Have you registered to vote yet? Only 61 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2016, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. You can register online here. This is a federal site, so it doesn’t matter what state you live in, you can still use that link to get registered. You can also use this site to check the voter registration deadline in your state. California’s primary election is on March 3. If you want to register to vote online, the deadline is February 18.
I really want everyone I know to vote, even if we don’t vote the same way. If we’re going to have a functional democracy, it’s important to use our right to vote and fight to maintain it. I’ve learned that figuring out when and how to vote can be confusing for a lot of people, which is why I’ve been doing my best to share that information. I hope you’ll share it too! I’m also going to make a post in the next week or two about my choice for the Democratic primary and some thoughts on the rest of the California primary ballot. I hope that makes it easier for some people to vote. It shouldn’t be confusing, but it often is. I recognize that not everyone can easily find time to sift through the information, but I can, which is why I share it.
Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.
I finished the last book of Kameron Hurley’s Worldbreaker Trilogy and it was worth the wait. One theme that has emerged in her recent books, including The Light Brigade and The Stars are Legion is a kind of aggressive hopefulness. Hurley’s characters always choose to fight their way out of horrible shit. Things are messy but they believe that life can be different and they eventually make good choices. Hurley reminds us that people have to choose to make things better. Justice doesn’t just happen. In short: Hurley’s writing books for our times.
Meanwhile, the best internet reading I came across this week was an article about teens creating group instagram accounts to fuck with the algorithm. First of all, teens are savvy as hell. Second, I don’t blame them! I was musing just this week on the fact that instagram seems much more ad heavy than it was in the past. I started counting how often ads appear in my feed and it’s now reliably every four or five posts. Twenty-five percent advertisements! I just want to look at cool knitting and cats, god damn. It’s interesting to see what kind of action these increasingly intrusive tech companies are inadvertently encouraging.
In our continuing Star Trek watch, we watched Wrath of Khan last Saturday. It was much better than the first Star Trek movie. I believe this is because the actor who plays Khan is a much better actor than any of the Original Series cast. Also, why do I want this outfit? Post-apocalyptic couture?
If you follow me on social media, you surely already know this, but I’m posting it anyway. You can listen to me on the latest episode of the podcast Holding Space with Magical Wheelism! I met Magic at Rollercon last year. She’s since started a fascinating podcast where she talks to roller derby people about all kinds of things. You can hear me talk about books, derby, and autism in this episode.
Because I already have three plane trips on my schedule this year and I am becoming committed to my rich white woman lifestyle, I decided to sign up for TSA pre-check. It’s $85 and it’s good for five years. I’ve been increasingly annoyed with the rigamarole of removing my shoes and taking any electronics larger than a cell phone out of my bag. Plus, now that I travel with a CPAP, it feels like too much to juggle. What’s weird is how simplistic of a system it is. I shouldn’t be surprised considering how little airport security checks actually contribute to security, but I guess I expected more. You fill out a questionnaire, pay the money, get fingerprinted, and go through a background check. Assuming you pass, TSA gives you a “known traveler number” that you provide to airlines when booking tickets. The number shows up on your ticket and that’s how TSA knows to let you through. It seems ridiculous but I’m at a point in my life where I’ll pay $85 not to be hassled at the airport.
Making Things and Doing Stuff
Over the last few years, I’ve realized something important to me is making whatever I do better and more accessible for anyone coming up after me. It’s why I’ve been doing things like making sure my derby league gets new announcers on the mic. This year, I’m playing a bigger role in leading our new skater program, so I’ve been working on putting together some orientation materials. I’m finding this weirdly satisfying. I really like trying to anticipate people’s questions and give them the information they need to do their thing without worrying about the logistics. That’s why I don’t understand people who say things like “I had to pay off my student loans, why should people now get their loans forgiven?” How can you go through something and then say, nah, everyone else should have it as bad as I did? People with that attitude make me want to hustle 10 times harder to improve things for others. I will make this world better out of spite if I have to.
I am excited that I’m on the promotional materials for our first game of the year! This is the first time I’ve been featured on the flyers and it is really cool. We’re supposed to use the posters to hang in a public place to advertise, but I took one home to frame and display in my office collection of Cool Shit about Me. No remorse.
Derby practice this week was actually tryouts for the season. Coaches evaluated us to decide what team level (A/B/C) skaters should practice and play at. I felt pretty good about try outs but more because I went into it with a certain “fuck it” energy than because I think I did exceptionally well (I’m sure I did okay though). It’s easier to not be wound up when I’m already in a good place. It would be cool to move up but it would also be cool to stay where I am.
Knitting and Crafts
After finishing the Slytherin socks I, predictably, cast on another pair of socks. The pattern is cool but it’s also tiny and fiddly and I realized that may not be what I want to knit right now. I think I’ve settled on making this blouse, which has been on my radar almost as long as I’ve been knitting and is beautiful. I know I need to knit a swatch, but I don’t feel like knitting a swatch. In short, I haven’t knit much this week. Stalemate.
Well, after making a delicious pizza for myself the week before last, I promised I’d make one for Kirk and I to share, which I did. I made 1.5 times the amount of dough so it would better fill my skillet and that worked perfectly. Kirk said it was an excellent pizza. On Sunday, I wanted to bake a treat but also didn’t want to go to the store to buy any ingredients. I found this recipe for chocolate ganache peanut butter bars, which is exactly what it sounds like: a peanut butter cookie baked in bar form and covered with chocolate ganache. They are quite rich so I’ve been pecking at it all week. Last night I made chicken noodle soup using homemade stock. I roasted a chicken earlier in the week, but it was not photogenic so I’m not including a photo. Next time, I hope. To accompany my soup I made crescent rolls, because why not.
Finally, here’s Viola for your nerves.