distractions

I finished the audiobook of We Are Legion (We Are Bob) at a friend’s suggestion a while ago even though I kept losing track of where I was, but I haven’t been able to make it through the sequel with enough focus to not have to restart chapters constantly.

I’m still only 1/4 through a book another friend sent. My reading comprehension being shot extends well beyond work. 

I was able to rewatch a couple of Star Trek TNG episodes this week so that’s something. Tapestry had never made much of an impact on me before but I found it thought-provoking this time around.

I’m not sure it helps either that so much of what I enjoy is science fiction that probes at the topics of humanity, death, timelines, alternate realities. I’m glad that my friends aren’t shying away from recommending those things or worrying that they’re a trigger for me. But to some extent maybe it’s harder to focus because of it.

I was looking for something on a printed page recently (in a menu I think) and couldn’t find it, wrongly concluded the word or category wasn’t there; someone else found it. NEVER would have happened to me before. When we lived in Silver Spring, I remember one time skimming an ACM article in the hardcopy magazine to check for mention of something like that (specific name or word) to aid a discussion Zack was having with some visiting friend. Like a human ctrl-F. I can’t digest the material that quickly, of course, but extremely quickly searching text (or proofreading for egregious errors) was my tiny little superpower so it feels weird that it’s gone. 

I don’t have any motivation to read murder mysteries or fluff romance or some other genre right now either, but at the same time it stings that the scifi is full of ideas Zack and I always discussed together when they came up in tv, games, books. I’m trying to recall what the last book he read all the way through was (insert joke about CLRS) – the last fiction one might be as long ago as The Martian.  I read fiction faster than him so I would often read something first and summarize the interesting parts or tell him whether a book was worthwhile, whether we should consider watching the movie, etc. In turn he would tell me about hypervisors or blockchain or some new crypto thing or the gist of some ACM paper that I didn’t have the patience or background knowledge to get through. 

I mindlessly ran around in Destiny 2 a few times while on comms with friends, but haven’t been able to handle even the simplest of actual team activities or the story quests we didn’t finish together.

I can’t sit still for TV but one time I dealt with some mail and put on a few Th3JeZ (Destiny streamer) youtube videos and half paid attention. Zack found Jez a little annoying, I think, so maybe that’s why it seems ok to watch it compared with Extra Credits or Jim Sterling or Zero Punctuation, all of which I can’t face yet without my stomach churning.

The next season of Extra Credits’ Extra Sci Fi has started but I don’t want to watch it alone. We watched it in the hospital in January after Zack got downgraded from ICU but wasn’t ready to be discharged. We watched it on the couch at home, got through it all, lamented the new season wasn’t out yet, expressed a desire to (re)read so much good scifi that we didn’t really have time for. We had to pause some episodes 900 times because of stopping to discuss some interesting idea. 

I’m bouncing around between podcasts now, trying to find something to have on while doing chores that is interesting without being frustrating if I zone out for a minute. I discovered Women at Warp and liked it so far (mostly starting from the beginning) and can even listen at 1.5x which I can’t consistently do with fiction. Even though right now I can’t read on paper for shit either, so I’m trying more audio, it still frustrates me if it takes longer to listen to something than it would have taken me to read under normal circumstances.