Weeknotes #111

in weeknotes

  • Russia invaded Ukraine (ABC). The response from the West (and Japan) was surprisingly robust. So far it’s included a range of sanctions, broad restriction on access to the Western financial system as well as military support to Ukraine. While the first few days appear to have gone well for the Ukrainians, I’m worried that things could rapidly deteriorate into much more of a humanitarian catastrophe. And that’s assuming it all remains localised within Ukraine.

  • I’ll readily admit I’ve been swept up in the emotion of it all. I believe that liberal democracy, for all its flaws, is the best political system available in a world with scarce resources, and watching one be so shamelessly attacked by a larger power was deeply troubling. Not least of which because it feels as if the last five years or so has essentially been one long, slow-motion attack, with this as the cherry on the top. Perhaps for that reason it was inspiring to see the Ukrainians (and, in particular, President Zelensky) stand and fight to protect their country and their political system. It seems a little early honestly to be saying that this is a turning point for the West but I want to believe.

  • I received my booster shot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. The side effects I experienced on Saturday weren’t as severe as those I had after the second shot back in July of last year but I did get hit again by a lethargy that was difficult to power through. Fortunately, as before, I was right as rain by Sunday.

  • The ongoing drama of our move… onwent (not a word, right?). This time it was the rude shock of being quoted a price of almost ¥400,000 for the move itself. I was expecting it wouldn’t cost more than ¥200,000 and was quite hopeful that it would be less than that. We’ve scheduled another estimate for the coming week and my fingers are crossed that it’s closer to what I was imagining.

  • With all of the above going on, I’ve done a terrible job studying, fasting and programming so not much to report there.

  • Eugenia and I have started playing Spelling Bee cooperatively. I’d burnt myself out on the game a few months back but having someone else to play it with regularly has got me back into it. Eugenia is an excellent team mate; we’re about the same level and so neither one of us is having to carry the other. We tend to try to get to Genius individually and then pool our answers to see if we can make it to Queen Bee. As of this writing, we’ve pulled that off twice.

  • The first episode of season 21 of Law & Order (the original series) aired after a hiatus of twelve years from the end of season 20. I watched the episode a couple of days late and was distinctly unimpressed. There was a lot to dislike (I agree with everything Stephen Robinson says in his AV Club recap) but what jumped out at me was the cinematography. The first twenty seasons of Law & Order were not only shot in New York but always looked like they were shot in New York. In this episode, scenes frequently felt like they were shot on soundstages (and not especially good ones at that). I’ll keep watching because it’s my second favourite show of all time (behind Seinfeld) but my already low expectations fell even further after watching this one.

  • I kept making my way through Big Joel’s extensive back catalog of video essays. My favourite this week was either ‘God is Weird: A Close Look at Adam and Eve’ or ‘Twitter and Anti-Intellectualism’.

  • Speaking of Adam and Eve and YouTube, I ‘took’ Emma to church for the first time by watching an archived version of the livestream of Saturday’s service at St Francis Xavier, Lavendar Bay (which for some reason is done via a YouTube account called CathNews). I have a complicated relationship with Catholicism so the intention isn’t to get Emma to believe but rather to expose her to the practices and stories of the world religion with which I’m most familiar.

  • I started playing Wiggles music to the kids again. What a banger the 2013 album Taking Off! is (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri inqk.net