Lisa Rider: Captain Planet

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My last few posts have been a bit cynical and maudlin because I’ve been in a funk for months that I’ve been having trouble shaking. I’m trying. Still trying. Always trying.

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Talks in Paris continue over what leaders think they can do about climate change, what they can agree to without upsetting their supporters, etc. And while many mean well, talk is cheap, and even treaties and laws are only worth anything if enforced. While they debate, places like Newtok are becoming Atlantis even as many of our own politicians and Presidential candidates debate whether climate change is real. Closer to home, cities like Miami Beach have been combating the inevitable with plans to raise roads, install pumps, add on to sea walls, and potentially abandon the lower floors of buildings while the equally-susceptible Fort Lauderdale (the “Venice of America” with hundreds of canals and low spots) appears to be hoping it’s just a fad. Then, Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have the tax base Miami Beach does. Most of Florida doesn’t, which means there’s little many towns can do besides watch beaches and buildings disappear.

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Dial tone

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I’ve been in a bit of a daze lately. I’ve been feeling disconnected from the rest of the world for a while now and so often when I try to reach out, to find some common ground, I find the earth’s been salted by screeds of hate or the hands on the other side would rather push me back into the darkness. Or that there’s nothing out there that sees me enough to even push back.

I walk around in life alternately invisible to the point that people run into me with carts, skip past me in lines, stare through me and like piece of meat hung out for dogs. Drivers are either honking and licking their car windows at me or their cutting me off and merging into me because they don’t know I exist.

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Vegan Thanksgiving

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Every year about this time, families gather and inevitably some of those families have vegans and vegetarians in them. Families without a majority of vegheads tend to react to this one of two ways:

  1. Making something veg-friendly is just too hard. They can starve or bring their own. Weirdos.
  2. We’ll make some stuff we found online. A few side dishes or maybe a Tofurkey loaf if they live near a store that sells one.

If your family is like the first, and you just kind of tell your relatives or friends you can’t be bothered with them and they’re on their own, I guess the question is: Why are you inviting this person? It sounds like you don’t like them very much. And they certainly won’t feel loved or welcomed if they show up at a holiday event that’s essentially a big meal and there’s nothing for them to eat.

Besides, it’s super-easy to make some side dishes that both vegans and meat eaters can enjoy. Continue reading

Tofu Taquitos

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Over the weekend, the husband wanted taquitos, so I drained a block of tofu (sliced it into three flat segments and wrapped it in a towel) for about an hour and thawed some whole wheat soft tortillas.

While that’s doing that, here’s the ingredients list:

  • Extra-firm tofu
  • Cumin, turmeric, chili powder, cilantro, cayenne
  • Onion, diced small
  • Bell peppers, diced small
  • Soft taco shells/small flour tortilla wraps
  • Coconut oil
  • Block of Daiya cheddar and jalepeno havarti
  • Plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • Vegan cream cheese
  • Salsa

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Kickstarter and the Club of Self-Righteousness

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SALE

I’ve been pondering Kickstarter a lot lately. Ran all the numbers and everything. Let them sit.

Because Kickstarter is highly controversial these days and I just don’t feel mentally strong enough to deal with the backlash, with the snark, with being hated anymore than I already feel like I generally am.

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NaNoWriMo Tools

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About a year ago, I wrote up a list of tools as options for NaNoWriMo participants. Pretty much all of it’s still valid (though Microsoft has named OneDrive “SkyDrive” on parts of my laptop and I have to say I’m not thrilled with dealing with their identity crisis when looking for documents, so I generally just use Google Drive).

If you want the full breakdown, it’s over here on the Fort Writerdale site.

The “paper” tools section is here.

It occurs to me that I never wrote about my favorite pens so let’s remedy that real quick. (Yes, real quick. Don’t make me break out any of the worse phrases I picked up in the South.)

Ballpoint: Continue reading

Things I shouldn’t say…

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Deep

I left teaching for a variety of reasons, but among them was this overwhelming sense that I wasn’t doing anything good. I had gone from feeling like I helped kids, even if was just a few a week, to feeling like I was forced to do more harm than good. The state had tied the hands of both the facility staff and the education staff to the point where they had been reduced to a cross between jailers and poorly-paid babysitters. The facility staff were miserable and overworked, over-tired, and over-stressed from back-to-back shifts and never knowing if they’d be allowed to go home to their families. Education had been reduced to testing, test-prep, and forced instruction from books the kids (by and large) weren’t up to understanding yet. We’d gone from a sort of triage system of meeting the kids where they were and trying on all fronts to piece them together as best we could before they left to an aloof sort of HMO that did what it wanted no matter what showed up and input codes to make our overlords happy at the cost of all the patients.

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Davis Groves and the changing world

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Most of you probably have no idea who Davis Groves is — unless you miraculously remember her from a story in Needle magazine back in 2013, from a story on Beat to a Pulp later that year, Noir Nation from last year, or maybe Feeding Kate, back in 2012 (damn, time flies). I’m assuming even if you have a copy of the new Protectors anthology, you haven’t gotten far enough to find the Davis story in there because Thomas Pluck has utterly outdone himself and not only does that include stories from writers even my nonreader friends have heard of, I understand the print copy rivals phone books in size (Amazon says the print size is over 700 pages). (And if you don’t have a copy of the Protectors 2: Heroes, I don’t know what you’re waiting for unless you’re as broke as I usually am. Maybe ask for it as a gift? It benefits Protect, an organization that aims to prevent abuse of children so even if you only like one story in it, it’s still worth the price.)

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Adulting Mornings

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I have always been somewhat awful at adulting. Not in the obvious, disastrous, off-the-rails sort of way. I don’t shoot up heroin or hang out in strip clubs until 5am selling cocaine. I don’t leave babies and dogs in cars. I don’t set buildings on fire. I am a generally law-abiding boring person who has such an aversion to smoke in general that I never even tried pot in college. (Really. Smoke just kind of closes up all my airways and I have to force myself to inhale and there’s just no way inhaling on purpose was ever going to work.)

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The Power of Positive Thinking or Don’t Buy Lies

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Fail Harder

Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, even Twitter are full of “positive thinking” quotes and hand-lettered sayings and all sorts of “You Can Do It” if you “Keep Calm and” “Think Positive.” There’s lot’s of pictures of coffee mugs with perfectly angled planners and glasses you know no one wears, maybe some glitter or pink flowers on a unbelievably white desk. (Seriously, who the hell has room on their desk for bud vases and what kind of “designer” can keep a desk pristine white without spilling coffee or ink or the leaky bits of yesterday’s lunch on it?)

These people are the opposite of “writers” though there’s some overlap, generally in the self-help genre. Most of the writers I know are surly, cynical, and will tell anyone who listens that there’s no money in writing, no money in publishing, that you’re going to need to keep your day job forever yet still probably die of a disease basic insurance could have cured, and that “writers write” everyday whether they want to or not, generally at the ass crack of dawn before going to the day job or in the middle of the night after tucking in all the children. They’re regularly drunk, over-caffeinated, under-medicated, bleary-eyed, and tend to wear their dysfunction like a badge of honor. They march around under a banner of “This Sucks and We Do It Because We Think We Have To or Maybe We Want To, We Don’t Know, But It Definitely Sucks.” Continue reading