Friday, May 17, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Didn't Read Many Articles Edition

Our weird weather continues - we've had more rain this week! This is unusual for May in San Diego. But this afternoon, it was beautiful out and I had a lovely rollerblade outing.

This week, I was busy getting the next Annorlunda Books release posted for pre-orders. The ebook edition of Arctic Adagio, a near future mystery novelette by DJ Cockburn, is now available for pre-orders at all the usual places. The paperback edition will be available on release day, which is May 29.

In other publishing news, we found out that The Dodo Knight, the novella by Michelle Rene about the friendship between Louis Carroll and Alice Liddell, his muse for Alice in Wonderland, was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I love all the books I publish, so it is always great when one of them gets some recognition!

I don't have many non-Annorlunda links, because I was also busy at work and was finishing a book instead of reading articles in a lot of my free time. (Why Buddhism is True, by Robert Wright. I recommend it. It will show up in a book post over on my real name blog eventually.)

Here's what I have:

Josh Marshall sounds a compelling warning about the upcoming 2020 election.

I haven't had a chance to read this CityLab article about the link between urban beauty and economic growth, but it sounds really interesting. Maybe I'll get to read it this weekend!

In recommended listening: Ezra Klein's interview with historian Joanne Freeman about political violence in the period leading up to the Civil War was very interesting and thought-provoking. (Yes, I'm listening to a lot of Ezra Klein interviews right now - his show is one of the ones I can get directly in the Tesla. I need to spend some time searching what's available there to diversify my listening again!)

The case that turned the tide on abortion rights in Ireland has been on my mind a lot this week. I have thought since the day after the 2016 election that Roe v Wade will be overturned, and that in some states abortion will become essentially unavailable. We know what that will mean. Eventually, I think we will have a case that makes the news and mobilizes the moderate middle on abortion (polls show that the majority of Americans in every state are opposed to laws as extreme as Alabama's new one, for instance). What haunts me is the question of how many women will die before there is a story that is sympathetic enough to enough people to turn that tide. One is too many.

This is a really good answer:

Bunny!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Wait, Did I Just Agree with David Brooks Edition

I don't get to gloat about what a beautiful day it was for a rollerblade today... we've been having cool, cloudy - and even rainy! - weather this week. So today's rollerblade was in long sleeves. But the less than postcard-perfect weather did mean that it was really quiet down by the bay, and I enjoyed that. Also, it didn't rain today, which is why the rollerblade was possible, so I can't complain.

In Annorlunda news: I'm still looking for advance readers for Arctic Adagio.

Also, Both Sides of My Skin is on sale for just $0.99 at Kobo right now, as part of their Mother's Day sale. Sometimes Amazon and the other sites notice that and price match, sometimes they don't.

In other links:

This story about QAnon fools ruining a small town's Earth day celebration makes me so sad and mad.

And speaking of scams.... it sure sounds like a lot of prominent conservatives have a lot of contempt for their own supporters.

If you read only one thing this week, I would make it this short summary from Josh Marshall about why that Giuliani goes to the Ukraine story is a very bad thing. I hate that people are just making jokes about it and shrugging.

This story about a family deciding whether or not to take their kid to the ER after she got into a bottle of dramamine really illustrates the fact that we already ration healthcare in this country.

This is a good article about the benefits of e-bikes for seniors.

In other biking news, could we have a cross-America bike trail soon?

I enjoyed Scalzi's post on turning 50.

In recommended listening: I drove more than usual this week (for work related reasons), and am using the built in podcast app in the Tesla. I haven't favorited that many podcasts yet, and so I found myself listening to a lot of Ezra Klein. There were two shows I'll share:

First, his interview with David Brooks was really good and I never thought I'd say that! I suspect I still disagree with Brooks on most policy issues, but his discussion of his realizations about what matters in life was interesting.

Second, the interview with political scientist Sheri Berman about social democrats was very useful for me, and an interesting conversation.

This is delightful:
And so is this thread:
I got neither a sword nor a cool top hat when I got my PhD and that is just not fair.

Bunny!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Environmentalism When You Can't Be Perfect

If I had to pick one quote to capture my philosophy on life, it would be Voltaire's "le mieux est l'ennemi du bien," which translates literally to "the best is the enemy of the good" but often gets rendered as "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

I don't think perfect is possible, and so I apply this quote in all aspects of my life. Tonight I want to talk about applying this to my attempts to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

My feelings on individual action and climate change are complicated. On the one hand, I do not think that individual action is the solution to climate change. I think we need policy changes to reduce emissions on the scale we need to reduce them. On the other hand, many of those policy changes would be targeted at producing changes in individual choices (e.g., biking/taking transit instead of driving) and also individual choices can help build a culture in which policy changes are more possible...

So I have been trying to make better individual choices. Doing the research to decide what changes to make is disheartening, to say the least, because so much of what you find is often absolutist and full of judgement for people who cannot remake their lives to be perfectly pure in the environmental sense.

The purists annoy me, both because sanctimony is inherently annoying and because I think they scare people off from making any changes or even engaging with the issue at all. The whole reason we need policy change is that our society is set up in a way that makes it hard for people to make environmentally sustainable choices. Infrastructure in many cities is built around the car, companies have a vested interest in making it hard for us to evaluate their claims about sustainability, etc., etc.

Luckily, I have my whole "the perfect is the enemy of the good" philosophy to fall back on. I don't have to be perfect, I just have to do better. In my experience, that approach is far more conducive to actually changing things than the "be perfect or you're a hypocrite" approach. Start where you are and iterate to where you want to be by making the changes you can make now. You can always make more changes later.

So, leaving aside the whole "buying an electric car" thing (and yes, I still owe you a post with my thoughts on the Tesla), here are some small changes we've made recently:
  • I bought more reusable bags for produce and bulk goods (e.g., the pistachios and cashews I buy)
  • I try to choose walking for short trips like picking the kids up at school. Except for the first day we had the Tesla. That day, we picked the kids up from school in the car.
  • I am being more mindful about how I use plastic food storage bags. My first attempt to replace these with reusable bags failed. The bags I bought are useful, but do not replace Ziploc bags in my most common uses, which are to store the baked goods I make every week for my kids. However, since I make the same baked goods every week (scones for Pumpkin's lunches and bread for Petunia's breakfasts), I can reuse the Ziploc bags without washing them. I used to do that sometimes. Now I do it all the time.
  • Mr. Snarky bought a pump to power a sprinkler so that he can use the water from our rain barrels to water our backyard. We run our built in sprinklers less often now.
  • Mr. Snarky has started trying various meat substitutes for things like hamburgers. We've also tried meat substitute "meatballs" and found them pretty good.
Things I've considered and decided I won't do:
  • Bike or take transit to work one day a week. There is no safe bike route and a transit-based commute would be well over an hour.
  • Give up meat. We don't eat meat every day or even most days, but we aren't likely to give it up completely.
And here are some small things I'm planning to do next:
  • Start walking to get our groceries some times. This requires me to obtain a "granny cart" - and I think Petunia may be planning to get me one for my birthday, which is coming up soon, so I am waiting on this.
  • Solve the scone and bread storage issue in a way that doesn't involve Ziploc bags at all.  
  • Sign up for the free tree the city will plant to replace the one that blew over in a storm earlier this year.
Our next big thing will probably be solar panels, but it could also be the backyard revamp I've been wanting to do, which will reduce the amount of grass and also add at least one tree. 

And of course, I'll continue to work to elect politicians who will take climate change seriously. I'm also trying to be more vocal on local issues that are related to climate issues, like supporting better bike lanes and public transit, and increasing housing density near existing transit lines.

I'm always open to ideas for other small changes to add to my next iteration of improvements, so drop any ideas you have in the comments!

Friday, May 03, 2019

Weekend Reading: Another Week, No Post Edition

I had plans to write a post here this week! But I wrote a post over at Adjusted Latitudes about some restaurants we visited over spring break instead. Some weeks I can manage two posts, but I've been busy booking lodging for our summer vacation and between that, some research I'm doing on book promo options, and prepping for our next Annorlunda release, I ran out of time.

Speaking of the next Annorlunda release: It is another near future noveletter from DJ Cockburn (author of Caresaway). This one is a mystery set on a luxury ship the super rich have taken to to avoid being subject to any nation's laws. It is called Arctic Adagio and I posted the cover reveal this week. You can also sign up to be an advance reader now.

Moving on to other links:

Apparently we've been making our allergy seasons worse by planting only male trees.

And here's a really interesting long read about shade in LA.

This post from Josh Marshall about Attorney General Barr and the state of the Republican party is worth your time.

So is Marshall's take on the Guiliani/Ukraine/Biden story.

This is a good article at the Washington Post about Evangelical pastors self-reflection in the wake of the shooting at a Poway synagogue committed by a member of their flock. I wish it didn't include a picture of the shooter, though.

Always read Rebecca Solnit (this essay is on unconscious bias who is deemed "electable").

Bunny!


Friday, April 26, 2019

Weekend Reading: Another Grim Set of Links on Another Beautiful Day

It is another beautiful, sunny day here. Wonderful rollerblading weather! It was the sort of rollerblade outing that makes me feel really lucky to live here - a sunny day, a cool ocean breeze, the spring break crowds have gone home, the summer crowds aren't here yet... Just wonderful.

In other good news: Our Tesla arrived yesterday, so I got to drive to the rollerblade in style. It is too early to write up my impressions of it, other than to say it is a really pretty color of blue. I promise to write more once I've driven it a bit more.

Unfortunately, the links I have to share with you aren't so sunny. We're in a really difficult period. It is not at all clear how best to fight back against the anti-democratic (small d) forces at work. I still think there is time to fix this mess through at least somewhat normal means, but I don't think we can be complacent at all. 

My book club read Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me this month. One part that has really stuck with me and made me think was what he wrote about struggle. Early on, he writes:

"And still you are called to struggle, not because it assures you victory but because it assures you an honorable and sane life."

Then, at the end, writing about the struggle his son will need to make, and about how that relates to those of us who get to live in the American dream ("the Dreamers"), he writes:

"Struggle for your grandmother and grandfather, for your name. But do not struggle for the Dreamers. Hope for them. Pray for them, if you are so moved. But do not pin your struggle on their conversion. The Dreamers will have to learn to struggle for themselves, to understand that the field for their Dream, the stage where they have painted themselves white, is the deathbed of us all."

Coates has a specific meaning of struggle, and of "the Dream" - but I will not try to summarize that here. I'll just say "struggle" doesn't mean to struggle economically. He's talking about a deeper struggle than that. I think of it as in part the struggle to free yourself from the constraints of an unfair society, and the struggle to make a better society. But I think it is more than that and encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is not a long book.

Early on after Trump was elected, I was in a conversation about what would protect us from the threat he poses, and I said something to the effect of "Congress will not save us. We have to do it ourselves, and I'm not sure we're up to it."

I still think that. Mueller couldn't save us. The Democrats in Congress can't save us. Mueller had his part, and the Democrats have their part. Either could certainly have sunk us. But we, the people, will need to save us.

In short, those of us for whom this country has largely worked well need to learn how to struggle. It was our failure to struggle that left us open to the catastrophe of the 2016 election. Russia meddled, sure, but their meddling just exploited the existing fault lines in our society. We were complacent and did not work hard enough to heal them. It is our failure to struggle that is putting our world at grave risk from climate change. We need to take up the struggle if we are to get back on a sustainable course, let alone one that leads to a better society. And I am no more convinced that we are up to it than I was in 2016.

With that preamble, here are my links for the week:

Josh Marshall on the misleading spin that's been put on the Mueller report, and the fact that it does, in fact, show that the Trump campaign conspired and coordinated with Russia.

I don't think we'll learn the full truth of what happened without a real Congressional investigation. It looks to me that Trump agrees, because he's fighting hard to keep a real investigation from happening. Here's Marshall again, this time on the need for Congress to stop treating Trump's obstruction of their valid oversight requests as politics as usual.

Of course, the rot isn't just in the White House. Here is a depressing look at how Republicans are responding to losses at the ballot box by fighting against democracy.

David Roberts at Vox has a rather depressing summary of a new report about the viability of the Climate Right.

That's all the reading links I have this week. I know they are a bit grim, so I will also reiterate that I have found taking action helps me feel less helpless and overwhelmed by it all. I'm going to start posting my weekly actions again. I suspect I'll mostly post on Fridays at lunch time.

My actions aren't big, and I don't know if they are "right"  or the "best" thing to be doing - they are just what I'm doing right now. I posted my actions for this week already, but in case those tweets have scrolled off the sidebar, here are the two things I did: I donated to Swing Left, because I think their state-based strategy for preparing for the 2020 election is a good one; and I requested some more addresses for Marc Friedenberg in a special election in PA. This is a bit of a long shot of a race, but I think it is worth fighting as hard as we can everywhere. Also, voting is a habit, and it seems like encouraging Democratic voters in PA to strengthen that habit is a good use of my time.

I do have some recommended listening this week: I really like the Flash Forward podcast, and the Desert Creep episode is a reminder that climate change is just about rising sea levels.

In happier things, I have some tweets:

I love this:
And also this - bunny art!

Cute sleeping bunny!

Have a good weekend!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Staying Sane Edition

So, the Mueller report is out. I assume you can find anything you want to read about it. If you're looking for a measured summary from people who know the law, I like Lawfare blog for that. From a more partisan, but still pretty measured viewpoint: I like this TPM article about what comes next.

And that's all I'm going to share on that topic. I have the same opinion I've had since Trump was elected: We're in a slow-moving Constitutional crisis and at an inflection point in our history. I think we face a real risk of, if not losing our democracy, backsliding to become a less-democratic society. I don't think all is lost, but neither do I think we're home free. I don't know what the best course of action for Democratic leaders is right now, but having watched the behavior of the current group of Republican leaders over the last 2.5 years, I am more convinced than ever that they need to lose power. The only way I know to make that happen is to support voting rights in general and Democrats in particular, so that is what I am doing.

But in the meantime, I have to stay sane. So I went on my rollerblade today and appreciated the beautiful day.

And here are some other stories you can read to take a break from this mess:

Here's a write up of some interesting research about the sleep (and health) impact of where you live in a time zone.

The latest I've heard on the cause of the fire at Notre-Dame is that it may have been an electrical fault, but I still think this essay from a former roofer about the risks of repairs is worth your time.

Roxane Gay wrote about an Italian restaurant in LA and now I want to go.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what our cities would look like if they weren't so car-centric. Vox's David Roberts went to Barcelona to explore the idea of "superblocks." The whole series is interesting, but the installment about superblocks as a model for "post-car" urban living is the my pick for which to read if you only have time/interest for one.

Bunnies!




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

In Which We (Finally) Buy a Car

I've mentioned a couple of times that we were shopping for a replacement for our 2007 Prius, and promised to write up some thoughts on our car hunt.

Our Car and Commute Strategy

First, some background on our cars and what I call our car strategy. We have two cars: One "small" car that we use primarily for around town and short out of town trips (1 week or less), and one "large" car that we use for longer car trips (if we're not flying to the starting point and renting a car). We prioritize fuel efficiency in both, but particularly in the small car. For the large car, we also think about luggage space and the ability to hold my husband's bike in the back without taking off a wheel. When weather and schedules allow it, he takes his bike in to work one day each week, leaves the car and bikes home, then bikes back to work the next morning. He has a safe bike route if he goes through one of our urban canyons. The distance is a bit too far for him to want to ride to work and back in one day, but he enjoys the split day biking schedule. It works best if he can leave his bike locked in the car on the day he drives it in... hence the requirement to be able to fit the bike in.

I do not have a safe bike route to work. Neither of us has a reasonable public transit option to work right now, although that might change if Mr. Snarky is still at the same work place when our new trolley extension opens. My work location is unlikely to ever have good public transit options, but I do get to work from home once a week.

Right now, our two cars are a 2007 Prius and a 2010 Mazda 5. Both are showing signs of nearing the end of their lifespan. The Prius' main battery is likely to fail in the next couple of years, and enough other little things are going wrong that we decided to it is time to replace the car. The Mazda 5, meanwhile, has never been quite right since it was T-boned in an accident when it was only a year or two old. It was repaired, but we think the frame is not quite aligned, because we've had to replace things like the engine mounts more often than we should. We've just done one more "big" repair that our mechanic thinks should last at least three years. We don't plan to do another. (The engine runs great, and we otherwise really like the car - it was just bad luck about the accident, and the fact that the repair wasn't quite right wasn't apparent until more than 5 years later, so we're just going to let it go and replace it a little earlier than we might otherwise.)

Given that we know we'll be replacing both cars within the next five years, we decided that we'd look at cars that could potentially replace either of our two cars in the long run - with the caveat that whatever we bought now had to be able to make the trip to Arizona and get gas mileage as good as or better than our current Prius while doing it. We usually get about 40 - 45 miles per gallon on the drive to Arizona. (I get about 38 miles per gallon in my usual around town driving. The Mazda 5 gets 20-25 miles per gallon.)

Our Car Search Parameters

We want to replace the Prius with something that gets better gas mileage. In fact, we want the best fuel efficiency/least environmental impact possible given our other parameters. We live in a state with a relatively clean energy mix, so we decided to look at plug in hybrids and electric cars. Here are our other parameters:
  • At least one of our two cars must be able to fit Mr. Snarky's bike in the back, without taking the wheel off
  • At least one, and ideally both, of our two cars must be able to make it to Phoenix and have the cargo space for our luggage for a week
  • At least one, and ideally both, of our two cars should be able to make our daily commute on battery
    • Treat my commute as ~30 miles round trip
    • Treat Mr. Snarky's commute as ~20 miles round trip
    • Only Mr. Snarky has electric car charging stations at work, but I drive farther so I'll get the most fuel efficient car.
  • Both cars must be able to handle a commute plus a trip to Petunia's art class round trip without refueling. Treat this as adding 15 miles to the commute.
  • Both cars should be able to drive to LA without refueling (~150 miles)
  • It would be nice if at least one of our two cars could transport at least 5 people
We have a preference for ending up with one plug in hybrid and one all electric car once we replace both cars, but the timing of our replacement (needing to replace the Prius first) means that we also considered the option of ending up with two plug in hybrids.

Our Long List

I found a useful comparison of available plug in hybrids and another one of electric cars. Using these lists and our parameters, I created a long list of possibilities. I decided I would only consider plug in hybrids that could go at least 20 miles in electric mode when fully charged, and we only considered electric cars that had a range of over 200 miles. Then Mr. Snarky and I each did some research and compared notes, which led to some cars being ruled out very early. In those cases, I've noted why.
  • Plug in hybrids:
    • Prius Prime
    • Honda Clarity
    • Chevy Volt - ruled out because 2019 is the last year these are being made and that bothers Mr. Snarky for reasons I don't agree with but decided weren't worth arguing about.
    • Chrysler Pacifica - ruled out because Mr. Snarky refuses to drive a minivan, despite my argument that the Mazda 5 is a minivan. SIGH.
    • Ford Fusion
    • Hyundai Ioniq
    • Hyundai Sonata - ruled out on trunk space and because if we're getting a Hyundai, I prefer a hatchback (my first three cars have all been hatchbacks and I am sentimental)
    • Kia Niro
    • Kia Optima - ruled out on trunk space and because if we're getting a Kia, the Niro is a better fit for us
    • Subaru Crosstrek - added to list despite a lackluster 17 mile all electric range because Mr. Snarky likes Subarus (his first car was an Outback and he is sentimental) but then quickly ruled out because it is not actually available yet
    • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Electric cars:
    • Nissan Leaf S Plus
    • Chevy Bolt
    • Hyundai Kona - ruled out because Mr. Snarky thinks they are too ugly
    • Tesla Model 3
We test drove every plug in hybrid on our list, and none of the electric cars. That is because once we did some research on the availability of fast charging stations, we decided that only the Tesla could meet our preference for a small call that could make the trip to Arizona and you can't test drive Teslas. The halfway point between San Diego and Phoenix is Yuma, Arizona. We stop there on most trips between home and my parents' house, and there are in fact some general level 2 charging stations there (shout out to the Chargehub site for making it easy to look these things up!) but to make long road trips possible, what you really need are the level 3 stations (also called "fast charge"), and there just aren't enough of those around yet on the routes we care about to make any electric car except the Tesla feasible.

The Tesla supercharger network, though, is quite good and after spending some time on their map (and having personally seen their stations in Yuma and Gila Bend), we were convinced that we could in fact drive the Tesla to Arizona, no problem. There are superchargers in El Centro, Yuma, and Gila Bend. The only problem is that the location of the supercharger in the Phoenix area is not at all close to my parents' house. However, we found DC2 chargers within walking distance to my parents' house and decided we could leave the Tesla in contention.

The Test Drives

We took advantage of the fact that both of our kids were away for spring break and test drove a bunch of cars. We also ate at a lot of restaurants they would never tolerate, but that's a different post.

Here are our short impressions of all the cars we drove:
  • Prius Prime - Nice. Drives like our current Prius, really. We test drove it twice and really liked it. The only downside is that the back seat only seats two. There is a console between the two back seats which our kids would love but would preclude every carrying five people.
  • Honda Clarity - Also really nice, but Mr. Snarky has an irrational hatred of the rear wheels "covers" that nod at the original Insight design. Lots of cool features, though, and it has a great electric range.
  • Ford Fusion - Really nice to drive, heaps of cabin room, but almost no trunk space. If you want a plug in hybrid and need to transport multiple basketball players with no luggage, this is the car for you.
  • Hyundai Ioniq - I expected to love it (hatchback! A normal back seat!) but we didn't like how it behaved when you accelerated hard in all-electric mode. It had a slight but noticeable lag between tromping on the accelerator and actually accelerating. We have a lot of short freeway on ramps in the older parts of town both here and in LA, and I thought I would not like this behavior in that situation.
  • Kia Niro - We really liked this car! Roomy, with excellent cargo space. The only downside was the rear visibility was not great. However, I remember the adjustment when I went from an Integra (great rear visibility) to a Prius (not so great rear visibility) and it was not really a problem, so that didn't rule the car out.
  • Mitsubishi Outlander - Mr. Snarky loved this car and it is his current front runner for an eventual Mazda 5 replacement. I didn't like its fuel efficiency outside of its the electric range, though - it is a heavy SUV, and it only gets 25 mpg in hybrid mode. That is fine for a Mazda 5 replacement but if we buy it now, we'd be without a fuel efficient car for the drive to Arizona.
The Decision

After the Ioniq test drive disappointed me, the Prius Prime became our front runner. I thought we'd eventually end up buying the Prius - we both liked it and I was the only one bothered by the rear seat situation. But then, we went and drove the Clarity and the Outlander to finish out our research, and we discovered how much Mr. Snarky liked the Outlander. As we discussed the Outlander, I uttered these fateful words: "If the Outlander really is your top choice for an eventual Mazda 5 replacement, we might as well buy a Tesla now and just drive the Mazda 5 for any trip the Tesla can't handle."

A little light went on in Mr. Snarky's eyes when I said that, and before I knew it, we were deep in Tesla research and watching videos about how much stuff you can cram into the Model 3 storage spaces.

The more he researched the Tesla, the more he loved it. I am less excited by all the technology, but will admit that it looks like a really nice car, and I am impressed by its safety test results. My last concern was about charging it when we were actually at my parents' house (and not just driving there), and the discovery of the DC2 charging stations within walking distance convinced me we could make this work. 

And so, yesterday we pushed the final button on the Tesla website and confirmed our order. We'll have our Model 3 in a couple of weeks.

I would not have predicted this outcome at the start of our research. If I could have predicted it, I could have saved us a lot of test driving time! But I also have come to know how Mr. Snarky makes this sort of decision, and I know that the research and the test drives were essential. I would have been happy with either the Prius Prime or the Kia Niro, too. In fact, if Mr. Snarky would have considered the Kia Niro a Mazda 5 replacement, we'd have bought that now and waited to buy an electric car in a few years. But once he drove the Outlander, he decided the Kia Niro could replace the Prius, but not the Mazda 5. I wanted to end up with one electric car enough to push a bit past my preferred car price... and the deal was done.

I'll report back in later about how we like the Model 3!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Beautiful Day, Somewhat Depressing Links Edition

It is a beautiful day here today, and I'm feeling good after a lovely rollerblade outing. I think we're entering the time of year when I could just copy and paste that first line into every Friday's post....

Anyway, you don't come here to read me gloat about my city's weather. You come for links, and I have links!

In self-promo links: as I mentioned in yesterday's post, The Dodo Knight is out now. Get your copy today - and if you share a picture of your copy or receipt I'll send you a discount code for Tattoo.

In other links:

This post from Josh Marshall about the dark times we're in is depressing, but worth reading. It is my "if you only read one thing" pick for this week. The 2018 election provided an important brake on our slide, but we're still sliding. I don't think it is wise to assume we'll be able to stop the slide just by focusing on the 2020 Presidential election, and I don't even want to think about what is going to happen if Trump is re-elected.

But, as distressing as this all is, there are still good people working to get our democracy back on firm ground. I feel better when I'm taking action, and I think the research shows I'm not alone in that. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the suckiness of this all, I really recommend finding a way to join in the work to fix things.

Personally, I just gave my first political donation for the 2020 cycle to Mark Kelly's campaign for Senate. And I bought more cardstock so that I can write more postcards.

But there are other ways to get involved: donate to fight for voting rights or to help people get the IDs they need to vote. Swing Left has a new strategy for 2020 that makes a lot of sense to me. Indivisible is still active and highlighting ways you can get involved. If you're looking for an organization with a more conservative lean, Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn are still active with Stand Up Republic. There may be other organizations active from the conservative side of politics, too, but I don't know as much about them because I'm clearly coming from a more liberal political bent. If you know of some, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Moving on....

If you're confronted with the "we're not a democracy, we're a republic" talking point... here's the answer.

The health insurance situation Jim Hines describes in this post is one of the worst case scenarios that factored into my decision to go back to regular employment. With the constant attacks on the ACA, I decided it was safer for our family to have both adults on group health plans.

This is a really interesting story about the need to keep the location of some plants and animals secret.

Here is a good review of a book that sounds really interesting: Learning to Die in the Anthropocene. I'm not sure it is what I need to read right now, but I'm going to file it away for a time when I think I could take it. I've been thinking a lot lately about how my city could become less car-centric, and maybe a book like this would tie into those thoughts and give me some new ideas. Or maybe it would just depress me!

Since we're debating whether to get a plug-in hybrid or an electric car, I've been doing some reading on their relative merits. This Wired article summarizes a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists about the full environmental impact of electric cars. We're likely to get solar panels, particularly if we get an all-electric car, but I don't want to make the car decision based on an assumption that we will get them. The car we get has to be a good choice even without solar panels. Luckily, California has a quite clean electricity mix, and so do our neighboring states (the most likely places we'd drive in our small car).

In alternative modes of transport news: My city is taking a sensible step to make the dockless scooters and bikes less of a nuisance. I think solutions like this are essential if these dockless vehicles are going to stay on the scene. Otherwise, there will be too much backlash against them, because it is really annoying to find the sidewalk blocked by one of them.

This article about the various historical ages of online parenting may only be interesting to people
who have been online parents through all of the ages... but that includes me, and so I found it interesting!

Here's my source for reusable plastic bag recommendations. This showed up in my Twitter feed and that was the kick in the pants I needed to finally buy some.

In recommended listening, Ezra Klein interviewed Will Wilkinson, who was once a libertarian and is now involved in starting up a new "center right" think tank. It was an interesting interview for a lot of reasons, including Wilkinson's thoughts on how people change their mind on political topics.

I always enjoy Maggie Smith's morning posts. I particularly liked this one:




In case you missed Needhi Bhalla's important curry thread:


Bunny!


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Little Updates

No, we don't have a new car yet. We're getting closer... and so in lieu of a post about car shopping, here are some small updates on other things.

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The latest Annorlunda Books title is now available - The Dodo Knight, by Michelle Rene, tells the story of the friendship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, the little girl who was the muse for Alice in Wonderland. Before Alice in Wonderland was published, there was a falling out between Carroll and the Liddell family. No one really knows what caused it. Rene imagines an answer in this novella.

I'm running a release month promo for The Dodo Knight - get details on that and all the purchase links over at the Annorlunda website.

And here's Fill Your Bookshelf's review. Everyone I know who has read this book has really liked it - so if you're at all tempted, give it a try!

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One of my goals for this year is to get out and enjoy my city more. I pay a lot of money to live here, and there's more on offer than just great weather (although the great weather is nice). Prompted by that, and by my lingering regret that I didn't listen to my sister when she told me that I should go see Come From Away during its pre-Broadway run at the La Jolla Playhouse, I got tickets to go see Diana, a new musical about Princess Di that is currently running the La Jolla Playhouse and may well head to Broadway next.

We went and saw Diana last night and it was a lot of fun. It may not be on the same level as Come From Away, but it was definitely worth the money and the time. I thought the female leads (Diana, Camilla, and the Queen) were all very strong.

Plus, the program listed the upcoming season at The La Jolla Playhouse, and there were a couple of other shows we might want to go see.

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I don't have a new car yet, but the research process has made me more thoughtful about my environmental impact than usual. I find it easy to get overwhelmed by how much I'd have to change to live a really green lifestyle. To counteract that tendency, I try to focus on just getting better. I don't have to get to the best I can be, there is value in just getting better.

I thought about what aspect of our daily lives could easily be made more green, and I settled on food storage. We use entirely too many Ziploc bags, particularly to store the bread I make for Petunia's breakfasts and the scones I make for Pumpkin's lunches. So I did a little research and bought these silicone "bags." They arrived today. They're a little smaller than I thought they'd be so they won't work for the scones, but I think they can be made to work for the bread, which we slice before we freeze. (You may wonder why I don't just use Tupperware: We have a relatively small fridge and no space to get a bigger one. So space in the fridge and freezer both are at a premium.)

I also bought more mesh produce bags, because I never seem to have enough with me when I'm at the store.

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The poppies up by Lake Elsinore have gotten all the press, but there are flowers blooming everywhere here right now. The weeds native plants that line some of the roads I drive are full of flowers. Gardens are full of flowers. Even the ice plant on our back slope is full of flowers. We had so much rain earlier this year, and now we're reaping the rewards. Except in my front yard, which has some flowers but far more weeds....

Friday, March 29, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Really Tired of Thinking about Cars Edition

We're almost at the end of a kid-free week. Both of our kids were out of town for spring break. I thought this would mean that I'd have a lot of time to write blog posts and the like, but what I actually spent a lot of time on was car shopping.

As I mentioned earlier, we're looking to replace our almost 12 year old Prius with a new plug-in hybrid.  We've done a lot of test driving, review reading/watching, and debating about the relative merits of the various options. We're not done yet, but we're getting close. I'll try to write something about the process once we're done. I don't know whether our selection process will be useful for anyone else, but the process has made me think about incentives for getting more fuel efficient cars, what matters to different people in cars, and how change happens.

(We did a lot of fun things, too - mostly eating at restaurants our kids might not like. I may write some of that up for Adjusted Latitudes.)

I did write one other post this week: I finally wrote up our February weekend in LA.

In other links:

This Greg Sargent post about how Trump decided to embrace a lawsuit against the ACA is really depressing, but worth reading to remind yourself of why we have to keep working for change.

I always enjoy Josh Marshall's dives into history, especially when he links it back up with our present situation. Today, he took a look at the profound changes that happened between about 1440 and 1520, including the introduction of the printing press.

This article about a family's recovery after a brutal attack on the father is really gripping.

This Ask a Teacher about a high-performing girl who keeps getting paired with less motivated boys hit a bit close to home - we're seeing something similar happen with Pumpkin. So far, I don't think there is anything we need to intervene in, but I do wonder if it might be better for the boys who can't get their act together to get their work done on time without the prodding of the much more organized girls they get paired with on projects if just once or twice the teachers put them in a group without a girl like that. Pair up the goof off boys and let them suffer the consequences of not learning how to organize their own damn work in middle school, instead of letting them have to learn that later, when the stakes are higher.

But then I think about the number of men I know who still somehow have much more organized women making sure their work gets done and I think maybe the boys will never suffer any consequences. SIGH.

Abigail Disney's discussion of what it is like to inherit sa huge amount of money is probably the only time I've ever read a piece like this and felt it was worth my time. The closing quote is perfect:

"So that’s what you need to know about money, right? If that is your primary measure of success or value in life, then good luck with that, because it will never feel good."

I love the story about the Garfield phones. If you haven't seen it yet, read it!

Recommended listening this week: Chris Hayes' interview with Jonathan Metzl, author of the new book Dying of Whiteness. I linked to Sean Illing's (written) interview with him last week, but this interview covers slightly different ground.

Bunnies!






Monday, March 25, 2019

In the Maelstrom

I don't really want to write about the state of politics in my country. Really, to call the events in the news here "politics" feels like I'm trivializing them.

I don't have any special insights or opinions to share. I would rather write a post about our car shopping travails (we want a plug in hybrid to replace our almost 12-year-old Prius and are finding it difficult to find some of our top contenders to even test drive let alone buy right now). But it seems like I should acknowledge the current situation.

Like a lot of people, I'm exhausted by it all. I don't know what to make of what little we've heard of the Mueller report. I don't know whether there is much hope of us ever seeing the full report. I don't if releasing the full report will really matter in any substantive way - is there anyone out there who is still on the fence in their opinions of this President and this presidency? Is there any meaningful chance that the central figures in all of this will actually face any consequences for their actions? I don't know.

I feel like we've spent two and a half years in a maelstrom, and I don't know see how we get out of it. I hate how it is curdling so many aspects of life. We all seem so much more suspicious of each other, and I'm struggling to keep to my personal goal of viewing people's intentions in the best light. The exchange I had with the anonymous commenter on my recent weekend reading post about climate change is a case in point - that commenter was not commenting in bad faith, but I assumed otherwise at first. That is not how I want to be (sorry, anonymous!) and I am going to try to do better. But it is hard, when our entire public discourse seems to be permeated with bad faith.

So what to do? I've started writing postcards again. I need to go buy some more card stock so that I can keep that up. Like before, I find it calming to do something tangible.

I've also been learning about the Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential election. I don't have a clue who I'll vote for yet. I can definitively say that I'll vote for any of the Democrats over Trump, but that isn't saying much, really.

I have decided how I will decide, though - I have decided that I will vote for the candidate I think will make the best President, without regard for electability concerns. The reason I've decided that is simple: I don't think I can judge who is most electable. I hear all the Never Trump Republicans arguing that Democrats need to nominate a candidate with X or Y attributes so that moderate Republicans will vote for them... and I don't believe them. I don't believe that who we nominate will make a meaningful difference in what moderate Republicans do. And even if it would, I don't think I can assess which candidate will be the one moderate Republicans would vote for. I just don't believe what any of the people writing these columns say in terms of who they'd vote for, and I certainly don't believe they know who other Republicans would vote for. I think their time and energy would be better spent on a primary challenge of their own and I am suspicious of their reasons for not mobilizing behind one.

That probably comes back to the cynicism created by the feeling that we're swimming in bad faith. I hate that I feel that way, but it is the truth.

Even if I could figure out which candidate moderate Republicans would vote for, I don't think I can assess how that would play out versus higher or lower motivation among the Democratic base.

And that's not even thinking about how various actors will use social media, etc., to influence who votes.

I've just decided that I can't answer the question of which Democratic candidate has the best chance of winning in the general election, and am going to vote for the one I like the best and let the chips fall where they may.

Also, I will keep writing postcards and working to elect Democrats down ticket, because we have to reverse the rot in our democracy from the bottom up, I think. I may find some other ways to be active, and if I do, I may post about them. Mostly, though, I want to post about other things, and I am going to try to get some of those other posts written (for here, Adjusted Latitudes, and my real name blog). I'm going to make sure I spend enough time on the things that make me happy so that I can make it through this period in American life with my sanity intact.

So that's how I'm dealing with life in the maelstrom. How about you?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Waiting to Hear What Mueller Said Edition

So, Mueller's handed in his report. And now we all wait.

In the meantime, how about some other things to read?

This tweet captures everything I want to say about the Mueller report right now:





On to other things...

Because I was so sad at the end of last week, I didn't post about some great news I got at the start of last week: Tattoo, by Michelle Rene, is an Foreword INDIES finalist!

I confess I click on this story about a young man caught tagging once and charged for many other incidents because of the San Diego connection... but read it. I found it really thought-provoking.





I love this post about a tiny museum in Switzerland and I kind of want to make one of my own!

This thread is a lot of fun:


Bunnies!


Have a good weekend, everyone.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Weekend Reading: Heartbroken Edition

I decided my rollerblade today was non-negotiable. I'd had a difficult week at work, and was feeling a bit frayed. And then a terrorist attacked a city in the country that feels like my second home.  I had to start my day today by telling my 11 year old about the attack, because I suspected someone at school would ask her about it and want to know if her New Zealand family are from Christchurch (they are not - our family and close friends are primarily in Wellington and Auckland). And as shattered as I was by this attack, I know that I am feeling a fraction of what Muslim people are feeling today.

So I needed to ground myself and get out of my head and remind myself why this world is worth fighting to improve. Luckily for me, the weather has turned warmer here and it was a beautiful day and my rollerblade helped a lot.

Some things I want to share about the terrorist attack and related topics:

More people were murdered in the terrorist attack in Christchurch yesterday than in all of New Zealand in an entire average year.

Right-wing terrorism has gone global. We need to address this problem as a global terrorism problem, not a local hate problem. We heard in the early hours after the attack that the suspected gunman was not on any terrorism watchlists. But he also was apparently active on social media posting hate-filled things and frequenting the places that other mass shooters inspired by hate have frequented. So why wasn't he on a watchlist? We need to start taking this threat more seriously.

I think this post about the Republican party's problem with white identity politics is good. I don't know what the solution is, either.

Here's an article I'm hoping to find time to read this weekend: Adam Serwer on white nationalism's American roots.

In somewhat related topics: Elizabeth F. Cohen on the unintended consequences of our past immigration policies is really worth your time.

I did not read David Frum's immigration article. I share Noah Smith's opinion on that:





In somewhat more hopeful topics: The photos from the Climate Stikes around the world are inspiring.

I found this article about the app-rentable scooters and helmets really good. The real solution may be taking space back from cars to make riding bikes and scooters safe... but in the meantime, we need to find ways to make things safer.

This article about Inuit parenting was fascinating.

In recommended listening:

I happened to have listened to Sean Illing's interview with Deeyah Khan, who made recent documentaries on Jihadism and White Nationalism, this week. It is a really good interview and definitely worth your time.

I also really enjoyed the interview on The Weeds podcast with Pete Buttigieg. I still think he is a long, longshot for President, but he has some interesting ideas and argues for them well. I might donate some money to him to get him on the debate stage!

I've shared this poem before, but in case you need it today: Good Bones, by Maggie Smith, gives me a lot of comfort on days like today.

And here's a yawning bunny to start off your weekend:




Friday, March 08, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Mostly about Climate Change Edition

Well, today we answered the question of "will Cloud go for a rollerblade if it is sunny but not quite 60 degrees?" and the answer is YES. It was chilly at the start but a very nice rollerblade in the end.

In self-promo links: If you're on NetGalley, you can download The Dodo Knight for review now!

In other links:

David Roberts (whose podcast I recommended in my last post) argues that Democrats should call Republican's bluff on the Green New Deal vote in the Senate. I tend to agree with him.

Speaking of my last post, Nicoleandmaggie and I are chatting in the comments, and I think we're in agreement that the most useful individual action on climate right now is to push for policy changes. So here's an interesting old thread from another respected journalist on the climate change beat that has really influenced how I'm thinking about how to get meaningful action on climate:




In particular:




From a different thread of his: We're not going to get real Federal action on the climate until 2021, at the earliest. But there is action in the states, and if you're in a state that isn't taking much action, spending some of your political advocating energy on this could really help:





UPDATE: Grace at Bad Mom, Good Mom also wrote about climate change and energy this week. She has lots of good links, too, as well as her own well-informed opinions in the post. Go check that out!

In hyper-local (to me) local progress news: my mayor apparently meant what he said in his recent State of the City address, and now San Diego has removed parking requirements for multi-family buildings in transit zones. (I have been very moderately active on advocating for higher density near transit and may get a bit more active - advocating for your community to get more transit, bike, and walking friendly is another good local advocacy option that can help address climate change.)

In other topics: Here's an explainer on the new study that shows states with stronger gun laws have fewer mass shootings.

Lux Alptraum argues we can learn to see through "deepfake" videos.

We deserve this burn:




I love this poem:



Bunnies!


Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The Damage We Do, The Choices We Make

I think I've mentioned before that my husband bought a kayak. Most weekends, he gets out on Mission Bay for a paddle. I am jealous that he gets so much time on the water. He offered to trade off weekends, but I prefer not to paddle alone and so given how our weekends are arranged these days, he's going to get more paddle time than me.

Anyway, he came back from his paddle last weekend and told me that he'd actually seen dolphins in Mission Bay! It is not all that unusual to see dolphins in the ocean, but I'd never heard of them coming into the bay. He thought maybe the fact that there were almost no motor boats out had something to do with it. It had looked like it might rain that morning. Mr. Snarky decided to try for his paddle, but perhaps the folks who like to take their motor boats or jet skis out for fun decided to skip it.

At the time, I just agreed that this might be the reason, felt intense jealousy that Mr. Snarky got to kayak near dolphins, and then went back to whatever chore I was working on. But the more I think about it, the more profoundly sad the story makes me. Think of all the wildlife we routinely chase out of places with our noise. What would our world look like if we got rid of as many noisy motors as we possibly could? How many more animals would we see? And how much more peaceful would our world seem?

I'm not necessarily advocating for going back to wind and people power (although maybe we should try to do that more). Electric motors can be quiet. I wonder how much noise reduction it would take to make dolphin sightings in Mission Bay less rare?

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By coincidence, I'm also re-reading Douglas Adams' Last Chance to See. In fact, I'm reading it aloud to Pumpkin, because there is a section on kākāpōs and she loves kākāpōs. The chapter on the kākāpōs was a relatively happy one to read, because we know that their situation has improved since the book was written. They are currently in the middle of a really good breeding season, in fact. (Here's a recent article about them.)

The chapter on the Northern White Rhino was less cheerful: I had to report that those animals are now functionally extinct, because the last male (who lived at our local Safari Park) has died. There are last ditch efforts to save the species with preserved sperm and eggs from the remaining females, but the chances seem slim.

And now we've gotten to the chapter on the baiji dolphins of the Yangtze river. They are presumed to be functionally extinct, as well - although there may have been a recent sighting. Noise on the river is one of the reasons given for their demise.

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And then, against my better judgment, I listened to David Roberts (the Vox reporter on the environment/climate change beat, whose stories I always find informative and useful) interview David Wallace-Wells, who wrote a book about how our climate situation is worse than we think.

The interview is not hopeful, but it is not hopeless, either. It is a clear-eyed look at where we are actually heading on climate (spoiler: we're going to warm by two degrees, and we'll probably warm by more, and that is going to have far-reaching effects), but it also makes a really persuasive argument that we hold the power to limit the damage, both by acting decisively now on carbon usage and by making choices about how to respond to the wider changes the changing climate will bring.

It is probably the thing I've listened to or read recently that has most changed how I think about an issue. I can't sell it as an uplifting listen, but I urge you to listen to it anyway, and think about what world we want for our kids (and their kids), and what we're going to do to respond to the world our past choices have made for us.

One of the points Wallace-Wells makes is that we've focused too much on ocean levels and not enough on the other ways a changing climate is going to disrupt things. We're getting better at recognizing things like last year's catastrophic wildfires as related to climate change. We need to get better still, and we need to find the courage and imagination to fight for some actions that seem impossible to achieve.

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The thread that runs through my three stories tonight is this: We have taken actions that have damaged our world. The consequences of that damage stretch beyond us, but they impact us in ways big and small. But we can always make different choices. We can change things. It may seem too hard to contemplate, but making the changes is actually the easier route than living with the damage we're doing with our current choices, if only we could see that.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Don't Like Winter Edition

I know all of you people who live in places where it gets actually cold will laugh at me, but it has been quite cold for San Diego lately - our high today was in the 50s! - and I am tired of it and want my mid-60s back.

I think this is the sign that I am well and truly a San Diegan. When I start complaining if the temperature is over 78, then I will be one of the people who amused me when I first moved here: Unhappy with anything outside of the 68 - 78 degree range for temperature.

I did not get to rollerblade today, not because it was too cold, but because I had to pick up Petunia and her Lego team for our last practice before the Lego League Expo. I missed my rollerblade, but this also nicely sidesteps the question of whether or not I would actually go rollerblading when the temperature is below 60 degrees.

ANYHOW... on to the links.

In self-promotional links:

I wrote up the second part of our NZ vacation.

The Lilies of Dawn is on sale for $0.99 at Kobo right now. This may only be in the US - I am not sure.

In addition, you can get Tattoo and Both Sides of My Skin for 40% off with the promo code 40FEB, but this may be limited to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

All Annorlunda ebooks are always sold DRM-free, so you can buy from Kobo and read on any ereader.

In other links.. I don't have a lot, partly because I've been really busy and partly because I was reading Exit West for my book club. I recommend it highly.

This is a good explanation of Hoda Muthana's case. Although she is perhaps not the most sympathetic person, I think we should be really careful about rendering a person stateless and the fact that the vagaries of citizenship laws around the world makes it relatively easy to render someone stateless should give us pause.

Finally, an answer to the question of why do zebras have stripes?

The Elizabeth & Clarke brand of women's clothing looks interesting... has anyone tried it?

In recommended listening... I found Ezra Klein's conversation with philosopher Kate Manne really interesting.

I'm really enjoying Maggie Smith's daily goals. In response to a question someone posted, she said she's writing them for herself, using social media as a way to remind herself of her goals as she's going through a divorce (along the same lines as my "make social media work for you" philosophy!) and it is a happy accident that so many other people are finding them useful.




Bunnies!


Monday, February 18, 2019

LA, Baby!

We're just back from a few days in LA. We took our kids (and one of Pumpkin's friends) to Universal Studios. Pumpkin has become quite the Potterhead, and has been longing to go visit Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter world.

Long time readers may remember that when we were planning our trip to Disneyland for Petunia's 6th birthday, Pumpkin thought about the fact that turning six warranted a trip to Disneyland and decided that this must mean that we'd visit on birthdays that were multiples of six, too. I don't know why, but this seemed obvious to her. Mr. Snarky and I decided to roll with it, because with our proximity to Disneyland having a method to limit trips to the magical money-sucking kingdom seemed like a good idea.

But then Pumpkin decided she didn't much care for Disney, so we modified the rule to be that the kid turning 6, 12, or 18 could pick a special destination (subject to parental veto, of course). For several years, I assumed we'd be returning to Yosemite this year, because Pumpkin really loves it. Then she fell for the Harry Potter books and so it turns out we visited Universal Studios, instead.

We went over our long President's Day weekend because she has other plans for spring break, and our "Friday before President's Day" trip to Disney worked so well last year. We didn't have such good weather luck this year, but it was still a good trip. It rained off and on most of the afternoon and evening, but we'd managed to see the big outdoor attractions before it started raining and the rain didn't seem to bother the kids at all. I thought it was a little cold, but I survived.

I'll write up the trip over on Adjusted Latitudes before too long. Universal Studios only needs a day - unlike Disneyland/California Adventure, there didn't seem to be any point to extending the visit to two days. So we also spent a day exploring downtown LA and then a morning checking out some sights in Griffith Park: Travel Town (cool trains, but this would have been better to visit when the kids were littler) and Walt Disney's Barn (we happened to be in town on the one day of the month it was open, and so Mr. Snarky felt strongly we should see it - it is the barn/workshed where Walt Disney did some of his early work on Disneyland).

One of the things we did in downtown LA was take Petunia to see where the video to one of her favorite songs was filmed - The video for Play That Song, by Train, was filmed in Grand Park. Both kids decided to get their feet wet in the fountain even though it was not at all warm! 
One of the things I learned on this trip is that it isn't a good idea to work right up until the time I need to leave to pick up the kids. Doing this meant that we had to get everything ready the night before, and while we managed to get the kids packed well, I got up on Friday morning and discovered I hadn't brought any contact lenses and so would be wearing my glasses all weekend. And I didn't have my prescription sunglasses with me, either. Oops. I also did an incredibly bad job of picking jackets for the weekend, ending up with two pullovers and a raincoat and spending a lot of time awkwardly trying to get out of the top pullover when it was too warm inside for me.

Luckily, I did better on the other end. I took today off work (I don't automatically get this holiday - for some reason, we get the day after the 4th of July, instead). I spent most of my day doing laundry, buying groceries, and doing the other chores that would normally fall on the weekend.

I also took the kids shopping. When we were trying to pack Petunia's suitcase for the weekend while also saving aside some long pants for her to wear for the rest of the week, I realized that she does not have enough long pants to make it through a week. This was a very Southern California moment. However, we're having uncharacteristically cold weather here right now (the highs are only in the high 50s/low 60s) and she needs to wear long pants most days. When I said we should go buy her new pants, Mr. Snarky pointed out that all of Pumpkin's pants are about an inch too short so she needed new pants, too. So the kids and I went to the mall today to buy pants.

All in all, it wasn't my favorite way to spend a day off, but it was much better than trying to cram all of the chores into the evenings this week!

I did get to spend an hour drinking tea and working on my projects this morning. This is my Sunday morning routine, and I just transported it to Monday morning. I also found time to write this blog post... so the day was not all chores.

Still, I hope those of you who had today off had more fun than I did!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Weekend Reading: The New Rollerblades Rule Edition

Today I took my new rollerblades out for a spin and it was pretty awesome. Here are my new skates:



And here's a nice bird I skated past.



There were a bunch of sanderlings out on one of the beaches, too, but I wasn't close enough to them to get a good picture. All in all, it was a very nice outing, despite the fact that it is colder and windier than I prefer. I had to wear a fleece!

Anyhow, on to the links.

In self-promo links:

I wrote up most of our NZ vacation over on Adjusted Latitudes. I'll write up the rest of the vacation soon.

Also, it is not too late to get in as an advance reader for The Dodo Knight, Michelle Rene's novella about Alice Liddell, the muse for Alice in Wonderland. I'll be sending out the first batch of advance copies this weekend.

In other links:

This was an interesting article about what some focus group voters in the Midwest are angry about. (Not the point, but reading this makes me think that the pharma/biotech industry will probably come to regret its current approach to pricing. For an industry that has done so much good - look at the change in survival rates on so many cancers and how much better asthma meds are now, for instance - we sure are hated. We can argue that we aren't the main driver of health care costs all we want... we're the sector that's hated.)

Loop is an interesting idea. I hope it makes it out of the initial test markets into wider release.

This article about Japan's "evaporated people" is fascinating.

In recommended listening: I just finished listening to the third season of More Perfect. It was about the amendments to the Constitution. They made an album of songs about the amendments (including Dolly Parton singing about 19th!) and the podcast plays bits of the songs and also tells stories about each amendment, serving as "audio liner notes." It is really a lot of fun to listen to.

In lieu of a bunny, this week I give you... BUNNYHENGE! I can't believe I haven't visited. I may rectify that soon.

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