Saturday, October 31, 2020

Weekend Reading: The Final Weekend Edition

 Well, this time next week we'll either know the outcome of the election or be hunkering down for a long fight. I just made what I think is my final round of donations - but I've said that before, so who knows if I'll decide to do another round out of anxiety later this weekend? Probably not. I'm going to try to get offline and think about other things for a bit.  Anyway, I picked a handful of down ballot races to donate to, under the theory that they can boost turnout in their districts and also maybe flip some useful seats. 

Today is Halloween, and it is a weird one. We don't expect that trick-or-treating will really happen in our neighborhood. From what I'm hearing from more community-involved friends, most people are planning something different for their kids. So we planned something different, too. Or somethings different. Pumpkin has an outdoor, distanced party to go to and another outdoor, distanced party to help a friend set up for her brother and his friends. We're having one of Petunia's friends over for an outdoor Hallowegg hunt. Then we are planning to go to that friend's neighborhood to see a house with particularly impressive decorations. Pumpkin is OK with how Halloween is changed this year, but Petunia is sad about it. I asked her what in particular she thought she'd miss about the regular Halloween and she said it was being out after dark with her friend and being silly. Maybe the visit to the decorated house will somewhat substitute. I don't know.

I wouldn't have thought Halloween would be the thing that bummed me out, but it has. I am sad that I won't get to see all of the cute little kids in their costumes and give them treats. I am sad that my kids won't get to go trick-or-treating with their friends. We're coming to the end of the trick-or-treating years, and I am wondering if it might turn out that last year was Pumpkin's last year. I am sad that instead of making an easy plan about trick-or-treating, I spent a bunch of time figuring out alternative plans. I am sad that I had to take a special trip to the grocery store to get a pumpkin to carve and now no one particularly wants to carve it. I am just sad about how screwed up everything is, I guess.

But, on the bright side, I finally found a bag of the good candy corn and a bag of the almost-too-sweet candy pumpkins I like so much. It isn't quite right (I usually buy a bag with a mix of candy corn, harvest corn, and the almost-too-sweet pumpkins), but it is better than the waxy off-brand candy corn I'd found earlier.

So, here are some links for this weird, unsettled weekend.

First, some semi-self-promotional news: The next Annorlunda release, Lagoonfire, by Francesca Forrest, is now available for pre-order! This story features the same protagonist as The Inconvenient God, her earlier novelette. I love the protagonist and find the world Forrest has created so interesting. I can't wait for everyone to get to read this book! I am also looking for some advance readers

In other Annorlunda news, I decided to make The Four-Fifteen Express, a classic ghost story by Amelia B. Edwards, available on the Annorlunda website for Halloween. It is a good story - check it out!

On to other links. First, political news:

There are so many stories of people going to extreme lengths to vote this year. Here's one I bookmarked.

This story about the people who took advantage of all-night voting in Harris County, Texas, is really worth your time. I still think the option of making mail-in/dropbox voting easy is better than all-night voting, but I am impressed with the County Judge in Harris County who made the most of the authority she had.

Also, note that the voter in the lede of that story was motivated by anger at the restrictions on dropbox locations. Given that so few people in Texas can qualify for mail-in ballots, I wonder if that decision to limit dropbox locations may turn out to be an own-goal, like the North Carolina Republicans' attempted shenanigans with their state Supreme Court a couple years back. Time will tell.

Speaking of the Harris County Judge... she won her election in 2018 by a narrow margin. Local elections matter!

Prepare for election night by reading up on what to expect based on various swing states' rules.

This tweet may help explain why so many Trump supporters have spent the last four years so angry. Even back in 2016, I noticed that they were "sore winners" - still aggressively yelling "f*** your feelings" at people who didn't support Trump. I didn't really understand why. But maybe some people really thought that voting him into office could stop the cultural change underway in this country, and are angry that it hasn't.

In coronavirus news...

This is a really good visualization/explanation of the risks in a few different inside settings.

Derek Lowe has a good round up of the latest news from antibody trials. I am frankly puzzled as to why there aren't more trials testing the efficacy of early or even prophylactic treatment with the various anti-COVID drugs we have, particularly in vulnerable populations like people in nursing homes. 

There is some good news, though: Death rates are down. This is one reason why we flattened the curve early on - to give doctors a chance to figure out how best to treat this disease. I have always said that I do not want to catch COVID-19, but if I have to catch it I want to catch is late as I can. The only caveat to that is that I would not want to catch it during a surge that overwhelms hospitals, like what we're seeing in so many states right now. 

I bookmarked so many other things to read, but it just wasn't happening this week. I hope to have more varied links to share again soon!

And now for things that made me smile this week:

This story about a gym in DC and the elderly woman who enjoys watching them from her window is wonderful.

This thread is fun:

I don't know why, but this tweet really tickled me:

Not sure what I'd do if I walked out to my car and saw this:

These are gorgeous photos:

Here's your bunny for the week:

Happy Halloween and happy weekend!


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