Week 36 (4–10 September 2023)

A quick weeknote because I'm very late on writing book/film notes and will catch up on them.

Home alone

No I'm not about to write that I've rewatched Home Alone. The time is wrong: it's still over 30 degrees outside and though it gets cool at night, we're nowhere near Christmas-movie season.

I am home alone though, with C back in Switzerland for the week and even F gone on her first real holiday in 10 years while I take care of the garden and mail and wasp nest and and. It's weird because unlike when home alone in a city, where I'd still be talking to the neighbors and barista and such, here I barely spoke to or even saw anyone all week. Do my vocal cords still work? Don't know how people like Moitessier—who sailed 10 months alone on his boat Joshua—can cope. Maybe one gets used to it.

To top it off I've been feeling sick because of some kind of ear infection (bacteria from one of the rivers we swam on last week?) that lead to a weeklong headache. I drove 1h to the nearest doctor who could see me in under a week, then used antibiotics and drops and a cream and painkillers and it's better now. I rarely take medicine if I can avoid it and felt a bit like a junkie popping all of these pills.

Climbing on CO(NH2)OC2H5

I haven't been completely alone because climbing. Our gym reopened after the summer break, with all new routes—I felt like a kid in a playground. I went climbing on resin twice with friends from the club (B, N, A) and sent all the blue routes plus 2 purples (2 other purples in progress).

B and I also went bouldering outside at Casteljau, to try and send a route we worked on last week with N and C. It's a red 6a in L'esthète called Décollage imminent ("imminent takeoff"), and with the tough Casteljau grading that's about the hardest I can manage. I sent it! In terms of strength the route wasn't so hard after all, but the boulder is pretty high with small, slippery feet, so the hard thing is to find the beta, and then to shut off the part of the brain that's going "oh my this is high get down get down get down".

It seems to me that I'm progressing lately, after a long plateau. I think it's because I'm trying harder routes instead of sticking to the ones I can send in a couple of attempts, plus I've started doing a bit of exercise on the side again (nothing fancy, just pushups and crunches at home). It feels good!


Not much: I couldn't connect my laptop to our projector (thanks Apple), and I tried to avoid screen time because of the headache. (I've read a lot though, see below.)

Still, a couple of classic L.A. cop films, courtesy of MUBI's new L.A. neo-noirs collection:


Went to the library so I read a bunch of French-language graphic novels:

...plus I have a lot of books in progress! Fiction: The Dragon Republic, second tome in R. F. Kuang's Poppy Wars trilogy, and Jesse Q. Sutanto's latest novel Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers. Non-fiction: Bouvier's Le vide et le plein, and Graeber and Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything.

Notes coming up throughout this week after I catch up the ones from last week.