Ooh, that’s an easy one

My friends’ lives are all falling apart, and if you read this and think I might be talking about you, rest assured that I probably am, but also be aware that I’m talking about at least three other people in addition to you. So guess what I plan to spend tonight thinking about?

I do not remember the last time I legitimately binged a season of a show. And I wasn’t even all that excited about this until seeing the trailer. But it looks like they’ve gotten everything absolutely right. I’mma just black out August 5 on my calendar, I think.

My new best friend

This isn’t tonight’s post, but it’s not going to fit with tonight’s post, so it gets its own entry: the Gelatinous Cube is probably my favorite D&D monster of all time, and if it isn’t it’s super close, and the fact that the absolutely fantastic Gelatinous Cube Funko Pop is virtually impossible to get one’s hands on without expending ruinous amounts of money has been and continues to be deeply depressing. But yesterday? Yesterday I discovered of the existence of this beauty, and today it’s in my office, where it belongs. (Forgive the messy desk. Or not. I guess I don’t actually care what you think of my desk.)

Fun fact: I got this from GameStop, where it’s apparently an exclusive product, and they offered either free 3-6 day shipping or $10 for overnight, which would have been same-day if I’d ordered when it wasn’t already nighttime. Normally I don’t worry about shipping speed, but for some reason I shrugged and went ahead and paid for it, only to discover that what they mean by “overnight shipping” is that they look to see if they have any at the stores in your area, and if they do, they fucking DoorDash the thing to you. Only they don’t tell you that right away, and there’s no way to tip the driver, nor is there any real indication of how much of that $10 goes to the driver who, in this case, had to drive all the way across town to bring me my stupid Gelatinous Cube statue. So I got her CashApp from her and tipped her that way.

But anyway. I now have a Mimic and a Gelatinous Cube in my office. Now I need a Hook Horror and I’ll be all set.

Go watch Ms. Marvel

I am so tired that it is actually offensive, after being wrenched awake by a headache at 1:30 AM last night and losing several hours of what had been pleasant sleep to throbbing temples. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in a couple of weeks– just my regular checkup– and I’m going to bring this up, because I keep getting these exact same headaches every couple of weeks, always in the middle of the night, and I don’t know what the hell the deal with them is and I want them to go away.

Anyway.

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s the day that new comics come out, and a new episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi comes out, and– most importantly– the second episode of Ms. Marvel comes out. I was surprised to note that I don’t appear to have mentioned the premiere in this space last week; needless to say it was absolutely perfect and I would literally die for Iman Vellani, whose name is not Man Villain no matter what Autocorrect wants. The premiere was wonderful and made me insanely happy; I will watch the second episode either tonight or tomorrow and am hoping for a similarly positive reaction.

And then, after that, please God let me sleep through the night. This has been a rough week.

#REVIEW: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World, by Riley Black

I say this a lot, but it’s as true now as it’s ever been: I don’t need to review this book, because you already know if you want to read it or not, so really, my job here is just to make sure that you know it exists. And did you know that Riley Black’s The Last Days of the Dinosaurs existed? Yes? Then you have it already. No? Go buy it. I was about to say “It’s about dinosaurs!,” which actually isn’t quite true, because the book begins on what Black quite reasonably refers to as the worst day in the history of the entire world: the day that a 6-mile-wide object, possibly an asteroid, possibly a fragment of a much larger asteroid, and possibly even a comet, slammed into the Chicxulub region of what is now the Yucat├ín and basically killed every living thing on Earth. Including all the dinosaurs, except for the ones lucky enough to be living underground or underwater when the object hit. She goes into some pretty intense detail about what happened in the immediate aftermath and then skips ahead a bit in each subsequent chapter– the next day, the next year, 100 years later, and so on. “That sounds fascinating!,” you think, if you’re the type of person who would be reading this blog in the first place.

Yup.

I like the description on the cover, there, that refers to the book as “narrative prehistorical nonfiction.” This is definitely a work of pop science; there are notes, but they’re confined to the back; Black is not citing sources or arguing with specific paleontologists during the text, because it’s not that type of book, but neither is she engaging in wanton speculation. Where things are fuzzy, she says so, but she talks about the different changes on Earth after the explosion through narrative, fictionalized stories about the various creatures that would have been alive (or could have been alive, at least) during whatever time period she’s discussing. In other words, we might not have uncovered the fossils of the specific Triceratops with bone cancer in the Hell Creek formation in what is now Montana that she discusses in the first chapter, but there were definitely Triceratops there and we’ve uncovered evidence of some that appear to have had cancer. Do we know for sure that this particular turtle might have been in this river at that time, staying alive partially by breathing through its cloaca? Nope! But they can do it now, so it’s reasonable to project that ability backwards given other trends in the evolution of prehistoric turtles.

You get the idea. This book tells stories; the stories are not specifically true, necessarily, but they are carefully fictionalized, and there’s forty pages of extra “stuff” in the back past the official end of the book if you want to read in more detail. Which I do, of course. What you need to be able to pull off a book like this is a fine grasp of the detail, a good journalist’s instinct for getting your story straight, and a novelist’s flair for storytelling, which is a rare combination, but one Black (an amateur paleontologist but not, I believe, a Ph.D) has in spades. This is a great read for anyone who thinks deep history and dinosaurs are cool, and if you’re not one of those people, you’re not here anyway, so everybody else go buy it.

(Oh, and also: I found out about it on Twitter, and bought it on the spot, so those of you who don’t think Twitter can sell books are doo-doo heads.)

Something is happening!

I am told that this will eventually be a pair of owls; I don’t really know what I’m going to do with a pair of owls but at least the printer hasn’t burst into flames or fallen off its table or anything like that yet. It is currently 14% finished with the owl printing and has been printing owls for probably forty minutes if I leave out the time it took for everything to heat up. It’s a bit louder than I wanted it to be without being super annoying; that said, it’s occurred to me that trying to do game recording with this thing running could potentially be an issue.

Speaking of the channel: I’m now something like 10 days into the hiatus that was started by catching Covid, and I’m thinking regular programming will resume this weekend. I’ve had absolutely no brain space left for anything lately other than getting through the end of the school year alive, and now that I’ve mostly managed that– the 8th grade recognition ceremony was today, so those kids are gone-gone, and everybody else’s last day is tomorrow– I think I can redirect my attention to, y’know, important stuff.

Fifty-eight minutes including heating, so probably 50 minutes of printing, and we’re at 20%. I can see owl feet now! S’cool.

I have more to tell you, but again: brain space, and May is somehow not fucking done with us yet, so more regular programming around here will be resuming soon enough too. I’m so close to summer break I can taste it. A day and a half more. I can do this.