Thursday, November 29, 2018

Three Interesting Things

1. I was unaware of this case winding it's way through the courts where we are apparently not allowing those born in American Samoa citizenship.  I wish them luck, and hope that should we decide they are not Americans, we would be willing to give Samoa back.  
2. I saw the post about the concern that a rave review had contributed to a small restaurant shutting down.  I understand that restaurant reviewer sometimes come to journalism a little differently than others, but this reporter found out pretty quickly there was quite a bit more going on behind the scenes of that restaurant
3. Full disclosure, I am related to the author of this blog post, hence had heard this story told in person, but it is an interesting look at how diving gets dangerous when dealing with inexperienced folks. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Teargas is Still Bad

Seems like a good day to re-up this post about how teargas is terrible.  I want to add that this NIH review found prisons was one place where the effects were noticeably worse, and remind you that we have been detaining folks in camps near the border and there is no way to localize teargas at only some of the people in the area. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Three Thankful Things

1. My family, both made and found.  I am lucky to have many.  I've seen a lot of them this year and that's been great. Fuzzy critters included. 
2. Books and food, both things that nourish me in different ways. 
3. Yarn, even as I have cursed the seed stitch a bit this year, I am grateful for the fun respite yarn provides.  
(Also books and food and yarn have found me some great people so that ties write back to 1.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"The Ice Man Job"

I was back on "Let's Go Steal a Podcast" to chat about "The Ice Man Job" aka the job that the team tries to do without Sophie. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Dear America

I need to tell you that we are in an abusive relationship. Probably several, but we have to talk about guns. They are literally killing us. They kill us in schools, movie theaters, our own homes, in the streets, in churches, in bars, at concerts, in hospitals, and I don't know how to end this list because every time I start to I think of another, offices, craft stores, gas stations. 
I know, it's in the Constitution you want to say. I will respond, first they are talking about a militia. I am always fascinated that people who claim to be strict readers skip right over the militia part. Second, it's an amendment for a reason. The amendments were designed to be parts of the Constitution that could be more easily altered. We have done it before, we can do it again. 
I do not want to live somewhere I can't promise overseas friends they can safely visit. I do not want to teach children and co workers battle triage so that we can go about our daily lives. 
The woman I had worked with this year who was murdered along with her co-workers in her office had been to shooter training at her church. Her church is the same flavor of mine and our congregations have started doing that because we had an active shooter situation ten years ago in a Tennessee church. 
I know people who have been evacuated from their offices due to shooters. This doesn't have to be our reality. 
We have the power to fix this. Yes it won't be easy. Yes the guns are just part of it. But our continued head in the sand approach is just leading to more death. 
I know the list of bad things is long, there are folks being detained in camps, there are areas struggling to survive various natural disasters. 
But we keep pretending our relationship with guns makes us special. It doesn't. It makes a lot of people dead who didn't have to be. And that has to stop. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Here's What Gives Me Hope

I watched this year as tons of ridiculous obstacles occurred when people tried to vote. In DC, in my area, the polling places are so numerous that I walk past one on the way to mine and I only have to walk about six blocks to a polling place in an ADA compliant library. We have early voting and day of, so while I know DC has work to do (getting rid of closed primaries for one) the act of voting works pretty well. 
Oh yeah, and we have paper and machines, and the machines print out your vote for you to do one last check. 
I saw stories about people who had their polling place moved some distance, who got there to discover the polling place couldn't open on time because poll workers were late or machines were malfunctioning, or a variety of reasons. I can't imagine trying to decide if I can afford to wait four hours in line to vote, and of course you wouldn't know it was four hours at the start, so if you called your office or other obligations. And of course this is on top of new restrictions lots of places out in place, folks discovering they had been purged for not fixing the dash on one piece of government paper because fixing dashes takes time and money. 
So to hear that more people voted in the midterms than in quite some time gives me hope. It tells me that we have in fact gotten out the vote because I know some of those folks who got purged weren't able to get it fixed in time. I know some of those people who arrived at a polling place to discover none of the voting machines worked had to leave. Couldn't afford to wait. So for the numbers to look that good with all the people we know it couldn't include, is incredible. 
Voting shouldn't be that hard. The hard part should be your research. But I'm so pleased that more people are showing up in the face of whatever obstacles their region puts in their way and hope they continue to do so while we work to make voting a less arduous process for everyone. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Three Interesting Things

1. The Capitals dressed a women's hockey coach as their emergency goalie.  (Warning link autoplays a video, even though the story is in text.) I enjoy the various folks these teams apparently have on a list in case of emergency. 
2.  I am thrilled for Elizabeth Acevedo's Poet X winning the National Book Award.  This review of the night also includes emcee Nick Offerman's great and a smidge bawdy words about the power of books. 
3. This story of a toy monkey that escaped World War II with its owner only to help reunite some family members is part of a two parter. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Jasmine Guillory at Politics and Prose

On Thursday, Petra Mayer of NPR and other such things chatted with Jasmine Guillory at Politics and Prose's Wharf location. They chatted about the dude who proposed mid-New York marathon, with Jasmine mentioning that now everyone sends her every public proposal ever. She talked about how with The Wedding Date she found fake dating was fun because it let you skip past some of the pretense you engaged in and get to know the real person underneath faster. 
They talked about covers, and the fun of reading romance because it promised you a clear ending. They talked about how fun Royal watching and reading jewelery blogs are, even if monarchies are an outdated system. 
It was a great event, and I look forward to reading the book. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Three Interesting Things

1.  We all know teenager does awesome things is my jam, so here is an 18 year-old mayor.  
2. Katherine Locke gave a wonderful speech about how much of kidlit, and lit in general is about refinding or reconstituting home
3. Deb Perelman had some thoughts about bake sales

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Live Update by Teju Cole

I think of those who died today.
They held views on the matter,
one way or the other,
of our awful American problem.
I think of those who died today.
(Continues here:

Monday, November 05, 2018

"Billy Elliot" at Signature Theater

I confess these pop culture gaps, like I had somehow never seen the movie "Billy Elliot" even though it sounds basically like my jam, not to brag, but to explain that there are probably shifts and changes that fans of the movie will have specific thoughts about, that I will not.  I did know it was the story of a young boy in the 1980's in Northern England who lives in a coal mining town and while his family is primarily distracted with the miner's strike, he discovers a love for ballet.  
The Signature Theater production is staged, not quite in the round, but with the audience around three full sides which makes good use of a long space for the ensemble to work with.  To my ear, the accents the cast used sounded pretty similar throughout, with no differences between the police and miners, but some subtle differences for the sections in London.  
The cast includes two Billy's, and other rotating children.  It's understandable given how much Billy is on stage.  The few moments where he sits on the stage to listen to an adult seem almost like necessary breaks, but I never spotted a drop of sweat on Owen Tabaka.  There were actors that I had seen in "Carousel" and "The Pajama Game" both of which deal with economic struggle and union rights.  
The show moves at a quick pace, and to keep the constant tension of ballet vs. miners, they are often on stage dancing together even though we are supposed to recognize that the miner's cannot see the ballet dancers.  The show takes a quick look at masculine stereotypes, how Billy doesn't want to be known as a dancer even after had has agreed to audition for the Royal Ballet.  And there is some look at how straight and gay characters may enjoy cross-dressing, and how that doesn't need to align with their sexuality.  
There are some wonderful moments, including a trick where Billy picks up the keys using just his feet, but catches them in his boxing gloved hands that drew gasps from the audience.  Billy has a dream sequence with his older self where goes up on wires that was fun to watch.  And, I confess I am always keen to watch what happens when something goes wrong.  In one sequence a group of adult and kid dancers come out through the closet (oh yeah, there are some closet references here) and they brought with them a dress that fell off a hanger.  They tapped around it, and at one moment, one of the dancers leaned down and tossed it artfully to the side.  As the number ended another dancer detoured over to scoop it up before going backstage.  
Overall it was a good show, and now I have filled in a pop culture gap.  
Toxic masculinity. 
Scene with extra dress
Tricks with keys and hula hoops
Bobby hats

Friday, November 02, 2018

7 Things: It's NaNoWriMo Time Again

1. I hear two kinds of reasons for not participating in NaNoWrimo each year.  And hey, it is not for everybody.  November is not the best month for everyone.  (Camp in April and July, mark your calendar.)  But it might work for you if you need an external deadline.   Is it a real deadline?  Well, I think real is in the eye of the beholder. But I set deadlines for myself all the time that I ignore.  The NaNo train chugs on even when I have a really good reason for not writing.
2. Time.  The reality about time is, you will either make time or you won't.  I don't mean that in an evil, if you couldn't do it you must not care shame monster kind of way.  But we all have tons of things we could be doing every minute of every day.  
3. The other big thing I hear, is I am a real writer and I do not need a special month to make me write.  Again, real is in the eye of the beholder.  But cool.  But, just as I hear runner people who run all the time sometimes do these things, what are they called marathons, the idea is not that you couldn't wake up any day you felt like it and run however many miles, you can.  You maybe do.  But sometimes it's fun to do it with people who get it when you say, okay my characters turn out to be terribly emotionally stunted and why did no one warn me about this?  
4. NaNo encourages writing every day and not editing.  But the important part is to go. As with everything in writing, there are many roads towards a finished piece.  If not editing is making you crazy, then edit.  But really figure out if that's actually what's making you crazy or if it's easier to fix things than write new ones. 
5. Write every day.  Or don't.  Write first thing in the morning.  Or don't.  Write at lunch, in the coffee shop, on metro, on paper.  Try all the things.  Maybe not all the once.  
6. You will get stuck.  Your characters or your plot will get jammed up.  And the important thing is knowing that that happens and knowing you can fix it.  Maybe not today.  Maybe today is just a loss.  But figuring out as a writer not just how to get started, but how to keep going, how to pick up after that thing happened that FUBARed your day, that's also important. 
7. 50000 words is an arbitrary number.  It is.  So you need to figure out if that's enough to get you going, or if you need more or less, or if writing the end somewhere in there even if that means sticking in brackets that say [insert scene where they discover the dragon and team up with it] before you tack on the end. NaNo is a crazy breakneck pace.  December may not only not allow you to maintain it, but all the friends and family you waved off in November may demand to see you.  Oh, your day job too.  That thing.  So figure out how to use your momentum now to get you ready for when that time is that you can get back to this story.  Even if it's next November.  

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Three Interesting Things

1. This op-ed talks about a young woman who didn't have the words to describe the workplace sexual harassment she received until college, and she wants folks to consider that as they go to the polls. 
2. I confess, I am most intrigued at the possibility of bubble tea offerings, but this story about the Mr. Yogato business changing hands for a dollar is just great. 
3. This op-ed about Squirrel Hill being a prime target for white supremacists, is a lovely tribute to the neighborhood.