welp, COVID-19 has officially been diagnosed in my state

And the governor has declared “a state of emergency”, which…doesn’t seem to mean anything?

Schools and businesses aren’t being suspended, gatherings aren’t being canceled, they’re not enforcing any screenings or blocking any travel, and they haven’t announced any special resources or protections for people who have symptoms. The only instructions for average people are the same as before: wash your hands, stay home if you have a fever, don’t hoard masks, no seriously Wash Your Hands.

(Done and done. Also confirmed my supply of cleaning products, and stocked up on food — including some Chinese takeout, since apparently lots of those places are losing business because racism, and I wanted to counterweight that with at least one dinner.)

I’m guessing it’s a money thing? As in, an official Declared State of Emergency unlocks special crisis-funding for some group(s) of responders who need it. But I haven’t found any reporting on who’s getting it or what they’re doing.

Via a rec from melannen, I downloaded the recent episodes from This Week In Virology for a walkthrough of what’s going on. As someone who hadn’t been following the story in any comprehensive way, just picking up bits and pieces from people mentioning it on social media: it’s very helpful! Hosted by smart, thoughtful, friendly people who can sort through all the information, deliver the important facts with historical context and expert commentary, and filter out the wild speculation/flat-out conspiracy theories so you don’t have to.

COVID-19 first comes up in #582, as a brief item of interest; episodes 584-586 and 588-present are the ones where it’s the focus.

If you just want currently-applicable advice and information, maybe skip to just the last few. At this point I’ve listened through #588, and it’s out-of-date enough that they’re still talking about how nobody outside China even needs to worry because the virus is so contained.

Gonna catch up with the rest at the library tomorrow. (It’s business as usual there, except that every department’s been shipped an extra supply of cleaning/disinfecting products, and an Informative Display Placard about things like handwashing.)

…and then give blood. To everyone who’s eligible to donate — and isn’t already restricted by quarantine measures in your area — now would be a really good time for that. If things get bad enough in your region that their access to donors is cut off, they’re gonna need all the surplus they can get.

Music recs: Relient K, Rob Thomas, Roger Whittaker

Relient K: intentionally-misspelled alt-rock/pop-punk. Started off doing more novelty songs with lots of pop-culture references, slowly trended more serious over the years. Another of those Christian bands who write great nonspecific hurt/comfort anthems — and the overtly-religious songs include a fun Christmas album and some Narnia filk. It also means their silly songs include a VeggieTales movie theme. (Relient K playlist.)



Rob Thomas: lead singer of Matchbox 20 taking breaks to work as a solo artist, doing pop-rock with heartfelt emotions and a mainstream-friendly patina of grunge. (Rob Thomas playlist.)

Roger Whittaker: baritone pop-folk ballads and somber anti-war songs. Released from the ’60s through the ’90s, but somehow they always give me the vibe of “amazingly high-fi recordings of ’40s hits.” (Roger Whittaker playlist.)

Music recs: Owl City, Plumb, Poets of the Fall

Owl City: synth-pop electronica by one guy working out of his basement. Lyrics can get wonderfully surreal, dreamy, and/or existentially hopeful. (Owl City playlist. Has a few religious songs.)

(This last one is a great Kaname Godoka theme song.)

Plumb: moody pop-rock by a Christian singer whose songs were a little too Evanescence for the traditional religious market. Lots of lovely, angsty goth-poetry renditions of realistic mental-health issues — mania, self-harm, abuse recovery. Also, heartfelt love songs. She’s the musical equivalent of an h/c romance fic. (Plumb playlist. Fair amount of Christian songs, plus a bunch that work great as intense human/human love songs but were maybe not intended that way.)

Poets of the Fall: Finnish symphonic alt-rock. Not all their stuff gets me, but man, when it does…these are honestly some of my favorite songs. I don’t mean from these musicians, I mean from music. (Poets of the Fall playlist.)

If you only listen to one video in this post, make it that last one. The way the music gets subtle and quiet for a bit and then bursts out of the gate soaring is just — *chef’s kiss*

Wednesday fic recs: fake news, Temeraire, Pet Shop of Horrors, Futurama, Good Omens, Doctor Who, Librarians, Murderbot, sci-fi crossovers

  • Fake News | Jon/”Stephen” | M | Divine Interwebtion
    Okay, God, let’s get serious. We both know who’s the big shot here, and I can respect that. But we’ve got to talk, man-to-man, leader of the universe to leader of most-of-the universe. This cannot go on. Because if anybody’s messing with my mind, I know it’s got to be you. There’s no other way any of this could have happened.
    series:fake news,pairing:jon_’stephen’,fic:one-shot,fic:socialmedia

  • Temeraire | Laurence, Temeraire | T | Cast Adrift
    Laurence pauses. Looks around. He finds only the quiet woods, the crackling fire, and the energetic young dragon, now chewing contentedly on a fish-bone.

  • Pet Shop of Horrors | D/Leon, ensemble | T | An Italian Job (of sorts)
    There’s no cars, no chases and no gold involved, but none of that matters, because Leon Orcot’s presence alone is enough to ensure Count D’s blood pressure rises to unexpected levels. This reunion is definitely not going the way either of them imagined.
    fic:chaptered,pairing:d_leon,series:pet shop of horrors

  • Futurama | Leela/Amy | T | das flaming boots
    “Wow,” Leela said. “I don’t know if it’s the gay sex pollen talking, but that was so much better than Zapp Brannigan. And that one time at the orphanarium. And that other time when I was in training.”

  • Good Omens | Aziraphale, Crowley | G | A Sighting of Dragons
    Why couldn’t humankind just do as they were told? Why did they have to go and invent creatures of their own? Why did they have to revere something that was neither Right nor Wrong, neither Light nor Dark? Why did they have to treat the wonders of Creation like a set of Lego, fair game for them to take apart and reassemble?
    fic:one-shot,series:good omens,pairing:crowley_aziraphale,genfic

Yuletide recs (part 3): Jeeves & Wooster, The Grinch, Matilda/The Librarians, Arrogant Worms, The Good Place, Jane the Virgin

  • Jeeves | Jeeves, Bertie | G | Three Plus One
    Bertie has three unpleasant experiences in the bathroom and one good one in his bedroom. (Platonic soulmarks AU.)
    trope:soulmates,pairing:jeeves_wooster,genfic,series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot

  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie, ensemble | G | Jeeves and the Sporting Spirit
    The Drones are hosting their annual Olympics, and all Bertie wants to do is get his own back after last year’s humiliation. But things are never that simple where Bertie is concerned… Featuring an unwanted fiancee, a Pekingese masquerading as a cushion, a new Drones recruit, and the world’s ugliest tie.
    series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot,pairing:jeeves_wooster

  • Jeeves | Jeeves/Bertie, Honoria | M | Rescuing Honoria
    Honoria is engaged. Not to Bertie this time, but to a man who won’t let her break their engagement. Jeeves must be summoned, but Jeeves is on holiday in Herne Bay. What to do?
    pairing:jeeves_wooster,series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot

  • Jeeves | Jeeves/Bertie | M | All the Spinach You Can Eat
    A man finds himself at the mercy of a valet who destroys his engagements, his wardrobe, and then his self esteem. Bertie thinks it’s jolly good pornography but wonders what it’s got to do with him.
    pairing:jeeves_wooster,series:jeeves & wooster,kink:bdsm,fic:one-shot

  • The Good Place | Chidi/Eleanor, ensemble | G | we’re all in this escape room together
    “This isn’t a thought experiment.” The Judge looks at Eleanor. “If we do this — if we reform the afterlife like you want, and keep all the humans — ” (She makes a face at that.) “If we do this, you four have skin in the game. You’re going to live under this system just like everybody else.”
    fic:one-shot,series:the good place,pairing:eleanor_chidi

  • Jane the Virgin | Petra/Rafael/Jane | T | Happily Ever After
    It was all out of Petra’s control. She didn’t know what their game was, and she felt weak to stop it, or demand information. They just kept smiling at her, both of them, with their big dark eyes, taking deep breaths whenever she said something sharp, moving forward. But forward toward what? She had no idea. Was this friendship?
    fic:one-shot,pairing:jane_rafael_petra,trope:polyamory,trope:soulmates,series:jane the virgin

Yuletide recs (part 2): Captain Marvel, Lilo & Stitch/Phineas and Ferb, Doctor Who/Bojack Horseman, Addams Family, Murderbot, Discworld

  • The Murderbot Diaries | Mensah, Murderbot, ART, Pin-Lee | T | Situation Normal
    Hi, I said, along with amusement sigil 159 = wave. It seemed a little inadequate, but what do you say to the ship that radically altered your appearance, helped you figure out your past, and also threatened you with terrifying weapons? Amusement sigils seemed like my best bet.

Peter Donnelly appreciation post

Doing this separately from the regular music-rec posts because, whoo boy, tracking the guy down at all was a Journey.

Peter Donnelly does soft rock/folk pop — think Dan Fogelberg, but gay romances instead of straight ones. Some of the lyrics get to be more direct and nuanced than any “highly LGBTQ-relatable feelings, but wrapped in a layer of metaphor” songs. Others are sweet and heartfelt without any gender-specificity. Some are just funny or weird. Most of them are really pretty.

…and almost none of them are findable online anymore.

It took a bunch of searching just to find non-dead links about the right Peter Donnelly. This is the one who did A Sure Thing (AllMusic, Amazon, the producer’s website) and Express Café (AllMusic Amazon).

Can’t stream any of his songs on Amazon or Spotify. Can’t get the lyrics…pretty much anywhere. If you have one of the CDs, Windows Media won’t be able to identify it. The only audio left on YouTube is “a couple of well-buried shaky-cam videos of live performances” and “this one fanvid I made.”

I did finally think to check the Internet Archive — they have a version of his website from 2013! Which is the only place I found any info about his last album, Road With No End (consider its threadbare Amazon listing). Plus a tiny treasure trove of sample .wma files.

Facebook has a pretty recent live performance (non-embeddable), and reports the duo of Donnelly and Richardson having future gigs as well as past ones. So apparently he’s still around. Hasn’t changed his name, or died, or anything drastic like that.

He’s just…staying way off the internet.

(Feel free to compose your own “and who can blame him” jokes here.)

So at this point you may be thinking “hang on, Erin, you are not exactly a known aficionado of obscure and/or indie music. How do you even know about this guy?”

Well, in the late 2000’s he was one of various LGBT+ performers and speakers that my college’s Alliance hired to do their thing on-campus.

(About that club name: it started as the Gay/Straight Alliance, then the community acronym started expanding, and somebody with excellent foresight realized we’d be changing the name every few years if we tried to keep up. So we sidestepped that problem by dropping the descriptor at all.)

(Still unimpressed about the time I was trying to get formal authorization for some club thing, the admin person assumed we were the Environmental Alliance, and when I clarified that actually we were the gay one, they went “wait, that’s a school-accredited club?” Like it was a surprise.)

Express Cafe cover, signed

So Peter Donnelly set up at the local coffeehouse, and did some songs, and I thought they were great.

I bought both the CDs he was selling! I got them signed! I am so glad I still have that physical evidence, now that it’s all dropped off the face of the web!

This whole thing has really driven home that in-person stuff is important. Local community groups are important. Outreach to the people in your area is important. You never know what you’re going to be saving for each other.

…I can only find Express Café in my CD rack right now. Went ahead and scanned the whole lyric booklet. If anyone comes across this post looking for Peter Donnelly lyrics and/or Express Café lyrics…here they are, straight from the source:

Express Cafe lyrics, part 1

Express Cafe lyrics, part 2

I did type up the Dangerous Games lyrics — not long after I bought the album, wow. For the rest of the songs, you’ll have to do your own transcriptions.

If I ever find my copy of A Sure Thing, I’ll scan the materials from that too.

…and since there’s no longer any way to get this audio directly from the artist, or through a sales channel that supports him, I’m just gonna leave these here.

Express Café (full album, plus the cover/back/booklet art, 80.4 MB)
A Sure Thing (partial album, 3/4 of the songs, 46 MB)