can't read at work


There's no way I'll get to these

But I can't sleep with all the tabs open. This list actually started the day before, when I was watching a gogo movie and one of the other people watching posted this list:

This is an interesting approach that makes me want to read some YA (truth be told, I am always ready to read some YA, but now Jason Reynolds's):

Metro's current budget proposal includes shutting down on weekends, which could ruin things for me but now there's bikeshare at DCA:

There was an NYT story indicating 11 minutes of daily activity could counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle but I feel like just reading the title of the referenced study is a workout:

A poop story I didn't get to read yet:


Malls repurposed for senior living spaces:

Former shitty robot youtube bio, quite a life so far:

Another old Wired story:

Results of Iowa's COVID response poor:

Sometimes I just want to read a Jose Andres story:


More more more links


Just the links


Disturbing the peace

When the big kids were very small we had a third-floor apartment in Riverdale. The people below us had chow dogs and low noise tolerance. The woman used to complain to us and the landlord about the noise from our apartment. "Missy is PREGNANT! The stress is bad for her!" I'm pretending I remember that dog's name but I really don't. I distinctly remember carpeting everything, chocking the rocking chair, inventing places to be on weekend days, and cringing every time someone knocked on the door. One night I heard knocking and I decided to ignore it; however, it started again after a half-hour or so and grew more insistent. Then the knocker identified himself as a police officer. The woman downstairs had reported there were children left alone in the apartment. Of course I unloaded on the hapless responders about the relentless harassment from downstairs. It was no fun living there. After a couple of long years we found a house to buy.

We lived there for ten years in one half of a duplex. In the other half was a family with older kids, high-schoolers when we moved in. The grown-ups seemed older, maybe they were the grandparents. They were never unfriendly, but we never did anything more neighborly than wave to each other occasionally. We had been there a pretty long time, at least five years, when I was at home by myself one day and heard someone next door walk up the stairs. I was surprised by how noticeable it was. Then I started thinking about how our family was never particularly quiet and how saintly that family was to put up with us. Or maybe they were all hard of hearing, but it was so nice to leave the misery of living above the chow owners that I've since aimed to be a person who will not be bothered by the din of people living their lives. My need for forbearance has been mitigated somewhat by the advent of noise canceling headphones.

Here are the links I won't get to this weekend but I would like to read them eventually. Working at the early voting centers has bulldozed this week for me.

Movie and TV Show plot twists (I rarely avoid spoilers since there is a very small chance I will ever watch the show anyway)

Massachusetts Avenue

Haunted house

Pandemic-inspired cult

Green community design

Lydell Grant


Early Voting and more links

I was a provisional ballot election judge for the first day of early voting in Montgomery County. When I saw they stuck me in Chevy Chase I was 1) mad because it's too far to walk to and there's a center in Silver Spring that's not, but 2) intrigued because CC sounds like it might be swanky. The Jane E. Lawton Rec Center is not swanky but it has a pretty big indoor basketball space and that's where the voting happens. The day was busy from start to finish; I got home around 10pm and managed to work through my missed emails (my phone had been off since 5:30am) before falling asleep and soon awakening to a big fat headache that Exedrin couldn't kill but my new best friend Sumatriptan could. Then I had a fairly productive workday, which is why I didn't read some of this stuff so I am dumping it here:

New Yorker essay about Neil Gaiman's kid lit

Outside article about the at-sea death of a paralympic rower

Dahlia Lithwick

This Chrome flag doesn't seem to be working for me but I think I can get a bookmark set up to do what this article describes, unless I fall in love with the lj tab dump

CDC FluView, answering a question for Brian

I just don't want to read bad USPS news right now, but later:

This is just awful, but Mark Joseph Stern gives me a nice packet of prose to use in the coming days when my provisional ballot people mourn not being counted before election day:
[Kavanaugh claims] that states “definitively announce the results of the election on election night.” That is untrue: The media may call an election on election night; a candidate may call on election on election night; but the states do not “definitively announce the results” on election night. To the contrary, every state formally certifies results in the days or weeks following an election; zero certify results on election night. There is a good reason why: It takes a while to count every ballot, including those from members of the military, which frequently arrive late. A state’s duty is not to satisfy anxious candidates and voters but to get the count right.

Influencers abroad

Absurdly Well

Shelter Guide

Past Performance Is Not Indicative Of Future Results but history is interesting so

Too much content

I'm ending every day with a screen full of tabs, thinking I have something to say about each one, but I don't say something. Today I'm just going to dump the tabs right here. Let's see what it looks like:

A case study illustrating how the pandemic is revealing and exacerbating racial and socioeconomic disparities:

A research guide for voting rights resources in the UM Archives:

A spectacular bookstore that just opened in Chengdu, which is about as far away for me geographically as a place could be. These photos are magnificent:

Aaron Gordon, from Motherboard, has been writing a newsletter about the USPS recently and it is good; however, he mentioned something this week about Goodhart's Law and misspelled the guy's name. When I searched to confirm the actual spelling I found this wikipedia page:

The eternal springtime of google maps:

I have a huge sack of compliments for the Tenement Museum. Here is the first installment of the spooky thing they've put together for the season:

Tales of the swamp, 5G flavor:

Sad but true, the google search has degraded over time, favoring revenue over discovery:

This immaculate concussion story made me wince:

An astonishing description of the RentAHitman operation:

The Foxconn bluster bubble:

Penguin poop:

The smallest unit of time measures has the cutest name:

These links I need for my discussion with B on the income gap:

And finally, there was an email question to a library list about adding visual novels to collections (not easy to do from a practical standpoint) and this guy's email is full of great stuff:

Matthew Murray 

Wow, so weird to hear people talk about this when my Readers' Advisory podcast just did an episode on visual novels last month! (Even if you don't want to listen to the podcast, that link contains a list of visual novels we enjoyed playing. Some of them are really good!)
For those that are unfamiliar with the term, visual novels are mostly text-based "games" that usually involve some degree of interactivity/choices, but don't have to. The text is matched to images that appear on screen at the same time. (Some of the fancier ones have voice acting or even full animation or video.) You can sort of consider them illustrated "choose your own adventure" style stories (or "interactive fiction") that are very dialogue heavy. Some of them feature no choices and are really just illustrated ebooks while others can involve many choices and be very complicated!  Choices can include making decisions about where your character goes or what they say to another character.
I wouldn't describe "What Remains of Edith Finch" as a visual novel, but as a "walking simulator". In WRoEF you're exploring a 3d environment, whereas in a visual novel you're generally just reading text on the screen and choosing one of several dialogue options.
One of the issues with adding visual novels to your collection, is that the majority of them are available solely through download. A few (such as the Ace Attorney games or Steins;Gate) are available in physical formats for systems like the Nintendo Switch or PS4, though sometimes these can be "limited release" style things that it seems unlikely most libraries would acquire.
This is unfortunate because visual novels are often made by individuals or small teams whose voices are not represented as frequently within mainstream media. For example, there are a lot of visual novels made by queer creators.
(Another possible area in which libraries could work to develop collections of visual novels would be academic libraries' digital repositories that could contain visual novels produced as coursework or research. But that's kind of outside the scope of this mailing list...)
For my podcast I streamed myself playing visual novels every day in August and have continued doing it on Friday nights since then. All of the streams are on our YouTube channel, but if you're curious some of my favourite streams were: 

  • Dungeons & Lesbians - Try to date someone you play Dungeons & Dragons with

  • Serre - “A visual novel about a girl and an alien drinking tea and falling in love!” (my co-host and I played this one in French and translated it as we played)

  • Order a Pizza: A Visual Novel - Can you save your relationship with your daughter? Maybe the perfect pizza will help... (this one is weird)

  • Were:House - It's Halloween and you meet some monsters, will you find true love or just a part time job?

Ack! What a long email.
Anyway, glad to hear people talking about these. Feel free to message me off-list if you want to keep talking : )

Guess what happened? I watched the stream of Order a Pizza and it was GREAT and now I want to hear his guests' podcast:

I think I'll sleep better having shifted all these tabs onto a post. Let's see.

the discreet charm

On our way into the parking lot shuttle on the way back from DC to Columbus, a woman was muttering to her companion. She had a pretty loud mutter and she was right behind me.

"The thing was solid gold. What kind of idiot...?"

I knew she must be talking about the gold lunar module model that was stolen from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum a couple of days earlier. I was pretty sure I knew how this rhetorical question was going to end but I was wrong.

"What kind of idiot donates a thing like that? Solid gold! I tell you."

I took a seat on the bench with my bag on my lap. She sat next to me and kept quiet while the man who sat beside her—pretty sure it was her husband—told the driver which lane he had parked in. She started a new topic.

"That trip was the right length. Just long enough." I thought I heard a grunt of assent from the man. "Left right before the political talk started. But Debra was getting into it yesterday, she was really starting to wind up!"

"Did you notice I ignored it?" The way he said it made me think that he was sure Debra could have learned a lot had he elected to enlighten her.

"Did you notice I ignored it?" The way she said it made me think she was sure she'd won that ignoring contest. "And I changed the subject." Sounded like she was awarding herself a bonus point.

Silence for a few beats. Then, "I think I've had enough grandchildren for a while."

The husband, whose mutter did not carry as well as hers did, started to describe a relationship involving a sibling, an in-law, someone who lived somewhere and did a thing. I missed a lot, but then my seatmate summed it all up for him: "Basically a low-life. Yes." Another yes-grunt from the man and they were quiet until the shuttle got near their car.

I'm wondering what the other participants in that visit had to say about it.


What you learn on summer vacation

Early in the season—single digit days of June, say—the PNW rivers are higher and faster than they will be during prime float season. The sandy edges where you might stop to hang out are covered over with water and only brush and fallen trees line the sides. So if you rent three tubes from a bunch of kids in a trailer and they drive you and two of your precious children up a road and you set off hurtling downstream, your trip might be more harrowing than relaxing. You will look on the bright side and be glad you emerged alive and breathing your favorite thing: air.

Mere weeks later you will find yourself somewhat more eastward and rafting down another damned river, but with a competent guide and you'll think this is survivable and you'll be fine and you are. Which contributes to the regrettable decision of allowing yourself to be lured into an inflatable boat with only immediate family members and soon you'll be hurtling down another fucking river into a bunch of terrible things, most of which are trees and dead trees and some particularly malevolent trees. Trees along a river are just a bad idea, right up there with big rocks in a river.

Have you learned something? Yes, but there's more. You'll then find yourself mountain biking, which can only be good. You know this because you bike a lot and you love biking because it is always fun. Except when it is entirely analogous to whitewater whatevering. Which this is. Your bike is a raft, a tube, a kayak. The river is dirt and it is full of rocks and the aforementioned trees. There are people having fun doing this and you can be happy for them, but your main happiness springs from the knowledge that you will not be tempted to contribute any time, money, or effort into acquiring a mountain bike for your future use.

Air and asphalt, ah!

What I did pre-summer vacation

bottom of my unofficial transcript
  1. They call it Spring but it's mostly Winter.

  2. This designation is for people who want to take classes but are not in a degree program. These people are just drains on the system at an institution with graduation rate goals. I think that's why they came up with a term with this particular acronym.

  3. You might not guess from the title, but this is a statistics class. It asks the question, "Which is better, R or SPSS?" Turns out the question can be answered with another question: "Which is easier to spell?"

  4. This was a history, art, and philosophy class about the nature of bookness. It was SO MUCH FUN!

  5. I am always disappointed by how happy I am to get a good grade. I truly believe what you learn is more important than the mark you get on a report card, but then I feel like such a winner when I see a stack of A's by my name. A+'s, even more so.

  6. I guess GPA only includes degree-bound grades.