Manners: Decisions

We have all had this conversation at some point in our lives: Person A: I’m hungry. Lets eat. Person B: Oh yeah. Where do you want to go? Person A: I’m so hungry, I don’t care. Person B: Ok. How about [This place] Person A: Oh no, not [This place] I don’t feel like [their food] Person B: Alright, where do you want to go? Person A: I don’t really care. How many of you knew by the third line where this conversation was going?  How many felt their butt clench with internal rage because we have been Person B too often in our lives? So skipping over some of the fun conversations about healthy communication, boundaries and emotional labor here… let’s get right to the meat. Person A doesn’t want to have to make a decision but they want a vote in the decision that’s made. This is terrible manners. For the folks in the back: This is TERRIBLE manners. The

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Review: Shanghai Girls (Lisa See)

I’m going to start out that there are sections of these 2 books which are 5/5 stars and parts that are 2/5.  So an average would be about 3.5/5 score between them, but they can be a bit of a wrestle. These books span about 20-25 years, focusing on Pearl Chin, her sister May, and her daughter Joy.  In the first book we spend 100% in Pearl’s head.   In the second book we split pretty much 50/50 between Pearl & Joy. I didn’t like these characters much.  None of these women. The plot had strange ways in which it did-but-didn’t-quite follow the traditional cycle of rising and falling action. The world building and research Lisa See put into these novels was phenomenal. The lack of strong judgement on the potentially explosive politics around issues like the Chinese Exclusion Act, WWII Japanese internment camps, and Moaism/Communism as it impacted Chinese-Americans is actually quite impressive.  She mentions these issues but manages to never sound

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Politicis: Smaller Government

Ok, so my title might already be making people see red.  Hell, if you read my blog regularly you’ve heard me advocate higher taxes. So before you jump to “HOW COULD  YOU?!?!”…. let me explain. The US Federal government is terribly inefficient.  Honestly, the breakdown between Federal, State, and smaller is atrocious and when I listen to “small government” speakers I always wait to see IF they will say any of the things I want/need to hear to support them.  (FYI, I don’t remember ever hearing it from “tea party” or “libertarian” candidates) #1 – we spend more than we take in I’ve written about taxes before: Politics: Taxes (Part 1) Politics: Taxes (Part 2) Politics: I like to pay my taxes So I won’t drone too much on this point.  But yeah, we DO spend more than we take in. How much of that is a problem with the fact we have drastically lower taxes per capita (which is proven over and

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Writing: Prep’ing for NaNoWriMo

This weekend my husband asked me if I’m doing NaNoWriMo.  I looked at him like he asked if I wanted to go on a 90-day fast.  Of course I’m doing NaNo.  I will almost certainly fail but damnit I have to try. So we talked a bit about what we needed to do in order to prep for NaNoWriMo/Nov. In some ways his work schedule will probably help – he works until pretty late so I’ll have most/all evenings without him distracting me. Now I just have to have discipline not to let anything else distract me: food, cats, books, movies, tv shows, and of course the ever-present House/Garden fights. I also need to decide what I want to write.  Do I want to try a re-write, add-to-writing, or a fresh write ? Re-write is the easiest of the three. It is not really the spirit of NaNo. BUT, I do have something I’ve been mulling on the world/plot and I can’t just

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Review: Copyright

I have strong if only 85% formed opinions on copyright law.  On the one hand, I am a writer and I can imagine the sort of horrors which could come from NOT having copyright laws in place to protect artists.  However, we live in a weird world where I also think copyright is used and abused. The Good: Harry Potter is an excellent example of a few people have tried to claim Rowling “stole” their idea (magical school isn’t exactly original…) and there is a LOT of fanfiction out there.  About the original characters; folks putting themselves into that universe; and just in the universe but utterly “original” in other ways. Things like not being allowed to copy a book and resell the copies; “steal” and/or “pervert” characters; and simply changing names and re-publishing are all (unfortunately) required protections.  There is no part of these elements I would like to remove. The Bad: All that said, I do stand by saying copyright is broken. 

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Politics: Local

So last year my husband and I bought a house.  And usually, I can ignore any elections in odd-number years, but 2 of the the 3 city council “at large” posts are on my local ballot.  So it’s time for: Annual Election Coverage Now, because I am just a hair paranoid, I won’t list candidate names.  And my city is new, so some of our local issues are as simple as “people figuring out how a city works.”  So of the 2 council-at-large seats up, one of them is the incumbent, facing no challengers (makes THAT vote pretty easy…)  The other seat is more fun: Candidate #1 – The Man-Boy So I don’t like this candidate and I will be voting against him.  Done.  I hate the tone on his website – he sounds smug and condescending and stupid.  He says things like “I won’t vote for the city to raise taxes” because he “believes in limited government” (our city does three

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Manners: When Winners Lose

One of the reasons I do not particularly like competitive sports is “winners.” A turn of a foot, a play that is only successful one in eight times can win or lose a game. Yes, there is skill. And there is “will” to be the best. These help – but usually (not always, but all-to-often) when you come to things like “championships” they are (or should be!) close on skill and will. The best games are the ones where everyone is guessing who will win. They are fun to watch. They are tense to play. The players who walk away from those games are disappointed. Man do I get that… that is an awful feeling. And the winners are elated. Who wouldn’t be? Especially for those massive games where it was close and no one knows who will walk out victorious. You see, there are the winners who rub it in. They wear their badges of honor and wins and tell everyone how amazing they are. Their

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Writing: Cookbook Basics

I’ve been talking about writing a cookbook for several years now (more than 2, less than 10) and I know how I want to start it: Stocking the kitchen It always amazes me how many people don’t keep something I think is basic and essential in their kitchen. It always reminds me of the old Bogart/A.Heburn version of Sabrina when she comes to his office to blow him off and ends up trying to cook with an egg and olives or something – it sounds like a terrible recipe but it has always made me laugh. So what are the basics that I expect.  Well, I break it into a few categories: Tools; Perishables; Non-Perishables; and Spices So, I’ve started writing down the things I think are essential in the kitchen.  Starting with Tools. Obviously everyone should have at least 6 plates, 6 bowels, and a set of silverware (at least 8 of everything – yes, you should have more eating utensils

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Review: Wheel of Time (Pt 3 Magic)

I love designing magic systems. And I will give Jordan credit that his magic system is interesting. It’s pretty basic in a lot of ways (and I’ll try to avoid the sexist bit of it entirely). So his system is that there are 5 elements which are fed through 2 possible valves of magic, male & female. My biggest complaint is that Jordan says men are stronger in the One Power (which isn’t actually the only power…).  I don’t get it.  If the symbol is supposed to be the yin/yang black/white “equal” on both sides this philosophy doesn’t make sense.  Regardless of of anything else, it’s super confusing that the men are stronger and somehow women weren’t subjugated in this like they are in so much else.  There is something about women being the catalyst for linking, but honestly it’s unclear what the value of having “free & independent” women would be if when men LEAD they are stronger. The social power

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Review: The Wheel of Time (Pt 2 Locations)

Locations & Cultures: I think this is why I fell in love with this series to begin with.  At first read, when I was 12, they were so varied! They were so historically based! (excuse me while I go hide under a history text book awhile) Now… well now I am more critical of Jordan. [Warning: I’m not going to look up spelling for every place/culture and since I did audiobook, some of them might be wrong because I am remember spelling from 15+ years ago and/or using phonetic spelling] Some of this is my own studies of history and how very inaccurate (and weird) some of his cultures are.  For some of them I feel like he enforced ideas on them without considering how those ideas would be impacted. So most of Jordan’s world is this psuedo-renaissance/medieval land where people are subsistence level agrarians.  and then you have these cities with vastly different cultures. Ebou Dare might supposed to be loosely

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