Thursday, July 28, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I'm seeing some misinformation about monkeypox out there on the interwebs.  Prep4All has an explainer with suggestions for government action you can reach out to electeds with, if you wish.  Note: There are some photos, you can scroll past and read the very good info if the photos are not what you need right now.  
1. This post about the similarities between kissing and fight scenes is delightful.  I confess. I tend to skim fight scenes because a lot of them are just about who's alive at the end, but good scenes, as the post notes, change the characters and therefore cannot be skimmed without losing something.  
3. Teen Vogue talked to Olivia Julianna about how a congressperson trying to dunk on her helped her raised funds for abortion, and how watching wrestling helped get her ready for this moment.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Heat Advisory

It was really hot here this weekend. Not unusual for July. And honestly not as hot as it can be, but, even for my heat loving self, it was hot enough. I had errands to run and outdoor dinner plans on Saturday. And then Sunday I woke up, showered, and promptly took a nap.
Someone had noted that cultures accustomed to heat often assumed longer breaks and even midday naps were part of the deal. 
Yes, of course, I live somewhere where seasons have always been part of the deal, so the housing is built with that in mind. I also snicker a bit to think of things, like back in the day, the dude that "founded" Silver Spring was looking for somewhere an easy horse ride from downtown DC, but a little cooler. 
One of the things that productivity culture will have you forgetting, is that rest is not a reward, it's survival. 
Staying cool and not dying, is sometimes enough multitasking. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I am not much on the clock app these days, but enjoyed this interview with the stars of the "Retirement House" talking about their different journeys to being in this TikTok show.  
2. Jia Tolentino writes thoughtfully about the varied ways that abortion might be considered sacred
3. As I am close to several French Bulldog owners, this minor drama over a Frenchie meetup in New York amused me.  

Monday, July 18, 2022

7 Things from WriteOnCon

[Disclaimer, I am on staff at WriteonCon.]
1. Everyone is really tired.  I say this not just because I spent a huge amount of non-sleep time reading, listening and watching stuff.  People in publishing have been talking about long hours and low pay for a long time.  It's true everywhere, not just in publishing, but adding in the paper shortage and supply chain means a lot of people are really tired.  It means everything is taking longer.  Books are getting delayed, and it means new clients and unsigned projects are sitting much longer.  
2. Cycles are short in publishing.  People are talking about this feels very 2010, not fresh enough for the current market, or well, this was back in 2015, so now things have changed.  Obviously the pandemic has created a clear dividing line, But things are hard, things will change, it just isn't always clear when and where the shift will happen.
3.  In some ways this is a continuation of the prior point, but there are people with books coming out this year, who entered publishing through a route that no longer exists.  It doesn't mean no new books or new authors are being acquired, but it's a clear example of how things shift, but the bookshelves don't always reflect that shift for another few seasons.    
4. There are no shortcuts. I mean sure, be ready and prepared to be a huge success.  But also be ready for that not to be. Or for people to call you an overnight success six books later.  
5 .  Listening to a lot of thoughts about writing is great.  The most important takeaway is always going to be - there are a lot of approaches.  Understanding why people suggest one, is often more important than immediately adopting it.  (Unless it viscerally sounds great.  Do those things.  But also, it means there isn't a formula but also that all the things you're doing are good.  
6. I default to the marathon example a lot, which is hilarious to my runner friends.  But everyone had to learn to write in school, and most everyone had to run around in gym class in school, but everyone assumes being a writer is easy and no one assumes you could just run a marathon tomorrow.  
7.  There are so many people who love books, love reading and readers, and are excited to find and share more stories.  My TBR grew three sizes.  

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Three Interesting Things (Plus)

The world got to me last week and while I remembered I needed to put together a post, it just never happened.  
1. This is hyper local, as they say, but local restaurant Bad Saint announced their closure this week.  The Washingtonian piece has been updated to include comment from one of the owners.  It includes the note that Bad Saint's tiny space, which made getting in so coveted for a while, also made it something that was tough to manage in an airborne pandemic. I look forward to whatever they do next.  After they rest. 
2. I understand that unusual immigration situations are no less worthy than run of the mill ones, but this story of a woman who had been living in the UK, but went to Jamaica in 2020 to get married, got stuck there, got pregnant, had hyperemisis gravidarum, so couldn't travel while pregnant, had her baby, and now is being told her baby isn't allowed in the UK, is just wild.  (She's allowed back. Just not her months old baby.)  Of course, I said it's wild, but yes, this is basically our system here too.  
3. This interview with the woman who won many of the categories in the County Fair is cute.   
4. This partially illustrated explainer about planning travel in a pandemic era, talks through some important considerations, like do you have the space and funds to isolate if you get sick. 
Also, over on the newsletter, the second quarter reading roundup happened.   

Monday, July 11, 2022

Tips for Virtual Conference Attendees

I'm working behind the scenes at WriteOnCon, so am incredibly biased towards that conference, but here's some things I find help make virtual attendance go well. I do live alone, which does help.
Things to do before:
Charge all the things. Even if your are planning to move no more than 2 inches from the outlet, during conference just do it. Don't forget any and all earbuds or headsets that need charging.
Plan food. Your choices may well be, much delivery. But plan ahead. Anything that's going to require timing, like throwing something in the oven or hit yes please on delivery, plan when. Consult the schedule. Plan for snacks, and drinks. 
Consult the schedule. Do any necessary time zone math. Figure out breaks, food, bio, etc. If it's a packed schedule, try to pick one block you might skip. You don't have to.
Is everything live? Are the live things being recorded?
Set up any browser caption plugins if they aren't already.  Even if your hearing is great, the choice to read but not listen may be useful.  

Day(s) of: Dive in. If the schedule is jam packed, remind yourself to move, even if it's just wiggling your shoulders. Have drinks and snacks nearby. 
Listen with the ear gear of your choice. The ear gear will let you stand or stretch or move just a little bit over for some sessions.  
Pay attention to your body. 
Turn on things like captioning so that if your ears object, you can maybe just watch for a session. 
Eat a food. 
Do one session oriented differently. Even if you are on the floor of a tiny coat closet, just shift over a bit. Move the chair, move yourself a little. Staring at the same distance is tiring. Changing it up, or even closing your eyes and listening for a bit can help. 
Stretch. Often. 
Drink things.  Often.  
Remember that there is no prize for attending and reading and listening to all the things the fastest.  And sometimes, even if you don't take that break, just spending few minutes thinking about some of the stuff is great.  
Also, have fun!  

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Recreating the Mood

I often try to prewrite the blog posts, or at least most of one so that I'm not doing it over breakfast before the rest of the day takes me away.  Sometimes I discard it, no longer feeling the mood I was in when I wrote it, or feeling that current events have meant something else might be called for.
And some days, I cannot find the pre-written post, and I wonder if I wrote it, or if it really was as great as it seems like in my head.  (Words I cannot find often seem better.) 
I watched and listened to "In the Heights" over the weekend.  While it is not set over July 4th, it involves summer heat and fireworks, so it seems appropriate.  I also watched a lot of tennis taking place in the UK.  
But in the song "Carnival del Barrio", an ensemble number, many of the characters are deciding between hope and despair.  Gentrification is happening to their neighborhood.  Change is coming and it's not great. The electricity is out with no word on when it will be back.  But, as several of the characters suggest they can wallow or dance.  (People in musicals always end up choosing dance.  Shocking, I know.)
Of course this sad/happy dichotomy, this dance don't dance, is a staple of musicals.  But it resonates because I think we have all been on both sides.  Some days it just seems like everything sucks and also is sweaty.  And some days you want to dance, even if only metaphorically,  
Change is happening.  Neither wallowing nor dancing will fix that.  But getting ready to face the change, to push for change, that we can do.