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.


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.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Coulda Woulda Shoulda

I thought I might write a blog post tonight, but then I got a bunch of emails about my daughters' First Lego League teams and just spent the last 30 minutes coordinating last minute extra sessions and the like. (The Legoland Expos are coming up...)

But I still have a little of my beer left so I'll post something lame to make myself feel better.

Our Lego seasons are both over this month, and as much as I like the FLL experience, I'm looking forward to the end of it for the year. Petunia wants to continue on next year, which will mean a jump to the "big kid" league and harder coaching... so I might be signing up for a coach training class in March. But the weekly meetings will be done soon.

All the other parents for our team are very supportive and helpful, so I have no complaints about my coaching experience. To be honest, I think I'd be looking forward to the end even if I wasn't the coach, because it will be one less thing in our weekly schedule.

Which is why, as much as Petunia wants to do basketball, we're just going to buy her a hoop and let he play on her own for now. Now we just need to get that hoop bought....


I did not watch the State of the Union. I don't feel like I missed anything. I also did not watch Stacey Abrams' response, but if my Twitter feed is to be believed, I missed something there. It seems like her speech was of a length I could watch, so maybe I'll look it up later and watch it. Or maybe I'll read the transcript.


I spent at least 30 minutes today making a doctor's appointment for my annual check up/prescription renewal meeting, emailing my doctor asking her to pre-order the labs that I thought I hadn't done for the prior two years, getting her (almost immediate!) response that no, I'd already done those labs and she didn't need to see me, and cancelling the appointment I'd just made.

In the end, I still got to cross "make doctor's appointment" off my to-do list, but damn, I wish I'd remembered I'd already done those labs in July. (They came back normal.)

Also, hooray for a doctor who is also a busy working mother and says "heck yes I'll refill your prescriptions without making you come in to tell me they are working fine."

Fingers crossed that my new insurance doesn't mess that all up by getting pissy about which maintenance inhaler and birth control pill I'm on.

Also, still to do: Make a dentist appointment. And I think I'm due for a mammogram.

Why does human body maintenance have to be such a PITA? (Yes, I know this is only going to get worse.)


Pumpkin participated in the middle school spelling bee this evening. She came 4th, and 2nd among the 6th graders (another 6th grader came 3rd). I am really proud of her and also glad that I had to take Petunia to her art class so didn't have to sit and watch the spelling bee. Spelling bees make me soooo nervous and it may be worse watching my kid in one than being in one (not that I lasted long in any spelling bee I participated in).

Pumpkin was sad that she "only" came 4th, but we are really proud of her and told her so. I think that learning to be OK with not coming 1st may be the most important thing the spelling bee teaches her.


And now my beer is empty. I will head off to bed. Maybe you'll get a real blog post out of me in March, when Lego season is over!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Busy Week Edition

This week was a busy one at work, so I don't have very many things to share. I did get new rollerblades last weekend - they are super nice! No more crappy cheap ones. But I didn't get to go try them out today, partly because of my work schedule and partly because the weather (while waaaaay better than in most parts of the country right now!) wasn't really great for rollerblading.

Anyhow, on to the links.

First up: I'm looking for advance readers for The Dodo Knight! Sign up if you're interested.

Long time readers may remember that I used to get a lot of people landing on my site looking for the answer to why American bathroom stalls suck so much. This was the post that lured them here, and it provided no answers. But Slate has an article up with the answer! This is very exciting. As many of us guessed, it is largely because of money: our weird design is easier to install without construction and also apparently easier to clean.

Did you know that women get happier when they get older? This is a very encouraging essay.

Wow. This thread. (h/t @TragicSandwich)


I am hoping to have some more writing (both my own and other people's!) to share next week. Until then... happy weekend, everyone!