Embarrassments

I am currently delving back into very old archives on my hard drive — folders in folders in folders — trying to find some research I did years ago on a certain topic, and I came across a folder titled ‘Articles.’ Apparently, when I was in my early 20s and found an article online that I wanted to bookmark, I would copy the text of it into a Word doc and save it that way. !!

Also I discovered that for about a year, younger me kept an ongoing “Log of Daily Embarrassments” that contains some things I’d forgotten and would just as soon not have reminded myself of on this lovely Saturday. Curse my compulsive documenting.

I Got Scared About My Hair

I have nice hair. It’s the sort of hair that, when I cut it, people are wont to say to me, like Amy, “Oh, Jo! Your one beauty!” But I’ve never given two shits about my hair, I’ve taken it for granted, like we all do our hair while we have it, and also I really hate the fetishization of women’s long hair. It’s annoying and gross, and it pisses me off. I usually let my hair grow all year out of laziness, and then get it chopped short in summer.  Continue reading “I Got Scared About My Hair”

News

What are your favorite news sources (whether on- or offline), and why?

I prefer to get my news from actual, physical magazines in the mail — yes, still! Yes, really! This is mostly because I work online and I don’t want to look at a screen during my leisure hours. It’s also because magazines have longer articles with more depth and detail, and I read more thoroughly when reading an actual, physical object than on a screen, where I tend to skim, which I hear is normal. I also read hardcopies much faster than I do online articles, which I hear is very unusual.

Anyway, I tend to change up the publications I subscribe to every year, because I’m never really satisfied with any of them. I pretty much always subscribe to The New Yorker, and imagine I always will. But other than that, I go back and forth. Currently, I subscribe to The Week, and I enjoy Harper’s most of the time. And a few subscriptions that I am probably letting lapse because I don’t get much out of them anymore — The Nation, Mother Jones, The Atlantic. At this point, it seems like I’ve kind of gone through all magazines that…exist.

I don’t have a TV and I can’t focus on audio so podcasts and NPR are out. Physical newspapers are too expensive. So I’m starting to turn back to online news sources again, but it’s been so long since I read any political sites, I don’t even know what’s out there anymore (other than Talking Points Memo).

What should I check out? And are there any print publications I’ve missed that I should read? (Note: I’m a lefty if that’s not obvious, so The National Review and similar recommendations, while welcome, will likely not be taken.)

Math

The kingdom of numbers is a strange place, and gets stranger the further human exploration of it goes. It is entirely abstract and self-contained; and yet it is the key to the structure of the physical world. It is not, however, validated or verified by anything in that world. Mathematicians explore it not by sight, sound, touch, or taste; not by experiment; not by measurement; but by the pure cold light of reason.

Michael Frayn, The Human Touch

If my teachers had explained that I would need to understand math in order to, oh, you know, understand why the world happened, I might have actually paid attention.

 

Flash Talks

Every year, my company, Automattic, has a grand meetup somewhere in the world. We are a distributed company and currently we have ~140 employees who work from all over the world. While we have many smaller group meetups throughout the year, the yearly grand meetup is the only time we all get to see each other in person.

One of the traditions is that everyone in the company must give a five-minute “flash talk” on any subject. Here are mine so far —

In September 2012 in San Diego, I spoke about rabbits:

And in September 2013 in Santa Cruz, I came out as a proud liar:

(Thanks to my colleague, Aaron Douglas, for posting his flash talk and giving me the idea to post these.)

Why Albuquerque?

A lot of people ask me why I chose to move to Albuquerque. I don’t have a very good answer for that, but look, this is where I go running. This part of the Sandia Foothills is an easy one mile jog from my house:

 

These pictures don’t really do it justice. There are a ton of trails and it’s really gorgeous.

And guess how many lungfuls of car exhaust or cigarette smoke I inhale while I am running here? ZERO LUNGFULS!

Guess how many asshats get in my way to comment on my running attire? ZERO ASSHATS!

Albuquerque has over 24,000 acres of Open Space and most of the daily maintenance is done by volunteers. People here are heavy into outdoor recreation.

I am not heavy into outdoor recreation, but I appreciate the views and the solitude.

Rome

Women, in contrast, were given only one name — either the feminine nomen of the clan for patricians or the feminine cognomen of the family for plebeians. Hence all the daughters of the Julii were called ‘Julia’, or of the Livii ‘Livia’. Sisters were not differentiated. The two daughters of Mark Antony were both called ‘Antonia’. One became the mother of Germanicus, the other the grandmother of Nero. All the daughters of Marius were called ‘Maria’.

— Europe, a History by Norman Davies

See also:

The Conversation

One interesting thing I’ve noticed about The Conversation (a joint op-ed “dialogue” between NY Times columnists Gail Collins and David Brooks) is that only Gail is ever having one. If you read her replies alone, they make no sense, whereas if you just read David’s, it’s a complete monologue without her being there at all.  Continue reading “The Conversation”

The Paper

I’ve subscribed to the local paper here in Albuquerque. I haven’t subscribed to a local paper in, well, ever. But I thought it’d be good to learn a bit about what’s going on here, since I live here now and everything.  Continue reading “The Paper”