Friday, November 29, 2019

Three Things to be Thankful For

I have more than three of course, but in keeping with normal weekly traditions we will go with three.  
1. Time spent with loved ones.  I spent this past week with friends.  Some of my family I had the chance to see in October and will again in December.  Some I keep in touch with via social media.  It all counts.  We've had some family stuff this year, reminding us to hug each other close, but the same is true of friends.  The people who will cook for you, share a table with you, drink with you, knit with you, talk books and current events with you, talk TV, and even podcast with you, these are all excellent kinds of people to know.  The furballs are all fun too. 
2. Games. This seems silly, but silly games - from phone games to games to help me keep my wordcount up have been important to my productivity and my happiness this season.  To the people making these things go, I appreciate you.  I also have theater tickets tonight, so really we cna broaden this to all entertainment - be it books, movies, theater, and even board games.  Entertainment is good for us all, and it's hard work. 
3. Food.  From the folks that grow it, to all the folks that work to get it on my table up to and including me.  Food is good.  It's the part of this holiday worth keeping.  

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Slightly Different Version of Looking for the Helpers

Hockey does an interesting thing - if the puck bounces off a defender's stick or get stolen from a defender by a member of the opposing team who then scores - they credit the defenseman with an assist on the goal. Now at first this can seem a little bit cruel.  No one wants to end the night with their contribution to goalscoring being for the other team.  But if you think of the broader picture, the idea behind it is to credit all of the things that lead to that goal. Sometimes the thing that puts you in position to score is someone who is actively working against you.  It's kind of an interesting idea when you think of it like that. People often say living well is the best revenge or some other variation of that, that you shouldn't mind the haters or the people who are working against you. I think it is possible, of course, to take this idea too far.  Some people who work against you might end up accidentally helping you but the world would be easier if we were all working to support each other. If we use hockey as an example of an idea where the stakes are potentially life changing but no one dies.  My team may not win, but our fight, if you will is over who is the best hockey player that night, and not, say, who is a person.  So we can allow for graciousness in both victory and defeat.  

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. I've been grumbling about the overuse of the term rom-com to apply to anything with girls (written by, about starring, as far as I can tell), so this piece on why the marketing for the movie "Last Christmas" is such a disservice was of interest to me.  (And yeah, romance twitter saw through the marketing in moments.  So, yeah, that's how often people try to market badly to us.)  Also, it goes deeper into why misclassification isn't just people being picky.  
2. This look at the life of an audiobook narrator was interesting. 
3. This look at stitch samplers and the more radical protest ones is fascinating. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Again With This

I had a delightful weekend with friends and fun games and good food. I try to check the news less on weekends, but it's hard to avoid all of it. 
Things have escalated again in Hong Kong. I remain impressed at how committed so many are to pushing back oppression, and saddened for what it must be like for flash bangs, riot police, and tear gas to be normal.
Speaking of normal, if I'm counting correctly there were three mass shootings in the last few days. This as my social media memories reminded me of the anniversaries of others.
Sarah Kendzior had said that one of the things fadcism often does is overwhelms you. There are so many things happening that it seems exhausting even to stay up on what is happening much less try to fix it.
Here in the US we are finally in the early stages of possible impeachment. But also one things these last years (decades?) have continued to show is that bureacracy moves exceedingly slow. Checks and balances require a lot for the check part to show up. So there's a lot of work to be done on the ground and in communities. We can keep pushing for better government, but we also need to have other plans to organize to save as many people as we can.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. A couple found an unused gift certificate in their wedding album, as they got ready for their 50th wedding anniversary.  The store agreed to honor it.  (News video did not autoplay for me, the transcript is limited so might be worth saving for when you have headphones.)  
2. I tend to focus on the gingko fruit which is stinky, but the leaves are a gorgeous yellow in fall, and I hadn't noticed they drop at once until this story. Those gingkos are showoffs. 
3. Marketplace, with the help of librarian Jessamyn West took a look at the Macmillan decision and what it means for readers.  

Monday, November 11, 2019

"Newsies" at Arena Stage

Content warning: Cartoon level on stage violence including police brutality, historically accurate ableist terminology 

I confess I had never seen "Newsies" all the way through before. I know. Not even the Jeremy Jordan version. It was a gap in my pop culture knowledge.
For those with similar gaps, "Newsies" is based on the strike of the newsboys in 1899 a price raise of the cost charged the the newsboys who sold the papers. De facto leader of the newsboys Jack takes new kid Davey and his cute brother under his wing as they take up newselling after their dad is injured at work. When the paper raises the price, the newsboys, who are making pennies as it is, decide to strike. They are encouraged by a reporter one can only describe as plucky who has been writing soft news, and wants real stuff.
This story was originally a Disney movie directed by Kenny Ortega, then turned into a stage production with a book by Harvey Fierstein, and it shows. What I mean is these are deep issues about child labor, the power of million and billionaires over their employees, and it is mostly an excuse for singing and dancing. I am not complaining, a night of Alan Menken songs is not a bad night.
The cast was wonderful, Arena regulars will recognize many of the adult characters. The newsies include female newsies, and there is an actual small child (pleyed by Josiah Smothers the night I saw it) and an actual high school senior which did the work of making those two look younger. 
The choerographer and director made excellent use of the full theater. Action moves into the aisles and even the seats at one point. You know it's a DC crowd when leaflets drop from the ceiling and one audience member in the front row visibly pauses to read it.
There is a tap number and some references to Santa Fe that had me checking who decided Santa Fe first Newsies or "Rent". All in all, a fun night of song and dance.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. Overdrive crunched the numbers on the life of a metered book in a library's e or audio catalog and what that means about what Macmillan is trying to suggest is the reasoning for their new policy. 
2. Bright Wall/Dark Room has temporarily taken down their paywall, and just in time for you to read this thoughtful piece about "Veronica Mars" and what it means to genderbend the noir detective.  It's look at the first and most recent season, and what all this means is just amazing. 
3. Over on the NaNo blog, Alexis Daria has some suggestions for the care and feeding of your writing and yourself. 

Monday, November 04, 2019


I have a complex relationship with Fall. My birthday falls in fall so I feel I should love it. The trees turning colors is gorgeous. Breaking out a different set of clothes is fun. But in fourth grade I got pneumonia in fall. In fifth grade my allergies had gotten so bad my parents had me tested and my leaf mold allergy took leaf playing off the table. I spent one fall unable to walk more than a few blocks without my inhaler, as an excessive amount of rain followed by mild weather meant the leaf mold was everywhere. I hate all the darkness, and the sleeping better and warmer and cozier doesn't make up for it.
Fall is NaNo. Fall is a busy period with my day job stuff. Fall is the lead up to the holiday season where there are so many expectations.
I went to an event for the Capital Area Food Bank and was reminded that the cold and the weather and the where will I get food is even more fraught for others. 
I always hesitate to do the other people have it worse stuff, because yes, they do,but you can also have feelings about your own stuff.
So this year I am trying to come to better terms with Fall. In what I expect of it and myself during this time.