Monday, November 26, 2012

I Know It's Not a State

I love YA.  And I love YA that takes place in places I have been.  (This is true of non-YA also.  I love Luanne Rice's books, especially the ones that take place on the Connecticut coast.)  So, Epic Reads list of the United States of YA is awesome.  You can figure out how to book travel through the whole country, except DC.  (And okay, they are missing the territories too.)  It makes me sad.  Especially since it's not like I can't come up with YA books that take place in DC, like, oh say, Meg Cabot's All American Girl or Ellen Emerson White's The President's Daughter.  And okay, those are kind of oldish (not that the age of good fiction matters, but still).  So, some minor googling finds that there is also Rachel Cohn's You Know Where to Find Me.  And I'm sure there are tons more that I am forgetting. 
So, enjoy this list.  And maybe, be sad with me that DC got left out.  We have YA readers here too. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TBR Challenge 2012: November

Remember when I remembered to look at the theme?  Yeah, so anyway, went for another Harlequin Desire.  (Yes, I do have quite a stash of them.) Day Leclaire's Nothing Short of Perfect is one of those stories that's hard to describe without it sounding crazier than it is.  So, back in the day, Justice St. John (such a name) got placed in a foster home with Daisy.  They were teens, there were sparks and then one day he left without a word. 
And then, he went on to become this brilliant engineer and was all happy living with no one but his agoraphobic uncle until a car accident had him realizing that he had no one that the hospital could call.  It also marginally scrambled his brain.  So, he decided it was time for a wife and had his uncle run a program to find him one at an engineering conference. 
At the conference he bumps into Daisy and sparks fly until he unscrambles his brain well enough to remember how they know each other and that he's mad at her and so he returns to his engineering lair. Until, dun dun dun, Daisy, her housekeeper, her computer hacker of a foster daughter and, oh yeah, the secret baby that resulted from their conference hookup show up at his door. 
I know, it sounds a little nuts.  And it was a little nuts, but I do enjoy a good personality jumble of a story and this one worked well. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DC, Represent!

So, a while back there was this thing.  I think they call it a debate.  So, I was searching for alternative programming and landed on a "Chopped" marathon. There were firefighters and chefs and non-profit groups.  I have to tell you, that while I like the normal "Chopped" format a lot, some of their special category contestant episodes have been really good.  The lunch lady (they were, in this case, all ladies)  episode was amazing.  So, I had high hopes for the non-profit chefs one, especially when I saw there was a chef from DC's own Capital Area Food Bank, a charity I am fond of.  (Food.  I think everyone should have food.  So.)  And, well, you should keep an eye out, if you missed it.  Food network tends to run them in blocks so you can usually hunt one up.  (Although I still have to find the teen chef episode that I heard was really good.) Also, they are available on things like Hulu, if you're into that.  And, if you want to know how it ends, well, I think the title of this DCist interview with Chef Lichaa might clue you in. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Calling in Book

I'm not a ridiculously healthy person, but I (knock wood) tend to have sick days left over at the end of the year.  (Sometimes other days too, but that's a different problem.)  I had been thinking a time or twelve that you should be able to call in book.  There was that one time I arrived at the metro stop with four pages left - arggh!  But even sometimes, you may still have chapters left to go but you arrive, or reach the end of your break or lunch period right as the heroine gets kidnapped.  (Yes, I use this example a lot.  It happens a lot. In books, that is.)  Or right as someone was finally about to confess something.  Or just something that has occurred in the story that you know you are going to spend the next batch of hours thinking about getting back to it.  Now sure, as with many things, sometimes the anticipation makes it better.  You appreciate the story more for your time away from it.  It's the carrot at the end of the stick.  But sometimes, you know you will be useless until you can get back and find out what happens next.
So, I had been thinking that you should be able to call in book to work.  But the challenge I realized was that in a given year, I read a lot of good books.  And while, given the average reading statistics for the population it probably (sadly) wouldn't be a challenge for the workforce, it might impact my ability to remain a productive member of the workforce.  And someone with money to buy all those books. 
But the solution is sick days.  (Although if my company wants to allot me a separate bank of book days, I am all for that.)  I think, much like the mental health day - wherein I believe some companies (check your policy) allow for the fact that sick days are essentially unplanned absences that might occur for other reasons, including I-just-don't-feel-like-it-itis (nasty stuff) and that, within a pre-arranged set of parameters, it might be allowable for you to not work for reasons other than crippling illness.  So, if we expanded this definition to include calling in book, we'd be fine. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Votery McVoting

So, I posted five reasons not to vote, way back when, so let's do five reasons to vote for this year.
1. It's really not that hard.  (The voting part.  The research part, the endless ads, the robo-calls, those are harder.)
2. Then you get to complain.  Yes, voting is secret like, so sure, you could tell people you voted and then go complain, but if you do, I hope you feel guilty the entire time. 
3. There are many things on that ballot of yours.  I mean, I assume.  In DC, we've got city council folks, school board folks, neighborhood commission folks, shadow senators and representatives, regular representative, and three possible charter amendments.  There are guides everywhere.  You probably got one in the mail.  Reading is obviously not required, but how else will you know who uses stupid grammar or fake words in their platform statement?  (What?  I can't be the only grammar snob.)
4. People will tell you your vote doesn't matter. First, it does.  Second, this is having your say.  Don't you like doing that? 
5. Votes matter even when the end result does not turn out as you wished.  You still had your say.  You can continue in that vein by contacting your new (or renewed) elected officials or not.  But trust me, they know what their margin looked like. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Just Add Water and Wind

I made it through the storm with power in tact.  (Lost it later due to wiring issues, but that's all better now.) 
Obviously not everyone was so lucky.  My family members all have their power back now (as of Friday) but in the nature of storms and other natural disasters they were right next some areas that are devastated.  I rode out hurricane Bob in Stonington, Connecticut.  We had spent the night before, helping people move floating docks and such to safer harbors. My grandfather was alive, but ailing, so the power outage which froze his adjustable bed in an upright position, was a little trying.  But we were lucky then, and while trees and boats and water damage affected a lot of neighbors, Rhode Island took the brunt of that one.  But Sandy made up in size what some said she lacked in power.
So, there's stuff.  Stuff everywhere, water logged or tree damaged or fire damaged.  And it'll be like this for a while.  A local friend had a tree, probably storm loosened crash into their house Friday.  Water has not receded everywhere.  And water damage plus power outages bring their own challenges.  The Stonington Free Library, where I read so, so many of their books, has a tree on it. 
I made use of the internet to peruse the Stonington-Mystic Patch - which deserves kudos for helping me stay updated virtually with things in my family's corner of Connecticut, as did the New London Day and the Westerly Sun. The Patch has this lovely compendium of nice things people did to help each other out, including the folks who helped the Mystic book store get all their books moved to the second floor, while they cleaned up the water damage.
I love this tumblr (totally SFW, by the way, unless your current connection frowns on tumblr) with messages from Katrina survivors to Sandy survivors
Also, if you want to help, you have likely been bombarded with suggestions.  To add to that, Donors Choose has some Sandy-affected classroom projects
And, as the lessons of Katrina and other hurricanes have taught us, recovery is a long, long process, but it does happen in many small ways.