Pools, Bees, Good Talk, and The Forty-Year-Old Version

January 18, 2021

I have taken advantage of the current heat wave to get in the pool the past two days. It has been glorious to do my regular workout before being restricted to not having a workout.

Yeah, I’m working on that.

Anyway, the pool was great! I also learned a lot. For one, I learned that the wireless headphones I got do not like when I get in the pool. They kept crapping out during my workout on Saturday, which is beyond frustrating because I use the music to keep time for my workout. Without the music, I wouldn’t know when to start or stop various parts of my workout and–more importantly–I would get bored and cut my workout short. So, the headphones not working is actually a super not great thing and not just because music is fun. The good news is that my headphones worked better on Sunday, and I honestly do not know what changed. I changed the placement of my phone, but I had done that on Saturday with no luck so, sigh. The headphones are a fickle beast. I’ll have to investigate better headphones for when the weather actually breaks because I cannot live this way.

[Um, I mention bees a lot in this next part, so if that’s not your jam, you may want to skip it.]

The best part about getting in the pool is that I learned that the kamikaze bees that kept divebombing the pool and then, I thought, drowning to death are not actually kamikaze bees but bees that just want to go for a swim. This is both great news and terrible news as I’m sure you can guess. Great because they’re, you know, not trying to take themselves out while I’m working out. Terrible because there are, you know, BEES IN THE POOL while I’m working out.

I have been stung before.

I discovered the bees are not kamikaze because I saw one floating over by the edge of the pool start crawling up the wall to get out of the pool. I had been trying to help the bees out by splashing them onto the deck but now I see I was just cutting their leisurely swim short and that’s why they would just ignore all my help and dive right on back in. Welp, they sure showed me.

Anyway, I should probably talk to the leasing office about this.

[/end bee content]

Anywheedle, I read a book and watched a movie. Also, did you know Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is back? Well, it is.

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

good talk by mira jacob

So, this book is…interesting. There’s a lot I like about it. I love the conceit of the book: Mira Jacob shows key moments of her life through a series of conversations with family and friends, toggling between 2016 and moments from the past.

I like the idea of the artwork…most of the time. The style seems to be hand-drawn paper dolls placed on tops of photographs of specific backgrounds. I thought that was very cool, in general. My only problem was that the characters’ facial expressions don’t change, which is sometimes used to great effect (like Jacob’s husband being a detached white dude for many of their exchanges about race) but at other times, like when they’re talking about their son, it’s just weird and doesn’t seem to fit.

The other issue with this book I had is that at some point, it turned into a straight bathroom book and I was uninterested in reading it outside of those very short chunks. I don’t know if it’s because the topics covered were heavy or if I just wasn’t that interested in the book itself. And I also found myself wondering why I wasn’t finished with the book yet, which is never a good sign.

All in all, though, I liked it and found it a worthwhile read and would recommend it, especially if you’re interested in unconventionally told narratives.

The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)

the forty year old version


It’s so good. First of all, it’s super funny, and the comedy is that kind of subtle, relatable humor because most of the best moments come between friends (Archie telling Radha she needs a breath mint) or from being almost forty (all the times Radha’s knees crack 😂). It’s also about writing and teaching–two of my favorite things, obviously–but also about being a Black creative in a White world that just wants to profit from your people’s pain, center themselves in your stories, and refuse to see the true nuance of your experience. Not to mention that it’s ultimately about family and grief and growing older and reinventing but also finding yourself. (But, again, handled with humor throughout.)

All of the characters are memorable, distinct, and, again, have their own humor. Plus, all the friendships! And the teens! Oh, those precious teens.

The reason the film is in black and white is also revealed at the end.

Plus, look at that poster! I mean, come on.

Highly recommend.

(P.S. I’m not proud of this, but, well, the main character’s name is Radha and I have watched a lot of Chowder–or rather my daughter has–so, um, I spent a lot of time saying, “Radha radha radha radha radha” during the movie because of that.

For reference:

Like I said, I’m not proud. But also I couldn’t help it. I’m sorry, Radha!)

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  1. K E Garland

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVED The 40 yo version! I laughed from the beginning until the end.

    • Akilah

      It is so so good. I hope it gets nominated for a Golden Globe or something so it gets more buzz.


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