Let’s Start The Week Right #2

Some stuff to help you get through the week or at least give you a new perspective on things. This week’s article is from 2016 but it is as relevant today as it was five years ago.

An article to read:

We Are All Witnesses: Twenty months after Tamir Rice was killed in Cleveland, his mother is still grappling with how to grieve in private following her son’s public death (The Ringer)

An interview to listen to:

Hanif Abdurraqib: Moments of Shared Witnessing (On Being)

A book to read:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

If you’re a fan of horror, especially gothic horror rooted more in the supernatural than gore, Moreno-Garcia is the book for you. It was reminiscent of the gothic horror from the film Crimson Peak (excellent film, would recommend), except that Mexican Gothic is set in 1950s Mexico. We follow Noemí as she embarks on an adventure to try to figure out what’s going on with her newly-married cousin. What she finds is much worse than she could expect and before long, Noemí finds herself tangled up the same family mess that ensnared her sister. Moreno-Garcia’s writing is excellent, the story is extremely gripping, and the ending equally as satisfying.

Rating: 10/10 – if you like any sort of gothic/historical horror and a well-written story, I can highly recommend Mexican Gothic.

Music to listen to:

Joey Alexander’s newest release. Joey is a young jazz pianist who is exceptional. You can find his music on Spotify and Apple.

YouTube video to watch:

WIRED has these great videos on YT where experts in specific fields review relevant scenes from movies/tv shows. This week’s selection are two videos by hacker Samy Kamkar. Below is the first time he was on and he did another one recently, which you can find here.

Something nice to look at:

Spring violets by Rachel Kramer

Let’s Start The Week Right #1

Some stuff to help you get through the week.

An article to read:

What the cleaner saw: secrets of strangers’ apartments (Guardian)

A book to read:

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

Matsuda’s book is a collection of stories, translated from Japanese, that take Japanese ghost stories/folktales and retell them – often in a modern setting. Each story stands alone, but as you read the book, there are threads that connect the stories together. I am not a huge fan of short stories, but I am a big fan of Japanese ghost stories and this book did not disappoint. Although ghosts are often associated with horror – this book is not a horror novel, though there are some slightly suspenseful aspects. There’s an added bonus at the end of the book: there’s a short summary of each the ghost stories/folktales referenced in the book, as well as which story it pertains to.

Rating: 10/10 – would recommend to everyone who likes a good retelling.

Music to listen to:

NU’EST’s new release – The Second Album ‘Romanticize’ (Spotify | Apple Music)

YouTube video to watch:

ARIKITCHEN – How to make Cherry Blossom Sweet Dream Cake 🌸 (use the CC button for subs)

Something nice to look at:

Music Sundays: zai.ro

Today’s artist is singer/songwriter zai.ro. He’s worked with a bunch of kpop singers, but debuted in 2017 to showcase his own talents. I’m so glad he did, because I absolutely love his sound! His music is very chill. His band was on a music show (the same one as LUCY) and finished fourth. As always, I found him via YouTube. I’ve included his newest release, Good Boy, as well as a live performance. I hope you like him!

You can find him on Spotify and Apple Music.

Music Sundays: Jimmy Brown

I’ve always enjoyed the slower, not-quite ballad songs (not that I don’t enjoy ballads, because I do), especially if they are more on the R&B side of things. Jimmy Brown’s music falls squarely in that category and I absolute love his style and his voice. Earlier this year he released an EP called Irene and it is fantastic. I couldn’t select just one song, so you get four of the five songs on the album. I hope you enjoy his music as much as I do!

Find him on Spotify and Apple Music.

Music Sundays: VAV

A boy group today! VAV is a group I’ve been a fan of for a while, in fact I got to see them in concert a few years ago. They were wonderful! One of their members, Baron, just enlisted in the military (it’s mandatory for all Korean men) and the song I’ve selected is the last song they released before he left. It’s really good and the more I listen to it, the more I like it.

VAV have been around since 2015, though I’ve only been a fan since 2017, after their lineup change. They are very fun, all of the videos on their YouTube channel are subbed in English and they have great music.

You can find them on Spotify and Apple Music.

Weekend Reads: 10/23/2020

Can you vote early? If the answer is yes and you haven’t yet – what are you waiting for? Biden/Harris need your vote.

I’m going to be honest – there are a lot of depressing articles in this week’s post. If only only read one – honestly, you need to read most of these, but if you only have time for a few, please read the first Wired article and the subsequent Time one about herd immunity. There are just a lot of good ones this week and you’d benefit from reading most, if not all, of the ones.

But not everything is doom and gloom (or so we hope). There are three good articles to remind you that the world is not always a terrible place. In addition, I’d like to recommend a couple of book series.

The first is a fantasy series called The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club by Theodora Goss. This series follows the adventures (no, really) of Mary Jekyll and all of the “monsters” that she befriends. If you have any interested in gothic horror (though it is not actual horror, per se), slight romance, and wonderful strong female characters – consider this series! I listened to the audiobooks (read by the always wonderful Kate Reading) but imagine that the print (or eBook) version is equally as enjoyable to consume. The first book is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daugther.

My second recommendation would be Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious series. This is a young adult murder mystery series about Stevie Bell and her friends as she tries to navigate the world of a private boarding school, including the murder that has define the school for years and the hard life of a teenager. You’re in luck, because all three books in this series have finally been published you won’t need to wait long to read what happens in the next book. The first book is Truly Devious.

Now, onto your links.

It’s Time to Talk About Covid-19 and Surfaces Again (Wired – $$)

In the early days, we furiously scrubbed, afraid we could get sick from the virus lingering on objects and surfaces. What do we know now?

The White House Wants to Achieve Herd Immunity by Letting the Virus Rip. That Is Dangerous and Inhumane (Time)

For a start, no pandemic has ever been controlled by deliberately letting the infection spread unchecked in the hope that people become immune. We must do all we can to protect people from COVID-19, not let them get infected, to buy scientists time to develop vaccines and therapeutics to end the outbreak and alleviate suffering.

America’s Last Line of Defense for a Safe Vaccine (Scientific American)

The independent advisers to the CDC and FDA will not bend to politics

Why New Zealand rejected populist ideas other nations have embraced (Guardian)

Labour’s historic win delivered Ardern a second term while voters punished politicians who embraced populism

The Preexisting Conditions of the Coronavirus Pandemic (Wired – $$)

An enormous new data set peers into the health of the world’s population before 2020—and how the coronavirus turned that into a global disaster.

Undisclosed: Most Homebuyers And Renters Aren’t Warned About Flood Or Wildfire Risk (NPR)

None of the landlords, real estate agents, sellers, appraisers, bankers or home inspectors the families interacted with explained the risk of flooding or wildfires, because no one had to do so. Only about half of the states require that information about flood risk be disclosed to homebuyers, and just one state requires that such information be given to tenants. Only two Western states require disclosure of wildfire risk.

Songwriters Sometimes Wait Years After A Song Is Released To Get Paid Anything. These Women Want To Change That. (Buzzfeed)

“I’ve been in sessions starving, praying that they ask me if I’m hungry, hoping that the studio has snacks.”

A Reset for Library E-books (Publisher’s Weekly)

In the wake of the pandemic, can publishers and libraries finally hash out their differences?


Prickly business: the hedgehog highway that knits a village together (Guardian)

With their miniature ramps, stairs and holes cut into fences and stone walls, the gardens of Kirtlington in Oxfordshire are a haven for wildlife

Step Inside The Museum of Obsolete Library Science (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

There’s a popular misconception that librarians as a profession are conservative. Not politically conservative, but literally conservative—wanting to keep old stuff. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth—we are often on the cutting edge of using new technologies, and always looking for the most efficient, up-to-date way to help our patrons.

When a Town Council and a Sci-fi Museum Went to War Over a Dalek (Atlas Obscura)

Thanks to support from the community and the world, the Doctor Who villain is rising again

And now, your moment of calm.

Fall colors (c) K2sleddogs

Music Sundays: JUNNY

I can’t remember how I first stumbled onto JUNNY’s music, but I’m glad I did. Probably it was through Youtube (not one is surprised). He’s was born in Canada, but lives in South Korea, where he moved to work on his music. And it is so good. I’ve selected two songs – the first is his newest song, the second, Thank You, is probably his most popular. Both are very good. Please enjoy!

You can find JUNNY on Spotify and Apple Music.

Weekend Reads: 10/16/2020

You’ll notice there is a wide mix of articles this week. It’s because I know that, by Friday, we’ve all had it with the news. We won’t stop, of course (nor should we – the world is on fire), but we all need a break. That’s why not all of these articles of the current affairs type. I’m trying something new! Some are newer and some are quite old (at least 4 years old – I am cleaning out my read later folders).

The first part will always be articles dealing with hard topics, current issues (like the election, state of the world, the pandemic, etc) and the second section will be the fun stuff, as it were. If this works or doesn’t – let me know!

Senator Gary Peters Shares His Abortion Story (Elle)

He’s the first sitting senator in history to do so.

Don’t Grieve Alone. Reach Out. (NYT – $$)

Finding emotional support during a crisis often means turning to long-established networks already built for distance.

For Refugees, Home Is a Place Called Never (Zócalo Public Square)

Having Fled Sarajevo as a Child, I Find It Hard Telling Syrians There Is No Going Back

Going Sohla (Vultre – $$)

After leaving Bon Appétit, the chef now has her own show — where she’s paid fairly for her fantastic creations.


The World’s Longest-Running Experiment Is Buried in a Secret Spot in Michigan (Atlas Obscura)

In the fall of 1879, Dr. William James Beal walked to a secret spot on Michigan State University’s campus and planted a strange crop: 20 narrow-necked glass bottles, each filled with a mixture of moist sand and seeds.

Flyting Was Medieval England’s Version of an Insult-Trading Rap Battle (Atlas Obscura)

Imagine a world that had swapped its guns for puns and its IEDs for repartees. Such a planet is possible if only those in power would manage their conflicts with flyting, the time-honored sport of verbal jousting.

The Tree That Would Not Be Broken (Narratively)

It was the last living thing rescued from the ruins of 9/11. A dozen years later, one mythical pear tree is finally home, and branching out from Ground Zero in mystical ways.

Watch the video (tw: 9/11 footage):

This Artist Sculpts Animals and Flowers From Grains of Rice (Atlas Obscura)

Guorui Chen brought a hometown tradition back from extinction.

Have a great fall weekend everyone and don’t forget to vote if you haven’t yet.

Michigan Fall - Seven Lakes State Park
Michigan Fall – Seven Lakes State Park (c) Mike

Music Sundays: H&D

Sometimes you listen to singers and you like their music, but it doesn’t speak to you. Instead it’s just something nice to listen to. Sometimes, though, a song just runs you over and you’re completely taken aback by how good the song is. That’s what happened with Umbrella by H&D. This duo, made up of Lee Hangyul (the ‘H’) and Nam Dohyon (the ‘D’), who were part of the winning group X1 on a survival show. Their debut album was pretty good, but Umbrella is an exceptional song.

As a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of survival shows (they are stressful, my favorites never win, and the winning groups already always temporary). However, I have been a fan of a lot of groups that came from these shows – whether temporary (such as RAINZ) or permanent (like AB6IX and CIX). I might hate the shows, but much to my dismay, I like the product.

Anyway, please enjoy this song by H&D! You can find them on Spotify and Apple Music.

Weekend Reads: 10/09/2020

As we crawl ever closer to the presidential election in November, I want to remind you that all must vote and you must vote Biden/Harris. There is no alternative, no other choice. If you value your life and the lives of the people around you, and on this planet as a whole – you must vote for Biden/Harris. They were not my top picks, but I no longer care about that and neither should you.

Vote.

Now, onto the articles.

Mike Pence Is the Future. God Help Us. (The Bulwark)

This is your Republican party now.

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You (ProPublica)

Arise Virtual Solutions, part of the secretive world of work-at-home customer service, helps large corporations shed costs at the expense of workers. Now the pandemic is creating a boom in the industry.

Dreading a dark winter lockdown? Think like a Norwegian (Guardian)

Studies show people living in the Arctic Circle are armed with a mindset that helps combat the long ‘polar night’. It might come in handy for us all…

Now, two older articles to remind us, in part, why voting this year is so important.

Call It Rape (Long Reads / The Normal School)

“What is it about ‘no means no’ that you all don’t understand?”

The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker (Esquire)

In Mississippi, there is only one clinic where a woman can go if she needs an abortion. The state is trying to close it down. At that clinic, there is a doctor who tends to the needs of these women, and he has to fly in from out of state to do it. There is no shutting him down.

I’ll leave you with the beautiful title song from Maeve Gilchrist’s newest album, The Harpweaver (Spotify and Apple Music). Listen to an interview with Gilchrist on NPR here.