Monday, October 25 2021

Quote of the Day

It is the nature of idea to be communicated: written, spoken, done. The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding, grows better for being stepped on.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

The calmest Monday

The last couple weeks have been severely rough. Changing up my diet caused lots of fatigue and gut issues and psychological gut-punches. I got through and out the other side of that for my husband to have a health incident that still has me nervous and a little scared. Things seem to have settled down–I’ve gotten a decent amount of sleep for the first time in 4 days, and I am well-nourished now, and husband seems to have bounced back well.

I might not have gotten every single thing done that I wanted to today, but everyone’s feeling okay, things are getting done, and no one’s neglecting their immediate health. It’s the best Monday I’ve had in like a month.

Since things have been….exciting, I have a bunch of links that I’ve picked up along the way for random things I’ve looked up. Here’s the list:

I looked up social roles for wordbuilding at some point, and stumbled over this juicy looking link: My Role in a Social Change Ecosystem

I’d also like a better office chair. I have lumbar support issues, and I love sitting cross-legged. Hence:

I am loving this trend of no-combat MMOs: Spry Fox is still building a cozy non-violent MMO – and Epic is publishing it

Speaking of games, I watched Natalie Wynn stream Ambition, and I had a brief thought that I’d love to stream interactive novel-type games. But, copyright:

Not to be deterred, I came up with a plan where I stream about 30% of the game, then could offer a book club style Zoom call on the game over Patreon, assuming those who attend bought and played through the rest of the game themselves. But will I ever act on this plan? Not while there’s still worldbuilding to be done….

In more game news, I tried Gloomhaven with some friends for the first time. There are a lot of rules, and the rulebook is crap. This Gloomhaven Helper sounds very helpful for future games.

You know how hard it is to find a Gluten-Free Crisp recipe without almond or coconut flour? Hard enough that I don’t want to loose this recipe: Gluten-Free Apple Oatmeal Crisp.

Wednesday, August 18 2021

Quote of the Day

Why, when a protagonist faces the world, does she need to win, lose, or draw? This is a Western idea of conflict…What if she understands herself as a part of that world, that world as a part of herself? What if she simply continues to live?

Matthew Salesses, Craft in the Real World

Have been feeling under the weather, so a quick post

I’ve gotten Craft in the Real World from the library, and I love it, but I recognize it’s too advanced for me right now. I think I mostly understand the concepts, but I just don’t have enough experience transforming theory into craft to apply any of this to my writing.

So what I will do is keep reading this book. A half an hour a day, over and over, until everything does make sense and I can apply it, because it’s really really really important to the writer I want to be.

And speaking of that writer, I’m feeling really discouraged at ever having a finished piece to show the world. I have to believe that working on it a little bit (or a lot) every work day will get me there. Even if it doesn’t feel that way. Especially when it doesn’t feel that way.

These sound tasty: Blueberry Cookies

Lastly, a very excellent video essay about Bo Burnham and white liberals: Bo Burnham’s Inside and “White Liberal Performative Art” | Video Essay (Black Media Breakdown #12) by F.D Signifier.

And I say that because I do–sometimes to my detriment, sometimes in a way that brings me into conflict with some of my friends–I greatly empathize with what white people are going through right now in terms of this awakening to the reality of the world around them. And, just because of my morbid curiosity I am super interested in seeing how this will continue to effect their art and music and everything else. Especially if it means getting art that is not just a less-seasoned version of the stuff I’ve been seeing and growing up with my whole life. To me, Inside is like the perfect distillation of all those things.

Seriously just go watch it.

Monday, July 9 2021

Quote of the Day

Charlotte was coming to believe that arrogance was a quality not just correlated with but a manifestation of stupidity, a result of stupidity.

Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140

I’m trying an experiment today, one where instead of trying to stuff a whole bunch of things in my day and only getting to some of them, I’m going to Work. I sat down at my desk at 9, and I’m going to keep working on my novel until 5–with a short break here for this blog. I guess we’ll see how that goes…..


Kitty

ABS & SILICONE KITTY PAW ARTISAN KEYCAP

Those are amazing. Of course I use a chiclet keyboard and they won’t fit. But if I didn’t, these would be for me.


Ow

Lately I’ve been finding that when I read my phone for 20 minutes or more, my eyes start to sting and water. It’s not great. But this happens mostly in bed, in the mornings when I wake up. I had a suspicion, and I think the problem is actually that I haven’t been drinking enough. Back to making sure I drink like 6 bottles of water or more a day.


Working in the reality of today

Can we save the planet by shrinking the economy? The “degrowth” movement to fight the climate crisis offers a romantic, utopian vision. But it’s not a policy agenda.

This is a really great article and it’s a really, really great point. They point out that degrowth is very first world centered–if we stop buying a ton of things manufactured in developing economies, we gut those economies and their citizens start having very bad outcomes.

Even if emissions in rich countries go to zero very soon, climate change is set to worsen as poorer countries increase their own emissions.

That will, of course, have deeply negative climate impacts. But the alternative is a nonstarter — should the world really prioritize curbing emissions and economic growth if it meant suppressing the growth of those countries?

Degrowthers see no dilemma here. What Hickel envisions is global movement in two directions: Poor countries could develop up to a certain level of prosperity and then stop; rich countries could develop down to that level and then stop. Thus, climate catastrophe could be averted, all while making the world’s poor more prosperous.

“Rich countries urgently need to reduce their excess energy and resource use to sustainable levels so our sisters and brothers in the global South can live well too,” Hickel put it. “We live on an abundant planet and we can all flourish on it together, but to do so we have to share it more fairly, and build economies that are designed around meeting human needs rather than around perpetual growth.”

From a climate change perspective, though, there’s a problem. First, it means that degrowth would do nothing about the bulk of emissions, which are occurring in developing countries.

Second, the global economy is more interconnected than Hickel implies. When Covid-19 hit, poor countries were devastated not just by the virus but by the aftershocks of virus-induced slowdowns in consumption in rich countries

There’s some genuine appeal to the idea of an end to “consumerism,” but the pandemic offered a taste of how a sudden drop in rich-world consumption would actually affect the developing world. Covid-19 dramatically curtailed Western imports and tourism for a time. The consequences in poor countries were devastating. Hunger rose, and child mortality followed.

They also talk about how degrowth didn’t really start out as a climate solution, but a holistic proposal.


I have lemons

So I might try this delicious looking recipe: The Pasta Queen’s “Lemon Temptress Pasta”


I am builder of worlds!

I am looking for world building resources, and I found this interesting worksheet and resource list from M. D. Presley.

Worldbuilding Resources


New ContraPoints video!

Hurray Natalie! Envy is great. I really enjoyed it, thinking about how we cloak simple envy in justice and morality to assuage our own guilt or uncomfortableness over having the feeling, and use those to justify truly awful actions.

As a general rule, the more radical a political community claims to be, the more likely it is to be a community of resentment. Self-styled radicals will tell you, “Superficial surface reforms do not interest us. The problem must be critiqued at its root.” And the root turns out to be this universal, all-encompassing evil, right? Society itself, the system, the machine.

A resentment ideologue always imagines himself engaged in a kind of Satanic revolt against an omnipotent, omnipresent enemy…And nothing short of total revolution counts as any sort of victory whatsoever. “We have to dismantle the entire system! Burn it all down!”

I guess it’s pedestrian to point out that this is the revolutionary utopian equivalent of Christians awaiting the Last Judgement. Our Kingdom is coming comrades!

Often the appeal of utopian ideology is similar to religion. It’s not about health care, higher wages, relief from police violence: these are actual goals that could be demanded, worked for, and achieved. Utopian ideology instead promises relief from some general malaise, “alienation.” And so ironically it can have the same opiate effect that Marx ascribed to religion. But release from the general anguish of human existence is not a political goal. There’s been many revolutions in the last few centuries and so far zero utopias.

Tuesday, August 3 2021

Quote of the Day

War was ugly, exhausting, and above all else, tedious–an odd thing to say about a situation in which there were more explosions and adrenaline than you knew what to do with. But for all the strategizing, for all the narrow escapes and near misses, when you boiled it down, war was nothing more than an argument in which no one had landed on a better solution than killing each other. The suffering, at some point, became commonplace.

Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, And The Ground Within

I’m feeling awful today, but I have a few items that have come up, and I wanted to get them down.


Traditional Irish food

After about a month worth of no IBS attacks, I had a monster one today. This got me thinking more about my Eat Like Your Ancestors project, and how I really haven’t been doing that as much and should get back to it. I looked up my great-grandfather’s date of birth. I don’t know when he immigrated to the US from Ireland, but he was born close to 1900, so I figured that was close enough.

I researched foods eaten in Ireland from 1500-1900, and found this perfect book: Feast and Famine: Food and Nutrition in Ireland 1500-1920. Regrettably, my library doesn’t have the book and it’s really expensive on Amazon. Well, it’s out there if other resources don’t come through.

Other links I found but didn’t have enough energy to explore further:

Food in Early Ireland

What the Irish Ate Before Potatoes

Food Timeline FAQs: Irish food history & traditions

A Non-Famine History of Ireland?


Metformin

I have lots of friends on metformin who have reactions to it, and I randomly decided to look up what about metformin makes it such a gastrointestinal nightmare.

Metabolism, the Microbiome, Berberine and Metformin

Huh. Metformin has antibiotic properties. Some of the things I read said it might help dysbiosis over time, but yeah while that’s getting cleaned up, lots of sad bathroom time. Also that pre- and probiotics help quite a bit when taking metformin. Interesting.


Mmmmm

Don’t these Blueberry Sourdough Muffins sound tasty? Too bad I feel like crap and don’t want to eat much of anything today and didn’t end up baking them.


How exciting life in 2000 will be

What Will Future Homes Look Like? Filmed in the 1960’s – Narrated by Walter Cronkite

What is the future of the single family home? Architect Philip Johnson: “This idea that you should plop little houses around on tracts will go, I think. There’s no–it’s a totally wrong use of land. Everybody has a little bit of lawn on four sides of his house. Nobody has any privacy. No one has a garden of their own. No one, no architect builds houses now, it’s all done by builders and developers and they build them all alike, as you know, they call them ticky-tacky houses in the song. But there’s no future to that, because the cost of servicing the house is growing by such leaps and bounds that the taxes on that house can nowhere near pay for the services the town has to put there with their water, sewage, roads. So the house is a thing of the twentieth century.”

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Monday, August 2 2021

Quote of the Day

That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.

Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Questions and delusions

I’ve been feeling….unmoored lately. Working on the novel is hard, because it’s so big and I am so at the beginning of a process I have barely uncovered and never walked all the way through successfully. Getting distracted by side projects is way too easy.

On top of that I have been having a crisis of potential. As in, am I living up to mine. Here is how this brain-trap goes: I need to consider all the things I could be working on that could make the biggest impact on Making The World A Better Place, a project that I am solely responsible for and endlessly failing to make a dent in. I just need to find the Best Use For My Talents to Solve Climate Change / Racism / Exploitative Capitalism / Income Inequality / The Other Stuff.

What I realized today, perhaps for the first time, is that figuring out how to make a difference isn’t the same thing as making a difference. What’s worse, the only way to figure out how I can make a difference is by doing / making things and seeing if a difference is made. Which means not only did I waste all that time trying to “figure it out,” I’m way behind the experiment-and-fail eight ball.

That doesn’t necessarily make me feel better, but it does make me want to focus. I create new projects for myself on a whim-probably 3 or 4 a week. I said to a friend today that I might chose to give up air over giving up thinking of new projects. And here is where it becomes deadly, combining that spontaneous project generation with trying to figure out The Best Way To Use My Talents To Save The World.

I’ve just taken out my paper notebook, the last page of which is dedicated to my Another Idea for Another Day List, and I’ve added about five more things to it. Six–I just thought of another. I need to get this novel done. I need to put in the work, because it’s so easy to do so much work and accomplish nothing. I don’t understand why this is so easy.

Last week my co-working friend gave me a question to ask myself: Where can we settle in that makes us feel the best?

Settling in to write this novel about hardship and history and hope. That’s what makes me feel best.


…..right after I finish this one mini-project.

No for reals! It is important and germane to the novel. I’m picking out books in the tradition of the one I want to write and creating the Canon of Best Hope. Enjoy. When I’m done, I’ll have a list of resources and examples for me to read and examine and look up to.


A couple of weird wonderful things I found over the last few days

Tricia Hersey’s The Nap Ministry. “We believe rest is a form of resistance and name sleep deprivation as a racial and social justice issue.”

KC Davis’s How to Keep House While Drowning: 31 days of compassionate help. “Depression, anxiety, ADHD, parental trauma, chronic illness, postpartum, bereavement, lack of support… Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and sometimes hygiene can become almost impossible during these struggles, yet that’s rarely the focus of books about these mental, physical, and social barriers. Until now.”

Set up Family Sharing in Apple. This one is for me to help my mom set up AppleTV+.

Sourdough buttermilk biscuits. Don’t these sound tasty! Too bad I waited too long to try it and my buttermilk is bad. Maybe next time I have some extra.

Monday, July 19 2021

Quote of the Day

And do you know what? I truly don’t care which of them is right so long as it fixes everything. I don’t have an…an ideology. I don’t know the right terms to discuss these things. I don’t know the science behind any of it. I’m sure I sound silly right now. But I just want everyone to get along, and to be well taken care of. That’s it. I want everybody to be happy, and I do not care how we get there.

Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, And The Ground Within

Essay+

Even though I was of course convinced on Wednesday that my rough draft was perfect and possibly divinely inspired, three days later I thought about a new section I could add that might make it “better.” Anyway, I thought about Daryl Davis and how his actions could back up my conclusion nicely.

And then this article “Recognising our common humanity might not be enough to prevent hatred” could make the whole premise of my essay blow up in my face, so maybe I should give that a read. Or, you know, not.


I swear to God

I was asked about praying today by a friend, if you can pray and not believe in a god. My soon-to-be chaplain friend mentioned this book, and it seems super interesting: Anne Lamott Distills Prayer Into ‘Help, Thanks, Wow’.


I want to try new things that sound tasty

Sourdough Zucchini Bread

Vegan coconut cream berry parfaits


Chestnuts–another nice thing America apparently can’t have

What it Takes to Bring Back the Near Mythical American Chestnut Trees

Mature American chestnuts have been virtually extinct for decades. The tree’s demise started with something called ink disease in the early 1800s, which steadily killed chestnut in the southern portion of its range. The final blow happened at the turn of the 20th century when a disease called chestnut blight swept through Eastern forests.

The disappearance of the chestnut launched a profound change in the structure and composition of eastern forests.

The good news is that there is an effort to try to restore American chestnut trees. I guess they taste the best? I’ve never tasted any kind of chestnuts before.

If I want to try any sort of chestnuts, here are some options:

Urban Foraging: Chestnuts

Buy Fresh Chestnuts Online

Monday, June 14 2021

Quote of the Day

Yes … perhaps the time for his people had passed. Moash had failed Kaladin and the others—but that was merely how men were in this debased age. He couldn’t be blamed. He was a product of his culture.

Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer.

Yes We Have No Bananas Today

Sourdough Banana Bread by King Arthur Baking

I was determined to use up my sourdough discard and the one banana left behind by my parents during their stay. What I have learned is that banana bread needs more than one banana, no matter how many recipes I check online. This was the best one, I thought. Maybe I’ll buy more bananas this weekend.