30.7.19

Want my vote?

On the eve of the next two Democratic debates, I've been thinking a lot about the whole 2020 election and what the candidates are saying.  Now, I've seen far too many school elections over the years and the one thing that bothers me most is when the candidates promise what they cannot produce because it's not within their ability to do - like "no homework over the weekend" or "froyo every day" or "changing the school mascot".

Virtually every presidential candidate comes out with a 100 Day Plan, talking about all the things they'll accomplish within their first 100 days.  And yet most don't get to do any of that for a few good reasons, like whatever it is requires Congress to vote or there's information they don't have as a candidate that as president they now know would make that idea impractical or take longer.  What if, instead, they talk about how things that we took as being "normal" and that have been regularly challenged by the incumbent need to be turned around and that legislation is needed.  In their first 100 days, they'll propose the following for a Congressional vote:
  • For all positions requiring Senate confirmation, no one can serve as an "acting" Secretary/Director/whatever longer than 60 days without Senate approval 
  • Any business or financial holdings must be put in a blind trust to prevent the appearance of conflict of interest
  • If the statute of limitations would run out on any crime committed, that time frame will freeze until the president is no longer in office
  • No personal phones or accounts for any communications while in office for any elected official or their staff
  • Security clearance and background checks to be handled by the FBI and cannot be overruled by the president without Senate approval.
  • All presidential and vice presidential candidates must release the past ten years of tax returns or they cannot be on the ballot
  • Press briefings must happen on at least a weekly basis 
Working with Congress on these would require bipartisan support, and by forging those relationships a new administration could then tackle the other stuff.  

Of course it won't happen.  But a Lazygal can dream, right?  And maybe if there are enough of us dreaming the same things...

29.7.19

Notable Quotes

"They weren't bad books," Phin countered patiently.  "They were books that you didn't enjoy.  It's not the same thing at all.  The only bad books are books that are so badly written that no one will publish them.  Any book that has been published is going to be a 'good book' for someone."
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell 

23.7.19

Summer discovery

A few years ago I blogged about being a lucky Lazygal regarding tvs and how I've never had to buy one.  I did buy one for Thing One two years ago, but I've never bought one for myself.  Why mention it now?

As I've been wading through the Massive Summer To Do List™ I find it helpful to have something on in the background.  Yes, I could listen to music but I've also got quite the backlog of shows people have insisted I watch because... well, because.  Because the tv in my room is so old (ok, 13 years old) it's not Internet Ready.  It's not even a flat screen (gasp!). But while looking for some series that would take me through a number of those tasks that only require partial attention I found that a few were on Netflix and that somehow I could log in via my cable box. 

Imagine my surprise.  And pleasure.  I do watch my Netflix DVDs on that tv (there are far more DVDs available than there are things to stream, btw) and now, to some extent, I can watch other things.  First up?  The Crown

Suggestions for what's next?  Comment below.

18.7.19

Call me crazy

One of the things that confuse me about others the insistence on air conditioning when it's really not needed.  I've even blogged about itTwice.

That's not to say that I don't see the need for it: MPOW is a concrete box with windows that don't open, and I'm sure the top floor gets up to over 100 during the summer (great for books, right?).  I'm all for removing the humidity and extreme heat from my life.  I mean, really, who wants to sweat from morning to night if you're sitting indoors.  The question that plagues my life is How Low Should You Go?

After several years of arguing this out, The Herd, Thing One and I have reached an agreement.  If the indoor temps reach 81 (or higher) we'll turn on the a/c, which will be set to 78.  If that's still to hot, use a fan.  Personally, I find it's perfect at that temp.  This year, we didn't turn the a/c on until July 5 - although it was an exceptionally cool spring so it wasn't an issue. 

The corollary to that is the winter indoor temp, which is great at MPOW.  At home?  I'd prefer 63-64 indoors, but have been convinced that 65 is perfect for most of the time, with 68 for extremely cold days.

Go ahead.  Call me crazy.

16.7.19

Musical Update

Apparently I posted this music meme in September 2009, (update in 2011) so it feels appropriate to do another update now.  So, what musical groups have I seen? Anything new is marked with a *

Original List
David Bowie
Jethro Tull
Charles Aznavour
Bonnie Raitt (3 times)
Spyro Gyra
Rolling Stones
Eric Clapton
Lou Reed
Clannad
kd lang (3 times)
Li'l Ed & the Imperials / Koko Taylor
Charlie Musselwhite
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Bjork / Sigur Rus
Steely Dan
"Guns & Roses"
Blondie
Kiss / Aerosmith
Cat Power
Marianne Faithfull
2011 List
Eric Clapton (again)
Jeff Beck
Charlotte Gainsburg
AIR
Jessie Baylin
kd lang (again)
Sybarite5
Cima Trio
Blondie (again)
Bruce Daigroponte (left off original list)
David Johansen
Larry Coryell
Rachid Taha

2011-2019
Charlotte Gainsbourg (again)
Coeur du Pirate (3 times)
Alison Moyet
Bryan Ferry
Julia Haltigan
Camille O'Sullivan (3 times)
Duran Duran
Leonard Cohen
Jethro Tull Opera
Rolling Stones
Cyndi Lauper/Boy George
Bruno Mars
Jay Geils Jazz & Blues Review
Tom Petty
Sybarite 5 (3 times)
Steve Winwood
Blondie
Ray Davies

Nothing on the horizon, but who knows what the fall will bring.


9.7.19

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

As part of my goals to catch up, here's the reading from the first half of 2019.  I'm behind by about 17 books as of today, but one of my Massive Summer To Do List™ items is to maybe even get ahead by the time work starts again.

Autobiography/Memoir


Children's/Young Adult Fiction
Children's/Young Adult Non-Fiction
Children's/Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Fiction/Literature
Humor
Mystery/Thriller
Non-Fiction
Speculative Fiction

8.7.19

Notable Quotes

Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I want to swap toxic politics and the anxieties induced by social media for reliability and kindness.  I want to feel more cosy.

5.7.19

2018 Year End Reading Round-Up

305 books read - GOAL MET (goal was 300, so met and surpassed, albeit barely)!  Reviews are over at the reading blog, but there are many that didn't get reviewed because they were either picture books I "read" for MPOW's Mock Caldecott, while others fell into the "you can't talk about this" category for the Book Award Committee. 

So... here's the 2018 reading analysis (2017 numbers in parens):
number of books read in 2018: 305 (378)
best month: December/59 (August/63)
worst month:  January/15 (January/18)
average read per month:  24.4 (31.5)
adult fiction as percentage of total:  14 (59)
children's/YA fiction as percentage of total:  18 (17)

Advance Readers Copies: 163 (112)
e-books: 0 (3)
books read that were published in 2018: 323 (325)
books that will be published in the 2019: 4 (20)
five star reviews (aka "Must Read"):  21 (9)
one star reviews (aka "DNF"): 11 (8)

Mt. Bookpile was 330 in December 2017 and got to 255 by December 2018 (it's way above that right now, sadly).

Goal for 2019?  300 books, and as of today I'm 19 books behind. Sigh.

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

So... apparently I haven't posted one of these since September of last year.  As I've said, I'm a little behind.  Sigh.  Here's what I read for the rest of 2018:

Children's/Young Adult Fiction

Children's/Young Adult Speculative Fiction


Fiction/Literature

  • Perennials; Mandy Berman
  • Long Black Veil; Jennifer Finney Boylan
  • The Last Mrs. Parrish; Liv Constantine
  • The Misfortune of Marion Palm; Emily Culliton
  • Dead Letters; Caite Dolan-Leach
  • The Lake of Dead Languages; Carol Goodman
  • She Rides Shotgun; Jordan Harper
  • Secrets of Southern Girls; Haley Harrigan
  • Relativity; Antonia Hayes
  • The Sisters Chase; Sarah Healy
  • Seven Days of Us; Francesca Hornak
  • Be Frank With Me; Julia Claiborne Johnson
  • The Nanny Diaries; Emma McLaughlin
  • Pretend We Are Lovely; Noley Reid
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo; Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Follow Me Down; Sherri Smith
  • Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore; Matthew J. Sullivan
  • My Absolute Darling; Gabriel Tallent
  • Demi-Gods; Eliza Robertson
  • Young Jane Young; Gabrielle Zevin
  • The Girls at 17 Swann Street; Yara Zgheib

Mystery/Thriller


Non-Fiction

  • The Man from the Train; Bill James
  • City of Light, City of Poison; Holly Tucker

Picture Books

  • Nothing Stopped Sophie; Cheryl Bardoe
  • Hello Lighthouse; Sophie Blackall
  • The Stuff of Stars; Marion Dane Bauer
  • A Stone for Sascha; Aaron Becker
  • Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse; Marcy Campbell
  • Imagine! Raoul Colan
  • Islandborn; Junot Diaz
  • Ocean Meets Sky; Terry Fan
  • This Is the Nest That Robin Built; Denise Fleming
  • A House That Once Was; Julie Fogliano
  • Pie is for Sharing; Stephanie Parlsey Ledyard
  • Drawn Together; Minh Le
  • Julian Is a Mermaid; Jessica Love
  • If I Had a Horse; Gianna Marino
  • Night Out; Daniel Miyares
  • Dreamers; Yuyi Morales
  • Love; Matt de la Pena
  • Pignic; Matt Phelan
  • All the Animals Where I Live; Philip C. Stead
  • They Say Blue; Jillian Tamaki
  • Hello Hello; Brendan Wenzel
  • The Day You Begin; Jacqueline Woodson

Speculative Fiction

  • The Clairvoyants; Karen Brown
  • The Motion of Puppets; Keith Donohue
  • Curioddity; Paul Jenkins
  • The Shadow Land; Elizabeth Kostova
  • Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance; Ruth Emmie Lang
  • The Bedlam Stacks; Natasha Pulley
  • The Goblins of Bellwater; Molly Ringle
  • Seance Infernale; Jonathan Skariton
  • The Dreamers; Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Light Between Worlds; Laura E. Weymouth
  • Crosstalk; Connie Willis

3.7.19

Can't even get this right!

Yesterday I saw this tweet:

My response was "behind".  And clearly, since I'm posting this on Day 183 of the year, nothing's changed in 24 hours.  Still very, very behind. 
Note: when queried, I confessed to being "Beto behind" as opposed to "Bernie behind" or "Bill de Blasio behind" - in other words, there's some hope of catching up.  

How did this happen?  This past academic year has been rough, to be honest.  Between my mother's death, work issues and health issues, things have slipped a little out of control.  Taking what a friend referred to as a cocktail of drugs to control my eye problems has had a seriously negative effect on my ability to do anything beyond work, and that was before realizing that my mother's health was in such serious decline that the end wasn't going to be years but months. 
Disclaimer: my grief is no where near my father's level (he's lost his two best friends, one (Mom) he'd been with for over 60 years, and a colleague he'd worked/researched/collaborated and taken an painting class with for nearly 50 years; and my eye issues are nothing compared to what others, including Mrs. T and two good friends from high school are battling.
As I said, there's hope.  My Massive Summer To Do List™ is premised on the fact that I can maybe get through all of it if I put in 2-3 hours of work/day before reading (yes, I'm behind on my 2019 reading goal, too). 

Stay tuned.