Thursday, May 30, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. I have not had a chance to watch "Malihini" yet, but appreciated this profile of filmmaker Ha'aheo Auwe-Decker about the diasporan Hawaiian experience and challenging the frameworks of storytelling.
2. RWA blamed DEI and the pandemic for their recent bankruptcy filing, and Smart Bitches has the recap if you want to really go back to why their membership plummeted. 
3. The PWHL doesn't have a DC area team (yet) but they just capped off their first season.  Go hockey!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The View From the Couch

I sat on my couch yesterday and watched out the window as a giant dark grey cloud covered half the sky. There had been some rain earlier, but not much, compared to the day of rain that had been originally predicted. 
I got up and peered out the window, to make sure I wasn't just missing the rain, but no, it was dark, but not currently raining. The wind had even died down. There were flashes of far off lightning, but far enough off that I couldn't hear the thunder. 
I kept watching. I'm not sure why. I was indoors, as was my cat. (My cat is always indoors, unless we are en route to the vet, to be clear.) I had no plans to be outside. Witnessing the exact moment the rain started, if it started was not going to change any of my plans. 
Sometimes it feels like you have to watch. You have to personally witness the thing. And hey, I love live theater. I am not going to say witnessing a thing cannot be cool. It can! 
But sometimes, when it is something you cannot affect or change, witnessing it is not always necessary or helpful. It can be cool, if you enjoy storms. 
I still care about the weather. I thought good thoughts for my unhoused neighbors. I certainly thought about those who were facing deadlier storms. Who lost power. 
But after making sure I am fed, and rested, I'm going to focus on the things I can help with, can affect, and let the rain do what it's going to do. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. CHatGPT allegedly using a voice that sounds like Scarlet Johansson after asking her if they could use her voice is sort of the issue with so much of what we are calling AI.  It's trained on stolen data. And the stolen data seems to still be there. 
2. This local painter talks about how the city has changed since the 1980's and why he thinks painting is one way to document all of that. 
3. This family bought an octopus, and good thing their kid was super into octopuses, because said octopus was pregnant. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Seemingly Simple Crafts

It has been fun watching people make friendship bracelets, a thing I did kind of constantly as a tween, learning to make 4 and 6 and 8 strand ones. I never knew the names of the stitches, but figured through trial and error, and tips from friends how to make many different styles. 
Recently I suddenly decided I needed to make potholders. And I ordered all the things, and now I have made an absolute ton of potholders. Okay, I have made like 16. And am debating ordering more loops, though I do also have some cotton yarn, and you can use yarn.
I'm still knitting. And making sweaters and shawls and such. But the joy of a potholder I can complete in a single evening, is really fun. 
I had tried getting into weaving before. The discovery that warping could take a whole evening kinda killed it for me. It's a me problem for sure. (There's a local class that has you do your first project on a pre-warped loom, which I thinking clever. Gets you hooked on the end result first, then you learn about the process.) 
But I also do not have to be a weaver. Oh but wait, I just made 16 potholders. I am a weaver. Just not the kind of weaver I thought I was going to be. But these are pretty. And they make me happy. And I do have plans for the potholders. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. I really enjoyed Ashley C. Ford's podcast about the choice to become a parent, and appreciated this post where she talked about being an important adult in other kid's lives.
2. I confess, I was not really part of the "Blues Clues" generation, but this story of Steve meeting the now adult toddler who was part of the focus group that picked him, was adorable. (I originally typed licked, which was wrong, but then was it? Have you met toddlers?)
3. I continue to love this siblings series, including this piece about these Kenyan boys that have decided the key to education is community support.

Monday, May 13, 2024

It's Not the Remote Part

We're seeing a lot of back and forth about remote work, and office leases, and in person collaboration, and employee loyalty. 
And I think people are confusing remote work issues with things that are not entirely related to remote work.
Although, sometimes they are. I worked for a company where my entire office went remote, and then I got put on a team where other than myself and one other team member, they were not remote. They were getting one telecommute day a week, and were not allowed to have more. It was awkward to say the least. 
As such, we had team meetings where some of their questions were about the physical space, a physical space I had never (and still never) seen. They had contests involving listening to music in the hallways, that I could not participate in. We had large meetings, where a VP would come talk to us, and the VP would have to be reminded not to walk too far away from the phone, since some of us were listening in.
There were programs my co-workers had, that no one knew how to provide to me, or even who I should ask about them. 
I found out there was a group chat when my manager bragged that the team was so connected that we were all on a group chat. (I did get added the next day.)
When they moved to video meetings, another VP stood up and said this office space is the future of our company. Only for them to ask us to explain three months later why so many of us assumed they were planning to remove remote work.
And they posted no new job positions with a remote work option. Zero. 
So yes, as a remote worker I felt disconnected and not always valued. But it wasn't the lack of commute or the relaxed dress code holding me back. It was because I was disconnected. Because the company culture was built around in person collaboration and they did not know how to adapt it for remote, and honestly weren't trying. 
I've worked with other teams since, and plenty of us figured out lots of ways to stay connected across countries and timezones. To have weekly meetings and group chats that included everybody. To answer questions about tech and provide options for people to gather and even meet people not on their direct teams. 
Now certainly, not every job is suited to remote work.  But just like some meetings could be an email, if the only reason for in person gathering is collaboration, then it's time to consider altering the collaboration styles. 

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. These high school students came up with an additional proof for the Pythagorean Theorem using trigonometry. 
2. I can pick up pens but not coins with my toes. But this next part of the sibling series talks about how such dexterity is often genetic
3. The  local student encampment was pepper sprayed and cleared early yesterday morning.  I have been reading student and faculty accounts.  Worth noting, there is an auction going on to  help raise money for people attempting to evacuate Gaza. 

Monday, May 06, 2024

7 Reasons Human Sex is Not Designed Solely for Procreation

It's very funny to me, because I spent years as a wee thing wondering how people were ever surprised to be pregnant. Yes, I know. I have studied more and learned more. But I mention this to say, if any of this is news to you, hi! It's cool. Learning is a lifelong process.
1. People who cannot conceive can have sex. Okay, remember when I said 7 reasons, it's really just one. But it's a biggie. 
2. Now you might be thinking, oh you mean like queer people? And yes, them too. And before you try to tell me why they shouldn't, I'm going to note, that if you are trying to argue our bodies, and more specifically our genitals were designed for this one thing, well, then they shouldn't work this way. And they do. It's almost like some humans just enjoy giving each other pleasure. 
3. People who are fundamentally, congenitally unable to conceive, can and often do, have sex. Not all species work this way.
4. People who have had their reproductive parts removed often still want and/or crave sex. 
4. Some people don't want or crave sex ever, even when they are able to procreate. 
5. People who have aged out of procreation, often still want and/or crave sex.
7.  It's probably worth noting, that I am not trying to argue that all human bodies are inherently perfect. I personally would like to submit my knee and my sinuses for a recall. The point I am actually trying to make is that there are an infinite number of humans who like and desire an infinite number of things. Every time we attempt to squish humans into a small number of types, we both harm people and leave them out. Any policy that tries to do more of that is by design biologically wrong and intentionally harmful. 

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Three Interesting Things

1. I loved this story about the importance of public libraries.
2. This story is audio only, but Artomatic in DC this year is in an old office building, and one artist is displaying his art in the very office he used to work in.
3. A cat apparently got sealed into a box that was being returned,  I am fascinated about so many things in this story, including that the warehouse took the cat  home and then to the vet, where the microchip alerted them to the owner. So, it's helpful for even indoor cats, especially ones that sneak into boxes, to be microchipped.