Friday, September 14, 2018

Weekend Reading: The Delicate Balance Between Informed and Full of Despair Edition

Wow, today had a lot of news. But I guess that's true of a lot of days right now. As usual, I am trying to find the right balance between staying informed and getting lost in all the distressing news. So I went rollerblading even though I had to stop work earlier than usual to fit in the rollerblade and also getting my kids to their haircut appointment... so I'll be doing a little work this weekend to compensate. It feels like a good trade to me.

Of course, when I pulled up to the parking lot at my usual rollerblading spot, I found it blocked off for thunderboat races. Grrrr. I drove over to my backup spot and had a rollerblade, but I wish they'd post warnings about this event a couple of weeks in advance so that I wouldn't waste the time driving into Pacific Beach to get to my favorite spot, only to have to turn around and drive back out to the other spot, which is closer to my house but not quite as good for rollerblading. OH WELL. The sad thing is this happens every year and I never remember ahead of time.

On the bright side, I can save my husband a similarly disappointing experience when he heads out for his Saturday morning kayak! His usual launch spot will be closed so he'll have to find another location.

On to the links:

First, the self-promotion links:

I posted the cover reveal for the next Annorlunda Books release, The Inconvenient God, by Francesca Forrest. There were some delays in getting the cover finalized, so I'm running a shortened release process for this book - pre-orders will start to go up over the weekend, and be available at all of the online retailers by Sept. 18. You can watch for links to appear on the book's home page. If you want to be an advance reader, sign up here and I'll send you the eARC next week.

Also... you may have noticed my tweet announcing that I've finally built the travel website I've wanted to build for 10 years. (I'm not exaggerating on that time frame: I have a notebook with notes about this site, and one of the pieces of scratch paper I'd shoved in there with ideas for a site name was one of the day care reports we got when Pumpkin was one year old.)

Anyway, I had been letting the perfect be the enemy of the good on this idea, not wanting to build anything until I could build the best thing. WordPress plugins have advanced quite a bit in 10 years, and I realized that I could actually build something pretty close to my original idea with an off-the-shelf  WordPress and a couple of plugins.

So I've been writing up one of each type of post I want to have, and tinkering with different themes and options... and Adjusted Latitudes is finally ready for people to see it! I still have some more tinkering to do - I need to create a favicon, I'm going to upgrade the maps plugin to make the maps on the itineraries cooler and perhaps add some sort of multiple choice quiz option on the Where in the World posts. But it is far enough along that I decided I could share it. I haven't decided what will go there and what will stay here yet, but if I write something there I'll probably at least link to it here, so maybe that doesn't matter so much.

I almost decided to move Wandering Scientist to a self-hosted WordPress site and then add the travel stuff on here. Afterall, travel was what I originally thought this blog would be about (hence the "wandering" in the name). But I decided I wanted to be able to show things on the travel site to people I wouldn't send to this blog and I also like having a place to writing about parenting, life, politics and the other topics this site has wandered to. So in the end, I made a new site.

OK, enough about me. Here are the other links I have for you:

If you read just one thing this week: Alexandra Petri's essay on the people lost in Puerto Rico is what I'd pick.

But this amazing essay from Dr. Katherine Crocker is a close second. (Thank you to the multiple people who sent it to me!)

And Zack Beauchamp's report on the demise of democracy in Hungary and its lessons for us here in America is a close third.

I link to Talking Points Memo a lot because I find Josh Marshall's political analysis really useful. So here he is on Manafort's plea deal and the primary election results in New York. Both are worth your time, but if you only read one, read the one about the election results because I think elections are the way we actually get out of our current mess.

Speaking of elections being the way out... Jamelle Bouie wrote about something like that, and that's really worth your time, too.

Noah Smith wrote about why diversity is a strength for America.

Derek Lowe's write up of the latest generic drug price outrage is very useful, particularly if you want an insider's look at how the system is screwed up.

In recommended listening: I really enjoyed Laura Vanderkam and Sara Hart-Unger's discussion with KJ Dell'Antonia about being a happier parent. The bit about chores was really interesting.

Some good news from my state:


If I could get moderate/reasonable (even if quite right-leaning) Republicans/conservatives to understand one thing about our current political moment, it would probably be this:

Basically, everyone worries about how Republican voters will react to what Democrats do. I see a lot less attention paid to how Democrat voters are reacting to what Republicans have been doing, and let me tell you, Bouie's point rings really, really true in my life - for my own views and for the views of center-left folks I talk to. 

Huh. Interesting.

Yes, yes, yes to everything in this thread:

(If any of my male readers also find it hard to identify with female protagonists... maybe try reading more books with them? I've read lots of books with male protagonists, and I identify with some and find others really hard to understand, and honestly, I consider that part of the point of reading fiction.)


Happy weekend, everyone!


  1. The last few posts in that Talia Lavin thread are literally poetry.

  2. oh hai! If you think you might need a new good news story, try googling Jack and Laura Dangermond and Nature Conservancy. They've just done something mindblowing in California that seems to be reported in Australia but maybe not locally? Happy Weekend :)

    1. Cool! It looks like the US coverage was all around the time of the gift last December, which means it mostly got missed in the Christmas/End of year rush. For anyone who wants to see, here's the press release:

  3. Socal dendrite9:10 PM

    Love the new travel blog!

    1. Thanks! It takes me to my happy place, so I spend more time tinkering with it right now than I probably should....


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