Monthly Archives: November 2021

Friday Five (quick five edition)

Time to be Thankful

To all my readers outside the U.S.: Happy Thursday!

Here are things I’m thankful for:

  • my handsome, good-natured, patient, shrewd, funny husband
  • coffee
  • sci fi books that tell of hopeful futures
  • music
  • cocktails
  • purple
  • the cute birds that visit my bird feeder every day
  • people who help other people
  • recipe blogs
  • videos about how to make cocktails
  • people who make art, music, and other creative things
  • people who take care of us when we’re sick
  • books
  • my eccentric, sometimes infuriating relatives who probably find me even more bewildering than I ever do them
  • not having to spend any holidays with (especially) the most infuriating relatives this year
  • that chunk of ice that is always stuck in the body cavity of the turkey no matter how many days the turkey was in the fridge thawing before the holiday
  • that wonderful feeling (after I nearly give myself frostbite in both hands getting the neck and giblets and the last of the ice out of the turkey) as water runs over my hands and slowly warms them back up
  • audio and video conferencing services that let me spend time with friends
  • vaccines
  • podcasts
  • gravy
  • audio books
  • people who work retail
  • rain
  • tea
  • people who write fanfic
  • science
  • olives
  • people who love
  • my smart, sweet, sexy, super capable, long-suffering husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list twice!)
  • pie
  • online friends
  • people who review and recommend books
  • radio and wireless technologies
  • playlists
  • gadgets
  • people who fill the world with joy
  • kittens and puppies and tigers and otters
  • teddy bears and mousies
  • stuffing
  • friends who will group text with me while we’re all yelling at the same football game on the TV
  • gin
  • cherries
  • the Royal Back Channel gang (you know who you are)
  • the many almost magical computing devices that I can now wear on my wrist, carry in my pocket, and otherwise use to bring a wealth of information and possibilities that were barely imaginable when I was a kid
  • all my wonderful friends—who are talented, kind, giving, and clearly the most patient people in the world, because they put up with me
  • have I mentioned my kind, clever, cheerful, hard-working husband (who definitely deserves to be on this list three times!)?
  • people who read my blog

Thank you, each and every one. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today or not, I hope you have a wonderful day full of blessings, because you deserve it.

Mid-week News Update: Lack of moral compass edition

“What do the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the killing of Ahmaud Arbery trial, and the Paul Gosar censure all have in common? Half of this country has stopped believing that murdering people is universally wrong.”
“Your reminder that after OJ Simpson was found not guilty, the victims families sued the fuck out of him in civil court and ruined him financially. So there’s that.”

It’s nearly time for the jangle java jingle!

jangle java jingle

We’ve reached the time of year where holiday coffee blends start appearing in stores, which means that once again I already have way more bags of these specialty coffees than I can used up during the holiday season!

Pictured above is my current haul, though I will be keeping an eye out for more!

My rule about using the holiday coffees is, with the exception of any that explicitly have Thanksgiving in their name, I can’t start using them until the day after Thanksgiving. So far the only Thanksgiving blend of whole beans I have found in stores have been Starbucks’ and I usually open that bag several days before Thanksgiving, which I have done.

Starbucks now has two different Christmas/Holiday blends, in addition to the Thanksgiving blend. The one in the purple/lavender bag is a lighter/milder roast. We’ll see how I like it.

I do keep hoping to find a bag of Starbucks’ in the blue foil variant (which tends to be stocked in Starbucks stores with a large jewish clientele). But I’ve never found one. Seattle doesn’t seem to have a large enough jewish community, I guess. I should mention that individual store managers decide which color and whether to order bags labeled "Holiday Blend" or "Christmas Blend."

Anyway, it’s that time of year! We got most of our Thanksgiving dinner things purchase. Our 11-pound turkey (the smallest we could find) is in the fridge slowly defrosting. I only work three days this week, and a bunch of my co-workers have taken the entire week off–including some of the people who most often interrupt me with emergency projects that need to be handled now–so I’m hopeful it will be a quiet, productive week.

Wish me luck!

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Friday Five (trans lives are precious edition)

We have reached the third Friday in November, and I am well into my project for this year’s National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo

I know I said last week was rainy, but I spoke too soon. During the period from Saturday evening through Monday western Washington was inundated with about as much rainfall as we typically get in the entire month of November. Wow. In more personal news, on Thursday during what was supposed to be a routine checkup, my general practitioner told me that instead of waiting for my scheduled appointed a few weeks out for my COVID booster, that he could give me the shot that day. So, I got my booster! Woo!

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: one story about vaccines, two stories about a lying jerk, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, and five stories about the pandemic (plus some notable obituaries and things I wrote).

This Week in I Couldn’t Have Put It Better Myself:

Dan Savage doesn’t hold back in his warning to straight guys flirting with gay guys


This Week in Ways You Can Help:

Here’s where you can honor trans lives on the Transgender Day of Remembrance this Saturday – For those looking for a space to honor the lives that have been lost, we’ve compiled some events taking place around the country

Stories of the Week:

Mrs. Betty Bowers explains why they think America is a theocracy

CDC: No trace of virus causing smallpox found in lab vials, despite labels

Science Discovers Another Avenue That Could Lead to an HIV Cure

Biden administration will invest billions to expand coronavirus vaccine manufacturing

‘Let’s get it done’: House moves to vote on Build Back Better Act after CBO score is released

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

A Landmark Year for U.S. Cities in Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality

Trucks are driving around in Texas with huge signs that declare “Trans lives are precious” – "We need to go beyond awareness. Most people are ‘aware’ that trans people exist. We must take action and continue to fight for our trans family."

High school students clap back at school board protestors claiming book “teaches kids how to be gay” – One student pointed out the irony in all the "Free Speech" Trump supporters draped in American flags and calling for government censorship and book burning

GOP politicians tried to shut down a smalltown LGBTQ support group. It backfired spectacularly – The LGBTQ community is a "hate group" because they "make people upset," according to the elected officials

She-Ra creator Noelle Stevenson on life after Princesses of Power and telling TERFs to ‘get f**ked’

This Week in Haters, Deplorables, and Liars:

He Raped Four Girls. He’s White, And His Parents Are Wealthy – So you will not be that surprised by how this turned out

Nicolle Wallace Performs Live Autopsy On Pathetic Gasbag Chris Christie

Trump Fanatic Who Electroshocked D.C. Cop On Jan. 6 Tries To Get His Confession Tossed – The Trump supporter, who electroshocked Officer Mike Fanone at the Capitol on Jan. 6, is trying to argue that he wasn’t properly advised of his rights

‘QAnon Shaman’ is sentenced to over 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot – Jacob Chansley had pleaded guilty in September to a single count of felony obstruction of an official proceeding

Unmasking Moms for Liberty

This Week in the Pandemic:

Fauci Warns Of Uptick In Hospitalizations Among Fully Vaccinated, Touts Boosters – Hospital Stays Rising Among People Who Didn’t Get Boosters

More than a million Americans may have long-term loss of smell due to COVID-19, new research says

State officials from California to Maine are already giving out Covid boosters to all adults

Pediatricians warn of virus’ impact on kids, urge parents to vaccinate them; weekly new infections again surpass 600,000: COVID-19 updates

Army to Begin Forcing Out Soldiers Who Refuse COVID Vaccine, Including Guardsmen

Things I Wrote:

Weekend Update: Dishonored Wounded Troops Given Second Chance

Confessions of a Reluctant Tent Pole, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Make the Perfect Martini

Confessions of a Child Abuse Survivor, or, why forgiving and forgetting isn’t an option for some of us

Confessions of a rain-worshiper, or, why isn’t it called non-standard time?

Confessions of a rain-worshiper, or, why isn’t it called non-standard time?

It’s been over ten days since the switch from Daylight Saving Time (Please note: saving is singular, not plural) to Standard Time in most of the U.S., which might be a little late to be blogging about it, but a couple of comments passing through my social media streams compelled me to broach the topic.

I didn’t think to screenshot or bookmark either comment, so I’m paraphrasing from memory. First: "Rather than arguing about whether it would be better to have an hour of daytime before work or an hour after, shouldn’t we be asking why the workday is so long that it covers all the daylight hours in winter?" Second: "We have to get Congress to allow all states to stay on Daylight Saving Time year round! It is unacceptable to have sundown at 5:30 in the winter!"

I’ll respond to the second one before moving to the next: The sun is still up after 5pm where you are in the winter? LUXURY! The day I finished this blog post, November 17, sundown in the Seattle area was at 4:29pm. And it’s just going to keep getting earlier for the next month!

Sunrise on the same day was at 7:19am, so there were potentially 9 hours of daylight. I say potentially for a couple of reasons, one is that November is one of the wettest months of the year in our region, and so many of our days are overcast during that time. But also, it gets noticeably dark outside well before the sun fully dips below the horizon. Even with all of the blinds open, I have to start turning lights on inside the house shortly after 3 during November.

To be fair, the sky starts to light up in the mornings shortly before the sun starts to appear above the horizon. If you’re willing to count that as some of the daylight, on many days it would make up for the early gloom that happens as the sun gets close to the horizon in the afternoon.

When I’ve mentioned online how early sunset is here, I have been met with disbelief. And I get where the second post mentioned above is coming from. The same day that Seattle’s sunset was 4:29pm, Los Angeles’ sunset was at 4:47pm, while Houston’s sunset was at 5:24pm. Latitude (how far you are from the equator) makes a big difference in this!

The shortest day in the year at our latitude is about 8 hours and 26 minutes. Again, that’s counting from sunrise to sunset. so in theory, if you are only working an 8 hour day, technically there would be 20-some minutes when you aren’t at work and could see a bit of daylight.

Now if the person arguing about working hours is suggesting a workday of only 6 hours, that’s great. There’s actually a lot of research out their indicating that workers would be more efficient during such shorter work shifts. Right now, it’s difficult enough to get a job where you aren’t being forced one way or another to work well more than 8 hours a day, so I’m not sure how that would work out.

None of this is to imply that I don’t agree that we should advocate for better work conditions or that we need to abolish this abominable practice of jiggering the clocks twice a year. I am all for getting rid of the switch from Standard Time to so-called Daylight Saving Time. Which to be consistent and accurate should actually be called Non-standard Time. We’re not actually getting any more daylight hours during DST, we’re just cutting off the bottom of the blanket and sewing it to the top and pretending that there is more blanket.

We know that both the switch form ST and DST and from DST back to ST is associated with an increase in automobile accidents, certain kinds of sometimes fatal health issues, and temporary decreases in productivity. So we should stop doing it.

But you’re not going to win me over if you center your argument on how much daylight we get when. For one thing, it is just inverse of the same flawed argument used to justify DST in the first place. And for another, I’m one of the freaks who really likes the dark more than bright and sunny times. I love rainy and overcast days. I don’t mind the nighttime.

Which is part of the reason that from the beginning of Autumn through the Winter Holidays is, for me, truly the most wonderful time of the year.