Friday, September 13, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Don't Have a Title Edition

I got a rollerblade in today, but not in my preferred spot. That was closed off for something called the Hydrogames. I need to figure out how I can check for these closures ahead of time, because fighting my way through beach traffic to get there only to discover that I'll need to turn around and go back to my less-favored spot only adds to the aggravation.

But a rollerblade outing in my less-favored spot is better than no rollerblade outing so I'll try to be happy with it.

On to the links...

I wrote up the first half off our summer vacation.

I have two articles to share that sort of summarize why I'm working at a "regular" job these days instead of trying to build my own business.

First, this Slate article does a good job explaining a controversy that is raging in the publishing world about ebooks for libraries. Annorlunda is too small a publisher to have any direct control over my ebook deals with libraries. I make ebooks available via Overdrive and Baker & Taylor and any other system I can find a way to get into. I set my price to be just a little bit more than my "regular" ebook price, and I celebrate anytime I discover a library has bought one of my books.

But I think the forces that are driving publishers to try to things like the schemes described in the article are some of the same forces that have thrown the business model for my little publisher into disarray. I haven't written about it much publicly, but a little over a year ago, I realized that I'd gone from having a not-yet-profitable publishing business that I was investing in and growing along a path that seemed likely to lead to profitability soon to having a publishing business with no sustainable business model.

The metrics I was using to track how my strategy was doing all went from "doing well" to "uh oh we have a problem." I think there are many reasons for that, and won't bore you with all of them. I'm trying to fix the problem for my little company. I don't know if I'll be successful, but at least I won't starve if I'm not. The bigger publishers have their own problems and if they don't fix them, they'll go out of business. I don't think that limiting the number of ebooks libraries can buy is the right solution, but I understand why they're trying different things.

Next, this Vox article about changes at Etsy explains why I didn't just pivot to growing my Etsy shop, which has always been profitable (if not hugely so). I went ahead and made the changes to allow me to agree to support the new free shipping focus, but I'm not sure if running that shop will continue to be worth it long term.

OK, that was a lot of words for a weekend reading post, about topics most of you probably don't care about! Here are some other links:

I confess I have never considered the idea that malaria could be eradicated, not just managed. But this article argues we could eradicate it by 2050 if we focused.

Ann Friedman's essay about the sprawl of LA describes something that I also find charming about LA: There is no center and that's OK.

I'm not even a dog person and this collection of dogs sleeping in ridiculous positions made me smile.

The case for the four-day work week.

We are in no way prepared for the ethical dilemmas consumer genetic testing uncovers. The latest: A woman found her supposedly anonymous cord blood donor because of an AncestryDNA test. This story has a happy ending - both the woman and the donor are happy to have met. But there is no guarantee all donors would be happy with this outcome.

Recommended listening: Krista Tippet's conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Tippet and Coates talk a little bit about how white people keep asking him to give us hope. I think he has given us something much more profound and lasting, if we're willing to learn it from his writing: How to face reality even when it is bleak and work to make it better even when that work will take more than our lifetimes. If we're willing to learn it, we can learn how to find grace and meaning living our lives as best we can in a world that has never been fair.

I really enjoy Maggie Smith's daily affirmations. I particularly liked this one:

And this one:
This is a delightful story:

Indeed:

Here's your weekly rabbit:


Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 06, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Made It Through The Week Edition

The back to school picnic was this evening, so we are now officially through with back to school events. Phew!

Now, I just need to get Petunia's Lego team started up again, which I'm working on. I think we're going to make the jump from First Lego League, Jr. to First Lego League - which will be more work for all of us. But hopefully, rewarding and fun, too.

So anyway. I made it through the week! I didn't get the post about my vacation written, but I do have a few links for you.

I've been following the vaping-related lung illness news with more interest than really makes sense - I don't vape and no one I know well vapes. Perhaps it is because I know that there is a huge difference in testing requirements between the only thing I inhale into my lungs - my asthma inhalers - and commercial products like vaping pens. I wonder how many of the people who are dealing with this illness now realize that their vape juices aren't testing for safety as stringently as my inhalers are?

Anyway, officials don't know what is causing the illness, but I found this article about the potential involvement of vitamin E acetate interesting.

And my stance remains that it is a bad idea to inhale anything other than an FDA-approved drug into your lungs if you can avoid it.

British Conservative MPs put country over party...

Greg Sargent's argument about how Mitch McConnell is enabling Trump's corruption is worth your time.

So is Brian Beutler's argument about the crossroads we may be at now, even if we don't recognize the full implications of our situation.

The story of the reason for the chaos at Newark Airport over Labor Day is really disturbing.

In recommended listening: Matt Yglesias' interview with foreign policy analyst Emma Ashford was really interesting, and if you (like me) don't spend a lot of time thinking about foreign policy and how it has and hasn't changed over the years, it may really make you stop and think about what you assume is "just how the world is."

This is awesome:


Bunny!


Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Whine and Poetry

I was feeling pretty good after the long weekend... rested, more on top of things.

And then this week happened. My calendar shows me leaving work a little early every day this week.

Tuesday was Petunia's regular art class. I have to leave work early to get her to that class. That's the usual schedule, but it isn't usually on my first work day of the week!

Last night was 7th grade back to school night. Just like last year, it was a bit chaotic and took roughly twice as long as advertised. Also, the fancy air conditioning system in the middle school building is programmed to run only until 4:30 p.m. The teachers could override that and turn on the air in their room, but everytime the door opened, it shut off.

I don't normally mind the heat, but it was 85 degrees in those rooms and there was no air movement. I was trapped with other parents who were trying to understand the schedule used on the one day each week that is a half day... and it was past my dinner time and I was hungry.

Let's just say that I was in no mood to do anything when I got home. I still don't understand the schedule they use on half days, but my 7th grader does and that's all that really matters.

Tonight was the 4th grade back to school night. It was shorter and the air conditioning worked, so I managed to make it through half of yesterday's to do list.

Tomorrow is the back to school picnic. I'll stop work early for that, but on the plus side, I don't have to feel too bad about that because I'll also start work extra early tomorrow - I have a 7 a.m. meeting to call into! Wheeeeee.

So anyway, my plans for the week turned out to be a bit over ambitious. I thought I'd be writing up a post about our vacation in Prince Edward Island tonight, but that is not going to happen. I am going to go to bed instead.

However, I do have a request for my readers: I want recommendations for poetry! I have started reading a poem or two or three before bed most nights, and I really like the habit. I've read three books so far:

Good Bones, by Maggie Smith
Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver
Counting Descent, by Clint Smith

I need another book! Tell me about your favorite poems and poets in the comments. I'm trying to prioritize living poets, but as you can see from the above list, that is not a firm rule, so all recommendations are welcome.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Weekend Reading: In a Funk Edition

I've been in a bit of a funk this week. Or maybe, I've been in a bit of fog and that put me in the funk. It was a busy week, and I haven't been sleeping well and I just didn't feel very sharp, which make work more challenging than usual.

But no matter! It is the weekend, and a long weekend at that. I kicked it off with a nice rollerblade by the bay. It was a bit warmer than perfect, but not too bad, and there was a nice enough breeze.

On to the links. I don't have many - see above about the fog/funk/general busy-ness - but here's what I have:

The latest Annorlunda book, The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King, is ready for pre-order!

The Grumpies had a good post about getting started with personal finance. The comments section was particularly useful for me - Bogart has some good reading for me to do as I try to figure out how much money to save for retirement and how to factor in the chance I might live longer than average.

I miss Stochastic Planet, but GlobeGenie is the same sort of fun.

Vanessa Fogg reviewed a book that sounds really, really interesting.

I enjoyed Ezra Klein's conversation with Jia Tolentino.

OK, I know I am anthropomorphizing... but this bunny is an adorable fluffy ball of grump:


That's all I have this week. Happy weekend!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Weekend Reading: The End of Summer Edition

My kids go back to school on Monday. Today, instead of rollerblading I went to go see the performance at the theater camp they took to finish the summer. They did great! It was fun to watch them. They are both excited to start school. I'm looking forward to the easier schedule the school year brings, but also a bit sad that summer is over. Of course, we have another month or two of summer-like weather ahead, so I'm not too sad. Also, the crowds by the beach will get lighter, which makes my rollerblades more fun.

Anyway, to the links!

First, over at Adjusted Latitudes I posted the "awards show" summary of our recent vacation to PEI and Nova Scotia.

Next on my list is to get the pre-orders posted for The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King and start recruiting more advance reviewers. There is still time to volunteer as an advance reviewer if you're interested!

In other links:

Apparently, my city is leading the state in using red flag laws to prevent gun violence. These laws only work if police and prosecutors are willing to use them, so I was glad to read that article.

And my state has a new law aimed at preventing police shootings that was introduced by a San Diego legislator.

My "if you only read one thing" pick this week is this Vox article about why we should switch to electric school buses.

I though Dahlia Lithwick did a good job of describing the effect of the Trump years on ordinary people.

Some great news about  kākāpō!

And here's a fluffy bunny to start your weekend off right!

Happy weekend, everyone!