Thursday, March 28, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. Leprosy is on the rise in the US.
2. This piece took a look at some of the mundane uncertainties related to the damage done to a, ahem, Key, Bridge in Baltimore, from longer commutes to changes in where customers stop after work. 
3. This story about a baby hedgehog that was taken to a rescue, where they discovered it was actually a hat bobble, is hilarious to me.  But I also want to note how wonderful that someone saw something fluffy in the wild, and assumed it needed to be treated with care and attention. May you treat every accessory with such care, and also potential tiny animals. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. This is lovely retrospective of DCist, what it was, and what it became.  (Note: WAMU and I share an employer.  I am not responsible for any of their content.)
2. The inventor of the karaoke machine passed away recently. Imagine, karaoke with 8 tracks. 
3.The WaPo spent some time with a local Scrabble club

Monday, March 18, 2024

Annoying Phrase

Can we talk about the phrase "wasted on a man" in reference to any body part? Like why would lips/eyelashes/cheekbones be wasted on anyone? 
Because let's really unpack that. All those body parts serve a purpose. Eyelashes are there to protect your eyes. Cheekbones and lips are both structural and decorative. 
And yet, somehow this phrasing has become incredibly common in books. Implying that men don't deserve or need functional faces. Which seems like a weird take.
And yes, I am taking this super literally, but also, what else is that phrasing meant to say? 
And if it's solely meant to convey jealousy, aren't there way healthier ways to say that? Like if I looked at someone and thought, wow, that is an incredible set of cheekbones, I wish mine were that chiseled, or round, or prominent. That is one thing. But saying the person who has them doesn't deserve them, is honestly a little rude.
So how about we try to avoid that. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. The prison population is aging, and this article looks at what that means for prison infrastructure.
2. Apparentlysomeoneopened some mail in the archives and found a gorgeous sweater.
3. The Iditarod is on (though,yes, several people have finished), and this story of the pizza place on the route that takes orders is just adorable. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Altered Plans

So March is about where it gets feasible to eat outside around here. I obviously eat all year long, but eating outside is fun. Eating with other people is fun. And so I start making more plans to gather for food in March. But March is volatile too. It can snow. The temperature can drop wild amounts. It can rain for days. It gets a little iffy.
So I had plans to do a taco tour of sorts with a friend. But then a wind advisory came. The things was, one (okay several) of the taco places were very near me. And one often has a line. (It's a small space, no indoor seating.) And I kind of really wanted a taco. And wondered if the wind would make the line shorter. 
So I went. My hat blew off, but not too far. The taco line was shorter. And I discovered another place nearby that had been scheduled to open had opened. So I carried my tacos into the other place, and made a second to go order. And then I went home and ate all the food where it was not windy. 
Other than the wind it was a very pretty day. 
And my friend and I will convene for more food on another day. 

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. DC is known for cherry blossoms (which are gorgeous) but we also have a goodly number of daffodils, so this story about the daffodil line in the UK was interesting. Getting out to see the flowers is the best part of spring.  
2. The Iditarod is on, which means there are dogs of the day, like this snuggly one
3. "This American Life" replayed their Math or Magic episode from last year, which as a romance author and reader I found fascinating. 

Monday, March 04, 2024

My Questions for NaNoWriMo

I became aware of the issues that had been raised to the NaNoWriMo board last year, during NaNo and wanted to give them time to respond, though it was quite clear there had been an egregious lack of oversight. 
Well, NaNo has now provided a roadmap of sorts for going forward, though no clear way to respond. So here are the questions I have. 
NaNo states they will reopen the forums, but going forward limit them to folks age 13 and up, rather than allowing all ages. How will they verify ages?
NaNo states all volunteers will receive criminal background checks.
First, I want to note that this is likely to dissuade great volunteers. Because it requires sharing info like national ID's and real names, which not everyone is willing to do. I'd also love to know if these checks will be run in the country the moderator lives in, or just the US. Or somehow in every country the moderator has lived in. But let's be real, criminal background checks show you who has been caught, which means it is more likely to demonstrate which of your volunteers are overpoliced where they live. 
In general, the best policies when you have kids and adults together, is basically a buddy system. Adults should not be alone with kids, kids should not be alone with adults. That means things like more mods, not allowing DMs. Does this eliminate all bad behavior? No. 
I worked with teens in the nascent days of Facebook, we had a policy that the adults wouldn't send friend requests to be teens, only the teens could initiate that. If they DM'd us, we shared that message with another adult. 
And yes, the place I volunteered also background checked us. 
NaNo has said regional forums will be moderated by people in those zones. That way moderators will be in the same time zone and familiar with the language. Cool. Does this mean NaNo is going to have no oversight? With NaNo reducing staff, is the remaining staff going to be fluent enough to check in on those, or is it going to be a free for all situation? 
And what processes will they have in place, if any, to monitor the safety of teens operating in those spaces? 
It's also worth noting that one of the issues raised involved a volunteer moderator making racist comments about someone. What, if any of these processes, will help NaNo catch or address that in the future?
And look, I do absolutely understand that running a global forum is a huge undertaking. My hope of for NaNo to succeed, rather than end up right back in a place where we have issues again. No set of systems will be perfect. 
And if you are a kid who wants to do NaNo, maybe the answer is that the NaNo site is not the place for you to make friends. With hashtags and whatever else, you don't even really need the forums. Not to say that literally every social media isn't also problematic, but find people where you are. Treat the internet like the shark infested waters that it is. And definitely don't trust adults who tell you to join another site where you can talk more freely. Sites where you can block people are probably your best bet. 
Also, in past years, particularly with the pandemic, regions were encouraged to set up discords, zooms, basically lots of ways to communicate outside of the forums. Will NaNo discourage that going forward? And if not, will NaNo state anything that happens off the NaNo site is not their business?
I have questions. 
But please, whatever your age, keep writing. We need your stories. 

Friday, March 01, 2024

Sale - Aloha to You

Newsletters subscribers already got this news, but my novella Aloha to You is on sale. It's part of Kobo's Leap Year Sale in Canada and the US today. For non-Kobo readers, it will be on sale next week March 3rd - 8th in honor of Read an Ebook week.

Aloha to You is the start of the City Complications series, so a great place to jump in. It features Seth and Adriana who meet when he interviews her for a lifestyle magazine about her lei business. He is a museum admin who secretly yearns to be a journalist. There are nosy parents, opinionated friends, and brownies.

Content notes listed here.

Available at multiple etailers:



Universal Link:

Note, print is not on sale, but if print is your jam, print link: