The three most beautiful days

That’s what we call Fasnacht, our carnival in Basel, which is happening right now – actually it’s ending tomorrow morning at 6am, having started Monday 4am. (Yes, we’re a week later than most, already officially in Lent – my theory is that they chose the date to thumb their noses at their Catholic neighbours, post-Reformation. Basel is special like that. *g*)

I missed most of it this year, only going to the children’s parade on Tuesday with my brother and his family (omg, my nephews were so fricking adorable!) and having a wander through town today, taking a look at some of the lanterns and floats. I did, however, have the mandatory foods: onion quiche and flour soup, yum!

I also booked the trains for the Shadowhunters con in Brussels in June. As an extra awesome perk, because traveling via Paris is fastest, I’ll leave a day early and spend the night with one of my Jalec gals. We’ll then travel to Brussels together. Yay for time in beautiful Paris!

In other news, I watched two more episodes of Guardian (eps 28/29), which means more liveblogs! 🙂

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First day

Back at work after over a month of sick leave. Surprisingly I managed to get caught up with most of it in a few hours – it was nice that several people said they were glad I was back. It’d be a bad sign if I wasn’t missed, after all. 🙂

In Basel it’s carnival, so it was relatively quiet, and I even managed to work on my Jalec round robin chapter, which is due this Thursday.

And now for some Guardian – episode 27 from yesterday, and a rewatch of episode 1. 😉

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My free time’s coming to an end

Starting Monday I’m back at work. It shouldn’t be a problem, but I am glad I was still on sick leave this week – not so much because of the hysterectomy, which has given me few problems, but because of the stupid infection in my arm pit.

They cut it open on Tuesday, to drain it, and I’ve had to go back to hospital to get it cleaned twice since. I’ll likely still have to undergo another operation to have it cut out, but I’m hoping I can postpone that so there’s a bit of a larger gap between round of full anesthesia. Overall, it’d have sucked having to go to work, as it was definitely noticeable.

Anyways, in other news, today I also succeeded in making my first Chinese tea eggs, courtesy of a recipe by asya.

A peeled Chinese tea egg, showing the marbling.

While doing this, I watched Borgia (Fear & Faith, not the Showtime version), which is not normally my cup of tea – I’m not usually into politics and intrigues and unpleasant people, all of which the show has aplenty. Yet somehow, I find myself binging it. Here‘s an interesting article by a historian comparing the two Borgia shows.

Also, much to my chagrin, I found out that I’d somehow overlooked the last episode of my favourite BL show, Love by Chance. MORE AE/PETE, YAY!!! Unfortunately, also a rape subplot, including gaslighting that made my skin crawl. So naturally, I drabbled:

  • Change of Perspective (Ae/Pete, 200 words, demisexual Ae)
  • Fix-it (Type & Techno, 300 words, canon divergence of the horrific Kla/No plot)

Quiet day, more BL – and a drabble

This morning, I walked into the city centre to run a couple of errands – I’ll try and get outside for at least a while every day, even if I have to take it easy.

Back home (after a break to recuperate), I was finally able to hang the curtains I bought to keep the cold drafts away from my back – the drawback of living in in a 100+ years old house. Did it in two chunks, but overall I mastered the ladder (my ceilings are 3m high), and I really think it’s making a difference. \0/

Other than that, I took it easy. I still don’t feel up to the amount of feels Guardian never fails to evoke, so I sought out some more Asian BL… and struck gold a couple of times:

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RL update

Tomorrow’s the surgery. It’s at 1pm, which sucks because it means that my last chance to eat a little something is before 6am. Fun!

The pre-op jitters have started to set in – it’s not that I think something will go wrong, the small surgery I had last year helped alleviate concerns about full anesthesia, and a hysterectomy is one of the most common procedures. But still, it’ll be all out of my control, and I hated waking up still groggy, barely able to keep my eyes open. (Yes, I’m a control freak, what gave me away? *g*)

I’m trying to keep my mind off things by packing, filling an external hard drive with tv shows (all of Guardian, for one – it’ll be perfect to watch something with subs because I can’t do anything else) and watching New Amsterdam with the radiant Freema Agyeman. Still, it’ll probably be a looong night – and I’ll probably spam Masto a little tomorrow morning, while I wait around at the hospital. (I have to be there at 10am.)

I apologize in advance, but I asked my mom not to come until afterwards. I’m more of a “pass the time by reading” kinda girl – it’d be probably not be fun to have to make small talk for a couple of hours.

Afternoon in the spa & recs

This afternoon I went to a spa in a nearby town – they’ve got saline waters and an awesome sauna area, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Usually, I go to the sauna regularly in winter, feeling that it helps my crappy immune system in addition to simply being wonderfully relaxing and therefore combating the winter blues. This winter, I got a gym membership instead, but I really wanted to go at least once before the operation makes it impossible for several weeks. I mostly go for the sauna – out of almost 3 hours I spend maybe 30 minutes in the “clothed” area, bathing. What I like best is the high-saline bath, where you can float in the half-dark, listening to meditation music underwater. Then it’s clothes off (although I do take a robe for in between, plus my e-reader) and several rounds in the various saunas. Just… heavenly!

In other news, last year I read and very much enjoyed The Calculating Stars, the first in the Lady Astronaut series – and today, in a DW post by christycorr, I learned that the second book has been released (yay!) and found a link to the original short story, The Lady Astronaut of Mars. I love alternate histories, and this is a good one, feeling very rooted in reality.

And talking about reading: despite my resolution to finally work on my TBR stack (I even joined the Mount TBR challenge on Goodreads, although I’m not really using that site anymore, having decamped to Booklikes), I just finished re-reading Fire by Kristin Cashore – and immediately started on The Handmaid’s Tale, one of my all-time favourite books since I was a teenager. I don’t know, but re-reading is like visiting old friends, I find it very comforting, even when a book is as unsettling as The Handmaid’s Tale… It’s kind of weird, though, reading it for the first time after the tv show, because now the faces/voices of the show keep intruding.

Kind of related: I haven’t actually watched any more Guardian and instead re-watched shows, but I have been reading fic – you can find some recs in my recs tumblr.

Which reminds me that maybe it’s time to find a new home for those – they were originally on Delicious (RIP!), and I’ve never been really happy with Tumblr as an alternative, especially since the tag cloud scripts broke, making finding stuff pretty much impossible. However, although they’re mostly for my own personal use, I’ve gotten used to sharing them publicly, and I’m not sure which site would work… Any ideas would be appreciated!

Lastly, I’ve fiddled around with my Hubzilla layout (thanks for the help, vamp!) and found a WordPress plugin that supposedly makes crossposting possible (we’ll see as soon as I press “publish” on this post *g*), so I’m slowly starting to feel more comfortable over there. Right now I have both it and Masto open, which means I see most posts twice (thanks to Federation I’m following people across platforms), but I don’t want to miss anything! 🙂

ETA: Sadly, the crossposting to Hubzilla doesn’t seem to work. 🙁

New year, more privacy

Over the course of the past couple of months I’ve become more aware of the privacy issues of the modern internet. I’m not paranoid, but I’m also not a fan of big corporations tracking me and trying to sell me stuff.

Back in the day, I left Hotmail and signed up for Gmail, when it had a 1 GB storage limit that far exceeded most other services as well as probably the best spam filter around. I liked the company with its “Don’t be evil” motto – and somehow, over the years, I came to rely on it for a big part of my online life, especially after switching from the original iPhone to Android (because I’d gotten tired of having to jailbreak after every update just to get functioning video recording and of having only 4GB of storage).

However, recently I started to feel that it was more than a little creepy, how much Google knew about me – plus I got sick and tired of having ads in my email. So I made some changes, and now I can say that the only Google service I still use regularly is Youtube (mostly because that’s where the ASMR videos live *g*) and the Android app store on my phone.

This might not interest anyone, but here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • switched from Chrome to Firefox, which seems to best option if one doesn’t want to go full on Tor… I’d also considered Opera, but there seem to be privacy concerns as well.
  • signed up with Protonmail, a Swiss-based encrypted mail service – they do have a free option, but I chose to pay, because I wanted several email addresses. (Another provider I looked at was Tutanova, a German company. Both Switzerland and the EU have stricter data privacy legislation.)
  • signed up with a Nextcloud provider for calendars/contacts (easily set up to sync with my phone) and the Collab online office suite. Nextcloud can also be self-hosted (for full privacy and control), but that doesn’t work on my shared hosting (plus I’m not sure my tech skills are up to scratch), and I don’t need a lot of space, so the free options suffice for now. I figured it can’t be worse (and is probably better) than saving files in Dropbox, for example.
  • installed F-Droid on my phone, an open-source app store alternative.
  • already quite a while ago I switched from Google as my default search engine to DuckDuckGo – this works on Chrome as well as Firefox, btw.
  • I was also reccced Privacy Tools for some additional tips – glad to see that I’m already using most the Firefox extensions they recommend (Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, etc.).
  • Also possibly relevant: for a couple of years I’ve been using a paid-for VPN when accessing public wifi with my phone or laptop. Also, for my home server, because I *cough* torrent onto it (downloading isn’t illegal in Switzerland, but uploading is). I’ve used AirVPN before switching to PIA for money reasons – both get good reviews online and were relatively easy to set up.

Additionally I’m checking out Mastodon, a federated Twitter alternative.

(Edited Jan 28 with some more links, since this post seems to get a bit of traffic.)

A somewhat productive Sunday

Although this blog is far from finished, I’m rather happy with everything I’ve accomplished today. I’ve also continued my writing streak, managing another 800 words on my Jalec Vampire Academy AU.

Also planned our annual North Sea vacation in the Netherlands with one of my best friends – if possible, we’ll go back to the beach hut we were at last September.

And now I’m caving and trying out Guardian, after resisting for so long – Dreamwidth managed what Tumblr didn’t! 🙂