Thursday, April 27, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. Harry Belafonte passed this week, and his legacy is worth pondering.  May his loved ones find some comfort in the indelible mark he left.  
2.  They are testing out a way to revive coral reefs in Hawai'i.
3,  I caught up to this story about Leslye Penelope, whose Monsters We Defy I loved. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Library Journeys and Sidequests

So, the joy of living in this city with surrounding suburbs is that many of the surrounding suburbs allow city dwellers like myself to get library cards there too.  This has been true for some time.  Growing up we went to both the Tenleytown library, and the Little Falls library on the regular.  Later they rebuilt the Bethesda library and we often went there.  (So a few years ago when they remodeled the Bethesda library and gave it a new name, I had one of those didn't they just - oh, yes, that over a decade ago.  Okay.)
I acquired a card I had been meaning to add to my repertoire during the pandemic when said library system allowed for online applications due to COVID.  Woot! Pandemic policies meant that I also hadn't had to present myself in person to renew anything in a while, and then this year, the lovely DC library asked me to present myself.  (I found it a little amusing, since I do a lot of virtual borrowing, but had been in there regularly to pick up free COVID tests, but they didn't swipe my card for that.  So I look like I'm never there.)
Anyway.  Said county offered me the option to renew online, which I gratefully accepted.  And then about a week later I tried to borrow one more thing and I could not.  I chalked it up to timing, but eventually determined that I had been sent a subsequent communication that actually, I could not really renew online.  Or like I could, but the online renewal would not give me access to the books, which let's face it is the thing I was after.  
So, fine.  I hopped on metro and decided to go visit one of the libraries in the system.  So it's worth noting that I made the rookie error of getting off a stop too soon.  But I decided to walk it.  This mostly worked.  It was the suburbs, so of course the sidewalk just up and disappeared on me at one point and while I was wandering and navigating, I mostly knew where I was, though I did at one point have to turn around.  (In my defense, I knew pretty quickly I was off track.)  
It's worth noting I had a functional phone with access to cell service the entire time, so while there was a danger I was going to walk much more than I had planned, the idea that I would be lost was not really on the table.  Also, this whole area was near where I had a friend who lived for several years and not too far from where I had worked, so I knew not only the main roads, but many of the side roads.  But more as a driver than a pedestrian.  
And of course, this particular area has changed a bit over the last decade.  So there were moments where I would be like, oh I remember driving by that church parking lot, or oh, I spent hours once in that drug store, and also oh, that's where I had to go pick up that thing.  Also, it was a really nice day.  I found the library.  Got my card and was out of there so quickly and efficiently I thought about hanging out in the AC a bit longer.  
(Oh it's also probably worth mentioning I had a great audiobook.)  And I stopped and grabbed some beverages at a shiny new grocery store (which was across the street from another shiny new grocery store.)  There were benches outside the store, and I got to sip my drink and watch some bumblebees get their pollenation on.  And then I headed back home.  
And promptly updated my card info so I could grab that library hold.   

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Three Interesting Things

So, content warning for reference to rape.  

1. I became aware that "Beef" - which I shared an article about last week, involved David Chloe, who either confessed to rape on a podcast, or made a joke about raping someone, Reappropriate has a description of the situation here.  As you can see from the post date, this happened a while ago, so far, the folks involved with the show have not commented.  
2. And there was a situation where an author was asked to license her book for an AANHPI collection, if she removed the reference to racism.  The mentors of the collection have asked for the whole process to be revisited.   
3. The Merrie Monarch competition was held recently, and there are tons of performances available to watch.  Here are some.  

Monday, April 17, 2023

Let's Talk Colorism

Folks, I swear I had a cute post planned for today. And then. Well. 
So as you may know, Disney's been doing live action versions of things. As such, they have been rolling out announcements of casting for the live action "Lilo & Stitch". 
An open call was apparently held for Lilo, and a relatively unknown actress was cast. And then they announced the casting for Nani, Lilo's sister/guardian. 
Now first, obviously comparing real people to cartoons is fraught, but Lilo and Nani are pretty visibly brown in the cartoon version. The actresses cast are both of Hawaiian descent (yay!) and both grew up in Hawai'i (yay!). 
It's worth noting that in the cartoon, one of the voice actors for these two characters was raised in Hawai'i and neither were of Hawaiian descent so, if we are grading on a curve, we could call this improvement. 
It is also noticeable that the two actresses hired are pretty pale compared to their cartoon counterparts. This doesn't make them less Hawaiian. It does however speak to a different problem often found in media, where folks who are more visibly brown are often overlooked even for roles where being brown is part of the experience. 
And look, to be clear, I am a pale complected person of Hawaiian, Chinese, and European descent myself. I am not saying that lighter Hawaiians can't or should not play Hawaiian characters. They should! But to say that Hollywood in general and Disney specifically have often leaned towards a lighter choice is not really a bold or hot take. There's lots of data. 
These may really be the best two actresses for these roles. But it is fair for people to comment on and notice that the casting choices would have fit in equally well in a live action "Snow White". 

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1.  In my ongoing interest in reading about TV I have not watched, this discussion of the portrayals of Korean American church in "Beef" was really interesting.  
2. I realize science discoveries can be a little like construction in that progress often means actual stuff you can use is still a bit away, but this news about vaccines for heart disease and cancer was just amazing. 
3. And NPR leaves Twitter.  I know I keep saying I will be there less, and then not doing a great job of it.  The decimation of it as a reliable place to get news and information is helping. Or hurting. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

They Aren't a Test Group

I know there's a ton of bad news coming from a lot of various states these days, but I want to gently push back on a narrative that I see developing. It is the idea that the powers that be in various states are testing draconian legislation that targets trans kids, and then they roll it out to others. 
I recognize that this is so that overworked and overwhelmed people who are like well, I don't live in Tennessee* and I'm not trans, won't push it to the pile of terrible things that don't happen to affect me. I get it. I am working on my own local electeds and trying to push them to do things, and don't always have the bandwidth to figure out what support folks in other places need right now. 
But, just like there is no way to legislate abortion without essentially legislating every pregnancy, you cannot legislate trans bodies and not affect cis bodies. You can not. 
We've already seen this with things like the Olympics, where cisgender athletes who fall outside the designated hormone values are subjected to physicals that include inspections of their genitals, and then a public announcement that they are deemed abnormal and unable to compete without altering their bodies. 
You cannot say that people can't have plastic surgery to change their bodies, and not impact people who are recovering from cancer treatments where parts of their bodies were removed. 
You cannot legislate who gets to take hormones or be on hormone blockers without also affecting people who are cancer patients, experiencing early onset puberty, and menopause. 
Basically any time we legislate bodies, who, and how they get to be, and where they get to be, it involves all of us. 

*Not picking on Tennessee, just one example right now. 

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. With the warning that this link is to a TV news site, two weeks ago a car drove into the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, and a sous chef jumped in and punched through the glass to help rescue the driver. 
2. This seems somewhat obvious, but so much of our news currently focuses on bad mental health for LGBTQ+ teens, that the news that teens with good parental support have better mental health seems worth noting.  
3. More proof for those of us who like to knit in video meetings, it helps us concentrate.  

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Now Available in Kobo Plus

Hey, Kobo Plus has rolled out to the US and the UK, and all* my books are available if you want to try them for a subscription fee rather than purchase price. 

And of course, if you like purchasing, from Kobo or most other retailers, my books are there too! (Many links here:
Happy reading!

*I did not have all countries enabled for Aloha to You, but have updated that now. 

Monday, April 03, 2023

Thank You Past Me

Author Alethea Kontis talked about building a habit of thanking your past self. Two weekends ago I bought a dessert cookbook. (Mayumu - I love it.)
Last weekend I had the ingredients to make the Horchata Bibingka and the Adobo Chocolate Chip Cookies, and even though that was a lot of sweets, even for me, I went for it. 
Because it was a lot of desserts, I made all the bibingka, but froze half immediately. (I've frozen butter mochi successfully before, the ingredients are very similar, if you've frozen cake, same process.)
I thought about halving either or both recipes, but the bibingka uses a can on coconut milk, and the cookies used 1 egg, plus one yolk, so both were tough to halve.
I made the cookie dough. I used a scoop to place the dough in appropriate amounts onto the baking tray. As tray 1 was baking, I prepped tray 2, and then carried on scooping onto some wrap, which I then sealed up and tossed in the freezer. After eating some of this throughout the week, I reached the end of premade cookies. 
And so I tossed a few frozen dough balls onto a baking stone and fired up the oven. First, it meant I got to smell cookies baking again. So good job, past Tara. 
Also, I had used a metal tray before, but this time used a baking stone, and the stone might work better for me. 
Also, I got to eat warm cookies. This really is great.
Now, I live with a cat who has no interest in people food. (I don't like her food either, or, I imagine I wouldn't, so we are even.)
If you live with other people who consume baked goods, you may have to make more to get to a place where some can be saved for later.
And there isn't always time or ingredients for that.
But if you can, or if this solves the this thing makes 18 servings and I am just not that hungry today problem, maybe do this. And then you too can thank your past self.