Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Inching Back Towards Normal Edition

I'm feeling a bit more caught up this week, although I did have an almost-cold that had me working from home one day and going to bed early all week. So I'm not totally caught up - but I feel more like I'm on top of things.

One trivial thing I did: Unwrapped the seashells I brought back from New Zealand.

Some of these are in my shell jar, where I put the shells I pick up on the beach walks I take to celebrate a success (I decided that making it through my first year back at a full time job while also running Annorlunda Books counted as a success). The flat shiny ones are going to be turned into necklaces - I have so many because I expect to need to make mistakes! And the biggest one is going to go to my work office to remind me of a great vacation.

Anyway, to the links:

I wrote about why I love old short stories and posted it over on my Annorlunda Books page. I also wrote the "awards show" post about our vacation and posted it at Adjusted Latitudes.

(Yes, "write more" is one of my goals for 2019 - I'll write about that when I do my goals post, which is next up now that I've posted our Family Fun List for the year!)

Here's an interesting thing I noticed: Francesca Forrest (author of The Inconvenient God) sent me this review of the book, and I'm so glad she did, because if she hadn't I would be completely mystified by the big bump in sales I saw this week. I would dearly love to find more blogs where a review can move lots of books! If there is a blog you read where a positive review would make you buy a book, please send me the link. I would love to pitch one of my books at them, if it looks like a fit for content. I always follow pitch guidelines and only pitch once. But finding these sites is hard!

In other people's writing:

Despite the week's news, I have a completely non-political "if you read only one" pick this week: Kelly Clancy's story about a young woman who discovers she has a rare and inevitably deadly prion disease, and how she and her husband remake their lives to address the news.

I found this story about Speaker Pelosi and her political style very useful.

If you haven't read Yoni Appelbaum's big article about why the House should impeach Trump, I highly recommend it, particularly in light of the BuzzFeed news from last night. Appelbaum is a historian, and I found his section about the Andrew Johnson impeachment particularly illuminating.

I also found Josh Marshall's take on the BuzzFeed story useful. (That one's for TPM Prime members only... sorry. This Slate article is similar and free.... But honestly, TPM Prime is worth the money!)

My mayor (who is term-limited, so not going to face re-election again) has gone all in on YIMBYism. I think this is going to be a hell of a fight in San Diego over the next year or two, but one we need to have. I predict we'll end up with more housing than we would have otherwise, but that the changes won't be as drastic as the mayor wants. But we'll see. This will be a fight that is happening all over California, and indeed most of the West Coast, over the next few years and the outcome will have a lot of far-reaching effects.

I have been watching this story of a group of terrible tourists play out in New Zealand media and it has been just the diversion I needed to ease me back into having to pay attention to our horror show news cycle. 

This is a useful article about recycling and how to make sure that the things you put in your recycling bin actually get recycled.

I, somehow, was not familiar with the poet Mary Oliver. She died this week, and this remembrance of Oliver and her poetry by Maggie Smith (whose poem Good Bones has been such a solace to me when there is bad news in the world) is marvelous. I think I should read more poetry. Do you have a poet you love? Leave me recommendations in the comments!

Even better if you know of a website or a Twitter feed that posts a daily poem or something like that. (Yes, I will go search for one, too, but I have smart readers who might already know of a great poem feed!)

In recommended listening: Ezra Klein's interview with Glitch CEO Anil Dash is really good and worth your time if you want to try to think about how we got to the place we are with the tech industry, and how it could get better.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Krista Tippet's conversation with Maira Kalman. As I thought about it, I realized I am also really jealous of Kalman's life. It took me awhile to figure it out what, precisely, I envy. Eventually I got it, though: I envy the space and time she has to notice things, and how that is an integral part of her work. I don't think I can remake my career to give me that, exactly. But I can try to make more space and time in my life to notice things. I've decided I am going to do that, and I'm going to use my cell phone to help me. I am going to take more random pictures of things, and each week, I'm going to pick my favorite to post on my new Instagram account. (I posted what that was a while back - if you need my account handle, send me an email.) My plan is to post on Sunday evenings.

We'll see how that goes. I'll try to remember to report back in!




Thursday, January 17, 2019

Family Fun List 2019

I clicked back through my old Family Fun List posts (starting with last year's post) and discovered this is the sixth year we've written a Family Fun List: We started in 2013, when my kids were 5 and 3! I wrote in that first post that I hoped the kids would add more to the list as the got older. That has certainly come true! The list is now divided up with each family member getting three entries, with a bonus entry going to whoever had the fewest of the previous year's picks honored. And the kids are more attached to this tradition than I am.

We wrote this year's list in our rented beach house in Waihi Beach. Before I share it, here's how we did last year:
  • Go to a trampoline place with a foam pit (Petunia) - DONE, courtesy of a party for the grade winners at our school jogathon. Pumpkin was the 6th grade girl who ran the most laps, so she got to go to the party, which was at a trampoline place. We paid for Petunia to go to, and crossed this one off the list!
  • Art, Cuddles, and Doughnuts Day (Pumpkin... here's hoping we get a rainy weekend day!) - DONE. In fact, I like one of the things I drew so much I want to scan it in and make it a t-shirt in my Etsy shop. We spent an afternoon eating doughnuts, doing art, and cuddling, but that seemed to be enough.
  • Got to a movie in a theater (Mr. Snarky... this is a big deal because neither Pumpkin nor I are big movie goers) - DONE. We saw the Grinch in December.
  • Beach day (Me... actually, I'm hoping for several, but this will ensure I plan at least one good one!) - DONE. Obviously, with our recent vacation we had several beach days, but the one I counted for the list was the trip to Torrey Pines State Beach we took with a group of Pumpkin's day care friends in July.
  • Family sewing day (Petunia... I do not own a sewing machine, so I guess we'll all be hand-stitching) - NOT DONE. Oops. And I had some mending I could have done....
  • Go to [a local indoor rock climbing place] (Pumpkin) - NOT DONE. Oops. 
  • Go to [a water park near my parent's house] (Mr. Snarky) - DONE. We did this one in August, when we picked the kids up from a week with my parents. However, the Arizona kids were already back in school, so our first choice water park wasn't open when we were there. We substituted another option - the indoor wave pool at Tempe's Kiwanis park. The kids loved it.
  • Try a new restaurant (Me) - DONE. We tried out Waypoint Public in North Park. It was good, but I liked one of the other places we tried, the Little Italy Food Hall, better. The Food Hall is a food court with several vendors, though, and different family members ordered from different stalls, so I'm not sure it would really count.
  • Have a picnic at a park (Petunia) - DONE
  • Walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights (Pumpkin) - DONE
  • Hike at least 400 ft of elevation (Mr. Snarky... someone learned his lesson about not being specific, I guess.) - DONE. We counted our hike over the head at Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay. 
  • Go to a special event at Balboa Park (Me... there are lots to choose from, but the current front runner is either the Diwali festival or the international food festival. Or maybe we'll get to both!) - DONE. We went to Balboa Park Summer Nights.
  • Bonus: Go to a kids' museum: DONE. We made several visits to the kids' favorite museum in Arizona: The Mesa i.d.e.a museum.

And here's the list for 2019:

  • Go to the San Diego kids' art museum. (Petunia. She was not pleased to find out we have one and she's never been!)
  • Go to [a local indoor rock climbing place]. (Pumpkin, and we SWEAR we're going to do it this year.)
  • Visit the slot canyon in San Diego country. (Mr. Snarky. He was not pleased to find out we have one and he's never been!)
  • Go to a special event at Balboa Park. (Me. I love having the nudge to go and appreciate one of the truly great things about San Diego!)
  • Have an outdoor ball sports day. (Petunia. This may have been influenced by the fact that we'd been playing some beach cricket and she loved it.)
  • Go mini-golfing (Pumpkin. She thinks that we won't do it unless it is on this list, and she's probably right.)
  • Go to a musical. (Mr. Snarky)
  • Go get ice cream at a non-chain shop. (Me. I love ice cream.)
  • Hold a no-braces party with at least one friend and all the food forbidden when wearing braces. (Petunia. She is really looking forward to getting her braces off! But this was poor choice strategy - we would have thrown her this party even if it wasn't on this list.)
  • Walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. (Pumpkin)
  • Go on a boat-based animal viewing excursion. (Mr. Snarky. Apparently he has several options in mind.)
  • Try a new restaurant in San Diego. (Me.)
  • Bonus: Go to Rita's Italian Ice (Consensus choice from the kids, who both had one item on last year's list that we didn't do. And they right: the Rita's is not close to us, so I wouldn't take them there without this list.)
I'm looking forward to a lot of fun in 2019! 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Guess I'm Getting Old Edition

Happy New Year!

If you didn't see it go by on Twitter, I'm just back from an absolutely wonderful 3 week vacation in New Zealand. I'll write more about it soon - I'll definitely do an awards show post like I always do, I'm just not sure if I'll put it here or over on Adjusted Latitudes. Then I'll write up a trip story type post over on Adjusted Latitudes as well.

I also want to write about our family fun list and my 2019 goals... and so much more! But I had more trouble getting past jet lag than I thought I would. It is only a 3 hour time difference (actually, a 21 hour time difference, but same thing...) but I really struggled this week. We came home on Tuesday and today is the first day I felt like I was in the right time zone. I don't know why I had so much trouble.

And then this morning, I tweaked my lower back by drying my legs after my shower. I felt it happen in the moment and still can't explain why it happened!

I think the answer to both of those things is that I'm getting old. Oh well.

Anyway, the combination of the two things means I don't have much to post today. Here's what I have:

If you nominate for the Hugos, here's Annorlunda Books' awards eligibility post.

Dara Lind is one of the best reporters I've read on the immigration beat. Her latest article about what is actually happening at the border is really good.

This is also relevant:

I don't think it is right to call this story about the 1950s TV show with an episode about a scammer named Trump "fun," per se, but it was an interesting read!

I liked this story about the medieval woman with Lapis Lazuli in her dental plaque.

This is a delightful short story about AI, disease monitoring, and birds. Read it!

I love this picture:


And to make up for the short post, I'll close with a picture of what I was doing instead. This is the bit of New Zealand coast where we spent 9 days of our vacation, viewed from the head at the south end. (For those who want details: This is Waihi Beach and the bits just south of it, viewed from the Bowentown Heads). I'm the person in the red shirt trudging up the hill. Pumpkin is next to me. Mr. Snarky and Petunia were faster than us.

Note how few people are on the beaches below. It was a beautiful day during high beach-going season. One of the most striking things about a NZ beach holiday for a southern Californian is how few people there are at the beach!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Probably the Last Weekend Reading Post of 2018

I have so many posts that I have half-written in my head. I even have a few that I have half-written in my little writing notebook that I carry with me. But my life has been a whirlwind lately: Busy at work, busy at home, busy busy busy.

Some of this is bad luck (Mr. Snarky got sick, I got sick, Petunia got sick), some of it is due to a scheduling coincidence that we saw coming but couldn't change, and some of it is due to the fact that I didn't fully appreciate how busy my new job would be at this time of year.

Anyhow, I'm burned out. I've got some time off work coming up, and I'm giving myself a vacation from as many of my other responsibilities and activities as possible. That doesn't mean I won't write anything more here until 2019 - I like to write and maybe I will write some of those posts I have half-written! But I am planning not to read as much news and other internet things, and so I don't think I'll write any more weekend reading posts.

I have pre-scheduled a bunch of Annorlunda posts and am giving myself permission not to do anything more on book promotion.This is not actually a particularly good time of year for my sales - although I think any of the Annorlunda books would make great gifts, I think people tend to gravitate towards longer books as gifts. One of the things I wanted to try again, though, was a post-Christmas "fill up your new e-reader" sale. Since I'm taking some time off, I set the sale up early. I'm running the sale only on my Gumroad store this year - it is too much work to coordinate a sale at all the other ebook vendors. The posts promoting it will go out after Christmas, but the promo code is active now: If you buy any of my books (or, for that matter, recorded classes) at my Gumroad store, enter the promo code FILLUP and get 50% off.

OK, with all that preamble out of the way, on to the links:

One of the things I'll be thinking about during my time off is the fact that when I'm 70, I want to be in the "regular exerciser for decades" group... and I think I need to make some priority changes to make sure that happens.

John B. Judis' article about the two economies is worth your time.

This Alexis Madrigal article about ChuChuTV and other YouTube channels aimed at toddlers and preschoolers is old, but I finally read it and it is really interesting.

This article about mammalian meat allergies is fascinating... and more than a little freaky.

Have you seen the article about the thesis advisor who hired mercenaries to rescue one of her students?

I found this Noah Smith thread about the immigration policies of Obama and Trump useful:

This is heartbreaking. Tech companies should do better.

Isn't this gorgeous?

I don't have many links this week, so here's a song I've been really enjoying lately:

And of course, a bunny:

I hope you all have a good weekend... and rest of 2018!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Weekend Reading: The Beach Walks Are Wonderful Edition

I went for a walk on the beach today instead of my rollerblade. It had rained again (which is good, we need the rain) and I wasn't sure if my rollerblading path would be dry. Also, I fought off a cold this week and last night I was sure I wouldn't be up to rollerblading, and hatched the plan for a walk on the beach instead. As it turns out, I feel much better today and would have been fine to rollerblade, but the beach walk idea had taken hold and so that's what I did.

Everytime I walk on the beach I think I should do it more often, and I wonder what I could change to make that happen. I'll have to work on that. The obvious solution - move within walking distance of the beach - is not feasible right now, and even if it was feasible I'm not sure I'd trade the convenience of having my kids be able to walk to school for more frequent beach walks, as nice as those are.

But surely I can come up with a plan that gets me to the beach more frequently, so I'm going to work on that.

Anyway, on to the links:

Isabel Wilkerson's New York Times review of Michelle Obama's Becoming is as great as everyone is saying it is. Definitely worth your time.

But if you'd rather laugh in a LOLSOB sort of way... Alexandra Petri's take on the recent Republican shenanigans in the states where they lost is pretty funny. Here is a more serious rundown of what has been going on.

Adam Serwer is pretty persuasive on why we won't have a Democratic version of Trump anytime soon.

If you have TPM Prime, Josh Marshall's two summaries of where we stand after today's document releases are worth your time. John Reed's (free) summary at Slate is useful, too. As are many, many other articles, I'm sure.

The editors of Mother Jones give an overview of what Facebook has done to the news.

Ed Yong provides a pretty thorough look and the technical and ethical problems of the work that created the world's first gene-edited infants.

It is hard to quit using Amazon Prime because shopping is work. I will also say that figuring out which retailers are ethical in their treatment of employees and suppliers is also a lot of work.This is why I'd rather we have laws that set up standards but I won't start down that ranty path....

This is an interesting essay written by someone who was all in on Lean In and is now... not. My own feelings about Lean In and Sandberg are complicated. They always have been, but are getting more so. I do think it is interesting that she's taking more heat for Facebook's corporate failings than Mark Zuckerberg is.

A historical analysis of Queen Elizabeth I's make-up.

This picture made me happy:

This thread is awesome. Hat tip to @gspeng for sending to to me!


Have a good weekend, everyone!


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