Newsletter #3: Birthdays, Books and Star Trek (Issue 3, May 2023)

A long delayed update! 🎂 I’ve turned 35, and we’ve had Eurovision 2023! Plus lots of books read, and numerous thoughts on Star Trek!

Originally published on Substack on 26th May 2023

Hi 👋

Oh gosh, I am falling rapidly behind on keeping up with this Newsletter (this one has been in my drafts for almost 2 weeks)! This is only the third one and it’s been over 5 weeks between. I’ve deliberately not set myself any strict schedule for this but I’d like them to be every week or two I think.

Anyway, I do have some good reasons! A lot of life has been happening!

  1. I had to finish moving house.
  2. We went away for my birthday (I just turned 35! We had an amazing romantic trip to stay in a luxury treehouse in Cambridgeshire!)
  3. Life in general was busy, it not moving/unpacking/DIYing we had some sort of family event to go to on weekends.
  4. Working on tidying up the garden for the last couple of weekends.
  5. My full-time job has also been crazy and a brain drain lately (I don’t think my general lack of motivation for it has helped either).

It does mean that I feel like so much has gone on in the last few weeks that I don’t really know how to catch up, but let’s give it a go!

✍🏻 New on the Blog

I did pull out a few posts on the website since the last newsletter!

1. Someone key my car – while it was on our drive – which I actually still feel very unsettled about.

2. I read some New Scientist articles on the science behind exercising and summarised them into Reason Why I Should Get Up and Do Some Exercise. This has only sort of motivated me…

3. I’ve rounded the first 10 of my Instagram Mini-reviews to give them another home for those who don’t like Instagram: 10 Mini Book Reviews (2023 #1).

📚 Books

I’ve got through a reasonable amount of books recently, especially audiobooks which I can stick on while unpacking or cleaning.

Here is a round-up of my last few Instagram mini-reviews. I’ve linked rather than embedded this time because Substack was being a real arse about how it was displaying them:

I’ve also recently finished

  • Strange The Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, both solid 4 stars and only losing a star because I can’t bear the teenage romance!
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler which was also fantastic but I think still only a 4 stars for me as something was missing somewhere. Still trying to put my finger on it!
  • I also just finished on audiobook The Muse by Jessie Burton which was a also a good 4 stars!

On my kindle now I’m reading Book of Night by Holly Black, which I’m getting into now after being initially unsure how I was going to get on with the main character.

Added to the TBR pile

All a result of my compulsion to purchase 99p Kindle e-book bargains, mostly listed to shame my habit! I hadn’t realised it was so many!

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust ) by Philip Pullman

Red Queen by Juan Gomez-Jurado

Queenie by Candice Cart-Williams

Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts!

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Stray Thoughts

🏡 The move is complete!

Though I did save a few hundred pounds by doing the move myself (with help from family) it did mean the whole process dragged on for weeks and weeks!

We are finally unpacked, save a few floating items that haven’t found their spot yet. Fitting my house’s worth of possessions into this house, that already was full of possessions, has been a challenge!

We ended up with a lot of duplicates of things, which we have slowly been recycling or donating where possible rather than taking to the tip. It’s so hard to find out how to recycle or donate items, that alone has been exhausting and we still have a pile of kitchen items (kettle, toaster, slow cooker etc) by the door to figure out. We might have to try Gumtree or Freecycle for some of it, but those options come with their own hassles too!

On Telly

🎤 Eurovision

A televisual highlight of the year! I do so love Eurovision and everything it stands for. It’s bright and fun and camp and it’s about unity, everyone coming together for a silly song contest.

It was incredibly exciting last year when we actually almost won it – something I never expected to happen again! And honestly I really think we would have won it if not for the war in Ukraine leading to an understandable show of support through votes…though their entry was genuinely good too, Sam Ryder’s performance was better!

2022 also gave us Ben Adams (aka Ben from A1) in Subwolfer which is one of my favourite things to ever happen. 🐺🍌

It was exciting to have the UK hosting it for 2023 (on behalf of Ukraine), but it was actually a very lacklustre competition in my opinion. The last couple of years had been so strong so it felt like a let down.

The absolutely highlight of the whole night was Daði Freyr’s cover of Whole Again during the intermission show. You can tell he was having the time of his life.

My favourites entries from this year were –

There was also something off with the audio for a few contestants and worst of all for our UK entry! You could hardly her poor Mae. They also, bafflingly, gave what is a very strong song (and a fun video) really poor staging on the night. So we are back down the bottom of the score table – where we belong.

The natural order is restored!

✨ Star Trek

I have a full section of updates on ‘Trek!

Star Trek: Picard

The finale for this now feels like it was a lifetime ago and I should have written something before!

I was unsure of where it was going – and whether it would be good – for most of the series, especially the latter half. But, they did pull it together by the finale and it was genuinely great! It got me teary eyes, it gave all the characters the justice they deserved (especially Beverly and Deanna being given things to do!) and it felt like a fitting end to the TNG crew.

I also did like the character of Jack Crusher, the crew of the Titan and loved the idea of Captain Seven so I’m up for a Legacy series if they ever make it!

Star Trek TNG Movies…

After we completed the final season of The Next Generation (which is so bad. Next time I do a rewatch I’m stopping at season 6!) we started on the movies.

They are all far worse than my memory had them! The last one we watched was Insurrection which was just bloody awful… we’re stalling on Nemesis because my recollection of that one (from seeing it in the cinema) is already that its bad!

They all suffer from being too focused on Picard, who in turn feels completely out of character and always rushing into conflict over the diplomacy that I appreciated him for. And poor Crusher and Troi only have a couple of lines if they are lucky!

The only good thing to come out of the movies is that they finally have Troi and Riker get back together!

After watching the films I felt a lot more charitable towards Star Trek: Picard!

Strange New Worlds

I am enjoying SNW because it’s episodic and it focuses on diplomacy and empathy to resolve conflict – which is what I like about Star Trek! People working together! Optimism!

I am however not a fan of the modern dialogue and about half the young crew I find incredibly irritating because of this (Uhura, Nurse Chapple, Lt. Ortegas). Too much snark. Not all the characters need to have quips!

The characters that I do like a lot are the ones that act like professionals – as they should because they’re at work! I do like Number One and La’an Noonien-Singh a lot. Ethan Peck is OK as Spoke I guess, and I absolutely love Captain Pike. Not only is he incredibly handsome with perfect hair, he feels to me like a nice mid-point between Kirk’s “cowboy” attitude and Picard’s diplomacy. Plus he’s moving forward like a champion when he knows he’s going to end up melted in the beepy chair.

There is enough that I like about it that I can live with the bits I don’t like so much.

I will say that set seems to be ENORMOUS. Every room we see is cavernous (even their security interrogation room). I don’t remember the Enterprise that Kirk captains being so big!

👑 Queen Charlotte

I haven’t much TV lately aside from a bit of re-watch of South Park if we want something shorter while we eat! (I have conclusively decided that Butters is my favourite character).

I did over the weekend though decide to give Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story a spin and ended up loving it, and binging all 6 episodes in a couple of days (while extremely tired from staying up for Eurovision!).

It’s fantastic – being completely original and not tied to the books, it has much more substance than the main series. Much more than the usual meet-cute rom-com romance it explores mental illness and true real love and loyalty, as well as more backstories for the Bridgerton universe. The cast is incredible too, they really capture the performances of their older counterparts.

🚀 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

We got out to the cinema for the final Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and it was absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t have asked for a better send off for all the characters, it really did everyone justice and a fitting ending to their story.

My one complaint is that it did not have enough Rocket! He’s either in a coma or we only see baby Rocket in flashbacks, so there is very little of present-day Rocket in action, and he is one of my faves!

If you have not seen it, highly recommend it! We’ve been re-watching the older movies with the GG crew, they are definitely some of the more fun MCU offerings!

Coming Up…

I have a few things cooking but honestly no idea when I’ll have the time to working on them because of !

  1. 🍁 I’m off to Canada next week for a long planned 16 day east coast road trip with my Mum – excited but also high anxiety about driving! (I’m not a good traveller!)
  2. 📚 We finished the Office/Library/Craft room and I’ve been cataloguing our books into LibraryThing. I really want to share about this at some point!
  3. 👩🏻‍🍳 We just got a Ninja Foodi Max 11 in 1 and working through a lot of trial an error, but overall it’s pretty great!
  4. 🤖 I finished the Bot Love podcast which took me down a rabbit hole on Replika (interesting podcast but I think its a little too soft on the disturbing aspects of these chat bot companies). This ties into the much larger topic of loneliness and social isolation that I’ve been percolating for a while. Eventually I’ll shake something out of all my notes!If you read all this – thanks! 💕 Please do leave a comment if you want to chat about books, Star Trek, Eurovision, moving, travel tips or anything else!Subscribe now
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