Adversaria

ad·​ver·​sar·​ia | \ ˌad-vər-ˈsa-rē-ə  \

Definition of adversaria

1 : commentaries or notes (as on a text or document)

2 : a miscellaneous collection of notes, remarks, or selections : COMMONPLACE BOOK

The very act of recording your actions and impressions is itself powerfully mnemonic, fixing the moment more durably in your memory so that it’s easier to recall in future, even if you never consult your notes.

The genius of the blog was not in the note-taking, it was in the publishing. The act of making your log-file public requires a rigor that keeping personal notes does not. Writing for a notional audience — particularly an audience of strangers — demands a comprehensive account that I rarely muster when I’m taking notes for myself. I am much better at kidding myself my ability to interpret my notes at a later date than I am at convincing myself that anyone else will be able to make heads or tails of them.

Cory Doctorow, The Memex Method.

Wednesday, October 20 2021

Quote of the Day

It’s your nature to be Tirin, and my nature to be Shevek, and our common nature to be Odonians, responsible to one another. And that responsibility is our freedom. To avoid it, would be to lose our freedom. Would you really like to live in a society where you had no responsibility and no freedom, no choice, only the false option of obedience to the law, or disobedience followed by punishment? Would you really want to go live in a prison?

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

Why we are all so tired

Today I went the store to buy coconut milk to make a smoothie.

I’ve already weeded out most brands of coconut milk because they have gums in them. But, there was a new brand that I wanted to examine because the package was much bigger than my normal brand. I thought it might be easier and cheaper than having to buy 3-4 little packages.

The new brand was very proud to announce it only has two simple ingredients: coconut and water! So wholesome. So fresh and natural and simple.

But….does there need to be water in coconut milk? How is coconut milk made? Is water a required part of the process? I thought it was made by basically wringing out coconut meat, no water necessary…but I wasn’t sure.

So I trundled off to get my usual brand. It had 1 ingredient: 100% coconut milk.

At this point I felt like I had no idea what coconut milk even is.

So I started comparing macronutrients to try and figure it out. The serving size on the usual brand was marked as 1/2 cup. The serving size on the new brand was 1/3 cup. Of course. The usual had 17g of fat, while the new one had 9 grams of fat per serving.

So maybe the new brand was a lite coconut milk, without saying “lite” on it? Nope, the new brand also had a lite version, which I didn’t even bother taking a look at. It seems the new brand’s regular coconut milk was actually watered down coconut milk? What even constitutes coconut milk then? Does there have to be a certain fat percentage?

…ok, see? See how hard buying one simple thing at the store is, and how much brain power I had to expend to make a single purchase. Everything in our capitalist life is like this. I ended up not even looking at the prices, which were vastly different and I’d have to do a bunch of math to compare which was the better value, especially counting for the fact that one was watered down. And since I was also watering down the usual brand when I use it because it is slightly too fatty, the best choice might have been the new brand anyhow….

Fitting everything in a day, shopping, working, civic engagement, keeping up with friends and family now happens on 2-4 social media platforms, texts, group chats on multiple messaging platforms, voice messages, voice calls, occasional birthday cards, and video calls. It’s all too impossibly overwhelming much.

So that I know what the hell it is that I am drinking, I’ve now looked up what coconut milk is, and hey, there are kinds:

When it comes to cooking, canned coconut milk is typically king. For many, it’s a pantry staple, as it’s shelf-stable and can be added to so many recipes. Canned coconut milk is a bit thicker than its boxed counterpart, imparting hints of coconut flavor and creaminess to a dish. For canned coconut milk, you may open the can to find that it has separated, with thick cream on the top, paired with a milky liquid, but adding it straight to a saucepan while cooking will bring the separation back together into its creamy form. 

Boxed coconut milk, on the other hand, which is often found on the shelves in a carton, is typically used for quicker recipes. It’s not as thick or creamy, but it makes a great milk alternative for cereal or smoothies, or even coffee if you just need a light addition. Its flavor isn’t as strong as canned coconut milk, since it doesn’t normally present the thick cream you see in a can, and often, it may have higher water content or other additives. A powdered form of coconut milk is also available and can be mixed with water, but it’s not as prevalent at the grocery store as these other two options. 

The Untold Truth of Coconut Milk, Mashed.com

At least my smoothie tasted great.


Solarpunk headlines

Both of these things seem pretty easy, and one is what we should already be doing anyhow

Want to stop climate change? Educate girls.

Solar panels on half the world’s roofs could meet its entire electricity demand – new research

Tuesday, October 19 2021

Quote of the Day

If to respect himself Kimoe had to consider half the human race as inferior to him, how then did women manage to respect themselves–did they consider men inferior?

Ursula K LeGuin, The Dispossessed

It’s been a week

That I think I’m starting to recover from. I pretty much dropped the writing ball while I tried to get my head around and work through issues surrounding what my nutritionist wants me to do and the cruft I’ve kept in my head over the years from a thousand different diets.

Working through lots of assumptions and things that I was taking as fact and generally re-arranging my perception on what healthy eating can look like was all-consuming, fatiguing, and painful, mentally and physically.

I’m feeling better now, and I think I’m eating better too.


Nutritionally

I’ve mentioned a couple times now that I’m working with a nutritionist, and if you would like to know more about that, she is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and you can find out their methods here. I like her philosophy because I don’t believe in demonizing food groups, I need to get rid of more inflammation, and I need to rebuild my gut microbiome after 5 solid years of antibiotics, antimicrobials, and anti-virals to wipe out bad bacteria, parasites, and viruses that were fueling chronic fatigue and IBS.


Thinking through typing

While I was on break from story crafting, as it were, I was having a thought about my next step in worldbuilding. Now that I have the physical environment mostly down, it’s time to work on Element X, as N.K. Jemisin calls it, or the speculative element. I’ve thought about it a little over the last week, and I was feeling overwhelmed. But I’m coming back to it fully this week, and I’m realizing that my brain is trying to work on Element X and culture at the same time. And I’m getting frustrated when I can’t fit the pieces together right because they are both still in flux.

It’s actually really hard to take story crafting piece by piece, because breakthroughs often give me pieces of the whole puzzle, not just the parts I am looking at. Which is inherently fine, but frustrating when my conscious brain thinks it’s all that and tries to meticulously think out the whole story at once. That’s not how logical thinking works! Poor conscious brain, thinking it needs to show off that it’s as good as unconscious brain. I need to remember to focus on one thing at a time and just enjoy the scattershot breakthroughs as they happen.

(And of course, those breakthroughs only happen because conscious brain is so good at focusing and researching and thinking things through. Harnessing Apollo’s horses is a real PITA.)

Wednesday, October 13 2021

Quote of the Day

In a human sacrifice to deity there might be at least a mistaken and terrible beauty; in the rites of moneychangers, where greed, laziness, and envy were assumed to move all men’s acts, even the terrible became banal.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

It’s going to be a day

Have I mentioned my shoulder has hurt for the last two months now? It’s a process my body seems to go through as it heals. I’ve gone through it before with my other shoulder. It’s fine now, no pain, complete range of motion. I’ll come out the other end with two shoulders in excellent working order. But keeping the faith in that knowledge is tough.

Today I have little energy, less motivation, and a shoulder that just won’t stop aching instead of its usual painful twinge when I use it. But I also have a tiny spark fo feeling that if I just keep trying to stick to my usual schedule, and don’t push but keep at it, I will get through today and tomorrow will be better.

So let’s try that.


Alma mater reading material

There are a number of interesting finds in this month’s issue of Stanford magazine:

More aquatic foods could be key to improving global health

  • This one links excellently to the worldbuilding I have done for my story. Also, according to both my nutritionist and my taste buds, this seems like a much better answer than going vegan. Also also, remember not to blame the poor cows.

Stanford researchers develop an intervention that cuts recidivism among children reentering school from the justice system

  • People acting like other people are people ftw

New Book Answers The Questions: Where Did Big Tech Go Wrong, And What Can We Do Next?

  • This doesn’t sound like anything new, but maybe the framework presented in the book is interesting. The class sure sounds interesting….

Tuesday, October 12 2021

Quote of the Day

Kimoe’s ideas never seemed to be able to go in a straight line; they had to walk around this and avoid that, and then they ended up smack against a wall. There were walls around all his thoughts, and he seemed utterly unaware of them, though he was perpetually hiding behind them.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

Chilly

Maybe I haven’t been able to concentrate today because it went down to the 30s last night and I stubbornly kept a window open and the heat off. And now it’s afternoon and the house is still 64 degrees. I think my brain is a little frozen.

In any case, the concentration doesn’t seem to be happening, so I’m going to just list off some interesting links that I have stumbled over but haven’t read. Maybe I can ponder some more about AIs for my story before writing the day off and baking to warm the place up faster.

EVOLVING THREAT New variants have changed the face of the pandemic. What will the virus do next?

  • I almost don’t want to know

How Our Need For Attention Online Drives Us Crazy

  • Why can’t I stop thinking about streaming solarpunk games on YouTube?

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.

  • Make this story not exist. No, seriously. This. Shouldn’t. HAPPEN.

The Farmers’ Market Is Moving Online

  • I have to find local versions of these services

How to think clearly: By learning to question and clarify your thoughts, you’ll improve your self-knowledge and become a better communicator

  • Clarity is important to writers, and I’ve had issues with being to obscure and opaque in my writing in the past, so this could help?

Good On You Directory

  • Thousands of clothing brands, rated for how sustainable and fair to their workers they are. Which I know is a very problematic thing from both sides, as Salem Tovar points out in her excellent video essay. Since I hate buying new clothes and keep even things I get from fast fashion places until they have holes in them, at least maybe this can lead me to better quality so I can keep the three items I actually like for longer.

There, I think this list properly sums up the wonder and the horror of living on the Internet. I wasn’t going for that, but neither were the people who started the Internet. Here we all are.

Monday, October 11 2021

Quote of the Day

…true hope is ultimately a bold choice full of power and agency. It’s true that no one can escape crisis. It comes for each of us in numerous forms, whether personal or societal, but in crisis there is also incredible opportunity to draw from the strength of humans of the past and to persevere long enough to inspire someone in the future.

Ben Gierhart, Asimov’s Foundation and Finding Hope in Crisis

Today’s post is all about the researching for my new story-in-progress!


Preparing coastlines for the future

I’m worldbuilding for a short story, and really digging into how to save our coastlines from rising seas and increasingly worse storms was an incredible shock. It’s all about managed retreat and habitat rehabilitation. Many of the solutions local governments recommend (hardening, raising buildings) pretty much make things worse.

Best practices for successful coastal flooding adaptation

Coastal Resiliency

Solutions to Coastal Flooding: Can National Parks Turn the Tide?

Innovative Approaches to Building Resilient Coastal Infrastructure


Some nifty buildings

So if people pull back from the shore, where will they live? I started looking into some nifty futuristic concept architecture for ideas.

See the World’s Most Innovative Future Projects at the World Architectural Festival in Berlin

10 Futuristic Architecture Projects That Will Blow Your Mind!

What Should Cities Be Like in 2050?

Shaping Cities like Coral Reefs


Getting around in this future

Once again, really researching this has been eye-opening. I’ve assumed trains of some sort are the best plan, but coastal flooding over train tracks make them impractical. We can keep raising the tracks over and over, but…why? There are better ideas out there.

Does Sea Level Rise Matter to Transportation Along the Atlantic Coast?

Climate Impacts on Transportation

A Future Option for African Fast Intercity Coastal Transportation

Six futuristic designs that will change public transportation

WHEN NEW TECHNOLOGIES COME TOGETHER: THE COMING WAVE OF FUTURISTIC TRANSPORTATION

The Future of Transportation course from the Futurist Institute

18 urban transportation concepts for the future

Friday, October 8, 2021

Quote of the Day

I wish that every day was Saturday and every month was October.

Charmaine J. Forde

Doofus interruptus

After having my day hijacked by lots of feels yesterday, I am back on track and delving more into the worldbuilding for my story. Specifically, more on flooding. I found this enlightening article about the process of getting one levee built, and how inequitable the process and the result is:

The Inequality of America’s Levee Systems

I thought this would be a great example I could use as a model for what could happen in my future southern New England coast. But then I found another article and I realized I have the complete wrong model. This article made me realize that southern New England has been dealing with flooding for a really, really long time. And most of what they’ve tried is slowly breaking down and failing. Levees, seawalls, dune rehabilitation, even stilts…none of it is working against erosion and flooding today, never mind decades from now.

Mother Nature, Humans Do Battle Along R.I.’s Battered Coast

Today I’m going to glean what I can from this article and I think I will get a good picture of where this coast might be in the years to come. I have to keep remembering that solarpunk is the fiction of the triumph of technology, of real solutions (even if temporary), of the positive outcome. It’s very easy to look at these situations today and just extrapolate forward on current social structures and political will and get to a very negative result. And I also have to remember that this is a short story and I don’t have to have all the answers to how people could ever realistically get to the future I want to show.

R E M E M B E R


Speaking of solarpunk…

A new article on Tor listing some tasty solarpunk SF:

The Solarpunk Future: Five Essential Works of Climate-Forward Fiction

My library card is gonna get a workout. I actually started Robinson’s New York 2140, but I didn’t finish it before it was due back. I’ll have to try it again.


SF TV shows make my day

I’ve started watching Apple’s Foundation. I’ve never actually read the books–I never was a fan of super hard SF growing up, so I tended to skip it. The only Asimov I’ve read was The Gods Themselves, and I was young enough that maybe I shouldn’t have.

Anyhoo. Tor has an article about Foundation up, and since I’m watching the show and enjoying it, I figured this article might make for good reading.

Asimov’s Foundation and Finding Hope in Crisis

Wednesday, October 6 2021

Quote of the Day

There are two buttons I never like to hit, that is panic and snooze.

Ted Lasso

Links links links

I’ve got a ton to get to today, so just listing some links I don’t want to forget.

VITRIOL

  • A game I apparently signed up to get updates about? It must have sounded interesting to me so I should re-check it out eventually.

A Solarpunk Manifesto

  • A nice summing up of the things I was researching last week.

Sistah SciFi

  • I want to visit this bookstore!!! Stupid pandemic……. soon.

Life Swap

  • Stardew Valley has to be hopepunk?

What We Can Learn from ‘Advise and Consent’

Politics and power haven’t changed much since Allen Drury, ’39, wrote his midcentury masterpiece. But trust has.

  • I really need to read this one, it might help me with my current story. Maybe this afternoon, after I finish more worldbuilding exercises….

Tuesday, October 6 2021

Quote of the Day

Solarpunk Magazine is publishing utopian science fiction, working against dystopia, so more power to them. Kick ass and use hope like a club to beat back the pessimists.

Kim Stanley Robinson for Solarpunk Magazine

Research is always so soothing

After being very uncertain of my worldbuilding next steps, I took N. K. Jemisin’s advice and made a map. That was super helpful, for some reason, so I also researched flooding, and found this great tool the state of Rhode Island has created to map our ever-approaching doom!

With online tool, you can see where R.I. would flood

Doomy but helpful. There is actually less flooding than I would have thought. The site also has a paper on ideas for private individuals to help secure their property against floods.

I also stumbled on pictures of then-Tropical Storm Henri hitting the southern New England coast. Very interesting that some communities have literal floodgates in place already. Like the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier to shield the low-lying sections of Providence, and the Pawcatuck Hurricane Barrier and flood gates in Stonington.

While it’s outside the scope of my story–I think–it’s super interesting to me that local governments are seriously thinking about climate change, and their plan, instead of managed retreat, appears to be to just continue adapting to more and more water. I don’t know if that’s really viable, but it is interesting.

Also, since my book of place names for RI turned out to be a book of place names for CT, I found a website with hopefully similar information.


It’s not dystopia, it’s just the inevitability of history repeating itself

This was a weird little short film about how the US is a civilization in rapid decline that I found on YouTube:

American Psychosis – Chris Hedges on the US empire of narcissism and psychopathy.

The weird part is that it seems to just be an interview with Chris Hedges. At times we watch Hedges speaking, and at other times we watch sometimes random, sometimes artsy, and sometimes germaine video images instead.

It was made by American Canary, which looks intriguing.

But there were some nicely quotable bits:

…the Humanities at their best are about teaching people how to think, rather than what to think. They’re about teaching people to challenge assumptions and structures. The discipline of the Humanities is subversive–it’s meant to be subversive.

Chris Hedges

Monday, October 4 2021

Quote of the Day

You grew up beside him, toymaker. Did he ever fall to the boasting sickness, the Choking Glory? Or daydreams and nightmares dropping into his lungs?

Phyllis Ann Karr, At Amberleaf Fair

Ugh

No nifty links or learnings today. I tried to go gluten-free starting today for two weeks on the advice of my nutritionist. Breakfast went horribly and I just want to give up! I just might…..at least for today.

So I am feeling tired and achy after severe tummy troubles, and it’s time to kick my worldbuilding can down the story road–November 1 is getting ever-closer. I was very stuck on Friday, but talking to my husband helped me sort a few things out and have a few new ideas to try to throw at this story.

Interestingly, I found that while worldbuilding a story set in the future I keep trying to build a nice neat timeline so that I can trace everything new in the story back to today’s present and how it grew out of the now. But I don’t need to do that for a short story! I can just make the world look the way I want it to look because I want it to look that way.

I need to be more assertive in my worldbuilding. Make it so! I hadn’t realized this was part of my problem with finishing stories. And the more I think about it, the more I think I might be working against my own nature a bit. I’m a big picture person–not in that I can’t get into minutiae, but to understand the small bits I need the overarching view first. That might be why I am getting frustrated. Well, brain, the overarching view is going to have to be the theme, not The Made Up History Of Humankind mInute-by-minute starting from right now.

Let’s hope I make some progress today…

Friday, October 1 2021

Quote of the Day

As a clear blue sky waits for rain, so too shall I wait for you.

Yilun Fan, “Speechless Love,” Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation

Unfortunately found out the way things really work

Yesterday I thought and thought about my Solarpunk Story #1 theme. I had a couple vague, barely there ideas about what could maybe happen in the story. I was thinking about committees and bills and laws and voting and technology.

I did a little researching on participatory democracy (or direct democracy) compared to representative democracy. I had the stunning thought that voting is incredibly binary–it’s yes or no and that’s it. No nuance when citizens vote on a local referendum or when representative vote on a law.

The nuance, then, is all about who is in the room when a bill / proposition gets crafted. Which made me think. Who is in the room? I think it can be anyone, technically, but usually it’s the representative and probably lobbyists? Right?

Wrong! We’re more dysfunctional now! Yay!

You elected them to write new laws. They’re letting corporations do it instead.

In all, these copycat bills amount to the nation’s largest, unreported special-interest campaign, driving agendas in every statehouse and touching nearly every area of public policy. 

The investigation reveals that fill-in-the-blank bills have in some states supplanted the traditional approach of writing legislation from scratch. They have become so intertwined with the lawmaking process that the nation’s top sponsor of copycat legislation, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, claimed to have signed on to 72 such bills without knowing or questioning their origin.

For lawmakers, copying model legislation is an easy way to get fully formed bills to put their names on, while building relationships with lobbyists and other potential campaign donors.

For special interests seeking to stay under the radar, model legislation also offers distinct advantages. Copycat bills don’t appear on expense reports, or campaign finance forms. They don’t require someone to register as a lobbyist or sign in at committee hearings. But once injected into the lawmaking process, they can go viral, spreading state to state, executing an agenda to the letter…

Copied bills have been used to override the will of local voters and their elected leaders. Cities and counties have raised their minimum wage, banned plastics bags and destroyed seized guns, only to have industry groups that oppose such measures make them illegal with model bills passed in state legislatures…

Model legislation has flourished as gridlock in Congress forced special interest groups to look to the states to get things done, she said.

Great. I mean, it helped me refine my theme in a burst of rage-fueled clarity, but….ugh, that’s gross. If there is a way to game the system, someone will eventually do it.

(Which is what I really wanted my theme to be, but solarpunk is about optimism, so I had to dig deeper….)


Cottagecore gloriousness

Winter is approaching and while it’s still pandemic-y out there, I suspect I will be going Outside more than last year’s winter. Having just moved here at the beginning of the pandemic, I really don’t have appropriate winter clothes.

I really hate shopping for clothes, and everything in plus size seems to be all exactly what I don’t want to wear and / or exactly what will make me look the most horrible.

But this rise of cottagecore and shops that want to purvey it might save me. Here’s a couple link-filled articles I found:

21+ Plus Size Cottagecore Outfits – Where to Shop

The Must-Have Winter Wardrobe Staple: Cottagecore

I want my clothes to be simple and easy to clean, but I am also sick of my shirt-and-jeans look. I also don’t want TOO many ruffles. We’ll see where this goes, I guess. (Probably right into dark academia, but we’ll see!)