Monday, January 30, 2023

2022 Reading Tally

I have been nerding out over my own reading data for a while, here's last year:
In 2022, I kinda blew the prior years to smithereens.  Also, huge hat tip to Storygraph which tracks so many of the things I used to track through tags and tallies.  
I also read a lot of short and shorter fiction, which helped. 
Read 304. I know. 118 were under 300 pages, a combo of shorter novels, novelettes, novellas, and graphic novels. 
I DNF'd 15. 
Top category - Romance 138
Contemporary was next at 110.
Most read author was Martha Wells, then a four way split between Jessie Mihalik, Lauren Dane, and C. L. Polk.  (Amusingly only one of those authors writes contemporary.  
March and April were the highest read  months with 36.
I read 197 different authors
125 new to me authors.  I wanted to note, while I like to read new to me authors, new to me does not mean new per se. Also, when you read a lot, you need lots of authors to turn to, because some of my faves only released one thing last year. (Which hey, not a complaint, just an observation.)
88 of these were part of a series.
39 were audio. A combination of pandemic plus day job meant I had to rethink how to get audio working for me. But yay, it's a great way to consume stories. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. This piece on the rise of therapists on social media doesn't really have an answer, but I think it's useful to think about.
2. This piece looks at how the Oscars are part of a larger ecosystem that is failing to recognize Black women. 
3. This photographer who documented much of Hawai'i during the so-called Hawaiian renaissance is trying to figure out the best plan for his archive. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

RIP to Lorelie Brown

Lorelie Brown was one of those people who I knew about before we met. We had writer and reader friends in common. I had read her books. I had read books she co-wrote under the name Katie Porter. 
During the pandemic we were in a group that met to talk about books and the world and also craft. She talked about gorgeous yarn she was knitting with, books, school, and other things. It to me felt like the best kind of thing. Where you meet someone you've tangentially known for a while and they are just as interesting as you had hoped. 
Cancer is a big giant jerk. And it deserves very little time in Lorelie's story. She has left behind many loved ones, many people who were lucky to know her, and read her words. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

The Movie Theater Era

I haven't been to a movie theater since the pandemic started. This is neither a brag nor a lament. I was someone who used going to a movie as an excuse to be out of the house for so many hours as a teen, who had a regular weekly meetup with friends in and after college where we figured we'd see something, TBD. But it is an interesting look back. One of the first movie theaters I remember going to as a child was in a shopping center that also had a small carousel. That shopping center and theater are long gone. The theater I could walk to (a bit, it was like a mile, but I could) growing up, was 2 screens and was later replaced by a larger multi-screen before the mall it was in shut down. 
One theater near me was bought by a larger chain, then closed, then "saved" by locals but only after a complete rebuild.
The theaters I went to as a teen who was allowed to metro a little farther have all been some combination of closed, redone, replaced. 
Even ones like the one in City Place or Gallery Place that seemed newer have closed, rebuilt, closed. 
And I could cry about things changing, but if course, my home TV is approximately six times larger than one of the TV's I used to have. At home I can enable close captioning, listen to movies on my headphones, and gather all my preferred snacks. The moviegoing experience has changed, and the pandemic is just part of that. 
I expect, like many industries, it will reinvent itself. I loved doing the summer screens with food trucks and music. Some of them even had inflatable seating you could borrow. There are ways to lure me out of my living space, but for me at least, it has to be more than just seeing a movie. 
Of course, I say this, and my friend sent me pictures of some of the outfits at an opening weekend near her, and it was amazing. So maybe that's it. That might be why the movies that encourage cosplay are doing well in theaters, and some of the others are thriving (I hope) in streaming.  

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I confess I am no longer a regular reader of advice columns, but was directed to this lovely column on Autostraddle where someone who needed advice fixing the harm they had caused their girlfriend in regards to her weight gain, and the answer was a wonderful exploration of expectations in loving relationships.  
2. Becca Syme - who I know I point to a lot, because her advice works very well for me - interviewed with Joanna Penn about intuitive writers, and how sometimes the ways you know a thing may be less clear at first, but that isn't always less data driven.  
3. I really enjoyed Xochitl Gonzalez's book about two siblings reckoning with their changing New York neighborhood, so this column about gentrification and silence was food for thought. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Mantras and Sayings

There's an episode of "A Different World" where Whitley is sent to therapy. The therapist, played by Debbie Allen, tells her to, "Relax, relate, release" and there are accompanying arm motions. It's played for laughs as later Whitley is making these motions, trying to stay composed and have the conversation she needs to have. 
It's silly, but I have sometimes found myself chanting that and doing the arm motion. I love thinking about things. I have an inner monologue. I love to ruminate about things, tweak them and replay them in my head. But sometimes, you gotta stop. Or sometimes the loop cannot be closed because there's a piece of info you don't have yet. So as much as you try to pre-think and pre-plan you can't.
As a result I sometimes yell at my brain, "New brain thoughts!" It is a similarly silly feeling, but treating my brain like an out of control committee member who needs to be reminded that we have an agenda, even if the current agenda is sleep, or read a fun book, sometimes helps. Or is at least silly enough to distract me a bit. It probably needs an arm motion too. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. This piece on the Harper Collins strike talks about the honestly very minimal demands the union is making.   
2. This story about a lost and then found fried pie recipe is lovely.  
3. Glen Wledon's piece on what getting sworn into Congress on a Superman issue means.  

Monday, January 09, 2023

The Stories We Tell

My sister sent me a time capsule of sorts. Amongst the things was a hospital bracelet from when I was a baby. 
First, they spelled my mom's name wrong. And then I looked at it and realized, my name shouldn't be on it, according to what I had been told.
You know that thing, where you've been telling a story that you swear the adults told you and then this piece of evidence punctures it, and well, there are questions. 
It's always a weird thing. Both figuring out that you'd been telling a story wrong, and that in many cases you were told it so long ago that no one remembers what they originally told you, or possibly isn't around to help correct the record. 
The version of the story I had been telling was that my parents couldn't decide on my name, so I had papers that just said Baby Girl, and then they finally fixed it.
Now, yes, nowadays they will not let you leave the hospital without filling out all the things and they need a name, even if in some states they reserve the right to come back and tell you, no not that one. 
But it seemed possible that I might have been born when these things were still a bit squishy. Also I am the oldest, and the only kid who's first name isn't a family member so it seemed like maybe that was one of the things that my parents streamlined after me.
Now of course, back when they actually gave a few days in the hospital, it's possible that the first bracelet said baby girl, and this was the second. Though I really hope they would have fixed my mom's name if they issued a second. 
Also it's possible my parents meant I almost had stuff that said baby girl, but then they finally settled on a name. 
And no this story doesn't fundamentally change who I am. But its odd when you find a story you've been telling just isn't correct.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I gave up watching football for a myriad of reasons, but it brings me no joy that the players, players union, and coaching staff had to step in and end a game when a player was carried off unconscious. Dave Zirin's piece about this is worth a read.  
2. Canine Flu is apparently popping up around DC, and treatable if caught early.  It may be on the rise in other places also. 
3. Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards were not a thing I knew existed, but they are amusing as promised. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

When to Change

Someone once said to me that the challenge with admiring something I had knit, was that invariably I had changed something about the pattern - either on purpose or occasionally because I wasn't reading correctly and decided to go with it - so recreating what I did was tough.
One on the batches of dumplings I made and froze so I could make deliciousness to consume for the new year involved butternut squash. 
I was using a recipe, but the recipe called for boiling the squash, and I thought well I could, but I could also roast it, and so I did that instead.
I have another batch I made with brussel sprouts and those I usually roast, but the recipe called for sauteing, and then tossing in some miso, and so I did that. 
And it's kind of the same. Sometimes the changes I make to recipes or knitting patterns are because I know the options and understand why you could go with one, but in the moment choose the other. 
Sometimes the reason is time, personal preference, or just funsies. 
I once walked into a knitting store that I had never been in before and had a person ask me which of the two options to do for their knitting pattern. They had the option to bind off and pick up stitches, or not bind off. I talked through the why, if you bound off and picked up you would get a seam, and if you didn't then you wouldn't. 
And they said, "Yes, but which would you do?"
I'm sorry to tell you I don't remember which option I chose. It was clear that the person did not want to make a choice, they wanted the choice to be made. Which hey, fair. I once read a shawl pattern that started by saying, start with your preferred method on making a triangle, and thought to myself, that's just a little too much freedom there, pattern person. 
Some things you get to understand the things behind, and it helps you spot errors, or know when you can deviate. Sometimes, the deviation works, and sometimes it does not. And that's okay too. It's data. 
And some things, are of course, the fun thing we do to relax and maybe don't want to have to learn more or make new decisions about. And that's fair too.