Monday, April 12, 2021

March Favorites: Sci-Fi, Podcasts, and People Dying While Mountain Climbing

I read some good horror this month! A couple were Tiktok recommendations, and one was something I stole off of Will's library bookshelf:

Honestly, The Cabin at the End of the World (which I read at the tail-end of last month and was also a Tiktok recommendation) was probably the scariest of the lot, but Hex comes in a close second, and Hold Back the Tide is the most satisfying. 

If you ever end up reading Hex let me know, because I dearly want to discuss the differences between the English and the original Dutch versions, and the Hieronymus Bosch allusions!

Here's the rest of what I read in March:

I re-read a bit of Saga so I wouldn't be lost when I caught up on the latest volumes; the most recent cliffhanger really pissed me off, though, and this is why I prefer to read graphic novels after their entire run is concluded and I can binge several years' content in a week!

Will was on a bit of a sci-fi kick last month. Here are her March favorites:

And here's the rest of what she read last month!

I went through a LOT of podcasts in March! I've spent a lot of time either walking on a local trail I recently found and immediately became obsessed with or endlessly stripping the paint off of one of our ancient doors (I should NOT have started this project. There are SO MANY LAYERS OF PAINT on this door, and I just don't see any other way out than through, and still I keep thinking that even when I finally finish it, now it won't match any of the other three doors in the old part of the house, all of which surely have at least that many layers of paint on them ARGH!!!), and so I have been absolutely blowing through podcasts, because why leave room in my brain for an original thought? Here are some of my March favorites:

So of course I have different podcasts for different purposes. When I'm doing something kind of mindless where I might zone in and out, like sanding that goddamned door or walking my local trail, I listen to a conversational podcast, like Double Love or American Girls. When I'm doing handwork like sewing or candlemaking, I like a narrative documentary, like Welcome to Your Fantasy or Even the Rich. Will and I listen almost solely to Welcome to Night Vale, although when we eventually catch up on it we've promised ourselves we can also resume The Magnus Archives. And when Matt and I are hanging out doing crossword puzzles and drinking cocktails, I like to listen to something that he might be interested in, too, like Pop Culture Happy Hour or I Hate it But I Love It.

You see, it only makes sense that I HAVE to have at least fifty podcasts in my listening queue!

I am possibly just using other people's near-death encounters to distract me from our global pandemic (infection numbers are going up again in our county, Syd's still too young to get vaccinated, there are reports of a variant that's breaking through the Pfizer vaccine, and I am worried all the time, ceaselessly), but that Deep Survival book has gotten me re-obsessed with people who climb mountains and then die on them. This is subtly different from my obsession with people who die in caves, because the stories are usually even more extreme, and the motivations are uniformly baffling to me. Like, I can totally understand soccer kids goofing around in a cave and not paying enough attention to the weather. I can kind of understand a random guy exploring a cave and crawling somewhere he can't get back out of. You don't expect something extreme to happen while you're doing something you're easily able to do.

But climbing the tallest mountains of the world? That is a CHOICE. I do NOT understand the mindset that makes you want to do something that is very likely to kill you, no matter how fit and prepared you are. Or starting off, knowing that when you reach a certain elevation your thinking is guaranteed to be compromised and you're definitely going to make stupid decisions, and you just have to *hope* that you don't! 

It's so weird to me. I am SO fascinated.

I started off newly obsessed with Mt. Hood, because I didn't realize actually how many people have died trying to climb it, but I quickly fell back into my old obsession, Mt. Everest, mostly because there aren't a ton of long-form documentaries about people dying on Mt. Hood available on YouTube, and there are a LOT of those exact documentaries about Mt. Everest! Here's one that I'm still thinking about:

That poor guy was super fit, super young, super confident and happy. He made a mountain buddy and they did everything together on the climb up--shared a tent, cooked each other soup, encouraged each other when the climb got tough--and it breaks my heart to watch that buddy's interview, to see him telling the interviewer that his summit day was supposed to be the best day of his life, but instead it was the worst day of his life, and he'd give it all up to have his buddy back.

But those guys didn't even have to GO THERE! They made this choice, surely knowing that they could die and people they met along the way could die! 

I don't get it. I'm fascinated by it.

I wonder what I'll be fascinated by this time next month?

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