Links for August 10 2016

I have spent this entire week so far knitting and watching the Olympics.

Here, have a reading list:

60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads



Ravellenic Summer Games 2016!

I just found out about the Ravellenic Games! I am so excited!

I am going to once again try to knit the Vodograi Hat! This hat is GORGEOUS. I covet it. I have started and ripped it out three times so far.

So, the point of the Ravellenic Games is to start a project during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, and finish the project by closing.

On your mark!

Get set!




Links for August 3 2016

* Why Growth Will Fail

“Robert Gordon has written a magnificent book on the economic history of the United States over the last one and a half centuries. His study focuses on what he calls the “special century” from 1870 to 1970—in which living standards increased more rapidly than at any time before or after. The book is without peer in providing a statistical analysis of the uneven pace of growth and technological change, in describing the technologies that led to the remarkable progress during the special century, and in concluding with a provocative hypothesis that the future is unlikely to bring anything approaching the economic gains of the earlier period.”

I went and bought the book after reading this review, and am digging into it.

* Found: A 3,000-Year-Old Ball of Yarn

“Ever since archaeologists discovered Must Farm, which has been called Britain’s Pompeii, they have been uncovering small clues as to what life was like for the families that lived here. This ball of yarn is one of the most delicate finds–extraordinary in its survival over all these years.”

* We Must Rewrite Women’s Role in History

“But take a deeper look into history, and you’ll find countless women who did incredible things that weren’t recognized in their time—or even in ours. The erasure of women from history is two-fold: not only are we discouraged or punished for stepping outside the limited roles offered to us, but when we do achieve great things despite the odds, our accomplishments are often diminished, ignored or credited to men.”



Not much going on, which is nice

Let’s see.

1. I’ve been listening to a number of knitting-related audiobooks and podcasts, which led to an excursion to the Steven Be Yarn store yesterday evening, which led to an expansion of my yarn stash. Whoops. I keep falling asleep planning knitting projects, which is rather pleasant.

2. J and I are re-watching older seasons of the Great British Bake-Off while waiting for the new season episodes to air. I am permanently ear-wormed with the theme music for the show.

3. I either have a cold or some sort of tedious massive allergy thing going on. I keep losing my voice at work, blea.

4. The Olympics are starting this week! We got cable for a month, as per usual. And I found my Xfinity passwords and downloaded the NBC Sports app so I can watch on my computer. Yes, I know the controversy and problems with the Rio venue, but I still like the Olympics. I just love watching how amazing people can be!

5. A lot of folks are SUPER into the new Netflix miniseries, Stranger Things, right now. And I just … it’s not working for me. I mean, the show is a LOVING and DETAILED re-creation of 80s-era fantasy-horror. It’s really perfect. But … but I’m not twelve anymore. If I want to watch an old movie like this I can watch Lost Boys again. I’m not sure where the value is in lovingly replicating the misogyny and homophobia of my youth. I don’t know, maybe I’ll give it one more episode.

6. The garden has started producing tomatoes! I am very excited about this.



Learn to fail, fail in order to learn

My kids were both at day camps this week. The house has been delightfully quiet during the day. I keep thinking, is this what it’s like for people who don’t homeschool?!? SO QUIET.

Both kids are busing to and from their camps. This means getting up earlier than usual (setting an alarm!) and getting out the door, getting the correct buses, attending camp, and finding their way home. And, all week, we have been letting the kids fail.

Didn’t get all your chores done before it was time to leave? Too bad, now you can do them when you get home and are tired and crabby. Didn’t set your alarm? Well, you can call the camp and tell them you are going to be late. Didn’t pay attention to the bus route and have ended up on the far side of the city? Okay, in that case we did go pick the poor soul up. But they still had to bus the next day.

When the kids protested our measures, when we pointed out that they messed something up and now had to fix it themselves, they were vaguely outraged. “It’s not fair!” we were told. But we pointed out that this was practice for doing all of these things on their own in a few years. That getting to work on time was not particularly optional, that employers and teachers really did not care in the slightest whether or not you like your alarm clock. It’s up to YOU to solve the problem.

In addition, the camp that K is at is a Spanish-language camp at which she is the teacher’s assistant. She is the big kid, the teenager, the aide. She is wrangling 3-4 year-olds for five hours. She comes home each afternoon completely exhausted. It’s highly educational for her. And … and I think she appreciates it. We’ve entered the era of giving the kids lots of little volunteer opportunities so that they can start getting a handle on what sort of work they might enjoy. These short volunteer experiences lead to larger ones later, lead to part-time jobs, lead to recommendation and resume items. Or, they don’t! Better to learn now that one cannot stand wrangling younger kids than a month into a three-month job.

We learn from failures. I keep telling the kids this, every time they are upset at not getting something right the first time. “If you got it right the first time,” I tell them, “I’d have you do something harder.” It’s when we do not know how to do something, and we mess it up a bit or are imperfect, and we improve and grow and change, that we learn. If we only ever do things we are good at right away we stagnate, stall, and congeal. Failure, and LEARNING from failure, are vital to growth.

By today, the last day of this week’s day camps, both kids got up on time, ready on time, and out the door on time. Learning has occurred.



Links for July 27 2016

* Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 DNC

“Who will have the power to shape our children?”

* Ray Kurzweil: The world isn’t getting worse — our information is getting better

“A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you’d never even hear about it. Now there’s an incident halfway around the globe and we not only hear about it, we experience it.”

* Reddit, of all places, has complied the definitive list of evidence: Trump openly calls for the U.S to commit war crimes and advocates for the murder of innocent women and children.

Reddit. I mean, really. You can’t argue with that.

* Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers.”

* When Will The Gates Of Atlantis Open And Welcome Us Back Into The Sea: Day One Of The DNC

“Later that morning we go across the street to a sort of ready-made meal outpost and as we are standing in line, my companion Laurie Penny says, “This feels like the luxury communist automat future,” and I agree, both because it feels true and also because it feels like this is the sort of conversation I should be having all the time.”



News out of SDCC

There’s a lot of superhero movie and tv news out of San Diego ComicCon this weekend.

This Wonder Woman movie trailer looks pretty good. Speaking as someone who has boycotted all the recent DC movies, well, I think I’ll go see this one.

Marvel’s NetFlix show, Luke Cage, looks promising. I particularly like contrasting this hallway fight with the hallways fights in the first two season of Daredevil, and Jessica’s hallway walk in the first episode of Jessica Jones.

The Black Panther movie casting was announced, and it’s pretty damn good.

And they announced that Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel in the upcoming movie.

… I don’t even know where to start with feelings about this.

There was a time in my life when I would have seriously considered signing a contract with infernal forces if it meant seeing a good, serious, well-made movie about my favorite comic book characters. Like, weighing my soul against the value of one really good superhero movie that everyone in the world could see? The amount of joy that would bring to the planet? For my soul? Seriously, y’all, I woulda signed.

But I’ve never been really good at hope.

I’m an optimist, yes, obviously. But I am a weary, resigned, squinchy-eyed optimist. I am an optimist because there are no other choices. Being a cynic is both boring as hell and it does nothing, creates nothing. Being a pessimist just means your friends avoid you and you spiral into clinical depression. If you truly believe that everything is shit and the worst is unavoidable, well, how much do you contribute to the planet? So I’m an optimist. I believe that I can effect change. That I have a right and duty to effect change.

I’m an optimist because I don’t have a choice. Not because I am hopeful.

I look at the Brie Larson casting and I think, geez, they couldn’t’a cast someone older? Someone bigger? A woman of color? And the part of my heart that still cries every time I read a Captain Marvel comic just sits numbly in the corner, waiting for the movie to suck. Or for it to never get made. Or for Zack Snyder to be made the director. Or SOMETHING terrible to go wrong.

But … But I can’t really be bitter. Or angry. Or cynical. Because there is going to be a Captain Marvel movie, and this matters to me, and I want it, and I want it to be good.

But I can’t be hopeful because I am an intelligent and aware person who lives in reality, and I’ve met superhero movies before.

If there is a word for this feeling, I don’t know it.

Is there a word for “I once would have given my soul for this movie and I can only see the flaws and problems with every announcement but my heart still thumps with joy and if you slag on Brie Larson in my mentions I will CUT you”?

If there is a word for it, it’s probably in German.




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