HOO BLOODY RAY an end is in sight.
My news desk has been one person short since October; we’ve been just about managing, but shifts have been tiringly busy and we haven’t been allowed to take any holiday, which has made me feel quite cramped and woolly-headed. Now I know many people such as Americans and freelancers who go several months and more without a day off, and have even done so myself, but when I took this job a big part of the appeal (aside from the money, and being able to say “Well, I report on terrorism” and sound cool at parties) was that it offered a good amount of time off to write and travel. Though it’s a fascinating place to work and I enjoy it, I am definitely not a Live To Work person, and it’s been difficult not having the time and space to really think properly, never mind Do Things.
But we’ve finally hired a new person! Who’s starting in a week and a half! And oh, then we’ll all rush to take our holiday time before it expires in July, and the spring will be lovely and warm and relaxed, unless of course the Tories get in with a majority in May and I am forced to take out David Cameron, Theresa May and George Osborne in some kind of murder-murder-murder-suicide event* (picture a game of duck-duck-goose gone horribly wrong).
Until next week, here are some interesting things I’ve managed to catch while flicking through Social Media on my phone on buses:
I really liked Katrinka Abroad’s post about travel and developing adaptability.
When I go back to my hometown Portland, I always have a bit of a shock at how it looks compared with London. London is a multicultural city; nearly everyone in Portland is white. We covered Oregon history every year in school, but never talked about why this is, like it was just some weird coincidence. On Gizmodo: Oregon was founded as a racist utopia. As it says, “This is not to pick on Oregon in particular as being particularly racist and terrible. The de facto exclusion of any non-white people from a number of businesses, institutions, and communities occurred throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Oregon seems to have been just a bit more vocal and straightforward about it.”
Oregon, especially Portland, has a reputation as being a lovely progressive paradise, and in a lot of ways it is; I love it there and it was a wonderful place to be formed by growing up. I don’t think acknowledging the state’s racist history means going “shame on you Oregon, shaaaame, shaaaaaaaaaame“, but more thinking about how places and cultures identified as Lovely Progressive Paradises are often built on and tangled up in systematic awfulness in other ways. (See also Lovely Progressive Amsterdam and Zwarte Piet.)
In further EVERYTHING I KNOW IS WRONG news, it wasn’t illegal for women to act onstage in Shakespeare’s England???
A mad scientist drinks historian who according to Wikipedia is known as “the Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages” analysed casks from the grave of King Midas and worked with a brewery to recreate the ancient drink he thinks they contained.
I was trying to figure out why you’d look at a bronze vessel with traces of wine, beer and mead and think “the ancients must have created some kind of wine-beer-mead Frankendrink” instead of “the ancients must have reused their bronze jugs”, but then a friend pointed out that only one of those means you get to create and consume a wine-beer-mead Frankendrink. Said drink is called Midas Touch and put out by Dogfish Head; it isn’t available in the UK but I’m going to look for it when I visit the US this spring. I expect it will be kind of awful, but who knows!
*dear people from whatever yet-to-be-disclosed counterterrorism agency reading my emails, THIS IS A JOKE