complicated (of course).

Scientists debunk myth that Yellowstone wolves changed entire ecosystem, flow of rivers. This goes into more detail, but I wish people would reserve “debunked” for things that are really misleading rather than for things that are just simplifications.

Patrick Wyman: Trump and the American Gentry – The Atlantic – This is key to understand the political divide. It’s not poor white people who are driving the trump vote: it’s the leaders at the local level. It’s the affluent but not super wealthy. People who can afford a boat but not a private jet are the Trump voter role models.

Things I’ve Been Watching:

How Wolves Change Rivers – YouTube 

Dangerous Toys – Gas Powered Pogo Stick from 1960’s – YouTube 

Watch How This Guy Replicates Diamonds | Obsessed | WIRED 

Critically Analyzing Memes – Video Essay – YouTube – This guy is funny and insightful. He really PERFORMS his videos, and his philosophy of thumbing his nose at his parasocial relationships is hilarious.

Trump Cult KILLS – YouTube – I know, but it feels nice to have someone say it out loud.

Nothing Much Happens are stories to fall asleep to. They have them on Audible.

Melissa Ong Boofed Molly with a Stranger While on Acid – Tales from the Trip

Making a Wedding Band from a Spark Plug Gasket – YouTube 

The Simpsons’ Lifestyle is No Longer Attainable For Most Americans – The Atlantic

Poltergeist (1982) I was thinking about the lifestyle in Poltergeist. Everything in that movie was iconic: like the furnishings, the toys, and the affluent white people smoking dope while reading a biography of Ronald Reagan. See the Atlantic article about the Simpsons’ lifestyle. Things have changed. The Witches (2020) I was watching some Halloween movies. It’s the season, I guess. The new version of The Witches has better special effects but cringey acting by the witches. I liked the old version better. It seems like most people did.