Friday, December 08, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Still Processing Edition

I'm still processing my sudden transition back to being an independent contractor... now with no contracts! I have managed to be somewhat productive today, but slept poorly and will be glad when this day is over, to be honest.

The worst part of yesterday for me was telling my kids, and having Petunia ask if this means we won't go to Disneyland. I had to tell her I didn't know. A Disneyland trip is really expensive, so it can only still go forward if I have a solid source of income by February.

I do have some leads already, and have started working on those. But I don't really have a direction for my search yet, because I need to do some thinking to come up with that. So I'm very much in a reactive mode, not a pro-active one.

Anyhow, enough about that. Let's have some links.

In self-promo news of the week: Both Sides of My Skin, by Elizabeth Trach, came out.

In other links:

Before I was laid off, I was planning to buy some gifts from the lists people submit to The Bloggess. Maybe we still will. We're still very fortunate and maybe it will help with my flagging Christmas spirit.

Jeet Heer on the weaponization of outrage is quite good.

Michael Tomasky on how out of touch Republicans are with "Blue America" rang true to me. I am tired of being made to feel like I'm not a "real American" whatever that is.

I have a lot more interesting looking articles "liked" on Twitter, but I never got a chance to catch up on reading them and I think I'm just going to let that go.

In podcasts:

I'm still listening to The History of English podcast, nerding out about history and linguistics. This episode on the origin of glossaries is particularly fascinating.

I've also started listening to Jason Kander's Majority 54 podcast, and his episode on Islamophobia, in which he interviews the man who was his translator in Afghanistan, is particularly good.

I'll probably have fewer podcast recommendations for a little while, since I won't be driving anywhere now. Maybe I'll start listening while folding laundry or something.

In Twitter:

Click through and read this whole thread. It is amazing, in a not good way.

I do find the phenomenon of extremely partisan Republicans arguing against Franken's resignation... interesting.

This is so pretty:

Bunny! BIG bunny! (And a dog)

And that's it for me this week. Here's hoping next week is better.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

An Unexpected Turn

So, that new job I started on Monday? It went away today. I don't think the details are public yet, so I'll keep it vague and just say it wasn't anything that was my fault or the fault of the people who hired me, and it wasn't just me who lost a job. And I have a decent severance despite only working there for four days... so all things considered, it could be worse.

Still, it was completely unexpected and I'm reeling a little bit. Thanks to the severance and some seminars I thought I'd have to turn down but can now accept (silver lining!) I'm in good shape financially into February. That gives me some time to figure out what's next.

The reasons I decided to go back to full time employment still remain, but the really good fitting job is gone. Should I take it as a sign to try harder on the independent route? Or should I settle for a less good fit in a job? I have some thinking to do.

But the deep thinking is for another night. Tonight, I'm going to pour a beer and just... chill.

Also, it seems like a good night to remind people of the various things I still have available for purchase!

Of course, there are the books published by Annorlunda Books. Also, books make great gifts!

T-shirts also make great gifts, and my Etsy store is still up.

I'm not sure a recorded seminar would make that great of a gift... but maybe it would for the right person? Or you could get a head start on any New Year's resolutions to get better at time management or start planning your transition out of academia.

You could also just treat yourself to a subscription to Inbox Stories, my latest project! I've got a fun story about a woman who is a sea captain scheduled for December, and it is a story first published in 1919. I picked it because it is a nice reminder that there have always been strong, interesting women, we just haven't always listened to their stories.

Tungsten Hippo is no longer updated, but all the Amazon links are still affiliate links.

And now, it is time for me to unplug and have a beer and be thankful for all the many good things  in my life, and also for the fact that there aren't currently any fires burning near my home. (I'm thinking of you North County, LA, and Ventura friends! Here's hoping the winds stop blowing so hard soon.)

Updated to add: Sheesh! I forgot to mention my children's books. The Zebra Said Shhh and Petunia, the Girl Who Was Not a Princess! And my first short ebook Taming the Work Week. I knew I'd forget something in my distracted state.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Release Day for Both Sides of My Skin

I feel like I should be writing a post about what my first couple of days back as a full time employee have been like, but there isn't much to tell. Monday night, Pumpkin asked me how my first day was, and I told her it was good. Then she asked what I did all day, and I said I sat in meetings... and then she stopped asking questions, because clearly I wasn't going to say anything interesting!

I will tell you the same: my first couple of days have been good, and I've mostly sat in meetings. This is as expected and not a bad thing, really. If you're going to be in charge of the management of a bunch of projects, the easiest, least annoying way to get up to speed on them is to just go to all of the meetings for awhile. After a month or two, I'll know which ones I actually need to be at, and some space will free up in my schedule.

Anyhow, that's all I want to say about going back to work. Maybe at some point I'll write about the "sit in all the meetings until you know which ones you belong in" method of taking over management of an existing team over at my real name blog. Or maybe that sentence is really all there would be to the post. I'll have to think about that.

What I really want to tell you about is the latest Annorlunda Books release day! It is release day for Both Sides of My Skin, by Elizabeth Trach. This is the last release I scheduled before I knew I'd be going back to being full time employee, and so it is a different sort of release day for me. I can't obsessively refresh the sales numbers, which is probably a good thing. But I also will have to wait until lunch or break time to share out any reviews that come in... 

But you can buy the book now! I loved these stories when I first read them. They felt so refreshingly real in how they portrayed the early days of motherhood. I am delighted with how the book has turned out, and am excited that now everyone can read it.

The ebook is $3.99, from all the usual places:
The paperback is $8.99:
If you're near Newburyport, MA, if is also available at The Book Rack.

And it is available at Overdrive if your library uses that. I think it is also available at Baker and Taylor, but I've never been able to figure out how to search and link there, so I have to just take that on faith. Also, I sell all my books DRM-free, so any library that manages its own ebooks could buy from any vendor.

I think any book makes a great gift... but this one would make a particularly good gift for a mother, particularly one still in the baby/toddler years. But don't take my word for it! Get a copy and see for yourself.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Uh-Oh, I'm Out of Time Edition

Well, this week sped by disturbingly fast. Today was my last day as a contractor. On Monday, I'm a full time employee again. I think I got through the things I absolutely, positively had to get done before Monday, but oh boy, do I have a long list of things I wanted to get done and didn't. Thanks, cold/bronchitis/sinus infection. Also thanks, computer that decided now was a good time to stop working well and backup company whose "more reliable" download and unzip tool fails to unzip things.

My shiny new computer is super fast, though, and as soon as I find the correct monitor cable, I'll be fully set up on it. I think I can work a bunch this weekend to try to finish off my "really should do before December 4" list, and everything else I'll just have to squeeze in when I can. It is not like December is a busy month or anything. (sob)

Anyhow, how about some links? I don't have that many today, because I haven't had a lot of time to read this week.

Self-promo links first: I posted the cover reveal for the first Annorlunda release of 2018, Tattoo, by Michelle Rene. You can also sign up to be an advance reader!

And Both Sides of My Skin, by Elizabeth Trach comes out next Wednesday! Sometime this weekend, the GoodReads page for that will appear. (Yes, that was on the portion of the "do before Dec. 4" to do list that I haven't gotten to yet....)

In other news:

Today, in things I can't believe my tax money gets spent on: Settling a wrongful termination suit against Trey Gowdy and settling a sexual harassment suit against Blake Farenthold.  And of course, golf cart rentals, with the money for those going to Trump, Inc.

Here's an update on what San Diego is doing to try to end the Hepatitis A outbreak we're having, which is centered on the homeless population. I am hoping we'll also take this moment when people are actually paying attention to our homeless population to try to educate more folks about why we need to get past our NIMBY instincts and build more housing in the central part of our city, which means increasing density.

Ezra Klein's podcast had an interview with Rebecca Traister, and it is wonderful and you should listen to it. I'd just listened to her interview with Ana-Marie Cox on With Friends Like These, but there is surprisingly little overlap in content between the two interviews. Also, I learned Rebecca Traister is working on a book about female rage and I cannot wait to read it.

This so perfectly captures how the 2017 Congress feels to me:


I cannot explain why this delights me so much, but it does:

Bunny! With the most adorable nose!

That's all I have this week. Maybe next week I'll have more. Maybe next week, I'll actually write one of the posts I've been thinking about... hope springs eternal.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Hooray for Antibiotics Edition

The sinus infection proved to be the last straw... on Tuesday, I acknowledged I wasn't getting better, and went to the doctor. The antibiotics he gave me have helped clear up the infection, but I'm still a bit run down.

But I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving, and yesterday, we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and went down to the beach to take pictures for our Christmas cards.  The kids couldn't resist playing in the water, and got wet and sandy... but had heaps of fun. 

There was so much family fun yesterday that I didn't have a chance to sit down and write up this week's links. I suspect that once I'm back to being a regular employee, this might happen somewhat frequently. We'll see! Anyway, better late than never... here they are now:

In self-promo: I announced Annorlunda Books' 2018 acquisitions. And the first Inbox Stories newsletter went out. Here is the free edition.

Adam Serwer's article about Trump supporters and their brand of nationalism is really, really good. The section on David Duke's almost successful campaign in Louisiana was particularly powerful. I remember his campaign, but didn't remember how close he came to winning. Will this time be the time we look the racism in American culture in its face and finally try to deal with it? I wish I felt confident that we would.

You should read Savannah Maher on what fall is like for Native Americans. I want us to do better. Getting rid of offensive sports team names and mascots and honoring our treaty agreements would be a good start....

Tim Miller on donating to Doug Jones as a Republican, and how weird it is that this is such a big deal. (I wrote and mailed my postcards for Jones this week... there is still time for you to join in that campaign if you'd like. Go to for details.)

This is an old article about abortion rates around the world, but I think about it often and I shared it on Twitter this week so I'll share it here, too. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, since I am sure there are some anti-abortion voters who will hold their noses and vote for Roy Moore because Jones supports abortion rights. 

I saw a tweet from Ross Douthat arguing that the way around the way abortion twists our politics is for Democrats to start nominating anti-abortion candidates in places like Alabama. I would argue that another, better way would be for conservative thinkers like Douthat to acknowledge and address the data that shows that across cultures and belief systems, abortion bans don't work. If you really thought that reducing abortion rates was more important than anything else, you'd work to make quality birth control available to everyone. That's what the data tells us will work. I understand that there are cultural and religious reasons people do not do that... but what does it say when so many people can set aside their religious beliefs to vote for a child molester, but not to support something that will actually reduce abortion?

Last I heard, the number of new cases in our Hep A outbreak is now declining, but it was a big outbreak, and as this article in Wired points out, it exposed the cracks in our society.

Brigid Schulte on the Thanksgiving that almost led to divorce. Her description of how she and her husband found their way back from the brink sounds a lot like what Mr. Snarky and I have done from the start: talk about the chores and our expectations and try to find our way to an arrangement that works for both of us. It got harder (much harder) when we had kids. The work multiplied, but also once the kids hit school age we had to reckon with all the work that flows to me first because the mom is the default contact for schools and classmates. I won't claim we have that problem solved, but we're getting better at handling it.

Here's something happy: Latino film critics on Coco

I've got no beef with companies doing things manually while they figure out how to automate (or if it is worth automating), but this seems like a case where they needed to be upfront about the fact that this work is being done by people, not machines:


Another bunny!



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