Thursday, March 31, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. My non voting member of Congress spoke about how a DC judge is up for Supreme Court justice, and DC does not get to vote on that
2. And I happened on to this delightful fictional restaurant review this week. 
3. Was pointed this week to this story from earlier in the pandemic when people wanted really cool books for their video chat backdrops

Monday, March 28, 2022

Greedy for Plots

This past weekend, for a variety of reasons, I binged a bunch of short fiction.
Even when I'm reading anthologies, I tend to bounce in and out, getting a little long fiction in there too, resetting a bit. 
And this weekend, I decided to be indulgent. To just keep glomming the next, pausing only to track the titles as I went leaving my brain a glorious mismash of ghosts, and kisses, and spaceships. 
It felt very decadent. And yet why? I mean of course there is privilege involved in being unneeded for two days. But why should just reading feel so decadent? I think there are all these little things set up to make us feel guilty about not doing. One of the things I like about tracking reading is that it makes reading look more productive. Reading doesn't have to be productive and reading fast or slow is not a value judgement. One could certainly argue that metrics encourage people to read more when processing what you have read can also be useful. Certainly the faster I burn through stories the more likely I am to look back and go, I think that one was in space? Or something?
But I find even when the details are fuzzy, I remember the feelings: happy, sad, confused, elated, scared, triumphant, resolved, and much more.
And how fun is that, to go all these places and feel all these things, from my couch.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I felt this piece about "Licorice Pizza" delved into the issues of using racism to use as a punchline about a character isn't a neutral decision.
2. This piece looked at several people around the world and whether they were or were not still telecommuting. 
3. I'm always fascinated when people find some ancient seeds and manage to grow an ancient date palm.  (Yes this is from two years ago, but pandemic years.)

Monday, March 21, 2022

Daylight and Systems

I saw someone posit on Twitter that the Daylight Saving versus Standard Time thing is a fight between morning and night people. Now of course the factions are more nuanced than that, and full disclosure, I consider myself an afternoon person and a Daylight Savings stan.  If I have to pick more dark mornings versus more dark nights, I pick mornings.  
I found this article about the time we went all daylight saving all the time interesting mostly because it seems people really like it when there's lots of daylight and really hate it when it's not. 
I am going to digress a bit and tell you when I started at my university they were on a trimester system.  So most classes you enrolled in for the entire year - had two normal sized trimesters, and then one shorter one that had several weeks dedicated to final exams.  We had a winter break and a spring break between the first and second, and the start time of the first was designed to run us, through to winter break.  
Of course, not everything is a course designed for an entire academic year. So there were half courses, and if you were enrolled in one, you started with the other classes and then ended at a point in the middle of term two, and likely started another that then ran through the rest of the year.  
While I was there, the university began discussing moving to a semester plan.  In order to provide a small mid-semester break so one didn't have classes for a much longer period of time with no break before winter, the proposal involved shifting the start of semester earlier, truncating the spring break since it would now be a mid semester break, and then ending a few weeks earlier than we currently did.  
People were so upset.  They were losing summer, they were getting less time off, this was all a terrible idea and also their professor told them that because we were changing to semesters they had to get rid of classes.  
Now of course, if you did the math, the breaks and the days of classes were exactly the same, they were simply differently distributed.  Also, semesters were going to change course offerings, not because semesters were killing courses, but the opportunity to offer course aligned to semesters, was of course going to have departments re-evaluating their course offerings.  
A lot of the time change stuff feels like this to me.  I love getting to see sunshine midweek.  For me that means sunshine in the evening.  But of course if there was more sunshine in the morning and I choose to do things like sleep, then that is my choice.  
We have twenty four hours regardless of the times we assign them.  I will still be bad at calculating Alaska time.  (Sorry Alaskan peeps.  I'm working on this.)  Because we have school in winters, and because we get down to eight hours of daylight in most of the US, children will wait for and/or get off a bus in the dark. 
But see all those becauses?  Because we have school in winter.  So what if we didn't?  What if we had a longer break in winter to account for the lack of daylight?  
What if school was shorter so the number of days that was an issue was less?  
What if school started later and ended earlier?  
And I know there are ripple logistics.  Many schools don't have AC, so the academic year needs to wrap before the heat kicks in.  
Many school districts have limited bus drivers, so they stagger start times. 
But all these things are system failures we are accepting.  
And look, I work at a job where I need to show up at an exact time, and I get it.  Not everything can change and some of these changes are expensive and resources are slim these days.  
But I am fascinated that we have decided changing the time we call it, will cover up the issues we've been letting drag on for a while. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. There is a container ship stuck in the Chesapeake Bay.  I suspect this is just going to become a common problem as large boats and climate change collide.  
2. Nikki Grimes wrote about how stories about the bad things that can happen to teenagers are appropriate for schools, and taking that away just makes it hard for the students who could learn from them. 
3. A lost ship has been found in the Antarctic, still looking well preserved. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

A Different Pandemic

I spoke to someone who said something to the extent that well, with COVID everyone does in a hospital. And it was not the time or place to well actually someone's grief. But it was a reminder that while the virus impacting everyone across the globe is the same, we are all having different experiences. I personally know people who were hospitalized and people who were not. Some survived, some didn't. For some families that I spoke to, getting the person home for hospice was a goal, once other goals became unattainable. Some folks have been simply discovered deceased after what they thought were symptoms of something else. 
Some people have easy access to the vaccine, and some do not. Some people are telecommuting, and some are not. Some people have masks or tests provided by jobs or governments and some do not. And it's easy to forget those differences, to assume that it's the same for everyone. But it isn't.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I did a lot of research on lei making for Aloha to You, and so I appreciate both the work and the sleeplessness involved in trying to replace 500 leis in a matter of days for the school song contest. 
2. This story about Brittany Griner I think covers the careful dance for why people are talking but not, you know, too much about Griner's detainment in Russia.  My thoughts are with both her and her loved ones, waiting on stuff like this is the worst.  
3. And the Iditarod is happening, and this story about rescue dog Zeke's participation is adorbs.  
Also, some literary agents are putting together some things for Trans Texans.  The auction starts tomorrow. 

Monday, March 07, 2022

Your Brain is Like an Algorithm

Once upon a time, there was a a site that if you told it things you like, would recommend other things to you. And it was wonderful. Some of the things it recommended I had already tried, so I spent time giving it more data. And it was great. Until eventually, it had so much data about me, it was no good. To me the recommendations seemed entirely off, or just plain terrible. Eventually it seemed to try to self correct, filtering down to only the last three things I like and working from there.
I read about a study once that said people who have just met people are better at picking gifts for folks than people who have known each other for years.
Being an informed aware person is a good thing. But your brain can only process so much data before the algorithm goes a bit haywire. Sometimes you need to take a break, let the well refill, let the data churn a bit before you add more. It can be easy to go all on or go all out. Learning to float a bit is a skill. And you can't float all the time, so sometimes you will have to switch.
But letting it process a bit isn't lazy, it's smart.

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. It's always interesting when folks show up in what they assume is a niche community, and well, discover that niche does not always mean small or unused to people trying to market at them.  Yes, I am discussing the folks that bought a knitting domain and announced plans to use yarn folk as the test ground for their series on how to market.  WoollyWormhead had this post about why this isn't just a popcorn situation. 
2. This piece looked at some of the logistics families displaced by the water situation in O'ahu are working with. 
3. Also, with the various acts of war happening to Ukraine right now, resources that Americans can donate to are not always easy to find, but there are some options listed here, including some focused on refugees, which there will of course continue to be many of as a result of this. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Books for Donation Receipts

It's been an overwhelming week of news. 
Following the lead of others, particularly R. M. Virtues, I would like to offer folks books in exchange for donation receipts. Or a query review, if that is a thing that you are into.
With so many things calling for attention at the moment, I am not going to be super picky about where you donated. 
With recent legal news in Florida and Texas, Lambda Legal might be a great option. There's also romance folks raising money for the Transgender Education Network of Texas here:
Food is always a concern in troubling times, so Feeding America or World Central Kitchen are options.
I know I have readers in Japan, if there are places that are more open to donations for you, I'm going to trust that. 
Some fine print.
This will be for ebooks. I don't have capacity to be shipping at the moment.
Send me your receipt either using the contact form or emailing tara+contest @ tarakennedy dot com.  
My preference is to route you through Book Funnel for the freebie. If you hate that, let me know in the email, along with your preferred format (mobi, epub) and I'll send it to you. 
$5 - donation - 1 novel or 2 novellas
$10 donation - 2 novels or 1 novel and 2 novellas/shorts
$15 - 2 novels and 2 novellas/shorts or 4 novellas/shorts
$20 - Query Critique or 2 novels and 3 novellas/shorts or 5 novellas/shorts
$25 - 7 titles of your choice, or query critique plus 1 title
$30 - 8 titles of your choice, or query critique plus 2 titles
$35 - All 9 titles or query critique plus three titles

Novellas/Shorts are: Bait Girl, Aloha to You, Repeated Burn, Bored By the Billionaire, and Cocker on the Porch, which is currently not for sale anywhere.
Also Let's Talk About Fictional Sex is novella length.
Novels are: Undercover Bridesmaid and Hot Bartender.
Query Critique means I will review and make suggestions/revisions on your query for up to 3 rounds or 60 days, whichever comes first.
I will update this post when the offer is closed.