almost done (re-)reading The Silmarillion, but couldn’t pass up this lovely big illustrated hardcover at Half-Price Books today. the bigger, lay-flat map inside the cover (pictured with the less-good creased map in my old copy) is worth the price alone. Doriath > Driath
today’s beer: Thirsty Planet Brewing’s Smittlefest
I love a good Märzen, and this is a good Märzen 🍺
new post: Mary, in which I relate the most heartbreaking thing that’s ever happened to me (“…so far!”, I would have joked, before this)
I’ve rarely ever written much of a very personal nature here, and I’m still not sure I want to now. But I’ve experienced a loss so profound that I feel I have to at least note the fact of it, whether or not I end up writing more about it than this. I want to get back to posting whether I liked this book, or that beer, or how my writing is going, but how can I, after this?
Anyway, it’s this: in the early-morning hours of Friday, July 30, our 23-year-old daughter Mary was killed in a car crash here in Austin. She was a passenger, and the car she was in was hit by a reckless driver. Dumbfoundingly, the other three occupants of her car were fine, but she never regained consciousness. The at-fault driver also died, after more than a week on life support.
A week after the accident we held a memorial service for her, in the morning. That afternoon we got the news that my (unvaccinated) brother-in-law had lost his weeks-long battle with Covid-19. A week later we were attending his funeral.
That was four weeks ago yesterday, and I don’t think I could put this unimaginable hell into words even if I wanted to. There are at least occasional periods of time now that are bearable, and even, every now and then, a faint glimmer of being able to give the tiniest fuck about life or the future. That’s progress, I suppose.
One thing I did (god knows how; I barely remember it) was make a simple system by which those of us who miss her can send texts to a special phone number (Twilio, natch) that then get published to a website (Micro.blog) and cross-posted to a social media network (Twitter, yuck, but that’s where her friends are). The messages are here, with a detailed explanation here; Micro.bloggers can follow her through @maryg and Twitter folk can find the crossposts on @WeMissUMary. I hope/plan to publish the Node.js source at some point; there is a lot of room for improvement.
Other things are going on, too. It’s bizarre and frankly more than a little rude how life continues on, good and bad, despite this level of debilitating tragedy. But maybe now I can post a mention of those things here and not feel like I’m pretending this didn’t happen.
And it probably won’t get easier
Just easier to hide
Prepare for an aching
The rest of your life
it was: she says this, or she does this, or she thinks this. she loves that or she hates that.
but now it’s: she said this, or she did this, or she thought this. she loved that or she hated that.
how the fuck am I supposed to be able handle that?
Saturday’s beer: Abbaye de Maredsous Tripel
This Belgian Tripel is delicious. In other similarly unexpected news: the sun is hot, and Lucy pulls away the football at the last second 🍺
Saturday beer: St. Arnold’s Old Fashioned
Stumbled across this at Spec’s today and wow is it good. I don’t remember ever having a tasty boozy beer like this from St. A’s before 🍺
beautiful night for a home game at McKalla Place ⚽️
clocked another good chunk of NaNoWriMo editing hours today, for a total of 12 so far. with lots of stuff on the work and personal calendars this month, I wanted to make a strong start 📝
so, one silly problem with tracking my 36-hour Camp NaNoWriMo goal as 36 “words” is that I can’t enter fractional values. I could change to 3600… but I think I’ll just remember that I have a bonus half-hour to log tomorrow (on top of 4(!) today) 📝
I started an editing project on my manuscript for this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo. they only do it by words, but I want to track by hours, so my goal is very modest. two down, thirty-four to go! 📝
I did it: I finished Bruce Tate’s Seven Languages in Seven Weeks. I even took a good-faith stab at the exercises. it would have taken me a damn sight longer than seven weeks, even if I hadn’t set it aside for long periods. an interesting survey of languages and ideas 📚
Happy Pride from the Austin FC game ⚽️
Saturday beer: Oskar Blues Brewery’s Verde S.M.A.S.H.
“The first in our rotating S.M.A.S.H. series celebrating the inaugural Austin FC season.” 😎🍺⚽️
The shady “Bitcoin Billionaire” link injected in my post earlier was courtesy of an old plugin connected to a now now compromised site. Deactivated, deleted & fixed. Thank you, Zal! 😊
Pregame beer: Austin Beerworks’ Peacemaker
A cold one before we head over to watch the first game ever played in Q2 Stadium: US women’s national team in a friendly against Nigeria (8pm CT on ESPN2 if you want to follow along at home). LFG 🍺⚽️
Saturday’s beer: Lakewood Brewing’s Double Chocolate Temptress
Says to serve at 50-55°, which makes me uptight, but its creamy deliciousness is worth it 🍺
My wife accidentally startled one of our high-strung cats who was on our bathroom counter and freaked out and knocked my beautiful red caseless iPhone onto the marble floor. At least the shattered side, spidered with cracks from edge to edge, is the back, not the screen.
Now I guess I’m in the market for a phone case. Also a door for this barn that the horses escaped from.
Wonder if the Apple Store takes dumb-ass cats in trade.
Saturday’s beer: (512) Brewing Company’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter (2021)
Tasty, and their pecan porter is a favorite, but somehow their barrel-aged versions aren’t the best 🍺
good post from Dan Pfeiffer on how to stop unwittingly boosting those you disagree with on social media
In other words, quote-tweeting or hate-sharing Cruz’s content is the same as contributing to his campaign. If you wouldn’t do the latter, don’t do the former.
Saturday’s beer: Celis Brewery’s Celis Raspberry
not always a fan of fruity beers, but this one’s more sweet than tart. wouldn’t want it all the time but it was good tonight 🍺
I doubt the brazen crooks trying to steal our democracy will be swayed, but I’m going to this voting rights protest at the Texas Capitol tomorrow anyway ✊🗳🇺🇸
Saturday’s beer: Celis Brewery’s Violet Crown Quad
Game day beer for the first Austin FC game in history(!) Not the best result in LA, but a very respectable showing
🌳 🍺 ⚽️
The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee is really good; I recommend it. 📚 Al Franken also has a good interview with the author on his podcast, which introduces the main ideas of the book. find it wherever you get your podcasts (or on YouTube)
Saturday’s beer: Buffalo Bayou Brewing’s Comrade Cowbell
pretty tasty but sharper & hoppier than I prefer 🍺
a truly excellent judgement in today’s ToB matchup of James McBride’s Deacon King Kong v. Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown, one where the judge’s opinion is nearly as thoughtful, poignant, and beautiful as the books being discussed:
Reading this book was like getting to see the world in X-ray, where the underlying structure of so many things I’ve spent my life thinking about—human, historical, national—were suddenly at long last made visible.
ahhh, this week’s ToB matches have been back to their usual good level. yesterday saw Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown (which I really liked) knock out Quan Barry’s We Ride Upon Sticks (which I plan to read soon). today’s matchup was a thoughtful judgement of Percival Everett’s Telephone v. Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs. I haven’t read either – and don’t plan to – yet I still enjoyed the discussion.
Annalee Newitz on Substack’s scam: “They paid a secret group of writers to make newsletter authorship seem lucrative”. the deception is bad enough on its face, but, as she describes towards the end, “then things got really creepy”