I live.

Though man, it really felt like the vaccine side effects were trying to change that last night; woke up at about 4 am with a parched throat, a nasty stomachache, and a complete inability to get comfortable for…what seemed like forever.

Outside, a thunderstorm hit; bright flashes outside, and then a distant rumbling.

Perhaps that’s why I dreamed, close to the morning, that there was a mighty BANG from the room next door and when I went to investigate the entire interior of our closet had collapsed, making a spectacular mess of most of our bedroom floor.

Today’s episode of Aria Code is about Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. There was a book, The Best Tales of Hoffmann, that I used to check out from the library. It had a bright-yellow library binding, indestructible and innocuous, that belied the sheer stark fucking darkness of some of the material inside it, and I checked it out over and over again, my tweenage self eagerly devouring the nightmare universe of The Sand-Man alongside a half-plate of indifferent, greasy pizza rolls that even now feel a little shameful to think about.

But The Sand-Man is the story behind the aria they chose for today. I wonder very much if the rest of the show has as much in it about eyes. In this case, the singer of the aria is the doll Olympe – Olimpia in the story – whose mindless, rhapsodic agreement with anything and everything presented to her rouse positively tormented depths of love in our hero Nathanael – or Hoffmann himself, in the opera.

In any event, the presentation in the episode is charming, and does rather make me want to go and watch the show – and the accompanying meditation on the nature of chatbots and what, exactly, is most societally desirable in women is…well, chilling, even if it also happens to be fascinating into the bargain. Even if you’re not into opera, I think it’s worth the listen.

Also, related to nothing, but: The Toronto Public Library has passes you can get to read the New York Times (for those of you who like to check out a little news every now and then). Go use them (and support your local libraries, everyone. They are the actual best.)

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