Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Interesting Things

1.  A post looking at the differences in care and information and process with the illness or death of a loved human versus a cat
2. I found this post about a 2007 rule change and the subsequent change in Patriots fumble statistics very interesting.
3. And maybe you eat healthier if you excercise or play first.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Alarms, Security and Other Things

Not too long ago, a friend and I were eating dinner and the fire alarm went off.  There were no obvious signs of smoke and while several patrons left and headed out the door none of the employees did, so we waited.  Now, of course, this was not the wisest course of action.  After all, fires and other emergencies often move faster than you can perceive them, which is why fire alarms exist.  But I think we've all reached at state of alarm ennui.  Car alarms.  Store security alarms go off so frequently that half the time even the security guard seems to wave, too tired to figure out why it's been set off.  I watched one employee head into the back, and return with the alarm still going.  At that point my friend and I decided to leave partly, I confess, because it was really noisy in there.  Other establishments (although not all) already had employees and patrons out on the sidewalk.  And yet we still found a nice bench to chat, finish up dinner, and watch the fire trucks go by.  (They left pretty quickly, so hopefully all was well all along.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this look at the gender disparity in fields perceived to be slanted towards geniuses or innately brilliant folks, and how fictional portrayals of such might reinforce that interesting.
2. Justina Ireland went on a rant about the myth that writers of color just try to get published less and how that ends up causing harm.
3. In a similar vein, Celeste Ng was told that there just weren't that many Asian authors.  She compiled this list of published authors as a start.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Talking About Diversity is Tiring

So, the Oscar nominations were announced and there were a number of notable things.  There was of course, the ever present wait that but not that?  Really?  There were a notable lack of people of color, particularly in the acting, and directing categories.  There were a notable lack of women in, well, most categories that didn't require you to be female.  And sure, it's boring to have to keep pointing this out.  To have to keep discussing that yes, there should be better pipelines in place so that women and people of color have a greater breadth of opportunities available to them. And yes, it's not that there were no movies directed by women this year, no movies featuring people of color this year.  There are even ones that have been nominated and awarded for other things.  (And look, it's a sticky thing comparing award shows to award shows when the pool of voters and the process involved is distinct for each. But at least that suggests that it wasn't that there were no good movies made by women or featuring actors of color.) 
But, we need to keep having this conversation, tiring though it may be.  Because when people say this is the whitest it's been since the nineties, well, um the nineties are certainly not far back enough for us to call this a blip. There isn't an easy solution.  This probably requires addressing on multiple fronts, but by continuing to have this discussion, we keep remembering that there is work to do.  We support those already out there working.  And we remind those who feel, understandably, that this process is stacked against them, that we noticed.  We saw. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three Interesting Things

1. Erica Williams Simon wrote a fascinating post about how reflections on the selective deafness trick she, um, maybe used to use on her father helped her understand a lot of discussions on twitter and how that is used to derail.
2. Science has in fact determined that the best cure for heartbreak (other than time) is in fact, kvetching about it.
3. And I think in this increasingly connected age people have notices that they get more ideas in the shower, which might be, as this article about the value in being bored suggests, because it's one place you probably don't bring all your devices.  Probably.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Many Faces

One of the things that I think, intentionally or not, "Serial" brought to the forefront is that no one wants to believe that the folks they know could be behind something terrible.  Until they reach whatever personal algorithm convinces them otherwise.  I was thinking of this as various other people weigh in on the Bill Cosby rape allegations. I understand that  folks with microphones have rushed to various celebrity co-worker's houses or called them endlessly asking for their opinion.  But, whether or not I believe these various accusers or victims is not at all based on popular opinion.  So far, none of these people are disagreeing with any specifics that I'm aware of, other than, he was always a nice guy, so therefore people who say he did something to them must be wrong.  And I understand that. 
I understand why, in "Serial" Mr. Syed's various friends and family members believe his innocence.  I don't even necessarily disagree with them.  I certainly agree there were a number of terrible things that happened with his case what I would like to believe a better crafted justice system would not allow for. 
In the case of Cosby, I have thoughts, mostly along the lines of any who thinks anyone seeks the limelight by claiming they were drugged and raped has, well, not paid any attention to how horribly we treat rape victims.  But my thoughts are certainly not that anyone should be punished based on my thoughts.  And so, I think where I'm going with this is twofold.  One, we, as a culture, need to stop asking anyone who has ever worked with anyone if what their opinion is about allegations that have nothing to do with them.  And we, as a culture, also need to accept that if people who did bad things were all as easy to spot as we would hope, we would hardly need a justice system at all.

Edited to correct a cat on keyboard insertion.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Three Interesting Things

1. I happened to notice a month or so back when two celebrities who were married appeared within a few days of each other on the same morning show that one got asked about balancing work and family and one didn't.  And sure, one doesn't have to be married to a public person to experience a very gender stereotypical line of questioning, but it was particularly noticeable, so this bit, where Elle decided to ask goofy questions to guys on the red carpet (and the outrage some of them had about being asked what was in their pockets, was quite amusing.
2. It hadn't occurred to me that fish could get the bends, but apparently it is a real concern with catch and release deep sea fishing, and some fishers are working on learning to treat this. 
3. I remember discussing the issues with the Myers Briggs test in my freshman psych class, and have found more recently I fall even closer to the middle when I take it.  I still think it can lead to interesting discussions, but found this article discussing how the results are meaningless, interesting.

Monday, January 05, 2015

2014 Reading Tally

Total number: 151*.  20 of those were novellas.  There were also some comics this year, but I counted the volume as one book, so there were two comics volumes. 
Not as great as last year, but not the lowest.   Other year tallies have been higher and lower.
I read 115 different authors (which was helped by a few anthologies). 46 of those authors were new to me.  Maisey Yates was the author I read the most of this year with 12. I counted diverse books this year which is sort of a nebulous concept but I count those written by authors of color, and or featuring main characters either or color, featuring sexuality along the LBGBTQ spectrum, having neurodiversity, and or featuring main characters with disability (mental or physical). I ended up with 40 diverse titles, I'm going to try to beat that number this year.
100 books were part of a series***.
The oldest book was from 2005.  65 were from 2014.  And at least two of them had been lingering in the TBR pile since 2010.
December was my banner reading month with 21 titles (some of which had been started earlier). 
Romance remains my highest read category at 67.  There were 54 YA's (although some of those were romance also).  I also, for someone who is not a big MG fan, read 4 middle grade titles, which is as many non-fiction as I read also. 
And some books from this list that I just adored include:
Adi Alsaid's Let's Get Lost - a story of a young woman embarking on a strange road and some of the folks she meets along the way.
Alexis Hall's Glitterland - which I loved in spite of the use of dialect (it really is necessary to the story here), a story of a young man who meets a hot male model who seems so terribly wrong for him, and yet...
Courtney Milan's The Suffragete Scandal - the owner/publisher of a feminist newspaper finds she has made a dangerous enemy and this new man who has shown up to help may not be as helpful as he promises.  I confess I have read the whole series and it may read even better if you have done that, but oh, just a joy to read. 
Jeremy Whitley's Princeless Vol 1: Save Yourself was the first comics volume I read this year and an amazing modern twist on the princess in the tower stuff. 
Lauren Beukes' Zoo City is a fantasy set in South Africa in a world where a strange thing has afflicted criminal with animal partners and one such afflicted woman who takes a case to find a missing pop singer.
Rosie Claverton's Binary Witness was a recommendation I found on Twitter, for this mystery featuring a British agoraphobic coder who teams up with an ex-con to assist the police in tracking a serial murderer.
Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass was described in one review I saw as Game of Thrones meets "Glee" which I find hilarious but not quite accurate.  A former assassin sentenced to slavery is offered the opportunity to compete to become the King's Champion (which is a fancy way of saying King's personal assassin) for the very king that sentenced her to slavery.  Wonderful fantasy world and fast pacing. 
Sherry Thomas's My Beautiful Enemy has a wonderful prequel that covers the childhood of it's hero and heroine which might not seem necessary, and yet I read them in order so it's hard to say how much my prequel info impacted my super serious love for this story of these very star-crossed lovers. 

*I counted re-reads if I re-read the whole thing a didn't just skip to my favorite parts.
**I counted authors, not pen names, where possible. 
***Series is based on the book being part of a series, whether or not I read any others. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

Three Interesting Things

1. Marjorie M. Liu's Follow Your Freak advice seems like a great way to enter a new calendar year.
2. I ended up reading the Wiki post on away colors last weekend for no, no reason at all and found some fascinating tidbits in there. 
3. As someone fascinated with words and their cultural shifts, I found this post on the erosion of the original meaning of hapa thought provoking.