The 4th was intentionally uneventful - we had to be home early-ish to make sure the cats were fed and that they weren't frightened by people setting off fireworks in the neighborhood, so we went over to my dad's place at about 2:30, ate a good dinner and hung out, then watched Arrival before going home. That's become a thing I've liked - watching a movie with my dad when we come over gives us something to do other than just drink and reminisce, and he's got a bunch of movies over there that neither of us have seen because he waits for them to go on sale and snaps them up, but doesn't watch anything on his own. And I'm like... that's relatable, and I'm trying to fix that, but I imagine it's sort of like preparing a nice meal for yourself or going out to a place to eat by yourself; there's nothing wrong with it, and it can be good for you, but people view these things as group activities.

The movie itself was good. It didn't rely on cheap hooks or overused "twists," it was well-executed, and I feel like it trusted the viewership to be adults and handle the ideas it laid out on their own. It clearly derived inspiration from Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5," if you're into that kind of thing, but it felt much less cynical. I don't know how much re-watch value it has, really, but it was worth seeing at least once, I felt.

I've also just finished Nabokov's "Despair," which is short but still was tough to initially get into. I had tried twice, but the third time worked fine and it was worth getting to the end. There was something almost profound and, personally, frightening about the narrator's inability to perceive the world around him that made the book an especially powerful read at the end. I think it plays into my own very fears about my inability to determine the world around me in any objective sense - you finish the book, or you get close to the end, and you realize the depth of Nabokov's elaborate setup. The narrator himself is the criminal, intent on what he perceives to be the perfect undetectable crime, but it really is Nabokov himself that has strung you along. Like many Russian writers, I'm not sure that I can say the book was a pleasant read at all, but as psychological horror (for me) it was extremely engaging.

I'm getting through Marvel's Iron Fist, but pretty slowly. It's alright. I can't help feel like you're supposed to be mortified with Danny Rand's behavior, but that's not really entertaining to watch. His lack of discretion seems to make everything worse - like he's the poster child for entitled young white guys with a savior complex.


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