Blog round-up: Friend Spotlight

A necklace for many many friends to share.

If you’re anything like me, you have a long list of blogs or sites you’re following so that you always have something to read on your phone on the bus. Many of my favorites are listed in my blogroll in the sidebar here, and I’ve made specific recs a few times. Here are a few more!

Magpie and Whale: For thoughts on journalism, Chicago, and truly quality linkspams, I always turn to my friend Esther.

I promised everyone I’d dance in the streets if Chicago made it to 50 whole degrees, and holy cats, on Monday we hit 56. So, off I went with my camera in just a sweatshirt and tennis shoes, although rain boots probably would have been a better plan, considering that all our snow and ice is now melting into gigantic pools of standing water, much of which is congregating on sidewalks and at street crossings.

Of course, it’s supposed to dump more snow on us again this week, which makes Chicago Magazine‘s musings about whether the City That Works is too cold to compete with the sunny South particularly apropos. But I assume you’re not here for me to endlessly talk about the weather. (In my hometown, you didn’t start conversations with remarks on the weather, you filled dead air with a comment on the height of the Hocking River.) I could ramble abouttreadmill desks or Amtrak’s actually sort of scummy terms and conditions for their writing residency, but let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

In the Lyme Light Blog-a-Thon: My old friend Kat is using March to run a blog-a-thon about her life with lyme. Her first post is very heavy stuff (with a trigger warning for discussion of suicide), discussing mortality and the realities of living with chronic illness; heavy and honest. She encourages questions and suggestions for essay topics, so if there’s something you’d like to know, by all means leave her a comment and engage with the topic!

See, after my health stopped me from updating for several years, I’m able to write on it again. I’m revamping the layout and writing regularly, and a great deal. I’m also beyond broke and in debt, hence the blogathon helping from all angles! Here’s how it works, and the three ways you can help out:

Way #1: Comment Here with Questions About Lyme, Being Sick, Etc.
Whether you want to sponsor me out not, comment here with anything you want to know about Lyme, connections, the treatment for them, and how having them had affected my life. Every single one will be answered in an essay in its own post.; I really want to answer the questions you actually HAVE–and enough people have said things that I know they do have questions–so please, do ask,.

This Blog Is Better In Vinyl: Ernie, my fellow Alaskan-kid-who-did-magic-tricks-on-the-Tonight-Show, is currently blogging about teaching in Turkey with characteristic hilarity and depth.

It was so damn quiet. There were three (again, corgi) street dogs. They were slow. They wandered into puddles and got their paws muddy. “Maybe,” Jari said, “maybe there is a brood mother somewhere in these hills.”

“A corgi brood mother.”

“Yeah. Spawning corgis. Or there’s like a corgi dominant gene.”

“They are planning for world domination.”

“The children of the broodmother will consume the whole world.”

I’m doing my best to transcribe this sort of conversation you understand because I want to convey to you how mind-alteringly slow time passes in the village. We sat on rocks next to our packs in the village center, a confluence of three dirt roads, watching dogs walk back and forth and listening to three old men talk about something in another language. When the bus came by the first time, it was going the opposite way, and both of us wanted to get on just for something to do. It was quiet, though, and quiet was pretty nice. We waited for the bus to come back around.

Feeling Elephants: Jessica is not only one of the smartest people I know, but one of the most compassionate, well-informed, and busy people I know. She also tops my list of Friends Most Likely To Be President One Day. Actually, she may be the only person on my list of Friends Most Likely To Be President One Day. Dickinson-Goodman 2026!

Like any good social justice worker, I do my civil rights head count every time I walk into a room or presented with a list of names. (how many women, how many men; how many people of color, how many white people; how many young people, how many older; how many low-income people, how many middle-class, how many wealthy; rinse, repeat).

So when I got an RNC presidential straw poll in my email this morning–because I subscribe to campaign and major candidate emails from both parties–I did my count.

The result was embarrassing: 5 female candidates of 31 options. That’s 16%, a full 3 points lower than the also-mortifying 19% currently serving in Congress.

Music reviews: “The Way I’m Running” and “The Electric Lady”

PigPen Theatre Co., The Way I’m Running

So last year around October 6-8, I was in New York on my way to Seattle via Spain, and while there I got to see PigPen Theatre Co.’s The Old Man and the Old Moon. It was really exciting to me that this year, almost exactly a year from when I saw PigPen live, they released a new album of music — just in time for my birthday, no less.

Important disclaimer: these excellent dudes graduated with me in CMU’s School of Drama Class of 2011, so I’m not a totally unbiased reviewer. That said, these guys are some of the most talented artists, storytellers, and musicians I’ve ever experienced, and even if I didn’t know them I’d be stanning for them.

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with up so floating many bells down: cool things on October 14

So today is Columbus Day in the US, but seriously, screw that guy. Let’s talk about some better things!

Like that fact that October 14 is the birthday of both E. E. Cummings and Ben Whishaw, brought heartbreakingly together in this clip from The Hour:

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not a pretty girl: THE GIRLENING

The response to not a pretty girl has been INCREDIBLE (I had nearly more than 600 visitors and more than 1000 views on October 11, at which point I had to go have a lie down with Elysian Brewery’s imperial stout). People have been bringing up awesome points all over the place that I want to discuss at greater length. But first! I totally forgot in my rush to get that thing finished in the first place that one topic I wanted to talk about was YA media that I think do a good job of dealing with the many different ways of being a teenage girl — the stuff that I would steer a teen toward if she asked me for recommendations. So here are some of those!

You don't always have to be who they want you to be, you know.

I didn’t see this movie until SENIOR YEAR because something was dreadfully wrong with me.

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Do not approach the dog park. (A recommendation.)

The logo for Welcome to Night Vale: a crescent moon in an eye hovering over a rural skyline.After a few weeks of bemusement over my friends either rapturously passing around fanart and fancastings of someone called “beautiful Carlos” or sending terrified Tweets about “episode 19,” I have finally started listening to Welcome to Night Vale.

“Welcome to Night Vale” is . . . difficult to describe. I saw someone explain it as what would happen if you were “lost in the desert and tuned into NPR and the broadcast was local news as written by Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks.” I have also heard it described as “Parks and Recreation with Lovecraft.” I would also liken it to what you would get if Northern Exposure‘s Chris Stevens were born in Derry, Maine. The references could go on and on.

It is a podcast. It is the community radio broadcast of Night Vale, a town in the desert established in the 1700s and shepherded by the City Council, which has not changed since the first meeting of the Town Elder Council in 1824 and which does not appear to like being discussed in great detail. The weather is music. (Really.)

It’s fabulous.

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