Worry stone

The week after successfully defending my PhD thesis, my life fell into its normal routine — which is to say in this current global pandemic, still hadn’t secured a job, depleting financial savings, worried of my mother’s health and mine in this neverending purgatory, and ready to guard the house in a kebaya on Eid after the government announced that families were allowed to visit each other on its day. What does it say after experiencing the peak of your highest achievement for one split second and going back into what the capitalist drivel of society demanded of you and failing to do so?

Monday the week after I received a flurry of congratulations over my — here I quote from the chairperson of my viva — “one of the best viva over the 10+ that I have chaired the last 1 year”, I set up a Google spreadsheet of the list of thesis corrections I am meant to do. And because minor corrections didn’t actually mean quite minor in a sense, when you change or add a small paragraph, the page number would change, the section number can sometimes change, the narrative flow might also slightly change (I discovered my voice and tone changes over the three months I submitted my thesis as I pivot into more work-related writing), and so on so forth. So I made set up another tab in the same spreadsheet where each correction is linked to more subcorrections, and again every night as I whined, “I don’t want to write tonight!” I showed up at my desk and somehow miraculously, although sluggishly, I proceeded with some amount of corrections.

A friend of mine had been in touch with me over the intricacies of setting up her very first website. I was grateful she trusted me to help her with this. She mentioned that she had been thinking about getting a website and a blog of her own that isn’t quite owned by Facebook or Tumblr or Instagram, and I said it was a good idea to have an online home of your own that isn’t quite owned by these corporations whose platforms might disappear one day or which policies might change that might not serve us anymore. I should have mentioned her about a website being the idea of a worry stone — a classic idea that probably gave birth to the likes of fidget spinners or stress balls — in which you could spend hours tinkering away at the design, fixing the CSS, changing the size and styles of the fonts, and you would return again the next day, convinced it doesn’t look good enough. After all, it’s your online home, you of course want it to somehow be a digital embodiment of your identity, yourself.

Current reads:

  • “… what if the user’s experience determines whether or not their child learns at school? Or when their experience means the difference between staying in the country and deportation? Or if it gives a marginalized community agency and autonomy over their own future?” Really enjoying this interview with social UX researcher Alba Villamil on the pitfalls of user experience, which only focuses on the homogeneity in the user baseI instead of a more societal approach.
  • “When you take away the diners all you’re left with is this predatory, venture capital, third-party app as all of your business.” Giuseppe Badalamenti, owner of Chicago Pizza Boss, tells the Washington Post why people are rebelling against food delivery apps.
  • We all should just shut up.
  • India is the only democracy to force its people to use a covid app, and people aren’t happy.
  • Step aside Zoom parties. Check out Shared Google Doc party!
  • “i’ve been thinking about how differently i experience a book when i approach it with generosity — i savor sparks of brilliance, appreciate potential even when it falls short.”

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