Anyway, related, I was doomscrolling the fires the other day, watching places that I used to know cease to exist, and I nearly cried for a second and then I didn’t, because it wouldn’t help and there was too much shit to do. And damn, when this is all over, we’re all gonna break.
We’re all doing the thing where you shove your emotions down to deal with the crisis. And that’s actually useful, because a crisis is not made better by having Feelings. So it’s healthy to do it, and then when crisis is over, you cry and move on.
Morning at Wombathaus begins with a three-way wrangle over whether I am Lawful Good or not.
ME: I always play a paladin!
SHEP: Oh no. You’d totally murder a small child to save a rare plant. Lawful Evil.
ME: Is that evil? It’s internally consistent—
ME: Ok, now are we talking actual murder or just letting someone die? Because murder would be evil, but if the kid and the plant are dangling off a cliff—
SHEP: That’s murder!
ME: No it isn’t! I took Intro to Philosophy and it’s God doing the murdering in that case!
SHEP: That is SO Murder!
LIZ: Also rules lawyering which is Lawful Evil.
ME: If you don’t act, then it’s technically God doing the murder! You technically aren’t morally liable until you insert yourself into the trolley problem.
SHEP: That is so Lawful Evil.
Apparently certain parties are tweeting about how colleges are just left-wing indoctrination again, and god, it’s like the universe just WANTS me to rant or something.
Fine. Let me tell you the saga of the time I actually got in-indoctrinated about something in college.
Although you would not know it from my twitter feed, O internet, I’m actually a very chill individual in general. I don’t get really incandescently angry often. I don’t yell, I have never thrown a toaster, and there’s very few things I get really genuinely worked up about.
(I mean, obviously I have the same low level seething rage as everyone these days, but I mostly just sit in my garden and sigh heavily and donate money.)
I spent a good decade of my life writing and illustrating books targeted to reluctant readers. Obviously lots of other kids read them (and adults!) and I’m thrilled, but they didn’t *need* those books the same way reluctant readers do.
There’s enough wrong with education in this country to fill a hundred textbooks, but one of our great sins is so often turning reading into an instrument of torture.
First couple of grades—Columbus, Pilgrims, Squanto, First Thanksgiving, basically every year. Make a handprint turkey. (Don’t expect much, we’re very young and our turkeys are wobbly.)
Fourth grade — A little state history added in. I was in Arizona at this point, so we read “Annie and the Old One” and learned that the Navajo wove and the Hopi made pots. Mr. Aguirre was fighting an uphill battle with our attention spans.
If you are a longtime follower and have already been subjected to this talk, you are excused from class and may go play Pong in the breakroom.
So! Long long ago, here on the East Coast of North America, there was one of the most fantastic ecosystems ever created, the Piedmont Prairie. The Piedmont is a stretch of plateau that runs through a bunch of states.
So hey, speaking of statuary, like ten million years ago, my mom and stepdad worked at Oregon’s public art commission, which was dinky, as one might expect. Where they met, actually.
Mom was a painter. My stepdad was a sculptor and served on the Indian Arts Council (I think that was what it was called at the time) which meant that he spent a lot of time muttering about how nobody wanted to commission native artists unless it was for “beads and feathers.”
Which is a whole nother topic not particularly relevant to the discussion, but man, public art slush piles will scar you in your tender teen years, believe me.
Gather round, my Twitter peeps, and I shall tell you a tale of scientific curiosity wherein 2500 years of history converged upon my ass.
The ancient Greeks did not have toilet paper. They used ostraka, pottery shards. These were the scratch paper of Ancient Greece. You ate off them, dashed off notes on them, and when you’d read the note, you took it to the bathroom with you.
This seems a bit weird to us and our weak, Charmin-swaddled butts today, as we ask questions like “wouldn’t that be AWFULLY POINTY?!” but hey, you use what you got.
Okay internet garden peeps, let’s talk about grow bags! I’ve been meaning to show how I make them. (Was gonna stream it, but we have three people streaming meetings, school and games in the house, so internet’s at a premium.)
Grow bags are great! The bags let air in, which results in something called “air-pruning” of the roots, which I guess is good. I am not a botanist! But I still get good results with these.
You Will Need:
Landscape fabric. The Premium, but not professional. Should be thick and have one brown side.
Heavy Duty Staples - I use Optima Heavy Duty
A pan a few inches deep
Hello, fellow Pandemicians! Check-In Day 4. Let’s talk about starting a garden, since a lot of people have been asking!
Okay, first of all, if you have dreams of feeding yourself mostly out of your garden, abandon that for now. Unless you want this to be your second job, you are not gonna live off your garden. But you can still get a lot of good stuff and furthermore, do a lot of good for nature!
Now, unless you’re at the Arctic circle, you can grow some awesome fresh produce and herbs. So let’s start at the very basics—you are gonna need water, dirt, and sunlight.
Ok, so since I started taking these ADHD meds, despite them having worn off by the time I wake up, I am waking up rested and alert and WTF IS UP WITH THAT?!
I am the one who grunts and slogs and clings to the bed, not the one who sits up and goes “eh, I’m awake, let’s get going.” This...actually, you know what? This kinda makes me angry.
I am 42 years old! I have had doctors shrug and tell me I just need a lot of sleep! I have sleep apnea and thyroid pills and still I needed naps! And now I take one goddamn pill and sleep actually WORKS and I’m alert and working in the garden instead of napping?
Okay! I got a prescription for an ADHD med!
ME: Is this like an SSRI with a ramp up?
DR: Heh. No. You’ll know immediately.
DR: It’s not like a punch in the face, but yeah, you’ll know.
DR: This is a controlled substance so you have to call 5 days in advance for a refill.
ME: OH MY GOD DID YOU NOT SEE THE DIAGNOSIS ON THE CHART ABOUT THE ADHD
DR: ...do your best, we’ll make it work.
Literally my only reference for this is the episode of King of the Hill where Bobby goes on Ritalin and says “The milk is about to go bad. And...there...it...goes...”
So following my retweet of the saguaros being cut down, it occurs to me that the extraordinary nature of the saguaro may not be common knowledge. Therefore, let us talk about this marvelous vegetative creature.
There’s a fairytale quality to the origin of this cactus. They sound more like how you make a unicorn or a cockatrice than a plant. “Born from an egg laid by a rooster under the Dog Star and incubated by a serpent.” “Sprung from the drops of blood from a martyred saint.”
Well, the saguaro fruit must be eaten by a coyote or a cactus wren and deposited in the shade of an ironwood to nurse. No, really.
And now, back to the Copyedits Of Doom. I am now copy and pasting STET because I got tired of typing it.
As far as I can tell, they went through and systematically removed every instance of "really" and "very." So if a character says "This is bad, this is really really bad!" they now say "This is bad, this is bad."
As a general note to all pro copyeditors out there, since apparently I am going to have to have this discussion today...
There are some specific vernacular issues that cannot simply be changed out. Let us review.
A person who's "got a suspicion" cannot be changed out for "a person suspected." People who get suspicions are a different sort of people in a different sort of book.
"Lord willing" is a specific phrase, more or less equivalent to "Inshallah" and should not be corrected to "If the Lord is willing." If you do this, I am legally allowed to fire you out of a cannon into the sun.