Friday, July 30, 2021

it's hot outside

 


It's fucking hot outside and all I can think about is climate change. Climate crisis. Weather weirding. 

I work and sleep outside for 9 days at a time so I spend more time than not in a non-temperature controlled environment. The only reprieve from the muggy, sultry, Virginia air is when I'm in the car to and from work or when I walk the quarter mile to the air conditioned bathroom in the visitor's center. 

Working on a historic battlefield makes me realize how lucky I am, for many reasons. 1) It's not 1861. 2) I am not a soldier wearing a wool uniform in July in 1861. 3) Nobody is firing bullets or cannons at me. 4) I am not fighting a rich man's war (unless you count the whole structure of modern capitalism, but that's a topic for another time). 5) I have one hour of AC a day!!! I eat fruits and vegetables!!! I have access to medicine when necessary!!!

In short, I'm pretty goddamn lucky. 

I'm also super unlucky to be born at this stage of the industrial revolution where all the choices of my forefathers are exponentially adding up to a giant Fuck You Planet and All Its Inhabitants. 

I've been lucky to not have been caught up in a flash flood or a mud slide or a forest fire or a heatwave, but someday soon my luck is going to run out, as it has for the 55 million people that have been displaced due to climate disasters. 

Right now I just have to deal with the heat and trying to fall asleep in my tent when the nightly low is 80 degrees (26.7 degrees Celsius). 

Most people know that climate change is happening, but how many of us are actually doing anything about it? How many of us have actively decided to not fly as much or not fly at all? How many of us have greatly reduced our consumption of animal products or cut them out all together? Like OBVIOUSLY nothing can change substantially until we have regulations that stop companies from literally killing our planet, but sadly there's not much one person can do about that. 

I think the choices each of us make matters. Especially if you're a person in a Western country reading this on a computer in an air conditioned room. Your choices have a much larger weight and I recently read somewhere that individual choices CAN lead to greater systematic change. (Cannot remember where I read this, but it's a statement I need to believe.)

Anyways, we need to put a price on carbon. Call and email your Senators. It's very quick and easy and painless and they give you prompts so you know exactly what to say. There's no big "fix" for the climate crisis, just lots of little fixes that will add up to something big. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Top 20 Books I Read in 2020

 


I read 103 books in 2020, if you can believe it. Here are my 20 favorite, in alphabetical order. There's some crossover with my 15 Best Books I Read in the First Half of 2020 list, so head over there if you want more recommendations. 

I'll be linking all books to Bookshop.org, where you can support independent bookshops and give me a few cents to buy more books if you purchase through one of my lists. REMEMBER: no buying books from Amazon

1. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

        WHAT I LOVED: It's a collection of letters between Helene and a used bookshop in London and how she becomes friends with all the staff over the years. Sounds lame but the moral of the story is to Just Go! Live Your Life! The Future Doesn't Exist So Don't Count On It To Be There! That's what I gathered, at least. Also it's a cool look into post-WWII England. 

2. Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds by Ian Wright

        WHAT I LOVED: Lots of fun maps that highlight different facts and issues in the world! Just lots and lots of data compiled in a pretty way and honestly it's the perfect gift book for all ages.


3. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

        WHAT I LOVED: The audiobook was amazing and the best fiction book I've ever listened to. The narrator gives me big Carrie Fisher vibes. If you need an interesting, boozy auntie to give you life advice through stories (which is something we all need tbh), then this is the perfect book for you.

4. Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories by Pam Houston

        WHAT I LOVED: 2020 has really turned me into a short story bitch. I love short stories! There's no time to fart around with a short story, the author needs to make every line and word count. And Pam Houston is so good! These stories are about women living interesting lives and I've already put this collection on my "to re-read" list.

5. Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

        WHAT I LOVED: You'll love this collection even if you've never seen her Netflix stand-up specials. Ali is hilarious and relatable. Her essays on motherhood and study abroad in Vietnam and her relationship with her husband are my favorite. Definitely required reading for anyone that wants to marry me. 

6. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains by Jon Krakaur

        WHAT I LOVED: Listen. There is only one living white male author I love with my whole heart and that is Jon Krakaur. This is a collection of his best essays he's written over the years, so it's a great way to learn about all the different ways humans recreationally interact with the natural world.

7. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton 

        WHAT I LOVED: I love how honestly she talks about her friendships and big mess ups. Big Frances Ha (2012) vibes. 

8. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

        WHAT I LOVED: Evaristo is amazing. She is able to fit so many issues into ONE GOOD novel! The writing style is more "artsy" compared to typical fiction, but it's still super accessible. I liked how all the stories connected in little ways that make you feel a detective for piecing things together. 

9. If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

        WHAT I LOVED: I've read a fair amount of Korean-focused fiction and this one really hit it out of the park. It's follows four women navigating life and trying to survive in spite of the patriarchy. Explores how beauty = power, but is it really power if you're only "allowed" power through men who think you're beautiful? Much to think about. 

10. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakaur

        WHAT I LOVED: I love Jon, okay? It's not a phase, mom! Hostels are great because you have no other option but to read the books you've always been meaning to get to someday. Today is someday!

11. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

        WHAT I LOVED: The perfect book for men who claim to be feminists or don't think feminism is necessary. You should give this book to your male friend who says he's "fiscally conservative and socially liberal" and is an Elon Musk fan. That's the demographic this book will have the most impact on, because there's so much data they can jerk off to. A good book for everyone to read, should be on high school and college recommended reading lists. 

12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

        WHAT I LOVED: Very soothing, a balm for the soul. Reading this book was one of the rare times I felt truly relaxed in 2020. 

13. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

        WHAT I LOVED: Actual complicated characters and questionable morals! Love that.

14. Shug by Jenny Han

        WHAT I LOVED: A re-read of a middle school favorite! You probably know Jenny Han from the All the Boys I've Loved Before fame, but I think this is her best book! She captures that weird kid-turning-into-adult conundrum perfectly. 

15. Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

        WHAT I LOVED: A true joy! Usually zany, kooky female characters can be insufferable or obvious wish-fulfillment, but this book is so sharp and smart! Can't wait to let a few years pass and I forget all the details so I can read it again.  

16. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

        WHAT I LOVED: A fantastic history of the American prison system and how its been used to target black people. Another book that is Required Reading on my life syllabus, along with Invisible Women.

17. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

        WHAT I LOVED: I can't even describe to you how much fun it is to read this entire series. The first three books are narrated by Anne Hathaway and I NEED her to do more audiobook work because she is extremely talented. These books are great for when you need to give your mind a break but they're still very smart. 

18. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo 

        WHAT I LOVED: Taddeo follows three women and their sex lives over the years. Gets into the nitty gritty and I LOVE nitty gritty!!! You will cringe, laugh, feel sad, feel optimistic, feel everything. Especially when you remember these are real people. 

19. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

        WHAT I LOVED: When I say I inhaled this book, I mean I read all 900+ pages in 4 days. I can't remember the last time I've obsessively read a book. I love how this is somehow fast passed and a slow burn at the same time??

20. You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld 

        WHAT I LOVED: I've been toying with the idea of liking short stories for awhile, but Sittenfeld has me 100% convinced. I adore everything she writes. She really is That Bitch.


I read a lot of good books in 2020 and am excited for what I'll read this year!
What did you read in 2020?

xoxoxoxo Vic


Saturday, February 20, 2021

never been a natural

 


all I do is try, try, try. 

Once again I am here, quoting Taylor Swift, because I will never be different. Love me. 


Anyways. The hardest part of life is trying. Trying is scary because you never know the outcome, which is why many people build perfectly constructed excuses to never leave their comfort zone. 

I'm dreaming all the time. Minimal human contact due to COVID and being a caretaker for a family member and a continual low hum of depression leaves me with lots of time in my own head, which is thankfully an optimistic place. 

I am CONSTANTLY "writing" in my head. Journal entries, blog posts, letters to friends, book ideas, dialogue, stories, stories, stories.  Most of the time I don't even attempt to get these words on paper or pixel, primarily out of laziness and fear, because the second I sit down with intention everything disappears. Where did the words go? Why is everything perfectly formed in my head but the second I sit down it all goes *poof*?

I don't know. I'm pretty sure this is a normal human affliction. The words will never come out as easily as my brain forms them. But if I never write then I will never publish anything, because duh. 

I know no one reads this blog so I don't know why everything I publish is so weighty in my mind. Like WHO is this imaginary reader whose judgement I care about? I gotta focus on my readers who actually exist! Aka me, Amber, and Blake (maybe...he said he'll check every few weeks for updates but we shall see). 

Hello Amber and whoever else is reading. I hope you are doing well and if you need a dash of motivation then I'll give it to ya: keep trying! Try even if you think it's going to be shit! Who cares how anything will turn out because we'll all be dead soon anyways, due to natural causes or a climate disaster due to all the unnatural shit humans like to do. So try your ass off! Let's go balls to the wall friends!  

xoxoxoxo Vic


Thursday, November 12, 2020

consistently losing sight

 


I am consistently losing sight of what I want. 

It's so easy to get distracted. 

I'm way too prone to melancholy and I veer off track too easily. If life was a train speeding towards the horizon, my engine would slowly chug to a halt every few days and I'd hop off the train and run down the embankment and just hang out in the swamp for a bit. Then the whistle would blow and I'd be like "oh shit I should get out of this marsh even though it's nice and soft and get back on that train before it leaves without me" and then I walk back up the embankment and knock the dirt off my boots and climb back on the train and off we go. Chugging along for a few more days until I gaze out the window and think, "Man, I'm tired. I should go lay in that nice swamp for a bit." 

I hope you're not like me and don't understand that ridiculous allegory. But if you get it, you get it. 

What I'm trying to say is that often I find myself focusing on the things I'm supposed to want, or things that would be easier to want, instead of focusing my time and energy on what I actually want out of life. 

I'm going to make a list of things that I really, really want, for me to come back to when I feel stuck in the swamp.

    - I want to live in Australia for a year.

    - I want to live in New Zealand for a year.

    - I want to travel around southeast Asia for an extended period of time. 

    - I want a sailboat and sail around the world with someone I love.

    - I want a small camper and travel around the US and Canada (also with someone I love). 

    - I want to read lots and lots of books while I do all of these things. 


It's easy to feel hopeless when there's a pandemic and it gets dark by 5pm and you have an up close and personal view of a family member slowly dying, but there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. Life won't always be like this. Good times will come again, because they always do. I'm mainly talking to myself now, but that's okay too.

Godspeed.