Oct 2020, fave media

October was a funny month in that I didn’t really love the books I read. Luckily, The Old Guard fandom provided in spades, lol.

Here’s what I did enjoy this month! Lots of articles this time.


Jhené Aiko’s Tiny (Home) Desk Concert

Unsurprisingly I loved this with its live backing band, way more than the original tracks. The piano! The harp!

Linda Diaz’s Honesty for Tiny (Home) Desk Concert

A song about clear and proactive communication? Hell yeah.

corto.alto’s Lysithea


LADAMA’s Haverá De Ser & Tierra Tiembla

Was super excited to see their second album had come out. These are my faves.

Niia’s If You Won’t Marry Me Now

The scorned-ness of it all, yes

Philippa Soo’s Ultraluminary

So catchy.

Cathy Ang’s Rocket To The Moon (Reprise)

The non-reprise version is great too. I’m always a sucker for a girl declaring she won’t be held back by other’s expectations or gravity.


Podcast: Bookable, conversation with Kiese Laymon, Saeed Jones, Mira Jacob

Paraphrased notable quotes: “Was I motivated by vindication or curiosity?” and “Are you fucking the book, or are you fucking me?”

Book: Night Shine by Tessa Gratton

The prose is magical, and I have no complaints about this book. Eagerly awaiting the second book. If you like beautiful prose, queer fairy tales, and sympathetic monsters, get this book ASAP.

Play: Finish the Fight by Ming Peiffer, dir. Whitney White

I cried during this cried during this play about the forgotten women of color suffragettes. Note the play itself is only an hour, and begins at the 4:42 mark.

Film: Over the Moon dir. Glen Keane

I cried for 2/3rds of the movie (the 1/3 I didn’t cry was a blessing, otherwise I would’ve overloaded).

Short Story: Tiger of the New Moon by Allison Thai

Fire Articles

California Native American tribe has been burning forests for 10,000 years. What can we learn from them? By Peter Fimrite

“The wildfire was a particularly hard blow for people like Hillman, who adhere to Karuk traditions. That’s because it burned most intensely in a portion of the Klamath National Forest where Karuk leaders had for years been urging the U.S. Forest Service to employ traditional prescribed burning techniques, to no avail.”

“The Karuk shouldn’t have to prove these techniques work through western science,” said Tripp, who is a leader of the Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network and its subgroup the Indigenous People’s Burning Network. “It has been proven over 10,000 years.”

Forestry officials, who generally acknowledge the value of the ancient traditions, say it is hard to put words into action because prescribed burning is so controversial. California’s forests are so dry and overgrown that introducing fire is now dangerous even during the winter. There are concerns about pollution from the smoke and fears that flames will get out of control, damage property and provoke lawsuits.”

Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration by Abraham Lustgarten

“Even 13 million climate migrants, though, would rank as the largest migration in North American history. The Great Migration — of 6 million Black Americans out of the South from 1916 to 1970 — transformed almost everything we know about America, from the fate of its labor movement to the shape of its cities to the sound of its music. What would it look like when twice that many people moved? What might change?”

“Keenan calls the practice of drawing arbitrary lending boundaries around areas of perceived environmental risk “bluelining,” and indeed many of the neighborhoods that banks are bluelining are the same as the ones that were hit by the racist redlining practice in days past. This summer, climate-data analysts at the First Street Foundation released maps showing that 70% more buildings in the United States were vulnerable to flood risk than previously thought; most of the underestimated risk was in low-income neighborhoods.”

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States by Al Shaw, Abraham Lustgarten, ProPublica, and Jeremy W. Goldsmith

interactive map

They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen? By Elizabeth Weil

Whole article is worth reading. Basically experts have known about California’s fire problem for awhile.

“In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire.”

Food Articles

S.F. startup envisions future where all restaurant takeout containers are reusable by Janelle Bitker

“This week, a new option quietly appeared for reusable packaging to customers ordering delivery pizza on Doordash from San Francisco hot spot Square Pie Guys. The rectangular Detroit-style pizzas arrive tucked into a metal pan with a lid drilled with holes. Once customers are done eating, they coordinate a time via text message for a small startup to pick up the container, wash it and bring it back to the restaurant.”

The Restaurant at Meadowood pushed chefs for brilliance – some say at a human cost by Janelle Bitker and Justin Phillips

“The Chronicle interviewed seven people who worked at Meadwood between 2008 and 2015 and who described a high-pressure environment where Kostow frequently yelled at young employees and threw dishes across the room, although three of them said that was standard behavior for a Michelin-starred kitchen and it didn’t bother them.”

“Gaulin didn’t think the culture at Meadowood was toxic or problematic, but he also acknowledged that what seems normal in such kitchens would not seem OK in other professional circumstances.

“In the current state of restaurants, we’re taking a valid inventory of what matters and how people are treated,” he said. “I think it is long overdue.””

Solano County legalized home food pop-ups. But 6 months later, chefs still can’t sell by Tilde Herrera

“Under AB 626, cooks can legally sell up to 30 meals a day or 60 per week from their homes when their counties opt in and they have received a permit; their annual gross sales are capped at $50,000. The law has only been implemented in one county so far, Riverside. In Alameda County, many home kitchen operations have proliferated during the pandemic without the option to get proper permitting, leading to the health department cracking down on some.

Solano County is one of the furthest along in the Bay Area, even though the coronavirus pandemic caused officials to delay in-home inspections and permitting until shelter-at-home orders are lifted. What many people thought would be a short delay has lasted six months – and counting.”

I think my use of coffee is ableist by lgb2writes

Arts Articles

Leigh Bardugo on zero drafts

I feel incredibly validating in my writing process by this.

Indie Romance Books Are Big Business, But Why Aren’t We Hearing About It? By Jacinta Howard

We Need to Talk About Audible by Cory Doctorow

On crowdsourcing his audiobooks to avoid Amazon’s monopoly.

“Look, you can’t shop your way out of monopoly capitalism any more than you can recycle your way out of climate change. Monopoly is a structural problem created by more than 40 years of lax antitrust enforcement. If there was any doubt, last month’s Congressional antitrust hearings, which included a litany of complaints from Amazon suppliers who’ve been comprehensively chickenized, laid that to rest.

But reversing monopolies is an iterative process. My effort to whittle away at Amazon’s audiobook hegemony I believe will help show authors, publishers, and readers that there is a path to a more pluralistic and fair marketplace. And, in the process, fuel the growing support for more stringent antitrust enforcement.”

These 7 Photos Reimagine the Queer Chinese Diaspora by Andrew Thomas Huang

Downstream From History: What Makes History ‘Alternate’? By Alaya Dawn Johnson

“Who decides what’s “real” and what’s “alternate”? Real history often seemed wack to me, but I had to learn it anyway. If history is a story, with protagonists and themes and a destination, however nebulous, an arc which must bend gracefully to our present time, can’t it have a remix? Some fanfic? Five Things Thomas Jefferson Never Promised His Enslaved Children? What’s the story of what real history leaves out? Where’s the alt take? People say that history is written by the victors, but sometimes who wins, and along which axis, is a function revealed by time, not peace treaties. Sometimes, often, almost always, histories travel alongside one another in eerie parallel, one more accepted, or acceptable, than the other, but not necessarily more true.”

The Spirit Writing of Lucille Clifton by Marina Magloire

I raced off to read the Lives/Visits/Illuminations mentioned, but it’s only in her archival papers, boo.

Lizzo on Hope, Justice, and the Election, interview by Claudia Rankine

“…she does not want her message boiled down to one of body positivity. Body positivity, Lizzo tells me, has been appropriated to a certain degree: “It’s commercialized. Now, you look at the hashtag ‘body positive,’ and you see smaller-framed girls, curvier girls. Lotta white girls. And I feel no ways about that, because inclusivity is what my message is always about. I’m glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative. What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it. Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks. You know, girls who are in the 18-plus club. They need to be benefiting from…the mainstream effect of body positivity now.”

Roses by Legacy Russell

Personal essay.

How Not to Be All About What It’s Not All About: Further Thoughts on Writing About Someone Else’ Culture and Experience by Nishi Shawl

“The hardest work, though, and the work I cringe to see students mishandling, is the work of figuring out whether or not to try, and how, and why, and what will happen if you do or don’t tell a story that’s not centered on your own demographic.”

“Breaking news: you are not the center of any universe. Not the actual universe. Not the literary universe. None universes is the total sum of which you are the center.

This can be comforting, if you allow it to relieve the performance pressure some of us feel. As a writer, you can relax in the realization that you don’t have to tell all the stories. And that’s particularly helpful if you’re hesitating to undertake a particular story because you’re not part of the culture or community you would depict in it. Someone else may be better equipped to tell the story you’re hesitating over—in fact, they may have already told it. Which doesn’t mean you have no right to tell it too. It just means you’re not alone in the enterprise.”

Q&A: Karla Cornejo Villavicencio talks literature, immigrant family dynamics, and 9/11 with Tina Vasquez

Top Dog: An Oral History of ‘Wishbone’ by Christian Wallace and Cat Cardenas


What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life? by Rhaina Cohen

“John Carroll, who met his platonic partner, Joe Rivera, at a gay bar, describes this type of romantic relationship as “one-stop shopping.” People expect to pile emotional support, sexual satisfaction, shared hobbies, intellectual stimulation, and harmonious co-parenting all into the same cart. Carroll, 52, thinks this is an impossible ask; experts share his concern. “When we channel all our intimate needs into one person,” the psychotherapist Esther Perel writes, “we actually stand to make the relationship more vulnerable.” Such totalizing expectations for romantic relationships leave us with no shock absorber if a partner falls short in even one area. These expectations also stifle our imagination for how other people might fill essential roles such as cohabitant, caregiver, or confidant.”

Stop “Playing” Diversity Games with People of Color by Monica F. Cox

“Although this may be the case, if you capitalize on that without recognizing that I require nurturing, support, and resources to be my best self, you are exploiting me. You are playing games with me in a context where I want to be taken seriously and want to be treated equal to any man, any White person, and anyone in a similar position as mine. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone to respect me, to respond to my concerns in a timely manner, to investigate my complaints about racism and sexism, and to step in when systemic racism is at play. When I am blamed for disrupting a system that wasn’t built for me and am expected to fix that system in the same breath, leaders in an organization are not being accountable for their roles in this system. They are playing diversity.”

The Tenants Who Evicted Their Landlord by Matthew Desmond

“Commoning” is the term, and its little utopia is the creation of homes that are collectively owned and controlled by the residents. Within this framework, housing is neither for speculating nor profiteering, nor even wealth building; it is only for living. In Minneapolis, IX is pursuing tenant-owned cooperatives. A popular version of this model, known as “limited-equity cooperatives,” involves residents’ purchasing co-op shares and paying low monthly fees to cover the building’s upkeep. If a family moves out, it can sell its share for slightly above the original purchase price, but only slightly. Bidding up the sale, even if there are plenty of takers, is seen as anathema to the social mission of the cooperative, which is to establish permanently affordable housing.”

How to Host a Cocktail Party on Zoom (and have better classes, conferences and meetings, too) by Misha Glouberman

“Here is an amazing trick, buried deep in the Zoom documentation: To let participants move between rooms, make them all “co-hosts” of the event. Co-hosts cannot create breakout rooms, or move others between breakout rooms. But they can move themselves between breakout rooms, and see who is in them!

So if you want to host a cocktail party (or any meeting) where you want people to move around, the process is simple. Create a lot of breakout rooms, make everyone a co-host, and let people rearrange themselves however they like.

Warning: Only make everyone a “co-host” if you know and trust everyone. This is critical.”

To Build a Future Without Police and Prisons, We Have to Imagine It First by Walidah Imarisha

“Every time we imagine a world without prisons, without police, without borders, without oppressions, that’s sci-fi—because we’ve never seen it in our reality. But we can’t build what we can’t imagine, so we absolutely need imaginative spaces like sci-fi that allow us to dream.”

“The more scared we are, the more in crisis, the more we are told to pull back. But this is the time when anything and everything can change. Let our imaginations grow as large as galaxies.”

Use these culturally offensive phrases, questions at your own risk from Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

I didn’t know about some of these.

Patriarchy rewires the body by lgb2writes

Remote but Inclusive for Years, and Now Showing Other Companies How by Steve Lohr

“The company insists its work force is a competitive advantage. The edge, it says, is not so much that autistic brains are wired for computing tasks but that people on the autism spectrum are a diverse group.

One person may recognize patterns quickly, while another has a more measured cognitive style but arrives at different patterns and ways to fix code. The key lies in harnessing the varied talents of teams.

Meetings are recorded, transcribed and archived not only to accommodate workers who prefer reading to listening but also to foster a more open organization. That extends to the weekly meetings of the six-person leadership team at Ultranauts. The notes of those sessions, including the decisions made and reasons behind them, are published on the companywide Slack channel.

“It is a lot more transparency than most people in business are comfortable with,” said Art Shectman, a co-founder and the company’s president.

Ultranauts’ leaders believe their style of wide-open, explicit communication — no unwritten rules — could benefit any company.”

Academia Was Built on White Theft by Nick Martin

“While distinct, the American university system’s legacies of enslavement and violent colonization reveal a common thread: a history of violent white theft. Universities have long acted as sanctuaries for white academics who want to take on the voyeuristic endeavor of professing to be an expert on a group of people to which they do not belong. It turns the window shopper into the salesperson; the gate-builder into the gatekeeper. Trying to grasp why Krug, Dolezal, and McLaughlin did what they did is almost beside the point. Instead, it is time to start asking why people of this ilk all seek validation and cover through the academy—and why the academy always provides it.”

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