Monday, January 29, 2024

Sunrise and Sunset

I am not a morning person, even though I naturally (now, umpteen years later) wake up by a certain time in the morning. I am more of a late afternoon/early evening kind of person. 
So, I tend to associate seeing the sunrise with some sort of event that forced me to be up at some tortuous hour. And conversely I associate seeing the sunset with great evenings eating outside with friends or family. 
But this time of year, in this part of the world, as the days slowly lengthen, my normal schedule means I see both the sunrise and the sunset. 
Which, yes, is very cool. And I realized maybe, possibly, it's not the sunrise's fault it happens to occur early for much of the year. 
And while I do not plan to rearrange my schedule as the days lengthen, I can pause to appreciate these things while they are occurring at such convenient times. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. I'm so sorry that George Carlin's family has to spend a moment on this, but someone decided they could use AI to make a "new" George Carlin special and now the estate is suing
2. I appreciated this article about the strategies one scientist in Australia is using to keep COVID safe.  
3. I swear I don't only care about the new winningest coach in college basketball history because she has a delightful name, but she does have a delightful name.

Monday, January 22, 2024

2023 Reading Tally

So, a few caveats. I've been doing the reading tally for enough over a decade that I no longer wish to be specific.  But here's a link to last year, and it links to the prior year, and so on. 

Last year I had a really good reading year.  And it turns out, that the slow destruction of Twitter, well, that freed up quite a bit of reading time too.  I also had a period where I was between contracts, and had a lot lot of reading time.  And I had two trips to visit family, and that helped too. 

Read 377.  Yes, I'm sure.  Some were graphic novels that were short, and many were not.  It's also worth noting that I DNF'd 24.  (So they are not included in that number, I just like to track DNF's.) Per Storygraph, about 56% were in the 300-499 page range, the rest were shorter, except for a small percentage that were 500 or more. 

There were 310 different authors read (not including anthologies and shorts). 

The oldest title was from 2006. 158 were from 2023. 

193 were new to me authors. 

Most read author was Holley Trent. 

Highest reading month was June, followed by July. 

37 were audiobooks, which was actually lower than last year, though not by much.  266 were library books, in case you are wondering how my book budget sustains this.   And 54 of them were from Kobo Plus.

I hesitate to predict, but it seems like I might not hit this peak again.  I may watch TV or something this year.  But I am glad reading provided so much fun last year.  And have high, if not quite this high hopes for this year also. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. Bluestockings is in New York, but I think the issues of blaming the place that is trying to provide some help - be it a public bathroom or Narcan to neighbors, is something a lot of cities are reckoning with.  Worth noting for DC folks, DC Health does do Narcan training. 
2. This gorgeous embroidery floated across my timeline recently.  I found this post where the artist explained her technique
3. A photographer found a mouse was tidying up his shed. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


I love snow unabashedly, as longtime readers will know. We broke a snow drought this long weekend. I spent so much time staring out the window watching it fall. 
Watching little birds tuck them selves in warm vents. Trying to get a good picture of the tiny flakes falling, before just taking a video. 
Woke up this morning to the message my office was closed. Does this mean I telecommute? Yes. Was I gonna telecommute anyway? Yes. So how is this different? It feels different.
I wrote this 7 Things post about snow closures in 2014 after we broke another snow drought and the only thing that's really changed is closed means telecommute for more of the adults these days:

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. I served on a jury last year, and one of the things we chatted about after the decision was the amount of street surveillance.  A fellow juror, who lives near me, had not been aware of some of the things like street cameras and license plate readers.  EFF has a primer on the kinds of things that are being used. 
2. I really appreciated this story about the Alaska Airlines incident with the door plug, because within it were a number of steps that people took to keep everyone safe, including checking on all the unaccompanied minors.  It's likely all part of their training, but it looks like the NTSB found the flight crew and attendants did all they could to manage what had to be a really terrifying day at work. 
3. Steve Ammidown noted that there are several anniversaries in Black romance coming up this year, and he's put together a list with info on which books are easy to find these days. 

Monday, January 08, 2024

News Avoidance

The "On the Media" show did an interview recently about a recent news avoiders study. And it reminded me of a thing I have heard from others, about how the news about (insert ongoing issue) just made them too sad, so they stopped listening. 
And it is easy to yell at those folks. And say, hey, it's harder for the folks living through issue. Or, well, not living through it. 
And yes, of course it is. But part of the issue, whether it's climate change or drones, is that I can listen. I can read. I can empathize, I can process the horror. But I also, cannot fix it. 
And humans really hate not being able to fix things. So sometimes we look away. We block it out. Because I still have bills to pay and things to do. 
But while I cannot personally fix things on a number of fronts right now, I also am not powerless. 
They - that nebulous they - would really like it if I felt powerless. (Also, it's worth noting, that some people legit are doing all they can right now. And that's cool too.) 
It's easier if I don't call my electeds. Don't reach out to community members working towards fixing any or all of these things. Don't look for ways to help make differences. Don't join any protests.
A lot of people would be perfectly happy with me paying my taxes and worrying about my recyclables and asking, advocating, or assisting no other change.  
But just like that time the President's spokesperson said, well, what are we supposed to do, mail everyone COVID tests? And then lots of people said, um, yes please. And then they did. Change can happen when people work for it. 
It's a long process, and there are ways to join existing efforts. Sometimes showing up with stamps may be the thing they need. 
It can be frustrating to feel powerless. But there are things you can do to help. 

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. There may be some promising news about drug resistant bacteria
2. Ni'ihau fascinates me, so this new book that evaluates a wider range of resources looks really interesting. 
3. This story about a local tattoo artist who creates classic art based tattoos is gorgeous.  As are the tattoos.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Best Laid Plans

New Year's is an arbitrary day. Okay, Tara, you might say. Didn't you used to post random holidays to social media every day? Aren't they all mostly arbitrary?
Yes. Okay fine. 
I've talked before about how the big expectations assigned to one day are just fraught. About how it's in many ways much more exciting to believe that any day could be the start of a new trend. 
But also, yes, we do, societally, like quarters. We've divided the calendar into them, assigned each quarter a name, and then we expect things to shift each time we progress into a new one.
And of course, I am going to do a giant reading analytics post, so obviously I believe in years. 
But I spent New Years sick, and I refuse to accept that as a sign of anything other than human bodies are fragile and we live in a time of climate change and increased germ production. 
I hope your holiday(s) were not spent sick. 
And here's hoping we all get time this year to read, write, craft, and relax.