An Alberta clipper shocked the metro area last night with six inches of snow. I crept along at twelve miles per hour in whiteout conditions, scrolling past spun-out cars as I headed to the superstore because I needed some peanut butter cookies and a case of Topo Chico to get the weekend started.

Fact: the Topo Chico that comes in clear glass bottles tastes slightly better than the tinted green bottles.

As the world becomes increasingly incomprehensible, I’m learning to find pleasure in the ultramundane and routine. My preferred table at the library. The Thursday night philosophy book club I’ve joined. In the evenings, C. and I watch Tokyo Vice, my new favorite show. It’s a slow drift with neon pouring down car windows and violent men with righteous hair, punctuated by delightful moments such as Ken Watanabe watching Full House with his family. And god, it makes me miss smoking. (This piece in Vulture is a good companion if you’re one of the five or six other people who watch it.) After I perform my nightly ablutions, I like to fall asleep to old documentaries about Rome. I fantasize about Rome and Tokyo, but right now, I’m happy where I am, existing in pleasantly neutral conditions that give my mind room to roam on the page.

My friend O. sent me a WikiHow tutorial called “How to Disappear Completely.” (He stumbled across it while searching for something else; he’s doing okay.) I can’t stop thinking about this article: the clinical tone without any trace of an author, the untalented illustrations in shades of pastel, the hard turn from “running away usually isn’t necessary” to “withdraw cash gradually from any bank accounts you have.” Beneath a lightbulb icon, there’s a tip to “make sure you have enough food and water with you.” This tutorial has been read over two million times and has three-and-a-half stars. I give it five stars as a creative writing exercise that lives in the genre of horror: an aggressively benign presentation that launches the imagination into frightening terrain.

At the superstore, a little girl said, “Most of the things on my street are dead.” I think she was talking about the trees in the winter, but what an excellent sentence to start a horror story or fuel an awful dream.

Kevin Richard Martin – To Disappear

Black | Intercranial, 2023 | Bandcamp

Kevin Richard Martin’s subterranean eulogy for Amy Winehouse. Boomkat described it as “the elegiac appeal of Bohren und der Club of Gore at a midnight crossroads with Rhythm & Sound,” which might be the Platonic equation for all the music I enjoy. This is a perfect late-winter soundtrack.