Food for Thought

Today, before I even got out of bed, I read a sci-fi short story by James Tiptree Jr. (alias Alice Bradley Sheldon) called “Beyond the Dead Reef” from 1983 collected in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection (1984) edited by Gardner Dozois. It was rather thought-provoking, about a coral reef in Mexico destroyed by man-made pollution and over-fishing and how the sea fights back (no details, no spoilers, but it was kind of sci-fi horror, very memorable). It was written in 1983 and I’m sure the situation of our oceans and coral reefs is worse today, what with the rising water temperatures and rising levels of pollution, garbage and plastic. I find it so sad that we haven’t managed to turn around our irresponsible treatment of the planet in the almost 40 years that have passed since the 1980s. Wonder what our oceans will look like in another 40 years?

What I hate most about the destruction of our planet is that all the innocents are also affected: the future humans, all the animals, the people in countries that don’t contribute much to global warming and pollution. Last week we saw a documentary about how climate change is already affecting Germany and I can only say: just deserts! I hope we get a lot of reforms going in the next years ̶ but this week, the opening of a new Mercedes factory for petrol-guzzling luxury cars (not even electric) in Sindelfingen was all over the news. Exactly what we don’t need. It is so stupid.

I’ve read seven short stories in this sci-fi collection today and found all of them very good, except one, which I found a bit too confusing. There are 35 of these collections, all out on Kindle. I’m planning to read all of them eventually (it will take years, I guess).

Other than reading, I did some of the usual Friday chores: shopping and hanging up a couple of loads of washing. It’s quite hot today, up to 29°C, good for drying laundry outside. Shopping was a lot, mainly because my stores of bottled water, juice and oat-soy milk were low, because we used up most of them with last week’s guest. Five people do use up a lot more than three. So, I did one tour through the supermarket picking up all the beverages, took them out to the car and then did another tour to get the rest of the groceries. Enough fresh produce to last us over the weekend. I was too disorganized to buy more and didn’t really have a cooking plan for more than the next few days. Bought the first pumpkin of the season for soup as well as vegan Lebkuchen. The Lebkuchen is a Christmas cookie with spices and a dark chocolate glaze. Much too early, really, but already available in the supermarket. I kind of disapprove of having Christmas stuff already at the end of summer. However, they do taste best when they are fresh, so I couldn’t resist. We had them for our afternoon coffee break, and they were delicious.

We didn’t meet any other dogs on our morning walk with Curious Dog, but we were later than usual, because we usually get up a bit later on Fridays (and the rest of the weekend) and the other dogs had perhaps already returned home by the time we got to the usual haunts. Yesterday, when I took Curious Dog for his late afternoon walk, we only got to the edge of the village, when all of a sudden, he sat down and didn’t want to go on. It was overcast and humid and I think he mistook the noise of some aeroplanes passing overhead for thunder. I couldn’t persuade him to continue and, on the way back home he pulled like a draught horse the whole way. He doesn’t care for thunderstorms.

Keep safe, world.

Monday Miscellanea

Oh, it’s been so hot the last few days, 33°C+. It was nice in the mornings, but brutal in the afternoons and miserable to sleep at night. Partner and I took Curious Dog for his morning walk as early as on workdays on the weekend so as to escape the heat. It was lovely in the woods in the morning. In the afternoons it got so hot, I had to wait until the sun had almost set behind the hills before going out. Only took CD on his walk at around 7:30 p.m. when the paths are mostly in shadow around here. It was still very hot, but manageable. I’m so glad that the heatwave should only go on for a few more days. Currently it looks like Friday will be cooler. But until then, it’s sweltering and getting quite humid, with nasty thunderstorms in some parts of Germany.

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We’re planning on driving to Bavaria again on Thursday, but this time I believe I’ll take the morning off, so that we can get there before any afternoon storms. Also, it’s mostly driving east, so that the sun will shine into the front of the car, and not the back, where CD has his box. I’m always scared he’ll overheat. The car has air conditioning and dark windows in the back, but I still don’t like for him to sit in the sun and I’m anxious about getting stuck in a traffic jam when it’s hot. Theoretically, we could drive at night, but I don’t like driving in the dark, especially on country roads as I’m always scared that I’ll get into an accident with wildlife, deer or boars. Well, Thursday is supposed to only get up to 30°C, so hopefully, it’ll all work out. Will take lots of water along.

The heat really serves as a very worrying reminder that we need to increase our efforts to limit climate change as much as possible. It really must be a global priority, but I’m afraid it isn’t. Europe and Germany aren’t doing half as much as we should be doing. I’m very anxious and angry about it. I definitively support Fridays for Future and will only vote for politicians that promise to work on the topic, but, so far, our acts have been less than impressive. Everyone is always worried about the economy, but if we bugger up our planet, the economy won’t survive either.

Friday morning, I drove to the town where my office is, but not to work, just to get my summer wheels checked. I’d had them mounted a couple of weeks ago and you’re meant to get them checked and the nuts tightened after driving 50 to 100 km. As I’d been to our team barbeque the weekend before last, I had already driven that far, at least. Anyway, that only took about 5 minutes and afterwards I went shopping in one of the towns on the way back. I used to go shopping in a special organic produce supermarket quite often when I still drove to the office every day but have only gone there once since Corona home office started in March. By the time I got back home, it was almost lunch and it was too hot to do much of anything else the rest of the day.

We did a lot of cooking on the weekend but tried to do it early enough so as not to heat up the kitchen too much. Friday, we made potato salad, which was enough for Saturday, too, so we didn’t need to do anything except fry up some tofu to go with it. Sunday, we had homemade pizza with salad. All very delicious. On Friday we also had left-over tiramisu from Thursday and for the weekend Partner made a very nice no-bake fruity vegan cheesecake (with cashews). We also bought some ice cream from the ice truck that comes around daily or made our own ice cream from frozen banana pieces and berries. Very lovely, and cooling.

As planned, I did quite a bit of reading (but also wasted time surfing the Internet, that is, BookTube). I read the book for my next book club meeting in one sitting (it wasn’t very long). Very interesting: Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer, by Cyrus Mistry. I think I’ll write a review of it, as I liked it a lot (something that can’t be said for every book club selection, that’s for sure). I also started and got half-way through Toni Morrison’s Paradise. Also very good. I would probably have been able to finish it, but I also had to do some of the usual week-end housekeeping. I got very hot vacuuming and cleaning. Still, good as a kind of ersatz sport (that’s what I tell myself to motivate myself). Partner and I also watched Captain America: Civil War. For some reason, we hadn’t yet watched this Marvel film, probably because I didn’t want to see the Avengers split into two factions. But it was pretty good. I usually enjoy the Marvel films. Sunday night we stayed up too late watching Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as Bond. I rather like Craig’s Bond, but we had seen this film before, at the cinema when it first came out and a couple of times on DVD. It’s a favourite. Don’t think it will be possible to watch the coming Bond at the cinema in November. Hopefully, we can see it online or we’ll have to wait until it comes out on DVD.

My new Internet still has some micro outages every now and again, but it’s not too bad. Today, I didn’t have any outage and I did a lot of work all day where I needed to use the VPN-connection to the company network.

It’s pretty hot in my home office, under the eaves of my home, but I was still very productive today. Probably because of the deadline for my documents on Friday. I almost finished one document today and am planning to do the rest of it tomorrow as well as one more. Then I’ll have done all four of them and can spend Wednesday and Thursday making some minor corrections and additions. I’ll have to do another review, with some expert colleagues in the next few weeks, but at least the review copy will be done as planned this week. It’ll be a busy week.

Keep safe, world.