Saturday, June 19, 2021

Weekend Reading: School's Out for Summer Edition

The school year is over and we have done a drive-through fifth grade promotion ceremony and an outdoors, socially distanced eighth grade graduation ceremony. Both kids were happy with their celebrations and we are proud of both of their achievements. Attending a foreign language immersion school adds some extra challenges to school. Both of our kids have really excelled. 

So if you are wondering where last week's post was... well, it was sandwiched between fifth grade promotion and eighth grade graduation and family was in town and things were busy and I never found time to sit down and write anything.

This weekend, my kids are off visiting my parents - their first visit to to their grandparents' house in roughly two years. My parents had come over to stay with my kids the week before lockdown happened last March, so that my husband and I could go to LA for his birthday. Once we came back from that trip, we were all together up until Wednesday morning of this week, when the kids drove off my my parents. It has been a bit weird adjusting to not having them here! But they are having fun and so are we and I suspect this is good for everyone.

Mr. Snarky and I have gone out for a couple of dinners and had a couple of beers at two brewery tasting rooms. This being San Diego in June, everything has been outdoors or as good as outdoors (big open windows and lots of fresh air) but we have been a lot closer to people not in our family than we have been in a long, long time. That feels a little weird, too, but we're adjusting. I am not sure if this will last - I am watching the Delta variant a little nervously. San Diego county has high vaccination rates, but I am sure the distribution is not at all even and so I think we should all be aware that case rates could go back up. I am particularly nervous for the South, which has really low vaccination rates. 

There is an absolutely tragic story out of Florida about a group of six employees, five of whom caught COVID and two of whom have died. The one who did not get sick was the only one who was vaccinated.

If anyone reading this is not yet vaccinated and is eligible to be vaccinated - please get vaccinated. But I suspect I am preaching to the choir here.

I am somewhat hopeful that once the Novavax vaccine is available (they have announced their trial results, which were good.) it might give some people who have been vocal against the other vaccines a graceful opportunity to climb down from that ledge - Novavax is a protein subunit vaccine, which is much more traditional vaccine technology and has no genetic material in it so the people worried about the vaccines "changing their DNA" (which they do not do!) can get the Novavax vaccine without admitting they were wrong about the other vaccines. We'll see. 

Of course, some people are worried about the Spike protein itself. Derek Lowe has a good writeup about that and why you shouldn't worry.

Here is a good thread about why the Delta variant makes so many people nervous:

In other news:

Monica Hesse's essay about motherhood in the US hit close to home.

In recommended listening:

I learned a lot from Ezra Klein's interview with Jamila Michener about poverty in the US.

In happy things:

I posted another music video in my video tourism series over at Adjusted Latitudes. This one is from Cape Town, South Africa, and I love the dancing in it.

Here's a cool story about a rare orchid being found in the rooftop garden of a bank in London.

This portal project in Lithuania and Poland is interesting.

And that's all I have this week. We have some errands to run and a beach to walk on!

Here's your rabbit for the week. Look how fuzzy!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Not Much of a Weekend Reading Post

I didn't get a chance to write my weekend reading post this morning. My morning just got away from me. I'd stayed up too late the night before because it was nice to actually get to relax and watch random things with my husband. Petunia's been having a hard time with sleep for months now,  and it is seriously cutting into our time to just hang out together. Of course, this is just a taste of the future - as our kids become teenagers, they will stay up later and maybe our "kid-free" time will need to be in the morning. Or maybe we just need to adjust to having it while they are awake but ignoring us and playing computer games in their bedrooms.

Last night, we ended up watching an episode of a British show called Modern Life is Goodish and this "found poem" about the silencing of Big Ben for maintenance had me in tears laughing. It was good to laugh like that.

So, I was up too late but still woke up early. I heard Pumpkin get up. She had her second shot yesterday and I wondered how she was feeling. The answer was "so-so." She had a fever and a headache and hadn't eaten breakfast so I got her some food and ibuprofen and tried to go back to bed but I couldn't get back to sleep so I got up. I was tired, though, so ended up snoozing a bit more and before I knew it, it was almost the time I'd told Petunia we could go to Target.

Petunia wanted a new outfit to wear for her 5th grade promotion (a drive through affair) and matching t-shirts for her and four friends to wear for "twins day"... and so we went to Target. I hadn't been inside in probably close to a year and  I think I may stick with online and curbside shopping as much as I can. It took ages to get everything on our list and there were so many other people and even though everyone was nice about it we were all in each others' way.

Anyway, that's why this post is getting written at 9 p.m. instead of 9 a.m.

One of the things I started back at the start of the pandemic to try to cheer Petunia up was a weekly movie night. I am not a big movie person so this has been a bit of a struggle for me, but the kids like it and so we keep it going. I have to admit it was fun to show the kids the Back to the Future series and thanks to my husband's picks I have finally seen a lot of famous movies - Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Men in Black, National Treasure...

Tonight, we watched Raya and the Last Dragon. It was finally free on Disney+ and I am a big sap who generally enjoys animated Disney movies. Petunia says she prefers Pixar these days but she wanted to see it, too. It was enjoyable. It has a nice message about the need to trust each other to heal the world... and after it was over, I opened Twitter and saw at least three arguments grounded in either bad faith or an ungenerous reading of someone else's tweet and all I could think was "we are so doomed."

So that was fun. I should probably spend less time on Twitter. Or move more of the "serious" people out of my main feed onto lists I can check when I'm in the mood and fill my main feed with cute animals and the like.

But - without Twitter, I wouldn't have many links for weekend reading so there's that.

Speaking of links, here's what I have this week:

The Texas Democrats managed to sink a truly bad voting restrictions bill. I wish the Senate Democrats could figure out a path forward to put some voting rights protections back in place but everyone seems to be living in fantasyland - Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema seem to think they are going to convince 10 Republicans to vote for any sort of voting rights bill and a big chunk of everyone else seems to think that there is some magic move Biden or Schumer can make to change Manchin and Sinema's minds and no one seems to have a plan to deal with the major threats to our democracy that are happening right now. 

I have no idea how we get out of this mess. Josh Marshall has some interesting thoughts on the situation that are worth your time.

Despair does no one any good, but honestly it is hard not to despair sometimes. The stakes are so high and so few people are rising to the needs of the moment.

But Ezra Klein's interview with Barack Obama left me feeling a bit better. It is also worth your time.

So did David Roberts' talk with Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich, in a different sort of way.

That's all I have this week.

Here's your rabbit of the week:

And here is a bonus bunny butt:

Have a good weekend, everyone!