Monday, July 31, 2023

Tennis Thoughts

I decided to take advantage of the fact that the DC Open (which has a longer name) is well, in DC. Where I am. And so tickets were procured and the weather was on Saturday predictably steamy. I briefly wondered if the display in the corner of the court was the current temperature, but no, that was the serve speed. (They were close though.)
There are many things that are wild about sports events these days, the clear bags, versus the tiny bags. Water bottles if sealed, or if reusable empty. Metal detectors. 
And then you are released into the wilds and there are courts here, there and there. The sounds of people and tennis balls bouncing and rackets. 
There were apparently puppies in the players area, which was probably because puppies need AC but also why were the puppies hidden? Yes, yes, AC. 
It was kids day on day 1, which meant many parents were in the stands narrating tennis facts for their kids like paid commentators. 
My tickets, through sheer luck, get some shade in the morning, which has been a delightful discovery. Shade is not often easy to come by in a tennis stadium. 
I have been slathering myself in sunscreen and hope to remember the bug spray. 
It's also a little amusing going to a local event, because all us locals are like, oh, we have to go that way for the entrance, we can't just go here? I also saw signs for where to await your rideshare, which quite honestly is likely more common these days. 
As local peeps know, we had a wicked thunder storm Saturday night, and yet, Sunday morning everything was ready to go. So kudos to the folks who must have worked hard to make that happen. Tennis stadiums are not always on the edge of a giant park (though it does make wandering about on a hot day a little nicer). So I'm sure there's a lot to be done after storms.
I am going to be a tennis fan for a few more days. 
And then return to my life as an occasional watcher on TV of the tennis. But there is something really amazing about seeing and hearing it all in person. And realizing that if I am hot sitting here, whew. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I enjoyed this article about "Joy Ride", a movie I have not yet seen.  
2. This opinion piece on the two Hollywood strikes is interesting.  
3. And, as part of a celebration of 50 years of rap, this piece looks at the DMV - including Virginia Beach role in rap.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Bonus Short

Hey, Hungry Readers,
I posted a bonus Short story featuring Jia and Ken from Of Kings and Queens on both Ream and the newsletter. It's subscriber only, and maybe shows a sneak peak of a character or two from the upcoming Troubled by Love. 
Both books can be read on their own without the short story, so if you want to save it for later, it's going to stay up in both places. 
Happy reading!

Monday, July 24, 2023

Bandaids on Feet

In the ancient days, I read a magazine article that I believe was written by a dude, in a woman's magazine, whose purpose was to explain the dude brain to the readers of the magazine. 
And in this column, the writer mentioned that wearing visible bandaids on your feet was a weird thing, that in his opinion women (and possibly though he did not specify) all people should stop doing.
And I remember that years later because it made me, furious seems hyperbolic, but here I am fuming years later, so let's go with that. 
Because of course there is the history of shoes for the femme amongst us, that tend toward pretty over functional. (You may feel differently about heels.) The idea that feminine shoes were initially (at least in the twentieth century) designed to be worn with pantyhose. And then as pantyhose were recognized to be uncomfortable for many, flammable for all, and also not great in certain climates, it changed to bare feet. 
Now yes, there are shoes that are designed for people seeking a feminine look that use socks.
But many of them are not designed to be worn with skirts and dresses, if that is a thing that you are into. 
I had to wear a closed toe shoe for a twenty minute walk outside in 90+ degree heat a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, even with the bandaids, I had pre-applied, there are now seven injuries on my feet as a result.
Blisters happen when there is friction and moisture, and even I, who know to plan ahead with bandaids and deodorant, cannot plan for the fact that feet expand and change shape in the heat. That deodorant can only do so much when it is that hot. 
And so the question I always wanted to ask this columnist who likely doesn't even remember this small part of this one column, is are bandaids weirder to you than scabs or blisters? Oh and also, maybe, just maybe, what people do or do not do with their feet is up to them and not you. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. This article talks about the danger of viewing orca behavior through a human lens.  
2. The news of Inkyard Press closing was sad because they were publishing some stuff I loved.  
3. NPR has a summer book list that includes some books I love.  

Monday, July 17, 2023

Let's Talk Data

One of the things about the idea prevalent in the corporate world that one doesn't discuss salary, is that data makes it easier for you to negotiate for your worth. 
(To be clear, I said prevalent, but more correctly I mean the reason corporations like this logic, not necessarily the folks in those corporations.)
For example if worker buddy and I are hired within two weeks of each other, have similar experience, and yet are not being paid the same, we're gonna wonder why. 
And so, one of the things that has happened as part of the rise of streaming entertainment, is that they don't share the data. Creators on a show that airs on broadcast or cable, have access to ways that the viewership of these shows are measured. (And yes, those measurements, are imperfect, but they are at least consistently imperfect.)
And sure, in the early days of streaming, most streaming was subscription based, not ad supported, so the reasons for needing to share externally such numbers were not there. 
But they also, weren't sharing them with the creators. Not often. So, if they wanted to renew your show and you wanted to come back but also wanted a raise, you were just kind of groping at what they should give you.
And so, now we are years into the thing we call streaming, and now basically all of them are ad supported, and yet the numbers are still ???. Some things, like Emmy nominations, or even the idea that they want to renew you, are some indication. But not numbers. 
And so, much like encouraging you not to discuss salary with your co-workers, these folks all have to negotiate without data that the other side has. 
And so now we have actors and writers on strike.
And I have to think, and look, I am not the first to suggest this either, that the studios are going hard line on this because the easiest way to resolve some of this, would be to share data. 
In the early days, due to the no ads, and also the startup nature of streaming, there was likely some reason beyond, lol, and they won't even know if their show is loved. 
But now, the studios like their creators not knowing, like being able to make renewal decisions and salary decisions when they have data that other people don't. 
So anyway, I love TV and movies. I hope the actors and the writers get the data they need to make their careers more viable, and not something only someone with three other jobs or a small inheritance can do. 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1.  This article looked at how "Joy Ride" counters stereotypes about Asian American women.  
2. This article touched on something I have been thinking about, even as I bought tickets to a local sporting event, the cost of attending has gone up so much, between tickets, ticket fees, security protocols that mean you can't come straight from work in a lot of cases, the cost of the food, it's a lot.  
3. Isabel Allenda guest answered for Dear Prudie, and I really enjoyed her advice.  

Monday, July 10, 2023

7 Things I Have Learned From My Cat

Since it's National Kitten Day, even though one might argue my cat is no longer a kitten, I accept the excuse to talk about her for a bit. 
1. Ask for what you need.  My cat figured out that when I am in the desk chair, or, um sometimes when I am sleeping, I may not realize there is a cat standing near me who is in dire need of attention.  (The horror.) And so she had figured out that she can gently tap my shoulder and I will (usually) respond by petting her.
2. Observe routines.  My cat has also learned that I am busy if the water in the sink is running, but when the water goes off I usually turn around and also sometimes a meow can helpfully remind me that there might be a cat who needs attention.  Or water.  Or both.  
3. It's important to be cozy.  My cat is good at finding spots in the squishiest part of the pile of blankets, or on the pillow on top of another pillow on the couch.  
4. Don't eat food you don't like.  There are exceptions for humans, some social scenarios where one probably should eat some of the food.  But if she tries it and it's not her thing, she just walks away.  There are a few flavors she's tried and after a few minutes come back to.  But in many cases if it's nother thing, she just won't eat it.  
5. Ask again and again.  Sometimes when I am say writing, my cat will jump up beside me, and ask for pets.  I will give them, but them go back to writing.  She will walk away and then leap up beside me again.  And so we repeat the process.  
6. Sometimes you need a break from all that stimulation.  My cat is very good at taking herself away from all the noise and curling up under the bed or more often in a spot in the closet.  And then when she's ready for attention again, she will reappear.  
7. Nap if you need it.  Cats eat a lot of protein and their digestive systems require a lot of energy to digest.  So they nap a lot.  Napping is a good practice.   

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. So it turns out that the men are hunters, women are gatherers stuff is not supported by the data we have. 
2. This piece on the things that footpaths tell us is just amazing.  
3. This debate about ketchup is fascinating.  In the interest of full disclosure, I actually don't keep ketchup in my house, but growing up it was always in our fridge even when one of my siblings went through  ketchup goes on all the things phase.  (I am not against ketchup, I just don't consume the things at home that I feel ketchup goes best on.) 

Monday, July 03, 2023

Additional Meaning

One of the things I love about big ensemble numbers in cast albums, thought is can be true of other things too, is that different parts are noticeable on each listen. 
There's a saying along the lines of when a student is ready, a teacher will appear. My interpretation of that is that when you go looking, the answers and/or the teacher will be there. After all, there are so many things to do and learn, we all tend to tune out a lot of it. But when you look around for it, there it is. Sometimes it's hiding on a corner of the internet, but it's there.
Even sometimes when listening to the big numbers with the lyrics in front of you, part of it skate past. You know the words, you've heard the words. But maybe you like humming along to that bit over there.  And one day you will notice that these two lines, actually mean this and you have an oh wow moment. Sometimes over a song you listened to a gazillion times. 
What's funny, is about half the time it's so obvious once you see it. And you find yourself trying to explain to someone, well yes, I know they say, "the stars are out tonight," I wasn't confused about that. I just hadn't connected to the part about the stars from earlier. 
There are so many delightful things to read, watch, and listen to that repeats sometimes seem silly. But there are new delights to be found even in familiar things.