Friday, July 19, 2019

Weekend Reading: The Off Enjoying Summer Edition

Posting is going to be even sparser than usual around here for the next month or so because... well, because summer. Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons. Yes, even when I lived in Arizona, although that might be because I was a child or young adult with summers off when I live in Arizona! Summer is more complicated now that I'm a working parent. Our schedule is actually harder in the summer than in the school year, because my kids can walk to school - and home from school in a pinch - but they can't walk to camp. Camps have earlier pick up times, even if you carefully select for camps that are open past 3 p.m. Here in San Diego, the YMCA camps are some of the most parent-friendly, and they close at 5:30 p.m. School after care closes at 6, and as I mentioned above, in a pinch we can just tell our kids to walk home after school and wait for us at home.

But still, I remain convinced that summer should be a fun season and we're doing our best to pack our summer with fun. So, there will be fewer posts. But I'll be back!

I do have a few links for you this week.

First up, I finally wrote up the thoughts on "big trips" that were prompted by reading Rowing to Latitude.

I sent out my final edition of Inbox Stories.

I'm still looking for advance readers for The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King.

In other links:

If you read only one thing this week, make it Adam Serwer's essay: What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever. I don't agree that if we fail to make a truly multiracial democracy that it won't happen anywhere - I think Canada and New Zealand are both trying hard on this front, for instance. But I do think a failure here will be felt profoundly everywhere. And a failure here will be a tragedy for us.

Matt Yglesias' piece about the con that Trump's racism helps hide is also worth your time.

Did you know that tacos al pastor came from the fusion of shawarma with Mexican cuisine? I didn't, and I LOVE tacos al pastor!

In recommended listening: I really enjoyed Krista Tippet's interview with relationships therapist Esther Perel.

I can't really say I enjoyed Ezra Klein's interview with religious conservative Rod Dreher, but it was interesting and informative and I'm glad I stuck it out even when I was annoyed by Dreher's refusal to really engage with Klein's attempt to get him to address some common liberal criticisms of the religious right. 

As upsetting as the people chanting at that Trump rally this week were, don't forget there are people like this, too:

This made me laugh:

This is lovely:

Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Weekend Reading: Back on Wheels Edition

I finally got to go out for a rollerblade again! My toe twinged a bit when I shoved my foot into the boot of my skate, but it didn't bother me when I was skating and it feels fine now. Hooray!

And it was a beautiful day for a rollerblade, so I am pretty happy.

Anyway, on to the links.

First up, I posted the cover reveal for the next Annorlunda book, a fantasy novella called The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King, by HL Fullerton. I am looking for advance readers - sign up if you'd like to be one. I'll send out the eARCs either this weekend or next week.

In other links:

The LA Times story about California's disappearing coast is as good as you've heard.

This article about all of the ways in which our laws prioritize driving is definitely worth your time. It is not long.

If you get confused by the jargon when we're talking about housing for the homeless, this short Voice of San Diego piece will help.

German Lopez at Vox has a nice article summarizing a new book with an evidence-backed proposal for how to reduce urban gun violence even in the absence of changing our gun laws.

Fellow Californians (and folks in other shakey zones): Are you prepared for a quake? Everytime I read one of these articles, I find something new to do to prepare. This time it was that I should buy an extra pair of heavy work gloves and put them in our go bag.

I think my fellow Gen-Xers will enjoy this McSweeney's post about what your favorite 80s band says about you.


Happy weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 08, 2019

Updates on My Imperfect Environmentalism

Back in May, I wrote about my attempts to be a better, although not perfect, environmentalist. I thought it would be nice to give you an update on my efforts.

At the time, there were three things I thought we'd do next. I'll update on each.

Item 1: Start walking to get our groceries some times.

Petunia did indeed give me a granny cart for my birthday. And then I really badly stubbed my toe and wasn't up for walking much for a while. But yesterday, I finally took the granny cart for a spin. Petunia and Mr. Snarky, not being experienced granny cart users like myself, did not realize that the cart needs a hook to hang it on your grocery cart while shopping. They picked out a lovely cart that lacked a hook. So I bought some carabiners and used those to attach the granny cart to my shopping cart:

After acquiring our groceries, I was ready to head home:

The cart rolls beautifully. It has four wheels, so I could push it as well as pull it, which was nice. All in all, it was a great success. I got our groceries without using a car, and I got two lovely 15 minute strolls in almost perfect weather.

Item 2: Solve the scone and bread storage issue in a way that doesn't involve Ziploc bags at all.

My sister solved this one for me with one of her birthday gifts: The gallon size Envirogen reusable food storage bags. These work perfectly.

Incidentally, one of my other birthday gifts (this one from my parents) provides a nice replacement for plastic wrap and foil in some uses: the Charles Viancin Poppy Lid. These silicone lids form a seal on any smooth rim container, and come in several different fun styles.

Item 3: Sign up for the free tree the city will plant for us

No progress yet, unfortunately. First, we need to hire someone to dig out the stump left by the tree that blew over, and we haven't done that.

You may be wondering how the Tesla is doing. The answer is we still love it. We've gotten a couple of electricity bills now and while the increase is tolerable (about $50 more than pre-Tesla), we'll probably go ahead and get solar panels. Given the fact that this is the last year to get the full tax rebate on them, we expect that a lot of people will be trying to get solar installed before the end of the year. We hear that installers are already booking a couple of months ahead, so we should probably get moving on solar panels as our next thing. Sigh. My backyard upgrade will have to wait again.

As for political activism... I do think that until "Republican politician who supports serious policies to address climate change" doesn't sound like an oxymoron, working to elect more Democrats at all levels of government is vital environmentalist action. So that's another reason for me to keep writing postcards and taking other actions.

As always, add your suggestions in the comments!

Friday, July 05, 2019

Not Really a Weekend Reading Post

This isn't really a weekend reading post. I haven't gathered many links to share this week, and I spent the day out with my family - both Mr. Snarky and I had the day off work, and the kids' camp was closed. So we picked an item off our Family Fun List (visit the San Diego Kids' art museum), and made a day of it.

We parked our car at the Old Town Transit center and took the trolley downtown. Our first stop was The New Children's Museum. It is really aimed at kids a bit younger than ours, but Petunia still really enjoyed it, and Pumpkin tolerated it well. Then we went over to have lunch in Seaport Village, at Buster's Beach House. After lunch (and a post-lunch treat from a nearby Ben and Jerry's), we strolled along the waterfront to the Convention Center, walked up the stairs and across to the other side, and then headed to the Central Library. The kids found some books, and we hung out in the library for awhile before heading back to the trolley for a ride back to our car.

It was a fun day! And once we got home, I got to spend an hour on a blanket under our avocado tree, reading my book. Quite nice.

Anyway, I don't really have links to share. I can say that I listened to two Ezra Klein Show podcasts in my car this week, and found them both interesting and enlightening about our current political state. If you only listen to one, I think I'd pick Klein's interview with Robert Jones about demographic change and cultural change and how it is being experienced by white Christian conservatives. However, his interview with Adam Gopnik about Gopnik's new book about liberalism helped me understand more about my own beliefs and why this era in politics is so unsettling for me.

I hope all of my fellow Americans had a nice July 4th! We did. And I hope you all have a nice weekend. Here's a bunny to end the post: